Metal has been regularly intruding on the mainstream charts for quite some time now, and it’s not unexpected these days for the more prolific bands to chart in the higher ranks of the charts upon release. But what happens when it’s only underground bands or the heaviest, most extreme artists that are releasing new material? That’s the time for metal to really crash the gates and put up unexpected performances in sales. Let’s see who can do that among this week’s releases:
Fleshgod Apocalypse, Labyrinth (Nuclear Blast)
Completely unrelated to the David Bowie movie of the same name, Labyrinth is a concept album based upon the myth of Knossos and his labyrinth. It’s the third album from the Italian technical death metal group, and given their previous output, I believe this album has a significant chance to be their breakout success. Highly recommended for fans of other technical death metal acts like Obscura and Septicflesh.
Born of Osiris, Tomorrow We Die Δlive (Sumerian)
Keeping with the theme of technical metal, Born of Osiris is fresh off an amazing stint on the Mayhem Festival, as one of the second stage acts that really stood out from the crowd (for me, at least). Their third album The Discovery featured some of their most innovative material to date, and this new album expands their horizons even further. Born of Osiris stands to benefit hugely if this album can become a more widespread hit outside of their core fanbase.
Watain, The Wild Hunt (Century Media)
Watain has one of the most fanatic, cult-like fanbases in all of metal, and I know that the hungry masses have been dying for this album ever since it was announced that they were hitting the studio. The album took almost a year to write and record, and work was done at four separate studios just to complete it. Watain stands to capitalize in a big way on this album’s performance, as most of the more well-known Norwegian black metal groups are not releasing a great deal of material this year. Black metal fans will have to turn to new sources for new music, and Watain is the most likely choice right now.
Diamond Plate, Pulse (Earache)
This album is arriving right before Diamond Plate is hitting the road as one of Death Angel’s opening acts for their US tour, and you can be sure that tracks from Pulse will be heavily featured in their setlist for these upcoming shows. The three-piece thrash group from Chicago has a more back-to-basics and gritty style than their many of their peers. It’s one of the reasons why so many older thrash fans have gravitated towards Diamond Plate over other contemporary thrash acts, and it will help to keep them prominent as more bands try to capitalize on the thrash resurgence of recent years.
Blessthefall, Hollow Bodies (Fearless)
Blessthefall spent the summer playing on the Warped Tour and promoting Hollow Bodies as much as possible. Even though their song only included one new song, the band still generated a very strong buzz around the album, which reviews have backed up strongly. Now, the group from Phoenix is ready to unleash this new album and hit the road again to support it. Hollow Bodies features some guest vocal spots from both Jesse Barnett (Stick to Your Guns) and Jake Luhrs (August Burns Red).
Facebreaker, Dedicated to the Flesh (Metal Blade)
Swedish metal fans should recognize Facebreaker vocalist Roberth Karlsson from his main gig as one of Scar Symmetry’s co-lead vocalists. Facebreaker has been around for much longer, though, first getting their start in 1999 with the idea of playing old-school death metal with no frills or extras. Fast forward to today, and that’s what they’re still doing. Dedicated to the Flesh will sound like it was torn from the late ’80s death metal surge, and fans of classic groups like Obituary, Deicide, and Death will find plenty to like on this album.
City in the Sea, Below the Noise (Sumerian)
Another band just coming off the Mayhem Festival, City in the Sea was the top-billed act on the Sumerian Stage this year, and they certainly attracted their fair share of attention on the small stage with an intense and gripping performance. Below the Noise is the first-full length from the Phoenix-based group, and many critics are already saying that they expect a lot from City in the Sea in the future.
The Ongoing Concept, Saloon (Solid State)
One of the only metal bands that I know to have come from Idaho, The Ongoing Concept is a post-hardcore group that mixes in electronics, much like other groups that draw influence from the originators of the style, Underoath. If you like bands such as Fit for a King or Adestria, then The Ongoing Concept is something worth checking out.
Primitive Man, Scorn (Relapse)
Primitive Man is the sludge-doom project of Ethan Lee McCarthy, better known for his main group Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire. The band formed last year while CTTTOAFF was taking a break from touring, and was signed to Relapse shortly after their formation. Scorn is already a big hit with fans of CTTTOAFF, despite the two bands having extremely different genres, but the album should also find a home with fans of Abyssal, Atriarch, Children of God, and other sludge-doom fusion groups.
Sworn In, The Death Card (Razor & Tie)
A new mathcore-djent group from Illinois, Sworn In formed in mid-2011 and mostly played shows around their area of Grays Lake, IL. The Death Card should be a big hit with fans of Botch, especially those who thought that Botch should have never broken up. Hardcore and deathcore fans will also find things to like on this album.
Oathbreaker, Eros|Anteros (Deathwish)
Oathbreaker got their start with one EP and a European tour, opening for the likes of Entombed, Trap Them, and Blacklisted. After getting noticed by Deathwish and releasing their debut Mælstrøm in 2011, Oathbreaker is once again poised to leave their mark on the hardcore scene. Recommended for those that like Early Graves, Burning Love, and other chaotic hardcore groups.
Saprogenic, Expanding Toward Collapsed Lungs (Willowtip)
It’s been seven years since Saprogenic released their sophomore album, Ichneumonid. And although we don’t know what has kept them off the radar in that time, it’s nonetheless good to see them back in the game. Saprogenic is a brutal death metal and goregrind act from Detroit, and they’ve come a long way from where they started twelve years ago. Highly recommended for fans of Gorgasm, Pathology, and Deeds of Flesh.
Next Week: We close out August with some big-name releases, including one that has the potential to top the charts entirely. We’ll see what it is when we come back next Tuesday!