Well, loyal readers, we’ve come to another incredible year in the music world. We’ve heard albums that have captivated us, brought out an unprecedented amount of emotion and some of the best comebacks in years! Alas, only the albums that truly touched me (in some way or another) made it to this list. Without further ado, I present to you my Album of the Year list for 2015! 2016 is already shaping up to be incredible, so keep it locked to NT and we’ll keep bringing you the best in news, interviews and music reviews! Thanks for supporting us and we hope you have a wonderful rest of your year! As always, the clickable links in the title are to the reviews that I’ve done!
While Juggernaut: Alpha set the stage for a prog masterpiece, Omega felt a bit lacking in substance. Granted, they are 2 entirely different albums but it’s not hard to see them as a whole entity. For this reason, Omega sits at the very bottom of this list.
#49: Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches
After the resounding success that was Devilment’s The Great and Secret Show, the Filthy One returned to his main project Cradle of Filth. With the release of Hammer of the Witches, we saw some of the darkest material the band has released in years, inspired by the 1486 treatise on the prosecution of witches by Heinrich Kramer. I wouldn’t say that this album is their best.. but it’s certainly in my top 5 releases of their catalog.
#48: Selena Gomez – Revival
Selena Gomez returns with the release of Revival. This album saw a new sound, new image and new confidence in the singer but fell just short of the mark many fans have expected. Nonetheless, it’s a great listen and well worth your time.
#47: Breaking Benjamin – Dark Before Dawn
Breaking Benjamin’s comeback opus was as magnificent as could be expected. While it was far from ground-breaking or refreshing, in terms of sound, for the band.. it certainly proved that these guys still have what it takes to stand atop the active rock charts.
#46: In Hearts Wake – Skydancer
This is where I might see some hate and, honestly, I could care less. While Skydancer fell a bit short of the mark that their previous efforts hit beautifully, this album well exceeded my expectations. If this was a debut album, I highly doubt many people would bash it the way I’ve seen it bashed since it was released.
#45: Adam Lambert – The Original High
Adam Lambert returns with the fascinating, club-ready follow-up to 2012’s Trespassing. This proved that, not only has he matured as an artist but that his time with the legendary Queen (now re-branded Queen + Adam Lambert for the time being) has anything but slowed him down.
Blessthefall have finally begun to find a sound that they can truly call their own. Not only was this one of their best albums to date, it featured a lot of experimentation while keeping much of what makes them who they are today. One can only imagine what their next release will sound like but you can bet we will be on board.
#43: Miss May I – Deathless
A relentless assault from beginning to end, Deathless is everything that Rise of the Lion should have been, according to fans. While ROTL is a truly underrated album and takes many listens to get into, Deathless grabs you by the throat and has you holding on for dear life, showing the band at the top of their form.
Trivium shocked the world with this, mainly, radio-ready album that featured a few cuts written during the Shogun era. No matter though because, as always, the band shined brilliantly. Most notably, the presence of bassist Paolo Gregoletto was absolutely undeniable and showed his prowess in his instrument. Silence in the Snow has sat atop many lists this year and it’s not hard to see why!
While many do not agree with the addition of a female “Bear” character (after the departure of original “Bear” Chris Hutka), Matt Tybor (The Bunny) and Haley Roback proved to have an unprecedented dynamic and created the best album I’ve ever heard from the band. Be sure to pick this one up!
A major label debut, as well as the first concept album a band has written can prove to be quite the challenge. That wasn’t the case for Kimberly Freeman and Junior (collectively known as One-Eyed Doll.) Surrounding the happenings of the Salem Witch Trials (including many quotes from the trials themselves) this album was powerful, thought-provoking and beautiful… undeniably their best to date!
#39: Spoken – Breathe Again
It shocked me and filled me with skepticism when I heard that such an established band was going with Chango Studios to record their 3rd full-length album. Luckily, though, they knocked out of the park with Breathe Again, including an appearance from Memphis May Fire frontman Matty Mullins! Also, having been given the chance to see some of these songs performed live, it gave me a new love for the album.
#38: Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface
Twenty One Pilots is not a band I would have found myself listening to a few years ago but, upon discovering the duo, it’s absolutely undeniable that they are one of the best on the scene today. Blurryface mixed elements of rap, reggae, pop, rock and everything in between while wrapping it up in a nice little bow and giving an incredible delivery through every track.
