To say that this is a huge release week is practically an insult. We are so jam-packed with amazing new metal records that I barely even know where to begin! Crossing over all genres and representing more countries than I care to count, there is a ton of material to cover, and all of it is high-quality and worthy of attention. Enjoy what we have to offer this week, because a week like this won’t happen again for awhile!
Electric Wizard, Time to Die (Witchfinder/Spinefarm)
Doom metal overlords Electric Wizard are unleashing their eighth album on us, and it is a surefire bruiser. It’s also the first time the band is releasing an album outside of Rise Above Records, due to legal complications with the label that began last year. Time to Die was produced by singer/guitarist Jus Oborn, the sole remaining original member of the lineup.
Nonpoint, The Return (Razor & Tie/Metal Blade)
Nonpoint has stayed the course through countless struggles and trials, constantly releasing quality albums and never being slaves to trends. They signed on with Metal Blade for the release of their eighth full-length, and if lead single “Breaking Skin” is any indication, this album is going to be one of the heaviest of their career. The band recently added Eye Empire guitarist B.C. Kochmit to the lineup, following the departure of lead guitarist Dave Lizzio earlier this year.
Evergrey, Hymns for the Broken (AFM)
Swedish progressive metallers Evergrey have always worked towards a constant state of evolution, growing their sound with each successive record. It certainly showed on 2011’s Glorious Collision, and with a revamped lineup that includes returning members Henrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl, Hymns for the Broken is likely to continue that trajectory. This will be their first album released on AFM Records, after releasing their two preceding albums on Steamhammer/SPV.
Finch, Back to Oblivion (Razor & Tie)
Finch’s reunion for the ten year anniversary of their landmark debut What it is to Burn gave fans ample opportunity to express their desire for new music. The post-hardcore veterans apparently listened, and after a period of uncertainty during which the band played some new songs live, it was confirmed that the band was going to craft a third album, almost a decade after the release of their sophomore record Say Hello to Sunshine.
Decapitated, Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)
The triumphant return of Decapitated on 2011’s Carnival is Forever was needed in the metal community. Seeing the Polish death metal veterans return after the death of drummer Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka (brother of guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka) signaled to the metal world at large that bands can come back from tragedy and be successful. Blood Mantra is already even better-received than Carnival is Forever, due in part to the fact that the band has some more experience as a cohesive unit under their belts.
Sick of it All, The Last Act of Defiance (Century Media)
With one of the most stable lineups in all of hardcore, Sick of it All is a model of consistency in a genre that is prone to frequent lineup shifts. The Last Act of Defiance is the tenth album in the band’s storied career, and they took their time making sure it would be perfect, with writing taking place as far back as November of 2011. With the band rapidly approaching their 30th anniversary, you can be assured that this album will feature some of their most powerful writing to date.
1349, Massive Cauldron of Chaos (Season of Mist)
As far back as 1349 slipped on 2009’s Revelations of the Black Flame, they made up for it nicely the following year with Demonoir. Now, four years later, the Norwegian group is back with another blast of old-school black metal for your speakers. As odd as it might seem, the band is still making up for lost ground, but with drummer Frost as tight as ever, it’s unlikely that the band will ever fall back into the practices that made Revelations such a disappointment.
Flying Colors, Second Nature (Mascot)
Flying Colors is the supergroup collaboration of Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, and Casey McPherson. Second Nature is the group’s sophomore album, and according to Portnoy, there was a lot more exciting chemistry during the creation of this album, due to the time spent recording their debut and a 2012 tour. The band’s progressive rock style is layered and intricate, making this album worth a few listens in order to pick up on everything.
Black Crown Initiate, The Wreckage of Stars (eOne)
Black Crown Initiate is a fairly new progressive/technical death metal hailing from Reading, PA. The Wreckage of Stars is the group’s debut, and if “The Great Mistake” and “Withering Waves” are good indicators of what to expect, then this band will likely be around for a long time to come. Check them out if you’re a fan of similar-sounding bands like Fallujah or Rivers of Nihil (who are on tour with Black Crown Initiate now).
Xerath, III (Candlelight)
Mixing elements of djent, progressive metal, groove, and symphonic metal into one sound, Xerath is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Their fresh and original sound is sure to turn heads, even after two previous albums of excellently-written original material. If you’re looking for an interesting fusion band like Textures, Allegaeon, or Fellsilent, then Xerath is definitely worth a listen.
Internal Bleeding, Imperium (Unique Leader)
Pioneers of slam death metal before it was even called that, Internal Bleeding are two-decade veterans of the NYDM scene and unsung heroes of the general death metal world. Imperium is the group’s fifth album, but it’s been a ten-year wait between records, as the band was on hiatus from 2004 to 2011.
So in case we haven’t beaten into your heads enough this year, Meshuggah has been putting together tons of special material to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary. Two of those items – the recorded material from Meshuggah’s “Ophidian Trek” tour in 2013, and the re-mastered version of the one-song EP I, which now comes with three more songs.
Next Week: We start off October with a light week, more than likely so that we can recover from this crazy week! Get ready for next time by relaxing and enjoying all of the new music you should have!