Album Review – Häxkapell / Eldhymner (2021)

Let your soul burn to the debut album by this Swedish Black Metal beast, examining, contemplating and utilizing the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards…”

Founded in 2015 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oraklet in the city of Haparanda, a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden, a caustic Black Metal entity that goes by the name of Häxkapell (which means “witch chapel” or “chapel of witchery” from Swedish) is set to release its first full-length opus, titled Eldhymner (or “fire hymns”), an album which examines, contemplates and utilizes the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life. Mastered by T. Stjerna at NBS Studio, and featuring session musicians JM on drums and IPU on the violin, Eldhymner conveys sheer, unadulterated veneration for classic Swedish Black Metal of all kinds, being recommended for admirers of the extreme music blasted by bands the likes of Covenant, Naglfar, Marduk, Emperor and Dissection, among several others.

Ominous sounds permeate the air in the epic intro Kallet (“the call”), inviting us to the Stygian realm ruled by Häxkapell before they take our minds by storm with Tomhetens Lågor (“the flames of emptiness”), with JM dictating the song’s imposing pace while Oraklet roars with tons of anger in his damned heart, resulting in an old school Black Metal composition with some very welcome elements from Atmospheric Black Metal added to its core essence. And this venomous Swedish entity blasts another fulminating Black Metal tune titled Eldskapt (“created by fire”), living up to the legacy of bands like Marduk and Immortal, while Oraklet is utterly infernal with his growls and riffs accompanied by the demonic beats by JM, all spiced up by the crying violin by IPU; flowing into the phantasmagorical Askans Drottning (“the queen of ashes”), where they continue to haunt our souls with their infernal sounds. Moreover, JM is once again bestial behind his drum set, providing Oraklet all he needs to shine with his demonic screams.

Ur Malströmmens Famn (“from the embrace of the maelstrom”) is absolutely demolishing from the very first second, a lecture in Black Metal by Oraklet and his henchmen that will penetrate deep inside your skin and burn your veins and muscles mercilessly. Not only that, Oraklet’s riffage couldn’t have sounded more Black Metal than this, not to mention the song’s cryptic background voices. Then investing into a more cadenced sonority it’s time for a Melodic Black Metal tune titled Solraviner (“sun ravines”), full of breaks and variations supported by the cinematic keys by Oraklet, followed by Häxkapellet (“the witch chapel”), where once again Oraklet vociferates rabidly accompanied by the headbanging drums by JM in a lesson in contemporary Black Metal, evolving into a beyond heavy and crushing extravaganza. In other words, it’s over eight minutes of dark and caustic sounds for our total delight, until the band embraces us all with the ethereal outro Sanningen (“the truth”), where the violin by IPU will finally bring peace to our blackened hearts.

An eternal furnace of chaos breeding that which lies beyond, forever tempting the embers of life with the flames of everlasting silence, fire will always be a pivotal element in our society, representing at the same time life and death, darkness and light, and in Eldhymner the talented Oraklet was capable of transforming that scorching nature of fire into first-class Black Metal, helping to pave the band’s path to stardom in the underground community. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Häxkapell by following the project on Facebook, and more important than that, by purchasing a copy of Eldhymner from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Nordvis Produktion’s webstore in CD or LP format, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. And let the fires of Swedish Black Metal burn bright for centuries to come to the sound of amazing bands like Häxkapell.

Best moments of the album: Eldskapt, Ur Malströmmens Famn and Häxkapellet.

Worst moments of the album: Solraviner.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Kallet 2:20
2. Tomhetens Lågor 5:51
3. Eldskapt 6:50
4. Askans Drottning 4:46
5. Ur Malströmmens Famn 4:05
6. Solraviner 5:40
7. Häxkapellet 8:31
8. Sanningen 2:18

Band members
Oraklet – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest musicians
JM – drums (session)
IPU – violin (session)

Album Review – Mustasch / A Final Warning – Chapter One EP (2021)

Celebrating 20 years since their first record was released, these Swedish rockers are inviting us all to hit the dance floor to the sound of their new EP.

3.0rating

mustasch-a-final-warning-chapter-one-ep-2021With their straightforward and uncompromising attitude, Gothenburg, Sweden-based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock squad Mustasch is ready to celebrate 20 years since their first record was released now in 2021 with two new EP’s, the first being A Final Warning – Chapter One, followed by A Final Warning – Chapter Two (to be released in October). Comprised of Ralf Gyllenhammar on vocals and guitar, David Johannesson on lead guitar, Stam Johansson on bass and Robban Bäck on drums, Mustasch started way back in 1998 and have quickly become one of the most important Hard Rock bands of the Swedish scene, provoking many and having their music loved by many more, leading the band to win two Swedish Grammys so far in their career.  In A Final Warning – Chapter One, the band sounds more incendiary and melodic than ever, offering fans 20 minutes of pure Mustasch and, therefore, leaving us all eager for the second part of their celebrations later this year.

Without further ado, it’s time to ignite your rockin’ engines to the sound of the sharp riffs by Ralf and David and the rumbling bass by Stam in A Final Warning, blending the heaviness of classic Hard Rock with modern nuances and epic background effects, whereas going back to the golden years of pure Heavy Metal the quartet fires the metallic extravaganza Contagious, where Robban kicks some ass on drums while Ralf declaims the song’s lyrics with tons of energy and aggressiveness. Then investing in a more modern version of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll we have Albert Einstein, again showcasing classic, in-your-face guitar riffs while Ralf delivers a mix of System Of a Down and The Cult through his enraged vocals. Stam’s bass brings the groove to the dancing and sexy You Are Killing Me, and you better get ready to bang your heads nonstop together with the quartet as Ralf steals the spotlight on vocals accompanied by Robban’s crushing beats; followed by Searching for Long Range Communication, sounding as if it was taken from a 70’s action movie. In other words, it’s sheer Rock N’ Roll with Stam and Robban jamming like there’s no tomorrow until the melancholic and smooth outro To Be Continued puts an end to the EP.

mustasch-2021You can hit the dance floor by listening to the full EP on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the guys from Mustasch you should purchase your copy of the EP from the Sound Pollution webstore, from Napalm Records, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow those unstoppable Swedish rockers on Facebook and on Instagram, getting to know more about the band and warming up your senses for their upcoming EP. Will Mustach outdo themselves in the next chapter of A Final Warning? Stay tuned for the wild conclusion this October, my friends!

