APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2015

motorheadWhen looking back at 2015, the only thing that seems to matter is the passing of Lemmy Kilmister. Of course losing Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor in November was sad but Lemmy was on another level – one of the pillars of the entire rock ‘n roll universe. Thankfully, he left a voluminous legacy for us to enjoy for eternity, including some of music’s best interviews and quotes possible. Cheers, Lemmy.

Other than that, 2015 was a remarkably strong year for the pioneering, long-running bands in the metal scene.  Everyone from KILLING JOKE, MY DYING BRIDE, FEAR FACTORY to AMORPHIS put out fantastic records. This past year also saw some very good super groups in TAU CROSS and FIRESPAWN make their debuts.  You’ll find that many of them made it to our respective lists.

Additionally, we’ve recruited some fresh blood in Charles Elliott, Andrew Sample, and Jeff Wagner. These industry vets have been in the trenches with us for years and years, and have helped bring you many of the greatest records ever released for the past 20+ years.
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Ultimate Drumming Featured on New PYREXIA

Pyrexia - Feast of IniquityNew York death metal vets, PYREXIA, are back with Feast of Iniquity via Unique Leader Records on October 29, 2013.

The biggest news about the record is the fact that it features both Doug Bohn (SUFFOCATION – Pierced From Within) and Dave Culross (SUFFOCATION, MALEVOLENT CREATION) on drums.  Sick.  Doug Bohn is the band’s fulltime drummer.

Check out the track, “The Pendulum,” below:

SUFFOCATION – Pinnacle of Bedlam

Suffocation - Pinnacle of BedlamThe good news right off the bat: Pinnacle of Bedlam is the best of post-reunion SUFFO albums.  Everything from the songs, production, progression, and the return of drum god Dave Culross see the band full of life force.  Also important to know is that due to the complex nature of some songs, the album is a grower, requiring time and many listens.

Everything fans have come to love about SUFFO‘s legendary brutal, technical death metal style are all here.  However, the album is more like the band on steroids where they take everything to another level, mostly the technicality and progressive influences.  SUFFO explore their classical music influences, as heard on the Pinnacle of Bedlam‘s first two songs.  Keen ears will recognize a classical waltz rhythm going on.  The song/riff/tempo progressions are very intertwined and complex and often go on their own.  Overall, the songs on the album are very diverse within themselves in all the different dimensions that they explore.  The band easily transition from a melodic riff to a slam riff to a breakdown.

Things get a hair more straight forward or traditional in the middle of Pinnacle starting with the devastating “As Grace Descends.”  “Sullen Days” starts off with a clean, pristine proggy guitars before chugging into unsettling pinched harmonics.   The title track explores the classical waltz tempo again while also blasting into CARCASSHeartwork-era melodics.  Closing track, “Beginning of Sorrow,” is absolutely devastating in its sheer intensity and easily ranks as one of their best.

Longtime fans should shell out the extra money to buy the digipak version, which contains the DVD, The Making of Pinnacle of Bedlam.  Not only do you get to see the recording process but you get to learn more about their individual personalities.  SUFFO also provide a breakdown of their inside terminology of the various trademarks of the band’s sound.  Very cool stuff.

Pinnacle clearly demonstrates the immense effort that went into creating the band’s most complex and challenging album.  All your fave nerdy prog bands be damned.  (Nuclear Blast Records)

MALEVOLENT CREATION – Invidious Dominion

The ever-revolving door of different band members on each album continues with the death metal veterans’ 11th studio album, Invidious Dominion. MALEVOLENT CREATION welcomes back original bassist Jason Blachowicz, and long time friend/collaborator Gus Rios is brought into the fold as the permanent drummer. As long as main songwriter/guitarist Phil Fasciana is around, the SLAYER-influenced thrash/death metal style that MALEVOLENT is known for will always be there.

United Hate” thrusts the album into motion with comparisons to 2000’s Envenomed album immediately coming into mind. Vocalist Brett Hoffman’s vocals are in strong form, enunciating all the words, while retaining the raspy, unique voice he’s known for. The vocal patterns are kept simple and catchy, and fans of former drummer Dave Culross need not to worry as Rios emulates his predecessor’s style to a T.

Invidious Dominion includes decent tracks such as “Slaughter House” and “Target Rich Environment” but overall, everything sounds more like a continuation of their last few albums. While certainly not expecting amazing riffs as found on their landmark album, Retribution, MALEVOLENT plays it safe by sticking to their meat and potatoes formula with decent riffing and fast drumming, but nothing that distinguishes them from their earlier work.

