The 10 Best Metal Columns of 2015

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The Ghost Vs. Religion Debate is Silly 

This piece touched on the age-old controversy of heavy metal (really, just music in general) versus religion. It’s the same argument, over and over again — but the most ridiculous part of it is that it doesn’t have to be. Ghost, for example, derives from Sweden where everything is secularized. The band’s whole act isn’t about degrading religion — it’s about bringing to light how devout Christians are failing to understand certain aspects of what life is about. It’s refreshing performance art, incorporating everything from classical and church choirs to prog and catchy pop hooks. It’s as much cinema as it is music.

Incantation’s John McEntee Describes the Band’s Organic Death Metal

As one of the pioneers as the New York death metal scene back in the late 1980s, Incantation has continued to stay relevant over the course of nine studio albums with their style that leaps from down-tuned and sludgy to fast and suspenseful. That’s not surprising.

What is surprising is that with over 30 lineup changes over the years, the band's sound and influence hasn't faltered. In this interview, sole original member McEntee admits that Incantation is just as much about evolving the sound so much as tightening it’s original style that helped pioneer the underground death metal scene. He also hints to a 2016 album that might already be written.

The 25th Anniversary of Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell and the Reason it Matters

When the 25th anniversary of this album came around, I was fairly surprised that there wasn’t any media coverage, reissues, or anniversary “lists” floating around. But as a heavy metal journalist for the past 13 years (and hardcore Pantera fan), I not only wanted to celebrate what the album truly did for music; it was also the first piece I was able to write after a terrible family tragedy.

While it was cathartic for me, it seemed to be cathartic for fans, as well, reaching 32,000 Facebook likes within a week. And while you probably think I’m going to say grunge almost killed metal and Cowboys From Hell saved it from extinction — you would be wrong.

Metals’ First Female Frontwoman Talks About Playing in a Man’s World

This 45-minute interview with the first female bandleader in heavy metal, Doro Pesch, was a favorite for me. It wasn’t just because she has 30 years of insight into the industry, and has an incredible back story (as well as lots of comedic tales from the early days)—but because her demeanor was that of a debut artist doing press rounds for the first time. She was open, charming, and genuine while talking about her 17th album, her first time in Phoenix in '88, and the time she opened up for Metallica (and didn't even know it).

Slayer’s Kerry King Tells How Jeff Hanneman’s Death Affected New Album

Slayer’s world has been turned inside out over the past five years, but with hardship comes payoff: 2015 might mark one of the band’s most visceral, raw albums in its 30-year career. Repentless was released on September 11, 2015, and was the band’s first album since the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman and departure of founding drummer Dave Lombardo.

But the concept of “time” doesn’t mean much to the band. In our interview, Kerry King confirmed that some of the songs were written 15 to 20 years ago—except for the one song he absolutely had to write for Hanneman. We also touch base on Slayer’s set at Bonnaroo, and his desire to be born 50 years later.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise