Icons of Fright’s Fave Music of 2015 Derek’s Picks: The Legends Return!

2015 has been a banner year for new music, and with services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, as well as the ever growing popularity of vinyl, music fans don’t have a shortage of ways to legally get a hold of the tunes they crave. ICONS OF FRIGHT has always held music close to its heart, so I wanted to share some of what has been keeping me going this year!

The short stuff

EPs have been a great way for bands to get their music out to their fans when they don’t have a full album to fill, but more than just a single.

Nathan Gray “NTHN GRY”
Nathan Gray, front man for BOYSETSFIRE and I AM HERESY, steps away from the post-hardcore roots, embraces a tone more similar to Nine Inch Nails or Stabbing Westward. Brooding, melodic, and atmospheric, “NTHN GRY” is 8 tracks filled with dreary goodness. For those times when you’re wanting something a little harder than The Cure or The Smiths.

Kobra and The Lotus “Words of the Prophets”
Canadian power metal band, Kobra and The Lotus, hit strong with their first 2 albums, and were on a touring frenzy, when frontwoman Kobra Paige was diagnosed with Lyme disease. After an 8 month hiatus, the band got back into the playing mood by paying tribute to a few of their Canadian musical heroes. From Rush and Bachman Turner Overdrive, they even tap into the Black Velvet a la Alannah Myles.

Mono & The Ocean “Transcendental”
Two bands, one from Germany, the other from Japan, decided to come together for a very hard hitting two track EP. Both bands are known for delving into cinematic themes with their works, and they tap into that even more with their efforts, with The Ocean’s track being inspired by Gaspar Noe’s ENTER THE VOID. This serves as a great taster for both bands and should have tracking down their past work quickly, as it did for me.

The return of the Greats

Metal and rock has seen quite a few bands return after several years in 2015. Hell, we even got a surprise gangster rap opus thrown in the mix. But not happy with letting the legends take all the credit, we have a few younger bands pulling no punches.

Faith No More “Sol Invictus”
Having been heart broken when hearing that Faith No More was splitting up after 1998’s “Album of the Year”, I was extremely pleased to hear that the band was getting back together. I was even happier to hear the album, which is all killer, no filler. They don’t show any rust, and if anything, just feel even more vitriolic. And with their first video, they tapped WRONG TURN 2 and EVERLY director Joe Lynch to handle their return after such memorable videos like “Epic” and “Midlife Crisis.” To say the least, I think he did a great job of keeping it memorable!

Marilyn Manson “The Pale Emperor”
Having watched Manson’s evolution from the “Smells like Children” era to now has been interesting. Hitting his peak as the “Antichrist Superstar”, tapping into Bowie in “Mechanical Animals”, feeling heartache in “Eat Me, Drink Me” and “The High End of Low”, I was curious to see which version we would get with “The Pale Emperor”. The answer: A little bit of everything. In what could be considered his best album since 2000’s “Holy Wood” he provides the personal, the entertainer, the heretic, all facets of the Manson we’ve come to know.

Dr. Dre “Compton”
After many years of waiting for Dr. Dre to release “Detox”, without any forewarning, we get “Compton” dropped on us. Inspired by the film STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, Dre felt the need to showcase his hometown with a bevy of young stars as well as long time compatriots. While it may be heavy with auto-tune, Dre hasn’t lost a step with coming up with a beat that will stick with you.

Iron Maiden “The Book of Souls”
Metal legends Iron Maiden return with their first ever double album. Yes, it’s taken over 30 years, but they pulled out all the stops and struck gold with “The Book of Souls”. Tapping into a little bit of everything that has made them great in the past, the boys upped the irons once more. Bruce Dickinson’s vocals are the only inconsistent part, but being as this recording was what brought to light that he was battling throat cancer, that makes all the more sense. Thankfully, he’s recovered and still ready to rock out for us still, embarking on another world tour already.

Slayer “Repentless”
After the death of Jeff Hanneman and the firing of Dave Lombardo, the future of Slayer didn’t look great. Having worked on the album since late 2011, “Repentless” was finally released September 2015. With the return of Paul Bostaph on drums, and Exodus’ Gary Holt playing guitar, we don’t see a lighter side of Slayer, but one that is still kicking and screaming. Araya and King are still thrashing, and the boys decided to tap HATCHET III‘s BJ McDonnell to direct the violently brutal video.

John Carpenter “Lost Themes”
Everyone’s favorite director and cantankerous basketball fan returns to making music, this time though it doesn’t correspond with a film release. “Lost Themes” is a reminder of why Carpenter’s film scores are so damn memorable. The man has a definite ear for catchy beats.

Stay tuned for Part 2 for the young(er) guns and some softer side to cleanse your palate!

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  1. […] While 2015 saw the return of many legends, there is still a lot of great music out from younger bands (and legends in the making). And much like a horror fan benefits from branching out to other genres from time to time, I tackled a few albums that are on the lighter side! If you missed Part 1: The Legends Return!, click here! […]

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