Metal Update – 12 February 2018

Welcome to the second such update for 2018, bringing you a round-up of some of the most interesting and exciting news from the world of rock and heavy metal.

As you know, I don’t like to use manofmuchmetal.com to cut and paste news stories – I prefer to offer something a little more personal. Naturally, it means more work for me, but if the posts are useful or well-received, I don’t mind.

If you missed my update of 6th February, click here to check it out.

But on with today’s all-important update…

Kingcrow – The Persistence
Release date: TBC

Nope, still nothing. But I will keep mentioning this album because it deserves it. And I don’t want anyone to miss out on it when it finally sees the light of day. Trust me, the hype is real.

Kino – Radio Voltaire
Release date: 23 March 2018

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I always thought that Kino would remain a one-off. Whilst exploring the neo-prog genre in earnest about ten years ago, I discovered ‘Picture’, the debut release from the band that featured John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena) on guitar and lead vocals, Pete Trewavas (Marillion, Transatlantic) on bass, John Beck (It Bites) on synths and Chris Maitland on drums. It was a line-up to perk up any prog rock fan and the album delivered in the way you’d expect given the clientele.

And now, thirteen years on from the release of their debut, Kino have returned with their second album, ‘Radio Voltaire’. The line-up remains broadly the same, although drums are now handled by Craig Blundell

I’m really excited to hear this album, as I like just about everything that John Mitchell in particular turns his hand to. The guy is just a great musician and song writer. And joined by such a compelling group of musicians, this cannot go wrong. Check out the first song to be released from ‘Radio Voltaire’ below.

At The Gates – To Drink from the Night Itself
Release Date: 18 May 2018

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It is one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2018 and now we have the title and release date confirmed. At The Gates are considered to be one of the most influential and important bands in the ‘Gothenburg sound’ movement, or melodic death metal scene if you prefer. So every time they announce new material, excitement levels rise massively…or is that just me?!

I love the title of the album, but I don’t like the fact that we have to wait until mid-May to hear the record in its entirety. Patience has never been a strength of mine and it’ll be tested to the limit with this release. As soon as any music is released (probably less than 24 hours after this is posted), I’ll bring it to you.

TesseracT – Sonder
Release date: 20 April 2018

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I have been late to the TesseracT party but now that I am finally fully on board with the UK progressive metal band’s personal brand of music, it is with great delight that I can confirm that 2018 will see a brand new full-length album.

Just take a listen to the following track taken from their recently announced fourth album, ‘Sonder’ and watch your anticipation levels rise almost immediately.

Agent Fresco – TBC
Release date: TBC

On 7th February, the band took to social media to wish their guitarist/pianist Þórarinn ‘Toti’ Guðnason a happy birthday. However, within that post, they also stated that ‘Toti’ has been ‘insanely busy working on our next album’ – news that has seriously pleased me, and many others besides.

2015’s ‘Destrier’ ended up deservedly bagging a spot in my end of year list, having hugely impressed me. The Icelandic quartet deftly blended everything from math rock, to prog, to electronica, to ambient post-rock into an ear-catching record that still gives me goosebumps when I listen.

Forgive me for quoting my review, but I think it carries a strong sentiment that remains true today: “the biggest thing that strikes me with Agent Fresco and ‘Destrier’ is the way that the album flows from start to finish really beautifully, taking the listener on a journey throughout. That journey is comforting, scary, beautiful, sad, thought-provoking and often quite sombre. However, it is a journey that is never dull, always captivating and calls you inexorably back for more.”

A 2018 release isn’t confirmed, but if it were to happen, I’d be a very happy person indeed.

Universal Mind Project – TBC
Release date: TBC

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“Listening demos of the new stuff! Have a cool weekend everybody \m/ #universalmindproject”

In 2016, Universal Mind Project, featuring Darkwater’s Henrik Bath, Michael Alexander, Elaina Laivera and Alex Landenburg (Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody), came out of nowhere to knock my socks off. To quote my review of the debut album, ‘The Jaguar Priest’:

“Remarkably consistent, hugely engaging and expertly crafted, it has come out of nowhere to blow me away. As such, ‘The Jaguar Priest’ has ‘end of year top 10’ written all over it. Superb.”

As it turns out, the album did feature in my end-of-year list, albeit a little lower than I initially predicted, at number 22. Nevertheless, the melodic, symphonic and vaguely progressive metal of UMP was, and still is, very impressive. Dual male and female vocals, strong, memorable song writing and a plethora of mouth-watering guests (including Epica’s Mark Jansen, Symphony X’s Mike LePond and Pagan’s Mind’s Nils K. Rue) has meant that nearly two years on, I’m still listening to ‘The Jaguar Priest’ on a regular basis.

Just a week or so ago, a post was published by the band on social media to confirm that demo material for a follow-up album had been written. Then, just a couple of days ago came the news which confirms that work on the second UMP album remains ongoing. Whilst there is no news of a release date, this is good enough for me to ensure I’m just a little excited about the prospect of a new album in 2018.

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