Label: Satanath Records/The Eastern Front Band: Garhelenth Origin: originally Iran, now Armenia
Garhelenth must have a story to tell, since the band is on its third run, currently residing in Armenia after a spell in Georgia. The band now comes on with their latest record ‘About Pessimistic Elements & Rebirth of Tragedy’, which is quite the charismatic release if I may say so.
This is only the second full length for the band, which has been active since 2010. The duo is dedicated to creating true black metal, devoid of any trends or cool sounding niches like DSBM or blackgaze, yet they’ve been lumped in the depressive corner fairly regularly with their dark lyrics concerned with themes of morals and mental states.
An ominous, dark ambient intro with mad, cackling laughter welcomes the listener to the strange realm of this band. After that reception, we launch into it with the song ‘Destruction of the Will’, which sounds quite mellow in a sense. The music forms a continuous flow of ripping riffs that fit together as a fish’s bones in rapid succession. The peculiar chanting is a noteworthy feature, but almost every song has some oddity happening. It’s exactly that, which makes the band stand out a lot.
The barked vocals work well with the particularly melodic and emotive songs and the harrowing riffs on tracks like ‘To Impersonal Mankind’ really do their job. The almost whiny noise, sustains the negative that permeates the sound completely. I particularly enjoyed the slow, threatening pace of ‘Perspective of Exorbitant’, which is strong, powerful, but also on a steady pace full of lumbering drums and grand movements. Even some operatic singing is added to the mix in granting the duo an even more strong sound. An exceptionally strong record, with strong emotional overtones in a classic jacket.
The rockers Tempel from Norway are a band of brothers, literally. Espen Gjermundrød (guitarist), Inge Gjermundrød (bassist/vocalist), Kjetil Gjermundrød (drummer), along with their best friend Andreas Espolin Johnson (guitarist), create an eclectic mix of rock music from up north.
Their heritage is clear in the artwork, showing a wooden stave church as we know them well from Norway. This record is their debut and the identity and image the group brings across are immediately clear and tangible with this exceptional musical effort. All the way from Oslo, with their chest-thumping, t-shirt toting, balls to the wall heavy sounds! It appears no one has signed these guys yet, which is beyond me really.
Tempel instantly releases a barrage of rock’n’roll on ‘Vendetta’, with screaming, hardcore vocals. In the best tradition of Norwegian rock music, it kicks off with vitality and vigorous rhythms. At times their sound has a bit of that thick, black metal layeredness. but overall it’s big, Kvelertak and Skambankt-like waves of powerful rock music. The vocals are definitely the rougher edge this music needs to stand out from the masses, but the frantic drumming has a hand in that too (two hands, obviously).
Dense and fierce, the music never really lets down, but when you get that clear, all-piercing riff like on ‘Fortress’, it is as if the clouds are pierced. The phenomenal sound of Tempel is one I absolutely love. Ranging from bluesy riffs to rigid powerplay, Tempel blasts their way onto the scene with this excellent debut. It has all the catchiness of classic hardrock, but also the Norwegian ruggedness bands from their neck of the woods often produce. Surprising is therefor the emotional ‘Farewell, featuring Benedicte Edvardsen from Mowlith as guest vocalist. It only enhances the versatility this band has to offer on their debut record.
Label: Holy Roar Records Band: møl Origin: Danmark
Blackgaze is an interesting phenomenon. Relinquishing the claim for black metal heritage, it’s rapidly become the outcast child, from a scene that refuses any forward movement. This is more and more reflected in the artwork and overall aesthetic of the bands involved. I have no idea how the gents from møl feel about that, but as I see their work they are in no way showing their desire to get their music lumped into that.
This is a shame in my perception, but regardless of my personal divulgences on what black metal is in 2018, let’s not bother these Danes with it. Their album ‘JORD’ is a masterpiece, whichever way you want to turn it. The band has been doing their own thing for a while, creating two EP’s and finally their debut album this year. With a distinct feel and aesthetic, they are one of the stand-out acts for this year, pushing this sound into new realms in their very own way.
Bands have often explored the cleaner and more grand realms that black metal can move towards. From the epic, symphonic stuff in the 90’s and industrial endeavors following what has been dubbed ‘The Matrix’-effect onwards. Creating densely atmospheric music is what møl does, with utmost polished sound and striking tremolo parts that pluck at the heartstrings on a track like ‘Bruma’ or the beautiful, tranquil tunes of ‘Lambda’. This track is an oasis after the onslaught of some previous tracks, with the all shattering vocals and melodic power of every song, which are extremely well constructed.
The production really does the trick here. The band clearly is not going for the good ‘ol necrosound, but maximizes their melodic and harmonious sound, giving it raw edges where it actually hurts with vocals and razor-sharp riffing. A particular example is the track ‘Ligament’, that opens with a flurry of cuts and piercing vocals, yet such tight sound. By the end, we get to the gentle parts of the title track, møl already completely captured you with their smooth, yet intense sounding tunes and beautiful soundscapes.
