In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can look right up and expect AMG to get the Record(s) o’ the Month in late. We have lives, people. Like anyone else we want to dig out toes in the sand, swig fine craft ale and hobo wine and worship the sun (except Madam X: she’s anti-Sunbather, pro-darkness [a worthy, admirable stance. – AMG]). Now that we’ve come to the realization that summer is just about over and winter is coming, we’re grudgingly ready to opine on the August albums you should be going ape over. The beauty of this time of the year is that no one is around to argue, debate or overrule my selections, so in Steel you must trust. Much panther, my friends.
Australia hates us all and wishes us nothing but ill. They demonstrate this with the never ending stream of vicious blackened thrash they pour into the oceans to poison the world’s well. Mongrel’s Cross is the latest nerve toxin weaponized by the Aussies and maliciously exported,1 brimming with thrashy nastiness, Bathory-esque Viking muscle and epic war marches on conquered, bloody shores. Psalter of the Royal Dragon Court is heavy and crushing, but also quite regal, sounding king-sized and grand. A highly impressed Mark Z gushed that “the vivid imagery this music invokes is sure to please fans of Bathory, Havukruunu, or anyone looking for an epic twist on the Australian black thrash sound.” Do you have enough Psalt in your diet? Not unless this is being served up daily you don’t. Australia once again Psalts the Earth.2
Omnium Gatherum // The Burning Cold – Not so long ago Omnium Gatherum were on a real tear, releasing several killer albums as they refined their melodeath sound to a razor-sharp edge. Grey Heavens was a set back, feeling safe and flat, but boy did they ever rebound with The Burning Cold. This is the Omnium of New World Shadows and Beyond, crafting heavy, but catchy, cuts of melodeath that hit hard and bore into the cranium, planting hooks and worms. Replete with slick harmonies and adroitly interspersed with heavy and melancholy moments, everything is working again with the OGs. Mr. the Steely Druhm was quite pleased by this development, exclaiming, “[t]his is a superior album to Grey Heavens and sees the band back in the fight to rule the genre, hopefully for a long time to come.”
Manticora // To Kill to Live to Kill – When a band tries to mix prog, power, thrash and death metal with epic song writing and bombast aplenty, things can get complicated and risky.3 Somehow Manticora pulled it all off and then some on Kill to Live to Kill. Using Blind Guardian and Iced Earth as loose reference points, the band soars into epic territory with some wild, adrenaline-soaked composition that duly impressed Eldritch Elitist, who ejaculated, “[t]hrough its excellent performances and unpredictable selection of visceral, riff-based power metal numbers, To Kill to Live to Kill has become more or less the only record I’ve wanted to listen to for the past week, and the best power metal album I’ve heard this year without question.” Strong words indeed.
Appendix I: Examples of the Rampant Abuse of Power That Angry Metal Guy Protects You from When He Is Writing the Record(s) o’ the Month Posts
The Riddle ov Steel: I’m still battling over my score for the latest album from The Eternal. On the one hand, Waiting for the Endless Dawn is good enough on a song-by-song basis to be considered a top record of the month/year, but the overall length is still a big issue for me. What is a reviewer to do? If you like depressive doom mixed with sadboy goth, just hear this and decide for yourself. I give up.