Huge day for new releases, here are some of the releases that come out today:

Life Of Agony – The Sound Of Scars

I recently posted about the making of the new L.O.A. album The Sound Of Scars, as well as posted about the video for the track “Laydown”. Since then I’ve had a chance to listen to the album, and I like it a lot. Definitely end of year list for me, and this track “Black Heart” is probably my favorite track off of the album. The Sound Of Scars is the band’s second concept album, it continues the story arc that they started with their debut album River Runs Red. One thing that kind of irks me, because it’s always kind of a letdown, is to hear bands say “this sounds like our biggest/most classic album”.  It bothers me, because 99.99% of the time, it doesn’t. I know, they’ve been saying it sounds like River Runs Red, to me it doesn’t, just being honest. That doesn’t mean that the album isn’t good. And to me, “Black Heart” has a lot of the feel that Ugly had, more so that River Runs Red. The reason being? Is the development, and evolution of Mina’s voice. Where the first album was more of Danzig, meets hardcore, meets their brand of metal, by the time Ugly came out, the vocals weren’t just one thing.  You started hearing variations in how the vocals were presented to help convey different sets of emotions that were present in those songs.  There are also aspect of the that sound like Soul Searching Sun, which are a little on the mellower side.  But the band has always been great at presenting those kinds of songs as well.

Babymetal – Metal Galaxy

Whether you like it or not, Babymetal is a worldwide phenomenon. They were part of this past summer’s Glastonbury festival, the biggest festival in the world, surpassing festivals like Wacken. They consistently sell out stadiums throughout Asia, and have had successful tours of Europe and the US. This is their third full length album, the first without Yuimetal. The album pushes the limits of what purists would call metal. Not only does it incorporate the J-Pop aspect with the vocalists of the band, and the metal backdrop on which the band is founded on, but the album is full various different flavors of music. Everything from samba, to jazz, to latin, and Indian as you can see in the video below. The album also includes guest appearances by Arch Enemy’s Alissa Gluz-White, Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén, members of progressive rock/metal band Polyphia, Japanese guitarist Tak Matsumoto, best known for his work with B’z, and rapper F. Hero.

Lacuna Coil – Black Anima

I’ve read some absolute joke reviews about this album. Most sound as if the reviewer either sampled 30 seconds of each track, because they have 20 other reviews to do. Are butt hurt because they were not allowed to interview Cristina Scabbia. They have paid zero attention to the band and its evolution over the years. Or for whatever random reason talk the album up, and give it a poor review anyway. Oh no Comalies was such a breakthrough, Karmacode was so bad I jumped off the bandwagon, and all types of other drivel like this.  There is nothing worse than a metal purist that gets stuck, and only wants bands to release the same album over and over again.  Or those that “oh my God, Karmacode had a Depeche Mode cover on it, Shallow Life had popish songs on it, I can never listen to anything else by the band again”.  Not every band hits it out of the park every time they’re up to bat, but every album has had three to four really good songs on it.  2016’s Delirium was for my money one of the best albums to be released that year.  It is an album I constantly go back and listen to and own on vinyl, cd, and bought on iTunes back in the day.  That was their heaviest album to date, and Black Anima has surpassed that.  Very few bands get heavier as they evolve, I can look to Testament as another, but very few others can deal with the loss of several members, experiment, meander between gothic metal, electronica, and metal without losing a good chunk of their fanbase.  Lacuna Coil seem to be as popular as ever, and this album continues the trajectory that they have been on getting heavier and expanding their sound.  For all of those “experts” that reviewed the album, and said “they haven’t taken enough chances” or “everything they did was kind of expected” you can’t say that about the band, and then slobber all over releases the latest releases by bands like Tool, Amon Amarth.  Reviews all come down to personal preference.  I get it, and I appreciate both Fear Inoculum and Berserker, but you’re being pretty inconsistent if your calling one band to task over something, yet totally turning a blind eye to another.  Definitely recommend this album to anyone that’s remotely a fan of the band, based on my fucked up taste in music, this is probably another end of year list album for me.

