AMG Turns 15: Middle Management Speaks

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!


Carcharodon

AMG and me

I lurked quietly on AMG for about five years, reading daily, discovering great records, but never entering the fray. Not so much as a single comment. I didn’t feel qualified to get involved. Until that is, I inexplicably decided—I’m still not sure why—to answer the 2018 casting call. To my surprise, I got a shot and, under the threatening (but surprisingly fair) tutelage of Steel Druhm, I evolved from nameless_n00b_17 to become Carcharodon Sharkboi. I figured it would be a fun hobby for a year or two.

Coming up six years and more than 250 posts later, AMG Industries is so much more than a hobby. It’s become part of my daily life. And that is because of the people and the culture here, not just the staff, but also the regular readers and commenters. Although there’s a wry humor to nearly everything we do, and more in-jokes than even the seasoned staffers can keep up with, people actually care. They care. About the music. About our editorial standards. About the quality of our output. About each other. And, apparently, about Yer Mom. Caring and having standards are rare commodities on the internet, and it makes the AMG community a special place to be a part of. Are we perfect? No. Mistakes have been made. We Melvins that make up AMG are a dysfunctional family, but you love your family and you’re always a part of it. This adoptive family helped me get through some really tough times as a new(ish) dad during the COVID lockdowns and exposed me to some really impressive people, I would likely never have met otherwise. Thanks AMG for starting this place and, along with Steel, Grier and other key players, ensuring that it remains what it’s always been: a place for appreciating the music we love, free from adverts, clickbait, and dicks. I’m proud to have played my small part in it.

AMG gave to me …

Gorguts // Colored Sands – I couldn’t tell you exactly when I started perusing AMG but I remember this being one of the first reviews I stumbled across. Today, it’s not a record I reach for often but it completely changed my perception of death metal. Until I heard Colored Sands, death metal to me fell into either the Cannibal Corpse school, or the progressive Opeth and late-era Death camp. The former wasn’t for me, the latter very much was. Gorguts ripped my preconceptions apart. The band was completely unknown to me but the technical precision and dissonance they channeled into this record blew me away. And having heard it, it’s impossible not to hear Gorguts’ influence on dozens of other bands. As Noctus opined, the “riffs are absorbing, dizzying and uncompromisingly heavy … [while the] mix is dynamic, well-balanced and above all, crushing.” But it’s more than that. It’s such a complete package and, together, all the elements are simply transcendent.

Mistur - In MemoriamMistur // In Memoriam – It pains me to say it but Grier was right. Okay, so it was once, about eight years ago but he was still right: Mistur’s In Memoriam is an absolute banger. It does deserve a 4.5. And I did miss it. And it’s absolutely in my top-5 black metal records of the 2010s. Would I have found it without him? Perhaps. Perhaps not. After all, I didn’t know their 2009 debut, Attende. But I didn’t need to do the work because Grier did it for me. He was also right to say that In Memoriam is packed full of highlights but that the “record is impossible to appreciate unless listened to from beginning to end.” It’s a perfectly crafted piece of Windir-inspired melodic black metal, with absolutely no fat on its “magnificently structured” carcass. Every track is excellent in its own way (the duo of “Matriarch’s Lament” and “The Sight” being my personal highlights), but the album is undoubtedly greater than the sum of its parts. As a general rule of thumb, do not trust Grier but he was right on the money about Mistur.

Gazpacho - DemonGazpacho // DemonDemon is in my top ten records of all time. From the yawing note, fragile vocal line, and keys that open the record on “I’ve Been Walking, Pt. 1a” to the final notes of “Death Room”, it gives me chills every time. I’m not someone who has overly emotional reactions to music, as a rule. But I love Demon. There is something about this record’s dark vulnerability that haunts me. And given the band’s shitty name, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it were it not for the review here. Sitting right on the intersection of alt-rock and prog, with a few heavier riffs, I could say that it has all the progressive chops of Radiohead’s OK Computer and that there’s something of Thom Yorke in Gazpacho frontman Jan-Henrik Ohm’s quiet, emotive power. I could point to the excellent use of violin (the polka that closes “The Wizard of Altai Mountains” is just fun). I could, as AMG did in the review that hooked me in, praise the fantastic production. He also, rightly, said that “[e]very listen to brings forth new experiences, new ideas, new emotions”. But it’s more than that. Demon just has that undefinable something. It’s heart-wrenching, somber and I never tire of it.

