American metal has proven itself to be boundless with the passage of time. Every genre has been explored by at least one band that has gained prominence, and many newer genres that have come to the forefront of worldwide notice actually originated in America within the past decade and a half. Metalcore, deathcore, djent (to a certain degree), and many others began in North America, and these contributions to metal (no matter what people’s opinions on them may be) cannot be ignored at this point. Today we highlight a lot of American metal bands with new material, led by a metalcore band that has been active since the beginning of that genre’s popularity.
As I Lay Dying, Awakened (Metal Blade)
After twelve years of activity, worldwide success, two consecutive debuts in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, a Grammy nomination, and headlining the biggest festivals and summer tours known to the planet, are the members of As I Lay Dying getting to be past their prime? Apparently not, given the fact that 2010’s The Powerless Rise has enough positive reviews to earn the “Universal Appeal” rating on Metacritic. However, Awakened does show some changes from the recent trends of the band’s recording habits. Instead of a third consecutive stint with producer Adam Dutkiewicz, the group chose Bill Stevenson, best known as the drummer of the Descendents, to handle production duties. Additionally, some tracking was actually handled at Lambesis Studios in San Diego, marking the first time that the band has used the space owned by lead singer Tim Lambesis for anything other than mixing. However, given the wild popularity and accolades that the band received for their run on this year’s Mayhem Festival, it’s almost a guaranteed lock that Awakened will be the band’s third Top 10 debut in a row.
This or the Apocalypse, Dead Years (eOne)
For some reason, the parts of Pennsylvania that aren’t Philadelphia or Pittsburgh seem to spawn a lot of great metal bands. August Burns Red is probably the best known band from the middle of Pennsylvania to appear in the past few years. This or the Apocalypse followed soon afterward, with the release of 2007’s Monuments on Lifeforce Records. It was this album that caught the attention of Chris Adler, drummer for Lamb of God, who eventually signed on to co-produce 2010’s Haunt What’s Left with famed producer Josh Wilbur. This album helped the band reach a much wider audience, and it’s put them on the path towards a huge breakout with Dead Years. Very few bands can say that their debut caught the attention of an internationally-acclaimed leader in their instrument, and fewer still can claim that the musician went on to assist them in breaking out. If you enjoyed the mind-blowing instrumentation on Haunt What’s Left, then Dead Years needs to be your big priority to acquire this week.
Thy Will Be Done, Temple EP (Eye.On Lion)
The pride of my home state, Rhode Island, Thy Will Be Done has been a dominant presence in the worldwide metal scene from their humble beginnings in 2007. Setting ears ablaze with their debut, Was and Is to Come, the group has attained critical success with both that album and 2009’s follow-up In Ancient of Days. The group did well enough for themselves that they were hand-picked for Metallica’s Orion Music + More Festival this past summer, and they only look to improve from here. As vocalist J. Costa explained in a recent interview with Brave Words Bloody Knuckles, the group already has material prepared for an upcoming third full-length, but the six songs presented here represent a lot of personal struggles and needed to be released on their own, apart from the songs written for the album. Lead single “You, the Apathy Divine” has already been lighting up the Sirius/XM daily countdown, The Devil’s Dozen, but if you want to hear the whole EP before picking it up, head over to our friends at Noisecreep, because they are streaming the entire EP for your listening pleasure.
Also being released this week:
Dokken, Broken Bones (Frontiers)
Witchcraft, Legend (Nuclear Blast)
Engel, Blood of Saints (Frostbyte)
Monuments, Gnosis (Century Media)
Revocation, Teratogenesis (Scion AV)
Black September, Into the Darkness, Into the Void (Prosthetic)
Pro-Pain, Straight to the Dome (Goomba)
Ektomorf, Black Flag (AFM)
Winterfylleth, The Threnody of Triumph (Candlelight)
Noisear, Turbulent Resurgence (Willowtip)
Empty Flowers, Six (Translation Loss)
Satan’s Wrath, Galloping Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
Millions, Failure Tactics (Seventh Rule)
Posthum, Lights Out (Indie)
Caspian, Waking Season (Triple Crown)
Fight Amp, Birth Control (Translation Loss)
Nettlecarrier, Nettlecarrier (Indie)
Next Week: The pickings are slim, but the quality is high on the next edition of New & Noteworthy! Come back and see what we have in store next time!