REVIEWS 2020 - Page 9

Page 8   Index   2021

UNBOUNDED TERROR: Infernal Judgment - Single
(Xtreem Music on Jan. 2, 2021)
UNBOUND TERROR formed in Mallorca, Spain in 1990, and is one of the first Spanish death metal bands. Their original name was PUTREFEACT MONSTUOSITY, but they changed the name in June 1991. They released 3 demos and 1 full length album before the band was dissolved in 1993 by their guitarist Vicente J. Payá, due to problems with the lineup. He focused on his newly created doom metal band GOLGOTHA instead.
In April 2019 UNBOUNDED TERROR was back again with new members, and in January 2020 a new album, "Faith in Chaos", was released.
Now a new single is here, but for some reason they also included 4 songs from 2020 and 3 live recordings. But anyway.. What we get here is simply death metal in the old school. It's fast and raw, and absolutely worth a try. What else can you ask for?
Published: Dec. 30, 2020

SPIT IT OUT!: This Is It! - Album
(Self released on digital platforms)
This sounds so 80s American that it must have been made in the 80s, was my first thought. Because nobody should have this sound in 2020.
Now it turns out that this was actually recorded in Göteborg, Sweden in the beginning of the 90s, and not in the States in the 80s. It was just released in a limited edition for promotion and radio stations. But it has now been remastered for today's digital platforms.
It's mainly a very melodic and catchy kind of rock that they play, but with variation. Sometimes it's arena rock, other times rap rock, and sometimes more like some kind of melodic hard rock with heavy groove and attitude.
Published: Dec. 29, 2020

GRAVEHUFFER: NecroEclosion - Album
(Black Doomba Records on Jan. 15, 2021)
These guys seems to be hard men, as they rather die than listen to disco. But a "Ghost Dance" seems to be o.k. Anyway, enough of my stupid humour..
GRAVEHUFFER comes from the small city of Joplin, Missouri. Their music is a brutal cocktail of crust-punk, thrash metal, grindcore, death metal, and other surprise elements. Their influences comes from bands like AUS-ROTTEN, NAPALM DEATH, NAUSEA, MORBID ANGEL, old school MASTODON and VOIVOD. This is hard and fast music.
It seems like they have been around for 10 years already (plus 3 more years as the thrash band KROM), and the individual members have known each other since the late 90s. "NecroEclosion" is their third release, where we get guest apperances from Dan "Chewy" Mongrain (VOIVOD) and Curran Murphy (ANNIHILATOR, NEVERMORE).
Published: Dec. 28, 2020

BHLEG: Ödhin - Album
(Nordvis on Jan. 15, 2021)
Yet another black metal band with the classic 90s sound, even though they mix it with folk metal. There's also some more silent, melancholy moments here and there, so it's hardly monotonous anyway.
BHLEG is a Swedish duo, and this is their third album. It's said to be "their most compelling and mature album up to this date". We get 6 tracks of darkness, despair and mystery. All lyrics are in Swedish.
Published: Dec. 27, 2020

VIRAL: Viral - Album
(Self released on Jan. 8, 2021)
True heavy metal in the classic/traditional way is the best way to describe this Swedish band. Nothing new under the dark clouds, but still sunshine to my ears.
VIRAL formed in 2012, and are heavily rooted in New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. But they are not afraid to include influences from thrash and power metal. This is a band that you absolutely should check out.
This self titled debut album will be released digitally to begin with, but they plan a physical release in the future ("when Covid allows it" as they say). It was mixed and mastered by Niels Nielsen (GHOST, IN FLAMES, MCC, WITCHERY, TID, DEAD SOUL, SPIDERS).
Published: Dec. 23, 2020

TERROR: Sink To The Hell - 7" EP
(WAR Records)
Shit angry hardcore with metal heaviness. This band is hardly joking, but are very serious. It's luckily more hardcore/punk than hardcore/metal, which I prefer. These 4 songs sounds really good. But the songs are not longer than approximately 2 to 2 and a half minutes, so it's over very quickly. But too few songs is always better than too many.
TERROR comes from Los Angeles, and has already existed for 15 years. These 4 songs are old material that they found in the archives. "Sink To The Hell" and "The New Beginning" were resurrected from the "Live By The Code" sessions. "Don't Need Your Time" is from the "Keepers Of The Faith" demo sessions, with new vocals recorded in 2020 to complete the track and featuring Jesse Barnett of STICK TO YOUR GUNS. And "You Lost All Respect" is also from the "Keepers Of The Faith" demo sessions with updated drums, additional guitars and vocals.
The EP is also available digitally on TERROR's Bandcamp page.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

SKARLETT RIOT: Gravity - Single
(Despotz Records)
SKARLETT RIOT play a powerful and riff-driven kind of melodic modern metal, with catchy melodies and a good singer. "Gravity" is the second single from their upcoming album, "Invicta". And this is a good song. There's no doubt about that. So you should check it out of course.
For some reason I can't come up with anything else brilliant to say about this song..
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

