Album Review – Ewiniar / Burning the Night (2021)

From a mutual love of dark, moody and melancholic music emerges the debut album by a Melodic Gothic Rock and Metal husband-and-wife unity from Croatia.

From a mutual love of dark, moody and melancholic music emerges the sound of Split, Croatia-based Melodic Gothic Rock/Metal unity Ewiniar,  who has just released their debut effort Burning the Night. Combining female vocals over juddering drums and blistering guitar work to deliver a sonic experience that is all their own, the husband-and-wife duo formed of vocalist Katarina Tramontana and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Marin Tramontana explores the broad range of their influences by producing music that lights their inner fire in Burning the Night, all enhanced by the top-of-the-line mixing and mastering by Theodor Borovski at Slaughtered Studio and the stylish artwork by James Hutton Illustration, therefore being highly recommended for admirers of the music by renowned bands the likes of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Epica, among many others.

As soon as you hit play a doomed atmosphere will embrace your soul in Against the Stream, with Marin delivering classic beats and riffs, and consequently providing Katarina with all she needs to shine on vocals. Not only that, all elements from 80’s Gothic Rock added to their music make things even more mesmerizing. Then blending the whimsical sounds of bands like Tristania, Nightwish and Paradise Lost, the band offers us all Under the Stars, a beautiful creation by the duo showcasing Katarina’s crisp vocal lines amidst the rumbling bass lines and rhythmic beats by Marin, followed by Years of Heaven, another enfolding creation by Ewiniar where Marian has an awesome performance as a one-man music machine, with his riffs and solos walking hand in hand with his ethereal keys. And a serene start to the acoustic guitars by Marin and Katarina’s gorgeous vocals evolves into Mother, presenting a solid sound but lacking the same punch and feeling from the rest of the album.

Adding hints of folk to their doomed Gothic Rock it’s time for the almost medieval ballad Midnight Sun, flowing smoothly until the very end (and all spiced up by a soulful guitar solo by Marin), whereas drinking form the same fountain as Epica, Nightwish and After Forever the duo brings forward Suspiria, with Katarina stealing the spotlight with her stunning vocals. Back to an 80’s goth sonority the couple delivers the melodic Until the End of Time, feeling like the soundtrack to a fantasy movie thanks to the cryptic ambience crafted by Marin; and the second to last blast of their fusion of Gothic Rock and Metal comes in the form of Seekers of the Sense, another stylish, gentle but at the same time dark composition. Lastly, the title-track Burning the Night is even more epic and imposing than its predecessors, with Katarina embellishing the airwaves with her voice while Marin brings thunder to the music with his riffs, beats and keys until the very last second.

Burning the Night might be available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but in order to show your true support to such talented couple you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page. Also, don’t forget to follow Katarina and Marin on Facebook and on Instagram for news, more of their music and other nice-to-know details about them, immersing yourself in the Gothic and melodic world of Ewiniar. Katarina and Marin deserve our full appreciation and respect for putting together such beautiful and embracing album all by themselves, and let’s hope that their aforementioned mutual love for dark music never dies and that they keep bringing forth an array of albums as good as their debut opus in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Under the Stars, Suspiria and Burning the Night.

Worst moments of the album: Mother.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Against the Stream 4:43
2. Under the Stars 4:30
3. Years of Heaven 5:23
4. Mother 5:31
5. Midnight Sun 6:29
6. Suspiria 5:11
7. Until the End of Time 5:02
8. Seekers of the Sense 4:57
9. Burning the Night 5:09

Band members
Katarina Tramontana – vocals
Marin Tramontana – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – HerezA / Death Metal Drunks (2019)

Join this horde of ruthless headbanging bastards in their quest for metal and booze, armed to the teeth with their brand new opus of straightforward Death N’ Roll.

Vodka, whiskey, gin, rakija, black tooth grin, tequila, Jägermeister and Jack Daniel’s, all mixed with humongous dosages of rebelliousness, depravity and violence. That’s the extremely combustible recipe found in Death Metal Drunks, the brand new album by Croatian/German Punk/Death Metal horde HerezA and a fantastic follow-up to their 2017 release I Become Death. As the band itself likes to say, there’s no “pre”, no “post”, no “tech”, no “prog” and not even any “swe” references or connotations in their new opus, but a straightforward Death N’ Roll attack highly recommended for fans of the demolishing music played by iconic acts like Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, The Exploited, Carcass, Kreator, Motörhead and several other relentless rock and metal entities.

Formed in 2014 in Beli Manastir, Croatia, but currently located in the beautiful Stuttgart, capital of southwest Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state, what used to be a duo comprised of vocalist Ivan Kovačević and guitarist Slobodan Stupar is now a full-bodied squad with the additions of bassit Holger and drummer Thomas Polder, which translates into not only a more dynamic musicality but also makes it possible for HerezA to tour a lot more, spreading their nihilistic, inebriate and boisterous creations to the four corners of our decaying world. Produced by Slobodan himself, recorded, mixed and mastered by Mario Marković, and featuring an absolutely superb cover art by Croatian artist Andrej Bartulović (All Things Rotten), perfectly representing what HerezA are all about, Death Metal Drunks is one of those albums that will put a huge smile on your face every single time you listen to it, inspiring you to join other metalheads into the sickest circle pits you can think of.

Wicked distortions and a menacing aura suddenly explode into sheer violence in the form of music in Back From The Grave, where Ivan’s roars sound even more enraged than in their previous album, while guest vocalist Adrie Kloosterwaard (Sinister) delivers deep, guttural Cannibal Corpse-inspired lines to make things even more brutal. Then Slobodan shows no mercy for our necks with his incendiary riffs in Genocid, where Thomas keeps hammering his drums frantically, therefore being recommended for fans of a thrashier and more hardcore version or our good old Death Metal; whereas Kopam Oči, Režem Jezik, Prste, Nos I Uši (“I dig my eyes, I cut my tongue, my fingers, my nose and my ears” from Croatian), featuring guest vocals by Igor Buljin (Gorthaur’s Wrath), follows a similar pattern as most songs in I Become Death, or in other words, it’s  an onrush of vicious sounds that will inspire you to slam into the pit like a maniac while Slobodan and Holger don’t stop slashing their stringed weapons mercilessly.

Blazing guitars and punk-infused drums dictate the rhythm in the boozy metal hymn Death Metal Drunks, by far my favorite song of the album showcasing utterly entertaining lyrics vociferated by Ivan (“We are back once again / To show you how it’s done / Pedal to the metal, full speed ahead / Breaks are for the weak / Head through the wall, we don’t care at all / Heading for selfdestruction / Give us booze, give us beer / We are ready for execution”), followed by Rak n’Roll, bringing forward less than two minutes of total sonic anarchy as if the Exploited and Napalm Death had a son (and if that son was trained by Cannibal Corpse), with highlights to Thomas’ crushing performance on drums. Horses bring the noise in Dullahan, a thunderous tune infused with badass Rock N’ Roll elements the likes of Motörhead, also presenting a great job done by Slobodan with his scorching riffs and featuring the third guest vocalist of the album, Aleister Kainulainen (King Satan), to give the whole song and extra kick. And if you think HerezA will slow down at any given point you’re absolutely wrong, as Do Kosti Bez Milosti (“to the bone without mercy”) is another overdose of violence, insanity and rage sung in their mother tongue Croatian, with Ivan’s demented growls and Thomas’ nonstop beats inspiring the listener to violently crack their spinal cords in half.

Beneath The Wheels Of Death is hell on wheels once again led by the berserk grunts by Ivan while Slobodan delivers spot-on riffs and solos, and there’s no time to breathe at all as after a weird semi-acoustic intro the quartet blasts their own version of what can be called “Country Metal” in Necrobitch, Cowgirl From The Morgue, with its lyrics seeming like they were taken from a Steel Panther song but embraced by the heaviness and speed of Punk Rock. In addition to that, pay good attention to how Holger’s groovy and rumbling bass lines add a lot of electricity to the overall result. In Stupid Spoiled Whore the quartet once again brings to our ears very “classy” lyrics (“Spoiled, rich, little girl / You have everything in the world / Mommy and daddy love you so / They can’t see you’re just a / Piece of shit / You make me sick / An ugly boar / Stupid spoiled whore / Shit for brains / You leave stains / Everywhere you go / You’re stupid spoiled whore”), with the music being a feast of raw, razor-edged noises and tones that couldn’t sound more violent. And lastly, Monstrum is a beyond thrilling and deranged way to close such excellent album of extreme music where Thomas steals the spotlight with his frantic drumming while Ivan, Slobodan and Holger fill out every empty space with their respective growls, riffs and bass punches.

After all is said and done, I have only one very simple question to you, and I’m pretty sure your answer will be positive. Do you consider yourself a Death Metal drunk? Well, if you’re reading this review to the very end I believe you are, which means you’re more than ready to join HerezA in their quest for metal and booze by following them on Facebook, and especially by purchasing your copy of Death Metal Drunks (available for a full listen on Spotify and on YouTube) from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp or webstore, as well as from Apple Music and Discogs. And after putting your hands on the album and hitting play, you know what to do. It’s booze, slamming, more booze, headbanging while slamming, an extra dose of booze, and so on.

Best moments of the album: Kopam Oči, Režem Jezik, Prste, Nos I Uši, Death Metal Drunks and Do Kosti Bez Milosti.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Back From The Grave (feat. Adrie Kloosterwaard) 2:56
2. Genocid 1:58
3. Kopam Oči, Režem Jezik, Prste, Nos I Uši (feat. Igor Buljin) 2:53
4. Death Metal Drunks 3:10
5. Rak n’Roll 1:34
6. Dullahan (feat. Aleister Kainulainen) 2:42
7. Do Kosti Bez Milosti 3:15
8. Beneath The Wheels Of Death 2:10
9. Necrobitch, Cowgirl From The Morgue 3:23
10. Stupid Spoiled Whore 2:35
11. Monstrum 1:38

Band members
Ivan Kovacevic – vocals
Slobodan Stupar – guitar, vocals
Holger – bass
Thomas Polder – drums

Guest musicians
Adrie Kloosterwaard – vocals on “Back From the Grave”
Igor Buljin – vocals on “Kopam Oči, Režem Jezik, Prste, Nos I Uši”
Aleister Kainulainen – vocal on “Dullahan”

Album Review – HerezA / I Become Death (2017)

This Croatian bulldozer is ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their savage sophomore opus, a vortex of devastation blending the most hazardous attributes of Punk and Death Metal that will crush your skull ruthlessly.

Rating4

hereza_coverForged in the deepest fires of Beli Manastir in July 2014, a town in eastern Croatia close to the border with Hungary, Punk/Death Metal infernal duo HerezA, which by the way is Croatian for “heresy”, has been battling against all odds in a country otherwise barren for their music style, violently carving their name in the entrails of their homeland through their wicked creations. After the release of their debut album Misanthrope in 2015, lead singer Ivan Kovačević and multi-instrumentalist Slobodan Stupar are ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their savage sophomore opus, a vortex of devastation accurately named I Become Death.

Displaying a darkly intimidating artwork by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Maciej Kamuda, I Become Death will utterly shatter your neck and dismantle your braincase in its 30 minutes of vicious extreme music, bringing forward the most hazardous attributes of Death, Thrash and Black Metal, magnifying their impact with the addition of elements from D-Beat Crust, Hardcore and Punk Rock. Everything is played at the speed of light with all instruments breathing fire and hatred, featuring obviously the well-known high-quality melody and cohesiveness of European Metal. Put differently, HerezA sounds like an unstoppable sonic Leopard 2A7, one of Germany’s most successful and powerful battle tanks in history, aiming directly at your head.

The most brutal Blackened Death Metal is blasted by Slobodan in the title-track I Become Death, a monstrous business card presented by the Croatian duo where Ivan gives life to the destroyer of worlds with his infernal growls through the song’s bestial lyrics (“I come in form of devastating waves / Penetrating radiation filling up the graves / Where I go, I bring the hellish fire / A burning inferno my only desire”). And there’s no time for your head to stop buzzing, as another fantastic sick devastation in the form of music named Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna (or “fucking your cold mouth” from Croatian) comes crushing mercilessly, with Slobodan exhaling anger and aggressiveness through his Death Metal beats and flammable riffs while Ivan keeps growling like a maniac; followed by Homo Homini Lupus Est (“man is a wolf” from Latin), not only an amazing portrait of their fusion of Punk and Death Metal with a strong D-Beat Crust vibe, but also an underground hymn for slamming into the mosh pit.

Get ready to be pulverized like an insignificant insect by this demented duo in the frantic Uništi, Pali, Ruši (Croatian for “destroy, burn, tear it down”), the best tune of the album in my opinion where cutting guitar lines and wicked Black and Death Metal beats make the music sound as if Cannibal Corpse went The Exploited. And again drinking from the fountain of D-Beat Crust and mixing it with elements from Black Metal, Ivan continues to fire his beastly growls in In The Name of God, a song spiced up by its anti-religious lyrics (“They’ve build their biggest temples / To worship their false saints / Covered with diamonds dressed in gold / A hunger for money never getting old”), whereas in the brutish Full Moon Slaughter the duo viciously puts the pedal to the metal, with Slobodan delivering tons of melody through his riffs, but obviously always sounding insanely heavy, leaning towards old school Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal.

hereza_bandNeplodna Jama, or “barren dich”, is perhaps the song with the highest amount of old school Punk Rock and contemporary Punk Metal elements, with the guttural vocals by Ivan being the song’s Death Metal ingredient, feeling like this time it’s The Exploited going Cannibal Corpse. Torn from the Death’s Bed, the slowest composition of all, presents solid guitar lines and beats by Slobodan in sync with the gnarls by Ivan (albeit not as kick-ass as the rest of the album), while in Pošast (“vermin”) the band gets back to their electrified amalgamation of Punk Rock and Death Metal, inspiring you to ferociously smash some skulls into the pit. And Tombcrawler, the high-octane deathblow in I Become Death, begins in a somber way before bursting into sheer brutality, keeping the rampage going on in full force until the song’s sinister neck-breaking ending.

In case you’re thinking “HerezA are awesome, but how am I going to see them live if they’re only two guys?”, let me tell you there’s nothing to worry about, as the duo is joined on stage by their henchmen Bojan Babic on guitar, Milan Prodanovic on bass and Leonardo Markovic on drums, which means their apocalyptic music is materialized quite often at metal pubs and venues in Croatia for the total delight of headbangers all over Europe eager for a sonic bloodbath. And even if you’re not planning a trip to Croatia anytime soon, you can still follow Ivan and Slobodan at their official Facebook page, and purchase I Become Death at the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page. After listening to the extreme compositions by this Croatian bulldozer, your metallic senses will never be the same again.

Best moments of the album: Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna, Uništi, Pali, Ruši and Full Moon Slaughter.

Worst moments of the album: Torn from the Death’s Bed.

Released in 2017 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. I Become Death 4:15
2. Jebem Vas U Usta Ladna 2:30
3. Homo Homini Lupus Est 3:05
4. Uništi, Pali, Ruši 2:20
5. In The Name of God 1:25
6. Full Moon Slaughter 3:35
7. Neplodna Jama 1:55
8. Torn from the Death’s Bed 2:16
9. Pošast 3:33
10. Tombcrawler 4:14

Band members
Ivan Kovačević – vocals
Slobodan Stupar – all instruments, backing vocals

Guest musician
Denis Sloboda – guitar solo on “In the Name of God” and “Pošast”