VINTERLAND: Welcome My Last Chapter (re-issue)
Black Lodge Records on Feb. 4 - CD, LP, Digital
This album was recorded at Unisound Studios in 1995, and it has now been remastered by the legendary Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH, NIGHTINGALE etc) for a re-release of the album.
This is actually the only album that Swedish band VINTERLAND released. And what they deliver is classic melodic black metal the good old Swedish way. It's ice cold and raw, yet catchy thanks to the melodic guitars. And this is not so bad at all. So if you have not heard this album before, then you should really give this a chance.

VALIDOR: Full Triumphed
Symmetric Records on Feb. 2 - CD, Cassette, Digital
It's not such a wild guess that these guys have been listening to MANOWAR. So if you like that band, then this could really be something for you. But there's also a few other influences in the same style. They mention VIRGIN STEELE, BATHORY, ICED EARTH, RUNNING WILD and BLIND GUARDIAN for example. For some reason they want to call this "blood metal", which sounds very funny. But what you get is epic heavy metal, with stories of war, ancient Greek heroes, Roman gladiators, gods and demons, and other male macho stuff.
VALIDOR released 3 albums between 2011-2016, and re-released their debut album in 2020. This album is only available through the band's Bandcamp page.

FULLMÅNE: Started A War
Self released - Digital single
Seriously? The music is o.k., but the singer can't sing. It sounds so bad that I can't do nothing but laugh. And that's a big problem as it' black metal we talk about, even though it's a more melodic kind of black metal with a twist of punk. And black metal should be very serious.
The sound is raw and primitive, and it's not a totally hopeless song. But it could have been so much better with more harsh and brutal vocals.
FULLMÅNE originally started as a 1-man project in Norway, but is now based in London.

EVIL: Evil Never Dies
From The Vaults - Digital single
After the re-issue of "Evil's Message" and the release of the demo/live collection "Ride To Hell", Danish heavy metal band EVIL went back to the studio to record some new stuff. And "Evil Never Dies" is taken from their upcoming second album.
That they first existed in the 80s can be heard in this song, even though there seems to be modern elements as well, mainly in the production then. It sounds a bit melodic, yet it's powerful enough to be heavy metal.

ARCHITECTS: Impermanence
Epitaph Records - Digital single
ARCHITECTS have announced that they will release "For Those That Wish To Exist at Abbey Road" on March 25, which captures a livestream performance at London's iconic Abbey Road studios, where legends like The BEATLES and PINK FLOYD has recorded. The album features a reimagined orchestral version of their critically acclaimed, UK number 1 album "For Those That Wish To Exist", which aired as a global streaming event on December 11 last year.
To hear metalcore mixed with a symphony orchestra is a different experience, but I'm not so sure if it was such a good idea. Maybe you will like it though?

FLAT FIFTY: Hit With A Swing
Self released - Digital
"FLAT FIFTY is the apartment n. 50 from Bulgakov novel 'The Master and Margarita'. In the novel it's the place where the devil resides while visiting Moscow. It is a kind of bizarre zone where strange creatures meet... and that's the musical meaning too", says the band in their biography. The band comes from Venice, Italy, and their music is some kind of kind power pop/garage rock that they describe like a crossover between FRANZ FERDINAND, The HIVES and The KINKS.
This 3-track EP is entirely inspired by the baseball game, and comes from the collaboration with Metros (Venice baseball team), who asked the band to reinterpret the hymn "Take me out to the ball game".
I like what I hear. It's catchy and melodic, but can also be cool. You should absolutely check them out.
FLAT FIFTY has previously released a 5-track EP, "DiscoKills".

BREFORTH: Reset My Sanity
Metalapolis Records - Digital single
MAD MAX guitarist Jürgen Breforth is celebrating 40 years in metal, and with the BREFORTH project he returns to his roots.
"Reset My Sanity" is the first single from their debut album. It's a pretty good heavy metal song that is both catchy and powerful at the same time. It sounds a lot like it did back in the 80s, which is something that I like.

BONE GNAWER: Feast Of Flesh / Primal Cuts (re-issues)
MDD Records - CD / CD
BONE GNAWER was originally founded in 2008 as a death metal horror project called REVOLTING, with Kam Lee (MASSACRE) and Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER etc etc). It was a pure studio project until Ronnie Björnström (RIBSPREADER) and Morgan Lie (NAGLFAR) joined the line-up. Then it became a real band, and they changed the name to BONE GNAWER. The band existed from 2001-2015.
"Feast Of Flesh" is their debut album from 2009, and "Primal Cuts" is a compilation from 2014. The band has also released some EPs, a couple of split records and another album, "Cannibal Crematorium" (2015).
Fleshy death metal in the old school is how I describe this. It's heavy and brutal, but hardly slow. They mix classic U.S. death metal with classic death/thrash from the 80s. Good stuff.

Electric Valley Records on Jan. 28 - LP, Digital
This is the third record from these Brazilian heavy riffers. Their sound is a throwback to the rock bands of the late 60s/early 70s. But they put their own twist on it by mixing heavy psychedelic elements, Latin rythms, classic fuzzy guitars and some blues.
With that mixture they create really good songs, that sometimes are pretty catchy. I think that every fan of retro rock and old hard rock should check out this band.

