Welcome to November, and don’t panic. The new release calendar is still going strong. In fact, the amount of new music that is still due to be released over the next six weeks is going to make formulating a Top 10 list for 2016 rather challenging. Nonetheless, we soldier on, with a number of high-profile albums from across the spectrum coming out today. Check them out and see what piques your interest!
Dark Tranquillity, Atoma (Century Media)
If you can believe it, Dark Tranquillity has been around for nearly three decades now. So few bands make it that far in the modern era of music, so that is quite the achievement. Atoma is Dark Tranquillity’s eleventh album, and it is being hailed as an essential piece in the band’s storied history. This album is the recording debut for new bassist Anders Iwers, a longtime contributor to the Swedish metal scene via Tiamat, Avatarium, and Ceremonial Oath.
Hammerfall, Built to Last (Napalm)
Inking a new deal with Napalm in March, Hammerfall are storming out the gate with album number ten. Drummer David Wallin of Pain makes his recording debut here, after filling in for the departing Anders Johansson on the World Wide (r)Evolution tour. Hammerfall’s brand of power metal has always been a joy to witness, and Built to Last promises to feature the same soaring vocals, galloping guitars, and traditional metal pride that has made Hammerfall a staple worldwide.
Vader, The Empire (Nuclear Blast)
Listen, the irony of Vader releasing an album called The Empire is not lost on a Star Wars fan like me. But that’s about the only thing on this album that’s worth a chuckle, because Vader has brought the fire once again on album number twelve. The Polish blackened death metal stalwarts have never shied away from mixing up the formula, and The Empire capitalizes on this by drawing on vocalist Peter’s thrash metal roots. This album is a fast-paced and to-the-point affair as a result, hitting hard and not letting up until the end.
Leaves’ Eyes, Fires in the North EP (AFM)
2016 has been a tumultuous year for Leaves’ Eyes, highlighted by the band’s announcement in April that singer Liv Kristine had left the band amicably, and Liv’s subsequent rebuttal that she was forcibly dismissed. Despite the drama, though, the German symphonic metal group has soldiered on with new Finnish vocalist Elina Siirala, who made her live debut with the band at the Hammersonic Festival in Jakarta. Fires in the North contains three versions of the song of the same name, as well as two re-recorded songs from 2015’s King of Kings.
Wolves at the Gate, Types & Shadows (Solid State)
Wolves at the Gate had a strong showing with their sophomore album, 2014’s VxV. The album peaked at #134 on the Billboard 200 and also charted on several of the genre-specific charts. The album was also a critical success with reviewers and fans, earning widespread acclaim that named the band as a massive breakout success. The band is pushing boundaries even further on this new album, seeking to make Types & Shadows an even bigger hit than its predecessor.
Attila, Chaos (Sharptone)
If there is one constant that can be associated with Attila, it’s chaos. So the fact that their seventh album is entitled Chaos is incredibly fitting, especially given some of the events that took place during their run on last year’s Warped Tour. The overwhelming sentiment of this album is complete disregard and contempt for any criticism that has been leveled at the band, which is consistent with the band’s devil-may-care aesthetic. As many reviewers have said, this is not an album for the easily offended.
Pretty Maids, Kingmaker (Frontiers)
With 35 years and fourteen previous albums under their belt, Pretty Maids has accomplished more in their careers than most bands can even hope to dream. Kingmaker, the Danish group’s fifteenth album, presents another selection of intense hard rock and traditional heavy metal that will only further the band’s reputation of excellence. This album is the debut of keyboardist Chris Laney, previously known for his work in Leif Edling and Animal.
Civil War, The Last Full Measure (Napalm)
Civil War was formed after four of Sabaton’s founding members left the group in 2012 and sought to form their own musical venture. The band had a seven-piece, triple guitar lineup for last year’s Gods and Generals, but guitarist Oskar Montelius and bassist Stefan Eriksson both left the band after the album’s release. Civil War has opted to continue as a five-piece rather than find replacements, and that five-piece lineup created The Last Full Measure, the band’s third album.
Starkill, Shadow Sleep (Prosthetic)
Starkill initially tried to crowdfund the release of their third album, but after encountering some obstacles on that route, the band signed to Prosthetic to release Shadow Sleep in a more traditional manner. The Chicago-based melodic death metal group made a powerful impression with their first two albums, proving that the melodic death metal scene in America was still alive and well. Shadow Sleep is the band’s attempt to grow and enrich that scene with a more diverse and ambitious sound.
Death Valley High, Cvlt [As Fvk] (Minus Head Records)
This California band’s had a handful of albums before, but for this one, they’ve enlisted Ulrich Wild (Static-X) and have gone into more of a goth/industrial vibe that you’ll enjoy if you’ve ever been a fan of Marilyn Manson’s.