I wish I had written …

Grymm Comments: On Mental Health Awareness and Our Favorite Music. Okay, I don’t actually wish I had written this. Nor should I have been allowed to. However, I am extremely glad that Grymm, Kenstrosity and The Artist Formerly Known As Muppet took on this project. In any space, it’s an incredibly important subject but mental health struggles seem to have an outsize impact on people in our (still relatively niche) scene, as the engagement with this piece showed. The number of incredibly personal and moving stories people felt able to share in response to Grymm‘s post made me very proud to be part of this place and I like to think that, perhaps, it helped a few people, who felt they had nowhere else to turn, feel a little less alone. Chapeau gentlemen.

I wish I could do over …

Kanonenfieber – Menschenmühle [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]. In the write-up of my favorite record of 2021, I opened with a disclaimer, setting out what this record categorically was not. It was an effort to head off what I predicted would inevitably become an issue for a German band, writing and singing about war in German … you figure it out. To be fair, when I interviewed its creator, Noise, a couple of years later, it seems I was right. Still, I don’t think my efforts helped. If anything, they sparked a pointless debate in the comments (of which I was part). I should have left well alone and just focused on this outstanding record.

I wish more people had read …

The Art of Labelling – Part I and Part II. All the way back in early 2020, while locked up in my house, I penned a two-part feature looking at three great, independent record labels—Hypnotic Dirge, Naturmacht and Transcending Obscurity. I wanted to understand the challenges, and opportunities, facing them and their founders. I found these fascinating to write and I learned a lot. Part I did ok numbers, not great but ok; Part II … less so. Given the huge amounts of time Nic, Robert and Kunal gave up to help me with these pieces, I had hoped to get more exposure for these excellent labels.


GardensTale

AMG and me

It’s hard to overstate the impact AMG has had on my life. When I found the site, checking out reviews for Book of Souls, I wasn’t listening to that much metal anymore. The quality of the writing drew me in, I got caught up on recent big releases, and the writing bug sank its teeth in me. Soon, metal had become a big part of my life again. Not long after, my partner expressed an interest as well and I introduced her to the various types and subgenres of metal, and we started going to more concerts and festivals, which is our favorite shared experience to this day. We started going to Roadburn, met and befriended several bands. We made friends from Wales at Graspop. During the pandemic, the staff started doing Zoom calls,1 and I got to know many of my fellow writers. After the pandemic, we made more friends through Roadburn and Angry Metal Days. We’ve been to Brutal Assault, with people we met at other festivals. One even moved to our city and has become a close companion since then. How much smaller would our world be without these friendships and experiences! This one shared interest—the love of music—is a wonderful, ongoing journey, that has enriched our lives in ways I can scarcely describe, and the match that set the fire was a click on a link while I was bored at work. AMG has brought my partner and me incalculable joy. Here’s to 15 more years!

AMG gave to me …

King Goat - ConduitKing Goat // Conduit – Conduit is important to me for several reasons. It was my first Album of the Year at AMG, with the title track a well-deserved Song of the Year. But it was also the album that showed me how wrong I was about doom metal. I had this notion that Swallow the Sun levels of drudgery were the standard for the genre, something I could (at the time) only tolerate in small amounts. Having just begun my AMG career in August that year, I was keen to unearth as much as I could from 2016, and King Goat blew my mind wide open, an obliteration of preconceptions that has served me well since. Despite the cataclysmic recalibration, I have not yet discovered a doom album to top Conduit. The mighty vocals, the colossal riffs, the cosmic scale of it all … it is a truly monumental album. Just thinking of the anthemic duet of the title track’s bridge still sends chills down my spine.

