Album Review – Lord Of Pagathorn / Age Of Curse (2021)

This unrelenting horde is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn of vicious, death-reaping Finnish Black Metal.

3.5rating

lord-of-pagathorn-age-of-curse-2021Hailing from Finland’s capital Helsinki, the unrelenting Black Metal horde that goes by the name of Lord Of Pagathorn is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn, entitled Age Of Curse, bringing to our ears eight original songs of death-reaping Finnish Black Metal crafted by vocalist and guitarist Corpselord, guitarist Skrubb, bassist Ronitor and drummer Skalder. Recorded by the band’s own Ronitor, who was also responsible for the album’s sick artwork, and mixed and mastered by Trollhorn (aka Henri Sorvali) at Trollhouse Audio, Age Of Curse is Lord Of Pagathorn’s most detailed and cohesive opus since the band’s inception in the distant year of 1992 in the city of Rovaniemi, showing those black metallers still have a lot of fire to burn in their path of evil and darkness.

A cryptic, sinister intro titled Burning Ominous Words sets the stage for the Finnish quartet to kill in Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, with Corpselord and Skrubb delivering old school Black Metal riffs while Skalder hammers his drums nonstop. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded rawer, more devilish nor more traditional than this, and continuing their feast of pure malignancy, Corpselord leads his infernal horde with his wicked gnarls while Ronitor and Skalder will make your head tremble with their hellish kitchen in Conqueror of Im-Kharasak. Then slowing things down a bit and adding a visceral dosage of Doom Metal to their core madness, the band fires the headbanging Insatiability of Man, with Ronitor’s bass jabs supporting the strident guitars by Corpselord and Skrubb; whereas their Black Magic-infused riffage will pierce our souls mercilessly in Over Throned, while Skalder dictates the pace through his intricate yet bestial beats in an awesome display of pure Black Metal.

The title-track Age of Curse is a lecture in old school, unfiltered Black Metal by Lord Of Pagathorn, with the band’s guitar duo being in total (and infernal) sync with Skalder’s drums, not to mention how vile the screeches and roars by Corpselord are, and more of their spine-chilling sounds permeate the air in the venomous Crush The Holy Spirit, a nonstop hurricane of Black Metal riffs, beats and growls that will please all fans of classics the likes of Mayhem, Immortal and Marduk. There’s no time to breathe as the band’s Stygian onrush of sounds goes on in Prophecy of Androgyne Being, bringing to our avid ears more of Corpselord’s demonic screams amidst a pulverizing and melodic sonority. And last but not least, the gates of hell are wide open to the sound of the sluggish and grim Dragging in the Dust, another wicked Black Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the neck-breaking beats by Skalder, all spiced up by Doom Metal elements carefully inserted into the band’s trademark sound.

lord-of-pagathorn-2021You can easily join the Black Metal cult led by Lord Of Pagathorn by following the band on Facebook, but of course if you want to prove to the entire world you’re a true servant of darkness you should purchase Age Of Curse (which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube) from the Woodcut Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Record Shop X or from Discogs. Lord Of Pagathorn are one of those bands that will always be loyal to the foundations of Black Metal, having followed the dark path since their very first demo released in 1993, and based on the sulfur and obscurity flowing from their excellent new opus I’m pretty sure the Black Metal scene in their homeland Finland will stand strong for decades to come.

Best moments of the album: Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, Age of Curse and Crush The Holy Spirit.

Worst moments of the album: Insatiability of Man.

Released in 2021 Woodcut Records

Track listing   
1. Intro – Burning Ominous Words 1:36
2. Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All 3:15
3. Conqueror of Im-Kharasak 5:29
4. Insatiability of Man 5:06
5. Over Throned 6:23
6. Age of Curse 5:26
7. Crush The Holy Spirit 4:41
8. Prophecy of Androgyne Being 6:01
9. Dragging in the Dust 7:56

Band members
Corpselord – vocals, guitar
Skrubb – guitar
Ronitor – bass
Skalder – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Mikaela Attard

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I flew high on black wings when death looked me closer in the eye…

The Headbanging Moose is about to become The RED-banging Moose this summer with our multi-talented, sunning and rebellious metal chick of the month of June, and you better get ready because she’s out for blood. I’m talking about Mikaela Attard, a vocalist, composer, lyric writer and producer hailing from the island of Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, with a wide vocal range that allows her to easily sing in multiple rock and metal styles, known in the metal community for her time with Maltese Extreme Metal act Martyrium and more recently for her wicked solo project MIKAELA. Born on May 8, 1993, Mikaela has been singing since the young age of eight, having actually started with classical singing training as well as classical piano training and examinations. In addition, she won the Pop Idol in Malta when she was 13 and released her first Alternative Rock EP Hear Me Out when she was 15, with all the singles from the EP getting constant airplay. Do you want more? Alright, here we go.

Having performed on several stages around Malta and overseas, including cities like Los Angeles and Boston, in the United States, and several European countries, Mikaela studied Vocal Performance on campus at Berklee College of Music in Boston and furthered her education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Production with Summa Cum Laude, always attracted to the creation and production side of the music, and also getting into the science and engineering behind it as well as into Game Audio and Film Scoring. All that passion, talent and education resulted in multiple awards in her career, including Best New Artist in 2010, Best Female Artist and Malta’s Export Artist in 2011, Vodafone Upcoming Artist and Berklee College Singer-Songwriter, and Best Metal Band in 2019.

