The best records of 2018

So, when half the world sits and try to avoid a “double pizza” on the New Years Day, I give you the list of the best records I came through during the year of 2018. A few records disappointed me and are therefore not on my list.

As usual, rules: only full-length albums with new material, no ep´s, compilations or live albums…

25. Memoriam “The Silent Vigil”

No Brummies, no list… These dudes really did their job 2018. This is an exact record you can expect from a band like this. Really high expectations now for their third record. This is great with traces of Bolt Thrower.

24. Alastor “Slave to the Grave”

Swedish sludgy Doom which is way better than in my ears the more in my ears mediocre bands such as Monolord, Domkraft and others. A well packed double album with loads of variety. Dynamic Swedes worth a try.

23. Venom “Storm the gates”

By far the best Venom-album not featuring original drummer Abbadon or guitarist Mantas. Maybe this is more of continuation of the 85-86ish era with “Possessed” and “Calm Before the Storm” is my first thoughts when the opening track “Bring Out Your Dead” bursts out of the speakers to demolish my ears. Then this orchestra, today lead by Cronos, goes on into an NWOBHM-wave over a few songs returning to Cronos punk rot in “Dark Night (of the soul)”. A few songs later come my big, big question mark. I am a fan of the old Twisted Sister records and the song “Destroyer” in general. Here comes Venom playing a song named “Destroyer” be very similar to Twisted Sisters song with the same name from 1982. Is the song made with any awareness of Twisted Sisters ditto and they thought that no one remembers the great rock n roll by Dee Snider & the fellas?

22. Lucifer “Lucifer II”

This might just be the hard second album, but still not that bad. Competence my dear people, competence here named Nicke Andersson. After a great first album, Johanna went on a long journey ending up with her singing increased enormously in quality and moving to Sweden and marrying Nicke Andersson. Nicke is a super competent songwriter and musician and to have him back behind the drums is a bit of a dream to come through for some of us old schoolers. So i do believe that he will come there with the third Lucifer album. This one is great but missing out in production here and there be a bit too thin. Like the second song “Dreamer”, which is a very heavy and doomy live favorite of mine but on the record it sounds more like a cheesy 80s ballad. Opener “California Son” is a classic fuzzy motorbike  anthem. The concluding three songs pretty much helps this album. Black Sabbath/The Beatles/Pink Floyd-snorting “Before The Sun” shows uo how you combine some of your dearest influences in a great presentation without no influence be unfair to the other. “Aton”… well these people like Blue Öyster Cult which you can clearly hear here. “Faux Pharao” is a step back to the doomier first album and the heaviness this album needs. Also Johanna can sing out some with her lovely voice and Nicke bangs the drums over fuzzy, heavy guitar leads.

21, Fu Manchu “Clone of the Universe”

The Desert Rock is NOT dead. Dudes do pretty much what they always have done and sometimes it is just enough. A fast, heavy, fuzzy opening with songs such as “Intelligent Worship” and the hit “(I´ve been) Hexed”. The title track sounds so much as this band should sound as their selves so it is beyond fantastic. Finishing the record with the 18 minutes long “Il Mostro Atomico” just shows off that this band loves to play be one of their best ever tracks.

20. Black Elephant “Cosmic Blues”

Italian psych is progressing and this metal outfit of the psych style gives us a lot for the money you spent on buying their record. Well played fuzz guitars, intense vocals without any flashover and it gets me to think about the two brilliant albums Corrosion of Conformity did after reuniting with Mike in 2011 with their Animosity line-up. A bit of the same feeling to it and this, ladies and gentlemen, is good rock an roll with a psychedelic twist to it. With some back-up, they can make it pretty big, I do believe. A great, new discovery for me.

19. Abramis Brama “Tusen År”

Swedish retro rockers with their finest record to date. Groovy, atnmospheric and dark 70s rock with all the ingredients we need. To understand the lyrics and song titles you need to fire up Google-translate if not speaking Swedish. Because they are well written and good. The Judas Priest-influenced “Hav av Lögner” might be their strongest song to date. The band raised up a notch in every single corner of their sphere in this.

18. Brant Bjork “Mankind Woman”

Stoner ace Brant Bjork is back with maybe his finest solo album to date. A lot of the 70s to be heard in here. Nothing special, just the usual, Thin Lizzy fuzz mixed with more underground Detroit.stuff and modern Desert Rock. “Pisces” is a soulful outfit with the fantastic one-liner “I´m so sick and tired of being sick and tired, my friend”. “Nation of Indica” contains a few examples of what we in Sweden would call “emergency rhyme” without making it cheeky for that sake. Good when old farts still keeps up to standards.

17. Johnny Marr “Call the Comet”

I´ve always been weak in my mind for what this Mancunian can do with a guitar. I am a major fan of his 80s band The Smiths, mostly because of the guitar playing. A few years ago he sorts of re-started his solo career after running around under the moniker Johnny Marr & The Healers over a few years releasing “The Messenger” in 2013. From there, things moved in the right direction again. Tweaky and melancholic guitars and he shaped up his voice singing properly and doing great works with his heritage of British pop music. This, his third record in this modern solo-effort shows us a Johnny with a hunger for the world and there are so great moments on this record such as the opening four tracks “Rise”, “The Tracers”, “Hey Angel”, “Hi Hello”. Contains slight thefts from his own bloody career and it is just a good way. “The Tracers” be a bit early 90s goth style and gives me the memories from the Leeds band The Mission. The experimental “New Dominions” flips into the summer hit “Day In Day Out”. A weeping guitar storms up “Spiral Cities” and “A Different Gun” just gives you the yearning for more.

