I’ll admit it: June was better than much of the year before it. I mean that as in: June produced more records I really like than the entire month before it in almost its entirety. It gave us great releases from Amon AmarthAutopsy, Summoning, Locrian, Author & Punisher, Svart Crown, Queensrÿche, Black Sabbath, White Wizzard (no accounting for taste, as they say), and last (but certainly not least) The Black Dahlia Murder. That’s a list not to be trifled with. So let’s cut through the bullshit and hand out the award for Record o’ the Month!

Amon Amarth - Deceiver of the Gods

Amon Amarth // Deceiver of the Gods — While June was a blowout month, I have to say that the refreshing nature of Amon Amarth‘s revival was definitely the highlight of this pretty damned good month. For me, this record easily takes the cake. Not just because the writing and the performances were so good, but because I got to enjoy a new A level release! This is the second Metal Blade record of the year that’s being Record o’ the Month, and they should feel proud that in a year of shitty flops, they’re producing great metal.

Runners Up:

The Black Dahlia Murder - EverblackThe Black Dahlia Murder // Everblack — Also in top contention for the Record o’ the Month, Everblack is a tour de force of melodic death metal. Downfall? No vikings. Upside? Ryan “Motherfucking” Knight. That motherfucker can play the geetar something fierce. This record is one of the few must have records of 2013.

Summoning - Old Mornings DawnSummoning // Old Mornings Dawn — Fans of Tolkien, rejoice! Summoning is back with a record that is being epically loved by nerds and fans of shitty keyboard sound world over! Is it possible that Summoning upped their game? Well, everyone seems to think so!

Women & ChildrenAuthor & Punisher // Women & Children — “Women & Children is an example of music without instruments, of rock without the blues, of electronic music in an analogic nightmare, of substance without form and of pure sounds in a spurious environment. The blood and the grease, the sweat and the lubricant. The soul in the machine.” The quote says it all.

Svart Crown - ProfaneSvart Crown // Profane — Despite the terrible name Svart Crown has managed to worm its way into Madam X’s blackened heart. Their oppressive brand of black metal excites her and the riffs make her foam at the mouth. If there’s something a little dark in you, then you should check it out as well.

QueensrÿcheQueensrÿche // Queensrÿche — Ïn all the hubbub around the Queensrÿche vs Täintrÿche debacle, it was always assümed (by me and others) that both forthcoming albums would be disappointments of the highest order. So it was with genuine surprise that Fisting that Andrew Güy delivered us the gööd news: Queensrÿche sounds great with their new vocalist and, while short, Queensrÿche is a great fücking record. It’s nice when all your reuniön hopes are actually met for once, isn’t it?

White Wizzard - The Devil's CutWhite Wizzard // The Devil’s Cut — I’m going to be honest with you. I hate this record. In fact, to quote myself, “This shit is so tired that my fat ass could outrun it in a footrace.” But I have been pretty much a gigantic meany to Happy Metal Guy since he joined the staff, so I think it’s only fair that one of his favorite shitty albums end up on this list. So here you go, HMG. White Wizzard is a Record o’ the Month, just for you.

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  • yerayseminario

    You forgot the last album of Queens of the Stone Age, …like clockwork. The album of the year from what I’ve listened so far. An addictive piece of work.

    • Two things: 1) We didn’t review it, 2) Queens of the Stone Age.

      • yerayseminario

        My points exactly

        • OzanCan

          Are you serious??? Queens of the Stone Age??

          • yerayseminario

            Yep, totally serious.

          • yerayseminario

            Yep, totally serious.

    • Madam__X

      It’s doing a lot less for me than I expected…

  • Garksa

    Decades of Despair – Alive.
    Authour and Punisher – Women and Children.
    August Burns Red – Rescue and Restore.
    Bleeding Skies – Cartographer.

    June was a weak month for me.

  • David Rosales

    Love Summoning. And being a fanboy I really do like their new album. But it’s a LET DOWN after their old albums. Clearer production, that’s all, but things are simplified, and it feels too repetitive and never achieving the beautiful nets of sound Summoning is known for.

    • Yeah, I’m not feeling the Summoning. I know the fans have been rabid for it and Noctus gave it a hell of a review, but I just… It’s just so repetitive. And they could update their keyboard sound a tad, too. It’s very 1998.

  • T.J. Barber

    I never did get the appeal of the Black Dahlia Murder. Heavy metalcore is still metalcore.

    • I never downvote things, but if you’re going to come with ignorance then you’re going to get downvoted. That band isn’t fucking metalcore. Where’s the -core? Core it ain’t. You don’t have to like it, but you should fucking listen to it before you piss on it.

      • T.J. Barber

        Hey, you are angry.

        I didn’t say it was bad, just not my thing, so relax. And it’s definitely metalcore with some death metal vocals. Or is that what they’re calling Blackened death now? The band is just closer in style to Trivium than they are to Asphyx with the exception of the vocal range.

        • I fucking can’t stand when people misuse the “metalcore” label. Where are the breakdowns? The clean singing? The simple, repetitive chugs? I don’t hear any of it. All I hear is straight up melodic death. No one’s saying it’s Asphyx, as Asphyx has no melody, so why bother making a relative comparison to two bands that don’t compare?

          • T.J. Barber

            My point with Asphyx was I would never call BDM death metal. And comparing them to a band I would felt like the stronger attempt at making a point. The comparison was how different they are.

            I hear a lot of simple repetitive chugs in Black Dahlia especially in their current single. The whole song is repetitive chugs, this is really apparent in the chorus.

            Since when did metalcore need clean singing to be considered that? Zao avoided that for most of their career.

            I’d say they sound like As I Lay Dying a lot more than people like to admit. I think people refuse to hear the metalcore in them because of the negative connotations of the genre.

            Breakdowns were popularized by deathcore, (other bands and styles have used them to some degree of success, but what is typically refereed to as a breakdown now is strictly a deathcore outing) I would absolutely not say BDM is deathcore, as deathcore and metalcore, despite sharing the “core” tag, sound almost nothing alike.

            Garksa, I would really refer to many of the bands you listed as hardcore, they fit in that same genre as Bleeding Through, and their ilk. A lot more punk influence than metal. I would call bands like Trivium, Shadows Fall, As I lay Dying etc as metalcore. It’s almost more accurate to think of the genre as Americanized gothenburg 10+ years later with some punk influence.

          • Edward Virgilio

            I grew up on metalcore and melodic death metal, this is not metalcore, this At The Gates worship. The fact the you call this metalcore pretty much takes away any metal cred you thought you had. Poser.

          • Preach!

          • T.J. Barber

            Did you really call me a poser?

            Are you five years old?

            Yep, At The Gates worship, that’s correct, which is what metalcore is or at least has become in the common use of the term (as I stated above metalcore by today’s nomenclature is a form of Americanized Gothenburg), it’s simpler and less thrashy than Gothenburg with a large amount of modern metal / groove metal influences.

            At The Gates is Gothenburg sound, are we at least on the same page here?

          • 1) The new single by TBDM is not breakdowns, it’s a chuggy track. Chuggy tracks of that variety also exist in many contexts. Like Hour of Penance or Ulcerate.

            2) While metalcore doesn’t need clean singing, many metalcore bands do have it. And most importantly, almost ALL metalcore bands have a hardcore sounding vocalist. Trevor sounds like a death metal guy who does black metal vocals. However, he also has sort of a high/mid-range screech that is totally inspired by AT THE FUCKING GATES.

            3) I’m not sure how old you are, but the idea that you think that breakdowns were popularized by Deathcore implies to me that you haven’t been in the scene very long. You may remember that in the late ’90s, early ’00s we had a thing called the New England Hardcore scene, where bands like Unearth and God Forbid got their start. Those bands were blending In Flames riffs with Crowbar breakdowns. Yeah, that’s right Crowbar breakdowns. As in Crowbar who popularized the breakdown. In any case, deathcore came a few years later than metalcore and was way less popular.

            4) Your own definition becomes very confusing, in the end. Because you can’t possibly accept that The Black Dahlia Murder is a melodic death metal band (for no good reason, most likely because you’ve never actually bothered to listen to a whole record from the band), you have to stretch your definition. So now, a band that has absolutely no hardcore influences in their sound at all and basically started out as an At The Gates clone is “metalcore” because … why? You’ve admitted that they don’t have hardcore vocals. You’ve tried to justify that there is no hardcore musical influence in that the breakdown is gone. And then you’ve tried to throw them in the same boat as Trivium and Shadowsfall (bands that clearly have hardcore elements—and I can list a bunch) despite the fact that TBDM sound way more similar to Gothenburg metal from the early ’90s (plus blast beats) than anything that came out of the scene at the time.

            I am not saying that you have to LIKE TBDM. You don’t. No one requires you to like anything. But TBDM is not metalcore. And if you’d take the time to actually listen to the band, you’d see that. But I guess you’d have to leave your epistemic enclosure first.

          • T.J. Barber

            I feel like we’re just repeating ourselves, which more than anything else, is just boring.

            1. Reread my all my posts where I never say Black Dahlia has breakdowns.

            2. I feel that I’ve repeatedly addressed the fact that I think all they’ve done is change the vocalist style. So I’m saying it’s not a hardcore or Metalcore singer. I don’t think the vocalist makes the style all by themselves which seems to be what you are implying.

            3. I said bands had done it before death metal (again, see above posts), but the terminology I’m using is for the modern metal community as a whole. You say breakdown, you think Deathcore, have bands done it before, and done it well? Absolutely, I wouldn’t (and haven’t) refuted that. But That’s what the modern metal community thinks of first when they here it now. I’m 30

            4. The differences between hardcore and metal core are pretty murky. You typically can find songs in either genre using elements of both. I usually say hardcore is punk influenced by metal and metalcore is metal influenced by punk. Are we saying Trivium is metalcore, can we agree on that? Because they are clearly In Flames worshipers, and they are clearly playing a style heavily influenced by a Gothenburg sound. And I am saying BDM and Trivium are very similar in that respect and that those similarities are irrefutable.

            I’m impartial to BDM, do you really need me to hate it or like it? There is no middle ground here, we can only deal in absolutes? I’ve been familiar with them for a long time, I bought Miasma the day it came out, I get it.

            You should probably just insult me more, it’s clearly helping your argument, and you can high five the other commenters afterwords.

          • First, I apologize if you took my saying that you live in an epistemic enclosure very personally.

            So let me give you my definition of metalcore. Metalcore is the blending of HARDCORE (not punk) and death metal—usually of the Swedish melodic-thrash variety. It is generally characterized by both hardcore vocals (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je-3J6xn4Wg ), breakdowns (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGoEd8BHqks ) and some half-time talking shit. They also shared certain types of production.

            Deathcore could actually be included as a type of metalcore, because it was the inclusion of hardcore breakdowns in specifically brutal death metal.

            So, Trivium, for example, one could arguably call a modern thrash band (unfortunately, it’s hard to suss that out). I think God Forbid, for example, who often gets labeled as metalcore is really just a modern thrash band who came up in the metalcore scene. In any case, Trivium is probably metalcore, certainly Unearth is metalcore. But here’s the rub: The Black Dahlia Murder has absolutely zero of what I discussed above. There is no ‘punk’ or hardcore influence in their sound. They may have crossover appeal—and they came out around the same time, but that doesn’t mean that they’re metalcore. It just means they were a death metal band being released at the same time that metalcore was getting popular.

            Anyway, my point is that your definition of metalcore is simply incorrect, and that your lumping The Black Dahlia Murder in with metalcore when they’re clearly not a metalcore band and then (this is the most important part) writing them off because they’re “just heavy metalcore” is dumb. You’re making a value judgement based on their genre, not based on their music.

          • T.J. Barber

            I wasn’t offended so no worries.

            All right, I might have to reassess how I use the term.

            My point.
            I’m just of the opinion it’s not right to call an american band Melodeath. I have an art history background and it’s generally the case that as styles move through different regions they get new names becuase they do change ever so slightly or largely, futurism is just italian cubism for example, etc. It feels wrong to lump in new bands to older genres from different regions, and more accurate to place them in their location specific genre (as I think these things tend to have effects on the art form). I try to avoid mass hybrid descriptions, just out of practice really because they can get messy.

            But your points are valid.

          • I don’t see genre as being bound to a specific time and place, which is why USBM is still black metal even though it’s not Norwegian. Or Cascadian black metal is the same thing, I guess. It’s still black metal because it shares the elements.

            One final, quick point: labeling a band you don’t like a genre that is considered to be untouchable (i.e., nu-metal or metalcore) is something that bugs me. The assumption is that the entire genre is bad, and that’s also unfair. Unearth and God Forbid are two metalcore bands I really like even though I think most of metalcore isn’t particularly good. I think Job for a Cowboy’s first record is really good, even though I hate deathcore as a whole. Just writing off a band because of their genre strikes me as closed minded.


          • T.J. Barber

            You’re right, and I didn’t mean to write it off as bad by genre. I’m not a metalcore fan either, but there has been good work done in it. I even like Red Chord a little bit, but I can’t stand deathcore as a whole. I’m actually of the belief that anything can be done well, we might not have examples of something done well, but I think it’s possible. Bree vocals fall into this, 99% of the time it’s terrible, but I’ve heard Anaal Nathrakh do them and Circle of Dead Children use them well too.

            I’m interested in the pockets of genres that pop up. Think of how many styles have locations attached to them. Gothenburg, Norwegian Inner Circle Black Metal, Bay Area thrash, Florida death Metal, Swedish death metal. I think of these as parent styles that move, merge and change into new ones. With no intention of meaning this is a bad thing, these styles have formulas to them, you know what a bay area thrash band sounds like. You here Entombed (early) and say “that’s fucking Swedish Death Metal on the nose”, so when we start breaking from those conventions and letting time and distance start changing the sound, is it still right to use the term?

            How did all this get started… oh, I think the only point I was trying to make is that people like BDM (which is fine) and try to dress it up as more than it is (whatever genre that someone thinks they are). I just worded that shitty. I really like Ghost for instance, but no part of me is of the belief that they are completely groundbreaking, I just think they’re good. You weren’t even saying BDM are this absolutely groundbreaking and unique band worthy of every ounce of praise you can muster, but I’ve had conversations with those people and I was more reacting to them.

        • Garksa

          Genre tags are always unclear, but I’m a self-proclaimed metalcore fan and TBDM is not metalcore. They may have metalcore leanings (maybe) but they’re not metalcore.

          As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, This Or The Apocalypse, Memphis May Fire, A Day To Remember, The Human Abstract, Oh Sleeper, these are metalcore. And TBDM sounds like none of those. Closest comparison is AILD who has had some melodic death metal leanings in the past.

        • You mean they’re more thrashy than doomy? Yes. But they’ve always been very close to At The Gates. One could argue that At The Gates—a death metal band—is also closer to Trivium than Asphyx as well.

          And it’s not definitely some metalcore with death metal vocals, but I will address this foolishness below.

          • T.J. Barber

            You know what I hate more than anything about this whole exchange?

            I really love this site, you guys nail 90% of your reviews.

            So of course my first interaction with all of you is a knock down drag out argument about something, that in the end, is really stupid to argue about.

          • No worries, we’re all argumentative weenies over at AMG, we still love ya though!

          • You just touched a nerve for me, man. I fucking hate it when people call what is obviously a melodeath band a metalcore band. In fact, I wrote an entire post about using genres as pejoratives because of just that behavior. There’s nothing metalcore about the band. There just isn’t.

            I’m glad you love the site, though! And keep on coming around. Just ’cause I argue doesn’t mean I hate you. I just vigorously disagree with you.

          • One big happy metal family are we!

          • sathriel

            Oh boy, did someone step on AMG’s toes? That started off pretty flamey. All well that ends well though.

            However the exchange shows pretty well how dumb the whole genre classification is. What is even more dumb is trying to judge the band by the genre of their music (or elements of said genre the music involves).

            At the end of the day the music is either good or bad and the label of the genre we put on the music is just an artificial way of categorisation.

          • Yeah, and it’s no fun when toes get stepped on. AMG gets cranky.

          • David Rosales

            I’m very sad to see At the Gates’ name being thrown around in relation to THAT style… when it only belongs to their very last album, their poorest output. :(

          • I think it’s sad that people say that Slaughter of the Soul—arguably one of the most influential records of its generation—is their poorest output. Not only is it not true, but it’s crazy.

          • David Rosales

            Well, I’m not going to deny how influential it became. They also got their best production ever going on in there.
            But look at the songwriting. The most uninteresting and straightforward they ever wrote. I can never listen to that album completely at once, I always fall asleep halfway through. It is so repetitive (indistinguishable riffs, the pop song structure, constant tempo throughout almost the entire album) you can barely distinguish one song from the next. The only song that stands out for me is Under a Serpent Sun.
            Compare that to the adventurous and creative (albeit a little.. childish? naive?) songwriting of their first two albums. You may talk loads of shit about the terrible production on those albums, but I value the art of songwriting more than a squeaky clean production. BUT, that’s just me…

          • 100% agree.

  • DrChocolate

    Does it bug the fuck out of anybody else that the guy in the bottom right (Loki?) of the cover of DOTG is so wildly out of proportion? Look at it. Hid torso is roughly 90 percent of his body. He’s got like Yao Ming’s mid-section mixed with Willow’s legs. Drives me nuts. That album totally grew on me however and washed away much of the ill-will I had towards AA over SurturD rising (see what I did there?)

  • daethmeltal

    Too bad you didn’t review the debut album from Disfigured Divinity because that was fucking awesome.

  • Guest

    Too bad you didn’t review the debut album from Disfigured Divinty because that was fucking awesome.

  • Arjan Zwamborn

    It’s funny how differently a year of metal can be experienced by different people with similar tastes; I mean, I usually agree with scores and opinions on this site, but I’ve found myself enjoying previous months a lot more than this one. However, I am yet to check out Summoning and Author & Punisher, so perhaps my opinion will be changed.

