Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds (Death Metal)

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For those unfamiliar (I have to confess I was) with Sarcasm their career goes all the way back to 1990 but after six demos the band disbanded in 1994. A few years ago, 2015 to be precise, the band re-merged from the shadows though with most of the members all having a past in Sarcasm from the 90’s. Sadly the sudden death of Oscar Karlsson (Defleshed, Gates of Ishtar) struck the band but they never wanted to give up, they wanted to keep on going and honour his memory. Matte Modin (Firespawn, Usurpress, ex-Dark Funeral, ex-Defleashed) took over the drums as Sarcasm were getting ready to work on Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. However both Fredrik Wallenberg and Henrik Forslund left the band and Sarcasm had to assemble a new line-up once again. Eventually they did and Sarcasm now consist of Anders Eriksson, Jonas Söder, Matte Modin, Peter Laitinen and Heval Bozarslan.

This stormy past has probably influenced the band a lot in creating music. Raging speed and hard as a rock death metal, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when listening to Sarcasm’s opener Bloodsoaked Sunrise from their latest album Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. Sarcasm delivers a great mix of melodic death, your classic Swedish old school death and even some black metal elements in there. It’s like At the Gates, Dissection and Necrophobic joined forces. Some of the best from the Swedish metal scene that is. There is a track here for fans of any these bands as the songs do differ a bit in sound and that’s also what makes this a great album. There is variety and a sweet old school feeling to Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds that a metalhead who loves this sound will find right at home with.

If you haven’t heard Sarcasm before now is the time! Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is an ode to the Swedish metal scene of old and even with all the hardship Sarcasm has suffered they’re back in form. If you only want a sample then I suggest listening to Scars of a Land Forgotten or the epic A Black Veil for Earth. Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarcasmsweden
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Necrophobic and At the Gates
Favorite song: A Black Veil for Earth

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Karkaos – Children of The Void (Melodic Death Metal)

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Karkaos is a female-fronted melodic death metal band from Canada that has quite some hype surrounding them after their debut album in 2014, Empire, being a great starter for the band. Their epic sound, great riffs and vocals from Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez was a great mix. Since then the band has made some changes, new vocalist, lead guitarist and drummer. Namely Viky Boyer, Samael Pelletier (ex-Aeon’s Fall) and Justine Ethier (Blackguard and ex-Profugus Mortis). So with those changes it’s interesting to see what Karkaos offers in their sophomore release. Fun note is that the band was originally formed in 2003 under the name Sinister Vengeance but it wasn’t until the name change to Karkaos in 2009 the band started releasing albums.

First off, wow Boyer got a great voice and Ethier is a wicked drummer (knew that from his Blackguard times though), with Pelletier doing a superb job as the new lead guitarist. It’s definitely not slowed them down, as a matter of fact I think they sound even better. It’s more epic than ever and the growls joined with clean vocals hit the spot in this melodeath heart. It’s like the lovechild made from Arch Enemy and Epica. What could go wrong with that mix, am I right? Karkaos delivers a lot of headbang worthy tracks with some of my favorites being Kolossos, Let The Curtain Fall and Children of the Void (which sounds like a track that could feature on In Flames Come Clarity album). They took their time to release a sophomore album but it’s worth the wait, Karkaos are better than ever and fans of a more wicked Arch Enemy style with the symphonic elements of Epica would be wise not to miss this one out.

Children of the Void is out now as a self-released album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karkaos
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Epica
Favorite song: Let The Curtain Fall

Nyktophobia – Fallen Empire (Melodic Death Metal)

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A lot of you melodeath fans might have heard of Dawn of Disease. Their last release Worship the Grave received a lot of praise last year and was one of the best melodic death metal releases. The creator, and vocalist, of Dawn of Disease Tomasz Wisniewski have been very busy as of late. Not only did Dawn of Disease release an album last year but in 2015 he and another Dawn of Disease member (drummer Christian Timmer) joined Michael Tybussek (ex-Agamendon, ex-Mor Dagor and ex-December Flower) newly formed band, namely Nyktophobia. The time is already upon us to get to hear the bands debut album Fallen Empire.

