ARZ “Turn Of THe Tide”

ARZ
“Turn Of The Tide”
(Unicorn)
Canadian progressive rock/hardrock has for the longest of times had its forerunner. Don’t know who I’m talking about? RUSH of course. If you ever so slightly touches on prog and come from Canada somebody is likely to scream RUSH at you. As ARZ are new to me I’m not going to hastily throw RUSH at them. I’ll give them time to prove me wrong. They could turn out to be Dream Theater-esque instead. That this is progressive there’s no doubt about. From the very first note to the last this is progressive in a Rush/Dream Theater crossover. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the going ons behind the music but I like what I hear. I also get an old Marillion feel, or a British 80s prog rock feel to be more correct. Seeing as I like that period I like this album. Highly recommended for those into prog rock/metal. Anders Ekdahl

BINGO “Ett grindslagsmål i 2 delar”

BINGO
“Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar”
(Discouraged Records)
I really tried to get into Swedish HC and grind in the 80s and for most of the time I got it but almost as often it just went right over my head. BINGO from northern Sweden might prove me wrong and really get me turned on to grind. Or not. First of all you gotta be able to stand a bit of chaos, or a lot of chaos if you’re gonna like grind. I might be too uptight for the chaos that comes out of my speakers. But at the same time a bit of chaos doesn’t hurt every now and then. With no kind of reference to grind I have no idea what this might sound like. I want to mention bands like Agathocles or Fear Of God because that is the closest I come to grind In my memory bank but that might be bands too old for anybody to remember them. Not a grand aficionado of any rank I like this. Anders Ekdahl

BLEED THE FREAKS “All Is Lost”

BLEED THE FREAKS
“All Is Lost”
()
After having discovered the big four it was time to move on to newer and perhaps better things. And what better place was there in the 80s for thrash than the Bay Area. Bands like TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS and a handful of others changed my view on extreme metal. To this day I keep returning to the earlier albums by these bands. To call this hardrock is to do the band a great injustice. This has more in common with the Bay Area thrash that we saw in the wake of Testament and Death Angel. There is an edge to this that. This is the kind of metal that I spun day and night in the 80s/early 90s. Metal that followed in the tracks of Exodus monumental thrash. Metal that competed with Testament for the throne as thrash kings to be. Cool stuff all the way through. Anders Ekdahl

CELTACHOR “Nine Waves From The Shore”

CELTACHOR
“Nine Waves From The Shore”
(-)
I did an interview and review for their demo CD I think it was. I thought that they had potential back then. Now it is time for the full length album. Hopes are high and expectations are large for this to be a full on blow of pagan/dark/ call it what you like metal. This is so much better than I remembered this Irish bunch to be. As somebody that have a hell of a problem telling pagan and heathen metal apart from black metal I will call this black metal on the more epic (not symphonic) side. There is that great feeling of get ready for a battle to the music. Close your eyes and you can almost picture how the warriors gather getting ready to fight the ultimate fight. This is the kind of confidence boasting metal that we all need every now and then to get through life’s hardship. Anders Ekdahl

CHAPEL OF DISEASE “Summoning Black Gods”

CHAPEL OF DISEASE
“Summoning Black Gods”
(FDK Rekodz)
It can’t have escaped you that old school death metal has made a tremendous comeback in the last couple of years. If you’ve read my reviews you’ll know that I simply love this style of death metal. I can’t seem to get enough of it. So all these new old releases are a blessing to me. This is like all those old Swedish, German and American bands from the late 80s all rolled into one. This is like an updated version of “Scream Bloody Gore”. I don’t know what it is about this that gets me firing on all cylinders but I can’t help but to like this. No matter how many of these releases I hear I always get the same kind of feeling. And no, it is not nostalgia. It is just that this is timeless metal. What once was great will always be great no matter when it is played. Anders Ekdahl

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY “December Wind”

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY
“December Wind”
(-)
With three releases in 2012 CORNERS OF SANCTUARY has been anything but busy. The latest is a five track single/EP. It seems appropriate to start with this one and if it’s any good work my way back through their back catalogue. It would be easy to say that this is following in the tracks of Judas Priest, Iced Earth and the likes but just as Benedictum is an awesome metal band this has the potential to be just that. It has all that which I love about heavy metal. A vocalist with an edge, guitars that rip and enough melody to not make it sappy. This is the kind of chest beating metal that every man or woman into metal should lend an ear or two to. This follows in a proud tradition of American east coast metal. Anders Ekdahl

CRESCENT LAMENT “Behind The Lethal Deceit”

CRESCENT LAMENT
“Behind The Lethal Deceit”
(-)
As time passes by my knowledge of bands around the world grows. Soon I’ll have to store all the information on an external brain drive. When 2012 started I knew of only one Taiwanese metal band. As 2012 came to an end I knew of 5 bands. CRESCENT LAMENT being the latest discovery. Don’t go expecting this to be the next Chthonic because these guys operate in a whole different end of the spectrum. And while there might be that symphonic, almost black metal aura to their metal this is something completely different. I don’t really know what to compare them to other than saying that there is a Chinese/Asian flavor to the sound. It makes for an interesting feeling listening to this album. It wasn’t what I expected but it turned out so much more than I ever had expected from it. Anders Ekdahl

DESTINITY “Resolve In Crimson”

DESTINITY
“Resolve In Crimson”
(Lifeforce)
I don’t remember how I came upon DESTINITY the first time but I do know that when I heard them the first time I knew that there was something special to this French band. And while not being entirely black metal that is where they come from. But as with most French bands there is something eclectic to them. I’m sorry to say so but the first notes of the first song made me think a heavier In Flames (no offense to either band) and while this is nowhere near Gothenburg death or melodeath in terms of how heavy this is there is still that undeniable Dark Tranquillity vibe to this that makes me sit up and take notice. Having heard all their previous album I gotta say that I don’t remember any of them to sound like this. But that can just be me having overdosed on death metal or any other metal for that matter during 2012. This is in any which way a great piece of death metal. Anders Ekdahl

DIMICANDUM “The Legacy Of Gaia”

DIMICANDUM
“The Legacy Of Gaia”
(Metalscrap)
I can’t remember why but I do know that I’m kinda looking forward to hearing this album. I must have read about the band somewhere because otherwise I wouldn’t be so stoked to hear this as I am. I have kinda high hopes for this to be a metal album of humungous proportion. And I’m right in assuming so. This is modern metal in that it mixes different styles of metal into something of their own. So you get clean melodic metal mixed with death metal mixed with a touch of goth metal mixed with traditional heavy metal. I’ll take this any day of the week over another tiresome metalcore act. For some reason I can’t let go of how Swedish this sounds. But I guess that In Flames is to blame for that too. If there is any justice in the metal world this should be a massive album all over the world. Anders Ekdahl

HANGING GARDEN “At Every Door”

HANGING GARDEN
”At Every Door”
(Lifeforce)
I think there is some sort of biblical reference here but I could be mistaken. This could just be that the band thought it a cool name. No matter what the reasons are behind the band name this is new to me. I’ve noticed that lately I’ve come upon bands that are totally blank to me. And I like it. I like to discover new acts. Why stick to the old ones? This Finnish act have two albums to its name prior to this. I need to keep a better eye on the Spinefarm catalogue. This is metal that is more in the My Dying Bride school of melancholia mixed with death. This is as somber as you might have come to think of the Finns being all year long. This is the deep in the forest, alone in a cabin kind of metal that won’t work wonders if you are suicidal. But for the rest of us this is pretty much what the doctor ordered if you’re into dark, disturbingly heavy metal. Anders Ekdahl