Album Review – Godless Truth / Godless Truth (2022)

The new album by this ruthless Czech Death Metal horde will bring Armageddon to us all, sounding refreshingly clear while also sounding sufficiently nasty.

Long-running Olomouc, Czech Republic-based Technical Death Metal band Godless Truth might have been around since the early 90’s, but they have definitely gone from strength to strength with each album, imbibing influences that enhance their sound and make them more powerful and effective than ever before. Mixed and mastered by Joe Haley at Crawlspace Productions, displaying a demonic artwork by Marcos Miller at Nauseaimage, and featuring an array of very special (and demolishing) guests, the band’s brand new self-titled album will bring Armageddon to us all, sounding refreshingly clear while also sounding sufficiently nasty, therefore establishing their identity in an overpopulated scene as a band doing it with panache and grit, and being highly recommended for admirers of the infernal sound blasted by bands the likes of Death, Benighted, Decapitated, Atheist and Obscura.

Eerie sounds arise from the underworld in the uncanny intro Wheels of Entity before the band smashes our damned souls with The Decision, featuring a sick guitar solo by guest Rafael Trujillo of Obscura, a pulverizing display of Death Metal that will make your head tremble to the blast beats by Petr Mikeš. Put differently, it’s absolutely infernal from start to finish thanks to the gruesome roars by Adam while Petr Švancara and Ondřej fire sheer animosity from their guitars, flowing into the sinister interlude Glory to Desperation, where the melodic sound of their riffs will mesmerize you before they crush our senses once again with their Technical Death Metal in Scissors, with Jakub and Petr Mikeš showing no mercy for our cranial skulls armed with their insane kitchen, offering Adam all he needs to shine with his deep, venomous guttural. And in Breathe Fire the name of the song matches perfectly with Adam’s flammable vociferations, adding hints of Black Metal to their already savage sonority while his bandmates make sure the music remains as demented as possible until the very last second.

Featuring guest vocalist Petr Angelo Čuka of Dissolution, it’s time for a neck-breaking feast entitled Fortune Time, with Petr Švancara and Ondřej kicking ass with both their sick riffage and piercing solos, inspiring us all to slam into some wild circle pits if played live; whereas Jakub’s rumbling bass ignites the Death Metal onrush named Bred in Greed, accompanied by the rhythmic drums by Petr Mikeš in a great display of dexterity and rage, keeping the album at a humongous level of insanity. Then with Joe Haley of Psycroptic delivering an incendiary guitar solo, Petr Mikeš sounds like a stone crusher from hell in The Eyechain, a song that will please all fans of the most demolishing side of Death Metal hands down, not to mention how visceral the roaring by Adam sounds, and the piano by guest Peter Gábor brings an extra touch of darkness to RIP Cage while Godless Truth simply decimate their devilish instruments, sounding fast and furious just the way we like it with the band’s guitar duo being on fire from start to finish. Finally, vocalist Matt Delirious lends his beastly roars to the band in Wake Up to Obey, ending the album on a dark, groovy and violent note, therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Technical and Progressive Death Metal.

If you want to know more about the fusion of brutality and melody blasted by Godless Truth, you can start following the band on Facebook and purchase your copy of their insane self-titled beast from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore, where you can find a beautiful, natural-textured, green-coloured wooden box set with matte finish that has the band logo laser-engraved on it with the label logo on the back, strictly limited to 65 copies and packed with an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect and UV lamination, an autographed card, a green shaped logo patch, an album artwork coaster, a large badge and metallic stickers. In a nutshell, despite being on the road for so long, it’s with their new album that Godless Truth have reached their finest moment, elevating the name of Czech Technical Death Metal to new heights.

Best moments of the album: The Decision, Breathe Fire and The Eyechain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Wheels of Entity 0:59
2. The Decision 4:22
3. Glory to Desperation 0:44
4. Scissors 3:44
5. Breathe Fire 3:11
6. Fortune Time 4:10
7. Bred in Greed 4:19
8. The Eyechain 3:30
9. RIP Cage 3:49
10. Wake Up to Obey 4:06

Band members
Adam B. Sychrow – vocals
Petr Švancara – guitar
Ondřej Černobila – guitar
Jakub Grunt – bass
Petr Mikeš – drums

Guest musicians
Rafael Trujillo – lead guitar on “The Decision”
Joe Haley – lead guitar on “The Eyechain”
Petr Angelo Čuka – vocals on “Fortune Time”
Peter Gábor – piano on “RIP Cage”
Matt Delirious – vocals on “Wake Up To Obey”

Album Review – Cutterred Flesh / Sharing is Caring (2021)

Brace yourselves for the new album by this ruthless Czech Death Metal horde, offering that warm, comforting, bludgeoning heaviness that will put you to sleep, perhaps permanently.

Forged  in 2001 in the burning fires of Karlovy Vary, a town in the west Bohemia region of the Czech Republic (or Czechia, if you prefer), a Brutal Death Metal beast that goes by the name of Cutterred Flesh is ready to spread violence, gore and insanity all over the world thanks to their newborn spawn, entitled Sharing Is Caring, the follow-up to their 2018 album Code: Violence. Recorded at Kohlekeller Studio under the supervision of Kristian Kohle Kohlmannslehner, and displaying a demonic artwork by Pär Olofsson (Aborted, Immolation), the album is loaded with all the Death Metal riffs you need, all the diversity to not only set the songs apart but to also keep things interesting, and that warm, comforting, bludgeoning heaviness that will put you to sleep, perhaps permanently, showcasing all the talent and aggressiveness of Jiri Krs on vocals, Vitali Novak and David Krombholz on the guitars, Zdenek Hnizdil on bass and Frantisek Drazdansky on drums, being therefore highly recommended for fans of Suffocation, Devourment, Aborted, Cattle Decapitation and Benighted, among several others.

Frantisek begins his sonic attack behind his drums in Vibrio Vulnificus, an obscure and primeval Death Metal aria by Cutterred Flesh where Jiri takes the lead with his inhumane growling, going straight to your jugular while showcasing a lot of intricacy at the same time; and Black Aurora brings forward another round of sheer violence and darkness by the quintet, with both Vitali and David breathing fire through their guitars, not to mention the stone crushing sound blasted by Frantisek for our total delight. Then in Where Only Old Flesh Stinks a more melancholic vibe is carefully added to their core devastation, setting the stage for Jiri to bark like a creature of the underworld while Zdenek delivers some vicious and complex lines from his bass, followed by Good Boy – Romantic Relationship with Necrotic Tissue, featuring guest vocals by American singer and guitarist Von Young of Lividity, a vicious Death Metal onrush that sounds as infernal and demolishing as it can be.

