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Transport League (SE)

It doubtlessly takes a lot of mental strength to stay on your chosen path, despite all the imponderables that the music industry entails. Transport League from Sweden are a prime example of determination and perseverance. As the critics’ faves, they have been praised to the skies, as a down-to-earth band they’ve always remained in tune with the times and close to their fans, while their rhythmic, powerful and stylistically diverse heavy metal has left an impressive mark on the international hard’n’heavy scene. Transport League are set to launch another artistic landmark on September 6th 2019, when the band are scheduled to release their new album A MLIION VOLT SCREAM thru MIGHTY MUSIC before going on to present their latest material live on stage with their familiar merciless energy. That’s when everybody will understand why the media like to refer to the group’s style by the album title of its 2014 release: BOOGIE FROM HELL!

Said boogie is also present on A MILLION VOLT SCREAM, albeit not exclusively so. Transport League appear to have opened Pandora’s metal box with intent and are now busy blazing their trail through all those strong ideas that they have unleashed. “Of course there’s boogie again, but also doom and hardcore, fast songs and hard riffs,” vocalist/guitarist Tony Jelencovich describes the new album. “Our sound may have changed a few times, but not the band’s raw power and our penchant for strong grooves.” The three longstanding band members Tony Jelencovich, Peter Hunyadi (guitar) and Mattias Starander (drums) recorded the album together with Transport League’s new bassist Dennis Österdal who has joined the fold to replace Lars Häglund, the latter having had to leave the group due to health problems.

Jelencovich is referring to rigorous numbers such as ´Monster Human`, set to be supported by a video clip, which has him state: “Leben , Sterben”.´Dawn of Lucifer` is no less uncompromising, Transport League by all appearances having been inspired by acts such as Black Sabbath and certainly doing the term ‘doom metal’ credit.

Talking of inspiration: “A MILLION VOLT SCREAM is a return to our own roots and mixes them with influences that had already surfaced on our two previous releases BOOGIE FROM HELL and TWIST AND SHOUT AT THE DEVIL,” Jelencovich summarizes the basic direction of the new material.

A MILLION VOLT SCREAM was produced at Oral Majority Recordings and at the Top Floor studios under the direction of Roberto Laghi (In Flames, Entombed AD, Raised Fist, Sonic Syndicate, Mustasch, Hardcore Superstar etc), who also mixed the album.

About twenty years after the arrival of their debut STALLION SHOWCASE, Transport League are ready to present A MILLION VOLT SCREAM – not only their eight album to date but further evidence of their inexhaustible creative power. The scheduled tour in autumn 2019 is certain to reinforce this positive impression.

Hatesphere (DK)

Hand-made, old-school, real, in-your-face metal that will for sure make your head bang until the neck snaps. That´s HATESPHERE!

Let´s face it. The technological progress most certainly didn´t stop in front of the modern days music market. Nowadays artists and bands literally can write, record and release their music out off their own bedrooms, which by consequence means more and more bands being out there and yes, competing with each other.
This being said, it´s without a doubt a great success for a band to have stayed on top of the game for almost two decades without having disowned its musical roots and values. And this is what HateSphere stand for – still being the tough to the bone Danish Dukes of Thrash- and Death Metal!

Formed in Aarhus, Denmark by guitarist Peter “Pepe” Hansen in 2000, HateSphere is one of a handful of bands reigniting the flame of ’80s speed metal by way of the so-called Scandinavian neo-thrash movement (spearheaded by the likes of Arch Enemy and The Haunted). The band quickly overpowered the Danish metal scene, while concurrently setting an immeasurable new standard for thrash metal domestically and abroad.
HateSphere’s first three albums, all of them under the leadership of the Italian metal label Scarlet Records upgraded the band’s status from local sensation to Europe’s hottest up and coming thrash quintet.
Having released six more highly praised sophomore albums via SPV Records, Napalm Records and Massacre Records in the following years and having been able to support those musical jewelries by numerous successful tours throughout Europe, Japan, China and the U.S., plus having gathered a number of musical nominations,
HateSphere undeniably did manage to make a stand for themselves within the international metal scene.
Even though the band has been undergoing several changes within their line-up over the years, it never stopped them – but quite the contrary motivated them even more to progress both musically and personally. Not surprisingly this constant and hard work is what encouraged pioneer bands like Hypocrisy, Crowbar, Soilwork,
Chimaira, The Black Dahlia Murder and Gojira to decide to hit the roads with HateSphere and bring their energetic live performances to those stage we all love together.

To honour the band´s sights on old-school values and the roots that got them started 18 years ago and by this to also close the circle of a successful and productive business relationship, HateSphere and Scarlet Records decided to join forces together again for the band´s 10th full-length studio album, which has been released Oct. 19th, 2018. Just like Tue Madsen being an inextricable part of the band´s team since 2005 this new ear catcher is being recorded at Antfarm Studios again.
Hell is here – HateSphere!