16. Painted Doll “Painted Doll”

Chris Reifert never lets me down, not even when he plays alternative, poppy rock´n roll somewhere between Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Ramones with American comedian Dave Hill. The opening riff in minor for “Together Alone” reminds me a lot of late 80s alternative/indie. The blues-inspired heavy “Carousel” just flies you back in time to the ’70s and as the third track the hit song “Hidden Hand” kicks off with a poppy punk feeling somewhere between Ramones and Iggy. Wonderful. Those three songs pretty much talk about the mod on this great record and concluding with a version of Screaming Jay Hawkins “I put a spell on you” pretty much confirms what I did just talk to you about.

15. Axegrinder “Satori”

Lately, I´ve been listening to Head of David “Dustbowl” and Fudge Tunnel´s “Hate Song in E Minor” along a lot of old singles from Sub Pop and Amphetamine Reptile Records, that is most likely why I do like this record so much. Aggressive riffs upon a hard square beat, without being industrial, heavy and punky as hell. Angry aggressive vocals from Trev just wrap this into a package not heard since Helmet released their debut album. The songs expire a bit into the record and the title track, be way over 7 minutes is an epic, hard beating heavy piece of dirty rock, a true headbanger.  Concluding “Too Far From Home” is a ballad drenched with heavy riffs and screams, with for me an unidentified female voice dragging the aggressiveness down into some beauty pub-sing along.

14. Maidavale “Madness Is Too Pure”

Here we have risen after a near overdose trip of acid… These girls went from being a great sort of stoner rock band to a superbly great psych-rock band over a night. How the hell this happened so quick, nobody knows but I do bloody adore it. This album progresses and grooves more and more in my mind the more I do listen to it. I ´m so bloody curious in what they are up to next. So far from their first gigs I spotted at KGB ages ago.

 

13. Octopus “Supernatural Alliance”

The Detroit rock scene is more alive than ever and this is no exception. Heavy riffs, Hammond sounding organ and a powerful singer in Masha Marijeh. Not to be confused with neither the Scottish or English bands with the same name. Sniffing on the sounds of psychedelic 70s rock with the elegance of pure Detroit heavy rock music, this is living proof of why the song “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss do have a meaning even after Chris Cornell’s suicide after a show in that city. A high whirlwind rock tempo through over the groove, fuzzy riffs and almost hysterical vocals by Masha. “The Unknown” is a song so heavy so it must have the grounds beneath the bands practice room to sink… Of course, being from Detroit, there is a ballad full of sorrow and pain in “All The Love” named “Fleetwood Mac” on the vinyl version (I do have both the clear vinyl and iTunes versions), starting with a piano plinking which indicates that this is not a song about a fun night at the Tivoli. The lead from Joe Frezzato creeps in under your skin before turning into a very Deep Purple-ish mood. Another thing is that the opening track is named “Beyond The Center” on my vinyl and “The Center” on iTunes. “Black Dynamite” is a sing-along that could´ve been recorded by Candlemass during the Messiah-years, Detroit goes 80´s doom, nothing strange with that. “Dragonhead” be the final song of the record and drags us into modern psychedelic pop-rock music. A wonderful adventure worth every penny spent on it. I do hope they come here to play one day.

12. Siege of Power “Warning Blast”

If you take Chris Reifert on a holiday in The Netherlands meeting up with various Death Metal musicians such as Theo van Ekelen (ex-Thanatos, Hail of Bullets etc), Bob Bagchus (Infidel Reich, ex-Asphyx, ex-Soulburn etc) & Paul Baayens (Asphyx, Thanatos, ex-Hail of Bullets etc), this is most likely what is happening: old school, grind crusty powerful Death Metal in the traces of Slaughter, Napalm Death, Nuclear Death & Necrophagia. Special the tracks in the middle of the record are very influenced by the 80s grind-era with “Uglification” be the top song of the whole record, smack in your face, just like the Napalm Death-song “Siege of Power” that this band is named after. So, Chris Reifert got me on two hobby (?) bands this year.

11. Moenen of Xezbeth “Ancient Spells of Darkness…”

This must be the oddest named band I´ve bought this year. The opening is just reminding me of the likes of Funeral Nation in the late 80´s/early ’90s somewhere. Maybe the artwork and doomy riffing get me some old Vital Remains and Mortuary Drape too, the vocals definitely do. Conjuring on the weak line between 80s heavy, symphonic and very dark Death Metal to 80s Black Metal with riffs I think we all wrote in our versions just gives me a lot of love and passion. Even the sound on this recording does have an authentic dodginess over it and just missing out that the drums should be just drier, then it would be perfect. This is where I do come from myself, as it was back then when I was a young boy in the 80s reading every Death Metal fanzine I could come over, getting bullied in school for odd taste in music heading into Stockholm city hanging with the older blokes in Morbid, Mefisto and later Therion. I like this record so much because it pretty much tells my story of how I started up and where I still hold my ground. “Oath of Malignancy” does contain all the tricks with atmospheric synthesizer leads upon the dark rhythm, just beside the guitars. The omens of “Obscured by Lunar Rites” be bloody deadly. This is a well-done portion of dark metal.

