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


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
Online Radio Box
Radio Garden

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.

Metal Chick of the Month – Gia Federico

Shred it, Gia!

Attention, guitarists and shredders of the world! Summer is just around the corner, and here at The Headbanging Moose it’s time to pay a short and sweet tribute to a metal lady that knows how to extract pure fire and heat from her guitar. She might be currently working as a stock investor and real state agent, even saying she’s a “retired pro guitarist”, but we all know once you let Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal run through your veins there’s no turning back, you become a metalhead forever. I’m talking about Gia Federico, also referred to as simply Gia G, a well-known guitarist from the Boston, Massachusetts area who will certainly blow your mind with her undeniable talent and electrifying style. Having said that, are you ready to rock with such talented American guitarist?

Born and raised with her middle-class Italian family in Somerville, a suburban city located directly to the northwest of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, Gia mentioned in one of her interviews that she started late in the world of rock and metal music, only when she was around 17 years old by listening to her parents’ collection of albums, taking lessons with Boston-based shredder Joe Stump (Alcatrazz, HolyHell, Raven Lord) for three and a half years before continuing on her own and developing her own style, focusing mainly on instrumental rock and metal while also having her Alternative Metal band Devil In The Mist, plus doing studio work for various projects and owning her own commercial home studio. In addition, she mentioned that she bought her first guitar at a music store a long time ago for only 90 US dollars, a remake of a Fender Telecaster, but that she doesn’t have that guitar anymore.

Regarding her solo project Gia G, which is obviously her moniker when playing with that project, Gia explained that her middle initial is actually G (as her legal name is Gia G Federico), and that Gia G sounds and feels catchy. Managing to elevate her sound and show distinction from her prior projects, she has infused “jazz modal and scalar legato” into the mix, adding an extra kick to her instrumental creations while also presenting elements from metal, shred, rock, alternative, experimental, indie, blues, jazz, classical and acoustic pop, among others, representing all her freedom as a musician. With the project’s most recent lineup being formed of Gia on the guitars and keyboards, Mark George on drums, and Paul Angle on bass, and by the way they didn’t know each other before (having met through Gia’s sound engineer), she released the singles The Chase (2013), Interwoven (2015), Spontaneous (2017) and The Ladder (2019), as well as the three-track EP Cosmic Wave (2022), which can be appreciated in full on Spotify, on YouTube and on BandCamp. Furthermore, Cosmic Wave can be considered her most successful release to date, reaching number 1 for one week on KB Radio in Canada on their Top 25 International chart and on Paramount FM 94.5 Radio, number 3 on Radio Guitar One Top 30 Rock, and number 6 on Holy Noise Radio.

Speaking of her Alternative Metal/Grunge band, named Devil In The Mist, despite the fact the band released their debut self-titled EP in 2018 and the full-length album Hidden In Plain Sight in 2022, via Sliptrick Records, the band formed of Gia Federico on the guitars and keyboards, Mark George on drums and Paul Engle on bass seems to be on a hiatus or defunct, as all of their social media doesn’t work anymore, plus the fact that Katy Reign is no longer their vocalist (and therefore Gia decided to focus on her solo project instead). More open to every style including jazz, blues, classical, acoustic, pop, country and so on, the project looked very promising if it wasn’t for the lineup changes (and for Gia’s career change, of course), but you can still enjoy some of their songs on YouTube including Mercy, Far Gone, and Severed Ties. And on a side note, you can also find her lending her guitar abilities to Lakes Region, New Hampshire-based Heavy/Groove Metal band Infinite Sin, playing the guitar solo on the song Temple of Darkness as a guest musician.

Highly influenced by guitar heroes such as Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, Allan Holdsworth, Scotty Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, as well as renowned rock and metal giants the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, The Police, Tool, Metallica, Van Halen, Led Zepplin, Queen and Alter Bridge, just to name a few, Gia writes her music by going over scales and modes, by listening to other artists (including all types of music from pop to blues, from shred guitar to old metal music, and so on), and inspired by things going on in her life, her past, her present, and even her future. In addition, when asked which band in the world she would love to play with, she mentioned some big names including Judas Priest, Ozzy and Dio, also saying she would enjoy doing something like what Nita Strauss did with Alice Cooper, but not forever, as she likes to create her own music. Moreover, when asked to pick three people in history (dead or alive) she would love to sit down and have dinner with, Gia curiously didn’t mention any musicians, but people in business who invented something relevant, such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet.

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Endorsed by several companies the likes of Seymour Duncan, Fishman, SKB Cases, SIT Strings, Coffin Gear,  FU -Tone Copper Sound Pedals Emperor Cabinets, Revv Amplification, ZT Amplifier, and WB Gear, among others, and known for her tap harmonic style, Gia loves her custom shop Fender Stratocasters, having custom ones from 2005, 2015 and 2022, and also having four custom shop Jacksons, among others, to a total of around 27 guitars. In addition, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she wants to get a custom shop Les Paul to be able to compare it to the other guitars. When asked about her favorite guitar setup, she said it’s tough to say it exactly because it always depends on which song she’s playing or writing, although she mentioned that during her live performances she was using her custom red Fender Stratocaster with a Marshall JVM. Having played for a very small crowd on her first ever concert in a small club in Somerville, but of course feeling nervous just because it was her first live show, Gia said the best way to overcome stage fright is by pretending you’re jamming in your room when it’s time to hit the stage. Furthermore, she said she would love to play in big festivals like the ones in Europe alongside some of her favorite bands like Metallica; however, due to the significant change in her career now, I guess that, unfortunately, we might not see Gia playing anytime soon in any festival or small venue.

Gia has already won many prizes and was featured in different charts in her career as a guitarist, such as for example being ranked in 4th place in the “Top 15 Hard Rock & Metal Female Guitar Shredders” chart by in 2014; winning 1st round, being 3rd place in the 2nd round, and advancing to the finals at Emergenza Festival in 2004; seeing her EP Cosmic Wave reaching position #1 for one week on KB Radio in Canada on their Top 25 International chart, position #3 on Radio Guitar One Rock Top 30, and position #6 on Holy Noise Radio (as already mentioned); being ranked #1 in local charts for instrumental artists in Boston, and also on ReverbNation in their national and global charts for instrumental artists many times; among several other awards. That’s not just amazing for her as a guitarist, but also as a woman, as Gia herself mentioned already that female guitarists do not get the same respect as male ones, also saying it can be really hard for a woman who plays the guitar in the United States to have the same support as a man.

Having already reached over 100,000 unique views on YouTube in one month for one of her videos (and that number went up to 500,000 views later), and with around 6 million views in total on her channel plus almost 70,000 subscribers, Gia thinks that at the same time that streaming is great, many musicians can get screwed up with that due to the insignificant amount of money made. In addition, she obviously prefer buying vinyl over digital music, as she believes vinyl has a much more organic (and therefore less mechanical) feel to it. She also mentioned she would certainly sell her back catalog if a big label such as Sony or Universal offered to buy everything, but of course she said she’s not even close to the size or level of the artists managed by those labels.

As aforementioned, Gia considers herself now a “retired pro guitarist”, focusing now on her career in the investing and real state market, something she has actually been doing for quite a while (even when she was still playing the guitar on a professional level). However, our talented guitarist/businesswoman still has some advice to give to young musicians who are just starting to learn how to play the guitar. She said new musicians should look at it as a hobby and with an open mind, playing mainly for their personal enjoyment, and never thinking they’ll become the next big thing in music because that’s not the reality for most people in such competitive market. Wise words by a seasoned guitarist, I might say, and you can find a lot more information about Gia and her work as a musician online, such as this nice interview to ROX TV in the beginning of 2022. Good luck to Gia on her not-so-new endeavors in the business world, but of course we’ll all receive her back to the rock and metal community with open arms anytime her mind, heart and soul feel the need for the riff again.

Gia Federico’s Official Facebook page
Gia Federico’s Official Instagram
Gia Federico’s Official YouTube channel
Gia Federico’s Official Twitter

Album Review – Lasskahl / Seasons EP (2023)

Enjoy the Progressive Metalcore blasted by a promising Swiss band in their second EP, blending different styles in a hypnotic atmosphere with a desire to present a scenic performance of sound and light.

Hailing from Yverdon Les Bains, a municipality in the district of Jura-Nord vaudois of the canton of Vaud in French-speaking Switzerland, Progressive Metalcore (or “Prog-core”, if you prefer) act Lasskahl tries to blend different styles in a hypnotic atmosphere with a desire to present a scenic performance of sound and light, all while looking for the perfect mix between breakdown and delicacy as well as a complex part in syncopated rhythms. Now in 2023 the band formed of Stefano Montemari on vocals, Ludovic Coker and Philip Calvet on the guitars, Kilian Rustichelli on bass and Yves Bidaux on drums is releasing their sophomore EP titled Seasons, highly recommended for lovers of the music by Monuments, Vola and Meshuggah, among others. Mixed and mastered by Simone Pietroforte at Divergent Studio and by Vladimir Cochet at Conatus Studio, Seasons is the follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut EP, with each one of its four songs being released as individual singles between 2022 and 2023.

The thunderous bass by Kilian bring the groove to the opening tune Labyrinth Gates, accompanied by the pounding drums by Yves before Stefano attacks with his melodic vocals in a modern-day Metalcore feast full of progressive nuances. Then we have Clouds Above Chains, sounding harsher and more progressive, where Ludovic and Philip are absolutely on fire with their riffs from start to finish while Kilian continues to hit us hard in the head armed with his bass in a great display of Progressive Metalcore; whereas an ominous start quickly evolves into a rumbling Mathcore extravaganza in Faces From The Past, presenting ethereal background elements while Yves keeps hammering his drums, all of course spiced up by a demonic vocal performance by Stefano and, therefore, turning it into the strongest of all four songs. Lastly, the band enhances their darkness considerably in Grudge, Gift Of Suffering, with the guitar duo Ludovic and Philip kicking some ass with their metallic riffage while Stefano continues to declaim the song’s acid words in great fashion.

While the band is gearing up for the release of a full-length album closer to the end of the year, you can enjoy Seasons in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase a copy of it from their own BandCamp page if you enjoy the more progressive and groovy side of European Metalcore. Hence, don’t forget to also follow Lasskahl on Facebook and on Instagram for more details about the band, their music and their live concerts, showing all your support to the Swiss metal scene. If their upcoming album is just half as good as Seasons, all admirers of the genre will have a very good reason for banging their heads nonstop as soon as it’s released, because the 16 minutes of music found in the EP are already amazing enough to entertain us in the name of contemporary Metalcore.

Best moments of the album: Faces From The Past.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Independent

Track listing
1. Labyrinth Gates 3:55
2. Clouds Above Chains 3:25
3. Faces From The Past 5:17
4. Grudge, Gift Of Suffering 3:37

Band members
Stefano Montemari – vocals
Ludovic Coker – guitar
Philip Calvet – guitar
Kilian Rustichelli – bass
Yves Bidaux – drums

Concert Review – Dark Funeral (The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 05/27/2023)

The Decibel Magazine Tour 2023 brought another night of blasphemy, rage and heaviness to Toronto, spearheaded by one of the pillars of Swedish Black Metal.

OPENING ACTS: Blackbraid, 200 Stab Wounds and Cattle Decapitation

If there’s one thing that the Toronto metal scene has specialized in, that’s undoubtedly mosh pits, and it doesn’t matter which concert we’re talking about. Add to that the perfect weather on Saturday and four insanely heavy bands, and there you have the perfect recipe for nonstop action on the floor section. The venue chosen for such metallic celebration was The Phoenix Concert Theatre, and the bands featured in that night of rage and blasphemy were BLACKBRAID200 STAB WOUNDS, CATTLE DECAPITATION and DARK FUNERAL, as part of The Decibel Magazine Tour 2023. My only complaint was that the line to get in was ridiculous, and between the doors opening at 6pm and the first band starting at 7pm, there wasn’t much time to do anything like buying merch, having a beer, or simply getting into the venue. I myself just got in at 6:55pm, and I was there as soon as the clock hit 6pm.

Fortunately, I just made it for the openers, Adirondack Mountains, New York-based Atmospheric Black Metal horde BLACKBRAID, and I must say I’m beyond happy to have arrived in time for such intense and unique performance. The solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sgah’gahsowáh (pronounced “SKA-Gah-SoW-Ah”, a Mohawk name meaning “the witch hawk”), supported by touring musicians Y. E. and an unknown musician on the guitars, another unknown guy on bass, and Johnny Violence on drums, the band simply nailed it with their fusion of Atmospheric Black Metal with elements of traditional indigenous music, such as the Native American flute, generating a mesmerizing and ominous atmosphere that captivated everyone already at the venue. They might have played only four songs from both their 2022 debut Blackbraid I and their upcoming sophomore album Blackbraid II (to be released in the beginning of July), but as they’re all long songs let’s say the fans had plenty of time to enjoy their unique music, and of course, ignite some decent mosh pits. If you’re curious to know more about their music, you can find their creations on BandCamp and on Spotify, and I really hope Sgah’gahsowáh and his henchmen return to Toronto sooner than later because they’re awesome.

