It’s good to be Angry Metal Guy. Sure, there are some downsides—mostly the hate mail I get from people who don’t realize that we actually have multiple writers, so I don’t simultaneously hate and love black metal, grindcore, power metal, or anything -core—but mostly there are upsides. For example, I can sweep in once a month, leave a single post declaring my favorite record that was released during that month, and then scuttle on my way, fat on the work of my inferiors (and a decade of Taco Bell drive through in the middle of the night). Hell, I can be 29 days late with my one assignment, and it’s celebrated! In no other job is someone’s inability to turn in their work on time turned into merchandise and an ongoing thread on his very own forum. And let me ask you a question: could I be any more venal, lazy, and irresponsible than I already am? Why, of course! I’m about to nominate a Record o’ the Month for May that was actually released in April.

suckit

Alright, now after I’ve made a reference that about 2 of our readers actually recognize, here we go…

Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth 01

Wilderun‘s Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is a record akin to Angry Metal Guy’s “Goldilocks Zone.” Everything about this record is just right—like some kind of gorgeous, epic synthesis of Opeth and Turisas into one, beautiful album. Like so many things that I absolutely adore, Wilderun lives in the best of many worlds, balancing orchestral, epic metal with folky strains and wandering—with a gusto—into black metal territory, or even thrashy melodeath. We already had a 900 word review of this on the site, so I should probably calm down here. It’s not often that an unsigned band produces Record o’ the Year material that makes it to our desks, but thanks to the Angry Metal Guy forums, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth has been on pretty much constant rotation since I first heard it. Let me just quote El Cuervo to sum up: “There isn’t much more I can say which hasn’t already vehemently spewed forth from my frothy, gnashing mouth, but you owe it to yourself as a fan of heavy metal to own this.”

Runner(s) Up:

Pyramaze_Disciples of the SunPyramaze // Disciples of the Sun – A long awaited album, a new singer and new sound and Pyramaze is still gold in the (non-Greek) bank. Taking their prog-power metal in the direction of recent Pagan’s Mind and Anubis Gate, these Danish dynamos effortlessly shake off seven years of rust and deliver what Steel Druhm calls “an absolutely brilliant slab of hooky prog-power and easily one of the best albums of 2015.” And you know it must be good since there isn’t one sword-wielding barbarian on the cover and Steel still digs it. Profoundness (profundity?) abounds.

Arcturus_ArcturianArcturus // Arcturian – Much beloved avant guardians, Arcturus have been out of the limelight for too long and 2015 finally sees them back bringing that weirdness they bring so well. With Hellhammer and I.C.S Vortex steering the ship, Arcturian is still strange, but a bit more accessible than the wacko platters of old, though spontaneity and risk-taking are still the watchwords. A satisfied Dr. A.N. Grier summed it up thusly: “If this were to be Arcturus’ swansong, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.” High praise indeed.

Obsequiae - Aria of Vernal Tombs 01Obsequiae // Aria of Vernal Tombs – Out of the wilds of Minnesåta came quite the May surprise from Obsequiae. Aria of Vernal Tombs is a heady mixture of pagan/folk melodies, stunningly beautiful guitar-work and harsh, blackened vocals, and there’s something here that captivates almost instantly and compels you to keep listening. The writing is masterful, the pacing enhances the song flow and everything just works. In a month with a fair amount of duds, turds and offal, L. Saunders was appreciative that Obsequaie “crafted a majestic album to extinguish the stench and realign the trajectory.” And with a name like ObsequaieAria of the Vernal Tombs will also help you impress even your most pretentious friends with your serious underground cred.

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  • AMG is a slacker!

    • Martin Knap

      Did it take many weeks to carefully weigh the merits of one album against another? I believe that I could have won a bet on what would be on the list and in what order a couple of weeks ago.

      • Now AMG won’t feel appreciated and we won’t see Records o’ the Month for June until October. I hope you’re happy!

        • Martin Knap

          The metal gods wil not let such misdeeds unpunished!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Ah! Libel!

  • AnnieK13

    That Wilderun is an awesome choice for May’s AOM! I have listened to that album more than anything else in the last few months, absolutely LOVE it. Great choice!

    Also, funny you have the Pyromaze as a runner up as I’m actually listening to it as I write this…

    • brutal_sushi

      That Pyramaze album is so damn good.

