ToH Guest Celebrity Best of 2K15, Featuring Slugdge, Vod, and Hadean

Want to know what members of SlugdgeVod, and Hadean thought were the best albums of the year? Look no further!

Matt Moss – Slugdge

LeviathanScar Sighted | DEVOUT rcrds

Excerpt from Christian’s review: “As a musician, Whitehead exists in the pantheon of Great Artists willing to reinvent themselves over and over in pursuit of perfection. With Scar Sighted, he is one step closer. This album proves Whitehead is unafraid to draw from his own unique, immediately identifiable style and recreate it in a way unlike any of his past works.”

HorrendousAnareta | Dark Descent

Excerpt from Leif’s review: “I’ve lived with this album for close to a month now, and I do mean LIVED with it. Anareta has been a near daily companion since its arrival in my mailbox. It’s invaded my earholes at home, at work, at the gym, in my car, and even when it isn’t playing I find myself singing it or humming my favorite riffs. It’s a truly fantastic death metal album that has just gotten more and more enjoyable with each successive listen, even after a month of intimacy. Does it measure up to Ecdysis? It absolutely does, a feat that at best seemed improbable only a year removed from that album. Horrendous are proving one album at a time that they’re ready to conquer the death metal mountain, and I, for one, welcome our new East Coast overlords.”

Napalm DeathApex Predator – Easy Meat | Century Media

Excerpt from Ed’s review: “Overall, this album is consistently good from start to finish. Just as the title track launched the record into full-throttle with a bizarre and off-kilter martial aggression, “Adversarial – Copulating Snakes,” the album closer, finishes the fight with all the prowess and deadly violence of a decorated veteran. At over five minutes, it’s half frenetic grind and half slow-march breakdown. It is the trumpet that signals victory at the end of a conflict.”

FrontiererOrange Mathematics | Independent

Excerpt from Simon Handmaker’s review at HBIH: “Frontierer may draw their emotive qualities from the sort of mood one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy, but this is music that can (and should) be recommended to anyone. Updating the chaotic, ugly, powerhouse sound last heard with Danza 4 in 2012 and expanding outwards on it with electronics and different songwriting direction, ORANGE MATHEMATICS brings its own spin on the framework provided by Josh Travis in a way that is simultaneously refreshing and comfortably familiar. Mathcore fanatics, eat your heart out.”

Cult LeaderLightless Walk | Deathwish Inc.

Excerpt from Ron’s review: “A wide array of subgenres are at play on Lightless Walk, and a whole host of artists have become adept at intertwining them to forge an identity for themselves. Cult leader has this working for them in a way that others do not; the genres in play can be heard simultaneously meshing as elements of sludge, hardcore, doom, black metal, grind and crust all come together without one fighting for superiority over the other throughout. It’s a rare feat that can only be attributed to the myriad of influences that make up Cult Leader’s sound. These are the types of albums that have the potential to influence many others for years to come. Time is sure to judge this album favorably as it explores a wide range of emotions from anger to hopelessness that listeners routinely tap into when listening to heavy music. Under most circumstances, it would be ill advised to follow a cult leader of any stripe, but if this particular Cult Leader is serving Kool-Aid, you’re going to drink it up like those folks in Jonestown.”

Ur DraugrWith Hunger Undying | ATMF

Excerpt from Dubya’s Toilet Tuesday plug: “If I had to pick one word to describe With Hunger Undying, it would be sick. Just listen to “Seeds Sown in Famine”. While a nauseous guitar lead vomits all over the rhythm skronk, a stuttering, drunken drum snare stumbles across the scene. So much seems to be going wrong in each song, yet all the parts somehow combine to make something truly special. Do not miss it.”

MgłaExercises in Futility | No Solace

Excerpt from Stanley’s 18 Days guest post: “On July 26th, Mgła announced on their Facebook page that their third full-length album,Exercises in Futility had been recorded and was scheduled for release in late Summer. To say that I was excited about this announcement was a huge understatement and akin to Chief Brody’s classic litotes, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ When our dear Toilet published the news, there was a palpable fervor in the community from a few who were already familiar with the band, but enough of a buzz was being generated for others to start checking them out.”

