After an awesome October, November has seemed a little bit drab. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything good, but October was fucking ridiculous. I almost felt like we should run the November Record(s) o’ the Month like “Record(s) o’ the Month – October 2015 II: The Re-Octobering!” But that’s unfair, because November actually had a few good records that really should get their time in the not-very-much-sun of a Scandinavian November. I’m also going to do something that’s extremely unusual at Angry Metal Guy: I’m going to include a record that hasn’t received a formal review on the list. So this is part review and part RotM because, well, there ain’t much time left to get this up!

Our Oceans - Our Oceans

Our Oceans is the dreamy progressive rock project of Tymon Kruidenier (ex-CynicExivious), which he formed together with two of the other dudes from Exivious and Dodecahedron  (Michel Nienhuis on guitar and Robin Zielhorst on bass and Jasper Barendregt on drums). When one thinks of Dodecahedron and Exivious, the ethereal tones of Our Oceans are down right shocking. Take a minute to re-familiarize yourself with Dodecahedron. OK. Good shit, right? And now that you’ve done that: Our Oceans sounds nothing like that all and you should forget it. But it’s equally as awesome in its own unique way.

Our Oceans is a record with a name that reflects its contents. The sound is dreamy, ethereal, beautiful. The songs are wet, with guitars often drenched in reverb. Zielhorst’s fretless bass swirls and swoops under the surface, a subtle undertow, tugging against—and supporting—the flow of the songs. The drums, too, anchor songs that border on meditative. While good, they rarely have a chance to distinguish themselves in music that’s a lot closer to singer/songwriter music than metal or even much of the progressive rock we cover here at AMG.

Tymon’s vocals are one of Our Oceans highlights. His performance is excellent, displaying a wide vocal range and emotional performances. While his voice is not the most expressive—falling a lot closer to Steven Wilson than Daniel Gildenlöw—the songwriting shines because of its emotional tenor, which he carries with ease. It helps, as well, that the progressive tendencies of the songs push him into territory which is hardly predictable, but still manages to be catchy. “Lioness’ Sunrise,” for example, has a verse melody that is anything but linear, but is uncommonly sticky. “Let Me in” has a great verse which sets the stage for a beautiful bridge and an almost metal chorus, while “Illuminate” reminds me of Traced in Air; subtle, but gripping.

Our Oceans features some of the most beautiful production I’ve heard this year, with obvious taken to make the album feel cohesive. Still, each song is unique, as Tymon explained in the AMFi interview. The sound is lush, emotionally evocative, and dynamic. This is the best record I heard in November and a beautiful and unique contribution to progressive music; so it’s your Record o’ the Month for November, 2015.

Runner(s) Up: 

Kampfar_ProfanKampfar // Profan — Kampfar is an old band with some old school black metal cred, but they’ve never really received the love they deserve when people talk about the Norwegian scene. The winds of change, however, appear to be blowing. Profan has been critically extremely well-received, and it didn’t get overlooked by our very own Dr. A.N. Grier, who saw it as a “natural progression from Djevelmakt,” but better, “a great album.” Profan features powerful tracks, but functions as a whole, exhibiting a slow build that keeps listeners riveted to their speakers waiting for the big payoff. Don’t miss the profane train of Kampfar‘s Profan.

Also, great art.

Dodsferd - Wastes of Life 01Dodsferd // Wastes of Life — Now that Kvarforth appears to have gotten counseling, we’re all searching for the heir to the “tell people to kill themselves while not following through” throne. Dodsferd seems ready to climb onto that dirty chair, and their new record Wastes of Life combines performative misanthropy with songwriting and degrading lyrics that got Madam X pretty gushy: “When Wrath says ‘Remember that no one gives a shit about you, because you are nothing, nothing but wastes, wastes of life!’ he means it and that comes across.” Wastes of Life is a record that manages to build gripping, hateful metal around epic songs and great writing. And “if this is Dodsferd‘s new direction,” we’re getting aboard that hype train!


Editor’s Obviously Troll-y Protest Is Obvious: The stunning absence of Swallow the Sun‘s ginormous three-part opus Songs from the North smacks of unseemly length bias and elitist time hoarding and as such, Steel Druhm cannot in conscience abide.

