Hammerheart

Ereb Altor – Fire Meets Ice Review

Ereb Altor – Fire Meets Ice Review

“With little or no fanfare, the trolls of Viking/doom/folk/black metal known as Ereb Altor storm back from the frozen wastes with their hybrid sound and more tales from Norse mythology. Though they began life as an epic-sized, Viking metal act with a strong doom influence (check out By Honour because it’s badass!), they added more and more black metal over time, culminating with 2012s Gastrike opus. As before, they worship the sound and mood of Bathory‘s Hammerheart opus (and to a lesser extent Twilight of the Gods) while also incorporating early Darkthrone influences and doom stylings similar to While Heaven Wept.” A fusion of Viking, black and doom metal pretty much sells itself, but Steel Druhm still showed up to grab a paycheck and examine the heady brew that Ereb Altor cooked up. Tastes like…wictory.

Sophicide – Perdition of the Sublime Review

Sophicide – Perdition of the Sublime Review

Technical death metal was the darling of the death metal scene about 5 or 6 years ago, but since the ever-growing retro-death craze has begun to take over the number of quality technical death metal releases that I’ve gotten my hands on has dramatically decreased. Still, that didn’t stop the now 22 year-old Adam Sazslo from writing a bunch of pretty fucking sweet techy songs and getting himself a worldwide deal with Willowtip. Perdition of the Sublime is Sophicide‘s debut record and one can see why this record – produced by someone who can’t tour to support it – is being released by a label of this quality: because it’s a truly elite technical death metal experience.

Dim Mak – The Emergence of Reptilian Altars Review

Dim Mak – The Emergence of Reptilian Altars Review

Dim Mak arose from cult heroes Ripping Corpse in 1996 (after Erik Rutan ran off to join Morbid Angel) and they decided to do something entirely different. And yes, I believe that Dim Mak definitely qualifies as that. A thrashy, techy death metal band with martial arts themes almost exclusively (yes, their first record was called Enter the Fist), The Emergence of Reptilian Altars is the band’s fourth full length and first since 2006. Five years (well, six if you’re looking at the Euro release date) is a long time to wait between albums, so you’d like to think that they were preparing something super special (like the Touch of Death!) for their return. But during that five years down, original vocalist (and Ripping Corpse member) Scott Ruth left the band and was replaced by newcomer Joe Capizzi, whose style is markedly different than his predecessor.

Crom – Of Love and Death Review

Crom – Of Love and Death Review

Steel Druhm has been waiting for this for a long time! For the uninitiated, Crom is the brainchild of one Walter Grosse and he functions as a one-man-band, doing it all for the metal masses. His first album, 2008’s Vengeance, was one of those special sleepers that didn’t get nearly as much attention and praise as it deserved. Fusing viking, epic and power metal, it had a unique, engaging style all its own and the songwriting was top-notch (it almost sounded like Tyr mixed with Europe and Hammerheart-era Bathory if you can imagine that). So good was the material, years later, I still find myself singing the immortal line “I swear this oath, this oath of Wengeance…” at least once a week (wengeance, like revenge, is best served cold, with crackers and cheese). While the lyrics were based around viking and mythical themes, it had a dead-serious feeling that most power metal acts couldn’t come close to achieving. After a long wait, we finally get Of Love and Death. So, is it more viking/power with all the sacking and rampaging we expect? Well no, it’s something quite different. Apparently in the three years since Vengeance, Mr. Grosse grew tired of viking battles and blood oaths and turned all introspective and emo. This is an album steeped in the subjects of love, heartache, loss and loneliness. That’s right, he done gone and turned in his war hammer for a big-ass book of love poems. As odd as it seems, it doesn’t totally kill things and Grosse’s writing and performing chops are still there. However, this certainly isn’t the sequel I was hoping for and there are issues that ultimately render it a partial disappointment.

Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All Review

Ulcerate – The Destroyers of All Review

Being a well on the way to aging angry metal nerd, I have a stomach that is not quite as leadbellied as it used to be, and many of my friends and acquaintances are under similar circumstances. There’s only so much beer and whiskey a stomach can handle before it gets a little acidic (although I continually go back to testing the limits every now and then). Hence I’ve been quite amused by the band name Ulcerate since they stormed the realm of heavy music with 2009’s Everything is Fire, which was one of my favorite albums of that year. The title track of that album was very impressive (one of my favorite metal songs of recent memory), as well as the rest of it (that album is nasty!).

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: SIG:AR:TYR – Godsaga

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: SIG:AR:TYR – Godsaga

The one man Canadian black/folk/viking metal band known as SIG:AR:TYR came out with a really great new album this year but did anyone hear it? (sounds of crickets chirping and wind whistling across the frozen wastelands). Sole band member Daemonskald (you think it says that on his drivers license?) has continued to refine his vision of epic, sweeping […]

Atlantean Kodex – The Golden Bough Review

Atlantean Kodex – The Golden Bough Review

Crushing my friends, simply crushing. Like being flattened by some type of heavy industrial smoothing machine, The Golden Bough, the debut full-length from Germany’s Atlantean Kodex will compress you in a major way. However, this crushing may be one of your better listening experience this year if you dig epic/doom metal. Although I was lead to expect good things by their well-regarded Pnakotic Demos EP, I wasn’t prepared for anywhere near this level of asskickery. To put it quite simply, this is one of the most epic and huge sounding metal albums to drop on us in years. With a sound combining Into Glory Ride-era Manowar with the doom of While Heaven Wept and the atmosphere of Bathory’s Hammerheart opus, these guys have birthed a monstrous metal titan that should be essential listening for all fans of doom, epic or just plain old heavy metal.