AMG Turns 15: Mailroom Supervisors Speak

15 years ago, on May 19, 2009, Angry Metal Guy spoke. For the very first time as AMG. And he had opinions: Very Important Opinions™. The post attracted relatively little attention at the time, but times change and, over the decade and a half since then, AMG Industries has grown into the blog you know today. Now with a staff of around 25 overrating overwriters (and an entirely non-suspicious graveyard for writers on permanent, all-expenses-paid sabbaticals), we have written more than 9,100 posts, comprising over seven million words. Over the site’s lifetime, we’ve had more than 107 million visits and now achieve well over a million hits each and every month. Through this, we’ve built up a fantastic community of readers drawn from every corner of the globe, whom we have (mostly) loved getting to know in the more than 360,000 comments posted on the site.

We have done this under the careful (if sternly authoritarian) stewardship of our eponymous leader Angry Metal Guy and his iron enforcer, Steel Druhm, while adhering to strict editorial policies and principles. We have done this by simply offering honest (and occasionally brutal) takes, and without running a single advert or taking a single cent from anyone. Ever. Mistakes have undoubtedly been made and we may be a laughing stock in the eyes of music intellectuals, socialites and critics everywhere but we are incredibly proud of what AMG Industries represents. In fact, we believe it may be the best metal blog, with the best community of readers, on the internet.

Now join us as the people responsible for making AMG a reality reflect on what the site means to them and why they would willingly work for a blog that pays in the currency of deadlines, abuse, and hobo wine. Welcome to the 15th Birthdaynalia.

Thou Shalt Have No Other Blogs!


Dear Hollow

AMG and me

I found Angry Metal Guy during a transition of my life, which was both difficult and meaningful, actively shaping me into the person I am today: my mother-in-law’s death, a job I hated but convinced myself I was okay with, and an eastern New Mexico town that never felt right for me and mine. For the previous six years before, I had given Sputnikmusic a review here and there, pouring my heart into reviews with only limited success and a shit-ton of imposter syndrome, never feeling quite at home. I had heard of AMG but never dove in, and didn’t expect to find what I did. So when I saw the casting call advertisement, I applied on a whim, submitting a 2.5-scored review of Barren Canyon’s Close the Circle on an old style guide and still, somehow, was lifted from the slums (even after Steel Druhm yelled at me for not following the correct format the first time).1 However it happened though, AMG and its constituent Melvins have become like a second family to me: a group of like-minded weirdos, brought together by a love of metal and kept together by brotherly love and surprisingly gluey gorilla shit. I am truly grateful.

AMG gave to me …

Plebeian Grandstand // Rien ne suffit – While I had certainly heard of French avant-punishers Plebeian Grandstand, I had always written them off as “just another powerviolence band.” It wasn’t until the formidable Kronos offered his formidable review of 2021’s Rien ne suffit that I understood the hype – and it was everything I needed in heavy music. The bold and menacing epitome of everything calculating and unhinged, colliding into one particularly punishing foray, it still manages to fit itself into my rotation regularly. A combination of grind, powerviolence, and mathcore that reeks of excess, yet Plebeian Grandstand feels understated, subtle, and capable of far greater viciousness; an impending doom that saturates every movement. Tracks like “À droite du démiurge, à gauche du néant” and “Masse critique” perfectly fuse mathcore’s intensity with blackened menace, while the nearly mechanical weight of “Espoir nuit naufrage” and “Rien n’y fait” remind me of Giles Corey’s madness. There’s an organicity to the insanity, and more convincingly, a place to explore about Plebeian Grandstand’s vicious sound – an inimitable wilderness.

Meth. // Mother of Red Light – I was unaware of how caustic metal ought to be until Gardenstale‘s review of 2019’s Mother of Red Light. Chicago’s Meth. fed the masochism in ways I didn’t know I needed with this debut full-length, its blend of brain-smashing powerviolence, bleak industrialist atmospheres, and a hopeless, wailing dissonance offering a relentlessly bleeding and bruising experience. Not satisfied with complete saturation of sound alongside breakneck tempos, sermonic roars grace the proceedings with a miasmic dread and viscous weight that feels like a soul frantically trying to drag itself from the pit of hell. Meanwhile, doom build-ups are capitalized on in mammoth beatdowns of caustic intensity. While tracks like “Her Womb Lays Still” and “Return Me (To My Body)” offer grindy and math-y beatdowns, Meth. truly shines in its slow, simmering weight. Tracks like “Psalm of Life,” “Child of God,” and “Cold Prayer” offer up dark and insane ambiance, latching like a parasite to dissonant plucking and manic howls, while blackened, mathcore explosions amp up the punishment to nearly unbearable levels. Unfriendly music and I’m lovin’ every second.

Aborted // Vault of Horrors – Because I had my start in metal through the well-trodden path of -core, I possess very little mental bandwidth for extreme metal’s long-running acts. While I appreciate the classics like Death and Morbid Angel for their influence on the bands I spin regularly, rarely does a stalwart death metal band create something that I put on repeat. Until Vault of Horrors, that is. I had always written off Belgium’s Aborted as another olde death metal band that I don’t give a shit about. Until Dr. A.N. Grier started singing its praises. Then I clicked play … and “Dreadbringer” brought the sledgehammer down. Is it deathcore? Is it deathgrind? Should you care? No, you shouldn’t. Whatever it is, this album kicks ass. Beatdowns are plentiful and dynamic, and while you can crank the stank face at the hateful groove in “Malevolent Haze,” “Death Cult,” and “Brotherhood of Sleep,” the fretboard-frying, tempo-abusing likes of “Condemned to Rot” and “The Golgothan” ensure this thing never gets stuck in the mud. My sudden love of Aborted makes me question whether I should dive into other death metal classics, but that’s not a conversation I’m willing to have right now.

I wish I had written …

Infernal CoilWithin a World Forgotten [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]. Kronos and I became the same person at some point, and our love for Boise’s Infernal Coil epitomizes this. The man, the myth, the legend did an immensely impressive job handling the TYMHM of this bad boy, and that just fills me with envy. Funnily enough, I actually submitted a review of it for Sputnik one time, but I could never do it justice. Blackened deathgrind that walks the muddied left-hand path through the forest of pain, Infernal Coil cemented itself as an all-time favorite with a vicious attack muddied by haunting murk and ambiance. While “Wounds Never Close” and “Crusher of the Seed” are absolute beatdowns, the sprawling atmospherics of “49 Suns” and “In Silent Vengeance” are as devastating in their murky intensity. Maybe I wouldn’t be so sad about not covering this particular foray of insanity, if Kronos hadn’t said shit like: “It’s imbued with a sense of resigned justice. Within a World Forgotten, ultimately, is a work of art about guilt, and about morality. It lays the blame on every one of us. It sets the price of human greed as human suffering.” Geez dude, we get it – you write better than anyone.2

I wish I could do over …

Shock Narcotic – I Have Seen the Future and It Doesn’t Work Review. The Michigan grindbois over here didn’t get my full attention, and I am ashamed. Comprising veterans from The Dillinger Escape Plan, Child Bite, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Battlecross, their single output (an EP by normal standards or a full-length by grind’s) was overshadowed severely by the start of a new school year, in which I was building several classes from the ground up. A grindy buzzsaw foray not unlike Nails, Mammoth Grinder, and Black Breath, its deathgrind’n’roll viciousness was a clear 3.5 … wait, a 1.5 … hang on, 2.5. I couldn’t decide. In retrospect, I wish I had given it the attention and love it deserved, as I toiled through the remains of freshman public speaking and English. I Have Seen the Future and It Doesn’t Work? More like I Have Seen My Work Ethic and It Doesn’t Work. But seriously, fuck the system too.

