This series is never finished. There are always new announcements that are made as the year progresses and I enjoy putting these compilations together to ensure that I place the spotlight on albums that I’m really excited to hear during the year. So here’s another batch of releases that have got my juices flowing…
DGM – TBC
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Italy’s DGM. Their brand of melodic, progressive power metal (if you want to call it that!) has always been of a very good quality and so I have a disc or two of theirs proudly nestled in my CD collection within the Mansion of Much Metal.
After a quiet period, we have recently found out that the band have begun recording their new, as yet untitled album at Domination Studio. The most recent post showed the photo below alongside the following quote:
“2020 starts in the best way with the recordings of the new album.
This week it’s Andrea’s bass turn.
We worked on the songwriting of the new songs for more than 2 years and we can’t wait for you to listen to the new material.”
For those of you unfamiliar with their output, check out the song below and hopefully you’ll be as eager as I am to hear what they come up with next.
Allen/Olzen – Worlds Apart
Frontiers Music – 6 March 2020
I remember a few years ago now, being floored by the debut album from Russel Allen and Jorn Lande, entitled ‘The Battle’. It was a melodic rock tour-de-force, written by Magnus Karlsson (The Ferrymen, Primal Fear, Starbreaker) and featured two incredible singers at the top of their game.
Frontiers like to bring musicians together to create projects and offer something a little different. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t to be honest. However, this new release is their latest attempt to bring some big names in rock/metal together to create a bit of magic. Again Karlsson is the primary songwriter, charged with writing music to allow Russell Allen and Anette Olzen to shine behind the microphone.
It may work, it may be the biggest turkey this side of Christmas. However, based on the first song you can hear below, I think it might, just might, have some potential.
Airbag – TBC
I adore Airbag, and have done ever since my old boss mentioned them in passing one day in the office. I checked them out and fell in love almost immediately. The combination of gorgeous melodies, subtle progressive elements, and the emotion and atmospheric nature of the music combine to create something quite devastatingly beautiful. If you think of something along the lines of an amalgam of Anathema, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and modern Marillion, you’d not be too far off the mark.
I gave ‘Disconnected’, their 2016 album a 9.25 score and I stand by that mark – it is a grower of an album but my goodness, it grows into something quite magical and almost otherworldly. And then, when you factor in the quality of recent solo releases by guitarist Bjørn Riis, you can be certain that this Norwegian quartet have a wealth of ability and inspiration from which I have no doubt, another beautifully smooth and elegant album will be created.
The following was posted recently on social media, just to get us all excited:
“Friends! Here’s a very short taste of what’s to come! We’re in our rehearsal studio listening to an early mix of the new album, which is set for a release later this year.”
Nightwish – HUMAN. :II: NATURE.
Nuclear Blast – 10 April 2020
Ok, I’ll admit it: I have never been the biggest fan of Nightwish. Whilst the entire world goes gaga over the Finnish symphonic metal sensations, I have always remained a little more reserved. Their high-water mark for me, was the incredibly impressive ‘Once’ that was released in 2004, whilst Tarja Turunen was still behind the microphone.
Since then, the band have had their issues in the vocal department, recruiting first Anette Olzen and then Floor Jansen. The latter has been a huge success but that’s hardly surprising given Jansen’s charisma and incredible abilities. And yet, I have never fully immersed myself in any of the albums released in recent times.
Nevertheless, I remain interested and keen to hear what the band have in store for us in 2020, an interest that has been piqued of late with the excellent solo release from the giant bassist/vocalist Marko Hietala. I wonder whether the intriguingly-titled ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’ the ninth studio album of their successful career will be the one that finally makes the impact on me that previous records have had on others. Hopefully, I will be able to offer a review and you’ll be the first to find out.
Enslaved – TBC
Of ‘E’, their last studio album, I was quoted in my review as saying: “Enslaved are one of those bands that can literally do no wrong. However they decide to evolve their sound, their music always remains of the very highest order. They may have lost a few fans along the way but I’m sure they have gathered many more over the years. And deservedly so, because ‘E’ further cements Enslaved’s credentials as one of the most accomplished, exciting and brave extreme metal bands in the world today.”
It is safe to say then, that I admire and love this Norwegian band. Beginning life as a Norse-inspired black metal band, they have slowly and deliberately morphed into something far more interesting and nuanced. Call them ‘prog’, call them ‘extreme’, call them what you like – the fact remains that Enslaved do their own thing and are truly unique, testing boundaries, exploring new textures, tones and soundscapes And every single time, it seems to work.
Hearing direct from their label, Nuclear Blast, that the band have recently been to Iceland to shoot a video for their new album therefore fills me with joy. I can’t wait to hear what the band have come up with this time for their fifteenth album. No title or release date as yet, but watch this space…