Just Before Dawn

Megascavenger – At the Plateaus of Leng Review

Megascavenger – At the Plateaus of Leng Review

“The idea of a death metal version of Tobias Sammet’s ambitious and overblown Avantasia vanity project is sure to inspire curiosity and I suspect, a fair amount of bemused doubt and sniggers. After all, that vehicle famously attempted to cram every notable metal vocalist into diverse styles of music ranging from Euro-power to hard rock and even poppy hair metal. Leaving aside the success ratio of that project (which was surprisingly high), dragging that template into the crusty world of death metal could easily lead to a train wreck on the scale of Six Feet Under covering Yes and Jethro Tull.” Is this a disaster or a delight? Steel Druhm gives you the straight skinny.

Steel Druhm’s Top Ten(ish) of 2013

Steel Druhm’s Top Ten(ish) of 2013

“As I gaze out the windows of the AMG offices (located hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s crust, so I’m not sure why we have windows), I can’t help but wistfully reflect on my time with this fine metal institution. In just a few short years, the site has gone from one man’s labor of love to a major force in the metal blogosphere with a staff of ten dedicated writers, and though the journey wasn’t always easy, it’s been exceedingly interesting and rewarding.” Follow along as Steel Druhm gets maudlin, waxes nostalgic and grudgingly drops his Top Ten(ish) for 2013. A Two Kleenex read!

Steel Druhm’s Top Ten(ish) Songs of 2013

Steel Druhm’s Top Ten(ish) Songs of 2013

“In my (vain)glorious time at AMG Conglomerated, I’ve written off almost every year as a substandard time for quality metal. While some of that criticism was well founded, 2013 was the most craptastic year so far! The first half was the ultimate in lackluster and underwhelming, with many major players releasing flat, uninspiring platters. Hell, even the mythical Amorphis fell off their Pedestal of I-ruhn with a dull thud. While the back end of 2013 picked up the quality dramatically, it wasn’t enough to redeem a very sub par year.” Join the all knowing Steel Druhm as he takes you on a whirlwind tour of the best of a fairly crappy year in metal. Yes, 2013 kind of blew, get over it!

Blood Mortized – The Demon, the Angel, the Disease Review

Blood Mortized – The Demon, the Angel, the Disease Review

“No matter how over saturated or played out a musical genre may become, there are always one or two bands that can make it all vibrant, fresh and new again. Whether it’s their raw conviction, enthusiasm or killer song writing, those bands make the years melt away and remind you how it felt to hear the style for the very first time. That rush of excitement, feeling of awe and the sense of being there at the next step in metal’s evolution, that’s what it’s all about! When it comes to classic Swedish death metal, Blood Mortized is THAT band for me.” Stand back! Steel has been waiting for this one with baited breath and now he’s on it like beast at a beast emporium.

Johansson & Speckmann – Sulphur Skies Review

Johansson & Speckmann – Sulphur Skies Review

“Neither rain, nor snow nor soccer riots can keep the Rogga Johansson express from it’s appointed rounds through the Swedish death metal landscape. This is the fourth album I’ve reviewed in 2013 that had his bloody prints all over it (Megascavenger, Just Before Dawn, Paganizer) and he’s in countless other projects as well (Demiurg, Ribspreader, etc. etc. to infinity and beyond). As I study the endless tide of Rogga works, I’m left to marvel at both his inhuman productivity and the overall quality of the material he creates. Johansson & Speckmann is his new collaboration with the legendary Paul Speckmann of long running, seminal death act Master. With such a titanic union, one obviously expects great stuff (and shitty, DIY album art) and since between them they cover the spectrum from Swedish to American death, the possibilities seem limitless (well, except by the parameters of death metal).” Have you felt like it’s been too long since a new Rogga release cropped up? Me too!

Decaying – The Last Days of War Review

Decaying – The Last Days of War Review

“I’m not one to suggest there can ever be too much war metal, and while Bolt Thrower has ground to a halt for the time being, there are plenty of bands trying to keep the flame of strife and global conflict alive. Hail of Bullets may be the most prominent at the moment, but the recent Just Before Dawn debut is good enough to challenge them for world domination. Finland’s Decaying also have a tank in this battle, and their 2012 Encirclement album was a well done, Bolt Throw-y dose of ugly death metal with a heavy war theme and vocals that could easily pass for those of the great Martin Van Drunen (Hail of Bullets, Asphyx, ex-Bolt Thrower, ex-Pestilence etc.). Now they’re back with The Last Days of War and hoping to carve off a bigger piece of the war market.” Steel Druhm loves him some war metal, so what does he think of the new battle-ready opus from these Finnish vets?

Paganizer – World Lobotomy Review

Paganizer – World Lobotomy Review

“More Rogga?? With Mr. Johansson being involved in one of every three reviews I write lately, maybe we should change the website name to Rogga o Rama. I’ve recently examined his Megascavenger and Just Before Dawn projects and here he is again with his main outfit, Paganizer (he also has a collaboration with Paul Speckmann of Master coming in a few weeks). The man is an omnipresent force in the Swedish death scene (hell, he IS the Swedish death scene) and he’s been responsible for lots of rich, creamy death metal. In all honesty though, I’ve always found Paganizer to be a pretty spotty act. Some of their early output was solid and some of the more recent stuff was less so.” So does World Lobotomy cause brain damage or suffer from it? Our resident Rogga expert Steel Druhm is back from the nervous hospital to provide his diagnosis.