Review: AMON AMARTH – ‘Berserker’ [Video Stream]

A fearsome battle cry is heard from the North: Amon Amarth, five brutish warriors from Tumba, Sweden face an army of raving fanatics from all parts of the globe. Having formed in 1992, vocalist Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen & Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström, and drummer Jocke Wallgren have had plenty of experience venturing out into the world, speaking of Viking lore and fantasy, and conquering the stages of every land they set their eyes upon. 2019 marks the dawn of ‘Berserker’ via Metal Blade Records/Sony Music, the 11th studio album from these melodic death metal titans, and it is definitely not one that you would like to catch you sleeping. ‘Berserker’ is a full-on auditory assault of brutal savagery, primal ferocity, and plenty of beautiful melodies sure to please fans of Amon Amarth, both young and old. Continue reading

Sonic Temple Spotlight: AVATAR

Each week we’re bringing you several different spotlight segments from the Summer’s biggest rock festivals including Epicenter Festival, Chicago Open Air, and, of course, Sonic Temple!  This week, we’re showcasing Göthenburg, Sweden’s Avatar – a melodic metal act with demented circus theatrics, making for one hell of a show! Continue reading

Review: SEVENTH WONDER – ‘Tiara’

It has been eight years since the release of their last full length, “The Great Escape,” so “highly anticipated” is an understatement for their fifth record. The Swedish, melodic and progressive metal phenomenon, Seventh Wonder are finally ready to grace the world with their latest musical endeavor from Frontiers Music s.r.l. One one hand, eight years is quite some time. But on the other hand, vocalist Tommy Karevik joined Kamelot in 2012. Perhaps that may be the greatest reason of all for such a delay. No longer must we wait though, as “Tiara” drops on October 12th.

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Review: EGONAUT – ‘The Omega’ [Official Video & Album Stream]

Ride the bleak train coming out of Sweden, with Egonaut, a band of black-hearted minstrels.  They have been around since 2005, conjuring their audio Doom/Alt magic.  The group is made up of Mikael Bielinski  on bass, Dennis Zielinski on keyboards, Markus Johansson on drums, Fredrik Jordanius on guitars/vocals and Emil Kyrk on vocals.   They have an impressive body of art, including the albums ‘Electric’ (2011), ‘Mount Egonaut ‘(2013), ‘Deluminati (2015).   

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Review: SHIT THE COW – ‘Cavelord’ [Album Stream]

Sweden’s Shit The Cow released their first full length last December and it rips! Since 2011 they have released five EPs, ramping up to their debut album ‘Cavelord’. They describe their music as “scrapyard rock” that is “sound of an old rusty truck crashing into a tree” and I think that is true of their sound. They like to keep their songs short and tight, and that can also be said about the tracks on this new album. They have matured their sound, without cutting out any of the lean riffs. I would recommend this band and this album to someone who is looking for something like Queens of The Stone Age but with a rusty Red Fang edge to it. Robin fronts the band with guitar/vocals while Danno and Erka share the responsibility of guitar/bass. Robin gives their sound a tight rhythm to follow on drums. Continue reading

Review: THE CROWN ‘Cobra Speed Venom’ [Video Stream]

Swedish death metal veterans, The Crown return with their tenth full-length studio album, ‘Cobra Speed Venom,’ scheduled for release March 16, 2018 via Metal Blade Records.  Since originally forming in 1990 under the name Crown of Thornes, the band has gone through various metamorphoses but once again manage to bring their unique rock n’ roll attitude and sensibility to their sound which is, without a doubt, unabashedly and unapologetically “metal.”  By incorporating the aggressive and speedier elements of thrash, the brutality of old school American and Swedish death metal, and the groove and inhibition of arena rock; The Crown takes a refreshing approach to their own distinctive brand of death metal.  There is virtually zero pretense to be heard and it’s clear while listening to this album that the group is actually having fun playing music the way they want to.  As highly skilled and experienced musicians with an impressive discography to prove it, they deliver an amazingly powerful thirteen-track, hour-long annihilator of a record that will immediately satisfy and impress metal fans ranging anywhere from the casual to the über elite.   Continue reading

AVATAR Brings The Freak Show To Atlanta, Georgia! [Photo Gallery]

Avatar

Avatar has long been one of those bands that dominate in their live shows and leave fans jaws on the floor not only by their sound but their amazingly entertaining stage presence. On this particular night Avatar headlined the Buckhead Theatre with opening acts Hellzapoppin Side Show and The Brains from Montreal Canada. You could say that Hellzapoppin easily fit in with Avatar’s whole theme, they aren’t a musical act but it brought something different to the show that you don’t see very often.  Continue reading

Review: THUNGUR – ‘No Going Back’ [Album Stream]

 

 

Thungur formed in Malmoe, Sweden as Bend And Break in 2014. The band has a hard hitting heavy rock sound that binds melodic soothing vocal tones and harsh rapid fire moments as well. Under the name Bend And Break they have two earlier releases available on streaming platforms. ‘The Village Sessions’ is a collection of old singles and the EP ‘The Cage’ was released in 2015. Fast forward to 2017 and the band has released their debut full length album as Thungur. ‘No Going Back’ is a 100% a DIY effort. It was tracked, produced and mixed by guitarist Bjorn Stegerling and bass player Roger Nielsen. The bulk of the album was recorded at Bjorn’s studio in Malmoe. Mastering and the cover design was completed by Bjorn as well. In addition to being the bands first full length it is also the bands first physical release.

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Review: Palmless – ‘The Nine Exits’ [Select Tracks Streaming]

Palmless is an experimental metal band from Malmoe, Sweden. The thing that brought them to my attention was Jonas Pedersen’s former band Black Temple; who’s debut album I awarded the best album of 2015. When Jonas departed Black Temple I was first let down, then quickly finding out he had a band in waiting which was Palmless. These two bands differ greatly. Palmless is much more experimental and sometimes fitting more closely in the black metal genre. Jonas trades in his bass for guitar duties with this band. Vocalist Niklas Olsson has a vivid approach as the frontman, voice shines within this band. Ulf Blomberg brings the low end thunder on bass and drummer Daniél rounds out the band with his hard hitting stylings and cymbal crashes. Combined the members give the band an all-around sound that is full of varying elements and groundbreaking techniques. Palmless has relinquished their debut album ‘The Nine Exits’ on January 13, 2017. It was recorded and mixed by Jonas Pedersen at his studio Kryptan IV, in Malmö, Sweden. Continue reading

KATATONIA, CASPIAN, UNCURED Take Over Washington, D.C. [Photo Gallery]

Katatonia

Last Thursday night I found myself doing something I absolutely despise, taking the horrid DC metro rail, to do something I dearly love, enjoying live music. Katatonia, was opening the North American tour in support of their album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. A small venue with a prominent stage with excellent lighting and sound system, many consider 9:30 Club to be the heart and soul of the music scene in Washington D.C. And I have never been to this iconic venue in our nations capital, despite having lived in the area for multiple years. This, combined with the excitement of seeing Katatonia live for the first time, my excitement was palpable. Still, I had little idea how good a night this was going to be. Katatonia is one of the finest heavy metal bands to have emerged from Sweden, and their ten studio albums bear testimony to that. The last album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ was released mid last year, which garnered excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. On this North American leg, they are supported by Caspian and Uncured. Continue reading