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

Album Review – Nordicwinter / Sorrow (2021)

An unstoppable one-man army from Canada examines the darker side of the human condition in his beautiful new album of Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal.

3.5rating

nordicwinter-sorrow-2021After a lengthy hiatus, Quebec, Canada-based Atmospheric Depressive Black Metal one-man horde Nordicwinter came back in a big way in 2020, releasing two new full-length albums (Requiem and Desolation) and showing no sign of slowing down as the project hits us once again with a new full-length album, entitled Sorrow, released amidst the dead of winter. Produced and engineered by the Nordicwinter’s mastermind Evillair (aka Yves Allaire, who’s also responsible for all vocals, all instruments, drum programming, production, engineering, songwriting and lyrics), recorded, mixed an mastered at Dirgevows Studios, and featuring a somber cover image by Melissa Parker, Sorrow examines the darker side of the human condition through somber and melancholic music sticking at a mostly mid-tempo pace, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by bands the likes of Xasthur, Austere, NONE and Nocturnal Depression.

And Evillair begins his atmospheric and melancholic journey with Somber Winds of Despair (Part I), showcasing enfolding guitars and a dark vibe, exploding into top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal with the anguished roars by our one-man army penetrating deep inside your soul; whereas beauty and melancholy flow from Evillair’s words (“I see your cold corpse / Laying upon the crimson leaves / I hear the lost song / Whispered by the dismal breeze”) in Sullen Echoes, while the music offers our ears a sinister fusion of Blackened Doom and Atmospheric Black Metal. Then more of his Stygian sounds invade our ears in In This Darkness…, where his incendiary, classic Black Metal riffs will burn your skin mercilessly in paradox with the song’s bitterly cold background, not to mention his gnarls get more and more demonic as the music progresses.

This Mournful Dirge brings to our ears another round of his dark poetry (“In dismal veils of snow / I fade into this tomb / As fading memories / Whisper eternal gloom”) amidst a somber atmosphere in a great display of Depressive Black Metal, followed by Dying Winters, where a beyond embracing start will drag you into the cold lands ruled by Nordicwinter and with Evillair doing a great job with both his growls and riffs, all spiced up by the programmed drums (which sound truly organic, by the way). And what kicked off such intense album is completed with Somber Winds of Despair (Part II), again showcasing sharp but at the same time delicate guitars, venomous, introspective vocals, and a sense of hopelessness permeating the air until the very last second. In other words, a simply stunning creation by Evillair and his Nordicwinter, ending in a more than hypnotizing way and flowing into Enshrined by Solitude, a funereal, depressive outro that will darken your thoughts as the storm gets closer and closer.

nordicwinter-evillair-2021You can easily join Evillair and his Nordicwinter by streaming Sorrow in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, savoring every second of its over 50 minutes of solitude and introspectiveness, but don’t forget to also follow the project on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about this lone wolf of the Great White North, and above all that, to purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (as a regular CD or as a very special bundle), from Apple Music or from Amazon. In a nutshell, Evillair more than succeeded in providing us his view of the darker side of the human condition through his music, leaving us eager for more of his stunning Black Metal in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: In This Darkness… and Somber Winds of Despair (Part II).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing  
1. Somber Winds of Despair (Part I) 7:27
2. Sullen Echoes 9:20
3. In This Darkness… 7:28
4. This Mournful Dirge 8:43
5. Dying Winters 9:36
6. Somber Winds of Despair (Part II) 8:11
7. Enshrined by Solitude 2:39

Band members
Evillair – vocals, all instruments, drum programming

Metal Chick of the Month – Ira Sidenko

ira01

How to open your heart in the chaos of life? Learn to give and to share, to hustle and strive…

If you consider yourself a diehard fan of both old school and modern-day Death Metal, I’m certain you’ll have a very good time with our metal chick of the month of September. Not only she’s the owner of a potent and visceral voice, but her charisma, together with her onstage (and onscreen) performance, turn her into a must-listen and see for any admirer of first-class extreme music. I’m talking about the unstoppable Russian growler Ira Sidenko, also known as Irina Sidenko (or even Ирина Сиденко in Russian), the frontwoman for Tomsk, Russia-based Death Metal brigade Dehydrated, and a metalhead who is always expressing her passion for Heavy Metal through her music and art.

Born in the city of Tomsk, in Tomsk Oblast, a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) that lies in the southeastern West Siberian Plain, Ira studied at Tomsk State University, or TSU, known in her mother tongue as Томский Государственный Университет, or ТГУ, but it’s not clear exactly what course or courses she took at TSU. It was in 2008 when she founded Dehydrated (being named Dehydrated Entrails from 2008 until 2009, when they changed their name to the current one) together with guitarist Evgen Tsibulin, bassist Evgeny Zimin and drummer Alexey Ablayev, with only Ira and Evgen being still in the band from its original formation. Playing a fusion of classic Death Metal with other styles such as Deathcore, Grindcore, Groove Metal and even Progressive Metal, among others, the band didn’t know exactly what they wanted to play at first, but they knew it was going to be hard and aggressive, experimenting with several genres and subgenres of heavy music as aforementioned. By the way, when asked about the origin of the band’s name, Ira explained that’s how you feel after a concert, feeling dehydrated both physically and mentally after all the exchange of energy between the band and the crowd.

