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”

Interview – Alex Mancini (Unknown Refuge)

Do you know what it is to grow up in the digital age of expression? Let’s have a chat with Alex Mancini, the talented vocalist and bassist for UK rockers Unknown Refuge, where he talks about that, the band’s debut album From The Darkness, and a lot more.

alex-mancini-unknown-refuge

Alex Mancini (Unknown Refuge)

The Headbanging Moose: Thank you for your time in chatting with us today! Could you please introduce yourselves to our readers and talk a little about the idea behind Unknown Refuge?

Alex Mancini: Hi I’m Alex, I’m the lead singer from Unknown refuge, we originally formed in 2016. The idea Unknown Refuge really came from us needing a band name for our first gig, we looked around where we were rehearsing and I saw a sign that said refuge point which made me wonder where mine was and that’s where the idea Unknown Refuge came from.

THM: You guys have just released your debut album From The Darkness. How difficult was it for the band to record it, and what inspired each band member to write the songs from the album?

AM:   It wasn’t too difficult for the band to record it, it was just difficult in terms of organizing a time where we were all available to pit aside a few weeks. The songs primarily stem from things I come across in my own life and I reflect these themes through use of ideas such as mythology, wars and some of my own personal experiences.

THM: I had a very good time enjoying each and every track from the album, but of course everyone has a favorite song and in my case it’s I’m Not A Bad Guy. I just love the pace, the punch and the lyrics from this specific song. What about you guys? Which song or songs from the album are your favorite ones and why?

Alex: My favourite is Journey because it depicts a lot of my life and I really enjoy playing it.

Morgan Deveney (drums): I’d say Battle Hymn  is my favorite I just love the energy behind the riff and the drums.

Jack Tracey (lead guitar): I really like playing Palace Walls, I quite like the breakdown and think it gives it a really good feel.

Harry Skinner (rhythm guitar): I’d say my favorite is To The Light,  I just really enjoy that opening riff.

THM: Who are your main idols in music and in life in general, and how much do they influence the band’s style and lyrical content?

AM:   I’d say we take a lot of influence from old metal bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slash and we try and incorporate that with new ideas to form what we believe is a new style of Hard Rock/Metal.

unknown-refuge-from-the-darkness-2021_150x150

Album Review – Unknown Refuge / From The Darkness (2021)

THM: You might be tired already of answering questions about the effect of COVID-19 to the music scene worldwide, with of course a huge negative impact on the shows and events industry. How has this pandemic been to you guys? As you’re a fairly new band, do you think you’re suffering more or less than established bands out there?

AM: We’ve definitely been suffering less than bands that completely rely on that income. Fortunately we have jobs on the side as this isn’t our full time career; however it has presented its own struggles with trying to produce new music and get people interested whilst no gigs are available.

THM: When Unknown Refuge was formed back in 2016, you were still teenagers in your 15’s. How have you guys managed the balance between Unknown Refuge and your studies since the band’s inception? Apart from touring, of course, what else in your student’s life is let’s say hampering your work with the band?

AM: Music is something that we all love deeply and I believe that no matter what we’re doing outside of that we’ll always try and make the time to progress our musical careers as much as we can.

THM: All band members are really young and were pretty much born already in the digital era. However, I would like to know your opinion on illegal downloads, on streaming services such as Spotify versus buying the physical copy of an album, and so on. And taking all that into account, how do you envision the future of the music industry in the coming years?

AM: That’s a tough one, I personally love physical copies of music, I do not agree with illegal streaming or downloading and I think places such as Spotify and streaming services like that are slowly killing the music industry. I know that that’s how people consume content nowadays, I can’t see that changing, but for me personally I think physical copies will always hold a place in my heart as that’s what I was around whilst growing up with rocker parents.

THM: Let’s have some fun now and talk about what could be considered a “dream tour” for Unknown Refuge. If you could choose 2 or 3 bands to tour with for one year, who would those be and why?

AM: I’d say Alter Bridge, Volbeat and Iron Maiden would be absolutely amazing. We are all huge fans of these and to play with bands that we admire so much would be a dream come true.

unknown-refuge

Unknown Refuge

THM: What’s next for Unknown Refuge? Now that you have already released your first album, which is the most important milestone for any band, what else do you have planned for the band in the short and long term?

AM: As soon as we are able we are going to get out and gig as much as possible, beyond that hopefully we will have new material written and be looking at recording a second album soon.

THM: Once again, thanks a lot for your time and for letting us know a little more about Unknown Refuge! Keep on rockin’, and please feel free to send any final messages you want to our readers.

AM: Thank you for having us, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, and if you haven’t then please checkout our website and Facebook for updates as to what we have coming up!

Links
Unknown Refuge Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | BandCamp | Big Cartel

Album Review – Juliet Ruin / Dark Water EP (2021)

Bang your heads to the new EP by this amazing Canadian Modern Metal crew, reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are.

3.0rating

juliet-ruin-dark-water-ep-2021Formed in 2015 in Edmonton, the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta, from the ashes of a previous project named Fiction of Fate with the desire to fuse a metal sound with clean technical vocal stylings in a way that is both beautiful and beastly, Modern Metal outfit Juliet Ruin has just unleashed upon us all a new EP titled Dark Water, following the band’s 2019 critically-acclaimed album Old Stardust, Love and Chaos. Comprised of Jess Fleming on lead vocals, Kent Geislinger and Wesley Rands on the guitars, Cody Reid on bass and Jesse Bauman on drums, Juliet Ruin are highly recommended for fans of the music by Jinjer, Infected Rain, The Agonist, Butcher Babies and so on, with their new EP reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are, all spiced up by the first-class production, mixing and mastering by Diego Fernandez (who also plays the guitar as a guest in the title-track, by the way) and the enfolding artwork by Brandy Black. “The listening experience we are going for is a hard-edged, but catchy experience with lyrics you can shout in anger, but also it leans positive on message,” said the band about their newborn child.

The vicious bass by Cody sets the tone in the Alternative Metal hurricane Dark Water, with Jess bringing forward a fusion of the pop vocals by Shirley Manson (of Garbage) with visceral Melodic Death Metal growls, boosted by the awesome guitar job by Kent, Wesley and guest Diego Fernandez. Then sheer poetry flows from the celestial lyrics (“Banish me like burned down planets / Write my fate with sparkling lies / I am the universe you’re just one sky”) found in Cosmic Vertigo, while Jesse smashes his drums in great Alternative Rock and Metal fashion, therefore inviting us all to headbanging together with the band; followed by Fake Stigmata, considerably heavier and darker than its predecessors, with Jess being on fire with a passionate vocal performance supported by the massive and groovy wall of sounds by her bandmates, in special Cody and his metallic bass jabs. Lastly, it’s time for more of their hybrid of Groove Metal with Metalcore and Alternative Rock in Might, showcasing a delicate but at the same time grim side of the band, with Kent and Wesley firing classic, incendiary riffs throughout the entire song.

juliet-ruin-2021When Jess and the boys from Juliet Ruin said their new EP Dark Water would bring forward an edgier and angrier side of the band, they were not kidding at all. This talented Canadian quintet made sure the EP title was not chosen in vein, investing in a much darker sound and pointing to a bright future ahead of them. Hence, if you want to know more about such up-and-coming crew hailing from Canada, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music and watch their videos on YouTube and on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of Dark Water from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing your utmost support to the Canadian underground. Juliet Ruin are inviting us all to sail through darker waters together with them in their new EP, and based on the high-quality of each of its four tracks I’m pretty sure that journey with the band will not only be thrilling, but it will also (and fortunately) last for a long time.

Best moments of the album: Dark Water and Cosmic Vertigo.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Dark Water 4:47
2. Cosmic Vertigo 4:08
3. Fake Stigmata 4:54
4. Might 4:16

Band members
Jess Fleming – vocals
Kent Geislinger – guitar
Wesley Rands – guitar
Cody Reid – bass
Jesse Bauman – drums

Guest musician
Diego Fernandez – guitars on “Dark Water”

Album Review – Unknown Refuge / From The Darkness (2021)

Get ready to rock to the debut album by four young musicians hailing from the UK, offering us all ten electrifying songs dealing with the struggles of growing up in the digital age of expression.

Formed early in 2016 by Alex Mancini, then aged 15 as lead singer, and four friends from the Music and Performing Arts Service in Salford, a large English town directly west of Manchester city center, Bolton-based Hard Rock outfit Unknown Refuge offers an accomplished, mature sound and performance that will set your fillings on edge despite the young ages of its members, those being the aforementioned Alex Mancini on vocals and bass, Jack Tracey and Harry Skinner on the guitars, and Morgan Deveney on drums. Now in 2021 it’s time for such promising act to unleash upon us their debut album, entitled From The Darkness, a 10-track electrifying opus showcasing forward-thinking from those young rockers and demonstrating laser-sharp musicianship accompanied by thoughtful songwriting, telling the evolution of a songwriter’s life growing up as a teenager, the personal interests during those years as well as capturing some of the struggles faced while growing up in the digital age of expression.

