Metal Update – 21 September 2018

Who’s working hard for you, eh? Another day, another round-up of important news in the world or rock and heavy metal – the stuff that I think you’ll be interested in checking out for one reason or another. As always, there’s an eclectic mic of music to follow in today’s round-up, so I hope there genuinely is something of interest for you to check out.

If you’ve missed some of my recent round-ups, they can all be viewed via the following links:

19 September 2018
2 September 2018
30 August 2018
14 August 2018
7 August 2018

However, let’s get on with things. And I make no apology for starting with something a little more intense and genuinely moving. It certainly puts things into sharp perspective…

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My Dying Bride
‘TBC’
Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: TBC

Cancer. Such an evil disease. And to read that the five-year-old daughter of Aaron Stainthorpe was struck down with the illness last year, causing the My Dying Bride to cancel all outstanding live dates, sent a chill through my heart. As a father of a 6-year-old and a nearly 4-year-old, as well as someone who lost his brother to the disease at the age of 26 nearly a decade ago, my empathy for Aaron is bottomless. Frankly, I’d like to give the guy a hug.

The great news however, is that his daughter has beaten the disease and, In Aaron’s words, is clear of cancer. And to add the icing on this wonderful cake, is the revelation that a new My Dying Bride album is almost completely written. I cannot begin to imagine how the events of the last year will impact upon the writing and the lyrics, but I cannot wait to hear what I hope will be a raw, honest, emotional and, above all, deeply cathartic final product. I love this band and it is with genuine delight that they are back, albeit even more battle-scarred than ever before.

Universal Mind Project
‘TBC’
Inner Wound Recordings
Release date: TBC

I was blown away by the debut album from a band called Universal Mind Project in 2016. The album was entitled ‘The Jaguar Priest’ and it was a most excellent slab of grandiose melodic metal with the odd progressive touch as well as a healthy dose of power and symphonic metal. It also featured a plethora of guest vocalists to great effect.

Well, it looks like the same can be said of the eagerly-awaited sophomore release which is yet to be titled and given a firm release date. So far, the guests confirmed for the new record include Riot V vocalist Todd Michael Hall, Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires and Mark Jansen of Epica and Mayan fame. It is a shame that Elina Laivera departed after the release of ‘The Jaguar Priest’, but the guests assembled so far are going a long way to soften the blow.

Take a listen to the first snippets of the new album to accompany Hall’s arrival – to me it sounds pretty excellent, I hope you’ll all agree?

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Soilwork
‘TBC’
Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: TBC

By now, it should be no secret that I have a huge soft spot for Soilwork. The Gothenburg melodic death metal band, fronted by the irrepressible Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid have released albu after album of quality material over the years, the kind of heavy and abrasive, yet catchy and melodic metal that I just can’t ignore. In recent years, the music has undoubtedly taken a turn for the heavier but based on the three studio webisodes (all below), things might change again a little bit.

Key words and phrases that piqued my interest within the webisodes include ‘melancholic melodies’, ‘uplifting music’, ‘new elements’, ‘keyboards’ and ‘experimental’. When done right, I’m a huge fan of keyboards so this is exciting for me, as are the promised melancholic melodies. I know that this record is likely still a long way off, but I’m really excited to hear it and bring you my thoughts on it in due course.

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Roine Stolt’s The Flower King
‘Manifesto of an Alchemist’
InsideOut Music
Release date: 23 November 2018

The news about this release isn’t new having hit the public conscience around a week ago. However, I missed the news until earlier today, so it’s new to me. And if I’d missed the news, I figured I’d not be the only one, so I thought it was worth highlighting within this round-up.

According to the press release, and Stolt himself, the 70-minute-long album came together very quickly and in an unorthodox manner. Sometimes this kind of thing can lead to the best music, so I’m very intrigued to hear what the member of The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, The Sea Within et al has up his sleeve here, especially seeing as he has amassed an impressive and familiar cast of musicians to assist. Joining Stolt are Jonas Reingold, Hasse Froberg, Michael Stolt, Marco Minneman, Nad Sylvan and many others besides, meaning that even if the ten songs suck, their delivery won’t. Mind you, has anything associated with Roine Stolt ever sucked? No, of course not, so I’m expecting good things here too. Plus, the artwork alone would have drawn me in to checking this out, as it’s wonderful. Roll on late November!

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Divine Ascension
‘The Uncovering’
ViciSolum Productions
Release date:16 November 2018

Here’s a little gem for you – news of a new record from Australian melodic progressive metal band, Divine Ascension on the ViciSolum label. ‘The Uncovering’ is the band’s third release and it threatens to be a dark horse for 2018. I had no idea a new record was on the horizon until I received the email in my inbox a day or two ago.

Just take a listen to the track below to get an idea of what to expect. However, if you like properly melodic heavy metal with a progressive vibe, then I suspect this’ll be right up your street. There is definitely a dark Evergrey vibe to their output despite the female lead vocals, something that perhaps the band recognise themselves because none other than Tom Englund is due to guest on this new record. Had I not been into their music before, this alone would have piqued my interest enough to check them out. Do yourselves a favour and acquaint yourselves with Divine Ascension immediately.

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Beyond Creation
‘Algorythm’
Season of Mist
Release date: 12 October 2018

And finally, if you ever wanted another reason to feel about as inferior as possible, I invite you to check out the latest video released by Beyond Creation ahead of the release of their new album, ‘Algorythm’ on 12 October. These progressive death metalheads from Canada make technical and complex extreme metal look like child’s play. It just isn’t fair. But instead of moaning and whinging, I shall put my energy into simply enjoying their output, for it really is a thing of complicated beauty. I hope you agree?

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