Did someone put out a memo saying that June 8th was the date when every record label…wait a minute, today’s date is June 7th. And that sentence seems familiar…from exactly one year ago, in fact! Today, we celebrate one year of New & Noteworthy, and what a year it has been! We’ve seen amazing new releases, colossal failures, sudden surprises, fulfilled anticipations, spectacular beginnings, and momentous conclusions. It’s been my privilege to bring these debuts to you each week, and I look forward to doing it for as long as metal survives!
With that in mind, we want to know how new releases impact your life! Tell us your biggest and most memorable new release story from your musical past. Tell us about the crazy things you’ve done to get new albums right away. Tell us the stories of what you’ve experienced when going to get new releases. Talk about concerts where you’ve picked up new albums. Give us the extraordinary, the wacky, and whatever else you’ve got! The best story we get in the comments wins a copy of the lead album on today’s list: Illud Divinum Insanus by Morbid Angel!
Get thinking about your stories as you read through today’s immense list! Happy Anniversary indeed!
Morbid Angel, Illud Divinum Insanus (Season of Mist)
It’s been eight years since the release of Heretic, and seven years since the return of founding bassist/vocalist David Vincent. All is right in the world of death metal once again! However, drummer Pete Sandoval is currently recovering from back surgery, which left him unavailable to record for Illud Divinum Insanus. Fortunately, the band got a high-caliber substitute in the form of Divine Heresy drummer Tim Yeung. Known as one of the fastest drummers in all of metal, Yeung is nicknamed “The Missile” with good reason. Morbid Angel is back, and in the best form they could garner given the circumstances.
Arch Enemy, Khaos Legions (Century Media)
It’s been four years since Arch Enemy released any genuinely new material, since 2009’s The Root of All Evil was a re-visiting of their first three albums. Khaos Legions is something of an amalgamation of their last four albums in terms of style. The album carries three instrumentals, guest keyboards from ex-Opeth keyboardist Per Wiberg, an acoustic cover of the 2001 track “Snowbound” (only on the Japanese bonus track edition, though), and clean backing vocals from Michael Amott (only ever heard before on 2003’s Anthems of Rebellion). At the same time, though, there is a ton of aggression and brutality throughout the album. This makes Khaos Legions into an attention-grabber from start to finish.
Amorphis, The Beginning of Times (Nuclear Blast)
Since Tomi Joutsen joined Amorphis in 2005, the Finnish group has been on a tear of releasing their best material. Eclipse, Silent Waters, and Skyforger are considered by many to be the band’s most enjoyable work since their very first albums. The Beginning of Times is already on course to join this group, as the album has already reached #1 on the Finnish charts. I have to salute Amorphis simply for being one of the only metal bands in the world able to say they’ve topped Lady Gaga on the charts. And with the 20th anniversary of the release of The Karelian Isthmus coming next year, Amorphis is already lining up big things for 2011 and 2012. The latest announcement is that Amorphis and L.A. goth rockers Dommin will be supporting Nightwish on their only US show in 2012.
Týr, The Lay of Thrym (Napalm)
These Vikings from the Faroe Islands made a big statement with 2009’s By the Light of the Northern Star, their best album to date. Personally, I still can’t hear “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” without wanting to put on a helmet and go pillaging through suburban neighborhoods. The Lay of Thrym is sure to include the same battle songs that inspire brotherhood and action in all who listen. Týr has been lucky enough to play with the most important Viking and folk metal bands in the past five years (Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Eluveitie, Turisas, Moonsorrow, and Korpiklaani, just to name a few). Considering the success of those bands, it only seems to be a matter of time before Týr gets their big break.
Cerebral Bore, Maniacal Miscreation (Earache)
I’m going to immediately praise this Scottish quartet for naming their band after the single most diabolical weapon ever invented in a video game. Ironically enough, the sheer insanity of this group will make you feel like you’ve been hit by the actual weapon, but in a good way. Cerebral Bore is one of the most talented young death metal bands I’ve heard in a long time, and their potential right now is nearly limitless. Simone “Som” Plujimers is the most incredible female screamer I’ve heard in a long time, on the same level as Landmine Marathon’s Grace Perry. Axl over at MetalSucks shares my enjoyment of her pipes, although his appreciation for Plujimers extends to other areas as well, it seems…
Brent Hinds, Brent Hinds Presents: Fiend Without a Face/West End Motel (Rocket Science)
Brent Hinds is truly a miraculous man. For all his crazy tendencies and wild streaks, Hinds is an incredibly talented musician with a wealth of inspiration. The Mastodon guitarist has made his skills known through his main band to most of the world, but very few people were aware of his two side projects. This two-disc release shows off both Fiend Without a Face and West End Motel for the entire world to see.
Behemoth, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat (Metal Blade)
Delayed three weeks from its original release date, this two-disc set is a reissue of their EP’s Conjuration and Slaves Shall Serve. The set comes with bonus artwork and extra live tracks, and is a nice precursor to the band’s triumphant return to the stage later this year. It will only be a matter of time before the group comes back to America, and when they do, Nergal will be greeted as a conquering hero, much like he will be in much of the rest of the world.
Iron Maiden, From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 (Universal)
Covering material from 1990’s No Prayer for the Dying to last year’s The Final Frontier, this collection is one of the best compilations of Maiden material I’ve heard in recent years. The selection of songs is exquisite, with the best pieces from each of the band’s albums during these past two decades being included. It’s telling that, of the 23 songs on these two discs, only three come from the band’s two albums with Blaze Bayley providing vocals. Regardless, from the classics like “Holy Smoke” and “Be Quick or Be Dead” to new favorites like “El Dorado” and “Different World”, From Fear to Eternity is a wonderful collection for Iron Maiden fans, old and new.
Also being released this week:
Origin, Entity (Nuclear Blast)
Anathema, We’re Here Because We’re Here (The End)
Blindside, With Shivering Hearts We Wait (WASA)
Hammerfall, Infected (Nuclear Blast)
Touché Amoré, Parting the Sea Between the Brightness & Me (Deathwish)
Falconer, Armod (Metal Blade)
Karma to Burn, V (Napalm)
The Soulless, Isolated (Earache)
Barn Burner, Bangers II: Scum of the Earth (Metal Blade)
Tombs, Path of Totality (Relapse)
Gigan, Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes (Willowtip)
Black September, The Forbidden Gates Beyond (Prosthetic)
Emanuel and the Fear, Hands (Eat Fear)
Khann, Erode (Black Market Activities)
Looking for an Answer, Eterno Treblinka (Relapse)
Sister, Hated (Metal Blade)
Ancient VVisdom, A Godlike Inferno (Shinebox)
Engineer, Crooked Voices (Black Market Activities)
Infestus, Ex/ist (Debemur Morti)
Job for a Cowboy, Gloom EP (Metal Blade)
Whitesnake, Live at Donington 1990 (Frontiers)
Next Week: A number of successful underground artists release new material with lots of potential for greatness. We will also announce the winner of this week’s contest, so if you want to experience the brand new Morbid Angel album for free, be sure to leave your great release day stories in the comments below!