Friends of the Seattle PA Top Whatever of 2015


2015 friends list pic

Kevin Diers (KISW Metal Shop)


  1. Windhand-Grief’s Infernal Flower
  2. He Whose Ox is Gored-The Camel, The Lion, The Child
  3. Christian Mistress-To Your Death
  4. Black Breath-Slaves Beyond Death
  5. Lo There Do I See My Brother-Northern Shore
  6. Forced Order-Vanished Crusade
  7. Xibalba-Tierra Y Libertad
  8. The Hollowpoints- Rocket to Rainer
  9. Title Fight – Hyperview
  10. Theories-Regression


C.J. from DASWASUPGIG’s Top 10 of 2015 (in no particular order)

1) The first ever ROACHELLA was a success and a lot of amazing bands played truely amazing sets. Special shout outs to Shellshag, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Divers, Rabbits and The Trashies.

2) Shellshag coming back to play at Narwhal with RVIVR, Pale Angels and Bottlenose Koffins. Shellshag forever.

3) Martha’s Vineyard Ferries on 3/25 at Victory Lounge with Hungry Ghost, VHS + Seminars. It was the day Bob Weston played at Victory Lounge. That’s gotta mean something to someone other than me.

4) Neil Michael Hagerty (of Royal Trux) freaking out and leaving the Black Lodge show he was booked for on 5/10. I’m not particularly proud of this moment and I know for a fact it was a bummer for quite a few folks, but I do feel a certain honor in it which is hard to explain. I hold no hard feelings for the man and it’s a pretty funny story which you can ask me about over a drink sometime. For the record, the show was well attended and everything was going as planned. No one still fully understands why he left to this day.

5) Kinski at the Victory Lounge on 4/9. Just an epic set by a tremendous band. Simply put, that was a great example of why I do what I do. Hope you were there to witness it.

6) Nervosas on 7/1 at Victory Lounge. Amazing band with an amazing new album playing an amazing set. Always love when they come through town.

7) Radioactivity on 10/8 at Black Lodge. They put out one of the best albums of 2015 and played one of the best sets of 2015. That shit was straight up magic. Hope you made it.

8) The band Sharkie. Loveable buttheads making amazing music. There’s a special chemistry between those folks and the songs are incredible. They should be the “biggest” band in Seattle, and that’s a fact.

9) Records. Tenement’s “Predatory Headlights”. Vacation’s “Non-Person”. Radioactivity’s “Silent Kill”. Swami John Reis  & the Blind Shakes “Modern Surf Classics”. Nudity’s “Astronomicon”. Meat Wave’s “Delusion Moon”. Divers’ “Hello Hello”. Bottlenose Koffins’ “Peanut Allergies”.

10) Looking forward to a great year of shows at Lucky Liquor, Victory Lounge + Black Lodge as well as several benefit shows for DASWHATGIVES and hopefully a whole lot more great stuff in 2016!

2015 brought us a ton of great music and narrowing this list down to my ten favorites was very difficult. These are the albums that helped me get through tough times and made my good times better. They inspired me to be more creative and motivated me in one way or another.  Hope you enjoy!

Alyssa Herrman of Foto Phortress

  1. Leviathan – Scar Sighted
  2. Vhol – Deeper Than Sky
  3. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  4. Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
  5. King Parrot – Deadset
  6. High on Fire – Luminiferous
  7. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
  8. Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
  9. Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess
  10. Autopsy – Skull Grinder                                                                                                              Honorable mentions – Bell Witch, Ufomammut, Cattle Decapitation, Clutch, Saviours, Author & Punisher, Elder, Uncle Acid, Weedeater, Mgla, Satan, Dead to a Dying World, Pentagram, Paradise Lost, Marduk

Shows to look forward to in Portland – 

1. Dead Moon – Crystal Ballroom  Jan. 2nd, 2016

2. Black Breath, Hellshock, Usnea – Lola’s Room  Jan. 13th, 2016

3. Suma, Zirakzigil, Hands of Thieves – Panic Room  Jan. 19th, 2016

4. Famine Fest – Panic Room  Feb. 19th and 20th, 2016

5. Sabertooth Micro Fest – Crystal Ballroom  Feb. 06th, 2016

6. Bongzilla, Black Cobra, Lo-Pan – Star Theater  March 6th, 2016

7. Easter Sunday Sabbath with Satan and Danava – Mississippi Studios  March 27th, 2016

8. Decibel Magazine Tour – Roseland Theater  March 31st, 2016

9. Northwest Black Circle Fest – Ash Street  April 7th – 9th, 2016

10. (the) Melvins, Napalm Death – Roseland Theater  May 3rd, 2016


Brian McClelland (He Whose Ox is Gored)

