How many times can a band reinvent their lineup before they lose their appeal? Fear Factory has certainly tested those limits in the past decade, so much so that singer Burton C. Bell is the only founding member of the band to have remained in the lineup for the band’s entire career. Somehow, against impossible odds, the industrial metal pioneers have remained relevant and well-liked by both longtime fans and newcomers throughout the turmoil. Today we get to see just how much those lineup changes have affected the band, as we get the first Fear Factory record written entirely by the two members of the band now considered to be the essential core of the group.
New Fear Factory is just the tip of the iceberg today, though. There are so many great new releases today, it’s practically impossible for anyone to not be excited about this list! Get reading, and then get buying, because this is one week of metal that has to be seen and heard to be believed!
Fear Factory, The Industrialist (Candlelight)
When 2010’s Mechanize was first released, many compared it to Fear Factory’s 1992 debut, Soul of a New Machine. If that comparison is accurate, then The Industrialist should pan out similarly to the massively influential Demanufacture, the album that forever cemented Fear Factory’s place in metal history. Such an inherent comparison is both good and bad for The Industrialist – good because the album will automatically receive an even higher level of interest than it already is getting, but bad because expectations will be that much higher for the album overall. As I said before, this is the first Fear Factory record to be completely written by Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares, as Mechanize did feature writing contributions from then-drummer Gene Hoglan. It’s already well known that Bell and Cazares are excellent music writers, but it will be intriguing to hear what they do entirely on their own with a concept record.
Kreator, Phantom Antichrist (Nuclear Blast)
Nuclear Blast has adopted some of the biggest names in the German metal scene recently, signing the reunited Accept for their 2010 return, releasing Destruction’s new album Day of Reckoning last year, and now in 2012 putting out new material from Kreator. Kreator has certainly been the most consistent act in the past few years, with the excellent Enemy of God in 2005 and the even better Hordes of Chaos in 2009. Early reviews of Phantom Antichrist say that it’s on par with its two predecessors, so Kreator fans should be extremely excited for this record. I’ve said before that the German thrash bands and second-tier American thrash bands have been outclassing the Big 4 for some time now, and between this new album from Kreator and Overkill’s latest release, it’s safe to say that this trend will be likely be continuing in 2012, although there is still a chance for Slayer to blow everyone away with their upcoming new album.
The Agonist, Prisoners (Century Media)
When The Agonist hit the scene with 2007’s Once Only Imagined, the biggest thing they had going for them was vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, who commanded listeners’ attention with both her unbelievable vocal skills and her striking beauty. 2009’s Lullabies for the Dormant Mind took ten steps forward, though, as the songwriting skills of the band were fully realized and guitarist Danny Marino was unleashed on the metal world in his greatest capacity. The technicality of Lullabies for the Dormant Mind helped carry the success of that album, and as long as that technicality has been carried over to Prisoners, then this new album will certainly expand the band’s successes even more. Lead single “Ideomotor” seems to indicate that the technicality is still present, which is a great sign for this album. It’s also vital that The Agonist continues on the high-profile tours that they’ve consistently been booked on, as their touring visibility plays just as much of a role in their success.
Melvins Lite, Freak Puke (Ipecac)
Okay, so this is basically a Melvins record under a different name, but for those that care about semantics, there are some key differences. For one thing, this record was recorded as a three-piece, with Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover being joined by Trevor Dunn (best known for his work with Mr. Bungle), marking the first time since 2004’s Pigs of the Roman Empire that Jared Warren and Coady Willis were not featured on a Melvins record. Additionally, this three-piece lineup has essentially been the touring lineup for the group since last year. Although they tour under the Melvins Like moniker and maintain that the four-piece group is an active and separate entity, the fact remains that the band has not presented any other face besides this one for many months. Regardless, though, Freak Puke promises to have all the usual Melvins aspects in their regular abundance, and will make an excellent addition to the band’s already-stellar discography.
Call Me No One, Last Parade (7Brothers/ILG)
Call Me No One is the new side project of Sevendust members Clint Lowery (guitar and vocals) and Morgan Rose (drums and vocals). Retaining a lot of the same elements as Sevendust, Call Me No One also carries a progressive edge to it that enlivens their music and offers a different side of the heaviness that Sevendust fans have come to know and love over the group’s long career. Lowery and Rose, along with session bassist Kurt Wubbenhorst (who also co-owns Architekt Music, the studio where Last Parade was recorded), deliver an outstanding selection of hard rock and alternative metal that is both comfortingly familiar, yet at the same time intriguing and different in both subtle and obvious ways. Our buddies over at MetalSucks have only good things to say about Call Me No One, and I fully agree with their assessments of the band so far. Last Parade will likely be playing on my iPod for quite awhile, in particular the true album opener “The World is Dead” and the high-energy “War Song”. Give this album a spin if you’re looking for some heavy, but still accessible, hard rock with a distinctly unique flavor. Be sure to also check out the deluxe digital edition for two bonus tracks.
The Cory Smoot Experiment, When Worlds Collide (Metal Blade)
Some of you may remember that, last November, Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot sadly passed away while on tour with Gwar. His death was the result of a pre-existing heart condition that led to a heart attack. However, before his untimely passing, Smoot was hard at work on a solo project that he had written and performed all the music for himself. The original intention had been for vocals to be performed by top vocalists from Richmond, Virginia’s metal scene, including Gwar’s own Dave Brockie (a.k.a. Oderus Urungus) and Lamb of God’s D. Randall Blythe. Scheduling problems led to this idea being scrapped and Smoot recording all of the vocals himself, and thus, The Cory Smoot Experiment was born. This album was Smoot’s greatest labor of love for the music world, and all proceeds from the sale of this album will go to the Smoot Family Fund, which was set up by Metal Blade Records to help provide for Smoot’s family. Given that, you really have no reason not to buy this album and help the family of a fallen metal brother. Cory Smoot, you will be missed.
Also being released this week:
Candlemass, Psalms for the Dead (Napalm)
Architects, Daybreaker (Century Media)
Circus Maximus, Nine (Frontiers)
Grand Magus, The Hunt (Nuclear Blast)
Marduk, Serpent Sermon (Century Media)
Phobia, Remnants of Filth (Willowtip)
Black Sheep Wall, No Matter Where it Ends (Season of Mist)
Rise to Remain, City of Vultures (Century Media)
The Gates of Slumber, Suffer No Guilt (Deepsend)
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock to the Land (Frontiers)
Altars, Conclusions (Facedown)
Tank, War Nation (Metal Mind)
Kid Gorgeous, Blue Romance (Eulogy)
Eths, III (Season of Mist)
Winter’s Verge, Beyond Vengeance (Massacre)
Carach Angren, Where the Corpses Sink Forever (Season of Mist)
Generation of Vipers, Howl & Filth (Translation Loss)
Spider Rockets, Bitten (P-Dog)
Catamenia, The Rewritten Chapters (Massacre)
Wormed, Planisphaerium [Reissue] (Willowtip)
Watain, Opus Diaboli [Box set] (AFM)
Next Week: Our lead albums are the third release from a young, up and coming metalcore act, and an interesting split album from two young thrash bands. It may be a short list, but it will still be a good one! Come on back and check it out!