Tag Archives: Sweden

Faceshift – All Crumbles Down

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It’s funny: last week I discovered my appreciation for a genre that I could never stand, and this week I have to notice that a genre, that I enjoyed back in the day, no longer appeals to me. Objectively speaking, it’s got nothing to do with the quality of the release, because Faceshift‘s All Crumbles Down is a really solid modern heavy metal release, still the spark simply didn’t ignite after my usual ten listening sessions.

As I said, the Swedish quintet’s sound is orientated towards modern heavy metal, with down-tuned guitars and hammering drums, heavy riffs and a lot of palm-muting. The songwriting, however, has that classic feel to it with massive melodies and occasional keyboard use. Generally speaking, every element that is necessary to make an album of said genre appealing is there and well executed.

The same goes for the vocal performance during these eleven songs, which is mostly kept in the clean range and very occasionally accentuated by screams. There is absolutely no denying that the singer has great pipes either and he displays a broad repertoire of melodic singing capabilities. At times his timbre reminds me of Layne Staley from Alice In Chains and in other passages he has that slight Dio resemblance, the mix of the two truly makes it an enjoyable ride.

In the opening lines I said that I just couldn’t get into the music, which is sadly true, because during the forty-nine minutes that are All Crumbles Down, I was never taken “into the zone”; which is a major factor to me when it comes to liking a band.

Honestly, I entirely attribute that to the fact that I simply lost touch with heavy metal, and I’m convinced that Faceshift will manage to impress many of their listeners. So please, do yourself a favor and check out their video below and head over to their Facebook page to follow their progress. Last but not least, if you like what you hear, be sure to check out their album when it drops in April 14th!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOON4FO_LMg]

At The Gates – At War With Reality

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Let it go down in the history books, that 2014 marks the year that one of the most-awaited reunions in metal has happened. In case you don’t know it by know: the legendary At The Gates are back with a new record, called At War With Reality! Almost twenty years after they set a huge landmark with Slaughter Of The Soul, the quintet is back with new music and what can I say? It’s as if they never left!

The Swedes are arguably solely responsible for making melodic death metal into what it is today, and that can clearly be heard on this fifth album: every element that defines the genre can be found, executed in utter perfection! Groove-laden drum patterns, that can turn into fast-paced technical explosions, go hand in hand with intricate guitar parts that lack neither in variation, nor in atmosphere.

The fifteen tracks, on the limited edition, are a blast to listen to and always give off a slight feeling of desperation, while still at the same time being brutal when necessary, which is definitely emphasized through the fantastic vocal performance. In my opinion, the screamer’s vocal chords must be completely torn, or he simply has a perfect technique, because the above-mentioned desperation can be felt at any moment that he opens his mouth.

However, there is one negative aspect about these fifty-three minutes…but it only applies to newcomers to the band, I would say. While At War With Reality is a brilliant record, there are very few new elements that have been added and therefore it might come across as “just another melodic death metal” release to younger listeners…but I, for one, love the fact that ATG didn’t try to re-invent themselves in an unnecessary way and just stuck to what they pretty much invented: Gothenburg fucking death metal!

This album has hands-down been on top of many wishlists for just as many years, and I can only say that it did not disappoint, in any way whatsoever. And the best thing about this is: with a new record comes a new tour, so keep your eyes peeled for any dates in your general vicinity and be sure to wait…I’m sorry…At The Gates early enough! So be sure to follow the band on Facebook and listen to the track below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzjshF0TFm8]

Unfaithful – Streetfighter

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The list of bands that I would have almost missed out on, if I hadn’t kept an open mind, recently grew by one more name: Unfaithful! When I received the promo material for the debut full length Streetfighter of the Swedes, I wasn’t very intrigued by the description but I gave it a shot anyways…and holy shit is it good!

The quartet plays an interesting mix of hardcore elements, tons of groove and a nu metal nuance to it. As I’ve said before, I don’t like making comparisons, but they bare a striking resemblance to Five Finger Death Punch…or at least to their early, and better, times. Crushing riffs and drumming that will pound you into the ground are predominant, but the groove is the band’s almighty secret weapon that always, and I mean every single time it sets in, makes you want to move.

The record features enough variation in order to allow the average listener to differentiate the nine songs without any feeling of déjà-vu, yet it all sounds like an ensemble of brute force. The complexity and variety of the guitar work is highly enjoyable and includes several highlights in the form of solos and quite epic parts. The drumming, as mentioned above, is tight as hell and holds the music together perfectly with a huge spectrum of patterns that guarantee a good time.

Another strong selling point for these thirty-six minutes are hands down the vocals, which are mostly growled screams, for lack of a better word, during the verses. The special touch, however, comes during the (pre-)chorusses in the form of the clean vocals which are flawlessly executed and fit into Unfaithful‘s sound like a moshpit into a good concert. The lyrics deal with all sorts of topics, like drug addiction, bullying and gambling problems and while they do come across as a bit poserish at times, they don’t make you roll your eyes at any point.

All in all, Streetfighter is a record that does everything right and I sincerely hope that it will garner the deserved attention in the international scene, because I’d love to hear more from these guys in the future! It will be out on November 10th, and you can keep up with the band on their Facebook page as well as get an impression of their sound below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shmHKSE5C8Q]

Morbus Chron – A Saunter Through The Shroud

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Morbus Chron formed in 2007 and released one demo (not counting the very first demo tape that was limited to a single copy), two Eps and a full-length album. They also appeared on the, now cult, Resurrected In Festering Slime compilation.

A Saunter Through The Shroud is their second EP and their first release since the album Sleepers In The Rift and shows a different side of the band. The three songs are much more progressive than their other material. What I mean by that is that the band added many new layers to their old school Swedish Death Metal. I can not help but think of Possessed’s Beyond The Gates as an influence. Both albums were truly a step-up for both bands, showing a much more progressive musical structure based on an interplay between brutality and eerie atmosphere. Also, both albums showed both bands at their musical peak, meaning riff upon riff upon riff kicking your teeth out of place. Another band that seems to have influenced Morbus Chron are Pestilence. Especially the vocals show a Martin van Drunen-esque influence. Robba has a raspy, throaty voice and sounds as despaired as van Drunen himself when screaming those horrid lyrics.

I will not review the songs individually as there are only three songs. Let me just say that those three songs are, in my opinion, among the best five songs Morbus Chron have ever released this far.

The EP is only available on vinyl on black vinyl limited to 700 copies, a limited volcanic red version limited to 200 copies available at www.cmdistro.de and a electric red version limited to 100 copies available at www.detestrecords.com.

This is a must-have!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10fHd2TDCfM]