It’s a brand new year but it seems some things never change; like you getting a way late Record(s) o’ the Month post. Rather than blame the usual suspects and counter-productively point fingers (Dr. Grier is a huge problem), allow me to explain why these posts occasionally get delayed a wee bit. First, the AMG team is spread all over the damn globe, with management split between Sweden and New York. Second, according to the ancient and arcane AMG bylaws1, only our esteemed leader, AMG Himself can call the Record(s) Selection Meeting to order. When his very demanding career prevents him from doing so in a timely fashion, I, the Steel One, must wait a full 15 days before commandeering the ship, tossing all loyalists overboard and proclaiming whatever power metal piffle I’m currently enamored with as the monthly champion. Sure, we’ve tried to streamline the process, but our governing system is a strange amalgam of military dictatorship, representative democracy and Jim Jones-ian cult worship. In other words – we got 40 arms and a gun, but can’t get nothin’ done. And that’s why you get these posts when you get them, thereby enjoying the guilty pleasure of whining and carping like the petulant peasants you are. That is the violence inherent in the system, my droogs. Now shuddap and read.

Pain of Salvation‘s newest platter recalls the feel of great concept albums and progresses the band’s career in an intense way. It was clear which album needed to be the Record o’ the Month for January, because it’s rare that a band produces an album this special. But In the Passing Light of Day is a deep and intense album. ItPLoD (it-plod?) sees PoS introducing heavier, proggier pieces back into their sound, while dealing lyrically with the heaviest material of their career. The record perfectly balances all of the elements that I love about the band—powerful vocals, great lyrics, and an artful approach to songwriting and arrangement, but it also catches lightning in a bottle. As I gushed in my review, “[t]his is not the kind of album a person can write twice, but this is one of those rare pieces of music that will engage you emotionally, stimulating reflection on how fragile life is, how fragile love is, and how the world is random and in constant flux. At the same time, Pain of Salvation continues to produce idiosyncratic, unpredictable, and beautiful material. I’m glad we didn’t lose them in 2014.”

 Runner(s) Up:

The Great Old Ones // EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy – H.P. Lovecraft is as known to metal folk as Spongebob is to rug rats. His tentacle-fancier works are tailor made for extreme metal and The Great Old Ones fill out their Cthulhu leisure wear better than most. Taking an angle on French black metal that pays homage to Altar of Plagues, TGOO also incorporate creepy-crawly cult ritual atmospheres and choirs all while being as violent and unforgiving as possible. The sheer mindfuckery of this thing is shocking, and even with a mix that crushes everything like the left foot of the Dark One himself, the quality of the material cannot be questioned. It may contain the Song o’ the Year as well. Grit your teeth and dive into that dreadful black water.

The Ominous Circle // Appalling Ascension – Sometimes even we at AMG get too far up our own arses and want to find the most obscure and avant garde project to hail as the next big thing. That’s why it’s so refreshing when a straight-forward dose of quality death metal shows up to kick in our teeth without pretense or artsy-fartsy posing. The Ominous Circle is one such tooth kicker and they have size 12 boots. Appalling Ascension is not out to impress with introspective noodling or naval gazing. No, they take the best parts of Morbid Angel and Immolation and use them to hammer you into compliant poo. With traces of death doom and crusty Incantation sludge lurking in the dreadful shadows, you get a lot of variety and all of it wants to harm you. Let this be a lesson to all those who live in heavens for the hard of hearing.

 

Show 1 footnote

  1. Rule 19 of which allows me to silence and sanction any speaker who defames or otherwise impugns the integrity of Lord Jørn.

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  • And my plan would have worked too if it wasn’t for that meddling AMG!

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Ouch!!! Damn…

  • Well this month was a no-brainer

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      YOU MISSPELLED LAST MONTH

      • And you forgot that caps lock was on, but fair enough, I of course mean the month of January

  • André Snyde Lopes

    All this time and all you can come up with is this weaksauce list? Goddamn it, Grier, this must be your fault…

    For the record, Emptiness, Kreator or Toke would get my picks for this month. Maybe Laster, too.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      What the hell is going on here?? I didn’t pick any of these bands!

      • Right, because you were passed out drunk at the meeting.

        • Official copy of the minutes:

          AMG: I hereby call the Record Selection Meeting to order.

          Doc. Grier: I’m gonna get drunk while I listen to you guys.

      • [not a Dr]

        If you’re not part of the solution, you’re a huge problem..

    • Frost15

      I missed Emtpiness on the list too…

    • John

      I like the choice. I think February will be much harder to pick though. I’m not huge into black metal, but love prog and anything more melodic.

