Tag Archives: Denmark

Annominus – The Architect

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Today I have the pleasure of revisiting a band about which I said that I’d keep my eyes on, when I reviewed its debut record about four years ago. Annominus‘ first endeavor End Of Atonement was a massive throwback to the early 2000s nu metal bands and I had tons of fun listening to it back then. The Danes’ new record The Architect is about to come out, this Friday, and I figured I’d owe them, and myself, a thorough listen.

I’ll get right to it: as I type this review I’m in a state between awe and disappointment, and the more I listen to the record, the more both feelings become stronger. I think tackling the positive aspects first is probably the way to go, so let me say that I am truly impressed by how well the quartet’s sound has evolved, while still maintaining that alternative metal note that made them dear to my heart in the first place.

Some of the eight songs feature many parts that are almost akin to doom metal, with very driving but somber guitars and very melodic singing, that are interspersed through the more straight-forward passages. Generally speaking the guitar work has some really catchy and stand-out riffs that I whistled along to even on my first listen-through. The drums on the other hand are also fulfilling their duty very well and feature some quite interesting drum patterns.

Last but not least, the vocals are, in my opinion, the absolute highlight during these forty-three minutes. The vocal melodies are not only superbly well written and sung, they also contain truly captivating lyrics that deal with the concept of the (self-)alienation of us humans in front of the rest of the world. The occasional screams also fit in very nicely into the narrative and the songwriting in general, rounding off the entire record very well.

Now, you might wonder why I was disappointed and while it pains me to mention it, given the extreme potential of The Architect, I feel like I have to at least dedicate a paragraph to it. I am a huge fan of DIY, this website being completely self-run and -financed, and I welcome it very much in bands. However, I feel like Annominus might have wasted a chance here by opting to go that route. Especially on headphones the mix is really lacking a lot of punch and the different instruments just turn into a homogeneous wall of sound, making the distinction extremely difficult. It might not be a big deal for some, but I’m truly a sucker for good production, and especially in the nu/alternative metal genre it is almost a staple. Full disclosure: while writing these lines, I am listening to the last song on the album on my speakers, which I’ve cranked up louder than usual, and it does sound more passable…so maybe try that for yourself.

With that being said, there is no denying that The Architect is a really solid album in its core and I can wholeheartedly recommend giving it a listen if you’re looking for a fairly interesting mix of influences and a passionate approach to music. Make sure to check the video below to get an idea what I’m talking about and don’t hesitate to visit AnnominusFacebook page!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy0m8u4Hbxc]

A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man – Escape Escape

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Today’s a first for me, because I’m writing about another genre that I have never really listened to and while I was skeptical about whether I’d like it or not, my first impressions have been generally positive. A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man makes its debut with an interesting noise rock EP called Escape Escape, which is due to be released on March 23rd!

Due to my unfamiliarity with this kind of music, some of the following lines might be common knowledge to you, but bear with me here. Most of the time, the quartet needs a lot of momentum to get going, but once they are rolling, there’s no stopping the intensity. In the groovy parts, I always get a certain stoner rock feel, akin to the slower and more intense QOTSA songs. A bit of grunge also shines through to me, and I love the resulting sound.

The Danes know how to build up atmosphere during the five songs, and even though, as I mentioned earlier, they sometimes take their time before climaxing, for lack of a better word, it’s never boring. Coupled with a fittingly dirty, yet crisp, production Escape Escape packs quite a punch. Especially the last song, A Radient City Return Trip, with its Sweet Dreams-esque intro riff has quite the effect on me.

During the twenty-four minutes the vocals are arguably the thing connecting the dots and keeping the ensemble together. The singers dreamily creepy timbre hits just the spot for me and should be able to entrance the listener easily.

