Vanhegld – Temple of Phobos (2016)

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Author: TK White

Band: Vanhegld

Album: Temple of Phobos

Genre: Death Metal

Label: Pulverised Records

(Ed: The fetid dead have arisen once more! We are back and resuming our hopefully regular posting schedule!)

I have had zero introduction to Vanhegld, but I figured these dudes are on Dark Descent so it has to be good and—spoilers—it is. These Swedes really know how to riff. They also know how to create some absolutely punishing atmospheres. Now, before we get too deep, I should reiterate that I had no idea who these guys were. I checked out their page on the Metal Archives and saw that two bands under “Similar Artist” were Asphyx and At the Gates. Not exactly two bands that you would often see coupled together, but it works. It actually describes the band pretty well. Truthfully, I think the best band to equate them to would be label-mates, Blood Incantation. That being said, the band definitely leans more towards the Asphyx sound, which is incredibly evident right out of the gate (no pun intended).  Continue reading

Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Dark Funeral

Album: Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016)

Genre: Black Metal

Label: Century Media Records

 

 

 

Dark Funeral have inhabited a somewhat curious position in black metal. Formed in the midst of the second wave in neighboring Sweden, the band survived the turn of the century, when many of the Norwegian torchbearers were either seeking alternative paths or floundering altogether. Dark Funeral, along with countrymen Marduk, took up cleaner production and more conventional, recognizable song structures and acted as a lightning rod for new black metal listeners. Whilst they never delved into the outright commercial properties of Dimmu Borgir, the band nonetheless wrought a fair bit of distain in more experienced circles. They never used keyboards or clean vocals, and their guitar leads were rarely melodic enough to be called “mainstream”. Nothing musical about the band could be called anything less than black metal; nonetheless, Dark Funeral had become far more accessible than many believe black metal has any right to be.  Continue reading

Best EPs of Quarter 1 – Part 2 (2016)

Author: Crono

Artist: Best EPs of Quarter 1 2016 Part II

Album: Nocturnal Graves – Lead Us To The Endless Fire/Sharpen The Knives EP; Häxkapell – Om Sanningen;

 

Here is Part II of my Best EPs of the first quarter of 2016. Check out Part I here.
Continue reading

Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon (2016)

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Author: Goldensundown

Band: Irkallian Oracle

Album: Apollyon

Genre: Black/Death Metal

Label: Nuclear War Now Productions

 

Irkallian Oracle comes as another band that I had originally covered during Fetid Dead’s first iteration, with their debut black/death onslaught Grave Ekstasis receiving high praise from me – and many other fans of the genre – as one of the best records of 2013 and one of the better black/death records released recently. So high hopes were in order when the mysterious Swedish outfit let loose last year that new material was on its way and now, Apollyon, the band’s sophomore effort has been dropped, but does it hold up to the debut? Continue reading

Blacksmith Legacy – Metal Never Dies (2015)

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Author: Dave

Band: Blacksmith Legacy

Album: Metal Never Dies

Label: Independent

 

It’s not any secret that I have a thing for eighties metal. For whatever reason, that sound just resonates with my like no other, and I’m always on the lookout for any new bands that happen to crop up that manage to recreate that sound. Well, the Swedish heavy metal band Blacksmith Legacy is indeed one such band. True, they are hardly the most original project out there, but the fact is that originality isn’t everything. There is plenty of original garbage out there and I would rather have quality music that is derivative than a fresh pile of progressive faeces. Continue reading

Ambush – Desecrator (2015)

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Author: Dave

Band: Ambush

Album: Desecrator

Label: High Roller Records

 

Having just formed in 2013, Ambush are a relatively recent heavy metal band from Sweden. Desecrator marks their second full-length album, and is a continuation of the classic style in which they have entrenched themselves with their previous works. They are frequently compared to Judas Priest, and in my opinion this is a pretty accurate description of their sound, though this release does mark an expansion of their sound to include more disparate influences. Continue reading

Skald in Veum – 1260 Days (2015)

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Author: Dave

Band: Skald in Veum

Album: 1260 Days

Label: Rottweiler Records

 

There was a good bit of hype about this release buzzing around for months prior to its release, both from Rottweiler as well as from plenty of other sources completely unrelated to the label. I hadn’t heard any of the audio teasers on purpose because I wanted to hear the entire release all at once without any prior exposure. I don’t always do well listening to hyped bands because I often go in with higher expectations and this can ruin the experience. So I intentionally avoided even reading other people’s reviews before I had a chance to spin my own copy. Having said all that, I think the hype was somewhat appropriate as this is a pretty strong debut. Continue reading

Degial – Savage Mutiny (2015)

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Author: Goldensundown

Band: Degial

Album: Savage Mutiny

Label: Sepulchral Voice Records

 

My first introduction to this Swedish death band was in the first issue of Iron Fist back in late 2012 which led me to their Death and Darkness Buries All 7″ leading into Degial’s, new at the time, debut album, Death’s Striking Wings. As someone who was bridging the gap into proper underground metal at the time, Degial’s mission statement to bring death metal back to what “death metal was in the beginning” and their aesthetic of the metal of death really caught my attention and their brand of death metal sounded sincere in its all out sinister atmospheres. Continue reading