Album Review – -hrz- / fwd>> EP (2021)

To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. And if you decide to do so, do it to the sound of the debut solo EP by this multi-talented Finnish rocker.

3.0rating

hrz-fwd-ep-2021Hailing from Oulu, Finland, here comes a new Melodic Hard Rock act that goes by the curious name of -hrz-, the solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Harri Halonen (better known for his work with the amazing Finnish Hard Rock band Afire), armed with his debut EP entitled fwd>>. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Aki Karppinen at Olga Studios in Tyrnävä, Finland, fwd>> offers us fans five electrifying rock compositions carefully brought into being by Harri, supported by the talented Finnish drummer Ari Kemppainen. “To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. I grew up in a rural village, mainly known for its potatoes. That’s where my first band with drummer cousin Ari took its baby steps. Now, decades later, we went back, rehearsed and recorded these new songs. No potatoes were harmed in the process. I have a soft spot for melodies and harmonies on a groovy rock song, so that’s what I went for. I handled the vocals and stringed instruments myself, Ari took care of the drums, naturally,” commented Harri about his newborn rockin’ baby.

The opening tune My Way Or The Highway kicks off in full force to the slashing riffs by Harri, sounding like a fusion of Velvet Revolver with his own band Afire, not to mention Ari also does an amazing job with his fast-paced beats and fills. Then presenting elements of modern-day Rock N’ Roll and Southern Rock the duo fires the solid Never Found, once again displaying an electrifying vibe thanks to the excellent job done by Harri with his always sharp guitar lines; and Ari keeps hammering his drums beautifully in Jaws/Claws, where Harri adds hints of the music by bands like Volbeat, Motorjesus and Motley Crüe to his no-shenanigans Hard Rock, inviting us to dance and bang our heads nonstop. The Pyre is even more melodic than its predecessors while at the same time not as frantic, with Harri and Ari being in absolute sync from start to finish, pleasing all fans of the more contemporary versions of rock music, whereas closing the EP it’s time for another Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots-infused tune titled Vortex, showcasing classic guitar lines, groovy bass jabs and pure, old school Hard Rock beats.

hrz-2021You can move forward in your life to the sound of fwd>> by streaming the full EP on Spotify and by purchasing it from Apple Music, and don’t forget to also give Harri a shout on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to his official YouTube channel to stay up to date with all things -hrz-. Although Harri mentioned that he had to take a step back in time before going forward in his career with fwd>>, let’s say that the music found in his debut solo effort is a million light-years away from being obsolete or outdated; quite the contrary, the 20 minutes of rock music offered in the EP exhale modernity and energy, keeping the atmosphere fresh and vibrant from start to finish and, therefore, leaving us eager for more of his distinct melodies and harmonies in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: My Way Or The Highway and Jaws/Claws.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Audion

Track listing
1. My Way Or The Highway 3:06
2. Never Found 4:06
3. Jaws/Claws 3:06
4. The Pyre 3:39
5. Vortex 5:52

Band members
Harri Halonen – vocals, guitars, bass
Ari Kemppainen – drums

Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Memento Mori, Motherfucker (2021)

This amazing Danish trio is back in action with a riff-laden Stoner Rock and Metal journey in the form of their crushing new album, reminding us all of the inevitability of death.

3.5rating

stone-cadaver-memento-mori-motherfucker-2021Having stewed for some time in the darkest and most evil of witch cauldrons, Memento Mori, Motherfucker, the brand new album by Aarhus, Denmark-based Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver is ready to be let loose upon humanity, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 release Reject Remove Replace. Just like its predecessor, Memento Mori, Motherfucker is a riff-laden journey through a dynamic soundscape that forms an organic whole, showcasing all the talent of Anders Bech Nielsen on vocals and guitar, Andreas Slocinski on bass and Jesper Hauptmann on drums. Produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen and recorded live in his Antfarm Studio north of the band’s hometown, the album is a strong feast of heavy, down-tuned Stoner Metal with elements of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock, crushing Doom Metal and classic Heavy Metal that will certainly please all fans of the mighty riff.

The low-tuned, menacing bass by Andreas set the tone in the heavy intro The Reckoning, warming up our senses for the visceral Realm Of Darkness, the perfect choice for cracking your neck headbanging to the classic riffs by Anders accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Jesper in a solid and entertaining feast of old school Doom and Sludge Metal. Then dark clouds of pure doom are above us all in the massive Doom Christ, offering the listener a Stygian wall of sounds crafted by the trio, sounding like a hybrid of the original Black Sabbath sound with their own Dio years, and with the guitar lines by Anders sounding truly infuriated and raw. And it’s time for Stoner Cadaver to bring forward their “tribute” to the catholic church in Whip The Sinners, a straightforward creation inspired by 70’s Doom Metal with Anders once again being on fire with his wicked vocals.

