The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC+2 exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC+2) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your Greece-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
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Streamitter.com

Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Concert Review – Lamb of God & Megadeth (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/18/2022)

After two years of waiting, Toronto was finally able to witness all the energy and heaviness of “The Metal Tour of the Year”… and it was absolutely awesome!

OPENING ACTS: In Flames and Trivium

Ladies and gentlemen, or whatever way you like to be referred as, what an incredible night of first-class, high-octane, infernal Heavy Metal we had yesterday in Toronto at the unparalleled Budweiser Stage, with IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and the one and only MEGADETH showing us all why their tour was named The Metal Tour of the Year! As a matter of fact, last night’s concert was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but of course due to the shitty COVID-19 pandemic (which apparently seems to be finally over), it had to be rescheduled countless times. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it, as all bands were simply awesome yesterday, putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue (and the fans didn’t seem to care about the fact the temperature in the city dropped from the mid-30’s to the low-10’s in just a couple of days). Well, I believe Sweden’s own Melodic Groove Metal/Metalcore icons IN FLAMES were awesome as well, as due to work and traffic I wasn’t able to make it to their concert, but a friend that arrived earlier said they kicked ass.

Setlist
Cloud Connected
Behind Space
Everything’s Gone
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Call My Name
All for Me
I Am Above
Take This Life

Band members
Anders Fridén – vocals
Björn Gelotte – guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar
Bryce Paul Newman – bass
Niels Nielsen – keyboards
Tanner Wayne – drums

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it to see Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal maniacs TRIVIUM, but fortunately I arrived at the venue around 10 minutes before they hit the stage with their short but extremely powerful performance. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent were beyond happy to be back in Toronto after almost five years (yes, their last concert in the city was in the distant year of 2017), and add to that the superb tracks from their most recent album In the Court of the Dragon, those being the title-track In the Court of the Dragon and my favorite one of the album, Like a Sword Over Damocles, and there you have a recipe for success (and mosh pits). “Throes of Perdition” and “Feast of Fire”, which were on the setlist in the US dates, were replaced by Strife and Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, and let’s say those new additions to their setlist received a killer feedback from the crowd, who engaged in several mosh pits while the band was on fire onstage. And what can I say about the jumping up and down ignited by Matt during their hit In Waves? That was outstanding to say the least. Furthermore, Matt mentioned this was the biggest show of the entire North American tour, proving how much us Torontonians love all bands involved, and hopefully that will inspired Trivium to return to Toronto for a full-bodied performance on their own in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
X
In the Court of the Dragon
Like a Sword Over Damocles
Beyond Oblivion
Strife
Rain
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
Capsizing the Sea
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

LAMB OF GOD

If there’s a band that knows how to inspire any type of person in the world to slam into the mosh pit, that’s undoubtedly Richmond, Virginia’s Groove Metal horde LAMB OF GOD, who precisely at 8:10pm hit the stage for the total delight of all metalmaniacs ready for a good dosage of heaviness, rage and insanity. Still promoting their 2020 self-titled masterpiece, the unstoppable Randy Blythe and his henchmen put on an unforgettable show, from the opening song Memento Mori, until the very last second of their all-time classic Redneck. It’s beautiful to see the rise of Lamb of God to the status of metal giants, as now they even have fire onstage like what they provided us with in Walk With Me in Hell, which was by the way flawless and one of the top moments of the entire night. It doesn’t matter if they played darker, more introspective songs like 512 or if they exhaled sheer violence like in Contractor, everything was perfect, and Toronto definitely shared their love for the band with all horns in the air, all screaming, and of course the frantic, never-stopping mosh pits in the floor section. As expected, Randy, who seemed possessed throughout their entire set, delivered a couple of Woooooo!’s as his personal tribute to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and dedicated Redneck to the guy who in 2018 tried to swim back to that same venue during their tour with Slayer. Toronto can’t wait to have Lamb of God again in the city, an I can’t wait to slam into the pit to the sound of one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade.

Setlist
Memento Mori
Ruin
Walk With Me in Hell
Resurrection Man
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Contractor
11th Hour
512
Ghost Walking
Vigil
Laid to Rest
Redneck

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Phil Demmel – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

MEGADETH

As expected, most fans at the Budweiser Stage were there to witness “MegaDave” Mustaine and his Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH distill their unique classics in the city again after so many years, and when the clock hit 9:45pm our dreams came true as the first notes from Hangar 18 (right after the intro Prince of Darkness) were played by Dave and his bandmates Kiko Loureiro, James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren. Is there a better way to kick off a show than with such classic, followed by the underrated tunes Dread and the Fugitive Mind and Angry Again? What a brilliant start to their set, winning the hearts and minds of everyone instantly. Dave and Kiko played their guitars to perfection as usual during the entire concert, making our jaws drop and inspiring us to show them the horns during and after each song played. I loved the fact they’re still playing the superb Trust after so many decades, and although they replaced another pulverizing song, “She-Wolf”, with A Tout Le Monde, that didn’t do any harm to their concert. Who doesn’t love to sing such stunning ballad together with Dave, screaming the song’s French words at the top of his or her lungs? In addition, a few different versions of Vic Rattlehead appeared onstage during the songs Conquer or Die!, Dystopia and Peace Sells, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the show, culminating with their undisputed hymn Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. By the end of the concert, Dave mentioned the band is recording the follow-up to their 2016 album Dystopia and that the album should see the light of day this summer, so all we need to do now is wait for it and for another night of our beloved Megadeth in Toronto… and Dave promised he’ll return to the city, oh yeah!

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Angry Again
Conquer or Die!
Dystopia
The Conjuring
Trust
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn
My Way
Shadow of Deth

Band members
Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitars
Kiko Loureiro – guitars, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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Album Review – Nafrat / Veins EP (2022)

This Singaporean horde returns after a hiatus with a new EP, exploring darker atmospheric soundscapes coupled with their familiar blistering style of Blackened Death Metal.

