Another month, another spectacularly late Record(s) o’ the Month. At this point, can’t we just agree if you get it at all, it’s timely? As for February, it was a respectable month o’ metal with enough candidates for the top spots to make for a contentious selection, and no matter what we picked, some faction was going to have grievances. Since we’re a grievance type of website, we soak that shit up like craft beer and virgin’s blood. And to be completely honest, none of you are in a position to complain anyway since whatever record we choose will result in significantly less back sweat and man-bunage adorning the site. Count your lucky stars and send all complaints, concerns and unpleasant comments to Metalsucks.com.

Black Sites - In Monochrome

Formed from the ashes of the highly underrated Chicago thrash act, Trials, Black Sites is like a boot in the ass to a scene drowning in retro and nostalgia-core. Taking the riff-driven, modern sound of Trials and adding more groove and an extra dose of melody, Black Sites rumbles along in an unhurried mid-tempo full of heft and swagger. The music flirts with the heavy groove elements of vintage Down and Floodgate, but this is no bayou stoner metal, no sirree, Bob. Though the sound is definitely modern, the material isn’t afraid to give nods to the old school, and more than any recent album I can recall, it seems every listener hears elements of their own favorite acts buried in the mix. The strength of In Monochrome is the song craft, and every cut brims with sharp riffs and hooks, all without ever feeling commercial or poppy. AMG Himself summed it up this way: “In Monochrome is unapologetically modern, but it has two feet firmly planted in the feel(s) of yesteryear. And it is the feeling of being a traditional metal album—without being remotely derivative—which makes In Monochrome an excellent album.” This is one underground act that deserves more exposure and attention, so give it to them!

Runner(s) Up:

Immolation // Atonement – What needs to be said about Immolation at this point in their lengthy career. They’ve been one of, if not the most dependable of death metal acts over the decades and have yet to drop a dud album. Atonement is another above-average slab of chunky, ugly death featuring everything fans love about the band. The creepy but epic sound is there along with those wicked off-kilter riffs, and this time the songs are slowed down to a more grinding, pulverizing pace, allowing the atmosphere to truly unsettle and disturb. As Ferrous Beuller wisely pointed out,  “A rigid sense of self resounds on this record, an identity that continuously enables the band to produce exemplary and unique death metal almost 30 years after their inception.” In short, after all these years, Immolation still has nothing to atone for.

Persefone // Aathma – When a tag reads “Andorran Metal,” people are sure to react with a puzzled “whazthat?” Forget the geographic location, because all one needs to know about Persefone is that they create some of the best prog-metal out there today. Ferrous Beuller, who got too many high-quality albums in February, described the band well as “Cherry picking the best parts of acts as diverse as Symphony X, Opeth, Arcturus and even Pain of Salvation, whilst focusing them through an unmistakably melodeath filter….” As hard as that may be to wrap one’s head around, the music is nothing short of amazing – walking the line between technical and emotional as few bands can. Persefone is on a major run of great albums and Aathma will make quite a few year-end lists. Do not miss it, you wank-lovers.

Share →
  • AndySynn

    Not having Immolation in the top spot makes me sad. And vengeful. And sleepy.

    Also, as much as I enjoy Aathma, I don’t think it deserves to be an AOTY contender by any means, as it’s just too disjointed.

    Haven’t checked out the Black Sites album yet however, so I’ll try my best to get round to it based on this recommendation!

    • Go back to sleep, you crank.

      • AndySynn

        I would, but my work frowns upon sleeping at my desk.

        • Don’t listen to Black Sites then;)

          • AndySynn

            Oof, that’s a burn.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    “… got too many high-quality albums…”

    I feel some kind of core approaching.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      A pox on you!

    • [not a Dr]

      As if millions of powerchords suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly palm-muted…

    • GardensTale

      Oh don’t worry. I got a special surprise lined up…

      • Ferrous Beuller

        You’re not the boss of me. And pull your trousers up, God dammit!

