As black friday, and the holiday shopping season approaches, we see a ton of releases come out.

Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1/ LP: No Past, No Future, No Sun

Any time Smashing Pumpkins releases anything, it’s going to make some noise. Whether people enjoy them or not, they, and most notably Billy Corgan, is one of the greatest songwriters to have reached massive notoriety in the 90s and beyond. Whether you’ve kept up with his career, or the band over the years, he always manages to release at least a song or two that is great per album. When word came down the road that Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha were back in the fold, people started clamoring for the return of D’arcy or Melissa Auf Der Maur, but alas you get Jeff Schroeder on guitar (he’s been with the band since 2007), and a live bassist. The album offers a mix of what you’d expect to hear from the classic lineup, with what Schroder and Corgan have been doing for some time now. You also have to tip your hat to Corgan for not just relying on the past, he’s always tried different things on all of his releases, whether it’s a gentle acoustic piece, to full bore smash mouth hard rockin riffs. He’s always loved hard rock and metal, I even heard him say that Screaming For Vengeance by Judas Priest was his guilty pleasure.

Nita Strauss – Controlled Chaos

Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss has unleashed her first solo album called Controlled Chaos. If you take into consideration her influences, her biggest being Steve Vai, you should not be surprised that this is an instrumental album. Even before joining Alice’s band, she was a member of the Iron Maidens, and was also part of the now defunct L.A. Kiss band. She’s appeared on a ton of WWE tv over the past year, providing her shredding prowess to Wrestlemania, NXT Takeovers and the Evolution pay-per-view. For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about an instrumental album, based on what I’ve heard off of the album, it reminds me of an old school Shrapnel album, full of bombast, whammy bar, and all sorts of guitar pyrotechnics. I easily get bored by instrumental albums, because either the songs consist of someone masterbating on guitar, with zero to no other redeemable qualities (I get it you can solo, and rhythm guitar what’s that?), or the composer forgets they’re releasing a rock album, and instead it’s an elaborate mellowed out piece that just puts me to sleep. Nita’s album seems far from either, and excites me like the first time I heard “Ice 9” or “Crushing Day”.

Chrome Division – One Last Ride

Chrome Division (CD) is Shagrath, Dimmu Borgir’s side project, if you’re hesitant to check CD out, it has zero to do with black metal.  The band is straight up hard rock/heavy metal, back in 2007 Shagrath told Rock Detractor that bands like Black Label Society, Spiritual Beggars and AC/DC were their biggest influences.  The press has gone as far as comparing them to bands like Turbonegro and Motorhead.  Also, Shagrath is not the lead singer here, he plays guitar or bass, depending on the track.  One Last Ride is being hailed as the fifth and final album by the band.

Skull Pit – Skull Pit

This collaboration stretches across various continents, and is made up of a Japanese doom metal bassist, and a New Yorker that fronts a German thrash band. Tatsu is from Tokyo, and is the bass player in the band Church Of Misery. While American singer Mem fronts the German band Exumer. Together they have put together an album that mixes the best of what each member of the band is known for, with the music borrowing greatly from Motorhead, and other late 70s hard rock acts that could be grouped in with the NWOBHM. The album closes with a cover of the Rose Tattoo track “All The Lessons”.

Here are some other notable releases, including a bunch of reissues from Maiden, Evergrey and Mercyful Fate.

Amon Amarth – The Pursuit Of Vikings: 25 Years In The Eye Of The Storm DVD/CD

Chris Cornell – An Artist’s Legacy

Eluveitie – Slania: 10 Years

Evergrey – The Inner Circle Reissue

Evergrey – In Search Of Truth Reissue

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden Reissue

Iron Maiden – Killers Reissue

Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast Reissue

Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind Reissue

Mark Knopfler – Down THe Road Wherever

Lord Of The Lost – Confession: Live At Christuskirche DVD

Mayhem – Cursed In Eternity Vinyl Box Set

Memphis May Fire – Broken

Mercyful Fate – In The Shadows Vinyl Reissue

Mercyful Fate – Return Of The Vampire Vinyl Reissue

Mercyful Fate – Time Vinyl Reissue

Mumford & Sons – Delta

Sunflower Dead – Coma

Warkings – Reborn

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907

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