My Favorite Albums of 2015

I’ve been wanting to share my favorite albums that came out this year. So I’m super stoked to share them with you guys. In 2015 we saw the normal, the disappointing, the come-outta nowheres, the dead die young, and some monster comebacks.

So here we go…..the first four are my top favorites but anything after that is not in any order.

  1. Dark Before Dawn – Breaking Benjamin

Release Date : June 23rd, 2015

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I was so excited to hear that Benjamin Burnley got the band started up again. After six years in between albums, Breaking Benjamin became an after thought and fell off the radar. I’ve always loved this band but when this record dropped toward the beginning of summer I was blown away. I think its Benjamin’s best effort to date. He produced the album too! I think its sounds so much more sharper because of this fact. Voyaging away from long time producer David Bendeth. His vocals seem to have a new more serious and badass attitude. Dark Before Dawn is an emotional insight into Benjamin Burnley mind and soul. It literally takes you down a “dark” path before rising up in the light of “dawn.” If you haven’t yet, I sincerely suggest you give this album a listen or 20. My favorite album this year by far.

Favorite tracks: Failure, Ashes of Eden, Defeated

2. That’s the Spirit – Bring Me the Horizon

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So this has got to be one of the biggest surprises I’ve accoutered in a long time. This is the album I’ve wanted from them since their first record came out in 2006. I’ve never been the biggest fan of BMTH or Oil Sykes. I’ve liked a few songs here and there throughout the years but I wanted something more from him. There was always so much potential to do something amazing. Their album before this, Sempiternal, was really good compared to their other work. But the creativity put into this record was just outstanding. I think if some other pop band made this record it wouldn’t be was good. But the fact that this once death core metal band were brave enough to get out of their comfort zone and release something so honest and personal and yet still kicks ass is just amazing.

Favorite tracks: Happy Song, Throne, Follow You, Drown

3. California Nights – Best Coast

Release Date: May 1st, 2015

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Ok, so not my normal forte of music but something about it just caught my ear. Maybe its the smoothness and coolness of the singer’s voice or the fact it really does sound like something you would blast while driving around at night in Southern California. Bethany Cosentino’s vocal performance has nothing fake about it. She’s just cruising throughout the whole record. The album opens up with the exhilarating Feeling Ok which just set the mood for the next 40 minutes. This is their third full length record and in my opinion best one yet. Something about the instrumentation and lyrics have matured this time around. A few months ago I was reading this article about the top 50 records of 2015 so far. This was the only album I like off that list and it was like number 48 or something like that. Sounds even more amazing on vinyl just FYI.

Favorite tracks: Feeling Ok, In My Eyes, California Nights

4. Saint Asonia – Saint Asonia

Release Date: July 31st, 2015

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I was super stoked to find out that Adam Gontier is back! Three Days Grace was a big part of musical experience in my younger days in high school. When he left the band I was seriously disappointed. Its been years since we’ve anything from Adam. Other band members of the band are from Staind and Finger Eleven. So when he announced he started a new band I freaked out man. The first song I heard was Let Me Live My Life. Once I heard this song I knew Adam Gontier was back! The whole record is just perfect. I saw them live a couple months ago opening up for Seether. I love Seether but in my opinion I thought they were better than Seether. Of course they played a couple songs from their old bands. This is just an overall amazing hard rock album the any fan would enjoy.

Favorite tracks: Better Place, Let Me Live My Life, Fairytale

5. Hate Me – Escape the Fate

Release Date: October 30th, 2015

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Ok, I know some of you might think “what the Heck?” But I’ve always had a soft spot for this band since my high school days. Craig Mabbitt has got to be one of the best rock and roll singers out there right now. He can scream his ass off but also can serenade you with his sweet clean voice to death. I’ve loved everything he’s ever released. I’ve also loved everything Escape the Fate have ever released. This is definitely somewhat different to their previous effort, Ungrateful. This record contained more anthem sing-a-long songs. Bands grow and change. ETF to me was never a metal core band anyways. Its just another classic ETF record, even with all the lineup changes throughout the years. People have been disappointed by it, expecting a metal core record. Just get over it! If you’re truly a fan of the band then you will like it no matte what. The songs are just catchy as hell (as usual). Just give it a chance.

