Hammerheart Records

Arallu – Death Covenant Review

Arallu – Death Covenant Review

“A great benefit of working for AMG, beyond the weekly bowl of gruel that barely keeps you alive enough to clack out reviews on the blood-stained keys of the staff Commodore 64, is the exposure to bands from around the globe. This is my third review of a Middle Eastern band and my second Israeli band. While new to me, Arallu has been around. They’ve spent 25 years writing about religious wars and the hatred that’s perpetuated in the age-old conflicts in their corner of the world. Their sound began as raw blackened metal, inspired by early pioneers of the genre, but is steeped in traditional and ancient Sumerian melodies and instrumentation.” Metal tourism.

Consumption – Necrotic Lust Review

Consumption – Necrotic Lust Review

“Someone forgot to put the surgical steel away, so Consumption grabbed it and started cutting. On Necrotic Lust, Hákan Stuvemark of Wombbath applies his gift for blending the heavy and the catchy to an album of straight-up Carcass-core. These nine symphonies of sickness aren’t trying to hide their debt to the English masters of grinding death metal; the promo copy makes the connection explicit, and Jeff Walker himself takes over lead vocals on “Ground Into Ash and Coal.” The band exists somewhere on the Gruesome Continuum–they’re willing to flirt with tribute act status if that means they can pump out new variations on the jams that inspired them.” Necrofanciers unite.

Entrails – An Eternal Time of Decay Review

Entrails – An Eternal Time of Decay Review

“An OG band from the golden era of Swedish death metal, Entrails mastermind Jimmy Lundqvist didn’t manage to release an album until 2010’s impressive Tales from the Morgue debut. Along with powerhouse follow-ups Tomb Awaits (2011) and Raging Death (2013), Entrails elevated themselves to the upper echelon of the throwback Swedeath scene. The last several albums have got the job done solidly, however, the band has been coasting in a comfort zone and struggled to reach the heights of their earlier trio of prime platters. A line-up shake-up occurred in 2019 and now the band returns with their anticipated seventh LP, entitled An Eternal Time of Decay.” Guts check.

Sarcasm – Stellar Stream Obscured Review

Sarcasm – Stellar Stream Obscured Review

“If you like old-school Swedeath, old-school black metal, old-school doom, then, sorry, you won’t like this album at all. That was my pitiful attempt at sarcasm. The Sarcasm in question here are a Swedish melodic blackened death metal group who have been knocking about since the late ‘80s. Their veteran status in the scene shows they take their craft a whole lot more seriously than their name might let on. It also prompts the question of whether music that follows a blueprint now 30 years old can still be exciting and compelling, particularly to those too young to feel the nostalgia factor.” Don’t cross the streams.

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.

Extreme Cold Winter – World Exit Review

Extreme Cold Winter – World Exit Review

“The Dutch are often quite proud of their English capacities. We frequently top the list of most proficient non-native speakers, and expats often find it more difficult to learn Dutch because anyone who hears them struggling just switches to English instead, both to accommodate them and to show off. Which is why the moniker above is rather baffling to me. Shouldn’t it be Extremely Cold Winter? Or Extreme Winter Cold? Is the winter both extreme and cold? If so, in what other capacity is it extreme?” How about this weather?

Collision – The Final Kill Review

Collision – The Final Kill Review

“Normally we don’t review “mini-albums” here, but Collision’s The Final Kill thankfully slipped past the watchful eyes of the promo bin cadaver hounds – I suppose they were kept busy. The reason I decided to run headlong into this is because this is the Dutch band’s final release. I reviewed their oddly named Satanic Surgery a few years ago and didn’t give it a great score – or, honestly, even an okay one. Since we’re all stuck inside anyway, I figured why not shack up with The Final Kill, see the end of a movie that I started watching more than three-quarters through yet somehow found myself invested in.” Plagues make strange bedfellows.

Sammath – Across the Rhine Is Only Death Review

Sammath – Across the Rhine Is Only Death Review

“We see a lot expressed in a painting of shoes. Another artist could paint the shoes and using the same subject express a wholly different outlook. Metal has this habit with war⁠—myriad bands contemplate it and find wildly different elements to paint their sonic portrait, their own vision of the peasant shoes. Sammath sees war in an unforgiving light. Their death-tinged black metal sees war⁠—specifically World War II⁠—as human folly writ large, a senseless mess of faceless killing, death, and destruction with no real resolution.” The true face of war.

Ereb Altor – Järtecken Review

Ereb Altor – Järtecken Review

“If you found a younger version of me anytime from 1991 to about 2013, and asked past me how many albums I wanted to hear similar to Bathory’s mighty Hammerheart release, I would grab you by the throat and scream “ALL OF THEM!” before running into the night to pillage and sack the sackable. The sound and atmosphere of Bathory’s monsterwork was so damn trve, mighty, and metal, how could anyone grow tired of it? Around 2013 however, I did start to grow tired of the style, because so many of the bands attempting it lacked the charisma and gravitas to pull it off properly.” Hammer fail?