To say that Avenged Sevenfold has blown up in popularity is a huge understatement. 2010’s Nightmare debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, a phenomenal achievement for a band that was barely even recognized when they began in 1999. Now we can see if lightning will strike twice for the pride and joy of Huntington Beach, as they unleash their latest album on the ravenous hordes.
Avenged Sevenfold, Hail to the King (Warner Bros.)
After Nightmare‘s unbelievable debut success and chart staying power, Hail to the King has some pretty big shoes to fill. The sixth studio album from the group is also the first to feature drummer Arin Ilejay (ex-Confide), who officially joined the band this year after two years of touring and session work. Ilejay is the band’s first permanent drummer since the passing of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan in 2009.
DevilDriver, Winter Kills (Napalm)
DevilDriver was one of many bands (including Cradle of Filth, CKY, and possibly Machine Head) to part ways with Roadrunner Records after the label was acquired by Warner Music Group. Winter Kills is the first DevilDriver album to not be released on Roadrunner for the band’s entire career. It is also the first album to not feature bassist Jonathan Miller, who left the band in 2011 to finish rehab. Replacing Miller on a full-time basis is Bury Your Dead guitarist Chris Towning, who makes his recording debut with the band on this album after spending much of 2012 as their touring bassist.
Ministry, Enjoy the Quiet – Live at Wacken 2012 (Caroline/Universal)
Although Ministry’s final studio album is due out in two weeks, their legacy will live on forever as being one of the greatest industrial acts to ever exist. Their 2011 reunion featured one of the most star-studded lineups of the band’s history, and it was that lineup that took to the stage in August last year for an unforgettable performance. If you enjoy Ministry at all, you need to see this collection of live material, because it will blow you away!
Puscifer, All Re-Mixed Up (Puscifer Entertainment)
One thing that Maynard James Keenan does better than anyone is defy tradition, and he did just that with this remix album. Described as a re-imagining of 2011’s Conditions of My Parole, Keenan brought in a cadre of remixers and had them do something wild. With the instruction to think of each original song as a half-written piece and then to write the other half, it’s nearly impossible to predict what each remixer created from the source material. Fans will just have to listen and find out!
Blackfield, IV (Kscope)
Blackfield is one of Steven Wilson’s projects away from Porcupine Tree, and also features Israeli rocker Aviv Geffen, along with a number of other talented musicians from around the world. Aviv is something of a musical icon in his home country, having played live with mainstream acts such as U2 and Placebo, in addition to being a judge on Israel’s version of The Voice. All three of Blackfield’s previous records have been met with critical acclaim, so it’s a safe bet that critics will like IV also.
Shade Empire, Omega Arcane (Candlelight)
Shade Empire excels at mixing tradational Swedish melodic death metal with the best symphonic elements from Norwegian black metal. Their last album, Zero Nexus, reached the top 20 on the charts in their native home of Finland, which means that Omega Arcane could be the album that helps them break out in other parts of the world.
Infanticide, Misconception of Hope (Willowtip)
Some might balk at the length of this record, citing that an eighteen-minute album should be an EP. I encourage readers to remember, though, that Infanticide is a grindcore act, and that eighteen minutes is a generous use of time for your average grindcore act. Also, the album has nineteen tracks, which tells you that Infanticide truly knows how to listen to and appreciate the classic albums from Napalm Death.
Next Week: We kick off September with a ton of big-name releases! Come on back to find out what’s cooking!