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Friday 12 November 2021

Reviews: Bornholm, Crazy Lixx, Doomsday Profit, Nestor (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Bornholm - Apotheosis (Napalm Records)

Apotheosis is the fifth full length from Hungarian Pagan metal band Bornholm who take their name from an island off the coast of Sweden (though part of Denmark) that brought Vikings into Carpathia as well as the disease that originated on the island also known as The Devil's Grip. Firmly a band who move towards the devil's grip as Bornholm are defiantly heathen, pagan metal band proclaiming their allegiance to the old ways with this atmospheric, extreme metal offering. The four piece have focussed on carrying their sound into the future while also conjuring sounds from their beginning 20 odd years ago. The marching doom heaviness fuses with fretboard shredding black metal that is fierce and raw. 

They bring forth some spiritual offerings too with plenty of chants and incantations to draw you into the dark brooding atmosphere of the album before the black metal attack begins again. At 52 minutes there's plenty of time for these songs to shape shift and merge between louder and quieter phases, acoustics are used sparingly but are effective in the compositions often at odds with that raw black metal style elsewhere though Bornholm up the intensity with choirs and chants approaching symphonic at times. Mostly though Bornholm play an aggressive style of black metal with frantic riffery, rattling drum blasts and vocal shrieks that will excite fans of the vehement, harsh extreme metal. Closing out with the triumphal Enthronement, Apotheosis is a pagan black metal example from these Hungarians. 7/10

Crazy Lixx - Street Lethal (Frontiers Music Srl)

On Street Lethal, Swedish AOR band Crazy Lixx look Westwards to the shining US Of A for the main influence of their seventh album. One could say they have always been heavily inspired by the glam metal sounds of bands like Def Leppard (I know they're British before you write in), Ratt, Warrant and Journey. But this influence seems to be brought to its zenith on Anthem To America and the tracks such as Blame It On Love, Hell Raising Women, XIII, and Wild Child, all of which have been featured in Willy's Wonderland, a batshit, retro themed horror/action movie starring Nic Cage. Much like how Tron boosted the popularity of Journey, this obscure, theme park goes mental, film has meant that the tracks mentioned have all been streamed more than any of their previous tracks. 

Crazy Lixx have been at the forefront of this Scandinavian 80's hard rock revival since 2002 and they continue to lead from the front with an album full of anthemic hard rock, it's a sound that has been crafted by lead singer Danny Rexon who not only has one of those pure, soulful AOR voices but also handles the punchy production of this record, from the heavy synth balladry of In The Middle Of Nothing, to the Bon Jovi-like country rocking of Caught Between The Rock N Roll and the bouncing title track which has a bit of Motley Crue to it, this record is Crazy Lixx in full form, the intro/intermissions such as Enter The Dojo and Final Fury fleshing out the slightly conceptual style of this album. Street Lethal and a little bit fluffy Crazy Lixx continue to set the bar. 8/10

Doomsday Project - In Idle Orbit (Self Released)

The Swedes are quite possibly the doom masters, however the Yanks give them a run for their money. North Carolina mob Doomsday Project are all about encompassing the outright desolation we as the human race have faced over the past few years and will face in the years to come. This anger, frustration and confusion was distilled by the Covid-19 pandemic and has come through on this six track slab of acid-sludge (what they call themselves). In Idle Orbit is their debut EP as I said it's 6 tracks long but the tracks are packed full of slithering doom. From the creeping death of Crown Of Flies the fuzzing drone of Cestoda and the riffy bog-trawling of Consume The Remains

In Idle Orbit is a record that is downbeat and devastating, fusing the headache inducing throb of Electric Wizard with the speaker destroying sludge heaviness of Conan. Appearing on the more extreme end of the doom spectrum, Doomsday Profit are a call to the end times, the croaked vocal cries in fully calling for destruction as the band dial up the bottom end chug and haziness, especially on the psychedelic trip that come on the opening moments of Bring Out Your Dead the final track on this EP. On the basis of this song alone Doomsday Project seem to have a decent future ahead of them, although from their songwriting they may not believe that future will happen. 6/10     

Nestor - Kids In A Ghost Town (Self Released)

Kids In A Ghost Town is a musical time warp, you don't take a jump to the left here though. You throw up a Rick & Morty style portal gun and jump headlong into the Sunset Strip circa 1985. However instead of Motley Crue, Dokken or one of the numerous big haired, jagged guitar toting glam/aor metal bands that may be in the Viper Room at this time, it's actually Swedish band Nestor. Kids In A Ghost Town is a record that encapsulates the excess, inflated egos and anthems of the 80's delivered with a little tongue in cheek but also as a well written homage to the songs of that era. What is impressive are the vocals of Tobias "Tobbe" Gustavsson, his slick delivery is up with your Steve Perry's and Lou Gramm, adding emotion to the title track while also working in gloriously cheesy unison with Samantha Fox (yep that one!) on mega ballad Tomorrow, that has a snippet of Bon Jovi in the lyrics. 

The band is clearly built around him as he is the obvious star here starring (along with the rest of the band) in their lavishly produced music videos, but the band are not to be overlooked, with lots of hands in the air rhythms, soaring Van Halen/Neal Schon/George Lynch guitar playing. The songs speak for themselves, yes they are decidedly retro, but nothing ever moves too far in to cliche even on Perfect 10 (Eyes Like Demi Moore) which is an homage to some of the 80's biggest pin ups, it's just cheesy enough for a good time pop rock belter, while These Days is a strutting AOR rocker that is in that Def Leppard mold. There is a wealth of retro AOR acts around these days, most of which are snapped up by Frontiers Music, however these Swedes may have passed under the radar a little of the Italian label. Still I have no doubt that on the back of Kids In A Ghost Town there will be plenty of big labels itching to snap up these master of AOR melodic rock. 8/10 

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