Metal Chick of the Month – Johanna Sadonis

Lucifer, oh, Lucifer… Falling for me…

As another weird and dark year is coming to its inevitable end, and as winter is finally coming, let’s set The Headbanging Moose on fire and warm us up this month of December with our tribute to the last metal lady of 2021, the unstoppable Johanna Sadonis, also known as Johanna Claudia Platow, the frontwoman for Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock entity Lucifer. Born on January 21, 1979 in Berlin, Germany, but currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden due to being married to Lucifer’s own guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, Johanna is not only an accomplished and extremely talented vocalist, but also a DJ, a designer, an art director and a lyricist involved in various metal bands and projects during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Having said all that, are you ready to join Johanna in her quest for dark and doomed music?

A late bloomer in the Hard Rock scene, Johanna started out in the 90’s playing and singing Extreme Metal in the underground scene, gradually moving to a darker and more melodic 70’s-inspired Hard Rock and Heavy Metal style after founding Lucifer back in 2014. But let’s take a step back in time and talk a little about her early days and how she started in music before moving on to her current band. Johanna got into rock music when she was really young with her parents’ record collection, getting to know bands the likes of The Rolling stones, AC/DC, ZZ Top and Deep Purple, among others, as well as Punk Rock from her older brother. Then in 1992 when she was 13 she went to see Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, with her next gig being Danzig when she was 14, setting her first step into the dark side of music and moving on to heavier and darker styles such as Death, Black and Doom Metal.

According to Johanna herself that happened because she was at a summer camp when she was 12 and two of her friends were into metal, and when she was 16 those guys asked her to guest sing on the demo cassette of their Death Metal band (which by the way ended up happening a few more times as that was the thing in the 90’s), getting her more and more involved with the underground scene in Berlin. At that time Johanna said she was very serious about all that. She had black hair, black clothes, her whole room was black, and she got into magic, having worked at an esoteric book shop after school. However, her earliest memory of her fascination with singing and music was when she discovered the song Leader Of The Pack by the Shangri-Las on a Rock N’ Roll compilation cassette that her mom gave her when she was six. As she couldn’t speak English at that time, she said she started writing lyrics to songs down phonetically so she could sing along as a child. Later in her early teenage years she started to write poems and lyrics, and bought her first acoustic guitar, teaching herself to play and to sing.

It was only in 2014 in Berlin when Johanna formed Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock outfit Lucifer, and after a few lineup changes Johanna became the only original member of the band currently comprised of our stunning frontwoman together with guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarists Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund, and bassist Harald Göthblad, having also relocated the band to Stockholm, Sweden, as already mentioned. When asked if she’s ever faced any legal problems with using the name Lucifer considering it’s a name other bands have already used throughout the years, she mentioned she wouldn’t have chosen the name if it would have belonged to a larger active band, but so far she hasn’t had any problems with it. In addition, when asked about how dark the name of the band is, Johanna reminded us all that bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram are not Black or Death Metal, also mentioning The Rolling Stones’ classic Sympathy for The Devil as an example of how demonic figures can also be used successfully in a more Rock N’ Roll way.

Playing what can be called a 70’s-inspired fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Doom Metal, Luficer have already released four full-length albums, those being Lucifer I (2015), Lucifer II (2018), Lucifer III (2020), and Lucifer IV (2021), with Johanna obviously being the lead singer in all of those records, plus the keyboardist and sampler on Lucifer I. If you want to have a very good taste of how awesome the music by Lucifer is, you can stream all of their albums on Spotify, or watch all of their breathtaking videos on YouTube including Dreamer, California Son, Bring Me His Head, Leather Demon, Midnight Phantom, their cover versions for The Rattles’ Devil’s On The Loose and Angel Witch’s Loser, and enjoy several amazing concerts like their ass-kicking performances at the Crossroads Festival in Bonn, Germany in 2018 and at Rockpalast in 2018 and in 2019.

Before forming Lucifer, Johanna could be seen in several distinct bands and projects. She was the vocalist for German Symphonic Black Metal band Cryogenic, with whom she recorded their 1996 demo and the 1998 album Celephais; sang for German Black Metal horde Dies Ater on their 1999 album Reign of Tempests, from 1999; formed the Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock band The Oath with her friends Vincent Wager and Linnéa Olsson in 2012, her last band before Lucifer, having recorded their self-titled full-length album in 2014; was part of the Electronic Indie Pop band Informer along with Rayshele Teige, a former employee of Century Media in the United States, in 2010; and was part of Swedish Melodic Black Metal unity Vinterkrig from 1996 until 1997, having recorded with them the demo Härskare över stjärnorna och mina drömmar (which was just released earlier this year).

Not only that, you can also find our beloved vocalist as a guest musician in different bands and projects through the years, those being the female vocals for the songs Marie Louise and Black Wedding, from the 1996 album Leviathan by a German Death Metal band called Ferox; vocals on the songs Now Howls the Beast and Psychic Visions, from the 2017 album Inside the Skull by American Doom Metal act Beastmaker; and vocals on the song Queen Among Rats, from the 2009 album Privilegivm, and on the cover version for Alice In Chains’ hit Them Bones, from the 2010 EP Them Bones / This Inner Soil, both by German Black/Gothic Rock/Metal band Secrets of the Moon. Not only that, Johanna was also the designer, producer and art director in all of the Lucifer’s albums, proving how talented she is. When asked if all her past experiences with the bands that came before Lucifer had an impact on the way she handles the band, she said that she certainly learned that she’s not putting up with ego bullshit and phoniness anymore, and that with Lucifer it’s all about the passion of creating music and enjoying the ride.