Let’s begin her journey in our Heavy Metal universe with her two-year stint with Martyrium (or MartYriuM), an Extreme Metal band from Malta formed by Count Mortem in 1999 with the spawn of the second wave of Black Metal, offering fans of extreme music a unique blend of Black and Death Metal with a specific sound design introducing sinister orchestrations and industrial elements to the style. Our red-haired diva began her time with Martyrium back in 2018, and Mikaela herself mentioned that it was a great learning experience in the beginning. However, as time passed by she started to feel very uncomfortable inside the band, stating that things got unacceptable literally, from the conditions how they treated her as a frontwoman and how they used her pictures, never wanting to hear what she had to say about those topics, leading to her departure form the band in 2020. It is what it is, unfortunately, because as you can see in some live videos such as Martyrium playing the song Curse Of Salvation at Oskorei Midvinter Festival in 2019 and the song Vital in Willemeen, Arnhem, Netherlands during the Female Metal Voices Tour 2018 with the Butcher Babies and Kobra and The Lotus, Martyrium kicked some serious ass with Mikaela fronting the band. Not only that, Mikaela had also been part of several collaborations such as Xirka Rock, and collaborated with the legendary multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann on his album My Sister on the songs My Sister and A Working Town. In addition, she was also a member of a metal band called Hex Omega during part of the 2010’s.

A few months after leaving Martyrium due to the personal issues listed above with the other band members, our Maltese metal goddess founded her stunning solo project MIKAELA, having already released her debut effort Nocturne In Red in 2020 alongside guitarist and bassist Kyle Farrugia (from Maltese metal band Align the Tide) and the aforementioned Marco Minnemann on drums, bringing to our ears an electrifying and sexy fusion of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive, Black, Death and Nu Metal, as you can see in the excellent song Chaotic Mind. According to Mikaela herself, Nocturne In Red is a conceptual album and also comes to terms with her personal experiences. “The concept of the album is about state of the mind. In fact, even it is even portrayed in the artwork on the album. I hold on a crystal ball and assigned to it the human brain. It is dripping black blood from it, and basically what it means is that it is about six different states of the mind and it is different how we perceive them, but sometimes we still are the same in the difference. So that is what it generally is about. All the songs are about a particular episode and that is what inspired me to write a particular song,” said Mikaela, complementing by explaining the idea behind the song Bring Me Blood. “That was inspired by an extreme event I went through in the past. I was the victim of an attempted murder here in Malta. I wrote that song in literally five minutes basically, it was just spitting out the words and music. It just came right on and that is why I decided that it should be the first single on the album, because it is so authentic. It is like: I left from somewhere over there. The song speaks about the anger I felt towards the situation and also towards the misunderstanding of court. I do not think it was well dealt in court, I think justice was not delivered.” And you can watch Mikaela discussing about that in an interview to Gabriel Gignac from Grizzly Media named 10 Bites of Nocturne In Red.

When asked about what us fans should expect from her first solo album, Mikaela explained how different the music style would be from her previous years with Martyrium. “My background of influences are quite different from Martyrium’s, although obviously there’s a lot of common favorites. I, however, like a more dynamic plateau of sounds and textures. I am a lot into deathcore, jazz, classical, electronic, groove and progressive music apart from all the metal in general. Obviously, I have a fond love for Black Metal and Death Metal too as well as all sorts of rock and metal in general. But I’m not quite a one kind of music-kind-of-girl. For that matter, I also love techno and industrial.” Regarding her main influences and idols, as expected she keeps getting inspired by a vast array of distinguished musicians and bands the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Metallica, Megadeth, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Opeth, Janis Joplin, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lamb of God, Otep, Gojira, Slipknot, Thy Art Is Murder, Whitechapel, Jinjer, Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence, Northlane, Chelsea Grin, Behemoth, After The Burial, Emmure, In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Wage War, ERRA and Ded, just to mention a few, which explains why the music found in her solo project is so difficult to label, so unique and diverse.

An accomplished vocalist, Mikaela can easily switch from clean singing to powerful growls and screaming vocals, and when asked about how she grew to like and practice this kind of singing and who were her heroes or inspirations that got her into that, she said that she’s a trained classical singer with a fond love for rock and metal who has always listened to those styles, having been introduced to them at a young age by her parents, and as her voice has always had sort of a rasp and natural scream it was a smooth transition for her to start doing guttural vocals. “My first experiences growling and screaming in public came gradually but once I launched some of the music at my debut, it was then official,” commented Mikaela, who’s also absolutely passionate about being on stage. “I must have been 9 singing in public, festivals, auditions, cathedrals, singing with organs and orchestras, stages, karaoke’s, we used to do it all the time when I was kid. It was fun. My first official outside country experience in public was singing in Johannesburg, South Africa though on a much larger scale and I loved it. I never feared the stage, can’t really say I got ever shy or anything… And I guess that still shows to this day.” And although she believes the pandemic might destroy metal music if nothing is done urgently, she understands the whole situation and keeps working off stage in anything that requires her attention. “We’re doing this massive sacrifice to help stop the spread of covid which now I don’t even know when that will ever stop but let’s hang on. When I’m off stage, there’s still a lot of things to do for a musical act so I keep myself entertained and focused by practicing on my own, coming up with ideas, drawing, writing, preparing orders and doing everything necessary to keep it going.”

