Swedish Metal

Lightlorn – At One with the Night Sky Review

Lightlorn – At One with the Night Sky Review

“Beautiful and melodious in equal measure, At One with the Night Sky occupies that stratospheric space where the most ethereal atmoblack resides, evoking more faithfully the ebullient tones of Skyforest and Deafheaven than the tumultuous desperation of Mare Cognitum. Delicate twinkling effects and peaceful dalliances with cosmic ambiance characteristic of Skyborne Reveries further embellish Lightlorn’s high-flying approach.” Platonic forms of beauty.

October Tide – The Cancer Pledge Review

October Tide – The Cancer Pledge Review

“Since 1994 this sadboi doom/death Katatonia spin-off has been spewing sullen tunes to the beat of a depressed march. Originally more in line with a stripped-down presentation of the kind of work that Dance of December Souls started and Brave Murder Day championed, October Tide festered into its own deathly beast, eventually seeing the legendary Jonas Renkse step away to a succession of progressively more vile vocalists.” High? Low? October Tide.

Third Storm – The Locust Mantra Review

Third Storm – The Locust Mantra Review

“Well, well, well. How time flies. On 7 November 2018, my first ever review, under the unassuming alias of Nameless_N00b_17, was posted for The Grand Manifestation by Sweden’s Third Storm. Almost five years on, despite various spates of chronic overrating and hopefully showing some improvement in my writing, I am still here to see Third Storm return with their sophomore album, The Locust Mantra.” Bugnado.

Svartkonst – May the Night Fall Review

Svartkonst – May the Night Fall Review

“I beg your pardon, Svartkonst–but it appears you got your corpse paint on my cargo shorts. Over the course of two albums, Rickard Törnqvist–until now the only member of this Swedish outfit–has been concocting and refining his signature blend of Entombed-core Swedeath and Watain’s fierce approach to melodic black metal. 2020’s Black Waves was a revelation and a highlight of that dire year, taking the best of Svartkonst’s influences and boiling away whatever Törnqvist didn’t need. Not since the mad lads over at Reese’s had their mishap with chocolate and peanut butter has a mashup gone so swimmingly. Now Törnqvist is back with a five-man touring lineup in tow, as Svartkonst drops new long player May the Night Fall.” Be-Twix and between worlds.

Tyranex – Reasons for the Slaughter Review

Tyranex – Reasons for the Slaughter Review

“What is a successful retro-thrash record? Why would anyone even attempt one? If you lean too much on the old masters, you’re just gonna come off as tired and derivative. Try and diversify, and you lose what makes it retro-thrash. I like the occasional thrash just fine, but when I saw fate had bestowed upon me Tyranex, I breathed a weary sigh and rolled my eyes. Rarely does a promo sheet take this much pride in being retro-thrash, stuffing the short blurb with old school and 80’s speed metal to the point where it felt like managing expectations rather than hyping up the album. But I stuffed my bias in my back pocket and opened my mind to the best of my abilities. Does Reasons for the Slaughter give me reason for a slaughter?” Bring your daughter.

Just Before Dawn – A War Too Far Review

Just Before Dawn – A War Too Far Review

“Swedish war mongers Just Before Dawn are back once again to weave bloody tales of man’s inhumanity to man through their tried-and-true variant of doomy death metal. The Bolt Thower influences are never far from their chosen sound and style and after four full-lengths and several EPs, including last year’s Battle-Sight Zeroing, Just Before Dawn have done all they could to fill the massive crater left by the beloved U.K. fighting unit and battle buddies Hail of Bullets.” War is forever.

Domkraft – Sonic Moons Review

Domkraft – Sonic Moons Review

“The departed Huck N’ Roll, who has not been reduced to a nutritious paste designed to keeps n00bs clinging to life, loved up on Domkraft’s 2021 release Seeds. Huck considered the third album by these Swedes to be the best stoner/psych doom album of that year. The readership shared his enthusiasm to a point, while also noting that the effort felt like psychedelia as played by those who eschew psychedelics. I agreed with both camps; Seeds is a fun listen, but it does occasionally seem like the work of three talented members of the school orchestra who drank some punch spiked with liquid acid at the prom.” You put the seeds in the bongonut.

Shining – Shining Review

Shining – Shining Review

Shining have a carefully calibrated reputation as one of the saddest bands in history. A single spin of the renowned V: Halmstad is enough to know that it’s a reputation well earned. Oppressive, dark and full of despair— it’s rightfully considered a seminal depressive suicidal black metal record. The band’s record since then has been spotty, however. Incorporating more acoustics and clean vocals brought variety but did not increase the gut punch the band was known for. Attempts at re-aligning the band’s direction were made and unmade, naming traditions were dropped and picked up again, and the misanthropic flame started to sputter.” The definitive Shining?

Sodomisery – Mazzaroth Review

Sodomisery – Mazzaroth Review

The Great Demise combined Dissection black, Hypocrisy death, and Amon Amarth melodeath to deliver a rollercoaster of intricacies, riff changes, builds, and atmospheres. At times, it worked. At times, it didn’t. As a whole, The Great Demise was missing the fluidity to pull everything together. Now they’re back with a Covid-inspired follow-up whose theme concerns mental health. This concept alone instills high-charged emotion into the album. But how Sodomisery delivers it completely floored me.” Sodom misers!

VAK – The Islands Review

VAK – The Islands Review

Alright, you sodden louts, ready thine ears because this here album will need to enter forthwith. We usually save that sort of statement for the second paragraph, using the first to build tension with a nice gentle lead-up, but if you want one of those, tough shit. This is your lead-up. Gapen your hearing holes and get ready to absorb one of the flat-out coolest albums of the year, coming from the Stockholm underground to deliver a baseball bat, wrapped in barbed wire and dipped in ayahuasca, straight to the trachea. VAK has arrived.” VAK Daddy.