The Spirit Returns
The River of Time Flows Through Me
Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon
Barefoot Ghost Dance on Blood Soaked Soil

Band members
Sgah’gahsowáh – vocals
Y. E. – guitars
Unknown – guitars
Unknown – bass
Johnny Violence – drums

After a really short break (and I think maybe there shouldn’t be so many bands on the lineup so fans can at least try to buy some merch and go for a bathroom stop without missing any of the action on stage), it was time for Cleveland, Ohio-based Death Metal marauders 200 STAB WOUNDS to give their Torontonian fans all the fuel they needed to slam into some sick mosh pits like true headbanging bastards, delivering a pulverizing concert that left everyone at the venue absolutely on fire. Playing songs form all of their albums, with a bigger focus on their 2021 album Slave to the Scalpel plus the two songs form their brand new EP Masters of Morbidity, the band spearheaded by vocalist and guitarist Steve Buhl was ruthless from start to finish, praising their Torontonian fans for always showing everything they got inside the circle pits, and saying that Toronto is one of their favorite places to play. I guess you know why, right? And if you’re also a lover of some good old mosh pits, you can enjoy the music by this fantastic band on BandCamp and on Spotify.

Phallic Filth (Intro)
Fatal Reality
Skin Milk
Tow Rope Around the Throat
Drilling Your Head
Itty Bitty Pieces
Masters of Morbidity
Phallic Filth
Release the Stench
Stifling Stew
She Was Already Dead

Band members
Steve Buhl – vocals, guitars
Raymond Macdonald – guitars
Ezra Cook – bass
Owen Pooley – drums 

As the temperature kept rising inside The Phoenix Concert Theatre, American Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore masters CATTLE DECAPITATION hit the stage with another pulverizing performance, proving why they’re one of the most admired bands of the genre worldwide. I strongly believe Travis Ryan, Josh Elmore, Belisario Dimuzio, Olivier Pinard and David McGraw love Toronto as much as the Torontonian metalheads love them, because the synergy was incredible, and the mosh pits even more. Blending classics with new songs from their 2023 masterpiece Terrasite (to be reviewed soon here at The Headbanging Moose), those being the fantastic We Eat Our Young, Scourge of the Offspring and A Photic Doom, the band fired a flawless concert overflowing heaviness, dexterity and feeling, putting a smile on the faces of everyone at the venue, including the band. I don’t think Travis was expecting such powerful reception from their fans in the city, but let’s be honest, when the music is great like what Cattle Decapitation have to offer us, of course the concerts will be incendiary! I can’t even describe how insane the mosh pits were throughout their entire set, to a point the entire floor section became one massive, unstoppable circle pit. It was superb, to say the least! Thank you, Cattle Decapitation!

Intro (Jurassic Park theme)
The Carbon Stampede
We Eat Our Young
Scourge of the Offspring
Bring Back the Plague
The Great Dying, Pt. 1
Finish Them
A Photic Doom
Kingdom of Tyrants

Band members
Travis Ryan – vocals
Josh Elmore – lead guitars
Belisario Dimuzio – rhythm guitars
Olivier Pinard – bass
David McGraw – drums


The night was getting darker and the temperature inside the venue even higher, setting the stage for another sulfurous performance by the one and only Swedish Black Metal institution DARK FUNERAL to conclude the night on a high and devilish note. It was great to see them as the headliners this time, instead of “just” an opener as it happened last year when they played alongside Cannibal Corpse, and based on the reception of the fans this Saturday we’ll surely see Dark Funeral headlining more impious nights in the city in a not-so-distant future.

Still promoting their amazing 2022 album We Are The Apocalypse, the horde formed of Heljarmadr on vocals, Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol on the guitars, Adra Melek on bass and Jalomaah on drums was demonic from the very first notes of Nosferatu until the climatic Where Shadows Forever Reign, proving why they’re one of the pillars of Swedish Black Metal. I have to admit if there was a little less smoke the fans would have been able to see the band better on stage, but of course I’m pretty sure that was part of their plan, to look and sound as dark and evil as possible, and with the iconic Heljarmadr as their frontman the whole stage smoke and lightning made total sense.

Their setlist was an ode to blasphemy, including precious gems the likes of Vobiscum Satanas, My Funeral and Nail Them to the Cross, with Heljarmadr demanding a huge HAIL SATAN! from the crowd while the mosh pits kept moving like the fires of the pits of the underworld. The setlist could have been slightly longer, though, but nothing that could harm such beautiful performance by Dark Funeral. And if you think slow songs are not Black Metal, simply witness Dark Funeral playing When I’m Gone and Let the Devil In live, and you’ll feel absolute darkness taking over your damned soul. Thanks a million to Noel Peters of Inertia Entertainment and to Metal Blade Records for bringing such venomous tour to Toronto, and thanks also to metal photographer Kim Baarda for letting us use her fantastic photos (as my buddy Keith could not make it to the concert this time). May Dark Funeral return to the city soon for another impressive concert and, of course, HAIL SATAN!

Hail Murder
My Funeral
In the Sign of the Horns
Vobiscum Satanas
Goddess of Sodomy
The Secrets of the Black Arts
When I’m Gone
Unchain My Soul
Temple of Ahriman
Nail Them to the Cross
Let the Devil In
Where Shadows Forever Reign

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Adra Melek – bass
Jalomaah – drums

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Album Review – Lucifuge / Monoliths of Wrath (2023)

Dealing with all sorts of evil, blasphemic and anti-religious themes, the multi-talented German musician Equinox and his Lucifuge are back from the underworld with a new and pulverizing album of Blackened Thrash Metal.

Mixed and mastered at Necromansy Studio, and displaying a somber and caustic artwork by Karmazid, the breathtaking new opus by Bremen, Germany’s own Black/Thrash Metal entity Lucifuge, entitled Monoliths of Wrath, is more than just the follow-up to the project’s critically acclaimed 2021 album Infernal Power, but also a blast from the past paying homage to the 80’s while perfecting the addictive blackened speed metalpunk sound hailing from German lands. Sounding dirtier and more sulfurous than ever, the project’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Equinox continues his path of obscurity dealing with all sorts of evil, blasphemic and anti-religious themes throughout the whole record, while musically speaking the album’s thrash-oriented sound takes cues from classic Sodom, Kreator, Exodus, and of course Slayer, turning it into a must-listen for admirers of the genre.

