After a couple of weeks of quiet, the release calendar has come roaring back, with a deluge of new items appearing to form a list that is the very definition of eclectic. You’re not likely to find a list as diverse as this for awhile, so be prepared to jump around in different genres for a bit. Check it out and enjoy!
Periphery, Periphery III: Select Difficulty (Sumerian)
Last year, Periphery released Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega to massive acclaim. Both albums debuted in the top 25 of the Billboard 200, and they showed up on Top 10 lists all over the metal spectrum at the end of the year. Periphery has wasted no time getting right back to work, releasing their fifth album today. Select Difficulty is not a concept album like the Juggernaut duology, opting instead for a traditional album structure that highlights Periphery’s multi-faceted sound.
Revocation, Great is Our Sin (Metal Blade)
2014’s Deathless was the album that helped me to appreciate Revocation’s sound completely, so this time around, I fully understand the hype about Great is Our Sin. The technicality that this band possesses is unbelievable, and the fact that they are able to grow and expand from album to album will help to make them a mainstay of American metal for many years to come. Expect Great is Our Sin to land on a lot of best-of lists at the end of the year.
Black Crown Initiate, Selves We Cannot Forgive (eOne)
If you’ve been around Metal Insider for the past couple of years, then you know how high we are on this band. Black Crown Initiate earned themselves a deal with eOne on the strength of just one album, and their eOne debut The Wreckage of Stars was a massive sleeper hit in 2014. A series of high-profile tours during 2015 has given the band more exposure leading into Selves We Cannot Forgive, and it’s fair to assume that the young progressive death metal group will get a lot more attention with this album.
Despised Icon, Beast (Nuclear Blast)
Despised Icon’s hiatus from 2010 to 2014 took place just as deathcore was beginning to regress back into the underground. Appropriately, their return occurred just as deathcore began a resurgence of sorts, and now Despised Icon is poised to take advantage of that. The group’s fifth album, Beast, features the same lineup that recorded 2005’s The Healing Process, the album that is considered to be the defining work of their career.
Dio, A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993 (Rhino/Warner Bros.)
If, for some reason, you don’t have any Dio in your music collection, then today is your lucky day to quickly remedy such a tragedy. A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993 is a special box set that features the first six studio albums released by Ronnie James Dio’s eponymous band, from the iconic and genre-defining Holy Diver all the way through the unheralded classic Strange Highways. This is a must-have collection for any metal fans that does not know what greatness Ronnie James Dio brought to the genre.
Hammers of Misfortune, Dead Revolution (Metal Blade)
Hammers of Misfortune never fails to impress listeners, with their ever-changing brand of progressive metal that can (and often does) incorporate influences from at least five different subgenres at once. The Bay Area-based six-piece group has not released any music since 2011’s 17th Street, but they are back now with album number six, Dead Revolution. Early reviews indicate that this may be the most intricate and densely-layered piece in the band’s history, and that has generated a lot of excitement.
Centinex, Doomsday Rituals (Agonia)
One of the classic groups of the traditional Swedish death metal scene, Centinex has been on fire since returning from hiatus in 2014. Most assumed that eight years off would have led to some rust, but Centinex burst out of the gate with Redeeming Filth, an absolute barnburner that destroyed any notion that Centinex would be less than fantastic upon their return. Doomsday Rituals continues this pattern, as the veteran group continue to educate the world in the ways of buzzsaw-precision death metal.
Witherscape, The Northern Sanctuary (Century Media)
Continuing with the veteran guard of Swedish death metal, Witherscape is the latest project of music wizard Dan Swanö, the man behind Edge of Sanity, Demiurg, Nightingale, Bloodbath, and so many other works of musical greatness. Swanö and guitarist/bassist Ragnar Widerberg of Shadowquest collaborated to create this atmospheric death metal project, and debut album The Inheritance received nearly universal acclaim when it arrived in 2013. The duo looks to replicate that with their sophomore follow-up today.
Unmerciful, Ravenous Impulse (Unique Leader)
Based in Topeka, Kansas, Unmerciful is a brutal death metal project that has featured members of at least a dozen veteran acts of the American death metal scene. Most notable among their credits is deathcore group Origin, as five current/former members of Origin have played or currently play in Unmerciful. Ravenous Impulse is the second album released by Unmerciful, and it appears almost exactly a decade after Unmerciful’s debut, Unmercifully Beaten.
Baptism, V: The Devil’s Fire (Season of Mist)
Baptism is the solo project of the enigmatic Lord Sargofagian, a Finnish multi-instrumentalist that has performed with many other groups and whose real name is unknown. Sargofagian’s recording is unpredictable – on some releases, he will play every instrument, while on others, he will only provide lead guitars and vocals. Regardless, Baptism’s output has always been evil to the core, and V: The Devil’s Fire is no different.