July 23, 2010

New & Noteworthy, July 23rd - Playing the Spoilers

Two weeks ago it was Mayhem, last week it was Summer Slaughter, and this week it's…Over the Limit? Yes, yet another summer tour kicks off this weekend, this one headlined by Oceano and As Blood Runs Black. This tour is probably the most aptly named tour of the past five years, and it's also not really necessary, with a lineup that feels like the cast-offs of both Summer Slaughter and Thrash & Burn. More excitement will be generated by two other tours kicking off this week - the first leg of the American Carnage/Canadian Carnage Tour featuring Megadeth, Slayer, and Testament; and Cynic's "Re-Traced / Re-Focused Live" tour, which will also feature Intronaut and Dysrhythmia. Obviously, seeing three of the biggest thrash acts in history is a huge deal, but progressive/experimental metal fans will be salivating to see Cynic play their entire discography live. Where does that leave the Over the Limit tour? Well, it's basically the third wheel now - or, in the case of the whole summer lineup, the ninth wheel.

There are some new releases that are also acting as spoilers this week, looking to steal the spotlight from a major debut this week. Considering the debut comes from one of the most commercial names in metal, though, that is unlikely. Read on to see what's coming at you this week.

Next Week's New Releases

  • Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold - After Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan's tragic passing at the end of 2009, nobody was sure whether Avenged Sevenfold would continue on. But with the help of Mike Portnoy, every metal purist's Nightmare has become a reality. Nobody can be sure how the Dream Theater skinsman will mesh with the metalcore darlings of commercial America, but fans will get a chance to see it live as well as hear it on the album, as Portnoy will also take part in A7X's run on the upcoming Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival.
  • Collisions and Castaways by 36 Crazyfists - The Alaskan group is supporting this album in a big way already, acting as main support for Fear Factory during their current tour. The promotion doesn't stop there, as a headlining tour with Straight Line Stitch and Dirge Within starts up as soon as the Fear Factory tour ends. These guys aren't the heaviest metalcore group out there, but singer Brock Lindow is one of the best in the business. That makes 36CF always worth checking out.
  • Polarity by Decrepit Birth - The brutal death metal band has recently added ex-Abigail Williams drummer Samus Paulicelli to their lineup, adding a good amount of technicality to their already-intricate sound. On their third album, Decrepit Birth looks to justify the hype surrounding them after three years of nearly-nonstop touring. Former members of Decrepit Birth are also alumni of/now in Vital Remains, Misery Index, Dying Fetus, Divine Heresy, Hate Eternal, and Animosity. That should give you a general look into this band's approach - violent as hell every second.
  • Shadowcast by Insidious Disease - This supergroup has some serious firepower in its ranks. The project is helmed by Dimmu Borgir guitarist Silenoz, who put together the group in order to examine "the misfits of society". Also featured in the lineup are Morgoth vocalist Marc Grewe, Old Man's Child guitarist Jardar, Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury, and drummer Tony Laureano from about a thousand different metal bands. This group is sure to be among the most violent and evil supergroups ever assembled.
  • ReVamp by ReVamp - The breakup of After Forever in 2009 was a shame, as one of the better female-fronted power metal bands in the world called it quits before they could truly achieve the success they deserved. But singer Floor Jansen wasn't done with music and started a new project, with Grip, Inc./Enemy of the Sun guitarist Waldemar Sorychta and her After Forever bandmate Joost van der Broek as co-songwriters. ReVamp is the result, a progressive/symphonic metal group that will capitalize on Jansen's incredible vocal prowess and her collaborators' wealth of talent.
  • Vessels by Ivoryline - Back with their third full-length album and second for Tooth & Nail Records, these Texas-based Christian rockers are looking to capitalize on the success of 2008's There Came a Lion, which peaked at #15 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band's touring experience includes runs with Emery, Madina Lake, and Automatic Loveletter, which should give new listeners an idea of their sound.
  • Lock & Key by Cruel Hand - One usually doesn't think of Maine as being home to anything except fish, lobster, and, well, trees. But apparently a hardcore scene may be brewing in the North, with Cruel Hand leading the charge out of the Pine Tree State and onto stages worldwide. These guys might get lumped into the Boston hardcore scene, but don't expect straightforward mosh-core like you'll get from Down to Nothing and Death Before Dishonor. Cruel Hand enjoys diversifying sounds, mixing in some thrash and death metal styles with their love for Madball. This album could be a huge breakthrough for them if it reaches the right ears.
  • Kingdom of Evil by Angels of Babylon - This band has absolutely nothing to do with the forthcoming second album of 2010 from Avantasia. Angels of Babylon is actually a supergroup of sorts, featuring Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and ex-Manowar drummer Kenny "Rhino" Edwards in their lineup. Kingdom of Evil is the four-piece group's debut, and has been out in Europe for nearly six months. It finally sees release in the US now, much to the delight of fans of White Wizzard, Icarus Witch, and Charred Walls of the Damned. There's nothing wrong with adding another classic heavy metal group to the fold.
  • 20 Years Strong: Rivers Runs Red Live In Brussels by Life of Agony - It is amazing to think that the Brooklyn-based quartet has been around for two decades, especially since it's been five years since they've actually put out any new material. This live album and DVD chronicles the band's 20th anniversary performance in Belgium from April of this year. It also includes a band documentary and bonus features, which will hopefully also reveal some of the band's plans for the future.
  • Lords of Depravity 2 by Sodom - The German veterans have a new album tentatively due out later this year, but Lords of Depravity 2 will give fans a good look into the band's past, with over six hours of footage from their archives. The first disc contains a full-length documentary of the band's history, while the second disc is packed with live footage, highlighted by their 25th anniversary performance from Wacken Open Air 2007. This has been a good year for German thrash historians, as Destruction released a DVD back in April as well. Pick this up if you want to know how thrash got truly evil in the Rhineland.
This Week's Tour Announcements

