HARASAI “Psychotic Kingdom”

“Psychotic Kingdom”
(Quality Steel Records)
I don’t know how correct melodic death metal is on the latest trendometer but to my ears a great metal album is always a great metal album no matter when it is released. So if HARASAI want to play melodic death metal I’m not the one to stop them. On the contrary. I’ll be the one cheering them on. I get a strong Dark Tranquillity feel from this album. My first thought was how much this made me think of Dark Tranquillity’s debut album. There’s the same kind of time changes on this album by HARASAI. As I have great memories connected to DT’s debut album I get a warm feeling whenever I hear anything that make me remember that album. This is in other words classic Gothenburg death metal done the German way. How cool is that? Pretty if you ask me. Anders Ekdahl

JEX THOTH “Blood Moon Rise”

“Blood Moon Rise”
(I Hate)
I gotta admit that I too was caught by the hype JEX THOTH drew upon themselves with their debut album. And the hype was well deserved. That album was a grand display of how to do things well. Now it is time to prove that the first album wasn’t just a flux. The first time around I had kind of a hard time to label the band correctly. Was it metal? Was it rock? Was it hardrock? Was it doom? Whatever it was it was bloody great. There is a psychedelic touch to JEX THOTH. I’m not the greatest connoisseur of psychedelia. My experience basically begins and end with “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane but I like what I hear from this new album by Jex Thoth. If I had to call it anything it would be psychedelic doom metal. There is a trance like aura to the vocals. They try to draw you into the spider’s web. Another cool album from Jex Thoth. Rush out and buy it! Anders Ekdahl

KARONTE “Paraiso Sin Fe”

“Paraiso Sin Fe”
It is often that I find myself staring at a record by a band that I have never heard a single note from before. And I love it. The chance of getting to know of new bands is the most fun part of doing this for Battle Helm. I get to experience a bundle of new interesting bands at a very low cost. KARONTE are new to me despite them having being around for a while now. This Spanish play a death metal that is as heavy as it is thick in sound. It’s like a wall of impenetrable mass. Try banging your head against it and you’ll end up with a sore head. It might not be of the highest tempo but you know what they say about the tortoise and the hare; it’s not the start but the finish that matters. And finish this lot do. If you like your death metal mixed with more traditional heavy metal you could do worse than this. Anders Ekdahl


You might remember the interview I did with this band a couple of months back. Back then they only had an LP to fall back on. For those of you that don’t know what to do with an LP here come a CD version of the same album. LADY BEAST are heavy metal the old way. There is a punky feel to this just like there was on Iron Maiden’s debut album. There is an exuberance to this that is refreshing in this day and age of over produced albums. In the last couple of years we’ve seen traditional heavy metal making a sort of come-back with tons of new bands breaking out of the woods. This Philly band have all that the goods to make it big with the right kind of backing. This is the way heavy metal sounds in my ear. Loud, abrasive and taking no prisoners. Anders Ekdahl

LIBRIA “Immortal Daughter of Aesthetics”

“Immortal Daughter of Aesthetics”
I can with a clean heart and clear consciousness say that I have absolutely no idea what djent is and how it sounds. I can’t even tune a guitar correctly. But that doesn’t stop me from being drawn towards band being labelled djent in one way or another. This is the kind of metal that you don’t sit and fiddle with your mobile phone to. If you do so you’ll get lost and won’t know what hit you once it is over. This is as twisted as I thought it would be. You gotta be on your toes not to miss out on any tempo changes or chord twists. This is death metal that makes Atheist seem like kiddy play. Bloody hell how the boundaries for what is technical has moved since the 80s. I blame it all in Meshuggah. But the joke aside, LIBRIA is one of hell of a cool act and this is one darn fine album. Anders Ekdahl

NERGARD “Memorial For A Wish”

“Memorial For a Wish”
I must say that I’m not a big fan of these project kinds of records that we see every now and then starting with the Phenomenon project in the 80s. As I have not heard a single note from one of the Phenomenon albums or many other project albums I might not be the most positively inclined listener as I approach NERGARD. But who knows. This could turn out to be a really cool album full of great metal songs and with none of that project feel to it. I have nothing against metal albums that are bigger than life. I love almost every single Savatage albums. I get that kind of Savatage feeling listening to this album by NERGARD. This is pompous and epic in a way that I like. That the album features a bunch of names is of little interest to me. As long as the songs are great I’m happy. And happy is what I am after having heard this album. Anders Ekdahl

ON A BRIDGE OF DUST “Facing The Opposite”

“Facing The Opposite”
I did like some emo bands. I did not totally write it off as big pile of bollocks. When I saw this Italian band’s name I immediately thought of emo. It is with some great trepidation that I will take on this album just to figure out how metal this really is. I never really got into bands like Tool or System Of A Down or Deftones. I might have missed out on something great. That I will never know now. ON A BRIDGE OF DUST have that laidback approach that I found in the few Tool songs I’ve heard. A sadness that is hard to put your finger on. Listening to this I get a lonely-boy-in-the-corner-of-the-room feel to the music. This is not music to pick you up. If you are inclined to feel depressed at times you better stay away from this. Suicide black metal can go and fuck itself. This is depressing, in a good way. Anders Ekdahl

PROPHEXY “Improvviso”

There are so many bands out there that it is impossible to keep up with them all. Which is why PROPHEXY are new to me. It might not be the greatest of ways to start of our friendship with a live album but you take what you get and this is what PROPHEXY has given me. I don’t know why but for some reason I have a hard time with improvisation. I need my world to be structured and in order. I don’t like when you go on a spree with no plans. I kinda feel the same way when I listen to this album. It is all over the place. For a jazz musician this might be a treat but for me as a simple music lover this does very little. But the little it does is strangely enough for me to enjoy this even though I don’t understand it at all. Not the kind of album I’d play over and over again but one that I’m glad that I got to hear. This is what progressive is about to my ears. This makes Dream Theater seem like a sane(r) band. Anders Ekdahl

SILENTLIE “Blood Under Snow”

“Blood Under Snow”
The first time I say this band’s name I thought it was some Italian or Latin word. But as I examined it closer I came to realize that the band’s name is SILENT LIE. They’ve just done with the space between the two words. Just because SILENTLIE is fronted by a female don’t go expecting this to be the next Lacuna Coil to make it out of Italy. This is nowhere near Lacuna Coil musically. Instead you get an EP of rather up-tempo hardrock/metal. Perhaps a tad modern in sound but still metal enough to appeal to all metalheads worldwide. If you like modern bands like Amaranthe or bands like Saraya and similar, there is a chance that you’ll like this too. It is melodic yet modern enough to appeal to today’s fans while still keeping a toe or two in the past. This appealed to me much more than I thought it would. Cools stuff. Anders Ekdahl

STONE ORANGE “The Dreamcatcher”

“The Dreamcatcher”
(Street Symphonies Records)
I’m sorry to say it but this one screams prog metal a long way. Yeah, I’m being sarcastic. I’m a huge friend of Dream Theater and every other prog metal band that has followed. So if this turns out to be a prog metal album all the cred to the band. If not I’ll have to accept it for what it is. Perhaps the labels name should have given me a clue or two. This Slovenian band have more in common with CrashDiet than they have with Dream Theater. So if you live on a stable diet of Poison, Warrant, Pretty Boy Floyd and whatever the 80s hair bands were called or if you overdose on the whole new wave of glam/sleaze bands that have popped up lately you’ll have a new friend in STONE ORANGE. This is melodic hardrock like it used to be played. Not my cup of tea back in the days but for some strange reason I find myself liking it today. Is it old age or what?