Record(s) o’ the Month – February 2022

2022 is barely underway and the badly mistreated AMG Score Safety Counter is already reeling from numerous body blows and headshots. That either means the AMG staff is composed of chronically overrating bastards or the year is off to a really good start, probably a bit of both. February had its share of high points and some will likely reappear on the year-end listery. Allow us to refresh your recollection as to what was shaking and baking back in those crazy days of February, which seem so long ago (because this piece is way late).

What can you say about Immolation that hasn’t been said already over their highly successful and startingly consistent run of albums beginning in 1991. No death metal act has been as reliably great for so long, and 11th album Acts of God shows the state of their infernal union is strong. Their carefully curated sound is still massive and terrifying, and their style is still capable to crushing your soul even as it excites your inner demons. Dissonance plays of hooks and strong writing to deliver another slab of dense ugliness that somehow feels listenable and weirdly addictive. As our resident expert in ugly things Ferrous Beuller opined, “Immolation have learned to compound their basic formula for increasingly galvanized results. And results like Acts of God are hard to deny. Any fan of the band or genre will find plenty to swoon over here, and those that don’t are, frankly, trying too hard.” Don’t be a try hard and don’t resist Acts of God.

Runner(s) Up:

Cult of Luna // The Long Road North – Another long-running act seemingly immune to the ravages of AMG’s Law of Diminishing Recordings, Cult of Luna continue to plow new paths through the metaverse, this time heading northward. The Long Road North is gloriously burdened with vision and ambition, and talented enough to see their dreams through to fruition via the adroit use of sludge and post-metal. Atmosphere plays of crushing heaviness and the dramatic ebb and flow drags the listener through musical white waters, out of control yet carefully guided. No wonder a gushing Carcharodon boldly stated, “Cult of Luna have delivered possibly the best album of their much-vaunted career.“ Big stuff from olde dawgs.

Pure Wrath // Hymn to the Woeful Hearts – A one-man black metal project from Indonesia, Pure Wrath takes an unusual slant on Hymn to a Woeful Heart, examining the repercussions from the mass killings that wracked Indonesia in the 1960s. With such a grim background to work with, founder/mastermind Ryo borrows from Winterfylleth and Marrasmieli to deliver a captivating mix of melancholy and rage. So much so that a well impressed Twelve declared, “Hymn to the Woeful Hearts evokes morning, hopeful, and even adventurous atmospheres and makes it seem effortless. This is an album you can get lost in, an album that demands nothing less than your full attention at all times to get the most from it.” Powerful feelz.

 

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