Favorite tracks: Just a Memory, Live For Today, Let Me Be

6. Coming Home – Leon Bridges

Release Date: June 23rd, 2015

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Yes this album came out in 2015, not 1965. I really don’t know what to say besides its an instant classic. Leon is just as smooth as Sam Cooke. It was just announced as a nominee in the Grammy’s this year. Oh BTW its his first album, no big deal or anything. Just a total throwback to the sixties man. I just love it. I’m so excited to find someone that cares so much about old sixties R&B and bring it back to life. Thank you Leon!!

Favorite tracks: Coming Home, Brown Skin Girl, River

7. Space EP – The Devil Wears Prada

Release Date: August 21st, 2015

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One of my favorite Christian metal core bands of all time. Always excited to hear new music from this band. They always change it up somehow with each album. Obviously there’s a theme here with this EP. Similar to the previous Zombie EP, this is a little adventure through space with The Devil Wears Prada. Personally I think its not as good as the Zombie EP but still good nonetheless. Worthy of a listen f you’re a fan of the band or genre.

Favorite tracks: Supernova, Asteroid

8. Deathless – Miss May I

Release Date: August 7th, 2015

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Miss May I are back! Gotta be their best album since the first one. I saw them twice this summer. One of few current metal bands that are always amazing and kick ass every time. In my opinion the last album had a big problem with how the vocals sounded. Seriously, as a fan I still enjoyed it but the vocals sounded like crap. Sounded like a bunch of demos. They really redeemed themselves this time.Every song is just pure in your face modern metal. I love it! Instant classic to start off the album, I HATE EVERYTHING!! Also some classic metal core lyrics from the song Psychotic Romantic: “I’m not worthy, of such beauty!!” Hands down best metal core album to come out this year, heck, in the long while.

Favorite Track: I.H.E, Trust My Heart, Psychotic Romantic, Deathless

9. Threat to Survival – Shinedown

Release Date: September 18th, 2015

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When the music video was released for “Cut the Cord” I was totally stunned how hard it was. Unfortunately thats pretty much the only song on there that follows that tempo. Bt not to the say the rest of the album is crap. The whole thing is pretty solid. Brent’s vocals are always on point and amazing as usual. Personally, I think the creativity factor was just a little weak this time around. Still, if you are a fan of the band you don’t want to miss checking out the album.

Favorite Tracks: Cut the Cord, State of My Head, How Did You Love

10. Long Live – Atreyu

Release Date: September 18, 2015

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LONG LIVE ATREYU!!! I was so excited when I found out they came back together. I jumped on this tickets on some of their first shows back. They played all the classics and the new song So Others May Live. That song ended up being a bonus track on the new album. But a year later when the album finally came out and they released the music video for the song Long Live, I was a little disappointed. It was a great tune and heavy as usual but just something was missing. Maybe it was the absence of a catchy sing-a-long chorus? But after listening to the entire album I was satisfied. The guitars are heavy and the vocals from both Alex and Brandon just mesh together beautifully like it always haas. All in all it is a great album and definitely moving Orange County metal back into popularity. Thank God their back! LOL.

Favorite Tracks: Live to Labor, Do You Know Who You Are, So Others May Live

11. Venom – Bullet For My Valentine

Release Date: August 14th, 2015

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BFMV has been a favorite of mine since my angsty middle school days when metalcore was life. Many of you know what I’m talking about! Anyways, Venom to me is a step back up from the previous record. Don’t get me wrong, Temper Temper had its shining moments but it also had its boring couple minutes in between the hits. Venom just has a renewed sense of heavy guitars and dynamic choruses like the old Poison days. Another interesting detail is the cover of Ace of Spades on the deluxe version. Definitely a worthy metal record to listen to from 2015.

Favorite Tracks: No Way Out, You Want a Battle? (Here’s A War), The Harder the Heart (The Harder It Breaks)

12. They Bleed Red – Devil You Know

Release Date: November 6th, 2015

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So if you’re unfamiliar with Devil You Know, it is the newish band of Howard Jones (ex-singer for Killswitch Engage). Now first off, this isn’t Killswitch Engage, so don’t get your hopes up. This is the second effort for Devil You Know already. Now Howard Jones is back and let me just say, as good as ever. In my opinion much darker lyrically and heavier instrumentally than the last KSE record he participated in. Screams are vicious and clean choruses are on point. He and his new band of rebels have created something that any fan of Howard or just old school metalcore fans should love.

Favorite Tracks: This is Way We Die, Stay of Execution, Eye of the Tiger (Bonus Track)

13. Silence in the Snow – Trivium

Release Date: October 2nd, 2015

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Just a little disappointed with the direction of the band. I enjoyed the album but I wasn’t in love with it. I appreciate the need for change but some dudes just don’t have the clean singing voice to support an entire album. I think some of the blame should go to the producer. Its their job to be brutally honest and just say to the band “this is freakin boring.” Matt has an amazing voice when screaming and singing but its not evident on this effort. To me he is very consistently monotone throughout the record. I mean there’s proof from past records that he can sing clean vocals (i.e. dying in your arms, the end).

Favorite Tracks: Silence in the Snow, The Ghost That’s Haunting You, Until the World Goes Cold

14. VII: Sturm Und Drang – Lamb of God

Release Date: July 24th, 2015

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Wow. My first reaction when I listened to the song 512. I thought to myself “Lamb of God just released possibly their best song.” If you don’t know the story of Randy Blythe’s incarceration in a Czech prison previous to writing this record then you need to read up on that. 512 was his prison cell number. He learned some history about the place while he was there and was even shoved into the basement for long periods of time not knowing the light of day. Sounds pretty metal to me. But in all seriousness that must have been really scary to have gone through, I don’t care how metal you are. Overall the record is just on point from top to bottom. Best one in years! Probably since the first two records. Real emotion is missing from rock and metal music lately and this album almost has too much. Randy sneaks in some never before heard of clean vocals on the song Overlord. Also a little camera from Chino from Deftness on the song Embers. Definitely pick this one up if you appreciate an emotional rollercoaster of a record.

Favorite Tracks: 512, Embers, Still Echoes, Overlord

15. Juggernaut: Alpha – Periphery

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

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Periphery have always intrigued me musically. I’ve found them a bit different than the rest. The singer Spencer is very unique. But something was missing from their past records for me to truly fall in love with them. Maybe just being consistently unique and different throughout the album. I think they’ve finally have answered my request. And releasing a double album by the way. Just mixer of a perfect balance of clean and unclean vocals backed up by an amazing instrumentation combination of heavy and progressive. I’m excited where they go next but this double album is a progressive metal masterpiece. It sounds like there’s  three different vocalists. His main mode of vocal combination sounds very post-hardcore but sometimes it sounds like punk, like he was listening to some 1970’s British punk before recording the tracks. If you are willing to try something new, definitely give Periphery a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Favorite Tracks: A Black Minute, Alpha, Pyschosphere

Juggernaut: Omega – Periphery

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Favorite Tracks: The Bad Thing, Stranger Things

16. Into the Wild Life – Halestorm

Release Date: April 14th, 2015

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Ok so Halestorm is what Nickelback wishes they were. Lzzy’s voice cannot be described with words. She is currently hands down the best rock n roll female singer (possibly of all time in my opinion). Dude, seriously, every album they put out is an instant rock classic. Full of kick ass steam rolling tracks and dynamic 21st century power ballads that make the 80s look like a horrible dream you had when you were 5 years old. I’m curious with the decision of the producer Jay Joyce. I noticed their previous work includes a lot of country albums. But nonetheless the album rocks hard and they did a great job. Into the Wild Life doesn’t really have any filler songs. The album is amazing top to bottom.

Favorite Tracks: I Am the Fire, Amen, Dear Daughter, Apocalyptic

17. Awaken the Fire – Like a Storm

Release Date: February 24th, 2015

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Holy didgeridoo Batman! Alright I don’t know about you guys but I’ve never heard a didgeridoo in rock/metal before. It totally works. I don’t know why but I instantly thought it was cool. For those of you that don’t know what a didgeridoo is just google it real quick if you haven’t already. Anyways, this album kind of surprised me. At first it sounds like nothing super special but after reading about the band where they come from and obviously the use of the didgeridoo caught my interest. The singer is pretty solid. Sounds like most post-grunge singers. They get a little heavy on some tracks. Catchy riffs and choruses. Also contains a random cover of Ganger’s Paradise. If you’re bored and need something new to listen to that I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of, ry out Like A Storm.

Favorite Tracks: Love the Way You Hate Me, Chaos, Southern Skies

18. Innocence and Decadence – Graveyard

Release Date: September 25th, 2015

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I remember listening to Graveyard for the first time. I walked in one of my favorite record stores and the guy was playing their second album. I instantly fell in love and bought both albums at the time. They totally sound like they should be rocking the late 60s. All four albums are consistent with this trend. This new album certainly continues their method of writing and rocking. I just love it! Anyone thats a fan of Zeppelin or Sabbath should check out Graveyard if you haven’t already.

Favorite Tracks: The Apple and the Tree, Too Much is Not Enough

19. The Pale Emperor – Marilyn Manson

Release Date: January 20th, 2015

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I’ve always been a fan of Manson’s. Never been a super fan but a fan none the least. Anyways, in his latest release, The Pale Emporer, Manson gets pretty bluesy on us. With nonstop listening to Jim Morrison and Muddy Waters, these influences are pretty evident on the record. I’m very impressed this time around. I haven’t been this excited to listen to Marilyn and Manson since I first heard the first record. Metal fan or non-metal fan, this record is very interesting and worth a listen to.

Favorite Tracks: Killing Stranges, The Methiscolphes of Los Angeles, Deep Six

20. Malevolence – New Years Day

Release Date: October 2nd, 2015

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Ok so let me just give New Years Day and singer Ashley a round of applause for Malevolence. Definitely the best effort to come out of the creative mind of Ash Costello. I had the opportunity to talk to her briefly at Warped Tour this last summer and let me tell you, she is probably one of the nicest and sweetest people I’ve ever met. Her and her mom sometimes shop at the grocery store I work at so its always nice to talk to them. This record is so personal, pissed off, and yet uplifting. Isn’t that we want in our heavy music? Something to let our anger out and then feel better afterwards. Ash has supplied a record for all those angry kids to use in time of pain and desperation. I wish this came out when I was 13 LOL. Anyways, great job NYD and good luck on touring for this huge album.

Favorite Tracks: Kill or Be Killed, Defame Me, Malevolence

21. Grace Through the Wondering – Aaron Gillespie

Release Date: February 3rd, 2015

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So I love this dude Aaron. Love him in Underoath. Love him in The Almost. And I love his solo records. This record is definitely made for one purpose. To aid in the praising of God and His blessings. And its purpose was fulfilled. I put this record on this list because I love music and I love God. So I don’t think I should have to separate those two things. So if you don’t like it then you can skip this selection. But his record came out of nowhere and I instantly loved it! Aaron has got to be one of the best rock singers going right now next to Craig Mabbitt in Escape the Fate. I ad the privilege to see Aaron play a solo show in L.A. back in the summer and it was just amazing. I’ve never seen one person on stage just fill the room with his voice and guitar. I also got the chance to talk to him before the show and he was pretty chill and a cool dude. Wasn’t all into himself like many musicians are. I can’t wait to see him again with the newly reformed Underoath next year.

BONUS HONARABLE MENTION!!!

Coda: Deluxe Edition (Remastered 2015) – Led Zeppelin

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Alright so Coda isn’t the most popular Led Zeppelin album. Originally released in 1982, this album was remastered an re-released this year along with a bunch of demos and unreleased songs. Thats right! Unreleased Led Zeppelin songs! Well at least songs that now are easily accessible. for me most notably the song Hey Hey What Can I Do, originally released as the B-Side for Immigrant Song in 1970. Another worth to note is the unreleased Sugar Mama, written in 1968, was an outtake from Led Zeppelin 1. The deluxe edition of the album is a must have for any diehard Zeppelin fan.

Favorite Tracks: We’re Gonna Groove, Hey Hey What Can I do, Traveling Riverside Blues, Sugar Mama

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