Following a groundswell of excellent music in August, September was not a letdown. Actually, there was a bumper crop of suggestions for the Record o’ the Month in September, making for a thoroughly enjoyable bit of investigation before I ignored all requests and settled on doing what I do best. I followed my gut—the primary thinking instrument of the decisive leader. After putting down internal revolts over my choices, I hunger for another chance to demonstrate my superiority in the public arena. I welcome your wailing and gnashing of teeth. I revel in licking the salt of your tears from your face. I live for your suffering and desperate cries for the redress of grievances! Know that I will meet these all with a glorious, hearty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Power is the sweetest thing imaginable.


Archspire‘s newest slab of technical death metal re-inspired my love for the genre and I cannot get enough of it. While I liked The Lucid Collective pretty well, Relentless Mutation is an evolution in the band’s sound that takes them to the next level. I once suggested that In Flames is a band that is remarkably good at describing precisely what’s going on within the band in their album titles, but Archspire may be giving them a run for their money here. This album sees the band evolving their style while dropping 30 minutes of absolutely blistering, fresh tech death. Archspire‘s approach to this new album is one of the most inspiring contributions to tech death that I’ve heard in a long time, hitting that perfect blend of intensity and technicality with the neo-classical flare of early Fleshgod Apocalypse. Relentless Mutation isn’t just great, though. No, this record is a statement that, to quote a fawning Kronos, “Archspire is a force to be reckoned with at the forefront of the genre with bands like Beyond Creation and Revocation.”

Runner(s) Up

Caligula's Horse - In ContactCaligula’s Horse // In Contact — Caligula’s Horse has garnered a name for themselves in recent years as they moved from “surprisingly good djent on Bandcamp” to getting signed by InsideOut Records. I discovered the band with their significantly-more-djenty The Tide, the Thief, and River’s End and enjoyed 2015’s less-djenty Bloom. I was gratified to find In Contact an improved continuation on the ideas of its predecessor: a streamlined, emotive record that balances a softer register and pop-sensibility with epic riffs and addictive groove. But more than this, In Contact is an album that is vital, beautiful and inspiring, transforming a dour Kronos into a poet philosopher who raved about the album’s “sheer humanity.” In Contact, he gushed, “seems to catch every stray sunbeam reflected off of the surface of life and savor their light. Surely we are living in the decaying world of What Passes for Survival, but beyond cognizance and resistance, how can we answer those terrors of life? To put it in a more directly Nietzschean context, what are we to do in a broken world with a dead god? In Contact answers with all the authority it can muster: love! create! share! sing! It is all any of us can do, and if that seems no solution, even the most resolutely negative among us perhaps will perhaps reconsider when prompted by [ol’] Freddy himself: ‘You oughta learn to laugh, my young friends, if you are hell-bent on remaining pessimists.'”

Chelsea Wolfe // Hiss Spun Chelsea Wolfe has garnered the love of metal fans everywhere, which, once again affirms that being “metal” is a lot more about how one holds herself than whether or not there are blast beats on an album. Certainly Hiss Spun‘s dour feel and grimy sound has an edge and danger to it that quite a lot of things released as metal lackL. Saunders was expressing the opinion of many of us in his raving assessment of Hiss Spun when he called it “one of 2017’s unmissable albums.” It’s a “challenging, deeply emotive piece of art featuring some of Wolfe‘s most accessible work, cranking up the doom and rock-based factors without losing an ounce of her progression, experimentation, and artistry.”