Record(s) o’ the Month – November 2020

It’s nearly Christmas. The end of 2020’s greasy dumpster fire is nigh. Now is the time to drop the November Record(s) o’ the Month, as the relative lateness will be minimized what with all the sheeples being out at the steeples. Strong PR tactics aside, November releases always seem to get gobbled up by the insanity of the holidays and the year-end list fervor, and we regret that. We ask that you do your part by taking a few moments out of your busy holiday festivities (we know you’re locked inside some dark place wearing unwashed PJs and sporting an unflattering COVID beard, ladies included) and appreciate the albums we think stood out in November. Attention costs nothing.

Every time we start to feel fed up with melodeath, some act or another arrives with a release that makes it all seem fresh and vibrant again. U.K.s Countless Skies did the trick in November with their stunning sophomore outing, Glow. Though still playing in the Insomnium / Omnium Gatherum sandbox as they did before, the band takes real flight here, crafting songs loaded with emotion and epic expansiveness. The bleak melancholy element is there as it should be, though it’s paired with moments of soaring, uplifting bombast. As L. Saunders smartly summed up, “Teetering on the edge of greatness, Glow is a beautifully crafted slab of brooding, yet oddly bright and positive melodic death that raises the stakes considerably from the promising debut.”


Runner(s) Up:

Shores of Null // Beyond the Shores (on Death and Dying) – Attempting a 39-minute doom song is not something most bands could or should ever do. Italian crew Shores of Null gave it a try though, and the results are quite impressive. Dealing with the five stages of grief, the song drags you through raw emotion and feelings of loss as any good doom should, keeping things somewhere between classic and funeral doom for much of the runtime. With nods to Paradise Lost and Swallow the Sun, familiar ground is trod, but the music and concept are very well executed and the 39 minutes goes by surprisingly fast with payoffs and interesting peaks and valleys along the way. As Grymm sagely worded things, it’s a “fantastic album that sees Shores of Null standing tall among their doom and funeral doom contemporaries…” Visit the Shores.

Tie ov Steel:

Megaton Sword // Blood Hails Fire – Fire Hails Steel – November saw two trve metal acts cross swords in a battle for our allegiance. Megaton Sword was the more rough n’ ready of the two, adopting elements of Bathory along with the usual Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol influences. You get chest thumping battle anthems that scream trveness to the Norse gods, and if songs like the title track don’t make you take up arms, you should take up scrapbooking. While the vocals are an acquired taste, Blood Hails Fire is all the iron a healthy body needs.

Eternal Champion // Ravening Iron – Unwilling to cede the month to a really big sword, Eternal Champion throws down with their sophomore outing. Ravening Iron is a more polished version of what we heard on their debut. The riffs are bigger, the vocal are better, and there’s more Cirith in their Ungol. It’s a slicker, more accessible platter than what Megaton Sword dropped, and some of the tracks have enormous staying power. The AMG staff split into fractious factions over which album is the trve champion, so just get both and forge your own mighty destiny (and swords).

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, November 2020 edition.

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