Avslut – Deceptis (Black Metal)

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Alright this review has taken me a really long time to get out, I try to stay on two maybe three months old top but I kinda of had a writer block when this initially came out. Sorry for that! Also at the first spin I said to myself “Dark Funeral in Swedish”? That was my initial thought on the first listen but given time it grew on me and they are no simple copy of the Swedish giant. The songwriting is really dark and memorable as songs like “Pestilens”, “Förlorad” and “Terra Mater” have been spinning quite often at my place. The songwriting is also what makes Avslut stick out in the end and together with Christians superb vocals that makes the lyrics justice Deceptis becomes a must-have for black metal fans this year. Overall a very complete album and I can understand why it took Avslut such a long time to get their debut album out. It shows diversity, great musicianship and especially how important it is to emphasize on strong songwriting to stand out so you don’t get labelled as a mere copy of a bigger act.

Deceptis is an album that will set Avslut on the right path right from the start. It’s consistent and really enjoyable throughout. A tad too close to Dark Funeral on some songs (but hey they are one of the best black metal bands in my book) and it will be interesting to see what they come up with next and if they can separate themselves to a greater extent to become more unique. If they do they will certainly overthrow a lot of the black kings in only a couple of years as a band.

Label: Osmose Productions
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Nazghor
Release date: February 23rd, 2018
Favorite song: Förlorad
Score: 4/5

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Defiatory – Hades Rising (Thrash Metal)

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Swedish Defiatory had an alright debut album in Extinct a couple of years ago. They break no new grounds with their thrash metal but they aren’t trying to either. Defiatory takes their influences from the early years of top names like Megadeth and Exodus while making it a bit more modern. There is surely nothing wrong with that and while I thought Extinct was a bit inconsistent I think their new album Hades Rising has improved. I have to say though I am no hardcore thrash fan so I’m sure many of you diehard thrash metalheads out there might be of a different opinion than me. I take it as I hear it though. If it gets me drumming on my keyboard or something then I know there is something in the music I enjoy, which there sadly was little of in the first album.

About inconsistency, I do like the second part of the album from “Down to His Kingdom” and onward more than the first part. The riffing, solos and general feel to these songs captures me even more so than the start of Hades Rising did. That’s when you can start seeing me stomping my feet on the floor to the drums for example.

Still a decent start but a stronger finish, with yet a bit more consistency and less of a bumpy ride than I had with their first offering. I can’t deny that tracks like previously mentioned “Down to His Kingdom”, “Metatron” and “All That Remains” gets my head banging like it should. Defiatory are improving and I do see them as one of the upcoming bright stars in the Swedish thrash metal scene. It’s pure hard thrash that will appeal to fans of genre.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Megadeth and Exodus
Release date: May 11th, 2018
Favorite song: Metatron
Score: 3/5

Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond (Melodic Black Metal)

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Boy oh boy do I like Grafvitnir’s latest offering Keys to the Mysteries Beyond. I’ve honestly not heard of the band before but a quick look at their discography I could see they’ve been very active, releasing albums almost yearly (counting the demo in 2013 they have even done it yearly) since the debut NâHásh in 2012. Not listening to them before I can sadly not understand how the band has developed over time. To give you an idea on why I really enjoy Keys to the Mysteries Beyond it’s due to my love for another Swedish black metal act, namely Naglfar. Naglfar was the band (together with Dimmu Borgir) that got me into black metal for real due to their melodic take and was a gateway into a whole new genre. Grafvitnir’s sound resemble Naglfar and early Dissection quite a bit, adding a touch of Uada and Ofermod into the mix makes this an offering to the darkness you shouldn’t miss out on.

The fine line between chaos and melodic black metal is met superbly and song after song you are left wanting more of this beautiful darkness. Some might think Keys to the Mysteries Beyond is a generic melodic black metal album however I say it gives the listener a well written album of quality occult music. It’s evil and cold as black metal should be. A good album doesn’t always need to reinvent the wheel, it just needs to be really well made. Oh and I am a sucker for black metal written in Swedish. Personally that gives me a lot of joy to hear lyrics like “I primordiala lågors sken skall uråldriga ögon blänka” (from Vargavinter). That’s an added bonus for me and I always respect bands who makes good songs in their mother tongue.

If you worship Naglfar and early Dissection like me then Grafvitnir is a band you need to check out today.

Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Dissection and Naglfar
Favorite song: Vargavinter
Score: 4/5

Golgata – Trälen (Black Metal)

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Småland sure knows their black metal. They have one of the best Swedish festivals in Mörkaste Småland, focusing on black metal. Not only that there have been some top notch bands coming from that area such as Skogen and Netherbird. The latest band spawning from that area is Golgata, playing a more atmospheric approach to black metal rather similar to the type of music Skogen and Dråpsnatt are known for. As a fan of that sound I instantly get caught up in Trälen. The hissing and clean vocals works in great harmony that along with the instrumentals creates an eerie feeling you want from a concept album about the life of a thrall, despair and death.

The raw yet melodic style of black metal together with the Swedish lyrics makes Trälen a very dark album and is in my opinion a sleeper hit. The opener Morgonsolens brand are together with När livet tvekar står död and the title track Trälen the best songs from the EP. A big step in the right direction from Golgata since their first EP Industrial Thoughts last year. The change from English to Swedish together with the raw atmospheric approach is definitely something they should build on with the next release.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Skogen och Dråpsnatt
Favorite song: Morgonsolens brand
Score: 3.5/5

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