FADING BLISS “From Illusion To Despair”

”From Illusion To Despair”
It is not often I get to experience bliss. It might only happen a couple of times during your lifetime, if at all. But to have the bliss fading must be like seeing your money turn into butter. You had it but it slipped from you. What the band FADING BLISS is all about is a whole different story. And what they are about is all about is death doom goth metal like it was played in the 90s by Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. This is melancholic and dark like there is no tomorrow. I used to worship at the altar of the unholy British trio in the 90s. I still like that whole dark melancholic metal sound that these three British bands started and that have been carried on by countless bands ever since. This Belgian lot aren’t a happy bunch musically. If you are prone to depressions you might want to stay away from this lot. If you like me find joy in being melancholic you will want to check them out. Nothing new or even remotely innovating but ever so great melancholic death doom goth metal all the way to the bank. Anders Ekdahl

INTO CENTURY “Nobody’s Slave”

”Nobody’s Slave”
I am fascinated by the choices bands do when it comes to their names. INTO CENTURY might look good on paper but once you start thinking about the meaning I get stomped; INTO CENTURY??? But the name is just a name. What matters is the music. Musically this made me think of a cross between Soundgarden and Helmet. It is grungy yet heavy in a kinda off-beat kind of way. And since I like both Soundgarden and Helmet I find pleasure in listening to this Danish band. I have nothing against Volbeat but I’ll take this any day of the week over having to sit through a Volbeat album. This is more my kind of heavy metal. Throw in some Pantera too in the mix and you get a pretty heavy yet melodic album to listen to. Anders Ekdahl

LAID8 “These Faded Lines”

”These Faded Lines”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There gotta be more bands from Israel playing metal than we get to experience. There has to be with so many people living there and. All cannot be tied up with their kibbutz. There gotta be a youth movement of sorts that is into metal. LAID8 might have a name that is hard to get but musically this isn’t that hard to understand, even though the first band I came to think of were Norwegian Atrox ( a not too easy to understand metal band). But seeing as I’m no stranger to the more off the beaten road kind of metal bands I find enjoyment in this album by LAID8. You could call it avant garde metal but that would be doing the band a great injustice. I’d say that they end up somewhere between Evanescence/Paramore’s more mainstream approach and the more twisted and weird metal of bands like Atrox. Easily accessible with being to watered down. Anders Ekdahl

THE LAST WARNING “Progression”

This lot might be onto their fourth album but I have not heard of them before. Don’t know why but that is the fact of the day. But better late than never as they say. This lot is an Austrian death metal band. I don’t really think it matters where you come from anymore to be a great metal band. With the easy access that the internet provides you are not as isolated as we used to be when we had to send snail mail to get to hear the latest/coolest bands. THE LAST WARNING’s death metal is of the more melodic sort. Still with an edge, so no melodeath but with enough melodies to make it a not so hard death metal album. I have nothing against melodies in my death metal. Some of my greatest death metal experiences have had enough melodies in them to sing along to. This is death metal that is easy to follow. You don’t have to put on your thinking cap just to get through the intro. This is the tap your foot kind of death metal that makes you happy. Anders Ekdahl

NEBELKRÄHE “Lebensweisen”

I have no idea of the meaning behind this band’s name but I like the way it sounds. There is a rawness to it that tells me that this is going to be black metal. You can feel it just by saying the band’s name. What kind of black metal time will tell but black metal it will be most certainly. I liked Deathspell Omega from the moment I heard them. I even like their earlier stuff too. That to me is progressive. I don’t know if I’d describe NEBELKRÄHE’s black metal as progressive. To my ears this sounds like pretty much like most black metal I come upon. OK, I’ll give it that it do twist and turn a bit more than your Darkthrone or Burzum does but to call that progressive… well I guess that that could be progressive. This German lot has a sound to their black metal that I like. There is a rawness to it that cuts like a knife in my ears. I can feel how the blood sips down my neck from listening to this album. And that is the kind of black metal that I prefer the best. Anders Ekdahl

NO MAN EYES “Hollow Man”

“Hollow Man”
Another band with a band name that makes absolutely no sense to me. But I’m not here to judge the bands based on their names. I am here to listen to the music. And as long as the music is good I don’t really care too much about the name. Being described as heavy metal I had high hopes on this album. Right now I feel like a really cool heavy metal album would do my day. This wasn’t perhaps what I was looking for but it will have to do as it isn’t that shabby of an album. There is something to this album that makes me sit up and take notice. It is no classic Saxon or Iron Maiden or Judas Priest but I had not expected it to be that either. There is even a sort of thrash edge to this album. So if you could imagine an album somewhere in between the classic metal of the 80s mixed with a sort of Megadeth thrash vibe you might get an idea of where this album lands. This turned out to be just the fix that I didn’t know that I needed. Anders Ekdahl

NORDAFROST “Dominus Frigoris”

“Dominus Frigoris”
I have no idea what winter is like in Germany. I can imagine that it means a lot of rain and gray skies but very little snow unless you go up the mountains. Which is why I can understand why so many German bands seem to have a fascination for the winter landscapes of Scandinavia. This is a rerelease of NORDAFROST’s first demo. Not being familiar with them previously I have no idea how they have progressed over the years but what I hear on this CD I like. There is a charm to their early black/death metal that still holds up today. What you get is basically a very primitive and down to earth kind of metal. With this material being old we can’t really talk about it being retro but if you like bands like Nifelheim and the likes then this will be for you (if you already have the demo there are unreleased bonus tracks on this CD that might entice you). I’m glad that this band came my way. Anders Ekdahl

OVERTURES “Entering The Maze”

“Entering The Maze”
(Sleaszy Rider)
In the last couple of months I’ve come upon more Italian bands than I ever thought existed. So if you think that the Italian metal scene starts and ends with Rhapsody in all its incarnations you so wrong that it isn’t even on the map. There are literally hundreds of Italian metal bands that deserves to be noticed. Starting with OVERTURES. This is progressive metal like we’ve heard by so many bands before OVERTURES. But that doesn’t make this album less interesting. If you like your metal progressive you might as well give this a chance. Who knows? This might turn out to be your favourite album of 2013. What I like about progressive metal is that it doesn’t care if it is thought of as pretentious. I can appreciate that don’t give a fuck kind of thinking. Too many of us are too tied up with what others might think about us. I really couldn’t give a fuck what people think about me. And that is what I get from listening to “Entering The Maze”. This is an album made for and by the band. Anders Ekdahl

PSY CODE “Cause And Neglect”

“Cause And Neglect”
With a name like PSY CODE I kinda expect this to some sort of djent kind of band. Some sort of math tech metal band that challenges your every senses and requires your very attention just to sit through one song, let alone a full length album. But I could also be very wrong. It’s just a feeling I got from seeing their name. And I wasn’t too off. This is the kind of metal that if you aren’t careful will give you a massive headache. You gotta be ready for this with every sense of your body or it will just pass you by like a fart in the wind. This is the kind of metal that I have a hard time sitting through a full album of. I need to cut it up in smaller pieces to fully digest it. This to me is the kind of chest beating that I’m no great fan of. But that does not mean that I don’t appreciate the effort that has been put into making this album. It is just that this is too much for my brain to take in in full. Once cut up into smaller pieces I can enjoy it. Anders Ekdahl

SEAGALL “Hidden Ego”

“Hidden Ego”
I am not very good at listening to instrumental albums. I have no greater knowledge of guitar playing and can therefore not judge the technical skill. But then again that is not why I listen to metal. I could care less about technical proficiency. I care more for the songs and the vibe they send out. And this is the kind of guitar album that I like. Where the songs are more important than how fast you can move your fingers up and down the neck of the guitar. Which is why I like Joe Satriani more than I like Steve Vai, even though I have a soft spot for Yngwie Malmsteen. This is the kind of album that doesn’t give you a guilty conscious because you suck at playing the guitar. Instead you can enjoy this the way you enjoy a Bach or Beethoven record. SEAGALL impressed me enough to wanting to listen to this album more than once. Anders Ekdahl