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As a woman that performs in a genre that is always connected with power and strength, when asked about what she would say to women in general who face sexism and undermining and are considered weaker than men, she believes that all women in metal and in life in general should not go down to the level of the bullies who are being sexist, as it’s a waste of time. “If you share negativity, that’s what you’ll get. So be positive, feel it for real and just shut them and their vibes out of your life. The world is much better than that. Always be yourself and look for people who share the same ambition, who can see through you for real and what you’re after in life and music. You deserve better, we are strong and our strength should be celebrated just as any man can,” commented Mikaela, who also thinks that music shouldn’t be divided by gender or sex at all, as if we don’t all have a pair of vocal cords and we all can sound unique no matter what techniques we use to voice our hearts out.

Regarding her view of the metal scene in her homeland Malta, she mentioned that although Malta is a small island with a population of only around 500,000 people, it’s pretty much the same population as Iceland, but a lot of great artists come from Iceland. “I do not think it is quite within the culture to appreciate Metal a lot. It is not the mainstream at all. With the Metal scene, there are a lot of bands and actually, if you play here, a lot of the people in the crowd perform themselves. In general, I think it is very hard to make it, you have to skip the first step and it has to be outside of Malta, unfortunately,” said our screaming queen, complementing by saying that despite the fact there are several excellent metal bands showcasing a lot of potential on the island, the lack of a proper market or industry makes it extremely hard (albeit not impossible) for most bands to reach a decent level of success. In addition, if you want to know more about Mikaela and her beautiful home country, I highly recommend you watch two very interesting interviews with her done by local publications, one being 73 Questions Malta, where she talks about her thoughts on the metal industry in Malta and what it was like growing up there, and another called Lovin Malta Meets: Mikaela, where Lovin Malta’s resident music journalist JP Azzopardi discussed everything with her, from her musical origins to the world of metal and her future plans.

There are many TV performances of Mikaela on Youtube with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during an event called Rockestra, a collaboration that Mikaela considers really amazing, singing in front of 13,000 fans in her homeland even with the fact that metal is still a controversial style in Malta. For instance, you can enjoy her powerful vocals in absolute sync with her country’s national orchestra in songs such as Metallica’s Enter Sandman in 2011, Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City in 2012, Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train in 2016, and AC/DC’s Back In Black in 2018, showing her performances with the orchestra were not a once-off, but she’s a recurrent guest during such unique festival. Also, there’s another great video of Mikaela performing Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea live on the Maltese TV channel One on the program Q, always showing her support for metal music in Malta.

Our talented Mikaela also loves to interact with her fans and followers on social media, not only posting pictures but also writing lengthy captions and asking them questions as well as for opinions or suggestions; however, people tend to simply “ignore” her questions and give her only compliments in the comments. Mikaela said she actually appreciates all the comments and compliments, not judging anyone for not answering any of the questions posted and always valuing the interactions with her followers. She also likes to keep track of the number of streams of her songs, which countries she’s listened the most and merchandise purchases, as she believes it’s very important to know where her music is being enjoyed. For instance, she mentioned in one of her interview that Germany is amongst the top countries where her debut solo album is being listened to, as well as the United States, Canada (and The Headbanging Moose is proud to contribute to that, of course), Mexico and Russia.

Having several beautiful tattoos all over her body, Mikaela said it all started with ‘Rock and Roll’ inked on the side of her palms some years ago and she has never looked back, having her two full arm sleeves, palms, fingers, front side of the thighs, some on the neck, ass and full back all covered (and always ready for more). “I love tattoos, I think it’s like turning a house into a home. I feel confident in my body and what I represent. In my country it was still a taboo, especially on women, until a few years ago, but things slowly started changing thankfully. I used to get looks for having red hair in the past, can you imagine when I had the first tattoo sleeve? Older mentalities still judge a woman with tattoos greatly and to be fair, it is still not the norm and could get a lot of judgement,” commented Mikaela, who’s always encouraging uniqueness and trying to lead by example. Furthermore, when asked why she has chosen red as her main color, when her zodiac sign says it should have been green or pink, she answered by saying she loves red a lot along with black, representing a lot of things for her personally and becoming an important part of her identity. Mikaela also has some interesting hobbies whenever she’s not listening to music, writing, playing the piano and experimenting with mixing and sound engineering. For example, she loves to paint occasionally with pencils or acrylics and of course to take part in photo shooting sessions, among other non-music activities, but yet again she has mentioned several times already that music is her life and vice-versa. “Well, I live the cliché, yes my life is the music.” Well said, Mikaela!