The album cover of the Record of the Month: Disillusion - The LiberationDisillusion // The Liberation – If you didn’t see this coming, welcome to AMG! I have made no secret of how much I love The Liberation.2 It is, quite literally, my all-time favorite album. The first time I heard it, it was overwhelming. The second time, “Time To Let Go” got its powerful hooks into me. Third time round, the sheer scope of “Wintertide” began to land. Every time I span it, I discovered more depth, more hooks, more intricate details, which connected all the tracks like a perfect web. It’s a bold treatise on dying and letting go, emotionally charged not just through the vocals but with every chord. I love progressive music principally for its storytelling ability, as the freedom from structure allows the music to emulate the endless ways to build a narrative arc. It’s why I love Pink Floyd and, more recently, Major Parkinson so much, and it’s the reason Edge of Sanity’s Crimson is one of the only albums I’ve done a YMIO for. But none do it better than Disillusion, and they’ve never done it better than on this album.

Madder Mortem // Red in Tooth and Claw – I’d heard Madder Mortem before, back in their Desiderata days. Although I enjoyed that album, it hadn’t stuck with me somehow. Red in Tooth and Claw brought me back into the fold in a big way, and Madder Mortem’s become one of my favorite bands since, owing to its unique sound and peerless emotional acuity. This album’s closer, “Underdogs,” remains one of the most effective and affecting tracks in the stellar discography of Norway’s best-kept secret. A disastrously scheduled and attended gig during the Marrow tour allowed my partner and me hours of drinks and conversations with the band, especially with vocalist extraordinaire Agnete Kirkevaag, and it remains the best and most personal experience I’ve had with any band. Madder Mortem will always hold a special place in my heart, and I would likely never have gone back to them if I hadn’t read Jean-Luc Ricard‘s review and decided to give a long-forgotten band another shot.

I wish I had written …

AlcestKodama Review. We have some mighty fine writers here at AMG, each with their own style and voice. But few could match the poetry of Roquentin. Starting out here, this was the review that made me sigh dreamily and wish for the ability to write such extraordinary prose. When you’ve been writing reviews for a while, you often find yourself trying new ways to phrase the same things; this is good, that is bad, etcetera. The Kodama piece is a masterclass in melding these points into a beautifully phrased flow, which never feels repetitive or perfunctory. Roquentin, you are missed.

I wish I could do over …

HeminaVenus Review. I’m only human, and humans make mistakes. My biggest mistake, though, was the framing of Hemina’s Venus. A lengthy, winding progressive metal album from my early AMG career, I found the love-themed concept album trite and too cheesy. And though I may have been able to defend that musically, I was completely wrong about the concept, which dealt with the happiness love brings, as well as the drama and destruction. And the band called me out on it in the comments, in the worst way: with polite kindness. One more memory for the ‘lie awake at night’ bank, I suppose.

I wish more people had read …

Wills DissolveEchoes Review and Album Premiere. We don’t do a lot of premieres around here, so when we run one, it’s a special event. Hypnotic Dirge is not an unknown label, Wills Dissolve had a very good album with a great Burke cover. All the ducks in a line, right? Crickets. 3 comments, 2 of which talked about the lack of comments. Just a strange fluke, it seems, but certainly one of my bigger AMG disappointments.

 


Kenstrosity

AMG and me

When I first applied to write for AMG, I felt terribly unconfident that I would get anywhere with it. A certain commenter’s (Septic, you scoundrel, you) and my meatspace friends’ constant, and sometimes irritating, encouragement and support conspired to keep me from chickening out. Lo and behold, I jammed my foot into the Hall door. Just. Brutal though that training was, now that I’m here and somewhat seasoned, I can say that this gig represents one of the most rewarding and meaningful hobbies in my life. I’ve learned a ridiculous amount, both about metal at large and about writing—and made an unprecedented number of great friends along the way—in the last six years (this November), and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I’m not the same person I was when I applied, of that there’s no doubt. But, I like to think that, with the support of the staff, the commentariat, the silly goofy Discordians, and all of the readers that keep this place vibrant and burgeoning with views, I’m better for it. I owe this place and the people in it a huge debt, one I can never repay. Thank you everyone, for everything!