Vessel Of Light – Thy Serpent Rise

This album actually drops in a few weeks on all of the major streaming platforms. But you can already sample it, and pick it up from CD Baby.  This is the first album to feature the band as a four piece, returning are founding members Nathan Opposition on vocals, and Dan Lorenzo on guitars.  Joining them are two people that have been linked to Lorenzo for a long time, and that’s world Ron Lipnicki on drums, known for his work with Hades and being the driving force behind quita few releases by Overkill.  And on bass you have another Hades alum, the masterful Jimmy Schulman. Right away you can definitely feel the influence of the Lipnicki and Schulman taking the band to another level. That isn’t to say that everything they released before wasn’t great. It’s just that adding those additional ingredients to the recipe make the dish that much better. Lorenzo’s crushing riffs, Oppositions unique vocals added to a new rhythm section that instantly leaves their mark on the band’s music. If you remotely like doom metal, stoner metal, or are fans of Lorenzo or Opposition’s other bands, check this out.

Down ‘N’ Outz – This Is How We Roll

In the case you didn’t know, Def Leppard lead vocalist Joe Elliott has a side project called Down ‘N’ Outs. This is the band’s third album, all originals, except for the cover of The Tubes’ classic “White Punks On Dope”. The band this time around is made up of members of The Quireboys, Wayward Sons, and Vixen. Although it isn’t Def Leppard, it is hard to not pick out Elliott’s voice.

The Ferrymen – A New Evil

In the event that you don’t know, the band features Rainbow’s Ronnie Romero, Primal Fear’s Magnus Karlsson, and all star drummer Mike Terrana. If you’re a fan of the first album, you’ll enjoy this one as well. Their second album A New Evil takes things in a slightly heavier direction, and as Karlsson puts it, a more progressive direction. Sometimes their label puts projects together that just feel kind of empty, like they have no soul, no balls behind the music. But this one really connected with me as it isn’t paint by numbers tracks by the band, instead it’s them showcasing what they can do, instead of releasing what they think the audience will want. The “melodic metal” entrapment can just be a rehash of 80s hard rock, but this takes aspects of everything you’ve known the player for, and making it work cohesively as a unit, instead of just being a series of parts pasted together.

Soren Andersen – Guilty Pleasures

Probably best known for being Glenn Hughes’ guitarist, Danish guitarist Soren Andersen is proving that he can mix the best of classic instrumental albums of yesteryear with today’s technology. If you listen to the album you will double take and think “wait is this a Jan Hammer song?” Or you might actually think you’re listening to a lost Joe Satriani album. The album is actually that good, Soren takes obvious trends that are popular in today’s movies, TV, and pop culture in general, and puts his spin on things. Are you into the soundscapes of Stranger Things, or The Righteous Gemstones which harken back to the 80s? Well this might be an album you might just want to check out.

Here are some other releases that may interest you:

Michael Sweet – Ten

Michael Monroe – One Man Gang

The Devil Wears Prada – The Act

Vinnie Moore – Soul Shifter

Wayward Sons – The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be

Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper – At The Gates

Eclipse – Paradigm

Entrails – Rise Of The Reaper

Epica – Design Your Universe Gold Edition US Release

Toothgrinder – I Am

Vanden Plas – The Ghost Xperiment: Awakening

Kim Gordon – No Home Record

Kadavar – For The Dead Travel Fast

Municipal Waste – The Last Rager EP

Unleash The Archers – Explorers EP

A Pale Horse Named Death – Uncovered

Freddie Mercury – Never Boring

Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle – The First Recordings

Foo Fighters – 01020225

David Bowie – VH1 Storytellers

Deep Purple – Burn Vinyl Reissue

Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are Vinyl Reissue

Rush – Clockwork Angels Tour Vinyl Reissue

Creed – Human Clay Vinyl Reissue

Velvet Revolver – Contraband Vinyl Reissue

Dream Theater – Pull Me Under EP Vinyl Reissue

Ministry – Dark Side Of The Spoon Vinyl Reissue

Utopia – The Complete Bearsville Singles Vinyl Reissue

Coven – Blood on the Snow Vinyl Reissue

Coven – Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls Vinyl Reissue

1349 – Beyond The Apocalypse Vinyl Reissue

1349 – Hellfire Vinyl Reissue

1349 – Liberation Vinyl Reissue

Saul Williams – Encrypted & Vulnerable Vinyl Reissue

Stone Broken – All In Time Reissue

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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