Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram (Death/Black Metal)

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What’s that sound? It’s the sound of a black metal tank coming in full speed. I’m not going to lie Necrophobic has been one of my favorite bands last years (I honestly didn’t listen to them much until a couple years ago) and Mark of the Necrogram was my most anticipated album for 2018. Thing is with having really high hopes it can crush your expectations completely leaving you unsatisfied and probably give the album more backlash than it might deserve (as I did with Origins album last year). However with the case of Necrophobic and Mark of the Necrogram it’s done something hardly any albums do. They live up to my high expectations and more! Hell here I am halfway into the album when I start writing this and I am ready to say this is the best album Necrophobic ever released. I will let that one sink in for me a bit first though since this album needs to grow on me a few months, let the hype die down a bit, before I go and say something crazy like that. Because you know what? Necrophobic got a discography worth dying for. Their full-length debut The Nocturnal Silence is considered one of the best extreme metal albums ever and even their “weaker” (I still think they freaking rocks) albums such as Womb of Lilithu and Bloodhymns would demand huge sacrifices to pull off.

From the self-titled opening track Mark of the Necrogram to Undergången this album never stops delivering. Be it guitar riffs, blasting drums or Anders incredible vocals nothing is left to chance as they all perform as if possessed throughout. This is almost 50 minutes of pure dark magic. I just need to add that the news of Unanimated making a return and releasing a new album later this year is the only album within the black/death mixed realm I can see being as good as this. That’s a big maybe too as I got no clue how well Unanimated will perform in 2018. We are only two months into this year but I hereby set my first perfect score of the year. This one will be hard to beat and we already got a strong candidate for album of the year. Hell I am quite sure Mark of the Necrogram will be an album the metal community talks about years from now. Sweden are off to one of the best black metal starts ever with Watain, Tribulation and now Necrophobic putting out some of their best releases ever. The black king that is Necrophobic is back and there will be no prisoners.

Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Dissection and Unanimated
Release date: February 23rd, 2018
Favorite song: Tsar Bomba
Score: 5/5

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Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Death Metal)

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One of the few super groups that’s actually been around for years and making it work, becoming much more than just a super group in the process. If you don’t know why I call them that it’s because the trio consists of Hamish Hamilton Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride, ex-Solstice and ex-Seer’s Tear), Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) and Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost). Meaning some of the best doom metal bands to ever exist. Which is also why it’s obviously hard to keep Vallenfyre strictly death, they do of course have quite a lot of doom influences in their sound. However they do lean more towards band such as Entombed, Bloodbath and Asphyx than anything pure doom.

With their past two albums A Fragile King and Splinters being two albums I really like I was wondering if Fear Those Who Fear Him is on the same level or if Vallenfyre are losing their touch. Fact is they haven’t lost their touch the mix of doom and death Vallenfyre produces is still top class. They haven’t really managed to bring the magic out fully since their debut actually as that album still remains their best work as of yet. Songs like Degeneration, An Apathetic Grave and Soldier of Christ are songs that can definitely feature on a Vallenfyre best of though so fans of the band, or the genre overall will do best not to miss this one. Vallenfyre keeps on proving super groups can work and this is yet a solid release. If you haven’t listened to the band before I suggest you start with A Fragile King but Fear Those Who Fear Him can easily make you become a new fan of the band in its own.

For Those Who Fear Him is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Vallenfyre
Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Entombed and Paradise Lost
Favorite song: An Apathetic Grave
Score: 3.5/5

Broken Hope – Mutilated and Assimilated (Brutal Death Metal)

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Being a very new listener to Broken Hope as I actually discovered them on Twitter a couple of months ago when I followed Suffocation and got them as a recommendation I am sorry to say I will have to review this album as it is a debut basically. Some history about the band to begin with, as I obviously had to check these bad boys out to know what I am dealing with. Created in 1988 (very good year mind you) the band has had quite the history with a band member being kicked out due to basically hustling, disbanding in 2001, reuniting in 2012 and being droped from a Deicide tour in 2013. All that shit aside the band is still going strong and Jeremy Wagner on guitar is the only original member still in the band. Has this made Broken Hope lost….their hope?

