There is no reason to not be excited about summer arriving. Festivals are starting to roll, new tours are being announced every week, and new music is debuting all the time. This week’s selection is huge, so get reading and find out what’s going to be filling your ears in the very near future!
Armored Saint, Win Hands Down (Metal Blade)
Armored Saint made their triumphant comeback five years ago with La Raza, and it was a huge critical and commercial success. Now John Bush, Joey Vera, and company have returned with album number seven, proving in the process that their comeback wasn’t a fluke. Win Hands Down is every bit as excellent as its predecessor, if not more.
The Darkness, Last of Our Kind (+180)
After re-uniting in 2011 and releasing the album Hot Cakes in 2012, the British rockers did a run of successful touring that led up to this album’s release. Last of Our Kind is the first album from The Darkness to feature new drummer Rufus Taylor, who also happens to be the son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor.
Helloween, My God-Given Right (Nuclear Blast)
The German power metal legends have been a roll lately, releasing their best material in years and playing excellent live shows. My God-Given Right only adds to the string of greatness, displaying precision and stylistic diversity that wouldn’t be expected of a band their age. This is also Helloween’s first album since re-signing with Nuclear Blast, who last released 2003’s Rabbit Don’t Come Easy for the band.
Paradise Lost, The Plague Within (Century Media)
Improving with age is one thing many bands hope to do and never accomplish, but Paradise Lost has been successfully doing just that for years. The Plague Within is just the latest example of the band becoming more refined and skilled at their craft, and it even includes some tracks that recall the band’s early days as a death/doom metal project.
Skinless, Only the Ruthless Remain (Relapse)
Although Skinless was only technically broken up from 2011 to 2013, it feels like it was a lot longer than that. A contributing factor to that is likely the fact that the last Skinless album was released in 2006, meaning that fans have been waiting for new music for nine years. If there was ever a time to be excited about death metal, this is it.
Nekrogoblikon, Heavy Meta (Razor & Tie)
If you don’t have any goblin metal in your life, you’re missing out. Nekrogoblikon is incredibly fun to listen to, and unlike a lot of comedic metal bands, they actually play really well. You might also remember that Nekrogoblikon contributed to Metal Insider’s first run of T-shirts, which you can still purchase if you want to represent Metal Insider and/or goblin metal in your life.
Rest Among Ruins, Fugue (Self-released)
This three-piece prog outfit helmed by Mike Semesky (Raunchy, ex-The HAARP Machine) has been in existence for several years, and Fugue is their debut full-length. The album offers a vivid lyrical account of a man living with a cognitive disassociation disorder that has caused his brain to create an entirely new identity and new life, complete with false memories and experiences. It’s an amazing concept that fits well alongside the engrossing instrumentation, and you can sample it all by checking out the track “In Another’s Skin” here.
Art of Anarchy, Art of Anarchy (Another Century)
This hard rock supergroup contains Disturbed bassist John Moyer, twin brothers Jon and Vince Votta, and the legendary guitarist Bumblefoot. Word is that the project came together after years of friendship between Jon Votta and Bumblefoot, and Votta wanting to start a band. Scott Weiland performed vocals on this album, but he has emphatically denied being a permanent member of the lineup.
Leprous, The Congregation (Inside Out)
Leprous first came to prominence as the backing band for ex-Emperor vocalist Ihsahn, when he first started playing live shows as a solo act. Once Leprous began releasing their own material, they truly came into their own. Constantly gaining praise for their blending of older progressive styles with newer, avant-garde techniques, Leprous has been rising quickly to the top in recent years.
The Great Discord, Duende (Metal Blade)
This young Swedish group presents an interesting mixture of styles within their music. Blending gothic and progressive elements into their sound, these seemingly incompatible styles are woven together effortlessly thanks to the haunting vocals of Fia Kempe. This band has a very bright future, and I’m excited to hear what else they have to offer.