ABIGOR “Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition”

ABIGOR
“Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition”
(-)

Battle Helm Rating

If ever there is a classic Euro black metal band then it has to be Austrian ABIGOR. Formed in 1993 this is a band that has been in my conscious for as long as I can remember yet I cannot really say if I have heard a full album by them until this year’s new one. Any which way. Here is now and with that “Höllenzwang – Chronicles Of Perdition”. I don’t know why but I expected this to be so much more forward and direct than it actually is. There is a slight avant garde feel to this that I had no anticipated. Not that I complain. This is dark and sinister and very much black metal. You cannot tell that this is a 24 year old band listening to this new album. They sound as fresh as a newly blossomed rose. Anders Ekdahl

ANCIENT EMPIRE “The Tower”

ANCIENT EMPIRE
“The Tower”
(Stormspell Records)

Battle Helm Rating

I have in a very short period of time been subjected to a hell of a lot of Stormspell Records releases. And all have been bloody tremendous experiences. It has been everything from heavy metal to power metal to thrash metal. And from what seems all over the globe. ANCIENT EMPIRE’s “The Tower” is no exception. This is first class heavy metal. Perhaps leaning a bit on the power metal side. But nothing that cast any shadow on the end result. I like it when my heavy metal has an epic vibe to it. And this has that. The bigger than life kinda feeling. To me that makes it so much more special. This is yet another cool metal release from Stormspell Records. Anders Ekdahl

FORJA “El Llibre Dels Feyts”

FORJA
“El Llibre Dels Feyts”
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Battle Helm Rating

I honestly don’t know what to make of this. I guess that you could put this in the heathen/folk metal sub-genres but that is only part of the truth. Initially I had some hope that this would be in the vein of good old Sabbat and their “History Of A Time To Come” album but this is nowhere close to that. The more I listen to this the more I start to get it. The folk elements are dominant, almost to the point that they take over the metal side of this. But only almost. Because this is first and foremost a metal album. At first it might seem like a total mess but the more you get accustomed to the album the more you realize just how good this is. Anders Ekdahl

FROST GIANT “The Harlot Star”

FROST GIANT
“The Harlot Star”
(Transcending Records)

Battle Helm Rating

What hit me first after that intro was how much this reminded me of Norwegian acts like Arcturus or Limbonic Art. It has that same progressive tone to it that they have. but do not go thinking that this is something light and soft because of it being progressive. Because once they get started this is a full on black metal album. With the added touches of different styles. It is just weird to sit here and think Norway when I listen to a band that comes from Pennsylvania. But it guess that is what the world of metal is all about today. There are no geographic boundaries anymore. And I do not mind when it is as good as this is. I never ever expected to be this blown away by an album this week but hey hey I like the feeling. Anders Ekdahl

FULL THOTTLE BABY “Rock’N’Brawl”

FULL THOTTLE BABY
“Rock’N’Brawl”
()

Battle Helm Rating

I gotta admit that I was a bit sceptic what to think of a band called Rock’N’Brawl but that was until I discovered that the band name actually is FULL THROTTLE BABY. Not that my skepticism dropped because of that. But it did once I started to listen to this. This is bloody brilliant. If you like Hardcore Superstar (for example) but wanted them a bit more punked up, look no further. This is a real vitamin injection on a cold and gray Tuesday in January. Or any other day of the year for that matter. This is the stuff that gets your heart pumping whether it likes it or not. It is that infectious. A clear new fave to take me through the boring Southern Swedish winter. Anders Ekdahl

LEGION OF WOLVES “Bringers Of The Dark Sleep”

LEGION OF WOLVES
“Bringers Of The Dark Sleep”
(Metal Scrap Records)

Battle Helm Rating

This is the debut from Irish LEGION OF WOLVES after two demos. This is old school death metal with a modern twist. Or so the promo sheet says. Today everything seem to be old school. Why not just leave it a being death metal. Sure, when I listen to this memories from the past keep popping up but that I just because this is that good that it sparks memories. If you like your death metal full of cool guitar solos and perhaps not so extreme (easy listening) you will like this. This is mid-tempo with a groove. The stuff that is easy to get into and once in it will not let go of your head. It totally infects you. This is a really cool album that I’m gonna let spin after I am done here. Anders Ekdahl

THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY “Stygian”

THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY
“Stygian”
(InnerStrength)

Battle Helm Rating

You can always argue if we as humans are not slaves under one thing or another. That we in actuality do not own our own lives. We are just puppets in a great marionette theatre. And no matter how much we try to fight our way out of it we are still only allowed as much freedom as our keepers allow us. But they cannot take away our minds. And that is where music comes in. Through music you can experience freedom. The freedom to travel wherever you like. THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY is an Italian death metal/deathcore act that I think I have come in contact with previously and not only from reading about them. When I listen to this I get a death metal version feel of early Fear Factory. There is that dystopic feel the music that Fear Factory had (and still have). This is heavy and with that doomsday feel looming above it. Throw in some Morbid Angel and other death metal influences and you get a pretty cool album to listen to. Anders Ekdahl

ORION DUST “Duality”

ORION DUST
“Duality”
(-)

Battle Helm Rating

A progressive French rock band? Does that sound like your thing? I gotta admit that I am a bit of a Francophile when it come to music. Or movies for that matter. I have a very good eye/ear towards things that are French. That means that it must be atrociously bad for me to not like it. ORION DUST are nowhere close to being atrociously. This is in fact really good if you like your rock/metal progressive. It’s not widdly diddly the way that you get lost already by the first track. That is a plus in my book. If it is easy to follow it is easy to remember. I sometimes get too lost trying to follow Dream Theater for example. There is a slight 70s feel to “Duality”. Mix that with present day and you get a band that is both light and heavy. I think that is the part I like the most about this album, the duality. Anders Ekdahl

SECURE ”Chasing Rainbows”

SECURE
”Chasing Rainbows”
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Battle Helm Rating

At first I thought that this was just another new metalcore act but the more I listen to this six tracker the less confident I get. But since I don’t have anything better to c all this than metalcore, metalcore it will be. And will this is nothing that I haven’t heard before there is something to it that spikes my interest. Good quality music will always conquer. And this is good. I find myself stop in the middle of typing just to take it in even deeper. This is a band that shows great promises for the future. I know that I will be keeping an ear or two on this band. Anders Ekdahl

SNAKEYES ”Metal Monster”

SNAKEYES
”Metal Monster”
(-)

Battle Helm Rating

When I grew up there was no internet or smart phones. All you had for communication was the written letter. Today you can travel the world from in front of your computer. And that is cool. But back in the day there was something special to receiving a letter from some band you never had heard of. That way I travelled all over the globe and learned about stuff. It was that way I got in touch with Spanish heavy metal. Fast forward 30 odd years and here I sit and listen to a Spanish heavy metal band. Talk about a flash from the past. SNAKEYES are what you’d call classic heavy metal. Perhaps not classic NWOBHM but classic Euro heavy metal. And this is good stuff. Melodic. Full of tempo. The way I like it. Anders Ekdahl