Below you have my Record(s) o’ the Month for July of 2018 drawn from July’s embarrassment of riches. Normally, July is a throw-away month. It’s the heart of festival season—everyone is torturing me with their pictures from Wacken and GenCon right now—and labels are careful about releasing new stuff. So it was a happy surprise that there was an intense crop of stand-out records that we enjoyed here at Angry Metal Guy Industries, LLP.1 Alas, we can only choose so many and—alas (for everyone but me)—my will is law.
As usual, I look forward to your wailing and gnashing of teeth. If I’m really honest with myself, I am willing to admit that the only thing I love more than myself and metal are the pitiful tears of commenters getting a taste of their own discussion-derailing opinions.
“Oh, snap!” the kids would have said 15 years ago when I was last aware of what the kids would have said, “this fuckin’ record is the bomb!” And Michael Romeo‘s War of the Worlds, Pt. 1 is, indeed, explosive. It explosively demonstrates the clever mind and incendiary fingers of metal’s finest composer. Topped with a high-flying debut vocal performance from Rick Castellano, War of the Worlds, Pt. 1 is an album packed with powerful reminders of the magnificent musical mastery that we take for granted as metal fans. But the real lesson of War of the Worlds, Pt. 1—beyond the details and virtuosity—is that the long-play album is far from needing a five-LP-excessi-fest to save it. Romeo and company decisively prove just how good an album can be by crafting a brilliantly-paced, craftily-composed, and expertly-played concept album. To quote my first digital tongue-bath: “Michael Romeo doesn’t just shred or craft riffs, he composes metal symphonies that one can either admire for their depth or just bang your head to.”
Obscura // Diluvium — Diluvium marks a return to form by tech death’s most controversial band.2 I didn’t realize just how controversial they were until I said I liked this record, and then I was overwhelmed by the too-cool-for-popular-bands crowd in the comment field (hi Kronos). But fuck those guys: Diluvium delivers a shot in the teeth from a band that seems to have renewed vigor, vim and possibly humors. From the word go, Diluvium drops sick riff after sick riff, incredible solos, ridiculous fretless gymnastics, and as much vocoder as they could fit before getting sued by Cynic. It’s an intense, entertaining album that demonstrates Obscura at their best. “Diluvium may be my favorite Obscura record yet,” I trumpeted in my long af review, and “[w]hile there’s no mistaking Obscura for anything other than they have become—a techy, and occasionally proggy, death metal band—Diluvium is a significantly more focused and tighter album than its predecessors.” And that makes for a fantastic listen.
Parius // The Eldritch Realm — In a normal July, The Eldritch Realm would probably have been Record o’ the Month. The Eldritch Realm is a proggy melodic death album with a ton of great ideas. In fact, so much to love that I just found myself coming back to it and I finally purchased it. At a sweet 29 minutes, The Eldritch Realm delivers a B-horror themed grower that is laced with sharp riffs, off-the-wall performances, and a list of comps ranging from Obscura to Between the Buried and Me to The Black Dahlia Murder. Yet Parius, as The Eldritch Elitist recognized, “still totally sound like their own thing. [They are] at once aggressive, groovy, goofy and nerdy, yet somehow utterly cohesive.” And this “dense, commanding sound is extremely well-suited for such a short LP as it covers a surprising amount of ground in a mere half hour.” Short and sweet, with great timing, tone and a display of good taste, Parius‘ The Eldritch Realm doesn’t take itself too seriously. And it’s that last point where the band and I disagree. I think we should take Parius very seriously.