April has come and gone and we’re just barely over halfway through May, so we’re definitely making progress toward bringing these damn Record(s) o’ the Month posts current by 2019 [Bwahahaha – AMG]. We’ve streamlined the selection process by ignoring most of the staff; instead going with a small but powerful cabal known for ever-shifting loyalties and a wobbly support base. It’s a leaner, meaner system and we can get the job done in a merely tardy way rather than a shamefully late one. Hail to authoritarianism, vote curtailment and the tyranny of the minority. Wash your handmaidens/pool boys in your whiskey and on with the record(s) show.

What, you thought this wouldn’t make it because the review was tardy? We like riding tardy! Whenever Ayreon drops an album, you know it will be a big deal with 469 guest vocalists and 233 guest musicians. The man simply doesn’t do small or simple, so naturally The Source is a big sprawling sequel to his underrated 01011001 opus. AMG spent a good deal of time soaking in the album’s Overkill green colored fluid and in the end, he found it yet another triumph of composing and arranging from Arjen Lucassen. Bringing talents like Dream Theater‘s James LaBrie, Between the Buried and Me‘s Tommy Rogers and Toehider‘s Mike Mills together and merging them into a cohesive concept album is no easy thing, but Arjen knows his craft and everyone does their part for the greater good. AMG summed it up with these wise words: “For me, The Source is a great piece of work by a guy whose tone and writing I continue to love as it develops. The music is catchy and engaging, and the entire cast delivers beautiful vocal performances.” Want good prog-metal? Go to The Source.

Runner(s) up:

Havukruunu // Kelle surut soi – Take three parts Bathory, two parts Immortal and top it off with I of newt, and you get the righteous blackened cheesecake that is Havukruunu. Olde school in a shameless way, they bring you Viking/folk metal as it was originally done, with an uncanny ability to make it catchy and addicting without sacrificing heaviness. And those riffs! This thing is a towering edifice of mammoth riffs – some battle ready, some gloomy, some peel your face off. But the best thing about Havukruunu is their ability to borrow extensively from genre progenitors while still crafting their own identity and style. As Doc Grier explained so well, “With a style synthesized by old Quorthon and made heavy as fuck by Abbath, et al., there’s no need for reinvention. All that’s needed are adjustments to the subtleties and a band willing to borrow just as much from their forefathers as forge their own path.”

Ophiuchi // Bifurcaria Bifucrcaria – We don’t see many South African metal bands get reviews here, which is a shame as the country has a pretty lively metal scene. One man band Ophiuchi escaped their nation’s obscurity cloak and managed to dazzle the good Doctor Grier with a tasty combination of black and doom metal. Featuring an eclectic style loaded with unexpected twists and turns it features nuanced nods to Alcest and Cobalt, among others. Where Ophiuchi really excels is at crafting dramatic peaks and valleys, carrying the listener from soothing tranquility to stunning blackened assaults. Confusing, challenging, brilliant. Springboks rejoice!

 

Share →
  • Rodrigo D.C.

    So early! Such an unexpected choice!

  • Dethjesta

    I’m a huge Lucassen fan, especially Ayreon and I anticipated the release of The Source with great enthusiasm. After a slightly lukewarm introduction (where I wished it was more like The Theory of Everything than 01011001) I can say that I’m a huge fan of the album and it’ll sit proudly on my shelf next to my other Ayreon records.

    But, I cannot with all honesty say It’s my favourite record of April. Kelle surut soi is just too good and, for me, should be the winner here.

  • Cool, I had missed that Ophiuchi. Very nice.

  • Shawn Cypher

    March passes, and now April… and I still don’t see Pillorian on here!

    • You wot m8?

      They’ve already said elsewhere that no one at AMG thought Pillorian amounted to much. I don’t think you’re going to see it.

      • Shawn Cypher

        It was more of a joke. I’m sure they passed over it.

        I happen to really like it though. It took about a week to grow on me though.

        Maybe I just missed Haughm’s vocals.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Not sure we ever got the promo.

  • Art Vandelay

    It’s Vampire, Craven Idol and The Riven for me but can’t argue against Ophiuchi or Havukruunu

    • Dethjesta

      That Craven Idol album is really good.

      I think April has probably been the best month for metal so far this year, albeit May might have something to say about that.

      • I got to say March, still. Wormwood’s release has yet to leave my listening cycle.

        • Dethjesta

          Yeah, Wormwood is right near the top of my favourites this year. Great record.

        • Reese Burns

          They don’t have the same sort of sound as Wormwood, but if you’re into black metal, the band Amiensus just released a really good EP called All Paths Lead to Death. I’ve been preaching about it to anyone who’ll listen.

          • I’ll absolutely check that out, thanks for the ref, I love finding new gems. Weirdly I wasn’t into black metal about 6 months ago, then I found Nechochwen and Obesquiae, now I can’t get enough.

