The upheaval of the music industry continues unabated as we move into April. Each passing week of reading Metal by Numbers only serves to either depress or enrage me. My biggest reason for being upset, though, comes from the consistent non-charting sales numbers from bands that are huge abroad and have rapidly growing fan bases here in America. Either people are not paying attention to the new releases from their favorite artists, or else they’re not buying the albums when they debut. Whichever it is (and I’m sure most of us can guess), these low sales numbers can’t continue if metal is to thrive in the US. We’ve already heard rumors of bands choosing not to tour in America. If bands can’t sell their albums here, how far away are we from metal artists in other countries eschewing America entirely from their musical focus?
This week has the two biggest solo projects in black metal releasing new albums, which should have the “tr00 kvlt” crowd feeling rather excited (while also trying to maintain their “grim” personas). A few other interesting albums grace a short list today. Check this list, then check your ego and spend some money on one of these albums! The future of metal music in America may depend on you!
Vintersorg, Jordpuls (Napalm)
The man known as Vintersorg (real name: Andreas Hedlund) has had a fantastic couple of years. Last year’s new album from Borknagar, the amazing Universal, was considered by many to be one of the best in Borknagar’s career. Unfortunately, Hedlund was forced to sit out the last few tours that Borknagar did while he was recording this album. Hopefully, though, he will be able to resume touring now that Jordpuls is done. Continuing with the entirely Swedish lyrics from 2007’s Solens Rötter, Jordpuls is yet another excursion into folk-black-progressive metal fusion that will leave minds warped and perceptions shattered.
Burzum, Fallen (Candlelight)
It would seem that Varg Vikernes is trying to make up for the time he lost during his nearly sixteen years in prison. After last year’s Belus, the former Mayhem frontman has released his second album dealing with what Vikernes terms “mythological undertones”. There are also ambient bits that occur more frequently than on past releases, which will likely cause the same split reactions as they did on Belus. In the end, Vikernes is doing what he has always done: releasing music that purely comes from himself with no dilution or adjustment based on fan’s desires.
Asking Alexandria, Reckless and Relentless (Sumerian)
As the metalcore and post-hardcore scenes continue to be blended together by bands like Asking Alexandria, the fame and fortune of the bands within that scene is increasing exponentially. However, this is also leading to the embarrassing “rock star moments” that were often witnessed in the ’80s. Lead singer Danny Worsnop experienced that firsthand at a show last week in Seattle, prompting a declaration by the 20-year-old that he was quitting drugs and drinking. Let’s hope that, for the success of Reckless and Relentless and the dignity of the band, that Worsnop is successful in that attempt.
Nonpoint, Icon (Geffen)
Nonpoint’s early years were mildly successful and set the tone for most of their career, but many recent fans don’t know much from their roots beyond their cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. Icon will be a good review for these fans, covering some of the best songs from their first two albums, Statement and Development. There are also some good rarities on this collection, like the B-side tracks “Across the Line” and “Pickle”, as well as the acoustic version of “What a Day”.
Also being released this week:
Hollywood Undead, American Tragedy (A&M/Octone)
Vains of Jenna, Reverse Tripped (Cleopatra)
Vicious Rumors, Razorback Killer (SPV)
Power Quest, Blood Alliance (Napalm)
Assassin, Breaking the Silence (Steamhammer)
Kampfar, Mare (Napalm)
Kingdom Come, Rendered Waters (SPV/Steamhammer)
Negura Bunget, Focul Viu (Prophecy)
Next Week: Progression and technicality take over next week’s list en masse, so be prepared for plenty of intelligent and intricate music in your speakers! See you next time!