Album Review – Captain Naysayer / Captain Naysayer EP (2021)

All aboard the Rock N’ Roll vessel captained by a talented five-piece Belgian crew, taking you on a trip through the unruly waters of rock and metal music to the sound of their self-titled debut EP.

Starting as a wet dream of guitarist Daan and drummer Evert from a Belgian rock band named The DeVilles, Keerbergen, Belgium-based Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock act Captain Naysayer are ready to rock your world to the sound of their self-titled debut EP, bringing to the table a fun and vibrant sound inspired by 70’s Rock N’ Roll. Comprised of the aforementioned Daan and Evert together with their countrymen Tom on keyboards and Bert on bass, as well as Brazilian vocalist Arthur, who by the way joined the band from overseas after seeing their online post to lure some candidates for the job, Captain Naysayer take no prisoners in their quest for classic rock and metal, offering to us all six undisputed songs that go from the most classic form of Rock N’ Roll to heavier and more melodic passages, and the final result will certainly put you to dance and bang your heads together with the boys like there’s no tomorrow.

Arising from the bottom of the ocean like a true kraken, Captain Naysayer start blasting their 70’s Rock N’ Roll in Black Silhouette, spearheaded by the smashing beats by Evert and the classic vocals by Arthur, with the Axel Rudi Pell-inspired keys by Tom being the icing on the cake. And more of their old school rock music is offered in the form of Changes, where Daan’s soulful riffs and Bert’s low-tuned bass add an extra touch of nostalgia to the overall result, not to mention how rhythmic and pleasant the drumming by Evert sounds; followed by Voodoo Lovin’, an amazing display of Psychedelic Rock with a Southern Rock twist where the lyrics declaimed by Arthur couldn’t have been more Hard Rock than this (“Since we first met you put me through a test / Going through the ringer on the tip of your finger / It was hard each day just to get a little closer to you / It was like a spell, it was like a trance / Nothing in my mind except for the desire / For the fire that was burning in between your legs”).

After such powerful start, the second half of the EP kicks off with I See Danger, showcasing a Placebo-like vibe in Arthur’s strident vocals accompanied by some tribalistic elements and the Rock N’ Roll riffage by Daan. In addition, tons of progressiveness flows from all instruments, with Tom’s keys bringing electricity and epicness to their core sound in another ode to rock and metal music. Then smooth keys and a whimsical atmosphere suddenly explode into a Jethro Tull-like sonority in Blue Eyed Mask, a delicate ballad by Captain Naysayer where the vocals by Arthur exhale poetry and melancholy from start to finish, whereas they showcase their Deep Purple vein and passion for classic Progressive Rock and Metal in the closing tune Living Again, where Tom is on fire with his ass-kicking keys while Evert and Bert bring the Blues to the music, all spiced up by an incendiary performance by Arthur on vocals while ending in the most vibrant way imaginable.

If you want to know more about Captain Naysayer before boarding their Rock N’ Roll vessel, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and plans for the future, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, and of course purchase their thrilling EP from BandCamp and stream it on Spotify (or simply click HERE to choose your favorite version of the album). I’m sure those Belgian musicians (and of course their Brazilian vocalist) will love to hear from you, keeping their inner rockin’ fire burning and, therefore, inspiring them to move forward in their career and continue to embellish the airwaves with their great fusion of old school Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Blues, carving their names in the small but always prolific underground Belgian scene.

Best moments of the album: Voodoo Lovin’ and Living Again.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Black Silhouette 4:27
2. Changes 3:53
3. Voodoo Lovin’ 4:18
4. I See Danger 3:33
5. Blue Eyed Mask 4:23
6. Living Again 5:09

Band members
Arthur – vocals
Daan – guitar
Tom – keys
Bert – bass
Evert – drums

Album Review – Shocker / Shocker EP (2021)

Enjoy this journey through the past, present and future of rock and metal music brought forth by five hardworking and talented Belgian “shockers”.

Formed somewhere in 2018 in Kuurne, a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, from an old idea by frontman Sammy Peleman (After All, September Syn) and bassist Koen (when Sammy performed as a guest vocalist in Koen’s cover band Back to Back), Shocker are a Heavy Metal and Hard Rock outfit that doesn’t like to be stuck to any boundaries or labeled as just one specific music style, bringing to our ears an amalgamation of rock and metal genres and subgenres with a strong 70’s Psychedelic Rock vibe to make things more entertaining and vibrant. Now in 2021 it’s time for Sammy and Koen, together with their bandmates  David Vandewalle (Anesthesy, Artrach) on the guitars, Chris Dedeurwaerder (Phoenix Rebellion) on guitars and keyboards, and Jelle Vandewalle on drums, to release their debut self-titled EP, containing four no shenanigans rockin’ songs that will take you on a journey to the past, bring you back to the present, and show you that the future of Rock N’ Roll is safe thanks to hardworking and talented bands like those Belgian rockers.

