Monday, January 04, 2016

Jay's Top 20 Releases Of 2015...

Christ! Where the hell did 2015 go? It disappeared in a bloody hurry didn't it?! Good riddance too, what with various religious and political zelots still kicking seven shades of shit out of each other, and natural disasters abound. Usually in the form of storms, floods, wildfires and Donald Trump. Not to mention the loss of BB King, Sir Christopher Lee, Scott Weiland and of course, our lord and saviour, Lemmy - yet leaving the likes of Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Kanye fuckin West unscathed. There really is no justice.
But it hasn't all been downers in the Burning Beard camp. We had a big revamp, remodel and rename and have been absolutely inundated with emails every day of the week. So much so that we've taken on three new writers - Martin, Richard and Andy. But onto the releases of the year. Not quite as volatile as the worlds current events, but not without their own ups and downs. We had a plethora of fantastic releases from all of our close friends independent labels and some fantastic returns to form from likes of Refused, Goatsnake and Valkyrie. A few middle of the road released from Windhand, The Sword and Clutch (sorry but something just didn't stick for me with those). Then my biggest let downs of the year in the shape of Uncle Acid's third album, Baroness's Purple and the debut from With The Dead. All of which I just expected more from. 

I've have seen few top 2015 releases lists over the last month and I cant help but feel that most bands have made their way in to some of them on name alone, and had many of those albums been released by unknown artists they wouldn't have even garnered a mention. So with that in mind the following list of my favourite releases of the year consist of not just albums, but EP's and demo's alike. They reside here not just because they've excelled expectation or surprised, but, to me, shown more passion, conviction, ingenuity and originality, giving them far more reason to make this list than many of the more well known artist's offerings of the last 12 months.

20. Watchtower ~ Radiant Moon
Two big fat heavy slabs of doom from the Aussie trio. Heavier than a death in the family and beautifully pressed and put out on 10" by our friends over at Magnetic Eye Records.

19. Rifflord ~ 26 Mean & Heavy

Dirty, heavy and kinda sounding like the Doors if they were to have gotten heavily in to weed, ouija boards and black masses. Dark fuzzy and riff hungry are always a great mix.

18. Witchsorrow ~ No Light, Only Fire
A brilliant return from one of the UK's best and most humble doom acts. Retaining their full blooded heavy approach with a subtle nod to dooms classic origins.

17. Blackout ~ Blackout
Riding Easy Records began the first quarter of the year with yet another brilliant discovery in Brooklyn based trio Blackout. Deceptively sludgy and psychedelic in equal measures, don't let the albums cover fool you.

16. Ufomammut ~ Ecade
This long awaited follow up to 2012's Oro double album didn't fail to impress. In fact, the only thing to out do the albums content was the deluxe version of the LP, in all its silkscreened hand made beauty.
15. Acid†Priest ~ Outta Control 
A near perfect combination of occult style rock mixed with a hint of punk aesthetics. Acid Priest gave similar acts like Uncle Acid and Satans Satyrs a run for their money, and in my eyes well and truly beat them.

14. Kaleidobolt ~ Kaleidobolt
Our friends over at Pink Tank Records have done a great job at digging out some fantastic psych bands over the last couple of years, and none come more thrillingly psych'y than Kaleidobolt.

13. Egypt ~ Endless Flight
Just making the 2015 list with their late in the year entry, Egypt finally return with their first full length album in over 2 years... and it's a fuel guzzling desert rock monster. Look out for the LP release later this year.

12. Yuri Gagarin ~ At The Center Of All Infinity
After teasing us earlier in the year with the Sea Of Dust EP the Swedish space rockers finally dropped their best work to date, and it's as trippy, spacey and heavy as I could have ever hoped.

11. Waingro ~ Mt. Hood
I was a big fan of the Canadian's 2014 self titled release and when I heard they'd pressed themselves a second release I snapped it up without hesitation. Once again, the furious trio have well and truly smashed it out the park.

10. Barbarian Fist ~ The Whorelord Cometh
I took a punt and bought this LP sight unseen. Or hear unheard. Is that a thing? Anyway. I bought it solely on the cover and I have not one single regret. It's like the soundtrack to a Viking stag party. Bloody brilliant.

9. Glowsun ~ Beyond The Wall Of Time
A beautifully groove filled return from the French psych rock masters that seemed to fly under many peoples radar. Which is a bloody sacrilege as is a brilliantly executed progression from their first two releases.

8. Kadavar ~ Berlin
When it came to Kadavar I could always take them or leave them. But this drastically ambitious change of pace and sound really paid off, making Berlin one of my biggest surprises of 2015.

7. Moon Curse ~ Spirit Remains
Showing a huge step forward in almost every aspect of album creation, Spirit Remains has cemented Wisconsin's Moon Curse as being true giant slayers when it comes to the whole occult/acid rock genre. Go get the vinyl from Bilocation Records while you can!

6. Red Sun Atacama ~ Part. 1
This little known French trio really blew my hair back with their high octane EP Part. 1. If they can keep up the same highly addictive and satisfyingly furious pace of this beauty then I really can't wait to hear what they've got in store for this year.

5. Indian Handcrafts ~ Creeps
Another release that really came out of left field for me. Fuzzy, frantic and fantastically original, Indian Handcrafts won't fail to get you stomping your feet and air drumming within an matter of minutes.

4. Top Dead Celebrity ~ High Horse
One of my most anticipated returns for a long long time. Utah's Top Dead Celebrity have been one of my favourite bands since I first discovered them about eight years go. High Horse didn't disappoint either, residing high up in my iTune all time top 25 most played albums. 

3. Dr Colossus ~ Shut Up & Eat Your Pinecone/Whack Sabbath
Another small morsel teasing at an album that just can't come quick enough for me. The Simpsons inspired stoner doom aficionados from down under once again gave us fantastic riffs coupled with killer lyrics. A winning combo in anyones book.

2. Bedroom Rehad Corp. ~ Fortunate Some
This was easily my best new discovery of 2015. Heavy, groovy, thunderous and pleasing in every aspect. Bedroom Rehab Corp pulled off an absolute blinder with Fortunate Some and have me itching for full length in 2016.

1. Elder ~ Lore
Eager anticipation seldom delivers overwhelming satisfaction. Lore however was one hell of an exception. Arriving early in the year, from day one, Elder's third album never received much competition when it came to toppling it from my top five. With a stage show to rival the album's awesomeness Lore, for me, was a highlight of the year.


Honourable Mentions...


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