2015, was a year. It was a big year, and a terribly small year. It was a year within which, music was released, and music was discovered. While I probably discovered more releases from previous years than the current, this year did yield some quality records, and not just because James said I can’t just send over ten copies of Genesis’ Invisible Touch. Here, are those albums.

  1. Bjork – Vulnicura  Improving with every release, and building on a career of innovation and experimentation, Vulnicura continues to push at the edges of popular music. History of Touches is the best song of 2015 by far.
  2. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss   With Abyss, I finally got it. Though there have been moments of brilliance through Chelsea’s last two albums, this was the first release that grasped me as a whole. John Congleton’s (Swans, Xiu Xiu, Paper Chase) production was the icing on the cake for an artist that has been inspired as much by texture as composition.
  3. Health – DEATH MAGIC   Health’s new pop edge pushed some away with the release of DEATH MAGIC, but I couldn’t care less. Even the band’s own smoke and mirrors live show couldn’t quell the fire of synth and static across these dozen tracks.
  4. Sumac – The Deal  Or how Aaron Turner Reaffirmed His Dominance of the Guitar in Five Parts. While bands are slowly suffocating attention spans with boring-ass Sabbath-by-numbers, these three are weaving a tapestry. Few releases this year have proven interesting with songs crossing the ten minute mark, but goddamn if that hook seven and change in on Hollow King doesn’t make you want to burn a warehouse to the ground.
  5. Oneohtrixpointnever – Garden of Delete    Despite some of the irony-as-a-medium aesthetic of Oneohtrix, Garden of Delete is a serious expression of texture and viscera in a way that most electronic/noise artists could only dream of. Pulsing static and warped sampling delivered some stirring tracks with Sticky Drama, I Bite Through It, and Animals.
  6. Sannhet – Revisionist      With Revisionist, Brooklyn’s Sannhet burst out as the band that I’d hoped Deafheaven might be. This album is a more correct distillation of post-rock, black metal, and parts beyond and for better reasons than that someone is playing a Cardigans riff over blast beats. Tracks like Enemy Victorian, Revisionist, and Atrium flex structuring mature enough to hold attention while nimbly dodging pitfalls that trap a lot of instrumental bands.
  7. Mutoid Man – Bleeder     What are those, riffs? Right out of the gate, Bleeder scorches with tracks like Bridgeburner, Reptilian Soul, 1000 Mile Stare, and Surveillance. Steven Brodsky, Ben Koller, and Darling Nicky Cageo shred for days on one of the most fun records of the year. Technical and engaging while never wearing fans out, Mutoid Man is one of the best bands around today.
  8. Crosss – LO       After 2013’s fantastic Obsidian Spectre, Toronto’s Crosss are back with LO. This record follows the same format as the last; starting with a number of shorter structured tracks, and ending with an improved soundscape piece. Through it’s forty minutes Crosss does with LO what most bands that strive for stoner vibes could only hope for, combining an angular and pummeling rhythm section with occult-y drones and dirges through the *most perfect* lo-fi/hi-fi production.
  9. Grave Babies – Holographic Violence         Grave Babies’ fourth and possibly final album for Hardly Art does the thing. With better production than ever, songs like Metal Me, Eternal, and Try 2 Try blend new wave, industrial, and goth’s better tendencies with a couple modern flourishes.
  10. Abrams – Lust Love Loss          Denver’s Abrams embrace the right kind of riffage. Post-hardcore at it’s best, where playing the shit out of your instrument comes from the desire to communicate melody and feel. This trio has a knack for purpose-based shredding, a rare feat in heavy music today.

