In last month’s installment of Record(s) o’ the Month, I predicted this one wouldn’t see the light of day until Thanksgiving (a silly holiday we have here in the States where we eat everything in sight, watch football and be thankful for things like food and football). Well, I wasn’t off by much, as the Day of the Great Turkey is close at hand. In the spirit of the holiday, I would like to give thanks to all our loyal readers and even our casual, and therefore disloyal readers (hey, it’s the holidays, I can be magnanimous). I’m also thankful for the continued existence of this here blog and the writers who help make it possible. Without further adieu, allow me to deliver this month’s goods.
This month I have ruled by Angry Metal Fiat that Ofermod‘s Thaumiel is the Record o’ the Month. This slab of Swedish black metal sailed out of left field and took me completely by surprise, with its sick-as-fuck grooves, simplistic song writing and a vocal performance fit for classic Trelldom or Shining. This record ain’t progressive and it’s not supposed to be. Instead, it’s just a throbbing mass of simplistic Scandinavian black metal that hits all the right chords. If you’ve not already checked the album out, it’s worth doing now. Songs like “Setnacht”, “Sisters of Rapture and Pestilence”, and “Prayers to Warpen Entities” show off the bands mid-paced and old school cred, while later tracks on the album wander into 2nd wave black metal’s blasty obsession – but well done; never losing the sounds with overproduced, overloud drums and always with riffs that rip. The only drawback is that sometimes (see: “Undead Moon” and “Chosekh En Sof”) the clean vocals go awry and sound like shit. The harmonies show off that the clean vocal abilities of vocalist JB are best left in the vocal chords they originated in. Other than that, it’s the best black metal I’ve heard this year except for Dodecahedron.
Anaal Nathrakh // Vanitas - England’s premier group of grinding black metallers returned with a new album and while it didn’t exactly reinvent the black wheel, they delivered more of their accomplished blend of dissonant insanity and grindcore influences. At this point, you know what to expect from these guys and they keep the quality high and sound punishing. What more can you ask for?
Kamelot // Silverthrone – Few bands take themselves as seriously as Kamelot does and few can get away with so much pompous grandiosity. Regardless, when they are bring their A game, they can transcend the limits of power metal and achieve something bigger. The last few albums haven’t managed such breakthroughs, but the first without mega vocalist Roy Khan somehow does. Overblown, overdone, melodramatic and frilly as ever, its pirate shirts all month-long with their symphonic brand of renaissance faire muzak.
Weapon // Embers and Revelations - Steel Druhm is our resident black metal basher and when he actually finds a blacked disc he enjoys, it’s a bit of a shocker. Well, he took to the new Weapon like a goat to garbage and he really appreciated their committment to high energy, thrashy chaos infused with NWOBHM. Their aggressive, nasty and angry music seemed to melt Steel’s cold heart and he ended up singing their praises. What a soft touch he is!
Beneath // Enslaved by Fear - Tech death is back and sounds a lot like it usually does. Lots of remorseless pummeling with odd timeshifts, twists and turns tossed in for variety and emphasis. Though these guys aren’t yet a big name in the genre, they are definitely one to keep an eye on and see what havok they can unleash in the future. Heavy stuff!