Album Review – Lucifuge / Infernal Power (2021)

The full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance to the infernal fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal crafted by an unrelenting beast hailing from Germany.

3.5rating

lucifuge-infernal-power-2021For the past five years, Bremen, Germany-based Black/Thrash Metal beast Lucifuge has been perfecting an addicting fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal, all guided by the iron fist of mainman Equinox. Starting in 2018 as a one-man wrecking crew inspired by Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer, Lucifuge have expanded to a full-bodied quartet comprised of the aforementioned Equinox on vocals and guitars, Berenjenix also on the guitars, Matorralix on bass and Dominatrix on drums, taking the band’s signature greasy n’ galloping riffs, locomotive rhythmic (dis)charge and twisted n’ pissed vocals, and spit-shining them with the dirtiest motor oil known to man, resulting now in 2021 in their brand new and fulminating opus Infernal Power, a breathtaking album of unrelenting metal music highly recommended for fans of bands the likes of Exciter, Warfare, Running Wild and Onslaught, embraced by the old school warlike artwork by Italian painter Paolo Girardi.

Rev up your engines as their feast of frantic and dirty sounds is about to begin in Infernal Power, blending old school Heavy Metal the likes of early Running Wild with Punk Rock, with Equinox and Berenjenix being on fire with their lancinating riffs. Put differently, what a bestial way to kick off the album, and they keep slashing their stringed weapons mercilessly accompanied by the furious blast beats by Dominatrix and the in-your-face bass punches by Matorralix in Leviathan Arise; followed by Black Battalions, where its lyrics reek of violence and rebelliousness (“Destruction, Disorder and Desire / They cling to him who braves the gale of high / They rush upon him like a wave and break / in fiery foam against him and they shake / They Open Hell”) while the music is a beautiful, galloping fusion of Heavy, Black and Speed Metal. And putting the pedal to the metal the quartet sounds like a demonic version of the early days of Megadeth in Temples Of Madness, with Equinox delivering his trademark raspy roars nonstop.

Let’s keep slamming into the pit and raising our horns and beers high in the name of metal to the sound of Heresy Shall Remain, with Equinox and Berenjenix once again sounding hellish on the gutiars, whereas in Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame we face another round of their wicked lyrics (“Solemn dusk descending from the East / Demons rise around us in the mist / Deep beneath the Eyes of The Black Flame / Rise the One whose name shall not be named”) amidst a hurricane of metallic and sulfurous sounds. Then investing in a more melodic sound while maintaining their core essence intact the band offers us Black Light of The Evening Star, not as demented as its predecessors but still extremely enjoyable; and they’ll make your head tremble to the sound of the Speed Metal and Punk Rock hybrid entitled The Doors of Hell May Shake, where Dominatrix is once again insane behind his drums. After such pulverizing tune, it’s time for their own rendition of Good as It Is, from the legendary Japanese Hardcore Punk band G.I.S.M.’s cult second album M.A.N., released in 1987 (and you can check the original version HERE), with Lucifuge’s tribute sounding and feeling beyond stunning and vibrant. And lastly, sounding more epic than usual, Equinox and his henchmen fire the neck-breaking Midnight Sun, with the bass jabs by Matorralix making the earth tremble while the music remains utterly venomous until the very last second.

lucifuge-2021After all is said and done, it’s quite easy to join Equinox and his henchmen in their quest for metal music. All you have to do is stream Infernal Power as many times as you want in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such talented horde, and above all that, purchase your copy of their scorching new album from their own BandCamp page, or from the Dying Victims Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore (in CD or LP format). As the band itself likes to say, the full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance. Prepare to feel Lucifuge’s Infernal Power!

Best moments of the album: Infernal Power, Black Battalions and Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame.

Worst moments of the album: Black Light of The Evening Star.

Released in 2021 Dying Victims Productions

Track listing  
1. Infernal Power 2:52
2. Leviathan Arise 2:55
3. Black Battalions 3:36
4. Temples Of Madness 2:54
5. Heresy Shall Remain 3:05
6. Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame 2:55
7. Black Light of The Evening Star 3:08
8. The Doors of Hell May Shake 3:48
9. Good as It Is (G.I.S.M. cover) 5:20
10. Midnight Sun 3:59

Band members
Equinox – vocals, guitars
Berenjenix – guitars
Matorralix – bass
Dominatrix – drums

Album Review – Crypts of Despair / All Light Swallowed (2021)

Behold the breathtaking sophomore opus by a ruthless Death Metal unity from Lithuania, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere.

3.5rating

crypts-of-despair-all-light swallowed-2021Formed in 2009 in Kaunas, a city in south-central Lithuania, the ruthless Death Metal band known as Crypts of Despair has made a quantum leap from their well-received debut full-length opus The Stench of the Earth, released in 2017, to their brand new one, entitled All Light Swallowed. Produced by the band itself, recorded at Lapės Records, mixed and engineered by Alexander Sarychev at DTH Studios, mastered by Arthur Rizk, and featuring a classic, somber artwork by Néstor Avalos, All Light Swallowed is at once ferocious, rife with unearthly and dissonant sounds, and punctuated by hair-raising, eerie ambience, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere, with song structures remaining unpredictable and yet strangely coherent, all carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Dovydas Auglys, guitarist Benas Juskus, bassist and vocalist Simonas Jurkevicius, and drummer Henri Mall. Put differently, if you’re an admirer of the music by bands the likes of Incantation, Anaal Nathrakh and Morbid Angel, this album is a must-have in your personal collection.

Get ready for total annihilation to the sound of the pulverizing opening track Being – Erased, a lecture in modern-day Death Metal led by the blast beast by Henri while Dovydas and Benas extract piercing, sulfurous Black Metal-inspired riffs from their guitars, and there’s no sign of slowing down as the quartet continues their path of devastation in Anguished Exhale, even more brutal and infernal than the opening tune with Dovydas and Simonas roaring manically nonstop. In Choked By The Void a cryptic start morphs into another visceral Death Metal feast led by the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo, smashing our cranial skulls and dragging us into eternal darkness, and more of their furious sounds comes in the form of Condemned To Life, where Henri pounds and crushes his drums in great fashion, sounding very violent but at the same time technical and melodic and, therefore, resulting into sheer Death Metal awesomeness.

crypts-of-despair-all-light-swallowed-black-coffin-shaped-wooden-cd-box-set

Crypts of Despair All Light Swallowed Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving

Living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Incantation and Immolation, the quartet fires the visceral Synergy Of Suffering, once again presenting the dynamic (and bestial) vocal duet between Dovydas and Simonas, and if you thought those Lithuanian metallers couldn’t sound more demonic you better get ready for The Great End, a sinister, neck-breaking tune that blends their trademark Death Metal with Black Metal nuances. Then venturing through more obscure lands we’re treated to the venomous Disgust, a beautiful Death, Black and (even) Doom Metal creation by Crypts of Despair where the vocal lines sound and feel utterly satanic, not to mention the thunderous drums by Henri. Dovydas and Benas definitely know how to send shivers down our spines with their wicked riffs, generating a menacing ambience in Excruciating Weight, putting a grim smile on the faces of the damned and flowing into the Stygian instrumental outro Bleak View, sounding as if it was taken from the most horrifying psychological thriller you can imagine.

crypts-of-despair-2021It’s quite easy to put your hands on such amazing album of Baltic Death Metal, as All Light Swallowed (which you can by the way stream in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify) is available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, but if I were you I would definitely go for the ass-kicking, limited Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving by clicking HERE, HERE or HERE (depending on where in the world you are), containing an 8-panel digipak CD with sandalwood scent, an autographed card, a shaped silver sigil patch, a keychain with bottle opener, an album artwork badge, a beer coaster and a metallic sticker. Also, don’t forget to give the guys from Crypts of Despair a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing your support to such incredible band from the Baltics. And you better hurry, before all light is finally swallowed and you’re trapped in eternal Death Metal darkness.

Best moments of the album: Being – Erased, Condemned To Life and Disgust.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing   
1. Being – Erased 4:33
2. Anguished Exhale 4:13
3. Choked By The Void 5:17
4. Condemned To Life 3:27
5. Synergy Of Suffering 2:57
6. The Great End 5:32
7. Disgust 4:23
8. Excruciating Weight 3:57
9. Bleak View 3:37

Band members
Dovydas Auglys – vocals, guitar
Benas Juskus – guitar
Simonas Jurkevicius – bass, vocals
Henri Mall – drums

Album Review – Varang Nord / Pārķiuņa Uomurs (2021)

One of the best metal hordes hailing from Latvia is ready to bring down the hammer with their fourth studio album, proudly dedicated to their vast and beautiful homeland.

3.5rating

varang-nord-pārķiuņa-uomurs-2021Founded in 2014 in the cold woods of Latvia, more specifically in the city of Daugavpils, located in south-eastern Latvia, the unstoppable horde known as Varang Nord combines harsh Death Metal riffs with epic accordion chants, creating a unique blend of northern Folk, Pagan and Viking Metal while praising a mighty battle, a bloody sacrifice to the Old Gods and a joyful northern feast with endless mugs of ale. Now in 2021, the band comprised of Maksims “Wolf” Popovs on vocals and guitar, Jelena Kalniša on vocals and accordion, Javgenijs Selivanovs also on the guitar, Danila Lopuha on bass and vocals, Vjačeslavs Janens on percussion and vocals, and Aigars Zeiza on drums returns to the battlefield with Pārķiuņa Uomurs, or “thunder’s hammer” in English, their fourth studio album, proudly dedicated to their homeland, the power and beauty of its nature and the depth of its cultural roots. Produced by the band and recorded at their personal studio, and mixed and mastered by Gints Lundbergs at Sound Division Studios, Pārķiuņa Uomurs is also the band’s first-ever album where all lyrics are written in the Latgalian language (an eastern dialect of Latvian), giving it an even more personal and organic feel.

