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REVIEWS 2020 - Page 3

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NAGLFAR: Cerecloth - Album
(Century Media - Release date: May 8, 2020)
Naglfar at Metaltown
NAGLFAR are veterans in the Swedish black metal scene. They formed back in 1992 up in Umeå, and released their first record, "Vittra", in 1995. It has often taken something like 4-5 years between each new album, but this time it's as much as 8 years since their last release. I guess that life came in the way.
"Cerecloth" is their 7th full length, and it sounds like they return more furious and insane than ever before. NAGLFAR are out for your blood! But I would guess that they have always sound like this.
Yes, this is a violent album, but black metal is hardly about love, is it?
naglfar.net   centurymedia.com
Published: May 4, 2020

HAVOK: V - Album
(Century Media)
It's already 3 years since these Colorado-based thrash metallers released their last album, "Conformicide". But now a new album is here, and it sounds exactly like it should - like a hard slap in the face. These songs are hardly any weak farts, but rather high-energy thrashers filled with aggression and attitude. HAVOK follows the footsteps of legends like SLAYER, TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL and EXODUS. It's hard and heavy at the same time.
"V" is a modern thrash album that is actually good without sounding 35 years old.
havokband.com   centurymedia.com
Published: May 4, 2020

Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE: Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes - Album
(Deadline Music)
This is simply GREAT WHITE's debut album, "Once Bitten", performed acoustic by Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE (as he call it nowadays). I have nothing against the music, it's rocking, but I'm not really sure what this is good for. I guess some people do anything for a few dollars more.
I think that a box set with the original album, as well as this acoustic album and that live album that was released a while ago as a bonus would have been much more interesting to people. But on the other hand I know that a box set isn't exactly cheap.
But the songs are still good, so don't care too much about what I think, because you should actually check this out. And that's it!
cleorecs.com/store/shop/jack-russells-great-white-once-bitten-acoustic-bytes-limited-edition-colored-vinyl
Published: May 3, 2020

LYKANTROPI: Summernights - Single
(Despotz Records)
New single from the Swedish vintage rockers LYKANTROPI. But it sounds just as usual. So in other words damned good. I see a tiny little problem here though, as it sounds exactly like something they have already done several times before. So maybe they should work some more on the variation between each song. Otherwise no problem at all.
LYKANTROPI play a dreamy and melancholy kind of vintage rock inspired by the 60s and the 70s. The 2 albums they have made so far have been fantastic pieces of musical art, so I look forward to hear their third album, which they are putting the final touch on right now.
facebook.com/lykantropiband   despotz.se
Published: May 3, 2020

SOVREIGN: Neurotic - Demo tape
(Redefining Darkness Records)
This sounds like an old demo tape from the early 90s, but it's not. They are influenced by Texas and Southern thrash of the late 80s and early 90s though.
SOVREIGN comes from Norway, and are described as "a hybrid concoction of punishing death, hellish thrash, and sadistic fury that spares no soul in its path of devastation." This band simply crush! And not in a bad way. You should absolutely give this a try.
This cassette is also available in a limited edition of just 100 copies. But it's also available for streaming and download.
sovereign-no.bandcamp.com   redefiningdarkness.com
Published: May 3, 2020

CURSE: The Awakening.. and the Old - Demo tape
(Redefining Darkness Records)
CURSE are fast, raw and dirty. It's hard and aggressive stuff. And isn't there a touch of crust punk too? I really like it anyway!
This band comes from Sweden, and play blackened thrash metal. They released a demo in 2012, which was followed by an indifinite hiatus until 2018.
As far as I can understand this is a demo release, and it's available on good old cassette (in a limited edition of just 100 copies) as well as digital. Check it out!
curse.bandcamp.com/album/the-awakening-and-the-old   redefiningdarkness.com
Published: May 3, 2020

HYPERION: Into the Maelstrom - Album
(Fighter Records)
HYPERION was born in Bologna, Italy in November 2015. Their goal was to produce high-energy music in the vein of classic 80s acts like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and MEGADETH. The debut album, "Dangerous Toys", was released in 2017, and now their second album is here.
This album is powerful and full of handsome guitar melodies and flashing solos, just like a heavy metal album should be. So this is of course something that is worth checking out. And I don't have much else to add about that..
facebook.com/hyperionbandheavy   fighter-records.com
Published: May 2, 2020

APOSENTO: Conjuring The New Apocalypse - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: May 5, 2020)
APOSENTO originally formed in 1990, and comes from Spain. They played live a lot, but also released 2 demos and a mini CD before it was over in 1997. The group returned in 2012 with old and new members, and they have released 1 mini CD and 2 full length albums since then. Now they are ready to release their third full length, "Conjuring The New Apocalypse".
This is pretty brutal and raw death metal, but yet heavy. Don't expect any nice and trendy melodies here, because this is for the hard boys. They are hardly doing anything unique for the genre, but they are pretty o.k. anyway. So if you like it hard and brutal, then this is an album for you.
aposento.es   shop.xtreemmusic.com
Published: May 2, 2020

Mike Tramp: Second Time Around - Album
(Target Records - Release date: May 1, 2020)
The music here is described as singer/songwriter rock, and this is just as soft and melodic as his last solo album was, but somehow a little better. I don't really know why or what it could be that makes this album better, but I would guess that the songs are more interesting to me this time.
What we get on this album seems to be some of Mike's old favorites, that for some reason never got a real chance, and he have not played them live for many years. So now he thought that it was time for a second chance for these songs, and simply re-recorded them in a new way.
And in case you don't know who Mike Tramp is, he is the former frontman of WHITE LION and FREAK OF NATURE. His first solo album was recorded in 1996.
facebook.com/MikeTrampOfficial   targetshop.dk
Published: May 1, 2020

RÅTTORNA: Utan Titel - Album
(Paraply Records)
Rattorna live in their hometown
Borås, Sweden-based punk rockers RÅTTORNA released a few 7" singles in the 80s, but it's not until now, almost 40 years later, that their first full length album have been made. It has so far been released on digital platforms, but it will also be released on vinyl pretty soon.
The band split up in 1989, but has reunited for a short time once in a while through the years. The members - Mikael Karlsson (vocals/guitar), Martin Johansson (bass) and Claes Paulsson (drums) - have also been playing in other bands, like PIGPIE, ALICE UNDER and IGUANA PARTY. Martin is also a member of VRÄVARNA. And I actually think of IGUANA PARTY when I hear this, but a bit faster and more angry then. But there's also some softer songs.
I guess it would be stupid to think that this would sound like in the early days, because they have obviously become older. And no, it might not have the same hit potential as their old classics from the 80s, but this is still very good punk rock, and absolutely worth a try.
facebook.com/15minuter
Published: April 30, 2020

WITCHCRAFT: Black Metal - Album
(Nuclear Blast - Release date: May 1, 2020)
Even though the title is "Black Metal", this is absolutely not black metal. It's rather the other way around you could say, as frontman Magnus Pelander has recorded an completely acoustic album. It's just him and an acoustic guitar. And this is a very soft and laidback album. Not that WITCHCRAFT use to be the fastest and hardest, but this is even more slow. And to be honest with you, this sounds more or less like the end of the band. Not that it's bad, but it's more the dark atmosphere that makes me think that way.
Swedish band WITCHCRAFT have existed since 2000, and they usually play occult rock inluenced by Roky Erickson and PENTAGRAM. You could say that it's a blend of classic rock and doom. They have released a few albums through the years, and they are all worth checking out.
An entirely acoustic album could easily be boring, but "Black Metal" is also worth checking out. He actually succeed to make a great album, even though it's so stripped down.
witchcraftswe.com   nuclearblast.de
Published: April 29, 2020

BLENDED BREW: Shove It Down - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: May 1, 2020)
This is the second album from BLENDED BREW. Everything was recorded live to an analogue tape machine to get an authentic rock sound as possible. Their music is big rock inspired by 70s hard rockers like AC/DC and DEEP PURPLE, but also a modern vintage act like RIVAL SONS. We get strong vocals, heavy guitars and a thick Hammond organ. Their songs are powerful, catchy and energetic. Just like great rock songs should be.
The last song, "Don't Say No", is totally different from the rest though, as it's a sensative piano ballad backed up by strings. Very emotional.
facebook.com/Blendedbrew   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 29, 2020

MYRATH: Live In Carthage - CD+DVD
(earMUSIC)
MYRATH comes from Tunisia, and they mix their powerful metal with oriental sounds, especially from the middle east. It's rhytmic and melodic, but can also be heavy. And this is a combination that really works. Most of these songs have a fantastic chorus to die for. This band should be on their way to the top, because they are damned good.
This is their first live release, which was filmed and recorded at the ruins of the old amphitheater Carthage in Tunis. I have only heard the audio, but I have heard that they are a really good live band with a spectacular live show, so the DVD is what you should check out first. But the CD has a little surprise for you: a studio version of "Believer" with no other than Don Airey (DEEP PURPLE, ex-RAINBOW, MSG, PHENOMENA etc) on keyboards.
Some of my favorite tracks are: "Believer" and "Dance". But there are no really bad songs here.
myrath.com   ear-music.net
Published: April 28, 2020