  • My best friend, and fellow metal head, Josh Watkins died this year after fighting cancer for the past 10 years. Music was a massive part of his life and of anyone I’ve ever met in my life, he and I shared nearly identical tastes in music. It was rare for him or I to discover an album we liked that the other didn’t. When I first heard Wilderun, he was already bed ridden and couldnt really move too much. I burned him a copy of this album to listen to, but it was too late, and he passed away before getting a chance to hear it. For his funeral, his wife asked me to pick some music that Josh would have liked that was appropriate for a funeral. I picked Savatage – Sleep since Savatage was THE band that we first formed our friendship around, Sentenced – Mourn (the last track on Frozen), Persefone – Outro (also the last track), and once again, the last track on this Wilderun album. Josh never got to hear them, but that didn’t stop me from introducing him to one more record at his funeral. I am pleased this album is receiving the recognition it has.

    • Really sorry to hear about your friend, Mike. Hails to him and may he ride with Odin forevermore.

    • That was a very touching comment. R.I.P. Josh Watkins.

    • Thanks for sharing Mike. RIP Josh Watkins.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Very sad stuff. Sorry for your loss.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Condolences, RIP Josh

    • Grymm

      Man, I am tearing up huge reading this. I’m incredibly sorry for your loss, but always remember him, Mike, and thank you for sharing this.

      RIP Josh Watkins.

    • Im listening to this cd now and Im so sorry for your losing your best friend. Im sure he has arrived in Valhalla for his fierce battle!!!!!! m/ m/

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Great RotM. Couldn’t agree more on all of these. And great cover art on all four releases imo.

  • Pyramaze and Obsequiae are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

    I still need to listen Wilderun a little more. And I need to listen Arcturus, that song made me intrigued. Good run over here.

  • Tentacles

    Wow…Pyramaze really *does* sound like Anubis Gate…and Teramaze too.

    Digging Wilderun and Obsequiae too. This is going to be an expensive ROTM post for me….

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I approve of all these albums.
    It’s been a good year for metal so far and I love it!

    P.S. You’re welcome ;)

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    As I said here before, this years Dreamgrave. It’s definitely a contender for AOY for me. Great to see independent artists getting attention for quality work.
    I’ve also really enjoyed pyramaze. I hadn’t heard those guys before, was inspired to go back and check out their earlier work. Immortal is a great record too and yes they really shook things up for this.
    Excellent list AMG, thanks for the solid recommendations!
    Oh and friendly reminder RoM for June is due…

  • Adam

    One day you will be struck down by your own hubris! Your readers will desert you for MetalSucks and you’ll be stuck pulling beers at Amaranthe gigs!

  • I love this cd, but Obsequiae wins it out for me. Total goldilocks zone.

    • PEACE_SELLS

      Agree! Obsequiae’s album feels so timeless and majestic.

      • What is the instrument played on Obsequaie – is that harp? It is so dreamy

        • PEACE_SELLS

          Yes that’s a harp. They collaborated with a Spanish medieval harpist called Vicente La Camera Marino.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    The website looks awfully green.Worse than the Wilson-Pink.

  • Matt Smith

    While I really enjoy the Wilderun release, the first track threw me off because the melody is lifted almost directly from Insomnium’s “The Gale”.

    • I knew it bothered me for some reason! Right down to the ambient rain noise. Now I’m sad because a) I consider myself a very ardent Insomnium fan and I didn’t realise and b) it made me like the otherwise really great record a little less.

      • Hammersmith

        Yeah, I knew immediately I had heard it before, but it took a few minutes to remember where from. What’s disappointing is how close it is to the Insomnium track.

        • Huh. I didn’t notice it because I basically hate Insomnium.

      • fugitiveprisoner

        I hear the similarities in the tracks mentioned. What bearing does this have on the overall rating of the album? The track is relatively insignificant to this brilliant album… I also hear other influences which I’ll leave unsaid, for fear a terrific album will be knocked for those as well.

  • I love all four records, this is a first!
    Also, not cool to joke about the Greek situation, but also it’s a good one. Whatever, we all shall burn in hell anyway.

  • KingKuranes

    Obsequiae has a Mithotyn vibe to me.

  • Zadion

    SUCK IT