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

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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

Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler (Death Metal)

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Yay more classic death metal from Sweden! After basically not a single swedeath review for months I get two in two days, lucky me! Coffin Creep is a rather unknown band, formed in 2014, coming from Sweden but been very active in the underground scene around here, playing a lot of shows showcasing their demos live. Corpse Defiler is the bands debut album which consists of re-recordings of mentioned demos and a brand new song in Corpse Defiler.

It’s raw filthy rotten sound brings back memories from a time when swedeath was at it’s peak. The mixing is usually something I think it really hard to get right at this day and age for my ears. I don’t want it too raw because I think the music has evolved in production enough to make it sound good yet filthy. Coffin Creep manages to get a good mix with the right amount of editing to make this album sound really good to me. As a side note I noticed when reading up about Coffin Creep is that the drummer is the vocalist, cool stuff and I don’t see that too often.

Song by song I think Coffin Creep does a good job on catching the ways of the old making a death metal fanatic like me happy. I am sure Coffin Creep is going to be one of the bands from Sweden that keeps the old corpses still rotting instead of withering away. Seeing this is just their debut album filled with demos it’s interesting to hear what they come up with next. Give these guys an album or two and I am confident you will see them go toe to toe with the bigger Swedish acts such as Entrails or Grave. Obviously some of you will think this is just another death metal album you’ve heard before but when it’s done so well like this and manage to capture the essence of the horrors death metal can do it’s not something you should sleep on. One can never get too much swedeath in their life so I suggest fans of Entrails, Grave, Dismember and the likes gets this pile of defiled corpses into your collection right now.

Label: Unearthed Production
For fans of: Entrails and Grave
Favorite song: Puking Necrophilia
Score: 4/5

Paganizer – Land of Weeping Souls (Death Metal)

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Paganizer was created in 1998 born from the ashes of Terminal Grip, plays classic Swedish death metal and have been producing a ton of EP, split and full-length albums since it’s creation. With that amount of releases it isn’t weird that there has been some varied quality over the years but when Paganizer are on form I consider them one of the best old school death metal acts. Rogga Johansson, the creator, vocalist and also on guitar in the band has to be the most productive member in the death metal community. He has always been the bread and butter for Paganizer and on this album he has some friends joining him since the last full-length release, Kjetil Lynghaug (Echelon, Mordenial, Stass) on guitar and Martin Klasén (ex-Vicious Maggot) on bass. So where does Land of Weeping Souls stand with a new lineup?

Well not much have changed, but that’s alright since I am expecting that classic death metal sound. It’s raw sound is mixed and produced just the right amount to be filthy death but not sounding like a garage demo, as some bands seems to go for and I really dislike. Your Suffering Will Be Legendary starts off the album well with it’s pedal to the metal force but not making too much of an impact on me. It’s with the title track Land of Weeping Souls I really get into headbanging mode and find a track that sticks out. Here the guitars and drums just seems to jell better from the starting tracks and The Insanity Never Stops follows that up great with another solid track. Selfdestructor feels like it’s taken from a book on how to create classic death metal, the whole flow of the song and chorus screams old school. Again it doesn’t stick out but it’s well made by a band that definitely knows the genre by now. As an old school death metal fan this is candy I easily devour but I am sure plenty of people out there will think this isn’t something new nor interesting. If you’re not an old school death metal fan looking for more of that sweet 90’s sound then this isn’t for you.

Death Addicts Posthumous is another track I really liked, takes the vibe Selfdestructor gave me and put in some wickeds solo into it. To follow it up The Buried Undead comes, the best song on the album in my opinion. A pummeling machine of death with great tempo-changes, solos and Rogga on vocals is always a joy to listen to.

