Record(s) o’ the Month – June 2020

The June Record(s) o’ the Month post is tardy because of: a) the pandemic, b) generalized global unrest, c) internal staff conflict. Pick your own legitimate excuse. Whatever you go with, it’s definitely not because the AMG staff is dilatory or shiftless. No, we’re as hard at work now as we are at any other time of the year. Take that as you will. June was a good enough month to cause minor fussing and feuding among the vacation-minded drones who skulk the halls at AMG HQ bemoaning deadlines. Democracy once again showed its intrinsic limitations, and so the final selections were made by divine edict, albeit at least partially supported by a near plurality of the ever-disgruntled, unwashed mob (our bathroom facilities were accidentally destroyed maliciously). Cherish these albums dearly and clutch them tightly to your bosoms, because you just never know when there will be no more wax left to burn on mankind’s collective candle.

Delivering a concentrated dose of melodic, symphonic black metal that manages to sound fresh and vital, Valdrin’s Effigy of Nightmares narrowly stole the thunder to win the top spot for June. With nods to the glory days of Emperor, the searing melodies of Dissection, a concept about a hellish hospice, and more atmosphere than 6 Vincent Price horror films, what’s not to love about Valdrin’s sick travelogue brochure? This is what Carach Angren should be doing, but the little band from Ohio that could has gone and stole all their horror thunder and had it involuntarily committed. Menace and terror lurk around every corner and grab at your from behind every trem riff as you stumble through the darkened corridors of your most dreaded dreams. As a duly impressed Holdeneye proclaimed, “The level of variety and depth contained within this short album is simply astounding, giving it the feel of an immersive epic without demanding the time commitment typical of such things.” This is the only hospice you’ll ever want to visit regularly.

Runner(s) up:

Ulthar // ProvidenceUlthar’s sophomore platter generated a lot of buzz around the AMG hobo wine cooler, with several staff members unable or unwilling to stop singing its death metal charms. And it is quite a killdozer of a release, smartly balancing brutality with technicality without forgetting to add enough melody to make it all go down relatively smoothly. Providence is a vast improvement over the band’s debut, and the material pops and sizzles with nasty and aggressive inspiration. El Cuervo summed up his impressions with this fanboy gush: “It isn’t just one of the best death metal records of the year, but is one of the best records of the year, full stop.”

Pale Divine // Consequence of TimePale Divine has been a reliable purveyor of retro biker doom for years, but with the addition of a second vocalist and guitarist, their material entered a whole new realm. Consequence of Time merges the weight of classic Sabbathian doom with the 70s prog sound of acts like Yes with stunning results. The material flies higher than anything the band has done prior, the guitar-work is stellar, and the hooks run deep. It’s always a blast to see a band step things up late in their career and with Consequence of Time, Pale Divine has finally ascended to the big leagues of doom. As I wisely expressed in my insightful review, “I can’t proclaim this the doom album of the year just yet, but I have a suspicion it will be tough to knock off the stage.” DOOM!

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, June 2020 edition.

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