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:

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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.

Album Review – Godiva / Hubris (2023)

A prominent Symphonic and Melodic Death Metal horde from the Portuguese scene is back in action after a considerable hiatus with their first full-length opus.

One of the most prominent bands of the Portuguese Symphonic and Melodic Death Metal scene, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Braga-based horde Godiva is back in action after a considerable hiatus with their first full-length opus, entitled Hubris, sounding more imposing and orchestral than ever. Mixed and mastered by Wojtek Wiesławski (Behemoth, Decapitated, Doro) at Hertz Studio, Hubris will certainly appeal to fans of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren and Septicflesh, among others, offering us all 45 minutes of first-class extreme music carefully brought forth by the band’s strongest lineup since their inception in 1999, those being Pedro Faria on vocals, Ricardo Ribeiro on lead guitars, André Matos on rhythm guitars and orchestrations, Arcélio Sampaio on bass, and Eduardo Sinatra on drums.

Like the soundtrack to a horror movie, the opening tune Black Mirrors brings forward eerie background sounds, deep roars by Pedro and the crushing beats by Eduardo in a great Symphonic Black Metal extravaganza, whereas Ricardo and André slash their stringed axes mercilessly in the also obscure Dawn, once again blending classic Black Metal with contemporary and symphonic nuances. In Death Of Icarus the band’s musicality leans towards the Symphonic Black Metal played by renowned acts the likes of Carach Angren and Dimmu Borgir, with the classy sound of the piano matching flawlessly with the song’s riffage; and their heaviness keeps darkening the skies in Empty Coil, with Arcélio’s bass and Eduardo’s drums generating a thunderous ambience perfect for the sick, deep gnarls by Pedro. Then even more orchestral and majestic than the previous song, Faceless showcases Pedro’s sinister roars walking hand in hand with the furious beats by Eduardo.

Godspell, by far my favorite song of the album, offers our avid ears a fusion of the cinematic and extreme music blasted by Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Fitlh and Epica, spearheaded by the piercing vocals by Pedro while the band’s guitar duo kicks some ass with their riffs and solos, followed by the title-track Hubris, displaying a massive wall of sounds, being imposing and somber from start to finish, and with Eduardo’s tribal beats adding a touch of insanity to the overall result. It’s then time for another avalanche of Symphonic Black Metal by the quintet entitled Media God, keeping the album at a high level of sulfur thanks to another flammable performance by Pedro on vocals, while the band enhances their animosity and darkness in The All Seeing Eye, with Ricardo and André doing a great job on the guitars supported by the song’s infernal orchestrations and background elements. Last but not least, we’re treated to one final round of Godiva’s symphonic madness titled The Meaning of Life, with all the energy flowing from it putting a climatic ending to the album.

The talented Portuguese metallers from Godiva are waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram with news, tour dates, plans for the future and all things surrounding such obscure band, and don’t forget to also watch their official videos on YouTube and stream more of their music on Spotify. Hubris, which is now available for purchase from Godiva’s own BandCamp page and from Apple Music, represents more than just a return to action by Godiva; it’s also a solid statement that such focused and somber Symphonic and Melodic Death Metal act has finally found the desired shape and form for their sound, leaving us eager for more of their music in the coming years and, of course, beyond ready to succumb to our beloved darkness alongside them.

Best moments of the album: Death Of Icarus, Godspell and The All Seeing Eye.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Independent

Track listing
1. Black Mirrors 5:10
2. Dawn 4:08
3. Death Of Icarus 3:51
4. Empty Coil 4:21
5. Faceless 3:25
6. Godspell 5:44
7. Hubris 4:52
8. Media God 4:49
9. The All Seeing Eye 4:54
10. The Meaning of Life 4:32

Band members
Pedro Faria – vocals
Ricardo Ribeiro – lead guitars
André Matos – rhythm guitars, orchestrations
Arcélio Sampaio – bass
Eduardo Sinatra – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Elana Justin

Can’t believe I’m lost inside your eyes… And anything and everything don’t you know I’m up for it tonight…

As the winter might be hitting most of us in the Northern Hemisphere in full force, let’s turn up the heat here on The Headbanging Moose by paying a humble tribute to an up-and-coming lady who definitely knows how to rock, living and breathing old school and modern-day Hard Rock, and always showcasing a deep passion for music and arts in general. Owner of a beautiful voice that matches perfectly with the riffs from her own band Motive Black, our metal lady of the month of February will kick your ass mercilessly and hypnotize you with her looks and music. I’m talking about Elana Justin, a New Yorker who’s making a name for herself in the competitive American market, in special in her current city Los Angeles, California, in the United States. Having said that, are you ready for a Rock N’ Roll ride together with Elana and her Motive Black?

Elana has always been into music, growing up doing musical theatre and singing Hard Rock and Heavy Metal simultaneously. As mentioned by Elana herself, her father had a nightclub while she was growing up, and on Thursdays they would have a singer-songwriter night. “I think watching and listening to everyone during that time really inspired me to want to be a singer/performer,” commented Elana about her beginnings. Graduating from the bar band circuit in New York, Elana seized the opportunity to move to Los Angeles in 2018 to work on new music, suddenly finding herself immersed in the local scene and performing on open mic nights at the iconic Viper Room. That immersion and connections made with members of the local scene eventually led to a collaboration with Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Nick Rowe (Bloodsimple, Vampire Weekend), with the duo reworking a song from Elana’s former New York band, taking the music in a heavier direction. That’s how Motive Black was born.