#37: Looming – Nailbiter
Looming is a band I just discovered this year but vocalist Jessica Knight had me hooked from first listen. This is, by far, one of the most original sounds I’ve heard in years and I recommend everyone going out to buy Nailbiter.
#36: Papa Roach – F.E.A.R. (Face Everything and Rise)
Needing no introduction, this explosive new album set a new precedent for bands in the rock genre. The most notable track on the album, “Gravity” features bombshell Maria Brink (In This Moment) and is one of my favorite duos of all time. Papa Roach truly rose up against the hate and proved that they aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I’ve been a big fan of A Skylit Drive, ever since I heard Wires… and the Concept of Breathing years ago. However, ASD is the album that truly sealed the deal for me. Showing them at the top of their game, finding a sound that they can embrace as their own and the delivery of such a powerful message prove this album to be the best in their catalog.
It’s never easy moving on after the loss of a loved one. XXI (formerly A Feast For Kings) proved that they were out to honor their fallen brother’s (original vocalist, Eric Gentry) and did so with flying colors. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to this powerful, breathtaking, MAMMOTH of an album… go pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.
#33: Silverstein – I Am Alive In Everything I Touch
Silverstein has never failed to impress over the years. Now spanning over a decade on the scene, the release of each album getting more and more bold, I Am Alive in Everything I Touch is the masterpiece that everyone expected it to be.
Feed Her to the Sharks did a poor job impressing me with the release of Savage Seas but they did a remarkable job of redeeming themselves for me with the release of their Victory Records debut, Fortitude.
#31: Halestorm – Into the Wild Life
With Halestorm using a different method to record than normal, attempting to capture the energy of their live performance, everyone was skeptical of what the end result would sound like. However, as they tend to do, Halestorm hit us with gale force winds, knocking all pre-conceived notions we’d had about Into the Wild Life into the dirt. The current single, “I Am the Fire” sits high atop the charts and continues to see them as a force to be reckoned with.
One of my most-anticipated debut albums, Conquer//Divide left nothing to be desired. An unstoppable female onslaught, this album far exceeded my already-high expectations.
#29: Slaves – Routine Breathing
This sophomore effort played the youthful, rejuvenated counterpart to last year’s slow, melancholy masterpiece Through Art We Are All Equals. Proving that, though vocalist Jonny Craig is clearly comfortable with his soulful singing, he also has much more to offer with his bandmates.
#28: Demi Lovato – Confident
Confidence was the theme here, showing off a new look (including a few tasteful nude photos), a new attitude and a new sound that seemed to shock the world. However, Lovatics were not to be disappointed as Demi Lovato knocked it out of the park with expert precision with Confident.
#27: Curse and the Cure – II
SETX/SWLA has never seen a duo the likes of Curse and the Cure. The combined efforts of songstress Norma Hopson and singer-songwriter/guitarist/jack of all trades Jason Touchette… there are no words to describe the immense amount of talent in these two. II sees some of their best work to date, blowing my expectations after their debut Carnival out of the water. Also, if you live anywhere near the Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana area… go see them live! You will not regret it.
#26: Sons of Texas – Baptized in the Rio Grande
Admittedly, I may have never heard of this band if it wasn’t for our very own MelodicEnmity. However, after hearing the title track on the way to work one day… there was no turning back! I pre-ordered my copy (which the band was kind enough to let me ship to them to have it signed) and it’s received more play than most albums released this year!
#25: Devil You Know – They Bleed Red
While The Beauty of Destruction was an impressive debut effort, it left a lot to be desired. It seemed to focus more on melody than aggression, which made for mixed reviews among critics. However, They Bleed Red comes out of the gate swinging and is nearly unrelentless from beginning to end .Including a fiery cover of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” this is the album that we’d been hoping for from the start. Perhaps the guys in DYK just needed to find their footing. If that’s the case… I can only imagine what their junior effort will offer!
#24: Introvert – Self-Helpless
Fronted by our very own Eccentricism (Connor Welsh) and featuring some killer guest spots, Self-Helpless absolutely crushes its predecessor. It’s okay to be sad sometimes… be sad, stay alone with Introvert. Pick it up digitally now!
I was highly impressed with Tear Out the Heart’s Victory Records debut, Violence but I was unprepared for the onslaught that is Dead, Everywhere. This album focuses a bit more on the melodic side but brings together the aggression that we saw on their debut and mixes it beautifully with that.
