June 25, 2010

New & Noteworthy, June 25th - Run on Reissues

In a week where the Big Four not only played shows together, but even joined together for a one-off live cover song, this week is surprisingly devoid of thrash news. Maybe the awesomeness of the Big Four being in the same place at the same time was just too much for the rest of the thrash world to handle. However, I tend to think it's more of a reaction to the amazing thrash releases of 2010 thus far (Overkill, Exodus, and Annihilator leading the way) and anticipation for the thrash albums on the horizon (Death Angel, Flotsam and Jetsam, and Accept are the biggest names). Either way, thrash fans have slim pickings this week, but everyone else has plenty to get excited about!

This week sees a ton of albums getting re-released, either as limited vinyl pressings or special edition CD's. Fans looking for collector's items will be salivating over the names listed. But there's no shortage of good new releases this week either. Meanwhile, the touring calendar gets a huge update for the fall, with some big names preparing to hit the road. Read on to see what's coming your way!

Next Week's New Releases

  • Deep Blue by Parkway Drive - The young Aussies have returned with the long-awaited follow-up to 2007's breakout smash Horizons. The irony of Parkway Drive is that their success seems to built on their ability to walk the line between two of metal's most overdone subgenres - metalcore and deathcore. They've blurred the line between the two and created a totally unique sound from it. This album will be defining for them because it's their first one not handled by super-producer Adam Dutkiewicz. If Deep Blue can hold up to the excellent quality of Horizons, then Parkway Drive may be the new leading band in both metalcore and deathcore very soon.
  • The Frozen Tears of Angels by Rhapsody of Fire - With the European release of this album already a few months behind us, most Rhapsody fans (translate: every single one of the armor-wearing, face-painting, dragon-loving diehards) have at least heard this album already. For the few power metal fans that haven't heard the album yet or aren't aware of its release, The Frozen Tears of Angels offers plenty of excellent power metal from one of the scene's best veteran acts. Plus, actor Christopher Lee reprises his role as the spoken word narrator from Triumph or Agony, proving that his involvement in metal goes beyond strange symphonic metal projects.
  • Ashes to Ashes by Candlemass - This CD/DVD release covers two live concerts from the doom metal group. The CD portion features their entire set from the 2009 Sweden Rock Festival, while the DVD covers their set from an October 2009 concert in Athens. The only drawback here is that the Athens setlist has everything from the Sweden Rock setlist plus more, save for a cover of the Rainbow classic "Kill the King" that was only played at Sweden Rock. Still, this is a great collector's item for fans of the band.
  • Attack of the Wolf King by Haste the Day - The Christian metalcore quintet will be under close scrutiny on this album, as it is their first without founding drummer Devin Chaulk and founding guitarist Brennan Chaulk. In fact, bassist Mike Murphy is the only founding member left in the lineup of Haste the Day. However, vocalist Stephen Keech has proven himself admirably through two albums, and that trend is likely to continue here. Fans will want to get the special edition of this album, which comes packed with the feature-length DVD The Ends of the Earth.
  • Jonah Hex: Music from the Motion Picture by Mastodon - The movie has been panned by critics thus far, which isn't surprising considering the female lead of the film. It's a shame, though, because many potential fans of Mastodon will pass this EP over based on the movie. Fans of Mastodon should know better, and they will likely snatch this up while avoiding the movie altogether. The EP contains the film versions of four new songs, as well as alternate versions of two of the film songs. It's practically a guarantee that this EP will be the best part of Jonah Hex.
  • Slaughtered by Severe Torture - Dutch death metal act Severe Torture have stayed busy since their 2000 debut Feasting on Blood. The three years between Slaughtered and its predecessor, Sworn Vengeance, is the longest break they've had between releases. Armed with a new contract from Season of Mist, this album should be another crushing, violent effort from a group that is well-known for their consistency.
  • Witchkrieg by Witchery - The most significant thrash release of the week comes from Swedish group Witchery, a group that features Patrik Jensen (The Haunted), Sharlee D'Angelo (Arch Enemy), and Martin Axenrot (Opeth) in its lineup, among others. With such a star-studded cast, what's not to like? Fans of traditional American thrash might be slightly turned off by the blackened vocals of Legion (ex-Marduk, ex-Devian), but if you enjoy the blended thrash styles of European bands like Susperia, The Crown, and Dew-Scented, then this album is for you.
  • Coat of Arms by Sabaton - This is another album that showed up in Europe several weeks ago, but Sabaton doesn't have quite the established fanbase in the States to make it popular before its release here. The World War II themes on this album are somewhat darker and more serious than on previous albums, with "The Final Solution" being the most obvious example of that. However, that won't diminish from the music at all, as Sabaton can craft a soaring, galloping power metal song around any lyrics. This album is definitely worth a look from history buffs and power metal fans alike.