SCULPTOR: Untold Secrets - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Melodic death metal on Frontiers Music? Well, sometimes they surprise us with something that is not the typical melodic rock/AOR that they use to deliver.
SCULPTOR comes from Curitiba in Brazil, but are as most other bands in this genre influenced by the Gothenburg sound, and bands like DARK TRANQUILLITY, IN FLAMES and similar. The band was founded in 2015, and "Untold Secrets" seems to be their debut album.
I don't know.. This is not totally useless, and they are probably very good at what they are doing. But it just is not funny to listen to, as it's more or less the same melancholy, melodic death metal all the time. Just a couple of songs are different, and those few are a little better than the rest. But it's still like that there's no song that I walk around and hum on, because I can't even remember these songs.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

MAGIC DANCE: Remnants - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
MAGIC DANCE is the solo project of singer/songwriter Jon Siejka, formed in Long Island, NY in 2012 as an outlet for his synthwave songs. A self-taught musician and producer, the project is heavily influenced by the iconic synth-pop and movie soundtrack music of the 80s. Recently, the sound has evolved into a heavier and more guitar-oriented style, leaning more towards classic AOR, with strong hints of the sounds of the mid-80s.
Nowadays it seems to be a real band though. And on this album they deliver 11 tracks of melodic rock/AOR. It's not bad at all, even though we have heard this a thousand times already. Still worth a try for those of you who like this genre, because most of these 11 songs are good.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

CALAMARI FOR LUNCH: Calamari For Lunch - Album
(Self released with distribution via (R)esisto Distribuzione)
CALAMARI FOR LUNCH is a Tuscan band from Piombino, Italy. Inspired and influenced by psychedelic culture, the band was born in 2018, and now their debut album is here. And this record gives us a wild mixture of stoner and psychedelic rock. It's not that much action here. Most songs are more melancholy and gothic.
Unfortunately there's not much that is really great here, so not much gets stuck in my head. One of the few songs that I like though is "Loser". The rest is mostly sleeping pills.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

BRITON RITES: The Masque of Satan - Single
(Echoes Of Crom Records)
This band started to take shape during the Halloween season of 2006, and was formed by CAULDRON BORN guitarist Howie Bentley. He had been recently inspired by the 1872 J. Sheridan Lefanu novel "Carmilla", which told the story of a female vampire who preyed on pretty young girls. His new band would bring to life the ideas and feelings of 19th century gothic horror while combining it with the images and themes of the Hammer films from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Mr. Bentley simply wanted to combine horror and heavy music in the style of BLACK SABBATH and WITCHFINDER GENERAL.
The first full length album, "For Mircalla", was released in 2010. A second album was supposed to be recorded in 2012, but then Howie's wife had become ill. She passed away in 2014, and Bentley shelved the album before retiring from music all together.
That could have been the end, but after a nearly decade long hiatus, Bentley decided to return to music, and reformed BRITON RITES. So now he could finally record that second album that he had written years ago.
The album's title is "Occulte Fantastique", and it should be out this month. "The Masque of Satan" is 1 of the tracks from the album, and it's not so bad. I would describe it as a catchy up-tempo heavy/doom metal song.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

ANUBIS: Hurricane of Hate - EP
(Self released)
ANUBIS is a pretty new band from Los Angeles, featuring veterans of local and national metal bands like HATCHET, SCREAMS OF SYRENS and HYDERA. But even though they are from L.A., this is not a sleaze rock band. These guys combines the speed and aggression of thrash metal bands like MEGADETH, TESTAMENT and HAVOK with the twin guitar attack and soaring vocals of more melodic heavy metal bands like HELLOWEEN, SAVATAGE and IRON MAIDEN. In the end it's classic heavy metal, and it sounds damned good.
ANUBIS has previously released 2 EPs: "Ashes" in 2019 and a self titled in 2020.
Check out!
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

ANAUGH CONDA: Fear The Weaker - EP
(Self released on Dec. 27, 2020)
ANAUGH CONDA comes from northern Sweden and play "fast pop songs in rock costume", as they describe it themselves. To me it sounds like a mixture of pop and indie rock, and I prefer to call it power pop. It's extremely catchy, and almost hard to sit still. This is very good!
Their lyrics presents a dark reality with increasing polarization, mental illness and adult men who hate children online. But they claims that there's a streak of hope towards the end.
These 5 songs are pretty short - 2:12 to 2:45 minutes - but effective. They explode like a firework on New Year's Eve.
The band is based in Östersund, and has since they formed in 2007 released as much as 11 EPs and 2 records of covers.
Published: Dec. 22, 2020