          • Reese Burns

            I vaguely remember hearing somewhere that Obsquiae have a new record in the works, so that’s something to look forward to!

          • Finally got a chance to check out Amiensus. After one listen I’ve bought it, god it is absolutely killer! You’ve probable heard of Xanthochroid, they’re new album is coming out very soon. Keep an eye out for that one!

          • Zadion

            Amiensus is a treasure everyone needs to join in. I’ve been listening to them since I stumbled upon their debut in early 2013 and every one of their releases is incredible.

          • Reese Burns

            Fun fact, I was actually the first person outside of the band/label to hear their new EP! They saw me fanboying over Ascension on Instagram, and let me hear it to give them some feedback. They’re some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, really polite and down to earth. And like you said, all their albums are winners

  • Thatguy

    Where is Brutalist_Receptacle? I can’t figure out how to do bold.

    Whatever.

    NO!

    • Iain Gleasure

      you do first b at the start of the text and 2nd b at the end
      The brackets can’t have spaces between them but won’t show up otherwise to show you. So write and without spaces.

      • [not a Dr]

        Using html tags on a web page… who would have thought?
        Did you put the spaces there because escape characters won’t work?

        • Iain Gleasure

          they just didnt show up in the comment otherwise. bit of an issue when trying to show something.

          • [not a Dr]

            now I have to try…
            <b>bacon ipsum</b>

            [edit]
            less than () is escaped to &gt;

            (I had to meta-escape ampersand (&) to post this… &amp;)

          • what is happening

          • [not a Dr]

            There seems to be no escape from the Disqus app…
            Edge and Chrome understand the escape characters, but the Disqus app recursively unescapes everything…
            That’s why I stick to back-end development. The IT equivalent of a proctologist (if I happened to be a doctor).
            Does that not answer the not question you almost asked?

          • sir_c

            We’ve had users suggesting that reviews should be written in Haskell. Are you now suggesting that we should make our own python scripts to post comments?

      • Thatguy

        Thanks.

        But I think I will leave it to BR.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      ME LURN HYPOTECTS GUD SOME DAY

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Not Alestorm?????

    • Dethjesta

      That’ll be Record of the Month for May – you’ll see.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Just for the Fucked With An Achor track alone lol

        • Shawn Cypher

          That song got made me buy the album. I’ve never even really even interested in Alestorm before.

          But it made my drive to and from work today very happy!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Song of the year!

      • [not a Dr]

        It better be

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Not a chance.

      • You mean June. Gosh, some people just do not understand the “schedule.”

        • You wot m8?

          Does anyone really understand the “schedule”?

          • See Heisenberg.

          • sir_c

            As soon as you know what the AOTM is, it is gone

          • Precisely.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            You’ve solved the case!

        • The Akerstache

          Oh shit!

          That means it’s gonna be Alestorm vs Jorn for the coveted RotM of June!

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    Blackened Cheesecake. Worst. Dessert. Ever….or best?

  • VikingSchism

    Once my damn exams are over, I’ll get round to listening to Havukruunu, from what I’ve heard it’s good though

    • ssorg

      It really is that good. Instant classic.

      • jrichocean

        yea… not even just this album though. both albums are super hella solid

  • Diego Molero

    I haven’t got around on any record from April yet, still busy with Venenum (who, i’ll say it again, should have been RotM for March.) I have some homework to do.
    Background looks cool though.

  • Sophocles

    What about Fjoergyn?

    • Akerblogger

      Only albums that were reviewed by the site get entered into the lucky draw, I think.

      That Fjoergyn album is immense though, you’ll definitely see a TYMHM post about it near the year’s end.

      • Drew Music

        Oh, how I look forward to those. They, along with everything else about this site, more than justify the tardiness of RotM’s.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I listened to the first few tracks of Lvcifer es, but the speak-singing style turned me off.

  • Sean Sky

    Haven’t heard any of these. Time to check them out (after I’m done listening to Austral Alien).

  • 1 Screaming Dizbuster

    Ancient Ascendant with their Death/Black/Traditional metal blend took top honors for April in my book

    • lennymccall

      Yep great stuff!

    • Liked this one too

  • Ta2dlam

    I’ve been listening to, and spreading the word about, Hakukruunu since you introduced me to them. All great choices for Record(s) o’ the month!

  • Eli Valcik

    Another month, another crime against black metal!

    • Drew Music

      As it should be. It’s when black metal is cool that we get Deafhipsters and the like, best to keep things underground.

      • Eli Valcik

        Yeah, I guess we don’t need anymore ghostbaths

        • Drew Music

          Well, I have mixed feelings there as I actually love Moonlover by them, but I understand why they’d be an appropriate reference point and agree with you nonetheless. Their last album was just… Ugh.

