-2-0-1-9- simply the best of…

What a hell of a year and so many great gigs and festivals I nailed. Met most of the important people on the Baltic Sea, in Europe, in the United States of America and in England. To name a few top gigs… Electric Wizard NDF Tilburg, Incantation NDF Tilburg, Naglfar NDF Tilburg, Grave Miasma NDF Tilburg,  sunno))) San Fransisco, Iron Maiden Oakland, Iggy Pop Dalhalla, King Diamond Copenhagen,Band of Horses Stockholm, Slægt Roadburn, Venom Rejmyre, Blasphemy London, Nuclear Assault SDF, Witch Stockholm, Molasses Roadburn, Vulcano London, Candlemass Stockholm, Sólstafir Stockholm, Adorior London, & At The Gates Roadburn. I most likely have forgotten a great number but these are the spots I get thinking of right here, right now.

So to get into the music. A great year for great music and it´s been so hard to choose just a few that will end up on the list. So many great ep´s, demos and live albums too, that are disqualified. This is a list for Full Length ONLY New Recorded Songs… So, I am writing this enjoying a great pint of Julmust.

  1. Vastum “Orificial Purge”

Oakland and the Bay Area is responsible for a lot in my life. So much great music I can not even start to namedrop as it would be stupid in the end. In 2016 I had the opportunity to see Vastum play at California Death Fest in Oakland (now fest re-located to L.A.). I only knew slightly about them as they had members from Necrot, with whom I was more familiar with. Surely when in Oakland, go check it up. So I discovered an energetic Death Metal band living on their own planet follow their rules and regulations and live they did act like an L.A.-hardcore band in 1981, yes, IT was that intense, believe me. Kicking off their fourth full-length album with a short, horror movie-ish intro and then sparkle brutally into “Dispossessed in Rapture (first Wound)” with a small guitar bridge then into the wall of intense sound that persionifies this band so good. The title track provokes the heavy and depressive sounding side of the band, multifaceted main songwriter and bandleader Leila Abdul-Rauf overestimates her self here with darkened riffs under sad melodies. “Reverie in Autophagia” be my all-time favorite song by this band, I assume. It creeps, with a bulldozer behind it, sneaks behind the corner and crawls under your skin to rip your soul apart. This IS Vastum 2019, and I can not wait for them to return to Stockholm (if they do, because there were like 50 people last time… a modern disaster).

2. Seer “Vol. 6”

Canadian dark doom from Vancouver. Yes. This is an utterly exceptional one, finally. They´ve been on to it many times but never nailed it as this. You can hear it already at the start of the record with “Oath of Exile” that something is coming your way during the majestic intro turning into a Bathory-ish acoustic guitar. With an intro like that smacked off by a dynamic bonk with brutal guitars and aggressive drums with a wider soundscape on top with the vocals start with “Brother… heed their torment…the prophet’s absolution”, you know that you are home. The vocals from Bronson Lee Norton is an eclectic misery of sounds. Over the groovy doomy pounding tunes of generic Canadian Metal as we want it. Just fvkktastic y´all… BUY!!! I cannot for my life believe that it was not discovered and more hyped by the stonerdoom-prompts. Just figure this might be too heavy and too metal for them. It really does not get that easy poppy “roadburnnickadick”, mean you can not just nick your head to this band live…   NO!

YOU MUST HEADBANG!

3. sunno)))  “Life Metal”

We know the drill with sunno)))´s drone by now. Still, they snare your throat in the first chord… always and there is always a time when they do it more than usual. Like here. opening up with the dreamy and fantastic heavy “Between Sleipnir´s Breaths” featuring the fantastic cello, haldorophone & voice of Hildur Gudnadóttir. Stephen O´Malley and Greg Andersson really stunned me this time. “Troubled Air” is less and a bit held back, the very suitable continuation of the record. Also getting to the horns and voicescape in the mid of the song leaving a large haze of melancholy upon the very melancholic sculpture these lads are building here. The c-side is a 19 minute long “Aurora”, pending from cautious caressing of the strings and landing in the uphill, a stormy, cold Autumnal British night in the greyest and rainiest October. “Novae” ending this record in a 25-minute long epic tale with the darkest parts somewhere after 12 minutes reminds me of being up on a hill in a Tuscan thunderstorm with a long march in front of you before you see any shelter and you surely enjoy every single step you are taking despite you are hungry, tired and cold… a true masterpiece.

4. Ares Kingdom “By the Light of Their Destruction”

Since the glory days of Order From Chaos Mike Miler & Chuck Keller had a place in my heart. They did not let me down with Ares Kingdom, either. “Starry beast climbs the sky, serpent swims in night’s black sea, shining dimly across it’s length, alphard, the heart, the Solitary one… the Hydra Void” Alex Blume’s vouce starts off this record like the rest of the band hyper sharp on turbulent speed. This trio from Kansas have many musical skeletons in the closet and they are not afraid to blast them all upon us, song by song. “Dark Waters Eridanus” starts up with a bridge built upon create drumming upon a pounding riff and by the end of it comes the YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHRRRGHH… blergh! “Allergy” is a dimension of wrapped heaviness with voice & sound effects and remains the great surprise of this record. “Talis Chimera Est” concludes the record with some war march-ish drum intro exploding into hydra speed of blackened death bloody metal. Some true brutal moments before the 37 minutes are all by. Splendid, as usual..

5. Denial of God “The Hallow Mass”

These long going Danes have been sailing their hardships with their noses high in the underground over all the years. Blackened Death Metal from the 1st Class, expect nothing less whatever you are listening too. This record is under that cover, too. You need to run, nearer to the speaker. Original members since 1991, Azter on Guitar, and his master´s voice Ustu Mallagam trolls their melodies over the old school and the struggles are long and tough. accompanied by Galheim on drums, they aim beyond this world in a horrific satanic realm with samples from horror films spicing up the life of this record and it feels so generic. The breath taker “Undead Hunger” & “The Hour of the Worm” are the most fighting songs on this, their only third, full-length album. Leaving it only to the great masterpiece and probably the best song of 2019 overall…

6. Swervedriver “Future Ruins”

Everybody who knows me knows my attraction for depressive, psychedelic shoegaze and the Britons. So,  no one is happier than I that Swervedriver do exist in 2019 and make music like if it still was the early nineties and their guitars were loudly generated all over Europe, for pop fans, for rock fans, for metalheads, for the people who know what a great moody guitar is all about. Adam Franklin declares that he had nothing to dream so he dreamt of you… says it all. “Merry Winter” is the super fantastic grey afternoon in March, it is still some ice on the streets and the sky looks like November and everything is boring, still, you find it cozy and you do like it. Going from easy chewing gum pop in the start it fades towards the dark horizons and the slowly imperfect horror of a hung overish Sunday in the finalizing “Radio-Silent” going from a dissonant plink to a silent noise of abstract gazing melodies into a sea of feedback. “Drone Lover” be my fave pick on this one and I hope we hear more from them soon. This is so far from over, believe me.

7. Dark Throne “Old Star”

I have no clue how many times Fenriz and Nocturno Culto changed the styles and concepts for Dark Thorne, but numerous. I do not like everything they did, but when they do something I do like. I normally like it a lot. “Old Star” is an album with odd song titles, that certainly makes them more interesting, like “I Muffle Your Inner Choir”. This is an album Celtic frost could´ve done in a Celtic Frost-way in the ’80s but did not do so. They were pretty much around here but not really exactly here. So the inspiration is clear. These dudes heard a few “Ugh´s” inside of them composing it. Already the second song, “The Hardships of the Scots” stung me for this. Heaviness and simple Black Metallic-riffs from the lost ancient times. Yes. The boring and depressive strain after 4:19 that follows the rest of the song is so fantastic. It raises this song to the skies. The rock mid-tempo “Alp Man” is an interesting one, well the whole shit is kinda equally great.

8. Candlemass “Door to Doom”

“Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” is by far the most played Swedish Metal-record in my home/walkman since I first got it in 1987. Therefore my expectations might be too high on this one when vocalist Johan Längqvist returned to the band some 33 years ever after. It is not an easy thing coming back after 33 years to please fans and to sound as they think you should do. It is not him who is the problem here, though. No, the songs sound more like the “King of Grey Islands”-era than maybe the songs we wanted to hear. I do not know, maybe this record was written with Mats Levén or Rob Lowe in mind, I do not know when Leif wrote them. It is still the fact that it is these songs I am listening to now. “Under the Ocean” is a typical Rob-song in my ears. A song written for Johan would be a bit drier in the arrangement to suit Johan’s voice better. It is really a great Candlemass-record, maybe in the same class as “King of Grey Islands” or “Death, Magic, Doom”, but it does never hit the higher limits of Candlemass, like the first or fourth album. I had my hopes for a little, little more. Well, there is always the next time. The weakest song in my ears is the single “Astrolus: the Great Octopus”, where Tony Iommi do a guitar solo. So, you´ll see, we´re still speaking high horses here. “The Omega Circle” is a fantastic song, that they should play live.

9. Aoratos “Gods Without Name”

Some times it is the co-incidents. A great friend of mine, Jordany, an American from the Netherlands, happened to visit Stockholm for a few days of work, a gig with Slash and I snatched her up for digging records, visiting Akkurat (the important things in life) etc

Whilst we stand to dig in the news section at Sound Pollution-store, she tore up a record from the stand and goes like… “I really like the artwork of this one (which you can see in the video below)”. I thought I liked it too, had a look over at the record, asked Linus, the store-manager, what he thought about it and he was like “-It just got in I do have no clue but it should be Black Metal”. So, I bought it. I mean, you can not leave a record with a song named “Holy Mother of Terror” standing there and hang out with Linus, no-no. Back home, it was a pleasant meeting. This seems to be a band from the land of splendid bloody hoppy beer, Colorado, and splendid they are. Clobbering Black Metal at high speed with no oddities. Some synthesizer breaks here and there, then burst onto the eternal fire again as well as some intro-songs, just what you can expect and damn it is good for it´s sake. Naas Alcameth is the only member with some guest musicians on the record.

10. Green Lung “Woodland Rites”

If I did not have had enough with British bands after Uncle Acid & the deadbeats, do somewhere between 70´s doom, 80´s dom and late 70´s early 80´s NWOBHM here is another one. Apparently they´ve been going on for a few years but when this popped out they were news for me. Such an intense riffity and punding vocals, getting me to the likes of Diamond Head and Danava just to make a short reflection. The flirt with the 80s goes Thin lizzy but not the flirt with the 70´s, not that goes more Iron Bridge or Ice Cross as far as I can hear. Also some old Heavy Load and Uriah Heep to be traced behind some Blue Öyster Cult. I bet they sold well of this record and will reach higher on the festival bills and player larger venues on their tours. God stuff.

11. Esoteric “A Pyrrhic Existence”

This band makes me mad sometimes. A late release of 2019 and a real frantic one. I bet most people already wrote their 2019-lists when this finally was out. I always do wait till after New Years, myself just because of these late ones. Eight years after their previous record and I nearly gave up to believe there was another one coming. And this is an epic majestic piece clocking in over one hour and a half. Only British bands can have this supreme boredom into their sound and still be so joyful to listen to. This is macabre darkness from the first second and slow as hell doom. The opener “Descent” starts so slow, so no, Sabazius is not calling but maybe Ahab is… The beauty comes after ten minutes leaving us daydreaming taking it all in. The aggression comes towards the end and we can finally hear drumbeats over 33BPM. No scapegoat at sight when we sway into the second part after the first half-hour and first song. “Rotting in Dereliction” is like a grasp from something unidentified down under you when you walk in the middle of the darkest forest a silent and horrifying night in August when the first annual true darkness took command over the atmosphere and flickered out your whole imagination and left everything so black. In “Consuming Lies” I can feel that we are back in the doom that Yorkshire had ca 1990, it´s a heritage this orchestra carried nicely over to Birmingham and the fine quarters of extremely heavy British Metal. Dragging us down in the sewers of the soundscapes of “Culmination” and spread inside our bodies like a turbulent disease and you wake up and it is the conclusion of “Sick and Tired” filling our bodies with a slow grow before it is thank you, goodnight, see you in eight years again…

12. Wolfbrigade “The Enemy: Reality”

In 2016 I went to the absolute first Netherlands Deathfest to see Autopsy, Razor & Blasphemy amongst many, many others. I decided to fly down already for the first night and pay a full weekend pass because Wolfbrigade was playing, and I did never regret that. One helluva band from Sweden that does not play in their own home often enough. Well, now we saw them at least three times since 2014. They are a rocket filled with doped fuel and their d-beat core just crushes everything that tries to walk straight up. Like a bloody hammer of energetic punk rock & intensity. Even when they go slower, like in “Human Beast” the intensity is so high so every alarm is ringing. Top tune for me deffo is “Hammer to the Skull”, a very Motörheadish innovation. “Doomsday Dominion” might be there most authentic track and kicks the bazooka out of a soldier’s hands.

13. Crypt Sermon “The Ruins of Fading Light”

Powerful, epic, melodic doom with aggression… Yes, we already had Candlemass on this list but also these deserved their spot in here. For us ever into Trouble, Witchskull, Sorcerer and aswell the Floridan as of the New Zeeland Confessor, we do know what the hell this all about. Doom by the book. Some very clean melodies upon very heavy melodies, dramatic Yngwie Malmsteen-solos, and superb, clean vocals. “Our Reverend´s Grave” be the third song and is for the lovers of great guitar solos. “The Snake Handler” is an another must headbang too. Nine epic minutes including all the elements from this kind of genre´s qualities. “Beneath The Torchfire Glare”, another track that is a great reminder of how good this stuff can be. Almost childish and cheerful melodies but still without losing it´s heaviness. So many bands do not fix that, because of 1. they do not know how the heck they do 2. they are overproduced 3. they are most likely not for real they just slightly heard a cool sound from aband and do think they actually sound like that… Nevermind, the title track leaves us after almost a full hour with the most epic moments of this record. Nice one.

14. Possessed “Revelations of Oblivion”

Coming back from the dead, it ain´t easy. Jeff Becerra, original singer and bass player of Possessed were shot down by two masked gunmen in an armed robbery after stopping to buy some Cigarettes in 1989. He´s been paralyzed ever after. It´s now 32 years since we heard any proper Possessed. Possessed originally vanished in 1987. Were slightly born again in 1990 by guitarist Mike Torraro and Bob Yost (+ others) and recorded a couple of demos. I was at the time in contact with the now late Bob Yost. I asked him about Jeff´s health but did not get a proper answer more than he´s ok but riding a wheelchair. Maybe he did not know or where not supposed to talk about it, I do not know. Anyhow, in 2007, Jeff were back with a re-incarnated version of Possessed starting to tour. Jeff, now dropping the bass, sits on stage in a wheelchair and sings. I do believe, at the time in 2007, he had Sadistic intent as a back-up band. From there he moved with various session members, but when he was starting (as far as I am considered) with this project in 2014, he settled to have more permanent line-up. Now he got so and a new songwriting partner in Daniel Gonzales. So, once again, how do you please your fans with anew record after so long? Impossible. The record starts with the intro “Chant of Oblivion” and the title says it all. “No More Room In Hell” shreds on and so far so good. We are back. This is in all honor Possessed. “Dominion” feels on the other way more like a bad copy. It does not come through all the way. “Damned” plays on old drum tricks used on the first album and it looks a bit like they want to do it a bit too much. “Abandoned” is really there. The technical Possessed circa “Beyond the Gates” that we loved so much. “Omen” is also one of the songs that we waited for claiming “The Eyes of Horror”-era and could´ve been ever after. The problem with this record is the three D-songs that maybe could´ve been held back. Without them, this could definitely be the album of the year.

15. Saint Vitus “S/T”

Another old & great band that seen both better and worse days. With a catalog like theirs, it is hard to release a new best-ever album every year. It must be hard to even keep up with something that fans can dig loose too after their previous one. So this is not a failure, in fact, this is a great album that did beat many others this year. This is just Saint Vitus and their punky, doomy, rock n or metal. Original singer Scott Reagers back on the microphone after Scott “Wino” Weinrich got busted for Amphetamine in Norway 2014. I saw them numerous times over the years with Reagers and to me, as never saw them with his before, it was fantastic. This is yet another record and it probably seeks the roots of the band a bit.

16. Fvneral Fvkk “Carnal Confessions”

As you can hear on the band named this is some funeralish doom, again. Yes, I had too much fun this year, so I end up listening to boring and depressive music… I know nothing about this band besides their E.P. a few years ago and that they are German. It is too epic-sounding to be named Funeral doom according to my own special book of rules. Still, it is brilliant. You would love to sit in front of your fireplace for the rest of your life listening to this. “Chapel of Abuse” is the song of domination for the entire album with the strength of melody that whispers that you can not leave, you must stay until the needle leaves the arm… mean the vinyl.

17.  Inter Arma “Sulphur English”

Also, a band that bounds barriers and breaks ices. “A waxen sea” starts this record with a very old school Black Metal-context. Simple with fast drums and the grunting vocals, yes the grunting vocals, finally. I like this a lot. “Citadel” directly takes this record in a different formula, without losing the grip of Black Metal it tells we are traveling somewhere else. “Howling lands” starts off like a typical film soundtrack. “Stillness” is rubbing Sólstafir in taking something from nothing to pure heaviness. The jazz attacks in the longest song of the album “The Atavist´s Meridian” and get me to think of Mick Harris project Scorn with metal sounds. This is very far from the start of the record and I can understand that they confuse many people with this brutal mix of independent and generic musical styles. Somewhere this song climbs back to where the record started and we are into the simple black metal with grunting vocals again, but with the jazziest drums heard outside if New Orleans since 1953, man… After a few minutes, this song tempers down and slides into an acoustic ocean of progressive rock, not far from what I´ve heard my old band do, sometimes. This song in itself beats the competition of this kind of brutal, eclectic record for this year in my ears. Because it is more complex and gets a bit more out of everything. The title song concludes this matter and is a massive mix of what we heard with horror scaled guitars flickering before the end try to evaluate your listening a bit. A difficult, but in my ears, strong record. So difficult and different it will never be for the common people. I will surely remember it.

 

 

 

NOTE: I did mix the years up (that is what is happening when you write without cheating notes). Soone record got replaced, with all rights with another one.

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 Abaddon 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…