There’s an olde Klingon proverb to the effect that Record(s) o’ the Month posts are best served late (and with cheap beer, but we’re on a budget). As we at AMG have a healthy collective respect for Klingon traditions, we do what we can to live up to their br00tal warrior code. May was exceptional for metal releases and there were a bunch of top-flight albums vying for monthly lordship. And as usual, the fractious staff did not see eye-to-eye on who should reign supreme. In times of dynastic struggles, hard decisions must be made, and like the Praetorian Guard of old, we cut down the pretenders and install the most worthy. All hail your new metallic ruler and vassal lords.

Loss descended upon the world in 2011 like a vast swarm of slow-motion locusts, their Despond debut so gripping it forced even non-fans of funeral doom to come around and appreciate the beauty of dark despair. Some among the AMG staff didn’t want to see a follow up, as it could never best what had already been wrought. Chief among the naysayers was our evil den mother, Madam X. Though she was afraid what Horizonless would offer, she accepted its inevitability, dove in and lo and behold, it somehow bests Despond on every level. Horizonless is a mammoth slab of depressive doom, incorporating blackened elements to wicked ends and never letting the listener escape the murky shroud of depression it weaves. Riffs churn from crushing to haunting, vocals besiege with oppressive weight and abject terror, the torture simply never ends. Imagine dragging a 5-ton coffin up a mountain during a snowstorm after quaffing Valium. This is that Herculean trial put to music. As Madam expressed so ably, “Horizonless proved itself a multi-dimensional construct, showcasing a unique blend of melodic harmony, bleak contrast and grinding torment…”

Runner(s) Up:

Below // Upon a Pale Horse – Doom is a tough thing to do well. It’s even tougher to mix traditional metal with it and make it work. Below makes it look easy on sophomore opus Upon a Pale Horse. That means you get an album merging the best of Candlemass with Tad Morose led by a vocalist with the chops to pull it off. Slow, crushing doom-tastic songs appear next to upbeat cuts with a strong Iron Maiden vibe, thereby keeping the mood lively and diverse. Song writing is at a premium and the musicianship is first-rate. This one may not end up the the best doom album of 2017, but it will be in the conversation.

Night Flight Orchestra // Amber Galactic – When members of well-known acts like Soilwork and Arch Enemy form a throwback retro-rock project which ends up superior to their day jobs, you just have to laugh and go along for the ride. If Toto, Van Halen and Supertramp collaborated on an album, this would be the stupendously catchy result and like a house guest from Hell, these tunes will never leave your head once you invite them in. This is good enough to make one wonder why the people responsible don’t do this full time. Amber Galactic is shamelessly retro and sinfully old fashioned, but it’s the perfect album for summer fun, mischief and poor choices.

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  • Give me Alestorm or give me death!

    • You need more sleep and less ale.

      • Drew Music

        Dial it down to Aledew.

      • Angry Metal Pirate?

    • You wot m8?

      I’m not even a big fan of Alestorm, but it was sure better than the pretentious crap that was Horizonless…

      • Zach Ward

        Pretentious??? BOY you’s looking for a fight with them words.

      • Acid Spine

        You clearly do NOT understand the genre of doom/funeral doom in the least bit if you find Horizonless pretentious. You sound PRETENTIOUS saying that for real.

        • You wot m8?

          The entirety of Horizonless’ lyrics and delivery came across like the unfocused, angsty whining of an edgy preteen who has just discovered Edgar Allan Poe, and thinks they’re being “deep”.

          I actually DO have an invested interest and understanding in the genre, thank you. A large portion of my musical catalogue consists of doom and funeral doom. In fact, my very understanding of the genre is what allows me to say that I would rather listen to almost anything besides this crooning, insipid self-absorption. The technicality and musicianship of this album is quite good, perhaps even great, but it’s all built on a rotten foundation.

          • DeadHead

            I’m going to have to agree with you. I couldn’t listen to all the songs because it was so cringe worthy.

          • You wot m8?

            It was like those few times where Agalloch had missteps on lyrics, except they made a whole album of that.

          • PretentiousFuckwad

            I did scan the lyrics to some of the songs, and I got exactly what I expected. As a writer and literary elitist, I attest that the lyrics are pure garbage. The abstractions and cliches are suffocating, but then perhaps this was what they wanted. To suffocate the listener with bad writing is a feat in itself, especially when you can’t even make out half the words in the song.

            In fact, I think this is a benchmark in the history of funeral doom, one that challenges younglings and the like to come up with lyrics that drive further into the grave of sentimentality, where the lyricists stab themselves and smear their black guts all over the page, where the songs are designed to cut our ears open with sheer edge alone.

          • Shuffel

            what is this… an academic trying to write about metal? i like not white bread… i like sushi and cunt

        • herrschobel

          please—never tell people that they ‘don´t understand’ something on this site. We are not talking about Arnold Schönberg here. Any Funeral doom IS actually very boring and tiresome to people that have life in them. So be nice and enjoy your coffin.

          • You wot m8?

            I disagree with the first sentiment. However, there IS truly great funeral doom. Just not this.

          • herrschobel

            Never got into funeral doom … must be my uplifty sunny personality :-)

          • Shuffel

            why the fuck should you get into it? strange thought.. do what you want Eisenstein

          • herrschobel

            beg you pardon ?

          • herrschobel

            why the fuck do YOU care after 2 months ? no offense brother but your last 2 comments in my direction where just strange and – from my perspective – completely unnecessary … we talk about our musical likes and dislikes here, mainly…let´s keep it there …

          • Funnily enough, I feel that most Arnold Schönberg IS actually very boring and tiresome.

          • Shuffel

            then fucking dont listen to it… theres tons… tons of speed hardcore brutal whatever you can loose ur soul in… get on with it!! get on!!!!

      • Scott Clam

        How is it pretentious? All the lyrics are about being insanely depressed.

      • Shuffel

        pretentious… hehe…slow down sufferman

    • Wadsworth Van Hagar

      It’s cool, Unleash the Archers will be ROTM in June

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        NO.

        • Drew Music

          SECONDED

      • Anarchist

        I’ve actually fallen in love with that album. I’d endorse that.

        • Wadsworth Van Hagar

          Me too, it’s pretty great. The vocalist’s voice really puts the power….in their metal.

    • die

      • Nukenado

        A repeating of El C’s comment on the No Grave But The Sea review. While this comment stays true to the original’s spirit, it somehow lacks the punch and clarity of the original, whether it be the smaller avatar frame or the unfortunate circumstance of being a reply to another comment. It tries to capture the glory of the old comment, and while it certainly succeeds on that front, I can’t help but feel that I want a bit more out of the comment. Fans of the original comment will love this piece, and it is by no means a bad comment. But if I want th nuance and layers of the original comment, I think I’ll stick with the original.
        3/5

        • In fact, I would go so far and claim it is but a feeble shadow of the original.

          • Nukenado

            That’s a bit harsh. At least the technical details all live up to the original’s.

    • One More Thing

      This is what happens when you let the children drive the Angry Metalmobile!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I’ll take Death over Alestorm any day. Leprosy, Individual Thought Patterns…

  • Wes Allen

    June’s not even over, and May’s RotM is already posted. I’m impressed.

    • Brent Johnson

      It’s shocking.

  • GardensTale

    Not even a mention of Voyager? Rabble rabble rabble.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Rabble rabble rabble.

    • Levly

      Rabble rabble rabble

    • Ghio

      I went and saw them live in Brisbane and they were fantastic. Setlist flowed seamlessly from one song to another, and their frontman did a great job at amping up the crowd and the other bandmembers.

    • John

      Definitely the best of May for me.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    So… we’ve got doom, funeral doom and not-metal… Oh boy…

    Here’s my alternative RoTM: White Ward, Voyager, Alestorm.

    #OccupyAMG

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I think Alestorm and Gloryhammer should form a supergroup. They could call themselves The Hammered Pirates.

      • Drew Music

        I’m used to only sensible input from you, something has gone terribly wrong here.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Aren’t all pirates hammered?

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Exactly! It’d be like peanut butter and chocolate.

    • Diego Molero

      White Ward is great. I also liked a lot Ulsect.
      But Alestorm… I really don’t get what’s so great. I mean, they are a fun and not at all bad band, but I don’t think they are that good

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Must’ve missed Ulsect. It’s got a sphere on the cover though so I don’t know how I could’ve missed it.

        • Diego Molero

          It has members from both Dodecahedron and Textures, so I’m pretty sure you’ll like it, it’s great.

          • AndySynn

            This.

