April 30, 2010

New & Noteworthy, April 30th - Rewind One Decade...

Welcome to New & Noteworthy's final edition for the month of April! For the first time in several weeks, I don't have any deaths or break-ups to report, so I'm going to use this space to cover something I've been unintentionally ignoring since this segment started. I haven't been reporting on the "70,000 Tons of Metal" cruise, mostly because announcements have been few and far between recently. But with this week's announcement of the newest addition to the lineup, Testament, I finally took a good look at the lineup, and it is STACKED! Amon Amarth, Death Angel, Epica, Finntroll, Moonspell, Obituary, Raven, Saxon, Sodom, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Swashbuckle, Testament, Trouble, Uli Jon Roth, and Witchburner have been announced so far, and that's LESS THAN HALF of the lineup. Furthermore, Saxon will be playing their albums Wheels of Steel and Strong Arm of the Law in their entirety on separate nights. You can bet that I'll be covering each addition to the lineup that gets announced for this cruise as time goes on. This lineup already is almost worth the $915 ticket price ($666 + $249 in taxes – oh so clever) that also includes all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, and on-board entertainment. Give it some thought if you haven't already. This cruise deserves to be a success.

Now on to the announcements! One thing I'm going to do that I realized I should have done all along is provide links to the tour dates that I announce (if there are dates available) so you can find out what shows will be near you. Hopefully that will save you time from having to search for the ones that interest you. Enjoy all the new tour announcements, plus all the new releases!

Next Week's New Releases

  • Diamond Eyes by Deftones – Without having heard a single note of this album, I already know that it's going to be all over Best of 2010 lists when winter comes around. Industry officials are raving over this album as if it is solid gold. The comparisons to Around the Fur are flying around with no control, and fans of the band are rabid about getting this album. No matter what your stance is on the band's changing style, you'll probably be glad you got this record. I'm looking forward to listening to it soon.
  • Miracle by Nonpoint – I've enjoyed all of Nonpoint's work for their entire career, but for me, Vengeance lacked the inspiration and inventiveness of To the Pain and Recoil, making it a somewhat lackluster album. I'm hoping Miracle can right the ship for the Florida quartet. I'm also anxious to hear what new guitarist Zach Broderick brings to the table in both his playing and his compositions. A review of this album will come soon.
  • The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon by Avantasia – Tobias Sammet wasted no time in writing and recording the second part of The Scarecrow Saga, and the list of guest personnel for both albums reads like a ballot for the metal hall of fame. Jørn Lande, Russell Allen, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Bruce Kulick, Jon Oliva, and Klaus Meine are just a few of the names to appear on these two albums. Bringing together veterans of such a high caliber with an amazing composer like Tobias Sammet can only yield good results. If you're a power metal or power-prog fan, do yourself a favor and get the boxed set version of both releases.
  • Omni by Minus the Bear – This will be Minus the Bear's first release on Dangerbird Records, and it was produced by Grammy-award winner Joe Chiccarelli. I'm not into these guys very much, but I can see how this might appeal to fans of Muse, Mute Math, or early work by Death Cab for Cutie. If you're a fan of these experimental indie rockers, this might be an enjoyable listen, although I'm betting this album will be more radio-friendly than the band's previous work (if it's even possible for Minus the Bear to get more radio-friendly).
  • The Oracle by Godsmack – I used to refer to Godsmack as the '90s band that just wouldn't go away, but now that dubious honor has been given to Creed. Nevertheless, The Oracle comes almost twelve years after the band's self-titled release appeared. That self-titled album is still the band's best-selling album, although that fact may have more to do with the current climate of music sales in the country than anything else. Either way, this album probably won't deliver much that we haven't heard already for the past twelve years. Lead singles "Whiskey Hangover" and "Cryin' Like a Bitch" have already mostly confirmed that.
  • The Grandiose Nowhere by Lacrimas Profundere – The German gothic doom metal are far removed from their days of being associated with Bam Margera and his awful television show, but most of their musical output has remained the same. Fans of Moonspell, Paradise Lost, and Crematory should be all over this album. Lacrimas Profundere needs to be known for something besides their role as background music on "Bam's Unholy Union".
  • Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn by The Austerity Program – The two-person, one-drum-machine punk act from NYC have been embroiled in controversy for the past few weeks after a scathing statement from their label, Hydra Head Records, hit the press, denouncing the band for not fulfilling on some huge promise they supposedly made to the label after the release of Black Madonna three years ago. Regardless of the accuracy of that statement, this EP will be very enjoyable for fans of minimalist punk with attitude. There's bound to be some crossover appeal as well due to how fast their music is, so raw death metal fans might want to check this out, especially since the band names Bolt Thrower as one of their primary influences.
  • Hanging on by a Thread by The Letter Black – The newest signing by Tooth & Nail has an alternative metal feel that, combined with the excellent vocals of lead singer Sarah Anthony, will earn them a lot of comparisons to Flyleaf. But rest assured that this group is a rock act through and through, so only go for this album if you enjoy bands like Skillet and Fireflight. If you do like those artists, this will be a sure hit for you.
  • Purgatory Unleashed - Live at Wacken by At the Gates – This live album chronicles the band's historic reunion performance at one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe. Consider this a companion piece to the recently-released DVD box set The Flames of the End, which is a must-buy for any dedicated fan of the band or anyone who wants to be a historian focused on the Swedish death metal scene. Also, if you're a fan of live albums, this album will likely satiate your desire for good live music without having to shell out the money for the much more expensive DVD set.
This Week's New Tour Announcements

