Tag Archives: swedish metal scene

album review : Orkan (2012) – Vintersorg

album : Orkan

artist : Vintersorg

genre : Viking/Folk Metal, Progressive Metal

year : 2012

Jamming even more seriously to their own proggy folk tunes, the Swedish-duo reproduce their jolly good music, and while you’re playing the album you’ll even forget to wipe your nasal mucus. Effective, eh?

Start a topic on folk metal and a detailed discussion would lead to the conclusion that Vintersorg are second to hardly any bands. These sons of Sweden could never make an intelligent critic frown at their tracks, simply because the mesmerizing output of their hard work is beyond the realms of musical pleasure. Managing to weave together viking topics with heaps of progression has made them a bullet proof metal act. With seven full-length albums that speak on behalf of this band’s talent, the journey that Vintersorg has had, looks straight out of a successful band’s biography that has multiple merits to it’s credit. Correction – A successful folk metal band’s biography. Folk is a step ahead, it is an elaboration of metal, and makes the genre proud.

Never simplistic in their approach, Vintersorg‘s eight full-length Orkan takes its time to unravel some of the untouched mysteries of a lovable metal category. Within an year of Jordpuls, the duo consisting of Vintersorg and Mattias Marklund have dropped an unsurprising package of eight tracks. Take for instance the speed-driven riffing on Istid, with a lot of clean vocals accompanied by many parts of chorus. The drumming pattern on the album is circuitous, and dials a different progressive number each time. Ur Stjärnstoft Är Vi Komna sets the surrounding on fire, helps vocalist Vintersorg growl his own words, and is mostly symphonic. Growls take the pole position on Havets Nåd, and Norrskenssyner.

The beauty of Vintersorg lies in the fact that even though they might be working too hard, their songs come across as seamless. Like how some things are meant to be, their songs too meant to be logical and musically meaningful. Third track Polarnatten has it all packed into one, be it the vocals, the keyboards, the boundless guitar playing. It is one song that has folk written all over it, along with Orkan and Havets Nåd. Vintersorg has been a town of melodies with every alley filled with melody in some or the other form. Even Orkan would receive all of my votes for carrying rhythmic tunes. Specially on Norrskenssyner and Urvädersfången, as they raise the groove bars too.

Nature, philosophy, culture can have bright as well as dark aspects to them, and when an epic band like this one decides to devote their songwriting to such subjects then the music branches out into several directions. Myren has a surprise in store with a very bluesy and pleasant guitaring. Orkan is entirely in Swedish, which won’t hit you in the first instance. The production is neither excellent, nor a let down. A fine balance is maintained, and is even raw at places.

The ever-lighting lamp post that goes by the name of Vintersorg has once again produced songs that pierce deeper into your skin, and make a visible place for themselves, even if it means to find the whole space already clogged with some good folk releases this year, which includes my favorite album Helvetios. Orkan will usher you into the strong viking kingdom, where the floating bubbles of progressive material will burst softly and you’ll cling on to the record for a long time to come.

Rating : 4.5/5

Ghost (Swedish band) in pictures : live at Download Festival, 2012

Mysterious Swedish heavy metal outfit Ghost played this year’s Download Festival too, and they took to the Pepsi Max Stage on the last day (read Sunday, the tenth of June) of the fest. Particularly at 19:30 hours. With just one album out since their formation in 2008, and absolutely no piece of official information about who is behind all the chilling make-up, Ghost has already played almost every major metal festival in a short span, have impressed fans and critics alike, and are definitely the next big thing in metal. Considering Ghost hasn’t written a single new song since their first release, there had to be some way of differentiating their appearance at all the festivals (including last year’s Download) and Ghost decided to don white garbs for the very first time. The band has toured with Metallica, James Hetfield loves them, and when the whole of Anthrax had gathered in one corner of Pepsi Max Stage to partake in the breathtaking ritual that was to follow, I wasn’t surprised. As for their performance, Ghost proved to be the connoisseurs of their genre, which, on the whole, is satanic heavy metal and manages to take you through every age of metal. I think everyone should try and catch the band at these smaller platforms because Ghost is going to join the big league and hit the main stages soon, and then, there would be no turning back.

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Slayer live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

India’s premier black metal act 1833 AD’s debut album reviewed

Bolt Thrower live at BoltFest, London 2012

Album / Ep / Demo / Teaser reviews

album review : Koloss (2012) – Meshuggah

album : Koloss

artist : Meshuggah

genre : Technical Post-Thrash Metal

year : 2012

Having the power to make music the way Meshuggah does can never make any other metal band feel less awesome because nobody wants to make music like Meshuggah. It’s a matter of taste, and the five-piece Swedish musicians cater to one sub-portion of a portion of metal. I could not narrow it down more. Brilliance is one word I’d thrown in to describe their compositions, and they are brilliant in a list that features only them. There is no competition.

With Meshuggah, one only sat and praised as to how the drummer did what he did on a few songs or how the vocalist performed his growls at an odd timing, or how the guitarists play such complicated music with their simple instruments. But at the end of the day this isn’t a solo project you see. It’s a band. A metal band. None of their previous releases had all the qualities of metal, neither did they get you to move. Same is the case with Koloss. Only this time the band has managed some ‘complete’ songs.

I’ve heard people say that Cannibal Corpse can get to you, in a bad way, after you’ve heard their stuff for a while. I was also told how unbearable it becomes a couple of songs later. And the nasty things people say about black metal need not be written here. Well fuck you and your taste. At least I can clearly remember the pain caused by the migraine I caught during Meshuggah‘s show in Pune, India. Before you jump to any kind of conclusions this ain’t about getting even or anything, because I never mentioned that the people who said all that about Corpse or black metal are Meshuggah fans. It’s just that Meshuggah make lifeless music which is not appealing.

Even though Meshuggah is tricky, confusing music, one-of-a-kind and all, how can one enjoy their music is beyond me. Koloss is not like a must listen or anything, and even with it’s own moments intact, I suggest you jump into this territory only if you’ve got the buds to enjoy it lest you end up with a headache. Meshuggah means crazy is another language and they really drive you there. Mission accomplished, guys!

Rating : 2.5/5

music review : A Vow of Vengeance (2011) – Cult of the Fox

album : A Vow of Vengeance

artist : Cult of the Fox

genre : Heavy Metal

year : 2011

Oh, look what we have here! The purest form of metal being offered sans any kind of filth. Avoiding complications in their music, Swedish group Cult of the Fox have released the first chapter of their musical career after being around for almost eleven years. It goes by the name A Vow of Vengeance – a very promising mixture of nine of the finest songs they might have written.

While the band is trying to get hold of an assortment of heavy metal ideas together, they drop less along the way and they are also not forcing anything. Neither on the listener nor on themselves. The female guitarist Erika Wallberg squeezes out as much as she can from her instrument, and Magnus Hultman sings on the microphone like he was born with one. Thunderous bass lines by Peter Svensson force drummer Daniel Fritze to live up to the expectations. Second guitarist Per Persson adds the much needed flavor thereby completing the metal organization named Cult of the Fox.

All the tracks on A Vow of Vengeance are my favorites, but Spirit of the Hunter confirms the bond we listeners are building with the band. It could be partially because of the term ‘spirit’ being a part of the song’s name, but seriously, after you are done jerking off over this review go hear the song. A huge portion of my job will be complete after you’ve played Spirit of the Hunter.

The album A Vow of Vengeance might not take you by storm but if you hear it closely without anyone trying to chew your brain you’ll realize the polished heaviness in their music. You might want to play the record at least a few times before passing any comment. For me they appear learned and they are here to brighten our lives. I just hope they return with a follow-up release pretty soon.

Rating : 3.5/5

album review : Heritage (2011) – Opeth

album : Heritage

artist : Opeth

genre : Extreme Progressive Metal

year : 2011

Although I can never understand how an album leaks, I am not complaining. This new record by Opeth has slipped from the band’s hands and the progressive hungry bunch would provide the verdict on their new sound roughly three weeks before the album hits the stores. Sitting here in India, I am trying to figure out from where this new direction has been inherited by Opeth.

Heritage, as they name their tenth album, is an indication that the band wants to hide the extreme parts on their music and instead want to replace the same with a lot of effects that paints a mild picture of the band. I wouldn’t deny that I had to yawn my way through Heritage, but considering the band is trying to balance a lot of things here they clearly entered the studio with their past buried. With almost negligible traces of anything they have played before, the scent of old-Opeth is dearly missed.

Following their journey uptil Ghost Reveries and then of course Watershed, even Opeth geeks might not have predicted this but this isn’t amusing. A promising intro allows one to cook up big things in the mind, but only until the first track The Devil’s Orchard begins. Those comfortable and experienced fingers seem confident but as the song unfolds I realize there isn’t much to hold onto here. While I wait for things to settle down, I can’t help but notice songwriting not being a part of the band’s agenda.

With just a mood to accompany the name I Feel The Dark for the first half of it’s six and a half minutes duration, the song is seen going nowhere towards the end. The album speaks up on Slither, and defends the allegations made till now by displaying a lot of twisted energy. Progressive ray of light, finally. Nepenthe did not make any sense, nor did Haxprocess. Next track Famine was devoid of music for a longtime but picks up somewhere along the way. Not enjoyable, and this is not a mindset, this is exactly how the album is.

In a general view of the situation right now The Lines in My Hand sure would sound relieving but Folklore comes across as a song by some amateur band that definitely does not have nine albums to it’s credit. Opeth brings down the shutter with Marrow of the Earth and I could not wait for the album to get over. You know what I mean.

In the recent times we have seen bands of the likes of Amorphis and Anathema change the definition of their music and I still haven’t stopped hearing their new stuff, but Opeth has missed the target by a huge margin. This wasn’t a progressive album, there are no traces of death metal and we would not have minded some bits of both. Heritage is all set to release on the 19th of September, and now that I have already been put to sleep by this new offering by Opeth I’d suggest the band wakes me up only when September ends.

Rating : 2.5/5

album review : Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011) – In Flames

album : Sounds of a Playground Fading

artist : In Flames

genre : Melodic Death/Modern Metal

year : 2011

A band that did not look here and there while defining their music in the early nineties is now seen running around inside a confuse box. I pick up the older albums by In Flames for understanding their melodic commandments, which they showcased on their earlier work. This time too the reasons for checking out their new 2011 release Sounds of a Playground Fading remained the same. While they’ve been letting the fans down through most of their previous releases, Sounds of a Playground Fading is somewhat of a mixture of their earlier work and what they accidentally play now in a twenty-seventy ratio. With more proportion of their latter offerings which obviously amounts to mistakes made. Fear is the Weakness is the only track where I was on the same plane as the band. Shredding their modern metal persona for once, they apply the same logic on Liberation. Rest of the tracks seem like a body without a soul, the track is playing but where is the melody and In Flames in it. This track called Darker Times was unnecessary in the middle of it all, so it’ll be crowned as the oddest song in a recent release. Like how most fans like calling them In the fuckin’ Flames, it can be seen that the band is finding it difficult to keep the flame burning. Because the sound on this particular playground sure seems to be fading.

Ratings : 2.5/5

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