Tag Archives: swedish black metal

Ultra Silvam – The Spearwound Salvation album review – February 2019 AB

Two years after the release of one of the best demo tapes I listened to these past years, the Malmö based trio Ultra Silvam strike back with their first full length, The Spearwound Salvation, which will come out next month, on the 22nd of March. As their previous material, the album will be once again released by one of the best metal labels out there, the mighty Shadow Records.

I remember how awe stricken I was after listening to the demo when it first came out – 3 tracks of pure aggression and primitivism, blended with a huge dose of melody and super addictive riffs. I kept on wanting for more, hoping the band will soon release more songs in the same vein, as the 15 minutes of the demo were not enough for me.
And here I am now, finally listening to the band’s most recent release, the mind blowing The Spearwound Salvation.

Ultra Silvam -The Spearwound Salvation cover

And what a salvation that is indeed.
Due to a personal saturation with this genre I do not follow the black metal scene that much these days, but I keep an eye on some labels which I know still have interesting acts on their roster, bands which really stand out from the actual current.
This is how I discovered bands like Voodus, Plaguestorm or Ultra Silvam (just to name a few), Swedish groups with a different approach to black metal than most of their counterparts.

But what can be said of Ultra Silvam‘s debut LP, what makes it so special? To start with, it’s not long: there are only 7 tracks (well, 6 full songs and 1 short intermezzo), spanning for almost 28 minutes. The focus is placed on the music, so if you are looking for long songs to sink yourself into, go listen elsewhere. Heic Noenum Pax, the time is too short for slow, mellow moments…

Do you remember that album which was released 33 years ago, and also lasted for almost 28 minutes? What was its name? Ah, Reign in Blood, yes. Comparing the two releases might be a bit outrageous, but believe me when I say that The Spearwound Salvation has many things in common with that album which changed the face of extreme metal back in the days. Now, in 2019, the impact cannot of course be the same, but what Ultra Sivam brings new to the game with their release is this freshness/new blood/we piss on your trends approach which many modern bands lack. Right now they are one of the most promising bands out there and they have the power to change black metal for the better, just give them some time.

Ultra Silvam band photo

The album basically follows the same pattern as the s/t demo, with the same structure of violent speed mixed with a generous amount of melody. From the opening title track to the last song on the record, The First Wound, you’ll discover some amazing parts of grim melancholy placed here and there, bringing some light in the overall darkness that enshrouds the album.

Like on the demo, the main catalyst are the insane guitar riffs which shred your brain from start to finish and the inhuman blast beats which pound in your ears like the hammers of doom. The rhythm is fast, almost super fast sometimes (I wander how many drum sets have been destroyed during the recording of this album), but there is a catchiness in these songs which makes them extremely addictive. You do not even realize when 27.57 minutes have passed and you’ll want to press play again. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

Somebody said at some point that black metal is not about riffs…Let me beg to differ and we have the proof here, with this album. These 3 guys took everything that was best from thrash, combined it with the murky atmosphere and primitive violence of black metal and the result is The Spearwound Salvation. Simple as that.

To keep their ties with the not so distant past, they even included (as track nr 6) the magnificent A Skull Full of Stars, presented here in a reshaped and extended version which is even better than the one on the demo (with some extra “noisy” sounds added as an outro).
The whole album is extremely “fluid” and the songs slide smoothly one into the other, creating this sensation of a black and violent vortex which hungrily devours everything in its path.

I am looking forward to the physical release of this album and I strongly suggest you keep an eye on it as well. As usual, it will come out in various formats (CD, LP and tape) which you can buy from here.
Also, keep and eye on the band cause most likely they will tour in support of the album and for sure we will hear more about them in the not so distant future.

I would very much like to see how the songs will sound live, considering there’s only one guitar in the band. But that remains to be discovered another time. For now, witness the Birth of a Mountain and support Ultra Silvam.

The Spearwound Salvation tracklist:
1. The Spearwound Salvation
2. Ödesalens Uppenbarelse
3. Birth of a Mountain
4. Förintelsens Andeväsen
5. Wings of Burial
6. A Skull Full of Stars
7. The First Wound

Ultra Silvam Line Up:
M.A. – Bass, Vocals
O.R. – Guitars
A.L. – Drums

Band Contact:
https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com/
https://ultrasilvam666.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/Ultra-Silvam-1921107041438275/

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Voodus – Into the Wild Review – November 2018 AB

I first came across the name Voodus when I listened to the Night Queen EP released 3 years ago. To this day I still cannot say it’s a favorite of mine, no matter how hard I tried. Then, in 2017, they released their 2nd EP, Serpent Seducer Saviour and something was clearly happening with(in) the band, cause this 2 song material was way better than the debut stuff. It caught my eye and I decided to watch the band closely.
And now, at the end of 2018, the Swedish quartet finally came out with its first full length album, released under the (un)holy patronage of Shadow Records, a label specialized in keeping the true underground spirit alive since the end of the ’90’s.