10. Nocturnal Graves “Titan”

Not really coming up to the standards of the supreme “…From the Bloodline…” from 2013, this is still really a modern classic in Speedy Aussie Death Metal. 2012 this outfit added home turning Shrapnel, after löliving a few years in Europe playing with Deströyer666, Razor of Occam and last but not least, Adorior. This was the missing link from the past and with such a competent musician in the band things are basic. The tight riffing and intensity of “Souls Tribulation” sets a pace for this winger. I do have high expectations on this load for the future.

9. Septic Tank “Rotting Civilisation”

The sticker on the vinyl says “18 tracks of fast, raging, gut-grinding mayhem. For fans of Discharge, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Slaughter, Crucifix, Seige etc. Featuring members of Repulsion, Napalm Death, Cathedral and Acid Reign (!). Pretty much says it all.

8. Voivod “The Wake”

There are a very few bands with such innovation as Voivod. Over the years they´ve released a number of various music in tremendous terms on a shit load of records and in September 2018, their next brilliant work appeared in my mailbox on golden vinyl. Voivod tried a gazillion styles of metal and rock over the years including punky crusty black stinking thrash metal, psychedelic rock, progressive metal, and space metal. Still, they had everything sounding like Voivod. You can hear it so quickly when it is Voivod and when it is not. Through their career they´ve changed a number of bass players and even singer Snake were out of the band 1994-2001 with drummer Away being the only constant member from the start AND having Chewy completing the mission impossible of replacing the late guitar player Piggy, who died in Cancer in 2005, not only in playing guitars perfectly in Voivodian style but also looking like him. Constant Canadian excellence since 1982.

7. Watain “Trident Wolf Eclipse”

Being one of the first albums out in 2018 and be one of the löast albums I will listen to before we force our bodies into 2019. Watain never disappointed me at any level. This is no exception. Bursting in a very high tempo into “Nuclear Alchemy” stepping back towards the sounds of the bands early days. Be one of the leading bands in the worlds Black Metal scene of today, they prove why with looking both back and forward over 9 songs in 42 brutal minutes. Backed up with successful world tours with numbers of live shows, of which I saw a few, with various set lists also proves how strong this bands career been. “The Fire of Power” towards the end digs up the more melancholic and depressing riffs with Erik’s vocals be more furious than ever which gives this publication such an elegance worthy the darkest evil powers upon earth. The guitar playing on this is just near perfection for its sake of music. “Antikrists Mirakel” concludes another chapter in a very important bands history in style be an epic wall of sound with psychedelic and horrific speaks upon an enormously epic piece of well-balanced music.

6. Cemetery Urn “Barbaric retribution”

This Aussie-burster is a clean modern top machine. The riffs… the riffs… This is the finest pot of classic Death Metal from down under and we surely soaked our minds time after time over the years demanding such thee. Just shut-up Death Metal with style. Just listen to the album, you will be tormented and sorry.

5. Witchskull “Coven´s Will”

Yet another Aussie band qualifies with one of the purest and best doom metal albums in modern history. In Sweden, we say PANG PÅ RÖDBETAN! The rage in Marcus voice in the chorus of opener “Raven” is shocking. This is WHY I love Doom Metal. The riffs dooms on to perfection and remind me of the glory days of Trouble, Cathedral, and Confessor. This record is so powerful, heavy and full of treasures in melodic forms so I was nearly shocked first time hearing it. There are great moments all over and the fury and raging vocals is just top notch. This is so far from bullshit you can not imagine. “The Empty Well” is an epic doom classic and sounds very Candlemass.

4. Unleashed “The Hunt For White Christ”

You are taken by surprise sometimes. Not because the warriors in Unleashed makes a good album, because they always do. They are one of the most reliable bands in Death Metal of making good records. This is on the other side may be their best release since their glory days of the early 90s and that is a very great effort to create such thing the year 2018. No surprises, just a bit better than usual.

3. Sinistro “Sangue Cássiva”

Portuguese masters of darkness and depression did it again. Ambient Doom Rock. Live they are a beautiful piece of art with Patrícias horror mental psychedelic theatre, monochrome films and utterly dark rock and atmospheric rock somewhere between Doom, Post Rock and some sludge. Been onto them for a few years by now and had the opportunity to see them live in several countries on varied sized stages and set times over the years.

Best thing from Portugal since Port Wine.

2. Necros Christos “Domedon Doxomedon”

This is an experimental album that takes a while to listen to, as it lasts for nearly 2 hours, as well as it takes some time to get into every corner. I will sit with this one for years and discover new things and will try to figure things out. Still you can hear the great excellence and familiar style of the band with reaping, pounding Death Metal. This band defiles in their own Champions League of European Death Metal.

  1. Deicide “Overtures of Blasphemy”

You can say a lot about Glen Benton, but you can never take away the musical genius he and his bandmates are. This is one hell of an album. A true masterpiece. Definitely album of the year without a doubt. Their return to Europe 2019 is one of the most awaited ever.

Enough said, have a tremendous hung over!

