TODAY FOREVER “Relationshipwrecks”

Oh no, not another metalcore album. What is it with all these metalcore acts? Why can’t they just leave the hype behind and just concentrate on the music. Today Forever aren’t that bad. They do have all the characteristics of metalcore but it isn’t that hard to listen to once you get past the fact that it is metalcore. Continue reading


I guess it gets harder and harder to be original with every new band that arrives on the scene. You only got so many chords to choose from that they’re bound to be repeated sometimes by somebody. So you need to find your own niche in the field of metal to even have a chance to stand out. Thunderkraft seem to have found their own path on this wet and slippery road that we call metal. Continue reading

ULVERHEIM “När Dimman Lättar”

“När Dimman Lättar”
Swedish black metal is something to worship by. Has been since that very first Bathory album back in the days. I don’t know if it is just me but whenever I see an album title in Swedish I kinda get a feeling that this will be another ode to the nature and its many different souls. Not that I mind. I like the “folkish” elements of bands like Arckanum or Finntroll (although they are Finns). Continue reading

WYKKED WYTCH “The Ultimate Deception”

“The Ultimate Deception”
(Goomba Music)
Wykked Wytch might not have gotten the easiest of starts in life but they’ve proven resilient and are still at it and on their fifth album. I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed by Wykked Wytch on that first album back in 2000. But for every new album I’ve been turned around little by little to where I am now; really appreciating the extreme metal of Wykked Wytch. Continue reading

Hellsaw – “Trist”

Hellsaw – “Trist” (Napalm Records)

Austria’s Hellsaw bring us black metal with a difference: heaps of dark melodies and off the wall drumming that shine through a veil of darkness courtesy of some excellent clean production. So, although drawing inspiration from the black metal bands of the 90s, frontman and co founder Aries kept the more melodic tones from his first band Sanguis, as well as adopting a more spontaneous approach to their songs, thus pushing the barriers of Hellsaw’s black metal from its defined roots by drawing from ‘…the negativity that is inside each of us…’. From the driving furor of ‘A Winter Cold’ to the more gothic ‘The Forerunner Of The Apocalypse’ to the clanging metallic Dissection like death of ‘The Devil Is Calling My Name’, Hellsaw show their progressive vision, reflective of a band not worried about defining a national sound, but how many people they can reach out to across the world.

Church Of Misery – “Master Of Brutality”

Church Of Misery – “Master Of Brutality” (Metal Blade / Rise Above Records)

Japanese Doom Metal LOL?! Well, yeah, that’s what people said all those years ago about Japanese motorcycles and lookit today! Same deal here: these guys have stoned themselves out on the finest weed from Okinawa to crank out this fucked up piece of ultra heavy down tuned doom / feedback noise dirge. “Master Of Brutality” is in fact the band’s debut originally issued in 2001 so the influences take me back a few years from the songs being named after serial killers like ‘Ripping Into Pieces (Peter Sutcliffe)’, ‘Boston Strangler (Albert de Salvo)’ and the title track dedicated to the boy exterminating insane clown John Wayne Gacy – this ain’t flowers in your hair hippydom but the fuckin Manson family gone amok in your pad maaaan! It’s no surprise that Church Of Misery sound like that other fucked up cult band Iron Monkey cos they shared a split release with them back in the late 90s. However, vocally Church Of Misery are quite different with Negishi(?) sounding like Lemmy on a bad trip compared to Johnny Morrow’s (RIP) screech core (or Ozzy’s early Sabbs wailing for that matter). Disturbing, loud, and totally fucked beyond your wildest dreams!

Ektomorf – “The Acoustic”

Ektomorf – “The Acoustic” (AFM Records)

This could be Ektomorf’s most ambitious release to date! It’s certainly very bold putting an acoustic interpretation on songs (both old, new and covers) that one would normally associate with the bands aggro metal style a la Sepultura. In fact, if this was any other band I’d be approaching this with considerable trepidation. However, Ektomorf have one big ace in their pack – Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas! Given this guy is a Romanian Gypsy and guitars and fiddles to these guys are like swords to a Samurai, this has turned out to be an amazing release – old songs like ‘Stigmatized’ actually sound even darker with all the noise gone. The inherent bitterness in Zoli’s voice is clear as he sings ‘..give me more pain, I take it..give me more hate, and I make it…’ whether it’s from his people being persecuted over the centuries or the sadness in the soft ballad of ‘Fate’ comes across movingly and are highly emotional pieces that come from the heart. Even his ambitious cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ comes across as believable cos he sings it like he’s been there. Powerful stuff indeed and proof that you don’t need to play on ten to rate a ten.

Human Temple – “Halfway to Heartache”

Human Temple – “Halfway to Heartache” (Escape Music)

Be still my beating heart! Finland’s premier melodic hard rockers Human Temple are back with a brand new release that will have you rockin and crying your l’il souls out on this excellent release. Passion is the name of game here and it’s lacquered on syrup thick on rock anthems like ‘I Will Follow’ driven my its dual melodic guitars to power ballads like ‘Like A Beat Of A Heart’ to an amazing rock / new wave / goth cover of Fleetwood Mac’s own AOR classic ‘Little Lies’! The foundation of the Temple was laid way back in the late eighties, when vocalist Janne Hurme and drummer Petri Lehto were influenced by the likes of Whitesnake, Dokken and later Danger Danger. But to be frank I’d say these were more inspirations as Human Temple have a hard edge without wimping out whilst keeping that heavy melody – that’s respect in my book even from the most die hard metalhead. Indeed, my body might be an (ancient) temple – but Janne Hurme owns its heart this day!

Funeral Whore – “Step into Damnation”

Funeral Whore – “Step into Damnation” (Chaos Records)

F–k me, it’s nice to see the Dutch are still hardcore headbangers! Funeral Whore are aptly named (actually the chick in the foto is the guitarist, not one of your ‘friends’ in Amsterdam LOL – Ed). Harking back to the death metal days of Grave, songs like ‘El Salvador Death Squad’, ‘The Bitch Died’ and ‘Camp Blood’ leave nothing to the imagination: bestial, guttural vocals combined with grim, whirring guitars and a pummeling rhythm show no mercy as they trample you underfoot amidst an orgy of old school brutality. Sensibly snapped up by Mexico’s equally rabid label – Chaos Records – “Step into Damnation” is in every sense an international meeting of the mindless that doesn’t disappoint but is hardcore all the way…

Run From Robots – “Rust”

Run From Robots – “Rust” (Glasstone Records)

Brizzel’s RFR take me right back to the halcyon dayz of punk pop in the 90s when bands like Blink 182, Green Day and The Offspring were introducing the world to a strange combination of quirky vocals defined by contrasting raw energetic guitars that also had a catchy mellow groove that appealed to a billion teenagers the world over. Well, that appeal hasn’t gone away and similarly caught the hearts and minds of 4 school friends who formed the enigmatically named Run From Robots. Although the 90s formula remains untouched on songs like ‘Red Lights Ruin Lights’, ‘On Top Of The Game’ and ‘Wolf Spider’, it’s more than a rehash given the strength of the material and musicianship. Moreover, there is a genuine youthful passion and innocence that comes across on this debut which money can’t buy let alone successfully reproduce.