Album Review – Bloody Falls / Dying is Easy EP (2023)

This Finnish five-piece metal act is ready to attack with their new EP, a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death.

Formed back in 2017 in the city of Valkeakoski, Finland, the five-piece killer combo known as Bloody Falls combines all kind of elements of the most extreme metal genres, including blasting drums, epic passages and memorable guitar riffs that will make your head explode in a million pieces, while having their sound rooted in contemporary Melodic Black and Death Metal. Now in 2023 the band formed of Antero Hakala on vocals, Stavros Mathios and Marko Mäkinen on the guitars, Mika Lehtinen on bass and Rami Vartiainen on drums is unleashing upon humanity their new EP entitled Dying is Easy, following up on their 2021 album Burn the Witch. Recording and produced by the band’s own guitarist Stavros Mathios at VStudio, and mixed and mastered by Max Morton at Morton Studio, the EP is a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death, all introduced by heavy riffs and guttural vocals.

Are you scared to die, or are you scared to live? Well, Bloody Falls will answer that question to you in Dying is Easy, a brutal explosion of Black, Death and Groove Metal led by the venomous roars by Antero while Stravos and Marko darken the atmosphere with their devilish riffs. Then get ready for six minutes of sheer heaviness and obscurity in the modern-day Black and Death Metal feast titled Dancing with Flames, with Mika’s rumbling bass and Rami’s hammering drums inspiring us all to break our necks headbanging like crazy bastards; whereas Face Your Demise leans towards modern-day Melodic Death Metal with some Metalcore nuances, with Antero’s vocals sounding as evil as possible accompanied by the classic and melodic guitars by Stravos and Marko. It’s time for a headbanging, visceral Melodic Death Metal tune entitled Death By Hanging, with Rami stealing the spotlight with his massive beats while Antero keeps roaring like a beast, and their last blast of extreme music comes in the form of Reaper Is My Neighbor, where the bass jabs by Mika will hit you hard in the face while the band’s guitar duo keeps slashing their stringed weapons in great fashion.

Although it would have been nicer to have a full-length album released by the band instead of just an EP, the 25 minutes of music found in Dying is Easy are already incendiary enough to prove how talented and passionate for heavy music those Finnish metallers are, and if you want to show them your support you can find them and start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music on Spotify, and grab a copy of their new EP from the Art Gates Records webstore, from Apple Music, or by clicking HERE. As death is inevitable, why not enjoy some good heavy music during our miserable lives like what Bloody Falls have to offer us all until our very last breath?

Best moments of the album: Dancing with Flames and Death By Hanging.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Art Gates Records

Track listing
1. Dying is Easy 5:13
2. Dancing with Flames 5:46
3. Face Your Demise 4:22
4. Death By Hanging 4:10
5. Reaper Is My Neighbor 4:39

Band members
Antero Hakala – vocals
Stavros Mathios – guitars
Marko Mäkinen – guitars
Mika Lehtinen – bass
Rami Vartiainen – drums

Album Review – Høstsol / Länge Leve Döden (2023)

A monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death in the form of dark and sinister 90’s Black Metal made in Scandinavia.

The Stygian project of Swedish vocalist Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Norwegian guitarist Cernunnus (Manes), Finnish bassist Kalmos (Barathrum), and Finnish drummer Rainer Tuominkanto (Ajattara), Scandinavian Black Metal entity Høstsol, which by the way means “autumn sun” from Swedish, has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, entitled Länge Leve Döden, or “long live death”, an album conceived and recorded by people who have been molding the sounds of all things dark since the 90’s, and you can hear that experience and unconditional dedication in every note. Mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) at Sonic Train Studios, Länge Leve Döden is, according to the band itself, “our monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death. A perfect alignment of five songs that were written during an awful, unhealthy process over the course of two years. Expect Black Metal the way it used to feel and sound back in the early nineties, and rejoice!”

An eerie intro slowly evolves into the grim and dark As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet, showcasing pensive lyrics (“A human life is worth less than nothing / So therefore I dream, night after night, / Dreams of putting an end to all materialistic desires, / And annihilate the despicable cosmic failures of the false prophet Jahve, / And through faith and fanatic devotion, crown the one true king”) and a beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal sound. Rainer sounds inhumane on drums, bringing endless heaviness to Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen), or “what once was (it will never be again)”, while Niklas vociferates beastly for our total delight during the song’s eight minutes of pure obscurity; followed by Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren, or “long live the faceless killer”, absolutely sinister from the very first second spearheaded by the vicious growls by Niklas and the always hammering beats by Rainer, not to mention the sulfurous riffs by Cernunnus. Then Gregorian chants ignite ten minutes of sheer Black Metal magic entitled Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen, or “your harvest time has now come”, where Cernunnus is unstoppable with his classic riffage supported by the rumbling bass by Kalmos, sounding infernal and majestic from start to finish. And closing the album the quartet offers us all their hellish Black Metal with hints of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal in Parallellt Dubbelliv, or “parallel double life”, displaying a menacing ambience perfect for the demonic gnarls by Niklas.

There are several places where you can put your evil hands on Länge Leve Döden (which is by the way available in full on YouTube and on Spotify), including the band’s own Big Cartel, the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, Sound Cave (as a CD, an LP or a deluxe LP), The Sinister Initiative’s Big Cartel, Season of Mist (also as a CD or an LP), Shining Legions (yet again as a CD or an LP), or Apple Music. In addition, don’t forget to also start following such incendiary Scandinavian horde on Instagram, keeping up to date with all things Høstsol. Länge Leve Döden is indeed an amazing tribute to the Lord of Death, as the band stated, showcasing the reach and fire of Scandinavian Black Metal and, therefore, becoming the perfect soundtrack for the darkest days of our miserable lives.

Best moments of the album: Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren and Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet 9:31
2. Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen) 8:14
3. Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren 10:29
4. Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen 8:44
5. Parallellt Dubbelliv 7:32

Band members
Niklas Kvarforth – vocals
Cernunnus – guitars
Kalmos – bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – drums

Concert Review – Walter Froebrich Memorial Show (The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, 01/07/2023)

A beautiful tribute to the life of the Metal Mayor of Toronto and his undisputed passion for heavy music. 

INTRODUCTION: AM HERE…

If you have no idea who Walter Froebrich was, let’s say he was the Metal Mayor of Toronto, as I’ve seen many people referring to him as. He was in pretty much every metal concert we all attended i the city in the past 20 years, from Heavy Metal to Death and Black Metal, from Thrash Metal to Deathcore and Viking Metal, and so on, always holding a few beers, always raising the horns, always surrounded by friends, and always supporting metal music no matter what. He even had his own motto, “AM HERE.” Sadly, in November 2022 due to lack of proper healthcare by the Toronto authorities Walter passed away at home after several visits to the hospital, and that brought a lot of grief to all metal fans in the city. If he had received a proper service, if he had been through the required scans and so on, he would still be around us. He will be extremely missed by the metal community in all upcoming concerts in Toronto, no doubt about that. I was going to use the common expression “may his soul rest in piece”, but I’m sure Walter himself would prefer a slight adaptation of it, “may his soul rest in metal”.

WALTER FROEBRICH MEMORIAL SHOW

That’s why on January 7 the Toronto scene came together to celebrate Walter’s life and his passion for heavy music at The Rockpile with the Walter Froebrich Memorial Show, an event organized by Steve Hoeg, Drew Masters, Junior Jr LeClerc and Jake Disman, among others, with no more, no less than TWENTY SEVEN bands playing from 1pm until midnight to a sold out venue, while money for Walter’s family was raised through a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Unfortunately due to personal reasons I could not attend the celebration, but my friend and photographer Keith Ibbitson of Lower Eastside Photography was there to capture some amazing shots of the entire show, and to provide us with a sense of how awesome everything was and how happy Walter must be whenever he is right now with his homage.

In Keith’s own words, “we raised over 17,000 dollars for Walter’s family. It was a sold out show. All the bands were absolutely amazing! Drew Masters was the MC for the evening. The friends Walter made over his concerts outings just blew my mind! Each one is family, the metal community is one big family, they come together for each other like no other.” And as you can see from the photo gallery below, it was indeed a night to remember, a celebration of life and metal, exactly how Walter would have liked it to be. Here are all the fantastic bands that were on the bill, and as many people have said Walter would have certainly taken a selfie with each one of them…

The House of Haunt
Snake River Redemption
Dominant Species
Madam
Anger by Design
GFU
Dawn Vally
Cowboys from Hell (Pantera tribute)
Disciple (Slayer tribute)
King Moonracer
Byrdy
Fury 44
Sons Of Sabbath
Freeloader
Spades GT
MLC
Omnivert
Devil Witch
The Dominion
The Android Meme
Burdizzo
Crème Flesh
Pillars of Eternity (Down tribute)
Red Lowe (circus performer)
Phear
Chainfall
Gen-X (90’s rock cover band)

In the Facebook page to the event you can find a lot more details about the whole thing, see other photos taken by different attendees, other posts and discussions around Walter and the metal community in Toronto, and so on, as well as a very nice summary of the night on the video below. RIP WALTER! AM HERE!

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Album Review – Grá / Lycaon (2023)

Succumb to the dark side of music ruled by this Swedish Black Metal horde armed with their sinister and visceral fourth studio album.

Since their inception in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010, the fantastic Black Metal entity Grá (a mixture of the Icelandic “grár” and the Swedish “grå”, simply meaning “gray”) has relentlessly worked to shape their music to be both a perfect example of Swedish Black Metal and a very personal interpretation of its classic sound. Now in 2023 the horde comprised of Heljarmadr (Dark Funeral, Cursed 13) on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Vediger (Diabolic Lust, Cursed 13) on bass, and Dimman (Veiled, Cursed 13) on drums returns from the underworld with their fourth opus, entitled Lycaon, a lecture in classic and modern Black Metal. Mixed by Terry Nikas at Zero Gravity Studios, mastered by George Nerantzis, displaying an explosive cover art by Chilean artist Felipe Ignacio, and featuring guest guitarist and keyboardist Maugrim (Vargagrav, Cursed 13) and guest vocalist Terry Nikas (Scar of the Sun), Lycaon heads in the opposite direction of their 2018 intricate and bombastic album Väsen, displaying fewer layers meticulously measured and well thought out to carry the right atmosphere forward.

