More and more, we’re seeing metal releases take higher positions on the chart than anyone would have imagined in years past. 2014 has been packed with more top 20 releases than any preceding year, and this week will likely add a couple more to the total. Check out the full list, which is low on quantity but high on quality, below.
Opeth, Pale Communion (Roadrunner)
At this point, you should know not to expect a death metal record from Opeth. After 2011’s Heritage, it became pretty evident that the band has moved on from that stage of things, and while they haven’t ruled out going back to the death metal style that started their career, that’s not going to happen on Pale Communion. That’s not a problem, though, because the band’s prog-rock style is still extremely good. Pale Communion is somewhat darker and heavier than Heritage, and fans should expect the unexpected throughout the album. You can stream Pale Communion in its entirety at this location. Opeth will also be touring North America this December, with In Flames and Red Fang as support – dates for the tour can be found here.
Avenged Sevenfold, Waking the Fallen: Resurrected (Hopeless)
There are a few albums that come to mind when thinking about the start of the metalcore movement. The two that are likely most responsible for most of it are Alive or Just Breathing by Killswitch Engage and Waking the Fallen by Avenged Sevenfold. Now, A7X’s breakout album has been re-created with additional content, never-before-released tracks, new artwork, and much more. A full trailer for the album can be seen here. Needless to say, this is a must-buy for anyone that is a fan of Avenged Sevenfold’s early career.
Motörhead, Aftershock Tour Edition (UDR)
When Motörhead released Aftershock last year, they were unable to properly support the record with a tour, due to Lemmy Kilmister’s health problems at the time. Although the band has since been able to get back to touring, they would understandably like to promote their new music in the traditional fashion as they tour. To that end, the Tour Edition of Aftershock is being unleashed today, containing the full Aftershock album and a bonus disc of live tracks culled from the band’s greatest hits, dubbed “Best of the West Coast Tour 2014”. You can find a video for the live version of “Lost Woman Blues” right here.
Thousand Foot Krutch, Oxygen:Inhale (Self-released)
Oxygen:Inhale is the seventh album from Thousand Foot Krutch. The album’s predecessor, 2012’s The End is Where We Begin, debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200, so we can expect similar numbers from Thousand Foot Krutch with this album. Judging by how well lead single “Born This Way” (not a Lady Gaga cover, I promise) is doing on active rock radio so far, Oxygen:Inhale might even surpass its predecessor. The entire album can be previewed on iTunes First Play, which is a division of iTunes Radio.
New Medicine, Breaking the Model (Imagen)
When New Medicine released Race You to the Bottom in 2010 and debuted at number 104 on the charts, expectations were high for the Minneapolis rockers. Unfortunately, the band fell off the grid for awhile and lost a lot of their momentum, but they’re looking to right the ship with a stint on the Uproar Festival and the release of their sophomore album. Breaking the Model is the band’s first release with their new indie label, Imagen Records. New Medicine has also been announced to take part in the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento next month.
Machinae Supremacy, Phantom Shadow (Spinefarm)
Phantom Shadow is the sixth album from Machine Supremacy, the band famous for using the SID chip from the Commodore 64 in their music. The band gets points for creativity and originality in that regard, but they have plenty of compositional brilliance going for them as well. Phantom Shadow will be supported by an as-yet-unannounced European tour that the band put together via a fundraiser on their website, where successive levels of donations “unlocked” different countries that would be part of the tour. You can check out a trailer for the album here.
Next Week: A pair of Swedish albums from opposite ends of the metal spectrum headline next week’s list, with plenty of high-end talent following them up. Check it all out in seven days!