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!

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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.

Runner(s) Up: 

Sigh Graveward 01Sigh // 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  01Sulphur 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.

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  • Martin Knap

    so a 3,5 surpasses a 4,5… my world is falling apart. but in all honesty Tribulation would be my favorite record too.

    • AMG selects the Record o’ the Month regardless of score because he’s AMG.

      • De2013

        Kinda like Obama’s Executive Privilege. He just whoops everybody’s butt.

        • Like that but we can’t appeal to the Supreme Court or withhold funding.

          • De2013

            And a coup is out of the question, no?

        • It’s called an Executive Order.

          • De2013

            Thanks! I mixed them up. My bad. There’s indeed a difference between the two.

          • No biggie. AMG doesn’t give orders anyway. He gives decrees. Ask Steel.

        • Óðhinn

          If only that were true. He resorts to Executive Orders mainly due to the dysfunctionality and legislative sabotage that is so prevalent in Congress. Executive Orders are not laws, they are policies that are unlikely to outlive Obama’s presidency should a Republican be elected in 2016. Personally, I think Obama should have come into office with more of an “I’ll kick you ass” (or Al Kikuras as AMG readers might say) attitude when it comes to dealing with his domestic opponents. Obama’s pragmatism and desire to build bipartisan coalitions has largely been a mistake. Obama could learn a lesson from Angry Metal Guy with regard to imposing the policies necessary to successfully achieve goals.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Great picks. However, I’ve found the new Sigh a tough nut to crack. Great cover art indeed on that Sulphur Aeon release. Looks very Turneresque (now that I’ve watched Mr. Turner, I’m seeing his style everywhere).

    Is this the first time someone other than AMG has done a Record(s) ‘o the Month?

    • Nah, sometimes I do it, sometimes AMG does. AMG always has final say on selections though. He’s a despot.

  • Tribulation freaking destroys. Great musicianship and one of the best drums sound I’ve heard this year.

    • Óðhinn

      Good points Link Leonhart I.

    • swthate

      I’ve given the album almost two listen-throughs now, and my favorite thing about them is how unpretentious they are. They’re just going to straight-up shred your face off with classy, groovey and gothy licks.

      I should say… how unpretentious the music is. You can tell it’s not trying to do anything more than it should be.

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    You guys REALLY need an “Of Note” section

    I’m pretty meh on all 3 of these, I get why people like them… but don’t think they’re really worth the fuss.

    Has AMG fallen out of love with Shining?

    • André Snyde Lopes

      It hasn’t been reviewed for some reason. Maybe they didn’t get the promo. I don’t know.

  • Oreos for all!

  • Tom Hardy

    None I can agree with fortunately, especially that boring Sulphur Aeon record, wow.

    My personal favorites in Apri were Encenathrakh’s s/t, Akhlys’ The Dreaming I and Widek’s Journey To The Stars.

    • Lasse Momme

      Agree on Akhlys, that really is an incredible record.

  • brutal_sushi

    I can’t get into Sigh. But the other picks… ohhhh lordy! That new Sulphur Aeon is bonkers.

  • Andy777

    I can’t complain, the Tribulation and the Sulphur Aeon are probably my two favorites of the month as well, I haven’t listened to the Sigh much. I’m happy for Tribulation, but I do have to admit I would have loved to stare at the Sulphur Aeon artwork for a month.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Indeed. A Double-whammy of greatness.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    How did I miss the review for this Tribulation record? Sucks when you have rather busy months.
    Better late than never, I say. It sounds great! Definitely can see why one would pick it as RotM.

  • Karmazov

    Personally the new Sulphur Aeon album is my top album of April.

  • Hróðvitnir

    Well well Sigh not being on top Druhm writing the RoTM post… Looks like an overthrow to me.
    I dig the Tribulation record, glad to see it get the credit. Sigh’s album’s good too but I never managed to delve in the Sulphur Aeon one; I probably need to try again.

    • OCCUPY AMG!

      • Hróðvitnir

        We are the 99%!
        This will end in blood…

  • Kryopsis

    I sure wouldn’t want to be the one deciding which one of these three excellent albums is the AotM. All three are excellent for completely different reasons. ‘Gateway to the Antisphere’ is the least elaborate of the three but it is masterfully executed. Sigh is Sigh and remains my favourite Japanese band but Tribulation’s ‘The Children of the Night’ was a real surprise for me. Not only was I unfamiliar with the band but I don’t even like Ghost! And yet it’s a fucking incredible album and I’m definitely going to return to it again and again.