This is probably the most loved/hated album of 2015. While many people keep expecting BMTH to return to their aggressive roots (seen in their first 2 albums), that simply is not going to happen. Instead, That’s the Spirit is perhaps the most radio-friendly we’ve ever seen the band. Many comparing them to a mixture of Deftones and Linkin Park… this sound shows a very different side of the band and is their most successful release to date. If you didn’t pick this up, there’s no doubt you’ve at least heard it’s singles, “Drown,” the title track and “Throne” haunting your radio dials.
Alpha was everything I wanted it to be. It was heavy, it was proggy and it showed the technical nature of this band in a way that only they could. To me, it was much more enjoyable than it’s counterpart, Omega.
Even being a huge fan of Cady Groves, I never expected to hear an EP of this caliber from her. This album is a pop masterpiece, by all senses of the word. It sees our cute, quirky Cady all grown up and is much more mature in sound than her self-released EPs. While no mention of a physical format of this album has been seen yet, I’m hoping she eventually decides to put it out on CD because it would be run ragged in my player. Currently, though, it’s available for free download via her SoundCloud page in great quality!
I’m proud to call the guys in BBNB my friends since, practically, the beginning of their career. I’ve watched them grow, mature musically and truly come into their own over the years. That being said, Relevant Letters is their best work to date. Be sure to pick it up and check out my exclusive review!
#18: Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus: Symphonia Ignis Divinus
Most don’t enjoy power metal, symphonic metal or any combination of the two. However, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody has never ceased to amaze with their arrangements and delivery. Prometheus: Symphonia Ignis Divinus is their strongest work to date, beautifully orchestrated and unlike anything they’ve released previously.
From first listen, I knew this album would be somewhere on this list. I longed for this album for YEARS and I knew, with the amount of talent that Atreyu possessed and the hunger that consumed them to give their fans one more… this album would absolutely destroy. Even so, I wasn’t prepared for it when it came! This album could best be placed somewhere between 2006’s Deathgrip on Yesterday and 2007’s Lead Sails Paper Anchor with a ton of aggression, a bit of experimentation and even a song that has a chorus sounding like it would fit on drummer Brandon Saller’s side project Hell or Highwater (“Do You Know Who You Are”)
With the transition of a vocalist, there is always a mass amount of skepticism but Lukas Magyar knocked it out of the park. Incorporating some well-placed clean vocals while maintaining the power behind the band was a key factor in destroying all those who would doubt them. This is still one of my favorite albums to listen to, in any mood, released this year.
#15: Justin Bieber – Purpose
Being that I’ve never been a fan of Justin Bieber in the past, it really shocks me that this album was placed on my list in the end. Nevertheless, Bieber truly delivered something breathtaking with Purpose and showed a maturity in his attitude, his sound and his overall performance as an artist. It’s undeniable that this album will take much higher spots in lists like this worldwide.
#14: Adakain – Never Coming Home
I’ve been a fan of this band since 2008 and the new line-up of the band really ties it altogether beautifully. This album is extremely powerful, has a great message and has something that fans of any facet of rock can enjoy. I had the pleasure of seeing them on their tour with Trapt and First Decree… not a performance to be missed!
Pop-punk has lost its luster over the years, becoming generic and stale with bad puns. However, Drop the Act really impressed me with Let’s Plan A Robbery from the first listen of its debut single, “Friendzoned.” Seen above is the new artwork for the album, which was adopted shortly after release. The original artwork can be seen in the above link. I’m still extremely honored that they allowed us to exclusively review it!
This album hit me harder, emotionally, than any album that has been released this year. It’s a concept album that focuses on an inner struggle that, inevitably, leads to the main character’s demise. It’s heartbreaking but, as always, Get Scared have done an incredible job telling this story. This album isn’t quite as theatrical as their previous work but it’s been done wonderfully, even so.
#11: 10 Years – From Birth to Burial
Over the years, 10 Years has become one of the most recognizable bands on the radio. They’ve struggled and strived, gone through member changes and come out at the top of their game. Creating one of their heaviest releases to date, both musically and lyrically, From Birth to Burial shows a rebirth for the band in many ways. Without a doubt, this is the best album they’ve released since Killing All That Holds You.
