APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2018

What a glorious year in metal we just experienced.  After the sheer amount of quality albums that were released in 2018, there is no question that the genre is as healthy and full of life as ever.  Thus, making our top albums lists harder than usual.

For the APESHIT goons, 2018 was the year where the legends all shined.  JUDAS PRIEST led the charge with their best album since 1990’s Painkiller.  DIMMU BORGIR finally emerged from a long slumber and did not disappoint. VOIVOD remain the gods that the mass metal media won’t acknowledge as such.  We can’t really think of any letdowns.  Can you?

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NECROPHOBIC – Mark of the Necrogram

NECROPHOBIC prove that, as one of the proud remaining godfathers of Swedish black/death metal, they can always be relied on to create excellent albums.  The bottom line is that Mark of the Necrogram is the perfect NECROPHOBIC album.

All the hallmarks that the band has built their legacy can be found: the undeniable dark atmosphere, the melancholic melodies, the variety of songs, and the heartpounding tempos.  The greatest intangible that NECROPHOBIC bring to the table is that magic feeling, that mystery of their unique style of Swedish black/death metal.  You would think that a band that started in ’89 would’ve lost what made them special at some point along the way.  However, that is simply not the case with them.

The album opener/title track sets the tone beautifully with its unstoppable melodies and plowing momentum.  “Tsar Bomba” just has that special feeling that you can feel in your soul.  It’s quite a great anthem.  “Lamashtu” is perfect for a live setting with its momentum building and catchy vocal lines.  One listen to “Sacrosant” and you’ll be singing along to the chorus.  The middle section and excellent guitar solo by Sebastian Ramstedt in “Requiem for a Dying Sun” is pure magic.  NECROPHOBIC race to the finish with “From the Great Above to the Great Below” with a strong sense of urgency before smoldering into ashes with the instrumental “UndergÜngen.”

Mark of the Necrogram features strong performances from all band member but it should be pointed out that band leader/drummer Joakim Sterner is the heart and soul of NECROPHOBIC.  Additionally, his drumming is basically the playbook when it comes to this style of extreme metal.

Look, Mark of the Necrogram is yet another classic NECROPHOBIC album and another mandatory addition to your record collection.  Hail. (Century Media Records)

Stockholm Super Group FIRESPAWN Announce Debut Album

FIRESPAWN, the new Swedish super group featuring current and former members of ENTOMBED A.D., NECROPHOBIC, UNLEASHED, DARK FUNERAL, have announced that their debut album, Shadow Realms, comes out November 13, 2015. The music that has been released so far sound very promising.

Check out the track, “Ruination“:

Also, check out the official video for the title track of their 7″, Lucifer Has Spoken:

FIRESPAWN line-up:

Fredrik Folkare – guitar (NECROPHOBIC, UNLEASHED)
Victor Brandt – guitar (ENTOMBED A.D., SIX FEET UNDER (live))
A. Impaler – bass (NECROPHOBIC, NAGLFAR (live))

DARK FUNERAL, NECROPHOBIC Guitarist David “Blackmoon” Parland Passes Away

BlackmoonThe underground metal scene lost one of its own when guitarist David “Blackmoon” Parland passed away on March 19, 2013.  Blackmoon was a key member in renowned Swedish extreme metal bands such as NECROPHOBIC, DARK FUNERAL, WAR, and INFERNAL.  He had not released any new music in a quite a long time but his impact on the scene speaks for itself.

Let’s blast some of his music in his memory!  Surely, a time when Swedish black/death metal was obscure and untainted.

NECROPHOBIC Signs with Season of Mist Records

Season of Mist is thrilled to welcome Swedish death metal veterans, NECROPHOBIC, to the roster.

“We are very proud to sign with Season of Mist“, bassist Alex Friberg comments. “A unique label when it comes to sincere musical enthusiasm. Sprung from the endangered kind that will still sign a band because of their actual qualities. We believe in a long and strong relationship between NECROPHOBIC and Season of Mist!”

NECROPHOBIC was recently joined by guitarists Robert Sennebäck (DISMEMBER, UNLEASHED) and Fredrik Folkare (UNLEASHED) and is currently writing material for its seventh full-length, which should be released sometime next year.

In the meantime, the band will hit the European roads with fellow label mates MORBID ANGEL and BENIGHTED in November and December.

TRIDENT – World Destruction

Another day, another “supergroup” pops up and tries to catch your attention. Much like the “supergroup” of OV HELL (Shagarath, King, Frost), TRIDENT is comprised of members from excellent and established bands, namely axeman Johan Norman (ex-DISSECTION, SOULREAPER) and vocalist Tobias Sidegård (NECROPHOBIC).

The production of World Destruction is crystal clear, as the album was recorded at Andy LaRocque’s studio, but that fact does little to counteract the mediocrity of the songs. The overused “marching” intro in “The Trident” foreshadows a predictable album. Tracks like “Jaws of Satan” and “Nemesis” contain SOULREAPER/DISSECTION-like riffs, melodies, and blasts, but something is lacking. The songs feel too robotic without any emotion, and “Black Velvet Wings” includes a mid paced, melodic formula which is TRIDENT’s answer to DISSECTION’s “Where Dead Angels Lie.” The middle of the album suffers a bit with its run of the mill songs, and it’s not until the last few songs that World Destruction beings to show promise. The title track is very NECROPHOBIC inspired, with various tempos throughout, and if the entire album was like this, it would be pretty solid. The outro, “Mephisto” has some excellent acoustic guitar work and guitar leads, but the strong showing at the end of the album cannot balance out the overall disappointing output.

TRIDENT has come out of the scene from nowhere, and seems to be gaining ground in popularity because of Norman and Sidegård’s involvement in their previous bands. While the band certainly has capable musicians, their songs lack any enthusiasm or originality, and this style was already perfected and done better by DISSECTION, NECROPHOBIC, SACRAMENTUM, and WATAIN, just to name a few. World Destruction is unfortunately flat in the songwriting department from beginning to end, and certainly is not on par with the bands previously mentioned, who lead the way in the Swedish blackened metal genre. (Regain Records)

NECROPHOBIC, DISSECTION Members Ready to Make Debut with TRIDENT

Swedish black-death heathens TRIDENT will release their debut album, World Destruction, on March 22, 2010 via Regain Records. Three blistering new tracks from the album – “Slaves To Anguish,” “World Destruction” and “Jaws of Satan” – are currently streaming on the band’s official MySpace page.

TRIDENT features a massive roster of professional metal assassins:
Johan Norman (SOUL REAPER, DISSECTION) – rhythm guitar
Ewo Solvelius – lead guitar
Tobias Sidegård (NECROPHOBIC) – vocals
Jonas Blom (GRIEF OF EMERALD) – drums

World Destruction was recorded at Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden with engineers Andy LaRocque (KING DIAMOND) and Nico Elgstrand (ENTOMBED) and features artwork by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco.

NECROPHOBIC – Death to All

NECROPHOBIC have been around the Swedish scene around the same time as DISSECTION, ENTOMBED, and AMON AMARTH, but have never enjoyed the same success that their counterparts achieved. Nevertheless, the underground metal scene still gives plenty of praise and respect to these cult warriors. After releasing the excellent Hrimthursum album, NECROPHOBIC once again takes no prisoners and continues their war on Christianity with Death to All.

While they no longer play a slow, BATHORY style of blackened metal, NECROPHOBIC now employs a style similar to WATAIN, as far as riffing and dark approach goes. “Celebration of the Goat” sounds eerily similar to their Swedish brethren. “Revelation 666” throws in a few nice solos in between their SLAYER inspired blackened death metal riffs, with a heavy IRON MAIDEN breakdown thrown in for good measure at the end of the song. “For Those Who Stayed Satanic” is the Satanic equivalent to AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock”, and one might not take this band too seriously with song titles such as this. A melodic approach is featured with “Wings of Death”, as classic NECROPHOBIC picking is strummed along with the simple, but catchy choruses which they are known for. The title track shows off their entire repertoire with melody, sinister riffs, consistent double bass, and a barrage of arpeggio sweeps, as the final movement includes a fitting acoustic outro/melodic solo that carries your soul deep into the snowy night.

The strong points of Death to All is that the band continues in the style they brought forth with Hrimthursum, but simultaneously, the predictability of the songs holds this album back, not to mention that the vocals are bland and monotonous. While NECROPHOBIC have a solid and loyal fanbase, their recent albums have followed a safe formula. The album is enjoyable, but does not leave a lasting impression after repeated spins. Fans of WATAIN and DISSECTION should not be discouraged, however, and will definitely take a liking to Death to All. (Regain Records)