July 9, 2010

New & Noteworthy, July 9th - Start the Mayhem

For those who have been living under a rock for the past four months, the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival kicks off this weekend in California. It's only fitting, therefore, that three of this week's new releases come from Mayhem bands. In its third year as a major touring festival, Mayhem has become the default tour for lots of metalheads. With Ozzfest still mired in gimmicks and Sounds of the Underground long buried and forgotten, Mayhem is now the best option. This year is no exception, carrying a second stage filled to the brim with talented bands. Tickets are still available for many dates, so you cave-dwellers out there that haven't gotten your tickets yet know what you need to do.

The resurgence of one of the top nu-metal acts of the '90s tops the release chart this week, with a huge list of awesome albums following behind. The touring schedule continues to fill the winter months, and a certain one-shot event gets some big heavyweights (both literally and metaphorically) added to its lineup. All the fresh goodies you could ever want await you if you keep reading!

Next Week's New Releases

  • Korn III: Remember Who You Are by Korn - I'm not sure if there's supposed to be some hidden meaning in this album title, but Korn needs to remember who they are if this album is to be a success. Their untitled 2007 album is best forgotten or avoided, but if Korn wants to prove they can last without David Silveria on drums, then Korn III needs to be a success. Hopefully the band's recent crop circle gimmick performance and upcoming headlining slot of the Mayhem Festival will be an accurate predictor of the album's worth.
  • Stampede by Hellyeah - Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett were busy for quite awhile on some no-name project, but now that they're back, Hellyeah is ready to cause a ruckus once again. The lead single off Stampede is entitled "Cowboy Way", and it showcases an increased Southern rock and country influence in the supergroup (only amplified by the overabundance of cowboy hats in the music video). If this album is as infectious as their self-titled debut, then the band's members should probably consider making Hellyeah their primary focus.
  • The Panic Broadcast by Soilwork - After leaving the band in 2005, Peter Wichers came back to Soilwork in 2009, resuming his lead guitar position and also bringing his new skills as a producer to the table. It will be interesting to see how he and Sylvain Coudret fill the shoes of Ola Frenning and Daniel Antonsson, both of whom left the band after 2007's Sworn to a Great Divide. The Panic Broadcast is billed as being more technical than its predecessor, and if it lives up to that reputation, then longtime fans might finally have the follow-up to Natural Born Chaos that they've waited seven years for.
  • A Star-Crossed Wasteland by In This Moment - This album will be a landmark in the band's career because it will accurately show which side of their sound fans want to hear more. If reviews are positive, then In This Moment can safely stay to the heavier edge of their sound showcased on Beautiful Tragedy. If not, then Maria Brink and Co. can return to the more melodic sound of The Dream. The band's performance on the Mayhem Festival will also determine if Brink can stick with wearing ball gowns onstage. If the new blue dress survives this tour, then she can keep it up for another year.
  • Crucible - Remixed & Remastered by Halford - The original release of Crucible in 2002 seemed to cement the reality into people's heads that Rob Halford was not going back to Judas Priest. His decision to shatter that reality a year later was a massive mindfuck for every Halford fan in the world, because this album is a masterpiece of The Metal God's prolific career. This new version of the classic album features four bonus tracks, including two never before released in the States, as well as new artwork and plenty of other extras.
  • Meridional by Norma Jean - It's ironic that ex-Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison is now playing in Underoath, especially when you examine the two bands' careers side by side. In the same time period that Underoath has gotten heavier and more technical, Norma Jean has dropped much of their technicality and increased their melody. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues on Meridional, Norma Jean's first album without Davison, and also their first album not released by Solid State Records.
  • Matador by Zoroaster - The Atlanta-based sludge trio has been making waves for three years, even getting Mastodon's Brent Hinds to perform guest vocals on their last full-length. Armed with a new deal from E1, they will attempt to spread their influence even further with Matador. If you go to see them live, though, bring some earplugs or else stand in the back.
  • Solitaire by Edenbridge - Symphonic metal with a female singer? I think we've seen this formula before. However, Edenbridge at least goes the extra mile with the symphonic tag, as Solitaire is their second album recorded with the Czech Film Orchestra. This Austrian group also has a more progressive edge than most similar-sounding bands, so this album is worth a try if you find other symphonic metal releases to be formulaic.
  • The Pulse of Awakening by Sybreed - Two weeks ago on New & Noteworthy, I mentioned two albums being released that had already been out for several weeks in Europe. Sybreed is taking that one step further - as of this week, The Pulse of Awakening has been out in Europe for eight months. Musically, Sybreed treads the middle ground of industrial metal - not as heavy and blastbeat-intensive as Fear Factory, but not as melodic and catchy as Mnemic either. They have a good balance to their sound that most industrial metal fans will find refreshing and enjoyable.
  • God Grant Me Vengeance by Hell Within - This Boston hardcore group has been around for eight years, but God Grant Me Vengeance is just their third full-length release. Talk about a model of perseverance. After two releases on Lifeforce, Hell Within signed with tiny indie label Thorp Records for this album. They'll need to continue their lifelong model of nonstop touring for this album to advance their career at all.
This Week's Tour Announcements

