April was a good month for metal with a few firebombs of musical greatness peppered throughout like radioactive rainbow sprinkles from Hell. It was also a month where the AMG staff bickered, fussed and feuded more than usual over what was good, great and garbage. Some albums were way over-hyped, perhaps others were even overrated (gasp!) [There will be blood… – AMG], and opinions were more plentiful than assclowns at a Gathering of the Juggalos. With so much sheer rancor and controversy, we were barely able to present this, the highly contentious Records o’ the Month for April. Prepare to taste the rainbow!
Tribulation // The Children of the Night – Here’s a band that believes in keeping things fresh and shedding their musical skin from release to release. Jumping from old school death, to proggy, oddball death, to what can only be described as Mercyful Fate and Ghost styled death, this is a band you just cannot sleep on. While the death metal sound is still present, it’s filtered through some strange retro prisms and the results are hard to resist. Dr. Fisting reported “It’s pretty rare that I hear a metal record with this level of songwriting and depth” and “In an era where Swedish-style death metal has reached saturation point, it’s hard to stand apart from the pack, but Tribulation has achieved just that.” Weird but definitely good stuff.
Sigh // Graveward – The strange black metal avant-gardians of Sigh have toyed with their listeners for much of their oddball career. Graveward is no exception and there’s plenty of weirdness on display to wrap your mind, but for the first time, there may be some familiarity too. As Kronos explained “the album often feels a little predictable. The songs aren’t nearly as varied as those on In Somniphobia…” But while there’s familiarity there, the execution of the band’s concept and the trademark claustrophobic, old school production blend together to create a record that grows on the listener. Balancing out razor sharp riffs and ’80s black thrash worship with melodic weirdness demonstrates clearly that Sigh is still at the top of their game.
Sulphur Aeon // Gateway to the Antisphere – A seething mass of angry, terror and fury, Sulphur Aeon‘s latest fuses the best of Behemoth, Watain and Immolation into what can best be described as “approximating what being crushed under the weighty pressure of the deepest chasms of the ocean would sound like run through a death metal filter.” Blackened death has rarely gotten such high marks without Madam X‘s assistance, but there’s s just no resisting the hateful power of Gateway to the Antisphere, even if the band is against our beloved spheres. The pummeling death metal contained herein is matched by the absolutely epic cover-art. Gateway to the Antisphere may be a runner up for Record o’ the Month, but it’s hard to imagine that the art will be topped this year.