It doesn’t take much these days for a new band to be hyped up as “the next big thing” in metal. With sales being what they are, most record labels are doing that with every new band that they sign. It takes a lot for any band to live up to that talent, as seen by the vast number of one-and-dones in the modern music scene, as well as the extensive array of underground artists both home and abroad that have been signed to labels for many years without getting that desired big break. But every once in a while, there comes a band that breaks the mold, achieves their massive success, and becomes the next great metal band for their generation.
And while we all wait for the next one to come out, since there hasn’t been a band like that in years, it’s nice to just see a band that can live up to the hype that’s generated about them. We get that this week in the form of progressive metal rookies TesseracT, a band following in the footsteps of Periphery in the scene of young groups with an affinity for technical metal. TesseracT manages to draw more attention than any of today’s other releases, and rightly so at that. But don’t count out those other new albums on today’s list, because they’re equally excellent and worthy of your attention.
TesseracT, One (Century Media)
As the “djent” craze continues to expand, TesseracT can proudly claim that they have been backed by the men responsible for the style itself. Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, who invented the term “djent” in the first place, heard and applauded guitarist Acle Kahney’s playing when TesseracT was still in its birthing stages. Then the band got its stamp of approval from Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor, who first made the term “djent” a common name in metal, when he hand-picked TesseracT for “The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen Tour” earlier this year. What else could the band ask for besides recognition from Devin Townsend? Wait, he already gave them that when they toured the US with him last year.
Agnostic Front, My Life, My Way (Nuclear Blast)
This is going to be Agnostic Front’s tenth full-length album of their nearly 30-year career. The seminal New York hardcore group has adapted their sound in recent years to add even more thrash elements, enlivening the atmosphere on their albums in the process. Throughout it all, though, the consistent style generated by Vinnie Stigma and Roger Miret has never wavered, and Agnostic Front continues to be one of the most prominent voices in New York’s entire music scene.
Protest the Hero, Scurrilous (Vagrant)
On the heels of Kezia and Fortress, Protest the Hero has become one of the most beloved bands from Canada to debut in the US in the past few years. Their distinct blend of progressive elements with post-hardcore melodicism has drawn many people in, including fans that otherwise detest post-hardcore. It’s just further proof that anyone can appreciate the right blend of catchy hooks with technical, forward thinking riffs and structures. Interesting trivia bit – the album art for Scurrilous is actually a six-decade old piece by Jafar Petgar, grandfather of bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, featuring themes that are very relevant to the album’s title and lyrics.
Born of Osiris, The Discovery (Sumerian)
I will admit, I’d written Born of Osiris off as just another deathcore band after their debut The New Reign. It took 2009’s A Higher Place to convince me that the six-piece group from Illinois had a lot more to offer than most of their peers. Carrying a much more technical edge and showing restraint and methodology with the usage of breakdowns, Born of Osiris is one of the most well-rounded deathcore acts in the current scene, even as bands jump ship almost daily from the maligned genre. Measuring up to The Discovery will be very difficult for most bands, but it sets a standard for current deathcore bands to aspire towards. Meeting this standard is good enough justification for bands to stick with the deathcore sound instead of continuing to oversaturate the technical brutal death metal subgenre.
Straight Line Stitch, The Fight of Our Lives (eOne)
Many people don’t know this, but Straight Line Stitch has actually been around since 1999, burgeoning in the metal underground before managing to break through on 2008’s When Skies Wash Ashore. However, last year’s addition of ex-Darkest Hour axeman Kris Norris is a huge step forward for Straight Line Stitch, showing their commitment to quality and passionate music. It’s already paying dividends, as well, as the group is slated to appear on this year’s Mayhem Festival. Singer Alexis Brown should be very effective on the Mayhem stages, allowing her to really let loose with her energetic live performance.
Eyehategod, Live (MVD)
The sludge veterans have two live offerings on this DVD for their longtime fans. The first is a show from Baltimore in 2009, while the second is from Cleveland in 2010. I like these choices, as it shows that the band is not giving immediate deference to the larger market cities, as so many bands do. Honestly, though, the choice of cities to record in is irrelevant. Fans would buy this DVD no matter where it was recorded. The fact that the set lists for the two shows are very different also adds a great novelty element to the release, as fans are very likely to be able to catch their favorite songs on here from either of the two shows.
Also being released this week:
Woods of Ypres, Woods IV: The Green Album (Earache)
Odd Dimension, Symmetrical (Scarlet)
Dotma, Sleep Paralyses (Scarlet)
Crystal Viper, Legends (AFM)
Bloodshot, Murder the World (Scarlet)
Sacred Dawn, A Madness Within (Dark Star)
The Georgian Skull, Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse (Scarlet)
CKY, B-Sides & Rarities (Mighty Loud)
Diabolical, Ars Vitae (Abyss)
Next Week: We’re getting flooded once again, with a ton of names you’re all going to know. Get ready for lots of pillaging and burning at the front of the pack! The Vikings are pursuing once again!