The Christmas season has already begun, as mainstream artists have already started releasing their deluge of Christmas music. However, this is not all bad, as the Christmas season also brings gifts for us metalheads. Today’s lead album is one such gift, and there are plenty of other goodies to be had today. Enjoy!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Letters from the Labyrinth (Lava)
TSO has always been known for their production of rock operas that are released during the holiday season. This time, though, only half of that tradition holds true. Letters from the Labyrinth is the first TSO album to feature separate and unconnected songs, woven together by a more subtle theme rather than an overt story. The album is said to be about the problems facing the modern world, with a focus on making listeners think about what is going on around them.
Intronaut, The Direction of Last Things (Century Media)
Intronaut has spent the past few years releasing the best music of their career and touring with some of the biggest names in rock and metal. Some may think that such a trend has to end eventually, but that’s not the case here. The Direction of Last Things contains some of the most intense and intricate music that Intronaut has ever released, and they’re following up the release of this album with a tour alongside Between the Buried and Me and Enslaved.
Swallow the Sun, Songs from the North I, II & III (Century Media)
It’s not uncommon for artists to release double albums, but a triple album is something that almost never happens. Swallow the Sun is giving us just that today, in the form of Songs from the North. The Finnish veterans recorded three albums worth of material over the course of the past year, and they’re releasing it all as one set. Drummer Kai Hahto did not participate in the recording of Songs from the North, as he has been filling in during Nightwish’s current touring. Drummer Juuso Raatikainen of Heathen Hoof filled in for Kai during the recording.
Revocation, Empire of the Obscene Re-Issue (Metal Blade)
In 2008, a young band from Boston released their first album without any label support or backing. That album proved to be so good that the band was signed to Relapse almost immediately after its release. The band’s name was Revocation, and the album was called Empire of the Obscene. It’s nearly impossible to find that original album now, but Metal Blade is re-releasing that first gem from Revocation with new packaging, bonus tracks, and more.
Girlschool, Guilty as Sin (UDR)
One of the least talked-about NWOBHM bands, Girlschool is still an integral part of the scene that helped bring metal to the mainstream on a worldwide scale. Guilty as Sin is the thirteenth album from the legendary quartet, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down at all. They’ll be hitting the road alongside Motörhead and Saxon starting next week.
Sacrilege, Behind the Realms of Madness Re-Issue (Relapse)
One of the first crust punk bands to ever be recognized for their unique blending of hardcore and thrash, Sacrilege only existed for a short time in the ’80s before going on hiatus. However, the band reunited in 2014 and is said to be working on new material. In the interim, Relapse is re-releasing their first full-length, thirty years after it first hit the scene and began influencing an entire generation of bands.