Hoffman’s lyrics, while simple, revolve around real life events which happen around the world and not the juvenile lyrics Blachowicz came up with when he was fronting the group. “Born Again Hard” and “Corruptor” displays the post In Cold Blood era MALEVOLENT sound but it’s something we’ve heard before in their previous efforts. The title track closes everything out with Hoffman’s trademark extended yell, which is a pleasant surprise to know he’s still got it together.

While one must applaud MALEVOLENT’s longevity and the fact that they are still unleashing some furious and violent metal, anyone can almost predict what the album will sound like without listening to a note on the album, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, nothing interesting comes out of it. Invidious Dominion is not a bad effort in any way, but at the end of the day, there are other albums that are more interesting. (Nuclear Blast Records)

Death by Decibels Tour: VADER, MALEVOLENT CREATION, More

VADER, MALEVOLENT CREATION, and CATTLE DECAPITATION will embark on the The Death By Decibels Tour this November. The tour will also feature LIGHT THIS CITY, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, and VEIL OF MAYA.

Tour dates:

11/17/07 The Mainstage – Pompton Lakes, NJ
11/20/07 L’Anti – Quebec City, QC
11/21/07 Foufounes – Montreal, QC
11/22/07 Opera House – Toronto, ON
11/24/07 The Hayloft – Detroit, MI
11/25/07 Logan Square – Chicago, IL
11/26/07 Pop’s – St. Louis, MO
11/27/07 Static Bar – Kansas City, MO
11/28/07 Cervantes Ballroom – Denver, CO
11/30/07 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
12/01/07 Rock N Roll Pizza – Portland, OR
12/02/07 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA
12/03/07 House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA
12/05/07 The Rock – Tucson, AZ
12/06/07 Gator’s – Farmington, NM
12/07/07 Chic’s – El Paso, TX
12/08/07 White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
12/09/07 Ridglea Theater – Dallas, TX
12/10/07 Java Jazz – Houston, TX
12/11/07 Club Metro – McAllen, TX
12/15/07 Ground Zero – Spartanburg, SC
12/16/07 Jaxx – Springfield, VA
12/17/07 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
12/18/07 Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY


MALEVOLENT CREATION has always been one of metal’s most consistent and reliable acts. While many bands and trends have come and gone, mainman Phil Fasciana and his cohorts have never wavered or lost sight of what keeps real metal true, and the band’s intent is more than apparent on the band’s latest, Doomsday X. Returning to the fold are vocalist Brett Hoffmann, bassist Jason Blachowicz and guitarist Jon Rubin, who each bring renewed vigor to the proceedings and some extra firepower that was somewhat missing on the band’s past few releases. “Culture of Doubt,” “Buried in a Nameless Grave” and “Bio-Terror” all efficiently provide ample amounts of blasting speed. But the band also knows when to pull back, settling in to a driving, relentless groove as on the catchy “Deliver My Enemy.” The instrumental “Prelude to Doomsday” also showcases the band’s considerable chops and their ability to navigate tricky arrangements with seemingly relative ease. It’s interesting to note that Doomsday X is one of the few albums this year that actually gets faster as the album unfolds with the last four tracks serving as a virtual how-to guide on fast, punishing death metal. There’s also an old school vibe running throughout the album with the band bringing back some of the energy that made many of the mid to late 90’s death metal albums classics. This is not a case of dated nostalgia, but simply a band successfully capturing a feeling of the past and molding it with the vitality and precision of modern day metal, creating a new classic for both the legacy and future of death metal. (Nuclear Blast Records)

MALEVOLENT CREATION Complete Writing Process for New Album

MALEVOLENT CREATION recently finished writing the material for their upcoming album, Doomsday X, and are planning on entering the studio shortly. Here is word directly from the band:

“It’s finally about time for an update about what is happening in the world of MALEVOLENT CREATION!!! The band has completed the writing and pre production demos for 13 songs and will begin the recording of their 10th full length album Doomsday X in the coming weeks of November. We’re very happy with the direction the music has taken for this new album with song writing credits by each of the band members, and each song having its own identity but retaining the classic MALEVOLENT CREATION sound. It is truly amazing to have everyone writing for this album and brings a lot of new ideas to the songs. Fear not, each song is extremely brutal and covers a lot of territory as far as extreme metal is concerned. The album’s recording and touring line up is:

Jon Rubin – guitars
Phil Fasciana – guitars
Dave Culross – drums
Jason Blachowicz – bass
Brett Hoffmann – vocals

We have definitely had some huge obstacles to overcome to get this album written,but we are finally satisfied with all the music and are anxious to start recording.”

In related news, the band will embark on an extensive European tour early next year. Click here for more info.