Album Review – As Paradise Falls / Madness / Medicine EP (2022)

Let’s bang our heads to the new EP by a Deathcore duo aiming at redefining what the Australian metal scene is capable of.

“They laugh at me because I am different… I laugh at them because they are all the same…”

Aiming at redefining what the Australian metal scene is capable of, Brisbane-based Deathcore duo As Paradise Falls (also known as APF) has been on a dark rollercoaster of pure emotion in the pursuit to find where they truly fit in the world both as people and as a band. After the releases of their 2014 debut EP Save Yourself and their 2017 debut full-length album Digital Ritual, As Paradise Falls dropped off the radar and halted the progress of the band with no explanation, but it looks like they’re back on track with their 2020 single Bleed for the Crown, and more important than that, with their brand new EP titled Madness / Medicine. Produced by Shane Edwards at Studio 28 in Thailand, Madness / Medicine is a new breed of Deathcore that has raised the archetype of heavy music, proving how talented vocalist Ravi Sherwell and guitarist Danny Kenneally are while also providing music lovers with a very good reason to bang their heads nonstop to the sound of the EP’s five incendiary tracks.

BATS is simply sinister and caustic from the very first second, where Ravi’s enraged, demonic vocals will pierce your mind mercilessly while Danny hammers his guitar in great fashion, resulting in a fantastic opener for the EP. If you’re a diehard fan of Deathcore you’ll fall in love for this tune without a shadow of a doubt, whereas Captain Hero is even more demented than its predecessor, with the heaviness exhaling from the song’s bass and drums being outstanding while the duo adds elements from classic Death and Groove Metal to their core sound to make things even more violent. Then we have KFBR392, slightly more alternative as if Slipknot ventured through the realms of Deathcore, where once again Ravi barks and roars like a demented beast while Danny will haunt your damned soul with his riffage; and get ready for another round of insanity and heaviness by As Paradise Falls entitled Mechanical Hannibals, a lecture in Deathcore showcasing all elements we love in the genre such as wicked vociferations, rumbling bass lines and pulverizing riffs. Finally, closing the EP we’re treated to two minutes of dementia in the form of TR4K 1, with Danny cutting our skin deep with his sick riffs, therefore inspiring us all to succumb to the dark side of Deathcore.

As already mentioned, As Paradise Falls want to show the world the Deathcore scene in Australia is stronger than ever, with their new EP representing that evolution and, consequently, where we should expect to see the duo in the coming years. Hence, you can keep track of all things As Paradise Falls by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram and by listening to more of their wicked creations on Spotify, and don’t forget to obviously purchase a copy of Madness / Medicine sooner than you can say “Deathcore” by clicking HERE. Hopefully, Ravi and Danny will continue to deliver awesomeness in their upcoming releases without having to put the band on hold again, expanding their reach to new, unexplored lands and showing the world what Australian Deathcore is all about, just like what they have to offer us all in their entertaining new release.

Best moments of the album: BATS and Mechanical Hannibals.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. BATS 3:08
2. Captain Hero 3:38
3. KFBR392 2:52
4. Mechanical Hannibals 3:05
5. TR4K 1 2:11

Band members
Ravi Sherwell – vocals
Danny Kenneally – guitar

Metal Chick of the Month – Adrienne Cowan

So sin ‘til you win, let your demons out! Lady Lightbringer!

It’s time for a true metal opera this February on The Headbanging Moose, courtesy of our multi-talented metal lady of the month. A metal vocalist, poet, vocal coach and musician best known for being the frontwoman and composer for American Symphonic Metal band Seven Spires, among several other amazing metal bands and projects, Adrienne Elizabeth Catli Cowan, who goes by her stage name of Adrienne Cowan, will mesmerize you with her unique vocals, both extreme and classic Heavy Metal clean vocals. In other words, she can sing pretty much any type of metal and non-metal music, from the Symphonic Metal of Seven Spires to Death Metal, Deathcore and Dark Jazz, and I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast with Adrienne after knowing more about the life and career of such skillful artist.

Born on January 28, 1995 in Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, Adrienne is formally trained in classical and most contemporary styles as a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (with a degree in Music Composition) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Academy of Contemporary Music in the UK, although she was also self-taught in both extreme clean vocals for many years before finally finding a perfect vocal coach in Swedish singer David Äkesson. Her connection with music started a lot earlier than that, though, as since she was a child she was already taking part in choirs and taking piano lessons, performing in musicals and then entering music school, and from there starting to compose her music and to expand her knowledge and skills, especially as a singer. For instance, Adrienne had her first performance as a vocalist at the age of three at an event at the church her family attended, beginning her piano lessons after that at the age of six and being mainly into choir and darker popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera throughout elementary and middle school. Not only that, her parents pulled her out of high school so that she could attend a music school full-time, so through that show of support she already had a good feeling about her potential skills.

When she was still living in England, in 2012, Adrienne was making demos by herself for a dark and theatrical project she had yet to debut, and after moving back to the United States in 2013 she met Jack Kosto in a bookstore in her first week at Berklee and told him about her project and songs. From there Seven Spires were born, with all band members having extensive musical knowledge and studies, therefore drawing on their backgrounds to express themselves musically without limits of genre or technique. Seven Spires released their first album in 2014, the EP The Cabaret of Dreams, with all of its songs representing half of their 2017 full-length opus Solveig, where not only Adrienne was responsible for all vocals, keyboards, lyrics and songwriting, but also for the production and vocal engineering, showcasing all her talent and professionalism. After Solveig, the band released the full-length albums Emerald Seas, in 2020, and Gods of Debauchery, in 2021, and if you want to enjoy all of the band’s epic creations you can find Seven Spires on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can also have a visual orgasm with their official videos for the songs Lightbringer, Succumb, The Unforgotten Name, The Cabaret Of Dreams, Drowner Of Worlds, Bury You, The Paradox, This God Is Dead, Silvery Moon, The Cursed Muse, and Dare To Live, as well as some live footage, making of’s, behind the scenes and other awesome videos by Adrienne and her crew.

Apart from her career with Seven Spires, you can also find Adrienne and her powerful vocals in distinct bands and projects such as International Power Metal band Light & Shade, with whom she recorded the vocals for the 2016 album The Essence of Everything; International Power Metal/Hard Rock band Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, with whom she recorded the vocals (and piano for one track) in the 2019 album Signs of Wings; and American Symphonic Deathcore band Winds of Plague, with whom she recorded the keyboards and backing vocals in the 2017 album Blood of My Enemy. In addition, Adrienne was also part of American Melodic Heavy Metal band FirstBourne from 2016 to 2018, having recorded the vocals and keyboards in their 2016 album Riot and in the 2017 acoustic single Home, and of Frontiers All Stars in 2020 and Riot Underground between 2012 and 2013.

You can also find her singing and playing live with German Symphonic Power Metal band Avantasia since 2018, with American Heavy Metal band Mike Kerr from 2015 until 2018, and with American Power/Thrash Metal band Sonic Pulse. Not only that, Adrienne was also a guest musician in an array of bands and projects, those being vocals for the song I Declare War from the 2020 album The Journey, by German Melodic Death Metal band Deliver the Galaxy; vocals for several songs from the 2021 album The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson, by Swedish Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal band Heart Healer; vocals for the song My Guide My Hunger from the 2018 album As Above So Below, by Italian Melodic Death Metal band Hell’s Guardian; vocals for the song The End of Innocence from the 2017 album Reflections, by American Neoclassical Heavy Metal artist Jimi Mitchell; vocals for the song Mammoth from the 2017 album Pianometal, by American Symphonic/Progressive Metal artist Kyle Morrison; vocals for the song The Truth of the Lion from the 2015 album The Truth of the Lion, by Mike Kerr; harsh and clean vocals for the songs Conjunction of Souls and The Restitution from the 2020 album Pile of Priests, by American Progressive Death Metal band Pile of Priests; vocals for the song Let It Go from the 2018 album Re-Animated, by Italian Power Metal band Trick or Treat; and vocals and lyrics for the 2018 album Lights in the Murk, by Italian Symphonic Black Metal band Yass-Waddah. Do you want more? Because our she-wolf was also responsible for the songwriting for the song Hold Tight from the 2016 EP Dirty Lyxx, by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Dirty Lyxx, and she also sung vocals in Black Science’s Freedom (Or Die Trying), featured in the outro of one Camp Camp episode, and sang both a duet with Casey Lee Williams in the RWBY Volume 6 credits song Nevermore, and in the song War of Volume 7. Adrienne has also been a part of the Freelance Orchestra in their RTX 2016 (where to her surprise she ended up in the RWBY music panel) and 2018 concerts, plus Anime Boston 2018, and you can always have a great time watching her own videos on her official YouTube channel.

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Adrienne got into the world of metal music around the age of 11 when her uncle showed her Metallica and Scorpions, but it wasn’t until she found out about musicians the likes of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wierman and Yngwie Malmsteen that she really started to feel at home listening to Heavy Metal. She mentioned it appealed in some way to her classical background, and watching live Children of Bodom videos was quite inspiring. However, she’s not only into metal, but showcases a wide variety of influences in her life. “I’m not a one-dimensional person – I’m a human – so I’m allowed to like other stuff”, she said in one of her interviews. “I’m not a huge K-pop fan or anything, but I really like good pop writing. From a technical standpoint, as a songwriter, I’m like: damn, good for you guys. And there’s a certain sassy energy – it just speaks to me in a way that a lot of metal doesn’t.” Another influence on our beloved diva as a writer are painters of the Romantic period, with German painter Caspar David Friedrich and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky being two of her main inspirations. “I’m also a big fan of (the English composer) Edward Elgar – he does this piece called ‘Sospiri Op. 70,’ which is the most beautiful thing, it sounds like the pain of falling in love. It was something I listened to a lot when we were writing this record. And of course, Chopin,” she said, also finding inspiration under night skies and in the darker depths of the human condition to write her lyrics. Adrienne also nurtures an amazing openness with her fans on social media, which she credits to her experience as a My Chemical Romance fan back when she was younger. “This one interview with them came out, and I remember one of the guys in the band saying basically, ‘We say these things in our music, we are a bunch of fucked up guys, and it helps our fans know… you’re not alone.’ That really made me feel less alone when I was a sad teenager, and then when I grew up into a sad adult, I thought, damn, I could be that for somebody else.”

Regarding her singing style, technique and how she maintains her vocal cords in great shape, Adrienne mentioned in one of her interviews that she likes to meditate before shows and uses her instincts to decide what she’ll sing or scream either high or low. “The low death metal style is more present and more grounded and more angry and earthier in a way. The higher black metal screams are more spiritually pitched or spiritually empty — when there’s black metal themes and nihilistic lyrics, of course I’m probably going to scream with that high tone”, said Adrienne. In addition, when she was enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the age of 16 she joined an after-school club where all metalhead students gathered to jam on a new song every week, opening her eyes to the rest of the metal world and challenging her to vocally try different styles of each subgenre of metal. She also mentioned that she has studied many techniques of singing including theatrical belting, Speech Level Singing, bel canto and even some throat singing, with the hardest part being unlearning things previous teachers had told her in order to properly approach whatever new technique she was learning, and with the very high Power Metal “scream” being one of the styles that took her the longest to develop. In order to maintain her vocal health, she mentioned that she basically has to just mind her sleep and hydration levels, trying to stay out of the direct blast of heaters or air conditioners, and trying not to get sick or allergic. However, at the end of the day, even dehydrated or sick the show must go on, which forced her to develop alternate techniques to sing through sickness.

A huge fan of Lord of the Rings, all forms of art, Gothic style, cheesy Sci-Fi, vampire shows, coffee and fantasy games, Adrienne enjoys mountain hikes, spending time by any shore, and playing JRPG’s (Japanese Role-Playing Games) and games with friends between her musical ventures. “After a long tour, I like to sit at home and sleep in my own bed, play video games, maybe think about going out… If I get to go on a little holiday or something, I love road trips and anywhere remote with alpine forests and quiet waters. Wyoming is great for this, as are many spots on the West Coast. Anything to get me away from people and out of my regular world,” commented Adrienne, who despite being very fond of animals cannot take care of a dog or cat due to her lack of space and time to do so. And when asked which hobbit from Lord of the Rings she would choose to be part of her band for the rest of their days, she provided a curious and fun answer to that. “Either Sam or Pippin, I think. Because I think I’m a Frodo, and I need a support system like Sam. But also I need a Pippin to just make me laugh all the time no matter what, and just help lighten the mood, and tell me to eat my carrots and mushrooms.”

Last but not least, our raven-haired vocalist also had a few interesting words to say about the whole pandemic and how it has been impacting her life on the road with Seven Spires. “All of this resulted in connecting more with our fans online. So although it’s super frustrating to not know exactly when we’re going to be able to play live again, we have found a way to do the online equivalent of hugging people at the merch table and listening to their stories,” said Adrienne, who also mentioned she keeps working hard to entertain and stay in touch with her fanbase, also teaching online, private vocal lessons and running a weekly workshop on everything from orchestration to arranging to songwriting techniques, all of which you can find on Linktree and on Patreon. “Mostly I teach tools for people to be able to express what they have in mind, and I teach from a really emotional standpoint.” And if you want to know more about Adrienne, her likes and dislikes, her inspirations and so on, there are countless interview online with her such as this one to Rock Titan or this one called RichardMetalFan Interviews! Ep. 33: Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Winds of Plague/Avantasia, where she talks about her journey with music from where she started until now. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Adrienne reach deep inside your heart and take you on a breathtaking musical voyage to the sound of her stunning vocals?

Adrienne Cowan’s Official Facebook page
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Instagram
Adrienne Cowan’s Official YouTube channel
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Twitter
Seven Spires’ Official Facebook page
Seven Spires’ Official Instagram
Seven Spires’ Official YouTube channel
Seven Spires’ Official Twitter

“I know that if I’m just stagnant and sitting on my ass, I’m not going to be happy. So if I want to be happy, I have to do something about it.” – Adrienne Cowan

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”

Metal Chick of the Month – Ira Sidenko

ira01

How to open your heart in the chaos of life? Learn to give and to share, to hustle and strive…

If you consider yourself a diehard fan of both old school and modern-day Death Metal, I’m certain you’ll have a very good time with our metal chick of the month of September. Not only she’s the owner of a potent and visceral voice, but her charisma, together with her onstage (and onscreen) performance, turn her into a must-listen and see for any admirer of first-class extreme music. I’m talking about the unstoppable Russian growler Ira Sidenko, also known as Irina Sidenko (or even Ирина Сиденко in Russian), the frontwoman for Tomsk, Russia-based Death Metal brigade Dehydrated, and a metalhead who is always expressing her passion for Heavy Metal through her music and art.

Born in the city of Tomsk, in Tomsk Oblast, a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) that lies in the southeastern West Siberian Plain, Ira studied at Tomsk State University, or TSU, known in her mother tongue as Томский Государственный Университет, or ТГУ, but it’s not clear exactly what course or courses she took at TSU. It was in 2008 when she founded Dehydrated (being named Dehydrated Entrails from 2008 until 2009, when they changed their name to the current one) together with guitarist Evgen Tsibulin, bassist Evgeny Zimin and drummer Alexey Ablayev, with only Ira and Evgen being still in the band from its original formation. Playing a fusion of classic Death Metal with other styles such as Deathcore, Grindcore, Groove Metal and even Progressive Metal, among others, the band didn’t know exactly what they wanted to play at first, but they knew it was going to be hard and aggressive, experimenting with several genres and subgenres of heavy music as aforementioned. By the way, when asked about the origin of the band’s name, Ira explained that’s how you feel after a concert, feeling dehydrated both physically and mentally after all the exchange of energy between the band and the crowd.

Having already played in several international festivals including Metal Head’s Mission (Ukraine), Metal Crowd (Belarus), Petrogrind (St. Petersburg), Metal Maidens (Kaluga), and Cieszanów Rock Festiwal (Poland), as well as tours around Russia and Eastern Europe, the band has unleashed upon humanity an array of high-quality albums and EP’s, those being the 2009 demo Suffering from Mummification, the full-lengths Duality of Existence (2011), Zone Beneath the Skin (2012) and Awake in Era (2012), the EP’s Mind Extract (2011), Piranha or Whale? (2019) and Piranha or Whale (Part II) (2020), and a 2011 split with the bands PureFilth, Grace Disgraced and Redrvm. Furthermore, in one of her interviews, Ira mentioned that her favorite Dehydrated album to date is Awake in Era, as she considers it more professional and more atmospheric than the other releases, with each of its songs representing a different story, but I’m sure that opinion will change with each of their releases just like what happens with any musician. And when asked about what Dehidrated means to her, she said that as music is her life, the band represents life to her, always showing a lot of love for her own work.

Dehydrated are a DIY band, doing everything themselves and relying a lot on the internet for sales and promotional activities just like countless underground bands worldwide. Ira mentioned that services like BandCamp, Spotify, Patreon and YouTube have been helping the band a lot with their promotion, but that at the same time they still have a hard time trying to organize tours all by themselves.  Hence, if you want to give the music by Dehydrated a try, you can stream all of their creations on BandCamp, on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can have an absolute blast with songs the likes of Hell Doesn’t Exist, Parallels, Sickness, Outlaws, Thirst of Dose, Werewolf, Alive Underground, Piranha or Whale, and their excellent covers for Motörhead’s Ace of Spades and Lake of Tears’ U.N.S.A.N.E.

Apart from her career with Dehydrated, you can also find Ira kicking some ass with a female-fronted metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia named Fallcie for a while, and she can also be seen as a guest vocalist in the song А Время Шло, from the 2020 EP А Время Шло (or “time went on”) by Kaluga, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal band Last Trial. In addition, Ira is also an amazing online vocal coach as you can see on her own YouTube channel, not only providing some great tips to growlers worldwide, but also uploading to her channel cover versions for countless songs the likes of Slaughter to Prevail’s Hell, Rammstein’s Sonne, Linkin Park’s From the Inside, Decapitated’s Homo Sum, Death’s Without Judgement, Vader’s Hexenkessel, and Whitchapel’s I Dementia.

All those top-notch cover versions are not in vain, as all of those bands are also part of Ira’s idols and influences list. As a matter of fact, when asked about how she would define the sound by Dehydrated, she mentioned it’s a fusion of different styles from bands such as Death, Gojira, Animal as Leaders, and so on. Regarding her personal preferences, our beloved growler mentioned the first bands she fell in love with were Rammstein and Slipknot, later moving on to Black and Death Metal and getting absolutely addicted to that. Furthermore, the first time she heard a Death Metal band was when she got to know the music by Aborted, also getting hooked to the music by Whitechapel, Deicide and Vital Remains. However, Ira said she doesn’t have any limits when listening to music, being also a fan of Jazz, Blues, Grindcore and many other distinct styles, but of course always praising metal behemoths the likes of Motörhead, Manowar and Metallica.

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Ira also provided her view on how to become a metal vocalist in one of her interviews, saying that there’s no secret to that but several years of practice and studies (and tons of mistakes) and a never-ending desire to grow, always searching for the right sound and for professional development. Although she mentioned she hadn’t had an older brother to show her metal music, Ira mentioned she had a friend with whom she used to listen to Rammstein together, which inspired her to form a band and, later, as her taste for music became heavier and heavier, she naturally decided to learn how to do guttural by herself. Having the flexibility to sing in English, Russian and German, Ira believes her vocal performance and her confidence have improved a lot since the band’s 2009 debut demo Suffering from Mummification, again pointing out to the importance of constant learning to become a better vocalist.

When asked about the metal scene in Russia (and in Eastern Europe in general), she thinks the bands in Russia need to show more of their own culture and ideas when creating music instead of trying to mimic famous European or American bands, but of course she acknowledges there are tons of fantastic bands in her homeland such as Katalepsy and Arkona. Moreover, in regards to her hometown Tomsk, she said that there was a time when Siberia, where Tomsk is located, once had a very strong metal scene, but that has changed over time and today the scene is not as powerful and the attendance to metal concerts has dropped significantly. She complemented by saying that not only in Tomsk, but in the entire Russia (and maybe we can also add the rest of the world to the mix), you can only get in contact with metal music through the internet, as the radio and TV do not offer any space to bands like Dehydrated, and there aren’t any major festivals either to promote the bands. She still thinks that there are great bands coming from her hometown, though, such as Apokefale and Dark Revenge, which needless to say need our total support to avoid getting extinct.

Last but not least, our Russian growler believes that becoming a Death Metal vocalist isn’t easy at all, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, but of course it can be a little bit tougher to girls depending on the situation due to the sexism that still happens in the metal community all over the world. She said that once in a while she’s the target of that sexism, but she doesn’t really care about it and keeps working hard to make Dehydrated a better band and to make herself a better vocalist. When asked about how she responds to those attacks, she said she simply doesn’t answer back to the haters, ignoring them on social media and focusing on what really matters, which is the opinion and support of her fans, her friends and her family. And to be fair, she’s more than right in doing so, avoiding bringing that negativity to her work as a musician, therefore keeping her haters screaming in anger (but not as greatly as her) for not engaging in a virtual battle with her. That’s how you recognize a true musician, and let’s hope Ira keeps growling in our faces for many years to come with her ass-kicking band.