ROYAL ORPHAN: Royal Orphan - EP
(Self released)
6 tracks of heavy metal is what we get here. And it sounds like a demo band from the 80s actually. That doesn't mean that it's bad though. Oh no. This is very good stuff that you should check out as soon as possible. Yes, that's how good these songs are according to me.
Their sound has been described as "80s era QUEENSRŸCHE and "Somewhere in Time"-era IRON MAIDEN with gutsy aggressive riffs and real-world lyrics within a singer/songwriter approach to traditional heavy metal."
This is their debut EP, which was released in 2018. They are currently working on their full length debut.
Published: Dec. 20, 2020

PRESSURE: Julstress - Single
(Self released I suppose?)
Ha, ha. This might actually be the best new Christmas song that I have heard so far this season. It's a little funny, but have the message that you should relax and don't stress so much during Christmas. Which sounds like a healthy attitude as I'm not a fan of the worst hysteria.
The music is probably best described as some kind of heavy rock or possibly hard rock in Swedish. Absolutely worth checking out!
PRESSURE hails from Stockholm, Sweden, and formed in 2018. The guys wrote this song as a distraction whilst getting their heads down writing new material that will see the light of day in 2021.
Published: Dec. 20, 2020

KAASIN: Revelation - Single
(Stream Peak Music)
This is the second single from this hard rock band, which was founded by guitarist Jo Henning Kaasin (Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Doogie White, Bernie Marsden) when COME TASTE THE BAND was put on ice in January 2020. Among the other guys are his cousin Staale Kaasin (SPIDER, 2020VISION) on bass, Jan Thore Grefstad (SAINT DEAMON, HIGHLAND GLORY, TNT) on vocals, Benjamin Dehli on hammond organ/analog synth and Chris Brush on drums.
Their first single, "Runaway Train", was released in August, and it was a really good song in the old blues-based and melodic school of hard rock. I compared that song with the legends of the 70s and 80s, and wanted to hear more of them.
"Revelation" is another damned good song in the same style as the first single. A must to check out! Simple as that.
Published: Dec. 20, 2020

George Lynch & Jeff Pilson: Heavy Hitters - Album
(Deadline Music)
This wasn't such a good idea boys. A full album of pop and rock covers isn't really what I need. They are doing these songs a bit harder and heavier, and they put their own twist on each song, but that doesn't help much. I can't really see the benefit of this record, as I'm simply not a fan of the original versions of most of these songs (a few are o.k. though), and these gentlemen are hardly making them better. It just ain't catchy enough to be interesting. But hopefully they had fun when they made this record.
George Lynch and Jeff Pilson are most well-known as guitarists for DOKKEN. On this album they are joined by Marq Torien (BULLETBOYS), Angelo Moore (FISHBONE), Wil Martin (EARSHOT) and Brian Tichy (WHITESNAKE, Ozzy Osbourne). So more or less an all-star team of hard rockers playing pop songs then? Sorry if I sound young and stupid, but why do they even play rock if they like pop so much?
Published: Dec. 20, 2020

DIRA MORTIS: Ancient Breath Of Forgotten Misanthropy - Album
(Selfmadegod Records - Release date: Dec. 25, 2020)
Another brutal death metal attack straight at you. And on Christmas Day! Interesting present.
They start with a useless intro, and then they kick off with a 9-minute song that gives us both fast and heavy parts. The other songs are around 6 and a half to 7 and a half minutes. And for some reason they end the whole thing with a useless outtro as well.
I hope that they don't have any deeper message that they want to get out, because it sounds like the singer just makes horrible sounds, and not always like he is actually singing any words (but he probably is).
We get 7 tracks, and 5 of them are real songs. And as I said in the beginning, this is brutal.
DIRA MORTIS are from Poland, and has existed since 1998. This is their third full length, but they has also released some demos and EPs through the years. Among their biggest influences are INCANTATION, IMMOLATION and AUTOPSY.
Published: Dec. 20, 2020

VANDEN PLAS: The Ghost Experiment, Illumination - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
About a year ago, the German progressive metal band VANDEN PLAS delivered part 1 of their 2-part concept album, "The Ghost Xperiment", which is an imaginary tale that was inspired by the results of an actual, documented experiment in the paranormal. The story relates the long and arduous journey of Gideon Grace, whose path to self-discovery and to his greatest love is threatened by 3 demonic beings.
Now the second and last part is here. And this is obviously something for fans of progressive metal. It's epic and symphonic, and very ambitious. They have their good moments though, so any fan of good metal should try this.
VANDEN PLAS released their first single back in 1986 already. But it wasn't until 1994 that their first full length album, "Colour Temple", was released. Lots of more records has been released since then.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020

UNRULY CHILD: Our Glass House - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
Another album that I don't really know what I should think of. They are not bad, and it's very lalala friendly, but nothing get stuck in my head. It just goes in through one ear and out through the other. Not really sure why though, as they are hardly doing anything wrong here. But if you like melodic rock/AOR, then you should at least give them a try, because I'm probably totally wrong.
Yes, it's possible that I have too much to listen to once in a while. So it's o.k. to take my opinion with a pinch of salt.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020

