This week is going to be jam-packed with high-selling metal albums, I can already tell. The list of high-profile new records appearing today just seems to keep going on and on and on! It’s certainly exciting, but it also raises the question – is it possible to have too many big releases in one day? We’ve had long lists many times in the past, but never have we had a list with as many household metal names as this before. I know one thing for certain – those that are not endowed with a significant paycheck will have a tough time deciding what albums to buy this week!
The leader of the list is the band we’ve been waiting to hear new material from for over eight years. One of the greatest thrash bands of all time, these New York natives were among the only bands playing thrash on the East Coast when the genre first began in the ’80s. Now, thirty years after their humble beginnings, they are staging a comeback that is unlike anything ever seen before. Reunited with the singer that made them so famous and free from the distractions that have plagued them in recent years, the time has come once again to spread the disease. And that’s just the first entry on the list – keep reading and get even more excitied with what else is to come!
Anthrax, Worship Music (Megaforce)
No more Dan Nelson distractions to worry about. No more John Bush speculations to draw attention. This is the return of Anthrax, and the return of Joey Belladonna. The reunion of the thrash greats with the singer responsible for Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, and Persistence of Time was one of the biggest news items from 2010, and after a string of successful shows, the group is finally ready to unveil an album that has been well over three years in the making. The slow reveal of key tracks from Worship Music has only served to heighten the anticipation, and I’m sure many will agree that they’ve been counting down the days until they could get their hands on the first new material from Anthrax since 2003’s We’ve Come for You All.
Dream Theater, A Dramatic Turn of Events (Roadrunner)
If not for Anthrax releasing Worship Music today, this would easily be the most talked-about album on today’s list. However, it would not be because of what’s on this album, but rather what’s not on the album. After more than a quarter century together, A Dramatic Turn of Events marks the first time that Mike Portnoy is not behind the drum kit for a Dream Theater studio album. His departure from the prog legends just over a year ago, the subsequent turbulence of his time with Avenged Sevenfold, and the numerous competing press releases between him and the band all filled the headlines last fall and winter, to the point where nearly everyone (including the A7X guys, apparently) was sick of hearing about it. However, that’s all behind us now, and Dream Theater has high hopes for their newest studio album and their first with new drummer Mike Mangini. Mangini has lent his skills to Annihilator, Extreme, and the legendary Steve Vai in the past, so we can be sure that he is competent behind the kit. Whether or not his drumming is up to par with Dream Theater’s high standards will be for the fans to decide.
The Devil Wears Prada, Dead Throne (Ferret)
Somewhere during the touring cycle for 2009’s With Roots Above and Branches Below and 2010’s Zombie EP, The Devil Wears Prada must have decided that they’d had enough of being pigeon-holed into the post-hardcore/melodic metalcore subgenre that people so often stick bands like A Day to Remember, Escape the Fate, and Asking Alexandria into. It fit their style, sure, and it was earning them one of the biggest followings in all of modern metal, but the Ohio-based sextet clearly was not content. They wanted to shake things up, and that’s exactly what they’ve done with Dead Throne. The whole record feels more ominous and sinister, no doubt helped by the excellent production of Adam Dutkiewicz. In the evolution of The Devil Wears Prada as a band, Dead Throne shows that they’ve moved from just playing their instruments to actually using the music as an extension of themselves, both as individuals and as a whole.
Anterior, Echoes of the Fallen (Metal Blade)
Anterior is one of my favorite underground acts, and their 2007 album This Age of Silence still gets plenty of rotation in my car. Forming in Wales in 2003, the group caught Metal Blade’s eye in 2006 via touring slots with the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, 3 Inches of Blood, Dragonforce, Himsa, and Mendeed. The release of This Age of Silence didn’t attract much attention, but those that heard the album knew immediately that guitarist Leon Kemp was one of the best new guitarists in the world of metal. His soloing prowess rivals that of guitarists with much more experience than him, and Kemp makes it look easy both in the studio and on stage, despite his comparative youth. Former Mendeed guitarist Steve Nixon joined the band after This Age of Silence, which should only add to the attraction of this album for guitar enthusiasts. It may have been a long wait, but Echoes of the Fallen was definitely worth it.
Anubis Gate, Anubis Gate (Nightmare)
Denmark is the least-heralded of the Scandinavian countries when it comes to metal tradition (except for Iceland, but they don’t really count anyway). However, Denmark has a respectable metal scene of their own, with a number of excellent groups such as Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Mnemic, Volbeat, Mercenary, Raunchy, Illdisposed, and Hatesphere all calling Denmark home. Anubis Gate also hails from the Danish highlands, and they have a unique style that’s sure to attract a strong following quickly. The group’s blend of prog and power metal is unique and wholly different from the numerous other groups that have done power-prog combinations in the past. We at Metal Insider are streaming the album in its entirety right here for your listening pleasure, so give it a listen to see if it piques your interest.
Haste the Day, Haste the Day vs. Haste the Day Live CD+DVD (Solid State)
When Haste the Day announced their impending retirement late last year, the band’s fanbase united in sorrow over the end of their time, as well as love and support for the group that had affected them so profoundly for over a decade. However, earlier in 2010, the band had done something very unique that, to my knowledge, no other band has attempted on such a grand scale. On June 29, 2010, the band played a live show at Rhino’s in Bloomington, IN. The show was billed with the same name as today’s release, because not only did the band’s current lineup play that night, but every past member of the band’s lineup also appeared, with past and present members interchanging on stage throughout the show. The setlist spanned Haste the Day’s entire career, featuring fan favorites that the group did not often play live and cuts from the band’s final album, Attack of the Wolf King, which was released the same day as the concert. This CD/DVD release is an appropriate way to cap off the career of one of the most beloved metalcore groups of the past decade.
Also being released this week:
Alice Cooper, Welcome 2 My Nightmare (Universal)
Staind, Staind (Atlantic)
Doro, 25 Years in Rock (Nuclear Blast)
Primus, Green Naugahyde (ATO)
Vader, Welcome to the Morbid Reich (Nuclear Blast)
Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord)
Sabaton, World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea (Nuclear Blast)
Arch/Matheos, Sympathetic Resonance (Metal Blade)
We Came as Romans, Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be (Equal Vision)
Madina Lake, World War III (Razor & Tie)
Pathology, Awaken to the Suffering (Victory)
Mogwai, Earth Division EP (Sub Pop)
Stemm, Cross Roads (Catch 22)
Einherjer, Norrøn (Prosthetic)
Nightbringer, Hierophany of the Open Grave (Season of Mist)
Untimely Demise, City of Steel (Sonic Unyon)
Wolves Like Us, Late Love (Prosthetic)
Elks, Destined for the Sun (Tee Pee)
Gloominous Doom, Cosmic Super Ghoul (DRP)
Next Week: As if we didn’t have enough prog greatness this week, next week we get the new album from the biggest prog group from outside of North America. We also receive the 20th anniversary edition of the album that almost killed metal. It should be an exciting list!