No other record resonated with me better than Foxing’s Dealer, an album that became one of my surprise favorites of 2015. Cathartic songwriting and post-rock moodiness immediately had me hooked. The use of piano in songs like “Night Channels” and instrumental heartwrencher “Winding Cloth” create a wintry feel perfect for late night snowfalls. I’m sure it’ll remain relevant in the summer months as well, considering the depth and instrumental tenderness provided throughout this beauty.
It’s tough to determine if The Wonder Years can even be considered pop-punk on No Closer To Heaven. Perhaps it shows their musical maturity and complex expression of emotions, that Soupy and the gang keep progressing – and on their latest work, the movement is into darker territory full of punchy guitars and weary vocals. But the things that make the group great are still there: references to 20th century personalities, huge choruses, and a few curse words scattered in between guitar chords.
One of the bands that got me into heavy music, August Burns Red, continues to demolish everything in its path – even expectations. They sure shattered my expectations for album number six, which features some of the most powerful compositions the quintet has ever created. Whether it’s western-style interludes, snazzy guitar solos, or the incorporation of clean vocals into the mix, these guys continually build upon their core and remind the world why they’re some of the best players in metalcore.
As someone who never has cared for black metal, it’s amazing that Deafheaven has become one of my favorite artists in recent years. I didn’t think they could surpass the bombastic luridness showcased on Sunbather, but New Bermuda builds upon the textures of that record with darker vibes and a range of alternative and rock influences. The contrasts between dark and light, soft and heavy, and fast and slow are immaculate, and I can’t name another album in 2015 that captivates with such efficiency.
This album will go down in music history as one of those classic records where you remember the first time you listened to it – where you were and how it made you feel. I was on spring break and recall listening to each track in my room with the breeze coming through my open window. The record was crisp as the air, seamlessly flowing from track to track with lyrical precision and jazz-fueled instrumental diversity. Remembering that day never gets old, and neither does this hip-hop masterpiece.
Most Anticipated: Beartooth