Unleashed

Bythos – The Womb of Zero Review

Bythos – The Womb of Zero Review

“Yet, while these Scandinavians continue what they helped to create, their Finnish brethren have been at it for almost as long. Unfortunately, n00bs to the scene are enchanted—as we all have been—by the murders and mysteries of the Norwegian and Swedish camps. My favorites from that landmass, which shares borders with both Norway and Sweden, are the trio of Behexen, Horna, and Sargeist. Though their language is different, the message is the same. Bludgeoning, destructive, hateful, and vicious. But, what if a band came along, with members from all three of my favorite Finnish outfits? With the intention of slowing the pace, adding layers of melody, and capping it all off with the hooking guitar leads of Watain and Dissection? I wonder what that would sound like…” Panic Womb.

Usurper – Lords of the Permafrost Review

Usurper – Lords of the Permafrost Review

“In my lifelong quest to listen to every blackened thrash band on the planet I came across Usurper, a Chicago quartet who possessed a particularly heavy and ghoulish take on the style. Formed in 1993, the band sounded like if Celtic Frost had continued writing albums like To Mega Therion well into the 90s. Following several albums in this vein the band adopted a catchier approach with 2005’s Cryptobeast that made them even more fun to listen to. Sadly the group disbanded in 2007 before they could explore this direction further. But does any split really last forever these days?” No longer than a death in a comic book.

Firespawn – The Reprobate Review

Firespawn – The Reprobate Review

Entombed,progenitors of Swedish death metal, went on to create – for better or worse – death ‘n’ roll, and continued down a path of their own paving. Apparently eager to once again try his hand at a little heavy lifting, the legendary L-G Petrov gathered up contemporaries from such little known bands as Necrophobic, Unleashed, Defleshed and Dark Funeral to create the destructive Firespawn.” Super group of Swe-death.

Pale King – Monolith of the Malign Review

Pale King – Monolith of the Malign Review

“Assumptions. No matter how hard we try not to make them, we always end up drawing conclusions about something without checking it out beforehand. In this case, with a description in our promo list as “melodic death metal,” and seeing that they hail from Sweden, I grabbed >i>Monolith of the Malign, the debut album from Pale King, expecting some twin-guitar Gothenburg melodies. And man, was I off. After much investigation, Pale King is a side-project of Jonny Pettersson and Håkan Stuvemark of long-running death-dealers Wombbath, aiming to capture an old-school melodic death metal feel, but with modern-day songwriting chops.” Olde school, new school, so many educational options!

70000 Tons of Metal: One Man’s Journey

70000 Tons of Metal: One Man’s Journey

“My friends ask me what happened, but my ability to verbally communicate has been reduced to moaning and a weeping noise that sounds something like a baby panda crying for milk. I wonder how I’m going to make it through the final day of this floating festival. I wonder when the aching will subside. I wonder where my life went so wrong. How did I end up here, on the 7th annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise, weak with exhaustion and feeling like my body has been bludgeoned with a sledgehammer? My mind drifts back…” Tales from a 70000 ton heavy thing.

Evocation – The Shadow Archetype Review

Evocation – The Shadow Archetype Review

“I still remember the day I ventured into the world of Swedish melodic death metal. The time, the mood, the buying of so many albums. There was At the Gates‘s Slaughter of the Soul, Dark Tranquillity‘s Projector and Damage Done, In FlamesJester Race and Clayman, The Haunted‘s debut and Made Me Do It, and Amon Amarth‘s Fate of Norns. All purchased and consumed within weeks of each other. I was fucking hooked—ignoring reason (and my food budget) to please my insatiable craving for everything this genre had to offer.” The Left Hand Path has many toll booths.

Nervosa – Agony Review

Nervosa – Agony Review

“Name the first band that comes to mind when I say Brazil. OK, now name a second one. With some countries like Sweden, the choices are endless. The two picks made are usually based on my favorite bands or bands whose albums were most recently spun. In the case of countries like Brazil, my mind goes straight to timeless classics. Old-school Sepultura and Krisiun. But this game only works once. If you ask me again to name the first two Brazilian bands that come to mind, I will give the same answers. But what if you ask me to name a third? In that case, I’d add Nervosa to the list.” This game isn’t a lot of fun.

Blynd – Liber Sum Review

Blynd – Liber Sum Review

“At the end of 2014, I had the pleasure of reviewing the debut album by Stormcast, a band hailing from the island of Cyprus. Frame of Mind was filled with a passion I still can’t fully articulate except that this passion appears to be lacking in many bands of similar style. So when shuffling through this month’s promos, I came across Blynd (another Cypritian band) and I couldn’t help but hope for another stunner.” And the winner for Most Names Dropped in a Review for 2015 is….

Bastard Grave – What Lies Beyond Review

Bastard Grave – What Lies Beyond Review

“I presume most of you guessed Bastard Grave‘s chosen genre without listening to a second of their music, but in case you’re an extreme metal newbie (welcome! Take a seat, have some cake! Don’t mind the skulls, they’re not real. Probably), this extract from their promo sheet will give you a hint: “With the opening blare on the album starting off with the all-too-familiar guitar feedback reminiscent of a vague Entombed-ish trademark, it is easy to tell What Lies Beyond is heavily laced with the murderous HM-2 destruction and with absolutely no mercy.” That’s right, old school Swedish death metal that’s so devoid of new ideas, even the label thinks it’s generic!” Let’s get rote to the point, shall we?