SH*T THAT COMES OUT TODAY – THE SEPTEMBER 13, 2011 EDITION
Damn. After a few slow weeks of new releases, we have a ton of new stuff coming out this week, including new stuff from Anthrax, Dream Theater, Wolves in the Throne Room, Haste the Day, Vader, Primus and my personal favorite, Elks, plus many more. We have officially entered the fall new release season!
Æges – Roaches 7” (Hawthorne Street Records)
The debut 7” of a band featuring Larry Herweg (Pelican) on drums, among three other seasoned musicians, is a breath of fresh air. The interplay of the two guitars and bass with Herweg’s drums creates an exciting sound, and the vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Torche.
Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce)
This album has been in the works for a while now, and the band has gone through three singers before finally settling on Joey Belladonna, returning to the band for the first time on record since Persistence of Time in 1990. The last time Anthrax put out a record (2003’s We’ve Come For You All), it was disappointing, and while first single “Fight “Em ‘Til You Can’t” is decent, they’ve released another track that… isn’t. “Devil You Know” just doesn’t work, and we’ll see if the album can pull it together or not. Read Axl and Anso’s opinions of the record here, and Vince’s here.
Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance (Metal Blade)
Jim Matheos (guitarist for Fates Warning) and John Arch (‘80s-era Fates Warning vocalist) have teamed up to create a new progressive metal band, rounded out by a backing band of past and present FW members. It sounds like Fates Warning with Arch back on vocals (duh), and it rules. Boy, would I feel nervous I was current FW vocalist Ray Alder right now.
Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (Roadrunner)
One of the most well-known, if not THE most well-known progressive metal bands in the world are back with their eleventh studio album. The album is the band’s first since the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy, who left the band last year after figuring out he liked playing with Avenged Sevenfold more. The band promptly hired drummer Mike Mangini, and the music remains much the same. Powerful, aggressive, melodic and textured, you pretty much know what to expect from a Dream Theater record, and this album is no different.
Einherjer – Norren (Indie Recordings)
A Norwegian viking metal band formed in 1993, Einherjer deliver their fifth full-length today. The follow-up to 2003’s Blot, this album includes elements of viking metal but also incorporates elements of heavy metal, black metal and melodic metal. The songs are decent but nothing really sticks with you, and ultimately the record is alright but not spectacular.
Elks – Destined For The Sun (Tee Pee)
Holy shit! After listening to Destined For The Sun over at Elks’s Bandcamp page, I am blown away by this band. Crafting a style that mixes hardcore punk, psychedelia and sludge metal, this album is already one of my favorite records of the year.
Haste The Day – Haste The Day vs. Haste The Day (Solid State)
After announcing their break-up last year, Haste The Day are posthumously releasing a live album featuring the original and final lineup of the band performing songs from their back catalog. The 2xCD/DVD package was recorded in June 2010 at the release show of the band’s last record, Attack of the Wolf King. The two CDs feature similar setlists, spanning the band’s catalog and featuring each lineup on their own disc.
Mogwai – Earth Division EP (Sub Pop)
Mogwai are definitely one of the more experimental bands that lie on the edge of the metal landscape, and I hesitated even including this release at all in this column. Earth Division, their second release for Sub Pop, is an EP of piano and strings. It’s extremely chill music, not metal at all, but it’s good music for when you inevitably need a break from the loud.
Pathology – Awaken To The Suffering (Victory)
Traditional brutal death metal band Pathology have been making intense music since 2006. The new album Awaken to the Suffering continues on this path, and although they kick out some brutal jams, the result is somewhat bland. It takes something more than this to really make death metal stand out for me, and Pathology’s brand just doesn’t really separate itself from the pack.
Polar Bear Club – Clash Battle Guilt Pride (Bridge Nine)
We’ll start out by saying I don’t like this band. Given that, there are some things I like ABOUT the band. The song structures and even vocal delivery (in the less high-pitched ranges) are good, and the band knows how to write hooks that are almost pop punk without actually being that squeaky clean. The riffage in the verses is engaging, but the overall package just doesn’t appeal to me. This is the band’s third full-length, following 2009’s Chasing Hamburg.
Primus – Green Naugahyde (Prawn Songs/ATO)
Primus’s first new album since 1999’s Antipop. Featuring former drummer Jay Lane (who really only played for a brief period in the ‘80s) and Larry LaLonde on guitar and vocals, Les Claypool has stated that this album sounds similar to early material from the band, such as 1990’s Frizzle Fry. Primus make some pretty entertaining alternative metal, and this release should be an awesome listen.
So Many Ways – So Many Ways (Mightier Than Sword)
Quick, think of what the most annoying emo screamo band you can imagine sounds like.
The Devil Wears Prada – Dead Throne (Ferret)
While TDWP’s metalcore attack is tight and proficient, the band’s vocals are just too much for me. The harsh, raspy screams used during their verses are tolerable in light of the other musicians’ abilities, but then the chorus hits and it’s game over, man. TDWP are a band I’ve been ignoring for a while, seeing their awful band name attached to tours and drawing comparisons to bands I absolutely cannot stand, but I do have to admit the band has a great backing section. This is TDWP’s fourth release, and their second for Ferret Music.
Untimely Demise – City Of Steel (Sonic Unyon Recording Company)
This is some seriously sweet blackened thrash. This is the Saskatchewan crew’s debut effort, and they are impressive as hell. They play a great style of thrash, but on top of that, the leads and solos on these songs are definitely something to take notice of. Sonic Unyon is a small label for sure so this may be difficult to find, but definitely seek it out.
Vader – Welcome To the Morbid Reich (Metal Blade)
Vader have been delivering their brand of death metal for a while now, and they’re not a band that would come out of left field with something that completely betrays fans of their earlier work (like, say, Morbid Angel). Welcome To The Morbid Reich features Vader doing what they’ve always done: playing death metal, and playing it right. It’s not breaking barriers for the genre, but fans of straight death now have new music to crank.
We Came As Romans – Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be (Equal Vision)
We Came As Romans seem to be two bands superimposed onto the same track. Their tough-guy hardcore bit wears out its welcome quick, but then one completely bipolar shift later you have an extremely produced, melodic clean-signing chorus, then back again. In any event, I dislike both of these sides, and this is a record I won’t be listening to again.
Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord)
Atmospheric, moody and epic black metal is what WITTR do best, as evidenced by their previous output. This, the first since 2009’s Black Cascade, sees them continue to put their own spin on black metal, delving into long folk-like passages and heavy use of synth. The band definitely sets their own course and does their own thing, and it’s done to great effect on this record.
Wolves Like Us – Late Love (Prosthetic)
This Norwegian crew already released Late Love earlier this year on their side of the globe, and now we get this release stateside. Wolves Like Us play a sort of punk/hardcore that strips away many of the edgier parts of the sound. As a result it feels like these songs are really holding back, which is not to say they aren’t good, you just leave the music with a sense of wanting a little more. This is the band’s second stateside release.