Dead Asylum – Death Always Wins (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

a3251004676_10

Like the Gothenburg sound? Old Arch Enemy, At the Gates and the likes? What about trash metal? Dead Asylum does a great job combining these genres, the aggression from trash with the melodies of melodic death metal in a twisted symbiosis. Almost going to the Children of Bodom type of sound. The Canadian band have taken their sound a step further since their 2013 debut General Carnage and it shows. The stongwriting is better, the band have gained some more experience behind them and grown tighter as a unit.

While I am a fan of the Gothenburg sound there is a lot of music within that genre that is really average, or even crap. Dead Asylum’s debut was close to fall into that category for me as it didn’t really peak my interest. With Death Always Wins everything has gone in the right direction though, making this a much better listen for me. More trash elements than before has done Dead Asylum good. The band still lack that song that knocks me out of my chair and after a really good opener in Defiance some of the songs on the album doesn’t really keep the heat going in my opinion. Other than Defiance I enjoyed Forgotten Sacrifice with it’s sweet guitar solos that reminds me of Children of Bodom, Welcome which has that The Sorrow feel to it and Inmate 666 with it’s sheer aggression a la Bodom. Great start and great finish, it’s the road there that was a bit bumpy.

To conclude Death Always Wins is better than General Carnage, while still needing some consistency and that heavy hitter song. When it’s good it’s awesome, when it isn’t though I am almost on the verge of pressing skip song. Metalheads will find this a release that gives you a mixed bag of treats where you are sure to find some songs to add to your favorite metal playlist.

Death Always Wins is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadasylum
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DeadAsylummetal
Label: Independent
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Defiance
Score: 2.5/5

Karkaos – Children of The Void (Melodic Death Metal)

KARKAOS_FRONT1400

Karkaos is a female-fronted melodic death metal band from Canada that has quite some hype surrounding them after their debut album in 2014, Empire, being a great starter for the band. Their epic sound, great riffs and vocals from Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez was a great mix. Since then the band has made some changes, new vocalist, lead guitarist and drummer. Namely Viky Boyer, Samael Pelletier (ex-Aeon’s Fall) and Justine Ethier (Blackguard and ex-Profugus Mortis). So with those changes it’s interesting to see what Karkaos offers in their sophomore release. Fun note is that the band was originally formed in 2003 under the name Sinister Vengeance but it wasn’t until the name change to Karkaos in 2009 the band started releasing albums.

First off, wow Boyer got a great voice and Ethier is a wicked drummer (knew that from his Blackguard times though), with Pelletier doing a superb job as the new lead guitarist. It’s definitely not slowed them down, as a matter of fact I think they sound even better. It’s more epic than ever and the growls joined with clean vocals hit the spot in this melodeath heart. It’s like the lovechild made from Arch Enemy and Epica. What could go wrong with that mix, am I right? Karkaos delivers a lot of headbang worthy tracks with some of my favorites being Kolossos, Let The Curtain Fall and Children of the Void (which sounds like a track that could feature on In Flames Come Clarity album). They took their time to release a sophomore album but it’s worth the wait, Karkaos are better than ever and fans of a more wicked Arch Enemy style with the symphonic elements of Epica would be wise not to miss this one out.

Children of the Void is out now as a self-released album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karkaos
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Epica
Favorite song: Let The Curtain Fall

Noumena – Myrrys (Melodic Death Metal)

myrrys_albumcover

When thinking of melodic death metal from Finland I would guess bands such as Amorphis, Insomnium and Children of Bodom are the first ones that comes into your mind. However there is a band that was formed 1998, celebrating 20 years as a band this year, that I think a lot of people miss out on called Noumena. Having not had a single member leaving the lineup since the formation 20 years ago is quite rare and I respect that a lot from them. In 2009 Suvi Uura joined as a vocalist to add a female touch to the music which was first heard on their latest album Death Walks with Me. The album title “Myrrys” (old Finnish) refers to ruckus, tumult or uproar. Which is the emotions Noumena will give the listeners through melancholic Finnish mollie tunes, just like you love it from the Finnish melodeath scene.

What makes Myrrys stick out from the rest of Noumena’s discography is the use of Finnish throughout the album, this is the first time they do that. Reason for not using English on this album is due to the albums lyrical theme, including Finnish nature and cultural heritage, and intimate stories which required the use of Finnish to be expressed the way the band wanted it to. Every single member of Noumena has contributed to the songwriting as well, even the cover art is made by a Finnish artist by the name of Otto Lehtonen. Safe to say this made in Finland all the way through.

