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2015 in review: 10 best CD releases

I published my list of 10 favorite CDs of the past year for the first time in 2014. Since I’m constantly listening to review copies of CDs, since this year for Darkview, I like looking back on the year and compiling my list of best CDs that were released this year.

First of all – there are some records that I missed this year. I haven’t heard the new Paradise Lost, Apocalyptica, Steve Wilson and My Dying Bride – albums for which I have high expectations.

With this limitation in mind, let’s look at my top 10 of 2015:

10. Isenmor – Land of the Setting Sun

Maybe this album doesn’t deserve to be in this list. There are other albums that I wanted to include, and it was a hard choice. Land of the Setting Sun in itself is not a spectacular album, but I wanted to mention Isenmor for the potential the band has. With two violinists, their sound is at times unique. I’m nominating them more based on my expectations for their future than for their amassed curriculum. You can read my full review of the album here.

9. Moonspell – Extinct

Ah, Moonspell – ever since I was a teenager I have loved you. And you have never let me down. With Extinct, they have produced yet another solid album. You can read my full review here.

8. Jess and The Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

Jess is back with some more psychedelic rock. I loved their EP Astral Sabbat, and their second album is spot-on again. You’ll see Jess as well again later in this list. Her voice is amazing.

7. Draconian – Sovran

Draconian have been around since 1994, and I had lost track of them. But their latest release Sovran is a nice album. It’s not very surprising or new or anything, but it just is smooth on the ears and reminds me of the better beauty and the beast albums from the 90s.

6. Manegarm – Manegarm

While a lot of folk/pagan metal sounds the same, I have a special like for Manegarm. It’s hard to explain why, it’s their energy and melodic parts that set them aside, I think. Their latest release is again a lot of fun.

5. Sabbath Assembly – Sabbath Assembly

Sabbath Assembly originally only interpreted hymns of the Process Church. Sabbath Assembly is their first album in which they move away from the set texts of the Process Church rituals and create their own, worship-like music. It’s a success. (Warning: the videoclip is somewhere between absurd and disturbing).

4. Kamelot – Haven

More power metal than in some of their previous albums: Kamelot have gone for a trip down memory lane, and I’m quite enthusiastic about the result. You can read my full review here.

3. The Exploding Eyes Orchestra – I

Here we have Jess again – the singer from Jess and the Ancient Ones. While she sounds different on this recording, her vocal is work is splendid as ever. The Exploding Eyes Orchestra brings smoky bars to live and rocks away like no other. You can read my full review here.

2. Luciferian Light Orchestra – Luciferian Light Orchestra

Therion are taking a break to write a metal opera, but that didn’t stop Christopher Johnson from writing music. Luciferian Light Orchestra is Therion thrown back to the seventies, and it really works. You can check out my full review here.

1. Amorphis – Under the Red Cross

Under the Red Cross is the best album made by one of the most versatile bands out there. When I heard this album for the first time, I immediately knew this was going to be my album of 2015. I wrote it as such in my full review of the album, and I’m stating this here again.

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