Well, we had an admirable run of somewhat, kinda on-time Record(s) o’ the Month posts, but then reality, arcane legal issues and international time zone confusion conspired to make the September post a wee bit tardy. It helps, though, that our ongoing goal of never letting you get comfortable in routines, consistency, or reliability is essentially point number 1 on our Angry Metal Mission Statement, however. That means this kind of stuff fits right into our ongoing longterm goals. A further positive is that September wasn’t exactly shabby when it came to great music, so the delay gave the AMG staff plenty of time to argue, bicker, fuss and feud amongst themselves. This culminated in a dramatic reenactment of the assassination of Julius Caesar by Glen Benton. Blood was spilled, togas were ruined and crosses were defiled, but in the end, the staff writers came up with a list the survivors could agree upon. The funny part about all the bickering is that since I have the final say and take no consideration of what the others think when they don’t agree with me, all those hospital visits and soiled togas were a waste of time and energy. Though, it is nice to see passion in the plebeians. It means they have really have bought in.
Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards may be one of the most controversial records I have ever reviewed. There’s some irony to this, since in some ways, it can be criticized as being highly self-aware paint-by-numbers power metal. The amount of backlash and hate that Gloryhammer generates—including from certain silly persons who celebrate the Jørn Lande’s entire discography but think Gloryhammer is a bridge too far—is reason enough for me to hand them the Astral Unicorn Crown of Record o’ the Month glory. But there’s a better reason: Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards is the best power metal album I’ve heard in 2015, and it’s among my favorite records of the year. This cheese-encrusted disc of glory has wormed its way into mandatory listening in the Angry Metal Household, and I feel no shame loving it. Though, I must admit, the final straw in launching it to the top spot was an attempted coup by Steel Druhm, in which he tried to co-opt the record of the month for his own agenda due to my illness! You have only yourself to blame now, Druhm!
Nechochwen // Heart of Akamon: Nechochwen isn’t a name that rolls off the tongue, but this one, sometimes two-man band has long held the admiration of Steel Druhm for their gripping fusion of black metal and American folk and tribal music. As good as their early releases are, Heart of Akamon leaves them in the dust, taking the core sound into new dimensions of brilliance. Sometimes sounding like modern Opeth, others like a Dan Swanö prog project, Heart marries emotional music with classic black, doom and traditional metal for a heady, intoxicating mix. This is one of those rare albums you feel compelled to play from start to finish, as if skipping or pausing would offend the Metal Godz and result in a Amaranthe double album. You’ll hear Ulver, Agalloch, Insomnium and even some ’80s hair metal as this epic plays out and you’d be crazy to miss one masterful second of it.
My Dying Bride // Feel the Misery – The original masters of soul crushing doom/death return with a consistently well-crafted album touching on all stages of their vast and influential career. So impressed was Grymm that he went on the record asserting “the majority of Feel the Misery proudly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with The Angel and the Dark River and Turn Loose the Swans.” High praise indeed from a long-time fan. The lords of depression are back in that dark, sad place and we all benefit from their collective misery. Feel the Misery beat out some tough competition to end up on this list, including great new Amorphis and The Black Dahlia Murder albums because it communicates doom in a way that so many try to imitate but so few are good at.1
Official Lodged Protests:
Steel Druhm hereby officially protests the shocking and unforgivable exclusion of Amorphis in favor of neon-splattered unicorn fuckery.