Record(s) o’ the Month – August 2022

November is just around the corner, but before thoughts turn to turkey and giving thanks, we should probably address the elephant in the room. That pachyderm is the Record(s) o’ the Month for August (2022). Why would this sunny summer installment be so late? Because we are so busy living in the present! We simply cannot spare time to dwell on the past. This is how the staff gets through the daily trauma inflicted by Management and Editors, and this is the mantra that keeps AMG going: do NOT dwell on the past. Move forward! The past is but a sadistic demon eagerly waiting to show you home movies of your failures and disappointments. Who has time for that? With that out of the way, do you have a few moments to dwell on the past, friend?

Toxik was a latecomer to the 80s thrash phenomenon with their World Circus debut arriving in 87. By then the seminal works of Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth had already hit the streets, but that didn’t mean Toxik was treading water. Their hyperactive, mega-technical take on thrash was hard to ignore and they got their share of attention. After a short but intense run, they vanished and didn’t start releasing material again until 2017. Dis Morta is the second of their “comeback” albums and boy howdy what a comeback! Dis Morta takes the core Toxik sound and runs it through a battery of weird science experiments to create a thrashing, smashing juggernaut beyond the control of its creators. It’s as if classic Watchtower ran headlong into Atheist and Nevermore, and that is a strange beastoid indeed. So much wild energy, so many unpredictable twists and turns, and things are kept surprisingly heavy. It’s technical as all Hell but the songs are not wank fests. It’s manic, loony. and most importantly, tons of fun. As a stunned Holdeneye gasped, “Not only is Dis Morta a great modern thrash album, it also stands to please fans of the groove-oriented progressive metal of bands like Nevermore and The Offering.”

Runner(s) Up:

Early Moods // Early Moods – Terrible moniker aside, newbie L.A. outfit Early Moods came out of nowhere to drop a raging throwback retro doom platter on us. Borrowing heavily from 80s legends like Pentagram, Saint Vitus, and Witchfinder General, this bunch of well-heeled youngsters show how to get down and doomy in a way that’s outright uncanny. The band easily captures and distills the essence of 80s doom and lovingly reanimates it for a second chance at life. Songs like “Return to Salem’s Gate” scream early 80s doom and press all the buttons for long-time genre freaks. Listening to this album is like activating a time machine with bonus hot tub, and the doom love runs like an everflowing scream. No one expected this and there is no reason why this ended up so good. As a gobsmacked Steel Druhm gruffly huffed, “Early Moods may be the coolest, weirdest surprise so far in 2022, coming out of nowhere and clobbering me with high-quality throwback doom that falls just short of greatness.” Doom abides.

Liminal Shroud // All Virtues Ablaze – Atmospheric black metal gets a bad rap these days due to some genre stagnation and a propensity to ignore the concept of RIFFS, but sometimes everything falls just right. Case in point, All Virtues Ablaze by Canada’s Liminal Shroud. Rather than moody and ambient, All Virtues Ablaze is harsh and confrontational in tone, brutally attacking the listener rather than lulling them into babycakes sleepytime. Bits of classic heavy metal thunder dot the landscape providing an epic feel to the brutish knocking about. Add some majestic Agalloch-esque moments and you have something checking a lot of black boxes. Our own water-based staffer Carcharodon gushed, ” Everything that was Great! about the last record remains present on All Virtues Ablaze but we find Liminal Shroud growing as songwriters and musicians, adding more facets and grandeur to their sound.” Sometimes atmoblack isn’t atmobutt.


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