The cinematic, obscure intro From The Darkness sets the stage for the quartet to kick some ass in To The Light, where Jack already fires a sick guitar solo as his welcome card, accompanied by the classic vocals by Alex and the rhythmic beats by Morgan, blending the most incendiary elements form Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll and old school Heavy Metal. Then with Alex’s menacing bass and Morgan’s heavy beats generating a thunderous ambience, the band fires the old school feast titled Kicked To The Floor, highly recommended for fans of the modern rock and metal music crafted by Alter Bridge; and it’s time for the boys to put the pedal to the metal and blast a Motörhead-fueled rockin’ tune titled Battle Hymn, showcasing slashing riffs by Jack and Harry while Alex leads his crew with his straightforward vocals and thunderous bass punches. And Shadows is another great composition by Unknown Refuge, bringing elements from the music by Volbeat and Godsmack to their core Hard Rock, with Morgan pounding his drums mercilessly nonstop.

Presenting hints of 80’s Heavy and Progressive Metal, which only proves how versatile the band is, Palace Walls is slightly darker than its predecessors, with Jack and Harry showcasing another awesome job on the guitars, not to mention how smoothly Alex’s vocals flow from start to finish, whereas razor-edged riffs ignite the also fun and vibrant Wall Of Lies, once again blending the past and present of rock music and with its thrilling pace being led by the rhythmic drumming by Morgan. Following such entertaining song, we face another round of their kick-ass modern-day Hard Rock in If The Gods Be Good, with Alex being supported by the band’s classic backing vocals, therefore being perfect for hitting the road or raising your horns on the dance floor. And speeding things up a bit, the quartet fires the Godsmack-inspired extravaganza I’m Not A Bad Guy, offering a hybrid of Alternative Rock and Metal with old school thrash the likes of Metallica, also with Jack and Harry being on absolute fire from start to finish. And last but not least, old school, epic riffs kick off the closing tune titled Journey, with its headbanging rhythm and dense atmosphere being exactly what Alex needs to declaim the song’s pensive words, putting a climatic ending to such powerful album of Rock N’ Roll.

It’s quite easy to join the boys from Unknown Refuge in their quest for Rock N’ Roll. All you need to do is follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream their music on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of From The Darkness from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel (where by the way you’ll find an amazing bundle containing a CD, a charcoal grey Unknown Refuge shirt and four beer mats), or from Apple Music. Growing up as a teenager anywhere in the world nowadays is a true pain in the ass, but there’s nothing better than our good old Rock N’ Roll to guide us through such difficult times, just like what Unknown Refuge did in their debut album. That being said, how about hitting the dance floor to the high-octane music found in From The Darkness? It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or a grown-up, that will definitely make your day a lot better.

Best moments of the album: To The Light, Battle Hymn and I’m Not A Bad Guy.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. From The Darkness 1:09
2. To The Light 5:09
3. Kicked To The Floor 4:56
4. Battle Hymn 5:04
5. Shadows 3:32
6. Palace Walls 4:46
7. Wall Of Lies 3:23
8. If The Gods Be Good 3:14
9. I’m Not A Bad Guy 3:10
10. Journey 5:16

Band members
Alex Mancini – vocals, bass
Jack Tracey – lead guitar
Harry Skinner – rhythm guitar
Morgan Deveney – drums

Album Review – Rioghan / Blackened Sky EP (2021)

An up-and-coming Finnish poet and lyricist translates her work into music in her debut EP, deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal.

Formed in 2019 by Finnish singer Rioghan Darcy, Lapua, Finland-based Alternative/Gothic Metal entity Rioghan is deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal, translating into fresh and captivating music Rioghan’s work as both a poet and a lyricist. Now in 2021 our dauntless artist teamed up with Jonne Soidinaho, Eemeli Bodde and Atte Pohjonen, all skilled musicians from the Finnish music scene, to come up with a four-song EP entitled Blackened Sky, her debut installment as a vocalist. With all instruments being recorded and programming done by Eemeli and Jonne in various locations while vocals were recorded with Ville Hautaluoma in his studio in Seinäjoki, Finland, Blackened Sky brings something new to the table, being recommended for fans of rock and metal music who are not afraid of exploring newer, more alternative lands that are at the same time heavy, obscure, whimsical and fascinating.