Mixed and Mastered by Zoteng at Masterplan Studio and displaying an obscure artwork by the band’s own bassist Firdaus Kadir, Veins is the brand new three-track EP by Singapore-based Dissonant/Technical Death Metal horde Nafrat, following up on their 2018 full-length opus Abnegation after the band went on a hiatus due to personal reasons. Formed in 2003 and currently comprised of Han Shah on vocals and guitars, Iskandar Zul also on the guitars, the aforementioned Firdaus Kadir on bass and Islam Falmi on drums, Nafrat venture through new territories in their new EP with the exploration of darker atmospheric soundscapes coupled with the familiar blistering style of Blackened Death Metal that they produced in previous releases, turning such short and sweet record into a must-listen for fans of bands the likes of Hate Eternal, Immolation and Svart Crown.

Sinister sounds permeate the air in the Stygian instrumental intro Veins, dragging our souls to the obscure realms ruled by Nafrat before the quartet begins hammering our heads with In Absentia, a brutal, malignant Death Metal onrush spearheaded by the venomous beats by Islam while Firdaus extracts rumbling tones form his bass, all of course spiced up by the visceral guttural by Han in a solid, straight-to-the-point display of the band’s core sonority. Then more of their primeval, tribalistic music comes in the form of Oculus, with the guitars by Han and Iskandar decimating our ears while Islam sounds like a demented beast on drums, feeling absolutely bestial from start to finish with Han roaring deeply just the way we like it in Death Metal. Put differently, this might be a very good sign of what to expect from Nafrat in their upcoming releases.

You only need 12 minutes of your time to let Nafrat crush your cranial skull with their music by either streaming the EP in full on Spotify or by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album, among other cool links). In addition, let’s show our support to underground metal made in Singapore by giving the guys from Nafrat a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing them how much we appreciate their devilish music. Veins might be short in duration but the quality of the music found in it is outstanding, which leaves me wondering what those Singaporean metallers will bring to our avid ears next, especially if they release a full-length album, always in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Oculus.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Veins 2:02
2. In Absentia 4:31
3. Oculus 4:59

Band members
Han Shah – vocals, guitars
Iskandar Zul – guitars
Firdaus Kadir – bass
Islam Falmi – drums

Album Review – Depressed Mode / Decade of Silence (2022)

One of the most interesting names of the underground Finnish scene returns to action after almost 13 years with a brand new album of stunning and symphonic Doom Metal.

Established in Pori, a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland, in 2005 by vocalist and composer Otto Salonen, the amazing Symphonic Death/Doom Metal act known as Depressed Mode is set to release their long-awaited third full-length album Decade of Silence, almost 13 years after ..for Death.., released in 2009. Recorded by the band’s guitarist Teemu Heinola and the aforementioned Otto Salonen at Ansa Studio, mixed by the same Teemu, and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, Decade of Silence will bring a humungous dosage of symphony and doom to your avid ears, showcasing all the talent and passion for heavy music by Otto and Teemu together with their bandmates Henri Hakala on bass and Iiro Aittokoski on drums.

Death Walks Among Us is sinister and obscure from the very first second, with the orchestrations by Otto giving it a cinematic vibe while his deep guttural will haunt your damned souls for all eternity, all spiced up by the vicious riffs by Teemu. Then featuring Veronica Bordacchini of Fleshgod Apocalypse as a guest vocalist, Endless November starts in the most lugubrious way possible, evolving into a sluggish, phantasmagorical Doom Metal song with Blackened Doom nuances, not to mention all symphonic elements sound and feel majestic; whereas back to a heavier and more symphonic mode it’s time for Iiro to dictate the pace with his pounding drums in Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind, featuring a guest guitar solo by Jarkko Kokko of Mors Principium Est. Veronica is back in As the Light Dims, another bold, multi-layered creation by Depressed Mode that starts in a serene way to the sounds of the piano and cello, offering our ears nine nocturnal minutes of stunning Doom Metal.

Just as imposing and grim as its predecessors,  Parasites of Mind explodes into a brutal fusion of Symphonic and Death Metal led by the venomous riffs by Teemu and the inhumane roars by Otto, smashing your cranial skull without a single drop of mercy, whereas drinking from the darkest fountain of Doom Metal you can think of, Kaamos (Land of Winter) brings forward the pounding beats by Iiro and the crushing riffs by Teemu, penetrating deep inside your soul while more of their sluggish, grim sounds permeate the air in Serpents, with sheer darkness flowing from both Otto’s vocals and Henri’s hammering bass. Eternal Darkness is another stunning creation featuring Veronica’s mesmerizing vocals, with the orchestrations by Otto sounding beautifully haunting while Iiro pulverizes his drums in a lesson in Symphonic Doom Metal. Finally, prepare your senses for 12 minutes of atmospheric passages, darkened skies and endless heaviness in the form of Aeternus, where Otto’s deep guttural brings a touch of Blackened Doom to the overall result, flowing darkly until its climatic and Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, the guys from Depressed Mode definitely know how to blend the heaviness of Doom Metal with the finesse of symphonic and orchestral music, and Decade of Silence is not only the perfect representation of that stunning fusion of sounds, but also a beyond strong comeback by those Finnish metallers. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about their music, to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Decade of Silence from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Inverse Records webstore sooner than you can say “doom”. After over a decade of silence it’s a pleasure to witness the return of such interesting name of the underground Finnish scene, and let’s hope that we don’t need to wait another ten years to listen to more of their awesome music.

Best moments of the album: Endless November, Eternal Darkness and Aeternus.

Worst moments of the album: Serpents.

