Welcome back to New & Noteworthy, and welcome to a new year of metal! I sincerely hope that all of you had an enjoyable holiday season, and that you enjoyed the end-of-year specials that appeared all everywhere (including my incredibly late Top 10 list). We had a great year in 2011 with all the new releases that came out. Personally, I’m really looking forward to 2012 and the many new releases that are coming soon, and I’m hoping this year will bring greater health and prosperity to the industry so that more bands can achieve lasting success in these difficult times.
We’re starting off 2012 slowly, as can be expected. But unlike last year, this year starts with a hugely anticipated album from a band that has seen some trying times recently. Will this be what re-stabilizes one of Finland’s most well-known groups? Let’s find out with the beginning of metal in 2012!
Nightwish, Imaginaerum (Roadrunner)
After the release of Dark Passion Play in 2007, Nightwish had some tumultuous periods as they adjusted to a new lineup. Show cancellations and tour stoppages due to illness happened on more than one occasion, and singer Annette Olzon’s pregnancy from autumn 2009 to summer 2010 held things back quite a bit. But finally, Imaginaerum is here, and the hope is that it will stabilize Nightwish after seven years of turmoil. The album is supposed to showcase big and impressive progressions for the symphonic metal group, as teased by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. If that is the case, then these progressions could either sink Nightwish or explode their popularity tenfold. Only time will tell if either of those things happens, or if the progressions that were forecast don’t occur at all.
Darkane Remastered Albums (Metal Mind)
Darkane has been the underdog of the Gothenburg scene since the very beginning. The biggest reason for that is because the group formed in 1998; so much later than At the Gates, In Flames, and Dark Tranquillity, all of which had been active since the early part of the decade. But once Darkane got started, they managed to make an impact, and their three releases with now-former vocalist Andreas Sydow are considered by many to be the best material from the band. These three albums – Insanity, Expanding Senses, and Layers of Lies – have all been digitally edited and remastered for better sound quality and an enhanced listening experience. Each remastered album is limited to 2000 copies in digipak format, so collectors and diehards will want to get these quickly. Meanwhile, we hope to hear news of new material from Darkane soon, as they’ve recently reunited with another former vocalist, Lawrence Mackrory, who appeared on the group’s full-length debut Rusted Angel. Mackrory replaces Construcdead/The Defaced vocalist Jens Broman, who joined the band in 2007 after Sydow’s departure and sang on the 2008 album Demonic Art.
Also being released this week:
Haemoth, In Nomine Odium (Season of Mist)
Next Week: A lot of new names make their presence known, sneaking in under the radar the week before a pair of juggernaut albums arrive. If you want the unknown and the newly-formed, next week is for you! Welcome back to New & Noteworthy!