Wormlight – Wrath of the Wilds (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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Lets get straight to it. Wormlight plays melodic black and death metal the way it has been played for years. Nothing wrong with this at all! Not as memorable as the releases from Necrophobic, Avslut and Nekrokraft have been to me but Wrath of the Wilds is certainly a good album that I enjoyed. It’s 90’s melodic black/death metal worship the Swedish way and I get some Naglfar, Dissection and Unanimated vibes for sure. Seeing as we won’t hear any new material from those bands any time soon (or ever) I say this is a perfectly good album to get your fill! There is no need to reinvent the wheel and Wrath of the Wilds is not only a good debut album, it is also a big step forward from the band since their EP Bloodfields came out in 2015.

The mid-range death growls together with the energetic hellfire the band unleashes is enough to make fans of melodic black metal be pleased with this release. There isn’t really something to point out as bad on this album and the 55 minutes go past with a feeling of satisfaction. However if you do put Wormlight against previously named bands and the new releases from for example Necrophobic then it lacks that extra punch to become an album I want to revisit instead of those. Either way I know a lot of you are like me and can not get enough quality black metal and Wrath of the Wilds certainly does fall into that category. If you only want to try out a couple of tracks it should be “Vittramark” with its icy atmosphere, piano outro (which they do use on several occasions though) and overall a great sounding song. That song along with “Invocation (intro)” leading to “Feast of the Mountain Kin” is a perfect example how to finish an album on a high note.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Unanimated and Necrophobic
Release date: April 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Feast of the Mountain King
Score: 3.5/5

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Kosmogyr – Eviternity (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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What an interesting duo there is in atmospheric black metal band Kosmogyr. The two members Xander Cheng and Ivan Belic are from China and Czech Republic respectively creating an international band that’s really crossing borders. Eviternity is the duos debut album and it sure packs a punch.

The album is atmospheric black to its core with Ivan’s vocals giving it that black second wave kind of feeling to it. It’s melancholic beautiful music that’s yet made with a destructive force in mind. While listening I get hints of Emperor just as much as I do with bands like Grift, Uada and Panphage during the album. The change of pace and use of different instruments such as violins throughout the album are well placed and it’s really interesting to know that a duo so far away from each other can work so well together on a debut album. Eviternity also offers great song-writing all around which is a good reason on why I will probably return to it more than once this year, it’s got good replay value and leaves its mark.

There hasn’t been too many atmospheric black metal albums coming my way this year compared to last year but when they do they’ve been on good quality. Kosmogyr delivers a solid debut that’s worth any atmospheric black metal fans time and one they can build on for future releases.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Panphage and Uada
Release date: March 9th, 2018
Favorite song: Frailty
Score: 3/5

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar (Folk/Black Metal)

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Skogen. It doesn’t only mean forest in Swedish but is also the name of one of Swedens top tier black metal bands. They have released nothing but great albums in my opinion and I’ve been looking forward to review this for a long time. Their latest album has taken the name from the second track on the bands debut Vittra, namely Skuggorna Kallar. One thing that has make Skogen stand out for me is the fact they keep on growing and with each release they improve their sound that eventually lead to one of the best albums of 2014 I döden to be unleashed to this world.

I have to be honest my initial listen to Skuggorna Kallar left me disappointed. It started off so well with “Det nordiska mörkret” which is great atmospheric black metal with folk influences, something I like when Skogen dabble with and they do so more than ever on this album bringing them closer to Primordial than ever before. Then coming into “När solen bleknar bort” we have one of the most crushing Skogen tracks ever released, a song that will be with me for many many years to come. “Nebula” is black folk metal perfection in many ways, whereas “Omen” and “Frostland” are classic Skogen sound and these five tracks contains just about everything I hoped for the album, but then it loses me. From a captivating first half and superb Skogen metal I find the change to English vocals and a more doom approach on “The Sun’s Blood” and onwards being far less appealing to my ears. Sadly that brings the score down a bit from an otherwise great album.

I do find this release to be weaker than their previous ones and a bit of a letdown but Skuggorna Kallar gives Skogen fans yet another good album. It lacks the consistency the older albums have had to me but at the same time containing some of the bands best singles to date.