VR SEX: Victim Or Vixen
Dais Records - Digital single
I can not say that it's a song that engages. It just kind of goes through the head without any lasting damage. The only thing I can remember is that it wasn't so interesting. Not totally useless though.
They describe this as "an energetic piece of acid dripping death rock". But I wonder where that energy is, because I can't hear it. To me this sounds like some kind of post rock from the 80s or something.
The song is taken from the second album, "Rough Dimension", which will be released on March 25. And behind VR SEX is Andrew Clinco (DRAB MAJESTY), who in this case perform under the pseudonym Noel Skum (an anagram for Elon Musk).

The VillainZ: Sexy & Arrogant
WormHoleDeath on Jan. 28 - CD, Digital
The VillainZ was founded in June 2016 by Jess and Nic K., who were both hooked on sex, booze and horror. Their self-titled debut EP came out in early 2017, and now their first full-length is here.
The band comes from Marseille, France, and play a heavy and dark kind of garage rock (or however I should describe it) with explicit lyrics inspired by real-world horror stories, fantasies etc. This might not be something for the politically correct, but if you like cool rock and are not afraid of lyrics about sex and violence, then this is worth a try, because it sure ain't bad.
Now every moment on this album might not be so inspiring, but I guess it fulfills some kind of function that I have not figured out yet.

GLOVES OFF: Life... And Everything After
Upstate Records on Jan. 28 - LP, CD, Digital
GLOVES OFF hailing from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and this is their second album. They play a heavy kind of metallic hardcore. The metal riffs are heavy, while the vocals is aggressive. Fans of 90s hardcore/metal should be interested in this.
The 4 first songs on this album has previously been released as a EP in March 2020. The other 5 songs are brand new though.

VVORSE: Kurjien Elegia
Off Records - Digital single
Finnish band VVORSE play neo-crust/hardcore, and this really kicks ass.
The band was founded in 2014 in Jyväskylä, and they have so far released 2 EPs and 1 album. A second album, "Kurjien Elegia", will be released on January 28.
Let's just say that if you're into crust punk, then this is something for you.

Max Navarro: Pretty Miseries
Cherry Lips Records
"Pretty Miseries" is the fifth studio album from Italian/Canadian rocker Max Navarro. And on this album he celebrates his first 15 years as a musician. He has re-recorded 7 old songs, but there's also 2 new songs.
What we get here is pretty melodic "hard" rock, and it sounds very good to me. Just listen to something like "Cold Night Love Affair" for example, or why not "Out Of Bounds"? - Really good stuff! A couple of songs might be a little too soft for me though.

Inverse Records - Digital single
This is a new project with former IRON CROSS and LORDI drummer Jimbo Mäkeläinen. Taage Laiho (KILPI, ALTARIA, MAD HATTER'S DEN) and Maya Liittokivi (DEATHLIKE SILENCE) are singing on this single. Guitars are played by Kari Riihimäki and bass by Jari Riitala.
They are said to combine the hookiest elements of modern heavy rock and traditional hard rock, and this is their first single, which is taken from their upcoming debut album. To me it sounds like catchy and melodic hard rock straight from the 80s. And this song is not bad at all. You should really check it out.

DARE: Born In The Storm
Legend Records - Digital single
British classic rock group DARE has released a new single, called "Born In The Storm". They are one of the most respected and innovative melodic rock bands working today, and have gained cult status among AOR fans throughout the world. A new album, "Road To Eden", will be released on April 1.
This is a very good song according to me, so I don't think that fans of melodic rock will be dissapointed when they hear this. In other words: Check out!

Zinny Zan: Heartbreak City
Wild Kingdom - Digital single
Former EASY ACTION and SHOTGUN MESSIAH singer Zinny Zan (real name: Bo Stagman) is rocking again!
Zinny has teamed up with former SKINTRADE members Stefan Bergström and Hogge Calmroth, and the band has just signed to Wild Kingdom, and will release an album, "Lullabies For The Masses", on May 20. "Heartbreak City" is a first taste of that album.
Well, this is absolutely not bad at all. A catchy and energetic rocker that makes me want to hear more. So let's hope that they have more of this.

THORIUM: War Is Coming
Emanzipation Productions - Digital single
Danish death metallers THORIUM has been around since 1997, and are now going to release their fifth album, "Danmark", where the song "War Is Coming" is taken from.
This song is heavy, but yet powerful and raw. Pretty good, but I don't think that I would want a whole album with this.

The RASMUS: Jezebel
Playground Music - Digital single
Rock? This is not rock! This is pop. I could possibly call it soft rock, but that doesn't really matter as this wasn't interesting at all to me.
The RASMUS is a multi-platinum selling band from Finland, and this song was co-written with and produced by the legendary Desmond Child (KISS, AEROSMITH, BON JOVI, Alice Cooper etc etc). The group will perform "Jezebel" and participate for the first time at UMK (Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu), the music competition that selects Finland's entries for the Eurovision Song Contest, on February 26. And yes, this actually sounds like something that fits perfect for that.

