ALBUM OF THE MONTH
True to pattern, the album after subpar outing Jomsviking is a return to form. Berserker’s best quality is the presence of songs seemingly designed for their live show, to be sung in unison by drunk people with alehorns hoisted when Hegg commands. Thats the point of Amon Amarth.
The Rest (descending order)
2. Black Sites–Exile
The first song has a Machine Head riff at its core, which may or may not be a deterrent. But give this one 3 or 4 spins before making any conclusions–it is a real grower for a band with a unique sound in progressive metal. I kept getting a Queensryche vibe–again, maybe a deterrent for some, but a big compliment from this Mindcrime-obsessed listener.
3. Lord Vicar–The Black Powder
The whole album is good, but the opener steals the show. Best doom song since Candlemass’ prime? Quite possibly.
4. Spirit Adrift–Divided by Darkness
A great album, but also a disappointment. I expected this to be on top of any and all lists this year, but it is lacking that songwriting spark that elevated their last one. Don’t skip it by any means, but check expectations.
5. Ketzer–Cloud Collider
A unique album, thrashy black metal but always played with restraint.
6. Haze Mage–Chronicles
Silly but fun. Each song sounds like Danzig singing about a weird comic book character over a Taint song. Not a bad thing.
7. Possessed–Revelations of Oblivion
Very impressive that Jeff Becerra is capable of this so long after 7 Churches, and the perserverance he’s shown is beyond comprehension (check out the decibel article). But I don’t feel compelled to return to this album. It is competent but rarely inspired.
8. King Gizzard–Fishing for Fishies
King Gizz with another disposable one.
Of 2017’s 5 albums, I would go:
1. Flying Microtonal Banana
3. Gumboot Soup
4. Murder of the Universe
5. Scenes of Brunswick East
Fishes is unfortunately most like Sketches. But the next one is apparently a full on thrash album, so no bumming out here.
9. Enforcer–Nadir…I mean Zenith
I really tried with this one, but it is basically a Poison album.