Ensiferum

Atavistia – The Winter Way Review

Atavistia – The Winter Way Review

“Do you miss Wintersun? Are you hoping Jari Mäenpää gets his groove back soon? Have an epic melodeath itch that no amount of black metal shenanigans can scratch? Well, Atavistia is here to take your mind off Jari’s attempts to convince you to build a recording studio for him to finish Time II.” Low winter sunblind.

Sometimes We Make Music – Trail of The Fallen Review

Sometimes We Make Music – Trail of The Fallen Review

“Apparently, these Norwegian musicians all live some 400 kilometers away from one another, and only make music sometimes. Lucky for us, this is one of those times. Trail of The Fallen is their debut full-length, a welcome offering of symphonic metal offering complete with a creepy skeleton on the cover. Between those two aspects and the band name, things are already looking good.” Long distance relations.

Crepuscle – Heavenly Skies Review

Crepuscle – Heavenly Skies Review

“With scant few acts from the golden era of Finnish melodic death metal living up to their former glitter and gusto, the torch has been unwittingly passed across state lines. From Æther Realm to Aephanemer, the kids who grew up worshiping at the altars of Ensiferum, Children of Bodom, and scores of others are now handily matching the quality of their influences. California’s Crepuscle is no exception.” The American way.

Aephanemer – Prokopton Review

Aephanemer – Prokopton Review

“The vaunted sophomore album. The dreaded sophomore album. It’s a metal rite of passage nowadays, fully reflective of our hyper-streamlined society, for the raw and promising to go from who-the-fucks to our favorite bands in an insanely compressed period of time. This tends to be especially true for AMG favorites—see Wilderun, Æther Realm, Khemmis, Cân Bardd, Altars of Grief, Hamferð, etc., etc. Since the opening bars of their 2016 debut Momento Mori, I prayed that someday Aephanemer would assume their rightful place in that most hallowed legion.” One giant step.

Týr – Hel Review

Týr – Hel Review

“At the stony, windswept crossroads of Viking, folk, power and traditional metal sits Týr on a cottonwood throne bedecked with fishing nets and boat hooks. Hailing from the tiny Faroe Islands that sit between Iceland and Norway, these mysterious descendants of Vikings have impressed with their distinctive brand of genre hopping since their sophomore album Eric the Red came ashore in 2003. They’ve been uncomfortably quiet since 2013s outstanding Valkyrja, making Hel among my most anticipated releases of 2019.” Hel-o, is it me you’re looking for?

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

The EP, Demo, and Oddity Post [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

“As a younger man I had no concept of the “EP,” nor the “demo,” nor the “split.” When was the last time Iron Maiden had to curb their excesses by squashing ideas into half an hour? When were Judas Priest not able to afford a professional recording studio and production job? And when’s that Metallica/Megadeth split due again? Such formats are reserved for the underdogs of the metal world, those bubbling beneath the surface of popularity who write music for the sheer creative expression and who will never see monetary reward for their time and effort.” Short is sweet.

North Hammer – Stormcaller Review

North Hammer – Stormcaller Review

“‘Just so you know I’ll be milking this for a long time.’ These were the first words out of my girlfriend’s mouth after acting willingly (albeit with trepidation) as a last-minute road trip and concert companion to see Watain and Deströyer 666 after the flu struck down two friends who were originally supposed to go. I knew that sitting through myriad episodes of Dr. Phil or Real Housewives of [Pick a Place with Pretentious Snobs Galore] was my price to pay for seeing one of black metal’s most entertaining live acts rampage through the excellent ‘Nuclear Alchemy’ and other great songs, and that was fine. I knew what I signed up for, and honesty is always the best policy.” Our word is our bond, until we break it!

Battlesoul – Sunward and Starward Review

Battlesoul – Sunward and Starward Review

“When I was first exploring metal’s myriad subgenres, I figured out what I like to hear in folk metal in record time. My favorites the style has to offer are those of the fast, infectiously catchy variety; acts like the early incarnations of Ensiferum and Equilibrium make up my personal top tier, plodding mid-paced and accordion-based stuff fills out the bottom tier, and any band in the mid-tier is merely forgettable. Battlesoul falls into this mid-tier, but it’s certainly not due to mediocre songwriting chops.” Tiers of the dragon.

Usurpress – Interregnum Review

Usurpress – Interregnum Review

“Consistency is a virtue, most of the time. Oftentimes, it is vital for a band’s recognizability, allowing only for incremental growth and change, both within an album and across several. But it can be taken too far with a sound growing stale, or eschewed completely for avant-garde whiplash effects (see Igorrr). Usurpress love mixing different genres into their Swedish death metal, risking consistency issues but aiming for the reward of diversity and unpredictability.” Overthrow the expected.