Another year is just about to fly by, and another year filled with great releases! To commend some of these releases, we at JROCK NEWS wanted to share our top favorite picks of 2015, in no particular order (we even used a random generator)! Each editor crowned their favorite album and single of this year alongside a short summary to explain the thinking behind their choice, goran kudasai!

RAI

Kuroyuri to Kage Hinikuna Tane No Hikutsuna Me Album ArtBuy at CDJapan

Kuroyuri to Kage – Hinikuna Tane No Hikutsuna Me

I was always a fan of Memento Mori, so when they came back as Kuroyuri to Kage I was skeptical. This spooky album with no shortage of enjoyable songs proved they still have that same rock magic. Without the crutch of their previous traditional sound, they are still pulling it off and even exceeding expectation.

Rakka regular editionBuy at CDJapan

Plastic Tree – Rakka

An upbeat-sounding single with angsty vocals, Rakka showed off vocalist Arimura’s unique approach to singing and easily won me over. The rest of the band’s performance was just as excellent. There was never a stale moment in the title song, and in both tracks the guitar and beat made it hard not to become invested.

NBT

REOL GokusaishokuBuy at CDJapan

REOL – Gokusaishiki

It’s impressive how many great undiscovered Japanese talents has come to light since the launch of Nico Nico Douga (Japan’s version of YouTube). One of them is REOL, a female utaite (vocal cover artist) who recently launched her debut album Gokusaishiki earlier this year. The album is mainly a catchy pop rock album, it’s however quite dynamic in the way that it offers a variety of styles. The song mede:mede features REOL rapping, using her sweet and lovely voice. You can also experience her high octaves in two of my favorites songs Logic Agent and MONSTER.

AKINO from bless4 Miiro artworkBuy at CDJapan

AKINO from bless4 – Miiro

I never listened to any of AKINO’s work before, but when I came by Miiro, I was instantly absorbed into its powerful vocals and charismatic guitars, not to mention the excellent symphonic violins in the background. The song was featured in the anime Kantai Collection as the opening theme song, but to preserve some credibility, I do have to mention that I did not find this song through this anime. Meaning that the anime has no kind of influence to why I liked this song. Most of the time I actually find great anime via music, and not the other way around.

A few runner ups were Crystal Lake‘s intensive metal album “The Sign“, NoisyCell‘s “Sources“, and Aimer‘s soothing album, “Dawn“. Regarding single releases, TK from Ling tosite sigure‘s “unravel“, and amazarashi‘s “Seasons die one after another” were also high up on the list, coincidentally they were both featured in the Tokyo Ghoul series.

Zansouki

tricot AND regularBuy at CDJapan

tricot – A N D

tricot have once again met expectations for me with this album. each and every song is fantastic, and the cassette sound at the end of each song is a nice little touch. This is an album to be listened to on a lazy afternoon, while your reading on your bed. With the music video for Pork Ginger released a couple months ago, I hope we can see a new album announced soon.

THE BLACK SWAN KaguneBuy at CDJapan

THE BLACK SWAN – kagune

THE BLACK SWAN is just awesome with every release, but Kagune was exceptionally good! The drums on the title track are amazing! I think the band is slowly finding their sound and are beginning to seperate themselves from NEGA‘s shadow, whom many thought were musically the same. These guys are definitely going places. Hopefully we can see the release of their first album soon!

edohsama

DOGMA regularBuy at JPU Records

the GazettE – DOGMA

An excellent example of a well executed album. From the campaign, design, production, and direction for this release, the GazettE stands as one of the pioneering bands who who stand to do things to a high standard as a package which is not often seen in Japanese rock music.

Sakanaction Shin TakarajimaBuy at CDJapan

Sakanaction – Shin Takarajima

One of the bands who always surprises as they constantly push their genres of music, lacing it with their signature catchiness. This single was no different. I have high hopes for this band to break into the rest of the world to show what they are capable of.

An honorable mention for Wagakki band. This is also a band I have kept my eyes on since hearing “Yaso Emaki” where the vocalist displays the diversity and flexibility of her voice. la la larksHallelujah” was also a highlight in release during summer.

sizergyia

keel_cthuluhu_jktBuy at Killer Tune

KEEL – Cthulhu

I’m a bit apprehensive when it comes to musicians forming a band, but also have other commitments elsewhere. As they always end up doing live shows and releasing a single, or nothing at all, and then disbanding. It doesn’t seem to be the case for this band, at least, I think. After hearing the preview for this particular mini-album, I really liked what I was hearing but wasn’t too sure how the final product would turn out, however, once it was released and I heard everything in its entirety, I was completely blown away. It’s probably the first time in a while that I feel like every single instrument has had such an important part to play, in the creation of this wonderful release, as they complement each other so damn well. It definitely left me wanting more!

Sadie Voyage Regular EditionBuy at CDJapan

Sadie – Voyage

Before the band went on hiatus, after their one-man live back in June, they made sure to release something in beforehand. And let me tell you, this release did not disappoint. I thought that Sadie done a pretty good job with the naming of all the tracks, somehow fitting with an overall theme, regardless if that was intentional or not. It was conveying that this was just the beginning, rather than the end of their journey. The title track, Voyage, itself sounded completely different to what they had produced before while the coupling tracks returned us to the Sadie we all came to love and man, they are amazing. It makes for a wonderful send-off if I don’t say so myself.

My honorable mention goes DADAROMA! This band kind of came out of nowhere and I didn’t really understand the hype around their music video for Oboreru Sakana (溺れる魚) until I checked it out myself, and definitely agreed that it lived up to such hype. However, it didn’t truly sink in until their mini-album dropped at the beginning of the year that set the bar up high for them. Their singles didn’t connect with me on the same level unfortunately, but with the band releasing another mini-album, dadaism♯2, in the new year, I have high hopes that it’ll be just as good as their first release. In general, I’ve been looking forward to their releases after that.

What did you think of our picks?

Did you agree with most of them, or did they deviate from your personal preference? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Give us your opinion!