Another month, another spectacularly late Record(s) o’ the Month. At this point, can’t we just agree if you get it at all, it’s timely? As for February, it was a respectable month o’ metal with enough candidates for the top spots to make for a contentious selection, and no matter what we picked, some faction was going to have grievances. Since we’re a grievance type of website, we soak that shit up like craft beer and virgin’s blood. And to be completely honest, none of you are in a position to complain anyway since whatever record we choose will result in significantly less back sweat and man-bunage adorning the site. Count your lucky stars and send all complaints, concerns and unpleasant comments to Metalsucks.com.
Formed from the ashes of the highly underrated Chicago thrash act, Trials, Black Sites is like a boot in the ass to a scene drowning in retro and nostalgia-core. Taking the riff-driven, modern sound of Trials and adding more groove and an extra dose of melody, Black Sites rumbles along in an unhurried mid-tempo full of heft and swagger. The music flirts with the heavy groove elements of vintage Down and Floodgate, but this is no bayou stoner metal, no sirree, Bob. Though the sound is definitely modern, the material isn’t afraid to give nods to the old school, and more than any recent album I can recall, it seems every listener hears elements of their own favorite acts buried in the mix. The strength of In Monochrome is the song craft, and every cut brims with sharp riffs and hooks, all without ever feeling commercial or poppy. AMG Himself summed it up this way: “In Monochrome is unapologetically modern, but it has two feet firmly planted in the feel(s) of yesteryear. And it is the feeling of being a traditional metal album—without being remotely derivative—which makes In Monochrome an excellent album.” This is one underground act that deserves more exposure and attention, so give it to them!
Immolation // Atonement – What needs to be said about Immolation at this point in their lengthy career. They’ve been one of, if not the most dependable of death metal acts over the decades and have yet to drop a dud album. Atonement is another above-average slab of chunky, ugly death featuring everything fans love about the band. The creepy but epic sound is there along with those wicked off-kilter riffs, and this time the songs are slowed down to a more grinding, pulverizing pace, allowing the atmosphere to truly unsettle and disturb. As Ferrous Beuller wisely pointed out, “A rigid sense of self resounds on this record, an identity that continuously enables the band to produce exemplary and unique death metal almost 30 years after their inception.” In short, after all these years, Immolation still has nothing to atone for.
Persefone // Aathma – When a tag reads “Andorran Metal,” people are sure to react with a puzzled “whazthat?” Forget the geographic location, because all one needs to know about Persefone is that they create some of the best prog-metal out there today. Ferrous Beuller, who got too many high-quality albums in February, described the band well as “Cherry picking the best parts of acts as diverse as Symphony X, Opeth, Arcturus and even Pain of Salvation, whilst focusing them through an unmistakably melodeath filter….” As hard as that may be to wrap one’s head around, the music is nothing short of amazing – walking the line between technical and emotional as few bands can. Persefone is on a major run of great albums and Aathma will make quite a few year-end lists. Do not miss it, you wank-lovers.