Album Review – Diabology / Father of Serpents (2022)

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

The sophomoric album from young Los Angeles based trio Diabology, Father of Serpents is the band’s first opus with new bassist Destin Treu who replaces previous bass player Joseph Mazisyuk. Another significant change is that whilst debut album Nobody Believes Me was self-released, Father of Serpents has label backing through Dissonant Hymns Records.

Their debut album was nothing short of an out right banger. Playing an insanely catchy brand of Blackened Thrash Metal, Diabology came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and laid a foundation with which to build something really special. Two years on and their second opus sees the band effect a stylistic shift. Gone is the Blackened influence and in comes a more modern sounding Thrash Metal with a huge amount of Groove Metal influence.

Diabology also pulls off something for the second time that a lot of bands never manage, and that is creating an album that gets stronger and stronger the further in you get. For the first few tracks they hammer out some impressive but steady tracks that are in the process of feeling out the bands new more mainstream direction. However, by the time they kick into the superbly melodic Eat My Heart Out they are well and truly at home. During March to the Sea there is something about the vocal structure that kept bringing System of A Down to mind, whilst the chugging ferocity of Ode to Ogtha has an almost Sludge like quality to the riffs as well as a little Death Metal influence around the guitar leads. New bassist Destin Treu also becomes far more prominent as the album progresses and has some impressive bass leads during this track and the equally powerful Chimera.

Their debut album is a nasty blackened slice of filthy thrash with a lot of stank on it. Father of Serpents is a far more progressive and mature offering that grows in power and intrigues the further into the journey you venture. Plus you have to love an album that features a song about fucking cockroaches!

Best moments of the album: From the start of March to the Sea until the album’s climax is spectacular.

Worst moments of the album: Nada!

Released in 2022 by Dissonant Hymns Records

Track listing
1. Father of Serpents 4:15
2. Writhe 3:21
3. The Softest Grave 4:15
4. Eat My Heart Out 5:03
5. Spoil 2:03
6. Blackblood 3:35
7. March to Sea 4:58
8. Ode to Ogtha 5:20
9. Chimera 5:37
10. Lighthouse Hymn 5:41

Band members
Jesse Bergen – vocals, guitars, bass
Jack Kleinman – guitars, bass on “Spoil” and “Chimera”
Matt Morales – drums

Links
Diabology Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Linktree | Spotify | BandCamp | YouTube

Album Review – Hellfuck / Diabolic Slaughter (2022)

A horde of seasoned musicians from Poland brings pure sulfur and blasphemy to us all throughout the 32 minutes of Blackened Thrash and Speed Metal from their new album.

It looks like the more religious and conservative a country becomes, the better its Extreme Metal scene is, and when the country in question is Poland that becomes even more noticeable as some of the best metal acts to arise from the country are in the extreme music landscape such as Behemoth, Ragehammer, Embrional, Kult Mogił, and so on. That couldn’t have been any different with Blackened Thrash/Speed Metal horde Hellfuck, and if the name of the band is not enough to attract your attention maybe you’ll enjoy the name of their new opus, Diabolic Slaughter. Recorded at Panzer Studio, mixed and mastered by Haldor Grunberg at Satanic Audio, and displaying a sick cover artwork and layout design by Maciej Kamuda Art, Diabolic Slaughter is a beast of an album carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Skullripper, guitarist Nelek, bassist Armagog and drummer Darek Mlody, all seasoned musicians from bands the likes of Embrional, Azarath, Stillborn, F.A.M. and Squash Bowels, bringing pure sulfur and blasphemy to our demented minds throughout the album’s 32 demolishing minutes.

Distorted, evil guitars ignite the opening tune Religious Scum, exploding into ass-kicking Thrash Metal spearheaded by the unfriendly, raspy vocals by Skullripper, consequently sounding absolutely perfect for slamming into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac. Darek continues to hammer his drums in great fashion in War Obsession accompanied by the razor-edged riffage by Skullripper and Nelek, as if Municipal Waste made a deal with the devil in the name of Black Metal; whereas Reigning in Hell is infernal, frantic and demented just the way we like it, with Armagog and Darek generating a reverberating atmosphere perfect for Skullripper to fire his demonic screams in a lecture in Blackened Thrash Metal by the band. The quartet keeps the momentum going with Angel’s Disgrace, another brutal fusion of Black and Speed Metal showcasing a fantastic riff work by the band’s guitar duo, and get ready to be pulverized by this Polish horde in God in Flames, even more demonic and breathtaking than the previous songs, where Darek once again dictates the pace with his hellish drums.

Living up to the legacy of the most demolishing form of Thrash Metal, it’s time for Time to Suicide, with the riffage by Skullripper and Nelek walking hand in hand with the massive beats by Darek; and the incendiary riffs and solos by Skullripper and Nelek keep piercing our ears in Church – Pigsty of Nations, with Armagog and Darek once again shaking the foundations of the earth with their Black Metal-inspired kitchen. Then arising from the very depths of the underworld the band offers us all H.M.S.T.O.P.S (or “Holy Mary, Suck The Prick Of Satan”), a no shenanigans sonic onslaught by Hellfuck that keeps the album at an insane level of animosity and rage, with Darek crushing our damned souls with his unstoppable beats. Their second to last blast of insanity, blasphemy and darkness comes in the form of The Vampiric Oath, with Skullripper gnarling rabidly supported by his devilish bandmates, not to mention its headbanging riffs are absolutely awesome; whereas last but not least, the quartet incorporates an extra dosage of the rebelliousness of bands like Toxic Holocaust, Exodus and Obituary into their core sonority, resulting in a thrashing creature entitled Despise the Priest to properly conclude the album.