      Soen, Mors Principium Est, Ex Deo (if the songs are the same quality as what I’ve heard so far), Persefone (same), and Black Sites are all great listens for me.

      • Dethjesta

        I recommend you also check out “Aeternam – Ruins of Empires” too (It’s my favourite from Feb so far and I either like or am eagerly anticipating all the albums of your list). I think you might like it.

        • John

          Thanks for the recommendation. They sound pretty good. Now I need to listen to the full album since I only heard the song previews on ITunes.

        • Finally someone mentioning Aeternam’s new album. Another great release from a great band!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        For some reason, they never even reviewed Soen.

        • GardensTale

          I think AMG wanted to do it himself and forgot he had other things to do and forgot he could still pawn it off to his underlings and then just forgot he had it. Maybe.

          He might also still be working on it but in that case it’s later than the average RotM already. He’ll need to assign himself some metalcore as punishment.

          • Oscar Albretsen

            I’m still surprised this site ignored it. If it wasn’t for the great review they gave “Tellurian,” I would have never even heard of Soen, and I’d be kicking myself for it! Well, regardless, I think it’s quite a strong album, maybe not reaching the heights of “Tellurian,” but far from a disappointment.

          • We didn’t ignore it. The person scheduled to review it got delayed by life so the review will come late.

          • GardensTale

            Oh, I agree. I’m hoping AMG will still do a late review of it after all. Aside from Roquentin, pretty much all of us enjoy it.

  • Dethjesta

    Yeah, In the Passing Light of Day is a special album; it’s a worthy winner.

    I think that Need – Hegaiamas​ would be my favourite from January. It’s only downside is the rather over-long talking track before the closer. Still, the greatness of the rest of the album more than makes up for it.

    Close one between Need and PoS in my book.

    • nomrom3

      Yeah, Hegaiamas has definitely been my favorite from January – even if I do have to skip the stupid talking track every time.

  • Now we get to have some dude’s sweaty back as our site art for 1-3 months. Huzzah.

    • Gaëtan Baratin

      Still better than Abbath’s facial pores!

      • Is it?

        • Oscar Albretsen

          God, yes!

          • Hell, no!

          • Oscar Albretsen

            LOL! OK, you win this round…

      • Eli Valcik

        don’t be disrespecting my father Abbath.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Not to mention the half assed man-bun!

      • Nag Dammit

        Better than a half bunned man ass.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Certainly

      • basenjibrian

        What is it with you damn kids and your weird hair? Just wait until you dont have enough hair and you can look back in regret at your failure to grow a FULL METAL MANE? MAN BUN IS NOT METAL bwahahaha

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Suddenly, the facepalm we have now gained a new meaning.

    • manimal

      It could have been your back :P

    • Then I suggest Antropomorphia for February.

    • Frost15

      Now that sweaty back f**** up the design of the page, awesome…

      • Nag Dammit

        That dudes got serious SOYBS – Sweat On Your Back Syndrome.

    • Eli Valcik

      I just squint real hard and imagine it’s a woman.

      • Nice beard on that lady.

        • Eli Valcik

          What? still squinting

    • Meriyas

      The paint on his back looks like a big cranky face though, so that’s a win.

    • Meriyas
    • Eryops

      If you get February’s ROTM out on March 1st, it’ll be just over a week.

      • Embridioum

        Yeah. That’s gonna happen…

    • contenderizer

      Yeah, I’m generally okay with fucking horrible douchebro prog albums having horrible douchebro cover art, but that’s because it’s usually pretty easy to avoid looking at them. Not around here. Here, it’s always sweaty back man-bun time.

      • “Sweaty back man-bun time” would be a great name for a Japanese game show.

    • Óðinn

      Looks like there’s a man bun there too.

    • Reading AMG never felt so much like reading a lifestyle magazine.

      Anyone got a recipe for a protein shake or a healthy salad?

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Your opinions are bad and you should feel bad.

    And no mom, I will not report to HR.

    • Report to leave the hall!

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Now there is a progression I did not see coming.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    PoS is absolutely the right choice, but WHERE THE HELL IS KREATOR.

    • Dethjesta

      Well, last night they were playing in northern Switzerland and tomorrow night they are playing a gig on the outskirts of Milan, so I guess that would put them somewhere near the Italian/Swiss border.

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Oh, you scallywag.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      WHERE THE HELL IS KREATOR? They topped Germany’s best selling record charts! Believe it or not!

      • Charts mean nothing to us!

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Unless we top them!

        • DrewMusic

          Which is why y’all rock. I don’t need y’all to tell me Soen’s new album owns, I need you people to introduce me to the Amestigons and Negură Bungets of the world, and may ye always do so as angrily and wonderfully as ye do.

