Dec 102015

Rolling Stone-20 Best Metal Albums-2015


As part of our continuing effort to bring you year-end “best of” lists published by selected print zines and “big platform” web sites, today we’re re-posting Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “20 Best Metal Albums of 2015“, which has just appeared.

You may remember that not long ago we identified the lone metal album that appeared in Rolling Stone’s overall list of the 50 Best Albums of 2015. But this list is a metal-only list, and it’s obviously a much bigger collection of names. Here’s the list:


20.  Cloud Rat – Qliphoth

19.  Ghost – Meliora

18.  Clutch – Psychic Warfare

17.  Deafheaven – New Bermuda

16.  Lamb of God – VII: Sturm und Drang

15.  Slayer – Repentless

14.  Leviathan – Scar Sighted

13.  Revenge – Behold. Total. Rejection.

12.  Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat

11.  Metz – Metz II

10.  Killing Joke – Python

09.  Bosse-De-Nage – All Fours

08.  Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors

07.  Baroness – Purple

06.  Refused – Freedom

05.  Iron Maiden – Book of Souls

04.  High On Fire – Luminiferous

03.  Tau Cross – Tau Cross

02.  Faith No More – Sol Invictus

01.  Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor


I can’t say I’m surprised by most of this list. It’s not as extreme or as underground as my own list would be (if I could be bothered to make one), but I don’t really consider Rolling Stone a go-to source of metal recommendations. On the other hand,  I sure as hell didn’t anticipate that LeviathanRevenge or Cloud Rat would be on here, and I was happy to see those names — and it’s also nice to see Tau Cross getting a high ranking, because I really do like that album and it’s not getting a lot of attention in most of these broader-audience publications.

I want to scoff at the naming of Marilyn Manson as album of the year, but I haven’t heard it, so I guess I should juat shut up about that.

Also, who or what is Metz?  (serious question)

To read the descriptions for these picks, go here:

  31 Responses to “LISTMANIA 2015: ROLLING STONE’S 20 BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2015”

  1. What? No Gorguts???

    Pffft, posers.

  2. Pretty much what I would expect from Rolling Stone. Good for them for mentioning Leviathan

  3. Not terrible, really, though you have to sort of wonder if a lot of lists are just winging it a bit. I mean surely anyone who actually listened to that Slayer record wouldn’t dare put it on a list of supposedly good albums?

    I’m also starting to wonder if there’s a clause going round that specifies that all journos must include Deafheaven or they’ll cancel the new Star Wars or something. For such a ubiquitous it’s pretty bland stuff.

    Then again I actually really liked the new FNM, so what do I know.

    • *ubiquitous record

    • It’s not that they’re winging it, it’s more that they have a certain image or agenda to promote. Remember, this isn’t much of a “Metal” publication. This is basically their token list for their readers to show that “hey, we know about (but don’t care much about) Metal too!”

      Hence it’s really a list of “Twenty Bands From This Year Our Readers Might Have Actually Heard Of (Plus A Couple of Niche Choices So We Can Look Knowledgeable)”

      Which helps maintain their “brand” as a “credible” source of “new/fresh” music, without them having to delve too deeply.

      And I’m sure some of their journos DO know a thing or two about Metal (as some of their niche choices indicate… Either that, or they just know how to use Google…), but ultimately this list is about catering to their demographic, which it probably does quite well.

      And none of that is meant to sound sneering or elitist, just pragmatic.

      • Aye, I’m only really familiar with Rolling Stone peripherally (through reputation mostly) but that makes sense. I forget that some ‘zines might contrive lists in such a manner. From that angle though it really isn’t a bad list, though I do still think Slayer was a misstep. They were doing fine with GhostHeaven of God etc.; albums which actually seemed to have acquired some form of enthusiasm over the year.

        My condolences to your quotation mark key, too.

  4. That Metz record is actually fantastic. Not entirely sure classing it as metal is valid, but it more or less a 30 minute collection of 10 no-nonsense noise rock with some pissed-as-hell riffs. I’ve been playing Acetate and Spit You Out a lot, here’s videos for those two:

  5. “Repentless” should be #1, but otherwise an ok list 😉

  6. Wow.. Weird list. Bosse-de-Nage? Hm. And Baroness. Isn’t that not out til next week? I guess people have advance copies, but I already know that I am not into them like I used to be circa Red and Blue. Still wanna hear it though.
    Metz is good but definitely not metal. They’re more of a noise rock nu-grunge band.
    In these days, the term “metal” is quite malleable.

  7. Rolling Stone put Revenge on their year end list?

    Damn, I’ll give them a pass on the rest of this just for having even heard of Revenge

  8. It’s weird to see Revenge and Marilyn Manson on the same list. Has anybody heard the Manson record, and is it good? I never really got into him. Cloud Rat/Ghost/Leviathan: good stuff. And I haven’t heard the new Killing Joke record but if it’s anywhere near as good as their last then it’s placement is more than justified even if they’re not actually metal.

    • First off, does yr name have anything to do with Malazan Book of the Fallen?
      Secondly, yeah, I really wonder about that Manson record. I find him an interesting fellow but the music has always been laughably horrible to me.

    • I heard a few tracks off that Manson album, and I’m not a particularly big fan of him or anything, but it was fairly competent stuff. I personally wouldn’t listen to it, but I can see why others would.

      Killing Joke’s album was a minor let down though. It was very “ok” but there was little energy; a bit stuck in 2nd gear throughout. Lacks any real bite. I haven’t hugely felt KJ since Hosannas though. A hard album to top, or match.

  9. So I listened to that new Deafheaven album a few weeks ago…I could actually get through the whole thing, which for me makes it better than Sunbather. That said, I too thought it was pretty bland.

    Now that Scar Sighted…listened to the first 3 or 4 tracks last night…very dense and abrasive, but compelling enough that I was just fine with letting the filth wash over me =]

    As for the list, I can’t say I’m about it. I heard a few tracks off of MM’s new album, it’s definitely his best album in a while but #1 material, I’m not so sure about.

  10. Stiil, it’s nice of them to notice Tau Cross.

    • I spend so much time trying to keep up with new songs and releases that I don’t get much time to go back and re-listen to very much as the year goes on, but that Tau Cross album is one I’ve played a lot.

  11. That Manson Record is total shit! I hate to be mean when it comes to the music I love but the only reason there was any hype from the fans was solely because “Antichrist” was his swan song. I would never put him on a Metal list but it is Rolling Stone and it is expected. Tau Cross deserves any recognition it gets. It is REALLY good.

    • Have you listened to it? Are you familiar with his work, or why he has received so much praise in the past and now?

      You don’t come off as mean, but just very ill informed and short sighted.

      The Pale Emperor was an EXCELLENT release, albeit not a metal one of course.

      • I am very familiar. I have also seen him live a dozen times. Never really been a fan. I collect music, (mostly metal) for the past 33 years. I started when I was 10. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea but I still stand by my opinion. We all have them and it’s what makes us all uniquely great. I am glad you enjoyed it.

        • I though I was dealing with someone a lot less nuanced which made me somewhat agitated, so apologies for the snarky comment. I can completely understand MM not being someone’s cup of tea. Personally, I think a lot of his music is somewhere between meh and very enjoyable, with some altogether brilliant moments on Mechanical Animals, Holywood and now on Pale Emperor.

          He did have a very significant impact on (American) alternative pop culture, which is why I usually defend his position when someone seems to underestimate his influence.

  12. How the **** did Slayer get on that list?? And i’m a Slayer fan. Honestly, it’s easily their second worst album.

  13. For what it was, The Pale emperor was quite good. Hint: It was not very much metal, and it was not Antichrist superstar, or even Mechanical animals. It was sorta like Mansons take on the theme songs of True blood and True detective S1.

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