10. Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Was Deafheaven’s New Bermuda even metal? Yes and no. For every black metal squall lay in wait an introspective moment of almost Coldplay (shudder) like melody. An off-putting description on paper but the reality of this astonishing album was far more rewarding.
A post, post (let’s have another one just for emphasis’ sake), post black metal album that teased extremity while embracing achingly emotional indie sensibilities and the detached, distorted nature of shoegaze, there was still enough aggressive animosity to get any open-minded metaller head-banging.
The kind of band for whom ‘labels’ don’t matter, it was Deafheaven’s total disregard for metal’s often pompous, self-imposed, guidelines that made them – and New Bermuda – such a thrilling proposition.
Either way you look at it, New Bermuda was utterly transcendent.
9. Swallow The Sun – Songs from the North I, II & III
You’ve either got to be stark raving mad or utterly convinced of your own unwavering talent to write a 21 song, triple album in 2015. Fortunately, Swallow The Sun fall firmly in the latter category and Songs From The North I, II & III was a stunning body of work from a band who knew there were music lovers out there with the attention span to consume the whole package in one sitting.
I embraced the kind of beautiful heaviness only hinted at on previous albums while II saw Swallow The Sun stripped back to their bare essence; an acoustic album par excellence and a tranquil calm before the storm of part III.
III was darker, heavier and a truly soul-devouring experience. Funeral doom may have had a good year (Skepticism, Ahab, Tyranny and Shape Of Despair all released outstanding new material) but Swallow The Sun reigned supreme on this crushing opus.
An awe-inspiring achievement.