Regarding the name Motive Black, Elana mentioned in one of her interviews that they had a lot of trouble coming up with a name for the band.  “David Buckner from Papa Roach actually came up with the name, and it fit perfectly. It really paired well with the music and vibe,” commented Elana, who also had a few words to say about the musical direction of Motive Black, venturing through the realms of Alternative Rock and Metal with Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll nuances. “I think the music both developed naturally and was pushed a little in a certain direction. I’ve always listened to and been a fan of this genre, and when the opportunity arose to create my own new project, I was definitely excited to really delve deep into the music I love.” Furthermore, Elana’s plan is to turn Motive Black into a full-bodied band, both in the interest of touring and future work on new music as they move forward.

Motive black are just about to release their debut opus, entitled Auburn (available on all platforms HERE), with Elena’s electrifying vocals bristling with a dynamic punch and scorching tones infusing all songs with raw, ferocious timbres and searing emotions. Regarding the album title, Elana explained that the album “is named for my sister’s beautiful auburn-colored hair. Losing her forced me to reexamine my life and make significant changes. I went through a huge transitional period which included both ugly and beautiful experiences. The album is a wild ride through that journey of anger, mania, deep love, and self discovery,” complementing by saying that “I lost my sister to her battle with addiction. She was one of the smartest women I will ever know. She was a straight-A student who aspired to be a doctor. Addiction does not discriminate. I am angry that she will never realize her dreams. This song is about loss, struggle, rage, but mostly it’s about missing my sister and all of her potential. I will never laugh with anyone like I did with Mia. We need to end the stigma associated with addiction. People are meant to be loved, not judged. I miss Mia every day, and I will for my whole life.” You can already enjoy songs from Auburn on YouTube, those being Broken, Fight Alone, and the title-track Auburn, as well as stream those songs on Spotify. Elana is extremely excited about not only the launch of Auburn, but also about the upcoming months as she plans to take the music by Motive Black to the stage, and therefore to feel the energy of the crowd reacting to her music.

Inspired by books, poetry, short stories, films and plays, Elana’s musical influences aren’t directly associated with the Motive Black sound, but they provided a solid foundation for the music to flourish. She cites Joan Jett, Alanis Morissette, and Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell as her main vocal inspirations, with bands like Halestorm pushing Motive Black’s music in the direction it has taken. “I’m a huge Halestorm fan; Lzzy Hale is a huge inspiration. I’m also really into Bring Me The Horizon lately.  I really love their creativity. Rival Sons was the last live show I saw before Covid. They were incredible. The vocals and musicianship left a huge impression on me,” commented Elana about some of the bands she enjoys the most. In addition, when asked which musician or celebrity she would date, her answer exhaled pure Rock N’ Roll. “I would have to say, Joan Jett. She oozes sex and power. She so inspires me, and just being around her would expand my consciousness.”

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One of the songs from Motive Black’s debut album, the thrilling Lift Me Up, featuring the red hot synergy of Elana performing together with Butcher Babies’ one and only Carla Harvey in a street fighting sequence fans will want to view on repeat. “I wanted the video to focus on female strength. The director and I worked together to come up with an idea that spoke to that. It was also fun to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I’ve never done anything combat related so it seemed like it would be a fun avenue to explore. The director, Dale Resteghini, also directed the video for Broken. I’m a Butcher Babies fan, so when the song was played for Carla and she agreed to perform on it I was super excited. Carla is a great example of a badass woman killing it in the music industry. I think her vibe fits the song perfectly. She really added something special to Lift Me Up. Working together really brought the song up to a new level,” commented Elana, complementing by saying that “I think it’s really important for people to see women working together to create music and art. We keep seeing it more and more and it’s so exciting. It’s essential for women in this industry to stick together and support each other. There is so much more female visibility in this kind of music than there was even just a few years ago.”

When questioned about the differences between the rock and metal scene in New York on the lower east side compared to the music scene on the legendary Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, Elana said that she has felt really embraced by the scene in Los Angeles since moving there, jamming at the Viper Room and meeting tons of talented musicians, as there’s always a lot going on in the city. When asked about how her hometown has influenced her sound, she said that she thinks there is a rawness that runs through every song that may not be present had she been from somewhere else.  “Who knows? I’m pretty laid back in general, I think and love living here in LA now. I save all my angst for the music!”

Elana strongly believes that drawing from experience gives the lyrics legs to stand on. “When something comes from a real place it almost writes itself. People want to connect – so I think songs from experience really resonate with listeners,” commented our diva, also saying that “everything that I write is emotion or experience driven, but sometimes a cool riff inspires lyrics that come out of nowhere and you work backwards to find the truth in them. It doesn’t always work – but there isn’t just one recipe I use. Other times I have something very specific that I want to say or reference and then I work with that to express what I am trying to get across.” She also believes that to be a successful musician or artist, especially in the very competitive landscape of the current music and arts industry, one should never give up, and be willing to persevere when times are tough or when there are too many obstacles that get in one’s way. Elana is indeed a fighter ready for any battle that comes her way, as not only she’s now beginning her path with Motive Black, but she’s also an actress (as you can see in her IMDB profile), having already featured in G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) and The Jim Gaffigan Show (2015).

