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Upcoming metal releases: December 2010

December is a wasteland for new releases. But lists 9794 metal releases already out this year (the final number will almost certainly top 10,000), so December will be useful for catching up on the rest of this year. (I am currently processing over 20 gigabytes of new releases and demos.) To see the (very short) full list, see here. As always, use the “Agenda” view on the top right, and click on entries to expand and collapse them.

These are the releases that catch my eye (and ear):

DARKBLACK – Midnight Wraith (EP) [Stormspell]
QUICKSAND DREAM – Aelin: A Story About Destiny [Planet Metal]
WAGNER, JEFF – Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal (book) [Bazillion Points]
WHILE HEAVEN WEPT – Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence (CD/DVD) [Cruz Del Sur]

DarkBlack are part of the current wave of retro true metal, and so aren’t really my thing. But I know folks who are nuts about them, and I must admit that their take on the style is well-done. This is partly because it lacks the smirking, “look how ’80s we are!” goofiness that such bands often have. Their new EP Midnight Wraith comes out tomorrow on Stormspell. You can hear “Doom Herald”, a song from it, below. I haven’t seen any shops that sell the CD yet, but I presume that (a) Stormspell will (check their shop here, where they also stock DarkBlack’s well-received album The Sellsword), and (b) DarkBlack will have copies to sell on their mini-tour that starts tomorrow. They will play with like-minded bands Christian Mistress, Huntress, and Gypsyhawk – see dates below.

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12/1 The Black Lodge – Seattle, WA w/ Skelator, Emeralds, Elk’s Blood
12/2 *TBA – Olympia, WA w/ Christian Mistress
12/3 Kelly’s Olympian – Portland, OR [CD release show] w/ Spellcaster, Dead By Dawn
12/4 Bender’s – San Francisco, CA w/ Huntress, Walken
12/5 the Hazmat (Your Hause) – Oakland, CA w/ Dodsfalla, Bruxers, Infernal Graves, Drunken Hardcore
12/6 Cinespace – Los Angeles, CA w/ Huntress, Gypsyhawk
12/8 The Cup – Eugene, OR w/ Excruciator, Scrolls
12/9 The Know – Portland, OR

. . .

Chris Black’s (of Dawnbringer, High Spirits, Pharaoh, Nachtmystium, etc.) Planet Metal label is reissuing a lost epic doom classic from 2000, Quicksand Dream‘s Aelin: A Story About Destiny, on CD. High Roller will handle the vinyl. Again, no ordering information is visible yet, so follow Planet Metal’s Facebook page and High Roller’s release page for that. You can hear “Road Goes Ever On”, a track from the record, below.

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Epic doomsters While Heaven Wept just signed to Nuclear Blast. (What’s with big metal labels signing traditional doom? Roadrunner signed Grand Magus, Metal Blade recently signed Pentagram, and Earache signed Hour of 13 – see Digby Pearson’s blog post on this subject here.) Their last release on Cruz Del Sur will be Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence, a CD/DVD of their set at this year’s Hammer of Doom festival. You can stream the whole thing and see video clips at their MySpace. Ordering information is here.

Prog is not my thing – that’s probably the case for many of you – but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Jeff Wagner’s book Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal. You can see page samples, requisitely cheesy fonts, and ordering information here.

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Start getting your year-end lists ready. We’ll have readers’ choice awards this year in four categories. I will reveal one category each week leading up to the actual voting. The first category, of course, is best metal album. Feel free to use the comments to try to influence the voting (or convince me to add to my 20+ gigs of listening work). Go!

— Cosmo Lee

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