I'm sitting here listening to the new release from Equilibrium entitled Erdentempel and it's exactly what I was hoping for from this fantastic German folk metal band. I decided to start listening from the middle with the song Heavy Chill. Even from the very first note it's got the band's distinct sound. Everything is meshed together so well, nothing overpowers the other elements. I haven't listened to the entire album yet, but everything I've heard sounds good.
I was a little bit worried after the single releases. Karawane does sound like a typical Equilibrium song but it's not anything special on its own and is a bit on the slow side. With the rest of the album however, it fits in really well. I'm still not exactly sure how to feel about the second single release, Wirtshaus Gaudi, especially with the strange music video that accompanied it. I'm sure it will grow on me as it's a quick and fun song that probably does well to mix up the flow of the album a bit sort of like Met on Turis Fratyr.
The fact that another new release from a band I like is the most recent in a long series of pleasant surprises this year. I've been maintaining a list for myself of bands releasing albums within the next year. It's currently at 18 but at points it looked like it was double that length. Tons of bands have been releasing new material and it's all been awesome! I don't think I've heard a bad metal album released recently.
A list of recent albums I've added to my library is as follows:
A New Dawn Ending by Ancient Bards
War Eternal by Arch Enemy
Babymetal by Babymetal
Carnivore Sublime by Benighted
Point Zero Solution by Deals Death
The Human Contradiction by Delain
The Quantum Enigma by Epica
Erdentempel by Equilibrium
Shadows of the Dying Sun by Insomnium
A Knight at the Opera by Nanowar of Steel
Heroes by Sabaton
Kaptein Kaos by Trollfest
Dawn of the Brave by Van Canto
Sacrificium by Xandria
At worst all of these albums have just been more of the same from the artists. But at best some of them are the best albums these artists have ever put out. There are no bad albums in the list above and if you don't listen to any of these bands, their most recent albums are definitely good starting points.
Even just quickly going through the list of artists I listen to, I saw plenty of bands that are just about to release a new album. Septicflesh for instance will be releasing Titan a couple days before I see them live. It's shaping up to be quite an album. All the songs released thus far are fantastic.
2014 is a good year for metal. It's only half over and there's already tons of great albums to check out. I'm sure I'm missing some bands, but even with the albums I got there's more than enough to listen to for now. Here's to great music!