With another calendar year of stellar heavy, alternative and progressive music behind us, we continue our countdown of the best of the best albums, as voted for by the Ghost Cult global team. People Power Part I took us from 70 through to 26, Part II took us down the back straight, ticking off albums 25 to 11, and now we come round the final bend and as Part III presents the albums that charted 10 through 2 of the Ghost Cult Albums Of The Year, 2018.
By the time the final album for 2018 is released, from Watain’s Trident Wolf Eclipse (Century Media) to Sulpher Aeon’s The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos (Van) – both of which were reviewed by Gary Alcock, and neither of which made the final list, trivia fans, – over 1,000 albums will have passed through the Ghost Cult reviews inbox, we will have covered just shy of 550 releases (we do a fair bit of filtering to protect our writers ears from some of the less inspiring releases), and our entire crew will have nominated and voted for 244 of them to be considered as our #1 for the year. Continue reading
In previous incarnations of these end of year pieces, whether hosted by the good ship Ghost Cult, or wherever, I’ve indulged myself by launching into a kind of state of the world address at the outset. You’ll be pleased to know that, in the main, I’m going to spare you such an ordeal and just get down to the business of Heavy Metal brilliance. Why, you cry? Because, listening-to-music-wise (and in general), I’m in the best health I’ve been in for a good twenty years, I’m back in my zone of loving what I love… oh, and there’s a lot of damn good metulz to get through! So, here be my snapshot in time at my thoughts on 2017… (note, “favourite”, not “best”) Continue reading
Continuing our round-up of the very, VERY best albums of 2017, we pick things up where Part 1 left off… So, without further ado, immerse yourself in our recommendations of our favourite and the absolute best albums of the year, as we bring you Part 2 (25 – 2) of the official Ghost Cult Album of the Year (2017) countdown: Continue reading
As the dust begins to settle on what will undoubtedly go down in a history as a fine year for heavy and progressive music, the Ghost Cult crew present our favourite albums of 2017. While a year with only a couple of genuine life-changing, genre redefiners, nevertheless 2017 has seen an absolute plethora of very, very high quality releases. With over 400 albums reviewed this year, at an average of 7.5/10, there was a deep pool of quality releases selected and dissected throughout the year. A genuinely democratic inner sanctum here, we now present Part 1 of an official Ghost Cult Album of the Year (2017) run down that s truly representative of Ghost Cult, our writers, and our musical position as a site. Please share your thoughts and comments on the music we collectively love, as we countdown from 50 through to 26… Continue reading
It’s not often that a side project from an acclaimed band can stand on par with said original group. After all, a lot of sidebands become the vacation parent to fans; as a stop-gap measure for artists to toss eager followers a bone in between releases. However, that is not true of Stone Sour, launched in the shadows of Slipknot, and for over fifteen years has slowly ascended to the hard rock pantheon on their own merits. In fact, on their new album Hydrograd (Roadrunner), the band has put out an album that actually surpasses a few Slipknot releases outright. Continue reading
This past year will go down as one of triumph over tragedy, more so than any other recent memory. It seems that across the board suffering in the world and on a personal level has been paramount in people’s minds. The same can be said for French metal gods Gojira, whose Magma (Roadrunner)is nothing short of brilliance, created from a place of angst and suffering on a level the band hasn’t dealt with before. Not only is it is a technical and artistic marvel, it stands apart on an emotional level for the creators, as well as the listener. The if the best art is made from a well of pain, Gojira hit the bottom of the well and came through an ocean on the other side to get here. Continue reading
Casting a beady eye over the albums that shaped the soundtrack to our Ghost Cult Albums Of The Year List for 2016, one thing becomes obvious… there are no dominant stylistic trends, no bandwagon sub-genres, other than a plethora of bands looking to push boundaries, whether that is to create new sounds or to refine and redesign. Intelligence, integrity and progression is king, and challenging and interesting approaches to designing and creating music are prevalent, with the deconstruction and cerebral reconstruction of heavy music an ongoing and fascinating development. Continue reading
1. Ghost – ‘Meliora’ (Spinefarm)
Released on 21st August, Ghost Cult’s Album of the Month for September and now our official Album of the Year, managed, even in a year in which Slayer released a divisive selection and Iron Maiden unveiled a 90 minute double album after a five year hiatus, to dominate conversations, causing arguments and endless discussions about it’s place in their canon and Ghost‘s status in the world of rock and metal.