Borknagar (NO)

Intrepid black metallers Borknagar, in partnership with Century Media, mark their return with resplendent new album, True North. The Norwegians spent the better part of three years writing and rebuilding the lineup—Borknagar are now Øystein G. Brun (guitars), Simen “I.C.S. Vortex” Hestnæs (bass/vocals), Lars A. Nedland (keyboards/vocals), Bjørn Dugstad Rønnow (drums), and Jostein Thomassen (guitars)—to make their 11th studio album a reality. The reasons are plenty but the main driver for space between and change within Borknagar’s repertoire and membership was calibration. Chief songman Brun needed to refocus his labor of love after the assiduous Winter Thrice album cycle. Indeed, that’s exactly what he’s done on True North. While Winter Thrice was a celebration of time spent and bonds made, True North is the vanguard forward, clear-sighted, refined, and full of power. Truly, there’s no holding back now, but with year 25—the band’s silver anniversary—approaching next year, small wonder that Brun and Borknagar are still with us. Fortuitous, or part of the plan all along…

“Absolutely not,” Øystein G. Brun says [of the plan]. “Back in the day when I starting to play around with the ideas about the band I had no goal aside from making music I love myself. At that time, the whole concept of making money, doing big festivals and traveling around the world was so far off that I wasn’t even thinking along those lines. But that said, I have always had the belief that genuinely good music can move mountains.”

Metaphorically, Borknagar’s storied catalog of albums—starting with their coveted self-titled in 1996 through to 2016’s chart-smashing Winter Thrice—have moved mountains, starting with the Seven Mountains that surround Brun and crew’s hometown of Bergen, for if they hadn’t bravely traversed their proverbial peaks as young men and modern-day Vikings extreme metal history would’ve been far less eventful. And so, True North will continue the tradition of moving mountains with its sweeping dimensions of all things Borknagar. Intelligently crafted and panoramically gifted, the album will see the Norwegians reconnecting with their long past and forging ahead into new worlds. This starts with the many moods of 8-minute opener “Thunderous” and ends with the bare brilliance of the Nedland-led “Voices”, a contemporary folk song about our internal compass. When Brun called True North “the most diverse, powerful and grandiose album,” he wasn’t joking. He had the music to back it up.

“Yes, I stand behind my words,” says Brun. “In fact, I would argue that True North is more diverse than anything we have done before from an objective point of view. There is, in general, more variation and interesting dynamics going on throughout the album, from song to song. Even though we wanted to preserve a solid consistency throughout the album, we worked a lot to make each and every song stick out with its own personality and vibe.”

Written without longstanding vocalist Andreas “Vintersorg” Hedlund, veteran guitarist Jens F. Ryland, and drummer Baard Kolstad, True North is still defiantly Borknagar, largely because primary songwriter Brun remains at the helm. While the True North lineup shift may feel like the second coming of Quintessence, it’s not. Almost two decades separate the two albums, and Borknagar’s latest is a veritable showcase of musicians in their prime, aiming for the sun, the moon, and the stars. True North embodies the epic and valorous—as heard on “Up North”, “The Fire that Burns”, and “Mount Rapture”—but it also a portent of Borknagar’s next chapter. The promise of Hestnæs and Nedland as vocalists, Rønnow on drums, and Thomassen as Brun’s new sideman is unconditional, the beginnings of which can be experienced on “Wild Father’s Heart”, “Into the White,” and the aforementioned album closer “Voices.” Importantly, True North represents a unified—sonically, aesthetically, and personally—Borknagar.

“I guess it’s fair to still call me the primary songwriter,” Brun says. “Or the ‘grand old man,’ if you prefer that. But that said, yet another dimension to the production of True North was the fact that we worked much closer as a band with this album. For Winter Thrice, we worked more independently in our respective studios, sending files back and forth, but with True North we, for the most part, teamed up when recording various bits and pieces. A natural consequence of this was that we had a much more dynamic process, where various ideas entwined more. But of course, this is also because Lars wrote three songs and Simen one. Altogether, we had 12-13 songs written for this album, but in the end of the day we landed on nine songs.”

Thematically, True North continues where Winter Thrice left off. Unlike on past Borknagar albums, the lyrics aren’t as philosophical though. Rather, Brun and his team have opted for a more direct approach, leaving less room for fanciful interpretation. As for the title, True North, it was Hestnæs who came up with it. As usual, discussions around the title were had. Was True North the right title? Did it capture group’s new-found range and explorative spirit? How did it correlate to the nine songs Borknagar were offering? Even the cover, with the mighty Årbostadtinden mountain in the center, by photographer Thor Erik Dullum played into the overall direction (and meaning) of the title.