Slow start but it gets better over time. Nothing new under the death metal sun but fans of Paganizer knows this is what the band is all about, well made classic death metal. In the bands vast discography I would say Land of Weeping Souls stands somewhere in the middle, solid release with some ups and downs which will please fans of the genre. With Rogga holding the lines you can be sure to expect quality death metal with any lineup. Land of Weeping Souls is what I was expecting and support Paganizer for sticking to it.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paganizersweden
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Grave and Dismember
Favorite song: The Buried Undead
Score: 3/5

Desultory – Through Aching Aeons (Death Metal)

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Here we go, another old school Swedish death metal act is releasing an album! These past years have definitely been good to us swedeath lovers as a new wave of filthy death is taking over. Desultory might not be a name many are familiar with, I wasn’t for example. A brief look into the bands history though and I find out the band was actually formed almost 30 years ago, 1989 to be exact. After some successful demo and full-length releases in the early 90’s the band took a huge hit when Stefan Pöge left the band in 95, thus changing the style drastically on the bands third full-length release Swallow the Snake. An album that has to be seen as a dark spot in Desultory’s discography and ultimately the band disbanded in 96. Reborn in 2009 the comeback Counting Our Scars put the band on the right track once again and now eight years later Desultory are saying goodbye with their last album Through Aching Aeons.

Having not heard Desultory’s past work before I obviously had to listen to it after reading this background story. Safe to say there was some varied quality but also some really really great death metal. So now I knew what I could expect. Or rather to expect that these 43 minutes and nine tracks could be anywhere between heaven or hell. Will it be a Swallow the Snake fiasco or Into Eternity death metal masterpiece. Answer is this is the later. Through Aching Aeons consist of some of the best death metal I’ve heard this year. The guitars, oh the guitars, chainsaw their way through the competition together with Klas Morberg on vocals leaving me stunned on how the hell I can have missed these guys when growing up. It’s a mistake I will atone by listening to this album, over and over again until I know every word, every beat and every riff.

Through Aching Aeons isn’t perfect but death metal isn’t suppose to be. A vile riff feast that’s an homage to everything swedeath stands for is exactly what I wanted and Desultory were kind enough to deliver. I hope this isn’t the last I hear from Desultory, I want more.

Through Aching Aeons is out now through Pulverised Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Desultory-50447918404
Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Beneath the Bleeding Sky
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)

Shores of Null – Black Drapes for Tomorrow (Doom Metal)

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Candlelight Records used to be a label I always looked at when I wanted the more extreme quality music. Sure they still got Emperor, Winterfylleth, Shade Empire and Limbonic Art that I like but they used to have so much more than that! Entombed, Enslaved, Enthroned, Dismember, 1349, Candlemass etc. The list is very long on some of the worlds biggest metal acts that’s been with Candlelight one way or another. From Candlelight we do have one of the best melodic doom albums you will hear this year though. It’s the Italian band (I’ve told you, this is probably Italy’s biggest metal year) Shores of Null that bless us with their sophomore album Black Drapes for Tomorrow. The band was formed in 2013 with members from the likes of Zippo and Noumeno.

Black Drapes for Tomorrow offers the same kind of high quality doom metal you’re used to hear from heavy hitters within the scene like Katatonia, Daylight Dies and Novembers Doom. This is the first time I hear Shores of Null and they are blowing me away quite frankly. I can’t really find a single song that isn’t good, and it gets better each time I play it. I’ve heard from others that told me about Shores of Null that this record is a safe path and a bit weaker than their debut Quiescence. If it is then I’ll be damn that album is nearly perfect, just like this is a hidden gem within the metal community every doom fan should be all over, safe path or not. Straccione’s vocals are perfect for this kind of music and the guitar duo Raffaele Colace and Gabriele Giaccari are in sync like it’s almost a symbiosis.

As I said before this album is so damn good and solid through and through it’s hard to pick favorite tracks (second album in a row, lucky me). If I had to then it would have to be Donau, Tide Against Us and We Ain’t Ashes. If you need your fill of gloom and darkness then Black Drapes for Tomorrow is an album you can’t miss. Shores of Null sophomore album Black Drapes for Tomorrow is out now through Candlelight Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoresofnull
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shoresofnull
Label: Candlelight Records
For fans of: Katatonia and Daylight Dies
Favorite song: Tide Against Us