Top 10 Rock Albums Of 2015

Nearly 10,000 Alternative Nation readers voted, and we now have the Top 10 Rock Albums of 2015!

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10. Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings

It’s basic, low-fi, and stripped down to the bare bones. It’s raw! The Montage of Heck soundtrack companion jumps straight into Cobain’s psyche. From the opening strumming and mumbles on “The Yodel Song,” to the ever-angelic, elongated, work-in-progress take of “Do Re Mi,” the album is a trip inside of Cobain’s creative process.

It feels exactly like you’re in the room with Kurt, as he’s practicing the chords, tuning the guitar, or just goofing off with one of his voices for comedy. In conclusion, Montage Of Heck: The Home Recordings (Deluxe Ed.) is exactly what any hardcore Nirvana/ Kurt Cobain fan would love, to understand the creative process – along with the film, of Kurt Cobain. (Full review)

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9. Dead Sara – Pleasure To Meet You

Dead Sara returned with their second album Pleasure To Meet You earlier this year, featuring the triumphant but tragic “Suicidal,” the California rocker “Something Good,” and Grunge tinged “Mona Lisa.”

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8. Puscifer – Money Shot

While Tool fans anxiously await for what is becoming their version of Chinese Democracy, Maynard James Keenan kept rolling with Puscifer’s Money Shot. The video for the title track perfectly encapsulates the appeal of the album, bring a sense of attitude and heaviness, but juxtaposing it with the absurdity of Luchadores fighting in a bar.

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7. Chris Cornell – Higher Truth

Chris Cornell went back to basics with Higher Truth, stripping away the Timbaland beats and synth found on 2009’s Scream. The album was very much in the same vein as his recent Songbook shows, with an adult contemporary stripped down sound that sounds very age appropriate. “Dead Wishes,” a song that analyzes the psyche of homeless people, is one of Cornell’s better tracks he has recorded in the last several years. (Full review)

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6. John Frusciante – Renoise Tracks 2009-2011

Some complained of 2015’s Trickfinger as underdeveloped and bare bones. Those tracks were made in 2007-2008 and it in the following years, 2009-2011 worked on these tracks and there is a supreme difference. With clips of audio from different media, it almost feels like a movie. It is awesome to see Frusciante progress like this and I can only imagine what his work sounds like today, the work he has been working on this year. He evolved a lot from Trickfinger to Renoise, what will the coming work sound like? Frusciante easily could become a hit in the underground electronic scene, he seems to take a lot of good element from those scenes and makes it exclusively his own. (Full review)

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5. Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down

Zipper Down is their fourth studio album, and it has been seven years since the last. This time, original members Jesse Hughes (on the album cover referred to as Boots Electric) and Josh Homme (Baby Duck) do everything themselves without help from additional musicians, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The album hit the right spot immediately.

The first track, ”Complexity”, captures the spirit of EoDM: funky, uptempo and fun. ”Silverlake”, ”Got a Woman” and ”Got the Power” follow the same pattern, while ”I Love You All The Time” is a slower song that is, as the title suggests, full of love. ”Skin-Tight Boogie” is a groovy kind of rap, featuring Hughes’ girlfriend Tuesday Cross on backing vocals. (Full review)

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4. Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia (EP)

Foo Fighters surprised fans last month with a new EP recorded in Austin, Texas. The eponymous “Saint Cecilia” kicks off the E.P. with the “comfort food” side of the Foos familiar in tunes like “Walk” and “Learn to Fly”, with layered vocals from Dave Grohl accompanying a country/heartland melody. “Sean”, the shortest and fastest tune of the release clocking in at 02:11, captures a pop-punk vibe in the verses punctuated by a simple chorus hook consisting of a noodly riff and shouts of “Sean!”.

“Savior Breath” fuses the Foos’ Washington D.C. hardcore punk roots with Motorhead; it’s one of the group’s heaviest songs, right up there with “White Limo” off of 2011’s Wasting Light. Dave Grohl’s solo is one of the most memorable out of his recent output. “Iron Rooster” is the slow acoustic ballad here, capturing a bit of a Pink Floyd-vibe in Dave Grohl’s vocals and loose guitar solos. (Full review)

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3. Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts – Blaster

Editor’s pick for best album of the year: Blaster was Scott Weiland’s first album of original material in 5 years, and he hadn’t lost a step creatively. On the album Weiland hit melodic highs, and his lyrics were as beautiful, dark, and abstract as ever. “Amethyst” is one of the album’s highlights, a throwback to Purple era Weiland, featuring Jeremy Brown’s greatest guitar solo on the album.

In the one of the album’s most powerful songs, “Parachute,” Weiland sang about seeing through the eyes of love: ‘Catch you when you’re fallin’/Even when you’re not/I’ll see you through the eyes of love/Even when you’re crawlin’/Even when you’re fallin’/I’ll be your parachute, hold you up.’ The song feels like a spiritual successor to “Dare If You Dare,” with a feeling of frenetic euphoria driving the ending.

“Circles” ended up being the bookend to Weiland’s discography with his death just a few weeks ago, and it will definitely end up going down as one of his most underrated tracks. The country tinged ballad has themes of love, desperation, but also a feeling of hope sprinkled throughout it. (Full review)

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2. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

For this LP, the non-conventional approach at first seemed to convey a somewhat underwhelming experience, yet with time, a more detailed and expansive sound was revealed on tracks like “Warship My Wreck,” “Slave Only Dreams to be King,” and “The Devil Beneath My Feet.” The current singles are not the strongest released in his catalog, but still provides a heavy edge. In conclusion, The Pale Emperor is a significant milestone in Marilyn Manson’s musical career as he takes a step farther in a dark, melodic direction. (Full review)

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1. Faith No More – Sol Invictus

Faith No More live reunions have been on and off since 2009, but the large gap of time between an official album release had lead the quirky, alternative rock community to borderline hopeless until more recently. Marked as their seventh album in the discography, Sol Invictus, clearly had a reputation to live up to.

On the album, Faith No More still have the means of creating enjoyable tracks that mediate between a mainstream sound and avant-garde. Although it is clear which songs will fall through the cracks with time, a few tracks plus the singles are deserving of high praise and allow this album to serve as a solid return to the rock world after eighteen years. (Full review)

  • Felonious Punk

    Brett, you can’t possibly be serious here. You left off Failure’s new one and Refused’s new one but included Montage of Dreck and Blaster?!

    • Alternative Nation

      This was voted by fans.

      I will admit to forgetting Refused.

      • http://www.gillrockatansky.co.uk Gill Rockatansky

        Refused are dead.

        • Rob

          Refused are absolutely not dead.

          • http://www.gillrockatansky.co.uk Gill Rockatansky

            Refused are fucking dead.

          • Jimmy Intense

            I got the reference

          • Felonious Punk

            There you go : )

      • Felonious Punk

        I forgive you. This year.

    • Roxxane D’troyt

      have you actually listened to Blaster?

      • Felonious Punk

        Yea, a bunch of times. I’ve had it since the day it was released. Softdrive even forgot to put one of the songs on the vinyl edition.

        It’s fine of you and others here like it. I think it’s his worst album.

        • Alternative Nation

          Blaster >>> Higher Truth. Blaster’s production quality is awful (especially the mixes on Modzilla and Amethyst, two of the best songs on the album), but there are a few great songs on there, and many others that are catchy. Cornell sounds great on Higher Truth, but the songs are all just boring to me.

          • Felonious Punk

            Oh man, don’t let Junior Moore hear you saying this about his beloved Higher Truth 😀

        • Roxxane D’troyt

          didnt say t was his best, but it was not the flop you seem to think god you people totally suck the man is dead..

          • Felonious Punk

            Are you still whining about this a week later?