Having already played in several international festivals including Metal Head’s Mission (Ukraine), Metal Crowd (Belarus), Petrogrind (St. Petersburg), Metal Maidens (Kaluga), and Cieszanów Rock Festiwal (Poland), as well as tours around Russia and Eastern Europe, the band has unleashed upon humanity an array of high-quality albums and EP’s, those being the 2009 demo Suffering from Mummification, the full-lengths Duality of Existence (2011), Zone Beneath the Skin (2012) and Awake in Era (2012), the EP’s Mind Extract (2011), Piranha or Whale? (2019) and Piranha or Whale (Part II) (2020), and a 2011 split with the bands PureFilth, Grace Disgraced and Redrvm. Furthermore, in one of her interviews, Ira mentioned that her favorite Dehydrated album to date is Awake in Era, as she considers it more professional and more atmospheric than the other releases, with each of its songs representing a different story, but I’m sure that opinion will change with each of their releases just like what happens with any musician. And when asked about what Dehidrated means to her, she said that as music is her life, the band represents life to her, always showing a lot of love for her own work.

Dehydrated are a DIY band, doing everything themselves and relying a lot on the internet for sales and promotional activities just like countless underground bands worldwide. Ira mentioned that services like BandCamp, Spotify, Patreon and YouTube have been helping the band a lot with their promotion, but that at the same time they still have a hard time trying to organize tours all by themselves.  Hence, if you want to give the music by Dehydrated a try, you can stream all of their creations on BandCamp, on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can have an absolute blast with songs the likes of Hell Doesn’t Exist, Parallels, Sickness, Outlaws, Thirst of Dose, Werewolf, Alive Underground, Piranha or Whale, and their excellent covers for Motörhead’s Ace of Spades and Lake of Tears’ U.N.S.A.N.E.

Apart from her career with Dehydrated, you can also find Ira kicking some ass with a female-fronted metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia named Fallcie for a while, and she can also be seen as a guest vocalist in the song А Время Шло, from the 2020 EP А Время Шло (or “time went on”) by Kaluga, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal band Last Trial. In addition, Ira is also an amazing online vocal coach as you can see on her own YouTube channel, not only providing some great tips to growlers worldwide, but also uploading to her channel cover versions for countless songs the likes of Slaughter to Prevail’s Hell, Rammstein’s Sonne, Linkin Park’s From the Inside, Decapitated’s Homo Sum, Death’s Without Judgement, Vader’s Hexenkessel, and Whitchapel’s I Dementia.

All those top-notch cover versions are not in vain, as all of those bands are also part of Ira’s idols and influences list. As a matter of fact, when asked about how she would define the sound by Dehydrated, she mentioned it’s a fusion of different styles from bands such as Death, Gojira, Animal as Leaders, and so on. Regarding her personal preferences, our beloved growler mentioned the first bands she fell in love with were Rammstein and Slipknot, later moving on to Black and Death Metal and getting absolutely addicted to that. Furthermore, the first time she heard a Death Metal band was when she got to know the music by Aborted, also getting hooked to the music by Whitechapel, Deicide and Vital Remains. However, Ira said she doesn’t have any limits when listening to music, being also a fan of Jazz, Blues, Grindcore and many other distinct styles, but of course always praising metal behemoths the likes of Motörhead, Manowar and Metallica.

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Ira also provided her view on how to become a metal vocalist in one of her interviews, saying that there’s no secret to that but several years of practice and studies (and tons of mistakes) and a never-ending desire to grow, always searching for the right sound and for professional development. Although she mentioned she hadn’t had an older brother to show her metal music, Ira mentioned she had a friend with whom she used to listen to Rammstein together, which inspired her to form a band and, later, as her taste for music became heavier and heavier, she naturally decided to learn how to do guttural by herself. Having the flexibility to sing in English, Russian and German, Ira believes her vocal performance and her confidence have improved a lot since the band’s 2009 debut demo Suffering from Mummification, again pointing out to the importance of constant learning to become a better vocalist.

When asked about the metal scene in Russia (and in Eastern Europe in general), she thinks the bands in Russia need to show more of their own culture and ideas when creating music instead of trying to mimic famous European or American bands, but of course she acknowledges there are tons of fantastic bands in her homeland such as Katalepsy and Arkona. Moreover, in regards to her hometown Tomsk, she said that there was a time when Siberia, where Tomsk is located, once had a very strong metal scene, but that has changed over time and today the scene is not as powerful and the attendance to metal concerts has dropped significantly. She complemented by saying that not only in Tomsk, but in the entire Russia (and maybe we can also add the rest of the world to the mix), you can only get in contact with metal music through the internet, as the radio and TV do not offer any space to bands like Dehydrated, and there aren’t any major festivals either to promote the bands. She still thinks that there are great bands coming from her hometown, though, such as Apokefale and Dark Revenge, which needless to say need our total support to avoid getting extinct.

