Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram (Death/Black Metal)

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What’s that sound? It’s the sound of a black metal tank coming in full speed. I’m not going to lie Necrophobic has been one of my favorite bands last years (I honestly didn’t listen to them much until a couple years ago) and Mark of the Necrogram was my most anticipated album for 2018. Thing is with having really high hopes it can crush your expectations completely leaving you unsatisfied and probably give the album more backlash than it might deserve (as I did with Origins album last year). However with the case of Necrophobic and Mark of the Necrogram it’s done something hardly any albums do. They live up to my high expectations and more! Hell here I am halfway into the album when I start writing this and I am ready to say this is the best album Necrophobic ever released. I will let that one sink in for me a bit first though since this album needs to grow on me a few months, let the hype die down a bit, before I go and say something crazy like that. Because you know what? Necrophobic got a discography worth dying for. Their full-length debut The Nocturnal Silence is considered one of the best extreme metal albums ever and even their “weaker” (I still think they freaking rocks) albums such as Womb of Lilithu and Bloodhymns would demand huge sacrifices to pull off.

From the self-titled opening track Mark of the Necrogram to Undergången this album never stops delivering. Be it guitar riffs, blasting drums or Anders incredible vocals nothing is left to chance as they all perform as if possessed throughout. This is almost 50 minutes of pure dark magic. I just need to add that the news of Unanimated making a return and releasing a new album later this year is the only album within the black/death mixed realm I can see being as good as this. That’s a big maybe too as I got no clue how well Unanimated will perform in 2018. We are only two months into this year but I hereby set my first perfect score of the year. This one will be hard to beat and we already got a strong candidate for album of the year. Hell I am quite sure Mark of the Necrogram will be an album the metal community talks about years from now. Sweden are off to one of the best black metal starts ever with Watain, Tribulation and now Necrophobic putting out some of their best releases ever. The black king that is Necrophobic is back and there will be no prisoners.

Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Dissection and Unanimated
Release date: February 23rd, 2018
Favorite song: Tsar Bomba
Score: 5/5

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Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler (Death Metal)

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Yay more classic death metal from Sweden! After basically not a single swedeath review for months I get two in two days, lucky me! Coffin Creep is a rather unknown band, formed in 2014, coming from Sweden but been very active in the underground scene around here, playing a lot of shows showcasing their demos live. Corpse Defiler is the bands debut album which consists of re-recordings of mentioned demos and a brand new song in Corpse Defiler.

It’s raw filthy rotten sound brings back memories from a time when swedeath was at it’s peak. The mixing is usually something I think it really hard to get right at this day and age for my ears. I don’t want it too raw because I think the music has evolved in production enough to make it sound good yet filthy. Coffin Creep manages to get a good mix with the right amount of editing to make this album sound really good to me. As a side note I noticed when reading up about Coffin Creep is that the drummer is the vocalist, cool stuff and I don’t see that too often.

Song by song I think Coffin Creep does a good job on catching the ways of the old making a death metal fanatic like me happy. I am sure Coffin Creep is going to be one of the bands from Sweden that keeps the old corpses still rotting instead of withering away. Seeing this is just their debut album filled with demos it’s interesting to hear what they come up with next. Give these guys an album or two and I am confident you will see them go toe to toe with the bigger Swedish acts such as Entrails or Grave. Obviously some of you will think this is just another death metal album you’ve heard before but when it’s done so well like this and manage to capture the essence of the horrors death metal can do it’s not something you should sleep on. One can never get too much swedeath in their life so I suggest fans of Entrails, Grave, Dismember and the likes gets this pile of defiled corpses into your collection right now.

Label: Unearthed Production
For fans of: Entrails and Grave
Favorite song: Puking Necrophilia
Score: 4/5

El Camino – Cursed Congregation (Black/Trash Metal)

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El Camino is an interesting act from Sweden. Their music draws a lot of influences from the great Dissection but they have their own unique touch to it with adding trash, doom elements and some H.P. Lovecraft into the mix. What comes out is nothing short but freaking awesome. I haven’t listened to El Camino before, actually I hadn’t heard about them until they were announced for this years Mörkaste Småland so all of this comes as a surprise to me. Formed in 2003 from the ashes of death metal act Vermin the band do have some Swedish veterans within their ranks and have already released a couple of full-length albums (along with EP’s and splits).

What I really enjoy with El Camino and Cursed Congregation is how it flirts with the old school sound of different genres and just feels really authentic all around. I can see this being a band that sounds just as good live as on cd. The riffs and old school atmosphere is sweet and grabs you hook line and sinker. IOMH, Cursed Congregation, Vengeance and the Häxkraft songs are really freaking great! Some songs doesn’t quite catch my attention though (Stars and Silence for example) which lowers the score a bit from this otherwise awesome first experience with the band.

Want to try something new with an old school feeling to it then El Camino’s third album Cursed Congregation is for you! Cursed Congregation is out now through Night Tripper Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elCaminocvlt
Label: Night Tripper Records
For fans of: Dissection and Vampire
Favorite song: Cursed Congregation
Score: 3.5/5

Ofermod – Sol Nox (Black Metal)

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Ofermod, a name every black metal fan should know. This legendary act from Sweden have since their formation in 1996 offered the world two of the best black metal releases ever in Tiamtü and Thaumiel. It’s been five years since then and only Belfagor remains in the band. Sadly he has had quite the shaky past (which I won’t get into) but has since then focused his life on religion and music. Ofermod are to many a true act of black metal and genuine darkness with it’s music and ritualistic approach. It doesn’t just feel real it is real.

