Here’s my personal pick of the new metal releases coming out today. There’s only a few that stand out but we are starting to get into the first properly tempting releases of the year now.
Memoriam – The Hellfire Demos II
Following the sad death of their drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns, the legendary Bolt Thrower called it a day in 2016. But their vocalist Karl Willetts has formed Memoriam along with old BT pal Andy Whale and members of Benediction and Sacrilege for added supergroupness. Their debut single The Hellfire Demos was one of 2016’s best singles and now they’re back with the follow-up: one unheard track Drone Strike and Surrounded (By Death) which was previously only available on a Decibel mag flexi. This will be available on vinyl (through Nuclear Blast’s webshop) and you can download it from the usual places. It’s the first real must-buy of the year so get involved!
Emptiness – Not For Music
Time flies. I was meaning to check out Emptiness’ Nothing But the Whole since it was released in 2014 and I still haven’t got round it. Now they’re back with a new album! I had a listen to a new song Your Skin Won’t Hide You and was thoroughly impressed by its black, unsettling atmosphere. It’s an exciting track, I’ve been reading good things and I love the cover too so this is looking like another must-buy. And as an added bonus, they’re Belgian. I can finally add some Belgian metal to the HMO Vault!
Ashenspire – Speak Not Of The Laudanum Quandary
Here’s a promising debut from a Glaswegian avant-garde metal band. It’s an intriguing concept album about the dark realities of British imperialism: something Glasgwegians should know plenty about, with its history of tobacco lords, slave trade and all that. It’s an interesting topic, I like the atmosphere, deranged vocals and the violin but the songs I’ve heard have went a bit over my head. More listens required to see if it connects with me but if you like the weirder strains of metal you should definitely give this a go.
And that’s the lot for this week. To play us out, I thought you might enjoy a wee visual jaunt around Glasgow (it is HMO’s neck of the woods, after all) so here’s the lyric video for Ashenspire’s Restless Giants.
Time for us to take a look at today’s new metal offerings.
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Sepultura crack on with their fourteenth album. This’ll be good news for the dedicated fans that love the current band in it’s own right. Not so big a deal for people like me that lost interest after Roots (new track Phantom Self isn’t winning me over either). But if you’re one of the dedicated this is a big release. Top tip: the CD/DVD edition and the vinyl editions have bonus tracks. The standalone CD doesn’t.
Accept – Restless and Live
2014’s Blind Rage was a disappointingly patchy affair so… time to whip out the classics with a live album and video! The band can certainly deliver live and has a glorious catalogue to draw from so this is bound to be fun. That said, I can’t help feeling that I’d probably listen to/watch this once and then forget all about it.
Emperor – Various Reissues
In the Nightside Eclipse, IX Equilibrium, Emperial Live Ceremony, Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise, Live Inferno and Live at Wacken Open Air 2016 all get new CD and vinyl reissues today. Doesn’t seem like much here to warrant buying them all over again but vinyl collectors and anyone new to this legendary band will want to check these out. I had hoped for more reissues along the lines of the expanded In the Nightside Eclipse 20th Anniversary Edition that was released a couple of years back. Ah well.
Grave Digger – Healed by Metal
I’m going to have to confess to being fairly ignorant of this band. I checked out the new track Call for Arms and it sounded pretty stock to me: trad metal with a bit of the old beer-tent singing for the power metallers. I know this band has a long history though, so if I’m missing out feel free to point me in the right direction.
Bubbling away in the underground, we’ve got some Norwegian blackened death from Shaarimoth and their new album Temple of the Adversarial Fire. Getting some great reviews that one. And from Italy, there’s a new EP Rite of Inverse Incarnation from Fides Inversa. That sounds pretty decent too: I like the crazed Jason Medonca-like vocals.
Not a bad roster of releases today but nothing particularly standing out for me. Them’s the breaks! Let me know if there’s anything here that floats your boat or if there’s anything awesome that I’ve missed.
Happy New Year! Understandably, there wasn’t a whole lot happening over the festive period but we’re getting back to normality now. Let’s see what the first new release day of the year has to offer.
Magnum – Valley of Tears: the Ballads
Get your year off to a positive start with… err… Valley of Tears. Thanks Magnum! I do love a bit of Magnum but I’m not a huge fan of their recent stuff, which seems to be the focus here. And I gather the few older tracks are live or new versions. But if you like current Magnum and can’t get enough of ballads, fill yer boots.
Boxing your ears
Living in a box
Anvil, Angra and Freedom Call – 5 Original Albums in One Box
A trio of Original Albums boxes here. There’s some primo CanCon from Anvil: covering their career from Strength of Steel (1987) through to Absolutely No Alternative (1997). Don’t have any of those but I reckon the albums I’ve got are sufficient to scratch that itch. Angra are Brazilian power metallers who are probably most famous now for supplying Megadeth with guitarist Kiko Loureiro. Their set covers their first five albums, starting off with Angels Cry. And finally there’s Freedom Call. Their set covers the four albums that preceded their latest Master of Light. Now, one of those is the 2CD Live in Hellvetia so… that’s really just four albums right? Too pedantic? Pfftthbbtt.
The minimalist packaging of these sets is off-putting but they are pretty good selections from well-regarded bands so if you don’t mind that, and must have a physical copy, then these are good value collection-builders.
Halestorm – ReAnImate 3.0: The Covers EP
Can’t be arsed doing any research so I’m going to guess this is Halestorm’s third covers EP? This time round they take on Whitesnake, Sophie B. Hawkins, Soundgarden, Joan Jett and Metallica. Lzzy Hale does have a decent voice but I just don’t get the appeal of this band at all.
In other news, there are two good European black metal albums getting US releases today. You probably don’t know who Uprising are because… no-one does! Wow. Such mystique. Their 2016 debut album Uprising gets released via Tridroid. It’s good, nasty stuff whoever they are. And Derhead’s Via gets a US release too: accomplished and memorable avant-garde BM from Italy. It’s just an EP but the CD version has their entire demo discography on it as a neat added bonus. Both these are worth checking out if you like black metal.
Not a particularly noteworthy selection today but the year is only young. Onwards and upwards! Happy hunting and… see you next week.
Fans of 2014’s excellent Promulgation of the Fall would have been hoping for more than just two tracks from these Greek death metallers this year but their new EP Sombre Doom satisfies with quality over quantity. Opening with a howling dead wind of feedback, the first track Redemptive Immolation is grave and doom-laden with a thick, dark atmosphere. After the oppressive opener, the up-tempo battering of Wind’s Bane comes as a relief but is still rich in ghostly gloom and haunting guitar. The songs and riffs aren’t the most original but Sombre Doom is all about the vibe and the execution: this reeks of rain, death, evil and graveyards. Proper death metal if you ask me, and one of the best EPs of the year.
This Friday, 25th November, will be Black Friday and that means special Record Store Day releases! There will be rare albums and singles released, some new and some reissued. There will be limited editions, fancy gatefolds and vinyl that comes in all ranges of exciting colours like “red”, “clear”, “gold”, “green”, “jobby”, “cherry trifle” and “the colour out of space”.
This is all a much bigger deal in the US where Black Friday is more of a “thing”. It hasn’t quite caught on as much over here in the UK so our list of titles is considerably smaller. Boo. However, the RSD high heid yins promise us that many of the US titles will be released in the UK at some point in the future.
There’s still some good stuff coming out in the UK though, so here’s a selection of the stuff I reckon is the most tempting. But make sure and check out the rest of the available titles for yourself. The UK list here and the much bigger US list here.
Alice Cooper – Live from the Astroturf
Automatically the release of the day as it includes the surviving members of the classic original band. A 7″ single with live versions of I’m Eighteen and Is It My Body: that’s two unfuckwithable classics right there. It’s a gatefold with art prints too. If I was buying one Black Friday release today, it would be this one.
Faith No More – Cone of Shame
The fourth single to come off their excellent Sol Invictus album. This is released everywhere on Friday but only seems to be classed as an RSD-exclusive release in the UK. Just in case you get confused and think it’s only a UK release. It isn’t. The B-Side is just a remix of Motherfucker so I can probably live without this.
