We predicted October would be a sticky wicket of a month for the put upon electors of Best in Show1, and it certainly was. Any number of killer platters could have been hoisted overhead and declared the new Golden Calf without damaging our enormous metal cred, and everyone had their own personal favorite clutched tightly to their steely bosoms. So how did we decide? Sleazy backroom wheeling and dealing, of course! In exchange for foregoing certain inalienable voting rights, staff members were bought off with major release reviews, gift cards, fine liquors and sumptuous cheese trays, even V.I.P tickets to Furry-Con 2016. Peace in our time by any means necessary – that’s our credo. When the smoke and slime settled, we felt dirty, but the job was done and we had a winner. Mothers, tell your children not to walk our way.

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}

Coming off one of the biggest metal surprises of 2015 with their stunning Absolution debut, upstart doomers Khemmis should have taken to the road to saturate the world with the rich, creamy goodness of their doom-meets-stoner style. They should have taken extra time to carefully craft the all-important sophomore album, because that’s where so many promising bands go astray. They did neither and rushed Hunted to the shelves nary a year later, and in the process bested that amazing debut while quieting cranky doubters like Steel Druhm. Yes, against all logic, Hunted is bigger, better and more thought out than it’s predecessor, taking the Khemmis style to a higher plane of existence. The Pallbearer influence is greater, and the death metal vocals are reduced, moving the sound closer to classic doom and away from the stoner side, all without losing their unique identity. There isn’t a wasted moment on Hunted and if not for some poor production choices, it could have been perfect. This will be Album of the Year for many, and they won’t be wrong.

Runner(s) Up:

anciientsartworkAnciients // Voice of the VoidAnciients rock an interesting blend of stoner and sludge metal and as such things go, they’re pretty damn progressive. On their sophomore album, it seems they’ve found a voice all their own, upping the prog-quotient and stretching the boundaries of their style, showcasing a new confidence and maturity. Tool and Mastodon influences are still present but the band does their own thing and fills the music with big hooks to boot. Killer riffs, harmonies and vocals abound, even if some may be displeased that the new sound is less heavy overall. A band to watch!

ulcerate-shrines-of-paralysis-coverUlcerate // Shrines of ParalysisKronos is a hard man to please, but Ulcerate has his number and keeps playing it at the Casino ov Metal. Shrines proved to be not only brootal enough, but gave him every single thing he craved in extreme tech-death and maybe a little more. Through his drooling and gushing, the truth of what Kronos was saying emerged thus: “In a way, Shrines of Paralysis is nothing more than what is expected; a densely written record that’s both technical and brutal, harrowing yet atmospheric. What we’ve come to expect from Ulcerate is far beyond that of other musicians. In its performances, writing, and scope, Shrines of Paralysis is a cut above.”

hail-spirit-noir-mayhem-in-blueHail Spirit Noir // Mayhem in Blue – The off-kilter Greek jesters of black metal are back with yet another experiment in experimentation. Ditching the Pink Floyd excursions of past albums, the band takes the listener on a journey into creepy carnival instrumentation a la Mr. Bungle, heavy with organs and short on furious blackness. Despite the absence of extremity, the band makes it all work somehow, crafting a platter full of trippy, surreal music for the madcap. As El Cuervo so delicately put it: “Despite the questionable weirdness, you’ll never question that it’s metal but more importantly, you’ll never question that it’s also very good.”

Editor’s Note: All payoffs, graft, kickbacks and payolla are final and illegally binding. No trade backsies in perpetuity, forever until The Great and Final Doom.

 

Show 1 footnote

  1. In Uncanny AMG-Men issue # September RotM

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  • Grymm

    “October’s a helluva month.”

    -someone other than the late Rick James

    • He’s Rick James, bitch!

      • Grymm

        No, I said NOT Rick James!

        Sheesh!

  • Drain the swamp!

  • mindbleach

    Love the Khemmis album. The opening track is incredibly groovy for a Doom record too.

  • AngryMetalBird

    There is this *other* album that came out today. I’m curious to hear AMG MegaCorps official statement about it

    • Meh.

      • AngryMetalBird

        As expected…

      • Adam

        Come onnn, review it. We desperately crave your opinions!

        • I think I just gave our collective opinion of it.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            You did.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        SD, you took the words (or, word, per se) right out of my mouth.

      • mtlman1990

        Id be more interested to see on the new A7X than Ludwig van Lars

      • Meh-tallica strikes again

        It sounds like a band that has too much money to be bothered into giving a flying fuck.

