I was going to stop after part 3, but new albums seem to be being announced all over the place now that the holiday season is a dim and distant memory for us all. As such, here’s another post detailing a few more exciting possibilities during 2018. And I’m not going to confirm that it’ll be the last either, because we all know that the minute this is published, more information will be revealed.
But for now, as I sit here in front of my loyal Machine of Much Metal, here are some more juicy releases to get your teeth stuck into during 2018:
Amorphis – TBC
Release date: TBC
Without doubt, Finnish metal band Amorphis are one of my ‘elite’, a band that I love and have loved for many years. As far as I’m concerned, ‘Tuonela’ remains their high water mark but previous album, ‘Under The Red Cloud’ pushed it very close, finishing 2015 in my end-of-year top 10.
Amorphis have grown from more extreme roots into a heavy, folk-tinged melodic metal band with occasional prog inflections. It is a wonderful formula that has transformed a very good underground band into a deserved big-hitter in the metal world. Huge choruses and chunky riffs stand at the heart of Amorphis’ music these days but I love the way that they have never fully relinquished their harsher past, with vocalist Tomi Joutsen equally at home singing cleanly or belting out his harsh gruff bark.
From their social media posts and their hashtag #amorphis13, the new album is nearly done and it appears to feature a guest or two, Anneke van Giersbergen being the highest profile. But best of all is this poor-sounding clip that nevertheless reveals a little of the Amorphis magic to come.
Immortal – TBC
Release date – TBC
You could never call me the biggest fan of Immortal, but for some reason I have always been fascinated by the band. Abbath, the man who has spawned a million memes, may have left the fold but the black metal entity continues via vocalist/guitarist Demonaz, drummer Horgh alongside session bassist Peter Tagtgren, who also produced this, his fifth Immortal album.
According to the press release issued by Nuclear Blast, the currently un-named record has been mastered and features the following tracks: ‘Northern Chaos Gods’, ‘Into Battle Ride’, ‘Gates To Blashyrkh’, ‘Grim And Dark’, ‘Called To Ice’, ‘Where Mountains Rise’, ‘Blacker Of Worlds’ and ‘Mighty Ravendark’.
I’m actually looking forward to hearing this release more than I initially thought. There is something about Immortal that just piques my curiosity. I don’t listen to them as much as perhaps I should but when I do, I really enjoy their trademark icy and epic-sounding black metal. I may not be the most qualified person to review it when it is released, but I’m sure I shall have fun doing so nonetheless.
Native Construct – TBC
Release date: TBC
Hailing from the Berklee College of Music, there was never going to be any doubt about the collective abilities of technical progressive metal band Native Construct. But could their skills translate into compelling and interesting song-writing? You bet they could.
There’s no denying the fact that ‘Quiet World’ is a challenge to even the most hardened of prog fans. However, I’m firmly of the opinion that it is well worth the effort. The complexity of the music does yield after a time and a surprising number of melodic moments do come to the fore. Some of the earworms are really quite addictive too. And for me, one of the biggest compliments I can give is to say that I really liked the debut in spite of there being no human drummer. I hope that this will be rectified for album two but so good were the programmed drums on the debut that it wouldn’t be a disaster if it isn’t. After all, drummer or no drummer, it was number 24 in my 2015 end-of-year top 30.
We don’t have much to go on regarding a new album, aside from a couple of teaser posts on social media, like below. So it remains to be seen whether I’m hoping a little too much.
At The Gates – TBC
Release date: TBC
There is very little moe that needs to be said regarding At The Gates. They are a seminal band, legends in fact. If you’ve not heard ‘Slaughter of the Soul’, one of the most important and influential melodic death metal albums of all time, you need to have a good long talk to yourself. Many argue that this was the album that started the whole genre in the first place. And it is amazing – 30 minutes of extreme metal perfection, culminating in ‘The Flames of the End’, one of the most stunning and atmospheric instrumentals ever penned.
When the band called it quits in 1996, most of us thought that it was the end. However, our dream was realised in 2007 when the Swedes announced that they had reformed to play some reunion shows across Europe. Then, at the beginning of 2014, we were informed that At The Gates were writing a new album. ‘At War With Reality’ was a superb record, worthy of the bands’ heritage. However, I have a sneaky feeling that the new album will be even better. Just call it a hunch. At the end of the day, At The Gates are one of the very best and whatever they produce is bound to be of the highest order.
There’s precious little music to be heard, but here’s the latest studio update for you to enjoy whilst we wait…
W.E.T – Earthrage
Release date: 23 March 2018
Without a doubt, W.E.T. are my favourite melodic hard rock bands. Mind you, given the clientele involved, it is hardly surprising. Not only is Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) behind the mic, he is joined by Erik Mårtensson of Eclipse and Robert Säll of Work of Art. Together they are part of and responsible for some of the best AOR and melodic rock over the last few years. Bring them together and the whole thing just smokes. The self-titled debut is probably my favourite melodic hard rock release of all time and the follow-up, ‘Rise Up’, isn’t far behind either.
Great musicianship, huge hooks and giant choruses. Together with heart and soul, all these elements combine perfectly and deliver music that sticks like glue in my mind and refuses to let go. The music is anthemic in the extreme and a joy to listen to from start to finish. This trio do not understand the concept of fillers – every track that bears the W.E.T name is worth your time and attention.
Have a listen to the first track released from the new album and tell me that it doesn’t warrant our excitement – I dare you!