AOR: The Best Of The Westcoast Spirit - Album
(Perris Records)
Extremely soft Westcoast rock is what this band deliver. And this is more or less pop to me. For some reason there's as much as 15 tracks on this album, which is way too much at once. BUT it's not necessarily bad because of that. Fans of melodic rock like CHICAGO and TOTO should like this a lot.
This project seems to be run by a French dude, Frédéric Slama, who is said to be well-known for his AOR/melodic rock albums, but also his smooth Westcoast sound that you can find on his 6 first albums. And this album seems to be a collection of his best works in the Westcoast tradition.
The list of guests on this album is very long, but some of the more well-known should be Steve Lukather and Bill Champlin. This record is simply said to feature the best musicians and singers of the genre.
facebook.com/AOR4ever   perrisrecords.com
Published: April 28, 2020

ELECTRIC BOYS: The Lion's Roar - 12" Single
(Mighty Music)
Electric Boys at Holmens Rock
This 12" single was supposed to be released in connection with Record Store Day, which was supposed to happen on April 18 this year. But then a damned virus came, and Record Store Day were postponed until the fall. This record was released anyway though, and is available in a limited edition of 300 copies.
The songs are 2 previously unreleased covers - "The Lion's Roar" by FIRST AID KIT and "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsch. And to be completely honest with you (as I always am), listening to ELECTRIC BOYS doing 2 pop covers, instead of their usual hard rock, is actually not that much fun. This is just for the true fans who must have everything.
I recomend you to check out their latest full length, "The Ghost Ward Diaries" (2018), instead. That's how I want my ELECTRIC BOYS to sound like.
electricboys.com   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 24, 2020

Conny Bloom: Med Charlie i Venedig - 12" Single
(Target Music)
Conny with the boys
Conny Bloom is, as you might know already, the frontman for Swedish hard rockers ELECTRIC BOYS, but has also been a member of HANOI ROCKS. But when he goes solo it's more like rock in Swedish with both seriousness and humour.
Just as the 12" single with ELECTRIC BOYS, this single was also supposed to be released for Record Store Day in a limited edition of 300 copies. The 2 songs are the previously unreleased "Med Charlie i Venedig" and "Dags att vinna Wimbledon".
The title track is actually built on a dream that Conny had, where he was thrown into jail in Venedig. From the window he could see his friend Charlie having the time of his life. And the friend is actually Charlie Granberg (HELLSINGLAND UNDERGROUND). This song is a little better than the second song, even though it's a good song too.
facebook.com/ConnyBloomOfficial   targetgroup.dk
Published: April 24, 2020

PLANETARIET: Deluxe - Album
(Discouraged Records)
Instrumental and atmospheric post-rock, with songs that are somewhere around 6 and a half to almost 8 minutes. Might be o.k. as music in the background, but not when you want to listen to something that is good.
PLANETARIET have their roots in northern Sweden, and released their debut album, "Rymden", in 2015. Their inspiration comes from outer space, and is constantly changing, which gives them a dreamy and cinematic sound. And even though their music is called post-rock, they are not limited to just that, but also take inspiration from jazz, pop and even hip hop.
I might not be so impressed by this, but I'm pretty sure that somebody else will be.
facebook.com/planetariet
Published: April 23, 2020

KATATONIA: City Burials - Album
(Peaceville Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
KATATONIA is a Swedish band who formed in 1991 as a black/death/doom band. They have since then developed a lot through the years. Nowadays it's more like some kind of melancholy and emotional progressive rock on the border to pop. It's a very soft album, that should work best when you are alone in the darkness.
Now I have actually not heard this band before, as far as I can remember, so I have nothing to compare this album with. But it seems to be their 11th studio album, and their first since the 2016 album "The Fall Of Hearts".
This is 1 of these special bands, who go their own way in life, and have their own little sound.
katatonia.com   peaceville.com
Published: April 23, 2020

KARNIVORE: Dödsriket - Album
(Southcoast Productions)
This is the third album from this Swedish death metal band, which was founded in 2002 as KARNEYWAR. This trio might not be the fastest death band, it's much more mid-tempo in their songs, but still raw and dirty. I'm not really sure how to describe their sound any better than that, but isen't there also a touch of MOTÖRHEAD? Or is that just a wish in my head?
They might not be the best band, but they are definitely not bad at all. So give it a try to see (or hear) what you think about it..
karnivore.bandcamp.com
Published: April 23, 2020

DESOLATION ANGELS: While The Flame Still Burns - Album
(Dissonance Productions)
This band might not be in the same league as the other 2 bands from Dissonance Productions (REKUIEM and SATAN'S EMPIRE), but they are absolutely not bad because of that. Their songs are just not as captivating as those bands songs are. And if I continue to compare DESOLATION ANGELS with those 2 other bands, then I would say that this band sounds more American than British. I think of early DEF LEPPARD and RATT when I hear this.
"While The Flame Still Burns" is the second album from this British band. It was originally released in 1990, but only on cassette tape. By the time when this album was recorded (in Burbank, California), the band had relocated to the States, and for different reasons the album was never officially released (there have been many bootleg versions through the years though). But now it was finally the right time to release the album for real, so here it is.
Published: April 22, 2020

REKUIEM: Time Will Tell - Album reissue
(Dissonance Productions)
This is a re-release of the debut album from NWoBHM band REKUIEM, which was originally released in 2006. And what we get from this band is, as you might have guessed already, traditional heavy metal. But there's also some doom metal songs. It's both powerful and full of heavy guitars (which doesn't mean slow in this case). Their songs on this album sounds really good to me, so you should give it a try.
This British band was originally formed back in 1980, as REQUIEM. At that time they were a really heavy band, and played what would later be known as doom metal. They started to play live, and also produced a few demos (which are very rare to find today). After that it was time for a 7" single, "Angel of Sin/Sacrificial Wanderer". But after 2 years they wanted to move towards a more mainstream sound instead, and a few more demos was made. There was plans to make an album, but that never happened, and in 1984 they went seperate ways. But sometime in the early 2000s the band was back again, and in 2006 they finally released their first full length album.
They plan to release a completely new album, "Raise The Dead", in late 2020. So the band is still alive today.
rekuiem.com
Published: April 22, 2020

SATAN'S EMPIRE: Hail The Empire - Album
(Dissonance Productions)
With a line like "I can remember the days when metal ruled the waves", these gentlemen tells us that they are hardly any young kids. They originally formed in Dundee, Scotland in 1979, but moved to London, England in 1981. The band existed until 1988, but in 2015 they were back again, and released their debut album, "Rising", in 2018. Now their second album, "Hail The Empire", is here.
Their music is classic NWoBHM, and I can hear much SAXON here. But there's also inspiration from other British bands from the late 70s/early 80s. And these songs are really good stuff, so any fan of NWoBHM should be interested in this.
facebook.com/SatansEmpireOfficial
Published: April 22, 2020

OCEAN CHIEF: Den Tredje Dagen - Album
(Argonauta Records)
5 songs (if you get the CD version). The shortest is 7 minutes, while the longest is 15:39. This is heavy. And not just because the songs are so long, they are hardly the fastest band either. It's so damned heavy that I almost have to shit (not sure if that gives you an idea, but anyway).
"Den Tredje Dagen" is the 6th studio album from this Swedish psych/doom band. It's 5 years since their last album was released, so they seems to work as slow as they play. All lyrics are in Swedish by the way.
oceanchief.bandcamp.com   argonautarecords.com
Published: April 22, 2020

ELDER: Omens - Album
(Stickman Records/Armageddon Shop - Release date: April 24, 2020) These 5 songs are between 9:53 to 12:48 minutes. It feels like it take an eternity to listen to this album. Long instrumental passages is nothing unusual here, but there is vocals too.
The description of this band's music is that they are "a genre-pushing rock band that melds heavy psychedelic sounds with progressive elements and evocative soundscapes". They formed in a small coastal town in Massachusetts, and started as a stoner/doom band (if I got it right), but has reinvented their sound over the course of 5 albums. They always add new elements to their sound, which makes them unique. This is the kind of band that you must hear to really understand what they sound like. And that's all I have to say about that.
After 13 years, this is the first full-length recorded with a new lineup, including guitarist Michael Risberg and new drummer Georg Edert, along with guest performances by Fabio Cuomo on Rhodes piano and synthesizers.
beholdtheelder.com   stickman-records.com   armageddonshopboston.com
Published: April 22, 2020

BILLY CLUBS: Strange Driving - EP
(Self released)
BILLY CLUBS is what happens if you mix hardcore/punk and rock n roll the right way. A wall of sound that punch you in the face, but yet catchy as hell. It's raw, dirty and explosive, and there's no way that they will turn the volume down just because some hip hop jerk think it's too loud.
They deliver 7 tracks, most of them are between 2 to 3 and a half minutes. And it doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
Even though this is heavier and not as fast as bands like ZEKE and LOUDPIPES, I think that fans of those bands could enjoy this.
BILLY CLUBS released their debut EP, "Creamy Moments in a Foggy Life", in 2018.
billy-clubs.com
Published: April 22, 2020

SPIRIT ADRIFT: Curse Of Conception - Album reissue
(Century Media - Release date: April 24, 2020)
SPIRIT ADRIFT was started by multi-instrumentalist Nate Garrett in 2015 as a studio project. With the addition of permanent drummer Marcus Bryant the lineup was complete, and the band started to play live in 2017. They also released this album, "Curse Of Conception", the same year.
Now they have signed with Century Media Records outside North America, so they thought it was a good idea to re-release their 2 albums, even though it wasn't so long ago that they were released.
Their music is a wild brew of different hard rock and metal genres. You can hear legendary acts like BLACK SABBATH, METALLICA and JUDAS PRIEST, as well as more modern bands like MASTODON, The SWORD and even some GHOST. It's progressive and heavy, but full of melody at the same time. And I think this is very good stuff that you should give a try.
spiritadrift.com   centurymedia.com
Published: April 21, 2020

SPIRIT ADRIFT: Divided By Darkness - Album reissue
(Century Media - Release date: April 24, 2020)
So, "Divided By Darkness" is their second album, which was released as late as in 2019. But as I wrote in my review of their first album, they have signed with Century Media Records outside North America (20 Buck Spin will still handle the domestic release), so they wanted to re-release their albums.
When it comes to the music, I don't have much to add. This is simply a continuation of what they started on their debut album, "Curse Of Conception". Which means that it's still heavy and progressive with melody, and a wild brew of hard rock and metal. But this is also a very good album that you should check out.
SPIRIT ADRIFT was supposed to go on a European tour with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY in April/May. But for obvious reasons I think you can forget that.
spiritadrift.com   centurymedia.com
Published: April 21, 2020

STONEFLOWER: Finally - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: April 24, 2020)
This band must have been waiting a really long time to get this album released, as the title is "Finally" (very funny, huh?). But read on..
STONEFLOWER is a Norwegian band who play AOR/melodic rock. The band was formed in 1996, and in 2003 their debut, "Crack A Little Smile", was released on a small label. In 2010 they split up, but they had already started to work on their next album, which was released in 2014 (if I get it right). The album got a very positive feedback, so the band started to play again with some new members, and also started to work on a new album, "Finally".
Well, with this third album the time should be right for this band to become bigger. Because this is just as good as any other band in this genre. They have the right kind of songs to melt a heart with its choruses, and everything is just perfect.
There's also some guests on this album: Per Hillestad (LAVA, A-HA) on drums, Swedish guitarist Tommy Denander (Paul Stanley, Alice Cooper), Bjørn Ole Rasch (SECRET GARDEN) on keys and guitarist Gunnar Westlie (DA VINCI).
facebook.com/stoneflowertheband   aorheaven.com
Published: April 21, 2020

FAKE NAMES: First Everlasting - Single
(Epitaph Records)
Oh, another great single from this American/Swedish punk rock supergroup, which features members from bands like MINOR THREAT, DAG NASTY, BAD RELIGION, S.O.A., REFUSED etc. This song is more melodic, and very catchy - Punk rock with elements of powerpop. And this is damned good! I really look forward to hear the album now, which will be released on May 8.
So, do yourself a favor and check this out at once. Because this might actually be the most interesting punk rock band from USA in a very long time.
youtu.be/3JsePnUghZE   epitaph.com
Published: April 20, 2020

(D)JURET: De få som kan se - EP
(Self released on April 30, 2020)
4 and a half to 5 and a half minutes are pretty long songs for being punk. And then we have the last track, which is as long as 9 minutes - Why?! Just 1 song has "normal" length, 2:45 minutes.
This Swedish band play a heavier kind of punk, which gives it a touch of metal. Unfortunately it's not catchy at all, and therefor not so good. Where's the melodies and the dedication? Actually I don't really know why this band exist, because they just don't give me anything. And that's not how I want my punk to be. But as long as they have fun (even though it doesn't sound like that), who am I to judge?
This 4-track EP was recorded at the legendary Sunlight Studio with Tomas Skogsberg (The HELLACOPTERS, ENTOMBED, REFUSED, KATATONIA etc etc). They have previously released a single and a EP.
(D)JURET is like a bored M.I.D. trying to play anarcho punk like OPERATION.
facebook.com/djuretpunk
Published: April 20, 2020

MYSTIC PRIESTESS: Part Time Punks Sessions - EP
(Self released)
MYSTIC PRIESTESS, from Oakland, California, was founded by Sierra Rose and Winter Zora in 2016. Their first self titled EP came out in 2017, and was followed by another EP in 2018.
"Part Time Punks Sessions" was recorded for the artist archival series of the KXLU radio show of the same name. The recording was performed in a live session at Cave Studios in Los Angeles, and is said to capture the fury of their intense live performance.
The music that we get from this band is a wild blend of mainly deathrock and post-punk with a pinch of anarcho punk. It's dark and intense but not hopeless. The guitar is loud, while the rest seems to be in the background.
This EP is available on cassette (limited edition of 300 purple tapes) and on digital platforms.
mysticpriestess.bandcamp.com/album/ptp-sessions
Published: April 19, 2020

LOOSE SUTURES: Loose Sutures - Album
(Electric Valley Records)
LOOSE SUTURES is a pretty new band, as they formed in June 2019. They hail from Sardinia, Italy, and play some kind of mixture of heavy rock, fuzz rock and garage rock with punk attitude. All in the spirit of FUZZ, BLUE CHEER, KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD and The STOOGES. Their lyrics seems to deal with killer profiles and kinky love stories.
I have no problem with their music, but all these useless interludes (as they call it) between some of the songs disturbs me a lot. Cut that crap and concentrate all your energy on the real songs instead. Because the songs are pretty cool, and could be worth a try if you like punky heavy/fuzz/garage rock.
The album includes a cover of "I Need a Million" by The LAUGHING DOGS. It also features additional guitar contributions from Trevor Peres (OBITUARY) on the track "Lie".
loosesutures.bandcamp.com   electricvalleyrecords.com
Published: April 19, 2020

Jeff Dahl: Electric Junk - LP
(Beluga Records/Ghost Highway Recordings)
This reminds me of American bands like DEAD BOYS and The STOOGES, so it sounds really good to me, as I really like those 2 bands. I don't have much else to say about the music though. Other than that you should check this out then. But I guess you have figured that out already.
This album was recorded with his friends Deniz Tek (RADIO BIRDMAN) on guitar (2 of the songs) and Sam Bradley on drums. Jeff himself took care of vocals, guitars and bass.
Who might Jeff Dahl be then you might ask? Well, I asked myself the same thing. And according to Wikipedia (if you can trust that) he is an American musician born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1955. In 1960 the Dahl family relocated to Hawaii. Jeff's first single, "Rock N Roll Critic", was recorded in 1977. He has also been a member of bands like ANGRY SAMOANS and MENTORS to name a few. He has participated on approximately 26 full length albums (studio, live, bootlegs, best of collections included), as well as something like a hundred 7" singles. In other words, a true veteran.
belugarecords.com
Published: April 19, 2020

LYNCHWOOD: Breathe - EP
(One Eyed Toad Records)
Debut EP with a band from Colchester, UK. They call it hardcore, but it's so heavy that it sounds more like metal. So I could possibly call it metalcore then.
This is a totally DIY homemade product, but the sound is absolutely not bad at all. They are said to combine frantic punk riffs and gang-shouts with gigantic metal grooves. And that's something that I can agree with.
4 songs is what we get here, and I guess they are o.k., but not much else. This is just their first sign of life though.
facebook.com/Lynchwoodband   oneeyedtoad.co.uk
Published: April 19, 2020

PALACE OF THE KING: Tell It Like It Is - Single
(Self released?)
During the past few years, the Melbourne band PALACE OF THE KING have played hundreds of gigs around the world. But they have also released 2 EPs and 3 albums, with a 4th on the way (might be out already). Their music is best described as classic Australian hard rock. Which means that it kicks ass. You know exactly what you are going to get here, but it's so good that you just can't say no to it.
This is eaxactly what you need right now to forget the fucking pandemic, even though it's just for a few minutes.
palaceofthekingmusic.com
Published: April 19, 2020

SnakeyeS: Evil Must Die - Album
(Self released)
This Spanish/Romanian band has been reviewed here a few times before through the years. And what they have created on this new album is nothing but a continuation of what they always have done: pure traditional heavy metal, mainly in the old school, even though the production is modern. And it sounds just as good and powerful as it use to do, so I have nothing to complain about.
"Evil Must Die" is their third album, and it's said to be a conceptual work through several scenarios, both real and fiction: war, politics, religion, literature and horror. You should absolutely check this out.
snakeyes-metal.com
Published: April 19, 2020

WITHERING SURFACE: Alone - Single
(Mighty Music)
Here's the second single from WITHERING SURFACE's upcoming comeback album, which will be released on June 16. "Alone" is said to be a look at yourself when you have lived half of your life.
WITHERING SURFACE are called "the founders of Danish melo-death metal", and after a decade of silence they are back for another attack, which they proved already with the first single. Here's another great song that everybody who like melodic death metal must check out.
I think the new album is going to be very interesting..
facebook.com/WitheringSurface   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 19, 2020

BLENDED BREW: Shove It Down - Single
(Mighty Music)
This is a heavier song from the new album, with the same name as this song. The album will be released on May 1, and is said to be something for fans of DEEP PURPLE, RIVAL SONS and AC/DC. So 70s hard rock then, you could say. And this is not bad at all, so you should check this out of course.
Not much else to say right now..
facebook.com/Blendedbrew   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 19, 2020

WALLOP: Alps On Fire - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
This German band released their debut album, "Metallic Alps", back in 1985, and disbanded a year later. But when drummer Stefan Arnold left GRAVE DIGGER after 23 years in 2018, it was time to wake up WALLOP again. The first step was a 4-track promo EP, which was made in 2019. The next step was to record an album, and this is the result: "Alps On Fire".
So here they are again, with the original lineup and just as enthusiastic as 35 years ago. There's both old and new songs on this album, as well as some previously unreleased material. We also get a cover of RAVEN's "Crash, Bang, Wallop", with RAVEN frontman John Gallagher on vocals and guitar solo.
The music is true 80s old school heavy metal, even though they are on the border to early thrash metal sometimes. If I should compare them with some other bands, then I would probably say RAVEN, early METALLICA and possibly early ANTHRAX as well.
Many of these songs are very good, but out of as much as 13 tracks I guess they could have thrown away at least 3 of these songs (or at least saved them for something else).
facebook.com/Wallop69   puresteel-records.com
Published: April 18, 2020

MORTICIAN: Titans - Album
(Pure Underground Records)
MORTICIAN comes from Austria and is another band who play classic heavy metal. This album is said to be heavier than the predecessors and to remind of OVERKILL. But mainly it's the good old NWoBHM from the 80s that seems to be the inspiration for this band, backed up by a powerful production.
Some of the songs makes me think of something with JUDAS PRIEST or ACCEPT for example. And this sounds really good to me, so I would recomend you to check this out.
mortician.at   puresteel-records.com
Published: April 18, 2020

CLOVEN HOOF: Age Of Steel - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
It's almost a little too obvious that the beginning of the second track, "Alderley Edge", is taken from IRON MAIDEN's "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" and some other song with the same band. And there's no doubt that IRON MAIDEN and similar acts is the big influence for CLOVEN HOOF. So fans of NWoBHM should be happy to hear this, because the songs are good.
CLOVEN HOOF were orginally formed in the West Midlands, UK back in 1979. They released 2 demo tapes and a EP in 1982. Their first album came out in 1984, and was followed by a live album and 2 more studio albums before it was over. In 2005 they were back again with a demo, and a new album the following year. And a few more albums has been released since then.
clovenhoof.net   puresteel-records.com
Published: April 18, 2020

BLIZZEN: World In Chains - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
German heavy metal band BLIZZEN released their debut EP, "Time Machine", in 2015, and has since then been lurking around in the European underground scene. It's now 4 years since their first full length, "Genesis Reversed", was released, but now they are ready to release their second album, "World In Chains".
These boys are a part of the new wave of traditional heavy metal, together with bands like CAULDRON, ENFORCER etc. etc. And they are hardly any better or worse than any of the other young bands who wants to play good old heavy metal, and sound like the heroes from the 80s. Which means that they are doing a really good job here.
Another good thing is that they seems to have figured out that you don't need 13 tracks or more, and the album doesn't have to be almost an hour. We get 9 tracks in 34 minutes. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
facebook.com/BlizzenOfficial   puresteel-records.com
Published: April 18, 2020

CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD: Sonic Forces - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: April 24, 2020)
What do you think of when a band call themselves CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD? Pirate metal maybe? Probably not melodic rock anyway. But that's what this band is playing. And it sounds like we are back in 1985 when this band deliver their songs.
CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD made their live debut in Stockholm, Sweden in October 2009, and released their self titled debut album in May 2011. A few more albums has been released since then, and a few singers has come and left the band through the years. Their latest singer is Martin Holsner, which is doing a really good job here.
"Sonic Forces" was produced by H.E.A.T guitarist Dave Malone, and features many great songs. Fans of melodic rock should absolutely not miss this album, because that would be a big mistake.
captainblackbeard.net   aorheaven.com
Published: April 17, 2020

MARROWFIELDS: Metamorphoses - Album
(Black Lion Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
MARROWFIELDS comes from Fall River, MA, USA, and they play atmospheric doom metal, which is said to fit like a glove for fans of PALLBEARER, CANDLEMASS, PRIMORDIAL and AGALLOCH. But their sound actually shows us a crossbreeding of classic doom and dreamlike black metal, to be more specific.
"Metamorphoses" is their debut album, which consist of 5 long tracks - between 9 to almost 12 minutes. It's no cute lullabies they give us, unless you are morbid. Rather more like anguishing stories about horrors. This record is like a seamless 51-minute epic doom tale.
facebook.com/marrowfields   facebook.com/blacklionrecordsswe
Published: April 16, 2020

NEGATIVE THOUGHT PROCESS: Hell... Is Much Better Than This - EP
(Hibernacula Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
In 1982 BAD RELIGION released their debut album, and asked "How Can Hell Be Any Worse?". 38 years later a UK trio answer the question with "Hell... Is Much Better Than This", which sounds really stupid according to me.
Anyway, this is their third release, and what we get is hardly any punk rock with catchy melodies a'la BAD RELIGION, but some crust/grind/violence. They play 6 songs in 8 minutes. Most of them are just about a minute. Only the last track is longer, with it's 2:39 minutes.
NEGATIVE THOUGHT PROCESS probably have a good message with each song, but it's hard to catch when they play so fast and chaotic. Fans of grindcore will probably like this a lot though.
Published: April 16, 2020

XPUS: In Umbra Mortis Sedent - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: April 24, 2020)
These Italians are said to be inspired by 90s bands like MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, INCANTATION and SINISTER. But they run it through their own filter, and out comes a product that sounds more or less the same all the time. The music is dark and cold like death itself, but also fast and hard like it should be when it comes to death metal. It's not that bad, but some more variation between each song would not have hurt.
facebook.com/xpus666   tometal.com
Published: April 16, 2020

The ALLIGATOR WINE: Demons Of The Mind - Album
(Century Media - Release date: April 24, 2020)
This duo play some kind of psychedelic and groovy rock, inspired by early 70s music, horror movies and fashion. Not totally useless, but it doesn't give me that much either, just nice background music. But if you feel like you want to dance, then go ahead and try this. Because I can't deny that sometimes it's very catchy.
A funny thing with this band is that they don't use any guitars at all. It's just Hammond organ, Moog bass, drums and lots of weird effects, plus vocals of course. This gives them their own unique sound, which can be described as a Kraut rock version of The DOORS, and LED ZEPPELIN riffs without guitars.
thealligatorwine.com   centurymedia.com
Published: April 15, 2020

LUSTRE: Ashes Of Light - Album
(Nordvis - Release date: April 24, 2020)
Some electronic plink-plonk and some maniac screaming in the background once in a while. Totally useless! And the first track is as long as 10 minutes. How funny is that? The other tracks are a little shorter, but not short enough, as they are just as useless as that first track.
I guess that this is supposed to be atmospheric and meditative, but it just doesn't work for me. I don't even think that I want to call this music, as he just repeat the same thing over and over again on a keyboard. There's no guitars or drums at all.
For some reason they label this as ambient black metal. The only thing that has to do with black metal on this record is that screaming once in a while.
lustre.bandcamp.com   nordvis.com
Published: April 15, 2020

SUBTYPE ZERO: Ceremonious Extinction - EP
(Seeing Red Records)
From Cleveland, Ohio comes this thrash metal beast. And they are hardly here to have fun in stupid shorts. This is pure anger that has more in common with SLAYER and SEPULTURA than ANTHRAX. And they don't give a shit if you don't like it.
4 songs is what we get here, and it's definitely not bad at all. So if you like thrash metal in the old angry school, then I think you should check this out.
subtype-zero.bandcamp.com/album/ceremonious-extinction
Published: April 15, 2020

FREDDY AND THE PHANTOMS: A Universe From Nothing - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: April 24, 2020)
This is the fifth album from the Danish hard rock band FREDDY AND THE PHANTOMS, where they embark on a new epic chapter in the history they have been writing over the past decade. The door to the future is open, and the band now finds itself in a dystopian and dangerous universe, where the threat of doom is constantly lurking in the shadows.
The concept is inspired by Dante's "The Divine Comedy", Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History Of Time", and the world's current climate crisis. And a heavy theme also means a heavier and tougher musical direction. But in general it's bluesy hard rock like it still was the 70s, and it sounds damned good to me. This is an album full of fantastic songs!
facebook.com/freddyphan   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 14, 2020

VANIR: 10 Years Of Mead And Metal - EP
(Mighty Music - Release date: April 17, 2020)
VANIR celebrate "10 years of raw Danish viking power", as it says in the press release. It all started in Roskilde, Denmark 10 years ago, when some metal heads got this idea that they should start to play Viking folk metal. A lot has happened since then, both with the band and the world.
What they have done here is that they have re-recorded 3 songs from their debut album, "Særimners Kød". But we also get a cover of the late Danish legend Kim Larsen's "Kringsatt Av Fiender", which is a poem by Nordahl Grieg. The song "Særimners Kød" is included in both Danish and English.
VANIR are currently working on their 6th album.
facebook.com/vanirdenmark   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 14, 2020

The SHRIEKS: Ode To Joe - Album
(Self released?)
Italian-Venezuelan Luis Accorsi formed his first band, JANZ KAPPELA, in 1977. Which probably was the first punk band in Venezuela. Then life took him to New York City, where he played countless shows at the legendary CBGB's, with bands like MANSLAUGHTER and CRACKED LATIN. In 2014 The FLUX MACHINE was started, which later led to this band, The SHRIEKS. They released their debut record, "Chaos Road", in 2017, which was followed up by "Toxygen" in 2019.
The SHRIEKS is a rock n roll band from New York City. I hear stuff like NEW YORK DOLLS, ROLLING STONES, Iggy Pop and The STOOGES in their music, but they also mention RAMONES and GRAND FUNK RAILROAD among their influences. Let's just say that it's a wild mixture of diffrent genres of rock, with a little nonchalant vocals. And they have a few o.k. songs here, even though all 13 might not be so good. What they really miss is that hit song, or at least something that stands out.
Like it is now, it's a o.k. rock album, but not much else.
facebook.com/theshrieksnow
Published: April 13, 2020

HARTMANN: 15 Pearls And Gems - Album
(Pride & Joy Music/Sonic11 - Release date: April 17, 2020)
Oliver Hartmann is probably most well-known as singer/guitarist/sideman of AVANTASIA and the project ROCK MEETS CLASSICS, as well as frontman of AT VANCE and German PINK FLOYD tribute ECHOES. His own band HARTMANN released their first album in 2005, and are considered as one of the best modern German rock/hard rock acts.
So, now they celebrate their 15th anniversary with "15 Pearls And Gems", which includes 15 tracks - 5 new songs, 5 covers and 5 live tracks. 1 song is a duet with Ina Morgan (AVANTASIA), and 1 is a duet with Tobias Sammet (EDGUY, AVANTASIA).
Well, if you like melodic rock/hard rock, then this is something that you should enjoy. It might not be the best I have heard in this genre, but this is definitely not bad at all.
oliverhartmann.com   prideandjoy.de
Published: April 13, 2020

DICTATOR SHIP: Your Favorites - Album
(The Sign Records - Release date: April 17, 2020)
I think of a band like MC5 when I hear this. We talk raw rock n roll/garage rock, with vocals inspired by 60s soul music, and an intense rythm section. And these 7 tracks are great. So you should absolutely take a closer look (or listen) to this band.
This record has a lo-fi sound, which makes it sound older than it really is. All instruments were recorded live, while vocals were added later. This was done as they wanted their live sound instead of a dry studio sound.
DICTATOR SHIP comes from Sweden, and "Your Favorites" is their debut album. I look forward to hear more from them in the future.
Published: April 13, 2020

DeVicious: Phase Three - Album
(Metalapolis Records - Release date: April 17, 2020)
DeVicious is an international band from Karlsruhe, Germany. They play melodic hard rock and has released 2 albums before "Phase Three". Fans of ECLIPSE, AMMUNITION and similar acts should absolutely check this out, because this is really good stuff. This album is full of big arena melodies, bombastic choir arrangements and a powerful production. Simply a perfect hard rock album.
1 of my favorites is the the single and opener "Firefly".
devicious.band   metalapolis.eu
Published: April 13, 2020

ERNST AND THE EDSHOLM REBELS: A Momentary Relapse For No Reason - Album
(Ernst Records/Self released)
I don't really know much about sound, but this sounds like a demo recording made by someone who doesn't really know what his doing. Everything is just a bloody mess.
This band is also known as E.A.T.E.R., and they originally formed in 1982, and released their classic EP, "Doomsday Troops", in 1984. They have released 2 more EPs since they came back 10 years ago, but this is their first full length. Unfortunately it has not much to do with their old material, which was much more interesting than this. They probably think that they are really hard, but where's the good old hardcore/punk?
What we get here is some kind of metal, and sometimes almost industrial, influences. There's no catchy melodies at all, no good choruses to sing along to, and actually not 1 single good song at all. This just isn't good enough. I'm really dissapointed and I don't really get what they have created here, and what they want to achieve with this record. So who am I to judge?
eater.bandcamp.com
Published: April 11, 2020

Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip - Compilation
(RidingEasy Records - Release date: April 20, 2020)
My new favorite compilation is back with the 10th edition. Which means more of that cool heavy rock and proto-metal from the 60s and 70s, with bands you most likely never have heard of. RidingEasy and Permanent Records have as always been digging deep to discover old forgotten songs, with just as much forgotten artists (not sure if that sounds right, but you hopefully understand what I mean).
The artists this time are: SOUNDS SYNONYMOUS, RALPH WILLIAMS AND THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, CONCEPTION, BITTER CREEK, The RUBBER MEMORY, FIRST STATE BANK, BROTHERS AND ONE, FROZEN SUN and The BROOD, and TABERNASH.
As usual everything is good. So if you like true vintage rock, then this is simply a must! ..and there's 9 more volumes to discover, if you have not done that already.
ridingeasyrecords.com
Published: April 10, 2020

The SONIC DAWN: Enter The Mirage - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Psychedelic garage rock with a touch of catchy 60s pop is how I describe this band's music. And this is something that I really like to hear. Fantastic songs!
The SONIC DAWN is a Danish trio, who has released 3 albums before "Enter The Mirage". What they have tried to do with this album, is that they have catch up the raw energy and electricity of their live shows. The overall theme is freedom.
Well, I don't have that much to say, but this is a group to be reckoned with, so just let the music do the talking instead.
thesonicdawn.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: April 9, 2020

PURE REASON REVOLUTION: Eupnea - Album
(InsideOut Music)
It seems like PURE REASON REVOLUTION always has been changing, but has always kept their roots in progressive rock. Sometimes it has been modern, sometimes more electronic. This album is said to go back to the sound of their early days. That doesn't say much to me though, as I can't remember that I would have heard this band before.
Most of these songs are pretty laidback, but there's lots of stuff going on with the music. We get cinematic soundscapes, dark atmosphere and synths, psychedelic elements etc. There's also lots of nice melodies in both vocals and music, which honestly makes it sound like pop to me. 3 of the 6 songs are as long as 8:46 to 13:23 minutes.
PURE REASON REVOLUTION is a duo with Jon Courtney (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Chloë Alper (vocals, bass guitar, keyboards). This is their first sign of life since 2011's "Valour" EP.
facebook.com/purereasonrevolution
Published: April 8, 2020

HAYVANLAR ALEMI: Psychedelia In Times Of Turbolence - Album
(Subsound Records)
Instrumental psychedelic folk rock is what this trio from Ankara is playing. Throughout the years, the band has developed a style of its own, inspired by the innovative musical heritage of Turkey, but also informed by the traditional and popular styles of the globe, blending together scales and rhythms of Asia, Africa, Middle East and South America with surf, dub, stoner rock and free improvisation.
In the spring of 2017, HAYVANLAR ALEMI closed themselves in a studio in a small Italian town for a few days and recorded material for multiple future releases. "Psychedelia in Times of Turbolence" includes the heavier compositions that came out of these sessions. Usually I'm not such a big fan of instrumental music, but this actually works. It might not be an album for everyone though.
The band were founded in 1999, so they are hardly a new band.
hayvanlaralemi.org   subsoundrecords.it
Published: April 8, 2020

GRIM FATE: Perished In Torment - Album
(Xtreem Music)
GRIM FATE was founded in 2017 to create some eerie dark and doomy death metal. After a demo recording, their first EP, "Emerging From The Crypt", was released in March 2018.
Now their first full length album is here, which is dark, brutal and doomy, but yet death metal without a doubt. The band are from the Netherlands, but their influences seems to be from Finland. And this is not so bad. So if you like your death metal heavy, then give this a try.
facebook.com/grimfatedeathmetal
Published: April 8, 2020

ELIXIR: Voyage Of The Eagle - Album
(Dissonance Productions)
ELIXIR have made an excellent album with lots of great songs. Just listen to "The Siren's Song" and "Sail On" or "Almost There" for example. I actually think that there's not 1 single bad song on this record. That's how good it is! So people who like more epic heavy metal should absolutely try this.
ELIXIR is a British band, and this is their 6th studio album. The band originally formed back in 1983, first as PURGATORY and then HELLFIRE, before they finally decdied that ELIXIR was the name of the band. 2 albums was released before it became silent in the end of 1989. But in 2001 they were back again, which lasted to 2012. In 2019 they came back once again, and "Voyage Of The Eagle" is their first new album in 10 years.
facebook.com/Elixir-The-Ultimate-NWOBHM-band-339389072505
Published: April 8, 2020

The HEADLINES: Warpaint - Album
(Metalville - New release date: May 22, 2020)
The HEADLINES is a Swedish punk rock band, who released their first album 13 years ago. Not really sure if I have heard them before though. But anyway.. Now they have teamed up with Swedish producer Chips Kiesby (The HELLACOPTERS, SAHARA HOTNIGHTS, MILLENCOLIN, PLAN NINE, WILMER X, MIMIKRY, BONAFIDE etc etc), and what an album they have made. This is really good stuff!
This is a record filled with riots, rebellion, love, feminism and the question: "What's going on?". It's their own little revolution. And I'm pretty sure that fans of bands like RANCID and The CLASH will like this a lot. They have the melodies and the football choirs to sing a-long to, and it seems to be done with a lot of love to the music.
facebook.com/TheHeadlinesSWE   metalville.de
Published: April 7, 2020

BOMBS OF HADES: Phantom Bell - EP
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: April 17, 2020)
Swedish death metal band BOMBS OF HADES originally formed in 2002 at a party just to have an excuse to get drunk and bash out some old school crust punk/death metal. Over time it grew into a proper band, and an EP, "Carnivores", was released in 2008, and followed by their debut album, "Chambers of Abominations", in 2010. Since then they have released 3 more full length albums, as well as countless EPs and splits. They have through the years evolved their music into a more progressive, MOTÖRHEAD and doomy style, without losing their roots in death metal and crust punk.
The members have been involved with lots of other bands through the years, like TRIBULATION (old thrash/death band), ABHOTH, GOD MACABRE, UTUMNO, DISSOBER, PUFFBALL, The LET'S GO'S, The CROWN, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX, The LURKING FEAR and AT THE GATES.
"Phantom Bell" is the first sign of life (on record at least) since the 2016 album "Death Mask Replica". And what we get here is 2 new songs and 2 covers (FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND and TOWNES VAN ZANDT). And as you probably have figured out already, this is not the typical HM2-pedal old school death metal, but it's absolutely not bad. I really think that you should give this a try, because you will probably like it.
BOMBS OF HADES will continue to work on their 5th album during 2020.
facebook.com/bombsofhades   orcd.co/phantom-bell
Published: April 7, 2020

ABORTED: La Grande Mascarade - EP
(Century Media - Release date: April 17, 2020)
Belgian gore/death/grind veterans ABORTED are hardly a new band. They have been making noise since 1995. Their latest full length album, "TerrorVision", came out in 2018, and was their 10th studio album. Now they release this brutal EP, which is "soaked in blood and drenched in entrails" as their label so cleverly declare.
"La Grande Mascarade" features 2 brand new tracks and a previously unreleased song from the "TerrorVision" sessions. And if you like it brutal and extreme, then this is your shit. If you want nice melodies and clean vocals, try something else instead, because this is nothing but a noise terror.
goremageddon.be   centurymedia.com
Published: April 7, 2020

WAYWARD DAWN: Haven Of Lies - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: April 10, 2020)
WAYWARD DAWN is a young death metal band from Skanderborg, Denmark, who released their debut album, "Soil Organic Matter", in 2018. Since then their vocalist Niklas Lykke (LIVLØS) has left the band. But they decided to continue as a 4-piece, and now the guitarist and the bassist do the vocals instead.
Now their sophomore album, "Haven Of Lies", is here (soon). And this is said to be something for fans of CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY and MORBID ANGEL. So, those who like American death metal then. Or those who want it more extreme and brutal, but at the same time fast and heavy. I prefer the Scandinavian style, but I'm sure that they will make other people happy. This is far away from the worst that I have heard though. I would rather say that when it comes to extreme bands, this is actually pretty good after all.
facebook.com/waywarddawn   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 6, 2020

Brant Bjork: Brant Bjork - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds Records - Release date: April 10, 2020)
KYUSS and FU MANCHU legend Brant Bjork is back with his 13th solo album, which is full of cool heavy/desert rock. No instrumental useless songs as far as my ears can hear, and I like what I hear here. This is almost as good as his last album, "Mankind Woman", which was really good.
This time he plays all instruments on the album, which is something that he have not done in a while. But the result is just the same, so no fan should be dissapointed when they listen to this.
brantbjork.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: April 6, 2020

The STORY BEHIND: Initium - Album
(Self released)
The STORY BEHIND is a Swedish metal group formed in 2018. The band is made up of vocalist Glen Gilbert (HIDE THE KNIVES), guitarist Jimmy Bergman (ex-The END OF GRACE), bassist Rob Hakemo (ex-The RESISTANCE, ex-M.A.N.) and drummer Andreas Engberg (ex-PAINFIELD, ex-M.A.N.). "Initium" (Latin for "The beginning") is their debut album, which is a concept album based on the mystical disappearance of an astronaut named Captain Jefferey K. Haze.
What we get from this band is a very melodic kind of metal, but yet with heavy guitars. And this is absolutely not bad at all, so you should check this out of course.
A favorite is "Regret", but there are no bad songs here.
thestorybehind.band
Published: April 5, 2020

SOLILOQUIUM: Things We Leave Behind - Album
(Naturmacht Productions/Rain Without End Records)
This is a Swedish progressive death/doom metal band, which was formed in 2011 as a side project for DESOLATOR's Stefan Nordström (guitar/vocals). But after the first few EPs it evolved into a serious band.
The early material was classic death/doom, influenced by KATATONIA, PARADISE LOST and OCTOBER TIDE. But the sound evolved during the years, and they started to include other sub-genres, like progressive metal, post-metal, shoegaze (have never really figured out what that is) and melodic death metal. And on this album, which is their third full length, you can hear all these influences. Jonas Bergkvist (DESOLATOR, WOLFCROSS) play bass and Victor Parri (ISOLE, VALKYRJA, DESOLATOR) play session drums. There's also some people who help them with vocals and keyboards.
SOLILOQUIUM gives us 8 heavy and progressive tracks on this album. There's both harder and more silent moments. Most of these songs are good, so I have nothing to complain about.
soliloquium.bandcamp.com
Published: April 5, 2020

NO RAZA: Transcending Material Sins - Album
(Noble Demon)
What made me interested in this South American band (now based in Florida, USA), was that they claimed that they were following in the footsteps of GRAVE, ASPHYX and OBITUARY. The production is really heavy, but certainly there is some good old death metal, even though the vocals sounds more lika a monster than the usual growling.
Their label think that NO RAZA are about to take over the globe in the name of death metal. I would not go that far. They might be something that people will talk about in the underground scene though, because they are actually not so bad.
noraza.net   nobledemon.com
Published: April 5, 2020

Louise Lemón: Devil - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Louise at Liseberg last summer
The queen of death gospel is back with a new single. And as usual it's bleeding darkness and many emotions involved here. The music has more in common with pop music than rock, but it's so much darker that even the rockers like her music. She is often compared with other dark artists, like Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, A.A. Williams and Anna von Hausswolff.
"Devil" is the first single, and the title track, of a new EP that will be released this spring. Not so bad, but I have heard better songs with her.
louiselemonmusic.com   icea.se
Published: April 5, 2020

KINGS OF DUST: Kings Of Dust - Album
(Shock Records/Vanity Music Group)
Phoenix-based hard rockers KINGS OF DUST released this self titled debut in mid-March. The band is led by former BADLANDS bassist Greg Chaisson, and channels their sound through classic acts like DEEP PURPLE, HUMBLE PIE, BAD COMPANY and LED ZEPPELIN. And that probably makes you think: "another one of those retro bands". And sure, they might not be doing anything unique at all that have not been done before, but they are at least old enough to have been around at the time when these bands did their classics.
I'm not sure if that gives them any extra credits, but this album sounds really good to me anyway, and that's always the most important thing. So do yourself a favor and check this out. I'm pretty sure that you will like it too.
Published: April 5, 2020

JET JAGUAR: Jet Ranger - Single
(Pride And Joy Music)
"Jet Ranger" is the first single from JET JAGUAR's upcoming debut album, "Endless Nights", which will be released on July 17. But it all started in Cancun, a city located in the Mayan region of Mexico, in 2014. So they have already existed for a few years, and have previously released a EP, "Zero Hour", in 2016. And they have not just toured in Mexico, but also around Europe.
This song start with a synth loop, which I think that they could have saved for the album, becuase it takes over a minute before the song actually begin. But when they finally start to rock, it's absolutely not bad at all. For some reason it makes me think of Japanese hard rock and heavy metal bands from the 80s. This is definitely worth checking out!
facebook.com/jetjaguarband   facebook.com/prideandjoymusic
Published: April 5, 2020

WISHING WELL: Do Or Die - Album
(Inverse Records)
"Do Or Die" is the third album from Finnish hard rockers WISHING WELL. And this is an album full of great songs - like "Sermon On The Mount" just to name 1. So if you like good old 70s hard rock like DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP, then you have to check this out at once. Because I'm pretty sure that you will like this band too.
On this album they continue to mix many different styles of hard rock, and even some heavy metal. And just like the bands I mentioned earlier, this band is also using distorted Hammond organ. But they also suprise us by using classical guitar and flute in the last song, "Cosmic Ocean", which works perfect.
facebook.com/wishingwell2016   inverse.fi
Published: April 4, 2020

RÄMLORD: From Dark Waters - Album
(Inverse Records)
Finnish heavy metal band RÄMLORD have made a great album. There's lots of melody mixed with heavy guitars an so on.. It may sound very familiar, like you know already what this band sounds like. And sure, there's many familiar things here, like the background vocals in "Haunting All Over The World", which sounds exactly like good old ACCEPT. But somehow they also succeed to put their own twist to it. They simply have their own songs, and have not just copied something else straight off.
RÄMLORD was formed in Helsinki, Finland in 2010. They have previously released 2 7" singles and a mini-LP. "From Dark Waters" is their full length debut, and the record where they have found their sound (no more black metal influences and harsh vocals).
raemlord.bandcamp.com   inverse.fi
Published: April 4, 2020

INFIRMUM: Walls Of Sorrow - Album
(Inverse Records)
This is heavy, but yet catchy somehow. INFIRMUM perform a melancholy doom flavored death metal, and I think that they do it really good. There just isn't that much else to say though, so just give this a listen and enjoy the ride.
INFIRMUM is said to be a musical resurrection by Finnish metal artist Timo Solonen, who was active in the 90s. This album is a collaboration with some session members on bass, guitar and drums.
infirmum.bandcamp.com   inverse.fi
Published: April 4, 2020

SOULS OF TIDE: Through The Fire - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: April 3, 2020)
"Through The Fire" begin very silent, and I think it's going to suck. But after a while I have to admit, that even though it's not the most action-filled song, it's not so bad. It would have been better with some more heavy guitars though.
This is the first taste of what to come on SOULS OF TIDE's new album, "Black Magic", which will be released on May 22. The band comes from Norway, and features members from bands like TROLLFEST, WYRUZ, SARKOM, PORTERVILLE, DEAD MAPLE, MATANZICK and OPEL. Their sound is said to be similar to what a rock band from the 70s would sound like today, but I don't really know if that's what I hear here.
Now I have not heard the rest of the album yet, so I think I'm going to do that now to get a better picture of this band.
facebook.com/soulsoftide   mightymusic.dk
Published: April 3, 2020

GRUMPYNATORS: Blood And Bones - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: April 3, 2020)
"Blood And Bones" is the first single from the Danish hard rocking band GRUMPYNATORS' third album, "Still Alive", which comes out in August.
The song is about being a part of a community and to share a common passion about something. It is a dedication to all their die hard fans.
It's a hard hitting uptempo song that should work fine for those who like both hard rock and heavy metal. For some reason they makes me think of good old ACCEPT, even though this is not exactly the same. A good song anyway.
mightymusic.dk
Published: April 3, 2020

SUCKERPUNCH: Little Teaser - Single
(Self released)
"Hi. We are SUCKERPUNCH from Denmark and we play badass rock n roll." That's how the e-mail from this band begin. And it says exactly what it's all about - Catchy, raw and dirty hard rock n roll. It sounds like the perfect soundtrack to your party this weekend. They keep the good old AC/DC and ROSE TATTOO tradition alive, together with bands like AIRBOURNE and early '77. So if that sounds like something good to you, then you have to check this out of course.
SUCKERPUNCH released their first album in 2018. "Little Teaser" is taken from their next album, which will be released in late 2020.
facebook.com/sp.live.dk
Published: April 2, 2020

SKARLETT RIOT: Human - Single
(Despotz Records)
Alternative metal band SKARLETT RIOT are back with the first single from their upcoming new album.
With the release of their second album, "Regenerate" (2017), this British quartet made sure that they were ready for the world. The album introduced a harder, heavier and faster sound, but still with grand tunes. I even asked in my review of the album if they would be the next big thing. Now they didn't become that big, but their story is far away from over yet.
Now they have landed in their darker and heavier sound, where elements from modern acts like ASKING ALEXANDRIA, IN THIS MOMENT and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE shine through and open new possibilities. But you can also notice a more aggressive side in this song, even though the melodic is still the main part.
SKARLETT RIOT continue to prove that they are an interesting band in the modern metal scene.
skarlettriot.co.uk   despotz.se
Published: April 2, 2020

SKAM: The Sound Of Disease - Album
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: April 3, 2020)
Well, 1 thing is for sure, they know how to make a hell of a noise anyway. Think of a band like EXTREME NOISE TERROR, but with more metal, and you are close to what this band sounds like. So, if you like it brutal and extreme, then this is a record for you. Otherwise, avoid.
Swedish band SKAM's main purpose is the releasing of stress while lamenting the world's declining mental health and the obscene amount of suicides caused by it. To get the message out, they use the brutality of grindcore and death metal mixed with influences and energy of d-beat hardcore/punk.
skam-se.bandcamp.com   redefiningdarkness.com
Published: April 2, 2020

REACH: Higher Ground - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Another useless pop song? Well, the chorus is very strong and good at least, so this is not a totally hopeless song anyway.
With this single, Swedish band REACH are getting ready for a relaunch and an extansive international investment. According to the press release, "they lead their listeners into an era of explosive intimacy with songs wrapped in a veil of mystery and playfulness, tells of love, death and emotion in severe conflict with each other. Resignation, fear and desperation are grounded against hopefulness and greed until it sparks the friction and the world the band builds around them and their listeners glow."
REACH is a power trio who formed in 2012. Their music is labeled as alternative rock. 2 singles will be released during the spring, and a new album will be released in the fall/autumn.
facebook.com/reachofficialsweden   icea.se
Published: April 2, 2020

WEED DEMON: Crater Maker - Album
(Electric Valley Records - Release date: April 3, 2020)
WEED DEMON comes from Columbus, Ohio, and released their first EP, "Astrological Passages", in 2017. They play heavy and loud sludge/doom metal. But it can just as well convert into psychedelic space rock or dark country/western or blackened death metal, to name a few examples. These 4 guys are obviously doing exactly what they want to, and don't care too much about "rules". Which sounds like a healthy attitude.
There's often long instrumental parts, and some of the songs don't even have any vocals at all. 4 of 6 tracks are approximately 8 and a half to 11 and a half minutes long.
smokeweeddemon.bandcamp.com
Published: April 1, 2020

LUCIFER STAR MACHINE: The Devil's Breath - Album
(The Sign Records - Release date: April 3, 2020)
This is the kind of band that sounds so familiar at once. Like I would have heard this before. Action rock for fans of The HELLACOPTERS and TURBONEGRO, but we should also mention bands like MOTÖRHEAD, SOCIAL DISTORTION and RAMONES. And they have plenty of good songs on this album. There's no doubt about that. Just listen to favorites like: "The Void", "Baby, When You Cry" and "A Touch Of Death" for example.
"The Devil's Breath" is the 4th album from this Polish band. This is a high-energy mixture of classic rock, punk, a touch of metal, and a hint of 1950s rock n roll. All delivered with a straightforward, no-bullshit attitude. Add some huge choruses and monstrous melodies to that. Brilliant!
Published: April 1, 2020

KAVORKA: Internal Rituals - Album
(Self released)
Icelandic rockers KAVORKA formed in the bleak midwinter of 2016, and have been growing within the Icelandic music scene ever since. A demo came out in 2017, and now they spread their wings with the first album, "Internal Rituals".
Although not a concept album, the main lyrical theme is mental illness and substance abuse. The music is hard and heavy, and nothing unusual these days. Most of these 8 songs are pretty o.k. stuff. People who like their hard rock heavy might like this.
kavorkarvk.bandcamp.com
Published: April 1, 2020

SEMBLANT: Obscura - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
It seems like this South American band received international praise from the metal community with the release of the album "Lunar Manifesto" (2014), which included the singles "What Lies Ahead", "Dark of the Day", and "Incinerate" (together they have more then 30 million views on YouTube).
SEMBLANT formed in Curitiba, Brazil in 2006 when singer Sergio Mazul and keyboardist J. Augusto joined forces to create music that featured all the dark and aggressive elements they appreciated and loved in metal music. After a few years of changing line-ups, the group established itself with the addition of Mizuho Lin (female vocals), Juliano Ribeiro (guitar), Welyntom "Thor" Sikora (drums), and Johann Piper (bass) to the band.
The music we get here is some kind of heavy metal with dark and extreme elements, but most of all lots of melody. I guess that this can be something for fans of symphonic metal, but probably also progressive metal. They seems to be very good at what they are doing anyway.
semblant.com.br   frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

NOVENA: Eleventh Hour - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is the kind of band that makes me dislike progressive and symphonic rock and metal. But as I have said before, there is actually some good bands too in these genres. NOVENA is absolutely not 1 of the bands that I like. Way too advanced for me, and just too much in general. This is the kind of band who see music as a playground where you can be how creative you want. While others are satisfied with a sand castle, they build a whole city. And things like that might impress some of you, but not me. As I have said a few times before through the years: If you don't have any good songs, it doesn't help how good and creative you are.
And just as I have not complained enough already, suddenly there's somebody who tap dance, which is followed by some latino music (I hate that shit). I was already angry at all and nothing (as I use to be), so this shit didn't exactly make me happier, rather the other way around.
frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

