Summer is a time when thoughts inevitably turn to love, sun worshipping, cold beers and good friends. Maybe that’s why the AMG staff was so egregiously delinquent with their Record(s) o’ the Month selections for June. More likely is because they’re all a bunch of slack-jawed yokels1 with the work ethic of an entitled Siamese cat. I’m certainly not looking to point fingers since that kind of blamestorming is juvenile and unproductive, but all the writers share the blame except me. Now that we have that negativity out in the open, maybe we can move on like the mature music journalists we are, put this whole thing behind us and get the July post ready before the September deadline. Place yer bets!
It took almost 15 years to deliver, but the boys from Goatsnake dropped a righteous doom bomb on the faithful with Black Age Blues, taking their southern fried swagger into the modern era and making it work by sheer force of riff. Excellent song craft, powerful performances and a strangely festive atmosphere make the music sound like a deep south church revival mixed with a rowdy funeral, and the audio moonshine (and monkeyshine) just flows and flows. If you miss the salad days of Down and Crowbar, your riverboat just came in with a cargo of bourbon and BBQ. One of the best albums of the year and one of the most addicting doom platters ever.
Night Flight Orchestra // Skyline Whispers – With a title ripped from a trashy romance novella available at supermarket checkout stands, Night Flight Orchestra is clearly playing fast and loose with standard metal conventions. In fact, they eschew them entirely in favor of gloriously cheesy and plastic sounding 80s rock. And that’s the beauty of this musical lark made up of members from Soilwork and Arch Enemy: they’re doing what they want and having fun at it, unconcerned if anyone else gets the joke. And it’s hard to resist these “Survivor meets Journey at a disco in 1984″ slices of 80s silliness because they’re too damn good! Guilty pleasures live here.
Shape of Despair // Monotony Fields – Funeral doom is like that dog at the back of the shelter that’s a little…tough to love. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but great for a patient owner who can deal with personality issues. But Shape of Despair aims to make the adoption process much easier by cramming their slow motion depression with beautiful and haunting harmonies and leads. Taking the best elements from acts like Swallow the Sun and Saturnus, this is funeral doom for the masses, and while it’s still slow, it’s a palatable slowness that sinks in deep and makes you believe.
The staff is now on the clock.