April 16, 2010

New & Noteworthy, April 16th - Trying to Concentrate on the Future

The world of heavy music is incomplete as of this week. Peter Steele, the legendary frontman of Type O Negative and Carnivore, passed away on Wednesday evening from heart failure. For those unfamiliar with his music, Steele was one of the most influential figures in metal during the 90s. Type O Negative is one of the most unique bands ever to grace the ears of listeners, and there will never be another band like them. Steele himself was one of the most intriguing and distinctive people in all of metal, which showed in his inimitable lyrics. His passing affects the entire world of heavy music, as musicians from all over the metal spectrum expressed their thoughts about Steele throughout the day on Thursday. He was one of a kind, and we will miss him. Mr. Steele, as you said in one of your most poignant songs, everything dies. We just wish you didn't have to so soon. Rest in peace.

I also have to mention another loss in the metal world, although this one has been coming for a long time. This past week, Light This City played their four farewell shows in California. Barring any future reunions (which is unlikely), the videos from those farewell shows are the only record fans will have of the live performances of songs from their exceptional 2008 record, Stormchaser. I'm very disappointed that the bad didn't do a farewell tour, or at least play farewell shows in other locations besides California, but those are the breaks, I suppose. Thus, one of the better young thrash/death bands of the past decade ends their career. Sorry to see you go, Light This City.

This has been a sad week for metal fans. However, some big releases and tour announcements might add some silver lining to the clouds over our heads. Let's take a look at the new releases and upcoming tours to brighten our spirits a bit:

Next Week's New Releases

  • The Guessing Game by Cathedral – I already reviewed the first double album from the UK doom masters, so if you want my opinion on the album, go read my review. I love this album, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has even a casual interest in doom metal. If you need convincing on why you should like doom, this album will convince you. If you've been a fan of doom for a long time, then you should already be familiar with Cathedral, and thus you would know that buying this album is mandatory.
  • Cold Day Memory by Sevendust – I haven't heard any clips of this album yet, but I have high hopes for Sevendust's eighth album. Cold Day Memory marks the first recorded work of guitarist Clint Lowery since his return to the band in 2008. I've definitely enjoyed Sevendust's last three albums, but Clint's backing vocals were one of the key factors in the band's early work, and I'm anxious to hear them on the new songs.
  • Based on a True Story by Sick of it All – The NYHC legends are back with their ninth full-length album, and first since getting promoted to Century Media's main roster from CM imprint Abacus Recordings. It's been four years since the release of the excellent Death to Tyrants, which is nearly an eternity for fans of the band used to short waits between albums. If the veterans have maintained their sound from Death to Tyrants, then they should be in good shape. Staying heavy and intense is what fans want to see from an older band with lots of influence, and I'm pretty sure that's what Sick of it All will do with this album.
  • Infestation by Ratt – Music industry professionals have been raving about this album for quite some time. This is Ratt's first album since 1999, and also their first for Roadrunner imprint Loud & Proud, which has been signing a lot of established bands from the '70s and '80s in the past year (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Meat Loaf, Methods of Mayhem, and Kiss are the biggest names). The band has said that they were aiming for the sound they had on Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy, and judging by what critics have said so far, the band has likely succeeded. If you're a hair metal fan, then this album will definitely interest you.
  • For Aeons Past by Solution .45 – Another album that I already reviewed, I am incredibly disappointed that this album isn't being released in North America as of right now, because this album is amazing. I honestly can't say enough good things about this album, especially since I don't want to repeat all the good things that I said in the review. If you're a fan of Christian Älvestam, Scar Symmetry, melodic death metal, and/or operatic vocals, then this album is required listening. Solution .45 is one supergroup that can't and shouldn't be ignored.
  • Blue Sky Noise by Circa Survive – This is Circa Survive's debut album for Atlantic Records, and that fact alone should worry fans of the band greatly. The list of good artists that Atlantic has ruined ranges in scope and genre from Shadows Fall to Death Cab for Cutie to Staind. I don't have a good feeling about this album, and I suggest caution when purchasing it. If you can, get some samples of the album first and let those samples be your guide on whether to buy this record.
  • Periphery by Periphery – The highly anticipated debut album from these progressive metal rookies is finally here, after the revolving door of vocalists stopped turning and allowed Spencer Sotelo to stay in the band. The band was signed mostly on the Internet reputation of lead guitarist Misha Mansoor, which is admittedly pretty good. And if it's good enough for Sumerian Records, then it should be good enough for the rest of the metal world too. Plus, any band that can get guitar virtuoso Jeff Loomis of Nevermore to contribute a solo to their debut album has to have something good going for them. Expect a review of this album to be published here soon.
  • No Guts, No Glory by Airbourne – After numerous delays, the sophomore album from AC/DC worshipers Airbourne is here. Don't expect anything new or different on this album – this album bears an even greater similarity to the classic rock legends than debut album Runnin' Wild. If you're into that style, then this will be a great album for you. There's not much else to say except that.
  • Social Event of the Century by Dr. Acula – The seven-piece deathcore outfit from Long Island is known for not taking themselves very seriously, and that formula likely won't have changed much since 2008's Below Me. Although I would normally give at least some credit to a band that's creative enough to take their song titles from the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, in this case it only adds to the gimmicky nature of their music. Deathcore fans who are looking for something with some humor will like this album. Otherwise, I recommend keeping very far away from it.
  • Dress to Kill by 2cents – I will admit that I enjoyed the catchy heaviness of the song "Wedding Dress" from Lost at Sea, the debut album from 2cents. But there's not much going on here musically to convince me that the punk/hardcore/nu-metal fusionists have any staying power. However, Korn seems to think otherwise, since they're taking 2cents with them on the upcoming Ballroom Blitz tour. If you're on the fence about the band, go see them live with Korn before you decide to buy the album or not.
  • Dreaming Saturn by The Crinn – With an album title like Dreaming Saturn, what do you expect from this band? If you answered with spastic, technical math metal in the same vein as Psyopus and Converge, then you'd be correct. The Crinn will appeal to the experimental metalheads looking for something new in the subgenre. For everyone not in that crowd, this album offers a lot of confusion. Check out The Crinn if you like the bands I mentioned before, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ion Dissonance and/or Agoraphobic Nosebleed. If that's not your thing, don't even bother.
This Week's New Tour Announcements

  • Summer Slaughter Tour featuring Decapitated and more
Two weeks ago, I announced the rumor. Well, the rumor is true, and even better than expected. DECAPITATED ARE COMING TO DESTROY! The Summer Slaughter Tour will feature the Polish death metal stars in the headlining slot. Coming along for the ride are The Faceless, All Shall Perish, The Red Chord, Veil of Maya, Cephalic Carnage, Decrepit Birth, Carnifex, Animals as Leaders, and Vital Remains. Metal fans should be slavering to get tickets for this show. However, initial reaction seems concentrated at the wrong end of the bill, with criticism being offered at Vital Remains being at the bottom of the bill. The running order might be revised, so I'm not letting this bother me. Instead, I'm preparing to see Decapitated finally back in action! Bring the pain!

  • Fear Factory and Prong
The second leg of Fear Factory's US tour reunites Burton C. Bell with Tommy Victor and Tony Campos of Prong, both of whom were part of Ministry's final lineup with Bell on the C U La Tour. If you caught Prong during their two recent tours with Soulfly, then you know that they're still sounding excellent more than 25 years after forming. Seeing them with Fear Factory, who are sounding better than they have in the past twelve years, will be thrilling. There are likely more support acts to be announced for this tour, and when they are, they'll show up here.

  • Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, and Orphaned Land
This is the tour that doom metal fans have been waiting for since the release of Katatonia's latest album, Night is the New Day. It was only a matter of time before the Finnish veterans returned to North America to support what I consider to be the best doom metal album of 2009. Their 2007 headlining tour also featured Swallow the Sun, whose latest release, New Moon, was my runner-up for best doom album of '09. Rounding out the bill is Israel's Orphaned Land, who released their fourth album, ORwarriOR, on January 25th to rave reviews. In short, this is a tour that nobody in the doom metal community should miss.

