I’ve seen the name Puteraeon around some time now but I haven’t gotten round to checking them out. That might have been a big mistake. As with any band that has a female in the line-up I am a sucker for anything Swedish death metal. No, there are no females in this band. It is just plain Swedish death metal. And what a year 2012 has been so far for Swedish death metal. I can’t remember the last time so many great records came my way. I love that guitar sound that Entombed had on “Left Hand Path”. It has kinda come to define death metal. Puteraeon has that same feel to the guitars. Just love it. This was just as great as I had hoped for. Just have to stop me whipping myself for having been so late in discovering this band. Anders Ekdahl
“The Rough Path Of Nihilism”
(Rock It Up)
I am not ashamed of admitting again that I feel more strongly for certain geographic areas than others. I’ll always love South American speed/thrash of the 80s and I will always love the Stockholm death sound of the late 80s/early 90s. The same way that I will never find a bad band from Greece. I gotta admit that I feared that Sorrows Path would be that band that made me disappointed but this Greek band turned out to be another great experience. Much like Italy’s Doomsword Sorrows Path deal in grand, majestic metal with influences from doom as well as trad metal. This is just short of being some of the greatest metal I’ve heard in a long time. I have a weak spot for metal this grand and majestic. Don’t know what it is that touches me in the right spots but this is as close to heaven as I’ll get today. Anders Ekdahl
OK, so 69 Chambers features Tommy Vetterli of Coroner fame but that is as far as that goes. Perhaps as a sales pitch it might work but seeing a Coroner was highly underrated when they were active in the 80s I don’t think too many of today’s metal fans even know of him. No, 69 Chambers charm lies in the songs. I thought that this was going to be some sort of weak pop metal but I was so badly mistaken that I actually dropped my jaw when I heard the first note. This is as hard as the hardest death metal acts. The only thing that stops it from being a total meltdown is the female vocals that add some beauty to the sound. Other than that this is as dirty and raw as it gets. It is a welcomed break to hear a female voice that isn’t gothified. This is metal as metal should be. No fancy about with slick opera sticks or any other pretty garniture. Just plain in your face metal. Anders Ekdahl
THEATRES DES VAMPIRES
“Moonlight Waltz Tour 2011”
I don’t mind admitting that I rather look at a beautiful woman than a hairy dude on the front cover of my favourite magazine but still I can’t help wonder if we haven’t come further than being amazed by finding a girl in a band. Women make up half the population, if not more, on this Earth. Theatres des Vampires have a woman in their line-up and whenever I’ve seen an interview with them it is her that the focus is on. I’ve read the interviews but I have never ever heard an album by them, let alone a single song. I don’t know if it such a great start to begin with a live album but this is my first real encounter with Theatres des Vampires. We do get treated to three (as part of an EP for a movie) new studio tracks on this, which basically is a DVD release. OK, so there is a very symphonic feel to the whole TDV approach that I can appreciate. I can even appreciate the whole vampire aesthetic. As an introduction this works for me but to fully get a comprehensive idea I need to hear some studio albums too. Anders Ekdahl
“Year Of The Burial”
Doom metal from Norway isn’t your everyday experience. And while I totally love Candlemass I have a huge appreciation for the more heavier stuff too. I love things that go doom in the night. That are so slow and heavy that you can actually hear the drag marks it makes. Tombstones are that heavy. It’s like St Vitus or Witchfinder General had been played on 20RPMs. This drags its feet along like a man with no hope of salvation. This is music for the sinner with no chance of redemption. This is the soundtrack to your own crucifixion. It’s too late to repent. You’ll join Sisyphus’s pushing that rock up that wall in all eternity. If that sounds like a way to spend eternity then you might want to add this album to your playlist. Anders Ekdahl
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – “Ascending To Infinity” (Nuclear Blast)
Last year Italian power metal band Rhapsody Of Fire split into 2 bands with Alex Staropoli continuing in the aforementioned band whilst founding member guitarist Luca Turilli and bassist Patrick Gers formed a new group: Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. “Ascending To Infinity” is Turilli’s debut with his new band and he has come out with all guns blazing! Bearing in mind that he has always had a penchant for film scores, Turilli’s productions have always been epic and “Ascending To Infinity” is no exception: from bombastic Baroque choirs to insane neo classical guitar solos to exquisite medieval folk melodies the title track is enough to send me into ecstasy while Alex Conti’s superb soprano vocals could lift the roof off any opera house while he’s tearing into the majestic ‘Dark Fate Of Atlantis’ and the suave futuristic ‘Clash Of The Titans’! If you are a fan of early Rhapsody then look no further than Turilli’s work here, for it contains all those classic elements, but ascended to a higher realm, the effect of which is nothing short of breathtaking.