PERSUADER: Necromancy - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This band's power metal is epic, yet hard and heavy, but without losing the melody. Sometimes it's on the border to thrash metal or even melodic death metal. It might not be excellent, but it's very good at least.
This Swedish band formed back in 1997, and has released 4 albums between 2000-2014. Now they are back on the market with "Necromancy", which might be their most ambitious effort so far, but also their most aggressive. It's also the first album with their new guitarist Fredrik Mannberg (NOCTURNAL RITES).
So, if you want power, and if you want metal, PERSUADER is here for you.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020

PALACE: Rock And Roll Radio - Album
(Frontiers Music Srl)
This is very catchy and melodic, and sounds like a tribute to the melodic rock and AOR from the 80s. There's many good songs among these 12 tracks, so any fan of that description should be happy to hear this. And it's no idea to mention any favorites here, as they are too many (hardly a problem).
The material is strong, and I get a feeling that this is done with lots of passion for the music. It's nothing new and unique though. So if you're looking for that, this is not something for you.
PALACE is the brainchild of Swedish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Palace. "Rock And Roll Radio" is his third album.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020

Neal Morse: Jesus Christ The Exorcist (Live at Morsefest 2018) - Live release
(Frontiers Music Srl)
But have he not released the exact same album already? Why do we need a live recording of the exact same album? It's just another way to sell the exact same thing again. But I guess that this is mainly a DVD/Blu-ray thing, beacuse just listening is almost as listening to the studio album, "Jesus Christ The Exorcist", which was released last year.
This is a progressive rock adventure in 26 chapters, which last for an eternity (something like 2 hours at least). But luckily it's not bad at all, and thanks for that anyway. Songs like "There Is A Highway", "The Woman Of Seven Devils", "Free At Last" and "He Must Go To The Cross" are almost better than the classic songs from Jesus Christ Superstar. And why do I compare with that then? Because it's based on the same story, but with Neal's own songs. So it reminds me a lot of Jesus Christ Superstar. And I'm sure that fans of that will love this, because this album has all the right ingredients that a good rock musical should have.
This show featured a large number of people and a big production, so it would have been more fun to actually see what's going on on stage. But I don't think that I will find this under the Christmas tree.
This release is available as 2CD+DVD and Blu-ray.
Published: Dec. 19, 2020

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: Live At Rock Of Ages Festival 2016 / A Long Day's Night - Live releases
(Frontiers Music Srl)
It has obviously been a great year for every true fan of the American rock legends BLUE ÖYSTER CULT. Except for re-releases of both studio and live releases, there was also a completely new album a few months ago. And here's even more live stuff..
"Live At Rock Of Ages Festival 2016" is more or less a greatest hits concert recorded in Germany, while "A Long Day's Night" - recorded at the Navy Pier/Skyline Stage in Chicago on June 21, 2002 - also focus on some other stuff.
I don't really know what to say about these 2 recordings, but it's absolutely not bad anyway. Now I have only heard the songs though, and not seen the shows, so I don't have a clue how funny they are to see on stage. A few songs are a little too long, and I have heard better versions of those songs. And then we have that stupid "song" "Buck's Boogie", which is just guitar solo after guitar solo. What's the deal with that song? I don't get it. Otherwise, no problem.
How many songs do you think that we get on both concerts then? Unfortunately "Buck's Boogie". They end both shows with "Godzilla" and "Don't Fear The Reaper". "Burnin' For You", "Harvest Moon", "Lips In The Hills" and "OD'D On Life Itself" is also on both.
Both titles are available as CD+DVD, Blu-ray and LP.
Publsihed: Dec. 19, 2020

CEMETERY DWELL: Cold Visions of Nether - Demo
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: Dec. 30, 2020)
This is a brutal death metal experience from a very fresh band, who actually formed as late as this year. They are from Argentina and worship the more rotten kind of death metal, and especially the Finnish scene with bands like DEMILICH and DEPRAVITY. So if that sounds like something that you would like, then give these 3 tracks a try.
The songs are available on the Bandcamp page of Redefining Drakness Records for streaming and free download.
Published: Dec. 18, 2020

ETERNAL EVIL: The Rise of Death - Demo
(Redefining Darkness Records - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
"The Rise of Death" is a homage to the early Teutonic thrash metal scene from the mid-80s, with bands like SODOM, DEATHROW and KREATOR as the biggest heroes. These young guys (15-17 years old) from Sweden wasn't even born then, but that doesn't stop them. They deliver 5 raw and fast tracks in 14 minutes without any excuses. This demo is full of young hunger and energy. It's just so fucking metal.
You can listen and download this demo at Redefining Darkness Records' Bandcamp page.
Published: Dec. 18, 2020

