Thus far in 2011, we’ve had our fair share of release weeks dominated by new artists (April 26th and May 10th immediately come to mind). So it only seems fair that we get a week chiefly containing veteran bands maintaining their status in the metal world. And that’s exactly what we get today, with classic groups in death metal, doom metal, folk, and prog all debuting new material for our collective listening enjoyment. Just further proof that age is meaningless and heart is everything when it comes to metal!
Our lead release is actually a live album from one of the greatest experimental rock groups of all time. Before there was Devin Townsend, Karnivool, Porcupine Tree, or Dream Theater, there was Buzz Osborne. And the mastermind behind Melvins is still one of the most intriguing musical minds that the world has ever seen, even after close to thirty years. Be sure to check it out, along with all of the other new releases this week!
Melvins, Sugar Daddy (Ipecac)
This live set was recorded at The Busta-Guts Club in California, which may be one of the oddest names for a venue that I’ve ever heard. Fans will be extremely happy to see that this album has a lot of the classics and fan favorites from Melvins, like “Boris”, “Dog Island”, “The Kicking Machine”, and “Dies Iraea”. Surprisingly, though, there are no songs from 2010’s The Bride Screamed Murder, which one might expect to hear from the band on a tour promoting that album. Nonetheless, though, this live album is well worth the purchase for any Melvins fan.
My Dying Bride, Evinta (Peaceville)
Another album covering old classics, Evinta coincides with the 21st anniversary of My Dying Bride’s formation. This collection celebrates the band’s greatest hits by giving them a new sound via re-imagined symphonic compositions. The collaboration of lead singer Aaron Stainthorpe and keyboard wizard Jonny Maudling (better known for his work with black metal group Bal-Sagoth) has yielded a glorious new feel to some of My Dying Bride’s biggest songs. Nine tracks spread across two CD’s equals more symphonic doom goodness than anyone can deny.
Autopsy, Macabre Eternal (Peaceville)
Before I discuss this album, I would just like to say that the joy of Autopsy’s reunion in 2010 was tempered by the unfortunate, albeit necessary, break-up of death metal veterans Abscess. They will be missed greatly, and 2010’s Dawn of Inhumanity was an incredible closing statement for the band. Now, getting back to Autopsy, Macabre Eternal is a perfect re-entry for the group. The brutality of this album is as well-crafted as anything from Mental Funeral or Acts of the Unspeakable. If you are a fan of traditional death metal, this album is required purchasing.
Pagan’s Mind, Heavenly Ecstasy (Steamhammer/SPV)
On their fifth studio album, the Norwegian prog vets are working hard to establish themselves as a worldwide powerhouse. Their previous material certainly has proven that they belong in the upper echelon of prog bands, right alongside Opeth, Circus Maximus, and Symphony X. 2007’s God’s Equation was a masterful effort that rightly earned them a touring spot with Sonata Arctica and a slot on 2009’s ProgPower USA festival. Heavenly Ecstasy has many of the same themes as its predecessor, and should prove to be a big hit with prog fans all over the country.
MaYan, Quarterpast (Nuclear Blast)
Have you ever wondered what a collaboration of Europe’s female-fronted symphonic/gothic metal bands would sound like with chiefly male vocals? That’s what you get with MaYan, a project envisioned by Epica guitarist Mark Jansen in union with ex-After Forever keyboardist Jack Driessen. The group also features other members of Epica, Delain, and Symmetry, and there are vocal contributions from Jansen, Driessen, Floor Jansen of ReVamp/After Forever, Simone Simons of Epica, Italian opera singer Laura Macrí, and several others. The band describes the group’s sound as having a symphonic, progressive direction, but much heavier than their main bands. Jansen has said that the band mixes elements of Symphony X and Opeth into their sound, which indicates that this album will be an underground hit with prog fans and possibly even doom fans.
Also being released this week:
A King Crimson ProjeKct, A Scarcity of Miracles (Discipline)
U.D.O., Rev-Raptor (AFM)
Black Stone Cherry, Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (Roadrunner)
Panzerchrist, Regiment Ragnarok (Listenable)
Izegrim, Code of Consequences (Listenable)
Heavenwood, Abyss Masterpiece (Listenable)
Gamma Ray, Skeletons & Majesties (Eagle Rock)
Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz [Expanded Edition] (Sony Legacy)
Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman [Legacy Edition] (Sony Legacy)
Katatonia, Last Fair Deal Gone Down [10th Anniversary Reissue] (Peaceville)
Next Week: We celebrate the one year anniversary of New & Noteworthy in much the same way that the whole column started – with a TIDAL WAVE of new releases! There might be other celebratory things going on as well, so get ready for a special edition of your favorite new release column!