      • Reese Burns

        Ulsect is FANTASTIC! It’s been handily filling the void between new Ulcerate and Portal releases. It sounds massive on vinyl as well.

        • Diego Molero

          It really is. My only gripe about the album is the mix. I don’t like it when the vocals are pushed back from everything, and specially here I think that if the vocals were more upfront it would sound more powerful and devastating, still, great album.
          Don’t know how it sounds on vinyl though… Actually, I haven’t heard anything on vinyl… ever.

        • Drew Music

          Fuck yeah dude! I don’t even remember hearing about them, I’d preordered it solely on the Dodecahedron/ Textures connections and was far from disappointed. Plus I got one of the limited color runs, which always makes my day.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      FVCK YEAH WHITE WARD

      • Sean Sky

        Yeah White Ward was actually pretty dope

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Once we occupy the building, we can flush all their toilets at the same time. It’ll make everything higgledy piggledy.

    • Sean Sky

      RoB are pretty much black metal, tho.

    • lrn2swim

      Hell yeah, glorious, glorious Voyager. Thanks for the White Ward recommendation, just checking it out now, missed it earlier last month. Great stuff!!

    • DeadHead

      How did White Ward not make this list! That was better than any of the listed albums.

  • Goldicot

    I’m surprised to see that, in June, I found nothing I enjoyed vastly more than Loss which I would dub as “okay.” My actual pick for the RotM at this month would, with reluctance, be Igorrr’s Savage Sinusoid, which I expect to continue to be overrated.

    Sleeper hit award goes to Mutoid Man’s War Moans. I would love this album if not for the dismal vocal performance.

    Get your shit together, 2017.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      This is the May RotM ;)

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Sometimes I want to excuse your tardiness as nothing more than Europe and America being a few hours behind us here in Australia. But then I realize that it is a few hours behind, not three and a half fucking weeks.

    I oughta cut my hair short and ask to speak with your manager; how dare you treat my son like that.

    • Take your son with you as you leave the hall.

      • DeadHead

        Is that a Manowar reference? hahahaha.

  • Goldicot

    I have been politely informed that I am mentally handicapped in the truest sense of the phrase.

    My RotM is Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos, followed by The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia, and… nothing.

    • Drew Music

      The trve RotM. Mine would also include Ulsect, though they weren’t covered here. But Wode… Wode!!! I’m not even a longtime fan, but that album is just incredible. I’ll minimize my rabbles of dissent, though, as at least the next month or four won’t be pirate-y.

      • GardensTale

        Not yours perhaps.

        • Drew Music

          Mollusca willing.
          Having assessed what was what and vocalized my indignation, I shall henceforth retreat back to the slimy depths of my Slugdge-fest, to resurface once more when next something wicked this site reviews.

    • AndySynn

      Bah, it’s not as good as their debut.

      God, I’ve become THAT guy…

      • [not a Dr]

        No, not Thatguy. More like Tom Hardy.

        • AndySynn

          Bronson-era Tom Hardy?

          Or Tom “I don’t like anything” Hardy, the commenter?

          Please say the former.

          • [not a Dr]

            He does like first albums.

    • Sean Sky

      Exuvia is fantastic and I loved Wode’s last album but still have to check out SotC (oh shit same acronym as shadow of the colossus… or maybe it’s SotCC).

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’m at a Loss.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Boo.

      ;)

  • Ferrous Beuller

    Finally, I agree on everything in our RoTM. Does this mean my musical tastes have reached their… Apex? (It better be there next month).

  • Levly

    I’m sorry but Funeral Doom sounds utterly boring to me, even when it’s quality one like Loss. When it comes to Doom I’ll take the wonderful Below record over that anytime.

  • Reese Burns

    Totally agree with Loss. It’s a beautifully gloomy record.

  • Sean Sky

    I actually completely forgot about ROTY and stopped expecting one at this point. Guess I have some stuff to listen to today!

  • Art Vandelay

    WODE is my pick for RoTM, the intro to Temple Interment is amazing. My runners up have to Highland and Slaegt both quality records but nothing beats this Wode record.

    • Dudeguy Jones

      Highland here. Along with the Wode and Slaegt albums.

      Was Havukruunu this month or last?

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Havukruunu was an April runner-up.

  • Dethjesta

    I’m amazed that Exuvia didn’t get the nod for RotM. Not that it would have been mine but it’s been very popular among many I know.

