Album Review – Majesty Of Revival / Pinnacle (2022)

One of Ukraine’s most prominent bands returns with their fifth full-length opus, continuing with their sonic experimentations while still loyal to their metal roots.

Following up on the successful releases of their 2016 album Dualism and their 2019 album Timeless, Uzhhorod, Ukraine-based Symphonic Power Metal explorers Majesty Of Revival are back in action with their fifth full-length installment, entitled Pinnacle, continuing with their eccentric experimentations while at the same time remaining loyal to their metal roots. Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by the band’s mastermind Dimitriy Pavlovskiy at Beast Sound Studios and displaying a stylish artwork by Ursula Tabaka, Pinnacle is about the experience of our thoughts, about casual situations that happen around us or with ourselves, problems that surround us daily like domestic violence, blind idolizing, struggles in front of big challenges, leadership, money issues and so on, consisting of 13 cross-genre and progressive compositions filled with subjective visual descriptions and tactile audio figures carefully brought into being by the aforementioned Dimitriy Pavlovskiy on vocals and guitars, Myroslav Danko also on the guitars, Vitalii Popfalushi on bass, Maestone on keyboards and Marvin on drums. In other words, you’re in for a ride with those Ukrainian metallers who will take you on a journey through the vast lands of progressiveness in the name of good music with their newborn opus.

Dimitriy and Myroslav begin their DragonForce-inspired riff attack in the opening tune Open, blending Progressive and Symphonic Metal to the pounding beats by Marvin, while You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG) reminds me of some of the best creations by Mastodon with their own Ukrainian touch, presenting an amazing job done by Vitalii on bass by generating a venomous paradox with the stylish keys by Maestone. In Rebellion we have powerful lyrics declaimed by Dimitriy (“Fear has been born among us / Tied our hands with hardest chains / Cowardice grows like mushrooms under autumn rain / Left no word unspoken / Though desecration will touch all of you said / Let this silence to be banned / Let this silence be broken”) amidst a melodic, Hard Rock-ish sonority, followed by Mindcrime, featuring vocalist David Readman of Pink Cream 69, bringing forward another round of the band’s whimsical sounds with Maestone kicking some ass on keyboards supported by the Stratovarius-inspired beats by Marvin. Then featuring vocalist Kärtsy Hatakka (Waltari), trumpetist Volodymyr Shchobak and guitarist Vasil Dovganych, the band offers us all Fool, an imposing tune also presenting elements from rap music in its vocals, and Deliverance, featuring violinist Veronika Shestakova, where the band keeps embellishing the airwaves with their Progressive and Symphonic Power Metal.

In At All Costs a change in pace fills our ears with Dimitriy’s melancholic vocals embraced by a serene musicality led by Maestone’s keys and piano, resulting in a stunning ballad by those Ukrainian metallers, and it’s then time to hit the dance floor to the sound of the groovy Bury Me Part II: Dig Me Up, where Vitalii is once again on fire with his metallic bass punches. The band shows no sign of slowing down in Citylights; quite the contrary, they keep firing their Melodic Power Metal riffs, solos and keys for our total delight, which is also the case in the hard-hitting extravaganza Stone, with Dimitriy also delivering his demonic side through his deep, enraged roars. Things Are Not What They Seem, featuring guest vocals by Anzhelika Zyzych, brings forward more of their whimsical lyrics (“Sweet misguidance crucified us / Funeral bells won’t stop your yearning / Now its time for tables turning / Demolition in progress / But nothing will force you to confess / Desolation, commotion / Curtain call your emotions”) supported by a huge dosage of Progressive Rock and Metal, whereas their second to last explosion of melodious sounds, progressiveness and insanity comes in the form of Guardians, with Vitalii, Maestone and Marvin generating a stunning wall of sounds in the background. Lastly, the acoustic guitars by Dimitriy and Myroslav will soothe your soul in Overcome?, putting a melancholic, delicate ending to such multi-layered and detailed album, and if you go for the BandCamp edition you’ll also receive two bonus tracks, one being the instrumental version for Stone while the other, named Вартові, is “Guardians” but with Ukrainian lyrics.

Dimitriy and the boys are waiting to hear from you on Facebook and on Instagram, where you can find news about the band, their tour dates and so on, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their intricate and melodic creations. The excellent Pinnacle, which is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and on sale from the band’s own BandCamp page (or simply click HERE for all locations where you ca buy or stream the album, including a very interesting USB wooden flash drive version), will not only please all longtime fans of the band, but it will also attract the attention of newcomers to the world of Majesty Of Revival, proving once again this Ukrainian outfit is undoubtedly going places thanks to their undeniable creativity and feeling. If the album will become the pinnacle of their career no one knows for sure, but we must admit it’s becoming more and more difficult for them to top their own creations with each album released.

Best moments of the album: You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG), Mindcrime, Stone and Guardians.

Worst moments of the album: Fool.