Atmospheric and ethereal form the very first second, the opening track Hollowness already presents Rioghan’s delicate, enfolding vocals boosted by the song’s gentle background keys in a stylish fusion of Progressive and Alternative Rock and Metal, whereas sick Groove Metal riffs and bass punches together with tribalistic beats generate the perfect ambience for Rioghan’s piercing voice in Enough, where she showcases her more aggressive side and, therefore, turning this song into a must-listen for fans of the music by bands like Tesseract and Jinjer. Then investing in a much more alternative sound Rioghan brings forth the stylish Wither, where you won’t find the heaviness of the guitars from the previous song but instead electronic and atmospheric elements like what’s seen in the music by Lorde; and lastly, it’s time for an embracing, orchestral ambience in Corrupt, with Rioghan being supported by classic acoustic guitars while the music flows smoothly until everything fades to the sound of her comforting vocals.

I guess there’ll be a lot of discussion among fans of alternative music if Rioghan is rock, metal or something else, and that’s in my humble opinion the beauty of her music, avoiding any labels while at the same time bringing forth stunning elements from an array of musical styles, with Blackened Sky perfectly representing the first step in her promising career. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Rioghan by following her on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming her music on Spotify, and of course, by purchasing Blackened Sky from her own BandCamp page (or by pre-saving it to your desired music library by clicking HERE). I truly hope she doesn’t take too long to mesmerize us all once again with another EP or, even better, with her first full-length album, but until then let’s close our eyes and relax to the sound of the unique creations found in Blackened Sky, a short and sweet display of what this talented musician from the land of ice snow is capable of doing.

Best moments of the album: Enough.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Hollowness 3:25
2. Enough 4:46
3. Wither 3:18
4. Corrupt 3:26

Band members
Rioghan Darcy – vocals

Guest musicians
Eemeli Bodde & Jonne Soidinaho – all instruments, programming

Metal Chick of the Month – Madame Mayhem

Let the Mayhem begin!

As the year of 2020 has been nothing but pure chaos and mayhem, how about we celebrate the month of November and the fact we’re getting closer and closer to the end of such unique year in the history of mankind with our multi-talented metal chick of the month, the one and only Madame Mayhem, frontwoman of her own solo band Madame Mayhem? I’m sure you’ll enjoy knowing a little about her career, her personal life and, above all that, rocking like there’s no tomorrow to her electrifying and meaningful compositions, putting you to dance wherever you are even if it’s your own living room during this never-ending quarantine. Having said that, grab a cold beer, raise your horns and let the Mayhem begin!

Born on January 24, 1989 in Tenafly, one of the best places to live in New Jersey, in the United States, really close to the rich and multicultural Manhattan, Madame Mayhem, whose real name is Natalie Ann Cohen, began her musical training at the Manhattan School Of Music and went on to Frost School Of Music at the University Of Miami, where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, double majoring in Classical Opera and Musical Theatre, in three years. Before that, when she was still a little kid, she said her mom used to play music in the car when she drove her around to try to get her to nap, playing mostly grunge, which Mayhem’s likes to joke it was her “baby music”, making a big impression on her and helping develop her taste for heavier music as she grew older. Always having the will to perform, sing, write and create music, she said her nickname Madame Mayhem was actually created by her parents, meaning she needed to take control and rise above the “Mayhem” around her, taking charge of her own anxiety, hurt and frustrations, and then channeling all that towards her pulse-pounding anthems, instantly connecting with anyone who has struggled.

Madame Mayhem actually began her professional career back in 2011 when she was featured on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio New Discovered and Uncovered Artist chart, before opening for Buckcherry’s Live Nation tour at The Sands Casino, already creating some buzz in North America and internationally. Having already performed all across the United States in famous venues such as The Roxy, The Viper Room, Bowery Ballroom, Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room and the Bluebird Café, she has also headlined the VH1’s “That Metal Show” annual Christmas Party, performed on Shiprocked Cruise in 2017, scheduled to perform at Sunfest in 2017, and has recently performed on national tours with renowned and respected metal artists such as Doro and Mushroomhead. Not only that, owner of a ravishing looks that blends the colors of goth, glam and nuances of other rock styles, our beloved diva has also been covered in both fashion and rock music media including Aquarian Weekly, Brave Words, Fashion Style, Gannett, Guitar World, KNAC, Loudwire, New Noise, Revolver and The Day In Rock, among others, and has also been featured in international publications like Sweden Rock Magazine, Aardschok Magazine, Rock Hard Magazine France and Metal Hammer Magazine Spain.

Musically speaking, she has already collaborated with a vast array of renowned rock and metal artists and bands such as Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (KoRn, KXM), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Russ Parrish (“Satchel” from Steel Panther), Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio), John Moyer (Disturbed), Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia), Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and more, having also shared the stage with amazing bands the likes of Sevendust, Memphis May Fire, Fozzy and Doro. There’s a very good reason for all those connections with prominent names of the rock and metal scene, which is obviously the high quality of the music found in her three official albums released so far, those being her 2012 debut effort White Noise, produced by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Mark Hudson, her sophomore album Now You Know, from 2015, and her most recent album Ready For Me, released in 2017, always offering the listener a high-octane, fresh fusion of  Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Alternative Rock and Metal.

Apart from those full-length installments, Madame Mayhem has also released a few more recent singles, those being her cover version for Paul McCartney’s My Valentine, in 2018, Broken, in 2019, and Breaking Down and an amazing cover version for Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge now in 2020. Regarding her rendition of one of the biggest classics by Aerosmith, she said that “earlier in my career I covered Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge during our live shows. We had recorded a version, but it stayed in the Mayhem vault of songs completed, yet never released…until now! During these times, I feel this song is especially relevant. I wanted to give fans and fellow music lovers alike, a little something to rock out to during these strange and difficult days which we are all experiencing together.” Hence, if you want to keep on rocking together with Madame Mayhem, you can also enjoy her official videos and live footage for songs such as Monster, a cover version for Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited, a live acoustic version of Broken, as well as Ready For Me, All Around The World, Left For Dead, Dead Will Rise and Save Me.

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Having always wanted to become a singer, a musician and a performer, therefore never having a plan B in life, Madame Mayhem has a very eclectic taste in music, looking up to and showing her deepest respect and admiration for countless artists, as for example Chris Cornell, whose incredible voice really got her and still does, and Alanis Morissette, a strong female artist who really impacted her as a child. According to Mayhem herself, Incubus was her first real rock concert, with every live show coming with awesome memories in her humble opinion. In addition, when asked about which artists she would love to collaborate on a song or album, she said she has been fortunate enough to already have collaborated with so many incredible musicians and artists, but some would be Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Korn, Halestorm, Evanescence and Sevendust, among many, many others. Also, she mentioned that opening up for Sevendust, Fozzy and Doro was an amazing experience, learning different things from each band she has toured with.

Regarding her life on the road, she mentioned that an average day on tour is not as glamorous as one might think, but when you’re surrounded by your band and team that all have each other’s backs every day is fun and great. When on tour, Madame Mayhem tries to interact with her fans as much as possible both on stage and after the concert is over, also trying to stay connected with them through all her social media profiles. Furthermore, in order to stay healthy while on tour, she said she tries to rest whenever possible, never partying too hard so that she can preserve her voice and put on the best show she can each night. However, as we’re all aware of, music concerts are pretty much nonexistent nowadays due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as bands cannot play live and sell merch to their fans, Mayhem said that apart from her social media, she’s more than happy to sell her products through her own webstore to keep her fans entertained, also making use of live streaming platforms like countless other bands around the world to keep the fires of rock and metal music alive while music concerts and festivals continue to be prohibited worldwide.

Still talking about the pandemic, she said that due to the fact she lives in New York she still spends most of her time in her apartment, having set up a small makeshift home studio and writing music, as well as playing some live cover songs for her Youtube page and doing some virtual festivals. Mayhem tries to stay active by doing cardio outside when she can and Les Mills’ Body Combat in her living room, saying those workouts have really helped keep her sane during such difficult times, and of course spending time home with her family has also been great. She even said that because of the extra time she has in her hands right now she was the one who put together the official lyric video for Breaking Down and the music video for Livin’ On The Edge, showcasing another one of her many talents as a musician and an artist. That’s also related to her belief as to how someone can become a better musician or singer, commenting that anyone should keep working hard and practicing as much as possible, complementing by saying that she’s an example of that by having periodic vocal training sessions, trying to practice every single day, and learning new things within the realm of her career as a musician and a singer, something she considers extremely important.

When asked about how she feels about streaming services like Spotify, Madame Mayhem said that although she has always been a fan of releasing full-length physical CD’s that you can hold and that the artwork and the music together can tell a story from front to back, streaming music has made it easier for people to discover new music and new artists, and I guess we must all agree with her on that as without streaming most independent and underground bands would have a hard time trying to spread their music everywhere. That also includes streaming of programs and movies, which in this case are very beneficial for the viewers who can enjoy an endless variety of shows and movies, just like what Madame Mayhem herself likes to do during her downtime. If you want to know more about our unstoppable vocalist and performer, you can find several online interviews with her such as this one to an online magazine named  Bionic Buzz,  where she talks about her latest releases, touring with Sevendust and Fozzy in Europe, and other fun stories. Having said all that, let’s keep banging our heads to our multi-talented artist and her incendiary Rock N’ Roll, and let the Mayhem continue forever and ever!

Madame Mayhem’s Official Facebook page
Madame Mayhem’s Official Instagram
Madame Mayhem’s Official Twitter
Madame Mayhem’s Official YouTube channel

“Music, singing, and performing have been my passions my entire life, and always will be.” – Madame Mayhem

Album Review – Fenisia / The Spectator (2020)

Have fun with the third and final chapter of the conceptual discography by these Italian rockers, showcasing a fantastic fusion of styles from early Doom Metal to Southern Rock and Alternative Metal.

Produced by Ray Sperlonga (American Idol) at Rosary Lane Studios and mastered by Collin Davis (Imagica, Deeds of Flesh), The Spectator, the brand new album by Rome, Italy-based Alternative Rock/Metal act Fenisia, is a concept album featuring nine Southern Rock-influenced Alternative Metal songs that together represent a bold statement against organized religion, questioning the very roots of faith, telling a story surrounding the English enlightenment newspaper published in England from 1711 to 1712, which quickly became the symbol of modern journalism. Founded in 2009, Fenisia are currently comprised of Nic Ciaz on vocals and lead guitar, J Snake on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Doc Liquido on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Tig Smith on drums, all strongly influenced by the “deep south” sound of the American Southern Rock movement, and their new effort perfectly depicts that influence in their music, offering our ears an even more melodic side of the band if compared to their previous albums Lvcifer and Fenisia Café, released back in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

The opening track Lord Lumieres, the main character of the story told in The Spectator, is very melodic and atmospheric from the very first second, with Nic and J Snake showing no mercy for their stringed axes in a modern Hard Rock party with a 70’s and 80’s twist; and venturing through the lands of Stoner Rock and Metal they bring forth the awesome Sky Oracle, where Nic’s vocals remind me of the early days of the one and only Ozzy Osbourne, while Tig dictates the pace with his classic, neck-breaking beats and fills. Then the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Doc Liquido is quickly joined by the band’s heavy and strident riffs in Manifesto, another excellent tune blending elements from Alternative Rock with classic Rock N’ Roll and Stoner Rock, and you better get ready for another round of incendiary guitars and headbanging beats in Wake Me Up, where Doc Liquido continues to bring the groove to the music with his unstoppable bass, sounding fast and melodious from start to finish with Nic kicking ass on vocals.

Their 70’s vein keeps pulsing in Eternal Cult, with both Nic and J Snake firing their trademark riffs and solos accompanied by Tig’s rhythmic drums, whereas it’s time for a smooth ballad by the quartet titled Burned In My Brain, a pleasant tune albeit not as gripping as their usual Hard Rock, showcasing an introspective performance by Nic on vocals. After a moment of calmness, let’s bang our heads like true maniacs together with Fenisia in Wizard of the World, starting with an infernal riffage before morphing into a feast of Stoner Metal and Hard Rock, also presenting a fantastic sync between Tig and the band’s guitar duo, and adding elements from bands like Down to their Black Sabbath-ish sonority the band offers us the rockin’ Conspiracy Rules, with Nic delivering sheer electricity through his guitar solos. And lastly, as the icing on the cake we have a cover version for Lenny Kravitz’s biggest hit Are You Gonna Go My Way, an amazing rendition by Fenisia adding their own personal touch to the original song, with Doc Liquido being on fire with his bass jabs.

This fun and vibrant amalgamation of styles, from the early Doom Metal played by Black Sabbath to modern-day Alternative Rock and Metal, will soon be available from several locations such as Apple Music and Amazon, or you can simply click HERE and choose your preferred music service to get the album as soon as it’s unleashed upon us all. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Fenisia a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to listen to more of their music on YouTube and on Spotify, showing your support to such talented rock band from the beautiful Italy. Two years in the making, the third and final chapter of the band’s conceptual discography is finally ready to be released, exploring its roots in depth and extending the songwriting a step above the band’s previous releases, therefore putting a beyond climatic ending to such dark story. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join Fenisia and their “friend” Lord Lumieres in the rockin’ world brought into being in The Spectator?

Best moments of the album: Sky Oracle, Wake Me Up and Wizard of the World.

Worst moments of the album: Burned In My Brain.