Mikaela Attard’s Official Facebook page
Mikaela Attard’s Official Instagram
Mikaela Attard’s Official Twitter
Mikaela Attard’s Official YouTube channel

“Honestly, the more you know about music, and the more you know how things are done behind that, I think being a vocalist is just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is good to you have some kind of knowledge. I mean, you do not have to have a degree if you just like to read about mixing, mastering and production and you have the space to do so, I think it is just awesome. But I really wanted to get that formal degree. So that is why I applied for that degree course. It was very important for me, it was a game changer, because I have always seen music not from a vocalist perspective. I have always seen it as a musician’s perspective, since I am formally trained and piano classically trained and also jazz trained.” – Mikaela Attard

Album Review – Lucifuge / Infernal Power (2021)

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

Released in 2021 Dying Victims Productions

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

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

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

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

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

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

Album Review – Nuclear Winter / Greystone (2021)

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: The Failing Dawn.

Released in 2021 MDD Records

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

Band members
Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments

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

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Dark Terror Temple/Satanath Records

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

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

Metal Chick of the Month – Heike Langhans

heike01

The shackles of your demons fall silent… The shackles of your demons fall…

It’s time for the skies to get dark and melancholic here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the doomed music blasted by our metal lady of the month of May, and I bet you’ll get absolutely addicted to her music right after the very first listen (in case you know nothing yet about her and her bands and projects, of course). Though of German descent, she was born on February 9, 1988 in Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, and currently resides in Sweden, where she joined Swedish Doom Metal band Draconian as the replacement to former singer Lisa Johansson in 2012. I’m talking about the multi-talented Heike Langhans, a songwriter, singer and designer well known for her work in the Gothic and metal scenes, always exploring a vast array of styles including Dark Wave, Electronic and Gothic Rock, among several others, therefore conquering the blackened hearts of the damned ones.

Drawn to melancholy Gothic music during her teenage years, Heike Langhans (which correct pronunciation is ‘hey-keh’ and ‘lung [the organ] – huns [like guns]’, as it’s a German name) began to dabble in composition, writing and singing at a very young age, already being part of school choirs at the age of eight, although she got sick of singing in groups, left that behind and started doing her own thing. She played piano occasionally, but mostly played classical guitar, which helped a lot in her writing process, and used to sing with her father when he played guitar at social gatherings. Heike joined her first band when she was around 15 years old, an all-girls band comprised of friends of her that was mainly a fun holiday thing, while she kept doing music on her own until she joined a proper band at the age of 19. Needless to say, she kept doing her own thing on the side to stay focused and as an outlet for her frustrations with the world and her surroundings.

Active since 2005, our South African started her career being associated with a few distinguished projects and bands, those being her Dark Electronic solo project :LOR3L3I:, South African Symphonic Metal band Inferium, and South African Black/Thrash Metal band Warthane, with her vocals being known to be sorrowful and her music peculiar and melancholic in nature. Regarding :LOR3L3I: (also known as LOR3L3I, LORELEI, or simply Lorelei), everything started back in 2006 as a melancholic electronic side project, with the name Lorelei having almost acted as an alter ego in a sense. According to Heike herself, the songs are raw and unpolished, a “spur-of-the-moment” type project where she just pours her heart into a song, record it and then struggle to touch it again, and you can take a very good listen at all her demos on her official BandCamp page, savoring delicate creations such as Jade Light and Fables. “I’ve said many times that I will never be able to sing these songs live, simply because I’ll be too emotional. It’s hard for me to wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, so music is the only way. Lorelei is definitely my outlet and it’s quite revealing in many ways. Many people think me intimidating and secretive, but I’m more of an open book than what they care to realize,” commented Heike about her solo endeavor.

Inferium and Warthane are completely different stories, as they were already relatively established bands when Heike joined them. Under the moniker Heike Van Dominic, she was Inferium’s vocalist from 2005 until 2010, joining the band when they were still an instrumental group. They were the only band she knew doing Symphonic Metal at that time, with a huge influence from bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation. She said in one of her interviews that the band had a lot of potential and that they were doing quite well, but as they had a lot of issues with finding time and money to record and push it further they decided to call it quits in 2010. “I’ll always remember and enjoy my time in Inferium and I’ll forever be sad about the stellar songs that were to come, but it’s a sweet memory,” said Heike. Right after Inferium disbanded, more specifically in 2011, our diva, again under the name Heike Van Dominic, recorded the female vocals for the album Black Divine, by Warthane, which you can enjoy in its entirety on Spotify. Not only that, she also used her graphic designer skills to create the album’s stylish, somber artwork, proving how focused and talented she is it doesn’t matter which band or project she’s involved with.

