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Best Of 2015 - 2016 Dangerzone

ARTIST: Best Of 2015 Dangerzone


Like other retrospectives of 2016 so far, there's little point for me to cultivate a top ten list of preferred albums- if I did it would barely contain five at most. This year I digested a small amount of new music, most of it aimed squarely at veteran acts. In fact with new albums by the likes of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard, Motorhead, Raven and Slayer you might be excused for thinking it's still 1983. Sadly most of these releases were uniformly appalling and did nothing to enhance the notion of these fading legends having anything more to offer. I was often sidetracked by work in 2015 and opted instead to stick with music from the past, which offered more satisfaction than a musical climate which to me gets less relevant with each passing year. However there are a few albums worth discussing amidst the wreckage, so not all was lost.

Year In Review
The Good
While it was miles from their best, my most listened to album in 2015 by a wide margin was Slayer's `Repentless.' Their first album without Jeff Hanneman and first in six years, it showed little progression from the bands last four albums, but their fail safe brand of thrash always delivers and the title track was the band at their fastest. Also scoring highly was Armored Saint's `Win Hands Down' which benefited from John Bush's superior vocals. The only alarming aspect is lack of genuine replay value, something which tarnishes so many albums. Others falling into this category were Raven's `Extermination' Six Feet Under's `Crypt of the Devil' and Napalm Death's `Apex Predator-Easy Meat.' Each caught the ear on first listen, but faded shortly afterwards. Motorhead's final album `Bad Magic' was a good way for Lemmy to bow out and Thor's `Metal Avenger' had its moments. None would fit into a genuine top ten though. As for AOR highlights of the year I don't have any sadly, unimpressed from the samples I've heard of bands raved about here.

The Bad
While trying not to be totally negative, the bad seemed to far outweigh the good and some of the albums released by upper tier acts were awful. Topping the list was Iron Maiden's latest act of indulgence, perhaps their worst yet. Seeing the mass adulation for the album was embarrassing and only four months later the album's all but forgotten and predictably so. Other shockers included duds by The Scorpions, Saxon, Def Leppard, UFO and Whitesnake, bands who at this point are better off calling it a day. The latest W.A.S.P. album was a letdown of sorts, not up to the standards set by previous releases, Blackie Lawless' religious conversion diluting the overall effect. Going into excruciating detail about other poor releases would be pushing it, but let's just say albums from 2015 by Tank, Toto, U.D.O. and Black Star Riders are unlikely to grace my eardrums ever again.

In Summary
What 2016 brings is unknown naturally, but hopefully there will be something worth obsessing over at some point. Maybe a new Bullet album? Right now however I'll stick with those classic Motorhead albums and the legacy left by Lemmy.

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