Eric's First Quarter Metal Review!
3/15/2013 6:37:42 PM by Eric

It is hard to believe we are almost through the first quarter of 2013. Just yesterday we were recapping the "best of" that 2012 had to offer. With so many great releases on hand at this early stage of the year, I thought it fitting to just recap the first quarter and provide my playlist and best of thus far. I will try to do this for each quarter this year as well...just remind me!

The year's best thus far is Bullet For My Valentine. Their new album, "Temper Temper" landed Valentine's Day week and provides yet another top notch performance from this Welsh outfit. I can name a handful of bands that began their career with four awesome albums and that is saying a lot. It is so rare a feat and I salute Matt Tuck and company for delivering a slightly different approach this time around but one that definitely solidifies BFMV as leaders of the metalcore circuit.

Speaking of slightly different, the second week of March gave us the new Hardcore Superstar album "C'mon Take On Me". This diverse record is to Hardcore Superstar what "Dysfunctional" was to Dokken. It will be the band's album that sits sideways in their discography. I really like it and pleasantly surprised that it differs from the "party hard Swedish glam" that the band has perfected over the years. I hear a lot of Aerosmith on this album, not necessarily a serious album lyric wise but still drifting from the street wise into more poetic realms. Definitely a strong runner up to year's best so far.

It has to be a new year because Biff and company are back at it again on new Saxon release "Sacrifice". The album hits the last week of March and is a milestone record for the NWOBHM stars. This is their twentieth album to date and finds the band better than ever, another super strong entry that continues in the same vein as "The Inner Sanctum" and "Into The Labyrinth". It's produced by Andy Sneap and given a real modern power metal treatment.

I thoroughly enjoyed the new Hypocrisy slab "End Of Disclosure". This March release shows the Swedish giants back to basics with another solid effort that shows us some of the late 90s stylings while still delivering plenty of speedy technical death feats that recall early Hypocrisy. The album was once again produced by Peter Tagtgren at Abyss Studios and sonically sound in every facet of the band's signature formula.

Another Swedish band steals the show in Soilwork's March release "The Living Infinite". Those of you clamoring for a return to form will get two for the price of one. This is a mammoth two CD album and is filled with material that is very similar to "Predator's Portrait", "Stabbing The Drama" and "Natural Born Chaos". This culmination of eras motivates the band to create an album that is their best in years. This one may hold steady in my top ten of 2013.

Other notable releases:

Attacker - Giants of Canaan -- New addition Bobby Lucas enhances this charging power metal album that is sure to please longtime fans.
Holy Grail - Ride The Void -- Solid sophomore release that harbors the blazing momentum of the group's debut full length.
Wednesday 13 - The Dixie Dead -- The defining moment for this talented frontman. This album is fast, heavy and sleazy with the signature horror overtones that make it horror punk brimming with hard rock attitude.
Enforcer - Death By Fire -- This is the Swedes third release to date and first for new label Nuclear Blast. This may be the band's best, extremely tight and proficient in NWOBHM theatrics.

The second quarter is already looking promising with new entries scheduled for Amorphis, Pretty Maids and the much anticipated comeback from Killswitch Engage!

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In Flames Mudvayne
Scanner The Haunted
Stratovarius December
Gun Barrel Circle II Circle
Usurper Ring of Fire
Advent Ravage
Sickspeed Legend
Manowar Powergod
Late Nite Romeo Valley's Eve
Pyn Siren Hammerwhore
Exawatt Black Sabbath
Biomechanical Steel Preacher
Rob Rock Sludge!
Tad Morose Slayer
Deivos Soul Reaper
Dreamaker Force Of Evil
Node Black Stone Cherry
Devil To Pay Bang The Union
Outworld Graveland
Disarmonia Mundi Highlord
Jorn Brutal Mastication
Hatework Joe Stump
De Lirium's Order Vox Tempus
After Forever Dio
Division Slowlife
Mine Silent Force
Made of Iron Anger
John Oliva's Pain Gods Of Fire
Audiovision Divine Fire
Corrosion Of Conformity Soilwork
Seige of Hate Icarus Witch
Diecast Kaamos
Debris Inc. Swallow The Sun
System Of A Down Babylon
Python Sothis
Communic Slough Feg
Sentenced Nuse
Frameless Scar Morgana Lefay
Blitzkrieg Pagan's Mind
Sun O))) Midnight Idols
Skullshifter Bronx Casket Company
Sodom Witchery
Pyramaze Athanator
Speed/Kill/Hate The Strongest Proof
Black Crucifixion Spawn of Possession
Gorgoroth Smohalla
Destruction Nachtmystium
Ynis Vitrin Shadows Within
Skyforger The Finals
Mastodon Rotting Christ
Eighteen Visions Obtest
Demise Celtic Frost
Threat Signal Omnium Gatherum
Mindgrinder Merciless Death
Cruachan Grenouer
Nagelfar White Willow
Almah Pantera
Manes Glorior Belli
Blut Aus Nord Echoes of Eternity
Distorted Alkemyst
I Shalt Become Cockpit
Deceiver Ost Est Ima
Aetherius Obscuritas Blood Haven
Manilla Road Embalming Theatre
Mar De Grises Sin