Cattle DecapitationThe Anthropocene Extinction | Metal Blade

Excerpt from Karhu’s Toilet Tuesday plug: “Many of you know of my beef with this band. But it seems to me that I have achieved a relative peace with them. Their older releases no longer excite me at all (whereas they used, hence the disappointment) but The Anthropocene Extinction is different. Pretty much all songs feature Travis Ryan showing his vocal-capabilities (via “Gollum”-screeches or cleans of varying degrees) and the songwriting feels more focused than on earlier efforts. Despite never lacking speed, Anthropocene Extinction never feels grnding, more like extreme speed metal. All in all an excellent release and the bands only one I enjoy as a whole. ”

Rivers of NihilMonarchy | Metal Blade

Excerpt from Jack Bauer’s Toilet Tuesday plug: “Rivers of Nihil have improved on their brand of already facemelting death metal with technical influences by doing what Job For A Cowboy did last year and adding a lil’ prog and some of dat bass. This has resulted in them absoultely catapulting past the sound they had on the preceding album, and any fan of death metal should give these guys a chance!”

The Black Dahlia MurderAbysmal | Metal Blade

Excerpt from Angry Metal Guy’s review on Angry Metal Guy: “This album feels like a throwback to early 2000s TBDM… sort of. With increased classical influences, a shine and compositional brilliance the band simply didn’t possess when they were so young, Abysmal outclasses that material. It’s not a direct continuation of the direction of Everblack, but I don’t think every record needs to be about pushing the boundaries of their sound. Sometimes it’s OK to just write a bunch of really great songs, put them into the perfect order and hit the road. Abysmal is the perfect antithesis to a pretentious scene glutting itself on 80 minute records that can’t get out of their own way; it’s tough, fast, refined, and slick. And when it’s all over, you want to start it over again. Abysmal? Just a clever name.”

Dave Tremblay – Vod

DélugeÆther | Les Acteurs de l’Ombre

France’s black metal band with post-hardcore tendencies Déluge sends a terrifying barrage of blast beats and crushing tremolo-picked riffs. If you want an atmospheric black metal release that will stomp you to death, this is the one.


Dendritic ArborRomantic Love | Grimoire Records

Interweaving black metal with grindcore and noise music, Dendritic Arbor have two releases in 2015: this one, and Sentient Village // Obsolescent Garden, which will be out December 30th. I had the chance to listen to it prematurely, and both releases will tear you to shreds.


HadeanOn Fading | Independent

An avant-garde metal album that puts the sax back in “blsaxck metal”, On Fading really deserves to be on this list, if only for their musical creativity. They frequently hop between genres and styles too so listening to this album is never boring, long after it’s released.


Jute GyteShip of Theseus | Independent

Oh, Jute Gyte. I didn’t have a choice but to put one of their releases on this year’s list. Ship of Theseus is their latest and most experimental take on their microtonal progressive black metal sound. A truly haunting release to put around when it’s Krampus time.


So HideousLaurestine | Prosthetic

Simply a legendary album! Laurestine was so unexpectedly good that my jaw is still on the floor – although by now the maggots have had the most of it. Basically, it’s an orchestra-focused atmospheric black metal album, but it’s so different than anything I’ve heard that it makes it unique. A fully recommended listen for anyone, any time!

MesarthimIsolate | Independent

You could call this space-black metal for their fascination with the outward universe, but if you want a depressive black metal album with hints of electronic music, this is probably what’s best out there.



Spectral LoreGnosis | I, Voidhanger

Applying their meticulous song crafting to more acoustic and Eastern-sounding music, Spectral Lore recently put out Gnosis, which is just an incredible work of art. The acoustic sections are thoroughly explored and deeply thought-out, while the more metal ones are just as good and not over-represented. This is another one that you just need to listen to.


TempelThe Moon Lit Our Path | Prosethetic

Tempel released one of the best instrumental post-metal albums of the year with The Moon Lit Our Path. The riffs are often very ingenious and well developed throughout the songs. A real headbang-inducer.



VIDe Praestigiis Angelorum | Agonia Records

Another French release, from VI this time: De Praestigiis Angelorum is another tremolo-picking and blast beat assault on you. It’s a very hypnotic release, where you just fall into a second state and experience the album on a more fundamental level.


WovokaSaros | Locust Rising

A big, fat, ugly album of sludgy post-metal, Saros, from Wovoka, is still my go-to angry release this year. Instead of punching someone in the face, just put this on at maximum volume and let the hate flow.


David Parnell – Hadean

10. FarvelRøk | Jazzlan

A quirky jazz album that features some very unique vocals. There is a lot of variety within the tracklist and the ensemble definitely is bringing something unique to the table. For fans of Skadedyr and Your Headlights Are On.


9. Daniel HerskedalSlow Eastbound Train | Edition Records

Daniel Herskedal shows that the tuba doesn’t always have to be a solo instrument with this record. Slow Eastbound Train combines elements of classical and Scandinavian Folk to create something wholly unique. Listen to “The Mistral Noir”.


