Iced Earth, Plagues of Babylon (Century Media)
The group’s second album with ex-Into Eternity vocalist Stu Block also features some other new faces, namely bassist Luke Appleton and drummer Raphael Saini (who was replaced shortly after recording by journeyman Jon Dette). Plagues of Babylon features some high-powered guest vocalists, including Michael Poulson (Volbeat), Russell Allen (Symphony X), and Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian).
Throwdown, Intolerance (eOne)
After being essentially silent for much of the past four years, Throwdown is finally back on the map! However, there is a lot of confusion as to the state of the band, as Dave Peters has not confirmed the band’s current lineup or their touring status. All Peters has said is that Intolerance was made for himself and for longtime fans of the band. We’re not sure if that means that Throwdown is returning to their hardcore roots, but either way, this is an exciting record that shouldn’t be missed!
Axel Rudi Pell, Into the Storm (Steamhammer)
On the 16th album from the German guitarist and his band, the only lineup change is that longtime drummer Mike Terrana was replaced last year by Bobby Rondinelli. The band has already planned a run of European shows for the month of February, as well as a second European tour for the fall. The fall run will end in Pell’s hometown of Bochum, Germany, which is sure to be a unique and memorable night.
Pro-Pain, The Final Revolution (SPV/Steamhammer)
Pro-Pain’s fourteenth full-length album is yet another entry into their long-stretching catalog of solid hardcore releases. With no signs of changing their style or giving in to critics, Pro-Pain continues to uphold the hardcore ethos of fighting for what you believe in and creating what makes you feel fulfilled. The Final Revolution adds some anti-establishment lyrics to the usual mix, harkening back to the ’80s hardcore style that the band was so heavily influenced by.
Persuader, The Fiction Maze (Inner Wound)
Swedish power metal group Persuader started work on The Fiction Maze back in 2007. However, the album was delayed heavily for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the band members’ numerous obligations to side projects like Dark Empire and Savage Circus. Now that The Fiction Maze is finally out, give it a listen if you enjoy early Blind Guardian or Nocturnal Rites.
Tempel, On the Steps of the Temple (Prosthetic)
Tempel is a two-person instrumental doom metal project originating from Phoenix. Forming as a full band in 2003 and eventually settling as a duo by 2006, their first full-length On the Steps of the Temple was recorded between 2009 and 2012, and was self-released also in 2012. Tempel signed with Prosthetic in 2013, and with that signing comes a worldwide re-release of their debut album.
Next Week: The release calendar maintains its potency but reduces in size, as just a handful of new albums appear from artists that are all well-known to metal fans. Come back next week to see who it will be!