        A lot of people seem to be enjoying it while I’m bitterly mumbling here about how much better/superior/technical/progressive/aggressive the latest output from Testament, Vektor, Euphoria, Ripper, Sodom, Exodus, Death Angel, even Megadeth & Anthrax is compared to that *other* band.

        Bland dad rock with a few admittedly decent thrashers thrown in. Overall: Meh, I’ll pass. /rant

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I can tell just by thinking about it that it will be the shitest thing since the last shit thing they did. ?

  • Morbid Brenda

    “Mastadon” :/

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    Did something happen to AMG? I haven’t seen any material from him in a while.

    • He did the Opeth and Sonata Arctica reviews recently. Unfortunately his job keeps him pretty busy these days.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I thought you said he was holidaying at the farm?

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Is it still “holidaying” if one is forced to the farm?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Haha I’m sure that’s not the case… coughruncough

        • Huck N’ Roll

          He hasn’t been put out to pasture quite yet.

    • AndySynn

      Secret coup.

  • Reese Burns

    What a great month, I love all these records and even still I wouldn’t have picked any of them for my list. Just goes to show how much great material came out in October.

  • Syn

    Khemmis is really good. Candlelight is firmly near the top of the list of my favourite songs from this year. So wonderfully gloomy, melancholic and doomy.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Love “Candlelight,” too, but that TITLE TRACK!

  • Satthia

    AMG Manifesto when?

    • Dead1

      Only when Axl and Vince’s corporate goons launch a hostile takeover bid in their quest for global communism.

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    This has been the best october tide we had in years!

  • Gaëtan Baratin

    I like the Khemmis record a lot. However I don’t find it extraordinary. The vocals don’t make me feel anything. Any suggestions on how to grasp on what they’re trying to do? I think I’m missing something.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      It took me quite a few spins before I “got” it, and I loved Absolution. It’s a grower, unlike the Spiritus Mortis release, which I latched onto right away.

  • Diego Molero

    I know this doesn’t qualifies as RotM, and that this are all great records, but the best thing that came out on October was the ten minutes song “Alea” from the band Disillusion. If you haven’t heard it yet, I strongly recommend you to do it. Song of the year right there.

    • Marc Rikmenspoel

      So, I assume it is more like Back to Times of Spleandor, and less like Gloria? Or is this a different Disillusion?

      • Diego Molero

        Back to Times of Splendor. Listen to it, it’s awesome

    • ArtifeX

      Disillusion is back? I shitted myself… This is great news. Back to Times of Splendor is one of my fav albums of all time.

      • Matt Vogt

        Couldn’t agree more!

    • brklyner

      I don’t know about song of the year, and for me personally it’s not up there with back to times of splendor, but it’s pretty good.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’m with Hail Spirit! it’s the best here they’re the only ones that can make AMG great again. I don’t understand how this has happened! I demand some kind of non denim clad recount… the system is rigged rigged i tells ya!!

    • Alexandre Barata

      HSN is indeed the one I would choose, even if I prefer their debut. Although I would probably go with Mercyless>HSN as the last one is a bit too close to Solefald’s Neonism to be considered something really innovative (which is a problem in the experimental side of music)

  • Benevolent Sun

    Ulcerate is my AOTY so far. Vektor has held the position since May but everything about Shrines of Paralysis is so good! Also, the vinyl master for Ulcerate kicks ass.

    • Kronos

      I’ve actually found that it doesn’t seem very different on my system. Do you know if it’s a dedicated master?

      • Dymanic

        I have emailed the band, and yes it is a dedicated master. Also, I was hassling them to release it in digital form and they will be talking to Relapse about it next month when back from the current tour.

      • Benevolent Sun

        “Jamie Saint Merat mastered the album specifically for vinyl using 24 bit 44.100 KHz .wav files.”, according to Metalsucks. It’s pretty cool that Ulcerate’s drummer made the album art, crushed the drum performance, AND mastered the album!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I would also like to thank AMG for what I believe is the first cricket reference on these pages. This I think is good step forward for the blog… maybe just maybe this could be a whole new avenue, metal reviews and cricket commentary…

    • Kronos

      Don’t get your hopes up.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Hopes are officially out for a duck

    • I thought it was polo. Same difference.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        What the cough splutter outrage!! That’s like comparing fiddlesticks to golf! Wait not fiddlesticks I mean baseball (always get those two confused)…

        • Hulksteraus

          You mean World Series of American Baseball or World Series of American Fiddlesticks?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Who can tell? Which one did the Chicago Kids win?

    • El_Cuervo

      I referenced cricket in my Hail Spirit Noir review you heathen.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Half a sleep in cows corner and I’ve grassed a sitter. Sorry El C you deserve the honours!

        • dblbass23

          Cricket? What the hell?

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Small insect that makes that “cri-cri” sound at night. ;)

          • dblbass

            What kind of sound?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            The greatest game ever!

          • dblbass

            Uh….alrighty then.

    • Phil Daly

      Not to mention furries.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I completely missed any cricket reference… my guess is you’re not talking about the chirping bugs, are you?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Good heavens no old fellow. I’m referring to the gentlemen game of cricket. in which a sticky wicket is a pitch that’s very hard to play because of rain humidity etc…. in the common tongue it means getting oneself into rather a spot of bother…

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Hey, I work in Marrickville almost every day

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        No shit where I’ll say hi

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          Rich St

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Right cool I’m often at the Henson Park

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I often cut through Illawarra Rd and go down Chapel St if I’m heading into Marrickville from another work site. I was late as fuck getting there today thanks to that truck that hit the rock wall and burst into flames on the M1

  • GardensTale

    I still gotta complain about the lack of a nod to Dark Tranq. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE

    • November release.

      • GardensTale

        Was it? Shit. *stops rabbling*

      • André Snyde Lopes

        You should consider releasing ROTM earlier to avoid such misunderstandings.
        .
        .
        :P

  • flashgordon

    Don’t hear their words also! Testament was supposed to be here!
    It really was a great month!

  • lennymccall

    I’ve had Cobalt as my top record for the year for months and months now. I loved Absolution so I knew Hunted would be near the top at the end of the year as well. Then it came out and I listened to it for about 6,000 hours back to back. Safe to say it comfortably sits at the top of the heap for me in 2016.
    But, BUT! Witchery record comes out the 25th so anythings possible I guess.

    • Reese Burns

      Slow Forever is a fantastic record

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I too enjoy enjoy Slow Forever

    • Innit Bartender

      Definitely Cobalt is AOTY for me as well

    • MournedBastard

      Hell yeah.. Lyric line of the year: “The pigs run wild”(Beast Whip)

  • Steel speaks in 3rd person now huh?

    • Yes he does.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      That’s what cool people do.

      • Thatguy

        It’s what crazy people do.

        And the list is wrong.

        • Respect my authoritah!

          • Thatguy

            I respect your authority, but not always your taste…

            I look forward to the November list. The new Nadja is awesome.

          • HSM is a big meh.

          • tim.o

            Hey… Never heard of Nadja; looked them up; looks like something I would enjoy. What album would be a good place to start. Thanks. Cheers

          • Thatguy

            I think they are probably over prolific. I couldn’t think of a better place to start than ‘The Stone is not hit by the sun, nor carved with a knife.’

            The first 10 seconds of the first track took me from ‘Nadja is interesting’ to ‘I love this.’

            Happy listening.

          • tim.o

            +1 … Thanks!

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I have an odd tendency of reading too many things at once, and Khemmis’ Hunted always turns into “Hummus” in my head.

    I don’t like Hummus, and thus Ulcerate is my RotM.

    • Grymm

      BLASPHEMY! Hummus is AWESOME… to eat, not to listen to. I wanted to clarify.

      • Kronos

        Have you ever really listened to hummus though? You might find something to love.

        • Grymm

          I tried that once, and all I heard was the void, only with more roasted garlic.

          That, and my eardrum smelled for about a week.

        • Lipsy

          As a rule, I try to avoid chickpea-fronted bands.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        What’s Hummus dynamic range?

        • André Snyde Lopes

          DR-licious!

  • RDGEEK

    “This will be Album of the Year for many, and they won’t be wrong.” Decibel apparently agrees. This was their no. 1. And Darth Vader is Luke’s father.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Great choice. I’ve been jamming on this album constantly since I got it last week, rotating it with “Absolution,” Pallbearer’s 2 albums (hear a new one may be coming soon) and Vision Bleak’s “Unknown” Freakin’ love “Hunted.” Can never get into black metal stuff, so not into bands like Ulcerate and Hall Spiriit Noir. No one else is gonna side with me, but the other metal album from last month that I’ve been enjoying most is Avenged Sevenfold’s “the Stage.” That was a total surprise – I’d all but written that band off. Also really like Theocracy’s “Ghost Ship.”

    • Reese Burns

      Have you heard Pallbearer’s new EP?

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Actually I just found out about it about a week ago. Went to order it and was disappointed to discover it’s digital only, but even so, I had to hear it. The title track is killer, and the other two aren’t bad at all, just kinda sound like bonus songs you’d get on an extended version of FOB. Certainly no less excited about a new full length.

        • Reese Burns

          Huh, have you gone to Profound Lore’s store? I got 4 different vinyl versions of it there, and I think there might be a CD available as well

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Yeah. Technically it isn’t “digital only” because they also put it out on vinyl, but not CD. It’s just 3 songs, though, and I’ve got Spotify, so I can hear ’em. Not really a big deal.

  • One More Thing

    Not even a mention of The Dillinger Escape Plan or Annal Nathrakh? Big month for sure.

  • Brutal Powerslave cover >>>

    Anaal Nathrakh > Ulcerate > Hail Spirit Noir > everything else
    Khemmis is good but nothing mind-blowing, at least for me. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind having this artwork plastered here for a couple of months.

    • Mithras=Morbid Angel in Space!

      Also somebody mentioned Mithras, I had totally forgot about them. Brutal & overwhelming yet melodic & innovative at the same time. These have been doing their own thing for quite a while & they deserve all the recognition they can get. Plus it’s a nice deviation from the ‘cavernous’ atmo-death we’ve been having this year.

      • Gage

        Absolutely looove Mithras’ early albums. But I can’t get into their new stuff unfortunately.

    • De2013

      Anaal Nathrakh is in a league of their own. Saw them live earlier this month. Epic performance. So. Much. Energy. Love their latest record.

  • Eli Valcik

    Hunted, Terminal Redux, and Mistur’s in memoriam are probably my top 3 of the year so far.

  • The Nerd.

    I’d have picked Anciients but I guess that’s why I’m not in charge. Speaking of what happened to our Angry Metal Overlord?

    • He’s around, behind the curtain pulling strings and such.

      • Hulksteraus

        Or are you just his Alpha Male Steely Alter Ego?

        • I’m the head of the North American branch of AMG international, Ltd..

          • Julien Robitaille

            T-shirts, t-shirts, we want the T’s !

          • MournedBastard

            Fuck yeah we want them. Hey Steely dude, T’s or GTFO…err…T’s for christ’s sake!

          • Maybe we’re working on it. Maybe.

          • MournedBastard

            Great, man! I mean why not. Back in the old days when the donation button was located under that hilarious “A beer in Sweden costs $5…Keep me too drunk to sign the advertising contracts” statement, I always used to donate. In my opinion, almost no one will accuse the mighty AMG team of selling out when you’re not afraid to crush some bullshit but highly praised bands by throwing them 1’s and 2’s left and right. This awesome, awesome blog has been a sweet part of my life for almost seven years now. And all of this is coming from a nearly broke medical student who lives in Iran and uses his hard-earned money from working his ass off in programming to a)buy food so he won’t die of starvation and b)buy albums from Bandcamp because there’s no access to any kind of physical formats in his country and people, like most of the world, are more than happy to pirate albums. Feeling guilty yet? No more excuses then.

      • The Nerd.

        Ah, I thought maybe you’d waged a coup since the Opeth review.

  • Thraeg

    Helluva month here. I can’t disagree about any of the choices, but am disappointed that Mithras didn’t even get a mention despite a 4.5/5 review that called it “likely to be the best death metal record of 2016.”

    That, Anciients, and Khemmis, are all sure to be on my top-10 for the year.

    • SegaGenitals

      Right. I love the new Mithras. Biggest sleeper hit of the year.

    • I can’t get into Mithras. The guitars remind me of the violins on Venus in furs. It’s cool for a song but not a full album.

    • brklyner

      I can appreciate Mithras, but listening to them just makes me want to hear Sarpanitum.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I can appreciate Sarpanitum, but listening to them just makes me want to hear Mithras.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I’d rather fly in blackness now than listening to any of those other records.

  • Casey Mahaffey

    I’m offended by the lack of DEP. Shame on you guys ;)

  • Gage

    I saw Vektor last night and they were
    fucking amazing. They played through ALL of Terminal Redux with no breaks and even played more songs after that. Black Fast had a great opening set as well.

    Oh yeah, and Ulcerate was my favorite from this month.

    • bolok

      saw em in august and yeah they did all of terminal redux in totality [and also saw them the week before at bloodstock where they didnt have time to play the whole thing lol] was incredible one of the top gigs i have ever been to, also a band called cryptic shift opened up and they were fucking awesome – met the bassist afterwards.

  • De2013

    Nice ‘Mothers, tell your children not to walk our way’!

    Great pick for ROTM!

  • Hmm, why does this feel like a coup…

    • You can’t overthrow the man who owns the site access codes.

      • Sorry, it’s just terribly suspicious that two months a row AMG Enterprises has picked your favorite album of the month after so many months of you occupying AMG with your bullet belts and your empty cans of grog everywhere.

        • Maybe he’s developed a better sense of musical appreciation of late. It happens with advancing age.

          • Oscar Albretsen

            You’ve obviously never met my Dad.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Get off my lawn!

  • IBlackened

    So In flames didn’t make the top…

    • November release. Maybe net month….

      • IBlackened

        Oh, I must be going crazy. I thought it was RofM from November. But I’m kidding. I doubt In Flames could make the top even if Battles was the only release of the month.

  • Ulcerate surely is my record of the month, at least if i had to rank albums that disappointed me most. I really looked forward to it, because Destroyers of All and Vermis were great. The first seconds of the album feel like jumping into a song midway, and because the record does not use a single second to set the stage for the onslaught that follows, it fails to engage me from the start. After 30 minutes I am bored. So I guess I’ll stick to Ulcerate’s previous works.

    Fortunately, the new Mithras and Hail Spirit Noir were excellent, and I finally got around to listening Sumerlands and Chthe’ilist, so October was a good month for me after all.

    • SegaGenitals

      Glad to see I am not the only one a little underwhelmed by new Ulcerate. I hope to warm to it.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    I saw yesterday that Decibel made the new Khemmis their AOTY. While it’s definitely not my AOTY, I can respect their choice. That being said, the rest of the list is super weird. Their ranking is pretty whack, and they left off some key records. Usually I like their end of the year lists and find some sort of gem I missed out on. This year, that is not the case though lol.

  • The Unicorn

    Khemmis = record of the YEAR

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I’m surprised you would say that. The horse on that cover is a Tricorn!

      • The Unicorn

        He’s all good by me!

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Hey, you still owe me a unicorning over at that Cognition review…

  • Luis Onieva Marenco

    It´s a pity that The Reticent didn´t even get a mention. Think “On the Eve of a Goodbye” is a really satisfactory and deeply emotional record.

    Anyway, excellent choices :)

  • bolok

    glad to see hunted got the top spot [thanks for the intial review!] – absolutely incredible album, have listened to countless times, hit me at a time of deep mourning and it has been the one thing to pull me out and realise there is beauty left in the world; haunting, melancholy and at times strangely uplifting i also think the artwork is awesome. i hope this will be an album i still listen to in years to come!

  • Innit Bartender

    Hail Spirit Noir are there. I can’t complain.

  • 12tonehead

    Synarchy of molten bones! Ooops, november release ;)
    Khemmis above latest Ulcerate? Not sure I get it.

  • AnnieK13

    Great choice for ROTM – it was my favorite of the month too.

  • Mr T

    Anciients // Voice of the Void

    That has been running non stop since this roundup came out. Khemmis was good, but Anciients… damn!

  • Alastair McAlpine

    Look, Khemmis is just amazing. Accessible, groovy doom. Hard to argue that it’s album of the month (and maybe the year). And Hunted will be right up there for song of the year as well.

    But… Holy hell, Ulcerate! Where has this extraordinary music spawned from? Dark, claustrophobic, extreme, intense, and completely mesmerizing.

    I simply can’t stop listening to either.

    By the way, thanks AMG – none of my friends listen to my music anymore… It’s too ‘extreme’ apparently.

  • Buddist Metal Lover

    I saw Sabbath in The End tour this week in Brasil … so came back here and was very happily surprised with Khemmis … and that artwork !! Man does AMG blog seem nice …

  • Shawn Cypher

    So far “Hunted” is my personal AotY. Glad it’s getting praise everywhere!

  • Max Züper

    I listened this weekend to Khemmis album, and I was not so enthousiastic, even if it is a good album. My first impression was “it is good but nothing new, especially if I compare with Anciients first album, heart of oak”. By the way I find the new anciients far less interesting than the first one. It is less natural, it sounds like they had to composed like this and not because they wanted.