A war is about to begin in the epic intro Pi Tuoļim Krostym, getting us ready for our bloodthirsty destiny to the sound of Stuojīs!, where the accordion by Jelena and the blast beats by Aigars make a superb paradox, offering Maksims everything he needs to roar like a true barbarian while Jelena brings a touch of finesse and melancholy with her clean vocals. Cīņis Gors, a battle anthem capturing the spirit of hard, long sea travels and conquests Northmen have been involved in, is a fun and inspiring Pagan and Viking Metal tune where the background elements by guest Yuri Borin walk hand in hand with the slashing guitars by Maksims and Javgenijs; and let’s keep banging our heads to Pārķiuņa Uomurs, another solid composition by this Latvian horde with Danila, Vjačeslavs and Aigars making the earth tremble with their imposing kitchen, whereas their warlike metal feast goes on in Dzeļža Ryuda, again presenting a headbanging, prancing rhythm led by Jelena’s wicked accordion, not to mention the awesome job done by Maksims with his evil growls.

It’s time then for a journey through the melancholic realms of old school Pagan Metal spearheaded by Jelena’s vocals in Svietņeica, accompanied by the rhythmic beats by Aigars and all somber background sounds, while Maksims roars deeply and more enraged in Uperiešona, a classic Viking Metal extravaganza the likes of Amon Amarth that will please all fans of the genre, with Danila crushing his bass guitar while Maksims and Javgenijs bring fire to the music with their riffage. And let’s prance around the fire pit together with those Latvian marauders in Syt Pa Seyi, a Pagan Metal feast perfect for their live performances with Aigars once again kicking some ass behind his drum set. Then mesmerizing accordion sounds, infernal and thunderous bass jabs and blast beats, and troll-like vocals set the tone in Troļļs, the epitome of Latvian Folk Metal where all band members are on absolute fire from start to finish, followed by Karaveiri, another good composition by those talented metallers (albeit not as dynamic nor creative as its predecessors) that flows into the atmospheric, acoustic outro Ceļš Da Sātai, bringing peace to our hearts after such intense battle.

varang-nord-2021Having said all that, I guess I don’t need to tell you that the time has come to grab your sword and shield, and join Varang Nord in the battlefield to the sound of their new opus, right? In order to do that, you can stream the album in full on Spotify, or prove you’re a true warrior from the North and purchase a copy of the album from Dead Pulse or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on VKontakte and on Instagram for all things Varang Nord, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their epic music and videos. Varang Nord are not just another band recommended for fans of bands the likes of Ensiferum, Amon Amarth and Turisas, but a fantastic Latvian institution that truly deserves our appreciation for their contribution to heavy music. And let those talented Latvians bring down the hammer on us all!

Best moments of the album: Cīņis Gors, Uperiešona, Syt Pa Seyi and Trolls.

Worst moments of the album: Karaveiri.

Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records

Track listing  
1. Pi Tuoļim Krostym 2:07
2. Stuojīs! 4:28
3. Cīņis Gors 4:18
4. Pārķiuņa Uomurs 4:44
5. Dzeļža Ryuda 5:18
6. Svietņeica 5:39
7. Uperiešona 5:00
8. Syt Pa Seyi 4:06
9. Troļļs 4:18
10. Karaveiri 5:48
11. Ceļš Da Sātai 2:16

Band members
Maksims “Wolf” Popovs – vocals, guitar
Jelena Kalniša – vocals, accordion
Javgenijs Selivanovs – guitar
Danila Lopuha – bass, vocals
Vjačeslavs Janens – percussion, vocals
Aigars Zeiza – drums

Guest musicians
Alyona Fomina – medieval bagpipes, talharpa, other traditional instruments
Yuri Borin – orchestral arrangements

Album Review – Pentral / What Lies Ahead of Us (2021)

This multi-talented metal unity from Brazil is ready to embellish the airwaves with their excellent new album, aiming at making the world a better place to live.

3.5rating

pentral-what-lies-ahead-of-us-2021Brazilian Heavy Metal unity Pentral, which by the way is Latin for “spirit”, mixes many sorts of global influences in their music while at the same time trying to honor the groove, unique harmonies, atmosphere and melody found in Brazilian music. Comprised of brothers Victor Lima (vocals and guitars) and Vagner Lima (drums), as well as Joe Ferry (bass), three Brazilians whose passion for rock music is only rivalled by their desire to make an album which contributes towards making the world a better place to live, the band has just released the excellent What Lies Ahead of Us. Produced by Pentral and Tim Palmer, mixed by Tim Palmer, mastered by Justin Shturtz and featuring a stunning artwork by Heidi Taillefer, the album travels through the realms of progressive and alternative music flawlessly, inspired by classic sounds from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. “The album was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was a huge challenge wearing face masks almost every time. There was tension and fear among the musicians and engineers of getting infected. Besides that, the songs are not “straight”. Pentral uses a lot of uncommon and odd time signatures and harmonies, so it was pretty hard to record the final version of the tracks. Atmosphere, harmony, melody, groove and a strong message to make people think. For the band, this is what music is all about,” commented Victor about the recording process.

