It seems appropriate that the week of Halloween would have more metal releases than almost every other week of the year. Be prepared to take notes, because you have tons of choices for new music to get this week!
Protest the Hero, Volition (Razor & Tie)
Volition marks a number of changes for Protest the Hero. Most notably, founding drummer Moe Carlson left the band before recording begin to return to school. His fill-in for the album was Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler, so it’s a safe bet that the drumming will still sound fantastic. Volition is also the first album for the band not to be released through the label Underground Operations. The album was funded entirely by an Indiegogo campaign that raised nearly three times more than the $125,000 the band was seeking (Razor & Tie is handling distribution only).
Doyle, Abominator (Monsterman)
If you missed the digital release of Doyle’s debut album back in July, then you’re in luck, because the horror-based punk and metal on this album is perfect music for Halloween. Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein is joined on the debut for his solo project by his former Misfits bandmate, drummer Dr. Chud, as well as vocalist Alex Story (Cancerslug) and bassist Left Hand Graham Reaper (ex-Let It Burn).
Sepultura, The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must be the Heart (Nuclear Blast)
Sepultura’s 13th studio album is the first to feature new drummer Eloy Casagrande, who joined the band in 2011 after Jean Dolabella’s departure. Mediator is produced by Ross Robinson, who also worked on the groundbreaking Roots album back in 1996. The album is not a concept album, but it has themes that are loosely inspired by the 1927 movie Metropolis. Ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo makes a guest appearance on the album, playing on the track “Obsessed” alongside Casagrande. If you plan on seeing Sepultura during their upcoming North American, you can be sure that Mediator will be featured at least a few times in the setlist.
Testament, Dark Roots of Thrash (Nuclear Blast)
Back in February, Testament played to a sold-out crowd at the Paramount in Huntington, NY. Dark Roots of Thrash documents that performance on two CD’s and one DVD. Featuring a career-spanning setlist for the live show, as well as backstage footage and the video for “Native Blood” on the DVD, this release is a great way to see just how ferocious Testament is on stage. You can also see that spectacle in person by catching them on tour right now with Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Huntress.
Skeletonwitch, Serpents Unleashed (Prosthetic)
Skeletonwitch are back and just as evil as ever on their fifth full-length. This will be the second album to feature drummer Dustin Boltjes, who joined the band prior to the recording of 2011’s Forever Abomination. Serpents Unleashed features cover art by Baroness singer/guitarist John Baizley, who previously did the artwork for Skeletonwitch’s 2007 album Beyond the Permafrost.
Hello Demons Meet Skeletons, Choices (Architekt)
This is a late entry because Choices actually came out last week, but it’s still well worth your attention. Hello Demons Meet Skeletons is the solo project of Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery. Lowery has released three EP’s for the project so far, and he declared on his website that Choices would be the final release for the project. While HDMS has often showcased very different styles than what Lowery is known for in Sevendust, he wrote on his website that Choices would be done electric rather than acoustic, as a desire to close the project with a bang. Fans clearly listened, as the deluxe edition that was limited to 500 copies sold out long before the album’s release date. Check this out if you enjoyed Lowery’s other projects Dark New Day and Call Me No One.
Kataklysm, Waiting for the End to Come (Nuclear Blast)
Back in April, Kataklysm announced that drummer Max Duhamel would be sitting out their recording sessions and shows for the time being, while he seeks treatment for alcoholism. Ex-Neuraxis drummer Oli Beaudoin has taken over the drums in Duhamel’s absence, and he’s done a fine job so far in their live show. It will be interesting to hear how Beaudoin’s style might have influenced the songs on Waiting for the End to Come. You can also catch Kataklysm as part of Sepultura’s aforementioned North American tour, along with Unearth, Dark Sermon, Anciients, and Scar the Martyr.
Ayreon, The Theory of Everything (Inside Out)
2008’s 01011001 concluded the storyline of the first seven Ayreon albums. Never accuse Arjen Anthony Lucassen of lacking ambition, though, because he spent the last five years writing and composing a brand new rock opera. As is typical for Ayreon, the guest cast is a star-studded affair, featuring the likes of Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), and many more.
Warbringer, IV: Empires Collapse (Century Media)
Warbringer has been somewhat off the grid since the release of 2011’s Worlds Torn Asunder. They did participate in some touring during that time, but overall, it seemed to be rather quiet in the Warbringer camp. That ends here, though, as Empires Collapse is being released right as Warbringer head out on tour with Kreator and Overkill. A positive reception by the crowds on this tour could help vault Warbringer into the limelight among the new school of thrash bands.
