THE MERCHANT’S TURNTABLE – Track 2
Just to quickly re-hash “Broadcasting from Beyond…”, my name is Aiden Merchant and under another alias I write for music magazines and websites (since ’08). As a result, I get early access to new music that I can promote in text or word of mouth. I do have restrictions of course — now and days, they don’t want reviews posting until the week of release, unless it’s for a printed magazine — but this still allows me to give you guys some heads-up on cool releases around the corner.
I will say that with this being a monthly blog, I won’t always have a BIG list to present you. I think the Previews are the most exciting this time around — I am expecting my October post to be a lot of fun.
Killswitch Engage – Atonement // Metal Blade Records // 8.5 out of 10 // File Under: Hard Rock-Infused Metal
I haven’t listened to KE since I was a teenager, some fourteen years ago with The End of Heartache. Oddly enough, the band’s music and I haven’t really crossed paths since. Luckily, about two or three weeks ago, I heard “I Can’t Be the Only One” and “I Am Broken Too” in promotion of their latest work, Atonement. Even luckier, the full album was then sent to me a week later for review. This collection is quite the beast, starting immediately with “Unleashed.” That introduction, along with “The Signal Fire” and the two previously mentioned singles, are my favorites for Atonement. In the grand scheme of things, this album may not entirely blow me away, but it is a very powerful effort that will be playing from my stereo for months to come.
Portrayal of Guilt – Suffering is a Gift // Closed Casket Activities // 5 out of 10 // File Under: Screeching Screamo
Remember Heavy Heavy Low Low or Duck Duck Goose? If not, look them up real quick. If you don’t like that kind of spastic screamo, then this band is not for you. It’s crazed, itchy, and quick. This six track release comes in around ten minutes total, if that gives you any idea of what to expect. Now, as a teenager, I was totally down for this kind of unhinged music. As an adult, I think my brain can’t keep up quite so much. I can see the appeal in Portrayal of Guilt, but they’re not really meant for the likes of me anymore.
Wage War – Pressure // Fearless Records // 8 out of 10 // File Under: Metalcore
Last month, I had to make this one a preview because it wasn’t close enough to release date yet to do a review. But now that is freshly released, I can properly recommend this one to metalcore fans. For Wage War’s sophomore outing, the band has pulled back slightly to rely on their clean vocals over the screams. That may upset some, but give it a chance — the clean sections have really stepped up on this release, making for some memorable anthems along the way. Take “Grave” for example: “You will never change” is going to be a line you sing at the top of your lungs, trust me.
Oh, Sleeper – Bloodied/Unbowed // Solid State Records // 8 out of 10 // File Under: Chaotic Christian Metal
This record kind of came out of nowhere. As a result, it is still very much under the radar and unknown, even to fans of the band. You see, Oh, Sleeper haven’t put out a full length since 2011 (Children of Fire); as a result, this one is like a rise from the grave. Tracks like “Let It Wave” and “Fissure” will take no time in reminding us why Oh, Sleeper was once so popular in the scene. Bloodied/Unbowed features a slew of excellent moments, jaw-dropping and frenzied. If that’s your thing, then I advise getting on this one today.
Issues – Beautiful Oblivion // Rise Records // Release: October 4, 2019 // File Under: Tech/R&B Influenced Rock
Unlike my wife, I never really listened to Issues prior to this new record. But I loved the single “Tapping Out,” so I decided to give this promo some attention. Though I did expect some heavier stuff from this record (considering vocalist Tyler Carter was once of Woe, Is Me), but it leans most of its weight upon pop and R&B mixes. At times, I almost get a (recent) Fall Out Boy vibe at times. That being said, songs like “Downfall” and “Second Best” have me swoonin’ at least a little. I look forward to giving this record a few more spins for a proper review in next month’s edition of the Merchant’s Turntable.
*Stream “Trapping Out”
The Early November – Lilac // Rise Records // Release: September 27, 2019 // File Under: Calming Rock
The latest TEN record feels like a blast from the past. It’s as if the band is picking up where they left off with The Room’s Too Cold, and longtime fans are going to love that. For the most part, this record keeps a very soothing pace, so don’t go playing it during a late night drive – you might fall asleep with a smile on your face.
*Stream “I Dissolve”
Grayscale – Nella Vita // Fearless Records // Release: September 6, 2019 // File Under: Pop/Punk Rock
Technically, I could review this one today for you all (seeing as it releases about the time this post will be going live online). However, I have only had time to play a couple of the songs so far, so I will wait until next month to include my review. That being said, my wife and I loved the band’s last album and the songs we’ve played from Nella Vita so far have been even better. This one is highly anticipated.
*Stream “Baby Blue”
Of Mice & Men – earthandsky // Rise Records // Release: September 27, 2019 // File Under: Metalcore
After losing Austin a couple years back, Of Mice & Men replaced him with a sound that was more hard rock than the scream-influenced metalcore they won fans over with throughout the 2000’s. Luckily, ever since tracks have been leaking for earthandsky this year (“Mushroom Cloud,” “How To Survive”), it would appear as if OM&M learned from their mistake; things are heavier again, and sounding more like Austin’s image for the band. Though I have this new album for review, I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. You can expect my review in next month’s Turntable piece.
*Stream “How To Survive”
Also, Stream This New Music:
Yungblood – “Die A Little”
A Day to Remember – “Degenerates”
Bullet For My Valentine – “Piece of Me”
Bad Wolves – “I’ll Be There”
Blink-182 – “Darkside”
Aiden Merchant is an independent author of horror, suspense, science fiction, and more. Under another alias, he got his start as a critic for such music magazines as Alternative Press (AP), American Music Press (AMP), and Outburn Magazine. He currently has two story collections available — Dead As Soon As Born and Kill for Them — and has big plans for 2020. He is married, a father of one, and living in the Appalachian Mountains.
Dead As Soon As Born
There is evil inside us all, and no one lives forever.
In this debut collection of short stories from Aiden Merchant, you will bear witness to murderers, monsters, and other horrors.