This is my least favorite time of year, at least for the metalhead part of me. The new release supply is disappearing faster than a melting snowman. Tours are few and far between as bands take time off to be with their families. The tantalizing list of 2011 releases mocks me, laughing as I beg for the already-superb list of new albums to just be released a little earlier. The holiday season is a damn tease, and anyone that has looked at next year’s release calendar already knows it, too. Sodom, Times of Grace, Architects, Full Blown Chaos, Crowbar, As Blood Runs Black, Deicide, Neuraxis, Destruction, Darkest Hour, DevilDriver, Children of Bodom, Becoming the Archetype, Agnostic Front, and Winds of Plague have already turned the first three months of next year into a veritable feast for metal fans, and the list will only get more exquisite as time goes on.
For the time being, though, we must force our attention back to the last remnants of 2010’s releases. It’s a short list, with a remix album from Finland’s biggest rock export topping the list. A couple of veteran bands are also flying under the radar on this week’s list, so take a look for something that might surprise you.
H.I.M., SWRMXS (Sire/Reprise)
This MP3 album revisits H.I.M.’s latest album Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, released earlier this year. This time around, though, listeners will get a whole new take on the album as its thirteen songs get remixed and rehashed by eleven different producers. I’m unsure who any of the producers are, since almost all of them go by pseudonyms and none are immediately recognizable. Still, this could prove to be an interesting album for some fans.
Flyleaf, Remember to Live (Octone)
This EP from the Texas-based alt-metal group contains seven previously unreleased songs, two of which are remixes of older songs. This will likely be a big hit with fans that were into last year’s Memento Mori. More importantly, though, this may be the last release from Flyleaf for quite awhile, as singer Lacey Sturm and her husband Joshua are expecting a baby boy early next year. So fans of the band will want to pick this up, as it may be a stopgap release for a long time to come.
Grave, Burial Ground (Regain)
This is the ninth full-length album from the Swedish death metal veterans, and they show no sign of slowing down. Much like their countrymen in Unleashed, Grave just refuses to stop turning in high-quality and hard-hitting albums one after another. There may be no stopping them. As a side note, I HIGHLY recommend everyone check out their back catalog for an excellent cover of the classic “Them Bones” by Alice in Chains. It may seem completely impossible, but the composition works amazingly well. In fact, I would say it is towards the top of my list of “seemingly out of place death metal covers” (bested only by this and this).
I, the Breather, These Are My Sins (Sumerian)
The newest band on Sumerian’s roster packs just as much punch as many of their labelmates, but their Christian background will have fans and critics drawing a lot of comparisons to other bands among their faithful brethren. Specifically, comparisons to For Today and Oh, Sleeper will definitely abound. And while they may not be playing the most original music on their debut, the fact that they have drawn in such a large fan base on their websites should be a good sign for I, the Breather’s future.
The Sorrow, The Sorrow (Artofact)
This Austrian band takes a solid cue from many of their German neighbors, striking a solid balance between metalcore and melodic death metal for a “best of both worlds” type of sound. The Sorrow has a fairly even split between melody and aggression, similar to what fans would hear from Caliban or Machinemade God. This may not be ideal for fans of the heavier German bands like Heaven Shall Burn and Neaera, but the album still has plenty to offer for those fans as well. In short, The Sorrow should, for practicality purposes, be considered an honorary member of Germany’s younger metal generation.
Next Week: The pickings get even slimmer as we get closer to Christmas. Keep an eye out, though, for one of the most mysterious supergroups of 2010 to make a huge splash. Be well, stay warm, and I’ll see you all next time!