The Order of Israfel – Wisdom (Napalm Records, 09 September 2014)
The Order of Israfel – Red Robes (Napalm Records, 27 May 2016)
Candlemass – Death thy Lover (Napalm Records, 03 June 2016)
Good afternoon. Today, let’s talk about Swedish doom. First I’d like to call your attention to a band from Gothenburg, whom some of you may not know yet, since they’ve only been around about four years now. In that time, they’ve released two albums — the first almost two years ago, and the second last Friday — both through Napalm Records. We’ll be discussing both of those.
The other band we’re going to cover today, from Stockholm, is likely to already be familiar to every single person reading this: their debut album was released thirty years ago this month, and it literally defined the “Epic Doom Metal” genre. Celebrating that milestone, the band will be releasing a brand-new EP this Friday — which we’ll also talk about today.
Moloken – All is Left to See (Temple of Torturous, 23 October 2015 [EU] / 13 November 2015 [NA] / 04 April 2016 [vinyl])
Recently — like within the past few months — I stumbled across this new album by Swedish progressive-post-sludge metal band Moloken (which translates to “dejected”), which came out this past November here in North America. It was their third album (fourth release overall) since forming in 2007, but it was my first introduction to the band. In any case, the material sounded really good, so I added it to my “to do” list, which currently contains hundreds (no exaggeration) of albums I intend to write about eventually. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get caught up with that list, because it feels like stuff keeps getting added to it at a slightly higher rate than it gets crossed off.
But today I’ll get to cross this one off, because I saw an announcement that this week Moloken are embarking on a tour across Europe (including their first-ever performances in France and the UK, plus an appearance at Roadburn) alongside Cult of Luna, who happen to come from the same city, Umeå — in the northern part of the country, situated on the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland, and just slightly below the Arctic Circle. In light of this news, I’ve decided to write about the album All is Left to See to let you folks know you should check it out!
In the press announcement for the joint European tour, Cult of Luna frontman Johannes Persson said, “It is not easy to be in a band that comes from a small town in the north of Sweden. The physical distance forces you to do the 8+ hour drive to Stockholm (a drive we’ve done more times than I can count) before you can do anything. The distance to everything relevant is a disadvantage for a band with the ambition to grow. Moloken is one of these bands that needs to get more recognition. They are hailing from our hometown of Umeå and it feels great to be able to present them to our audience in Europe. So for the love of Odin, don’t miss them.”
Sounds like good advice to me. The full list of scheduled dates (most with both bands, but there are a few extras with just Moloken) will be in the comments section after you’re finished reading here …
Amon Amarth – Jomsviking (Metal Blade, 25 March 2016)
Well, it seems like this really turned into a week filled with black metal (or some form or variant of blackened-whatever), didn’t it? That wasn’t on purpose or anything, there just happened to be a few interesting things within that realm that I had wanted to share with you. But today we’ll be turning in a completely different direction: Viking metal!
(That was a little joke to piss off the Internet Metal Nerds, because the subject of whether Viking metal is really a thing, and if it is, how it should be classified, has been discussed endlessly, without ever really reaching a conclusion except for the fact that, as typified by bands like Enslaved and Bathory, it’s [somewhat] widely accepted as a subset of the black metal genre.)
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about at all — today’s topic is more along the lines of melodic/epic/anthemic metal. But I mean, look at that album cover (above)! Listen to the music (there will be previews near the end of the article)! Look at that photo of this band’s incredible stage setup from when I saw them a few years ago (below)! Despite their name (which means “Mount Doom,” a reference to the volcano from the Lord of the Rings books and movies), everything about Amon Amarth just screams “Viking metal”! What else would you call them?
In any case, this bunch of Swedes have a brand new album (their tenth) coming out tomorrow, so we’re going to take a look at that. Also, they’re coming back to the U.S. and Canada in about two weeks, marauding their way across the continent throughout April and May, so be sure to take a peek down at the comment section below where I’ll include the full list of those tour dates…
My Brother the Wind –
Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One (Free Electric Sound / The Laser’s Edge, 14 October 2014)
Hey there, folks! How’s your day going? Hopefully better than mine. Normally Tuesday mornings have me feeling like I’m sleepwalking anyway, and when you add in the fact that I’m basically trying to do the work of three people right now instead of the usual two (at no point this month will my department at work be fully staffed — they’ve all scheduled weeklong vacations over the next several weeks — but on top of that, we’ve also had people call in sick the past couple days). So my mind is racing in countless different directions all at once, nonstop all day long. And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, our network goes down for nearly two hours, leaving me without access to my e-mail, phone, or most of the files and programs I need to use to do my job. Sometimes it’s enough to make you just want to throw your hands up in defeat, and just scream.
But whatever, there’s shit to be done and I’m getting it done. And plus, a little bit of downtime gave me the opportunity to throw together a few words about some music I’ve been listening to. This will be a pretty brief essay, but a few days ago I discovered a cool album that I think a lot of people out there might enjoy, so I wanted to pass it along…
So, back in January, when the news came out about Tony Iommi‘s health condition, kind words and well-wishes came pouring in from all directions (this blog included). Right around that same time, Gothenburg stoner/sludge/doom metal titans One Inch Giantmentioned on Facebook that they planned on recording a Black Sabbath cover song in tribute to the legendary guitarist. They sought suggestions from their fans as to which song they should attack.
Well, that tribute has taken four months for the band to arrange and record, but when you listen to it you’ll hear why! Instead of choosing one of the suggestions, it seems they decided to go with all of them — with a couple extra thrown in for good measure! I only heard it once through, streamed on my phone, so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of this list, but I believe I picked out a few lines or phrases from each of the following:
Welcome to yet another installment of the “Signmeto” Unsigned Band of the Week feature, which is a profile of a band I’ve discovered on the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website. You’ll find a huge variety of material here; each week you’ll have the opportunity to listen to a few songs from a different band you might never have heard before. My hope is, you might find something you really dig, and then when they explode in popularity and sell a million records, you can scoff at all the bandwagon-jumpers, saying you’ve been a fan since the beginning.
This week we’re talking about Chtonium, from Uddevalla, in southern Sweden near the Norwegian border. If that artwork above didn’t contain the word “THRASHMETAL,” I’m guessing the look of the logo and flaming skull might still have given you a pretty big hint about what direction we will be heading today! Continue reading →
Continuing a trend started in Monday’s post about Ghost, here is some info that was announced a few days ago by heavy blues/classic rock band Graveyard. Like that earlier post, this is happy/sad news. I’m excited as hell that these Swedes also are gracing this country with their presence. But again, the list of confirmed dates doesn’t include any stops in Western Pennsylvania or the surrounding areas.
But lest we despair prematurely, there is one big distinction between these two announcements. Unlike Ghost’s statement, which emphasized a total of thirteen “rituals” – even going so far as to incorporate the number thirteen in the name of the tour – which leaves pretty much zero hope for the possibility of additional dates, Graveyard have left theirs very open-ended – and clearly stated that more information is yet to come. So at least there’s that. I’ll be crossing my fingers and holding my breath when I pass a cemetery or whatever else is supposed to ward off bad luck.
Meanwhile, once again if you live elsewhere, feel free to peruse the tour info, and maybe you’ll be blessed with a visit from this amazing band.