  • Faith No More
In probably one of the most low-tech discoveries of the new millennium, fans spread the word that three East Coast dates had been added to Faith No More's "The Second Coming Tour 2010" after spotting them listed on T-shirts at the band's San Francisco show on Tuesday. All three dates are in July, with two occurring in Brooklyn and one in Philadelphia. Fans that didn't have the money for airline tickets to Coachella now don't need to fret about missing their chance to see the band. Unless, of course, you're a fan in the Midwest. Time for you to start praying for a full-on tour.

  • Killswitch Engage
Howard Jones is back with the band, and they're still not offering any official explanation for his mysterious absence on the band's last tour with The Devil Wears Prada and Dark Tranquillity. The quintet is making up for cancellations that occurred after Jones dropped off the tour, with three shows planned in May for the affected cities, leading up to the band's appearance at Rock on the Range in Columbus, OH. However, I would wager that there are fans in those cities who would much rather see the band return with Jesse Leach and repeat the reunion shows that the band did in New York City (one of which I was there to see).

  • Scars on Broadway
When this show was first announced, no word was given about whether frontman Daron Malakian would be playing the show, since he has been absent from previous Scars on Broadway shows in the past year and a half. Well, now it's official – Malakian will be playing this show with the band, which takes place on May 2nd at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this show will lead into a tour for the band, so if you can make it to this show and haven't gotten to see the band with Malakian before, then I'd recommend going. It will definitely be a fun experience.

  • Skinless
The preeminent brutal death metal band is playing a one-off show in Clifton Park, NY on June 19th. What makes this show special is that the band's lineup that night will be the lineup that recorded the classic Progression Towards Evil and Foreshadowing Our Demise albums. Burning Human will be co-headlining the show, with three other bands on the bill as well. But the reunion of the best Skinless lineup in the band's history is the big story surrounding this show. Count on this show being packed with the oldest, most loyal Skinless fans out there.

  • Clutch, The Bakerton Group, Lionize, and Never Got Caught
This tour will be interesting to watch purely to see if Neil Fallon appears on stage with all four bands. Fallon, who is best known for singing and playing guitar in Clutch, also plays guitar for The Bakerton Group, an instrumental project that features all four members of Clutch. Additionally, Fallon has performed guest vocals on songs for Lionize and Never Got Caught, so it's highly probable that he'll show up on stage with those two bands. Seeing Clutch live is a treat in and of itself, though, so count on this tour being a popular one.

  • Death Angel
The thrash veterans will be playing six headlining shows scattered over the West Coast and Midwest in July, leading up to the band's tour with Soilwork, Augury, Mutiny Within, and Swachbuckle that was announced three weeks ago. These shows will be a chance for the band to debut more songs from their new album that they're currently in the process of recording. The album is tentatively due out in September, so if you want to hear new songs before anyone else, these shows are likely the best chance you have to do that.

  • Thrice
Post-hardcore's kings will do a headlining tour for the entire month of June. The support for the tour is confusing, though. Kevin Devine, Bad Veins, and The Dig all seem like they would be better support acts for Thrice lead singer Dustin Kensrue's solo project. These bands appearing on this tour seem to suggest that this tour will concentrate on the lighter songs in Thrice's discography. Plan accordingly if you're a fan of their heavier work.

  • Dream Theater
The next three announcements are all updates on announcements I made last week on New & Noteworthy. This one relates to Dream Theater, who has support acts booked for two of their three headlining shows during their upcoming tour with Iron Maiden. On the July 2nd date in Columbus, OH, satirical rock group Beatallica will open up for Dream Theater. Get to this show early so you can see the utter hilarity that is Beatallica. You won't regret it. The July 10th show in Worcester, MA will also deserve an early arrival, as support for Dream Theater will come from Charred Walls of the Damned, the new supergroup featuring Richard Christy, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Steve DiGiorgio, and Jason Suecof. No support act has been announced yet for the Portland, OR show, but if one is booked, it had better be of the same caliber as these two bands, lest fans attending that show feel cheated out of a quality opening band.

  • Epica
The Dutch symphonic metal act has added a third show to their fall headlining tour in North America. In addition the dates in New York and Montreal that were announced last week, there is now a show scheduled in Worcester, MA. This show, like the other two, will have VIP tickets available that entitle buyers to early entry and a meet-and-greet signing session with Epica. Updates about this tour will likely be announced over a long period of time in order to achieve the maximum possible interest from fans. I anticipate Epica's name appearing on a semi-regular basis in New & Noteworthy as summer approaches. Then again, I could be completely wrong, and the rest of the tour could be revealed in one announcement. Either way, keep an eye out for further news on this tour.