And let Shocker’s party begin with some good old, electrifying Rock N’ Roll in the opening tune Thrillseeker, with David and Chris bringing a touch of 80’s metal to the music with their riffs while of course Sammy kicks some ass with his Glam Metal vocals; whereas switching gears to a darker sonority found in some of the more contemporary songs by Iron Maiden they offer us all Twisted Shape of Man, before Jelle begins pounding his drums accompanied by the rumbling bass by Koen and the incendiary riffs from the band’s guitar duo. Then Koen ignites the band’s somber machine with his low-tuned, metallic bass in The Genuine Falls while Sammy declaims the lyrics with tons of passion and introspection, resulting in a classic Heavy Metal tune that slowly and gradually accelerates its pace until reaching an epic, galloping sound led by Jelle’s beats, also infused with a few welcome Progressive Rock and Metal nuances. Lastly, closing the EP it’s time for some groove in the Hard Rock and Hair Metal extravaganza titled Breaking the Silence, where the strident riffs and solos by David and Chris walk hand in hand with Sammy’s soaring vocals, therefore putting a classic conclusion to their debut effort.

Despite the fact that the EP is relatively short in duration, with the four songs lasting for a combined running time of a little less than 23 minutes, it’s indeed an amazing indication of where those five skillful musicians are headed to in their future releases, not to mention their progressive vein allows them to experiment a lot more than other regular bands, which of course means we can expect a few good surprises from Shocker anytime they release a new EP or full-length album. Furthermore, as a completely independent band that loves the DIY style from the bottom of their hearts as much as they love rock music, they need our support and admiration to keep moving forward in their career, so why not paying them a visit on their official Facebook page not only to provide your feedback on their music, but more important than that, to purchase their newborn EP and to keep on rockin’ in the free world? That’s what electrifying rock music like what those Belgian “shockers” have to offer us all is all about, and that’s pretty much all that we need in our lives.

Best moments of the album: The Genuine Falls.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Thrillseeker 5:07
2. Twisted Shape of Man 6:56
3. The Genuine Falls 5:17
4. Breaking the Silence 5:26

Band members
Sammy Peleman – vocals
David Vandewalle – guitars
Chris Dedeurwaerder – guitars, keyboards
Koen – bass, backing vocals
Jelle Vandewalle – drums

Album Review – Hulder / Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry (2021)

The past is alive because the present is dead. With the glorious birth of Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, long live Hulder!

One of the best-kept secrets hailing from the underground Black Metal scene, Portland, Oregon-based one-woman entity Hulder was formed back in 2018 as the sole work of the selfsame Hulder, whose real name is Marz Riesterer, a native of Mechelen, Belgium but currently residing in the United States. She quickly went to work on Hulder’s first demo released in 2018, titled Ascending the Raven Stone, ancient and regressive but with no shortage of technicality. Hulder then began crystalizing her aesthetic in her subsequent albums both in sheer sonics as well as visuals, culminating now in 2021 with her debut opus Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry. Recorded at De Pestkerk Studio and mixed at The Underworld Studio, this demonic opus is structured like a true album, with side one kicking in an utterly feral manner and cresting along to vicious wanderlust while side two furthers the synth mysticism and maintains a more triumphant aspect, with each of its eight tracks being deeply rooted in 90’s classicism, from the paganisms of earliest Enslaved  and Kampfar to the hypnotizing grit of classic Judas Iscariot. Supported by session drummer Necreon (Cauterized, Funebrarum, Trepanation), Hulder is on absolute fire throughout the entire album, offering our ears old school, raw Black Metal that’s utterly dynamic, engaging, nuanced and transportive, but undeniably physical in its pulsing vistas of darkness and mystery.

The opening track Upon Frigid Winds is pulverizing from the very first second, with Hulder beautifully growling the song’s Stygian words (“Almighty force of the damned / Awakened by eons of pain / Born of destruction and carnage / Brought to light once again / Upon frigid winds we ride / Blaze the path of retribution / Clashing of mere mortal weaponry / Force of evil remains eternal”). In other words, it’s classic, grim Black Metal, period. And our dauntless black metaller keeps darkening the skies in Creature of Demonic Majesty, blasting her guitars and bass mercilessly, therefore crafting a beyond menacing ambience while Necreon keeps smashing his drums nonstop; then inspired by the early days of renowned acts the likes of Immortal, Marduk and Mayhem, Hulder explodes our senses with the sulfurous Sown in Barren Soil, presenting an amazing job done with her piercing riffage, and always supported by the precise Necreon, of course. And it’s time to soothe our souls to the sound of the folk-infused, atmospheric tune titled De Dijle, where Hulder meticulously blends the sounds of nature with phantasmagorical keys and her trademark she-demon gnarls.

After such mesmerizing tune, Hulder offers our avid ears the mid-tempo Atmospheric Black Metal aria Purgations of Bodily Corruptions, once again boosting the song’s malignancy with her devilish keys and riffs, whereas Lowland Famine brings forward old school Black Metal in its purest form from start to finish, with the venomous she-wolf roars by Hulder being beautifully complemented by her Cradle of Filth-inspired keys. Put differently, the song effectively epitomizes Hulder’s talent and passion for extreme music; and switching gears to an atmospheric, almost shoegazing sonority Hulder captivates us all with her delicate vocals in A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn, exploding into visceral Black Metal while displaying poetic lyrics barked by our one-woman army (“A trail of fallen kin lie before me / As far as my tired eyes can see / A bloodred horizon to illuminate my path / I hear their cries as they share in my agony”). Finally, let’s crack our necks headbanging to the menacing From Whence an Ancient Evil Once Reigned, where Hulder’s slashing riffage and low-tuned bass generate a massive wall of sounds enhanced by Necreon’s bestial drumming, putting a sensational conclusion to such inspiring and medieval album.

I guess I don’t need to say we have right in front of us one of the most detailed, organic and infernal albums of 2021, and we don’t need to listen to anything that will still be released this year to make such statement. Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry is a true gem of extreme music, making me wonder what’s next in the career of this talented Belgian-American metaller. Hence, don’t forget to give Hulder a shout on Facebook, to stream more of her awesome music on Spotify, and to purchase Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry in less than two weeks from several distinct locations including her own BandCamp page, the Iron Bonehead’s BandCamp page or webstore, Record Shop X and Apple Music. The past is alive because the present is dead. With the glorious birth of Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, long live Hulder!

Best moments of the album: Upon Frigid Winds, Sown in Barren Soil, Lowland Famine and A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Iron Bonehead

Track listing
1. Upon Frigid Winds 3:22
2. Creature of Demonic Majesty 3:33
3. Sown in Barren Soil 4:43
4. De Dijle 6:33
5. Purgations of Bodily Corruptions 4:23
6. Lowland Famine 5:26
7. A Forlorn Peasant’s Hymn 6:03
8. From Whence an Ancient Evil Once Reigned 5:07

Band members
Hulder – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
Necreon – drums (session)

Album Review – Malfested / Shallow Graves EP (2020)

Behold this epic tale about a great battle between men and the undead in the form of the pulverizing Death Metal crafted by an uncanny Belgian horde.

Forged in the fires of Kortrijk, a Belgian city and municipality in the Flemish province of West Flanders, in 2020, the year of “the great plague”, the unrelenting Death Metal unity known as Malfested released on November 2, the famous “Day of the Dead”, their debut EP entitled Shallow Graves. Highly inspired by renowned acts the likes of Bloodbath, Deicide and Carnation, the band comprised of Arne on vocals and Niels on the guitar, as well as other anonymous members, offers in Shallow Graves an epic tale about a great battle between men and the undead, where they have to find a way to stop this overwhelming evil. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Cyril Hostyn, Shallow Graves exhales aggression, anger and heaviness just the way we like it in classic Death Metal, leaving us completely disoriented after the album’s 21 minutes of vicious music are over. Put differently, simply hit play and head into the violent and merciless battlefield side by side with those uncanny Belgian metallers in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Flies buzzing and the stench of dead bodies ignite the vicious onrush of old school Death Metal titled Shallow Graves, where Arne vociferates rabidly and deeply accompanied by the Hardcore-infused riffage by Niels, and whoever is playing the drums is a true metal beast. And you better be physically prepared as they keep hammering our heads and haunting our souls with their undisputed fusion of old school and modern-day Death Metal in Masked with the Skulls of the Fallen, where once again Arne’s growls and snarls sound beyond brutal, building an instant and visceral connection with the pulverizing Fields of Bloodshed, showcasing austere lyrics (“One wounded man had made it out – to the tell the tale before he bled out / Like fire the word spread through the land – a whole town crushed by a demon hand / Summon the fearless – send them out to investigate / Expose the demons – that only live in old wife’s tales”), frantic beats and the trademark scorching riffs by Niels.