Regarding her idols and influences in rock and metal music, Johanna always lists some of the best, most classic vocalists and performers you can think of, including Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, also saying that she listens to a lot of 70’s classic Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and early Heavy Metal, and that fictional horror, real life horror and the horror in one’s head also have a huge influence in her lyrics. Furthermore, in one of her interviews she was asked to list ten albums which she feels don’t get the proper attention from the media and the fans, and her list was very diverse, including Hard Attack by Dust, Bloodrock U.S.A. by Bloodrock, the self-titled album by Starz, Electric Jewels by April Wine, Straight Up by Badfinger, the self-titled album by Bob Seger, the self-titled album by Journey, Special Forces by 38 Special, Year of The Cat by Al Stuart, and Lucifer III by “you know who”. Johanna also mentioned that Lucifer do not have a specific formula or concept behind their albums, that they simply think of what kind of songs would make people excited, what makes them feel good, and hope that the band doesn’t lose quality or doesn’t get stale with every release.

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In terms of her life on the road with Lucifer, Johanna mentioned that she has already performed hundreds of shows with the band and that each one of those are important in their own way, saying the band plays the same way in front of 20 people in some village or at Helffest in front of over 7,000 people. In addition, when it comes to organizing their setlist, she said that they usually like to start off the set with a mid tempo number to get into the groove and end the set in some sort of sonic eruption, never putting two songs of the same kind in a row (such as two ballads, for example), maintaining an interesting flow to keep the attention of the audience. She also shared an interesting story that happened on the road, when guitarist Martin Nordin ended up playing ping pong with Ace Frehley on the Kiss Kruise where Lucifer played three sets, and also mentioned she would love to play in places such as Australia, New Zealand and South America.

As a prominent woman in the world of rock and metal music, Johanna believes you have to have a little bit of a thick skin if you’re a woman due to the fact the scene has always been a male-dominated one, saying that things got a little better in recent years compared to when she was a teenager as now we can see a lot more bands with girls, but at the same time there are still weird expressions like “female-fronted”. Johana strongly believes gender shouldn’t be a genre, also commenting about how deep that’s within our culture as you get treated differently as a woman in obvious ways, but also in really subtle ways. Johanna also pointed to the fact that there are still too many sexist and nasty comments on social media whenever a woman is part of a rock or metal band, but that fortunately that’s changing. “I felt it necessary for the first time to post, ‘if you’re a homophobe, you’re a sexist, racist, you are not welcome here.’ If you feel like you have to burn your Lucifer album now, please do so. I don’t care. That post went around quite a lot. A lot of people were applauding it, but then there was also all kinds of people going, ‘you suck anyways.’ Because I’m against sexism, racism, and homophobia? I mean, what side are you on then. I’m really shocked at how much racism is out there. But luckily that’s getting talked about too. We’re still a little bit in the middle ages, unfortunately. It can’t go fast enough.”

When asked about the metal scene in her hometown Berlin versus her current home Stockholm, Johanna mentioned that there isn’t a huge difference between those places as the rock and metal community kind of networks around the world, as people in New York, Berlin, Stockholm, London or any other city in the world are connected and know each other through social media, making it a little bit more globalized and organized. She said though that although she used to go out and DJ quite often in Berlin, she doesn’t do that much anymore in Stockholm not because there aren’t enough clubs or because the scene is not big in Sweden, but mainly due to her busy touring schedule as she feels happier with the quietness of her home nowadays after so many weeks on the road. She still misses her DJ years, though, when she used to run a monthly old school Heavy Metal party at the Kill ‘Em All Club in Berlin, which by the way she started together with the same Vincent Wager from The Oath.

Having founded Riding Reaper Records in 2020 alongside her husband and bandmate Nicke Andersson, Johanna commented that some of her advantages of making music today are her wisdom and experience gathered through the years, but also saying that she can’t really compare it to the music industry in the 90’s when she started because she was only part of the underground music scene as a musician. Also, she considers streaming services like Spotify and any social media as necessary evils because they allow the band to stay closely connected to their fanbase and to feel the pulse of what’s up. That connection was actually very important for Lucifer during the pandemic, as Johanna and the boys also had to stay home in isolation for a long period of time without playing any concerts. She mentioned the sales were pretty good, though, probably due to the fact people had more time to listen to music at their homes.

Lastly, when asked about what she considers the most amazing thing in her life, she answered that musically it’s having met Nicke and marrying him because “he is the perfect partner in crime when it comes to music,” also saying that it’s a luxury that they can do what they love the most together, which is recording music and playing live. And if you want to know more about Johanna and her incendiary band Lucifer, there are countless video interviews online such as this one to Metal Insider’s Newsroom, where she talks about Lucifer’s overall sound and other nice-to-know topics; this one where Johanna and Nicke pick the best albums from 1975; this one to Doomed & Stoned in 2018; the ‘How Well Do You Know Your Bandmate’ for Metal Injection; and this one with Darren Paltrowitz (host of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast) where she talks about the influence of Glenn Danzig, getting through the Coronavirus pandemic, future plans and more. As you can see, there’s no reason not to fall in love for Johanna and her Lucifer, succumbing to the dark side to the sound of her unique voice and charisma.

Johanna Sadonis’ Official Instagram
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Lucifer’s Official YouTube channel

“After my initial love affair with classic rock and heavy metal I got heavily into death, doom and black metal at the age of 16 and sang on a variety of demo cassette tapes of local death and black metal bands in Berlin. I had black hair, black clothes, my whole room was black and I got into magic. I worked at an esoteric book shop after school. I was very serious about this all. My mother thought it was just a phase but look at me, not much has changed!” – Johanna Sadonis

Album Review – Goatchrist / Odes to the Radiant One (2021)

One of UK’s most talented underground entities is ready to mesmerize us all once again with his brand new Kabbalistic Progressive Black Metal album.

One year after the release of the excellent Apotheosis, Leeds, UK-based Experimental/Progressive Black Metal entity Goatchrist returns to action once again with a Kabbalistic Progressive Black Metal album entitled Odes to the Radiant One, a unique listening experience that will keep you hooked until the last minute. The brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist J. Guilherme (or Jacob Guilherme, if you prefer), Goatchrist nailed it once again with Odes to the Radiant One, containing both the experimental tendencies of Pythagoras and an Orthodox Black Metal basis for composition and, therefore, turning the album into a must-listen for fans of the most experimental side of extreme music.