Released in 2020 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Lord Lumieres 4:38
2. Sky Oracle 4:34
3. Manifesto 4:18
4. Wake Me Up 4:08
5. Eternal Cult 3:45
6. Burned In My Brain 5:42
7. Wizard of the World 4:00
8. Conspiracy Rules 4:33
9. Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz cover) 3:39

Band members
Nic Ciaz – vocals, lead guitar
J Snake – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Doc Liquido – bass guitar, backing vocals
Tig Smith – drums

Album Review – Donuts Hole / Fragmenta (2020)

Bang your heads to the third studio album by this excellent Spanish Alternative Metal crew, revolving around the human being’s own prison, isolated in the confines of his own mind.

Born in the year of 2009 in the charming city of Barcelona, Spain with a common philosophy among their musicians to create independent music without a fixed style, where expressivity rules over clichés, Alternative Rock/Metal unity Donuts Hole is set to release their third studio album now in 2020, entitled Fragmenta. Produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Marco A. Papiz at PlyGrnd Studio in Barcelona, and featuring a classy artwork by Spanish artist Alejandro Gómez Parker (Windbreaker Design), Fragmenta revolves around the human being’s own prison, isolated in the confines of his own mind, without knowing what he is or what he really wants, without sufficient expertise to focus the will towards a goal that transgresses yourself and that allows integrating all the fragments of our consciousness to connect with the community. Add to that pensive and contemporary theme the groovy and progressive fusion of rock and metal blasted by vocalist Ariel Placenti, guitarists Gun Sato and Marco A. Papiz, bassist Franx Jurado and drummer Sebastián Gonzalez and there you have one of 2020’s strongest albums of the European alternative scene, with the Spanish language giving the overall result a more organic and honest vibe.

The opening track Desde Las Ruinas (“from the ruins”, in English) sounds modern and piercing from the very first second, with Franx firing sheer heaviness and electricity from his bass while Ariel raps the song’s lyrics with tons of anger, therefore resulting in an excellent (and groovy) way to properly kick things off in Fragmenta, whereas Heridas, or “wounds”, is more atmospheric and metalized, blending American Alternative Metal with the band’s European twist, and with both Gun and Marco slashing their stringed axes nonstop. And they keep hammering their instruments in Fraccion De Ser, or “a fraction of being”, where Ariel sounds even more demented on vocals in another solid blast of modern-day metal music spearheaded by the crushing and rhythmic beats by Sebástian, not to mention its catchy chorus will work perfectly during their live concerts. Then a grim and heavy ambience enfolds us all in Espina (“thorn”), with the melodious guitars by Gun and Marco making a beautiful paradox with the rumbling bass by Franx, alternating between more visceral moments and serene passages, while Mapas (“maps”), one of the first singles released for the album promotion, brings to our ears the band’s trademark groove and progressiveness with Ariel venturing through more introspective lands.

Back to a more violent sonority, the band speed things up and fire the modern and exciting Revelador (“illuminating”), where Sebástian is unstoppable on drums providing Ariel all he needs to scream and roar manically from start to finish; followed by Tu, or “you”, a semi-ballad blasted by the quintet showcasing a very good job done by Sebástian on drums, while the guitars maintain the atmosphere at the same time heavy and gentle (albeit not as powerful as the previous songs, though). And you better get ready for a minimalist creation by Donuts Hole titled Pequeño Guerrero (“little warrior”), a more pensive tune compared to the rest of the album, bringing electronic elements in the background together with their usual alternative sounds, while the stylish piano interlude Calma (“calm”) sets the tone for the closing song entitled En La Tormenta (“into the storm”), bringing hints of Djent added to their core sonority. Put differently, it’s an inspiring composition overflowing hope and energy thanks to the crisp riffage by the band’s guitar duo and another passionate performance by Ariel on vocals.

The guys from Donuts Hole are waiting for you to join them in their quest for melodious, introspective and groovy music by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by streaming more of their music on Spotify, and of course by purchasing a copy of Fragmenta from several locations such as their own BandCamp page or webstore and La Casa del Disco, as well as by adding it to your favorite streaming service. Fragmenta is more than just another album of Alternative Rock and Metal, but a solid statement by Donuts Hole that they are among us to stay, to make us think about our lives and decisions while enjoying their newborn creations and, above all, that the human mind is and will always be one o the most compelling sources for hardworking bands like Donuts Hole to keep embellishing the airwaves with their music.

Best moments of the album: Desde Las Ruinas, Fraccion De Ser and Revelador.

Worst moments of the album: Tu.

Released in 2020 Rock Estatal Records

Track listing
1. Desde Las Ruinas 2:53
2. Heridas 3:33
3. Fraccion De Ser 4:11
4. Espina 3:19
5. Mapas 3:22
6. Revelador 4:00
7. Tu 4:26
8. Pequeño Guerrero 4:48
9. Calma 1:04
10. En La Tormenta 3:13

Band members
Ariel Placenti – vocals
Gun Sato – guitar
Marco A. Papiz – guitar
Franx Jurado – bass
Sebastián Gonzalez – drums

Album Review – Bouquet of Dead Crows / Hemispheres Part 1: Celestial EP (2020)

Adopting a more progressive sound, this unstoppable UK-based Alternative Rock unity is more than ready to rock your world with the first half of their third full-length album.

After embellishing the airwaves with their refined fusion of Alternative Rock and Metal with nuances of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock in their previous efforts, those being their 2015 debut album Of The Night and their 2018 release Motus Octo, Cambridge, UK’s own Bouquet of Dead Crows are back from outer space with the first part of their third full-length album Hemispheres, the six-track EP titled Hemispheres Part 1: Celestial. Adopting a more progressive sound with their trademark riffs with big melodies approach being enhanced to incorporate more layered and nuanced elements, the band currently comprised of Antoinette Cooper on vocals, Neil Bruce on the guitars, newcomer Karen Gadd on bass, and Andrew Coxall on drums and synths is more than ready to rock your world with Celestial, also preparing us all for the second half of their musical journey, Cerebral, scheduled for a late 2020 or maybe even an early 2021 release.

Recorded at the beginning of the year at Parlour Studios, mixed and produced by Neil Haynes, and featuring a stylish artwork by longtime collaborator Stewart Harris, from Stewart Harris Designs, Celestial has an overall theme of mental health, which is a topic all band members are very passionate about. With each song, they’ve written about issues that affect them individually and personally. There’s been a lot of stigma about depression and anxiety over the years, and as the mood slowly shifts, this album captures the zeitgeist of our current unpredictable day-to-day life, the fears we are all experiencing right now. In addition, although written before the pandemic that the world is currently experiencing, a lot of the lyrics do seem strangely prescient and also very relevant, such as the chorus of the title track which says that “it’s not the end of the world this time, it feels like the end of the world every time.”

Atmospheric and eerie from the very first second, the Sci-Fi intro Terraformer will captivate your senses and warm you up for the British Rock extravaganza titled Before The Storm, where Neil and Karen are in absolute sync with their riffs and bass, respectively, providing Antoinette exactly what she needs to shine on vocals while also bringing elements of Jazz to their core alternative essence, flowing smoothly into the gentle and enfolding Caged, where Andrew does a superb job with both his beats and his ethereal synths. In addition, Karen brings the groove to the overall result, also full of nice breaks and variations, whereas Neil begins slashing his strings in great fashion in the fast and thrilling Left to Rot, the most metallic of all songs of the EP with Antoinette adding a touch of finesse to the rumbling sounds blasted by her bandmates with her piercing vocals. Then it’s time to celebrate all giant monsters from the Japanese culture like Godzilla and Gamera in Kaiju Hijinks, another explosion of groove and adrenaline by the quartet presenting elements from Stoner Rock and Jazz to make things more interesting, not to mention the razor-edged riffs by Neil, followed by the title-track for the full album, Hemispheres, an introspective and futuristic song that evolves into a gentle Hard Rock ballad led by Andrew’s rhythmic drums and Neil’s classic riffs, ending the EP on a high note and setting the bar high for the second act Cerebral in the coming months.

Celestial, which is available for a full listen on YouTube (as six very entertaining visualizers) and on Spotify, is definitely a step forward in the career of Bouquet of Dead Crows, and in order to show those rockers your true appreciation don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, and of course to grab your copy of the EP from the German Shepherd Records’ BandCamp page, from Music Glue, from Apple Music or from Amazon. After putting your hands on this excellent EP, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for rockin’ around your house or in your car during such strange times we’re living, while we all wait for Antoinette, Neil & Co. to deliver more of their stylish Rock N’ Roll with the next chapter in their evolutionary career, Cerebral.

Best moments of the album: Left to Rot and Kaiju Hijinks.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 German Shepherd Records

Track listing
1. Terraformer 1:32
2. Before The Storm 2:34
3. Caged 3:49
4. Left to Rot 3:31
5. Kaiju Hijinks 2:36
6. Hemispheres 5:22

Band members
Antoinette Cooper – vocals
Neil Bruce – guitars
Karen Gadd – bass, backing vocals
Andrew Coxall – drums, synths, programming, backing vocals