Voodus Logo

Into the Wild came out on the 26th of November and, as I already mentioned, is the band’s first full effort. And what an effort it is, indeed. 8 tracks (1 intro, 1 instrumental and 6 full tracks), with a total span on 1 hour, that is really something. I usually do not fancy very long albums as after some time I kinda lose interest and I just cannot focus properly on the songs anymore (I am getting old or maybe pretentious, I don’t know). But there are some exceptions out there and to my surprise, Voodus‘s Into the Wild is one of them.

From the very first sound of the intro The Awakening and the Ascension to the very last note of The Terrain of Moloch I was immersed in this fantastic album which really swept me off my feet. Without any shadow of a doubt, I consider this album one of the best extreme metal albums of the last decade. I said “extreme” and not simply “black metal” because with this release, Voodus definitely made it clear that while their essence is deeply rooted in the spirit displayed by bands like Watain and Dissection, they are walking on their own path, outside of a specific genre. And that is extremely rare nowadays, unfortunately. Into the Wild is an album which has an aura of Storm of the Light’s Bane mixed with Sworn to the Dark, but where it lacks in blast beats, it gains in atmosphere. Also, the guys have managed not to become mere copycats of the already mentioned bands, but instead they searched and somehow found a style, a niche of their own. And you can definitely hear that on Into the Wild, from the very first listen.

Voodus Promo Picture

The 8 songs on this album are a tribute to the night, a soundtrack to the darkness, full of melancholy and beauty. (Do not an expect gooey songs, ballads or stuff like that. On the contrary). The common denominator during this 1 hour and 1 second are the guitar parts and their wailing riffs and solos, which haunt your feeble human mind to the point of desperation. Into the Wild is the perfect listen at night, in the dark, with only the light of a handful of candles dancing on the walls. Only that way you will experience this album in its full, when the mind is emptied of any other useless thoughts and the focus is on the music and the lyrics.

The songs have an epic touch, which really makes them super addictive and easy to listen to, despite their length. Not a single moment this album becomes boring, but after each listen you will still able to discover something new and attractive in it.

Take the 6th track for example, the intermezzo Dreams From an Ancient Mind Pt I, which basically cuts the album in 2. After a furious assault in Communion Amid the Graves, who would have thought that this kind of No Dreams Breed in Breathless Sleep piano would be inserted there, to teleport you somewhere far away from this ordinary world.

If by reading the above you somehow understood that there are no aggressive parts on this album, then you got it all wrong. First of all, the drummer on Into the Wild is the war machine Jocke Wallgren who stepped in at the very last moment to replace the original drummer I.Carlsson, who injured himself just before the recording of the album. Those familiar with Jocke‘s background (Valkyrja, Ofermod, Ondskapt etc) know that he is a fucking mean, lean, drumming machine, so the lovers of blast beats and double bass drums can rest in peace, the aggression is still there. The best example to back this up is the last track, the longest of the album and also the quintessence of what the record is about, The Terrain of Moloch and its 14 minutes of pure (black) magic.

Voodus Into the Wild Album Cover

Using ferocious blast beats, slow passages and inhuman double bass pedals, Jocke‘s drums basically set the pace of the album and represent the skeleton upon which the music is based on. Besides the drums, the guitars also play a primordial role on this release with their melodic touches (just listen to the amazing solos on The Golden at 5:21 or on Gnothi Seauton at 4:35) and their icy cold riffs spread all over the whole album.
The clear production done by Tore Stjerna in his by now (in)famous Necromorbus Studio also adds a chilling touch to this concoction that is Into the Wild: a sort of reminiscence of the glory of the mid ’90s, but with a proper identity and an original approach to black metal.

If you really want something different than the average blast beat frenzy from start to finish and also fancy other experiences which can open your eyes and mind while enjoying melancholic tracks, then Voodus has the perfect thing for you: Into the Wild is now available in several formats (digital, cd, LP and tape), so better act fast now or be sorry later.
This album will be written with bold letters in the black book of metal and I am pretty sure that Voodus is a name which will have more things to say in the years to come.

“Join the hunt and go Into the Wild!”

