This heat wave makes it nearly impossible to be enthusiastic about anything. In fact, there are only two things keeping me going during this: the thought of fall weather being just over six weeks away, and the release calendar that will accompany that weather when it arrives. That’s going to be an exciting time of the year. For now, though, we will contend with the heat with this week’s new releases. Crank up your volume, crank up your air conditioning, and let’s get down to it.
Ringworm, Snake Church (Relapse)
Long established members of the American hardcore scene, Cleveland’s finest Ringworm are back to celebrate their 25th anniversary with album number seven. This will be the band’s second full-length release since signing with Relapse in 2013, and you can bet that Snake Church will have the same features as Hammer of the Witch – no-holds-barred, no-frills hardcore that delivers a punch in the guts and a kick to the face with its intensity.
Ayreon, The Theater Equation (Inside Out)
This two CD, one DVD release chronicles a momentous occasion – the first live performance of an Ayreon album in its entirety. Recorded on September 20th of last year, this performance brings 2004’s The Human Equation to life with an orchestra, a choir, and many of the guest performers from the original album as part of the cast. Originally started as a fan project, the performance took on a life of its own when the original musicians expressed strong interest in joining the effort.
Valient Thorr, Old Salt (Napalm)
Valient Thorr have been mainstays in the world of Southern rock for the entirety of their 15-year career. Growth through DIY efforts and endless touring helped Valient Thorr break through organically, and now they are using that same model to help their genre grow and evolve with the times. Old Salt has the same core sound that has made Valient Thorr as beloved as they are, but it also contains a multitude of subtle influences from other styles to showcase growth and expansion from the veteran group.
Jinjer, King of Everything (Napalm)
Hailing from Ukraine, Jinjer does not want to ever be grouped in with other female-fronted metal bands. In fact, Jinjer believes that classifying a band based on the gender of any member is ridiculous (a sentiment that many bands share). Jinjer just wants to be known for what they create – solid, groove-intensive metal with progressive influences. King of Everything is the third album from the group.
Zodiac, Grain of Soul (Napalm)
Following the breakup of melodic death metal group Misery Speaks in 2010, Stephan Gall and Janosch Rathmer decided that they wanted to continue to make music, albeit in a different form and with a different sound. To that end, Zodiac was formed, following the additions of Nick Van Delft and Robert Kahr, the latter of whom was eventually replaced by Ruben Claro. With their modern take of blues-influenced hard rock, Zodiac is moving up in the world very quickly.
September Mourning, Volume II (Sumerian)
Cross-medium projects are becoming more and more common these days, and September Mourning is one such undertaking that has garnered a massive following. Developed by Emily Lazar and Marc Silvestri, September Mourning’s story is told across music albums, comic books, and stage performances. Last year’s Volume I was a huge draw for fans of the project, and the hope is that Volume II can be a gateway by which a new audience can enter the story and become engrossed.