The Summer came and went in a flash, and suddenly it’s Autumn again, with all the usual back-to-school mayhem occurring and the holiday season just over the horizon. For metalheads, this is a bittersweet time, because while the Summer concert festival period is over, the beginning of Fall also means the beginning of the most intense release cycle of the year. 2011 is no exception, but much like the first release week of September 2010, the cycle starts off slowly, with few new releases coming out today. Nonetheless, we can use this time to prepare for what will surely be an eventful month of metal.
Surprisingly, a country artist threatened to steal the show this week, with two releases coming out today that are anything but his standard fare. However, a last-minute release date change put a rising star of metalcore at the top of the list. While they may not be a household name yet, their two releases to date have proven them to be well worth the attention of the metal world. Other highlights of the list include a veteran black metal squad, an up-and-coming stoner metal group, and another classic album reissued on vinyl. Read on for all the details!
Oh, Sleeper, Children of Fire (Solid State)
Oh, Sleeper debuted strongly with When I Am God back in 2007, an album that turned a lot of heads with its balanced approach to metalcore. The album was highlighted by crushingly heavy compositions that utilized Micah Kinard’s unique vocal style perfectly, and when coupled with the group’s explosive live show, the Texas-based quintet rose quickly out of the underground. 2009’s Son of the Morning sealed the deal with its debut at #120 on the Billboard charts, which may not seem like a big deal, but was tremendous for an underground metalcore group on just their second album. The artwork for Son of the Morning also gave the group their signature logo, the broken pentagram that appears on the cover of Children of Fire as well. Today’s release of Children of Fire is a digital release only, but those seeking the physical copy of the album can get it on the album’s original release date of September 27th.
Hank Williams III may be country music royalty, but informed metal fans are well aware of his love for heavier music. Williams is the frontman for punk/metal hybrid Assjack, the drummer for hardcore supergroup Arson Anthem, and the bassist for the now-defunct Superjoint Ritual. Williams has also contributed his talents to numerous metal projects as a guest, such as Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul’s country metal project Rebel Meets Rebel and the Eyehategod tribute album For the Sick. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Williams decided to dabble in metal on his own. Attention Deficit Domination is slated as a doom rock album, with Williams performing every instrument on his own. 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’ is described as a speed metal album injected with cattle calls and auctioneering, a new subgenre that is being called “cattle core” by some websites. Williams also has a traditional country double album coming out today, entitled Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown, so we can be sure that Hank 3 will appear at least once on the Billboard charts next week.
Chthonic, Takasago Army (Spinefarm/Fontana)
Chthonic has always been an anomaly in the black metal world. The Taiwanese band has been a constant advocate for Taiwan’s independence from China, they have consistently utilized traditional Taiwanese music and instruments within their sound, their lyrics are sung in a multitude of languages, and recently, they’ve ceased wearing corpsepaint and ditched their original stage costumes for military-style uniforms. However, very few listeners have eschewed the group for these differences. Instead, most black metal fans have embraced Chthonic as a distinctive alternative to the standards of Norwegian black metal. Takasago Army, much like Seediq Bale and Mirror of Retribution before it, is being released in two versions – a Taiwanese version for Asia, and an English version for outside of Asia. You can also see the group touring North America with Arch Enemy, DevilDriver, and Skeletonwitch starting this Thursday.
Saviours, Death’s Procession (Kemado)
The California-based stoner metal outfit has lurked in the underground throughout their career, always coming close to a big break but never quite reaching it. 2008’s Into Abaddon and 2009’s Accelerated Living helped the band earn the attention of the Osbournes, though, leading to an appearance on last year’s Ozzfest second stage. Reaction to the band was mixed, and has remained so since new guitarist Sonny Reinhardt (ex-Watch Them Die) and new bassist Carson Binks joined the band. However, if Death’s Procession performs well enough, then Saviours may finally get the big break they’ve been waiting for.
Also being released this week:
Black Sabbath, Sabotage [180-gram vinyl edition] (Rhino)
MonstrO, MonstrO (Vagrant)
Exmortus, Beyond the Fall of Time (Heavy Artillery)
Coma Divine, Dead End Circle (SPV)
Next Week: Plan to get overwhelmed by the plethora of new releases next week, but pay very special attention to one of the Big 4 returning among the living. It’s finally happening!