Two weeks ago it was Mayhem, last week it was Summer Slaughter, and this week it’s… Over the Limit? Yes, yet another summer tour kicks off this weekend, this one headlined by Oceano and As Blood Runs Black. This tour is probably the most aptly named tour of the past five years, and it’s also not really necessary, with a lineup that feels like the cast-offs of both Summer Slaughter and Thrash & Burn. More excitement will be generated by two other tours kicking off this week – the first leg of the American Carnage/Canadian Carnage Tour featuring Megadeth, Slayer, and Testament; and Cynic’s “Re-Traced / Re-Focused Live” tour, which will also feature Intronaut and Dysrhythmia. Obviously, seeing three of the biggest thrash acts in history is a huge deal, but progressive/experimental metal fans will be salivating to see Cynic play their entire discography live. Where does that leave the Over the Limit tour? Well, it’s basically the third wheel now – or, in the case of the whole summer lineup, the ninth wheel.
There are some new releases that are also acting as spoilers this week, looking to steal the spotlight from a major debut this week. Considering the debut comes from one of the most commercial names in metal, though, that is unlikely. Read on to see what’s coming at you this week.
Avenged Sevenfold, Nightmare (Warner Bros.)
After Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan’s tragic passing at the end of 2009, nobody was sure whether Avenged Sevenfold would continue on. But with the help of Mike Portnoy, every metal purist’s Nightmare has become a reality. Nobody can be sure how the Dream Theater skinsman will mesh with the metalcore darlings of commercial America, but fans will get a chance to see it live as well as hear it on the album, as Portnoy will also take part in A7X’s run on the upcoming Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival.
36 Crazyfists, Collisions and Castaways (Ferret)
The Alaskan group is supporting this album in a big way already, acting as main support for Fear Factory during their current tour. The promotion doesn’t stop there, as a headlining tour with Straight Line Stitch and Dirge Within starts up as soon as the Fear Factory tour ends. These guys aren’t the heaviest metalcore group out there, but singer Brock Lindow is one of the best in the business. That makes 36CF always worth checking out.
Decrepit Birth, Polarity (Nuclear Blast)
The brutal death metal band has recently added ex-Abigail Williams drummer Samus Paulicelli to their lineup, adding a good amount of technicality to their already-intricate sound. On their third album, Decrepit Birth looks to justify the hype surrounding them after three years of nearly-nonstop touring. Former members of Decrepit Birth are also alumni of/now in Vital Remains, Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Divine Heresy, Hate Eternal, and Animosity. That should give you a general look into this band’s approach – violent as hell every second.
Insidious Disease, Shadowcast (Century Media)
This supergroup has some serious firepower in its ranks. The project is helmed by Dimmu Borgir guitarist Silenoz, who put together the group in order to examine “the misfits of society”. Also featured in the lineup are Morgoth vocalist Marc Grewe, Old Man’s Child guitarist Jardar, Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury, and drummer Tony Laureano, who is from about a thousand different metal bands. This group is sure to be among the most violent and evil supergroups ever assembled.
ReVamp, ReVamp (Nuclear Blast)
The breakup of After Forever in 2009 was a shame, as one of the better female-fronted power metal bands in the world called it quits before they could truly achieve the success they deserved. But singer Floor Jansen wasn’t done with music and started a new project, with Grip, Inc./Enemy of the Sun guitarist Waldemar Sorychta and her After Forever bandmate Joost van der Broek as co-songwriters. ReVamp is the result, a progressive/symphonic metal group that will capitalize on Jansen’s incredible vocal prowess and her collaborators’ wealth of talent.
Ivoryline, Vessels (Tooth & Nail)
Back with their third full-length album and second for Tooth & Nail Records, these Texas-based Christian rockers are looking to capitalize on the success of 2008’s There Came a Lion, which peaked at #15 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band’s touring experience includes runs with Emery, Madina Lake, and Automatic Loveletter, which should give new listeners an idea of their sound.
Cruel Hand, Lock & Key (Bridge Nine)
One usually doesn’t think of Maine as being home to anything except fish, lobster, and, well, trees. But apparently a hardcore scene may be brewing in the North, with Cruel Hand leading the charge out of the Pine Tree State and onto stages worldwide. These guys might get lumped into the Boston hardcore scene, but don’t expect straightforward mosh-core like you’ll get from Down to Nothing and Death Before Dishonor. Cruel Hand enjoys diversifying sounds, mixing in some thrash and death metal styles with their love for Madball. This album could be a huge breakthrough for them if it reaches the right ears.
Angels of Babylon, Kingdom of Evil (Burnhill Union)
This band has absolutely nothing to do with one of the 2010 albums from Avantasia. Angels of Babylon is actually a supergroup of sorts, featuring Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and ex-Manowar drummer Kenny “Rhino” Edwards in their lineup. Kingdom of Evil is the four-piece group’s debut, and has been out in Europe for nearly six months. It finally sees release in the US now, much to the delight of fans of White Wizzard, Icarus Witch, and Charred Walls of the Damned. There’s nothing wrong with adding another classic heavy metal group to the fold.
Life of Agony, 20 Years Strong: Rivers Runs Red Live In Brussels (I Scream)
It is amazing to think that the Brooklyn-based quartet has been around for two decades, especially since it’s been five years since they’ve actually put out any new material. This live album and DVD chronicles the band’s 20th anniversary performance in Belgium from April of this year. It also includes a band documentary and bonus features, which will hopefully also reveal some of the band’s plans for the future.
Sodom, Lords of Depravity 2 (Steamhammer/SPV)
The German veterans have a new album tentatively due out later this year, but Lords of Depravity 2 will give fans a good look into the band’s past, with over six hours of footage from their archives. The first disc contains a full-length documentary of the band’s history, while the second disc is packed with live footage, highlighted by their 25th anniversary performance from Wacken Open Air 2007. This has been a good year for German thrash historians, as Destruction released a DVD back in April as well. Pick this up if you want to know how thrash got truly evil in the Rhineland.
Next Week: Hard rock battles hardcore for new release supremacy, with Josh Homme quietly releasing an updated version of an old favorite at the same time. We’re halfway through summer, and the new music still flows freely!