Surgery – Absorbing Roots (Death Metal)

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What do you get when you bring some friends together to create a band that loves death metal? Surgery! That could both be a joke but also the name of a band from Slovakia that makes some sweet old school death. The Swedish scene is the most inspirational source for Absorbing Roots. What I hear is something along the lines of Entrails meeting Jungle Rot with early years Amon Amarth in order to together create this sound that takes you back to the 90’s. This is good stuff and it’s really catchy. Songs like River in Silence and Depressive Reality get stuck in your head for days with it’s slick riffs. Funny enough I think the follow-up Hands in Chains is one of the low points though, where I honestly couldn’t hear the lyrics “why did I do it” at first and thought it was some Slovakian words coming out. That aside the song just seems a bit off from the rest of the album.

I’ve heard this kind of music countless of times before but it is also the genre I love the most so I can basically never get enough of it. Fans of old school death metal don’t need to look no further, here is a good example on how to deliver crushing death metal the way Sweden did in the early 90’s. This is a great way to celebrate the old times even though it has some flaws. If you’re tired of hearing another Grave or Entrails copy then this isn’t for you but for those of us that always want more of it then this is 30 minutes worth spending, granted it might not be that memorable.

On a side note I am also adding what the score means (for those of you that don’t check that section) on all future reviews!

Label: Support Underground
For fans of: Jungle Rot and Entrails
Release date: February 19th, 2018
Favorite song: Rive in Silence
Score: 3/5 Good

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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

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

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

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

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