PAGANLAND “Wind Of Freedom”

PAGANLAND
“Wind Of Freedom”
(Svarga)
Can this be anything but pagan metal? Not with a name like that , no way. Bit by bit, band by band I discover more about the Ukraine metal scene. The stuff that I’ve heard so far has almost all been really cool. I have no doubts that this too will be of the cooler kind. I like that epic feel most pagan/folk/heathen metal bands have. It’s like opera to my ears. Maybe I’m a closet opera head? This is metal for the wide open plains. This is metal for the wanderer among us. This is metal for the free thinkers. I like the fact that this is metal that doesn’t complicate things. You don’t need a doctor’s degree to understand where this is coming from and where it is going. You just need to open your mind and let it sweep you away. Anders Ekdahl

JAY PARMAR “Circle Of Fire”

JAY PARMAR
“Circle Of Fire”
()
I don’t think that I’ve heard anything that JAY PARMAR been involved with before this record. I can’t be too sure because the days when I memorized all band members’ names are long gone. Nowadays I’ll be so lucky if I can remember the band and album names. Memorizing member’s names takes up too much space in my brain. Not knowing what to expect from this I was happily surprised when I noticed that this wasn’t another guitar album but a real heavy metal album. Not that I have anything against guitar albums, I just have a hard time rating the guitar playing. This is so much easier to rate. I get a Riot/Virgin Steele kind of feeling listening to this. It is typical American in it being borderline heavy metal/hardrock the way that American bands do so well. There is something to this that is hard to resist. You might not like bands like Toto or Journey but when you hear an album like this you just want to check out the lighter side of the hardrock tree as well as pulling out your Judas or Iron or Saxon albums. Anders Ekdahl

PHIDION “Flesh Of The Forsaken”

PHIDION
“Flesh Of The Forsaken”
(-)
PHIDION is to me another new Swedish band. I gotta start keeping a closer ear to the underground to pick up all the chatter that is going on. It’s so bloody hard to keep up with all new bands that keep popping up all over the world, let alone the Swedish ones and still keep track of all the old ones that keep releasing records. That the first notes made me thing Morbid Angel is no bad start. That it as it progressed turned into more of a thrash-like sound wasn’t that bad either. This is to my ears death metal on the heavier side. Morbid Angel (when they were great) is not such a bad reference really. This is sure as heavy as Morbid Angel used to be early on. But on the whole this is some pretty cool death metal with a thrash touch. If you like your metal heavy you should check this one out. Anders Ekdahl

THE PSYCHO SEASON “Unwilling”

THE PSYCHO SEASON
“Unwilling”
(Inverse)
Psycho was one of the first horror movies I watched. It took me a long time to actually understand it for what it is and not just focus on Norman Bates’ mother issues. Hopefully I’ll get THE PSYCHO SEASON quicker. The first thing that hit me was that there is a punky kind of vibe to this. I’m not even gonna say that this reminds me of The Rasmus or Volbeat because this is so much more aggressive than these bands will ever be. You could say that this is a more punked up version of latter day of Metallica circa the Load era. But that is just part of the truth. This isn’t the stuff I usually listen to but when it does land on my front porch I give it a chance. And to tell you the truth I like it. There’s guitar solos in it. What is there to not like about it. Anders Ekdahl

QUAOAR “The River And The Soul”

QUAOAR
“The River And The Soul”
(Noma Records)
I liked Spanish bands like Baron Rojo in the 80s but that was about it when it came to Spanish hardrock/metal. Spain has along with Portugal always been on the outskirt of European hardrock/metal. It’s been there but not many have heard it. And even today it is still that way to some degree. You don’t get to hear much from the Spanish scene unless it is death or black metal. I would like to describe this as Soundgarden hardrock with an edge. You know the kind that is borderline alternative but draw an awful lot from old Black Sabbath when examined. And seeing as I like Soundgarden a lot I have no problem with this Spanish lot. So if you are looking for some alternative then QUAOAR might be right up your alley too. Anders Ekdahl

ROCK MASTER BAND “March Of pink Fat Elephants”

ROCK MASTER BAND
“March Of The Pink Fat Elephants”
(Violent Journey)
There are bad names and then there are really bad names. ROCK MASTER BAND… I have no idea how bad or good this is. All I can say is that whenever I see the word rock in a band’s name I fear the worst. I have nothing against Status Quo but to me that is as bad as it can get when it really is bad. I just hope ROCK MASTER BAND won’t make me feel like I’ve heard a bad, bad Status Quo song. And judging by the album title this might not have been too far off in the 70s. I get a feel for the smell of old LP covers when I listen to this as well as Finnish folk parks (if they exists) deep in the forests full of drunk hippies. But I gotta say it. I like the vibe that this album radiates. I didn’t think so to begin with but I do. Anders Ekdahl

SHADOWS PAST “Perfect Chapter”

SHADOWS PAST
“Perfect Chapter”
(Doolittle Group)
Swedish power metal is and have always been great. There is a great history of bands from the 80s up until now that are fine example of power metal. So therefore I have great faith in SHADOWS PAST being another fine example. This was darker than I thought. At first glance I even thought this to be borderline death metal but I’ll settle for a darker Evergrey. But I gotta admit that I like what I hear. It has a very full colouring book that has me dotting the lines for a very long time. There is something very enticing about this album that makes it hard for me to stop listening to it. This turned out to be a very nice surprise and so much better than I had ever thought. Thank you SHADOW’S PAST. Anders Ekdahl

SIN’ SOUND “From The Undergrund”

SIN’ SOUND
“From The Underground”
(Atomic Stuff)
I used to think of Italy as the home of symphonic metal but lately I’ve been introduced to a whole different side of the Italian hardrock/metal scene. The interest might be low but that doesn’t stop the bands from popping up. And rightfully so. Why let the opinion hinder you from doing what you like. If there isn’t a scene, create one yourself. There isn’t really much stuff that I don’t listen to but this is one that I’m usually not that down with. It made me think Sweden’s Trash from the 80s which made me think AC/DC on valium. I have a hard time seeing when I’d put this on. I’m not even sure what I think of this. On a good day I might like it but on the other hand I might flee it like a scared kid on a bad day. I’ll give them the cred for trying to be different. It’s just not my different today. Anders Ekdahl

SOME CALL THIS TRAGEDY “No Man Without A Ghost”

SOME CALL THIS TRAGEDY
“No Man Without A Ghost”
(Sound Patrol Records)
I’m sorry to say so but SOME CALL THIS TRAGEDY sounds like the typical name of a metalcore band of today. You know the band’s that have names that are four words or longer. Bands that I have no relation whatsoever to. Bands that make me feel my age. But I’m no worse than I can learn to like these bands too. Just give me time to listen in on them. Not that I’m saying that this particular band is anywhere close to that sound. It was just their name that got me going. Seeing as I’m not familiar with Bride For A Valentine (sic) or whatever it is that they are called I have no idea where to placed SOME CALL THIS TRAGEDY yet I get a feeling that this is what is called modern metal. You know the one that goes from melodic to harsh in just a single beat. This release is just a three tracker but I find myself wanting to hear more. Have I finally succumbed to this whole modern metal thing? Anders Ekdahl

SUPURATION “Code3”

SUPURATION
“Cu3e”
(Listenable)
The first time I heard SUPURATION was on a comp CD filled with French extreme metal bands that came out in the early 90s. That was my first real encounter with the harder stuff from the French metal scene. Can’t say that I kept up with SUPURATION after that. 20 odd years later I sit here with their new album in my lap. And having not followed them over the years this is like meeting a new band for the first time. I don’t know if it is just because they are French or if the French try their damndest to be odd but this is just as awkward as I expected them to be. It moves in no straight lines instead it twists and turns like an obstinate child. But I gotta admit that this isn’t as off as I thought it to be. I can actually follow it with getting a headache. A surprise I didn’t expect. This is death metal the French SUPURATION way. Anders Ekdahl