SHOT DOWN TWICE: Shot Down Twice
Self Released on Jan. 21 - Digital
SHOT DOWN TWICE is a Canadian hard rock band based out of Hamilton, Ontario, who formed in the summer of 2019. This is their second EP.
Their sound is like classic rock with some extra power and energy, plus a modern touch. Guitar rock with powerful female vocals is a other way to describe it. I don't know how to describe it better than that, but these 6 tracks are really good, so you should give them a try.

SUNCZAR: Bearer Of Light
Argonauta Records on Jan. 21 - LP, CD, Digital
German-based sludge and stoner metal band SUNCZAR released their debut EP in 2020. Now they are ready to release their first full-length. And that album is full of heavy riffs that crush. Yet it's dynamic, and not just riff after riff. They are actually going somewhere with their songs. Yes, it's almost catchy, and I like it.
This is something for those of you who like it heavy without being monotonous, and especially fans of sludge and stoner.

SILVERLANE: Inside Internal Infinity
Drakkar Entertainment on Jan. 28 - CD, Digital
I don't really know how they came up with the idea to begin the album with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", but that doesn't last for more than 38 seconds before the metal party begins.
The roots of this band goes back to 1995, when 3 siblings from Franconia, Germany formed a garage band. They released 2 albums (2008 and 2010) before it became quiet due to family life. Now they are back again though, and they have recruited a new frontman: Tom Klossek, as well as a new drummer: Basti Kirchdörfer.
SILVERLANE mixes powerful metal with symphonic elements. It all sounds modern. The vocals is melodic, while the guitars are heavy. Most of all it's a powerful and melodic metal album with mainly good songs.

Stickman Records - LP, CD, Digital
Well, this was hardly a party to listen to. The first track last for as long as 19:52 minutes, and it's more or less just a atmospheric soundscape without any vocals or voices at all. Might work fine when you meditate, but very boring to listen to when you do soemthing else. The other 3 tracks are between 6-8 minutes, but it's just a continuation of the first track you could say. So what we get here is actually not rock music at all, but something that I would call meditative soundscapes. They call it melodic krautrock/psych rock though.
As the title says, this is the 7th album from this Danish trio.

GRAVES FOR GODS: The Oldest Gods
Sleeping Church Records on Jan. 21 - CD, Digital
I almost feel a discomfort when I listen to this album. It's just 4 tracks, but they last for an eternity each, and they are so heavy. Total darkness. Absolutely not something for me.
Now there wasn't that much information about this depressive band. There was actually no information at all to tell you the truth (maybe they want to be anonymous?). But it sounds like they are in the darkest corner of doom metal, if that tells you something. People who like it shit heavy will probably get an erection or become really wet.

BUZZARD CANYON: Drunken Tales Of An Underachiever...The Saga Continues
Argonauta Records on Jan. 28 - LP, CD, Digital
Connecticut's BUZZARD CANYON play a bluesy and dirty, but also heavy, kind of rock music, with both male and female vocals. Sometimes it's a bit more punky and raw though, so this is not one of those boring bands without any variation. Most of these 9 tracks are good, and there's just a few that are less interesting.
The band started in 2013, with the simple goal to play in your face rock n roll and have fun while doing it. Their debut album was released in 2016, but it's not until now that their second album is here, so they don't work fast.
I would guess that this band could work for various fans of rock music, but most of all for fans of stoner rock, alternative rock and heavy rock in general.

The QUILL: Live, New, Borrowed, Blue
Metalville Records on Jan. 28 - CD
Swedish heavy rockers The QUILL have been digging in the archives, and this is what they found..
They open with an extended version of "Keep On Moving" that is really good. Then comes a cover of "S.O.S (Too Bad)" by AEROSMITH, which is good too, even though they could have done it better (they put their own twist on it). But after that comes "Children Of The Sun", and that's not such an existing song, and too long. They fix that with a IRON MAIDEN cover, "Where Eagles Dare", and a live version of "Keep It Together", which both sounds really good.
They continue with "Mount Everest" (by NOVEMBER I think), "Burning Tree" and "Frozen Over" - All pretty cool songs. The last track is a live version of "Hole In My Head" by NINE INCH NAILS, which is heavy, but good? The only funny thing with that song is that the singer start to sing on BLACK SABBATH's "Fairies Wear Boots" somewhere in the middle. Another too long song.
"Keep On Moving", "Children Of The Sun" and "Burning Tree" are taken from the sessions of their latest studio album, "Earthrise", which was released in March last year. The first of these 3 is 1 and a half minutes longer than the album version. The other 2 were left off the album mainly due to time constraints.
The covers was recorded in the late 90s for some tribute albums, which are all out of print today. And the 2 live tracks comes from their show at Sweden Rock Festival in 2019.

HARPYIE: Blutbann
Metalville Records on Jan. 28 - CD, Limited Fan Box
Could some Medieval/folk metal in German be of interest to you? Then HARPYIE might be something that you like. They give us 12 stories about vampires, murderers and ghosts, love, death and fear. But also about cohesion and overcoming your own demons.
The theme of the songs is darker and more evil this time. And the sound is a bit rougher. They have thrown out the violin and replaced it with a hurdy-gurdy (whatever that is?).
This is their 7th studio album. It's hard and heavy, but yet melodic. Not so bad.