I the excellent Venefica (The Banished One) we’re treated to a sick and thrilling display of savagery and hatred in the form of Death Metal by Malfested. Moreover, Arne and Niels must be really proud of the stone crusher they called to be their drummer, resulting in the perfect combination of evil sounds tailored for slamming our skulls into the circle pit. Then leaning towards the darkest form of Death Metal you can think of, you can sense sheer rage flowing from Arne’s guttural roars in Incantations, while the music remains as bestial and aggressive as possible, not to mention the demolishing but at the same time melodious riffs by Niels. Finally, Malfested show no mercy for our necks and souls as they offer our ears another infernal tune titled Cistern of Souls, inspired by the glory of 90’s Death Metal the likes of Deicide, Morbid Angel and Death, among several others, and as soon as it’s over you’ll feel desperate for more of their violent music.

I guess I don’t need to say Malfested are here to stay based on the high quality of the music found in Shallow Graves, right? Those Belgian metallers are on fire throughout the entire EP, which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, pointing to a bright (and demolishing) future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow those cryptic musicians on Facebook and, above all, to purchase a copy of Shallow Graves from their own BandCamp page. Will Arne, Niels and their henchmen win their battle against the undead armed with their undisputed Death Metal? Only time will tell, but until then we can rest assured Malfested will continue to decimate our senses with their wicked and perverse creations, elevating the name of their homeland in the underworld of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Shallow Graves and Venefica (The Banished One).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Shallow Graves 3:14
2. Masked with the Skulls of the Fallen 3:47
3. Fields of Bloodshed 3:37
4. Venefica (The Banished One) 3:48
5. Incantations 4:00
6. Cistern of Souls 3:10

Band members
Arne – vocals
Niels – guitar
Unknown – guitar, bass, drums*

* There’s no information available about the other band members.

Album Review – BleedSkin / Blood Reign (2020)

Bang your heads to the brutal display of classic and contemporary Death Metal blasted by this promising Belgian band in their debut album.

Forged in 2016 in the fires of Andenne, a Belgian municipality located in the Walloon province of Namur, BleedSkin are an up-and-coming band highly inspired by iconic names from the 80’s and 90’s the likes of  Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Dying Fetus and Aborted, among others, playing an old school, no bullshit style of Death Metal while singing about controversial topics such as dismemberment, butchery and annihilation. All that hard work and passion for heavy music has already led frontwoman Anouk Debecq, guitarists Benjamin Lefevre and Céline Mazay, bassist Rémy Adam and drummer Julien Vanhees to open for an array of bands including Exuviated, Debauchery and Blood Red Throne since their inception, culminating now in 2020 with the release of their debut effort Blood Reign, a brutal display of classic and contemporary Death Metal that will please all fans of the genre, recorded and mixed by Benoît Polomé at Noise Factory Studio and Soundwave Studio and embraced by a sinister artwork by Venezuelan artist Jesus Lhysta, better known under his moniker Rotted Artist.

A creepy, tribalistic and symphonic horror movie-inspired intro named Perverted Feelings sets the tone for the bestial devastation titled Eternal Hatred, where Benjamin and Céline begin slashing their axes while Anouk screams and roars deeply like an infernal entity, or in other words, this is a high-octane, classic Death Metal tune perfect for slamming into the circle pit, also bringing forward spot-on guitar solos and endless savagery. Once again inspired by renowned acts like Cannibal Corpse, Death and Morbid Angel, the band delivers Obsession, a great headbanging tune with Anouk once again showcasing all her she-wolf skills on vocals and where Julien hammers his drums without a single drop of mercy; and blending the ferocity of Death Metal with the speed of Thrash Metal the band offers us all No One Will Hear You, where Rémy and Julien will make your cranial skull tremble to the thunderous sound of their respective bass and drums. Then sounding as heavy as a stone crusher, it’s time for BleedSkin to pulverize our heads with Schizophrenia, with Benjamin and Céline yet again firing pure hatred from their guitars, and with guest Logan Dykens, the band’s former vocalist, bringing his share of dementia on backing vocals, whereas Point of No Return is an ode to the classic Death Metal sound from the 90’s and the 2000’s, with Anouk getting more and more demented on vocals as the music progresses without a single second of peace for our total delight.

Perversion of Mankind, which touches the complicated subject of pedophilia (and in order not to be censored, Anouk wrote it as if it were a children’s story where the monster is the pedophile), is another avalanche of incendiary riffs, blast beats and venomous vociferations brought forth by BleedSkin, while Silence Is Your Only Way, a song about sexism, violence against women, abortion and rape, is a demolishing composition where the music matches perfectly with the topics discussed (or maybe I should say barked) by Anouk in the lyrics, not to mention how unstoppable the band’s guitar duo sounds with their endless riffs and solos. Then more of their hellish growls and blast beats will penetrate deep inside your skin in The Dead Sale, feeling like Benjamin and Céline want to disintegrate their guitar strings due to the violence they apply to their riffage; followed by Innocent, the album’s second to last blast of classic Death Metal made in Belgium, where Benjamin is spot-on with his wicked guitar solo while Rémy doesn’t stop pounding his bass not even for a single second in a solid display of aggressiveness and rage. Lastly, how about more heaviness, anger and speed to properly close the album? That’s what they offer our metallic ears in Chaos Theory, where Anouk’s deranged, guttural roars are not recommended for the lighthearted, and with Julian dictating the pace with his demonic beats and fills.