The hypnotic voices by guests Isabella Trindade and Ivan Teixeira will captivate your senses before Pentral come crushing in Silent Trees, with Victor’s epic vocals walking hand in hand with the classic beats by Vagner, sounding very detailed, smooth and progressive, whereas again traveling through the realms of Progressive Rock and Metal the trio brings into being the thrilling All My Wounds, where Victor is on fire with his wicked riffage accompanied by the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Joe. Then blending the heaviness and modernity of Alternative Metal with their core sonority we’re treated to the incendiary Disconnected, with Vagner once again kicking some ass with his intricate beats; while slowing things down a bit the band delivers a somber intro in Letters From Nowhere, evolving into a dark Progressive Rock extravaganza led by Victor’s stylish guitar lines. And in Aiming For The Sun we face poetic lyrics declaimed by Victor (“Wake up, back from dawn of the dead / Many yearned for your head / Unfair forgive the ones / Who sent you there as they will drag / Themselves beneath instead / Get out at once and run”) while the music offers our avid ears an electrifying hybrid of traditional Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock.

It’s time to sit down, relax and enjoy the serene ballad A Gift From God, where Victor steals the spotlight with his passionate vocal performance, keeping the atmosphere as ethereal and mesmerizing as possible until the very last second, while the thunderous bass punches by Joe ignite the multi-layered, epic tune No Real Colour In Souls, offering our ears over eight minutes of awesomeness in the form of progressive beats, slashing riffs and cryptic vocals, living up to the legacy of 70’s and 80’s rock and metal, with the guitar solos by Victor being the icing on the cake. Then more of their dynamic and atmospheric mix of rock and metal comes in the form of The Shell I’m Living In, exploding into a more aggressive sound thanks to the enraged vocals by Victor and the pounding beats by Vagner, followed by Are You Satisfied?, where the metallic bass by Joe brings the groove to the music and with Victor delivering soulful vocals and guitar lines accompanied by the progressive drumming by  Vagner. It goes on for way too long, though. Finally, closing the album the band offers another musical voyage through the realms of Progressive and Alternative Rock and Metal entitled The Law, with its acoustic guitars adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result.

pentral-2021You can listen to What Lies Ahead of Us in its entirety on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE, therefore showing your true support to Brazilian underground rock and metal. In addition, don’t forget to follow the trio on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their classy music and beautiful videos. After all is said and done, it’s a pleasure witnessing a band like Pentral not only delivering awesome music to our ears, but even more important than that, offering us all meaningful music, trying to make the world a better place for all of us as already mentioned through their distinguished compositions, and by doing that I’m sure they’ll win the hearts of rock and metal fans from all over the world, inspiring the trio to keep moving forward and embellishing the airwaves with their music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: All My Wounds, Aiming For The Sun and No Real Colour In Souls.

Worst moments of the album: Are You Satisfied?

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Silent Trees 7:13
2. All My Wounds 4:29
3. Disconnected 4:37
4. Letters From Nowhere 6:53
5. Aiming For The Sun 5:52
6. A Gift From God 5:53
7. No Real Colour In Souls 8:28
8. The Shell I’m Living In 4:06
9. Are You Satisfied? 7:54
10. The Law 8:43

BandCamp bonus tracks
11. Silent Trees (Radio Edit) 4:47
12. Aiming For The Sun (Radio Edit) 4:02

Band members
Victor Lima – vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Joe Ferry – bass
Vagner Lima – drums

Guest musicians
Tim Palmer – additional guitars, tambourine and keyboards
Ivan Teixeira – keyboards
Yaniel Matos – cello
Isabella Trindade and Ivan Teixeira – voices on “Silent Trees”

Album Review – Gojira / Fortitude (2021)

Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic, creative and thrilling bands of the current metal scene.

4.5rating

gojira-fortitude-2021Recorded at the famous Silver Cord Studio in New York City, the amazing Fortitude, the seventh studio opus by French Progressive/Groove Metal giants Gojira and the follow-up to their 2016 critically-acclaimed album Magma, is considered by the band a “groovy, aerated album” inspired as an encouragement to self-reinforcement, “to show courage to face up the world, to face tomorrow’s problems,” and after listening to each and every track from the album you’ll realize vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier, guitarist Christian Andreu, bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and drummer Mario Duplantier simply nailed it. According to Joe, the album’s title Fortitude “is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to be strong no matter what”, while the cover art, which represents “the spirit of the album”, was designed and painted by Joe himself. His brother Mario brought him various paintings of warriors and knights and showed him Pallas Athena, an 1898 oil-on-canvas painting by Gustav Klimt, and Knights of the Round Table. As he wanted to represent an indigenous person, it ended with his own interpretation of all these elements.

Their progressive vein explodes into sheer electricity in the opening tune Born for One Thing, with Mario proving why he’s one of the best metal drummers of the current scene. Put differently, it’s pure Gojira to properly kick things off, followed by the stunning Amazonia, where the band’s trademark metal is infused with local elements from the Brazilian culture for our total delight. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to sing along its lyrics with Joe (“There’s fire in the sky / You’re in the Amazon / The greatest miracle / Is burning to the ground / Godly Amazonia / Bloody Amazonia / Mighty Amazonia / Killing Amazonia”); and Joe and Christian keep kicking ass with their wicked riffage in Another World, another classic tune by the quartet perfect for banging our heads nonstop, not to mention how in sync Jean-Michel and Mario are with their heavy kitchen. Hold On is a more atmospheric and experimental composition by Gojira, bringing forward rhythmic beats, slashing riffs and the always visceral vocals by Joe, whereas in New Found we’re treated to strident, piercing riffs that only those French metallers can provide us all, feeling like it was taken from their 2005 cult album From Mars to Sirius. Needless to say, the Duplantier Brothers are on fire with their crushing vocals and pounding beats.

The title-track Fortitude is one of those classic Gojira interludes, an enfolding acoustic sound to soothe our souls before the beautiful The Chant fills outevery single space in the air, showcasing the band’s trademark, meaningful words (“You were told to swallow crawl and hide / Victims of fear and deception / Get ahold of yourself rise above / The better part of you, immortal”) amidst a lesson in Progressive Rock and Metal; and their sharp guitars come ripping in the neck-breaking Sphinx, where Joel invests into darker vocal lines accompanied by the vicious drums by Mario, not to mention how metallic the bass by Jean-Michel sounds. Let’s keep banging our heads to the fantastic Heavy Metal blasted by Gojira in Into the Storm, where the quartet enhances the epicness in their music considerably, resulting in a massive creation that will please all fans of the band, whereas slowing things down a bit and sounding more melancholic and somber than before it’s time for The Trails, a very introspective song spearheaded by Joe’s cryptic vocals. Lastly, slashing our ears mercilessly the band fires the awesome Grind, where Mario showcases all his dexterity behind his drums accompanied by the electrifying riffage by Joe and Christian, therefore ending the album on a kick-ass, piercing Progressive Metal note. In addition, if you’re lucky enough to find the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll be treated to three bonus songs (Silvera, Backbone and Pray) recorded live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the United States on May 11, 2017.

gojira-2021Are you ready to have your mind and soul hypnotized by the unparalleled music brought into being by one of the biggest names of the current metal scene worldwide? If your answer is yes, you can enjoy Fortitude in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream such fantastic album. Also, don’t forget to follow Gojira on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates, initiatives they’re involved with, and so on, also subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their music and other exclusive footage. As aforementioned, those French metallers wanted to create an album that would help us face our problems, our monsters and inner demons, and it’s impressive how they managed to do so without abandoning their core musical essence, providing us fans of Heavy Metal what’s perhaps the best album of 2021, an year where we lost so much but that at the same time is giving us some hope to keep moving forward.

Best moments of the album: Amazonia, New Found, Sphinx, Into the Storm and Grind.

Worst moments of the album: The Trails.

Released in 2021 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Born for One Thing 4:20
2. Amazonia 5:00
3. Another World 4:24
4. Hold On 5:30
5.New Found 6:36
6. Fortitude 2:07
7. The Chant 5:12
8. Sphinx 4:00
9. Into the Storm 5:02
10. The Trails 4:07
11. Grind 5:34

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
12. Silvera (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 3:57
13. Backbone (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 6:23
14. Pray (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 10:20

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

Guest musician
Adriana Vanella – vocals on “Amazonia”

Album Review – Dauthuz / Cold (2021)

Enjoy the new album by this ruthless squad that has been assaulting Dutch eardrums with their own twisted version of skull crushing, pounding Death Metal since 2015.

3.5rating

dauthuz-cold-2021Since their inception in 2015 in Zaanstad, a Dutch municipality in the province of North Holland, the ruthless Death Metal squad known as Dauthuz (old school slang for “the process of dying”) has been assaulting Dutch eardrums with their own twisted version of skull crushing, pounding Death Metal, and that couldn’t have been any different with their sophomore opus straightforwardly entitled Cold. Why Cold? Because cold are the calculations that operate the war machine, cold is the broken heart of the vengeful stalker, cold feels the barrel of the gun in the mouth of the victim, cold are the limbs of the last survivor on the frozen plain, and cold are those on the six feet deep descent. In other words, cold is death, and that’s exactly what vocalist Emiel Selderbeek, guitarists Dennis Jak and Hans Bijland, bassist Tim Roeper and drummer Bas Polder bring forth in their new album, recorded and produced by Dennis Jak, mixed and mastered by Kristian Kohle of the infamous Kohlekeller Studio, and featuring a stylish artwork by Italian artist Roberto Toderico.

The Evil Wicked Do is infernal and heavy right from the very first second thanks to the smashing drums by Bas and the visceral, deep growling by Emiel, or in other words, it’s classic Death Metal from the 90’s that kicks off the album on an aggressive and demented mode, and there’s no time to breath as the quintet keeps hammering our cranial skulls mercilessly in the fast and furious A New Dawn, where Dennis and Hans are unstoppable with their wicked riffage. Let’s keep slamming into the circle pit to the sound of The Dead, a pure Death Metal feast spearheaded by the strident guitars by Dennis and Hans while Emiel continues to roar and bark manically, accompanied by the rumbling bass by Tim and ending in a truly menacing way; whereas your ideal soundtrack to the end of the world must contain the song The Apocalypse, a fulminating lecture in old school Death Metal where Bas is once again infernal behind his drums, elevating the song’s darkness to a whole new level.

The title-track Cold will blacken your hearts and minds to the sound of the headbanging riffs by the band’s guitar duo while Emiel continues his path of savagery on vocals, not to mention the grim aura that permeates the air throughout the entire song, whereas investing in a darker and heavier sonority the likes of Unleashed, this unrelenting Dutch squad fires the massive tune Hellborn, inviting us all to crack our necks headbanging like true metalheads while Dennis and Hans deliver some sick guitar solos for our total delight.  Even more demented than its predecessors, Gore is a lecture in venomous Death Metal where Emiel sounds like a demonic entity on vocals while his bandmates make sure every single space in the air is filled with hatred and, of course, gore; followed by Termination, not as dynamic nor as detailed as the rest of the album albeit still presenting the band’s obscurity and heaviness from start to finish, with Emiel stealing the spotlight with his Stygian growling. Lastly, there’s nothing better than a pulverizing tune the likes of Crossfire to conclude the album, with all band members being on fire, bringing forth sheer malignancy while Bas once again takes the lead with his blast beats.

dauthuz-2021The unrelenting, demented Death Metal crafted by Dauthuz in Cold can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your true support to the underground you should definitely purchase the album from the band’s Big Cartel, from Apple Music or from Amazon, as well as follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and all things Dauthuz, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music. Death Metal made in the Netherlands can’t get any colder than this, and by that I mean any darker nor heavier than what Dauthuz offer us all in their new album, setting fire to their path of devastation and pointing to a bright future ahead of such hardworking Dutch act.

Best moments of the album: The Evil Wicked Do, The Apocalypse and Gore.

Worst moments of the album: Termination.

Released in 2021 Stageblast Records

Track listing
1. The Evil Wicked Do 4:00
2. A New Dawn 2:52
3. The Dead 6:13
4. The Apocalypse 3:20
5. Cold 4:51
6. Hellborn 5:10
7. Gore 4:03
8. Termination 4:56
9. Crossfire 7:10

Band members
Emiel Selderbeek – vocals
Dennis Jak – guitars
Hans Bijland – guitars
Tim Roeper – bass
Bas Polder – drums

Album Review – Mustasch / A Final Warning – Chapter One EP (2021)

Celebrating 20 years since their first record was released, these Swedish rockers are inviting us all to hit the dance floor to the sound of their new EP.

3.0rating

mustasch-a-final-warning-chapter-one-ep-2021With their straightforward and uncompromising attitude, Gothenburg, Sweden-based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock squad Mustasch is ready to celebrate 20 years since their first record was released now in 2021 with two new EP’s, the first being A Final Warning – Chapter One, followed by A Final Warning – Chapter Two (to be released in October). Comprised of Ralf Gyllenhammar on vocals and guitar, David Johannesson on lead guitar, Stam Johansson on bass and Robban Bäck on drums, Mustasch started way back in 1998 and have quickly become one of the most important Hard Rock bands of the Swedish scene, provoking many and having their music loved by many more, leading the band to win two Swedish Grammys so far in their career.  In A Final Warning – Chapter One, the band sounds more incendiary and melodic than ever, offering fans 20 minutes of pure Mustasch and, therefore, leaving us all eager for the second part of their celebrations later this year.

