cernunnos woods photo dungeon synth dark ambient

Dark Age Productions, the cult 1990s US label releasing medieval, dark ambient, atmospheric music, (known today as dungeon synth) has returned in 2016. Dark Age Productions was known for releasing atmospheric side-projects by artists such as Equitant (Absu), Proscriptor (Absu), Akhkharu, …The Soil Bleeds Black (Fetid Zombie), Akrabu (Crimson Moon) and many others in extremely limited cassette editions between 1994 – 1997.

The first release from the resurrected Dark Age Productions is CERNUNNOS WOODS “Forest Anthology” a remastered compilation of early material and rare compilation tracks. Written and recorded by label curator Bard Algol Eriboas between 1994 & 1998. Including the full audio track “Into Glory Ride” which appeared on ABSU’s “Mythological Occult Metal” Best Of album, under the title of “The Great Battle Moving from Ideal to Actual”. CERNUNNOS WOODS is considered one of the essential first age acts of the dungeon synth movement. Forest Anthology is available now as a Digipak CD and Cassette Tape (limited to 100 copies) as well as a Die-Hard collectors bundle with CD, cassette, T-shirt, woven patch, sticker & exclusive pin.


The new incarnation of Dark Age Productions is a side-label of Metal Hell Records and will have the benefit of a wider distribution network for CD & Digital release to sites such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and others. While limited edition cassette releases will still be sold exclusively from the labels own website. Dark Age Productions is gearing up for an exciting 2017 releasing unique, high quality artists with several exciting new artists releases already in progress.





Battle Helm Rating

Do not confuse this band for the 80s British band Alaska. ALESKA is as far away musically as you’ll ever get. This is, well I don’t really know what to call it really. Not that it is so strange that you can’t put words to it but more that it is so many different things. The first band that popped into my head was Tool. Not because they are musically related but because Tool went their own way, pretty much like ALESKA does. This is what post hardcore, post metal, post whatever sounds like. Take Refused and add some metal, some jazz, some rock and then shake it really well and you end up with the cocktail that is ALESKA. Not for the easy listening crowd. For fans of Cult Of Luna, Memfis and even Meshugga, for fans of the offbeat. Anders Ekdahl


” Bringers Of Delusion”
(Symbol Of Domination)

Battle Helm Rating

You might already have read the interviews I’ve done with both bands and already checked out the music but for those that haven’t come that long just yet here comes the review of the split between these two Costa Rican bands. Back in the day there was a band called Atheist that was OTT prog death metal. mixing influences from everything from jazz to metal to you name it. I’m not saying that ASSAILANT is even close to Atheist but that was the first band that sprung to mind, that and Death. If you like your death metal flipped out then this might is for you. UBIQUITOUS REALITY are more muddy American death metal. More Mortician/Incantation/Cannibal Corpse than anything else. This is death metal without the refinement of an Atheist or a Death. As a split the bands couldn’t be more off that they are. But you are presented two Costa Rican bands that you might otherwise have missed out on. My fave of the two is UR even though I am a huge friend of both Atheist and Death. Anders Ekdahl


” …Ad Leones ”

Battle Helm Rating

The last time I reviewed a BESTIAL DEFORM album it only invoked chaos in my head. It was too jerky for my taste, too technical and widdly twiddly. But I am not that easily scared of so I’ll give it another go with this new album. Perhaps I’ll like it better this time around. I don’t know what it is but I like what I hear this time. This is death metal that is of the brutal kind. Extreme and “leave no prisoner” in sound and performance. Not so much widdly twiddly but more for the throat. And that I like. When the music use you like a punching bag and you can just take it without fighting back. Anders Ekdahl



Battle Helm Rating

BURN AFTER ME’s CD just dropped off in my mail box one day. No note to explain or introduce the band. Could be that I’ve sent them an interview that hasn’t been answered yet or it could just be that they want my opinion on their CD. Any which way they’ll get my opinion on the CD. As I am the worst connoisseur of metalcore I have no idea if that is what this is supposed to be. To me it is a really cool metal album with a hardcore edge. And the lack of break downs doesn’t bother me at all. On the contrary. That they at times twist and turn in a System Of A Down kinda makes this even more interesting. From not knowing what to expect to liking what I hear doesn’t have to be that far between. In a way this reminds me of D.B.C and their gargantuan album “Universe”. Anders Ekdahl

COMATOSE ”The Ultimate Revenge”

”The Ultimate Revenge”

Battle Helm Rating

COMATOSE has one of these band names that instantly make you think that you gotta be familiar with the band. That this will be like reuniting with an old friend. I can’t for sure tell if I’ve come upon this band before or if it is a new experience. That’s how confusing the band name is to me. And how common it is too. This Philippine band play a sort of death metal that is slow without being doom, fast without being extreme. Not the kind I listen to daily but given the right circumstance I’ll put it on. But it does give me some sort of old school vibes, and that is cool. Not the most exciting record I’ve come upon lately. Anders Ekdahl

CWEALM “Odes To No Hereafter”

“Odes To No Hereafter”

Battle Helm Rating

Swedish melodic black metal in the vein of Dissection’s “Storm of the Light’s Bane”. Has X-ams come early this year? I remember hearing that album for the first time back in the 90s. That was like a revelation of never seen proportions. I don’t expect this to blow me away in that way but I do expect to be entertained in a appropriate way. Sure, there is that Dissection feel to this but there is also a Dimmu Borgir vibe to it. As I am more of a Dissection fan than Dimmu Borgir it is that side that interest me the most. It is hard to follow in the footsteps of Dissection but CWEALM do their damnedest to carry on the torch of the melodic black metal sound.

EIGHT OF SPADES ”Ten Years Of Fucking Rock’N’Roll”

”Ten Years Of Fucking Rock’N’Roll”

Battle Helm Rating

I am a huge fan of the retro rock sound of today. I have seen Blues Pills live three times this year and I embrace all the retro rock records that come my way with the greatest of expectation. There is no greater feeling when the boogie swings so low that you gotta wear a cod piece to protect the nobler part of your anatomy. There is a punky attitude to this that I like. It isn’t as polished and correct as it sometimes can be. This will never win any Nobel prize for its lyrics but hey who fucking cares as long as you can party to the music. And party is what this is all night long. This really rock, rattle and shake. Anders Ekdahl

EXTERMINAS ”Dichotomy”


Battle Helm Rating

Everything about this release screams black metal but I’ve done that mistake before and will do it again assuming a record to be something and then it turns out to be something completely different. Fortunately I have the ability to easily adapt to the sound of the band and can therefore easily take in what I hear. I don’t think that there is a cohesive Italian black metal sound. I haven’t come upon one yet. What EXTERMINAS have in common with other Italian black metal bands is that they are on the more extreme side. No atmospheric bm, just full on Christ slaying black metal. Some do it better than others. EXTERMINAS end up somewhere in the middle. Not the worst I’ve heard. Not the greatest I’ve heard. But still good enough to lend an ear to. Anders Ekdahl


”Awake In Dead”
(Symbol Of Domination)

Battle Helm Rating

I don’t fear a zombie apocalypse. I believe we already live in it. So many people have that empty stare, the stare of desolation today that we practically live in a zombie holocaust where people only exists and doesn’t live. This Costa Rican band is different to the two others that split a CD in this week’s review bundle. This is supposed to be more along the atmospheric. And atmospheric it is in a horror/sanitarium kinda way. Not the pretty picture that you usually get with atmospheric metal. This is much more disturbing. But having said that, there is still a beauty to this, a melancholy that intrigues and captivates you as listener. Anders Ekdahl