  • Alice in Chains, Deftones, and Mastodon
As promised last week, I give you the announcement of a tour that will have music fans pinching pennies for months just to be able to get tickets. It's confirmed – the reformed Alice in Chains will be touring with support from Deftones and Mastodon, two of the biggest bands in heavy music. This massive arena tour currently has 13 dates, with more promised in the future. This also looks to be a full North American tour, since a few Canadian dates already are confirmed. The tour has its own website, so if you intend on seeing this tour, bookmark the website and check it every day for ticket links.
Black Diamond Skye - Tour website

  • Tool
I'll let all the Maynard James Keenan fanboys take a moment to clean up the mess they just made (you all know you did, don't try to deny it). The progressive rock enigmas have announced five dates of what's believed to be a full North American tour that will take place in June and July. Writing has also apparently started on a new Tool album (now clean up the new mess you made, fanboys), so 2010 and 2011 should be full of Tool news all the time. More dates will be announced here as they become available.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Carnival of Madness Tour featuring Shinedown and more
Another one that I announced last week, this tour reappears here because the tour itinerary is fully published. This tour continues the theme of the last two tours of '90s bands coming out of the woodwork to tour, since Puddle of Mudd is the opening band on this tour. The rest of the lineup features Chevelle, Sevendust, and 10 Years, indicating that this tour is aimed at radio rock fans who don't want to shell out the money to see Korn and Rob Zombie on the Mayhem Festival. Of course, this arena tour will likely be priced similarly to Mayhem, but that won't stop thousands of people from coming out to every show. Get your tickets early so you can still get into the pit.
ThePRP announcement

  • Powerman 5000
Seriously, is every band that got popular in 1999 trying to resurrect a career? This is Powerman's third tour in support of 2009's Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere. Having attended both of Powerman's shows in New Jersey in 2009 (supporting local up-and-comers West Gate, who opened for Powerman both times), I can assure you that the same twelve people that went to the first two tours will go to this tour as well, and no one new will show up. If you're a Powerman fan, then you'll get to see the band up close and personal yet again. If you're not a Powerman fan, you're not missing much.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Limp Bizkit
Okay, what do I even SAY about this? The only reason why it's showing up here is because it nicely rounds out my theme of '90s bands making comebacks. But LIMP BIZKIT? REALLY? I've been trying desperately to avoid news about Gold Cobra, the group's supposed comeback album that is expected to see the light of day sometime this year. Then this brick drops on my head. All I'll say is that, if you have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do in the entire month of June, need to get a laugh, and have a lot of disposable income, then this tour MIGHT be worth the money you spend on tickets. But you have to fit all three criteria for it to be worth it, and even then, you're still pushing your luck.
ThePRP announcement

  • Summer Slaughter Tour featuring Decapitated and more
Now that I've covered that, let's get back to good music. The dates for Summer Slaughter are now available, and as expected, the tour will cover all of North America. The lineup order has not changed, though, which has led to plenty of complaints from Vital Remains fans that dislike their opening slot. I stand by my opinion from two weeks ago, though – the important thing here is that Decapitated is coming back, and the lineup playing before them cannot possibly ruin that for me.
ThePRP announcement

