Album Review – Nordicwinter / Sorrow (2021)

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Hypnotic Dirge Records

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

Band members
Evillair – vocals, all instruments, drum programming

Album Review – Malacoda / The Strain EP (2021)

Inspired by the works of Guillermo Del Toro, this Canadian entity is unleashing upon us all their second EP of the year, delving even further into their horror inspired roots.

3.0rating

malacoda-the-strain-ep-2021After the releases of their debut self-titled album in 2015, the EP Ritualis Aeterna in 2016, the full-length opus Restless Dreams in 2018, and the EP Crawling Chaos earlier this year, Oakville, Canada-based metal band Malacoda continues to deliver their fusion of Gothic, Power, Symphonic, Melodic and Progressive Metal for our total delight with their second EP of the year, entitled The Strain. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio at Old Haunt Recording Studio,  and displaying a goth artwork by Yeganeh Ghasemi featuring model Goddess Ov Death, The Strain is inspired by the works of the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, delving even further into the band’s horror inspired roots and bringing forward all the talent of the aforementioned Lucas together with guitarist Wes MacDonald and bassist Zak Stulla, not to mention an array of guest musicians to make the EP even more compelling.

The title-track The Strain already begins in full force to the symphonic and epic keys by Lucas while guest drummer Andrew Suarez (Bangin Productions, Fatality) showcases all his dexterity behind his drum set, adding an extra touch of heaviness to the music, and also presenting elements from Doom and classic Heavy Metal with Lucas delivering his Ghost/Candlemass/Mercyful Fate-inspired vocals. Then featuring additional vocals by Beth Wilson and with Lucas taking care of the drumming duties, Crimson Peak is a slower but heavy-as-hell and obscure creation where Wes extracts sheer darkness from his riffage and solo, accompanied by the melodic, rumbling bass by Zak; whereas investing into a more progressive sonority were treated to Where Shadows Play, another solid tune by the band to also feature additional vocals by Beth Wilson, with Lucas and Beth making a great vocal duo while guest drummer Victor Boechat smashes his drums mercilessly from start to finish. And lastly, a very melodic and introspective intro morphs into the Gothic Rock and Metal feast entitled Mind Flayer, featuring drummer Ryan Claxton (This Is Death Valley) and additional vocals by Wes, while Lucas presents both his powerful clean vocals and his demonic gnarls from start to finish.

malacoda-2021You can stream the full EP on Spotify, show your support to Malacoda by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and click HERE for all social media, links to buy their music and merch, videos and so on. “There really is a balance of dark aggression and beauty in these songs,” stated Lucas about the band’s new EP, complementing by saying that “that’s been the consistent tone with these four tracks – keeping it dark but letting some tender spots poke through.” And let’s say Lucas nailed it, with his words precisely describing the music found in The Strain and, consequently, inviting us all to join him and his henchmen in the dark realm ruled by Malacoda, and proving Malacoda are following a healthy and strong musical path, evolving as a band and providing us all fans high-quality metal music made in Canada with each one of their releases.

Best moments of the album: The Strain and Where Shadows Play.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. The Strain 7:49
2. Crimson Peak 3:51
3. Where Shadows Play 3:51
4. Mind Flayer 5:11

Band members
Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, keys, drums on “Crimson Peak”
Wes MacDonald – guitar, additional background vocals on “Mind Flayer”
Zak Stulla – bass

Guest musicians
Andrew Suarez – drums on “The Strain”
Victor Boechat – drums on “Where Shadows Play”
Ryan Claxton – drums on “Mind Flayer”
Beth Wilson – background vocals on “Crimson Peak” and “Where Shadows Play”

Album Review – Antediluvian / The Divine Punishment (2021)

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: White Throne.

Released in 2021 Nuclear War Now! Productions

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

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

Album Review – Mütherload / Ü EP (2021)

This regrouped tour-de-force from Canada is ready to kill with a six-track introduction of their thrashy, groovy and melodic death sound.