Nik Christofferson – Good To Die Records

Favorite Records of 2015:

  1. Cherubs – 2 Ynfynyty (Brutal Panda)
  2. Mutoid Man – Bleeder (Sargent House)
  3. Ghost – Meliora (Loma Vista)
  4. Sacrilege – Behind the Realms of Madness (Relapse – Reissue)
  5. All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (New West)
  6. No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity (Sargent House)
  7. Torche – Restarter (Relapse)
  8. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss (Sargent House)
  9. Pile – You’re Better Than This (Exploding in Sound)
  10. BLKLSTRS – Adult (Handshake, Inc.)

 Favorite Pacific NW Records of 2015:

  1. (Tie) Sandrider + Kinski Split, Blood Drugs – S/T, Gaytheist/Rabbits – GAY*BITS (Good to Die)
  2. Kinski – 7 (or 8) (Kill Rock Stars)
  3. SSDD – First Comes Money (Help Yourself)
  4. Great Falls – The Fever Shed (Init)
  5. Slow Code – Marketable Skills (Glory Kid)
  6. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – S/T (Neurot)
  7. Wimps – Suitcase (Kill Rock Stars), Super Me (Kill Rock Stars)
  8. Powwers – Sad Bath (Self-Released)
  9. He Whose Ox is Gored –The Camel, The Lion, The Child (Bleeding Light)
  10. Hints – The Way to Function (Self-Released)

 Favorite Shows of 2015:

  1. Good to Die presents: Mutoid Man (1st Seattle Show), Sandrider, Wild Throne at Sunset Tavern, 3/4/15
  2. GAY*BITS Portland LP Release at Kenton Club, 7/31/15
  3. Macefield Festival w/ Gaytheist, Blood Drugs, Kinski, Powwers, 10/3/15
  4. Rat City Recon w/ Blood Drugs, Old Iron, Glose, Big Trughk, etc, 8/29/15
  5. Pile, Leatherdaddy, Heavy Petting, Slow Code at Black Lodge, 4/9/15
  6. Gaytheist, VHS, Merso, Old Iron at Sunset Tavern, 12/19/15
  7. The Gits Reunion at Chop Suey, 12/4/15
  8. Linda’s Fest w/ VHS, Kinski, Christian Mistress, Helms Alee, Black Breath, 8/15/15
  9. Sandrider / Kinski Split LP release w/ Blood Drugs at Neumos, 2/28/15
  10. Blood Drugs LP Release w/ VHS, Sayonara at Chop Suey, 4/24/15

Honorable Mentions: Pigs – Wronger (Solar Flare), Scientist – 1010||0101 (Hell Comes Home), Sumac – The Deal (Profound Lore), Tribulation – The Children of the Night (Century Media), Ex-Breathers – Past Tense (Exploding in Sound), Motherfucker – Confetti (Sick Room)

Adam Noble Bass  (Ladies’ Choice Productions)

Top Ten Albums (from bands I know personally):

10. (TIE) Black Breath “Slaves Beyond Death” & Theories “Regression”

9. Lord Dying “Poisonous Altars”

8. Wild Throne “Harvest of Darkness”

7. Fight Amp “Keystone Noise Series #4” & “Constantly Off”

6. Kowloon Walled City “Grievances”

5. (TIE) Retox “Beneath California” & Intonaut “The Direction of Last Things”

4. Author & Punisher “Melk En Honing”

3. Sumac “the Deal”

2. Great Falls “The Fever Shed”

1. Torche “Restarter”

Top Ten Albums (from bands I don’t know personally):

10. Pelican “The Cliff EP”

9. Publicist UK “Forgive Yourself”

8. Royal Thunder “Crooked Doors”

7. Endon “Mama”

6. Luminous Bodies “Luminous Bodies”

5. Mutoid Man “Bleeder”

4. PIGS “Wronger”

3. Failure “The Heart is a Monster”

2. (TIE) Kylesa “Exhausting Fire” & Baroness “Purple”

1. Faith No More “Sol Invictus”
Top Five Shows:

5. Psycho California, especially stand-out newcomers Elder & Coffinworm!

4. Stumpfest IV in Portland, OR

3. Total Fest XIV – The Final Total! (R.I.P.) Missoula, MT

2. Whores. w/ Retox in Seattle & Portland

1. Faith No More SOL INVICTUS tour! Caught them in Seattle, Portland, again in Seattle at Bumbershoot, & finally in Sacramento at the Aftershock Festival – It’s been 6 years since the Second Coming, and the patience was so worth it, with FNM releasing and touring for the most mature work in their most ‘Epic’ Catalogue

Other bands who put out good music this year: Powwers, Sweet Cobra, Ufomammut, Cherubs, Cult Leader, SIGH, Hatebeak, Goblin Rebirth, Zombi, No Spill Blood (dammit I know I’m forgetting so much!)

