Guest Post: José Carlos Santos Top Ten Albums Of 2015


As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have José Carlos Santos, who writes a lot about music, being Senior Writer for both Terrorizer and Rock-a-Rolla UK, Chief of staff for LOUD! from Portugal, shared with us his favorite 10 albums of 2015.


1. Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud (Indie Recordings)

Solefald - World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud album cover 2015


Pushing the envelope isn’t the half of it. The first song on this truly revolutionary record is called ‘World Music With Black Edges’, and that’s exactly what it is. It should be just about all the guideline you’ll need before embarking on this journey. Black metal, electronics, Frank Zappa and African sounds, among many, many other things, are thrown into a free-flowing, astoundingly cohesive whole. In an age where having two songs that don’t sound like each other is already considered “genre-hopping”, Solefald are one of the few bands worthy of the term avant-garde.

2. Royal ThunderCrooked Doors (Relapse)

The best pure, true rock album in years, Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder fulfill the potential they have always shown, and move up to the pantheon of the greats. It feels and sounds timeless – if you hand it to someone and say that it’s a lost 1978 classic, it’ll make the same sense as if you’ll tell them it’s 2024’s album of the year you just brought back from the future in your time machine. A great song is a great song, and they’re all great here.


3. My Dying BrideFeel The Misery (Peaceville)

My Dying Bride Verftet 220214-8613

My Dying Bride, by Kenneth Sporsheim

My Dying Bride are back to the masterpieces – 14 years after their last truly great record, The Dreadful Hours, Feel The Misery recaptures the tragic sorrow and the decadent grandeur we’ve always loved from them.

4. RevengeBehold.Total.Rejection (Season Of Mist)

Revenge Behold.Total.Rejection album cover

Because fuck you.

5. DødheimsgardA Umbra Omega (Peaceville)


The other band alongside Solefald that warrants the proper use of the avant-garde tag, Dødheimsgard have given us a mysterious, shape shifting record, full of dark nuances and details that we’ll still be discovering come the time for the 2016 lists. The best thing Vicotnik’s done since ‘Written In Waters’ – and yes, I’m including ‘666 International’ in that appraisal.


6. Tau CrossTau Cross (Relapse)

Tau Cross 2015 band

Amebix are no more, long live Tau Cross. Not only is this the logical successor to the astounding ‘Sonic Mass’, it’s also enriched by the extra talents of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin and crusty guitarists Jon Misery and Andy Lefton, all of them lead to greatness by the might of Rob Miller, who is still one of the most unique songwriters in extreme music.


7. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight)


Sometimes you’ll have to pause halfway through ‘Graveward’ and wonder how is this possible – roughly five million tracks are all going in a different direction, all at once, and yet everything makes perfect sense, there is order and flow in the middle of the craziness and chaos. Alongside Solefald and Dødheimsgard, you’ve got enough insanity this year to wreck your brain for years to come.


8. Therapy?Disquiet (Amazing Record Company)


Most of you might only know Therapy?’s most popular phase, but the true essence of the band has been in their last four or five fiery, adventurous and energetic records. ‘Disquiet’ is the best of them all, a mix between instant punk-ish gratification and deep, deceptively simple songwriting that’ll allow for multiple repeat plays without a hint of exhaustion. Also, closer ‘Deathstimate’ is a serious contender for song of the year, or decade, or whatever.

9. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)


It’s been a 15 year wait, but for each year of absence there’s a kickass bluesy riff that’ll stay in your head forever. Goatsnake just picked up where they left off, literally – the first song is called ‘Another River To Cross’, a nod to ‘Flower Of Disease’s closer ‘The River’.

10. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)

steve von till a life unto itself

Rarely has such a subtle and generally quiet record packed such a thunderous emotional punch – the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist might present himself in the sparser, most minimalist fashion, just one man lost in the woods with an acoustic guitar, some effects and his coarse, haunting voice, but these songs will reach down into your heart and squeeze it with the force of a thousand men.

Revenge – Behold Total Rejection


Behold Total Rejection (Season Of Mist). Until now, Revenge’s three word album titles have always read like the results of a free association exercise at a Fascist support group – Victory Intolerance Mastery, Scum Collapse Eradication, Triumph Genocide Antichrist (all Osmose). Their new release breaks the pattern by not only being an actual sentence, but sounding like it might have more to do with getting dumped than watching a legion of Demon Nazis drown the earth in hatred. Does this represent a subtle shift in the style for the band, then? Er… no.

A dissonant, ugly chord drenched in distortion repeats two or three times before giving way to guitar playing so crude and primitive that even “riff” seems too sophisticated a concept. The drummer appears to be trying to hit every drum as many times as he can simultaneously, and doesn’t really care what anyone else is doing. Solos that are seemingly unrelated to the rest of the music howl out of nowhere like masturbating ponies and then vanish as quickly. The vocals jump from throat-ripping yelps and what sounds like someone gargling cough-medicine, often at the same time – at least once, he will go “Oooh!” and effects will make it echo mechanically for a few seconds like Tom G. Warrior’s cyborg ghost. At some point they’ll attempt to lock into a groove or Doom passage, then give up after a few seconds as the music collapses back into roaring chaos as if nothing happened. There’ll be a moment where the music seems to wobble for a moment, as if about to collapse under the weight of its own completely ridiculous fury.

Every song on every album that Revenge have ever written sounds exactly like that. They are brilliant.

There’s something very distinctive, even unique, about Revenge. They’re normally considered alongside bands like Black Witchery or Diocletian, but they have as much in common with sloppy Grind or Watchmaker as their more conventionally Black Metal peers, and their composition and delivery is frequently related more to harsh Noise than anything in Rock or Metal. Like Noise, there’s something compelling or even addictive about them – when you’re in the mood for it nothing else will hit the spot. Even the nastiest and rawest of Black Metal sounds far too structured and melodic in comparison.

Evaluating a Revenge album is, ultimately, pointless. People who think they might enjoy the musical equivalent of rolling downhill in a washing machine full of rocks will find Behold Total Rejection as good a place to get on board as any other album. Established fans will find exactly what they’re looking for. Everyone else… well… it’s not for them. They’ll find something else, don’t worry.