My Dying Bride

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

2011 might as well be dubbed the year of Swedish Retro Death. Band after loathsome band has burst from the underground to pay rancid homage to genre legends like Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Despite the sheer volume of the stuff, Steel Druhm has remained supportive and for the most part, the trend hasn’t worn out its welcome. Now we get Vallenfyre’s debut full length from a veritable death metal super group featuring members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Cradle of Filth. With such a pedigree, it shouldn’t be too surprising when A Fragile King has everything you would reasonably expect from a Swedish death album. It’s chunky, thick, nasty and vile. It’s an ode to all things Entombed with a sizeable injection of Celtic Frosty goodness as well. At times, its so much like the immortal Left Hand Path it’s uncanny, yet it also brings in plenty of dire dirges to shake things up. This MOFO was conceived in unholy sin, birthed in ungodly filth and raised on bloody carnage. There’s a guitar sound heavy enough to fracture your vertebrae and vocals so grisly they’ll disturb the deranged. But, you rightly ask, is it actually good? Oh yes, it’s really good! This is unapologetically retro and doesn’t strive for innovation but it nails home the tried-and-true Swedish sound with the subtlety of a Panzer division. How this will sit with you depends entirely on your tolerance for more Swedish death. If 2011 has fed you all the old-time death you can stomach, move along and I won’t think less of you. If not, belly up to the death buffet and chow down on this meatloaf of the damned.

Netherbird – Shadows and Snow EP Review

Netherbird – Shadows and Snow EP Review

Sweden’s Netherbird is aiming to be the angry black metal bird that revamps the music industry. Although they aren’t particularly well-known yet, their 2010 release Monument Black Colossal met with my approval and I found their Cradle of Filth-meets-Dissection style of symphonic heaviness quite enjoyable. Since that release, they appear to have adopted an unusual marketing approach for their music. They’ve announced their intention to release three EPs over the next year, which together would comprise their next full-length album. As we speak, Shadows and Snow, the first of these planned EPs, is available for free downloading on their home page. It’s unclear if the future releases will be free or not. Whether this new approach will catch on or not remains to be seen but hey, free downloading from the band itself is always damn cool. So, is this worth the price of…free? Yes, it would be worth it even at twice that price (whatever that means). While very short (three songs and a musical interlude), Shadows and Snow features well crafted, engaging black death with enough personality to stand out from the frostbitten, frowning hordes and in these days of black metal malaise, that’s high praise indeed. Oh, and it’s free too.

Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time – 50-41

Best Heavy Metal Songs of All Time – 50-41

So instead of a review, today, you’re getting what is going to be a 5 piece attempt to shame the assholes over at Gibson, who apparently haven’t listened to heavy metal since 1984. While this list is bound to be controversial (trust me), it is also done with a very specific purpose in mind, which is to remind everyone that heavy metal has continued to exist since Nirvana sold a bunch of records. But, of course, the Anglocentric jackasses over at Gibson didn’t realize this. Anyway, this oughtta piss everyone right off, but hopefully someone involved in the creation of that list feels ashamed for having been such idiots. Note to old guys: shit still happens once you’ve stopped caring.

Shadowgarden – Ashen Review

Shadowgarden – Ashen Review

Shadowgarden is a side project of Draconian mainman Johan Ericson which is aimed at creating gothic rock of a different variety than his well-loved goth metal project. Breaking away from the beauty and the beast style and heading towards a much more commercially viable rock sound, the band has produced 10 new tracks of music for the consideration of all metal types out there to be released via Napalm records at the end of August (yeah, so this review is a tad late, but read on).

Nox Aurea – Ascending in Triumph Review

Nox Aurea – Ascending in Triumph Review

Doom is something that I have really gotten a taste for in the last couple years. A lot earlier, when I was actually playing in a band with a lot of doomy tendencies, I was actually terribly bored by most of it. But with the release of some really fantastic doom records that I’ve gotten into, it’s been harder and harder to avoid it, I like doom a lot when it’s done well. In spite of that earlier distaste for the genre, the one area that I’ve always had a soft spot for, however, has been well done gothic doom. Particularly the stuff with the “beauty and the beast” style of vocal interplay between well done female vocalist and growls. While this sound is hardly novel in 2010, Nox Aurea has attacked it anew with their second release (and Napalm Records debut) Ascending in Triumph.

Netherbird – Monument Black Colossal Review

Netherbird – Monument Black Colossal Review

One thing that I love about heavy metal is that every time you think you have a pretty thorough knowledge of the overall scene, some band you never heard of slithers out of some crevasse and bites you in the ass. Sweden’s Netherbird is just such anĂ‚ ass biter and their second full length, Monument Black Colossal seemingly came out of nowhere and surprised me with some impressively done melodic black metal, despite the really crappy band name and nonsensical album title. What is it with Sweden and metal these days anyway? That place is crawling with quality, ass biting bands!

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Cormorant – Metazoa Review

Before this last week I’d never heard of Cormorant[1. Cormorant: “a large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plumage. It typically breeds on coastal cliffs, and is noted for its voracious appetite.” This voracious appetite has come to be used figuratively implying “an insatiably greedy person or thing.” – Thanks OAED] or of Saturnine Media. Because of this, I was able to be pleasantly surprised by what is one of the best underground albums of the year. But if you’re reading this, you don’t have to be surprised, you can go out and buy it as an informed consumer. You’re welcome.

The Atlas Moth – A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky Review

The Atlas Moth – A Glorified Piece of Blue-Sky Rating: 3.5/5.0 – A mix of sounds that works very well, but doesn’t stand out for me.. Label: Candlelight Website: theatlasmoth.com Release Date(s): EU: 21.09.2009 | USA: 10.6.2009 Sludge, and many variations thereof, have definitely been working their way into the “mainstream” consciousness of heavy metal […]