Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Children of Bodom – “I Worship Chaos”
“Simply, I just worship chaos”, sings Alexi Laiho, the mastermind behind long-time terrorizers of the melodic death metal world, Children of Bodom, in their new single. It would sound less sincere from the mouth of anyone else: Laiho’s brutal band of bards carry a frenetic, murderous edge to their music, and it shows in this new single. The riffing is sharp, the rhythms are punchy, and the fast-paced intro creates tension thick enough to cut with a knife. Lyrically, this track is typical Bodom: half seriously angry, half tongue-in-cheek, and entirely over the top, the band displays both with the vocals and the music their need to cause mayhem and destruction.
Anybody who isn’t already in the solidly-populated camp of Bodom fans shouldn’t feel any compulsion to check this out: as with any metal band that’s been around this long, they’ve found their niche and stuck with it. Their upcoming album, of which this is the title track, shouldn’t face any unreasonable expectations in terms of what it’s going to be. It’s a Children of Bodom album; it will sound like Children of Bodom have on all of their previous albums. That being said, this is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of the band’s signature sound. It’s one of the best anthems to breaking stuff since, well, Limp Bizkit wrote “Break Stuff”. Expect this new Bodom bundle coming your way early October.
The Dear Hunter – “Wait”
This month might as well be declared the official The Dear Hunter appreciation month. As we inch ever nearer to the release of Act IV, we’re also going through the first three Acts in our in-depth *prognotes series (Act I is currently up, and keep your eyes out for Act II this coming week). We’ve already heard the deliciously proggy “A Night on the Town” and the more poppy and saccharine “Waves,” and now we have a third single called “Wait.” Entering with a wobbly bass that calls to mind the sounds off of the Black EP on The Color Spectrum, as soon as the guitar and melody kick in it takes a hard turn towards the sharper work off of the non-canonical Migrant, especially the so-good-I-can’t-believe-they-were-B-sides tracks off of the Migrations Annex EP. The overall effect is a brilliant mixture of some of the darker sounds explored by Casey and co. in the time since the release of Act III, and the subject matter being discussed is just as dark and heavy. Thoughts about the existence of the soul and heaven and fear of what that would mean weigh heavily on our protagonist’s mind here (“Are our bodies really piles of dirt? And is the soul just a metaphor? I keep my eyes from looking too far up. I fear that there is a heaven above”). As this track comes near the end of the album, there are surely some fresh acts that he has either committed or is considering committing that would make him so fearful of divine judgment and retribution. We will learn soon enough (September 4) what horrors are in store for our protagonist this time around.
Good Tiger – “Snake Oil”
The phoenix, or in this case the tiger, rises from the ashes. Shortly after The Safety Fire announced that their April 1st breakup message was not a joke, the band’s guitar duo launched the Indiegogo for their next band, Good Tiger. Enlisting the talents of Alex Rüdinger, Morgan Sinclair and the sorely missed Elliot Coleman. With the campaign already funded twice over, it’s clear that this music was clamoring for daylight. Well, my friends, daylight has come with Good Tiger’s first single, “Snake Oil.”
Though the unique writings skills of Derya and Joaquin will always be present in whatever they write, it doesn’t feel like it’s just The Safety Fire with Elliot on vocals. It takes twists and turns that show that Good Tiger is, no pun intended, another beast entirely. Rüdinger and Sinclair perform their duties well and with grace, but the focus isn’t really on them at the time of this single’s release. Many people are here to hear what Elliot brings to the table. I think he brings a fair amount. Some will say that his voice is an acquired taste, but there’s just something about his high pitch that makes the music a bit more dynamic. There may be vocalists who can sing vaguely pleasing melodic lines in the mid-range, but Coleman adds color to the music with his unique presence and palette. He even gets the chance to show off some screams, which aren’t as outstanding as his singing voice, but have a nice, raw feeling to them nonetheless. Almost like a varied Tommy Rogers. Not only is his presence felt heavily, it also gels well with the instruments. His voice sounds incredibly natural over the pleasant but unusual chorus riff and it makes me excited for the various setting in which I’ll get to hear him be placed in next. While the song is called “Snake Oil,” this is nothing but the genuine article.