Although our amazing singer has never been big into social media, she said she’s been adjusting to that as that’s going to play a big part in the way Motive Black connect to their fans and share their music for the foreseeable future. “I believe the more we can connect directly with our fans, the better chance we have not only to survive – but to thrive, long term.  Having loyal fans who are really into what we do – and are directly connected to us – the better chance we have to remain viable long term, no matter what the industry circumstances are,” said Elana, who also said that she wants people to hear her songs and reinterpret them into something that is meaningful to them. She wants us all to “be bold, be brave and always keep moving forward,” exactly like what she’s doing in her promising career in rock and metal music, and I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from her in a not-so-distant future.

Motive Black’s Official Facebook page
Motive Black’s Official Instagram
Motive Black’s Official YouTube channel
Motive Black’s Official Twitter

“I want people to hear my songs and reinterpret them into something that is meaningful to them. I want them to empower, and be an outlet for whoever is listening.” – Elana Justin

Album Review – Skulldozer / Non Stop Ruthless Crushing (2023)

Behold the debut effort by this ruthless American beast, showcasing a unique heaviness that’s firmly rooted in the old school but stands out in the current stream of Death Metal.

Blasting a visceral and crushing form of Death Metal since their inception back in 2020 in Texas, but currently located in Long Beach, a city located in Harrison County, Mississippi, in the United States, Skulldozer will smash your cranial skull with their newborn spawn, entitled Non Stop Ruthless Crushing. Combining elements of traditional Death Metal and modern melodic Sludge Metal, the band comprised of Jason Ramsay on vocals and guitars, Keith Dobson on lead guitars, Mike Spurlock on bass, and Joel Stepp on drums has truly captured a unique heaviness that’s firmly rooted in the old school but stands out in the current stream of Death Metal, delivering a ten-song offering of powerful and catchy, classic Death Metal that worships at the altar of righteous headbanging.

The title-track Non Stop Ruthless Crushing will darken your soul and crush you like an insect from the very first second, with Jason’s deep guttural walking hand in hand with the venomous riffage by the same Jason and Keith; whereas Joel sounds like a stone crusher in the vile Thy Enemies Driven Before Me, again showcasing the band’s passion for all things Death Metal, sounding visceral and heavy until the end. Kingdom Ossuarium is a neck-breaking, mid-tempo black mass by the quartet spearheaded by the inhumane roars by Jason while Mike hammers his bass mercilessly, and blasting sheer heaviness and hatred it’s time for Hatesworn Shitstorm, one of the most crushing songs of the album with Joel stealing the spotlight with his demonic beats. After that, get ready for two and a half minutes of absolute chaos and insanity titled Scum Beneath the Skin, offering brutal and technical Death Metal for the masses with Jason and Keith kicking ass with their riffs and solos.

Adding hints of obscure Doom Metal to their already damned sonority, the band fires Wolves Amongst Sheeple, showcasing another round of their headbanging riffs and fulminating beats, and more of their old school Death Metal sounds comes in the form of Bastards of Zeus, where not a single second is left empty, overflowing obscurity, rage and heaviness led by the pounding drums by Joel. Then in Bow to None the band alternates between faster moments and pure heaviness with Jason growling deeply during the entire song, supported by Joel’s crushing beats and Mike’s rumbling bass, whereas Deathblessed keeps the album at a high level of animosity, albeit a bit generic if compared to the rest of the album, while once again bringing elements from classic doom. Finally, those American death metallers offer our avid ears the infernal Skullfucking Domination, where the entire band is on fire, in special Joel with his demolishing beats, and with Jason vociferating rabidly in the name of extreme music.

If you want to show your support to this newborn beast named Skulldozer, you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, more of their music and so on, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, grab your copy of Non Stop Ruthless Crushing from their own BandCamp page as well as from the Guts and Blood Records’ BandCamp page. Skulldozer are among us to stay based on the high quality of the music found in their extremely vile debut album, and if I were you I would start warming up your neck for some unstoppable headbanging as soon as those guys hit the road with their venomous and demonic Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Hatesworn Shitstorm, Scum Beneath the Skin and Skullfucking Domination.

Worst moments of the album: Deathblessed.

Released in 2023 Guts and Blood Records/Rotten Records

Track listing
1. Non Stop Ruthless Crushing 4:35
2. Thy Enemies Driven Before Me 4:01
3. Kingdom Ossuarium 4:59
4. Hatesworn Shitstorm 3:58
5. Scum Beneath the Skin 2:30
6. Wolves Amongst Sheeple 4:42
7. Bastards of Zeus 3:47
8. Bow to None 5:05
9. Deathblessed 6:33
10. Skullfucking Domination 4:03

Band members
Jason Ramsay – vocals, guitars
Keith Dobson – lead guitars
Mike Spurlock – bass
Joel Stepp – drums

Album Review – Motive Black / Auburn (2023)

Rock on to the debut album by this promising Los Angeles-based band, peeling back the layers to reveal the dark and turbulent emotions that dwell in the heart of vocalist Elana Justin.

Peeling back the layers to reveal the dark and turbulent emotions that dwell in the heart of vocalist Elana Justin, Los Angeles, California-based Alternative Metal/Hard Rock group Motive Black is about to release their debut album, entitled Auburn. In collaboration with Grammy winning guitarist and producer Nick Rowe (Bloodsimple, Vampire Weekend), the duo have reworked songs from Elana’s former New York band, taking the music in a much heavier direction while also having guitarist Marcos Curiel (P.O.D.), drummer Ray Luzier (Korn), and vocalist Carla Harvey (Butcher Babies) as very special guests in the album. Produced by Nick at the legendary NRG Studios and mixed by Josh Wilbur, Auburn, which name was inspired by Elana’s sister’s auburn-colored hair (as losing her forced Elana to reexamine her life and make significant changes to it), will appeal to fans of Evanescence, The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm and In This Moment, among many others, representing a wild ride through that journey of anger, mania, deep love and self-discovery.

Nick wastes no time and begin an incendiary riff attack in Lift Me Up, featuring the she-wolf Carla Harvey as a guest vocalist, with the screams by Carla beautifully complementing the striking vocals by Elana; and featuring Ray Luzier on drums and Marcos Curiel on the guitars, Broken is another onrush of Alternative Rock and Metal that will please all admirers of the music by In This Moment and Halestorm. It’s then time for a headbanging tune titled Let Down, with Elana’s vocals alternating between Nu Metal and modern-day Hard Rock, not to mention how awesome Nick’s bass punches sound, and if you enjoy Halestorm’s modern sound you’ll have a blast with the rockin’ tune Bloodsport, showcasing hints of Punk Rock while Elana keeps kicking ass on vocals. Ray crushes his drums in the heavy and thrilling Caged, supported by the incendiary strings by Nick and, therefore, resulting in one of the best moments of the album. Such groovy and dark atmosphere continues in the Nu Metal feast Purge, again spearheaded by Elana’s strident vocals while Nick extracts tons of electricity from his guitar.

Supported by the frantic beats by Ray, Elana screams and roars in the name of Rock N’ Roll in Cellophane, an electrifying song perfect for slamming into the circle pit, followed by Bad Decisions, one of the most modernized of all songs, blending elements from the music by Korn, Nine Inch Nails and other renowned acts from the 2000’s rock scene. After that, Elana sounds insane in Fake, speeding things up to the classic beats by Ray while Nick’s riffage sets fire to the song’s already flammable vibe in an ass-kicking Alternative Metal extravaganza; whereas despite the solid job done by Ray on drums and the heavy riffs by Nick, the song Fight Alone sounds a bit generic compared to the rest of the album. The title-track Auburn offers our ears a passionate performance by Elana on vocals declaiming its pensive lyrics (“Who are you / When you’re all alone / When there’s no one looking / Do you still feel whole / What’s been living inside your soul / Are you empty inside / Are you empty inside”) while Ray dictates the pace with his pounding beats in a powerful heavy ballad, and lastly as a bonus we’re treated to the radio edit version of Lift Me Up, keeping the same energy of the original version.

The stunning Elana and her Motive Black are waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram with news, tour dates, more of their music and other nice-to-know details about the band, and don’t forget to also stream their classy creations on Spotify and to purchase your copy of auburn by clicking HERE. “I’m not an aggressive person,” Elana says. “But my music is very to the core; everything goes into it. I do most of my venting through music. It’s definitely a collaboration with Nick. We feed off each other and we’ve created some really cool music,” and we must all admit their partnership has been very productive and exciting so far, with Auburn becoming a must-listen album in the current American rock and metal landscape.

Best moments of the album: Lift Me Up, Cellophane and Fake.

Worst moments of the album: Fight Alone.

Released in 2023 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Lift Me Up 3:45
2. Broken 4:05
3. Let Down 3:36
4. Bloodsport 3:22
5. Caged  2:50
6. Purge 3:42
7. Cellophane 3:54
8. Bad Decisions 3:07
9. Fake 4:19
10. Fight Alone 3:40
11. Auburn 4:00
12. Lift Me Up (Single Edit) 3:34

Band members
Elana Justin – vocals
Nick Rowe – guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Carla Harvey – vocals on “Lift Me Up”
Ray Luzier – drums on “Broken”, “Caged”, “Cellophane”, “Fake”, “Fight Alone” and “Auburn”
Marcos Curiel – guitars on “Broken”

Album Review – Bloody Falls / Dying is Easy EP (2023)

This Finnish five-piece metal act is ready to attack with their new EP, a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death.

Formed back in 2017 in the city of Valkeakoski, Finland, the five-piece killer combo known as Bloody Falls combines all kind of elements of the most extreme metal genres, including blasting drums, epic passages and memorable guitar riffs that will make your head explode in a million pieces, while having their sound rooted in contemporary Melodic Black and Death Metal. Now in 2023 the band formed of Antero Hakala on vocals, Stavros Mathios and Marko Mäkinen on the guitars, Mika Lehtinen on bass and Rami Vartiainen on drums is unleashing upon humanity their new EP entitled Dying is Easy, following up on their 2021 album Burn the Witch. Recording and produced by the band’s own guitarist Stavros Mathios at VStudio, and mixed and mastered by Max Morton at Morton Studio, the EP is a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death, all introduced by heavy riffs and guttural vocals.

Are you scared to die, or are you scared to live? Well, Bloody Falls will answer that question to you in Dying is Easy, a brutal explosion of Black, Death and Groove Metal led by the venomous roars by Antero while Stravos and Marko darken the atmosphere with their devilish riffs. Then get ready for six minutes of sheer heaviness and obscurity in the modern-day Black and Death Metal feast titled Dancing with Flames, with Mika’s rumbling bass and Rami’s hammering drums inspiring us all to break our necks headbanging like crazy bastards; whereas Face Your Demise leans towards modern-day Melodic Death Metal with some Metalcore nuances, with Antero’s vocals sounding as evil as possible accompanied by the classic and melodic guitars by Stravos and Marko. It’s time for a headbanging, visceral Melodic Death Metal tune entitled Death By Hanging, with Rami stealing the spotlight with his massive beats while Antero keeps roaring like a beast, and their last blast of extreme music comes in the form of Reaper Is My Neighbor, where the bass jabs by Mika will hit you hard in the face while the band’s guitar duo keeps slashing their stringed weapons in great fashion.

Although it would have been nicer to have a full-length album released by the band instead of just an EP, the 25 minutes of music found in Dying is Easy are already incendiary enough to prove how talented and passionate for heavy music those Finnish metallers are, and if you want to show them your support you can find them and start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music on Spotify, and grab a copy of their new EP from the Art Gates Records webstore, from Apple Music, or by clicking HERE. As death is inevitable, why not enjoy some good heavy music during our miserable lives like what Bloody Falls have to offer us all until our very last breath?

Best moments of the album: Dancing with Flames and Death By Hanging.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Art Gates Records

Track listing
1. Dying is Easy 5:13
2. Dancing with Flames 5:46
3. Face Your Demise 4:22
4. Death By Hanging 4:10
5. Reaper Is My Neighbor 4:39

Band members
Antero Hakala – vocals
Stavros Mathios – guitars
Marko Mäkinen – guitars
Mika Lehtinen – bass
Rami Vartiainen – drums

Album Review – Dread Witch / Tower of the Severed Serpent (2023)

Embark on a journey through a dark wasteland infested with oozing swamps, sludge and filth by a sinister Doom Metal trio hailing from Denmark.

Formed in 2022 in Aarhus, Denmark by Andreas Cadaver of Stone Cadaver on guitars, bass and keys, Mikael Rise of Scamp on vocals, and Dennis Larsen, formerly of Olm, on drums, the newborn Doom Metal beast Dread Witch is ready to kill armed with their debut effort, entitled Tower of the Severed Serpent, offering sheer doom for the doomed as the end times are upon us all. Mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, Heaven Shall Burn), with drums recorded and engineered by Ole Madsen and additional drum engineering by Kasper Sørensen, and displaying a sinister artwork by Branca Studio, Tower of the Severed Serpent invites us all to embark on a journey through a dark wasteland infested with oozing swamps, sludge and filth, attacking us with a massive doom sound boasting thick layers of low-tuned guitars, distorted bass, meditative ambient textures and insane vocals recommended for fans of Conan, With the Dead, Triptykon and Devin Townsend, among others.

The sound of the howling winds warns us all a Doom Metal attack is about to begin in The Tower, with Andreas distilling his Black Sabbath-infused riffs while Mikael roars the song’s obscure words manically (“Cracks lining the inside / Just like / Hoary, porous bone / I wander on my own / Alone / On ice so very thin / As reason’s lowered in / Within / Lowered in to drown”) and Dennis smashes our heads with his pounding beats, whereas the already dirty riffage by Andreas gets even dirtier and more sinister in Serpent God, another infernal composition by the trio exhaling sheer heaviness and doom. Moreover, the vociferations by Mikael will demonically pierce your mind and darken your soul, while Dennis once again dictates the pace with his drums, walking hand in hand with Andreas’ stringed axe. And investing in a sonority clearly inspired by the one and only Triptykon, the trio fires the menacing, spine-chilling extravaganza Leech, where Mikael bursts his lungs screaming like a beast in a lecture in classic Doom Metal.

In Wormtongue, more of their psychological lyrics are declaimed by Mikael (“My life is a war / I’m battered and worn down / Look into my eyes / And you will see nothing / Bereft of life I’ll fall / Into a slumber so soothing”) while Andreas and Dennis generate a thunderous atmosphere with their low-tuned, cryptic bass lines and crushing beats; and Dennis never gets tired of hammering his drums, which adds tons of heaviness to Into the Crypt, their second to last explosion of Doom Metal also presenting elements of the most unfriendly form of Stoner Rock and Metal, all boosted by the song’s eerie background vocalizations and grim atmosphere. Lastly, the band shows absolutely no mercy for our souls in the instrumental closing tune Severed, beginning in a melancholic way before morphing into a neck-breaking, lugubrious musicality that will drag you into pitch black darkness until its epic ending.

