Dec 212015

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(For yet another year, our old friend SurgicalBrute has delivered into our greedy hands another year-end list of favorite releases, and one of the most extreme underground collections we will post this year.)

I listen to too much damn music, that’s all there is to it. All year long I feel this constant desire to dig through as much metal as possible because there’s always something new and enjoyable to discover and I want to hear it all. It’s one of the reasons I’ll never understand people who say things like “it was a bad year for metal”, because as far as Im concerned, its never a bad year for metal (hell, as I type this out, there are less than 30 days left in the year and I’m still finding great new bands).

Of course, everything has a downside… December has rolled around once again and now I have to figure out how to narrow this massive list down to something far more reasonable. Fortunately, using my scientific method of cheap Scotch and a dart board, I came up with twenty albums (as well as five EP’s) that should be on any metal fan’s year-end list (and just in case you don’t notice, these are in alphabetical order).



Aegrus – Devotion For The Devil (black) 

Everything you’d expect from a Finnish black metal album. Strong vocals, great lead guitar, and just the right amount of melody.





Adversarial-Death Endless Nothing cover art

Adversarial – Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism (black/death)

A vortex of spiralling riffs and pummeling brutality, Adversarial’s second full-length is an expertly crafted journey through hell.






Abyssal – Antikatastaseis (black/death/doom)

A chaotic wall of swirling guitars and blazing percussion mixed with momentary passages of menacing ambience, Abyssal has finally managed to unlock all the untapped potential revealed in their previous releases.





Blaze of Perdition-Near Death Revelations

Blaze of Perdition – Near Death Revelations (black)

The brooding lyrics and the dark atmosphere of this album were inspired by a real-life tragedy suffered by the band. This is a dense, heavy, black metal album that sees the band at the top of their game.





Balmog cover

Balmog – Svmma Fide (black)

Occult black metal with a dark, haunting vibe. The riffs are hellish, the vocals are sinister… this is music to conjure the devil himself.






Brulvahnatu – Frozen Obscene Deliverance (black/death)

Solo project of former Antediluvian bassist Kib Sreng, this is ugly, mid-paced blackened death that sweeps you away with its bleakness.






Decrepid – Osseous Empire (death)

Death metal for fans of the early days when the genre was still shaking off its thrash influences, this album is a riff-heavy barrage with little melody.





Grave Ritual-Morbid Throne

Grave Ritual – Morbid Throne (death)

After five long years of silence, Grave Ritual finally returns for their sophomore effort. With dark and grimy guitars, crushing vocals, and a thick production that never gets murky, this album was every bit worth the wait.





Genocide Shrines

Genocide Shrines – Manipura Imperial Deathevokovil: Scriptures of Reversed Puraana Dharmurder (black/death)

While no-frills blackened death bands have become a dime-a-dozen, Genocide Shrines have consistantly shown they have something more to offer. Punishing and aggressive, with an undeniable Asian influence, this album is heavy in the truest sense.






Havukruunu – Havulinnaan (black)

Bathory, Immortal, and even Manowar (in your face, haters) — this album wears its influences firmly on its sleeve. This is pagan black metal whose heavy-metal element will appeal even to non-fans of that genre.





Heimdalls Wacht

Heimdalls Wacht – Ut de graute olle Tied – Deel Twee (Land der Nebel) (black)

Epic pagan sound meets the cold and bleak influences of Norwegian black metal. There’s still some excitement and originality in this style of metal.






Misþyrming – Söngvar Elds Og Óreiðu (black)

Powerful and uncompromising… subtle and atmospheric. The thoughtfulness of this album never dilutes the raw black metal at its core.






Malokarpatan – Stridžie Dni (black)

You normally don’t expect a whole lot from bands who worship so strongly from the first wave of black metal, but for those who take a moment, there is so much more going on with this album. Production snobs will probably think this was recorded in a cave, but… oh man… the riffs.






Narbeleth – Through Blackness and Remote Places (black) 

For the second year in a row, Dakkar’s one-man black metal project has made my list. Rooted firmly in the second wave Scandinavian scene, from start to finish this is a vicious release of classic black metal.





NEx Carnis

Nex Carnis – Obscure Visions of Dark (death)

Quality death metal from Iran, this is pure, stripped-down old school. The riffwork on this album is stunning.





Osculum Infame

Osculum Infame – Axis of Blood (black)

Grim and traditional, yet completely hook-filled, Axis of Blood straddles the line between raw and melodic black metal.






Remains – Evoking Darkness (death)

Taking inspiration from both Swedish and American death metal scenes of the past, this is by no means innovative, but the electric charge generated here is undeniable.





Revenge-Behold Total Rejection

Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection (black/death)

The undisputed heir of Conqueror’s war metal throne, Revenge continues to dismantle everything in its path with its relentless wall of chaotic thunder.





Triumvir Foul

Triumvir Foul – Triumvir Foul (death)

A last-minute release may well be the best death metal album of the year. Ancient metal of death, this is an absolutely monstrous album with a cavernous sound.






Undergang – Døden Læger Alle Sår (death)

A thick and grimy album with a guitar tone you won’t hear on any modern release. The chugging old school riffs grind you down from the very first note.





Best EP’s 2015


Malthusian – Below the Hengiform (black/death)

Cosmic Church – Vigilia (black)

Abjvration – The Unquenchable Pyre (death/doom)

Possession – 1585-1646 (black/death)

Throaat – Black Speed (black/speed)



  1. I need to spend more time with that Malokarpatan album – the weird mix of “Ritual”-era Masters Hammer and classic Mercyful Fate is neat but takes a while to gigest. Their other band Remmirath is neat, too, especially if you’re into a nice dose of Eastern-tinged psychedelia in your black metal.

  2. Great list. No bullshit. Something from TNBM addendum would be nice – djevel or nettlecarrier.

    • Really liked both the Nettlecarrier and Djevel albums….Askeregn and Arvas also just missed making my list as well.

      If I let myself really go I could come up with a ton of albums I really enjoyed this year, so I usually restrict it to twenty just to keep things from getting ridiculous

  3. Surprised I haven’t seen that Havukruunu on more lists – it’s absolutely fantastic, and that opening track, Talven Mustat Tuulet, should be an easy selection for one of the Most Infectious songs of the year (*cough* Islander *cough*).

    • Agreed, I like all the stuff theyve done before now, but they really took it up a notch with this full length, though if I had to choose an individual track Id probably pick “Havulinnaan” (which I couldnt find on youtube) with “Talven Mustat Tuulet” being a close second

    • I feel the same. My tastes are obviously quite different to yours SurgicalBrute, but Havukruunu is a stand out here for my ears, I’ll definitely look into the rest of the album.

      • Thanks for looking my list over…different tastes or not, Im glad you found something you liked on here

        • For sure, thanks for posting it! I’ll be the first to admit my metal education came from scraping together whatever I could find while in a fairly isolated pre-internet corner of the world, so often I feel like I’m playing catch up 😉 Even if at first I think “wtf I don’t get it?!” in all honesty some of the bands I’ve come to love the most were ones that I didn’t quite “get” to start with.

          • Ive definitely experienced that…the moment when an album finally makes sense. For me its usually when I have music on in the background and all of a sudden a riff just catches my attention. Then Ive got to go back and start the album all over again

            I was real lucky when I first started getting into metal. I became friends with a bunch of people who really knew their shit (most people would probably call them elitists :)) and they were always pointing me towards new music. Honestly though, even knowing where to look for new stuff now, I still feel like Im playing catch up. There’s just no way to keep track of all the good music coming out…but damn do I enjoy trying

  4. I just want to make sure you recognize how much you’ve poisoned me over the years. I’m pretty sure that the first time you did a year-end list, I hadn’t heard any of the albums, and probably hadn’t even heard of most of the bands. This year, I’ve heard 9 of the 19 and there are only 8 bands I’ve never heard of before. 🙂

  5. Sick List is Sick! I only briefly read it last night and so I have to dig in today. But I like it. And what yI don’t know sounds like I will like it.

    • Thanks man…glad you liked it

      • Really enjoyed picking through the list today. What I know already were high rankers in my world.
        What I didn’t know, well thats the exciting part.

        Aegrus and Balmog in particular really kicked ass.
        Bruhlvahnatu is desperate to be heard in full (tomorrow I hope!)

        Thanks for the awesome new additions!!

        • Really am glad to hear that man…all joking aside, I think its awesome when people get into the bands I put on these lists.

          Definitely dig into Brulvahnatu when you get a chance…really great stuff. Id say his previous releases are probably even better than his newest one

  6. Thank you so much for this list. I’m really enjoying Blaze of Perdition, Aegrus, and Adversarial.

  7. One list I always look forward to every year. Balmog and Havukruunu seem to be just my taste. Thanks!

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