Cutterred Flesh Sharing Is Caring CD Box Set

The Mystery of the Black Hen offers our putrid ears three minutes of pure, unfiltered Death Metal where the band’s guitar duo not only cuts our skin deep with their sharp riffage, but they also fire beautiful solos, whereas in Amused by the Tenacity of a Dying Whore the band adds elements from Deathslam and even Deathcore to their massive sonority, resulting in one of the most disturbing and heaviest of all songs, and with Frantisek sounding like he’s possessed on drums. Fans of Suffocation and Aborted will have a blast with Knife Is Not the Enemy, a brutal and infernal European death feast where Jiri showcases his deepest guttural roars from start to finish, and there’s no time to breathe thanks to the imposing My Favourite Bodybag, another stunning depiction of the band’s brutality and talent with Zdenek and Frantisek generating a thunderous wall of Death Metal with their demonic kitchen. And how about a body slammin’ extravaganza as a bonus track? That’s what you’ll get in Progressive Body Adjustment, with Jiri’s screams being supported by the inhumane beats by Frantisek until the very last second.

If you’re a fan of the brutality of classic Death Metal with a melodic and intricate twist, I’m sure you’ll have a blast with Sharing is Caring, available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore as an ass-kicking wooden LP box set with engraving containing a gatefold LP with metallic effect and UV lamination, an autographed card, an A3 size poster, a shaped logo patch, a bottle opener badge and a metallic sticker (and you can get it HERE or HERE), from Apple Music or from Amazon. Also, don’t forget to give the guys from Cutterred Flesh a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, sharing your love for Brutal Death Metal with the band and other metalheads from all over the world because, as the name of the album already says, sharing is caring.

Best moments of the album: Black Aurora, Where Only Old Flesh Stinks and Amused by the Tenacity of a Dying Whore.

Worst moments of the album: The Mystery of the Black Hen.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Vibrio Vulnificus 4:04
2. Black Aurora 4:26
3. Where Only Old Flesh Stinks 4:32
4. Good Boy – Romantic Relationship with Necrotic Tissue 3:16
5. The Mystery of the Black Hen 3:25
6. Amused by the Tenacity of a Dying Whore 3:10
7. Knife Is Not the Enemy 4:15
8. My Favourite Bodybag 4:12

Bonus track
9. Progressive Body Adjustment 3:37

Band members
Jiri Krs – vocals
Vitali Novak – guitar
David Krombholz – guitar
Zdenek Hnizdil – bass
Frantisek Drazdansky – drums

Guest musician
Von Young – vocals on “Good Boy – Romantic Relationship with Necrotic Tissue”

Album Review – Innersphere / Omfalos (2021)

One of the most promising metal acts from the Czech Republic returns with their awesome sophomore opus, again dealing with topics of our own existence and naturalism.

3.5rating

innersphere-omfalos-2021Established in Pilsen, a city in the western Czech Republic, in the fall of 2015, Melodic Death/Thrash Metal unity Innersphere has just released their sophomore opus, entitled Omfalos, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2018 debut effort Amnesia. Produced, mastered and engineered by Dan Friml (Mean Messiah), recorded at The Barn, and displaying a darkly stunning artwork by Martina Samková (Ghost in the Shell, Llyr), Omfalos, which derives from the Greek ομφαλός (omphalos), meaning “center of the world”, once again deals with topics of our own existence and naturalism through mysterious stories with many metaphors, all beautifully brought into being by the ominous quartet comprised of Míra Litomerický on vocals, guitars and samples, Lukáš Mai also on the guitars, Marek Hubocký on bass and Filip Wintr on drums.

The atmospheric and somber intro Presentiment warms up our senses for The Darkest Hour, an imposing Progressive Metal tune showcasing obscure lyrics growled by Míra (“Droughts, plague, famine – we all blame the gods – surrendered / Cannot escape our fate – raising blackest thought – in this hour”) while the instrumental parts remain dense and captivating from start to finish; and  enhancing their aggressiveness considerably, Míra and Lukáš sound infernal with their riffs in Above accompanied by the crushing drums by Filip, therefore resulting in a multi-layered, bold Melodic Death Metal aria. Then it’s time to set fire to the album in Fire, where the classic, strident riffage blasted by the band’s guitarists walks hand in hand with the bass punches by Marek, reverberating in the air in great Black and Death Metal fashion, whereas the title-track Omfalos is a headbanging beast led by the intricate drumming by Filip, with all background elements and orchestrations adding a touch of epicness to the overall result. Not only that, Míra’s roaring gets deeper and more enraged as the music progresses for our total delight.

In Wisdom, a sinister, Blackened Doom-infused intro evolves into a massive wall of sounds, showcasing neck-breaking riffs and beats, a mournful atmosphere and the always demonic vociferations by Míra, ending in a beyond climatic manner; and putting the pedal to the metal, Filip fires some tribal beats in the violent Blackness, with the bass by Marek sounding truly thunderous in an amazing display of their trademark fusion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, not to mention the song’s sick guitar solo. Back to a more somber vibe, the quartet brings forward a fusion of Death, Black and Doom Metal in Nature Of Sorrow, which unfortunately falls flat after a while, sounding a bit generic compared to the rest of the album; however, Innersphere gets back on track with their second to last explosion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, titled The Embodiment, where they keep slashing their stringed axes nonstop, providing Míra all he needs to growl and scream demonically. Finally, melancholic piano notes ignite the closing aria The Fall, once again investing in a Blackened Doom sonority (in special through the deep gnarls by Míra and the sluggish beats by Filip), flowing smoothly until its Stygian finale.

innersphere-2021Such intense fusion of melodic, progressive and dark music can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and you should also show your support to the guys from Innersphere by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for new, tour dates and so on, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their awesome music. And above all that, you should definitely add Omfalos to your vast collection of metal albums by purchasing it from their BandCamp page, from the Slovak Metal Army webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon. The guys from Innersphere more than succeeded in depicting the center of the world through their unique music, leaving us more-than-curious to know what’s next in their shining path of life and death.

Best moments of the album: Above, Omfalos and Blackness.

Worst moments of the album: Nature Of Sorrow.

Released in 2021 Slovak Metal Army

Track listing 
1. Presentiment 1:14
2. The Darkest Hour 4:13
3. Above 5:05
4. Fire 4:49
5. Omfalos 4:17
6. Wisdom 6:13
7. Blackness 4:03
8. Nature Of Sorrow 5:48
9. The Embodiment 4:47
10. The Fall 6:05

Band members
Míra Litomerický – vocals, guitars, samples
Lukáš Mai – guitars
Marek Hubocký – bass, backing vocals
Filip Wintr – drums

Album Review – Zifir / Demoniac Ethics (2020)

An unrelenting Turkish horde continues to pave their path of anti-religiousness and nihilism in their brand new and sulfurous album.

“Zifir is a confession about who we are, and who you are.”