Ryan Schutte (Lb! and KISW Metal Shop)

A quick shout out to all the folks at the Seattle PA for putting all this together every year. It’s always a blast going through all these lists and thinking “That came out this year? Shit. I fucked up.” It’s been a really busy year for me and I’m sure I missed/can’t remember quite a few releases. For everyone’s sake (and for my own sanity) I kept it to metal. This is in no particular order.

  1. Sanzu – Heavy Over the Home
  2. Cetus – The Remnant Mass
  3. Beaten to Death – Unplugged
  4. Nylithia – Hyperthrash
  5. Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds
  6. Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology
  7. Chrch – Unanswered Hymns
  8. Dopethrone – Hochelaga
  9. Pomegranate Tiger – Boundless
  10. Pitbulls in the Nusery – Equanimity

Much love to the PNW heavy music family. Looking forward to another great year with you all!

Tanner Ellison, Seek & Destroy on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle,

Every year gets more and more difficult to pull these lists together. There are just too many incredible releases! It was nearly impossible to whittle my list down from 50 to 25. Then down to the 12 featured below. I just couldn’t cut any further. Looking at my final list now, I see a lot of sophomore and first releases. New blood for the old gods.

Top 12 from all over:

  • Bell Witch – Four Phantoms – Profound Lore Records
  • Akhlys – The Dreaming I – Debemur Morti Productions
  • Barshasketh / Void Ritual – Split tape – Broken Limbs Recording
  • Blood Incantation – Interdimensional Extinction EP – Dark Descent Records
  • Vastum – Hole Below – 20 Buck Spin
  • Mgla – Exercises in Futility – Northern Heritage Records
  • Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious – Hells Headbangers Records
  • Deathhammer – Evil Power – Hells Headbangers Records
  • Vanum – Realm of Sacrifice – Psychic Violence Records
  • Misþyrming – Söngvar elds og óreiðu – Fallen Empire Records
  • Nightfell – Darkness Evermore – 20 Buc
  • False – Untitled – Gilead Media

Top 5 Seattle(ish)

  • Bell Witch – Four Phantoms – Profound Lore Records
  • Theories – Regression – Metal Blade Records
  • Sumac – The Deal – Profound Lore
  • He Whose Ox Is Gored – The Camel, The Lion, The Child – Bleeding Light Records
  • Un – The Tomb of All Things – Black Bow Records

Paul McConaghy (Bleeding Light Records)

  1. Kowloon Walled City – Grievances – Neurot Recordings/Gilead Media
  2. Sunn0))) – Kannon – Southern Lord
  3. Sumac – The Deal – Profound Lore
  4. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Self Titled – Neurot Recordings
  5. Generation of Vipers – Coffin Wisdom – Translation Loss/Gilead Media
  6. Wovoka – Saros – Battleground Records
  7. BOSSE-DE-NAGE – All Fours – Profound Lore
  8. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself – Neurot Recordings
  9. Great Falls – The Fever Shed – Init Records
  10. Mutoid Man – Bleeder – Sargent House


Zach Wise (Hissing)

10. Black Sheep Wall – I’m Going to Kill Myself

Black Sheep Wall have always been kind of a weird sludge band but up until this year they never did anything as weird as writing a 30 minute song titled “Metallica”. I’m Going To Kill Myself displays a bold commitment to musical trolling, plus it’s ridiculously heavy.

9. Nightmare Fortress – The Wanting

I didn’t see a ton of press for local darkwave act Nightmare Fortress’s debut album, which is too unfortunate because it is very very very good. There’s a reason they were chosen to open for Ride at the Neptune in November.

8. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Self-titled

The product of a long, long gestation, BOTSC’s debut is impeccably produced and extremely cathartic. Brothers make every other contemporary sludge band look like amateurs.

7. Pissgrave – Suicide Euphoria

Pissgrave really upped the ante for extremity on this thing. It’s pretty hard to listen to. Highly recommended.

6. Chaos Echoes – Transient

There hasn’t been a more unique, interesting death metal band than Chaos Echoes in years. Not light listening, just set aside some time and really take it all in. It’s worth it.

5. G.L.O.S.S. – Demo

I almost forgot this came out this year, its impact has been so huge that it seems like it’s been longer. I’ve grown pretty tired of punk in recent years but this demo still sounds like a kick in the teeth every time I hear it. GLOSS are probably the only relevant punk band going right now. The future is coming, are you ready?

4. Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Prey

Napalm really haven’t made a bad record since their 00s renaissance with Enemy of the Music Business but there’s just something special about this one. Exercising the perfect combination of studied experimentation and impeccable songwriting, Apex Predator is up there with their best.

3. Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection

It’s a Revenge record that sounds more Revenge than any other Revenge record so far. It’s disgusting and wonderful. Your grandparents will hate it.

2. Grimes – Art Angels

Yes, really. Grimes’ previous records didn’t really hold my interest – although the “spooky” space-goth electronic aesthetic was a neat trick that garnered Claire Boucher a hip audience, they belied a lack of confidence (notice how Boucher’s vocals are buried in the mix on Genesis). Art Angels, on the other hand is a proud, bold, meticulously constructed pop record that maintains its own voice to the point of creating a totally immersive world. If you like pop and want to write pop, this is how you do it. Don’t hide behind gimmicks like attempting to make poppy sounding music from “challenging” styles like punk or metal – wear it loud and proud and you’ll create something actually worthwhile. Boucher did.

1. Aevangelist – Enthrall to the Void of Bliss

Up until I caught Aevangelist’s set at Cali Deathfest this year, I couldn’t honestly remember the last time I found a metal band frightening. Aevangelist, both live and on record, are utterly terrifying. And that’s really all I want out of music. (This is more an endorsement of this band as a whole, although Enthrall is certainly as good as their other records.)


Matt Koroulis (Photographer, and swell guy)

Here is my list of favorite local* shows of 2015.

* local is being defined as Seattle and Tacoma.  (Chronological order)

  1. Jan. 9th – Kinski, Survival Knife, and Bali Girls at Chop Suey
Survival Knife at Chop Suey on January 9th 2015
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  1. Mar. 21st – Red Fang and Lozen at 5th Dimension (Tacoma)
Red Fang at 5th Dimension on March 21st 2015
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  1. May 2nd – Old Iron, Glose, and Prison at the Lofi
  2. July 6th & 7th – Shellac and Shannon Wright at the Tractor
Shellac at the Tractor on July 7th 2015
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  1. July 22nd – Constant Lovers, Sashay, VHS, and Prison at the Cha Cha
Constant Lovers at the Cha Cha on July 22nd 2015
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  1. Aug. 2nd – Mudhoney at Slim’s Last Chance
Mudhoney at Slims Last Chance on August 2nd 2015
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  1. Aug. 15th – Black Breath, Helms Alee, Kinski, and VHS at Linda’s
Kinski at Linda’s on August 15th 2015
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  1. Aug. 29th – Rat City Recon with Glose, Old Iron, Blood Drugs, Perfect Bombs, Post/Boredom, and Big Trughk
Blood Drugs at Company on August 29th 2015
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  1. Sept. 6th – Big Business, Infinite Flux, and Tacos at 733 Arts (Tacoma)
Big Business at 733 Arts on September 6th 2015
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  1. Dec. 4th & 5th – Hammerbox, the Gits with Rachel Flotard, Selene Vigil, Alcohol Funnycar, and Coffin Break at Chop Suey
Selene Vigil at Chop Suey on December 5th 2015
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Honorable mentions: Mr. Gnome at the Sunset on Dec. 5th, and every time I saw Sayonara

Best non-local show: Oct. 10th & 11th – Flipper with David Yow at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco

Flipper at Bottom of the Hill on October 11th 2015
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Monte Mccleery (Un)

  1. Big Brave – Au De La
  2. Ahab – The Boats of Glen Carrig
  3. Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth
  4. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss
  5. Vattnet Viskar – Settler
  6. Locrian – Infinite Dissolution
  7. Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
  8. Elder – Lore
  9. Thou/The Body – You Whom I have always hated
  10. Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields