If I’d thought further ahead, I’d have come up with a fantastic joke about the fact that we’re releasing this February edition of the Record(s) o’ the Month on the 29th of February—that’s right, a leap year. This seldom-occurring date is, of course, special in a lot of different ways and made even more special by the fact that I am once again delivering the Record(s) o’ the Month on time. Well, not just on time, but early. Despite everything—and literally I have so much to do because I spent nearly ⅔ of February fucking sick—I am bucking up and telling you what the best record o’ the month for February was. And you should probably have seen these coming…

Fleshgod Apocalypse - King

I once again have shown that I hate mainstream metal and big labels out of hand and unfairly trash their records by giving a super positive review to Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s King and naming it Record o’ the Month. Ha! That’ll show ’em! My flippant disregard for commercially viable death metal has finally met its match in Italy’s death metal equivalent to Rhapsody: operatic, epic, energetic and excellent. Aside from my discomfort with the way that the band has described the King character as being something more akin to being a lion-for-a-day than a lamb-for-a-century—if you get my stage winks—the music carries this album to heretofore unseen places in Fleshgod‘s career. And that the songwriting and the album flow carry King is a welcome change of pace. Indeed, as I gushed so emphatically, “King is far more than a neoclassical Hour of Penance; it’s a masterclass in blending death metal energy and power with sophisticated composition.” Fixing the drums, getting a great producer to handle the crushed-ass master, and writing awesome songs makes King my favorite record from February and so far the best thing I’ve heard this year.


Runner(s) Up:

Hyperion - Seraphical EuphonyHyperion // Seraphical Euphony — Having not listened to Seraphical Euphony twenty-five times, I still am putting it in the #2 spot February. But let’s be absolutely clear, Hyperion‘s debut record is an immense and powerful piece of work. Rarely is there the kind of unity in the Angry Metal Offices as we’re seeing form around Seraphical Euphony, and our very own Diabolus in Muzaka was so excited, he firmly put his cart before his unicorn: “As the record fades out for the twenty-fifth time as I write this, I can confidently say that Seraphical Euphony will be the best record released in 2016. While this is certainly a massive victory for the lads in Hyperion, it’s a bigger victory for us listeners; we have a timeless triumph put to tape, our Sulphur Aeon for 2016, a new classic we’ll remember fondly years down the line.”  And maybe he’s right?

Rogash MalevolenceRogash // Malevolence — I, too, miss Vomitory. The guys from Rogash feel the same way (I assume), and have put out an album which chock full of sick fucking riffs, hyper-condensed death metal production, and plenty of brutal to go around. When I first heard this I knew it would be special, if for no other reason than it isn’t being advertised as “Old School Death Metal.” And sure, it’s got kind of terrible cover art, but driving, brutal death metal without “technical” aspirations like Malevolence is way too few and far between these days. Grymm gave Rogash a thumbs up and a prediction: “These hooks are massive, the groove is insane, and Rogash could end up taking pits around the world over by storm pretty soon.”

Deserves a Mention, But Didn’t Get Reviewed (Yet)

Myrath - LegacyMyrath // Legacy — If I’d received promo of Myrath‘s Legacy any sooner, this probably would have ended up on the list. Released on the 12th of February worldwide, Legacy sees Myrath dropping the Dream Theater worship and going full-on into Tunisian Metal brilliance. The record clocks in at 56 minutes but is an entertaining listen from start to finish; like a power metal Orphaned Land with more orchestral influences and no death metal. Laced with swooping orchestrations, wild vocal acrobatics, and a film-score sound—in the best possible sense—it’s tough not to believe that I’ll be coming back to Legacy quite a lot going forward. These guys have sharpened their sound and it’s a sound I really like.

Editor’s Official Proclamation of Extreme Grievance: I, Steel Druhm, take great personal umbrage at the inexcusable exclusion of the new Anthrax album from this list. I seek immediate redress for this highly improper anti-New York bias and will not be satisfied with anything less than a full public apology and/or a large bag of cash (U.S. dollars only).

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  • Well, at least if my boss walks by it’ll look like I’m reading something old and fancy.

    • Tardsmat

      It’s amazing how well eliran kantor made the art look like one of those really old paintings.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Up until reading your comment, I was 100% convinced the cover art was actually an old painting! And I didn’t even know who Eliran Kantor was!
        He did an awesome job

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Those sidebars make me feel like I’m reading an online Encyclopaedia.