The short and sweet intro Baruch Atta Adonai… warms up our souls for I, the Lawgiver, with Jacob already delivering crisp, piercing riffs and his trademark devilish gnarls, supported by the clean vocals by D. Tann to give the song’s poetic lyrics an extra punch (“I shall be, / Felled before the promised land art reached, / For of my needs and dreams: / I did not them feed.”). In other words, it’s all we want in Progressive Black Metal, whereas in The Emergence of Tiferet from that Qlipa which Envelopes Binah we’re treated to another round of Jacob’s unique words (“Each oneness can be divided into onenesses. / Each single ‘One’ is dependent on other ‘Ones’: / Whether a thought, or whether some force, / Or whether a glare or a stench or a roar, / All possess multiple ‘Ones’!”) amidst a fusion of Melodic Black Metal and progressive and symphonic elements. Guest D. Tann returns with his clean vocals in Proclamations of the Baal Shem Tov, while Jacob smashes his drums and slashes his axe in a very melodic and enfolding display of Black Metal, with its vocal paradox adding tons of feeling to the overall result.

Then ominous organ sounds are the main ingredient in Interlude, generating a whimsical ambience before we face Of the Sephirot (Which Art the Qlippoth), another solid Black Metal creation by Jacob showcasing his trademark growls intertwined with eccentric background sounds in a hybrid of extreme music and metaphysical theories. After such intense composition, eerie keys are quickly joined by blast beats and visceral guitars in Transcending the Boundaries of Ayin, with Jacob growling and gnarling like a demonic entity until the very last second; followed by A People Embattled (or, A Song for Those Who Wrestle with El), a classic Goatchrist song with a modern twist bringing to our ears Jacob’s unique fusion of heavy and melodic sounds, all of course spiced up by his wicked roars in a lesson in Progressive black Metal. In the second to last aria from the album, titled Jacob’s Ladder, Jacob offers more obscure and sluggish sounds by adding elements of Doom Metal such as damned beats to Goatchrist’s core sonority, sounding grim and dark until the very end. Lastly, Jacob brings to our ears Im HaShem Lo Yivneh Bayis, his own metallic rendition to a traditional Jewish song that means “unless the Lord builds the house”, also known as “Shomer Yisrael” or “Guardian Of Israel”, putting an upbeat and vibrant ending to the album.

In summary, in the very detailed and exciting Odes to the Radiant One, which is available for a full listen on YouTube, Jacob and his Goatchrist continue to explore the Kabbalah and its importance in Jewish mysticism in a very entertaining way without losing the project’s darkened core sound, proving once again how talented Jacob is and how easily he can incorporate non-metal elements to his Experimental and Progressive Black Metal. Hence, don’t forget to pay him a visit on Facebook to keep up to date with all things Goatchrist, and more important than that, to purchase Odes to the Radiant One from his own BandCamp page, showing all your admiration and support to the underground. And may Jacob release more albums like his latest ones in the near future in honor of his own cultural heritage and, of course, in the name of good extreme music.

Best moments of the album: I, the Lawgiver, Proclamations of the Baal Shem Tov and A People Embattled (or, A Song for Those Who Wrestle with El).

Worst moments of the album: Transcending the Boundaries of Ayin.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Baruch Atta Adonai… 0:22
2. I, the Lawgiver 6:32
3. The Emergence of Tiferet from that Qlipa which Envelopes Binah 4:48
4. Proclamations of the Baal Shem Tov 6:56
5. Interlude 1:22
6. Of the Sephirot (Which Art the Qlippoth) 6:22
7. Transcending the Boundaries of Ayin 4:03
8. A People Embattled (or, A Song for Those Who Wrestle with El) 5:14
9. Jacob’s Ladder 4:52
10. Im HaShem Lo Yivneh Bayis 3:48

Band members
J. Guilherme – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
D. Tann – clean vocals on “I, the Lawgiver” and “Proclamations of the Baal Shem Tov”

Album Review – Inherits The Void / Monolith Of Light (2021)

A one-man Atmospheric Black Metal entity from France arises from the underworld with his first full-length album, offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man.

Brought into being in 2020 in Clermont-Ferrand, a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal entity known as Inherits The Void is the musical endeavor of French vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Antoine Scholtès, who’s releasing this year his debut full-length opus Monolith Of Light. The follow-up to the 2020 EP Mémoires, Monolith Of Light was born from Antoine’s desire for “a meeting between influences from the 90’s Swedish Black Metal scene and a more current orientation of the genre,” offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man, bringing to mind the great masterworks of Dissection, Dawn and Vinterland, as well as the more contemporary sounds of France. “The main idea behind that album was to compose songs that would be both melodic and atmospheric, embraced by the desire to propose a range of various emotions,” commented Antoine, also saying that Monolith Of Light “deals with the will to face human beings with the fact that they are ephemeral on the scale of cosmos and to confront them, also, with their faults and the absurdity of many of their acts.”

And Stygian, mesmerizing sounds arise from the underworld before Antoine comes ripping with his infernal roars in Pillars of the Aether, a brutal Black Metal tune with an ethereal background where his blast beats and hellish riffs are simply amazing; whereas As the Winds Moan the Threnody is even more breathtaking and detailed than the opening track, showcasing an Antoine on fire with his riff and drum attack while at the same time he crafts a sinister and incendiary ambience perfect for his enraged growls, resulting in a beautiful display of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal. Then the title-track Monolith of Light continues to pave Inherits The Void’s obscure path, setting an interesting and demonic flow to the album and displaying the aggressiveness of classic Black Metal intertwined with melodic passages, all embraced by a strong sense of hopelessness.

Another hurricane of darkened sounds is offered to us all in the form of Unfathomable Echoes, where Antoine hammers his guitar, bass and drums mercilessly in a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal that will please all fans of the genre, followed by Starless Path, which starts in a more melodic and serene manner and gradually evolves into Antoine’s trademark sonic strike, or in other words, it’s a stylish instrumental interlude that flows smoothly into the epic Through the Eyes of Cosmos, where once again our talented multi-instrumentalist extracts darkness and light at the same time from his riffage while his growls sound more demented than before, not to mention how the music drags you into the void to never let you out. And closing the album on a beyond high note we have Aorasia, another multi-layered, massive creation by Antoine showcasing his demonic gnarls enfolded by a very melodic and fierce sonority, with his guitar lines sounding utterly sharp until the very last second.

The somber and uncanny world of Inherits The Void can be explored in detail by following Antoine and his musical beast on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your utmost support to the underground you should purchase a copy of Monolith Of Light from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, or from Sound Cave as a digipack CD, as a black vinyl, or as a stunning silver and black galaxy vinyl. After all is said and done, we’ll all realize Monolith Of Light is indeed an album built on contrasts, which is both classic and modern, bridging the gap between decades afar and, therefore, proving Antoine is on the right path with his atmospheric and extreme alter-ego.

Best moments of the album: As the Winds Moan the Threnody and Unfathomable Echoes.

Worst moments of the album: Starless Path.

Released in 2021 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Pillars of the Aether 6:16
2. As the Winds Moan the Threnody 5:04
3. Monolith of Light 5:20
4. Unfathomable Echoes 4:45
5. Starless Path 2:04
6. Through the Eyes of Cosmos 5:41
7. Aorasia 7:53

Band members
Antoine Scholtès – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Cradle of Filth / Existence Is Futile (2021)

A bewitching, fearless nosedive into the abyss masterfully brought into being by UK’s most infernal Extreme Metal institution of all ages.

All hope has disappeared into the void. The flames that flickered on the horizon for so long have reached our backyard, leaving endless fields of black ashes and smoke rising from the ruins of our lands. Yet, why shall we not enjoy a last ferocious soundtrack to our inevitable end? That’s exactly what UK’s own Extreme Metal institution Cradle of Fitlh has to offer us all in Existence Is Futile, their thirteenth studio opus and the follow-up to their critically acclaimed albums Hammer Of The Witches and Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. Produced by Scott Atkins at Grindstone Studios and displaying another bestial artwork by Arthur Berzinsh, who took inspiration from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, Existence Is Futile is about existential terror, the threat of everything and the end of the world according to the band’s frontman and mastermind Dani Filth, all embraced by the grandiose metal music carefully brought into being by Dani and his henchmen Richard Shaw and Marek “Ashok” Šmerda on the guitars, Daniel Firth on bass, Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka on drums, and newcomer Anabelle Iratni (who also plays with Dani on the Symphonic Gothic/Groove Metal project Devilment) on female vocals, keyboards, lyre and orchestrations.

The classic intro The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders is absolutely obscure, cinematic and epic, opening the gates of hell for the band to kill in Existential Terror, with all background orchestrations making Dani’s demonic gnarls sound even creepier accompanied by the sulfurous guitars by Richard and Ashok. In other words, it’s an imposing Symphonic Black Metal tune to properly kick things off, whereas switching to their trademark fusion of Gothic and Black Metal we’re treated to Necromantic Fantasies, where Anabelle proves why she was chosen to be the band’s new keyboardist delivering crisp, phantasmagorical keys for our absolute delight. The first single of the album, Crawling King Chaos, is a demonic creature in the form of extreme music where the heaviness of the guitars create an awesome paradox with the song’s whimsical keys, not to mention how infernal Marthus sounds on drums as usual; then it’s time to soothe our damned souls to the enfolding interlude Here Comes a Candle… (Infernal Lullaby) before we face five minutes of sheer darkness in the acid Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War, with Dani’s hellish screeches walking hand in hand with Anabelle’s clean vocals and the demolishing kitchen crafted by Daniel and Marthus. And Discourse Between a Man and His Soul is another dark and melancholic tune that matches perfectly with the band’s theatrical vibe, with Daniel bringing tons of heaviness to the overall result.

Cradle of Filth Existence Is Futile Mailorder Edition Box Set

Another massive wall of sounds will hammer your heads mercilessly in the sinister The Dying of the Embers, once again presenting the band’s trademark blast beats infused with more melodic and gothic nuances, followed by the Mephistophelian interlude Ashen Mortality, spearheaded by Anabelle’s somber keys and warming up our senses for How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose?, a beautiful, old school Cradle of Filth composition that will sound amazing if played live. Furthermore, Dani is infernal on vocals as usual while Daniel and Marthus add endless groove and feeling to the music with their respective bass jabs and pounding drums; and a guest narration by Doug Bradley talking about how our rotten society is coming to an end quickly explodes into brutal and melodic Extreme Metal in Suffer Our Dominion, with Anabelle stealing the spotlight one more time. Us, Dark, Invincible, the last song from the regular version of the album, is as imposing and grim as its predecessors, with Dani roaring, growling and screaming nonstop for the delectation of all his fanbase while the band’s guitar duo adds sheer aggressiveness to the overall result. Lastly, if you go for the digital and deluxe edition of the album you’ll be treated to two amazing bonus tracks Sisters of the Mist and Unleash the Hellion, both extreme and demented, with Marthus smashing his drums ferociously until the very last second.