Last but not least, our Russian growler believes that becoming a Death Metal vocalist isn’t easy at all, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, but of course it can be a little bit tougher to girls depending on the situation due to the sexism that still happens in the metal community all over the world. She said that once in a while she’s the target of that sexism, but she doesn’t really care about it and keeps working hard to make Dehydrated a better band and to make herself a better vocalist. When asked about how she responds to those attacks, she said she simply doesn’t answer back to the haters, ignoring them on social media and focusing on what really matters, which is the opinion and support of her fans, her friends and her family. And to be fair, she’s more than right in doing so, avoiding bringing that negativity to her work as a musician, therefore keeping her haters screaming in anger (but not as greatly as her) for not engaging in a virtual battle with her. That’s how you recognize a true musician, and let’s hope Ira keeps growling in our faces for many years to come with her ass-kicking band.

Ira Sidenko’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Facebook page
Dehydrated’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Instagram
Dehydrated’s Official YouTube channel

“We are very pleased to be able to create and do what we like, we do not know for how long but the only certainty is that there is only one here and now. We look to the future positively.” – Ira Sidenko

Album Review – Argesh / Excommunica (2021)

Behold 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal you can think of in the form of the debut album by an unrelenting horde from Italy.

3.5rating

argesh-excommunica-2021We live in a world corrupted by moral dogmas which, unconsciously, influence and create the rotten society in which we find ourselves, a vicious circle of self-destruction and self-castration. Fortunately for all of us metalheads, Varese, Italy-based Black Metal entity Argesh stands against all that, bringing forth now in 2021 their debut full-length opus entitled Excommunica, a stunning display of “Apostate Black Metal” blasted by HHG on the guitars, drums and voice reinforcements, Il Rakshasa on the guitars, and Azghal on bass and orchestrations. Recorded at Downstreet Studios, mixed and engineered by Simone Marzullo (also known as HHG) and Nicolò Paracchini (also known as Azghal), and mastered at Wavemotion Recordings by Federico Ascari, not to mention the more-than-special guests Michele Spallieri (Kenos), Lucifero Fieri (Tregenda), Vama Marga (Depths Above, Bhagavat), Chainerdog (Grendel) and Matteo Gresele (Ad Nauseam), Excommunica is a must-listen for fans of bands the likes of Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir and Deathspell Omega, bringing to our ears 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal.

The opening track, titled Abiura, works as a tribal intro that will put you in a trance, with the guest vocals by Vama Marga making things even more tenebrous and flowing into the visceral Suffocate in Oxygen, a fulminating aria of extreme music where guest Michele Spallieri’s vocals are nicely complemented by the celestial voice of Lucifero Fieri, while HHG, Il Rakshasa and Azghal generate a pulverizing wall of sounds. Put differently, this is what I call a bestial display of Blackened Death Metal by such talented horde, and HHG and Il Rakshasa continue to extract sheer malignancy from their guitars in Source of Miracles accompanied by the thunderous bass by Azghal, while Michele keeps growling like a demonic entity and also featuring a kick-ass guitar solo by guest Matteo Gresele.

And HHG once again sounds infernal with his blast beats in the beyond fantastic Praelatorum Pedophilia, another austere, sulfurous creation by the trio showcasing slashing riffs and rumbling bass lines, therefore living up to the legacy of both old school and modern-day Black Metal; whereas in Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 a Cradle of Filth-inspired ambience becomes even more imposing thanks to the amazing job done by HHG on drums and all background orchestrations by Azghal. Furthermore, Michele proves once again why he was chosen to record most of the vocals for the album with his vicious roars adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result. And last but not least, closing the album we’re treated to the multi-layered, bold and Stygian tune The Elohim’s Mark, featuring guest vocals and guitar solo by Chainerdog, and reminding me of some of the best creations by Dimmu Borgir. Needless to say, HHG and Il Rakshasa are relentless with their wicked riffage, ending the album on a truly sulfurous note for our total delight.

argesh-2021“Excommunica wants to point out how much can be spiritually self-sabotaging being born and grown in a religious context bare of awareness and consciousness. Its concept is based on disrupting these restrictions in order to find the human need to evolve and become something different from the herd, expressing the harsh hate against the hypocrisy which this moral society proves to be with its values. We’re all suffocating in this oxygen ruled by corrupted divine idols,” commented this talented Italian horde about their newborn spawn, and if you want to show them your utmost support and admiration you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase Excommunica from their own BandCamp page, letting the world we live in rot in chaos and darkness while you enjoy their undisputed Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: Praelatorum Pedophilia and Apocalypse 20.7-8-9.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Nero Corvino Records/Sepulchral Silence Digital Music Distribution