#10: Enterprise Earth – Patient 0
Here’s where it gets surprising. As many of you know, I’m not usually a fan of incredibly heavy music. However, Enterprise Earth’s debut full-length truly is truly astonishing and it’s not just because the band has 3 guitarists, either. It’s captivating, it’s rife with creativity and it’s filled with mind-blowing guest spots. You’d be a fool not to pick this one up! Check it out on Stay Sick Recordings now!
#9: Adele – 25
The return of Adele was something that the world has been anticipating for a long time. With the release of “Hello,” we felt that emotional connection that few artists can bring to the table. With the release of 25 however, we hear another side of this UK superstar! One that’s beautiful, upbeat and spirited. This, alone, makes for an incredible album but the anticipation made it even better!
#8: Dayseeker – Origin
Dayseeker had one of the most mind-blowing debut albums I’ve ever heard so, it should be no surprise that Origin was just as impressive.
#7: Set to Stun – …And the Desperado Undead
Theatrical, beautiful, explosive and filled with twists and turns. You never know what to expect from this album but that’s the beauty of it. From the first listen of this album, I found myself checking my player to see if I was still listening to the same album because, at times, it doesn’t even sound like the same band. Not to mention the concept is unbelievable. Truly one of Tragic Hero Records’ best releases in recent years.
I had the honor of watching this album take shape from the group up, eventually becoming one of the best albums I’ve ever heard (let alone in 2015.) Somewhere between rock, pop and pop-punk… this album calls to mind the nostalgia of bands like New Found Glory in their prime while keeping the youthful, refreshing and original sound that they’ve managed to create over the years. No matter what you’re a fan of, I promise you won’t be let down by Vintage Postcards.
I’ve built my incredible relationship with this band since seeing them for the first time back in 2012. Since then, they have become not only one of my favorite bands but wonderful friends. The kind of friends you’d want to have in life. The team that put Sheep together did it in a way that only they would be able to do. This EP wouldn’t have turned out HALF as wonderful as it did if not for that. They chose a wonderful producer and truly shine on each and every track. It was fun to hear a re-recorded version of “Dream Girl” on it too! Shoot the band a message with your email and you can get this remarkable work of art for free! Be on the lookout for them in 2016… they’re sure to be on your radar, one way or another!
New vocalist Floor Jansen absolutely blew me away with her performance on this album. Not to mention the story that takes place, throughout. What’s more is that the band, as a whole, has never sounded more tightly knit than they do now. This album was not only one of the best of the year but it sees a beautiful rebirth for the band.
Coheed and Cambria’s first attempt at creating something that WASN’T a concept album. What this proved, though, was that the band can do anything they set their minds to. Rather than write about the Amory Wars, this album was drawn from life experiences, feelings that Claudio Sanchez had as a father, as a husband, as a human being and things he felt he needed to release. This was unlike any other and, just like they always do, they hit the mark with expert precision!
#2: Ice Nine Kills – Every Trick in the Book
Surrounding the stories told by some of history’s greatest novels, Every Trick in the Book is an album that could have been a disaster. However, this was done masterfully and, honestly, I don’t think a band could have pulled it off as brilliantly as INK did. Showing their incredible talent as musicians, artists and painting a piece of musical art that will stand the test of time… INK is one of the most remarkable bands of our time.
#1: Alesana – Confessions
With the end of the Annabel Trilogy, there was a lot of bittersweet feelings. However, all questions that we had were answered as the band tackled the final chapters with help from the A Wrinkle in Time novels. No one knew how self-releasing an album would fair for this band and, as such, there was a ton of skepticism in the fanbase. However, the NC natives did exactly as they intended and created a beautiful ending for a beautiful, macabre tale. Not only that but it showed that, un-tethered by the restrictions of a label, they could truly shine their brightest. For this reason, Confessions is my #1 album of the year. The story was remarkable, the ending was insanely brilliant and the musicianship is the best we’ve ever seen them.
#10: Wage War – Blueprints
#9: Bellusira – The Healing
#8: The Dreaming – Rise Again
#7: For Today – WAKE
#6: Saint Asonia – Saint Asonia
#5: RED – Of Beauty and Rage
#4: Parkway Drive – IRE
#3: Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic
#2: The Plot In You – Happiness In Self Destruction
#1: Victorian Halls – Hyperalgesia