Released in 2022 Massive Sound Recordings

Track listing
1. Open 4:04
2. You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG) 4:38
3. Rebellion 3:46
4. Mindcrime 5:01
5. Fool 4:37
6. Deliverance 4:17
7. At All Costs 3:11
8. Bury Me Part II: Dig Me Up 3:24
9. Citylights 4:02
10. Stone 6:12
11. Things Are Not What They Seem 4:17
12. Guardians 4:54
13. Overcome? 3:35

BandCamp bonus tracks
14.Stone (Instrumental version) 6:12
15.Вартові 4:54

Band members
Dimitriy Pavlovskiy – vocals, guitars, choirs
Myroslav Danko – guitars, vocals, choirs
Vitalii Popfalushi – bass, vocals, choirs
Maestone – keyboards, backing vocals, choirs
Marvin – drums

Guest musicians
Kärtsy Hatakka – vocals on “Fool”
Vasil Dovganych – guitars on “Fool”
Volodymyr Shchobak – trumpet on “Fool”
David Readman – vocals on “Mindcrime”
Veronika Shestakova – violin on “Deliverance”
Anzhelika Zyzych – female voice on “Things Are Not What They Seem”, choirs
Rostik Groshick, Andy Brok & Yriy – choirs

Album Review – Bloodhunter / Knowledge Was the Price (2022)

Spain’s most ferocious Melodic Death Metal entity offers us all an impressive 55-minute album full of incendiary riffs, blast beats, and the always venomous roars by Diva Satanica.

Almost five years after the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album The End of Faith, Spanish Melodic Death Metal outfit Bloodhunter is finally back in action with their third full-length installment, beautifully titled Knowledge Was the Price. Formed in 2008 in A Coruña, Galicia, but currently located in the Spanish capital Madrid, the band comprised of the stunning Diva Satanica on vocals, Dani Arcos and Guillermo Starless on the guitars, Daniel Luces on bass and Adrián Perales on drums is on fire throughout the album’s impressive 55 minutes of flammable metal music, all of course spiced up by the top-notch production by Dani Arcos, the production, mixing and recording by Carlos Santos at Sadman Studio, the mastering by Víctor García at Ultramarinos Mastering, the recording by Daniel Luces, and the stylish cover art by Antonio Sicre, turning the album into a must-listen for fans of a good mix of melody, rage and storytelling with venomous vocals.

The opening tune Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside is very progressive and sinister, spiced up by its wicked lyrics barked by Diva Satanica (“Sharpened tongues spitting venom inside, / The disease is growing, you’re falling, it’s your last sigh. / Repulsive minds create a world full of lies, / Your false awareness infected the world’s demise.”), whereas Adrián kicks off the title-track Knowledge Was the Price with his rhythmic beats accompanied by the strident guitars by Dani and Guillermo in another ass-kicking display of sharp, devilish Melodic Death Metal. In A Twist of Fate to Come the band drinks from the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Arch Enemy and Soilwork, with Adrián hammering his drums nonstop and, therefore, providing Diva Satanica with exactly what she needs to vociferate like a true she-wolf; and an eerie intro evolves into a neck-breaking feast in Medea’s Guidance, with the metallic bass by Daniel beautifully reverberating in the air. The song could have been a little shorter, though, but nothing to worry about. Then featuring the sensational guest vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, KK’s Priest, Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, Charred Walls of the Damned) we’re treated to Never Let It Rest, where Ripper makes an incendiary, devilish duo with Diva Satanica while the music is simply bestial thanks to the fantastic guitar work by Dani and Guillermo; and more of their piercing guitars are offered to us all in Find Your Inner Fire while Diva Satanica darkly declaims the song’s inspiring lyrics (“Blind Faith – There’s no “tomorrow can wait”. / The Shame – Will be your final disgrace. / All Ends – Even darkness and despair. / Be Brave – Open your arms to self-defense.”).

Investing into a more ferocious, thrilling sonority it’s time for the band to crush us all in The Eye of the Serpent, once again showcasing an amazing job by Adrián with his rhythmic but always demented beats. Put differently, it’s first-class Melodic Death Metal made in Spain, which is also the case in Spreading Your Disease, starting in a somber way to the minimalist guitars by Dani and Guillermo before exploding into another frantic sonority perfect for slamming into the circle pit, also showcasing some sick guitar solos for our total delight. In Nothing Beyond the Realms of Death we face another round of their fusion of melodic, rage and progressiveness, with the intricacy flowing from Adrián’s drums walking hand in hand with the riffage by the band’s guitar duo, whereas an enfolding start to the sound of their harmonious guitars that lasts for almost two minutes morphs into a Stratovarius-ish instrumental tune titled A Relentless Force, followed by The Forsaken Idol, featuring guest vocals by Rosalía Sairem of Therion, a wicked creation by the band that will please all fans of extreme music with Diva Sanatica’s gnarls generating an interesting paradox with Rosalía’s clean vocals. The last original song of the album, The Hunters, brings forward more of the excellent string work by Dani, Guillermo and Daniel while Adrián hammers his drums mercilessly, and as a beyond infernal and heavy-as-hell treat the band blasts their cover version for Children of Bodom’s hit Bodom After Midnight, from their 2000 classic Follow the Reaper (check the original version HERE), with Diva Satanica stealing the spotlight with her roars as usual.

After all is said and done, we can all agree Bloodhunter have outdone themselves with Knowledge Was the Price, stepping up their game and positioning themselves as one of the driving forces of Melodic Death Metal in their homeland. Having said that, you can enjoy their newborn beast in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on, and purchase their new album by clicking HERE or HERE. Diva Satanica and the boys are on absolute fire from start to finish in Knowledge Was the Price, and I’m sure after such intense album they’ll advance even further in their already solid career, cementing their name among other giants of the Melodic Death Metal scene worldwide and, consequently, leaving us eager for more of their music in the near future.

Best moments of the album: Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside, Never Let It Rest, The Eye of the Serpent and The Forsaken Idol.

Worst moments of the album: Medea’s Guidance and A Relentless Force.

Released in 2022 Maldito Records

Track listing
1. Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside 3:34
2. Knowledge Was the Price 3:45
3. A Twist of Fate to Come 2:49
4. Medea’s Guidance 5:23
5. Never Let It Rest 4:39
6. Find Your Inner Fire 3:40
7. The Eye of the Serpent 5:05
8. Spreading Your Disease 5:16
9. Nothing Beyond the Realms of Death 4:47
10. A Relentless Force 4:05
11. The Forsaken Idol 4:03
12. The Hunters 4:30
13. Bodom After Midnight (Children of Bodom cover) 3:38

Band members
Diva Satanica – vocals
Dani Arcos – guitars
Guillermo Starless – guitars
Daniel Luces – bass
Adrián Perales – drums

Guest musicians
Tim “Ripper” Owens – vocals on “Never Let It Rest”
Rosalía Sairem – vocals on “The Forsaken Idol”
Raúl Plaza – bass

Album Review – Unwanted Guest / Grave Metallum (2022)

Influenced by the rock and metal bands he grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s, a British vocalist and multi-instrumentalist invites us all to listen to his first solo album.

Influenced by the rock and metal bands he grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s, coupled with his unique melodic writing style, England-based NWOBHM band Seventh Son guitarist Dave Fox takes on his solo project under the name Unwanted Guest, a dream come true for Dave himself that was only possible due to the timeout taken by Seventh Son during the Covid-19 pandemic (like what happened with most bands). After the release of the project’s 2021 four-track self-titled debut EP (with all proceeds going to UK’s biggest mental health charity Mind), Dave and his Unwanted Guest are back this year with a full-length opus titled Grave Metallum, offering us all 12 amazing tracks of retro-modernist metal music all written, sung, played and produced by Dave himself, and I’m sure you’ll have a very good time enjoying the full album it doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with Dave’s work with Seventh Son or not.

As you hit play the Hard Rock riffs by Dave will kick off the opening tune Autopsy, a solid tune where his Myles Kennedy-like vocals add an extra dosage of electricity to the overall result, and keeping the energy level high it’s time for Dave to slash his guitar in great fashion in Birth Machine Baby, showcasing not only a pleasant pace but also a catchy and exciting chorus (“One hundred years from now none of us will be around / We’re singing ‘welcome to the nation’ / Birth machine baby coming at you maybe / Save all your dying for me”). The song that carries the name of the project, Unwanted Guest, reminds me a lot of some of the best creations by Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots spiced up by its 70’s-inspired background keys, whereas the title-track Grave Metallum is a song in honor of all of our deceased rock and metal heroes with Dave being on fire with both his riffs and beats while at the same time he explains why rock is hanging by a thread (but will never actually die). Future Not Fear presents another round of his fusion of Progressive Rock and Metal with more straightforward Rock N’ Roll sounds, with Dave once again hypnotizing us all with his Deep Purple-inspired keys, and there’s no sign of slowing down as he keeps fueling our inner rockin’ fire with Blood on the Saw, bringing forward heavy, dirty riffs combined with more of his classic vocals.

Our lone wolf keeps embellishing the airwaves with his piercing riffs and solos in the Rock N’ Roll party Load Shift, also drinking from his beloved 90’s rock and metal fountain, resulting in an awesome option to add to your road trip playlist. Waterfall not only has a chorus that is as catchy as it can be (“Down the waterfall / One last breath to call / Down the waterfall / Into the darkness”), but it could also be played at any radio station anywhere in the world with Dave doing an amazing job armed with his guitar and bass, whereas Only One Chance sounds a bit generic compared to the rest of the album, albeit Dave still showcases his trademark riffs and melodic vocals during the whole song, of course. Back to a more metallic, thrilling mode it’s time for Takin’ All the Money, where it’s impressive how he is capable of sounding like the dynamic duo Scott Weiland and Slash all by himself in a thrilling hybrid of classic Rock N’ Roll with modern-day Hard Rock; and Dave’s rockin’ feast has no time to end, so grab a cold beer and hit the dance floor to the sound of the awesome Brain Shadow, presenting an amazing pace full of groove and feeling with his sharp riffs walking hand in hand with his old school keys. And finally, let’s all bang our freakin’ heads one last time with Dave in Every Part of Me, also blending progressiveness with more modern sounds while also displaying interesting vocal effects.

After listening to Grave Metallum in its entirety, which by the way you can do on Spotify, you’ll feel extremely energized and ready to rock with the multi-talented Dave Fox, who’s waiting for you on Facebook and on Twitter to provide you with news about Unwanted Guest and other nice-to-know details about his career. Furthermore, in order to show him all your support, go grab your copy of Grave Metallum from the project’s BandCamp page, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream his music. As opposed to the name of the project, I’m sure Dave and his Unwanted Guest will be a very welcome guest to your collection of rock and metal albums, inspiring this multi-talented British musician to keep kicking some ass armed with his vocals and all instruments in the project’s future releases.

