Record(s) o’ the Month – October 2020

The pandemic rages, political upheaval shakes the very foundations of polite society, and the stress of the holiday season is poised to feast on our ethereal souls. Soon we will gather with family via Zoom or in person if we dare, to try to make merry in what has been a greasy dumpster fire of a year. At least we’ve had music to help us get through all the insanity, eh? And October offered its share of distracting sounds to keep despair at bay. With most of the AMG staff missing, misplaced, or consigned to the quarantine pyre, debate on what albums held the most merit was muted this month, and what a pleasant change that was! Maybe 2020 isn’t so bad after all. Anyways, we better get down to it before Captain COVID figures out how to jimmy the locks and violate the AMG HQ containment bubble yet again. It’s always out there. Watching. Waiting. Transmutating.

What can be said about Anaal Nathrakh that hasn’t been uttered already by better scribes than me.1 They’re the undisputed cock-eyed swine lords of extreme metal and they’ve made a living defying expectations in strange and unsettling ways. Endarkenment continues that trend, from the scandalously eye-popping cover art to the music itself, deftly blending black, death, and industrial metal in ways that sicken but attract. It’s brutal, bleak, and essentially perfect for these days of plague and fear. Yet for all the savagery, these songs are catchy and memorable in ways they have no right to be. As Grymm sagely summed up, “in a year full of hardship, heartbreak, disappointment, and absolute incompetence everywhere you look, Endarkenment is the album that I wanted and needed right the fuck now. I never thought nihilism would be this soulful.” Here’s pearls in your swine eye.

Runner(s) Up:

Mors Principium Est // Seven – Finnish melodeath masters, Mors Principium Est are back with their originally titled seventh album, and things sound as expected. You get ripping, thrashing melodeath madness with an epic touch, all done in that quintessentially Finnish style, full of wild guitar hysterics and hooks aplenty. It may be a bit loud in the production department, but fans of the band will get everything they hoped for and a little more. Crazy old Doc Grier put it this way: “Seven won’t win any awards in the Loudness War, but I’ll let it march me to war for years to come.”

Armored Saint // Punching the Sky – The Saint‘s been dealing out classic heavy metal with hard rock and blues influence since I was a meathead middle schooler. I’m a meathead AARP member now and here comes the band’s eighth album, and to my aged surprise, it’s one of the best in their long career. Punching the Sky doesn’t reinvent any wheels, but it shows a band of wily veterans having a blast delivering, vibrant, exciting, highly catchy tunes. In fact, this late-career platter hosts three of my favorite songs the band ever created. One of the happiest surprises of 2020, Punching the Sky is the band’s best release since 1991s Symbol of Salvation. Expect punches in bunches.

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, October 2020 edition.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Just kidding. I have no betters or equals.
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