Album Review – Red Cain / NÄ̈E’BLISS (2023)

This Canadian Progressive/Groove Metal unity is back in action with their breathtaking third full-length opus, fully inspired by the Wheel Of Time series.

Born out of the vast prairies and snowy peaks of Alberta, Canada, Red Cain are a modern Progressive/Groove Metal project with Eastern European roots currently formed of Evgeniy Zayarny on vocals, Samuel Ridout and Tyler Corbett on the guitars, Kalie Yan on bass and backing vocals, and Taylor Gibson on drums, offering intricate songwriting, powerful vocals, eerie soundscapes and strong electronic-backed groove in their music, therefore championing a fluid, dynamic, and unique style centered around telling dark, conceptual Faustian sagas and constructing those into an unforgettable live experience, described as “melancholy and rage”. Now in 2023 the band returns with their third full-length instalment, titled NÄ​̈​E’BLISS, following up on their 2021 album Kindred: Act II. Produced and written by the band itself, mixed by Tyler Corbett at Sole Audio, and mastered by Sacha Laskow at Perfect Filth Studios, the album is inspired by The Wheel Of Time series, being not only a homage to the legendary world of Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic with a grimdark edge, but also a foray into the reverse side of the Wheel of Time story, that of the forsaken antagonists, instruments of the great lord of the dark, and the brutal and captivating allure of letting chaos reign supreme.

The opening track Fisher King is absolutely imposing and grim, with Evgeniy powerfully declaiming the song’s epic lyrics (“Come, let me show you the Light / The way of the Leaf / And its final tortured cry / And saidin shall burn through your eyes / And all hope gives way, / For there’s no compromise”) in a thrilling start to the album, followed by Blight, a very atmospheric creation by the quintet with the savage riffs by Samuel and Tyler matching perfectly with the pounding drums by Taylor, not to mention the puissant Djent-inspired bass by Kalie. They continue their journey through progressive and epic lands in The Great Hunt, with Kalie and Taylor once again bringing the groove to their dense sound, whereas their Progressive Metal vein explodes in We Are Chaos, showcasing another amazing vocal performance by Evgeniy supported by the wicked instrumental by his bandmates, and of coruse by Kalie with her venomous growls.

Then we have the atmospheric and instrumental interlude Sightblinder, setting the tone for the gentle but still groovy tune The Man Who Can’t Forget (Part I), led by the poetic vocal performance by Evgeniy while Samuel and Tyler keep embellishing the airwaves with their classic riffs and solos, always supported by the intricate beats by Taylor, and flowing into the second part titled Crane of Malkier (Part II), where Kaile keeps kicking some ass with her metallic bass in a very emotional and multi-layered creation by the quintet (despite lasting for only two minutes in total). After that, featuring James Delbridge of Lycanthro as a guest vocalist, it’s time for the band to crush our senses with eight minutes of Progressive and Groove Metal infused with elements from Djent entitled Fires of Heaven, sounding very detailed, captivating and sinister from start to finish, with Samuel, Tyler and Kalie being on absolute fire until the very last second.

“We are all massive fantasy fans, and for us, Wheel of Time rubs shoulders with LOTR as a genre-defining epic fantasy series that started it all. The world of the Wheel is a brutal, compelling world with multitudes of fascinating characters, and we were particularly interested in exploring its more visceral aspects – an area which begs to be paired with heavy metal. We’ve seen some of our musical icons, like Blind Guardian, successfully go down this path, and it was magnificent to see new musical interpretations of those stories spun out by them – not to mention some bloody good fun. Now, it is our turn to ride forward in another turn of the Wheel,” commented the band about their new album, and you can support those Canadians by purchasing a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, and don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and to stream all of their creations on Spotify. Red Cain continue their evolutionary path with NÄ​̈​E’BLISS, taking us all on a fantastic and metallic journey that will surely help them carve their name even deeper into the metal scene worldwide.

Best moments of the album: Fisher King, We Are Chaos and Fires of Heaven.

Worst moments of the album: The Great Hunt.

