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2015: A Year In Metal - The Critics' Poll Albums 15-6

The sounds that defined 2015 continued...

Merlin Alderslade, Jason Arnopp, Oliver Badin, Joe Daly, Malcolm Dome, Eleanor Goodman, Stephen Hill, Dom Lawson, Dave Ling, Edwin McFee, Morat, Luke Morton, Tom O’Boyle, Dayal Patterson, Adam Rees, Natasha Scharf, Jonathan Selzer, Holly Wright

15. Mgła



Despite obvious Norse inspirations, Poland’s Mgła’s visceral yet atmosphere-steeped and heartfelt take on black metal has carved a distinct identity for the band over recent years, pushing them to the forefront of the contemporary scene. Exercises In Futility was a natural extension to the band’s discography, and cemented their reputation via its embittered yet affirming compositions.

14. Deafheaven



Cries of ‘hipster’ and ‘false metal’ could be heard from the narrow-minded at the back, but Deafheaven’s fusion of black metal and shoegaze to emulate the sound of God’s voice left us breathless and numb. A flowing continuation from 2013’s Sunbather album, this was a much rawer, harder, edgier effort, which split synapses to leave us in a quivering mess of tinnitus and tears.

13. Napalm Death



Still in tireless pursuit of new ways to batter us into oblivion, Napalm Death had never sounded as furious and wild as they did on their 15th studio album. Sonically warped and almost mischievous in its speaker-wrecking hostility, Apex Predator... took grindcore to a frightening new level of creativity and intensity. From its harrowing, Swans-like intro onwards, this was a fearless and yet wholly epic assault on the senses. 

12. Parkway Drive



Gleefully jumping into the musical unknown for the first time, Parkway Drive evolved their crushing metalcore template into a hook-filled, thunderous, heavy metal monster. Ire not only packs more left-field turns than anything else the Aussies have put their name to, it’s also the finest album of their career. We reckon we’ll be snapping our necks to the breakdown in Bottom Feeder for years and years to come.

11. Slayer



Slayer’s first album without Jeff Hanneman uncorked a maelstrom of neck-snapping riffs, chaotic tempos and darkened nihilistic ferocity – in short, everything we bloody love about Slayer. Intensified by gale-force torrents of hardcore and crunchy blasts of groove metal, Repentless brilliantly showcased Slayer’s peerless ability for summoning their indestructible trademark sound while still blowing everybody’s minds. You know how it goes: SLAAAAYAAAAARGHHH!!!

10. Tesseract



With prodigious frontman Dan Tompkins firmly back in the fold after a whirlwind few years of lineup turmoil, Tesseract unleashed the album they’d been promising to make since emerging as favourites to transcend the djent revolution. Polaris presented an ever-evolving tapestry of rhythmic complexity and heartstopping melodies, while the likes of Survival and Hexes also showed their ability to write towering anthems with immediate impact.

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