Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Metal in the Mail - Skálmöld, Death Angel & Battlecross

Halloween turned out to be nothing but treats around here as the November issue of Decibel, complete with spooky Skeletonwitch cover, contributed to a nice metal mailday. The debuts from both Skálmöld and Battlecross landed in my mailbox along with some backcatalogue items from Death Angel. All of this on the eve of another trek to the Alrosa Villa to catch Exhumed, Goatwhore, Havok and the almighty Kingsblood (so far, anyway - they kicked my ass the first time I saw them and I am hoping round two delivers another knockout). Wrap this all up and Halloween is better than, well, Christmas.

Decibel is shaping up to be the only metal mag I spend money on. It's nowhere near as comprehensive as Metal Hammer but it doesn't require a second mortgage to purchase, either. The articles are well-written, they generally refrain from the what's-hot-now-ass-kissery of Revolver and the reviews section is always full of shit that intrigues me enough to place an order the same day I grab the magazine.

Enter Skálmöld. Viking metal from Iceland and an accented "A" paired with an umlaut. Described as "Amon Amarth-meets-Ensiferum-via-Iron Maiden," their debut, Baldur, was an easy purchase. I had it on my list for August 9 and, frankly, it got sidelined by other shit. Like Trivium, so, really, shit. The damn thing is still in the cellophane but what I love best so far is that the titles are all in Icelandic and the exclamatory sticker on front is in Spanish. Rock knows no linguistic boundaries.

I have high hopes for Battlecross and Pursuit of Honor, which is apparently just a Metal Blade repackaging of their self-released debut, Push Pull Destroy. Described as thrash with prominent bass (and, hell yeah, bass solos) and "Metallica-meets-Testament riffing," this seemed another no-brainer. Wisconsin metal has been good to me in the form of Jungle Rot, so these motherfuckers have massive boots to fill.

Finally, I've been really pleasantly surprised with Death Angel's Relentless Retribution, which I only picked up recently and decided to fill the gaps with 2004's Art of Dying and 2008's Killing Season in part to console myself over the fact that I am going to miss their upcoming show with the bad-as-hell-and-by-bad-I-mean-fucking-great Dismemberment.

Looks like tomorrow's drive to the Alrosa is going to have some nice new music on the stereo. To quote Ministry...


  1. What a coincidence: I just got Death Angel's newest this weekend. I have to warn you though - Relentless Retribution is much better than the two that came before it. Of course, that's my opinion, and you may think differently!

  2. I'll tear into them today and let you know. I was reading up a bit on them after hearing Relentless Retribution and there also seemed to be a lot of folks who disliked their pre-'91-breakup records, too. I also got a note of warning from someone re: Killing Season. I'll still hold out hope to find something to like and will update soon. Thanks, as always, for the comments!

  3. Cool post man! I too enjoyed that issue. I went to the CMJ Showcase in NYC a couple weeks ago and seen both Skeletonwitch & Battlecross! Pursuit of Honor is really an awesome debut album and gets better with each listen. Check out an interview I did with bassist Don Slater & drummer Mike Kreger...

  4. Ian - love the interview - and LOVE that Battlecross bass. Great, great post on your site - looking forward to checking more of it out.