Against Me! - White CrossesAgainst Me!'s new album White Crosses a few weeks ago, I have to admit that I was pretty underwhelmed. Upon initial listen it felt like a bland continuation of their last album, New Wave; however, upon further review, White Crosses is actually a pretty catchy, hooky and enjoyable album. It is still a far cry from the glory days of As The Eternal Cowboy and Searching For A Former Clarity, but the band has obviously moved on from their earlier sound and is going for what could be considered something a little more "mainstream" sounding. You're either with them or against them on that move.
Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire - Songs Of Ill Hope And DesperationClinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire have a pretty ridiculous name, but their music is described as "funeral grind" (doom metal + grindcore) which is instantly intriguing to a fan of underground metal like myself. The fact that they are on a respected metal label like Prosthetic further piques my interest in checking out their album Songs Of Ill Hope And Desperation.
Deer Tick - The Black Dirt SessionsDeer Tick early last year and have been a big fan ever since. Their first two albums War Elephant and Born On Flag Day are both stellar and today they release their latest, The Black Dirt Sessions. If you enjoy alt-country rock 'n' roll bands like Lucero, Band Of Horses, Drive-By Truckers, etc., then this band should be right up your alley and well worth checking out. And for today only, it is on sale for $3.99 on Amazon.
The Funeral Pyre - Vultures At DawnThe Funeral Pyre's new album Vultures At Dawn in a post from last week as one of two extreme metal albums that were streaming that I was curious to check out. I never got around to checking it out, but I'm still interested in hearing it as just like the aforementioned Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire, they are on respected metal label Prosthetic.
Nachtymystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. IINachtmystium's last album Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. 1 was a definitive black metal masterpiece; mainly because it completely ignored the confines and trappings of black metal and incorporated elements of decidedly non-black metal bands like Pink Floyd and instruments like saxophones into the mix. I've heard the new album Addicts: Black Meddle Part II a bunch of times now. It continues along the path started down on Assassins, but pushes the envelope even further. I'm not even sure you can call this black metal anymore as there are songs that sound like straight up alternative/indie rock (albeit with harsh vocals) and one song with a programmed drum loop that gives it an almost dance music vibe. Either way, I'm on the fence about how I feel about it. I definitely don't like it as much as Assassins, but I don't hate it either. Perhaps they tried too hard to be different and in doing so fell a little short of making something truly magnificent like they did with their previous album. I do keep going back to it to see if it will grow on me though, so at a minimum it is maintaining my interest.
Nevermore - The Obsidian ConspiracyDead Heart In A Dead World back in 2000. That wound up being one of my favorite albums released that year and I quickly snatched up all their back catalog and have picked up every release since. While Dead Heart In A Dead World is still my favorite (followed closely by 1999's Dreaming Neon Black), the band has put out two quality albums since in Enemies Of Reality and This Godless Endeavor (singer Warrel Dane's solo effort Praises To The War Machine is also quite good). Today they release their latest The Obsidian Conspiracy. I've had this album for a few weeks now and have been listening to it a fair amount. It is definitely their best effort since DHIADW. If you're never heard Nevermore, then the simplest description I can give you is to picture a thrash metal version of Queensryche. Incredible musicianship, great vocals (although Warrel is not nearly as operatic as Geoff Tate) and tons of hard driving rhythms mixed in with great melodies. I've always wondered why they have never gotten bigger and I'm not sure this album will necessarily be the one that breaks them, but as a Nevermore fan, I am more than pleased with this effort.
Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt OnePain Of Salvation have apparently been around for years, but I was just recently turned on to them and specifically their new album Road Salt One. I like this record a lot, but it is a bit of a schizophrenic listening experience. One minute you are hearing something akin to Seven Mary Three and the next something similar to Queen and then suddenly something like Steppenwolf. Every song isn't a success, but taken as a whole, the album works.
Wormrot - AbuseWormrot, but I'm intrigued by the story of how they got signed. Basically, Earache Records' president was turned on to the band by a blog, went on mediafire and "stole" their album Abuse, fell in love with it, signed the band and is now reissuing Abuse with bonus tracks. Earache Records is responsible for releasing many a landmark grindcore album by the bands that gave birth to that scene, but haven't really put out much grindcore in recent history. The guy who runs the label says this is because he hasn't heard much that has excited him recently. So, if the president of the label who was a definitive and essential part of the birth of grindcore thinks this band is pretty exciting, then they are probably worth fans of grindcore checking out. Also, the fact that Wormrot are from Singapore is interesting in and of itself because you don't hear of many extreme metal bands coming from Asia. And they do a cover of one my favorite bands the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on the album which is another point of interest.