INDUSTRIAL PUKE – Where Life Crisis Starts EP

When members of Rentokiller and Burst joined forces for a side project purely aiming to make some noise, it was pretty much a guarantee that the results would be uncompromising, but this debut from Industrial Puke is more impressive than first impressions would suggest. Their choice of name and logo appear rooted in the extreme – suggesting a blend of death metal, grindcore and gore-themed noise – but the reality is far preferable. Their music adopts more of a hardcore persuasion and the EP’s four hefty workouts bring early 90s hardcore and crust punk influences into the twenty first century with an almighty wallop.

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VYPERA – Eat Your Heart Out

Vypera, a melodic metal band from Sweden, began life in 2016 as Madhouse, a covers band working the local circuit. On the basis of their debut release under the new name – their first to feature all new, self penned material – you might find yourself wondering if they were better when hammering through other peoples’ hits, since the bulk of ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ is…fairly bad, to put it mildly.

Sweden have a great track record for rock and metal exports, and the Scandinavians have more than shown an easy knack for great riffs and choruses over the years, very much providing a strong backbone for the melodic rock and metal scene. On on the basis of this debut, though, as much as some people would like to purport such a notion that the Swedes are infallible, such talents aren’t guaranteed. Although the bulk of this debut rehashes some old style riffs fairly solidly, Vypera’s song writing isn’t amazing; the record’s production values are decidedly average, and vocally, seventy five percent of the time, an ugly voice derails most of the good elements there might have been. Faced with something that sounds like polished demo with half of the guitars sounding really trebly, as if they’re bleeding in from another room, it’s immediately hard on the ears.

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FANS OF THE DARK – Fans Of The Dark

There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Luckily for Uriah Heep and Deep Purple, the same is true of album sleeves, and there’s many a good tune hidden behind an ugly piece of art. Fortunately, this also sort of applies to Sweden’s Fans of The Dark. They’ve saddled themselves with a bad band name, cheap looking logo, and sleeve art depicting a Gollum-tortoise hybrid with car headlights for eyes, but despite that, their debut LP is home to a trilogy of fairly decent melodic rock/melodic metal tunes. These are tunes that would definitely go unheard if we were going solely upon appearances. The album also includes a couple of genuine clunkers, so you could definitely call it a mixed bag, if you were feeling polite.

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TRUMBITEN – Emotions EP

When Trumbiten made their first appearances on streaming services during the global pandemic of 2020, their first recordings almost seemed to set up the musical project as a bit of fun; something of a necessary distraction for the musicians involved. A cover of Ghost (BC)’s ‘Rats’ and a heavy reworking of Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ both suggested the Swedish father/son duo had some strong musical chops, but as with a lot of covers – especially when played fairly straight, heavied up or otherwise – they didn’t really suggest a band thinking in the long term.

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ANGELICA – All I Am

Angelica Rylin’s solo debut ‘Thrive’ (Frontiers Records, 2013) was a decent AOR record. The core of its material took its influence from Robin Beck and other female stars from the late 80s and despite a very predictable approach to the material, Rylin gave strong vocal performances throughout. Its dozen well-written, chorus driven rockers opted for big hooks and bigger melodies at almost every turn and by going for a less bombastic approach than her band The Murder of My Sweet, it certainly made Rylin far more of an appealing musical prospect.

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