A classic 80’s metal combustion of bold and true female-fronted anthemic Power Metal masterfully brought into being by one of the most promising names hailing from Atlantic Canada.
Hailing from the misty shores of Avalon, also known as St John’s, the capital of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Heavy/Power Metal unity Category VI formed in early 2010 bringing something new to their local metal scene as they are not only the only band from the city that plays Melodic Metal, but also the only active female-fronted Melodic Metal band in their hometown. Now in 2023 the band comprised of Amanda Gosse on vocals, Geoff Waye on the guitars, Keith Jackman on bass, and Patrick Tarrant on drums returns with a full blazing firestorm with their third album and most accomplished release to date, entitled Firecry, offering us all a classic 80’s metal combustion of bold and true female-fronted anthemic Canadian Power Metal. Featuring a fiery cover art by Serbian artist Ivan Radnić (Enchanted Sword, Fractures in the Sky), Firecry is mandatory for fans of Chastain, Warlock, HellionSentinel Beast and Fear of God, among others, a global scale climate-changing metal cyclone that just may melt the North American frozen tundra with its blazing sound.
The quartet wastes no time and kick off their metallic feast with the title-track Firecry, with Amanda already showcasing all her vocal potency supported by the thunderous bass lines by Keith in a lesson in modern-day Power Metal; whereas darker and more introspective than the opening tune, the somber Valkyrie brings forward piercing riffs by Geoff while Patrick hammers his drums in the best Manowar style. Then we have The Vultures Never Came, presenting a sonority that reminds me of 90’s Megadeth infused with elements from Mercyful Fate, while Patrick is on fire behind his drums providing Amanda with exactly what she needs to kick some ass with her soaring vocals, followed by She Runs With Wolves, another solid hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with more modern Power Metal spearheaded by the stylish riffs and solos by Geoff. And Heavy is the Crown is a direct song with all the classic elements from Heavy Metal, albeit not as exciting or inspiring as its predecessors.
Adding a touch of darkness to their sound and feeling even more inspired by the music by the iconic King Diamond, Amanda’s vocals will resonate through the four corners of the earth in Coven while her bandmates smash their instruments in the name of heavy music, and as every album of metal music inspired by the 80’s needs a power ballad, that’s offered to us by Category VI in The Cradle Will Fall, with of course Amanda stealing the show with her powerful vocals while the music increases its heaviness and epicness considerably as time passes by. Burning Bridges carries a beautiful name for a song that exhales Heavy Metal, with all band members being in total sync, in special Geoff and Keith who deliver a thrilling stringed attack; before the album ends with their rendition of Heart’s all-time classic Barracuda (check the original version HERE), and the band did a sensational job with their own version by bringing the same energy from the original one.
Such electrifying Canadian quartet can be found on Facebook and on Instagram with news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and don’t forget to also stream their music on YouTube and on Spotify. The excellent Firecry, which can be purchased from the Moribund Records’ webstore, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon, is undoubtedly the band’s strongest effort to date, bringing endless fire not only to their beautiful homeland, but also to any part of the world where our beloved heavy music is truly appreciated.
Best moments of the album:Firecry, The Vultures Never Came and Burning Bridges.
Worst moments of the album:Heavy is the Crown.
Released in 2023 Moribund Records
Track listing 1. Firecry 6:10
2. Valkyrie 6:05
3. The Vultures Never Came 4:10
4. She Runs With Wolves 4:12
5. Heavy is the Crown 3:47
6. Coven 4:52
7. The Cradle Will Fall 4:53
8. Burning Bridges 3:49
9. Barracuda (Heart cover) 4:21
Amanda Gosse – vocals
Geoff Waye – guitars
Keith Jackman – bass
Patrick Tarrant – drums
Prepare your senses for the debut effort by this Canadian four-piece outfit, offering us all 34 minutes of Dissonant Death Metal that’s aggressive, punchy and hook-laden.
Founded in 2013 in the charming Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec, the unrelenting Death Metal beast that goes by the name of Ignominy has just unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length opus, titled Imminent Collapse, the follow-up to their 2019 EP Fear the Living offering us all 34 minutes of Dissonant Death Metal that’s aggressive, punchy and hook-laden, which is rare to find in a style that tends to be more abstract and unpredictable. Mixed and mastered by Erol Ulug, and displaying a grim artwork by Austin Weber, the album is a remarkable effort that manages to find an identity of its own by mangling and mesmerizing listeners at once, showcasing all the talent and fury by vocalist Alexandre Desroches, guitarist Philippe Gariépy, bassist Alexandre Préfontaine and drummer Marc-Antoine Lazure, being therefore recommended for fans of Dysgnostic, Gorguts, Ulcerate, Dischordia and Noctambulist, just to name a few.
The sinister guitar lines by Philippe kick off their dissonant attack in Frantic Appeasement, evolving into a chaotic yet progressive sound led by the classic drumming by Marc-Antoine while Alexandre Desroches roars deeply for our total delight. Then the second song of the album, titled Defaulting Genetics, is even more demented and demonic, with Philippe’s wicked riffs matching perfectly with the fulminating beats by Marc-Antoine; followed by Reminiscence of Hatred, presenting poetry and violence united in its lyrics (“Resurging the violence / Evicting their mistakes / Disregarding their cries / No matter how they try / To resist the prophecy I’ve been putting in place / It’s simply useless, weakness to not embrace / What’s in front of their face”) amidst a hurricane of Dissonant Death Metal.
The phantasmagorical Premonition of a Dead-End (Interlude I) sets the tone for the visceral Nightmare Bacteria, offering our putrid ears six minutes of hatred and dementia in the form of Death Metal, with all band members being in total sync spearheaded by the inhumane guttural by Alexandre Desroches while also being full of breaks, variations and endless obscurity. Their progressive and dissonant vein pulses stronger than ever in Visceral, showcasing an amazing job done by Philippe and Alexandre Préfontaine with their stringed weapons while Marc-Antoine’s blast beats dictates the song’s pace. After that, another interlude titled Prélude vers l’angoisse (Interlude II) will darken your mind before Ignominy come crushing one last time in Closed-Mind Visuals, a multi-layered, detailed and grim creation by the quartet alternating between more introspective, sinister and atmospheric moments and sheer aggressiveness, with Marc-Antoine stealing the spotlight with another bestial performance behind his drums.
The ruthless, vile Dissonant Death Metal horde from the Great White North known as Ignominy is waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram with more of their music, news, tour dates and so on, and don’t forget to also stream all of their eerie creations on Spotify, including obviously their newborn debut opus. Furthermore, the pulverizing Imminent Collapse is on sale from their own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore as a digipak CD or as a CD + shirt bundle, from Apple Music, from Amazon, or simply by clicking HERE. Ignominy are undoubtedly going places based on the quality of the music found in Imminent Collapse, with their dissonant sounds darkly echoing through the vast and bitterly cold lands of the Canadian Death Metal scene.
Best moments of the album:Defaulting Genetics, Reminiscence of Hatred and Nightmare Bacteria.
Worst moments of the album: The two interludes are not bad, but they could have been replaced by another song or even merged in just one interlude.
I must confess I was a little worried about what would happen to the GAEREA, UADA, CARACH ANGREN and ROTTING CHRIST concert at Lee’s Palace in Toronto last night, as part of their amazing Under Our Black Cult North American Tour 2023, mainly due to the shitty weather that has been punishing the United States and Canada in the past month or so. If you go to Gaerea’s official Facebook page, you’ll see they had to miss a few concerts in the US due to the nasty weather conditions, and after the heavy snow storm that hit Toronto this Friday I wasn’t sure if the concert was actually going to happen. Fortunately for all of us Torontonians who headed to a sold-out Lee’s Palace last night the weather was perfect for this time of the year (it wasn’t even that cold), and not only the four bands played, but they all kicked some serious ass.
My only complaint is once again related to the time the doors opened, already after 7pm, and the time Portuguese Black Metal entity GAEREA hit the stage, at 7:30pm sharp. This means a lot of people who were still lining up outside of the venue until around 7:40pm missed the first few minutes from Gaerea’s performance. Why can’t the venues open their doors at least one hour prior to the first band, and come up with a faster way to check ID’s and tickets so that fans can enjoy all bands they paid some good money to see? Anyway, Gaerea were phenomenal during their short but powerful concert, playing only songs from their 2022 opus Mirage such as Salve and Laude while their mysterious frontman kept mesmerizing us all with a unique performance that reminded me of a darkened mix of Iggy Pop and Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan. It was a dark, atmospheric and evil performance by the quintet, and I can’t wait to see them return to Toronto in the near future.
Setlist Intro Deluge
*Information not available*
After a very quick break, it was time for American Melodic Black Metal horde UADA to pulverize our damned souls with one of the most atmospheric concerts I’ve seen in a while, playing long, intricate and visceral songs the likes of the title-track from their 2020 opus Djinn, plus The Purging Fire and Cult of a Dying Sun, with the strong smell of incense from the beginning of the show generating a captivating ambience for all fans at the venue. Jake Superchi was insane on vocals and guitar, headbanging manically while also growling like a beast for our total delight, while his band members, particularly drummer Josh Lovejoy, kept the music flowing majestically until the very last second. UADA are already gearing up for their first South American tour this October, which not only means those guys are becoming bigger and bigger in the metal scene, but also that if you live in one of the South American cities they’re visiting in a few months you can rest assured you’re in for a fantastic treat.
The Purging Fire
Snakes & Vultures
Cult of a Dying Sun
Black Autumn, White Spring
Jake Superchi – vocals, guitars
James Sloan – guitars
Nate Verschoor – bass
Josh Lovejoy – drums
The third opening act of the night, Dutch Symphonic Black Metal demons CARACH ANGREN, also brought forth an ass-kicking concert, perhaps not as detailed or melodic as Gaerea or UADA, but full of energy and absolutely phantasmagorical. Blending songs from all of their albums with their latest opus Franckensteina Strataemontanus, from 2020, the duo Seregor (aka Dennis Droomers, who’s by the way in a relationship with the stunning Sandie Gjørtz, the frontwoman for Danish Melodic Death Metal outfit Defacing God) and Ardek (aka Clemens Wijers), with the support of the butcher Bastiaan Boh on the guitars and Gabe Seeber on drums, delivered a very theatrical concert for the crowd in Toronto, inspiring the fans to ignite some circle pits and even a wall of death with their devilish music. The only thing that bothered me a lot was the lack of a bassist while Ardek had two keyboards, but as weird as it might look the band has a lot of chemistry onstage and you end up forgetting about that minor detail right after the first song.
Setlist Electronic Voice Phenomena The Ghost of Raynham Hall
The Carriage Wheel Murder
Bitte Tötet Mich
A Strange Presence Near the Woods
Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log
Seregor – vocals, guitars
Ardek – keyboards, piano, orchestrations, backing vocals
Bastiaan Boh – guitars
Gabe Seeber – drums
It was around 10:20pm when the main attraction of the night, Greek Black Metal institution ROTTING CHRIST, showed Toronto once again why they’re one of the most important names in the history of extreme music, and will always be a reference to any metalhead who’s into the darkest side of metal. It’s beyond impressive how the iconic Mr. Sakis Tolis and his brother Themis Tolis are still so energetic on stage after so many decades on the road, hypnotizing the crowd and making every single one of their concerts simply memorable. In addition, I need to mention bassist Kostas Heliotis and guitarist Kostis Foukarakis also added their share of heaviness and electricity to the show, headbanging nonstop, interacting with the fans, and of course, playing all songs to perfection.
I was finally able to witness the guys playing songs form their awesome 2019 album The Herectics live, those being Fire, God and Fear and The Raven, and both were superb. However, their classics including the opening tune 666, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, Elthe Kyrie, In Yumen-Xibalba and Noctis Era were the most electrifying moments of the show as expected, generating intense, unstoppable mosh pits for the delight of everyone who decided to brave the storm that became the main pit. And how not to love Rotting Christ when they worship our buddy Satan by playing on the same night the songs Apage Satana, Societas Satanas, and the majestic Grandis Spiritus Diavolos? That was superb, and the energy flowing between the band and the crowd was insane.
Whenever the mighty Rotting Christ takes the city of Toronto by storm again, I’ll certainly be there. It’s one of those must-see shows by a band that loves what they do and that loves to witness their fans going mental during their live performances. The temperature inside Lee’s Palace was so hot that some people had to wait after the show was over for their shirts to dry from all their sweat before enduring another cold winter night in Toronto, but after all was said and done everything was totally worth it. Sakis is an unstoppable metal beast, the city of Toronto loves him, and hopefully next time he’s in the city with his horde they can play in front of an even bigger crowd. And until that day comes, we should all keep these words deep inside our herectic hearts… NON SERVIAM!
Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
Fire, God and Fear
Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
Let’s embark on a fun interview with vocalist and guitarist Victor Rosewrath of Doom Metal outfit Vale of Amonition, where he talks about his band, their new album, the metal scene in Kenya and Uganda, and more.
Victor Rosewrath (Vale of Amonition)
The Headbanging Moose: Let’s kick off the interview with a very easy and direct question. Can you please introduce yourselves to our readers in case they have no idea of who you are, how you guys started, and what type of music you play?
Victor Rosewrath: We are Vale of Amonition, a doom metal band from Uganda in East Africa with myself, Victor Rosewrath on vocals, sharing guitar duties with Solomon Dust and new members Mordecai Ogayo on bass and Jude Bulinda on drums.
THM: In my opinion, Vale of Amonition seems to be the perfect name for a Doom Metal band. Can you please explain in more detail how you came up with that name, and what it means to you as a band?
VR: The name was supposed to evoke simultaneous moods of calm and dread. A “valley of ammunition”, a sanctuary but also a hub of violence – said violence can be historic or omnipresent; emotional/personal or actual and relevant, we explore all through our rather deliberate lyrics that sometimes read like prose because the band was formed by failed writers haha.
THM: You’ve recently released your new album Immortalizing the Lugubrious, or Those Of Evolving Despair, an amazing step forward in your career I might say. How do you feel about the album? Is it exactly what you guys wanted to accomplish with it? How does it compare to your previous efforts, and how has the feedback from your fans been so far?
VR: We are immensely proud of how the record sounds. It’s the best-produced we’ve ever been. There’s a conciseness to it that was lacking in our previous efforts. The songs are sharper and heavier while still maintaining the epic and bombastic character of the sort of dark metal we gravitate towards. Our fans were floored by how much we’ve developed and we seem to be gaining new fans which as far as we’re concerned, this is the best place to begin to get to know the band.
THM: In the amazing song Drink The Poetry Of The African Wretch, you guys had the support from vocalist Nelecc, of bands like Euphoric Decay, Nelecc, Krummholz and Void of Sorrow. How was it to work with him, and why did you decide to have him in the album?
VR: Nelecc, or rather Nelson, is a longtime friend with whom I’ve worked before in the Krummholz black metal project. I had him in mind once Solomon Dust sent me the music and thought his voice would suit some of the sections in that song. We speak fairly often so I proposed it to him and true to his nature, he was enthusiastic and quickly jumped on board. Since he was in the loop already with how the album was developing, he also came up with the guitar solo in Sons Of The Moribund and gave that song the right melodic-folky touch it needed. Nelson’s always such fun to collaborate with and we’ll be working together more in the future.
THM: What were the biggest issues you faced during the recording of the album? Is there anything you guys did that right after the album was finalized you thought “this could have been done differently”?
VR: In the past, we’ve always recorded together in person and this album required a lot of remote recording and sending files because we are in entirely different countries now. We were also working with producers we’ve never worked with before – it was all a bit too much to maneuver but we managed to make it happen. There isn’t anything we’d change about the album, it feels right the way it is.
Album Review – Vale Of Amonition / Immortalizing the Lugubrious, or Those Of Evolving Despair (2023)
THM: How’s the metal scene in your homeland Uganda and Kenya? Are there any new bands form those countries you would recommend to our readers, and how do you see the African metal scene in general?
THM: I believe you guys have relocated to Canada a while ago, or at least one of you, correct? Why did you decide to move here to Canada, and what are the main differences you see between the metal communities here and in your home countries?
VR: I’m the one who moved to Canada but I hadn’t called Uganda home for a long time so the move wasn’t particularly strange for me. I’ve been fortunate to have friends and community here that I’ve known for a long time and what I’ve noticed is that metal scenes tend to all be driven by that tribal, communal spirit. There’s that same giddy rush and palpable energy in the air when metalheads are gathered in a single space; it feels like anything could happen, like something otherworldly is available to all. Really the biggest difference is that the scene in East Africa is smaller but the same ethos prevail.
THM: Why do you think there are so few black people in heavy music? I’m seeing more and more black musicians, as well as black fans on the shows at least here in Toronto, but it’s still a very small percentage compared to your regular “white guys”. What needs to change in our culture to attract more black folks to metal?
VR: There’s gatekeeping in metal as in all subcultures and that needs to break down if you wanna attract groups of people that normally wouldn’t gravitate towards this music. I feel that is already happening to some degree. The African metal scenes started with similar stereotypes about this being “white folks’ music” and with bands being treated as novelty acts but the perseverance required to be taken seriously has won out for us in the end, I think.
THM: How about your touring plans? Do you already have some concerts scheduled in the coming months to promote your new album? And how difficult is it for you guys to book concerts?
VR: Nothing booked yet. We’re having a few conversations at the moment to figure all that out and in the event of something happening soon, all will be shared.
THM: Who are your biggest idols and influences not only in music, but in life in general, and how exactly have they helped Vale of Amonition shape your music and style?
VR: Solomon Dust likes William Blake while I like John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” above all. We like to read. These things will not always show up in our music of course but the more epic literary stuff still feeds how I approach lyrics for sure. As far as bands go; Black Sabbath was a foundational influence for our riffing styles and King Crimson was how we learned to be “prog” without belaboring the point. Then there’s Swans and Neurosis to thank for that incantatory tribal aesthetic, Solitude Aeturnus, Fates Warning and Candlemass for adding flourish and pizzaz but in a highly effective moody sense, Katatonia, Novembers Doom and Nevermore for being topical but in mournful fashion and Celtic Frost, Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride and Type O Negative for cultivating a dark presence. That about sums it up, I’d say.
THM: Let’s now play a fun game before the end of the interview called “The Time Capsule”. Please list 10 songs from 10 different bands or artists to be saved in a time capsule for all future generations, and let us know why you selected those.
VR: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody because it still sounds grand, moving and celebratory – more time is not gonna wane the brilliance of that song and Queen in general have a pretty strong discography. Metallica’s The Four Horsemen still sounds like pure electricity and there’s something pure and youthful and eternal there. Black Sabbath’s eponymous 1970 dark thing of a song should be able to send shivers down the spines of the imaginative. Godflesh’s Locust Furnace sounds like worlds being laid to waste. It has a sort of languid insistence to it that I find both numbing and freeing. On a happier note, how about Stevie Wonder’s As. It is calm, spiritual and life-affirming. Scott Walker’s Rosemary is immaculate and easy to love and be moved by. Such wistful heft to it all. Kendrick Lamar’s Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst is a meditative dose of realistic storytelling that should be preserved for its uncomplicated brilliance. Lord Vicar’s Sulphur, Charcoal and Saltpetre is the doom song to end all doom songs. Tori Amos’ Precious Things is a slab of anger and redemption that still carries so get it into that time capsule. Last and greatest, Aretha Franklin’s Respect so future generations can “find out what it means to me!”
THM: Thank you very, very much again for the interview! Please feel free to send your final thoughts and considerations to your fanbase, and also to our readers who don’t know you yet, and to let everyone know where they can find your awesome music and more details about the band!
VR: Our music is now available to stream on all platforms and the new album can be purchased off Bandcamp. We are on Facebook at Vale of Amonition | Facebook where we post the latest that’s happening with the band.
A two-piece Canadian band will take you on an introspective journey to the sound of their new album, a cold embrace of Post-Metal colliding with Ambient Drone meant to be dark and depressing.
A two-piece Sludge/Drone/Post-Metal band formed in 2015 by former members of Alaskan and Stay Here, those being Gary Thibert on vocals, guitars and bass, and Deniz Güvenç on vocals, drums, piano and synths, in Ottawa, Canada’s capital located in the east of southern Ontario, They Grieve hope that their music fills a niche not quite like other Post-Metal acts who are currently active, and their first full-length opus, titled To Which I Bore Witness, is a clear step up for them. Engineered and mixed by Topon Das at Apartment 2 Recording, mastered by Dave Williams at Eight Floors Above, with additional piano recorded by Alex Jakimczuk at Uppercut Studios, and displaying a stylish artwork and design by Pascale Arpin, the album takes the form of an introspective journey, meant to be depressing, while the listener is confronted with sad, loud music that’s not meant to cross into anger, a cold embrace of Post-Metal colliding with Ambient Drone recommended for fans of The Body, Cult of Luna and Bell Witch.
A slow build grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose in Wither, showcasing melancholic, grim lyrics (“Failure knows no bounds and makes its home here within me / Endless is the night of its becoming / Nothing returns / Cower, collapse, wither”) while the sluggish beats by Deniz make an interesting paradox with his own synths. Then investing in a sinister Sludge/Doom Metal sound, the duo will hammer our heads and pierce our minds with their dirty riffs and pounding drums in Under the Weight, also showcasing a phantasmagorical passage to the synths by Deniz, sounding heavy and atmospheric from start to finish; whereas If Light Should Appear is another seven-minute ode to darkness and doom where Gary is devilish with his raw riffs and low-tuned bass, resulting in the perfect depiction of what Atmospheric Sludge Metal is all about. The title-track To Which I Bore Witness will drag your damned soul to endless darkness while the duo roars in anger and pain, again showcasing their slow and steady guitar lines and drums, being therefore not recommended for the lighthearted. After such intense and Stygian tune, it’s time for a soothing instrumental interlude titled Guided, with its minimalist sounds setting the tone for Weakness, presenting deep, melancholic lyrics (“I am bound to only the quiet call of ruin / And weakness holds me / Weakness alone holds me”) while the music is as atmospheric, savage and obscure as possible until the very end.
In case you want to know more about Gary, Deiz and their They Grieve, and therefore show them all your admiration and support, you can start following the duo on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on, stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, purchase To Which I Bore Witness from the Silent Pendulum Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, or simply by clicking HERE. “This album, both lyrically and musically, tries to capture the uncomfortable juxtaposition between weakness and weight. We are constantly trying to express the ways in which the ugliness and decay we see in the world sets itself down and plants its roots inside of us – how the weight of the world transforms into our own weakness once it has done so. We try to capture this feeling of juxtaposition and tension within the music itself by oscillating between ambient, textural drones and heavy, doom-laden riffs,” commented the duo about their newborn spawn, an album that will certainly cement their name among the best bands of the current Post-Metal scene worldwide.
Best moments of the album:Under the Weight and To Which I Bore Witness.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2023 Silent Pendulum Records
Track listing 1. Wither 7:12
2. Under the Weight 7:23
3. If Light Should Appear 7:00
4. To Which I Bore Witness 6:43
5. Guided 3:18
6. Weakness 8:01
Gary Thibert – vocals, guitars, bass
Deniz Güvenç – vocals, drums, piano, synths
An up-and-coming Canadian Deathcore beast will embrace your soul with its debut metal opera, revolving around the classic story of Dante and his descent into hell.
The solo side project of Canadian guitarist and bassist Kyle Prusky, with the support of Canadian vocalist Adrian Parcioaga, the newborn Deathcore entity Apollo has just released its debut concept EP, titled A Divine Comedy, revolving around the classic story of Dante and his descent into hell split into five distinct acts. Produced by Kyle and Adrian themselves, mixed and mastered by Kyle, displaying a classy artwork by Adrian, and featuring guests Alex Rudinger on drum programming, Layne Murdoch on the guitars, and Lucas de la Rosa on keyboards, the album is according to the duo a Progressive Death Metal opera, unabashedly dynamic and ever-shifting, taking the listener on a cathartic journey through breakdowns, growls and aggressive riffs, therefore being recommended for fans of Slice the Cake, Between the Buried and Me and Rivers of Nihil.
The gentle keys by Lucas kick off the first act of the EP, I: Dark Woods, exploding into a dark and pensive Metalcore extravaganza where Adrian’s roars match perfectly with all of the song’s Stygian elements, morphing into a Deathcore attack titled II: Abandon All Hope, where Kyle is on fire with his piercing riffs and metallic bass, consequently resulting in a violent, headbanging tune tailored for admirers of the genre with over six minutes of adrenaline, fury and heaviness flowing nonstop. Following such epic tune we have the melodic III: Interlude, with the guitar solo by Layne creating a stunning paradox with Lucas’ piano, flowing into IV: Deeper, Darker, blending elements from Deathcore and Metalcore with Progressive Metal nuances. Furthermore, Kyle once again slashes his guitar in great fashion while the drums programmed by Alex couldn’t have sounded more organic, presenting several layers, passages and climatic moments. Lastly, closing the EP we face the imposing V: Ascendance, where Kyle kicks some ass armed with his guitar and bass in a lesson in Deathcore supported by the always venomous screams by Adrian, resulting in a neck-breaking conclusion to properly send Dante to hell.
“This EP has been in the works for a long time, and I could not be happier with the result. This EP is for those who have ever doubted themselves, have fallen apart to the demons in their head, felt like giving up, and needed guidance. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep climbing. Trust the ones who stick by your side. Eventually, you’ll find your path. Every single choice, every note, and vocal take was absolutely deliberate and meant to evoke a specific response. Throughout the journey, the listener will be presented with soaring melodic solos, somber but beautiful keys that guide the self to introspection, crushingly heavy 8-string guitars, pounding drums, and vocals that dance with the music like a soliloquy to an audience of one,” commented a proud Kyle about his newborn beast, and if you want to show him all your support you can stream the EP in full on YouTube and on Spotify, grab a copy from Apple Music, and also follow the project on Facebook, on Instagram, and on YouTube. There’s nothing better than enjoying some first-class heavy music while witnessing Dante’s descent into the pits of the underworld, and Kyle and his Apollo more than succeeded in that with their striking debut effort.
Best moments of the album:II: Abandon All Hope and V: Ascendance.
Adrian Parcioaga – vocals
Kyle Prusky – guitars, bass
Guest musicians Alex Rudinger – drum programming
Layne Murdoch – guitar solo on “I: Dark Woods”, “II: Abandon All Hope”, “III: Interlude” and “IV: Deeper, Darker”
Lucas de la Rosa – keys on “I: Dark Woods”, “II: Abandon All Hope”, “III: Interlude” and “IV: Deeper, Darker”
Feast on the most ambitious, detailed and thrilling album by one of the driving forces of the extreme music scene in the Mother Continent.
Formed in 2009 in the city of Kampala, Uganda, molded and shaped in Kenya, and drawing from traditional and extreme doom sources such as Black Sabbath, My Dying Bride, Katatonia and Type O Negative, to name a few, the unrelenting Doom Metal entity Vale Of Amonition, whose name by the way refers to a place, a “sanctuary for warmakers” of sorts, with most of the lyricism being centered around happenings in that place, has just released their third full-length opus, entitled Immortalizing the Lugubrious, or Those Of Evolving Despair, the follow-up to their 2017 album Those of Tartarean Ancestry and their 2019 EP Ancient, Evil & African. Recorded and engineered by Nick Wathi at Andromeda Music, mixed and mastered by Luc Chiasson, and displaying a cryptic artwork by Ben Dickey, the new album rounds out the band’s ambitions thus far and provides us all with their most complete record yet, showcasing the undeniable talent and passion for heavy music by Victor Rosewrath on vocals and guitars, Solomon Dust also on the guitars, Mordecai O. Ogayo on bass, and Jude Bulinda on drums.
In the imposing opener Where They Gathered And Suffered, the band brings forward elements found in the crushing Doom Metal blasted by renowned acts the likes of Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost while Jude darkly smashes his drums accompanied by the Stygian riffs by Victor and Solomon; whereas their incendiary riffs keep penetrating deep inside our minds in Sons Of The Moribund, with Victor declaiming the song’s lyrics with tons of passion in this Progressive Doom Metal aria. My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind is a beautiful song crafted by the quartet both musically and lyrically, with the sluggish, doomed beats by Jude and the rumbling bass by Mordecai adding an extra touch of obscurity to the overall result, and in Drink The Poetry Of The African Wretch we’re treated to the guest vocals by Nelecc (of Euphoric Decay, Nelecc, Krummholz and Void of Sorrow), bringing even more rage and anger to the music while Victor, Solomon and Mordecai offer our ears a thrilling stringed attack. Terminus is another dark and pensive tune by the band that reminds me of the Doom Metal played by My Dying Bride with Progressive Metal nuances, with Victor sounding utterly somber on vocals accompanied by the sinister, slow drums by Jude. Finally, closing the album we face eight minutes of first-class African metal titled At Evolution’s End, with the quartet blasting their visceral sound mercilessly spearheaded by another poetic vocal performance by Victor. Needless to say, there isn’t a single second left empty in this ode to darkness and doom.
The fantastic Immortalizing the Lugubrious, or Those Of Evolving Despair, which is by the way available in full on YouTube, is one of those must-have albums for anyone who’s a diehard fan of doom or African metal, or both, and if you consider yourself one of those fans you can purchase the album from the band’s own BandCamp page. Don’t forget to also follow Vale Of Amonition on Facebook for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music. Always forward-thinking and progressively inclined, Vale of Amonition have shifted into utterly bleak territory that is gloriously underscored with tribal menace since their inception, with their new album representing the coronation of this African quartet as one of the driving forces of the current metal scene in the Mother Continent.
Best moments of the album:My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind and Drink The Poetry Of The African Wretch.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2023 Independent
Track listing 1. Where They Gathered And Suffered 9:16
2. Sons Of The Moribund 6:09
3. My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind 7:35
4. Drink The Poetry Of The African Wretch 6:09
5. Terminus 6:58
6. At Evolution’s End 8:04
Victor Rosewrath – vocals, guitars
Solomon Dust – guitar
Mordecai O. Ogayo – bass
Jude Bulinda – drums
Guest musician Nelecc – vocals on “Drink The Poetry Of The African Wretch”, guitar solo on “Sons Of The Moribund”
A beautiful tribute to the life of the Metal Mayor of Toronto and his undisputed passion for heavy music.
INTRODUCTION: AM HERE…
If you have no idea who Walter Froebrich was, let’s say he was the Metal Mayor of Toronto, as I’ve seen many people referring to him as. He was in pretty much every metal concert we all attended i the city in the past 20 years, from Heavy Metal to Death and Black Metal, from Thrash Metal to Deathcore and Viking Metal, and so on, always holding a few beers, always raising the horns, always surrounded by friends, and always supporting metal music no matter what. He even had his own motto, “AM HERE.” Sadly, in November 2022 due to lack of proper healthcare by the Toronto authorities Walter passed away at home after several visits to the hospital, and that brought a lot of grief to all metal fans in the city. If he had received a proper service, if he had been through the required scans and so on, he would still be around us. He will be extremely missed by the metal community in all upcoming concerts in Toronto, no doubt about that. I was going to use the common expression “may his soul rest in piece”, but I’m sure Walter himself would prefer a slight adaptation of it, “may his soul rest in metal”.
WALTER FROEBRICH MEMORIAL SHOW
That’s why on January 7 the Toronto scene came together to celebrate Walter’s life and his passion for heavy music at The Rockpile with the Walter Froebrich Memorial Show, an event organized by Steve Hoeg, Drew Masters, Junior Jr LeClerc and Jake Disman, among others, with no more, no less than TWENTY SEVEN bands playing from 1pm until midnight to a sold out venue, while money for Walter’s family was raised through a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Unfortunately due to personal reasons I could not attend the celebration, but my friend and photographer Keith Ibbitson of Lower Eastside Photography was there to capture some amazing shots of the entire show, and to provide us with a sense of how awesome everything was and how happy Walter must be whenever he is right now with his homage.
In Keith’s own words, “we raised over 17,000 dollars for Walter’s family. It was a sold out show. All the bands were absolutely amazing! Drew Masters was the MC for the evening. The friends Walter made over his concerts outings just blew my mind! Each one is family, the metal community is one big family, they come together for each other like no other.” And as you can see from the photo gallery below, it was indeed a night to remember, a celebration of life and metal, exactly how Walter would have liked it to be. Here are all the fantastic bands that were on the bill, and as many people have said Walter would have certainly taken a selfie with each one of them…
In the Facebook page to the event you can find a lot more details about the whole thing, see other photos taken by different attendees, other posts and discussions around Walter and the metal community in Toronto, and so on, as well as a very nice summary of the night on the video below. RIP WALTER! AM HERE!
Quebecois one man Black Metal project Orphique has unveiled a debut album entitled Consécration Cadavérique, which has been independently released on cassette, but has also seen a CD release via Sepulchral Productions.
The first of five tracks, Onirique has a steady, composed feeling to it; a methodical sound that breaks into blast beating fury in a mature and controlled way. Vocally, Monsieur Potter has a powerful snarling style, whilst his song-writing technique leans towards the intricate and thought provoking. He’s also a very talented guitarist and some of his guitar based melodies are extremely beautiful to behold, as are his stark, cold undertones. As for his bass playing technique, it is again deliberate, strong and pronounced, and each instrument has been given its time to shine on this opening track, which just like the whole album is recorded and mastered smoothly.
Whilst this album is technically very sound, there is a spark missing in my opinion. So, whilst the album is more than listenable, it also fails to set the blood pumping in a way that a truly great album would. If anything, Consécration Cadavérique feels very much like a paint by numbers album, right down to the subtle use of synth and the obligatory tremolo picking. So whilst everything fits well together, the album flows nicely and there is plenty of bleak melody involved, it still feels a little formulaic.
With all of that being said, Consécration Cadavérique is still a very enjoyable album, just not an exciting one.
Best moments of the album: The overall fluency and technicality of the musicianship.
Worst moments of the album: There are no worst moments especially.
The last concert of 2022 (at least for me) couldn’t have been any better, as Toronto had the pleasure of hosting The Great Heathen Tour 2022 at this amazing new venue called History, which was by the way inaugurated in November 2021 and belongs to Toronto’s own rapper Drake, with the bands CATTLE DECAPITATION, OBITUARY, CARCASS and the unstoppable heathen horde AMON AMARTH. The venue is in a nice area of the city, near the beaches, with plenty of parking options and decent places to eat nearby such as The Burger’s Priest, making the whole experience a lot more enjoyable than going to a concert at Rebel, for example.
And everything was so well-organized, from the line to get into the venue to the merch booths, bars and coat check, that between the doors opening at 5:30pm and the first concert I had time to do all that and still had 15-20min left before American Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore outfit CATTLE DECAPITATION hit the stage at 6:30pm sharp with their vicious sonic attack. Still promoting their 2019 album Death Atlas, the band spearheaded by frontman Travis Ryan needed less than a minute to inspire the crowd to create a massive circle pit in the middle of the floor section, and that circle pit went on and on until the very end of their concert (and of the entire night, I might say). Moreover, although their setlist was extremely short, it was solid enough to put a smile on the faces of their diehard fans, with the pulverizing Bring Back the Plague being the icing on the cake of their great performance.
Setlist Anthropogenic: End Transmission The Geocide
Vulturous The Great Dying Pt. II Finish Them
We Eat Our Young
Time’s Cruel Curtain
Bring Back the Plague
Band members Travis Ryan – vocals
Josh Elmore – lead guitars
Belisario Dimuzio – rhythm guitars
Olivier Pinard – bass
David McGraw – drums
If you’re familiar with the laws, rules and regulations in Toronto you know that most concerts must finish by 11pm depending on the neighborhood where the venue is located, so you can imagine that with four amazing bands like the ones from last night there weren’t any huge breaks in between bands. That being said, I had time to grab a quick beer before one of the biggest Death Metal institutions of all time, the unstoppable OBITUARY, began their insane performance led by the iconic vocalist John Tardy and the crushing drums by his younger brother Donald Tardy. It was again a short but precise and infernal performance by those American death metallers, blending their old school stuff the likes of I’m in Pain with a brand new song from their upcoming 2023 album Dying of Everything, the demolishing The Wrong Time, and by the reaction of the crowd to each and every song played by Obituary we know they’ll keep moving forward no matter what for many years to come. Needless to say, I can’t wait for Dying of Everything next year.
Setlist Snortin’ Whiskey (Pat Travers Band song) Redneck Stomp
A Lesson in Vengeance
Visions in My Head
Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover)
The Wrong Time
I’m in Pain
John Tardy – vocals
Kenny Andrews – lead guitars
Trevor Peres – rhythm guitars
Terry Butler – bass
Donald Tardy – drums
Another short break, another beer, and then it was finally time for my first ever face-to-face meeting with England’s own Melodic Death Metal/Death ‘n’ Roll trailblazers CARCASS, one of the very few bands I’ve always been a fan of but that I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing live. Still promoting their fantastic 2021 album Torn Arteries, Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, Tom Draper and Daniel Wilding put on a marvelous show for the delight of all fans at the venue, igniting some sick mosh pits to the sound of Incarnated Solvent Abuse, This Mortal Coil, Genital Grinder, and my favorite Carcass song of all time, Heartwork. Hopefully, Carcass will keep delivering amazing material such as Torn Arteries in the coming years, which means more world tours of course, because Toronto loves Carcass and we’re eager to see them again in a not-so-distant future.
Setlist The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (Intro) Buried Dreams
Kelly’s Meat Emporium
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Under the Scalpel Blade
This Mortal Coil
Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)
The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Carneous Cacoffiny (Outro)
Band members Jeff Walker – vocals, bass
Bill Steer – guitars, backing vocals
Tom Draper – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums
At long last, just like what happened with Cannibal Corpse, the unparalleled Swedish Melodic Death Metal horde AMON AMARTH was finally able to return to Canada after three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the wait was beyond worth it as their concert yesterday in Toronto was superb to say the least. Those Swedish Vikings kicked some serious ass from the very first second of the classic Guardians of Asgaard (and yes, they’re starting their shows this tour already with a bang), with frontman Johan Hegg being on fire with his deep roars and a very respectful beard. All songs form their 2022 album The Great Heathen Army sounded fantastic live, in special the title-track The Great Heathen Army, adding an extra taste to their incendiary setlist full of classic songs including Destroyer of the Universe and Shield Wall.
The most memorable moment for all fans at the venue was undoubtedly when the band played their new hit Put Your Back Into the Oar, when halfway through it the whole floor section sat down and began rowing like in a Viking ship. That was amazing, really, really fun, proving Amon Amarth are one of those bands that know exactly how to captivate their audiences and interact with each and every fan in the most exciting way possible. If you’re attending one of their upcoming concerts, don’t forget to join the rowing. Their music is awesome, their stage is getting better and better with each tour, but the rowing is something so unique I think it should be mandatory for anyone who purchases a ticket to participate. I can’t wait for the next time Amon Amarth takes the city of Toronto by storm, and I’ll surely be there to put my back into the oar again! ROW! ROW! ROW!
It’s always great to enjoy a night of heavy music in Toronto, to share a few beers with your friends, and to see several familiar faces in the crowd. However, there was one of those familiar faces missing, and it was THE MOST familiar face of the Toronto metal scene. Our beloved super metal fan Walter Froeberich passed away on November 26 after trying to get help for nearly ten days for a serious abdominal pain, but he was allegedly sent home with just some antibiotics and, sadly, died at home in the end. His closest friends organized a protest in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital today demanding justice for Walter, and I really hope something is done to make sure that type of situation doesn’t ever happen again with anyone else in Toronto. I didn’t formally know Walter, but I’ve shared the pit with him many, many times and I’ll miss him in all future concerts in the city. When Amon Amarth played the excellent Raise Your Horns, I raised my horns for Walter, and I’m sure one day I’ll say hello to him in person when we meet in Valhalla again.
Setlist Run to the Hills (Iron Maiden song) Guardians of Asgaard
Deceiver of the Gods
Oden Owns You All
The Pursuit of Vikings
The Great Heathen Army
Get in the Ring
Destroyer of the Universe
Put Your Back Into the Oar
Cry of the Black Birds
The Way of Vikings
Raise Your Horns
Encore: Twilight of the Thunder God
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – lead guitar
Johan Söderberg – rhythm guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Jocke Wallgren – drums