When it comes to extreme metal, the Scandinavians have a long and rich history. Quite often, their extremes are rooted in the black metal sphere, but sometimes a more gothic approach will rear its head with interesting results. In the hands of Iceland’s Vofa, the latter definitely applies since their debut album comprises of three very lengthy, title-less pieces that explore the heaviest end of the funeral doom subgenre. In many ways, it sounds almost exactly how its sleeve art looks.
Ahead of their second album’s release, Norwegian indie/goth band Mayflower Madame are streaming their new single, ‘Vultures’.
Taking a pinch of Jesus & Mary Chain and a huge influence from Bauhaus and ‘First, Last & Always’ era Sisters of Mercy, the track really delivers in terms of mechanical rhythms, cold riffs and a brilliant alt-pop darkness. Everything has been recycled with so much love, it could even pass as authentic find from a vault of rare 80s alternative music.
The Last Reign’s overall style and approach to metal is unmistakably Scandinavian. Taking hefty cues from Soilwork and In Flames, their sound has a constant push and pull between the pneumatic and aggressive sounds of hardcore metal while still clinging on to various melodic approaches that flaunt a shameless love of the past. Their second release, ‘Prelude’ is a stop-gap, but its three songs go a long way to showing off a superb band – one that really should be on the radar of almost all fans of Scandinavian metal sounds.
With regard to Ramonescore sounds, few bands do it as well as The Hallingtons. If you’re a pop-punk fan, they have the kind of back catalogue where you can drop in at any point and enjoyment is guaranteed, but with 2019’s ‘Hexed’ they’ve delivered a career best.
With a name like Astrosaur, you’d half expect this Norwegian trio to be a full on doom metal band. Appearances can deceive, of course, and their 2019 release ‘Obscuroscope’ is nothing of the sort. Its six pieces of music are lengthy and complex; there are elements of trippy space rock and a few stoner-ish tropes, but in the main, the release delves deep into a world of complex post rock and post/progressive metal sounds that should appeal to prog fans who like things at the heavier end of the scale.
“The public perceives metal and academia as rivals” reads the Astrosaur website, somewhat pompously. Whether that’s true of not, at least half of their second album would’ve benefit from far less musical academia and far more actual tunes. With Astrosaur’s brand of prog, it really is all about the flashy self-indulgence…and for anyone whom isn’t actually a musician, this works hugely towards the album’s detriment.