Siena Root confirm "Root jam"

Swedish heavy rockers Siena Root have confirmed that their upcoming double-live album "Root jam" will be released on November 16, the CD edition via and the vinyl coming via . They'll be touring too, dates here:

Anima Morte - The nightmare becomes realityAnima Morte
The nightmare becomes reality
Transubstans Records


If you're in any way familiar with the work of legendary Italian horror director Lucio Fulci and his longtime musical collaborator Fabio Frizzi, you'll adore this second album by Swedish prog-horror crew Anima Morte. Whilst the entire album harks back to the good old days of Italian horror, there are notable similarities between various songs and their cinematic counterparts, all given a prog-metal overhaul. "The revenant", for example, is like an updated version of Frizzi's work on "City of the living dead" whilst the title track isn't too far removed from Stelvio Cipriani's sterling work on Umberto Lenzi's 1980 classic "Nightmare city". There are numerous examples of this on here -- too many to list in a review -- but mention must be made of that fact that this album is a creative homage to an inspirational film movement rather than a rip-off of cult soundtracks. A sublime production highlights every nuance of the band's wonderful creativity and, while the music will appeal to a select audience rather than wow the masses, it will wow anyone who gives it a chance.
- John Norby

MP3: Skraeckoedlan - Fågelsång

For some reason I can't explain, I keep reading Skraeckoedlan's name as Snackadolodon which makes me think of a Doritos-obsessed dinosaur or something, and while I suppose that is probably actually a-okay for a Swedish stonerrock band, I'm not sure that's the image they're going for. Anyhow, regardless of however you want to say their name and what images it may conjure, I can say for sure that these dudes bring the heavy with confidence and competence, just like you'd expect from anything -related. Nothing musically groundbreaking mind you, but I must say that I very much appreciate hearing a band like this singing in Swedish as opposed to repeating the same old tired desert/driving/party clichés so many others of their ilk wallow in. And if they are repeating the same stuff på Svenska, I remain blissfully ignorant.

Skraeckoedlan - Fågelsång

Slidin' Slim signs with Transubstans, unveils new tune

Swedish artist Slidin' Slim has been picked up by the excellent label and will be releasing his new album "One man riot now!" on June 10. In the meantime, check out a new tune at Bandcamp:

Transubstans picks up Switch Opens

Swedish rockers Switch Opens have signed with the excellent Swedish label . No word on a new release, but I'll keep you posted.

Anima Morte - The revenant

Swedish soundtrack/instrumental act Anima Morte are streaming a new tune from their album "The nightmare becomes reality", just-released via :

MP3: Ginger Trees - Breathe

Along with the latest from Three Seasons, the new album "Along with the tide" from Swedish act Ginger Trees reasserts as the reigning champs of Scandinavian heavy/progressive rock. However, while Ginger Trees most definitely do dabble in bluesy heaviness, it's their most expansive prog side that I find much more interesting -- in fact, I'd say they're at their best on songs like this where they start to sound like late-period Anathema. Ginger Trees doesn't go all-out for doom-laden atmosphere though, opting rather to tend towards feelings of yearning and melancholy. There's still a definite aura of heaviness though, much in the same way that Opeth sounded on "Damnation". If you dig those references, no doubt you'll dig this too.

Ginger Trees - Breathe

On the way from Svart Records

reports that they'll be putting out a new 4-song Circle 7" called "Mylläri" to coincide with the Roadburn Festival in April. If copies are left over after the fest, they will be made available to the public. Otherwise, the label also reports that they'll be doing vinyl editions of Swedish retro rockers Brutus and Burning Saviors, both of which have records originally released via . Again, out in April. Beyond that, Svart will also be doing a live Pharoah Overlord album called "Horn" featuring a live set from Torvi in Lahti, Finland featuring all new/unreleased tracks and a Spaceman 3 cover.

Dirty Passion - Different tomorrowDirty Passion
Different tomorrow
Denomination Records/Transubstans Records


Know the feeling you get when you crank up certain hard rock albums from way back in the day like, say, Skid Row's "Slave to the grind" and you marvel at how, over 20 years later, it sounds as fresh as something that was released last year? That really is the mark of a genius album. On the other hand, there are old hard rock albums out there that just haven't stood the test of time and sound entirely dated these days. Well, Dirty Passion fall into that latter category. Their main problem, of course, is that "Different tomorrow" is a new album. It would have sounded second-rate back in the hard rock heyday and, a good two decades past its sell-by date, it's barely listenable. The musicianship is fine, I'll give them that, but, by Christ, their songwriting skills are not only outdated -- they're abysmal. With the genre having enjoyed a revival of sorts over the past few years we've found a good few bands, both new and old, who have ingeniously reinvented the style, retaining the passion of the early days while managing to sound fresh and exciting. Dirty Passion fail on both counts, and this is an album that succeeds only in conjuring memories of the wealth of terrible bands that were trying to get in on the act back in those heady days of hard rock.
- John Norby

