Review: Breitenhold – Secret Worlds (Stormspell 2014 CD)

 Breitenhold is a side-project of Ced from Rocka Rollas, and this is the first album. Musically, its basically so similar to the main band that you almost wonder why it is being released under a different name. Maybe it's an excuse to get as much songs out as possible, and to not be forced to throw them away?

 Anyway, since the new Rocka Rollas-album is so damn brilliant, it's hard to see any problem with an additional album of equally sounding music. Since they both were released at the same time, it comes naturally that you compare them a lot to each other, and I do find The Road To Destruction stronger than this. It takes a bit longer to get into as well, but once you've given it a few chances, the real potential in songs like Time Is Gone, To The Battle Far Beyond and The Windhorse Knight unfolds. The monumental closer Legions Of Breitenhold is a perfect ending to yet another very strong album. 8/10 /H


Review: Barbarian – Faith Extinguisher (Doomentia 2014 CD)

 This is the second album by these Italian maniacs, who appears in a different form compared to what fans of their earlier stuff might would have expected. While their previous album was pretty much all about Hellhammer/Celtic Frost-worshipping, this album is something completely different. Actually something as unexpected as a pure 100% heavy metal album.

 The only traces that remains of black/thrash/black/whatever are basically the vocals, which makes it reminding a lot of the latest album by Pest (Swe). Desaster is mentioned in the press-release as well, and it sure reminds of what they did with Tyrants Of The Netherworld, but Barbarian are looking even further back, to a time when there were only heavy metal or no metal at all. With a clean voice, this could just as well have been some obscure heavy/speed metal album, with some evil elements, from 1983 or something. I think it's a very interesting move to look back in music history and create something more original than most similar bands.

 So, to sum it up, this is definitely a very old school, yet fresh sounding album. Some might find the production a bit too clean, but myself I have no such problems. It makes the riffs and songs stand out and adds another bit of new thinking to the regressiveness. 7/10 /H


Review: Rocka Rollas – The Road To Destruction (Stormspell 2014 CD)

 More goods delivered by the Stormspell camp, this is the third album by the project that now has turned into a proper band. Their earlier releases hasn't really taken me by storm to be honest, I liked the Blazon Stone- and Mortyr-albums much more than the previous Rocka Rollas-album. But when I heard the first samples from The Road To Destruction, it was clear that they were about to unleash something way more immense this time.

 The riffs, the songs and the production are all simply spot on, and the fact that Ced has taken over the vocals himself this time is definitely contributing to the improvement, sounding like a mix of Kai Hansen (Helloween) and Bert Kivits (Emerald). Adding everything up, what you get is an album that's definitely one of the best of this year, and an album that takes Rocka Rollas right up to the top of the most interesting bands in Sweden right now. If they keep their current very active release-schedule, we hopefully have lots of more great albums to look forward to in a not so distant future. 8.5/10 /H


Review: Sacro Sanctus – Deus Volt (Metal On Metal 2014 CD)

 This is the new solo project of Albert Bell, known from bands like Forsaken and Nomad Son, two bands that have released some killer albums. So my expectations on what he have created on his own are definitely high.

 First of all I have to praise the artwork and layout of this CD, it looks truly stunning. Almost worth buying for the cover and the booklet alone.
 Musically, this is not at all in the same vein as his other epic doom metal bands. Well, the doom-part of it remains unchanged indeed, but otherwise this is way more dark and raw, rather than melodic and powerful as we're used to. It even reminds a lot of doom/mid-tempo oriented death/black metal-bands like Root, Beatification Of The Dead could almost be mistaken for the classic Písen Pro Satana the first time you hear it. It also sound a bit like Mortuary Drape, as well as the typical Italian doom-atmosphere in general, Abysmal Grief being a great example (Malta isn't that far from Italy, right?).
 One of the few weaknesses on this album is the vocal performance, which is a bit bland and expressionless. Sure it's a one man project, and the vocals are far away from unbearable, but the rest of the music is just so great, the right amount of wickedness and mental derangement could have made the overall impression even better. Mr Bell should start to take some “vocal” lessons from Big Boss or Labes C. Necrothytus. I also wouldn't mind more vocals that are actually sung, and not spoken, like halfway into The Tears Of Ishtar, or the entire closing title track. At those parts, this album is at its absolute best. Anyway, what this album might be lacking in vocals is definitely given back in delicate riffs and well written songs, all in all it's an enjoyable experience. 7/10 /H


Review: Outrage – The Demo(n)s 1985 (Ripping Storm 2014 LP)

 As if their killer new album We The Dead (one of the highlights of 2014, no doubt) wasn't enough, the first two demos of this forgotten German band has now been re-issued on vinyl! I got a CD-R with both of them from the band around the time the compilation of re-recorded tracks Go To Hell was released, three years ago, and since then I've been waiting for someone to release it on black (and coloured) wax. To finally have it in my hands is just fantastic, cheers to Ripping Storm Records for making it happen.

 Side A consists of their first demo, which I find a bit inferior to what awaits on side B. Sure, the songs are all classics, but I'm having a bit of a hard time with the drums. They sound way too clean, just feel out of place and kind of ruins the rest a little. I prefer more recent the re-recordings of all these songs. The Nifelheim-style drumming about halfway into Go To Hell is evil as shit though, shame that they omitted that on the new version.

 Now let's get to the main reason that this LP is so long awaited, side B and their second demo. A hidden gem of highest quality classic German black/thrash. Definitely in league with the early masterpieces by Sodom, Kreator and Poison's essential Into The Abyss. Poison actually appears on several old gig-flyers that covers the insert of this LP, those shows must have been something extraordinary. Anyway, you should now what we're dealing with here by now, a must have release, and nothing else. Get this, and their fantastic new album if you haven't done so already! 9/10 /H


Critical Mass Compilation vol. 2

The second Critical Mass-compilation can is now up for streaming and pre-order right here. 偏執症者 (Paranoid) is paticipating with a new unreleased track that is exclusive for this LP.

