By now, the secret is out that Behemoth frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski was diagnosed with leukemia recently and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. This news only adds to what has been one of the worst years for metal in terms of genre stability and vitality, although a positive report from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe does take some of the sting off. Despite the obvious irony of this, I will be keeping Nergal in my prayers for the coming weeks. Whether you subscribe to Behemoth’s anti-Christian beliefs or not, send whatever form of positive thoughts and good wishes you choose to Nergal and his family in this time of great distress.
This week’s new releases make last week’s look like a cakewalk by comparison. The biggest hard rock band of the past decade tops the list with their fifth album, and a ton of young, up-and-coming bands are also hitting the charts. Read on and see what the future of metal holds.
Disturbed, Asylum (Reprise)
On 2008’s Indestructible, Disturbed proved to the world that they were still alive and well in a huge way. That album, in many ways, re-launched the band’s career and reawakened the vibe that had people raving about them ten years ago. If the album’s title track is any indicator, Asylum is going to be just as good as Indestructible, if not better. Though the video for “Asylum” may explain why David Draiman has been entering the stage in a straitjacket for so long.
Murderdolls, Women and Children Last (Roadrunner)
Six years after going on hiatus, Joey Jordison and Wednesday 13 have reformed Murderdolls and are finally releasing their sophomore album. None of the band’s previous musicians aside from Jordison and Wednesday have returned, but that will have little to no impact on the quality of the music. What will be important is how Jordison will split his time among his various projects. Although he will have no problem on the upcoming tour with Rob Zombie (for whom he plays drums), what will happen after that tour will reveal much about his priorities for 2011.
10 Years, Feeding the Wolves (Universal)
Recently announced as main support for Sevendust on the second annual HardDrive Live Tour, these guys are hoping they can replicate the success of The Autumn Effect and Division. As is typical for bands to do prior to an album’s release, 10 Years is calling Feeding the Wolves their heaviest album yet. Time will tell if that is an accurate description or not.
Comeback Kid, Symptoms + Cures (Victory)
2007’s Broadcasting… was the first release from Comeback Kid to chart on the Billboard Top 200. The performance of Symptoms + Cures will determine whether that was an indicator of the band reaching a wider audience or the recording industry being in such a poor state of affairs. This album features guest vocals by Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats and Nuno Pereira of A Wilhelm Scream, which should attract some interest from fans of those two bands.
Cephalic Carnage, Misled by Certainty (Relapse)
The veteran American grindcore act is still ripping faces while keeping a good sense of humor about their music. While they may not always use the overt parody and farce of their earlier releases, Cephalic Carnage is still able to work some lighter moments into their destructive onslaught. Misled by Certainty is likely to continue where the excellent Xenosapien left off, with a merciless assault of technical grind intermixed with unexpected elements borrowed from other genres.
For Today, Breaker (Facedown)
This band is rapidly gaining a following to the point where they are probably the second most popular metal band from Iowa (we all know who is first in that category). The success of 2009’s Portraits earned these kids a co-headlining spot on this year’s Scream the Prayer Tour. Breaker looks to continue the band’s aggressive, no-holds-barred metalcore attack with thoughtful, spiritual lyrics. For Today is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in Christian metal because of these things.
The Autumn Offering, The Autumn Offering (Victory)
The album teaser that the band released a month ago indicates that this will likely be the heaviest album they’ve made yet. Statements made by vocalist Matt McChesney indicate that the band is trying to distance themselves from the metalcore genre, and these statements are backed up by some parts of the teaser, which show a much greater death metal influence than previous songs. This album might be a breakout for The Autumn Offering, but it could also be a colossal failure. Time will tell how the fans receive this shift in style.
Interment, Into the Crypts of Blasphemy (Pulverised)
Interment features in its lineup vocalist Johan Jansson and bassist Martin Schulman, both of whom were part of the final lineup of now-defunct Swedish death metal legends Centinex. Interment had been rendered defunct in the mid-’90s due to their involvement in Centinex, but the band was finally reactivated in 2006 following Centinex’s split. Now, 22 years after coming together as a band, they are releasing their first full-length album. Now that’s what I call dedication to a band!
Tub Ring, Secret Handshakes (The End)
The experimental rockers are back to appease the Mr. Bungle and Mindless Self Indulgence fans around the world with a new album. Listening to Tub Ring is a very scary experience for the uninitiated, as I myself discovered recently. However, if you’re familiar with the bands mentioned above and/or similar artists that enjoy making you think you’ve gone on an acid trip without ingesting anything, Tub Ring will be a welcome addition to your music collection.
Within the Ruins, Invade (Victory)
As metalcore has started to die, the new bands coming into the scene have taken various new approaches to the genre in order to give it a new twist. Within the Ruins has gone the route of throwing technical riffs and complex polyrhythms into their breakdown-filled music. The results on Invade could best be described as a heavier version of The Human Abstract’s debut album, Rubicon. Give these Massachusetts kids a try if you’re looking for a nice mix of Unearth and Meshuggah.
Infernaeon, Genesis to Nemesis (Prosthetic)
Infernaeon is the result of crossing Florida death metal with Norwegian black metal, two unholy legions of music that have created some of the most controversial and violent works in history between them. Their Prosthetic debut A Symphony of Suffering went almost completely unnoticed, but Genesis to Nemesis has received some pre-release hype thanks to its plentiful guest cast. Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel) and Oderus Urungus (GWAR) are the biggest names showing up on this album, which might help the group increase their following if they get onto some good tours.
Tristania, Rubicon (Napalm)
Up until 2007, Tristania’s female vocalist was former Green Carnation session member Vibeke Stene, who was replaced by Mary Demurtas after the release of Illumination. Now, Tristania’s male vocal position has been filled by another Green Carnation alumnus, Kjetil Nordhus. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if Green Carnation founder Terje “Tchort” Vik Schei joins Tristania on second guitar in the next few years, since Green Carnation has been defunct for three years now.
The Word Alive, Deceiver (Fearless)
Initially formed as a side project of Escape the Fate vocalist Craig Mabbitt, The Word Alive is now a full-time project after signing to Fearless Records. Escape the Fate fans will probably love The Word Alive, due to them sounding very similar. Post-hardcore fans that enjoy In Fear and Faith, blessthefall, or Asking Alexandria will have a lot to like about these guys too.
The Contortionist, Exoplanet (Good Fight)
The newest guilty pleasure of technical death metal fans, The Contortionist fills the same space as Veil of Maya, Molotov Solution, and Born of Osiris in the realm of technical, progressive deathcore. Taking a cue of inspiration from Cynic, Exoplanet is sprinkled with ambient sections and other comparatively quiet moments amidst the beatdowns. Give these guys a shot if you’re looking for something incredibly heavy with small breaks for relaxation.
Hero Destroyed, Throes (Relapse)
These Pittsburgh kids don’t sound like they’re from anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon. Blending a Southern-fried metalcore sound with spastic mathcore, Hero Destroyed has a very unique atmosphere to their music. If you can imagine the lovechild of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster with The Dillinger Escape Plan, you’re thinking of Hero Destroyed.
Nightfall, Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants (Metal Blade)
Melodic black metal is one genre that never quite caught its stride as well as it should have, but the scene is gaining momentum worldwide as more of the veteran acts are starting to gain recognition. Greek quartet Nightfall is one such group, finally gaining a prominent deal in the US after nineteen years together. It’s been six years since their last album, which means frontman Efthimis Karadimas has had plenty of time to write vast, towering compositions that will drop jaws everywhere.
Woe, Is Me, Number[s] (Velocity/Rise)
Having a seven-piece band isn’t unheard of, but it’s about the most uncommon number one can see when thinking of conventional sizes in rock or metal bands. Woe, Is Me somehow have managed to make it work since last September, all while earning themselves a record deal with new Rise imprint Velocity Records. Their cover of Ke-dollar sign-ha’s pop hit “Tik Tok” will amuse some and irritate most others.
Quest for Fire, Lights from Paradise (Tee Pee)
These psychedelic rockers are part of a quirky scene from over the northern border. Our friends at Noisecreep inform us that the Toronto-based group has compatriots with names like Deloro, Wyrd, Andre Etheir (who names their band after a baseball player?), and Anagram, just to name a few. However, it’s also clear that these guys are in it for the joy of creating good music, a cause that all of us can support.
Complete Failure, Heal No Evil (Relapse)
Newly signed to Relapse, these grind prodigies from Pittsburgh include former Circle of Dead Children/Today is the Day drummer Mike Rosswog in their ranks, giving them a great foundation right away to start with. They self-released this album back in May, but now they have the opportunity to share their talent with a much wider audience.
The Other, New Blood (SPV/Steamhammer)
These horror punk aficionados from Germany are among the few bands able to pull off the genre successfully without being a simple Misfits cover band. Their release will likely be overshadowed by the Murderdolls today, but if they get the right amount of exposure, The Other could be one of the next big horror punk bands to actually perform original material.
Papa Roach, Time for Annihilation…On the Road and On the Record (Eleven Seven)
Did anyone else besides me forget that Papa Roach was even still active? Have they done anything important since Infest was released in 2000? Putting that aside, this is a combination live album and EP of new music. If you’re still listening to Papa Roach, then I suppose this album would be appealing to you, although why C-grade nu metal from the beginning of the decade would appeal to anyone in 2010 is beyond me.
Next Week: There is a brief reprieve from the deluge of new releases, but a few highly significant albums hit the streets, including a triple play from Maynard James Keenan. No, none of it is from Tool or A Perfect Circle, so just calm yourselves down right now, fanboys. Come back next week and find out what’s in store for you.