Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Golden Core - Fimbultýr

First published here:

This Norwegian duo are the definition of potential, with a 15 year old and a 17 year old powering this righteous noise meaning that they could have decades of material to come. What might bother me is the ‘progressive’ tagged onto their style, as that is normally added to anything that is even remotely long without actually featuring any prog elements. Golden Core’s debut came out in 2016, and ‘Fimbultýr’ is a record that belies their maturity with a staggering amount of talent.

The opening drive of the title track is magnificent, with thunderous doomy riffs propelled with a fuzzy bass line and pounding drums. Imagine Kyuss if they lived in the savage north rather than sun baked desert. The raspy throaty vocals give an extra oomph to proceedings as well, but it isn’t all just driving, bluesy stoner metal. The triumphant heft of ‘Rúnatal’ builds with tribal drumming and shimmering guitars into a lumbering, Cathedral-esque monster. Weird vocal effects cascade over massive cliffs of doom riffs, and this is the kind of prog I want in things labelled as progressive. Not just long songs. ‘Hrafnaspá’ is my favourite track here though, a rough and ready, punkish Queens of the Stone Age banger that is one of the more overtly ‘RAWK’ moments here, while the short and almost black metal ‘Villist Vættir’ is a nice surprise.

Golden Core’s songwriting skills are top notch, and if I hadn’t read in their press release that they were so young, you could’ve convinced me they’d been doing this for decades. It just SOUNDS so authentic, from the guitar tone and impressive licks, to the bass and drum thunder below. There is no more pleasant a surprise in finding a band that totally gets the style they are playing and get it at such a young age. I mean, turn up the powerful, folk tinged ‘Buslubæn’ and just bathe yourself in its glacial awesomeness. Golden Core are a superb band, and ‘Fimbultýr’ is hopefully just the beginning.

Faustcoven - In the Shadow of Doom

Last year’s ‘In the Shadow of Doom’ saw Norway’s Faustcoven give us the followup to ‘Hellfire and Funeral Bells’ we’ve been waiting for for 6 long years. It is of course, out now through Nuclear War Now Productions and continues the band’s run of great records exploring the links between black metal and doom. It may be a year late, but the Killchain only works through the best releases!

The odd tones of ‘The Wicked Dead’ lead off with a growling rasp and a chunky, midpaced riff that has a nice buzzsaw feel about it. The fuzzy productions gives it a nice raw feeling to it, and the whole atmosphere just feels very old school black metal. There is also a pronounced doomy feel to much of the riffing pace, with the rumbling groove of ‘The Devil’s Share’ or the monolithic ‘Marching in the Shadow’. In fact, ‘In the Shadow of Doom’ is a great example of how you can wield two genres simultaneously without losing anything of either of them. Doom strides stronger here but there is something unmistakably visceral about the blackened croak of ‘Lair of Rats’.

‘In the Shadow of Doom’ does tend to lean more towards the doom than the black, but this is nothing to compain about. Every groaning riff is laced with a blackened edge, adding just the right about of malice. Faustcoven feel like Darkthrone covering some ancient 70s doom band, where the atmosphere reeks of cold forests but the riffing has a satisfying rumble, particularly the uber-memorable swagger of ‘As White As She Was Pale’. This is a fucking great record


A young Norwegian death metal group that is taking a journey back through the eldritch mists of ancient riffs, Sepulcher’s new release ‘Panoptic Horror’ is due out on the 14th of September through Edged Circle Productions, and is a worthy follow up to their stellar ‘Mausoleum Tapestry’ debut.

The howling clatter of opener ‘Corporeal Vessels’ is a delightful introduction to this band for me. There is a reek of olden death about the guitar tone, while necrotic fingers fly through maddening solos and rabid vocals hurl blasphemous legends across. There is a satisfying crunch to the rumble of ‘Towards an Earthly Rapture’, and a crusty, dirging venom that seeps through ‘Corrupting the Cosmos’ which is totally awesome. ‘Ethereal Doom’ is a frenzied thrashing beast, showing that perhaps the ‘D’ in d-beat stands for death. Capturing the oft-forgotten roots of death metal from thrash, the likes of ‘Scourge of Emptiness’ move with an intensity and a pace that is refreshingly different from the Autopsy worship of their peers.

Sepulcher aren’t just playing ‘OLD SKOOL’ death metal, they are visiting the roots of heavy music itself, and bringing new levels of rage to the surface. Sounds that have been hiding for a long while. ‘Panoptic Horror’ is a vista of this new abyss; where sounds of evil and frenzy are carved anew from the cliffs of time. A superb piece of work.

Found amongst a pile of mp3s gathering dust in a folder on a hard drive, this self titled record from Norwegian hardcore punks NAG is absolutely fucking great, and needs to be spoken of highly, even two years after its initial release. Hopefully I can prompt some retroactive love for these fine folks!

A rampant slab of blackened hardcore punk songs, ‘Mute’ and ‘Fray’ are instantly vibrant and ready to go. There’s a fire and an energy here that is infectious, and the rabidity of the songs is fearsome. It isn’t merely just hell for leather all the time, as the jarring slow parts in the awesome ‘Master’ and ‘What is Punk?’ showcase as well. Most of the record speeds past in a blur of Discharge/Amebix riffing and visceral screams, and with 13 songs clocking in at a snappy 26 minutes, NAG leave no time for messing about.

Atonal slower sections collide with racing, feral punk/crust in a hailstorm of greatness. I can’t believe I missed this the first time round, and now I’m just glad that I got to it eventually. Seek this out for a thrill ride of intensity and speed.

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Just released on Twin Earth Records is the debut of Norwegian doom rockers Saint Karloff, who bring us mighty 70s riffs channelling the mighty Sabbath and Pentagram. As you can tell by their name, there’s a definite old horror movie vibe in ‘All Heed the Black God’ too, and

Cawing crows open ‘Ghost Smoker’, over a soulful, distorted riff that becomes this stomping, bluesy beast. You can feel the Iommi influence immediately, with swaggering proto doom fretwork becoming a stalwart of the whole record. The driving ‘Space Junkie’ is an early highlight, and there’s little dashes of psychedelica and even a bit of prog creeping into the rumbling ‘Radioactive Tomb’. Saint Karloff ain’t afraid of a massive groove either, coming to the fore during latter segments of ‘Dark Sun’ or the soulful chug of ‘When the Earth Cracks Open’. When the howling ‘Spellburn’ takes us to a close, you’ll be itching to take one more drag of Saint Karloff’s magic.

If you’ve got a Sabbath itch that just won’t quit, then put on ‘All Heed the Black God’ and drift away into smoke filled corridors, where the primal building blocks of heavy metal were formed. Saint Karloff reimagine the classic works with a modern edge, and a ballsy swagger that gives every track that little bit of oomph. Cool as shit.

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.