Record(s) o’ the Month – September 2021

Alright motherfuckers, I turned in my dissertation to the printers and worked about 78 hours a week for the last month or so. So, you know, you’re just going to buck it up and appreciate that this shit is late because I refuse to let it go. Yeah, you can bitch in the comments. Yeah, you can make stupid jokes about it on Instagram (follow at @angrymetalguy). But I assure you, the Record(s) o’ the Month are never late. Nor are they early. The arrive precisely when I am able to find time in my fucking schedule to let you know what is going on. Because I, dear readers, am Angry Fucking Metal Guy. And what’s the point of having an eponymous website if I’m not going to assert that authority somewhere?

But yeah, you know, I’ll do better next time and stuff. In the meantime, enjoy the RotM as authored by Steely D and annotated by yours truly.

Idle Hands’ Mana was the surprise hit around these parts back in ’19.1 Its odd mix of retro goth rock and metal found a sweet spot in the hearts of many AMG staffers, and even the teen wolf howls and yowls by frontman Gabe Franco were oddly endearing. Fast forward to 2021 and legal issues forced the band to change names from Idle Hands to Unto Others (or Untoothers as they’re known at AMG HQ), and many were curious if they could catch lightning in a bottle twice with follow-up Strength.2 It’s a much angrier, darker record than its moody, melancholy predecessor, but many of the things that made Mana so compelling remain. Tracks like “Heroin” and “When Will God’s Work Be Done” stick big hooks under the skin with their odd combination of Sisters of Mercy, darkwave and metal. As elder statesman Huck opined, “While the middle of Strength sags somewhat, the album’s excellent bookends make up for this. If you’re someone who likes to give in to the anger, there’s a lot here to chew on.” Start chewing before you end up untoothed.3

Runner(s) Up:

Brainstorm // Wall of SkullsBrainstorm have been one of the most consistent purveyors of quality heavy metal these past 20 years. Album after album of beefy, hooky metal anthems have flowed from this collective, and Wall of Skulls is yet another statement of metal intent. The recipe is simple: big, crunchy riffs, thundering drums and the massive vocals of Andy B. Franck. It’s a recipe that continues to pay big dividends as the band is so good at their chosen style and turn out an endless supply of hooks and titanic choruses. You simply can’t unhear cuts like “Where Ravens Fly” or “Escape the Silence,”4 and even the unrelentingly cheesy “Glory Disappears” will imprint on you for life. Anthem after anthem washes your brain in the sacred waters of classic metal like Judas Priest with just enough Nevermore and Iced Earth influence to keep things heavy and modern-sounding.5 Less is more, simple is smooth, Brainstorm is smart.

Replicant // Malignant Reality – Most of what comes out of New Jersey is either hospital waste, concrete or organized crime. In the rare case of Replicant, it’s high-level, ass-kicking disso-death of the highest magnitude. The sound is cold and modern, riffs are vile and unclean but precise as a surgical laser. Grooves are unrelentingly heavy and regularly dropped on exposed toes. Progressive tendencies are kept sparse and restrained. This is death designed to maim and disfigure, not inspire the nerds at the local Guitar World. As an impressed Kronos noted, “The band tie death metal’s kinetic, meathead id to its Stravinsky- and Schoenberg-curious superego, but their work—unlike many others—completes the knot.”

Show 5 footnotes

  1. When I was wearing an onion on my belt, as it was the style at the time. – AMG
  2. Edit for use of “weasel words.” Who are these “many” who were curious? I can’t recall having been curious myself. – AMG
  3. So I’m reading here in this n00b guide that if your editor doesn’t think it’s funny it will be removed. Does that count for you, too? – AMG
  4. You sure can’t. – AMG
  5. Love that the standard for “modern” is two defunct bands formed in the ’90s. – AMG
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