Though typically reserved for Mothers-Against-HBO’s monthly letters to customer service, desensitization is also a fact of life for extreme music fans in the year 2015. With the metal world larger, and more inclusive, than ever before, with the once-reviling GWAR now little more than a post-everything Alice Cooper—with a fucking chainsaw solo carved into the listening canon—disorientation, and its attendant scares, have become increasingly difficult to orchestrate. Enter, then, 2015’s 5 Most Horrifying Metal Records, which have, despite all those impediments, managed to scare the unliving shit out of us time and time again over the course of the past 10 months. Grab your headphones, hit the lights, and check them out.
5. Death Karma — The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I (Iron Bonehead)
An old school death metal concept album about the burial rituals of six of earth’s most superstitious cultures, courtesy of the hooded Czech mystery men who brought us Cult of Fire, The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I makes the case for itself. Oh, and there’s track called “Hanging Coffins”, so yeah, that too.
4. The Body/Thou — You, Whom I Have Always Hated (Iron Bonehead)
When The Body and Thou get together, you know what to expect: Charred earth for as far as the eye can see. But while past splits have showcased the bands’ respective brands of sonic destruction, their first truly collaborative effort, You, Whom I Have Always Hated, produced a new, and terrifying, synthesis. If you prefer doom dripping with undefined black discharge and stalked by some not-fucking around personal demons, then this is your kind of nightmare
3. Bell Witch — Four Phantoms (Profound Lore)
Bell Witch didn’t name themselves after one of America’s most enduring ghost stories for no reason, and their latest batch of paranormal activity, Four Phantoms, is proof enough of that. Conjuring the ghosts of death by water, fire, air, and earth, this slab of aching, soul-breaking funeral doom, whether by howling tempest or a whisper in the dark, is sure to keep you up for nights eternal.
2. Lychgate — An Antidote For the Glass Pill (Blood Music)
If the world ever needed a soundtrack for a satanic cult gathering beneath the Ripper-stained streets of Victorian London, Lychgate’s Antidote For the Glass Pill is almost assuredly it. A inky labyrinth with no map and no exit, this collision of stuttering black metal and dissonant orchestral flourishes is made all the more terrifying by its theatrical delivery, which flashes a disturbingly toothy grin at every twist in the fucked-up tunnel.
1. Ævangelist — Enthrall To The Void Of Bliss (20 Buck Spin)
Though blackened death by trade, that label doesn’t even begin to describe the damp, bat-ridden depths of Aevangelist’s 4th LP, Enthrall to the Void of Bliss. A fun-house blend of subterranean riffs and manic, off-kilter harpsichord solos, this one conjures, in Aevangelist’s very own words, “the familiar voice of the abyssscape, rendered in the cadences of your departed family and friends,” so check it out and see if you resist the siren song of the void.