Alice Cooper: Our Love Will Change The World - Single
Alice at Getaway Rock 2011
The second single from Alice's upcoming album, "Detroit Stories" (which will be released on Feb. 26, 2021), doesn't kick as much ass as the first single did. This is more like some kind of catchy and melodic glam rock from the 70s instead, while the lyrics says something totally different. But this is pretty good too.
It seems like you never know what you're gonna get from this old man nowadays, but he gives us a lot of variation at least. And as long as he doesn't go back to the 90s sound (which was good then), no problem with that. It just makes it more interesting.
Published: Dec. 17, 2020

BRECHRAITZ: Schwarzes Gold - Album
(Contra Records - Release date: Dec. 19, 2020)
These Germans blend in catchy melodies in their punk rock. And it sometimes reminds me of street punk, with harsh vocals and football choirs, even though this is more catchy and melodic then. I like what I hear anyway.
With these 13 tracks the members share their love for football and beer, and sing about friendship, booze and hate. It's said to fit fans of typical German bands such as EASTSIDE BOYS, LOIKAEMIE, VOLXSTURM or 4 PROMILLE. I have unfortunately never heard of any of those bands though. But if the label says so, then it must be some thruth in that. Any fan of good punk rock with melody should check this out anyway.
Published: Dec. 17, 2020

BUSTER SHUFFLE: Our Night Out - Album reissue
(Do Nothing Records - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
Oh, cool with some ska for a change. I like it. Very catchy stuff. If I would make a wild guess, then I would say that this could be something for fans of a band like MADNESS. It's not pure ska all the time though, but more like some kind of catchy and melodic rock. It's actually just something like 3-4 songs that I would call ska here.
But on the other hand, British ska have never been the same as the original ska from Jamaica. People outside of Jamaica seems to add their own thing, like rock or punk rock for example. They do it here in Sweden too. But this is absolutely not bad because of that. This is a very good album actually.
BUSTER SHUFFLE came to life 10 years ago, with the sole purpose of entertaining and bringing their raucous tunes to beer wielding audiences, seamlessly straddling the ska, punk and rock and roll genres. Their lyrics are both funny and tragic stories about drunken arguments, crafty cats, anti-social night buses, dirty older women and messy divorces. "Our Night Out" was their debut album, which came out 10 years ago. On this new edition we also get some new unheard bonus tracks that didn't make the cut back in the day being added to the 12-track album.
The boys are currently in the studio working on their fifth album.
Published: Dec. 17, 2020

FUCKED AND BOUND: Suffrage - Album reissue
(Quiet Panic - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
Yeah! This is how it's supposed to be done when it comes to hardcore/punk according to me. Fast and aggressive, but still with some kind of melody. There's also lots of variation here, which I also like. This is hardly any macho metal/hardcore, but more like it was done from the beginning (early 80s).
FUCKED AND BOUND comes from Seattle. "Suffrage" is their first LP, which was originally released in 2018 by Atomic Action! Records. It will now be re-released with new artwork and an additional SONIC YOUTH cover, "Kool Thing".
Published: Dec. 15, 2020

INJECTOR: Hunt of the Rawhead - Album
(Art Gates Records - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
The metal beast INJECTOR was born in Cartagena, Spain in 2012. In 2015 they signed to Art Gates Records, who released their debut album, "Black Genesis". Then it took 3 years before the next album, "Stone Prevails", was released in 2018.
"Hunt of the Rawhead" is said to be "the album that they've been perfectionating to the point that the band describes the sound of their new album as how they have always wanted to sound like." It's still a blend of aggressive thrash metal combined with classic elements of heavy metal, even though they have taken it up a few levels.
Well, this is good stuff. No doubt about that. Fans of old school thrash metal should enjoy this a lot.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020

MÄBE: Söndag i Juni, Live 2020 - EP
(Twofaced Productions/Sound Pollution Distribution AB - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
MaBe at Sticky Fingers
MäBe is a Swedish artist/band that I often compare with Swedish rock legend Thäström (ex-EBBA GRÖN, IMPERIET etc). It's not exactly the same though. Their first record was released 10 years ago, but I think I got some stuff (EPs or demos?) for review before that. Well, a few more albums and EPs has been released since then anyway.
These 3 songs were recorded during a live stream in their hometown Strömstad on June 14, 2020. It will only be available digitally, but I'm glad that I gave it a chance even though I had to stream (which I don't like), because this is really good stuff.
The music might not be as the rock music that you're used to, as it's a bit darker and heavier, or however I should describe it.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020

