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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American Standards – Anti-Melody (Punk/Hardcore/Metalcore)

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Lets begin with saying American Standards isn’t your ordinary metalcore band. They infuse punk and hardcore elements into their sound and the music is full of emotions and angst. It’s totally understandable as well, the theme of the band is very political and about the society with all the wrongdoings that keeps on happening. In that sense American Standards are really close to a local band of mine Wolves Within who I also like. On this album though the theme is more about separation than anything else. What makes me get into the band even more is their background, and it’s a sad one. The founding guitarist passed of suicide with the vocalists father to cancer soon after. It’s obvious this shit hurts and American Standards can use their music to let go of these emotions letting it take musical form and they know what they’re talking about. Heavy stuff.

I usually don’t listen to this kind of music but when I can really feel the emotions coming out from the sound and hitting me hard, then I know they got something special going on. Tracks like Bartenders Without Wings and Cancer Eater hits me like an arrow straight in the heart. Anti-Melody might not be an album for everyone reading this blog as I usually don’t go for this type of music but hell even I go out of my box at times. This album has connected with me on a level Architects usually does, granted different types of music but emotionally they hit me the same way. Musically I would say American Standards are the closer to Norma Jean and Every Time I Die than anything else but they sure do have their own twist, creating not just a simple copy of those.

Sometimes the music is more than just music and this is one of those experiences for me. Maybe it will be for you too?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AmericanStndrds
Label: Independent
For fans of: Norma Jean and Every Time I Die
Favorite song: Bartenders Without Wings
Score: 4/5

Wolves Within – Fortress Europe Reborn (Hardcore/Metalcore)

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One of the upcoming Swedish metalbands from the South, Wolves Within, are back with a single after having released their debut EP Interdependence last year that was well received. Back are the catchy tunes focusing on the lyrical depth on what’s happening in society. Taking some of the best aspects from hardcore/punk with the melodic music from metalcore. Musically I would say they are like a mix between bands such as Raised Fist, While She Sleeps, Architects, Bury Tomorrow, For Today and Engel, bands who also touches on the subjects of politics, humanity and society while also having their sound within the metalcore genre.

This time Wolves Within grants us two songs, Fortress Europe Reborn and Famous Last Thoughts. The first song being in the same sphere as their earlier work and is following that path nicely, the riffs are a bit tighter and the overall quality is a bit higher than last time I heard Wolves Within. It’s on the track Famous Last Thoughts I get really surprised though, this time they hit me with a slow and great written ballad. This song is in my opinion the best Wolves Within has produced, along with Iron Pipe Democracy, and everything just seems to fit together nicely.

This is Wolves Within showing their teeth, broadcasting a wider range of skills and telling the world they keep on improving with each release. If you haven’t heard them before now is high time you do so as this is a band that can very likely become a new big export from Sweden. They certainly do have the talent for it and it’s not often Sweden produces this type of modern hardcore/metalcore music as it’s usually something I see coming from USA or England. So I see it as a musical act that got the right tools to stick out in the death metal Sweden. Fortress Europe Reborn is out April 4th as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolveswithinsweden
For fans of: Raised Fist and For Today
Favorite song: Famous Last Thoughts

Silent on Fifth Street – Embodied Cognition (Deathcore)

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With a mix of hardcore, down-tempo and deathcore Silent on Fifth Street came as a real sleeper to me during the end of 2016. I didn’t really have the time to look into them until now and I am sure a lot of you out there did miss Silent on Fifth Street’s full-length Embodied Cognition due to all the album of the year awards, Christmas and all that happening.

The riffs are tight, the vocals got a wide range of different styles which makes it less monotone. The overall style from track to track also changes, some being more hardcore, some leaning more towards down-tempo and deathcore. Listening to Better off Dead, Gemini and Level 5 Doom, three tracks right after each other, on the album you get a different feel to the bands style of music. I think that’s a strongpoint from Silent on Fifth Street and something they should keep on doing. Even if I personally don’t like all songs (Level 5 Doom) but enjoy others much more (Gemini) I respect them for doing it.

