July was a crazy month here at Angry Metal Guy studios. Not only did we have our best day ever (again), but we all agreed on what should be the Record o’ the Month for the first time in a very, very long time. There was little self-flagellation or—as the case usually is—n00b-flagellation. Instead, we all gathered around the fact that Angry Metal Guy‘s word is law. It’s nice when that’s the case, it makes a guy want to post the Record(s) o’ the Month a mite earlier than usual.

Trials - This Ruined World

Trials‘ This Ruined World was the clear winner, even after Dr. Fisting removed his finger from the scale. This record blew us all away, and if you’ll check the comments over on the review, we’re not alone. What makes This Ruined World so special is, well, basically everything: it’s that sweet blend of Metallica riffs filtered through a love of Carcass and a heavy dose of Morbid Angel riffs to top it off. But why gush here, when I gushed so well in my review? “The songs on here are razor sharp,” I wrote lustily, “tightly edited, written to be dense, technical, and immense—and it’s the balance Trials strikes between throbbing intensity, harmony, dissonance and a fine understanding of dynamics in all the right places which makes this album stand out. I don’t know if these guys are harbingers of a new wave of metal that’s unapologetically interested in cutting the bullshit and writing great songs, or if they’re just a fluke in a wave of stoned kids with bell bottoms and bad mustaches.” But This Ruined World is the real deal, and Trials is a band to watch.

Too bad the art is going to make the website look like we shop for clothes on Amazon.

Runner(s) up: 

Alustrium_A Tunnel to EdenAlustrium // A Tunnel to Eden: Is atheism the new Asatru in metal? Will I have to wear a Flying Spaghetti Monster pendant? I sure hope so, and if so, Alustrium would not only be an excellent progressive death metal band, but also they’d be trend-setters! Regardless, there ain’t much to hate about A Tunnel to Eden: it’s fun to listen to, technically interesting, throbbing with energy, it gorgeous cover art and guitar gymnastics galore. Kronos, who spent the whole month drooling all over his keyboard, put his tongue back in his mouth and got cleaned up long enough to write that  A Tunnel to Eden “may very well be 2015’s best prog-death album, and Alustrium the best up-and-coming ‘traditional’ progressive death metal band  in years. The band are obviously fantastic writers and performers, and A Tunnel to Eden is truly epic and inspired.” And sure, his 4.5 reviews are a dime a dozen these days, but he can’t always be wrong.

Khemmis - AbsolutionKhemmis // Absolution: Sure, Steely D gives every retro-doom record that lands on his very large and very metal desk a 4/5. But now that he’s got this gun to my head, I think I agree with him that Khemmis is a special case. With its throbbing Kyuss riffs and stellar vocalist, these guys manage to make 42 minutes feel like just 40 minutes. And even if they are wearing bell bottoms and are likely pretty stoned, Absolution shines, and Druhm has a theory why: “This is one polished humdinger of a debut and it’s travelling like a bullet up my Records o’ the Year list. I can’t stop spinning it, and if this is what legalized marijuana delivers, then I hope Colorado (and by extension, Khemmis) never emerge from their Rocky Mountain haze.”

The only downside of Absolution is that the lady on the front of this album most likely died very painfully after she finished posing for it because she forgot her armor at home.

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  • Now Dr. Fisting will be impossible to work with!

    • Dr_Fisting

      I want all the brown M&M’s removed from my reviews!

      • I knew this would happen!

        • Dr. Scorpion

          Dentists are total proctodiums. If you ever get fed up just use a little oxycodone on him.

          • Dr_Fisting

            Did you just call me a proctologist?

          • Treat Fisting with the proper deference. He’s a major rock star now!
            And don’t look him directly in the eye either.

          • Dr_Fisting

            Also, did you say you had some oxycodone?

          • Dr. Scorpion

            My bad. I meant proctodeum. Indian spelling.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            If I google proctodeum insted of asking you what it is, I am going to get assaulted by a wall of pictures of ass holes as I´m guessing?

          • Dr. Scorpion

            So close yet so far. Google it.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I’m only googling it after the kids go to sleep…

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        This was a mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It´s not even October and we already have a Record of the Month for July? Something weird is afoot at AMG quarters. And I didn´t really like this Trials record that much. Sounds too much like a lot of late 90s stuff.

