10 Metal Albums to Check Out This Fall
Fall brings many things. The changing of the leaves. Labor Day barbecues. The Jewish High Holy Days. The Pagan celebration of Samhain. Razor blades in the apples. That's to say nothing of the ensuing global hysteria as we hurtle towards the Mayan calendar apocalypse on Dec. 21.
So, before the world explodes in a fiery conflagration of magma, volcanic rock and all the best parts of the bible (to quote Billy Bob Thorton in Armageddon) , be sure to check Amazon, iTunes or the last remaining record stores for this clutch of highly anticipated discs and downloads. It was no easy feat to pare 'em down to a ten-spot, but these are the ones we've got iron woodies for.
So, in alphabetical order, here are 10 albums we're really excited to hear this fall.
A War You Cannot Win, All That Remains (November on Razor & Tie)
All That Remains have once again picked up ball from Bay State homies like Killswitch Engage and served up pure Mass-metal for fans of all things heavy. Says frontman Phil Labonte, "For this album we tried to do some new stuff (like we always do) and we're really happy about what came out of it. Some of it is pretty different and is REALLY going to surprise fans but some of it is what we do best, straight ATR hard music. We are gonna get out there and hit the road hard this year. We previewed the first single this week and people are going nuts for it. Get into it."
The Parallax II: Future Sequence, Between the Buried And Me (Oct. 9 on Metal Blade)
Between the Buried and Me fortify their reign as the Rush of modern metal. This one is by far the most engaging and (dare we say?) 'Accessible' work to come these aural overachievers to date. According to guitarist Paul Waggoner: "With this full-length we really went for it, we left nothing on the table - if we came up with an idea we thought was cool we did it. It's an extremely dynamic record, it's over seventy minutes of music and never really settles into one style, and we've got some different instruments on there too. There's some banjo and mandolin and sitar, and we had friends come in and play some saxophone, and there's a flute solo on there too. It's still rooted in guitar, bass and drums, but there's some interesting other flavors on there as well, which is exciting for us as a band."
The Manticore & Other Horrors, Cradle of Filth (Oct. 30 on Nuclear Blast)
Never afraid to shift things up (or put out an album every year and a half), British "dark" (file under: gothic, black, evil and slightly Hot Topic-friendly) metallers, Cradle of Filth deliver their tenth album with the promise of shorter, more straightforward, punk and new wave of British heavy metal-influenced songs. "This is our 10th commandment in metal," states irascible frontman Dani Filth. "We have diversified and kept alive the spirit of this band and breathed it into something that I can proudly say, slays like an absolute motherfucker. The Manticore is coming... Long live The Filth!"
Down IV: The Purple EP, Down (Sept. 18 on Down Records/ILG)
Down is as Down does. When frontman Phillip Anselmo and his not-so-merry-band mulled over their first batch of material since 2007's Down III: Over The Under, they decided to forego the normal album route. Instead, they'll be issuing their fourth release in a quintet of EP's: each focusing on a single aspect of their sound. Two will be heard in Anno 2012. Two more in 2013 – at least that's the plan. Down IV: The Purple EP dwells in the realm of downtrodden tuneage and aural doom. "The worst thing anyone could do is to count on Down for holding a bargain on timelines," frontman Phil Anselmo tells Rolling Stone Online. "All I can say is expect it. I'm sure it'll happen, we haven't let you down before."
Riitiir, Enslaved (Sept. 28 on Nuclear Blast)
With an album title that translates (roughly) into "rite" or "ritual", the prog-obsessed Pagans hang onto their Viking crown as the Dream Theater of Asgard. "Describing the sound on the new album is both easy and hard," admits founding guitarist Ivar Bjornson. "It is easy because it sounds like Enslaved. It is hard because there are so many layers and different focal points. I have a feeling that it has a deeper complexity than our previous efforts, but at the same time, I do find it more catchy and moving."
Years Past Matter, Krallice (Aug. 25, Self-Released)
Brooklyn avantists Krallice step away from the pulpit of U.S. black metal within their self-released Years Past Matter and create a masterpiece of diabolical extremities. Death, black, prog, noise – it's all here. "I think this record has more riffs than our other records", says vocalist and guitarist Mick Barr. "We kept the vocals to a minimum again. Some say we are no longer black metal, some say we never were to begin with. I have no idea." Why is Krallice going it alone on the label front rather than working with their current label, Profound Lore? "We have self released the cd because the label we normally work with had its hands full for the year and we didn't want to wait," says Barr. Pick up the album directly from the band at this link.
Honor Found in Decay, Neurosis (Oct. 30 on Neurot Recordings)
Power Trip (Nov. 20 on Southern Lord)
Texans Power Trip are steadily gaining a rep that might get them known as the "other" Cowboys From Hell. With only a 7" to get them notice, not merely did Southern Lord sign 'em, but these ardent worshippers of '80s crossoverists like NYC's Leeway also scored an upcoming tour with Off! and Negative Approach. "Expect some neck breaking riffs, some ripping thrash metal with a punk attitude," guitarist Blake Ibanez tells Noisecreep about the upcoming album. 'We have our style - it's ours without apology. We're punks playing thrash metal like the bands we're influenced by: Exodus and Nuclear Assault, even Cro-Mags"
Apocryphon, The Sword (October on Razor & Tie)
Austin's disciples of the riff find themselves a new label home at Razor & Tie and pair with producer J. Robbins (Clutch). Hipsters and Heshers should expect to be floored. "Apocryphon is a fresh start for us," states lead guitarist Kyle Shutt. "We're on a new label and have a new drummer, but musically it's a culmination of everything we've done up to this point and, to me, is a reflection of everything we've been through the last couple of years. It's gritty and mean, and I think J. Robbins really helped capture our attitude."
Time 1, Wintersun (Oct. 19 on Nuclear Blast)
The Finnish Chinese Democracy? In the eight years between albums, Wintersun's self-titled debut album has become a watershed moment in Scandinavian metal. Hyper-speed tempos, Yngwie Malmsteen-worthy guitar-shred, swelling synths and huge, so-called "pagan metal" braggadocio made for a tough act to beat. Now, after Axl-ian-proportioned delays that include stress, writer's block, computer crashes and who knows what else, mainman Jari Maenpaa is finally putting the finishing touches on the first volume of a two record, sure-to-be Use Your Illusion-proportioned opus. Time-II is supposedly due in 2013. If history is any indication, that's a 50/50 proposition. In the meantime, Euro-metal fans, rejoice!