GARTH ARUM “The Dawn Of A New Creation”

GARTH ARUM
“The Dawn Of A New Creation”
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I have no idea what mastermind Nightmarer has done prior to this. Therefore I have no expectations on this album. It could turn out to be the most avant-garde since Deathspell Omega or it could turn out to be totally shite. It could also turn out to be something completely different, something that I hadn’t expected. I have no idea how to describe this musically. Don’t know if progressive black metal works in describing this album but that is the feeling I get from listening to it. Add a symphonic touch to the sound and you get an eclectic array of sounds that in its full make for an interesting listening. Not as original as it might seem on paper but still good enough to make it stand out enough for you to pay attention to it. Anders Ekdahl

MORTYR “Rise Of The Tyrant”

MORTYR
“Rise Of The Tyrant”
(Stormspell)
I have no idea if this is supposed to be a play on words or if MORTYR is a creature from some literary work. But I like the way it sounds when you say it out loud; MORTYR. With such a cool name this better be some cool metal or the name is lost on something subpar. And the whole thing screams thrash metal so much that anything else would be a crime against humanity and a total loss of a really cool cover art work. And thankfully this is thrash metal the way Razor was thrash. OK, so this is old school. I don’t care. The thrash of the 80s was some of the coolest metal to be released and still to this day work like a charm. So any band that plays retro thrash and do it the way MORTYR does it will get my approval. This gets two thumps up, three if I had had another hand. Anders Ekdahl

NECROCULTUS “Solemnelohim, Bringer Of Death”

NECROCULTUS
“Solemnelohim, Bringer of Death”
(Blood Harvest)
OK, I might be overly sensitive but why don’t bands/labels/pr agent at least include a promo sheet with the most basic info attached. I get sent hundreds of digital files every month and I can’t sit and track down the most necessary info for them all. Having said that I’m still glad that I get sent the stuff that I do. NECROCULTUS is yet another death metal band that has that classic sound of the 90s, like it has just crawled out of a grave in the light of the moon. NECROCULTUS has a very American sound to their death metal. It is heavy and the tempo is moderate. They seem to go more for atmosphere than sheer force. It also makes it interesting to listen to as you get to follow along in all its movements. Anders Ekdahl

OUTSHINE “Prelude To Descent”

OUTSHINE
“Prelude To Descent”
(Dead Tree Music)
This one I recognize from the logo. I have an album of theirs in my collection. Don’t think I liked it too much because I haven’t listened to it since I put it in its spot. OUTSHINE might have a name that brings the thoughts to Soundgarden’s “Outshined” but this is as far from Soundgarden as it is possible to come, if I remember correctly. But then I don’t really remember that much from our previous encounter. I’m not really a fan of bands like Dead By April or Volbeat even though I can see why people might like them. I get that same kind of feeling about this band. That they try to be something too much, trying to sit on too many chairs at once. And that is a shame. There is a groove and they got the melodies. It is just that I can’t get over that annoying feeling of something a little bit extra missing. Not a bad album by any stretch of the word and it will probably work very well in Germany but not really my cup of chocolate. Anders Ekdahl

ROCKA ROLLAS “Metal Strikes Back”

ROCKA ROLLAS
“Metal Strikes Back”
(Stormspell)
A new ROCKA ROLLAS album. I never had a chance to listen to the previous one so I’ve been looking forward to this new one. If I’m to believe the stuff that I’ve read about this band I’m to expect a thrash attack in the good old school. And it is very old school. But I don’t know how thrash this is. I get a more power metal feel to this, or speed metal if you like. It is kinda like listening to Helloween’s “Walls Of Jericho”. You got to keep up with the music or you’ll miss something. The tempo is not for the faint of heart. You better keep up or you’ll be so far back that you might as well just give up. This is pure heavy metal force the way you don’t hear too often today. I’ve always had a weak spot for up-tempo metal and this is everything I like about my metal. Just gotta track down that first album too. Anders Ekdahl