  • Antorus

    That monarch requires an equally majestic unicorn, methinks…

    • Blueberry Balls

      much better.

      • Thatguy

        Lovely dovely.

  • Tardsmat

    King really got me by surprise. I had never heard of this band before, and the album blew me away in a way only few albums can manage. This is album of the year material to me.

  • Panos

    I really like the new background, Abbath was creeping me out a bit. I have to say that once again DiM introduced me to an album that blew my mind. I just can’t stop listening to Seraphical Euphony…

  • The Lascivious Snape

    Both Fleshgod and Hyperion would top my list as well, and right now I struggle to crown a, ahem, king between the two. I believe I’ll still be stumping for these records at year’s end. Especially Hyperion, since it surely won’t be as well known.

  • Goldicot

    Michel Anoia for me. That album will tide me over until Gorguts gets here.

    • Tom Hardy

      Keep an eye out for that new Wormed too, Goldilocks.

      • Kronos

        Spoiler alert: it’s good.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Wow. Just listened to Michel Anoia. Some superb no-wave metal. Reminded me of Craw. Give them a listen.

  • Hammersmith

    I would swap out Rogash for Obscura, but otherwise, yes. The Hyperion in particular came out of left field and it has been in constant rotation.

  • Tom Hardy

    Those picks remind me of last night’s Oscar win in the Best Picture category going to Spotlight. Meh.

    • El_Cuervo

      Did you want it go to The Revenant, Tom? I thought you were better in that than Leo tbh

      • Tom Hardy

        That’s what critics are basically saying and thank you for appreciating my performance in the film. I’m glad Leo got his in a year the competition wasn’t as stiff as before.

        Best Picture for me was Fury Road to be honest, not because it’s a film with me in it but look at the fact that it won most technical awards, with the exception of Cinematography.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Fury Road was easily best film last year.
          Im not sure if Hateful 8 counts as last year but it would be close if so.
          I also thought Green inferno was brilliant but doubt it got any mentions

          • Tom Hardy

            I see some Aussie support, thanks mate. I wish Shane Watson’s team did as well last month as George Miller’s last night.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Deserves the praise! Mad Max holds a special place in the Australian psyche. IMO it was a risky move for Miller to revisit it. It would’ve been awful if it hadn’t worked.
            Poor old Watto definitely no Oscars for him. It was a bit of a B team but yeah we got schooled

          • 517H

            Right on, Carlos. Mad Max (especially 2) is a really special film. But Fury holds its own. A flaming guitar in front of a stack on the back of a truck! Fuck me

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Still need to see Green Inferno. Pretty sure that movie will never be mentioned around the Oscars…

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Oh yeah do it man. It’s certainly not for every one… But it’s really clever and original in its concept and brutally over the top.
            I also think in it’s own way its quite a beautiful film. I’m not really a horror film fan or a fan of Roth’s other work but this I thought was really good.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Ok cool. I’m not a fan at all of Roth’s other shit and that’s my main reason for stalling. But I’ll definitely check it out.

          • sir_c

            That sounds like the sequel to The Toxic Avenger

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Fury Road still gets watched twice a week in my house. I love all the Mad Max movies but this one felt like Miller finally created the world he had been trying to make since Mad Max 2.

      • Diego Molero

        Wait, is he really THE Tom Hardy?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      The most amazing thing about Spotlight is that it managed to make everyone wonder a question heretofore unthinkable: what’s worse, this film or Mark Ruffalo?

      • Tom Hardy

        Aye aye. I mean, I don’t have anything against the movie. Good clear message based on true events. Just not at the same caliber as a few in the category. On my way to the men’s room I got to listen to Ruffalo’s pre-Oscar interview inside the auditorium up front, he was awkward about the boycott issue and bombed the last question.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Lol

      • RuySan

        My wife says Ruffalo has “shifty movie face”, and I don’t disagree with her.

        She also used to say that about Dominic West, but then the wire changed everything. Spotlight didn’t.

    • I just watched Spotlight last night. I’m still scratching my head on why this won best film other than the Academy wanted to equalize the number of awards between the nominees.

      Despite my absolute love for Mad Max, I am firmly in the camp that The Revenant was hands down the best movie of the year. YMMV.

      • Tom Hardy

        I reckon Spotlight got the nod because of the subject and its actual relevance in society today. Other stories with the exception of Bridge of Spies, fiction.

        What made my other movie The Revenant exceptional were the elements we shot in. It’s a straightforward story, revenge. If it weren’t for the cinematography it’s nowhere close to a classic such as Unforgiven.

