12 of our most anticipated releases of February 2023

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2022 was a year during which things were getting back to somewhat normal. And while plenty of shows happened again, many tours ended up being canceled or postponed after all. It was somewhat of a weird year, that we hope was a transitional thing. Despite all the weirdness, we were yet again blessed with an incredible flow of quality releases, maybe even more than before. Just look at our reviews, editor’s top lists, and GRIMM’s top albums of 2022, which are all chock-full of amazing music. We therefor see no reason why 2023 shouldn’t enjoy the same blessing. One need only look at the records that have been announced and rumored so far, and you know it’ll be a good year for music again. Here are some of our editorial team’s picks of the most anticipated releases of this month:

Memoriam - Rise To Power

(03/02 - Reaper Entertainment)

With four albums under their belt the U.K. old-school death metal act Memoriam geared up to release its newest album “Rise to Power” on February 3rd, 2023. Even though Memoriam emerged as the true heirs of Bolt Thrower they managed to build a firm sound in the genre of death metal without getting stuck in the past. Following the great success of the third album “Requiem for Mankind”, you can expect some tight performances from Karl Willetts, Scott Fairfax, Frank Healy, and Spikey T. Smith.Rise to Power” is a brutal statement from these veterans who have found great chemistry through time. But there are many reasons why fans should look forward to the new album and if you want to know more about the roots of British death metal then keep an eye on the upcoming studio album.

In Flames - Foregone

(10/02 - Nuclear Blast Records)

In Flames has grown into a band that reaches fans through generations being one of the originators of the Swedish melodic death metal sound and cultivating their art into something that really speaks to the masses. While with more recent releases you could hear some fans muttering about how they lost their touch or edge, they’ve only continued to grow bigger and more popular. In some way it seemed like the guys of In Flames wanted to show they still got it to those naysayers by hitting us in the face with some of their heaviest stuff of the past decade or so. When they released the first single with ‘State Of Slow Decay‘, they blew everyone off their socks with the fast, gritty and aggressive track no one expected from them, but everyone hoped for. And every single song that came out since has gotten people to continuously say “they’re back”. While we believe they’ve never really been gone, it’s undeniable that this album in sounds goes back to that melodeath sound a lot of people fell in love with. We’re betting that ‘Foregone‘ will be a massive release for In Flames and you should not miss out on this one!

Paramore - This Is Why

(10/02 - Atlantic Records)

When it was announced that the popular rock outfit Paramore would be releasing a brand-new album with ‘This Is Why’ in 2023, you immediately saw a whole lot of excitement all over the world. As this will be the first new album in about 6 years for the band after some members were exploring their own separate projects for a while. With Hayley Williams having hinted at possibly a return to the more guitar driven sound, and the released singles definitely not disappointing us one bit with their social commentary and sound that seems like an updated version of what they did in the beginning of the band, we can’t help but be really excited about this album.

Mordkaul - Feeding The Machine - Part 1

(16/02 - independent)

Back in 2021, this Belgian superband put together by people from successful bands like Diablo Blvd, Hell City, Furia, Bliksem, Saille, Leng Tch’e,… blew people away with their impressive array of melodic death metal bangers on ‘Dress Code: Blood’. Now, Mordkaul is getting ready to release their second full-length with ‘Feeding The Machine – Part 1’, this time released fully independent. And what they have already unleashed upon the world has been nothing short of impressive. Singles ‘For I Am Machine’ and ‘Crown Of Worms’ are kicking some serious ass and their statement that they are ready to take the world by storm with this album seems highly believable. Just check it out for yourself and make sure you don’t miss out on what we believe will be one of the top melodic death metal releases of 2023!

dEUS - How To Replace It

(17/02 - [PIAS] Recordings)

How could we not include the release of this album since we do have some serious roots in Belgium? This might be a touch less heavy than most of the stuff our readers usually digest on a regular basis, but the Belgian rock band dEUS is undeniably an institution. And now they make a return to the music players with their first album in over 10 years! Going on the singles they have already unveiled, ‘How To Replace It’ will be everything you can expect from a band like dEUS: easy-going rock that was craftily put together by some of the most talented individuals this small country has brought forth.

Ulthar - Anthronomicon

(17/02 - 20 Buck Spin)

Over the past nine years the U.S. black/death metal act Ulthar focused on themes of cosmic dread evoking a slew of complexity and nuances of Norwegian black metal bands like Immortal. For the first time, the trio is set to release a double release with the albums “Anthronomicon” and “Helionomicon” on February 17th, 2023 via 20 Buck Spin. Unleashing new creativity from the cosmic horror and beyond, Ulthar manifests a fierce blizzard of blistering fast tempo. And while the Lovecraftian elements are deeply instilled, the band seeks to unearth the classic vibes of death metal by mastering complex song-craft quality. Ulthar will prove to be a force to be reckoned with on all levels of musicianship and sonic intellect.

Avatar - Dance Devil Dance

(17/02 - Black Waltz Records)

Avatar has been around for over 2 decades by now and you honestly never truly know what to expect from this group of creatives. Except for high quality music and concepts that bring some kind of story forward. The circus that comes with Avatar has been taking over the world, and you could easily put them among some of the most popular contemporary metal bands around. For album no. 8 it seems they’ve chosen to go with a self-release on their own label Black Waltz Records, taking full control over everything they’re putting out this time. And holy crap, are they delivering again… First single ‘Valley of Disease‘ was an extremely intense and heavy track, following that ‘The Dirt I’m Buried In‘ was a big surprise with its ridiculous catchiness and lastly ‘Violence No Matter What‘ featuring Lzzy Hale from Halestorm on guest vocals, we have no idea what else to expect from the full album, but we bet it’s going to be pretty awesome!

The Abbey - Word Of Sin

(17/02 - Season of Mist)

Brand-new doom outfit The Abbey, consisting of prominent members of the Finnish music scene with Jesse Heikkinen (Iterum Nata, ex-Hesvessel), Natalie Koskinen (Shape of Despair), Vesa Ranta (Sentenced, ex-The Man-Eating Tree), Janne Markus (The Man-Eating Tree) and Henri Arvola, is a promising project. With the band’s name being inspired by Aleister Crowley and the lyrical inspiration drawn from esoteric organizations, their beliefs and his own practices, it’s all the more intriguing. Finland has a thing for melancholic music and The Abbey will perfectly fit with that, coming in with a doomy and dark kind of heavy rock that will create a perfect atmosphere for the wintry darkness of its country of origin. Jesse and Natalie‘s vocals are a perfect match and the music is simply gorgeous. Just check out the already released singles ‘Starless‘, ‘Widow’s Will‘ and ‘A Thousand Dead Witches‘:

Insomnium - Anno 1696

(24/02 - Century Media Records)

Finnish masters of melodeath Insomnium are back again with some heavy stuff! After the more gloomy and relatively calm releases ‘Heart like a Grave’ and the EP ‘Argent Moon’, ‘Anno 1696‘ promises to be one of their heavier outputs since long. Similar to the critically acclaimed ‘Winter’s Gate‘, this album is based on a short story written by bassist/vocalist Niilo, which is already promising and exciting on its own. But then looking at the singles they released with ‘Lilian‘, ‘The Witch Hunter‘ and especially ‘White Christ‘ featuring vocals from Rotting Christ‘s Sakis Tolis is teasing us with an Insomnium that has a more blackened sound than ever and goes really heavy again. Knowing their collective talents to turn a cool concept into stellar music that takes you to a whole other world. We can’t wait to digest this album while reading that short story that comes with some of the more elaborate editions for sale. Don’t miss out!

Host - IX

(24/02 - Nuclear Blast Records)

Named after their 7th album Host is a new side-project band formed by the doom metal giants Nick Holmes (vocals), and Gregor Mackintosh (guitars). The debut full-length album “IX” offers a dark electro mixture of Goth wave music, the in-depth take on the 80s gothic synth artfully portrays the unique sonic textures as well as the early nostalgia which has deepened through time. This is the first time where Nick Holmes and Gregor Mackintosh show their knack for playing a musical style that is not purely metal, but it’s all about experience and the music speaks for itself. Therefore “IX” will certainly deliver a beautiful fusion of synth-pop music and heavy guitars that will have so much in common with bands like Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy and The Cure. But after hearing the new singles I am truly convinced that “IX” will be a sonic blueprint for fans of electronic gothic synth.

Gorillaz - Cracker Island

(24/02 - Parlophone)

Is it pure rock? No. Is it purely pop? Or hip hop? Also no. Gorillaz is a project that is simply hard to put in a box straight from its birth to this very moment. A new album by this crazy collective of virtual characters is always exciting for anyone who is into music and is open for the musical blend and experimentation that often come with that. ‘Cracker Island‘ promises to be yet again a typical Gorillaz output that brings in a bunch of guests like Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Thundercat, Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, Bootie Brown and Beck and a series of catchy and quirky songs. Definitely something that will be a great album to give a couple of spins in between all the usual heaviness we listen to!

Heidevolk - Wederkeer

(24/02 - Napalm Records)

It’s been about 5 years since the Dutch folk metallers of Heidevolk graced us with a new album. This month we see a return of these metal legends with ‘Wederkeer‘, their 7th full-length in a good 2 decades. This marks the first release after the critically well-received ‘Vuur Van Verzet‘ and the first with new guitarist Mat, drummer Kevin and vocalist Daniël, but what we’ve heard through the singles at this point gives us a lot to look forward to. Their first single ‘Klauwen Vooruit‘ brought the typical Heidevolk melodies, different vocal styles that work great together in their mother tongue and even some moments with almost black metal sounding riffs. Knowing Heidevolk they will impress us with a great collection of heavy songs, catchy melodies and atmosphere builders. The end of the month will be a good one with an album from them!

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