BLINDEATH “Headshot”

(My Graveyard)
BLINDEATH is like deathrash. You don’t really know what you’ll get just by reading the name. My guess is that this will be borderline thrash but not really going all the way. And I’m fine with that. There is a charm to mixing different styles to arrive at an end result. If the title is a declaration of intent this will be a full on attack to the head. And as I assumed this is thrash metal. I get a Metallica/Anthrax/Megadeth feel to this. Not the hardest of thrash but sure moshable enough for it to be heavy like a sledgehammer. Early albums by the mentioned bands are all classics by now. And classic Blindeath is in style. This is as retro as it gets without being a bore. This just proves that what Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth did in those days is timeless music. BLINDEATH might have a long way to walk before they are considered timeless but as contemporaries they sure know how to thrash. Anders Ekdahl

BLOOD OF KINGS “Starvation”

(My Graveyard)
For some reason I came to think of Manowar when I saw this band’s name. Don’t know what it is about the name but to me it screams massive heavy metal overload. Ever since I got to hear Doomsword I’ve been waiting for another band to come along with a massive epic metal sound. Perhaps it will be BLOOD OF KINGS. To my disappointment this has nothing to do with either Manowar or Doomsword. To tell you the truth I have no idea where to really place this. There is a thrash feel to it but then there are the vocals. Kinda high pitched in a whiny kinda way. I have a really hard time thinking of any bands that this might remind me of. I know that in the back of my head I have some names that would fit as references but the best I can come up with right now is Forced Entry and some Staten Island band that have Savage in its name. Not the greatest references but then that obscure I find BLOD OF KINGS metal to be. And in all of this I find myself liking what I hear. There is a charm to this that is hard to put down. Anders Ekdahl

CRYING STEEL “Time Stand Steel”

“Time Stand Steel”
(My Graveyard)
There is something to a band with the word steel in its name. It is a sort of declaration of intent that you can’t mistake for anything but. CRYING STEEL says to me that this will be heavy metal in a good old traditional way. No fancy modernities. For a long time I wasn’t the greatest defender of Judas Priest. I thought that they were a bit overrated (I know, how stupid was I) but once I gave them a really good chance to impress me I regretted not having paid more attention to them. CRYING STEEL have the same kind of vibe going for them that Judas Priest had from “Defenders Of The Faith” up until “Painkiller”, “Turbo” included. This might not be as heavy metal as Iron maiden or Saxon was at the same time but it is heavy metal enough to make me think back to the 80s with a smile on my face. No, I’m not being sentimental. It is just that great music is great no matter what age it is played. Anders Ekdahl

ECNEPHIAS “Necrogod”

Apart from a band name that is pretty hard to pronounce to begin with this band says nothing to me. If I’ve heard of them before I’ve forgotten all about them. If I haven’t heard anything about them before I got sent this new album then it is with a clean slate that I embrace them. But it does start on good note. This shows potential to be a very atmospheric metal album that might be hard to pin point to exact genre status. They might have started out as a melodic death metal band but that has to be a long time ago. And even though there might be traces of it still in the sound of the band they have like f x Katatonia evolved beyond their tag by now. This is metal on the more extreme side that incorporates sounds of other metal genres to make it a totally different entity. So if you like for your metal to include more than one genre and you don’t mind it being atmospheric and melancholic and you haven’t discovered this Italian band you, just like me, will have a new friend in ECNEPHIAS. Anders Ekdahl

ENDOVEIN “Supreme Insatiable Need”

“Supreme Insatiable Need”
(My Graveyard)
I guess there is some clever meaning to the band’s name but I can’t see it. Not that it really is that much of a problem. I’ve seen bands with far worse names delivering the goods. At least it stands out enough for you to notice it. Looking at the shirts the members have on in the photo you would be forgiven to think that this was a rerelease of an album from the 80s. But from those shirts you can also tell that this will be an album of thrash that has more than one foot in the 80s. If you like bands like Death Angel or Onslaught with Steve Grimmet on vocals or early Megadeth then you will find pleasure in this album. Just as I’ve done. I know that I keep coming back to the 80s more times than seem healthy but let’s face it; back in the days some damn fine metal was produced. Stuff that still sounds as good today as it did when it was new. Hence my love for all this retro metal that pops up today sounding just as good now as it did back then. ENDO VEIN is another band that does it so good today. Anders Ekdahl

FACEBREAKER “Dedicated To The Flesh”

“Dedicated To The Flesh”
(Cyclone Empire)
FACEBREAKER formed in 1999. I have no excuse for why the name seems familiar to me yet I have no memory whatsoever of having heard a single note from them. I must have just read about them. This Swedish lot is supposed to be death metal. What kind it is will be a surprise. This is heavy death metal kinda like I remember Grave playing it on their earlier albums (no comparison other than that sound wise). You could also say that this is Bolt Thrower heavy without the groove. Or Asphyx heavy. You get my drift. This will not set any speed records. But while being heavy this is in no way boring. They do pick up the pace at times not losing the heaviness. This is death metal the way it was played before it all became melodic or melodeath. The kind of death metal we grew up on in the 80s/90s. the kind that still lives on in me and that will be with me until death. Anders Ekdahl

GRAND EXIT “The Dead Justifies The Means”

“The Dead Justifies The Means”
Yet another Swedish band that is supposed to play a bit to the side of the mainstream. After all the retro bands that has come from Sweden with the likes of Witchcraft and Graveyard and what not every label seem to be on the lookout for the next big Swedish thing. GRAND EXIT are not a retro rock band. This is death metal for lack of a better description. I have a hard time hearing how this lot should be different from all other death metal acts out there today. They don’t do anything that hasn’t already been done at least once. But what they do they do well. It is not hard to like this album. You just gotta listen to it once before you are hooked. The way that they mix death with black with any other sort of metal is what makes this album stand out a bit. Listening to this I sort of get the same vibe I got the first time I heard At The Gates masterpiece “Slaughter Of The Souls”. This has a bit to go before it reaches that level but the vibe is there. Anders Ekdahl

INFINIGHT “The Vision”

“The Vision”
I know that at some point in time all the great band names must be taken and you got to think really hard to come up with something cool but I’m not too sure that INFINIGHT is the right kind of cool. I for one have a hard time getting the meaning of it. This German lot has a very American sounding take on metal. The guitars are tuned low and the vocals are melodic like a ton of bands I’ve heard but can’t remember the names of. Perhaps not the stuff I listen to all day long but still good enough for me to want to put it on at special occasions. As long as it isn’t Nickelback I’m happy. There is a charm to this that I appreciate. It is not too sugary. The band has managed to balance power and melodies to make this a record well worth looking for if you need a fix of melodic metal. Anders Ekdahl

JESUS CHRUSLER SUPERSTAR “Among The Ruins And Desolate Lands”

“Among The Ruins And Desolate Lands”
(VönHell Records)
Apart from the obvious reference I’m not too sure about the band’s name. Yeah, I know that I can be rather picky when it comes to band names but that is the first thing that gets you noticed. If I saw a CD by this band in some shop I think that I would have flipped through it looking for something cooler. I never was a great fan of death’n’roll. I lost interest in Entombed when they turned too rock’n’roll for my taste. I get that same kind of Entombed vibe from this band. And to my surprise I’m not that turned off by it. I gotta admit that there is a charm to this that I never thought I’d say. Damn it, is it old age that is starting to show? This isn’t as bad as I would have liked to think. I actually find myself digging to this album. Not something I thought I’d live to see. Anders Ekdahl

KAVE “Dismal Radiance”

“Dismal Radiance”
I have no expectations whatsoever on this album. I approach it with a completely open mind letting it guide me through the sonic landscape that is “Dismal Radiance”. I know nothing about KAVE and I like to leave it at that for the time being and just let the music do the talking. If I like I’ll search for info on the band. This is ambient in all the meaning of the word. If you do not pay close attention to this you will most likely miss everything that is going on. In the best of times I find pleasure in listening to this sort of music. There is a soothing aspect to this that I find necessary to indulge in every now and then. As a break from the hectic pace of life this works wonders. You get to dream of places far away, of places so mystic that they only exist in your fantasies. You could not ask for any better relaxation cure than be alone with your dreams. Anders Ekdahl