  • Daniel Albert

    Not having a review of the new Soen album kinda sucks at this point. Guess I should call this Late Metal Guy.

    • Goldicot

      it’s good

      • Name’s Dalton

        There’s your review rabble rabble

    • We can only do what we can do.

      • Daniel Albert

        I suggest you start planning on making clones, these reviews won’t write themselves in time, unless someone is able to create an “angry metal guy review writer bot” (seems like good idea for a master’s degree). This would surely solve everything.

        Anyway, I’ve enjoyed all these albums, good picks for February, except for the part where it lacks Soen.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I don’t know about review writing bots, but someone around here has a machine that rates records based on band pictures.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Thatguy invented it.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Will the new Bask album be reviewed?

    • Shiny Metal Object

      I was also going to jump on the lack of Soen review. Very solid album, by the way… Anyway, Black Sites took a few spins to grow on me. My brain expected Trials and thus didn’t like Black Sites at first. But now I can enjoy it as a separate and unique creation.

  • Reese Burns

    Rabble rabble… Immolation should be have the top spot…. rabble rabble…

    • herrschobel

      yes rabble yes

    • ashcindersmoke

      Agreed rabble

    • Drew Music

      Rabble, it is decided. February RotM now goes to Immolation by way of unanimous rabbling, and a motion is now on the floor to preemptively rabble in Dodecahedron for March.

      • Motion not carried. Disperse.

        • GardensTale

          I agree. Disperse’s album was great and deserves a mention at least.

          • You’re out of order. The whole damn system’s out of order.

          • I second the new System of a Damn.

          • Drew Music

            Somewhere, there is a gorilla who will spend the rest of the day angry(er) because of this.

          • Someone’s gonna pay.

        • Drew Music

          I will not Disperse, but I will Départe.
          Ok, now I’ll show myself out.
          Rabble.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Boo rabble rabble

      • LExpoZiod

        Motion seconded with supplemental rabbles for Wormwood and Pallbearer.

        • Wormwood and Pallbearer! Rabble! RABBLE!

        • Drew Music

          Not a Pallbearer fan myself, and I somehow forgot Wormwood. Honestly, it was probably either Wiegedood or Nailed to Obscurity for me. The former beats the latter overall, but the standout moments on King Delusion were just soooo good.

      • Reese Burns

        I put foreword the motion to give March’s RotM to Wormwood. Rabble rabble.

        • Eli Valcik

          As much as I love Wormwood, my ROTM is going to Venerum. Rabble Rabble.

          • GardensTale

            You love them so much you can’t even spell them.

      • ElectricEye

        I think you forgot about Night Ranger for March ROTM

      • Name’s Dalton

        Incorrect! Rabble rabble Sunless ROTM for February commotion commotion rabble rabble.

        • That was my pick close with Power Trip!

          • Name’s Dalton

            Agreed on the Power Trip tip.

      • Bandido

        I don’t know rabble!!… for march I have on my top the Venenum album….. is a goooood record

    • Tom Hardy

      Really? I thought it was really, really mediocre, in the same shelf as Harnessing, Majesty, Kingdom and the EPs that came out during those years. If I can be frank about it, I’d rather have them close shop than go on and on, putting out bad records. On one side, I’m glad people appreciate it and well, everyone on the site loves it, but as a massive fan of the band, I couldn’t get myself to buy the album or any of those I list above because then, in my mind, I’ve diminished a standard or caliber I put Immolation, one of my favorite bands, to.

      • Reese Burns

        I feel it’s one of their most urgent releases in a long while. You know what they say about opinions though, I suppose.

  • Kill The King

    I was sure Immolation would be #1. Need to check out Black Sites. I’m also guessing the new Pallbearer will be the March ROTM. We getting the new Mastodon and Body Count reviews?

    • GardensTale

      Work is being done on those.

  • ashcindersmoke

    I still have Immolation on heavy repeat, so that’s my choice. I’ll have to check Black Sites out after work though.

  • Diego Molero

    Not even a mention of Witherfall… Shame of you! I love that record so much, and I really hate power metal or anything related. Nocturnes and Requiems is for real the first power metal record that I have like, it’s awesome.
    That being said, I’m glad that Black Sites took the top spot.

    • ashcindersmoke

      My lord I completely forgot about Witherfall. Great album!

      • DrChocolate

        I’m scared that this exact thing is going to happen en masse to that record. I love it, listened to it a ton when it first came out, but I periodically have to remind myself, “Oh yeah, Witherfall! I gotta listen to that again.” There’s been such a *flood* of high quality music in the first quarter of ’17 and I’m afraid ‘Nocturnes and Requiems’ might just be drowned out.

        • Sean Sky

          When the review first dropped for it on AMG I was excited to check it out, so I looked it up on Spotify, and there was only 1 track on there. The track (I believe it was Nobody Sleeps Here) was awesome and I wanted more but then I kinda forgot about it until last week (I don’t know what reminded me, actually). A bunch of reviews dropped this week before the albums were available, so I’m having to make notes to not forget about which ones I want to look into when they drop. Stuff definitely gets lost that way.

          • ssorg

            There was an official full-album stream on youtube… not sure if it’s still there, but worth a look.

          • Sean Sky

            It’s on Spotify now. I don’t like to listen to stuff on YouTube because the quality is pretty bad and compressed. At least on Spotify you can turn volume normalization off and set the quality fairly high.

        • ashcindersmoke

          Thanks for reminding me I’m jamming it again while I type this

    • ssorg

      Agree 110% with Witherfall, and I’ll add in Lorn; Immolation and Persefone are both worthy contestants. I’m glad AMG is a website with enough self-belief to make terrible choices, but to me Black Sites sounds like Bad Religion with added guitar wankery. Witherfall, Lorn, Immolation, and Persefone are (in the sovereign realm of my opinion) not only better metal, but much more metal.

    • Sean Sky

      That Witherfall album is fantastic, for sure.

    • This comment is win! m/

  • LExpoZiod

    From the descriptions in the review, Black Sites should be right up my alley but for whatever reason, I just can’t get into it. Soen gets top banana in my book.

  • Kramerica

    Wiegedood is by far, my pick for the month.

    • Drew Music

      And yay, humble and small though it was, a lone voice of reason could but barely be heard amidst the gnashing of teeth and rabbles of dissent, and its message was good.
      In other words, amen.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    The bun is dead!
    Long live the bun!

  • Ivan E. Rection

    Please verify: Black Sites does NOT have an alternate cover depicting a shirtless dude with a manbun, correct? We get to keep the welder, promise?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I just realized the shirtless man bun dude and the the welder could be the same guy… We can’t tell for sure until the welder removes his welding mask.

    • Dr_Fisting

      Black Sites is releasing a Roadrunner-circa-1997 style digipak version next month. The alternate cover will feature TWO shirtless manbun dudes. eating artisinal vegan foods and sipping craft beers.

      • Kronos

        Will pose for this if food and beer is provided.

  • Joe1909

    ..

  • rumour_control

    Oy. Salads, yesterday; bananas, today. Alas, rabble dispersed, we are forging a new health-conscious landscape berift of man-backery.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The best thing about a new ROTM? New sidebars! No more man bun!

    • sir_c

      weld one = well done

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Black Sites ROTM? I didn’t even remember it was reviewed until I saw it take ROTM top honors!

    • You wot m8?

      Same.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Stop complaining! This is not a democracy! This is an eponymous website!

  • By-tor

    If Black Sites bests Immolation , it must be a killer record. Atonement is my personal ROTY.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Black Sites doesn’t best Immolation, it’s only that Angry Metal Guy (the guy, not the website) likes it better.