Label: Nordvis Produktion
For fans of: Borknagar and Primordial
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: När solen bleknar bort
Score: 3/5

Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties (Death Metal)

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Back to what I love the most, classic death metal! This time hailing from Finland and their Sadistik Forest. The band started in 2007 and has only had one lineup change since then, which was even before they put out their selftitled debut in 2010. With Markus Makkonen (ex-Hooded Menace) on bass and vocals duty they have one the Finnish undergrounds most talented members leading the charge. So before even starting listening to the band I know I am in for some quality death metal. Like I always do when I get a promo from a band I haven’t heard of before I need to dig into their discography to know what I am dealing with while also getting the sense of the evolution the band has had.

The road they’ve had is quite interesting. Their debut was a rather slow paced death metal album, almost dabbling in sludge and doom, whereas the sophomore Death, Doom, Radiation upped the speed and was heavily thrash influenced. With Morbid Majesties and the opener Morbidly Majestic you can still hear some thrash influences but it’s way more classic death metal in the veins of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel with a hint of Grave. Good stuff that you’re familiar with and hits hard, a good opener to get you going. Makkonen’s vocals has improved significantly since their past albums in my opinion and it feels like he really nailing the aggressiveness this time around. Actually the whole band has evolved and the aggression, riffs with all the energy that is unleashed upon you on Morbid Majesties is in my ears a whole new beast than their previous albums. Created by Finland’s very own Demilich, Sweden’s Grave and America’s Cannibal Corpse triangle drama love child I would say. You can still hear some thrash influences on tracks like “The Hour of Dead” and sludge/doom elements from time to time but overall Morbid Majesties is more filthy death, yet cleaner in for example production (but not too clean) than before.

After the opening tracks the album does slow down a bit and have more crushing waves coming at you than constant pummelling. Both sides of the album showcasing good underground death metal that doesn’t just stick to a one trick pony. Once I am done listening through the album I feel this is a good album that will probably grow with time. There are a lot more to this album than just death metal that you eat up and spit out then go to the next act, I want to explore every inch of this album. Morbid Majesties also have the problem that I’m having a hard time selecting my favorite song. Do I want the slow beating but insanely heavy Monsters of Death that reeks of Cannibal Corpse or the moshpit opener (55 seconds in) that is Zero Progress? Doesn’t really matter as it’s candy that I want to devour and get addicted to. It’s by far their most brutal and varied offering to date which takes the band to new heights. This is the sound the band has worked on to achieve over the years and they have succeeded.

Morbid Majesties is not only Sadistik Forest best album to date, it’s one of the best albums of the year.

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Demilich and Grave
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Monsters of Death
Score: 4.5/5

Defiatory – Hades Rising (Thrash Metal)

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Swedish Defiatory had an alright debut album in Extinct a couple of years ago. They break no new grounds with their thrash metal but they aren’t trying to either. Defiatory takes their influences from the early years of top names like Megadeth and Exodus while making it a bit more modern. There is surely nothing wrong with that and while I thought Extinct was a bit inconsistent I think their new album Hades Rising has improved. I have to say though I am no hardcore thrash fan so I’m sure many of you diehard thrash metalheads out there might be of a different opinion than me. I take it as I hear it though. If it gets me drumming on my keyboard or something then I know there is something in the music I enjoy, which there sadly was little of in the first album.

About inconsistency, I do like the second part of the album from “Down to His Kingdom” and onward more than the first part. The riffing, solos and general feel to these songs captures me even more so than the start of Hades Rising did. That’s when you can start seeing me stomping my feet on the floor to the drums for example.

Still a decent start but a stronger finish, with yet a bit more consistency and less of a bumpy ride than I had with their first offering. I can’t deny that tracks like previously mentioned “Down to His Kingdom”, “Metatron” and “All That Remains” gets my head banging like it should. Defiatory are improving and I do see them as one of the upcoming bright stars in the Swedish thrash metal scene. It’s pure hard thrash that will appeal to fans of genre.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Megadeth and Exodus
Release date: May 11th, 2018
Favorite song: Metatron
Score: 3/5

At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself (Melodic Death Metal)

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When you are one of the main bands to create a whole sound and an era for Swedish metal music, hell an era for melodic death metal all over the world then you’re bound to have a nice reputation going for you. They are one of the creators of what is called “the Gothenburg sound” during the early 90’s and At the Gates needs no further introduction as their legacy is one everyone should know by now.