White City Devil is very melodic and grim from the very first second, with Dimman sounding like a beast behind his drums offering Heljarmadr exactly what he needs to darkly roar nonstop in a flammable fusion of old school Black Metal with contemporary Melodic Black Metal. After such intense tune we have Flame of Hephaestus, even more sulfurous and with Heljarmadr growling the song’s lyrics in great fashion (“Through cinders and snow, chasing the storms / Cleansed and so cold, concealed and obscure / Astray from all life, so violently dark / Shrouded in ice, forged in the fire”) while the guitars sound utterly caustic; and Maugrim and Heljarmadr keep slashing our ears with their visceral riffs in Torn Asunder, an ode to Black Metal that will please all fans of the genre. Then we’re treated to the title-track Lycaon, a lesson in modern-day Black Metal spearheaded by the venomous vocals by Heljarmadr while Vediger and Dimman make the earth tremble with their demonic kitchen. In other words, simply raise your horns in the name of evil to the sound of this amazing song.

It’s then time for their infernal rendition of Bathory’s Chariots of Fire (from their 1987 album Under The Sign Of The Black Mark), with Heljarmadr stealing the spotlight with his demented vocal lines; whereas the sinister bass by Vediger kick off the groovy and melodic Ett Avskedsbrev (or “a farewell letter” from Swedish), accompanied by the rhythmic beats by Dimman. Brännmärkt, which means “tarnished”, “tainted” or “branded”, carries on the torch exploring the cold war from a Swedish perspective, where the intro depicting a Swedish emergency siren called “Hesa Fredrik” (Hoarse Fredrik) and an old radio transmission was recorded right when the Russia-Ukraine war started. Musically speaking, it’s absolutely heavy and obscure, with Dimman pounding his drums mercilessly while the guitars by Maugrim and Heljarmadr bring an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result, flowing into the tribalistic outro titled Jaws of the Underworld, concluding the album on a cinematic note to the sound of the hammering drums by Dimman.

As aforementioned, Väsen might have been dropped like a bomb onto our heads back in 2018, but it’s with Lycaon that Grá have reached a whole new level of obscurity in their music, already placing it as one of the best albums of 2023 even if we’re just starting the month of January. Hence, don’t forget to show your support and admiration to the guys from Grá by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their official YouTube channel, by streaming all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing their massive new album from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, from Sound Cave as a Digipak CD, a black vinyl or as a limited color vinyl, or from Amazon. Lycaon is Swedish Black Metal at its finest, and I’m sure you’ll succumb to the dark side ruled by Grá right after your first listen to such Stygian album.

Best moments of the album: Flame of Hephaestus, Torn Asunder, Lycaon and Brännmärkt.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. White City Devil 4:40
2. Flame of Hephaestus 4:20
3. Torn Asunder 4:17
4. Lycaon 5:10
5. Chariots of Fire (Bathory cover) 2:50
6. Ett Avskedsbrev 4:27
7. Brännmärkt 6:17
8. Jaws of the Underworld 3:38

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Vediger – bass, backing vocals
Dimman – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Maugrim – additional guitars and keyboards
Terry Nikas – additional vocals

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022

“Life is funny. If you don’t laugh, you’re in trouble.” – Taylor Hawkins

And just like that, after 880 days of nothing, I was finally able to attend a metal concert this year, just like countless other metalheads who patiently waited for the Canadian government to lift all restrictions due to the pandemic to get back to our normal lives. And it was a busy year concert-wise as you can see HERE, with Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Behemoth and several others putting a smile back on our faces and the horns back in our hands, because in the end the beauty of heavy music is when it’s played live, right? On the other hand, we unfortunately saw some important names of the global metal scene disbanding such as Nuclear Assault, Tristania and Every Time I Die, plus of course the brave warriors who left us and are now sitting beside the metal gods in Valhalla. Just to name a few, we all mourned the losses of Fredrik Johansson (former guitarist of Dark Tranquillity), Jon Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records), Bruce Greig (former guitarist of Misery Index and Dying Fetus), Taylor Hawkins (drummer of Foo Fighters), Ronnie Deo (former bassist of Incantation), Trevor Strnad (vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder), Alec John Such (former bassist of Bon Jovi), Bob Heathcote (former bassist of Suicidal Tendencies), Steve Grimmett (vocalist of Grim Reaper), Stuart Anstis (former guitarist of Cradle of Filth), David Andersson (guitarist of Soilwork), and Dan McCafferty (former vocalist of Nazareth).