The guys form Dread Witch are waiting for you inside their Stygian coven on Facebook and on Instagram with news, more of their music and so on, and if you want to show them your utmost support and join the dark side of doom you can purchase their debut album by clicking HERE. After all is said and done, your soul will certainly become darker as you feel the blood seeping from a sky blackened by the funeral pyre of mankind, thanks to the amazing job done by those Danish metallers in their infernal debut album. In other words, simply succumb to the other side, and pledge allegiance to the venomous Dread Witch!

Best moments of the album: Serpent God and Leech.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Bottomless Pit/Gateway Music

Track listing
1. The Tower 8:30
2. Serpent God 7:52
3. Leech 6:17
4. Wormtongue 6:10
5. Into the Crypt 5:40
6. Severed 4:48

Band members
Mikael Rise – vocals
Andreas Cadaver – guitar, bass, keys
Dennis Larsen – drums
Leifur Nielsen – bass*
Pelle Santana – lead guitar*

*Leifur Nielsen and Pelle Santana joined the band after the recording of the album, and therefore did not perform in it.

Album Review – Høstsol / Länge Leve Döden (2023)

A monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death in the form of dark and sinister 90’s Black Metal made in Scandinavia.

The Stygian project of Swedish vocalist Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Norwegian guitarist Cernunnus (Manes), Finnish bassist Kalmos (Barathrum), and Finnish drummer Rainer Tuominkanto (Ajattara), Scandinavian Black Metal entity Høstsol, which by the way means “autumn sun” from Swedish, has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, entitled Länge Leve Döden, or “long live death”, an album conceived and recorded by people who have been molding the sounds of all things dark since the 90’s, and you can hear that experience and unconditional dedication in every note. Mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) at Sonic Train Studios, Länge Leve Döden is, according to the band itself, “our monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death. A perfect alignment of five songs that were written during an awful, unhealthy process over the course of two years. Expect Black Metal the way it used to feel and sound back in the early nineties, and rejoice!”

An eerie intro slowly evolves into the grim and dark As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet, showcasing pensive lyrics (“A human life is worth less than nothing / So therefore I dream, night after night, / Dreams of putting an end to all materialistic desires, / And annihilate the despicable cosmic failures of the false prophet Jahve, / And through faith and fanatic devotion, crown the one true king”) and a beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal sound. Rainer sounds inhumane on drums, bringing endless heaviness to Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen), or “what once was (it will never be again)”, while Niklas vociferates beastly for our total delight during the song’s eight minutes of pure obscurity; followed by Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren, or “long live the faceless killer”, absolutely sinister from the very first second spearheaded by the vicious growls by Niklas and the always hammering beats by Rainer, not to mention the sulfurous riffs by Cernunnus. Then Gregorian chants ignite ten minutes of sheer Black Metal magic entitled Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen, or “your harvest time has now come”, where Cernunnus is unstoppable with his classic riffage supported by the rumbling bass by Kalmos, sounding infernal and majestic from start to finish. And closing the album the quartet offers us all their hellish Black Metal with hints of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal in Parallellt Dubbelliv, or “parallel double life”, displaying a menacing ambience perfect for the demonic gnarls by Niklas.

There are several places where you can put your evil hands on Länge Leve Döden (which is by the way available in full on YouTube and on Spotify), including the band’s own Big Cartel, the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, Sound Cave (as a CD, an LP or a deluxe LP), The Sinister Initiative’s Big Cartel, Season of Mist (also as a CD or an LP), Shining Legions (yet again as a CD or an LP), or Apple Music. In addition, don’t forget to also start following such incendiary Scandinavian horde on Instagram, keeping up to date with all things Høstsol. Länge Leve Döden is indeed an amazing tribute to the Lord of Death, as the band stated, showcasing the reach and fire of Scandinavian Black Metal and, therefore, becoming the perfect soundtrack for the darkest days of our miserable lives.

Best moments of the album: Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren and Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet 9:31
2. Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen) 8:14
3. Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren 10:29
4. Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen 8:44
5. Parallellt Dubbelliv 7:32

Band members
Niklas Kvarforth – vocals
Cernunnus – guitars
Kalmos – bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – drums

Album Review – Obituary / Dying of Everything (2023)

It’s time to die to the sound of the instantly memorable newborn beast by Florida’s undisputed Death Metal heavyweight champions.

If you’re a diehard fan of old school Death Metal, you already know that legendary Gibsonton, Florida-based death metallers Obituary returned to the battlefield last week with their newborn sonic attack, entitled Dying of Everything, the follow-up to their 2017 self-titled album. Recorded by the band at their home studio named RedNeck Studios, mixed by Joe Cincotta at Full Force Studio, and displaying a beautiful yet sinister artwork by Polish artist Mariusz Lewandowski (R.I.P.), Dying Of Everything destroys in the time-honored tradition of early Obituary classics Slowly We Rot and Cause of Death while maintaining the killer studio sound that the band has been perfecting since their 2007 opus Xecutioner’s Return, therefore solidify their legacy as a Death Metal institution and showcasing all the talent and brutality by frontman John Tardy, guitarists Kenny Andrews and Trevor Peres, bassist Terry Butler and drummer Donald Tardy.

