Then in very tragic fashion, Ian Fraser (Lemmy Kilmister) died on December 28th, 2015. Lemmy was the second member of Motorhead to pass away in successive months. At 70 years old, Lemmy was diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer just days before his untimely death. Lemmy is ranked #103rd of all time front men and also #35th of all time rock bassists. Motorhead produced 20 Studio Albums and those albums generated over 30 Million Sales world wide.
So as far as the criteria for the Top 20 List goes, the album must have been released in 2015 and must fall into either the hard rock/heavy metal category. Last year saw so many awesome albums that were released and the winners were extremely difficult to choose. My Top 5 of last year were 5) Overkill (White Devil Armory), 4) Steel Panther (All You Can Eat), 3) Slipknot (The Grey Chapter), 2) Slash w/ Myles Kennedy (World on Fire), and 1) Accept (Blind Rage). 2014 also saw one iconic band, AC/DC release yet another studio album ROCK OR BUST. This year saw Iron Maiden release their 16th studio album, THE BOOK OF SOULS.
2015 continued to breed many headlines and interesting stories on and off the stage. Motley Crue continued "THE FINAL TOUR," there was a ton of rumors about a classic Guns N Roses reunion which sparked much excitement, Black Sabbath announced that they will have yet another final tour (I thought the last one would be), Tool who have been gone it seems like forever, also announced that they will be touring again in 2016, Megadeth saw another lineup change, Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard announced that he is cancer free, and there were many other stories that we could write a book on.
2015 saw quite a few untimely deaths in the world of Metal and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to family and friends of these fallen rock stars. On March 20th, former Twisted Sister drummer A.J. Pero died at the age of 55. Pero was an all time great on the drums and the world continues to mourn. Then, just ten days later, another member of Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Jeremy Brown, died of unknown causes at just 34 years old. May 14th saw Blues Legend B.B. King pass away at 89 after a long battle with diabetes. A little more than a month later, progressive rock bassist Chris Squire died from a rare form of leukemia. At 67, Squire is best known for his days with the band YES and he was a legend as far as bass players go. On July 21st, the band Burial's guitarist Justin Lowe was found dead underneath a bridge in Wisconsin. The musician had recently quit the band making a disturbing announcement that his band mates sabotaged his computer and faked a friends death. Then in September, former REO Speed Wagon guitarist and song writer Gary Richrath died at 65 and finally former Moorhead drummer Phil Taylor passed away at 61.
Ok, so now to the moment that you have been all waiting for...without further a due here is my Top 20 Rock/Metal albums of 2015. My decisions are based solely on a combination of album sales, chart placement and longevity, as well as my own opinion regarding the sound and style of the album. Feel free to comment any disagreements after reading my list, but I feel most of you will enjoy this review.
Meliora, ((which is Latin for the pursuit of something better), is the third studio album by the Sweedish metal band GHOST. This album like its predeccessors was produced by Klas Ahlund received above average reviews and was one of the top heavy metal releases of the year. This album focused more on the guitar and different style riffs. There was a very "spacey echo" that had a sort of sic-fi effect on the hit song, "From the Pinnacle to the Pit." After debuting at #8 on the Billboard Top 200, Meliora sold over 29,000 copies in its first week. It also reached as high as #2 on both the US Rock and Hard Rock charts. The song "Circe" is even up for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance of 2015. This was a slam dunk for GHOST, the unfamiliar Sweedish band that becomes more popular everyday
Any Slayer album speaks for itself and Repentless was no different! They even made a scary video for the title track that was filmed live in a real prison. Slayer did not disappoint once again in 2015. Repentless also hit #4 on the Billboard 200 and was their first material since "World Painted Blood" back in 2009. This was by no means Slayer's best album but it was better than average nonetheless. Its a must own for 2015 if you are one of the Big 4 Fans of Thrash!
Please check to the video for "Speed of Light." which is a great example of how far Iron Maiden has come in the metal community...Until next year...this has been the Voorhees Top 20 Hard Rock/Metal Albums of the year!