Since 2012, Heike has been acting as the singer for Swedish Gothic/Doom Metal act Draconian, a cult band that started back in the already distant year of 1994 as Kerberos, playing Melodic Heavy and Death Metal with Black Metal influences, changing its name to Draconian around seven months after its inception. Heike joined the band following the departure of singer Lisa Johansson in 2011 after having made contact with guitarist Daniel Arvidsson, then with vocalist Anders Jacobsson to try an audition in Sweden. At first, she struggled to get a work visa in Sweden, which hampered the band’s ability to record an album, and until obtaining the visa she performed as a temporary singer for Gothic Rock band The Great Sleep in South Africa, as you can see for example in the song The Last Funeral. At the end of 2013, she finally received her work visa and was able to emigrate to Sweden, when she started working with Draconian while at the same time she started playing as a guest singer, guitarist and keyboardist in 2015 for Swedish Doom Metal band ISON, a side-project of Daniel Änghede (of Crippled Black Phoenix and Hearts of Black Science). She mentioned her main reasons for joining ISON were being able to play an instrument again like what she used to do in her teens, and putting a part of her own soul into it within a genre that was not electronic. You can have a very good taste of the music by ISON on their BandCamp page, with their first three albums having Heike on vocals, those being Cosmic Drone, Andromeda Skyline and Inner Space, or go to YouTube and search for their official videos such as the one for the song ISAE, as well as other precious gems like the duo playing a stunning acoustic version for The Final Cut by Pink Floyd (and you can compare their beautiful rendition with the original one HERE).

Finally, in 2015 Heike was able to record her first album with Draconian, by the way the sixth in the band’s career, the excellent Sovran, which she was not only responsible for the female vocal parts, but she also collaborated on writing the lyrics for tracks Dusk Mariner, Dishearten and The Marriage of Attaris, showing how easy it has been for Heike to connect with everyone at Draconian. “When I came to Sweden, I thought it would be very intimidating to have to all of a sudden be in this professional studio and work with world-class producers, and I underestimated myself a lot. But once I actually started doing it, I realized I was completely over-thinking everything. The guys were really laid back and easy to work with,” commented Heike. Then in 2020 she released with Draconian their second opus together, entitled Under a Godless Veil, where once again she was responsible for part of the lyrics, more specifically for the lyrics for the song Sleepwalkers, on top of her usual vocal duties. She also mentioned in one of her interviews that her work with Draconian hasn’t had any negative impact on her solo project :LOR3L3I: so far; quite the contrary, several Draconian fans kept writing her and asking her to continue to create music under her solo project, although she said nowadays she doesn’t have enough time to focus on that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan of Draconian or a newcomer to their doomed world, you must check all of their official videos on YouTube such as the ones for the songs Sorrow Of Sophia, Sleepwalkers, Lustrous Heart, The Sacrificial Flame, Moon Over Sabaoth and Stellar Tombs, all of their creations on Spotify, as well as live footage the likes of Pale Tortured Blue live at MS Connexion Complex in Mannheim, Germany in 2019, and simply get lost in their realm of melancholy.

Apart from all of those previous and current bands and projects, you can also enjoy Heike’s unique voice as a guest vocalist in several other bands from all over the world. For instance, she played live with Finnish Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal band Hallatar in 2018, with whom she also recorded vocals for the song My Mistake and narrations for the songs Raven’s Song, Pieces and Spiral Gate from their 2017 album No Stars Upon the Bridge; she was a guest vocalist in the song Vision VII: One with the Soil from the 2017 album Visions, by Austrian Post-Black Metal act Anomalie; she also recorded the female vocal parts for the song The Path to Puya, from the 2019 album Aamamata by Spanish Doom/Gothic Metal act Helevorn; and vocals for the song Wolves at the Border, from the 2015 album Signal, by Swedish duo Hearts of Black Science. Not only that, Heike also did the layout and band photos for the 2020 album Premonitions, by International Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal band Sojourner, and was responsible for the vocals, keyboards, songwriting, lyrics, vocal recording, artwork, layout and design in the 2020 album Another World, by International Atmospheric Doom Metal band Light Field Reverie.

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When asked about her main idols and influences in music, Heike said it’s actually hard to pinpoint influences because many of her personal likes are not in any genres considered as Gothic in modern terms. However, the bands she related to early on would be Fields of The Nephilim, The Awakening, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Type O Negative, Dead Can Dance and Lycia, to name a few. In addition, as far as more modern Goth-inspired music goes, she has spent a great deal of time listening to Diary Of Dreams, Tiamat, Tristania, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Sins Of Thy Beloved, Katatonia, Draconian, and of course My Dying Bride. She said her passion for metal started when she was a teenager, as she used to get her father’s Pink Floyd and Meat Loaf CD’s and listen to them on repeat in her room while singing along, also watching renowned acts like Black Sabbath on VH1 and taping whatever metal she could find onto VHS or cassette. By the time she was 16, she was consuming a lot of metal from all sub-genres, gradually focusing on what suited her best emotionally speaking like Gothic, Symphonic and Doom Metal, only getting into Black Metal in her 20’s, but of course the emotional aspect and the melodies found in Doom Metal turned it into her all-time favorite genre as it certainly triggers a lot more in her personally.

In regards to touring, Heike said in one of her interviews she would love to tour around a South America, South Africa and Australia with Draconian, understanding that requires a lot of traveling and a huge investment, of course. “I look forward to traveling to countries to enjoy the scenery, food and people. The music is just our way of saying thank you for having us. It would feel slightly selfish to think our music is what made the show worth it, if you know what I mean,” complemented Heike, who also has a deep connection with the metal scene in her homeland. “Despite what most South Africans make themselves believe, Cape Town actually has a great metal scene and more bands than you might think. I can count on one hand the amount of friends I have there who ISN’T a musician. It’s a very creative and beautiful town.” She recommends Atmospheric Black Metal band Crow Black Sky, 2017 Battle for Wacken winners Megalodon, scene-legend Industrial Metal band Terminatryx and a few new-comers such as Constellatia as excellent bands from her beautiful country (and city) that we should all take a listen at.