As already mentioned, Poland is the place to be if you’re a diehard fan of the most extreme, blasphemous and ruthless forms of heavy music, and the guys from Hellfuck are making sure the fires of Polish metal keep burning bright anywhere they go to the sound of their awesome new album. Hence, don’t forget to start following those headbanging bastards from Poland on Facebook for news, tour dates and more of their wicked music, and to grab your copy of the incendiary Diabolic Slaughter from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page, adding an extra dosage of profanity to your already devilish collection and, as a consequence, making sure there’s absolutely no peace for your religious neighbors.

Best moments of the album: Religious Scum, Reigning in Hell and Church – Pigsty of Nations.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Religious Scum 3:29
2. War Obsession 3:18
3. Reigning in Hell 2:43
4. Angel’s Disgrace 3:23
5. God in Flames 3:36
6. Time to Suicide 3:33
7. Church – Pigsty of Nations 2:23
8. H.M.S.T.O.P.S 3:36
9. The Vampiric Oath 2:49
10. Despise the Priest 3:13

Band members
Skullripper – vocals, guitar
Nelek – guitar
Armagog – bass
Darek Mlody – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Haydee Irizarry

Blame the witch! Shame the witch! Hang the witch!

As the days are getting shorter and colder in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s warm things up here at The Headbanging Moose this November with the incendiary vocals and performance of our metal lady of the month, the multi-talented Haydee Irizarry, or Haydée Irizarry if you prefer. Vocalist for Melodic Groove/Death Metal act Carnivora, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer for Alternative Rock/Metal project Zahra Lux, and vocalist and composer for her own solo project, not to mention her six years as the vocalist for Melodic Death Metal outfit Aversed, Haydee owns a very potent and dynamic voice, delivering a wide range of styles that go from smooth, clean vocals to deep and visceral growls, positioning her as one of the most interesting names of the current American underground scene. Having said that, are you ready to know a little more about Haydee, her bands and projects, her influences, and her passion for all types of music?

Born on February 28, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, but currently residing in Salem, Massachusetts, and of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, Haydee graduated in 2013 from Lincoln Park High School in Chicago and then moved on to study jazz, classical and contemporary music writing and production at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts that same year, where she also became the lead singer for her classmates’ band Aversed. However, before we start talking about her professional career in music, let’s take a step back and go all the way to her childhood years, more specifically to when she was only four years old. At that age, Haydee received a keyboard that ignited her interest in studying and writing songs on the piano, while her grade school was a Lutheran school that introduced hymnals and sight reading to her and prompted her to join choirs at the age of eight, when she realized she had a natural talent and love for singing that was undeniable and she knew she wanted to be a vocalist. Not only a vocalist, but a metal vocalist, as while she remembers her family listened to everything from Redding’s soul to their Latin culture’s salsa when she was a kid in Chicago, she also became enchanted by Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. When asked what attracted her to the harder stuff, she said metal offered release and salvation as she struggled with her parents’ divorce, an abusive brother and her mental health. “When I was getting started, I really connected to the aggression because of all the things I was feeling at the time,” she explained. “I was feeling a lot of dark, intense things that I didn’t really quite know how to express outside of music.” Then at the age of 16 she joined the Chicago School of Rock so she could perform and develop as a performing frontwoman, having also studied guitar, piano and bass through private teachers, and through that plus her choral experience she achieved many honors and had the ability to play Lollapalooza and many other local festivals in Chicago. She learned pop, rock, jazz, blues, metal and so on, all of which directed her to the Berklee College of Music, as already mentioned.

Since 2017, Haydee has been the voice of American Melodic Groove/Death Metal act Carnivora, with whom she has already recorded three singles, those being Bogdweller, in 2019, Witch City, in 2020, and more recently Hypnogenic, featuring guests Jon Donais (Anthrax, Shadows Fall) and Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall, Act Of Defiance). The band’s guitarist Cody Michaud believes Haydee is helping Carnivora evolve in a more sophisticated, more accessible, less testosterone-fueled direction, helping them transition their sound from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal to a more groove-oriented Heavy Metal with Death Metal influences. “If you’re a fan of folk music, there’s folk metal, and there’s symphonic metal,” commented Haydee in one of her interviews. “It doesn’t have to be the Cookie Monster screams. It isn’t always aggressive. It can be very beautiful.” She also explained how she ended up becoming the band’s new vocalist a few years ago. “I had met the Carnivora members at an early Aversed gig and we had become friends and performed with each others bands’ many times. They were interested in transitioning their style and believed my vocal skills and personality was compatible and here we are!”

Speaking about Boston, Massachusetts-based Progressive/Melodic Death Metal act Aversed, Haydee was the band’s vocalist from 2015 until September 1, 2021, having recorded with the band their 2016 EP Renewal and the full-length opus Impermanent earlier in 2021, not to mention the live album Abandoned in Charlestown, released in August 2021. You can enjoy Haydee kicking some ass with Aversed in the official videos for the songs Laboratory, Impermanent, and Close My Eyes, or simply click HERE to enjoy the album in its entirety. When asked how she was invited to join Aversed, she said the band had been active since 2009, before she lived in Boston, and as she was attending Berklee College of Music she had met many local metal musicians and bands and had been referred to be their new vocalist and joined them in 2015. In addition, Haydee mentioned that she had studied gutturals before joining them and it proved to be a great transition to practice performing the new technique that she had been developing.

