The new release list is a somewhat manageable size for the first time in over two months, signaling the winding down of what has been an incredible year for new music. This is also the second week in a row headlined by a stalwart of the Gothenburg music scene, which may be a first for this column. Read up on what’s lined up for this week and enjoy!
In Flames, Battles (Eleven Seven)
Exactly one year ago from this past Monday, Daniel Svensson announced his departure from In Flames in order to spend more time with his family. The drummer had been part of In Flames for 17 years, so this was obviously a pretty big deal. In Flames recruited former RED drummer Joe Rickard to record drums for Battles, and they liked his performance so much that they made him a permanent member of the group.
Animals as Leaders, The Madness of Many (Sumerian)
Animals as Leaders has done the hard work to earn a spot in the upper echelon of progressive metal bands in the world, and no greater proof of that came than when 2014’s The Joy of Motion debuted at #23 on the Billboard charts. Now, Tosin Abasi and Co. are looking to advance themselves even further with another prog masterwork. The Madness of Many is already receiving strong reviews, with some calling it the most diverse and inventive offering yet from Animals as Leaders.
Sirenia, Dim Days of Dolor (Napalm)
Norwegian symphonic metallers Sirenia underwent a major change earlier this year with the dismissal of vocalist Ailyn for undisclosed reasons. Rather than undergo an extensive search for a new vocalist, the band opted to promote from within, offering the lead vocal spot to Emmanuelle Zoldan. Zoldan had been part of “The Sirenian Choir”, a group of singers providing background vocals on studio albums, for thirteen years before being offered the lead spot. Dim Days of Dolor will be the group’s eighth album, and we have the video for the title track for your viewing pleasure.
Okilly Dokilly, Howdilly Doodilly (Self-released)
The summer of 2015 was the first time we bore witness to Okilly Dokilly, the metal band devoted to all things Ned Flanders. And while their initial demos were not particularly great, the debut of the video for “White Wine Spritzer” has given us new hope. The five men in Okilly Dokilly are clearly committed to their gimmick surrounding Homer Simpson’s neighbor, and if the rest of the album has the same energy as “White Wine Spritzer”, then Okilly Dokilly’s future could be very bright.
Superjoint, Caught Up in the Gears of Application (Housecore)
The resurrection of the band once known as Superjoint Ritual was initially supposed to be a one-time occurrence for 2014’s Housecore Horror Film Festival. However, the response to the returning groove-sludge-punk group was so strong that they decided to record a new album. Only three of the band’s original members – Phil Anselmo, Jimmy Bower, and Kevin Bond – returned for the new album, with the lineup being filled out by bassist Stephen Taylor and drummer Jose Gonzalez.
Freedom Call, Master of Light (SPV/Steamhammer)
2014’s Beyond helped Freedom Call to begin establishing a wider international audience, with tours taking the German band all over the place for the following two years. The highlight of this trek came this past September, when the group performed at ProgPower USA for the first time. Amidst all that time on the road, Freedom Call somehow found time to write and record their ninth album, which will hopefully convince new fans that saw the group live to stick with the band for the future.
Enslaved, The Sleeping Gods – Thorn (ByNorse)
This EP from the progressive metal icons contains material recorded during 2010 and 2011, between the releases of Axioma Ethica Odini and Riitiir. These songs are quite experimental in nature, combining high-end, modern production with lower quality, at times entirely unproduced material, some of which was recorded deep in the Valevaag woods. Much like other recent material from Enslaved, this EP will be anything but typical prog.