If you lack a calendar for some reason, here’s an easy way to tell if we’re getting close to Christmas: check the new release lists and watch how quickly the number of new releases spirals downward with each week. Sure, many underground artists and rising talents will release their albums whenever they feel it’s worth their while, but most of the more well-recognized groups will forgo releasing new material during the holiday season and wait for the new year instead. As such, we’ll have slim pickings for the next couple of weeks.
Today’s lead album is actually the digital re-release of one of my favorite albums from last year. Granted, it’s a special edition re-release with plenty of extra material, but the fact that it gets top billing this week should give you a sign of how little there is coming out. Nevertheless, enjoy what we have to offer as winter looms up on us!
Demon Hunter, The World is a Thorn Deluxe Edition (Solid State)
The World is a Thorn is, in my opinion, Demon Hunter’s greatest work to date, but I’ve loved all of their records and am looking forward to their tenth anniversary and upcoming sixth album next year. For now, though, fans like myself can dig into this digital edition of their last record. Packed with even more extras than the physical special edition, the highlight of this version of the album is the live acoustic cover of Alice in Chains’ “Down in a Hole”, performed during an acoustic set performed by the band during their 2010 touring cycle. The digital edition also comes with the video for “Collapsing”, which features guest vocals from Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid. In related video news, Demon Hunter also just released their video for “LifeWar”. The video takes a bold approach to the lyrics of the song and has a lot of subtext that’s worth examining. Finally, since we’re so close to Christmas, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can now download the group’s Christmas-themed single “The Wind”, which was part of the compilation “Happy Christmas Volume 5” that was released last year.
Orphaned Land, The Road to OR-Shalem (Century Media)
If you follow Israeli progressive doom troop Orphaned Land, then you know that they are unique in their playing style and their mission. For those unfamiliar with Orphaned Land, the best way to describe them is as a mash-up of the progressive style of Pain of Salvation with the cultural heritage of Melechesh. The Road to OR-Shalem is the group’s DVD debut, coming just one year after the group’s fourth album, The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR. Considering that eight years separated their second and third albums, and six years separated their third and fourth, having only one year go by between releases is a remarkable achievement for the group. The two-DVD set chronicles a live concert filmed in Tel Aviv last December, and also features a behind-the-scenes documentary and music videos. A rare treat of this release is that world-renowned Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson was part of Orphaned Land for this concert, during his stint as the band’s touring keyboardist, and thus appears on the DVD contributing to the concert in many ways. This comprehensive release is an eye-opening view of the band’s quest to spread unity and peace among their war-torn homeland and the surrounding region through their powerful, insightful music. And if, after reading all that, you still need to be convinced as to why this DVD is worth picking up, just go watch the trailer and let that convince you.
Also being released this week:
Royal Hunt, Show Me How to Live (Frontiers)
Vildhjarta, Masstaden (Century Media)
Dim Mak, The Emergence of Reptilian Altars (Willowtip)
Milking the Goatmachine, Clockwork Udder (Napalm)
The Man-Eating Tree, Harvest (Century Media)
From Atlantis, Echoes and Answers (InVogue)
Novel of Sin, Sound of Existence (Kreative Klan)
Voodoo Six, Falling Knives (White Knuckle)
Next Week: Digital singles, DVD’s, and Christmas themes abound in the first week of December. Stay warm, and I’ll see you all next week!