BleedSkin’s debut full-length opus can be better appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show them your utmost support don’t forget to follow such promising band hailing from Belgium on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their sick creations and official videos, and above all that, to click HERE and purchase or stream your favorite version of Blood Reign. As you might have already noticed, those Belgian metallers do not aim at reinventing Death Metal nor anything like that, having as their main goal keeping the fires of classic Death Metal burning bright in the underground and, consequently, offering us fans a very good reason for breaking our necks headbanging and slamming like maniacs. Well, in the end, what else can we ask for in first-class extreme music, right? And thanks to the girls an boys from BleedSkin, we can rest assured we’ll have a lot of fuel to burn into the circle pit to the sound of their visceral music for quite a while.

Best moments of the album: Eternal Hatred, Schizophrenia and Silence Is Your Only Way.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Perverted Feelings 1:51
2. Eternal Hatred 3:18
3. Obsession 3:19
4. No One Will Hear You 3:44
5. Schizophrenia 3:33
6. Point of No Return 4:03
7. Perversion of Mankind 3:33
8. Silence Is Your Only Way 3:55
9. The Dead Sale 3:18
10. Innocent 4:02
11. Chaos Theory 4:03

Band members
Anouk Debecq – vocals
Benjamin Lefevre – lead guitars
Céline Mazay – guitars
Rémy Adam – bass
Julien Vanhees – drums

Guest musician
Logan Dykens – backing vocals on “Schizophrenia”, “Silence Is Your Only Way”, “The Dead Sale” and “Innocent”

Album Review – Aborted / La Grande Mascarade EP (2020)

Belgium’s own Death Metal trailblazers return with a three-track EP that will take you on a frantic journey through the realms of brutality and violence.

Forged in the fires of Waereghem, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, in the distant year of 1995, but currently featuring members from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States, the unrelenting Brutal Death Metal trailblazers Aborted have just released a pummeling new three-track EP entitled La Grande Mascarade, containing two brand new tracks plus one previously unreleased song from the recording sessions of their 2018 album TerrorVision. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kristian ‘Kohle’ Kohlmannslehner at Kohlekeller Studio and featuring  a cadaverous artwork by Mitchell Nolte, La Grande Mascarade will take you on an 11-minute infernal journey through the realms of Death Metal and Grindcore ruled by Aborted, showcasing all the talent and fury exhaled by frontman Sven De Caluwe and his henchmen Harrison Patuto and Ian Jekelis on the guitars, Stefano Franceschini on bass and Ken Bedene on drums, leaving us all eager for more of their extreme sounds in a not-so-distant future.

And otherworldly voices kick off the brutal and visceral opening tune Gloom and the Art of Tribulation, exploding into a feast of modern-day Death Metal infused with Deathcore and Grindcore elements where Sven roars and barks like a true beast while Harrison and Ian are venomous with their riffs. Needless to say, this will undoubtedly be a fantastic addition to their live performances, not to mention the impact of its psychological lyrics on our minds (“Trauma sets in / Mesmerized by the hell I created / Swallowed whole by the darkness that lives within me / Architect of my spiritual undoing / Lover to misery”). Following such beautiful start they offer more of their trademark progressiveness and rage in another grim and cryptic song titled Serpent of Depravity, with Ken’s intricate and fulminating beats being perfectly complemented by the scorching riffs fired by the band’s guitar duo in a hybrid of Groove and Progressive Death Metal. And lastly, we’re treated to Funereal Malediction, a pure, hellish Death Metal and Grindcore devastation where Stefano and Ken make the foundations of the earth tremble with their respective weapons while Sven sounds absolutely berserk and demented on vocals. This amazing composition couldn’t have sounds more infernal than what it already does, with the complexity of their riffage and drums being beyond amazing and, therefore, resulting in a vile conclusion to the album.

This short but very entertaining (and obviously demolishing) display of Brutal Death Metal can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course, as we’re all living through such difficult times, we metalheads must stay together and provide the bands we love our true support by purchasing their music and merch, which in the case of Aborted can be done by clicking HERE or HERE. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram (in case you don’t do that already), letting them know how much you enjoy their sonic devastation and inspiring them to provide us more and more albums and EP’s like La Grande Mascarade, keeping the fires of extreme music burning and, consequently, keeping us all with a huge smile on our faces (and a lot of pain in our necks due to some brutal headbanging).

Best moments of the album: Funereal Malediction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Century Media Records

Track listing
1. Gloom and the Art of Tribulation 4:38
2. Serpent of Depravity 3:21
3. Funereal Malediction 3:50

Band members
Sven De Caluwe – vocals
Harrison Patuto – guitar
Ian Jekelis – guitar
Stefano Franceschini – bass
Ken Bedene – drums

Album Review – WildHeart / No Love (2019)

Highly inspired by classic Hard Rock and Glam Metal from the 80’s, this five-piece act from Belgium will take you on an electrifying journey back to the Sunset Strip anno 1986.

Hailing from Ninove, a city and municipality located in the Flemish province of East Flanders in Belgium, Hard Rock outfit WildHeart is a young and hungry band with a great passion for and highly inspired by classic Hard Rock and Glam Metal from the 80’s such as Whitesnake, RATT, Mötley Crüe, Dokken and Van Halen, taking you on a journey back to the Sunset Strip anno 1986 with their fun and vibrant music. Having the debauchery on stage and a carefree Rock N’ Roll vibe as their top priorities, the band comprised of frontman Farty, guitarists Foxx and Juice, bassist Stevie Dee and drummer Thunderberck is offering to our ears now in 2019 their sophomore album entitled No Love, a follow-up to their also excellent self-titled debut album released in 2016.

Produced by Joren Cautaers and mastered at Mass Destruction Production in Sweden by none other than Erik Martensson, known from bands like Eclipse and W.E.T., No Love is a thrilling feast of rockin’ tunes and sounds tailored for diehard fans of the genre who are always eager to meet new bands playing that classic sonority from around 30 years ago. Even the band’s attire seems to be taken from the golden years of Glam and Heavy Metal, looking like a more serious (but still uncompromising) version of our beloved Steel Panther and really old school Van Halen.

The old school intro The Mirror grows in intensity until A Stranger’s Eyes comes crushing our heads and warming up our hearts, exhaling pure Hard Rock for lovers of the music by Motley Crüe and Poison, with the blazing riffs by Foxx and Juice dictating the song’s frantic rhythm while Farty powerfully declaims its lyrics. After such powerful start, it’s time to put on your tight leopard pants and get ready to bang your head with the band in Nothing but Trouble, a song that sounds as if it was taken straight from an album recorded in the 80’s, with Thunderberck pounding his drums with a lot of precision and Stevie Dee adding the word “metal” to the musicality armed with his bass punches; whereas a catchy riff ignites the headbanging Dutch Courage, where all band members showcase their deep passion for Glam Metal in over five minutes of first-class rock music for the masses. Moreover, Farty steals the spotlight with another fantastic vocal performance, while the band’s guitar duo breathes fire with their refined solos.

The title-track No Love leans towards classic Skid Row with hints of Survivor’s all-time hit “Eye of the Tiger”, with the sync between guitars, beats and bass being simply amazing, therefore resulting in an energizing tune that should sound beyond electrifying if played live. Then showcasing an Iron Maiden’s “From Here To Eternity”-inspired riff, led by Thunderberck’s crushing beats and presenting a pure 80’s vibe, One Way Ticket to Paradise is more than perfect for singing along with the band or enjoying it while having a relaxing ride on the highway on a summer day; and WildHeart keep hitting our heads hard with their old school music in Rumours, a song that feels like a power ballad at times, but still bringing the groove and punch from faster rock songs. Needless to say, Farty once again delivers a great performance on vocals, not to mention the band’s usual incendiary guitar solos.

Now rev up your engines for a mid-tempo Hard Rock extravaganza entitled Good to Be Bad, infused with the heavier sounds by bands like Judas Priest and Primal Fear (especially during the song’s scorching hot, metallic riffs), turning it into a great metal hymn perfect for raising your fists in the air together with the band. The Winner’s Always Right is another explosion of classic rock and metal spearheaded by Foxx’s and Juice’s unstoppable axes, while Thunderberck keeps slamming his drum set in great fashion. Well, this song definitely asks for a colorful bandana, don’t you think? Anyway, adding hints of classic Rock N’ Roll and Southern Rock to their old school musicality, this rockin’ quintet offers us the fun and fresh Valerie, and you’re already aware that every single time a Hard Rock band writes a song named after a girl, the final result exhales awesomeness. Lastly, WildHeart probably thought it was a good idea to close the album with a true headbanger, and that’s exactly what we get in Tonight We Rock, bringing to our avid ears a flammable fusion of the music by Van Halen with Scorpions, hence making it impossible to stand still to the dynamic riffs and beats blasted by the band while Farty delivers what’s perhaps his most inspired vocals of the whole album.

No Love, which by the way is available for a full and delicious listen on Spotify, is more than just another album of Hard Rock. It’s a passionate, detailed and very honest tribute from WildHeart to all of their heroes from the 80’s, working as some sort of “time machine” for everyone who loves that classic rock sonority that has been embellishing the Sunset Strip for over 30 years. Having said that, don’t forget to show those Belgian metalheads you true support and admiration by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and of course by purchasing your copy of No Love from several locations like Apple Music. After listening to No Love, I caught myself wondering if there’s a street that can be named the “Belgian Sunset Strip” in WildHeart’s homeland, having those obstinate rockers as one of the greatest new names of European Hard Rock and Glam Metal.

Best moments of the album: Dutch Courage, One Way Ticket to Paradise and Tonight We Rock.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 WildHeart Records

Track listing
1. The Mirror 1:12
2. A Stranger’s Eyes 5:21
3. Nothing but Trouble 5:00
4. Dutch Courage 5:09
5. No Love 5:03
6. One Way Ticket to Paradise 5:13
7. Rumours 6:12
8. Good to Be Bad 4:33
9. The Winner’s Always Right 4:43
10. Valerie 4:46
11. Tonight We Rock 4:47

Band members
Farty – vocals
Foxx – guitar
Juice – guitar
Stevie Dee – bass
Thunderberck – drums

Album Review – [P.U.T] / We Are [Br]others (2019)

An amalgamation of sludge, industrial and punk noises at their finest, brought forth by three brothers who have been delivering first-class music for over 20 years.

Blasting our eras with a raw and dirty fusion of Industrial and Sludge Metal since 1998, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France-based brothers Loïc Beyet (guitar, voice, programming), Lionel Beyet (bass, programming, voice) and Nicolas Beyet (guitar, voice), collectively known as Industrial Sludge Noise beast [P.U.T], are unleashing upon humanity their sixth full-length opus entitled We Are [Br]others, highly recommended for fans of the noisy music by acts like Sonic Youth, Killing Joke, Godflesh and Neurosis, among several others. Self-recorded between Paris and Brussels, mixed by Loïc at garlic.lab between November 2017 and May 2018, mastered by Alexandre Vitrac, an ex-[P.U.T] member, at Studio CBE in June 2018, and featuring a classy and obscure artwork by French artist Alexis Horellou, We Are [Br]others is the first [P.U.T] album to feature the three Beyet Brothers in the lineup, offering the listener the band’s trademark amalgamation of machine sounds, guitars, noise, sludge, industrial and punk at their finest, overflowing madness, heaviness and anger over the span of 50 minutes.

Their first onrush of distorted sounds, titled In Control, is a metallic fusion of the Industrial Metal played by bands like Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails with the sluggish and “polluted” riffs from classic Sludge Metal where the Beyet Brothers vociferate from the depths of the underworld, and with Lionel also delivering some powerful jabs from his bass. Following such eerie start we have Nothing, even more disruptive and grim than the opening track, a perfect option to be part of the soundtrack to a psychological thriller. Moreover, its guitars sound as raw and venomous as they can be, bringing all the heaviness and madness found in the music by the iconic Ministry, for example. Then putting the pedal to the metal [P.U.T] offer a high-octane mix of modern-day Rock N’ Roll with classic Industrial Metal titled In Conflict, where Loïc and Nicolas are in absolute sync with their riffs while all background voices and sound effects add a touch of lunacy to the music; and the roaring bass lines by Lionel ignite the dark and devilish Down, showcasing pugnacious gnarls and steady, fierce beats that live up to the legacy of Sludge and Stoner Metal the likes of Down (and I dare to say this is not a coincidence at all), all embraced and spiced up by additional orchestral elements. Closing the first half of the album, Opressed is perhaps the most electronic and weird of all tracks, presenting elements from contemporary Electronic Pop and Rock à la Daft Punk and Kraftwerk such as robotic voices and a dancing rhythm, all without forgetting the fury of rock music flowing from its guitars.

I Am Here is a cinematic and very experimental track by [P.U.T], with its wicked noises and futuristic atmosphere invading our senses before the disruptive Angry comes crushing, and that’s exactly how they sound, firing crude, unfiltered riffs from their flammable guitars and grunting rabidly nonstop. Furthermore, this is another interesting hybrid of the vicious music by acts like Ministry and Rob Zombie with the band’s own demented twist. And sounding like unstoppable machines from an assembly line, the trio delivers another vicious song entitled Possesed, where once again the guitars by Loïc and  Nicolas exhale rage while the low-tuned bass lines by Lionel bring even more insanity to their music; it just goes on for a little too long, though, but nothing that hurts the overall quality of the album.  In Not Your Dog the brothers are back to a more rockin’ sonority, bringing forward their trademark raspy vocals and visceral riffs and leaning towards old school Sludge Metal with a doom-ish vibe, offering the listener some piercing guitar solos as a “bonus”, whereas their coup de grâce comes in the form of a neck-breaking, eccentric creation titled Pain, with the sound of guitars being boosted by Lionel’s menacing bass in a good balance between mechanized, ethereal sounds and sheer aggression, flowing wickedly until its Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, [P.U.T] (or the Beyet Brothers, if you prefer) worked as hard an united as the family they are in We Are [Br]others, generating a must-have album for admirers of this more eccentric and experimental side of alternative music commonly referred to as Industrial Sludge Noise. Hence, if all their noises and distortions are your cup of tea, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook, and buy your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page or from the Cursed Monk Records’ BandCamp page. Much more than just regular brothers, Loïc, Lionel and Nicolas are extremely talented musicians, channeling all their energy and creativity into a very entertaining rock and electronic party, and therefore keeping underground alternative music relevant, vibrant and fresh.

Best moments of the album: Nothing, In Conflict and Angry.

Worst moments of the album: Possesed.

Released in 2019 Cursed Monk Records

Track listing
1. In Control 6:10
2. Nothing 3:15
3. In Conflict 3:15
4. Down 4:27
5. Opressed 5:41
6. I Am Here 2:53
7. Angry 6:04
8. Possesed 7:20
9. Not Your Dog 4:32
10. Pain 6:58

Band members
Loïc Beyet – guitar, voice, programming
Lionel Beyet – bass, programming, voice
Nicolas Beyet – guitar, voice

Album Review – Exuviated / Déliquescence EP (2019)

Get ready to be smashed by 26 minutes of first-class Death Metal brought forth by a talented five-piece act hailing from “Hellgium”.

Forged in the fires of Marche-en-Famenne, a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the year of 2009, when they released their debut EP entitled An Era’s Condemned, the unstoppable Death Metal squad comprised of Jean-Philippe Sonnet on vocals, Cédric Grandhenry and Renaut Van Oeyen on the guitars, Pierre Pish Minet on bass and Ahephaim on drums, collectively known as Exuviated, are ready to smash our heads once again with the ruthless music from their brand new EP Déliquescence. Featuring a beyond obscure artwork by the band’s own vocalist Jean-Philippe Sonnet (Threadbare Artwork), Déliquescence not only cements the name of the band in the underground extreme music scene, showing why they’ve already shared the stage with several renowned acts like Six Feet Under, Dark Tranquility, Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation (not to mention their concert at the always insane Wacken Open Air Festival), but it also paves a promising path for the band in the future, all in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Get ready for a heavy and demonic feast of Death Metal made in Belgium (or “Hellgium” as the band likes to call it) in the opening track Rupture, with Cédric and Renaut initiating the devastation with their flammable guitars while Jean-Philippe growls in a true Unleashed-inspired style before a somber break brings fear to our hearts, exploding once again into visceral extreme music until we’re treated to the instrumental piece Trouble, showcasing atmospheric guitar lines intertwined with heavier riffs and tribal beats. And this grim ambience sets the tone for the berserk Errance, where Jean-Philippe gnarls and shrieks demonically while Ahephaim sounds like a stone crusher on drums. In other words, this is ass-kicking Death Metal with a modern twist, offering over seven minutes of intricate and devilish sounds, ethereal passages and sheer violence and rage.

The next track, entitled Absence, is a more cinematic instrumental tune where the band seems like in a musical trance, and with Cédric and Renaut, together with Pierre, generating a vile atmosphere with their stringed weapons perfect for the absolute destruction that follows in Abîme, a classic Death Metal extravaganza infused with several modern extreme styles such as Deathcore and Grindcore, feeling and sounding dense throughout its entirety, with highlights to the amazing job done by the skillful Ahephaim with his brutality and refined technique on drums. Furthermore, it’s impressive how Exuviated are capable of composing Death Metal songs with over six minutes each and never sound boring or repetitive, proving how talented those Belgian metallers are.

In a nutshell, Déliquescence, which is available in full on Spotify and on YouTube, will certainly please all fans of both classic and contemporary Death Metal, leaving us all eager for more of Exuviated’s music in a not-so-distant future. Hence, let’s show our utmost support to the band by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and mainly by purchasing a copy of their brand new incendiary EP from BandCamp, from Apple Music or from Amazon. And may Exuviated keep turning Belgium into “Hellgium” for many years to come, filling our ears with the visceral and violent sounds of our beloved Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Errance.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:33
2. Trouble (Instrumental) 2:21
3. Errance 7:09
4. Absence (Instrumental) 2:58
5. Abîme 6:27

Band members
Jean-Philippe Sonnet – vocals
Cédric Grandhenry – guitars
Renaut Van Oeyen – guitars
Pierre Pish Minet – bass
Ahephaim – drums