May 28, 2010

New & Noteworthy, May 28th - Three Nil

The saying goes that bad things come in threes, and that was proven this week. In the wake of the deaths of Ronnie James Dio and Peter Steele, the metal world was struck this week with the shocking death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray. Gray, 38, was found Monday morning on the floor of a hotel room in Urbandale, Iowa. So many parts of this story are heartbreaking and awful, most of all the fact that Gray is survived by his wife and unborn child. His death deeply affected the members of Slipknot, who held a press conference on Tuesday regarding his passing. The terrible news on Wednesday that Gray was found with hypodermic needles and pills in the hotel room only worsens the story, as he had been in rehab twice before and apparently had been clean for a few years. Regardless, though, Gray will be sorely missed, and Slipknot will never be the same without him. Rest in peace, Paul Gray.

Now the updates and news:

Next Week's New Releases
  • Hourglass by Lamb of God - The Virginia quintet is releasing their first greatest hits collection, and they're making a huge event out of it. The collection is available in seven different formats, including a $1000 "super deluxe" set that includes one of Mark Morton's signature Jackson guitars in a personalized coffin case. While there are at least a few crazed Lamb of God fans that will spring for the super deluxe set, the average metal fan will find the most value in the $25 three-disc set, which contains both discs of the basic greatest hits plus a third disc of rare and unpublished material.
  • The Bride Screamed Murder by the Melvins - Buzz Osborne doesn't quit. Nor should he, since the Melvins are still going strong over 20 years after they came together. After the highly positive response to Nude With Boots, fans should expect more of the same on The Bride Screamed Murder. Of equal note is that this will be the third consecutive album to feature the band's current lineup, which is a nice mark of consistency for the band.
  • We're Here Because We're Here by Anathema - The gothic doom sound of Anathema's early career is gone, replaced with the atmospheric alternative sound you'll hear on this album. An immediate positive is seeing Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree handling mixing duties for this album. However, this is somewhat countered by a guest performance from HIM frontman Ville Valo on the song "Angels Walk Among Us". Fans of old Anathema probably won't get the old sound that they're hoping for, but nonetheless, it's nice to see Anathema back in action seven years after the release of A Natural Disaster.
  • The Hope Division by Stick to Your Guns - Moving from Century Media to independent powerhouse Sumerian Records may reap huge dividends for Stick to Your Guns, since an entire subgenre seems to be developing out of the label's roster. With "Sumerian-core" bands like Veil of Maya, The Faceless, and Born of Osiris making huge marks on the heavy music scene, Stick to Your Guns could see similar results very quickly, as they are one of the only pure hardcore bands on the roster. If you're a fan of Terror, Walls of Jericho, or Blood for Blood, then definitely check out The Hope Division.
  • Locust by Lyzanxia - Spelling and pronouncing their name aren't the easiest tasks in the world, but enjoying Lyzanxia's thrash-death mix is a very simple task that many people can perform. The French quartet is comparable to bands like Darkane, Susperia, and Dimension Zero in blending other styles of metal into a thrash base. Mindcrimes and Unsu are two of the most underrated thrash albums of the decade, and I expect Locust will contain more of the same excellent blend.
  • Playlist: The Very Best of Corrosion of Conformity by Corrosion of Conformity - This is hardly a proper greatest hits collection, as all the songs come from Blind, Deliverance, and Wiseblood. Never mind the fact that many would consider those three albums to be the band's best. A true greatest hits collection should span a band's entire career, in my opinion. I will, however, say that if you've never listened to COC before, this is a pretty good place to start. But for longtime fans of the band, this offers nothing new.
This Week's Tour Announcements

  • Fear Factory, 36 Crazyfists, After the Burial, Divine Heresy, and Baptized in Blood

Last week's announcement of a Fear Factory/Divine Heresy tour was good news. Seeing the rest of the lineup, though, makes it awesome news! All five bands on this tour are awesome in one way or another, and with almost all of them having new albums already out or coming out soon, this tour will be full of great new music that hasn't been heard on tour yet. There's also news that Gene Hoglan's side project Pitch Black Forecast will appear on select dates of this tour, and those venues that get a double dose of Gene should consider themselves extremely lucky for such a treat. Get to these shows at any cost, because this tour might be one of the most diverse, high-quality tours seen all year.
ThePRP announcement

  • Thrash and Burn Tour 2010 featuring Asking Alexandria, Born of Osiris, and others

The lineup for this year's Thrash and Burn tour is pitiful when compared with last year's lineup. After Asking Alexandria and Born of Osiris, the other bands booked are Kittie, Stick to Your Guns, Impending Doom, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Evergreen Terrace, Greeley Estates, Periphery, Motionless in White, and Chelsea Grin. The headliners both cater to deathcore kids craving a moshpit beatdown, and the rest of the bands are too stylistically diverse to dominantly attract any other large group of fans. Which is too bad, because this tour had a decent chance of competing with Summer Slaughter as the biggest indoor tour of the season. Instead, we get a subpar lineup with very little appeal across the spectrum.
ThePRP announcement

  • Murderdolls

More than six years after their last live performance, the horror punk outfit announced their first show of 2010 this week. A second show has since been announced, both of which will take place in California. The belief is that this will lead to a string of shows while drummer Joey Jordison has some time off from Slipknot. These shows will promote the new Murderdolls album, Women and Children Last, which is due out this year. Any further dates that are announced will show up on New & Noteworthy in the future.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Kiss

The hair metal giants have added more dates to their current run of shows supporting their newest album, Sonic Boom. Fan response to the album has been tepid thus far, and I expect ticket sales to be tepid as well. Most fans want to see the original Kiss lineup and won't go to see the new lineup, which is why their recent tours have all been highly undersold. If you do want to see this tour, you'll probably have no trouble getting tickets the day of the show. Considering how popular Kiss was in their glory days, that is a sad statement.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Abigail Williams

The New York melodic black metal group recently announced September 14th as the release date for the sophomore album, produced by guitarist Ken Sorceron and mixed by Hypocrisy frontman Peter Tägtgren. This West Coast mini-tour will give the band a chance to debut some of their new songs live. All the dates except one also feature support from Lightning Swords of Death, so if you're aching for some black metal, head out to one of these shows.
ThePRP announcement

  • Terror, Naysayer, Foundation, and Grave Maker

A full US tour from Terror is a rare thing, so it's nice to see the band doing one now before they start to work on their next album. Surprisingly, none of the support bands are big name acts, which might turn off some people. However, knowing Scott Vogel and his veteran taste in hardcore bands, I'm sure that all three have something good to offer, or else Vogel wouldn't have offered them a spot on the tour. If you haven't moshed in awhile, head out to one of these club shows and dive into the pit. You won't be disappointed.
ThePRP announcement

  • 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise

The last update on 70,000 Tons of Metal came two weeks ago, when Forbidden was added to the lineup. Now another thrash giant, Exodus, has signed on for the four-day event. The addition of Exodus further cements my earlier statement about this cruise being an '80s metal enthusiast's dream. Get your tickets if you can afford them, because this ship is going to rock!
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Eyehategod

It's been almost two months since we last heard news from Eyehategod, but the stoner/doom vets have finalized their touring plans for June. Fans can now be assured of seeing more than one great band on almost every night of the tour, as Nachtmystium will be showing up on all but four of the shows. Withered, Black Tusk, Brutal Truth, Tombs, and Howl also make repeat appearances, among others. To put it simply, this tour is going to be amazing, and if you're a stoner/doom fan, you can't say no to this tour.
ThePRP announcement

  • Our Last Night, The Bled, I Am Abomination, and Veara

There's sure to be a lot of spastic post-hardcore on this tour, and also plenty of new material played. I'm not quite sure why The Bled isn't headlining, because they're much more established than Our Last Night. Either way, though, this tour should satisfy fans looking for chaotic, emotional post-hardcore and screamo. The tour doesn't hit the West Coast as of now, but if more dates are announced, I will post them for you.
ThePRP announcement

  • Danzig and Toxic Holocaust

The young thrash band has been added to the final four dates of Danzig's nine-date tour in June, which I announced last week. Toxic Holocaust doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the lineup, or with Danzig even. But their youth and vitality could bring some much-needed excitement to the tour's ending. More dates are possible, of course, although I wouldn't count on anything else showing up.
ThePRP announcement

  • Jungle Rot, Woe of Tyrants, and Lightning Swords of Death

This is another tour where the lineup order seems a bit weird. Woe of Tyrants makes more sense as the headliner here, since I've never even heard of Jungle Rot. This seems to be a recurring theme for Woe of Tyrants, whose lineup placement is also odd on their recently announced tour with Within the Ruins. However, regardless of lineup placement, this tour will likely be cheap and will definitely feature plenty of amazing young and talented bands. I'd recommend checking it out when it hits a city near you this summer.
ThePRP announcement

  • Scale the Summit

The instrumental progressive rock band is busy writing material for their next album, but they still are managing to fit a few shows in during June. After some great exposure on their recent tour with Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, and The Devin Townsend Project, they will likely draw some support at their upcoming shows. Still, though, this is a band that deserves exposure, and if you're a fan of intelligent prog rock, Scale the Summit is worth checking out.
ThePRP announcement

  • Graves of Valor

The young death metal band has booked shows on the East Coast for weekends throughout June. They will be opening for some heavyweight bands, including Eyehategod, Goatwhore, and Vital Remains. The group is still supporting their Relapse debut, Salarian Gate. If you're heading out to a show they're playing, get there early and check them out.
ThePRP announcement

  • Chimaira

Chimaira must be trying to play a show every single day of the summer. They've added two more shows to their run of headlining dates leading up to their appearance on the Mayhem Festival, as well as headlining shows on two Mayhem off-dates, one with Shadows Fall and one with Norma Jean. Chimaira is one of the only bands that can maintain such a rigorous live schedule and still sound amazing every single night they play, so don't hesitate to buy tickets to any of these shows, especially their hometown show at Peabody's Down Under in Cleveland.
ThePRP announcement

And that is the end of this week's New & Noteworthy. I apologize for the late posting, which is due to some computer troubles. Hopefully, in the future, I won't get hit with another virus that forces me to wipe my hard drive and start over from scratch. To make up for it, I offer you all this news update that will make prog rock fans wildly excited: the beginning of a collaboration by Steven Wilson, Mikael Åkerfeldt, and Mike Portnoy. My thoughts and prayers are with Paul Gray's family and all the members of Slipknot this weekend. See you all next week.

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