Apart from her time with Carnivora and Aversed, our beloved vocalist has also lent her beautiful voice to an array of distinct bands through the years, with the first ever metal band she was officially in, called Ephemeral Sunrise, being a huge learning experience as she was able to get a taste of where she needed to grow and what the local scene was like. Another amazing project she’s currently involved with is called Zahra Lux, which translates to “beautiful light” or “flower light”, combining classical, rock and blues music to form one heavy and delicate musical experience featuring gorgeous piano lines, soulful vocals and orchestral arrangements. “Before I went down the surprising road of melodic death metal and guttural vocals I had thought that I would strictly be a blues and heavy metal vocalist that would sound more like Evanescence, and other female fronted rock and metal bands,” said Haydee, having already released under her Zahra Lux project the EP’s The Deam (2018) and Rosewater (2020), and more recently the single Say No More, in August this year.

You can also enjoy Heydee’s powerful vocals in other bands and projects, such as Symphonic/Progressive Power Metal band Widows Rite, with whom she recorded the album Volume 1 back in 2018, and Queen Boudicca Metal Opera. Haydee has also been a guest in distinct albums by excellent underground bands, those being vocals on the song Shutter, from the 2020 EP Eulogy by American Gothic/Death/Doom Metal band Autumn’s Ashes; vocals on Per Erebus, from the 2018 album Per Erebus ad Astra by American Blackened Thrash Metal band Graviton; vocals as “The Soldier” on Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster, from the 2018 album Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster by American Power Metal band Helion Prime; and vocals on A Gathering of Storms, from the 2018 album Genetically Engineered to Enslave, by American Death Metal band Solium Fatalis.

As aforementioned, Haydee grew up listening to all kinds of music such as blues, classic rock, classical, and Latin music, but when the music in question is our beloved Heavy Metal her main influences range from Joe Duplantier of Gojira and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy to all classic metal vocalists such as Dio, Ozzy and Rob Halford. Her first ever record which introduced her to heavy music was Fallen, by Evanescence, when she was eight years old, taking her down the rabbit hole that would eventually lead her to find Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and all of the icons of early metal, also delving into the early punk scene. Nowadays you can find pretty much anything on her playlist including Chelsea Wolfe, Bjork, Black Sabbath and At The Gates, as well as “guilty pleasures” such as Katy Perry, Sia and Lady Gaga, as long as it’s well-written pop music, of course. When asked which three songs would be perfect for someone listening to her for the first time, Haydee mentioned her cover versions for Sia’s Everyday is Christmas and Arch Enemy’s As The Pages Burn, plus Aversed’s Renewal, because they are diverse and represent her as she is now, still growing but slowly establishing a strong voice within the music industry. By the way, if you want to see how wide Haydee’s range can be and how eclectic her taste for music is, you can take a shot at her cover versions for Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name, Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited, Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel, and Prince’s Purple Rain, among several others on her personal YouTube channel.

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Absolutely engaged in the music no matter which band she’s in, Haydee not only has an incendiary voice, but her onstage performance is just as flammable and electrifying, earning her a few unique nicknames including Haydee the Hyena, Metal J.Lo and Metal Selena. “I love the Metal Selena and Metal J.Lo because I like to embrace my culture,” she said, “like wearing my hoops.” Furthermore, she mentioned in one of her interviews the importance of understanding R&B and classical music to become a better metal vocalist. “Both styles have extreme soul and depth that is definitely important in metal music in both style and vocal delivery. Having experienced performing many different songs with different stories and intentions I have a large understanding of what level of emotions, strength, and movements to deliver to any song to make it as effective as it can be. I couldn’t do that if those many styles had not molded my range to be the way it is now as well. Every life and musical experience finds itself in each new performance that you share and it’s really wonderful.”

Regarding touring, Haydee said that she dreams of touring the world with Carnivora and of being able to make a living from her art without having to work a day job. having already played in many small to large stages in a wide variety of local bars and clubs, she would also love to play some major festivals the likes of Maryland Death Fest, NAMM and SWSW, and return to Chicago Open Air, a festival that holds a spot in her heart. “At Chicago Open Air 2017 Aversed and I had performed on the last day alongside acts such as Slayer, Behemoth, and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few. Nearing the end of Ozzy’s set our tour bus crew was giving the band a last call to get on the bus or else it was leaving without us! My phone has been dead and I didn’t know. By the grace of the metal gods I ran into my band mates while I was getting a pretzel and ran back with them. Everyone was there besides our guitarist Sungwoo Jeong. After an awful 10 minutes of frantic calling, searching, and figuring out a way for him to fly back to Boston on his own, we searched the bus one last time and found he’d been asleep the whole time. I had immense luck and Sungwoo cracked us all up and it made one hell of a story.” In addition, her first metal experience as a vocalist was the Iron Maiden vs. Judas Priest show at the Chicago School of Rock in 2011, a huge moment for her because it had really transitioned her from a bedroom performer to a real one, pushing her to keep doing it.

