ELMSFIRE “Thieves Of The Sun”

“Thieves Of The Sun”
I have tried to but failed miserably trying to understand the greatness of Tolkien’s books. I understand the movie “St Elmos Fire” better. Not that I know if Elmsfire have anything to do with either but that was what came to me the first time I saw this album. Other than that I get a feeling that this is another epic power metal album that could be either the greatest thing since sliced bread or just a total turd. As I’m a big sucker for anything epical in power metal this turned out to be right up my alley. I know that this kind of metal is big in Germany, Italy and Greece and I can understand why. There is something very titillating about grand arrangements and heavy guitars. Something that brings me back to the books of Tolkien and the world he created. This is my literary journey. This I understand better than that of Mordor and whatever all is called in those books. Anders Ekdahl


We as Swedes are being attacked from both east and west. It started with the explosion of the Norwegian black metal scene and now it’s followed by the metal explosion in Finland. It’s like being crushed between two giant blocks of concrete. We have to show our muscles now if we as a metal nation shan’t be crushed by the two opposing forces. For The Imperium is not your typical Finnish metal band. Straying from the traditional power metal or extreme metal that we’ve become used to this is like the black cat. With more of a metalcore approach mixed with some tech/math metal this is some pretty weird stuff. Not weird in hard to get but more in that it twists and turns and shifts from this to that within seconds. It takes a while to get used to and I’m not sure that I will ever get fully used to it but as a break from the more traditional metal that I’m exposed to this was what the doctor ordered. Kinda cool in the end. Anders Ekdahl

GOROD “A Perfect Absolution”

“A perfect Absolution”
I know that you shouldn’t judge a cat by its fur but I felt nothing when I saw the band name Gorod. It didn’t bring anything with it. This could be the worst kind of AC/DC rock ever or the best death metal I’ve heard since the late 80s. As it turned out Gorod aches more towards the latter. This is death metal in the good old Death/Gorgasm school of technical wizardry. Think tempo shifts and a massive riffing and you get a pretty good picture of what this sound like. If you liked Death’s “Sound Of Perseverance” album you sure are going to like this, if you can take it a bit more extreme. My jury was out on the last proper Death album and still hasn’t come back. I don’t get that feeling with Gorod. Maybe because I discover them in the middle of doing their thing. This isn’t exactly my thing a 100% but I sure can appreciate it on my good day. Anders Ekdahl

HIMORA “Argue All You Want”

“Argue All You Want”
(Drugstore Records)
Norwegian hardrock is to me synonymous with TNT. I remember that first album they did in Norwegian. I even have a copy of it. Himora is a Norwegian hard rock (hardrock?) band that is new to me. I like discovering new music no matter what genre it might me. So it is with a certain excitement that I take on this album. Will it be as good as I hope for? Well, as long as it is in the line of Journey, Foreigner and not Nickelback I’ll be pleased. For some reason my ears hurt whenever I hear Nickelback on the radio. The opposite happens whenever Foreigner of Journey are played on the radio. Toto or Survivor are passable too. Himora fits like a glove in that category of AOR/soft hardrock that the Americans do so well. This is classic hardrock with lots of melodies and with a slight touch of the blues. Cool stuff all the way through. Anders Ekdahl

LANA LANE “El Dorado Hotel”

“El Dorado Hotel”
(Think Tank)
Me and Lana Lane has a history. If I’m not mistaken the very first interview I did for Battle Helm was with My Dying Bride and Lana Lane back in what seems like ancient history. Since then I’ve tried to follow her every move and while it’s been a hard time keeping up with all the different releases that has come over the years I think I have a pretty good understanding of where she comes from and where she’s heading. I like the progressive metal that she and hubby Erik Norlander creates on these albums. There is a very dreamy, almost surreal, quality to the music. That alone makes it worth checking her out but you also get strong melodies and a song writing skill that leaves little to be asked for. If you haven’t yet discovered Lana Lane you better rush out and buy, or at least sit down in front of your computer and get ordering because this you don’t want to miss out on. Anders Ekdahl

LUNAR AURORA “Hoagascht”

(Cold Dimensions)
Lunar Aurora seems so familiar that I know that I haven’t only read about them. I must have heard them too on a very early album. I can’t say that I have any greater memories, or any memories at all of it but my gut tells me that this will be another cold German black metal album. I don’t know why but German seem like such a fitting black metal language. There is a coldness and directness to the language that just fits perfectly with black metal. And when it is black metal like Lunar Aurora plays it it seems even more appropriate. This is cold and voidless like a journey into outer space. This is hopelessness put to music. This is the soundtrack to the grayness of German industrial cities and the constant raining. This is pretty damn good stuff all in all if you don’t mind being depressed and down. Anders Ekdahl


I have lately noticed a change in direction from Listenable. Away from the more extreme metal to a more hardrock/cock rock stable, without sacrificing the extreme side. I have no problems with that. I can at the best of times like a bit of good old hardrock and ’77 from Spain proved that with their album. Don’t know if My Dynamite will have the same effect on me but one can hope. I feel like a bit of that good old boogie woogie would do me wonders right now. Hopefully My Dynamite can provide me with some of that same feeling. My Dynamite are quite bluesy in a Black Crows kinda fashion. I haven’t thought about Black Crows in a long time but I gotta hand it to My Dynamite to bring back that feeling again. I’m also a huge fan of southern boogie, especially Molly Hatchet. Hearing My Dynamite brings a warm feeling to my heart. This is music that makes my legs move. A really nice surprise. Anders Ekdahl

PHAITH “Redrumorder”

I have no idea who Phaith are. Never heard of them before. That doesn’t stop me from having an opinion. This is hardrock in a very American fashion. It kinda reminds me of the 90s West Coast hardrock scene that centred around LA. But then it doesn’t. All of a sudden I get a German power metal feel. I have no problems with bands having different influences as long as they do something good with it. To my ears it sounds like Phaith might have found a niche that fits them perfectly. This is a pretty cool mix of hardrock/heavy metal. Maybe with more of a leaning towards heavy metal than hardrock. At least they got the melodies to back up the music. Another record I’m glad came my way. Anders Ekdahl

Bang Tango – “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt”

Bang Tango – “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt” (78 Productions)

Bang Tango?! Holy molee, I remember these guys from the late-ish 80s during the hair / glam days, although I seem to recollect them having a kick ass funk groove to them? Well, get ready for a rocket ride back to those sleazy days of L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and GnR! Like a heavier version of GnR during their ‘Illusion..’ era, “Pistol Whipped In The Bible Belt” is 10 tracks of pure, kick ass Americana from ‘Suck It Up’ to ‘Bring The World’ and ‘Have You Seen Her’, which could almost be the successor to GnR’s version of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. Today’s Bang Tango might be less funky and purists may argue that only original vocalist Joe Lesté remains, but boy, has he one mean mutha of a band and an album to keep those memories still flying high!

Weregoat – “Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity”

Weregoat – “Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity” (Dark Descent Records)

Nasty. These Portland perverts play bestial proto black / death where early Possessed and Bathory left off. This is about as cave-man like as it gets, right down to the misogynistic album cover and primitive songs like ‘Nuclear Cunt’, ‘Abysmal Whore’ and ‘Nocturnal Hunt’. Dark, sinister ‘vocals’, filthy, feedback drenched guitar and grindcore blast beat rhythms meld into a visceral slime bucket that is utterly savage yet also strangely addictive. Weregoat reach right into your soul and tear it out as you unashamedly death spasm orgasmically to their foul insanity. Like I said, totally nasty.