8. Kaija SaariahoLet the Wind Speak | Ondine

This recording is a collection of Saariaho’s chamber works that feature flute. There are pieces that span 25 years on this recording that show her development as a composer.  Camilla Hoitenga’s interpretations are masterful, and this is a great set that encapsulates her working relationship with Saariaho. If spectralism tinged with electronic elements is your game, Saariaho is someone to check out for sure. She doesn’t sacrifice being lyrical even though she is a member of the avant-garde.

7. John Luther AdamsThe Wind in High Places | John Luther Adams

John Luther Adams follows up the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY winning piece Become Ocean with the more intimate The Wind in Places. This album contains two works for string quartet and one for cello choir. Adams continues to show his masterful take on minimalism with these pieces that are always moving forward and developing in the most minute ways.

6. Kristoffer Lo & Trondheim Jazz OrchestraSavages | Propeller Recordings

Kristoffer Lo shows his unique voice on this recording with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Combining avant-garde jazz, pop, and metal/noise influences into a varied, yet coherent record. This live performance of “Savages II” and “Make Fame” speaks for itself.


5. Jacob AnderskovHabitable Exomusics Trilogy | ILK Music

Jacob Anderskov gets my vote for most ambitious album with this trilogy. Not only did Anderskov release three albums, he also wrote a dissertation that explores his compositional and improvisational habits. He also uses said analysis to show that a “post-tonal” harmonic language can be as natural as the major/minor tonalities we grow up with. The music is great, with a trio album of composed tunes coupled with two freely improvised records (one solo, one in a trio setting.) An ambitious album that shows that great art comes from effort and reflection.  If you’re interested in the nerdy stuff here is the site that contains the dissertation, sheet music, etc.

4. Orchestre National de JazzEuropa Berlin | Onjazz Records

Olivier Benoit continues his Europa series with Europa Berlin. This is the second album in the triptych, and shows that the orchestra and Benoit are jelling as a unit. There are influences of prog-rock, free jazz, noise, and modern classical music. This album is extremely dense, but there are strong themes, inventive forms, and very impressive group interplay and soloing. The ranks of the orchestra are filled with heavy hitters like Alexandra Grimal, Bruno Chevillon, and Eric Echampard. So you can continue your jazz odyssey by checking out the individual member’s solo projects. Watch a live performance here.

3. Michael WollnyNachtfahrten | ACT Music

Michael Wollny took a step away from the usual fiery, technical improvisational explorations employed on some of his earlier work (most notably with [EM]) on Nachtfahrten. While there is a lot more breathing space on this record, Wollny and his ensemble don’t take it easy. There are still moments of technical brilliance, but this recording is definitely an exploration into the more subtle side of Wollny’s musical language and really shows how well rounded he is.

2. Anna ThorvaldsdottirIn the Light of Air | Written for the International Contemporary Ensemble

Anna Thorvaldsdottir further demonstrates her mastery of timbre, sound, and structure with this new piece. In the Light of Air was commissioned for the International Contemporary Ensemble, who really brings Thorvaldsdottir’s music to life. There are no superfluous gestures here, every rhythmic and melodic theme that comes through the monolithic atmosphere is extremely effective. Ingenious writing. Watch “In the Light of Air” live.

1. Marius NesetPinball | ACT Music

On Pinball, Marius Neset continues to show why he is one of the most exiting new voices in European Jazz. The track list shows his skills as a composer and improviser in a multitude of genres and forms. From the slow burning ballad “Odes of You” to the tight interplay of tracks like “Police” and “Summer Dance” we see Neset and his band jump between tightly composed sections and freewheeling improvisation with finesse.  Check out this excerpt from a recently recorded live show. Skip to 1:05:50 to hear an insane sax solo improvisation that segues into my favorite tune on this album, “Summer Dance.”

  • Guacamole Jim

    Vod’s list = fuck yes. I’mma need to spend some time with David Parnell’s list – dis shit seems right up my alley.

    • RJA

      I’m listening to the Marius Neset show right now. He’s a nice player but the band has vibraphone – which I cannot get into no matter how hard I try.

      • Guacamole Jim

        As a person who has played the vibraphone.. you shut your damn mouth.

        • RJA

          Sorry guys! Listened to Modern Jazz Quartet many times to try and get over it.

        • Wow. What the heck happened here with all these insults?!

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Rule 1: you don’t talk shit on the vibraphone


          • RJA

            Vibraphone is a very divisive topic – I knew that going into my comment!

          • Gimme Kawaii Toast, Honey Buns

            I dunno what a vibraphone is, but if you like it, then I hate it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, because I’m a rebel like that!

