As promised, this week is full of melodic death metal albums, and the list is being led off by a gothic metal giant from Finland. While HIM may not necessarily be a metal band in the strictest sense, they’re still one of the most popular rock acts in the world, and we’re always happy to see heavier bands taking high slots on the charts, so best of luck to HIM with this week’s sales! Everyone needs to get out there and support these new releases this week!
HIM, Tears on Tape (Razor & Tie)
2010’s Screamworks peaked at #25 on the Billboard charts, buoyed by strong touring and excellent radio presence for the single “Heartkiller”. Unfortunately, the remix album SWRMXS did not perform nearly as well, which pushed the band into writing for the follow-up album sooner than expected. The combination of the band parting with Sire Records and the injury to drummer Mika Karppinen slowed down that process, but things got back on track in 2012. Tears on Tape is the first HIM album to feature instrumentals, and is also the first album to be licensed to separate labels for each major market. That is also why there are currently three music videos in production for this album, as different singles were released for each major market – “Into the Night” in Finland, “All Lips Go Blue” in the UK and US, and the title track in the rest of Europe. You can expect to see those three videos coming out soon, in conjunction with the album’s release.
The Ocean, Pelagial (Metal Blade)
The latest album from The Ocean Collective is their most ambitious yet, and it works in a big way. Not only does the album stand on its own, but the concept, in which each track is named after a layer of the ocean, which gets darker and heavier as the album progresses, is genius. And not just because the band’s name is The Ocean. Essentially, it’s one 53-minute long track that ebbs and flows, getting denser as the album progresses. Metal Blade is making this a double album, including an instrumental version of the album, but lyrically, the album takes inspiration from the science fiction film Stalker. This is a prog metal masterpiece that will find its way on many a year-end list.
Heaven Shall Burn, Veto (Century Media)
The Iconoclast concept cycle ended with 2010’s Invictus (Iconoclast III), which remains one of my favorite albums from that year. Ending that cycle means that Heaven Shall Burn has a clean slate for composition and production, and they have utilized it well on Veto. If you’re a fan of consistent excellence, then Heaven Shall Burn is a band you will love, because this German quintet only improves more with time. This album continues their tradition of pulverizing guitar riffs and metronome-level tightness being mashed together with some of the most deeply philosophic and thought-provoking lyrics that you’ll ever get from a band. Veto also maintains Heaven Shall Burn’s standard of including at least one cover song on each album, but this one is special, because their cover of Blind Guardian’s “Valhalla” features none other than Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch, singing alongside Marcus Bischoff. It makes the cover even more epic, providing yet another sign of the clout that Heaven Shall Burn now wields in their homeland.
Howl, Bloodlines (Relapse)
Howl’s sophomore album is their first one with a significantly changed lineup. And the doom/sludge band have upped the ante for Bloodlines. The stony riffs are stonier, the doomy tracks are doomier, and the prog tracks are proggier. We’re not telling you this album is good just because we’re giving away a copy of it, but we are. This could be the most metal thing to come out of Providence since Jesse Leach.
Arsis, Unwelcome (Nuclear Blast)
Arsis’ fifth album in their 13 year existence finds James Malone the only original member of the band, with a new drummer and guitarist in the fold. Unwelcome is their first album in three years, and fans of their technical thrash (or Corey Hart) fans, will certainly enjoy this album. Also, you can catch them live on tour with Krisiun
Also being released this week:
Amorphis, Circle (Nuclear Blast)
Melvins, Everybody Loves Sausages (Ipecac)
Avantasia, The Mystery of Time (Nuclear Blast)
Cathedral, The Last Spire (Metal Blade)
Coliseum, Sister Faith (Temporary Residence)
Toxic Holocaust, From the Ashes of Nuclear Destruction (Relapse)
Sacred Mother Tongue, Out of the Darkness (The End)
Starkill, Fires of Life (Century Media)
Ark of the Covenant, Self Harvest (Facedown)
Hessian, Manegarmr (Southern Lord)
Purson, The Circle & the Blue Door (Metal Blade)
Cauldron, Tomorrow’s Lost (Earache)
Pushmen, The Sun Will Rise Soon on the False and the Fair (The End)
Agrimonia, Rites of Separation (Southern Lord)
Next Week: We begin the month of May with a lot of import records. Stay tuned for more info!