The other featured bands are:


Review: Deadly Force – From This Hell (Stormspell 2014 CD)

 Stormspell Records did not only just release the new Hypertension-album on CD, as usual they've got a lot of interesting stuff coming out at once. One of the releases they have to offer this time is the first EP by the Portuguese band Deadly Force, who delivers some impressive heavy metal played the good old way.

 The closest parallel to draw would probably be post-2000 Iron Maiden, much because of the fact that the vocalist Flavio Lino sounds a lot like Bruce Dickinson has done the last 15 years or so. But musically, this is way more traditional and down to earth, no 10+ minutes songs as far as the eye can see. Yet there's always still an epic feeling present though, who says songs must be super long to be epic? With that said, I still think that this band would definitely be able to create something more ambitious on future releases. It will be interesting to follow them, If you're a fan of Iron Maiden and their countless apprentices, you should check this out. And who doesn't like Maiden? 7/10 /H


Review: Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (Peaceville 2014 CD)

 2014 is starting to face the end, and I'm behind as shit on the reviews, but I'll give my best to hopefully post something about all the releases I've enjoyed during this year. Some might have been released almost a year ago, but whatever. First up, the latest album by the living death metal legends Autopsy.

 Some critical voices may claim that releasing another album just ten months after last years The Headless Ritual seems a bit rushed. But since we're talking Autopsy here, I don't really see the problem. I find the fact that one of the songs are entitled Forever Hungry very appropriate. Since the re-union in 2009, they have given us new releases each year, always delivering the absolute best death metal you'll possibly find these days, and never lacking quality. Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves is no exception.

 Fast and twisted rippers like Savagery, Parasitic Eye and the title track are combined with more mid-paced tunes like King Of Flesh Ripped and Teeth Of The Shadow Horde. And of course there are also some slow, filth crawling doom numbers, The Howling Dead and Burial gives you just what you need, and along with the rest gives form to an album just as fantastic as you could ever expect from this band. Although I love the other new albums as well, I think that this, along with the EP The Tomb Within, is probably the best they've done since the re-union. Hopefully their productivity will stay intact, and we'll get a new Autopsy-album in 2015 as well. 9/10 /H


Hypertension - Distant Thunders Call CD out now!

The CD-edition of Hypertension's second album is available now at the Stormspell Records-shop, 7,5$ only! They still have copies of our first album available as well, for 7$.

You'll find lots of other goodies at decent prices as well, so make sure to place an order while you can, the store is just open 'til November 15th!

EDIT: We don't have it for sale yet, I'll update here as soon as our copies arrive!


Review: Nightmare City – Nightmare Tape (Electric Assault 2014 MC)

New band featuring members of high quality acts such as Antichrist, Nominon, Witchgrave and Inverted Cross (what happened to that fantastic band?), to mention a few. Since the vocalist is the same, Witchgrave is definitely what this reminds most of, but more raw and with less classic heavy metal influence and melodies, drawing more towards punk in general. Not much more to say about this really, 4 killers, no krångel. If you like Venom, early Slayer and G.B.H., you'll surely love this. Hope to see something new by this band (and by their other bands as well) being released soon. 7/10 /H


Review: Sex Dwarf – Non Stop Erotic Noise Cabaret (D-takt & Råpunk 2014 LP)

 In case that the band name and the album title aren't enough to catch your attention, the noise (not music) most certainly will. The first LP of Stockholm's Sex Dwarf has arrived. I though that last years EP was basically at the actual limit of how raw it possibly can get, but in comparison to this it feels like it wasn't even close. On the other hand though it also feels clearer and the songs distinguish themselves from each other much better than on the EP. They have somehow succeeded in making it sound both better and worse at the same time.
 When it comes to the songs, it's more or less full speed d-beat distortion madness all the time, but there are also more sides of it to discover if you take a closer look. Some mid-tempo tracks like Krigslust, Slavery and Avnazifiering, as well as the surprisingly death metal sounding and d-beat free Din Gud does a lot to make it more dynamic and diverse. I also have to mention the last two minutes of the final track Frihet, sounds like a mental breakdown caught on tape.
A must have for all the raw punks out there. 8/10 /H


Review: Witchclan – The Dark Binding (Elvester Records 2014)

The name Witchclan probably doesn't sound familiar to many, but this is in fact one of the first black metal bands to emerge from the UK. Nowadays, it's a one man project though, and The Dark Binding is the second full length album.

 Something that might be disturbing some are the seemingly programmed drums. When it comes to myself though, if the music just is good enough, I simply don't mind it. And making music that's good enough is something that Witchclan partially succeeds in doing. Just partially though, when too much fast bass drumming is used, like in the opening Worms Of Hypocrisy, it sounds very artificial. But when regular 2-beat or simple basic patterns dominates, you barely notice that the drums are programmed. Also, the tolerance-level gets higher the more you listen, so the longer into the album I get, the more I enjoy it. So if you just get past the trembling and kind of misleading start, I assure you that this album has got more to offer.

 Songs like Treading On Angels, Beyond The Seventh Gate and Paths To Immortality contains everything you may wish from a black metal-album, great balance between speed and heaviness, a dark atmosphere and some tasty melodies here and there. So even though they might not be in league with modern black metal masters like Negative Plane or MGLA, this is still definitely worth getting. 6.5/10 /H


Review: Under The Church – s/t (Tape Worship 2014 MC)

 The early 90's may be long gone, but as we all know the notorious Swedish death metal lives on. The question is though, is there any more authentic sounding band around than Under The Church? I don't think so, can't find a single trace of awareness about anything that has happened the last 20 years. The logo, the cover, the sound and the songs, it's like they've used a time machine. Which probably ave been said about thousands of retro-bands by now, but this is the first time I truly gets that particular feeling. Even the most old school sounding bands always show the slightest signs of external influences or rethinking. One of these rare occasions where the label's description is actually true (“Amongst the countless SweDeath-worship bands everywhere, UNDER THE CHURCH distinctively separates themselves from the pack and remains to be the true originators of Swedish Death Metal!”).

