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.

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  • Nathan McCain

    Nice early RotM! Gotta check out that fetus…

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      DYING FETUS SHOULDA WON.

  • AndySynn

    So, I am really not an UtA fan… but I totally endorse it as RotM. It’s clearly a great album, even if it’s not for me personally. More power to them.

    • brutal_sushi

      More powerMETAL to them… myright?! HEYOOO!!!

      • BOO-urns!

        • Westpaceagle

          We need to be able to give multiple up votes for such references

      • Name’s Dalton

        See yourself out!

      • AndySynn

        Upvoted… but begrudgingly so.

        • Kiss ass.

          • Eli Valcik

            We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ass!

          • [not a Dr]

            No donkey shows. Camels, however…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice with the timely RotM. I could get used to this and become agitated when it doesn’t happen!
    Can’t argue with any of these choices. Elder is a contender for AotY for me and I’ve just started to feel the love for Apex.
    Love your work AMG team.

  • GardensTale

    Honestly, even though the Elder album is really good, there was really no contest on the RotM top spot. Apex is a fucking gem and will definitely be in my top 10 list this year.

  • Yes! Apex is So Much Fun. Great pick.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    This is surprisingly early! Good job, dudes. Apex was pretty fun but that Elder record is a real gem. Top 5 of the year thus far, for sure.

    • Dethjesta

      Agreed on Elder. It’s one of those albums I keep going back to.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Agreed on your agreeing.

        • Dr. Wvrm

          I agree with your agreement of his agreement.

          • Dethjesta

            It’s good that we all agree.

            A very agreeable bunch.

          • Drew Music

            I couldn’t agree more.

          • Agreeable Metal Guys

        • jetblindracos

          I agree to disagree.

          • ToddRob64

            I agree with this statement

          • Matt slatz

            I concur

    • Tom Busler

      This is a provocative “contrarian” pick. Elder was the only and obvious choice. Dumb stuff. Which is to say, I am in full agreement with those who agreed with any agreeable agreeing to the original agree.

    • HairyToeKnuckles

      Agreed. Elder was the overwhelmingly clear choice here.

  • Dethjesta

    Wow. I had deprioritised listening to Apex in favour of other things but maybe I had it all wrong. First thing on the playlist this afternoon – Apex.

    I really love Reflections of a Floating World. I fully expect it to make my end of year top ten.

  • Toby William Allen

    Damn straight! Apex is my second favourite album of the year so far tbh!

    • ArtifeX

      Top ten material for sure. Maybe five! I’m honestly surprised how no one is complaining about the election of the RotM. Last month election was a (highly educated) shitstorm. I suppose few of us are into Funeral Doom.

      • GardensTale

        Loss was the most elitist pick possible. It might be really great if you can stomache an hour of the stuff, I couldn’t last 3 minutes.

        • ArtifeX

          Not even depressed in the coldest winter I could stand more than 10 minutes, much less in the great Mexican summer :P

  • I saw Unleash the Archers at ProgPowerUSA 2015 (or was it 2016…I cant keep track of the years anymore, damn I’m old)…anyway. I was unfamiliar with this band and since they were a last minute addition to the lineup that year, I had on time for research. Seeing a power metal band, even a cheesy one live, is a good start to their library. I remember really enjoying their brand of Canadian heavy metal. I immediately went out and bought “Time Stands Still”, and as the old Doc suggests, it was a quality cheese infused metal record with some of the most intense female fronted metal, this side of Doro. This years, “Apex” as you have rightfully pointed out is a step up from their last work, and is more mature, more intense, and more…well, everything! I am surprised to see it here as RotM here, but not because it’s not worthy, its just that you guys review nothing but death metal! :) Anyway, great album, and lets just hope that “Apex” isn’t the apex of the band’s career!

    • Drew Music

      “You guys review nothing but death metal” is ghoulish overkill, Mike! Ghoulish overkill!

      • He knows. We got accused of that a few years back. Running gag here ever since.

        • Drew Music

          There are enough of those here to build a religion off of. Something about how, if we’re all good little angry metal minions, His Jornness will ascend us from the moss-peepers and unicorns to reveal unto us the One True 5.0, where we will enjoy of deep Soen-ness forevermore.
          I think I just felt the unholy spirit in me, can I get a hallelujah?

          • HalleJornah!

          • [not a Dr]

            You blasphemously left the sphere out of your prayer. No, wait. That was a clever 5.sphere

          • Nukenado

            Jørnmen.

        • I hereby request that I be referred to as “Angry Metal Commenter”! :)

  • Drew Music

    This RotM is too early to be true, and too unkvlt to be trve. I’ll pray to Fenriz for mercy unto you all in spite of thy transgressions.

    • ArtifeX

      Die you creature of Satan! Unleash the archers!!!

      • [not a Dr]

        What kind of archers need to be kept on a leash?

  • David

    I thought for sure Elder would be the pick. In fact I expected that to be the pick for May until it wasn’t, and then I realized their record came out June 2. Glad it at least got the mention here it deserves. I feel like it’s been criminally overlooked on many other music sites (especially the ones that kinda suck…), but at this point it’s easily my album of the year, and nothing else is very close.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Yes!!!! Justice!!!!

    • Fanboy!

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I’m immature like that.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Yay for Canada!

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Darn tootin’

      • Nukenado

        Poutine to celebrate, please.

  • CaffeinatedHeadBanger

    I’ve had Apex on repeat since I got the album, it’s one of my top favorites so far this year!!!!

  • AnnieK13

    Wow, didn’t expect that but honestly I am still enjoying the new UTA so…yeah I like it.

  • WhamBamSam

    I should revisit UtA and Elder. They didn’t really impress me on first listen, but with gushing like that from the good doctors, they deserve at least one more chance.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This….Foscor and Elder.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      HODOR.

      • ArtifeX

        Yeah, GoT got back yesterday. Hodor.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Noted.

  • ArtifeX

    One of a few times I concur with the RoTM election. Great choice. I mostly dislike female fronted PM bands but Apex is truly something. Also the artwork is gonna look good as the site background.

    Another worthy mentions that I haven’t seen reviewed here (shame on them for not sending promo):
    – Progenie Terrestre Pura – oltreLuna (May 31)
    – Fucking Shade Empire – Poetry of the illminded

    Listening right now to Elder, somehow I missed that review. Good stuff!

    • We have a review of Shade Empire coming up.

      • ArtifeX

        Excellent, I’m interested in reading what you thought on the album :)

        For me is top ten material of the semester so far.

    • Nukenado

      I’m hoping for a Pascifisticuffs review.
      Here’s hoping for another crazy October like 2015.

      • GardensTale

        Pacifisticuffs is one of the albums I’m most stoked for. Even as junior staff I’ve been biting the ankles of senior staff for a crack at it.

        • Nukenado

          Oh, yeah. Five years’ wait, and considering their track record, I have high hopes. I’ve been checking Facebook almost non-stop for updates on the album.

          But hey, if you don’t get it, you can book a review of the upcoming (2018) The Reticent album.
          I’m salivating to be emotionally destroyed again.

          • GardensTale

            I wonder who died for his inspiration this time.

          • Nukenado

            “The forthcoming album is titled ‘The Oubliette.’ Much like ‘On The Eve Of A Goodbye,’ the new record will again adhere to a uniform concept that is personal, relevant to the composer, and emotionally intense. This time the album will follow an elderly man named Henry as he progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

            You were only kidding, weren’t you, GT?
            But do be careful what you wish for, lest you be reduced to a weeping, moaning broken husk.

          • GardensTale

            I… I was. And now I feel awful. Excuse my while I fall to pieces in a corner.

          • Nukenado

            Don’t worry, you’ll probably feel worse once the album’s out.

  • Love Apex and Reflections! Both Top 10 material this year for sure. June had a lot of good shit. AEther Realm was surprisingly good too.

    • ricLP81

      I don’t think Aether Realm got a review, which means it wouldn’t be featured, but I agree it should’ve been, and it would at least be a runner-up IMO

    • Luke_22

      Can’t get enough of that Aether Realm album. One of the highlights of the year for me. Also, Mutoid Man’s album was awesome.

    • I’d absolutely give it to Aether Realm.

    • Nukenado

      Æther Realm was great.
      The production was also amazing… worthy of at least a runner’s up. Too bad it wasn’t reviewed.

    • Levly

      Aether Realm would have been my pick. I came for the amazing production and stayed for the great songwriting. It keeps climbing on my best of year list.

    • Ghio

      Fuck yeah, Aether Realm! Tarot has held my attention more than any other album this year (so far). And even though it wasn’t reviewed here, I still found it here.

      I try to always give the comment section a cursory scan for “why haven’t you reviewed ____?” comments. Found several gems this way.

      • ArtifeX

        The comments section is indeed a gold mine.

    • VikingSchism

      Aether Realm is already my most listened to album this year, it’s finally torn me away from last year’s Witherscape

  • Patrick W. Dunne

    Unleash the Archers are one of my favorite bands and while Apex wasn’t my favorite, I’m super stoked to see them make it! I knew they could!

  • Bryan Barkman

    I like Dying Fetus a lot, power metal sucks, and I still approve of this decision.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    Game of Thrones premiere last night. Then that band with a video that looks like lost outtakes from GoT wins RotM. All good things! I normally don’t like power metal but I really enjoy Apex and I am still listening to it regularly like 6 weeks after it came out. Which is like eons when you have my short attention span. No matter how much I like an album, with like 573,535,683,563 metal albums coming out every week, I get easily distracted and jump on new stuff. Apex holding my attention this long makes it clear RotM material to me.

  • Power Metal weenies unite!

    I’m surprised there aren’t more people sending death threats over this decision. when I saw it on the main page my first thought was, “Uh oh” but it seems that most readers either approve or have not yet seen this.

    • ArtifeX

      My thoughts exactly. The RotM election is normally all people complaining in the comments section. Perhaps is too early in the morning. Give them time.

      • Yeah, I’m used to a shit storm in the comments no matter what the pick is. I will wait and then read and giggle to myself.

        • Mollusc

          Indeed. This has got to be the most accord I’ve seen on a RotM thread.

          • So much common ground!

          • Mollusc

            It’s rather touching. Not very angry… but I like it!

  • Absolomb

    Elder’s album is probably my most played this year and Sanctuary will for sure be on my SOTY list in December.
    Dying Fetus was also really good brvtal fun.

  • Mollusc

    Elder is my most listened-to, was listening to it today at work, in fact. Only just got round to Dying Fetus, but it’s awesome – can’t decide why they went with that cover and title, though. THANKS GUYS.

    • Mollusc

      PS never got around to giving Apex more listens, but tis on the list. Also, why no Adrenaline Mob..?!

      • I don’t know if you saw but they were in an accident while on tour this weekend. I was making fun of Adrenaline Mob to my wife and searched google to show her how terrible they are and saw a news story that they were involved in a major accident in FL. Apparently, one person died and several band members seriously injured.

        • But your comment is still hilarious.

          • Mollusc

            Ah that’s terrible, poor guys.

          • Doesn’t make your comment any less amusing but it certainly does suck.

          • I just went and checked because yesterday they had not confirmed who had died (said they were waiting for family members to ID the person). It looks like it was the bassist. Why are bassists always the members who die in the traffic incidents?

          • Mollusc

            Good point.

          • Mollusc

            I think I’m going to add “putting my foot in it on public forums” to my CV.

          • Well, like I said, I was mocking them myself and only knew about the story because I went to look up pictures of Russell Allen in his ridiculous hat.

          • Drew Music

            Seriously, the civility consistently demonstrated in the comments section on this site might be the only thing convincing me that there’s still hope for humanity. You people are alright, props for being reasonable folks instead of going the traditional SJW route.

          • Mollusc

            It’s too easy to be mean. I think you can be angry and still treat people decently… glad I didn’t come across as a total bellend! Lawdy knows I am in person…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Holy shit, not only is ROTM on time but the album they choose is fully deserving of the honours. What are we supposed to complain about? Hey look, the sidebars haven’t been changed yet!

  • The Akerstache

    Kronos comes back and we’re still getting this poseur shit? Some triumphant return…

    I kid, I kid. I completely agree, these are all great releases, and Unleash the Archers certainly deserves that top spot. If it hadn’t been for NCS featuring Ezerath I would have probably put UtA as my RotM too.

    • Morbidly Obese Angel

      That Ezerath album is ridiculously good! A lot of people seem to be sleeping on that one

      • The Akerstache

        It’s certainly making a fantastic case for being my AotY. I wanna just go and shout it’s greatness to the world.

  • Joshua Walker

    I am a fan of the new Apex album and I like the new Elder as well, but I think I like Elder’s release from 2015 more. I suppose I need to give it a few more listens.

    Out of all the June releases, I have probably listened to Eoront the most. The Glow and The Sea songs are fantastic and two of my favorites this year.

  • Eli Valcik

    My ROTM probably goes to the Sampler released by Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions. The new Monolithe is just too good. Or Maybe Sychodžańnie by LJOSAZABOJSTWA that was some fun BM and I’ll give you a nickle if you can pronounce the name.

    • Drew Music

      That sampler fuckin rips, not a bad track on it. Also, check out Nyhil, solid 3.0 black metal NYP on Bandcamp.

      • Eli Valcik

        Ooooo, thats nice. Saw them back on the “discover page” awhile ago and passed them up, but now I’m gonna go pick up that album.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Elder for me! Album is unbelievably good.

  • Westpaceagle

    Goats. We need more goats!

  • Reese Burns

    I will not stand for Dying Fetus being denied the number one spot, so ill begrudgingly take a seat…

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Huh, of all the people in the Elder camp, I would have guessed you’d be one of them.

      • Reese Burns

        It’s weird how often our tastes align! I love Elder, but Dying Fetus could very easily be my album of the year. I’ve been a DF fanboys for years now, the one and only major flaw with WOtFW was that the switchblade package didn’t ship to Canada! But still, I DO love me some Elder. Just not quiiite as much,

        • Dr. Wvrm

          I’m definitely down with the new DF, that thing is monstrous. At least if nothing else, for once people are happy with the RotMs :P

          I think this is the only time all three of my pyrrhic votes went to the winning albums, albeit in a different order. Plus, there were a couple of awesome albums we didn’t cover that could easily have been on there. June was sneaky good.

  • Lee

    Elder. Been listening consistently since it dropped. One of my AOTY so far for sure.

  • Anarchist

    Time Stands Still was the album I played a song or two off of every month. Apex was the album I played multiple times a day for an entire month. They 100% deserve this Record of the Month and I’m super excited to hopefully see them live whenever they tour western canada.

  • Kryopsis

    I’m still amazed that Unleash The Archers managed to release such a consistent and enjoyable album. Doc was definitely right about this one. Excellent review, all in all.

    Reflections of a Floating World was also a big surprise for me. Stoner Metal isn’t quite my favourite style and yet I found Reflections to be impossible to dislike.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    I must have missed that Unleash the Archers review. I’m listening now and this is pretty great. I initially was going to demand that Elder get the RotM spot and throw a huge tantrum, but uhh….never mind. Good choice fellas!

  • Serjien

    I am a power metal fan and I really want to like Apex and UtA in general, but I cant’ get around the female vocals. That aside, (which many will say, is what makes the album great) the album is a pretty solid power metal one and deserves some recognition.
    Elder’s work was fun to listen to, but is not something that makes me want to go back to.

  • sir_c

    Wot? No sweaty man buns? No arc welders? No spheres?
    All I see is a lousy soaring eagle…

  • IamDBR

    …but muh Dying Fetus?! Elder is pretty stellar too.
    Not big on pm these days but it’s worth a shot I reckon.

    • Nag Dammit

      It is worth it. PMs never been my fave genre but Apex totally delivers on the epicness. Perfect antidote to me being laid up at home after being bitten and infected by some disgusting critter. Havukruunu and God’s Forsaken are helping the healing process along too.

      • IamDBR

        I was sort of into them when I first discovered power metal. I’m hoping that this record will rekindle that fire.

        Nice picks there as well. Havukruunu is top notch stuff. Really liked GF, however, I do need more time with it.

        Also, get well soon! :)

  • Nag Dammit

    Cleanse the Bloodlines off Apex has a lick in it that sounds very much like the Game Of Thrones theme tune, as well as being an immense track.

  • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse
  • Danny

    Apex is such a killer record and they were terrific when I saw them play it last month. Totally deserves ROTM.

  • Eric Radliff

    I’m sorry but Reflections of a Floating World (Elder) blows Apex (Unleash the Archers) away. Just my 2 cents.

    • Eric Radliff

      Full disclosure though… power metal drives me nuts ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • Panagiotis Krokidas

    Oh, the disappointment!

    These are the best things to come out of this month?

    1. Unleash the Archers: Hard as I tried I found nothing but happy Euro-power. I was digging desperately for this Bathory influence. Nada. Who liked this album? Raise your hands, truly!

    2. Elder: Whats the big deal with this group? For me it represents the plague of our times: style over substance. No great melody to get attached to. It promises something cooler than it is.

    3. Dying Fetus: I don’t have opinion about this.

    All these to my humble ears.

  • The Unicorn

    That new Fetus fucking slams hard.