Alice in Chains – Live Facelift
The six concert tracks from Alice in Chains live video get their first (I think?) audio-only release. It’s definitely the first vinyl release at any rate. You can’t beat a bit of AIC, especially with Layne Staley, so this is fairly tantalizing. Don’t think I’d want it enough to queue up or get in a fight though…
Jethro Tull – Ring Out, Solstice Bells
The Tull’s Christmas EP given a 40th Anniversary reissue. These tracks are probably available elsewhere and almost certainly remixed by Steven Wilson. Cause what isn’t these days? I do like the idea of this one though… a wee Christmassy bit of Tull.
Napalm Death/Melt Banana – Split
Split 7″ with the UK grind legends and the Japanese noisemakers Melt Banana. Not sure about Metal Banana but Napalm are in great form these days and this looks pretty tempting. Cool cover too.
And that’s about it for me. There’s other stuff like the recent Extreme live album on vinyl, more Hendrix archive-raking, a totally pointless Mötley Crüe disc and on and on and on. But let’s not get carried away here. I don’t go mad for RSD stuff and can’t even really see myself buying most of the stuff I’ve selected here. I would like a copy of the Coop single but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it if I miss out either.
If there’s anything you particularly have your sights on please chip in below and… good luck! I’ll back on Friday with a look at the day’s normal releases. And I tell you, there are a couple of “normal” releases out on Friday that blow this lot right out the water. See you then!
I thought this week would be a bit light on new releases with everyone trying to stay clear of Metallica’s mutant-boogie (?) juggernaut. But I hadn’t really taken the time of year into account… there’s shitloads of stuff coming out today! And from some big bands too. So, take that Metallica! Anyway, there’s tons to get through today so enough of my yakkin’! Let’s mutant-boogie!
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Did I mention Metallica have an album out today? I dare say you know about this already, you’ve listened to some (or all) of it and you’ve made up your mind whether you’re going to buy this or not. Based on the tracks I’ve heard, I’m not overly fussed. Some good moments but not totally convincing. I’ll check more tracks out online before making any decisions. If you’re going to buy this, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t go for a version with the bonus disc: plenty of covers, live tracks and Lords of Summer too.
Lamb of God – The Duke EP
Randy Blythe and co. return with new EP featuring two new tracks and three live ditties. The EP is dedicated to a big fan of theirs that died of cancer and I believe there’s going to be bunch of special items being sold (check their website for info) to raise money for charity. Never been a fan of the band but this is all pretty cool. Kudos.
Rush – Time Stand Still
Doesn’t seem that long since the last Rush doc Beyond the Lighted Stage and now here’s another. This one does have the added emotional impact of covering the band’s (presumably) final days but I dunno if I really feel the need for this, I’ll probably just wait and see if it shows up on Netflix. Decent extras might maybe provoke a purchase though.
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories in Rock: Live in Germany
The world’s greatest guitarist put down his crumhorn and returned to heavy rock duties earlier this year, performing a batch of live shows under the Rainbow banner. And here’s the inevitable live release documenting one of the shows. Loads of options here: DVD, Blu Ray, Vinyl, CD or combos of those. Not been all that impressed by what I’ve seen so far but I love Blackmore enough that I might buy this by accident.
Sammy Hagar’s post VH work gets compiled in This is Sammy Hagar Volume 1 – When the Party Started. His stuff with The Waboritas was often magnificent but I’ve got those albums already so I can do without this. His live album All Night Long also gets a reissue today from Rock Candy, who have now launched in the US. And they are also reissuing Salty Dog’s Every Dog Has Its Day, Nymphs‘ self-titled album and Tyketto’s Don’t Come Easy today too. Rock Candy does good work with well-chosen albums so this launch should prove to be good news for Stateside classic rockers.