 The fact that two out of three members actually contributed to the establishment of the genre in Nirvana 2002 probably means a lot, I assume they just think the way they did back then. Under The Church is way more than the mega old-school sounding production though, the songs are ridiculously strong as well. It's off to a slightly weaker start though with two mid-paced songs. Not by any means bad, but I think that the order of the tracks might could have been better, you get the feeling that they're holding back a little bit. From Digging In The Dirt and onward though it's full speed ahead, along with the following songs Under The Church (modern classic-warning) and Burning, it's the definite peak. But as I said, this is nothing but high quality all the way. 7.5/10


Review: Capilla Ardiente – Bravery, Truth and Endless Darkness (LP 2014 High Roller)

 I know I'm definitely not alone to have been absolutely blown away by Procession's last album To Reap Heavens Apart released last year, such a monumental creation of doom. So the news that half of Procession apparently also are in Capilla Ardiente were very well received. Thus the similarities between the bands are of course many, still you're absolutely able to tell that they are two different bands.
 As Procession are slightly more melody driven with a distinct heavy metal influence constantly present, the feeling you get when the tones of Bravery, Truth and Endless Darkness blasts out through the speakers is that this is more riff oriented, and only about 100% pure doom, and nothing else. Although it's a very strong album, it doesn't really have me by the throat the same way that the last Procession-album, but it's not far behind. Both bands are are simply responsible of creating some of the absolute best doom that you'll find these days. 7.5/10 /H


Review: Martyrdöd – Elddop (D-takt & Råpunk 2014 LP)

 Well, the autumn is here, and what would be a better soundtrack to its arrival than the bitter sweet tones of the new Martyrdöd-LP? Even though they might not be that similar musically, I kind of have the same feeling for this one as I had about the last Bombus-album. The spectrum of influences is so wide, and the result is an album that simply should appeal to anyone who likes some kind of heavy and melodic music.

 The fact that it's one of the most consistent albums I've heard in a while is also worth pointing out, I don't even think I can pick any highlights. The phenomenal beautiful piece Martyren stands out a bit from the rest, otherwise it's more or less the same d-beat driven, and at times heavy, punk/metal all the way. Martyrdöd has delivered a very impressive effort that without a doubt makes its way to the absolute top of the 2014-releases. 8.5/10 /H


Hypertension - Distant Thunders Call & King Malice - s/t MC's OUT NOW!

That's right, our first two releases are now available! Details on how to order can be found in the SHOP-section, and more details in the RELEASES-section.

Hypertension: Swedish speed/thrash metal, second album.

King Malice: Swedish doom/stoner, first demo.


Review: Demon Bitch – Death Is Hanging... (Dying Victims 2014 MC)

 From Detroit, Michigan, comes this heavy metal outfit that brings us four new tracks in form of their new EP. I suspect that I'm not the first to make this comparison, and that they might be tired of hearing it, but it does sound a lot like fellow local band Borrowed Time (I even think I've read that they share(d?) some band members). But since their mighty first album was one of my top five releases last year (which was an unbelievably strong year) it's shouldn't be taken as anything but positive feedback.

 Both bands features the same kind of timeless heavy metal, analogue sounding production, and most of all the incredibly charismatic and kind of theatrical vocals, that stands out in a way that is very rare these days. The first album by Sweden's Portrait also comes to mind. Might be regarded as a bit strange and weird to some at the first acquaintance, but just listen to it twice, and hopefully you'll see the uniqueness and brilliance in this. I'll add that I really hope we've haven't seen the last of this band yet, the though of what Demon Bitch could be able to achieve in the full-length format is stunning. 7.5/10 /H


First two releases out soon!

That's right, our first two releases arrived today, which means that it won't be too long 'til they're out! For further information, see the releases-page.


Review: Brottskod 11 – Demokratisk Kontroll (LP 2014 Phobia)

 After already having released the great Suffer The Pain-EP, Phobia continues to deliver great stuff in form of the long awaited debut LP from Brottskod 11, which sadly also seems to be their last one.

 Anyway, Demokratisk Kontroll is no exception from their earlier stuff, the razor sharp riffs, filthy production and super pissed of vocals are all there. Tempo changes are rare, but the ones that they have are just enough to make the album fell varied enough, since it can't be no longer than 20-25 minutes. The short lyrical explanations that comes with the insert are also something worth pointing out, knowing more detailed what the songs are about definitely makes them more interesting. 7/10 /H


Review: Ocean Chief – Universums Härd (I Hate 2014 CD)

 I recently named Vanhelgd Mjölby's finest, and that is a statement that remains unchanged, yet definitely not unchallenged, after the release of Ocean Chiefs new album. The bands do actually even have a common denominator in the guitarist Björn Andersson. Unlike Vanhelgd's sinister death metal, this is all about stoner/doom, with a generous dose of atmosphere and raw primordial power added.

 Compared to their previous album, by the name of Sten, which was amazing if you just had the time to make it all the way through its 71 minutes, Universums Härd is a way shorter, faster and more straight to the point in general. A decision I absolutely appreciate, I don't mind a 3-minute facemelter like Urtiden among the 10, 15 or sometimes even 20+ minute monoliths piled up on each other, that sort of have become their trademark. Something that makes this album even more dynamic are the instrumental interludes, Färden being the most stellar one. Dissecting the ideas into smaller parts instead of having a bunch of extremely long songs was a great choice, intentionally or not.

 So even though they might be defeated this time, Ocean Chief has delivered an impressive effort that caught my attention like never before. I'm looking forward to the clash of the Mjölby-titans round two. 7.5/10 /H


Review: Zone Zero – The Lost Legacy (2-CD 2014 Shadow Kingdom)

 Christmas seems to have arrived early this year for worshippers of classic Swedish metal from the eighties. This is probably the most essential release since the Detest-compilation by Stormspell Records. Zone Zero is simply one of those bands that musically almost were on the same level as Heavy Load, Gotham City and Silver Mountain, to mention a few, but remained even more forgotten since they never released an album.

 Now that their complete works are finally available, hopefully they'll get the recognition they have always deserved. Songs like Genocide Patrol, Breaker Of The Chains and Demon From Kingdom Of Death (!) could impossibly be disliked by any heavy metal maniac. From start to finish, everything is just so typical for it's time, yet so timeless.