AMG gave to me …

Sulphur Aeon - Gateway to the AntisphereSulphur Aeon // Gateway to the Antisphere – Up until discovering this review, back when I first encountered AMG in 2017, I listened almost exclusively to metalcore, Evanescence, and operatic symphocheese. Then I hit play on this incredible record, and my life forever changed. I’d heard snippets of death metal and other extreme fare before, but it never clicked. Sulphur Aeon, on the other hand, had me swooning within seconds, initiating what was, effectively, the musical equivalent of the Big Bang in my brain. A whole universe of metal, extreme and otherwise, expanded exponentially before me in an instant. Those cosmic wonders revealed to me in the process, provided endless hours of joy, excitement, and vigor, the likes of which I could never anticipate. With time, I only grew fonder of Gateway to the Antisphere, until it eventually became a Ken icon, the standard by which I judge all other records of its ilk, even today.

Slugdge // Esoteric Malacology – If you asked me to curate a Top 10 metal records of the 2010s, Esoteric Malacology easily hits my Top 3. If you asked me to curate a Top 10 metal records of all time, Esoteric Malacology easily hits my Top 5.3 Much like Gateway to the Antisphere before it, Slugdge’s fourth LP clicked immediately and, all these years later, shines just as bright, if not brighter. Rarely does a week go by without me picking this back up for some quirky, proggy death metal fun. Esoteric Malacology even transcends the trend of clumsy lyrics endemic to metal writ large, instead showcasing devilishly clever prose and subversive messaging that conveys meaningful themes, and compelling emotional depth. Then you have the stellar performances of this dynamic duo (now trio), perhaps most effectively portrayed in Song o’ the Decade contender “Putrid Fairytale,” which remains to this day my favorite piece of progressive death metal of the modern era. Needless to say, I love this record. HAIL MOLLUSCA!!!

Unfathomabe Ruination - Finitude CoverUnfathomable Ruination // Finitude – Brutal tech death doesn’t get better than this. Easily my most cherished Kronos find, Unfathomable Ruination’s unbelievable triumph of crushing artistry left me speechless when I first span it. Considering this was my first foray into the dense, challenging extremities of more technical music, I expected Finitude to fly way over my head. I found myself bewildered that its impenetrable density and ridiculously high level of detail were so effortless for me to access. Blame that on the record’s immense groove and flawlessly structured writing. With enough time to acclimate to the intense environment conjured by Unfathomable Ruination, I found greater appreciation for its nuanced detailing and deeply satisfying tones. Hell, that perfect snare alone brings enough aural pleasure to overwhelm even the coldest spirit. At the end of the day, you should just go read Kronos‘ review of this beast, as it explains, more eloquently than I ever could, why this should be on everyone’s essential listening schedule.

I wish I had written …

In This Moment – A Star-Crossed Wasteland Review. Boy was I mad when I found this piece for one of my favorite metalcore albums. While my confounding taste is the butt of many a joke for my colleagues and our readers alike, seeing a 1.0 for this record truly hurt my soft baby heart at the time. Given the chance, my assessment would’ve likely precluded me from being hired by AMG Inc in the first place, but nothing could change how dear this record is to me. Even now, over a decade since its release, I still regularly reach for these romantic, adventurous, and theatrical tunes.

