This week, we will boldly go where no one has gone before, seeking out new life in the world of classic heavy metal. We will explore strange new worlds, and we will engage in new pursuits with one of the most classic, veteran acts in all of heavy music. With this band, not all good things have to come to an end. They are worldwide emissaries of metal, and they’re back to take us on another voyage. We now enter THE FINAL FRONTIER! And yes, that’s all the Star Trek references I can possibly fit into this opening paragraph (although bonus points go to the first commenter to tell me which Star Trek series has an episode that shares its title with the Maiden classic that is also the title of this week’s edition).
Oh, and there’s also some other albums coming out this week, despite what the hype machine would have you all believe. It includes the continued resurgence of a great ’90s rock group, the premiere of a bizarre supergroup, and a remixed version of one of the most politically-charged albums of the past decade. They may not be receiving as much attention as this week’s biggest release, but they’re definitely worth mentioning, so read on and find out what else lies in store for us!
Iron Maiden, The Final Frontier (Sony)
Fifteen albums into their career, Iron Maiden are just as relevant and excellent as they were in the ’80s, possibly even more so. This album will continue what the last three albums have established – long, epic songs with breathtaking compositions and Bruce Dickinson’s incredible vocals. And if Avenged Sevenfold can debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, then one of the best bands in the history of music deserves similar honors. Metal Insider has even given you a full price guide and explanation of the different versions of this album that will exist, so you know all your options in advance. Get out there and buy this album! Make it so! (Yes, I had to throw in one more.)
Filter, The Trouble With Angels (Rocket Science)
Anthems for the Damned, Filter’s 2008 release, debuted at #60 on the Billboard charts, a signal of how badly fans wanted them back after nearly six years of inactivity. The Trouble With Angels doesn’t have that natural booster on its side, but given the positive reviews that its predecessor received, this album should still perform well.
Ministry, MiXXXes of the Molé (13th Planet)
When Houses of the Molé came out in 2004, it received national attention for its harsh, biting criticism of the Bush administration. Very few artists dared to tread where Al Jourgensen did with that album. Even now, with Bush long gone from the White House, it still stands as a stark reminder of the power music holds in public affairs. This new remix album revisits the album’s nine tracks (and one hidden track) in the same way that 2009’s The Last Dubber reinvented The Last Sucker. Is this a new trend for Jourgensen?
Orbs, Asleep Next to Science (Equal Vision)
This supergroup unites Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), Ashley Ellyllon (Cradle of Filth, ex-Abigail Williams), Adam Fisher, and Clayton Holyoak (both of Fear Before the March of Flames) in one musical endeavor. Surprisingly, it sounds almost nothing like any of the bands that the members also play in. Orbs is a progressive, experimental rock band with plenty of psychedelic elements. Think Primus lyrics and vocals mixed with a heavy dose of Porcupine Tree compositions.
Knights of the Abyss, The Culling of Wolves (Ferret)
The deathcore outfit from Arizona has been slowly rising in popularity since their formation in 2005. Extensive touring has helped greatly in this, and the band is keeping with that strategy for their third full-length. They have their own headlining tour booked immediately after the album’s release, and will follow it up as part of Cattle Decapitation’s “California Blood Tour” in the fall.
Miss May I, Monument (Rise)
Currently in the thick of the “Back to the Roots” Tour with The Devil Wears Prada, Miss May I is quickly earning a lot of recognition in the post-hardcore scene. One listen to their debut Apologies Are for the Weak is all you need to figure out why – these guys sound a lot like their current tourmates, as well as other on-the-rise post-hardcore bands like Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and Metal Insider favorites We Came as Romans. Monument appears to be picking up right where its predecessor left off, so if you liked their debut, you’ll like this too.
Antagonist, World in Decline (Prosthetic)
Prosthetic hyped Antagonist’s 2008 debut Exist quite a bit, but it failed to make a big impact in the scene. Hopefully, World in Decline will draw some more attention to the Southern California quintet. The thrash-influenced hardcore that they play has plenty of strong social insight in the lyrics, and there is no shortage of technicality to back up the vocals.
Return to Earth, Automata (Metal Blade)
The experimental metal trio signed with Metal Blade early this year, based on the underground success of 2007’s Captains of Industry. It’s easy to see why people like this group. For one thing, drummer Chris Pennie used to play in The Dillinger Escape Plan and is now part of Coheed & Cambria. Also, the band is a dead ringer for Mastodon. In fact, if I listened to the track “Back of My Hand” while blindfolded, I would swear it was a long-lost B-side from Remission.
The Last Felony, Too Many Humans (Lifeforce)
Expect to hear a lot about this band in the coming months, because they recently got a potentially humongous boost in recognition when they were chosen as the opening act for Despised Icon’s final Canadian tour. The technical death metal group has only been around for five years, but one album was all it took to earn them a contract with Lifeforce Records. They’ve already been compared to Beneath the Massacre, Impending Doom, Suffokate, and other fast-rising death metal bands in both sound and potential.
RiotGod, RiotGod (Metalville)
A side project of Monster Magnet members Bob Pantella and Jim Baglino, RiotGod is focused on hard rock with stoner rock influences. The band’s self-titled debut has already started making waves, as it was the most added album on the CMJ Loud Rock Charts this past week. If the album lives up to the hype, RiotGod could become a very popular name in the fall.
King of Asgard, Fi’mbulvintr (Metal Blade)
This Viking metal group has plenty of experience under its belt, despite only being active two years. The three members have previous credits with Thy Primordial, Falconer, Mithotyn, Indungeon, and Infernal Vengeance, among numerous other bands. Their oddly-spelled Metal Blade debut will appeal to fans of more traditional Viking metal such as Heidevolk and Wulfgar.
Downspirit, Point of Origin (Metalville)
Metal and blues have come together in the past with mixed results. The most commonly-used (and also most successful) example of this fusion is Volbeat, and their popularity has given this style a whole new power. German/Swiss band Downspirit take Volbeat’s foundation of blues metal, and add elements of Shinedown and other modern rock bands to create an altogether different sound. The result is not as catchy or unique as Volbeat, but there is still enough distinctiveness to merit giving this album a try.
The Burial, The Winepress (Strike First)
This is not the English dubstep producer Burial, who drops the antecedent from his moniker. This Christian group comes out of Indiana, and the members definitely have an unabashed love for Unearth and Parkway Drive. Their debut on Facedown imprint Strike First Records isn’t exactly original, but their mixture of metalcore and deathcore does have some unique qualities that make it worth checking out.
Slayer DVD Reissues (Columbia)
This is every classic Slayer fan’s dream come true. Those fans that used to buy VHS recordings of concerts now have the chance to see Slayer’s first video release ever, 1995’s Live Intrusion, in DVD format with extra features and great bonus material. On top of that, there are also re-releases of the DVD’s Still Reigning and War at the Warfield coming out, also carrying a hefty load of new extras. Anyone skeptical about seeing Slayer in concert for some reason should buy these DVD’s, because they’ll convince you to check out the second leg of the American Carnage Tour very easily.
Next Week: Big name releases abound, covering almost every genre and giving all heavy music fans reason to be excited. Summer is still hot in the metal world, people! Stay tuned for what’s still to come!