Twenty-eighteen is shaping up to be a remarkable year. September alone had nearly a dozen records that staff writers wanted to nominate for the Record o’ the Month. I can say with certainty, having been at this for a while, that few months have been as contentious behind closed doors at Angry Metal Guy Amalgamated Blogworks, LLC. Dozens of verbal spats escalated quickly into an Anchor Man-like brawl, featuring fighters lining up to shout each other down about Voivod‘s legacy, reviews written by fanboys, and Satan‘s novelty before someone—possibly Dr. Fisting—attacked Steel Druhm with a trident. After I single-handedly dispatched the opposition to avenge Major General Steely D, however, it was clear that there could only be one choice for September’s Record o’ the Month. There was, namely, no better soundtrack to our brawl than the rollicking riffs of Satan.
If Cruel Magic had been released in 1984 it would have been up there with other classics from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The record is fast, fun, and a brilliantly written blast from the past written and performed by a band of blasts from that past. The sound on Cruel Magic is anything but ‘modern,’ and that gives it a charm that is only topped by the fact that the band recorded these tracks essentially live in the studio. The production sounds great,1 with rumbling bass and a kit where the snare sounds like a fucking snare! But it’s not the way it was recorded that makes Cruel Magic great: it’s the songs. So with Dr. Fisting on the lam after the Trident Incident, Huck N’ Roll took a shot at bathing Cruel Magic with praise, declaring that “[t]hree albums into their resurrection, one thing is clear: Satan can’t write bad songs. Satan’s fans and fans of the NWoBHM are once again going to love this.” Fuck yeah, we are.
Allfather // And All Will Be Desolation — Allfather plays a brand of music—a sludgy hardcore-infused metal—that doesn’t usually move me. And All Will Be Desolation demonstrates that when a band is truly firing on all cylinders, there’s little that can stand in their way. This British quintet has a swagger and confidence matched only by their intensity and fat riffs. Before I had even heard And All Will Be Desolation, I saw our writers crowing about just how good it was. One of them, Mark Z., declared it an excellent record, lathering Allfather with a tongue bath the likes of which few have received at AngryMetalGuy.com: “At once explosive and smoldering,” he declared, “Allfather have improved upon their already excellent formula by making things more energetic, more memorable, and more of a blast to listen to than anything else I’ve heard this year. Normally I’d namedrop similar bands and tell fans of them to check this out. In this case, my recommendation is more simple: any metal fan needs to hear this, because And All Will Be Desolation could very well be the best metal album we see in 2018.”
Madder Mortem // Marrow — I was repeatedly told to check out Marrow during the month of September. Given my predilection for the morose and progressive, these Norwegians are almost perfectly situated to make music I love. Still, I will admit that Red in Tooth and Claw never struck my fancy. But Marrow? A deep, emotional, and idiosyncratic record, Marrow is something that I just keep coming back to. Agnete’s vocal performance strikes the perfect balance for an album that is well-written, dynamic, and thoughtful. GardensTale was right on when he extolled Marrow’s virtues: “As Madder Mortem finally begins to garner some of the recognition they deserve they have not given in to the temptation to go the easy route. They stay true to their core, ripping their hearts from their chest and laying them bare to the world, with a dark and deeply intimate album so full of craftsmanship and passion it pours out at the edges. Marrow is unforgettable.”