Nordahl’s List of Essential Metal from 2015

Greetings, my fellow metalheads. My name is Chris Nordahl and my friends Nick, Matt & Steve run this fabulous webzine you are taking time to peruse now. With the new year kicking off recently and seeing all of these top metal album lists for 2015 popping up everywhere, I was inspired to share some of the metallic awesomeness that I rocked out too the past 12 months. Since I’ve been a metalhead for over 30 years and am at least 20 years senior to the normal contributors on this site, I thought I could offer a slightly different perspective on cool releases from 2015. And then Nick had to go and include a major grammatical error in his top list (your vs you’re – the memes expressing the horror English teachers experience due to this are everywhere)* and I was spurned into action. So now I am ensuring that you will never hear from me again on this webpage, which might be a blessing for everyone. But while I still have not been permanently banned from these pages, let me seize this opportunity to share some of my favorite releases from 2015. Let’s rock…

  AmorphisUnder The Red Cloud – this album has definitely had the most airplay in the Nordahl household the past few months. An underrated band that keeps improving with each solid release. Several standout tracks such as “Death of a King” and “Bad Blood” but the whole disc is strong and every song is compelling and has a place to be heard. Because of this disc, I am exploring their back catalog and realizing I missed several gems like Eclipse, Skyforger and Silent Waters. If you like melody and emotion in your melodic death metal, then you need to hear this disc.

  Ghost Ship OctaviusS/T – didn’t know a thing about this band until reading a post about them going on tour a few months back. Gave the disc a spin on Spotify and haven’t stopped listening to it since. The band features the drummer from Nevermore and a guitarist from God Forbid. One of the most captivating debut records I’ve heard – now we just need to get this band to tour in the Midwest. Yeah, I know – don’t hold your breath…

  DivinerFallen Empires – great new heavy metal band from Greece. If you like Dio-esque vocals and a lot of power with your traditional metal, you need to hear this band.

  Beyond The BlackSongs of Love and Death – female-fronted band from Germany that borrows elements from many of the favorites in this genre – Nightwish, Xandria, Within Temptation and Evanescence.  

  JudicatorAt the Expense of Humanity – if Blind Guardian had a younger and more metallic American brother, Judicator might be who you would meet. Soaring massive choruses and lots of speedy heavy riffs. A very dark and brooding story but still manages to uplift the metalhead within.

  KataklysmOf Ghosts and Gods – the Canadian death metal masters blast us with another excellent slab of goodness with plenty of speed and groove. Highlights for me include “Thy Serpent’s Tongue” and “Soul Destroyer”.

 Lamb Of GodVII: Sturm und Drang – when I envision the ideal LOG sound, this record is almost the perfect embodiment. It’s not super all the way through the disc, but it gets my horns waving and my head banging so it’s hard to ask for more.

  Orden OganRavenhead – just listen to the track “Deaf Among the Blind” and if you don’t want to hear more, you are not a fan of European power metal. This is fantastic stuff and I like it more than the latest from Blind Guardian so that should tell you all you need to know right there.

  TriviumSilence In The Snow – if you are not a fan of modern metal, you’re not going to like this band, but I love their crunchy melodic riffs and the focus on singing as opposed to screaming is a positive in my book. Just like their previous output Vengeance Falls, this is strong throughout and has a lot of staying power.

  SlayerRepentless – I’m not the biggest Slayer fan in the world, but I loved South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss and of course – Reign in Blood. I think this new disc stacks up nicely to those classic albums and I like it better than anything they have put out since the 90s. It’s worthy of repeat listens and it has run through my ears several times.

  AdversaryRuination – do you like melodic death metal? Then you need to check out this unsigned band from Georgia. They released their disc via bandcamp right at the end of 2014 and this is as good as anything some of the heavyweights in the genre have released recently. If you are a fan of bands like Soilwork, In Flames, Be’Lakor or Omnium Gatherum, you need to hear this release.

I have to give a shout out to several other bands that released excellent material in 2015 worth mentioning. Black Breath, Inner Sanctum, Finsterforst, Wilderun, Wolfheart, Dendera, Battlecross, Eclipse, Saxon, Scythian, Black Fast and Sons of Texas. And 2016 is jumping into action already with new stuff from Megadeth, Brainstorm, Primal Fear, Manimal and countless others on the not-so-distant horizon. Listening to metal is a full-time job. So make sure to do your job well and earn that promotion by listening to all that time allows. Don’t forget to share what you like with anyone willing to listen because good friends don’t let their friends listen to bad music. Rock on!!!

*- Don’t know what he’s talking about looks right to me?!? Guess we need a new editor 😜

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