Well, friends, this is the end of an era. This will be the final New & Noteworthy of what has been an absolutely mind-blowing 2016. However, there is additional significance to today’s column, because this will be the final New & Noteworthy that I am writing for Metal Insider.
More on that later.
Because it is the end of the year, I’m going to cover all of the releases that I know of for the rest of the year. Some of these may have to be bookmarked until next week, but trust me when I say that they will be worth your time. So without further ado, here are your final releases for the calendar year of 2016.
Rush, 2112 – 40th (Island Def Jam) – due out 12/16
With Rush’s recent decision to cut out large-scale touring from their repertoire, fans all over the world have begun to reflect and comment on their historic career, and one album that is sure to come up in every one of these discussions is 2112. It is considered by many to be the definitive Rush album, and with good reason. Naturally, with 2016 being the 40th anniversary of 2112‘s release, Rush has released a special two-disc edition of the album that dedicated fans will be clamoring for. The second disc features rare material and live tracks never before released by the band, as well as a suite of covers of 2112 songs, performed by the likes of Dave Grohl, Alice in Chains, Steven Wilson, and more.
Deathspell Omega, The Synarchy of Molten Bones (Season of Mist) – due out 12/16
The French enigma known as Deathspell Omega is back with their first new material since 2012’s Drought EP. The avant-garde black metal group doesn’t go out of its way to let fans know when they are releasing new music, so the announcement of this EP back in October was met with shock and delight by their fans. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes spread across four tracks, it’s a sample taste of potentially even more greatness to come from Deathspell Omega, who haven’t released a full-length album since 2010. Given their penchant for surprising people with new music, I wouldn’t rule anything out as possible for 2017.
Witherfall, End of Time single (Self-released) – due out 12/19
We recently told you of the passing of Adam Sagan, who sadly lost his battle with cancer earlier this month. Sagan had been fighting T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma for the better part of a year, but through it all, the White Empress drummer continued to work on new music projects and focus on creativity. His final creative work was the debut album of Witherfall, a supergroup that also features members of Iced Earth, Into Eternity, and White Wizzard in its ranks. Their debut full-length, entitled Nocturnes and Requiems, is scheduled for release in February, but the first single from the album will be available for purchase on the 19th.
Slechtvalk, Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide (Self-released) – due out 12/20
Dutch metal group Slechtvalk has been around since 1999, starting off as a melodic black metal group before executing a style shift into Viking metal territory. Their name is the Dutch term for the peregrine falcon, and the band seeks to inspire the fierceness of their namesake with their music. Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide is the band’s fifth full-length, and it is also their first material of any kind in six years. The band’s last album, 2010’s A Forlorn Throne, was their only release on German label Whirlwind Records.
The Unguided, Brotherhood EP (Napalm) – due out 12/23
Although The Unguided released their third full-length, Lust and Loathing, earlier this year, they are releasing this EP next week as a transitional piece. Vocalist Richard Sjunnesson describes it as the beginning of the next chapter for the band, with the completion of one trilogy of albums and a second trilogy now in the works. This EP will also be the introduction of the band’s new lineup, as vocalist/guitarist Roland Johansson steps down from the band and is replaced by newcomer Jonathan Thorpenberg, who performed with The Unguided during their last tour. Brotherhood contains two songs, “Nighttaker” (the video for which is available here) and “Daybreaker”.
So that’s that. We’re closing the book on 2016. Now about that other thing I mentioned earlier…
After six and a half years of writing New & Noteworthy, I am stepping down as the writer for this column. I am not completely stepping away from Metal Insider, as I intend to still contribute pieces as time permits. However, this will be the last weekly piece that I submit to the site. The first New & Noteworthy of 2017 will come to you from another writer, and I have every confidence that this column will continue to be the best source of online information about new releases in the world of hard rock and metal.
The list of people that I want to thank for these past six and a half years is innumerable, but I will save that for other media. I will close this piece by saying thank you to everyone that has ever read New & Noteworthy, whether you have read every single column or if this is your very first time checking it out. I hope that this column has helped to keep you informed, and that it led you to discover an artist or two that piques your interest along the way. I began writing this column with the intent of expanding people’s horizons and driving readers to experiment outside their musical comfort zones. If you have been so inclined to push your boundaries by my writing, then I have succeeded in my goals.
All the best to you in 2017 and beyond, and as One Hundred Thousand says, “Never mind the world”.
Hails and horns,