If I’d thought further ahead, I’d have come up with a fantastic joke about the fact that we’re releasing this February edition of the Record(s) o’ the Month on the 29th of February—that’s right, a leap year. This seldom-occurring date is, of course, special in a lot of different ways and made even more special by the fact that I am once again delivering the Record(s) o’ the Month on time. Well, not just on time, but early. Despite everything—and literally I have so much to do because I spent nearly ⅔ of February fucking sick—I am bucking up and telling you what the best record o’ the month for February was. And you should probably have seen these coming…
I once again have shown that I hate mainstream metal and big labels out of hand and unfairly trash their records by giving a super positive review to Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s King and naming it Record o’ the Month. Ha! That’ll show ’em! My flippant disregard for commercially viable death metal has finally met its match in Italy’s death metal equivalent to Rhapsody: operatic, epic, energetic and excellent. Aside from my discomfort with the way that the band has described the King character as being something more akin to being a lion-for-a-day than a lamb-for-a-century—if you get my stage winks—the music carries this album to heretofore unseen places in Fleshgod‘s career. And that the songwriting and the album flow carry King is a welcome change of pace. Indeed, as I gushed so emphatically, “King is far more than a neoclassical Hour of Penance; it’s a masterclass in blending death metal energy and power with sophisticated composition.” Fixing the drums, getting a great producer to handle the crushed-ass master, and writing awesome songs makes King my favorite record from February and so far the best thing I’ve heard this year.
Hyperion // Seraphical Euphony — Having not listened to Seraphical Euphony twenty-five times, I still am putting it in the #2 spot February. But let’s be absolutely clear, Hyperion‘s debut record is an immense and powerful piece of work. Rarely is there the kind of unity in the Angry Metal Offices as we’re seeing form around Seraphical Euphony, and our very own Diabolus in Muzaka was so excited, he firmly put his cart before his unicorn: “As the record fades out for the twenty-fifth time as I write this, I can confidently say that Seraphical Euphony will be the best record released in 2016. While this is certainly a massive victory for the lads in Hyperion, it’s a bigger victory for us listeners; we have a timeless triumph put to tape, our Sulphur Aeon for 2016, a new classic we’ll remember fondly years down the line.” And maybe he’s right?
Rogash // Malevolence — I, too, miss Vomitory. The guys from Rogash feel the same way (I assume), and have put out an album which chock full of sick fucking riffs, hyper-condensed death metal production, and plenty of brutal to go around. When I first heard this I knew it would be special, if for no other reason than it isn’t being advertised as “Old School Death Metal.” And sure, it’s got kind of terrible cover art, but driving, brutal death metal without “technical” aspirations like Malevolence is way too few and far between these days. Grymm gave Rogash a thumbs up and a prediction: “These hooks are massive, the groove is insane, and Rogash could end up taking pits around the world over by storm pretty soon.”
Deserves a Mention, But Didn’t Get Reviewed (Yet)
Myrath // Legacy — If I’d received promo of Myrath‘s Legacy any sooner, this probably would have ended up on the list. Released on the 12th of February worldwide, Legacy sees Myrath dropping the Dream Theater worship and going full-on into Tunisian Metal brilliance. The record clocks in at 56 minutes but is an entertaining listen from start to finish; like a power metal Orphaned Land with more orchestral influences and no death metal. Laced with swooping orchestrations, wild vocal acrobatics, and a film-score sound—in the best possible sense—it’s tough not to believe that I’ll be coming back to Legacy quite a lot going forward. These guys have sharpened their sound and it’s a sound I really like.
Editor’s Official Proclamation of Extreme Grievance: I, Steel Druhm, take great personal umbrage at the inexcusable exclusion of the new Anthrax album from this list. I seek immediate redress for this highly improper anti-New York bias and will not be satisfied with anything less than a full public apology and/or a large bag of cash (U.S. dollars only).