It’s day 3 of my new mini-series where I dust of my crystal ball and bring you news of what albums are still to be released during the remainder of 2018. Already, I have brought you eight albums that threaten to be excellent additions to this year’s roster and today, I’m delighted to bring you four more. If you missed the first two parts of this mini-series, they can be viewed here:
On that note, let’s delve into the next set of big albums that I can’t wait to be released:
Date of release: September 2018
Following the death of guitarist Piotr Grudziński, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in fearing the worst for Riverside. Being such an integral part of their sound, I was convinced that the band might have to fold, with the remaining trio either disbanding entirely or re-starting together under a new guise. I was wrong. In 2016, we were treated to ‘Eye of the Soundscape’, but this didn’t feature new material per se, just re-imagined, more electronic versions of previously recorded tracks.
So ‘Wasteland’ is the Pole’s seventh album, the first completely original material since tragedy struck. And, if we are to believe the rhetoric of Mariusz Duda, this could be a very good release indeed:
“…get ready for a manly and emotional album. Waste7and is going to be a really accomplished one. It combines the emotional character of the first two and the production maturity of the latest two releases. If everything goes according to plan (as we’re still recording), the new RIVERSIDE album will simply destroy you.”
Big Big Train
‘Merchant of Light’
English Electric Recordings
Date of release: 27 July 2018
I’m not usually one for live albums but for Big Big Train, I am more than willing to make an exception. The main reason is because ‘Merchant of Light’ was recorded over the course of their three-show run at London’s Cadogan Hall last year, one of which I attended. It happened to be one of the very best gigs that I have ever been to, a genuinely magical experience that stayed with me long after the night was over. If you missed my review at the time, take a look here.
Every album that the UK progressive rock band release is a quality product in terms of the music and the packaging, an exercise in attention to detail and love for their art. I therefore know that the performance will have been captured in the best possible way, to bring the shows to life, both for those that were lucky enough to be there in person and those that weren’t. I can’t wait to be able to re-live that amazing evening back in September 2017. I suspect, based on the track listing, that it’d also make a great starting point for those currently unfamiliar with this special band.
‘War of the Worlds – Part 1’
Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group
Date of release: 27 July 2018
Being a big fan of Symphony X, it stands to reason that I am looking forward to hearing this record, a solo effort by the virtuosic guitarist and key Symphony X songwriter. From what I’ve heard of it so far, there are strong parallels to be heard between this album and the usual output of Symphony X. However, we’ve been assured that this is a varied album, with plenty of curveballs and new ideas thrown into the melting pot.
Modern metal soundscapes stand shoulder to shoulder with slower ballads, cinematic epics and music with more of a classic hard rock sheen. Or at least that’s what we’ve been told so far. I like what I hear and I’m really looking forward to the full listening experience. I’m even a fan of Rick Castellano’s vocals here, who possesses a strong and passionate voice and seems to be a good fit for Michael Romeo’s compositions. Take a listen to the track below if you’re interested and let me know what you think.
‘The Ghost Experiment’
Date of release: TBC
If I had such a thing as a prog metal top 10, Vanden Plas would be in it. The definition of consistency, they have released record after record of exceptional progressive metal. Of late, they have travelled a more dramatic, orchestral and cinematic path, lacing their technical and heavy framework with a grandiose sheen that is impossible to ignore.
Every album that they have released, especially from ‘Beyond Daylight’, has been a winner for me and I really can’t see their new album being any different. The title has been known for a long while, the band keep releasing photos and clips of progress in the studio, but we’re still none the wiser about a release date. Talk about keeping us on our toes. But the end result will be worth it, I’m sure of it.
Century Media Records
Date of release: TBC
There is no news yet on an official release date for this one, but recent updates from the band have confirmed that they have finished writing their new album, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the sensational ‘Winter Thrice’. This album ended up in my top five for 2016, with the title track justifiably being my favourite individual song of that same year. For an extreme metal fan, it was the prefect song, the ideal blend of complexity, atmosphere and epic, memorable and addictive melody. It is still a stunning song, one I listen to frequently.
If this new album is released in 2018, I shall be one very happy person because their black and folk-tinged, atmospheric extreme metal is arguably one of the very best around. And I have no doubt that with or without long term guitarist Jens F Ryland, the new record will be of an extremely high calibre.