Best moments of the album: Contagious and You Are Killing Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Tritonus Records

Track listing
1. A Final Warning 5:03
2. Contagious 3:01
3. Albert Einstein 3:25
4. You Are Killing Me 3:52
5. Searching for Long Range Communication 3:49
6. To Be Continued 1:28

Band members
Ralf Gyllenhammar – lead vocals, guitar
David Johannesson – lead guitar
Stam Johansson – bass
Robban Bäck – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Heike Langhans

heike01

The shackles of your demons fall silent… The shackles of your demons fall…

It’s time for the skies to get dark and melancholic here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the doomed music blasted by our metal lady of the month of May, and I bet you’ll get absolutely addicted to her music right after the very first listen (in case you know nothing yet about her and her bands and projects, of course). Though of German descent, she was born on February 9, 1988 in Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, and currently resides in Sweden, where she joined Swedish Doom Metal band Draconian as the replacement to former singer Lisa Johansson in 2012. I’m talking about the multi-talented Heike Langhans, a songwriter, singer and designer well known for her work in the Gothic and metal scenes, always exploring a vast array of styles including Dark Wave, Electronic and Gothic Rock, among several others, therefore conquering the blackened hearts of the damned ones.

Drawn to melancholy Gothic music during her teenage years, Heike Langhans (which correct pronunciation is ‘hey-keh’ and ‘lung [the organ] – huns [like guns]’, as it’s a German name) began to dabble in composition, writing and singing at a very young age, already being part of school choirs at the age of eight, although she got sick of singing in groups, left that behind and started doing her own thing. She played piano occasionally, but mostly played classical guitar, which helped a lot in her writing process, and used to sing with her father when he played guitar at social gatherings. Heike joined her first band when she was around 15 years old, an all-girls band comprised of friends of her that was mainly a fun holiday thing, while she kept doing music on her own until she joined a proper band at the age of 19. Needless to say, she kept doing her own thing on the side to stay focused and as an outlet for her frustrations with the world and her surroundings.

Active since 2005, our South African started her career being associated with a few distinguished projects and bands, those being her Dark Electronic solo project :LOR3L3I:, South African Symphonic Metal band Inferium, and South African Black/Thrash Metal band Warthane, with her vocals being known to be sorrowful and her music peculiar and melancholic in nature. Regarding :LOR3L3I: (also known as LOR3L3I, LORELEI, or simply Lorelei), everything started back in 2006 as a melancholic electronic side project, with the name Lorelei having almost acted as an alter ego in a sense. According to Heike herself, the songs are raw and unpolished, a “spur-of-the-moment” type project where she just pours her heart into a song, record it and then struggle to touch it again, and you can take a very good listen at all her demos on her official BandCamp page, savoring delicate creations such as Jade Light and Fables. “I’ve said many times that I will never be able to sing these songs live, simply because I’ll be too emotional. It’s hard for me to wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, so music is the only way. Lorelei is definitely my outlet and it’s quite revealing in many ways. Many people think me intimidating and secretive, but I’m more of an open book than what they care to realize,” commented Heike about her solo endeavor.

Inferium and Warthane are completely different stories, as they were already relatively established bands when Heike joined them. Under the moniker Heike Van Dominic, she was Inferium’s vocalist from 2005 until 2010, joining the band when they were still an instrumental group. They were the only band she knew doing Symphonic Metal at that time, with a huge influence from bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation. She said in one of her interviews that the band had a lot of potential and that they were doing quite well, but as they had a lot of issues with finding time and money to record and push it further they decided to call it quits in 2010. “I’ll always remember and enjoy my time in Inferium and I’ll forever be sad about the stellar songs that were to come, but it’s a sweet memory,” said Heike. Right after Inferium disbanded, more specifically in 2011, our diva, again under the name Heike Van Dominic, recorded the female vocals for the album Black Divine, by Warthane, which you can enjoy in its entirety on Spotify. Not only that, she also used her graphic designer skills to create the album’s stylish, somber artwork, proving how focused and talented she is it doesn’t matter which band or project she’s involved with.

Since 2012, Heike has been acting as the singer for Swedish Gothic/Doom Metal act Draconian, a cult band that started back in the already distant year of 1994 as Kerberos, playing Melodic Heavy and Death Metal with Black Metal influences, changing its name to Draconian around seven months after its inception. Heike joined the band following the departure of singer Lisa Johansson in 2011 after having made contact with guitarist Daniel Arvidsson, then with vocalist Anders Jacobsson to try an audition in Sweden. At first, she struggled to get a work visa in Sweden, which hampered the band’s ability to record an album, and until obtaining the visa she performed as a temporary singer for Gothic Rock band The Great Sleep in South Africa, as you can see for example in the song The Last Funeral. At the end of 2013, she finally received her work visa and was able to emigrate to Sweden, when she started working with Draconian while at the same time she started playing as a guest singer, guitarist and keyboardist in 2015 for Swedish Doom Metal band ISON, a side-project of Daniel Änghede (of Crippled Black Phoenix and Hearts of Black Science). She mentioned her main reasons for joining ISON were being able to play an instrument again like what she used to do in her teens, and putting a part of her own soul into it within a genre that was not electronic. You can have a very good taste of the music by ISON on their BandCamp page, with their first three albums having Heike on vocals, those being Cosmic Drone, Andromeda Skyline and Inner Space, or go to YouTube and search for their official videos such as the one for the song ISAE, as well as other precious gems like the duo playing a stunning acoustic version for The Final Cut by Pink Floyd (and you can compare their beautiful rendition with the original one HERE).

