Back in October, Avenged Sevenfold released The Stage with no advance notice. While the band still sold a respectable 72,000 copies it’s first week, that’s less than half of what their past two albums had sold in their first two weeks. In fact, the 169,000 copies it’s sold in five months are, while still pretty respectable, only about 6,000 more than what 2010’s Nightmare sold in it’s first week. Even though Avenged Sevenfold are happy with what they’ve done so far and the way the album rolled out, it’d be safe to say that the surprise-release didn’t work out for them the way they hoped it might have. And with the first week sales for Northlane’s surprise release of their fourth album, Mesmer, it appears that surprise-releasing an album might not be the way to go.
We’ll cover this more later this week in Metal by Numbers, but Mesmer sold about 1,800 copies in it’s first week of release, a little more than half of the 3,500 copies that 2015’s Node sold in it’s first week just about 18 months ago. Granted, since the band’s direction has switched a little more towards alt-rock/nu-metal than the metalcore they’ve become well-known for, maybe it’s a little bit of a Suicide Silence-like backlash. However, it doesn’t seem like there’s been that much of a vocal backlash from fans, so perhaps it’s just that releasing an album without any buildup or promotion might not be the best move?