Most bands get better with age, but there are very few that don’t seem to reach a noticeable peak. Fewer still manage to reach a peak, fall back from it, and then ascend to an even higher peak. Today’s lead artist is one such band, and their release today comes over a decade after their last peak. Having reinvented themselves, recollected their core inspiration, and refocused on what set them apart from their peers, they have created an album that is wholly different from anything in their past and truly indicative of their musical prowess. Read on to find out more about this excellent release, along with all the other new material coming out today!
Sevendust, Black Out the Sun (7brothers)
Ask a veteran Sevendust fan what they think the band’s best album was, and the answer you’ll hear most often is 2001’s Animosity. Refining the anger of the band’s previous two albums into a surgical instrument, and combining with some of the most amazing musicianship that the alt-metal scene had gotten up to that point, Animosity was Sevendust’s mission statement to the world, displaying what they were capable of and why they had to offer than most of their peers. Twelve years later, that same statement has been issued, but in a very different fashion. On 2010’s Cold Day Memory (the band’s reunion with guitarist Clint Lowery, who had left in 2005 and rejoined in 2008), Sevendust showed that they were capable of expanding their style and trying new things. They refined that process in separate ways – Lowery and drummer Morgan Rose released Last Parade with their project Call Me No One, while bassist Vinnie Hornsby and guitarist John Connolly formed the band Projected and released the album Human. Bringing all of this experience together with the musical minds at Architekt Music in Butler, NJ (the same studio where Last Parade was recorded), Sevendust created a record that took them out of their niche and into a larger world encompassing hard rock, alt-metal, and progressive rock. Where Animosity was a statement of attitude, Black Out the Sun is a statement of emotion – Sevendust is capable of evoking every possible emotion with their music, and they intend to do just that with this album. A beautifully composed album with some of the band’s best material to date, Black Out the Sun has to be heard to be believed. This is already a contender for Album of the Year with me, and it would seem to be that with many other critics, as well.
Suicidal Tendencies, 13 (Suicidal)
The title of this album does not represent the number of albums the band has released up to this point, but rather the number of years it has been since the last album of new material from Suicidal Tendencies. It’s quite possible that there were also thirteen possible release dates for a new Suicidal Tendencies album during that period. Mike Muir and Co. had potential release dates lined up so many times, it’s hard to keep track of them all (although Wikipedia did a nice job of it). Suffice to say, it’s been quite a long wait, and fans that have been impatiently waiting all this time for a new album may be a bit jaded. But this will be worth the wait, I assure you. 13 marks the recording debut of bassist Tim “Rawbiz” Williams and guitarist Nico Santora, in the latest saga of Suicidal’s ever-changing lineup, and they fit right in with the rest of the group. 2013 marks the three-decade anniversary of the group’s self-titled album being released, so it’s right to celebrate with new material. To quote one of their album titles, it’s good to see that Suicidal Tendencies is still Cyco after all these years!
Kvelertak, Meir (Roadrunner)
This is the first of three consecutive weeks wherein Roadrunner is putting out high-profile releases, which is a big deal for the label after the chaos of 2012. The first of these three is from Kvelertak, one of the label’s newest signings and a major up-and-coming force in the international metal realm. This Norwegian group made huge waves with their self-titled debut in 2010, earning the acclaim of a great many news sites and journalists, including many of my Metal Insider colleagues. I showed up late to the party with this band, but I’m no less impressed by them. The extremely unique brand of punk-infused black ‘n’ roll (talk about your genre specifics…) that Kvelertak offers hits the sweet spot of being progressive, heavy, technical, and melodic all at once. If Meir performs well, then Kvelertak could be headed for even greater heights in the coming years.
Amaranthe, The Nexus (Spinefarm)
Although they play the same “modern” melodic death metal style as bands like Sonic Syndicate and System Divide, Amaranthe has managed to eclipse almost all of their competition in the genre, and now carries the same clout as bands like Scar Symmetry and Mnemic. Proof of that can be found in their fanbase’s rabid attention to their goings-on – in just two months since its release, their video for “The Nexus” has almost 1.4 million views. Not bad for a band that’s only been around for five years, right? The band’s self-titled debut reached amazing heights overseas, topping the Japanese Import charts (even beating Lady Gaga!), reaching #35 on the Swedish charts, and peaking at #16 on the Finnish charts. Credit could be given to the fact that the group has drawn its fanbase from multiple different bands, as Amaranthe’s members have credits with groups like Nightrage, Dragonland, Cipher System, Within Y, Mercenary, Engel, and Dream Evil. But in the end, the music that this group produces is completely different from any of their other projects, and the collaboration of all six members is what makes it so good. This sophomore album will only further cement the group’s popularity overseas, and a good showing here in the US could help the band expand to even greater heights.
Tool, Opiate [21st Anniversary Edition] (N/A)
1992’s Opiate marked the beginning of Tool’s domination of the world, and this re-issue celebrates that release in all its glory. The re-issue is hand-crafted using a Heidelburg Cylinder Press, and is being run in five separate sets of 1,000 copies each, making a total of 5,000 copies of this release being printed. Pre-orders were only made available to members of the ToolArmy this past Friday, and no other pre-orders have been allowed. The package can only be purchased through Tool’s website starting today, and at $149.99, it’s not cheap, but if this re-issue interests you at all, get right over there and get it now, because it will likely sell out very quickly.
Also being released this week:
Iron Maiden, Maiden England ’88 CD/DVD (UME)
Saxon, Sacrifice (Capitol)
Voodoo Circle, More Than One Way Home (AFM)
The Color Morale, Know Hope (Rise)
Conditions, Full of War (eOne)
DGM, Momentum (Scarlet)
Wormed, Exodromos (Willowtip)
Dark Sermon, In Tongues (eOne)
Trollfest, Brumblebassen (Napalm)
Odd Dimension, The Last Embrace to Humanity (Scarlet)
Hierophant, Great Mother: Holy Monster (Bridge Nine)
Next Week: An album that was thought impossible for more than a decade is being unleashed. The return of a great singer to the band that he made great will finally be heard on a new record. This has to be seen to be believed! Come on back to get the news!