Trent Reznor is one of music's most important artists of the past quarter century. In recent years, he has written award-winning scores for award-winning movies and branched out with a new band called How To Destroy Angels. But his biggest musical impact has been and always will be as the mastermind of Nine Inch Nails.
To watch Avenged Sevenfold over the years, it's been fairly clear that this is a band with a plan. With each of their first five albums, A7X steadily evolved, albeit in varying degrees. Tragically, their ascension was harrowingly derailed in December 2009 with the death of their drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.
Watain have been flying the flag of modern black metal for over a decade now, releasing some of the genre’s most talked about works in the process. Fans of the Swedish group’s black metal magic are divided into two groups: those who stop at ‘Casus Luciferi’ and those who regard their last two releases as modern black metal masterpieces. The newest offering to the Beast, ‘The Wild Hunt,’ will have fans divided along much less concrete lines.
It may be hard to believe, but Jason Newsted has now been a former member of Metallica almost as long as he was a member of the legendary band. After departing in 2001, he explored other musical projects, including Voivod. He also embarked on an art career while recovering from shoulder surgery.
The masters of splatter are back with their second album since re-forming in 2010 after a five-year disbandment. Exhumed, like their California brothers Impaled, have a serious Carcass addiction. However, they never really needed any treatment or a stint in rehab to remedy this goregrind/death metal stranglehold.
There’s no disputing that Five Finger Death Punch are one of the most popular and commercially successful hard rock/metal bands around today. All three of their previous albums have gone gold, moving more than half a million copies apiece. They have had numerous Top 10 rock singles, such as ‘Walk Away,’ ‘Far From Home,’ ‘Remember Everything’ and ‘Coming Down.’
Coffins have been bringing their punishing brand of sludgy death/doom from Japan for 17 years, but really got the party started with their debut album in 2005. ‘The Fleshland’ is the band’s first album in the last five years and worth the wait. It seems their writing process is about as slow as their music, but what the band stresses is quality over quantity in an era where recording an album can easily be done at home.
Autopsy have been a busy bunch since drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert reanimated the group four years ago. With a single, an EP, a full length, and four new songs added to a compilation, one would be hardpressed to say there’s a lack of inspiration in the once defunct band. With plenty of life left in this old corpse, 'The Headless Ritual' is the latest addition to their ever-expanding catalog, stringing together 45 minutes of their best work since they blew the dust off their inactive status.
The loss of post-metal titans Isis was an unfortunate punch to the gut for fans of the imaginative and atmospheric quintet. However, key Isis members Jeff Caxide (bass), Aaron Harris (drums) and Bryant Clifford Meyer (guitar / keyboards) teamed up with Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno to form Palms in 2011. Palms didn't jump into releasing new material right away, but the act's debut self-titled release was more than worth the wait.