After such intense tune, we’re treated to an instrumental, ethereal interlude entitled Paean, soothing our souls and working as “the calm before the storm” as the band comes hammering our damned souls once again with Diseased Deceased, a flammable Stoner Rock and Metal extravaganza led by the pounding drums by Jesper while Andreas continues to extract devilish, metallic sounds from his bass, flowing into another whimsical bridge titled Fare Thee Well before all hell breaks loose one last time to the sound of the nine-minute Doom Metal aria Murder Mountain, starting with the eerie bass lines by Andreas amidst a background storm. It’s an infernal composition by Stoner Cadaver that will put you in a trance without a shadow of a doubt while Jesper keeps smashing his drums nonstop, also presenting tons of breaks and variations, exhaling groove and thunder and, of course, always praising the riff, with its final acoustic passage putting a climatic ending to the album.

stone-cadaver-2021If you want to know more about Stoner Cadaver, their music, tour dates and so on, you can find those Danish rockers on Facebook, on Instagram, on Spotify and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your love for underground doom you should definitely purchase Memento Mori, Motherfucker sooner than you can say “motherfucker” from their own BandCamp page, as well as from imusic.dk in CD or LP format, or from gatewaymusicshop.dk. As you all know, memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which makes me wonder if Stone Cadaver’s goal with their new album was to actually remind us that we’re all going to die one day. If that’s the case, let’s say that not only they did it in great fashion with Memento Mori, Motherfucker, but they also provided us a great option for enjoying our last moments on earth before our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Doom Christ and Murder Mountain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Yog-Sothoth Records/Gateway Music

Track listing 
1. The Reckoning 1:26
2. Realm Of Darkness 6:50
3. Doom Christ 6:00
4. Whip The Sinners 3:36
5. Paean 1:13
6. Diseased Deceased 6:26
7. Fare Thee Well 1:08
8. Murder Mountain 9:11

Band members
Anders Bech Nielsen – vocals, guitar
Andreas Slocinski – bass
Jesper Hauptmann – drums

Album Review – Arcane Marrow / The Elders Present To Me (2021)

This uncanny Tennessee-based horde is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus of raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal, bringing to our ears six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born.

3.5rating

arcane-marrow-the-elders-present-to-me-2021Labeling their own sound as “raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal”, the mysterious Tennessee, United States-based entity that goes by the straightforward name of Arcane Marrow has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, beautifully titled The Elders Present To Me. Featuring six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born, The Elders Present To Me will please all fans of primeval Scandinavian extreme music the likes of Mayhem and Immortal, crushing our souls and minds mercilessly like insignificant insects and, consequently, dragging us all into a Black Metal void for all eternity.

Like a demonic creature arising from the underworld, Arcane Marrow begin their Stygian Black Metal attack in Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism, showcasing infernal, old school riffs boosted by those vicious blast beats only classic Black Metal can provide us, not to mention the hellish vociferations that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. Closing your eyes and sensing Arcane Marrow’s darkness and rawness is a thing of beauty, and that’s exactly what they offer us all in Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains, with the strident, piercing sound of their guitars slashing our senses accompanied by their inhumane roars and gnarls, resulting in a lesson in old school Black Metal; and get ready for nine minutes of truly disturbing sounds not recommended for the lighthearted in the form of Before the First Notions of God, a bestial and extremely raw creation by this uncanny entity from Tennessee spiced up by a sick guitar solo and the endless screeches and screams flowing throughout the entire song.

If you thought the first half of the album was infernal, be prepared for seven minutes of absolute obscurity to the sound of the title-track The Elders Present to Me, presenting hints of Blackened Doom to make things even more sinister while once again bringing forward all elements we love in raw Black Metal, in special its vicious growling. Then a beyond melancholic and grim start will embrace our damned souls in the nine-minute aria The Dismal Woods Receive Me, exploding into sheer madness and violence to the sound of their crushing drums and razor-edged riffage, and last but not least, closing such intense album we have All Enveloping Black Harmony, once again hammering our blackened hearts and souls with their fulminating, unrelenting Black Metal spearheaded by their venomous blast beats, flowing infernally like an arrow on fire in pitch black darkness until the very last second.

arcane-marrow-logoThe gods of Black Metal are summoning us all to join Arcane Marrow in their evil mass to the sound of The Elders Present To Me, and you can do that by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following Arcane Marrow on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about such distinct horde, and above all that, by grabbing a copy of their pulverizing album from their BandCamp page. However, as already mentioned, I must warn you that once you begin your journey through the raw and infernal lands or raw and primeval Black Metal ruled by Arcane Marrow, there’s absolutely no way back from eternal damnation.

Best moments of the album: Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains and The Dismal Woods Receive Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing   
1. Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism 7:49
2. Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains 6:34
3. Before the First Notions of God 9:07
4. The Elders Present to Me 7:02
5. The Dismal Woods Receive Me 9:26
6. All Enveloping Black Harmony 7:51

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Sarmat / RS-28 (2021)

Behold the debut album by this Polish brigade, offering us all a mixture of Death and Black Metal split into eight visceral tracks about destruction, military industry and human fears and obsessions.

3.5rating

sarmat-rs-28-2021Having their name taken from “The Weapon of Ultimate Destruction”, the Russian super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) RS-28 SARMAT (also known as SATAN 2), Poland’s own Black/Death Metal brigade Sarmat has just unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length opus, titled RS-28, a lesson in violence by Łukasz Kobusiński on vocals, Daniel Szymanowicz on guitars, bass, keyboards and VST instruments, and Krzysztof “Kopyś” Kopczeński also on the guitars, supported by session drummer Krzysztof Klingbein. Engineered, mixed and mastered at Santa Studio by Arkadiusz “Malta” Malczewski and displaying a sinister artwork by Lord K., RS-28 offers a mixture of Death and Black Metal split into eight visceral tracks about destruction, military industry and human fears and obsessions, being highly recommended for admirers of the savagery blasted by renowned bands like Sarmat’s countrymen Behemoth.

A Black Metal onrush will smash you like an insect from the very first second in Coldgrinder, with Daniel and Kopyś, accompanied by Krzysztof, hammer their sonic weapons mercilessly, all spiced up by Łukasz’s demonic, deep guttural roars. Then a beyond sulfurous intro morphs into sheer adrenaline and violence in Evilution, inviting us all to bang our heads in the name of evil, with Krzysztof once again showcasing his heavy artillery behind his drums while Łukasz keeps vociferating the song’s wicked words like a true beast (“Confronting with the evil-ution / Controlling the creature’s instinct / Ceremonial madness in psychotic eyes / The sentence for all cold life”); and the band explodes our senses with the infernal The Shining of Oneiros, a bestial display of Blackened Death Metal spearheaded by the inhumane growling by Łukasz. Then we have the title-track RS-28, darker and more doomed than its predecessors, with Daniel and Kopyś being on absolute fire with their axes delivering a malevolent riffage that lives up to the legacy of classic Death Metal.

Another grim, melancholic start quickly explodes into pulverizing Black and Death Metal in Seeds of Uncertainty, where Krzysztof proves once again why he was chosen as the session drummer for the album while Łukasz keeps growling to the wicked riffs by the band’s guitar duo; whereas the warlike lyrics darkly roared by Łukasz (“Revolt / You don’t live in my war / Pain makes me stronger everyday / Life is war, not illusion”) set the tone in the Doom Metal-infused tune You Don’t Live in My War, where the bass lines by Daniel sound utterly thunderous from start to finish. Following such demented tune we have Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) part I, just as pulverizing as the rest of the album, bringing to our ears first-class Polish Blackened Death Metal where the sound of the guitars will pierce your minds without a single drop of mercy, flowing into the hellish and obscure Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) part II, ending the album on a Stygian note to the devilish growls by Łukasz, always supported by the band’s unstoppable riffs and blast beats.

sarmat-2021Sarmat’s insane display of Blackened Death Metal can be better appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to join their metallic brigade you should definitely purchase a copy of RS-28 from their own BandCamp page, from allegrolokalnie.pl, from Selfmadegodrecords, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, and don’t forget to also follow such promising band on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to their YouTube channel. Sarmat have certainly crafted their own “weapon of ultimate destruction” with RS-28, a kick-ass album that proves once again that the fusion of extreme music and war will always bring a positive outcome to us metalheads from all over the world.

Best moments of the album: Evilution, The Shining of Oneiros and Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) part I.

Worst moments of the album: You Don’t Live in My War.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. Coldgrinder 3:19
2. Evilution 5:45
3. The Shining of Oneiros 4:11
4. RS-28 3:51
5. Seeds of Uncertainty 3:36
6. You Don’t Live in My War 5:38
7. Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) part I 3:32
8. Blackout (Scenario for Tomorrow) part II 3:41

Band members
Łukasz Kobusiński – vocals
Daniel Szymanowicz – guitars, bass, keyboards, VST instruments
Krzysztof “Kopyś” Kopczeński – guitars

Guest musician
Krzysztof Klingbein – drums (session)

Album Review – Defacement / Defacement (2021)

A dissonant Death and Black Metal statement of utter violence and despair against the endless inner struggle caused by the growing lack of meaning in this thing we call life.

3.5rating

defacement-defacement-2021What started in 2019 as the side project of an underground Black Metal band called Deathcrush quickly evolved into one of the most promising acts in the realm of dissonant Death and Black Metal and certainly one that doesn’t fear to experiment, although they remain faithful to Extreme Metal’s sonic roots. I’m talking about Utrecht, Netherlands-based entity Defacement, who after their self-produced debut Deviant are back from the underworld with their self-titled sophomore opus, a statement of utter violence and despair against the endless inner struggle caused by the growing lack of meaning in this thing we call life. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Catacomben Studios, displaying a sinister cover painting by Dusty Ray, and with art direction and layout by Francesco Gemelli, the album is a work poised between horror and introspection, showcasing all the talent and obscurity by vocalist and bassist Forsaken Ahmed, guitarist Khalil Azagoth and drummer Mark Bestia.