Best moments of the album: Birth Machine Baby, Unwanted Guest, Future Not Fear and Brain Shadow.

Worst moments of the album: Only One Chance.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Autopsy 3:12
2. Birth Machine Baby 4:24
3. Unwanted Guest 4:39
4. Grave Metallum 4:45
5. Future Not Fear 3:38
6. Blood on the Saw 3:25
7. Load Shift 3:13
8. Waterfall 3:53
9. Only One Chance 3:52
10. Takin’ All the Money 2:51
11. Brain Shadow 4:23
12. Every Part of Me 3:56

Band members
Dave Fox – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Ratos de Porão / Necropolítica (2022)

The iconic João Gordo and his crew show no mercy for the absolute disaster that’s the current Brazilian government, bringing to us all a true masterpiece of Punk Rock and Hardcore.

If you take a quick look at the current political, economic and environmental situation in Brazil, you’ll notice things are not going well. Quite the contrary, the whole situation is Brazil is beyond delicate and catastrophic, and that’s the main reason as to why São Paulo, Brazil-based Hardcore/Punk Rock veterans Ratos de Porão have just released the fantastic Necropolítica, or “necropolitics” in English, their thirteenth studio album and their first since the 2014 album Século Sinistro. Known for their rebelliousness and acid lyrics since their inception in the distant year of 1981, vocalist João Gordo, guitarist Jão, bassist Juninho and drummer Boka show absolutely no mercy for the nasty, disastrous government of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro throughout the entire album, dealing with topics such as the rising far-right movement in the country, the countless deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the strong negative impact of the influence of the country’s evangelical church in all of the decisions taken by Bolsonaro and his horde of ignorants, all wrapped up by a sinister artwork designed by Rafael Gabrio, who intentionally made it very similar to Black Sabbath’s cult cover for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, as personally requested by João Gordo himself.

The sound of a dying patient using a mechanical ventilator kick off the absolutely vicious Alerta Antifascista (“anti-fascist alert”), where Boka smashes his drums ruthlessly offering João Gordo exactly what he needs to vociferate the song’s austere lyrics, whereas Aglomeração (“agglomeration”) is a freakin’ awesome Punk Rock and Hardcore creation by the quartet where Jão is on absolute fire with his demented riffs, or in other words, simply slam into the circle pit and “pray for Jesus” to protect you in there (without a mask, of course). More melodic and dancing than its predecessors, Passa Pano Pra Elite (“cover up for the elite”) is an excellent option for their live performances where the bass jabs by Juninho complement Jão’s solos flawlessly, followed by the title-track Necropolítica (“necropolitics”), a fast and furious extravaganza that matches perfectly with the current actions of the Brazilian government, with João Gordo blasting his trademark roars nonstop. It’s almost like a new “national anthem” for the country, which can also be said about Guilhotinado em Cristo (“guillotined in Christ”), offering us all another round of their old school Punk Rock and Hardcore with Thrash and Death Metal elements while Boka once again hammers his drums like a beast.

The band once again adds hints of Rockabilly to their core sonority (and the final result is brilliant) in O Vira-Lata (“the mutt”), with Jão and Juninho being yet again in absolute sync with their stringed weapons while João Gordo sends all his “love” to Bolsonaro and his hideous family. G.D.O. actually means “gado”, the Portuguese word for “cattle” which is how the followers of Bolsonaro are called, and the music gets back to a more frantic, demented sonority while João Gordo talks about how harmful all fake news spread by those idiots can be to the society; followed by Bostanágua, or “bosta na água” (“shit in the water”), a play word with Bolsonaro’s name, a straightforward, in-your-face Hardcore tune where João Gordo keeps barking rabidly while Boka dictates the song’s electrifying pace. Entubado (“intubated”) is a song about the horrible situation that happened in the city of Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon, where due to a total lack of support from the government several people sadly died without oxygen during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the music is not only brutal but perfectly depicts all that despair; and lastly, Neonazi Gratiluz, with “gratiluz” being the combination of the words “gratitude” and “luz”, or “gratitude” and “light”, is a way to refer to the Brazilian white supremacist elite who believes they’re better than everyone else and who keep sending “good vibes” to everyone (when in fact they’re not). Needless to say, Jão slashes his guitar in great fashion accompanied by the classic beats by Boka throughout the entire song, culminating in the perfect conclusion to such meaningful album.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand a single word in Portuguese, Necropolítica is a must-listen for any fan of heavy music, and you can enjoy the album in full on Spotify, as well as show your total support to Ratos de Porão by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by purchasing their newborn beast from their own webstore or by clicking HERE. To be honest, based on the endless crimes committed by Bolsonaro and his henchmen and all the garbage he vomits everyday to the press, I think Ratos de Porão might need to record parts II, III, IV, and so on of Necropolítica, which despite being really sad news for Brazil as a country, it’s a good thing for the world of Punk Rock, Hardcore and Heavy Metal. Hopefully the evil Bolsonaro won’t be re-elected this year and Ratos de Porão can get back to their less obscure lyrics in their future albums, but we must all admit Necropolítica is a masterpiece of Brazilian rock music that will always remind us of the dark times Brazil is living right now.

Best moments of the album: Aglomeração, Necropolítica, O Vira-Lata and Neonazi Gratiluz.

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2022 Shinigami Records

Track listing
1. Alerta Antifascista 3:31
2. Aglomeração 2:29
3. Passa Pano Pra Elite 3:42
4. Necropolítica 2:32
5. Guilhotinado em Cristo 3:09
6. O Vira-Lata 3:39
7. G.D.O. 2:08
8. Bostanágua 2:08
9. Entubado 4:10
10. Neonazi Gratiluz 4:06

Band members
João Gordo – vocals
Jão – guitars
Juninho – bass
Boka – drums

Album Review – Oathbringer / Tales of Glory (2022)

Let’s head into the battlefield together with this promising Serbian band armed with their debut opus, offering us all an overdose of pure, unfiltered Heavy Metal.

Formed in the city of Kragujevac, Serbia at the end of 2019 as a project of guitarist Lazar “Berserker” Zakić under the name Riddle of Steel, the incendiary Heavy Metal army currently known as Oathbringer is set to release their debut opus, entitled Tales of Glory, bringing to our metallic ears an overdose of pure, unfiltered metal music. Recorded at Studio Coolijana, produced by Marko Petković Petko, and displaying a dark, heathen artwork by Velio Josto, known for his work with bands such as Vulture, Enforcer, Riot V, Iron Angel and Warlord, Tales of Glory offers the listener a selection of classic Heavy and Power Metal songs carefully brought forth by the aforementioned Lazar “Berserker” Zakić on the guitars together with his bandmates Miloš “Priestkiller” Stošić on vocals and bass, Petar “Axxer” Đorđević also on the guitars, and Bora “Helldiver” Petrović on drums, pointing to a promising future ahead of those Serbian warriors.

Simply hit play and the epic intro Arrival will invite you to the world of Oathbringer before the band comes ripping in Odin’s Call, where Lazar and Petar rev up their engines to the sound of their stringed axes while Bora dictates the pace with his classic beats, not to mention how powerful Miloš sound with both his vocals and bass. More of the band’s old school Heavy Metal infused with groovy and dirty sounds is offered to us all in Hail to the King, a headbanging party led by the raspy vocals by Miloš with Bora pounding his drums like the hammer of Thor (as the guys from Manowar would say); whereas putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for the quartet to head into the battlefield to the sound of Stand or Fall, a high-octane Heavy and Power Metal hymn where the band’s guitar duo is on absolute fire with their raw, visceral riffs and solos.

Venturing through Hard Rock lands the band inspires us to raise our horns to Alone in the Night, bringing to our ears another thrilling performance by Lazar and Petar on the guitars; and an acoustic, ethereal start to the melancholic vocals by Miloš kick off the Lord of the Rings-inspired ballad The Ring, sounding utterly beautiful from start to finish and, of course, very enfolding and epic. Then back to their heaviest mode it’s time for the breathtaking Shayol Ghul, with Bora kicking some serious ass behind his drums while also reminding me of the fastest tunes by Stratovarius with a Power Metal twist. The band continues to blend the heaviness of Thrash Metal with the epicness of the music by Manowar in Moria, which should work really well if played live due to its headbanging rhythm and catchy chorus, ending in a classy way to the sound of a piano. In addition, as a bonus the band offers us all the demo version for Under the Spell, from when the band was still called Riddle of Steel. As it’s “just” a demo it’s not as detailed as the rest of the album, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as powerful and in line with the band’s core sound.

After all is said and done, you’ll certainly feel the urge to grab your sword and shield and head into the battlefield together with the guys from Oathbringer, and you can start doing so by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other cool info about the band. Furthermore, don’t forget to show your utmost support to the Serbian underground by purchasing the excellent Tales of Glory by clicking HERE, keeping the fires of classic Heavy and Power Metal burning in the beautiful country of Serbia. Oathbringer were capable of turningtheir tales of glory into first-class metal music in their first full-length album, and I’m sure that when their sophomore album is released they’ll sound even stronger, more focused and more powerful for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Hail to the King, Stand or Fall and Shayol Ghul.

Worst moments of the album: Under the Spell.

Released in 2022 RTR Records

Track listing
1. Arrival 0:50
2. Odin’s Call 4:20
3. Hail to the King 3:49
4. Stand or Fall 3:46
5. Alone in the Night 4:16
6. The Ring 4:02
7. Shayol Ghul 5:29
8. Moria 6:01

Bonus track
9. Under the Spell (demo) 4:32

Band members
Miloš “Priestkiller” Stošić – vocals, bass
Lazar “Berserker” Zakić – guitars
Petar “Axxer” Đorđević – guitars
Bora “Helldiver” Petrović – drums

Guest musician
Luka Milošević – guitars on “Under the Spell”

Album Review – Kreator / Hate Über Alles (2022)

Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.