  • Dark Tranquillity, Threat Signal, Mutiny Within, and The Absence
This tour just got even better, with the addition of Tampa melodic death metal quintet The Absence in the opening slot. Their third album, Enemy Unbound, is expected sometime this year, which means that fans can expect to hear at least one new song on this tour. Unfortunately, though, this tour will be a short one, as Dark Tranquillity has officially announced plans to tour Mexico and South America in early June. Therefore, it seems that this tour will only last three weeks and will only cover a small portion of the country. Get your tickets early, because this tour will definitely attract some travelling fans from the Midwest and South.

  • The Breathing Process
A month after their sophomore album Odyssey (Un)dead hit stores, the six-piece blackened death metal outfit from New England is hitting the road for a nationwide club tour. The tour doesn't have any consistent support acts, which means that the shows will have local openers. Regardless, this is a good chance to get exposed to this band. If you like Behemoth, Winds of Plague, Dimmu Borgir, or Abigail Williams, check out The Breathing Process on this tour.

  • Far and The Used
The Used have been added as main support for the four Northwest shows that Far announced earlier for late April and early May. Additionally, Far has booked a number of shows for the last two weeks of May. Six of these shows will be in California, but it's possible that more shows will be added to the concert calendar, especially with the May 25th release date of Far's new album At Night We Live sitting right in the middle of these new shows. Any further announcements will show up here, so stay tuned.

  • Living Sacrifice
The veteran Christian death metal squad has three shows planned in Texas in mid-May. Honestly, though, I'm surprised the band hasn't toured more to support their excellent new album, The Infinite Order, which I reviewed awhile ago. With the exception of their month-long co-headlining run with War of Ages in February, Living Sacrifice has been virtually silent since the album's release. Whether this has to do with them working on their forthcoming DVD or not remains to be seen. I certainly hope that more shows will be announced, though.

  • Earth Crisis
At this rate, Earth Crisis will take a break from touring in 2013. The band has added one more date to their current "Wrath of Sanity Tour" with First Blood and Thick as Blood, and also booked another five shows in mid-May with Thick as Blood and Monsters. No word yet on whether drummer Dennis Merrick will be back with the band by then or if Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy will keep filling in for him.

  • Becoming the Archetype and Before There Was Rosalyn
This tour only lasts for three weeks in July, and sticks mostly to the Midwest and South. I'm disappointed by that, as I've never gotten to see Becoming the Archetype live. This is a band you don't want to miss. If you can make it to one of these shows, get a ticket and prepare to be blown away by the progressive mastery of this band. Hopefully this tour announcement is the precursor to more news, like more tour dates or a release date for their fourth album.

  • Black Tusk and Pentagram
The booking on this mini-tour seems to be backwards, since Black Tusk has been around for five years and Pentagram got their start almost four decades ago. But no matter, since these shows will have more than enough stoner-laced doom metal for everyone. The short run will take place in the Southeast, with all the dates occurring in clubs or bars. The dates also bookend the release of Black Tusk's sophomore album, Taste the Sin, which debuts May 25th on Relapse. This is a great opportunity to see two good bands in very intimate surroundings, so check out these shows if you're able.

  • Taproot, Anew Revolution, Ice Nine Kills, and Destrophy
Originally, Taking Dawn was scheduled to be main support for Taproot on this tour. However, the Las Vegas quartet has wisely decided to extend their run of tour dates with Kiss in Europe, forcing them to pull out of this tour. Anew Revolution will keep their current tour dates with Sugar Red Drive that were announced two weeks ago and join the Taproot tour on May 19th for the second half of shows. There hasn't been any announcement yet on whether another band will grab Taking Dawn's slot on the first half of the tour from April 29th to May 16th. If another band is announced, it will be posted here.

And thus, we close out a somber week in the world of metal with our sights on a thrashing spring and summer. That's just how Peter Steele would want it to be. Throw on some Type O Negative or Carnivore over the weekend and enjoy the legacy he left us with. Thank you for an amazing 48 years, Peter. Your memory is one thing that will never die.

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