Angry Metal Guy’s Totally Trolled Response: Songs from the North is a record that is truly a failure on all accounts. The defenses of the album from everyone are based on shifting goalposts. When I criticize the album for not being a cohesive whole, then I am told that “of course, when a band releases three records at the same time, they are meant to be consumed separately!” On the other hand, when I criticize them individually (because they’re mind-numblingly boring), then I am told that I am supposed to consider the album as a whole.

Records are meant to be reviewed/listened to as a whole. A band that produces 150 minutes worth of music that I want to listen to straight through every time and that I feel continually driven to listen to frequently is a band that has produced an album worth of a 3.5. By the logic of our completely arbitrary, but relatively consistent and strict, rating system, Songs from the North can be nothing but a 2.0 or lower. It is neither a cohesive whole nor defensible as individual units. That it received the score it received shows, once again, the completely arbitrary and capricious nature of rating systems.

But what aggravates me most is that Swallow the Sun failed at what they set out to accomplish. According to their own framing, Songs from the North was an album which was set to “save” the album from the ADHD nature of the digital age. I cannot think of an argument that is more contrary to the reality of the digital age than that one. Not only (1) would a 5 LP/3 CD volume of music have been completely unthinkable in a pre-digital age (because no label would ever have paid for a band like Swallow the Sun to record that much music when that shit cost actual money), but (2) the reason the album was a good format in the first place was because of the constraints of the LP, as I have previously covered.

In fact, Songs from the North is the antithesis of what is strong about the album format. Swallow the Sun puked everything they had written in the last three years into a single volume. Rather than exerting an ounce of impulse control and self-distance and editing themselves, the band has produced a completely unlistenable album. Songs from the North tries to do everything and is good at nothing.

Unlike the time when I hat-tipped NeO because others on the staff liked it, I, in all seriousness, don’t even feel comfortable mentioning this album in the same breath as the best material that was released in November.

Also, yes guys, I am mad. The site is called “Angry Metal Guy.” I’m not really sure what you expected.

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  • I wasn’t sold on the Our Oceans on first listen, but I’ll give it another go. It should be good given who’s involved and I like the idea of it…

  • El Lado Oscuro

    October’s?

    • For some reason it isn’t showing in the sidebar, but it should be findable through the search…

    • I’m assuming there’s an issue with caching. It should show up on the sidebar here.

      • El Lado Oscuro

        It’s there now, thxs

  • Wow that troll job was mucho successful!

    • You wot m8?

      And to think I once thought that Dr. Gier was the most masterful baiter AMG had on staff…

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    The our oceans cover says “I’m a Barnes and Noble brand girl’s journal” more than any other metal album cover I’ve ever seen.

    That Kampfar cover is awesome though. Zdzisław Beksiński is pretty much the Polish H.R. Giger.

    • Kronos

      You could not be more accurate about that Oceans cover.

      • I like the art. Also I’m very deep. Fuck you.

        • Kronos

          Angry Metal Guy enjoys of deep Barnes and Noble.

          • MY JOURNAL IS PROFOUND, YOU ASSHOLE!

          • Grymm

            I said that about my old LiveJournal account.

            Hindsight, dude. HINDSIGHT.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I thought at first it was a thumbs up image. Then again, maybe that Diptych was intentional.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      GUITAR SOLO

      • Where did you find that picture of me!?

        • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

          I googled “secretly a happy metal girl”

          Also I’m sad because I was also going to make that joke and you beat me to it.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Fucking tremendous.

        • with no regard for human life

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Not a damn regard.

      • Angry Metal Diary. That’s the Seventh Sign.

      • Kryopsis

        This is hands down the best thing on this page.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        lol

      • Grymm

        Just… damn, dawg.

  • Worldeater

    Our Oceans arrangements have a dreamlike fluidity. This record will keep me warm during winter! Great pick for rotm. And yes I didn’t even bother trying to get to terms with the length of songs from the north…

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Still loving that damn Kampfar album.

    • You wot m8?

      It’s just too damn good to put down.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Agreed dude.