FREAKS AND CLOWNS: We Set The World On Fire
Metalville Records on Jan. 28 - CD
FREAKS AND CLOWNS was founded by ASTRAL DOORS member Johan Lindstedt (drums) and singer Chrille Wahlgren, when they met each other in a studio in Borlänge, Sweden in 2017. They have now come to their third studio album, where they pay homage to the heavy metal heroes of the 80s. It's powerful and straightforward, with catchy choruses and hooks. In other words a damn good album, even though 13 tracks might be a few too many.
The group also features Mathias Henrysson on guitar, as well as ASTRAL DOORS members Mats Gesar (guitar) and Ulf Lagerström (bass).

SPACE PARASITES: The Spellbound Witch
Iron Shield Records on Jan. 21 - CD
SPACE PARASITES was founded in early 2017 in Berlin, Germany. It took a few years, but in September 2020 they had finally found the final member for the band. By that time they had already released a demo EP (2018) and a self-released record (2019).
"The Spellbound Witch" is a more professionally recorded and produced album than their previous works, where they continue to develop their sound to something they call "witch metal". It's actually a mix of heavy and thrash metal that we get here, but with their own twist then. And it sounds really good to me. This is absolutely a album worth checking out.

REDSTACKS: Revival Of The Fittest
Pure Steel Records on Jan. 21 - CD
This is the debut album from this Dutch band, which was founded in 2018. The album features several vocalists, such as Laura Guldemond (BURNING WITCHES) and Jan Willem Ketelaers (AYREON) just to name a few. And the music is mainly old classic hard rock from the 70s. So in other words good stuff.
Not that REDSTACKS sounds exactly like them, but I would guess that fans of something like RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE or WHITESNAKE could like this.

HEIR APPARENT: Graceful Inheritance (re-issue)
Hammerheart Records on Jan. 21 - CD, LP
Lots of great songs on this album! "Tear Down The Walls", "Hands Of Destiny" and "Nightmare (Faces In The Dark)" is just a few of them all.
HEIR APPARENT might not be the most well-known heavy metal band. They released a few records in the 1980s, and this album was originally released in 1986. The original CD and LP are pricy nowadays, so it's nice that Hammerheart Records re-release this album, because it's fucking excellent!
It's a very varied material that we get on this record; mid-paced, up-tempo, speed and power metal, and even dramatic and atmospheric parts. If you're a fan of early IRON MAIDEN and early QUEENSRŸCHE, then you can't live without this album.

SARCASM: Stellar Stream Obscured
Hammerheart Records on Jan. 28 - CD, LP
Swedish death metallers SARCASM originally formed in 1987, and released some records from the early to mid-90s. They did a short reunion in 1997, but it wasn't until 2015 that they were back for real.
"Stellar Stream Obscured" is a concept-based album in 2 chapters. We get 8 tracks of pretty brutal death metal, even though they slow down once in a while and almost sounds melodic. This is actually not so bad. You should give it a try.

SIR REG: Open The Pubs
Despotz Records - Digital single
SIR REG are back! And it's a fast little bastard that they have made here. Celtic punk when it's as best.
The members are obviously not happy with the restrictions due to the pandemic, and especially not closed pubs. And that's not so hard to understand if you have listened to them before. I would guess that at least 50-60%, maybe more, of their lyrics is about drinking alcohol. So their messagge is clear: "Open The Pubs".
The song is the first single from their upcoming 6th album, "Kings Of Sweet Feck All", which will be released in the Spring. I really look forward to hear that album, because SIR REG are 1 of the best bands we have in this genre here in Sweden.

SLEIGHER: Seasons Greetings In The Abyss
Self released - Digital single
Oh, looks like I had forgotten this one.. Sorry.
Members of HAKEN, DREAM THEATER, PROTEST THE HERO, CRADLE OF FILTH and INHUMAN CONDITION have teamed up to make a progressive Holiday version of SLAYER's old classic "Seasons In The Abyss". But they have changed the lyrics a bit, and they use sleigh bell as well as tuba. And just if that wasn't enough, there's also a keyboard solo. So yes, this is very different from the original song.
Christmas might be over, but if you want something different and like metal, then try this.

GUERILLA TOSS: Cannibal Capital
Sub Pop - Digital single
They said that this was punk, but it's not. I don't really know what I should call it, but I guess it's supposed to be art-rock, so I go for that. It wasn't good at all though, so to me it's rather fart rock that sounds more like pop.
It seems like this is their first single. I would not cry if it would have been their last, but they will actually release an album, "Famously Alive", on March 25.

Epitaph Records - Digital single
Modern pop metal is what I call this. Not my thing. The song comes from the band's forthcoming digital EP, titled "Neon Zombie" (release date to be announced later).
FALLING IN REVERSE is said to be a platinum-selling rock band, which doesn't surprise me at all. This song has already got over 3.4 million streams in about a week, so what is my opinion worth?