Released in 2022 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Death Walks Among Us 5:53
2. Endless November 7:43
3. Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind 6:56
4. As the Light Dims 8:58
5. Parasites of Mind 6:39
6. Kaamos (Land of Winter) 6:16
7. Serpents 5:50
8. Eternal Darkness 5:46
9. Aeternus 12:09

Band members
Otto Salonen – vocals, orchestrations
Teemu Heinola – guitars
Henri Hakala – bass
Iiro Aittokoski – drums

Guest musicians
Veronica Bordacchini – vocals on “Endless November”, “As the Light Dims” and “Eternal Darkness”
Jarkko Kokko – lead guitars on “Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind”

Album Review – Rammstein / Zeit (2022)

Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution wasted no time during the pandemic and is back in action with their fantastic eight full-length opus.

Driven by a growing need to fill the void created by the postponement of their tour, Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution Rammstein began writing new music during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, culminating now in 2022 with the release of the amazing Zeit, or “time” in English, the eighth studio album in their undisputed career and the follow-up to their 2019 critically acclaimed self-titled album. Recorded at Studios La Fabrique, produced by the band together with Olsen Involtini, and featuring a classy artwork depicting vocalist Till Lindemann, guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul Landers, bassist Oliver Riedel, keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz and drummer Christoph Schneider walking down a staircase connected to the Trudelturm, a monument dedicated to aerial research located at Aerodynamic Park in Adlershof, Berlin (and by the way, the photo was taken by Canadian musician Bryan Adams), Zeit brings to our ears Rammstein’s trademark sound, creativity and energy, positioning it as one of the best albums of the year hands down.

Armee der Tristen (or “army of the dreary” in English) is pure Rammstein from the very first second, with Christian and Christoph generating a beautiful, melancholic atmosphere perfect for Till’s unique vocals, and after such hard-hitting start it’s time for the band to mesmerize our senses with the dark and heavy ballad Zeit, with Richard and Paul extracting minimalist but at the same time piercing riffs form their guitars. That obscure vibe goes on in Schwarz (“black”), with the rumbling bass by Oliver sounding even heavier than before, not to mention the massive, pounding drums by Christoph; and let’s get the party started with the headbanging tune Giftig (“toxic”), spearheaded by the machine-like kitchen by Oliver and Christoph while Till is on absolute fire on vocals, resulting in a great depiction of the band’s trademark Neue Deutsche Härte. Zick Zack (“snip snip”) not only has one of the funniest videos of the year, but the music is fantastic and catchy, and the lyrics are a thing of beauty if you understand German, of course. I bet it will sound superb when played live, whereas a background choir ignites the fats-paced, electrifying OK (the acronym for “ohne kondom”, or “without a condom”), with Till delivering his usual vocalizations accompanied by the wicked keys by Christian and the industrialized riffage by the band’s guitar duo.

Back to a more serious, somber mode, it’s time for Meine Tränen (“my tears”), another solid creation by Rammstein that alternates between slower moments and heavier, more epic passages, feeling dense and grim until the very last second; followed by Angst (“fear”), by far my favorite song of the album, bringing to our avid ears the band’s hammering beats and slashing guitars, all spiced up by another demented performance by Till on vocals giving life to the song’s austere words. No one will stand still to such banger, no doubt about that. And it looks like the band will keep crushing our skulls with their Industrial Metal in Dicke Titten (“fat tits”) as if the band was playing it on an assembly line, also displaying some ethereal moments led by Christian’s keys, resulting in a multi-layered composition that will surely become a fan-favorite. Lügen (“lies”) is most probably the weakest or less intense of all songs from the album, not as powerful as its predecessors, where Christian’s keys are amazing as usual but the vocal effects are somewhat irritating (therefore stealing some of the song’s punch), and lastly we have Adieu (“farewell”), a stunning farewell by the band (which makes me wonder if this is going to be their last album ever) where the music is deep, emotive and heavy just the way we like it, and with all band members offering Till exactly what he needs to shine on vocals one final time.

Such insane album of Neue Deutsche Härte infused with Industrial Metal and Rock can be enjoyed in full on Spotify, or you can also purchase your favorite version of it by clicking HERE, adding to your personal collection another avalanche of awesomeness by the one and only Rammstein. Also, don’t forget to give the guys a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their unique videos. Just like high quality wine, Rammstein keeps getting better and better as time passes by, but always remember that time waits for no one, and instead of wasting your time with bad music simply hit play on Zeit and be a much happier person to the sound of Rammstein’s unparalleled creations.

Best moments of the album: Zick Zack, OK, Angst and Adieu.

Worst moments of the album: Lügen.

Released in 2022 Universal Music

Track listing
1. Armee der Tristen 3:25
2. Zeit 5:21
3. Schwarz 4:18
4. Giftig 3:08
5. Zick Zack 4:04
6. OK 4:03
7. Meine Tränen 3:57
8. Angst  3:44
9. Dicke Titten 3:38
10. Lügen 3:49
11. Adieu 4:39

Band members
Till Lindemann – lead vocals
Richard Z. Kruspe – lead guitar, backing vocals
Paul Landers – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Oliver Riedel – bass guitar
Christian “Flake” Lorenz – keyboards, samples, synthesizers
Christoph Schneider – drums, percussion

Album Review – Böllverk / Heading For The Crown (2022)

Get ready to bang your heads nonstop to the debut album by this Bavarian act, offering powerful Teutonic material forged in the gloriously timeless style of early Accept, Warlock and Running Wild.