Moving from South Africa to Sweden wasn’t an easy task for Heike, as it took around 19 months for her to receive her residence permit renewal in Sweden due to the country dealing with an influx of refugees. Based in Säffle, a municipality in Värmland County in west central Sweden, with the rest of the band since December 2019, Heike said she obviously misses Cape Town, her friends, the forwardness of people, Afrikaans jokes and Afrikaans words that you really can’t say anywhere else, but of course that she loves Scandinavia and that her head and her heart are in the North. Her Swedish might not be perfect yet, but her Afrikaans (Dutch) and German background ended up helping her a lot in understanding the language in the beginning, and she’s picking it up quite fast in her own opinion. She also commented about the fact that a lot of people in Sweden and in different parts of the world keep asking her why she’s white, which she believes that happens due to the idea the media sells that everyone in the African continent is black, complementing by saying she usually takes the opportunity to explain how things really work in South Africa.

Lastly, although Heike seems to be an unstoppable music-making machine, she’s just a regular human being like all of us who has her favorite hobbies and pastimes when she’s not singing, recording or performing on stage. As an avid gamer, she said she loves playing World of Warcraft and old school RPG’s the likes of Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Lionheart, as well as newer games like Skyrim, but of course she spends a great amount of time doing art, mostly digital and editing. There are days when she doesn’t want to deal with technology and she focuses of drawings and illustrations by hand, though. She also enjoys painting and photography, albeit she considers those quite expensive hobbies, and sewing, showing how versatile and talented she is. Furthermore, Heike is a big supporter of the Ubuntu Liberation Movement in South Africa, the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement, always focusing on human liberation and free energy. “I will not eat or drink anything that comes from big corporations. Yes it’s difficult, but I refuse to support them. I also don’t eat meat any more, and I don’t really care what people have to say about that. I think that once people really put in the time and effort and research, not only from a health or principle perspective, but from an environmental perspective, they will realize that there is a lot that they are not being told. If they want to follow all the bullshit lies in the industry, then fine. But I will actively be against that. That’s what I think being an activist is about,” said our dauntless diva, and you can know a lot more about Heike, her bands, projects and so on by watching several online interviews with her, such as this one at FemME 2015 and this one for Metal & High Heels in 2019, letting her smooth and enchanting words and her undeniable charisma penetrate deep inside your doomed soul.

Heike Langhans’ Official Facebook page
Heike Langhans’ Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Facebook page
Draconian’s Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Twitter
:LOR3L3I:’s Official Facebook page

“I love slow and melancholic music. It brings my inner suffering to the surface and Doom Metal makes me feel like it’s okay to be an emotional being that suffers in this strange world.” – Heike Langhans

Album Review – Demonia Mundi / In Grembo Mater… (2021)

After over a decade of silence, this infernal Italian horde returns from the netherworld with an amazing, ritualistic concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess.

3.5rating

demonia-mundi-in-grembo-mater-2021Born in 1994 in Reggio di Calabria, a coastal city in southern Italy, by the will of their vocalist Daemonia, influenced by obscure Italian metal music, 90’s Epic Black Metal horde Demonia Mundi returns in full force after 12 years of silence with their new long-awaited full length album titled In Grembo Mater…, their best and most ambitious work to date, a stunning concept album featuring a furious metal journey enhanced by beautiful folkish atmospheres that reminds of cult bands such as Death SS, Opera IX, Windir and Limbonic Art. Currently comprised of the aforementioned frontman Daemonia together with guitarists Morlock and Vagrant, bassist Beast and drummer Uw, this Stygian Italian entity brought into being a concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess, a ritualistic path in which the music is a soundtrack that leads the listener during the evocation and invocation of familiar demons, realized using also traditional and ritualistic instruments  used thousand years ago during the Matriarchal Era previous to our Patriarchal Era, with the album art representing the double-headed axe, or the weapon symbol of the Mother Goddess.

The fires of Black Metal burn bright accompanied by melancholic acoustic guitars in the intro Iniziazione (or “initiation” in English), with the vociferations by Daemonia setting the tone for A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, exploding into a Dimmu Borgir-inspired hybrid of Symphonic and Epic Black Metal led by the incendiary riffs by Morlock and Vagrant, therefore sounding dense and bold from start to finish. Uw and Beast generate a venomous base for their bandmates in the infuriated hymn Et In Arcadia Ego, exhaling sulfur and hatred while once again presenting an old school Black Metal sonority with imposing and epic background elements, ending in a darkly tribal way; whereas an acoustic start evolves into a feast of Black and Doom Metal in Alesa, where Daemonia’s devilish gnarls will haunt your soul for all eternity supported by the pounding beats by Uw and all phantasmagorical sounds that permeate the atmosphere in this hellish composition.