Finally, in 2015 Heike was able to record her first album with Draconian, by the way the sixth in the band’s career, the excellent Sovran, which she was not only responsible for the female vocal parts, but she also collaborated on writing the lyrics for tracks Dusk Mariner, Dishearten and The Marriage of Attaris, showing how easy it has been for Heike to connect with everyone at Draconian. “When I came to Sweden, I thought it would be very intimidating to have to all of a sudden be in this professional studio and work with world-class producers, and I underestimated myself a lot. But once I actually started doing it, I realized I was completely over-thinking everything. The guys were really laid back and easy to work with,” commented Heike. Then in 2020 she released with Draconian their second opus together, entitled Under a Godless Veil, where once again she was responsible for part of the lyrics, more specifically for the lyrics for the song Sleepwalkers, on top of her usual vocal duties. She also mentioned in one of her interviews that her work with Draconian hasn’t had any negative impact on her solo project :LOR3L3I: so far; quite the contrary, several Draconian fans kept writing her and asking her to continue to create music under her solo project, although she said nowadays she doesn’t have enough time to focus on that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan of Draconian or a newcomer to their doomed world, you must check all of their official videos on YouTube such as the ones for the songs Sorrow Of Sophia, Sleepwalkers, Lustrous Heart, The Sacrificial Flame, Moon Over Sabaoth and Stellar Tombs, all of their creations on Spotify, as well as live footage the likes of Pale Tortured Blue live at MS Connexion Complex in Mannheim, Germany in 2019, and simply get lost in their realm of melancholy.

Apart from all of those previous and current bands and projects, you can also enjoy Heike’s unique voice as a guest vocalist in several other bands from all over the world. For instance, she played live with Finnish Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal band Hallatar in 2018, with whom she also recorded vocals for the song My Mistake and narrations for the songs Raven’s Song, Pieces and Spiral Gate from their 2017 album No Stars Upon the Bridge; she was a guest vocalist in the song Vision VII: One with the Soil from the 2017 album Visions, by Austrian Post-Black Metal act Anomalie; she also recorded the female vocal parts for the song The Path to Puya, from the 2019 album Aamamata by Spanish Doom/Gothic Metal act Helevorn; and vocals for the song Wolves at the Border, from the 2015 album Signal, by Swedish duo Hearts of Black Science. Not only that, Heike also did the layout and band photos for the 2020 album Premonitions, by International Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal band Sojourner, and was responsible for the vocals, keyboards, songwriting, lyrics, vocal recording, artwork, layout and design in the 2020 album Another World, by International Atmospheric Doom Metal band Light Field Reverie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When asked about her main idols and influences in music, Heike said it’s actually hard to pinpoint influences because many of her personal likes are not in any genres considered as Gothic in modern terms. However, the bands she related to early on would be Fields of The Nephilim, The Awakening, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Type O Negative, Dead Can Dance and Lycia, to name a few. In addition, as far as more modern Goth-inspired music goes, she has spent a great deal of time listening to Diary Of Dreams, Tiamat, Tristania, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Sins Of Thy Beloved, Katatonia, Draconian, and of course My Dying Bride. She said her passion for metal started when she was a teenager, as she used to get her father’s Pink Floyd and Meat Loaf CD’s and listen to them on repeat in her room while singing along, also watching renowned acts like Black Sabbath on VH1 and taping whatever metal she could find onto VHS or cassette. By the time she was 16, she was consuming a lot of metal from all sub-genres, gradually focusing on what suited her best emotionally speaking like Gothic, Symphonic and Doom Metal, only getting into Black Metal in her 20’s, but of course the emotional aspect and the melodies found in Doom Metal turned it into her all-time favorite genre as it certainly triggers a lot more in her personally.

In regards to touring, Heike said in one of her interviews she would love to tour around a South America, South Africa and Australia with Draconian, understanding that requires a lot of traveling and a huge investment, of course. “I look forward to traveling to countries to enjoy the scenery, food and people. The music is just our way of saying thank you for having us. It would feel slightly selfish to think our music is what made the show worth it, if you know what I mean,” complemented Heike, who also has a deep connection with the metal scene in her homeland. “Despite what most South Africans make themselves believe, Cape Town actually has a great metal scene and more bands than you might think. I can count on one hand the amount of friends I have there who ISN’T a musician. It’s a very creative and beautiful town.” She recommends Atmospheric Black Metal band Crow Black Sky, 2017 Battle for Wacken winners Megalodon, scene-legend Industrial Metal band Terminatryx and a few new-comers such as Constellatia as excellent bands from her beautiful country (and city) that we should all take a listen at.

Moving from South Africa to Sweden wasn’t an easy task for Heike, as it took around 19 months for her to receive her residence permit renewal in Sweden due to the country dealing with an influx of refugees. Based in Säffle, a municipality in Värmland County in west central Sweden, with the rest of the band since December 2019, Heike said she obviously misses Cape Town, her friends, the forwardness of people, Afrikaans jokes and Afrikaans words that you really can’t say anywhere else, but of course that she loves Scandinavia and that her head and her heart are in the North. Her Swedish might not be perfect yet, but her Afrikaans (Dutch) and German background ended up helping her a lot in understanding the language in the beginning, and she’s picking it up quite fast in her own opinion. She also commented about the fact that a lot of people in Sweden and in different parts of the world keep asking her why she’s white, which she believes that happens due to the idea the media sells that everyone in the African continent is black, complementing by saying she usually takes the opportunity to explain how things really work in South Africa.

Lastly, although Heike seems to be an unstoppable music-making machine, she’s just a regular human being like all of us who has her favorite hobbies and pastimes when she’s not singing, recording or performing on stage. As an avid gamer, she said she loves playing World of Warcraft and old school RPG’s the likes of Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Lionheart, as well as newer games like Skyrim, but of course she spends a great amount of time doing art, mostly digital and editing. There are days when she doesn’t want to deal with technology and she focuses of drawings and illustrations by hand, though. She also enjoys painting and photography, albeit she considers those quite expensive hobbies, and sewing, showing how versatile and talented she is. Furthermore, Heike is a big supporter of the Ubuntu Liberation Movement in South Africa, the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement, always focusing on human liberation and free energy. “I will not eat or drink anything that comes from big corporations. Yes it’s difficult, but I refuse to support them. I also don’t eat meat any more, and I don’t really care what people have to say about that. I think that once people really put in the time and effort and research, not only from a health or principle perspective, but from an environmental perspective, they will realize that there is a lot that they are not being told. If they want to follow all the bullshit lies in the industry, then fine. But I will actively be against that. That’s what I think being an activist is about,” said our dauntless diva, and you can know a lot more about Heike, her bands, projects and so on by watching several online interviews with her, such as this one at FemME 2015 and this one for Metal & High Heels in 2019, letting her smooth and enchanting words and her undeniable charisma penetrate deep inside your doomed soul.

