Five Finger Death Punch, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1 (Prospect Park/Universal)
Only a few bands have gone the route of releasing two albums in the space of a year, instead of releasing a double album. And in recent memory, there is only one band that has done it successfully – System of a Down released both Mezmerize and Hypnotize in 2005, and both reached #1 on the Billboard charts upon their debut. Five Finger Death Punch are going to attempt that in 2013, with Volumes 1 and 2 of The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell. Those that have seen the group on this year’s Mayhem Festival have already had a preview of the album, and song previews have also been appearing online since mid-June. The big change for this album over the band’s previous material is that a star-studded guest cast has appeared on Volume 1. Rob Halford, Max Cavalera, Jamey Jasta, Maria Brink, and even rapper Tech N9ne are slated for appearances on this album. This basically proves the fact that Five Finger Death Punch are now part of the upper echelon in metal, and a spot at the top of the charts is the popular expectation for this new album. Watch for an exclusive interview with guitarist Zoltan Bathory coming later today on Metal Insider.
Chimaira, Crown of Phantoms (eOne)
Chimaira has been through a few extremely difficult years recently. By the time 2011’s The Age of Hell was released, half of the band’s lineup consisted of new faces. Then, at the end of that year, guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries also left the band, leaving Mark Hunter as the only original member of the band and the band’s future itself in question. As always, though, Chimaira soldiered on. Dååth’s Emil Werstler, who was already playing bass for Chimaira, moved over to lead guitar duties, while Dååth bassist Jeremy Creamer signed on to take over the bass duties. Meanwhile, ex-Dirge Within guitarist Matt Szlachta joined on rhythm guitar, completing the lineup. Crown of Phantoms marks the official recording debut for those three, as well as drummer Austin D’Amond (Bleed the Sky) and keyboardist Sean Zatorsky (Dååth). Crown of Phantoms was actually funded by a massively successful Indiegogo campaign. The band received more than double their goal of $30,000, and they’ve stated that the extra funds will go towards extensive touring in support of the album. We have to assume that a lot of that money went into their upcoming headlining run with The Browning, Dark Sermon, and Threat Signal.
Mercenary, Through Our Darkest Days (Prosthetic)
Mercenary worked very hard to recover from the lineup changes that split the band in two in 2009. It wasn’t easy to do, but they recovered nicely on 2011’s Metamorphosis. It wasn’t the same as the old Mercenary, but it was unique, intense, melodic, and attention-grabbing in its own way. The band continued in the same fashion as they created Through Our Darkest Days. Listeners can expect the same infusions of power metal, melodic death, and thrash intertwined to create a highly engrossing musical landscape. Longtime friend of the band Jacob Hansen once again produced the album, and the cover art comes courtesy of Mnemic guitarist Mircea Gabriel Eftemie.
Also being released this week:
Legion, Woke (eOne)
Death Mechanism, Twenty-First Century (Scarlet)
Twins Crew, The Northern Crusade (Scarlet)
Next Week: We start off August with a plethora of great new music, including some solo albums and some long-awaited new material from bands that have been off the radar for awhile. Come on back to find out what we have to offer!