Formed in 2018 in Aschaffenburg, a city in Bavaria, Germany, and after a few lineup changes, the talented Heavy Metal squad Böllverk has finally unleashed their debut effort, entitled Heading For The Crown, offering pithy, refreshing and powerful Teutonic material forged in the gloriously timeless style of early Accept, Warlock and Running Wild for the old school-addicted battlevest banger fraction. Currently comprised of Svenja on vocals, Zahn and Raphi on the guitars, Tim on bass and Angelo on drums, Böllverk are on absolute fire in Heading For The Crown, with the classic artwork by Bastian Kraus and the sharp recording, mixing and mastering by Rolf Munkes at Empire Studios giving an even stronger vibe to the entire album, inspiring us all to head into the battlefield together with the band in the name of our beloved old school Heavy Metal.

The incendiary guitars by Zahn and Raphi kick off the pure, unfiltered Heavy Metal tune Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil, an awesome way to start the album with the galloping drums by Angelo walking hand in hand with the 80’s-inspired vocals by Svenja, and more of their fusion of the classic music played by Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest and Warlock is offered to us all in Let’s Ride Till Dawn, with the band’s guitar duo dictating the rhythm with their spot-on riffs and solos. Good Morning Rock’n’Roll is one of those “breakfast songs” highly recommended for all metalheads worldwide, bringing forward a beautiful hybrid of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock where Svenja’s piercing vocals are complemented by the raspy, Motörhead-infused roars by Zahn; whereas the title-track Heading For The Crown is an in-your-face, straightforward metal extravaganza led by the crushing drums by Angelo, supported by the rumbling bass by Tim.

Zahn’s evil roars boost the high-pitched screams by Svenja in The 7th No (IS A KO), another Hard Rock feast where the sound of the guitars will slash your ears mercilessly, and it’s time to bang our heads nonstop together with Böllverk in Master Of Thunder, another sharp, no shenanigans creation by the quintet showcasing a heavy and melodic kitchen by Tim and Angelo. Then venturing through the realms of Southern and Stoner Metal the band offers us all Live Fast, with Zahn taking the lead on vocals. It’s a good song, but it lacks the epicness of the rest of the album, though. Zahn keeps screaming in Next Level Of Service while Svenja fires her trademark Doro-inspired vocals lines, all spiced up by another round of their flammable riffs and thunderous bass lines, and last but not least, we’re treated to more of their rumbling Heavy Metal in the form of Someday We Will Die, clearly inspired by the classics from the NWOBHM and, therefore, ending the album on a thrilling note.

You can get to know more about Böllverk by following those Teutonic metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with all of their news, tour dates, plans for the future and so on, and you can also send them your feedback about their music as I’m sure the entire band would love to hear from you. In addition, in order to show your support and appreciation for ass-kicking underground German metal you should definitely purchase a copy of Heading For The Crown from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as stream the album in its entirety on Spotify. Böllverk didn’t need to reinvent the wheel with Heading For The Crown to sound awesome, showing how powerful Heavy Metal still is and, of course, not only pointing to a bright future ahead of the band, but also providing us metalheads with one more excellent reason for keep banging our heads until the very end.

Best moments of the album: Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil, Good Morning Rock’n’Roll and Someday We Will Die.

Worst moments of the album: Live Fast.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil 6:05
2. Let’s Ride Till Dawn 3:27
3. Good Morning Rock’n’Roll 4:25
4. Heading For The Crown 4:49
5. The 7th No (IS A KO) 4:37
6. Master Of Thunder 6:26
7. Live Fast 4:20
8. Next Level Of Service 3:56
9. Someday We Will Die 5:50

Band members
Svenja – vocals
Zahn – guitars, vocals
Raphi – guitars
Tim – bass
Angelo – drums

Album Review – Axel Rudi Pell / Lost XXIII (2022)

Mr. Axel Rudi Pell and his henchmen are back with another thrilling album consisting of ten deeply melodic Hard Rock songs.

For more than thirty years, Bochum, Germany-based guitarist and songwriter Axel Rudi Pell has released new albums at regular intervals with his Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Axel Rudi Pell, and it couldn’t have been any different now in 2022 as Axel and his henchmen Johnny Gioeli on vocals, Volker Krawczak on bass, Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards and Bobby Rondinelli on drums have just unleashed upon us their 21st album to date, the excellent Lost XXIII, following up on their 2020 album Sign of the Times. Mixed by Thomas Geiger, produced by Axel Rudi Pell himself, mastered by Ulf Horbelt, and displaying a classic artwork by Thomas Ewerhard, Lost XXIII consists of ten deeply melodic Hard Rock songs showcasing a number of fast-paced highlights and surprising compositions, putting a huge smile on the faces of all diehard fans of such talented guitarist as well as to newcomers to his metallic world.

Lost XXIII Prequel, one of their trademark intros to pretty much all of their albums, sets the stage for Johnny and Axel to kick some ass in Survive, where Johnny flawlessly declaims the song’s catchy chorus (“Will we survive? / Who is our enemy? / Restrictions for all, can’t you see? / Will we survive? / Searching for destiny / Unchaining the souls to be free / Will we survive?”) while Bobby dictates the pace with his heavy and melodic beats. And let’s keep raising our horns to the dirty and thrilling Hard Rock by Axel and his crew in the dancing tune No Compromise, with Volker and Bobby doing an awesome job with their old school kitchen, whereas the electrifying riffs by Axel will keep penetrating deep inside your mind in Down on the Streets, while Ferdy brings forth those 70’s-inspired keys we all love so much. Johnny will make the hearts of Hard Rock lovers from all over the world melt with the deep, soulful ballad Gone with the Wind, all spiced up by the passionate keys by Ferdy, followed by Freight Train, another song that sounds like a heavier version of Bon Jovi in the band’s career, presenting a solid instrumental always boosted by Johnny’s soaring vocals.

Putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for the high-octane tune Follow the Beast, showcasing an incredibly addictive chorus (“Follow the beast / The end is in sight, the end’s coming near / Follow the beast / Dark clouds all over the sea / Follow the beast / There’s no way out, living in fear / Follow the beast / Stay close to me, don’t disappear”), with Bobby being on fire behind his drums while Axel embellishes the airwaves with his stylish riffs and solos. Then Ferdy’s gentle piano kicks off the romantic Fly with Me, where needless to say Johnny steals the spotlight with another striking vocal performance while Axel extracts sheer passion from his strings, proving metal bands don’t need to play at the speed of light to sound majestic. Johnny takes a break while his bandmates jam in great fashion in the instrumental tune The Rise of Ankhoor, spearheaded by the virtuoso Axel armed with his incendiary guitar, pumping us up for the title-track Lost XXIII, a traditional Axel Rudi Pell aria exhaling epicness, magic and darkness, with Ferdy’s keys nicely complementing Axel’s riffs in a bold and powerful feast full of melancholy beautifully transformed into words by Johnny, putting a stunning ending to the album.

Axel Rudi Pell Lost XXIII Deluxe Box Set

Such beautiful and pleasant album of our beloved Heavy Metal and Hard Rock can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if I were you I would add it to your collection of metal albums by clicking HERE, or even better, you can grab the superb Lost XXIII Deluxe Box Set from Nuclear Blast or from Napalm Records. In addition, Axel and his team of amazing musicians are waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram, where you can stay updated on their tour dates, and based on the high quality of the music found in Lost XXIII their upcoming shows will surely be awesome. And just like that we have more of the thrilling music by Mr. Axel Rudi Pell to enjoy until the band releases new material, most probably in 2024, for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Survive, No Compromise, Gone with the Wind and Follow the Beast.

Worst moments of the album: Freight Train.

Released in 2022 SPV/Steamhammer

Track listing
1. Lost XXIII Prequel (Intro) 1:47
2. Survive 5:02
3. No Compromise 4:57
4. Down on the Streets 4:46
5. Gone with the Wind 8:56
6. Freight Train 6:08
7. Follow the Beast 5:02
8. Fly with Me 5:42
9. The Rise of Ankhoor 3:48
10. Lost XXIII 8:35

Band members
Johnny Gioeli – vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – guitar
Volker Krawczak – bass
Ferdy Doernberg – keyboards
Bobby Rondinelli – drums

Album Review – Sijjeel / Salvation Within Insanity (2022)

From the morbid purgatory that lies between the edge of sanity and the shores of madness comes a vicious Death Metal entity bringing forth disease, destruction and death.

From the morbid purgatory that lies between the edge of sanity and the shores of madness comes the furious, brutal Death Metal of a vicious entity known as Sijjeel. Hatched in the desert sands of Saudi Arabia nearly a decade ago, more specifically in 2013 in the city of Damman, the capital of the Eastern Province, the eyes of Sijjeel soon turned to Europe to find the warped souls that could complete the three-headed beast, with vocalist Floor Van Kuijk (Carnifloor, Focal Dystonia, Korpse) and bassist Lukas Kaminski (Stillbirth, Placenta Powerfist) being chosen to join guitarist Hussain Akbar and bring forth disease, destruction and death. Mixed and mastered by Floor himself at GLDCHN Studios, and displaying a hellish artwork by Indonesian artist Rudi Gorgingsuicide, the hellbound tour de force of terror Salvation Within Insanity is the first full-length effort by such demented trio, following up on the insanity found in their 2020 debut EP Cyclopean Megaliths and, therefore, being highly recommended for admirers of Defeated Sanity, Incinerate and Twitch Of The Death Nerve, among other bands that worship brutality above all things in heavy music.

The thunderous, menacing bass by Lukas will hammer your head mercilessly in the opening track Isolation Behind Unrealism, bringing forward pure, unfiltered Death Metal for lovers of the genre, with Floor barking rabidly amidst the band’s sonic devastation, whereas Inverted Contentment in Salvation is a beyond infernal display of the band’s ruthless aggression in the form of Death Metal, with Hussain firing razor-edged riffs from his axe while the programmed (but very organic) drums sound like a stone crusher. There’s not a single second of peace as those metallers keep pulverizing our ears in The Affliction of Deteriorating Minds, another solid display of Brutal Slammin’ Death Metal by the trio spearheaded by the sick guttural by Floor; and get ready to be smashed like an insect by the bludgeoning riffs and drums by Hussain in Mental Paralysis, also showcasing tons of progressiveness and groove flowing from Lukas’ demented bass jabs.

The trio continues to crush our senses in Climbing Into the Abyss, exhaling brutality, rage and speed, with Hussain once again displaying a spot-on job done on the guitar, and the music gets darker and more infernal as time goes by ending in a thrilling manner. Then they show no mercy for our souls with the fulminating Departing from Human Nature, where we’re treated to the demented beats by Lukas while Floor roars deeply nonstop, resulting in the epitome of the band’s brutality and gore; and their second to last explosion of vile Death Metal, entitled Indignation Overcame Me, brings forward endless savagery thanks to the infernal riffage by Hussain, smashing their sonic weapons like true beasts in the name of extreme music. Lastly, intricate, Stygian sounds ignite the closing hurricane Inflection to Thee Smut, offering us all another very good reason to slam into the circle pit, with Floor’s inhumane growls walking hand in hand with the blast beats by Lukas.

You can get to know more about Sijjeel, their tour dates, plans for the future and so on on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course in order to support the underground you should definitely purchase a copy of Salvation Within Insanity from Comatose Music’s BandCamp page or webstore. Relentless and absolutely punishing from start to finish, Salvation Within Insanity is indeed a fantastic display of Extreme Metal made in Saudi Arabia, proving once and for all our beloved metal music knows no barriers, inviting people from all over the world to slam into the pit and to raise our horns to bands like Sijjeel forever and ever. That’s how Death Metal is supposed to be, and if the band keeps firing albums like Salvation Within Insanity in the coming years such intense genre will get even stronger than what it already is.