In case you haven’t heard this album yet then be sure to do so. I found it interesting with a lot of different approaches and I am sure you will find at least one song on the album that will get stuck inside your head.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/silentonfifthstreet
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/wearesofs
For fans of: The Acacia Strain and I Declare War
Favorite song: Gemini

Buried Under Ruined Nations – Annihilation (Metalcore/Hardcore)

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Metalcore bands I tend to get a lot of promos from since I started reviewing, some better than the others. When I started listening to Buried Under Ruined Nations I thought “this is just another average metalcore band” but then a bit into F5 it all changes, clean vocals, more hardcore mixed with metalcore sound. I have to be honest I didn’t really know what type of music these guys really played, I just thought it was your standard metalcore but they proved me wrong fast!

Buried Under Ruined Nations got a lot in common with bands like Darkest Hour, It Dies Today and Haste the Day, all bands that I listened to loads 10-15 years ago.

Even though my music taste have changed a lot since then I still enjoyed my time with Annihilation. Fans of the metalcore/hardcore mix will love Buried Under Ruined Nations debut album Annihilation. Their mix of clean vocals, high and low growling reminds me a lot of Haste the Day and Escape the Fate in their prime (yes I like their earlier albums a lot more than their newer ones). Their instrumental track BPU is even a nice showcase on their melodic side to switch things up. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked Annihilation and I advise any fan of metalcore/hardcore to check out Buried Under Ruined Nations.

If you live in the US you’ll even have the chance to catch these dudes live as in just around a weeks time they’ll support Lorna Shore. Don’t miss that one!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/buriedunderruinednations
For fans of: Darkest Hour and Haste the Day
Favorite song: Virax

Wolves Within – Interdependence (Metalcore/Hardcore)

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Wolves Within is a local band of mine that first started as a solo project by Fredrik Rosdahl but later on became a full band, when in early 2016 Jowl Nyberg, Johan Svensson and Joakim Strandberg Nilsson joined. The band worked fast and after only months together they have already released their first EP Interdependence.

Interdependence got five tracks and is 13 minutes long. Short as it may be it got some catchy tunes with a lot of lyrical depth to it on what’s happening in todays society. A lot of anger against the politics going around in the world which tracks like Iron Pipe Democracy and Deceiving 101 covers.

Wolves Within debut EP Interdependence is a great way to get to know the band. It got the old punk/hardcore feeling on lockdown with a touch of metalcore sound.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolveswithinsweden
For fans of: Engel and For Today
Favorite song: Iron Pipe Democracy

Alaska – Subsequent (Metalcore/Post-Hardcore)

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I’ve never heard of Alaska before, they basically came to me as a gift from the Spotify discover weekly and I am very glad they did. The song I got in my discover weekly playlist was the opening track on Subsequent, Hegemony and I was instantly hooked. Not only was the song great but the album cover is so beautiful and clean. One of the best album covers I’ve ever seen.

So who are Alaska? They come from Paris a city that’s produced many great bands such as Betraying the Martys and As They Burn. Alaska being no exception and just adds to the list of top tier metal bands the city has produced. As I’ve stated before I haven’t really heard many newer bands that adds to the metalcore scene these past years and it’s been kind of stale for a while. This year has been great so far though with first Beacons and Invent, Animate releasing great albums and now we have a wicked debut album in Subsequent that is easily in the running for best metalcore release of the year. On their first try nevertheless!

Alaska sticks out from other metalcore bands as they are more on the progressive side, at times making me think of their fellow countrymen Gojira. Even adding a pure instrumental track Juvenoia, something that’s very rare in the metalcore scene but very common in prog. Album cover alone makes Subsequent an album you want on your shelf just for the looks. With or without the cover art though this is one of the best debut albums of the year and Alaska is a band everyone should know who they are very soon.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thisisalaska
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ALASKAofficial
For fans of: Carcer City and The Healing
Favorite song: Midnight Sun