1. FALSE, Untitled (Gilead Media)

FALSE coverLast year at this time, I was pretty sure I knew what album was going to be the top choice for Meat Mead Metal’s Top 40 of 2015. I was lucky enough to be trusted with a way-in-advance copy of FALSE’s debut full-length effort, a record that is untitled, and I could tell from listen one that this beast was unconquerable. Sure, some steady contenders would come and go as 2015 went on, but nothing was able to top this album from its mantle. This collection of songs ran the wire from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015, as my favorite metal album I would hear all year long, and here it is, in its rightful top spot.

As many know about Minnesota’s FALSE, they do not do media. They relented and did a couple pieces for the release of the new record, but other than that, they let the music speak for them. So there isn’t an interview attached to this piece. But having seen the band–vocalist Rachel, guitarists James Claypool and Skorpian Vanderbrook, bassist Niko, keyboard/synth player Kishel, drummer Travis–play multiple times, including twice within a week this past summer in Pittsburgh, it’s evident they have no issue letting the music do the talking. Their tumultuous black metal remains front and center. But on this record some classic metal splashes were dashed and gave it the feeling of something continuing to aggravate modern fires. Yet it also had its hands in metal’s past to pay homage and try to bring those roots right into the band’s riotous style.

FALSEIf you’re familiar with FALSE, then you know that everything they do is in epic length. This record is no exception with five tracks draped over 60 minutes, every moment a complete killer. That gets started with “Saturnalia,” a track built on tumult and exploration, Rachel’s vocals twisting and turning through a fiery vortex, and the band violently slicing pathways into the mountain. “The Deluge” must be heard to be believed, one of the best constructed songs of the year that builds dramatically to Sarah Green’s blistering choral lines intermingling with Rachel’s coarse growls to create a life-altering memory. The untitled cut brings the classic metal influence into the scene full force, as does “Hedgecraft” that contains some galloping sections that would make Iron Maiden awfully proud and happy. Not to leave out “Entropy,” a track where the synth has a heavier hand and adds a nice bit of chill to a cavernous boil of murk. Each song is strong on its own, but as a whole, the package is unstoppable.

So we offer major hails to FALSE, the first band in our short history to top our year-end list twice, and a group that’s slowly making people aware of their gale-force power. Their debut record shows a band that refuses to be a servant to style or trend and has taken the dark forces that move them and twisted them into their own creation. We’ve spent a little over 12 months with this record, eventually experienced the songs on vinyl and in the live setting, and it grew with power and intensity each time. There are a handful of bands that are in the palm of metal’s future, and FALSE is the most aggressive and most interesting of those groups. (June 16)

For more on the band, go here: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/False/3540332204

To buy the album, go here: http://www.erodingwinds.com/product-category/music/gilead-media-releases/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/