“Existence Is Futile is the apocalyptic conclusion of three years of Cradle of Filth’s world touring and is definitely our most severe album to date, reveling in existential dread, the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of fate in a yawning cosmos and the meaninglessness of life also being the search for life’s meaning”, commented Dani about the band’s new album, also saying that “heavy stuff indeed and as a wise man was allegedly recently heard to say ‘The inevitable heat-death of the universe and subsequent closure of time and space itself, could have no better soundtrack than this album’.” If you want to join the almighty Cradle of Filth in their quest for extreme music and add Existence Is Futile to your apocalyptic collection, you can follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other sorts of witchcraft, and purchase your favorite version of the album by clicking HERE, including the stunning mailorder edition box set limited to 650 copies worldwide containing the digipack and the silver double LP version of the album, buttons, a flag, a necklace, a lyrics sheet and an alternate cover. A bewitching, fearless nosedive into the abyss, Existence Is Futile is the perfect album for these most imperfect of times, and if the world comes to an end before their next opus is unleashed upon humanity at least we’ll enjoy our afterlife knowing their ultimate howl was indeed a beast of an album.

Best moments of the album: Crawling King Chaos, Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War, The Dying of the Embers and How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose?

Worst moments of the album: Necromantic Fantasies.

Released in 2021 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders 1:37
2. Existential Terror 6:17
3. Necromantic Fantasies 5:40
4. Crawling King Chaos 5:27
5. Here Comes a Candle… (Infernal Lullaby) 1:28
6. Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War 5:21
7. Discourse Between a Man and His Soul 5:30
8. The Dying of the Embers 6:08
9. Ashen Mortality 1:50
10. How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose? 4:34
11. Suffer Our Dominion 6:22
12. Us, Dark, Invincible 6:26

Digital/Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
13. Sisters of the Mist 7:14
14. Unleash the Hellion 6:23

Band members
Dani Filth – lead vocals
Richard Shaw – guitars
Marek “Ashok” Šmerda – guitars
Daniel Firth – bass
Anabelle Iratni – female vocals, keyboards, lyre, orchestrations
Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka – drums, keyboards, orchestrations

Guest musician
Doug Bradley – narration on “Suffer Our Dominion” and “Sisters of the Mist”

Album Review – Primeval Well / Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits (2021)

This uncanny metal entity is back with their sophomore album, overflowing with the fullness of the rivers, valleys and folk legends and mythology of the mountains of east Tennessee.

Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, commonly known as “Music City” for its vibrant country music scene, the uncanny Experimental Folk/Black Metal entity known as Primeval Well is ready to unleash upon humanity their sophomore effort, entitled Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, the follow-up to their 2019 self-titled album. Absolutely overflowing with the fullness of the rivers, valleys and folk legends and mythology of the mountains of east Tennessee, Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits beautifully represents what the band itself likes to call “Experimental Southern Gothic Black Metal”, offering our ears haunting and unsettling sounds and atmospheres carefully brought forth by Ryan Clackner on vocals and guitars, Luke Lindell on bass, Edward Longo on keyboards and Zac Ormerod on drums, showing a healthy evolution from their debut album and, more important than that, showcasing a stunning fusion of experimental sounds with the aggressiveness of traditional extreme music.

Eerie and cryptic from the very first second, the extended intro Psilocybin Psychosis by the Mountain Top Cross brings forward background vocalizations and wicked noises that set the stage for the band to kill in Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods, where an experimental start explodes into visceral Black Metal to the sick growls by Ryan and the infernal blast beats by Zac, showcasing some interesting breaks and variations and, of course, endless darkness and acidity. After such powerful start, Ryan’s classy guitars are quickly accompanied by the groovy bass by Luke and the galloping drums by Zac in She Flies Undead, less violent at first while presenting a wicked fusion of Southern Rock and Black Metal, or in other words, the epitome of musical experimentation, whereas again exploring new sounds armed with their sonic weapons the quartet adds hints of Doom Metal to their core sonority in Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes, with Ryan kicking ass with both his demented roars and crisp riffage while Edward adds a touch of finesse to the music with his keys.

The title-track Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you to the wicked world ruled by Primeval Well, displaying hellish gnarls, razor-edged Black Metal riffs and classic beats by the quartet, while once again presenting elements from their local culture, it’s time for a stylish hybrid of Gothic, Folk and Black Metal titled Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road, with the guitars by Ryan and the rumbling bass by Luke stealing the spotlight. Then in Where All Things are Forgotten we face a somber, melancholic start to the deep vocals by Ryan, and that atmospheric vibe goes on for over four minutes when everything suddenly bursts into chaos, spearheaded by the massive beast by Zac and finally flowing into the phantasmagorical outro Sickening Laughter with the Grinning Trees, where the acoustic guitars by Ryan walk hand in hand with the song’s haunting background sounds.

The chaotic but at the same time harmonious sounds of the rivers and valleys of Tennessee are waiting for you in Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, an album that might not be an easy listen at first for newcomers to the world of Experimental Black Metal, but that will surely captivate your senses for all eternity once you complete its full musical voyage. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Primeval Well a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to purchase a copy of such dense and distinguished album from their own BandCamp page. In a nutshell, as aforementioned, Ryan, Luke, Edward and Zac did an amazing job in Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, delivering a majestic hybrid of several metal and non-metal styles that will undoubtedly place the album among the must-have releases of 2021 when the music in question is at the same time experimental and extreme.

Best moments of the album: Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods, Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes and Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road.

Worst moments of the album: Where All Things are Forgotten.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing
1. Psilocybin Psychosis by the Mountain Top Cross 3:20
2. Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods 10:45
3. She Flies Undead 9:44
4. Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes 9:13
5. Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits 8:38
6. Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road 9:21
7. Where All Things are Forgotten 8:01
8. Sickening Laughter with the Grinning Trees 2:22

Band members
Ryan Clackner – vocals, guitars
Luke Lindell – bass, vocals
Edward Longo – keyboards, vocals
Zac Ormerod – drums

Album Review – Häxkapell / Eldhymner (2021)

Let your soul burn to the debut album by this Swedish Black Metal beast, examining, contemplating and utilizing the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards…”

Founded in 2015 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oraklet in the city of Haparanda, a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden, a caustic Black Metal entity that goes by the name of Häxkapell (which means “witch chapel” or “chapel of witchery” from Swedish) is set to release its first full-length opus, titled Eldhymner (or “fire hymns”), an album which examines, contemplates and utilizes the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life. Mastered by T. Stjerna at NBS Studio, and featuring session musicians JM on drums and IPU on the violin, Eldhymner conveys sheer, unadulterated veneration for classic Swedish Black Metal of all kinds, being recommended for admirers of the extreme music blasted by bands the likes of Covenant, Naglfar, Marduk, Emperor and Dissection, among several others.

Ominous sounds permeate the air in the epic intro Kallet (“the call”), inviting us to the Stygian realm ruled by Häxkapell before they take our minds by storm with Tomhetens Lågor (“the flames of emptiness”), with JM dictating the song’s imposing pace while Oraklet roars with tons of anger in his damned heart, resulting in an old school Black Metal composition with some very welcome elements from Atmospheric Black Metal added to its core essence. And this venomous Swedish entity blasts another fulminating Black Metal tune titled Eldskapt (“created by fire”), living up to the legacy of bands like Marduk and Immortal, while Oraklet is utterly infernal with his growls and riffs accompanied by the demonic beats by JM, all spiced up by the crying violin by IPU; flowing into the phantasmagorical Askans Drottning (“the queen of ashes”), where they continue to haunt our souls with their infernal sounds. Moreover, JM is once again bestial behind his drum set, providing Oraklet all he needs to shine with his demonic screams.

Ur Malströmmens Famn (“from the embrace of the maelstrom”) is absolutely demolishing from the very first second, a lecture in Black Metal by Oraklet and his henchmen that will penetrate deep inside your skin and burn your veins and muscles mercilessly. Not only that, Oraklet’s riffage couldn’t have sounded more Black Metal than this, not to mention the song’s cryptic background voices. Then investing into a more cadenced sonority it’s time for a Melodic Black Metal tune titled Solraviner (“sun ravines”), full of breaks and variations supported by the cinematic keys by Oraklet, followed by Häxkapellet (“the witch chapel”), where once again Oraklet vociferates rabidly accompanied by the headbanging drums by JM in a lesson in contemporary Black Metal, evolving into a beyond heavy and crushing extravaganza. In other words, it’s over eight minutes of dark and caustic sounds for our total delight, until the band embraces us all with the ethereal outro Sanningen (“the truth”), where the violin by IPU will finally bring peace to our blackened hearts.

An eternal furnace of chaos breeding that which lies beyond, forever tempting the embers of life with the flames of everlasting silence, fire will always be a pivotal element in our society, representing at the same time life and death, darkness and light, and in Eldhymner the talented Oraklet was capable of transforming that scorching nature of fire into first-class Black Metal, helping to pave the band’s path to stardom in the underground community. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Häxkapell by following the project on Facebook, and more important than that, by purchasing a copy of Eldhymner from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Nordvis Produktion’s webstore in CD or LP format, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. And let the fires of Swedish Black Metal burn bright for centuries to come to the sound of amazing bands like Häxkapell.

Best moments of the album: Eldskapt, Ur Malströmmens Famn and Häxkapellet.

Worst moments of the album: Solraviner.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Kallet 2:20
2. Tomhetens Lågor 5:51
3. Eldskapt 6:50
4. Askans Drottning 4:46
5. Ur Malströmmens Famn 4:05
6. Solraviner 5:40
7. Häxkapellet 8:31
8. Sanningen 2:18

Band members
Oraklet – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest musicians
JM – drums (session)
IPU – violin (session)

Album Review – Skverna Liniya / In a Garland of Wax (2021)

Behold the debut full-length album by this uncanny Russian Progressive and Atmospheric Black Metal entity, representing the breakdown of the worldview, spiritual torments and the path of self-destruction.

Forged in the fires of Voronezh, a city on the Voronezh River in southwestern Russia, Progressive/Atmospheric Black Metal entity Skverna Liniya (or Скверна Линия, which translates from Russian as something like “dirty line”) is set to unleash upon humanity their debut full-length album In a Garland of Wax (or В венке из воска), following up on their 2020 EP Snowfall. Mixed and mastered by Mikhail Kurochkin and displaying a stylish artwork by innersys32, In a Garland of Wax is based on the lyrics of Boris Poplavsky (1903-1935), a Russian poet in exile whose work was focused on the soul’s withering and searching in a hostile environment, loneliness and fear in coming into contact with reality. Representing the breakdown of the worldview, spiritual torments and the path of self-destruction, the album is a must-listen for all admirers of atmospheric and extreme music, carefully brought into being by multi-instrumentalists Sergey Chirkov and Andrey Pospelov supported by guest musicians Roman Graver on harsh vocals, Konstantin Bers on clean vocals and Ivan Salo on drums.

The Rustle of Smoldering Life (Шорох тлеющей жизни) sounds and feels atmospheric and enfolding from the very first note, with Ivan and Roman kicking some ass with their respective beats and roars, therefore providing Sergey and Andrey all they need to thrive with their riffage (not to mention the song’s ethereal finale), whereas How Cold It Is. The Empty Soul Keeps Silence… (Как холодно. Молчит душа пустая…) already begins in full force with Roman screaming rabidly nonstop while the strident, piercing riffs by the band’s guitar duo add a touch of progressiveness to the music, resulting in a modern-day Black Metal extravaganza spiced up by the phantasmagorical clean vocals by Konstantin. Then get ready for over seven minutes of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal made in Russia in Green Horror (Зеленый ужас), showcasing a somber ambience to the sound of the crisp guitars by Sergey and Andrey while Roman roars manically for our total delight. The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse… (Пылал закат над сумасшедшим домом…) brings forward sheer devastation and progressiveness, with Ivan sounding infuriated behind his drums accompanied by the thunderous bass punches by Sergey, flowing into an instrumental and utterly atmospheric Interlude (Интерлюдия) that will captivate our senses before the band crushes our souls one last time with the instrumental aria titled In Forgotten Wide Spaces (На забытых просторах), where the keys by Sergey bring a touch of finesse to their Doom Metal-infused sonority.