LIONHEART: Second Nature (reissue)
Metalville Records on Jan. 21 - CD
In 2017 LIONHEART returned with the new album "Second Nature", which was released in Japan and Europe. But in 2020 the European deal lapsed, and the album disappeared from the market outside of Japan. And that's the reason why Metalville decided to re-release the album worldwide. The album has been re-mastered and also features 2 bonus tracks, as well as a track that was only available on the Japanese version of the album.
This is simply the best kind of melodic 80s hard rock that you can get. Think of something like Gary Moore (r.i.p) when he still played hard rock, and PHENOMENA but more powerful. If you're a fan of that, then this album is a must! And there's not much else to add there.
LIONHEART was founded in 1980, and features people who have played with bands like IRON MAIDEN, UFO, PRAYING MANTIS, MSG etc.

BULLET RIDE: At The Gates Of Hell
Music-Records on Jan. 21 - CD, Digital
French heavy/thrash metal band BULLET RIDE formed in 2014. The 2 first years they played covers, but started to create their own material in 2016. The recordings of the debut album was done in August 2020, and it will now finally be released.
It's a powerful but yet melodic kind of metal that we get on this album, and they have many good songs among these 10 tracks. This could absolutely be worth to check out.

ABYSSUS: Death Revival
Transcending Obscurity Records on Jan. 21 - LP, CD, Digital
Greek band ABYSSUS play classic death metal with elements of thrash metal. It might not be something unique that they do, but they kick ass and they do it really good.
Their sound is filthy and raw, as well as powerful and heavy. But the vocals is not the usual growl, but more like some kind of aggressive, harsh voice instead.
We get 7 tracks on this album, and you should check them out of course. I don't have much else to say..

Vic Records on Jan. 21 - CD
Well, the title says exactly what this is - a collection of demos. These recordings are from 1987 and 1988.
The band POLTERGEIST was founded in 1987 out of the ashes of Swiss speed metal pioneers CARRION. After these 2 demos, they released 3 albums between 1989-1993. In 2013 they reformed the band and released 2 more albums in 2016 and 2020.
The music here is thrash/speed metal of the good old kind, and it's absolutely not bad at all for being their first demos. This could definitely be worth spending some money on.
The only thing I can complain about is that the drums are too loud on the second demo. That actually makes it a bit irritating to listen to.

BLOOD: Dysangelium (reissue)
Vic Records on Jan. 21 - CD
The intro is building up to something epic, but what do I get?
BLOOD was formed by 4 Germans in March 1986 as a fun noisecore band. They recorded 3 demos before a fifth member joined the guys on drums, and the songs got more structured and the music became serious. A debut album, "Impulse To Destroy", was released in 1989 through Wild Rags.
In 2003 they had come to their 7th full length, "Dysangelium", which will now be re-released. Not really sure why though, but we all have different taste.
They give us as much as 21 tracks of death/grind. Most of the tracks are just around 1 to 1 and a half minutes though, so the terror is delivered in small portions. But this is far away from the worst that I have heard, and that's always something I guess.

ACHERON: Satanic Victory (reissue)
Vic Records on Jan. 21 - CD
Vocalist/bassist/songwriter Vincent Crowley (ex-NOCTURNUS) formed ACHERON in 1988. 3 demos was recorded, and then it was time for their debut album, "Rites of the Black Mass", which was released in 1992, and recorded at the legendary Morrisound Studios with Scott Burns (DEATH, DEICIDE, CANNIBAL CORPSE etc). Shortly after that a 2-track EP was recoded with 2 new members. A second full length, "Lex Talionis", was also released before they recorded this 6-track EP, "Satanic Victory", in 1994.
On this re-release we also get the 2-track EP, "Alla Xul", as a bonus. This is pretty heavy death metal, but I would not call it doom/death, even if it might actually be on the border to that. But when we comes to "Prayer of Hell" it suddenly goes faster, so they are obviously not heavy all the time.

Icons Creating Evil Art - Digital single
First it's so slow that I just think no. Then it's yes as they start to rock.
What we get here is some kind of bubbelgum pop punk. Never heard the band before (as far as I can remember), but this song is absolutely not bad at all, so it could be interesting to hear some more.
LAZY QUEEN is a quartet from Oslo, Norway. A new EP, "A Human Reaction", will be released on March 18.

So Cal Records/Alliance Entertainment - CD, Digital
Well, when you can't play with your band due to a worldwide pandemic, then you can always call your friends and have some fun with a few covers. And that's exactly what drummer Joel Maitoza (24-7 SPYZ, SEVENTRAIN, SHOCKHEAD) did in early 2020. And among the friends that participate on this album are Andrew Freeman (LAST IN LINE, LYNCH MOB, OFFSPRING), John Gallagher (RAVEN), Jaimie Scott (TYKETTO), Joshua Jones (POSTER CHILD), Rick Skatore (24-7 SPYZ), and a few more..
It's a wild mixture of songs that they have recorded here. They start with "Carry On Wayward Son" by KANSAS, and continue with "Hell Bent For Leather" by JUDAS PRIEST. Then they continue with a couple of songs that I didn't reconize (no info about who the original artists are), but it sounds very melodic anyway, almost like pop, but with heavy rock guitars. One of them is a bit funny with all that "uh", so I got something to laugh at.
After that we get "Rock Candy" by MONTROSE, "Turning Japanese" by The VAPORS and "Shapes Of Things" by The YARDBIRDS. And then they end with 2 more unknown songs to me. So you can hardly complain about too little variation here.
The songs I like best are the songs that I have heard before, but especially "Shapes Of Things" (which Gary Moore did a cover of in the 80s) and "Hell Bent For Leather".

Self released on Jan. 14 - Digital single
BRANDY AND THE BUTCHER released a EP in 2018, and their full-length debut in August 2020. In spring 2022 they will release their second album, and this song is a taste of that.
They have been described as a retro loving hard rock band. But they take inspiration from both punk (such as The CRAMPS) and traditional metal. High energy and dynamic rythms, as well as a distinctive rock n roll edge mixed with seductive vocals, produces a raw and dirty sound. And I would say that this song have a little bit of all that. It might not be a hit song, but it sure ain't bad.

WIEGEDOOD: There's Always Blood At The End Of The Road
Century Media on Jan. 14 - CD, 2LP, Digital
Here we have a new genre called "psycho extreme metal". It's a very noisey and chaotic, almost industrial, kind of black metal. I would guess that not too many will like this. But the few who will like this will probably worship this band.
As you probably have figured out already I'm among the people who are too weak for this. This is so hysterically that it makes me nervous. It actually sounds like some maniacs that has just escaped from the madhouse. And if you think that sounds like something positive, then I guess this is something for you my enemy.
This Belgian trio formed in 2014. They have released 3 albums between 2015-2018. And now they are back with the soundtrack to the end of the world.

InsideOut Music on Jan. 14 - CD, LP/CD, Digital
TOUNDRA is an all instrumental post-rock band from Spain. Luckily they are not of the boring kind though. This is neither a guitar hero thing or something heavy where they repeat the same shit for an eternity. No, this is actually music, and it's not so bad at all.
This is the 8th album from TOUNDRA (if we include the album they did as EXQUIRLA). It's said to be unlike anything previously found in their catalog, and is divided in 2 sides - Side A consist of a 22-minute long track in 3 pieces, while Side B have 4 tracks.
You can expect at least 2 things when you listen to this: energy and melody. This band is so much more than that though.

CASE 39: Fucked Up Forever
Self-released - CD
CASE 39 is a German trio, and this is their second full-length. Their music is a raw and dirty kind of hard rock n roll. Sometimes it's almost punk. But they can just as well be soft and clean. I think that this can fit both rockers and punks, as well as those who like more dirty hard rock.
For some reason there's as much as 15 tracks here, so maybe they had a little too much fun during the lockdown. Luckily most of the songs are good stuff, so there's not that much to complain about. You should really check this out.

CARR JAM 21: Carr Jam 21
Self released - 12" EP, Cassette, Digital
Dregen solo at Pustervik
Eric Carr (born: Paul Charles Caravello) joined KISS in 1980 as replacement for their original drummer Peter Criss. He did a very good job, but was underestimated as songwriter in the band. And not even when he died on November 24, 1991 he got the appreciation he deserved, because a guy called Freddie Mercury (QUEEN) just happened to die on the same day.
30 years after his death, some fans and musicians from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and USA got together to celebrate him under the name "Carr Jam 21". What we get here is 2 songs written by Eric Carr, as well as 2 KISS related songs. The Carr songs are in the more melodic hard rock tradition, and my favorite of those 2 is "Can You Feel It?". The KISS related songs are "Love Her All I Can" and "Snowblind", and they are also really good. These guys are simply doing a really good job here, so you have to check this out.
The people behind the project are: Dregen (The HELLACOPTERS, BACKYARD BABIES), Gustav Kronfelt (video producer), Jolle Atlagic (ELECTRIC BOYS, The QUILL), Jesper Lindgren (VELVET INSANE), Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT), Åge Sten Nielsen (WIGWAM), Philip Shouse (ACCEPT, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons), Jesper Binzer (D-A-D) and Martin Ekelund (BONAFIDE).
The EP might already be sold out on vinyl and cassette. But this is so good that it's worth streaming or download.

DIAMOND DOGS: Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous
Wild Kingdom Records on Jan. 21 - 2CD, 2LP, Digital
DIAMOND DOGS might be one of the best rock n roll/glam rock bands that we have here in Sweden. But a double album with as much as 24 tracks? I think they have been a little too creative lately, because that is almost too much candy at once. Just almost though. I don't really know how they do it, but most of these songs are damn good. And there's variation between them as well. I can hear 50s rock n roll, 70s glam rock, The BEATLES and The ROLLING STONES for example. It's often catchy and happy. This is a true rock n roll party. I'm really impressed!
I wonder how many times that he end a song with a "WOW!". Because it happens several times on this album (and not just in the end of the songs either, haha).

Self released on Jan. 14 - CD, Digital
Husband and wife duo TURKEY VULTURE deliver a new 4-track EP, where they play some kind of heavy punk rock with a pinch of metal. Absolutely not bad at all. It reminds me a little of grunge actually, so if you like that then this could be of interest for you. But I would guess that fans of alternative punk and metal could like this too.
The 2 members are based in Connecticut, and this is their third EP.

Heavy Psych Sounds Records on Jan. 14 - LP, CD, Digital
A 3-day jam session in November 2019 have so far resulted in a EP in October 2020, and this full-length album (there's hours of material left though). The band features a lineup of players from the American stoner/desert rock scene: Bob Balch (FU MANCHU), Gary Arce (YAWNING MAN), Bill Stinson (YAWNING MAN) and Tony Reed (MOS GENERATOR).
Side A of the LP consist of 4 tracks - 2:54-5:12 minutes, while the B-side is the title track - 19:46 minutes. The jam sessions and improvisations have been made into real songs with lyrics, so what we get is what I would call heavy desert rock n roll in the old school way. And this is absolutely not bad at all, so you should give it a try.
The title track also features Reeves Gabriel (The CURE, David Bowie) on guitar and Per Wiberg (OPETH, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS) on synthesizer. That track is a bit more epic and almost psychedelic sometimes.

DESCENT: Order Of Chaos
Redefining Darkness Records/Brilliant Emperor/Caligari Records on Jan. 14 - CD, LP, Cassette
Grinding death metal from Brisbane, Australia is what we get here. In other words pretty intense death metal, but with a heavy sound. They might not be the easiest band to swallow, as they are a bit technical as well. But if you give them a few chances, then you might actually find out that it's not so bad after all. I would not say that I have found a new favorite band though.

WOLFBASTARD: Hammer The Bastards
Clobber Records on Jan. 14 - LP, CD, Cassette, Digital
Yeah! Raw and dirty black metal with a big dose of d-beat crust punk, made by some violent and drunk English men. Damn good! Think DARKTHRONE and VENOM mixed with DISCHARGE and MOTÖRHEAD, and you're almost there. It's full speed ahead and a big fuck off - You must hear this!
WOLFBASTARD hailing from Manchester in the UK, and features members of FOETAL JUICE and BURIAL. "Hammer The Bastards" is their third album, which consist of 13 tracks. Most of them are pretty short, approximately 1 and a half to 3 and a half minutes.

WEAPONRY: Everwinding Slaughter
Xtreem Music on Jan. 11 - CD, LP, Cassette
WEAPONRY was born in early 2021 when Jo Steel (ICE WAR, APHRODITE, EXPUNGED) wrote a bunch of songs for a new unnamed project. In spring of the same year he decided to show Dave Rotten (AVULSED, HOLYCIDE, CHRIST DENIED) what he had recorded, and since a friend of Jo which was supposed to do vocals never replied, Dave was asked to join. Then Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, MASSACRE, PUTREVORE etc etc) wrote the lyrics, and Dan Swanö mastered the album.
These 10 songs are raw and dirty death/crust with catchy riffs. There's probably influences from bands like COMECON, DOOM, NIHILIST, DISCHARGE, AUTOPSY, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, MASTER, UNCURBED and similar stuff. So it should fit perfect for both death metallers and crust punks. I like it anyway, but I don't know if that's anything to go by - Use your own ears instead, and enjoy the intensity.

WAR & SIN: The War Within
Imperative Music - Digital
WAR & SIN is a Canadian project based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They play progressive rock, and have done that together since 2016. All 3 are experienced musicians. And that's more or less all I succeeded to figure out about them.
"The War Within" consist of as much as 14 tracks, and is not much of a war, but rather a pretty kind story. They have many good songs among all these tracks, so I don't have much to complain about. They blend many different influences, but I would guess that fans of rock and hard rock from the 70s and 80s could like this.

VOODOMA: Hellbound
Pride & Joy Music on Jan. 14 - CD
VOODOMA is a dark rock band with goth and metal influences, and they are from Düsseldorf in Germany. "Hellbound" is their first album since 2017s "Gotland".
Dark and gothic it is, but as I said already in 2017, the music is also catchy and melodic, and not just heavy and depressive. I really like what I hear on this album. This is 10 great tracks that every fan of dark rock and goth should check out.

Tristan Harders' TWILIGHT THEATRE: Drifting Into Insanity
Pride & Joy Music on Jan. 14 - CD
This is a solo project by German vocalist/guitarist Tristan Harders (TERRA ATLANTICA). The idea for this album came up because he could not play live (due to you should know what by now). The music is said to be very similar to TERRA ATLANTICA's style in the early 2000s, which means melodic power metal with catchy choruses and choirs. This is said to be less dramatic though, and with more personal lyrics.
Most of these 12 tracks are really good stuff. So you should absolutely give him a try.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN': Sudden Impact (re-issue)
AOR Heaven on Jan. 14 - 2CD
This band was originally formed as FREE DELIVERY in early 1985, and comes from Philadelphia. They might not have become as big as CINDERELLA, BRITNEY FOX etc. from the same area, but it seems like their debut album, "Sudden Impact" (1989), have become the most sought after. Their second album, scheduled for release in 1991, got shelved, but was released in 2000. And a third album, "HGR", came out in 2007.
They took the name HIT THE GROUND RUNNIN' in 1986, and got a deal with the recently established Autograph Records (a boutique label linked to BMG). And "Sudden Impact" will now be re-released as a strictly limited double CD, which also includes as much as 10 bonus tracks.
What we get here is pretty typical 80s hard rock. It's catchy and melodic, and far away from a modern production. A pure time capsule you could say. But they had some good songs here at least. Maybe not any hits, but absolutely good enough at least.