KHYMERA: Master Of Illusions - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
KHYMERA started out as an alliance between Italian producer/musician Daniele Liverani and then KANSAS singer Steve Walsh, but developed into a regular musical project when bassist and producer Dennis Ward (MAGNUM, PINK CREAM 69) entered the fold. Dennis always sang background vocals with his bands, so he felt more than ready and willing to take over the lead vocals in KHYMERA. The band has been on hiatus for some time, but are now back with a new album.
4 years has past, but musically the new album follows the logical progression of the musical path that was started when Dennis joined the project. It's an extremely melodic, but yet strong, release that they have made.
frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

HAREM SCAREM: Change The World - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
After a 5-year hiatus HAREM SCAREM were back in 2013, and re-record "Mood Swings". They have since then constantly delivered new albums.
"Change The World" might not do as the title says, as it's hardly miles away from what they use to do, but it's still a damned good hard rock album. There's no doubt about that. So if you're looking for powerful melodic hard rock, then this is an album for you.
HAREM SCAREM have been a band for 30 years, but they sound like they are on the top of their career on this album. And that might be the reason why I don't have that much else to add about this album..
haremscarem.net   frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: 40th Anniversary Agents Of Fortune - CD/DVD, LP, Blu-ray
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Yet another album with the same old hits. It looks like it's actually possible to sell the same songs over and over again, and especially when it's different versions on each album. But I wonder how many who actually buy all these re-releases and live albums that they release with this veterans right now. I get a feeling that it's just the hardcore fans who must have everything that buy all these records.
Anyway, it's hardly bad though, and I really like these songs.
This was filmed and recorded when the band celebrated the 40th anniversary of their album "Agents Of Fortune", which was performed in its entirety at an exclusive concert for the Audience Music Network on Monday April 18, 2016 at Red Studios in Hollywood, CA in front of a lucky little audience of invited guests. As a special guest, founding member Albert Bouchard appears on guitar and vocals on selected tracks.
"Agents Of Fortune" was BLUE ÖYSTER CULT's 4th album, and it was released in 1976. It was actually their first album with any hits, and became a big succees.
blueoystercult.com   frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: Heaven Forbid - Album reissue
(Frontiers Music Srl)
"Heaven Forbid" is the 13th studio album by American hard rock veterans BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, and it was originally released on March 24, 1998 in Europe. This was their first studio album with new material in 10 years. Science fiction author John Shirley contributed heavily to the album, writing lyrics for all except 2 original songs. A live version of the track "In Thee" was included as well.
Not that I have heard this album before, but this is a really good album that you absolutely should check out now that it's been re-released. This is the kind of album that is so strong that it deserves more attention.
blueoystercult.com   frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

Allen/Olzon: Worlds Apart - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is actually on the border to pop, if it wasn't for the guitars, because this is very melodic.
Singer Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB) and guitarist/songwriter/producer Magnus Karlsson (PRIMAL FEAR, MAGNUS KARLSSON'S FREE FALL) have previously collaborated on 3 critically acclaimed albums where Russell dueted with Norwegian singer Jorn Lande. After a break in their collaboration on said albums, where Timo Tolkki stepped in for an album, Magnus has returned to the fold. But this time Russell and Magnus welcome Anette Olzon (The DARK ELEMENT, ex-NIGHTWISH) to the fold as Allen's vocal partner.
They say that if you like Allen/Lande's first 3 albums, but also DELAIN, WITHIN TEMPTATION, NIGHTWISH, and similar (but with a slightly heavier edge), then this is something for you.
frontiers.it
Published: March 31, 2020

LIVE BURIAL: Unending Futility - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: April 3, 2020)
This is a death metal jaw bang that you won't forget so easily. They grind down the best parts of classic death metal from all over the world, and the sound they get is so old-school that you will think it's 1991 instead of 2020. So as you probably have figured out by now, this is a must for all fans of good old death metal.
LIVE BURIAL are from the North East of England. They have previously released 1 demo, 1 EP and 1 album.
liveburialdeath.bandcamp.com   tometal.com
Published: March 30, 2020

FORNDOM: Faþir - Album
(Nordvis Produktion - Release date: April 3, 2020)
What a sleeping pill! It sounds like I have got yet another lullaby record. It's very soft and melancholy soundscapes. Some kind of atmospheric folk music that actually has nothing to do with rock music at all.
Sure, it could have been good even though it isn't rock. But unfortunately I just get so tired when I listen to this....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
FORNDOM is a solo project with Ludvig Swärd. Somebody called Jayn H. (DARKHER) guest on vocals. He seems to have a live band though, as he was supposed to go on a European tour in April (I'm pretty sure it's canceled for obvious reasons).
forndom.com   nordvis.com
Published: March 30, 2020

FAKE NAMES: Brick - Single
(Epitaph Records)
FAKE NAMES is a new punk rock supergroup with Brian Baker (MINOR THREAT, DAG NASTY, BAD RELIGION), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., EMBRACE, ONE LAST WISH), Dennis Lyxzén (REFUSED, The INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY, INVSN), and Johnny Temple (GIRLS AGAINST BOYS, SOULSIDE).
The band first came to form in early 2016, when Brian and Michael met up at Hampton's Brooklyn home to play music together, with no intentions beyond possibly writing a song or 2. They ended up writing a handful of songs that day, and then closed out the session with a spontaneous decision to start a band. Bassist became Johnny Temple, a fellow classmate from their elementary school. Later that year, at Chicago's Riot Fest, they decided to recruit Dennis Lyxzén from REFUSED as their singer.
Now they will release their self titled debut album on May 8, and this is the first single. It's what you could call a classic punk rock anthem, complete with chant-along chorus and revolution-minded lyrics. And this might actually be the best and most interesting that I have heard with Mr. Lyxzén on vocals since The INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY (which was many years ago). I really look forward to hear that album.
youtu.be/PYTH06w87Ng
Published: March 29, 2020

CONFESS: Burn 'em All - Album
(Street Symphonies Records/Burning Minds Music Group)
CONFESS is a Swedish sleaze/hard rock band, and this is their third album. They seems to know what they are doing and how to make good songs. I might not hear a super hit on this album, but sometimes it's not so far away from that. This is simply a really good party album that fans of other Swedish bands, like CRASHDÏET, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR etc., should like a lot.
For some reason I could not find that much information about them, so I don't have much else to add.
confess.se   burningmindsgroup.com/street-symphonies
Published: March 29, 2020

BOB MALMSTRÖM/TVÄRNITAD - Split 7" EP
(Elitbolaget)
BOB MALMSTRÖM continue to celebrate their 10-year anniversary with the second split EP out of 3, this time with the Swedish hardcore/punk band TVÄRNITAD on the other side.
BOB MALMSTRÖM gives us 2 songs. The first song, "Jag älskar att supa" (I love to drink) is pretty fast, but with a catchy chorus, and features a guest apperance from Anni Lötjönen (HUORA). Their second song is "Större än gud" (Bigger than God), which is heavier, but at the same time more epic.
TVÄRNITAD tear off 4 tracks, but they are all pretty short and intense stuff, but yet catchy somehow. These 4 tracks are said to be about drinking and related activities.
Well, all songs on this EP are good stuff, so there's nothing to complain about. You check this out. Simple as that.
bobmalmstrom.bandcamp.com   tvrnitad.bandcamp.com   elitbolaget.com
Published: March 29, 2020

DEEP PURPLE: Throw My Bones - Single
(earMUSIC)
The old men in DEEP PURPLE refuse to give up after all these years, and a new album, titled "Whoosh! (their 21st studio album!), will be released on June 12. And here's a taste of that.
Somehow they seems to sound so different this time that I can't even remember the song afterwards. But o.k., it could also be because I have very much to listen to right now. There's nothing that I have heard from their back catalog that I can compare this song with, so you simply have to listen for yourself to figure out if you think it's good or not, because I can't really decide.
deeppurple.com
Published: March 28, 2020

PRESSURE: Osårbar - Single
(Self released?)
Bad sound quality and somebody who is singing in the southern Swedish dialect "Skånska", but they are from Stockholm (where they have a totally different dialect). They say that lyrics, heaviness and feelings are in focus. What they play is some kind of hard rock.
PRESSURE formed in 2008 as a cover/party band, but will now release their debut album, "Vad du ser är vad du får". This is the first single.
pressure.band
Published: March 28, 2020

The PSYCHEDELIC FURS: You'll Be Mine - Single
(Cooking Vinyl)
The PSYCHEDELIC FURS will release their first album in nearly 30 years on May 1. "You'll Be Mine" is the second single from the new album, and there will be more singles before the album is released.
This band released 7 albums between 1980 to 1991, but since a few years they are back again. They have a unique sound, which gives them originality. There's a dynamic drive in this song that makes me like it. I don't have a clue who I should compare them with, because as I said, their sound is unique. But people who like catchy rock should give them a try.
Published: March 28, 2020

TRANSPORT LEAGUE: Black Hole Sun - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: March 27, 2020)
Swedish metal band TRANSPORT LEAGUE are doing a cover of SOUNDGARDEN's old classic "Black Hole Sun". I really like the original version, but TRANSPORT LEAGUE's version is really good too. So there's obviously no reason to not check this out.
Well, there's actually not much else to add. Also check out their latest album, "A Million Volt Scream", which is also very good.
facebook.com/transportleague   mightymusic.dk
Published: March 28, 2020