I usually go totally overboard on year-end list-making because 1. lists are fun, and 2. before I started working here, I was freelance for a billion years, so I settled into the habit of making 4 (or more—the record is 7) year-end lists per annum. This past year marked my first as a part of Noisey's editorial staff, so that do-or-die freelance hustle that's kept the lights on for the past 12 years has been supplanted by a more daily grind and the freedom to cover just about anything I want (which, more often than not, entails no-fun black metal or obnoxious doom). It's a privilege that, trust me, I don't take lightly—despite the evidence to the contrary that you're about to read below.
Now that I only had to make one sole, solitary, all-encompassing year-end list and no editor to rein me in, I was originally inclined to throw caution to the wind and just list every record I enjoyed this year. Since I highly doubt you want to read through several hundred lines of type, though, I managed to whittle it down to a spare 50. Yes, 50.
I've been lucky enough to cover a wide range of fantastic music this year, and the links below lead to my writing on the various bands that populate this absurdly long (but obviously, objectively correct) list. I had to make a few painful cuts, like the year's two best country albums (Whitey Morgan's Sonic Ranch, and Angaleena Presley's American Middle Class) but these are the metal-oriented albums I had the best time listening to this year. So much for not going overboard…
KIM KELLY'S TOP 10 (MOSTLY) METAL ALBUMS OF 2015
Icelandic black metal perfection.
The future of grind.
An album that perfectly articulated death metal's messy, hairy, ugly humanity.
The pinnacle of orthodox black metal in 2015.
5. Death Karma - The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I
A truly morbid triumph of black/death.
6. Chrch - Unanswered Hymns
Cosmic, crushing doom that elevates and amazes; the first time I saw them, I knew I was witnessing something special.
The future of American black metal.
Sri Lankan death metal supremacy.
9. Cosmic Church - Vigilia
Criminally underlooked, astonishingly great melodic Finnish black metal.
The most beautiful thing you'll ever hear.
MY OTHER 40 FAVORITE METAL (AND OCCASIONALLY NOT METAL) ALBUMS OF 2015 IN MOSTLY ARBITRARY ORDER BECAUSE I LOVE THEM ALL VERY MUCH
Abyssion / Photo courtesy of Svart Records
Bell Witch - Four Phantoms
Locrian - Infinite Dissolution
Ethereal Shroud - They Became the Falling Ash
Gloam - Hex of Nine Heads
Tribulation - The Children of the Night
Nachtlieder - The Female of the Species
Vattnet Viskar - Settler
Macabre Omen - Gods of War - At War
Chaos Echoes - Transient
Sivyg Yar - Burial Shrouds
Magic Circle - Journey Blind
Blood Incantation - Interdimensional Extinction
Cult of Occult - Five Degrees of Insanity
Not all of these artists are on Spotify, but I made a little introductory playlist of the ones that are; check it out, and go buy all of these records!
Kim Kelly is an editor at Noisey, and wishes she'd kept the bloody thing to 15 at this point. She's on Twitter.