The 100 best albums of 2015: 10-1

For the last nine days, we’ve counting down the best albums of the year, as recommended by the people at TeamRock, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Blues. Here are the final 10…

10. PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING – The Race For Space (Test Card Recordings)
Prog said: “This London duo’s eclectic debut Inform, Educate, Entertain was a work of impeccable musicianship, and the archival recordings that threaded through it as a narrative were meticulously arranged, weaving insight, inspiration and black humour into the tunes. Musically, this is a more focused beast, and just as expansive. Stunning stuff, for music lovers and space geeks alike.”

9. TESSERACT – Polaris (Kscope)
Prog said: “Throughout the record there are melodic themes that tease at familiarity without ever quite devolving to out-and-out repetition, giving a remarkable consistency to the album without it dragging at all. Bold and brilliant, it may well eventually be seen as their best album yet.”

8. SLAVES – Are You Satisfied? (Virgin EMI)
We said: “Angry, abrasive and unashamedly British, Slaves are flying the flag for dissatisfied millennials who never experienced having Johnny Rotten as an anti-hero. As all good duos should, they make a noise bigger than you’d expect two people to make, and fill the vacant space between Royal Blood’s stadium rock and Sleaford Mods’ acerbic ranting.”

7. FAILURE – The Heart Is A Monster (Failure Records)
We said:
“After a lengthy hiatus, Failure reformed in 2014. This year, the trio released their first album in 19 years. And it’s almost as if that time hadn’t passed, because on The Heart Is A Monster, the Los Angeles band have picked up where their stunning 1996 album Fantastic Planet left off.”

6. CLUTCH – Psychic Warfare (Weathermarker Music)
Metal Hammer said: “Steeped in tradition, but charged with a wilful, wayward energy all their own, Clutch’s role as rock’n’roll storytellers becomes more crucial with each album: carrying a torch, but bathing the roots of Americana in revealing new lights… it’s the closing Son Of Virginia’s vast, searchlight riffs that reveal Psychic Warfare as the equivalent of The Great American Novel.”

5. SHEMEKIA COPELAND – Outskirts Of Love (Alligator)
**Blues said: **“Shemekia Copeland is one of the best singers performing today. That the daughter of legendary Texas guitar-slinger Johnny Copeland could sing the blues was pre-ordained; that Copeland’s so damn good singing in other styles is pure joy… She captures electricity in these grooves. Whether it’s the anguished blues howl she brings to her father’s Devil’s Hand, the country twang that imbues Drivin’ Out Of Nashville or the Memphis soul of Albert King’s Wrapped Up In Love Again, Copeland knocks each one down with ease.”

4. STEVEN WILSON – Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Kscope)
Classic Rock said: “If any Steven Wilson album is going to delight both generations of prog, and even reach beyond that genre’s scope, to rock fans in general, it is his fourth solo album, Hand. Cannot. Erase. It’s a tour de force of experimental music making, from the lyrical to the lacerating, with passages that enchant and others that singe the synapses. Lovers of rock both classic and current will be blown away.”

3. ENTER SHIKARI – The Mindsweep (PIAS)
We said: “This once-in-a-generation band have risen the righteous way – through creative risk-taking and hard graft - to occupy a position as perhaps the only British rock band capable of headlining of festivals who have not yet done so. The Mindsweep will surely change that… They challenge consensus, blow away the cobwebs that have gathered on their forefathers. This quartet might cite Rage Against The Machine as an influence but never try to be them – or anyone else. Instead of moaning about the state of ‘the industry’ they’re helping re-shape it. And if ‘Enter Shikari: the early years’ represented the teenage hordes creating a ruckus in festival pits on their first weekend away, then a full decade into their career and The Mindsweep sees the quartet fully grown up and graduating, fully prepared not just to challenge power, but become the power itself.”

2. FAITH NO MORE – Sol Invictus (Reclamation Recordings/Ipecac)
We said: “While deep immersion in the album’s 10 tracks allows the isolation of numerous wonderful individual ‘moments’ – the sweet melodica swells in Rise Of The Fall, Roddy Bottum’s earworm cyclical keyboard riff in Superhero, the utter contempt heard in Mike Patton’s voice on Black Friday – the overwhelming first impression is just how brilliantly Faith No More’s component parts interlock and engage here. That these long-estranged collaborators can achieve such cohesion and momentum without dependence on nostalgia or familiar tropes is laudable, and indeed at various points here, utterly remarkable. Welcome home gentlemen, we’ve missed you.”

1. IRON MAIDEN – The Book Of Souls (Parlophone)
Classic Rock said:The Book Of Souls is the sound of a band at the peak of their powers, both individual and collective, and Dickinson’s own performance gives no clues whatsoever as to his then vexed state of health. One might glibly note that this would have been an excellent final statement for all concerned, but it’s hard to think of another band of this vintage that would be capable of sounding this vital and inspired… Given that this sounds nothing like the work of a band nearing the end of their love affair with music, the future may even hold greater wonders. Bloody hell.”