Revenge Prevails – False Hope Cruelty (Black/Death Metal)

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In Sweden there is a thriving underground black metal scene so there is no surprise Revenge Prevails is another promising act from the country. The band formed in 2008, it took it’s time to find a stable lineup and the debut album Dark Trembling Solace had to wait to see the light of the world until 2015. The band is quite influenced from the second wave of black metal where you can hear a lot of dark mysticism a la Mayhem for example but also some of the crushing agression that Dark Funeral offers. The album starts off really well with sweet varied riff after riff and Josef Svensson raspy vocals being just as good as they were on the debut. Having the female bass player Isabella Ramare accompanying on vocals is big step from their debut and it does add variation, with more power to their shadow concept as well.

There is two flaws on the album to me though that does bring the score down from what it could have been. Just like I thought on their debut this is too long of an album. There are very few bands out there who can do over one hour albums well without losing the listener in the process. Sadly this was not the case here. There are some highs and lows and well when it lasts for this long the lows feels lower than they are to me. The inconsistency along with the length holds the album back in my opinion. Sadly it doesn’t matter then if Revenge Prevails does a great job feeling rather unique with their music (one of the reasons it was hard to add “for fans of” and it’s probably a bit off), which is not that easy today, and have some memorable songs. These two things does add two really big bumps along the road though. Also I have to add the album cover doesn’t do it for me, maybe because I am used to a lot of covers being great work of art nowadays.

In the end it’s a good journey, albit a bit too long. If they trim the fat and make the journey a bit shorter then I think they will reach a new level and it the overall experience more enjoyable. Into the Depths, Shapeshifter Dawn and Habeas Corpus are examples of great songs that I will come back to often. They’ve also made some steps in the right direction from the debut but I do think they can make even bigger leaps to get closer to the top.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Mayhem
Release date: August 4th, 2017
Favorite song: Habeas Corpus
Score: 3/5

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Golgata – De Dömdas Gryning (Black Metal)

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I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Swedish black metal band Golgata last year when I did some album searching. A quick recap on the band. They come from an county in Sweden called Småland, an area that has giving the metal world bands such as Skogen and Netherbird but also one of the best black metal festivals in Mörkaste Småland. The EP I reviewed Trälen was a good album and better than their debut Industrial Thoughts, however I personally hoped they would go all Swedish on their lyrics and also have an even more atmospheric approach as I thought that sound was a greater fit for them.

I am happy to say that’s exactly what they’ve done with their third EP De Dömdas Gryning! When it comes to the underground Swedish black metal scene, especially those bands that sing in Swedish, I think this is when it all comes together perfectly. The raw and melodic style is still intact but with a lot more atmosphere to it, it’s very easy to get caught up in this music and everything that happens around you means nothing. It’s just you and the music. Golgata has done a fantastic job improving with each release and it’s safe to say this is their best EP yet. 13 minutes of pure Swedish black metal that I’ve now listened to for days and can’t get enough of. If you’ve missed Golgata before now is the time to dig into their discography, listen to their journey as a band and witness how a new dark underground act is rising from Sweden once again. Also I need to know one thing that’s been driving me nuts. On the opening track Profet the intro and outro reminds me of something, if it’s from a movie, series or whatever I do not know. I just know I’ve heard that part, or something very close to, many times but from where? If you do know it feel free to comment!

That note aside you will do best to give De Dömdas Gryning a few listens, especially if you’re a fan of bands like Skogen, Dråpsnatt, Stilla and Auðn. One of the better black metal offerings I’ve heard all year and I can only hope Golgata releases a full-length sooner rather than later.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Skogen and Dråpsnatt
Release date: August 30, 2018
Favorite song: De Dömdas Gryning
Score: 4/5

The Metal Gamer becomes a Club Abraxas sponsor!

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When I started The Metal Gamer it’s always been to support the underground metal scene. While I will always enjoy sharing music and reviewing albums I’ve wanted to do more than just that. It just so happens I got the opportunity to sponsor the local scene in my town Malmö, Sweden! Starting with the Oktoberfeast event featuring Venenum, Slægt, Maligner, Armory and Völva the 20th October. It is a privilege to be able to sponsor the underground metal scene for real with helping host plenty of events just like this one for a long time to come. I have said it before metal gamers but I will say it again, always support your local scene! If anyone of you happen to drop by one of the many events coming up for the rest of the year then feel free to have a beer and say hi! This is a new chapter for The Metal Gamer that I am really excited about and hoping it brings a lot of joy to the underground scene.

You can find the announced events here:
Oktoberfeast (Venenum, Maligner, Slægt, Völva, Armory) – October 20th
Day of the Dead (Necrophobic) – November 2nd
Nekrokraft, Orm, The Generations Army – December 8th

Soreption – Monument of the End (Technical Death Metal)

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I’m going to be honest, Monument of the End has been one of my most anticipated tech-death albums this year together with Revocation and Beyond Creation. As a Swede Soreption have always been extra close to me and even though I wouldn’t exactly call them top tier versus the likes of, well, Revocation and Beyond Creation for example they have released two really solid albums with Deterioration of Minds and Engineering the Void. Since their latest release Engineering the Void a lot has happened within the band though. The four-piece that had stayed the same since the creation in 2005 went down to two original members as Rikard Persson (bass) and Anton Svedin (guitars) are not a part of Soreption anymore. Now we enter a new era of Soreption with Mikael Almgren and Kim Lantto on guitar and bass respectively.

The line-up change has definitely shaken things up as Soreption are now closer to the mighty Swedish giant Meshuggah or Decapitated in the chuggy groovy riffing on tracks like “The Anti-Present” and “King of Undisputed Nonsense”. Whereas on “Nothingness Becoming” there are some The Zenith Passage vibes on the intro. A fitting step for the band in my opinion. Add the fact that a lot of things seems to have leveled up a notch. Fredrik Söderberg has his best vocal performance to date and Tony Westermark is as good on the drums as he has always been. The album also contains one of the best songs the band has released in the closer “The Entity”. There are a few negatives though, for one the album is a bit short. They could, and should, have had a couple more songs as 33 minutes is on the short side of a full-length. I also feel they do the same trick with the tempo changes and riffs a few times too many on Monument of the End which lowers the score somewhat. The album can become a bit dry after several playthroughs due to this.

All in all this is another solid album from Soreption, a new beginning for the band where you can hear how the band is transforming, evolving into something new with the new blood. They aren’t fully evolved yet (this isn’t even my final form!) but they are on the right path. It didn’t fully live up to my hype but I am not disappointed either. It’s a different Soreption and while I think this is their best album to date they got things to improve on in order to hit the highest of tech-death tiers. Tech-death fans who like it a bit groovy will have a good time with Monument of the End though that’s for sure.

Label: Sumerian Records
For fans of: Decapitated and The Zenith Passage
Release date: August 3rd, 2018
Favorite song: The Entity
Score: 3/5

Grá – Väsen (Black Metal)

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Let me start off with saying “Krig” is a hell of a song! Starting with some slow riffing almost Tiamat style to then have Heljarmadr come in with “jag stinker av hat” as the music stops for a few seconds gives me goosebumps. The bands third album Väsen is the best they’ve done so far, no contest. The sheer consistency, acoustic elements and great production throughout the album has upped the game for them a lot. That being said apart from “Krig” and the albums title track “Väsen” I had a hard time find a song that stands out. Along with the fact that “Gjallarhorn” is even being close to getting the skip button ready, simply put I am no fan of the electronic elements they added there, which stops the album from reaching the higher grades. However Grá has done a good job on being willing to try new things, hats off for that.

Overall you can not really find much wrong here though as the albums 40 minutes are in fact enjoyable and seasoned fans of the early waves of black metal will revel in Väsen. Personally I had higher hopes after having heard the single “Krig” before and I thought it would be an album of the year contender. The competition is fierce this year however with, in Sweden alone, Nekrokraft, Avslut, Necrophobic, Skogen and Wormlight all putting out solid albums. Väsen eventually lands on a good album grade, nothing more nothing less.

Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Domgård and Avsky
Release date: April 27th, 2018
Favorite song: Krig
Score: 3/5

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

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