Monday, 31 March 2014

Swedish Metal Reviews Month 2014: Fin

That was Swedish Metal Reviews Month 2014. What did you like? What should we do next time around? If you'd like to leave a suggestion or feedback, email me to receive instructions on sending a carrier pigeon with your idea.

Don't forget to check out The Codex Extremitet featuring ALL reviews of Swedish bands here.

Mephorash: Chalice of Thagirion (2012) Album Review

Mephorash aren't exactly the best black metal band out of Sweden - in fact, they're among the least convincing I've heard from what is often a highly rewarding national scene to dig into. I'm not sure how they started out musically (haven't heard the debut), but this is their first record to blatantly feature a high level of occult and mythological influence, as per the lyrical themes and atmospheres popularized by better, even excellent bands like Ascension, Nightbringer, Acherontas and so on, and of course by Grammy winning hard rock band Watain.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Gluttony: Beyond the Veil of Flesh (2014) Album Review

Wrapping Swedish Metal Reviews Month 2014 up with a promo or two I've received to spotlight some cool new bands carrying on the proud traditions I've written about this month.

Gluttony play simple, grooving "Swedeath" with massive rhythms and a preference for big d-beats: Like an Everflowing Stream, Into the Grave and Left Hand Path are the three unholy books they preach from, and Sunlight Studios their temple. They get down with a huge, sawing guitar tone and bellowed vocals without ever deviating from or embellishing on their bone-hewn and bloodied template. Standard recipe for many a Swedish death metal band's meatgrinder, but Gluttony clearly have the balls to take this over-used sound and make it fresh and putrid once again, unleashing a record as punishing and as satisfying as it is orthodox.

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Codex Extremitet: Index of all Swedish Metal Reviews on The Heavy Metal Saloon

This is an index of every review we at the Saloon o' doom have written for Swedish artists. Organised by genre for simple browsing. We are not a fancy website and I'm shit at HTML so this is our directory, right here.

So that The Heavy Metal Saloon can be a useful resource containing extreme metal reviews for both recent releases and classics, it will increasingly be organised by country. So if you want to read about say, doom metal bands from Sweden, you can find all of our listings for such reviews in this codex. More such indexes will be written soon and this one will be updated regularly.

The Codex Extremitet: Swedish Doom Metal | Swedish Black Metal | Swedish Death Metal
Read in-depth reviews by clicking the links after the jump.

The Best Swedish Metal Lyric Videos List

"Scripts to serve as skeletons awaiting the flesh and sinew of images."

Seems like the lyric video is a pretty handy phenomenon recently. They're those simple but band-sanctioned Youtube videos with the lyrics to the song displayed in some interesting or eye-catching way, often with a collage of artwork, visual effects or something else going on alongside. Seems to me they are a hell of a lot cheaper than a music video, quicker to make, and probably get the same thing done in terms of putting your latest tune out there. If you're going for a masterpiece of an MV like Behemoth do I'd still rather see that, but I can definitely see the use of a lyric video for a smaller to medium size band with a limited budget.

They range from pointless (as, might as well just read the lyrics online and stream the song from Bandcamp or Soundcloud) to pretty artful in their own right, and as I'm wrapping up Swedish metal reviews month this week, I thought I might as well drop my favourite 6 (.66) lyric videos by Swedish metal artists.

Click "read more" below for the videos!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Avatarium: Avatarium (2013) Album Review

I'm usually pretty fussy about cross-contamination. In this case, I would usually rather have my traditional Swedish doom metal and my Norah Jones in separate CD boxes. But sometimes I find something truly excellent where I didn't expect to. So I'm as surprised as anyone to announce that Avatarium is the best Swedish music recorded that isn't by Torture Division or The Project Hate MCMXCIX in the last few years. With bullshit plastic occultism and the dreadful plague known as "mum doom" both in full swing at Hot Topic and in magazines like Metal Hammer, only Jex Thoth and these guys have made something good of it. This is how it should be done. If you aren't going to paint thrillingly vintage pastoral vistas of sound like Jex, switching up monster Candlemass riffs with the sultry blues of just the best female singer I've heard in years will do nicely. Very. Fucking. Nicely.

Ocean Chief: Sten (2013) Album Review

Sten means stone. Nomen est omen: this is a fucking boulder of an album. With lichen and shit growing on it. After a pretty lengthy four year waiting period since Den Förste, Sten is pretty much the perfect sequel to that record. It takes the same sound, expands it with the grandeur of the band's earliest works like The Oden Sessions, packing it out to over an hour in length (almost twice the length of Den Förste) while still maintaining the layered intricacy and compelling instrumentation of the predecessor.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Cult of the headless witch: Cult of the headless witch (2013) Demo Review

For the gods of Swedish doom metal are generous ones, and have bestowed upon me a new band and demo recording from 2013 that shows just how strong that old poisonous draft still is. Break out a damn fine single malt and your favourite smokes. Here are four songs of just fucking manly, turgid doom metal with a dash of Candlemass' epic songwriting and a lot of mean-spirited dirge-like riffs derived from the doom-bible of Sabbath and Cathedral.

Draconian: The Burning Halo (2006) Album Review

The Burning Halo is a weird one. You get three new songs, three re-recordings, and two covers. You can look at it as a sequel or a postscript to Arcane Rain Fell, you can see it as a full album (in which case it falls a bit short) or as an overlong EP (in which case it surpasses expectations). At any rate it has more songs that I've kept returning to over the dividing years than the two full-lengths that followed it (three), and doesn't contradict a philosophy of buying Draconian's releases in chronological order.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mammoth Storm: Rite of Ascension (2014) EP Review

Bandcamp has become quite a big deal in music these past few years, providing artists with amazing exposure and listeners with easy, legal download options without all the strings of iTunes. There's a lot of free metal you can fill your iPod with, and Mammoth Storm are one of the better outfits you can find with the pay-what-you-want option. They're a fucking cool doom metal band from Sweden who are following up their eponymous three-song debut demo with an EP containing two longer songs, under the name Rite of Ascension.