By almost any measure, 2018 has been a pretty solid year for music. November has once again left us with a list of excellent candidates for the best of the month. But while this month, we had some pretty big names put out some pretty big albums that, frankly, lived up to their reputations, I think we need to go a different direction. So damn the plebs and the lowest common denominators, here’s your Record o’ the Month!
On 1914‘s Bandcamp page, the band has dedicated the album to those who died in WWI: “For the Fallen Ones: Because those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The Blind Leading the Blind does the difficult work of combining metal’s extremity and bellicosity with topical relevance and an unheralded grace. From the end-to-end—which are recruitment and war songs—1914 crafts an atmosphere that is crushingly heavy and deadly serious. It helps that the riffs are memorable and the doomy parts are gripping and oppressive. The Blind Leading the Blind is perfectly situated in our Zeitgeist. The sense that we are standing on the brink of instability is rising, no matter one’s political persuasion, and 1914 encapsulates that feeling. Thanks to Nameless_n00b_11, a record we ashamedly may have missed turned out to be the Record o’ the Month for November.
The Ocean // Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic — Some bands have a transcendent quality to them; they seem to unite swaths of fans of different genres in appreciation. The Ocean has that effect on the Angry Metal Staff, seeming to be a uniting force1. It’s hard not to fall in love with the band and Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic—one of the nerdier album titles we’ve had to cover here—continues the collective’s streak of thoughtful, beautiful, and eminently heavy albums. Or, as all ’round utility writer Dr. A.N. Grier wrote so succinctly: “Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic is epic, gorgeous, and powerful.” While it may not be quite up to the practical perfection of its predecessor, it continues a string of wins for what surely must be the pride of German’s modern metal scene.
Psycroptic // As the Kingdom Drowns — In a bumper crop of technical death metal, As the Kingdom Drowns stands out. The album is, of course, from one of the genre’s established stars, but when has that mattered to us here? What matters here at AMG is “what riffs have you written lately?” As the Kingdom Drowns pummels listeners with riff after glorious riff, creating an album that is as intense as it is addictive. The end result? Let’s ask Kronos what he thinks: “Psycroptic have finally delivered an album that lives up to the brilliance of The Scepter of the Ancients.” Oh snap, tell me more! “By restraining their creativity to simply structured songs and embellishing those with just the right combination of effects, Psycroptic have made their most compelling record in more than a decade, and one that will engage more than just the diehard fans and guitar fanatics. At the end of a stream of adequate albums, in an ocean of by-the-numbers death metal, Psycroptic hold their heads high above the water.”