Heike Langhans’ Official Facebook page
Heike Langhans’ Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Facebook page
Draconian’s Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Twitter
:LOR3L3I:’s Official Facebook page

“I love slow and melancholic music. It brings my inner suffering to the surface and Doom Metal makes me feel like it’s okay to be an emotional being that suffers in this strange world.” – Heike Langhans

Album Review – Orecus / The Obliterationist (2021)

Behold the rebirth of an amazing Swedish act armed with their first full-length album, drawing influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart.

Founded in 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden and having released an EP titled Conclusion in 2016, but re-ignited as a band in 2020, Melodic Death Metal unity Orecus draws influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart, forming a clear path between sheer brutality and clever songwriting. Comprised of Philip Grüning on vocals, Elias Ryen-Rafstedt and Francis Larsson on the guitars, and Martin Maxe on bass, Orecus are set to release their first full-length opus entitled The Obliterationist, showcasing the band’s capability to create uncompromising Modern Death Metal that both grooves and reeks havoc, spiced up by the pristine re-amping, mixing and mastering by Buster Odeholm of Impact Studios and enfolded by a dark and aggressive artwork by Jorden Haley, who has already worked with bands the likes of Daath and The Agony Scene.

Elias and Francis begin slashing their guitars mercilessly in The Obliterationist while Philip roars the song’s austere lyrics like a true beast (“There’s money to be made in reeking havoc / When our leaders slaughter for personal gain / Provoking the underdogs / Until their fates are sealed”) in a vicious display of modern-day Melodic Death Metal; and hammering drums are accompanied by the low-tuned, metallic bass by Martin in Distress Signal, a good headbanging tune where Philip’s growling gets deeper and more demonic than before, also presenting elements from classic Death and Groove Metal. Then investing in a more contemporary sonority by adding hints of Metalcore to their already infernal sound, the band fires the venomous The Destruction Path, where the strident riffage by Elias and Francis will pierce your mind like a bullet, whereas featuring guest vocalist Chad Kapper (Frontierer) we’re treated to Blodvite, displaying industrialized sounds and endless electricity flowing smoothly from all instruments. Moreover, it’s impressive how they can sound technical but at the same time extremely dark and heavy, and it’s time to crush our spinal cords into the circle pit to the sound of Omnipotent, a brutal Melodic Death Metal composition where sheer violence and rage exhale from the band’s riffs, bass jabs and drums nonstop.

Supported by the spot-on guest vocals by Fredrik Söderberg (Soreption), the bass by Martin sounds and feels beyond visceral in Below The Threshold, while the band’s guitar duo cuts our skin deep with their demonic shredding accompanied by Philip’s inhumane gnarls, and they continue their Melodic Death Metal onrush with the also heavy and dark Unborn, Reborn, showcasing an amazing job done by both Elias and Francis in absolute sync with the song’s intricate beats. Then the deep guttural roars by Philip will haunt your soul in the bludgeoning tune My Manifest, presenting their trademark Melodic Death Metal guitars intertwined with a somber atmosphere and endless savagery. In Become The Nihilist the band shows why they’re never tired of blasting obscurity and rage from their sonic weapons, albeit not as vibrant as its predecessors and sounding a bit generic after a while. It’s still heavy-as-hell, though, setting the tone for Extinct, bringing to our ears one last round of their Stygian words barked by Philip (“I’ve caught a glimpse of what’s to come / A sinking world / Suffocated by submissive views / The deafening silence speaks volumes”) while the music remains as demented as possible, not to mention how thunderous Martin sounds on bass.

The ruthless guys from Orecus are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on Spotify to show you exactly what they got, and of course in order to provide them your utmost support you can purchase The Obliterationist from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, adding such intense album of Melodic Death Metal to your personal and vile collection. As already mentioned, Orecus offer us fans of extreme music a fantastic fusion of old school and modern-day Death Metal with endless aggression, heaviness and intricacy in The Obliterationist, and let’s hope that their newborn spawn is just the first step in this new phase of their career, keeping the flames of underground Swedish Melodic Death Metal burning high and bright for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: The Obliterationist, The Destruction Path and Below The Threshold.

Worst moments of the album: Become The Nihilist.

Released in 2021 Violent Groove

Track listing
1. The Obliterationist 4:42
2. Distress Signal 3:23
3. The Destruction Path 4:08
4. Blodvite 3:32
5. Omnipotent 4:27
6. Below The Threshold 3:57
7. Unborn, Reborn 5:06
8. My Manifest 3:52
9. Become The Nihilist 3:39
10. Extinct 4:27

Band members
Philip Grüning – vocals
Elias Ryen-Rafstedt – guitars
Francis Larsson – guitars
Martin Maxe – bass

Guest musicians
Chad Kapper – vocals on “Blodvite”
Fredrik Söderberg – vocals on “Below The Threshold”

Album Review – Heavy Feather / Mountain of Sugar (2021)

Rawer, heavier and harder, the sophomore album by these sensational Swedish roots rockers ooze with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs.

Two years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Débris & Rubble, vocalist Lisa Lystam, guitarist Matte Gustavsson, bassist Morgan Korsmoe and drummer Ola Göransson, collectively known as Stockholm, Sweden-based Roots Rock outfit Heavy Feather, are ready to stun us all once again with their sophomore effort entitled Mountain of Sugar, an even rawer, heavier and harder album than their previous one, but still with the Roots and Psychedelic Rock touch holding it all together. Recorded by  Erik “Errka” Petersson at No Regrets Fonogram in Stockholm and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Lucifer, Imperial State Electric), Mountain of Sugar consists of 11 tracks oozing with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs, therefore being once again highly recommended for fans of iconic bands like Free, Cream and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Let’s take a journey back to the 70’s to the magical riffs by Matte in 30 Days, and Lisa doesn’t take too long to begin mesmerizing us with her powerful voice accompanied by her bandmates’ classic backing vocals in an awesome way to properly kick off the album, whereas singing about the eternal fight between time and love (“When I get old / Start counting my days / Living them slow / Living in haze / There’s one thing that’s clear / And that is your grace”), Bright in My Mind is another solid Rock N’ Roll tune with Morgan carefully slamming his bass from start to finish. Love Will Come Easy brings forward more of their fusion of 70’s rock music with contemporary Hard Rock and Blues, with Ola dictating the pace while Lisa shines as usual with her piercing vocal lines; and catchy lyrics (“Yes I’m relentless, a mountain of sugar / And I keep on rising, the mountain of sugar / I am mesmerizing, a mountain of sugar / But don’t get me feisty, the mountain of sugar”) and an upbeat vibe are the main ingredients in the vibrant Mountain of Sugar, not to mention Lisa’s kick-ass harmonica. Then a Deep Purple-inspired riff by Matte is boosted by the classy kitchen blasted by Morgan and Ola in Too Many Times, where Matte also adds tons of electricity to the music with his soulful riffs. And did I mention there’s also some cowbell for our total delight?

