CYCLOPHONIA “Impact Is Imminent”

CYCLOPHONIA
“Impact Is imminent”
(Battlegod Productions)
No this is not Norwegian Cyclophonia doing Exodus album by the same name. This is nowhere near thrash metal. Instead this is power metal the way it was done in the early 00s. It’s been a long time since I heard a power metal album and even longer since I heard a Norwegian one. With my love for trad metal I will always have a special spot for power metal in my heart. And as such this is not too shabby. Sure, you get all the usual trademarks but what did you expect. What I like about power metal is the combination of power and melodies. You can actually sing along to it if you so like. Great stuff to do the dishes to while you sing the choruses. I can’t think of another Norwegian power metal band apart from ARTCH back in the 80s. That would make Cyclophonia a rare breed and should therefore be treated with respect. Anders Ekdahl

5 STAR GRAVE “Drug Store Hell”

5 STAR GRAVE
“Drug Store Hell”
(Massacre)
With a name like 5 Star Grave this could be anything. I actually don’t know what to make of this album. Do they want to be the next Sonic Syndicate or are they aiming at some sort of thrash’n’roll. All I can think of is that the Misfits have gone crazy on thrash and glam. Not the stuff I usually get going on but I gotta admit that there is something to the crazy, sped up version of what White Zombie used to do that appeals to me. It feels like this stuff is all over the place, sometime like a rockabilly act tripping on the worst kind of drugs. I gotta say that I enjoyed this more than I actually thought I’d do. It is filled with short sharp shocks of songs that makes you want to dance like crazy, even if you don’t usually dance. Still can’t shake the feeling of this being a strange hybrid of Swedish melodeath overdosing on rocka/psychobilly. Anders Ekdahl

LLVME “Yia De Neseu”

LLVME
“Yia De Neseu”
(My Kingdom)
At first I thought the band name was some roman numerical code but it is actually the Leones word for fire. This Spanish band mixes all kinds of metal genres in an effort to make it all their own. I gotta admit that at first it all sounded like the emperor’s new clothes; all show and no substance but the more I indulged the more I realised that there is something to this. It is not just for show. So what do you get when you mix black, folk, doom and any other sub-genre you can think of? Well, you get LLVME to start with. And let me tell you, that isn’t too bad. This album in all its eclecticism is proof that if you have a strong conviction everything is possible. Anders Ekdahl

L’ALBA DI MORRIGAN “The Essence Remains”

L’ALBA DI MORRIGAN
“The Essence Remains”
(My Kingdom)
I can understand why Katatonia has started a trend amongst metal bands. There is no escaping the melancholy of our northern brethrens. But is there the same kind of melancholy in Italy. L’Alba Morrigan at least try to roam in the same quarters as Katatonia. And they succeed pretty well with it. There is a sadness and melancholy to this that make you want to turn off the lights and put on headphones and just indulge in the music. This is not party music in any way. This is not even music you enjoy in the company of others. This is music for those lonely moments when you don’t want to socialize with anybody. This is alone-time music. This is music for those of us who think that Novembers Doom, Katatonia and not so many more are the greatest things to come since the wheel was invented. This is shoegazing metal in all its glory. Anders Ekdahl

MOONLOOP “Deeply From The Earth”

MOONLOOP
“Deeply From The Earth”
(Listenable)
I sometime create an image of what I think a band will sound like just from seeing the band name. With a name like Moonloop I kind a expected something psychedelic but instead I got a death metal band that made me think of a cross between Morgoth and Six Feet Under. There is a groove to this that hooks me in and don’t let go until I’ve totally surrendered. There is something to this that is so infectious that you can’t defend yourself against it. It’s not the most original and it is not the most adventurous but still you can’t stop listening to it. This proved to be the album I didn’t know I missed. Kinda cool how some albums just creep up on you and grab you by the neck. Anders Ekdahl

NACHTVORST “Silence”

NACHTVORST
“Silence”
(Code666)
Whenever I see the word experimental mentioned along with any sort of metal I get vibes of something totally off the wall noise creations. Nachtvorst “Silence” might be labelled experimental but it wasn’t as weird or as hard to get as I thought. There are elements of funeral doom, regular doom as well as black metal as well as some sort of weird cabaret sounds. There is an element of sadness/despair to this that I like. A longing for something better. This is the kind of music that I can listen to anytime of the day and feel better for having done so. I like the combination of the more sombre sounds with the aggressive black metal attacks. It gives the album an aura of despair and frustration. My kind of music. Anders Ekdahl

RISE OF MALICE “S/T”

RISE OF MALICE
“S/T”
(War Prod.)
Rise Of Malice is a Greek black metal band in the old school. This is raw and basic the way it was in Norway back in the 90s. Think Darkthrone after they left their death metal to the wayward and went totally necro. There is a charm to this kind of black metal, a basic need that needs being served. I like the fact that it is only guitar, bass and drums and a voice from hell. The simplicity of it all is part of the charm with this kind of metal. It’s like the punk version of black metal. No fussing about, just to the point music. It can’t get any simpler than that. Rise Of Malice might still be in their demo stage (this is their second demo) but that doesn’t matter too much. That this is released on tape also adds to the charm of it all. Anders Ekdahl

THE RETICIENT “Le Temps De Detruit Tout”

THE RETICIENT
“Le Temps De Detruit Tout”
(Heaven & Hell Records)
Every once in a while you get an album that you don’t know what to think of. The Reticient’s new album sounds very much like a continuation of Opeth’s acoustic album, or any acoustic part of any Opeth album. This is a hard album to comment on as it reminds me so much of Opeth that it over-shadows everything else. How do you judge it on that merit? Should you trash it because you can’t shake the feeling that you heard it all before or should you praise it because it reminds you of something else? Luckily the album take on an identity all its own the more you listen to it. If you like your metal in the vein of Opeth and don’t mind being confused for a short moment then this album will be for you. It took me a while to get accustomed to it but once I had done so I could start to enjoy it for what it is; an emotional journey. Anders Ekdahl

THE SUN EXPLODES “Emergence”

THE SUN EXPLODES
“Emergence”
(-)
I gotta say I almost deleted the file I had on this British band simply because I couldn’t remember what it was. I am glad that I didn’t. The Sun Explodes moves in the outer circles of what could be considered hardrock. With one foot in Radiohead land and with toes spread out all over the remaining areas this album has an eclectic feel to it. Does being eclectic make it any better? I’m not but it sure does give it an edge that other albums don’t have. That they can move smoothly between hardrock, Radiohead and metalcore might at first give you a schizophrenic feel but once accustomed to it you will notice that it isn’t as bad as it could have been. It’s kinda like had Living Color been around today they might have sounded like this. Maybe not my first choice of the day but in the right mood this is enjoyable for all the right reasons. Anders Ekdahl

TALES OF DELIRIA “Beyond The Line”

TALES OF DELIRIA
“Beyond The Line”
(ToReact Records)
Another band that is clearly inspired by what At The Gates managed to let loose with “Slaughter Of The Soul”. Not that I’m complaining. If that only means that we get to enjoy metal that tries to improve on what At The Gates started then I’m there all the way to the end. Tales Of Deliria aren’t straight outta the ATG box. There are elements that sets them apart. The tempo isn’t as furious and the guitars twist and turn a bit more but the basics are there. But the attack is the same. I also get a Meshuggah light feeling listening to this album. Anything that even the slightly resembles a Swedish band can’t be bad. Throw in some Death in the mix and you get a pretty good picture of where to find Tales Of Deliria. This is some pretty cool death metal if you like it on the more technical side of things. Anders Ekdahl