  • Emarosa by Emarosa - Post-hardcore fans have something to be happy about with the self-titled sophomore album from Emarosa. I'm still wondering if there's a single post-hardcore band in the world capable of creating song titles that are somehow relevant to the actual song. Emarosa clearly isn't bucking the trend, with such gems as "Share the Sunshine Young Blood", "Truth Hurts While Laying on Your Back", and "The Weight of Love Blinds Eyes". You should already know if you'll like this album or not just by reading those sentence fragments between the quotation marks.
  • Wonder by Knut - It's been almost five years since Knut's last album, Terraformer. The sludge-mathcore fusionists have never taken such a long break, but the time off won't have crimped their style. There are very few groups with similar styles to this frenetic band, so they'll likely take some getting used to if you've never heard them before. But by the same token, the band also has a very wide range of appeal given their diverse compositions.
  • Proprioception by And Hell Followed With - This young deathcore act has a lot of experience with adversity, seeing as most of the members come from suburban Michigan, where the recession has hit hardest. As such, they understand the deeply personal nature that some fans feel towards music, and are willing to defend it at all costs, as evidenced by this incident in Spokane. I like that attitude a lot, and even though "proprioception" isn't a word, nor would I know what the hell it meant if it was one, I still think this band deserves support for knowing why metal fans care about the music as much as they do.
  • Rain's 'a Comin' by Children 18:3 - This Christian punk-ska outfit, comprised of three siblings from Minnesota, is one of the more lyrically intelligent bands on Tooth & Nail's roster. There's plenty of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic images throughout their discography, which shows a lot of maturity for such a young band. There isn't a lot of aggression to be found here, but if you're a fan of Project 86, Spoken, and other similar Christian bands, then these guys (and girl) should be on your radar.
  • Clockwork by Angelus Apatrida - One of the leading bands in Spain's growing thrash scene, Angelus Apatrida is finally getting some wider notice after ten years together as a band. Clockwork is their first album on a worldwide contract with Century Media. Their first two albums earned rave reviews from Spanish critics, so hopefully they can make a similar impact internationally.
  • Raw Live by Yngwie Malmsteen - If you ever wanted to know how the guitar wizard got started, this DVD is for you. Spanning Malmsteen's career from 1981 to 1999, it covers his early musical career in Sweden, the massive success of his solo beginnings, and personal behind-the-scenes footage to give viewers a closer look at what makes the man tick. Guitar enthusiasts will likely try to use this DVD to pick up tricks from his playing style, but if you're a less rabid fan of Yngwie that just wants to know a little more about him, this DVD will be perfect for you.
  • Noise Chaos War by Hirax - This compilation features 3 EP's from the band - 2000's Barrage of Noise and 2007's Chaos and Brutality and Assassins of War. Hirax is one of the many Bay Area thrash bands that didn't take off to the success they'd hoped for in the '80s, but unlike many others, they just never quit. Finding their material isn't always easy, but if you see this compilation, give it a try, as you're unlikely to find the actual EP's in most stores.
  • Century Media Special Editions - Century Media is re-releasing three of their biggest albums from last year with bonus DVD's and extra material. Interestingly, two of the three feature performances of the respective bands on Fuel TV's "Daily Habit". Collaborative effort much? In any case, here's what you'll find if you pick up one of these albums:
    • Here Waits Thy Doom by 3 Inches of Blood - There's three bonus covers included with the main album, and the DVD has a music video and their full appearance on "Daily Habit".
    • It's All Happening by Iwrestledabearonce - This edition is probably the best value you'll get. There's a second disc featuring the entire album in remix format, with each sing remixed by a different person. Most notable is the remix of fan favorite "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon", which is handled by Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan. The DVD features a variety of video footage from all over, as well as two music videos and stems to two songs so fans can make their own remixes.
    • No Time to Bleed by Suicide Silence - The so-called "Body Bag" edition of this album has no extra songs added on, but there are videos of eight songs performed live, including two from "Daily Habit". And the whole thing comes in a black plastic zipper bag that will likely end up as a collector's item.
  • Relapse 12-inch Vinyl Releases - The label is re-releasing four albums and also putting out one "preview" album for one of its newer signings, Circle of Animals. If you're a vinyl collector, then these will be right up your alley.
    • Invisible War by Circle of Animals - This is the new industrial collaboration of Sanford Parker (Minsk, The High Confessions) and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza). This preview EP also features cameos by Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu), Jeff Morgan (Rwake), and Dave Witte (Burnt by the Sun, Municipal Waste) among others. With an all-star cast like this, you can't really go wrong.
    • Leviathan by Mastodon - What hasn't already been said about this amazing album? Each pressing will feature multiple color options, including some in 180-gram vinyl, giving collectors many choices.
    • Supernova, Willpower, and Today is the Day by Today is the Day - These are re-releases of the three albums the band put out on Amphetamine Reptile Records in the mid-90s. Each one comes with a free download card and bonus tracks, making them perfect for fans looking to get the full Today is the Day experience.
This Week's Tour Announcements