I am happy to tell you that Belfagor hasn’t lost his touch and he is back to spread the darkness once more. Already on the opening track The Alpha of the Antichrist you will hear the drums and guitar play haunting you with it’s riffs. The vocals are just as gnarly and perfect for this music as I remember it. This is evil shit right here I tell you. Funeral Mist, Watain and Ondskapt are bands I think are close but I do not really think any band out there, that I know of, delivers genuine darkness as Ofermod does. Just listening to music based on Sitra Achra (look it up) is heavy and surrounded by chaos.

True black metal is back, a cosmic journey into chaos not many band can offer but Ofermod. It’s hard to beat Tiamtü and Thaumiel but Sol Nox is a good try at it. It’s definitely one of the best black metal releases of the year, even though it might not be as good as Ofermod’s past work. They can be seen as different beasts entirely though and Sol Nox is an album any Ofermod fan will be pleased with.

Sol Nox is out now through Shadow Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfermodOfficial
Label: Shadow Records
For fans of: Funeral Mist and Ondskapt
Favorite song: To Dare the Tower

King of Asgard – :taudr: (Viking/Death Metal)

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This is one of those albums I’ve had to wait with before reviewing. Why you ask? Because I had to cool down before giving :taudr: my first listen. King of Asgard is a band I really like and hold in a high regard when it comes to viking metal (together with Thyrfing, Månegarm and Amon Amarth for example). That being said I’ve listened to this album several times and I still find this a good experience each freaking time. Before you even listen to this album you should grab yourself both some meed and beer, maybe even some snacks for the sake of it and get ready for a great time of raiding.

For those of you who doesn’t know about King of Asgard they are a creation of one of the members from Mithotyn Karl Beckmann. Keeping the viking spirit alive they have since then been making albums of high quality and their fourth conquest :tuadr: is of course no different. The memory of Mithotyn lives on in many ways with their releases as the songwriting and folk inspired melodies hits me with the same force as they once did. Having listened to a few tracks on :taudr: I know already that this is another great album to add to their already top notch discography. As a viking lover and a metal lover you just can’t get enough of King of Asgard that’s one thing that’s certain. Out of the five tracks on :taudr: there isn’t a single one I doesn’t like, however there are two tracks I find taking my breath away. Those two are Taudr and Upon Raging Waves, whereas the last one is a homage to everything Mithotyn has ever done. Basically if you want a viking experience this is the album, and the band to go for. Are you a fan of Mithotyn? This is the closest you can get! Love King of Asgard’s old albums? This is just as good if not better (have to say that …to North is hard to beat). Either way every fan of viking music will love this album! The atmosphere and music screams viking music!

King of Asgard’s fourth full-length album :taudr: is out now through Trollmusic.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kingofasgard
Label: Trollmusic
For fans of: Mithotyn and Thyrfing
Favorite song: Upon Raging Waves

Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)

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Mordbrand means arson and is not only a horrible act but also one of Swedens best death metal acts that’s spawned this last decade. Having listened to their compilation album Hymns of the Rotten several times this past year I knew Wilt was something to look forward to. Why you ask? Because in this trio you got Per Boder, the vocalist who has been on the frontline to create the Swedish death metal sound with God Macabre. Joining him we got Björn Larsson (who plays for God Macabre since the resurrection in 2013) and Johan Rudberg. This trio has made some of the best death metal music these past years (their debut Imago came out in 2014) and it’s a band that I personally feel will should be up there among the greats soon if they keep this up. My only question to this release is if they can? Is Wilt as good as Imago or Hymns of the Rotten?

Short answer is yes, yes it is. I am not sure how Mordbrand does it, have they made an pact with Satan? Have they found the pick of destiny? Becuase wow I keep getting stunned by this band. Every single song is a hit to me. Every single song. It’s pure death metal which is perfectly produced and every single riff is a headbanger. The songwriting is great and heck even the album cover is freaking art. This year has been too kind to me. As a lover of death metal I’ve not only got to listen to releases from the more known acts such as Immolation, Firespawn, Evocation and Entrails but also found new bands like HerezA and now got something confirmed. Confirming that Mordbrand are here to stay, they are one of Swedens best death metal bands full stop. If you think otherwise listen to Wilt, or any other album in their already great discography.

I am basically too much in awe of this band right now that I shouldn’t even write in all honesty. I usually take an album for a few spins, cool down and then try to make a fair judgement (read my Svart Crown review for example) but this is so good I starting writing this review before I’d even give Wilt it’s first run. I mean fuck, already three tracks in I was asking myself if Bleed Into Nought, Delivering the Gods or Worship Predation was going to be choosen as my favorite track. Fact is they are all good in their own right and I could pick a song at random and still be happy with my choice.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Mordbrand is one of Swedens best death metal bands. It’s a beast that’s been unleashed and ready to ravage the world with death. I suggest you get Wilt now through Carnal Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialmordbrand
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MordbrandBand
Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Evocation and Grave
Favorite song: At the Larvae Column

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