CROWN OF GLORY “Ad Infinitum”

CROWN OF GLORY
“Ad Infinitum”
(Fastball Music)

Battle Helm Rating

I am not too proud to admit that I have enormous problems with remembering names and faces. And that it takes me ages to remember people I’ve met. So when a band with any sort of Crown pre-fix come my way I must think both a second and third time to be sure if I have heard of the band or not. And with CROWN OF GLORY I have come to the conclusion that they are new to me. Hailing from Switzerland they have something to live up to when it come to melodic hardrock/metal. One thing that struck me immediately was how much this reminded me of Michael Kiske Helloween. But once I had come over that first impression I could start to enjoy this album on its own merits. This is an album that will appeal to the melodic metal fans out there. If you like me like melodic metal bands like Battle Beast, Beast in Black and the likes you will like this as much as I do. Anders Ekdahl

=fudge= “Dust To Come”

=fudge=
“Dust To Come”
(fastball Music)

Battle Helm Rating

You can always question a band’s choice of name but some are questionable than others. You got bands like f x Chinchilla. What were they thinking? I am not the greatest fan of fudge. It is a bit too sugary for my taste. At least when it comes to candy. Hopefully the band =fudge= will be more of my taste. I have no idea what synth metal is. Perhaps listening to this will make me wiser. I do know that in the 80s synths and metalheads didn’t really get along.
It was like comparing apples with pears. Listening to this I have no idea what synth metal means. To my ears this is metal. Plain and simple metal. There is a thrash element to this that I like. The chugga chugga riffing of thrash mixed with some serious heaviness. What I do know is that I really like what I hear. This album turned out to be a really cool one. Anders Ekdahl

RAVEN BLACK NIGHT “Run With The Raven”

RAVEN BLACK NIGHT
“Run With The Raven”
(SAOL)

Battle Helm Rating

I will willingly admit that I used to own an album by this band that I never got round to listening to before I sold it off. Perhaps a major mistake from my side. Or perhaps not. This Aussie band are supposed to be some sort of epic doom metal band. And since I love epic metal this really should be up my alley. As I listen to this is I am totally convinced that this is to my liking. I sit here and discuss it with myself. One side of me wants to like this. The other side of me want to write it off totally. If I have to mediate between the two sides I have to say that there are parts of this that I really, really like. And then there are parts that don’t convince me that much. This album feels like one of those that needs time to grow on me. Anders Ekdahl

ROMUVOS “The Baltic Crusade”

ROMUVOS
“The Baltic Crusade”
(Dangus)

Battle Helm Rating

History is cool. Without history we would not be the people we are. Ever since I first got into metal in 1982 I have been on a never ending history lesson. And there seem to be no end to it. Lithuanian ROMUVOS play a sort of folk metal that brings back thoughts of Bathory. This is epic in all the right places. It is extremely hard to not like this album, especially for someone like me that is a major sucker for epic. There is something special when you mix the epic of folk music with metal. I cannot fully explain what it does to me but it triggers buttons in me that are extremely hard to turn off again. This is one of the year’s high lights. Anders Ekdahl

PULSE “Adjusting The Space”

PULSE
“Adjusting The Space”
(NRT Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Whenever I think of space metal think of Alf Svensson’s Oxiplegatz. That to me is the ultimate space metal there is. PULSE claim to be cyber metal. I have no idea what that really means but I can guess it is the musical equivalence of the Borgs in Star Trek. Listening to this I get a strange mix of feelings, like a cross between Fear Factory and Rammstein. But at the same time I am totally hooked on this. I don’t remember the last time an album got me this hooked this fast. This is a really cool album, so cool that I need to look for the rest of the bands discography. And that I only do with bands that really interest me. Anders Ekdahl

STILLERS TOD “Jupiter”

STILLERS TOD
“Jupiter”
()

Battle Helm Rating

Ever since “To mega Therion” I have been fascinated by the off the beaten path kind of metal. I cannot say that I totally understand what I sometime hear but it still fascinates me how musicians think when they create music. Mostly because I think very linear. Konstanz’ STILLERS TOD play an atmospheric/avant garde form of black metal. Listening to this is like seeing a play or a pantomime with a very intricate plot. You gotta be on your toes not to miss something that is going on. I will need to listen to this several times to get all the nuances. And since I like what I hear that will just be a total joy. This is the kind of album I expect from a German Avant Garde black metal band. Two thumbs up. Anders Ekdahl

SOLLUST “(In) Versus”

SOLLUST
“(In) Versus”
()

Battle Helm Rating

Portuguese progressive metal is not something that I come upon too often. Progressive metal in general is a scarce phenomenon in my review stack. This is leaning on the more extreme side of things. Still accessible to any with an interest in the progressive but you gotta appreciate the more blackish elements of this to fully enjoy it. I don’t remember the last time I heard a progressive black metal album. But I am glad that this came my way because I enjoy what I hear. This one turned out to be a nice surprise. There is so much going on in this that I feel more stuffed than a x-mas turkey. Anders Ekdahl

VOKODLOK “Oracle’s Fury”

VOKODLOK
“Oracle’s Fury”
()

Battle Helm Rating

This one I became aware of through a Facebook group I am a member of. As it caught my attention I wanted to further investigate what it was all about. Alas this review. Don’t feel too embarrassed if you are not familiar with this Romanian black metal band because they have been active in periods. There was a 10 year break between 2008 and 2018. Before that they managed to release a demo on CD, a split tape and an album. 2020 sees a new EP released. If you like your black metal raw and mid tempo then this is the band to turn your ears to. I have to say that the rest of this EP is just as good as the track I heard that got me interested. This is bloody good stuff. I have already stocked up on the releases that I missed prior to the hiatus in 2008. That is how good I think this is. Anders Ekdahl

VALENTINA REPTILE “Truth Or Death”

VALENTINA REPTILE
“Truth Or Death”
()

Battle Helm Rating

Although supposedly a well known name in the UK extreme metal scene I cannot for the sake of my life remember ever having heard the name VALENTINA REPTILE. This EP is as far away from metal you can get. This is electronic that ranges from industrial to synthwave to electropop. But since I do enjoy industrial and even some synthwave I thought I’d give this one a try too. With no reference frames at all I can just go on my gut feeling, and that one tells me that this is not the worst I have heard. In fact I find myself enjoying it. With different instrumentations this could have been an astonishing metal EP. Then it could have ranged from goth to atmospheric metal. So it is both with joy and sadness that I listen to this. Anders Ekdahl

BROTTHOGG “The Die Is Cast”

BROTTHOGG
“The Die Is Cast”
()

Battle Helm Rating

Not having heard the 2019 album from BROTTHOGG but having heard the 2017 EP I was a bit in the know as to what this new album would be like. Because back in 2017 I described them as Emperor sounding death metal. This time around they are much more black metal-ish in their sound. Much more symphonic Emperor-ish. Not that that is a problem for me. As a massive Emperor fan anything that slightly resembles Emperor makes me happy. But there is much more than that to this album. You still hear traces of death as well as thrash metal in this. Having heard this one and being totally smitten by it, I need to look up the 2019 album. This is the good stuff. Anders Ekdahl