For a “new” act to take on the established acts for column inches and internet debate is testament to how successful the Satanic vision of the original Nameless Ghoul has been.
The band formed in 2008 with a simple mission to spread the word of Satan through the medium of retrospective rock with the devil’s harmonies carrying and subverting the masses.
“This is the album where Ghost have consolidated the tricks and tropes that drew us into their strange vaudevillian universe to begin with and the album that will hold us there for some time more. Meloria sees Ghost honing all their tricks into one accessible and often infectious package.”
Much as dream follows day, Infestissumam saw a definite evolution and movement on from Opus Eponymous, and so Meliora is a further celebration of the Ghost sound, of their continued exploration of a musical niche, adding rock opera tendencies, even, at times, grinding War Of The Worlds into the feted gristle flowing through their distinctive Satanic mills as 70’s synths flutter, guitar solo sing, and holding it all together into memorable hook-filled hymns is Papa Emeritus III.
You can throw superlatives, or analyse things to the nth degree, or you can enjoy that most special of things – an album filled from top to bottom with great songs.
And more than anything, THAT is why Meliora is the Album of 2015.
Ghost Cult Top 50:
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Part four of the Ghost Cult Album of the Year countdown for 2015.
One staff team. Over 550 albums covered by Ghost Cult over the last twelve months. One epic race to be crowned Album of the Year.
Read on to dive into the Ghost Cult Top 20…
20. Soilwork – ‘The Ride Majestic’ (Nuclear Blast)
“The Ride Majestic continues the slow and subtle evolution of the Soilwork sound; sounding fuller, richer and shinier than all that have gone before. In a career of great albums, the aptly named The Ride Majestic is truly outstanding.”
19. Parkway Drive – ‘Ire’ (Resist/Epitaph)
“While the main focus is still here in the now frontier, by opening the floodgates, Parkway have allowed themselves to write a batch of great metal songs that reference classic rock, traditional metal, 90’s groove metal and metalcore while still sounding resolutely and proudly Parkway.”
18. Dragged Into Sunlight / Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘N.V.’ (Prosthetic)
“A genuinely effective whole, the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them. Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, N.V. is an unrestrained success”
17. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘That’s The Spirit’ (RCA/Columbia)
“That’s The Spirit is Horizon maturing into a fine young adult, confident, strong and secure in themselves and the knowledge that they are now master craftsmen. Successfully combining every good aspect of alternative rock and metal of the last fifteen years, That’s The Spirit is Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Black Album’ moment.”
16. Elder – ‘Lore’ (Armageddon Shop / Stickman)
Exemplary progressive stoner metal, with meticulous dynamics and depth, breadth, power, restraint, and mountainous music that builds to an almighty epic of a crescendo
15. Between The Buried And Me – ‘Coma Ecliptic’ (Metal Blade)
Ghost Cult Album of the Month –October “The record that they were always promising to make but you weren’t sure was possible, on Coma Ecliptic, Between the Buried and Me have exceeded all expectations and delivered not only the album of their careers but one of the most monumental ambitious rock concept pieces this side of Operation Mindcrime.”
14. Gloryhammer – ‘Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards’ (Napalm)
“Gloryhammer are ridiculously entertaining. If you somehow manage to listen to new album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards without grinning like an idiot all the way through it, then quite simply, you’re getting Metal wrong.”
13. A Forest Of Stars – ‘Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy)
“Enthralling storytelling and atmosphere, as well as explorations into psychedelic territory and pastoral folk amid the crushing black metal dynamics; fourth effort Beware the Sword You Cannot See is an unabashed masterpiece.”
12. Goatsnake – ‘Black Age Blues’ (Southern Lord)
“Clear, soulful tones elevate the songs above the rest of their stoner/doom brethren and vocal lines will lodge in your head for days after. An excellent comeback album from a band that has been away for far too long. Let’s hope they decide to keep this motor running for a little longer this time around.”
11. Royal Thunder – ‘Crooked Doors’ (Relapse)
“There are no throw away songs on this album, and every track rewards repeated listens. Crooked Doors is the sound of pressure cooking sand into glass and then into diamonds, all with an alchemy fuelled by magic and loss.”