ILLT – Scythian King

Get ready for some raw and mind-blowing Extreme Metal illustrating the ugliness of this world in the upcoming sonic masterpiece! ILLT drops their debut single titled “Scythian King”, and you can listen to it here. ILLT is the alter ego of Norwegian composer and guitarist Roy Westad. It’s an uncompromising sandbox and a culmination of decades of passion and love for extreme metal as an art form. His debut album features session musicians from Megadeth, Soilwork, Chrome Division and Nile. The album was mixed by Kurt Ballou @ Godcity and mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Alan Douches. ILLT has commented: «Scythian King is about warfare in the dark ages (the previous period, not the one we’re heading into now), and how man’s intolerance, fear, constant all-consuming greed and self-interest has brutally shaped the world over thousands of years. I had great fun writing a song with swords in it without actually having to pose with one.»

Fullminator – Omniplasm

Hailing from Puerto Rico or perhaps the deepest reaches of outer space, thrash quintet Fullminator are unleashing a video for their new track “Omniplasm” on our unsuspecting planet. The band relayed the following transmission from their dank basement practice space, er, starship: “Behold, a holographic visualizer for the title track of our latest EP ‘OMNIPLASM’! Sent to us by our friends from the Alpha Centauri solar system. Making waves all across the galaxy, baby!”

With a sound rooted in the punky origins of thrash, Fullminator (who say they are from Puerto Rico, but we know better) pack 17 minutes of non-stop riffing into five songs on their third release Omniplasm.
These beings may have come from outer space, but they have certainly learned Earthly customs of metal and shock rock well: they’ve studied the works of Anthrax, Overkill, and GWAR, and blended it into a fury of notes and blasts. There’s no messing around on each opener as they get down to the nitty gritty of thrashing, especially on first track “Artificial Immolator (AI)”. Each song comes equipped with a ripping solo from  Cyber Zurrfex , backed up handily by the triple-rhythm attack of Superintended Kiununtriux, Enforcer Blowmiux and Commissar Gartallax. The guitar even takes on a punky tone on “Perihelion,” but nothing stops the hyper-speed playing.

Meanwhile, front-and-center, Reptilian Deluxe is a charismatic vocalist as he barrels through lyrics ranging from sociopolitical commentary (“Politicians got me wishing I could fire every one into the depths of outer space”) to explaining their origin story as they attempt to defeat the evil Colonel Roach (“Omniplasm”). But in case all of that seems too heavy, Fullminator remind us that sometimes it’s about letting your hair down and partying hard — to that end, the band includes a cover of Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right” which has been completely redone in Fullminator’s own style to round out the blast through time and space. It’s also a great representation of the band’s live shows, which are replete with lasers and giant robot battles in the pit.
Despite its brief runtime, Omniplasm has plenty to lap up for thrash enthusiasts. For a band who have already managed to support DRI and Gruesome only a few years into their career — all while hiding on earth from Colonel Roach — it’s an impressive set of achievements, of which this EP is just one more jewel in the thrash metal crown.

OKRÜTNIK ”Legion Antychrysta”

”Legion Antychrysta”
(Ossuary Records)

Battle Helm Rating

This one has all the right vibes to be old school. If you like me, remember the 80s when Poland was under the control of communism you might also remember the feeling of hearing Polish metal for the first time. Acts like Turbo, Kat, Imperator and Vader all made an impression to certain degrees. Some are still with me today. Others have fallen. Hearing this album from OKRÜTNIK is almost like being taken back to the 80s. What I like is that there is a new generation that still hold the old flame alive. This one mixes different styles. You get heavy metal, black metal, speed metal, thrash in a mix that is hard to resist. This one is cool, and not because it reminds me of times when metal was metal and genre didn’t matter too much but because this is my kind of metal; timeless. Anders Ekdahl

SHADOW WARROR “Cyberblade”

(Ossuary Records)

Battle Helm Rating

I don’t know why I at first thought that this was a Japanese heavy metal band. I just got that feeling from them. But the fact is that this is a Polish classic heavy metal band. And I love classic heavy metal. It took me a while to get my head around the music of SHADOW WARRIOR but once I got accustomed to them not being Japanese I could start enjoying the music. If melody driven heavy metal is your thing and you like me is kinda trapped in the 80s still, this might appeal to you. There is an energy to this that spills over on you the listener. It is hard to not bang your head to this, or at least throw your fist in the air digging along to it. Anders Ekdahl

IRON FLESH “Summoning The Putrid”

“Summoning The Putrid”
(Grand Dane Records)

