DREAMING DEAD “Midnightmares”

Whenever I get a record that reminds me of some of my favourite bands I just have to sit up and take extra notice. When I heard Dreaming Dead’s sophomore album it hit me immediately how much I miss Chuck and his Death. Not that Dreaming Dead are that close to Death musically but there is that same ambience to this death metal that there was on the latter Death records. Add to that Opeth and you get a pretty good picture of what to expect from this album. And expect something great you should because this is one of the better death metal albums on the more technical side (no, it is not another jazzy excursion in futile mastery) I’ve heard this year. This is musicianship on the highest level. Kinda like it was with Death. No showing off for showing offs sake. Just three highly skilled musicians doing their best. And what best that is. Check it out not just because you miss Death but because you love Death. Anders Ekdahl

DRAVGR “De Ferrro Italico”

“De Ferrro Italico”
(To React Records)
I like Italian black metal. Handful Of Hate has provided me with some of my greatest Italian black metal experience. I don’t know if it is because the Pope lives in the Vatican or what it is but Italian black metal bands seem more inspired in their resentment towards Christianity. Dravgr are new to my ears but I like what I hear. All hell breaks loose from the very first note. OK that there are some symphonic tendencies but that apart this is black metal of the more furious kind. The one that gallops like a mad Arabian about to be castrated. This is black metal that is inspired by all that is black in the world. So there are some folk tendencies too. So what. That doesn’t make it a folk metal album. This is still black metal to strip the paint off walls. Cool stuff. Anders Ekdahl

ELYSIAN “Wires Of Creation”

“Wires Of Creation”
With so many bands all over the world and so few chords to chose from I’m surprised that they don’t end up sounding all the same. But thankfully there are still combinations to be found to make it somewhat original. Australian Elysian have found enough original chord sequences to make me sit up and take notice. Perhaps not as hard and heavy (well heavy it is) that I anticipated this is still some pretty cool borderline death metal. There is an esoteric side to the music that makes me think Isis gone death. They seem to work very much with atmosphere and space. I like that. It gives the music a floating feeling. Cool. With so many bands trying not to sound the same you are more likely to end up with a whole bunch of bands sounding alike. Elysian have managed to avoid that trap. This is pretty original and not to forget darn good. Anders Ekdahl


(Dark Descent)
Belgium might best be known for that child peeing but metal not so much. OK so they had a couple of cool bands in the 80s but that’s 3 decades ago. Name one single Belgian act of the 21st century that has made it big where it matters. Nah, thought so. It is close to impossible. Emptiness might be Belgians but that they are the saviours of the Belgian international metal scene is to ask for too much. I’ll settle for them being good period. Emptiness reminds me of the 90s English death/doom scene where bands like Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride spread doom’n’gloom across the globe. I came to think of Earthcorpse too and that I should go back and check them out again. This is slow, dragging your feet behind metal that won’t get you in a good mood. Anders Ekdahl


“Against All Odds”
OK, so you form a band in 2003 go through some problems and then release a debut album in 2012. That to me screams determination. Nothing will ever break us seem to be the motto of Eternal Helcaraxe. And for that I applaud them. There is enough shit going on in the world that you have to go through that you don’t need it to hinder your creativity too. Having no idea what this band is all about I just sat back and opened up my senses. It started with a sombre piano piece. What was to come could have been anything from the most serene to the fully apocalyptic. What I got was some sort of epicness which musically kinda reminded me of Immortal, without the chaos. This is black metal in that same cold northern aura. As I like Immortal I came to like this too. There is something to the music that brings forth a tale of glory and hopefulness. I like that it gives me a positive feedback. Anders Ekdahl


“Suffer No Guilt”
(Deepsend Records)
I know that I was late in discovering The Gates Of Slumber but even to me it seems a bit premature to re-release some of their older albums. The records aren’t that old. No matter what the reason is they deserve to be heard again. The Gates of Slumber is a doom/heavy metal band in the tradition of St Vitus or Count Raven. Somewhere borderline doom and heavy graced with a touch of epic. This is really true metal in every meaning of the word true. No fussing about. No fancy lining. Just plain good old metal to the bone. If you have managed to miss out on this grand band then do yourself a favour and start checking them out right here and now. Anders Ekdahl

HEAVEN RAIN “Second Sun”

“Second Sun”
(Music By Mail)
I don’t get to hear too much hardrock/metal from Bosnia. Don’t know why? Don’t people in Bosnia know that Battle Helm exists? Whatever the reason might be it’s always nice to get to hear bands new to my ears. Heaven Rain has a slight progressive/symphonic touch to their hardrock. I like the strong melodies that are prevalent in the music. I also like that the vocals aren’t that high pitched and shrieking as they can be when it come to the more progressive and symphonic ends of hardrock/metal. If you like bands like Stratovarius or Sonata Artica then this will be right up your alley. Add some present day Nightwish to the mix and you get a strong Finnish obsession. Not that I’m complaining. I like the Finns. And I like Heaven Rain. Gotta go out and find me some more of their music. Anders Ekdahl

HUMAN CULL “Split Second Extinction”

“Split Second Extinction”
(Goatprayer Records)
I am not the greatest connoisseur of grindcore. I really don’t understand this whole 30 seconds blast of intensity. I want my songs at least 2 minutes long. Why should I sit through 40 songs that last only 30 seconds each when I can have an album of 2 minutes songs to enjoy thoroughly? Human Cull are by no standard bad but once you’re through the 11 tracks on this record the commercial break in your fave TV-show has just ended. I might be very Swedish in saying this but I feel that it’s a waste of space to do 11 songs in 10 minutes and then leave the rest of the CD empty. Whatever. I do enjoy the racket that Human Cull creates on this disc. It’s like a warm cosy feeling of wetting yourself. You get beaten to a pulp from the word go and ten minutes later you wonder what the hell just happened. That’s the way I like my grindcore. Anders Ekdahl

NORMAH “Darkest Is The Hour Before Dawn”

“Darkest Is The Hour Before Dawn”
Oh what a pleasure it is to get sent a record by a Greek band. I have a special spot in my heart for bands from Greece. There is something to the Greek metal scene that appeals to me on more levels than is healthy. Normah might not be the most well known name on the metal scene but that should change after the release of this EP. There is a groove to this that makes me think of a mix between the best of L7, grunge and the more molten ends of the metal spectra. The guitars totally rip open wounds that are so deep that they bleed profusely. And in between all this they throw in some more somber moments just to torture us some more. This has quickly grown to be this weeks favourite record. I like to be this surprised each week. Anders Ekdahl

SEPTEKH “The Seth Avanlanche”

“The Seth Avanlanche”
Swedeath has come to mean a thing in the international metal scene. And with each new generation it is re-invented to mean something new. Septekh may hail from the Stockholm area and they sound nothing like Entombed or Dismember but still just as them. Know what I mean? But raw and basic it is. Just like Nihilist and Autopsy sounded once upon a time. Throw in some Repulsion in the picture too and you get a pretty good idea of just how raw and basic this is. Septekh could very easily be the next contender for the Swedeath throne. An opponent for the throne. Tribulation look out! I can’t help tapping my foot to this. It is just so cool to hear more and more bands going back to basic these days. It almost makes my eyes tear up. Cool stuff from yet another Swedeath exponent. Anders Ekdahl