Thoughts on 2017

Let’s hope that we don’t have quite the bloodbath of 2016.  That shouldn’t be too much to ask?  I mean, if you’re going to take someone, can we start with Jon Bon Jovi, please?

Looking at the album release schedule, 2017 is looking a bit sparse on major anticipated releases.  Probably the album I’m most looking forward to in the new year is Pain of Salvation’s In the Passing Light of Day, which is set to be released on January 13.  It’s been a long six years since their last album and it is always an adventure to see where Daniel Gildenlow and Co. are going to take us.  Another interesting album coming later in the year will be Pallbearer’s Heartless on March 24.  This Arkansas based doom outfit is said to have gone a tad proggy on the new album.  If they even manage to equal The Foundations of Burden, this should be an Album of the Year candidate.  One of the other major releases on the horizon in early 2017 is thrash stalwart, Overkill who will be releasing their 18th(!!) album, The Grinding Wheel, on February 10.  Of course, there is always that thin glimmer of hope that Tool finally gets off its butt and finishes their long gestating album.

Some other notable bands that have new albums coming out in the early part of the year are Grave Digger, Iron Reagan, Power Trip, Ex Deo, Soen, Sanctuary, Kreator, Sepultura and Iced Earth.

On the touring front, 2017 is starting out with a whirlwind of activity for the state of Texas. The month of February is going to age me by at least of couple of years.

Local heroes, Scorpion Child and Eagle Claw start things off during Free Week on January 14 at Barracuda.

February will see old school ex-Scorpions guitarist, Uli Jon Roth performing a slew of old Scorpions tracks while supporting his new release, Tokyo Tapes Revisited, at The Rock Box in San Antonio on February 11.  If you’re not familiar with Uli, go back and listen to In Trance, Taken By Force and Virgin Killer.  Seriously influenced by Hendrix.  The Scorpions just weren’t the same once he left the band.

The next night, February 12, at The Grizzly Hall in Austin, French blackened shoegaze masters, Alcest, will be performing their first live show in Austin.  This will be a very special show by a band that doesn’t tour much.

For a Valentine’s Day special, Pain of Salvation is making its very first trek into the state of Texas when they play The Scout Bar in Houston (actually waaaaayyyyy south Houston…near NASA).  Take time off from work and make the road trip.  These guys are one of the most forward thinking bands going today.  I’ve been waiting damn near 16 years to see these guys perform live.  Going to be a 2017 highlight.

The Cavalera Brothers are returning to their Sepultura roots by performing seminal Sepultura album, Roots, in its entirety at The Grizzly Hall in Austin on February 15.  I never got to see the original lineup of Sepultura perform, so this should be a cool show.

February 21 will see underground 80’s thrashers, Metal Church make a triumphant return to our fine city at The Grizzly Hall.  They brought long time vocalist, Mike Howe, out of retirement last year and put out a barnburner of an album.  This will bring my high school nostalgia back to the forefront.  I may need to reinstate the mullet before this show just to fully embrace the awesome of this show.

Not yet fully confirmed, but rumor has it that Pallbearer is going to play Barracuda on February 24th, which is prior to the release of their new album.  This is another not-to-miss show.  To go all Rogue One on you, Pallbearer definitely represents a new hope for Metal.

February 25th will also bring the nostalgia back is a serious way when The Killer Dwarfs come storming into The Rock Box in San Antonio.  The Dwarfs were an unsung hair metal band that really had chops.  If you were a fan of MTV in the early days, you may actually remember the video for Keep the Spirit Alive and We Stand Alone.  This will be a fun show and my new mullet will fit in at this show as well.

Heading into March, hipster black metal (yeah, it’s a thing) dealers, Deafheaven will be hitting The Mohawk  on March 7th along with San Marcos’ This Will Destroy You.  I think I’m as excited about the opener on this one as I am for the headliner.  Both bands put on a good live show.

On March 25, Katatonia will bring its brand of melancholic metal to The Grizzly Hall.  If you were a fan of The Cure, but always wished that they had a little more of a metal bite to them, Katatonia is the band for you.  Prepare to feel sad.

There should also be some metal shenanigans during SXSW.  I’ll probably give a preview of possible shows once we get closer to the middle of March.

Finally, we have a couple of other remaining shows already on the schedule for later in the year.  April 15 will see Finland’s Amorphis playing Fitzgerald’s in San Antonio and on April 11, Evergrey will be playing at The Rock Box in San Antonio.

Busy, busy, busy.  I’m still not really sure how I’m going to survive February.

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