Interview with Joakim Brodén - Sabaton - 2019

Sabaton is one of those bands that each release is just more epic than the last one, with "The Great War" they continue this tradition. During a break from their festival apperances, we managed to have a conversation with the band's fearless vocalist, Joakim Brodén, and discussed the new album and their touring schedule for 2019, which includes North American dates.

Sabaton - The Great War (2019)

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Just when you think Sabaton cannot get any better or more grandiose, they drop an album like “The Great War”. Delivering almost 40 minutes of their signature epic Power Metal music, the band steps it up a notch and crafts eleven superbly catchy tunes that are amongst the best they have ever produced. As one of the most expected albums of 2019, the band surely delivers for all their fans with this exciting new release.

Opening with “The Future of Warfare”, the band sets a very high-octane mood with lush choir arrangements and their signature simple-but-catchy Power Metal core. Joakim Brodén’s vocals lead the band into battle, through tracks like “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” and “82nd All the Way” and are brilliantly complemented by backing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. One aspect of this release is that the band’s core elements are more evident and nicely mixed to shine through the extra atmospheric elements.

Memoriam - Requiem for Mankind (2019)

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Continuing their prolific trayectory, UK’s Memoriam unleashes their third full-length release “Requiem for Mankind” this June. Formed by members and ex-members of some of the finest British DM bands like Benediction and Bolt Thrower, this band plays straight up no bullshit old-school Death Metal. Delivering over 45 minutes of crushing music, the band perfectly pays homage to their roots, while crafting some brilliant moshing and headbanging moments.

The album kicks off with the chugging riffs of “Shell Shock”, an old-school track filled with heavy guitars and the characteristic raspy growls of frontman Karl Willetts. With a nice melodic edge to it, this opener nicely leads into the catchiness of songs like “Undefeated”, “Never the Victim” and the pummeling “Austerity Kills”, which brings back memories of our 90’s Death Metal cassette collection and band like Unleashed, Grave and Entombed.

Monarque - Jusqu'à la Mort (2019)

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The Canadian wave of Black Metal is here to stay and the latest masterful offering comes from the legendary Monarque and their latest EP “Jusqu'à la Mort”. Featuring three songs and over 20 minutes of uncompromising Black Metal, the band instantly reminds us why they are one of the most feared and crushing outfits to ever come out of Canada. Not for the faint of heart, this release is both traditional and yet modern sounding, while keeping their ravaging style intact.

Opening with the EP title track, the band sets a furious pace with hectic drumming and oppressive riffing. The hellish harsh vocals create a very dissonant and eerie vibe, similar to early 90’s European Black Metal. With a certain melodic edge thanks to the keyboards and tempo, this track is one hell of an opening statement. Things get a lot more catchier with the brilliant “Le Serment Prononcé”, a track that while filled with violent guitar work, it also features a very amenable tempo to headbang non-stop.

Glare of the Sun - Theia (2019)

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The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.

The band sets the stage with a very dramatic choral intro as it settles into heavy and punishing Doomy riffs on “II”. This first track at a glance seems a straightforward Doom affair, if it wasn’t for the interesting tempo changes Sludgier undertones and Post-Metal passages. Things get a bit bizarre and yet quite interesting with the weirdness of “III”. While the music seems to follow a typical direction, the vocals sound a bit odd at first. Might be some weird artifact of the mix, but they don’t quite blend with the rest of the music. Unfortunately this is the case for other tracks in the album, so we find it a bit odd.

Driving Slow Motion - Arda (2019)

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Unleashing one of the most disarming and lush Post-Rock releases, today we have Texas outfit Driving Slow Motion and their debut full-length release “Arda”. Featuring 10 tracks and around 42 minutes of instrumental music, this band delivers lush soundscapes similar to outfits like EF, Tides From Nebula and Mono. Filled with quality and engaging music, this debut release is one of the best Post-Rock albums to drop in 2019, so be sure to not miss out on it.

The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.

Batushka - Hospodi (2019)

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Stepping aside from all the controversy behind the band, we are just glad that we finally get a follow up to the amazing 2015 “Litourgiya” release. The Metal Blade signed and Bartłomiej Krysiuk-led Batushka delivers a very powerful release that is filled with interesting ideas and a massive atmospheric component. Featuring ten tracks, this release explores a more Black Metal side of things with pummeling tracks that are brilliantly balanced by eerie choir arrangements and superb drumming.

After setting a somber opening chants in “Wozglas”, the band explodes into the catchiness of “Dziewiatyj czas”. This song perfectly blends vicious Black Metal onslaughts with dreamy chants and a very melodic guitar driven vibe, similar to bands like Thyrfing and Vreid. The album’s second single, “Wieczernia” delivers another hellish onslaught of harsh vocals paired with funky guitars, which are quite punishing in nature. In “Powieczerje” we get an interesting mix of classic rock thrown into the band’s atmospheric style, creating a very unique and engaging song that is hard to not listen to over and over.

Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - Return to Eden (2019)

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Closing with the incisive “Envy The Moon”, we are left quite pleased with “In Splendor Below”. We expected non-stop Swedish Melodic Death/Doom Metal and that is exactly what you get with October Tide. The Norrman brothers have a great signature sound and this release maintains their legendary status since their early Katatonia days. If you like things to be consistent, direct and superbly catchy, look no further as you know exactly what to expect with this fine release.

The album starts with a bang after setting a very epic mood with the intro, in “Promises” we are instantly treated to Timo’s guitar wizardry and poignant Power Metal songwriting skills. The vocal arrangements are masterful as always, perfectly delivered by guest male vocalists Todd Michael Hall, Zak Stevens and Eduard Hovinga. Songs with duets like the album title track featuring Mariangela Demurtas, or the magical “Hear My Call”, featuring none other than Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, are just the signature style of Avalon and we love it.

October Tide - In Splendor Below (2019)

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Consistency is the name of the game for the Norrman’s brothers October Tide band. With “In Splendor Below”, the band continues to deliver classic Melodic Death/Doom Metal filled with superb guitar work, dark atmospheric passages and plenty of headbanging opportunities. Featuring over 43-minutes of music, this release continues the band’s legacy as one of the best in the genre.

The album opens with “I, the Polluter”, a song that features the band’s signature riffing and mid-tempo pace. There are some more direct Death Metal elements thrown into the mix, but the track always keeps that old-school Swedish Melodic Death Metal vibe going. The playful “We Died In October” shows a more funky and crafty atmosphere with intricate drum patterns and very engaging tempo changes.

Jess By The Lake - Under The Red Light Shine (2019)

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The enigmatic Jasmin Saarela, better known as Jess from Jess and the Ancient Ones, is finally back with her debut solo release “Under the Red Light Shine”. Focusing more on fundamental psychedelic/acid rock influences, this release features eight intoxicating tracks filled with sultry vocals and groovy vibes. If you are a fan of any of her previous projects, you certainly can’t miss out on this one.

Opening with the album title track, we get a Danzing-esque tune with very warm and fuzzy guitars intertwined with playful drums and Jess’s vocals as the central focus. We are always impressed by the amount of feeling and conviction Jess’s vocals have, and this release is even more direct and engaging. The songs in this album nicely shift gears and provide a wide palette of influences like the funky “Freezing Burn”, the trippy “The Wait” and the eerie “Halo (Ghosts in the Flames)” a very loungey track that is quite enjoyable.

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