It’s time for a classic ballad by Heavy Feather titled Let It Shine, where Lisa steals the spotlight with a very passionate vocal performance while her bandmates deliver smoothness and love through their refined instruments, whereas Come We Can Go is old school Rock N’ Roll for admires of the genre, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and showcasing an amazing job done by Ola on drums. In Sometimes I Feel we’re introduced to a male vocalist (perhaps Matte?) instead of Lisa’s usual vocals, with Matte and Morgan being in total sync with their stringed weapons, generating a gentle but at the same time heavy ambience. Lisa is then back on vocals to hypnotize our senses in Lovely Lovely Lovely, while Ola fires classic beats and fills and Matte continues to shine with his electrifying solos; and a high dosage of Rock N’ Roll riffs and beats permeate the air in the awesome Rubble & Débris, a wordplay with the title of their previous album, inspiring you to sing, drink and bang your head together with the quartet while Lisa steals the show once again with her visceral vocals. Finally, ending the album the band delivers a delicate and beautiful ballad titled Asking in Need, perfect for listening to it while embracing your loved ones, all spiced up by the whimsical riffs and solos by Matte.

Those Swedish rockers are definitely making a name for themselves in the worldwide Rock N’ Roll scene, first with Débris & Rubble and now with Mountain of Sugar, two albums that can already be considered a must-have for anyone who enjoys old school rock music. You can get to know more about Heavy Feather on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel, stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and grab your copy of Mountain of Sugar from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, and soon from other locations. It’s a pleasure seeing how Heavy Feather took a step forward in their career with Mountain of Sugar without giving up their passion for the past, which only proves Rock N’ Roll is not only timeless, but also as sweet and delicious as sugar.

Best moments of the album: 30 Days, Mountain of Sugar and Rubble & Débris.

Worst moments of the album: Sometimes I Feel.

Released in 2021 The Sign Records

Track listing
1. 30 Days 3:41
2. Bright in My Mind 3:27
3. Love Will Come Easy 4:07
4. Mountain of Sugar 2:23
5. Too Many Times 2:46
6. Let It Shine 2:52
7. Come We Can Go 3:44
8. Sometimes I Feel 3:59
9. Lovely Lovely Lovely 4:13
10. Rubble & Débris 3:15
11. Asking in Need 3:40

Band members
Lisa Lystam – vocals, harmonica
Matte Gustavsson – guitars
Morgan Korsmoe – bass
Ola Göransson – drums

Album Review – Ablaze My Sorrow / Among Ashes and Monoliths (2021)

One of the most exciting forces of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene returns with their fifth full-length album, ready to kill once again with their visceral and aggressive music.

A familiar name in the Melodic Death Metal arena, Falkenberg, Halland-based outfit Ablaze My Sorrow came together in 1993 when Gothenburg, Sweden’s own brand of Death Metal had just begun to take shape, unfortunately splitting up in 2006. However, in 2013 their long-awaited reunion happened, and since this rebirth the quintet released their fourth album, Black, and played a slew of memorable gigs and fests. Now in 2021, after four years of incubation, Ablaze My Sorrow are ready to unleash upon us all their fifth full-length album, entitled Among Ashes and Monoliths, highly recommended for fans of the music by At The Gates, Dark Tranquility and In Flames, among others. Mixed and mastered by Ulf Blomberg at HoboRec/The End Studios, and featuring a classic cover artwork by Algerian artist Mustapha Haraoui (Mustapha Design DZ), Among Ashes and Monoliths is the band’s first-ever record with new vocalist Jonas Udd, whose aggressive rasp fits this passionate band to perfection, while the other members, those being Magnus Carlsson and Dennie Lindén on the guitars, Anders Brorsson on bass and Alex Kribensten on drums, return intact from their previous releases and are ready to kill once again with their visceral Melodic Death Metal.

In the atmospheric and dark opening track My Sorrow, Magnus and Dennie provide their welcome card from the very first second with their slashing riffs, exploding into Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal for diehard fans of the style, followed by the title-track Among Ashes and Monoliths, where Alex hammers his drum set mercilessly providing Jonas all he needs to shine with his enraged roars, also presenting elements from old school Black Metal in an amazing depiction of what the band is capable of. Then an introspective beginning showcasing clean, anguished vocals evolves into the obscure Black Waters, where the guitars by Magnus and Dennie cry in pain from start to finish while Anders and Alex add their share of heaviness to their core sonority; and more of their classic Melodic Death Metal is offered in Grit, with all band members extracting sheer adrenaline and violence from their sonic weapons, all spearheaded by the venomous growling by Jonas. After that, a melodious rhythm spiced up by Anders’ metallic bass punches will inspire you to bang your head with the band in Her Cold Embrace, where Jonas gets the sensational and stunning support of guest vocalist Jonna Enckell; whereas leaning towards old school Death Metal, the band puts the pedal to the metal and decimates our ears with At the Graves of Giants, with the demonic gnarls by Jonas walking hand in hand with the blast beats by Alex.

Dark Chasms brings forward another round of their vicious and aggressive Melodic Death Metal, with the band’s guitar duo extracting rage, pain and electricity form their strings accompanied by the rumbling bass by Anders, and an eerie, wicked intro ignites the In Flames-inspired tune titled The Cavernous Deep, presenting more of Jonas’ clean vocals while the instrumental pieces keep the ambience as dark and heavy as it can be. Then violence and obscurity continue to flow from their music in Nonexistence, exhibiting hints of Thrash Metal carefully added to their core sound and spearheaded by the sharp riffage by Magnus and Dennie, consequently inviting us all to slam into the pit together with the band, whereas somber sounds permeate the air in the instrumental interlude March of the Eldricht Spawn, setting the stage for Ablaze My Sorrow to come crushing once again in The Day I Die, a solid Melodic Death Metal tune showcasing all elements we learned to love in this type of music, including harsh growls intertwined with clean vocals, smashing drums and epic and frantic riffs and solos. Lastly, we have Frihet Framför Feghet, which is Swedish for “freedom over cowardice”, a bestial, hellish creation by the quintet with guest Ulf Blomberg bringing his share of dementia to the band’s sick music, sounding perfect for jumping up and down with those Swedish metallers and cracking our necks headbanging nonstop.

If Melodic Death Metal is your business, and business is good, you should definitely go check what the guys form Ablaze My Sorrow are up to on Facebook and on Instagram, stream their full catalog on Spotify, and purchase your favorite version of Among Ashes and Monoliths by clicking HERE. In the end, despite the ups and downs faced by the band through the years, and by that I mean the fact they ended up splitting up in 2006 and going on a hiatus for seven long years before reuniting in 2013, it doesn’t look and feel at all that the band didn’t “exist” during that period due to the high quality and energy found in their new album, proving those guys are back for good and hungrier than ever for more, strengthening their name as one of the driving forces of contemporary Swedish Melodic Death Metal and, therefore, providing us fans all we need to bang our heads and raise our horns in support of underground Swedish metal music.

Best moments of the album: Among Ashes and Monoliths, Her Cold Embrace, At the Graves of Giants and Frihet Framför Feghet.

Worst moments of the album: My Sorrow and The Cavernous Deep.

Released in 2021 Black Lion Records

Track listing
1. My Sorrow 4:30
2. Among Ashes and Monoliths 4:11
3. Black Waters 3:47
4. Grit 3:39
5. Her Cold Embrace 4:55
6. At the Graves of Giants 4:43
7. Dark Chasms 4:15
8. The Cavernous Deep 4:44
9. Nonexistence 3:45
10. March of the Eldricht Spawn 1:40
11. The Day I Die 3:17
12. Frihet Framför Feghet 3:41

Band members
Jonas Udd – vocals
Magnus Carlsson – guitars
Dennie Lindén – guitars
Anders Brorsson – bass
Alex Kribensten – drums

Guest musicians
Ulf Blomberg – additional vocals on “Frihet Framför Feghet”
Jonna Enckell – additional vocals on “Her Cold Embrace”

Album Review – Bhleg / Ödhin (2021)

One of Sweden’s most talented extreme music duos returns with six epic tracks of pure channeling of forceful darkness in their third full-length opus.

Inevitable, as the spreading twilight and turmoil when the blackness of winter swallows the sun, the massive and multi-layered Ödhin, the third full-length album by Swedish Black/Folk Metal act Bhleg, sweeps the world with icy winds and drowns it in the beautiful colors of the night. Enswathed in ancient Scandinavian wisdom, this blackened metal offering muses on the endtimes, as the Norns’ twines of fate have never resounded clearer or with more vigor. Hailing from Västra Götaland, a county or län on the western coast of Sweden, Bhelg are a musical and spiritual journey spearheaded by vocalist L. and multi-instrumentalist S. that began in 2007, but which would not take shape until 2013, having released their debut opus Draumr Ást in 2014 and their sophomore effort Solarmegin in 2018. However, it’s now in 2021 that the duo, supported by session drummer A., sounds sharper than ever, offering in Ödhin six epic tracks of pure channeling of forceful darkness, showcasing vicious outbursts of savagery, reflective moments of melancholy and a primal strength with roots in all three worlds, mesmerizing us with a message as ancient as time that, in the end, our fate shall come for us all.

Obscure vociferations emerge from the pits of the underworld in the raw and epic Vyss, where A. delivers top-notch, old school Black Metal blast beats while S. hammers his stringed weapons mercilessly, all of course boosted by the demonic gnarls by L.; and continuing their darkened path of Folk and Black Metal we’re treated to Alyr III, another bold and dense extravaganza thoroughly crafted by L. and S., with endless epicness and melancholy flowing from all background elements (not to mention its atmospheric, acoustic passages). Then it’s time to wake up and join Bhleg in the eerie, cryptic interlude Gyllene Gal (or “golden gal” in English), tailored for embracing your soul and captivate your senses, albeit a bit too long, before the band comes crushing once again in Slukad Sol (“swallowed sun”), with A. pounding his drums in great fashion while S. keeps extracting razor-edge, piercing riffs form his guitar, resulting in a vicious onrush of Blackened Folk Metal that will please all fans of the genre. Moreover, L. is once again bestial with his enraged roars, making this marvelous musical voyage offered to us by such talented Swedish horde even more gripping. It’s impressive how they’re capable of blending the fury of Black Metal with the epic ambience and all acoustic and tribal elements from Folk Metal, which is exactly the case in the multi-layered tune Ödet (“fate”), whereas minimalist acoustic guitars permeate the air in the pensive outro Drömmen Om Vårdträdet (“the dream of the memorial tree”), where the subtle sound of the bitterly cold wind puts a beautiful ending to the album.

There are countless places where you can put your dirty hands on such amazing album of Black and Folk Metal, such as Bhleg’s own BandCamp page, the Nordvis Produktion webstore, the Sound Pollution webstore, Season of Mist, Napalm Records, Nuclear Blast, EMP, Apple Music, Amazon, and so on. As you can see, there’s no excuse to not support such talented underground act, and you can also follow them on Facebook and stream more of their music on Spotify to get even more immersed in their obscure, folk-infused realm. And until our fate comes for us all, we have a very good reason to keep banging our heads to the sound of Bhleg’s undisputed music.

Best moments of the album: Vyss and Slukad Sol.

Worst moments of the album: Gyllene Gal.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Vyss 9:16
2. Alyr III 8:56
3. Gyllene Gal 5:12
4. Slukad Sol 10:18
5. Ödet 8:36
6. Drömmen Om Vårdträdet 4:34

Band members
L. – lead vocals
S. – guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Guest musician
A. – drums (session)

Album Review – Code Noir / Jack of All Spades EP (2020)

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, this dynamic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo returns with a band new EP featuring five rockin’ tunes that speak of the darkness of the human psyche.

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, Code Noir are a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo formed in 2015 originally as a four-piece band comprised of Michael T on vocals and guitars, Moth also on the guitars, Adam Chapman on bass and Vaart Pilgrem on drums, with each member bringing their background and experience from a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from theatrical music to Punk Rock to Extreme Metal. However, shortly before the band entered the studio, Moth and Vaart left the band, leaving Michael and Adam to continue the recordings of their debut mini-album Burn Card by themselves. Now in 2020 the duo strikes back with their second EP, entitled Jack of All Spades, showcasing the project’s musical evolution by moving away from the punk influences to a much more rock and metal focused sound. Mixed by Adam himself at Black Dawn Studios in Sweden, mastered by Tobben Eriksson, and featuring a classy artwork by VisionBlack, Jack of All Spades brings to the listener five songs that speak of the darkness of the human psyche, drawing from principal songwriter Michael’s experiences and insight as a professional psychologist, therefore inviting us all to join the duo in this thrilling and psychological quest.

Michael and Adam begin their metallic feast with the classic The Devil Within, with both rockers slashing their strings in a thrilling Hard Rock manner while Michael’s 80’s-inspired voice is effectively supported by the backing vocals by guest Kiran Surana. Then putting the pedal to the metal the dynamic duo blasts the high-octane Supersonic, showcasing old school lyrics roared by Michael (“Slave / To everything that you see / Each time you look in the mirror / You run around / Like a rat in a maze / With space and time erased”) while the music remains as exciting as our good old Heavy Metal requires; and Kiran appears once again as a guest in the frantic Words Never Said, with Adam slashing his guitar in great fashion, firing razor-edged riffs and classy solos, while Michael not only thrives on vocals but his thunderous bass adds an extra touch of heaviness to the music. After such powerful tune, acoustic guitars and a somber atmosphere are the main ingredients in Monarch, a very melodic fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock crafted by Code Noir featuring guest guitarist Lukky Sparxx, who also returns to support the duo in Crucify Their Way, a very entertaining and electrifying metal extravaganza where both Michael and Adam are on fire from start to finish, all boosted by the song’s rebellious lyrics (“Live, fight to die, defy the opposition / Break through the control that builds your inhibition / Hate, steal the lies, deny their false religion / Annihilate the laws that waste upon your vision”).

In summary, Jack of All Spades, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, is not just a solid and entertaining display of rock and metal by Code Noir, but it also gives us fans a much better idea of the direction the band is taking with their music and, consequently, pointing to a very interesting future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the boys on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously to purchase their honest and fun EP from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the music by Code Noir is much more than “just” good Rock N’ Roll, making us think thanks to their austere lyrics and, as a consequence, proving once again how rock and metal music will always have an important role in our lives.

Best moments of the album: Supersonic and Crucify Their Way.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Leviaphonic Records

Track listing
1. The Devil Within 4:20
2. Supersonic 5:31
3. Words Never Said 3:46
4. Monarch 4:20
5. Crucify Their Way 3:55

Band members
Michael T – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass
Adam Chapman – lead guitar

Guest musicians
Kiran Surana – backing vocals on tracks “The Devil Within” and “Words Never Said”
Lukky Sparxx – lead guitar on tracks “Monarch” and “Crucify Their Way”

Album Review – Eleine / Dancing In Hell (2020)

The time has come for us all to dance in the fires of hell to the sound of the striking new opus by this unstoppable Swedish Symphonic Metal group.

My dear metalheads, if you haven’t taken a listen yet at any of the songs from Dancing In Hell, the brand new opus by Landskrona, Sweden-based Symphonic Metal unity Eleine, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible and get ready to be absolutely stunned by frontwoman Madeleine “Eleine” Liljestam, guitarist Rikard Ekberg, bassist Anton Helgesson and Jesper Sunnhagen throughout the 50 minutes of first-class, undisputed music found in what’s most probably the best Symphonic Metal album of 2020. With Dancing In Hell, the follow-up to their awesome 2019 EP All Shall Burn,  Eleine sound even more powerful, beautiful and unique than in their previous releases, taking a natural step into darker and heavier sounds and setting a new standard within the symphonic genre with hard-hitting, melodic and seductive metal hymns. Written and produced by Rikard and Madeleine, mixed, mastered and co-recorded by Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room, and featuring another incendiary and sexy artwork by Néstor Ávalos, the album brings forward stories of inner demons, strength and loss, all embraced by majestic passages, heavy-as-hell riffs and the always sharp and hypnotizing voice of the one and only Madeleine.

Eleine kick off their amazing album with Enemies, originally released in their incendiary 2019 EP, and I won’t repeat myself and say how awesome this tune is. Simply enjoy all of its power and epicness, which is also the case in the title-track Dancing in Hell, one of the band’s heaviest compositions since their inception, offering our ears a massive wall of sounds boosted by symphonic elements with Jesper being unstoppable on drums, while Eleine embellishes the airwaves with her piercing vocals as usual. Then in Ava of Death we’re treated to in-your-face words beautifully declaimed by Eleine (“We will not forgive / Nor will we forget / The willful deceit that spread / Your future is dark / Soon filled with regret”) while Rikard and Anton slash their stringed weapons in a true headbanging mode, whereas it’s time to go full symphonic and epic in Crawl from the Ashes, with Jesper dictating the song’s imposing rhythm while Rikard continues to add the word “metal” to the overall musicality. And Eleine kidnaps our senses once again in As I Breathe, giving life to the song’s dark lyrics (“Have you no eyes at all / You’re standing against your own kind / Sickness from mind and heart / Eating flesh of those who risk it all / We’ll rise / You’ll fall / We run / You crawl”) while her bandmates fire a crisp fusion of Symphonic, Melodic and Groove Metal.

Anton takes the lead with his rumbling, metallic bass jabs in Memoriam, a mid-tempo symphonic tune tailored for admirers of the music by bands like Epica and Nightwish where all background elements only make the song even more thrilling and vibrant, followed by Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.), almost six minutes of grandiose metal music for our total delight where Rikard is not only bestial with his flammable riffs but also with his sick, deep guttural, while Jesper keeps the atmosphere heavy and dense with his unstoppable drums. All Shall Burn is the second song from their 2019 EP, and once again there’s nothing else to say about such amazing and imposing tune, whereas Die from Within is a lot more melodic than its predecessors, with Rikard sounding astounding on the guitar while Eleine brings her touch of finesse and passion to this metallic Opera-inspired tune, showcasing a beautiful paradox between her angelical voice and Rikard’s harsh roars. Lastly, after the serene and melancholic piano interlude The World We Knew, the band offers us all a cinematic and symphonic version for Die from Within, even more enfolding than the original one, with Eleine displaying all her vocal potency, therefore having an absolutely passionate performance supported by all the song’s booming orchestrations.

As already mentioned in the beginning of this review, Eleine are absolutely majestic throughout the entire Dancing In Hell, not only perfectly representing all the magic, epicness and feeling of classic Symphonic Metal in each of the album’s 11 tracks, but also sounding fresh and distinguished in a genre that’s considered already saturated by many critics and fans from all over the world. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to wait a few more days to be undoubtedly surprised by Madeleine, Rikard & Co. when Dancing In Hell is officially released, but until then you can obviously take a look at what the band’s up to on Facebook and on Instagram, watch all of their astonishing official videos (including all the singles already released from their new album) on YouTube, stream more of their music on Spotify and, above all, purchase a copy or select your favorite streaming version of the album by clicking HERE or HERE, as well as buy a great selection of music, tees, prints and accessories from their own webstore. The time has come for us all to dance in the scorching fires of hell, and there’s nothing better than Eleine’s striking new album to serve as our devilish soundtrack to that.

Best moments of the album: Enemies, Dancing in Hell, As I Breathe and Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Black Lodge Records

Track listing
1. Enemies 5:22
2. Dancing in Hell 5:06
3. Ava of Death 4:06
4. Crawl from the Ashes 4:02
5. As I Breathe 3:56
6. Memoriam 6:15
7. Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.) 5:55
8. All Shall Burn 4:21
9. Die from Within 4:38
10. The World We Knew 1:35
11. Die from Within (Symphonic Version) 4:34

Band members
Madeleine “Eleine” Liljestam – vocals
Rikard Ekberg – guitar, growls, vocals
Anton Helgesson – bass
Jesper Sunnhagen – drums

Album Review – Hellsmoke / 2020 (2020)

Raise your horns to the debut album of gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock by five Swedish rockers who are ready to kick some ass and burn some fuel in the name of good music.

Playing what the band itself likes to call “a gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock combination”, Helsingborg, Sweden’s own Hellsmoke were born when guitarist Christofer Dahlman (Alyson Avenue, Bai Bang) and a previous member of the band got together with their longtime friend and drummer Roger Landin (Cloudscape), starting then to iron out what the band should be all about, which is obviously heavy guitars, pounding drums and rough but refined melodies. With the additions of the skillful vocalist Rimbert Vahlström (Syron Vanes), guitarist Michael Åkesson (Alicate) and bassist Jörgen Löfberg (Darkane) to the crew, it’s time for Hellsmoke to kick some serious ass and burn a huge amount of fuel in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll with their debut full-length album, simply titled 2020, and although the year of 2020 itself is a million light-years away from being even close to decent as you all know, the music found in Hellsmoke’s debut effort positions them as one of the most interesting and electrifying names of the new Swedish scene and of the global Hard Rock scene hands down.

Their infernal train of Rock N’ Roll is about to arrive in the opening track Devils Train, a Volbeat-meets-Black Sabbath-meets-Black Label Society extravaganza with Jörgen being thunderous on bass while Rimbert showcases all his vocal potency right from the start, whereas the blazing guitars by Christofer and Michael ignite their machine once again in the dark and melodic Black Sun Rising, a headbanging tune blending the heaviness of classic metal music with contemporary Hard Rock for our total delight. Following such strong start, there’s nothing better than drinking a cold pint of beer while banging our heads to a fun rockin’ hymn like Rest When You’re Dead, led by the pounding beats by Roger while Rimbert has another sensational performance with his raspy, flammable vocals; and it’s then time for a dark and groovy ballad titled Nowhereland, where Jörgen and Roger generate a menacing atmosphere with their metallic instruments in contrast with the piercing riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael. And there’s more of their fusion of Heavy Metal with Stoner and Southern Rock in Hellcome to the Badland, bringing to our avid ears a hammering sonority with classic beats, strident guitars and very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Rimbert.

Get ready for a frantic pub brawl to the sound of the Rock N’ Roll anthem Raise Your Fist, where all band members are on absolute fire, therefore inspiring us all to (guess what?) raise our fists in the name of rock and metal. Needless to say, Rimbert steals the show once again in this amazing tune, while the band’s unstoppable guitar duo puts the pedal to the metal in the fast and furious Hell Adrenaline, sounding as if Volbeat and Motörhead had a bastard son, exhaling heaviness, groove, electricity and endless adrenaline. The menacing bass by Jörgen kicks off the stoner-fueled, neck-breaking Common Man, where once again we face the soulful riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael intertwined with the intricate, progressive drums by Roger, and in Bad Motor Breath the band shows they’re never tired of blasting old school, badass Rock N’ Roll in what’s perhaps the most Southern Rock-inspired song of all, with Rimbert and Roger taking the lead with their respective dirty vocals and smashing beats. Finally, closing such amazing album let’s enjoy another awesome display of the band’s perfect hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll entitled Nitro Woman, and I must point out  what a bestial performance by the band’s stringed trio, providing Rimbert exactly what he needs to kill with his always precise vocal lines.

Containing absolutely no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, 2020 offers fans of rock and metal a straightforward sound perfect for hitting the road or spending some time with our most beloved friends and family members, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the hard-hitting music by bands like Motörhead, Volbeat, Motorjesus and Black Label Society, proving the guys from Hellsmoke are among us to stay with their incendiary creations. Hence, keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page and Instagram for news, tour dates and everything else surrounding them, and of course don’t forget to support the guys from Hellsmoke by purchasing 2020 from an array of locations including the Pride & Joy Music webstore, the Season of Mist webstore, the Wind Up Production webstore, the Banquet Records webstore, Amazon and so on. As aforementioned, 2020 might be the nastiest, most disturbing and most disgusting year of the past few decades, but at least that damned number will always be well-represented by the smoky and acid music played by those talented Swedish rockers in their newborn spawn.

Best moments of the album: Rest When You’re Dead, Raise Your Fist, Hell Adrenaline and Nitro Woman.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Devils Train 4:09
2. Black Sun Rising 4:50
3. Rest When You’re Dead 4:12
4. Nowhereland 4:52
5. Hellcome to the Badland 4:10
6. Raise Your Fist 3:51
7. Hell Adrenaline 2:57
8. Common Man 5:39
9. Bad Motor Breath 4:27
10. Nitro Woman 4:12

Band members
Rimbert Vahlström – vocals
Christofer Dahlman – guitars
Michael Åkesson – guitars
Jörgen Löfberg – bass
Roger Landin – drums