    • With any luck, heading into mediocre melodeath obscurity where they belong.

      • How dare you??

        • I was fine up with their new direction until Phantom Antichrist, but the new album aims for hooks and catchy choruses when it should be giving out serious beatings instead.

          The mix of styles (thrash and some melodeath) just doesn’t work any more. :(

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        How dare you??

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Are these really even late anymore? I mean, late is the standard these days.

    • I like this guy ^

    • manimal

      No, it was slightly early… I assume this is for 2018?

    • [not a Dr]

      Late is the new early.

    • sir_c

      As long as it is not phrased as in “the late…” I am fine with a little delay

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Regarding The Ominous Circle, it seems mixing Morbid Angel, Immolation and Incantation will never go out of style.
    By the way, there is a typo in that paragraph, unless you were actually talking about watching ships at sea instead of looking at one’s belly button when you wrote “naval gazing” ;)

  • Jrod1983

    While I don’t feel the same about the winner, both of the runner ups are great albums I’ve been listening to quite regularly.
    Especially Apalling Ascension. That album has been uppercutting my face off

  • ssorg

    Hm… Lorn got a 4.0, but both Great Old Ones and The Ominous Circle got 3.5…

    • ssorg

      Ah… I see now the “official” release date for Lorn was Feb 3rd. I’ll put me torches and pitchforks away for now

    • Are you suggesting that rating systems are subjective!?

      • Hulksteraus

        Ooooh, the old subjective vs objective argument, grab the popcorn, we could be here for a while….

        • [not a Dr]

          AMG: triggered.

      • ssorg

        I mean, there’s objective vs. subjective, then there’s not even agreeing with your own rating system a couple weeks later. But no harm no foul, as they say.

        • Nah, I make zero claim to objectivity. You can’t measure quality on a number scale, and you certainly can’t get 20 writers to all agree.

          The Records o the Month are my opinion. That means someone can give something a 2.5 and I can make it the top pick.

          • ssorg

            Fair enough… I admit the rating system is useful as a filter (too many reviews, not enough time to read them all), but it is a compromise, and can’t stand apart from the review itself. And of course its good to allow your opinions to evolve… no complaint on my part, keep up the good work.

          • Roquentin

            FWIW, I didn’t give TOO a “3.5,” but rather I said it was very good. Which it is.

            If I were to rate it today, I’d promote it to “great,” though. It has staying power.

        • [not a Dr]

          The subjectivity and its impact on the review has been recognized and explained in previous articles…
          Same thing with the rating system.
          And most reviewers have admitted that a couple of extra weeks or months of exposure to an album can change the score.
          As a firm proponent and champion of the middle-ground fallacy, I suggest we all agree that reviews are X-bjective.

      • ssorg

        If you *are* objective, it’d be great to see the rubric used to judge… what percent of a black metal band’s score is kvtness? what about grimness? How important is it that brutal death metal bands have cookie monster vocs?

  • BlackSoots

    If it ain’t late, it ain’t AMG Record(s) o’ the Month posts ^^

    • That’s going on the t-shirts.

    • [not a Dr]

      Someone in the forum suggested renaming this feature to “Yer Record o’ the Month is Olde”.

      • Grymm

        Whoever it was needs a raise… Or a complimentary pepperoni pizza Hot Pocket.

        • [not a Dr]

          Delivered by the Ex Deo guy.

      • sir_c

        oooh, I thought the Yer Metal Is Olde category was just the 2009 backlog?

  • Serjien

    Great pick, although Need is in my top three for the month.
    As some have pointed out, late is the new norm here, so take it or leave it!

  • devns

    Ah, thank you, Mr Druhm and btl commenters. Now I can continue my hipsterish dilletante metal dabbling by listening to these and the Need and Kreator albums. I rely on you guys for my monthly dose of tinnitus.

    AMG: trawling through oceans of metal so dudes with ludicrous moustaches don’t have to.

    • brutal_sushi

      Need on repeat for days! Do good

  • Oscar Albretsen

    For some reason, this new sidebar image is blocking out about 3 words in every line in each article, making them pretty much impossible to read (but not in the comments sections). Anyone else experiencing this?

    • We know. We will have it fixed shortly. It’s too much back for the background!

      • You broke WordPress! :)

      • When fixed, maybe we’ll have less ” sweaty back”. Why not widen out the tekst area for a month (or three) so that we’ll barely glimpse a clammy shoulder?

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Thanks. Well, it’s a relief to know my web browser isn’t tweaking.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Well, it’s fixed already. The waiting was the hardest part.

    • It’s readable if you squeeze the window below about 760px.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Now this guy’s sweat is dripping all over AMG!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        But, he sure is manly…

      • [not a Dr]

        Manowar would be proud of him, if it wasn’t for the Manobun.

  • DrChocolate

    TGOO and The Ominous Circle have kicked this year off STRONG. With Witherfall sitting out there too, 2017 is looking up.

    • Grymm

      “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” is such a strong Song o’ the Year candidate.

      • DrewMusic

        Oooh, bold. It does, in fact, slay, but ’tis but February, tail end or no. And while I prefer EOD to King Delusion albumwise, personally the guitar ghosts of early-Katatonia echoing throughout the King Delusion title track haven’t left my head since I first read the review here.
        To each they own, yo. Either way, 2017 is starting to shape up nicely, and with Uneven Structure on the horizon I think I finally feel… is this optimism?

  • Alexandre Barata

    Pain of Salvation newest is cool, but not the instant classic everyone and their great-grandmothers want me to believe. TGOO and The Ominous Circle are indeed great picks, both of them went straight to my “Must buy” list, and both would be worthy of RotM!

  • Benevolent Sun

    In addition to these records, I have spent a lot of time with the following bands that made an appearance last month: Kreator, Chasing Safety, Acranius, Acrania, Au Champ Des Morts, Boris the Blade, Code Orange, Hour of Penance, Sepultura, Undrask, Aversions Crown, Firewind, Black Anvil, and the The Drip.

  • sir_c

    Is it just me that the broad shoulders of this PoS cover mess up the site layout in Firefox?

  • Carl Redfern

    Can’t you just say PoS is album of the month but use Kreator’s art as the back drop? Go on you know you want to!

  • sir_c

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e5626f51565b03d0fbe3c688eca647b1ff3b02f0fedcd6b8a24aeec336225292.jpg
    I first thought it said NIN going yay! Also the portobello-head kid looks funny

  • Thatguy

    I told you so.

  • I enjoyed The Ominous Circle, Shaarimoth, Árstíðir Lífsins, The Great Old Ones, Balfor, Hour of Penance and Ashenspire very much, but my absolute fave was probably Begerith’s – A.D.A.M.

  • Eli Valcik

    no LandawarijaR? awwwwwww.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      That’s what I said.

  • Thewanted

    Missed Soens Lykaia!

    • GardensTale

      That’s February 3d.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        And overlooked by AMG.

  • Gloomer88

    hard to read :-(

  • GardensTale

    I had to share the top comment on this video. It destroyed me.
    0:32 – “These are Doritos, these are Doritos”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_qZpLgvdOI

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      hahaha

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Wow. At first, I thought he was saying “these are the Fritos.” Had no idea POS were such corporate shills!

    • [not a Dr]

      And, when he’s done announcing what those are, the riff continues drilling into your head the fact that these are, indeed, Doritos. Must be awesome to hear a crowd chanting along during their concerts: “These are Doritos!”.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Hopefully, at that moment a rain of Doritos will fall upon the public in attendance.

  • Couldn’t agree more with the choice. Incredible album originating from a near death experience. Could have have gone wrong in so many ways but he hits all the marks on this one. A complete vision.

    So glad that Mr. Gildenlow is still around to share his unique talent. And sweaty back.

  • a glass o’ milk

    good choice!

  • Bloated Goat

    I love old PoS but I think this album is dull as hell. Can’t even make it through it.

  • D.F.A.

    What about December?

    • We don’t do a Record(s) o’ the Month for December. Instead, we all provide lists of our top ten for the year and whatever AMG selects as his #1 becomes the Record o’ the Year.

  • Dan

    I wanted to love the new PoS. I thought the first few tracks fantastic, but the album gradually faded into mediocrity as I moved further through the album. I’ve given it a few listens but I still just get bored at about the halfway point. Am I the only one that feels this way?

  • Ben Davella

    I just how believe the mighty AMG has ever mentioned the mighty Dean Wells and Terramaze You guys are missing out on an incredible Progmetal band Dean Wells has been around ages and his stuff is off the charts!!! Them boys down under are making music DT only dreams of making these days Great songs, nice solos that dont overdue their stay and great song writing thats grows more on you with each listen!!!!!

  • Sarah Stoker

    I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that I recognised that was Daniel Gildenlöw before I saw the record of the month (I came here to read about The Night Flight Orchestra). He’s such a sweetheart that I can almost forgive him the man-bun.

  • robb

    TGOO’s album is amazing

  • Caio

    I didn’t know that americans use “arse” too