Ben Walton picks out ten of his favourite albums of 2015
10. Metz - II
Toronto's Metz returned with their obviously titled second outing this year, offering up a relentless 30 minute blitzkrieg of feedback riddled guitars and pounding drums. They didn't make any huge changes to their usual formula, but II adds some impressive new tunes to the bands back catalogue, including the unhinged opener Acetate, the aggressive dirge of Spit You Out and the blistering I.O.U. Metz are an incredible force and are fast cementing themselves as, if not the best guitar band on the planet right now, then certainly the noisiest.
9. Ringo Deathstarr - Pure Mood
For a few years now, Ringo Deathstarr have plied their trade as a solid, if fairly unremarkable shoegaze act, but on Pure Mood - their third album in four years - their time spent touring with The Smashing Pumpkins has rubbed off, and the grunge dial has been turned all the way around to 10. There's big riffs aplenty splashed all over Heavy Metal Suicide and guitar histrionics in Guilt. This album is a huge step forward for Ringo Deathstarr.
8. Faith No More - Sol Invictus
This record could have been awful. Faith No More had been away for 18 years, and after an incredibly successful run of reunion shows around the world, Sol Invictus was their opportunity to show they still had it in the creative department. What Faith No More delivered was a confident, concise and atmospheric album of great music that didn't tread on former glories or try to ape previous records. The likes of Superhero, Black Friday and Cone of Shame stand up with the rest of their classic catalogue.
7. Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy
Titus Andronicus have a history for writing ambitious, slightly off kilter, high-minded concept albums. On The Most Lamentable Tragedy, Titus Andronicus took their blueprint to another level. 2 discs and 29 songs make up this sprawling epic which takes in everything from hardcore on Lookalike, Springsteen folk on Mr. E. Mann and even prog on More Perfect Union. This album is completely indulgent but absolutely fantastic.
6. Hawk Eyes - Everything Is Fine
Leeds' finest hard rock merchants Hawk Eyes never seem to go away and this year put out Everything Is Fine, their third album in five years. On Everything Is Fine, Hawk Eyes went a little slower and a little darker with their trademark sledgehammer riffs. Tracks like The Ambassador and Terribly Quelled show how versatile, and how brilliant this band is.
5. Baby Chaos - Skulls, Skulls, Skulls, Show Me the Glory
Nobody asked for a Baby Chaos reunion but by Jove we've got one. 18 years on from their last outing, Baby Chaos' third album sounds refreshed, current and absolutely vital. Songs like You Can't Shut Us Up, Poison Ivy Girls and Habibi are among their best, and The Whispering of Giants is an absolute storming highlight on an album packed wall to wall with highlights. If you've missed Feeder or Manic Street Preachers this year, Baby Chaos could have filled the gap for you this year.
4. Turbowolf - Two Hands
Four years on from their relentless first album, Turbowolf returned with Two Hands this year. Compared to its predecessor, Two Hands adds a danceable element to Turbowolf's thick, hard-edged sludgy noise. Rabbit's Foot and Nine Lives sound like a band absolutely at the top of their game, while Rich Gift could be the soundtrack to the end of the world. There's no one quite like Turbowolf and hopefully they won't leave it another four years to follow up Two Hands.
3. Mini Mansions - The Great Pretenders
On The Great Pretenders, Mini Mansions established themselves as much more than just a Queens of the Stone Age side project. Casting aside the psychedelic tones of their debut, Mini Mansions' second album is an incredibly varied pop album. The quality of song writing on offer astonishes, with the likes of Death Is A Girl, Fantasy and Honey, I'm Home showcasing not only the writing but also the pedigree of musicianship within the band. Star turns from Brian Wilson and Alex Turner don't even overshadow the band, but add extra textures to a fantastically accomplished LP.
2. Idlewild - Everything Ever Written
Returning after a six year hiatus, Idlewild's Everything Ever Written could well be their best. It opens with Collect Yourself, an awe-inspiring chunk of anthemic rock before taking a more considered approach. There is so much variety here from the folk of Every Little Means Trust, the punk of On Another Planet and the pure pop glory of Radium Girl. This band have found a new lease on life and it is a joy to behold.
1. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
Nothing sounded like Father John Misty this year. I Love You, Honeybear is such a huge step forward from his previous LP, Fear Fun that it is completely unbelievable. You get the soulful histrionics of When You're Smiling and Astride Me, the electronic disco of True Affection and the huge rock monster that is The Ideal Husband, all sitting aside Father John's more usual folk tinged music. There are no bad tracks here and every song stands out as a highlight on its own. The quality here is outstanding, and nobody came close to it this year.