From Swedish scientists discovering a new superheavy chemical element that numbers a whopping 115 protons to a forest boy found after spending 15 feral years in the remote Siberian wilderness, the past month has been a major one for all things metal. And this leaf-pile of freshly fallen albums seconds that emotion. Lots of matched pairs this time: Two happy-go-lucky young thrash-revival bands (Denver's Havok and Ireland's Gama Bomb); two rough-and-ready young bands of even more traditional metal vintage (Austin's Scorpion Child and L.A.'s White Wizzard -- whose albums have songs called "Kings Highway" and "Kings of the Highway," respectively!); two gloomy old goth-metal gangs (Germany's Lacrimas Profundere and Sweden's Katatonia); two famous old industrial metal groups (Ministry and Nine Inch Nails); and so on.
Quebec's Gorguts and England's Carcass are both back after extended vacations away from the recording studio, and like Norway's Aeternus and Boston's Revocation, they are trying hard (with varying degrees of success) to make their death and/or black metal more musically convoluted than most such stuff. The Germans in Powerwolf and Californians in Avenged Sevenfold both seem inspired by Catholic high masses, though Powerwolf do it way more and Avenged sell way more copies. Then there's noise-embracing Georgia metalcore preachermen Norma Jean, who could have been paired with The Devil Wears Prada if the latter's album had been good enough to include, but you can't win 'em all. You can, though, blast this playlist regardless -- preferably loud enough to wake up the neighbors.