In a dramatic departure from the established AMG norm, the Record(s) o’ the Month for November arrives rather late. With all the shopping, tree trimming, eggnog funneling and Happy Metal Guy mauling, there was scant time in which to hold the dreaded staff meetings/mud pit brawls that are part and parcel of our selection process. Yes, the silly season infects even those on the mighty mountain of AMG Conglomerated Blog Emporium, and we had to scramble to get this out before the inevitable “Best of 2017” lists descend upon you like an unstoppable avalanche of refined metal tastes (Master ov Muppet‘s and SwordJørn‘s lists not withstanding). Without further preamble, let’s get to it so we can all go back to our seasonal overspending and self-loathing.
Though the votes were close and the staff divided, Converge takes the fruitcake for Best in Show with their ninth opus, The Dusk in Us. After a 5 year hiatus, it was fair to wonder what Converge had left after a long and storied career. This comeback indisputably demonstrates they’re still a relevant, powerful voice in the metal scene with much left to say. Dusk is a record Converge couldn’t have made 5 years ago, being a product of maturity and the wisdom that comes with advancing age. It’s savage and crushing, but also insightful, and at times even poignant. That’s quite a feat for a band that’s been kicking around for 25 years. As a very impressed Grymm exclaimed as he rocked into the night “It’s next to impossible, however, for a band to be around that long and not only remain vital, but continue to improve, mature, and captivate, all while remaining unflinchingly heavy, brutal, and most importantly themselves.”
Hobosexual // Monolith – Terrible name, awful album art, cheesy logo, questionable band photo and perplexing song titles, but Monolith still came within a micron of Record o’ the Month. Such is the power of Hobosexual‘s laid-back Seattle hard rock acumen. It’s not super heavy, nor rabidly aggressive, but the attitude and most importantly, the songcraft is top-notch. And the RIFFS, man, dear Lordy, the RIFFS. They’re overloaded with 100% pure rock n’ roll swagga. The kind that drinks all your expensive liquor and drives off with your significant other in a Trans-Am, leaving you with a torn up lawn and broken heart. You know you want some of that, so stop questioning your orientation and accept your Hobosexuality!
Desolate Shrine // Deliverance From the Godless Void – Considerably less upbeat than the other entries, Desolate Shrine skulks in the shadows like a loathsome creature. Gollum-core is the game, and this slimy, scab-covered amalgam of death, doom and black metal is awful to behold, but will entrance you nonetheless. It’s oppressive, ruinous and nasty, but there are enough melodic threads to follow. That makes for a harrowing but fulfilling journey into the maw of the void. As our resident thrall to the darkness, Ferrous Beuller so ably summed up, “This is the current jewel in this Finnish leviathan’s crown, whose wicked propensity for aural ugliness proves inexorably that Desolation is forever Godless, and this whole act immutably decreed.”