It’s hard to believe that Marduk have been at it for close to thirty years now, harder still to believe that the Swedish black metal stalwarts have maintained such a consistent level of quality over the years with regard to their recorded output. Case in point, Viktoria is the band’s fourteenth album and it picks up right where 2015’s excellent Frontschwein left off, pulverizing listeners with yet another blasphemous blitzkrieg of World War II-themed black metal.
When Watain dropped the The Wild Hunt back in 2013, I initially praised the band for their willingness to take chances with their sound. But truth be told, I haven’t felt much of an urge to revisit the album since that time, opting instead to reach for their more immediate, visceral works, such as Casus Luciferi and Sworn to the Dark. In retrospect, The Wild Hunt was a good album and an interesting change of pace, but it lacked the sense of urgency and hunger that characterized the band’s finest work, ultimately making it the weakest entry in their storied catalog.
Back in 2014, Body Count emerged from eight years in the shadows with all guns blazing in the form of Manslaughter; one of the year’s best metal albums, not to mention one of the year’s biggest surprises. It was a bludgeoning yet precise aural assault that deftly mixed mosh-ready riffage with lyrics that were by turns over-the-top violent, darkly humorous and delightfully un-PC.
Long-winded intros are for jabronis, so without further ado and in no particular order, THKD nails the lid shut on 2016 with a list of ten metal albums that grabbed a hold of my crank and kept on yankin.’
My listening relationship with Belgium’s Aborted can best be categorized as “on again, off again.” While I consider the band’s 2003 album Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done to be a stone cold classic of the brutal death metal genre, I’ve found myself rather indifferent towards much of what they’ve released since. Sure, 2012’s Global Flatline was something of a return to form, but 2014 follow-up The Necrotic Manifesto came off as rather flat and generic.
Hailing from the same fertile scene that produced the likes of Entombed and Dismember, the terrific twosome known as Comecon have somehow been relegated to being little more than a footnote in the history of Swedish death metal in spite of being one of the most oddball bands to be belched forth from the unholy bowels of Stockholm. No less than Daniel Ekeroth wrote the band off as “boring” in his ten ton tome Swedish Death Metal, but in surveying their discography I can’t help but wonder if he and I listened to the same band.
If there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s writing intros to interviews. Fortunately, Paradise Lost is a band that needs no introduction. The death/doom/gothic metal pioneers have been releasing great music for nearly three decades now, and that enduring legacy continues with their latest full length, The Plague Within, which is out June 1st via Century Media. Legendary vocalist Nick Holmes graciously answered my questions about their stunning new album via e-mail.