Best moments of the album: Inverted Contentment in Salvation, Mental Paralysis and Departing from Human Nature.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Comatose Music

Track listing
1. Isolation Behind Unrealism 4:31
2. Inverted Contentment in Salvation 3:14
3. The Affliction of Deteriorating Minds 3:49
4. Mental Paralysis 4:04
5. Climbing Into the Abyss 4:33
6. Departing from Human Nature 3:25
7. Indignation Overcame Me 4:18
8. Inflection to Thee Smut 6:04

Band members
Floor Van Kuijk – vocals
Hussain Akbar – guitar, drum programming
Lukas Kaminski – bass

Album Review – Defechate / Unbounded (2022)

The experiences and new ideas of a ruthless Death Metal duo from Italy pushed inside an infernal musical grinder, highlighting some aspects of the evil inherent in humans.

Playing Death Metal with feet sunk in the old school domain with the gaze turned to their own influences, the ruthless Italian entity that goes by the name of Defechate is unleashing hell in the form of their first full-length opus, entitled Unbounded. Recorded and mixed at Perish Studios, mastered at Netherworld Studio, and featuring a sick artwork by Sidjimbe Art, Unbounded collects the experiences and new ideas of vocalist and bassist Giuseppe Tatangelo (Antipathic, Glacial Fear, Throne of Flesh, Unscriptural, Zora) and guitarist Luke Scurb (Humangled, Suture Messiah), and pushes everything inside an infernal musical grinder, highlighting some aspects of the evil inherent in humans and, therefore, turning the album into a great alternative for fans of Cannibal Corpse, Autopsy, Entombed, Vomitory and Obituary who also nurture a deep passion for the underground scene.

Luke’s sinister riffs ignite the brutal Hyperammonaemic, featuring a guitar solo by guest Federico Fulceri (4-Dimensional Rage, Exence), with Giuseppe barking like a rabid dog in a Brutal Slammin’ Death Metal feast for the masses; and more of the visceral roars by Giuseppe accompanied by his own low-tuned, rumbling bass are the main ingredients in Naked Thoughts, with Luke slashing his stringed axe nonstop. Then enhancing the progressiveness and dementia in their core sonority it’s time for the duo to hammer our heads with Burning Like The Water, with guest drummer Nephros dictating the song’s infernal pace, whereas putting the pedal to the metal they deliver a sonic attack entitled Unexpected Denier, where the strident riffage by Luke walks hand in hand with the vicious bass punches by Giuseppe. Then featuring guests Fred Valdaster (Humangled) on drums and Paolo Olivier on the guitar, Giuseppe fires Stygian bass lines in the massive, violent Repent To The Dead, keeping the album at a humungous level of insanity.

Oxydized Man is another infernal extravaganza by the duo showcasing their trademark guttural gnarls and demented Death Metal riffs. It lacks an extra kick, though, but it’s still heavy and obscure. Then wicked voices and gruesome vociferations kick off the Death Metal feast Epicurean Herd, once again presenting the duo’s demented but at the same time progressive sounds, with Giuseppe sounding possessed on vocals; whereas investing in a more direct, no-shenanigans sonority the duo brings forward the vicious The Unbound Storm, where Giuseppe is on fire with both his deep growls and metallic bass lines, followed by Just Falling Leaves, a lecture in Brutal Death Metal by Defechate where Luke is absolutely infernal with his sick riffs, inviting us all to slam into the pit like true metalmaniacs while sounding pulverizing and dense from start to finish. Lastly, there’s fuel for one final deranged attack by Defechate titled II Signore Del Disordine, bringing forward an awesome job done by both Giuseppe and Luke with their sonic weapons, therefore providing Giuseppe with all he needs to vomit the song’s acid words.

The insanity and heaviness found in Unbounded can be appreciated in full on Spotify, but of course in order to support the underground and keep the fires of Death Metal burning you should definitely purchase the album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, and don’t forget to also follow Giuseppe and Luke on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube. As aforementioned, the musical grinder by such demented Italian duo is working at full speed crushing everything and everyone that crosses their path just the way we like it in Death Metal, with Unbounded being just the first step in their path of devastation.

Best moments of the album: Unexpected Denier, Just Falling Leaves and II Signore Del Disordine.

Worst moments of the album: Oxydized Man.

Released in 2022 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. Hyperammonaemic 3:15
2. Naked Thoughts 2:56
3. Burning Like The Water 3:40
4. Unexpected Denier 3:47
5. Repent To The Dead 3:32
6. Oxydized Man 3:27
7. Epicurean Herd 3:16
8. The Unbound Storm 3:20
9. Just Falling Leaves 3:44
10. II Signore Del Disordine 3:20

Band members
Giuseppe Tatangelo – vocals, bass
Luke Scurb – guitars, synthesizer

Guest musicians
Fred Valdaster – drums on “Repent To The Dead”
Federico Fulceri – guitar solo on “Hyperammonaemic”
Paolo Olivier – additional guitars on “Repent To The Dead”
Nephros – drums on “Burning Like The Water”

Concert Review – Nervosa & Destruction (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 05/01/2022)

The German butchers of Thrash Metal struck back in another diabolical night of heavy music in the city of Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

There’s nothing better than ending another fun weekend and getting ready for a cold and rainy Monday than a night of pure Thrash and Death Metal, and that’s exactly what several Torontonian metalheads were able to enjoy last night at Lee’s Palace thanks to the ruthless Diabolical North American Tour 2022, with the bands VX36, SUNLORD, NERVOSA and the iconic DESTRUCTION offering their fans exactly what they needed to slam into the pit and raise their horns nonstop. The first band to hit the stage was Geyserville, California-based Thrash/Groove Metal band VX36, led by vocalist and guitarist Nate Klug, who inspired all thrashers at the venue to bang their heads to great songs such as Satan’s Fury and Blood War. That was an excellent start to the night, and I just wish the band had new material to present as everything they played, despite being awesome, was from over seven years ago I believe.

