This week marks the release of a number of excellent albums, beginning two solid months packed with high-quality albums. Read on for more reasons to rejoice!
Next Week's New Releases
- Order of the Black by Black Label Society - Just in time for Ozzfest, BLS is back with another new record. Eight albums in, Zakk Wylde still hasn't changed the formula, and still doesn't need to. The four-year wait since Shot to Hell has been rough on the fans, but Order of the Black should make it all worth it.
- The Ghetto Blaster EP by Street Sweeper Social Club - If you're unfamiliar with these guys, it's the collaboration of Rage Against the Machine/Nightwatchman bassist Tom Morello and The Coup vocalist Boots Riley. It's an interesting amalgamation of rap and rock that has a unique flavor to it that I like to call "the Morello stamp", since anything that Tom Morello touches has that same instantly recognizable and maddeningly indescribable quality to it. If you're a fan of Morello's other work, then you'll definitely like SSSC.
- <3 by Mindless Self Indulgence - This EP was given away for free to those who bought copies of MSI's album If during a specific week back in February. It is now being made available in the iTunes store for the die-hard fans that just have to have this collection of demos and b-sides. It's a little long for an EP, clocking in at 8 songs, but I suppose the classification will matter little in the end.
- Beyond Cops. Beyond God. by Waking the Cadaver - For a long time, Waking the Cadaver was the poster child of anti-deathcore ravings on Internet message boards. Expect the hate mill to start churning again now that the Jersey-based group is releasing their sophomore album. These guys go all out and squeeze every bloody ounce of brutality from their music. Pick this up if you're looking for a good reason to mosh in your bedroom.
- Exiled to Earth by Bonded by Blood - Some reviews have said that Exiled to Earth is supposed to be a concept album, but I can't seem to get a good idea of what the concept is supposed to be. I can, however, say that there's a good reason why most thrash bands don't do concept albums. Who can care or even pay attention to a concept when the music is supposed to be melting your face off from its speed?
- American Hell by Destruction of a Rose - Melodic metalcore seems to be the new "in" trend attempt to revitalize the genre. Destruction of a Rose seem to want to make everything bigger in their melodic metalcore blend. The heavier parts are insanely heavy, likening the band to Beneath the Sky and For the Fallen Dreams. But the melodic parts really go all-out too, earning comparisons to The World We Knew and This or the Apocalypse. It's a little bit of everything, and it's decent.
- Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes by Amorphis - This is the first live release from the Finnish group in North America during their entire 20-year career. If you're not familiar with Amorphis, you ought to get familiar quickly. Their newer material is Finland's answer to Paradise Lost, and vocalist Tomi Joutsen has the skills to prove it.
- Planetary Duality [Remixed/Remastered] by The Faceless - One of the hottest new "buzz bands" of recent memory, The Faceless is fast-tracking towards taking over the technical death metal crowd. This reissue of their breakout album will be a nice way to build up hype about the band leading into their tour with Suffocation and Decrepit Birth in the fall. Pick it up to get some bonus videos and other interesting goodies.
- Streetcleaner [Reissue] by Godflesh - Industrial pioneers Godflesh, reunited for some summer festival appearances, are re-releasing their landmark debut with a second disc full of demos, original versions of songs, and live hits. Unless you're going to Europe to see Godflesh live, this is as close as you're going to get to new material from the band…at least, for now.
- Hordes of Chaos [Ultra Riot Edition] by Kreator - Hordes of Chaos was easily one of the best thrash albums released last year, if not the best overall. It's only fair, therefore, that it gets a fancy new look and bonus materials to sweeten an already-excellent deal. The bonus tracks are demo recordings of several Hordes of Chaos hits, as well as some older songs as well. There is also a DVD documentary covering the making of the album. This box set will be well worth the purchase price.
It is at this time that I must announce a change to the format of New & Noteworthy, effective immediately. I am no longer going to cover new tours in the blog edition of the column, simply because I do not have time to research and write about all the new tours that get announced every week. To those that relied on me for this information, I'm deeply sorry for not being able to continue to bring this information. My day job and other personal matters have left me with little to no time for research anymore, though. I do hope you all can understand.