Welcome to another annual tradition on the Blog of Much Metal, a small series where I take a look at the albums that I am most looking forward to during the coming year. Some of these releases are already confirmed, some I have even heard (with reviews coming soon) and some are just my own fantasies in hope rather than expectation that they might see the light of day in the coming 12 months. Some you might even recognise from previous series’ as I have been wrong about their impending release – in which case, you’ll get the idea about how excited I am about hearing them.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the first five releases (in no particular order) that I’m excited about:

Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light Of Day
Release date: 13 January 2017

pain_of_salvation_-_2017_coverThis is one of the releases that I know for sure will be released in 2017. In fact, the date is set for 13th January 2017 and I have already had the opportunity to hear it.

Pain of Salvation have always been an important band for me, ever since I started discovering progressive music around the turn of the millennium. Albums like ‘Remedy Lane’ and ‘The Perfect Element: Pt.1’ are firm favourites within my collection. However, over recent years, the output has been patchy and as far removed from their early heavy roots as it could possibly be. Nevertheless, some of the content was very nicely written and performed, albeit not to my personal taste.

And then, just as I was about to lose all hope of a heavier Pain of Salvation record, along comes news of ‘In The Passing Light of Day’, an album which is lauded to see a return to heavier climes. I have heard it and believe me, the hype is real. I cannot wait to complete my review and then hold the finished article in my hands.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MreXYqelGPM]

My Soliloquy – Engines Of Gravity
Release date: TBC

15095691_1306793379351630_731123106189415054_nThe brainchild of Threshold guitarist Pete Morten, My Soliloquy arrived with a bang in 2013 with their debut ‘The Interpreter’. It was a classy progressive metal record, full of intricacies and complexity but never at the expense of the songs themselves. Strong melodies and excellent song-writing combined to create a highly commendable and thoroughly enjoyable debut.

The follow-up, entitled ‘Engines Of Gravity’ has been a long time coming. Indeed, it should have been released in 2016 but due to some difficulties, it has been put back to 2017. However, I am sure that the record will be worth the wait and I’m convinced that it will deliver something even more mature and refined now that the band have found their feet even more since the debut.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nof–FW48ao]

Vanishing Point – TBC
Release date: TBC

Ah Vanishing Point. My favourite melodic, symphonic, progressive metal band, the creators of ‘Tangled In Dream’, one of my desert island discs and in the top 5 of all time without any doubt. After a slightly sticky patch for one reason or another, the Australian metallers returned in 2014 with ‘Distant Is The Sun’, an album that pushed their 2000 classic right to the wire in all respects.

The band have been sneaky with their studio updates, not releasing too much for us to get our teeth into, but just enough to fire our enthusiasm. I’d expect nothing else from the cheeky guitarist Chris Porcianko and co. though if I’m honest. The net result is that I am chomping at the bit to hear the latest instalment from these guys, a band that are blessed with one of my very favourite singers in Silvio Massaro.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgJYsQav90E]

Darkane – TBC
Release date: TBC

I feel like I mention Darkane every single year in this series. Their last record was ‘The Sinister Supremacy’, released back in 2013 but since then, we’ve only had a live album to enjoy. Now, three or four years isn’t so bad I suppose but this is such a great band, I’m now desperate for some new material.

If you’re after a band that can combine melodic death metal, thrash and a healthy dose of prog-laced technicality, then Darkane are the no-brainer choice. Savage, brutal, majestic and subtly melodic, the Swedish extreme metallers have delivered quality music time and time again over their six album career.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zrz5Z-lq7ng]

Voyager – TBC
Release date: TBC

Another Australian band in this list, I can’t tell you how psyched I am to hear a new album from Voyager. I am a little late to the party having only really taken to the melodic, progressive metallers with the release of ‘The Meaning of I’ in 2011. However, I have since made up for it and they are frequent visitors to my stereo and rightly so. This band is a class act.

I am ashamed to admit that I am yet to see these guys on stage, given how amazing their live shows are rumoured to be. But I dearly hope to make up for that in 2017; it is one of my biggest aims for the year.

Their previous album ‘V’ was a classic, full of killer tunes delivered with style and panache. In fact, I can go weeks without listening to it but I will suddenly get one of the hooks or choruses pop up in my head and like the very best earworms, I am compelled to listen in order to release it from my brain. ‘V’ was beautifully produced, gloriously executed and so damn addictive…I can’t believe that the new album will be any different, especially how the band seem to be at their most inspired of late and on a hugely deserved upward trajectory.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQfYBTJ-LxQ]