Recorded at Hansa Studios and Studio Wong, both located in Berlin, Germany, produced by Arthur Rizk, and displaying a classy, demonic artwork by renowned Israeli artist Eliran Kantor, Hate Über Alles is not just the fifteenth studio album by German Thrash Metal masters Kreator, but the band’s first studio album since their 2017 opus Gods of Violence, marking the longest gap between studio albums in their career, and the first to feature former DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq, who replaced longtime band member Christian “Speesy” Giesler in 2019. And what do I think about the album? Well, let’s say Kreator more than nailed it once again, with the iconic Miland “Mille” Petrozza on vocals and guitar, Sami Yli-Sirniö also on the guitar, the aforementioned Frédéric Leclercq on bass, and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil on drums delivering sheer violence, blasphemy and hatred with a welcome dosage of progressiveness and experimentations throughout the entire album, therefore keeping the fires of German thrash burning bright for our total delight.

Sergio Corbucci was an Italian film director, screenwriter and producer who directed both very violent Spaghetti Westerns and bloodless Bud Spencer and Terence Hill action comedies, and there’s nothing better than the Spaghetti Western intro Sergio Corbucci Is Dead to set the stage for Kreator to kill in Hate Über Alles, with both Mille and Sami kicking some fuckin’ ass with their undisputed thrashing riffage. Put differently, a new metal anthem is born overflowing fury and hatred, and of course without a single second of boredom. Then in Killer Of Jesus we face an endless amount of brutality spiced up by absolutely austere lyrics (“Tell the hordes / I’ve come to save them all / Could their souls be dead / Or why can’t I hear their words? / Goddess of time / Always by my side / Faithless redemption / Is this what they have been praying for?”), with Ventor sounding demented behind his drums in another must-listen to any fan of our good old Thrash Metal, whereas the tribal beats by Ventor ignite the neck-breaking Crush The Tyrants, with Mille flawlessly vociferating the song’s visceral words. Strongest Of The Strong is very exciting from start to finish, with Mille and Sami delivering first-class riffs and solos throughout the entire song, resulting in another serious candidate to be part of their live performances, followed by Become Immortal, where I must say I love how Kreator are honoring all metal legends (including themselves) in their past few albums, with the song’s  galloping pace inviting us all to raise our horns together with one of the most important Thrash Metal bands of all time.

Conquer And Destroy brings forward old school Kreator for diehard fans of the band, and it will surely ignite some amazing circle pits if played live while Mille leads his horde with both his piercing vocals and melodic but razor-edged riffs and solos; and featuring guest vocalist Sofia Portanet, the hypnotizing Midnight Sun is by far the most experimental of all songs, with the final result being utterly captivating as if we were part of an uncanny, bloodthirsty Scandinavian midsummer festival. Demonic Future offers us all another round of wicked lyrics roared by Mille (“In terror, in riots in war / Just when you thought that you’ve seen it all / Awareness turns to repulsion / From everywhere, echoing chants / A requiem for their bitter lands / Just when you thought a sick society / Died in their final convulsions / Fantasies of omnipotence / Erased they’ll become aware”) while the music is that beautiful Thrash Metal we love so much, with Frédéric and Ventor making the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums, and when the entire album is awesome a song like Pride Comes Before The Fall that’s “just” very good becomes the “worst” one, albeit still showcasing of course Kreator’s unique thrashing sounds. And last but not least, Kreator darken the skies and send an apocalyptic message to everyone in Dying Planet, presenting hints of Doom Metal in their core sonority and, consequently, inspiring us to break our necks headbanging in the name of darkness together with Mille and his crew.

Kreator Hate Über Alles Deluxe Box

It’s time to let the hate blasted by Kreator in their outstanding new album flow through you, and you can do that by streaming it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing it from the band’s own webstore or by clicking HERE or HERE, where you can by the way find the limited deluxe box including the red and black splatter double vinyl with etching on side D in trifold cover, a digibook CD, a digipack live CD, a photobook, the artprint and a pin. Furthermore, Kreator are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their flammable music. Because in the end as you might already know it’s hate above all, as long as it’s blasted by an undisputed thrashing institution like Kreator.

Best moments of the album: Hate Über Alles, Killer Of Jesus, Strongest Of The Strong, Conquer And Destroy and Demonic Future.

Worst moments of the album: Pride Comes Before The Fall.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Sergio Corbucci Is Dead 0:58
2. Hate Über Alles 3:48
3. Killer Of Jesus 4:05
4. Crush The Tyrants 4:10
5. Strongest Of The Strong 4:01
6. Become Immortal 4:23
7. Conquer And Destroy 4:45
8. Midnight Sun (feat. Sofia Portanet) 3:38
9. Demonic Future 4:43
10. Pride Comes Before The Fall 4:48
11. Dying Planet 6:52

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Frédéric Leclercq – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums

Guest musician
Sofia Portanet – female vocals on “Midnight Sun”

Album Review – Anachronistic / 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay (2022)

Have fun with the Blackened Hardcore blasted by two ex-pats, centering around the vocalist’s life experiences and incorporating elements from his job into their sonic madness.