The album begins in full force to the sound of the frantic and demonic Barely Alive, where Donald crushes his drums mercilessly in the name of our good old Death Metal. Put differently, what an insane tune by Obituary, and they continue their violent attack in The Wrong Time, which I had the pleasure of seeing live before the album was released when they opened for Amon Amarth in Toronto in December 2022, being absolutely solid, furious and perfect for some sick headbanging. The dirty bass by Terry together with the razor-edged riffage by Kenny and Trevor offer John exactly what he needs to distill his venomous roars in Without a Conscience, sounding neck-breaking and vibrant until the very end, whereas the band then darken the skies to the sound of the sick and vile War, where John once again growls majestically throughout the entire song in a lecture in old school Death Metal. And putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for the title-track Dying of Everything, showcasing an amazing guitar job done by Kenny and Trevor.

In My Will to Live we’re treated to wicked lyrics vociferated by John (“Bury me with a cross, with the cross tide / My will / Sentence me to the sand, liquify / My will to live / My will to live”) amidst a sinister and heavy atmosphere, followed by By the Dawn, featuring a guest guitar solo by David Austin of Nasty Savage, offering us all more of the band’s classic Death Metal spearheaded by the pounding beats by Donald. Then get ready to crush your damned body into the circle pit to the sound of Weaponize the Hate, with the whole band being in absolute sync and, therefore, turning it into one of the best moments of the album hands down; whereas their guitars keep cutting our skin deep without mercy in Torn Apart, another extremely well-crafted tune that represents the past, present and future of Obituary, with John sounding even more enraged than before. Lastly, although heavy and obscure, the mid-tempo Be Warned doesn’t bring the same energy as the rest of the album. John has an excellent vocal performance as usual, though, and the song is still very enjoyable.

In a nutshell, Obituary killed again with dying of Everything, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, proudly keeping the torch of old school Death Metal burning bright wherever they go. Hence, don’t forget to follow those veterans on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked music and videos, and above all that, to grab a copy of such flammable album from their own BandCamp page, from the Relapse Records webstore, or simply click HERE to get your desired version of the album. Dying Of Everything is instantly memorable, and it will surely inspire the band to keep moving forward no matter what. “I think it comes down to passion,” said John. “I say this all the time, but if something’s not fun, I’m not gonna do it. And we’re having more fun than ever.” Well, thank you, John and the rest of Obituary, for such fun album!

Best moments of the album: Barely Alive, War, Weaponize the Hate and Torn Apart.

Worst moments of the album: Be Warned.

Released in 2023 Relapse Records

Track listing
1. Barely Alive 3:32
2. The Wrong Time 4:28
3. Without a Conscience 4:28
4. War 4:25
5. Dying of Everything 4:43
6. My Will to Live 5:20
7. By the Dawn 4:35
8. Weaponize the Hate 4:00
9. Torn Apart 3:37
10. Be Warned 5:49

Band members
John Tardy – vocals
Kenny Andrews – lead guitars
Trevor Peres – rhythm guitars
Terry Butler – bass
Donald Tardy – drums

Guest musician
David Austin – guitar solo on “By the Dawn”

Album Review – Leper Colony / Leper Colony (2023)

***Review by Luke Hayhurst, writer for Morbid Wings (Print) ZineVM Underground Fanzine and Doom-Metal.com***

I’m very much of the opinion that Rogga Johansson doesn’t sleep! How can he sleep with a list of bands and projects that would keep a civil servant happy for a decade? His latest endeavour is the Death/Thrash Metal triumvirate Leper Colony, who have chosen Friday the 13th of January as a suitable date to unleash their debut self-titled album through Transcending Obscurity Records.

You can’t ask for a more powerful opener than The Human Paradox; a blistering track of intensive Death Metal ferocity and wild thrashing aggression. Deep growled vocals bring to life a very captivating chorus section whilst chugging riffs and frenzied drumming complete with punishing bass and extravagant guitar melodies. ‘Perdition’s End’ is a more direct and hard-hitting track with simpler riffs and in-your face vocals, though the rhythm guitar here has a cold tinge to it that is rather enigmatic.

There is little variation to this opus which spans just over the half an hour mark, save for the odd passage of slower, groovier rhythm such as during tracks like Rapture Addict. However, the ferocious aggression, raging guitar solos and fuck you attitude certainly make up for that! A very listenable album full to the gills with mighty riffs, energetic urgent drumming styles and unadulterated violence.

Best moments of the album: The roaring opener that is The Human Paradox.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 by Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. The Human Paradox 4:22
2. Perdition’s End 3:19
3. The Surgical Undeadvors 3:43
4. Tar and Feathers 3:15
5. Rapture Addict 4:40
6. Leper Colony 4:35
7. A Flow So Greatly Macabre 3:20
8. Flesh Crawl Demise 3:24
9. Gruesome End 2:55

Band members
Marc Grewe – vocals
Rogga Johansson – guitars, bass
Jon Skäre – drums

Links
Leper Colony Facebook | YouTube | BandCamp | Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon

Album Review – Seven Doors / Feast of the Repulsive Dead (2023)

Behold the spine-chilling debut album by this one-man outfit from the UK, flawlessly combining his passion for 70’s and 80’s horror films with his love for 90’s Death Metal.

