THURSDAY THE 13TH EDITION FEATURING THE FALL 2000 AND BEYOND NEW RELEASES SPECIAL Greetings, devoted readers! The title refers to the number of times this column has appeared and its usual publication date, nevermind the fact that the real day of superstition was last week. This is perhaps the most ambitious special I have ever included in Songs To Watch before, and the first one I have incorporated into the main section. It includes world premieres in the case that I have heard material, rarities in the case that I haven't, and unconfirmed information is listed apart from the recommendations. This edition is brought to you by the numbers 2, 0, and 1. And now, the songs Gamma Ray - 'Eagle': With this song, my expectations for September's No World Order have been raised. It is a song equal to the best of Somewhere Out In Space, with an excellent riff, soaring chorus, great melodic soloing, and a particularly awesome lead break on the bridge. Jag Panzer - 'Unworthy': This song has had the same effect on my anticipation of next month's Mechanized Warfare. Rumours have suggested a record more akin to earlier efforts, yet this song retains much of Thane To The Throne's balance of the majestic and the primal, with its slashing riffs being paired with excellent choral accompaniment. Emperor - 'Thorns On My Grave': Despite my dislike of this seminal black metal band, I will include this song in my column as it hails from this fall's most awaited release in the genre, Prometheus. Fans should not feel disappointed, as it contains some powerful riffs and an effective irregular blast beat. Available at <a href="http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk" target="_blank">www.candlelightrecords.co.uk</a> Therion - 'Summer Night City': The highly praised symphonic metal act's new release, Spirit Of The Ruins (odd, an English title!) is due out in the fall. In the meantime, treat yourself to this nonalbum track from Nuclear Blast's Beauty In Darkness compilation that continues the band's tradition of adapting uncharacteristic covers to their own style. Edguy - 'Babylon', 'The Unbeliever': Tobias Sammet will be a busy man in upcoming months, preparing the release of both his main band's new album Mandrake and the second part of Avantasia, which will feature essentially the same lineup of guests, and a European tour with Blaze Bayley. These songs hail from the German power metal act's most accomplished release to date, Theatre Of Salvation. Shadow Gallery - 'The Final Hour', 'Deeper Than Life': Early material from progressive metal's most reclusive band. Despite the bad production on their debut, the former song shows that their gift for writing great instrumental passages was there from the beginning. The latter song from Carved In Stone features great vocals from Mike Baker. Nevermore - 'Love Bites', 'Chances Three': A pair of nonalbum tracks from what I feel is arguably the most powerful and innovative band in today's metal scene, definitely holding that position among American metal acts. Their radical interpretation of the Judas Priest song has appeared in several formats, most recently the Believe In Nothing MCD/EP. The latter all-acoustic song can be found on a limited edition import Dead Heart. Former song available at official site, I think. Sentenced - 'Bleed In My Arms', 'With Bitterness And Joy': I know that many people were disappointed in Crimson, including myself to an extent. And they definitely lost something with Jarva's departure. But the purpose of including two of the better and more powerful songs from the album is because the current lineup has begun work on a new album. Evergrey - 'When Darkness Falls', 'Closed Eyes': This Swedish act has effectively combined elements of power metal and doom metal on their two releases to date to create a compelling sound. The former song is among their heaviest, while the longer latter composition shows their songwriting skills. New album, In Search For Truth, due out in September. Anathema - 'Fragile Dreams', 'Regret': Regarded as one of the pioneers and leading figures in doom metal, this British act always creates songs that reach for a strong emotional response and linger in the listener's mind. These songs can be found on 1998's Alternative 4. Their new album, A Fine Day To Exit, is due out in the fall. Former song available at <a href="http://www.bestofmetal.net" target="_blank">www.bestofmetal.net</a> Nightwish - 'Away', 'Astral Romance': Despite not having an album or tour out this year, the most popular female-fronted metal band has released two MCDs and a DVD in 2001. These are from the Over The Hills And Far Away ep. The former is a ballad with great vocals, while the latter remake of a song on Angels Fall First features Sonata Arctica's vocalist supporting. Their new album Silence was released this week. Dark Tranquility - 'Edenspring', 'Mine Is The Grandeur Of Melancholy Burning': The missing link between In Flames and Opeth? The uncredited pioneers of the Gothenburg scene? Maybe I'm wrong, but there is no denying that they are arguably the most talented melodic death act with the obvious exception of Opeth. These songs are from their best album, The Gallery. Don't miss the recent Skydancer reissue, which I will feature next week. Jorn Lande - 'Gate Of Tears', 'The Day The Earth Caught Fire': I have mentioned the extremely innovative prog-metal act Ark on several occasions in this column. Their lead singer has been involved in several other projects, including a solo album that I've heard parts of through Progged Radio. The former track is a scorcher, while the latter previews some of Ark's more eccentric tendencies. Ambeon - 'Surreal': Arjen Lucassen has become one of the most respected figures in progressive music, and his rumoured collaboration with Bruce Dickinson has thousands waiting in anticipation. His latest project doesn't reach the level of Ayreon's masterworks, but has some great songs and moments, like in this song where he plays a great acoustic solo over a rhythm similar to The Dream Sequencer's And The Druids Turn To Stone. Satyricon - 'Prime Evil Renaissance', 'Tied In Bronze Chains': I decided to give this much-discussed black metal act an impulse listen, and I was not disappointed, despite the fact that this is much rawer than most of the BM-leaning material I've reviewed. The lengthy latter track features some well drawn-out sections. Attention Deficit - 'Dubya', 'American Jingo': Instrumental progressive rock album that has received strong reviews from nearly all sources, and includes Alex Skolnick and Tim Alexander. They have also received press for the political inspirations in their song titles. The former song features a great solo from Alex, while the latter has a hypnotic groove. The Flower Kings - 'Stardust We Are': Enigmatic progressive rock act whose material features some great instrumental work, but also some head-scratching eccentricity. Yet when I happened upon this 25-minute opus on a progressive online radio show, I was highly impressed, particularly with the keyboard work, beauty in the acoustic verses, and the extended instrumental finale. Anacrusis - 'Sound The Alarm', 'Paint A Picture': Like Cynic, these guys were ahead of their time in deftly incorporating progressive influences into harsher forms of metal, in their case thrash. Their catalogue has recently been reissued and the two albums I've heard material from, Manic Impressions and Screams And Whispers, are worth seeking out. FALL 2001 AND BEYOND look forward to seeing these albums in future installments of Songs To Watch Blind Guardian - TBA: The most anticipated and frequently anticipated upcoming power metal release, and also the most frequently delayed. Latest rumours involve a single to be released in the fall, with the album to come out before Christmas. The band is reportedly going to include a 12-15 minute track. Symphony X - TBA: New album from the progressive metal masters is expected early next year. According to Michael Romeo, the new one will not be conceptual. Russell Allen is also working on a side project with two members of Helloween. In Flames - The Tokyo Showdown: Live album due out next month, almost entirely composed of songs from Colony and Clayman. Dream Theater - Scenes From New York, TBA: The complete Roseland show gets a release in the fall. Highlights not included on the DVD include a complete performance of the trilogy on Awake. New studio album expected early next year. Angel Dust - Of Human Bondage: Recording begins next month for an early 2002 release, the first since losing two members earlier this year. The album is expected to be heavier than yet expand upon Enlighten The Darkness. Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element pt. II: Mastermind Daniel Gildenlow has begun work on the followup to one of last year's most enthusiastically received progressive releases. Borknagar - Empiricism: Highly acclaimed "melodic black" act's first album since Simen's recent departure and replacement by Vintersorg. Angra/Shaman - TBA: The two bands created by the split of the latter last year are both expected to have albums out by the end of the year. The latter features Andre Matos, while a demo from the new incarnation of the former has already surfaced. Vanden Plas - TBA: The German progressive metal act, which features a great guitarist in Stephan Lill, is expected to have an album out early next year. After Forever - Decipher: Highly acclaimed yet overlooked female-fronted doom act's followup to their excellent debut. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah Iron Maiden - TBA: DVD release of the final show of the Brave New World tour at the Rock In Rio festival is expected late this year.