The news that music sales are at their worst levels in history doesn’t surprise many people, but it also doesn’t deter young musicians from trying to start their own bands and create success for themselves. The month of February alone is full of young up-and-coming artists and recently signed acts releasing their debut albums for the masses, right alongside some of the biggest names in modern and classic metal releasing fourth, fifth, or sixth (or in one case, twentieth) albums. Often forgotten, though, are the bands that fall in between these two groups, on their second or third album and trying to maintain the success of strong debuts. These are the bands that need fan support the most, because without support from fans, these artists won’t develop any consistency or long-term staying power, thus perpetuating the music industry’s “one and done” mechanic that so many artists appear to be in the grip of.
Today sees the second coming of one of thrash’s new young buzz-makers, the return of a controversial yet important veteran hardcore group, the sophomore effort from a young technical death metal group trying to break its old image, and the solo release from the singer of technical/progressive metal’s poster children in the United States. Along with the many new artist debuts occurring this week, these artists need your support. Help to create longevity in the music industry, please.
Lazarus A.D., Black Rivers Flow (Metal Blade)
On their 2009 debut The Onslaught, Lazarus A.D. proved to be worth the hype they had generated from Metal Blade Records. They’ll try to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time on Black Rivers Flow, an album inspired equally by Slayer and Testament. Embodying their motto of “Thrash or Die” in all possible musical areas, Lazarus A.D. is one group that won’t allow themselves to be held back by any hurdles being encountered by other bands. Black Rivers Flow is a testament to this, and it’s one thrash album that will leave a mark on you in several different ways.
Full Blown Chaos, Full Blown Chaos (Ironclad/Metal Blade)
How it is that Full Blown Chaos is not on Metal Blade’s main roster is beyond me. The NYHC band has a huge following in the Northeast, and although they are often associated with the semi-infamous FSU (Friends Stand United/Fuck Shit Up) crew from Massachusetts, Full Blown Chaos is a group strong on empowerment and positive messages. Regardless, they have made their new home on Ironclad Recordings, the Metal Blade imprint label owned by Unearth singer Trevor Phipps. After the success of 2007’s Heavy Lies the Crown, Ray Mazzola and Co. are ready to show the rest of the world how much staying power they have.
Abysmal Dawn, Leveling the Plane of Existence (Relapse)
Abysmal Dawn’s 2008 Relapse debut Programmed to Consume was barely too late. The album came at the tail end of a string of technical death metal releases that included Born of Osiris, The Faceless, and Decrepit Birth, among others. Amidst such a talented group, Abysmal Dawn unfortunately was the odd man out, despite being just as skilled as their counterparts. Fortunately, the group soldiered on to get to this album, their third overall and second for Relapse. Hopefully Leveling the Plane of Existence will start the hype machine buzzing about Abysmal Dawn, which it should have been doing for the past three years.
Thomas Giles, Pulse (Metal Blade)
Every time I see Between the Buried and Me live, I am blown away by the performance of lead singer Tommy Rogers. Little did I know just how talented he was as a musician across the board, able to play guitar, bass, and drums in addition to his signature keyboards and singing talents. Now Rogers can show the world just that, on his solo album Pulse, release under the name Thomas Giles. This album is a true solo effort, as Rogers not only played every instrument and sang on the album, but also arranged, composed, and produced the entire album. The lead single “Sleep Shake” (which debuted on PopMatters in video form last Wednesday) is but a small taste of the progressive rock and electronic excellence that Rogers has created. It will be a pleasure to see these songs performed live in the future.
Also being released this week:
Noisear, Subvert the Dominant Paradigm (Relapse)
Overcome, The Great Campaign of Sabotage (Facedown)
Next Week: There will be plenty of name recognition, with some huge names in metal releasing hotly-anticipated new material for the world to enjoy! Until then, stay warm and keep the metal flowing!