QUAKE THER EARTH “We Chose To Walk This Path”

QUAKE THE EARTH
“We Chose To Walk This Path”
(Inverse)
I like the word play that this band has going for a band name. There used to be a Japanese band called Earthshaker back in the 80s that pretty much did just that, shook the earth for me, with their music. I don’t know if this band will come close to doing that. Much water has passed under bridge since that Japanese band. Perhaps not cause an earthquake with their music. QUAKE THE EARTH has that sound that I associate with metalcore. The hardcore vocals mixed with a combo of metal and hardcore riffs. For some reason I get this style much better than modern metalcore. Don’t know if it has something to do with growing up to this kind of sound. Is it my age that is showing? Whatever the reasons might be this is cool stuff. Anders Ekdahl

SHOWDOWN BOULEVARD “S/T”

SHOWDOWN BOULEVARD
“S/T”
(-/Ladymusic)
In 2012 I came to learn that there are more to Italian metal than Rhapsody (whatever they are called more) and Underground Symphony bands. And even though nobody in Italy seem to care too much about it there are some really great bands that keep the flame of metal alive. This has more of a hardrock/Bon Jovi feel to it. Not as widdly waddly as many Italian bands tend to be (no critique there). This is much more straight forward. This is the kind of hardrock that I need time to really get into. If I just put it on and listen to it while I do the dishes or vacuum then this will pass me by totally unnoticed. I need to sit down and really listen to it to fully get it. I get a harder Cinderella/Warrant feel when I listen to this. It’s is less glam and more blues so to speak while not losing that sparkly exterior. Anders Ekdahl

SILENTIUM – AR “The Ancients’ Wisdom / The Eternal Circle Of Life”

SILENTIUM – AR
“The Ancients’ Wisdom / The Eternal Circle Of Life”
(Casus Belli Musica /OMS Records)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. I’m not much of fan of compilations and split records. But I’m no worse than I can listen to them and pass judgment on them. This one features two bands that are if I’m correctly informed the debut albums for two Ukrainian darkwave/ambient projects. Perhaps not the kind we here at Battle Helm come upon too often but hey, anything good is worth checking out. I like this kind of sound yet I have no idea how to review it. This is the kind of stuff that speaks for itself and leaves me just a spectator. Both bands are grandiose in sound. It is emotionally, breathtakingly beautiful. This is the kind of stuff that I want played at my funeral. Anders Ekdahl

STANDING OVATION “The Antikythera Mechanism”

STANDING OVATION
“The Antikythera Mechanism”
(Inverse)
OK, here’s another with a band name that you could ridicule if the album is anything but good. But as I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with being confident. As long as you can back it all up with some really great metal I’m the first to applaud. With an album title like that I for one got my hopes up that this is going to be a really great slab of metal. It did start out promising. But I’m not sure how to react to this. What’s so annoying is that I know what this reminds me of but I can’t put my finger on it. I thought that it might come close to D.B.C’s album “Universe” but that turned out wrong. This is really more along the lines of early Genesis or prog rock of that era dressed in a more contemporary metal clothing. Not really my cup but I can listen to it and enjoy it if I’m in that mood. There’s no denying that this is a bunch of very competent musicians. Anders Ekdahl

SULPHUR AEON “Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide”

SULPHUR AEON
“Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide”
(FDA Rekotz)
don’t know too much about this band but judging from the promo photo and album art work this could be the long lost follow up to Dissection’s second album. But then again this could be just about anything. Whatever it might turn out to be I got a good feeling about this record. I wasn’t too far off. This is an album that has that same feel that “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” had. Mixing melody/mood with extreme metal to make a record that transcends all boundaries. And while nobody will ever surpass Dissection SULPHUR AEON sure do their best to try to do so. This is a really cool album that I could listen to for a very long time and not tire of it. There is an atmosphere to it that is so inviting. You feel right at home from the very first note, so much that you don’t want to leave. I’m glad this one dropped in on me. Anders Ekdahl