Limbo I is a beyond eerie intro sounding as if the gates to the netherworld have been wide open, haunting our souls before Defacement come ripping like a ravaging beast in Shattered, where Mark is simply demonic behind his drums, providing Ahmed all he needs to roar and scream in great Death Metal fashion (not to mention the pulverizing riffage by Khalil). In other words, it’s a lecture in modern-day Death and Black Metal, offering us all almost ten minutes of disturbing sounds and noises, endless obscurity and absolutely no sign of hope. Then even more atmospheric and ethereal, the interlude Limbo II will warm up our senses for the Blackened Doom-infused aria Disavowed, another vile and Stygian creation by the trio with Mark dictating the song’s infernal pace while Ahmed continues to burst his lungs vociferating nonstop, always accompanied by Khalil and his razor-edged guitar lines.

The second act of the album begins with the interlude entitled Limbo III, offering more whimsical sounds while at the same time warning us all of the dissonant metal attack that’s about to come in Disenchanted, which begins in full force to the hellish blast beats by Mark. Needless to say, Khalil is once again on fire with his intricate and extremely caustic riffage, while Ahmed showcases all the dark and fury inside his heart through his putrid roars, followed by their last instrumental bridge Limbo IV, once again displaying serene and calming sounds before Defacement crush our souls one last time in Wounded, featuring guest vocals by Brendan Sloan (Convulsing). The band brings to our ears over eight minutes of sheer brutality and dementia in the form of Death and Black Metal, with the riffs by Khalil reminding me of classic names of the Norwegian scene such as Mayhem and Immortal, flowing majestically until its hammering grand finale.

defacement-2021Although the album is only going to be launched in the beginning of September, you can already pre-order your copy from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page and from Apple Music, and while you wait for it you should definitely start following Defacement on Facebook for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the band, and stream more of their visceral music on Spotify. From chaotic blasting madness to melancholic slow passages and ambient interludes, Defacement’s atmospheric journey into the depths of the mind is going to leave a mark in the Extreme Metal scene, as well as an ugly scar on your soul, pointing to a promising and utterly vile path ahead of those unrelenting Dutch metallers.

Best moments of the album: Shattered and Wounded.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing 
1. Limbo I 2:06
2. Shattered 9:30
3. Limbo II 0:55
4. Disavowed 6:38
5. Limbo III 1:05
6. Disenchanted 9:51
7. Limbo IV 1:12
8. Wounded 7:55

Band members
Forsaken Ahmed – vocals, bass
Khalil Azagoth – guitars
Mark Bestia – drums

Guest musician
Brendan Sloan – vocals on “Wounded”

Album Review – Anthropophagus Depravity / Apocalypto (2021)

Prepare for a new age of wicked superstition and the rebirth of old and hungry gods to the sound of the debut album by this Indonesian Death Metal tribe.

3.5rating

anthropophagus-depravity-apocalypto-2021Indonesia is a festering sore of Brutal Death Metal, infected with an array of bands that explore the outer limits of savagery and sickness just like Yogyakarta-based horde Anthropophagus Depravity. Writhing like maggots in a wound, these pioneers of putridity eat their way deeper and deeper into the darkness, entwining shuddering heaviness with chilling atmosphere and nightmarish brutality. Their debut full length album, entitled Apocalypto, is a torrent of overwhelming, suffocating horror that feeds upon the vicious rituals of the ancient Mayan religion, with its furious riffs and relentless blasts seeming to force themselves down your throat, choking you with a pitiless intensity. Armed with furious riffs, relentless blasts and nerve-shredding atmosphere, the band comprised of Pandu Herlambang on vocals, Eko Aryo Widodo and Rico Zerico on the guitars, Cahyono Hari Wijayanto on bass and Sahrul Ramadhan on drums is ready to kill with their shuddering heaviness, turning their new opus into a must-have for admirers of the music by Devangelic, Relics of Humanity, Disentomb and Analepsy.

The intro Hymn to Apocalypto kicks off with the vile riffage by Eko and Rico while Sahrul already showcases his rage behind his drums, with its tribalistic second half setting the tone for the Deathslam hymn Forecasting Ruination, with Pandu roaring like a demented beast from the underworld and, therefore, sounding perfect for slamming into the pit to the fulminating beats by Sahrul and the classic Death Metal riffs by the band’s guitar duo. Then a quick cinematic start explodes into sheer brutality in the visceral The Mayan Disaster, continuing their path of devastation, blood and fear, while Eko and Rico’s guitars are nicely supported by Cahyono’s infernal bass punches; and a gruesome gnarl by Pandu ignites another feast of dementia entitled Temple of Sacrifice, with Sahrul showing no mercy for his drums (and consequently for our necks) in a great display of contemporary Brutal Death Metal.