With At War With Reality the band made a great comeback but didn’t really dare to try something new. Who can blame them though, they had been broken up for years so for the comeback album I would play it rather safe as well. It was basically what was expected from them and they delivered. Then comes To Drink From the Night Itself. Not only do they go back to their roots and you get a lot of tracks that got that Slaughter of the Soul feeling to it but they also manage to develop their sound this time around. You can almost say this album consists of two parts, Der Widerstand to In Nameless Sleep is classic At the Gates then with The Colours of the Beast and onwards you hear more songs that brings in elements of doom and heavy metal. More atmospheric in many ways and it’s a welcoming experiment along with their core sound. The new guitarist Jonas Stålhammar (The Lurking Fear) is a great addition to the band and he is a key factor when the band is moving forward in my opinion.

An album like this is funny to review. One side of me want At the Gates to only give me the Slaughter of the Soul sound all over again, then there is one side of me who wants something new and different. To Drink From the Night Itself manages to do a bit of both. So here I am digging the title track To Drink from the Night Itself (Blinded By Fear version 2), which is really catchy and been stuck in my head for days, like I am having just as good of a time with for example The Colours of the Beast where they try something new. At the Gates were together with In Flames and Soilwork the bands that got me liking this genre and I am happy to say that they are still kings within the genre where some have faltered.

Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and In Flames
Release date: May 18th, 2018
Favorite song: To Drink from the Night Itself
Score: 4/5

Ingested – The Level Above Human (Slamming Deathcore/Death Metal)

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Lets talk some about what I think of Ingested. The UK band almost single-handedly acted as a sort of gateway to slam, together with Disentomb. When The Architect of Extinction came out in 2014 it blew my mind and I was sold on the whole slam scene, even though some say *cough* the slam police *cough* it’s more deathcore than slam (or slamming deathcore) I don’t care I liked it and it opened up a new genre for me. Granted I am not a diehard fan and my knowledge of the scene bar said bands and some others like Devourment, Pathology, Abominable Putridity and Katalepsy is very limited. With that in mind I was surprised with The Level Above Human and the direction Ingested went with it.

“Sovereign” starts off hard, really hard, and I am here thinking “damn this is going to be one of my favorite albums of the year”. The album has some good highs but also lows for me though. The production quality is almost too clear and while some tracks like “Sovereign”, “Invidious”, “Better off Dead” are of top notch Ingested quality and are in some ways a development from the bands past release. Mainly since they flirt with heavy hitters from brutal death metal like Dying Fetus and others creating a, perhaps, less slam sound but more of a death metal fused together with slam. Then you have “Last Rites”, a song that switches tempo well and is by far their most technical and well written track to date. Songs like that can make me see this as an evolution of their sound and slam in general, The Level Above Human will surely bring in more fans to the fray due to this. While “the slam police” will surely say this isn’t true slam but slamming deathcore/brutal death metal or whatever I can understand why Ingested takes this road, just like Thy Art is Murder with their latest release took more inspiration from death metal to change it up some. It’s bound to happen to some of the bigger bands in such underground or even hated scenes from the general metal community.

Change or no change you have your mid-tempo slams, Jason Evans on form (as always), angry hard hitting metal with that Ingested stamp on it. It’s a rather big change from The Architect of Extinction, less deathcore, more brutal death metal added to the mix, less monotone and it’s definitely got more technical aspects to it than any of their older releases. I should be all over this because of those elements but I can’t help but to say I personally liked The Architect of Extinction a lot more than I did with The Level Above Human, maybe even because of the more straight forward and monotone approach even. I can not deny however that this is probably the right step for the band to take in order to leap forward. Ingested are not afraid to change it up and I respect them for that and while some were scared that they would lose their slam when joining Unique Leader Records this was definitely not case. They simply evolved and while I may not be completely down with this change as of yet (give me time guys) I am sure many will.

Label: Unique Leader Records
For fans of: Acrania and Cerebral Bore
Release date: April 27th, 2018
Favorite song: Sovereign
Score: 3/5