April 23, 2010

New & Noteworthy, April 23rd - The Rumor Mill in the Sky Keeps On Turning...

Welcome to another week of New & Noteworthy! Unfortunately, more sad news must come before the updates, as has been the case of the past three weeks. First, Bloodlined Calligraphy's bassist Eric Cargile reportedly passed away in his sleep on Tuesday. The cause of death is currently unknown, but the band is planning a benefit show in his honor to raise funds for funeral expenses. Even though Bloodlined Calligraphy hasn't made news since the 2006 release of Ypsilanti, it's still a very sad loss, and my thoughts and prayers are with the band and Cargile's family. Second, Ohio-based black metal act Acheron is splitting up at the end of the year, after one final round of shows dubbed "The Last Rites 2010". It's a shame to see a veteran act like Acheron departing the music world, but after 22 years of making music, I'm sure Vincent Crowley is ready to move on to something else. If you're a fan of the band, make sure you head out to one of the shows on their farewell tour, because you'll likely see things at these shows that the band has never done before.

Now then, on to what you all came here to read about! There are a few big releases this week that should interest plenty of you. But as we approach the summer, tour rumors are spreading like wildfire and dominating the news. Rumors of two potentially humongous tours are topping the news this week, even surpassing a confirmed tour that has the potential to rival the Mayhem Festival in its audience draw. All that and more to come, after the new albums of next week!

Next Week's New Releases

  • Fever by Bullet for My Valentine – Everyone's favorite band to hate is back with their third album, and I'm not expecting much improvement from their previous album, Scream Aim Fire. It seems that Matt Tuck's ability to write excellent songs went away with his tonsils in 2007. I hope that I'll be proven wrong, but in all likelihood, this band will never be able to replicate the success of The Poison.
  • Drowning Pool by Drowning Pool – After the disaster that was Full Circle, I don't think Drowning Pool can go anywhere but up on their self-titled album. I expect that reviews on this will be similar to Desensitized. Fans of Dave Williams will continue to say that the band died with him, while those who have moved on will enjoy the album. I'm withholding judgment for the time being, but I think that Dave Williams fans ought to give a Drowning Pool a second chance, and this album might be the place to start.
  • Demonoir by 1349 – This is another band that can only improve from their last release. In the case of 1349, Demonoir needs to be a fast, brutally assaultive album to make fans forget the ambient atrocity that was Revelations of the Black Flame. I'm personally hoping that the new material is a return to form, if only for 1349's drummer, Frost, who is a legend in black metal, but has lost a lot of fan respect with Satyricon's movement away from black metal and the awfulness of  Revelations. If Demonoir is anything but fast and brutal, then Frost will officially have lost all credibility in the black metal scene.
  • The Frozen Tears of Angels by Rhapsody of Fire – Finally overcoming their legal battle with Magic Circle Music, Rhapsody of Fire is back with the third chapter of The Dark Secret Saga. Fans of the band are bound to love this album and praise guitarist Luca Turilli as a genius again. However, traditional power metal fans who gave up on the band after Symphony of Enchanted Lands II might want to give this record a spin, as it's reportedly more speed and guitar-oriented than both Symphony and Triumph or Agony.
  • The Violence Beneath by Mouth of the Architect – Post-metal fans are drooling all over themselves in anticipation of this EP. The Violence Beneath will definitely fill the void for anyone who's sick of waiting for the new Neurosis album to be finished. The complex nature of Mouth of the Architect's music will likely be a turn-off for anyone who's not into atmospheric or progressive metal, but if you can enjoy that style, then this EP is worth checking out, as is another album further down the list that you may have never heard of.
  • Betrayal, Justice, Revenge by Kivimetsän Druidi – The female-fronted folk metal act built a following during their run on the Heathenfest America tour last year, and the follow-up to 2008's Shadowheart should help this band to gain more notice in America. Kivimetsän Druidi has a style that combines the sounds of their countrymen Nightwish and Turisas. Their compositions are strong, but the more important facet that will determine the success of Betrayal, Justice, Revenge is whether guitarist Joni Koskinen writes interesting lyrics for himself and Leeni-Maria Hovila to sing. If the lyrics are good, then this album will definitely succeed.
  • The Descent by Mantric – Who remembers the band Extol? Those who are familiar with the Norwegian band know that they were a genre-transcending band with excellent skills and a strong Christian message. Unfortunately, Extol split up in 2007, but guitarists Tor Magne Glidje and Ole Halvard Sveen and bassist John Robert Mjåland put Mantric together after the split. The clips I've heard from this album tell me that Mantric retains Extol's progressive nature, but with a new overall style that relies on a constant flow and is flawlessly executed. The Descent is an album that prog fans will want to explore.
  • The ID Will Overcome by The Abominable Iron Sloth – The lineup that recorded this album is only a three-piece, as opposed to the five-piece group that recorded their self-titled debut. Additionally, only one member, drummer Mitch Wheeler, remains of the four members of hardcore group Will Haven that were in the band's old lineup. Whether this affects Justin Godfrey's songwriting at all remains to be seen, but since their old sound basically combined Will Haven and doom metal together, the lack of Will Haven members does not bode well for The Abominable Iron Sloth. The album title is engaging, though, so that's incentive enough to check it out.
  • Gathas by The Destiny Program – The Destiny Program is one of the most mood-influenced bands I've ever heard, meaning that I have to be in the right mood to listen to them. Unfortunately, their debut album, Subversive Blueprint, didn't strike my fancy very often due to its inconsistent sound from one song to the next. I expect similar results from Gathas, but if the band has managed to develop some consistency, they might create a niche for themselves in an oversaturated German metal scene.
  • Shifting by At the Soundawn – I've been hearing tons of news about this album but had no idea who the band was. Upon doing a little research, I've discovered that they have the same style of atmospheric sludge that Mouth of the Architect has, so if you are excited for that EP, this is a full-length album that might also be worth the investment. Maybe then their name will be more recognizable to average metal fans.
  • Fart & Wiener Jokes by Brian Posehn – Normally I wouldn't include something like this, but the recording personnel for this album include Scott Ian, Jamey Jasta, Mark Morton, and John Tempesta, among others, so it gets some notice. If you've never seen the music video for "Metal by Numbers", the hit from Posehn's last album Live in: Nerd Rage, go watch it and be prepared to laugh harder than you have in a long time. I expect that this will be a fun listen for anyone who enjoys raunchy comedy or metal.
This Week's New Tour Announcements

  • Alice in Chains, Deftones, and Mastodon
This is the first of two tour rumors that command the news this week, and it's also the more exciting of the two. Based off a teaser video found on the website blackdiamondskye.com (as well as the name of the freaking website – hooray for obvious clues!), speculation is that these three artists will tour together in mid-September. If they do, it will undoubtedly be the biggest tour of the fall, since all three bands draw huge crowds and are supporting excellent albums right now. Look for confirmation of this tour to show up in two weeks on New & Noteworthy, since the official tour announcement is currently scheduled for May 3rd.

  • Uproar 2010
Rockstar Energy Drinks has wasted no time in expanding their touring organization beyond the Mayhem Festival. Uproar seems to be focused on more mainstream, radio-friendly bands that still have an aggressive edge to their sound. Names being thrown around for this tour include Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Hellyeah, Lacuna Coil, and Halestorm. There is currently no indication as to when the details of this tour will be announced, but when they are, New & Noteworthy will have them for you.

  • Carnival of Madness Tour featuring Shinedown and more
Shinedown vocalist Brent Smith revealed this tour in an interview with BW&BK earlier this month, but the official announcement has only come out this past week. Carnival of Madness will be headlined by Shinedown, with support coming from Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, Sevendust, and 10 Years. According to Smith, the tour will start July 16th in Jacksonville, FL and will hit arenas and amphitheaters all over the country. Dates and venues are not officially announced yet, but they're expected soon.

  • The Cool Tour featuring As I Lay Dying and more
Musicians Institute, Atticus Clothing, and several other sponsors have teamed up to organize the Cool Tour 2010, a huge tour with a simple name that could become the next big recurring summer tour in the metal scene. Headlined by As I Lay Dying, the tour will also feature Underoath, Between the Buried and Me, Blessthefall, The Acacia Strain, Architects, Cancer Bats, and War of Ages. The tour is not quite as big as the Mayhem Festival, but with only one stage to view and longer set times for the opening bands, the Cool Tour will definitely attract plenty of fans who dislike Mayhem's higher prices and chaotic atmosphere. The tour runs from July 12th through August 1st and covers much of the US, so there are plenty of chances to see this ridiculously good lineup slay a stage near you.

  • Deftones
With the release of Diamond Eyes just a week and a half away, Deftones has added a few more dates to their US touring plans, with shows booked in Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The intriguing part of the current tour schedule is the enormous three-week gap between the shows in Texas and Michigan, which leaves plenty of room for more North American tour dates to be announced. I fully expect that more tour dates will be announced in the next week before Diamond Eyes hits stores, so plan on seeing Deftones back here on next week's New & Noteworthy.

  • Muse
I'm personally not a big fan of Muse, but if you enjoy their prog-infused alternative rock, then you'll love this. The English band has booked an arena tour that will run from September to November. Initial dates are mostly on the West Coast and in the Midwest, but there's a big gap in the middle of October that's ripe for East Coast dates. This will definitely be a full North American tour, which means you can expect further news on it soon.

  • Serj Tankian
The System of a Down frontman is taking his recent live album, Elect the Dead Symphony, on the road in July, with three dates already confirmed and more expected to come. Reviews of the actual live album have been mixed, so this will likely be a hit-or-miss tour. If you liked the live album, then splurging on tickets for this might be rewarding. Don't go expecting to see any electric instruments, though, because this production is not Serj's version of Metallica's S&M. Don't go expecting to hear Serj do solo renditions of System of a Down songs either – none appeared on the live album, and it's almost guaranteed that they also won't occur on the tour.

  • Goatwhore and Revocation
The NOLA black metal veterans are teaming up with the Boston-based death metal newcomers for a run of shows from May 28th to June 13th. Most of these shows will be in Southern states, with Baltimore being the farthest north that the tour comes. Threat Signal will show up on four dates during the heart of the tour, and Misery Index will appear at two shows directly after that. Threat Signal and Revocation will also be playing two shows together on June 15th and 16th, in Delaware and New Jersey respectively. This tour will be good exposure for Revocation, since most of Goatwhore's fans are incredibly dedicated and see the band every time they tour. If you can make it to one of these small club dates, show up early so you can see a talented young band play.

  • Otep, Iwrestledabearonce, Stray from the Path, and Bury Tomorrow
Dubbed "The Spectacular Massacre Tour", this tour is both of those things. It's spectacular for three-quarters of the lineup, which features two extremely promising young bands, as well as the always-entertaining experimental geniuses in Iwrestledabearonce. However, the name at the top of the bill turns this tour into a massacre, and not the good kind of massacre either. Otep is an awful live band, in addition to just being an awful band in general, and they are not worth the money you'd spend to see one of these shows. It's a shame you can't dictate where the money you spend on tickets goes, because then concertgoers could ensure that the deserving bands get the funds. If you do go to one of these shows, leave after Iwrestledabearonce finishes their set, and thank me later for saving you from seeing the horror that is Otep live.

  • Stick to Your Guns, The Ghost Inside, ABACABB, and Grave Maker
The so-called "Some Kind of Hope Tour" will feature some excellent up-and-coming hardcore acts. Both Stick to Your Guns and The Ghost Inside will be releasing new albums during this tour, so count on hearing new music from both bands. The only weird part of this tour is the inclusion of ABACABB, a deathcore band that doesn't fit with the rest of the lineup except for the copious breakdowns in their songs. Regardless, come to this tour prepared to mosh a lot. The tour runs from May 29th to June 12th at clubs all over the West.

  • God Forbid
New Jersey's finest are playing a one-off show at the Crazy Donkey in Farmingdale, NY on May 22nd. The gig is to make up for the band's scheduled show with Life of Agony in January that they had to pull out of. It will be God Forbid's first show on Long Island in over two years, and one of their last shows before taking time off to write their new album and find a new record label. I will more than likely be heading out to this show, and other Long Island metalheads should also show up and support the band before they go into writing mode.

  • Enthroned
Enthroned haven't toured the US in nine years, so fans of the Belgian black metal squad will be clamoring to see their return this summer. The fans will also be looking forward to hearing live performances of songs from the band's latest album, Pentagrammaton, which hit stores last month. Dates and support acts are still unconfirmed, but they'll be announced here once they are publicized.

  • Knights of the Abyss, Burning the Masses, Those Who Lie Beneath, and And Hell Followed With
The "28 Days LaTour" is another tour where you'd better come prepared to mosh. I don't quite understand the name of the tour, since only 21 shows have been announced thus far, but I'm not one to judge. Aside from having an odd name, this series of club dates also has deathcore, and lots of it. Knights of the Abyss, Burning the Masses, and And Hell Followed With will all be releasing new material this year, so this would be the tour to attend and preview some new songs. You couldn't ask for a better tour if you enjoy spin kicks, slam dancing, and getting destroyed in pits.

  • Y&T and Icarus Witch
Fans of classic rock and traditional metal will want to see this tour so they can see both the older and younger generations of the genre represented. Genre forefathers Y&T will be supporting their forthcoming twelfth album, Facemelter, which will be their first album in more than thirteen years. Meanwhile, Icarus Witch will continue to support their third full-length, Draw Down the Moon, which came out in February. Both bands will appeal to older metal fans that enjoyed the genre's early days in the '70s and '80s. Dates so far include smaller venues and clubs all over the country, and run from July 16th to August 15th.

  • The Abominable Iron Sloth
If you pick up The ID Will Overcome on Tuesday and enjoy what you hear, then you have plenty of chances to see The Abominable Iron Sloth live very soon. The band is playing very intimate club shows for the entire month of May, with only two days off during the entire month. These shows will be a great opportunity to see the band up close and get the rare live experience that's nearly impossible to get in the age of stage barriers and security guards. The shows will likely be very inexpensive as well, so you can't go wrong here.

The rumor mill never stops, so come back to New & Noteworthy next Friday and see whether April showers can bring a metal storm instead of May flowers this year!

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