The product of two ex-pats, those being American vocalist and lyricist Matt Ramarge (currently living in South Korea) and Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Umarlak (currently residing in Poland), joining forces to create something truly unique, a heavy Black Metal sound overlaid with Hardcore vocals, or Blackened Hardcore if you prefer, Anachronistic have just unleashed upon humanity their debut effort, entitled 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay, the first installment of a metal trilogy in the works by the duo. Produced by Anachronistic themselves, mixed by Umarlak, mastered by Andreas “Jonsson” Westholm at Dark Prod Studios, and displaying a gory artwork by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize, the album centers a lot around Matt’s life experiences and incorporates elements from his job (by the way, 700-19 is the actual contract paperwork for working in Korea as a US contractor), being recommended for fans of Blood For Blood, Hatebreed and Behemoth, just to name a few.

Thunders cracking work as an intro to Recall, a metallic Black Metal storm led by the violent beats by Umarlak who also delivers sheer hatred from his riffage while Matt growls and barks in the name of Hardcore; whereas Time To Drink is more rhythmic and deranged than the opening tune, with Umarlak doing a great job armed with his unstoppable guitar and low-tuned bass, therefore living up to the legacy of Black Metal and Hardcore and inviting us all to slam into the pit manically. The duo is on fire from the very first second in the massive, extreme music feast entitled Late Night Fundraising, where Matt’s inebriate, deep vocals add an extra layer of insanity to the overall result, and if you think they will slow down or soften their sound at a given point in the album you’re absolutely wrong, as Matt’s raw screams and the Black Metal avalanche crafted by Umarlak will decimate you in Festering Stench.

Let’s slam into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow with Going To The Ball, a beyond truculent Black Metal tune infused with the most electrifying elements from Hardcore where Umarlak’s instrumental feels like a nuclear bomb so heavy and sharp it sounds, while in Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut we face another round of their unfriendly sounds presenting hints of the Rock N’ Roll played by Motörhead, with Umarlak creating a puissant wall of sounds with his riffs and beats, supporting Matt and his enraged roars. Follow The Rules Or Die is just as noisy and dense as its predecessors with Matt doing a great job once again with his deep roars; the song loses its grip after a while, but it’s still very enjoyable if Blackened Hardcore is your cup of tea. And it’s time for one final Extreme Metal explosion in the form of Hatred For Work Causes Gout, with both Matt and Umarlak sounding possessed by a demonic entity, consequently enhancing the song’s impact and putting a visceral conclusion to the album.

“We tried to encapsulate a dark and raw merging of genres with this band. The vison behind Anachronistic initial trilogy LP release is to get people hooked on the concept and leave fans waiting for the next chapter to come out. Sonically and emotionally this album is really fun to listen to from a ‘bird’s eye viewpoint’. Once fans dig deeper into the song lyrics and album cover they will realize this is a true, hilarious story that will continue through two more releases, getting darker, heavier, nastier with each release. Even as a standalone release, 700 and 19 Ways of Decay will stand strong amongst fans of Black Metal and Hardcore,” commented the band about their newborn beast, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify. In addition, don’t forget to give the duo a shout on Instagram, and of course to purchase 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, banging your head nonstop until the second chapter of the adventures of Matt Ramarge see the light of day in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Time To Drink, Going To The Ball and Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut.

Worst moments of the album: Follow The Rules Or Die.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Recall 4:48
2. Time To Drink 3:59
3. Late Night Fundraising 3:11
4. Festering Stench 4:20
5. Going To The Ball 3:33
6. Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut 3:02
7. Follow The Rules Or Die 4:55
8. Hatred For Work Causes Gout 3:38

Band members
Matt Ramarge – vocals
Umarlak – all instruments

Album Review – Am Himmel / As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow (2022)

An ecclesiastical nightmare formed by emanations from the metaphysical voids trapped in the eternal light arises to the sound of its debut effort of unearthly Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal.

“As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

An ecclesiastical nightmare formed by emanations from the metaphysical voids trapped in the eternal light, Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal entity Am Himmel, which translates as “in the sky” from German, is the new solo project from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist JMKP, an old soul from the Netherlands whose inspiration lies between doomy synth-based Drone, raw Black Metal and Shoegaze, channeling ancient and metaphysical energies through the combination of eerie soundscapes with raw and buzzing extreme music in his newborn beast entitled As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow. There’s a sinister and unearthly atmosphere surrounding the whole record, not just from the devilish growls and shrieks, but also from the hypnotic mystical synth layers, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the music by Urfaust, Lurker of Chalice and Xasthur, among other servants of darkness.

Bleared By The Infinite Wings is darkly noisy from the very first second, inviting us all to the ethereal world of Am Himmel by blending the melancholy of Atmospheric Black Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal. Moreover, JMKP does an amazing job with both his sluggish beats and anguished gnarls, and continuing his path of darkness it’s time for The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death, even more somber than its predecessor with our lone wolf’s devilish roars penetrating deep inside your mind in a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal. Then get ready for over seven minutes of whimsical passages, slow and steady beats and cryptic vociferations in the form of The Virgin Wages Celestial War In The Seraphim Courts, flowing smoothly until the very last second thanks to the piercing riffage by the project’s mastermind; whereas adding elements from Drone and Ambient music to his core sonority JMKP offers us all the visceral The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment, where all background elements match perfectly with his demented gnarling and vile beats, resulting in first-class extreme music. Once again bring to our ears sheer obscurity and despair, JMKP will drag you to his Stygian lair to the sound of his hypnotizing drums and screaming guitars in The Bewildered Firstling Thrusts The Knife Into Her Brother; and lastly, our multi-talented Dutch metaller brings forward another round of wicked, venomous sounds in the title-track As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow, a song which not only concludes the album on a high note, but that will also please at the same time fans of old school Black Metal and admirers of modern-day Atmospheric Metal hands down.

