Swedish Metal

Blazon Stone – Damnation Review

Blazon Stone – Damnation Review

“There are plenty of well-documented examples of a younger band blatantly ripping off the sound, style, and mystique of an older, more established act. Agalloch brutally stole Ulver‘s schtick. Primal Fear looted the Judas Priest playbook lock, stock, barrel, and leather chaps. None of these however were as flagrant as the wholesale thievery perpetrated by Blazon Stone upon the unsuspecting buccaneers in Running Wild. You see, Blazon Stone stole not only Running Wild‘s entire sound and pirate concept, but named themselves after one of their records, and the title of their debut album Return to Port Royal directly references Running Wild‘s Port Royal platter. In a nutshell, they raided Running Wild‘s booty hard enough to cause generational shame and trauma.” Seven seas and five sticky fingers.

White Stones – Dancing Into Oblivion Review

White Stones – Dancing Into Oblivion Review

“Here we are to provide a legal, post-release examination of the quickfire second LP from White Stones, the death metal project spearheaded by Opeth bassist Martin Mendez. 2020’s debut Kuarahy certainly had its moments and was an intriguing, well crafted, if not overly exciting platter. In hindsight, I was perhaps a half-point generous in my assessment. Still, it offered enough interest and intrigue to make me eager to hear how White Stones develop on subsequent releases. Sophomore album Dancing Into Oblivion is now upon us, so how does it stack up?” Whitewater parks.

Heathen Rites – Heritage Review

Heathen Rites – Heritage Review

Steel Druhm recently announced loudly to the writers that someone should review some sludgy doom record that was probably pretty good. I fell over my desk and several trash cans reaching from the promo. Turns out, I was duped. First of all, Sweden’s Heathen Rites are not sludge.” Sludge misjudge.

Thyrfing – Vanagandr Review

Thyrfing – Vanagandr Review

“Unless you only got into metal recently, you are sure to have an array of bands that you’ve listened to in the past and enjoyed, but for whatever reason you didn’t delve any deeper or keep up with their new releases. Occasionally you might see a namedrop somewhere and go “huh, yeah, I liked that band.” Sometimes you might even pick the thread back up. It’s how I got back into Madder Mortem, for instance. Other times, you shrug and move on, pursuing new thrills instead, making a solemn oath that you never fulfill, to one day get back to that enjoyable echo from the past. Such a moment of recognition struck me when I saw the name Thyrfing pop up in the promo box. “Thyrfing!” I said. “They were cool! Vansinnesvisor was a good album, I recall. They were kinda sorta big at the time, right?” Norse whisperers.

Portrait – At One with None Review

Portrait – At One with None Review

“When I was a diesel mechanic, I was regularly married to certain trucks. If you did a PM on it, you were now the expert on the truck. If the jackass driver filled it with gasoline instead of diesel, and you were the one that dropped the tanks and flushed the system, it was yours forever. If the Jakes and cruise control stop working and you spend eight hours ripping the entire dash apart to rewire everything that fried, you were definitely married to that truck. And, when that truck rolled back into the yard, everyone went quiet. They all knew you’d be dropping everything and your day would be in or under that piece of shit. They were quiet because you hate that fucking truck and you threw your favorite wrench set across the shop to show how much you hate it. And, as I was married to Kenworth Karen, I’m married to anything related to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate here at AMG.” Portrait of Fate.

Wormwood – Arkivet Review

Wormwood – Arkivet Review

“Sweden’s Wormwood received a lot of love after the release of their debut Ghostlands: Wounds from a Bleeding Earth. In my 2017 review, I described it as moving “with a ghostly smoothness that ebbs, flows, rises and falls with a mixture of beauty and malice that only impresses.” It is still in frequent rotation on the Akerblogger music machine. In 2019, the melodic folk-black wonders released Nattarvet. Hopes were high and the record didn’t hit quite as hard. It was solid but safe, less wild and fizzing and more restrained and balanced. It’s 2021 and Wormwood is back.” Wood fatigue.

Netherbird – Arete Review

Netherbird – Arete Review

“If you look up the phrase “almost great” online, you’re likely to see a picture of Swedish band, Netherbird. These guys having been kicking around since 2004, and have released several quality albums without ever quite reaching the level of “Oh yeah, I know those guys!” in the metal world. If Netherbird were a person, they’d be that fun dude at the party you enjoy hanging out with, but don’t really remember until the next time you see him again. And then you have to ask the host to remind you of his name.” Birds of a nether.

Eastern High – Halo Review

Eastern High – Halo Review

“The year of shitty band names continues with Eastern High. If you think that moniker sounds like a high school, well, that’s because it is, located in Cardiff, Wales. In fact, the school is the top result when you search for Eastern High. But unlike its handle, the band (which is from Sweden, not Wales) apparently hides enough quality to make dear TheKenWord cuss me out for snatching it from the promo bin while he was looking the other way.” Moderate speed times at Eastern High.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Yer Metal Is Olde: Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down

“The year of our Angry Metal Overlord 2001 was a “very good year,” to quote the everyone who has ever spoken about wine in a movie. Indeed, the year that produced Opeth’s epic and scene-changing Blackwater Park and Propagandhi’s Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes, also gave us Mutter by Rammstein, Awakening the World by Lost Horizon and Laundry Service by Shakira. But is Last Fair Deal Gone Down the best album released in 2001?”