    • Eh, get your own eponymous website.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        So idiots like me can whine on it about my opinions?

        • Yes, exactly. I’d show up every day to tell you about how crappy your taste is.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            How crappy my taste is = OK
            How tasty my crap is = not OK

      • RuySan

        “Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra Metal Guy” makes for one very long acronym.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I’d translate “Pinto” as paint, “Guerra” as war and I woul be Warpaint Metal Guy. That would be cooler.

          • RuySan

            In Portuguese a “pinto” is a “chick”, a small chicken.

            I think you’re intentionally upholding information because that doesn’t sound as cool or as Metal.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Well, yes, in Portuguese a “pinto” is a baby chicken, but in Spanish it means either “spotted” or “I paint”.
            My first family name is Portuguese, the second one is Spanish, but you´re right: “Warpaint” is way cooler and more metal than “Warchicken”.
            Or maybe not.

  • Jukka Alanen

    Well that pretty much sums up July, even I agree with you guys. So job well done! Maybe the only addition I would even consider would be Symphony X but that’s probably just because I’m a huge fanboy and I have spun that record a lot.

    • We’ve got RULES around here. And I wanted to pat Druhm on the head, even if I think Symphony X was a better record than Khemmis.

  • 517H

    I just can’t get past the guitar tone in Trials. Maybe it’s just not chunky enough. The riffs are killer though. And it is mixed well. But man with a thicker tone I’d be jizzing all over my monitor

    • Motorvate

      I was really thrown off by the production initially, as well. It’s a definite departure from the gloss of their previous album. They sounded a lot like Trivium on their second album in certain spots, IMO. That’s not a knock, either. Way heavier for sure, but his vocals really reminded of Heafy a few times. I don’t hear that as much on the new one.

      • If they sound like Trivium, it’s because they’re both cribbing Metallica riffs.

        • Motorvate

          I honestly thought his clean singing sounded a lot like Heafy’s clean tone. I have zero problems with that, either. That’s the point I was trying to make. I actually like Heafy’s voice, so it wasn’t a deterrent for me at all. I might be alone in this thought, but that’s what jumped out at me the first time I heard it. I think that record absolutely SMOKES by the way.

    • Andy_0

      Agreed, I just checked out the album and it’s definitely a deal-breaker. It’s the kind of sound you’d expect from Disturbed or Five Finger Dick Punch.

      • Luke_22

        I understand the quibbles about the production, but I kinda dig the clean but raw and organic crunch to the sound. Not for everyone but I think it’s an interesting sound for a modern thrash album.

      • I think you should give it a few listens.

    • Worldeater

      I am glad i´m not the only person having problems with the production. I really took me some time to get used to it. The album would be even more awesome with the production from Swords!

    • I really like the guitar tone. I think it sounds like real guitar tone, as opposed to something that’s been re-amped through 4 different things to get a sound that’s irreproducible live.

  • RuySan

    I’m sure AMG has his closet full of those wolf t-shirts. So much that he even gave record of the month to a band that apparently sounds like Pantera. Or so he says.

    • You don’t have the right ot complain if you haven’t listened to the band.

      • RuySan

        I did. I have to agree with one of the commenters that sounds a bit too nineties, which makes me not be able to forget Pantera.

        And by the way, I had one biology teacher at high-school that always wore those wolf t-shirts. They looked like they’ve never been washed. Made him look like a bit creepy.

        • RU63

          I disagree on your Pantera comment. And wolf shirts are cool; especially the ones that say “Born Wild” or something similar.

          • Woof at the Moon!

          • sir_c

            and an Apache on the back

          • RuySan

            I don’t know if you’re being ironic on the shirt comment, since apparently you like Pantera.

            And btw, that t-shirt that AMG linked, has more than 3000 reviews. Is that how many biology teachers there are in the US?

        • A bit too nineties? I’m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that they sound like a Gothenburg death band? Or what…?

  • And don’t call me Steely D!

    • Dr. Scorpion

      How about Cheesy? Jorntastic Cheese?Cheese sword? Jorn’s Sword? Power Cheese? Cheese?

    • Martin Knap

      鐵鼓

      • My name looks cool and tattoo ready like that!

        • Martin Knap

          indeed :-)

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      If you ever decide to branch out into yacht rock or gangsta rap … you will have the perfect moniker right there … Steely D

  • Doomdeathrosh

    July on the whole took me by surprise (and by the balls)! All of Trials, Alustrium and Khemmis were great. But I would personally go for Khemmis (because this is the inner Pallbearer fanboy talking)!

    • Doomdeathrosh

      Also, Trials are currently unsigned and A Tunnel to Eden is self-released! That is huge!

  • I totally just bought that shirt off of amazon, thanks for the link!

  • Martin Knap

    now I want the hamster to be in the background!

  • fgt

    Genuinely surprised Hope Drone didn’t make it’s way in here. Cloak of Ash was astoundingly powerful. Khemmis is fucking mint as well and that cover art is stunning.

    • Kronos

      We didn’t have enough people rooting for it. Pretty much everybody who heard Trials said Trials; same with Alustrium.

      • Thatguy

        What a shame.

    • It was close but didn’t quite make it. Symphony X could have made it too.

      • fgt

        Damn, loved that record. Keen to see August though, do you guys plan on doing a Lychgate review, name your own price on Bandcamp?

        • Kronos

          Somebody might. I’m taking a listen to it now, but I have a few other plates to clean before I have time to go in depth on anything we haven’t received promo for.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I often find myself just starring at the CD cover…

      • Because you’re sooooo bored that you don’t press play?

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          lol

    • Yeah, uh, about Hope Drone… Love the art, but the 22 minutes of music contained in an 80 minute record weren’t worth a mention.

  • Angel R. Suarez

    Where’s the vinyl for This Ruined World, Fisting, you son of a cow!

  • Handy Donut Hole

    I swear to Christ I’ve had that riff from Trials “Disgraced and Erased” lodged in my fuckin head for a week. An absolutely deserved pick for this months top record.

  • Too bad the art is going to make the website look like we shop for clothes on Amazon.

    I’m on amazon all the time anyways. Congrats Dr.!

    Also I missed the Alustrium review but sure it’s a doozy as well.

  • Thatguy

    No, haven’t heard it yet and no.

    I rate Trials a 3.0 and not RotM……and the art – there ought to be a law.

    Hope Drone would have been my pick, but what would I know?

  • While I liked Trials, I am much more enamored with Khemmis. It’s just crunchy enough to hold me over until the new Sword disc drops.

    In a perfect universe, the two bands would be one, so you wouldn’t have to choose a winner. :)

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    A great list! Im only just getting into Trials and Alustrium but first impressions are very good!

    I really like Khemmis, that cover is beautiful makes the physical copy V worthwhile!….The only thing I would say is that I think these guys should go ‘full Pallbearer’. The main vocalist is fantastic, with “The Bereaved” being one my favourite vocal performances this year…The harsh vocals on the other hand kind of feel largely unnecessary some classic trad backing vocals would have really improved this album.

    For that reason I would have had Symphony X just ahead of them and on this list. Which was a record that took me by surprise I really didn’t expect to like it so much!

    • Luke_22

      I really like the Khemmis debut, but fully agree the harsh vocals generally don’t mesh that well and the dude would have been wiser to stick to those powerhouse cleans throughout.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I feel the same about the harsh vocals in While Heaven Wept’s Icarus and I. Sometimes, but not always, it can be jarring to have two different vocal styles in the same song.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    I was a bit suprised that Kingcrow’s “Eidos” didn’t get a mention. Probably my favorite album from last month.

    • kaeru92

      Wasn’t Kingcrow released in June ?

      • Pimpolho

        Yes, but hell, it was so good! I agree that it should have been mentioned.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        If you say so, I won’t argue. I just know it was reviewed in early July, so that’s where I’m coming from with my comment.

  • kmal666

    I was about to commend you guys on finally getting this up in a timely fashion, then I realized it’s mid-August…

    • Well, I had to get the last month’s RotM some time. This has been ready to go for a while.

  • Art Saves

    Overall it hasnt been much of a year for metal but if any deserve credit then its stoner and doom metal and psychedelic rock this year.
    Acid King, Datura4, Goatsnake, Gospel of the witches, Holy Serpent, Khemmis, Blandbladen and Second Sun foremost. :)
    Even though Tribulation, Year of the goat, Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Melechesh and Shining haven’t done to bad either.

    Very much looking forward to the new record with Graveyard aswell. :)

  • Feytalist

    I must have missed the Khemmis review the first time around, because this is the first time I’ve heard of them.

    But whoa. They are… good.

  • Hey ! What about Between the Buried and Me – Coma Ecliptic ?

  • I don’t like the way these animals are staring at me.

    • They want to eat your soul.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Just beware the rabbit.

      “TIM
      That is not an ordinary rabbit … ’tis the most foul cruel
      and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on.

      ROBIN
      You tit. I soiled my armour I was so scared!

      TIM
      That rabbit’s got a vicious streak. It’s a killer!

      GALAHAD
      Oh, fuck off.
      Get stuffed.

      TIM
      He’ll do you up a treat mate!”

  • IamRipper

    No Fear Factory? Oh well, I’m sure it will be album of the year.

  • Kryopsis

    I completely missed that Trials album and didn’t think much of it when I first listened to it. Nonetheless there was something that kept me coming back to it again and again yesterday. Today I was listening to it during my morning commute and then played ‘Blink Of An Eye’ to my coworkers who really liked the song. On the way back, I put the album on shuffle and realized just how much my impressions changed.

    In some ways, I am reminded of last year’s ‘Ecdysis’ by Horrendous. ‘This Ruined World’ is heavy and dense but stops short of the wall-of-sound approach to Metal, with frequent changes and even pauses to keep things from becoming monotonous. It is definitely hard to categorize and throughout my listening experience I kept thinking of a lot of different bands, from ‘Kill ‘Em All’-era Metallica to late 90s In Flames, Testament, Kreator and even the latest Mors Principium Est album. It is also surprisingly unpretentious for such an original and well-crafted album. Solos never outstay their welcome, there are no unnecessary flourishes, long-winded ambient intros, film quotes or songs longer than 6 minutes. Finally, I feel this album is truly a team effort. All four members are equally proficient and involved in the process. There is no competition of who can pull off the longest solo (e.g. Laiho/Wirman).

    Basically this album fucking rules and I completely agree with it being Album of the Month-material.

    • kaeru92

      I’m honestly still undecided about this album. The thing is I really don’t know what I like about it, nor what I dislike about it.

      But the fact that I listened to it more than 5 times without telling myself that it doesn’t deserve to be in my library makes me think that it’s a grower.

    • Dr_Fisting

      Much appreciated! I’m very flattered by those comparisons.

      • Kryopsis

        Until now, I wasn’t even aware of your involvement in this band! Thanks for the great material; I grabbed the 2013 album as well since it was also on Bandcamp. Incidentally, Google Music lists Barren Earth, Alkaloid and Witherscape as ‘Related Artists’. You’re definitely in good company.

      • dblbass23

        Doc…what’s your involvement? It’s not that I didn’t like it…..there was just so much music around …the Trials album just got by me.

        • Dr_Fisting

          I’m the guitarist/vocalist in the band. Give it a listen, you might like it!

          • dblbass23

            Will do! Glad to make your acquaintance Doc!! What I heard I did like…but I’ll definitely go back and give it a thorough listen. Good luck!!

    • dblbass23

      Damn dude…..you should write reviews for this site. I’m very impressed with your description. Makes me wanna go back and give the album another chance myself. Nice thoughts you have.

  • Kronos

    Thanks so much for doing this. I haven’t the time to listen to all of the great stuff that all of the other contributors write about, so having a playlist like this is invaluable for when I’m looking for something new.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      My pleasure, and my sincerest thanks to you all here!
      I’m a playlist nerd I make at least one a day setting up what i intend to listen to that day and then more for fun (sad I know), I made this to celebrate the angry metal moments that had especially grabbed me this year…and specifically for a drive for which it made great company.
      It feels like it’s been a great year for metal.

      • So I’m guessing you can’t drive with BM blaring from the speakers?

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          ha, no I just wanted to be in a good mood when I got to my destination :)

  • One More Thing

    I was really surprised that Cattle Decapitation didn’t even get mentioned in the Runner(s) Up category for their excellent new effort. Trials getting the top spot wasn’t a surprise, though.

    • It’s an August release.

      • One More Thing

        Oh, my bad. I could’ve sworn it was reviewed in late July and therefore counted for the same month. #choke

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Two metal albums whose cover art features figures in the forefront with white eyes staring at us. Are the Wolf and the Battle Babe related?

  • swthate

    +1 for the Three Wolf T-Shirt reference.