Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar (Folk/Black Metal)


Skogen. It doesn’t only mean forest in Swedish but is also the name of one of Swedens top tier black metal bands. They have released nothing but great albums in my opinion and I’ve been looking forward to review this for a long time. Their latest album has taken the name from the second track on the bands debut Vittra, namely Skuggorna Kallar. One thing that has make Skogen stand out for me is the fact they keep on growing and with each release they improve their sound that eventually lead to one of the best albums of 2014 I döden to be unleashed to this world.

I have to be honest my initial listen to Skuggorna Kallar left me disappointed. It started off so well with “Det nordiska mörkret” which is great atmospheric black metal with folk influences, something I like when Skogen dabble with and they do so more than ever on this album bringing them closer to Primordial than ever before. Then coming into “När solen bleknar bort” we have one of the most crushing Skogen tracks ever released, a song that will be with me for many many years to come. “Nebula” is black folk metal perfection in many ways, whereas “Omen” and “Frostland” are classic Skogen sound and these five tracks contains just about everything I hoped for the album, but then it loses me. From a captivating first half and superb Skogen metal I find the change to English vocals and a more doom approach on “The Sun’s Blood” and onwards being far less appealing to my ears. Sadly that brings the score down a bit from an otherwise great album.

I do find this release to be weaker than their previous ones and a bit of a letdown but Skuggorna Kallar gives Skogen fans yet another good album. It lacks the consistency the older albums have had to me but at the same time containing some of the bands best singles to date.

Label: Nordvis Produktion
For fans of: Borknagar and Primordial
Release date: May 25th, 2018
Favorite song: När solen bleknar bort
Score: 3/5


Ereb Altor – Ulfven (Viking/Black Metal)


Free is the Ulfven! The start of Ulfven is a lecture in tales and mythology from the viking ages which lay down the grounds for what is to come. Eventually it blasts off with En Synd Svart Som Sot, the single some of you have probably heard prior to this albums release, which is an epic piece of work that takes Ereb Altor’s Bathory connection closer than ever. If you don’t know who Ereb Altor are then you should know their music is as close as Bathory that you can get in this day and age. Being formed in 2003 from the core of Forlorn and Isole Ereb Altor have been a band every Bathory fan just has to love, me included. Their whole discography is an homage and filled with Bathory like music we all have come to love and respect. With six full-length and one EP prior Ulfven that’s been nothing but top notch viking/black metal music it’s interesting to hear if they can keep it up.

Ulfven is everything Ereb Altor is all about, epic fucking music. With me having Blot – Ilt – Taut as one of my favorite albums last year you know I am a big fan of this type of thing. Ulfven is just as good, if not better initially as the first songs makes me wonder if this is Ereb Altor’s best work yet. However the last songs, which are bonus songs mind you and not on the standard version, lacks and leaves me a bit disapointed after that start of an album. Either way those are just bonus songs and should be seen as such so I am not laying too much value on them.

All you need to know is Ulfven is Ereb Altor on form, showing their teeth and devouring the world bringing ragnarok to us with their music. This is an album any fan of the band or Bathory should get. You know what the best thing about the album is? It is out today from Hammerheart Records!

Label: Hammerheart Records
For fans of: Bathory and Primordial
Favorite song: En Synd Svart Som Sot
Score: 4.5/5

Helheim – landawarijaR (Black/Viking Metal)


Norwegian pioneers of viking metal Helheim are back with another album just two years after raunijaR. landawarijaR is the bands 9th full-length release since their formation in 1992. What’s quite astonishing is that Helheim still has the founding members active within the band with only three changes throughout the career.

Not much has changed since raunijaR. Helheim still delivers black/viking metal with a Norse mythology theme, epic songs over five minutes long and more often than not getting close to the ten minutes mark. That being said why would it have to change? Helheim knows by now what works and not for them and they do it so well I can only salute them for being one of the most consistent bands these 20 years, not releasing a single bad album so far.

If you’ve heard Helheim before then you know exactly what to expect and this is more of that sweet candy. If you haven’t then it’s right about time to dig into the Norwegian beast. landawarijaR is simply great and it’s the perfect way to embrace the cold winter that’s still going here in Sweden. Take a sip of that mead, sit back and relax because you’re in for another viking journey to Helheim.

For fans of: Enslaved and Kampfar
Favorite song: Ouroboros

Saor – Guardians (Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal)


Starting off like an intro to Braveheart with crows singing, bagpipes playing and thundering riffs Saor lays the foundations on their latest release Guardians right from the start. It has to be said that Guardians is the first album I hear from Saor, even though I’ve heard a lot about them since Roots came out I’ve never actually sat down and listened to one of their albums. So why the name Saor? Saor means “free” and “unconstrained” in Gaelic. The name was inspired by the Scottish independence motto “Saor Alba” which translates to “Free Scotland”. Perfect for Andy Marshall’s solo project which lyrical theme revolves around the Scottish heritage and landscapes.

The music is very beautiful and atmospheric, what you would probably have guessed. However it also adds that harsh tone from the vocals and guitars making it change phase when needed and adds a lot of depth to the sound. I really love how Saor uses bagpipes and violins as it just makes me take in the celtic atmosphere and almost feeling the sorrow and grief the Scottish have endured. Or as to quote my favourite song on the album (they are all great though) Hearth:

“I’ve wandered through the ancient glens
Where the air is filled with sorrow
and climbed to the highest of peaks
Walked amongst the haunted ruins of my nation
There’s nowhere I’d rather be
This is my home
My heart
My soul
My hearth”

Simply beautiful, yet a saddening masterpiece and I hope you will all take an hour of your time to experience this amazing album. Now I need to book a trip to Scotland…..

For fans of: Winterfylleth and Panopticon
Favorite song: Hearth

Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter (Black Metal)


Seeing as Winterfylleþ was the Old English name for the month of October I thought it was only fitting I review their latest album The Dark Hereafter during that month. The Dark Hereafter is the bands 5th full-length since their formation in 2007, soon celebrating 10 years. Time sure does go fast as it seems it was only a couple of years ago since I first heard of them.

Continuing their lyrical theme of nature, paganism and landscapes you can see this as a Primordial meets Saor style of black metal. I am quite sure you know this though since I take it everyone into underground metal have heard about Winterfylleth by now. They do keep the same type of style as they have since their debut The Ghost of Heritage and why shouldn’t they? If it aint broke don’t fix it. They have simply refined their original sound and made it even better.

Fans of Winterfylleth will surely recognise the sound and feel right at home. While if you are a new listener to Winterfylleth you are in luck, as this is their best work yet and a perfect time to start listening to Winterfylleth.

For fans of: Drudkh and Saor
Favorite song: Ensigns Of Victory

The Howling Void – The Triumph of Ruin (Funeral Doom Metal)


Ryan Wilson’s solo project The Howling Void has been going for some time now, since 2007, where he has released some epic long tracks more often than not reaching the 10min mark. With The Triumph of Ruin he has taken a bit different direction though, no song is over 8min long (or well 8:06) and the album is more inspired by folk and black metal. Fear not though, this is still a very atmospheric and intense album filled with darkness and doom. It’s just a bit different than what you might expect from the typical The Howling Void album, but not a 180 turn exactly. I for one think this is a great step to take, the folk and black metal touches makes the whole experience better and more varied than past albums. Definitely worth looking into if you want the world around you to stop existing, if just for a moment.

For fans of: Dreams After Death and Shape of Despair
Favorite song: The Nine Worlds Wept

Imperium Dekadenz – Dis Manibvs (Atmospheric Black Metal)


Imperium Dekadenz have been going for quite a while now, since 2004, and have released some very top notch albums along the way. Dis Manibvs adds to that collection of good releases and tries to harness the nature while singing of fallen empires and death. Just as I loved Wayfarer – Old Souls album for being very atmospheric and took you on a cold long journey in the wild I feel Imperium Dekadenz maybe even pulls it off even better. I do really get the sense of being there, walking around in the nature on a cold autumn day. Dis Manibvs is not just dark and atmospheric though, it’s also harmonic with a lot of energy in it. Taking you in and requires your full attention through the whole album. Once you’ve taken this journey though you will be glad you did.

For fans of: Winterfylleth and Wayfarer
Favorite song: Dis Manibvs