Amon Amarth

Battlesword – Towards the Unknown Review

Battlesword – Towards the Unknown Review

“German stalwarts Battlesword have been out there, waging metal war, since 1999. Despite that lengthy tour of service, new platter Towards the Unknown will be only the band’s fourth full-length, with a yawning 13-year gap between their debut, Falling in Triumph, and the sophomore effort, Banners of Destruction. Battlesword’s last outing, And Death Cometh Upon Us, was released in the twentieth year of the band’s existence and continued to beat a path through the well-trodden , blood-soaked fields of melodic death metal. With more than a little Amon Amarth in the sound.” Unknown blades ov wrath.

Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army Review

Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army Review

Amon Amarth have been raiding and pillaging so long, even Mighty Odin thinks their minds are gone. The Great Heathen Army is their 12th foray into the great unknown, and their “Vikings on the prowl” schtick is as firmly in place as ever (despite a video displaying a dystopian future with MMA and guns). By this point in their long and storied career, we pretty much know what to expect from a new platter, and as with 2019s Berserker, the wheels of the Norse battering ram go round and round.” Rhymin’ and heathen.

Milking the Goatmachine – Nach uns die Grindflut Review

Milking the Goatmachine – Nach uns die Grindflut Review

“It’s late summer; baby goat season has come and passed. The now-adolescent herd will face culling and sorting for important caprine tasks: males will live to the next season for breeding within the herd or sold to other herds, and viable females will stick around for production of milk, which can serve as liquid for cheeses or in cosmetics. Potentially some goats who are neither fit for breeding nor milking will go up for sale as pets or sent to farms who raise goats for food production. Milking the Goatmachine is an atypical pair of goats though; they never made it to feed or breed. These German-born cloven-hoofed heathens escaped the goat-industrial complex to persevere as guardians of galvanized riffs, embodying the spirit of one heavy metal’s most celebrated animal icons.” Goatshake.

Paganizer – Beyond the Macabre Review

Paganizer – Beyond the Macabre Review

“If you’re a fan of Swedish death metal, or death metal in general, you probably know who Rogga Johannsson is. The omnipresent Swede is in a host of bands, and his output frequency is beyond belief. Paganizer happens to be one Rogga’s longest running projects and, unsurprisingly, pays homage to just about everything that’s awesome about Swedish death metal. Previous album The Tower of the Morbid saw the band combining the buzzsaw sound of Dismember with a touch of melodic death metal a la Amon Amarth, and Beyond the Macabre finds the band dialing the latter up considerably.” Rogga party.

Darkened – The Black Winter Review

Darkened – The Black Winter Review

“Everybody misses Bolt Thrower. Ask any death metal fan what band they’d want to resurrect for one last platter of greatness, and I bet the British bruisers would be near the top of the list, alongside Death itself. There’s just something about Bolt Thrower’s trance-inducing grooves that speaks to the violent beast hidden within each and every one of us, and the band name’s is still sprayed across death metal reviews like so much machine-gun fire whenever a burly tremolo rears its head—and this is nearly two decades after their last album saw the light of day. No one has been able to completely fill the void left in Bolt Thrower’s absence.” Tanks for the memories.

Demonical – Mass Destroyer Review

Demonical – Mass Destroyer Review

“Swedeath. I keep ending up with Swedeath. There are worse problems to have to be sure, but there is ultimately a limit to how much of that very specific sound I need in my life in any given year not falling between 1990 and 1995. I reviewed Sweden’s Demonical way back in 2011 on their Death Infernal outing, finding it a mostly enjoyable blend of Entombed and Amon Amarth influences performed by members of Grave, Centinex, and Julie Laughs Nomore. I didn’t review their last few releases, but we gave them solid marks for covering the very same ground as they did back in 2011. Now we come to 7th album Mass Destroyer and not a lot has changed.” Demons in the details.

Svartsot – Kumbl Review

Svartsot – Kumbl Review

“What should be said of the workhorses? The acts that caught your ear once and never let go? Not the kings of the mountain, no, but perennially at least at base camp. Like your dad used to say, the world needs 2.75-rated records too. Svartsot surmounted the folk metal summit but once with their 2007 debut Ravnenes Saga; their three shots at the top since have fallen well shy of that peak. Still, their thick-axed folkery scratches a certain itch, and given the Danes’ obligation to their sound, there’s little chance their fifth album, Kumbl, will be a disaster. There’s also little chance it’ll be a hit.” Ready to Kumbl.

Pillaging Villagers – Pillaging Villagers Review

Pillaging Villagers – Pillaging Villagers Review

“The metal scene has, for the last decade or so, been relatively stagnant in its progression. Though the genre thrives, large scale innovation has stalled. Deafheaven’s Sunbather and the rise of djent and argent metal have made a sizable impact, but otherwise the genre looks much the same now as it did a decade ago. But evolution doesn’t need to result in revolution; it can be a small scale experiment that thrives on novelty, executed with a bold, focused vision. Something like, I dunno, the death-y and melodic thrash metal of Necropanther mashed up with the drunken joy of Dropkick Murphys. And that’s exactly what Pillaging Villagers is.” It takes a pillage…

Ereb Altor – Vargtimman Review

Ereb Altor – Vargtimman Review

Bathory was a touchstone act for multiple metal genres, and though Quorthon has been gone since 2004, his influence still looms large in black and Viking metal. No more proof of this is needed than the 12-year career of Sweden’s Ereb Altor. Their entire output is heavily referential to classic Bathory albums like Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods and the spirit of mighty Quorthon is never far from their writing. Vargtimman is their eighth platter of classic Bathorycore, and very little is left to chance.” Oversized swords, blackened hordes.