In moving forward from the recent Top 10 so far list on the Blerd last week, I give you my “Top 5 metal albums guaranteed to kick your ass during the next 6 months without hearing a note”. Catchy title, right?
1. Will Haven: Voire Dire> The first album that vocalist Grady Avenell has sung on since 2001′s Carpe Diem (And one of my Top 5 albums of all time). When Will Haven reformed a few years ago, I was excited not only at the prospect of potentially seeing them live finally but also for new music. Avenell started in on what would become The Hierophant but backed out before the final product was released so longtime cohort and Red Tape vocalist Jeff Jaworski laid down vox for that one. The demo’s with Grady that preceded it were phenomenal, the final result of The Hierophant, though, not so much. Avenell is a monster behind the mic and no vocalist today sounds anything like him. Plus, you have Slipknot’s Chris Fehn on bass….Will Haven are THE band to watch this fall. First song should be up real soon and you can bet I’ll be featuring that in this space. (Out October 6th)
2. Testament: Dark Roots Of The Earth> Jesus, even the title sounds metal as fuck. These Bay Area thrashers have always been my favorite thrash band. The Formation of Damnation, their 2008 “comeback” album that featured the return of guitar god Alex Skolnick, solidified their rep as one of the most underrated metal bands who still make killer music in the 21st century. This one is supposed to mix that album and 1999′s The Gathering and Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Dethklok, Fear Factory) laid down the drums in the studio. Tell me a metal album that’s going to be better. (Expected October 2011)
3. Mastodon: The Hunter>Mastodon can do no wrong for me. I’ve loved them since Remission. Concept album or no concept album, The Hunter is sure to deliver on all fronts. And you can’t get any more metal than having song titles like “Blasteroids”, “Black Tongue”, and “Curl of the Burl”. (Expected October 2011)
4. Machine Head: Unto The Locust> 4 Years is way to long to wait for an album in this day and age. Luckily, this is Machine Head we’re talking about so you know it’ll be worth the wait. In my opinion, these are the guys who are destined to inherit the thrash throne should any of the still-touring/still-recording ’80′s giants ever choose to retire. Continuing their trend of epic songs, …Locusts starts out with “I Am Hell”, described by guitarist Phil Demmel as a sonata in three parts. A metal sonata! And that’s the opener. The first actual taste of this album was “Locust” which has a run time of over 7 minutes long and with only 7 supposed tracks in all, Unto The Locust is gonna be a long one…(Out September 27th)
5. Dir En Grey: Dum Spiro Spero>These Japanese metallers continue to make compelling, intricate, and downright indescribable music. It’s pop, it’s prog, it’s metal, it’s thrash. It’s all over the place and it’s most certainly good. Much like Rammstein, they sing in their native tongue (Japanese, duh!) but when vocalist Kyo does sing in English, you can barely tell through the screams. If you haven’t checked these guys out yet, you definitely should. (Out August 2nd)
Also notable, heavy, and heading your way late summer/fall: Meshuggah (Who would’ve been in the Top 5 if I could find any solid and recent info on their new one), MonstrO (Featuring members of Bloodsimple and Torche, produced by AIC’s William Duvall, and on tour with The Sword and Kyuss Lives! this fall), Gojira, Every Time I Die, The Empire Shall Fall, Jack Burton Vs. David Lopan, and thrash titans (And half of the Big Four) Megadeth and Anthrax (Featuring the return of Joey Belladonna).