  • Meat Tornado

    Regardless of what the band intended to accomplish with Songs from the North, what ever they said, or anything at all, the general rabble being ADHD is no reason for bands not to do whatever they want. If theyre willing to take the hit financially. I for one love the album, I like long records, and I find it to be quality. There are tracks I can’t get out of my head.

    • No, the point is that the general rabble isn’t ADHD. They recorded a bloated piece of shit and someone at their label should’ve told them to fuck off.

      • Meat Tornado

        I’d argue that the general rabble is ADHD. But that’s separate.

        Point is, that’s just like your opinion man. I love the album. Plenty of people do. Oh well.

        • Yup. My point isn’t that people don’t have bad taste. My point is that these guys are morons for complaining about the digital age and then releasing an album that could only ever have been released in the digital age. It is only in the digital age that such a bloated, unedited album could ever have been recorded and approved in the first place.

          • AndySynn

            The only problem I have with this assessment is that you obviously feel SO strongly about this that you’re presenting your opinions as incontrovertible FACT and then acting like anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot… because they can’t see what you see.

            And whether that was your intent or not, that’s really how it’s coming across.

            You’ve basically criticised the band for releasing what you THINK is a “bloated, unedited album” – an assessment which many people, myself included, clearly disagree with.

            I mean:

            “these guys are morons for complaining about the digital age and then releasing an album that could only ever have been released in the digital age. It is only in the digital age that such a bloated, unedited album could ever have been recorded and approved in the first place.”

            That just doesn’t hold up. FIrstly your contention that this album could only have been released in the “digital age” is a wild swing, and secondly all three of these albums have received good reception elsewhere. Yes, you can (and clearly do) feel free to dislike them, but your conclusion here is drawn solely from your own clear distaste for the album – you basically call them hypocrites for releasing what you think is a bad album, which they’ve only been allowed to do because of the digital age… but if someone DOESN’T think these are bad albums, then that argument doesn’t hold up.

            Basically it all boils down to “if you hate these albums like I do, then a triple cd is a bad idea” but you’re presenting it as “triple album = bad in all cases”. And those two are definitely not the same.

          • No. You mischaracterize my point. I am not calling them hypocrites for releasing a record that sucks. I’m calling the act of releasing a 5 LP album and framing it as an offensive in the fight to save the album stunningly ahistorical and lacking in self insight. No band prior to the digital age could ever have released such an album. It is a consequence of the technology available today, and the low costs of recording and the infinite amount of hard disk space that allows a band to do something like this.

            If this record were brilliant, I would still have trouble arguing in favor of it as a whole. It’s easier when I find each cd here to sound painfully underdeveloped.

            And therein lies the problem. I’d take 60 minutes of sharp, brilliant music over 150 minutes of this. Take that huge pile of ideas and use the best ones. Edit, ffs. But they don’t have to, and they don’t want to.

            Also, you are doing precisely what I complained about. You are arguing against me saying it’s a bad album, while arguing it’s in fact three albums. Which is it? Shall it be taken as a whole? Or is it three separate ideas that I’m not allowed to criticize together?

          • Meat Tornado

            So don’t focus on what they say or who they are. It’s not really what matters. It is possible to like music without loving the musician… aka varg:burzum/mustain:mega dethron

            Albums yes. Historically, (hundreds of years ago until relatively recently) people were able to consume far more music in one sitting in the forms of symphonies or operas and still enjoy them. Maybe it is time for the album to die. I have always felt like albums were never enough. Maybe instead of saving the album, artists should go out and attempt to resurrect the idea of a long musical act with movements. That’s generally how I like to approach work like this and it satisfies me.

          • The opera our the symphony was something so far removed from what these guys produced that I find the comparison to be a little silly.

            But also, they were engaging stories with character, a public performance and dealt with infrequently. I don’t think it tracks.

          • Meat Tornado

            Obviously it is not a symphony. But if you approach it as such instead of a huge collection of songs, you find something more cohesive and begin to pick out acts or movements. An idea is apparent.

