A most mediocre year in the record history for me. Most of my giants were holding back and not releasing any new material. There are still a few moments and a few artists that made me smile. As usual: no singles or ep’s, live albums or compilations. Just fresh new material on full albums. Which already started a conflict. “The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill” by Malsten, contains only four songs, why I do not consider it as an album, but still forty minutes of prominent doom, so they end up first as a mention of honor:
17. Svederna “Härd”
The lovely complete hordes of chaos ringing in my ears listening to this blaster. Swedens complete nutters are swinging it on blasting dirty black thrash metal for the receivers of dissonance on their third album. Starting up with maybe their best song to date, “Den arkaiska rötan”, and donates the pure, wicked and malicious vocals of Primathor over a war from the rhythm section immediately. Well done, lads. The guitar lines sometimes even take me near the soundscapes of Caller of the Storms.
16. Painted Doll “How to draw fire”
The second album by Dave Hill & Chris Reiferts rock project does not reach the heights of the first one. Still, there are solid songs right through the thirty-nine minutes shared over twelve songs. “Blue Postcards” might be my highlight. Nothing new here, just plain rock of quality.
15. Deep Purple “Whoosh!”
Another album slapped in the face by its precursor. Maybe I did not give this one enough time but I can not feel the purple extra in this release as I did with their current album. It still got the Ian’s in a great condition for this old lobster of an album.
14. Novarupta “Marine Snow” This one mane army of Alex Stjernfeldt bursts out the second, hard album with such a slope. It is miles better than the debut album which I found a bit uninteresting despite great guest vocalists. Once again a great line-up of vocalists in Josh Graham, Martin Persener, Lea Amling Alazam, Robert Lamu, Mike Paparo & Arvid Hällagård puts this darkness up a few notches in five songs in complete perfectionism.
13. Henrik Palm “Poverty Metal” Fella Henrik Palm is another great Swedish multi-instrumentalist that just brings us to worlds beyond and this time he over helmed himself with some hidden ugh!. The cover version of my favorite Twisted Sister-song “Destroyer”, says it all. When he played Roadburn the other year he screened some old Judas Priest-footage behind him whilst rocking on 🤣. For some odd reason, this album makes me think of old Sonic Youth. It’s alternative hard rock at a proper point and remembers his name.
12. Jordablod “The cabinet of numinous songs” The discovery of the year in my world. Malin who works in the magnificent record store “Sound Pollution” in Stockholm recommended them to me and I am grateful for that. More Swedish Black Metal. This features musical slopes as acoustic intros. Did I mention that it is once again a work by a Swedish multi-instrumentalist, Filip Lundström? “Blood and rapture” be my favorite song and the song I DJ: ed most out at clubs from this procreation.
11. Incantation “Sect of vile divinities” Genuine, blasting American Death Metal build upon massive riffs and slabbing drums. Nothing new, just a great dose of what you need. John McEntee knows what’s he’s best at more than thirty years ever after.
10. Necrowretch “The one from hell” The fourth album by these French monsters. It is fast blackish Death Metal. 8 songs in 37 binding minutes with an evil deliverance. The instrumental “Through the black abyss” be the sign of the mysticism from the melancholic dark spheres into the rinse up conclusion with some classic satanic speed metal-style in the song “Necrowretch” were Vlad is giving us all of his inner wrath & exasperation.