  • Bleeding Through, After the Burial, For Today, and The Word Alive
Initially, I was surprised when Bleeding Through didn't show up on any major summer tours to support their new self-titled album. This somewhat makes up for that, although an appearance on any of the thousands hundreds numerous summer tours would have done wonders for them. This tour package is pretty awesome, though, so it makes up for their missed opportunity. A fifth band will also appear on the bill; Stray from the Path will play the first nineteen shows of the tour before handing the spot over to Dead and Divine. This tour will be worth it just to see how Dave Nassie performs live with his new bandmates.
ThePRP announcement

  • DevilDriver
Apparently, DevilDriver was one of the many bands on Ozzfest that didn't like only having six shows for a major festival, and thus they decided to organize an off-date tour of their own. The band will be joined by Kataklysm, Skeletonwitch, and Saviours for six off-date shows during the actual run of Ozzfest. Once the festival is over, the band will then launch a headlining tour with Kittie, Kataklysm, and Hostility, mostly hitting the Midwest and South, both of which are completely ignored by Ozzfest. Classy move by the veteran band, trying to reach all of their fans as much as they can.
ThePRP announcement

  • Nonpoint
Keeping with the off-Ozzfest theme, Nonpoint has finalized their touring plans surrounding the festival as well. Unlike DevilDriver, Nonpoint will be touring by themselves for the time being, although they could add other bands to their plans very easily. They will also start in the South and hit smaller markets as they traverse the country. With the strength of their new album Miracle, these solo shows will be worth checking out.
ThePRP announcement

  • 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise
Half of the cruise's billing has officially been announced as of this week. Another '80s metal act, Agent Steel, has been confirmed for the cruise, giving the older crowd eight or nine bands to look forward to. The bigger announcement, though, is the addition of the revitalized Fear Factory. Bigger is an extremely appropriate adjective to use - I'm expecting that once Dino Cazares and Gene Hoglan board the ship, the cruise will immediately be re-named "80,000 Tons of Metal". All joking aside, though, this cruise gets better and better with each new band that is announced. And there's still twenty more bands left to be revealed!
Blabbermouth announcement

  • Tool and Jello Biafra
To be honest, I'm getting sick of announcing new openers for Tool's summer tour every single week. However, this week is the first announcement that offers a spark of interest for something besides Tool. The former Dead Kennedy and prominent Green Party member will bring his new punk group (dubbed Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine - new nominee for Most Awesome Band Name Ever!) to the San Francisco and Sacramento stops of Tool's summer tour. Californians will rejoice over this, and the rest of the country will just give them dirty looks as usual.
ThePRP announcement

  • Living Sacrifice
About three months ago, I mentioned my surprise at Living Sacrifice's lack of a summer touring schedule. Well, the veteran Christian group has finally done something about that, booking a number of shows in August. The highlight of the list is their appearance at a benefit show for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng on August 14th. Right now, with the number of rock stars needing financial assistance due to medical bills, there can be no higher calling for rock and metal fans than to attend benefit shows and/or donate to assist the musicians they love. If you're a Living Sacrifice fan in southern California, or even just a regular metalhead in SoCal, attendance at this benefit show is mandatory.
ThePRP announcement

  • Codeseven
Back from the grave after a six-year hiatus, the group will be playing a hometown show in North Carolina on August 20th, with further shows potentially in the works for the fall. However, every rock and metal fan knows that hometown shows are the best shows, so head out to this show for what will likely be a very unique and special night with Codeseven. They will likely play a genuine mix of older and newer material, giving their entire career a good retrospective.
ThePRP announcement

  • The World We Knew
The group is finishing up their run of dates with Within the Ruins and Woe of Tyrants, and they already have more dates in the works for August. They've dubbed their tour dates for the summer as the "Summer Shredding Tour 2010", which is an appropriate name, albeit very unoriginal. Check out the young deathcore group if you're still not tired of the subgenre yet, because these guys have plenty of energy to spare.
ThePRP announcement

  • Tombs and Planks
This is actually two separate bands, not one, although the name does seem to fit together somehow. If some adventurous youths decide to start a band called "Tombs and Planks", I will never forgive myself. Anyway, the two sludge groups are trekking around the Northeast and Midwest, hitting a ton of dive bars and tiny venues as they go. Sludge/doom is meant to be enjoyed in tight-knit spaces with like-minded individuals, so head out to these shows and bring friends for a good night of plodding, bulldozer-to-the-face metal.
ThePRP announcement

  • Nickelback, Buckcherry, and Three Days Grace
Say what you want about Buckcherry and Three Days Grace, but I'd personally be happier seeing them tour by themselves instead of with Nickelback. Put two fairly good bands on a lineup together with one really bad band that is still popular for some reason, and you lose out on a lot more attendees than you gain. This stadium tour will run from mid-September until the end of October, and if someone can mandate that Nickelback only play songs from 2003 and earlier, it might be worth checking out.
Blabbermouth announcement

Close the chapter on this week's New & Noteworthy, folks! Next week, the heaviest of the heavy come roaring out of the gates with new albums, so practice your moshpit techniques and get ready to throw down!

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