Nightwish have been posting updates on recording, etc. all summer and fall for the work on their next studio album. I'm hoping that the band will evolve a bit and mesh the sound of their music a bit better with the still new-feeling voice of Anette Olzon. Maybe writing slightly less poppy music would help? Ah well, I haven't been badly disappointed by Nightwish yet, and I don't think I will be this time around.
I know nothing at all other than there's an album due to be released this year. Given the fairly underground status of this mostly one-man band, I guess the lack of news shouldn't be surprising. Hoping for a follow-up hot on the heels of this year's most excellent Majestic.
Avian is probably the biggest thing in the MN power metal scene right now, and for good reason. These guys put on a killer show and have some great musicians. I'm as excited for this album to be released just so I can be in on the local excitement. They may not have the mighty Lance King at the helm anymore, but replacement Brian Hollenbeck is no slouch!
Serenity- Death and Legacy
I don't know how I forgot about this one my first time around. I've been following Serenity since their first album, Words Untold and Dreams Unlived, and they've been pretty consistently good. I've heard some of the audio samples for this, their new album, and it sounds like they're right on track! Another one that I'll be pre-ordering a copy of as soon as possible. The artwork has perhaps gone the way of certain recent Heavenly albums, but the contents seems to be pretty solid.
Cloudscape- New Era
Cloudscape have announced the release of their fourth studio album, entitled New Era. I'm personally a fan of their unique and addictive brand of melodic progressive metal, so I've marked my calender.
Morifade- Empire of Souls
Set for a September 9 release (presumably in Europe), power metal veterans Morifade have been dormant since 2004's DomiNation. I've always appreciated this band's somewhat unique stance and performance of more intellectual power metal.
Crom- Of Love and Death
If you're not familiar with Crom, you should be. Imagine combining the gritty atmosphere and grim lyricism of some viking black metal with the melody, clean vocals, and majesty of power metal. Crom's debut album, Vengeance, is one of the finest folk-inspired metal albums that I've ever heard, and I have supremely high expectations for the new release
There are a few more, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the new releases by Crystallion, Sonata Arctica, Falconer, Paragon, and others as well, but these are the most exciting for myself. The trouble with this is, by year's end, there will be so many bands populating the "best of" list that I haven't even considered. So it goes!