  • Muse
The first round of dates for Muse's upcoming fall arena tour was announced last week, and now four more dates are being added to the itinerary. Three of the four are East Coast dates, as expected, and more are sure to come. With such a long wait between North American tours, the announcements will likely come in small parts, such as this week's addition. As more dates are added, I'll announce them here.
ThePRP announcement

  • Nile, Ex Deo, Psycroptic, Keep of Kalessin, and Pathology
With the success of Nile's headlining run with Immolation and Krisiun during the winter, it was only natural for the band to return to North America soon. The "Those Whom the Gods Detest Tour II" will feature some great names in extreme music. The prospect of seeing new material performed by Keep of Kalessin is especially exciting for me, as is the chance to see Psycroptic finally play on US soil after such a long absence. If you can't make it to Summer Slaughter for some reason, save your money for this fall tour.
ThePRP announcement

  • Fear Factory
The second leg of Fear Factory's US tour showed up last week in New & Noteworthy, but this week adds two big pieces of information. First, more dates have been added to the tour, with All That Remains acting as main support instead of Prong. Second, Silent Civilian and Thy Will Be Done have been added as opening acts for the entire run of dates. This tour will continue to give Thy Will Be Done the much-needed exposure they've been getting in recent months, and will hopefully lead to a breakout by the young band from Rhode Island (representing my home state!). Of course, though, what more reason do you need to come to this tour than to see Fear Factory? I can't think of anything that will attract fans more than that.
ThePRP announcement - support bands and initial dates
ThePRP announcement - additional dates

  • Haste the Day, Mychildren Mybride, and Upon a Burning Body
It's nice to see that Haste the Day is out of the studio and back on the road, but personally, I'm more looking forward to their new album than to this tour. However, the tour should be enough to satisfy me and other fans that have impatiently waited for their new album. There are only a few initial dates, but more can definitely be expected as time goes on. Keep an eye out of more information in the coming weeks.
ThePRP announcement

  • We Are the Fallen
The band, formed by former Evanescence members combined with American Idol starlet Carly Smithson, will headline a small series of club shows after they finish their current tour with HIM and Dommin. With all the hype there is surrounding this band, it's likely that this will be a rare opportunity to see them in a small venue. If you've heard their music and like what they have to offer, this will be the time you'll want to see them.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Gwen Stacy, Inhale Exhale, and This or the Apocalypse
Post-hardcore fans on the East Coast are in for a treat with this tour. All the shows are at small clubs with very intimate atmospheres. This tour is packed with young and talented bands, as fans who have heard them in the past can attest to. If you can get to one of these shows, it's worth it to just check out these up-and-coming acts, especially since tickets will be fairly cheap.
ThePRP announcement

  • Epica
In what may be the most protracted series of show announcements in history, Epica has added a fourth show to their fall/winter headlining tour of North America. This announcement comes three weeks after the tour was initially announced with only two dates, with the third date being added a week later. It's a blatant attempt to build the most anticipation possible about the tour. Whether it works or not will depend entirely on the rest of the shows that are announced.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Chimaira
The six-piece band will be playing a one-off show in their hometown of Cleveland on June 18th. This will likely be the band's only show before the Mayhem Festival starts up, and in the interim, the band will be working on their upcoming live DVD/CD that is due out later in 2010. Chimaira home shows are reportedly worth every penny, so if you're in the Ohio area, head out to the show and be prepared to get floored.
ThePRP announcement

  • Halford
I saved the best for last this time around. The Metal God himself will reportedly be playing solo shows this summer and fall to support three upcoming releases: Halford – Live in Anaheim (live album), Halford Crucible – Remixed & Remastered (retrospective album), and Halford – Live in Anaheim (live DVD). The tour will see him playing songs from the catalogs of Halford, Fight, and Judas Priest. If you're even remotely a fan of Rob Halford, this tour is a must-see. And since every metal fan alive is a fan of Rob Halford by law, you can be sure that this tour will sell out quickly. Be prepared.
Blabbermouth announcement

That's all for this week! Check out next week's edition of New & Noteworthy, where we'll announce touring itineraries for Linkin Park, Tantric, P.O.D., and Three Days Grace! Of course, that is sarcasm, but if all of those bands do announce tours next week, I know I need a career change. Also, if they do all announce tours in the next week, every one of you has free reign to kick me repeatedly for not predicting tour announcements from A Perfect Circle, Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, and Dark Angel. Just putting that out there. See you next time!

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