Released in 2023 Independent

Track listing
1. Fisher King 5:35
2. Blight 6:37
3. The Great Hunt 4:09
4. We Are Chaos 4:55
5. Sightblinder 2:47
6. The Man Who Can’t Forget (Part I) 2:38
7. Crane of Malkier (Part II) 2:04
8. Fires of Heaven 8:02

Band members
Evgeniy Zayarny – vocals
Samuel Ridout – guitars
Tyler Corbett – guitars
Kalie Yan – bass, backing vocals
Taylor Gibson – drums

Guest musician
James Delbridge – vocals on “Fires of Heaven”

Album Review – Smoulder / Violent Creed of Vengeance (2023)

Let’s all head into the battlefield together with this must-see international Epic Heavy/Doom Metal horde armed with their breathtaking sophomore album.

Playing Epic Heavy/Doom Metal in the tradition of Tales of Medusa, Solitude Aeternus, Manilla Road, early Blind Guardian and Fates Warning, the multinational Smoulder have just unleashed their second full-length opus, titled Violent Creed of Vengeance, the follow-up to their 2019 critically acclaimed debut Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring and their 2020 EP Dream Quest Ends. Recorded at Soundwell Studio  by Valtteri Kallio and Jani Snellmain, mixed by Arthur Rizk, mastered by Roland Rodas at Cavern of Echoes, and displaying a beautiful cover Art by Michael Whelan, the album represents a huge step forward in the career of vocalist Sarah Ann, guitarists Shon Vincent and Collin Wolf, bassist Adam Blake and drummer Kevin Hester, featuring seven front-to-back bangers that will surely please all fans of the genre and, therefore, inviting us all to head into the battlefield together with such talented Canadian-American-Finnish metal horde.

Shon and Collin waste no time and begin their epic stringed attack in the opening tune Violent Creed of Vengeance, a battle hymn perfect for raising our horns high in the sky, not to mention the soaring vocals by Sarah add an extra touch of electricity to their music; and it’s then pedal to the metal as it’s time to head into the battlefield to the sound of The Talisman and the Blade, a lesson in Power Metal inspired by that addictive sound form the 80’s, with Kevin being fantastic behind his drums while Adam blasts his bass in the best NWOBHM style. The melodious guitar lines by Shon and Collin permeate the air in Midnight in the Mirror World, where their Doom Metal vein pulses harder than ever. Furthermore, it’s indeed a dark and sinister tune that exhales epicness through its lyrics (“Tenebrous figure / Dwelling deep, within the infinite gates / A foreboding wind blows / With the first stars / He wakes, signaling personal dawn / Gaze across pale nebulas”).

The band then offers a thrilling fusion of the music by Warlock, Iron Maiden and Manowar entitled Path of Witchery, with Sarah kicking some ass on vocals as usual while Kevin sounds bestial behind his drums; whereas the somber narration by English writer Michael Moorcock kicks off another metallic extravaganza entitled Victims of Fate, offering our ears striking riffs and solos, rumbling bass lines and of course the band’s undisputed energy. After such imposing tune, we have a Heavy and Speed Metal attack titled Spellforger, showcasing more of their classy lyrics beautifully declaimed by Sarah (“This impoverished child, distinct from the rest / Their mind contains untold fortitude / Ancient coven sensed their presence / Trained their young as a Spellforger”), and you better get ready for almost ten minutes of epic and doomed Heavy Metal in the form of Dragonslayer’s Doom, with Sarah leading her horde while Adam’s bass lines bring endless intricacy to the overall result. Needless to say, that beautiful epicness goes on until the song’s climatic finale, putting a powerful ending to the album.

You can join Smoulder in their epic quest for heavy music by streaming their fantastic new album Violent Creed of Vengeance in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course by purchasing a copy of it from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Cruz Del Sur Music webstore as a CD, a red vinyl, a beer vinyl, or a cassette, and don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about those Finland-based Canadian metal warriors. Smoulder are definitely growing in a very healthy and exciting manner in the world of heavy music, therefore becoming one of the must-see bands of the current metal scene, and the electricity flowing from Violent Creed of Vengeance will undoubtedly help them to reach new heights and keep carrying the flag of Heavy Metal wherever they go armed with their music.

Best moments of the album: The Talisman and the Blade, Path of Witchery and Spellforger.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Cruz Del Sur Music

Track listing
1. Violent Creed of Vengeance 5:05
2. The Talisman and the Blade 4:47
3. Midnight in the Mirror World 6:55
4. Path of Witchery 4:26
5. Victims of Fate 7:41
6. Spellforger 3:31
7. Dragonslayer’s Doom 9:51

Band members
Sarah Ann – vocals
Shon Vincent – guitar
Collin Wolf – guitar
Adam Blake – bass
Kevin Hester – drums

Guest musician
Michael Moorcock – narration on “Victims of Fate”

Album Review – Lasskahl / Seasons EP (2023)

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

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Faces From The Past.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Independent

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

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

Album Review – Lucifuge / Monoliths of Wrath (2023)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Dying Victims Productions

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

Band members
Equinox – vocals, all instruments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Into the Abyss.

Released in 2023 Century Media

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

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

Album Review – Crimson Day / Crimson Day (2023)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Released in 2023 Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Lost Nightsun.

Released in 2023 ADG Records

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

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

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

Album Review – Hyl / Where Emptiness Is All (2023)

A majestic display of Atmospheric Black Metal, bringing the cruel peace of absolute devastation, and invoking the killing quietude of an abandoned world wrapped in the soft death of snow.

Birthed in the creative cauldron that is the mind of multi-instrumentalist Rick Costantino (Schizo, Krigere Wolf), Italy/Poland-based Atmospheric Black Metal horde Hyl is a new entity that captures an atmosphere of utter desolation, of a world bereft of life, being highly recommended for fans of Ruins Of Beverast, Vemod, Mgla and Fuath, just to name a few. Comprised of the aforementioned Rick Costantino (who also goes by his initials R.C.) on the guitars and bass, Shadow (Black Altar, Ofermod) on vocals, and Krzysztof Klingbein (Vader, Belphegor) on drums, the band is releasing their debut effort, titled Where Emptiness Is All, bringing the cruel peace of absolute devastation, and invoking the killing quietude of an abandoned world wrapped in the soft death of snow. Mixed and mastered by Dionisis Dimitrakos at Descent Studio (with vocals mixed by Devo Andersson at Endarker Studio), and displaying a sinister logo by Christophe Szpajdel of Lord of the Logos and a Stygian album art by Elysivm Artwork, the album transpires Black Metal at its most powerful and enthralling, imbued with winter magic and offering a glimpse into a darkness beyond human experience and understanding.

The atmospheric intro Pvrification will beautifully darken the skies, setting the stage for Hyl to crush our senses in Into the Unknown, with the piercing guitars by R.C. embellishing the airwaves while Krzysztof begins hammering his drums in the name of Black Metal, all complemented by the grim, visceral guttural by Shadow. Their blackened attack goes on in the multi-layered, imposing extravaganza titled And Everything Dies, a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal sounding even more venomous than its predecessor due to the pulverizing drums by Krzysztof; and the atmosphere remains dense, somber and majestic in the title-track Where Emptiness is All, where once again Shadow roars like a demonic entity accompanied by the sharp riffs and rumbling bass by R.C. in another infernal display of Atmospheric Black Metal. Then a dark, menacing intro gradually evolves into an ethereal voyage titled Endless Illusions, with R.C. and Krzysztof blasting melodic yet at the same time sulfurous sounds from their sonic weapons, flowing into the closing tune Under a Watching Sky, which sounds and feels more like an outro than anything else. I personally preferred if it was a regular song, or if it was a little bit shorter in duration, but it’s still a solid way to conclude the album.

Those three extremely talented metallers from Italy and Poland are eager to know what you think of their music, and you can do so by giving them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course you can show them your absolute support and admiration by purchasing a copy of Where Emptiness Is All from the Odium Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, succumbing to the darkest and most atmospheric side of extreme music. You’ll certainly have a blast wandering through the Stygian realms explored by Rick Constantino and his henchmen in Where Emptiness Is All, always keeping in mind that there’s no turning back once you let darkness and desolation take over your damned soul.

Best moments of the album: And Everything Dies and Where Emptiness is All.

Worst moments of the album: Under a Watching Sky.

Released in 2023 Odium Records

Track listing
1. Pvrification (Intro) 1:03
2. Into the Unknown 7:41
3. And Everything Dies 6:58
4. Where Emptiness is All 5:12
5. Endless Illusions 7:36
6. Under a Watching Sky 5:03

Band members
Shadow – vocals
Rick Costantino – guitars, bass
Krzysztof Klingbein – drums

Album Review – Ov Sulfur / The Burden ov Faith (2023)

Behold the debut album by this Las Vegas-based Blackened Deathcore beast, overflowing blasphemy, sulfur and obscurity.