      • Sir Tapir The Based


      • Gimme Kawaii Toast, Honey Buns
      • CyberneticOrganism

        It sounds like the Commando soundtrack (and yeah I know that’s a steel drum)

        • ┼yree


  • ┼yree

    I feel like someone here hated that Spectral Lore album, I want to say Dubz.

    • Dubs

      I wasn’t big on it.

      • ┼yree

        I can see why… Listening now and I’m not really getting into it at all.

  • Dubs

    Wovoka is new to me, but I jammed it this morning after pulling this thing together. FFO: Cult of Luna, The Ocean

    • Guacamole Jim

      Never heard them before, but I’m digging it mightily.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Daaaamn. I love listmania. My library grows tenfold. (Prays M. Shadows doesn’t reply to my phrasing.)

      • M Shadows!


  • Salvador Dalí Lama

    Déluge getting love <3

    And now, a list of things Frontierer might be:
    -Meshuggah on bath salts
    -Danza 2.0
    -Forbidden lovechild of Danza and Ion Dissonance
    -Elevator music from the Monolith's wormhole in 2001: A Space Odyssey
    -The governments failed attempt to make a mobile sonic weapons unit
    -Sounds from a Star Wars firefight.
    -The first recorded case of a man copulating with his guitar

  • I really didn’t like that TBDM album at first, but it grew on me real fast. Quite good.

    • Spear

      So much better than Everblack.

      • Hmm while I understand why people dislike it, I actually really like everblack.

        • Spear

          I didn’t dislike it, but some of the elements didn’t quite gel. Also, every damned song did this half-time feel riff under the solos, and it got old after a few listens. It has a couple really good tracks too, though.

          • It’s definitely not what fans had come to expect from them. As a whole its a bit on the slower side too.

      • Lacertilian

        I might have to give it a run.

  • Dubs

    David’s list is like a treasure chest of stuff I’d have never found on my home. Will need to explore.

  • That David guy has a sweet last name

  • Thanks to David, Matt and Dave for sharing their lists with us! 🙂

    The music here is like trying to form names with Scrabble letters on a car accident. So, it’s p cool.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    Stumbled on that VI album earlier this week, fantastic stuff. Lots here I haven’t heard yet.

  • Gimme Kawaii Toast, Honey Buns

    Great picks, fellas! As far as I can tell, Mgla seems to be the shoe in for Album Of The Year (didn”t make my list, but goddamn it’s good!)

    • Max

      I honestly didn’t think it was that great, unfortunately. The first song is fantastic – if they’d kept up that standard for the rest of the album it’d be an instant classic. But for me, the ensuing tracks were all a lot more underwhelming. And I gave it plenty of listens.

      • Lacertilian

        I liked V most I think, but I too spent (probably too long) time trying to get into it but it just didn’t stick with me at all.
        Oh well.

        • more beer

          Me either.

      • more beer

        I guess I am the only American in agreement with all of you guys from down under. Because it didn’t do anything for me either. I even tried again last night to see if anything changed my mind. The answer was a resounding no!

  • ┼yree

    Anticipated releases for 2016:

    Black Witchery??
    Cultes Des Ghoules??
    Sadistic Intent (Yeah right)
    Void Meditation Cult
    Blasphemy/Goatpenis split
    Sinmara (EP?)
    Demon Bitch full-length??
    One Tail One Head??
    Khtoniik Cerviiks


      Hopefully a new Gris

    • I know 8 of the bands you listed lol

      • Gimme Kawaii Toast, Honey Buns

        I know Angelcorpse, and that’s it. Tyree’s many millions of light years into the underground.


      Wasnt 100% on the last Cultes Des Ghouls or Sinmara

      • Lacertilian

        That Sinmara album has been on constant rotation since Tyree featured it.
        So fucking good.

    • Dubs

      Did I tell you I have that Khthoniik Cerviiks album already?

      • ┼yree

        Nah. Without giving too much away, is it pretty good? I liked the production a lot more I know from the sample I heard.

        • Dubs

          It sounds less chaotic than the demo.

          • ┼yree

            Hmmmm, I’ll be curious to hear it.

    • yis. more hellvetron is good.

      • ┼yree

        Indeed, 4 years over due.

    • Stanley

      U forgot Ketzer. Lol.

    • Leif Bearikson

      Is Svartidaudi releasing an album!? I don’t think I can contain myself

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I like you David. You’re not bad either Dave-id.

  • Do Dave and David use their powers to combine into Dave Davidson?

  • ┼yree

    Is that Pit-bull on the cover photo.

  • Waynecro

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything on Parnell’s list. This warrants a serious investigation.