Voodus – Into the Wild track list:
1. The Awakening and the Ascension
2. The Golden
3. Gnothi Seauton
4. Into the Wild
5. Communion Amid the Graves
6. Dreams from an Ancient Mind Pt I
7. Dreams from an Ancient Mind Pt II
8. The Terrain of Moloch

Voodus line-up:
T. Fongelius Guitars, Vocals
E. Kjönsberg Guitars
F. Sundgren Bass
I. Carlsson Drums

Band Contact:
https://voodus.bandcamp.com/
https://helterskelterproductions.bandcamp.com/merch
https://www.facebook.com/voodus666/

Blood and Iron: Review Marduk – Viktoria – Century Media Records – June 2018 AB

Heic Noenum Pax or Here’s no Peace, as Marduk once put it so well. Starting with Wormwood, they got us used to releasing albums every three years, in a feverishly chronology. So, 3 years after the surprisingly good Frontschwein, Marduk will release on the 22nd of June their 14th full length album, Viktoria (Century Media Records), a name as simple and short as its content: 9 songs under 33 minutes, an album shorter than the mighty Panzer Division Marduk, which was considered the Reign in Blood of black metal.

If I kept mentioning the number 3, I would also like to mention the 3 periods in Marduk‘s long lasting activity: the first period of the early and mid 90’s when they were trying to find their own identity, the Legion period with classics like Nightwing and Panzer Division Marduk, and the period with Mortuus on vocals, who brought the much sought consistency and clarity for this acclaimed band.
Cause after this fantastic vocalist joined Marduk, the band has immediately found its own path and started to release consistent albums, one after another, until today. Also, with Mortuus, Marduk has become one of the truest bands active in this fucked up scene, a band that doesn’t give a fuck about the leftist politically correctness and who just delivers whatever the fuck it wants.
Add to this “behaviour” the impressive shows, with no gimmicks, just the right black metal attitude and atmosphere. Cause every Marduk concert is actually a fist in the face of all the posers and trend setters of today, be it musicians or fans.

marduk band photo

Viktoria is no filler and starts exactly where Frontschwein has ended. In a nutshell, this rocket-like album is ugly, fast and deadly.

From the very first track, Werewolf, which was also the first single the band released in April, one can almost expect what will happen on the album. The punkish vibe of the track hits you hard in the face and goes on for 2 minutes in a groovy double pedaled rhythm.

But then all hell breaks loose and the next 2 tracks, June 44 and Equestrian Bloodlust, are exactly what Marduk is about: fierce, cold riffs and sharp blast beats mix with the insane growls of Mortuus, who shots his verses like some old rusty MG 42s hidden in the bunkers above the Falaise.
The speed and the precision of the instruments are incredible, creating a black metal whirlwind of sound. To be honest I just cannot figure how (or where) Marduk found the inspiration to reinvent themselves (again) in such a brilliant way.

After the cavalcade of these three aggressive tracks, it’s now time to catch our breath and seek shelter in the cold, soaked trenches cause Tiger I shows its ugly face on the horizon. This slow, crushing song reminds of the deadly tanks which were the kings of the battlefields in the 2nd World War, from the East to the West.
“Grand horse of steel, sword of flame – the ground is shaking
Massive apparatus of death, 58 tons of hate”.

Pounding drums and hateful vocals accompany this monster of a song all through its duration of 4:12 minutes, while during the bridge and towards the end of the track, machine gun like riffs and blast beats explode to conclude its march.

The album continues with one of the best Marduk tracks I listened to recently, “Narva“, a pure sonic onslaught of hate and destruction (just like the fate of this Baltic city). The song is split in the middle by some groovy drum parts while Mortuus, with its cavernous voice, vomits “Down, see Narva go down”. Outstanding track!

The Last Fallen, the title track Viktoria with its sick chorus and intriguing bass parts and the amazing The Devil’s Song carry us through a battlefield of horrors, accompanied by relentless shelling in form of insane blast beats, precise riffing and chaotic vocals.

Marduk Viktoria cover

Even if the 4 musicians have outdone themselves on this album until now, the best is yet to come, in the form of Silent Night, the last song of this fantastic album which closes the hostilities in a slow march of death and despair. Featuring Mortuus‘s best vocals so far, the track seems like a mockery of the famous Christmas carol many people celebrate in the coziness of their homes:

“Silent night
we share the sacred promise of death
Holy night
aligned shall we enter the last breath”

Overall, Viktoria is a very solid album and bears Marduk‘s trademark all over it. Lyrics about war, death, panzers, historical events, all seen through the lens of 4 black metal musicians. Musicians who have evolved to the point of perfection, transforming a band once on the verge of mediocrity into a real monster, which, after almost 30 years of activity, has become probably one of the best black metal of this planet.
I specifically want to praise here the drummer, Fredrik Widigs, who reached a level of total insanity on this album. Marduk has always had great drummers, but the work this guy did on Frontschwein and more recent on Viktoria shows that what were are dealing with here is much more than talent, is almost “insanity”.

