Posts Tagged ‘Islay’

I did a full genre by genre breakdown last year, and while I’ll try to put that together in the next few days, I thought I ‘d start with my overall favourites. I spent 2015 listening to a shitload of independent, underground stuff, and a lot of older stuff. My favourite non-2015 record of the year was ‘British Steel’, closely followed by Accept’s superlative ‘Balls to the Wall’. It was clearly a classic metal year.I’ve also not heard anywhere near as many of the records I wanted to. So there’s probably been a few good ones you’re wondering why are missing. Tell me, so I can find them!

I’m adding a late disclaimer to this; at point of writing I haven’t heard the new Baroness record. It’d probably be in here, but its not fair to these other great records to stick it in just because I’m guessing how good it is.

10. Zgard – Totem: A Ukrainian windswept masterpiece of folky black metal. ‘Totem’ proved that while fellow countryman Drudkh has perfected the style, there are still bands that can challenge the supremacy. Majestic.

9. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within: What can be said? Yorkshire doom lords return with one of this year’s finest pieces of gothic misery. Proof that you can always rely on the old guard to bring it.

8. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: Only EP to make this list, English tech death stars Plague Rider makes this kind of mind bending death metal look easy. I cannot wait to hear what is coming next.

7. Islay – The Angels Share: German melodeath underground heroes Islay have written one of 2015’s most impressive records. ‘The Angels Share’ is an odyssey, owing debts to At the Gates and Amon Amarth, but always remaining their own.

6. Heathen Beast – Trident: One of India’s brightest hopes, and one of their most talented acts, Heathen Beast bring to you scathing, black metal with enough unique ethnic touches to make them stand out and be instantly recognisable.

5. Chiral – Night Sky: In a year where Sivjr Yar pushed him close, Chiral brought out my favourite black metal of the year. Epic in scope, majestic in execution, and truly heart-wrenching at points, ‘Night Sky’ is how atmospheric black metal should be done.

4. Undersmile – Anhedonia: A scorching, dynamic slab of proper British doom. Melancholy and bleak, but always vital and alive. ‘Atacama Sunrise’ is one of my favourite songs of this year, and it is my top doom record of 2015.

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: In a year of epic death metal, Shrapnel Storm’s album kept getting played. Maybe it’s satisfying my craving for more Bolt Thrower, I don’t know, but maybe its just because it is a crushing machine of riffs and death. Love it.

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: In any year where there WASN’T a new Nile record, this would have been my top record. I love the complexity, the unhinged savagery but also the supreme melodic flair with which these guys kill. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ needs to be the death metal record you hear this year

NUMBER ONE: Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: I love Nile. I love everything they do. I loved this album before I heard it. But then I did. I heard how Karl Sanders and co had brought their signature sound to yet more intricate, punishing and most importantly GREAT death metal. Writing songs for themselves should be what they do more often, we are all just lucky to hear it.

Did I miss anything essential? Please let me know and I hope you seek out and support all the artists here.









That cover doesn’t exactly scream death metal does it? Maybe some djent prog odyssey, or a doom record, but not death metal. Then again, Islay aren’t exactly your most dyed in the wool death metal band. These Germans have injected some brilliant musicianship and melody into their assault that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Opener ‘Self Adulation’ has brutality and melodic sections in equal measure, with a waspish Hate Eternal vibe blasting forward and some quality melodic guitar harmonies. ‘Under the Sway of God’ is vicious, but has some great Amon Amarthisms, but with less Vikings. The guitar tone is chunky, and the riffing is great. Like I said earlier in the year with the superlative Necrocosm, a band that keeps the death in melodeath but is still capable of catchy as hell metal is all good in my book, and Islay are like that. There is an overwhelming Swedish vibe here, from the chunky death rumble of Amon Amarth to the savagery of Dissection.

The debt owed to At the Gates is large, of course, but Islay’s riffing and songwriting is powerful enough to escape copycat comparisons. The clean vocal chorus of ‘World Wide Suicide’ is another dash of variety that keeps you guessing as are the progressive touches in ‘Dein Herz’. The propulsve ‘Napalm Solution is another beauty, reinforcing the quality on display here. ‘The Angels’ Share’ is a record full of twists and turns, full of raging death metal and inescapable melodies in equal amount. A record that everyone deserves to hear this year.