  • Thatguy

    Two out of three is OK

    I really like the Sulphur Aeon and the Tribulation

    The Sigh is too smart-arsed for me and i just don’t like their vocalist – but that’s just me

  • De2013

    Very cool list! Totally liked Sulphur Aeon. Missed the other two though, but Tribulation sounds very intriguing.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Yes! Tribulation finally getting the respect they deserve. This does not excuse Formulas of Death being all but ignored and not getting record of the millennium two years ago but it’s a good step in the right direction.

    Fanboy-isms aside this list is pretty much spot on. I’d probably add Kontinuum’s Kyrr to the honorable mentions but that’s really it.

    Gr8! I r8 8/8!

    EDIT: Also, no more of that awful Steven Wilson background.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Oh yeah, Kyrr is killer! And the Tribulation cover art is great for the site, with the two nicely juxtaposed witches(?)/succubi(?).

      • Vampires, actually. It’s from an old silent movie.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Ah, I see. Out of interest, which one? I did try googling it a bit but came up dry. Not Nosferatu?

          • Not sure, actually. I’ve seen short scenes as part of a TV ad for a local cinema cycle about vampires. Will see if i can find out more.

          • Found it! It’s actually a french serial in ten episodes called Les Vampires from 1915:

            https://youtu.be/q_fdUROaJYo

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Cool. Thanks muchly. Just might have to check it out. Love me some of the classic silent stuff like The General, Sunrise, Fall of the House of Usher, Faust, etc.

          • Óðhinn

            Louis Feuillade

    • Olly P Johnson

      agree on Kyrr, incred scenes.

    • Sir Tapir the Based

      Lol dude, “awful” and Steven Wilson don’t fit together.

  • JL

    The SA release is far, far superior to the Tribulation record. Trib is good but Sulphur Aeon…my god, what a devastating cacophony of extreme death metal madness. It’s an amazing record. The Tribulation record isn’t as good as the one before

  • 517H

    My mates have been banging on about Tribulation to me for weeks now. But I resisted. I can’t resist our Overlord’s advice though. Will check em out, mates be damned

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Steven Wilson was my RotM for April ;)

    Interestingly for me, these are the three records from April I’ve probably spent most time with
    Sigh I found a little disappointing even though I have enjoyed it … strange how some bands can do that!
    Kamelot should get a mention for a pretty tasty release as well.

    I think April has been a bit overshadowed by the insane number of top releases in Feb March I’m still digging into the pile of music I bought, I got a Barren Earth CD I’ve hardly listened to!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Actually I want to give a shout out to Royal Thunder. Time Machine is pretty much the song of the year for me so far.
    What a glorious set of pipes she has!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      One of my favourite records as well. Miny Parsonz has such a great voice.

  • hardysponge

    Tribulation have well deserved this. Great album artwork as well, and the three sided heavy weight vinyl is a beauty (for a reasonable price).

  • Howard Dean

    For me, The Children of the Night is far and away the best album released so far in 2015. And before I heard it, I was actually apprehensive about it. I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it. But I was really fucking wrong.

    Tracing the progression from The Horror to Formulas of Death, I was predicting the new album to be a full on spiral into retro, progressive territory a la every other shitstain band who has tried that similar route: I was expecting a Heritage-era Opeth or a later stage Mastodon (i.e. a turd). I was hoping beyond hope that Tribulation wouldn’t jump off the deep end, and that they wouldn’t chase the terrible dragon of retro-70’s progressive rock melded with extreme metal, because frankly, that amalgam usually sucks. They may still follow that path in the future, and I could certainly see a more quiet, introspective The Cure-type album with clean vocals as the followup to this album. But boy, Tribulation sure didn’t follow that path with Children of the Night.

    The biggest mistake people can make when approaching this record and reflecting upon it after a listen is to think it a death metal record. There is very little death metal on this album–traces of Gothenburg here and there, melodic death metal riffs in places. But it is more of a classic heavy metal fused with classic hard rock type album. The haunting melodies, powerful lead guitars and solos, the organs jumping in and soaring above it all. Wow. This is like a more complete and powerful version of Reinkaos, and is the sound Jon Nodtveidt probably hoped to accomplish with his last album. This is the album Watain wishes they could write.

    I’ve heard a lot of good albums this year, but so far, this tops them all–and by a pretty substantial margin. The hype is very real. Expect the usual barrage of haters who will hate on it simply because everyone else likes it (or because the band members kind of look like anorexic gothic drag queens, or some other such nonsense). But in the end, this is a very complete and extremely well composed metal/rock record.

    Well done, Tribulation.

    • hardysponge

      Well said!

  • Olly P Johnson

    It’s funny how the album art currently leading the race has the word “Sphere” in the title…..but not a single sphere dominates the actual art itself.