The only thing which I really do not dig and not understand is the cover, which I think is one the most “unsuccessful” covers Marduk ever used (and they used some, especially in the mid 90’s). I am pretty sure that a better cover would have suited this album better, but after all, as I already said it above, Marduk do what they want and I have to respect that.

If you will have the chance to see them live this summer in support of this great album, do not miss them or you’ll be sorry. This band really has the best line-up ever.

Marduk – Viktoria track list:

1. Werwolf
2. June 44
3. Equestrian Bloodlust
4. Tiger I
5. Narva
6. The Last Fallen
7. Viktoria
8. The Devil’s Song
9. Silent Night

Marduk Line-up:

Mortuus – Vocals
Morgan Hakanson – Guitars
Magnus “Devo” Andersson – Bass
Fredrik Widigs – Drums

Band contact:
https://www.facebook.com/Mardukofficial
http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=275
http://marduk.nu/

Funeral Mist – Hekatomb album review – NoEvDia – June 2018 AB

“And all that is Holy, Holy shall be”.

He who listeneth to black metal should have heareth about Funeral Mist. At least once in his life time. After the MCD Devilry (1998) and 2 albums, Salvation (2003) and Maranatha (2009), the infamous Swedish black metal band is back (from the dead) with a spiteful vengeance. Funeral Mist stands as a temple of blasphemy, erected upon the pillars which are its albums. The more are added to its foundation, the stronger and menacing this temple becomes.

Funeral Mist Logo

To be absolutely honest, I wasn’t even hoping that Arioch will release again an album with Funeral Mist, for many reasons. Reading some of the few interviews he gave some time ago, (the most notable was the one for Slayer Mag nr XX), I got the impression that this band was history and after the superb Maranatha there will be no more Funeral Mist for us.
Since Arioch joined Marduk under the alias Mortuus and dedicated his artistic life to that band for the past 14 years, I really thought that after Maranatha Funeral Mist would be a closed chapter in the black metal history book.

Continue reading Funeral Mist – Hekatomb album review – NoEvDia – June 2018 AB

March of Blood and Iron Tour: Marduk live in Budapest – May 2018 AB

The third leg of the March of Blood and Iron Tour 2018 stopped in Budapest Friday,the 4th of May. Having already seen the 3 bands present on the bill before – Infernal War, Ragnarok and Marduk – I decided to go to the venue (Supersonic Blue Hell) out of curiosity and why not, for a pleasant way to spend Friday night.

Since the venue is 10 minutes from my place, I arrived there around 19.30, just in time to grab a drink and enjoy the opening act, the Poles from Infernal War. As you may know by now, their Polish date in Rzeszów was cancelled due to some assholes sabotaging the venue, in a desperate way to stop the so called “neo-nazi/satanic panic”. I won’t go into further details here, but I cannot and will not agree, never in a thousand years, with such a mindless behavior.
Continue reading March of Blood and Iron Tour: Marduk live in Budapest – May 2018 AB

A Thousand Burning Worlds – An interview with Malakhim – March 2018 AB

From Sweden comes a new band, called Malakhim, Satan’s messenger. In 2017 they released Demo I, a fantastic demo tape containing 3 songs of wicked black metal (review can be found here), so I was curious to find out more about what’s behind this band. E (vocals) was kind enough to answer my questions. Enjoy!

I. Originally, in the Hebrew Bible, a Mal’akh was an angel, a messenger of God. Whose messengers are you and what is your aim? What do you want to express with your music and lyrics, now when so much has been already said and done?

Correct, and in our case the interpretation should be a bit more ambiguous. Whom do we speak of? Satan. Simply put. Malakhim is an expression of urges and ideas that somehow isn’t always easy to explain. Suffice to say that its our creative outlet, and we pour whatever impulses and ideas we get in the creative process into the vessel that makes up the band.
You’re right, a lot has already been said and done, and we’re not going out there with some fresh new mission or pretending to bring something unique. We’ve decided to create our art because we wanted to create our art.

 
Continue reading A Thousand Burning Worlds – An interview with Malakhim – March 2018 AB

Malakhim – Demo I review March 2018 AB

Malakhim logo

One of the best debut demo tapes released last year comes from Sweden, of course. Umea to be exact, the birth place of Malakhim, the new band in town when it comes to black metal.

Released first in October 2017 on the band’s Bandcamp page, Demo I gained immediately a “cult” status in the black metal underground, so when the tape version was officially announced one month later, it got sold out in several hours. For me that was a huge surprise, but considering how the three tracks sounded, the reaction was completely justified. When 100 copies go away in less than a day, there must be something “wrong” with your music, right? It must be that good!
Continue reading Malakhim – Demo I review March 2018 AB