However, one of the biggest losses in the world of heavy music happened right here in Toronto, Canada, as we lost the biggest metalhead of the entire Torontonian scene, Walter Froebrich.  Our super fan Walter, who was a staple in the local scene for over 20 years (and I remember seeing him in every single concert I’ve attended in the past 10 years or more at least), sadly died alone at home last month following three visits to a local hospital due to severe abdominal pain. This is extremely tragic and cannot happen again, as we all have the right to decent healthcare it doesn’t matter who we are. There will be a memorial show for Walter on January 7, 2023 at The Rockpile (details can be found HERE and tickets HERE) with several local independent bands, and we at The Headbanging Moose also want to honor the life of Walter and his undisputed passion for heavy music by dedicating to him The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums.

1. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (REVIEW)
Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hate Über Alles

2. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (REVIEW)
The most explosive name of the current Deathcore scene invites us all to dance like flames to the sound of their newborn masterpiece.
Best song of the album: The Pain Remains Trilogy

3. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (REVIEW)
The unstoppable Mr. Dave Mustaine strikes again with the sick, the dying… and the Megadeth!
Best song of the album: Life in Hell

4. Rammstein – Zeit (REVIEW)
Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution wasted no time during the pandemic and is back in action with their fantastic eight opus.
Best song of the album: Angst

5. Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram (REVIEW)
A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.
Best song of the album: Malaria Vvlgata

6. Arch Enemy – Deceivers (REVIEW)
One of the most important names in metal is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.
Best song of the album: The Watcher

7. Lamb of God – Omens (REVIEW)
Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.
Best song of the album: Ditch

8. Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (REVIEW)
Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Saxons and Vikings

9. Hiss From The Moat – The Way Out Of Hell (REVIEW)
There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by this Italian horde.
Best song of the album: Generation Of Cowardice

10. Diabolical Raw – Elegy of Fire Dusk (REVIEW)
Behold this grandiose album of Symphonic Black and Death Metal inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology.
Best song of the album: Face the Judgement

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Abaddon Incarnate – The Wretched Sermon (REVIEW)
12. Cage Fight – Cage Fight (REVIEW)
13. Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse (REVIEW)
14. Stratovarius – Survive (REVIEW)
15. Konvent – Call Down the Sun (REVIEW)
16. Scorpions – Rock Believer (REVIEW)
17. Disturbed – Divisive (REVIEW)
18. Thundermother – Black and Gold (REVIEW)
19. Blind Guardian – The God Machine (REVIEW)
20. Ferum – Asunder / Erode (REVIEW)

In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2022 to prove once and for all that not all great albums of the year have to be so long. The EP’s from this list are simply awesome, showcasing the band’s talent and their ability to sound epic even if the music lasts for only a few minutes.

1. Eskhaton – Horracle (REVIEW)
2. Headfist – This New World…. (REVIEW)
3. Sullen Guest – Phase (REVIEW)
4. Pyrrhic Salvation – Manifestum I (REVIEW)
5. Klendathu – Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once (REVIEW)
6. Through The Noise – Tragedies (REVIEW)
7. Rotten Casket – First Nail in the Casket (REVIEW)
8. Circa Arcana – Bridget Viginti (REVIEW)
9. All Else Fails – The Incident at Black Lake (REVIEW)
10. Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2022? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2022 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2023!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with what’s in my humble opinion not only the best song of 2022, but it also carries a very inspiring message to us all… ROW! ROW! ROW!

Album Review – Golgata / Ur Eld Och Aska (2022)

***Review by Luke Hayhurst, writer for Morbid Wings (Print) ZineVM Underground Fanzine and Doom-Metal.com***

An intriguing band is Golgata. A two man affair who list themselves as Spokesman 1 and 2, and a compelling and evocative piece of cover art on their new album that brings back some very nostalgic feelings for some important 90’s Black Metal releases. Ur Eld Och Aska or in English “out of fire and ashes”, is the duo’s third album in four years and has been released on CD by Satanath Records, as was debut album Skam (“Shame”) and 2020’s Tempel (“Temple”).

It isn’t just the artwork that gives off those 90’s vibes. Listen to the opening title track and you’ll be transported back thirty years to murky and bleak guitar tones, grandiose drumming techniques and biting melodies. Throw in some menacing croaky vocals, chanted backing vocals and an unrelenting bass tone, and all the ingredients are present for a superb album.

Another aspect of this album that harks back to another era is the production. The vocals sit slightly lower than the drums and bass in the mix, as do the guitars. Rather than this being a simple mistake in the mastering, I’d say this feels like it has been done deliberately and rather than diminish the overall sound it actually adds a level of bleak charm to proceedings.

Whilst the opening track has a compelling, fluid sound to it, tracks such as Undersatar (“Subjects”) have a far more rigid and steely sound to the riffs, and songs such as Liv for en Gud (“Live for one God”) combine the bands penchant for the melodic with a hard nosed determined sound, often at a slower and more calculating tempo.

Don’t get me wrong when I mentioned the 90’s influence, this is no album playing out a nostalgia trip for the sake of it, rather Golgata play music that pays tribute to the past whilst decisively moving forward. Ur Eld Och Aska is a supreme slice of Melodic Black Metal craftsmanship; captivating and enthralling.

Best moments of the album: The artwork is stunning, and the whole atmosphere of the album is captivating.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 by Satanath Records

Track listing
1. Ur Eld Och Aska 4:31
2. Undersåtar 4:13
3. Liv För En Gud 4:12
4. Vagabond 6:20
5. Återkomst 3:42
6. En Sista Synd Innan Fallet 4:29
7. Marvatten 4:22
8. Vagabond II 1:26

Band members
Spokesman 2 (Niclas Ankarbranth) – vocals, guitars, bass, drums
Spokesman 1 (S.) – guitars

Guest musicians
Jonas Olsson – mandolin (track 4, 6) on “Vagabond” and “En Sista Synd Innan Fallet”
Mari Biäre Howerdal – female vocals (track 1, 6, 7) on “Ur Eld Och Aska”, “En Sista Synd Innan Fallet” and “Marvatten”

Links
Golgata Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | BandCamp | Spotify

Album Review – Imha Tarikat / Hearts Unchained – At War with a Passionless World (2022)

Vicious and vitriolic, full of raw anger and burning hatred, the new album by this German Black Metal entity will pulverize your senses mercilessly.

Vicious and vitriolic, full of raw anger and burning hatred, yet at the same time bursting with live and lingering on moments of astonishing beauty, Hearts Unchained – At War with a Passionless World, the third full-length opus by German Black Metal entity Imha Tarikat (Turkish for “extermination sect”), announces its inherent contradictions and struggles already in the title. Recorded and produced by the band’s mastermind Kerem Yilmaz (aka Ruhsuz Cellât), mixed by Michael Zech, mastered by Victor Santura (of Triptykon) at Woodshed Studio, and displaying a sinister cover and illustration by Artem Grigoryev (with sigil and additional illustration by Next Gate Art, and additional illustration by Raul CJ Peña), Hearts Unchained – At War with a Passionless World is essentially a Black Metal album in the crackling dry and humorless German style that renounces all bombast and often folk-ish undertones of its Nordic counterparts, with Kerem Yilmaz creating new layers and expanding the dimensions of his unique compositions, supported by session drummer Melvin Cieslar (of Hexer).

Absolutely atmospheric and sinister, Intro – Deeper Within will drag your soul to the Stygian lair of Imha Tarikat before all hell breaks loose in Radical Righteousness, a song that deals with the detachment from addiction to emotional suffering, with Kerem screaming in anger nonstop accompanied by his own scorching riffs and the demented but very intricate drumming by Melvin. Touch Of Mercy starts in a serene, melodic manner to the beautiful guitar lines by Kerem, blending elements from the most primeval form of Black Metal with Progressive and Experimental Metal, whereas Brute Majesty is another song that exhales chaos, insanity and fury, with Melvin sounding bestial on drums while Kerem’s vocals get more and more rabid as the music evolves. And Flood Of Love (The Beast Trigger) will grab you by your throat and choke the life out of your body, sounding massive, sharp and caustic from start to finish, with Kerem stealing the show with his wicked riffs and vile roars.

The phantasmagorical (and a bit lengthy) Interlude – Birth Of Grandeur breaks the album in two, setting the tone for the second half starting with Dominator Proselytism Tactics, offering our ears a very dynamic, straightforward Black Metal sonority led by Melvin’s wicked beats. Put differently, it’s a truly infernal creation by Imha Tarikat, which can also be said about Streams Of Power – Canavar, presenting an incendiary Punk Rock/Hardcore vibe the likes of Misfits. It’s the less Black Metal of all songs, yet still acid and thrilling, not to mention the rumbling bass by Kerem is a thing of beauty; while Stardust Wisdom (Manifest Of The Deity To The Unkeen) is another strident, heavy-as-hell tune where Kerem’s anguished vocals walk hand in hand with the pounding drums by Melvin. And last but not least, it’s time for another obscure extravaganza entitled Beast Of Sovereignty, showcasing Kerem’s trademark vocals and riffs always supported by Melvin and his demented drums.

Kerem Yilmaz and his alter-ego Imha Tarikat are waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates, plans for the future and so on, and if you want to show your full support to such talented musician from Germany you can purchase Hearts Unchained – At War with a Passionless by clicking HERE and by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify. In summary, Hearts Unchained – At War with a Passionless World is not an album for anyone, while at the same time it is for everyone, showing how dynamic and multi-layered the music crafted by Imha Tarikat is, turning Kerem’s anger and hatred into amazing music that will keep the fires of Black Metal burning for centuries to come.

Best moments of the album: Flood Of Love (The Beast Trigger), Dominator Proselytism Tactics and Streams Of Power – Canavar.

Worst moments of the album: Interlude – Birth Of Grandeur.

Released in 2022 Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions

Track listing
1. Intro – Deeper Within 1:27
2. Radical Righteousness 5:57
3. Touch Of Mercy 5:04
4. Brute Majesty 5:19
5. Flood Of Love (The Beast Trigger) 5:32
6. Interlude – Birth Of Grandeur 2:31
7. Dominator Proselytism Tactics 5:51
8. Streams Of Power – Canavar 4:50
9. Stardust Wisdom (Manifest Of The Deity To The Unkeen) 6:44
10. Beast Of Sovereignty 5:48

Band members
Kerem Yilmaz – vocals, guitars, bass

Guest musician
Melvin Cieslar – drums (session)

Album Review – Orphique / Consécration Cadavérique (2022)

***Review by Luke Hayhurst, writer for Morbid Wings (Print) ZineVM Underground Fanzine and Doom-Metal.com***

Quebecois one man Black Metal project Orphique has unveiled a debut album entitled Consécration Cadavérique, which has been independently released on cassette, but has also seen a CD release via Sepulchral Productions.

The first of five tracks, Onirique has a steady, composed feeling to it; a methodical sound that breaks into blast beating fury in a mature and controlled way. Vocally, Monsieur Potter has a powerful snarling style, whilst his song-writing technique leans towards the intricate and thought provoking. He’s also a very talented guitarist and some of his guitar based melodies are extremely beautiful to behold, as are his stark, cold undertones. As for his bass playing technique, it is again deliberate, strong and pronounced, and each instrument has been given its time to shine on this opening track, which just like the whole album is recorded and mastered smoothly.

Whilst this album is technically very sound, there is a spark missing in my opinion. So, whilst the album is more than listenable, it also fails to set the blood pumping in a way that a truly great album would. If anything, Consécration Cadavérique feels very much like a paint by numbers album, right down to the subtle use of synth and the obligatory tremolo picking. So whilst everything fits well together, the album flows nicely and there is plenty of bleak melody involved, it still feels a little formulaic.

With all of that being said, Consécration Cadavérique is still a very enjoyable album, just not an exciting one.

Best moments of the album: The overall fluency and technicality of the musicianship.

Worst moments of the album: There are no worst moments especially.

Released in 2022 by Sepulchral Productions

Track listing
1. Onirique 10:15
2. Vampirique 8:31
3. Chromatique 6:04
4. Chimérique 5:23
5. Sporadique 8:43

Band members
David Potter – vocals

Guest musicians
Marc-Antoine Lizotte – guitars
Arnaud Fillion – bass
Michel Bélanger – drums
Cyril Tousignant – acoustic guitars, additional vocals
Conor Campbell – additional vocals

Links
Orphique Facebook | BandCamp

Metal Chick of the Month – Luana Dametto

I curse at their holy symbols… I laugh as they pray…

As we’re reaching the end of 2022, let’s all make a lot of noise together with our last metal lady of the year in the name of rock and metal music, sounds good? And when I say a lot of noise, I mean A LOT OF noise, because our metallic diva this month of December is undoubtedly one of the most talented drummers of the current Death and Thrash Metal scene, hammering her drums mercilessly for our total delight wherever she goes. I’m talking about the talented and charismatic Luana Dametto, the unrelenting drummer for Brazilian Death/Thrash Metal horde Crypta, and also known for her work with the bands Nervosa, Chaos Rising and Apophizys. Having said that, are you ready to know more about such unstoppable lady of the extreme music scene?

Born on November 22, 1996 in Tapejara, a municipality in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Luana started her path in the world of music at the young age of 12 when she already began to play drums, later joining her very first band, Passo Fundo, Brazil-based Death Metal act Apophizys, at the age of 16. That’s exactly when she discovered her passion for Death Metal, and from there it was just a matter of time until she joined Brazilian Thrash Metal ladies Nervosa back in 2016. However, before becoming part of Nervosa, Luana studied Graphic Design at UPF – Universidade de Passo Fundo in Brazil in order to build a career in this field while still working as a musician in her spare time until the age of 19, which turned out to be very useful for her as she actually applied her studies into her passion for heavy music, being responsible for the artwork for the first (and only) full-length album by Apophizys.

Speaking about Apophizys, our metal lady was part of the band between 2012 and 2017, when the band split up, having recorded with them the album Into the Chaos back in 2015, which included some excellent songs such as Fear of the Unknown and Carnage (and you can enjoy a nice drum cam recorded by Luana herself for this song by clicking HERE). In one of her interviews, Luana explained exactly how she made it to  Apophizys, saying that in the city of Passo Fundo there were two Death Metal bands, one formed by brothers who wouldn’t allow her to join the band, and the aforementioned Apophizys. She said Apophizys already had a drummer at that time, but Luana didn’t give up and stayed tuned to them hoping their drummer would leave the band, opening the so much needed spot for her. As you might already know, that worked, and Luana kicked some ass behind her drums with Apophizys for six years before joining Nervosa.

Luana was still in college when Nervosa’s founder and guitarist Prika Amaral added her on Facebook and contacted her for an audition (being referred by Brazilian drummer Eduardo Lane of NervoChaos, who had already toured with Apophizys before), as at that time Nervosa had just lost their previous drummer Pitchu Ferraz. She then travelled to the city of São Paulo, passed the test, and went on to start playing live with the band that same year and to record the band’s 2018 opus Downfall of Mankind. From such intense album, you can enjoy amazing songs the likes of Kill The Silence and Never Forget, Never Repeat (and there’s also a kick-ass drum cam for this song HERE). After the album release, she traveled and toured a lot around the world, playing at several big festivals and, therefore, turning music into her main occupation.  In addition, Luana also recorded with Nervosa the single Freakshow, originally released on the Adult Swim metal compilation 2 in 2019. It was in 2020 when Luana parted ways with Nervosa, saying that the main reason for her departure was the fact that the three girls at that time felt there was no more passion for doing music together. There wasn’t any type of fighting or arguing, and she said they could have even continued with the band as is, but they all agreed they had to change something to reignite that passion and love for extreme music.

The seed for what’s known today as Crypta had already been planted before she left Nervosa, more specifically in June 2019, as a new musical project by Luana together with Fernanda Lira, also from Nervosa. As the co-founder of the band, she said the focus would be on playing Death Metal in a way that could not be done with Nervosa, inviting Dutch guitarist Sonia Anubis (of Burning Witches) to the band and later also adding Brazilian guitarist Tainá Bergamaschi (of Hagbard) to their lineup. After consolidating the band members, they started working on their debut effort Echoes of the Soul, released in 2021, and you can have an absolute blast to the sound of such incendiary album to the sound of songs such as From The Ashes, Dark Night Of The Soul and Kali (check out another awesome drum cam for this song HERE). Furthermore, earlier this year the band released the single I Resign (which also has a really cool drum cam video that can be watched HERE), once again presenting the visceral and heavy elements that are characteristic of their sound. Moreover, if live concerts are your cup of tea, you can find Luana pounding her drums in great fashion in several live videos of the band including From The Ashes live at Wacken Open Air 2022, and a 30-minute performance at Espaço Som studio in São Paulo, Brazil in November 2021.

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Apart from Crypta, Nervosa and Apophizys, you can also find Luana smashing her drums since 2021 with Chaos Rising, a collaborative international project focused on different subgenres of heavy music open to every female artist interested in metal that includes members from Brazil, France, Germany, England, Sweden, Hungary, Russia, Iran and Argentina, among others. She recorded with Chaos Rising in 2021 the single Cost of Inaction alongside Swiss vocalist Alessia Mercado (Burning Flesh, Murge), French guitarist Stéphanie Nolf (Unsafe), Italian guitarist Francesca Mancini (Sudden Death), and German bassist Tina Gruschwitz (Demorphed, Cryoblood), and the final result is a bestial Death and Thrash Metal attack that will please all fans of extreme music. In addition, Luana was also a guest drummer in the 2016 EP Souls Dragged into the Abyss of Torment, by Brazilian Melodic Black/Death Metal act Isfet,  also working in the recording of the album. If you want to listen to Luana playing a more demonic, blackened style of music, you can enjoy for example what’s perhaps the best song of the album, Perennial Pain Domain.

Regarding her idols and influences, Luana mentioned that she’s a huge fan of Thrash, Black and in special Death Metal, and that she began playing drums influenced by Joey Jordison (RIP) of Slipknot and Vinnie Paul (RIP) of Pantera, learning a lot about double bass and groove by listening to and watching them. She also mentioned Kerim “Krimh” Lechner of Decapitated and Derek Roddy of Hate Eternal as influences on the way she does her blast beats, complementing by saying that playing drums was actually a random thing that happened to her, as she was only 11 years old when she got in touch with a friend who played drums who led her to get her own set and begin playing. Not sure if her setup is still the same, but a few years ago she was using a 14″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Hi-Hat, a 16″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Crash, a 17″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Crash, a 18″ 2002 Giga Bell Ride “Psychoctopus”, and a 16″ Color Sound 900 Black China.

Speaking about her life on the road, although Luana might still be a very young drummer, she has already been to several different parts of the world including of course most regions in Brazil, the United States, Colombia, many countries across Europe and Asia (even recommending Singaporean Grindcore act Wormrot as one of her favorite bands of the region), and even the United Arab Emirates together with Nervosa and now Crypta. She mentioned Rock in Rio in Brazil and Altavoz Fest in Colombia as the most memorable concerts so far in her career, saying that Altavoz Fest is some sort of “Rock in Rio Colombia” where she played in front of over 30,000 people. Moreover, when asked which bands she enjoyed the most to play alongside, our dauntless drummer mentioned Havok (Brazil), Warbringer (United States) and Venom Inc. (England) as her favorite bands to tour together. There are some very interesting interviews with Luana on YouTube (most of them in Portuguese, though) where she talks about not only her touring experience but also about what’s next for Crypta, their music and so on, such as this one to a podcast named TUPFS, this one to Revista Freak, and this one to Hedflow.

There’s also another excellent interview to a podcast named Music Hero where she talks about being a woman in the extreme metal scene, and that’s how we’ll conclude this humble tribute to her. As a prominent female drummer in the world of heavy music, Luana thinks the scene is still ruled by men and that there’s a lot of sexism everywhere, saying she feels extremely disappointed when people treat her as if she knows less about her instrument than guys just because she’s a woman. Her advice to other women who are starting their careers in music is to focus on your work and ignore all the negativity that might come from some people, only doing what you truly feel comfortable doing. When asked about her favorite female metal musicians, Luana listed Canadian drummer Justine Éthier (Karkaos, Blackguard), Dutch vocalist Simone “Som” Pluijmers (Your Chance to Die, Lacerated, Cerebral Bore), and American vocalist Reba Meyers (Pray for Teeth) as the best for her, and just by mentioning only names from the underground scene we can see how much Luana is passionate about it. Hence, if you also love the underground extreme scene, you must go check what Luana and the other girls from Crypta are doing and, of course, stay tuned for when the band takes your city by storm with their pulverizing live performance, with Luana proving that you don’t need to be a big guy to powerfully smash your drums in the name of extreme music.

Luana Dametto’s Official Facebook page
Luana Dametto’s Official Instagram
Luana Dametto’s Official Linktree
Luana Dametto’s Official YouTube channel
Crypta’s Official Facebook page
Crypta’s Official Instagram
Crypta’s Official YouTube channel
Crypta’s Official Linktree

Album Review – Heterogeneous Andead / Chaotic Fragments (2022)

A chaotic amalgamation of metal and non-metal styles beautifully brought into being by one of the most creative bands of the current Japanese scene.

Formed in 2013 in the metropolitan city of Tokyo, Japan, the idiosyncratic Symphonic Death/Thrash Metal unity that goes by the curious name of Heterogeneous Andead has just released their sophomore album, entitled Chaotic Fragments, the follow up to their 2018 debut album Deus Ex Machina. Comprised of Haruka Morikawa on vocals and Yusuke Kiyama on the guitars, synthesizers and programming (not to mention drummer Tomoyuki Nakano, who left the band shortly after the recordings of Chaotic Fragments), Heterogeneous Andead play a very unique style of heavy music that can be labeled as “Melodic and Symphonic Electro Death/Thrash Metal”, and it’s quite easy to identify all those elements in their new album, sounding very harmonious but at the same time chaotic, progressive but at the same time violent, and delicate but at the same time energetic.

The band begins a Speed and Thrash Metal-inspired attack entitled The Void Sacrifice, with Yusuke slashing his stringed axe while Haruka alternates between gnarling deeply in an old school Death Metal way and her operatic vocals; and the Anime-like keys and synths by Yusuke will penetrate deep inside your mind in Fragments of Memories, sounding as if you’re placed inside a video game where the soundtrack is ass-kicking heavy music, not to mention how awesome the drums by Tomoyuki sound and feel. Tomoyuki continues to crush his drums accompanied by the wicked riffs and keys by Yusuke in Last Reverie, fast and thrilling from start to finish with Haruka once again being a princess and a she-demon incarnate on vocals. Then close your eyes and succumb to the breathtaking Symphonic and Electronic Death Metal by Heterogeneous Andead in Beautiful Nightmare, also presenting elements from the Black Metal played by Cradle of Filth, or in other words, it’s nonstop adrenaline flowing through our avid ears.

Fission brings forward a fusion of the heaviness and rage of Death and Thrash Metal with the insanity of electronic music, with Haruka stealing the spotlight with another kick-ass vocal performance; whereas putting the pedal to the metal the trio fires the high-octane Mirror of the Lie, with its background keys adding hints of epicness to the demented Death Metal sounds blasted, once again reminding me of the heaviest and craziest Gothic Metal bands from the 80’s with a Black Metal twist. Their second to last explosion of idiosyncratic sounds is offered in the form of Regrettable, where Haruka’s barks make a beautiful paradox with the keys by Yusuke and obviously with her own operatic vocals, all supported by the classic blast beats by Tomoyuki. There’s time for one more round of their striking music with over eight minutes of flammable riffs and solos, sinister keys and massive beats entitled Licking, which despite lacking the creativity of the previous songs still provides a powerful ending to the album.

While Haruka and Yusuke search for a new guitarist, a new bassist and a new drummer to join them in their quest for heavy music, you can enjoy Chaotic Fragments in full on Spotify, as well as follow the band on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel. In addition, in order to show all your support and admiration for Heterogeneous Andead, you can purchase their classy new album by clicking HERE, or from Qobuz. You won’t regret succumbing to the chaotic and experimental music brought into being by Heterogeneous Andead, proving once and for all that if innovation is your cup of tea in heavy music, the beautiful Japan will always be your place to go.

Best moments of the album: The Void Sacrifice, Beautiful Nightmare and Mirror of the Lie.

Worst moments of the album: Licking.

Released in 2022 WormHoleDeath

Track listing
1. The Void Sacrifice 4:49
2. Fragments of Memories 8:26
3. Last Reverie 5:24
4. Beautiful Nightmare 6:53
5. Fission 6:05
6. Mirror of the Lie 5:34
7. Regrettable 5:23
8. Licking 8:29

Band members
Haruka Morikawa – vocals
Yusuke Kiyama – guitars, synthesizers, programming
Tomoyuki Nakano – drums