Master – “The New Elite” (Pulverised Records)
Holy shit, Speckmann rules man. If you are a fan of old school death / thrash then look no further than the grand meister himself, Paul Speckmann. Man, this guy has been going since ’83 and even now aged 48 and quitting Chicago for the Czech Republic, he is still delivering old school almost 30 years on! Best of all, he still has that underground sound and style that bands like Possessed, Death, Venom and Slayer had way back in their day: dirty, driller killer riffs, rumbling pig grunt bass, bestial insane drumming and if anyone can have more gargled vocals then Lemmy, then it’s gotta be Speckmann!! In the world of Master simplicity is brutality but being expertly crafted by him, songs like ‘As Two Worlds Collide’, ‘Remove The Knife’ and ‘Out Of Control’ are nothing short of epics in that classic old school vein but served fresh outta the vat the only way Speckmann has ever uncompromisingly done – “The New Elite” is a big fuck you to anyone challenging him, now go fuckin’ die!!!!
Whitechapel – “Whitechapel” (Metal Blade)
Just about every band out there wants a self titled album, and so it has come for Tennessee’s Whitechapel. Well, if you’re gonna make a statement with it, then do so and these guys have: “Whitechapel” is probably their biggest album to date. Big sound thanks to producer Mark Lewis (Deicide, Devildriver), the addition of drummer Ben Harclerode (ex-Knights Of The Abyss), Phil Bozeman’s desire to move from song concepts to just writing straight from the heart to Alex Wade’s desire to introduce more dark melodies indicate a unified desire to evolve and that’s exactly what this album is. Listening to the likes of ‘I, Dementia’, ‘Faces’ and ‘The Night Remains’ it’s clear there’s been a shift from the pummeling deathcore the band have been tagged with to well, a band that has matured and taken a big step up in all areas thankfully without losing their savagery and brutal sound, but instead enhancing it with technicality and gracing it with catchy and sophisticated melodies. “Whitechapel” is an impressive album that will see these guys open their audience and put them up there with the likes of fellow deathsters Amon Amarth and Nile in headliner status!
Merrimack – “The Acausal Mass” (AFM Records)
Screaming black metal from the streets of Paris! Merrimack are France’s premier black metal band, starting in 1994 but coming from a scene which is still relatively underground so they still retain the classic trademarks of ‘real’ black metal in terms of nihilistic metallic punk riffola, haunting tortured vocals and pummeling drum work. However, being French they also possess a high degree of style and sophistication in their polished musicianship (having taken the years to recruit a par excellence band) and moreover, in their quality songs like ‘Arousing Wombs In Nine Angles Pleroma’, ‘Beati Estis Cum Meledixerint Vobis’ and ‘Worms In The Divine Intestine’. That, coupled with their divine belief in their Satanic inspirations has resulted in an album that is highly charged not just for its hateful energy, but also a dark passion as if from the fiery pits of hell itself.
Binah – “Hallucinating in Resurrecture” (Dark Descent Records)
There’s precious little info on this Brit trio, so much so that while containing members of the underground scene, Binah is almost an underground band within an already little known realm. Alternatively, these guys might be so mainstream they don’t want their anonymity affecting this project LOL! Whatever the case, Binah offer some serious old school death metal that seems to tick all the boxes from filthy distorted guitar with syrup thick Swe-death riffs to primordial growling vocals and a drummer whose feet must be surgically grafted onto his drum pedals! Think Autopsy, early Dismember or Nominon when you listen to crushing visceral slabs like ‘The Emissary’, ‘Crepuscular Transcendence’ and ‘Eminence Of The Sombre’ and whatever their credentials I have to give Binah full marks in delivering a superb album in its own right that gnaws you right down to the bone beautifully!