”Love Enough”
Sometimes I’m amazed when I read the promo sheets that comes with the albums I get. It is as if it’s the most common thing to know that Czech band ABSTRACT ESSENCE have done this and that. I didn’t even know that they existed before I got sent this album but when you read the promo sheet I apparently should have. But as always I’m glad to get the opportunity to get to know this Czech band. I haven’t had too many bad experiences with bands from The Czech Republic and I don’t think that I will have any bad vibes from this band. Musically this is anything but what I expected. I had kinda set my mind on some sort of grind death but this is much more psychedelic/progressive than I expected. Not that it matters. I like metal that is dreamy and Katatonia-ish with an added touch of some doom death. This turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Anders Ekdahl

ANTIPOPE “3 Eyes Of Time”

”3 Eyes Of Time”
(Violent Journey)
How are you to judge a band by the name of ANTIPOPE? I could read too much into the band name. Perhaps it has nothing to do with religion at all. Perhaps ANTIPOPE is a word all in its self? Luckily I’m not here to judge the name of the bands but to listen to the music. As long as the name isn’t too idiotic or downright stupid I have no problems. I get a latter day Sentenced feel about this finnish bands music. Add to it a doomy early Danzig feel and a death-ish touch and you got an album that promises to be anything but a light bringer. And seeing as I like anything that is darker than night this Finnish metal band suits me just fine. I’m surprised at how many good/great metal acts there is in Finland that aren’t death/black metal. Anders Ekdahl

ARATIC “To The Early Grave”

”To The Early Grave”
(Violent Journey)
OK, now we are talking. This is allegedly thrash in the old school from the 80s. I just hope that they have picked up the right influences so that we end up with an album that sounds like Whiplash meets Forbidden instead of some tired old dish rash. There is a punkish feeling to this that gives it a youthful exuberance. The trick to playing this kind of thrash is to not keep it samey. If they intend to keep up the same intensity for a full album as in the first song they gotta vary the songs so that they don’t end up sounding like one long repetition. And that is something that ARATIC seem to be able to do. Listening to this brings me back to the first time I heard bands like French Morsüre or German Living Death. Anders Ekdahl


”It’s Not The End”
I like Soundgarden. I don’t know if I’d pick a name for my band that is so close to having an identity all its own, unless you are a tribute band. But hopefully BADMOTORFINGER are better playing music than they are at picking a band name. And no, they are not a Soundgarden sounding band. Instead there is a (modern day) Motorhead feel to the music. This is heavy with a slight rock’n’roll feeling. And that they do a cover of Motorhead’s “Rock’N’Roll” pretty much confirms my suspicion. I’m not the biggest fan of modern day Motorhead but I find this album by BADMOTORFINGER to be a pleasant surprise. There is a charm to it that I like. Enough to find this album good enough to spin it a couple more times. Anders Ekdahl


I do not know CLAUDIO DEORICIBUS but from the Italian press release I gather that he was born in 1973 in Cagliari, Italy and that he picked up the guitar at age 8. I also gather that he has released as couple of albums prior to this one but that is as far as I get reading Italian. Don’t know how relevant he is to Battle Helm or what genres he moves in although I did pick up the word Flamenco. Hopefully that isn’t what we can expect to get from this album. Well, this might not be the usually Battle Helm fodder but as a break from a massive thrash overdose this works like cotton for the ears. So if you like flamenco guitar playing you might find pleasure in this. I’m fascinated by the technique and the emotion that goes into the flamenco guitar and for that reason alone this album interest me. Anders Ekdahl

FATALITY “Psychonaut”

I must admit that I’ve stayed away from Canadian FATALITY by choice. I’ve read their blogs and I’ve seen their pictures and I haven’t been too impressed. For some reason I have huge problems with humour mixed with music. I do get the fun of Tenacious D but I wasn’t really a fan of bands like Lawnmower Deth or Metal Duck in the 80s. But in fairness I’ll give FATALITY a chance. Who knows, they might prove me wrong. I do remember that I did like bands like Wehrmacht and Gang Green in the 80s but I have no idea how they’d stand up to scrutiny today. FATALITY do sound decent enough for me to like them which is a good start. I am not totally devoid of any humour. I just don’t get it when it is mixed with music. And while this lot might not be the most serious act around they are serious enough for me to like this album. Anders Ekdahl

FIR BOLG “Towards Ancestral Lands”

”Towards Ancestral Lands”
I don’t know what it is but there is something to Celtic music that strikes a chord in me. Not that I sit and listen to it day in and day out but when you hear it in a film or incorporated in some metal song it adds to the ambience. So it is with great anticipation that I take on the French Celtic black metal one man project. This wasn’t as off as I thought it might be. In fairness this is actually pretty good black metal. Don’t know where the Celtic influences comes in but what I actually hear is good enough for me to want to listen to this more than once. There is a flow to it that makes you interested in wanting to follow through to the end. You do not sit in anticipation to use the forward button. Instead you sit back and actually take it all in. And that is huge in my book. Anders Ekdahl

FOB “Reap What You Sow”

”Reap What You Sow”
I hope that FOB is an acronym for something and not the band’s actual name. FOB sounds kinda half arsed and not remotely cool in all that many ways. But hopefully the music of this Czech band will be up there with other bands that have acronyms for names; like M.O.D, D.R.I, M.D.C etc. That they are said to be playing a mix of thrash and metalcore do promise for this to be cool rather than dull. I kinda expected this to be a full blown grind experience but it turned out to be much more controlled than that in a death metal way. This is way more metal than I thought it would be. That they mix it up with influences from all different metal genres makes this for an interesting listen. I didn’t think that I’d be this impressed. But they have managed to incorporate all the different influences in a smart way making this an album that I’m glad I got to hear. Anders Ekdahl

HALLIG “13 Keys To Lunacy”

”13 Key To Lunacy”
Just by looking at the cover to this album I already have high expectations of it. There is something to the look that tells me that this will be some very atmospheric black metal. I could do with a bit of atmosphere right about now. A moment to contemplate. And atmospheric it is in a non ambient way. There is something to this that makes it easy on my ears without losing its edge. This is in no way a weak ass attempt at being black metal. It is as aggressive as you’d expect black metal to be but it is done so cleverly that you get swept up in its embrace and not let go of until you’ve surrendered completely. And that is the kind of metal I like. The one where you don’t have to work to be embraced by it. Where it effortlessly allows you into its universe and welcomes you with open arms. Anders Ekdahl

HEX “Hex”

HEX is yet another Swedish band that has passed right by me. I’m close to even remotely try to keep track of all the Swedish bands that are out there. From now on I’ll just accept that there are more bands that I ever will be able to keep track of. I get a sort of Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson/Rammstein/Deathstar kinda vibe from this album. There is an air of electronic about this album. Perhaps this will be huge on the German club scene. Perhaps I’m just rambling. Whatever the truth is there is no denying that this is heavy in that Rammstein way. And since I like Rammstein a lot I have no problem swinging my neck to this. And as I listen to this I can’t help thinking of Danzig cicrca mid-career when he turned from rootsy rock/metal to something more electronic. When so many of my favourites come popping up I have but to like this album. Anders Ekdahl