Golgata – Skam (Black Metal)

I’ve followed the Swedish black metal band Golgata very closely since their EP Trälen came out in 2017, followed by De Dömdas Gryning last year where they took another step in the right direction. Finally though they’ve released a full-length album with Skam being their fourth offering (their debut EP Industrial Thoughts came out 2015). The Swedish duo don’t hold back at all and with Skam Golgata has put out their most complete album yet. It’s dark and sinister atmosphere, Swedish lyrics and varied songs makes it an easy album to get back to again and again. They also have their, so far, best tracks on this album with the opener “Förrädiskt Vaggas Vi Till Sömns” and “Opus IX (Lidandets Moder)” being two of my favorite black metal tracks I’ve heard this year (still quite a few months to go I know).

Golgata keeps their dirty underground, yet melodic, sound intact and throughout the album there is a red line on both lyrics and atmosphere that grabs you and never let you go. Difference here compared to their older albums, which makes this a winner in my book, is that it offers a more varied spectrum on fast, adrenaline pumping black metal accompanied with the more slow paced songs. Together with the intermission parts on spoken words, use of organ, acoustic guitar and more Skam pushes the band and is an album any black metal fan should listen to. I can’t stress this enough, Golgata is a very underrated band which just keeps on improving. Don’t sleep on them!

Written by J.B.

Label: Satanath Records
For fans of: Skogen and Dråpsnatt
Release date: June 17th, 2019
Favorite song: Förrädiskt Vaggas Vi Till Sömns
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Temple Of Demigod – Onslaught Of The Ancient Gods (Symphonic Black/Death Metal)

Temple of the Demigod is a one-man symphonic black/death metal project created by Mark Erskine from Armenia in 2014. Since then there has been one EP named Profane Doctrine and a full-length album The Great Old Ones out prior to this release. It’s been three years in the making and now the ancient Gods from the Lovecraft mythos are approaching us once again.

After several listens these past days my main concern with the album is that it varies in quality. The opening track “Him Who Is Not to Be Named” started off so well but then on “Acolyte of an Ancient Cult” it drops off a bit and it isn’t until “He Who Lies in Eternity” I get fully sucked in again. While I love symphonic music I do think there is in all honesty a bit too much of that side, less keyboard would make it stand out a bit more, the less is more rule applies here. And why, oh why did “Neverending Dreams” even happen? Just hearing wale sounds for 2:30 minutes doesn’t do it for me, even though I understand why he did it (this being a Lovecraft concept album and all) but I don’t think it added anything to the album at all. Even with those things that I personally think holds the album back a bit there is no denying Temple of Demigod has some wicked riffs and vocals. When it also all syncs well like in symbiosis with the synth like on “Black Rivers of Yuggoth”, “Becoming”, or the opener as I mentioned before, then it’s really great symphonic black/death metal. It’s just a bit too much at times and I generally think The Great Old Ones worked a bit better in that regard. I do think Onslaught of the Ancient Gods offers more highs though and some of the best work by Temple of Demigod.

Overall I do enjoy Onslaught of the Ancient Gods, it’s a good album with some really good songwriting in an area I love (Lovecraft mythos). Hell I am even in the planing stage of a Lovecraft inspired tattoo… I just think this could be even better, there are some thoughts on what could of been once the album is over for sure. A few bumps on the road shouldn’t hold you back from giving this album a listen though, especially for Lovecraft fans as this sure does it justice in both atmosphere and lyrics. If you liked the past work of Temple of Demigod then you will feel right at home here and like this too.

Written by J.B.

Label: SoundAge Productions
For fans of: Grief of Emerald and Limbonic Art
Release date: June 15th, 2019
Favorite song: Him Who Is Not to Be Named
Score: 3/5 Good

Albums of the month: May

What a month! This year for metal has been good overall, granted some months better than others but May oh my…. There has been not just one, nor two but six albums I could consider album of the year contenders! How freaking sweet is that (and bad for my wallet)!? That being said the album of the month was very very hard to pick and hell even the top five won’t consist of the all the albums that might find their way into the yearly top ten! Hope you find some great metal here, be sure to check all the band out and comment your own lists here, on Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook as I would love to hear them! With this album of the month article I am going on a vacation to Prague for a bit over a week. Catch all of you metal gamers later!

Album of the month

Vale of Pnath – Accursed

Wow what a journey Vale of Pnath has had! They’ve always been of my favorite techdeath bands, much do to their black metal influences, but they really knocked this one out of the park! A perfect five in my book and a crown jewel in their already great, and growing, discography. Released May 17th via Willowtip Records.
Read the review here

Runners-up

AngelMaker – AngelMaker

From one of my favorite techdeath bands we have one of my favorite deathcore bands. Angelmaker is not just mine but also my wifes go to band when we want some deathcore quality. This is their most varied release yet and I absolutely love it! Released May 31st as an independent release.

Misþyrming – Algleymi

This is in my opinion the best black metal release so far. Even with strong releases from bands like Nordjevel, Abduction, Murg and their countrymen Sinmara I think Misþyrming got an edge and Algleymi has been one of my most played albums since its release. Released May 24th via Norma Evangelium Diaboli.

Warforged – I: Voice

Warforged was probably the band I had changing up and down the most if it was going to be my album of the month or not. What an experience! Add the very cool music video for the whole album and you got yourself a great time. Released May 10th via The Artisan Era.
Read the review here

Murdryck – Födelsen

My biggest surprise of the month. My partner in crime K.P. was all up in flames over this release and it didn’t take more than a couple of songs to understand why. Nearly perfect black metal in the Swedish old school way. Released May 1st via Leviaphonic Records.
Read the review here

Honorable mentions

Decomposition of Entrails – Abnormality
Darkthrone – Old Star
Krypts – Cadaver Circulation
Nihility – Thus Spoke The Antichrist
Entrapment – Imminent Violent Death
Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest
Kull – Exile
Ontborg – Within the Depths of Oblivion
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
Firelink – The Inveterate Fire
Mordbrand – Döden/Efter Döden
Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
October Tide – In Splendor Below
Amon Amarth – Berserker
Abnormality – Sociopathic Constructs
Osiah – Kingdom of Lies
Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Murdryck – Födelsen (Black Metal)

The gate of eternal evil opens up. The horde of Darkness shakes the ground, Murdryck are playing the military march that will follow the army too victory.

Murdryck started as a one man project within the blackened dark, ambient genre. Formed in Vännersborg, Sweden already in 1999 by the artist Skärseld. The project evolved after many years towards more guitar orientated black metal, with their 2014 demo release. Their first full-length was released in 2016 and this is the follow up, that have been given the title “Födelsen “(The Birth).

You can often read by critics and other “people of the music” that a band have made a solid follow up or that it is better than it’s predecessor. So what is my thoughts…
“Födelsen” is so much more than that. So many acts of metal (especially in the death & black) have evolved to play more atmospheric, brutal or experimental, the list can go on for a while. Murdryck does the opposite, it feels that they’d have been looking in the rearviewmirror. Don’t take this as an insult to atmospheric and ambient music, I love that kind of music but to go back to the roots of black metal is something I really respect..

Murdryck does not only do a favour for extreme metal by doing so but they’ll do it for what is typically Swedish by using elements of mythical occult theme, with an combination of old horror lyrics and pagan groove. Of course I have to mention the use of Swedish lyrics, together with English, that puts the cherry on the cake.

From this album and forward I can’t see any limits, no chain that will be able to keep Födelsen to be a huge impact for experienced and new listener’s. Murdryck have given us an black metal album that have everything right, evil melodies, crushing drums and superior growl a la 80’s style.

I’ve have to mention the artwork, that gives a nostalgic trip to the early 90’s, that have been done by the Romanian artist Luciana Nedelea. Yet again I’ve had a fortune to hear what the country of Sweden can do. Perfectionism is a strong word to us, but I will gladly re-use it over and over again for what Murdryck have created.

Written by K.P.

Label: Leviaphonic Records & Growls From The Underground
For fans of: Watain and Skogen
Release date: May 1st, 2019
Favorite song: The entire album!
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece

Vale of Pnath – Accursed (Technical Death/Black Metal)

Vale of Pnath is an interesting band, even with quite a few member changes during the years I personally think all their albums are great. They somehow seem to be immune to it leading towards a bad album every now and then. Maybe that is exactly why the band is always up for experimenting, while making it work is due to the strong glue and vision Vance Valenzuela (guitar) has who keeps it together (I should interview him one day to find out).

“Shadow and Agony” strikes me first and it’s such a scary, horror movie like intro fitting the Lovecraft techdeath masters! Banger after banger Vale of Pnath is hitting me with, they simply don’t want me to go anywhere as I give this album a spin. There is such a great flow throughout the album, time just flies by and your neck is sore after all the headbanging yet there is enough room to breathe at just the right times so it doesn’t break. Even with a great flow, a red thin line, every song sticks out on its own. It isn’t just a simple rinse and repeat for seven songs straight. Something I find hard to find albums which does great on both areas, making the album have a wicked flow and be great end to end but at the same time letting the songs speak for itself so I can just choose one at random and enjoy it. Very well done, it’s certainly not something I take for granted!

“So Jimmy what song do you recommend I listen to first?” Fact is I choose “The Darkest Gate” only due to it being the single I’ve heard so many times before this album dropped it’s just stuck in my head, and rightfully so as it is a killer track. You could definitely take any pick and you would be pleased, they have different elements to their songs that works good on the tracks they are meant for. Both “Obsidian Realm” and “Spectre of Bone” are epic finishers with a more atmospheric and techdeath side to them than the first half of the album for example (Vale of Pnath seems to have a patter to end with the longest, most epic track).