NIGHTRAGE: Demo 2000 - Album
(Despotz Records)
Swedish/Greek melodic death metallers NIGHTRAGE celebrate their 20-year anniversary this year. And they do this by releasing their previously unreleased demo from 2000, which was the beginning of the band's history. In these early days it wasn't much of a band though, just 2 Greek guitarists: Marios Iliopoulos (still in the band) and the nowadays legendary Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, FIREWIND, DREAM EVIL). But with these 11 songs they prove that they were already very good musicians who could make really good death metal songs.
The music is dark and heavy, yet catchy and melodic. The vocals is more like hardcore screaming than growl. And it all works very good.
This demo actually gave them their record deal, which made them make the decision to move to Sweden, where they found members for the band (like Tompa from AT THE GATES etc for example) and recorded their first albums. If I got it right, Marios has moved back to Greece now, but there's still some Swedes in the band.
NIGHTRAGE are currently working on a new album, which should be released during 2021. And that's something to look forward to.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020

WIZARDS OF HAZARDS: End of Time - Album
(Inverse Records)
Well, if you like bands like CANDLEMASS and early BLACK SABBATH, then you will probably like this band too. They deliver the legacy of doom with respect for the legends of the genre, and they do it damned good. But there's also some traditional heavy metal in some of the songs. I really like this album! You simply have to check it out! Promise me that!
WIZARDS OF HAZARDS are described as "a bunch of geezers from Laukaa in middle Finland sharing the same weird interest for vintage instruments and heavy music composing." Their lyrics are inspired by bygone times, supernatural phenomenons and old tales and beliefs.
They were originally formed back in 1989 as BLACK WIZARD. But for some reason they decided to change the name after something like 25 years.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020

RYLOS: Solarworks Pt. 2 - Album
(Inverse Records)
With this album Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band RYLOS has completed their "Solarworks" saga. The theme of "Solarworks" is "to think over the modern way of human living, as we are exploiting our planet the way that you could make a conclusion that we would already have another one as a spare one to move to after we have consumed this one over." The second part dive more into individual problems as revenge and anxiety.
"Solarworks" is also released as a limited CD with both parts included. Simultaneously with the album release there's also coming a computer game, "Adventure of Rylos - Solarworks", that is playable online.
So what about the music then? Well, this is really good stuff in the traditional way. 8 tracks is what we get here, and you should absolutely check them out, because all songs are great. I think I liked the first part too though, so that was not such a big surprise to me.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020

WOMBBATH: Tales of Madness - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
Weird sound. It reminds me more of a cheap demo recording from the early 90s than a brand new album from 2020. Luckily the music is not bad because of that though. It's pure old school death metal that will please everybody who like that, so I guess it's actually supposed to sound like an old demo.
WOMBBATH are Jonny Pettersson (HEADS FOR THE DEAD, HENRY KANE, GODS FORSAKEN) - vocals, Håkan Stuvemark (PALE KING) - guitars, lead guitar and vocals, Thomas Von Wachenfeldt - guitars, lead guitar, violin and vocals, Jon Rudin (JUST BEFORE DAWN) - drums and Matthew Davidson (REPULSIVE VISION) - bass.
"Tales of Madness" is their 30th anniversary release, which includes completely re-recorded songs from their early years, as well as some brand new material. The music is fast and heavy, as well as raw and brutal. And unless you're new to this kind of music, you should know the sound. In other words, fans of early ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, GRAVE and similar should not be dissapointed.
Published: Dec. 13, 2020

(TONEwood Music - Release date: Dec. 14, 2020)
3 bands from Silkeborg, Denmark with 3 songs each. These bands are all different from each other though. FORDÆRV play grindcore, while KOKAIN is hardcore/punk, and BONEJAMMER play thrash/punk crossover. So you could see this as a nice introduction to the Danish metal and punk scene, even though most songs here are more punk than metal.
All 3 bands are doing a good job, even though I like KOKAIN and BONEJAMMER better than the noisey sound of FORDÆRV.
This split is available on cassette and digital.
Published: Dec. 12, 2020

BONEJAMMER: Do It Yourself - Demo EP
(TONEwood Music - Release date: Dec. 14, 2020)
Did they record this live in the rehearsal room? It sounds like that anyway.
BONEJAMMER is a Danish trio, who was born from the love of fast metal and ugly punk. They want to be an alternative to what they see as overthought lyrics, excessive production and flashy technique. As the title says, a complete "do it yourself" band. And among their influences are CAUSTIC CHRIST, DOOM, DISRUPT, S.O.D., CARNIVORE and INEPSY. They are not afraid to blend metal, punk and rock n roll to their own little brew.
These 4 tracks are released digital and on cassette, and is their second demo EP. It will be followed by their debut album in 2021.
Best song: "Too Late", which reminds me of UK 82 punk.
Published: Dec. 12, 2020

