For the second consecutive week, our lead album is one of the most sought-after albums of the year, although this week’s lead is desired for wholly different reasons. It’s a week for intense music, so check out what’s here and enjoy raging!
Whitechapel, Mark of the Blade (Metal Blade)
In 2014, Whitechapel released Our Endless War, and thus began their transition from being one of the most beloved deathcore bands on the planet to being one of the hardest-hitting death metal bands on the planet. Mark of the Blade is the completion of this process, and it’s an emphatic statement of completion at that. With buzzsaw riffs and precision technicality throughout, along with a splash of completely new elements that will shock longtime fans of the band, this is a giant step forward in the evolution of Whitechapel.
The Browning, Isolation (Spinefarm)
Blending electronic music styles with metalcore, The Browning has made their mark straddling the line between two styles that would normally never connect. Isolation is the group’s third album and first under a new deal with Spinefarm. This album sees the recording debut of guitarist Brian Moore and bassist Rick Lalicker, both of whom joined the band within the last year amidst a whirlwind of lineup adjustments.
Diamond Head, Diamond Head (Dissonance)
The unsung and unheralded heroes of the NWOBHM movement, Diamond Head are back with album number seven. This self-titled album is the group’s first release in nine years, and it marks the recording debut of singer Rasmus Bom Andersen, who joined the band in 2014. Andersen replaces Nick Tart, who had been with the band for ten years previously. Diamond Head is the group’s first release for Dissonance Productions, an independent label based in the UK.
Denner/Shermann, Masters of Evil (Metal Blade)
We got a taste of Denner/Shermann last year on the Satan’s Tomb EP, and it was certainly impressive. The reunion of original Mercyful Fate guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann yielded some incredible music, and now the group is back with even more surefire classics. Masters of Evil perfectly captures the essence of classic Mercyful Fate, while adding its own unique flavor to the mix at the same time.
Stuck Mojo, Here Come the Infidels (Self-released)
Coming back from their second hiatus, Stuck Mojo opted to crowdfund their seventh album, rather than seeking out a record label. One successful PledgeMusic campaign later, Stuck Mojo’s first album in eight years is ready to be unleashed. In what seems to be a recurring theme for today, new vocalist Robby J. and new bassist Len Sonnier make their recording debut for Stuck Mojo on Here Come the Infidels.
Be’lakor, Vessels (Napalm)
After years spent in the Australian metal underground, Be’lakor started their breakout process with multiple tours and festival appearances in Europe between 2009 and 2012. The attention received on these tours was enough to earn the band a contract with Napalm Records last year, and Vessels is the first release as part of that contract. Album number four from Be’lakor showcases the band’s unique take on melodic death metal and the impressive musicianship that the band members possess.
Infinite Spectrum, Haunter of the Dark (Sensory)
Hailing from Brooklyn, this five-piece progressive metal group has a great deal of stylistic similarity to fellow New Yorkers Dream Theater. However, Infinite Spectrum opts for a much stranger lyrical approach to their material, showing a great affinity for the H.P. Lovecraft mythos within their story-based concepts. Haunter of the Dark is the group’s second album, and unsurprisingly, it’s based on Lovecraft’s short story of the same name.
Dawn of Disease, Worship the Grave (Napalm)
Dawn of Disease got their start in the early 2000s, but their coming of age didn’t come until much later, following a brief period of hiatus and eventual reunion. The German death metal group released two albums through independent label NoiseArt, garnering generally positive responses in their homeland. Napalm took notice of the band’s tireless work ethic and ruthless live performances, and signed the band last year for the release of Worship the Grave.