As Carnivora is now a female-fronted metal band, Haydee was asked her opinion about the role of women in the current metal scene. She said that the face of metal is shifting a lot towards women, but the metal community still has a lot to learn and that can be frustrating, mainly because bands with female lead singers often get lumped together even if they’re creating radically different sub-styles, although she’s fine with the label “female-fronted metal”. In addition, she said that as a growing force, women get a lot of attention that may not be given as frequently to an all-male group because there is something different brought to the table that is intriguing. Women have the same depth and aggression as men, and to have an artistic platform to display that (as well as their delicate nature) is a new and amazing thing. The only disadvantage that she sees is the play on sexism and creating sex appeal that purposefully overshadows or interferes with the platform for ones natural talent. “Women work hard to do what they do and they do not need to hide behind sex appeal to be respected for their time, talent, and work. Knowing that and showing that is important,” commented Haydee.

Last but not least, Haydee also provided her comments about things that she learned recording new music during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting by saying how important it was for her to put a strong focus on songwriting, something that we all know cannot be done properly when the musician is on the road most of the time, saying the simplicity of “one-on-one” writing with guitarist Cody Michaud allowed them to present something more refined to the rest of the team. Secondly, she mentioned how hard the entire band worked on the recording process of their demos, saying she pushed herself to knock out vocal takes and stacked harmonies. Then Haydee moved on to talking about their jam sessions, how important it was for them to get back to practicing together as soon as it was safe to meet up, and how tighter their playing got after that, followed by how important it was to release new music during the pandemic even without being able to tour during that time. And last but not least, she mentioned a fun game Carnivora had during the video shoot for Hypnogenic, the first time they had to load in and get together since everything shut down, where each band member had to wear their newest Vans shoes acquired during quarantine and compare them. Let’s say this is indeed a very healthy competition for a group of metalheads eager to get back on the road, and those shoes are beyond awesome for any trip or for a demanding activity like kicking ass on stage, and we cannot wait to see Haydee and Carnivora eating our flesh alive during their upcoming concerts.

Haydee Irizarry’s Official Facebook page
Haydee Irizarry’s Official Instagram
Haydee Irizarry’s Official Twitter
Haydee Irizarry’s Official YouTube channel
Carnivora’s Official Facebook page
Carnivora’s Official Instagram
Carnivora’s Official Twitter
Carnivora’s Official YouTube channel

“The face of metal is shifting a lot towards women and women from all different countries that look so different. It’s awesome to be a part of that change.” – Haydee Irizarry

Album Review – Ragehammer / Into Certain Death (2020)

It’s time to head into certain death to the sound of the new album by this insane Polish brigade, offering us all ten slabs of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal violence.

Kraków, Poland’s own Black/Thrash Metal institution Ragehammer is finally back to the battlefront after four years of studio inactivity (since the release of their 2016 opus The Hammer Doctrine) and a year-long live hiatus with the same lineup comprised of The Hellstörm on vocals, Bestial Avenger on the guitars, Corpsebutcher on bass and Mortar on drums to once again spit with scorn at the trend-ridden scene, where aesthetics took over the ethics, armed with their sophomore full-length album entitled Into Certain Death. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikołaj Żentara at No Solace, featuring an enraged artwork by Devinez, and consisting of ten slabs of sonic violence with variable pain levels in the characteristic of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal style which continues the path Ragehammer chose when starting almost 10 years ago, Into Certain Death will offer the listener exactly what the band has always promised to provide in their rebellious career, a raw, warlike fusion of Black and Thrash Metal without compromises, unnecessary distance or mercy, and of course a very good reason for getting drunk and raising our horns in the name of evil.

Metal troopers are marching to the beats by Mortar in the uprising intro Beneath the Red Suns, suddenly exploding into a lesson in Blackened Thrash Metal titled We Are the Hammer, with Bestial Avenger extracting endless savagery and electricity form his stringed weapon, therefore providing The Hellstörm exactly what he needs to shine with his raspy, berserk growls. Moreover, when they speed things up it’s time to simply crush your skull into the pit, and there’s no sign of those four horseman slowing their music down as they blast a furious hybrid of Black, Death and Thrash Metal titled Jesus Goat, with Corpsebutcher and Mortar being thunderous with their respective bass punches and blast beats. In Peace let’s say the name of the song doesn’t match with its infuriated rhythm, with the band bringing forward a potent display of extreme music led by Bestial Avenger’s razor-edged riffage while The Hellstörm vociferates rabidly from start to finish in great blackened, thrashing fashion, whereas the band’s frontman roars viciously in his mother tongue in the sick Black and Thrash Metal extravaganza titled Na Pewną Śmierć, which is Polish for the album’s title “into certain death”, tailored for admirers of the heaviest side of thrash, with Mortar sounding utterly demented behind his drum set.

