I’ve been known to throw the occasional curve ball, but I think three Record(s) o’ the Month(s) in one month is the first time I’ve ever pulled this particular caper. But Angry Metal Guy is never late. Nor is he early. He does what he’s doing precisely at the moment he intends to do it. For reasons that are his own (but are mostly fuck you). This month’s Record(s) o’ the Month is dedicated to all the people who like music for “atmosphere.” Of course, you might as well say that you “like whatever, so long as it has a good beat.” But the way you’re doing it is way more trve and garners you less friends and so much metal cred. I thought I’d help you all out by giving you a handful of bands that can write and (gasp) edit songs! And I’ll see you all at the playground at 3:30 to compare bench press stats.
Now here’s the Record(s) o’ the Month from a particularly fecund month. Hugs and kisses. – Angry Metal Guy
Xoth plays a kind of metal that it is hard not to love. Interdimensional Invocations is a frantic thrash-influenced-or-blackened melodeath that is utterly enchanting regardless of genre classifications. Everything about Xoth‘s Interdimensional Invocations is easy to love; frenzied speed metal blasts; trem-heavy, melodic guitar leads and riffs; the varied approach to vocals. Their genre-spanning style will give them a broad-base appeal for fans of death metal, black metal and thrash metal. But what stands out to me the most is how, like the best melodic death and black metal bands of 20 years ago, Xoth is building on the back of innovations in the thrash metal sound to do something even better. The end result is an addictive assortment of intelligently constructed songs on a perfectly-paced album that scratches an itch I hardly remembered I had. I apparently liked this album even more than Akerblogger, but even he wasn’t shy about what a great record Xoth has released: “Interdimensional Invocations has met my high expectations. It’s a barnstorming explosion [and] most importantly, the band have found a sense of balance.”
In Mourning // Garden of Storms — After raving about Monolith in 2010, I actually cooled considerably on In Mourning. So, when asked if I was going to pick up the In Mourning review, I was like “Yeah, sure,” but then a lot of other things got in the way. Fortunately for me, an over-eager and slightly uncomfortable TheKenWord was waiting in the wings to poach my review and he was, needless to say, high on this Garden of Storms. As he put it, In Mourning used the last three years “to mature as songsmiths, and Garden of Storms bears the delicious fruit of their labor.” Garden of Storms blends the sadboi melodeath with a heavier edge that reminds me more of 2008’s excellent Shrouded Divine than anything the band has put out since. The end result is an album that is balanced from the opening to the closing, flows perfectly for a 52-minute album, and cements a sound that is absolutely In Mourning‘s own.
Galneryus // Into the Purgatory — Why on earth did I not know about Galneryus? Like the perfect Japanese answer to the entire legacy of the 1980s, Into the Purgatory is loaded with the kind of fast, melodic power metal that people who really like music adore. The band is tight as hell, the production is a bit loud, but goddammit it has great bass tone and these ten songs are filled with the kind of over-the-top musicianship and fantastic songwriting that power metal has just lacked for a while. Eldritch Elitist, who is definitely wrong on Twitter quite a bit, is right about Galneryus‘s Into the Purgatory, an album he sees as “as both a step up from their previous record and an example of consistently high quality songwriting. For the unaffiliated, it should serve as a solid jumping off point, and it’s hard to imagine many power metal fans hearing Into the Purgatory and not counting it among the 2019’s best power metal releases.”
No, But Seriously…
Here’s four more albums that could just have easily made the cut. Insomnium‘s Heart Like a Grave, found the band successfully following up on the un-reproducible Winter’s Gate with aplomb and was a favorite of both readers and writers alike. Lacuna Coil released their best album, well, ever with Black Anima. It’s a shame that I can’t fit them in here because this album is great and it gets better with more listens. Crepuscle‘s Finnish-by-way-of-California melodic death album shows yet another great melodeath release in the revival that I am starting to believe in even more every day. Heavenly Skies is a very good disc that deserves your time and attention. Any of these records could have received a blurb or wallpaper and I would not have been ashamed to troll readers in the comments over it.
As far as I’m aware, aside from a surprisingly good new Mayhem record, there was no black metal of quality or note released in October.