    That said, I’ve been enjoying both Amon Amarth, The Black Dahlia Murder and August Burns Red (which is clearly metalcore, unlike TBDM – silly, silly discussion), but none of those really click with me. However, Extol released their self-titled debut last month, which was rather excellent. So I guess my vote would go to that one.

    • Extol I liked. It wasn’t RotM material, but there’s some really good shit on it.

  • Realkman666

    My first Amon Amarth album. You don’t need to love death metal to enjoy this. It’s just “metal”, groovy, pounding, melodic “metal”. Fantastic.

    • OzanCan

      It also really helps grasping their sound to the core if you have some knowledge about Norse Mythology and Viking culture!
      Recommed reading either Prose or Poetic Edda m/

  • Chorchs

    Yes. I totally agree with Amon Amarth, despite all the disussions I’ve
    had, “thery’re doing the same record”, “WOoOS was better…”, shit…

    I don’t give a damn, I only push the button and now I have serious neck injury, they did it again…

    for July I have Dejadeath “Viva Dios” by now, but following your reviews, hoping to add more…

    I have not heard yet Black Dahlia Murder, but now I can’t wait, ha ha

    • Well, to be fair, WOoOS is better than everything they’ve done. But just ’cause a record is awesome doesn’t mean nothing else can be awesome.

    • Well, to be fair, WOoOS is better than everything they’ve done. But just ’cause a record is awesome doesn’t mean nothing else can be awesome.

      • Chorchs

        Yep, that’s the point.

  • Nagisa

    Thank god I wasn’t the only one bothered by Summoning’s use of Fischer Price keyboards. I thoroughly loved the album (still in my top 10 thus far), but the thin sounding MIDI files severely detracted from the listening experience. I found it difficult to immerse myself into the music at times because some of the orchestrated parts sounded so fake. Maybe fans should get together a raise some money for the band to get a real keyboard?

    • Realkman666

      Or an Alesis Midiverb to beef up the sound. XD

    • I’ve never begrudged bands bad sound. However, there’s no reason for Summoning to keep the fucking D-grade MIDI sounds. I don’t see it as integral to their sound, I see it as being born in the limitations of their origins. But they don’t need to sound like that in 2013, when midi is cheap as shit.

  • MetalMartin

    Well, that was a very long exchange and debate! All I can say is that genres or sub-genres are not that important. To me, as long as it is Metal AND good (i.e. kicks major asses), I’m happy. However, just for the fun of it, how would anyone label Acrania’s metal, like on the album”An Uncertain Collision”, which incorporates elements of latin music? How do we label latest Anathema “Weather Systems”?

    Keep it angry!

    P.S.: I fully trust AMG’s judgement. I have bought every single “Record of the Month” for the last 2 years, and I’m completely happy!

    • Wow, thanks for the trust! It’s hard to state how much it means to us.

  • Lemonitos

    Whoa! Wait a minute. Shade Empire’s Omega Arcane not even mentioned?

  • We needed a Good month like this! Sabbath wasn’t bad but I haven’t gone back. Queensryche was good. Black Dahlia was excellent I’ll be going back to that one.

    Of course I really enjoy the new Amon Amarth! (probably gave it 15 spins so far.)

    Finally, in HMGs defense I didn’t think White Wizzard was bad, nothing new but I liked it. Then again, I’m a sucker for that type of metal. I think their last album is a bit better.


  • Shahir Chagan

    You know, to me, Amon Amarth is probably one of the most defining and ‘truest’ metal bands in this era. They completely nail it: their music is catchy, brutal and melodic without being cheesy or sickening. It has just the right mix of complexity and simplicity to be enjoyable. I haven’t heard a record of theirs that hasn’t kicked ass – they are the epitome of metal today, IMHO. (By that, I’m referring to the impact as compared to classic bands such as Iron Maiden or Slayer)

    Sure there are countless amazing modern bands out there, but Amon Amarth seems to be one band that will surely reach ‘classic’ status, for being an all round excellent metal band.

    • I completely agree with you. Amon Amarth are one of the defining bands of their era.

  • RU63

    For those that care, I’ve been listening to The Devil’s Cut, Everblack, and Deciever of Gods alot since ROTM came out. All are great listens but I keep going back to Everblack, so it is my record of the month for June.
    Thanks AMG for getting me to buy all three :)

    • RU63

      K, now I like The Devil’s Cut; We are finding it to be a GREAT “Summer roadtrip bbq at the lake” cd.