For most metal fans, these are the weeks that get ignored. Only one metal release this week from an artist whose name might be known to fans of their genre? Th majority will just take this week to sit back and contemplate the releases that lie ahead. Not me, though. I relish weeks like this, because it gives me an opportunity to shine the spotlight on an artist that more people should get to know. It’s unknown whether this will raise any enthusiasm for the artist or not, but as the saying goes, “all in the service of a higher power” (in my case, the gods of metal).
It is with that in mind that I examine the genre to technical death metal and find it in need of a boost. Many tech-death artists have either converted to the djent style or are on their way to it, while several others have taken a very long time to finish their new albums (I’m looking at you, The Faceless). Luckily, today we have a pure tech-death artist unleashing their newest savage beating on the masses, and although it might be hard at big chain stores, it’s worth the effort to track it down. Oh, and there are some other albums being released today by a few unknowns, and there’s some reunion that I don’t know if anyone is paying attention to…..
Psycroptic, The Inherited Repression (Nuclear Blast)
2008′s Ob(Servant) was Psycroptic’s debut for Nuclear Blast, and it certainly did not disappoint. Had it not been for another album whose name started with “ob” also being released that year, Ob(Servant) might have been hailed as the best technical metal album of 2008. And although they’re likely to be outshined by Meshuggah once again, Psycroptic has still given us yet another potent dosage of intricate, assaultive technical metal. Led by the Haley brothers, Joe (guitar) and Dave (drums), these Aussies are a force to be reckoned with, having earned their stripes playing around the world with the likes of Incantation, Dismember, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated, and many more. Hopefully now, after thirteen years, five albums, and endless touring around the world, Psycroptic will gain the recognition that they so richly deserve.
Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth (Interscope)
Okay, so really, this should technically get top billing this week, but as was stated at the beginning of the year, this isn’t technically a metal album. That said, the reunion of Van Halen with Diamond Dave is one of the most exciting things to happen in the rock ‘n’ roll world in the past decade, and you can be sure that this album will attract the attention of countless thousands of fans. No one is expecting them to repeat 1984, especially given how much the music industry is flagging right now, but A Different Kind of Truth should be a top sales performer for a few weeks, at least. I will be shocked if the album does not appear in the top 10 of the Billboard charts next week..
Iron Fire, Voyage of the Damned (Napalm)
Iron Fire seems to be (to me at least) one of those bands that sits on the very edge of your attention. Their name is noticeable but you never know what for, their albums attract enough promotion to be known but never enough to be huge, and they sit right on the edge of breaking out without ever going over. Their brand of power metal is perfect for fans of Metalium, Stormwarrior, Mystic Prophecy, and Power Quest, but the inconsistency of their lineup continues to hold them back. Since forming in 1995 under the name Misery, the group has released seven full-length albums, and in that time, there have been sixteen known lineup changes. The only original member left is vocalist Martin Steene, who continues to push for success. If Iron Fire can stop the revolving door of members for a few years, they could finally get over the edge and start to attract more significant notice.
Also being released this week:
Crysalys, The Awakening of Gaia (Aural)
Mark Lanegan Band, Blues Funeral (4AD)
Next Week: Death metal once again takes the spotlight, thanks to a veteran group’s newest release and the resurgence of a young group missing from the spotlight for a few years. There are some other excellent releases to be had outside of death metal, too, so be sure to come back and peruse our newest offerings in seven days!