If you think those Indonesian metallers are tired of slamming our heads with their brutal music you’re absolutely wrong, as they offer us the straightforward, in-your-face tune Immolation for the Sacred God, showcasing their usual violence in the form of guttural growls, slashing riffs and pulverizing drums; whereas Pandu sounds even more furious than before in Escape from the Dead Lands, accompanied by the hellish kitchen crafted by Sahrul and Cahyrono. Their second to last Apocalyptic Death Metal extravaganza comes in the form of Ruthless Nation Perished, with Pandu roaring and gurgling rabidly from start to finish, or in other words, it’s another fantastic option for crushing your spinal cord into the circle pit, not to mention its disturbing ending, I might say, flowing into Mantra Solar Eclipse, a six-minute ritualistic, demolishing Death Metal creation by Anthropophagus Depravity that will haunt your souls for all eternity, with Pandu taking the lead once again with his wicked roaring, all spiced up by a sick guitar solo to properly end the album.

anthropophagus-depravity-2021The vile and infernal Death Metal blasted by Anthropophagus Depravity in Apocalypto can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to take part in their demonic rituals you should definitely purchase the album from Comatose Music’s BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Amazon and other retailers like Barnes & Noble. In addition, don’t forget to follow this talented Indonesian tribe on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their pulverizing creations. Having said all that, prepare for a new age of wicked superstition and the rebirth of old and hungry gods, and of course for slamming into the circle pit like a rabid beast, to the sound of Apocalypto.

Best moments of the album: Forecasting Ruination and Ruthless Nation Perished.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Comatose Music

Track listing   
1. Hymn to Apocalypto 2:46
2. Forecasting Ruination 4:33
3. The Mayan Disaster 3:43
4. Temple of Sacrifice 4:38
5. Immolation for the Sacred God 4:26
6. Escape from the Dead Lands 3:10
7. Ruthless Nation Perished 4:12
8. Mantra Solar Eclipse 6:17

Band members
Pandu Herlambang – vocals
Eko Aryo Widodo – guitar
Rico Zerico – guitar
Cahyono Hari Wijayanto – bass
Sahrul Ramadhan – drums

Album Review – Coiled Around Thy Spine / From The Ashes (2021)

From the ashes these Italian metallers rise with more of their shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals in the form of their sophomore album, representing an evolution in their visceral sound.

4.0rating

coiled-around-thy-spine-from-the-ashes-2021Three years after the release of their fulminating debut album Shades, vocalist Daniele Rosso and guitarist and bassist Sergio Costa, supported by session drummer Tomonobu ‘Tomi’ Inoue and collectively known as Turin, Italy-based Melodic Death Metal outfit Coiled Around Thy Spine, are back in action with their shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals inspired by classic and new Death Metal in the form of their sophomore effort entitled From The Ashes. A true step up in their career, From The Ashes offers us listeners an evolution in the sound by the Italian duo from their debut album, being highly recommended for fans of renowned acts the likes of Arch Enemy, Death, Trivium, early In Flames and Megadeth, and above all, for anyone who enjoys a huge dosage of violence mixed with great melodies and a very good reason for headbanging like there’s no tomorrow.

And futuristic sounds arise from the underworld in the opening tune Paracosm, before Sergio and Tomi begin their respective riffs and beats attack, exploding into sheer Melodic Death Metal to the wicked roars by Daniele while all is carefully spiced up by a trademark guitar solo by Sergio. Then epic, Stygian background elements set the tone in the visceral tune Back To The Dark Dimension, with Daniele’s growls and screams getting even more enraged while Sergio continues to slash his axe majestically; and there’s no time to breathe as Coiled Around Thy Spine keep crushing our souls with their melodic and intricate Death Metal in Breath Of Existence, where Tomi is once again bestial behind his drums, not to mention the awesome job done by Sergio with both his riffs and bass lines. After such demolishing tune, a sinister and melancholic intro morphs into a mid-tempo Melodic Death Metal feast the likes of early Arch Enemy in Graveyard Of Thoughts, an excellent choice for breaking your neck to the pounding drums by Tomi.

The band keeps exploring darker paths in Burning Souls, another somber creation by Daniele and Sergio showcasing those piercing guitars that only Melodic Death Metal can provide us. It would have been more effective if a little shorter, though, whereas back to a more epic and violent mode it’s time for a fulminating metal onrush entitled Survival Instinct, with Sergio’s riffs generating a flammable paradox with the song’s background keys while Daniele and Tomi fire sheer animosity and hatred through their respective growls and beats. Then get ready to have your ears and minds pierced mercilessly by the scorching riffs by Sergio while Daniele keeps gnarling like a beast in Red Rising Sun, keeping the album as sulfurous and obscure as it can be, while the title-track From The Ashes closes the regular version of the album on a demolishing note, inviting us all to bang our heads and slam into the pit while Daniele vociferates rabidly nonstop. Furthermore, if you go for the special edition of the album you’ll be treated to two amazing cover songs as a bonus, those being Like Hell by Loudness and Bite The Pain by Death (and you can check the original ones HERE and HERE). Needless to say, Coiled Around Thy Spine simply kicked some serious ass with both versions.

coiled-around-thy-spine-2021In a nutshell, the guys from Coiled Around Thy Spine have outdone themselves in From The Ashes (which is available for a full listen on Spotify), delivering a thrilling hybrid of old school and modern sounds that will undoubtedly please any fan of Heavy Metal, even the ones who don’t enjoy extreme music that much. Hence, in order to show those Italian metallers your utmost support, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and of course, to purchase From The Ashes from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon. And let’s all hope Coiled Around Thy Spine do not take too long to get back “from the ashes” with more of their sick and visceral music.

