After a jam-packed list of new releases last week, we get a bit of a breather with a short list today. However, as I promised, this week’s list has some bands on it that could turn into serious heavy hitters with solid album sales. So if you want to see one of these bands go over the top, you know what to do – go buy the albums and make it happen! And regardless of whether you do or not, take some time to at least preview these new releases, because you won’t be disappointed with what you hear. There is a lot of good quality metal to be found today!



Stratovarius, Nemesis (Eagle Rock)


This is the first Stratovarius album to feature their new drummer, Rolf Pilve. Best known thus far for his work with Solution .45 and Miseration, Pilve is something of a drum prodigy. At the age of 25, Pilve has already played with over twenty different bands (often as a freelancer), while also studying at Finland’s Pop & Jazz Conservatory and teaching privately in Helsinki and two other cities. If you’re skeptical of his talent, take it from me – after listening to his work on Miseration’s The Mirroring Shadow, I had no doubt that this kid is the real deal. Anyone that can execute his level of technical play on such a solid death metal album is sure to be more than just a fluke! Pilve joins an already-talented Stratovarius lineup that cemented their status in the Finnish music scene with 2009’s Elysium, which charted at #1 on the Finnish charts for nine weeks following its release. Stratovarius has the capacity to reach the same levels of popularity as Sonata Arctica and Nightwish, and with the right push, Nemesis could be the album that gets them to that point.


Byzantine, Byzantine (Self-released)


It seems that 2013 is the year for bands to reunite and release new material, and I for one am not complaining! Mutiny Within has already released their new album, and this week we get the long-awaited fourth album from West Virginia’s groove-tech hybrid Byzantine. You might recall that Byzantine announced their breakup in 2008, just four days after the release of Oblivion Beckons. I was shocked and dismayed when that occurred, since I found Oblivion Beckons to be positively masterful. It was one of the best albums I’d heard that year, and it has only improved with time. The announcement of the group’s reunion in 2010 was a relief, but I wanted to hear more – specifically, a new album that would show the band growing even more from what they had already achieved. Finally, last year, Byzantine announced that their new material was in the works, much to the rejoicing of fans everywhere. Having heard samples of the new album, I am incredibly excited to hear what this album has in store for listeners. Byzantine is still one of the most stylistically-diverse bands in the US scene, and I think that will be their greatest strength going forward.



Also being released this week:


Darkthrone, The Underground Resistance (Peaceville)


Within the Ruins, Elite (eOne)


KMFDM, Kunst (Metropolis)


Helker, Somewhere in the Circle (AFM)


Ruins, Place of No Pity (Listenable)


Mustasch, Sounds Like Hell, Feels Like Heaven (Metalville)


Bret Michaels, Good Songs & Great Friends (Poor Boy)



Next Week: A European invasion is coming, as next week’s top bands are almost exclusively imports from across the pond. Get ready for some big names to come storming through your playlists!