Arch Enemy

Netherbird – Shadows and Snow EP Review

Netherbird – Shadows and Snow EP Review

Sweden’s Netherbird is aiming to be the angry black metal bird that revamps the music industry. Although they aren’t particularly well-known yet, their 2010 release Monument Black Colossal met with my approval and I found their Cradle of Filth-meets-Dissection style of symphonic heaviness quite enjoyable. Since that release, they appear to have adopted an unusual marketing approach for their music. They’ve announced their intention to release three EPs over the next year, which together would comprise their next full-length album. As we speak, Shadows and Snow, the first of these planned EPs, is available for free downloading on their home page. It’s unclear if the future releases will be free or not. Whether this new approach will catch on or not remains to be seen but hey, free downloading from the band itself is always damn cool. So, is this worth the price of…free? Yes, it would be worth it even at twice that price (whatever that means). While very short (three songs and a musical interlude), Shadows and Snow features well crafted, engaging black death with enough personality to stand out from the frostbitten, frowning hordes and in these days of black metal malaise, that’s high praise indeed. Oh, and it’s free too.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions Review

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions Review

Looks like the Amott brothers are back in town. That town being Gothenburg (as in the “Gothenburg style”) and their band is the long running Arch Enemy, purveyors of slick, polished, (and some would say soulless) melodic death. Khaos Legion is their eighth full length and the first since 2007’s Rise of the Tyrant (not counting their 2009 re-recording of material). I was a supporter during their early years but with the Wages of Sin album, things took a turn and never felt the same. Although I gave subsequent releases a spin or two, by and large I wasn’t interested in their overly clinical, sterile and generic brand of death metal for the unwashed masses. With this track record of vaguely condescending ambivalence, I approached Khaos Legions with low expectations and much to my surprise, this isn’t all that bad. It’s certainly going to raise some eyebrows though because its much more melodic, mellow and restrained. While there are a few “heavy” songs, this is almost like a power metal album at times (albeit with death vocals). While there’s nowhere near enough death here to satisfy most fans of that genre, the more family friendly approach results in some enjoyable, lightweight quasi-power metal that will amuse some (while royally pissing off many).

Spiritual Beggars – Return to Zero Review

Spiritual Beggars – Return to Zero Review

A wise and Angry Metal Guy once said (earlier this week) that “retro is the new new,” and the trends in the angry metal world are surely proving those prophetic words true. We are up to our collective arses in retro thrash, retro power and retro retro. While new is always great, even the “new” new can be mighty fine, as with the latest release from Sahg and this wicked mother, Return to Zero from Sweden’s own Spiritual Beggars. This is the seventh full length from Michael Amott’s long running side project and respite from the melodic death metal world and although it’s as retro as retro gets, this is one slamming, jamming slab of heavy stoner/doom rock n roll.

Witchery – Witchkrieg Review

Witchery – Witchkrieg Review

Hey, turns out that Witchery is releasing a new record in a few days. Far be it from me to not review this monster of a super group, especially given the news that got everyone pretty worked up: ex-Marduk vocalist Legion joined the band on vocals. Not only does this cement the band as serious super group (now sporting members or former members from Opeth, Seance, Bloodbath, Arch Enemy, Marduk, Devian, Spiritual Beggar, The Haunted, and Satanic Slaughter), but it adds a well-known quantity to the band. Turns out that Swedish scene is a tad bit inbred. But does this kind of caliber, and a back catalogue of well loved records mean that Witchery will hit home anew with their deathy brand of thrash metal in 2010.