If you want to know more about this up-and-coming entity hailing from Mother Russia, go check what they’re up to on their official Facebook page, and of course don’t forget to also show your utmost support to the Russian underground by purchasing your copy of In a Garland of Wax from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Beverina Productions’ BandCamp page, from the Casus Belli Musica’s BandCamp page, or from the BMC Productions’ BandCamp page. And after putting your hands on such dense and enfolding album of extreme music, get ready to be dragged into the Stygian realms ruled by Skverna Liniya for all eternity, and have your soul consumed by darkness while you follow this musical one-way path to self-destruction.

Best moments of the album: The Rustle of Smoldering Life and The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse…

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Casus Belli Musica/Beverina Productions

Track listing
1. The Rustle of Smoldering Life (Шорох тлеющей жизни) 6:14
2. How Cold It Is. The Empty Soul Keeps Silence… (Как холодно. Молчит душа пустая…) 4:22
3. Green Horror (Зеленый ужас) 7:30
4. The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse… (Пылал закат над сумасшедшим домом…) 5:55
5. Interlude (Интерлюдия) 2:03
6. In Forgotten Wide Spaces (На забытых просторах) 8:17

Band members
Sergey Chirkov – guitars, bass, keys
Andrey Pospelov – guitars, additional bass on “The Rustle of Smoldering Life”

Guest musicians
Roman Graver – harsh vocals
Konstantin Bers – clean vocals
Ivan Salo – drums

Album Review – Muertissima / Inquisition (2021)

Let the inquisition begin to the sound of the dynamic and pulverizing debut opus by this demented Death Metal act from France.

Hailing from the always beautiful and charming Paris, France, a demented Death Metal horde that goes by the curious name of Muertissima (which would translate from Spanish as something like “very dead”) is ready to attack armed with their debut opus, entitled Inquisition, highly recommended for fans of the music by bands the likes of At the Gates, Carcass and Morbid Angel. Passionate about all genres of Extreme Metal, guitarist Stephane Prados composed the majority of the songs without imposing any constraints of styles or structures, which ended up giving the album a dynamic Death Metal vibe combined with Black and Thrash Metal nuances to generate an original old school sound. Recorded at Lower Tones Place Studio, Inquisition is the perfect welcome card by the aforementioned Stephane and his henchmen Simon Perrin on vocals and bass, Matthias “Macchabée” Bonhoure on the guitar, and Cédric Dupuy on drums, leaving you completely disoriented after its almost 50 minutes of savagery are over.

Cédric begins hammering his drums like a demented beast in the opening tune Lockdown, accompanied by the sick riffage and guttural roars of his bandmates, whereas Simon continues to growl manically in Rise and Fight, another pulverizing display of the band’s classic Death Metal that will inspire you to slam your cranial skull into the circle pit. The rumbling bass by Simon is gradually joined by the razor-edged riffs by Matthias and Stephane in Cerveza, a true headbanger spearheaded by the massive beats by Cédric that should work perfectly when played live, followed by the title-track Inquisition, another Death Metal onrush provided by the quartet with Simon’s screams getting more and more demented as the music progresses, also presenting some welcome elements from Groove and Progressive Death Metal. And it’s time for more insanity in the form of extreme music with Godslayer, where the band’s guitar duo sounds utterly infernal with their axes supported by the rumbling bass by Simon and the always vicious beats by Cédric.

There’s no time to breathe as Muertissima keep crushing us all in Glory to Loki, another solid tune where their Cannibal Corpse-inspired guitars walk hand in hand with the demonic gnarls by Simon, and never slowing down nor selling out, Cédric’s hellish drums provide the rest of the band all they need to be even more ferocious with their respective instruments in Wild Hunt. Composing a Death Metal song that’s seven minutes long is a risky move, but Muertissima did a very decent job in Shooting Gallery, providing some interesting breaks and variations amidst their usual aggressiveness, with both Matthias and Stephane dictating the rhythm with their unstoppable guitars. They surpass the seven-minute barrier one more time in Prometeus, where Simon roars with tons of anger and hatred in his heart supported by the rest of the band, and the music remains heavy, dense, obscure and caustic until the very last second. Finally, sinister, acoustic guitars and the sound of the ocean are the main ingredients in Libertad, the most unique song of the album where the band seems to be inspired by classic Spanish music, resulting in a nice surprise despite not being Death Metal at all.

In a nutshell, the unstoppable Muertissima offer in Inquisition exactly what any fan of underground Death Metal is looking for, sounding sharp, straight to the point and electrified from the very first second of the album until its eccentric ending, positioning them as one of the most interesting new names of the French scene. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Muertissima a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and above that, to purchase your copy of Inquisition from countless locations including Rock Metal Market, Wow HD, Barnes & Noble, Fnac, Cultura, Waterloo Records, and The Record Exchange. And then simply hit play and let the fires of the band’s inquisition of old school Death Metal burn your soul for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Cerveza, Godslayer and Prometeus.

Worst moments of the album: Wild Hunt.

Released in 2021 Music-Records

Track listing
1. Lockdown 4:41
2. Rise and Fight 3:27
3. Cerveza 4:46
4. Inquisition 4:42
5. Godslayer 4:37
6. Glory to Loki 4:18
7. Wild Hunt 4:24
8. Shooting Gallery 7:28
9. Prometeus 7:05
10. Libertad 4:21

Band members
Simon Perrin – vocals, bass
Matthias “Macchabée” Bonhoure – lead guitar
Stephane Prados – rhythm guitar
Cédric Dupuy – drums

Album Review – Svartulven / Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side (2021)

Immerse yourself into the 40 minutes of Orthodox Black Metal split into seven obscure arias carefully crafted by an up-and-coming horde from the Hellenic Republic.