Also on the reissue front we’ve got the latest in Jethro Tull’s ongoing reissue program, Stand Up: The Elevated Edition. Their excellent second album as a 2CD/DVD with remixes, 5.1, live tracks etc…HMO-favourites The Who are up to the Super Deluxe shenanigans with their debut album My Generation. Can’t remember what extra stuff was included but it didn’t look all that exciting. And Soundgarden celebrate the 25th anniversary of Badmotorfinger with a variety of reissue editions. Super Deluxe, not so Super Deluxe, Kinda Deluxe, Not Very Deluxe and… uh… vinyl? I’ve not done my research here, sorry.
Elsewhere, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell carries on rocking with a new band and new EP Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. Scottish sludgy, psych doom troupe Headless Kross kick off a trilogy of albums with the first part, Projections I, available from At War With False Noise. Anyone that likes their death metal primitive and thrashy (think Sodom or Possessed) should check out the self-titled, self-released debut from Dead Conspiracy. Primitive and thrashy death metal is the best kind I reckon. Fans of trad and power metal might want to check out (former Accept guitarist) Herman Frank’s new solo album The Devil Rides Out and Freedom Call’s ridiculously happy Master of Light. Almost tooo happy.
And if I was going to be extra thorough I’d mention the new albums from Disturbed, Devilment and Sixx A.M. but let’s not bother eh?
Tons of stuff out this week after all then! But there isn’t a single release here that I’m in a rush to buy. I’ll listen to the new Metallica and see what happens. And I might panic-buy the Rainbow set.
It’s Black Friday next week so, in addition to painting the devil on the wall, it’ll probably be a bit vinyltastic. Lots of coloured-this, limited-that and overpriced-the-other. Until then, happy hunting!
It’s a good day for black metal fans. A cacophonous shitstorm of evil for everyone else. Read on if you dare.
Enslaved – The Sleeping Gods/Thorn
This might be an “old rope” release but it’s an interesting one from an ever-reliable band. Enslaved’s two EPs The Sleeping Gods and Thorn, both from 2011, packaged together here as part of the band’s ongoing 25th Anniversary festivities. Both were rare as physical releases so collectors will enjoy this chance to own both on CD or vinyl.
Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones
The mysterious and revered avant-garde black metallers return with a new EP, their first release in four years. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated and talked-about releases of the last few weeks. It’s been streaming for a while so you’ve probably heard it by now if you’re a fan. I feel like I should like this but it’s not doing much for me.
Ravencult – Force of Profanation
I had a listen to some tracks from this already. I was tempted to write it off as unremarkable: heard it before. But the power of the riff is pretty compelling here. Some really nifty writing that keeps your attention. So I’ve got a right notion this could be a keeper. Given more listens, this might be one of this year’s sleeper hits.
Saor – Guardians
I’d always say that GWAR’s Horror of Yig is still the ultimate instance of bagpipes in metal. But here comes Andy Marshall’s Saor with their third album of folky, atmospheric black metal. It’s scenic stuff, layered with all sorts of pipes, fiddles, bodhráns and the like. Like a diablolical tourist centre. Fans of Panopticon, Winterfylleth and Agalloch should check this out.
Black Sabbath – Paranoid (Super Deluxe Edition)
The must-have metal classic with added quad mix (bumped down to a stereo CD for surround-sound luddites) and live discs and book and all that stuff. Looks like a nice set and not as stupidly expensive as these things tend to be. Wish they just released the live stuff on its own rather than tacking it on to an album everyone has already.
Elsewhere we have In Flames’ new album Battles. I was never a fan but the hype is that this is their best for a while so, enjoy! At just under £400 Pink Floyd’s The Early Years 1965-1972 is surely the impulse buy of the week. And there’s a more affordable two disc CRE/ATION version for people that don’t mind feeling like they’re missing out. CanCon regulations force me to mention Rik Emmett and RESolution9’s RES9. Beauty, eh? And to round things off Phil Anslemo is back with Superjoint and Caught Up in the Gears of Application.
Some good stuff. I’ve already got my copy of Enslaved. And I’ll spend more time with the Ravencult and Saor and see if they stick.
So that’s it for another week, join me next Friday for Metallica and a bunch of other bands daft/brave enough to release an album on the same day as Metallica. Until then, happy hunting!