            The album sold about 5,000 copies total. You call that a success? His shows were getting canceled at the time of his death because nobody would show up to them. Clearly nobody wanted to hear even his older music at that point.

            I couldn’t give a fuck whether you like Blaster or not. All I said was that it didn’t belong on the Top 10 albums of 2015 list.

  • Go Hiomlán Mandelbrotmenge Imi

    OK, everybody is entitled to their opinion. But MOH is just a bunch of sketches. Yes, there are some great moments on that album but overall it’s just unfinished, in some cases not even properly begun, work. Strange to include it.

    • Corndog

      They could have released an album filled with nothing but Cobain bowel movements and people would still have voted for it…

      • Go Hiomlán Mandelbrotmenge Imi

        As Kurt himself said in “Aero Zeppelin”: “You could shit upon the stage, they’ll be fans”

  • faith

    I agree (I voted for FNM) but I admit it’s a bit sad that a good (not extraordinary) comeback album of a 80-90’s band is the best work of the 2015. It would confirm that rock is over and it’s only rehashing itself. Second and third classified albums are as good as not innovative. But “Blaster” is at least more varied than “The Pale Emperor”

  • Billy

    The only top 10 Manson should be on is worst tv show guest. Anybody see this clown when he was on the Talking Dead?
    If you didn’t, it’s a good PSA as to why you don’t do drugs when you will be expected to discuss and be articulate on a subject.

    • Corndog

      I can only find snippits of it on Youtube. Do you have a link perchance? I’d like to see that.

      • Billy

        u will have to go the torrent method i believe my friend. it is talking dead s04e03

        • Corndog

          Thanks.

          • Roxxane D’troyt

            check on demand at your parents house,

          • Corndog

            My parents house?

          • Felonious Punk

            On Demand?

          • Corndog

            Yeah. Like, what?

          • Felonious Punk

            Who are these weird people who just wander onto the site?

    • jedinurse

      What exactly does that have to do with this poll? I am sorry he upset you so much years ago to the point of you holding a grudge. Let it go, we all make asses out of ourselves at times!

      • Billy

        i mentioned that because i thought that was more entertaining than his music. Yes i do not like him, never have , never will. It is not a grudge.

    • Felonious Punk

      I thought he was pretty convincing when he ass-raped that biker dude on SOA that time.

      In a “I could TOTALLY see Manson doing that” kind of way..

  • Corndog

    Completely forgot about it when this was being voted for but Purple by Baroness should have totally been on the list. They’re amazing.

  • Juan Nicolás Gallo Garrahan

    Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls. Period.

    • Roxxane D’troyt

      heavy metal love not rock.. i mean it rocks but wrong category.. speaking of who else has released a better metal album this year?? I do like Priests too.

  • Jimmy Intense

    Saint Cecilia beat out EODM’s Zipper Down? For shame…

    Hey Felonious did you vote for it multiple times or something? I mean I just…don’t get it…the impossible hath happened…I…give up

    Rock on, readers! Don’t let me get in the way of a good time…I’ll show myself out :)

    • Felonious Punk

      LoL

      I actually voted for Failure’s ‘The Heart Is a Monster’, which didn’t even make the list. Clearly you people don’t know what good music is if you’re enabling MOH, Blaster and that latest pile of dung from Frusciante to make the list this year.

      Aces on whoever got St. Cecilia on there though. Should have been #1 when considering the competition. Sol Invictus was incredibly overrated and only stands up to Album of the Year in comparison to all their other records. And that’s not saying much.

  • Amanda Ortiz

    Prefiro Marilyn Manson em primeiro mais … Te amo Marilyn

  • cuntgrinder

    Hello motherf….

  • David R Cooke

    So mainstream.

    • Roxxane D’troyt

      yes mainstream sells albums, well not so much any ,ore, but it is how tock is judged as successful otherwise my ]friends garage bands ep should be #1..