Record(s) o’ the Month – January 2022

New year, same late Record(s) o’ the Month bullshit. And we don’t even have some lame-ass excuse this time, as there was no doubt which album would be awarded Best in Show this month. Rigged selections aside, January was typically lethargic release-wise. A few big moments and a stack of okay-to-forgettable driftwood dumped in the promo bog and left to fester. The best stuff stood out all the more due to the underwhelming release schedule. So here be the goods, delivered in tardy but always sincere fashion.

Long the creative darlings of a small cadre of elitist AMG staffers, Wilderun came back to shock and awe the faithful with fourth album, Epigone, earning a second consecutive perfect score in the process. Their classically-inflected symphonic melodeath is as polished and grandiose as ever, pulling out all the stops to beat the listener over the head with high-level musicianship. As barely restrained fanboy El Cuervo gushed, “It is masterful; each constitute element, from the instrumentation, to the song-writing, to the album’s composition, is thoughtfully arranged and perfectly balanced to forge what must be the most complex yet cohesive record since the last Wilderun record. It seems a ridiculous assertion to make in the first week of 2022 but I have already experienced the year’s best music.” That last bit might be somewhat over-the-top, but there’s no denying the quality present on Epigone. Expect this one to be reviewed several more times during 2022 because reasons.

Runner(s) Up:

Necrophagous // In Chaos Ascend – Sweden’s Necrophagous hit the ground hard with their monstrous In Chaos Ascend debut. Blending the best parts of Morbid Angel, Vader and Hate Eternal, they wield a death hammer of enormous mass. Aggressive and hostile, loaded with slithery, discordant riffs and short proggy side quests, the Necrophagous sound is both heavy and surprisingly hooky for a full-throttled death metal platter. One blazing ode to the Elder Gods follows another, and soon you feel yourself growing loathsome tentacles of your very own. Even the ever frugal Steel Druhm was heard to utter, “In Chaos Ascend is a rabid beast on a rampage, and death aficionados will find much here to love.” Snakes on a brain.

Aethereus // Leiden – Straight outta Tacoma comes the tech-death madness of Aethereus on second outing, Leiden. The band wisely eases the listener into things with gradually building extremity, building toward a full display of what their style can do to the ear canals, with events spiraling into utter chaos by the shocking conclusion. Techincal as Hell, talented as fook, and showing vast improvement since their debut, Aethereus are in full control on this release. As a well impressed Holdeneye mused, “With this, their sophomore album, Aethereus have proven that they deserve to have their name uttered whenever and wherever progressive/technical death metal’s strongest bands are being discussed.” Keep Tacoma techy!

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