And cryptic, eerie sounds enfold us all in The Golden Bough, before Beast begins hammering his bass in great fashion, once again morphing into a disruptive and vicious display of Symphonic Black Metal that sounds majestic and infernal, with Uw being unstoppable behind his drum set, while razor-edged riffs and the otherworldly growling by Daemonia are the main ingredients in the also demolishing Hieros Gamos, not to mention the song’s skull crushing aura. After such disruptive tune we have Intra Grembo, where the band slows things down a bit and sounds more melodic than before, spearheaded by the stylish guitars by Morlock and Vagrant. However, although they tried to make it sound like a black mass, it unfortunately falls flat in the end. Lastly, another Stygian intro evolves into the early Cradle of Filth-inspired hymn The Horned And His Thousand Whelps, where all band members are on fire with their sonic weapons, in special Daemonia with his vicious roaring and Uw with his violent but very intricate beats and fills, until the music fades into a ritualistic, horror movie-ish ambience that goes on until the very last second.

demonia-mundi-2021In a nutshell, if you consider yourself a lover of the darkest side of music, I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast listening to In Grembo Mater…, which is by the way available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify, as the album brings forward all elements we learned to love in such distinct type of heavy music through the years. In addition, if you want to put your evil hands on this amazing opus, you can purchase it from several locations including the Cult Of Parthenope’s BandCamp page, Season of Mist, IndieMerchstore and Amazon, or simply click HERE for other places where you can buy or stream the album. Also, don’t forget to follow Demonia Mundi on Facebook for news, tour dates and more of their demonic music. It might have taken over a decade for Daemonia and his venomous horde to provide us fans with a new batch of devilish arias, but after listening to In Grembo Mater… we must all admit the wait was absolutely worth it, inviting us all to worship the Mother Goddess to the sound of their wicked Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, The Golden Bough and The Horned And His Thousand Whelps.

Worst moments of the album: Intra Grembo.

Released in 2021 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Iniziazione 2:28
2. A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires 6:49
3. Et In Arcadia Ego 6:13
4. Alesa 5:49
5. The Golden Bough 4:57
6. Hieros Gamos 5:03
7. Intra Grembo 6:43
8. The Horned And His Thousand Whelps 8:16

Band members
Daemonia – vocals
Morlock – guitars, backing vocals
Vagrant – guitars, backing vocals
Beast – bass
Uw – drums

Album Review – Innersphere / Omfalos (2021)

One of the most promising metal acts from the Czech Republic returns with their awesome sophomore opus, again dealing with topics of our own existence and naturalism.

3.5rating

innersphere-omfalos-2021Established in Pilsen, a city in the western Czech Republic, in the fall of 2015, Melodic Death/Thrash Metal unity Innersphere has just released their sophomore opus, entitled Omfalos, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2018 debut effort Amnesia. Produced, mastered and engineered by Dan Friml (Mean Messiah), recorded at The Barn, and displaying a darkly stunning artwork by Martina Samková (Ghost in the Shell, Llyr), Omfalos, which derives from the Greek ομφαλός (omphalos), meaning “center of the world”, once again deals with topics of our own existence and naturalism through mysterious stories with many metaphors, all beautifully brought into being by the ominous quartet comprised of Míra Litomerický on vocals, guitars and samples, Lukáš Mai also on the guitars, Marek Hubocký on bass and Filip Wintr on drums.

The atmospheric and somber intro Presentiment warms up our senses for The Darkest Hour, an imposing Progressive Metal tune showcasing obscure lyrics growled by Míra (“Droughts, plague, famine – we all blame the gods – surrendered / Cannot escape our fate – raising blackest thought – in this hour”) while the instrumental parts remain dense and captivating from start to finish; and  enhancing their aggressiveness considerably, Míra and Lukáš sound infernal with their riffs in Above accompanied by the crushing drums by Filip, therefore resulting in a multi-layered, bold Melodic Death Metal aria. Then it’s time to set fire to the album in Fire, where the classic, strident riffage blasted by the band’s guitarists walks hand in hand with the bass punches by Marek, reverberating in the air in great Black and Death Metal fashion, whereas the title-track Omfalos is a headbanging beast led by the intricate drumming by Filip, with all background elements and orchestrations adding a touch of epicness to the overall result. Not only that, Míra’s roaring gets deeper and more enraged as the music progresses for our total delight.

In Wisdom, a sinister, Blackened Doom-infused intro evolves into a massive wall of sounds, showcasing neck-breaking riffs and beats, a mournful atmosphere and the always demonic vociferations by Míra, ending in a beyond climatic manner; and putting the pedal to the metal, Filip fires some tribal beats in the violent Blackness, with the bass by Marek sounding truly thunderous in an amazing display of their trademark fusion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, not to mention the song’s sick guitar solo. Back to a more somber vibe, the quartet brings forward a fusion of Death, Black and Doom Metal in Nature Of Sorrow, which unfortunately falls flat after a while, sounding a bit generic compared to the rest of the album; however, Innersphere gets back on track with their second to last explosion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, titled The Embodiment, where they keep slashing their stringed axes nonstop, providing Míra all he needs to growl and scream demonically. Finally, melancholic piano notes ignite the closing aria The Fall, once again investing in a Blackened Doom sonority (in special through the deep gnarls by Míra and the sluggish beats by Filip), flowing smoothly until its Stygian finale.

innersphere-2021Such intense fusion of melodic, progressive and dark music can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and you should also show your support to the guys from Innersphere by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for new, tour dates and so on, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their awesome music. And above all that, you should definitely add Omfalos to your vast collection of metal albums by purchasing it from their BandCamp page, from the Slovak Metal Army webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon. The guys from Innersphere more than succeeded in depicting the center of the world through their unique music, leaving us more-than-curious to know what’s next in their shining path of life and death.