  • Deftones, Baroness, and Circa Survive
Between this tour and the recently expanded BlackDiamondSkye tour, Deftones will be one of the busiest bands in the world this fall. The support bands are sure to draw in a lot of potential new fans for the veteran rockers, although each support band is only appearing on select dates. Still, though, this tour carries the band right into BlackDiamondSkye, so fans still running high on Diamond Eyes now possibly have multiple chances to see them. Pretty awesome, right?
ThePRP announcement

  • Devin Townsend
The success of Devin's spring tour supporting Between the Buried and Me and Cynic is undeniable. Fans love him, usually regardless of the project he's working on at any given time. Which is why it's exciting to see that this tour will see Devin performing songs from his entire back catalog. This could potentially include songs from Strapping Young Lad, which will send SYL fans into hysterics. Only six dates have been announced so far, but more will come, along with supporting acts. There is no excuse for missing this. Devin Townsend is just too damn good at metal for anyone to pass on this tour.
ThePRP announcement

  • Tool, Wovenhand, Dalek, and Rajas
More no-name openers on a Tool tour? Who would've thought it possible? Well, everyone that read New & Noteworthy last week probably did, given what I mentioned about no-name openers being a theme of Tool tours. At least now there's some variety to the tour in some ways. The only problem is that there still aren't any East Coast dates. With the tour already under way, I'm very apprehensive that East Coast fans might be waiting awhile to see Maynard and Co. back on our side of the country. It seems we will just have to wait and pray.
ThePRP announcement

  • Sleep
Al Cisneros and Matt Pike back together? What stoner rock fan could say no to that? Throw in Jason Roeder of Neurosis on drums, and you've got one of the best lineups in stoner-doom history. Unfortunately, there are only seven shows on this tour, but the big draw of the tour is that the band will play their album Holy Mountain in its entirety, along with selections from other albums, including 2003's posthumous release Dopesmoker. Count on this tour being sold out and lit up every single night.
ThePRP announcement

  • Porcupine Tree, Coheed and Cambria, and The Dear Hunter
This tour will be a huge hit with the young prog rock crowd not attending Rush's big tour announced over two months ago. The only problem is that many of the dates and locations for both tours are very close together, which will likely cause financial conflicts for fans wanting to see both of them. Which also raises another big question - why is this tour not hitting anywhere in the Northeast? The only explanation I can give is that Porcupine Tree is trying to attract fans from all over the region to their one-night-only special performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City that was quietly announced in March amidst their other touring plans. Well, it's a cheap move, but given the devotion of Steven Wilson's fans, it's likely to work too.
ThePRP announcement

  • High on Fire
In other Matt Pike-related news, High on Fire has three shows scheduled in the US immediately following their Canadian shows in July with Skeletonwitch. It wouldn't surprise me if Russian Circles or Priestess got added to one of these shows, since they're also part of the Canadian tour on select dates. The July 29th date in Louisville, KY already has an impressive cast of supporting acts, so look for one of two things to happen: a strong variety of bands will play each of these nights, or else High on Fire will just have the other two shows be long solo performances. Either way, you can't afford to miss these shows when they come through.
ThePRP announcement

  • Slash
The new poster child of rock music will be touring throughout September supporting his solo album. Word is that the tour will feature other songs from his back catalog as well, including Guns n' Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Slash's Snakepit. But don't be fooled into thinking that any of those three will be significant inclusions in the setlist. This tour will be all about the solo album, which won't be all that impressive to most people. At least the vocals will be good, with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge handling the microphone for the entire tour.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • 36 Crazyfists, Straight Line Stitch, and Dirge Within
With 36 Crazyfists' new album Collisions and Castaways due out on July 27th, it's no surprise that the band is touring hard in support of it. After being announced almost a month ago as main support for Fear Factory's July tour, it only made sense that another tour would be in the works, as the last date of the Fear Factory tour is the album's release date. The support acts for the tour are pretty good, but nothing to write home about (especially not with Dirge Within's recent lineup changes). The most interesting thing about this tour is that almost every date is in the northern half of the country. The furthest south it goes is Salt Lake City, leading me to believe that 36 Crazyfists are trying to stay as close to their home in Alaska as possible. Either way, this tour will be small, but fans of 36 Crazyfists will get their first look at a lot of the new songs, which is a nice treat.
ThePRP announcement

