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DEMO/EP ROUNDUP - Wan and Graveyard Shifters

We continue our roundup of recent EPs/singles/demos/MLPs ...

Citing Celtic Frost, Bathory, Hellhammer and Possessed as influences is always a good thing in grabbing this headbanger's attention. Push play and Sweden's WAN live up to lofty expectations with a five track, 15-minute Gammal ar aldst EP (Carnal Records) that delivers the first wave black metal goods. Great headbanging metal riffs are littered throughout and vocalist Tsjud has one mighty fine set of pipes, a gnarly snarl that drags listeners through the muck. Mixing mid-tempo bangers with high speed rippers, sometimes within the same track, this had me throwing the horns in salute. Deadly. [8]

Shifting gears into some punk'n'roll, here we have a 5-track, 17-minute EP entitled Welcome To Sherwood from Finland's GRAVEYARD SHIFTERS (Bandcamp). A hip-swiveling good time is had by all here, rollicking piano and organ inserted into the high energy fare, ensuring that this has as much to do with RNR as it does with punk and metal. Think of a more punk influenced mid-era Helacopters and you'll be in the ballpark. That said, the concluding title track turns up the intensity into pure punk territory, with some 'la, la, la' backing vocals bringing it back in line with the rest of the material. Any time a record can bring a smile to your face is something to rejoice. Kippis ('cheers' in Finnish)! [7.5]

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