  • Helmet and Bison B.C.
With Seeing Eye Dog due out on September 7th, Helmet is wasting no time promoting the new record, hitting the road the day after its release for a two month trek around the country. They'll swing up and down the West Coast in September with Bison B.C., and then after a week off, they do a full-country circuit by themselves. Do I even have to tell you why Helmet is good and you should see these shows? If I do, then you are woefully ignorant of one of the best hard rock/stoner metal bands in history.
ThePRP announcement

  • Triptykon, 1349, and Yakuza
Tom Warrior is coming back! And he's bringing the big guns with him. The new project from the former Celtic Frost frontman rips even harder than his old band did (as stated in my review of their debut album). A lesser-known fact is that he also produced 1349's new album Demonoir, which will likely equal some live guest appearances for both bands. This tour will flat-out destroy.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • CKY
It's not inaccurate to call these guys "skateboard metal", is it? They'll be all over the North and Northeast in mid-fall, hitting small clubs in mid-to-small size markets. You have to hand it to CKY - even after the turmoil of a near-breakup, losing their label support, and the stigma that comes from being even remotely involved with Bam Margera, they've stuck it out for a long time and managed to stay relevant. Check out one of these shows for a good fun time.
ThePRP announcement

  • Hellyeah and Anew Revolution
Anew Revolution is reaching out to the most diverse audience possible to promote iMerica. After announcing dates with Volbeat three weeks ago, they now have also lined up shows with Hellyeah, leading into the supergroup's stint on the Uproar Festival. Hellyeah themselves will be promoting Stampede and playing lots of new songs, so if you like either band's new album, hit up one of these five Midwest shows.
ThePRP announcement

  • Knights of the Abyss, Conducting from the Grave, The World We Knew, and Enfold Darkness
About a month ago, Knights of the Abyss announced a few tour dates in July, in an attempt to build anticipation for the release of their third full-length, The Culling of Wolves. Now that the album is set for an August 17th release, the deathcore group is preparing their first tour officially supporting it. With direct support coming from one of the most talented young bands in the deathcore scene, Conducting from the Grave, this tour is a must for mosh enthusiasts and technical aficionados.
ThePRP announcement