SCHWARZER ENGEL “In Brennenden Himmeln”

SCHWARZER ENGEL
“In Brennenden Himmeln”
(Massacre)
SCHWARZER ENGEL might sing in German but their music is universal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what they sing about. You just need to listen to the music and you’ll be captured and won’t want to let go of it. I don’t know what it is with German bands but they seem to be able to create some of the most beautiful music in the world. Not everything in Germany is grey and dull. It does not always rain and the Germans do have a sense of humour. Not that there is anything funny about this album. This is some serious stuff. This is so dark that you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Armageddon is about to happen any minute. But it is also so blood y beautiful that you don’t really care if the World is coming to an end right now, just as long as you get to finish listening to this album. Anders Ekdahl

STORMZONE “Three Kings”

STORMZONE
“Three Kings”
(Metal Nations)
And here we have another album by another band that is a total blank to me. They seem to pop up every now and then (well, quite often really) but since I’m open to discovering new bands this is like X-mas to me. I like the fact that heavy metal never died. Grunge could not kill it and rap metal sure didn’t. and all those who in the late 70s/early 80s thought it was a fad can turn in their graves because it is still here. STORM ZONE being proof of that. This is heavy metal in a slight power metal school. Perhaps with an American ring to it. The bigger the better. But I have nothing against that. Is like my metal full of melodies and with emotions great than the biggest rush of your life. That it reminds me of more bands than I care to mention doesn’t matter. Great metal is great metal no matter what. Anders Ekdahl

THRUDVANGAR “Tiwaz”

THRUDVANGAR
“Tiwaz”
(Massacre)
THRUDVANGAR might have a strange name yet I have a gut feeling that I have an album by them or that I at least have heard a track or two by them previously. With a name that has an Icelandic ring to it I expect nothing but the greatest Viking metal from this band. I honestly don’t know what Viking metal is but this is as far away from Bathory as you can get. Instead there is more of a death metal touch to this. Perhaps a thrash edge to. But I’m glad that this isn’t in the vein of Bathory because that could have ended in some major disappointment. This is instead some cool metal in a totally different direction. Think more Amon Amarth than Bathory. I like this and will track down the previous albums too. Anders Ekdahl

UTOPIUM “Vicious Consolation/Virtuous Totality

UTOPIUM
“VICIOUS CONSOLATION /VIRTUOUS TOTALITY”
(Bleak Recordings)
UTOPIUM has one of the greatest names that I’ve come upon in quite a while. The idea of Utopia can act as opium for the people. A drug to numb your pain living in a miserable place dreaming of Nirvana. I gotta admit that I’m not a big fan of Relapse Records, or more correctly; I have not paid too much attention to the stuff that Relapse releases. Portugal’s UTOPIUM are what I would describe as grind. It is noisy and it has that feel of not being held together by the most potent adhesive. I never really cared too much for early Napalm Death. I like one side of the “Scum” album but that is pretty much it. I tried bands like Exit13 and the likes in the 80s but they never really stuck. I get that same feeling listening to this. It doesn’t really stick. In small doses I get it but over an album, not so much. Anders Ekdahl

VOODOO MULE “Voodoo Zoo”

VOODOO MULE
“Voodoo Zoo”
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I know very little about the Balkan metal scenes. I’ll take anything that is thrown at me just to get a feeling for what kind of movements are going on down south. VOODOO MULE as a name doesn’t really say anything and it doesn’t do much for me. I’ll just have to play it to get a feeling. This is some sort of doom in a stoner rock dress. The stuff that you might find on labels like PscheDOOMelic and the likes. There is a jam feel to this that I like. I can’t explain why but I’ve always liked when bands jam, as long as it doesn’t get too jazzy. I kinda like that lose at the edge kind of sound that comes from playing what you like. I really shouldn’t like it as I’m all about control in my life but I guess that there is something enticing in chaos that draws me to it. So if you like 70s tinged doom then this might be the one for you. Anders Ekdahl