The greatest display of how metal bands differ from the rest of the musical world occurs when a former member is welcomed back into the fold with open arms and no questions asked. In so many other genres, band members that leave are ostracized and are barely ever mentioned by the other band members, for the sake of public appearances. But in metal, unless there is a genuine disagreement between members, those that leave are welcome to come back, if there is an opening and they are interested. We’ve seen examples of this in recent years with bands like Soilwork, Megadeth, and (to a lesser extent) Fear Factory, but last year, we got one of the most welcome returns of an original band member that has ever been seen in metal. Read about it here, along with all of the other great new releases of today!
Killswitch Engage, Disarm the Descent (Roadrunner)
Howard Jones’ departure from Killswitch in 2012 was a shock, but not a great one. His complete absence from their 2011 winter tour, along with the mediocre reviews of their 2009 self-titled album, had some speculating that Jones’ tenure in the band was coming to a close. The return of original singer Jesse Leach was similarly surprising, but not entirely unexpected, either. Times of Grace (Leach’s project with KSE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz) performed extremely well with their debut album The Hymn of a Broken Man, and Leach had also done exceptionally well filling in for Jones during some shows on that 2011 tour. Thus, when Leach was announced as the new vocalist for the band, the only question that was left to be answered was how he would do singing the songs that Jones had performed on his three albums with KSE. Leach acquitted himself well when Killswitch headlined the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival last year, and the video releases of “In Due Time” and “The New Awakening” have both received overwhelmingly positive responses so far. All in all, it seems that Leach’s reunion with Killswitch is a triumphant return to the form that made 2002’s Alive or Just Breathing the genre-defining release that it was. With the maturity of eleven years added to the group, this may make them even better in form and technique than they were then. All of this adds up to Disarm the Descent being one of the most anticipated albums of the year. One can only hope that this anticipation is reflected in the album’s sales numbers. Pick up the special edition if you want to see a bonus DVD covering the making of the album and also get some bonus tracks.
Hypocrisy, End of Disclosure (Nuclear Blast)
As one of the only bands from Sweden playing death metal that is not overtly melodic in style, Hypocrisy stands at the top of the scene for more extreme metal coming out of the Scandinavian country. Therefore, a new Hypocrisy album is usually greeted with a great deal of excitement, especially since the creative engine behind the group, Peter Tägtgren, spends much of his time producing albums at The Abyss Studios. This year alone, in addition to this new Hypocrisy album, Tägtgren’s projected releases include new albums from Children of Bodom and Amorphis, both of which are high-intensity records that likely needed a great deal of attention in order to complete. Even without factoring in his other project, the industrial metal outfit Pain, Tägtgren is an extremely busy man. That is why End of Disclosure is so highly anticipated by extreme metal fans worldwide. In the four years since A Taste of Extreme Divinity was released, extreme metal from Sweden has been rather sparse, with only Naglfar and a few lesser-known bands releasing new material. Now Hypocrisy is back, though, and End of Disclosure should sate the hunger of those wanting to hear from them for so long.
Bring Me the Horizon, Sempiternal (Epitaph)
After opting for an eighteen-word album title for their 2010 release, the English band decided to keep it simple on their fourth full-length. They also elected to have their production done by a major player in the worldwide music scene. Terry Date, known for his career-spanning work with Pantera and Deftones, has since had a long-standing streak of working with metal bands for singular albums – Unearth, Soulfly, Arkaea, Arms of the Sun, and Funeral for a Friend are examples from the past few years that stand out. However, Date still has plenty of hit-making ability, so that should make Sempiternal yet another successful release from the band. Of greater concern, though, is the controversy over former guitarist Jona Weinhofen’s involvement in the album. Vocalist Oliver Sykes called out Weinhofen on Twitter back in February, more than a month after Weinhofen exited the band, stating that the Australian guitarist had basically no involvement in the new record at all. It’s unclear as to what prompted this outburst or why Sykes is so vehemently denying that Weinhofen participated in Sempiternal, but either way, we’ll have to see if further information is brought to light now that the album is out.
Also being released this week:
For Today, Prevailer (Razor & Tie)
Adema, Topple the Giants (MRI)
Finntroll, Blodsvept (Century Media)
Spock’s Beard, Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep (Inside Out)
Lost Society, Fast Loud Death (Nuclear Blast)
Beyond the Shore, Ghostwatcher (Metal Blade)
Thy Art is Murder, Hate (Nuclear Blast)
Warbeast, Destroy (Housecore)
Six Reasons to Kill, We Are Ghosts (Massacre)
Moss, Horrible Night (Metal Blade)
Bleed from Within, Uprising (Century Media)
Niacin, Krush (Prosthetic)
Wardruna, Yggdrasil (Indie)
Zozobra, Savage Masters (Brutal Panda)
Next Week: The second part of an album cycle sees its release, along with the first album from a new project featuring a premiere name in hard rock. Come on back in seven days for all the news!