I wish I could do over …

Ascend the Hollow – Echoes of Existence Review. I’ll be frank, this review is bad. Like, really bad. Partly due to the last minute nature of the piece and partly due to my unbridled enthusiasm for the record itself, I unleashed a tidal wave of unhinged band comparisons, more than half of which don’t make any sense in retrospect. An insane density of passive voice further plagues this write-up. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. The only things that wouldn’t change much are the overall score and some of the hard points of my analysis. Otherwise, this post desperately needs an overhaul.

I wish more people had read …

Into the Obscure: Straight Line Stitch – When Skies Wash Ashore. While I’m over the moon that one of the band members unexpectedly dropped by in the comments to offer kind words for my coverage of Straight Line Stitch’s excellent When Skies Wash Ashore, I do wish more readers had given this album a chance. Many didn’t bother to even read this article because of the tags, unwilling to spend even five minutes of their time. For an album personally significant to me, that felt pretty lame.

 


Holdeneye

AMG and me

What does Angry Metal Guy mean to me? Honestly, this is a question that I’m constantly trying to answer. As life goes on, and my kids enter their busy teen years, my hunger to listen to, and write about, new music has definitely waned. But there was a time when this music blog was exactly what I needed in my life. I’ve never felt totally fulfilled by my job as a firefighter, and I went through a period where I questioned whether it was actually the career for me. I considered going back to school or switching professions in order to be able to better use some of my seemingly untapped skills. I’d been reading AMG off and on for years at that point and had already fantasized about joining the roster of talented writers when a casting call came about. I answered the call, forever marring the Angry Metal archives with my questionable taste and questionable humor—and forever changing my life. Put simply, Angry Metal Guy is where I found my voice; it’s where I realized that no matter what it is that I want to say, I have a natural ability to say it in a way that seems to resonate with people. I may have dreams of writing something a little more meaningful than a heavy metal review filled with potty humor, but if that dream should one day come to fruition, all those poop, fart, and penis jokes will have been instrumental in bringing it about.

AMG gave to me …

Anaal Nathrakh // The Whole of the Law – When I first heard this record, it was unlike anything I’d ever heard. Grymm‘s review and the album’s subsequent success during List Season 2016 convinced me to give this thing a whirl, despite it lying way outside my wheelhouse. Sure, I’d enjoyed some extreme metal before, but Anaal Nathrakh was in a whole different league for me. Until The Whole of the Law, I never dreamed I could actually like something so insanely … well … insane. The project’s brand of philosophical violence hit me at a time when I was struggling to reshape my worldview after deconstructing my inherited Christian faith, and just about everything about the album’s aesthetic clicked with me. This record has fueled many a sweaty therapy session in Holdeneye‘s Iron Dungeon of Pain and Enlight(dark)enment™, and it opened me up to a whole new world of musical brutality.

Sabaton // Carolus Rex – This one will probably shock a lot of people. I was a late adopter when it came to Sabaton, and I never really gave their early records a shot because I felt the whole history-metal thing was too gimmicky. But when Angry Metal Guy and Steel Druhm gave Carolus Rex the old tag-team tongue bathing, I took notice. I think the conceptual nature of the album really helped the band’s schtick resonate with me. It was the first time an album had me running to Wikipedia to learn more about the events described in the music, and this combination of learning history and enjoying heavy metal has become the best part of every new Sabaton release since. It’s no exaggeration to say that Sabaton has become one of my favorite bands of all time, and I’ll always be grateful to this site’s malevolent dictators for showing me the way.

Candlemass // Epicus Doomicus Metallicus – If I had to choose a feature that solidified Angry Metal Guy as my go-to metal blog, it would have to be when Angry Metal Guy and Steel Druhm each curated their personal top 50 heavy metal songs of all time back in 2011.4 These features reveal a lot of each of their personalities and their tastes in music, and I found a lot in common with both lists. I used them as tools for broadening my musical horizons, but no other new-to-me album hit me as hard as CandlemassEDM. Steel recommended “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” as a ‘doom odyssey akin to Rainbow’s “Stargazer,”‘ and that was all the nudge I needed to give the full album a try. As far as I know, EDM was the first full-fledged doom album I ever loved, and it has grown into a personal desert-island record. Thanks, Boss!

I regret nothing! But I wish I could do over …

Scardust – Strangers Review. While I don’t actually wish I could do this one over, I wish I would have done it harder. Strangers is a world-class album, and it’s only gotten better in the years since its release. This should have been a 4.5, minimum, and it should have been my Album o’ the Year for 2020. I took so much delight in how divisive the album was for our beautiful commenters, and I can only imagine how much more fun it would have been to watch you guys lose it over an even higher score. Scardust is a uniquely talented band, and I really wish I could have helped insert that glowing eggplant into even more earholes.


Sentynel

AMG and me

AMG landed in my life at a pivotal time for my music taste. I stumbled into 70s classic rock and prog in my early teens, and on to Nightwish, Blind Guardian then Isis by my late teens. Searching for more, I found the Skyforger review here and, unwittingly, an endless deluge of new music. I am terribly novelty-seeking, and AMG has kept me interested in music – not for me the endless adulthood of listening to one’s teenage favorites. I’ve picked three highlights I haven’t already written anything about anywhere below, but choosing was a brutal process and I had over a dozen Desert Island Discs-worthy choices shortlisted. But the music is only part of it. Ten years of running the servers here has taught me a lot, and it’s also a source of pride how stable it’s been over that time.5 Eventually, I was talked into trying my hand at reviewing. It’s been rewarding and great for my writing more generally, even if I don’t have time to write as much as I’d like. Huge, huge thanks to Dr. Wvrm‘s editorial help and support. Finally: there’s a weird, worldwide crew of friends behind this site, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

AMG gave to me …

The Ocean - PelagialThe Ocean // Pelagial – This is the obvious choice for this spot; my favorite record of the 2010s and possibly ever. I never tire of listening to Pelagial, over a decade later. From the opening piano to the last guitar line fading into electrical noise I am transfixed. Sitting on the boundary between prog and post-metal, it’s rich, melodic, even catchy at times, crushing at others. Each of its moods and styles hits perfectly, while the narrative and thematic arc of a descent into the deep gives it an enduring coherence. It’s taken me a few attempts to actually write this piece because I keep getting distracted just listening to it. I’ll never stop seeking out new music, but contenders to Pelagial’s throne are few and far between.

Esben and the Witch // Older Terrors – Perhaps the record I reference the most while trying to explain my specific music taste. This is an incredibly me album. Sparse, hypnotic, atmospheric, Older Terrors does an awful lot with very little. The balance here is incredibly delicate. Getting music this minimalist to have real impact is hard, and the albums where it works are some of my all-time favorites. Here, the folk stylings—the sense of forests, rituals and magic—are key to its success. I associate this album with its cover art much more viscerally than anything else I listen to. It’s genuinely transportive; pressing play feels like stepping into that starlit forest.

Vienna Teng - AimsVienna Teng // Aims – Ah, how can I pass up an opportunity to write about an album that only tangentially qualifies for this section on a bunch of axes? I mentioned my love of Teng’s work in my 2023 AotY list, but I think Aims is particularly special. It’s at once incredibly catchy and poppy, yet also very experimental, and really shows off her lyrical and thematic flair. “The Hymn of Acxiom” casts an internet marketing database as a choral hymn, more relevant now than ever; “Landsailor” is a love duet between humanity and capitalism.6 These songs sit alongside more traditional themes of love and loss. They’re heavy subjects handled in a way that’s sensitive and moving. None feel out of place, and I still get them stuck in my head out of the blue regularly. Metal isn’t completely devoid of meaningful lyrics—last year’s Wayfarer did a good job here, for example—but it’s rare that I would describe anything as poetic, or that it makes me think to this degree.

I wish I could do over …

Mitochondrial SunMitochondrial Sun Review. When I penned this review, I was very new to actually writing here, and hadn’t quite figured out my voice or a writing process that really worked for me. I don’t think I did a terrible job by any means, and this isn’t the only thing I’ve underrated here either (looking at you, Musk Ox), but this record is really something special and deserved both a better review and more attention generally.

 


Huck N Roll

AMG and me

I am olde, and I am stuck in my ways. I only ever read reviews at two sites, and the first of those was AMG. When I applied to write here, I knew for sure I would not get the gig. But by some stroke of luck, AMG Himself missed my application and Steel—perhaps just wanting an equally olde curmudgeon on staff—brought me in. I loved every minute of it. Hopefully, I became a better writer, thanks to all the talented miscreants I was with. What a great group of people – the writers and the regular (and irregular) commenters. It’s certainly a regret of mine that life got in the way and I had to leave the team.

It was the actual reviews on AMG that got me hooked. They were irreverent, entertaining, and always, always brutally honest. Hands down AMG could (and still can, even with 4.0ldeneye)7 be counted on more than any other site for the TRVE review. No 5.0-pandering to labels and bands: if it sucked, it sucked, and if it was good, well, it sucked less.

You might also be surprised to learn what great people these AMG writers are because, once you get behind the review curtain, they are a bunch of sweethearts. I miss them all!8

AMG gave to me

Darkher - RealmsDarkher // Realms – The year I started with AMG, I was a deer in the headlights. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do a full year-end list, just a quick Top Ten(ish). And tops for me was Realms, from Darkher. Thanks to my good friend Grymm’s amazing writeup, I jumped on this album and never jumped off. This album got me more into doom than I’d ever been, and it’s a genre I still go to quite often (although more in the dark of winter than other times). I still spin the vinyl quite a bit. Thanks Grymm!

The Night Flight Orchestra // Amber Galactic – Another of my albums of the year that I discovered thanks to the undying admiration of my (still) good friend Dr. Fisting. Such fun. And when the guy from Bear Mace says he loves it, well, you take him seriously folks! I always read all the reviews here (still do!) and sample anything highly-rated. Amber Galactic is a big reason why.

A whole bunch of super friends // Whether they know it or not – Yes, even you, Grier!9

I wish I had written …

More YMIO features on Kiss. I did manage one for Love Gun but still, the site is sorely lacking in Kiss material.10 There should be two dozen YMIO features now.11 There should be an album ranking.12 There should be … well, maybe that’s enough.

But seriously, I wish I had written a lot more than I did in my final days. Having to cut down to two reviews a month sucked. I love finding new bands (Sermon) and writing about them, and doing it half as much, meant I was also way less engaged with the rest of the staff. So it was a double whammy. Less new music, and less camaraderie.

I wish I could do over …

RavenMetal City. If I had known the olde feller from Raven was going to pounce on the comments because I said his album was a 2.5, I would have gone lower just to get him going even more. Nothing in my AMG days made me prouder than “Off you fuck, chief” becoming the catchphrase of the year. And Steel, I never bothered listening to All Hell’s Breaking Loose but I know for a fact you overrated it!13

 

 

Show 13 footnotes

  1. Too modest here, GT, those were your doing; you were the driving force behind them and you’re a legend for it. – Carcharodon
  2. He’s not kidding. Jørn help us. – Carcharodon
  3. Um … what?! – Carcharodon
  4. Going back to these early posts is so much fun; seeing Steel respond to people respectfully while addressing them by name is simply adorable.
  5. I will now turn in my sysadmin’s accreditation as penance for tempting fate this blatantly.
  6. For something that looms quite so large, there’s precious little good music about the climate crisis.
  7. Let’s not overlook the score-inflating abilities of Thus Spoke here, either… – Carcharodon
  8. We miss you too, olde man. – Carcharodon
  9. I have some ape pelt in my eye or something… – Steel
  10. Is it tho? – Carcharodon
  11. There absolutely should not! – Carcharodon
  12. So much doubt … – Carcharodon
  13. Check your hearing aid, you geezer twitwit! – Steel
« »