Label: Seasons of Mist Band: Erdve Origin: Lithuania
If your band prompts a discussion on whether or not what you make is metal, then that probably means you’re interesting. Erdve from Lithuania is definitely a band that would prompt your interest if sludgy, dark mayhem is something you’re into. As it happens, I am and the record ‘Vaitojimas’, released in 2018, deserves all the attention it can get.
This is, in fact, the first release by the band, who were fortunate to be taken straight out of the demo pile onto a release. Members of the group have previously been active in acts like Nyksta, SraigésEfektas, and Spirale.
It needs to be said, that Erdve truly adheres to the blackened sludge movement that seems to stick to whatever vestiges of the metal scene are still standing in 2018 and they run with it. Their sound is thick with atmosphere from the atonal riffing, creating a vast amount of space and a sense of something big happening on the opening title track. ‘Isnara’ attempts a little nuance with long, repetitive passages that really don’t do much more than keeping the vibe coming along with the sludgy riffing. The vocals are a furious hardcore bark and never really deviate from that sound. At some point though, things get slightly repetitive.
That sound is what the band persists with on ‘Prievarta’, where the vocals are really the only big stand-out factor for the group. The sound just keeps up its bludgeoning ferocity and hardcore anger throughout. while never releasing their catchy clarity. That requires clarification, but suffice to say that the distorted riffing and thundering rhythm section are always easily distinguishable thanks to excellent production. I have to make special mention of the track ‘Apvertkis’, which really starts with a more grungy mood and vibe. It’s much more melancholic and lacks the aggression of the further record. That makes it exceptionally captivating.
We end the album on a high note, with ‘Atraja’. A rugged, bitter and vitriolic track of pure grim-sounding sludge, masterfully crafted and captivating from start to end. Erdve has really established a name for themselves with this release and I can’t wait for more of this Lithuanian piece of violence.
Label: Life Lair Regret Records Band; Unravel Origin: Australia
Australian youngsters Unravel are ready to storm the world with their debut album ‘Eras of Forfeit’. The group set forth with a fresh sound in 2015 and has made a few releases since then. However, this is their first full record out on Life Lair Regret Records.
Blending a sound that contains death metal, grindcore and the vibrancy of hardcore, there’s a vitality to the sound of Unravel. Having played with bands like The Black Dahlia Murder to ParkwayDrive, these guys clearly have a sound that resonate with whats going on today.
This record just grips me instantly, from the very first rumblings of ‘Arbitrator’. The pace and vibe of the record is much more that of a hardcore record, with its violent breaks and tormented screams. Yet, the ingredients are screeching death metal solo’s, guttural vocals that crack through the surface and an overall catchy groove. Not metalcore, it lacks the slickness to my ear at least. Relentless, the band barrels onward at that energetic, high pace, with ‘No Validation for Violation’. Sheer brutality and muscular riffing.
By the time you hit ‘Mortal’s Thrist’, you are pretty much black and blue from the continuous beatings by Unravel, who never really let down. Every mellower passage only serves to warm up the pit for the next unbridled clash with perfect paced rhythms and guitars that shoot from ominous to an almost jagged, prodding sound that makes you want to smash and destroy. Lyrically the band mostly deals with the fucked up state of the world around us. Fitting, because that should fuel any furnace of anger. This is a record, you shouldn’t play in traffic.
Label: Dead Moon Records Band: Wolf Faced God Origin: USA
As we look back to our past, we delve further on to find meaning. The prehistoric times have started to fascinate us and various artists are exploring the sounds from that time. Wolf Faced God is one of those acts and with the album ‘Stone Altars’, the artist behind it reimagines the ancient past in a world full of wonder.
Hailing from the United States, Thorn Skarthborg is also the owner of the label Dead Moon Records, which releases various exciting acts in this dark ambient/ritual corner of the more explorative music. Boldly treading ancient realms and howling at the moon that still on a good night can fascinate us.
The trickling of water and eerie flutes resound in the distance as the tribal drumming starts. Instantly you are taken to a world, much quieter and smaller than ours. Peculiar synths reach through the hermetic, hallucinatory rhythm and take you to a bird’s eye position, from which you soar from opener ‘Children of the Sun’ to ‘Glacial Journey’. The wind rattles you as drones create the semblance of a song structure, but perhaps it is simply your mind trying to find structure in the wild sounds of nature?
Even more low and foreboding is the sound when we enter the ritual on ‘Paleolithic Rituals’. Humming, murmuring tones sometimes break through, evoking the sense of ritual chanting. A wonderful experience, not unlike the one on ‘Cult of the Mammoths’, which sounds playful and lively like the great forest. Immerse yourself in the splendor of a world that is simply much more dangerous and fleeting with this record, filled with magnificent ambient tunes. I absolutely love it.
Label: Satanath Records, Cimmerian Shade Recordings, Murdher Records, Black Plague Records Band: Neter Origin: Spain
The titanic stone slabs on the cover may suggest a more doomy sound, but Neter plays straight-up death metal and has been doing so for a good 14 years. The band has had some line-up changes through the year but appears to be still going strong with this release of ‘Inferus’.
The production of music will never be called prolific for these guys. That’s fine of course, but with a mere two albums to their name, you’d be surprised to find that there’s not a lot of other projects going on. In no way does that say anything negative about the gents, who produce a solid slab of death metal with this release, reminiscent of Immolation and Nile.
After a gentle piano intro, we launch fully into it, with crushing riffs and melodies, that hint of a mysterious oriental theme on ‘Faceless’. The sound of Neter is threatening, dark and ominous, but also very clean polished and full of technicalities. The thudding drums never seem to stop and prod the songs forward with a steady surge of heavy bass behind them.
Perhaps the tunes by Neter sound a bit stiff after a while. The steady pummeling doesn’t really show much variation, apart from the melodic guitar parts that appear here and there. On a tune like ‘Galvanize’, they are slightly more present, but still swamped by the rhythm section and the barked, guttural vocals. During a song like ‘Endemic Warfare’, it even goes down to a fragmentary presence, as the drums keep hitting hard and pushing the song towards it’s end.
Label: Metal Blade Band: Hamferð Origin: Faroe Islands
Doom from the Faroe Islands
Hamferð is one of those bands hailing from the Faroe Islands. Isolation begets inspiration it seems because the island nation under the Danish crown has spawned various bands in the metal genre that have made a splash. Tyr being the foremost of course, but Hamferð is definitely not an unknown entity, making songs in their own language for the masses. Members have also been active in Barren Earth and Heljareyga, connected to aforementioned Tyr.
‘Támsins likam’ is the second full length of the doom band, after their 2013 debut. Signed to Metal Blade, the group can hardly be called prolific, but definitely has something in their sound that only seems to be found on these islands in the north, something forlorn and melancholic. Not surprising for a band whose very name refers to the epiphany of dead or missing seamen, of which the tales on the island are rich.
‘Fylgistflog’ opens with the class and stature of a bygone age. Filled with a particular mournful mood, the song remains elegant in its opening. Perhaps the sound is reminiscent of the romantic qualities known from My Dying Bride and ilk. Vocalist Jón Aldará has the quality of a story-teller in his voice, which he uses aptly. The story is that of a family in mourning over a lost child. Supernatural entities visit and torment the family, whose sorrow is expounded through the crushing music of Hamferð. Music that is as heavy and cold as the sea.
When the floodgates open, the band reminds me of Ahab in their nautical element. Wave after wave crashes into you, from the depths of the abyss onward. On a track like ‘Tvístevndur meldur’, the grief is tangible, yet the voice of Aldará breaks through the dark clouds with an almost angelic quality, a light that breaks through the turmoil and chaos. The music never loses it’s composure and remains regal and noble in all aspects. Yet the guitar work is so massive and oppressive at times, that even the listener might give up. Even when the darkness completely overwhelms, the northern beauty of this record remains undisputed when the notes of ‘Vápn í anda’ slowly ebb away.
Nothing but appreciation for this exceptionally immersive, but hard record by Hamferð and its fantastic artwork by Costin Chioreanu.
If you are from a country that most of the world doesn’t know how to find on a map, it’s probably best to go for a name that sticks. SarcotrofiA started out as Sarcomaticaposa, which would definitely not help them any further. Playing metal music in Mozambique is definitely not an easy thing, which is part of the reason why the band has relocated to Sweden. Still, the ties run deep.
Though things are relatively quiet in Mozambique, the climate has still been rocky since conflicts have been erupting again since 2014. This has not affected the band much, since they decided to leave years ago. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out as planned and drummer Goro Fast was the only one to locate to Scandinavia. Having rebuild the band, he is now eager to pursue a heavy sound of Mozambique death metal.
Goro Fast was kind enough to answer a bunch of my questions. Enjoy!
Mozambique death metal
Hello Sarcotrofia, how are things going for you?
Hey! We are doing great!
Can you tell me how the band started and about the history of the band?
Well! Long story but will try to sum up. The band comes from the ashes of another past band called Sarcomaticaposa founded by Goro Fast (Drummer) in 2006…then after several lineup changes it became SarcotrofiA…from there until now we have been working hard trying to bring the best-unexplored side of music to the listeners and lovers of this musical genre in attempt to create an identity as SarcotrofiA!
How did you guys get into metal music and what bands inspired the sound of Sarcotrofia?
Each member got into music in a different way, some by influence and others by self-interest, guess. we got many influences through everything connected to the music in general and some weird sounds/rhythm that’s why we don’t have a specific base just because we are from a society within a vast multicultural music background and we are always open for whatever may contribute to make us versatile musicians. So we individually might have specific bands that pulled us into metal, but SarcotrofiA is more into TechGrind and brutal death metal.
Your themes are listed as ‘Ghost Monks’ on Metal Archives. Can you tell me what that is about? What are the overall stories you want to tell with Sarcotrofia?
Ghost Monk track is more a metaphoric metamorphose theme within a contest that can be inserted or used in an imaginary situation.
We normally don’t have a specific contest or storyline, we mostly write about what comes to mind at the time, within all the issues involved from politics to a daily bases.
I’m particularly interested in the logo you use with the elements of the Mozambique flag. Can you tell me more about these symbols and what role Mozambique plays in what Sarcotrofia is about?
We had all those elements in our logo as identity and also to honor our nation due to we were all Mozambicans in the band at the time, but now with a new line up within new members from other nations, it will also be changed.
Yah! The symbols according to our constitution has its political meaning, but for us, it expresses a determination, focus, objectives, and goal.
You moved to Sweden as a band. Why did you move and how was it to start again over there?
Yeah well! to make it clear, only one member moved. we were supposed to move as a band within all original members of the band but unfortunately only Goro Fast the Drummer moved to Sweden and the other members of SarcotrofiA decided to step back and fall apart from the band to pursue a different paths in life because combining a normal life and a job became too stressful for some members to manage a SarcotofiAs heavy tour schedule and future plans.
We moved because we got a proposal from a record label that wanted to work with us, in a terms agreement of two years contract and a full-length album to record and promote.
It was Fucking hard to start over here, due to at first we had to get new members that would fit in the band and above all those which are willing to take further steps with us in serious and professional level, we had to face cultural shock, atmosphere, communication, lifestyle etc…it was a big challenge to face. But we are getting there and we are making any opportunity that will make it all worth it.
You know: no risk, no fun! ☺
How do you go about creating music. Is it a collaborative effort or do band members have their own separate roles? Do you start with lyrics or music?
We basically make music together, but most of the tracks were created by Goro Fast the drummer, which is weird, because he makes songs out of rhythmic melody then he makes a transposition of the rhythm to a bassline tab and transcribe it into guitar charts afterwards, then the other member collaborate in making arrangements and give it a music sense line. So and about the lyrics, we don’t have a sequence, can be both at the same time or one task at the time no particular order.
Are you currently working on anything new? What direction are you taking Sarcotrofia in?
YES! We are still focusing on our length album, it takes time but we are working hard on it and soon will get there. The new material is more into Tech, grindcore, and brutal death metal, so let’s see where is it going to take us.
How did metal music originally come to your country Mozambique? What bands pioneered the genre in the country? It seems that the scene is very young, but various bands are doing things now.
How it came? I can’t precise! Because we don’t have archives registered. But, we grew up while metal music was there already and there were some bands from the 80’ & 90’s, such as: Panzers, Ostais, Moz-artes, Violent Desire, InvadersStrangers, Rude, Garganta, PneusFurados, SPuG, PunkVibration, Paranoia and etc…Then on the 20s’ we had new wave of metal as well which is still active so far.
Yeah, our scene is comparably young but is very solid and it ’s growing each day either in a number of bands or the crowd, we are in a good way, I can’t complain.
How is it now in Mozambique with facilities like recording studios, rehearsal space, availability of instruments etcetera…? Was or is there any censorship, either institutional or social? How much are you still in touch?
We don’t have a metal recording studios so far, the few recording studios we have are more focus in the Mozambican tropical vibes, jazz and traditional stuff and never rock and its ramification.
We have some public rehearsal space, just need to book it and go there to bang bang, but most of the metal bands have their own practicing spot where they get together their gear and go to practice to keep in shape and sharp.
We also have some music stores, where it’s easy to get whatever instrument you want either acoustics, electrics or digital, otherwise, we order online. We are constantly in touch, the roots are there and need to be updated time to time.
Which bands from Mozambique should people really check out and why?
This is a very tricky question, but there are lots of bands out there, and also depends on what music genre is on the bill. The easiest way is to dig them into social media or google about Mozambican metal scene lots will pop up.
What future plans do you currently have with the band?
The band is now focused in getting sharp and steel with new members, we also have a recording session on the go and a MASSIVE Attack tour for near future.
If you had to describe Sarcotrofia as a dish, what would it be and why?
Would be ‘Nhapfutela or Xipatsinheta’ because is a multicultural super joint band within a huge miscellaneous of everything, kinda all’in.
Is there anything you’d like to say that I forgot to ask?
…for those who want to follow us, check our FB page, click ‘’like’’ and get informed about everything related to the band and stuff.