I wish more people had read …

ThoughtcrimesAltered Pasts Review. Look, I get mathcore is not everyone’s cup o’ tea, but a 3.5 given to a former Dillinger drummer with a cool approach that brings chaos, trip-hop, nu-metal,3 and riffs to an infectious degree? C’mon, commentariat, Thoughtcrimes’ style is so tasteful and thrilling, I was expecting a much more enthusiastic response. I was watching my wife play a lot of 2015 game Until Dawn while working on this review, and the atmosphere matched it in its cool vibe with bursts of intensity and fear. While rippers like “Panopticon” and “Dare I Say” rack up the Frontierer-meets-Deftones punishment, other tracks (“Mirror Glue” or “Lunar Waves”) bring a smooth and atmospheric trip-hop influence to the chaos. It’s not too late, you lazy fucks, sleeping on Rimer’s project is itself a Thoughtcrime.4


Cherd

AMG and me

I’m a visual artist. I have an MFA, and for several years, I was adjunct faculty at a handful of college and university art departments. Making, thinking, and talking about art is what I do. AMG came into my life at a crucial time when, after the birth of my son, my art practice and the paltry income it afforded was going on the back burner. I had already walked away from teaching—anyone involved in American higher education over the last 15 years will understand why—and the thing I was missing most was the critiques. The times we would gather around art, whether made by a student in class or a professional in a gallery or museum and simply talk about it. The dialectics of understanding the work. AMG has been a lifeline, a way to continue the conversations I need on a basic level in a new forum. Sure, it’s about heavy music this time, but art is art. It’s lightning in a bottle. It’s a knowable mystery. Always subjective but never arbitrary. It’s a societal need; even when it’s made by anti-society, corpse-painted basement dwellers, and I love talking about it here with you.

AMG gave to me …

Archspire - Relentless Mutation Cover Archspire // Relentless Mutation – When it comes to all things doom or black metal, I’m usually ahead of the game, knowing which interesting releases are on the horizon. When it comes to death metal, I often find albums I like only after reading about them here. Back in 2017, I knew nothing of Archspire. The only tech death I’d given much time to was Origin. Our brutal bouncing baby Kronos fell all over himself praising Relentless Mutation, and I liked the memorable cover art, so I decided to give it a spin. I didn’t listen to anything else for a week solid. My mind was absolutely blown by the neoclassical intricacy that never crowded out the memorable melodies or tipped into monotone density. If someone had told me ahead of time that the vocalist was like a death metal version of John Moschitta Jr,5 I’d have told them that sounded like a stupid gimmick. I would have been wrong. It’s somehow awesome. Seven years later, I still spin Relentless Mutation all the time.

Slugdge // Esoteric Malacology – The Cult of Mollusca had already been meeting every Wednesday evening at the VFW for several years when I finally became hip to the health benefits of slug worship, all thanks to L. Saunders’ 2018 review of Esoteric Malacology. How two British blokes with an obsession for slimy invertebrates and punny song titles—”Crop Killer” is still their finest work on that front—could write and play such towering death metal riffs is just one of those seeming contradictions unique to extreme metal. Every song is a banger front to back, but the one that hooked me at the cost of my immortal soul was “The Spectral Burrows.” There’s just something about how Matt Moss sings “Sink in, inhale the ichor, why not assume your true form?” that lights up the “fuck yeah” portions of my brain. As many of my fellow writers can attest, I’ll go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify placing either that, “War Squids” or the tectonically massive “Slave Goo World” onto any playlist I make, regardless of the purported theme. All praise to Mollusca!

Xoth - Interdimensional Invocations 01 Xoth // Interdimensional Invocations – Noticing a theme? It’s true. I owe most of my beloved sci-fi/fantasy/horror-themed tech/prog/melo-death favorites to reading this website. After Akerblogger’s glowing 2019 review for Interdimensional Invocations, I gave these fun-loving Lovecraftian lads a chance to impress me. They did. What I found in songs like opener “Casting the Sigil,” “Mountain Machines,” and “The Ghost Hand of God” was something I didn’t know I needed: fast, intricate, ridiculously melodic thrashy blackened melodeath with a rubber ball bounce to the riffing, which, in less capable hands, would sound cheesy. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say “Mountain Machines” is one of the top three catchiest songs in all of metal over the last five years, while album closer “Melted Face of the Soul” comes damn close to matching it. When it comes to the gloomy and miserable sides of metal, I’ve needed little help discovering new music. AMG has consistently given me what I wouldn’t have thought of seeking out on my own. Namely, extreme metal that’s fun.

I wish I had written …

Vile Apparition Depravity Ordained Review. Kronos’ review of this 2019 death metal album in the style of an academic scientific paper is hands down my favorite “non-traditional” review ever published on this site. Every time I write one of those ridiculous Christmas metal album reviews, I ask myself, “Is this as funny as the Vile Apparition one?” and I must answer, “No.” As a writer, this is how you keep yourself engaged when the music doesn’t do the trick.