If you’re a fan of Finnish melodeath then you will love this. That melancholic feeling, sweet melodic riffs, tempo changes at just the right moments, Suvi’s clean vocals to add more depth to the album (I get Myrkur vibes listening to her) and Antti Haapanen’s growling together in a sweet package will make any melodeath fan happy. Sanansaattaja and Murhehuone are the perfect way to demonstrate the more melancholic side of Noumena where I think Suvi really shines, while tracks like Roihu and Metsän viha will hype you up with the fast riffs and overall tempo of the songs, bringing the more classical Noumena sound. The last two songs on the album is a great display of epic duets between Suvi and Antti. Pedon veri being the most epic song, if I can call it that, on the album. Ending this journey in Finland we have Syvällä vedessä, wrapping it up where Kohtu started. Clocking at almost ten minutes and being melancholic down-tempo this is a song that will bring fort all the emotions on Myrrys. A great way to end this tumult and emotional journey.

As my favorite song I had a really hard time choosing between Sanansaattaja, Murhehuone and Syvällä vedessä. All three portray Noumena of today in a great way and I am sure you will think the same.

Myrrys is released April 28th by Haunted Zoo Productions, an independent record label established by Noumena members. Distribution by Playground Music and Inverse Records. Released in Russia by FONO under the license from Haunted Zoo Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Noumenaband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/noumenaband
For fans of: Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum
Favorite song: Murhehuone

Antikythera – Antikythera (Melodic Death Metal)

a3397412269_10

I get a lot of promos nowadays. Too many even so sometimes I just have to review an album very late after it’s release (sometimes I skip it all together). Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a lot of promos I just wished I had the time to listen to them all and give all bands the attention they deserve. This is one of those albums that was sadly left behind. Being released late in 2016 Antikythera’s self-titled EP was a release many of you (me included) probably missed due to all the “album of the year” lists starting to come out. The name is after an ancient analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes.

Antikythera is one of the better debut’s I’ve heard in the melodic death metal filed in a long time. It’s full of wonderful solos (3.30 minutes into the opening track as an example) and the vocals got a lot in common with the legend Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity). That alone puts this EP above the average. It sounds very modern and heavy influenced by the Finnish and Swedish melodeath scene. It’s not just Dark Tranquillity I draw parallels to, it’s also bands such as Insomnium, In Flames, Kalmah and Children of Bodom (especially getting those vibes on the Vagrant Hearts track). None of these are your average metal bands but top tier acts I am more than happy Antikythera draws influence from.

The five tracks you get are good and offers a bit of variation in style. Some more heavy on the synth for example, some got clean vocals and you also got tracks more focusing on the riffs and solos. It might not be perfect but it’s a solid record. Take into the fact that this is a independent digital bandcamp release and a debut then you can guess that these guys can probably pull off a wicked full-length album in the near future. Antikythera’s self-titled album is out now on bandcamp. If you love the more modern Nordic melodic death metal then this is an album you will enjoy.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antikytheraband
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Lightkeeper

Winterhymn – Blood & Shadow (Folk Metal)

a0797887267_10

Are you ready for some Cold-Blooded American Pagan Metal? That’s what Winterhymn calls their music and it does have different feeling to it than your general folk metal band. Winterhymn infuse clean vocals with growls and a wide range of instruments. Making it a great mix between genres such as black, death and power metal. One band that instantly comes to mind as a reference point to meld this genres well is Eluveitie.

The debut Songs for the Slain was released in 2011 with Blood & Shadow being Winterhymn’s follow-up after a lot of touring with known acts such as Children of Bodom, Eluveitie, Turisas and Korpiklaani. Since the debut a lot has changed in the lineup with half the band (Warg, Sieven and Ulfr) leaving to form Siegelord in 2013. That hasn’t stopped Winterhymn’s quest for conquest though as this has in all honesty spawned two good bands with a different approach to music (Siegelord plays melodic death metal). More on Siegelord in a future blog post.

Exura (keyboards), Umbriel (violin) and Draug (vocals, guitars) have their best performance yet with the three new recruits in Alvadar (bass, backing vocals), Valthrun (drums) and Varrik (guitars) making sure the change of members isn’t slowing the band down as they are on point. Blood & Shadow is full with great hymns like Seafarer, speedy power metal tunes such as Blood of the Moon and black folk Silenced by the Northern Winds. There is something for everyone on Blood & Shadow that wants an epic tale. Definitely an album I will go back to several times to find myself getting a new favorite song each and every time.

Winterhymn’s Blood & Shadow is out now by SoundAge Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Winterhymn
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/winterhymn
For fans of: Eluveitie and Arkona
Favorite song: Seafarer

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

1465990890_cover

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.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nothgard
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Nothgard
For fans of: Equilibrium and Ensiferum
Favorite song: From Lambs To Lions