Last week, I promised a very strange thing. And while I’m not going back on my word, I’m still wondering why I put it this way:
We answer the question once and for all of who would win in a popularity contest between gothic, doom-influenced progressive metal, and spastic, technicality-riddled mathcore. It should be quite a matchup! Come back to find out the winner!
Of course, as they say, hindsight is 20/20, and having such hindsight now, I promise never to offer something this oddly specific ever again. Now then, having said all that, the winner of the contest was the doom-influenced prog…but not by much. Read on to see what’s in store this week!
Katatonia, Dead End Kings (Peaceville)
The success of Katatonia in becoming the biggest release of this week can be attributed to one major factor: progressive and gothic metal are becoming more mainstream genres with each new album that is released from big name artists. With prog, it is more obvious – when bands like Agalloch, Opeth, and Baroness are getting entire albums streamed on NPR, you know that a genre is making waves. And although gothic metal’s biggest bands tend to be subjected to very close scrutiny on every release, the followings that most bands have are easily double what the most prolific names in metal carry. Katatonia’s popularity has slowly grown during the past decade, but 2009’s Night is the New Day gave them a huge boost. Combined with two co-headlining tour with Opeth in the past three years, Katatonia is ready to make their big break in the States. Dead End Kings is very likely to push them right into it.
The Chariot, One Wing (eOne)
The Chariot was very close to having the biggest release of the week, but Katatonia edged them out due to their growth in popularity over time. As stated, prog and gothic metal are slowly growing in their followings – conversely, noisecore and mathcore are some of the biggest examples of “niche genres” that have ever existed. However, with their wildly dedicated fanbase that may seem small by comparison, The Chariot can count on every single one of their fans to get this album as soon as it comes out, because that is the kind of devotion that they have earned after a decade of relentless touring and recording. One Wing comes closer than any of their previous albums to capturing the electricity and chaos of the band’s live show, and that alone makes it worth purchasing for any longtime fan.
Grave, Endless Procession of Souls (Century Media)
At times, I am shocked with how little attention is paid to the Swedish traditional death metal scene. Boasting some of the best bands on the planet in their genre, the scene’s “glory days” are nowhere near as far behind them as some would say they are. Proof can be found in the career of Grave, a band that came back from a failed style shift and a lengthy hiatus to release many more albums. Now on their tenth full-length overall (and sixth since the hiatus). Grave is the biggest face of traditional death metal in Sweden right now, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Endless Procession of Souls will hit you hard and won’t let up, so be prepared for a serious onslaught of classic death metal when you turn it on.
Murder Construct, Results (Relapse)
The much-hyped deathgrind supergroup certainly took its sweet time getting their debut album finished and released. I’ve been reading the hype about Murder Construct for two years now, and even after their self-titled EP came out in November 2010, it still wasn’t enough. Murder Construct left a path of broken bodies across the US during their touring runs at the end of 2010 and throughout 2011. Now they are set to prove just how volatile and amazing they are on their recorded material. With names like Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), Leon del Muerte (Exhumed), and Danny Walker (Intronaut) in the lineup, you can be assured that this will be some of the best quality death metal and deathgrind possible.
Also being released this week:
Beardfish, Void (Inside Out)
Scum of the Earth, The Devil Made Me Do It (Goomba)
I Am War, Outlive You All (Razor & Tie)
Gypsyhawk, Revelry & Resilience (Metal Blade)
Obey the Brave, Young Blood (Epitaph)
All Hail the Yeti, All Hail the Yeti (AFM)
Eagle Twin, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (Southern Lord)
Just Like Vinyl, Black Mass (Superball)
Circle of Light, Rebirth (CME)
Stealing Axion, Moments (Inside Out)
Dysrhythmia, Test of Submission (Profound Lore)
World Fire Brigade, Spreading My Wings (eOne)
Kamikabe, Aberration of Man (Prosthetic)
Over Your Threshold, Facticity (Metal Blade)
A Tragedy in Progress, Mechanical Weather (Indianola)
Sky of Rage, Sky of Rage (Metalville)
Khonsu, Anomalia (Season of Mist)
Adaliah, Broken Families (Mediaskare)
Vore, Gravehammer (AFM)
Kaipa, Vittjar (Inside Out)
Next Week: Led off by yet another reissue and featuring plenty of other great albums, we’re sure to have a sizable list of new music for you to enjoy! Don’t miss out!