        • Reese Burns

          But… Ghost Bath are cool though…

          • Eli Valcik

            They think they are cool.

          • Reese Burns

            That’s like, your opinion, man…

            :(

          • Eli Valcik

            It is and I’m certainly not cool soooooo

          • Drew Music

            Nah man, I’m with Mr E on this. I love Moonlover, fucking love it, but I do not respect Ghost Bath as a band. Anything can sound good in the moment, but consistency is a dying art and so far ole GB do not deliver.

          • Drew Music

            Accurate. Unpleasant to acknowledge, but valid and fair.

  • lennymccall

    It’s all about that sweet new Worm Witch for me!! Gonna be up there with Record(s) o’ the Year I’m sure.
    If you dig Black Anvil these guys are right up your alley.
    But that’s May not April…Doh!

    • Joshua Walker

      The Black Anvil album is one of my favorites this year. Looking forward to checking out Worm Witch. Thanks!

  • Drew Music

    No justice, no peace.
    Rabble rabble Dødsengel rabble rabble Havukruunu rabble rabble Nightbringer rabble rabble.
    Rabble.

  • I have come to loathe rather than look forward to these. Congrats!

  • Luis Onieva Marenco

    Great choice. The Source is quite awesome, Arjen at his best. Although I miss the tenderness showed in TToE and Gentle Storm, this return to the contained bombasticness is sooo welcome. Been hooked since its release and assisting to the show on September.

    • Artander

      Contained bombasticness. Sweet.
      Spillage in sight though.

      • Luis Onieva Marenco

        Is my english that bad? :(

  • AnnieK13

    Good choice, though I think the Havukruunu just edges it out for me but I think the Ayreon may well stick with me longer…

  • Mollusc

    I’m going to have to try to listen to hours of self-conscious rock singers over-emoting sub-school project lyrics about “starblades”. (I’m not).

    • Artander

      Do yourself a favor, skip that one :)

      • Mollusc

        Yeah… I sort of listened through once, not feeling like I want to revisit…!

  • KaLam1ty

    Phew.. January we had to stare at a sweaty man’s back all month.

    Thankfully, your cover placement is more strategic this time – else we’d be seeing another nude dood, but with a tube stuck in his butt.

    Seriously though, why no Jef Bertels, Arjen :( ?!

  • Joshua Walker

    I just finished listening to the Havukruunu album before reading the article. It is definitely one of my favorites thus far. About to check out Ophiuchi. Thanks!

  • mtlman1990

    Havukruunu is an instant classic. Definitely the ROTM

  • Mike Mills seriously makes this album work.

  • Nukenado

    The background finally isn’t black!
    The album art actually fits in with the layout of the page pretty well…

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Any chance of getting a review of the new Solstafir?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      You know it!

  • Tofu muncher

    Hard as it is, I had to turn off Gino Vannelli’s Nightwalker, and gave The Source whose review appeared in late May another spin, and wondered why Lich King wasn’t on the list.

  • Heldarc

    The Source is 2.5 for me. I love Ayreon, heard everything from him, but this album sounds like random Avantasia album. Characters are completely flat ( almost every sentence from lyrics could be sang by any character and nobody would notice ) and while lyrics are not as embarrassing as on Theory, they leave me completely cold and present the story in a uninteresting and superficial way. I want epicness from Ayreon

    Yeah and music is fine.

    • Artander

      1.0 actually, according to definitions.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    Weird how last year’s choice for ROTM in April was also an amazing progressive metal record with a green cover.

    • Artander

      Affinity? Amazingly boring, yes.

      • El_Cuervo

        I defer to your True Metal Headdom. Which other albums amazingly bore you?

        • Artander

          Sorry, did not mean to be insulting. Many RotMs I find boring (Soen, DT, Khemmis come to mind) and sometimes offensive (Ayreon, Pain of Salvation). I just don’t get it. Haken’s Mountain I listened to over and over, but Affinity felt like a dud. Lots of stuff that gets praised at AMG feels at best cliche or nostalgic and sometimes plainly off -to my ears at least. Although I enjoy the format of the blog and the dedication of the community I am feeling more and more that this may not be my cup of tea after all. Kronos does make some good point but isn’t he more marginal ?

  • rumour_control

    This is how the Goths got through the gates.

  • Alex Benedict

    just want to let you all know that Shadow of intent’s reclaimer was the best metal album of april

  • Artander

    Just when you thought Dream Theater was the last word in pomp and bombast, here enter the true masters of self-importance. Puffed up flatulent metal. AMG is back with another great catch to laugh at and help us realize how wrong some can get.

  • 12tonehead

    James LaBrie? Talent? He’s not doing vocals?

  • Orry Messer

    Hell yeah, nice to see some Saffers here