Death Metal

Ruined Soul – My Dying Day Review

Ruined Soul – My Dying Day Review

Ruined Soul is a one-man project firmly based in the Gothenburg scene. Johnny Johansson apparently missed the scene because of his age, but having learned from the best (and right in his backyard, as it were) he has produced a record that wouldn’t have been out of place in 1999, released alongside Colony by In Flames or Projector by Dark Tranquillity. With a whole slough of big named guests from the Swedish scene and one Andy La Roque as the prodcer, it’s hard to imagine how a record like this could go wrong. Right? .. Right!?

Order of Ennead – An Examination of Being Review

Order of Ennead – An Examination of Being Review

Order of Ennead is the side project of the venerable Steve Asheim, better known as the drummer and primary writer of death metal legends Deicide. While it’s hard to a review like this, particularly on a newer project like this, without referencing the guy’s older work, the responsible reviewer in me thinks that one should probably draw a line here. Instead, I’d like to focus on the content and quality of An Examination of Being, the second record from these Floridians blackened death metallers without taking cheap shots at Glen Benton. So I’ll just take one: Order of Ennead is better because Glen Benton isn’t in it.

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

Black Sun Aeon – Routa Review

One of 2009’s most pleasant surprises for this Angry Metal Guy was Black Sun Aeon’s Darkness Walks Beside Me. To say that I was slightly addicted to the album would be an understatement: I was totally addicted to that record. It’s like there’s something in the water (Koskenkorva?) in Finland that leads to the ability of these Finnish bands to build some of the most incredible melancholy into their already heavy, beautiful music. Black Sun Aeon’s debut full length was definitely on the same level as many of the other excellent Finnish doom and melodic death bands out there. While maybe not as melodic as some, or maybe a little bit more simplistic than others, Darkness Walks Beside Me was a tremendous success.

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth – Curse of the Red River Review

Barren Earth took me completely by surprise. As a rule I do not post reviews of records from labels that do not send me promos of them. I think it’s a disincentive for them to do so and generally bands don’t deserve the promotion. However, sometimes bands come onto the radar that I can’t ignore, as is what happened when I picked up this new Barren Earth record on a total whim. In fact, I didn’t even know that this band had ex-members from Amorphis, the drummer from Moonsorrow, the guitarist from Kreator or the vocalist from Swallow the Sun involved, or that it was mixed by Dan Swano. I guess I should have expected that this would be a great record…

Arise – The Reckoning Review

Arise – The Reckoning Review

Arise was a little late on the uptake on the first go around of the Gothenburg sound, forming in 1996, but really getting their first demo out there in 1998 and getting signed about the time that all the death metal elitists I knew were already writing off the sound as “done”. However, unlike most of the bands from that era, they are still alive and kicking and putting out music of the style that was popular at the time. There’s some confusion about this record, which according to some sources came out last year, but it’s being promoted right now by Regain with a release date of the 22nd of March (which means it’s out now). It has, indeed, been a few years since Arise put out their last album, but even with the departure of two members, they don’t seem to have lost any steam.

Those Who Lie Beneath – An Awakening Review

Those Who Lie Beneath – An Awakening Review

A wise man once told me that you should never, ever refuse to do something just because someone else has done it before you and done it poorly. I think that this is very good advice. It’s advice that really counts when it comes to breakdowns, for example, which have been considered to be the death knell for deathcore and metalcore since they became irritating and out of fashion in the underground. An Awakening is the debut record from the Portland, Oregon based Those Who Lie Beneath and they have certainly not shied away from the standards of the deathcore scene, something that has been has done very badly before them.

Trident – World Destruction Review

Trident – World Destruction Review

An outgrowth of the ideas of a former Dissection guitarist (Johan Norman) and a couple of members of the band Necrophobic, Trident hits the stores on the 22nd of March throughout Europe and hits a totally virgin audience. These guys pretty much came out of nowhere, having basically played locally in Sweden and apparently they circulated a demo or something that got them picked up by Regain. Formed in 2007, Trident is a blackened death band in the veins of the aforementioned bands and is yet another Swedish assault on Christendom and the senses that will surely inflame passion in some corners.

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Svartsot – Mulmets Viser Review

Given the whole history of medieval Scandinavia and where the vikings actually came from as a rule, it is surprising to me that there are not more bands from Denmark that have jumped onto this whole Viking Metal thing that has been swelling up in metal for the last decade or so. No, instead it was basically introduced by a Swede in the 1980s and has been carried on primarily by Swedes and Norwegians who do the style well. But it was not the Swedes that the Englishmen were so afraid of, but the Danes. There was even a law (and a word for it) where they called the money that was paid in tribute to the Vikings who were threatening to invade a certain area: “Danegeld”. It is true that (what would be modern day) Norwegians were involved in these raids, and so, too, were the Rus, or Swedish Vikings. But the Danes are the Vikings you learn about. “Sure,” you say, “but this point is pedantic and long-winded. You’re Angry Metal Guy not Angry History Nerd.” Good point. But my point is this: very little Danish viking metal exists. The only band I’ve heard of is Svartsot, who has just released their second album of folk influenced, medieval Scandinavian metal songs.