What actually got me to check in this album was me browsing bandcamp pages and found the artwork for the Fallen Empire album cover to be beautiful. Getting to know more about the band and the roots from Dawn of Demise made me even more happy to have found this hidden gem. Musically there might not be a surprise that it has a lot in common with Dawn of Disease but more so with older Amon Amarth. The melodies and groove is there that’s typical of a melodic death metal album but the harsh vocals and overall heavy feeling of the album gets me thinking back to albums such as Amon Amarth’s The Avenger or The Crusher. Reign of Fire and Hammer of the Gods being two great examples that really reminds me of Amon Amarth’s past records.

This was a positive album release for me. Nyktophobia’s debut album is certainly not one to miss if you enjoy melodic death metal of the old ways, as I am sure you do. Fans of old school Amon Amarth and Dawn of Disease will love this release. Fallen Empire is out now through Delicious Bowels Agency.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nyktophobia
For fans of: Dawn of Demise and Amon Amarth
Favorite song: Hammer of the Gods

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

Drearyym – Precursions (Melodic Death Metal)

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I’ve reviewed some of the more seasoned bands from Finland so far with Noumena, Mors Principium Est and Wolfheart already granting us sweet melodic death metal releases. Now it’s time to go tapping into the talent pool of new and upcoming acts starting with Drearyym. Drearyym were formed in 2014 and has since then already been able to produce two EP’s and the full-length debut I am about to review Precursions. Precursions features the two songs from the bands second EP Precursions Part I as well as four new tracks. It’s actually quite astonishing that Drearyym are still alive and kicking after the rocky road the band has had with members coming and going during these three years, having had an especially hard time to find a stable drummer in the lineup. Not many bands that find the motivation to keep on going when the start hasn’t been what you might have thought it would be.

To start off these 45 minutes of Nordic tales and great wars is the 3 minute intro Draugr March. It works as a soft introduction to the album that fills it’s role with fantasy like sounding music that tells of the battles that are to come. It’s with In Obsidian we really hear what Drearyym are all about. The growling technique Leevi Kuunila does and battle-fuelled melodic death metal music you hear is influenced by the type of music you’ve heard the Finnish bands Brymir, Turisas and Frosttide perform. Bands I enjoy listening to so that isn’t a bad thing. 1.50 into In Obsidian the song takes a rather interesting turn, carnival music starts playing and it’s actually a smooth transition that doesn’t feel forced in and eventually fades out. A cool touch in my opinion. Nine Divines acoustic intro is a beautiful start that later turns into a brutal symphonic warzone just to five minutes in get some nice piano music together with a sweet guitar solo. These elements makes this song my favorite ones on the album and shows some of the bands diverse style in epic melodic death metal.

Hunter’sTale and Old Barn are also good songs and once Precursions is over I am feeling quite satisfied with Drearyym’s debut. It may not be perfect but for a debut from a band that’s already had some lineup struggles this is solid. Precursions is out now as an independent digital release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Drearyym
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Drearyym1
For fans of: Frosttide and Brymir
Favorite song: Nine Divines

Wolfheart – Tyhjyys (Melodic Death Metal)

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Next up in my melodic death metal spree from Finland we have Wolfheart. A band that features one of my favorite musicians Tuomas Saukkonen due to his work with Before the Dawn, one of the greatest melodic death metal bands to come out from Finland in my opinion. Wolfheart were formed in 2013 as a solo project by Toumas (just like his other bands began) but in 2014 he decided to disband all his other bands in order to fully focus on Wolfheart. I may have labeled Noumena, Mors Principium Est and now Wolfheart with the melodic death metal genre but they all sound very different. Wolfheart is definitely the more brutal sounding of the trio with it’s fast blast beats, Tuomas harsh growling style and overall more heavy sound. Calling it winter metal it’s no surprise it is heavy and brutal, while keeping it melodic and even featuring soothing flute play on The Flood, Wolfheart are great at capturing the essence of winter with it’s melancholy harsh style.

If you’ve heard Tuomas Saukkonen work before then you can know what to expect. It’s high quality music with a lot of catchy melodies to it. Shores of the Lake Simpele is a nice three minute intro, building up the atmosphere for Boneyard, the first single that came out from the album and in my opinion the high point of Tyhjyys. The orchestrations and acoustic passages that are common elements in an Wolfheart album are better than ever and it really helps setting the tone for this cold winter release. That or the beautiful tunes on The Flood, that’s both dark and sad but yet gorgeous. The lyrics are dark, from what I’ve read it’s partially due to Tuomas personal struggles over the years which makes sense, I think the more you can relate to the music you write the better you can show those emotions on the songs.

As a fan of Tuomas Saukkonen’s work I knew I would like this release. I think this is one of his best creations as of yet with Wolfheart and it’s a solid melodic death metal album. It might not be as good as some of his work with Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, but that’s insanly hard to top. Finland is having a superb 2017 already getting some pretty great albums out. Fans of the darker side of melodeath will love Tyhjyys. It’s Tuomas putting out one of his best releases in years with the atmosphere of winter metal being colder than ever before. Every single song is good by themself and they showcase quite different aspects of both nature and battles.

Tyhjyys is out now through the legendary Finnish label Spinefarm Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WolfheartRealm
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WolfheartFIN
For fans of: Insomnium and Before the Dawn
Favorite song: Boneyard

Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World (Melodic Death Metal)

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More melodic death metal from Finland! Now this is a band I think many of you guys have heard by now, Mors Principium Est. Formed in 1999 the band is now considered veterans in the Finnish melodeath scene. During the years the band has had its ups and downs, with numerous lineup changes and their latest release Dawn of the 5th Era was actually a bit weaker than their otherwise really great discography. That said it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t feel as great as their other albums, missing that extra piece which their first three releases had. Hence I’ve been looking forward to listen to this album (granted I am a bit late since it was out two months ago) in order to see if Mors Principium Est are on a decline or can get back in shape.

The intro Genesis is epic, feels like a trailer for a high budget action movie or something. I can see this being played right before the band go on stage and introduces themselves. It then kicks off with Reclaim the Sun, a fast melodic death metal song with orchestral and synth elements just like you remember Mors Principium Est. So here I am already telling myself MPE are back with one of their best albums to date yet it’s only two songs in. Thing is though it doesn’t get worse, instead it gets better. Masquerade’s guitar intro and midtempo plays to keep fitting in great solos here and there is a sweet headbanger. Into the Dark then quickly turn into a personal favorite of mine on the album, the solo three minutes in is top class (thanks Paul Wardingham). Adding the great lyrics with Mors Principium Est’s different classic elements makes it one of the better melodeath songs to come out this year. Death is the Beginning then features another great guest appearance where vocalist Christina Marie helps making this track an emotional melodeath ballad of high quality. This emotional journey doesn’t end there as to follow it up is The Ghost. Another really well written song full of sweet catchy riffs, synths and piano elements that are in beautiful harmony.

Mors Principium Est brings up the speed with the albums heaviest track In Torment, giving you more of that headbang friendly music. Agnus Dei works as an intermission to give the listener a breather for what is to be unleashed on the two last tracks, The Colours of the Cosmos and Apprentice of Death. Two hard hitting songs that’s a great way to end Mors Principium Est’s sixth release Embers of a Dying World. Making it yet another release I had a hard time choosing my favorite song on (I choose between Reclaim the Sun, Into the Dark, In Torment and Apprentice of Death). After listening to the album a few times I am almost ready to say this is their best work yet. Safe to say Mors Principium Est are back in great form and if you haven’t heard their epic melodic death metal with a lot of orchestral touches to it then now is the time. Here is me hoping they can finally be up there with Dark Tranquillity when people mention some of the greatest melodic death metal bands. In my opinion Mors Principium Est has always been a bit overlooked but with this release they show they are heavy hitter going for the knockout. The best melodic death metal album to come out so far this year.

Mors Principium Est’s sixth full-length Embers of a Dying World is out now through AFM Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MPEofficial
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and Kalmah
Favorite song: In Torment