Iza’s highlights of 2015 (part 1: Industrial, EBM, Darkwave)

Christmas is over, which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – only this time I’ve decided to do the Industrial edition first. I struggled to come up with a list of top ten albums, so here are my favourite songs of 2015:

1. Celldweller – New Elysium

Album: End of An Empire
Genre: Industrial Rock, Electro, Drum’n’Bass, Trance, EDM

Celldweller is probably the most diverse artist that you will find in my personal music collection. Since the project’s humble beginnings back in the late 1990s, the multi-instrumentalist Klayton, Celldweller’s sole member, has been experimenting with a vast variety of genres ranging from industrial rock, metal, trance, ambient, EDM and even dub-step. ‘New Elysium’ is taken from his third “vocal” album ‘End of An Empire’ (if you don’t count the movie and video game soundtracks). This song reflects the things that I love about Celldweller – industrial rock and trance have never sounded so good mixed together.

2. Blue Stahli – Down in Flames

Album: The Devil
Genre: Electro Rock

Blue Stahli was introduced to me by the same person who got me into Celldweller. The two artists also happen to be on the same record label, they are friends and they have toured together in the past. Blue Stahli is also a one-man industrial brain child of Bret Autrey. ‘Down in Flames’ has been selected from his second album ‘The Devil’, and it has become one of my favourite songs to play when I’m at the gym. No trance or ambient melodies, just good old “ready or not here comes The Devil” “burn baby burn”! Electro Rock…

3. Suicide Commando – My New Christ

https://pro.beatport.com/track/my-new-christ-original-mix/6630162

Album: TBA/Electro Storm vol.6
Genre: Aggrotech/Electro-Industrial/Harsh EBM

‘The Pain That You Like’ may have been this year’s single but ‘My New Christ’ was the track that caught my attention. Profound and complex lyrics to match the dark atmosphere and intensive synth melodies. In short, this song features all the things that make Suicide Commando one of my favourite artists. His new album won’t see the light of day until 2016, but you can get this track and many others by various industrial artists from the Out of Line label’s ‘Electro Storm vol.6’ -compilation CD.

4. Hocico – Bienvenido A La Maldad

Album: Ofensor
Genre: Aggrotech/Electro-Industrial/Harsh EBM

My favourite Mexican Aggrotech duo are back with a new album. It was tough to pick a favorite song from ‘Ofensor’ since I love the whole album. In the end I decided to go with ‘Bienvenido A La Maldad’ due to the vibrant and fantastically choreographed music video. It’s also a great dance tune.

5. Blutengel – Asche Zu Asche

 

Album: Omen
Genre: Gothic Synth-pop/Darkwave

I have to be honest here… The first time that I came across Blutengel, I couldn’t stop laughing at their ridiculously cheesy vampire video for ‘Reich mir die Hand’. As cheesy as it was, the song did stick in my head and after a few weeks I ended up buying one of their live DVDs followed by most of the discography… Given my general dislike for synth-pop, the chances that if these guys didn’t sing in German about vampires and other Gothic themes, I probably wouldn’t pay any attention to them. ‘Asche Zu Asche’ is my favourite track from the latest album ‘Omen’.

6. Eisbrecher – 1000 Narben

Album: Schock
Genre: Industrial Rock

I’ve been listening to Eisbrecher for a few years now. Earlier this year I finally had the pleasure of seeing these guys live in Helsinki for the first time. It was one hell of a show. They played a lot of the new songs from their latest album ‘Schock’ but ‘1000 Narben’ is the one that I found the most memorable.

7. Zombie Girl – Panic Attack

https://alfamatrix.bandcamp.com/track/panic-attack-4

Album: Killer Queen
Genre: Electro-Industrial, EBM

There’s not an awful lot of female electronic artists that I regularly listen to. What I was hoping for this year was a new album from the Unter Null. Sadly that was not to be but I discovered that Zombie Girl, an artist who been away from the scene since 2009 had just released a new album. ‘Panic Attack’ was the first single and my favourite track from her latest opus ‘Killer Queen’.

8. Alien Vampires – All Fakes Must Die

Album: Drag You to Hell
Genre: Aggrotech/Electro-Industrial/ Harsh EBM

When it comes to sinister sounding Harsh EBM and risqué imagery based on either drugs, BDSM and infernal blasphemy, nobody does it better than this dark electro duo. “Evil Bloody Music” it sure is and it’s damn catchy as well. The whole album is really good but ‘All Fakes Must Die’ is my personal favourite.

9. Noisuf-X – Big Bang (2015 Demo Version)


Album: 10 Years of Riot
Genre: Power- Noise

Noisuf- X is a relatively new discovery for me. I’ve been a fan of Jan L.’s main project, the wonderfully eerie and atmospheric harsh EBM that is X-Fusion. Noisuf-X is the slightly younger brother; the music tends to be more dance-oriented and club-friendly falling under the category of power-noize. I always dance to it when I hear it at a night club but with this album being a best of, I decided to buy a copy to play at home. ‘Big Bang (2015 Demo Version)’ is one of the new track from the bonus disc.

10. Blutengel & Meinhard – Kinder der Sterne

Album: In alle Ewigkeit (EP) – the Blutengel version
Genre: Gothic Synth-pop/Darkwave

Normally when I prepare these lists for my annual highlights, I try to avoid mentioning the same artist twice. This year I’ve decided to make an exception. ‘Kinder der Sterne’ isn’t just a Blutengel song, it’s a collaboration between them and another German electronic artist, the eccentric and theatrical Meinhard. The song was actually written by Meinhard who then asked Chris Pohl of Blutengel to join him and create this superbly catchy piece of Gothic electro. You can find the Meinhard of this track on his new album ‘ALCHEMUSIC II – coagula’. Personally I prefer the Blutengel version.

Best New Discovery of 2015: My Own Sorrow

Best live show: it’s a tie between Das Ich at Lumous Gothic Festival and Eisbrecher live in Helsinki.

Most Anticipated Albums of 2016

New albums by Suicide Commando, Heimataerde and Unter Null

That’s all for now… Stay tuned for part 2. The Metal edition, coming soon

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