VVLVA: 13. Winter - Vinyl EP
(H42 Records - Release date: Dec. 14, 2020)
This is some kind of retro hard rock in German, that is very catchy. Both songs have a good melody, which makes both songs very good, even though the title track is a little bit better as it's more energetic. You could say that "13. Winter" is a hit, while "Bar Der Sünde" is a typical b-side.
VVLVA is a young quintet from Aschaffenburg, Germany. They are heavily inspired by the hard rock of the early 70s, when bands easily could mix in some psychedelic or progressive elements.
Published: Dec. 11, 2020

PURO ODIO: Demo 2018 - EP
(Sentient Ruin Laboratories - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
As the title says, this is a re-release of a demo from 2018 with the Spanish chaos hardcore/punks PURO ODIO. It will now be available as 10" MLP, cassette and digital.
6 short songs is what we get, and it's over in something like 11 and a half minutes. This will probably not go down in history as the best crust recording ever made. But if you like it fast and raw then this is the perfect thing for you, because it's absolutely not bad at all.
Published: Dec. 10, 2020

SLEAFORD MODS: Shortcummings - Single
(Rough Trade)
New single with the odd UK duo SLEAFORD MODS then. The song is taken from the upcoming album, "Spare Ribs", which will be released on January 15, 2021. It's at least better than their last single, but hardly a hit song this time either.
How am I going to describe this then? Some kind of alternative pop/rock maybe? They start with just bass, a electronic drum beat and vocals. After a while they add a guitar as well, and it becomes more and more intense.
If you want something different, try this band.
Published: Dec. 10, 2020

ICED EARTH: Iced Earth (30th Anniversary Edition) - Album reissue
(Century Media - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
In 1990 the U.S. band ICED EARTH released their self titled debut album. Probably not their biggest succees in a long career, but absolutely not bad anyway. Many records have followed since 1990, and bigger succees as well.
Nowadays they are among the legends when it comes to what they call US metal. Many members have come and left through the years, but guitarist Jon Schaffer have been there all the time.
Well, as I said earlier, this album is absolutely not bad, but prove that they were already good musicians who could make great songs. This is definitely something for every true fan of the band.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020

Leo Viridi: The World Keeps Turning - EP
(Self released on Dec. 11, 2020)
Guitarist/bassist Leo Viridi release a follow up to his album "LV1", which was released last year. This time we get a 4-track EP, with Henning Basse (ex-FIREWIND) on vocals. This is a concept EP that tells a story of trying to navigate this existence and understanding the world for what it is.
The music is heavy metal with some progressive elements. The first song, "Break From Gravity", might not be so interesting, but the other 3 songs are really good and absolutely worth a try.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020

WAYWARD DAWN: House Of Mirrors - Cassette
(Emanzipation Productions/Molten Face Records - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
WAYWARD DAWN is a Danish death metal band with 2 albums - "Soil Organic Matter" (2018) and "Haven of Lies" (2020) - under their cartridge belt. They have now signed with Emanzipation Productions, and celebrate this by releasing a 2-track cassette through Molten Face Records (not sure if that makes any sense, but Emanzipation release this digitally anyway).
The songs are brand new, and the music is raw and brutal old school death metal, so this is good stuff of course. Check it out!
Published: Dec. 8, 2020

NO RETURN: Live XXX - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
NO RETURN has been around for 3 decades, but I don't think that I have heard them before. But anyway, now it's time for a career-spanning live album with a chronological setlist, starting with their 1990 debut "Psychological Torment" and goes all the way to their latest release, "The Curse Within".
"Live XXX" was recorded at La Manufacture in St. Quentin, France in December 2019, and this is actually their first live album.
NO RETURN comes from France, and formed in 1989. Their music is energetic and aggressive death metal, which also has a melodic touch. I guess we can call it something like melodic death/thrash. This is very good stuff anyway.
The band is currently working on a new studio album.
Published: Dec. 8, 2020

Mike Tramp: Trampthology - Double Album
(Target Records - Release date: Dec. 18, 2020)
WHITE LION and FREAK OF NATURE frontman Mike Tramp celebrate 25 years as a solo artist with this best of album. But we also get 4 new songs.
Most of these 20 tracks is pretty soft and melodic rock, and sounds very American. What they use to call classic rock. And if that's something that you like, then this is something for you.
All these songs might not be something for me, but most of them are good at least.
Published: Dec. 8, 2020

The BROKEN BEATS: The Gig - Album
(Target Records - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
Power pop they called it. Not much power there is. What it really is though is lame and melodic pop/rock that reminds me of the 60s. Not enough bite for my taste. But if you need a nice little Sunday walk in the park, then go ahead and try this.
BUT there is some good tracks here, even though I think there is too many slow songs among these 8 tracks.
Seems like they like Christmas a lot, as they end the album with 2 Christmas songs. And no, it's not covers of something that thousands of others have done already, but their own original songs (as far as I know I might add).
The BROKEN BEATS is a Danish band, and this is their 7th full length album.
Published: Dec. 8, 2020

