Record(s) o’ the Month – February 2020

Well, things certainly haven’t gone swimmingly here on Planet Earth over the past few months. We’re in the grip of a worldwide pandemic with large portions of the public in some form of lockdown as the body count rises and toilet paper supplies dwindle, and things look to get a lot worse before they get better. Nations are struggling to prepare for the tidal wave of hospitalizations and healthcare workers are the new front line soldiers as people isolate themselves and wonder what comes next. In all this insanity, it seems trivial to even bother with the Record(s) o’ the Month, but sometimes maintaining the little routines are what keeps us sane and provides a sense of stability. With this in mind, you’ll all be pleased to see the February installment arriving in fashionably late style as is the time-honored tradition. The staff of AMG hopes these next few months see you all remain safe and healthy, and we will continue to do what we can to provide a tiny escape during these trying times. Stay alive, peeps!

If ever there was a time to blast sludgy doom death with a rocking attitude, this is it. And Black Royal has made this all so easy and enjoyable with the massive and sassive Firebride. This is the sound of mega-barbarians riding steel mammoths into battle, and it will shake loose all but the most high-quality dental works. Riffs are what you get served for every meal around here. Big, meaty, burly riffs, and you will eat all you take. The songs are dense and sit on you like a boulder, but the high energy rock touch to the writing makes the songs an absolute joy to blast and re-blast. As a jubilant Ferrous penned, “Black Royal have proved that, in a burgeoning world of musical extremes, an album can still be defined by great fucking songs.” He’s not wrong, and Black Royal is very right. Immerse yourself in the soundtrack of joyous destruction.

Runner(s) Up:

Xenobiotic // Mordrake – Deathcore gets a bad wrap at times, and some of that is warranted, but when an act like Xenobiotic takes a wildly progressive swing at the style and hits a home run, you can’t deny the impact. Mordrake is, as GardensTale describes, “an absolute beast of an album, managing to hit unexpected emotional depth, musical intellect and complexity, and face-melting brutality all at the same time.” Though brimming with technical chops, the band doesn’t waste time showboating, instead opting to eviscerate with sharp riffs and enormous grooves. This is one wild, thrilling ride and “the perfect unity of heart, brains and brawn.” MOREdrake is the best Drake.

Kvaen // The Funeral Pyre – The unheralded solo project of Swedish musician Jakob Björnfot, Kvaen (affectionately known around these parts as Kevin), is a humdinger of a retro melodic black metal opus loaded with enough raw aggression and power to fell an entire forest full of corpse painted weirdos. Speed metal plays a role in the assault on The Funeral Pyre and you will welcome its fearsome battery on your ears and brain stem. As a grateful and content Cherd of Doom happily fanboyed, “These are the kind of songs that do nothing innovative, but transcend genres and remind you why you got into metal in the first place.” Get to meet Kevin. He’s a cool dude.

In an effort to save the remaining shreds of our cred make our playlists more focused, we at AMG Playlist Consolidated Conglomerations are trying something new this year. Instead of inundating you with our awful and awfully redundant tastes week after week, each month we’ll be selecting our favorite songs released the month prior. Shuffle-friendly and tailored with your listening pleasure in mind, I’m pleased to present the AMG Staff’s Songs of the Month, February 2020 edition.

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