9. Witchskull “A driftwood cross” You can believe I had high expectations for the third album from the Aussies after the super latent “Coven’s Will” from a few years ago. The opening song on that epos “Raven” have such an intense riff and the rhythm from the platonic duo Joel and Tony fronted by the frantic and almost obscene vocals by Marcus blew me away. So when the opening song is named “Black Cathedrals” my expectations might be turned out too high. The opening riff is not bad but it is something I could expect a band like Orchid to do. Also, the vocals calmed down to the level they sound lane in comparison. The album holds that standard over the first four songs but when you flip to the B-side and the galloping doomish metal in the song “Dresden” keeps your headbanging along the groove. Then you know it is coming. Halfway through the song it slows down and creeps into the mythic crypts of the “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” record. The complete fury is back in Marcus voice and here is pure Australian metal history from the pride of Canberra. The final riff and roar is so direct so you are breathless afterward. The following songs do not really climb up to the heights of “Dresden” but it shows a few not heard before paths by the band. Genuine Black Sabbath-syndromes and authentic wrath. You can almost visualize all the pain in this music. “March of Winter” pounds of comfortably straight towards some dark and cold winter nights, despite I have my doubts that this gang ever lived through a harsh winter night of complete darkness and nothingness as we do have up here in Sweden & the North in general. “Nero Order” is a proper order of madness with some very Iron Maiden-ish touches. Going back to Iomminess on the final song “A driftwood cross” ends the album with a journey from melancholy to majestic, epic metal. Makes you hungry for more. If they just had let the devil a bit more loose on the A-side this should’ve been the album of the year. I look forward to their fourth release.
8. Dark Tranquillity “Moment” In my world the term “Melodic Death Metal” is a contradiction. Death Metal is rage towards normal levels of music and should not be room clean nor melodic. Still, there are a few bands in the genre that I like. Dark Tranquillity is one of them and “Moment” might be their finest album to date as a full album. One of the singles released before the album “Identical to None” really is a role model for this record. It is poppy, catchy, dark and the lyrics by Stanne are genius as usual. He’s good at his lyrics, how to put words together, and how to evolute that through his songs. The ballad “The eyes of the world” where Mikael partly cries the words out is a very sensitive song and proves why this is such a great musical export. They really turn to many people and their worlds without being sissy. That is really a hard job. Most American bands fail there. They sound like hairspray and produced radio rock band if you put them next to the real thing like Dark Tranquillity is. I enjoyed them streaming the entire album live from “Storan” in Gothenburg and I hope they play the full album live for us, one day too.
7. Uada “Djinn” One hour hell, is the phrase describing this album. The intense melodic guitars, the wrathful voice, and the curious drums are the tactics for yet another well-balanced record. When you are at the level of Uada it is hard to fail and disappoint your fans. I wish they could have dusted the production just a bit, a rougher version of this record could have done it. You’ll never see (unless you are getting hold of a rough mix of the record). The first two songs almost walk into each other too much in style, if you listen to it like me, you are good with it. Others might get bothered and bored. On my own record song, two and song three are examples of exactly that. For us into powerful modern black metal. This is a great trip. You’ll hear what such impact Watain had on bands like this, and as a fan of Watain, I am good with that.
6. Vampire “Rex” I got almost shocked turning this on the first time. They’ve risen from an ok band that is a good live band to a really good band overall. Again, blackish thrash metal the way I like it. The suitably named song “Pandemoni” got an 80’s King Diamond touch to it, which makes it scarier. “Rekviem” might be the most furious song and gives me back the memories of listening to the second album by Merciless. “Melek-Taus” is an unhappy ending with an epic acoustic last forty seconds.
5. Sòlstafir ” Endless twilight of codependent love” Almost as complex and hard the title is too remember and pronounce, almost as complex and hard it is to take in everything from this record. Starting with a jazzy part with their Icelandic cowboy sound the song “Akkeri” tells you that the coming 63 minutes of your life will be difficult to cure. A very progressove pumping and aggressive part follow and if you did not know, they know their shit starting like a hundred years ago as a Black Metal band. I DJ:ed at a few of their shows and when they got time to come out after and hang they party loose to all the great classics, believe me. They are one of my favorite live acts and I’ve seen them numerous times. This spring I was considering fly to Iceland to see them at a genuine Icelandic village, unfortunately, life said no to that, it was just the week before the virus took over. So sad in that case. I hope life will give me another opportunity someday to go and see them in Iceland. So, after the attack with the first song, they slow things down with a gloomy postrock kind of ballad. After a slight bridge with strings towards the end, “Drysill” pumps out with a crescendo of the boys giving us an action-filled ride upon the Icelandic prairies. “Rökkur” keeps the moldy postrock alive and it goes on like that until they press us down beneath their messy Icelandic Black Metal in “Dionysus”. “Til Moldar” is a typical sensitive jazzy pop-ballad. Until returning to the doomy post-rock-era we mostly know them from. “Ör” must be the most complex listening on this hour-plus record. Too many impressions to mention and I will fight this tune for several years. The beauty is all existing in the soulful “Úlfur”. Sòlstafir remains in the prime of their career with this epos and my heart is far from full, but it is joyful.
4. Dool “Summerland” I first jumped on this band a few years ago as Job and Micha from The Devil’s Blood were in and I did not know too much of the infamous guitarist/singer Ryanne and one of the most powerful Dutch voices I know about. Superb melodies, catchy choruses and a helluva guitar twang upon the rhythm section. Pointing on their debut album, which I thought were a great start of the day some years ago they now merged together after a hell lot of touring and matured enormously. “Sulphur & Starlight” makes any fan of metal bang along to its catchiness. Trippin on upon the “Wolf Moon” all the ingredients are there to bake a band that should be playing stadiums and arenas, hopefully, they get all the success they do deserve. “Be your sins” be my favorite song for today. Catchy poppy metal with an insane rhythm section that I envy. A record completely different from the first and I can not wait to see them live one day again.
3. Black Funeral “Scourge of Lamashtu” Another new find for me, knowing it is far from a new band. This is shitty Black Fvkkin Metal for bastards, like me. Pure unholiness and hard to beat in its genre. Completely unproduced and dirty. Adorable art. The rawness with the disharmonic organ makes the epicenter of dissonance into this void of American madness. The second song “The Vampyric Rabisu at the Threshold” is a perfect definition of what I consider as perfectly shaped extreme metal. Knowing very little of this outfit and only bought the recorded digital I do not know how much to say more than I have to investigate them closer over the coming years and also need to remember to order it on vinyl, one day. This is exactly what I want from Black Metal. A large fvkk off to overproduced lame over-hyped things.
2. Katla “Allt Thetta Helvitis Myrkur” From the roots of Sòlstafir (or at least their old drummer) and a partnership of a multi-instrumentalist comes Katla. Another eclectic record starting with a very heavy drone that had me at d. This record passes many styles of music, and they do it good, why I do believe they will never get as famous as they should. People are applying themselves to soulless and uninteresting music more and more. So this kind of relevant music will not find it’s way to too many homes, unfortunately. This heavy burster has a weak point for me “Hvítamurkur”, an epic journey through majestic Icelandic heaviness. My type of importance to life. The guitar harmony is almost by the book what I do like to listen to and I wrote a near-identical for a song for the next chapter of my band, bloodofjupiter. Icelandic is also a very good language to sing in, like English or Danish. Fans of big music, darkness, and folk music should give this a try. I gave them many.
1. Molassess “Through the Hollow” In 2019 I went to their debut concert at Roadburn with fear. As a huge fan of The Devil’s Blood & Selim Lemouchi I was afraid this could turn out very far from what I wanted. It was a difficult hour at 013 in Tilburg. It took time to melt. Was it that good? It was the perfect continuation for Farida, Job, Oeds and Ron from The Devil’s Blood, one of my all-time favorite bands. It was with all respect to the late Selim Lemouchi, no blueprint of the past and a vag packed with their own formulas for futuristic beliefs. Farida does have such a voice of perfection for this kind of music. Contain all the needed tools a throat can give. Deep and powerful. The music is sort of progressive, psychedelic hard rock with touches of metal as well as the sixties. Harmonies, melodies, catchiness, wrath, pain, and soul. An enormous package built in here. I can imagine myself sitting in front of the campfire singing along to “Corpse of Mind” and I can feel myself poise away into another dimension through “The Devil Lives”. This is so great and a perfect debut album. I hope we can have the opportunity to enjoy this orchestra for many years, gigs snd albums as I do believe they have a lot of music inside of them that we need to hear.
As a bonus, you can listen to the album I released with my band bloodofjupiter by October the 31st 2020 named “Eternal Damnation” here…