Young bands need to make their mark early to withstand the pressures of the challenging music industry today, and as time goes on, fewer and fewer bands are making the cut. Only the best have survived the tumult of the past few years. Maintaining that quality of music is not easy, especially under the pressure that the music industry puts on every artist now, and that is the biggest reason why so few new names in metal are able to last for more than a year or two. Today we see if one of the biggest names of the past couple of years is able to hold up under pressure and stay on top.
A number of veteran acts are also featured on today’s list, most of whom come from the heaviest of the heavy. It’s quite a day to bang your head, and I highly encourage everyone to do so as much as possible with this new music!
Periphery, Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal (Sumerian)
One of the leading groups of the djent movement, Periphery’s self-titled debut from 2010 made huge waves in the metal world. Thousands of fans, hundreds of critics, and innumerable contemporaries proclaimed them to be the future of the metal world. Two years later, the band’s name has not faded from the public consciousness – if anything, expectations for Periphery II are higher than those held for almost any other album released this year. Will the album hold up? It’s difficult to say so far – there are very few early reviews of the album to get a good idea of how people will find it to be. Once again, Periphery has delivered an album that you have to hear on your own and form your own opinion on, because there is no way to definitively form an opinion without hearing the whole thing for yourself.
Nile, At the Gate of Sethu (Nuclear Blast)
I am constantly amazed by the fact that Nile does not have quite the level of following that other American metal bands like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, and Deicide seem to enjoy. I’m not sure if it’s because of their relatively late arrival to the death metal scene (the band formed in 1993 and didn’t release their first album until 1998) or that some metal fans might find Karl Sanders’ love of Egyptology a bit out of place for death metal. Either way, Nile remains one of my personal favorite death metal groups and consistently remains interesting to me with each new album they release. At the Gate of Sethu raises the bar from 2009’s Those Whom the Gods Detest, which was an incredible album in its own right, by making Nile’s already-complex compositions even more technical and challenging. In a note of irony, this album also serves as the introduction of new bassist Todd Ellis, who replaces Chris Lollis for live performances and session work. Lollis was named permanent bassist for the group in 2010, after four years as a session and live fill-in, but before he could contribute to a recorded album for the first time, three months without contacting the band led to Sanders calling in Ellis instead.
Miseration, Tragedy Has Spoken (Lifeforce)
Even before his departure from Scar Symmetry in 2008, Christian Älvestam had sown the seeds that would allow him to remain a vital part of the metal community for many years to come. The most critical of these was forming a connection with Jani Stefanovic (DivineFire, Essence of Sorrow), which resulted in the formation of several new projects like Solution .45, The Few Against Many, and Miseration. Miseration has been the most active of those projects, with Tragedy Has Spoken being their third full-length release thus far. It also marks their second album with a full-on death metal sound, following the path set by 2009’s The Mirroring Shadow. In Miseration, Älvestam relies exclusively on his death metal growls and grunts for vocal performance, while almost never breaking out his clean vocals that made Scar Symmetry’s first three albums into gigantic successes. It works out for the best in Miseration, though, as the band’s style is strongly reminiscent of Bloodbath, Ceremonial Oath, and other outstanding traditional death metal groups from Sweden.
Kataklysm, Iron Will: 20 Years Determined CD/DVD (Nuclear Blast)
Without question, the greatest contributor to metal as a whole that Canada has produced is Devin Townsend. However, the greatest contributor to solely death metal from the Great White North is the titanic force known as Kataklysm. Two decades and ten albums into their career, the four-piece death metal group has shown more tenacity and ingenuity than any other Canadian death metal group, eclipsing plenty of their American counterparts in those areas as well. However, in all that time, the band has never put out a DVD or other video release until now. Iron Will is the definitive word on Kataklysm and all things related to them – their extensive history, their electric live show, their music videos, their lineups past and present, and so much more. Interviews with past members, including original vocalist Sylvain Houde, highlight the DVD portion of the release, along with video footage of the band performing from every single touring cycle the band has done. Whether or not you ever wanted to know anything about Kataklysm, or if you love the band and already know everything about them – regardless, this release is the best place to find any information you want to know about the band.
Also being released this week:
Deathspell Omega, Drought (Season of Mist)
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, Ascending to Infinity (Nuclear Blast)
Ulver, Childhood’s End (Kscope)
The Word Alive, Life Cycles (Fearless)
Delain, We Are the Others (Sensory)
Bonded by Blood, The Aftermath (Earache)
Witchsorrow, God Curse Us (Metal Blade)
The Wretched End, Inroads (Candlelight)
Icarus Witch, Rise (Cleopatra)
Chrome Waves, Chrome Waves (Gravedancer)
Next Week: When the lead album comes from a nu-metal band that has been continuously trying to reinvent itself for the past nine years, you know it’s a slow week. Regardless, you should come back anyway in seven days – you never know what you’ll find lurking among the new albums!