Norwegian Metal

Ragnarok – Non Debellicata Review

Ragnarok – Non Debellicata Review

“Like Marduk, a fair comparison in sound and style, Ragnarok continues their reign of destruction upon the shoulders of a founding member. From the debut record, Nattferd, to 2012’s Malediction, Jontho has been the mastermind behind the band, as well as their sole drummer. A role he greatly succeeded at, as he is one of my favorites in the genre. Then in 2016, with the release of Psychopathology, he slithered out from behind the drums to lend his voice to the band. The jury’s still out debating if this was the best move for the band, considering that one of the best drummers in the field is no longer drumming. So, let’s bring them back in and see what the verdict is.” Personnel follies.

Sarke – Gastwerso Review

Sarke – Gastwerso Review

“Since 2016’s Bogefod, Sarke has been on a steady incline that includes clean/acoustic guitars, interesting key work, and female vocals. In and around it all, they use aggressive Hellhammer/Celtic Frost moments, cold first-wave tremolo pickings, and plenty of slumbering sinisterness. Bogefod and its follow-up, Viige Urh, were fresh cuts that sounded like siblings born moments apart from one another. But where is Gastwerso‘s branch on this family tree? Is it the birth of triplets or is this a xenomorph C-section?” Horrific lineage.

Mayhem – Daemon Review

Mayhem – Daemon Review

“A new Mayhem release is the most exciting thing to happen in metal this year. Unlike most other bands who offer refinements and (ideally) improvements on their established sound with each release, Mayhem exhausts a sound on each full-length by exhausting a theme; as the sound’s purpose is to express the theme, the sound’s purpose is fulfilled once the theme is expressed. This means the lazy reviewer can’t merely compare the new Mayhem record to prior ones and base his analysis on that without completely missing the point of the record at hand — Mayhem’s career is an anthology, not an arc.” Mayhem‘s Hell awaits.

Kal-El – Witches of Mars Review

Kal-El – Witches of Mars Review

“With the amount of duplicate band names out there, it’s a small miracle Kal-El are the only ones naming themselves after the Man of Steel’s Kryptonian name. Perhaps others fear being smacked with the lawbook by a team of lawyers from DC (the comic book publisher, not the city). However, if you were hoping for a Superman-themed metal album, I’ll have to disappoint you. If you couldn’t guess from the collage disaster of a cover or the title, Kal-El prefer their sci-fi themes to be of the retro schlock variety, and they bring it in stoner doom form with mountains of fuzz and Hammond keyboards.” Mars needs stoners.

Saint Karloff – Interstellar Voodoo Review

Saint Karloff – Interstellar Voodoo Review

“When I saw the name Saint Karloff bobbing in the promo cesspool, I was intrigued. Growing up with Saturday morning horror movies in the 70s and 80s, Boris Karloff was like my unauthorized babysitter and creepy uncle, so I felt compelled to hear the band that dared to hijack his name. Upon closer inspection I learned this Norwegian psychedelic occult/stoner act’s sophomore outing, coming hot on the heels of a 2018 debut, is one 40:23 minute song. I was dismayed by this, and immediately considered weaponizing it and dropping it on some unsuspecting staffer like a concrete piano from a fourth floor window. Then I pressed play.” Do that voodoo, that you doo doo, so well.