Friday, 1 January 2016

Best Rock and Metal of 2015

Those Who Have Past

2015 will forever be known as the year we lost Lemmy. There is little I can say that can cover the depth of this loss to the whole state of Rock and Roll. "He was the epitome of Rock and Roll," I read in one of the homages online, and I don't think there is a single person alive or dead that could ever dismiss his impact on the Hard Rock and Metal world. It felt as if a whole genre died the news of his death reached it's cold hands across the globe.

Proof of the no holds barred take no prisoners dedication to kick ass Rock can be heard in Motörhead's last album, Bad Magic. From beginning to end it is everything that a fan ever wanted from this epic trio. It hits hard and fast, ever uncompromisingly, full of tales of an ever continuing struggle to live free.

From 1975 "Lemmy" Kilmister and Motörhead have never cared if they were ever accepted by the popular music industry, yet that same industry has had to admit to Motörhead's influence and skill. Lemmy reached Metal God status through his stubborn refusal to let life dictate his destiny. 

On December 28th 2015 a God died, long live Rock and Roll.

Unfortunately in 2015 we lost many excellent rockers: frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland; Motorhead's Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor; Longtime Bolt Thrower drummer Martin Kearns; Epic Blues guitarist B.B. King; Molly Hatchet drummer Bruce Crump; and many more (some of which can be seen at 

We almost lost The Eagles of Death Metal due to a Terrorist attack in Paris, France. It was reassuring that Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme pushed aside any and all fear and are pursuing the continuation of their European tour in 2016. For the sake of Rock and Roll and the sake of Freedom I would hope anyone who has the chance to catch the Eagles of Death Metal will attend at least one of their shows.
Let's prove to those goat fucking cowards that Rock and Roll will never die. Fuck your Allah, Rock and Roll is the only true religion!

2015 also is the year that my favorite modern Punk band sang their last anthem. On October 3rd 2015 they announced that "Rat Neck are no more." 

It is a shame they had talent and proof that the Punk art-form had not faded away into the annals of history. Rat Neck was a beacon of Rock and Roll shining out of Dublin full of piss and vinegar.

You will surely be missed. 

Now onto much less depressing stuff. Instead of giving you a numbered list of best this and that from the past year I will highlight some groups that I think were exceptional this year, and give you my opinion why you should follow them into 2016. So let's get started...

Best albums of 2015

Definitely one of the best albums put out in 2015 is .​.​.​As Long As The Money Lasted by Royale. This smooth glass of audio perfection has been a constant resident on my digital player.

I'm not completely sure why but every time I think about this group Crown Royal Deluxe Canadian Whiskey comes to mind. Much like the drink Royale's music goes down smooth, so smooth that you completely miss the line of pleasant buzz to complete devotion.

...As Long As The Money Lasted is a great album and it is one not to be missed.

Elmo Karjalainen is one hell of a guitarist. In 2015 he released two instrumental albums, The Free Guitar Album, and Where We Belong.

Both are fun and very listenable CDs that meander through genres and do nothing less than prove his mastery of the stringed axe.

I am hoping to feature him in my next blog all about the electric guitar. Until then go get his stuff; pour yourself some Koskenkorva , ease back, and enjoy one wonderfully talented Finnish guitarist.

Classic Gothic Metal pioneers, Paradise Lost, formed in the late 80's and have been a mighty presence ever since. In 2015 they released The Plague Within.

It is both a return to the dark roots of the band as well as a push forward into the dismal future of the human condition. What this results in is a beautifully cold embrace of an excellent Goth album. Embrace your pain and join our lament by listening to The Plague Within.

Now for a bit of local Kingston, Ontario, Canada flavor. I have not hid my enthusiasm for the singer songwriter talents of Greg Ball, and he has proven himself again through his 2015 release, not the same kind.  In my humble opinion it is one of the best releases of the year.

There is a connection and soul to his music that cannot be defined in record sales. A true wordsmith he is writing the bare bones story of what it is like to live here among-st the shores of the Great Lakes. 

Not the same kind  is an anthem of the struggles of the every-man, with a rocking soundtrack. It is a story worth the price of admission.  

Thirteen has to be one of the best Hardrock/ Metal groups that I have heard this past year. Their 2015 album Volume 1  delivered something for every corner of the Metal fan base. It was simultaneously heavy, progressive, and sometimes Evanescence-like.

I love how this band gives a huge importance to keeping in tough with fans, even to the extent of helping them choose tracks to release.

If you want to hear one of the best straight out Rock and Roll albums put out in 2015 than pick up Moses Nose's Burning Bush. It is an epic offering of Rock that has not been heard since The Cult put out Sonic Temple.

This fast fun and groovy group has captured the old spirit of Rock and Roll and cranked up the amps to 11. When I listen to the album I almost think I have been transported back to the 1970's when Rock and Roll was a movement.

My favorite Metal album for 2015 has to be Time and Trauma by 36 Crazyfists. It is a solid offering from beginning to end, heavy and fast like hardcore Metal fans demand. Like a knockout punch this album holds nothing back.

Full of angst, retribution, and all those themes that make you need to scream at heaven are soaked into this album. From the cover image to the tracks Time and Trauma  is a Metal monstrosity that demands reverence.

Enough of the flowery words... It's a damn good Metal release, and whether blessed or damned we cannot say, but upon this alter of Rock and Roll we will stand this day.... Aww buy the damn record!


Bands To Watch In 2016

While I am on the subject of Metal bands another of my favorites is the Progressive Metal outfit Stage of Reality. Earlier in 2015 they released a video for "Dignity," a track off of their new up and coming release.
Their 2014 album Breathing Machines was a refreshing concept album that put them on the market. Over the past year they have been covered far and wide in Metal magazines as well as in digital media.

Their devotion to blending the power of Metal with philosophical writings and digital art is bringing the art form into the next century. Stage of Reality is not just a band to watch in 2016 it is one to be emulated.

A British Metalcore group has caught my attention in 2015. The Sun Never Set  is a hell of a good band hailing out of London, U.K. They put a lot of heart and passion into their music, and they remind me of why I started writing this blog.

They show that it is not just about sounding good, it is more about giving something meaningful to the world around you. Metal is not just about angst it is about connecting with those who feel that anger and frustration every day.

The Spins have had a busy year in 2015, yes we are still waiting on an album but the quality of material they are putting out is excellent. What is impressive is how they are managing to put out good material despite last minute changes to their lineup.

Lead by the energetic and extremely talented drummer Alessia Mattalia, this International supergroup is forging it's way toward inevitable success. They are worth keeping an eye on in 2016.


There are many more excellent groups that have released material this year, but groups like Slipknot and Iron Maiden don't need my little blog to back them up. I want you to hear those great and usually unheard bands who should be noticed and would love to have you as a fan. I am always on the look out for artists that do more than sound or look good to promote. 

Well, that is it for my coverage of 2015, it is on to 2016. Have a Great New Year and keep that Rock and Roll coming.

Thanks for reading,
Kevin Sweeney

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