The Devin Townsend Project, The Retinal Circus (HevyDevy)
This four-disc (two CD’s and two DVD’s) captures the live performance from October 27, 2012, at London’s famous venue, the Roundhouse. This one-night-only event showed Devin celebrating and chronicling his two-decade music career. Although much of the setlist drew from 2012’s Epicloud, there was plenty of material from Devin’s other solo albums and the old Devin Townsend Band material. Best of all, two Strapping Young Lad songs were included in the performance, too.
Winds of Plague, Resistance (Century Media)
The fourth album from the California deathcore act sees them cutting down to the basics and eschewing many of the extraneous parts that appeared on 2011’s Against the World. Resistance only features two guest vocalists – those being Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain and Chris Fronzak of Attila – and has no spoken word passages breaking up the album’s flow. The songs are shorter, tighter, and much more intense. Overall, this is Winds of Plague finally realizing that they only need the bare essentials in order to make good, quality metal.
Kill Devil Hill, Revolution Rise (Century Media)
Last week, we premiered the track “No Way Out”, which features Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde and is the opening track on Revolution Rise. Now on their second album, this supergroup now seems to be the main focus of all four of its members, and their music certainly reflects a singularity of purpose that isn’t always found in such conglomerate lineups. You can see them on tour now with Eyes Set to Kill, Black Water Rising, and Girl on Fire – the tour dates are listed on the band’s Facebook page.
Toxic Holocaust, Chemistry of Consciousness (Relapse)
Toxic Holocaust’s fifth album is just as fierce and passionate as their previous records, if not even more so. If there’s one truth to Toxic Holocaust, it’s that the band gets even better with time. A top-notch mix by Converge’s Kurt Ballou could result in this being one of the biggest albums of the band’s entire career.
Ihsahn, Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight)
Reviews of Ihsahn’s fifth solo album all state that it is a drastic change from his previous output. With greater emphasis placed on atmosphere, a heavy amount of doom influence, and the incorporation of many instruments that you wouldn’t expect to hear in traditional metal (pianos, orchestral parts, and electronic effects are just a few examples), this is a radical departure for the former Emperor frontman. Some are saying it’s the best thing he’s ever done, while others are not as enthused by its lack of cohesion. You’ll just have to listen for yourself.
Hail of Bullets, III: The Rommel Chronicles (Metal Blade)
The Dutch group with a mind for war chose to shift their lyrical composition on The Rommel Chronicles. Rather than focusing on a specific event or campaign from World War II, the album lyrically depicts the military career of German field marshal and strategist Erwin Rommel. Drummer Ed Warby once again produced the album, while Dan Swanö handled mixing and mastering for the third consecutive album.
The Flower Kings, Desolation Rose (Inside Out)
The Swedish symphonic prog outfit had been on an extended break for almost five years before releasing 2012’s Banks of Eden, which was very well received by fans. Taking the opposite approach this time, the band took almost no time off before beginning the writing and recording process for Desolation Rose. Vocalist and guitarist Roine Stolt describes the album as a political statement that challenges listeners to rethink their world view and perception of what information the media provides.
East of the Wall, Redaction Artifacts (Translation Loss)
Fourth full-length album from the New Jersey-based post-metal group. East of the Wall has a revamped lineup for this new album, and they plan to take the new lineup on tour very soon to spread the word about Redaction Artifacts. Check it out if you like Intronaut, Rosetta, Burst, or other similarly experimental groups.
Man Must Die, Peace Was Never an Option (Lifeforce)
After releasing two albums with Relapse, Glasgow’s Man Must Die signed with Lifeforce for the release of their fourth album. The group’s technical side has always been their strongest side, and it is on fine display throughout Peace Was Never an Option. If you like technical death metal, then this album is perfect for you.
Impaled, The Dead Still Dead Remain (Willowtip)
This is actually a re-recording of Impaled’s debut album, The Dead Shall Dead Remain. That album, which came out in 2000, has been out of print for years, and rather than force fans to pay ridiculous prices in order to obtain the album from eBay, Impaled decided to re-record the album in its entirety and release it for all fans to hear.
Seeker, Unloved (Victory)
Back in February, we featured Seeker in our column Unsigned & Streamed. Then, just a few months later, they were signed to Victory, and today, their debut album gets out to the public. If you missed them back then, do yourself a favor and check out this album. Seeker is a band that has to be heard to be believed!
Next Week: It’s a shorter list of releases, but it’s no less diverse than today’s. Come check it all out next Tuesday!