War From A Harlots Mouth – Transmetropolitan (September 18)
Unless you count Dethklok, War From A Harlot’s Mouth are the only band on this list that's foreign to the U.S. The Berlin-based five-piece went all out with their debut LP, an album that traverses several corners of heavy metal and even dabbles in other genres for good measure. While primarily tech, grind and death, there are also jazz sections and even a hip-hop instrumental interlude just daring you to freestyle over it. There's a lot to take in on Transmetropolitan and it's still an interesting experience all these years later.
Former guitarist Simon Hawemann says, “[Transmetropolitan] sounds like a bunch of young(er) dudes getting together in a rehearsal room and creating a clusterfuck of tons of influences, which is exactly how it went down. Cephalic Carnage and Between The Buried And Me were on heavy rotation for me back then, and I think that's pretty obvious when you listen to the record. Shortly after the release, our original singer quit and we welcomed Nico [Webers] from the Ocean as a replacement,” he recalls. “We decided not to re-record the LP with him, which I still kind of regret today. I rarely listen to the album, but there are a couple of ideas on it that would still be considered unorthodox and outside of the box today, and that's something to be proud of.”
Dethklok – The Dethalbum (September 25)
It's been nearly four years since Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem aired on Adult Swim, bringing a close to the animated series that would be canceled soon after. That hasn't kept the show's creator, Brendon Small, from releasing Dethklok music, however. It's the first Dethalbum from the brutal animated band that contains some of their most popular tracks from the show, though, like the Guitar Hero II favorite shredder, “Thunderhorse”―which, along with the other 14 tracks on this release, still absolutely rip.
When asked to reflect back on the record, Small offered the following: “I feel like I can hear that [this] was my first record when I listen back―in vocal style, in note choice and in my guitar work. I learned on this record you’re gonna run out of licks and it turns out licks don’t matter; melody always wins. I also learned that your first record is a great place to start and evolve from, and conversely all future works will be judged against [it]. It really was a great learning experience. I learned important lessons that would carry forth to even my most current record.
“No matter how heavy the project, the songs must rule,” Small assures. “The songs rule over style, over everything. If I don’t have songs that move me in some way―in rage, excitement, empowerment―then I don’t have anything. I have some pretty good songs on that first record that I enjoy the challenge of either beating or measuring up to on subsequent records. Particularly on the not-yet-released Galaktikon II!”
Animosity – Animal (October 2)
Animosity's swan song was a feral beast―a series of chaotic fits wrapped up in a neon package under a fitting title. Death metal and thrash combine with pure energy into Kamehameha blasts of raw, audible mayhem. Leo Miller's throaty growls attack the ears with ferocity over a foundation of frenetic drumming and savage guitar work. Whether it's the four-second burst of “Evangelicult” or that 14-second opening yell of “You Can't Win,” there are several memorable moments, big and small, on Animal that remind us of how fun and fulfilling it was to listen to an Animosity release.
Speaking to AltPress, former Animosity guitarist Frank Costa offered, “Animal was a big milestone in our career. We never played faster, tighter or with such fury than at that moment, and it was a huge deal for us to be at God City with Kurt Ballou (Converge, Code Orange). It was definitely a step forward musically from Empires, but so much so that it gets manic at times. It's the soundtrack to a nervous breakdown… literally. There was some very heavy stuff going on with at least a couple of us at the time, and it was directly pouring into our songwriting. When I listen to [Animal] now, I almost can't believe how psychotic the song structures are, and that we were playing at that speed. After all the pain and chaos that went into it, at this point, it's nothin' but love.”
The good news is that Animosity bowed out on a high note―one that's just as good today as it was upon release―but that doesn't make us miss the band any less.
Born Of Osiris – The New Reign (October 2)
Diminished. Your Heart Engraved. Rosecrance. These were all variations of Born Of Osiris before the Illinois boys signed a deal with Sumerian Records and decided it was time to make music a priority over World Of Warcraft and other distractions. There were several lineup changes in the early days of the band, but for the most part the core group has managed to outlive the majority of their deathcore peers that brought the mosh in the mid aughts.
Now, the BOO men are celebrating The New Reign's anniversary with a re-recorded Eternal version, but The New Reign will never be overthrown. It still bounces, it still shreds and it still brings back a lot of great memories. Fuckin' bow down.
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza II: Electric Boogaloo (October 16)
No one was here for the “skits”; you might have even just removed them from your iPod Nano to get to the meat of this beast. Sure enough, immediately after the opening track of Danza II, you take a shotgun blast to the chest as “You Gonna Buy The Beers Or The Whole Damn Bar” kicks in and shows you exactly what kind of ride you're in for: pure aggression and total pandemonium. The heavy-as-hell intensity is still felt today.
“When [Danza II] came out, it was a very hard time in my life,” explains former guitarist Layne Meylain. “I was homeless when I wrote the riffs for this album, hence the irate feel of the material. We composed this album inside a hot practice room―no superior drummer, no axe effects; writing an album completely raw like it used to be done. I hear a lot of bands these days using some of the same principles we used all the way back in 2003. Our favorite harmony was minor second because it was ugly, disgusting and dissonant. I believe the only bands doing this back then to my knowledge were us, Psyopus and Ion Dissonance. The initial intention of this band was to be a raw, in-your-face listen,” Meylain recalls. “I would have to say we achieved that.”
No argument here.