            So I applaud them for the risk. More bands should take risks. Music is art, and in the end art really should be a true representat ion of whatever the artist wants, if they are willing to accept the possible financial or social backlash. StS took that risk, and whether they succeeded is in the eye of the beholder. I love it. For those who don’t, their loss. But don’t get mad when a band challenges status quo in whatever form

          • What, you haven’t heard Richard Wagner’s opera Die Walküre? (It supposedly lasts for about five hours). Or Der Ring des Nibelungen? (ca 15-16 hours).

            Anyway, great angriness, with propper thoughtful arguments.

          • Difference here though is Wagner’s cycle is a timeless masterpiece. StS? Not so much.

      • MelbCro

        Yeah but its not a bloated piece of shit. So you are wrong and I am right

        • Well, they are strong words, I admit. But I think that’s pretty much how I feel about it.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Where’s the grind?

    • The huh?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        The core…sorry I got bored with my own stupid joke before I could finish typing…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Good list, I gotta come down on AMG’s side re StS despite some nice moments on Disc 1 as a whole it’s boring…
    I would’ve thought Jess and the Ancients could’ve made it here…It’s an excellent album and she is so, so…good at singing…

    The best thing in November for me was a non metal release.
    If anyone is interested in some Doobie Brother level smooth 70’s west coast inspired music then check out Young Gun Silver Fox’s ‘West End Coast’ it’s a wonderful homage to a bygone era.

    • Kryopsis

      I’d wager that the main reason the Jess and the Ancient Ones album isn’t on this list is because it came out in December ;)

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        haha oh right!
        It feels like Ive had it for much longer than that!

        • Kryopsis

          There’s a very simple explanation for that. Every day, every reality is a new reality, every new reality is a new… horizon, a brand new experience of living!

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            I think it’s because her voice gets me high and I lose touch with reality…even more than normal…

  • Thatguy

    It’d been a long time since I have been able to say this, but I actually agree with this RotM for once. Our Oceans is just a lovely piece of work.

    And, despite the fun I had arguing the point, I actually think AMG is largely correct about StS. There is one quite good album in it – the third disc in my opinion – but none of it is as good as their previous releases and it is indeed TOO FUCKING LONG.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      The one ‘quite good’ album was only ‘quite’ at best. Holy crap the length

    • Hope you enjoyed the interview as well.

      • Thatguy

        I did – and thanks for the heads up.

      • I sure did! Thanks for doing it!

  • JWEG

    Every Canadian site I can find has a domestic release date for Profan of January (8) 2016. And I was kind of willing to wait that extra few months (now just weeks) until I saw the review followed by this ROTM runner-up nod.

    Now I practically must get an import, or violate my long-standing preference for physical copy unless absolutely impossible-to-get.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Could you guys do a little write up every now and then on album covers that are either significant, or terrible, or downright beautiful? Doesn’t have to be a frequent topic; I guess I am just a sucker for picture books. I’ll be honest, part of the reason I enjoy your blog is simply looking at new album art. Of course, the main reasons are the community and the music, but the articles on this website are so intriguing (regardless of topic) that i’d love to see more stuff on album art. That’s just my 2 cents anyway.

    I mean, who could forget Kronos’ brilliant spherical top 10.

    *edit* Will Gloryhammer prevail into 2016, or are the neon-stricken sides of the page a further emphasis on ‘Snobbery’?

    • Kronos

      I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time but it has to wait for AMG and his busy schedule because he’s also very interested in the topic.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      Not that I want to plug another site but I like to check out the visual art of metal tumbler pretty regularly, lots of obscure stuff and great album covers posted regularly.

      There have been some great album covers this year. Akhlys, Ad Nauseam, Elder, Ghost, Howls of Ebb, Obsequiae, Porta Nigra, and Satan (among a hundred others) all had beautiful covers this year.

      Can we talk about how ungodly awful the Killing Joke and deafheaven covers are at some point too… because damn.

      • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

        Though really, this is my favorite album cover this year… I don’t know if it’s good or bad… but it’s my favorite.

        • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

          OMG I CAN´T STOP LAUGHING X______D

        • Kronos

          It’s not bad; it’s terrible.

        • Is that Jorn in a snuggie and raven mask?

        • herrschobel

          it´s great !

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        I thought the Killing Joke review was a joke because of the album cover and 5.0 rating. The Deafheaven cover looked like black paint and coleslaw. Thanks for the site recommendation! And about Akhyls… I adore Akhyls’ cover art! Don’t think an album cover has captured the essence of the music presented as well this year.