Best moments of the album: Back To The Dark Dimension, Breath Of Existence, Survival Instinct and From The Ashes.

Worst moments of the album: Burning Souls.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing      
1. Paracosm 5:51
2. Back To The Dark Dimension 4:59
3. Breath Of Existence 5:01
4. Graveyard Of Thoughts 6:05
5. Burning Souls 8:36
6. Survival Instinct 5:51
7. Red Rising Sun 5:45
8. From The Ashes 6:10

Special Edition bonus tracks
9. Like Hell (Loudness cover) 3:40
10. Bite The Pain (Death cover) 4:47

Band members
Daniele Rosso – vocals
Sergio Costa – guitars, bass, synth

Guest musician
Tomonobu ‘Tomi’ Inoue – drums (session)

Album Review – Belle Morte / Crime of Passion (2021)

Enjoy this stunning album of Gothic and Symphonic Metal made in Belarus with dark and progressive flavors and a beautiful, melancholic vibe.

3.5rating

belle-morte-crime-of-passion-2021Formed in 2015 in Minsk, the capital and the largest city of Belarus, the musical project that goes by the Stygian name of Belle Morte plays a fusion of Gothic and Symphonic Metal with dark and progressive flavors and a beautiful, melancholic vibe. Spearheaded by the talented and stylish vocalist Belle Morte, the project has just released their brand new opus entitled Crime of Passion, following up on their highly acclaimed 2018 debut EP Game On. Produced, mixed and mastered by Sergey Butovsky (who also plays bass and does backing vocals on the entire album), displaying a delicate artwork by Stefan Heilemann (Heilemania), and inspired by John Fowles’ novel The Collector, Crime of Passion tells a coherent story which started as an unhealthy obsession and stalking and resulted in murder, both from the side of the murderer and his victim, all beautifully and meticulously put together by Belle Morte and her bandmates Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich on the guitars, Sergey Butovsky on bass, Maria Shumanskaya on keyboards and Rostislav Golubnichiy on drums in a way that will certainly please all fans of the genre.

Dark and melancholic sounds permeate the air in the cinematic intro Overture, preparing our hearts and souls for Who Are You, where Belle declaims the song’s poetic lyrics majestically (“You’re watching me, what do you see / I want to hide, but you’re behind / I try to run the hunt begun / Don’t cross this line, there’s no return”) while the band’s guitar duo slashes his stringed axe accompanied by the rumbling bass by Sergey; whereas investing in a more Gothic and modern sonority it’s time for the delicate If Only You Knew, featuring guest guitars by Artur Naumenko and displaying hints of Industrial Rock and Metal added to the band’s core essence. Artur keeps delivering his classic riffs in To Get Her, keeping the dark flames of Gothic and Symphonic Metal burning bright while Belle is again fantastic on vocals, resulting in a thrilling fusion of the music by Nightwish, Tristania and Lacrimosa, and leaning towards pure old school Symphonic Metal we’re treated to Beauty And The Beast, showcasing crushing beats, atmospheric passages and endless passion flowing from Belle’s distinguished voice supported by the guitars by Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich.

My Little Demon brings forward another round of their cryptic words declaimed by Belle and Sergey (“Come to me, my little demon, stay with me until the dawn / I won’t lie to you, my darling, when you fall asleep I’ll run / I won’t lie to you, my darling, you will lose me with the sun”), with the guitars by Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich adding a touch of evil to the overall musicality, which is also the case in Broken Things, presenting a pleasant sonority led by Belle and her whimsical vocals and with Sergey once again kicking ass with his groovy bass. Then a serene intro gradually grows in intensity, evolving into a dark and melancholic ballad entitled Beauty Meant To Kill where the acoustic guitars by Sergey generate the perfect ambience for Belle to shine on vocals once again; whereas enfolding piano notes will penetrate deep inside your mind in Lace, featuring guest guitars by Kirill Movshuk, sounding very orchestral at times and with Belle hypnotizing us all with her soulful vocals as usual. And lastly, featuring guest backing vocals by Alexandra Mantis and Katya Shtirts, My Legacy drinks form the same fountain as renowned bands the likes of Epica, Within Temptation and Nightwish, or in other words, it’s the perfect way to close the album in great fashion.

belle-morte-2021The gorgeous and mesmerizing music by Belle Morte in Crime of Passion can be appreciated in full on Spotify, but of course in order to show your true support to the band you should definitely purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE or HERE, as well as from their own BandCamp page or from the Aural webstore, and if you want to know more about Belle Morte and listen to more of their classy metal music simply go to their official Facebook page, to Instagram, to VKontakte and to their YouTube channel. Crime of Passion is one of those albums that will drag you to darkness, take you to another world and captivate all your senses once and for all, just the way we like it in Gothic music, and let’s hope Belle Morte and her amazing crew can keep embellishing the airwaves with more releases like their excellent new album for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Beauty And The Beast, My Little Demon and My Legacy.

