Swedish Metal

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.

Cirkeln – A Song to Sorrow Review

Cirkeln – A Song to Sorrow Review

“Some things enter human culture and just don’t leave. What could be a better example than the epic fantasy spearheaded (in the West) by J.R.R Tolkien, spawning countless other artworks and fuelling many an obsession to this day. Similarly, the rise of solo projects within black metal is seemingly indefatigable. Cirkeln combines these two strands—the mainstream and the counter-culture—through a discography inspired by genre heavyweights of each. Tolkien and Moorcock on the one hand, Celtic Frost and Bathory on the other.” Ring of sour.

Grand Harvest – Consummatum Est Review

Grand Harvest – Consummatum Est Review

“Ostensibly labeled as “death-doom,” Grand Harvest plays a powerful mixture of styles that includes but transcends such a label. Each of the record’s eight proper tracks displays its own unique personality while still fitting nicely within the band’s core sound. Combining the rhythmic barbarism of Bolt Thrower or Asphyx with the introspective atmospheric black metal of a band like Eneferens, Grand Harvest is able to convey their esoteric message while covering a wide swath of emotional territory.” Harvesting of sorrows

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

“What’s there left to say about Kvaen beyond five little words, four of which are “fire?” Back in early 2020, Jakob Björnfot came out of seeming nowhere with a fully formed meloblack/speed metal aesthetic and a keen songwriting ear to deliver one of the the most vital sounding throwback records of the year. The Funeral Pyre had something going for it that a lot of good, even great records don’t. Beyond technical musicianship—which Björnfot most certainly has—beyond reverence for a genre’s history, that record was fun. As. Hell. It didn’t matter that no new ground was being broken, it only mattered that Björnfot was driving it like it was stolen.” Hell Alone 2: Electric Burning You.