When one big metal album drops on a particular day, it’s a good thing, even though it’s rare that no big albums are released in a given release week. When two big albums are released on the same day, it’s very good. When three come out on the same day, it’s fantastic for nearly every metalhead in the world. But five major albums on the same day (which was actually yesterday for some reason)? The metal community rejoices on a day such as this, because it’s very rare for such a day to fall ever on the release calendar!
Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), such a day occurs today, when the top five albums also happen to be among the five most highly anticipated records of the year. So sit back, relax, and read the list of new excellence that is in store for you now. Then, when you’re done with that, get up immediately and get to the store as fast as you can to buy these albums! I’m serious! Do it now!
Stone Sour, House of Gold & Bones – Part 1 (Roadrunner)
The thing that is probably the best part about this album is also the thing that will be the most under-appreciated – the release timing. After having to wait four years between albums for the band’s first three releases, we’ve only been waiting two years since Audio Secrecy for this new album. This can likely be attributed to the fact that there has not been a new Slipknot album released in the interim, which was the case after both Stone Sour and Come What(ever) May. As stated in the title, this album is the beginning to a greater overall cycle, which is expected to be completed with Part 2 in 2013. This will be the first Stone Sour album to not feature Shawn Economaki on bass, following his departure from the group last year. His replacement for the recordings was Rachel Bolan of Skid Row fame, while Johny Chow of Cavalera Conspiracy will be filling in on bass for the band’s upcoming touring cycle.
Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (Relapse)
Five years after the fact, even after multiple times listening to it from start to finish, Phantom Limb still leaves me in a state of mixed awe and sheer terror after each listen. That’s how good Pig Destroyer is at what they do. Between Scott Hull’s absolutely nightmarish compositions and JR Hayes’ demonic howls, it’s hard to decide whether amazement or horror is the proper reaction, and I’m quite certain that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Because of this, the announcement of a new Pig Destroyer was, quite naturally, one of the best things to have beheld earlier this year. Book Burner clocks in at a healthy 32 and a half minutes in length, fairly typical for most grindcore albums and just a minute longer than Phantom Limb. The album might not be quite as insanity-inducing as Phantom Limb, but it will definitely leave you with a profound impression. Be sure to get the deluxe edition if you’re interested in the second disc, Blind, Deaf, and Bleeding. It features seven amazing covers of songs by the band’s main influences, and should an enjoyable experience for longtime fans of the band.
The Sword, Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)
In the course of just six years, The Sword has ascended from the bowels of the Texas metal underground into worldwide name recognition and fame. There are very few bands that could achieve so much in so little time, but The Sword has done it, and for that, they are well deserving of all the accolades they receive. Unlike 2010’s Warp Riders (and the band’s other two albums, for that matter), Apocryphon is not a concept album or storytelling piece. This time around, the songs are “about real life subjects”, according to singer J.D. Cronise. While this might reduce the appeal of the group for some, it is sure to increase the interest level in just as many others, if not more. Thus, in short, Apocryphon will continue the impossible success story of The Sword to even higher levels.
A Life Once Lost, Ecstatic Trance (Season of Mist)
A Life Once Lost had a tough choice to make after guitarist Doug Sabolick got hit by a car while riding his bike in June of 2009. Amidst the turmoil that was occurring at Ferret, their label at the time, and with Sabolick out of commission due to vertigo, the band decided to take an extended break. That break took longer than the band anticpated or wanted, as both Sabolick and singer Bob Meadows pointed out to Noisecreep in separate interviews. It’s a moot point now, though, because Ecstatic Trance is out and everyone’s desire for groove-infused metalcore can now be satiated. Armed with a new deal with Season of Mist, and boasting a new four-piece lineup, A Life Once Lost is ready to reclaim their spot in the rising cadre of metal stars.
Wintersun, Time I (Nuclear Blast)
Tying together all of today’s big releases is Wintersun, with an album that has one of the highest levels of anticipation to be associated with any album of the past decade. Never mind the anxiety about Chinese Democracy, Death Magnetic, or Black Gives Way to Blue – compared to the level of angst that Wintersun fans have expressed during the eight-year wait they’ve endured, nothing equates, even in spite of their relatively small numbers by comparison. Time was initially supposed to be a single album, until Wintersun mastermind (and former Ensiferum frontman) Jari Mäenpää decided in March of this year that it would be split into two albums. One of the most technically complex albums to ever be produced from a hardware standpoint, each of the tracks on Time I and next year’s forthcoming Time II is said to have required 200 to 300 tracks of data during the sound recording. Much of this was recorded by Mäenpää himself, and his progress was repeatedly hampered by computer failure. Nuclear Blast even provided multiple laptops to Mäenpää in order to complete the recording. And now, after a nearly endless delay, it is time to bear witness to Time. If you’re a fan of melodic death metal in the style of Children of Bodom or folk metal in the style of Ensiferum, then Wintersun needs to be on your listening priorities.
Also being released this week:
Ill Niño, Epidemia (Victory)
Bison B.C., Lovelessness (Metal Blade)
God Seed, I Begin (12th Steet/Indie)
Sister Sin, Now and Forever (Victory)
Behold…the Arctopus, Horrorscension (Black Market)
Secret, Agnus Dei (Southern Lord)
Abiotic, Symbiosis (Metal Blade)
Evocation, Illusions of Grandeur (Century Media)
Upon This Dawning, To Keep Us Safe (Fearless)
Bedemon, Symphony of Shadows (Housecore)
Ambassador Gun, Golden Eagle (Prosthetic)
While She Sleeps, This is the Six (The End)
Surrounded by Monsters, Novella (Nuclear Blast)
The Offer, 33 Days (Eulogy)
Zodiac, A Bit of Devil (Prosthetic)
AntropomorphiA, Evangelivm Nekromantia (Metal Blade)
Tweaker, Call the Time Eternity (Metropolis)
Dark Tranquillity, Zero Distance EP (Century Media)
Next Week: Another series of excellent albums are ready to tear up the charts, so get ready for even more metal to make your Halloween the best time possible!