HEADS FOR THE DEAD: Into The Red - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
Well, this wasn't as great as I was hoping for. Everything doesn's suck here, but there are at least a few songs that are less good. When it goes fast it's better. But those heavy tracks just sounds tired. It gets better the more I listen though.
This is more or less a death metal supergroup, with Jonny Pettersson (WOMBBATH, GODS FORSAKEN, HENRY KANE), Ralf Hauber (REVEL IN FLESH) and Ed Warbie (ex-GOREFEST, HAIL OF BULLETS). But we also get guest apperances from members of SENTIENT HORROR and GODS FORSAKEN. They blend classic old school death metal with horror-inspired elements, which gives them their own little touch. And if you think that sounds really exiting, then don't worry too much about what I think, but just check this out.
My favorite track must be the DARKTHRONE cover, "Transylvanian Hunger", which is so intense that it must go as black metal more or less. Just listen to the guitar melody. More of that!
Published: Dec. 7, 2020

(Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
This is the third release from FULLMINATOR. They deliver a sound rooted in the punky origins of thrash metal, what we simply call crossover. Among their influences are ANTHRAX, OVERKILL and GWAR for example.
They rip off 5 tracks in 17 minutes. 4 of them are their own original songs, while the last is a fast cover of the BEASTIE BOYS classic "Fight For Your Right".
This is absolutely worth a try for thrash entusiasts who just want to have fun and forget about all the problems around the world and life in general.
Published: Dec. 7, 2020

ROYAL HUNT: The Art Of Dying - Single
(NorthPoint Productions/King Records)
ROYAL HUNT will release their new concept album, "Dystopia", on December 16 in Japan and South East Asia, and on December 18 in Europe, North America and South America. It will be their 15th studio album, and "The Art Of Dying" is 1 of the songs from the new album. This song features guest vocals from Mats Levén (SKYBLOOD, TSO, ex-CANDLEMASS, Yngwie Malmsteen etc etc).
Their music is the more epic kind of heavy/power metal, with both symphonic and progressive elements involved.
The band comes from Denmark, and their story goes all the way back to 1989. It's said that they have sold around 1.8 million albums.
Published: Dec. 7, 2020

PECULIAR THREE: Lead of Faith - Album
(Self released)
This Greek trio released their self titled debut EP in 2014, and now they return with a full length album. They describe their music as hard n heavy rock/prog. Which in this case means a brew of rock, metal and progressive elements, which merges to some kind of alternative metal/rock which does not really stick in my head. But it sounds o.k. while I listen though. And I can hear that they are good at what they are doing. I think this is better suited for fans of progressive metal and rock though.
Published: Dec. 7, 2020

DORMANTH: Complete Downfall - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: Dec. 15, 2020)
DORMANTH came to life in Bilbao, Spain in January 1993. A year later they recorded their first demo, "Sadness". And a year after that they decided that it was time to record their first album, "Valley of Dreams". In 1996 the group ceased its activity, but reunited in 2015. Since then they have released 2 EPs and 2 albums.
"Complete Downfall" is their 4th album, where we get a doze of heavier melodic death metal. And they have some good stuff here, so it could be worth a try. Especially if you're a fan of bands like PARADISE LOST, AMORPHIS, AMON AMARTH, IN FLAMES and INSOMNIUM.
2 of the members are also members of IN THOUSAND LAKES.
Published: Dec. 3, 2020

INCURSION: The Hunter - EP
(No Remorse Records - Release date: Dec. 11, 2020)
INCURSION is a band from USA, who was originally active between 1982-86. They returned in 2018, and this is actually their debut EP. The music is traditional heavy metal like we all know it. So this is of course worth a try, as these 5 tracks are good stuff.
"The Hunter" will be available on CD, vinyl and digital. I don't really know what else there is to say..
Published: Dec. 3, 2020

HELLZ: Live A Lie - Single
(Revenge of Eve Records)
Here's another single from Lisa Perry and her solo band HELLZ. She has once again done everything herself.
It's said to be someting for fans of Joan Jett, Lita Ford and AC/DC. But I think that this song sounds nothing like any of them. This is a more emotional hard rocker. Pretty o.k. though, but hardly a hit song.
Published: Dec. 3, 2020

CHARTA 77: En Annorlunda Julsaga - Single
(Birdnest Records - Release date: Dec. 4, 2020)
Per Granberg with Charta 77 at Sticky Fingers
Eh, right. Once upon a time there was a Swedish punk band called CHARTA 77, who became a trallpunk band. What they have become here I don't really know, but it sure ain't punk rock anymore. It reminds me of Swedish singer/songwriters like Ulf Lundell and Lars Winnerbäck instead, which isn't something that I like (o.k., Ulf might have done some good songs many years ago, but I can count them on 1 hand).
No, this wasn't good at all. But they have already made a Christmas classic, "Svart Jul", from 1 of their first albums. I play it every Christmas.
Published: Dec. 3, 2020