The sound of a musical left-hand path that is nothing short of sonically jarring, lyrically blasphemous and utterly epic in its delivery, Las Vegas, Nevada-based Blackened Deathcore entity Ov Sulfur has just unleashed upon humanity their first full-length opus, entitled The Burden ov Faith, the follow-up to their 2021 debut EP Oblivion. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Josh Schroeder and produced by Morgoth Beatz, the album challenges the genre’s conventions while inviting comparisons to Dimmu Borgir or Behemoth in their prime, with an ominous sense of melody dotting the dark musical landscapes brought into being by frontman Ricky Hoover (Suffokate), guitarist Chase Wilson (Collisions, Sigil), bassist Ding (Efnisien) and drummer Leviathvn (Empyrean Throne, Dawn of Ashes, Deadcheck, Urilia), supported by an array of magnificent guest musicians the likes of Alex Terrible (Slaughter To Prevail) and Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Light The Torch).

It’s hell on earth in just a few seconds in the opening tune Stained in Rot, with Ricky already growling like a beast while Leviathvn dictates the song’s demented pace in a lecture in Blackened Deathcore by the quartet; and the band continues to pulverize our ears in Befouler, featuring the aforementioned Alex Terrible on guest vocals, with Ricky’s inhumane roars walking hand in hand with the heavy-as-hell riffage by Chase. Then we have Unraveling, featuring Taylor Barber (Left to Suffer) as a guest vocalist while epic background keys add an extra touch of sulfur to the music. Needless to say, Ding’s bass and Leviathvn’s drums sound infernal from start to finish, which is also the case in Death ov Circumstance, where its wicked lyrics (“The sky above is cloaked in endless dark / Ashes, once life, coat the lungs ov all those in sight / What a foul stench – that ov charred innocence”) spice up an already venomous sonority, or in other words, it’s demonic Deathcore at its finest; whereas hellish barks, piercing riffs and whimsical background orchestrations and sounds will embrace your soul in Earthen.

After the atmospheric, enfolding interlude A Path to Salvation?, the band will crush our senses with the grandiose I, Apostate, where Ricky showcases not only his deep guttural roars, but he also delivers more devilish Black Metal-inspired screeches, sounding perfect for breaking our necks headbanging. Poetic lyrics are darkly screamed by the duo formed of Ricky and guest Howard Jones in Wide Open (“One of us, accept your feelings / One of us, let go of it all / One of us, this is the real truth / One of us, break their control over you”), while Chase, Ding and Leviathvn are merciless armed with their sonic weapons in the most sulfurous of all songs. Their second to last breath of darkness and blasphemy comes in the form of The Inglorious Archetype, with the massive drums by Leviathvn and the visceral roars by Ricky sounding awesome despite the fact that the song loses its punch after a while; and lastly, featuring guests Kyle Medina (Bodysnatcher) and Lindsay Schoolcraft (Cradle of Filth), the title-track The Burden ov Faith is a spot-on depiction of everything the band stands for, with the charming vocals by Lyndsay bringing some peace to our hearts amidst the band’s metallic savagery.

Such incendiary album can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should purchase your favorite copy of The Burden ov Faith by clicking HERE, and don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on. Ov Sulfur offer us all in their debut opus everything we love in this type of music, sounding absolutely devilish, caustic and blasphemous from start to finish, paving the band’s path to the underworld and, therefore, placing them among one of the new driving forces of the current Deathcore scene worldwide.

Best moments of the album: Stained in Rot, Death ov Circumstance and Wide Open.

Worst moments of the album: The Inglorious Archetype.

Released in 2023 Century Media

Track listing
1. Stained in Rot 4:14
2. Befouler 3:43
3. Unraveling 4:46
4. Death ov Circumstance 4:33
5. Earthen 5:24
6. A Path to Salvation? 1:13
7. I, Apostate 4:40
8. Wide Open 5:07
9. The Inglorious Archetype 3:46
10. The Burden ov Faith 6:50

Band members
Ricky Hoover – vocals
Chase Wilson – guitars
Ding – bass
Leviathvn – drums

Guest musicians
Alex Terrible – vocals on “Befouler”
Taylor Barber – vocals on “Unraveling”
Howard Jones – vocals on “Wide Open”
Kyle Medina – vocals on “The Burden ov Faith”
Lindsay Schoolcraft – vocals on “The Burden ov Faith”