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


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)


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)


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.

Label: Trollmusic
For fans of: Mithotyn and Thyrfing
Favorite song: Upon Raging Waves


Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)


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.

Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Evocation and Grave
Favorite song: At the Larvae Column


Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds (Death Metal)


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.

Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Necrophobic and At the Gates
Favorite song: A Black Veil for Earth


Entrails – World Inferno (Death Metal)


Ah Entrails, a band I always know what to expect from. Solid old school death metal with crushing riffs. For those of you that don’t know the band has a quite interesting history. Entrails was formed in 1990 but never actually released anything as they were never satisfied with their demo recordings so the band eventually died out. However in 2008 the guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist resurrected the band and in 2010 (20 years after their original formation) Entrails debut album Tales from the Morgue was finally released. Since then the band has been very active and released some killer albums with World Inferno being the bands fifth full-length album.

So how does World Inferno stack against their solid discography of death metal madness? It has to be said Entrails definitely knows how to create death metal by now. Just like their past albums this is a most have for fans of old school death metal. It’s a hard hitting and soul ravaging tank coming at you. Entrails have always had a nack to get those catchy tunes going which you will find yourself singing along to the course already on the opening track World Inferno.

It’s hard to say if this album is better or worse than the rest because, just like with their older albums, this is simply solid. They deliver what you expect of them, nothing more nothing less and they don’t have to with the band being a go to for many death metal fans. World Inferno is an album you will need to grab if you want some riff friendly music that is sure to make you bang your heads. If you’ve liked their past albums you will have a good time with World Inferno as well that’s for sure. Favorite tracks on World Inferno are Condemned to the Grave, Serial Murder (Death Squad), Insane Slaughter and Suffer.

World Inferno is out now through Metal Blade Records.

Label: Metal Blade Records
For fans of: Entombed and Grave
Favorite song: Serial Murder (Death Squad)


In Reverence – The Selected Breed (Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore)


In Reverence is something as weird as a Swedish deathcore outfit, or at least that’s how it started out. Since the demo “Necrosis” in 2011 the band has not only changed members but also their sound to a much more death metal oriented style, or as they call it atmospheric death metal. The two founding members still remains, Oscar Krumlinde on drums who some of you might know from the upcoming Swedish black metal act Avslut, and Filip Danielsson on vocals. Pedram Khatibi Shahidi, who you hear shredding on the guitar, adds oriental instruments into the mix and is the main songwriter, has been with the band since their very first demo as well.

It’s not easy to change the sound when the majority of the lineup has stayed the same throughout but with the decision to make Pedram the main songwriter for the band it seems to have gone rather smoothly. In Reverence offers a much more atmospheric and oriental death metal approach than before, and even if the deathcore sound is still there at times I find this a much more enjoyable listen than I did with Hallucination. The sound reminds me of Lord of War if they would be joining forces with Pyres of Kiev and I Shall Devour. Death metal and deathcore joining together in a nice mix that is. During their time together as a band they have grown a lot tighter together as a unit as well. The riffs are more on point, vocals more brutal and drumming releases thunder like never before.

I always find it enjoyable to hear a band evolve their sound and not being scared to change. Sometimes it can lead to the better and sometimes worse, in this case definitely the better, but either way it’s something I respect a band for trying. In Reverence has found their new sound and it’s now a new beast (the selected breed one could say) that’s coming to take the metal world with brute force. Favorite tracks are Gods of Dehumanization, Anthropogeny and Red Waves.

In Reverence debut full-length album The Selected Breed is out now through Non Serviam Records.

Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: I Shall Devour and Lord of War
Favorite song: Red Waves