  • Corpus Christi and A Hero A Fake
A Feast for Crows is finally out, and following their short string of dates with Divide the Sea and Judges, Corpus Christi is officially hitting the road to promote their sophomore album. They'll tour all over the Midwest and the East Coast in late summer, hitting many markets that have either never seen the band before or only seen them once or twice. These young guys have lots of potential, so check them out if you're looking for something new and different.
ThePRP announcement

  • For Today
The Christian hardcore act is not resting between tours. Directly after the "Scream the Prayer" Tour that they are currently on, they'll be playing headlining shows leading right into their next tour with Bleeding Through and After the Burial. Undoubtedly, these shows are designed to build even more buzz about the upcoming release of Breaker, the band's third full-length album. For Today has a very dedicated following, and for a good reason too. Check out their live show if you're unfamiliar with them to see why they're getting so popular.
ThePRP announcement

  • 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise
After weeks and weeks of thrash bands and old-school metal bands getting added, someone that will bring out the true geeks of the metal world is now playing this cruise. Iced Earth, one of the biggest power metal bands in the US, will be performing on this historic voyage. How do you say no to that? We've officially passed the halfway point on the cruise's lineup total, but keep on checking to see what other awesome bands show up on this bill.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • In This Moment
Already deep into the Mayhem Festival, Maria Brink and Co. don't plan on taking a break anytime soon. Following Mayhem's conclusion, the band has lined up a series of headlining shows in the Southwest to promote their album. With the positive reviews that A Star-Crossed Wasteland is getting, these shows will surely be good investments. Check them out for a more complete set than what you'll get on Mayhem.
ThePRP announcement

  • Saviours
The band that I vilified in my Ozzfest lineup commentary is hitting the studio soon to record a new EP. They've already signed on for a few Ozzfest off-day shows, most notably DevilDriver's dates that were finalized two weeks ago. Their full off-date schedule for the whole of August is now available as well, showing a few bar and club shows at the end of the month. If you know about this band and like them, then I guess these shows are for you.
ThePRP announcement

  • Flotsam and Jetsam
It's not often that older bands play release parties for their new material, so it's nice to see Flotsam and Jetsam taking initiative to do that. Their new record The Cold is due out on September 14th, and the veteran group will hold a release party three days later in Tempe, Arizona. Obviously, if you can it out to this show, you'll want to go and see one of the most underrated thrash bands tear it up.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • 40 Below Summer
The nu-metal group will play a one-off reunion show in New Jersey on October 2nd, where they'll perform their debut album Invitation to the Dance in its entirety. Also appearing will be Max Illidge's new band With Daggers Drawn, as well as fellow Jersey metal bands God Forbid and Dead Men Dreaming. This will be a fun show for nostalgic fans and die-hards. There might also be news delivered of a possible reunion or new material.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Týr
Hailing from the Faroe Islands, Týr is one of the best Viking metal groups not named Amon Amarth that you'll ever hear. Their 2009 album By the Light of the Northern Star was a masterfully crafted album, and they deserve plenty of recognition stateside to match their European reputation. Therefore, if you can make it to their one-off headlining show in New Jersey on September 11th, you definitely should go. These guys are just too good to be true in many ways.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Mantic Ritual, Hexen, Infernal Death, and others
I said I'd get off my soapbox last week about supporting rockers in need, but I wasn't anticipating this. A benefit concert for Chuck Schuldiner is being held in Amityville, New York tomorrow night for only $10 per ticket. If you live on Long Island, you can't not attend this show. Supporting the Schuldiner family and Chuck's legacy is a must for all metalheads. Get out there and support one of the legends.
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Smashing Pumpkins and Kill Hannah
I also was not anticipating this - a show to benefit a cause I've shown as much support for as humanly possible. This performance will raise money for Madina Lake bassist Matthew Leone's medical bills, which I've urgently asked all my readers to assist with every week since his noble actions put him in the hospital. Tickets for the show will be raffled off at $10 per ticket, and people can enter as many times as they wish. So enter the raffle as much as you're able and help a true hero in need.
Blabbermouth announcement

So we draw New & Noteworthy to a close for another week. Next week marks the beginning of a very busy August, so come back and see what's in store for you!

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