Swedish Metal

Katharos – Of Lineages Long Forgotten Review

Katharos – Of Lineages Long Forgotten Review

Of Lineages Long Forgotten seems a slightly ironic title for an album whose lineage is so clear to hear. Writ large across its near 50-minute run are the influence of Dimmu Borgir, particularly circa Death Cult Armageddon and In Sorte Diaboli, and Prometheus-era Emperor. This is no bad thing, however.” Of a long line of blackened kin.

Wachenfeldt – Faustian Reawakening Review

Wachenfeldt – Faustian Reawakening Review

“Just over three years ago, I lost my damn mind over Wachenfeldt‘s debut album The Interpreter. I gushed so mightily over its symphonic, thrashened, blackened death metal that hazardous material mitigation crews are still working around the clock to clean up the contamination. That record executed its dark mission so well that it eventually became my Album ‘o the Year for 2019, so if I said that its successor was my most anticipated album of 2022, it would be a gargantuan understatement.” Fanboys awaken.

Demonical – Mass Destroyer Review

Demonical – Mass Destroyer Review

“Swedeath. I keep ending up with Swedeath. There are worse problems to have to be sure, but there is ultimately a limit to how much of that very specific sound I need in my life in any given year not falling between 1990 and 1995. I reviewed Sweden’s Demonical way back in 2011 on their Death Infernal outing, finding it a mostly enjoyable blend of Entombed and Amon Amarth influences performed by members of Grave, Centinex, and Julie Laughs Nomore. I didn’t review their last few releases, but we gave them solid marks for covering the very same ground as they did back in 2011. Now we come to 7th album Mass Destroyer and not a lot has changed.” Demons in the details.

Miseration – Black Miracles and Dark Wonders Review

Miseration – Black Miracles and Dark Wonders Review

“When it comes to versatile metal vocalists, few people pop into my head faster than Christian Älvestam. I loved his work with Scar Symmetry, and I followed his career after his departure. I was overjoyed when he joined Jani Stefanović (Renascent and DivineFire) in both Solution .45 and Miseration, and I especially enjoyed the latter’s output. Miseration‘s 2006 debut Your Demons – Their Angels didn’t stray too far from Älvestam’s work in Scar Symmetry, opting for a highly melodic death metal sound and utilizing both death vocals and clean singing. I lost track of these guys after that, and I was utterly shocked—and delighted—to find that they were going to be releasing their fourth record here in 2022.” Misery love melodeath.

Bhleg – Fäghring Review

Bhleg – Fäghring Review

Fäghring is what you might imagine the soundtrack to be if you happened upon a pagan cult in the woods. Kind of “Number of The Beast” meets Midsommar. Birds play a prominent role, and you can almost imagine the canopy of trees gently bending with the breeze throughout. The album begins slowly with a chorus of birds before the chants and drums let you know something more sinister is going on.” Forest packages abound.

Urferd – Resan Review

Urferd – Resan Review

“Promotional material is magical. Often it’s a poorly written, exaggerated exercise in alternate realities. That’s par for the course when you’re talking about marketing, and everyone who reads it knows what they’re getting into, but it’s funny how sometimes it works anyway. In the case of Resan, the debut full-length from the Swedish Urferd, it almost worked too well. By suggesting that Resan is “a journey through dark and olden Nordic forests” suitable for fans of Heilung, Myrkur, and Forndom, sole band member Daniel Beckman (Twilight ForceAges) certainly caught my attention, but he also set the bar sky-high. And then… well, then he took me on a journey through dark and olden Nordic forests.” Nice forest package!

Lifvsleda – Sepulkral Dedikation Review

Lifvsleda – Sepulkral Dedikation Review

“What is the essence of “purity”? Because, really, very few things are as “pure” as we would like (or suppose) them to be. Not the water you drink. Not the air you breathe. Not the hobo wine in the AMG canteen. And certainly, not the line your pal Tony snorted off that toilet in that club one time. So, when bands claim to play “pure” anything, I wonder what they mean. Livfsleda, an anonymous black metal band from Sweden, proposes that they play black metal in its “purest form.”” Purity through propaganda.

Wolf – Shadowlands Review

Wolf – Shadowlands Review

Wolf have been a reliably entertaining throwback metal act since they first hit the scene back in 1999. Led by vocalist/guitarist Niklas Stålvind, the band successfully integrated NWoBHM basics with elements of Euro-power, giving them a wealth of excitable elements to throw at the wall and make stick. And albums like Evil StarThe Black Flame, and Legions of Bastards found them getting very sticky indeed, making those platters especially fun to rock out with. That said, 2020s Feeding the Machine saw them attempt a style shift that didn’t completely work, resulting in my least favorite outing from them. It seems the band didn’t love the results either, as ninth album Shadowlands is a shift back to what’s always worked for them.” Good doggy!

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah is often accused of failing to evolve or change. That accusation is misplaced. While it’s certainly true that their unique style means it requires just one guitar line from Fredrik Thordendal or a single snarl from Kidman to know it’s Meshuggah, exactly how they’ve deployed that has changed subtly from record to record. Immutable picks up where The Violent Sleep of Reason left off, feeling freer than Meshuggah‘s precise technicality has sounded in many a year.” Immutable, inflexible, inshuggahable.