Vanha – Melancholia (Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal)

Back to the pit that belongs to the everblossom music of Doom. The band on the menu is the Swedish act Vanha. The name means old in the language of Finland. The band was formed in Trollhättan (outside of Gothenburg) 2016 by the multi-instrumentalist Jan “Janne” Johansson, who started his musical career in the Black/Folk band Frostvang as guitarist and vocalist.

By 2016 Janne got a taste of doing his own musical journey. Together with drummer Jesse Oinas they released “Within the mist of sorrow”, which became a very respectful and solid debut. Since 2017 Janne has been on his own, and I will say that it has not been an negative impact on the music. Now we can hear all the talent and skills from this Swede. So in the last days of 2018 Vanha returned once again with it’s second full-length album Melacholia. A great follow up to his debut, and everything is sharper, darker then it’s precursor. A strong effort indeed.

The six songs are wonderfully produced. With a great depth of symphony and melancholic despair. Every track have been through a dark mist that containing feelings of lost love, hate, sorrow and constant suffering. Slow as Doom should be, still it feels very modern. I can hear that it have been written and produced recently…but the soul is old. The soul of Doom is a pale, bleak spirit that never gives up on you. It continues to make all of those that listen at it to always fight on his/her journey in life.

Vanha’s latest album is a beautiful example of Atmospheric/Symphonic Doom. This sound takes me back to my teens, when this was something new and extraordinary for me and it still gives me the same haunting feeling today.

And as a reminder, check up Jill Colbert-Manfish inc. Who have done a delicate artwork on the album sleeve.

Written by K.P.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Altars Of Grief and Second To Sun
Release date: December 30th, 2018
Favorite song: With Your Heart In My Hand
Score: 3.5/5 Very good


Mass Infection – Shadows Became Flesh (Brutal Death Metal)

It’s not often I stumble upon bands that’s been going for quite some time but to me they are completely new. Mass Infection from Greece is one of those bands that I’d honestly never heard about until just over a couple weeks ago. What’s more, and just as rare, is that Shadows Became Flesh hit me so hard that I had to make an order for it straight away, while listening through the rest of their discography. Where has Mass Infection been in my life? What I found is that this is band that leaves no riff to chance, has a perfect blend of classic death to the brutal ways and are superb songwriters.

Sometimes you find an album that might not revolutionary the genre but they do just about everything right, Shadows Became Flesh is such an album. As I just had to listen through the rest of their discography, which is also incredible and much recommended, I found this being their most complete work yet. Everything is better all the way from how the snare sound, how the guitar is tuned to production. Also the addition with the very talented Giulio Galati (Hideous Divinity, Blasphemer (live), Bloodshot Dawn (live)) on drums have worked wonders as him and the band seems to be a great fit right from the start.

From Omnious Prevision to Shadows Became Flesh every single song is a massive bulldozer of quality death coming at you. One of the most complete albums of 2018 where every song stands well on their own and it’s a great example of how to create a near perfect album in the genre. Even the cover art is astonishing and helps paint the full picture as one say of what is to come from Shadows Became Flesh.

If you like Severe Torture “Slaughtered” era, Monstrosity, Deeds of Flesh or just death metal overall then Mass Infection is right up your alley. Simply put this is brutal death metal done right with all the punishing blast beats, technical riffs that you can’t get enough of and crushing growls for your needs. One of the best albums in the genre that came out a bit too late to hit my yearly list.

Written by J.B.

Label: Comatose Music
For fans of: Severe Torture and Monstrosity
Release date: December 7th, 2018
Favorite song: To the Lords of Revulsion
Score: 4.5/5 Near Perfect

Interview: Festerday

The Metal Gamer is in its 3rd year now and I’ve been thinking a lot what’s been missing. One thing was starting to review games, to give the name more justice but in the metal side of things there was one more thing missing, interviews! So here we are with the first interview and it’s a big one! I reviewed Iihtallan only days ago and gave it a raving 4/5 (read and listen to the album here) and with the bands long history I thought it was only fitting I get the chance to grab a couple of guys from the band and ask them some questions on the past, present and future.

Festerday has an interesting history with being one of the first death metal bands in Finland but never released a full-length album to then change name several times and even playing in many different genres. Give us some light on why all of the changes happened and the history of the band.

