EMPHASIS “Soul Transfer”

EMPHASIS
”Soul Transfer”
(RedRivet Records)

Battle Helm Rating

If I am not totally mistaken this Estonian band contacted me about doing something with them. Of course I said yes. I am always open for new bands to come my way. And this turned out to be a really cool one. For lack of anything better I would like to call this progressive post metal. I don’t really know what or who to compare them to because there are bits’n’pieces from so many different styles embedded in the sound of EMPHASIS. The whole of all these parts make for some really beautiful music. In that way they kinda remind me of how Opeth have taken different influences and made it a total. This is perhaps the best release of June I have heard. A really strong album. Anders Ekdahl

GJÖLL ”Residual”

GJÖLL
”Residual”
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Battle Helm Rating

Japanese melodic death metal. I know, it is no big news these days. But I still find it really cool to be contacted by a band from Japan. A country I have been fascinated by since the 80s. GJÖLL are heavily influenced by the Scandinavian metal scenes. And you hear that very clearly in the sound. There is a Norwegian feel to the clean vocal parts and a Gothenburg feel to the more aggressive parts. Like a cross between Liv Kristine Espenaes, Amaranthe and Dark Tranquillity. This is just a four track EP, which is a shame as I would have liked to hear more. This really appealed to me. There is a charm and a positive energy to this that makes it for a very cool listen. I want much more of this. Anders Ekdahl

GOAT DISCIPLE ”Wolfcult Domination”

GOAT DISCIPLE
”Wolfcult Domination”
(Blood Harvest)

Battle Helm Rating

This is the stuff that gets my heart pumping. Pure fucking aggressive death/black/thrash metal. This US band know how to thrash with the best. On this EP they take no prisoners. This is a total massacre. You get my drift don’t you. There are no niceties about this. if you like your extreme metal dirty and intense like you’ve never experienced it before this is the stuff for you. Yeah, I know I am stacking cliché upon cliché but there is no other way to describe this other than with those words. This is the definition of old school extreme metal mayhem. You get sweaty just from listening to this. This is my kinda work out. Anders Ekdahl

HERE LIES MAN ”You Will Know Nothing”

HERE LIES MAN
”You Will Know Nothing”
(RidingEasy Records)

Battle Helm Rating

I am not one for hype. I often find myself wondering what the fuzz was all about. So whenever I come upon a band that is being hyped I try to stay away from it knowing that I will not like it. But every now and then along comes a hyped band that I actually like. I have no idea how hyped HERE LIES MAN are but I know that I like what I hear. There is an art rock vibe to this, kinda like Devo but without all the electronics. This is in its basis rock but it doesn’t sound like anything I have heard lately. Yet there is a really cool vibe to this, a groove that makes for some interesting listen. Perhaps not the party album I’m playing on midsummer eve but one that I will play when I’m in the mood for some swinging cool stuff. Anders Ekdahl

KNIGHTS OF BLOOD “Falsa Realidad”

KNIGHTS OF BLOOD
”Falsa Realidad”
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Battle Helm Rating

Every now and then along comes a Spanish band that I have not heard of before. So did KNIGHTS OF BLOOD. When I checked them out I was so impressed by them that I had to interview them. You might have read the interview. Here is the review of the album “Falsa Realidad”. Musically this is heavy metal with an edge. Apart from the typical metal melodies there is an aggressive touch to this that gives it a distinct sound. As much as I love melodic metal as much do I like it when the thorns are turned outside. This is a really sharp album. If you are not careful it will sting you. What I love about metal is that it isn’t a stagnate form of music. The bands are not afraid to broaden the horizons. KNIGHTS OF BLOOD are proof of that. They have taken heavy metal one step further. Cool stuff indeed. Anders Ekdahl

LIZZY BORDEN “My Midnight Things”

LIZZY BORDEN
”My Midnight Things”
(Metal Blade)

Battle Helm Rating

You all should be familiar with both the folklore tale of Lizzy Borden as well as the US melodic metal band LIZZY BORDEN. Having flown the flag of metal since the 80s this is one classic act. And even though I wasn’t too into the melodic metal thing in the 80s I still liked LIZZY BORDEN. And ever since then the act has been in my conscious in one form or another. Turn the clock forward 33 years and here I sit with a brand spanking new album. Still flying the flag for melodic metal high LIZZY BORDEN have with “My Midnight Things” recorded an album full of cool metal songs. It does not feel right to compare this to anything contemporary but if I had to give you some sort of reference I would say that this is in the same league as Hardcore Superstar. Throw in some early Queensrÿche too and you get an idea. But since you already know everything about LIZZY BORDEN you know what to expect from this album. Anders Ekdahl

MARENNA “Living No Regrets”

MARENNA
”Living No Regrets”
(Lions Pride Music)

Battle Helm Rating

I don’t know who Rob MARENNA is. I have never heard of him before I got sent this new album by his AOR/melodic hardrock band. From what I can tell this Brazilian singer and his band are not bad at all. I don’t know about the AOR tag because this is so much melodic hardrock that it leaves nobody unsatisfied. My softer side really like this kind of stuff. There is nothing wrong with melodies. Like everybody else I like to sing along. It took me a while to realize that this is a live album. What gave it away was the at times not so great sound. Not being familiar at all with this artist this live album acts as an introduction to the music. And I do like what I hear. Anders Ekdahl

PASTORATET “Thlm”

PASTORATET
”THLM”
(Cramada)

Battle Helm Rating

Swedish punk is one of my small treats. I wish that more Swedish punk releases was sent my way, or punk releases in general. Ever since I heard Ebba Grön back in 1978 I’ve been hooked on punk. I am not gonna lie and say that I have the greatest check on what is going on in the world of punk but I do know if something is good or not. And to my ears PASTORATET are classic Swedish melodic punk. Unfortunately all my references are stuff like Asta Kask and Strebers and Dia Psalma. I have never understood the point of doing a 4 track EP if you are a punk band, or any sort of band for that matter. It feels like it is over even before it has started. This is the singalong punk I like, upbeat and with a great groove. This I could listen to over and over again. And since this is just an EP that is what I must do. Anders Ekdahl

POSTMORTAL “Soil”

POSTMORTAL
”Soil”
(Solitude Productions)

Battle Helm Rating

There are words and sentences that I keep repeating every now and then simply because they are so very much me. Like my love for melancholic metal, the sadder the better. At times it feels like my life’s mission is to find the saddest possible metal. I really hope I won’t find it because then there would be no need to look any further. But in my quest to do so I have no stumbled upon Polish POSTMORTAL and their funeral death doom. This is slow and heavy and melancholic just like it want it. It is not the slowest I have heard but then that is not the important thing. The important thing is the vibe and the groove and that they have. Almost down to perfection. A really nice piece of melancholic funeral doom. Anders Ekdahl