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Wednesday 27 November 2019

Reviews: Skyblood, Blood Eagle, Agnostic Front, Sorgelig (Matt & Manus)

Skyblood: Skyblood (Napalm Records) [Matt Bladen]

Skyblood is the debut solo album from vocalist Mats Leven who has lent his voice to bands like Candlemass, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen and is a frequent collaborator with Firewind guitarist Gus G. It has been in works for a while now, as he is kept busy with other projects, Leven has said that this album represents him as a musician and the theme is to "Wake up to the truth, the dark and hypnotic" As soon as a saw this I wondered what sort of style of music it would be due to the eclectic nature of Mats work, well it seems he has thought he same thing by throwing various different genres from classic metal to doom, melodic rock to industrial metal, into one big progressive crock pot and stirring it into one big politically charged record, that thematically reminds me of Queensryche on opener The Voice which displays Mats incredibly versatile vocal prowess as he rages, The Not Forgotten is more doomy, with choral swells and a huge chorus hook. 

The album was recorded/mixed/produced by Leven himself and he's done a great job here compiling the performances from the numerous guest musicians to make these songs complete ready for his Kiske/Tate/Sammett styled croaking lows and soaring highs on the dramatic Once Invisible which is built upon a a persistent piano. This is a very dark, mature metal album from Mats Leven, it dwells in darkness revealing some glimpses of light, it is an angry rallying cry against the current state of the world with a dramatic metal background. If you have any interest in Mats Leven's vocals or any of the bands he's been in then you'll find a lot here to enjoy but if not it won't change your mind, still a worthy addition to his catalogue. 8/10

Blood Eagle: To Ride In Blood & Bathe In Greed III (Nuclear Blast) [Matt Bladen]

So finally the third part of Danish Supergroup Blood Eagles trilogy of EP's that make up their debut album is released. The previous two have moved from old school nasty death metal on the first part into the more modern style on the second. So I was interested where they were going to go on this the final part of their debut release. It all kicks off with A Life That Rots Away, a thunderously heavy number with some more crunching riffs and yet more aggressive vocals. This one has a lot of groove to it and is quite proggy twisting and turning as Worship The Wolf is slower taking a grinding approach the rhythms section slamming the noise into you as it beats you down. Wall Of Hate is the final number and it brings back the old school vibe providing a galloping end to the EP. My advice is play all of these together, as this third one is probably the weakest but as an entire piece it's a very strong, heavy death metal release. 7/10

Agnostic Front: Get Loud! (Nuclear Blast) [Manus Hopkins]

Band’s in Agnostic Front’s position are at a good place, career-wise. The New York hardcore group has been at it for nearly four decades, but has maintained a steady output of albums through its career, meaning there is no anxiety surrounding the idea of them having lost their touch during extended time off or anything like that, like there is with many of their peers. Agnostic Front is as loud, aggressive, and purely punk as ever on Get Loud!, with track after tracking packing mean swings and hard punches. Before the first track is even over, any listener should know what the rest of the album will consist of. It’s all raw, simplistic punk, and that’s all it needs to be. Agnostic Front has been doing this for ages—they know there’s nothing they need to change.7/10

Sorgelig: We, The Oblivious (Independent) [Manus Hopkins]

Black metal can be excellent when it’s done right, but it can also be disastrous when it’s done wrong. It seems Greek group Sorgelig has managed to concoct a formula for consistently well-done black metal. It’s easy to see their influences; everything from their riffs to their cover art is dripping with Darkthrone worship. This isn’t a bad thing, because they still manage to take the music in their own direction and update the sound and atmosphere a little bit, while staying true to the raw black metal feel. The album starts off with punchier, to-the-point songs and ends with two nearly nine-minute epic tracks, one of which being the album’s real standout tune, A Thousand Skies To Drown In. That’s not to discredit any other song on the record—it’s a solid album throughout, and though it can be enjoyed again and again, will still leave any black metal fan eagerly waiting for new music from Sorgelig. 8/10

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