My Top 5 albums of 2015, in no particular order. Featuring Till Lindeman, Turbowolf, Bring Me The Horizon, Alien Ant Farm and Highly Suspect.
After the exceptionally unsuccessful Album a Day challenge I decided that as the year is all wrapped up that I would do a review of what I believe to be the Top 5 albums of the year, along with some of others worthy of note. These are in no particular order.
Highly Suspect – Mister Asylum (July 2015)
Highly Suspect are an upcoming American trio from Massachusetts who out as a covers band in a bar. The bands debut 2011 self-titled album is relatively unknown but this album, Mister Asylum is the follow up and its going to be the one that gets them going places.
In short for me, this album is 2015s answer to “Royal Blood” and is likely my biggest album of the year, it has certainly had the most play time. The influences are also clearly similar to that of Royal Blood, with the album sounding like bits of Queens of the Stone Age in there, mixed with better parts of the Kings of Leon and again its worked.
Its one of those albums that hits hard on the right from the first play through and the singles being released really showcase the albums potential. The first two singles to be released were Lydia and Bloodfeather. Lydia is suitably dark and edgy and really was a clear choice for single release as it really tells you all you need to know about the album and gives you reason enough to buy it. Bloodfeather was another of the heavier sounding tracks on the album with a strong bass line but with a more melodic approach. For me the album does have a slight lull in the middle with tracks 23 and Mom that sound weaker when played alone also but that being said, it inst really as noticeable when you listen to the album as a whole.
Turbowolf – Two Hands (April 2015)
This one follows on nicely from Highly Suspect I think. Two Hands is also a second offering, this time from the Bristol based rockers Turbowolf. Turbowolf are somewhat of an enigma when trying to classify the genre of music as they have so many influences and musical styles, its not easy to pigeon hole them. Two Hands however offers a collection of heavy distorted riffs and thick bass lines and all kinds of synth magic. The big single from this album was Rabbits Foot which was given a lot of airtime however there is much more to the album such as the more physcadelic sounds of MK Ultra and the almost trippy sections of Solid Gold which is another of the albums highlights.
As with a lot of albums, I like all the tracks with the distortion and some of the slower more “prog” tracks are a little bit lost on me but as these are intertwined, again it doesn’t detract from the overall listening experience.
Bring me the Horizon – That’s The Spirit (September 2015)
Sheffield based rockers Bring me the Horizon deliver their 5th studio album “That’s the Spirit.” The albums continues the bands move away from their aggressive and violent styles of the early releases. Following 2013s Sempiternal which started to play with the boundaries of pop rock, That’s the Spirit has edged even closer.
The album has thus far had four singles. Happy Song is by far the most pop orientated of these and will be a big hitter in the live acts due to its almost anthemic chanting choruses. Throne and True Friends are also fairing well on the commercial airwaves but still packing enough grunt to sound out of place on some of the more popular stations. Drown also sits somewhere in the middle of these.
As for the tracks yet to be released as singles the tracks Doomed and Oh No bookend the album with quite a contrast. Doomed opens the album shouty and explicit whilst Oh No ends the album with a story and a feeling of forlorn despair.
The album marks a big change for the band which I can see isn’t going to settle to well with the early and die-hard fans but it is however bringing rock back to the forefront and once again helping rock to get into the charts which can’t be bad thing. Oh, also, look out for “Follow You,” coming to an edgy first dance to a wedding near you!
Lindemann – Skills in Pills (June 2015)
The astute among you may recognise the name Lindemann as the surname of Rammstein front man Till Lindemann. Well, this the debut album from his new super-group, coupling Lindemann with Peter Tägtgren of PAIN and Hypocrisy. In short, the album is exactly what you’d expect, its dark, industrial and symphonic. with all manner of taboo or risque themes not often touched upon in music.
Part of the appeal of the album is Lindemanns English vocals. This will likely not be to the taste of die hard Rammstein fans but it really adds to the atmosphere of the album. Lindemann has said himself that English wasn’t his strongest skill prior to the album and that the work here has helped him develop that which you can definitely hear throughout the course of the album. The album is very much tongue in cheek and fun party album described by the band as a “2015 Billy Idol kinda thing” but it also has some darker underlying statements and views of modern society. The most obvious of these is Skills in Pills which Lindemann has also said is based on his past growing up in Eastern Germany.
If you’re easily offended, its likely that this isn’t the album for you but if you the kind of person who looked up Rammstein lyrics and continued to listen to the them, then this mostly certainly is. I’d like to name some of the highlights of the album but I’m not sure that ZD really wants the sort of keyword traffic that it would attract!
Alien Ant Farm – Always and Forever (February 2015)
This one is something of a wild card really. I didn’t really expect it to be the case but Alien Ant Farm have found thier way into my top 5 for 2015. Following the sucess of the ANThology and TruANT albums of the early 2000s, Up in the Attic (2006) was somewhat underwhelming and the band seemed to disappear. Well, now, following a few tours and guest appearance they are back with Always and Forever.
The album cemented its place on this list simply through the power of nostalgia. It really does mark the return of AAF and a good one at that with solid offering that echos the very individual sound found on ANThology especially. Sidelines, Godlike and Better Weather could easily have been on those albums. With that in mind though, the album feels fresh and doesnt have that “here we go again” dated sound to it.
It will probably only have a small audience really of folks, likely around my age who remember buying ANThology as teenagers and singing along to the iconic Smooth Criminal cover or Courage and Movies before progressing into the slightly more serious TruANT.