CULT OF THE FOX “Angelsbane”

CULT OF THE FOX
”Angelsbane”
(Rock It Up)
I did an interview with this band a long time ago. Anybody that remembers that one? This South Swedish band is another in a long line of trad metal bands that we have seen popping up in the last 5 – 10 years. As I’m a huge metalhead I like this phenomenon and can’t get enough of it. With bands like In Solitude and Portrait that sounds like Mercyful Fate’s long lost cousin CULT OF THE FOX comes along introducing themselves as a cousin third removed. This is as heavy as Mercyful Fate was on their first two albums. You could call this trad metal if your traditions comes from the heavier side of the Danish metal scene. But seeing as I’m a huge sucka for that kind of metal this speaks volumes to me. I can’t but like this album. It sounds like a Mercyful Fate/Evil for the 21st century. Anders Ekdahl

DEAD AWAKEN “Where Hope Turns To Die”

DEAD AWAKEN
”Where Hope Turns Dripping Red”
(Abyss)
Another Swedish death metal band. How many are there really? Does it never end? It’s good then that I’m a huge sucka for Swedish death metal, or any other death metal for that matter. I can’t seem to get enough of this stuff no matter where it comes from. Where I had hoped for a Dismember-ish death metal assault I got more of a Morbid Angel kind. This is heavy the way that “Blessed Are The Sick” is heavy. I get a strong 1990 Earache vibe from this album. I can almost smell the thick paper cover and the black vinyl. That is how much this brings me back to a time much simpler. And no, I’m not being nostalgic. It just hit me how much this sounds like my youth. But as they say, what once was good will always be good. So if it worked back then why would it not work now? Anders Ekdahl

dEMOTIONAL “State Of Denial”

dEMOTIONAL
”State In Denial”
(Dead End Exit)
This is a Swedish band that I have no idea where they come from both geographical or musically. But seeing as I like to discover new acts I’ll dive head first into this one. I like the word play that the band got going with demotion/emotion. I can honestly say that I haven’t paid any attention to Dead In April or what the hell it is that they are called. For some reason I can’t stand their poppish metal. I do like Sonic Syndicate and somewhere in between I find dEMOTIONAL. This is modern metal (what the hell that is) that mixes extreme metal with more mainstream. So if you like the concept of bands like Linking Park but feel that they are too soft you have dEMOTIONAL to check out. In small doses I can take this but over a full album I feel that it gets a bit too samey and I lose focus. But this might be an album that grows on me with time once I’ve figured out what they’re all about. Anders Ekdahl

ELECTRIC TAURUS “Veneralia”

ELECTRIC TAURUS
”Veneralia”
(Moonlight)
ELECTRIC TAURUS has a name that kinda screams 70s psychedelia a long way. I’m not the hugest Hawkwind fan but that is only because I haven’t listened to them at all. But I do like the idea of a psychedelic hardrock band from Italy, if that is what I’ll get. I wasn’t too far off to expect this to be strongly influenced by the seventies. I like the groove that this album got. If you like early Monster Magnet you might find this to be as equally entertaining. Perhaps not as free ranging as KYUSS or the bands that followed from the desert but still groovy enough to be thrown in with that whole lot. I like stoner rock. I like doom. I like Black Sabbath. I like the hardrock of the 70s. Mix them all together and you end up with something like ELECTRIC TAURUS. Anders Ekdahl

ELOA VADAATH “Dead End Proclama”

ELOA VADAATH
”Dead End Proclama”
(Noisehead)
Italian progressive metal. Not the biggest block buster there is. Or is it? Italians and prog has a long history and for most of the time they’ve done it well to say the least. ELOA VADAATH might have a name that bring s to mind Star Wars or any other sci-fi flick but I hope that the music isn’t as far out as that. Just because you use Indian instruments doesn’t make you interesting. That Beatles did it does not make it cool for every other band to do so too. I gotta admit that ELOA VADAATH turned out to be so much more heavier than I ever expected. Sure, you get the progressive tendencies but you also got extreme metal (metalcore?) thrown in every now and then just to spice up the dish. Perhaps not as sci-fi as I had hoped for with this being so much more grounded than I ever expected it to be. But still interesting enough to keep me listening. Anders Ekdahl

FACE DOWN “The Long Lost Future”

FACE DOWN
”The Long Lost Future”
()
This FACE DOWN should not be confused for the Facedown that features Marco Aro (ex The Haunted). This band is from the south of Europe. And I have no idea what they are all about as this is the first that I heard of them (I seem to write that a lot and I love the fact that I get discover so many new acts). But as with Sweden’s Facedown this FACE DOWN is all about thrash whether it is Pantera style thrash or Anthrax style thrash. It is all thrash whichever way you turn. And I like that fact. No fucking around here. Just metal to the bone. So if you like your metal uncomplicated and to the point then check this one out. I like it and I think you’ll do the same. Anders Ekdahl

FACE OFF “The Colour Of Rain”

FACE OFF
”The Colour Of Rain”
(Maple Metal)
FACE OFF is not a hockey tribute nor is it an homage to John Woo. This is a female fronted (how I dislike that term) metal band from the Balkans. I’ve come upon a bunch of bands that originates from that area of Europe and most of them have been great. So I have pretty high hopes for this one based on previous experience. I know that it has become a cliché for bands with a female at the mike to be all goth or symphonic. Thankfully FACE OFF are way heavier than that. I get a heavier Tool feeling when I listen to this. Or a Paramore that has dropped all pop aspirations and gone all heavy metal on us. It might sound weird on paper but once you hear this you will kinda understand where I’m going with this reasoning. And in all this I find myself liking this album. Anders Ekdahl

HUMAN WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT “New Beginning”

HUMAN WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT
”New Beginning”
()
I do not read a single word of Finnish and I don’t think that too many outside of Finland and Sweden does either. Yet all info on HUMAN WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT’s record is in Finnish. Not that it is a major issue. By guessing I have figured out the most essential parts of it. This is the kind of metal that I have very few clues to what it is all about. I don’t even know how to characterize it so I’ll simply call it metalcore how wrong that may be. But you got the break downs, the harsh vocals, the clean vocals and everything else that I’ve come to associate with modern metalcore. But that doesn’t really mean shit in the long run. I might have been awfully critical of metalcore the way it is played today but I gotta admit that slowly I’ve come to succumb to it and now have no problem with it. HUMAN WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT have with “New Beginning” an album that could very well make them a name on an international scene. If people learn Finnish to begin with. Anders Ekdahl

LOWBRAU ” A Darker Shade Of Blues”

LOWBRAU
”A Darker Shade Of Blues”
()
When I see the word blues in any album title I get a bit cautious. Not that I don’t like blues or even bands like The Black Crows but I never really know what to expect from an album with blues in the title. It could be the most exquisite or the dullest piece of crap I’ve heard in days and ages. And when you state that you mix a lot of different styles to make this a shake that tastes of everything I get even more suspicious. But once you start listening to this you forget every doubt you ever had. This is metal, period. They may incorporate whatever styles they like in their sound but on the 9min+ title track they sound more like Crowbar heavy than blues heavy. And that is a sound that I have nothing against. So please keep the influences coming if you end up with a good a mix as you got going on this album. Anders Ekdahl

MENA BRINNO “Princess Of The Night”

MENA BRINNO
”Princess Of The Night”
()
An opera singer that does metal is no longer a novelty. With the success of Nightwish we’ve seen an explosion of bands that have a soprano singer in their line-up but not too many have a classical trained singer in their line-up. I like the combination of a classical trained soprano and metal. There are more common grounds that you might think between the two. MENA BRINNO are symphonic metal in all of its meanings. You get the almost bigger than life arrangements mixed with a metal sensibility making this a really strong album. There’s no overkill on the operatic vocals, no hysterical attempts at being OTT. This turned out so much more metal than I thought it would. Even if you have a hard time for acts like Nightwish with Tarja you’ll find this one much more up your metal alley. So stop thinking and just act on this one. Anders Ekdahl