Bell WitchFour Phantoms Review. Look, I like El Cuervo. He’s a good kid. Posh British to the Nth degree. Wise in the ways of prog and anything with a “melo-” prefix. Unfortunately, and contrary to his own declarations, he wouldn’t know good funeral doom if it bit him in his dainty, porcelain ass (just messin’ with you, El C, but this one was a miss). Bell Witch has never made a bad album, and Four Phantoms contains what is perhaps their finest stretch of music ever in the form of “Suffocation, A Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance of Forever).” I’d have given this a 4.0.6


Doom_et_Al

AMG and me

Metal may have saved my life. And without AMG, my metal journey may never have happened.

As a young man, I found myself horrifically addicted to alcohol, which cost me everything I held dear. In rehab, I was introduced to black metal by a fellow patient. I didn’t love it but, in the swirling chaos, for the first time in months, my addiction-obliterated brain was paradoxically able to find peace. Years later, with a little help from Sunbather, I finally “got” it. But there was a problem: none of my friends or work colleagues liked, or understood, metal. I felt like a kid in a playground who had made a wonderful discovery, and no one else cared.

With AMG, I found a community that did care: metalheads who weren’t Nazis and who often disagreed passionately but were generally respectful and kind. When I tentatively noted I was a n00b, I was welcomed and encouraged. And when the call came to be a reviewer, I felt I had something to offer.

The rest is history. I found a community of reviewers who were so different but shared a passion for this ugly music we love. I haven’t met many of them in person but I feel like I know them better than some of my friends.7 The internet, and the world, are often scary. For reasons I struggle to explain, AMG has been an oasis of joy and happiness for me. I hope it is for you, too.

AMG gave to me …

Mistur // In Memoriam In the early days of my metal journey, I noticed an album in AMG Himself‘s own Top 10(ish) Records o’ 2016, a little record he endorsed as his favorite black metal of the year. That album was In Memoriam by Mistur. My interest piqued, I clicked the embed and was immediately thrown into “Downfall,” an absolute banger. What follows is, arguably, the best black metal album of 2015-2019. And no one else was talking about it, let alone listing it. Back at AMG, everyone from the usually cantankerous Grier (who, to give him his due, did pen the TYMHM for it) to random staff writers, were giving it the tongue-bathing it so thoroughly deserved. It was then that I realized that AMG was different: a place for honest reviews of exciting new bands, not beholden to “the next big thing.” Without AMG (and The AMG), I would never have found In Memoriam. And life without In Memoriam is pretty bland (the outro for “The Sight” remains one of the greatest metal moments I’ve ever heard).

Tales of Gaia // Hypernova – This is not a good album. In fact, it’s a dreadful album. But there is something fun in the dreadfulness. The review by Eldritch beautifully captures the absurdity. The whole piece is great, but I’ll never forget the moment I read his description of Néstor Català’s vocals. I don’t laugh much when I read but his assessment that they are an “unholy cross-breeding of a Despicable Me minion and Stevie Nicks,” made me cackle. And when I listened to the embed, I absolutely dissolved into hysterical laughter. It’s hard to explain when you form an affinity to a site, or a writer, but at that moment, I felt weirdly bonded to AMG. Other music sites were either far too sterile, clinical, or too self-reverential for their own good. AMG just felt real. Good writers, writing great reviews about sometimes terrible music. Amazing.

Khemmis // Hunted – Without this review, my moniker would probably be Blackm_et_Al, or something lame. You see, prior to reading this, I thought a lot of incorrect things: I thought I only liked black metal; I thought Steel Druhm was a lanky college kid with greasy hair down to his shoulders; I thought writers on this site were paid. And I thought doom was lame. But the review was so compelling and well-written, that I was forced to consider the music. Holy hell am I glad I did. Hunted became my favorite album of the year, and inspired a love of doom that continues to this day, even if Khemmis no longer excite me the way they did. Had you told me, as I was reading Hunted, that I would be doubling on the review of Khemmisfourth album with the Steel Druhm (who is a bit older and a bit balder than I had imagined), I would have laughed (I still think my score is the correct one). Life is strange.

I wish I had written …

Jordan Rudess Wired for Madness Review. Simultaneously the best and the worst piece of writing to appear on this site. The crazy paradox of a talented artist jerking us all around was beautifully/grossly highlighted by a presumably drunk GardensTale in a review that, let’s be honest, you couldn’t read anywhere else. Terrible subject matter, mixed with hilarious writing, while making salient points about an artistic misfire? I wish I had the stones.

I wish I could do over …

AtavistiaThe Winter Way Review. I do my best to be as fair as possible to every band I review. I have very few regrets about the scores I have given. But I got this one wrong, and I got it wrong because life was shit at the time and I allowed that to bleed into my head and compromise the review. This is actually a very solid album by a talented band, but I was so tired of pomp and bloat, that it rubbed me up the wrong way. That’s not fair on Atavistia. Rather than Contrite Metal Guying this, I wish I could do it all over and give it the shake it deserves.

I wish more people had read …

Velnias – Scion of Aether Review. One of the first 4.0s I ever gave, and I deliberated long and hard … Which I shouldn’t have because this album is an absolute banger, which seemed to pass everyone (including my fellow writers) by. I am proud of the review, love the band and remain perplexed that the album and review got such little traction. People really should revisit this one.


Twelve

AMG and me

The earliest AMG review I can remember reading is for Wodensthrone’s Curse, in early 2012. I returned a few months later to read the site’s take on Kamelot’s Silverthorn, and, unfortunately for everyone here, I found both to be very well-written reviews, which aligned nicely with my own takes. Over the next few years, I dropped by on occasion, to see what the latest Records o’ the Month and year were. As my tastes in metal expanded, I started to explore other review sites to see what else was out there.

Not to put too fine a point on it but what was out there was not great. All of the amazing albums I remember adding to my catalog from those years (On Lonely Towers, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, Conduit, and In Memoriam, to name but a few) came from this website. So, when in 2017 I found myself struggling to keep focused at the office, I opened Angry Metal Guy and started scrolling. From then on, every day for the rest of that employment, I read every new post here until one of them said something about a casting calland then there was Leonov.

So, in my mind, Angry Metal Guy is the bar for music reviews and journalism. The dedication and kindness of the writers, editors, and admin here, the enthusiasm of the commentariat, and the reach of our content is incredible. It truly is an honor to be here.

AMG gave to me

Orphaned Land - Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs Orphaned Land // Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs– As I say, I started reading the site regularly at a desk job. Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs is the album that convinced me I was right to do so. Orphaned Land is just not a band I would have been very interested in but for Angry Metal Guy‘s terrific writeup and persuasive prose. It became one of my top albums of all time, a stellar example of a complete album; the story and flow—present lyrically, musically, and thematically throughout—is well-written, relevant, and had a huge impact on me. I was similarly awed by the level of faith and spirituality woven into the music, qualities that are, unsurprisingly, difficult to find in metal, but mean a lot to me personally. I hate being asked who my favorite musicians are, but Orphaned Land are nearly always a safe bet, and it’s because of albums like this one.

Karmacipher // Introspectrum – It’s not so much that I found Introspectrum to be exceptional, or that I listen to it every day, but there was something about Ferrous write-up that led me to press play on this impressive slab of dense, dissonant death metal. This is not an album I ever would have found, considered, or listened to without this site—but listen to it I did, and I really, really liked it. Part of reading three(ish) articles per day means you get exposed to music in styles you’ve never heard of, or are simply not interested in. Reading passionate appraisals of music in styles that I don’t like has played a huge part in opening my tastes and encouraging me to expand my preferences, and Introspectrum is one of the best examples of this I can think of. I’m still not really one for dissonant death metal—but I can’t say I don’t like it anymore, so cheers to Karmacipher and Ferrous Beuller for that.

The Ocean - PelagialThe Ocean // Pelagial – I feel it’s unlikely I’m the only person who’s listing this album here, so I’m going to let myself be brief with this one—if you combine what I wrote about Orphaned Land and Karmacipher, you basically get what this album means to me. I really don’t like post-metal—but it was The AMG‘s album of the year, so of course I had to give it a shot! What I discovered was that it was simply the best concept album I’ve heard in my life (and that’s still true), with a level of depth, thought, and foresight that transcends the style altogether, raising the whole to one of my favorite albums of all time, in any style. I never, ever would have found it without this site, and I never would have listened to it if I had—it took the persuasion of Angry Metal Guy and Noctus to get me there, and I’m very glad they did.

I wish I had written …

NecromutilatorBlack Blood Aggression Review. It’s not that I specifically wish I’d had a chance to review Black Blood Aggression—truthfully, I’d never have agreed to: the style and cover alone tell me everything I need to know to keep away—but as far as creative reviewing goes, this one takes the cake, and I just wish I could come up with stuff like this myself. Phenomenal stuff, Treble Yell. We miss you.

I wish I could do over …

Diablo Swing OrchestraSwagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole Review. Most of the buzz around this album came from its much-maligned production style. I didn’t mind it, and wanted to highlight my appreciation for the mix, since I could actually make out all eight band members in the album. Sadly, owing to some behind-the-scenes and personal circumstances, this was a fairly rushed review, and I don’t think I articulated my feelings well enough. The result? >200 comments and a horrified me, seriously questioning if I’d listened to the same album as everyone else on the planet. I would love to rewrite this one now, although I wouldn’t change the score.

I wish more people had read …

Forndom - Fathir Forndom – Faþir – I wish more people had read this one but, in fairness, I would have wished for that no matter how many people had read it. Faþir is still one of my favorite albums, and my best discovery from this website, so I’m just going to keep grabbing chances to share it with whoever will listen to my ramblings.


Dolphin Whisperer

AMG and me

I am an unapologetic Angry Metal Guy fanboy. Ever since I stumbled upon the site back in 2009—when The Man Himself was still pushing Myspace links8—checking to validate my own opinions, discover new gems, consider branching my tastes into genres I normally don’t touch, have all been part of my downtime browsing. While his initial solo venture provided me with all of that, watching this institution grow over the years to include its shifting wealth of writers and opinions has continually affirmed to me that, of all the sites that express musical opinions, Angry Metal Guy does so in a manner that invites community and discussion.

As such, Angry Metal Guy has always felt like a cultural home. In this line of niche enjoyments, the things we love can feel isolating. But this space makes me feel less of that challenging loneliness, and doubly so once I discovered its offshoot discord hooligans. Thank you Angry Metal Guy for uniting the contrarians, and thank you contrarians for being, ultimately, more accepting than you are dismissive. Long live Angry Metal Guy!

AMG gave to me…

Grayceon - All We DestroyGrayceon // All We Destroy – If my name drop in my Anareta review wasn’t push enough, then maybe you need this blurb. This San Francisco-based progressive trio couldn’t have been more unlike anything I had heard at this time in my life—the sullen doom of cello, the snaking attack of finger-strummed distorted guitar, the vibrant and downcast croon that accompanies it. All We Destroy is a master class in mood and expressive tones, capturing in its eccentricities a dreamy, but forlorn world fit for both ballroom dancing and headbanging. And though my budding love for Grayceon netted me into exploration of adjacent waters, in bands like Giant Squid, Ludicra, Winds, SubRosa—all good in their own right9—it’s this release over which my heart pours endlessly.

Beaten to Death - Dødsfest!Beaten to Death // Dødsfest! – It’s an absolute crime that Beaten to Death has just under 1,500 monthly listeners on Spotify. Album after album, this Norwegian Grind Machine proves that they belong at the top of the grindpile. Vicious vocals, twangy, plonking riffs, rapid-fire and wide-spread drum chatter, and a complete abandon for fitting in with the grind scene, Dødsfest! parties from start to finish and calls me back for more every time. Despite not being the most dynamic piece of music ever, it doesn’t sound like brick-walled ass, like so much grind is wont to do. Reckless in melody, feverish in fervor, Beaten to Death is one of the most singular grindcore bands to have existed and Dødsfest! is, quite simply, my favorite grind record of all time. Oh, and Beaten to Death’s whole discog runs less than two hours (and is a steal on Bandcamp). Do yourself a favor, be part of the grind solution!

Voices // LondonLondon by Voices might have been one of the hardest albums for me to search on Google when it came out,10 but thankfully Angry Metal Guy—in this case, the gone-but-not-forgotten tastemaker Jean Luc-Ricard—helps out with cool links and such. It also helps that Voices’ debut, From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain, has a name so unmistakable that you can go from there. Either way, I hadn’t heard of Voices, or listened to Akercocke for that matter, but with this ripping piece of extremely British metal, I couldn’t possibly forget them. Tortured, reaching, and sonically disturbing, London tells a story that you can smell through relentless blackened death metal assaults and tortured, gothic narrative. London the city itself may appear to the eye as color, as I learned later in life, but its reimagining as one man’s monochrome disasterscape reconfigured my mind in relation to what I desire from this lane of extreme metal.

I wish I had written…

ObscuraAkróasis Review. I love this album. It’s one of my favorite progressive death metal albums of modern(ish) times. After Angry Metal Guy introduced me to Obscura with 2011’s Omnivium, I digested their catalog and couldn’t have been more excited for this release. Filled with fluttering sounds and a unique, experimental fretless guitar presence, it wiggles my worm. Consequently, I also diverged quite a bit in reaction to 2018’s Diluvium. The Big Man and I just don’t see eye-to-eye on Obscura as a whole, and, as such, I would have loved to have given Akróasis the additional two points that it deserved.

I wish I could do over…

Hammers of MisfortuneOvertaker Review. Did you think I was gonna come here and apologize for giving the most un-Hammers-like Hammers album a 4.0? No, I’m not going to because, well, it’s a great record. So why am I here saying this then? Because I forgot to mention that one of the reasons I love this record is that Mystification is my favorite Manilla Road record, and Overtaker is one of the few things I’ve ever heard that gives me that same kind of frantic, psychedelic, thrashy heavy metal vibe. So, olde folk who think this band shouldn’t change, go get your sciatica checked or schedule a colonoscopy or whatever it is that’s on your getting olde calendar to do. Overtaker rocks.

I wish more people had read all the Rodeös!!!

Specifically the Rodeö for Slumbering Sun’s The Ever-Living Fire. As a fan of Warning and its cathartic evolution to 40 Watt Sun, I’m predisposed to enjoying doom with tearjerking riff-craft. And while Pallbearer may have aged out of being enjoyable, Slumbering Sun, assembled of Texan melancholy, rose to the occasion with this debut. Many of y’all don’t read the Rodeös enough to know that this album isn’t just good—it’s great! And I listed it. And more people should listen to it. And read the Rodeös. I swear I’m not the only one who likes things there.


Felagund

AMG and me

I’ve been writing for AMG for a little over three years now. Before that, I was merely a long-time lurker, none-time commenter.

As a lowly reader, AMG was the blog. The place I’d go to discover new artists and new albums; where I’d go to get the trvest takes and unvarnished analysis. Each review had a distinct viewpoint, each writer a unique voice, and each score came with an actual opinion. I didn’t want a metal blog that told me everything was good. I wanted a review site that wasn’t afraid to tell me what was great, what was just okay, and what sucked. Brvtal honesty may alienate some, but it engenders loyalty in many more. Thus, I came to rely on AMG as my drunken metal sherpa.

Now, as a lowly writer, AMG remains the blog. Only now, my opinions are more correct than ever. I still discover new bands and new albums here, but now I get to write about them as well, hoping that my words inspire a few readers to take a chance on a new record or band. Perhaps most importantly, I’m lucky to be able to do this surrounded by a growing circle of friends; good, salt-of-the-earth goons who churn out quality reviews that continue to excite that little metalhead in me who was so thrilled when his dad first bought him The Number of the Beast.

AMG is still able to make that little hellion headbang, and that means a lot.

AMG gave to me …

Barren Earth // A Complex of Cages – I wasn’t aware of Barren Earth until I read this 2018 review by the man, the myth, the legend, The AMG. And, while I’ve never personally dolled out a 4.5 in my short time here, whenever I see that score appear at the bottom of a write-up, I always get a little excited about what lies in store. That was certainly the case when I first read this review, a definitely the case when I took A Complex of Cages for a spin. It can be hard to pull off their brand of epic melodic death metal without sounding too hokey or losing some essential heaviness, but they do it, and they do it well. Six years later and I’m still taken by vocalist Jón Aldará’s brutal growls and emotive cleans, buoyed as they are by big riffs and progressive instrumentation. I still return to this album, I still recommend this album to friends, and it still serves as a reminder of this blog’s wonderful ability, over just a few short paragraphs, to turn a neophyte into a fan.

Replacire // Do Not DeviateOne of the primary factors that drives any metal fan isn’t just the joy of discovering a thing they like; it’s to discover a thing they like, and then, like greedy little Gollums, to acquire even more of it. Such was my feeling when I read Kronos’ 2018 review of Replacire’s Do Not Deviate. When I first gave this album a spin, I was on a near-constant search for more crunchy, groovy death metal of the prog/tech variety (but, let’s be honest, isn’t the search never-ending?). And, just as I was hoping it would, this here album met, surpassed, then utterly destroyed my expectations. Do Not Deviate had everything I was looking for in that moment: thick riffs, boundless chugs, unrelenting energy, and plenty of proggy technicality, which never sacrificed heaviness or memorability. In short, this was the right album, by the right band, at the right time, and I’m including it here because it’s one particularly memorable instance (out of many) where an AMG recommendation was able to perfectly scratch my fetid death metal itch.

Unto Others (formerly Idle Hands) // ManaI couldn’t, in good conscience, compile a shortlist of albums I’ve learned to love because of AMG without including Idle Hands’ (now Unto Others) debut, Mana. It’s a perfect example of an album that, on paper, I shouldn’t really care for. I’m not one for gothic metal, and I tend to view the descriptor with some trepidation. And, while I grew up listening predominately to hard rock (compliments of my old man), it’s not the sound I tend to look for when trolling for new bands. But such is the allure of an impassioned AMG review that, once I finished Huck N Roll’s treatise on Mana, I had to see what all the fuss was about. And wouldn’t you know it? It became one of my favorite releases of 2019. It’s doomy, morose, engaging and catchy, with 80s-tinged instrumentation and gothic croons punctuated by shrieks of pain, and I adore it all.11 It also serves as a testament to a single writer’s ability to woo the apprehensive and excite the seemingly uninterested. This appears to be a common occurrence for the AMG readership (and writership), but one I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of experiencing.

I wish I could do over …

… very little, surprisingly. A few grumbles aside, there isn’t much I’d like to rework or rescore.

Yet one decision haunts me (and absolutely no one else). In 2021, I was so taken by Beyond Grace’s Our Kingdom Undone that I awarded it the top spot on my year-end list, relegating Archspire’s Bleed the Future to second place. And, while I stand by my praise of Our Kingdom Undone, I’ve found that it’s into Archspire’s brutal, tech-death arms that I run again and again. I wish now that their places had been exchanged. Yes, I wish that.

Nothingness, however, can keep its 2.5.

I wish more people had read …

I could point to my review of Ghost’s 2022 album IMPERA and the resulting 245 comments. But no central message was ever derailed. I’m directly responsible for sparking the “are they metal?” debate anyway by dedicating an entire paragraph to it. Ultimately, I had a blast engaging with readers and nerding out about the nature of our chosen genre. And really, isn’t it that level of pugnacious dedication that’s kept AMG around for 15 years?

Show 11 footnotes

  1. I’m convinced 10:13 was punishment for this.
  2. 😭
  3. This right here may, I suspect, be the problem. – Carcharodon
  4. And no, I don’t wanna hear “needs more Operation: Mindcrime references!” You shut up.
  5. The speed-talking guy who hocked Micro Machines on TV and owned the world record for most articulated words per minute
  6. El C also fucked up Ahab’s The Coral Tombs, albeit he only missed by .5 on that occasion. Still, he shouldn’t be allowed to play in the doom room anymore. Just sayin’. – Carcharodon
  7. Does that mean we’re … friends? – Carcharodon
  8. Let’s face it, that space was pretty much already dead by then too.
  9. Check Metridium Fields, Another Great Love Song, Reflections of the I, No Help for the Mighty Ones, respectively
  10. OU’s one hadn’t come out yet, clearly.
  11. DRAAAGGGONSS! Ahem. – Carcharodon
« »