Best moments of the album: Above, Omfalos and Blackness.

Worst moments of the album: Nature Of Sorrow.

Released in 2021 Slovak Metal Army

Track listing 
1. Presentiment 1:14
2. The Darkest Hour 4:13
3. Above 5:05
4. Fire 4:49
5. Omfalos 4:17
6. Wisdom 6:13
7. Blackness 4:03
8. Nature Of Sorrow 5:48
9. The Embodiment 4:47
10. The Fall 6:05

Band members
Míra Litomerický – vocals, guitars, samples
Lukáš Mai – guitars
Marek Hubocký – bass, backing vocals
Filip Wintr – drums

Album Review – Scythe Beast / Indicted for Misconception (2021)

A pulverizing display of German Melodic Death and Thrash Metal that will lay waste to any listener unfortunate enough to venture near the battlefield.

3.5rating

scythe-beast-indicted-for-misconception-2021Originally founded in 2012 in the city of Barnstorf, a municipality in the district of Diepholz, in Lower Saxony, Germany, as what was solely intended to be a studio project, Melodic Death/Thrash Metal outfit Scythe Beast quickly morphed into its very own entity, culminating with the released of their debut effort Breeding Devastation in 2016. Now in 2021 it’s time for frontman Claus Ulka, guitarists Sven Stoppelberg and Frank Schwenker, bassist Jens Weymann and drummer Andreas Tegeler to unleash upon us their sophomore opus, entitled Indicted for Misconception, a deadly barrage brought into being during the lockdown period in Germany that will lay waste to any listener unfortunate enough to venture near the battlefield, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of God Dethroned, Carcass and old Dark Tranquility.

Sven and Frank rev up Scythe Beast’s angry machine in the opening tune King of a Dead Land, evolving into a violent fusion of classic Death and Thrash Metal perfect for slamming into the pit right form the very first second, and it’s then time for a Carcass-infused tune entitled Kill Machine, where the quintet fires more of their vicious sounds spearheaded by the raspy roars by Claus, while Andreas keeps hammering his drums mercilessly. What a fulminating start to the album I might say, and their fire keeps burning in Soulicide, where they slow things down a bit while still sounding heavy-as-hell and utterly aggressive, increasing in insanity until exploding into visceral Melodic Death Metal where Jens extracts violent metallic sounds from his bass for our vulgar delectation; whereas the slashing riffs by the band’s guitar duo set the tone in the frantic Colonize, a Swedish Melodic Death Metal-inspired tune where the thrashing beats by Andreas bring even more fury to the overall sonority.

The tile-track Indicted for Misconception brings to our avid ears more of the band’s visceral and extremely harmonious metal music, a multi-layered, imposing tune spiced up by sick guitar solos by Sven and Frank as the icing on the cake, and never letting the energy level go down the quintet blasts our minds with the straightforward Signs of the Decline, where Claus’ demonic roaring is effectively supported by his bandmates’ classic backing vocals. If you think you’re safe from Scythe Beast, you better get ready to be crushed like an insect in For the Love of God, where Claus keeps vociferating rabidly while Sven and Frank are on fire with their wicked riffage, and Sven, Frank and Jens are once again ruthless with their stringed weapons in Truth Beyond, supported by the trademark blast beats by Andreas while also bringing some welcome hints of Black Metal. Lastly, the band demolishes everything and everyone that crosses their path with the venomous Scapegoat, presenting their usual demented riffs and beats and with Claus sounding like a furious beast on vocals just the way we like it in extreme music.

scythe-beast-2021These German beasts of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal are waiting for you on Facebook and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your true support to the underground you should definitely purchase a copy of Indicted for Misconception from the band’s own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. As already mentioned a few times on The Headbanging Moose in the past year or so, although no one can stand this never-ending lockdown anymore, it looks like several bands the likes of Scythe Beast are making very good usage of their time away from the road, generating top-of-the-line metal music for us fans and, consequently, keeping us sane and making our days a lot more fun to the sound of their wicked creations. I obviously hope this lockdown comes to an end sooner than later, but if this type of isolation is needed for Scythe Beast to keep smashing our souls with their music, then I’m more than fine having to spend some more time indoors.

Best moments of the album: King of a Dead Land, Kill Machine and Indicted for Misconception.

Worst moments of the album: Truth Beyond.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. King of a Dead Land 4:23
2. Kill Machine 4:21
3. Soulicide 6:31
4. Colonize 4:31
5. Indicted for Misconception 4:43
6. Signs of the Decline 4:53
7. For the Love of God 5:06
8. Truth Beyond 4:27
9. Scapegoat 5:00

Band members
Claus Ulka – vocals
Sven Stoppelberg – guitars
Frank Schwenker – guitars
Jens Weymann – bass
Andreas Tegeler – drums