Albums of the month: October

With October being done and dusted we’re closing in fast on the end of the year. As expected heavy hitters of the month such as In Mourning, Insomnium, The Great Old Ones, Mayhem and Hour of Penance delivered wicked stuff while we also had some pleasant surprises (in my book at least) from bands such as Xoth, Vukari and Shadecrown to make October yet another stellar month for extreme music. Has October even been the best month of the year so far? Many thinks so but I’m still on the fence there but I do think it’s been one of the strongest months for sure (along with May and August) we’ve had so far. Will November and December end it with a bang or has the best of the year already been released? Who knows but we will know very soon! Again don’t forget to drop the bands and labels a like while also checking in The Metal Gamer playlist for all the latest in music! Also a side note but this post is the 500th blog post for The Metal Gamer! Hails and thanks for all the support over the years!

Album of the month

In Mourning – Garden of Storms

When a band like In Mourning produces their best album since the crown jewel Monolith then you know it’s one that will be high up the album of the year lists for most. A must listen! You can read the review here.

In Mourning – Garden of Storms was released October 4th via Agonia Records.

Runners-up

The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism

The Great Old Ones are back with yet another stunning Lovecraftian atmospheric black metal album. They seem to be able to do no wrong and the band has only strengthen what is already a very strong discography.

The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism was released October 22nd via Season of Mist.

Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave

I’ll be honest I didn’t get into Winter’s Gate as much as most people seem to have. A great album sure but I don’t think it was close to the levels of Above the Weeping World nor Across the Dark for example. I do think that’s the case with Heart Like a Grave however. Their best album in ten years!

Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave was released October 4th via Century Media Records.

Necronomicon – Unus

One of the best albums I’ve heard this year and the best Necronomicon has done to this date where the Necronomicon of old and new fuse together seamlessly, creating some of the best music of 2019 over 30 years into their career. You can read the review here.

Necronomicon – Unus was released October 18th via Season of Mist.

Shadecrown – Riven

Finland has a new mighty warrior to push their melodic death/doom music forward! While Insomnium is obviously a giant in the scene we now have Shadecrown who surprised me big time with Riven. The album is insane and it’s funny to think what this band can do in the future when they have already gotten so far into creating a quality sound with only a couple of full-length albums under their belt.

Shadecrown – Riven was released October 11th via Inverse Records.

Honorable mentions

Exhumed – Horror
Ehlder – Nordabetraktelse
1349 – The Infernal Pathway
Gatecreeper – Deserted
Entrails – Rise of the Reaper
Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine
Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
Vukari – Aevum
Cell – Ancient Incantations of Xarbos
Messora – The Door
Singularity – Place of Chains
Profanatica – Rotting Incarnation of God
Svartby – Big Boss
Esogenesi – Esogenesi
Signs of the Swarm – Vital Deprivation
Konkhra – Alpha and the Omega
Barbarian Swords – Totemic Anal Turbofucker
Sarcasm – Esoteric Tales of the Unserene
Thrashfire – Into the Armageddon
Blood Eagle – To Ride in Blood & Bathe in Greed II
Coffin Rot – A Monument to the Dead
Profetus – The Sadness of Time Passing
Mortiferum – Disgorged from Psychotic Depths
Rimfrost – Expedition: Darkness
Hour of Penance – Misotheism
Arx Atrata – The Path Untravelled
Sun Worship – Emanations of Desolation
Horrocious – Depleted Light and the Death of Uniqueness
Hell’s Coronation – Ritual Chalice of Hateful Blood
Defenestration – Scalped on the Pavemenet
Mayhem – Daemon
Rings of Saturn – Gidim
Temple – The Last Pact
Undead – Existential Horror
Cleric – Serpent Psalms
Vermicular Incubation – Chapter of the Vermain Domain
Shrine of Malice – Sheol

The Metal Gamer songs of the month playlist

Mors Subita – Into the Pitch Black (Melodic Death Metal)

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Mors Subita have been around for awhile. Being one of Finland’s prime melodic death metal bands who is probably often overlooked in the shadows of Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and the likes. The creator Mika Lammassaari is one of many guitar Gods from the country of thousand lakes as he is also features in Eternal Tears of Sorrow and Wolfheart. Into the Pitch Black is the bands third full-length since the formation in 1999.

Let me be honest and saying I wasn’t too keen on this album. Sure it has its moments with “I, God” and “Into the Pitch Black” having some killer riffs that keeps the aggressive modern melodic death metal spirit going. “As Humanity Weeps” brings me back to the days I listened to Threat Signal which was actually kinda fun as I’d almost forgot about that band. Overall though I find the album lacking in some key areas like songwriting, it’s a tad too repetitive and boring which loses my attention in the end. Which might just be me having grown out of this type of melodeath as I used to devour this kind of music ten years ago. Heard this many times before but done better in all honesty. I can’t help to think with an lineup consisting of members from Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Wolfheart and Thyrane this could be so much better.

I am sure many melodeath fans will have a good time with Into the Pitch Black and fans of Mors Subita gets more of the same music they’ve done in the past. Personally this isn’t really up my alley though and it feels a few years too late to be on my radar. It does leave me with a couple of good songs and mixed feelings once I’ve done my journey into the pitch black. A decent album that I feel could be better but one that a younger me might have appreciated a lot more. Sometimes it just doesn’t click like you’d hoped.

Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Threat Signal and Deals Death
Release date: April 6th, 2018
Favorite song: I, God
Score: 2.5/5

Skein – Deadweight (Darkened Alternative Metal)

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Lets start with some fact. Skein were formed in 2004 in Tampere, Finland and plays darkened alternative metal (I honestly didn’t know that was a thing but nevermind the genre label). They have three EP’s and one full-length prior the release of Deadweight in their name. While their latest full-length release from 2014 Of Wings Unfolding was a concept album their sophomore album is not. Deadweight is produced by the melancholic master Tuomas Kokko (Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus) and released by Inverse Records.

Melancholic yet beautiful, that’s how I would describe Skein’s emotional sophomore album. As you could probably already tell by the genre and producer behind the band. I get A Perfect Circle featuring Hanging Garden feeling from their music and that in itself is no small feat. Finnish bands are masters when it comes to create an melancholic atmosphere and Skein just adds to that fact. I usually don’t listen to this type of alternative rock but Skein’s mix of clean vocals and screamo, along with some great songwriting, made this an album I certainly won’t see as deadweight in my collection. Lies Mundane, Deadweight along with the two epic closing tracks In Circles and The Unknown are my favorite tracks from the album. Funny thing with the title track Deadweight is that I think vocalist Sami Silvennoinen sounds a lot like Matt Heafy from Trivium on this track with his screamo technique.

I have to say Skein surprised me. I thought this wasn’t going to be my type of music but sometimes you just need to get out of your comfort zone and listen to something new. I am glad I did as Skein has now opened up a whole new genre for me to listen to. Thank you.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skeinband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/skeinband
Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: A Perfect Circle and Hanging Garden
Favorite song: In Circles
Score: 4/5

Funeralglade – May the Funeral Begin (Melodic Death Metal)

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Hailing from Finland a five-man band named Funeralglade was formed a year ago. Since then they’ve worked to release their debut EP May the Funeral Begin whereas the time has come for me to review it. Funeralglade incorporate a lot of different genres into their music, goove metal, black metal and deathcore just being some of those but they are labelled as melodic death metal. May the Funeral Begin features six tracks and Funeralglade gives the listener an album filled with class riffs, vocals and drumming.

What makes me like the album more the more times I listen to it is the fact that all songs features new elements to them. The opener Shadow of Misery builds up the tempo nicely which gives you that crushing but melodical black metal feel. With Death (Only Way Out) being a more classic melodeath approach with some trash and black touches to it. Hollow then turns it more aggressive with symphonic elements into the mix, making this my favorite track on the album. The intermission Cadence of the Aching Breath adds more symphonic music, giving me the chills. Leading up to A Bedtime Story: Bloodlust which starts off like a powermetal song with the first riff and made me look if I was listening to the same album but that quickly turn into a fast paced death metal track with some added symphonic deathcore to it. Paincauser keep that sound alive and ends the album well. The whole packaging of the album with these six songs giving me different experiences is rather nice. If I could put their music in a box it would be with Carach Angren meeting Anaal Nathrakh and Shadow of Intent.

There are some flaws here and there but overall I had a good time with May the Funeral Begin. A good debut from Funeralglade they can build on.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/funeralglade
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/funeralglade
Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Shadow of Intent and Carach Angren
Favorite song: Hollow
Score: 3/5

Post Pulse – Halls of the Damned (Death Metal)

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With a lineup consisting of members from the likes of Hung and The Man-Eating Tree you knew this was an interesting project seeing the different metal styles they come from. Together they create death metal that is quite unlike what you’re probably used to by now. In many ways this feels rather unique in the death metal genre and I am sure that’s what Post Pulse have strived for. Everything seems carefully planned out, songwriting, solos, drums, vocals, mixing everything is hitting the right spots at the right times.

It’s very rythm and groove based, just like death metal should be. Less filthy though than I personally like it but that’s ok I am actually quite happy to hear someone try something new and not the old school death metal sound that has been revitalized (which I love by the way). Every song on the album got something different to offer the listener, which I am sure has to do with all the metal styles that’s represented within the band. What all the songs got in common is the aggression and groove that never slows down to keep that red line accross this concept album. The concept album’s story by the way! Halls of the Damned is about one man’s struggle with life given a unique set of personal circumstances. This is shown throughout and also adds value to why Post Pulse plays such mixed styles.

I am quite surprised with Halls of the Damned. Here I was expecting a old school death metal album, instead I get something new and fresh and I like it! Songs like Final Goodbye and Frozen Heart are perfect examples on the bands style and also my favorites. Kind funny that this is the first time since, well probably forever, I had a hard time writing in the “for fans of” section since I personally haven’t heard much that sound like this (which is why it might be more off than ever). That is a good thing and very rare today, which alone should be enough for you to give this album a try.

Post Pulse debut album Halls of the Damned is out now through Inverse Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/postpulse
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/postpulse
Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: Memoriam and Entrails
Favorite song: Frozen Heart

Narthraal – Screaming From The Grave (Death Metal)

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Icelandic death metal, does that exist? Looking at metal archives there are only 117 entries, including all genres, from the country where less than 90 of them are active bands, even less so within the death metal genre. Lucky enough for me I received my very first promo from a band called Narthraal, this will be my first listening to a metal band from Iceland so I am quite exited about it.

Inspired by the old school Swedish death metal sound I knew that this could be an album I would really get into, and I wasn’t let down. The filthy and crushing sound you hear from the guitars takes me back to the early 90’s Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Like honestly, just listening to the two first tracks Death of the Undying and Screaming From the Grave you will fall in love with this album even if you’re a fan of that very sound that probably got you into death metal to begin with. Nothing extra added nor over-produced fluff, just simple old school death metal. Love it or hate it Narthraal creates music that they used to listen to themselves and I personally dig this a lot. I mean old school death metal is coming back again, but I think this is one of the albums that are closest to capture the Swedish sound, without being Swedish. Funny note is that the last track on the album is called Dismember the Entombed, I liked that homage to some of the kings of death metal.

It’s raw, brutal, gets you headbanging and reeks of death and filth which is exactly what a death metal album should do. As a debut album I think this is great stuff and I hope to hear more from these Icelandic barbarians in the future. Favorite tracks are Screaming From the Grave, Million Graves to Fill, Descent into Darkness.

Scream From The Grave is out on May 26th through Inverse Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Narthraal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/narthraal
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Screaming From the Grave

Damnation Plan – Reality Illusion (Melodic Death Metal)

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Continuing my Finnish journey and looking for new releases from upcoming bands we next have Damnation Plan. For some this might not be a new act as the band was actually formed back in 2004. Featuring members from MyGrain and Wintersun they are not a band to take lightly though. Their debut didn’t show its light until 2013 with The Wakening (fitting name since they took their time), an album that received a lot of praise. To follow the groundwork laid down by their debut the band has worked hard for four years to release an even better album in Reality Illusion. Now the question is, have Damnation Plan taken a step further or not?

The intro and Beyond These Walls works as a good introduction to the album, greeting its listeners with a flurry of riffs, great combination of harsh and clean vocals which gives you that classic Gothenburg melodic death metal feeling a la Soilwork, Scar Symmetry or Disarmonia Mundi. Tommy Tuovinen (ex-MyGrain) and Asim Searah (Wintersun) stands out throughout this whole album. This is a duo that can pull of a wide range of vocals together and it makes Damnation Plan have an edge on some other upcoming acts. Coming into Rise of the Messenger their teamwork is extra notable and it’s a great example on what they can pull off together. Add to the fact that Antti Lauri, Jarkko Lunnas, Kalle Niininen and Jukka Vehkamaa does some great musical performances then you got yourself a band truly on the rise. On Blinded Faith I think the band really comes into sync with both the song, riffs and melodies making it quickly becomes one of my favorite songs on the album. The Empowerment works as a great intermission and purely instrumental track that showcase the talent within the band.

Second half of the album starts with Maze of Despair, the albums ballad and where Asim Searah shines extra bright (might be because of his past as a singer in power metal band Kiuas). It’s almost like coming to the second act of a play, when listening to it I get Edguy vibes from that song. Interesting song choice on the album actually, might feel out of place to some but I thought it was a cool touch that makes you see Damnation Plan from another side. To be fair there are some power metal elements here and there so I am not that surprised with a ballad of that caliber. Next song Iron Curtain Falls is back to the melodic death metal sound with some sweet added synth to it that then turns into the best solo on the album at 3:40. Reality Illusion, The Final Destination and Don’t Talk to Strangers (another song where I get a lot of power metal vibes from) finishes off the album on a high note. All three being of quite high quality, keeps on giving great riffs, sweet sounding vocals and headbanging material. With The Final Destination being by far the longest song on the album, clocking in at 8:26, it features just about a barrage of everything. That being said it isn’t actually my favorite song (still great though) it’s instead a tie between Blinded Faith and Iron Curtain Falls. The two songs where I think Damnation Plan shows their full potential.

I enjoyed this album, it’s better than their debut and Damnation Plan really feels like a band that can become a new big melodeath export from Finland. Their melodic death metal sound sticks out from most out there, especially with the power metal elements and ballads that are smoothly inserted into the mix. Reality Illusion is out now from Inverse Records!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/damnationplan
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DamnationPlan
For fans of: MyGrain and Soilwork
Favorite song: Blinded Faith