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

to_drink_from_the_night_itself-43620316-

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

Advertisements

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

26903914_10156160635409169_8283821530391542214_n

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

Nekrokraft – Servants (Black/Thrash/Death Metal)

a0372054734_10

I was not overly happy with the Will O’ Wisp debut. It was one of the earlier albums I reviewed but looking back to it I was too nice, it lacked a lot and I’d almost forgotten about the album. How funny that a band can make such an insane leap and improvement in only two years though! The production is miles better than Will O’ Wisp and their mix of death/thrash/black works wonders this time, making you miss Old Man’s Child and Dissection less. You might even be wondering if this could be the new album from Dimmu Borgir at times when they add their more symphonic tracks. In all honesty I wish Dimmu Borgir’s new album had more in common with Servants than with their own album Eonian, because this is simply better and some songs even sound more Dimmu than Dimmu Borgir does themselves. “Lechery” is a prime example to that to name one song. Add the fact Nekrokraft hits as heavy as Necrophobic does and got a similar mix of styles then you know this is a top notch recipe for an album. You might even remember that Necrophobic’s latest offering Mark of the Necrogram got a stunning 5/5 by me, yet my only one.

What makes me love this album and give it such a high score is the fact it never gets dull and it grows with time. There are so many different elements put into this record with such fine craftsmanship that each song stands really well on their own. Doesn’t matter if you take the thrash inspired “Gateway to Damnation” or as mentioned symphonic Dimmu Borgir-like “Lechery” they are all great songs that will be spinning for months to come. Also have to say the vocalist Angst, who is also on vocal duty for Witchery, has in my opinion his best performance yet. There is next to nothing to complain about on Servants really, hence the score.

If you like your extreme metal crushing and unforgiving with some of the most memorable songs of the year then don’t sleep on this one. This will end very high on my album of the year list.

Label: The Sign Records
For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and Necrophobic
Release date: May 4th, 2018
Favorite song: Lechery
Score: 4.5/5

Lik – Carnage (Death Metal)

31655708_2290108967689905_8725532340236845056_o

When a band from Sweden choses the word Lik as their band name (means corpse in Swedish) then you can expect them playing pummeling swedeath. Carnage is the bands sophomore release after having had a fine debut with Mass Funeral Evocation in 2015. While I didn’t think that album was good enough to be something I listen to often today I think Carnage will be. The potential of this lineup has always been huge, even if it’s considered a new death metal band. The members of Lik have a past (live or on album) with bands such as Grave, Bloodbath, Katatonia and Witchery just to name a few. Not a bad resume at all is it? I didn’t feel they reached that potential on their debut, still good though, but with Carnage the band has been unleashed.

The HM-2 is as savage as ever and right from the opening To Kill you get caught into the riffs as they buzz-saw their way through like a bulldozer. Lik aren’t even going to let you rest as the album might seem a bit short with 36 minutes but hell it’s pedal to the metal from start to finish so any longer you might just break your neck. Lik demonstrate how classic Swedish death metal is meant to be played. An HM-2 sound, headbanging riffs, melodic and catchy songs that will get stuck in your head for days. What more can you ask for really? Oh why not by adding humor? The lyrics on some tracks are hilarious, like on “Dr Duschanka”. I find that a nice touch and while it might sound baddass it doesn’t have to be all serious. There isn’t a single track on Carnage I dislike and Lik has now gone from a good band to a top tier death metal act in my book. Carnage is definitely an album you will see on my best of list when the year is coming to a close.

Together with Demonical and Gluttony Lik has made the first half of 2018 a great year for swedeath. If you’re a fan of the genre and namely Bloodbath, Evocation or Dismember then this is something for you!

Label: Metal Blade Records
For fans of: Evocation and Dismember
Release date: May 4th, 2018
Favorite song: Rid You of Your Flesh
Score: 4/5

Pestilent Reign – Pyres (Death Metal)

f61fdceb-6782-4ff1-8922-00d936e9adc4

Looking for breakdowns that slay, vocals that could scare the hell out of your grandmother and riffs that makes your neck break due to all the headbanging you will do? Then look no further because Pestilent Pyres got you covered. So far the more brutal death metal scene hasn’t had too much action in my opinion. Sure it’s only April but time flies and we all urge to get some neck breaking, go bananas style of death metal every once in a while. Last year we saw bands like Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Gutslit and more hit us with the brutality we crave. It would be nice to have a similar year every year of course but I understand it can’t always be like that.

However Pestilent Reign makes a superb effort to make 2018 just as good of a year. Instantly “Martyr” almost catch me off-guard with it’s hard hitting death metal but it’s when “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” the real action comes. Holy shit this song made me go wild. It has everything you want, fast paced brutal death metal with a lot of technical aspects into it and a solo to die for at the end. Dying Fetus, Defeated Sanity, Misery Index and Psycroptic becoming one of sort. Speaking of Defeated Sanity, Pestilent Reigns logo made me think of the band straight away but seeing one of their band members having a Defeated Sanity hoodie on made it quite clear they are probably big fans of the band.

“Saviour” brings and even more technical aspect to it, a bit less of the brutality but with more sick riffs instead. “Pyres” keeps on doing this throughout the entire album, taking in different influences, doing great justice to them and be it technical, brutal or simply death metal they pull it off. The album feels rewarding to listen to with a sweet balance between different takes on death metal which is sure to bring the listener some headbang worth material. Personally I would love them to stay on the more brutal side of things like they did with “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” and “I.M.T.R.M.” but whatever road they choose to walk on I am sure it will be great as the band evolves. A thing that holds me back from choosing the big scores with Pyres is due to half the album feeling a bit weaker than the rest. The tracks I will take with me from the album are definitely “You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood” together with “Zealot”, “I.M.T.R.M” and “Gutter’s Filth”. These songs present Pestilent Reign at their best from different perspectives. However the rest were “only” good. Great album that could almost have been a masterpiece from the 2018 releases but for now I am happy to have found a new band to follow on their wicked path of death.

Label: Rising Nemesis Records
For fans of: Misery Index and Psycroptic
Release date: March 16th, 2018
Favorite song: You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood
Score: 3.5/5

Hellish God – The Evil Emanations (Death Metal)

a3664016103_10

Have to start with saying Hellish God is such a good name for the band. Because this is fast paced heavy death metal in the veins of Krisiun, Malevolent Creation and Deicide. Which you know is good stuff. The intro builds up with some nice piano which then unleash the Hellish God on Qlipoth. The album never really stops either. It offers 30 minutes of pure death metal of the more brutal kind. There are definitely a few songs I like more than others though. With The Hindering Ones and Tagimron is Summoned being the two tracks that’s been played the most after the first listen. The Evil Emanations is a solid debut full-length from Hellish God which is a great follow-up to their EP Impure Spiritual Forces.

Having members from Antropofagus, Imposer and Mindful of Pripyat have surely helped this band as you can tell it’s experienced musicians at work. This also marks the first time I listen to a concept album focused on Qlipoth, metaphorical shells which represent evil spiritual forces in the Jewish mysticism. Now that’s evil.

Label: Everlasting Spew Records
For fans of: Malevolent Creation and Krisiun
Release date: January 8th, 2018
Favorite song: The Hindering Ones
Score: 3/5

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

NECROPHOBIC-Mark-of-the-Necrogram-LP-BLACK

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