It’s weeks like this that make me love metal music. Two legendary bands put out phenomenal new albums, I was pleasantly surprised to see two great bands had quietly released incredible new albums and I was recommended another great band. When I speak about legendary bands I’m referring to Napalm Death and Blind Guardian whose new albums took up a good majority of my listen time this week. Napalm Death have been on a hot streak for awhile now so I was kind of expecting this one to be good, but I was surprised by just how good it is. And Blind Guardian? Come on now, no matter what this would have been great but it blows their previous couple albums out of the water. You shouldn’t even be allowed to say “epic” if you don’t listen to Blind Guardian.

Also this week, I went to the “Black Metal Warfare Tour” to see Revenge, Watain and Mayhem and had a bloody great time. These three bands together are a force to be reckoned with as all of them are insanely impressive live and really pounded out their music. Revenge stole the show for me. Those guys are incredible and should be listened to more often.

New Releases 

Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
Napalm continues to kill it with each release. They are such a well-oiled machine by now that you think they would have slipped into complacency by now like so many other long standing bands. Not Napalm Death. Reaffirming that if you only listen to one grindcore band, it better be Napalm. Easily stands toe to toe with their previous album Utilitarian, the sheer amount of technicality, amazing riffs, speed and all the other elements that make Napalm such a great band are on full display. Welcome to 2015.

Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror
This is easily my most anticipated album of early 2015. I mean come on, it’s Blind Guardian. While their previous two albums were decent they didn’t really excite me the same way as A Night at the Opera and previous albums do. Red Mirror changed that. Truly Blind Guardian is back to form and this is easily their best work since Opera and they even get back to some of their speed metal days. You can’t say the word “epic” without mentioning Blind Guardian and as it stands now, this is the power metal album to beat this year.

Lord Dying – Poisoned Alters
I hadn’t heard this band before so I thought I might give them a shot. They are labeled as a sludge band and I guess that’s fairly apt. It’s on the more aggressive side of sludge. They’ve been compared to bands like Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity but to be honest, I’m not to familiar with those guys so the comparison could be spot on for all I know. To my ears I hear some similar sounds to High on Fire, though not as executed as well. Overall, this album has some fun moments but it’s not really my cup of tea. However, the cover art is rad and there’s a fun vocal appearance by Red Fang’s Aaron Beam on the song “An Open Sore.”

Addaura – …and the lamps expire EP
This was a bit of a surprise. I burned their previous album into the ground when it was recommended to me. This is a solid, fairly epic little EP full of some top-notch atmospheric black metal. At 22 minutes and $1 it’s a hell of deal. Looking forward to another full length from these guys.

Sühnopfer – Offertories
This totally flew past my radar but since it came out in December I’m counting it for 2015. Mostly because it might have made my best of list. A friend turned me on to this band early last year and I devoured their catalog. Ultra melodic, french black metal. This one continues in that vein. Pulsing, pounding, terrifying and forceful. But that melody! So good.

Fiendlord – Dust on the Chamber Floor EP
ANOTHER awesome black metal band out of Salt Lake City. What is in the water there? This is some highly symphonic black metal, a slight difference between the rest of the Utah black metal bands. Jake Rogers from the awesome Visigoth, Gallowbraid and Winterlore provides guest vocals on the track “Dust on the Chamber Floor.”

The Rest of the List

Burning Love – Rotten Thing to Say LP
Revenge – Triumph.Genocide.Antichrist
Mandator – Dawning
Obliterations – Poison Everything
Cathedral – The Carnival Bizarre
The 3rd and the Mortal – Tears Laid in Heaven
Mayhem – Deathcrush
Revenge – Victory.Intolerance.Mastery
The Abyss – The Other Side
Mayhem – Chimera
Eyehategod – Dopeskick
The Gates of Slumber – Conqueror
Church of Misery – The Second Coming
Algaion – Vox Clamentis
Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen