Despite all the crap the music industry’s had to endure last year, and will probably have to suffer through for a while longer, we were still blessed with an incredible flow of quality releases. Just look at our reviews, editor’s top lists, and GRIMM’s top albums of 2020, which are all chock-full of amazing music. We therefor see no reason why 2021 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 even if live shows wouldn’t be happening yet.
The further we get in the year, the more full the release schedule becomes and the more releases we’re looking forward. So this time we’re splitting the month up in 2 articles. Here are our most anticipated releases of the second half of March (for the earlier 2 weeks, check here):
Saxon – ‘Inspirations’
(19/03 – Silver Lining Music)
Over the past 40+ years, these veterans of the NWOBHM have released more than 20 studio albums (I’ve honestly lost count at this point). For their next album, Saxon have decided to cover songs from different bands that have inspired them back in the early days of their musical career. Covers such as Paint it Black (The Rolling Stones), Speed King (Deep Purple), Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin), Bomber (Motörhead), …
Nine Treasures – ‘Awakening From Dukkha’
(19/3 – independent)
Nine Treasures is one of those bands, besides Tengger Cavalry, that connoisseurs bring up to counter the statement that The Hu is the first Mongolian rock/metal outfit to break out of their country by combining the music of their heritage and rock/metal. Recently they announced out of nowhere that they removed every and all song from every platform. They explained this by telling us that those were not recorded to their satisfaction and full potential of the songs. So now they are releasing sort of a “best of” album with their top tracks re-recorded and remastered so we can enjoy them to the fullest extent! Sounds promising and intriguing!
Fuath – ‘II’
(19/3 – Season of Mist)
Most black metal adepts know the name Andy Marshall from the atmospheric folk/black metal outfit Saor that brings release after release of captivating tracks that celebrate his Scottish heritage. But back in 2016 he also had a supposedly one time off shoot under the name Fuath. Recently he revealed that he’s turning the project into a proper band and now he’s going to release a second album under that name. Looking at the singles he already released, we’re in for an interesting trip of atmospheric black metal rooted in the early annals of the genre in the 90s and a through-and-through purveyor of the black arts, firmly heralding a time when there was mystery and intrigue within extreme metal.
Sanguisugabogg – ‘Tortured Whole‘
(26/03 – Century Media)
One of the more recent up-and-coming death metal bands making a name for themselves in the underground scene. People have been waiting a long time for a full-length album after their EP and a few single releases. I understand the hype around Sanguisugabogg, considering they’re known overseas for their solid live performances but I can’t help but keep my expectations in check. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because I’m not impressed with what I’ve heard so far. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s missing that wow-factor. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and be proven wrong.
Memoriam – ‘To The End‘
(26/03 – Reaper Entertainment)
The fourth album by British death metal workhorse Memoriam is bound to prove that these veterans have stayed true to the roots. ‘To The End‘ includes nine new tracks that meander between slow death/doom metal and grooves. While their sound continues to grow more visceral the latest material sums up what they have achieved in the past few years.
Wheel – ‘Resident Human’
(26/3 – OMN Label Services)
In 2019, we got taken by surprise when hearing the debut full-length ‘Moving Backwards’ of the Finnish/British prog metal/rock outfit Wheel. They brought a sound to the table that was both massive and intimate, intricate and accessible, clinically and emotive, with a very strong hint at their major influence, Tool, while maintaining their own identity. Quite a few of us actually enjoyed Wheel‘s release a whole lot more than Tool‘s that was released the same year. Clearly, that these guys are awesome, was a consensus throughout Europe and big parts of the world, because they quickly rose to new heights of popularity after touring relentlessly. Now they are back with their sophomore full-length ‘Resident Human’ and from what we’ve heard thus far, they are going to make a leap ahead yet again. Get ready to be impressed!
Aara – ‘Triade I: Eos’
(26/3 – Debemur Morti Productions)
Another band that highly impressed us last year, was the black metal outfit Aara with their album ‘En Ergô Einai‘, heralded as one of the top black metal releases of 2020 (read the review here). And yet again, barely a year after that release, the project is coming with another release and they don’t seem to be taking it easy… “Triade I: Eos” is the beginning of a trilogy dealing with the book “Melmoth The Wanderer“, a novel written by Irish writer Charles Robert Maturin in the early 19th century. Somewhat similar to the idea and concept of Goethe‘s “Faust“, Maturin‘s novel may be understood as a social commentary as well as a critical examination and discussion of religion. So besides quality black metal, we can expect some intriguing themes and lyrics for at least 3 albums!
Greenleaf – ‘Echoes From A Mass’
(26/3 – Napalm Records)
Our favorite Swedish stoner rock outfit Greenleaf is back with yet another release, proving that heavy stoner rock is far from being extinguished. Arvid Hällagård’s remarkable voice merges with hypnotizing background vocals, ceremonially inviting the listener into a heavy reverie. Blues, groove, the typical desert sound, fuzz and a touch of hypnotic psychedelics and you know the direction we’re going with this one. This promises to be a good one again for all fans of desert rock like old school Queens of the Stone Age, Dozer, Kyuss and so on!
The LA Maybe – ‘Dirty Damn Tricks’
(26/3 – independent)
One of the things all of us love about writing for this site, is the awesome discoveries we regularly make. The L.A. Maybe can definitely be regarded as such a surprise. They’re being advertised as the band with lead vocalist Alvi Robinson, who was one of only four singers to audition to replace Brian Johnson in AC/DC in 2016. But they’re a force to be reckoned with all on their own. Don’t count on something brand new, but rather something familiar with a modern and updated touch. Alvi belts vocal lines that are gritty and passionate, while the rest of the band provide an amazing sound with crushing riffs, immensely catchy hooks and guitar solos that’ll make you wet your pants. For fans of bands like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Black Crowes, Van Halen and of course a nice touch of AC/DC, please don’t hesitate to check this out.
Grande Royale – Carry On
(26/3 – The Sign Records)
Another Swedish rock band in this month’s list! The rock ‘n’ rollers of Grande Royale blew us away a couple of years back and ever since we’ve been following them up close. This month they are going to release their next full-length ‘Carry On’, which sounds like they’re taking some steps back towards that raw old school sound of garage rock. Of course while carrying on with the quality rock music they usually bring to the table. We’ve mentioned it before, but as good as every single record they bring out, is the perfect soundtrack for a long road trip through sunny landscapes and this will be no different!
Decline Of The I – ‘Johannes’
(26/3 – Agonia Records)
The French atmospheric black metal/post-black outfit Decline Of The I came on our radar last month when they released their first single of the upcoming ‘Johannes‘. What we heard was an absolutely impressive and massive sound that appealed to us like no other. The combination of multifaceted, post-black metal and exploratory lyrics, that dwell on topics of existential philosophy is simply a perfect hit of what we’re looking for. This 4th full-length opens up a new trilogy for the band after having rounded up their earlier triplet, inspired by the works of French surgeon and neurologist Henri Laborit, this time basing the songs on the output of Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. An absolutely stunning release you need to check out of anything we told you here appeals to you!
Evanescence – ‘The Bitter Truth’
(26/3 – BMG)
US rock/metal outfit Evanescence is a worldwide phenomenon that is known and loved by a whole lot of people. They didn’t get stuck in the alternative “Goth” metal sound of the first releases, becoming a musically interesting band that continues to progress and Amy Lee has grown out to be one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the rock and metal scene. So the first new full-length release with brand new material in about 10 years is something to get excited about! They already shared a bunch of the tracks earlier and is sounds like it’s going to be a pretty diverse sounding album with a lot of deep meaning to the lyrics. We’re all for it and can’t wait to check it out!