Vanhelgd – Deimos Sanktuarium (Death Metal)

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The desecrated are back! With their latest release Temple of Phobos being one of my most played death metal albums these past years since I reviewed it I’ve been looking forward to a follow-up ever since. Now when it’s finally here I am stunned. This is by far the darkest album Vanhelgd has ever made. The lyrical theme on anti-religion and horror is intact but the songwriting has taken a step in a darker, greater direction here. Also has to be added that they keep on having songs in both Swedish and English which is something I’ve applauded them for and still do. The difference is with the last album I thought the Swedish tracks were of higher quality than the English ones, here I find both being superb and I even choose Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant as the best song on Deimos Sanktuarium.

Everything is executed better on Deimos Sanktuarium than on Vanhelgd’s previous albums. The atmosphere is so dark I get scared, something I usually don’t experience in a death metal albums but I do with Vanhelgd, Behemoth or old Eucharist offerings. Very fitting for the theme at hand with the atmospheric doom touch. The crushing riffs are still there but the overall experience on the album as a whole and how the grim world sucks you in is the difference maker here. It’s what separates Deimos Sanktuarium from Temple of Phobos and makes this an even better album. Safe to say if you enjoyed Temple of Phobos you will like this even more.

This album is the definition of a “grower”. It gets better with each listen but at the same time it is not as easy to get into as for example the latest albums from Demonical or Gluttony. I am not holding that against the album though as that is the intentions. One of the best death metal albums you will hear this year, if not the best.

Written by J.B.

Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Eucharist and Desolate Shrine
Release date: October 12th, 2018
Favorite song: Profaned is the Blood of the Covenant
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Crawl – Rituals (Death Metal)

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Even though the band is Swedish and plays death metal, which should be something I’d have my eye on, I’d never heard of Crawl before Transcending Obscurity Records announced them on their label. What makes it a bit weird is the fact that Crawl got members that’s been in Decomposed and Demonical, two bands I’ve followed and reviewed in the past. To be fair though they only had a demo and an EP under their belt before as the band was created in 2014. Rituals also being the bands debut full-length, so hey I have at least that to lean back on for my lack of knowledge on this band. Obviously I had to dig through their old material to get an idea what the band is all about. I: Serpents the demo was full of crushing Swe-death worship where Entombed and Dismember (as they do with many) had a lot of influences on them but at the same time they had some crust and punk elements at times. The three track demo was actually really good where the song “Casket Ride” hit me extra hard, making me wonder how I missed these death metallers before. Their EP Worship Death went even further with that sound, making the crust, punk and hardcore elements even more known so with that in mind I was now keen to hear what Rituals had in store for me.

It doesn’t take many seconds to know that Crawl has upped their game even more on Rituals. The mixing is better, really dirty but does a good job highlighting the right elements at the right time. It’s a pure adrenaline rush from the get go with only one song going above three minutes mark, honing their sound from the previous album even more towards the death-fused punk area. It’s a really good mix at that which keeps Rituals fresh and not a mere copycat from the 90’s sound. To me this is a great match made in the sewers of Sweden, filled with filthy death stench and adding more agression from the crust/punk/hardcore scene. Simply dirty and most fitting for the underground. I mean what do you need from a good death metal album? Energy? Heck yeah Rituals got that in plenty. Crushing riffs? Check on that too! Nasty lyrics? Well just take the two first tracks “Reject the Cross” and “Breathing Violence” as an example to that. Will it make you want to mosh? The pure energy and agression from the album will make this a killer live I am sure of.

While I usually would complain that 25 minutes is running quite a bit short in a full-length album I find it just about the right length for Crawl’s most crushing debut. Any more and it might have been too much of this rotten hard hitting, in your face death metal. One can only take so much in before being overwhelmed. In conclusion this is one of the best death metal albums of the year. It’s taking some of the best parts of Entombed and Dismember while putting their own touches to it, making Rituals an album that will last for a long time. They’ve evolved a lot from their 2015 demo and I am pleased to hear Swe-death can still evolve into new breeds. All nine tracks are putrid, heavy, about to knock you out metal with highlights like “Sentenced to Rot” and “Reject the Cross”. If you’re looking for Swe-death worship with that added extra brutality which will get you up on Monday mornings or get you pumped up for the weekend slaughters then Rituals is a must get for you. You’ve been sentenced to rot!

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Dismember and Entombed
Release date: August 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Sentenced to Rot
Score: 4/5

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

The Metal Gamer Top 30 albums of 2018 so far!

Am I missing any albums? Do you agree?

