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EVIL EYE: The Inner Flame
Evil Eye - Digital EP
EVIL EYE is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Costa Rica, formed in the end of 2013 by singer Jeremy J.F. Influences comes from classic 80s bands like ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON and DIO. Their debut album, "The Beginning Of The End", was released in 2017. Now they have returned with a 5-track EP, "The Inner Flame".
They might not have the strongest material that I have heard, but it's not bad, and could be worth a try anyway. And the influences seems to be more nowadays, as I can hear some 90s here as well, and then a modern production on top of that.

Beat Butchers - Split MLP, Digital
2 Swedish punk bands has teamed up for a split record, and veteran label Beat Butchers, who has been around for 40 years now, release it.
HYRDA KNEKTAR has since 2011 delivered keyboard-driven punk pieces, which they reinforce with saxophone and sing-along choirs. STRIKT formed a few years ago, and they play a more raw street punk (and I don't mean Oi!, which they used to call street punk in the late 90s/early 2000s).
Both bands kick on all and nothing, and holds nothing back. But there's also songs about everyday life and a self-chosen exclusion. We get 2 new tracks form each band, but also a cover of a song by the other band.
Both these bands are damn good, so if you like Swedish punk then this is a must have. Simple as that. | |

The KILLERFREAKS: Spaghetti Horror And Rotten Stuff
Wanikiya Records - Digital Album
The KILLERFREAKS is a horror punk/metal band from Varese, Italy. They have been active since 2004, so they are hardly a new band. Main inspiration seems to come from bands like KISS, MISFITS and DEATH SS. They have through the years released several demos and 2 albums.
These maniacs presents a crossover of street punk, hard rock and heavy metal. We can find titles like "D.I.L.F. - Dead I'd Like To Fuck%quot;, "Halloween Night" and "Vampires Suck". The songs seems to be made to sing-along to, and are often catchy and good. So it will probably work good as party music.
I would guess that punks will like this more than hard rockers and metal heads. But give it a try no matter what you like. Good music is good music. And if you don't like it, well then you know that.

NASTYVILLE: Livin' In A Mess
Wanikiya Records - Digital Single
This is absolutely not bad at all. I really like this.
NASTYVILLE was born in 2012, and released their first record, "Viva Hell-A", in 2015. They has released 2 more records since then.
This band gives us a heavy and catchy hard rock anthem. It's old school but fresh, with a pinch of street/sleaze rock. Yes, this is something that you really have to check out, and there's not much else to add there.
With some new members, NASTYVILLE is working on new material, with an all new and modern sound. Interesting.. |

NIGHTRAGE: Remains Of A Dead World
Despotz Records on May 31 - CD, LP, Digital
These Greek/Swedish melodic death metal veterans deliver exactly what you can expect. It's in other words another perfect album with a very good mix of the brutal and melodic, which makes this band so great and one of the most interesting of the older bands in this genre. But on the other hand they have been doing this for so long now, that they know how it's supposed to be done.
"Remains Of A Dead World" is the band's 10th album. And as usual fast riffing is mixed with guitar melodies and brutal vocals. This is a must for every fan of melodic death metal. |

Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group on May 31 - CD, Digital
Here's another band that has delivered a couple of good singles (it's just 1 that didn't impress me).
This is their debut album, but the band was actually founded a decade ago under the name ALEX MARI & THE LOVERS. After some line-up changes, they became the trio Alex Mari (MICHELE LUPPI BAND, BAROCK PROJECT, OPHIURA, plus guest appearances as studio backing vocalist with RHAPSODY OF FIRE) on vocals, Gianluca Pisana on drums and backing vocals, and Sebastiano Barbirato on guitar and backing vocals.
NIGHT PLEASURE HOTEL play classic American AOR, and no fan of that should be sad when they hear this album, because this is a really good album with mainly great songs. And I don't think I need to give you any deeper description than that.
Among the guests on this record are people like Michele Luppi (WHITESNAKE), Luca Zabbini (BAROCK PROJECT, PFM), Paolo Caridi (Ellefson-Soto, Reb Beach, Geoff Tate, KRELL), Gianluca Tagliavini (PFM), Roberto Galli (Michele Luppi's HEAVEN, DANGER ZONE, WHEELS OF FIRE) and Iarin Munari (RED CANZIAN, Roberto Vecchioni, Paolo Vallesi). |

ANIMS: Good 'n' Evil
Sneakout Records/Burning Minds Music Group on May 31 - CD, Digital
Their singles have been promising, so there was obviously some hope for a good album. And they sure deliver exactly what I expected.
On this album Francesco Di Nicola (DANGER ZONE, CRYING STEEL, KRELL) is author and co-author of the songs, and plays both the bass guitars and guitars. The arrangement and writing of the drum tracks are done by Paolo Caridi (Ellefson-Soto, Reb Beach, Geoff Tate, Michele Luppi). These 2 has previously been working together on the KRELL album "Deserts". On vocals we find Elle Noir, which is a real talent.
What this band is playing is something that I would describe as melodic and heavy hard rock. They doesn't really sound like everybody else. I guess we can say that it's a timeless sound. Everybody are very professional, and it sounds really good. The female vocals on top of that makes it even better. It's like the material was made for her. This is an album that you really should check out.
"Good 'n' Evil" also gives us 2 previously unreleased songs from CRYING STEEL. And the CD has a extra track that digital listeners won't get, a song by DANGER ZONE. |

Royale Lynn: Death Wish (feat. Danny Worsnop)
Epitaph Records - Digital Single
A singer/songwriter girl from Nashville and a metal dude team up and make a song, which is a mix of modern pop (which I hate) and modern metal. It might not be the worst that I have heard, but it's far away from the best either. This is actually a bit embarrassing to listen to, to be completely honest. So you lower the volume a little extra, so that no one else hears.
Royale Lynn is trying to make a crossover of country and hard rock, and she seems to be very popular. This song features Danny Worsnop of ASKING ALEXANDRIA. |

STILLBORN: Katharsis
Black Lodge Records - Digital Single
STILLBORN are dark and really heavy. A new album, "Netherworlds", will be released on June 28, and that's where this song comes from, which is among the better from that album.
With their roots in the gothic rock from the 80s, and elements of BLACK SABBATH and MOTÖRHEAD, they can make even the post-punk fans interested. But even though this goes as gothic metal, this song could just as well go as doom metal or stoner rock. One thing is for sure though, it's heavy. So anyone who like it dark and heavy should give these veterans a try. |

R.A.T.S: Actions Have Reactions
Black Star Foundation on May 31 - 12" EP, Digital
This northern Swedish hardcore band play really heavy. The metal guitars from the 90s is there, and I think that people who grew up with the hardcore from that era will like this band. 6 tracks is what we get, and most of them are pretty short, just around 2 minutes. It sounds good anyway. There's no doubt about that.
R.A.T.S was born in 2019. The members comes from different musical backgrounds, and have played with bands like SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE, CEDRON, SHIROKUMA, DÖDEN DÖ and VDM. The band has already undertaken several tours and participated in various festivals, and it seems like their EP, "Another Day In Helvete" (2021), has received widespread acclaim. |

COMANIAC: None For All (re-release)
Wormholedeath Records on June 28 - CD, Digital
Swizz technical thrashers COMANIAC formed in 2012, and self released their debut record, "Return To The Wasteland", in 2015. We have now come to their 4th album, "None For All", which was originally released last year on both CD and LP, as well as digital. But they have now signed with Wormholedeath Records, who has re-released the album on CD with 1 bonus track, "Wormhole Death".
Well, these guys seems to know exactly what they are doing. It's never too technical and advanced, but rather explosive. Very professional as well. There's plenty of good material among these 11 tracks that you can bang your head to. This is a band that you really should check out if you like thrash metal. | | | |

CLEAR VISION: Behind The Silence
Raw Street Noise on May 31 - Digital Single
Finnish metal band CLEAR VISION blend 80s rock with modern metal. They are currently getting ready to release their debut album, and while we wait for that we get the title track as a taste of what to come.
It sounds powerful, but beneath the surface lies a hidden tenderness and rests. It begins soft and sweet, but soon becomes almost melodic death metal, and then a more melodic chorus on top of that. Simply a pretty fresh and modern sound without destroying it with elements of pop. This is a good song. | |

The TROOPS OF DOOM: A Mass To The Grotesque
Alma Mater Records on May 31 - CD, LP, Cassette, Digital
The TROOPS OF DOOM was formed in 2020 by original SEPULTURA guitarist Jairo ",Tormentor" Guedz (he played on the band's 2 first albums, but left in 1987). The TROOPS OF DOOM also features guitarist Marcelo Vasco (PATRIA, MYSTERIIS, and a globally renowned graphic artist known for his work with acts like SLAYER, Dee Snider, KREATOR, MACHINE HEAD, SOULFLY, and many others), the vocalist and bassist Alex Kafer (former live guitarist for MATANZA), and drummer Alexandre Oliveira (a former member of the band TIANASTÁCIA). The band has already released 3 EPs and 1 album.
This Brazilian band emerged to revive the classic death metal of the 80s, inspired by early SEPULTURA as well as SLAYER, CELTIC FROST, KREATOR and POSSESSED. So those who like the really old school death metal should love this album. I think it sounds absolutely wonderful anyway. This is simply a must to check out.
The mixing and mastering of the album were done by Jim Morris at the legendary Morrisound Recording in Tampa, Florida, known for producing some of the greatest death metal classics of the 80s and 90s.
The TROOPS OF DOOM are coming to Europe in August. Most shows will be in Germany, but they will also visit the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Spain and Portugal. | | |

TRAIL OF TEARS: Winds Of Disdain
The Circle Music - MCD, Vinyl EP, Digital
"Winds Of Disdain" is the first release in over 10 years from these Norwegian gothic and symphonic metal pioneers. They have now signed to Greek label The Circle Music, and the first release is this EP. The Circke Music will also re-release all 7 previous albums by the band on vinyl for the first time.
So what can I say about this then? Well, it actually sounds more like melodic death metal with elements of gothic and symphonic metal. Much because of the harsh vocals, but there's also some clean vocals. I like what I hear, so these 4 tracks could be worth a try.

THOLA: Unseen
Art Gates Records - CD, Digital
THOLA is a band who combines heavy, power, speed and thrash metal. You can expect hard and melodic guitars, groovy drums and bass elements and spherical synthesizers, as well as a mix of high-pitched, powerful vocals with deeper, guttural ones.
The band formed in 2016, and released their debut album, "Somewhere", in 2021. I would say that this is mainly heavy and power metal. Their sound is modern, but there's also lots of classic metal in this band's music. And the songs on this album are of top quality, so no fan of true metal should miss this.
Not much else to add there..

The SWEET KILL: Nowhere
Young & Cold Records (Germany)/Shadow Zone Records (USA) - LP, CD, Digital
The SWEET KILL is a 1-man post-punk project, which focuses on the more dark and gothic side of the genre. It actually sounds more like synth pop from the 80s to me, but there's also echos of classic acts like JOY DIVISION and The CURE. "NOWHERE is a mesmerizing journey through the human psyche, inviting listeners to confront their deepest fears and desires", says project leader Pete Mills.
The songs on this album are beautiful. There's not 1 single bad moment here, which is strong. Fans of old post-punk and what they nowadays seems to call synthwave should absolutely check this out, because this might actually be the most interesting that I have heard in this genre in a long time. |

Magnetic Eye Records on May 31 - CD, LP, Digital
Texas desert rockers HIGH DESERT QUEEN releases their sophomore full-length album, "Palm Reader". The songs are performed with a raw energy and power. It's explosive and all 7 songs are of a really high quality. They have simply made an excellent album, and you should really check it out.
This band have always been a bit different and more than just another desert rock band. So they blend in some grunge, funk, old school metal and doom in their music. This album is said to be a giant step forward for the band.
Most songs are sung by Ryan Garney. But in "Death Perception" we get some guest vocals from Emma Näslund (GAUPA), which sounds really nice. Almost like a young Björk singing rock. |

Ebba Bergkvist & The FLAT TIRE BAND: Four Wings
The Sign Records on May 31 - LP
Swedish blues rock band Ebba Bergkvist & The FLAT TIRE BAND released their debut album, "Spilt Milk", in 2020. Now they are back with their second album, "Four Wings". The music is inspired by bands like LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, BLUES PILLS, LUCIFER, Jimi Hendrix and RIVAL SONS. It's riff-based and soulful, but also powerful, sometimes with some psychedelic elements here and there. Much 70s, but yet with a modern sound.
There's lots of good songs on this album, so it could definitely be worth a try if you're into bluesy rock from the past. |

KNIGHTS OF THE REALM: Darker Than Leather
Playground Music - CD, Digital
O.k., those who like old school heavy metal have really something to look forward to, because this is exactly that, and it sounds really good. I think of Swedish bands like WOLF and DREAM EVIL. But I could just as well mention British legends like JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN too. Simply an album that you should not miss for anything in the whole world. And I don't think I have to say much more than that, because I think you got a pretty clear picture of what this band sounds like.
"Darker Than Leather" is the second album from this Swedish band, which features Magnus "MegaloMangan" Henriksson (ECLIPSE), Lars "The Hammer" Sköld (TIAMAT), Marcus "Mean Machine" von Boisman (TANK), and the newest addition, Mats "Spellbinder" Rydström (AVATARIUM, ABRAMIS BRAMA). Collectively these men have participated on over 50 releases through the years, so they know what they are doing. Which you can hear on this album, as well as their self-titled debut album from 2021 (also a great album that you should check out). |

DarWin: Be That Man
Phantom Recordings - Digital Single
"Be That Man" is the first single from the upcoming album, "5 Steps On The Sun", which will be released on June 7. Guitarist DarWin is joined by drummer Simon Phillips (Jeff Beck, TOTO, PROTOCOL), keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, SONS OF APOLLO), Greg Howe (Michael Jackson, PROTOCOL), bassist Mohini Dey (Steve Vai, Zakir Hussain), and Matt Bissonette on vocals. Progressive rock is what's on the menu.
This song is absolutely not bad at all. It's melodic and pretty straight for being progressive rock. You should really check this out. And with that line-up it would not surprise me if this will be a band that people will talk about.
Let's see (or rather hear) if the album can live up to what this song promise..

Jagjaguwar - Digital Single
I don't really know, but this isn't really my thing. I think of a weaker The CLASH who has lost their balls and all taste for good songs. Not impressed. But o.k., I have actually heard a lot worse in my life.
CRACK CLOUD is said to be a Canadian art-punk collective, but this sounds more like some kind of alternative indie rock to me. For some reason this song last for 6 minutes, which is way too long.
"Blue Kite" is taken from their new album, "Red Mile", which will be released on July 26.

We Are Horror Records - Digital Single
TRICIE AND THE PHANTOM PUNKS is a horror punk band from Texas. Their latest single, "Darling Richie" is inspired by the infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez, and explores lead vocalist Tricie Texas's obsession with the Night Stalker.
This sounds really good. Catchy punk rock without being lame. You should absolutely check this out, becuse this song should be a hit. I wouldn't say no to some more.

The THE: Cognitive Dissident
earMUSIC - Digital Single, also 7" Single on June 7
O.k., this wasn't exactly what I expected to hear. It's like a weaker The CULT with a hangover. In other words some kind of alternative soft rock with no hit potential at all.
The THE will release a new album, "Ensoulment", on September 6. It will be their first new album since 2000, and "Cognitive Dissident" is the first single from the album.
The THE was formed back in 1979, and they seems to play in a genre of their own, where they blend pop and rock with blues, folk and soul music. But even though they have been around for a long time, they have not released more than 5 albums. And as far as I can understand, those albums are unpredictable stories.

Sulo: Linger My Love
Wild Kingdom Records - Digital Single
DIAMOND DOGS singer Sulo Karlsson will release "Rough Diamonds + Rare Gems And Rowdy Tracks" on July 26. It's a double album with his first solo album from 2003 and an extra disc with previously unreleased material. And "Linger My Love" is one of the songs. A softer thing that represents the bonus disc more than the first album according to me. "A blue eyed soul ballad" as they call it, and it has its roots in the 70s.
This song features both Brian Robertson (THIN LIZZY) on guitar and Ian Haugland (EUROPE) on drums.

CACTUS: Temple Of Blues - Influences & Friends
Cleopatra Records - CD, 2LP, Digital
Yeah. Go cat go, it's rocking baby!
With this album the members of the legendary blues rock band CACTUS have teamed up with a super ensemble of guest artists, all of whom have called the group among their biggest influences. And together they have re-recorded some of the band's biggest songs. Among these guests are people like Joe Bonamassa, Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Steve Stevens, Billy Sheehan (MR BIG), Dug Pinnick (KING'S X), Rudy Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, Ozzy Osbourne), Dee Snider (TWISTED SISTER), Tim "Ripper" Owens (KK'S PRIEST, ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, Yngwie Malmsteen), and several more..
As I said in the beginning, this is really rocking. Most of all these tracks are really good stuff. It's powerful and energetic blues rock for all the money. But now I have not heard the original versions, so I can't compare these new recordings with them.
The band is nowadays led by drum legend and original member Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE, ex-Rod Stewart etc), but original guitarist Jim McCarty also appears on the album, but will no longer play live with the band, so Artie Dillon will handle the guitar at concerts. The other members of CACTUS are nowadays vocalist/guitarist and harmonica player Jim Stapley and bassist Jim Caputo.
CACTUS was originally formed in 1970 by members of VANILLA FUDGE, The BUDDY MILES EXPRESS and AMBOY DUKES. After a few albums the band collapsed in early 1973. The band reformed in 2006, and has released a few more albums since then. | |

BLACK WATER SUNSET: When Man And Machine Collide - A Tribute To Control Denied
Black Water Sunset - Digital EP
What this progressive death metal band have done is a complete recreation of the lost "Control Denied" demos by Chuch Schuldiner (DEATH). Due to the passing of Chuck Schuldiner and the technical limitations of the recording equipment he used, the demos were never completed. Apart from a leak in 2004 and a few hand-written sheets of lyrics, until now, no material was ever released. Each demo was transcribed and re-recorded note for note. Vocal melodies were written based on lyrics and song titles from Chuck Schuldiner's hand-written notes that surfaced in 2021. The recordings features guest musicians Berzan Onen on vocals, Fabio Alessandrini (ANNIHILATOR, ENFORCER, RAVEN) on drums, FREAK KITCHEN's Matias IA Eklundh on guitars, ANNIHILATOR's Rich Gray on bass, and additional drumming from James Knoerl (AVIATIONS, BLOOD THRONE).
Well, this is technical and complicated stuff for my ears. But now that I have been listening a few times, I guess it's not so bad after all. I would not say that it's damn good either though. But if you're a fan of Chuck and his band DEATH, then this could be of interest of course. And I guess that any fan of progressive metal could enjoy this.
There will be no sales of this work, the band are giving this to listeners completely free through their YouTube channel as a tribute to a true metal legend. |

KICKHUNTER: Greatest Kicks
Metalapolis Records on May 31 - CD
This album could be seen as a lesson in how it's supposed to be done when you want to combine hard rock and rock n roll. We get as much as 17 tracks here, but most of them are great, so it's absolutley not too much when it comes to this band. If you think this is shit, then you don't know anything about rock n roll.
As you can figure out from the title, KICKHUNTER gives us a greatest hits album. Many of their old records are no longer available, so this is a chance to hear some of those songs. 6 of these songs has been remixed, and sometimes it's new versions of the songs, with some new elements.
KICKHUNTER was founded in 2000, and released 4 albums between 2003-2014. After a break of over 9 years, they returned with a new studio album, "Now Or Never", in 2023 (also great as far as I can remember).
Well, listen and learn is all I can say.. |

BLACK DIAMONDS: Destination Paradise
Metalapolis Records on May 31 - CD, LP
BLACK DIAMONDS hit position 3 in the official album charts in their home country Switzerland with their last studio album, "No-Tell Hotel". And now they return with a new album to follow up the succees.
Here's another band who like pop songs from the 80s. This time they gives us a cover of the hit song "Leave A Light On" by Belinda Carlisle, where singer David Balfour (MAVERICK) is doing a guest appearance. But they don't really need to do songs by others, as they have so many good songs among their own material. This is a varied album, with lots of great hard rock songs, mainly melodic and influenced by the 80s sleaze rock. So if you like that, then you should really check out this band.
BLACK DIAMONDS was founded in 2004, which means that it's their 20th anniversary this year. |

AMYL & THE SNIFFERS: U Should Not Be Doing That
Rough Trade - 7" Single, Digital Single
Amyl and her Sniffers, press photo
This is the first new music with AMYL & THE SNIFFERS in over 3 years, so I got a little exited as I really like this band. But these Australian punk rockers have definitely made better songs than this. It doesn't suck, but when I expect punk and get rock instead, then it's just not right. The song grow the more I listen though, which is always something.
They say that it has hints of "Miss You" by The ROLLING STONES and some Detroit garage rock. I think it reminds me of Swedish pop/rock band The SOUNDS.
The limited edition vinyl will also include "Facts" on the B-side, which I did not get for review. |

REMEDY: Pleasure Beats The Pain
Escape Music - CD, LP, Digital
When REMEDY, from Stockholm, Sweden, released their debut album, "Something That Your Eyes Won't See", in 2022, it was a huge success in the melodic rock and hard rock scene. Now they have just released their second album, "Pleasure Beats The Pain". And they do their best to come up to the next level, even though the roots are still in the 80s with a modern twist.
Just like last time, all songs are good. So if you liked their debut album, then you will like this album too. There's no doubt about that. |

Art Gates Records - CD
MELODIUS DEITE formed in 2007, and combines several sub-genres of heavy metal, like symphonic, power and progressive metal, and even some of the most extreme genres. "Demonology" is their fifth album, and this time they have created an ambitious power metal opera. It's an epic fantasy adventure inpired by folk lore. We get as much as 14 tracks here, but most of the material is really good. Fans of more dramatic power metal should enjoy this.
The album also includes collaborations with musicians like Petter Hjerpe (MAD HATTER, MAJESTICA, MORNING DWELL), Jinn (ILLUSION FORCE), Raphael Dantas (EGO ABSENCE), Anira (ANIRA), and María Cobos (The THIRD GRADE).

LUVGHUL: Eternal Punishment
K&K Records - MCD
Here we get some good old British punk from the street. It sounds like something from the early 80s, and it's absolutely not bad at all. I really like this.
This is not a English band though, but a band from Örebro, Sweden. And it's said that they play horror punk, but it sure doesn't sound like that to me, even if the lyrics have a horror theme, with titles like "Blood-Soaked Babes From Outer Space" and "Funeral Fuck" for example.
Anyway, this is their debut EP, and I hope there will be more in the future. Absolutely worth checking out.

D-A-D: The Ghost / 1st, 2nd & 3rd
AFM Records - Digital Singles
Danish rock veterans D-A-D celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, and will release a new album, "Speed Of Darkness", on October 4. They celebrate this by releasing not just 1 but 2 singles from the new album.
"The Ghost" is a softer and more melodic song, and it grow for each time I listen to it. Promising. It's not impossible that people who love their classic "Sleeping My Day Away" will like this song too.
"1st, 2nd & 3rd" is a uptempo rocker that should work at a party. Another good song.
D-A-D will be touring a lot for the rest of the year. Check their web site for dates.. | |

Bollmora Rekords - Digital Single
Swedish sleaze/hard rockers GLORIOUS BANKROBBERS are back with a new single. It's the title track from their next album, which will be released on September 27. And this kicks ass, just as I expected. They are really rocking, and I like it, so I look forward to hear the new album (but there will probably be a few more singles first). You should really check this out if you like energetic hard rock n roll.
It's said that GLORIOUS BANKROBBERS were pioneers of the Swedish sleaze rock in the 80s, and that they were role models for bands like HARDCORE SUPERSTAR etc. Their song "Dynamite Sex Doze" was frequently played on MTV's Headbangers Ball, and they toured in the States. They even recorded a live album at the legendary New York club CBGB.
After a long hiatus, they returned with a new album, "Back On The Road", in spring 2023. That album was a very energetic and action-filled album, and I really liked it. |

ARHAT: Secrets Of Ancient Gods
Arhat on May 31 - Digital Album
Ukrainian groove/death metallers ARHAT takes us on a journey into a world of ancient gods and mysterious rituals, reflecting the depths of wisdom of ancient civilizations. There',s mystery and magic, as well as epic arrangements with Turkish ney, sitar, percussion, and cinematic sound design, blending symphonic orchestrations with ethnic elements. They call it ethnic extreme metal, which is a mix of death, groove and thrash metal. Some songs are in English, and some in Ukrainian.
As you probably can figure out, the music is hard and brutal. But with all those other ingredients, there's also melody, and they have definitely found their own sound. This is a good album, so I think you should give it a try.

UNBORN GENERATION: ...and All We Forget
Inverse Records - CD, Digital
This is the 7th album from Finnish grind/crust band UNBORN GENERATION. It includes 10 brutal jaw breakers, and it's not any happy stuff. The lyrics describe a world long after an apocalypse: "Rebuilding has begun, yet the post-apocalypse generations have learnt nothing, and remain ignorant as the sins of the fathers are repeated all over again." Sounds familiar somehow.. They will hopefully include the lyrics, in case you want to know more, becuse it's not easy to hear what the singer is screaming.
Even though the music is extreme, it's under control and not the most brutal I have heard. It actually sounds like metal in the heavier parts. And isn't there some more crust punk than grincore? You should really give this a try, because it's absolutely not bad at all. |

BONERIPPER: World Ablaze
Boneripper - LP, CD, Digital
BONERIPPER released their first 6-track EP, "Vengeance & Forgiveness", in January 2023. And now it's time for their full-length debut, titled "World Ablaze".
This band comes from the northern part of the Netherlands, and consist of former and current members of MANU ARMATA, 13STEPS and BLADECRUSHER. 3 of the 5 members are actually brothers.
The music that these guys play is brutal metallic hardcore. The riffs are heavy and the energy is high. This band is more hard than most other hardcore bands, but yet it sounds very good. You should absolutely check them out if you like hardcore with metal. |

Concert at Hemgården in Borås, Sweden on May 23, 2024
Thrash metal night on a Thursday in Borås? That was something new and exclusive. And just 50 Swedish kronor to get in, instead of something like 200-300 SEK that it use to cost nowadays. But then it wasn't any bigger names and all-ages. And it was nice to see some younger people and not just old people like myself (hehe). There were simply people in most ages.
HOSTILIA from Göteborg was the first band out. To me they sounded like early METALLICA actually, which is really nice of course. But I'm pretty sure that they have more influences than that. Old school thrash metal anyway, and really good. You should check them out.
Hostilia Hostilia
DISFIGURATOR is as far as I know from Borås, but I have never heard them before. This band was much harder and faster, almost like The HAUNTED and even ENTOMBED sometimes. But once in a while there was a song that was more old school or crossover. So they seems to have many different influences from all eras of thrash, from the 80s until today. A pretty good band that seems to know what they are doing.
Disfigurator Disfigurator
Disfigurator Disfigurator |

RHAPSODY OF FIRE: Challenge The Wind
AFM Records on May 31 - 2LP, CD, Digital
Just as you might expect, RHAPSODY OF FIRE presents an epic and symphonic power metal album, which is full of great songs. But even though it's great, it can actually be too much of the majestic compositions (especially if you have a bad hangover, then this is way too much for me, but luckily I don't have that so often nowadays), because all songs here are the same epic adventure to listen to, even though there's some fast songs too.
This band has existed for more than 30 years now, so they obviously know what they are doing. It's professional and ambitious, and they show us all why they are in the top league when it comes to symphonic power metal from Europe. So if you have not heard RHAPSODY OF FIRE before, and happens to like all the ingredients that they have, then you should really give this album a chance. I'm pretty sure that you will like it a lot. |

Black Lodge Records on May 31 - CD, 2LP, Cassette, Digital
Swedish black metallers WORMWOOD celebrate their 10-year anniversary with the release of their 4th full-length album. And this album concludes their trilogy about death. "Nattarvet" was about the grim famine that plagued the people in the 19th-century Nordic region, "The Archive" focused on the inevitable downfall of mankind, and "The Star" tells the story of the end of the universe.
This band's music is the perfect mixture of the more atmospheric and silent, and the more intense and aggressive. I would also say that it's melodic. If there would have been just 1 of those ingredients, then it probably wouldn't have worked. But when you mix them like this band does, then you suddenly get perfect harmony.
As you probably have figured out already, this is not for those who want full speed ahead and brutality all the way. | |

WITHERFALL: Sounds Of The Forgotten
DeathWave Records on May 31 - CD, LP, Digital
This is the 4th full-length from this Los Angeles outfit. Their music is labeled as dark melodic metal, but I think it's actually progressive metal, as they blend many different elements here. The roots seems to be in good old heavy metal, but then comes something more aggressive and modern or a power ballad. There's also atmospheric and cinematic moments. But they are doing it really good, so they get away with it. The songs are powerful and honest. This is worth checking out.
WITHERFALL was born in 2013 by members of SANCTUARY and ICED EARTH. They released their debut album, "Nocturnes And Requiems", in 2017.

Second Class Kids Magazine #6
Second Class Kids Records - Magazine in Swedish
Lastkaj 14
So, there's a new issue of Second Class Kids Magazine. And we have already come to number 6. As usual you get it for free if you order something from Second Class Kids Records. But you can also buy just the magazine if you want to (you have to understand Swedish though).
This time we get interesting interviews with INTENSIVEN, Beat Butchers, Grönpeppar Records and LASTKAJ 14. Something not so interesting, but just weird, is the interviews with happy people in the Swedish punk scene. Among the other stuff is a festival special, reviews (fanzines and records) and a report about the Swedish hardcore scene.
It's a very good punk magazine, but as I don't get any other magazines or fanzines, I don't have anything else to compare with nowadays (and that's a little irritating actually).

wht.rbbt.obj: Dirty Love
wht.rbbt.obj on May 24 - Digital Single
Behind the mysterious name wht.rbbt.obj (White Rabbit Object) we find a garage rock band. And what they gives us is a pretty cool song. It's a vibrant throwback to the golden era of garage rock, with echoes of the 60s and bands like The SONICS and The TROGGS, while also adding the sound of the garage revival of the early 2000s, with bands like The HIVES and The WHITE STRIPES. It's raw and dirty, just like it should be, but with soul thanks to the vocals. I really like this and want some more.
"Dirty Love" is the lead single from their upcoming EP, "Romeo Bravo Bravo Tango", which will be released in June.

SPRINTS: Help Me, I'm Spiralling
City Slang - Double digital single
Didn't Irish garage/punk rockers SPRINTS release an album recently? Well, their debut album, "Letters To Self", was released in January, which is already a few months ago. But here's a new single with a couple of more noisey songs, which was recorded at the same time as the debut album.
These songs are probably best described as alternative garage/punk rock. Both are good stuff, so you should really check them out. Especially if you liked their album. And there's not much else to add there.
Even though guitarist Colm O'Reilly just left the band, SPRINTS will be busy touring the U.S., UK and EU for the rest of 2024, but with guest guitarists then. |

Wormholedeath Records - Digital Album
If I get it right, this is a collection of singles. And the idea behind this band's music is to take you on a journey to the classic rock albums of the 70s and 80s. You can expect to hear heavy guitar riffs, melodic solos, thunderous drums and clear vocals, they say.
LOADED BILLY are based in Adelaide, and they play heavy hard rock. But there's also some NWOBHM in their brew. There's both good and less good songs here (some are even boring actually). 7 of these 11 tracks surpasses 6 minutes, and 3 of them are over 8 minutes, which is a little too long in this case. Not many songs are worth to be singles, and it sure ain't a record in the same league as the old classics. But among some of the better songs here are "Scarlet" and "I Turn To Stone" for example. | |

The Sign Records on May 24 - LP, Digital
This is the 4th album from these Swedish rockers, which formed in late 2014 in Malmö. The music is energetic, but also very melodic. It's said to fit fans of classic acts like The HELLACOPTERS, TURBONEGRO, KISS, DANKO JONES, FOO FIGHTERS and THIN LIZZY. So I would say that their music have ingredients from both action rock and hard rock, as well as some arena rock and classic rock. Take some 70s rock and blend it with the garage rock/action rock from the 90s and add a modern touch. Then you should get something like LIAR THIEF BANDIT.
It sounds really good anyway. There's no doubt about that. So if you like more melodic action rock, then this could be worth a try. |

HAND ON HEART: Love Theme For Debora/When You Fall In Love
Hand On Heart - Digital Single
Another piano ballad? Well, that's just the beginning of the song. But it sure ain't going much faster after that either, as it's still a ballad. But it's a rock ballad at least.
HAND ON HEART is an Italian hard rock band, formed in 2017 by a couple of veterans who has been rocking since the 80s. And it's in the 70s and 80s that these people find inspiration. This is their 8th single, and the last that will be released before their debut album, "Space", which will be released in the end of May.
Even though I might not sound so impressed in the beginning, this is not so bad after all. It seems to be 2 songs, or at least 2 parts. And that first part with the piano, "Love Theme For Debora", is the part that I don't like. But when we comes to "When You Fall In Love" it's better. |

DEATH LENS: Cold World
Epitaph Records - LP, Digital
DEATH LENS is an alternative punk rock band from L.A. And on this album they are sometimes playing punk rock, other times post-hardcore or alternative rock, and even some pure rock. So we obviously get many different styles here. Most of the material is good, but not all, so I would be surprised if I ever decide to listen to this again. That should not stop you from giving these guys a try though. Because as there's many different styles, there could be at least 1 or 3 songs that you like (there's probably something like 3-4 that I like anyway, maybe more).
DEATH LENS keep it short - 11 songs in 32:37 minutes. They are currently on tour in Europe, and will be support act for BAD RELIGION on their European tour in June/July.

MAD HATTER: Oneironautics
Art Gates Records on May 24 - CD, LP
MAD HATTER is a Swedish power metal band, founded in 2017. "Oneironautics" is their third album, where they continue to deliver epic melodies and lightning-fast rhythms, as well as adrenaline-fueled and catchy anthems. If you're a fan of classic acts like HELLOWEEN and STRATOVARIUS, then this should be something for you. Because this is just as good as any of the more well-known bands in this genre.
Yes, this is a very strong album that they have made, but I don't have much else to say. |

VULCANO: Epilogue
Vulcano - Digital Album
Brazilian metal band VULCANO has been active for 43 years, and has18 releases under their belt. Yet it seems like they have to release this album by themselves, and as far as I can understand it's just available digitally. They should have more respect after so many years. But on the other hand, maybe that's just how they want it?
Anyway.. In just under 30 minutes they deliver 9 tracks of some kind of primitive and raw blackened thrash metal. It goes fast, and you know the sound after just a couple of songs. Yet it's not bad at all. This could be worth a try if you like more extreme thrash from South America or early VENOM and similar acts.

PUTRIFIED: Death Darkness Decay
Godz Ov War Productions - CD, Digital
PUTRIFIED is a old school death metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. They have been active since 2010, and has previously released 2 demos and 2 EPs. So "Death Darkness Decay" is their first full-length album. Yet there's just 6 tracks, so it's a pretty short album (about 33-34 minutes). On the other hand, there's no risk that you will get tired of it when they keep it that short. And that's very good.
Well, PUTRIFIED keeps the legacy of the classic Swedish death metal alive, and they do it extremely good. So if you long to go back to the 90s, then this is definitely something for you my friend. Both songs and production is of top quality. |

ARADIA: Walkin' On The Edge
Wanikiya Records - Digital EP
In November 2019, COMO guitarist Francesco Rasero decided to start a new musical project inspired by melodic metal and hard rock. But unfortunately a well-known pandemic in 2020 slowed down the birth of ARADIA, which became the name of the new band. After jamming covers of classic heavy metal bands, they soon began to write their own material.
I suppose that this 5-track EP is their first release, but I'm actually not really sure. But anyway.. The songs are absolutely not bad at all. It seems like they combine the old school with the new school, and out comes a melodic kind of heavy metal. They might not be in the top league, but as I said, it's absolutely not bad. Give them a try. |

ANVIL: Truth Is Dying
AFM Records - Digital Single
Lips of Anvil
On June 28 Canadian heavy metal legends ANVIL will release a new album, "One And Only". It will be their 20th studio album. The new single, "Truth Is Dying", is a taste of what you can expect from that album. And it sounds just like it should, and probably always have (I'm not so familiar with all they have done through the years). But even if it sounds very familiar and safe, it's a damn good song that they have created. So there's not much doubt from me that the new album will be fantastic, just like their last album was. | | |

Epitaph Records - Digital Single
This is almost as wild and crazy as when I heard SYSTEM OF A DOWN the first time. And I like it. Until that hip-hop part comes. Then it's not so funny anymore. But that's on the other hand the only thing I don't like with this song.
"Ronald" is taken from FALLING IN REVERSE's new album, "Popular Monster", which will arrive on July 26. The song features Tech N9ne and Alex Terrible.
This is like an explosion of several influences that just have to come out. It's hard and heavy, and absolutely metal.
The band is going on a U.S. headline tour this summer. Additional dates around the world will be announced soon. |

Transcending Obscurity Records on May 24 - LP, CD, Digital
Here's another one of those progressive and brutal death metal bands. This is very fast and intense, but at the same time they can be really heavy as well. This album is full of unpredictable twists and turns. But if you only have nerves of steel, you should probably manage to get through the whole album. Because even if it's wild, it's never chaotic, but actually music.
This is the 6th full-length from this band. |

Despotz Records - Digital Single
Irish folk metal pioneers CRUACHAN celebrates their 30-year anniversary this year. And their latest single, "Talamh", is the second song they submitted to Eurovision Song Contest. There's much Celtic influences in this metal song, and it sounds o.k. to me. I would hardly call it a hit song though. And as far as I can remember they have made stronger songs than this. But give it a try if you want to. | |

Xtreem Music on May 21 - CD, Digital
Well, this is not such good music to be honest. Even if they are a little experimental, it sounds more or less the same anyway. I guess what disturbs me most is the growling, which sounds almost like deeper throat singing sometimes. But once in a while he's using different vocals, and that's actually a little funny to listen to (I'm pretty sure that it's not meant to be funny though).
Spanish death metallers CHRIST DENIED celebrates their 30-year anniversary. Yet this is just their third full-length album. But they has released some other stuff too, like a demo and some split releases. If you like it really brutal, then I guess that this is your thing. Because brutal it is. As a matter of fact, this could just as well go as grindcore.
The band was founded in 1994 by Dave Rotten (AVULSED etc) and David Nigger (ex-INTOXICATION). David moved to Germany in October 2001, so Dave started to co-operate with Roger B. (INFECTED FLESH) instead. In 2017 they were joined by a third member, Fabio Grinder (ex-INTERNAL SUFFERING) on drums. So for the first time they have worked with a human drummer on a recording. |

NIGHTRAGE: Persevere Through Adversity
Despotz Records - Digital Single
The third single from NIGHTRAGE's upcoming album, "Remains Of A Dead World", is another great song. Melodic death metal when its as best. It's both powerful and melodic in perfect harmony. You should really check this out, and I think that the new album will be excellent.
"Remains Of A Dead World" is the Greek/Swedish band's 10th studio album, and it will be released on May 31. The album is said to be "a mixture of all the things that makes NIGHTRAGE a beast of integrity". You can simply expect lots of riffing, great hooks, guitar melodies and brutal vocals. So what you use to get then. Sounds like a winner to me anyway. | |

Frontiers Music Srl - LP, Digital
PRAYING MANTIS are often seen as one of the classic NWOBHM bands. But fact is that they don't even play heavy metal (not anymore anyway). This is more like melodic hard rock in the same style as something like SCORPIONS or RAINBOW after Ronnie James Dio (rip) left the band (they even do a cover of "I Surrender"). So we talk really high quality here. Because those bands in the 70s and 80s is nothing that you joke about.
"Defiance" is the group's 13th studio album, and they celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. The only original members left in the band are the Troy brothers Chris and Tino, who are joined by vocalist Jaycee Cuijpers, drummer Hans in't Zandt, and guitarist Andy Burgess.
This band is far away from done. That's for sure.ā€‹ | |ā€‹ |

VANDEN PLAS: The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
After a hiatus of 4 years since their last album, German progressive rockers VANDEN PLAS return with a new album, where they welcome Alessandro Del Vecchio as their new keyboardist. They show us all what they are capable of, and continues to push musical boundaries. It's mainly melodic, but there's also some metal and epic influences. It's also technical and emotional. Simply a wild mix of all and nothing, just as it use to be in this genre.
For something like 20 years ago, I didn't like progressive rock at all. I guess that I didn't really understand it or whatever it could be. But during the last years I have actually learned to like it, and found out that there's some really good bands (check out EXIT STAGE LEFT from Borås, Sweden where I live). There's still some bands that are not so good or just too much, but VANDEN PLAS happens to be one of those good bands, so I can recomend you to check them out. | | |

WOLFEN RELOADED: The Ghost From Within
Fastball Music on May 17 - CD
WOLFEN was a German hard rock band that existed from the mid-80s to 1996. In the summer of 2009, some former members decided to restart the band, now as WOLFEN RELOADED PROJECT, which later became WOLFEN RELOADED.
"The Ghost From Within" is their second album, where they presents a progressive and melodic kind of hard rock, with influences from the 80s and 90s. This gives them a sound that is both old and modern at the same time.
It's not bad, but unfortunately they don't seems to have the song that is extra good, which could have made the material much stronger. Still worth a try though.. |

Pride & Joy Music on May 17 - CD, LP
UNIVERSE originally formed in 1982 in Upplands Väsby, Sweden, a suburb in Stockholm probably most well-known for EUROPE. They toured a lot here in Sweden, and released their self titled debut album in 1985. They began to work on a second album, but it was never finished, and the band went seperate ways in 1988.
In 2002 all the members met up again for the first time in 14 years, but it took many years before anything really happened with the group. In 2018 they finally released a new album, "Rock Is Alive", but as UNIVERSE INFINITY for some reason. And now that their third album is going to be released, it seems like they have become UNIVERSE III.
If you like melodic hard rock and melodic rock, then you should really check out this band, because they are doing exactly everything right. It's in other words a very strong album that we have here. The passion is still there, and it sounds like something that could have been made in the 80s. | |

Luffarpunk Vol II
Grönpeppar Records - Cassette, Digital
In March 2022 Luffarpunk Vol 1 was released, which was a split between the 2 Swedish folk punks HOPPSTYLTA and Rick Titrö. Now it's time for Vol 2, where we get the chance to hear INGET SKADEREKVISIT and BASTARD HYENA.
INGET SKADEREKVISIT is a young woman and an acoustic guitar, singing in Swedish. I guess it's o.k., but not something that I will listen to again. It sounds like she has recorded this to an old tape recorder in the bedroom. The variation is not that great, so these 6 songs are more than enough of this, as I get tired of it after 3-4 songs.
BASTARD HYENA gives us 5 songs in English, and this sounds much better. They presents a more varied material, and simply have better songs. This is something that you should check out if you like folk punk.
So what might folk punk really be then? I though it would be something similar to the Irish/Celtic punk. But I think that the artists on both volume 1 and 2 of Luffarpunk has been more like more energetic singer/songwriter instead.

VHÄLDEMAR: Sanctuary Of Death
MDD Records - CD, Digital
Spanish heavy/power metal band VHÄLEMAR has just released their 7th studio album, "Sanctuary Of Death". And this album has most of the classic ingredients that you can expect from an album in this genre. The energy is high and the songs are melodic. It's powerful and the songs are really strong. What more can you ask for?
With an album like this you can sleep safe, because there's nothing to worry about. And not much else to add.. |

INFESTUS: Entzweiung
Talheim Records - CD, Digital
German band INFESTUS deliver pretty long songs, 7 to 9 and a half minutes. But then it's progressive black metal that we talk about here, with many different elements. This is a very ambitious album, and hardly the typical black metal. But those who like variation could probably enjoy this, becuase there's no lack of that anyway. But it's never too much of anything, and the songs are actually good, so it's definitely listenable.
The band formed in 2003, so they have already released some records before this album. Nowadays it seems like it's a 1-man band, with Andras on everything. |

Ghost Highway Recordings/Savage Magic Records - Digital Single
It might not be the fastest or heaviest song, but it really is as the title says, "Hot Damn". A powerful and cool hard rock song that most people should like.
I don't really know what I should compare this with, but as far as I can hear there's both some AC/DC and some heavier action rock in this anthem.
The song is taken from the upcoming album, "20". And that will be an interesting album to hear.

BABYLON A.D.: Rome Wasn't Built In A Day
Perris Records on May 17 - CD, Digital
It's 6 years since this band released their last studio album. But now the wait is over.
BABYLON A.D. is a veteran band from the San Francisco Bay Area, which is most well-known for thrash metal to me. They formed the band in 1987 as The PERSUADERS, but changed the name to BABYLON A.D. in 1989. The music that they play is timeless hard rock. Sometimes it's heavier, but mainly catchy. And even if the songs are good, it's pretty clear that they don't have anything extra to surprise us with. There's simply no song that is so good that you want to play it for everybody that you know.
I think that fans of bands like HELIX and Y&T could like this. |

BATTERING RAM: The World Belongs To Me
Uprising Records - Digital Single
Swedish band BATTERING RAM deliver classic straight-forward and hard pumping heavy metal. It's heavy and powerful, but also melodic thanks to the vocals. It's not impossible that fans of a band like MUSTASCH could like this, because I think it sounds a little like them. And this is a very good song, so you should absolutely check it out.
Not much else to add there.. | |

ZOMBEAST: Heart Of Darkness
Massacre Records/Fiend Force Records on May 17 - CD, LP, Digital
ZOMBEAST is a horror punk/metal band influenced by DANZIG, AFI, MERCYFUL FATE and 80s punk, death rock and thrash metal. They released a self titled album in 2006, but it's not until now that their second album is ready to be released from the grave.
"Heart Of Darkness" is said to be their heaviest, darkest and most frenzied material to date. I think of a band like MISFITS when I listen to this album, even if ZOMBEAST put their own twist on it. And yes, there's also some DANZIG. It's not impossible that it could sound something like this if the current line up of MISFITS would decide to record something new. I'm not so sure that they would succeed to sound this good though.
This is absolutely worth checking out. | |

Neurot Recordings/Supernatural Cat Records on May 17 - LP, CD, Digital
Italian psychedelic doom metal trio UFOMAMMUT will release their 10th studio album, "Hidden". The band has existed since the late 90s, so they are obviously veterans now. They has during the years developed their own sound, where they combine heavy riff worship and psychedelic music. They describe the sound as cosmic, futuristic and technicolor.
On this new album they were aiming for a more intense and heavy sound. And heavy it is. This is best described as a sonic journey that becomes a bad trip. And I'm pretty sure that they're not satisfied with anything else but highest volume.
These 6 tracks are between 4 to 10:47 minutes long. Some parts are good, some are not so exiting. But if you like heavy stuff, then you probably will like this record too. | |

OMSORG: Echoes
Puffin Artlab on May 17 - Digital EP
OMSORG is a Danish hardcore trio. And these guys seems to focus on a will to live, love and friendship instead of suffering and other depressive shit, that especially the crust punks seems to like to write about. The band was formed in Aalborg during the lockdown in 2020, and they has released 1 album, "Moments, Movements", in 2023.
There's not so much metal in this band's music, which there usually is in today's hardcore. And it's also free from gang choirs. So this band is a little special, and a fresh breath in the hardcore scene. They have kept the heaviness and the aggressive vocals though.
Maybe not the strongest material, but absolutely not bad anyway. |

The LAST OF LUCY: Godform
Transcending Obscurity Records on May 17 - LP, CD, Digital
..and then it was experimental and chaotic again. This stuff can easily make you insane. It's stone hard and brutal, but they actually seems to know what they are doing, so it's not as chaotic and noisey as it might sound like the first time you hear this. But I would not recomend this for people who doesn't like it extreme, becuase sometimes it's almost hysterical.
They mainly play really fast, but once in a while they slow down as well, and then it can suddenly sound almost like jazz or something atmospheric instead. There',s also some heavier moments. So no, it's not intense and extreme all the time. But on the other hand, those silent moments are few.
The LAST OF LUCY blend elements of technical death metal, mathcore and a bit of brutal death metal. Perfect to scare the shit out of your neighbours with. |

Vic Records - LP, CD
One of the earliest German extreme metal bands, NECRONOMICON, has released a collection of their earliest works: the 2 demos "Total Rejection" and "Blind Destruction" (both from 1985), as well as 2 tracks from the "Break Out" compilation album (1986).
This thrash metal band has existed since 1983, and are actually still active today. They has released 11 full-length albums.
What they did on these demos is absolutely not bad at all, and it can't be much more old school than this. It's nor too fast or too aggressive, but hardly kind either. Just raw and unpolished, like it was in those days. This is really good stuff, so you should get yourself a copy of this record.

EXPULSION: A Bitter Twist Of Fate (re-issue)
Vic Records - MCD
Swedish death metallers EXPULSION was formed in November 1988, and in April 1989 they released their first demo, "Cerebral Cessation". In November the same year they recorded their second demo, "Veiled In The Mists Of Mystery". And in 1990 the trio entered Sunlight Studios to record 2 tracks with legendary producer Tomas Skogsberg. After these recordings the band split up due to military service, and reformed with 2 new members 2 years later. The first release was a 3-track mini CD, "A Bitter Twist Of Fate", which was self released.
"A Bitter Twist Of Fate" is nowadays a much sought after record, and is for sale on eBay and Discogs for 250 to 400 Euros. But now you don't have to pay that much, as Vic Records has just re-released it with a special bonus track, "Let The Ravens Fly" (taken from the "History Of Things To Come" comp. CD, 1994).
EXPULSION blend fast and heavy parts, and if you prefer death metal as it was in the early 90s, what we nowadays call old school, then this could be of interest for you. They are absolutely not bad anyway. This is like listening to an old demo cassette, but with a better sound quality.

Concert at Orangeriet in Borås, Sweden on May 8, 2024
Well, there's obviously some hope for a little city like Borås. Heavy metal on a Wednesday is not something that ever happens here. And people seemed to be a little extra happy about it. I don't think I have ever been to a concert with so many friendly people, who say hello and wants to toast even though we don't know each other. "Welcome home", as an American (who has been living here for years) said to me. It was simply a very nice night in the name of heavy metal.
Local power metal veterans CRYSTAL EYES was first out. They have been around since the late 80s or early 90s, so they are an experienced and tight band. I have seen them a few times before through the years, but often with a few beers inside. This time I had just drank 1 beer, so I actually listened to the songs and watched the whole show. And they showed us all how damn good they really are. This band should actually be more famous than they are. That's how strong their songs are. So if you like power metal, and have not heard them before, check them out at once.
Crystal Eyes
Crystal Eyes Crystal Eyes Crystal Eyes
BULLET are BULLET. It's 4 years since I saw them last time here in Borås, and I have seen them a few times through the years. It's more or less the same good old heavy metal year after year, and not much change. Simply a band that you can trust, as they always deliver a good show and good music. Now the venue was not so big, so there was no fire or anything extra. Just a true heavy metal show.
A weird thing is that they left the stage once in a while, just to come back after a few minutes and continue the show. But otherwise nothing to complain about, because this was really good.
Bullet Bullet Bullet
Bullet Bullet Bullet
Bullet Bullet Bullet

NATTRADIO: Nattradio
Raw Street Noise - Digital Album
This is the debut album from this Swedish duo, which features members from EVERCRY and MARBLE ARCH.
NATTRADIO (Night Radio) combine the heaviness of doom metal with emotional harmonies. It's slow and heavy, but also melodic. They want to build a bridge between art and music, so listening to this is like a dark journey into the unknown. They call it "Doom Noir", and the album was written and recorded between 1am to 4am.
Except for the digital release, the album will also be available in an ultra-exclusive vinyl edition, limited to only 3 copies, with a screen-printed cover art in human blood. I'm pretty sure that it's sold out already. Or what do you think? |

HELEVEN: New Horizons Pt. 2
Art Gates Records - CD, Digital
"New Horizon Pt. 1" was released in February last year, which gave us a progressive metal ride with many different influences. Now Part 2 is here, where they gives us even more of what we got on the first part. It's still modern, heavy and melodic, as well as a wild ride. So if you liked the last album, then this is a must for you. But any fan of progressive metal should give this band a chance, because I'm pretty sure that you're going to like what you hear.
HELEVEN blend the hard and heavy perfectly with the melodic and progressive. The songs are not longer than they have to be, which means 4-5 minutes. And they are not extremely advanced either, so even if you're not a fan of progressive metal, you could still give them a try. |

GENGIS KHAN: Arrows & Flames
Genghis Khan - MCD, Digital EP
GENGHIS KHAN is an Italian true heavy metal band, who also blend in some speed and thrash metal influences. And it's not impossible that fans of bands like RUNNING WILD, GRAVE DIGGER, MANOWAR etc. will like these 5 songs. But if you have a problem with broken English (which Americans seems to have), then you should probably avoid this.
I like what I hear though. They seems to have the passion and the songs, and that broken English is just charming. I have absolutely heard a lot worse than this in my life, because this is really good.

CHARTA 77: Den Sista Måltiden
Wild Kingdom Records on May 17 - LP, CD, Digital
Per of Charta 77
This Swedish band formed in May 1983, but the only original member left is Per Granberg (vocals/guitar). Today's line-up also includes Stefan "Mongo" Enger (bass/vocals) and Janne Olsson (guitar/vocals) from KÖTTGROTTORNA and INCEST BROTHERS, as well as Tommie Fagerberg (drums).
This is not the kind of band who repeat themselves, which has led to a wide range of different music through the years. But now they are back where it all began, with some good old punk rock. The songs are catchy and melodic, just like their classics from the 80s and 90s. So old fans should be happy to hear this, because it sounds really good. This is exactly the kind of record that I wanted from this band, so I'm happy.
The softer song, "Låt Oss Landa Nu", is a duet with Jesse Leroy (KRIGSSTIGEN). Unfortunately the weakest song here. But 1 bad song out of 10 is hardly a disaster. And especially not when most of the other songs are so strong. | |

FREEDOM: Stay Free!:
Wild Kingdom on May 17 - CD, LP, Digital
This Swedish band is said to play working class rock. Think of artists like Bruce Springsteen and TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS for example. Rock music with the roots in the 70s and 80s, as well as power chords and catchy choruses. And even if this might not be what I use to listen to, it's not bad at all. They might not be the wildest rock band, but hardly the softest either. Simply feel good rock with a meaning.
The band formed in 2019, and released their self titled debut album in 2021. "Stay Free!" is their second album. Since the first album they have recruited 2 new members: Ola Göransson (HEAVY FEATHER, Stacie Collins) and Matte Gustafsson (IN SOLITUDE, SIENA ROOT, HEAVY FEATHER).
A funny side story is that The HELLACOPTERS handpicked this band to play at their release party, and FREEDOM played the whole new album by The HELLACOPTERS. | |

The MAGIC BUS: Μεροσ Τησ Γιορτησ
The Magic Bus - Digital Single
I have been writing about this Greek rock band here before. Now they have teamed up with the Cultural Artistic Association to celebrate the "Town By The River Festival" in Livadia city with a song. It's the city where the band is based in, and where they formed in 2017.
It's a up-tempo song that we get, and it's both catchy and energetic. It sounds like a hard rock song from the 70s or 80s actually, and it's a really good song. This is something that you should try.

Mdou Moctar: Oh France
Matador Records - Digital Single
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if you mix African music with progressive rock? This Nigerien band can give you the answer to that question. And it doesn't sound so crazy, but rather explosive. This is actually pretty cool, and sounds very good. They seems to play and sing with lots of energy and passion. They simply go all in without any thought about tomorrow. This is wild!
A new album, "Funeral For Justice", has just been released. And "Oh France" is one of the songs on that album. It's a fiery indictment of French colonialism, and said to be among the group's heaviest songs to date.
The band will be touring in both North America and Europe this summer. That will probably be a cool experience.

Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital Single
And of course they had to make the mistake to release a silly piano ballad as the third single. Not such a good idea when the previous singles have been so good. So this is just a dissapointment, and not much else than that. But o.k., after something like 2 and a half minutes, there's finally some electric guitars. But at that time I have already lost all hope about this song.
I would have guessed that this could have been the last song on their upcoming album, "Portraits", which they will release on May 31, but it seems like it's the third track. Weird.. | |

DEEP PURPLE: Portable Door
earMUSIC - Digital Single
"Portable Door" is the first single from DEEP PURPLE's upcoming album, "=1", which will be released on July 19. It sounds very familiar, even if it's a brand new song. Fans of their records from the 70s and 80s should like this song, because that's what it reminds me of. And it's a very good song, so you should check it out anyway.
If they have more songs like this, then the new album can be really interesting to hear. These old veterans can still deliver. No doubt about that. |

BOOGEYMAN: Boogeyman
We Are Horror Records/Deadly Distribution on May 11 - CD, Digital
This reminds me a little of MISFITS during the Michale Graves-era. And just like with those albums, you know the sound after just a few songs. Yet it could be worth a try if you like classic horror punk, because there's nothing bad here, it's just predictable. I guess you already have a pretty good idea of what this sounds like, so I won't go any deeper into that.
BOOGEYMAN is a trio from the States, and this is their debut album, where they deliver 11 horror stories. And they are very good at it. If they could just work a little more on varying the material, maybe it could be even more interesting? Because as it is now, there are many songs that seem to be based on the same idea.

BAD BOY: Private Party (re-issue)
Pride & Joy Music Classixx - CD
BAD BOY is a band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. They signed their first record deal with United Artists in 1977, and have now been active for more than 4 decades. "Private Party" is their third album, which was originally released in 1981. This re-release of the album includes a bonus track, "You And Me Against The World".
BAD BOY deliver a really catchy kind of hard/glam rock n roll that makes you happy. "Have I The Right" is the song with the highest hit potential here. It sounds like it could be a cover of a glam rock classic from the early 70s. What a brilliant song! I really like it! "Come With Me" should be something for fans of VAN HALEN. This is simply a rock n roll party that you will remember, and you will probably listen to this album again and again. That's how god I think this is.
This CD is only available directly via Pride & Joy Music, and is strictly limited to just 300 copies. So act fast if you want one!

Black Lodge Records - Digital Single
These Swedish black metallers will deliver a new album, "The Star", on May 31. and as you might have figured out, "Ro" is one of the songs from that album. The first minutes are very silent, and not black metal at all. But then comes a more hard and heavy part, which possibly could go as atmospheric black metal. So I would like to call this a atmospheric black metal power ballad actually.
This song is described as "a strongly emotional, provocative, and beautiful song that blends genres and emotional expressions." I think I agree, and it's not bad. But they have made stronger material than this, where they combine the silent and the brutal even better. | | |

VAIN: Disintegrate Together
Jackie Rainbow Records - CD, LP
It's 6 years since this San Francisco quintet released their last record, "Rolling With The Punches". But now they show us all that they are definitely back again, with this new album, "Disintegrate Together".
VAIN released their debut album, "No Respect", back in 1989. Since then the different incarnations of the band has released 7 more albums. Their music on these albums ranging in style from big 80s hard rock, to 70s big groove, to 60s psychedelia, and then back to hard rock again.
What we get this time is mainly hard rock of the catchy and melodic kind. And there's not many weak tracks as it's a damn hot album that they have made this time. So fans of hard rock from the 70s and 80s should be happy to hear this, because that's what I mainly think of when I hear this album.

ViciSolum Productions on May 10 - CD, Digital
MACHIAVELLIAN GOD is a melodic death metal band from Bucharest, Romania, founded in 2017. Their debut album, "Divine Flaw", was released in 2019, and now they are getting ready to release their second album, "Beyond The Void".
This group combine their melodic death metal with elements of doom, black, atmospheric metal and many other sub-genres. This gives them a dark and special sound, which is almost like a journey. Yes, I almost want to call this band's music progressive actually. So I guess that they have found their own sound, which is sometimes hard and heavy, and other times more melodic or atmospheric.
If that sounds like something that you would like, then give this album a try.

JD MILLER: Empyrean
Mighty Music on May 10 - CD, Digital
Once this was a melodic rock band in the good old league. But what have they become? Some stupid modern pop/rock band with heavy guitars that is so boring to listen to that I just get tired. What a dissapointment! This was really not good at all! Maybe they should continue to play covers of AOR classics at the local pubs here in Borås, Sweden as they use to do once in a while (at least a few years ago)? That was good at least.
Now I might sound really hard here, but they were actually really good once upon a time, so I got really dissapointed the first times I heard this album. But fact is that there is actually a couple of good songs on this album, like "Out Of Control" and "One In A Million" for example. And I can also hear that it's pretty catchy sometimes, so it would not surprise me if much more people will start to like this band.
JD MILLER comes from Borås, Sweden, and this is their 4th album. If you feel like you want something modern, melodic and heavy, why not give this a try? | |

HUNTER: Rock 'N' Roll V.I.P.
Metalapolis Records on May 10 - CD
HUNTER was founded in Mannheim, Germany in the early 80s, and released 2 albums before it was over. But in 2019 they reunited, and released a new album, "The Return", in 2020. Unfortunately singer Rusty Wayman left the band shortly before the first reunion show. However, all live shows could be played with the help of Christian "Keule" Haas.
Since then there have been some more changes in the line-up. In 2023 a new singer, Steve Starter, was recruited. And shortly after that H. Van Noize (bass) and Ringin' D (guitar) joined the band.
But don't worry too much about that, because "Rock 'N' Roll V.I.P." continues where the band left off with "The Return". In other words catchy hard rock with hooks and groove for fans of something like AC/DC and KROKUS. And there's plenty of good stuff here, so this is definitely worth a chance (and more than that). |

ANIMS: Good 'n' Evil
Sneakout Records/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital Single
The first single, "The Cherubims", was promising. But it took a while before this second single was any good. Now I like it though.
It's melodic, and I guess this song is best described as hard rock, just to make it easy. Worth checking out anyway. and not much else to say.
"Good 'n' Evil" is the title track of an upcoming album, that will be released on May 31. | |

NATTHAMMER: The Hammer Of The Witch
Black Legion Records/Ultraviolencia Label & Distro - LP, CD, Digital
NATTHAMMER is a old school heavy metal band from Peru, and this is their second full-length album. The band was formed by vocalist Fátima Natthammer (ex-MANDRAGORA) in the beginning of 2018.
If you want traditional heavy metal anthems, then this is definitely the band for you. Because what we get here is 7 excellent songs in the good old 80s tradition. And who can say no to that?
This is the kind of band that I think more people should discover, so please give them a chance. I'm pretty sure that you won't be dissapointed.

City Slang - Digital Single
British punk band LAMBRINI GIRLS released this single a few days before their new 7" single was released, on March 26. The 7" features the previous single, "God's Country", and this single, "Body Of Mine".
This sounds very British, and they seems to blend the old school with the new school. The result is a pretty good punk rock song, and you should give it a try if you like that.
The band will have a busy summer, where they will be touring with AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS in USA and play at festivals as well as some headline dates.

GREENLEAF: Avalanche
Magnetic Eye Records - Digital Single
Greenleaf rocking
Swedish heavy rockers GREENLEAF deliver another single from their upcoming album, "The Head & The Habit", which will be released on June 21. The first single, "Breath, Breath Out", was really good, but this song might actually be even better. It's a more intense/up-tempo song that we get this time, but still heavy of course. You should really check this out, because this is really good stuff.
Another album to look foward to.. | |

AFM Records - Digital Single
Arizona thrash metal veterans FLOTSAM & JETSAM has released a new single (about a week ago). And it's the first taste, and the title track, of their forthcoming 15th studio album.
The last album, "Blood In The Water" (2021), was really good. And with this song they continue to deliver some really good thrash metal. So I look forward to hear the new album, because this sounds very promising.
Release date for the album and other details will be announced on May 24. At the same time, a repress of the band's 2016 album, "Flotsam And Jetsam", will be issued as a strictly limited, Gatefold Clear 2-LP. | |

Luftslott Records - Digital Single
Swedish punk rock band SISTA BRYTET came alive during 2010, when Fredrik Lindkvist (vocals/guitar) took a long hiatus from TOTALT JÄvLA MÖRKER. He also have a past in KNUGEN FALLER, and wanted to get back to the more melodic punk rock that they played. In 2014 the band was finally complete, and they began to release some records. They have since then released 2 albums and 3 EPs.
It's now 5 years since they released anything last time. But now they are back with a new single, which is a first taste of their third album (no release date yet). It's so melodic that it could just as well have been pop/rock instead. But thanks to the guitars it's some kind of pop punk at least. And it's not such a bad song that they have made here, so I can't complain anyway. |

REMEDY: Caught By Death
Escape Music - Digital Single
Swedish melodic rock/metal band REMEDY gives us another single taken from their upcoming album, "Pleasure Beats The Pain", which will be released on May 24. And this song is filled with influences of Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW) and ACCEPT, they say. So we talk about an electrifying melodic hard rocker with both feet on the ground (wide legged of course). It's as usual influenced by the sound of the 80s, but with a modern touch. And they blend it perfectly, so there's really no reason to complain. This is great!
It looks like we have yet another album to look forward to.. |

Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital Single
This band has already released their third single, and "Niko" is their second. Too much to be fast is my only excuse (but too much rock is better than too little, as we all know).
Anyway.. They continue with their classic American AOR, and it sounds just as good as the first single, "Just This Once". So in other words another song that you really have to listen to. Trust me, because this is great.
NIGHT PLEASURE HOTEL will release their debut album, "Portraits", on May 31. Something to look forward to for all fans of legends like SURVIVOR, FOREIGNER and TOTO etc.
Next project is the third single, "We Say Goodbye". | |

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