      • Heifer Madness

        Honestly, I love the Deafheaven cover. I’m kind of meh on the album itself, but I think that cover is awesome.
        What don’t you like about it?

  • Pimpolho

    I, for one, really like the STS record, i don’t care if it’s not cohesive (it isn’t), because it’s good music, but whatevs… Kampfar and Dodsferd are pretty fantastic, and the Our Oceans vocalist really reminds me of the one from The Dear Hunter, which is something good. (Mind you, The Dear Hunter also released a great prog rock album this year; i remember AMG liking their last one quite a bit).

  • Darren

    The lack of Teramaze on this site gives me a sad. I’m aware Her Halo was not *exactly* a November release but I was at least hoping it would end up as a TYMHM at some point. Esoteric Symbolism was similarly overlooked last year.

    Butthurt whine over – I missed out on Our Oceans so I’ll have to check that out when I return home from the US.

  • One More Thing

    I can’t agree with you on Swallow the Sun. I just can’t. I won’t.

    • No one’s forcing you.

      • One More Thing

        I know. It’s really throwing me for a loop that you despise it so much (and not because I personally think it’s the best record ever or anything like that). Part of me is kinda expecting you to troll us with your list by making StS your top album of the year. I don’t know, I guess I’m just being outspoken for the lulz.

        • No, that will be my job!

        • I really guess I got pushed over the edge by it. It really got me angry for all the reasons I’ve already expressed ad nauseum.

  • wow. November sure sucked.

  • Kronos

    I’d like to point out that our website is sporting not the beautiful gaze of Unplugged or the Barnes & Noble approved Our Oceans Cover, but a red-eyed space wizard from the universe where not just the moon, but all astral bodies are made of cheese.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      haha yeah I love it…the BTD cover was boring I’m glad it got skipped.

    • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

      Mmmmmm… Cheese P:

  • Artorias Pyrelord

    Damn that Swallow The Sun rant, loved it!

  • Lasse Momme

    Turbid North people.

    Look it up and lose your lunch to the best record of November.

  • madhare

    While I defended the basic idea that a band could wish to release all their material on three albums, I have come to agree with AMG that Swallow the Sun just didn’t have the creativity to actually pull it off.

    The more I listen to Songs from the North the less I care about it. The third album in particular seems complete waste of digital storage space. The first two are nice but kind of… lackluster dribble.

    Speaking generally about RotM, I think I am starting to agree with the people who sometimes complain that AMG’s varied tastes ruin the whole thing. The RotM posts are starting to be the least interesting things on this site. “Oh, it’s gonna be another AMG’s light proggy favourites which have nothing to do with the rest of the site. Might as well skip the whole thing.”

    And this is not about me not liking prog or non-metal music. Because I do listen lot of things starting with classical and minimalistic modern stuff. I do like that you introduce us to all kinds of new music in your reviews. But the reason I visit this site, and not others, is that in the end it is about metal music.

    To use a seasonal metaphor, AMG is starting to be a little bit like that demented grandfather who stays quiet all Christmas until suddenly hopping up and shouting something really weird about saving the bunnies in the basement mixed with ramblings about how he built this house with his sweat, spit, and blood, and how others are not worthy. Everyone else stares quietly and hopes he will calm down or that someone will give him his meds. Then people shrug, pour more red wine to themselves, and get back to discussing what the hell they were talking about before the incident.

    • Between July 2014 and November 2015 I have made 3 prog records rotm. 4 if you count Opeth. Doing some math, that seems like a fairly small percentage of the total number of records of the month that were prog.

      To use a seasonal analogy, you’re like the conservative uncle who doesn’t understand statistics but knows that his experience of 1 is RIGHT regardless of evidence to the contrary, and everyone needs to hear it throughout the whole fucking dinner.

      I have always covered and loved prog, and I will continue to do so. I’m not sure how me listing progressive music as a rotm ruins your enjoyment of the other records or the site as a whole, but that sounds like a “you” problem.

      • madhare

        And with the same statistics, expressing my opinion one time now somehow equals to ranting about it “throughout the whole fucking dinner”? That seems a bit aggro for someone who invites discussion on their site.

        Yes, yes, we all know it’s your house and you built it. And you’re angry. You have now totally shown me my place.

        *here, take your meds*

        What’s next? Banning me?

        • Oh, I took it out and then you responded. I felt like the seasonal analogy was inappropriate on both counts.

          • madhare

            :D

            Sarcasm aside, I’ll try to explain my “complaint”. I had another thought about it.

            First of all. Of course this is a “me” issue. It’s about how I feel about your site. But in the end, of course it is your site, and you don’t have to care one bit about what I think.

            Second (and all the rest)… My issue isn’t about the prog per se. I think it is about a discrepancy between your personal tastes and what this site is today.

            You obviously have a varied taste in music. And lot of us do. But at the same time you have deliberately made a site which targets the niche “metal music” – however widely that is defined.

            It seems that you have mostly delegated the review responsibilities on this site to others. Which I totally get, we’re all busy people. But this means that mostly what we users see on this site today are not your views. But your reviewers’ views. And they seem to mostly concentrate on the basic idea of the site, i.e. “metal”. So on a daily basis we’re being served “metal” which creates also expectations for what RotM will be.

            Then you come along once a month to deliver your RotM post. And you, perhaps being tired of generic metal or whatever, often seem to opt for something different. It might be prog. It might be the humour stuff of Gloryhammer. And often I feel that you opt for slightly lighter stuff. So especially this year, if we get into statistics, 27% of your RotM has quite clearly been something different (prog+Gloryh). And it seems to have increased towards the end of the year.

            Basically I think that you have – perhaps inadvertently – created a certain “editorial policy” for the site. But your RotM’s are often kind of against that policy. It’s very different from what we are expecting based on the reviews. (So I’m not the least bit surprised to see Steel Druhm protesting.)

            And then the RotM post sometimes feels like a wasted opportunity. Instead of actually discussing metal it goes:
            AMG: “My choice is this completely different thing.”
            Steel: “I protest.”
            AMG: “I don’t care it’s my site.”
            Readers: “I hate it!” “I love it!” “It’s not even metal.” “It kind of is.” No it’s not” “You just don’t get finer things in life.” “You’re not metal enough yourself!” “Shut up.” “You’re an ass.”
            AMG: “I don’t care it’s my site.”

            But, to reiterate my first point, this is just my view. And I don’t expect you to change things just because I say so. It’s just this little thing called reader feedback. ;)

          • All-in-all, I think you have a point. I can see the argument, and you’re also correct noticing that as this year went on I became less and less involved in the day-to-day review writing and more removed because: dissertation research. This probably does lead to some feeling of “whu?” when the RotM rolls around. Ironically, one of the reasons that I have refused to give it up (even when I actually sometimes hand it off to Steel Druhm) is because it is my last little perch of personality in what started out as an entirely personal blog. I can flex my Angry Metal Muscles and dictate what Record o’ the Month is because it’s what I got left when the insanity hits.

            A couple things, though, that I would like to clarify. First, it strikes me that including Gloryhammer is weird, since the record is 1) metal and 2) I gave it a great review and one of the best I’ve given all year. The other highly rated album, Nechochwen, ended up at the #2 spot on the list and was well-deserved. That record hasn’t ended up on more lists than Gloryhammer; does this mean it would have been just as misrepresentative? Furthermore, the back and forth between Druhm and I is just an ongoing joke between two guys who have been writing a blog together for nigh on 5 years. I have previously protested his choices when he has run RotM by himself and I frequently leave snarky comments in his blogs and give him hell for liking Jørn Lande. These jokes go on behind the scene (like when I label genres on our general promo list as ‘SteelDruhmbaitcore’). And finally, the protest about StS is one step beyond that, he didn’t even fight for it to be RotM, he was just trolling me because I have Very Self-Important Opinions™ about that album.

            But inside baseball aside: I think this is a reasonable critique. I am also currently working on a PhD which means I don’t delegate reviewing so much as I allow others to review what they like. If one looks at the lists in the new Top Ten Lists that were dropped today, individuals aren’t even in great agreement with each other. Also, there is actually a lot of negotiation that goes on behind the scenes. While I most certainly do lean toward the records that I love, I very rarely veto highly rated albums unless I really don’t like them.

            But the reality is that this blog is a bricolage. If I was getting paid to do this, the thing would have a much clearer voice; one that is probably a lot more like mine. But until I give up PhDing to go full time, I think these mismatches are going to be a natural part of who we are.

            Unless all the joking is truth said in jest and a coup is building. That’d suck.

          • I concur with all AMG’s points. At the end of the day, it is his blog and he’s entitled to play the role of Metal Elitist-in-Chief, even when it leads to some truly awful Record(s) o’ the Month selections (GloryHolehammer). My protests are part trollery and part sincerely held belief he’s crazy, but it’s all in good fun!

          • But as we’re all aware, a man who worships Thor but criticizes Gloryhammer is a man whose self-distance can be questioned.

            I’d also like to say that I am actually making a very conscious effort to get more involved in the ways that I can this year to give the blog a voice that is more “mine” while still allowing people freedom precisely because I am aware of these issues. And because I want to be more involved.

          • madhare

            Thanks for clarifying what goes on behind the curtains (here and elsewhere)!

            I was a bit too harsh when I said it ruins things. It merely leads to some unexpected things. And I think that bafflement is what we see in some other comments as well.

            I guess it’s essentially an interesting question arising from a situation where a personal blog becomes over time a, for the lack of better word, a “publication”. At first it reflects one person’s opinion but then it starts to reflect the publication itself. And then you have to choose which way to go with it.

            If it’s a conscious choice from you guys preferring the bricolage over a more unified line, I totally get it. And I still love reading your stuff.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            I know how demanding Academia can be. You could’ve easily said, “enough with this blog… I have to focus my energies on my studies, seminars, publications”, etc. I also understand how something like this site you’ve created can help you regain a sense of balance and center yourself.

            Madhare has made some valid points. But maybe because, like you, I have a wide-ranging musical taste, I value your sometimes “not-exactly-metal” choices. Last year’s Soen, and this year’s Steven Wilson are among my favourite albums, and I’m not sure I would have discovered them without your reviews popping up.

            I remember your post two or three years ago when you said there was going to be less of an AMG presence on the site. I was somewhat afraid the site would start to flounder like so many other blogs. But, as we all know, it’s grown stronger with every year. It’s often a shock to look at some reviews from the earlier days of AMG and note that many generated zero comments (even those of Steel Druhm!).

            My only complaint is that the AMG pet rock didn’t become available in time for Christmas!

          • An AMG pet rock is really among the best merch ideas I’ve heard.

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    While I’ll never touch the third part of StS’s latest, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard so far. I say so far, because I’m still discovering groups I should have been listening to this whole time (just found Beyond Creation, my neck is now permanently damaged due to excessive head banging).

  • Dethjesta

    Glad to see Kampfar getting some love – really good album

  • lennymccall

    I’ll just be over here listening to Earthling, Dark Path from 2012.
    I missed it back then, just discovered them when they toured with Baroness. It seems to have been totally ignored if my endless searching thru metal blogs is to be believed? It’s so damn good!

  • Shawn Cypher

    My personal favorite of November was Anomalie – Refugium. I don’t know how to describe it.. kinda doomy post-black metal? Kind of came out of nowhere for me, just saw it in new releases and started previewing it. I’d recommend checking it out, I actually came here looking for a review, but was surprised to not see one.

    I did buy Swallow the Sun and some of it is really good, but being SO MUCH content musically, I haven’t really had time to digest it yet.

  • René Richter

    This time, I can’t agree with AMG. Even though I gave the album more than one spin, it doesn’t reveal more than a bit of trivial beauty. Being tame and pointless most of the time, for me, it lacks the genius and variety of genre fellows like Porcupine Tree (for example), it lacks the twists and bursts needed to make me listen with excitement. This is not a matter of genre, rock in general or especially progressive rock may be tame in a musical way, which ain’t a problem at all as long as you can recognise a flow, an idea or at least the attempt to create something unique. That record ist just as exciting as the last two David Gilmour albums – what mean, it is not exciting at all.