Best Albums Of July 2018
"Lucifer II" By Lucifer (Doom Rock)
Drawing from the psychedelically powerful proto-metal and post-Sabbath metal/hard rock of the 60's and 70's, Stockholm's Lucifer sport a thick and powerful guitar sound ripped straight from the genesis of heavy music. Rounded out by frontwoman Johanna Sadonis' soulful voice, the band gives you a nostalgia blast that'll remind you of the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Blue Oyster Cult. All while still being their own unique beast. Whether it's the galloping "California Son", the bluesy groove of "Dreamer", or the classic doom of "Faux Pharaoh", Lucifer are definitely a band to watch.
"Automata II" By Between The Buried And Me (Progressive Metal)
Usually with double albums, the second half tends to be the weaker part with all the best content front loaded on the first. Not the case for Between The Buried And Me's Automata II. While March's Automata I felt lukewarm in quality with its more conventional song structures and focus on conventional melody, Automota II is ambitiously proggy, stuffing 33 minutes of music in four songs. Opener "The Proverbial Bellow" is an excitingly dynamic 13 minute epic with twists at every turn. The accordion-laden ballad "Glide" smoothly leads into the quirky jazz fun of "Voice Of Trespass". And closer "Glide" starts and ends with swaying melody with a fast and heavy middle section to bridge the two ends together. BTBAM truly saved the best part of Automata for last.
"Jungle Rot" By Jungle Rot (Death Metal)
A late career, self-titled record usually provides concern for a band's fans. The move often means an overhaul of an artist's sound or worse, a lack of creativity. But Jungle Rot's fans need not fear for these progenitors of thrashy, groovy death metal are still firing on all cylinders. With not a weak track on the record, there's highlights in the catchy thrash riffs of "Send Forth Oblivion", the heavy groove of "Pumped Full of Lead", and the charging "Fearmonger" that feature guest vocals from Destruction front man Schmier.
"Ordinary Corrupt Human Love" By Deafheaven (Blackgaze)
Deafheaven is a love em or hate em band for many with their odd mixture of black metal and shoegaze alt-rock. But this latest record might do well to bring more people into the fold. The songs sound like they have more direction than previous work. And the anguished screams of frontman George Clarke are more tastefully used this go around. "Canary Yellow" is the favorite track with its many movements flowing together seamlessly and guitar solo work that has a memorable emotive vibe that stays with the listener.
"Tormentor" By The Agony Scene (Melodic Death Metal)
Coming eleven years after the band's previous album, Tormentor is a triumphant return for metalcore favorites The Agony Scene. This time around their sound is in more of a melodic death metal vein with some black metal elements thrown in. But the same speed, intensity, and quality they're known for has stayed in tact. With a theme centering around an insane, abusive deity, the tracks are fierce with favorites in "Hand Of The Divine" and "Like The Weeds In The Field".
"Okkult II" By Atrocity (Symphonic Death Metal)
Atrocity return with their hard driving brand of death metal coupled with a continuation of the symphonic metal elements found on 2013's Okkult I. Unlike most symphonic death metal bands the symphonic element is pretty restrained and mostly comes in the form of choirs to add a haunting emphasis to some of the lyrics. The core of this album is in heavy grooves and thrashy, aggressive blasts that keep the tone of the album gritty.
ALBUM OF THE MONTH: "For The Love Of Metal" By Dee Snider (Heavy Metal)
An exemplary collaborative effort spearheaded by Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta, For The Love Of Metal takes the traditional metal style of old and mixes it with the heavyness and production quality of the modern era. Never fearing a challenge, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider answered Jasta's call to make a heavy modern metal album and excelled at it. Snider's distinct and powerful voice is full of all the charisma that made him a legend in the first place. And with the aid of members from Arch Enemy, Toxic Holocaust, Light The Torch, and Jasta, the songwriting is so top tier you could pick a song out of a hat and it would be a hit.