ANTOINE FAFARD “Solus Operandi”

ANTOINE FAFARD
“Solus Operandi”
(Unicorn)
Antoine Fafard is a blank slate to me. I have no idea who he is or what he’s about. For all I know he might be the worst artist ever. Or he could be the best ever heard. Either which way this ends up I’ll be an experience richer. I have no prior relationship with the Canadian label Unicorn but from what I’ve gathered they seem to be very progressive oriented. “Solus Operandi” is proof of that. This is music that requires a large bit of your attention and not something you listen to while vacuuming or doing the dishes. This is music for those of you who have an interest in music that goes beyond the usual conventions of hardrock/heavy metal. It is for those of you who like your music eclectic and don’t mind fusions of jazz and rock and whatever more. There are moments when I too walk this path and Antoine Fafard proved to be a much better artist/guitarist than I ever thought he’d be. Anders Ekdahl

DAVIDIAN “Our Fear Is Their Force”

DAVIDIAN
“Our Fear Is Their Force”
(Massacre)
The first reference I made was Machine Head when I saw the band’s name. Then I remember that cult that was at a stand-off with the FBI many years ago, was it in Waco, Texas? When I started to listen to the music I was immediately struck by how much they reminded me of different bands but none particular. This is like an amalgamation of 30 years of thrash metal. From Kreator to, well Machine Head really. At first I was majorly disappointed. Don’t know why but I somehow had my hopes up for some really good thrash. Once I got my head round it I realised that this isn’t as bad as I first thought. Davidian have some pretty good grooves going for them. OK, the vocals are more death metal and the blast beats might set you wrong but the music is pretty cool mid tempo thrash. Or is it? I’m kinda starting to doubt my ears. At times it does remind me of The Haunted in their heavier moments. But then I get a strong death metal feeling. Gotta consult my books on this one. In the meantime I’ll enjoy it for what it is; a good metal album. Anders Ekdahl

JELLYFICHE “Symbiose”

JELLY FICHE
“Symbiose”
(Unicorn)
There used to be a band called Jellyfish that was to say the least eclectic. This Jelly Fiche are Canadians and since they release records on Unicorn you can safely assume that they’re going to be quirky in one way or another. But this is nowhere near being too quirky. There is something to the French language that is so romantic. Don’t know if it is the pronunciation or what it is but I melt whenever I hear French sung. Jelly Fiche have the music to match the language. This is romantic progressive hardrock if there ever was such a genre. This is so good that I’m pretty much stoked outta my head. Not in million years did I expect this to be this great. I gotta rush out and look up more albums by Jelly Fiche. Canada holds a great musical treasure in Jelly Fiche. Anders Ekdahl

KING “Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”

KING
“Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”
(Deathgasm Records)
Coming from Colombia you can pretty much paint any kind of picture you like and we on the other end of the world will eat it up like sugar. If you want to make out that you are homicidal lunatics for a drug cartel or if you are satanic ritualists running around in the forests sacrificing whatever it is you sacrifices doesn’t matter. We’ll just buy it without any hesitation. I honestly don’t care what picture you paint as long as my conscious is OK with it (not that I condone any sort of violence). I do have a soft spot for bands from South America that goes back to the 80s scene. King are black/death metal in a sort of primitive way that only relies on pure aggression and nothing more. I kinda like that. It is refreshing to get to hear an album that isn’t full of all kinds of symphonic impressions. It is pretty refreshing to get your ears cleaned out by a full on metal blast. That King provides. While not implying that they invented the wheel again there is a charm to this that leaves me wanting to return to it again… and again. Anders Ekdahl

NEFARIOUS “The Universal Wrath”

NEFARIOUS
“The Universal Wrath”
(Cold Dimensions)
I thought I knew of Nefarious but I realised that I got them confused with Nefandus and any other band name that starts with Nef. This is black metal in the more symphonic end of the line. There is a Satyricon feel to it in the tempo and atmosphere but there the similarities end. Or not. The more I listen the more I can’t shake the feeling that Nefarious have taken a lesson or two from Satyricon’s latter albums on how to structure the music. Nothing wrong with that. I like a groove to my music, even if it is black metal. And groove this does. From having known nothing about the band (I thought it would be something completely different) to now being acquainted with the band and actually liking it (no, I’m not apologizing for liking it) in just a mere spin. Cool! Anders Ekdahl

NOCTURNAL TORMENT “They Come At Night”