Iron Maiden – “Speed of Light”
A band that needs no introduction, Iron Maiden are still going strong after forty years of single-handedly paving the way for countless bands in our scene. With their first new piece of music in the five years since The Final Frontier, Iron Maiden offer us the first single from 2015’s The Book of Souls. “Speed of Light” is pretty standard Iron Maiden fare. There’s some pretty liberal use of cowbell, which is tickling, but there isn’t anything outstanding being offered with “Speed of Light.” Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. It sounding like Iron Maiden isn’t a bad thing by any means, just that if you were expecting any huge stylistic changes, they’re not here. Bruce Dickinson is in pretty great form here, considering he’s nearing 60 years of age and has just overcome a scuffle with cancer. He doesn’t have the same youthful energy as past Maiden endeavors, but who can blame him? With a career spanning 25 albums (26 after this year’s release), if you don’t sound a tiny bit tired, you are inhuman.
All that said, “Speed of Light” is a solid track for Iron Maiden’s discography, and we can expect more of the same with The Book of Souls, due out on September 4th, 2015.
Kraanium – “Acid Cumbustion”
Norwegian slam extraordinaires Kraanium have never been anything but the genuine article, and that definitely remains the same on “Acid Cumbustion”, the newest single to promote their upcoming album, Chronicles of Perversion. Their in-your-face, ridiculously heavy brand of brutal slamming death metal takes every trope of the genre and kraanks it up to eleven: punishingly heavy guitars create a filthy quagmire of riffs and trashcan snare tones abound on this single. The signature “bree-goh-bree” vocals are here as well, no doubt telling the tale of some act so sickening that it’d make Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer flinch. This track is as slam as slam can get, so get ready to blast this shit from your bedroom speakers and show me those motherfuckin’ hammers.
Nile – “Evil to Cast Out Evil”
It’s been a good long while since I’ve been “into” Nile. My last serious foray into this realm of Eyptian mythos-infused death metal was 2005’s Annihilation of the Wicked and two years later when I caught the band on tour with Taiwan’s black metal masters ChthoniC. That’s why it’s pleasant to hear “Evil to Cast Out Evil” as Nile’s new leading single from this year’s What Should Not Be Unearthed, as it shows the band is sticking strongly to the roots they’ve long embedded since 1998. There’s some serious head-crushing riffs in “Evil to Cast Out Evil,” with one of the catchiest lead riffs since monumental intro bit from “Annihilation of the Wicked.” George Kollias’ drumming is as on-point as ever, his double kicks blasting through your body and playing your ribs like a xylophone. Nothing extraordinary to speak of, but for fans of Nile, this will definitely get your attention.
Nile’s new album What Should Not Be Unearthed will be out on August 28, 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Scale the Summit – “Kestrel”
At this point in their careers, Scale the Summit are an institution in progressive rock and metal. Weaving guitar-oriented instrumentals through picturesque melodies and soundscapes, the band perfect their craft with each passing album. Based on the singles so far, especially the newly dropped “Kestrel”, the band’s fifth record — aptly titled V — could very well be their best. The band have long established their collective virtuosity and are feeling comfortable practicing some more subtlety through their music. Sure, the guitar can be as flashy as always, but that bass-lead ambient section in the first half is truly inspired writing and captures the band at their best. That tech-centered outro isn’t a let down in the least bit, either. Hear the rest when V drops September 18th.
The Sword – “Early Snow”
It has apparently become a standard to release TOO MANY singles from your album prior to its release. I don’t really see the point in doing so but hey, who am I to judge bands? In any case, this is the fifth track released from The Sword’s upcoming album and all signs point to one thing: this is going to be drenched in smoke, honey and drawling vocals.
The latest single fully cements the band’s new direction and mirrors legendary sludge experts, Witchcraft. In fact, if you told me this was a lost Witchcraft song, I’d totally believe you. Make no mistake, that’s a good thing: I love Witchcraft and I’m sure I’ll love this album as well. However, do not expect a trend setter. It’s pretty clear that The Sword are playing it safe this time around. And that’s OK. Just jam this and light up or zone our on your bed or something. Yeah.
Trivium – “Blind Leading The Blind”
Trivium‘s second single from their upcoming album Silence In The Snow, “Blind Leading The Blind” came out of nowhere after the surprise announcement of the album with the release of the title track. While the first single teased some Shogun-like vibes with a more power metal vocal flair, Blind Leading The Blind goes further down that rabbit hole. Frontman Matt Heafy is clearly bent on flexing his vocal prowess, as this song also features power metal influences in the singing. While the melancholic melodies of Shogun are definitely hinted at here, the underrated Vengeance Falls sound is also refined and used as a framework for the rest of the sound. The end result is something unmistakably Trivium but also something invariably fresh. If anything, it teases more interesting melodic flavors for the rest of the album.