If you want to put your doomed hands on As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow, you can soon purchase it directly from Am Himmel’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Burning World Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (for the US or the rest of the world customers). A starless kingdom bereft of celestial pureness, evoking strange rituals in the gothic catacombs of Christianity and insanity, Am Himmel will certainly change your view of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal for the better, with As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow beautifully representing everything JMKP and his new project stand for and, consequently, positioning it not only as one of the most promising names of the Dutch scene, but also as one of the driving forces of the genre worldwide.

Best moments of the album: The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death and The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Burning World Records

Track listing
1. Bleared By The Infinite Wings 6:56
2. The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death 5:12
3. The Virgin Wages Celestial War In The Seraphim Courts 7:22
4. The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment 6:31
5. The Bewildered Firstling Thrusts The Knife Into Her Brother 6:25
6. As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow 5:23

Band members
JMKP – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Sisyphean / Colours of Faith (2022)

A massively ambitious yet sincere album that ought to be regarded as a landmark album in Dissonant Black Metal, carefully brought into being by an uncanny Lithuanian horde.

Intense as well as atmospheric, Vilnius, Lithuania-based Dissonant Black Metal entity Sisyphean has the perfectly tempered sound for this style of music by crafting thrilling and engaging songs that are both coherent and fulfilling, which can be appreciated in all of its glory in their brand new opus, entitled Colours of Faith. Mixed by Satanic Audio, mastered by Resonance Sound Studio, and displaying a stylish cover artwork by Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration, Colours of Faith is a massively ambitious yet sincere album that ought to be regarded as a landmark album in the style, showcasing all the talent of Dainius P. on vocals, Adomas V. and Kamil U. on the guitars, guest Andrius B. on bass, and Mantas D. on drums, appealing to admirers of the music by Svartidaudi, Deathspell Omega, Blut aus Nord, Mgla and Svartulven, just to name a few.

The dissonant, futuristic intro Before the Light warms up the listener for the pulverizing aria Scorched Timeless, with Adomas and Kamil showing absolutely zero mercy for their stringed axes accompanied by the rumbling bass by Andrius, all spiced up by the demonic vociferations by Dainius. Then investing in a more straightforward, no shenanigans Black Metal sonority, the band will darken your thoughts to the sound of Hearts of Mercury, again showcasing visceral riffs boosted by the infernal blast beats by Mantas, whereas strident guitar lines ignite the multi-layered Black Metal extravaganza titled Sovereigns of Livid Hope, offering our avid ears seven minutes of total chaos and darkness where Dainius roars in anger while Mantas adds a good dosage of intricacy to the overall result with his wicked drums.

After 25 seconds of ethereal sounds in the interlude The Descent the band comes crushing our senses with the beyond Stygian and heavy-as-hell Exiles, where the riffage by Adomas and Kamil will penetrate deep inside your psyche while Andrius and Mantas keep shaking the foundations of the earth with their respective bass and drums, resulting in a classic Black Metal tune with modern nuances. Their second to last explosion of evil sounds comes in the form of Open Wounds, a somber tune with Doom Metal hints that reminds me of some of the most recent creations by the almighty Watain; and lastly, it’s time for almost 10 minutes of insanity and chaos titled Conqueror, starting in a more than obscure manner before evolving into a sluggish, visceral feast of our beloved Black Metal where Mantas dictates the song’s hellish pace while Dainius keeps vociferating rabidly like there’s no tomorrow, with its second half becoming the soundtrack to a sinister horror movie until all fades into the unknown.

You can reach out to those Lithuanian metallers through Facebook and Instagram, letting them know how much you love their music, and also purchase Colours of Faith (which is also available for a full listen on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore in the US (as a digipak CD or as a gatefold LP) or in Europe (also in CD or LP format). A brilliantly written and arranged album, Colours of Faith provides for intuitive undulations of extremity and emotions, not only captivating your attention throughout but also moving you, and that’s exactly the beauty of the music played by Sisyphean, delivering much more than just plain Black Metal by creating an enfolding atmosphere that will last for all eternity and, therefore, allowing the band to continue exploring the darkest side of music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Hearts of Mercury, Sovereigns of Livid Hope and Exiles.

Worst moments of the album: Open Wounds.

Released in 2022 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Before the Light 0:58
2. Scorched Timeless 6:43
3. Hearts of Mercury 5:18
4. Sovereigns of Livid Hope 7:02
5. The Descent 0:26
6. Exiles 5:49
7. Open Wounds 4:58
8. Conqueror 9:45

Band members
Dainius P. – vocals
Adomas V. – guitars
Kamil U. – guitars
Mantas D. – drums

Guest musician
Andrius B. – bass (session)