Worst moments of the album: Broken Things.

Released in 2021 WormHoleDeath

Track listing     
1. Overture 1:38
2. Who Are You 3:48
3. If Only You Knew 4:35
4. To Get Her 5:11
5. Beauty And The Beast 3:43
6. My Little Demon 5:41
7. Broken Things 4:10
8. Beauty Meant To Kill 4:26
9. Lace 5:15
10. My Legacy 3:07

Bonus track
11. To Get Her (Acoustic version) 4:19

Band members
Belle Morte – vocals
Ilya Rogovoy – guitars on “Who Are You”, “Beauty And The Beast”, “My Little Demon”, “Broken Things” and “My Legacy”
Ilya Petrashkevich – guitars
Sergey Butovsky – bass, backing vocals, vocals on  “My Little Demon” and “To Get Her”, acoustic guitars on “Beauty Meant To Kill”
Maria Shumanskaya – keyboards
Rostislav Golubnichiy – drums

Guest musicians
Alexandra Mantis – backing vocals on “My Legacy”
Katya Shtirts – backing vocals on “My Legacy”
Kirill Movshuk – guitars on “Lace”
Artur Naumenko – guitars on “If Only You Knew” and “To Get Her”

Album Review – Internal Conflict / A P O R I A (2021)

Over 40 minutes of first-class Metalcore made in the UK, delivering a deep exploration of modern metal whilst reflecting on society and what it is to be human in deeply challenging times.

3.5rating

internal-conflict-aporia-2021Following their 2018 EP Nothing Is Lost and continuing their progressive creativity and innovative take on Heavy Metal, A P O R I A, the sophomore opus by Leicester, England-based Metalcore/Thrash Metal outfit Internal Conflict, is part brutal, part melodic, delivering a deep exploration of modern metal whilst the lyrical themes reflect on society and what it is to be human in deeply challenging times. Mixed and mastered by Neil Hudson at Initiate Audio & Media Studios and displaying a stunning artwork designed by Domonic Sohor, A P O R I A is undoubtedly the band’s strongest effort to date, proving why vocalist Adam Kyle, guitarists Sean Rice and Matt Hall, bassist Dan Laffar and drummer Chris Bentley carved themselves a slot at the renowned Bloodstock Open Air next month.

Chris begins his metal attack from the very firs second in the awesome fusion of Metalcore and Thrash Metal titled Kingdom of Apathy, offering Adam all he needs to roar and scream manically, not to mention his clean vocals are also powerful and full of rage, whereas a serene intro quickly explodes into another feast of heavy riffs, crushing drums and visceral vocals in Paraesthesia, sounding very modern and thrilling and, therefore, resulting in a great option for banging our heads nonstop with the band. The quintet speeds things up a bit and gets heavier-than-hell in Atlas Down, with Adam’s vocals sounding even more demented while Sean and Matt slash their guitars mercilessly, supported by the classic bass lines by Dan; and Bleed the Sky is one more tune inspired by contemporary Metalcore that will please all fans of the genre, with the piercing sound of their guitars bringing endless heaviness to the final result, also showcasing an electrifying paradox between clean and harsh vocals.

Let’s keep cracking our necks headbanging to the pounding beats by Chris in Hollow Heart, also offering our ears those classic atmospheric and melancholic moments from Metalcore, followed by Traitorous, a good song where Internal Conflict keep delivering their trademark sound, but that lacks the violence and punch from its predecessors, sounding a bit repetitive after a while. Nothing that truly harms the album, though. The second to last blast of heavy music by those British metallers comes in the form of The Line, with Sean, Matt and Dan sounding venomous with their stringed weapons, once again generating a dense ambience for Adam to kill with his vile screams; and closing the album it’s time for a six-minute Metalcore journey infused with Thrash, Groove and Heavy Metal elements entitled Kayfabe, with the old school riffage by the band’s guitar duo walking hand in hand with the rhythmic beats by Chris.

internal-conflict-2021You can get to know more about Internal Conflict by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their thrilling fusion of modern-day metal music with old school nuances, and above all that, show your support to UK’s underground by purchasing a physical copy of A P O R I A by clicking HERE or by purchasing a digital copy of the album or streaming it on your favorite platform by clicking HERE. If you’re attending Bloodstock Open Air this August, there you have a fantastic chance to witness Internal Conflict kicking some ass on stage playing several songs from A P O R I A live (as well as some of their previous creations), showing you why they can be considered one of the leaders of the Metalcore scene in their homeland and, of course, why we can rest assured we’ll hear a lot more from those British musicians sooner than we can imagine.

