Vagrant – The Rise of Norn (Epic Melodic Death Metal)

Formed in 2016 this trio from Germany has slowly but surely crafted their debut album The Rise of Norn which is melodic death metal to its core but with that epic stamp that bands such as Wolfheart, Kalmah, Wintersun, Ensiferum and Brymir are known for.

Especially Brymir and Ensiferum are two of the bands I draw parallels to while listening to The Rise of Norn. While I could wish some more orginality there is no denying Vagrant has released a solid debut album and taken influence from some great bands while writing this. With a nice slow paced intro “The Whispering Sea” it draws the listener in for a groovy riff fest with subtle orchestral parts in “Blinded by Destiny”, a good start. “Deceptive Similarity” starts out insanely heavy, Amon Amarth like, but sadly it quickly slows down and basically becomes the ballad of the album. It took me a few spins to appreciate this song, which I did in the end mind you. But I do wonder how it would sound if they did a more heavy song, with that melodic epic death metal buzz to it. I personally think that would sound even better.

“Darkness During the Reign of a Black Sun” gives me a straight up folk metal vibe a la Ensiferum with some nice solos to come with it. Whereas “Spirit of Valor” later on really capture that said epic spirit added more great symphonic elements and the whole shabang which makes it my favorite song on the album together with “Blood on a Crow’s Break” which ends the album on a high note.

The Rise of Norn delivers exactly what I expected from Vagrant going into this. A solid debut that has a few flaws but is ultimately something they can build on. The genre is a tough one to break into but skilled musicians as they are I’m sure they can do so in time.

Written by J.B.

Artist: Vagrant
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Brymir and Ensiferum
Release date: July 19th, 2019
Favorite song: Spirit of Valor
Score: 3/5 Good

Albums of the Month: March

March is over and with that a quarter of the year is too. So far 2019 has given us some fine metal with a few surprises like Malist and Wretched Fate along the way. While my picks for January were filled with death metal, February had a varied selection and that keeps being the way the cookie crumbles for March too! March has been the hardest month yet to make my choice for the top 5, and while I write this I’ve already changed it like ten times in a few days (truth be told a few of these albums came out very late) and dammit I will probably change it again if you ask me in a week! Meaning the honorable mentions this month are extra strong mind you so don’t sleep on them. Here it is though, The Metal Gamer top 5 picks for March!

Album of the month

Equipoise – Demiurgus

The best album I heard all year is Demiurgus by Equipoise. They’ve done everything right, it’s technical death metal at its peak and it’s not only good but also fun! I mean who just adds in a acoustic flamenco track for the sake of it? Equipoise does and it pays off! The first 5/5 of the year went to Demiurgus and it will be interesting to see if an album can top it this year. Released March 8th via The Artisan Era.


Nordjevel – Necrogenesis

The Norwegian army is back with a vengeance! While their debut was stunning Necrogenesis will blow your mind with riffs Beelzebub himself has crafted and Satan be praised isn’t this Doedsadmiral best performance so far!? Released March 29th via Osmose Productions.

The Flaying – Angry, Undead

Angry, Undead is well angry death metal, who would of thought? The Flaying unleashes the most aggressive and utterly mind melting death metal I’ve heard all year. This is an album that will pump you up for your gym session! Released March 22nd as an independent release.

A Wake in Providence – The Blvck Sun || The Blood Moon

This is nothing short but the best deathcore release in the first quarter of 2019, probably even the best you will hear all year. Released March 29th via Outerloop Records.

Abduction – All Pain As Penance

Having basically had this album on repeat for days it’s easy to say it has me in a trance. A cosmic black metal journey that will make you miss a new Mgła or Uada album way less. Released March 29th via Inferna Profundus Records.

