Last week, I promised you a bunch of new releases from underground artists or brand new groups, and I’m happy to say that this week does not disappoint! The vast majority of this week’s list contains names that you will likely not recognize, and so much the better, I say! It’s high time that some new artists be given a fair shot to break into the charts in their debut weeks. What makes this list all the more exciting is how diverse it is. With a wide range of genres represented among these artists, one can only hope that music consumers will show some willingness to experiment on something new and different.

The few veteran groups on this list are sure to attract plenty of attention as well, including one of the few metal bands to ever emerge from Ireland, a polarizing industrial hard rock act, and a couple of hardcore/post-hardcore groups trying to cement their establishment in their respective scenes. Don’t be shy – dive right into this list!

Primordial, Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (Metal Blade)

Known for their mixture of black metal and Celtic folk music, Primordial has represented Ireland on the international metal stage for two decades now. Their style has featured little variation over the years, but their consistency is why fans adore them so much. Vocalist Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” calls this record the “death” album, because many of the songs focus on the lyrical themes of mortality and how people deal with it differently. The intelligence that Nemtheanga has always shown in his lyrics will undoubtedly shine through once again on this album, the group’s seventh overall.

Otep, Atavist (Victory)

Folks, it’s official: Otep Shamaya is now the only full member of Otep. Bassist Jay McGuire, a.k.a. eViL j, left the band in September, making Shamaya not only the last founding member in the band, but the last person in the band. The openly lesbian and vegetarian singer/poet/PETA activist recorded Atavist with a lineup of session members and presumably will tour the same way. Much like 2007’s The Ascension, Atavist contains a cover song that already has people in an uproar. The group’s cover of “Not to Touch the Earth” by The Doors has fans of the older band screaming sacrilege, an opinion that Shamaya will likely disregard, much as she had done with most of the criticism that Otep has received.

Memphis May Fire, The Hollow (Rise)

2009’s Sleepwalking was one of my favorite post-hardcore records of that year, and helped convince me that Memphis May Fire was the real deal. One of the most forward-thinking groups in their genre, the Dallas-based group showcased a sound that mixed the Southern crunch of He Is Legend with the riff-laden melodicism of Underoath. Unfortunately, The Hollow has lost a lot of the Southern elements of their older work. The group still shows lots of musicianship and outplays most of their contemporaries, though, and that’s a definite positive.

Destrophy, Cry Havoc (Victory)

After Destrophy’s 2009 self-titled album, I experienced the same disbelief that many felt about this talented unit from Iowa. As an unsigned act, the group’s self-released debut album Chrysalis showed a lot of promise. Many believed that these guys would emerge as one of the top new groups to blend alt-metal and metalcore in years. But the group has changed drastically into a more mainstream hard rock group, and Cry Havoc only furthers that change. Some are crying sellout, others are accepting the change, and still more are undecided, such as me. I will likely wait to see what tours this group ends up on before forming my opinion about them.

Endwell, Punishment (Mediaskare)

These young guns from Queens like to mix melodic elements with extremely aggressive hardcore and breakdowns, much like labelmates The Ghost Inside. They’re not doing much that hasn’t been done before, but the pure energy and heart that goes into their music is undeniable. Such devotion is growing more and more rare over time, but Endwell’s fans notice it and love them for it. The animated album art can be seen as silly, but it’s still better than the failed attempt at fan service artwork on 2006’s Homeland Insecurity, a misstep that the group should never be allowed to live down.

Also being released this week:

Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You, & On & On… (Relapse)

Vomitory, Opus Mortis VIII (Metal Blade)

Hope for the Dying, Dissimulation (Facedown)

Texas in July, One Reality (Equal Vision)

Betrayal, Abandonment (Mediaskare)

Deafheaven, Roads to Judah (Deathwish)

Hero in Error,  The Highs of New Lows (Mediaskare)

Winterus, In Carbon Mysticism (Lifeforce)

Graviton, Massless (Translation Loss)

Bermuda, Isolationist(s) (Mediaskare)

Crucifyre, Infernal Earthly Divine (Pulverised)

Next Week: April showers bring May flowers…which are only allowed to exist because of the release shortage we’re experiencing next week. Don’t skip out, though, because the new releases are absolutely worth checking out! Get your browsers back to Metal Insider next week!