We’re midway through December now, and I haven’t really spoken much about my musical tastes on here. So, to fix that, here are my top 5 favorite releases of 2015, in no particular order!
Intervals – The Shape Of Color
This album snuck in at the end of the year, and it immediately became part of my regular cycle of music. I’ve been a fan of Intervals since around when they released their EP In Time, and since then the band has gone through a lot of (minor) changes both in their lineup and their sound. The decision go back to doing an instrumental album was a good one for Intervals, as it allowed for the raw talent of Aaron Marshal, Travis Orbin, and Cameran McClellan (whom I first fell in love with from his infamous bow and arrow move from Protest The Hero’s Sequoia Throne video, tbh) to shine. Aaron took it a step further as well by taking things down a notch in terms of the heaviness of the record, and instead opted for more jazzy sounding riffs and tones—a breath of fresh air for the group. I’ll be listening to this one for years.
Four Year Strong – Self Titled
Anyone who knows me personally knows how much of a Four Year Strong fan I am. Along with the rest of their fanbase, I was somewhat disappointed by their fourth album release, which they said deviated from their normal sound quite a bit. However with the release of their EP Go Down In History in 2014, many fans including myself hoped that this was a sign that the band was moving back in the direction of their older—more preferred—style. Their self titled release met and exceeded my expectations. Each song on this album is a banger, with excellent songwriting, prolific musicianship, and great engineering cultivated through their 4 previous releases. The day after listening to it the first time I already had many of the songs stuck in my head, and I still do to this day.
Periphery – Juggernaut Alpha
What is left to say about this release that hasn’t already been said by others? Juggernaut Alpha is just Periphery doing Periphery real muh’ fuggin’ well. Not only are their tones tweaked to near perfection, but their song writing throughout the entire album to rope the whole concept together was masterful; the tasteful use of different musical themes throughout the record demonstrate just how closely these guys pay attention to their craft. The element that raised Alpha that much above Omega for me was that Alpha had more material, and did more with said material than I felt Omega did. A fantastic accompanying album to finish out their concept, however Alpha is the real masterpiece in my mind.
Veil Of Maya – Matriarch
Matriarch was a big surprise for me. Veil always existed in the peripheral of my knowledge of the metal genre, but hadn’t really put anything out that really captured my attention. Then about a year ago I joined up with DC Prog Metal band Aerist, which our very own Dave heads up. Most of the members of Aerist were big fans of Veil, so through them I began to listen and really enjoy Veil. Then Matriarch came out, which seemed like a much more mainstream step for them—a step I was a fan of! The production is top notch, each song is great and true to Veil. Furthermore, in working with Taylor Larson on Everything Under, we happened to be in the studio a couple times while Marc was there, and while Taylor was working on the record. One night while I had gone to the studio to pick up a master of our album, Taylor asked me, “Do you like Veil?” and absent-mindedly handed me a copy of Matriarch, “I’m cleaning up the studio, and I’m trying to get rid of this!” Don’t worry, the album is getting much more love in my car’s sound system.
Knuckle Puck – Copacetic
Last one on the list would have to be another album that completely surprised me. I had heard of Knuckle Puck through friends and through people in the Baltimore pop punk scene before, but hadn’t gotten around to listening to them seriously. The times that I had listened to them nothing really caught my attention. Then Copacetic came out and hit like a bag of bricks. Each song is creatively crafted pop punk with really well thought lyrics which tie in together incredibly well.
That’s it for me! What were your guys’ favorites of 2015? I’m asking the rest of us here at Arc to list their favorites as well, so stay tuned to see what us nerds listen to!