 Something I like is the fact that the songs are in chronological order, which means that the first five tracks are live recordings. Normally, live-recordings are regarded as bonus-material that you don't listen to as much as the studio-tracks, but in this case you have to. Which is great, since the sound quality of those recordings is very good, even better than some of the the demo- and rehearsal-tracks. Four new songs are also included, which, by obvious reasons, have a way more modern sound, but still maintains the high quality.

 In conclusion, this releases compiles some of the most hidden and well kept Swedish heavy metal treasures. Don't hesitate, go on and discover this band immediately, if you haven't done so already. 9/10 /H


Getaway 2014 Review Day 3

 Third and final day, first band up; local death metal veterans Sorcery. Too much mid tempo songs and a bit long songs to earn a place among the genre's finest, but you can't say no to a well played set of classic rotten Swedish death (6.5/10).

 Second band of the day were Black Trip, which I had the pleasure to share stage with a few months ago. Just like then, they gives us a great show, lining up high quality songs as if there was no tomorrow. They deserved a way larger audience though, the majority of the festival attenders must have chose some commercial garbage outside instead. Too bad for them. (7.5/10)
 Right after Black Trip's vocalist Joseph Tholl left the stage, it wasn't long until he had to get back up again to play guitar with Robert Pehrsson's Humbucker. Impressive to pull of two shows in a row! RPH's performance could be summed up as a bunch of qualified musicians playing straight forward rock and having a good time for about an hour, nothing more or less. (7/10)
 The crowd grew remarkably just in time for Blues Pills, who apparently must have become quite successful. As their set commences, the reason why is getting clear. A bit repetitious at some times, but at their best they are truly amazing. (7.5/10)
 Had to leave their show a bit early though, to be able to catch every minute of the almighty Hawkwind. Once again, an embarrassingly small crowd, but this time it was a bit more expected. The band seems totally untouched, just doing what they do best, and I'm worshipping every single minute. The trio of Master Of The Universe, Angels Of Death and Brainstorm (with Sonic Attack as intro) was just pure euphoria, a feeling that even remained several hours after it was all over. Best show of the festival, no doubt (9/10).
 After such a blast, the super fuzzy proto-punk/rock of Satan's Satyrs was a perfect way to wind down. Nothing sensational, but a solid performance and an original sound. The last in a line of great bands at once another great festival in Gävle. (7/10).


Getaway 2014 Review Day 2

 First band of day two was grind pioneers Napalm Death, a band that I guess doesn't need any further introduction. Just so hilarious to see all the confused people wearing Sabaton-shirts in the crowd as their mangling noise is unleashed. No backdrop, intro or anything unnecessary but the music speaking for itself. Great mix of old and newer songs, Barney and the rest are the kings of the main stage, no doubt (8/10).

 The maniac Australians Airbourne were the second band of the day. Their studio-albums tends to be a bit predictable and not always top notch, but I really like their first one, and most of their setlist is taken from that album. Adding the most intense and energic live-performance to that, and you can't go wrong. The vocals sounds very strain and worn though, and there are some sound-problems throughout their set, but still one of the festival's highlights (8/10).
 Right after, off to the small stage to check out the first show on Swedish soil of the German duo Mantar. The first thing that draws your attention is the guitar-sound, I can't recall having heard anything as heavy in a live-situation before. The vocals are a bit of a let down though, Kind of weak and not as powerful at all as what I've heard of their studio-recordings. Despite that, still an enjoyable show from their side (7/10).
 Next up, Iceland's Solstafir, whose albums I, for some reason, never really have checked out before. A fact I definitely have to change after having witnessed this. Incredibly atmospheric and enchanting performance, my attention was caught the entire show even though I've never heard any of their songs before (8.5/10).
 Last band of the day was the one and only Slayer. I had my doubts, since I wasn't that impressed the last time I saw them, and because of Dave Lombardo's departure. But the right choices of songs can make you forget the absence of almost anyone, and holy shit what a fantastic setlist. After opening with Hell Awaits, The Antichrist and Necrophiliac, I was sold. As if that wasn't enough, they also gave us masterpieces such as Capitor Of Sin, Die By The Sword, Black Magic and At Dawn They Sleep. That fact that they aren't what they once were any more can't be disguised though, but at the present circumstances, I don't think that the show could have turned out much better than this (8/10).

Day three to follow...

Getaway 2014 Review Day 1

I spent the weekend in Gävle at the Getaway festival, 4th year I visited this festival that always has lots of decent bands to offer. So here's a brief summary of my experience:

 Started off by having a look at the (kinda) local black metal-band Patronymicon. Well played, but a bit watered down musically. Not original or hellish enough to catch my interest more than a few songs, but far away from bad (5.5/10).
 Next up was the legendary Possessed, or at least what's left of them. I was a bit sceptic at first, to be honest, but they definitely delivered their classics in a worthy way. Not too down tuned or modern guitar-sound, ample reverb on the vocals and an absolute excellent drum-performance. They even played a song from a brand new album that's seemingly on it's way, an album on which my expectations are high set after this show (7.5/10).
 After leaving Possessed's show with a smile on my face, it got wiped off very soon as Kreator's set begun. Sure, they weren't good the last time I saw them either, but this time it was simply their all time low. The drum sound could very well be the worst I've ever experienced in a live concert., close to unbearable. Add Petrozza's nowadays dreadful vocals to that, and the only way is down. Painful to see them decapitate their classics, they should stick to their boring post-'00 albums instead. (2/10)

 I had a gaze at Malevolent Creation, which sound-wise was absolutely killer. Never really got that hooked from what I've heard of their albums, but this was something completely different. Maybe I should get a live-album by them or something. (6.5/10)
 It seems like the organizers had saved the best for last though, Kadavar was definitely the highlight of day one. I don't know if I've ever seen a drummer banging his head so much, and even though his kit was one of the smallest I've seen, he absolutely killed it, just like the rest of the band. An hour of intense and triumphant heavy rock that I won't forget in a while. (8.5/10)
 Day 2 & 3 to follow...