  • DevilDriver
The band has announced their Ozzfest off-dates for the month of August. I don't even know if the term "off-dates" is applicable, though, seeing as there are almost twice as many off-dates as there are Ozzfest dates right now. Regardless, these shows will appease fans that aren't getting an Ozzfest date in their market. Kittie has already been announced as support for three shows, and it's practically guaranteed that some of the second stage bands from Ozzfest will play some of these dates as well. So if you didn't want to spend money on traveling to Ozzfest to see only a few bands you like, now you can successfully avoid even having to consider it.
ThePRP announcement

  • Norma Jean and In This Moment
Norma Jean has also scheduled their off-dates from the Mayhem Festival, all of which will feature In This Moment. I'm shocked that there isn't an off-date in Georgia somewhere, since Norma Jean love headlining hometown shows just as much as anyone else. While their off-date schedule might not be as extensive as Chimaira's, Norma Jean still is doing their best to give fans more opportunities to see them and hear new songs from their forthcoming album Meridional, and I have respect for that.
ThePRP announcement

  • Through the Eyes of the Dead, Those Who Lie Beneath, Enfold Darkness, and Wrath and Rapture
While the 36 Crazyfists tour hits the North with melodic metalcore, Through the Eyes of the Dead will be pounding across the South with a stacked lineup of deathcore. The beatdowns and mosh pits that will take place on this tour are scary just to think about, especially given the positive reviews of Through the Eyes of the Dead's latest album, Skepsis. The support acts are young bands with lots of potential, so show up early to this tour in order to get the full face-breaking experience.
ThePRP announcement

  • Knights of the Abyss, Ambush!, and The Scarlet Ruse
If that's not enough deathcore for you, there's also this tour coming through the South a month before Through the Eyes of the Dead. Knights of the Abyss has yet to announce the release date of their forthcoming third album, The Culling of Wolves, but they're almost guaranteed to play some new songs from it on this tour, and a release date will likely be made available either before or during the tour.
ThePRP announcment

  • Lacrimas Profundere
The German goth rockers are embarking on their first tour of the US in their entire career, which is pretty amazing for a band that's been around for fifteen years. At that stage of the career, most bands would have already resigned themselves to only being popular in Europe, so it's nice to see that Lacrimas Profundere is still pushing for more. The band's new album, The Grandiose Nowhere, has gotten fairly positive reviews, with one comparing the band to a cross between Paradise Lost and The 69 Eyes. I would say that comparison is most accurate. If you're looking for something new to try in the goth rock subgenre, check out this tour and see if Lacrimas Profundere is your cup of tea.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Corpus Christi, Divide the Sea, and Judges
Corpus Christi's Victory debut The Darker Shades of White showed a lot of potential, which will hopefully be realized on their upcoming sophomore effort, A Feast for Crows. Anyone that names their album after a novel by George R.R. Martin is awesome in my view, so I'm excited for the release. The band will tour throughout July to support the album, but all of the shows are in the Southeast. This is unsurprising, since that is where the population of Christian metalheads is most heavily concentrated. Corpus Christi knows how to find their audience, and that's a great start.
ThePRP announcement

  • East of the Wall and name
Yes, the band is really called "name". And yes, it is damn near impossible to find them, unless you know how to look for them. Either way, this tour is long and will have fans of underground experimental rock coming out in droves. Other support bands are also possible, and some have already been added, such a Black Sheep Wall, a band that will have a lot of these fans chuckling. I'd recommend checking out both main bands just to see if you can get into their music. This tour covers enough ground that it should be very easy to see at least one of the shows.
ThePRP announcement

That does it for this week on New & Noteworthy. Before I go, though, I highly recommend you head over to YouTube and listen to this acoustic cover of Black Sabbath's "Die Young", performed by Robb Flynn of Machine Head as a tribute to Bay Area promoter Debbie Abano, who passed away on May 16th, the same day as Ronnie James Dio. Flynn's performance is absolutely breathtaking. It's one of the most amazing pieces I've ever heard him play, and for a man with the recording credits that he has, that's saying something. The song is also available for download on Machine Head's website, so head over there after you've heard the song if you'd like to hear it again, because the song likely won't ever be officially released.

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