Sweden’s Screamer are back with their first full-length offering since 2019’s Highway of Heroes – was the four year hiatus well spent?

Undoubtedly it was. Because not only are Screamer back – they are absolutely burning.

The band haven’t done a great deal to tweak their formula – what you’re getting on Kingmaker is essentially what you’ve always got from the band – but what they have done is simply build on what they do, squeezing every last ounce of intensity and integrity out of their songwriting process to give us possibly the perfect Screamer album, or at least very certainly the best one yet…

The opening title track is a case in point; At only three and a half minutes in duration, you wouldn’t think a band would be able to fit in as much drama and excitement as Screamer do here, and you’ll be shattered at song’s end by the sheer all-consuming joy of what you’re witnessing.

The reason why this state of affairs exists is that everyone in the band is absolutely on the top of their respective games – Vocalist Andreas Wikström, for example has never sounded so good, so commanding as he does here, utilising an understated style that really helps the ‘big’ moments hit hard when they come, whilst long time screamstrel Dejan Rosic and new axe foil Jonathan Aagaard Mortensen have slipped immediately into a superb partnership that propels knockout tracks like The Traveler and Ashes and Fire with class and maximum mayhemic six string action. The rhythm section shouldn’t be neglected, either – Fredrik Svensson Carlström‘s monster bass tone is never far from the surface, and drummer Henrik Petersson‘s piston-like injections of pace and power keep the whole thing ticking over like an F1 car ready for the green light. It’s exhilarating, life-affirming stuff, and when the band let rip on mass on the classy Hellfire it’s hard not to start cavorting like a mad person around your living quarters with scant regard for the consequences. Great heavy metal will do that to you…

Best track Chasing The Rainbows is pure, mid-paced Euro metal nirvana, but I’m not lying when I tell you that to pick a ‘best track’ from such a strong album is nigh-on impossible. Screamer have set the bar for heavy metal in 2023 very high. Congrats to all concerned!

Kingmaker releases on January 13th.