Mordenial – The Plague (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Formed in early 2000 the band has had quite the shaky start and it wasn’t until 2015 Mordenial released their debut album Where the Angels Fall. Since then the road has been clear though and The Plague is coming out just two years after the debut with the same line-up. The band has strong ties to one of my favorite old school death metal acts Paganizer as two out of three members are also active with them. With that said Mordenial does not play traditional old school death metal but instead they play a more melodic metal side fused with death and trash. Having more in common with In Flames and At the Gates than Paganizer.

The Plague is a riff friendly album. If you’re a fan of catchy solos and riffs you are sure to get your fill here. With lyrics dealing with the concept of a plague and how people justify terrible acts by pretending to be chosen by a God or Gods they touch on a subject that is very real even today. The opener The Plague doesn’t leave me breathless so to say but I get a few nods in here and there, whereas Daylight is Gone is starting to get me more into the album. It’s not until the fifth track No Empathy I really dig this though. With the slower melodic songs Save You All and especially All Has Vanished following up nicely. However the album never manages to grab my full attention. Sure there are some sweet riffs and solos here and there but it’s not enough for me to appreciate the 44 minutes Mordenial offers. Slow start, a better ending but in the end not what I had hoped for.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mordenial-524164104262270
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: In Flames and At the Gates
Favorite song: All Has Vanished
Score: 2/5

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Dead Asylum – Death Always Wins (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Like the Gothenburg sound? Old Arch Enemy, At the Gates and the likes? What about trash metal? Dead Asylum does a great job combining these genres, the aggression from trash with the melodies of melodic death metal in a twisted symbiosis. Almost going to the Children of Bodom type of sound. The Canadian band have taken their sound a step further since their 2013 debut General Carnage and it shows. The stongwriting is better, the band have gained some more experience behind them and grown tighter as a unit.

While I am a fan of the Gothenburg sound there is a lot of music within that genre that is really average, or even crap. Dead Asylum’s debut was close to fall into that category for me as it didn’t really peak my interest. With Death Always Wins everything has gone in the right direction though, making this a much better listen for me. More trash elements than before has done Dead Asylum good. The band still lack that song that knocks me out of my chair and after a really good opener in Defiance some of the songs on the album doesn’t really keep the heat going in my opinion. Other than Defiance I enjoyed Forgotten Sacrifice with it’s sweet guitar solos that reminds me of Children of Bodom, Welcome which has that The Sorrow feel to it and Inmate 666 with it’s sheer aggression a la Bodom. Great start and great finish, it’s the road there that was a bit bumpy.

To conclude Death Always Wins is better than General Carnage, while still needing some consistency and that heavy hitter song. When it’s good it’s awesome, when it isn’t though I am almost on the verge of pressing skip song. Metalheads will find this a release that gives you a mixed bag of treats where you are sure to find some songs to add to your favorite metal playlist.

Death Always Wins is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadasylum
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DeadAsylummetal
Label: Independent
For fans of: Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom
Favorite song: Defiance
Score: 2.5/5

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

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

Balfor – Black Serpent Rising (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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From Ukraine I am lucky enough to find a very pleasant surprise. Balfor is a band I personally had never heard of before but the band has actually been active since 2001 (1997 as Alter Ego) and Black Serpent Rising is the bands third full-length. Playing what they themselves call barbaric black metal I was wondering what that meant. Musically it sounds a bit similar to a band I reviewed last year, Unlight or later Keep of Kalessin albums. Whereas their lyrical theme revolves around barbarians (guessing that’s where their genre name comes from).

One thing that really gets me thinking about barbarians is how brutal, yet epic the album starts off. It’s melodic black metal at it’s finest really, the tempo-changes and melodic rhythms are a thing of joy to listen to and it never really feels repetitive as each song is good in their own right. This Balfor horde is definitely a band that fans of melodic death/black metal around the world should know about. One of the biggest surprises this year for me, and it’s not even a new band! It’s clear that these guys have mastered many aspects of metal as it shows ever so brightly throughout Black Serpent Rising. My favorite tracks has to be the more, as I like to call it, “epic barbarian battle hymn” ones, Unbounded Wrath of Venom and Heralds of the Fall. All in all this is a great album, I can highly recommend this to any metalhead out there looking for something new.

Balfor’s third black metal offering Black Serpent Rising is out now through Drakkar Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/balforofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BalforHorde
For fans of: Keep of Kalessin and Unlight
Favorite song: Unbounded Wrath of Venom

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