    I guess that shows how good a month it was for metal that bands like Ruins of Beverast, Voyager, Wode and Alestorm don’t even get in the top 3.

    • Sean Sky

      RoB and Voyager yes. Alestorm… PLEASE GOD NO

  • thornh

    I think the chorus of “Fucked with an Anchor” says it all…

    • The Akerstache

      It’s also got some great suggestions for what to do to Druhm for daring shun us.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Just like the Praetorian Guard of old, Alestorm’s superior claim has been ignored and cut down for inferior metal that offered a backroom deal to Captain Druhm.

    • Their letter of marque was forged.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Beware the Storm of Ale.

        • I survived plenty of those in college and grad school.

  • ssorg

    Agree with the choice of Below, at the very least, and was very pleased to be made aware of Tad Morose in the review for upon a pale horse. Still, I think Ruins of Beverast was better. But who am I, after all?

  • Sean Sky

    Night Flight Orchestra was the tits

  • John Mosley

    I changed my internet service provider. Now I am Verizon-less. I might write an album about it.

  • Ironwood_Druid

    Huzzah, it’s not July!

  • Brent Johnson

    I’m not dead yet so my doom rests on the Below album.

  • Planex

    Where’s the metal that isn’t doom?

  • Heldarc

    And of course no mention of Ashenspire…
    Wait, that was in January…Sorry, it is easy to lose track of time.

  • Eli Valcik

    These are so late, I can’t even remember what came out when and what to get mad about for you guys not having. JUSTICE FOR WITHERFALL 2017 or whatever.

  • Nukenado

    Why no No Grave But The Sea Alestorm

  • Nukenado

    I must say, the backdrop looks fantastic on the blog.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Holy shit… I wonder if there has ever been such a difference between winner and 3rd place for Album of the Month as there is between Loss and Night Flight Orchestra.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Loss is just Asphyx forgetting how to write a song while gorging on quaaludes. NFO is boring dad rock and it’s definitely a soundtrack for poor choices, chiefly its inclusion here instead of Alestorm. Below is cool.
    NFO is better than Soilwork?! I can listen to Soilwork’s new-ish B-side collection straight through and be entertained, but three songs into NFO I get bored and start feeling like I have arthritis. NFO is better than Arch Enemy, but that ain’t saying much; if I wanted girls with too much makeup on incessantly screaming at me, I’d travel back in time to relationships past.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      You can now change you name to Bitter_Diabolus_In_Muzaka!
      ;)

    • Somebody’s got their parrots in a bunch.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Do you have a better way to store them? I’m open to suggestions.

      • Nukenado

        Pirate parrots?

    • El_Cuervo

      I appreciate your Loss comment but your preference for Audrey Horne above NFO means I can’t take you seriously.

  • Bas

    Great choices (except for NFO). Actually the album i listened to most is the one from Godhunter (I know its not that good but somehow its strangely catchy).

    • Good call! Your comment alerted me to an interesting EP… :-)

  • iiixf

    What usually bvgz me a lot when reading any kind of lists is something this: some humble guys and gals running this noble site made some choice and compiled a list, and lo and behold, some commenters cry as the choice is not along their tastes and rush to offer “better” options – well, those other and “better” choices for RotWhatever are already on their lists, so some dissatisfied commenters need not try and rebuke the poor site staff and offer their more “deserving” selections (I guess either Schaeffer or Rosenthal mentioned it on some other occasion)

    • Name’s Dalton

      Totally.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      It’s not like we don’t respect the site staff. We’re just rabble rounding and fostering discussion. Nobody’s been disrespectful in the comments as far as I saw. Just people offering their opinions and recommending music, which, in the end benefits the artists above all else, really.

    • Nukenado

      But Alestorm No Grave But Th —

  • Grumple_Stiltskin

    I love how everyone conveniently forgot Mike Meacham is a homophobic cyberbully when this album came out. I’m so sick of “separating art from the artist” when it means supporting shitty people. Really bums me out to see this on AMG.

    • First I’ve heard of it.

    • Heldarc

      Hmm it is a grey area. He apparently called people fags in some comment and is pretty stupid person considering some of his remarks, but I do not think he is actively homophobic ( maybe there is more to it that I do not know ). And I am not sure if we should completely abandon the whole band because of one retarded member, if he is not openly rasist, or xenophobic. Hard to judge.

    • You wot m8?

      I own a Burzum t-shirt.

      • herrschobel

        Hipster ! ;-P

        • You wot m8?

          mebe

      • Drew Music

        Right? Let’s just live in a world without Thriller or Subway sammiches while we’re at it.

        • You wot m8?

          I think it’s funny where people will draw their lines of moral outrage. On one hand, I generally avoid giving questionable groups my money, but on the other, metal is about pushing boundaries.

          The random christian evangelical that stumbles across this site would be mortified. Some people are horrified by the comments of “homophobic cyberbullies”. Whatever.

          • Drew Music

            Beyond that, homophobia and pretty much all intolerance typically stems from being taught poor values which, like anything else, are not so simple for people to just shed after years of thinking a certain way; labeling someone as a piece of shit for being intolerant boils down to condemning someone for not knowing any better, and is essentially applying the same broad strokes of negative bias because someone thinks differently than you. I myself find homophobia to be ridiculous, but I also find militant shaming of homophobes to be in the same vein of ignorant negativity.
            Basically, everybody sucks.

          • You wot m8?

            We should write an album.

          • Drew Music

            I’m pretty sure we’d be excommunicated if we went with Angry Metal Guys, so I submit We Are The World 2: All You Dumb Fucks Get Your Shit Together Or We’re Pressing The Big Red Button.

          • herrschobel

            i call my next band ‘surrounded by idiots’ .. seems fitting ..

          • herrschobel

            it all stems from being weak, lazy and stupid. Kings don´t hate…they rule ;-)

          • Drew Music

            I merely spectate in relative silence and keep my distance, I wish neither to assimilate or conquer as there’s nothing here worth ruling.
            I may need to consider less nihilism in my musical diet…

          • herrschobel

            oh but you can still rule all on your own, friend !

    • herrschobel

      i am with you on that. I can´t even listen to straight edge bands anymore because i find most of them annoying in their dogmatic attitude. God Forbid to support Fuckers like Vikernes or Mike Meacham or other people who have values that completely contradict my own.

      What i am eventually trying to say is that i like to drink ;-)

    • Scott Clam

      Uh oh, someone’s offended.

  • GWW

    Funeral Doom is 99% more boring than Doom.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Really wanted to love this album…..buy my meds just don’t let me get that depressed anymore…..

    • Name’s Dalton

      Try God Disease. Should get you over – or under- that hump.

  • Gage

    Funeral Doom?

    I’d rather endure a 5 year coma.

  • Name’s Dalton

    Suffering Hour
    Ulcest
    Excommunion (EP)
    John Frum
    Wode

    • Drew Music

      Looks like I’ll be checking out Excommunion, haven’t been steered wrong by you yet and the rest of this list is pretty legit.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I appreciate that. Let me know why you think of Excommunion!

  • Acid Spine

    Loss- Horizonless certainly deserves it’s place!

  • I’ve been listening to NFO nearly non-stop since reading the review of Amber Galactic and even went back and have Soilwork another chance because I never was crazy about their music. I both love and hate this website for this.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m not joking here “Amber Galactic” is hands down one of the best albums ever recorded. I’ve only been with this album for maybe a month and I’ve listened to it at least a hundred times, it’s like Heroin and I’m a NFO junkie.

  • Ondřej Hanus

    The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia (hell, album of the year!)
    Wode – Servants of the Countercosmos
    Au-Dessus – End Of Chapter / Saule – Saule

  • herrschobel

    couldn´t get into that album. i need more punch and a gritty YES to hate and all that sweet stuff. but i couldn´t find much in May that piqued my interest.

  • Absolomb

    My RotM finally coincides with AMG’s. But my runner up would’ve been White Ward, can’t get enough of that release.

  • Spread Wide & Panic

    Not even a runner-up for Elder?! Or maybe that was June. I don’t even know anymore.

    • DeadHead

      Elder was definitely in June. Should be the best album this month hands down.

    • herrschobel

      EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELDER .. it was in June….still it´s was the best album in May !

  • rumour

    Thanks for including Below, as I have spun that one quite a bit. Splendid.

  • AnnieK13

    Really really loved Below and liked NFO quite a bit – glad to see them both mentioned.

  • urstoff

    Sentient Ignition!

  • 12tonehead

    Ulsect’s Ulsect was definitely RoTM for may. Why has this gem not even been reviewed here?