Norwegian Metal

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

It is not hard to accept one fundamental axiom of the post-black metal Norway that I have referred to recently: Enslaved is easily Norway’s finest band. From the beginning the band has always been strong; grown-ups in a room filled with angry teenagers. This sense has not lessened with the passage of time. While certain members of the scene will forever be singing their equivalent of Alice Cooper ridiculous teen hits as 45 year olds (or older, like the man himself), Enslaved will continue to push the boundaries of black metal with a mature and progressive sound. Starting with the release of Below the Lights in 2003, Enslaved has produced four modern classics of “progressive, psychedelic black metal.” The fourth of this string of amazing albums was Vertebrae, which was released in 2008 and landed the band a tour with Opeth as well as more recognition than they had ever received worldwide. And with good reason: it was the best record the band had written to date.

Sahg – III Review

Sahg – III Review

Retro is the new new, apparently. Everyone and their dog is doing retro bands doing old school things with better (or at least louder) production and with the sensibilities of generations who have listened to a lot of music and decided that it’s time to come back to the thing that really seems to unite them: the 1970s. I, myself, have been listening to a lot of stuff from the 1970s lately, and especially the progressive rock movement that influenced many of the musicians from Scandinavia seems to be rearing its head in an interesting combination of traditional hard rock, heavy metal sensibilities and dudes who used to play black metal. Sahg’s III embodies this movement sonically, and does it very, very well.

Galar – Til Alle Heimsens Endar Review

Galar – Til Alle Heimsens Endar Review

It would seem that Angry Metal Guy is actually forming review themes, like some sort of ongoing process wherein I discuss the ups and downs of the metal scene while reviewing records, and even debate them with some of the other reviewers. Because reviewing is an ongoing process here, often times things get lumped into groups in my head that others might not see. But what’s interesting is how during this big debate about whether or not bands should really be striving for an original and unique sound I am basically reviewing NÃ ttsol’s new record and Galar’s new albums side by side. Like NÃ ttsol, Galar is a young Norwegian band that is working in the footsteps of Ulver. Released by Dark Essence Records, Til Alle Heimsens Endar (“Until the End of All Worlds”) is the second album from the band, whose first record Skogsvad was released in 2006 and I, incidentally, have never heard it. The record itself is based on the work of Snorri Sturluson’s “Heimskringla”.

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

It’s about time someone took black metal to some new exciting levels. A music style can only go so far until it becomes somewhat stale, and for every album released, there are ten others that do the same thing – and almost none of the time is it markedly better. Black metal is no exception, and I have a lot of respect for bands that try something new and innovative. But there are some bands that don’t need to. Some bands, no matter how many albums they release of the same style, never grow stale and are always the best of the trade when it comes to the style of music they perform.

Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne Review

Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne Review

It’s been a long time since a sort of standard modern rock or traditional metal band really showed off anything that this Angry Metal Guy appreciated. For the most part, modern rock has been rehashed BS and overrated post-Seattle scene leftovers. The bands that have tried to convert their sounds (see: the remnants of Guns N’ Roses meets STP or Europe’s latest incarnation) have really failed at it because the sound is, at its root, boring as hell. Rehashing rock again with thicker guitar tone and a vocalist who will never live up to the classics is pretty much a good way to guarantee that your vocalist buddy goes to rehab, but not much more. Whatever happened to Buckcherry again? Oh right. Flash in the effing pan.

Aspera – Ripples Review

Aspera – Ripples Review

Progressive metal isn’t an easy place to be. Let’s face it, much of the world of progressive metal is a tussle between an old guard of old fans (the Neanderthals of Metal) who really like bands that sound like Dream Theater, Queensryche, and so forth, and then there’s kind of everyone else. It’s disparate, difficult to define and often pretentious as hell with little logic as to what is in fashion with which group. This is the natural outcome of genrefication, in my opinion, and part of that is a question of where a band can actually progress to. You’re either not heavy enough or you’re too heavy and you never please anyone. Few bands ever really manage to fall outside of these well-worn ruts in the road, but there are some fantastic bands in those ruts, Aspera is one of those bands.