In the fulminating 616. TerrorKorps the band drinks from the same wicked fountain as thrashing masters Exodus and Slayer, but of course with the band’s own Polish twist, while the stringed duo Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher will at the same time pierce your ears and smash your head with their extreme aggression and speed. It’s clear that slamming is their business, and business is good, as in the high-octane Fear Toxin we’re treated to more of the infernal screams by The Hellstörm and the unstoppable drums by Mortar in what’s perhaps the song with the most Black Metal riffs of all, while tribal beats and a hellish atmosphere are offered to the listener in Omega Red, sounding darker and more introspective than its predecessors, and showcasing another brutal job done by Bestial Avenger armed with his devilish guitar. Ragehammer keep distilling their demonic hybrid of extreme styles in the fast and furious Dragon City, where the rebellious gnarls by The Hellstörm are effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals while Mortar doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second. And finally, a Stygian, somber intro darkly evolves into a massive wall of sounds in the imposing 8-minute aria titled Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal), the sequel to “Prophet of Genocide” from their 2012 demo War Hawks, with The Hellstörm investing into more anguished vocal lines while its second half presents Ragehammer’s usual sonic devastation.

I bet you can’t wait to join Ragehammer and head into certain death to the sound of their warlike metal music, and in order to do so simply pay the guys a visit on Facebook and (soon) purchase a copy of their breathtaking new album from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp or webstore in CD or LP format. The Hellstörm, Bestial Avenger, Corpsebutcher and Mortar nailed it once again with Into Certain Death, elevating their status in their homeland (and anywhere else in the world where ass-kicking extreme music is appreciated) from just a promise to one of the best and most entertaining acts of the underground scene, beautifully translating into their wicked creations exactly what Blackened Thrash Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: We Are the Hammer, Jesus Goat and 616. TerrorKorps.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Beneath the Red Suns 1:45
2. We Are the Hammer 3:58
3. Jesus Goat 3:29
4. Peace 4:25
5. Na Pewną Śmierć 4:28
6. 616. TerrorKorps 4:00
7. Fear Toxin 4:38
8. Omega Red 5:46
9. Dragon City 4:47
10. Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal) 8:54

Band members
The Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums

Album Review – Vampiric / The Magic of the Night (2019)

An insatiable lust for blood and passion for the night will grow inside you to the sound of the debut album by this American Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal one-man army.

My dear creatures of the night, it’s time to join a Symphonic Black/Thrash Metal one-man army formed in 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States that goes by the straightforward name of Vampiric in his quest for blood with the released of his debut full-length opus The Magic of the Night, offering us all nine original songs that exhale darkness and the sweet smell of fresh blood. As a matter of fact, the true beginnings of Vampiric can be traced back to 2008, when the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nik Williams started writing music and recording demos at the young age of 14, eventually forming a full-bodied band and opening for renowned acts like Mayhem, Abigail Williams and Keep of Kalessin. This live lineup disbanded after a while, but Nik kept experimenting with music until the release of his debut EP Death Tore Through, in 2018, ranging from the project’s core Black and Thrash Metal to distinguished styles like Gothic, punk and classical, further developing all that depth and diversity this year with his newborn spawn The Magic of the Night.

The Cradle of Filth-inspired riffs and keys by Nik kick off the phantasmagorical opening track A Death in the Throne Room, an old school Extreme Metal tune reeking aggressiveness, madness and obscurity; and his slashing guitars keep dictating the rhythm in the faster and more exciting Vampire Blood, where not only we’re treated to poetic lyrics (“I wake from a deathlike slumber / And gaze at the harvest moon in the night sky / Bloodlust, the children of the night sing / As I fly above the land of broken hearts”), but once again Nik generates a cryptic paradox between his atmospheric keys and enraged growls. And if you’re still hungry for human flesh it’s time for over six minutes of pitch black darkness and blood in The Full Moon Rising, with his keys sounding as strident and piercing as usual, while at the same time he kicks ass on drums, resulting in sheer adrenaline in the form of Symphonic Black Metal that sounds and feels hypnotizing and ritualistic form start to finish.

Adding the frantic riffage of Thrash Metal and the complexity of Progressive Metal to his core obscurity, Nik delivers Gothic, This Masquerade, a true masquerade ball feeling like two or three songs in one where our dauntless one-man band goes full thrasher on vocals, reminding me of Exodus original singer Paul Baloff (R.I.P.) at times. Of Bloodlust and the Moon is another display of bestiality and insanity the likes of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Marduk where Nik’s raspy gnarls and scorching riffs steal the spotlight, and with its last piece being an instrumental shredding extravaganza for our total delight; followed by Nosferatu, filling the airwaves with three minutes of an intense feast of Thrash and Black Metal by Vampiric where the guitars breathe fire while drums are played with tons of violence and rage, all spiced up by Nik’s demonic vociferations.

Then pounding his drums manically Nik offers another circle pit-catalyst entitled The Witch, with its heavier-than-hell riffs being perfectly complemented by somber and piercing background sounds, leaning towards classic Blackened Thrash Metal. And besides, songs about witches are always very enjoyable and fun to listen to, don’t you think? In Carpathian Lycan Curse our talented musician puts the pedal to the metal in a hurricane of cryptic keys and berserk shredding, also presenting elements from bands like Slayer and Misfits added to his traditional sonority, while its catchy chorus is an ode to all wolf-men of the world (“Carpathian lycan curse / Condemned to darkness and blood thirst / Carpathian full moon curse / The wolfs bane blooms to my return”). Lastly, closing the album we have the 11-minute aria of darkness titled The Magic of the Night, living up to the legacy of the emperors of long and intricate extreme music compositions such as Cradle of Filth and their infamous Bathory Aria. Nik does an amazing job throughout the entire song, elevating the electricity of all instruments to new heights and also making the whole ambience absolutely enfolding and Stygian until the very last second.