Pride & Joy Music on Jan. 14 - CD
I think I have told you the story about this band before, so let's not take that again (check out my old reviews from 2019 or 2020 if you want to know). This is their third album, and if you liked the 2 previous albums, then you will probably like this too.
If you have not heard this band before, then I can tell you that the music that they play is AOR/melodic rock. And they do this very good, and have created another good album. So this is absolutely worth checking out if you like more melodic stuff.

Mike Tramp: You Only Get To Do It Once
Target Records on Jan. 7 - Digital single
Well, former WHITE LION and FREAK OF NATURE singer Mike Tramp sounds just like usual, so don't expect any suprises here. And if you're fine with that, then you will like this. To me it's just o.k. and not much else. I have heard this song too many times now. But why change a winning concept?
"You Only Get To Do It Once" was created exclusively for and is already available there.

JD MILLER: Inside The Night
JD Miller at Stora Torget in Boras Mighty Music on Jan. 7 - Digital single
I don't really know, but this song sounds a bit too much like pop metal to me. That's not what I want to hear from this local (Borås, Sweden) band. I want some good old AOR instead!
It seems like the guys have got some new inspiration lately, so this single can be seen as a new start for the band. I'm not so sure that I like the new direction though..

C.K.O: Are You With Me
Sliptrick Records - CD, Digital
This album is full of classic hard rock and heavy metal. They are often in the hard and heavy league - think ACCEPT and similar. But they can also be more melodic once in a while - think hard rock from the 80s. Sometimes they reminds me of HELIX actually. So it's a good mixture here, and the songs are not bad at all. You should check this out.
C.K.O. comes from Munka-Ljungby, Sweden. ..and I actually don't know much else about them. I would guess that this is their first full-length album though.

HYPERIA: Operation Midnight
Self released - Digital single
HYPERIA were originally formed in Calgary, AB in September 2018, but have since then moved to Vancouver, BC. They have previously released 1 album and 1 EP. A new album, "Silhouettes Of Horror", will be released on March 18.
Their music is melodic thrash metal, with ingredients from both classic heavy metal and power metal. This song is not bad at all. I think that most fans of metal could enjoy this, so give it a try.

EREB ALTOR: Vargtimman
Hammerheart Records on Jan. 14 - CD, 2CD Box, LP
I guess that we can call this epic folk/Viking metal. Vocals is sung both with a harsh blackened voice and clean singing, and the songs are both in English and Swedish.
Some of my favorites here are the opening track, "I Have The Sky", and "Fenris". This is simply a very good album with lots of variation. Sometimes it's melodic, and sometimes almost black metal, but always epic.

Century Media on Jan. 7 - CD, 2LP, Digital
Here's a band that embraces the expression "artistic freedom" with full force. It's progressive, symphonic, extreme, melodic, silent, wild and then some. This album is said to be "a deeper and darker step beyond their expansive, prog-leaning metal scores", and "nothing short of a journey into expression and ambition". And who am I to disagree? Because a deep prog journey it is.
The first track is like a very long (well, 4:44 minutes) silent intro. But then the next song (which is over 14 minutes) begins just as silent as the first song. Then you start to think that it will be like that all the way. But no, there's a smaller bombastic "explosion" here and there and some other stuff as well. This is after all a progressive adventure.
The length of the songs variate a lot. 1 is just 2:41 minutes, while a other piece can be as long as 11:32 or 14:11. Then they end the whole thing with a 4-part thing, which last for something like 20 minutes, and where all the ingredients above are included. Ambitious!

NEEDLESS: The Cosmic Cauldron
UPRISING! Records on Jan. 7 - CD, Digital
Hungarian death metallers NEEDLESS gives us a sci-fi concept album in 10 chapters. It takes almost an hour before we come to the end of this story, but luckily the music is good. And the music that this quintet deliver is an explosive mix of melodic death metal, with progressive structures. Sometimes I can even hear a pinch of black metal. It's often raw and intense without taking the easiest way. A bit ambitious but worth the ride.
NEEDLESS was founded during the winter of 2004 as a home project, but had 10 years later developed to a real band.

Transcending Obscurity Records on Jan. 7 - LP, CD, Digital
This trio consist of former members of Swedish death metallers ENTRAILS. But while that band concentrate entirely on Swedish old school death metal, NECROPHAGOUS blend in some American influences as well.
I'm not such a big fan of the intro and the first song, which is the most technical here. But after that it's party, with lots of great songs after each other. So yes, I think you should give these guys a try. Because it would be stupid to not do that.
It's often full speed ahead here, but there's a couple of heavier songs too.


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