If ever there was to be an indicator of the fanaticism that metal fans can exhibit, look no further for it than today’s release list. Our top two items this week are EP’s of that clock in at under 25 minutes. If that isn’t a sign of how much we care about our music, then I don’t know what is. There are quite a few other releases on the list today, too, so let’s get right to it!
Ghost, Popestar (Lorna Vista)
No matter what your opinion is of Ghost, it’s undeniable that last year’s Meliora was a big deal. The album debuted at #8 on the Billboard charts, which is an incredible feat for any band with the genre classifications that Ghost receives. On top of that, the song “Cirice” earned the band a Grammy award, which is just one of the many accolades and awards that Ghost received for that song and the album as a whole. Popestar may only feature one new song amidst four covers, but it’s still a big enough deal that the band is touring North America to promote the EP. You can bet those shows will all sell out, too.
TesseracT, Errai (Kscope)
TesseracT is another band that had an impressive 2015. Polaris was a critical darling that earned its way onto countless Top 10 lists at the end of the year, with its debut at #120 on the Billboard charts being a sign that the British progressive metal group was beginning their ascent from the underground. Errai is intended as a companion piece to Polaris, so much so that there is actually a digital release combining the two also coming out today. Here’s to hoping that this allows TesseracT to continue their breakout success all the way into the release of their next full-length.
Heaven Shall Burn, Wanderer (Century Media)
Now this is one album that flew under the radar in a huge way. The last time we heard from Heaven Shall Burn was 2013’s Veto, an album that garnered positive reviews but did not make a big hit on the charts. Despite their lack of US chart success, though, it’s undeniable that Heaven Shall Burn is still the most powerful name in the German melodic death metal scene. Wanderer marks the recording debut of drummer Christian Bass, who replaces founding drummer Matthias Voigt in only the second lineup change in the band’s twenty year history.
Brujeria, Pocho Aztlan (Nuclear Blast)
Brujeria returned to the metal world in 2007, following a few years of internal strife and inactivity. Their fourth album was originally scheduled for release in 2009, but for unknown reasons, it never materialized when it was expected. Seven years later, Pocho Aztlan is finally being unleashed. This marks a new era for Brujeria, with the recording debuts of Hongo Jr., El Cynico, El Sangron, and Cuernito, as well as the switch by Hongo (now Hongo Sr., I guess?) from bass to guitar. This is also the first Brujeria not being released by Roadrunner, following the band’s signing with Nuclear Blast last year.
King 810, La Petit Mort or A Conversation with God (Roadrunner)
Emerging from the violent streets of Flint, Michigan, King 810 has established themselves as a band with a powerful message and the defiance to see it delivered no matter what. Following the release of 2014’s Memoirs of a Murderer, the band released a single called “We Gotta Help Ourselves”, with the intent of raising money and awareness of the toxic water crisis afflicting their hometown. La Petit Mort undoubtedly will feature even more social commentary and scathing criticisms of the world around us, as King 810 seeks to open people’s eyes about the state of their existence.
Drudkh and Grift, Зраджені сонцем / Hägringar (Season of Mist)
This split EP brings together two rising stars of the European black metal underground. Ukraine’s Drudkh, seasoned veterans with nearly fifteen years in the scene, powers Side A of the split, whose translated title is Betrayed by the Sun. Their established and apolitical black metal remains one of the most unique and fresh-sounding takes on the genre. On Side B, translated to Mirages, we are introduced to the solo project of Erik Gärdefors that is Grift. Gärdefors, who is known from his time in Heresy and Haemophilia, also avoids politics in this project, opting instead to look at death and the insignificance of humanity in his lyrics.
Inanimate Existence, Calling from a Dream (Unique Leader)
Hailing from the Bay Area, Inanimate Existence was signed by Unique Leader solely on the basis of their live shows, before any material was released at all. The five-piece group carries the mantle of bands like Obscura and The Faceless, playing technical death metal with many progressive influences. Calling from a Dream is the group’s third full-length release, as the band delves further into topics of philosophy and the metaphysical. In a year that has already seen or will see releases from Meshuggah, Fallujah, and Allegaeon, Calling from a Dream could be a huge sleeper hit in a genre that will make giant leaps forward in 2016.
Carcer City, Infinite // Unknown (Stay Sick)
UK-based metalcore upstarts Carcer City are unique in having vocalist Patrick Pinion giving an extra dimension to their aesthetic appeal. Pinion, who lives with a form of synesthesia known as grapheme-color synesthesia, composed everything on Infinite // Unknown according to a color scheme evoked by his brain. Every note, every chord progression, even every word in the track listing – they’re all based on the colors that Pinion’s brain creates when he sees or hear them. The additional layer that this adds to the album gives Infinite // Unknown its own artistic rendering that makes the entire experience unique unto itself.
Temperance, The Earth Embraces Us All (Scarlet)
Temperance is a melodic heavy metal band from Italy that combines classic NWOBHM compositions with the soaring, powerful vocals of Chiara Tricarico, best known for her stint in Lust for Oblivion. The rest of the band has credits with bands such as The Ritual, Secret Sphere, Pandaemonium, and Bejelit, making Temperance a supergroup of sorts in the Italian metal scene. The Earth Embraces Us All is the third full-length album from Temperance, and it will be a big hit with fans of Nightwish, Delain, and Tarot.