Last week’s article featured several albums that have gone relatively unheralded, because media focus has been dedicated heavily to a select few new albums that are forthcoming. This week, we get several more of these “surprise” releases, which will catch many off-guard if they do not closely follow the social media accounts of these bands with constant vigilance. So take a look and enjoy the pleasant shocks that you’re about to get!
Every Time I Die, Low Teens (Epitaph)
Every Time I Die has put together quite a successful stretch recently, with both of their most recent albums cracking the top 25 of the Billboard charts. The veteran metalcore group from Buffalo, previously motivated by bucking convention and being as sardonic as possible, took a new direction with Low Teens, as a near-tragedy in frontman Keith Buckley’s life led him to write some very honest and true-to-heart lyrics for the first time in nearly two decades. It’s already earning the album rave reviews that will likely translate to a big debut. Check out the deluxe version for two bonus tracks.
Insomnium, Winter’s Gate (Century Media)
With each successive album, Insomnium just adds even more excellence to an already stellar career. Their last three albums have all been critical and sales darlings, with the band getting closer to topping the Finnish charts each time. It’s feasible to believe that Winter’s Gate will be the album that achieves that feat, while also being the first Insomnium album to crack the Billboard 200 here in the US.
Charred Walls of the Damned, Creatures Watching Over the Dead (Metal Blade)
After coming out of the gate strong with two albums in 2010 and 2011, Charred Walls of the Damned went on the back burner for awhile, as the members of the band attended to other projects and endeavors. The supergroup is back with their third album now, and with lead single “The Soulless” already marking a mark on the radio charts, it’s a safe bet that Charred Walls of the Damned is just as good now as they were five years ago.
Allegaeon, Proponent for Sentience (Metal Blade)
I’ve always been high on Allegaeon (just read my Best of 2014 list to see how much I gushed over Elements of the Infinite), so I’m expecting great things from this album. However, my excitement is tempered by the fact that this will be the band’s first release without vocalist Ezra Haynes, who left the band last October. His replacement, Riley McShane of Son of Aurelius, is receiving high praise from fans, so hopefully his good performances in live shows will carry over to this new album.
Operation: Mindcrime, Resurrection (Frontiers)
Geoff Tate started his post-Queensrÿche career in a strong way, courtesy of last year’s The Key. Serving as the beginning of a conceptual trilogy about Internet banking and virtual currency, The Key earned high praise from fans that were hoping Tate could continue his excellence in a new band. Resurrection is part two of the trilogy, and looks to pick up right where The Key left off in progressive greatness.
Trap Them, Crown Feral (Prosthetic)
2014’s Blissfucker opened many eyes towards Trap Them. The upstart grindcore group unleashed something entirely new on that record, some instinctual emotion that brought out darkness, vulnerability, and rage in copious amounts. It was an awe-inspiring record in many ways, and the hope is that Crown Feral will have the same intensity as its predecessor. If Trap Them succeeded in tapping into the same emotional space for this album, then we’re in for a real treat.
Stick to Your Guns, Better Ash Than Dust EP (Pure Noise)
Never afraid to take a public stance on an issue or make a statement, Stick to Your Guns packed five songs into this EP that offer commentary on many current events. The EP is anchored by the single “Universal Language”, which the band actually released earlier than they initially planned, following the rash of police shootings in the US and the Baghdad bombings that took place in July. Needless to say, this release from the well-traveled hardcore group does not hold back in any way.
Seventh Wonder, Welcome to Atlanta – Live 2014 DVD (Frontiers)
Seventh Wonder’s appearance at the 2014 ProgPower USA Festival was highlighted by the band performing their 2008 album, Mercy Falls, in its entirety. Some of those songs were being played for the first and only time as part of a live set, making this show a completely unique affair that would never happen again. The entire show was captured on DVD for this release, though, so if you didn’t attend the festival live, you can still witness this historic night for yourself.
Sahg, Memento Mori (Indie)
This Norwegian supergroup is one of the best showcases of talent from the region, featuring members of prominent death, thrash, and black metal bands coming together to play psychedelic doom metal. Vocalist/guitarist Olav Iversen, formerly of death metal group Manngard, continues to push songwriting boundaries into new and uncharted stylistic realms, making each song a new experience as the album progresses. This album is a hidden gem that is worth checking out.
True Widow, Avvolgere (Relapse)
True Widow is a three-piece group from Dallas. They play an amalgation of stoner rock and shoegaze that they have appropriately dubbed “stonegaze”, and it gives them a highly unique sound that stands out in the stoner rock/metal scene. The group has earned touring credits with the likes of Boris, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, and Surfer Blood during their nine-year career. Avvolgere is their fourth full-length album and second as a part of Relapse.