Naturally, as is always the way, there are just far too many anticipated releases during the coming year to fit into one post. Therefore, you’ll be delighted to know that I’ve put this second post together to raise awareness of yet more very important albums that are scheduled to be released during 2015. Based on the content of this and the original Part 1, it really looks like 2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year. I’m sure that there will be several surprises over the course of the coming 12 months, but for now, here are some more exciting prospects for the Man Of Much Metal:
I recently undertook an interview with Diego Cafolla of Italian prog metal band Kingcrow, simply because I’m a huge fan and I felt that, based on the quality of the music that they play, have been criminally overlooked by large sectors of the metal-loving public – their last record, the awesome ‘In Crescendo’ was deservedly one of my favourite albums from 2013. Of course I’m accept that progressive metal will never be as popular as other genres but Kingcrow write cracking music out of the top drawer, full of both overt and subtle complexity coupled with strong songwriting and a genuinely heavy edge. Kingcrow are quite simply one of the best in the genre right now and are worthy of your attention – I have very high hopes for a new album, pencilled in for release in the middle of the year.
If I’m entirely honest, my interest in dark melodic metallers Kamelot has waned slightly over the course of their last few albums. Early releases such as ‘Karma’ are huge genre classics for me and, with the addition of Seventh Wonder’s Tommy Karevik on vocals, I am ever hopeful that the band can reignite my enthusiasm and re-engage me. I want big choruses, heavy riffs and dark lyrical themes; if I get these things, I’m sure a new album in 2015 will be a huge success.
Speaking of Tommy Karevik and Seventh Wonder, 2015 could be the year that we see a new album from this uber-talented Swedish band. With ‘Mercy Falls’ a few years ago, Seventh Wonder announced themselves as one of the very best prog metal bands on the planet. Blending tons of technicality with memorable melodies and almost pop-like vocal melodies, Seventh Wonder tick all the boxes and deliver a more than satisfying listening experience each and every time. There are some bands that can seemingly do no wrong and Seventh Wonder are one of those without doubt.
Rumours abound that American prog metal stalwarts Symphony X are due to deliver a long-awaited new album in 2015. Beginning life in more of a neo-classical vein, recent outputs have remained progressive but display far more in terms of heaviness and that ‘grunt factor’, injecting groove and a sense of menace into their prog framework. Fans are divided as to which direction they’d like the new album to take but whatever the result, you can guarantee that guitar virtuoso Michael Romeo, vocalist extraordinaire Russell Allen and the rest of the band will not produce anything that’s lacking in quality. A new Symphony X record is always an exciting event.
Here’s another band that found themselves nestled nicely in my 2013 end of year ‘best of’ series with the fantastic ‘Nine’. Norwegian band Circus Maximus are yet another superb progressive metal band that need to be part of your lives. Again, the compositions can be complex and relatively epic-sounding but they also manage to incorporate almost AOR melodies and choruses into their songs, meaning that a Circus Maximus album can be both challenging and beautifully memorable. It’s not 100% confirmed that a new album will see the light of day in 2015, but I certainly hope the rumours are true!
Pagan’s Mind were the first band ever to receive a full 10/10 from me as a reviewer at Powerplay Magazine, for the amazingly good ‘God’s Equation’ some years ago. Since then, the Norwegians have tweaked their sound to become more hard-rock influenced and melodic, moving away ever so slightly from their more proggy roots. For me, this is not a problem because the compositions are so strong and well put-together that you can’t help but get swept up in their personal brand of hard rock and heavy metal.
The older I get, the more interested I become in the melodic hard rock genre. The name Eclipse is one of the biggest from my perspective and news of a new album is met with glee. Their last outing ‘Bleed And Scream’ contained some of the very best songs that the genre has delivered in recent years and, alongside H.E.A.T and a couple of others, they are the band that I get most excited about. I have absolutely no doubt that the ludicrously-titled ‘Armageddonize’ will deliver some of the most ridiculously excellent hook-laden feel-good anthems of the year.
Ever since I discovered the rather magical ‘Irreligious’ as an impressionable teenager many years ago, Moonspell has remained a name that retains a place in my heart. More recent output has moved away a little from the out-and-out Gothic metal blueprint of their early days in favour of a more menacing, dark and extreme sound. Nevertheless, subsequent albums have always been rich, lavish affairs with plenty of great material to enjoy. I have no reason to question that their new release will be any different and, with the immediately recognisable Fernando Ribeiro behind the mic, what could possibly go wrong?
I have absolutely no idea whether we’ll see a new Haken release during 2015. I know that the band are actively writing new material, but maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part. However, ‘The Mountain’ is magnificent and was my number 1 album of 2013, so it’s not surprising that I fervently hope for a new album sooner rather than later. Put simply, Haken are the best young progressive band out there at the moment, displaying an almost limitless ability to create music that’s complex, thought-provoking, outright bonkers and extremely memorable. I’m a total fanboy but I don’t care – I’m keeping my fingers crossed.