In a short release week such as this, metal fans are faced with the conundrum of supporting the releases that come out or waiting for what’s to come. This week, that struggle is more real than ever, as fans of one of Sweden’s longest-running groups have to take a leap of faith on this week’s lead album. Read on to find out why.
In Flames, Siren Charms (Epic)
Let’s start out with the obvious – the veterans fans of In Flames that have been around since The Jester Race haven’t been happy since 2006’s Come Clarity. A Sense of Purpose was a rough ride for many, and even though Sounds of a Playground Fading was not a bad album, it was too drastic of a change for fans to accept, especially while trying to cope with the departure of Jesper Strömblad. Siren Charms will hopefully serve as the happy medium between Come Clarity and Sounds, balancing the band’s signature Gothenburg sound with the heavy, dark, atmospheric rock that they’ve adopted in recent years. It’s not a return to The Jester Race – hell, it’s not even a return to Clayman – but it’s still one of the best-sounding In Flames records that I’ve heard in close to a decade, showing that the band has found the stride of growth that they’re looking for and is capable of staying current rather than fading into obscurity.
Emarosa, Versus (Rise)
Emarosa has had a rough few years with regards to lineup changes, which mostly have seen vocalists exiting the band to join fellow post-hardcore upstarts Dance Gavin Dance. The group finally settled down last year with former Squid the Whale vocalist Bradley Walden. Versus is the group’s third overall album and their first in four years. If the band can replicate the performance of their self-titled album from 2010, then expect to see Versus to crack the top 100 at a minimum.
Striker, City of Gold (Napalm)
Formed in Edmonton in 2007, Striker is one of many speed metal groups to come screaming out of Canada in the last decade. Much like their kinsmen in Cauldron, Striker combines the thrash aesthetic of Exodus with the epic virtuosity of Iron Maiden to create an intense, high-energy brand of metal that will definitely leave a good impression. Give it a listen if you liked Wolf’s new album that came out last week. You’ll also enjoy City of Gold if you’re a fan of White Wizzard, Steelwing, or Enforcer.
Crimson Shadows, Kings Among Men (Napalm)
Staying north of the border, Crimson Shadows is a melodic power/death metal group that formed in Ontario in 2006, and independently released one album and a couple of EP’s. The group competed in Wacken Metal Battle 2013 and wound up winning the whole contest, which earned them their contract with Napalm. Kings Among Men is the group’s first release through a label, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the spotlight. Crimson Shadows is comparable in some ways to Blackguard and Starkill, so give the album a try if you’re a fan of either band.
Next Week: One of the original American death metal bands unleashes their latest opus of gore and destruction. Find out who it is, as well as seeing all the other new releases, next week!