Timo: This is quite common misinterpretation that we have just changed name all the time… All the bands have been totally different bands. Some of them just minor projects or whatever… Festerday was the first ‘real’ band. That time was the prime time of Death Metal worldwide. Death metal kind of saturated and faded away (for me at least) after ’92… that was one reason we started to look the other way. Then came And Oceans. A few guys from Festerday, but also others… totally different music and story. Havoc Unit was a continuation of AO in a way, but again totally different band with a few different members. With that we did one record and that’s it. Now 2013 Festerday was put together again and we started where we left off in 1993… and has nothing to do with the bands in between… The fact is that we have resurrected And Oceans also. So that is also implying that these are different bands, haha…

Kena: All these bands have also been projects with mainly 1-2 demo releases. The main “real” bands were Festerday, And Oceans, Havoc Unit and Magenta Harvest…maybe we should notify Metal Archives about these misleading names…

You’re named after a Carcass song but are there other bands that inspired you guys to create Festerday back in 89?

Timo: Carcass, Napalm Death, Morbid Angel etc.

Kena: Pretty much all the old grind and DM bands from the 80’s: Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Dismember etc.

After so many years playing as …and Oceans and Havoc Unit, what made you go back to Festerday?

Timo: It was real nice to go back to those old school riffs and feelings of pure death metal. It was nice to make some riffs not based on technicality or high performance or anything like that… just groovy riffs. Of course things tend to go in cycles… maybe it was time for that again…

Kena: After flirting with all kinds of electronic and industrial elements, I think it was time to hit back to where it all started, to get that full circle completed.

The core of the band has been together since the very start in 1989. How has the years playing all kinds of music together shaped how Festerday sounds in 2019?

Timo: The basic sound is always old school death metal with Festerday. Maybe playing different styles give us the possibility to mix a bit easier influences from other genres if needed. We are not afraid to put some flavors of different styles to our music like we can hear on Iihtallan, but the overall sound still remains in death metal. Of course playing and the ability to makes songs have approved a lot. The sense how to make good songs. Good songs based on good riffs which is the most important thing in my opinion at least.

On Iihtallan are there any songs that you have been brewing since you first buried the band in 93?

Timo: Not any whole songs, but there is at least one riff or almost similar found in ‘Into the Void’.

You guys have been around for a long time. How do you think the metal scene in Finland has evolved during the years?

Timo: Back in the old days when most of the people in the ‘scene’ were teenagers gigs were held in youth houses etc. Bands on the bill were death metal and punk etc. There were not so many people in the ‘scene’ so you knew practically everyone. But even if not so many people involved the more vivid it was back then. Everything was new and exciting and you had to work for finding new bands etc. After ’92 or ’93 almost all death metal bands started to play different kind of music. I can’t say any band right away that remained old school death metal if they continued making music. Then came black metal quite hard. That changed also after 2000. About ten years it was a bit strange time music wise. All kinds of strange bands and genres… Like Havoc Unit etc. haha… Today we have so many great old school death metal bands and black metal bands. Of course the thing is like with every music style… we have too many bands now… it’s really difficult to stand out.

Kena: Finland still has a strong death metal scene with all these new younger bands. Many of the OSDM bands are also still around, and when adding all these new to the old ones, the scene is full and that makes it difficult to stand out, just like Timo said.

From what I can find Festerday haven’t played live outside of Finland. With the new album out is it finally time to spread the death all over Europe?

Timo:We played in Ahvenanmaa/Åland… isn’t that outside Finland? It belongs to Sweden, no? seriously no we didn’t play abroad… maybe because we were so young and it was a bit different case to fix any gigs outside Finland. Of course with this new album things will change, no doubt about it… We are just getting things rolling… So gig/festival organizers please activate!

If you could choose, what bands would you go on a tour with?

Timo: When Dismember reform, we are ready, haha… There are so many great bands, but it could some of those old school death metal bands that have been around late 80’s and early 90’s. It could also some new band no problem with that either…

What does the future hold for Festerday? Do we have to wait 30 years for another full-length (I hope not haha) or is it full-throttle from now on?

Timo: No way, haha… I would be way over 70 by then… We have already new riffs ready and keep on making them.. we are not in a hurry though… let’s see what we can do with this ‘Iihtallan’. So hope to get some great gigs and festivals and let’s see after that…

To close the interview there is one more question to ask. Is there anyone in Festerday that’s a gamer, if there is got any favorite game?

Timo: I can’t say that I’m a gamer, but we have seven different game consoles back home, haha… I play mostly with PS4 games like Assassin’s Creed, some war games etc. At this time my time is really limited since I have to do new music for my different bands, practicing new set lists for coming gigs etc.