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The bands and albums featured are:

Sadistik Forest – Mordbid Majesties
At The Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself
Amorphis – Queen of Time
Nekrokraft – Servants
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
LIK – Carnage
Gluttony – Cult of the Unborn
Totalselfhatred – Solitude
Svederna – Svedjeland
Svavelvinter – Mörkrets Tid
Avslut – Deceptis
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
Raven Throne – I miortvym snicca zolak
Skinless – Savagery
Unflesh – Savior
Demonical – Chaos Manifesto
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers
Depravity – Evil Upheaval
Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Begat The Nephilim – I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy
Kataklysm – Meditations
Ingested – The Level Above Human
Organectomy – Domain of the Wretched (went off the Unique Leader Records release)
Arkona – Khram
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse
Augury – Illusive Golden Age
Mordant Rapture – The Abnegation
Chelsea Grin – Eternal Nightmare

Lik – Carnage (Death Metal)

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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

Entrails – World Inferno (Death Metal)

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Ah Entrails, a band I always know what to expect from. Solid old school death metal with crushing riffs. For those of you that don’t know the band has a quite interesting history. Entrails was formed in 1990 but never actually released anything as they were never satisfied with their demo recordings so the band eventually died out. However in 2008 the guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist resurrected the band and in 2010 (20 years after their original formation) Entrails debut album Tales from the Morgue was finally released. Since then the band has been very active and released some killer albums with World Inferno being the bands fifth full-length album.

So how does World Inferno stack against their solid discography of death metal madness? It has to be said Entrails definitely knows how to create death metal by now. Just like their past albums this is a most have for fans of old school death metal. It’s a hard hitting and soul ravaging tank coming at you. Entrails have always had a nack to get those catchy tunes going which you will find yourself singing along to the course already on the opening track World Inferno.

It’s hard to say if this album is better or worse than the rest because, just like with their older albums, this is simply solid. They deliver what you expect of them, nothing more nothing less and they don’t have to with the band being a go to for many death metal fans. World Inferno is an album you will need to grab if you want some riff friendly music that is sure to make you bang your heads. If you’ve liked their past albums you will have a good time with World Inferno as well that’s for sure. Favorite tracks on World Inferno are Condemned to the Grave, Serial Murder (Death Squad), Insane Slaughter and Suffer.

World Inferno is out now through Metal Blade Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Entrails666
Label: Metal Blade Records
For fans of: Entombed and Grave
Favorite song: Serial Murder (Death Squad)

Evocation – The Shadow Archetype (Death Metal)

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With Evocation being one of my favorite death metal bands The Shadow Archetype has been a release I’ve waited for since it was announced. The album finally got released less than a week ago (when I write this that is) and I’ve been listening to it nonstop. The Shadow Archetype is everything I wanted it to be. It’s fast and heavy Swedish death metal at it’s finest! I was afraid the lineup changes would hurt Evocation too much and that The Shadow Archetype wouldn’t be on the same level as the rest of their crazy good discography. I am so happy I was wrong though, Evocation can’t be stopped and are as great as ever!

Condemned to the Grave and Children of Stone got some of the most memorable riffs and melodies I’ve heard from Evocation. Thomas Josefsson on vocals is just as good as he has always been, definitely one of the best in the business who always perform. Simon Exner (As You Drown) on guitar has made the loss of Vesa Kenttäkumpu an easy transition as he put up a massive demonstration of skill and I am sure many fans will welcome him with open arms as him and Marko Palmén make a killer duo. Gustaf Jorde has honed his craft since the latest release Illusions of Grandeur and the ex-Defleshed bass player fits right at home with Evocation now.

Those of you who love good death metal, the Swedish style with the kickass riffs and melodies that gets stuck in your head for weeks (Amon Amarth style) then you will need this album. Best death metal release so far this year and it will be hard to dethrone Evocation as they got their eyes set for death metal album of the year award already.

Evocation’s 5th full-length release The Shadow Archetype is out now through the American giant Metal Blade Records. Go get it while it’s hot metalhead!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EvocationSwe
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EvocationSwe
For fans of: Amon Amarth and At the Gates
Favorite song: Condemned to the Grave

Nordjevel – Nordjevel (Black Metal)

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Ah Norwegian black metal. The sound of thundering drums ripping your soul appart with the furious speed is something black metal have perfected since years back. Nordjevel was formed last year and consists of some newer blood within the scene but that have already made names for themselves. Or what about the Fredrik Widigs (Marduk and ex-Demonical) on drums, Svein-Ivar Sarassen (ex-Ragnarok) on bass joined together by the two creators of the band Doedsadmiral (Svartelder, who also released a great album this year) and Jørn Øyhus (Fatal Impact). That’s some heavy hitters right there.

What came out from this devilish pact is nothing short but one of the best black metal albums of the year. Everyone in the band is bringing their a-game and every single song on the album is another piece of great black metal that will go wild in speakers everywhere for years to come. In typical black metal manner Nordjevel has also made some of the songs having lyrics in their mother tongue Norwegian!

For a debut album this is wicked. Nordjevel has risen fast from the pits of hell and produced this selftitled darkness you just got to dig into.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nordjevelofficial
For fans of: Immortal and Marduk
Favorite song: The Shadows of Morbid Hunger