October has been a busy month here at the AMG offices. With the n00bcrew in full swing and a harried management team enforcing the new dresscode—yes, you have to wear trousers at work!—October has been busy. And it has been weird. While there were lots of records that people liked, there wasn’t a ton that the staff agreed on. Fortunately, there’s only one Opinion that’s Very Important™ around here: mine! And so, with all the narcissistic excess of a guy who started and runs an eponymous blog, I present to you three albums from October of 2018—a month where a single release date (the 26th) had 126 metal albums released—that I have declared the month’s very best.
I need to figure out how to boil all that grandiosity down into a pithy epitaph for when Druhm finally kills me for not making his favorite album the Record o’ the Month.
Gorod‘s Æthra checks three boxes for me. First, it is an excellent continuation of the band’s development as a premier technical death metal act. On top of that, Gorod doesn’t stand still. Æthra shows the Frenchmen developing a sound that blends in a variety of influences and still comes off as biting and sharp as their previous albums. Gorod came back from their slumber with an album chock full of sick riffs, invigorating songs and a bunch of new ideas. So, while I miss some of the elements that the band used so effectively on past releases—particularly the jazziness—Æthra is anything but disappointing. Second, the more I listen to the guitar work on Æthra, the more I think of Anata, which is as high a compliment as I can give a tech death band. As a fan of virtuoso guitar work, Gorod‘s axemen have delivered a feast of ridiculous solos and riffs of which I cannot get enough.1 Third, and last, I want to stare at this art for the next month because I love it.2 Put it all together and Æthra was the obvious record to award one of our highest honors.3
Eneferens // The Bleakness of Our Constant – Eneferens is that rare one-man act that sounds like a full band and The Bleakness of Our Constant certainty packs the talent of a slick collective. The Bleakness of Our Constant is a near perfect amalgam of black, doom, melodeath and post-metal, set in a beautifully morose soundscape full of places you will want to go and revisit often. Rich in atmosphere and emotion, Bleakness takes the best elements of each genre and forges a breathtaking, heartbreaking piece of art that you will be happy to be tortured and depressed by. As an awestruck Ickle Druhmmykins gushed, “the overall blend of styles is impressively conceived and executed with great care and skill, resulting in an album of striking beauty, grace, and depth.” Fortunately for him, The Bleakness of Our Constant is the perfect music to sulk to when given the news that despite his accurate assessment of the album’s quality, Eneferens didn’t win the top spot.
Into Eternity // The Sirens — Of all the releases that dropped in October, I think that I was most surprised and pleased with The Sirens. Canadaland’s Into Eternity awoke after a decade’s slumber to produce a remarkable new foray into their unique brand of progressive metal. With Amanda Kiernan at the helm, The Sirens establishes the fact that Into Eternity still has it in ’em. And if we’re frank, they sound better than ever. Kiernan’s vocals are a step up for the band; The Sirens is mixed with a rougher, tougher sound, which sharply contrasts their overly-polished mid-2000s production. Lokasenna was right when he declared that The Sirens finds Into Eternity “firing on all creative cylinders, with engaging twin-guitar riffage and drum work all around.” It’s nice to see them regaining—even overtaking—their old form with so many new moving parts. The Sirens was a quiet standout from October, and you should give Into Eternity another listen.
- Does anything rob the phrase “I can’t get enough of it!” of energy and enthusiasm quite like making sure that the preposition doesn’t come at the end of the sentence? It’s got all the pop and excitement of a person who celebrates winning the lottery by declaring: “I am excited. As, of course, one might expect given the probability of winning this enormous sum of money and the changes this will precipitate regarding my standard of living. I intend to book a brief sabbatical to Disney Land.” ↩
- It really reminds me of Obsidian’s terribly underrated game Tyranny. ↩
- A second public acknowledgment that I do, indeed, like it. I really like it. ↩