Kena: I used to play FPS games a lot earlier. Wolfenstein, MOA, Half-Life, Call of Duty….arrrgh just soooo brilliant. I remember that I played all nights and slept like two hours before work. Sometimes I had to call in as sick leave because I just wanted to continue playing, haha. Nowadays I really don’t have time for games, well, Angry Birds 2 is the only game I play every now and then when I sit and wait for something.

Thanks for your time, is there anything you would like to add?

Timo: If you want to hear and see us or any death metal band, support it by going to gigs, buy official merch!

Kena: Thanks for the interview and keep up the good work. A shame that you can’t send back my stamps these days anymore 😀

Be sure to follow Festerday and grab some merch!

Festerday – Iihtallan (Death Metal)

Named after a Carcass song and originally started in 1989 the Finnish band Festerday are no newcomers to the death metal scene. However the group initially only had three demos and a split with Carnifex (Finnish death metal, not the deathcore act) to eventually disband in 1993. While some of the members have been apart of different bands like …and Oceans and Havoc Unit they regrouped in 2013 with most of the original lineup intact. After a couple compilation albums, splits and EP’s they were finally ready, 30 years since they formed, to release their full-length debut (!) Iihtallan.

What we are offered is exactly where Festerday left off, classic death metal but in their case there is also a punk flair to it a bit like Crawl at times. What start with a gnarly intro quickly evolves into “Edible Excrement” which is catchy like hell and brings me towards some of the high tier songs Autopsy has done in their time. “Tongues for Rotten Kisses” continues this path with juicy riffs and the tempo-changes are done flawlessly which would make even Obituary be happy about how well executed it is. Their Carcass history is also prominent from time to time all over the album. While Iihtallan keeps on spinning I get more and more references here and there, when I get those moments of “oh this sounds a bit like Slowly We Root right here” and so on I think after a while that “hell this band right here made music earlier than most of those songs I think of”. Makes you wonder what this album would of meant 25 years ago, or maybe it would sound a lot different who knows.

“Kill Your Truth” quickly becomes one of my favorite tracks but the follow-ups “Control Not Your Soul” and “Dreaming for the Dead” are not much worse as Festerday just continue to showcase how great old school death metal is made. Then comes the absolute banger, the one track to rule them all. I am talking about a song that crush it straight from the first note and never let you rest until the 3 1/2 minutes are over and you’re sitting there tiered as hell because it just turned your brain into a mush. The song in question is “Vomiting Pestilence” and I am already thinking this will be a good candidate for song of the year after “Tsar Bomba” by Necrophobic won it last year. The song has it all, great riffs, wicked lyrics, filthy vocals and perfect death metal pace. “Gravelove” is another song I need to highlight because as soon as you hear the “urgh” followed by relentless drumming and furious riffs it will make you add it to your favorite playlist.

There is only one real negative point for me to say about Iihtallan and that’s the two closing tracks “Let Me Entertain Your Entrails” Pt.1 & 2. While the title is freaking awesome the songs feel out of place from the rest of the album. I could live with Pt. 1 as it’s still an alright song but especially Pt. 2 I would just cut out all together. I take it they are simply old recorded songs they never released but Pt. 2 sounds like an very old black metal song, while that’s cool in its own rights I don’t think it should be on here.

However it’s all those moments of a varied album that takes bits and pieces here and there that makes this a pure joy to listen to. This is class death metal throughout from veterans in the scene that knows what they are doing all the way from songwriting to production. I wouldn’t want Festerday to release their full-length debut any other way. Death metal fans are in for a treat really early on this year!

Written by J.B.

Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists
For fans of: Abhorrence and Crawl
Release date: January 4th, 2019
Favorite song: Vomiting Pestilence
Score: 4/5 Incredible

Lucifer’s Cold Embrace – Elegy of Lilith (Symphonic Black/Death Metal)

Like Naglfar, Dissection and Dimmu Borgir? Good then you’re in for a treat! Martin van Beek is back with his solo project Lucifer’s Cold Embrace which in case you missed it I did review the debut EP back in 2016 and praised it for being a top notch album. Well here we are with the full-length debut Elegy of Lilith and Martin offers more of the same melodic black worship that the likes previous mentioned Naglfar and Dissection has done for years.

