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