The summer is more than halfway over here in these United States, and the demands of blog management, writing, editing and ruthless self-promotion must be balanced with seasonal outdoor pursuits like excessive beer drinking, excessive cocktail imbibing and excessive moonshine swilling. This makes time management all the more crucial, lest the whole summer schedule implodes and we fall months behind on the Record(s) o’ the Month posting (quiet, you). June was a respectable metal month, but with most of the AMG staff busy traveling or otherwise indisposed, Doc “Littlefinger” Grier was able to exert undue pressure on the skeleton crew of AMG management. That could explain this month’s results. Or, nothing can. You decide, we’re on vacation, dammit!

Unleash the Archers was a bit of an inside joke around the AMG brainquarters these past few years, and some of the less mature writers (read as: all) would haze and shame Doc Grier for his defense of their 2015 opus, Time Stands Still. They were so cheesy, so corny, they said. They give power metal a bad name, they said. Then Apex happened and those voices fell silent. Now the good Doctor has the last laugh, and laugh he often does. Apex is still a power metal album, but it has a newfound grounding in heavier fare. Some hear Bathory, others hear Ensiferum. Whatever the influence, it’s more forceful, somber and powerful, but that catchy, sing-to-the-skies glory is still there in heaping helpings. Songs like the ridiculously hooky, yet deadly serious “Cleanse the Bloodlines” brought several staff writers around, and with this mötley crëw, that’s no easy feat. A concept album with solid construction, slick songwriting and gravitas? Apex nails it all. It’s rare that Grier awards a 4.0, and he did so here without hesitation. He’s still a power metal weenie though.

Runner(s) Up:

Elder // Reflections of a Floating World – New England’s gift to stoner metal, Elder, uncorked quite a slobberknocker of an album in June and it quickly destabilized the dignified composure of our Dr. Wrvm. In a gushingly fanboyish review, he praised Reflections of a Floating World to the moon and back. He was in awe of the album’s intrinsic flow, stunned by its lush progressive tendencies, and amazed by the breezy, airy grace and Pallbearer-esque crunch and wallow. Basically, he finds this a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. As Wrvm summed up, “This is the rare album where every single listen has something new in store, something bold and worthy of admiration.” If it can do this to Wrvm, what will it do to you?

Dying Fetus // Wrong One to Fuck With – With a name like Dying Fetus, even an idiot knows to expect a severe beating, and beatings aplenty are delivered on Wrong One to Fuck With, courtesy of the band’s savage tech-death slam. Expect typically brutal grooves, merciless pounding and hideous double vocal assaults that will terrorize your family, neighbors and decorum itself. Frantic speed and unbelievable hostility are the game and you’re a red-shirted walk-on. As L. Saunders exclaimed, “Dying Fetus is back with a vengeance and seriously pissed-off chip on their shoulders, riding a second wind of creativity with their patented brand of techy slam death goodness.” In short, don’t fook with them.