Track listing 
1. Abiura 2:11
2. Suffocate in Oxygen 4:04
3. Source of Miracles 6:30
4. Praelatorum Pedophilia 5:51
5. Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 5:05
6. The Elohim’s Mark 7:13

Band members
HHG – guitars, drums, voice reinforcements
Il Rakshasa – guitars
Azghal – bass, orchestrations

Guest musicians
Michele Spallieri – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen”, “Source of Miracles”, “Praelatorum Pedophilia” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Lucifero Fieri – celestial vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”
Vama Marga – vocals on “Abiura” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Chainerdog – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”, guitar solo on “The Elohim’s Mark”
Matteo Gresele – guitar solo on “Source of Miracles”

Album Review – Serpentrance / Akra Tapeinosis (2021)

This infernal Russian Sepulchral Death Metal horde comes ripping with their debut full-length opus, offering us all their raw and vile view of “the Utmost Humiliation”.

3.5rating

serpentrance-akra-tapeinosis-2021Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Spīritō Destitutus in the desolate temples of doom, and displaying a beyond blasphemous artwork by the band’s own vocalist Morkh at Nether Temple Design, the excellent Akra Tapeinosis (or “the Utmost Humiliation”), is not only the debut full-length opus by Russian horde Serpentrance and the follow-up to their 2015 EP The Besieged Sanctum, but also a lesson in Black, Death and Doom Metal by this uncanny entity, or as the band itself likes to label their own sound, a fulminating exhibit of “Sepulchral Death Metal”. Formed in 2014, the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Morkh and Spīritō Destitutus together with bassist HTM and drummer Noersyl Skept is ready to darken the hearts of the unbelievers with their unique style and otherworldly sounds, proving once again why Russia is the go-to place for the most disturbing forms of extreme music you can think of.

Gregorian vociferations permeate the air in the Stygian opening tune Vomit & Myrrh, exploding into a primeval fusion of Black and Doom Metal that will haunt the souls of the lighthearted where Morkh sounds like a creature from the underworld on vocals, while Noersyl Skept hammers his drums in great fashion; followed by Clothed in Abomination, with its darkly poetic words (“Cathedrals howling in awe / The old woman of apocalypse awakes / To feed the hunger of the devoted ones / By the coffins of the blessed tree”) being beautifully complemented by a raw, sluggish sonority. Furthermore, the riffs by Spīritō Destitutus exhale pure sulfur, supported by the menacing bass by HTM in an ode to Blackened Doom. And Spīritō Destitutus keeps slashing his stringed axe with tons of hatred and obscurity in The Tarnished Shrines of God, another venomous tune by Serpentrance where the deep guttural growling by Morkh will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you into pitch black darkness for all eternity.

After such intense and bold display of damnation and hatred, get ready for over 11 minutes of a demented hybrid of Black, Death and Doom Metal by the quartet spearheaded by the demonic riffage by Spīritō Destitutus and the thunderous drums by Noersyl Skept entitled Underneath Babylon, not to mention how vile Morkh’s roars sound and feel in a lecture in sheer doom for admirers of the most sulfurous side of music. And last but not least, we’re treated to the superb The Black Dawn of Sophia, offering our avid ears one final round of Serpentrance’s wicked lyrics (“Man, hast thou felt the rising winds of death / Howling among these ancient marble walls? / There, below, crawling the procession / Groveling beneath the corroding sun”) to close the album on a high and infernal note. Put differently, it’s a flawless, neck-breaking aria that positions the band as one of the most interesting names of the Russian underground scene, ending the album on an absolutely cadaverous vibe.

serpentrance-2021If you think you can endure sheer darkness in the form of the Sepulchral Death Metal blasted by Serpentrance, you can stream the full album on YouTube, and in case you survive that metallic onslaught you can join Serpentrance’s horde by following them on Facebook and getting to know more about the band, their tour dates and their plans for the future. And above all that, of course, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Akra Tapeinosis from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore in CD, LP or cassette formats, showing your true love and admiration for sick and impious doom. Serpentrance are just starting in their grim and sulfurous career, and Akra Tapeinosis is the undisputed statement that they’re indeed following the right (and by that I mean infernal) path to conquer the world of extreme music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Vomit & Myrrh and The Black Dawn of Sophia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing  
1. Vomit & Myrrh 7:34
2. Clothed in Abomination 7:38
3. The Tarnished Shrines of God 7:14
4. Underneath Babylon 11:35
5. The Black Dawn of Sophia 9:10

Band members
Morkh – vocals
Spīritō Destitutus – guitars
HTM – bass
Noersyl Skept – drums

Album Review – Nunslaughter / Red is the Color of Ripping Death (2021)

Cleveland, Ohio’s own infernal squad returns with another bestial display of their trademark “Devil Metal”, their first album in seven years.

3.5rating

nunslaughter-red-is-the-color-of-ripping-death-2021Cleveland’s own infernal squad Nunslaughter requires no introduction. Since their inception in the distant year of 1987, those Ohio natives have prolifically perfected their own brand of what they like to label as “Devil Metal”, an evil blend of classic Death and Thrash Metal with Hardcore Punk, and now in 2021, at long last, the band is back in action with Red is the Color of Ripping Death, their first album in seven years. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Noah Buchanan, the album is a lesson in savagery, speed and sulfur by vocalist Don of the Dead, guitarist Tormentor, bassist Detonate and drummer Wrath, proving Nunslaughter are far from calling it quits even after so many years on the road. Furthermore, many are still mourning the loss of legendary drummer Jim Sadist (RIP), and while Red is the Color of Ripping Death is their first full-length without him playing on it, some of the 14 songs contained herein are unfinished or unrealized music that Jim and founding frontman Don of the Dead wrote years ago, giving the whole album an even more special feel and taste.

Wrath begins hammering his drums manically in the opening tune Murmur, a lecture in fast and heavy Death and Thrash Metal by the band to properly kick things off, not to mention how vile Don’s growls sound, whereas in Broken and Alone they speed up their pace and add a good amount of Hardcore and Punk Rock to their core sonority, with Tormentor treating us with his incendiary, slashing riffage. Then it’s time for a darker and more venomous tune by the quartet named To a Whore, once again inviting us all to slam into the pit to the Stygian riffs and bass jabs by Tormentor and Detonate, respectively; followed by Banished, not as infuriated as its predecessors but still showcasing the band’s trademark heaviness and spearheaded by the deep roars by Don, and the title-track Red Is the Color of Ripping Death, a hurricane of Death and Thrash Metal tailored for admirers of that beautiful sound from the Bay Area, with Wrath once again hammering his drums nonstop. Tormentor continues to extract sheer violence from his guitar in Eat Your Heart, while Don vociferates rabidly amidst a very melodic but at the same time brutal sonority, and in Annihilate the Kingdom of God the unrelenting Don beautifully declaims the song’s austere words while his bandmates keep delivering endless aggression, with Detonate and Wrath sounding bestial with their evil kitchen.

Living up to the legacy of old school thrash the likes of Slayer and Overkill, the quartet fires the absolutely infernal Beware of God, with Don leading his demented horde with his sick growling and screams, whereas another round of deranged roars, classic blast beats and flammable riffs comes in the form of Black Cat Hanging, keeping the album at a high level of animosity for our total delight. And are you ready to be smashed like an insect? Because that’s what will happen to you in Dead in Ten, spearheaded by the fulminating drums by Wrath and the wicked riffage by Tormentor in a superb display of extreme music by Nunslaughter. Then let’s all “calm down” a bit and enjoy a headbanging extravaganza entitled The Devil Will Not Stray, where the band adds hints of Black and Doom Metal to make things even more devilish, while they get back to a more ferocious sonority in The Temptress, with Wrath kicking ass on drums once again supported by the metallic bass jabs by Detonate. Casket Lid Creaks is another slower-than-usual song that albeit displaying the band’s heaviness and obscurity, it doesn’t really take off. Detonate still showcases a great job with his low-tuned bass, though. Lastly, less than one minute is everything the band needs to crush anyone that’s still alive in Below the Cloven Hoof, putting a beyond demonic ending to such awesome album.

nunslaughter-2021In case you want to join Nunslaughter in their quest for metal, depravity and evil, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about them, stream more of their savage creations on Spotify, and above all that, purchase the awesome Red Is the Color of Ripping Death from their own BandCamp page or from the Hells Headbangers Records’ webstore in CD or cassette format. As Jim Sadist would say, “red is the color of ripping death,” and I’m sure he’s truly proud of his bandmates for their new album. Long live Jim Sadist, and long live Nunslaughter.

Best moments of the album: Broken and Alone, Red Is the Color of Ripping Death, Beware of God and Dead in Ten.

Worst moments of the album: Banished and Casket Lid Creaks.

Released in 2021 Hells Headbangers Records

Track listing 
1. Murmur 1:33
2. Broken and Alone 1:50
3. To a Whore 2:34
4. Banished 2:48
5. Red Is the Color of Ripping Death 3:34
6. Eat Your Heart 2:41
7. Annihilate the Kingdom of God 2:48
8. Beware of God 1:49
9. Black Cat Hanging 2:13
10. Dead in Ten 3:39
11. The Devil Will Not Stray 2:51
12. The Temptress 2:01
13. Casket Lid Creaks 3:04
14. Below the Cloven Hoof 0:52

Band members
Don of the Dead – vocals
Tormentor – guitars
Detonate – bass
Wrath – drums

Album Review – Antediluvian / The Divine Punishment (2021)

A lesson in savagery thematically centered around the many manifestations of carnal deviance by a blasphemous horde hailing from the Great White North.

3.5rating

antediluvian-the-divine-punishment-2021Nearly eight years after the release of their sophomore album λόγος, Canadian Black/Death Metal horde Antediluvian returns with a new full-length opus entitled The Divine Punishment, a lesson in savagery thematically centered around the many manifestations of carnal deviance. Formed in 2006 in Guelph, Ontario, but currently located in Edmonton, Alberta, the band comprised of Haasiophis on vocals and guitars, Aedh Zugna on bass and Mars Sekhmet on drums offers in their newborn spawn a contorted rendering of the spirit, once pure, blemished and bespoiled through sexual blasphemy, turning the album into much more than a return to form for Antediluvian, but a reflection of the band’s evolution from their inception, extrapolated over the near-decade since their last album, to reveal a meticulously sculpted masterwork that continues to push boundaries just as the band has done for the last 15 years.

Eerie sounds ignite the almost 10 minutes of insanity in the opening track Obscene Pornography Manifests in the Divine Universal Consciousness, before morphing into a raw and absurdly grim Black Metal extravaganza where Haasiophis roars and gnarls like a demonic entity nonstop, accompanied by the sulfurous drums by Mars Sekhmet, and keeping the flames of the underworld burning bright this Stygian horde fires the excellent All Along the Sigils Deep, blending the furious Death Metal riffs by Haasiophis with the Black Metal atmosphere crafted by Aedh Zugna and Mars Sekhmet. How the Watchers Granted the Humans Sex Magick in the Primordial Aeon carries a darkly poetic title to a visceral and utterly primeval Black Metal aria by Antediluvian, once again presenting the infernal growling by Haasiophis amidst atmospheric, cryptic background elements; whereas Guardians of the Liminal is shorter than its predecessors but still fulminating to the core, also bringing some progressiveness and experimentations added to their Black Metal sonority and with Mars Sekhmet taking the lead with his rhythmic beats, followed by the no-shenanigans, brutal Tamasic Masturbation Ritual, a hybrid of the most putrid forms of Black and Death Metal where Haasiophis vociferates rabidly from start to finish.

Sadomaniacal Katabasis (Last Fuck of The Dying) brings to us fans one minute of pure, fuckin’ sonic devastation to crush our damned souls before the trio blasts our ears with Temple Prostitute, starting with a beyond disturbing intro and quickly exploding into a dissonant feast of deep guttural growls, frantic beats and obscure riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a gargantuan level of dementia. Then get ready for another bestial display of Black and Death Metal by Antediluvian in Circumcision Covenant, with Aedh Zugna hammering his bass supported by the intricate beats by Mars Sekhmet, whereas an ode to the number of the beast entitled White Throne goes on for way too long (if it was a little shorter it would have been a lot more effective, I might say). Fortunately, their second to last blast of demonic sounds, entitled The Liar’s Path, puts the band back on track, offering another crude, boisterous Black Metal exhibit with Haasiophis stealing the spotlight with both his inhumane gnarls and sick riffage. And lastly we have Winged Ascent unto the Twelve Runed Solar Anus, an insane way to conclude the album with its nine minutes of sheer obscurity and hatred in the form of metal music where Haasiophis and Aedh Zugna will pierce your ears with their stringed weapons, while Mars Sekhmet sounds like the apocalypse on drums, before all fades into the void in a truly climatic and sinister manner.

antediluvian-2021This Stygian horde hailing from the Great “Dark” North is waiting for you to join them in their quest for blasphemy and extreme music on Facebook and on Instagram, and don’t forget to also stream their vile creations on Spotify. The Divine Punishment, available for presale from the Nuclear War Now! Productions’ BandCamp page and soon from the Nuclear War Now! Productions’ webstore (as well as from Apple Music and Amazon), is indeed a fantastic display of everything Antediluvian stands for, providing fans of Black and Death Metal with the perfect soundtrack for 666 days of carnal deviance, profanity and punishment, exactly the way we like it when the music in question is so dark and evil.

Best moments of the album: All Along the Sigils Deep, How the Watchers Granted the Humans Sex Magick in the Primordial Aeon and Winged Ascent unto the Twelve Runed Solar Anus.

Worst moments of the album: White Throne.

Released in 2021 Nuclear War Now! Productions

Track listing   
1. Obscene Pornography Manifests in the Divine Universal Consciousness 9:47
2. All Along the Sigils Deep 6:03
3. How the Watchers Granted the Humans Sex Magick in the Primordial Aeon 8:36
4. Guardians of the Liminal 4:13
5. Tamasic Masturbation Ritual 3:15
6. Sadomaniacal Katabasis (Last Fuck of The Dying) 1:11
7. Temple Prostitute 5:14
8. Circumcision Covenant 5:23
9. White Throne 6:42
10. The Liar’s Path 5:39
11. Winged Ascent unto the Twelve Runed Solar Anus 9:02

Band members
Haasiophis – vocals, guitars
Aedh Zugna – bass
Mars Sekhmet – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lilita Arndt

lilita01

Eternal darkness is covering my eyes and penetrating me…

Dark skies are over us all once again here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the raw and visceral Black Metal crafted by a multi-talented woman who will undoubtedly blacken our hearts even more. Hailing from Rivne, a historic city in western Ukraine located over 300 kilometers to the west of the country’s capital Kiev, she’s not only an amazing Extreme Metal vocalist, but she also plays all instruments including lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass and drums for her stunning one-woman Occult and Depressive Black Metal project entitled Ieschure. Her poetic name, Lilita Arndt, adds an extra touch of beauty to her unique creations, and you’ll be more than pleased with her music, her view of Black Metal and how she incorporates all her influences into each one of her songs.

Lilita’s interest in writing and playing music began at a very early stage of her childhood, when she started to write lyrics and later tried to create simple melodies for them on her acoustic guitar, which by the way was her very first instrument, then learning how to play keyboards (followed by all other instruments she currently knows), all self-taught and never having any sort of formal or structured music lessons with anyone. After taking part in different projects as a singer, including an old acoustic project called Embrace of Hedera from 2007 until 2015 which played melancholic, dark and romantic music with acoustic guitars and clean female vocals (and with whom she recorded the album The Castle On The Rolling Hills in 2015), Lilita wanted to explore new territories by creating her own music with her own melodies, lyrics, singing and atmosphere, being the mastermind of her own project and experimenting with melodies and vocals, the main reason why she decided to found her own solo project Ieschure back in 2015.

A word chosen by Lilita after the whole album The Shadow was finished in 2017, Ieschure has the project’s name related to occult things and the meaning of this word is really important for her, although our multi-talented musician prefers it to be known only by herself. Dealing with classic Black Metal lyrical themes such as occultism, witchcraft and death, and using a serpent as her symbol (more specifically as a primitive symbol of power and wisdom but at the same time representing death and damnation), this one-woman Black Metal force has already released an array of bold, captivating albums since the project’s inception in 2015, those being the aforementioned full-length opus The Shadow, in 2017, the EP’s Cold Stars of Eternity and Phantoms of God, in 2020, and more recently the split album Witch’s Consecration, now in 2021, with Brazilian Black Metal horde Promethean Gate. If you want to have a very good taste of how breathtaking the music by Ieschure is, you can enjoy some awesome songs online such as Eternal Agony, Mystic Schizophrenia and Phantoms Of God, or simply go to BandCamp, to Big Cartel and to Spotify (or click HERE) to stream and purchase all of her wicked creations.

Not only the woman responsible for all vocals and instruments in all of Ieschure releases, Lilita also handles all recording, mixing, mastering, lyrics and layout of the albums, which is absolutely in line with her initial dream of having a project of her own. In addition, Lilita has also collaborated in several albums from other bands, with the most memorable for her to date being singing with the bands Detention and Restless. For instance, she recorded vocals for the songs Nidhogg (from the album Lost Souls in a Godless World) and Wolf’s Head (from the album The Battle of Tara) by American Doom/Stoner/Southern Metal band Black Mountain Thunder, both in 2015; vocals for the song The Face of God, from the 2015 self-titled album by American Stoner/Doom Metal band Clawhammer; vocals on the 2014 album Marginal, by Kazakh Depressive Metal band Detention; vocals on the song Rurel, from the 2018 self-titled EP by Italian Black/Folk Metal band Dovrefjell; backing vocals on the songs Spiritueller Selbstmord, from the 2014 album Verwüstung, and Wenn Die Sterne Nicht Mehr Scheinen, from the 2014 EP Horizont, by Ukrainian Black Metal/Ambient band Moloch; vocals on the 2017 album Funeral Impressions, by Italian Funeral Doom Metal band Restless; and vocals on the song Bride of Winter, from the 2016 album Forgotten Tales, by Italian Black Metal band Waldweg; not to mention the cover art for the 2019 EP The Wanderer, by Tuskish Atmospheric Black Metal band Akrunant.

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Regarding her first experiences with Heavy and Black Metal, Lilita mentioned in one of her interviews that she began listening to popular metal bands when she was a teenager, becoming more and more interested in the underground and, consequently, getting attracted to the world of Black Metal. In her opinion, Black Metal is not just a music style, but a dark side of art, an irrational fusion of music, theatre and philosophy, full of paradoxes and concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life, which is the main reason why she considers it perfect. She complemented by saying that she has felt the presence of hidden forces in the world since she was a little child, gradually getting more interested in those and in occultism, also saying that realizing that she will die some day was what truly attracted her to that. Apart from drawing inspiration from the works of renowned occultists the likes of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi, Stanislas de Guaita and George Gurdjieff, she also enjoys reading and studying about her work as a designer, all forms of art, mythology, psychology, history, travelling and everything that can give her new knowledge about the world. And in terms of what inspires the music by Ieschure the most, she mentioned Black Metal behemoths such as early Urfaust, Behexen, Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride, Opeth and, above all, Burzum, as his music embodies the ideas of misanthropy and loneliness in the best way imaginable according to our sinister diva.