3.5rating

If you’re an admirer of the darkest side of extreme music it’s time for you to enjoy some Orthodox Black Metal made in Greece in the vein of Misotheist and Ascension, courtesy of an occult and mystic entity known as Svartulven armed with their debut opus entitled Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side. Mixed by Nikos Trialonis at Goblin’s Lair Studios in Greece, mastered by V.Santura at Woodshed Studio in Germany, and displaying a cryptic cover artwork by Adrian Baxter, the album brings forward 40 minutes of ass-kicking Black Metal split into seven obscure arias carefully crafted by this up-and-coming horde from the Hellenic Republic.

Arising from the depths of the underworld, this uncanny band comes ripping with their phantasmagorical sounds in Witness of Fire Beyond, with its venomous roars and strident riffs penetrating deep inside your psyche in a great display of sulfurous Black Metal, whereas Svartulven in Twilight begins in full force with its pounding drums hammering our cranial skulls mercilessly, also displaying an amazing fusion of visceral screams with some background vocalizations and, therefore, being highly recommended for fans of a more progressive and diverse style of Black Metal. And continuing their path of devastation, obscurity and evil, Svartulven deliver the straightforward extravaganza Therianthropic Metamorphosis, again presenting classic blast beats, Stygian guitars, low-tuned bass lines, and a crushing sense of despair that permeates the air until the very last second.

The Parable of Abel offers us all five minutes of sheer darkness in the form of old school Black Metal, or in other words, it’s another amazing example of what the band is capable of doing, with the song’s razor-edged riffs generating a pulverizing paradox with its groovy bass jabs. Back to a more classic sound, Herald of Eternal Damnation presents a mid-tempo start spearheaded by their always harsh vociferations that explodes into an avalanche of brutality and violence, resulting in a lecture in Black Metal by such talented Hellenic outfit. Their second to last onrush of extreme music comes in the form of Feast for the Black Earth, again showcasing a heavier-than-hell kitchen, a sinister atmosphere and sharp riffs for our total delight, before the band crushes us one last time with The Crystal Scythe of the Old, a beyond caustic composition where its wicked vocals and a disturbing ambience will haunt our damned souls until all fades into the unknown.

The gates to the Hellenic underworld are open thanks to Svartulven and their Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side, and in order to join them in their quest for extreme music you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and soon purchase a copy of their austere new album from Dark Terror Temple’s BandCamp page or webstore, proving you’re a true servant of darkness. Although the names of the musicians that are part of such distinguished horde are unknown, in the end that’s just a minor detail taking into account the high quality of the music found in their debut effort, and they can keep their identities as secret as they want as long as they keep delivering more of their incendiary Black Metal for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Svartulven in Twilight and Herald of Eternal Damnation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Dark Terror Temple/The Chalice Prod

Track listing
1. Witness of Fire Beyond 7:01
2. Svartulven in Twilight 4:59
3. Therianthropic Metamorphosis 6:30
4. The Parable of Abel 5:15
5. Herald of Eternal Damnation 4:19
6. Feast for the Black Earth 4:35
7. The Crystal Scythe of the Old 6:01

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Sepulchre by the Sea / Ratiocination EP (2021)

Bristol, UK’s own Atmospheric Black Metal one-man army returns with a classy new EP inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous Ratiocinations detective stories.

3.0rating

sepulchre-by-the-sea-ratiocination-ep-2021Less than one year after the release of the full-length opus Conqueror Worm, the talented Bristol, UK-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Shannon and his Atmospheric Black Metal alter-ego Sepulchre by the Sea are back in action with a brand new EP, entitled Ratiocinations. Recorded during the winter lockdown and inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous Ratiocinations detective stories, this 26-minute EP brings to our avid ears another round of the dense, dark and absolutely captivating sound carefully crafted by Ash, keeping the gears of Sepulchre by the Sea turning smoothly and providing us a very good indication of the path that the project will follow with its upcoming releases.

A cinematic intro warms up the listener for the darkness that’s about to explode in Ghost of the Departed, with Ash screaming like a demonic entity nonstop while he extracts razor-edged riffs from his guitar at the same time. Put differently, this is classic Atmospheric Back Metal made in the UK, flowing smoothly until its Stygian finale; and Ash fires another dense and incendiary tune titled Beast Made Flesh, presenting elements of Scandinavian Black Metal added to its core. Moreover, Ash is simply on fire with his blast beats, mayhemic riffage and infernal growling, resulting in a more obscure and heavier sound than in the opening track. Lastly, get ready for 12 minutes of undisputed Atmospheric Black Metal in the form of the title-track Ratiocinations, with a gentle intro morphing into a demented feast of blast beats and sick guitar lines by Ash. It’s by far one of his strongest and most detailed creations to date, a multi-layered aria of darkness sounding like three or four songs in one due to all of its unique passages, breaks and variations, therefore putting a climatic ending to the EP.

sepulchre-by-the-sea-logo-2021Ash and his Sepulchre by the Sea are waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram (and I’m sure he’ll love to hear what you have to say about his music), and don’t forget to also stream all of his first-class creations on Spotify and, above all that, to purchase Ratiocinations from his own BandCamp page or by clicking HERE. It’s always a pleasure seeing different bands and projects drawing inspiration from such important writers and poets the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, and in the case of Ash and Sepulchre by the Sea we can already say it’s getting harder and harder to identify if it’s a metal band inspired by Poe’s undisputed work or if it’s Poe’s poetry turned into top-of-the-line metal music, proving how talented Ash is and, consequently, leaving us eager for another round of his atmospheric creations in the near future.

Best moments of the album: Ratiocinations.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing   
1. Ghost of the Departed 8:24
2. Beast Made Flesh 5:45
3. Ratiocinations 12:00

Band members
Ashley Shannon – vocals, all instruments