This month's summary features a bunch of new albums, touches upon news regarding upcoming releases and tours, as well as the compulsory stupid-but-too-funny-to-exclude-tidbit.
Exodus - The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A
Release Date: October 23 Label: Nuclear Blast Genres: Thrash metal
The new Exodus album turned out to be a very amibitous but didn't manage to go the whole 9 tracks. Brutal, well produced and well played, but somewhere around the halfway mark, it started to drag pretty bad. Gary Holt managed created a real thrash album, but herein lies the problem: real, true to the bone thrash isn't all that exciting when the songs crawl up towards 9-10 minutes. In the UG review (which features a lenghtier discussion than this summary), it's stated that "The Atrocity Exh.." lacks dynamics which would've helped the longer tracks stay interesting. In the end, the album turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag, with some great thrashers and a few filler-esque tracks.
Soilwork - Sworn To A Great Divide
Release Date: October 19 Label: Nuclear Blast Genres: Melodic Metal
One of the more anticipated releases this fall, at least regarding bands connected in one way or another to the Gothenburg scene. Unfortunately, the album is quite workmanlike, containing little new. You get a feeling they just entered the studio and laid down a bunch of tunes, like it was their 9-5 job. I'll be lazy and steal a quote from the UG review: "Soilwork have their formula which works good enough for them, but it also gets a bit repetitive. The songs are very predictable and after my compulsory 7-10 listens, I'm frankly quite bored. The performances by the individual members leaves nothing to be desired, all the elements are there but the spark just never bursts into flame."
Avenged Sevenfold - Avenged Sevenfold
Release Date: October 30 Label: Warner Bros. Genres: Hard Rock, Metal, Metalcore
I have not listened or reviewed this myself, thus I can't pass any judgement on it. However, it's one of the bigger releases this month, and hence it's included in the column. Check out the UG review if you're interested.
Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes: Opeth Live
Release Date: October 23 Label: Peaceville Genres: Progressive Death Metal
Opeth's back catalogue is at this point in time, quite extensive. With a good number of albums under their belt, stringing together a set that pleases a majority of the fans is nigh impossible. And that's not even considering the length of their songs.
But, as awhole, this is a damn fine live album. The sound is very good, the performance is what you'd expect from these guys, and the setlist covers all their albums. I have precious little to complain about, except that "Baying Of The Hounds" didn't make it onto here, being one of my Opeth favourites. But, you can't win them all. Overall -- a damn fine live album that won't disappoint you. It'll be a good substitute until their new album is out, which they've just begun recording.
News And Tidbits From The Past Month
I'll start off with probably one of the most pleasing announcements this month. Black Sabbath, I mean, Heaven And Hell will record a new studio album together. Yes sir, Tony Iommi & Co will once again join forces to dish out some metal. I hope this pleases many a Sabbath-loyal, and gives Sharon Osbourne a headache. I've lost count of how many times I've seen headlines with Ozzy saying how much he'd love to do a new Sabbath album. It'll be interesting to see what they can conjure up together.
It's also been rumoured that the new Metallica album is due in February, but I'm doubting it. I'm sure a few art exhibitions will throw the guys off their schedule, and maybe a Christmas concert or two will push the album back yet another month.
Today (Oct 31st) a number of Iron Maiden tourdates were announced, and yours truly is pleased that his prediction in last month's column was more or less spot-on. A string of South American dates coupled with a handful of North American dates follows the India/Japan/Australia leg. Apparently there're more American shows to be announced at a later time, as well as the European dates (Nov 5th for Scandinavia).
The award for Most Surprising (Or Maybe Not) Reunion of the month goes to At The Gates, who have decided to wrap it all up with a series of festivals (and maybe more?) in the summer of 2008. Apparently the band felt that they wanted to bid their fans a proper farewell, due to the circumstances of their breakup around a decade ago. Rumours are rampant about a Carcass + At The Gates tour, and as far as I'm concerned, that would be the shiznit.
Controversy regarding Gorgoroth, and who has the rights to the name has arisen after the band splitting up with Infernus (guitar) on one side, Gaahl (vocals) and King ov Hell (bass) on the other. According to the band, rights regarding the name will be a matter of legal affairs. Gorgoroth, sans Infernus will however tour in 2007 with Nick Barker on drums and guitarists Teloch and Sykelig. In 2008, Hellhammer (Mayhem) will take over drumduties.
Finally, in this month's column, Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater has auctioned his boxing robe which he's worn after every show on several world tours. The money proceeded to charity, and now you ask me, how much was it? 2700 dollars. Now, all is good, it's going to charity, but... who the hell shells out 2700 dollars on a sweaty, smelly, boxing robe?
Well, that's all for the October installment. As usual, if you have suggestions, feel free to say so in the comments. See you next month.