12. Fear Factory – Genexus
When Burton C Bell and Dino Cazares are truly in sync the results are often mesmeric and Genexus saw Fear Factory’s linchpins operating at full strength.
Honing a formula they pioneered on 1995’s Demanufacture, Genexus felt like a natural follow-up to that legendary release. The huge clean choruses and mechanised riffing locked into an earth-shattering groove with robotic drumming were ever present – as expected – and the overall impact was apocalyptic.
Astonishingly versatile and accessible, Fear Factory’s formula needs little tinkering to deliver the requisite goods. In fact, it’s the reliability of their clinically unique sound interspersed with industrialised samples that enabled Genexus to hit so damn hard.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it lads!
11. Symphony X – Underworld
One of the finest progenitors of Prog on the planet returned in 2015 and Underworld was yet another cast-iron classic from a band who can seemingly do no wrong. Proving once and for all that technically astonishing experimentation can sit side-by-side with heavy metal thunder and neck-breaking rhythms, the likes of “Nevermore” and “Kiss Of Fire”, with their thrash riffs, channeled aggression and Russell Allen’s ever-powerful vocals, were sure-fire, fan favourites in the making.
Even the ballads, so often a damp squib when scattered amongst such high-tempo ground-shakers, captured the imagination. From the epic grandeur of “Without You“‘ to the spectacular “Swansong”, the slower reflective moments complimented the relatively fearsome nature of the majority of the album. Not that melody had been jettisoned in favour of macho posturing of course but there was a fever-pitch pace to Underworld that practically screamed ‘pay-attention’ in your face; neo-classical noodling this wasn’t, pure progressive metal it most certainly was!