Review: Terminal – Heavy Metal Lokomotiva (Ljudkassett 2014 MC)

 Ljudkassett continues to provide us with high quality stuff in the dearly beloved tape format. I think this might actually be their best release so far. Terminal is a tribute to the heavy metal of the eighties from the European communist block, and Tobias Lindkvist (Enforcer, Corrupt, ex(?)-Dead Lord) is the man behind the band. As no other band-members are mentioned, I assume that he's playing all of the instruments himself, as if the greatness of the music itself wasn't already impressive enough.

 Since I totally worship classic bands like Pokolgép, Aria and Magnit, this is nothing but pure gold. The way everything from the sound, production and atmosphere to the riffs, melodies and vocals are reproduced is just fantastic. Even the artwork and logo is just screaming 80's eastern Europe, nothing seems to be left to chance. You could say that this marks a whole new level of the so called “total worship”-concept, these two songs are actually better than a lot of the albums originally released back in the eighties. I'll pass on the grading since it's only two songs, but damn I hope we'll hear more from this band in a not so distant future.


Review: Vanhelgd – Relics Of Sulphur Salvation (Ljudkassett 2014 MC)

 Mjölby's finest are back with their third album, and just like the previous one Church Of Death, the first song is once again sung in Swedish. Dödens Maskätna Anlete is a merciless opener and sets the mood immediately. There's one more Swedish song, Ett Liv I Träldom, and lyrically both of them are very impressing. Writing Swedish death metal-lyrics in a convincing way is definitely not the most simple task, but in these two songs the words are so well written and carefully chosen that the feeling you get by reading them is just as dark and ominous as the music itself.

 Something else that makes Vanhelgd stand out among the thousands of Swedish death metal bands is the scarce use of up-tempo (d-beat) parts. Sure, they do exist, but the song structures are mainly built on either slow-, mid-tempo or blast beats, which by most other bands are only used as variations. It's not like they're renewing the entire genre, but as I said, it gives them a bit more character than others.

 So to sum it up, with this release Vanhelgd has taken a huge step. Even though both of their previous albums were very good and promising, it feels like it's now their true potential is finally revealed for the first time. Just as claimed by their label, their “most glorious defining moment in their discography”, indeed. I think we'll have to add “so far” to that last quote though... 8/10 /H


Review: Walpyrgus – s/t (Swords And Chains 2014 MC)

 If you are, like me, a big fan of one of the best and most underrated heavy metal bands in the modern history of the genre, namely Twisted Tower Dire, this is some good news for you. Walpyrgus consists of 3 out of 5 TTD-members, and sound wise it is basically a continuation of their last album Make It Dark. Personally, I absolutely loved that album, and what can I do but loving this as well!

 Although the three new tracks on this tape might not instantly knock you out the first listening with as sheer power as Make It Dark did, it won't take long until their actual potential is unveiled. All of a sudden it becomes clear that the quality of these songs is actually just as high. No excessive old school-approach, low-fi sound or so called total worship of anything. Just pure heavy metal at it's absolute finest.

 The tape-edition also features an exclusive (I think) cover of Mercyful Fate's Doomed By the Living Dead. A very unexpected choice of cover, since the style of the other songs is more powerful and epic, rather than MF's dark and evil obscurity. But they definitely manages to deliver a cool interpretation of the song. Especially I get the feeling that the vocals in this cover particularly are put to the test more than ever, and the performance is absolutely stunning, in terms of vocal range and absolute power. Can't wait for the next release of this band, fingers crossed that it will be a full lenght-album. Wouldn't mind a new album by Twisted Tower Dire either... 8/10 /H


Review: Zaum – Oracles (I Hate 2014 CD)

 In the recent days of almost unbearable heat, way above the average temperature here in Sweden, I think that there are few more fitting soundtracks than the new album by Zaum. Their style is described as “Middle Eastern mantra doom”, and is recommended served under the scorching desert sun.
 To be honest, this barely gives me anything at all musically, some interesting sequences here and there drenched in a sea of monotony. What I liked most was the amazing cover art, bringing to mind Manilla Road's masterpiece Crystal Logic.
 But after listening to it a few times, it became clear that the music is not necessarily the most important thing here. What's way more appealing is the atmosphere, and when this album is experienced during the right circumstances, it suddenly became way more interesting. Which after some examination of the press-release seems to be the exactly intention with this band. You see, Zaum ain't just a regular band, they creates atmospheres and speaks to the deepest state of thought, beyond the borders defined by music.
 I feel like I probably won't become much wiser about what the hell this band is doing (I'm still not sure if I actually get it, or if I ever will). But it's just interesting how it engages your mind like I've never felt other music have, in a way that's not even possible to identify as good or bad, just somehow fascinating. I'd definitely recommend you all to have listen, preferably during a long walk under a sun as scorching as possible. I can guarantee you won't be left untouched, whether you like it or not. 6,5/10 /H


Review: Portrait – Crossroads (Metal Blade 2014 CD)

 Been way too inactive for a while now, but the intention is to change that, and what could possibly be better than breaking the silence with some thoughts of the new album by Sweden's leading heavy metal purveyors Portrait? Crossroads is their third album, and just like its predecessor, it's a little bit coloured by line-up changes, the departure of guitarist and songwriter Richard Lagergren being the most significant one. Anyway, they sorted it out by David Olofsson wielding the second guitar, and to handle the bass, they brought in Cab, from the legendary Swedish thrashers Hypnosia.

 Claiming that this album is off to a good start is an understatement. After the short instrumental intro Liberation, very reminiscent of King Diamond's Black Horsemen, At The Ghost Gate takes over. Their previous albums have both had fast (and great) first tracks, but this is definitely on a whole new level. I'm not sure I've heard such a powerful opener since Bathory's A Fine Day To Die.

 A such intense start of course raises the bar for the rest of the album, but by now you simply know that Portrait is a band to be relied on. High quality heavy metal songs are lined up one by one. Faster ones such as In Time and Our Roads Must Never Cross, mid-tempo oriented ones like We Were Not Alone and Ageless Rites, and the heaviness of Black Easter, everything you could ask for is right there. The 9 minutes long finale entitled Lily is probably the absolute highlight though, along with the opener, an extremely dark, melancholic and phenomenal tune. Although the fact that it's title is a female name and that it's the last track sure brings to mind a certain Danish band, that seems almost impossible to not refer to when speaking of Portrait.

