Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Dominant - The Summoning

The debut EP of Norwegian death metal squad Dominant (somehow the ONLY band with that name on Encyclopedia Metallum) is a severe beating in aural form. ‘The Summoning’ is a five track EP of technical death metal brilliance, and it has been brought to us by Lacerated Enemy Records. Released at the start of the year, it has been worth scouring back through my emails to find this beauty.

This is a prime example of what death metal needs in 2018; technical riffing without relying overly on guitar wankery, brutality without boring riffing and a vocal performance that could scour concrete from the streets. The gruesome riffing is superb, and the power straining to be unleashed from the chugging ‘Servants of Damnation’ is palpable. The brutality of ‘Vultures of the Void’ is a thing of beauty, bringing to mind the classic title track to Suffocation’s ‘Blood Oath’ and as for the bone rattling ferocity of ‘Feast of Woe’, well you just need to turn it on and turn it up.

Dominant look to be a new force in death metal, bursting through the rotted soil of the underground into the harsh, burning light of day. Hopefully this is only an appetiser for the main course, and I shall look forward to their next material being released.


Hymn: Perish CD

Norwegian doom up and comers Hymn have been sharing the stage with some of the finest metal bands to tour the world recently, including Windhand, Enslaved and Eagle Twin. Now if that doesn’t give credence to their potential I don’t know what does. ‘Perish’ marks their debut full length record, and contains some of the heaviest stuff you might hear all year.

The ominous hum of ‘Ritual’ swells into the monstrous ‘Rise’, where hypnotic groove crashes into cathartic roars. A thick, fuzzy guitar tone smothers each track in a sludgey doom, but this is no one dimensional nihilistic trawl. There are wondrous shades of dark and light, from little quieter moments to cavernous echoes of purest, primal metal. The propulsive rumble of ‘Serpent’ is excellent, as is the punishing ‘Hollow’.

The grinding ‘Spectre’ leads us into the creepy, epic closer ‘Perish’, where the tectonic shifts are calmed and you can breathe freely once again. At times claustrophobic, ‘Perish’ is a record that also explores vast wildernesses of barren, bleak reality. Whether crawling along or flailing madly, Hymn create absorbing and mesmerising riffs to sink within. Awesome stuff.

Norwegian thrashers Infant Death have captured pure fucking armageddon on ‘Violent Rites’, their third full length since forming in 2012. Their first two demo tapes got rave reviews, and ‘Violent Rites’ looks to cement their status as a glowing light in the underground of thrash. I mean, look at those metal as fuck song titles, how can you go wrong with a song called ‘Vomit Funeral’?

Rampant blackened thrash begins with the scathing ‘Troops of Dead’, which cycles classic early Sodom riffs laced with Bathory attitude and a punkish, Venom style rhythm. ‘Vomit Funeral’ is a toxin spraying explosion of pure, black carnage, as is the bug eyed intensity of ‘Burning Wild’. Infant Death play at breakneck speed, and their raw, primal thrash is invigorating in its single minded intent. You’d be hard pushed to find a more ‘straight to the jugular’ track this year than the fiery ‘Mutilation Hammer’, and each track has some blazing wild solos jammed in too.

Norway is also recognised for its contributions to black metal, but there is a vibrant and fiery thrash scene blossoming there too. Perhaps it is the ferocity of their corpsepainted friends that inspire such violence, but Norwegian thrash always has that extra bite to it. Infant Death is a tremendous example of just that, and ‘Violent Rites’ should be on every headbanger’s playlist!

Reptilian - Perennial Void Traverse

Norwegian death metal appears to have entered a bit of a renaissance recently, and I’ve been hearing good things coming from a country more known for its notorious black metal past. One of those good things is Reptilian, whose debut full length ‘Perennial Void Traverse’ is an unorthodox, shape shifting beast of insanity and brutality.

Opener ‘Swamp’ is a microcosm of what makes this debut excellent. It has the odd tonal changes, where creeping death metal then clashes with primal thrashing and an emphasis on the slightly uncomfortable. ‘Possessed by the Eyes of the Living God’ has an almost maniacal edge to it, particularly vocally, and while the average song length is over seven minutes, Reptilian waste no motion and have no filler. The slow sections are particularly effective at enhancing Reptilian’s work, for the jarring chords run deep into your synapses.

To be able to combine the creepy slowness of Coffins with the flailing, bug eyed intensity of the likes of Autopsy is no mean feat, but Reptilian do it with aplomb. Just listen to the titanic ‘Cadaverous Creature’ to see how to make an almost ten minute song infinitely rewarding. It crawls, it crushes, it lays waste to pretenders everywhere. Reptilian look to be a future star in Norwegian death, and this is their Big Bang moment.


Norwegian lords of expansive doom, High Priest of Saturn, return with their newest slab of galaxial riffs and ritual incantations to the gods above. ‘Son of Earth and Sky’ combines everything you could ever need in an occult doom journey.

‘Aeolian Dunes’ rumbles upward with glacial organ and hypnotic vocals. At ten and a half minutes, it’s the longest track here but you don’t feel it. It’s a slow paced soar towards a dusty finish, where earth shaking riffs bleed away into clean spacey ambience. It’s thoroughly relaxing, and really adds to that almost post metal vibe that sneaks within their riffs. High Priest of Saturn are ascending upon a much proggier and more psychedelic path now.

It’s fitting I suppose that their album title is very much representative of what High Priest of Saturn are becoming. They’re blending the heavy, earthy doom riffs with a much more airy and expansive psychedelic edge. ‘Ages Move the Earth’ is a perfect example; a bluesy groove lumbers underneath while smoky organ starts to drift through the haze. High Priest of Saturn are like a less morbid Electric Wizard, Merethe Heggeset’s ghostly vocals complimenting the infinite travels perfectly. This truly is a soundtrack to a journey across the desolate planet in their album art.

Conjuring up the spirit of hazy 70s prog rock bands, and layering it with lashings of Hammond organ and a hefty groove underneath, ‘Son of Earth and Sky’ is a record that you can slowly sink into. Each track speaks to the soul via beautiful ethereality. I love this, and so will you










As you could guess, a band with the word ‘sick’ in both their name and their album title is gonna be pretty heavy. Norwegian brutalists The Sickening count amongst their number the drummer from Blood Red Throne, so you can guess the pedigree is going to be pretty high. But can The Sickening continue what is becoming a death metal century for Norway?

In short, yes. ‘Sickness Unfold’ is half an hour of raging death metal, summoning the spirits of Suffocation, Aborted and other old school riff masters. The sheer ferocity is terrifying, with relentless blastbeats battering you into submission. The production seems a little thin, but it doesn’t prevent the outrageous technicality of some of the riffing to shine through. Tracks like the machine gun heaviness of ‘Fixed on Killing’ or the pinch harmonic laden ‘Unnamed Horror’ conjure new levels of technical carnage.

The Sickening tread a strange path. This is brutal death metal to be sure, but it is lacking the thickness of production, which lays the incredible fretwork bare for all to appreciate. Vocally, it is pretty standard death growl fare, but the thinner sound makes them stand out. The music is so clear, you can notice little nuances and the level of musicianship just becomes more apparent. Not to say this isn’t ferociously heavy, it just is in a different way.

‘Sickness Unfold’ slices into you with surgical precision. Tracks like ‘A Mind Deranged’ and my personal favourite ‘Power Tool Sodomy’, which has this savage Hate Eternal vibe, showcase The Sickening’s song writing ability, and ‘Sickness Unfold’ develops into an album that brings back good memories of when technical/brutal death wasn’t just pig squeals and breakdowns. Get on this!