Honorable mentions

Misery Index – Rituals of Power
Týr – Hel
Sinmara – Hvísl Stjarnanna
Prostitute Disfigurement – Prostitute Disfigurement
Children of Bodom – Hexed
Bleeding Utopia – Where the Light Comes to Die
Whitechapel – The Valley
Truth Corroded – Bloodlands
Vltimas – Something Wicked Marches In
Brymir – Wings of Fire
Wraithborn – The Testament of the Infernal
Gomorrah – Gomorrah
Aoratos – Gods Without Name

Drearyym – Precursions (Melodic Death Metal)


I’ve reviewed some of the more seasoned bands from Finland so far with Noumena, Mors Principium Est and Wolfheart already granting us sweet melodic death metal releases. Now it’s time to go tapping into the talent pool of new and upcoming acts starting with Drearyym. Drearyym were formed in 2014 and has since then already been able to produce two EP’s and the full-length debut I am about to review Precursions. Precursions features the two songs from the bands second EP Precursions Part I as well as four new tracks. It’s actually quite astonishing that Drearyym are still alive and kicking after the rocky road the band has had with members coming and going during these three years, having had an especially hard time to find a stable drummer in the lineup. Not many bands that find the motivation to keep on going when the start hasn’t been what you might have thought it would be.

To start off these 45 minutes of Nordic tales and great wars is the 3 minute intro Draugr March. It works as a soft introduction to the album that fills it’s role with fantasy like sounding music that tells of the battles that are to come. It’s with In Obsidian we really hear what Drearyym are all about. The growling technique Leevi Kuunila does and battle-fuelled melodic death metal music you hear is influenced by the type of music you’ve heard the Finnish bands Brymir, Turisas and Frosttide perform. Bands I enjoy listening to so that isn’t a bad thing. 1.50 into In Obsidian the song takes a rather interesting turn, carnival music starts playing and it’s actually a smooth transition that doesn’t feel forced in and eventually fades out. A cool touch in my opinion. Nine Divines acoustic intro is a beautiful start that later turns into a brutal symphonic warzone just to five minutes in get some nice piano music together with a sweet guitar solo. These elements makes this song my favorite ones on the album and shows some of the bands diverse style in epic melodic death metal.

Hunter’sTale and Old Barn are also good songs and once Precursions is over I am feeling quite satisfied with Drearyym’s debut. It may not be perfect but for a debut from a band that’s already had some lineup struggles this is solid. Precursions is out now as an independent digital release.

For fans of: Frosttide and Brymir
Favorite song: Nine Divines

Enragement – Burned, Barren, Bloodstained (Brutal Death Metal)


I usually review albums that are already out or soon to be out. However this time I got a promo from Inverse Records on a Finnish band called Enragement and their sophomore album Burned, Barren, Bloodstained which isn’t out until June 9th. When I get an album that’s not released until so far away in the future I usually wait for the release date to be closer but this time I couldn’t, the album is simply too good and I couldn’t wait! Lets start with some background on Enragement. The band was formed in 2006 by Lasse Sannikka (drums), Erkka Järvinen (guitars) and Jouni Mäkelä (vocals), Erkka left to focus on hockey, Jouni later on left to focus on his other band Reflection Dies. Left with no members, nor any album releases, Lasse rebuild Enragement and the band is now a four-piece, featuring three vocalists (!). It took just a bit more than a year for Lasse to assemble the new group together and release their debut album Omnimalevolence of Man. Now three years later they are active with Burned, Barren, Bloodstained.

I did mention Enragement consists of three vocalists. That’s the part that makes this band really stick out. Jarkko Niemi (Brymir), Atte Ojanne and Tuomas Iivanainen all got different types of growling, all from classic death metal, brutal death metal and shrieks as taken from a black metal band. And it’s not just the vocals that differs, the music overall also demonstrates a wide range of musical influences all from old school death metal to grindcore. One song can lean towards black metal (Ashen Unity), just to on the next track, As the Acid Burns, become a groovy riff-fest classic death metal type of song. What makes it all jell together in harmony is the intense heavyness and brutality that never stops. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is an album that will go down as a hidden gem in Finnish metal scene and I hope many of you out there will notice this rare display of brutal death metal from a country that hardly dabbles in the scene. I am actually quite stunned to find such rare talent with a unique sound and never heard of them before. Being half Finnish I try to give that market an extra ear (just like with the Swedish scene) but this has simply went by me. For that I am sorry but I am now a true believe of Enragement’s quest to create the ultimate song to capture the human condition at its darkest.

Enragement now got a new fan, this is one of the best releases of the year. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is out June 9th. I suggest you mark it down on your calendars and get it from Inverse Records for your own salvation. This is Extreme Death Metal, this is Enragement!

For fans of: Beheaded and Immolation
Favorite song: Dead Flesh Treasury

Valfreya – Promised Land (Melodic Black/Folk Metal)


The band’s name caught my eye when I received a promo and I just had to check it out. I found this on The Metal Archives “The band’s name is influenced by one by name of Óðinn, Valföður (Old Icelandic for “Father of the Corpses”) and Freyja, the Vanic deity, sister of Freyr”. A cool fusion of names and from there on I was already in love with the band. Apart from the name the band, as the name implies, sings about Norse mythology and they do it in a very melodic/symphonic (whatever floats your boat) kind of way with with folk and black metal being the two main genres they cross. Promised Land is the Canadian bands second full-length and fourth album over since their formation in 2009.

Promised Land is a concept album following the tale of Eric The Red discovering America while defying the Gods. Between the songs you sometimes have a intermission with a story teller guiding you what has happened and is about to happen. The idea has been done before but I’ve always find it a fun way to to tell a story through a music album. One thing that stood out for me with Valfreya is the band was created by the female vocalist Corinne Cardinal (Crook) who also does the graphic design and is the main composer of the band. Not that often I find black/folk influenced bands have a female in the forefront like that. Kudos to Crook for creating Valfreya and making it all happen as I am sure it can be tough.

Being a concept album I do of course think it should be listened to in full from start to finish. Even more so since it’s a story I like and heard when I was a kid, and I found this a great way to tell the story of Eric The Red. Promised Land is a concept album any fan of Norse mythology will enjoy and fans of symphonic folk with black metal influences will surely have a good time here. Promised Land is independently released and it’s out now!

For fans of: Ensiferum and Wintersun
Favorite song: The Choice

Ulfsark – Einherjar (Epic Viking/Power Metal)


Oh some viking metal from Spain to listen to? Don’t mind if I do! The spaniards in Ulfsark, who were founded in 2014, recently released their debut EP Einherjar. Like the sucker I am for epic viking music I just knew I had to dig into this. Checking through their pictures as well I could see they are the real deal, getting Ensiferum vibes like crazy. This aside though, how do they sound? Well what do you know, they sound like Ensiferum as well! This isn’t a bad thing though as Ensiferum is one of my favorite bands, just like I guess Ulfsark thinks too.

With songs about valhalla, travels, feasts, drinking and war you know you got the recipe for a wicked viking metal album. I think Ulfsark is on to something with their EP Einherjar and I hope to see them release a full-length album in the near future.

For fans of: Ensiferum and Brymir
Favorite song: Blood and Beer

Nothgard – The Sinner’s Sake (Epic Melodic Death Metal)


Nothgard’s third full-length release The Sinner’s Sake is the bands first with the new bass player Nico Kolja. Nothgard, as some of you probably know, is basically a German supergroup with members from Wolfchant and Equilibrium. Both within the folk genre and kind of epic in their own ways, so it isn’t a surprise to hear Nothgard having raving solos, wicked drumming and simply great melodic epic music. With that said they have more in common with Ensiferum and is a mix of the Finnish (Ensiferum, Brymir and even Children of Bodom) and German (Equilibrium and Suidakra) epic folk sound.

The band does pull it off really well and the orchestral parts, like the whole intro song Glittering Shades especially , does make it truly epic. On a side note the album cover art looks great too. I feel almost any song here could be put into a single as they are so epic it hurts. The riffs are roaring like thunder that some power metal bands can only dream off, the drums beating like mjölnir and vocals powerful like Thor himself. Basically together they make a mean epic melodic death metal God. For me this is one of the biggest surprises within the epic music genre. Might be because this is my first run in with Nothgard, or it’s simply because they’ve made an….wait for it… epic album.

For fans of: Equilibrium and Ensiferum
Favorite song: From Lambs To Lions