2015 has certainly been an interesting year, while I certainly tried to find new hidden gems, the albums that captivated me the most were released by artists that are well known to me, though the direction they took with them surprised me in some cases. I’m going to focus on my 3 favourite releases, but you can check the whole list here.
Tesseract – Polaris
With their original lineup restored after the return of Daniel Tompkins on vocals (this time as a permanent member), Tesseract didn’t take a step back to their original sound, but actually kept stripping and narrowing it down, concentrating on the sound they developed in Altered State. The songs on their latest LP are more concise than ever, and I have to say that initially the album felt kind of empty to me, but it gradually became better and better. While rhythmical intricacies are one of Tesseract’s defining elements, their new album proves that simple compositions can still make big statements.
Leprous – The Congregation
Leprous’ 6th studio offering is a step further in the direction of their previous album, Coal; the songs are more tightly composed than ever, and the changes to the rhythm section of the band are notable in the “weight” of the compositions. While some fans may not like this new direction (particularly those who liked their most progressive side), The Congregation sounds like their most cohesive album to date, and it seems the band has really found their sound during the last two years.
David Maxim Micic – Ego and Eco
David Maxim Micic is a prolific, young, multi-instrumentalist composer from Belgrade, Serbia. Currently a student at the Berklee College of Music, he reached “mainstream” recognition after the release of a series of EPs from 2011 to 2013, and has since become a frequent guest and collaborator with several acts ranging from jazz to metal. David’s music frequently combines rock, jazz, classical and electronic music and the result is surprisingly homogeneous. His music tends to be partially instrumental, with several different guests on vocal duties. This year he released a double EP (though the second EP was later expanded and clocked at nearly 40 minutes). Dubbed “Ego” and “Eco”, they focuse on the heavier and softer elements of his music, as opposed to his previous releases which often tackled both ends of his musical spectrum.