If you’re more than eager to join Nik’s Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal coven, simply go check what he’s up to on Facebook, and don’t forget to purchase your copy of The Magic of the Night directly from his own BandCamp page. After listening to such well-crafted, aggressive and melodic album of extreme music, you better be prepared to feel an insatiable lust for blood growing inside you, dragging you into an endless night and keeping you away from sunlight for all eternity. Well, in the end, who doesn’t want to be an immortal, bloodthirsty creature of the night, always accompanied by a good dosage of metal music, right?

Best moments of the album: The Full Moon Rising, Nosferatu and The Witch.

Worst moments of the album: A Death in the Throne Room.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. A Death in the Throne Room 6:27
2. Vampire Blood 3:33
3. The Full Moon Rising 6:16
4. Gothic, This Masquerade 7:22
5. Of Bloodlust and the Moon 4:20
6. Nosferatu 3:06
7. The Witch 4:40
8. Carpathian Lycan Curse 6:40
9. The Magic of the Night 10:53

Band members
Nik Williams – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – A Taste Of Fear / God’s Design (2017)

An amazing display of dexterity, professionalism and devotion to Thrash and Death Metal by a promising Italian quartet, representing to perfection what the band is all about.

Musically inspired by old school Thrash and Death Metal bands such as Testament, Kreator, Death and Obituary, just to mention some of them, while the lyrics are essentially based on moods, feelings, sensations and on social injustices, God’s Design, the brand new album by Italian Technical Thrash/Death Metal act A Taste Of Fear, is not only a top-notch high-speed feast of metallic and belligerent sounds, but it also represents to perfection what this Rome-based four-piece band is all about and their goals in the world of extreme music.

A Taste Of Fear came alive in 2014 thanks to bassist Michele Attolino (Avanguard, Ruinthrone, Blooddawn) and his deep passion for Thrash and Death Metal, being joined at later stages of the band by the versatile vocalist Stefano Sciamanna (Endaemona), the unstoppable drummer Flavio Castagnoli (Exhume to Consume, Forgotten Lore), and finally the experienced guitarist Emiliano Pacioni (Lunarsea, Catales). After the lineup reached its final shape and form, it was time for those four Italian metallers to begin crushing with their unrelenting music, culminating with the release of God’s Design now in 2017, an album that will definitely leave some good scars on you due to its high level of intricacy, progressiveness and, above all, sheer aggression.

Michele kicks off the title-track God’s Design in an eerie way with his mesmerizing bass, being smoothly joined by the other band members, always sounding very technical and fresh in a solid hybrid of Thrash and Death Metal with hints of Black Metal, with Stefano switching his gentle clean vocals to an even more demonic version of Mille Petrozza. Following that excellent start we have Into Hell, with no slow or atmospheric intros, but only sheer Death Metal bursting with dexterity and stamina where Flavio seems to be in ecstasy while smashing his drums. Moreover, the great string duo comprised of Emiliano and Michele delivers cutting riffs and metallic low-tuned sounds respectively, making the whole song even more impactful.

A calm and serene intro once again explodes into brutal devastation in Out Of Place, a fast-paced creation by the quartet with highlights to the amazing synchronicity between Flavio’s beats and Emiliano’s riffage, not to mention its Flamenco-inspired short break; whereas A Feared Secret brings the most electrifying elements found in Thrash and Death Metal, with Stefano’s harsh gnarls getting more piercing and ferocious. In other words, this is a full-bodied hymn perfect for headbanging or slamming into the pit with its almost 8 minutes of a very intricate and technical sonic attack, all enhanced by an amazing guitar solo by Emiliano. And Make Suffer, a high-octane chant led by the demented growls by Stefano and the furious drumming by Flavio, feels like a kick-ass fusion of Kreator and Carcass. Simply sing its chorus along with the band and crush your skull into the circle pit to this awesome composition, and don’t forget to thoroughly enjoy the song’s superb bass solo.

In Ripped Soul’s Gift, the heavy, headbanging riffs by Emiliano impregnate the air, building a truly demonic ambience for Stefano’s hellish screams in this nonstop sonic demolition tailored for fans of gory and menacing Death Metal, followed by The Passage, which sounds considerably thrashier than its predecessor (in special the frantic drumming by Flavio). This is a good sample of what we can call Blackened Thrash Metal due to its darker and more aggressive sounds, with Emiliano and Michele pounding their strings ferociously from start to finish, emanating keen, demonic sounds to pulverize our ears. And last but not least we have A Taste Of Fear, the song that carries the band’s name, a 7-minute Death Metal onslaught full of demonic guitar lines, thunderous bass and drums and the always deranged growling by Stefano, also showcasing hints of progressiveness to enhance its taste. Moreover, every single second of this tune bursts with anger, hatred and obviously fear, ending with another sensational guitar solo by Emiliano.

If you want to know more about A Taste Of Fear, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of God’s Design (available for a full listen on Spotify) at their own BandCamp page, at the Time to Kill Records’ Big Cartel, at Qobuz or on Amazon. God’s Design might not be the revolution in heavy music, and I truly believe that was never the band’s intention with it, but it’s indeed an amazing display of dexterity, professionalism and devotion to Thrash and Death Metal by this Italian quartet, and let’s hope the band releases several albums in the future with the same punch and finesse as their debut endeavor.

Best moments of the album: Into Hell, A Feared Secret and Make Suffer.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Time To Kill Records

Track listing
1. God’s Design 6:08
2. Into Hell 4:04
3. Out Of Place 5:24
4. A Feared Secret 7:48
5. Make Suffer 5:18
6. Ripped Soul’s Gift 4:55
7. The Passage 5:56
8. A Taste Of Fear 7:27

Band members
Stefano Sciamanna – vocals
Emiliano Pacioni – guitars
Michele Attolino – bass
Flavio Castagnoli – drums

The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC+2 exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC+2) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your Greece-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
Facebook
Twitter
Online Radio Box
Tunein
Streema
Listen2MyRadio
Radio Garden
Streamitter.com

Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio Promo Hour Of The Day – From Monday To Friday @ 8pm GMT+2

http://midnight-madness.is-a-rockstar.com/Great news for all of you metalheads!

FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY @ 8pm GMT+2, one of our kick-ass partners, Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, broadcasting directly from Athens, Greece, will blast the best of underground metal music reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose during the PROMO HOUR OF THE DAY!

So remember, FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY @ 8PM GMT+2 tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to get your daily shot of the cream of the underground metal music crop, from Hard Rock to Black Metal, from Folk Metal to Thrash Metal, from Doom Metal to Metalcore, and so on! You’ll have the unique pleasure of listening to the superb music by bands like Charm Designer, Neverworld, Majesty Of Revival, Nervosa, False Coda, Atonismen, Diabolizer, The Silent Rage, Terrifier, Gaerea, and tons of other amazing metal acts from all over the world!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
Twitter
Online Radio Box
Tunein
Streema
Listen2MyRadio
Radio Garden

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Album Review – Armagh / Venomous Frost MCD (2016)

Let the venomous and menacing frost of Extreme Metal generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your body and dominate your soul.

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armagh_venomousfrost_coverGet the overpowering impact of metal music from the 80’s, the implacable and raging sound of the early days of Black and Thrash Metal the likes of Dissection, Bathory and Hellhammer, and four young musicians eager to show the world their passion for extreme music, and there you have the vigorous MCD entitled Venomous Frost, bred in the dark vaults of Warsaw, Poland by Blackened Thrash Metal horde Armagh. The band might be relatively new, being founded in 2012, and this MCD might be their first official release ever, but it feels like we’re dealing with an already established band so concise and potent the overall result is.

There is absolutely no (black) magic or any other special ingredients added to the music found in Venomous Frost, but pure Heavy Metal played by a newcomer quartet (actually, they’re now a power trio after the recent departure of guitarist Ace Hellion) that, above all things, knows exactly how to blend fury and melody in their compositions. Not only that, the old school album art, designed by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter, who has already worked with bands such as Outre, Bloodthirst, In Twilight’s Embrace, and more recently with Ragehammer (featured in one of our latest reviews), is beyond precise in portraying the music by Armagh. Just hit play and you’ll find death, nihilism, war and occultism in Venomous Frost, all embraced by faultless Extreme Metal.

A demonic riff kicks off the excellent Criostail/Exmortis, which after an epic intro becomes brutal devastation blending the demonic aura of Black Metal with the always exciting turmoil generated by Thrash Metal. Moreover, Galin Soulreaper and Ace Hellion make an amazing guitar duo, with their riffs and solos transpiring ferocity and malignancy. Their devastation goes on in an old school Black Metal onslaught named Eternal Awareness, with drummer Bloodhammer sounding indeed like he’s using hammers to blast his beats. Put differently, you won’t have a single second to breathe in this high-octane chant of darkness.  And what can I say about Warbeast? They truly sound like beats unleashed from hell, blasting a vile Thrash Metal sounding enhanced by the obscure elements found in Black Metal. This newborn underground classic is perfect for some bestial circle pits and brutal headbanging, not to mention Galin’s spot-on hellish barks.

armagh_bandIn the epic Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf, you’ll be able to enjoy the best riffs of the album by far, with both Galin and Ace being absolutely on fire with their scorching instruments delivering excellent extreme music to us, while Bloodhammer and bassist Mark Usurper provide all the support needed in this exciting tune. Then we have Dark Procession, which in my opinion should be used as the soundtrack to any Satanist procession. This is the most Black Metal of all songs, especially its obscure riffs and growls, with the music slowing down a bit before all hell breaks loose and the band comes crushing again with their furious music, showcasing all band members in total sync.

The last seven minutes of the MCD are an ode to darkness, starting with Witchcraft, a fantastic cover version for Bathory’s 1984 classic. An enraged band blasts pure hatred in their excellent tribute to one of the most important bands in the history of Black Metal, with highlights to the desperate vocals by Galin and the kick-ass drumming by Bloodhammer, qualifying it to be one of the best covers of the year without a shadow of a doubt. And lastly, the title-track Venomous Frost is the icing on the (demonic) cake baked by this awesome Polish quartet, being slightly slower but as obscure and vicious as the rest of the album. In addition, I love how clear and heavy the bass lines by Mark and the drums by Bloodhammer sound throughout the entire song, helping conclude Venomous Frost on a high note and, as a consequence, keeping the flame of Polish metal more alive than ever.

More of the mischievous fusion of Black and Thrash Metal distilled by Armagh can be enjoyed at their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and their amazing debut MCD can be purchased at the official Third Eye Temple in two different versions: a regular jewel case CD limited to 100 copies or a black jewel case CD branded with serigraphy print. Let the venomous and menacing frost of extreme music generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your entire body, and consequently dominate your soul. You won’t regret such an amazing experience in Black and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Warbeast, Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf and Witchcraft.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Criostail/Exmortis 5:40
2. Eternal Awareness 3:38
3. Warbeast 4:32
4. Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf 6:23
5. Dark Procession 4:59
6. Witchcraft (Bathory cover) 2:35
7. Venomous Frost 4:46

Band members
Galin Soulreaper – vocals, guitars
Ace Hellion* – guitars
Mark Usurper – bass
Bloodhammer – drums

*No longer part of the band.

Album Review – Ragehammer / The Hammer Doctrine (2016)

Are you ready to follow the awesome doctrine of Black and Thrash Metal established by this ruthless band from Poland?

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ragehammer-cover-artwork-1000x1000Forged in the scalding fires of Cracow, Poland in 2012, and embracing all the darkness and violence spawned by icons such as Death, Bathory and Slayer, among many other Extreme Metal bands, here comes Black/Thrash Metal horde Ragehammer, tormenting the entire world with their highly anticipated debut album entitled The Hammer Doctrine. Quoting the band, the album was created “with cold hatred of the modern world and contempt for the values of love and humanity”, and just like a hammer this album will smash your face with its relentless brutality.

With controversial topics such as death, anti-religion and desecration flowing from its lyrics, and featuring a demonic artwork by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Outre, Bloodthirst, In Twilight’s Embrace) and an outstanding graphic design by Kontamination Design (Blaze of Perdition, Bloodthirst, Voidhanger), The Hammer Doctrine offers the full package to metalheads who nurture a profound passion for sheer violence in music. In other words, Ragehammer devoted all their talent, cruelty and wrath to deliver the most hellish music you can think of during the album’s rambunctious 42 minutes.

Kicking off this insanely good havoc we have First Wave Black Metal, opening the gates of hell (hammer) with highlights to its old school darkened lyrics barked by frontman Heretik Hellstörm (“Neurodeliric screams / Battle cry of the hordes those days / No gods – no masters, creatures and crawling in space / Scarlet slaughterers, living only for metal and hell / Legacy of pride, from tombs it rises again”). Furious circle pits will ignite instantly, with the nonstop riffs by Bestial Avenger and the brutal bass lines by Corpsebutcher crushing you like a helpless insect. In case you survive this first assault, LET’S HAVE A WAR! Unleash The Dogs will bring you war in an infernal Blackened Thrash Metal turmoil, where drummer Mortar keeps up with the tradition of the most influential thrashing drummers of all time. This song proves to me that this band loves a disturbed and violent sounding more than they love their own families, don’t you think?

ragehammerIn Wróg (or “enemy” from Polish), a potent circle-pit generator and a strong sample of what this amazing band is capable of doing, the metallic bass by Corpsebutcher stands out amidst all turbulence and devastation crafted by the entire band; whereas in Warlord’s Fall, a solid fusion of old school Slayer with Hardcore, Ragehammer fire a high-octane tune where Bestial Avenger has a superb performance with his piercing riffs while Heretik Hellstörm keeps barking like a lunatic. In addition, its Doom Metal-ish break gets truly obscure and evil before the music gets back to total anarchy, adding an additional layer of intricacy to it. And bang your heads and enjoy the heavy beats by Mortar in the longest of all tracks, named Knives, highly inspired by traditional Black Metal with the punch of our good old Thrash Metal.

I am the Tyrant brings forward a brutal sonic devastation bred by those Polish metallers, I should say the perfect depiction of what Blackened Thrash Metal is, with Bestial Avenger once again commanding the band’s onrush, followed by the heaviest version of Thrash Metal you can find anywhere, entitled Pure Hatred, where Mortar shatters his drums while Corpsebutcher thumps his bass cords throughout the entire song until its pulverizing ending. Then it’s simply time to slam into the pit and enjoy the amazing synchronicity between Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher in what’s definitely the top moment of this great album, the high-speed anthem From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor, where Ragehammer make a statement about who they are and their mission (“The dawn of the hammer doctrine / The evolution of mankind / From homo sapiens to homo raptor / Constant warfare – way of life”), giving no signs of slowing down or being less visceral. And finally, they offer the listener a crazy, fast and furious cover version for Spotkanie z Diabłem, or “meeting with the devil” in Polish, by Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony. It’s incredible what they did to the original version, and the whole band deserves our respect for such a brilliant job giving a new life to an old classic.

Are you ready to follow the ruthless doctrine of Ragehammer and break your neck to the berserk music crafted by this skillful quartet from Poland? If you can’t wait to put your hands on their sonic “hammer”, go grab your copy of The Hammer Doctrine at the Pagan Records’ official BandCamp or webshop, and as I already mentioned, be prepared to have your physiognomy completely disfigured by a wicked blast of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: First Wave Black Metal, From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor and Spotkanie z Diabłem.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. First Wave Black Metal 4:43
2. Unleash The Dogs 3:46
3. Wróg 4:47
4. Warlord’s Fall 5:48
5. Knives 6:30
6. I am the Tyrant 5:00
7. Pure Hatred 4:22
8. From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor 4:33
9. Spotkanie z Diabłem (Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover) 2:38

Band members
Heretik Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums