Some time has passed since the last mixtape. Those who have been craving mixed-up music from Extreme Metal Voyager, I can only hope that I didn’t make your life a living hell. Your darkened heart will go on, forgive and forget and all that. Now, this new mixtape edition has mostly Swedish stuff. I’ve included a heavy chunk of classic Swedish death metal tracks that spawned songwriting bravery and unmatched intensity. So the first half of the mixtape is essential metal listening. The second half stirs two post millennial classics with three strong releases from this year, two of which are… yes… Swedish!
Dark Tranquillity – Of Chaos And Eternal Night
Album: Of Chaos And Eternal Night EP
This was my first Dark Tranquillity track and holy shit was this the epiphany I was looking for back then. Being obsessed with the more melodic aspects of metal music, “Of Chaos And Eternal Night” produced that stupid metal grin that one gets when something is neverendingly awesome! Without a doubt the fastest song the band did, melodic acrobatics on speed!
At The Gates – The Fevered Circle
Album: Terminal Spirit Disease
I know “Slaughter Of The Soul” is crowned as melodic death metal gold and At The Gates’ finest hour. “Terminal Spirit Disease” holds many of the same qualities. I think the songs on this “album” really point at the maturity that culminated on the band’s initial swan-song. “The Fevered Circle” possesses more doom and gloom than your usual ATG material but there’s always the annihilating groove charging the aggression!
Dismember – Override The Overture
Album: Like An Overflowing Stream
The healthy, naive will to prove oneself is clearly heard on this album. There’s so much edge and fierce instrumentation, and that blistering guitar tone dominates! Groove, brutality, heaviness, eerie lead guitars, dark atmospheres, all components in a very ambitious sound-wall. This along with “Left Hand Path” pretty much set the standard for Swedish death metal and much of future extreme metal.
Hypocrisy – Inquire Within
Album: The Final Chapter
Tågtgren’s bed of nails, AKA death metal “ballads”, have always struck a chord with me. I’ve been binging “The Final Chapter” for quite some time now. A fantastic album and a creative peak for the band, blending the brutal style of “Penetralia” and “Osculum Obscenum” with the atmospheric and doomy influeces that creeped in on “The Fourth Dimension” and “Abducted”. “Inquire Within” is mandatory doomy death metal listening, no discussion!
Edge Of Sanity – Darkday
Album: The Spectral Sorrows
The formative years of Edge Of Sanity might have been more traditional in sound, but then the progressive elements really were cemented on the band’s third platter “The Spectral Sorrows”. However, not forsaking the darksome extreme metal, “Darkday” is another fine examle of doomy, death metal with some gothic keyboard shades thrown in for added measure, hinting at Dan Swanø’s ever-developing artistic ambitions.
In Flames – Behind Space
Album: Lunar Strain
Maybe the most influential of the Swedish lot. In Flames, the band that is loathed and loved equally. There was a time before people started disliking and criticising the band and crying sell out. I don’t have a problem at all with the band’s progression, but I’m a devoted old school In Flames follower first. “Lunar Strain” is often overlooked by “The Jester Race” and “Whoracle”. There’s so much creativity in this rough album and “Behind Space” sets the bar from the get go!
Solbrud – Besat Af Mørke
Benefitting from a hypnotic and minimalistic approach to black metal, Solbrud’s captivating sound-vortex reeled me in a few years ago when I saw them live in Denmark. And sure enough, “Vemod” transports you to another realm. The extended buildups and acute shifts in the songs wrap the listener in a state of numbness, almost like an out of body experience. Highly recommended!
Below – Upon A Pale Horse
Album: Upon A Pale Horse
Could this be the heir of Candlemass? I was a bit reluctant at first, but man after two spins of “Upon A Pale Horse”, I’m sold! Below’s sophomore album sounds like it’s coming straight from 88’-89’, the drums especially have that boxy, loud sound, the keyboards and vocals are creepy as hell and the guitars heavy and doomy with a capital D! A personal highlight of 2017.
Avatarium – The Starless Sleep
Album: Hurricanes And Halos
This might be the cathiest track of 2017 in my opinion. There’s ABBA dna running through the chorus, which means it’s pretty much inescapable once it hits your ears. There’s very little of doom metal left in Avatarium, which is fine, filling the void is an interesting progression into stoner and seventies rock and even more psychedelia than before. It’s a grower for sure, but there’s some innovative songwriting beneath the outstanding catchiness.
Akercocke – The Dark Inside
The underdogs of perverted, progressive death/black metal will have a new album out later this month. I feel the excitement of a teenager all over again. Akercocke left the scene with the strange, yet underrated “Antichrist” release, which got a lot of disapproval from hardcore fans. I never understood most of the commentary, although the production values are a bit sketchy than the band’s usual lavish standards. “The Dark Inside” is twisted Akerocke metal 101.
Septic Flesh – Persepolis
I love Septic Flesh…. up until “Communion”. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re practically untouchable in my opinion, especially on “Titan” and “The Great Mass”, only some of the tracks are a bit too abstract to my ears, particularly regarding the symphonic and classical aspects. “Communion” however, is one helluva album and features one of the band’s finest symphonic tracks, “Persepolis”. This tune is champion hellenic metal, the dynamics are thrilling and the narrative foreboding.
Subscribe and follow Extreme Metal Voyager on Spotify for more mind-blowing playlists that separates the wise from the unwise!
Extreme Metal Voyager digital domains: