10] Celldweller - "End Of An Empire"
Over the past year and a half, experimental industrial-electro rocker Celldweller has steadily been releasing a series of conceptual EP's under the "End Of An Empire" banner...four in total; "Time", "Love", "Dreams" and "Death", and while each held their own unique strengths and qualities, they work just as well as an album. Funnily enough, that's exactly what Celldweller did, taking a selection of key tracks from each EP and compiling one stand alone concept album. With a handful of new tracks too, its both essential for fans and a great place to start if your new to Klayton's work.
9] Paradise Lost - "The Plague Within"
Harking back to my comments about established artists...few can match Yorkshire's finest, albeit darkest son's; Paradise Lost. The gothic metal veterans of over a quarter of century showed absolutely no signs of slowing down whatsoever in 2015, releasing one of the finest albums of their career; "The Plague Within". A perfect blend of brutality and morbid beauty, combining the heaviness of old with a steady progression that's enabled the band to stay relevant in an ever changing musical landscape. Like a fine wine, they just seem to get better with age.
8] Papa Roach - "F.E.A.R."
To many people the term Nu-Metal is a taboo subject, a dirty stain on the timeline of alternative rock...to others it defined an era in the evolution of music and encapsulated a period of greatness, opening doors for artists to try new things and opening the ears of many new cross-over fans. Few bands lasted when the scene changed...few had the longevity and ability to adapt...few bands were Papa Roach. Still going strong, they released their 8th studio album "F.E.A.R." earlier this year and proved to the world that there is a life after nu-metal. It may lack big hits such as "...To Be Loved" and "Last Resort" but as an album it's strong from start to finish. They do indeed face everything and rise, year after year.
7] Rae Morris - "Unguarded"
One of the earliest releases of 2015, "Unguarded" is the debut album from Blackpool based singer-songwriter Rae Morris, and it revealed one of the UK's brightest hidden gems upon it's release via Atlantic / Warner Music back in January. The top 10 charting album was a soulful, personal journey, nurturing her every heartfelt lyrical story in gentle blanket of emotionally heavy piano-led pop music. With her somewhat husky, hushed vocals and somber playing style it made for a genuinely lovely listen and it stands as a brilliant debut from the young artist.
6] Atreyu - "Long Live"
Back in 2011, Orange County melodic metalcore outfit Atreyu announced to the world that they were going on an official hiatus to take a break from recording and touring...to recharge the batteries so to speak, which in all honesty saddened many a fan, but, in the grand scheme of things, it was the best choice for everyone. 2015 saw Atreyu not only make a come back, but they made people sit up and take notice once more. Vocalist Alex Varkatzaz joked that he'd never heard of the bands that were popular today, and it's fitting really, that "Long Live" was more than just a new album...it was a reclamation of their crown. Many do it, but few do it as well. Long live Atreyu.
5] Killing Joke - "Pylon"
Paradise Lost may have been going for a good 25 years now...but if you want to talk about relevance and longevity, you need to look no further than Killing Joke. Formed in London way back in 1978 and still going strong to this day, writing, recording and touring...we saw them release "Pylon" back in October and they are on fine form indeed. As motivated as ever, Jaz Coleman and co. are a politically charged behemoth of alternative music, never shying away from world affairs and always openly voicing their frustrations on the world as we know it. "Pylon" is a mark of steady continuity and proof that, as the saying goes; form is temporary...class is permanent.
4] Young Guns - "Ones And Zeros"
It's always great to see British bands flourish, and that's exactly what Young Guns do with every new record they put out, simply growing with confidence each and every time. 2015 saw them release their third album; "Ones And Zeros" and it more than confirmed their position as one of the biggest bands of their generation. With a knack for penning huge radio friendly rock anthems, and carried by Gustav Wood's smoother-than-silk vocals, Young Guns have success written all over them. Reliable as ever, they dropped one of the strongest albums of 2015 and speaking in tongues...they deserve every single bit of praise they get.
3] Entwine - "Chaotic Nation"
We all know Finland is home to one or two half decent bands...OK...maybe a metric fuck-tonne of musical awesomeness...we all know HIM, Apocalyptica, Nightwish, The 69 Eyes...but few dig just a little deeper. If you did, you'd find Entwine and they dropped one of their finest albums to date this year; "Chaotic Nation". A lot of people disregard gothic rock as a been-and-gone craze that was popular for a little while a few years ago, but there are still quality bands like Entwine that fly the flag proudly for the almost forgotten genre and fly it in style. Under the radar for many, but one of the strongest releases of 2015 for sure.
2] Bring Me The Horizon - "That's The Spirit"
The sign of a good band is moderate success...the sign of a great band is to find ever growing success while completely polarizing the opinions in virtually the whole world of rock and metal. Bring Me The Horizon have done just that throughout their entire career and thrive on it, just getting bigger and bigger. 2015 saw the metalcore heavyweights drop "That's The Spirit", a toned-down album for them (some might utter the words 'they sold out') but it shows they aren't afraid of criticism and will ultimately do as they wish. Did it pay off? Damn right it did...huge commercial appeal, radio play-ability and some massive tunes has seen Oli Sykes and co. round off a massive year with a headline show at Wembley Arena...something no one EVER saw coming...hats off to you lads...that's the spirit.
1] We Are Harlot - "We Are Harlot"
What do you do when your band have just released the biggest album of your career and are on the verge of something big? You certainly don't up and leave do you? What's that? You do!? Well you do if your name is Danny Worsnop that is...as that's exactly what he did with Asking Alexandria. Yes the charismatic front-man decided he fancied a change, a break from the heavy duties of his metalcore day job, and formed We Are Harlot; a far more rock 'n' roll based set-up and a far cry from what his fans had become accustomed to. It was a massive gamble not only creatively, but for his own credibility too...but luckily for Worsnop, it paid off. I jest, there was no luck in it at all...there was never any doubt he couldn't pull it off, his charisma, his ability as a front-man, his passion as a vocalist...it all combined with his new bands rock 'n' roll swagger and effortlessly they not only became 2015's hottest new band, but dropped 2015's hottest new record to boot. You ARE Harlot...and we are so fucking glad that you are.