It’s good to be Angry Metal Guy. Sure, there are some downsides—mostly the hate mail I get from people who don’t realize that we actually have multiple writers, so I don’t simultaneously hate and love black metal, grindcore, power metal, or anything -core—but mostly there are upsides. For example, I can sweep in once a month, leave a single post declaring my favorite record that was released during that month, and then scuttle on my way, fat on the work of my inferiors (and a decade of Taco Bell drive through in the middle of the night). Hell, I can be 29 days late with my one assignment, and it’s celebrated! In no other job is someone’s inability to turn in their work on time turned into merchandise and an ongoing thread on his very own forum. And let me ask you a question: could I be any more venal, lazy, and irresponsible than I already am? Why, of course! I’m about to nominate a Record o’ the Month for May that was actually released in April.
Alright, now after I’ve made a reference that about 2 of our readers actually recognize, here we go…
Wilderun‘s Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is a record akin to Angry Metal Guy’s “Goldilocks Zone.” Everything about this record is just right—like some kind of gorgeous, epic synthesis of Opeth and Turisas into one, beautiful album. Like so many things that I absolutely adore, Wilderun lives in the best of many worlds, balancing orchestral, epic metal with folky strains and wandering—with a gusto—into black metal territory, or even thrashy melodeath. We already had a 900 word review of this on the site, so I should probably calm down here. It’s not often that an unsigned band produces Record o’ the Year material that makes it to our desks, but thanks to the Angry Metal Guy forums, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth has been on pretty much constant rotation since I first heard it. Let me just quote El Cuervo to sum up: “There isn’t much more I can say which hasn’t already vehemently spewed forth from my frothy, gnashing mouth, but you owe it to yourself as a fan of heavy metal to own this.”
Pyramaze // Disciples of the Sun – A long awaited album, a new singer and new sound and Pyramaze is still gold in the (non-Greek) bank. Taking their prog-power metal in the direction of recent Pagan’s Mind and Anubis Gate, these Danish dynamos effortlessly shake off seven years of rust and deliver what Steel Druhm calls “an absolutely brilliant slab of hooky prog-power and easily one of the best albums of 2015.” And you know it must be good since there isn’t one sword-wielding barbarian on the cover and Steel still digs it. Profoundness (profundity?) abounds.
Arcturus // Arcturian – Much beloved avant guardians, Arcturus have been out of the limelight for too long and 2015 finally sees them back bringing that weirdness they bring so well. With Hellhammer and I.C.S Vortex steering the ship, Arcturian is still strange, but a bit more accessible than the wacko platters of old, though spontaneity and risk-taking are still the watchwords. A satisfied Dr. A.N. Grier summed it up thusly: “If this were to be Arcturus’ swansong, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.” High praise indeed.
Obsequiae // Aria of Vernal Tombs – Out of the wilds of Minnesåta came quite the May surprise from Obsequiae. Aria of Vernal Tombs is a heady mixture of pagan/folk melodies, stunningly beautiful guitar-work and harsh, blackened vocals, and there’s something here that captivates almost instantly and compels you to keep listening. The writing is masterful, the pacing enhances the song flow and everything just works. In a month with a fair amount of duds, turds and offal, L. Saunders was appreciative that Obsequaie “crafted a majestic album to extinguish the stench and realign the trajectory.” And with a name like Obsequaie, Aria of the Vernal Tombs will also help you impress even your most pretentious friends with your serious underground cred.