        • Unforgiven? Really? Oh my lord no! Unforgiven is about as plain vanilla of a plot as you can possibly get when it comes to its plot line. Hackman’s performance as the over the top corrupt cop and Eastwood as basically another Dirty Harry like caricature…c’mon now….they basically took Enforcer and set it in the West with a few twists.

          Revenant was a lot more than just about revenge – it also had an undercurrent of man vs nature and how brutal the natural world really is. Also, I want you think about what the “natural” world is or rathe was during Revenant’s historical time period. Let’s just say a lot of the characters treated each other a lot worse than the bear protecting her cubs!

          Unforgiven…pppmmffff! :-)

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Huh… I guess Anthrax and Destroyer 666 were misspelled. I don’t see them anywhere on here.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Haven’t heard the new Anthrax yet, but love the epic sound of the new Destroyer 666. Rogash is great, but very loud I find.

      Some Awesome stuff in FA’s King, but the symphonic elements and classical tracks don’t do much for me. And those spoken word sections are hokey.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I’m in love with the new Anthrax. I know a lot of it is nostalgia but it’s a pretty solid album (a bit long). Enjoying the Hyperion and D666 very much.

        I like Rogash quite a bit but haven’t really gotten around to the new FA. Sadly, I’m not the biggest fan so I haven’t been going out of my way to hear it. But I’ll have to give it a spin.

    • lennymccall

      Agreed on the Destroyer 666 it will probably be in my top ten for the year.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        It’s currently in my top ten. The year is young but there it will stay for now.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    For me Obscura’s album has strode all over this month like Godzilla.
    I’ve also really enjoyed the Hyperion album its worthy of the hype and also Fuath’s I
    Even though I haven’t spent time with it yet, I too am a little sad not to see Anthrax on the list here, I suspect AMG is engaging in his favourite pass time of trolling Senior Druhm…

    • sssgadget

      Agreed. Obscura was so good. I listen to it every few days. Good old-school-cynic feeling to it.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yep, I have to admit that when Hannes and Christian left I thought that was pretty much it for Obscura. Yet here they are with an album IMO that has the edge on Alkaloids first effort and is an early contender for RotY!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      I am an entitled individual and feel it necessary to verbalise my disagreement. Regarding Obscura:

      I disagree!

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        It’s all right! This is a safe space with no rights or wrongs and no one will judge you for your terrible taste…

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          Absolutely brilliant retort

    • Awesome record no doubt about it.

    • Meh. Neither record was great.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yes, they were excellent!

  • 517H

    A very brutal month. I like it. Hyperion is really special. It’s my number one. All killer. No filler. Haven’t been this excited about an album for ages. King is good but I want my metal raw and wriggling. King sounds great but feels overdone in my mind. Too many layers sometimes

    • André Snyde Lopes

      If there is one thing Wintersun taught us all is that there is no such thing as too many layers.

      • RuySan

        Blind Guardian could also sometimes tone down on that. I wish for a new, raw live album so I could hear how the sings from the last couple of albums sound

    • Dethjesta

      How can more be less, that’s, also, impossible.

  • Reese Burns

    Great choice for RotM! Also, sorry to hear you weren’t doing too well.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I remember Soen’s judgmental rhino from 2014 staring and evaluating my every move but this smug bastard takes the cake. He looks so permanently unimpressed it makes me want to smack that shit-eating look in his eyes straight to Venus.

    With that said, King was superb.

    • Hulksteraus

      Well, it went from Abath staring out at you and daring you to follow him into the apocalyptic oblivion to some Renaissance Prussian/Germanic/Russian King smugly staring out and laughing at all us peasants…

  • JL

    The Obscura album obliterates everything listed here.

  • One More Thing

    I still can’t get into King at all, which is a huge disappointment for me as I had been looking forward to it since it got announced. Hyperion has filled the void though and I am loving every minute of their debut.

  • WhamBamSam

    The lack of any mention for the new Holy Grail confuses and infuriates me. This month had a bunch of good stuff, but Times of Pride and Peril is a legitimate AotY contender.

    I always had Myrath pegged as Symphony X worship much moreso than Dream Theater. I still think Desert Call is their best album, but Legacy is a good time.

    • BaboonKing

      +1 for the Futurama reference!

      I wouldn’t go as far as calling Times of Pride and Peril an AotY contender, but it’s a very solid album with some gems in it, and I’d be glad to see it reviewed (quick! to the druhm-mobile! ;).

      Oh, and I saw Myrath (with Symphony X as headliners) last week. Fantastic concert, both bands kill it live.

      • WhamBamSam

        Perhaps I do wuv Holy Grail just a little too much. To me they’re the band that stands out from the retro metal crowd (which I really like a lot of) as truly great in their own right and Crisis In Utopia is the trad metal album that actually deserved White Wizzard’s infamous 5/5. The new album isn’t quite so transcendentally perfect as their debut, but it’s still a fantastic record.

        I saw Symphony X on their last US tour with Overkill. They are indeed fantastic live. I’d love to see Myrath live. Their show seems like a ton of fun.

  • Chris M

    King and Seraphical Euphony were the top two on my personal February list as well. Seeing FGA three times in the month (twice on the 70K cruise and once in SLC) didn’t hurt in solidifying how much I love King. Those songs are just brutal live.

  • Thatguy

    Yeah, well…King is quite good but I made the mistake of buying the disc with the orchestral version as a bonus.

    The orchestral version is a pretentious bore.

    • Hammersmith

      Just.. don’t listen to it?

      • Thatguy

        Well of course…but I had to try it

        • Hammersmith

          I didn’t care for it either.

    • [not a Dr]

      I love pretentious orchestral bores!
      Will check that out.

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        I love pretentious attention whores too! Especially the ones with a webcam and a two-foot purple dildo… oh, wait, wrong forum.

        • sir_c

          Angry Dildo Girl?

  • Thatguy

    Live would be another matter I should think. And no fucking orchestra.

  • Diego Molero

    Well, now you have 4 years to think about that fantastic leap day joke.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    I haven’t heard this Myrath album, but that description really peaked my interest. It’s only 8 bucks new on Amazon, so I’m just gonna order it. And if I don’t like it, I’ll be out the price of a couple happy meals.

  • Kill The King

    Wow 2 for 2 in 2016 I’ve agreed 100% with AMG’s Record ‘o The Month. Also, as a massive Amon Amarth fanboy…..I’m praying to the gods it’ll be 3 for 3 in 2016. It’s torture counting down the days until Jomsviking drops!!!

  • kmal666

    Obscura > Fleshgod

  • Dethjesta

    At the start of the month, when I first heard King, I knew, this would be my record of the month. Then i heard Obscura and had a tough choice. Then I heard the new Hypo5e and Omnium Gatherum records and was torn some more. Then came Anthrax, D666, Hyperion, Entombed AD, Votum and Inverloch (oh and I purchased the Crescent Lament record too).

    Now I’m too confused to know what i think and have absolutely no money left.
    Either way, it’s been a great month for Metal.

  • Jukka Alanen

    Didn’t know the new Myrath was already out, I’ll definitely pick it up today as I was already going to the record store. :)

    Talking about Anthrax, does anybody know if there’s a difference in mastering between the CD and LP versions? I’m thinking of picking this up also. Couldn’t find it in dr database yet, only CD and download versions.

  • Bart the Repairman

    Wow, after this verdict I guess I will force myself to give those Italians another chance. Few years ago I saw them live among Aborted, Archspire and Decapitated, and they were indescribably boring. 50 mins of constant double-kick hurricane (without any tempo changes) and annoying pseudo-operatic vocals. Not to mention that ridiculous look. Maybe I will break my prejudices thanks to AMG…

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I bought the new Anthrax, and I have to back up Steel Druhm in regards to the greatness of this album. It’s insanely good. Such tight playing, and “Monster at the End” is easily a top candidate for my Song of the Year.

    • A man of fine taste!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thanks to your guidance over the years. ; )

  • FA’s King is the most overrated album of 2016 so far. But I will certainly be checking Hyperion and Rogash.

  • Innit Bartender

    That Myrath is damn interesting…

  • SegaGenitals

    Meh

  • Westpaceagle

    What’s up AMG and esteemed associates, first comment here, but this is by far the best metal blog I have found. F*cking love it. The double edged Viking sword is that I have been spending waaay more on music recently, mainly based on your reviews. To keep this post relevant, my pick for the month would be Hyperion for sure; what an insane amount of metal packed into one album. Obscura is a very close second, and Anthrax will always be my first metal love (discovered Spreading the Disease in 5th grade), but musically this one doesn’t do it for me like Worship did. I need to give it a few more spins. What we really need is more one-man ambient black metal! JK!…(or am I?) Rock the hell on! M/ M/

    • Kronos

      Welcome to the internet’s best comments section!

  • William Hebblewhite

    I personally thought February was a weaker month to January. The first month of the year really set the bar high. I haven’t listened to Rogash or Hyperion yet but will voice my concern for the lack of Destroyer 666 and Anthrax love.

    Really excited to read up on the Myrath review (if one is indeed coming). I loved “Tales of the Sand” and really dig their Orphaned Land-esque Power Metal.

  • junkyhead

    Have yet to give Fleshgod’s Apocalypse a spin, the track ive heard was pretty good. With that being said, i really enjoyed The Body’s new one.

  • razerwolf

    Just noticed that after nothing scoring above a 4.0 since November, we’ve had FIVE 4.5s this month. Feb really been that good for metal?

  • Levly

    Yeah, Fleshgod quoting Mussolini is quite discomforting :s… I wonder if they took that from Drumpf (#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain ;)).

    Anyway, great music is great music no matter how you slice it, and I completely agree with the pick and the fact that it’s the best thing that came out this year so far (although I remain partial to Borknagar even though it’s a step down from Urd).

    • They weren’t quoting Mussolini, it’s just that the description of the King character is all about how this all powerful man is pure of heart and surrounded by parasitic hangers on. He’s the “hero” of the story through his strength and purity.

      uhhhhh….

      • Levly

        :(

        • “We felt the necessity to talk about things that are happening today. I think nobody can deny this: we are going through a very deep crisis in our society and not only economically. It is also a crisis of our values. We are dealing with the differences between many cultures, the necessity of integration and the many changes we have to make to understand each other. When there are these kind of difficulties, we can choose to be brave and use our rationality to push things in the right direction, but there is always the big problem with fear. It always pushes us in the wrong direction. When fear starts being present, people always react in stupid ways and it creates even more of a disease in society itself. If you are afraid, you are not able to choose what is right and you lose sight of the values we have. The sad part is that our culture, art and psychological approach to life is really getting sick.

          The concept of the album is the story of a king who has many problems in dealing with the characters in his court. They try to control him and take power. This king is the only positive character and he is trying to keep the sovereign together. He tries to do things with integrity and tries to keep his values. Of course, as you can see on the cover of the album, the king is tired. This king is fighting against windmills. All the people that surround him do not believe in the same things. This represents our old world of values and the good things that are really suffering at this moment. It is also a hope that we have. As we said when we released the album cover: ‘we should all hail the king that is inside of us’. Every single person is able to connect with the king inside him or herself to act in the proper way, in the right way to bring our world back to where it was before.'”

          I’m not saying this is intentional. But the rhetoric is very similar in certain ways. A culture-conservatism, bound with a “disease” in society. Virtues and values over what’s broadly seen as a type of moral deterioration overcome through personal strength.

          • Levly

            Yeah, words like “disease” and “suffering old world values” are quite unpleasant, even if they try to put a positive/inspirational spin on the message.
            At any rate, those concerns about “Europe loosing it’s soul in the face of immigration” are increasingly widespread on the continent and many politicians express them in much nastier ways so it’s not like they are particularly extreme about it either…

          • Krzystov

            Right/Wrong…Good/Evil…in the end is nothing but perspective. The new Varg album has similar themes. Listen to “The Great Dictator.” The new Dream Theater also has similar themes.

            The King is the individual’s Spirit–the “parasitic hangers on” are all of it’s shadow qualities like hate, greed, etc. The shadows don’t necessarily have to be conquered, but transformed/balanced.

          • Possibly. Or possibly not. The rhetoric is what I’m commenting on. The hangers-on here are about moral decay and the internal strength. These are, of course, quite common in individualistic conceptions of the self. They’re _also_, in the rhetoric of conservatism and moral decay, the rhetoric of fascism. I’m not impugning them, just pointing out a similarity that I personally find uncomfortable.

  • HammerofThor

    Totally agree with Fleshgod as your pick. One of the best DM releases I’ve heard in years. As much as I love Septicflesh, Fleshgod stole the symphonic throne with this release.

  • sir_c

    there just is a picture for everything on the internet…

  • Krzystov

    Glad to see Hyperion’s latest on this list and glad to know that if we all can’t agree with Obscura’s, Akraosis, we can at least agree on this.

  • Nick Maestas

    I’m hesitant to hear the new Fleshgod album since Labrynth kinda disappointed me :( Maybe I’ll man up soon and give King a listen. Hyperion was a pleasant surprise though! And when the hell is Asphyx coming with a new album?