After July’s lull, it’s important to remember that there are some big releases that hit in August (though, it seems like the big hit is coming in September: HakenTýrCarcassUlcerate, etc.). This wasn’t the worst month ever, that’s for sure. There was some really amazing stuff going on here, actually. Still, there really was no serious competition for the top spot this month. Nej, indeed, it was pretty obvious all along that Swanö was going for the win with his new project Witherscape.

Witherscape - The Inheritance

Witherscape // The Inheritance — I think we should all just take a moment to think about the fact that Dan Swanö is still a genuine force in heavy metal, two decades (+) after the melodic Swedish death metal movement that he and his ilk helped to launch. It’s pretty crazy to think that after all these years, it’s the new Witherscape record, that revives that Opeth/Edge of Sanity feel with guitarist/bassist (and hipster mustache toting/manly name-having) Ragnar Widerberg, that really just was the most kickass record released in August. The record burns with an intensity and a songwriting brilliance that simply hasn’t been seen in melodeath in a long time. But you know what else Swanö did that pushed this album into the place where I want to advertise it for an entire month on my website? He released a full dynamic range mp3 version of the record along with the special edition (that can be purchased here). While it could have been FLAC (or ALAC) for the purists among us, I certainly see this as an encouraging sign. In this era of Loudness, The Inheritance‘s full dynamic range mix is a breath of fresh air (and a blast of audible bass). Now, Hr. Swanö, let’s hope you make that the version on the disc next time around! And the rest of you? Purchase this album to show that you support good production!

Runner(s) Up:

Gorguts - Colored SandsGorguts // Colored Sands  There will most certainly be protestations to Witherscape winning over the excellent new Gorguts. We never got around to reviewing the new Gorguts—which is why it’s disqualified from winning the month, but that doesn’t mean that the record isn’t a masterpiece of death metal. It’s just, well, that Colored Sands isn’t exactly an easy record to pick apart and analyze. A brutal, destructive, and chaotic record, Colored Sands is like a whirling sandstorm, all the parts operating in unison and yet somehow… not. The final feel is something that is simultaneously aggressive and brutal, yet atmospheric and chaotic. More will be said about Colored Sands within the pages of this website, but we didn’t get there yet. I hardly have to tell death metal fans to check out the new Gorguts record, but just in case…

Turisas2013Turisas // Turisas2013 — “Where Turisas2013 doesn’t live up to its predecessors is the holistic consistency and attention to detail for which the band is known. Frankly, there are moments when Turisas2013 feels half-baked. And yet, I can’t stop listening to it. It has been stuck on my playlist since the moment I got it and it won’t come off. Nygård and company continue to be remarkably agile in their writing, with hyper-modern, but deft, mixing and mastering and performances that never leave any doubt as to the band’s ability.Turisas2013 sometimes feels like it could have used another 6 months of arrangement, but tell that to my OCDesque urge to listen to it over and over and over again.”

Primitive Man - ScornPrimitive Man // Scorn — “Believe it or not, Scorn is a catchy piece of work. You may not be hooked by the lack of symmetry, discipline and form but, rather ironically, it is this very unbiased stream of metal consciousness that makes this debut so special. Call it what you like, but although it is true that sometimes there is smoke without a fire, in this instance the smell of flesh proves we have been lucky. It burns and we are not ashamed to love it.”

Shakhtyor - ShakhtyorShakhtyor // Shakhtyor — “There are few things more invigorating than the notion of three guys gelling together with the sole purpose of creating the most devastating racket possible. Shakhtyor, Dio willing, will walk the path to modest recognition silently and stoically—like a riff-fisted Fedor Emelianenko—and those lucky enough to follow them on their blue-collar journey will bask in the satisfaction that comes with something that’s growing all too rare: Quality craftsmanship.”

Retraction o’ the Month:

Fleshgod Apocalypse // LabyrinthLowered to 3.0 from 3.5.