NOCTURNAL TORMENT
“They Come At Night”
(Deathgasm Records)
In the murky dark of the night all kinds of strange creatures roam the earth. All with different agendas but none so vile as the creature they call Nocturnal Torment. With fangs like hooks it preys upon any unsuspecting victim. Sinking it jaws into anybody at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once in its grip there’s no escape. You are un-relentlessly trapped. Nocturnal Torment is like a cross between Slayer and Possessed times ten. This is raw and it is basic in all its glory. I find this kind of basic extreme metal to be an ear-cleanser of magnitude. Out with all the symphonic stuff and in with some back-to-basic kinda stuff. Not only does it bring forth a sentimental side to me but it also brings about a feeling of a simpler time. Not so much brain as guts. Sure, it takes it man or woman to sit through an album of this stuff but I guarantee that you’ll feel rejuvenated after a session together with Nocturnal Torment. Anders Ekdahl

UNDERGANG “Till Döden Os Skiller”

UNDERGANG
“Till Döden Os Skiller”
(Xtreem Music)
”-Naer smager en Tuborg best? Hver gang.” (google it). Whenever I hear a Danish metal album I get a big grin on my face. Having grown up with having to go to Denmark to see the big metal acts on tour has brought with it a special relationship to Denmark and its metal scene. That one of the greatest bands ever is Danish doesn’t hurt (Mercyful Fate). Undergang’s death metal is so cool in all its murkiness. This is so rotten and raw that it brought back memories of hearing Bolt Thrower or Autopsy for the first time. Bands that I still hold high 20 odd years later. Don’t know if Undergang will be with me for 20 years but for now I’ll take whatever they have for me. This is so heavy and rumbling that you just gotta love it. This is death metal that is so dirty and basic that you feel like being buried six feet under without a casket. This is my new Danish favourite. Anders Ekdahl

WEIRD FATE “The Collapse Of All That Has Been”

WEIRD FATE
“The Collapse Of All That Has Been”
(Cold Dimensions)
Weird Fate are black metal on the more esoteric side of the tracks. This is anything but fast, yet still not slow enough to be considered doom. There is a floating feel to the band’s black metal that brings it forth in a steady tempo. There is an almost soundtrack kinda vibe to the music. As if the band is trying to paint a picture with the music. If you like bands like An Autumn For Crippled Children, Lustre and Svarthi Loghin you might find this equally pleasing on the ears. I know that this is music that speaks to me on several different levels. This is headphone music. Who needs drugs when there are bands like this around. Just close your eyes and let Weird Fate take you on a journey into the nether regions of your psyche. When black metal is great it is really great. This is pretty close to perfection. Anders Ekdahl

Ministry – “Relapse”

Ministry – “Relapse” (AFM Records)

‘…kids today are so influenced by what the media feeds them..’ says Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, the dissident Texan veteran whose career spans 30 years of perversion, drug abuse and a relentless tirade against corporate greed, govt corruption and public apathy. “Relapse” is the band’s first studio album with original material since 2007’s “The Last Sucker” and when Jourgensen starts screaming ‘…I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet!!..’ ya gotta wonder if he’s talkin about his ulcers or the new album – cos it’s the meanest mutha I’ve heard this year!! Yeah, no kidding, after getting used to that sampled, industro metal that the band were putting out over the years, “Relapse” is a complete shock to me: this is pure punk rock at its most abrasive, obnoxious and out rightly noisy!! Like a meeting between the Ramones and Pantera with heaps of ‘go-fuck-yourself’ attitude, songs like ‘Ghouldiggers’ are street anthems built for today’s urban mass protests taking place all over the world. Ministry have essentially captured the angst, furor, tear gas and truncheons while steadfastly keeping to their political mantras like ‘…we don’t want prison, we just want reason…’ on poignant songs like ‘Kleptocracy’. If that wasn’t enough, they even resurrect SOD’s ‘United Forces’ and take the piss back by giving it a socially conscious mix that only this deviant Ministry could achieve!

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill”

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Wow. So this is the famed Black Sabbath / Pantera supergroup? Yeah, and I’d probably chuck in some Down and Dio in there for good measure! For those of you that just crawled out from under a rock, Kill Devil Hill is Rex ‘Rocker’ Brown (Pantera, Down) on bass, Vinny Appice (Heaven and Hell, Dio, Black Sabbath) on drums, Mark Zavon (Ratt, 40 Cycle Hum) on guitar and Jason “Dewey” Bragg (Pissing Razors) on vocals. Interestingly though, the core sound KDH is nothing like the aforementioned bands and actually owes more to 70s rock – specifically Zepp – along with a very strong Alice In Chains trippy undercurrent completed with a strong southern groove, especially in Dewey’s vocals. But get this, this ain’t no retro ride, so while ‘Rise From The Shadows’ may be trippy, it’s one heavy mutha from Appice’s smashing drums to Rex’s bottom end crunching bass! Essentially, it’s a heavy metalized version of Plant n Page like on thumping opener ‘War Machine’ and the piece de resistance for me is ‘Old Man’ with that heavy southern doom riff reminding me of good ‘ol Crowbar! The South has arisen again.