Battle Helm Rating

“Swedish old skull death metal from France”. Can it get any better? Not to my ears. Swedish old school death metal is great no matter where the band come from. IRON FLESH formed as a one-man band in 2017 but soon decided to start playing live. Listening to this is like hearing a mix of Entombed and Grave. That heavy, sluggish riffing that is so connected with these two bands. As cool as it is to hear old school Swedish death metal as hard is it to get it totally right. If that is what you are aiming for. But I am not that much of a purist. As long as it resembles old school I am happy. And this does resemble old school. And to my ears that makes this cool. Anders Ekdahl

HELL:ON “Scythian Stamm”

“Scythian Stamm”

Battle Helm Rating

I don’t remember the first time I heard HELL:ON but judging from the archive I first heard them back in 2011. I have since then interviewed them a couple of times and reviewed a couple of their records too. The last one being the split they did with Pripjat. I apparently liked what I heard in the past and I see no reason to change my opinion with this new one. This is what I would like to describe as deathrash. A mix of death and thrash metal where you don’t know where one ends and the other begins. This is aggressive with lots of cool riffing. And with a drive that moves it forward. There is no looking back when you listen to this. No time to hesitate. Just pure fucking extreme metal. Anders Ekdahl

PIGSTY “Pig Blood”

“Pig Blood”
(Bizarre Leprous Productions)

Battle Helm Rating

I am a horror movie fan but I gotta admit that I am not the greatest fan of the Omen movies. I have watched all I think but after having seen The Exorcist and RoseMary’s Baby it didn’t do too much for me. Sure, a child is always scary in horror movies. Czech PIGSTY seems to have based their whole album “Pig Blood” on the Omen movie. Not that you can really tell from their death/grind/gore. I am not the biggest connoisseur of this kind but I gotta admit that I like what I hear on this one. Perhaps because it isn’t short bursts of chaos but a bit longer chaos. But rest assured that this is chaotic as hell. It is a full on blast. You get sweaty just listening to it. But it is a nice kind of work out. You feel kinda cleansed once you are through the album. Anders Ekdahl

DARK ZODIAK “Ophiuchus – The Thirteenth Sign of Zodiac”

“Ophiuchus – The Thirteenth Sign of Zodiac”

Battle Helm Rating

Back in 2015 I interviewed DARK ZODIAK. I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since then. I even used to own an album by them that I recently sold simply because I couldn’t remember if I liked the album or not. But here I sit with their latest album to be released at the end of January 2021. Since I don’t remember what they sounded like on that 2015 album this is like starting all over again. And I have to admit that in hindsight I kinda regret getting rid of that album because this new one is good. Death/thrash metal. This is aggressive stuff. Not ultra fast but heavy as hell. It has that chugga chugga sound that you got with for example Bolt Thrower, minus the groove. This is quality stuff that appeals to me. Anders Ekdahl

ANGUISH SUBLIME “Maelstrom Imperium”

“Maelstrom Imperium”
(Silent Watcher Records)

Battle Helm Rating

After a demo and a couple of EPs it is now time for Serbian melodic death metal troupe ANGUISH SUBLIME to deliver a full length. Not having heard a single note from this new release, or any other releases, making their acquaintance makes me a bit curious. Not that geography matter in this day and age of internet but it is still cool to hear a band from Serbia, just as it is cool to hear a band from Peru or Singapore. It seems everybody has their definition of what melodic death metal is. This to me sounds more like early My Dying Bride with a more death metal edge. If that too is the definition of melodic death metal then I am down with it. And I am not saying that as a bad thing. This one turned out to be really cool. I like what I hear. This whole mid tempo thing is quite intriguing. There is a grand and almost epic feel to the music. A really cool release that surprised me more than I ever thought it would. Anders Ekdahl

AUTUMNBLAZE “Welkin Shores Burning”

“Welkin Shores Burning”
(Argonauta Records)

Battle Helm Rating

I used to be quite down with AUTUMNBLAZE back in the 90s (I think) but somehow lost interest in them. Until I heard that this new album was about to happen. That made me buy the entire back catalogue. Hopefully this new album is as good as I remember the old ones to be. I am a big fan of melancholy. Not that I sit in darkness and cry but it does give me a warm and cozy feeling. It hits all the right notes in me. That is why I totally love latter day Katatonia, why I love My Dying Bride and why I love The Cure. This new AUTUMNBLAZE album is filled to brim with melancholy. This is the kind of album you play after a day at work, an album to wind down to. There is a dreamlike quality to this that I like. An album to stare at the sky to, thinking about the grandness of everything. I like what I hear. Anders Ekdahl