That said, let's get into the new releases and tours! Touring news is dominated by what could potentially be the biggest tour of the summer AND fall. But before that, let's cover next week's new releases, which there are a lot of as the pre-summer push continues. Read on and plan your paychecks accordingly!
Next Week's New Releases
- Bleeding Through by Bleeding Through – The Orange County metalcore veterans begin their new life on Rise Records with their self-titled sixth album. This is also the third straight album where the band's lineup changes. This time, guitarist Jona Weinhofen, who left the band to return to his home in Australia, is replaced by Dave Nassie of No Use for a Name. Nassie should be a quality addition to the Bleeding Through lineup, and his presence in the band will likely bring more attention to this record. I'm expecting an excellent performance from the band on this record, consistent with 2008's Declaration, which was the best record of Bleeding Through's career at that time. After a decade on the scene, Bleeding Through is still the real deal, and this record should uphold that reputation.
- Heliocentric by The Ocean – In the three years since The Ocean's last record, Precambrian, fans of the band have anxiously held their breath for a new album. Well, they are getting their wish and then some, since The Ocean is releasing two albums this year. Heliocentric and Anthropocentric (due out in the fall) will continue where Precambrian left off musically and thematically, focused on a philosophical critique of fundamental Christianity and creationism. Heliocentric will feature lyrics inspired by the histories of Copernicus, Galileo, Ptolemy, Nietzsche, and Darwin, among others. This album is definitely not for the casual metal fan, since The Ocean rivals almost every metal band in the world when it comes to experimentation and diversity. If you enjoy progressive or experimental metal, this album will definitely be worth checking out.
- The Underworld Regime by Ov Hell – I've already reviewed this album, and I stand by what I said in my review. This album is good for a couple of listens, but after that, it gets pretty boring. Die-hard black metal fans will love it, but if you're only a casual black metal fan, you'll probably be better served by saving your money for a few weeks so you can pick up the new 1349 album, Demonoir, when it comes out. I'm really hoping that Demonoir is a return to form for 1349, since the two biggest black metal releases of the year thus far (Burzum and Ov Hell) have been fairly disappointing, and some good black metal from a big band in the scene will keep fans happy until Nachtmystium puts out their new album in June.
- Threnody by Woe of Tyrants – I absolutely loved Kingdom of Might, the debut album from Woe of Tyrants, because it showed that these youngsters have good ideas and creativity when it comes to genre fusion. I believe that Threnody will continue their death-thrash-metalcore crossover excellence and cement the band as a rising force in the scene. Their touring schedule can't hurt either, as the band is currently on Overkill's 25th Anniversary tour, and will likely maintain a vigorous live schedule throughout the summer and fall.
- 18.61 by 108 – The hardcore legends and Hare Krishna devotees are back with their second full-length after their 2005 reunion. However, 18.61 is likely to be marked with controversy, as longtime vocalist Rob Fish recently left the band, sparking rumors that the band was breaking up. 108 has refuted that speculation since then, but the vocalist position is still up in the air, and with that unclear, it may be difficult for fans to appreciate this record completely, especially if the band's new vocalist does not perform the songs from 18.61 to the satisfaction of fans during live shows.
- Eternal by War of Ages – War of Ages has been around for eight years, but they only started getting noticed after moved up to Facedown Records in 2006. But once they got going, this band became a juggernaut quickly. Eternal will be the Christian metal quintet's fourth record since 2006, and after the excellent showing on 2008's Arise & Conquer, I'm expecting a continuation of the band's precision hardcore/metalcore sound. The guest appearances by Tim Lambesis and Josh Gilbert of As I Lay Dying and Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. can only help this record, and the band's upcoming tour with As I Lay Dying and Demon Hunter will bring a lot of recognition to what is sure to be a fan favorite.
- Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones by Cancer Bats – The diversity of Cancer Bats is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they have the potential to appeal to a very wide audience, encompassing fans of punk, metal, hardcore, and southern rock. On the other hand, though, they are just as likely to alienate members of all those fan groups who won't get the band's sound. The one thing you can be sure of with this band is persistence. No matter what the reviews of this album say, Cancer Bats will tour their asses off to support this record, as evidenced by one of the stories you'll read in the touring section below. The results of that tour will speak greater volumes about Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones than any review possibly could, but I'll be reviewing the album anyway, and since I appreciate sonic variety, I expect that I'll enjoy most of this album.
- The Sound of Symmetry by Sky Eats Airplane – This EP will be the recording debut of new vocalist Bryan Zimmerman and new bassist/backup vocalist Elliot Coleman, who both joined Sky Eats Airplane in December 2009. Coleman's entrance into the band was met with negative reactions from fans, who were unhappy with the sudden and unceremonious replacement of Johno Erickson. The Sound of Symmetry, along with the band's upcoming tour with Drop Dead, Gorgeous and Motionless in White, will either confirm or silence their criticism. These two events are crucial to the post-hardcore quintet's success, and they may very well determine whether Sky Eats Airplane remains a band or not.
- Dark Ages by Bison B.C. – These Canadians seem destined for success. Critical reception for their Metal Blade debut, Quiet Earth, was almost universally positive, and that trend is already continuing with Dark Ages. The band has earned comparisons to High on Fire, Kylesa, The Sword, and even early Mastodon. With such an impressive response from critics and fans, Bison B.C. are on the short track to a huge breakout. Any fan of heavy stoner or doom metal will want to get this album as soon as they can.
- Evil Power by Lair of the Minotaur – Any band that succeeds in melding sludge and thrash together has talent. Lair of the Minotaur has talent in abundance, and their fourth album will definitely attest to that. Evil Power will be the band's first release on The Grind-House Records, the label started by vocalist/guitarist Steven Rathbone and drummer Chris Wozniak, along with Josh Diebel of Alleysweeper Records. The Chicago trio (which also features bassist Nate Olp of Demiricous) should continue their underground dominance with this album. Rathbone is too good of a songwriter to create a mediocre album.
- Coat of Arms by Deadstar Assembly – Fans of Deadstar Assembly rejoiced when it was announced that original keyboardist Mubo had rejoined the band in 2009. Coat of Arms will feature more of the band's gothic/industrial/techno fusion style that has become so popular lately. Fans of similar bands like The Birthday Massacre and Combichrist will love this album. For everyone else, it won't be anything special.
- A Savage Symphony - The History of Annihilation by Destruction – The second DVD put out by the German thrash legends is a bittersweet release, since it comes just a month after longtime drummer Marc Reign left the band due to creative and musical differences. However, while Destruction searches for another drummer, fans can enjoy this DVD, which features the band's entire performance at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2007 and a documentary of the band's history, among other things. I know I'll be getting this DVD just so I have a higher quality version of the music video for "The Alliance of Hellhoundz", my favorite Destruction song and a monumental musical undertaking. If you're a fan of thrash at all, get this DVD so you can learn about one of the bands responsible for its proliferation in Europe.
This Week's New Tour Announcements
- Dream Theater
- Dark Tranquillity, Threat Signal, and Mutiny Within
- Armored Saint
- Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, and Cancer Bats
- The Devil Wears Prada, Miss May I, and Your Demise
- Rock n' America Festival
- Horse the Band and Endless Hallway
- Kobra Kai
That concludes this week's edition of New & Noteworthy. Hopefully you read something that interests you. Now go check out the dates that tickets go on sale for those Rush shows. Until next week, happy spending!