Without further ado, it’s time to ignite your rockin’ engines to the sound of the sharp riffs by Ralf and David and the rumbling bass by Stam in A Final Warning, blending the heaviness of classic Hard Rock with modern nuances and epic background effects, whereas going back to the golden years of pure Heavy Metal the quartet fires the metallic extravaganza Contagious, where Robban kicks some ass on drums while Ralf declaims the song’s lyrics with tons of energy and aggressiveness. Then investing in a more modern version of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll we have Albert Einstein, again showcasing classic, in-your-face guitar riffs while Ralf delivers a mix of System Of a Down and The Cult through his enraged vocals. Stam’s bass brings the groove to the dancing and sexy You Are Killing Me, and you better get ready to bang your heads nonstop together with the quartet as Ralf steals the spotlight on vocals accompanied by Robban’s crushing beats; followed by Searching for Long Range Communication, sounding as if it was taken from a 70’s action movie. In other words, it’s sheer Rock N’ Roll with Stam and Robban jamming like there’s no tomorrow until the melancholic and smooth outro To Be Continued puts an end to the EP.

mustasch-2021You can hit the dance floor by listening to the full EP on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the guys from Mustasch you should purchase your copy of the EP from the Sound Pollution webstore, from Napalm Records, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow those unstoppable Swedish rockers on Facebook and on Instagram, getting to know more about the band and warming up your senses for their upcoming EP. Will Mustach outdo themselves in the next chapter of A Final Warning? Stay tuned for the wild conclusion this October, my friends!

Best moments of the album: Contagious and You Are Killing Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Tritonus Records

Track listing
1. A Final Warning 5:03
2. Contagious 3:01
3. Albert Einstein 3:25
4. You Are Killing Me 3:52
5. Searching for Long Range Communication 3:49
6. To Be Continued 1:28

Band members
Ralf Gyllenhammar – lead vocals, guitar
David Johannesson – lead guitar
Stam Johansson – bass
Robban Bäck – drums

Album Review – Nuclear Winter / Greystone (2021)

Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic and Industrial Death Metal one-man army is back in action sharper than ever with his most powerful and detailed album to date.

3.5rating

nuclear-winter-greystone-2021After the success of his 2020 EP Stormscapes, Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic/Industrial Death Metal one-man army Nuclear Winter is set to unleash the project’s third full-length opus, entitled Greystone, where the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gary Stautmeister recorded, wrote and produced everything by himself, giving the whole album a very personal touch. “I’m very happy to have completed this new album titled Greystone. I was aiming to produce something heavy but also more electronic than my previous EP. It was quite challenging mix-wise because each song uses a slightly different sound on the drums/bass/guitars, but I feel the overall production is an improvement from my previous work, and the songs are now hopefully more distinct from each other. I especially like Corridor of Shells – which is about a battle in which the surrendering army brings shame to their country,” proudly commented Gary about his new “baby”.

And Gary doesn’t waste a single second and begins shredding his guitar mercilessly in the opening tune The Wastelands, all boosted by the song’s futuristic background elements, therefore reminding me of some creations by the iconic Fear Factory. More of his fusion of Industrial and Death Metal comes in the form of the visceral and somber Stygian Awakening, with Gary growling like a demonic entity while at the same time generating an interesting paradox with his own clean vocals, resulting in a headbanging, epic and progressive creation by this Zimbabwean lone wolf; whereas Gary’s metallic bass jabs will hit you hard in the head in The Harvest Moon, another whimsical, multi-layered creation that travels through the realms of Progressive, Death and Melodic Metal flawlessly. It’s quite impressive how his music is so dense and detailed taking into account he’s only one single musician, and in Orwellian Future his undeniable talent becomes even clearer as he’s capable of bringing some welcome hints of electronic music to the song’s overall heaviness.

Time for Gary to invest in a more rockin’ sound in Corridor of Shells, where our one-man band kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos while crushing his drums with tons of intricacy, sounding very atmospheric and therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Industrial Metal. The Wavering Shadows beings in full force showcasing strident riffs, epic keyboards and hammering drums, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and insanity, with Gary firing truly demonic, Black Metal-inspired gnarls, while he will put you to dance under the moonlight in Hidden Shrine, showcasing elements from 80’s electronic bands the likes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order added to the project’s core essence. The second to last explosion of Industrial Death Metal by Gary, entitled Graveyard Sculpture, continues his path of devastation and insanity, with the machine-like drums walking hand in hand with all futuristic keys; and The Failing Dawn, the closing tune of the album, might not be as impactful as its predecessors, but it still showcases Gary’s own “darkness versus light” vocal duel and his always visceral riffage.

nuclear-winter-2021In a nutshell, as aforementioned, it’s truly impressive how Gary manages to sound like a full-bodied band even doing all by himself, and in Greystone we must all admit he outdid himself in terms of creativity, punch and heaviness, offering us fans of heavy music what’s perhaps the best metal album that has ever been recorded in Zimbabwe, and even if Zimbabwe might not be considered a true metal country that still means a lot. Hence, don’t forget to show Gary your support and admiration by following him and his Nuclear Winter on Facebook and on Twitter, by streaming all of his wicked compositions on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing your copy of Greystone from the MDD Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can stream or buy the full album). As he keeps evolving as a musician (and as a producer), let’s wait and see what’s next in the career of Mr. Gary Stautmeister, and until then we can keep enjoying all tracks from the excellent Greystone in the name of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: Stygian Awakening, Corridor of Shells and The Wavering Shadows.

Worst moments of the album: The Failing Dawn.

Released in 2021 MDD Records

Track listing
1. The Wastelands 4:00
2. Stygian Awakening 4:12
3. The Harvest Moon 3:58
4. Orwellian Future 3:43
5. Corridor of Shells 4:20
6. The Wavering Shadows 4:07
7. Hidden Shrine 4:40
8. Graveyard Sculpture 3:13
9. The Failing Dawn 4:08

Band members
Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Funebria / Death of the Last Sun (2021)

An infernal invocation to darkness by a ruthless Colombia-based horde, positioning the band as one of the driving forces of the South American extreme music scene.

3.5rating

funebria-death-of-the-last-sun-2021Funebria, the name of a rare manuscript “Carmina Funebria in Obitum Clarissimi” of influences in opus “Cantiones Profanae” and a fascination for funeral processions, is also the name of Venezuelan Black Metal horde Funebria, founded in 2004 in Maracaibo, a city in northwestern Venezuela and the capital of Zulia state (but currently based in Bogota, Colombia), having started following the path of pure old school Black Metal with their debut demo Manifiesto Al Esclavo, released in 2005. Currently comprised of Daemonae on vocals and guitars, Blackmiroz also on the guitars, Perverssturm on bass and backing vocals, and Naberius on drums, the band is unleashing upon humanity their third full-length album, entitled Death of the Last Sun, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Behemoth, Hate, Decapitated and Svart Crown, among others. Recorded mixed and mastered at DAE Home Studio by Ranndy Garcia (aka Daemonae), known for his work with Black Metal act Theurgia, Death of the Last Sun is an invocation to darkness in the most tight and raw way imaginable, positioning the band as one of the driving forces of the South American extreme music scene.

The tolling of the bells darkens our minds and hearts in the intro AIN, before all hell breaks loose in Ominous Armaggeddon, a visceral, straightforward Black Metal feast spearheaded by the infernal beats by Naberius while Daemonae roars and barks like a true demonic entity, also presenting progressive and groovy elements to spice the whole song up considerably. After such intense start to the album, more of their venomous fusion of Black and Death Metal is offered to our avid ears in the obscure tune Upheaval & Decadence, with hints of Doom Metal added to its already somber vibe, not to mention how ruthless Daemonae and Blackmiroz are with their riffage; and there’s no time to breathe as those South American beasts keep smashing our skulls mercilessly in Bleeding Sacrament, another brutal display of Black Metal infused with Daemonae’s trademark Death Metal growls that will put a grim smile on the faces of fans of extreme music.

Ethereal Form Of Saints sounds and feels as doomed as its predecessors, with Perverssturm firing low-tuned, bestial bass punches straight to our faces, therefore supporting the headbanging riffs by his bandmates, resulting in a massive tune where every single space in the air is filled with sulfur and hate. Dawn Of Black Inericon might be the shortest song of the album, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as dense, bold and Mephistophelian as all other songs, with Daemonae once again taking the lead with his deep roars supported by Naberius’ massive drums, whereas closing the album there’s more evil and hatred in the form of Black Waters Caesar, a lecture in old school and modern-day Black Metal full of breaks and variations, scorching riffs, bass jabs and the always demented beats by Naberius. Put differently, what a pulverizing conclusion to Death of the Last Sun, leaving us all eager for more of Funebria’s infernal creations in a not-so-distant future.

funebria-2021If you want to have a much better taste of all the darkness and wrath flowing from Funebria’s music, you can enjoy their new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should definitely purchase the album from Dark Terror Temple’s BandCamp page, from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon to show your utmost support to such distinguished South American horde. In addition, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook for news, tour dates, plans for the future and so on, proving you’re indeed a servant of the underworld as you like to brag about. Funebria are one of those bands whose sound is always evolving in the best way possible without abandoning their roots, and Death of the Last Sun is indeed a fantastic representation of their talent, their passion for Black Metal and their loyalty to this always brutal and captivating style.

Best moments of the album: Ominous Armaggeddon and Black Waters Caesar.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Dark Terror Temple/Satanath Records

Track listing
1. AIN 0:52
2. Ominous Armaggeddon 6:35
3. Upheaval & Decadence 4:43
4. Bleeding Sacrament 4:13
5. Ethereal Form Of Saints 5:35
6. Dawn Of Black Inericon 3:52
7. Black Waters Caesar 5:17

Band members
Daemonae – guitars, vocals
Blackmiroz – guitars
Perverssturm – bass, backing vocals
Naberius – drums