Jan 062016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(Here’s NCS contributor Grant Skelton’s year-end list of 2015 favorites. It includes still more releases that haven’t appeared on our many previous lists.)

Since I’m likely the most verbose writer on this site, I’ve decided to keep my descriptions of my favorites of 2015 brief. In the interest of fairness, I also chose to omit any albums I previously reviewed. I don’t review albums I don’t love. But in the interest of not repeating myself, I left reviewed albums out.

For my money, doom consistently delivered the best albums of 2015. Certainly my tastes seem to be changing as I get older. Thrash and death will always be pet genres for me. But this year was (mostly) about 3 things: Slow. Loud. Heavy.

Without further delay, here are my favorite albums of 2015. My standard for what makes an album a contender for “best” is simple — I want to listen to the entire album in its entirety without skipping a single track. The albums in this list did just that. Continue reading »

Jan 052016

Thy Darkened Shade art


(Once again we invited Semjaza, the main man behind the superb Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, to share with us his lists of favorite releases from 2015, and we thank him for doing so.)

No need for a truly lengthy introduction since this is my second list at No Clean Singing, but here is the music that I enjoyed most during 2015.

There is much great music and too little time, therefore, lock yourselves in your home, listen, buy, and play music (read and meditate as well). Then, go outside in the wilderness for more inspiration, away from the vermin and towards the black earth.

I will hereby present my eleven most important albums of 2015, along with some other ones that I cherished this year. Apart from my ultimate best album, which is “The Book of Souls” by Iron Maiden, there is no particular order in the following list. Continue reading »

Jan 052016



We have been steadfast fans of Minnesota’s Amiensus for years, and so we are very pleased to bring you year-end lists from four of the band’s members.

These lists include metal, of course, but also albums from other genres as well , and two of the members have also listed some favorite individual songs.

If you haven’t heard the music of Amiensus before, go HERE and get acquainted (they’re on Facebook at this location). Continue reading »

Jan 042016

2015 list


(KevinP weighs in with his year-end list of top EPs and albums.)

441 albums.  That was the total amount of metal I consumed this year.  Easily the most I’ve ever listened to and almost double last year’s consumption.  Even though most of these are from my Albums of the Month columns (if you have followed that, GOOD, if not, get with the program in 2016), there are 3 that made my final list that I either overlooked initially or grew on me enough over the course of the year to warrant inclusion.

All 12 number one albums from the monthly series made the list (naturally), but not all of them held up, as 3 albums in my Top 10 were not ‘Best Of’ their respective month.  Anyways, enjoy the list. Hopefully, there’s some new music you overlooked that I put on your radar.  Feel free to discuss what albums tickled your fancy in the comments below. Continue reading »

Jan 042016

M Gonçalves-Windfaerer


(This year we had the pleasure of premiering two songs from the wonderful new album by New Jersey’s Windfaerer, along with a review — all of that can be found here — and now we bring you a diverse year-end list from Windfaerer’s vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gonçalves.)

This year has been an insane year for metal and I had a hard time catching up with everything. The damn year has flown by so fast that I still think it’s 2014. Here’s to 2015 and all the wonderful releases it has brought us! The following list is in no particular order. Continue reading »

Dec 312015


deckard cain YE list


(After quite an absence, our old comrade deckard cain rejoins us with a list of his favorites — both metal and not-metal — from 2015.)

And yet another year of death, destruction, and hopelessness has come to pass. Religion still culls by the thousands, earthquakes still shake people’s idea of reality, capitalism and poverty are still in vogue, guns have turned into mouthpieces, digital connectivity is constantly separating man from himself. No longer do we have communities nor are we individuals, just a floating image of what could have been on somebody’s idea of a mirror. The Damocles sword no longer hangs over our heads, it is recast into the guillotine that falls ever so swiftly, upon our neutered minds.

Paranoia will consume us before the source from where it stems does……

And here, solace is only found in the darkest of places… in that very form of music that finds its essence in the throes of realism. Continue reading »

Dec 312015

John Zorn-Simulacrum


(This is the last installment of Wil Cifer’s year-end series. Part 1 focused on “Mainstream” metal, Part 2 on black metal, Part 3 on death metal, and Part 4 on doom.)

The emphasis here is sometimes on the experimental and sometimes on the more progressive side of things. Some of these bands have pushed the bounds of what they do so far that it’s hard for any label to confine them, much less “metal”. They are all in their own way heavy. Heavier emotionally than most of the more conventional metal that came out this year. There are jazz artists throwing up their horns, and a New York hipster who wants to burn the traditions of metal like a church in Norway. Some shred, others show a more difficult level of mastery in connecting their instruments to their bared hearts.

Here are the albums that gave their middle finger to what you thought heavy was supposed to be. They are ranked according to what Last FM told me I listened to the most.


10. John Zorn – “Simulacrum”

This slab of wonderful weirdness, is more accessible than his classic Naked City album. He has put John Medeski together with the guitarist from Cleric, who I had no clue could shred like this. Yes thats right, it’s the dude from Medeski, Martin and Wood, playing with a dude from a metal band. There is more Crimson and Zappa influence on this one than what you normally hear from Zorn. Continue reading »

Dec 302015



(This is Part 4 of Wil Cifer’s five-part year-end list. Part 1 focused on “Mainstream” metal, Part 2 on black metal, and Part 3 on death metal.)

This one was the hardest list so far. I need darkness and a sense of loss emoted from my doom. Though there is a far wider range of emotions expressed in the following albums, drugged bliss, anger, and introspective melancholy are a few of the more prominent ones. Some have a dash of death metal to them, others shoe-gaze or blues. Funeral doom is my favorite sub-genre, and there is a fair showing of that. Some bands you might have expected to see here could be popping up on other lists to some extent, as their sound has changed. When it came to ranking my top ten doom metal albums of the year, it came down to which albums I have listened to more and see myself continuing to go back to.

10. Swallow the Sun – “Songs From the North”

In today’s iPod-shuffling and ADD culture, a double album is ambitious, and even becoming an obscure phenomenon as more artists are reluctant even to invest in more than an EP with today’s diminishing record sales. Swallow the Sun took a step in an even bolder direction by putting out a triple album. The three albums offer a wide range of tastes into the varied sub-genres doom touches upon, even mellowing out into a more prog direction. Continue reading »

Dec 302015

Johan Huldtgren


(For the fifth year in a row, I invited my friend Johan Huldtgren of the Swedish black metal band Obitus — whose latest release appears on one of 2014’s Elemental Nightmares splits (here) — to share with us his year-end list. Once again, he agreed. This list previously appeared on Johan’s blog.)

The year is once again coming to a close, and as tradition would dictate I find myself scrambling to get this list together. When looking out at all the other lists published so far, I realize how little new music I’ve managed to listen to over the past year. I find myself with the same excuses as in years past — the fucking day job, travel, and other obligations. I did however manage to scrounge up ten releases I thought worthy of inclusion in an end of year list. Continue reading »

Dec 292015

NCS Best of 2015 graphic


(Our old friend from the Dominican Republic Vonlughlio once again brings us his list of the year’s best releases. It’s a Top 50 list, with honorable mentions as well, and this is Part 2, counting down from No. 24 to No. 1. Part 1 can be found here.)

So here is the second part of my favorite albums of this year, and honorable mentions: Continue reading »