Skullcrush – Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse (Death Metal)

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Old and filthy. Not only do I feel so myself but that’s the quickest way to describe Skullcrush and it’s only within the death metal genre that’s a good thing! There is no over-produced stuff in here, just pure no-bullshit crushing death metal. With a name like Skullcrush I should have imagined that would be the case though. Even the artwork on the album screams of savagery as what looks like Conan is battling a creature. Basically this is underground death metal the way it’s meant to be played.

The three tracks “Spectacle of Suffering”, “Entrails Ablaze” and “Hellwater” offers very different experiences as well. Where I first thought those three songs would be Skullcrush showing one type of move on their debut EP they instead go for showcasing a varied death metal approach. I bit surprising but at the same time really good stuff and I don’t know what I would expect from a full-length as they can go in any direction, or keep changing it up. The opener “Spectacle of Suffering” is death metal candy in the veins of Blood Incantation or Undergang, the really heavy stuff from the purest depths of the underground. “Entrails Ablaze” ups the tempo a bit, is shorter and adds a bit of an Entombed flavour to the album. Then the closer “Hellwater” is both the longest and slowest of the tracks, downtempo death with some doom elements going towards Finnish death metal acts Corpsessed and Krypts.

A really solid debut from Skullcrush. A varied album that shows a lot of promise for what is to come from the band. Underground death metal candy that I devour with ease and I am sure many underground fanatics will too.

Label: Camo Pants Records
For fans of: Blood Incantation and Corpsessed
Release date: July 6th, 2018
Favorite song: Spectacle of Suffering
Score: 3.5/5

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Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties (Death Metal)

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Back to what I love the most, classic death metal! This time hailing from Finland and their Sadistik Forest. The band started in 2007 and has only had one lineup change since then, which was even before they put out their selftitled debut in 2010. With Markus Makkonen (ex-Hooded Menace) on bass and vocals duty they have one the Finnish undergrounds most talented members leading the charge. So before even starting listening to the band I know I am in for some quality death metal. Like I always do when I get a promo from a band I haven’t heard of before I need to dig into their discography to know what I am dealing with while also getting the sense of the evolution the band has had.

The road they’ve had is quite interesting. Their debut was a rather slow paced death metal album, almost dabbling in sludge and doom, whereas the sophomore Death, Doom, Radiation upped the speed and was heavily thrash influenced. With Morbid Majesties and the opener Morbidly Majestic you can still hear some thrash influences but it’s way more classic death metal in the veins of Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel with a hint of Grave. Good stuff that you’re familiar with and hits hard, a good opener to get you going. Makkonen’s vocals has improved significantly since their past albums in my opinion and it feels like he really nailing the aggressiveness this time around. Actually the whole band has evolved and the aggression, riffs with all the energy that is unleashed upon you on Morbid Majesties is in my ears a whole new beast than their previous albums. Created by Finland’s very own Demilich, Sweden’s Grave and America’s Cannibal Corpse triangle drama love child I would say. You can still hear some thrash influences on tracks like “The Hour of Dead” and sludge/doom elements from time to time but overall Morbid Majesties is more filthy death, yet cleaner in for example production (but not too clean) than before.

After the opening tracks the album does slow down a bit and have more crushing waves coming at you than constant pummelling. Both sides of the album showcasing good underground death metal that doesn’t just stick to a one trick pony. Once I am done listening through the album I feel this is a good album that will probably grow with time. There are a lot more to this album than just death metal that you eat up and spit out then go to the next act, I want to explore every inch of this album. Morbid Majesties also have the problem that I’m having a hard time selecting my favorite song. Do I want the slow beating but insanely heavy Monsters of Death that reeks of Cannibal Corpse or the moshpit opener (55 seconds in) that is Zero Progress? Doesn’t really matter as it’s candy that I want to devour and get addicted to. It’s by far their most brutal and varied offering to date which takes the band to new heights. This is the sound the band has worked on to achieve over the years and they have succeeded.

Morbid Majesties is not only Sadistik Forest best album to date, it’s one of the best albums of the year.

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Demilich and Grave
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Monsters of Death
Score: 4.5/5

Gluttony – Cult of the Unborn (Death Metal)

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As a frequent listener to death metal, especially the Swedish kind, I obviously try to dig into anything I can find to get my fix. When it comes to Gluttony I found out about them in a weird way so I wanted to share the story. It was last years Halloween and the party I was going to had a theme, the seven deadly sins. Me wanting to be Gluttony I started doing some research and woops I found out there is a death metal band from Sweden called Gluttony! I almost bought one of their shirts just for the sake of having an easy fix on costume but in the end I got a one-piece killer clown that had a lot of mouths all over it instead… Anyways I obviously had to listen to their music and I went on the 2014 release Beyond the Veil of Flesh. I was in all honesty a bit disappointed in the album, it was ok but definitely lacked in quite a few areas to be an album I would remember. Luckily with Cult of the Unborn they manage to do just about everything better.

The core of Bergman, Henriksson and Härén from My Own Grave does a solid job and especially the drums sounds hell of a lot better on this album than on the last. The production and mix of the album is simply put just a more complete product. It’s a joy to hear these 30 minutes of classic swe-death and in all honesty Cult of the Unborn can dance with most of the classics out there that’s how good it is. Magnus Ödling (ex-Diabolical, ex-Setherial) on vocals is perfect for the sound and rounds up the band well. A very tight album and a big surprise to me that’s sure to end on my best of list when the year is coming to an end. I get a lot of similar feelings that I did with Firespawn and their 2017 release The Reprobate which was also an album that did everything so much better than their debut Shadow Realms ever did. You won’t find much better death metal than this coming out during the year I can assure you of that.

Label: Vic Records
For fans of: Entombed and Grave
Release date: April 7th, 2018
Favorite song: The Casket Master
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

Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Death Metal)

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One of the few super groups that’s actually been around for years and making it work, becoming much more than just a super group in the process. If you don’t know why I call them that it’s because the trio consists of Hamish Hamilton Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride, ex-Solstice and ex-Seer’s Tear), Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) and Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost). Meaning some of the best doom metal bands to ever exist. Which is also why it’s obviously hard to keep Vallenfyre strictly death, they do of course have quite a lot of doom influences in their sound. However they do lean more towards band such as Entombed, Bloodbath and Asphyx than anything pure doom.

With their past two albums A Fragile King and Splinters being two albums I really like I was wondering if Fear Those Who Fear Him is on the same level or if Vallenfyre are losing their touch. Fact is they haven’t lost their touch the mix of doom and death Vallenfyre produces is still top class. They haven’t really managed to bring the magic out fully since their debut actually as that album still remains their best work as of yet. Songs like Degeneration, An Apathetic Grave and Soldier of Christ are songs that can definitely feature on a Vallenfyre best of though so fans of the band, or the genre overall will do best not to miss this one. Vallenfyre keeps on proving super groups can work and this is yet a solid release. If you haven’t listened to the band before I suggest you start with A Fragile King but Fear Those Who Fear Him can easily make you become a new fan of the band in its own.

For Those Who Fear Him is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Vallenfyre
Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Entombed and Paradise Lost
Favorite song: An Apathetic Grave
Score: 3.5/5