What a year for the technical side of death metal it’s been so far! First we got the riff feast from Equipoise, followed with a phenomenal experience in Warforged (which also brings a lot of black metal influences into the mix) and now Vale of Pnath shows they don’t want to be any worse with their strongest album yet. What do these three bands have in common? They have been experimenting with their sound and executed it well! The path Vale of Pnath has walked has led them to this sound, album after album has drawn them close and close to what finally became Accursed. This is a big change for the band who are now closer to being called a technical black metal band than ever before. I welcome this change with open arms with Accursed being the best I’ve heard from Vale of Pnath so far and an album of the year contender in my book! This makes all my metal sensors tingle the right way and fans of extreme metal have to give this a listen.

Written by J.B.

Label: Willowtip Records
For fans of: Enfold Darkness and The Black Dahlia Murder
Release date: May 17th, 2019
Favorite song: The Darkest Gate
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece

Albums of the Month: April

This time the album of the month section is coming a late, I’ve simply had too much to do past few weeks. However here it is the 4th edition, 1/3 of the year complete and even though it took a few weeks before most of the good albums dropped we yet again have some great albums to show!

Album of the month

Månegarm – Fornaldarsagor

Månegarm seems to do no wrong and Fornaldarsagor is a stunning album. In my opinion this is their best release since Vargstenen, which is hard to beat as it’s considered a viking metal masterpiece! Released April 26th via Napalm Records.

Runners-up

Gods Forsaken – Smells of Death

Their sophomore album is even better than their also great debut. One of the best HM-2 swedeath albums you will hear all year! Released April 19th via Soulseller Records.

Enterprise Earth – Luciferous

As one that have never truly got behind the Enterprise Earth hype train this took me by surprise. While they’ve released good albums in the past this is one of the best deathcore albums I’ve heard since I started this blog three years ago. If not for Månegarm releasing an album of the year contender this would be my album of the month pick. Released April 5th via Entertainment One Music.

Murg – Strävan

Yet another surprise. This time due to the fact I hadn’t listened to the band prior to Strävan though. Strävan is the bands third release and after going through their old stuff I dare say this is their best yet and the best black metal release of the month. Released April 26th via Nordvis Produktion.

Dawn of Demise – Into the Depths of Veracity

Dawn of Demise is, together with Illdisposed, the best death metal band Denmark has. Into the Depths of Veracity is yet another class release from these mad fuckers. Released April 19th via Unique Leader Records.

Honorable mentions

Numenorean – Adore
Istapp – The Insidious Star
AntropomorphiA – Merciless Savagery
Hath – Of Rot and Ruin
Hedonihil – I
Dethrone The Corrupted – Sintrophia
Belzebubs – Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
Marianas Rest – Ruins
Allegaeon – Apoptosis
Mephorash – Shem Ha Mephorash
After The Burial – Evergreen
Mist Of Misery – Unalterable
Waldgeflüster – Mondscheinsonaten
2 Wolves – …Our Fault
Archaic Decapitator – The Apothecary
Devour the Unborn – Liturgy of Irreverent Oblation
Wormwitch – Heaven That Dwells Within

Warforged – I: Voice (Progressive Death/Black Metal)

Ok first of wow! What a journey this is. I: Voice is one of the mightiest experiences I’ve had in a long time with music. It’s simply breathtaking and it’s hard to put it down to words, this is just something you have to experience yourself. Has to be said for this release I actually, for the first time ever, reviewed the album based on the official youtube release which has a quite simple but also brilliant video along with it. For me it helped to add to my experience so I can recommend you giving that a try (got to love how they interact with a music video 25 minutes in too). Choosing my favorite track here was honestly killing me too, because this isn’t one of those albums. This is an album you listen to front to back. Only downside by that is you need the time to invest into it, that being said I did choose “Nightfall Came” as I feel that works best as a single if you had to go for one track alone.

Is this the best album so far this year? Time will tell but along with Equipoise monster release Demiurgus this is the best I’ve heard when close to half the year is done and over with. Funny enough both these albums comes from the same label, so I just got to give high praise and a round of applauds to The Artisan Era. What a year they are having! I’ve already heard I: Voice several times in the two days it’s been out on youtube and I can just imagine how powerful this will be when played live. People that like their metal weird and think bands that experiment a lot such as Anaal Nathrakh, Ulcerate, Portal, Lantlôs and Opeth will think this is the best thing to be released in a long time, that I am sure of. Some of you will think this album is all over the place, add way too many elements into the mix, but I think it’s so well made (along with the video too) that I instead see it as an album you go back to and find something new you like with each listen. It’s stunning and not just a music album but a true work of art which isn’t something that happens often. You might not like it as much as I do, but you would do yourself a favor and give I: Voice a chance to witness a truly unique album.

Written by J.B.

Label: The Artisan Era
For fans of: Ulcerate and Portal
Release date: May 10th, 2019
Favorite song: Nightfall Came
Score: 4.5/5 Near perfection