“It’s tough to wrap up a whole album in a few words,” says Brun. “But in the end of the day we felt True North captured the essence of the album. To me, an album title should hold various layers of meaning rather than being some sort of traffic sign. Actually, true north is a very basic term in the field of navigation/orientation. True north differs slightly from the grid and magnetic north as an example, which are somewhat relative depending on the scope and position of things. True north, on the other hand, is the constant in all this, sort of the baseline for all other directions. If you get completely lost at sea, you would need to find true north in order to pin out your orientation. I guess, that is the fundamental idea we want to flag with this album title.”

True North—like all predecessors through Empiricism—was recorded across several studios in Norway. Borknagar tracked Rønnow’s drums at Strand Studio in Oslo, while the foundational aspects of the album were laid down at Brun’s Crosound Studio in the Hordaland countryside. The keyboard and bass lines were cut at Nedland and Hestnæs’ private studios, respectively, for convenience purposes. But of the many key factors in recording True North under largely personal roofs—like Crosound Studio—was that Borknagar were able to control the quality of the final output without the crushing pressure of budget and time. For True North, the focus was getting studio guru Jens Bogren (Winter Thrice, Urd) audio in such a condition that the only job left was the mixing and mastering.

“We [Borknagar] teamed up here several times,” says Brun. “Locked ourselves in for a couple of days and did nothing but recording and producing. It was intense. Of natural causes, I did most of the engineering and producing, as all material went through my studio in order to prepare files. For every step, I processed the mixes so that we were able to lean back and get an impression of where all this was heading production-wise. So, guess I was in the forefront in terms of engineering and producing, but in the end of the day it was really all about teamwork. [As for Jens], he is the very best in what he does, quite simply. There are a lot of great mixers out there, but in my opinion, Jens is just a head above everyone else when it comes to mixing metal. His way of understanding our music and how he approaches the material given is close to god-like. And that’s coming from a hardcore atheist.”

As for what Brun wants Borknagar’s ardent fans to think after hearing True North, the cards are not in his hands. Rather, true to the band’s mandate, he wants the hordes of free thinkers to arrive at their own conclusions while on Borknagar’s newest musical adventure. Indeed, Brun offers, “listen and let your mind fly!” But for those in need of a little guidance, it’s true north of Winter Thrice, Empiricism, and The Olden Domain, an encapsulation of 25 years of work in a single, forward-moving entity. It’s the start of something new, the next stage yet it’s patently familiar. And as for the near term, Borknagar are preparing their indomitable vessel for a jaunt across Europe in late 2019, with possible ventures into the Americas throughout 2020.

The time to wonder at and find direction in the sonic spectacle that is Borknagar’s True North is now!

Justify Rebellion (DK)

The band was founded back in 2014 as an acoustic project with idols as Foo Fighter, Tenacious D etc. Back then the band consisted of Lukas Rautenberg and Stephen Andersen. Soon after, a bass player joined the band. Then Nikolaj Ross joined the band after quitting his other band who Lukas also founded before Justify Rebellion was founded. Here he acted as a guitarist. The band turned the tables quickly by discarding the acoustic project for the love of metal instead.

Later on the bass player quit the band and Nikolaj Madsen took his place as the new bass player after playing in several bands as a guitarist and lead singer in the hard rock band ‘Torque’. This is also where the band has their first official concert at Badeanstalten in Slagelse, Zealand the 21st of January, 2017.

Their first album ‘Unleashing The Beast’ had its release the 19th of January, 2018. Only a year after their first official concert.
‘Unleashing The Beast’ represents the surrounding problems and the critical factors which are to be found in the postmodern society which we are a part of. The band has managed to write an album full of material from those inspiration sources and the CD is with subjects as evilness, power struggle and superstition.
As the band grew older, the guys kept writing material for what would be their 2nd album “The Ends Justify The Means”, which hit the streets the 27th of March 2020. The album represents 3 years of hard work from the rebels and has been given great ratings from all over the world. With this album the guys have grown older and added a more ballsier sound to their style of heavy metal. Like the album “Unleashing The Beast”, “The Ends Justify The Means” deals with subjects centered around dark themes such as mind control, the great wars through history, self realisation, and yet again some good ol’ tales, for when everything doesn’t have to be so serious and politically centred.

The Haunted (SE)

Gothenburg-based thrash metal band The Haunted has since its inception in 1996 delivered its unique sound and inventive almost almost cult-declared music.

When The Haunted was formed in 1996 by guitarist Jensen, bassist Jonas Björler and drummer Adrian Erlandsson, they almost reached a cult status in the metal world. Since the self-titled debut album was released in 1998, the band members have shifted several times, but the dedicated fan base has remained steadfast. A number of grammy-winning albums and 20 years later, The Haunted continues to be an unpredictable and beloved force to be expected today. The the latest album Strength in numbers (2017) is a great example of that.

Marco Aro – vocals
Jensen – guitar
Ola Englund – guitar
Jonas Björler – bass
Adrian Erlandsson – drums