A one-man horror-themed Death Metal band formed in 2020 in Cornwall, located in the southwest of the UK, the unrelenting Seven Doors, whose name is inspired by the name of the hotel in Lucio Fulci’s 1981 film The Beyond, is ready to take everything to the next level of horror with the project’s debut full-length album Feast of the Repulsive Dead, the follow-up to its 2021 debut EP The Gates of Hell. Recorded by the project’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Wills, mixed by Ben King at Cryptic Sound, mastered by JB Van Der Wal at Hewwetover Studio, and displaying an 80’s horror flick-themed cover art by Dedy Badic Art, Feast of the Repulsive Dead flawlessly combines Ryan’s passion for 70’s and 80’s horror films with his love for 90’s Death Metal, with his musical influences stemming from renowned acts like Death, Gorguts, Asphyx, Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse, resulting in a banger of a record that will certainly grab the attention of Death Metal enthusiasts worldwide.

Fully created by Slasher Dave of Acid Witch, A Quiet Night in the Cemetery is a great intro absolutely inspired by all of those awesome slasher flicks form the 80’s, sending shivers down your spine before Ryan begins decimating his guitar in the title-track Feast of the Repulsive Dead, a lesson in brutality and gore where he roars and gnarls deeply like a creature taken from a horror movie. And Ryan keeps distilling his visceral, in-your-face Death Metal in the also demolishing Stalked, Strangled and Stabbed, displaying an amazing job done with his riffage and his vile but intricate beats; followed by The Morbid Mortician, with the guest solo by Paul Nazarkardeh of De Profundis bringing an extra touch of insanity to the music, therefore living up to the legacy of the genre, with the song’s infuriated riffage being a thing of beauty. Ryan’s fusion of Death Metal and horror continues to impress in Welcome Back to Life, offering more of his demonic growls amidst a neck-breaking sonic devastation, whereas inspired by giants the likes of Immolation, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel, it’s time for a mid-tempo, heavy-as-hell tune titled I’ll Swallow Your Soul, with Ryan once again being on fire with all instruments.

It’s then time to slam into the circle pit to the sound of the Death Metal extravaganza titled The Hack Shack, showcasing a huge dosage of violence and gore spiced up by the hard work Ryan put into each second of the song, feeling very detailed, exciting and brutal, and there’s no time to breathe as Ryan continues to crush our damned souls in Isolated Existence, another Cannibal Corpse-inspired tune presenting hammering drums and demented riffs. After such demolishing tune, a serene intro explodes into sheer violence and hatred in The Graves of Matool. Needless to say, Ryan sounds infernal with both his guttural roars and unstoppable Death Metal riffs; and Ryan still has a lot of fuel to burn with Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, featuring the guest solos by Chris Monroy and Mike De La O of Skeletal Remains, another bestial composition where his bass and drums will hit you hard in the head. Lastly, we have his rendition of Malevolent Creation’s Eve of the Apocalypse (check the original one HERE from their 1992 album Retribution), and I must say what a beautiful tribute by Ryan and his Seven Doors, sounding as demented and obscure as the original version.

“The key theme here for me is density: protein-packed riffs rip along with satisfying retro thickness, sometimes shifting gears up into buzzing tremolo passages, and everything from the kick drum to the vocals just packs onto the satisfying impact. That’s not to say anything is overcrowded, but thin and lifeless death metal this is not. Classic staples of the genre, like larger-than-life solos floating on top of the mix and gnarly bass runs helping to kick off songs, keep Feast of the Repulsive Dead grounded and viciously enjoyable throughout. Whether or not you’re in the right climate to share my mindset, the end of the year – and this year specifically – tends to be rough for many reasons. Let Seven Doors drive away some of those worries through sheer force,” commented Ryan about his fantastic, must-listen new opus, and if you want to show him your support you can follow Seven Doors on Facebook and Instagram, stream his music on Spotify, and purchase a copy of Feast of the Repulsive Dead from his own BandCamp page, or from the Redefining Darkness Records’ webstore in the US (as a CD or an LP) and in Europe (also as a CD or as an LP) sooner than a dead body can resuscitate as a zombie.

Best moments of the album: Feast of the Repulsive Dead, The Morbid Mortician, The Hack Shack and Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2023 Redefining Darkness Records

Track listing
1. A Quiet Night in the Cemetery 1:08
2. Feast of the Repulsive Dead 4:56
3. Stalked, Strangled and Stabbed 3:55
4. The Morbid Mortician 5:00
5. Welcome Back to Life 4:20
6. I’ll Swallow Your Soul 4:01
7. The Hack Shack 3:38
8. Isolated Existence 4:13
9. The Graves of Matool 5:40
10. Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers 3:13
11. Eve of the Apocalypse (Malevolent Creation cover) 3:05

Band members
Ryan Wills – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
Slasher Dave – everything on “A Quiet Night in the Cemetery”
Paul Nazarkardeh – guitar solo on “The Morbid Mortician”
Chris Monroy – guitar solo on “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers”
Mike De La O – guitar solo on “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers”