In the days when dinosaurs walked the Earth, and land was swamp and caves were home, you had to wait a long, long time for the Record(s) o’ the Month to arrive via delivery monkey. In our glorious modern age, the coveted selections drop into your laps with alarming semi-regularity, requiring only a modicum of patience. Even that small condition of service is too great for the average AMG reader however, and by the 15th of each month they lay siege to the AMG offices like a suburban mall in a George Romero movie. And so we sit, barricaded inside with nary enough hobo wine or pizza rolls, feverishly working by black candlelight to weigh the top releases like Anubis with a box full of hearts. Judgments are judgy, now everybody get off our freakin’ lawn, except this guy!

Mixing vintage Katatonia with the bleak indie mope-rock of The Smiths might sound like a dangerous proposition for a metal act, but in the capable hands of Impure Wilhelmina it becomes a weapon of mass joy destruction. Radiation is the sixth album from these Swiss buzzkillers, but it’s so enthralling, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t heard of them long ago. As they set out to bring you down, you’ll hear traces of many depressive rock outfits, but the vocals of Michael Schindl keep those comparisons to The Smiths front and center. With so many hooks, so much replay value, this thing got under the skin of several AMG scribes and edged out some truly tough competition. Grymm summed up his impression thus: “I went into Radiation expecting more post-rock boredom, and came away with an album that’s neck-and-neck with the new Pallbearer as my Album of the Year.” Strong words, big album.

Runner(s) Up:

Violet Cold // Anomie – Welcome to a world of upheaval, desperation and chaos, where anger and beauty exist side by side in an uneasy and tenuous equipoise. Such is the black metal style of Violet Cold and on Anomie Emin Guliyevis has created something special. There’s aggression and rage, but also lush melodic sensibilities. As per usual, Treble Yell expressed it better than most: “Anomie is also beautiful but rather than offering a wan smile at a hopeless situation, it twists its face with grief and lets out a howl of indignation. There’s an air of desperation to the music, as if each song may be the last.” Compelling stuff.

Beyond Grace // Seekers – The melodeath style has been beaten to…death in the past 5 years, but at its core, the style is so strong intrinsically that a good band can still make it sound fresh and exciting again. Managing to be progressive, yet faithful to the tenets of the genre, Beyond Grace walks the line deftly and confidently on their debut, hammering the listener when needed, then stunning with cerebral twists and turns. Ferrous was nothing but impressed, gushing: “Seekers is as sophisticated a debut as they come, but what makes it so impressive is, despite its technical prowess and melodic delivery, it remains, at that crucial crux, a death metal record at heart. This is an album that wants to impress but needs to punish, and succeeds with aplomb.”1

Show 1 footnote

  1. No camel debt was forgiven or satisfied due to the quality of this album. All such debts remain wholly outstanding and subject to harassing collection activities, from now until the end of all time and space.

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  • Malhorne

    Needs to check that Impure Wilhemina I think

  • welyyt

    Blind Seer got snubbed.

    • Grymm

      That reminds me, I should go back to listening to Death’s “Crystal Mountain”.

      • Gaëtan Baratin

        Inside crystal mountain, evil takes its form!

      • welyyt

        You misanthrope. I have zero tolerance for your empty words.

        • Grymm

          You need to stop living in the pupil of 1,000 eyes (1,000 eyes… 1,000 eyes… 1,000 eyes…).

    • GardensTale

      I insta picked that one, but no one listens to me.

  • Great choices, buuuuuut…. that Violet Cold really is a february release. July was the tape and vinyl re-release.

    • Minor technicality.

      • For the AMG records ‘o the month – certainly ;)

    • iiixf

      that may be clutching at straws, probably there weren’t other more worthy releases to be considered for this here column, so maybe this re-release “counts” as a July item

  • Chris Benadie

    Great album!

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Yep….Radiation is the bomb.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    So, Violet Cold was from Feb and I didn’t like either IW or BG… There was nothing really spectacular out in July but the new Entrench was a reliable dose of badass death/thrash.

    • Master of Muppets

      July was loaded with gold! Slow, Sundr, Tchornobog, Kval, Poseidon, Aversio Humanitatis, Omahara and Cascades all dropped some glorious music bombs on July, to name just a few.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Not a fan of Tchornobog or Kval. Aversio Humanitatis was released in March. The others I have not heard of whatsoever.

        • Master of Muppets

          If Violet Cold gets away with it, so do Aversio Humanitatis. The same thing happened, apparently, with the July release date applying to the vinyl release, or something to that effect.
          I tried, anyway.

  • Wes Allen

    Cheers for spheres!

    • Grymm

      Everybody wants to rule the world, after all.

    • Master of Muppets

      Shout! SHOUT!
      Let it all out.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Just happened to be listening to Songs From The Big Chair today…..

    • Eli Valcik

      This is our third ROTM this year to include some form of sphere, thoughts?

      • Wes Allen

        It’s a con-sphere-acy.

  • AndySynn

    I reviewed that Violet Cold album back in March (and loved it) but fully understand the weirdness around release dates/formats/etc (don’t even get me started on The Infernal Sea…).

    However I am glad to see it mentioned again despite all that. May have to give it another listen today in fact!

    • it sounds like soviet pop music with a drum machine.

    • Matt Vogt

      Congrats on your first ever AMG RotM appearance!

      • AndySynn

        Thanks dude. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it (though it is) because I didn’t want to seem all self-important and self-congratulatory, but I’m still very pleased (and surprised) by the reception so far!

  • AgonMcDuck

    Having spun this pretty much everyday since its release and having a revolving door of favorites off it, I 100% support this pick. So good.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I completely forgot pallbearer had an album out and I can’t remember any of these albums! What the heck is going on!

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Ironic that they are mentioned in tandem. I disliked them both, mainly because they bore me and have no gravitas or power whatsoever. Pallbearer may be the most egregious of the two, as musically it’s actually quite competent but it’s dragged down by a downright puny vocal performance.

      • Eli Valcik

        I fucking dig older pallbearer. New one was waaaaay to proggy.

        • John

          Definitely doesn’t have to deal with being too proggy.

          I love prog music, and I find the newest Pallbearer to be way too boring. Ironically, I absolutely love the Khemmis album as I’m sure you can tell from my pic, and everyone compares the two.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Temple of Void… rabble…

    • ashcindersmoke

      Agreed times 9000

    • Eli Valcik

      If that came out this month then rabble rabble

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I usually disagree with the album of the month top pick, tending to favor second or third place. But it is the first time ever I didn’t even remember reading the reviews for any of the albums picked.

    • July was apparently terrible. And yet, I don’t recall thinking so at the time. It’s as if some dark, primal, semian force had ROTM in its grip.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I don’t really think July was terrible. We can always sift through the July reviews and complain that so and so was better and should have been picked instead.

  • Master of Muppets

    Nope. It didn’t get reviewed here because this site is terrible, but the correct winner of July was Slow with V – Oceans.

    • You’re writing metalcore checks your probationary status can’t cash.

      • Master of Muppets

        See what I mean? Just terrible, terrible people.

        • That’s valid. Report to the sub-basement HR office.

          • Master of Muppets

            I don’t wanna meet Happy Metal Guy! I’ll be good, I swear!
            I’m listening to power metal as I type, surely subterranean character adjustment can wait?

          • You need re-Nedification.

          • AgonMcDuck

            Re-Needification?

          • That too. It’s a package deal.

          • Seems like he’s currently going through re-NERDification with this power metal.

  • Goldicot

    The ROTM for July was Jute Gyte’s newest, fools. Then Serpent Column, Couch Slut, and Tchornobog in that order. I’d include the Howls of Ebb / Khthoniik Cerviiks split but that’s a split.

    • Kronos

      Expect A TYMHM on that Jute Gyte album. Haven’t heard the whole thing yet but the songs I’ve listened to this far are some of his best. They remind me of “Fas…”era deathspell.

    • Name’s Dalton

      That split is unhinged!

  • Slam Grandpa

    So… no Sun Of The Sleepless? Trash taste confirmed smh

  • Eli Valcik

    I feel like I should be mad about something but ROTM is so late that I forgot what came out in July.
    Edit: oh yeah, Sun of the Sleepless and Temple of Void you fuckers!!!!!!

    • Slam Grandpa

      tbh these album weren’t too bad but this gramps is super dissapointed to not see SOTS or TOV in this list lol, you got anything you want to see as ROTM for August, I’m leaning towards the albums Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Leprous and Pyrrhon released

      • Eli Valcik

        ROTM next month will probably be Pyrrhon. Mine will go to some obscure black metal gem I found but cant remember because I’m tired as fuck.

        • Nukenado

          Since you and Drew have been fanboying the hell out of it, I just assume it’s Obsidian Arc for RotM every month for you two.

          • Eli Valcik

            Yeah, pretty much. My end of the year list is gonna be tough!

          • Gena Gorin

            You really were talking about Pillorian? I wondered if there is some fresh black metal gem that I missed. I like black metal gems.

          • Eli Valcik

            If you want some black metal gems. Check out Family Tomb by Shroud of Despondency. It’s one of the best metal records ever recorded in my opinion. But out of 2017 Pillorian is competing with Ende’s Emen Etan for my favorite BM record of 2017.

          • Gena Gorin

            I’ll check’em, thanks

          • Nukenado

            I’m not that big of a BM guy, but I just discovered Mgla…
            I don’t think I need anything else for months.

          • Eli Valcik

            Mgla is great.

          • Nukenado

            M also writes some of the fucking best lyrics in metal.

          • Eli Valcik

            “It is an unlikely alliance of assorted failures
            Various degrees of deceit, doomsday prophets
            The clenched teeth, the vinegar down the veins
            A stylish pit right next to Judas, Brutus and Cassius. Every empire. Every nation. Every tribe. Thought it would end In a bit more decent way. Every prophet. Every ruler. Every seer. Will chew on this ruin. And repeat ad nauseam” My favorite lines form that album, soooooooo killer!

          • Nukenado

            I enjoy Groza II (I have a nuclear annihilation fetish) and those exact lines the most.
            Killer indeed.

          • Master of Muppets

            It should be RotM for everybody, for all months. My only regret is that I discovered it so late, I’m not done championing that one but I feel like every month that went without Pillorian praise was a lie.
            I, uh, kind of like that album.

      • AgonMcDuck

        Der Weg einer Freiheit are fucking incredible and honestly Finisterre is my front-runner for August. I like what I heard from Pyrrhon but I haven’t paid attention to the whole thing yet. Leprous, eh, I don’t hate it as much as Kronos does but I don’t love it either.

    • The Akerstache

      I’m in the same boat. My brain doesn’t remember much more than “good music happened, right?”

      Therefore I’m very mad. How dare they deprive me of my ability to whine?

    • sir_c

      Yeah it’s holiday season, so all I could come up with was Mojito Royale, Tequila Sunrise and the El Diablo.

    • Kronos

      Temple of Void probably would have been the Kronos pick. That or Cytotoxin.

      • Eli Valcik

        This list isn’t br00tal enough. August will be a fun one for me, we got the new Rebel Wizard, Hell, Old Night, Bloodlust, Mephistofeles, and an avalanche of underground black metal. OH YEAH! You gotta check out AFFLIKTOR, they release their album in October but two songs are available now they are like a somehow riffier Bloodlust. And to continue this paragraph The new Midnight album will probably take my ROTY (She’ll be fighting against Crypt Sermon’s cover of Mayhem’s De Mysteries.)

        • Kronos

          I’ll definitely check out Affliktor.

      • Kryopsis

        Temple of Void didn’t immediately click for me. Then I re-listened to Wretched Banquet at 1.5 speed on YouTube. Then I re-listened to it on the track at normal speed. Then I bought the discography on Bandcamp.

        • Eli Valcik

          Of Terror and the Supernatural is one of my favorite doom albums ever.

        • tigersofwrath

          Nice work…i followed your formula exactly.

    • EnslavedEld73

      Sun of the Sleepless

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Read Violet Cold as Veit Cong and got hammered with memories of intense gunfire and guerrilla warfare. A trigger warning might be suitable.

    • That sounds too violent.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Are you out to respond to every comment I make with a slightly snarky undertone? Because it is making me very uncomfortable due to my rampant phobia of monkeys wearing viking helmets.

    • Nukenado

      Isn’t it supposed to be Viet Cong?

      • Westpaceagle

        It’s Viet Kongs

        • Nukenado

          Ah, my bad.

  • Diego Molero

    I’m with Beyond Grace on this one, great record and lots of fun.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    If I was choosing my own personal ROTM based on album I respect the most, it would be Impure Wilhemina. I really dig their eclectic approach.

    But if I based it on the album from July I actually listened to the most, it would be Cytotoxin. I feel like I shouldn’t be listening to Gammageddon so much. Pig squeals, Unique Leader, loud modern production, 10000 notes per second sweep-picked guitar wankery. But my dang ears seem to have a mind of their ear and keep wanting to listen to it despite my brain screaming, “No!”

    But it is surprisingly catchy and memorable for slammy brutal tech death. I usually like my tech death more proggy and grand and epic. But those Cytotoxin guys have really taken a somewhat generic, played out genre and redeemed it with tight songwriting.

    • Kronos

      That album kicks ass!

    • Gena Gorin

      WE ARE THE SAME! CONDEMNED TO PERISH!!!

  • ashcindersmoke

    I regrettably skipped all of these albums. Guess I know what I’m doing when I get home.

  • Ta2dlam

    I’m still stuck on Gravdal but I know I don’t have the staff’s refined tastes.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    I thought the day would never come.

  • Hammersmith

    Decrepit Birth! The production is shit, but that would probably be the July release for me.

  • Frost15

    Perfect choice for this month. I’ve given Radiation many spins and it’s definitely an aoty contender.

  • Lou Daz

    Both Runner-Up albums are fantastic. I wasn’t crazy about Impure Wilhelmina, which is a band name that I don’t think gets enough mockery.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I like the band’s name better than the music! It refers to Wilhelmina Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But then I have not much use for a band of which I like it’s name but not it’s music.

      • Lou Daz

        I see. Somehow, I think the band could’ve drudged up a cooler name from the Dracula canon than the name of my great-grandmother.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          My great-grandmother’s name is Wilhelmina too (in Spanish) and that’s just makes it cooler for me.

  • Excentric_13073

    I Disagree!

  • Akira Watts

    I don’t much care for Impure Wilhelmina’s name, but I’ve been listening to the album for a month straight, and it has yet to wear on me. 100% agreement on that one.

  • Cherd

    Couldn’t get into that Impure Wilhelmina album. It just made me want to go straight to the 90’s source and listen to Hum. Why no love for Sun of the Sleepless?

    • Name’s Dalton

      Hum is cool but I much prefer Shiner.

  • sir_c

    I checked the 2016 reviews, but I cannot find the Impure Wilhelmina review

    • Grymm

      In the second paragraph, the first mention of “Radiation” is a clickable link to my review.

      BTW, not that it needs to be repeated, but the entire album is incredible.

      • sir_c

        Thanks for your helpfulness. I guess I forgot to put a smiley after the “2016” to indicate it was some witty comment about the AOTM delays :-)

        • Grymm

          *slow claps*

          Expertly played, good chap.

  • lennymccall

    For me it’s been all about the new Exercration – Return to the Void this month.

    • Gena Gorin

      Holy shit, didn’t even know they released something new, big fan of morbid dimensions.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    We’re here!
    And we’re spheres!

  • NoNoth

    Drawn by quest for fire

    They searched all through the land

    Drawn by quest for fire

    Discovery of man

  • Mollusc

    Temple of Void, Cytotoxin and Decrepit Birth for me. Impure Wilhemina get the sexiest band that you could take home to meet mummy and get them chained in her dungeon award.

  • Westpaceagle

    “each month they lay siege to the AMG offices like a suburban mall in a George Romero movie.”
    To be fair we are usually just looking for brains, but based on this month it seems we are barking up the wrong tree! Whooaah! Just kidding guys thanks for what you do and us peasant zombies will continue to be insatiable and participate in general angriness.

  • MetalMartin

    Very nice album indeed, with some French lyrics in a few songs towards the end. I wish we had bands like these in Quebec.

    Love the guitar work, the way the mix chords and heavier moments. Great review and I thanks for this choice, you made me discover this band and read your review that I have somehow overlooked.

    Chapeau!

  • Knutahh

    Is there a review of Soen’s latest album in the works? I really appreciate the work you guys put in on this site, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. Just really curious as to what you think of it :)

    • It won’t likely be reviewed until year’s end as a Things You Might Have Missed piece. It became an unfortunate victim of time constraints though it’s a very good album.

      • Here’s Johnny

        Where is Wintersun?

        • We reviewed it. Since it only got a 2.5 it wasn’t a candidate for Record(s) o’ the Month.

          • Here’s Johnny

            booo! i forgot. should be up there for album of month, not that Slutty Philomena nonsense.

      • Knutahh

        Ah, allright! Yeah, I absolutely loved it. Thanks for answering <3

  • I tried Impure Wilhelmina a couple of times, but they bore me to tears (I also dislike the band name). But July was kind of dull I guess (as usual during holidays)… my personal favorites are the new Boris, Algiers and the Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Mothlite) solo album.

  • basenjibrian

    I think I prefer the earlier Impure album. More “metal” than this one. Still a great album!

  • GWW

    Impure Wilhelmina and Pallbearer!? It doesn’t even compute.

  • Zachary Harris

    Never commented but have been lurking.around the site and the last eight albums or so I’ve bought have come from your reviews.And seeing a score so high and then listening I have to ask if the Pyrrhon review was some kind of inside joke?I love the Jornicorns and Alestorm humor but I see it.But listening I damn sure dont hear it.And for a point of reference yall seem to have my cd collection to draw from for yer metal is olde,so forgive the inquisitive old bastard.

    • Hey there, Zachary. No, the Pyrrhon review is not a joke. Kronos loves extreme and discordant metal and they play right into his warped wheelhouse. It’s definitely an acquired taste though, and I personally wouldn’t score their stuff anywhere near as high as him. He likes what he likes and I like what I like. We don’t suffer from much group think here, which I view as a strength.

    • Jeffrey Dean

      When I listened to that Pyrrhon album, I honestly thought the audio had been corrupted, or if two completely different tracks had been merged. I actually looked up a second source to confirm that yes, this is the actual audio. Suffice it to say, I thought the review was a joke too.

  • orsignupwithdisqus

    The smiths? What the fuck.. I’m sorry man metal and british new wave both have a very special place in my heart but there is no fucking way… I can see katatonia sure but the smiths? Morrissey would have a very sassy comment if he saw this review lol