2 WOLVES “Men Of Honour”

2 WOLVES
“Men Of Honour”
(Inverse)
2 Wolves sounds like it could be anything from goth to death metal. I like wolves as animals. There is something very cool about them that strike a chord in me. Hopefully 2 Wolves will do so too. I got a good feeling about this album being just what I need right now. If the intro is anything to go by this will be an album that will challenge Amon Amarth to the Viking throne. I can’t start telling you how much I love Amon Amarth. 2 WOLVES has some of that groove that AA has going but instead of utilizing it to its fullest 2 WOLVES have decided to intersperse the groove with some clean singing parts that in my opinion hinders more than it adds to the music. Had they instead gone full out on the groove thin this album could have taken on heavenly proportions. As it is no it just shows promise. Too bad they had to break it up with that clean singing. Anders Ekdahl

WITCHCRAFT “Hegyek felettem”

WITCHCRAFT
“Hegyek felettem”
(Neverheard)
OK it is starting to get too confusing with all the WITCHCRAFTs around the world. This is neither the Swedish one that is more 70s hardrock nor the Russian progressive gothic metal band that I’ve interviewed. This is a Hungarian black metal band that makes me think of early Darkthrone/Burzum aesthetically. Musically it too moves in that Darkthrone realm. This is primitive and raw and very basic black metal. The one that Darkthrone and Burzum made so great in the 90s. I like this kind of raw and simple to the point black metal. There’s nothing fancy of big about this. This is all about pure energy. It’s like being hit in the face with a wet cloth. You feel it for a long time. I want to hear more of this so please get the hell out of my head and leave me alone with this album. Anders Ekdahl

WÖMIT ANGEL “Sodomatik Rites Of I.N.R.I”

WÖMIT ANGEL
“Sodomatik Rites Of I.N.R.I”
(Inverse)
Don’t know why but I somehow get an Impiety/Barathum feeling about this band. That this is going to be thrash metal with a great deal of death and blackness to balance out serious side of things. Not that it’s going to be ludicrous in the Lawnmower Deth school but more fun in a party kind of sense (if you can imagine that when it comes to extreme metal). And I was right. This is primitive and raw blackish thrash metal done the basic way. This is kinda like hearing the first two Bathory albums done 30 years later. This album falls in the same category as Canadian Blasphemy, American Profanatica and a handful of other bands that has that simple yet effective way of bashing us over the head with their metal. You could also claim that this is South American in that 80s spirit of Sarcofago. This one turned out to be more enjoyable than I had expected. Anders Ekdahl

Shakra – “Powerplay”

Shakra – “Powerplay” (AFM Records)

What a stupendous way to kick off the New Year – Shakra’s “Powerplay” is like a blast of hot passionate energy cutting thru the winter cold big time! This is the 9th album for these Swiss rockers and I believe the 2nd with their Indian vocalist John Prakesh, but man, have they come together in the last coupla years and the songs on “Powerplay” attest to that: gravelly rock dawg vocals, kicking rock riffola and big rhythm definitely amp up ass grabbing songs like ‘Life Is Now’, ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Don’t Keep Me Hanging’. Even better are the passionate melodies from the vocal harmonies to the superb guitar work and solos, making this a superb all around package that will definitely garner Shakra some international recognition!

Enshadowed – “Magic Chaos Psychedelia”

Enshadowed – “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” (Pulverised Records)

Although formed in 1998, Greece’s Enshadowed have been sporadic in their releases, this being their 3rd full length album in six years. Despite this they appear to be a fine band in the black / death vein and ironically seem perfectly timed to reappear alongside the likes of Behemoth, Belphegor etc. Similar in style, “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” is a veritable barrage of neo black metal graced by blast beats and Golgotha’s chaotic Nemtheanga like vocals whilst the guitars alternate between evil Marduk-esque metallic riffing and techno death soloing on booming songs like ‘Black Holes, Death Planets’, ‘Surrealistic Shade Of Color Black’ and ‘Inner Psy-Trip’. I guess this maturity and professionalism must’ve come from performing a lot of live shows with bands like Mayhem, Dodheimsgard, Impaled Nazarene, Dark Funeral, Arkhon Infaustus and many underground bands. Completed by superb production from the band and Septic Flesh skinsman Fotis Bernado, “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” enjoys a progressive, open sound that allows Enshadowed’s music and typically anti-religious lyrics to be worshiped to the max by the masses!