Archive for Scandinavian Metal

Sulphur – Thorns In Existence [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Sulphur
Album: Thorns in Existence
Release year: 2011
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Sulphur, who formed from the ashes of nineties black metal band “Taakeriket” and are made up of ex-members of Gorgoroth, Aeternus and Enslaved, have been a fierce, dominating force to be reckoned with in the Norwegian metal scene. Following a few years of laying dormant, Sulphur are back and fiercer than ever with “Thorns In Existence”.

”Revelations” begins with an eerie yet cheesy keyboard introduction, the kind that would be heard in a low-budget horror film. The guitars and drums, while greatly composed, are lighter and more melodic than expected. “True Father Of Lies” follows after, continuing from where “Revelations” finished. The guitars are less melodic and focus more on violent riffs, whilst the drums favour an aggressive approach as well. The vocals are ruthless and unrelenting, keeping the track beastly and heavy. A huge improvement from the first track “Revelations”, though the keyboard section on this track has a hint of cheesiness.

“The Purifying Flame” begins with a very creepy set of sound effects which are soon replaced by ferocious guitar riff and a brutalising drum pattern. The vocals, again are ruthless sounding, unrelenting in their aggression throughout most of the track. The strained whisper-like vocals combined with the slow guitar riff bring a new dynamic to the track. The guitar solo is most impressive, blending well with the stream of double bass pedal. The next track, “Hunting Sickening Seas” starts with a slow, brutalising and shockingly good intro. The vocals have more of a death element which mixes in well with the slow intro. There is a use of clean vocals on the track which gives it more a creepy sound. The acoustic section about half way through the track is a surprise yet a welcome break in between the storm of guitars, vocals and drums.

“Luna Noctiluca” follows after with a slow-paced, brutal and melodic guitar and drums section. The tempo increases with the introduction of the vocals. There is a contrast of clean vocals and screams, which works well with the music. The guitar solo is certainly a highlight of the track and perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about the album. “Into Nothingness” fades its way next. Even after the faded intro, the track seems weak and soft. In some sections, the vocals sound odd and the drums are semi-audible. in the same way it began, it fades out, making way for “Inverted Visions of Eternal Salvation”. It begins with a half-muted intro which soon turns beasty and aggressive. The drum work is intelligent, whilst the guitars are masterfully played and composed. The vocals are still going strong, working well with the synth sections. The track ends on a very creepy note.

“Ravner Beiter I Banesår”, which roughly translated means “Ravens pastures in his death-wounds”, blasts its way next, turning up the level of violence and brutality. The vocals are more slow-paced compared to the guitars and drums, though just as beastly and savage. There are some melodic riff use in one or two sections of the track, which is a pleaser for those who prefer melody over brutality. The track ends with a dramatic symphonic section. “Throne of Illusion” is the second to last track, beginning with a ghastly synth riff, similar to one found in a previous track. The guitars and drums that follow are nothing short of violent, savage and barbaric. The vocals have the bloodthirsty sound to them, as is to be expected. The breakdown towards the end is extremely unexpected however brings a whole new level to both the track and the album.

“A Crimson Line” is the final track of the album. The introductory riff is similar to one found on a Lamb of God album, only with more bite. The brutality and melody contrasts and blends brilliantly and the vocals are still going stronger, perhaps stronger than what they have been for the rest of the album. The use of keyboards and drums only on part of the track is just pure genius. “A Crimson Line” is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.

It’s easy to see why Sulphur have been a dominating force in the Norwegian metal scene. “Thorns In Existence” combines the best of black metal and death metal and mixed in a vast amount of musical genius and talent. This is certainly one of the best albums to come out of Norway since the early days of the Norwegian black metal scene.


Nico Davidson

Euphoreon – Euphoreon [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Euphoreon
Album: Euphoreon
Release year: 2011
Genre: Death Metal

“Euphoreon” is the self-titled debut album of two piece German-New Zealander death metal project “Euphoreon”. The band originally started as a solo project formed by Matt Summerville from New Zealand. “Euphoreon” have been described as having influences of European and Scandinavian metal with “melodic hooks” and “harsh vocals”.

The first track of the album is the optimistically named “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining”. The intro riff is very solemn and turns melodic with the introduction of a more technical riff. Soon after, the track increases its pace as the drums join in. The guitar riff brings a more uplifting sound to the track, along with the use of synths. The vocals are harsh and aggressive. The most impressive thing about this track would have to be the intelligent composition of the guitar riffs and the the guitar solo, whilst having a power metal element to it, is mind blowing. Already, “Eurphoreon” is proving to be masterpiece.

”Before The Blackened Sky” is the second track of the album, beginning with a fast, brutal and melodic riff combined with some technical drum work. The synth sections are similar to that of a Children Of Bodom track. The guitar riffs can only be described as face melting brutality. The vocals make for some impressive sections, such as the whispered styled screams and the clean vocals. The third track, “Forever Being”, has an amazing piano medley for an introduction. The track only gets better when the guitars make their appearance. Their is another use of clean vocals on this track, which gives it more of a symphonic power metal feel, however the harsher vocals can be heard on this track as well. This track seems to be more keyboard dominated, though the guitar riffs are heavy and brutal, which is enough to keep the listener happy.

Next is “Eleventh Heaven” which begins with a calm acoustic riff combined with the light tapping of the hi-hat and a piano medley. The introduction of the electric guitar riff makes it seem like this is going to be a ballad-type of song, however the drums soon say otherwise when they turn more fast paced and brutal. A more aggressive guitar riff soon follows with a more epic synth section and brutal vocals. Just over half way through, the track soon turns slow and calm again with some clean vocals been featured. However, it is only the calm before the onslaught of a melodic solo. This is certainly one of the best tracks on the album. “Where Dead Skies Dwell” blasts its way next, sounding more darker than the previous tracks, which seems only fitting considering the song title. The riffs are more aggressive and the drums are more heavy as well. When the vocals seem to be more hostile. One of the more impressive sections of this track would certainly be the guitar solo.

A calm and soothing piano medley introduces “From The Netherworld”, setting a very solemn atmosphere. The solemn atmosphere is dispersed when a heavy but melodic riff rings out, increasing the tempo of the track. The drums are masterfully composed and played on this track and the vocals are more warlike. The second to last track is “Starnight Rider”. The intro is acoustic, which in a way is fitting for the track though the brutality and aggression of the track soon dominate. This is certainly one of the more fast paced tracks on the album, which makes it that much more enjoyable. There is a use of keyboards and orchestration in parts of the track, making for a very dramatic sound. It ends on a very solemn note. The last track, “Road To Redemption”, starts with a strange sounding organ intro, which seems to take away from the brilliance of the album so far. Thankfully the guitars soon replace it, with a military styled drum pattern. The riffs are extremely melodic and the vocals are as aggressive as they can get, it seems. The keyboard sections are beautifully composed. Cleans vocals can be heard as well, about half through alongside the organ medleys. The track comes to a brilliant and epic end.

”Euphoreon” have proved themselves to be quite the musical genius’ with their debut album “Euphoreon”. It has everything a metal fan could ask for, riffs with aggression and melody, technical and intelligent drum work, epic synth and keyboard sections and great vocals. New Zealand isn’t known for its metal scene, however, “Euphoreon” have the potential to make the New Zealand metal scene world famous if they carry on releasing masterpieces like this.


Nico Davidson

Mercenary – Metamorphosis [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 27th February 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Mercenary
Album: Metamorphosis
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


“Metamorphosis” is the sixth studio album by Danish death metalheads “Mercenary”. This is the first album to feature Morten Løwe on drums.

“Through the Eyes of the Devil” is the first track. It begins with an eerie keyboard riff followed by a brutal yet melodic guitar riff. The vocals sound partially “metalcore” throughout most of this track and the drums seem softly played compared to the guitars and bass. The guitar retain its melodic riffs  as well. The use of clean vocals about half way through the track brings a very calming atmosphere to the track. The drums become slightly heavier towards the end of the track.

The next track is “The Follower”. The drums have increased drastically in terms of heaviness since the previous track. The clean vocals aren’t too impressive on this track. The guitar seems to have gone less melodic as well and there isn’t much use of keyboard on this track either. The track does turn brutal in some parts with some more metalcore sounding vocals. “In A River Of Madness” is next. it begins with heavy guitars and semi-heavy drums. The vocals again have that metalcore element to them as well. The guitar retains a certain amount of brutality for the majority of this track with some subtle use of keyboards here and there. The use of a breakdown about two minutes into the track gives the album more of a metalcore sound. However, the use of a guitar solo helps the album retain some of it’s death metal elements.

Next is “Memoria”, it begins with a brutal and melodic intro. The melodic riff continues when the vocals come in. The cleans vocals,  aren’t overly impressive and they have a slight pop-punk sound to them. The harsher vocals still have the metalcore sound. The drums sound softly played again. The guitar solo sounds choppy and poorly composed in parts. “Velvet Lies” comes next, beginning with a soft guitar riff as an intro. The cleans vocals, again, sound like pop-punk vocals. The guitar riffs seem to be going along the same line as the vocals with a pop-punk sound. The drums sound overpowered as well in sections of this track.

“In Bloodred Shades” is next. It begins with a brutal chugging of guitars mixed with a subtle use of keyboards, making for a great intro. The vocals soon follow and they sound more metalcore than the previous tracks. The drums sound heavy and brutal in sections of this track but sound softer when the clean vocals and keyboards make appearances. Following after is “Shades of Grey”. It’s intro sounds old skool metal and pop-punk influenced. The drums again sound soft. The clean vocals have that pop-punk sound again, something similar to “You Me At Six”. There is a subtle use of harsh vocals, faded out during in the clean vocals. The track itself, overall, is too soft to be any kind of metal.

Next is “The Edge of Sanity”. It begins sounding very death metal. Even the drums sound heavy. The vocals sound metalcore still though, almost along the lines of something you’d expect to hear on a “Bring Me The Horizon” release.  The cleans again, sound pop-punk, taking away the metal element of the track drastically. The guitar solo sounds poorly composed and choppy at best. “The Black Brigade” is the final track. It begins with drums before a semi-heavy guitar riff comes in. The harsh vocals in, bringing a very metalcore element to the track. The guitar riffs remain melodic for most of the track, which is a good thing. The guitar solo on this track is the best one of the entire album, though it didn’t have much to compete with in terms of the other solos. The drums retain a certain amount of heaviness and brutality for the most part.

While it’s not the best album to come of out the Danish metal scene, it’s not the worse. “Metamorphosis” seems to be signalling a new sound for “Mercenary”, a new sound for them needs a fair bit of work. Whilst the metalcore elements weren’t bad, they weren’t great either and sometimes didn’t seem to fit in with the music at all. The pop-punk styled vocals ruined a few tracks as well. The album is well produced, but poorly composed in parts.


Nico Davidson