The Big Four have only come together for one event in recent memory, but the success of that event has been the subject of many news stories, editorials, and reviews. It is also the subject of one box set that is the highlight of this week’s release cycle. Few, if any, events have generated as much buzz as this year’s Sonisphere Festival and the combined might of America’s biggest metal bands sharing one stage. Those that saw the concert when it aired in theaters around the country on June 22nd know that it was an historic event, and will undoubtedly want to see it again. Those that missed the concert in theaters will be jumping all over this release like a pack of wild dogs on a crippled sheep. In short, The Big Four are in control of everything this week.

There are a couple of other releases this week, but most labels wisely chose to shy away from releasing anything at the same time as one of the biggest collections released this year. As such, next week is loaded with new releases that the labels held back a week, in deference to the Big Four. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what little this week has to offer.

Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax, The Big 4 – Live from Sofia, Bulgaria (Warner Bros.)

This is probably one of the biggest boxed sets ever released, and with good reason. The 5-CD, 2-DVD collection has the entire performances of the Big 4 in both audio and video, giving fans not only an amazing concert to watch, but also excellent concert audio to listen to. This box set also has a 24-page booklet, a double-sided poster, band photos, and a Big 4 guitar pick. Fans not wanting to drop $55 on the box set can get the standard edition with just the concert DVD’s, and hi-def lovers can also get the collection on Blu-ray.

Alexisonfire, Dog’s Blood (Vagrant)

This digital EP is described by the band as “completely miscellaneous stuff”. It is apparently comprised of songs that were too different from the band’s other material to ever appear on a full-length album. Given how multi-faceted Alexisonfire has become on recent albums, all four songs could end up sounding completely different from one another. But even if that ends up being the case, this EP will still be a lot of fun for the band’s fans looking to hear the full extent of their sound.

Various Artists, Punk Goes Pop, Vol. 3 (Fearless)

The Punk Goes Pop series of compilations has received plenty of negative feedback over the course of time, and this installment will likely draw its fair share of criticism as well. At least the selection of metal artists is marginally expanded this time around, with Asking Alexandria, We Came as Romans, Miss May I, The Word Alive, and Woe, Is Me all contributing material to the album. And the novelty of heavy covers of Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Akon, Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and other pop stars will surely attract more than a few pop fans to this compilation.

Next Week: As previously stated, the week is jam-packed with new material. As mentioned three weeks ago, it’s time to break out the corpsepaint again. Be prepared for anything when you return next Tuesday.