Tengger Cavalry – “Cian Bi”

Tengger Cavalry – “Cian Bi” (Napalm Records)  With an ambition that could’ve been inspired by Genghis Khan himself, the travels of one Nature Ganganbaigal, creator of Mongolian folk metal band, have taken him from Beijing to New York City, where he sold out Carnegie Hall, got himself a masters from NYU in film music composition and was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards! Tengger Cavalry is no less an achievement. Creating a unique sound melding modern western metal with ancient folk from the Mongolian steppes through traditional instruments like the horsehead fiddle and topshur lute, not … Continue reading

Ilsa – “Corpse Fortress”

Ilsa – “Corpse Fortress” (Relapse Records)  Appropriately hailing from the nation’s capital, Ilsa serve up some of the best death/doom/crust on the planet! These guys have been going since 2008 and “Corpse Fortress” is their 5th album, showing no signs of any let up whatsoever. Hewn in some unspeakable place, this abomination has been force fed large doses of Darkthrone, EyeHateGod, Iron Monkey, Celtic Frost and of course, Death, taking in the best of ’em and mixing it up nastily to produce some of the most awesome nuclear waste dirge you’re ever likely to hear. Think reverb drenched sludge with just … Continue reading

Animal Drive – “Bite!”

Animal Drive – “Bite!” (Frontiers Music)  ‘…we’ve got armadillos in our trousers. It’s really quite frightening…’! Winner of the 2016 Fender award for the Best Male Vocal of the year in Croatia, Dino Jelusic is no stranger to success, having already won the first 2003 Junior Eurovision in Copenhagen! Since those early days, he’s formed Animal Drive, and along the way was chosen by the late, great Paul O’Neill to tour as a featured vocalist on Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s most recent U.S. tour, which is how he crossed paths with Jeff Scott Soto and came to the attention of Frontiers – who immediately offered him a deal! Playing balls deep … Continue reading

Avslut – “Deceptis”

Avslut – “Deceptis” (Osmose Records)  Formed from the ashes of several Swedish underground bands (Ascendancy, Unsanctus, Opacity etc) comes this black metal force who won Close Up’s ‘Best Unsigned Band’ in October 2016. Since then they’ve released an EP and a couple of singles but now comes this full blown affair – and it certainly doesn’t hold back! Given the sheer physical presence of the hulking brutes here, you don’t need a second to imagine the blast beating furor that is put out on the 9 tracks making up this debut. But signed to a pedigree label like Osmose, there’s a whole lot more … Continue reading

Vojd – “The Outer Ocean”

Vojd – “The Outer Ocean” (High Roller Records)  Originally known as Black Trip, who were labelled as NWOBHM but to me, were more inspired by 70s hard rock especially along the lines of Thin Lizzy, Vojd goes the whole hog right back to 70s classic rock and comes across as an even more melodic version of Black Trip Lizzy ha ha! Still with Peter Stjärnvind (now on guitars) and Joseph Tholl on vocals (and now also bass), Vojd milks the twin guitars to the max with heaps of ultra catchy rock melodies oozing out’ve the 11 tracks on this power rock fantasy of an … Continue reading

Old Mother Hell – “Old Mother Hell”

Old Mother Hell – “Old Mother Hell” (Cruz Del Sur Music)  All men play on ten and Old Mother Hell definitely live up to their name as this self titled debut is f–king loud!!! With heaps of Maiden influenced melody as well as drawing inspiration from the current generation of true metal bands like Atlantean Kodex, this German power trio play mountains of epic metal with strong warrior melancholy along the lines of early Manowar. Formed from the ashes of thrash band Hatchery, the style couldn’t be more distant in being far slower and with a steadfastly DIY approach to recording and a definite … Continue reading

ANTI CIMEX ”Victims Of A Bombraid”

ANTI CIMEX ”Victims Of A Bombraid” (Dissonance) If there ever was a seminal Swedish punk (hardcore?) band it has to be ANTI CIMEX. I remember how happy I was when I found an ANTI CIMEX album in my local record shop in the 80s. I knew of the band beforehand so it was like a total revelation finding that album. The band carried on releasing a couple more album (“Absolut Country Of Sweden” and “Scandinavian Jawbreaker”). Everyone a classic today. Without ANTI CIMEX there would not be kängpunk. This is a compilation that collects everything that has ever been released … Continue reading


APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE ”From Gold To Ash” (Cruz Del Sur) I gotta gratulate the band on having one of the coolest names that I have come upon lately. With a name like that they have pretty much declared what type of metal they play even before you hear the music. Sure, they could have been black or death but to me the name screams doom a long way. This Indiana band sure know how to doom. With a drummer that used to be in Gates Of Slumber that now plays guitar and sings you know that this is gonna be … Continue reading

AVSLUT “Deceptis”

AVSLUT “Deceptis” (Osmose Productions) When a band is put in the genre Swedish black metal it puts a smile on my face. Not because I am a Swede but because it usually means that it is going to be a real metal assault. I really miss that full force black metal assault that I got back in the 90s. The one that took no prisoners and killed everything in its way. AVSLUT from Stockholm, Sweden are not as full on as I would have liked. The tempo is quite moderate but they do have that attack that I like. Which … Continue reading

BEORN’S HALL “Estuary”

BEORN’S HALL “Estuary” (Naturmacht Productions) I have no idea what New Hampshire is like but I can imagine that there are a lot of forests and really dark places where folklore can thrive. BEORN’S HALL sound like a place where witches could have met up in the old age. But all I know is that it is a band that plays pagan black metal. I often make assumptions based on band names or album art work. With this one I really expected some grander than life (death) kinda sound and to some extent that was true. There is a primitive … Continue reading