 Anyway, Crossroads definitely meets the high set expectations, and establishes Portrait even more as one of Sweden's leading heavy metal band, both at the moment and in the history. I can't name many bands that have released three albums of equal quality. 8.5/10 /H


Review: Miasmal – Cursed Redeemer (Century Media 2014 LP)

 One of the LP's that has been played most frequently the last month is this second album by the Gothenburg death metallers. It's their first release not being self titled, as far as I know. I almost expected it to be named Miasmal II or something, but apparently they were clever enough to come up with another album title this time. The formula is basically the same as on the first album, rough, powerful and uncompromising death metal. The title track is opening just as convincing as Mesmerized did, the mid-tempo mangel in Excelsior is just as crushing as Death Mask, both albums contains eight songs and the playing time differs by only about 20 seconds. So Miasmal II might be just what it is, in one way. Why changing a winning concept?
 Even though some melodies are sneaked in every now and then, it is far from the so called “Gothenburg-sound” (despite their geographical origin). The proportion of melodies used is way more comparable to Dismember, which comes to mind more than any other band while listening to this. In the absence of the masters of death who nowadays are buried, yet not forgotten, Miasmal is an excellent substitute. I was just going to add something like “ their sound is still original though”, but I'll pass since those statements are too watered down. I'll leave that to all the labels out there promoting their shitty bands instead. Miasmal plays death metal, and they're doing it very well. 8/10 /H


Distortion Faith Vol. 1 Tape

Compilation featuring 3 new PARANOID-tracks + new and/or unreleased tracks by SNOB (Can), WARCHILD (Swe), BLOODSUCKERS (Rus), KAFKA (Jap) and KOHTI TUHOA (Fin). Available at Blindead Productions or DBRP. Few copies left, so get it before it's gone!


偏執症者 (Paranoid) @ K-town & Stockholm


Tomorrow we're off to Stockholm (The Liffeys) to play with lots of great bands, then we're heading for K-Town Hardcore Fest to play with even more great bands. Can't wait!


Review: Meliah Rage – Warrior (Metal On Metal 2014 CD)

 The previous album by Meliah Rage, Dead To The World (also released by Metal On Metal), was something as unusual as a modern thrash metal album that I actually liked. Time now has come for the follow-up, under the name of Warrior. Before the music even starts I observe that the tracklist looks very good, eight songs is just enough, which many modern bands seems to have some difficulties to understand. After all, these guys are from the 80's, and knows how an album should be constructed.

 Nothing is won until the quality of the music itself is inspected though, and unfortunately, I don't find this album as appealing as their previous offering. The songs just aren't as memorable, and the new vocalist is very different, almost make them sound like a different band. More in the vein of Testament and Exodus with Zetro, rather than the almost entirely clean vocals on Dead To This World, which felt a bit more original. It's far away from a failure though, songs like Stranger To Your Sympathy, A Dying Day and In Hate indicates that they aren't to be counted out yet, but the great moments are simply just to few and too many of the 42 minutes don't reach any further than the insidious “ok/pretty good but not more”-impression.
 It never gets close to being bad though, and it must be said once again that this modern approach is definitely not my cup of tea, which makes it even more impressive that they manages to maintain my attention throughout the whole album. Which proves that they're probably among the best in their business. 5.5/10 /H


偏執症者(Paranoid) - Destroy Future Less System 5 Track E.P. Out Now + New Videos

After some delays, it's finally out! Available for purchase right here. 5 tracks of northern winds of brutal hell mangel is what to expect. Artwork by Alex Heir. Our copies aren't here yet, but keep checking back and you'll know when they've arrived.

Two new videos up as well, made by Teodor Juel Eckerström, who did a great job!


Review: Burning Saviours – Boken Om Förbannelsen (I Hate 2014 CD)

 Originally released as four individual 7”-singles by Night Tripper between 2011 and 2013, this compilation CD features all tracks of the Förbannelsen (The Curse) tetralogy. Burning Saviours are playing a fusion of doom and rock which brings to mind the sound of the 60's and 70's. Way more vintage-sounding than most other doom-albums released by I Hate, there's barely any heavy metal-presence at all. Which of course isn't always necessary, just a simple reflection. Their music is much more similar to recent successful Swedish bands like Graveyard, Witchcraft and Skogen Brinner. Burning Saviours are definitely not just one of all bands that are following the ongoing trend though, the fact that they've been around since 2003 must make them, along with Witchcraft, one of the first acts in this doom/rock revival, which it has grown into the last couple of years.
 The opening title track immediately sets the standard. Rhythm, riffs ,vocals, all of the musicians are doing a great job. You can tell that they've been doing this for a while. Midnight and The Offering continues in the same slow heavy rocking vein, although the tempo barely changes notably at all, so a little feeling of monotony starts to occur. Spirit Of The Woods comes just in the right time, and takes it to new levels with its decent up-tempo groove. Definitely the finest tune on this album, together with the fantastic closer Hon Dansade Med Döden (She Danced With Death). As far as improvements go, the song writing could have been a bit more varied. A bit more up tempo, maybe even jamming parts would be very welcome, these are the moments when this band is shining brightest. I'd also like more of the lyrics to be in Swedish as well, it gives them an additional touch of originality. In summary, this was a very pleasant first meeting with this bands' music, I will absolutely have to check out their earlier albums. You all should do so as well. 7/10 /H


Review: Serpent Warning – s/t (I Hate 2014 CD)

 Let's get the facts straight, a doom metal-album released by I Hate means quality. Thinking about it, it's almost unbelievable how they've spoilt us the last few years with stunning releases from bands like Jex Thoth, Black Oath and The Wounded Kings, just to name a few. And I haven't even mentioned classics like The Gates Of Slumber's Suffer No Guilt or The Time Lord by Pagan Altar yet.

 Anyway, this is the first full-lenght album from this new promising band, and it's absolutely not an exception from the fact stated above. As soon as you hear the melancholic nerve and characteristic accent of the vocals, it doesn't take much to identify that they come from Finland. Extra attentive listeners may also notice the vocalist is the same one as in The Wandering Midget.