  • Ugh blacksites was a strong 2.5. I have a hard time believing even Dr. Fisting agrees with this…

    • Dr_Fisting

      Nah, I’m OK with it.

  • Metal and Hockey

    Immolation lost to Black who?? Negative ghost rider

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    Pain of Salvation and Black Sites. I was going to write something snarky, but it seems simply repeating these selections feels sufficiently snarky.

  • Philip Pledger

    So, I’ve been wondering. Was AMG never sent a review copy of the new Soen album?

    • Diego Molero

      He was, and he said he would do a review. But it never happend.

    • Mario Aguilar

      He praise it on his top 10ish of 2016, so that probably mean he wanted to do the review and that may be the reason why nobody else review it.

  • rumour_control

    “…a boot in the ass to a scene drowning in retro and nostalgia-core.” — Indeed. Well said. And, woe to thee that pines for the days of nostalgia-core. Is that a thing? Could it be? Pray not.

  • manimal

    Just checking. Which February ROTM is this?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Not 1476.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    How long do we have to wait for the man bun to be removed? Where are the new sidebars? Where’s the welder?

  • Bandido

    I have’nt listened black sites yet… but immolation and persefone definetly are the best that I heard in february.. right now I going to listen Black Sites album.. I remember the embedded track and I liked a bit

  • hallowed

    What next? Blaze Bayley for March and Ayreon for April?

  • You wot m8?

    It’s the 29th of March, you goddamn lunatics!

  • rumour_control

    Captain Obvious wants his calendar back.

  • rumour_control

    Ahhh…the hallowed ‘what if?s’ in life. If only this thang had metal (I have no clue as I am Lane-deprived in the ear canal category), a February RotM backdrop that could have been…
    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d6e6be9758de844eaae9d3fa01222da191dc145bd2d1aebe18d4d9d86493f2af.jpg

  • MastersApprentice

    Glad to see Persefone make it onto the list. I’ve been listening to Aathma non-stop ever since it dropped. Somehow they manage to pull off the technical wizardry without sacrificing the song writing and also delivering some surprisingly emotional moments. Great stuff.

  • Serjien

    I called it on another post that Black Sites was going to get Rotm. It is a pretty solid album. Persefone and Witherfall not far behind! February was a tough month, but March looks to be even tougher! What a great time to be a metal fan!

    • Ta2dlam

      Witherfall still has me in its grasp. Such a great album.

  • Morbidly Obese Angel

    No Mention of Power Trip or Tomb Mold? Shame

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I want to give a shout out to Power Trip as well. It’s a very cool album.. I thought the good doctor misdiagnosed on that one…

  • Hammersmith

    Soen for me. What a great album.

    • Levly

      It would get my vote too

  • Metrognome26

    That dig at MetalSucks was so great that I’ll check out this album on general principle.

  • Utku Yabaş

    AMG skipped the new Soen record.

  • Sophocles

    Ok now, let’s give back Daniel’s moisty back

  • Sophocles

    Feb was Witherfall’s month just like March is Wormwood’s month… Or at least Wolfheart’s… “W” something anyways…

  • devns

    I’ll be glad to see the back of sweaty back guy. Not that I was glad to see his back. In fact I wasn’t. That’s why I’ll be glad to see the back of him.

  • Utku Yabaş

    Did you skip to review Soen?

    • We sure did.

      • Utku Yabaş

        It was on top 10 here in 2014. I am disappointed.

  • Name’s Dalton

    Any love out there for the new Carne album that was released in February?

  • Kronos Sr.

    Great pick for AOM. Was there a little favoritism in the pick since a member of the AMG family contributed to the album?

  • Here’s Johnny

    good record but not sure album of the month at all…i think that Trials album was overrated too personally.

    Where is Nightrage new album? you wankers.

  • dblbass

    The Black Sites album is for sure something to check out I can’t believe that this one got by me!!