Best moments of the album: Kingdom of Apathy, Atlas Down and Kayfabe.

Worst moments of the album: Traitorous.

Released in 2021 PHD

Track listing 
1. Kingdom of Apathy 5:28
2. Paraesthesia 4:12
3. Atlas Down 4:29
4. Bleed the Sky 5:17
5. Hollow Heart 5:02
6. Traitorous 3:56
7. The Line 5:43
8. Kayfabe 6:10

Band members
Adam Kyle – vocals
Sean Rice – lead guitar
Matt Hall – rhythm guitar
Dan Laffar – bass
Chris Bentley – drums

Album Review – Celtic Hills / Mystai Keltoy (2021)

A massive metal attack made in Italy offering us all 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli.

3.5rating

celtic-hills-mystai-keltoy-2021Mystai Keltoy, an enigmatic name that alludes to the Elusian Mysteries, is also the name of the brand new album by an Italian Melodic Power/Thrash Metal entity formed in 2010 that goes by the epic name of Celtic Hills, offering us fans of heavy music 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli. Recorded and produced at The Groove Factory in Udine, Italy by Michele Guaitoli, and displaying a classy artwork representing the myth of the ancient visitors hand painted by artist Sheila Franco, Mystai Keltoy is a journey through several metal styles from early Thrash Metal to modern-day Power Metal, showcasing all the talent of the band comprised of Jonathan Vanderbilt on vocals and guitar, Jacopo Novello on bass, and Simone Cescutti on drums.

The Iron Maiden-like riffs by Jonathan and the crushing drums by Simone kick off the band’s metal extravaganza in The Light, blending the magic of traditional Heavy Metal with the acidity of the Speed Metal played by Megadeth. And let’s keep banging our heads to the smashing drums by Simone in Blood is not Water, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Jacopo, reminding me of some classic compositions by Overkill, Exodus and Metal Church, whereas powerful backing vocals add an extra touch of epicness to the imposing The Tomorrow of Our Sons, supporting Jonathan and his old school vocal lines. Putting the pedal to the metal, the trio fires the absolutely pulverizing battle hymn The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, where all three musicians are in total sync with their incendiary riffs, bass punches and pounding drums, resulting in a lesson in Italian Heavy and Thrash Metal. There’s no time to breathe as those Italian metallers deliver another kick-ass tune entitled The Landing of the Gods, with Jonathan slashing his stringed axe nonstop.

Already Lost is epic and bold form the very first second, with the trio being on fire throughout the entire song which “forgets” their previous Speed Metal and invests into a pure Melodic Metal sonority. Then a futuristic atmosphere walks hand in hand with the metal demolition spearheaded by Simone’s drums in Falling Star, where it’s impressive how only three musicians can generate such dense sound; followed by Battle Of Frigidium, once again drinking from the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Manowar, Iron Maiden and Iced Earth, with Jonathan’s vocals getting darker and more enraged as the music progresses. Featuring guest vocals by Italian singer Germana Noage (Aetherna, ƝOΔGE), Celtic Hills offer us fans a more melodic side of their music à la Nightwish, After Forever and Lacuna Coil in Eden, while Temple of Love never really takes off albeit sounding similar to the previous song, and never showing the same amount of adrenaline form the rest of the album. Finally, closing the album it’s time for a Melodic Power Metal tune entirely sung in Italian entitled Allitteratio, with Jacopo and Simone kicking some ass with their groovy and heavy kitchen.

celtic-hills-2021If you’re curious to see how the fusion of heavy music and legends of ancient civilizations sounds, you can enjoy Mystai Keltoy in its entirety on Spotify, but if I were you I would certainly purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE. And, of course, you can start following Celtic Hills on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the band. Inspired by the history of the populations that inhabited the area of present-day Carnia and Friuli, as aforementioned, but seen with a different perspective, Mystai Keltoy will blow your mind so heavy and detailed it sounds, leaving you eager for more as soon as it’s over and, therefore, keeping the fires of Italian metal burning bright thanks to the amazing job done by the unstoppable Celtic Hills.

Best moments of the album: The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, The Landing of the Gods and Eden.

Worst moments of the album: Temple of Love.

Released in 2021 Elevate Records

Track listing  
1. The Light 3:16
2. Blood is not Water 4:05
3. The Tomorrow of Our Sons 3:29
4. The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo 4:02
5. The Landing of the Gods 3:27
6. Already Lost 3:51
7. Falling Star 3:58
8. Battle Of Frigidium 4:59
9. Eden 3:54
10. Temple of Love 3:10
11. Allitteratio 3:20

Band members
Jonathan Vanderbilt – vocals, guitar
Jacopo Novello – bass
Simone Cescutti – drums

Guest musician
Germana Noage – vocals on “Eden”