Some bands are more than just instrument players or singers, they are an elemental force. Their music is drawn from the very rocks, seas and skies of their homelands. It often helps when the homelands are as awe-inspiring as Norway’s frozen tundra as they make any sort of ‘traditional’ music from these places even more evocative. In various countries these traditional folk songs are passed down from generations, but real skill come with taking these traditions and creating something new and modern that is rooted in their history. Einar Selvik, main man of Wardruna has been aiming for this since first putting together the band and he feels he’s nearly nailed it on latest album Kvitravn (White Raven) a record that is steeped in Nordic myths and the nature of humanity, delivered with Nordic folk instruments. Much of this comes from Selvik’s scholarly, academic understanding of Norse history and music, his knowledge used to co-compose some of the music for the TV show Vikings, to add authenticity.
Asphyx: Necroceros (Century Media Records) [Charlie Rogers]
Arguably The Netherlands’ greatest Death Metal band, Asphyx have been bursting eardrums for longer than I’ve been alive. Necroceros is their 10th full length release, 51 minutes of clenched fist, teeth gritting death metal. The band is by their own admission not interested in chasing higher and higher bpm, nor being the most technically proficient musicians out there, but rather playing rock solid heavy tunes to bang your head along to, and they’ve absolutely delivered that here. Hitting the ground running, The Sole Cure Is Death' wastes no time by sprinting out of the blocks with an aggressive thrashy bluster. The pace eventually lets up as the song plunges into a doom laden sludge, vocals howling over the darkness conjured by the laboured riffing.
Painted Wives: New Medusa (The Century Family Records) [Matt Bladen]
Following up their Century Media released Obsessed With The End, Painted Wives have returned with their follow up New Medusa. I remember listening to the debut album and being mighty impressed by it at the time bringing fat riffs along with melodies galore. Well New Medusa is another slab of heavy doom influenced stoner metal that shifts between Mastodon, High On Fire and Gojira sounds with impressive ease. Waves of crunching heavy riffs from founding member Justin Suitor and Jeff Lyman both of whom shift the heaviness with oodles of melody too Suitors' vocals doing serious justice to Ryan Williams' lyrics (yes they have lyricist as part of the band, how vert Procol Harum).