Martin has taken the symphonic elements even further on Elegy on Lilith than it was on the Sovereign Heresy where some songs really tend to go closer to the Dimmu Borgir road than before. Still the music definitely lies the closest to Naglfar, which is of no fault as Naglfar is one of the best melodic black metal bands to ever walk this earth. Elegy of Lilith is more than double the playtime than the EP debut was and Martin now has a lot more room to explore the different sides of Lucifer’s Cold Embrace. There is more synths and juicy riffs where, even if this is music close to the influences, Lucifer’s Cold Embrace stands out and is no mere clone. The ten songs the album offers are simply solid and while I do still think “The Gift of Life” from Sovereign Heresy is currently the best song Martin has made this is a more consistent offering, although I do wish at times there would be a bit less symphonic black metal and more “trve black” sounds. The closing song “Legion” also does a fine job giving “The Gift of Life” a run for its money as I find the riffs there being extra icy!

When I last checked I noticed Lucifer’s Cold Embrace have started to get some followers and with this release I can only see that increasing as it’s great black metal on the symphonic/melodic side that is heavy influenced by some of the best bands out there, but with a modern production. Highly recommended!

Written by J.B.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Naglfar and Dissection
Release date: November 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Legion
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Of Hatred Spawn – Of Hatred Spawn (Death Metal)

Close to Christmas I got one last album to review. What better genre to review before going on a break than the one I love the most, death metal! Of Hatred Spawn were formed in 2017 by the two brothers Remy and JJ Tartaglia who later on added ex-Annihilator bass-player Oscar Rangel and Matt Collacott on vocals. Hailing from Toronto, Canada they are said to play old-school death metal in the vein of Decapitated, Suffocation and Dying Fetus. So far so good right?

The first thing that catches my eye is the cover art, a great looking fantasy painting that captures the lyrical themes of slavery, darkness and the balance of evil well. What awaits in the musical section is modern extreme metal meets the ways of old. The razer edge guitar plays fused with groove and blast beats along with the superb vocals from Collacott is nothing short but great music to my ears. As soon as the opener Global Dehumanization hits me with it’s fast paced aggression I am hooked but the 28 minute span the album offers is over too quick, I want more. I do hear a lot of grindcore death a la Dying Fetus, Aborted and Benighted influences when I listen to Of Hatred Spawn, mainly due to the way Collacott sings, which is like a blend between Frank Mullen of Suffocation, Sven “Svencho” de Caluwé of Aborted and Julien Truchan of Benighted. There is also a lot of technical death metal aspects as the drumming and riffs leans more towards newer Suffocation, Misery Index or even Hour of Penance at times than for example Obituary or Entombed.

There is really nothing negative to say about this album, it was solid throughout albeit a bit short for a full-length. Sure it isn’t anything groundbreaking that re-invents the wheel but the skill involved in this group is more than enough to win me over. Death metal fans should definitely check this out as here is something for everyone.

Label: Boonsdale Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Aborted
Release date: December 21st, 2018
Favorite song: Nocturnal Swarm
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Corpsessed – Impetus of Death (Death Metal)

What an horrifying intro! This is how to start an album of this caliber on a high note people! For those of you unfamiliar with Corpsessed they hail from Finland and play some of the most gruesome underground death metal you can find in my humble opinion. There are many bands out there who takes inspiration from the works of Lovecraft but there aren’t many that does it on such a high level like Corpsessed does. The grim songwriting, terrifying guitar tone and agonizing vocals creates such an atmosphere it’s hard not to get sucked into the horror they unleash. Impetus of Death is only the bands second full-length album since they started off in 2007 which is quite incredible how fast they have managed to make a name for themselves in the underground world of death.

So how good is Impetus of Death from the predecessors? The short answer is this is better in every single way possible. I did mention I love this band and their old albums but hell they’ve managed to fine-tune everything here. The production is more crisp, yet it’s releasing a beast upon the listener in the worst imaginable way possible. You might not even be ready for this on the initial play-through, it’s that great heavy sludge and doom-laden death that the likes of Disma, Funebrarum and Krypts also does we’re talking about here. There is not a single song on the album that you would want to skip, even if they leave you worn out from the destructive sound it’s something you want and need. Every time I listen I get a new favorite track, that in itself is proof that Impetus of Death is an album that I will return to many times in the future. Also it has to be said the cover art is very fitting creating a complete package from cover to music. Stunning!

Written by J.B.

Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Krypts and Disma
Release date: November 23rd, 2018
Favorite song: Impetus of the Dead
Score: 4/5 Incredible