Ghost Cult continues our “End of Year Guest Post Extravaganza” with a slew of posts from bands, industry, PR pros, and more! We’ll be sharing lists, memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the globe. Today’s post brings released an “ORChestrated” version of his classic track “Goblin Death March” as a lyric video. The track is from his upcoming album “Fully ORChestrated” which remakes many of his classic tracks.
Ascension of the Watchers – Apocrypha. Frontman Burton C. Bell may have left his main band, Fear Factory (that’s still painful to write), but if his goth/post-rock band’s long-awaited sophomore album is any indicator, his future, and that of this band, is bright.
Top track: Ghost Heart
Firewind – Firewind. Real-life guitar hero Gus G (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) and co. deliver another awesome traditional/power metal album. New vocalist Herbie Langhans (ex-Sinbreed) is the band’s fifth(!) frontman, but he may be their best; bringing grit and charisma the band certainly needed.
Top track: Break Away
Kataklysm: – Unconquered. Every Kataklysm record is different, which is more than many of their death metal peers can say. Their past three albums have been more diverse than usual, and this one incorporates some elements of more modern death metal. I can’t imagine the listener putting on Unconquered and being able to stop themselves from destroying their eardrums and giving themselves serious neck damage.
Top Track: Underneath the Scars
Sepultura – Quadra. It’s long past time to admit how silly the metal community was for writing off Sepultura’s post-Max Cavalera music for so long. Coming hot off the success and critical acclaim of their stellar and experimental predecessor, Machine Messiah, Quadra is also rightly getting rave reviews and will have the uninitiated scrambling to consume the rest of their post-Roots catalog. Their signature thrash and aggression is on full display while also drawing subtle influences from their diverse past. It’s also worth noting that long-time vocalist Derrick Green sounds absolutely ferocious, possibly putting on the best performance of his career.
Top track: Last Time
Dark Tranquillity – Moment. Dark Tranquillity needs no introduction, and any album of theirs is a blind-buy for any melodic death metal fan. It speaks to the consistency of their output, and Moment continues that winning streak. Two new guitarists bring a fresh take on their signature style, and vocalist Mikael Stanne finally fully embraces something the band has rarely used in their 30+ year career: infectious, cleanly-sung choruses.
Top track: Standstill
Wolfheart – Wolves of Karelia. Wolfheart gives their coined “winter metal” new meaning, as this is a concept album about the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland at the beginning of WWII. The band take a slightly blackened turn on this album, which helps to tell an intense story of victory in spite of overwhelming odds and the high cost it demanded. The band is sure to be universally considered elite-tier melodic death metal soon if they aren’t already.
Top track: Arrows of Chaos
Dawn of Solace – Waves: Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart, Before the Dawn) has a seemingly inexhaustible well of songs, as he’s released at least an album a year for nearly 20 years among all his past and current bands. 13 years after their debut, his doom metal project Dawn of Solace returns. The listener will almost be too-glad to be pulled under Waves of grief and sorrow generated by Saukkonen’s wall-of-sound guitars and new vocalist Mikko Heikilla’s heart-wrenching wails.
Top track: Lead Wings
Crematory – Unbroken: I’ve been obsessed with this criminally-overlooked German gothic metal act for the past year and a half, and their latest album has more of everything any fan could want: too-deep growls, infectious hooks, and laser-focused songwriting. The band has had some extreme highs and lows in their 30-year career, but if their latest album is any indicator, they are still as persistent and hungry as ever.
Top Track: The Downfall