Slayer-inspired riffs ignite the demonic thrashing attack titled From Cosmos to Chaos, with Equinox showing no mercy for our souls with his sick beats and demented vocals, whereas in The Cult of Infinity we face lyrics that exhale old school Thrash Metal (“Shaking and trembling / the world is spinning at infernally maddening speed / Doomsday approaching / Unable to grasp the meaning of infinity”) while the music feels like his personal tribute to the thrashing masterpiece Bonded by Blood. Let’s keep banging our heads to the dirty riffage by Equinox and his Lucifuge in Before the Altar of Famine and Desire, perfect for dancing like a monkey inside the circle pit; and Equinox continues to hammer his drums in Visions of Death, also delivering scorching riffs and rumbling bass lines in the name of Black and Thrash Metal. After such demented tune, Equinox’s strident riffs walk hand in hand with his frantic drums in Enemies of the Sun, keeping the album at a high level of insanity and rage in a lecture in Blackened Thrash Metal.

A slow and groovy start suddenly explodes into another feast of Black and Thrash Metal in Dissolving into God, with Equinox sounding even more devilish on vocals, followed by The Art of Putrescence, a lesson in the art of delivering ass-kicking, grim lyrics (“I have given up future and philosophy / Owning merely a cot on which to unlearn the sun and signs / Stretched out there, spin out the hours / Objects with suggest suicide”) wrapped up by a bestial sound. Then it’s time to keep slamming into the pit to the sound of Resources of Self Destruction, bringing forward the intricate but always visceral riffs by Equinox; and Physiognomy of Failure is another headbanging creation by Lucifuge that pays homage to classic Thrash Metal while also bringing fresh elements form the current Black Metal scene, or in other words, it’s a breathtaking tune with Equinox kicking ass once again with his raspy vocals. Finally, closing such incendiary album we have The Path to Perdition, with his bass and drums creating an avalanche of sounds that flows majestically until the very end.

You can experience all the speed, dirt, sulfur and insanity blasted by Lucifuge in Monoliths of Wrath by listening to the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Equinox all your love for his music you should purchase a copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Dying Victims Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore as a regular CD, an LP or a very special edition gatefold LP on beer colored vinyl including a poster, a sticker, a post card, a woven patch and a download code. Equinox is also eagerly waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram with lots of news about Lucifuge, or simply click HERE for all things Lucifuge. If you’re looking for that piercing, frantic and incendiary thrashing sound inspired by 80’s metal music, then Monoliths of Wrath is the perfect album for you. If not, what are you doing here anyway?

Best moments of the album: From Cosmos to Chaos, Enemies of the Sun and Physiognomy of Failure.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Dying Victims Productions

Track listing
1. From Cosmos to Chaos 4:14
2. The Cult of Infinity 3:31
3. Before the Altar of Famine and Desire 3:15
4. Visions of Death 4:02
5. Enemies of the Sun 3:15
6. Dissolving into God 4:45
7. The Art of Putrescence 3:34
8. Resources of Self Destruction 3:43
9. Physiognomy of Failure 3:28
10. The Path to Perdition 3:59

Band members
Equinox – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Unearth / The Wretched; The Ruinous (2023)

Celebrating almost 25 years on the road, Boston’s own Death Metal/Metalcore beast returns with a demolishing opus, a concept album that follows the current effects of the man-made climate crisis.

On album number eight, titled The Wretched; The Ruinous, Boston, Massachusetts-based Death Metal/Metalcore outfit Unearth not merely continues to amp-up their metal-meets-hardcore intensities, but they also exceed themselves with a record that incorporates elements of classic Unearth offerings dating back to their 2004 “breakthrough” album The Oncoming Storm, while exploring beyond the recent back-to-basics promise of their 2018 effort Extinction(s). Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Will Putney at Graphic Nature Audio, and displaying a stylish artwork by Alexandre Goulet, The Wretched; The Ruinous is a concept album that follows the current effects of the man-made climate crisis as well as what will happen in the years to come if drastic and immediate changes are not made to curb emissions, and monumental efforts are not made to repair and adjust to the damages already done, all wrapped up by the fulminating yet very melodic music by vocalist Trevor Phipps, guitarist Buz McGrath, bassist Chris O’Toole and drummer Mike Justian.

The title-track The Wretched; The Ruinous is freakin’ madness from the very first second, with Mike showing no mercy for his drums nor for our necks, inviting us all to slam into the circle pit to the demented growls by Trevor. In Cremation of the Living the quartet fires more of their acid Metalcore with Melodic Death Metal nuances while its lyrics exhale insanity (“Exist – perish / Discordant nature / All turned to dust / Enraged creator / Victims to shepherds of fear”), followed by Eradicator, another pulverizing tune by the band with Buz delivering sheer electricity from his guitar supported by the metallic bass by Chris. Mother Betrayal sounds and feels more atmospheric and melodic than its predecessors, and it’s interesting how Trevor “abandoned” his clean singing in the entire album just like what we can enjoy in this song. Then it’s pedal to the metal as the quartet will smash our cranial skulls inside the pit with Invictus, a lecture in modern-day Metalcore sounding heavier and harsher than any of the songs form their previous efforts.

Call of Existence brings to our avid ears an amazing guitar job done by Buz, helping to balance the song’s aggressiveness with more melodic riffs and striking solos while Mike dictates the song’s headbanging pace behind his drums. They offer more of their visceral Metalcore in Dawn of the Militant, inspiring us to keep the circle pit action going while Trevor continues to roar and scream manically. After that, the serene interlude Aniara will soothe our souls before we’re treated to another diabolical attack by Unearth titled Into the Abyss, showcasing a solid sonority led by Buz and Chris with their stringed weapons, albeit not as thrilling as the rest of the album. Back to a more infernal mode we have Broken Arrow, where Trevor screams the song’s lyrics in great fashion (“Fire in the sky / Awoken infernal slumber / Peaceful days now ill remembered / Failed to deliver / Accidents of mass destruction / Lie in wait yet not forever”) in a display of fast and crushing Metalcore for the masses; whereas lastly you’ll break your neck headbanging to Theaters of War, with Mike hammering his drums in the name of heavy music for our total delight.

Unearth are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube with news, tour dates and more of their amazing music, and if you want to give The Wretched; The Ruinous a spin you can find the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and purchase it by clicking HERE or HERE. “We formed this band to make music for us, not trying to create something for anyone else. As soon as we did that people connected to it, and it’s kept us pushing onward for almost 25 years. We look forward to 25 more,” commented the band about their almost 25 years of career, but let’s be honest and admit that it’s us fans who got a very nice anniversary gift with the release of their awesome new album, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: The Wretched; The Ruinous, Invictus and Broken Arrow.

Worst moments of the album: Into the Abyss.

Released in 2023 Century Media

Track listing
1. The Wretched; The Ruinous 4:20
2. Cremation of the Living 3:20
3. Eradicator 3:28
4. Mother Betrayal 3:32
5. Invictus 3:45
6. Call of Existence 3:33
7. Dawn of the Militant 2:57
8. Aniara 0:57
9. Into the Abyss 3:24
10. Broken Arrow 2:51
11. Theaters of War 4:49

Band members
Trevor Phipps – vocals
Buz McGrath – guitars
Chris O’Toole – bass
Mike Justian – drums

Concert Review – Helloween (History, Toronto, ON, 05/23/2023)

The most beloved pumpkins in the universe finally returned to Toronto after a decade for a flawless night of old school, thrilling Heavy Metal, fists in the air and, believe it or not, a lot of mosh pits.

OPENING ACT: Hammerfall

What a night, my friends! What a night! History was made at History (pun intended) last night when HAMMERFALL and the almighty and unparalleled metal institution HELLOWEEN took the city of Toronto by storm with the US and Canada leg of their United Forces Tour 2023, a dream come true for the thousands of fans who were brave enough to leave the comfort of their homes on a Tuesday night (the second worst day for concerts, only behind Monday) knowing they would be absolutely exhausted today for work or school. The weather was simply perfect, as it wasn’t neither too hot nor too cold, plus of course the fact that History is an awesome venue for a night of old school metal music. Kudos to the security team for being so helpful and polite, including letting me use the bathroom inside, get back out, and then enter with my friend, and kudos also to Embrace Presents for making a dream come true for me personally (and I’ll talk more about that later).

The line for the merch stands was absolutely insane, concentrating perhaps more people than the crowd that was already positioning themselves for the opening act on the floor section, Sweden’s own Heavy/Power Metal horde HAMMERFALL, but as soon as the clock hit 7pm sharp and their concert started I think a good chunk of the fans waiting to buy merch abandoned their spots in line to enjoy the concert (and they made the right decision, of course). Although their latest albums are not something we can call “exciting” or “masterpieces” compared to their early discography, when Joacim Cans, Oscar Dronjak and crew hit the stage they showed Toronto everything they got with a solid setlist, playing songs from their 2022 album Hammer of Dawn as well as classics the likes of The Metal Age, Let the Hammer Fall and Hearts on Fire. The entire band was visibly happy to be in the city playing their music to an avid Torontonian crowd, making us all forget that it was Tuesday night, therefore looking more like a Friday night of fun and metal.

One of the funniest moments was when Joacim was introducing the song Let the Hammer Fall, saying that whenever he said “let the hammer…”, the fans should shout “FALL!”, but apparently a few fans were either sleeping or too slow to understand such “difficult” instructions, making Joacim point to the name of the band at the back of the stage and joke about it, something in the lines of “not sure if you noticed, but our name is Hammer… FALL!” Also, it looked like every single song with the word “hammer” on the title or on the chorus was the cue for Oscar to sport his hammer-shaped guitar, like in Hammer of Dawn and Hammer High. I have no idea if that guitar is good or bad, I mean, how much it impacts his playing skills, but it looked really cool specially when he raised it high in the sky like the hammer of Thor. That was basically a good depiction of the level of energy flowing throughout their set, sounding and feeling as electric as Mjölnir, and leaving their diehard fans avid for maybe a headlining tour in Canadian lands in a not-so-distant future.

Any Means Necessary
The Metal Age
Hammer of Dawn
Blood Bound
Last Man Standing
Hero’s Return / On the Edge of Honour / Riders of the Storm / Crimson Thunder (Crimson Thunder 20th Anniversary medley)
Let the Hammer Fall
(We Make) Sweden Rock
Hammer High
Hearts on Fire

Band members
Joacim Cans – vocals
Oscar Dronjak – guitars, backing vocals
Pontus Norgren – guitars, backing vocals
Fredrik Larsson – bass
David Wallin – drums


When I said last night’s concert was a dream come true for me, I wasn’t joking. Finally, after over 30 years being a diehard fan of German Power Metal masters HELLOWEEN, I was able to witness the band live with Michael Kiske on vocals, plus of course the awesome Andi Deris and Kai Hansen, but it was Mr. Kiske who stole the show with his unique voice. None of you have any idea of how much I used to listen to Helloween in my teens (and I keep doing that until today, of course), and how much I dreamed of seeing them live with Kiske. As soon as they hit the beautiful stage at History with their new 12-minute classic Skyfall, from their 2021 self-titled masterpiece, I was already voiceless for screaming the song’s lyrics together with them. By the way, talking about new Helloween songs, during the hard-hitting Mass Pollution, the one and only Mr. Andi Deris, who’s by far one of the most entertaining frontmen in the history of metal music (and owner of a breathtaking voice), made a joke saying he wouldn’t have to translate one of the lines of the song to ask us all in Toronto to “make some noise”, generating some good laughs form the mesmerized crowd and, obviously, a lot of noise for the delight of the entire band.

Although this was my first time seeing them with the three vocalists from all of their phases, I think it’s during this United Forces Tour that they started “breaking” their setlist in three different acts; the first one with Skyfall as an intro to the entire band and all vocalists; then from the majestic Eagle Fly Free (thank you, Kiske, for such flawless performance during that classic!) until the old school Heavy Metal (Is the Law), Kiske, Deris and Hansen would take turns singing the songs; and finally, from then on they joined forces by singing all remaining songs together. I personally think that was an amazing way to entertain their fans during the entire show, keeping things fresh and vibrant until the very last second. Moreover, one of the nicest moments of their set was when they played the fast and metallic Save Us, not only providing us with one more unforgettable vocal performance by Kiske, but also igniting some sick mosh pits on the floor section. Yes, you read it correctly, mosh pits at a Helloween concert! That’s something you can only see in Canada, I guess! Not only that, Kai Hansen was also responsible for keeping the mosh pits moving well with his medley of old school German Heavy Metal anthems, including Metal Invaders, Ride the Sky, and especially Heavy Metal (Is the Law), and if you’re familiar with those songs you know how furious a circle pit can get while they’re being played, right? Thank you, Kai Hansen, for being so metal!

After such fantastic journey back to the band’s early days, it was time for a serene moment with Forever and One (Neverland), where Kiske and Deris sat down, explained in a funny way that the song was written by Deris for his “beloved ex-wife”, and delivered a passionate and very emotional vocal duet, followed by a soulful solo by Sascha Gerstner. However, that moment of peace didn’t last for too long as right after that it was time for the band to crush us all with their new hit Best Time, an inspiring song that put most of the fans (including myself) to dance so cool it is! And what can I say about the following songs, Dr. Stein and How Many Tears? I personally consider How Many Tears one of the best and most metal songs of all time, and seeing the entire band playing it live to perfection was priceless. And although Michael Weikath, Markus Grosskopf and Dani Löble didn’t talk much during their entire set, they did speak through their instruments, with How Many Tears being the ultimate display of their dexterity, feeling and passion for heavy music. Do I need to say that song ignited some more wicked mosh pits?

The show was almost over, but not before Andi Deris got his famous top hat for their David Lee Roth-like classic Perfect Gentleman, followed by 13 minutes of pure metal awesomeness with Keeper of the Seven Keys. Damn, that was superb! And their coup de grâce came in the form of nothing more, nothing less than I Want Out, a genre-defining masterpiece that became even more thrilling with all the black and orange giant balloons thrown to the crowd. Try imagining mosh pits going on during such classic with those balloons flying around the venue. That’s how perfect the night was, got it? I was exhausted after all was said and done, but at the same time I was ready for more Helloween in Toronto (or anywhere else in the world), and hopefully it won’t take another decade for one of my beloved bands to return to the city. Toronto loves you, Michael Kiske! Toronto loves you, Andi Deris! Toronto loves you, Kai Hansen! Toronto loves you, Michael Weikath! Toronto loves you, Sascha Gerstner! Toronto loves you, Markus Grosskopf! And Toronto loves you, Dani Löble! Please come back to the city for more as soon as possible! You’ve got the POWER to return! You are divine!

Halloween (Snippet / Intro)
Eagle Fly Free
Mass Pollution
Future World
Save Us
Walls of Jericho
Metal Invaders / Victim of Fate / Gorgar / Ride the Sky
Heavy Metal (Is the Law)
Forever and One (Neverland)
Guitar Solo (Sascha Gerstner)
Best Time
Dr. Stein
How Many Tears

Perfect Gentleman
Keeper of the Seven Keys

Encore 2:
I Want Out
For the Love of a Princess (James Horner song)

Band members
Michael Kiske – vocals
Andi Deris – vocals
Kai Hansen – guitars, vocals
Michael Weikath – guitars
Sascha Gerstner – guitars
Markus Grosskopf – bass
Dani Löble – drums

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Album Review – Crimson Day / Crimson Day (2023)

This amazing Melodic Heavy Metal outfit from Finland is back with their third full-length album, showcasing a healthy and exciting evolution in their sound.

Founded in 2013 by bassist Jesse “Kämy” Kämäräinen, Tampere, Finland-based female-fronted Melodic Heavy Metal outfit Crimson Day combines classic Heavy Metal riffs with modern elements, having already performed almost a hundred shows in Finland and abroad since their inception. Now in 2023 the band formed of the aforementioned Jesse Kämäräinen alongside Milka Uusitalo on vocals, Ari Balzar and Janne Rantanen on the guitars, and Juhani Ikonen on drums will attack your senses with their self-titled third full-length opus, following up on their 2018 album At the Mountains of Madness. Not only this is their first album with the stunning Milka on vocals, but it also showcases a healthy change or evolution in their sound, placing them among the best new names of the Finnish (and of the entire Nordic) scene, and being highly recommended for admirers of the music by both Iron Maiden and Within Temptation, Judas Priest and Epica, or Stratovarius and Nightwish, just to illustrate to you how dynamic their music is.

Juhani wastes no time and begins pounding his drums in Release The Beast, while Ari and Janne’s guitars exhale fire, all of course spiced up by the rockin’ vocals by Milka in a lecture in Heavy and Power Metal to kick things off in style. Then their guitar duo is on total fire in The Calling, providing Milka with exactly what she needs to shine with her soaring vocals. Put differently, it can’t get any more metal than this, whereas the song that carries the name of the band, Crimson Day, exhales epicness thanks to its galloping pace, gripping vocal lines and classic riffage, being therefore perfect for raising our horns high in the air. Juhani keeps pounding his drums supported by the thunderous bass by Jesse in The Mortal Undead, with the band investing in darker and heavier sounds (and the final result is a true banger); and it’s time to slow things down a bit with the power ballad Deep To The Dark, showcasing beautiful guitar riffs and solos by Ari and Janne.

Perhaps the song Night To Forget can be called “Dancing Heavy Metal” due to its rockin’ rhythm and vibe, with Milka exploring her vocal range in Hard Rock lands, whereas the metallic bass by Jesse ignites the band’s melodic feast titled Raising The Fury, with the piercing sound of their guitars bringing an overdose of electricity to the overall result. Black As Heavens Above sounds and feels more melodious than its predecessors, also presenting hints of 80’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal while Milka once again steals the show with her passionate vocals; followed by Eternal Night Of The Mind, the second to last song of the album, a solid display of modern-day Heavy Metal that sounds a bit cheesy compared to the rest of the album, albeit still very detailed and enjoyable. And last but not least, let’s bang our heads one final time with Crimson Day in Epilogue / Time To Die, with Ari, Janne and Jesse delivering a scorching stringed attack, putting an epic ending to an epic album, I might say.

Such intense album of classy Heavy Metal made in Finland can be fully appreciated on Spotify, and you can also purchase your favorite copy of it by clicking HERE. Don’t forget to also give Crimson Day a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, staying updated with all of their news and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos. As already mentioned, the band has reached new heights in their career with their new album, with the evolution in their music certainly going to take them places, and with the vocals by Milka positioning the band as one of the strongest name of the genre in their homeland.

Best moments of the album: Release The Beast, The Mortal Undead and Black As Heavens Above.

Worst moments of the album: Eternal Night Of The Mind.

Released in 2023 Independent

Track listing
1. Release The Beast 3:57
2. The Calling 5:22
3. Crimson Day 5:09
4. The Mortal Undead 3:16
5. Deep To The Dark 5:25
6. Night To Forget 3:43
7. Raising The Fury 4:03
8. Black As Heavens Above 4:33
9. Eternal Night Of The Mind 4:23
10. Epilogue / Time To Die 5:06

Band members
Milka Uusitalo – vocals
Ari Balzar – guitars
Janne Rantanen – guitars
Jesse Kämäräinen – bass
Juhani Ikonen – drums

Album Review – Dysease / Era of Decay EP (2023)

A new Progressive Death Metal entity from Germany is armed with their debut EP, leading us all to a dystopian world that lets us dive into a universe of atrocities, (im)mortality and miseries of our modern-day society.

Formed in 2018 by former members of Iuramentum, Skin Harvest, Morok and Defector in Siegen, a city in Germany in the south Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia, the five-piece Progressive Death Metal act Dysease is dedicated to creating dark and haunting sounds by blending brutal riffs, catchy refrains, and progressive and thrash elements while prioritizing groove and atmosphere to immerse listeners in a dystopian ambiance. Now in 2023 the band formed of René “Wolles” Ax on vocals, Pätrick L. and Rafael G. on the guitars, Dimitri V. on bass, and Lukas Fenster on drums will attack your senses with their debut EP, entitled Era of Decay, leading us all to a dystopian world that lets us dive into a universe of atrocities, (im)mortality and miseries of our modern-day society, all embraced by the first-class, sharp production, mixing and mastering by the band’s own bassist Dimitri V., making the album’s atmosphere and vibe even heavier and more menacing.

A song about the problems in dealing with nature, and the revenge of nature on man, the opening track Unfurl The Plague is a demonic, heavy-as-hell display of Death Metal where René roars deeply nonstop, presenting a serene break before the band returns with their pulverizing sounds, flowing into the interlude Prologue, exhaling melancholy and setting the stage for the infernal Manufractured, based on the 2013 movie Elysium, where a future fictional dystopian world is described, while musically speaking Lukas crushes his drums mercilessly supported by the incendiary riffs by Pätrick and Rafael, being highly recommended for some classic headbanging. Then dedicated to all dictators hungry for power who act against the will of society and are ultimately overthrown, the band brings forth six minutes of Doom Metal-infused obscurity titled Deterrence By Brutality, with Dimitri and Lukas making our skulls tremble with their respective bass and drums, not to mention how demonic the guttural vocals by René sound. Lastly, we’re treated to the menacing The Staring Eye, dealing with the “locked in” syndrome described from the point of view of an affected person, showcasing the always somber riffage by Pätrick and Rafael and, therefore, putting a climatic and absolutely savage ending to the album.

A brand new entity in the world of extreme music, the guys from Dysease are waiting for you on Facebook with news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and on YouTube with more of their music and videos. However, in order to properly welcome them to our beautiful underground scene, you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from Apple Music or from Amazon, stream it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, or simply click HERE for all things Dysease. As the band mentions in their amazing debut EP, we’re indeed living in an era of decay, where our society is falling to pieces and everything that’s wrong and evil is taking over the world. Well, at least we have the striking metal music by bands like Dysease to keep us entertained until our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Manufractured and The Staring Eye.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Independent

Track listing
1. Unfurl The Plague 5:39
2. Prologue 0:31
3. Manufractured 5:13
4. Deterrence By Brutality 6:03
5. The Staring Eye 4:25

Band members
René “Wolles” Ax – vocals
Pätrick L. – guitars
Rafael G. – guitars
Dimitri V. – bass
Lukas Fenster – drums

Album Review – Brimstone Gate / Return from the Brimstone Portal (2023)

This Teutonic army will attack your senses with their debut album, paying tribute to 90’s Black and Death Metal from Norway, Sweden and England while also presenting some modern influences.

Formed in 2020 in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Hamm, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Black/Death Metal horde Brimstone Gate has just unleashed their debut album, entitled Return from the Brimstone Portal, paying tribute to 90’s Black and Death Metal from Norway, Sweden and England while also presenting some modern influences. Recorded by the band’s two founding members Carsten Nachtigall and Michael Gruen, mixed and mastered by Michael “Obelxxx” Elsner, and displaying a classic artwork licenced by iStock and re-worked and designed by Michael Gruen, Return from the Brimstone Portal is recommended for admirers of the music by Belphegor and Zyklon, showcasing all the talent and hard work by Simon Stellmacher (Niflhel) on vocals and bass, and Carsten Nachtigall (Niflhel) and Michael Gruen (Niflhel, Deathstruction) on the guitars and drum programming.

Cinematic, somber and atmospheric from the very first second, Beyond the Gate works as an intro to a horror movie, dragging our souls to the Stygian lair ruled by Brimstone Gate in Return from the Brimstone Portal, exploding into a technical yet visceral form of Death Metal with Simon roaring like a beast, therefore adding an extra dosage of dementia to the overall result; and the guitars by Carsten and Michael bring fire to their music in Voices of the Dead, accompanied by the song’s massive beats in another solid display of German Death Metal. Then spearheaded by the venomous screams by Simon we have Emperor of the Painful Realm, sounding infernal from start to finish to the song’s hammering drums.

The second half of the album begins with another bestial creation by the quintet named Path to Your Liberation, offering Simon’s rumbling bass and the always scorching riffs and solos by Casrten and Michael, and it’s then time for a neck-breaking extravaganza entitled The Void Darkened, displaying the band’s usual savagery spiced up by another demonic drum explosion. There’s no time to breathe as those Teutonic metallers keep darkening the skies with their fusion of Black and Death Metal in Death Arises in the Wind, showcasing more of their piercing, dirty riffs; whereas closing the album it’s time for the six-minute tune Lost Nightsun, sounding bold and austere while led by the deep roars by Simon, albeit a bit too lengthy in the end.

The new opus by Brimstone Gate is available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you’re an admirer of extreme music with an epic background story you can purchase a copy of the album (and consequently show all your support to the underground scene) directly from their own BandCamp page. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for tour dates, news and so on, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their incendiary music. Those German metallers are on absolute fire in Return from the Brimstone Portal, the first step in their promising career, and an amazing display of the always entertaining Black and Death Metal scene from one of the meccas of heavy music worldwide.

Best moments of the album: Return from the Brimstone Portal, Emperor of the Painful Realm and Path to Your Liberation.

Worst moments of the album: Lost Nightsun.

Released in 2023 ADG Records

Track listing
1. Beyond the Gate (Intro) 1:33
2. Return from the Brimstone Portal 5:00
3. Voices of the Dead 4:37
4. Emperor of the Painful Realm 4:11
5. Path to Your Liberation 5:26
6. The Void Darkened 5:12
7. Death Arises in the Wind 5:36
8. Lost Nightsun 6:26

Band members
Simon Stellmacher – vocals, bass
Carsten Nachtigall – guitars, drum programming
Michael Gruen – guitars, drum programming

Live lineup
Dominik Zillmann – vocals
Carsten Nachtigall – guitars
Michael Gruen – guitars
Robin Vieler – bass, backing vocals
Daniel Müller – drums

Concert Review – Wacken Metal Battle Canada Final (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 05/13/2023)

Wacken Metal Battle Canada returned in full force in 2023, leading to an unforgettable night of ass-kicking underground music at Lee’s Palace this Saturday.


What a night of first-class underground heavy music in Toronto, my friends! On pause since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wacken Metal Battle Canada finally returned from the ashes like a phoenix screaming for vengeance in 2023, and after over 60 bands participating in the regional rounds for the past few months in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City (and you can always review the rules for participation HERE), it was time this Saturday at Lee’s Palace for the 2023 edition of the Wacken Metal Battle Canada Final with the bands EATEN BY SHARKS, NECHT and STRIGAMPIRE, battling for a spot in the most admired metal festival in the world, the one and only Wacken Open Air in Germany, this summer.

Also featuring guest openers KORROSIVE and guest headliners WHIPLASH, the night was indeed a celebration of underground metal, with guest judges Pedro Almeida (A&P Reacts),  Antonio Almeida (A&P Reacts), Noel Peters (Inertia Entertainment), Tim Henderson (BraveWords), Thorsteinn Kolbeinsson (Wacken Metal Battle Iceland), Sarah Lutz (Looters), Kevin Michaud (Front Row Promotions), Luc Laine (CFLX 95.5 FM – Alerte Metallique), Rae Chatten (Rock’n Roam, Live Nation), Mark Tremblay (Metal on Metal Podcast) and JJ Tartaglia (Wacken Metal Battle Canada) having a lot of “trouble” to decide which one of the three amazing bands that played should head to Wacken and represent Canada in the holy land of metal music.

KORROSIVE (guest openers)

Before the crowd had the pleasure of witnessing the performances by the three finalists, Toronto-based Thrash Metal outfit KORROSIVE hit the stage to properly warm up everyone with their frantic, caustic and insane thrashing music. Having released the excellent album Toxic Apokalypse in 2022, the band formed of frontman Rad Zarei, guitarists Derek Solomos and Jack Neila, bassist Carlos Rodriguez and drummer Kaveh Afshar kicked some serious ass on stage, already inspiring everyone at the venue to ignite some sick mosh pits, until their grand finale with a pulverizing cover version for Venom’s all-time classic Black Metal. I highly recommend you go after their material on Spotify and on BandCamp if you’ve never heard of those guys, because they definitely know how to thrash in great fashion.

Band members
Rad Zarei – vocals
Derek Solomos – guitar
Jack Neila – guitar
Carlos Rodriguez – bass
Kaveh Afshar – drums


After a short break it was then time for the first contender of the night, Trois-Rivières, Quebec-based Melodic Black Metal horde STRIGAMPIRE, to show everything they got and, who knows, win the desired Canadian spot at Wacken Open Air this year. Having released their last album in 2018, titled One Fix, Nine Clouds & Six Feet Deep (which means we urgently need a new album by those guys), the band spearheaded by the unstoppable frontman Steve De Cotret delivered an incendiary performance, with pentagrams all over the stage and with Steve running around the venue, screaming in the faces of some of the attendees and so on, putting his heart and soul into his vocals. It was an insane show full of energy and darkness, and if you enjoy the more modern version of Black Metal from the Quebec scene, you should listen to all of their wicked creations on Spotify.

Band members
Steve De Cotret – vocals
Johnny Dead – guitars
William Tousignant – guitars
BadGuy P. – bass
Yannick Laplante – drums 


Right after Strigampire finished their sulfurous show, St. Catharines, Ontario’s own Technical Death Metal/Deathcore entity EATEN BY SHARKS hit the stage for another infernal performance, playing several songs from their 2022 album Eradication including Shallow Water, Kill and Consume, Same Face, Different Mask and Apex Predator. Their frontman Matt Sherriff was absolutely enraged on vocals while his bandmates sounded as heavy as hell throughout their entire set, receiving a very positive feedback from the crowd. They’re definitely another band I’ll be listening to on a regular basis so awesome their tech death is, and if you also love to slam into the circle pit while listening to high quality metal music you should let such demented shark bite your ears on Spotify and on BandCamp.

Band members
Matt Sherriff – vocals
Chris Chaperon – lead guitars
Dan Oko – rhythm guitars
Tyler Abrams – bass
Justin Whitehead – drums 


The last of the finalists to perform on Saturday was undoubtedly the most mysterious and atmospheric band of the night, bringing blasphemy and sulfur to Lee’s Palace with their “grim, martial and epic black metal conducted in the name of Our Father, B’ahn, the Ceaseless Warrior,” according to the band itself. I’m talking about Calgary, Alberta-based Ritualistic Black Metal entity NECHT, who put on a solid and entertaining performance for everyone at the venue. Armed with his spear and shield, vocalist Maharg led his horde of uncanny musicians (all wearing some sort of BDSM/Hellraiser-inspired masks) while roaring in the name of evil nonstop, even “baptizing” some of the concert goers with some sort of devilish black paint. Necht are about to release their debut full-length opus anytime soon, but if you can’t wait for that and want to have a good taste of how Stygian their music is, there’s one track already available on BandCamp. GLORY TO THE SUN!

Band members
Maharg – vocals
Zhargor – guitars, bass, backing vocals*
Vlasfimos – drums

*There was actually a fourth member of the band on stage, but I have no idea who he is, nor if he was the guitarist or the bassist.

WHIPLASH (guest headliners)

Before the winner of the 2023 Canadian Wacken Metal Battle was announced, we had the pleasure of witnessing one of the legends of underground Thrash and Speed Metal as the guest headliners of such fun night. I’m talking about Passaic, New Jersey-based Thrash/Speed Metal beast WHIPLASH, spearheaded by the iconic Tony Portaro on vocals and guitars. What an insane performance by the trio, playing tons of amazing underground classics from their almost 40 years of career the likes of Spit on Your Grave, Walk the Plank, Insult to Injury and the demolishing Power Thrashing Death. The mosh pits kept moving fast while Tony barked nonstop on stage (only stopping to have a sip of his beer), with their punk-ish and hardcore attitude showing all the kids present at the venue what old school Thrash Metal is all about. I doubt you know nothing about those guys, but just in case you’re from a different planet you can find all of their frantic creations on Spotify.

Band members
Tony Portaro – vocals, guitars
Dank DeLong – bass
Ron Lipnicki – drums


Well, first of all I want to thank my friend Jon Asher of Asher Media Relations for letting us participate in such important event to the Canadian underground scene, Keith Ibbitson of Lower Eastside Photography for the amazing band shots (except for Whiplash as he had to leave due to a personal matter, so I had to upload my shitty phone photos of the band to the review), and all media partners (Bravewords, Metal-Rules, Absolute Underground, BrokenNeckRadio, V13, Metal Devastation Radio, and internationally syndicated DJ Rich Embury) and promoters (Boonsdale Records, Dungeonworks Productions, The Invisible Orange, Big Nate Productions and ConcertWorks) for believing in Canadian metal.

Back to the music, the winner of such incredible night were the guys from STRIGAMPIRE, who will represent Canada at Wacken Open Air this year! One band to rule them all, right? Congratulations, you guys kicked some serious ass on Saturday! And if you want to know more about the entire event, all previous rounds and so on, you can go to the official Facebook page of Metal Battle Canada for everything regarding the initiative. Good luck to Strigampire at Wacken, although they honestly don’t need luck because they’re amazing and very professional musicians more than ready to rock the holy land of metal in Germany and show everyone in Europe the fury of Canadian Black Metal, and hopefully we’ll have more amazing metal battles in Canada next year with top-of-the-line bands such as Eaten by Sharks, Strigampire and Necht.

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