 

 

Also worth mentioning and a long listening:

 

Sarah MacDougall “All the Hours I have Left To Tell You Anything”

Emma Ruth Rundle “On Dark Horses”

Then there are a few, I´m shameful & can confess, I did not listen to like At The Gates…

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Soundtrack 2017

So here it is, my favorite albums out of 2017… Hold on! This was a recycling year, so we heard many of these records before by other artists. Still, sometimes you back to where you enjoy yourself at it´s best…

Rules: no re-recorded albums, no cover albums, no live records with old songs and no E.P.´s. This why two of my favorite records out of 2017 is just mentioned here and not listed because one is a re-recording and one contains too many cover songs.

Mourning dawn “The Dead years”

Little Steven & the disciples of soul “Soulfire”

So on with it!

17: Bell Witch “Mirror Reaper”

The one song album lasts for about 75 minutes and the part between the 26:37 and 47:49 is my all time favourite sounds by this band. They are masters of making unlistenable music listenable, and that is their big fall as long as they create music not meant for everybody for more people than it was meant to. Still, this is a hard job to listen to and you can not turn it off. Once you pop you can not stop sort to say… Excellent job. Un forty I will miss their gig in Stockholm in April.

16. Society´s Decline “No angel on the shoulder of the world”

Back in the eighties, I was consuming a load of aggressive American punk like Slapshot, Agnostic Front, and Poison Idea. This is really hitting cousin it in the very centre of that universe and it is bloody ace. The best thing is that the record is only just past 18  minutes so you can loop it over and over. Swedish punk is far away from dead and with bands like this you feel comfortable up here in this corner.

15. Tau Cross “Pillar of Fire”

The extremely hard second album by a “super group” was not that difficult. Slashing rock with a line-up of The Baron, Away & Andy Lefton. What could possibly go wrong?

14. Memoriam “For The Fallen”

This breeds classical British Death Metal and crusty punk. These guys come from bands such as Sacrilege, Benediction and Bolt Thrower and you could certainly hear that as it is a mix of the greatest sounds from these institutions in my record collection. Saw them live in Tilburg, Eindhoven, and Glasgow. Hilarious! We even got to hear a few Bolt thrower themes and I witnessed a duet between two previous Boltbthrower singers in Eindhoven.I´ve been enjoying these sounds from the late eighties and will do for the additional minimum of thirty years, believe me. THIS is music! I think this will progress and rise with the next album. Extremely high expectations on that one. A very promising start why I down rated this a bit as I know they do have severe bombs in Birmingham to bring up.

13. Ufomammut “8”

Must be impossible to follow up their three latest with the same class but it is ALMOST there… Spaghettisspacedoomgaze at it´s best.

12. Radar Men From the Moon “Subversive II: Spelende De Mens”

The psych masters from Noord-Brabant finally did it. After being near but not really there for two, not so chubby records, they did hit it big time. This is hardcore psychedelia and for persons who like the first scenes down at the club from the movie “Irreversiblé”. This is a MUST listen too if you ever will be the person that could talk to me in thirty years and say “remember your reaction after the first 9 minutes of this record?”…

11. Ohhms “The Fool”

A band I never got to see play live yet due to the terror attack on Stockholm on April 7 where the cops closed down all the clubs and live music they could think about. I´ve heard this record so many times on so many other records by so many other bands by now that it is almost considered insane. Still the sludgy doomy stony bloody radio rock, we might best be heard before by Shrinebuilder in the house. too much radio metal for me but I like to squeeze the cheese some times too. Enough info.

10. Electric Wizard “Wizard Bloody Wizard”

Another long and going favourite band. Frantic riffs that scare the shit out of you and all the elements. It is a very hard year to review because the great music created is so great so some days I would rate all of these gems higher but somewhere you have to realize how small the differences are between second place and the winner and then tomorrow when this is in print you will remember all the records you forgot.

9. Sólstafir Berdreyminn”

Icelandic cowboys. Always somew2here between doom, gaze and a spaghetti western soundtrack Hilarious! I will never ever stop listening to hem or go watch their gigs over and over. Far from top moments but still really classy. They will awaken any Vulcan any time, beware!

8. Dool “Here now, there then”

Another “almost” record. You know how much I adored The Devil´s Blood and this is maybe as close to any existing leftover from that spirit even including an ex-member of that band. Probably the record I listened most minutes too in 2017 and the reason I got furious when my medical situation did not allow me to go to Eindhoven Metal Meeting and see them. Vantablack for the masses!

7. Morbid Angel “Kingdoms Disdained”

Maybe I underrated this album before it´s release so I overrate it in my ratings. I do not know. Since the disappointment with “Blessed are the Sick” they never really came back to me. “Abominations of Desolation” is some of the best ever recorded music and everything they had there, on their later demos/rehearsal tapes and first actually released records were all gone. So i had no expectations at all here. This monster actually cheered me up. never been a fan of the album with Steve Tucker but here he really comes through and proves why he is a morbid angel.

6. Sorcerer “The Crowning of the Fire King”

This is classical Swedish doom metal and nobody, except Sorcerer and Grand Magus manages to keep it up these days. Fantastic. So rarely above anything else I´ve heard in this genre for a very long time.

5. Watter “History of the Future”

If you mix melancholic, abstract doom, gazing pop, psychedelic indie, The Stone Roses and something from the first three, lesser-known Kraftwerk-albums you do end up here. A fantastic album and the reason I do consider to travel to Roadburn 2018. Does it make you think about “History of a time to come” by Sabbat?

4. Mefisto “Mefisto”

This record could have ended up on this spot only for the first song. Nothing ever sounded so much Mefisto as “Death Angel”. Pure magic and the rest of the album proves a band full of vengeance claiming their roots. There is much more to discover on this album, besides a guest appearance from L-G Petrov we do find dynamic songs in the classical vein, not necessarily soundwise, as the Mefisto tapes, we died for in the second half of the 1980s. This is a true record that personifies me, who I am and who I´ve been since the age of ten. the only question is the song “In Morte Victoria”, not a bad song but definitely not a Mefisto song. Would´ve been more natural for a band like Coldplay or something to record. The Swedish texted “Mörker, Kom Ta Min hand” and the finalizing “Mefisto (Anno1892)”  are other epic moments from this classic.

3. Immolation “Atonement”

The most “almost” band in the whole world almost did it again. “Dawn of possession” is almost the best modern death metal record, almost conquering the new school band of death metal. They almost released this record on my birthday (it was out the day after) and it is almost as good as their debut album from 1991. This is as good as new school death metal gets and it is almost as good as the old school.

2. Venom Inc. “Ave”

Three of the most underrated records in the world were recorded by this trio: “Prime Evil”, “Temples of Ice” and “The Wate Lands” when they still were allowed to be called Venom. Then the legendary trio of Venom including Cronos re-united in the mid-nineties just before Abbadon had enough and left and then they recorded another record with Mantas, it just was not Venom and the Mantas were trolled by Cronos who claimed the band by himself in 2005. Just for the record: this is Venom. This is the guys who are the two original members of the band being Mantas and Abbadon, writing the songs and getting the things together. I have nothing against Cronos and his Venom, but they do not sound like Venom. Venom can only sound like Venom when Abbadon and Mantas play together. Cronos thing sounds like Cronos and some musicians play Venom songs and other songs. This sounds like the god´s rock´n roll. Far from their finest moment but still good enough to be a every day listen.

  1.  Thurston Moore “Rock´n Roll Consciousness”

Every person with a nerdy interest in music goes its own superhero. Here is mine and this is the most incredible guitar playing I´ve heard since “Daydream Nation”. even when you face moments like 2:55 into “Turn On” sounding like the most typical-day-at-the-office-thurston Moore you can imagine this is supremely brilliant. When 2017 opened up I could never believe hearing anything at this level as neither Black Sabbath, the legendary trio of Venom, Nuclear Assault, Autopsy, Motörhead or Iron maiden were announced to record a full-length record.

Of corpse… the minute I posted this I wondered which place I gave “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” by Spectral Voice and unfortunately, they just got the honourable mention for that fantastic effort. Also worth an honourable mention: Deep PurpleInfinite” be their best album since “Perfect Strangers

Into everlasting Fire 2018!

OVER AND OUT! LISTEN AND ENJOY!

Albums of 2016

As my life in general Not too many great albums came in my way in 2016 but the ones who did are really bloody good. Songs I will sing along too over many years. Moments of truth. Looking at it, it is actually quite mainstream for being me. I must have lost my feeling for the underground.

As usual, no single songs or singles or ep´s. Full albums, so sorry Necrosic, sunnO))) etc.

13. NEUROSIS “Fires Within Fires”

Many of my friends will hate me for not putting this higher on te list, It just is not better than the other albums despite being really good. Just when you kick amazing 30th anniversary shows and released the maybe best record in your career before this, then expectations must rise too. It feels like they did not get it all the way, still an amazing album.

12. SUMAC “What One Becomes”

Chaotic unstructured sludge kicks off this record. It takes us through out the entire landscape of modern sludge mixing in unexpected guest notes. What I love with this album is that I keep discovering new things within every single listen. A very artistical album when your ears needs more complexity than the ordinary radiopoprock.

11. SINISTRO “Semente”

This band is so much heavier, direct and righteous live, After seeing them no less than three times at Damnation Festival, Roadburn and in Stockholm I can only hope that they can get more of their live karisma into their next studio effort. They need it. The first album I actually never heard but it do not contain their current singer. whom is more than half the pleasure of listening and watching.

10. VEKTOR “Terminal Redux”

Somewhere between intensive thrash and progressive metal. I never heard anything like this album since Hellwitch debut album “Syzygial Miscreancy” in 1990. When you can handle the progressive part and mix it with intense thrash metal , then it is more than great. Complexity deluxe, like a 40 year old Barolo wine.

9.  IZEGRIM “The Ferryman´s End”

Dutch thrashers Izegrim never leaves you sad. No exceptions here. The intensity is bloody marv. Unfortunately I missed see them live to perform songs from this album.

8. MAIDAVALE “Tales of the wicked west”

Over the years I´ve seen this quartet playing the pubs in Stockholm. They are young and goes from one to another. Their debut album is just THE Janis Joplin I miss in todays music scene. Use your soul and rnb vocal influences in metal, but do not bloody MTV-them like too many others do. Definitely the most interesting new Swedish rock act in my eyes along Rome Is Not A Town. Superb live band.

7. DARK THRONE “Arctic thunder”

This band kept changing their sound up and down so many times over the years and it is not always for the good. When it is good, they are the best band in Norway. This contains a unique guitar playing style I did not hear them do since their debut album “Soulside journey”.

6. BLACK MOUNTAIN “IV”

A band I discovered at Roadburn in maybe 2011. Their space rock is frantic and somewhere between E.L.O., The Beatles and Rush with a heavier and sometimes punkier touch that these other legends do not provide. Their gig at Roadburn this year, despite starting 1am, just proved that this is a band to count in for the future. We will definitely hear more from and about this band.

5. SUBROSA “For This We Fought The Battles of Angels”

Not too fond of christian bands in general. On the other hand this mormon combo do not predict that way and if you sometimes here a something different to the “hail satan”-shouts in your music, then it is fine. Their magic gig in a art space theatre on the floor along Sinistro infront of maybe just 35 people were one of the highlights in this city this year.

4. 40 WATT SUN “Wider Than the Sky”

The doom metal version of R.E.M. strikes again. Darn I´ve been waiting for this ever since their gig at “Hammer of Doom” 2015. Fabulous soundtrack to the Swedish summer.

3. SOULBURN “Eartless Pagan Spirit”

Asphyx-legends and founders Eric and Bob are maiming loose tremendous paths of old school with a touch of the very old school such as Venom/Hellhammer. Delicious dutch extreme metal. No words, no thoughts. Just slam it through your speakers.

2. DESTRÖYER 666 “Wildfire”

This is a masterpiece. They do have such many moments and songs and records over the years. This is exceptional. With some new members giving their competence in song writing and composing it gives this band a new dimension without compromising any of the old dimensions. Fantastic.

  1. BLOOD INCANTATION “Starspawn”

When a band steal all the greatest elements of death metal and sell their theft rebuilt in a exclusive and complex portion of black magic, then it is the end of discussion. Top level death metal and one of the greatest bands I had the opportunity to see this year at California Deathfest. I will never forgive myself for leaving that festival NOT buying any merch from them. I am still blaming the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Honourable mention:

CONVULSING “Errata”

I do not know if this is a 2016 album or demo release or 2016 at all. It just came in my knowledge yesterday and it is a fantastic wall of sound worthy to spend a few hours upon.

 

High expectations 2017: MEMORIAM, VENOM INC., IMMOLATION

– 2 – 0 – 1 – 6 –

A very tough and sad year in many ways but also one of the greatest years I´ve experienced.

First the ups. Looking at it, it is all back to my roots. The past is alive.

Tried to keep it as short as possible.

A summary of some of my best enjoyed moments of 2016:

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

A few visits to this magic edge of the world. I do not know what there is with me and Manchester. I just feel good breathing the air there. Over the years I met many great people whom became my friends. We share interest in beverages and music in a way I feel I do miss with people here in Stockholm. So by now I have more friends that I am in frequent correspondence with from Manchester/Macclesfield/Chorlton than anywhere else in the world. On top of that, a few of my best friends opened a new venue called Café Beermoth which immediately became one of my favorite places to drink in the world.

METAL-ASSAULT, WÜRZBURG, GERMANY

As people who knows the slightest of me know, Venom is one of my all time favorite bands since first I heard them circa 1984. I never saw the original trio perform together, as in the 80s I were far to young to travel abroad for their gigs and in the 90s re-union time I had no money and were busy being a dj in the world of alternative & underground music. So, with only watching Cronos version of Venom, disappointing me time after time for the obvious reason that is do not have any particular Venom-feeling at all. It just felt that it was Cronos with random musicians doing Venom-covers and not so good. So, coming home from another disappointing Cronos-event where I got sick and tired of his circus and left after half show I saw the great news that Metal-Assault Festival announced Venom Inc as the final act of the festival. I recently visited another festival in Würzburg and I loved the small Franconian city (I already adored their wine), the venue and the vibe of the people. It is easy accessible from Frankfurt Airport with a direct train taking an hour and a half. At the earlier festival, Hammer of Doom organized by the same people I saw a poster for the  Metal-Assault one day festival in January. Many great bands I listened to a lot in the eighties and a few newer ones in the same 80s powerful and speed metal era were to perform so I already suggested myself to go there and see Grim Reaper,  Evil Invaders and Liege Lord. So, with Venom Inc. co-headlining the choice was easy. Venom Inc is a reincarnation of the original line-up of three Venom records between 1989 and 1992. It contains the other two original members apart from Cronos (who is not an original member looking at the story as the band existed years before he got in) being Abbadon and Mantas. They reformed like 9 months before and along Demolition-Man they burst mostly classic Venom-songs (from the records before Demolition Mans time). So, I were going to give this Venom a chance. If they would suck too I could always throw frisbee with my Venom records. They did not. They keep the musical spirit of Venom so high and genuine it is unbelievable. Venom never been so Venom post 1985. So going there was a bit more than ace. Going through every single record and song this band recorded with all their line-ups, I am convinced Venom needs the duo of Abbadon and Mantas in symbiosis to sound like Venom. No offense to the other members, they got some magic that can only be created them two together. They are Venom and Demolition-Man got what it takes to be the third part. THIS IS VENOM!

NETHERLANDS DEATHFEST 1, TILBURG, HOLLAND

Besides Manchester, Holland in general and Eindhoven in specific has been the places I´ve mostly visited over the years. The story and the love is far too old and long to explain here. The number of times are too many to be counted. Tilburg is a small town and if you book a ticket for a festival or event too late there will be no hotel-rooms available as it is by far too limited. So what do you do? If you are me, you stay at your home away from home in Eindhoven, a hotel located just a few meters away from the station. You take the 23 minute train ride to Tilburg and you take the night train back. No more, no less. Once again, the main reason were to see one of my favorite bands from the past that I never saw live, Autopsy. Besides Autopsy there were loads of great bands like Angelcorpse, Razor, Blasphemy, Asphyx, Sever Torture, Cruciamentum, Thanatos, Dodecahedron, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult etc Organized in the freshly rebuilt 013, with the second stage being accessible for more than a few and the main stage opened up and became H U G E! Over the years I´ve visited 013 a few times for the Roadburn Festival and saw a great amount of bands there and superb concerts I will remember over the next 666 years. Autopsy were definitely one of these gigs. On top of that getting time to hang out at the gentle Irish pub in Eindhoven with my great old friend Kasper for the first time in a while was worth the trip.

COPENHAGEN BEER CELEBRATION 5, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

I love Copenhagen and deffo do not go there too often. So when my friend Heather told me that her husband Dan Lilkler would pay a tribute to his old band Stormtroopers of Death ( just S.O.D. to many people) in Copenhagen I were not late to book a flight and a hotel room. The coverband was going to be called Stormtroopers of Beer as it was associated to the Copenhagen Beer Celebration-festival and would contain some Swedish people I knew for years. As told first, they were going to to do 2 gigs one of the Saturday and one on the Friday. So the whole weekend got booked in Copenhagen. the Friday I were working but took a 6.30 flight from Stockholm. that should give me time to the show starting 10 pm. On my way to the airport Heather texted me show were rescheduled until 9pm. My flight arrived 8.10… Got my bag a bit late and arrived at WarPigs by 9.07 I missed almost half the show. She also texted me that the Saturday show were rescheduled too, to the friday night and therefor the first show were earlier. Mean I had a Saturday in Copenhagen with nothing to do as the beer festival were sold out and there were a massive demand for tickets. Anyhow, at second show, held at participating at CBC-breweries party my people of our great local brewery Stockholm Brewing Co. were partying hard. Their manager Olli somehow provided me a ticket for the festival, not knowing how he did that but that is a fantastic favor I can never pay back. When you have friends taking your back and treating you in such a way, you know you are rich. Olli Bartlow, Dan, Heather and Malmoe-Kasper, you made that weekend so bloody great ALONG several friends from Manchester with Cloudwater Brewing Co crew in the front seat whom also travelled there. I can never go back to CBC after this as I find it hard for any other year to top this for me. An orgy of world class friendship from all over the world made this possible. I am so rich having such great friends and at a party like that when you know too many too mention. I can try but… only the list of true friends that I do have in my phonebook would be too long. Then there were another few people you know by face and name and or maybe social medias… This is the sort of happenings I like the most. You go there for one reason and then, because of your great network relations everything progresses to the greatest monster you ever created. Too many words could be spoken. I just end it there.

 

IRON MAIDEN; MILANO, ITALIA

This were another great trip, visiting PIZ (if you like Pizza you know what I mean), BQ, Sloane Square, Gucci Café and Lambic Zone. I refuse to go to the stadium they´ve put Iron Maiden in Gothenburg, Sweden for many personal reasons. So I needed to travel. I were choosing from many different and great cities but finally I took the gigs in Italia. The first gig were held in a small basketball arena outside of Milan with a capacity of 11264. For many years I´ve only seen Iron maiden play gigantic shows for maybe in between 35000-70000 persons. So this felt like one of these “smaller” ice rink gigs they used to play in Stockholm in the 1980s. The whole seating area were standing and the massive crowd interactions could be heard loudly for once. I felt like 12 years old again and almost started to cry. Not sure Iron maiden in manchester 2017 will top this. Impressive.

CALIFORNIA DEATHFEST, OAKLAND, U.S.A.

My first ever trip to California. This time to see another of my top bands: Nuclear Assault. I also came to see one of my new friends Andrew, whom I met at Roadburn Festival earlier this year and a exile Swedish family after the festival. So bands and exile Swedes from the past kept the red thread here. Andrew also kept that thread alive with interviewing me for his podcast and made me talk about some of my past. Apart from Nuclear Assault I enjoyed Blood Incantation, Icon of Phobos, Razor, Necrosic, Brujeria, Birdflesh, Exhumed, Black Breath, Verbal Abuse, Angelcorpse, Hooded Menace, Vastum etc Just a little more of everything than a normal festival weekend once again meeting Dan & Heather & Eric of Nuclear Assault & the other Californian Andrew I met at Roadburn along his girl Diana and the fabulous Avinash. The house beer were Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, it must  be  a not so god beer as I forgot to buy any merchandise from Blood Incantation. How is that possible? Do not drink Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!

Some of my favorite moments of CDF 2016:

 

EINDHOVEN METAL MEETING, EINDHOVEN, HOLLAND

My annual ritual. It is the place where I go and end up at no mater what. For the last few years the dutch facebook group Beer Geeks also arranges a beer tasting at Van Molen Brew Pub early Saturday which I of corpse attended along many metal beer geeks. One of them be David Ingram known from bands such as Benediction, Bolt thrower and now Hail of Bullets. Again too many familiar faces apart from David and organizers Kasper & Roman, journalist Marcel, Izegrim,  the eviltwins, 100 musicians I know (some from the very past like Johan of Tiamat and Eric/Bob from Soulburn), many Swedish and Brexit travellers, and friends from all over Europe. Out of the bands worth to mention were Soulburn, General Surgery, Tiamat, Watain, bölzer, Mayhem, Protector, Destruction, Pro-Pain, Batushka and Memoriam. If you know me over the years you know that I am big fan of Bristish band Bolt Thrower. The band disbanded in 2015 when their drummer sadly passed away BUT the old drummer of Bolt Thrower and one of their singers, Karl Willets (they only recorded and have records out with 4 different singers since 1986) along two dudes from benediction then started another band as a tribute to the late Martin: Memoriam. It is a perfect continuation of their previous works and I can not wait for their debut album to show up in the spring. They played a few Bolt thrower songs and upon one of them, they invited another old Bolt thrower singer for a duet: David Ingram. That whole show, Pro-Pain and Watain to be the dearest memories  to carry home along some dutch barley wines I picked up at beer shop.

 

 

CHRISTMAS, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

During my years with my ex.girlfriends I learned to enjoy Christmas again and I want to celebrate with the food and the calm. The pity this year was that I was forced to do it alone as my family do not live in Stockholm any more and I were to mentally murdered for another long travel. A girlfriend I had some + 20 years ago, now exiled to Birmingham were at home in Stockholm for Christmas. So she squeezed in a few minutes at the pub over a pint of Guinness with me in her tight schedule (when you just visit in your hometown for the first time in ages you must meet a gazillion of friends, siblings and relatives and it is not easier with a split family living here and there so your schedule will be tight). I was more than pleased of that. She always been a very dear friend. Then she asked me what I was going to do for Christmas so I told her. Sit home, eat good food, watch tv by myself (same as I will do tonight new years eve). She did not really approve to that. So she spoke to her mother and they invited me over to celebrate Christmas with them. That is the most beautiful and prominent thing someone did for me in 2016. I had a wonderful time with her & her family (most of them not being strangers) the whole day and night until stupid o´clock. I felt included, comfortable and adored by people whom I know since many years. I also had another invitation, but that also included a travel that were far more than I felt I had the energy for, I am as grateful for that invitation just for the record.

The downs:

Fail surgery, halfway through the doctor discontinued knowing by then that the Titan-implant could not be removed (you can not see that on x-ray). So I had that wrapped in my face and have to accept to live with the pain and irritation this is causing me day by day hour after hour for the rest of my life. It is harder than you think. I were lying down with scalpels cutting up my cheek thinking I were going to get rid of the Titan-implant that scrapes the nerve and causes pain and irritation when he just wrapped the bad news in my face. The affects of the assault where I nearly got beaten to death in march 2012 continues. This nightmare never ends.

I broke up relationships with close friends for the reasons that we are not on the same level anymore and I am 41 years old and knows where I feel secure, safe and comfortable. It is hard and tough but maybe something I should have done years before with some of them. Friends should not only cost you energy, they are supposed to sometimes provide it too. I know the fact that I have not been perfect myself, I caused many problems and situations over the past. So maybe you people should be happy we do not talk or know each other no more. Bonus point was that two of them were playing with me in the same band so I did have to start the band over again with new people. They quit the band and went behind my back and stabbed it after a joke that went a bit too far. Two days before our first gig. I´ve been working with this project since 2011 and I do want it to become reality. If they could´ve stressed down and not commit these things whilst I was working, then things could´ve been different. I know for a few other cases I were the one that did not handle the situation well, I even acted like the asshole I sometimes do love to be. I know that. More than very well

Not giving close friends the time they deserve. I am so self-absorbed so I do not see that I actually have friends that do want to hang out with me and no matter no one ever bother to call me when I am already busy when they ask anyhow. So my promise for 2017 is to try to give my close and dear more attention and time and actually try to see them at least one or a few times. Not to be so focused to live my life somewhere else, away from where I actually do live my life. Where people actually can see me walk the streets day by day.

Leaving my family. I had a female that adored with a wonderful kid. Due to some minor shit in the middle of some other turbulence I did not fight it, I just walked out as the coward I am. I do have to live with this. I am the one sitting alone on new years eve writing this (I were invited for at least 3 parties but I needed some time to deal with myself ad to tidy flat and do laundry this very day so no party for me but I am still having a great meal with superb and exclusive drinks). One of the greatest fuck-ups I did against myself since I stupidly and cowardly broke up with a girl in 1995 (whom actually invited me for Christmas with her family in 2016 so she is over it in the end). Saying it all. Looking at it, I am shit and I do feel like shit. In the end, it is myself whom have to carry this on inside me forever.

Be careful about the people around you and do not gamble because of silly reasons like I did, despite still having many more than lovely friends i the end you sit here and cry for the ones you lost because of your own narcissism or whatever it could have been

 

Therefor: I will never be sorry or ask for forgiveness. I have to suffer and learn.

The past will always be alive. It will always find you, sooner or later.

Let us all wait for my list of favorite music of 2016 and slowly wake up and walk into a year that must be greater than last year. For all of us.

Yes, the book is delayed but I will work hard for it´s release after I am back from my first mission in 2017.

If you have read this, you have no reason at all to ask.

Everything is in here.

Sincerley yours /

David Isberg