Arising from the pits of Istanbul, Turkey (and also hailing from Brno, Czech Republic) with an infernal explosion of putrid Black Metal spiced up with Doom Metal and Blackened Doom nuances, an unrelenting horde that goes by the name of Zifir, which by the way is the Persian-originated Turkish word for “tar” (finding its use in “zifiri karanlık”, an idiom corresponding to “utter darkness”), returns with another blasphemous album titled Demoniac Ethics, the fourth full-length opus since the band’s inception in 2006 in the Turkish city of İzmir. Formed by Onur Önok on vocals and guitars, Ilgar on bass and Nursuz on drums, Zifir continue to pave their path of anti-religiousness and nihilism in Demoniac Ethics, showing religion through a twisted kaleidoscope, exposing the imprisoning religious dogma and tyranny that have occurred throughout history, and taking you right into the innermost sanctum of their anti-religious agenda while delivering one of the strongest and most forward-thinking Black Metal releases of late. Add to all that the disturbing artwork by Ukrainian artist Vergvoktre and there you have a full-bodied ode to darkness made in Turkey.

And cryptic, somber sounds permeate the air in the intro Sûr before Onur begins his primeval sonic attack in Chants For Execution, growling and slashing his guitar strings manically while his bandmates fire sheer obscurity from their rumbling bass and drums, also presenting background ritualistic elements to make the whole experience even more impactful to the listener. Then in Still Reigning austere lyrics are darkly vociferated by Onur (“We are in despair, now and forever / The only truth is just dystopia / Behold the portrait of hell, in the realm of hysteria”) while Ilgar and Nursuz bring a grim Doom Metal touch to the overall sonority, feeling at times like pure Blackened Doom; followed by Empire of Worms, again venturing through the Stygian lands of crushing doom with Nursuz delivering both old school Black Metal beats and ominous, sluggish sounds, while Onur continues his descent into pitch black darkness with his inhumane vocalizations.

Gökyüzü Karanlık (or “the sky is dark” from Turkish), a pure, unfiltered Blackened Doom extravaganza led by the slow and fierce beats by Nursuz, is not recommended for the lighthearted, while Onur and Ilgar extract minimalist and extremely venomous sounds form their stringed axes, whereas the beyond vile bridge An Eerie Moment prepares our senses for Chaos Clouds, a vile and imposing Black Metal feast where Onur sounds more demonic than ever, sounding very atmospheric from start to finish and bringing forward tribal drums and razor-edge, crushing riffs intertwined with the vicious gnarls by Onur. And strident guitars and endless obscurity are the main ingredients in Spirit of Goats, all boosted by its anti-religious, sulfurous words (“Life they pledge / Death of else / Tons of faith / Drowned beneath lies / All shall rot / Tons of faith / Heresy saves / I am the spirit of goats”). Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded more old school and otherworldly that this.

Never tired of spreading blasphemy, rage and darkness, the trio fires the absolutely gruesome A Bleak Portrait, a hybrid between classic Black Metal and contemporary Blackened Doom spearheaded by Onur with his hellish growls and riffs, while Ephemeral Idols leans towards a more classic version of extreme music infused with Black N’ Roll elements. Moreover, Ilgar and his menacing bass lines are effectively complemented by the headbanging beats by Nursuz, resulting in an amazing performance by the trio and ending in the most Mephistophelian way possible. Lastly, closing the album we have the also somber and cryptic Insects as Messengers, a lesson in Black and Doom Metal led by the vicious roars by Onur and the slow and poisonous drums by Nursuz, with the sound of Onur’s guitars cutting your skin deep without a single drop of mercy.

There are several locations where you can purchase your copy of Demoniac Ethics (which is also available for a full listen on YouTube), including the band’s own BandCamp page, the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp page and webstore (in CD and LP formats), Apple Music and Amazon, and of course don’t forget to support the band by following them on Facebook and on Instagram and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, keeping the fires of underground, anti-religious Black Metal burning bright and spreading the blasphemous and utterly incendiary sounds and words of such demented Turkish horde to the four corners of our decaying, condemned world.

Best moments of the album: Chants For Execution, Spirit of Goats and Ephemeral Idols.

Worst moments of the album: Still Reigning.

Released in 2020 Duplicate Records

Track listing
1. Sûr 1:33
2. Chants For Execution 4:20
3. Still Reigning 5:38
4. Empire of Worms 5:04
5. Gökyüzü Karanlık 2:36
6. An Eerie Moment 2:04
7. Chaos Clouds 4:27
8. Spirit of Goats 3:39
9. A Bleak Portrait 3:55
10. Ephemeral Idols 3:53
11. Insects as Messengers 4:32

Band members
Onur Önok – vocals, guitars
Ilgar – bass
Nursuz – drums

Album Review – Depths Above / Ex Nihilo (2018)

Crafting Black and Doom Metal “out of nothing”, this Brno-based band is here to introduce us all to their gloomy vision of underground metal with their debut album.

Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning “out of nothing”, often appearing in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning “creation out of nothing”, chiefly in philosophical or theological contexts, but also occurring in other fields. It’s with that concept in mind that Depths Above, a Czech Black/Doom Metal band formed in 2015 in the city of Brno by current and former members of the bands Bhagavat (Italy), Desert Witch (Slovakia) and Inferno (Czech Republic), are releasing their debut installment, the 32-minute 4-track album Ex Nihilo, introducing us all to their gloomy vision of underground metal in which genres like Black, Death and Doom Metal mix in various dosages and moods. The wicked album artwork, created by the band’s own vocalist and guitarist Vama Marga, is a very good indication of what to expect from Vama together with guitarist Dreamancer, bassist Ivan Teleranko Dvorsky and drummer Sarapis, but it’s when you hit play that you’ll actually be able to feel all the madness and fury flowing from their distinguished music.

Ominous and cavernous sounds ignite the Black and Doom Metal aria Here and Everywhere, morphing into a gargantuan feast of extreme sounds led by Sarapis’ frantic drums and Vama’s and Dreamancer’s choleric riffs, before Vama begins growling like a demonic entity. And the music remains menacing and austere until its Stygian finale, being flawlessly followed by the flammable The Descent, where Ivan and Sarapis make the ground rumble with their thunderous instruments, being perfect for breaking your neck headbanging. Furthermore, the music gets more atmospheric and eccentric as time goes by, also showcasing a beautiful and impactful work done by the band’s devilish guitar duo.

Almost tribal, but always hypnotizing and obscure, A Prayer presents Vama, Dreamancer and Ivan complementing Sarapis’ nocturnal beats flawlessly with their piercing and dense strings in an instrumental extravaganza of Blackened Doom and classic Doom Metal, infused with elements from Progressive Metal the likes of Tool and Mastodon; whereas the title-track Ex Nihilo closes the album as demented and vibrant as the other songs in the form of a massive wall of darkened sounds spearheaded by Vama and his enraged roars. Moreover, it’s by far the most Black Metal of all songs, spiced up by the utter melancholy and anguish of Doom Metal, without a single space being left empty, invading your ears mercilessly and therefore closing the album on a high, cryptic and malevolent note.

You can get in touch with the talented Vama and his henchmen through their Facebook page, and grab your copy of Ex Nihilo exclusively from their BandCamp page. As aforementioned, Ex nihilo means “creation out of nothing”, and Depths Above explored that concept to perfection when creating the music found in their new album, showing the world the band is here to stay, proudly carrying the flag of Black and Doom Metal as high as the sun, but of course with their hearts and minds being as blackened as extreme music demands.

Best moments of the album: The Descent and Ex Nihilo.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Here and Everywhere 7:30
2. The Descent 7:04
3. A Prayer (Instrumental) 7:31
4. Ex Nihilo 9:04

Band members
Vama Marga – vocals, guitars
Dreamancer – guitars
Ivan Teleranko Dvorsky – bass
Sarapis – drums

Album Review – Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy / Smutnice (2018)

Deeply inspired by the Slavic feelings of ancient longing and melancholy, this Czech Folk Metal orchestra will take you on a pleasant journey through their wild and serene homeland in their brand new opus.

One of the pioneers of Folk Metal, Ostrava, Czech Republic-based band Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy, returns in 2018 with another beautiful album blending the darkest and at the same time most enfolding elements from Doom and Folk Metal, the stunning Smutnice, the sixth full-length installment in their solid career. Since their inception in 1995 when they emerged from Moravia, deep within the Slavonic heartlands, Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy have been delivering a first-class fusion of metal music with traditional Moravian folk deeply inspired by the Slavic feelings of ancient longing and melancholy, and they offer all that in Smutnice, taking you on a pleasant journey through their wild and serene homeland. As for the title, it’s not a common word in Czech language. “Smutnice” is a noun coming from the adjective “smutný”, which means “sad” or “sorrowful”, so the meaning could be something like “a poem of sadness” or “someone who brings sadness”.

Furthermore, the Moravians entered the iconic Grapow Studios once again to record with Roland Grapow himself, also joining forces with Yossi Sassi (Yossi Sassi & The Oriental Rock Orchestra, Orphaned Land), the world famous Oriental rock pioneer, who took care of the production of the album, bringing to the listener a crisp and impactful musicality enhanced by the album’s crystal clear production. Not only that, keep in mind Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy are not your regular metal band, as apart from Hana Hajdová and Pavel Hrnčíř on vocals, Radek Hajda on the guitar, Stanislav Pavlík on bass and Michal Milták on drums, the band also features a dynamic and unique duo comprised of violinist Gabriela Povraznikova and violoncellist Michal Sýkora, not to mention all special guests such as the Folklore Ensemble Kriváň on choir, Yossi Sassi himself playing an array of instruments like the bouzoukitara and the shaker, Míša Lipárová playing the dulcimer, and Martin Šob also on vocals and choir. At least for me that feels more like a full metal orchestra than a simple band, right?

The opening track Ten, Který Ukoval Slunce (or “The One Who Forged The Sun”) is folksy, embracing and fun, with the duo Gabriela and Michal Sýkora with their respective instruments bringing a whimsical aura to the overall sound, while Hana hypnotizes us with her classy vocal lines, providing a gentle and impactful start to the album. Then we have Kdo Z Nás Je Víc (“Which Of Us Is More”), a lot crazier, faster and heavier, which means it exhales awesomeness, spearheaded by the crushing beats by Michal Milták. Moreover, this time Hana shares the vocal duties with Pavel and his enraged gnarls, which by the way sound amazing in his mother tongue. And get ready for another round of captivating, smooth sounds and tones in Synečku (“My Beloved”), where Gabriela and Michal Sýkora once again warm our hearts with their strings, while Stanislav generates a rumbling and dense background curtain with his bass; followed by Ptakoprav (“He Who Talks To Birds”), a lesson in Folk Metal infused with Doom Metal nuances with the piercing guitar lines by Radek being beautifully complemented by Gabriela’s violin in a gentle but neck-breaking rhythm where Hana sounds as passionate and tuneful as usual.

Then a Doom Metal intro evolves into what’s perhaps the rawest and most experimental of all songs, named Malověrná (“She Of Little Faith”), with Radek and his riffs being in total sync with Michal Milták’s beats, while Stanislav’s bass keeps rumbling in the background. It just lacks an extra pinch of electricity, but nothing to worry about; on the other hand, the amazing Za Nevěstou (“To The Bride”), featuring Folklore Ensemble Kriváň, Yossi Sassi, Míša Lipárová and Martin Šob, is a full-bodied feast of folk and doomed sounds where all instruments sound and feel extremely sharp and thunderous, showcasing a lot of dynamism between Hana and Pavel on vocals, all embraced by stunning choir passages. Acoustic guitars and a rumbling bass set the stage for Hana and her touching vocals in the second to last track in Smutnice, titled Tichý Zpěv (“Quiet Tune”), also presenting the usual Doom Metal-inspired drums by Michal Milták and a flammable guitar solo by Radek, and closing the album we have a somber and delicate tempest of Doom and Folk Metal entitled Bezbřeží (“Shoreless”), a powerful and dense ballad by this distinguished band where once again Gabriela and Michal Sýkora steal the spotlight with their whimsical waves, ending the album in the most serene way possible.

Smutnice, available for a detailed listen on Spotify and on sale from several locations such as the band’s own BandCamp page and webstore, iTunes, Amazon and Discogs, is the perfect example of why Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy are still relevant not only in Folk and Doom Metal, but in heavy music in general, providing the listener truly raw and classic compositions inspired by their homeland (and entirely sung in their mother tongue, as a matter of fact). If you consider yourself an admirer and connoisseur of the most organic form of Folk Metal available anywhere in the world, I’m pretty sure you already know the work by Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy and you already have Smutnice on your hands. However, if you’re new to their world, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on YouTube, sharpen your senses for an overdose of Folk Metal made in the Czech Republic, and enhance your connection with your inner self and with all the nature that surrounds you.

Best moments of the album: Kdo Z Nás Je Víc, Ptakoprav and Za Nevěstou.

Worst moments of the album: Malověrná.

Released in 2018 Redblack Productions

Track listing  
1. Ten, Který Ukoval Slunce 5:24
2. Kdo Z Nás Je Víc 4:54
3. Synečku 4:56
4. Ptakoprav 7:15
5. Malověrná 5:51
6. Za Nevěstou 6:33
7. Tichý Zpěv 5:59
8. Bezbřeží 7:37

Band members
Hana Hajdová – vocals
Pavel Hrnčíř – vocals
Radek Hajda – guitar
Stanislav Pavlík – bass
Gabriela Povraznikova – violin
Michal Sýkora – violoncello
Michal Milták – drums

Guest musicians
Folklore Ensemble Kriváň – vocals (choirs) on “Za Nevěstou”
Yossi Sassi – bouzoukitara, guitar, bass, shaker, vocals (choirs) on “Za Nevěstou”
Míša Lipárová – dulcimer, vocals (choirs) on “Kdo Z Nás Je Víc”, “Malověrná” and “Za Nevěstou”
Martin Šob – vocals (choirs) on “Malověrná” and “Za Nevěstou”

Album Review – Et Moriemur / Epigrammata (2018)

Transcending the perceptions of the death and doom styles and bringing back forgotten elements from the past, the new opus by this talented Czech band perfectly depicts our attempt to cope with the death of those we loved.

Founded in 2008 in Prague, in the Czech Republic, Atmospheric Black/Death/Doom Metal supergroup Et Moriemur, featuring members of legendary bands like Dissolving of Prodigy, Self-Hatred and Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, has been spreading what they like to call “Existential Doom” all over the world ever since. The name of the band, which is Latin for “and we will die”, already says a lot about how obscure and damned their music sounds, with their brand new album Epigrammata, the third in their already solid career, transcending the perceptions of the death and doom styles and bringing back forgotten elements from Gregorian chanting, delving into the rich European history and using Latin and ancient Greek to convey their message. Featuring an array of amazing guest musicians, Epigrammata has all of its song names in Latin taken from the Requiem Mass, notable for the large number of musical compositions that it has inspired, including settings by Mozart, Verdi, Bruckner, Dvořák, Fauré and Duruflé. Originally, such compositions were meant to be performed in liturgical service, with monophonic chant.

The band, comprised of Zdeněk Nevělík on vocals, piano and keyboards, Aleš Vilingr and Pavel Janouškovec on the guitars, Karel Kovářík on bass and Michal “Datel” Rak on drums, had a few interesting words to say about their new album. “Epigrammata represents our attempt to cope with the dying or death of those we loved. To create a solemn and classical atmosphere we used lyrics in ancient Greek (the title itself means epigrams) and in Latin, more precisely from the Mass for the dead – the album follows the typical Requiem structure, i.e. Introitus, Requiem Aeternum, Dies Irae etc. – and of course the traditional, unisono male Gregorian chant. In any case we tried not to do a uni-dimensional record. So apart from the inevitable grief there is gratitude as well for having had the chance to share our life with them and hope that they are well – wherever they are.”

Whimsical waves invade our senses in Introitus (or “prelude”), with guest Kostas Panagiotou bringing epicness to the intro with his enigmatic words before a massive wall of sounds crushes us all in Requiem Aeternam (“eternal rest”), with the doomed, sluggish beats by Datel and the imposing background choir generating a truly Stygian ambience. Furthermore, Zdeněk sounds as demonic as he can be, not to mention the potency of the music coming from the violin and cello. Then the piano by Zdeněk kicks off a Blackened Doom extravaganza titled Agnus Dei (“lamb of god”), a song that reeks of sheer darkness where cavernous growls get deeper and deeper in a delicate paradox with the smother background elements. In addition, Guest musicians Labrini Karousou and Vangelis Mertzanis provide another anguished and eccentric narration, feeling more doomed than atmospheric, and absolutely haunting and dense from start to finish. And their somber mass of Doom and Black Metal goes on with another fantastic hymn titled Dies Irae (“day of wrath”), with the band’s stringed trio Aleš, Pavel and Karel being extremely precise with their scorching, damned riffs and punches, and with the keyboards by Zdeněk sounding beautifully eccentric and wicked.

In Offertorium (“offering”) we’re treated to a Phantom of the Opera-like vibe blended with the band’s otherworldly sounds and tones, with Datel simply smashing his drums slowly and flawlessly while the choir keeps mesmerizing our minds, remaining dark and vibrant until its grand finale; whereas in the slightly faster and more piercing Communio (“communion”), Et Moriemur continue to fire their low-tuned, demonic tones intertwined with the church-like choir and a huge dosage of melancholy, maintaining the album at a vibrant and perturbing level. And in Libera Me (“rescue me”) an eerie organ together with the cavernous growls by Zdeněk generate a truly enfolding atmosphere, evolving into a lecture in Blackened Doom infused with church music elements. Furthermore, the entire band is utterly focused and energized, extracting the most damned but at the same time melodious sounds you can think of from their instruments, with every single second of this aria being beyond captivating (especially the final recitation by Zdeněk).

Then the piano by Zdeněk dictate the rhythm in Absolve Domine (“release lord”), complemented by his pensive words and cinematic-epic-imposing background sounds, with the music growing beautifully until darkness is upon us once again in the Blackened Doom aria Sanctus (“spirit”), a headbanging mass led by the crawling, gloomy beats by Datel. Hence, this amazing composition will elevate your senses with its potent sonority, not to mention how the entire band is capable of sounding so devilish and gentle at the same time. Lastly we have In Paradisum (“in paradise”), a 10-minute voyage through the realms of Existential Doom where its first part is pure old school Doom Metal, until anguished lamentations permeate the air in one of the most obscure and hypnotizing metal masses I’ve ever listened to in my life. In addition, the song’s sluggish drums, serene guitars and epic keys will penetrate deep inside your soul, with an ethereal feminine voice ending this top-notch album of Atmospheric Doom Metal majestically.

Et Moriemur are one of those bands you won’t listen to anywhere but only during your moments of introspection and melancholy, with Epigrammata representing everything the band stands for in terms of music and lyrical themes. And in order to show your support to such distinguished band, go follow them on Facebook and grab your copy of Epigrammata directly from their BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore in a Digipak CD + sticker bundle, as well as from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Discogs. However, if you prefer an exclusive and more stylish version of the album, I highly recommend you go after the Epigrammata Gold-embossed and UV-laminated Box Set, containing the digipak CD with booklet, an A3 size poster having a special artwork, a fridge magnet having the album artwork, two stickers of the album artwork + emblem artwork, and an individual hand-numbered certificate of ownership for your copy. It can’t get any better, more doomed and more obscure than this, and I’m sure you’re going to love it.

Best moments of the album: Agnus Dei, Libera Me and Sanctus.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Introitus 1:41
2. Requiem Aeternam 5:15
3. Agnus Dei 5:14
4. Dies Irae 4:12
5. Offertorium 5:44
6. Communio 6:14
7. Libera Me 5:18
8. Absolve Domine 2:47
9. Sanctus 6:05
10. In Paradisum 10:41

Band members
Zdeněk Nevělík – vocals, piano, keyboards
Aleš Vilingr – guitar
Pavel Janouškovec – guitar
Karel Kovářík – bass
Michal “Datel” Rak – drums

Guest musicians
Kostas Panagiotou – vocals on “Introitus”
Nikos Vlachakis – vocals on “Agnus Dei”
Labrini Karousou & Vangelis Mertzanis – recitation on “Agnus Dei”
Jaroslav Klvaňa, Karel Russ & Lukáš Pavlovský – choir
Andrea Michálková – cello
Zuzana Králová – violin
Jindřich Bešťák – trombone
Honza Kapák – acoustic guitar

Metal Chick of the Month – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Eat the dead, cut the flesh!

Let’s turn up the heat on this last month of summer here on The Headbanging Moose with some old school, gory and extremely violent Death Metal, and in order to do that in style we have “recruited” the unstoppable Mallika Sundaramurthy, frontwoman for American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Abnormality, as our metal chick of the month. Born in Gardner, a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the United States, but currently residing in Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic (or Czechia), Mallika is not only the owner of a potent voice, but she’s also absolutely passionate for all things Death Metal, being a huge supporter of underground metal as a fan, as a musician and as a businesswoman as well. Having said that, get ready to slam into a vicious circle pit together with Mallika, because things are about to get as savage and heavy as hell.

Half Indian and half English-American, with her father coming from Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, and her mother being from New Hampshire, a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, Mallika is married to Russian musician Serge Gordeev, from Death Metal bands like Epicardiectomy and Fleshbomb. As you can see, pure Death Metal runs through the veins of the couple, which led to the creation of their own label Ultimate Massacre Productions. But before we talk about their label, let’s focus on the early days of Mallika, who has been playing in Death Metal bands since 2002, a couple of years after she graduated from Gardner High School, located in Gardner, Massachusetts. While Mallika was giving her first steps in extreme music, she was at the same time studying illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, in Boston, Massachusetts, which she graduated in 2004. And that knowledge she gained through her studies was not in vain, becoming a fundamental part of her up-and-coming career.

Regarding her career as a musician, Mallika got into Heavy Metal during her high school years. In the beginning, Mallika was more into classic rock and metal the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Alice in Chains, with her taste for heavier and more brutal music growing after she started listening to the pulverizing Death Metal by Deicide and Cannibal Corpse. By the way, becoming a fan of Death Metal was the main reason why she decided to do extreme vocals, which is pretty much the same path followed by anyone who chooses to play an instrument based on their favorite bands and styles. And just as a side note, our ruthless growler joined her first metal band while studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, but there aren’t any details available online about that part of her career.

What you will for sure find online are all details about her history with her own Death Metal band, Massachusetts-based squad Abnormality, formed in late 2005 by Mallika together with guitarist Jeremy Henry, drummer Jay Blaisdell and guitarist Michael O’Meara (who left the band in 2009), with bassist Josh Staples joining the band in 2009 and guitarist Sam Kirsch in 2015 to complete their current lineup. The band strives to make high quality extreme music without worrying about conforming to certain boundaries or styles, having released to date a four-track demo in 2007 (including the song Visions, which found its way onto the popular video game Rock Band 2 as a bonus track), a three-track EP titled The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion in 2010, and the full-length albums Contaminating the Hive Mind in 2012, and Mechanisms of Omniscience in 2016. If you want to have a very good taste of all the brutality and electricity flowing from the music by Abnormality, you can check for instance their official videos on YouTube for the songs Mechanisms of Omniscience, Monarch Omega, and Fabrication of the Enemy, or even take a more detailed listen at their full discography at their own BandCamp page (which obviously means you should also buy their albums from there). Furthermore, Mallika mentioned in one of her interviews that Abnormality did a cover version for the classic Desperate Cry by Sepultura at the formation of the band when she joined a band named Teratism on stage, impressing their then members Jay and Michael (culminating with the creation of Abnormality, as you can see), also playing other cover songs live over the years such as Eric Clapton’s Cocaine and Death’s The Philosopher, but never including any of those in their recorded material. Finally, one last interesting note about Abnormality is that their first concert ever happened in 2006 at a house party organized by their drummer Jay, including the bands Dehumanized, Sexcrement and Soul Remnants. That was probably one hell of a demolishing Death Metal party, I must say.

Apart from Abnormality, Mallika, who takes care of her potent voice by doing usual things like getting proper rest, keeping her throat hydrated and avoiding alcohol, is also the frontwoman for American Death Metal all-female band Castrator, an international project formed in 2013 and based in New York City with members from distinct parts of the earth such as Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Colombia and the United States. As you can see by the name of the band, Castrator is a confrontational band, with all of the song titles found in their 2014 demo and 2015 EP, both titled No Victim, being some sort of feminist revenge fantasy, such as Honor Killing and The Emasculator. Mallika explained that the band was born when her friend Carolina Perez, drummer for American Death/Thrash Metal act Hypoxia, expressed the desire to form an all-female band, aiming at writing aggressive music, playing some devastating concerts, and have fun together above all things. She also mentioned it was important to bring up through the horror and intensity of their lyrics the issues and struggles women from all over of the world face every single day, in particular parts of the world where women’s rights are far behind. When writing the lyrics, Mallika researched and read countless stories and documentaries of individual cases of honor killings, as well as violence, rape, and murder against women, translating all that hatred and negative thoughts into Death Metal lyrics. In order to be smashed by Castrator, go check their BandCamp page, where you’ll be able to listen to (and to buy) the austere and utterly brutal tunes Honor Killing, No Victim and The Emasculator.

Our relentless growler was also part of American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Parasitic Extirpation from 2011 until 2015, with whom she recorded the EP Putrid Crown, in 2014. You can enjoy Mallika kicking some serious ass in this also very interesting band with the title-track Putrid Crown,  and all other tracks directly from their BandCamp page. And even with all her duties with Abnormality, Castrator and Parasitic Extirpation, she still found time to be part of several other bands and projects as a guest musician, like singing live for British Technical Brutal Death Metal unity Unfathomable Ruination, in 2017; and being a guest studio singer in the songs Circumcised with a Chainsaw, from the 2013 album Skewered in the Sewer by Indian Brutal Death Metal act Gutslit; the title-track The Redemption of Past Supremacy, from the 2012 album The Redemption of Past Supremacy by American Brutal Death Metal act Habitual Defilement; Endless Outrage, from the 2016 album Ouroboric Stagnation by International Brutal Death Metal act Neurogenic;    Dies Irae…, from the 2013 album Lords of Rephaim by America Brutal Death Metal act Pathology; Tower Deflower, from the 2012 album Festering Human Remains by America Death Metal act Scaphism; the superb cover version for Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker, from the 2014 EP XXX Bargain Bin Vol​.​2 by American Death Metal act Sexcrement; and Incinerator, from the 2013 album Black and Blood by American Death Metal act Soul Remnants. As you can see, all those songs are beyond brutal and demolishing, exactly the way good Death Metal is supposed to be.

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With respect to Mallika’s main influences in music, she’s a diehard and longtime fan of several renowned acts of the Extreme Metal scene such as Suffocation, Gorgasm, Decapitated, Immolation, Cryptopsy, Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, Carcass and Morbid Angel, among several others, with American Death Metal masters Hate Eternal, standing out among their influences if you take a detailed listen at their music. Questioned about which album she would take to her own grave, Mallika answered Pierced from Within, released in 1995 by American Technical Death Metal band Suffocation, and while listening to that album it makes total sense as to why she handpicked it instead of tons of other classics. Needless to say, Suffocation would obviously be part of her dream metal fest lineup, also including bands such as Immolation, Deeds of Flesh, Cryptopsy (with Lord Worm), Origin, Malignancy, Monstrosity, Vader, Gorgust, Wormed, Defeated Sanity, Napalm Death, Incantation, Vile, Decapitated, Hate Eternal, Nile, Krisiun, Devourment, and so on. And lastly, when asked to list the five albums any metalhead must have in his or her collection to have a deeper understanding of what Brutal and Technical Death Metal is all about, Mallika selected Close to a World Below by Immolation, Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation, Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel, She Lay Gutted by Disgorge, and Masticate to Dominate by Gorgasm. Also, when questioned about what inspires her and the rest of Abnormality when writing their lyrics, she said that the whole band enjoys writing about current events at home and abroad, conspiracies, and their contempt for the New World Order, as well as other things in their lives, in their imagination, science fiction and fact, corruption, and time travel, always focusing on the darker side of humanity and never afraid to take a political stand. Of course, Mallika considers real life horror far worse than anything imagined in fiction, albeit she also thinks those monsters in fiction reflect that same dark side of our own humanity and the evils that we are capable of.

Mallika’s business side together with her utter passion for extreme music are an essential piece of Ultimate Massacre Productions, an extreme music label managed by Mallika herself and her husband Serge Gordeev, originally founded in 2012 by Serge as a licensed merch supplier for metal bands. After her arrival and after taking on Mexico’s Human Decomposition as their first signed band, the project propelled to a new and promising direction, which could be seen in her own words at that time. “We thought it would be great to build the label together, combining our collective experience and passion for music to grow Ultimate Massacre,” she said, also mentioning that “our main goal is to spread great music that we ourselves love, and to help the bands on our roster to reach new levels.” Mallika and Serge work endlessly for the joys that art brings with it, putting a lot of effort and passion into making the label a genuine home for underground extreme bands. Based in Prague, the label has increased their portfolio considerably through the years, including today bands such as Apophys, Incontinence, Chordotomy, Fungus, Imperium and Natrium. Hence, if you consider yourself a true death metaller, you can keep an eye at their official Facebook page for new kick-ass bands and releases from the underground Death Metal scene.

As aforementioned, Mallika is a huge admirer and connoisseur of underground metal music, saying she’s fine with a huge part of metal music staying underground mainly because it’s extreme and offensive, and therefore not recommended for mainstream listeners. However, she also said it’s extremely difficult to survive in the underground scene, as the majority of underground musicians have to have income coming from other sources such as day jobs despite their passion and dedication to heavy music. Well, having to face issues like that doesn’t seem to be a problem for musicians like Mallika, because the underground scene at least in the United States seems to be very strong to her eyes, with lots of great bands keeping the flames of extreme music burning bright in her homeland. For instance, she recommends bands like Malignancy, Disgorge, Dehumanized, Bloodsoaked, Guttural Secrete, Goemagot, Sapremia, Habitual Defilement and Expurgate for starters, and from her hometown she thinks you should take a good listen at Revocation, Sexcrement, Dysentery, Hivesmasher, Scalpel, Scaphism, Soul Remnants, and many, many more. She also mentioned she believes that classifications in metal such as Deathcore, Power Metal, Blackened Death Metal and so on are necessary to help listeners find new bands according to their likes and dislikes, as long as people are not carried away with creating new subgenres. Furthermore, Mallika has a very peculiar view on how many people nowadays end up knowing new bands through illegal downloads, as she understands that albeit illegal downloads are inevitable due to several reasons such as lack of money for buying all the music downloaded, those fans need to realize the bands depend on that money to stay alive, but as long as they support the bands in other ways like attending their concerts, buying a shirt or listening to their music for free on Spotify or YouTube, some sort of balance can be reached.

When asked about how she feels being a woman in a male-dominated scene like Death Metal, Mallika said she has always felt good, always having a good time with her bands since the beginning of her career. She mentioned there are more and more talented and hardworking women making a name for themselves in the Death Metal scene, being really proud of them and supporting them whenever and however she can. She said it’s not easy to be a woman in metal as there’s a lot of sexism in the world and even more discouragement for a woman to be part of the extreme music scene; however, she hopes one day that will end, and it will become something we won’t even think about discussing as men and women will just be equal in numbers and in talent. If you think about names like Angela Gossow, Tarja Turunen, Simone Simons, Doris Yeh, Cristina Scabbia and Alissa White-Gluz, not to mention all the other ladies who put their hearts and souls into making first-class metal music from all parts of the world, I also believe we’re not that far from reaching Mallika’s dream.

Last but not least, Mallika is as aforementioned a professional graphic and concept artist in the video game industry, having already worked for Harmonix Music Systems (the company that created the Rock Band franchise) for four years, and later becoming a freelance artist and working for a company called Techona as a graphic artist since earlier this year. Regarding her time with Harmonix, Mallika provided a few interesting details about how Abnormality got involved in the game Rock Band 2 with the song Visions. While she was working on the game together with a team of artists, the company allowed employees to submit music for consideration to be entered into the game; at first she didn’t want to do it, but the rest of Abnormality asked her to try, and in the end the company picked their music to be one of the songs of the game together with a lot less violent (or I should say not violent at all) bands like Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold and Blondie. Needless to say, Mallika is not only passionate about Death Metal, but also crazy for old school Death Metal album arts, dark fantasy and surrealism, being inspired by artists such as Zdzisław Beksiński, Wayne Barlowe, and Dan Seagrave. As a matter of fact, you can easily see all that passion for abstract art and surrealism in the Abnormality album arts, all designed and created by our obstinate growler herself, as well as the cover art for the 2012 split album Phylum Morph-Apokalupsis by American Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore bands Animals Killing People and Andromorphus Rexalia, the layout and cover art for the 2016 album Eon by American Technical Death Metal band Formless, and the cover art for the 2013 EP One Inch Monster by Swedish Thrash Metal act Sonic Assault. As talented, honest and diligent as she is, being capable of screaming and gnarling like a beast with her band and of translating all the violence and gore of Death Metal into stunning album arts, it’s more than obvious why Mallika has turned into a reference in extreme music, and may she have a long and prosperous reign as our queen of guttural vocals.

Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Facebook page
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Twitter
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official YouTube channel
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Instagram
Abnormality’s Official Facebook page
Abnormality’s Official Twitter
Abnormality’s Official YouTube channel
Abnormality’s Official Instagram

“I see there are many more talented women stepping up the plate in the death metal scene. I am really proud of my fellow ladies who are kicking ass, and I call many of them friends. I DO personally go out of my way to support women in metal, especially those who work hard, carry themselves professionally, and play really well. I know it’s not easy. There is so much sexism in the world, and we women are so often discouraged from taking part of the extreme metal scene.” – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Album Review – Sebastien / Act Of Creation (2018)

One of the biggest exponents of modern-day Czech metal returns with the next chapter in their always-evolving and exciting career.

One of the biggest exponents of modern-day Czech metal is back with a brand new album that will certainly please and entertain all fans of the most electrified form of Melodic Power Metal you can think of. After the releases of their debut album Tears Of White Roses, in 2010, and the critically acclaimed Dark Chambers Of Déjà-Vu, in 2015, it’s time for Brno-based metallers Sebastien to unleash their third full-length installment, titled Act Of Creation, continuing their evolution as a band and, as a consequence, cementing their name as the finest metal act you can find in the entire land of beer.

With its cover artwork designed by Hans Trasid (Dis-Art Design), and featuring an entourage of very special guests the likes of Swedish vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (Spiritual Beggars, Firewind) and Slovak vocalist Mayo Petranin (Signum Regis), Act Of Creation will bring to your avid ears fourteen exceptional compositions by skillful musicians who are at their prime, from passionate power ballads to those fast and crisp Melodic Metal anthems that will accelerate your heartbeat in an exciting and fun way. Furthermore, it’s very important to emphasize the fact that Sebastien maintained the same lineup from their previous album, which obviously translated into pure cohesiveness, precise timing and a powerful dynamism among all band members.

The title-track Act of Creation kicks off Sebastien’s metallic feast with a heavier-than-usual sonority, bringing elements from modern-day Groove Metal to their traditional Power Metal. Moreover, frontman George Rain has (as expected) an amazing performance showcasing a wide range of vocal styles in the same song, while Pavel Dvorak brings epicness to the overall sound with his keys. Then we have No Destination, a fast-paced, aggressive tune that will please even non-metal fans due to its thrilling rhythm, presenting the always flammable vocals by George supported by Czech guest vocalist Kristýna Dostálová and endless energy flowing from all instruments; and Wake Up, an imposing tune where Lucas R. leads the crew with his pounding drums, with all orchestral and choir-like elements in the background enhancing the song’s already potent vibe. But it obviously wouldn’t be a Sebastien album without a classic power ballad like Amy, displaying spot-on riffs by George and his bandmate Andy Mons while bassist Petri Kallio not only delivers some powerful bass punches, but his 80’s Hard Rock-inspired backing vocals also add a lot of feeling to the final result.

Venturing through the realms of Symphonic and Melodic Metal, the band delivers a futuristic metal chant titled Evermore, presenting a pleasant paradox between clean and harsh vocals, not to mention how determined Pavel is to arouse our senses with his fiery keyboards. My Empire reminds me of some of the latest creations by Sonata Arctica (which unfortunately is not a good thing these days), with an interesting work done with all background elements but nothing that truly connects in the end, whereas Queen from the Stars is a melancholic, serene ballad with passionate performances by George on vocals and Andy with his acoustic and electric guitars. Put differently, simply hold your lighter high and wave it together with Sebastien to this beautiful song. And featuring guest vocalist Mayo Petranin, Winner is a song where the sound of keyboards is considerably higher than the one of the guitars, therefore uniting in a pleasant way the classic sounding of the 80’s with Sebastien’s contemporary metal.

With Czech guest guitarist Djordje Erič (Citron) slashing us all with a gripping, flammable guitar solo, Heal My Soul goes back to a more traditional musicality, albeit still presenting hints of heavy music from the 80’s, and consequently pleasing both fans of the classic metal by Sebastien as well as the ones who prefer more modern Melodic Metal. In Promises, Kristýna Dostálová returns with her charming vocals in another symphonic ballad by Sebastien, with Andi and Pavel being in total sync with their respective riffs and keys, therefore boosting the electricity of the whole song; and featuring guest Apollo Papathanasio on vocals, it’s time for our Czech squad to put the pedal to the metal in the electrifying hymn Die in Me, where the whole band fires pure Melodic Power Metal for our total delight. Displaying a beyond catchy chorus and endless adrenaline, this metal hymn should sound absolutely fantastic during their live performances.

And Act Of Creation might be considered a long album with its over 60 minutes of music, but every song has its purpose just like Full Moon Child, portraying a classic name for a straightforward and very cohesive Power Metal sonority boosted by the precise beats by Lucas, with highlights to the spot-on riffs and solos extracted by Andy from his unstoppable guitar. The second to last metallic act by those Czech rockers comes in the form of a semi-acoustic ballad entitled Hero, with another powerful performance by George on vocals, before the bonus track V Síti Štěstí (or “in the network of happiness” from Czech) closes the album in sublime fashion. It’s not a secret to anyone that Sebastien never get tired of delivering soulful ballads to our ears; however, this is a fresh one, being fully sung in Czech, which seems to have provided George some additional room for adding never-before-seen nuances to his vocal lines.

It’s always a pleasure to see a talented and hardworking band like Sebastien evolving in their already solid career, and if you want to know more about the best metal band hailing from the enchanting Czech Republic you should definitely go check their Facebook page and YouTube channel for news, tour dates (and they do tour several other countries if you ) and, of course, more of their awesome Power Metal. Act Of Creation, which can be purchased from the Pride & Joy Music webstore, from the band’s own Facebook, from iTunes or from Amazon, is one of those albums that will put a smile on your face no matter how hard your day has been, proving once again Sebastien are here to stay and to keep bringing top-tier heavy music to our never-resting metal hearts.

Best moments of the album: No Destination, Evermore, Promises and Die in Me.

Worst moments of the album: My Empire.

Released in 2018 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Act of Creation 4:27
2. No Destination (feat. Kristýna Dostálová) 3:02
3. Wake Up 4:11
4. Amy 5:38
5. Evermore 4:32
6. My Empire 3:48
7. Queen from the Stars 4:34
8. Winner (feat. Mayo Petranin) 4:01
9. Heal My Soul (feat. Djordje Erič) 3:47
10. Promises (feat. Kristýna Dostálová) 3:29
11. Die in Me (feat. Apollo Papathanasio) 4:54
12. Full Moon Child 4:52
13. Hero 5:25

Bonus track
14.V Síti Štěstí 4:34

Band members
George Rain – vocals, guitars
Andy Mons – guitars
Petri Kallio – bass, backing vocals
Pavel Dvorak – keyboards
Lucas R. – drums

Guest musicians
Apollo Papathanasio – vocals on “Die In Me”
Mayo Petranin – vocals on “Winner”
Kristýna Dostálová – female vocals on “No Destination” and “Promises”
Djordje Erič – lead guitar on “Heal My Soul”
Vendula Skalová – backing vocals