LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE’S top 10 albums of 2015

1. John Carpenter – Lost Themes

Top 10 2015 - John Carpenter
You don’t need singing to make a great album. On his first proper solo record, legendary filmmaker and soundtrack composer John Carpenter creates a batch of memorable tunes without a single word. With the help of his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies (son of The Kink’s Dave Davies), the tracks and themes on this release encompass Carpenter’s entire career. If you’re a fan of his film scores to Halloween, Escape from New York or The Fog, all of which have minimalist electronic tones, bouncing bass lines, and eerie keyboards, you’ll love this album. It’s been played nonstop since it was released on Feb. 3rd. (Standout Tracks: “Vortex” & “Night”)

2. Steve Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Top 10 2015 - Steve Wilson
On his fourth solo album, Wilson has created another mesmerizing prog rock masterpiece. From the opening track to the last note this album does not disappoint. For anyone who likes great music with stellar musicianship and songwriting, this is for you. (Standout tracks: “3 Years Older” & “Ancetral”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #39

3. Iron Maiden – Book of Souls

Top 10 2015 - Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden’s first double studio album is their finest work since the band reformed in 2000 with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith. The band recorded most of this album live and limited overdubs. With the exception of the lead single “Speed of Love,” the songs lean more toward progressive rock than their 80s material, with the closing song clocking in at over 18-minutes. Despite their length, the songs are energetic and melodic all the way through. The lyrics are particularly strong on this album as many songs deal with real world issues. In short, this should please almost any Maiden fan from any point in their stellar career. (Standout Tracks: “If Eternity Should Fail” & “Tears Of A Clown”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #4

4. Stryper – Fallen

Top 10 2015 - Stryper
I thought it would be impossible for Stryper to follow up their last album and fan favorite No More Hell To Pay, but they have created an album that’s equally as satisfying. While a lot of bands from the ‘80s have arguably created their best music in that decade, Stryper continues to get better with age. All 12 tracks on “Fallen” contain inspiring lyrics, great melodies, and a modern edge. To be in the business for over 30 years and to sound this good, is truly a blessing. (Standout tracks: “Yahweh” & “King of Kings”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #44

5. Disasterpieace – It Follows

Top 10 2015 - Disasterpeace
It Follows is the first original motion picture soundtrack score to ever make our year end top 10 album list. A film score is one of the most important elements of a movie, especially the horror genre. This electronic soundtrack is both captivating and dynamic, with the music going from unsettling to peaceful within seconds. While the music is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s early work, it still breaks new ground. See the movie first and then you’ll appreciate what this masterpiece even more. (Standout Tracks: “Heels” & “Father”)

6. Jeff Lynne’s ELO – Alone In The Universe

Top 10 2015 - Jeff Lynne ELO
The mastermind behind Electric Light Orchestra returns with ELO’s first new album since 2001’s Zoom. Written and produced by Lynne with the insanely talented musician playing every instrument on the album except tambourines and shakers, the 10 tracks on this album are everything you’d expect from him and more. The songs are well-crafted, fusing all the different aspects of Lynne’s career into something new and exciting. It gets better and better with every listen. Here’s hoping he finally does a proper tour of the U.S. It’s been far too long. (Standout Tracks: “When I Was A Boy” & “One Step At A Time). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #23

7. Metal Allegiance – Self-Titled

Top 10 2015 - Metal Allegiance
Anchored by Mark Menghi, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy and Alex Skolnick, with contributions from 21 members of the heavy metal community, this album is the blueprint for how metal sound. The music is classic metal with a contemporary twist. The band’s website sums up this release best. Metal Allegeiance “unleashes an album as pulverizing, energetic, atmospheric, and awe inspiring as fans of the jaw-dropping list of associated bands should expect.” We couldn’t agree more! (Standout Tracks: “Can’t Kill the Devil” & “Scars”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #143

8. Slayer – Repentless

Top 10 2015 - Repentless
Many thought Slayer was finished after guitarist Jeff Hanneman died in 2013 and drummer Dave Lombardo left the band again but this album proves the naysayers wrong. Repentless is another worthy album to Slayer’s discography and a great follow up to “World Painted Blood.” The songs are as driven and unrepentant as their titles might imply: ”Implode,” “Atrocity Vendor” and “You Against You.” If you like you’re music heavy, angry and fast, this is the album for you. (Standout Tracks: “Repentless” & “Implode”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #4

9. Collective Soul – See What You Started By Continuing

Top 10 2015 - Collective Soul
Collective Soul is one of the most consistent bands around. Despite a six year wait between albums, their musical style hasn’t changed much. The band knows how to serve up a batch of catchy tunes and every song on this album fits that description. If you have been a fan from the start, you’ll definitely be satisfied by this release. (Standout Tracks: “AYTA” & “Am I Getting Through”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #25

10. [tie] Queensryche – Condition Human

Top 10 2015 - Queensyrche Hot Steak
The second album from Queensryche since Todd La Torre joined the band as lead vocalist is another winner. Condition Human features the best elements of the old school Queensryche sound without a contemporary edge. The songs are catchy and infectious. It’s everything you’d want a Queensryche album to be and more. Fans can once again rejoice when Queensryche releases new music. The Ryche is back! (Standout Tracks: “Arrow of Time” & “Guardian”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #27

10. [tie] The Winery Dogs – Hot Streak

Top 10 2015 - Winery Dogs Hot Streak
There is no sophomore jinx when it comes to Hot Streak. While the trio’s self-titled debut album was rock solid, the songs on Hot Steak are more diverse and further showcase the world class musicianship of Ritchie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy. We’re grateful these virtuosos stuck together. (Standout Tracks: “Oblivion” & “Captain Love”). Billboard Top 200 Peak Position: #30

ADVERTISEMENT - Y&T @ Narrows Center in Fall River, MA ON March 8, 2016. Click on image to purchase tickets.
ADVERTISEMENT – Y&T @ Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on  March 8, 2016. Click on image to purchase tickets.

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