3.0rating

mütherload-ü-ep-2021After two years of creating and crafting their own sound, along with being the local opening support for touring bands the likes of Threat Signal, Green Jëllo, Beyond Creation and The Blood of Christ, London, Canada-based Melodic Death/Groove Metal unity Mütherload, a regrouped tour-de-force birthed from the ashes of Heaven Ablaze, is now ready to present their first offering in the form of an EP simply entitled Ü, a six-track introduction of Mütherload’s thrashy, groovy, melodic death sound recommended for fans of Lamb of God, In Flames, Mastodon, Opeth and Tool. Produced, mixed and mastered by Thomas Ireland and featuring a sick artwork by tattoo artist Dave Schultz, the EP offers us a very good and incendiary sample of what vocalist Derek Lee, guitarists Patrick Davison and Derek Haley, bassist Chris McKichan and drummer Matt Ashton are capable of.

And Patrick and Derek Haley begin slashing their guitars in great fashion in Insect, accompanied by the groovy bass jabs by Chris and the rhythmic beats by Matt in an awesome display of Groove Metal, all of course spiced up by the demented roars by Derek Lee; and continuing their path of devastation with a melodic touch, we’re treated to The Visitor, offering us all more of the flammable riffage by the band’s guitar duo while Derek Lee doesn’t stop screaming like a beast, living up to the legacy of renowned bands like Lamb of God. Then in the interlude Ü a sinister dialogue between two guys about their future quickly explodes into Iniquity, another infernal creation by the quintet presenting hints of Brutal Death Metal in Derek Lee’s vocals while Chris and Matt make the earth tremble with their respective bass lines and beats, morphing into a serene instrumental interlude entitled Thaügüst, where acoustic guitars will soothe your souls before we face Lamia, the darkest composition of the EP. This Stygian tune will pierce your mind mercilessly, with the entire band being on absolute fire delivering heavier-than-hell growls, riffs, bass punches and blast beats, inspiring you to bang your head nonstop in the name of our beloved metal music.

mütherload-2021“The Ü EP is our first step back into the metal scene after years of silence. We feel this small collection of music represents the focus that we’ve developed as a band in our songwriting for the first time in years. Musically, we’ve stretched our reach into new territory with open tunings, and more space for vocals. This EP deserves to be played loud, so crank it up,” commented Patrick about the band’s newborn spawn, and you can enjoy each second of music from Ü by streaming the full EP on Spotify. In addition, don’t forget to show your support to this newly formed band of metal veterans by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by grabbing your copy of the EP from their own BandCamp page. The EP might be the band’s first step back into the scene, as mentioned by Patrick, but what a great step it is, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Mütherload and to witness them kicking some serious ass on Canadian stages soon with their awesome creations.

Best moments of the album: Insect and Lamia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. Insect 3:54
2. The Visitor 3:39
3. Ü 0:44
4. Iniquity 3:06
5. Thaügüst 1:43
6. Lamia 3:24

Band members
Derek Lee – vocals
Patrick Davison – guitar
Derek Haley – guitar
Chris McKichan – bass
Matt Ashton – drums

Beverage Review – Iron Maiden’s Red ‘N’ Black

The morals of life and the perils of death in the form of a delicious porter style beer full of “the red and the black.”

3.5rating

iron-maiden-beer-red-n-black-logo“The red and the black, people don’t want the truth, look in their eyes and you send them away
The red and the black, fate and hypocrisy, burden’s a heavy load there is no doubt
The red and the black, all out of luck again, how many chances can anyone have
The red and the black, treachery out to win, there in the wrong place and at the wrong time.”

As we’re getting closer and closer to the release of Senjutsu, the seventeenth studio album by the one and only Iron Maiden, let’s have a round of special reviews in celebration of their new album that will see the light of day exactly one month from today, on September 3, starting with our (belated) review of Iron Maiden’s Red ‘N’ Black porter, one of the best creations from the list of Iron Maiden beers so far by the indomitable Bruce Dickinson and Robinsons Brewery. After having tasted the original Trooper Beer, plus the excellent Hallowed and Sun and Steel, I was finally able to grab a few bottles of Red ‘N’ Black and, although I’m not a big fan of dark beers, I must admit this one provided me a very pleasant drinking exercise.

Having its name inspired by one of the best compositions by Iron Maiden after the return of Bruce on vocals over 20 years ago when Brave New World was released, that being The Red And The Black from the majestic The Book Of Souls, Iron Maiden’s Red ‘N’ Black is a modern take on a recipe that dates back to the 1850’s, a time when porter style beer was becoming increasingly popular in Britain. At 6.8% in bottle or 5.8% ABV in cask, Red ‘N’ Black is the first dark beer in the Trooper ranks and the strongest beer in the range to date, showcasing a blend of chocolate and crystal malt that gives this full-bodied beer a roasted malt and caramel backbone, while the Robinsons’ yeast provides hints of both liquorice and honey to create a delicious warming brew. “I like tasting outside the box. Stouts and porters were virgin territory for me so I just went by feel. Martyn and I hope we have created a new take on a classic beer and one which I hope will tickle the taste buds of ale fans in a pleasantly unexpected way,” explained Bruce when the beer was about to be launched.

As I already mentioned, I had a very good time savoring all the 500mL from the Red ‘N’ Black bottle (while of course listening to The Red And The Black) even not being a huge fan of dark beers, and the reason for that is mainly due to the lack of that (way too) strong bitterness that several porters out in the market have. Bruce and Robinsons Brewery managed to turn Red ‘N’ Black into a very easy-drinking beer, and you won’t even notice its 6.8% ABV. Furthermore, this is an amazing option to pair with an aged or fruity cheese, to taste it right after you devour some good old ribs, or to simply enjoy it by itself while watching a football match on TV. I still consider Sun and Steel as my top Iron Maiden beer so far, but as I said that’s due to my personal taste for lighter beers; however, I can also state that Red ‘N’ Black is by far my top dark beer, being very tasteful, smooth and, as mentioned in the official description of the beer, pleasantly warming.

iron-maiden-beer-red-n-blackGood luck trying to find it now, though, as the beer was advertised as a limited edition back when it was originally launched, which means it’s going to be tough finding a bottle for sale anywhere. For instance, you can’t find it using the UK Trooper Finder nor the US Trooper Finder, it’s not available from the Iron Maiden Beer webstore, from the Robinsons Brewery official website, nor from Iron Maiden Beer Canada (where The Headbanging Moose is located). But who knows? Maybe you live in a privileged country or area where there are still a few bottles of Red ‘N’ Black available, right? And if you find at least one bottle, save it for September 3 to celebrate the release of the highly anticipated Senjutsu. Unless you want to go full samurai and drink a pint of Sun and Steel on launch date instead, of course.

Beer details
Style: Porter – English
ABV: 6.8%
From: Robinsons Family Brewers
Country: England, United Kingdom

Album Review – Head of Jeddore / How to Slaughter a Lamb (2021)

Do you know how to slaughter a lamb? If not, let these three Canadian metallers teach you that to the sound of their intense and frenetic debut album.

3.5rating

head-of-jeddore-how-to-slaughter-a-lamb-2021Made up of vocalist Friendly Rich Marsella (Friendly Rich, The Lollipop People) and guitarists Greg Dawson (Olde, Grale) and Billy Curtis (The Abandoned Hearts Club, Cunter), and featuring an array of special guests the likes of Damian Abraham (Fucked Up), Kenny Bridges (Moneen), Greg Wright (Shatterpoint) and Luke Roberts (Gargoyl), Brampton, Canada-based newest metal supergroup Head of Jeddore is ready to kick some ass with their debut album entitled How to Slaughter a Lamb, offering up a slab of sophisticated mayhem for fans of Mr. Bungle, System of a Down and the (more adventurous) Melvins. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg himself at BWC Studios, How to Slaughter a Lamb brings to our ears an intense and frenetic metal attack, tapping into a wide variety of musical influences that goes from Stoner and Doom Metal to more modern styles such as Groove and Alternative Metal, while staying fierce and fiery throughout its 31 minutes of music.

The title-track How to Slaughter a Lamb kicks off at full speed with Mr. Marsella delivering demented vocal lines à la Mike Patton while Billy and Greg fulminate our ears with their rockin’ riffs, and more of their sonic insanity comes in the form of Into the Well, bringing elements of the Progressive and Groove Metal blasted by bands like Gojira and Mastodon and with its intricate and visceral drums adding an extra touch of aggressiveness to the overall result. Back to a more straightforward, in-your-face mode, the trio offers our ears the groovy The Age of Entitlement, where once again Billy and Greg feed Marsella with everything he needs to vociferate like a rabid creature; whereas sick guitar riffs and solos will pierce your mind without a single drop of mercy in The Tragedy Network, while we face at the same time a humongous amount of rage and lunacy through the band’s classic beats and vocals. And slowing things down a bit and adding elements from Alternative Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for another wicked musical voyage with Head of Jeddore titled Let Me Rot, where Marsella is once again bestial on vocals.

The trio continues to haunt our damned souls with their high-octane fusion of rock and metal styles in Kathmandu, reminding me of the early days of System Of A Down, with Billy and Greg giving a lesson in how to pulverize their stringed weapons, while Blood Waltz is another demolishing, awesome composition by those Canadian metallers offering us all a hybrid of Stoner and Doom Metal with Progressive Metal that will certainly please any fan of good music worldwide. Then showcasing a Children of the Grave-inspired riff it’s time for Marsella to growl and roar manically once again in The Old Man and the Sea, a song that will certainly put you to bang your head nonstop together with the band; and their Mastodon vein arises one more time in Peepholes and Moles, also presenting hints of the sick creations by Faith No More, not to mention the kick-ass riffs by the band’s talented guitar duo beautifully accompanied by the song’s hammering drums. And finally, a Death Metal-inspired gnarl ignites the closing tune The Bake Sale, before all hell breaks loose one last time inviting us all to slam into the circle pit until its vile and sluggish grand finale.

head-of-jeddore-2021In summary, if you consider yourself a true explorer of the world of rock and metal music, you should definitely give the guys from Head of Jeddore a shot. This talented Canadian act offers in their new album everything you can imagine in terms of creativity, heaviness, insanity and more, positioning them as one of the best new names of the Canadian scene. Hence, don’t forget to show them your love by following them on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Head of Jeddore, and even more important than that, by purchasing a copy of their sick new album by clicking HERE. And who knows, maybe one day those metallers from the Great White North will actually teach you how to slaughter a lamb.

Best moments of the album: How to Slaughter a Lamb, Kathmandu and Blood Waltz.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. How to Slaughter a Lamb 2:59
2. Into the Well 3:20
3. The Age of Entitlement 3:07
4. The Tragedy Network 2:41
5. Let Me Rot 4:05
6. Kathmandu 3:18
7. Blood Waltz 2:06
8. The Old Man and the Sea 3:08
9. Peepholes and Moles 3:09
10. The Bake Sale 3:23

Band members
Friendly Rich Marsella – vocals
Billy Curtis – guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar

Guest musicians
Damian Abraham – vocals
Tyler Semrick-Palmateer – vocals, guitar
Luke Roberts – vocals, guitar, bass
Greg Wright – guitar
Kevin Theodoropolus – vocals
Matt Nimmo – vocals
Brandon McColl – guitar
Kenny Bridges – vocals, guitar
Shane Drake – vocals
Erik Hughes – bass, vocals
Steve Mitchell – vocals, guitar

Album Review – Axedra / Mass Deception (2021)

After a long period of inactivity, this promising Vancouver, Canada-based Death Metal unity is back in action and ready to kill armed with their debut full-length album.

3.5rating

axedra-mass-deception-2021Formed in Russia in 2008 by the “Garipov Brothers”, those being vocalist and guitarist Ramil Garipov and guitarist Ilnur Garipov, Death Metal unity Axedra played only a few shows in their hometown before they had to disband when both of them moved to the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada in 2010. After a long period of inactivity, they finally gathered their material, put together a full-bodied band with Logan Jarred Charron on bass and Daniil Volovik on drums, and recorded their debut album Mass Deception, released now in 2021. Mixed and mastered at Death Culture Studio and displaying a bloody, cult-like artwork by Joyce Peng, the first official effort by Axedra will smash you like an insect with its old school Death Metal approach, being therefore recommended for admirers of the gore and destruction blasted by bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and early Decapitated.

Get ready for an infernal hurricane of old school death in the opening tune Momentary Control, a visceral welcome card by the quartet where Ramil begins his growling attack accompanied by the crushing beast by Daniil, whereas speeding things up they offer our ears the slamming hymn Buried Alive, showcasing classic Death Metal riffs by the band’s guitar duo and vile lyrics barked by Ramil (“Awoken by the deafening silence / Blinded by the absolute fiery darkness / Dampened air tastes decrepit / Restricted mind within fibromyalgic body”). Then the title-track Mass Deception will bring to your putrid ears two and a half minutes of sheer savagery led by the scorching riffage by Ramil and Ilnur, while Logan hammers his bass mercilessly, and it’s time to slam into the circle pit to the sound of Apocalypse, a straightforward, thunderous creation by Axedra where Daniil dictates the pace with his fierce and rhythmic beats.

Axedra keep destroying everything and everyone that crosses their path in Infectious Insanity, a pulverizing Death Metal feast where the riffage by Ramial and Ilnur is as demented as it can be, followed by Parasitic Nightmare, showcasing apocalyptic words vociferated rabidly by Ramil (“Wake, see your world turn into a parasitic nightmare / Left a wasteland, there’s no retreating / Soon you’ll find your soul is bleeding / Trapped, your dream is now a burden / Watch this planet contort and worsen”) while Logan and Daniil make the earth shake with their sharp and thunderous instruments in a lesson in violence and hatred. Are you tired already of their sick and heavy sounds? Because you better be prepared as the quartet will kill once again in Thought Corruption, offering us all a huge dosage of the old school, pounding drums by Daniil. And last but not least, it’s time for Hellbringer, a solid composition by the band that keeps the album flammable and demonic, albeit not as dynamic as the other songs.

axedra-2021In a nutshell, in Mass Deception, which is by the way available in full on YouTube, Axedra don’t aim at reinventing the wheel as you can see, but at keeping the fires of classic Death Metal burning bright thanks to the talent, hard work and aggressiveness of the band spearheaded by the Garipov Brothers. Hence, don’t forget to show them your support by following the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, by subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their heavy-as-hell music, and above all that, by grabbing your copy of Mass Deception from the band’s own BandCamp page. I’m beyond certain you’ll have an amazing time slamming and banging your head nonstop to the first-class Death Metal crafted by Axedra, leaving you eager for more from those Canada-based Russian brothers in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Buried Alive, Apocalypse and Parasitic Nightmare.

Worst moments of the album: Hellbringer.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing  
1. Momentary Control 4:12
2. Buried Alive 3:30
3. Mass Deception 2:36
4. Apocalypse 4:36
5. Infectious Insanity 2:37
6. Parasitic Nightmare 4:06
7. Thought Corruption 2:53
8. Hellbringer 3:11

Band members
Ramil Garipov – vocals, guitar
Ilnur Garipov – guitar
Logan Jarred Charron – bass
Daniil Volovik – drums

Album Review – Discarded Self / Discarded Self (2021)

Created during a time of personal isolation, the debut solo album by this Canadian metaller ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation.

3.5rating

discarded-self-discarded-self-2021Flooding forth with misery and hate comes the first (and self-titled) album from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada-based Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal act Discarded Self, the solo project from Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach, who’s also a member of the bands Destroy My Brains and Ashes of Yggdrasil. Created during a time of personal isolation, the album ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation that dredge up terrible memories of the past to drown in personal regret. In other words, there is no hope for the future in the debut opus by Discarded Self, only darkness and hatred in the form of raw, unfiltered extreme music recorded at Doom Tomb Studios, featuring an array of local Canadian drummers as special guests, and displaying a beyond demonic artwork by Thahir M (The Black Catalogue) and Angel Carvallo (Avenged Creations).

Featuring B.J. Gingell (of Dahlmers Realm) on drums, the opening tune I Smell Pipes brings forward a cryptic intro accompanied by the low-tuned, damned bass by Jarret, evolving into a sluggish, sinister Doom Metal feast that will put you to bang your head until your neck breaks in half; and it’s time for drummer Jadan Paluck (of Destroy My Brains and Wrought) to crush our heads in Orbitoclast, with Jarret roaring like a rabid beast while he slashes his axe in great fashion at the same time in an awesome display of modern-day Sludge and Stoner Metal. Then get ready for 10 minutes of suffocating Blackened Doom Metal masterfully brought into being by Jarret in Push The Knife, with guest Brett Stewart (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) on drums and backing vocals, with Jarret sounding utterly demonic on vocals and also firing melodious, grim riffs for our total delight. And Jadan returns with his darkened and sluggish beats in the full-bodied aria entitled On The Unlevel, supporting Jarret in his quest for doom. Jarret’s bass punches sound even more menacing than before, not to mention how the aggressiveness and malignancy grow in intensity as the music progresses, therefore resulting in a disturbing Doom Metal feast.

Robert Hayman (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) is the guest drummer in I’m Weak, blasting his drums fiercely while Jarrett is infuriated with both his raspy screams and venomous riffage, or in other words, this is another fantastic option to headbang like a true metal maniac, whereas B.J. is back in action in Cultist Of The Pentagram in total sync with Jarrett’s devilish gnarls, riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline, rage and darkness. Then rumbling bass sounds will punch you in the head in Abused (e)Motionless, with Jarret once again adding his share of evil to the overall result through his wicked growls in a solid display of Blackened Sludge Metal. Jarret comes ripping one last time with his somber guitar lines in Dance Upon The Dead, while Jadan returns with his slow and steady beats; it lacks a little of the punch from its predecessors, though, but it’s still a damn good song. And if you go for the limited edition of the album you’ll be treated to Discarded Self’s cover version for Upside Down as a bonus, just as demented and heavy as the original version from the almighty Fistula’s 2006 EP For a Better Tomorrow.

discarded-self-2021Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach and his Discarded Self are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Sludge and Doom Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. As already mentioned, Discarded Self was brought into being during a time of personal isolation for Jarret, which proves once again extreme music is the perfect channel for all hatred, frustrations and fear we’ve been experiencing worldwide since the beginning of this endless pandemic. In other words, let’s all succumb to the dark side and join Jarret in his world of insanity and hopelessness, with his solo effort representing the perfect soundtrack to our damnation.

Best moments of the album: Orbitoclast, Push The Knife and I’m Weak.

Worst moments of the album: Dance Upon The Dead.

Released in 2021 Sarcophagus Recordings

Track listing   
1. I Smell Pipes 7:26
2. Orbitoclast 6:35
3. Push The Knife 10:51
4. On The Unlevel 10:04
5. I’m Weak 5:30
6. Cultist Of The Pentagram 5:55
7. Abused (e)Motionless 7:52
8. Dance Upon The Dead 8:27

Limited Edition bonus track
9. Upside Down (Fistula cover) 8:05

Band members
Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
B.J. Gingell – drums on  “I Smell Pipes” and “Cultist Of The Pentagram”
Jadan Paluck – drums on “Orbitoclast”, “On The Unlevel”, “Dance Upon The Dead” and “Upside Down”
Brett Stewart – drums and backing vocals on “Push The Knife”
Robert Hayman – drums on “I’m Weak” and “Abused (e)Motionless”

Album Review – Juliet Ruin / Dark Water EP (2021)

Bang your heads to the new EP by this amazing Canadian Modern Metal crew, reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are.

3.0rating

juliet-ruin-dark-water-ep-2021Formed in 2015 in Edmonton, the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta, from the ashes of a previous project named Fiction of Fate with the desire to fuse a metal sound with clean technical vocal stylings in a way that is both beautiful and beastly, Modern Metal outfit Juliet Ruin has just unleashed upon us all a new EP titled Dark Water, following the band’s 2019 critically-acclaimed album Old Stardust, Love and Chaos. Comprised of Jess Fleming on lead vocals, Kent Geislinger and Wesley Rands on the guitars, Cody Reid on bass and Jesse Bauman on drums, Juliet Ruin are highly recommended for fans of the music by Jinjer, Infected Rain, The Agonist, Butcher Babies and so on, with their new EP reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are, all spiced up by the first-class production, mixing and mastering by Diego Fernandez (who also plays the guitar as a guest in the title-track, by the way) and the enfolding artwork by Brandy Black. “The listening experience we are going for is a hard-edged, but catchy experience with lyrics you can shout in anger, but also it leans positive on message,” said the band about their newborn child.

The vicious bass by Cody sets the tone in the Alternative Metal hurricane Dark Water, with Jess bringing forward a fusion of the pop vocals by Shirley Manson (of Garbage) with visceral Melodic Death Metal growls, boosted by the awesome guitar job by Kent, Wesley and guest Diego Fernandez. Then sheer poetry flows from the celestial lyrics (“Banish me like burned down planets / Write my fate with sparkling lies / I am the universe you’re just one sky”) found in Cosmic Vertigo, while Jesse smashes his drums in great Alternative Rock and Metal fashion, therefore inviting us all to headbanging together with the band; followed by Fake Stigmata, considerably heavier and darker than its predecessors, with Jess being on fire with a passionate vocal performance supported by the massive and groovy wall of sounds by her bandmates, in special Cody and his metallic bass jabs. Lastly, it’s time for more of their hybrid of Groove Metal with Metalcore and Alternative Rock in Might, showcasing a delicate but at the same time grim side of the band, with Kent and Wesley firing classic, incendiary riffs throughout the entire song.

juliet-ruin-2021When Jess and the boys from Juliet Ruin said their new EP Dark Water would bring forward an edgier and angrier side of the band, they were not kidding at all. This talented Canadian quintet made sure the EP title was not chosen in vein, investing in a much darker sound and pointing to a bright future ahead of them. Hence, if you want to know more about such up-and-coming crew hailing from Canada, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music and watch their videos on YouTube and on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of Dark Water from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing your utmost support to the Canadian underground. Juliet Ruin are inviting us all to sail through darker waters together with them in their new EP, and based on the high-quality of each of its four tracks I’m pretty sure that journey with the band will not only be thrilling, but it will also (and fortunately) last for a long time.

Best moments of the album: Dark Water and Cosmic Vertigo.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Dark Water 4:47
2. Cosmic Vertigo 4:08
3. Fake Stigmata 4:54
4. Might 4:16

Band members
Jess Fleming – vocals
Kent Geislinger – guitar
Wesley Rands – guitar
Cody Reid – bass
Jesse Bauman – drums

Guest musician
Diego Fernandez – guitars on “Dark Water”

Album Review – Grale / AGITACIÓN EP (2021)

Comprised of four Canadian musicians who share the same passion for heavy music, this newborn and fully virtual Sludge Metal entity is ready to show us all the power of the riff with their debut EP.

3.5rating

grale-agitación-ep-2021Formed during the first pandemic lockdown, Canadian Sludge Metal project Grale is comprised of musicians who share a friendship with artist and producer Greg Dawson (guitarist for Canadian Doom Metal beast Olde) and a love of heavy music. Already an all-star unit featuring the aforementioned Greg Dawson on the guitars, Daniel Allen (of Indian Handcrafts) on vocals and guitars, Mark Rand (of Cross Dog) on bass and Kevin Farmer (of The Compound) on drums, Grale also enlisted contributions from members of metal heavyweights Sacrifice, Revocation and Gargoyl to elevate their “pandemic project” into a fully-fleshed and ferocious five-song assault, their debut EP entitled AGITACIÓN. Recorded at BWC Studios by Greg (who was also responsible for all mixing and mastering), Bandage A/V by Mark, Farmer Sound by Kevin and The Bethlab by Daniel, each song from the EP evolved from one good riff, with the band creating and collaborating remotely, focused on forging an organic new sound that would have followers of High on Fire, Motörhead or Judas Priest banging their heads in approval.

And guest vocalist Rob Urbinati (of Sacrifice) lends his enraged roars to Grale in the opening tune Meth Aggressor, making a dynamic duo with Daniel while the music showcases a visceral fusion of Death and Sludge Metal led by the massive riffs by Daniel and Greg, and with Kevin pounding his drums in great fashion. Then in No Justice For All the quartet brings forward a Mastodon-inspired sound (which means a more Progressive Metal vein, of course) where Daniel keeps vociferating nonstop accompanied by the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Mark and the always hammering beats by Kevin; whereas Grale slow things down considerably, investing in an old school Doom Metal sonority in The Blade, featuring guest guitar solos by Luke Roberts (of Gargoyl and Battlebear) and David Davidson (of Gargoyl and Revocation), with Daniel and Greg being once again merciless, worshipping the power of the riff with their guitars. The Emptiness Project is another dense and aggressive Sludge and Stoner Metal tune blasted by the quartet where all instruments are in absolute sync in the name of madness, with the piercing sound of the guitars walking hand in hand with the groovy bass jabs by Mark, and lastly, back to a more Progressive Sludge Metal sound, Grale offers us all the heavy and thrilling Terror Control, presenting visceral, raspy vocal lines, slashing riffs and crushing drums, therefore putting an awesome ending to the EP and leaving us eager for more of their sick music.

grale-2021I’ve already seen countless bands and artists releasing awesome material during this never-ending pandemic, but I must admit what the guys from Grale did together is beyond impressive taking into account they never even met in person to create their songs, rehearse or record them. If you’re curious to know how four guys from four different locations sound together in this virtual world we’ve been living in, simply go check the full EP on YouTube and on Spotify, and if you like what you see don’t forget to show them your support by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course by purchasing AGITACIÓN from their own BandCamp page (or click HERE for all places where you can get to know more about the band and purchase their music). In such difficult times, heavy music once again conquers all, uniting not only us fans but also talented musicians from all over the world (or in the case of Grale, from here in Canada) and keeping us sane until the pandemic is finally over. And I it takes even longer for this madness to finally end, at least we can rest assured the guys from Grale are among us to prove once and for all there’s nothing more comforting than the power of the riff.

Best moments of the album: Meth Aggressor and The Emptiness Project.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Meth Aggressor 4:31
2. No Justice For All 3:24
3. The Blade 4:04
4. The Emptiness Project 4:13
5. Terror Control 5:25

Band members
Daniel Allen – vocals, guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar
Mark Rand – bass
Kevin Farmer – drums

Guest musicians
Rob Urbinati – vocals on “Meth Aggressor”
Luke Roberts – guitar solo on “The Blade”
David Davidson – guitar solo on “The Blade”