Soilwork, The Living Infinite (Nuclear Blast)
The publicity for this album has been oversaturated with referring to The Living Infinite as “the first double album in the history of melodic death metal.” And although I’m sure there are some hyper-critical metal historians out there that will find a double album from some tiny and obscure melodeath band in ages past, the fact remains that this is the first double album from the staple groups in the upper echelon of melodic death metal. (And no, In Flames fans, the release of Black Ash Inheritance alongside Whoracle does NOT count!) Of greater significance, though, is the band’s new lineup, which is once again missing Peter Wichers. After rejoining the band in 2008 and producing the amazing 2010 album, The Panic Broadcast, Wichers left Soilwork for a second time last year, with the band citing creative differences for his departure. His replacement, David Andersson, performed with Soilwork after Wichers’ first departure in 2005, making him a good fit for the band already. Initial reviews of The Living Infinite are overwhelmingly positive, so this double album could potentially carve a place for itself in melodeath history, based on its merits more than its uniqueness.
Omnium Gatherum, Beyond (Lifeforce)
2011’s New World Shadows was one of the most highly praised albums in the history of Finnish melodic death metal, and some have even referred to it as the best contribution to the genre that Finland has ever made. Much of this is likely due to the fact that Omnium Gatherum poured on the progressive elements in heavy doses, creating a dark and epic atmosphere that permeates the entire album. Having earned such high praise for that choice on the last album, it only makes sense that Beyond would continue in that tradition. There are few bands experimenting with the progressive melodeath style, but Omnium Gatherum does it so well, they don’t even need to experiment – it just comes naturally to them. If such a style garners your interest at all, you definitely need to check this album out!
Neaera, Ours is the Storm (Metal Blade)
I will admit to being slightly biased here, simply because Neaera is my favorite German metal band, but I honestly don’t understand how this band isn’t more popular. Among their fellow German contemporaries, only Heaven Shall Burn has kept up with Neaera in terms of releasing high-quality modern metal. And even though neither band could ever hope to match the likes of Kreator or Accept, the younger bands have the advantage of releasing music more often. The band’s releases from 2008’s Armamentarium up until now have been excellent, and judging by the samples I’ve heard, Ours is the Storm may be the overall best since Armamentarium, which is the group’s magnum opus to date. I’ve spoken before about Neaera being the band that most personifies aggression in their music, and I stand by that statement even more now. If you want proof, just go listen to the title track, “Decolonize the Mind”, or “Through Treacherous Flames”, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Also being released this week:
How to Destroy Angels, Welcome Oblivion (Columbia)
Blackguard, Storm (Victory)
Rotting Christ, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Season of Mist)
Krokus, Dirty Dynamite (The End)
Vreid, Welcome Farewell (Indie)
Jolly, The Audio Guide to Happiness, Part Two (Inside Out)
Enforcer, Death by Fire (Nuclear Blast)
Hatchet, Dawn of the End (The End)
Lifeforms, Multidimensional (Lifeforce)
Red, Who We Are: The Red Anthology (Provident)
Next Week: We have a short list with some veteran names and intriguing releases, and there is always the potential for a new surprise to be added between then and now. Be sure to come back for more!