When asked about her vocal style and technique, Lilita said that her screaming vocals were influenced by classic Black Metal bands, whereas for clean vocals she gets her inspiration from non-Black Metal music, as for example Julie Christmas, her favorite female singer of bands like Battle Of Mice and Made Out of Babies, and Free Dominguez, of Kidneythieves. In addition, regarding her songwriting process, Lilita said the first thing she does is many improvisations on the guitar at her home studio, recording various ideas, listening to them again at a later stage, and if she finds any of those ideas interesting enough she rerecords them to include all other instruments. Also, she complemented by saying most of her time in that process is taken by the lyrics writing process, as she can rewrite those many times and do various vocal improvisations to find the best version, finally rerecording everything.

As a true admirer of the underground, in special the first wave of Black Metal bands, their sound and atmosphere, as well as old Doom Metal, Lilita also said that although she doesn’t listen to a lot of bands from the Black Metal scene in her homeland Ukraine she knows there are several bands and projects in the country who create true underground music, always prioritizing the music instead of fame or money. However, she said she cannot compare herself to any of those bands, as she tries to go her own way with her own opinion about music. In addition, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she doesn’t usually attend concerts, as for her personally the best way to listen to music is to listen to it in her headphones.

Lastly, when questioned if one day Ieschure will become a full-bodied group with other members joining her, Lilita said that, although she’s always open to change, she doesn’t think that’s a possibility for now. Furthermore, she mentioned that if one day she finds that a good alternative for embodying her ideas she will definitely try working with other musicians, as long as of course they’re sincerely interested in music and follow similar or the same ideas as hers. In the end, it doesn’t matter if she continues to create music as a lone she-wolf or if she finds the perfect lineup for Ieschure, our beloved metal witch will keep experimenting with melodies and vocal styles while always keeping an evil Black Metal atmosphere in the background, playing raw and devilish sounds for our total delectation in the name of darkness, death and the occult.

Ieschure’s Official Facebook page
Ieschure’s Official Instagram
Ieschure’s Official Twitter
Ieschure’s Official YouTube channel

“For me black metal is really a dark side of Art. It’s not just a music style. Mixture of music, theatre and philosophy, more irrational than other music styles, full of paradoxes, concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life. That is why it is perfect.” – Lilita Arndt

Album Review – Arcane Marrow / The Elders Present To Me (2021)

This uncanny Tennessee-based horde is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus of raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal, bringing to our ears six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born.

3.5rating

arcane-marrow-the-elders-present-to-me-2021Labeling their own sound as “raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal”, the mysterious Tennessee, United States-based entity that goes by the straightforward name of Arcane Marrow has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, beautifully titled The Elders Present To Me. Featuring six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born, The Elders Present To Me will please all fans of primeval Scandinavian extreme music the likes of Mayhem and Immortal, crushing our souls and minds mercilessly like insignificant insects and, consequently, dragging us all into a Black Metal void for all eternity.

Like a demonic creature arising from the underworld, Arcane Marrow begin their Stygian Black Metal attack in Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism, showcasing infernal, old school riffs boosted by those vicious blast beats only classic Black Metal can provide us, not to mention the hellish vociferations that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. Closing your eyes and sensing Arcane Marrow’s darkness and rawness is a thing of beauty, and that’s exactly what they offer us all in Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains, with the strident, piercing sound of their guitars slashing our senses accompanied by their inhumane roars and gnarls, resulting in a lesson in old school Black Metal; and get ready for nine minutes of truly disturbing sounds not recommended for the lighthearted in the form of Before the First Notions of God, a bestial and extremely raw creation by this uncanny entity from Tennessee spiced up by a sick guitar solo and the endless screeches and screams flowing throughout the entire song.

If you thought the first half of the album was infernal, be prepared for seven minutes of absolute obscurity to the sound of the title-track The Elders Present to Me, presenting hints of Blackened Doom to make things even more sinister while once again bringing forward all elements we love in raw Black Metal, in special its vicious growling. Then a beyond melancholic and grim start will embrace our damned souls in the nine-minute aria The Dismal Woods Receive Me, exploding into sheer madness and violence to the sound of their crushing drums and razor-edged riffage, and last but not least, closing such intense album we have All Enveloping Black Harmony, once again hammering our blackened hearts and souls with their fulminating, unrelenting Black Metal spearheaded by their venomous blast beats, flowing infernally like an arrow on fire in pitch black darkness until the very last second.

arcane-marrow-logoThe gods of Black Metal are summoning us all to join Arcane Marrow in their evil mass to the sound of The Elders Present To Me, and you can do that by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following Arcane Marrow on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about such distinct horde, and above all that, by grabbing a copy of their pulverizing album from their BandCamp page. However, as already mentioned, I must warn you that once you begin your journey through the raw and infernal lands or raw and primeval Black Metal ruled by Arcane Marrow, there’s absolutely no way back from eternal damnation.

Best moments of the album: Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains and The Dismal Woods Receive Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing   
1. Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism 7:49
2. Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains 6:34
3. Before the First Notions of God 9:07
4. The Elders Present to Me 7:02
5. The Dismal Woods Receive Me 9:26
6. All Enveloping Black Harmony 7:51

Band members
*Information not available*