All in all, A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man have managed to introduce me to a “new” genre without leaving a bitter aftertaste. I strongly recommend giving them a listen below and heading to their Facebook page if you like what you hear, in order to keep up with them!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRfnos8xoYA]

Saint Rebel – Saint Rebel

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What are the first bands that come to mind when someone mentions Danish metal? Volbeat? King Diamond or Mercyful Fate? Right on! But over the past two years I’ve found out that there are many rather unknown bands that have a lot of potential to amount to something big! One of these is the quintet Saint Rebel, who are about to release their self-titled full length worldwide on January 12th, after a successful launch in their home country!

The guys from Copenhagen have a rather distinct style, which reminds me a bit of the classic 80s hair metal bands, but with a huge twist in terms of heaviness and groove. Elements of doomy stoner can also be heard in some instances, as well as some modern tunes akin to metalcore, but not quite. The resulting mixture is a highly captivating blend, that I’ve never heard so well executed thus far.

While heavy riffs and fast-paced drumming are predominant, there are also a couple of slower songs among the twelve tracks, which loosens up the whole experience quite nicely; hence repetition is not a word you can associate with Saint Rebel. In terms of production quality, every instrument is spot-on when it comes to sounding its best, which is definitely another positive aspect.

Last but not least, the main factor that contributes to my association with 80s hair metal, is the brilliant performance of the singer, who, with his mostly raspy voice, rounds of the forty-nine minute package off perfectly. But even here, it’s never monotonous…since his higher vocals are also an eye-, or rather, earcatcher. Coupled with the occasional screams and a strong sense for melody, I can’t really find anything negative to say.

All in all, this record is one that I can openly recommend to anyone who wants a fresh approach to mixing the old and the new, because it accomplishes it quite nicely! Personally, I have yet another Scandinavian entry on my ever-growing list of bands to follow in the future! Be sure to check out the video below and pay Saint Rebel a visit on their Facebook page.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4BlHRp5OWs]

Annominus – End Of Atonement

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Do you remember the days when Disturbed was original and actually good? I know that it’s been more than a decade ago but those were the great times of nu metal, shortly before its ultimate demise…recently, however, there has been a resurgence of new bands that have taken that presumed dead genre and revitalized it. One of these is the, sadly rather unknown, band Annominus who are about to release their debut album End Of Atonement, which is due on November 17th. Let me give you my impressions of it!

The quintet makes no mystery out of the fact that they are heavily inspired by early 2000ish nu metal and that is the right approach in my opinion, because why try to re-invent the wheel when there’s a forgotten one somewhere that still works perfectly fine? On here you can find everything that you loved about the music back then, including catchy melodic passages, heavy riffs and fast-paced groovy drumming, all fused into one delicious musical potpourri.

During the ten tracks, the Danes also incorporate some slower-paced elements that are akin to, albeit heavy, ballads and present a welcome change to the more common hard-hitting song structures. The songwriting varies between fairly simple and in some places highly technical, yet is super effective at all times. The guitar tone on the other hand is crunchy and rich, thus fitting the genre perfectly, in combination with the not too strongly triggered drums they create an overall highly enjoyable listening experience.

All throughout the forty minute ride that is End Of Atonement, the lead singer displays a great range of vocal diversity, including amazingly melodic cleans, aggressive screams that are occasionally pseudo-rapped and quite powerful growls, even though I have to admit that I’m not exactly sure if those aren’t by the drummer who does backup vocals. Either way, the vocal department is facetious enough to avoid boredom at any point in time.

All in all, I must say that I’ve been positively surprised by Annominus and therefore they have managed to add themselves to my “must-observe-in-the-future” list with their remarkable debut album. You should absolutely give the track below a spin, to get a fairly accurate impression of their sound, and if you like what you’re hearing head on over to their Facebook page to keep up with them until the release of the album!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvzaMDl7D60]

Solbrud – Jærtegn

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I’ve recently had another one of those instances where I got an album of a band that comes from a country that I do not associate with the direction they play at all…and yet they’ve managed to convince me that genres are not necessarily tied to a certain place. The Danish black metal band Solbrud plays their music exactly how I like it, but more about that a bit later, and their second full-lenght Jærtegn is a really solid piece of art.

Funny thing is that I received the album in late July, when it was above thirty degrees Celsius, and I had a hard time getting into it because my mood influences the things I listen to a lot. “Luckily” however, the weather decided to be bad for about two weeks straight and the foundation for an ideal black metal listening session was laid. But enough weather forecast and rambling, let’s dive in!

When I mentioned earlier that the quartet plays a style of black metal that I love, I meant that the music is very monotonous, in a good way, and manages to build such a tight atmosphere that it’s so easy to get lost in the music. Each of the four songs is above ten minutes long, or just under, and the different riffs often repeat themselves for about a quarter of the song, with tiny variations, but somehow it never gets boring at all.

The majority of the forty-seven minutes is a non-stop assault of blast beats, double bass fire and fast-paced riffs, but every now and then the band switches to mid-tempo and that’s where shit gets real…goosebumps-inducing moments guaranteed. The best display of that is definitely the longest song, Klippemennesket, which builds up tension with a very simple progression of clean guitar notes before exploding into full pure goodness…only to return to the intro mid-song and then switch into the next power-laden part. Hands down my favorite on the album.

The vocals really remind me of Immortal‘s Abbath, but then again I must admit that I don’t know all that many BM bands…either way, the performance blends in perfectly with the instrumental background and completes the atmospheric ensemble in every desirable way. Lyrically, I have no precise idea what it’s about, because sadly my Danish is limited, but what I gathered from reading through the lyrics real quick is that it’s nature-based and about darkness…but please do take that with a big grain of salt.

All in all, Solbrud have recorded an album that has pushed just the right buttons for me and, for me personally, this is probably the black metal release of the year. While there might be connoisseurs screaming up right now mentioning dozens of other records, let me just say: listen to Jærtegn on September 15th when it’s released, it’s well worth your while. For more information, head over to the band’s Facebook page and be sure to listen to the live performance of the opening track of the record!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-XAXLyUHs]

Aphyxion – Earth Entangled

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I must say that there are few things that are more gratifying to me than when a prediction, I made in one of my early reviews, becomes true. The reason I’m mentioning this is because back in 2012 when I wrote about today’s band’s second EP, I said that you should keep a close eye on their future evolution since it should be a promising one…turns out I was right. The Danish guys from Aphyxion are about to release their first full-length album, Earth Entangled, and the progress they’ve made is astonishing!

In case you’ve never heard of the quintet: they play a modern type of melodic death metal that gives away their Scandinavian roots immediately. This unique talent for groove seems to be an omnipresent quality in band’s emerging from up north, and so is the case here as well. The first improvement to its predecessor can be noticed in the production quality: what sounded good before, sounds fucking massive now, both the drums and the guitars hammer you into the ground equally effectively.

The ten songs are generally speaking a lot more technical and the structures more intricate, but still retain a feeling of being from the same ensemble. In a way that is a strong selling point, because at no point is the listening experience disrupted by too much of a change of tone, but on the other hand it sometimes makes it harder to differentiate the individual songs, despite of every song being essentially different. It’s kind of hard to explain, but personally even after more than ten listen-throughs I wasn’t able to say which song I was listening to without peeking at the songlist.

The vocal performance remains nearly flawless and the evil growls fit perfectly into the instrumental backdrop. The vocal rhythmic as well as the lyrical content has, in my opinion, improved quite a bit and add a new layer to the band’s music. Only minor gripe I have, is that the vocal variety seems to have diminished and the screeches I have praised on the EP, have almost completely disappeared. I doesn’t really make the whole less interesting, but I thought they were a nice little addition in the past.

All in all, Aphyxion have managed to deliver a very strong forty-six minute debut album with Earth Entangled, that deserves a spot in every melodic death metal fan’s library. Be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and give their music video below a click. And last but not least: be sure to catch them on their European tour in support of the record! One of the stops will be at Soul Kitchen in Luxembourg on the September 19th, so be sure to move your asses out there and bang those heads!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCxLhZKCFIU]

Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

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The year 2013 marks the year of the release of the fifth album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies by Danish rockers Volbeat. Some people hate the band, some love them…one thing that can’t be argued about is that they constantly deliver amazing live performances. I myself had the chance of seeing them in both a festival and a club surrounding and I can guarantee that you will not be able to stand around still at one of their shows. But that isn’t what this review is about, so let’s get started.

I like to call Volbeat “the AC/DC of heavy metal”, since their sound never changes much but they never release a bad album per se. Repetitive? Sure, sometimes. But never bad. This record does not break that pattern and especially if this is your first time with the band, you will appreciate their rockabilly-metal fusion quite a lot.

For returning listeners I can definitely say that you will not have many “aha” moments, but you will notice a change in their guitar parts. This is due to the recruitment of a new guitarist, ex-Anthrax Rob Caggiano, who brings a new take on their usual riffs to the mix. The other thing you will notice is that there are (even) more songs that are quite clearly aimed towards crowd involvement at shows. Obviously this means that the band intends to get more radio play out of this album, but I for one don’t mind that too much since it still sounds like Volbeat.

This goes for the drums and the vocals as well, not much has changed here…which is meant in a good way. As on the predecessor, there are two guest vocalists again: King Diamond on Room 24 and Sarah Blackwood on Lonesome Rider. Especially the former song stands out quite a lot on the album since it features several guitar solos and the vocals just kick as, but what did you expect?

To be frank: the fourteen songs, which clock in at just under an hour, are nothing revolutionary but every fan of the band should at least give this record a listen or two. For newcomers this is as good as any previous release to get started. Check out the band’s Facebook page for possible tour dates and listen to the song below, which by the way is the softest one on the record.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlF3OY-FenY]

Aphyxion – Obliteration Of The Weak

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Aphyxion. A name that will most likely not ring a bell for a lot of people, however the people that do know the name will be able to tell you that it’s a band that you should observe in the future.

The, surprisingly, very young Danish quintet shows a degree of professionalism in both their studio endeavors as well as their live performances where many bands these days barely manage to deliver on one of those levels.

Their 5 track 2010 EP Obliteration Of The Weak starts off with an eponymous track that lets you know in the first 15 seconds what they’re all about: heaviness mixed with that well-known Scandinavian groove.

On the instrumental level they remind me of a modern take on At The GatesSlaughter Of The Soul, which is definitely a good thing. One could also compare their sound to the older stuff of their compatriots from Hatesphere.

The vocalist’s screams are on an equal level throughout the entire EP and although they are mainly guttural, he adds some small screechy nuances to them that give you just the right amount of diversity.

Soundwise I must say that I’m mostly surprised by how well it all sounds, especially because we aren’t talking about a major label band here. No, my guess is that this was a rather low-budget production and yet the result is just impressive. The drums don’t sound over-triggered, as is often the case with new bands these days, and the guitars come at you with a thick clear sound.

There is, however, one negative point that struck me during my listening sessions: a lack of diversity. After listening to the EP around a dozen times I wasn’t really able to differentiate clearly between the songs. Despite that, I am confident that this is something that will pose no problems to them on their next record since I’ve had a chance to see them live not too long ago here in Luxembourg and unless my ears betrayed me they played new songs that have a much diverse sound to them.

All in all I can only say that you should definitely give this fresh band a try since they hold a lot of potential and I, for one, will follow their evolution with great interest.

And if you get the chance to see them live, do so. Their energy on stage will surely make you bang your head (or ninja-dance around, if that’s what you fancy) and they are genuinely nice people have a drink with and talk to.

Be sure to check out their Facebook profile and the song below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUSroUOB9do]