Øresund Space Collective - Slip into the vortexØresund Space Collective
Slip into the vortex
Transubstans Records


If you're not already familiar with Denmark's improv jazz merchants, the band name itself should hint as to the style evident on "Slip into the vortex". That's right, it's a progtastic space rock extravaganza that will have fans of the genre slipping into ØSC's own musical vortex for close on 80 minutes. It's a strange affair, this album. Of course, that can be said for a lot of bands who populate this weird sub-genre. But with "Slip into the vortex" there's something altogether different going on; it might sound silly, but the first part of this album sounds a lot like an electronic version of the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack with its odd, almost sleazy, saxophone sections playing a predominant role, especially in opening track, "I teleported to Acapulco". It takes a while before the cosmic elements kick off in earnest but, when they do, it's like the soundtrack to a space rock fan's wet dream (I assume). If this is as improvised as the band claims, then it's astounding that they've pulled it off so fluidly. There's definitely a particular frame of mind required to pull maximum enjoyment from this and if you're there it's sublime. If not, it can get a bit tiresome. Might not be the greatest thing ØSC have ever done, but it's close.
- John Norby

Anima Morte sign with Transubstans

has signed Swedish instrumental horror act Anima Morte and will be rereleasing the group's debut album in March with bonus tracks.

MP3: Mangrove - Never again

I haven't mentioned in awhile, mostly due to negligence, but also because their releases for the latter half of 2010 mostly left me underwhelmed. I expect them to provide me with a regular dose of the best classic hard rock Sweden has to offer, they gave me a mixed bag of stuff that failed to grab me. There are exceptions though, there always are: Mangrove's 2nd album "A distant dream of tomorrow" is a solid rocker, just like their last one. They aren't showing much progression between albums, but I don't mind at all -- I can always hang with recycled Black Sabbath riffage when done right, especially when they nail the catchy/pop aspect of that band so many other worshippers fail to realize. Great dual-overdub solo section at the end too, even better that it leads into a killer final version of the main hook.

Mangrove - Never again

My Brother the Wind - Twilight in the crystal cabinetMy Brother the Wind
Twilight in the crystal cabinet
Transubstans Records


"Twilight in the crystal cabinet", My Brother the Wind's purported "live improv album" commences with "Karmagrinder", a ten-and-a-half minute psychedelic workshop that, with its silky electric guitar swoops and jazzy, repetitive, two-chord exploration, suggests a sonic cross-breeding of Pink Floyd's "Breathe" (albeit with some extra prog juice in the rhythm section and a tad more noise) and Talk Talk's majestic "The rainbow". It's entirely too long, but it works, pummeling the listener into a dizzy, euphoric numbness. Ditto the title track, a chilling exercise in moody atmosphere, maneuvering heavily effected guitars over mallet-grazed toms (and little else). Luckily, it's not all endless texture -- the brief, atonal "Precious sanity" whirs by in under two minutes, surging with a borderline-frightening King Crimson-esque hubris. Formed as a quasi Swedish prog supergroup (with members of Anekdoten, Makajodama and Magnolia), My Brother the Wind certainly has an excess of technical skill (and, obviously, all the right reference points). While their debut might be a tad aimless in stretches, it certainly suggests plenty of reasons to keep listening -- perhaps a bit of studio discipline next time out will foster a more fully realized sophomore epic.
- Ryan Reed

New labels: Night Tripper + To the Death

Konrad from the excellent label has started two new offshoot projects that he runs on his own. First is , a label devoted to releasing "hardrocking bands with their roots in the 70's as well as the early 80's" who have so far only signed French act Soul Manifest whose self-titled debut album will be released later this month. Unfortunately they're not a band I'll be covering, but the samples on myspace sound pretty darn good. Secondly, and far more topical for IAT!, is Konrad's other project which will be specializing in one of my favorite subjects: reissuing crucial early Swedish death metal on vinyl. They've already put out two LPs, both vinyl editions of demos from the acts Obscurity and Mega Slaughter, and coming up next will be a 3xLP boxset from Sorcery and Sarcasm with LPs from Inverted and Curse to follow. More info and samples at myspace:

The Crystal Caravan prep new album, post sample

Norrland-based Southern-style rockers The Crystal Caravan will release their sophomore album "Against the rising tide" on October 28 via , a very suitable home for the band. Hear a sample tune at myspace: