Our goal is to bring the latest genre-pushing work from heavy and underground music’s most innovative artists directly to you, and the end of year “Album of the Year” list is a time-honored tradition that enables us to do just that. Added to the fact that we’re a big bunch of geeks who love a list, the Ghost Cult countdown also helps us highlight the bands and albums that have not only made the biggest impact on us this calendar year, but showcase the releases that have stirred something deeper and more visceral in the hearts of the Ghost Cult team.
To find out which albums and EP’s raised our collective horns the highest, read on…
- ANIMALS AS LEADERS – The Madness Of Many (Sumerian) “On their new album, Animals As Leaders continues to mine uncharted territory, shattering preconceived notions about what modern music of any genre can be… a sonic landscape of dirge like rhythms and soaring melodies”. Read the full review here
- GHOST – Popestar EP (Loma Vista) One new song and four covers, Popestar is “anything but boring; Ghost remains hard to pin down from release to release, and they seem to want to keep it that way. Hated by many, loved by many more. This release will certainly give more fuel to the naysayers, but pull the zealots in that much more”. Read the full review here
- ULCERATE – Shrines of Paralysis (Relapse) One of the Southern Hemisphere’s greatest ever extreme metal exponents, Ulcerate released a fitting continuation to their dissonant, abstruce canon with Shrines of Paralysis, their fifth full length, proving worthy of their barbed, discordant death metal legacy.
- ION DISSONANCE – Cast The Fire Stone (Good Fight) “For those of you looking for an absurdly fast, aggressive and wilfully obtuse record, there are far worse… adroitly dispensing with anything remotely approaching what we would conventionally understand as “melody” in favour of a relentless all out aural assault”. Read the full review here
- BLOOD INCANTATION – Starspawn (Dark Descent) Chaotic, technical, varied, cosmic and weaving a “musical” odyssey that establishes them as underground champions, Blood Incantation leave no asteroid undestroyed in their mission to deconstruct death metal and rebuild it in the mould of their own lurid visions.
- ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole Of The Law (Metal Blade) Everything louder than everything else, The Whole Of The Law sees the powerfully violent duo revisit every aspect of the Anaal canon and push it to the maximums sonically allowed. Huge, raging guitars, maelstrom percussion and ascerbic vocals vie with symphonic and meathook laden choruses.
- ALCEST – Kodama (Prophecy) “Kodama is Alcest feeling truly free, pulling from incredible source material, yet remaining decidedly themselves… downright hopeful, with an endearing sense of spirit, whimsy, and poetic passion bleeding past the typical sadness one sometimes finds from their music”. Read the full review here
- THE PIXIES – Head Carrier (pixiesmusic) Releasing their first “proper” album since Paz Lenchantin ultimately replaced the iconic Kim Deal, The Pixies hit the mark in a more cohesive and stronger fashion than 2014’s ramshackle collection of EP’s, Indie Cindy, with the seminal alt rock act focusing on the more straight forward, melodious side of their sound.
- EVERY TIME I DIE – Low Teens (Epitaph) Riffs. Riffs. Everywhere. And all the speakers did creak… Rather than settling into the kind of middle-aged plod many bands may have found themselves in come their eighth release, thus, lo, behold Buffalo’s ETID take the opposite approach by upping the ante and the riff-count in this Southern-tinged take on actual metalcore.
- IGGY POP – Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista) With Josh Homme as a lead contributor, Iggy Pop’s seventeeth album combines trademark sneer, garage rock sensibilities and Homme’s refined, mainstream polish, proving that the proto-punk wildman retains not just a lust for life, but also relevancy at an age when most are shuffling around in slippers.
- CANDIRIA – While They Were Sleeping (Metal Blade) With their first proper release in seven years, Candiria have some pent up aggression to let fly in amongst their lurching grooves and metallic hardcore. Switching from barks, to easy melodies, Carley Coma dominates this eclectic urban fusion of metal, hardcore and jazz. Read the full review here
- BLUES PILLS – Lady In Gold (Nuclear Blast) Lady In Gold “continues the bluesy psychedelic vibe of their début but it has been beefed up by bigger, more polished production. It is melodious and very catchy rock, more multi layered but with the same Hendrix inspired 60s and 70s spirit running through its veins.” Read the full review here
- BIG BIG TRAIN – Folklore (English Electric) With a focus on story-telling, both musically and lyrically, on their ninth album, English progressive folk rock veterans Big Big Train serve up an involving and engaging collection of mature, easy on the ear, yet so expertly crafted expeditions.
- AVENGED SEVENFOLD – The Stage (Capitol) With their seventh album, one of the world’s biggest rock acts managed to surprise everyone, not just with an unannounced release, but the sheer ambition and scope of this 75 minute progressive opus. The Stage is a concept album about artificial intelligence that hugely rewards repeated listens.
- DEATH ANGEL – The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast) Always a decent and respected band, something upped the creative ante with 2013’s The Dream Calls For Blood, a vibe that has continued into The Evil Divide. A marriage of old and new school thrash, of bite and melody, of rip and tear, Death Angel continue to be in the form of their lives. Read the full review here
- letlive – If I’m The Devil… (Epitaph) While it would be easy to hand this record over to Jason Butler for a truly exceptional vocal display, that would be doing a disservice to a band that continues to refine its sound. Edges well and truly smoothed out, boasting excellent, engrossing and seductive anthems, If I’m The Devil… is a tour de force of melodic post-hardcore.
- DARKHER – Realms (Prophecy) “Spent, battered and broken in the softest way, you’ll emerge from this experience not knowing quite where you’ve been taken, yet desperate to return despite the melancholy it left you with… eliciting emotions and doing so with an absorbing, Doom-laden yet wonderfully attractive caress.” Read the full review here
- OCEANS OF SLUMBER – Winter (Century Media) Sounding every bit like they should have evolved along with The Gathering, Houston’s progressive doom-tinged Oceans of Slumber have delivered something truly interesting and special, as well as unveiling the exceptionally talented vocalist Cammie Gilbert. Read the full review here
- FALLUJAH – Dreamless (Nuclear Blast) “The core of Fallujah is in extreme metal, but they like to play with mood, tempo, and high drama as much as they shred, successfully delivering well-informed technical/brutal death metal that is encased by haunting samples and the occasional melodic left turn.” Read the full review here
- SUBROSA – For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages (Profound Lore) “SubRosa continues to breathe and grow, and its ability to stir passion and heart-rending sadness is only further proven with surely the most fluid, emotive, engaging and downright magnificent set of its career.” Read the full review here
Check back in this space tomorrow for albums 30-21 of our list!