Trent Reznor has been one of the Renaissance Men of rock music for the past two decades, dictating the direction of the genre’s progression since the beginning of Nine Inch Nails. The only other musicians that can come close are the members of Tool and Dream Theater, showing the maximum capabilities of the genre when stretched to its limits. The thing that makes Reznor special is that he did it all on his own for almost two decades, writing everything himself while seeming to have a bottomless reserve of new ideas. Whether you like Nine Inch Nails or not, you can’t deny that Trent Reznor is a musical genius.
It is with that in mind that we look into this week’s new releases. There are quite a few Christian metal albums and another batch of reissues hitting the stores this week, but the biggest focus is on Reznor’s triumphant return to music. He has a new project with a new name, and this time, it’s all on his own terms. Read on to see what creative masterpiece will rear its head today.
How to Destroy Angels, How to Destroy Angels (The Null Corporation)
Trent Reznor has always been about doing things on his own terms. Now he gets to do that. How to Destroy Angels is Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and Nine Inch Nails collaborator Atticus Ross. The music is on par with the brilliance of Nine Inch Nails, if not more so because Reznor is going even further outside the box this time around. Hi-def enthusiasts can get the upgrade package for better audio and a music video thrown in.
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events (Black Market Activities/Metal Blade)
The grindcore comedians are up to their usual brand of insanity on their third release. The album features easily one of the band’s most humorous song titles to date, a small homage to the Die Hard series. The album closer also references the questionable apocalypse theory of 2012, leading to questions of whether the band believes that the world (or maybe their career) is coming to end. Fans of the band, myself included, hope that neither of those is the case.
Filter, “The Inevitable Relapse” (Rocket Science)
This limited edition 7-inch single is the precursor to the planned August release of The Trouble With Angels, Filter’s second album following their return from hiatus in late 2007. While fans will be enthusiastic for this album, it likely won’t repeat the immediate success of 2008’s Anthems for the Damned, which debuted at #60 on the Billboard 200. But miracles have been known to happen where Filter is concerned. Watch this upcoming album closely.
A Plea for Purging, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Facedown)
Look up the word “tireless” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of A Plea for Purging. The band tours relentlessly, even while writing and recording their music. And they certainly do record a lot – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is their third album in four years. These Christian metalcore kids showed a surprising love for technical metal in the vein of Meshuggah on their last album, Depravity. I wouldn’t be surprised if that pattern repeats itself here.
Pathology, Legacy of the Ancients (Victory)
After three releases on three independent labels, the gore-obsessed death metal trio finally got themselves a deal with Victory to get bigger exposure. It’s odd that it took so long for a larger label to pick them up, considering that the members’ credits include stints in Disgorge, The Locust, and Cattle Decapitation. Nonetheless, though, Legacy of the Ancients will attract fans of Disgorge and other similar goregrind/brutal death metal bands like Devourment, Lividity, and Katalepsy.
Corpus Christi, A Feast for Crows (Victory)
The Cincinnati-based group debuted on Victory last year with The Darker Shades of White, earning great reviews for such a young band. Their new album should show some marked improvement, although sadly, it is completely unrelated to the excellent novel by George R.R. Martin. Literary comparisons aside, though, Corpus Christi has lots of potential to leapfrog ahead in the Christian metal scene.
My Epic, Yet (Facedown)
These guys aren’t particularly metal in most respects. In fact, the best comparison I can make for them is that they embody the experimental post-hardcore sound of mewithoutYou. Definitely not a heavy band. Yet there is plenty of odd intricacy in their music that will appeal to fans of softer prog rock and less whiny forms of post-hardcore.
Valkyrie, Man of Two Visions (MeteorCity)
Fans of Baroness might not know that singer and guitarist Pete Adams has a side project called Valkyrie, co-founded by his brother Jake. Much like Baroness, Valkyrie draws the core of their sound from traditional stoner-doom metal. However, unlike Baroness, Valkyrie stays true to the classic genre without any of the crazy prog influences. It would be easy to call Valkyrie “the poor man’s Baroness”, but in reality, it’s more accurate to think of Valkyrie as a younger version of Saint Vitus or Witchfinder General.
Helstar, Rising from the Grave (Metal Blade)
Houston’s Helstar has been delivering thrash since the mid-’80s, and their career has been consistent despite a lack of exposure. This box set will feature remastered versions of the band’s two Metal Blade albums, A Distant Thunder and Nosferatu. It will also feature the band’s first video-recorded live performance, filmed on Christmas night at the Backstage Club in Houston in 1989, and appropriately dubbed “Twas the Night of a Hellish Xmas”.
Primordial, Spirit the Earth Aflame (Metal Blade)
The Irish black/folk metal squad has been re-releasing their albums with bonus material for awhile now. 2000’s Spirit the Earth Aflame is the third in the reissue cycle, and the second disc of this edition will feature five live tracks, including live covers of Bathory and Rotting Christ, as well as one bonus studio track and re-recordings of three other songs. This is a great collector’s item with plenty of extras to satiate fans.
Son of Aurelius, The Farthest Reaches (Good Fight)
If you’ve never heard of this group, think of The Faceless, Obscura, and other technical brutal death metal groups in a similar vein. Their debut appeared in April, and they’ve earned a spot on the Over the Limit tour, which might have the most appropriate name of this summer’s endless options for live concerts. This special edition will only be available digitally and will include five bonus tracks for the extreme technical death metal fans.
Next Week: Korn returns, Hellyeah starts a stampede, Soilwork panics, and In This Moment cross the wasteland. You don’t want to miss out!