Band members
Nate Klug – vocals, guitar
Gage Higgins – lead guitar, vocals
Nick Altenburg – bass
John Lorence – drums

After a really, really quick break, it was time for Jackson Heights, New York’s own Heavy/Speed Metal trio SUNLORD to kick some ass on stage. Comprised of vocalist, guitarist and founder Alfonso Ferrazza, bassist Ashely Wells and drummer Lamar Little, the band delivered a solid show including the fun songs Forbidden Witch and Turn Me Loose, with Lamar stealing the spotlight with a beyond professional and thrilling performance behind his drums, adding an extra touch of groove and heaviness to the band’s music. In the end, Sunlord might not be as thrash as the other bands from the night, but they definitely proved why they were chosen to open for Nervosa and Destruction with their energy and passion for heavy music.

Band members
Alfonso Ferrazza – vocals, guitars
Ashely Wells – bass
Lamar Little – drums

NERVOSA

Finally, after years and years waiting, I was able to see for the first time ever the all-female thrashing machine NERVOSA pulverizing everything and everyone live on stage. One of the most multinational bands of the current metal scene, as the band is now formed of Spanish frontwoman Diva Satanica, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace and Greek drummer Eleni Nota, the quartet was infernal with their fusion of Death and Thrash Metal from start to finish, with the stunning Diva Satanica not only showcasing a breathtaking vocal performance, but her stage presence was also a thing of beauty. Still promoting their 2021 opus  Perpetual Chaos, Nervosa made a lot of awesome noise playing songs the likes of Kill the Silence, Masked Betrayer, Into Moshpit, Guided By Evil and Under Ruins, as well as my favorite ones of the night, Genocidal Command, Time to Fight and Rebel Soul, where not only Diva Satanica was flawless on vocals, but Prika, Mia and Eleni were also smashing their instruments in great fashion. I just wish the girls had some time to interact with their fans at their booth (which apparently was reduced to just a few random items as their shirts couldn’t be delivered on time), but again, what really matters is what they do on stage, and they more than succeeded by inflicting that nice pain in our necks due to all headbanging involved.

Band members
Diva Satanica – lead vocals
Prika Amaral – guitar, backing vocals
Mia Wallace – bass
Eleni Nota – drums

DESTRUCTION

Another short break and there they were, German Thrash Metal institution DESTRUCTION, ready to show everyone at Lee’s Palace what old school thrash is all about. Anything I say about the band’s frontman and mastermind Schmier won’t be enough to depict his energy, his charisma and his onstage performance, kicking ass from the very first second and showing absolutely no mercy for our souls armed with his metallic bass and raspy vocals. Blending classics the likes of Nailed to the Cross, Born to Perish, Mad Butcher, Thrash Till Death, Bestial Invasion and The Butcher Strikes Back with songs from their recently released album Diabolical, including the amazing title-track and the pulverizing No Faith in Humanity, Schmier and his henchmen Damir Eskić and Martin Furia on the guitars and Canadian beast Randy Black on drums gave a lecture in Thrash Metal to their fans, showing why they’ve been alive and kicking since their inception in the distant year of 1983. By the way, close to the end of the show, Schmier had some very nice words to say about a guy that was present at the venue who was their first ever North American fan, being the first person in the US and Canada to purchase their 1984 demo Bestial Invasion of Hell. That was a really cool moment, and that guy, who was not too far from where I was standing, seemed deeply touched by such amazing tribute by one of his favorite bands of all time. That’s pure Thrash Metal, and after all was said and done (already past midnight, by the way), we were all certain those Teutonic metallers will return to destroy Toronto once again in a not-so-distant future.

Band members
Schmier – vocals, bass
Damir Eskić – lead guitars
Martin Furia – guitars
Randy Black – drums

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Metal Chick of the Month – Jayn Maiven

So long in fear, I have gazed ghost tears….

It’s time to darken the skies here at The Headbanging Moose in this month of May thanks to the somber and absolutely beautiful music crafted by our metal lady of the month, and I bet you’ll get addicted to her voice after listening to her Stygian creations. Inspired by natured in all her forms, this West Yorkshire, England-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is known by many under her nom de plume of Darkher, one of the most interesting names of the current folk and doom scene worldwide. I’m talking about Jayn Maiven, a multi-talented woman who devotes her life to dark music for our total delight, and who has a beyond bright future ahead of her and her Darkher as all of her releases are simply awesome.

As I like to say about this type of project, there’s no Jayn Maiven without Darkher and vice-versa, with Darkher representing not only Jayn’s alter-ego but also her view of our world, using her musical creature as a catharsis that can be noticed from her painful and truthful lyrics. Conceived as the sole brainchild and solo project of our unrelenting flame-haired metal diva in 2012, whose fragile elegance lies the creator of a powerfully emotive work, Darkher brings forth an amalgamation of sounds and styles carefully embraced by the project’s trademark fusion of folk and doom music, with her compositions inviting the listener into the mystical ancient world characterized by slowly building storm clouds of guitars and Jayn’s haunting, spine-tinglingly evocative voice.

Having already released her self-titled debut EP in 2013, followed by the 2014 EP The Kingdom Field and the full-length albums Realms, from 2016, and The Buried Storm, released earlier this year, the sound of Darkher has been described as “ghostly transmissions that sound like they were delivered by lost souls in the dead of night”, leading her to support several renowned acts the likes of Robin Guthrie, Dead Meadow, Esben And The Witch, Enslaved and Chelsea Wolfe, and playing in festivals such as Roadburn Festival and Damnation, among others. Creating extraordinarily dark music full of contrasts, including both chilling loneliness and the warmth of hope, Darkher is a derivate of the words “dark” and “her”, showcasing some sort of symbolism from Jayn’s past as she wanted to find a name which she felt better described the direction she had been heading in with her solo career after a decade working with and around other musicians.

