HEART OF THE COWARD “Hope and Hindrance”

“Hope And Hindrance”
I usually take heed when somebody is described as the next big thing. That usually means shit in the real world. I gotta admit that I’m a bit prejudiced when it comes to new British bands. I’ve bought in on the hype thing created by the UK media thinking that every new band is just a new trend jumper. Instead of seeing them as new and promising acts I think of them as traitors to the cause. Gotta stop doing that. Heart Of A Coward promised to be something totally different from the promo shot and art work but they actually turned out to be heavy on the death metal side of metalcore. This is like Pantera gone death metal if you get my drift. I found myself liking this more than I thought I would. A really cool metal album. Anders Ekdahl


“Newtek Lie”
(To react Records)
Are you ready to launch? Ignition Code sure are. I get a very techno (no not the music) feel to this band’s whole outlook. Like a modern version of Fear Factory. The music does nothing to prove me wrong. This not only made me think Fear Factory image-wise bit also music-wise. There is that attack that Fear Factory had on their first couple albums. Mix that with a very aggressive death metal approach and you get a very in the face album. There is something to this album that make it hard to resist – “resistance is futile”. You better surrender to the metal attack that is “Newtek Lie”. Anders Ekdahl

THE INIQUITY DESCENT “The Human Apheresis”

“The Human Apheresis”
I am no stranger to the strange and avant-gardistic in music. One of my fave albums all time is Celtic Frost’s “Into The Pandemonium”. The Finnish band The Iniquity Descent could very well be described as avant-garde black metal but to me that are more bands like Deathspell Omega and their ilk. This might be monotonous but that doesn’t make it avant-garde. That just makes it repetitive. I know that it is hard to come up with a selling description for the labels. Just leave it at The Iniquity Descent have a slight (very early) Impaled Nazarene feel to their attack. Just a bit darker and more sinister sounding. I like this monotony that the band creates with their music. There is a trance like aura to it. This was much more cooler than I thought at first. Anders Ekdahl

NEXHYMN “Black Horizon”

“Black Horizon”
When you think Colorado you might think skiing resorts and Aspen. Maybe even Sundance or hockey (Avalanches) but maybe not so much brutal and to the point death metal. Well, do so now. Nexhymn are about to change that. This is death metal in its most brutal form. No fancy guitar licks or melodies. Just plain in your face aggression. If you are looking for the newest In Flames/Dark Tranquillity clone or the latest lame metalcore act look elsewhere. If you fancy your metal Suffocation heavy or think that Immolation/Incantation are the greatest gifts to metalville then you’ve come to the right place. This is simply put so heavy and aggressive that you need protection clothing listening to it. Is it any good then? You kid me right? This is da shit. This is so heavy that you need help lifting the CD. This is so brutal that you need a vacation having listened to it. Anders Ekdahl

OVERLORDE SR “Medieval Metal Too”

“Medieval Metal Too”
(Heaven and Hell Records)
This is like a blast from the past. I might be totally off but I seem to remember this band’s name from the fanzine days. This is heavy metal the American way. If you like bands like Armored Saint and to some extent Malice and any other band that came from California in the 80s/90s before grunge killed off it all then you’re going to love this. I know I do. This is heavy metal the way I like it. A high paced tempo, a real heavy metal vocalist and guitars that scream out loud. This shows that American hardrock/metal wasn’t all about big hairs and banging as many girls as you could, with the music coming third or fourth on the list. This is metal for men with hair on the chest or for women that wear more make-up than the men. This is the real stuff and it is pretty darn good, no matter how old this material is. Timeless. Anders Ekdahl


“Death In The Family”
OK so I have no clue who Mike Paradine is. And that is not because he’s a drummer. I just don’t think I’ve heard anything he’s been involved with prior to this his solo debut. So what can we expect from a drummer fronting and band with his own name? Well, this isn’t as bad as you’d think. It’s not some Bill Ward or Ringo Starr excursions into jazz land. This is pure and simple heavy metal in its various disguises. You get the aggressive in your face opening track that is pure heavy metal. You also get some more melodic songs. All in all this is a pretty well rounded dish served by some of the better people in metal’s involvement. You can without any fear of this being a turd indulge in some pretty great metal. What more can you ask for. This turned out to be a much better “drummer” album than I ever expected. Anders Ekdahl

SECTORIAL “”Erase And Reborn The Humanity””

“”Erase And Reborn The Humanity”
(Metalscrap Records)
When you see that an album has 20+ songs you pretty much know that you’re not going to get a prog metal album full of 15 minutes songs. No, better prepare for countless bursts of short sharp shocks. Get ready to be blown away from a massive assault of furious intensity. Sectorial is a blank spot for me. But knowing nothing about them can be a relief too. You can take it on without any pre-conceived ideas of what it should sound like. This is short bursts of death metal/grindcore proving that you don’t have to write 5 minutes songs to make it interesting. OK, there are songs on this album longer than 3 minutes and they are just as to the point as the shorter ones. But all in all a pretty cool record from a band totally new to me. Anders Ekdahl

VALFREYA “Path To Eternity”

“Path To Eternity”
(Maple Metal Records)
I’ve lately overdosed on Canadian metal. Don’t know why but I have so far not come across one band that sucks totally. Valfreya might have taken their name from the Nordic mythology and yes, they are a folk metal band pretty much like any of the Finnish bands you can name but that shouldn’t put you off. I tell you that this well worth investing your time and money into. Once they get starting you better check so that your intestines are in their right place because this is such a punch to the stomach that you’ll not only lose your breath. So come and join Valfreya on their path to eternity. Come join Valfreya on the journey to the halls of the great Gods. Let yourself be fully enfolded in an universe far from the mortal realm. Anders Ekdahl

WINTERS VERGE “Beyond Vengeance”

“Beyond Vengeance”
I simply love epic metal. I think that Italian Doomsword is one of the better bands in this whole epic metal sub-genre. I can’t get enough of them. Winters Verge can hopefully match Doomsword giving me a new favourite. I really feel like I need a shot of something epic. The grander the better. But I’m sorry to say so. Winters Verge cannot match Doomsword song for song. This is pretty much standard power metal. Nothing bad about that but not the epic metal I kinda hoped for. This is epic in a whole different league. And while I like this for what it is I’m still looking for that band to match Doomsword. Winters Verge have a progressive edge to their power metal. All in all this puts a smile on my face. I love this kind of power metal. There is a other worldly feel to it. Almost like you are in a fantasy land. Think early Rhapsody or any other Underground Symphony band and you get my drift. Anders Ekdahl

Malice – “New Breed Of Godz”

Malice – “New Breed Of Godz” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Holy crap, WTF ever happened to Malice, the 80s LA power metal band?! Sounding uncannily and unashamedly like Priest, these dudes were set to form the next wave of the metal assault from the US in the early 80s, headlining over Metallica and by the mid 80s being probably the hottest bidden band around from major labels! However the end came in the form of a disastrous tour where they were (mis)matched with Slayer and continuing problems with vocalist James Neal led to the band folding in ’87. Despite brief stints in between where guitarist Jay Reynolds went to work with Megadeth (but with more bad mojo got passed over for Jeff Young) and later more successfully with Metal Church, the band sorta continued in various resurrections and line-ups, largely thanks to their cult appeal in the true metal genre. Now, over 20 years later, and with Helstar’s James Rivera on vocals, Malice release their next album which in addition to 4 new songs, contains 4 re-recorded songs each from the “In The Beginning” and “License To Kill” albums that rather than being a cop out, is actually a pretty good idea from SPV given most younger people probably wouldn’t remember these releases. So, along with the likes of ‘Hell Rider’ and ‘Circle Of Fire’ comes the newer ‘Branded’ which continues seemlessly Malice’s brand of piston driving heavy metal. Rivera’s vocals are as always par excellence but given this is Malice he has sensibly made them less prog or operatic and instead gone for a full on metal screamathon, which is just as well given Jay has lost none of the fire in his guitar work! In summation an excellent US power metal album so I really hope it works for Malice this time around – just no tours with Slayer though eh LOL!