As I said earlier I haven’t listened to this band at all before and I am going into this album with a very fresh mind and don’t know what to expect, unlike I did with Origins for example. Holy crap though! If John Carpenter’s The Thing was a music album this could be it! I’m a big fan of Damian “Tom” Leski’s (Gorgasm) vocals and it really sets the tone together with the rest of the band and lyrical theme of Mutilated and Assimilated. This is a brutal death metal album filled with gore and horror. All the pieces are set in the band to make it an experience you deserve in that theme. The album proves to be a good one for me, it lacks that extra punch as I am having a hard time finding a song that sticks out from the rest. It’s solid brutal death metal through and through though but could use that tank of a song that breaks it out of the cage. With Broken Hope re-assembled (or mutilated and assimilated?), having new members and new hope (sorry) I am sure this is just the beginning for the band as they go for that tier one brutal death metal spot.

Mutilated and Assimilated is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/brokenhopeofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BROKENHOPEBAND
Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse
Favorite song: The Carrion Eaters
Score: 3/5

Best of 2017 so far

Picking a top 10 is always hard, I personally try to mix it up with various genres as well. There were some albums which on any other day could be in this top 10 but this is what I am sticking with! Also just like last year I only choose albums I’ve reviewed. Meaning there are some albums that’s actually good and been out before this is written but I haven’t had the time to review them, hence they are not in the running. So here you go The Metal Gamer top 10 albums of 2017…..so far!

Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)
Review
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HerezA – I Become Death (Death Metal)
Review

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Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi (Pagan/Black Metal)
Review

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Svartsyn – In Death (Black Metal)
Review

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Svart Crown – Abreaction (Black/Death Metal)
Review

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Hideous Divinity – Adveniens (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)
Review

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Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer (Deathcore)
Review

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Firespawn – The Reprobate (Death Metal)
Review

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Evocation – The Shadow Archetype (Death Metal)
Review

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Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)
Review

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Svart Crown – Abreaction (Black/Death Metal)

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Svart Crown has slowly but steady become a new favorite of mine. I didn’t know about this band until last year when I saw they were about to release a new album called Abreaction. Since then I’ve listened quite a bit to both Witnessing the Fall and Profane (yet to hear their debut Ages of Decay). Both those albums being masterpieces in their own way. Their style of black and death metal is sweet music to my ears and their song-writing is just great. So obviously I was looking forward to listen to Abreaction. Reason I waited this long to listen to it and review it is that when I start digging a band this much I can’t review an album by them. Because either I will hate it because my expectations are through the roof or I will love it more than anything else in the world simply because it’s new music by a band I like. For those reasons I’ve waited until now to review it when my expectations and honeymoon love for Svart Crown has gone down some.

After all that being said I will tell you right away though, this is awesome! It’s just as devilish and spiritual wicked that I hoped it would be. JB Le Bail is still a horrifying vocalist that will give you chills. Just as Ludovic Veyssière on bass is as good as ever. The two newcomers Kévin Paradis (Agressor, Virulent Depravity, ex-Benighted (live)) on drums and Kevin Verlay (Agressor, ex-Mors Principium Est, ex-Aborted (live)) on guitars does a great job and and adds other dimensions to Abreaction that Svart Crown’s earlier work didn’t have.

In many ways I think this is Svart Crown’s best release yet. It’s closer to the Profane sound than Witnessing the Fall but it’s not a pure copy of neither. Abreaction stands tall in a dark world where bands such as Behemoth, Azarath, Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate have released killer albums as of late. This is one of those albums you need to listen to in it’s full in order to get the full Svart Crown experience. If I had to choose some favorite songs it would be The Pact: To the Devil His Due, Khimba Rites and Nganda.

Abreaction is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SVARTCROWN
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Scrownofficial
For fans of: Behemoth and Azarath
Favorite song: The Pact: To the Devil His Due