I know, I know, it’s getting a little silly now isn’t it? I’m beginning to lose count but here are another ten or so bands that either are or may be likely to release new material during 2015. It was all sparked by the first band in my list who I only just realised were in the process of writing new material. Knowing this, I couldn’t afford to miss them off my list as they are such a great band.
If for any reason you’ve missed parts 1-3, you can access them here:
As stated, Wolverine are one of the main catalysts for this fourth instalment ever since I realised a new album was on the horizon for 2015. The Swedish progressive metallers are a special and unique band and have been around for a relatively long time. Their debut was released in 2001 but they’ve only managed three further albums since. Social media updates tend to suggest however, that new material should see the light of day this year and news like this makes me very happy indeed. There are few acts out there that manage to offer progressive rock/metal that is so complex, rich, grandiose and full of gritty melancholy. Their last album, ‘Communication Lost’ is a marvellous album that is dark, sombre and very poignant, to the point that it can sometimes be a difficult listen depending on your mood. However, the music itself is fantastic, managing to be heavy and complicated yet subtle and very beautiful. A new Wolverine album is bound to be of the highest calibre possible and I cannot wait to hear it.
With one of my favourite bands of all time releasing one of the best albums of their career last year, the pressure is on for another of my most important bands, Katatonia. The Swedish dark metallers are in a rich vein of form at the moment, a moment that has seemingly lasted their entire career. These guys do not release mediocrity, it’s not in their vocabulary. Top class song writing, professionally executed and positively dripping with beautiful fragility underpinned by a heavy, gritty exterior – what’s not to like? With the release of a live DVD to celebrate the ‘Dethroned and Uncrowned’ acoustic tour that took place last year, it is probably expecting too much for a follow-up to the exemplary ‘Dead End Kings’. Nevertheless, I live in hope – 2015 would be magical if Jonas Renkse, Anders ‘Blakkheim’ Nystrom and Co. could deliver us new material. Fingers crossed.
One of these posts wouldn’t be the same without a mention for one of my favourite extreme metal bands of all time. To contextualize this statement, their 1997 release, ‘Enthrone, Darkness, Triumphant’ is one of my top 5 albums of all time. Beginning life as a black metal band, more recent output is probably better referred to as ‘extreme metal’. There are plenty of black metal elements to the Norwegian’s sound but such is the rich tapestry of influences that play a part within the modern Dimmu sound, curt pigeonholing into the black metal genre would be disingenuous. Each release from Shagrath et al is a slick, professional affair where the final product shines through a powerful and crystal-clear production. The symphonic elements and grandiose bombast provide a majestic and theatric sheen to what is, at heart, pretty bruising and uncompromising heavy metal. There’s no official confirmation of a new album in 2015, but this is an educated guess on my part.
Swallow the Sun
As with Dimmu Borgir above, there has been no official confirmation of a new album in 2015 from Swallow the Sun. However, the Finnish purveyors of ‘gloom, beauty and despair’ have not graced fans with new material since the magnificent ‘Emerald Forest And The Blackbird’ back in 2012. I’m pretty confident of a return in 2015 and I certainly hope I’m not mistaken because Swallow the Sun are my personal favourite melodic doom metal band. The blend of crushing brutality, timeless elegiac melodies and impressive vocals that flit between a guttural growl and a fragile clean delivery all come together to create something rather epic and grandiose. No-one does this kind of music better.
Israeli progressive metallers Distorted Harmony were one of the big surprises of 2014 for me. Their sophomore release, ‘Chain Reaction’ made an appearance high up my ‘best of’ list and rightly so. The debut was practically a Dream Theater clone but with ‘Chain Reaction’, it was as if the band threw away the rulebook from the days of the debut and promptly reinvented themselves. The results were rather stunning and so I am really excited to learn that there will be even more new material in 2015, albeit in the shape of an EP rather than a full-length album. It’s a shame but I look upon it as a bonus rather than anything else, given the impressively quick-fire turnaround.
Here’s a band that require and deserve a lot more love and attention than they get currently. As such, they’re a perfect fit for this post. Italian prog metallers Pathosray are a slightly different proposition to many of their peers in that they are certainly prog but not in the classic, conventional sense. Their compositions are full of the requisite complexity but they’re also full of snarl and bite and more chops than you’d find at a butcher shop. Their melodies are also interesting in that they’re not always what you’d expect. This makes their releases a challenge at times but ultimately very rewarding. Pre-release bravado and puff is always full of hyperbole but the comments coming out of the Pathosray camp ahead of their third album and first for some six years have seriously piqued my interest.
Norwegian metallers Borknagar have been favourites of mine for quite some time. Rather simplistically, they could be seen as the middle ground between straight forward pagan black metal and the more avant-garde stylings of compatriots Arcturus et al. What I love about this band is that they are both heavy and extreme yet manage to find room for a few progressive ideas and plenty of classic folk melodies. Unique vocals sit atop blast beats one minute and then growls appear intermingled with a more subtle and laidback section the next.
When I was discovering the delights of black metal in my late teens, Hecate Enthroned were one of my favourites. They were heavily inspired by Cradle of Filth in that their compositions were full of Gothic theatrics, symphonics and more melody than you’d think on a first listen. The band turned all death metal on us in the late 90’s and since then, the output from the UK band has not been prolific. However, they are a band that always piques my interest when I hear their name mentioned and I am more than hopeful for a new album sometime in 2015.
Ah Bal Sagoth. That most intriguing and entertaining of extreme metal bands. I discovered this UK-based band very early on in my exploration of music that pushed the boundaries and they’ve been an important part of my collection ever since. Led by the enigmatic Byron, they fuse the fury and aggression of black metal with fantasy lyrics and more synth-led bombastic symphonics than you’d think possible in music of this kind. One glance at album titles such as ‘Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima thule’ and you get the idea. This is overblown, pompous extreme metal but it works brilliantly. The band have gone very quiet since signing for Nuclear Blast and releasing ‘The Cthonic Chronicles’ banck in 2006. However, I remain ever hopeful that after a wait of the best part of a decade, we get another record. Please Byron, sir, please?
Despite not originating from the city, Soilwork are one of the very best that the Gothenburg movement has produced. Throughout their career that has spanned 20 years and 9 albums, it is hard to point to any of their output that falls below a high standard. Their sound has changed over the years, some releases are better than others and the band has suffered from line up changes that could have been crippling for lesser acts. However, the Helsingborg-based Swedish melodic death metal band has kept plugging away with plenty of relative success and remain high in my affections. If melodic death metal with a demonstrable thrash metal edge sounds like your thing, then it is time to get excited about the prospect of album number 10 during 2015.