Several different guest musicians have already been involved with Jayn in Darkher, such as for example guitarist and bassist Martin Wissenberg, former My Dying Bride drummer Shaun ‘Winter’ Taylor-Steels, drummer Christopher Smith, cellists Ludvig Swärd (Forndom), Arianna Mahsayeh and Melanie Chaplin, violinist Lambert Segura and guitarist Daniel Land. If you want to see the result of the collaboration between our skillful vocalist, guitarist, composer, lyricist and producer with all those distinguished musicians, you can enjoy the official videos on YouTube for Where the Devil Waits (filmed at the stunning location of Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, within its Victorian gardens and grounds), a song of empowerment and light relating to the shadows within that lead to attachment, to what can become destructive; Love’s Sudden Death, a dark, romantic ballad which was heavily inspired by the mood of the ancient landscape as it mirrors the emotions within, being “dramatic, beautiful and sometimes bleak” as mentioned by Jayn herself; Hollow Veil, recorded in Salem Woods in October 2015; as well as Ghost Tears, Immortals, Lament, and The Dawn Brings a Saviour, or you can also enjoy The Buried Storm in its entirety on YouTube, and all of her albums on Spotify. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Jayn and her Darkher by purchasing her releases from her BandCamp page and through her Patreon.

Before forming Darkher, our unstoppable rock and metal diva was a member of Epic Dark Folk band The Steals for several years, having released with them the EP Floodlights, in 2006, and the full-length effort Stactic Kingdom, in 2009, both available on Spotify and on BandCamp. However, that wasn’t the path she actually wanted to follow in her career after a certain time. “Throughout the years I was previously working on tracks for The Steals album and EP, I was in a very sombre state and I needed to make music to lift me out of that state. By the time I was ready to start writing songs again for what would be Darkher, I felt that I needed to symbolically burn what I had in order to begin a new chapter,” commented Jayn in one of her interviews, describing the musical metamorphosis that was happening inside her.

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In addition, her inspirations in music and life in general come from very distinct sources. For instance, she always says that her father has been a huge inspiration to her growing up, with both her parents having encouraged her passion for creating music for many years. “I am mostly inspired by my inner world, emotions and imagination, which I run in parallel to the outer world. Nature and the elements are always with me when I write, and are equally as inspiring for me due to their mood and drama,” said Jayn in one of her interviews, also mentioning that her lyrics are always from her deepest depths, past, future or present, and showcasing a strong fascination for water. “When I walk each day to The Kingdom Field I pass a river, everyday is a different picture, it has its own life force and seemingly personality. Where I live is surrounded by water, I live in the basin of a valley, a hamlet which is surrounded by streams, rivers and a canal all of which have caused flooding. So I think because of this I am deeply respectful of water in its many forms.”

Heavily influenced by mood-based dark music from an early age, and having a father who performed on stage in the 60’s, not only she grew up in a musical house but she has always nurtured a deep passion for the darker exponents of the post punk indie scene. “I was really into bands like the Sex Gang Children, Virgin Prunes and Alien Sex Fiend. I’ve always suffered with a bit of a depression and as a teenager was drawn to dark music and the whole theatrical Goth thing. I loved the textures and atmosphere of guitars,” also saying that at one point she was completely absorbed by the Cocteau Twins and she used to re-play their performance of Pink Orange Red on the TV every night after school. On the other hand, if you think Amalie Bruun’s Danish Black Metal band Myrkur has had any influence on Darkher’s style, being even called “Myrkur for the Folkies”, you’re absolutely wrong. “I’ve only come across her name very recently, I haven’t listened to her music yet, so I’m not sure if there is any thread of similarity,” said our diva.

When asked about her evolution from Realms until The Buried Storm, Jayn said that she sees it as a continuation of her creativity, feeling like it has many similar elements in the instrumentation, though she puts even more emphasis on the vocal harmonies as a feature on her newest album and she believes it leans towards a more cinematic feel. Moreover, the pandemic doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact on her creative process for The Buried Storm. “The effects of the pandemic were actually quite beneficial for me, to be able to take time out from any tour dates and really focus on the writing and recording. I also spent even more time alone, which I found to be very necessary for the writing process,” commented Jayn, and we must all agree with her the whole pandemic has been positive at least for the writing process of not only Darkher but countless other bands out there, who obviously had a lot more time to focus on their creative process with the whole touring thing being on hold for almost two years.

Interested in art and photography, beautiful and inspiring imagery, animals and nature, Jayn tries to spend half of her life outdoors, also nurturing a deep passion for doing videos and photographic imagery, which for her is all part of the creative process. “When I make music I see a lot of visions and imagery, so it’s great to be able to achieve some of that in video form,” said Jayn, which can be easily noticed in the video for Ghost Tears, for example. “The environment that I am surrounded by and the vast landscape is always in my mind when I write as I see music in a very visual way. For this reason I would love to one day try to write for film or TV and I equally feel the presence of many images when I write or produce. The studio walls otherwise would not inspire me to develop the sound and present it in such a way,” complemented our multi-talented artist. And lastly, when asked what the secret is to keep her long flaming hair look so grandiose and beautiful, she simply said there’s no actual secret, just that she never cuts it and therefore it serves her well for hiding behind it. Well, of course we would love to see her face on all of her videos, but the combination of nature and her long, incendiary hair is more than enough to keep us hooked not only on her music, but on her stunning art in general.

Darkher’s Official Facebook page
Darkher’s Official Instagram
Darkher’s Official YouTube channel
Darkher’s Official BandCamp page

“I find it very healing to make music, like a form of meditation.” – Jayn Maiven