 Musically, this album is one of those that really puts the metal in doom metal. Forget all those countless bands that just plays the same three tones very slow for 15 minutes. This album is a demonstration of great riffs, great arrangements and great vocals. In other words great songs, actual heavy metal songs, and nothing else. Italy's Doomsword comes to mind several times while listening to this album, Serpent Warning has got a bit less Manowar-influence though.

 The fact that it only contains six songs, which gives it a total playing time of 40 minutes, also settles the heavy metal connection even more. Way too many doom-albums goes on and on for far too long, what every band should have in mind is an LP with a maximum 20 minutes on each side. Just because the music is twice as slow doesn't mean that the playtime must be twice as long. Finally, I have to praise the cover, which definitely increases the overall impression with its dark and eerie atmosphere and mystique. I bet this album would both look and sound very good as a vinyl-release... 7,5/10 /H


Review: Outrage – We The Dead (Metal On Metal 2014 CD)

 The German veterans are back once more, this is their 7th album. Three of the tracks are familiar from their earlier career, Death From Behind, Delos and Spherical appeared on their first, second and fourth demos. Definitely a good choice to include some old tunes, since the sound of their demos wasn't the best, so just like on 2011's Go To Hell, it's great to see these old songs getting the production they deserve. I'd like to make an exception for Delos though, the sound of their second demo is just perfect, and I consider it one of the finest black/thrash treasures of the 80's. Still, I guess I'm one of the very few people who actually have heard it at all, and Delos is simply one of their best songs ever, so re-recording it was probably a good move after all.

 The most interesting part of this album though, is definitely the new songs. With the release of Go To Hell, the expectations were drawn towards a more old school approach, but it's actually more in the vein of their albums from released the mid 00's. Sure, the sound is more or less the same (old school as fuck), but the arrangements and lyrics are way more complex and unique. It's way more diverse as well. You've got the thrash metal rippers like Eye For An Eye and The Biggest Wrench, mid-tempo parts like The Iron Door and Chastiser, and almost outright doom-metal tunes like Be That As It May and Sepia Eyes / Birth To The Flame. Everything flows perfectly together into a wicked symphony of darkness. What also speaks for this album is the production. Especially the drum sound on Go To Hell was a bit to modern, and that decreased the overall impression a little bit, this time the sound is flawless.

 Compared to Go To Hell, which was packed to the limit with songs that knocked you out the first time you heard them, this album will take some time to get into. But mark my words, once you do, it becomes clear that it's actually just as good, maybe even better, as it's predecessor. Outrage are really not taking the easy way out with their strange song-structures and weird lyrics, that sometimes makes no sense at all, but after all it's the dark atmosphere and waywardness of it all that makes this band so brilliant. I'd choose them any day before all the hordes of generic German thrash bands doing what has already been done a thousand times. Outrage stands supreme among all of them, and I really hope more people will check out this album and give it the time and attention it deserves. It will be worth it, trust me. 8/10 /H


Review: Parasit – Bag Of Enemies (Nuclear Fear 2014 7”)

The Swedish death/käng overlords follows up last years Välj Din Egen Bödel LP with four new songs and one cover of Complaint by Disrupt. This is simply one of those bands that you know what you'll get from, razor-sharp riffs, intense grunts/lunacy, and god forbid that the drums would be anything else than d-beat. Ever. The only thing that seems to have changed since the last recording is that all song titles and lyrics are in English, compared to the LP where about half of them were in Swedish. Beside that, everything is as good as intact, so if you liked the album, there's no reason to not get this EP as well. 7/10 /H


Review: Mortalicum – Tears From The Grave (Metal On Metal 2014 CD)

 What I know about this band from before is pretty much only that their bassplayer is Patrik Backlund, whose other band Quicksand Dream's only album I like very much, a very underrated piece of epic heavy metal. Nowadays though, focus seems to be on Mortalicum all the way.
 From the title and the album cover, what I expected was something very slow, dark and super depressive-ish. Therefore, it comes as a surprise that the opening tune of this album, The Endless Sacrifice, is an up-tempo rocker that I even wouldn't mind calling a bit cheerful. Sure there are some real slow and longer songs as well, but still in a very different way compared to my expectations. One of the bands that comes to mind while listening to this album is definitely Grand Magus, much because of the vocals of Henrik Högl reminding a lot of the ones of JB. Which is a very positive thing, since his voice is one of the more superb ones in the Swedish metal-scene of today. Musically though, Mortalicum are moving more towards a rock/doom territory, and the heavy metal is a bit more absent. 80's-era Pentagram would probably be an even better parallel to draw, heavy and a bit metallic, yet with the rock-feeling always present.

 Weaknesses are hard to find on this one actually, it's a very solid album. Some of the solos might be a bit long. The guitar-work is fantastic, but solos that are too long will get boring sooner or later, no matter how good the player is. The eleven minutes long title track could might have been cut a bit shorter as well. Otherwise, the rest of the +7 min-songs, Remember The Fallen, I Am Sin, and especially the incredibly majestic closer The Winding Stair, works very well. A very nice experience of an album, that reminds you to expect the unexpected, and not always judge the content for its cover. 7,5/10 /H

Review: Kafka – s/t (D-takt & Råpunk 2014 MC)

 Time for some mangel from the land of the rising sun. This is Kafka's debut-demo, and it contains four tracks of high energy riffing and those lovely vocals, which ensures you that this band impossibly could me mistaken as anything else than a Japanese one. Compared to some of the members' former band, Dropend, this is more traditional Harcore-sounding, rather than a total distorted mayhem. Regardless of which style you prefer, it's clear that these guys definitely master both of them in an excellent way.

 I like the fact that lyrics are included in English, Japanese and Japanese written in “regular” (latin script) letters. At fist sight, the last song Rensa appears to be a Swedish title, but after studying the lyrics a bit, you notice that it's not the case at all. Small details like these can definitely contribute to make the music itself more interesting.

 All in all, this band introduces themselves in a way that makes you want more instantly, and new stuff seems to be in the works already. A band to keep your eyes on in the hopefully not so distant future, I definitely know I will. 6,5/10 /H


Review: Suffer The Pain – The Face Of Doom (Krig Tejps 2014 MC)

 The metal-scene of Västerås might not be the most diverse one in this country, the active bands I know about can literally be counted on one hand. The few ones that exists seems to have a very good ability of putting out great stuff on a regular basis though. Quality before quantity, I guess. This is the third demo of Suffer The Pain, containing four new songs. It starts of with a sinister and fateful intro that brings to mind the latest album by Tragedy, which I liked a lot. Then it breaks into the title-track, which is a more solid mid-tempo piece. I wish the rest of the song itself could've been a bit more in the vein of the intro though. Sure, it's good the way it is, but I'm left with the feeling that it was going somewhere even better.

 Otherwise, there aren't really any other complaints from my side. World Evil and Faith Through Violence answers my prays of more black metal-inspiration, yet their deadly metal/punk fusion is always present.

 A cover of Motörhead's Killed By Death is also included, and Suffer The Pain's d beat-drenched up-tempo version definitely works very well. Not as great as the cover of Roky Erickson's Bloody Hammer on their first demo though, the further the original song is from their sound, the more interesting it gets, I suppose. Dying to hear what their next choice of cover will be. As much as I'm dying to hear whatever they'll release next. Hopefully a full-length album, they still don't seem to have learned that their releases are too damn short... 7/10 /H


Review: Slough Feg – Digital Resistance (LP 2014 Metal Blade)

 The band that never cease to impress is back once again. For almost two decades, Slough Feg have released album upon album, one more amazing than the other. Digital Resistance is their 9th one, and just as always, the characteristic sound is there, but still it differs from their earlier albums in it's own way. This time the approach is kind of more laid back than ever before. Some of the metal-puritans might not be that satisfied with this direction, but personally I still enjoy it, even though it might not be as groundbreaking as the metallic chaos of their earlier albums. However, Slough Feg's brilliance will always be intact, regardless of the music's being heavy or more laid back. I'd rather have them trying something new than just rehashing their past half as good (anyone heard the new Judas Priest-song?).

 Basically the only thing speaking against this band are themselves. This is definitely one of the best albums released in 2014 so far, but the fact that they have spoilt us with even better albums for so long, you're still thirsty for more. Most important though is that they once again have proved their inability to release an album that's not worth getting. Let's hope it stays that way in the future as well. 7,5/10 /H


Review: Bombs Of Hades – Recoil In Horror (7” De:Nihil 2014)

 As a final appetizer before their upcoming third album, Bombs Of Hades introduces Recoil In Horror. Compared to their last new song, from the split with Suffer The Pain (Black Goat Chant), which was nothing but a straight forward and uncompromising ripper, this tune is a bit more complex. After starting off in a more mid-tempo oriented way, not that different from Burn of their last album, and a chorus that could almost be described as progressive, it soon breaks into a more recognizable 2-beat classic death part. Soon it returns to the slower pace, not the same one as in the beginning though, and then it ends abruptly.

 The B-side is a cover of Black Sabbath's Over And Over, which works out just perfectly in this death/doom outfit, without a doubt their best cover so far. Excellent choice of song, I really got reminded of what a great album it is. People rejecting the Dio-albums claiming that the ones with Ozzy are the only ones that matter are nothing but fools (you're all fools!).

 Bombs Of Hades has once again succeeded in making me yearn for another album filled with traditional yet innovative and unexpected compositions. The bar is set as high as always!


Review: Putrified - Sacrilegious Purification (CD 2013 Hellthrasher)

 Putrified is a death metal band from Stockholm, which geographically might draw the expectations to the old standard Sunlight HM2-sound of rotten death that we all know so well. Which in one way is what you'll get, that particular style could definitely be regarded as the foundation of Putrified's music. On the other hand though, Putrified has got something most practitioners of this music are missing, originality, both when it coems to the music and the production. I'm trying to find a suitable description, something like a bit melodic or blackened death metal, but nothing is really able to describe it properly. You'll have to listen and judge yourselves I guess. Anyway, this is definitely one of the few examples of a band bringing in some interesting new ideas of their own, without abandoning their roots completely, like for example the recent releases by bands like Necrovation and Morbus Chron. Putrified's ability to bring life to new ideas yet standing with one foot in the dark past is very impressive and astonishing.

 The vocals really increases the overall impression, reminding much more of bands like Possessed, early Death and Asphyx rather than any old Swedish band free of choice. Musically, the most outstanding, as well as my personal favourite part of the EP, is definitely the last two songs. Evocatio, with its brilliant mix of d-beat and speed metal drumming in the chorus, and Sacred Putrefaction, which is something as unusual as an example of a melodic combination of death- and doom metal, are the definite highlights. Since it's only a six-track EP, I'll be a little bit thrifty with the grading, but a full-lenght album as good as the best moments of Sacrilegious Putrefaction would definitely put this band among the most interesting ones in the genre at the moment. 6.5/10 /H


Review: Sadhak – s/t (MC 2013 Shadow Kingdom)

 Sadhak from Trondheim, Norway, plays doom metal of the more atmospheric and slow kind, no up-tempo parts as far as the eye can see here. Although that's not always necessary, it is a way to bring some variety into an otherwise king of monotonous genre. Anyway, Sadhak is definitely one of those bands whose monotony is nothing but positive, since the nerve and atmosphere is very pleasant throughout this entire demo.

 The production is very raw, but still suits the cassette format perfectly. Hearing what this band would be able to achieve with a better production would be very interesting though, I'm sure that most others, along with myself, feels the burning desire of wanting more already. Comparisons have been drawn to Warning and 40 Watt Sun, which I partially would agree with, but of course there's no way that a two song demo tape could be able to reach such heights, but who knows what the future holds. I wouldn't be surprised if they at least came very close to the undisputed masters of this style on their future releases.

 Sadhak's first demo is a very impressive and delightful experience, if anyone knows a better piece of music to put in the car's tapeplayer (CD-players are of course for wimps) while driving down the open road under the grey April skies, I'd really like to hear it. 7/10 /H