Ira Sidenko’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Facebook page
Dehydrated’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Instagram
Dehydrated’s Official YouTube channel

“We are very pleased to be able to create and do what we like, we do not know for how long but the only certainty is that there is only one here and now. We look to the future positively.” – Ira Sidenko

Metal Chick of the Month – Mikaela Attard

mikaela01

I flew high on black wings when death looked me closer in the eye…

The Headbanging Moose is about to become The RED-banging Moose this summer with our multi-talented, sunning and rebellious metal chick of the month of June, and you better get ready because she’s out for blood. I’m talking about Mikaela Attard, a vocalist, composer, lyric writer and producer hailing from the island of Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, with a wide vocal range that allows her to easily sing in multiple rock and metal styles, known in the metal community for her time with Maltese Extreme Metal act Martyrium and more recently for her wicked solo project MIKAELA. Born on May 8, 1993, Mikaela has been singing since the young age of eight, having actually started with classical singing training as well as classical piano training and examinations. In addition, she won the Pop Idol in Malta when she was 13 and released her first Alternative Rock EP Hear Me Out when she was 15, with all the singles from the EP getting constant airplay. Do you want more? Alright, here we go.

Having performed on several stages around Malta and overseas, including cities like Los Angeles and Boston, in the United States, and several European countries, Mikaela studied Vocal Performance on campus at Berklee College of Music in Boston and furthered her education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Production with Summa Cum Laude, always attracted to the creation and production side of the music, and also getting into the science and engineering behind it as well as into Game Audio and Film Scoring. All that passion, talent and education resulted in multiple awards in her career, including Best New Artist in 2010, Best Female Artist and Malta’s Export Artist in 2011, Vodafone Upcoming Artist and Berklee College Singer-Songwriter, and Best Metal Band in 2019.

Let’s begin her journey in our Heavy Metal universe with her two-year stint with Martyrium (or MartYriuM), an Extreme Metal band from Malta formed by Count Mortem in 1999 with the spawn of the second wave of Black Metal, offering fans of extreme music a unique blend of Black and Death Metal with a specific sound design introducing sinister orchestrations and industrial elements to the style. Our red-haired diva began her time with Martyrium back in 2018, and Mikaela herself mentioned that it was a great learning experience in the beginning. However, as time passed by she started to feel very uncomfortable inside the band, stating that things got unacceptable literally, from the conditions how they treated her as a frontwoman and how they used her pictures, never wanting to hear what she had to say about those topics, leading to her departure form the band in 2020. It is what it is, unfortunately, because as you can see in some live videos such as Martyrium playing the song Curse Of Salvation at Oskorei Midvinter Festival in 2019 and the song Vital in Willemeen, Arnhem, Netherlands during the Female Metal Voices Tour 2018 with the Butcher Babies and Kobra and The Lotus, Martyrium kicked some serious ass with Mikaela fronting the band. Not only that, Mikaela had also been part of several collaborations such as Xirka Rock, and collaborated with the legendary multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann on his album My Sister on the songs My Sister and A Working Town. In addition, she was also a member of a metal band called Hex Omega during part of the 2010’s.

A few months after leaving Martyrium due to the personal issues listed above with the other band members, our Maltese metal goddess founded her stunning solo project MIKAELA, having already released her debut effort Nocturne In Red in 2020 alongside guitarist and bassist Kyle Farrugia (from Maltese metal band Align the Tide) and the aforementioned Marco Minnemann on drums, bringing to our ears an electrifying and sexy fusion of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive, Black, Death and Nu Metal, as you can see in the excellent song Chaotic Mind. According to Mikaela herself, Nocturne In Red is a conceptual album and also comes to terms with her personal experiences. “The concept of the album is about state of the mind. In fact, even it is even portrayed in the artwork on the album. I hold on a crystal ball and assigned to it the human brain. It is dripping black blood from it, and basically what it means is that it is about six different states of the mind and it is different how we perceive them, but sometimes we still are the same in the difference. So that is what it generally is about. All the songs are about a particular episode and that is what inspired me to write a particular song,” said Mikaela, complementing by explaining the idea behind the song Bring Me Blood. “That was inspired by an extreme event I went through in the past. I was the victim of an attempted murder here in Malta. I wrote that song in literally five minutes basically, it was just spitting out the words and music. It just came right on and that is why I decided that it should be the first single on the album, because it is so authentic. It is like: I left from somewhere over there. The song speaks about the anger I felt towards the situation and also towards the misunderstanding of court. I do not think it was well dealt in court, I think justice was not delivered.” And you can watch Mikaela discussing about that in an interview to Gabriel Gignac from Grizzly Media named 10 Bites of Nocturne In Red.

When asked about what us fans should expect from her first solo album, Mikaela explained how different the music style would be from her previous years with Martyrium. “My background of influences are quite different from Martyrium’s, although obviously there’s a lot of common favorites. I, however, like a more dynamic plateau of sounds and textures. I am a lot into deathcore, jazz, classical, electronic, groove and progressive music apart from all the metal in general. Obviously, I have a fond love for Black Metal and Death Metal too as well as all sorts of rock and metal in general. But I’m not quite a one kind of music-kind-of-girl. For that matter, I also love techno and industrial.” Regarding her main influences and idols, as expected she keeps getting inspired by a vast array of distinguished musicians and bands the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Metallica, Megadeth, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Opeth, Janis Joplin, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lamb of God, Otep, Gojira, Slipknot, Thy Art Is Murder, Whitechapel, Jinjer, Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence, Northlane, Chelsea Grin, Behemoth, After The Burial, Emmure, In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Wage War, ERRA and Ded, just to mention a few, which explains why the music found in her solo project is so difficult to label, so unique and diverse.

An accomplished vocalist, Mikaela can easily switch from clean singing to powerful growls and screaming vocals, and when asked about how she grew to like and practice this kind of singing and who were her heroes or inspirations that got her into that, she said that she’s a trained classical singer with a fond love for rock and metal who has always listened to those styles, having been introduced to them at a young age by her parents, and as her voice has always had sort of a rasp and natural scream it was a smooth transition for her to start doing guttural vocals. “My first experiences growling and screaming in public came gradually but once I launched some of the music at my debut, it was then official,” commented Mikaela, who’s also absolutely passionate about being on stage. “I must have been 9 singing in public, festivals, auditions, cathedrals, singing with organs and orchestras, stages, karaoke’s, we used to do it all the time when I was kid. It was fun. My first official outside country experience in public was singing in Johannesburg, South Africa though on a much larger scale and I loved it. I never feared the stage, can’t really say I got ever shy or anything… And I guess that still shows to this day.” And although she believes the pandemic might destroy metal music if nothing is done urgently, she understands the whole situation and keeps working off stage in anything that requires her attention. “We’re doing this massive sacrifice to help stop the spread of covid which now I don’t even know when that will ever stop but let’s hang on. When I’m off stage, there’s still a lot of things to do for a musical act so I keep myself entertained and focused by practicing on my own, coming up with ideas, drawing, writing, preparing orders and doing everything necessary to keep it going.”

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As a woman that performs in a genre that is always connected with power and strength, when asked about what she would say to women in general who face sexism and undermining and are considered weaker than men, she believes that all women in metal and in life in general should not go down to the level of the bullies who are being sexist, as it’s a waste of time. “If you share negativity, that’s what you’ll get. So be positive, feel it for real and just shut them and their vibes out of your life. The world is much better than that. Always be yourself and look for people who share the same ambition, who can see through you for real and what you’re after in life and music. You deserve better, we are strong and our strength should be celebrated just as any man can,” commented Mikaela, who also thinks that music shouldn’t be divided by gender or sex at all, as if we don’t all have a pair of vocal cords and we all can sound unique no matter what techniques we use to voice our hearts out.

Regarding her view of the metal scene in her homeland Malta, she mentioned that although Malta is a small island with a population of only around 500,000 people, it’s pretty much the same population as Iceland, but a lot of great artists come from Iceland. “I do not think it is quite within the culture to appreciate Metal a lot. It is not the mainstream at all. With the Metal scene, there are a lot of bands and actually, if you play here, a lot of the people in the crowd perform themselves. In general, I think it is very hard to make it, you have to skip the first step and it has to be outside of Malta, unfortunately,” said our screaming queen, complementing by saying that despite the fact there are several excellent metal bands showcasing a lot of potential on the island, the lack of a proper market or industry makes it extremely hard (albeit not impossible) for most bands to reach a decent level of success. In addition, if you want to know more about Mikaela and her beautiful home country, I highly recommend you watch two very interesting interviews with her done by local publications, one being 73 Questions Malta, where she talks about her thoughts on the metal industry in Malta and what it was like growing up there, and another called Lovin Malta Meets: Mikaela, where Lovin Malta’s resident music journalist JP Azzopardi discussed everything with her, from her musical origins to the world of metal and her future plans.

There are many TV performances of Mikaela on Youtube with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during an event called Rockestra, a collaboration that Mikaela considers really amazing, singing in front of 13,000 fans in her homeland even with the fact that metal is still a controversial style in Malta. For instance, you can enjoy her powerful vocals in absolute sync with her country’s national orchestra in songs such as Metallica’s Enter Sandman in 2011, Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City in 2012, Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train in 2016, and AC/DC’s Back In Black in 2018, showing her performances with the orchestra were not a once-off, but she’s a recurrent guest during such unique festival. Also, there’s another great video of Mikaela performing Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea live on the Maltese TV channel One on the program Q, always showing her support for metal music in Malta.

Our talented Mikaela also loves to interact with her fans and followers on social media, not only posting pictures but also writing lengthy captions and asking them questions as well as for opinions or suggestions; however, people tend to simply “ignore” her questions and give her only compliments in the comments. Mikaela said she actually appreciates all the comments and compliments, not judging anyone for not answering any of the questions posted and always valuing the interactions with her followers. She also likes to keep track of the number of streams of her songs, which countries she’s listened the most and merchandise purchases, as she believes it’s very important to know where her music is being enjoyed. For instance, she mentioned in one of her interview that Germany is amongst the top countries where her debut solo album is being listened to, as well as the United States, Canada (and The Headbanging Moose is proud to contribute to that, of course), Mexico and Russia.

Having several beautiful tattoos all over her body, Mikaela said it all started with ‘Rock and Roll’ inked on the side of her palms some years ago and she has never looked back, having her two full arm sleeves, palms, fingers, front side of the thighs, some on the neck, ass and full back all covered (and always ready for more). “I love tattoos, I think it’s like turning a house into a home. I feel confident in my body and what I represent. In my country it was still a taboo, especially on women, until a few years ago, but things slowly started changing thankfully. I used to get looks for having red hair in the past, can you imagine when I had the first tattoo sleeve? Older mentalities still judge a woman with tattoos greatly and to be fair, it is still not the norm and could get a lot of judgement,” commented Mikaela, who’s always encouraging uniqueness and trying to lead by example. Furthermore, when asked why she has chosen red as her main color, when her zodiac sign says it should have been green or pink, she answered by saying she loves red a lot along with black, representing a lot of things for her personally and becoming an important part of her identity. Mikaela also has some interesting hobbies whenever she’s not listening to music, writing, playing the piano and experimenting with mixing and sound engineering. For example, she loves to paint occasionally with pencils or acrylics and of course to take part in photo shooting sessions, among other non-music activities, but yet again she has mentioned several times already that music is her life and vice-versa. “Well, I live the cliché, yes my life is the music.” Well said, Mikaela!

Mikaela Attard’s Official Facebook page
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Mikaela Attard’s Official YouTube channel

“Honestly, the more you know about music, and the more you know how things are done behind that, I think being a vocalist is just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is good to you have some kind of knowledge. I mean, you do not have to have a degree if you just like to read about mixing, mastering and production and you have the space to do so, I think it is just awesome. But I really wanted to get that formal degree. So that is why I applied for that degree course. It was very important for me, it was a game changer, because I have always seen music not from a vocalist perspective. I have always seen it as a musician’s perspective, since I am formally trained and piano classically trained and also jazz trained.” – Mikaela Attard

Album Review – Mikaela / Nocturne In Red (2020)

Succumb to the dark and personal fusion of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive and Nu Metal by one of the most prominent voices of the Maltese metal scene in her debut solo album.

A few months after leaving her previous band MartYrium due to personal issues with the other band members, Maltese metal goddess Mikaela Attard is unleashing upon humanity under her newborn Metalcore solo project Mikaela her debut opus entitled Nocturne In Red, featuring guitarist and bassist Kyle Farrugia (from Maltese Active Metal band Align the Tide) and drummer Marco Minnemann as her loyal henchmen throughout the entire album. Written and produced by Mikaela herself, and mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studio, the pivotal concept behind Nocturne In Red highlights subjects surrounding personal experiences and states of the mind, but according to Mikaela it is up to the listener and viewer to perceive them on how it’s relative to their lives. Not only that, the album also provides an incendiary mixture of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive and Nu Metal, and even nuances of Black and Death Metal, all spiced up by Miakela’s native language Maltese carefully added to some of the tracks from the album, being therefore recommended for fans of the music by Pantera, Godsmack, Mastodon and Lamb Of God, among several others.

The cinematic and creepy intro Into a New Hell opens the gates of the underworld for the she-demon Mikaela to stun us all in Bring Me Blood, showcasing darkly poetic lyrics declaimed by Mikaela (“I flew high on black wings when death looked me closer in the eye / I may have pushed up daisies before, I gasped and wanted more / Now, hell came to me to show you what I see / The blade won’t reign on me, you sick fuck, it ends when you can’t breathe”) embraced by the solid fusion of Metalcore and Deathcore blasted by Kyle and Marco. And her insanity in the form of music keeps flowing nonstop in the also heavy and groovy Chaotic Mind, once again presenting psychological lyrics growled by our talented diva (“A whisper of existence / A face wrapped in maleficent greed / Silence even grins at you / Delusion creeps in the lies let lose”), smashing drums by Marco and Groove Metal-inspired riffs and bass punches by Kyle; followed by Disenthralled, highly recommended for fans of the demented music by Slipknot and Jinjer, where Mikaela is on fire with both her violent roars and strident clean vocals, and with the riffage and solos by Kyle sounding even more piercing than before. Then it’s time to break your neck headbanging to the venomous Alternative Metal hymn Nightmare, with Mikaela’s growling ranging from deep guttural to hellish gnarls while Marco brings his dosage of heaviness with his progressive beats.

In Death Dance we face more of Kyle’s metallic, rumbling bass jabs accompanied by Marco’s smashing drums and the mesmerizing vocals by Mikaela, blending elements from Metalcore with Melodic Death and Groove Metal, albeit going on for a bit too long, though, whereas Abyss is a piano-infused dark ballad by Mikaela where the sharp guitars by Kyle walk hand in hand with her passionate vocal performance, sounding very personal, epic and obscure from start to finish and presenting a unique and captivating side of our banshee. Back to her beastly she-wolf mode, our dauntless diva of darkness and her henchmen will penetrate deep inside our psyche once again with the Metalcore extravaganza titled Enthalpy Rage, feeling like an electrifying fusion of the current music played by Arch Enemy with modern-day Deathcore, while Ophidian’s Whisper is another solid composition by the trio with Marco dictating the pace with his infernal and intricate drumming, and with Mikaela once again alternating between demonic screams and melodious clean lines. And lastly, we’re treated to a sinister atmosphere embellished by a melancholic piano and the gorgeous voice by Mikaela, morphing into one final metal attack titled Room Hell, with both Marco and Kyle being on absolute fire with their sonic weapons, providing all Mikaela needs to shine on vocals and, consequently, ending the album in a truly devilish way.

Mikaela’s musical journey to hell and back can be appreciated in its entirety on Spotify and on Deezer, but of course you should purchase a copy of such amazing album of modern-day Metalcore from her own webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon, also showing your support to one of Malta’s most prominent names in metal music by following her on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to her YouTube channel for more of her darkly enchanting official videos. Nocturne In Red is a very personal album by Mikaela that will undoubtedly please all fans of Metalcore, Deathcore and all related styles, showing us all the darkest side of such talented artist while at the same time adding the charming Republic of Malta to the worldwide map of contemporary metal music.

Best moments of the album: Bring Me Blood, Disenthralled and Enthalpy Rage.

Worst moments of the album: Death Dance.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Into a New Hell – Intro 2:29
2. Bring Me Blood 4:25
3. Chaotic Mind 4:35
4. Disenthralled 5:44
5. Nightmare 6:37
6. Death Dance 6:20
7. Abyss 4:56
8. Enthalpy Rage 4:41
9. Ophidian’s Whisper 5:23
10. Room Hell 5:00

Band members
Mikaela Attard – vocals

Guest musicians
Kyle Farrugia – guitars, bass
Marco Minnemann – drums

Album Review – Resin Tomb / Resin Tomb EP (2020)

A newborn Australian quartet offers in their debut effort a thrilling blend of dissonant Death Metal with flesh-ripping Black Metal and visceral grind madness.

Formed just two years ago by members of the underground Australian bands Hell Sounds, Descent and Snorlax, the furious Brisbane, Australia-based Death Metal/Grindcore unity Resin Tomb is unleashing upon us their debut self-titled EP, offering a blend of dissonant, intricate and soul-crushing Death Metal with flesh-ripping Black Metal and visceral grind madness at times as their signature sound, exuding a vibe not too far removed from one of their other projects, Snorlax. Recorded and mixed at Black Blood Audio, mastered by Simon at Empty Hall Studio, and featuring an old school, cadaverous artwork by Ethan Lee McCarthy (from bands like Primitive Man and Vermin Womb), the EP will decimate your senses with its five grotesque tracks full of bestial and serpentine riffs coupled with a skull-crushing percussion and guttural vocals, showcasing how vile the Dissonant Death Grind played by vocalist Matthew Budge, guitarist Brendan Auld, bassist Mitch Long and drummer Perry Vedelago can be.

Get ready to be smashed like an insect by Resin Tomb in the eerie and acid opening track Abrogate, blending the savagery of Grindcore with the obscurity of Black Metal while Matthew gnarls rabidly and Brendan cuts your skin deep with hi riffs, whereas Penance is even more devastating, sinister and atmospheric, presenting an amazing job done by Perry with his intricate and demonic beats, while Mirch’s bass generates a thunderous background perfect for the piercing roars by Mathew, therefore resulting in a lesson in contemporary Death and Black Metal infused with Deathcore elements. Then the strident riffs by Brendan ignite the also menacing Surfacing, an infernal Black Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the crushing drums by Perry while Matthew’s gruesome gnarls penetrate deep inside your psyche; and rumbling, vicious guitars and bass lines permeate the air in the short and absolutely violent Prostrated, with Brendan once again firing sheer darkness and wrath through his riffs, accompanied by the pounding beats by Perry and the always hellish growls by Matthew. And last but not least we have Bestial, where the name of the song says it all, bringing to our avid ears a brutal and of course bestial display of extreme music displaying the most visceral elements from Black and Death Metal. Furthermore, Brendan and Mitch are on fire with their stringed weapons, providing Matthew all he needs to shine with his deranged screams and gnarls, ending the album on a truly demented note.

Not only you can show your support to this sinister, up-and-coming horde from Australia by listening to their debut EP in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but you can (and should) also purchase a copy of it from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Brilliant Emperor Records’ BandCamp page or webstore in LP format or as an LP + longsleeve shirt bundle, or from Amazon. Also, don’t forget to give the boys a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping up to date with their upcoming releases, live concerts (whenever this COVID-19 madness is over, of course) and other nice-to-know details about the band, keeping the flames of extreme music burning bright in the always prolific Australian metal scene.

Best moments of the album: Penance and Bestial.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Brilliant Emperor Records

Track listing
1. Abrogate 1:53
2. Penance 3:02
3. Surfacing 3:59
4. Prostrated 1:35
5. Bestial 5:16

Band members
Matthew Budge – vocals
Brendan Auld – guitars
Mitch Long – bass
Perry Vedelago – drums

Album Review – Aborted / La Grande Mascarade EP (2020)

Belgium’s own Death Metal trailblazers return with a three-track EP that will take you on a frantic journey through the realms of brutality and violence.

Forged in the fires of Waereghem, a municipality in the Belgian province of East Flanders, in the distant year of 1995, but currently featuring members from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States, the unrelenting Brutal Death Metal trailblazers Aborted have just released a pummeling new three-track EP entitled La Grande Mascarade, containing two brand new tracks plus one previously unreleased song from the recording sessions of their 2018 album TerrorVision. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kristian ‘Kohle’ Kohlmannslehner at Kohlekeller Studio and featuring  a cadaverous artwork by Mitchell Nolte, La Grande Mascarade will take you on an 11-minute infernal journey through the realms of Death Metal and Grindcore ruled by Aborted, showcasing all the talent and fury exhaled by frontman Sven De Caluwe and his henchmen Harrison Patuto and Ian Jekelis on the guitars, Stefano Franceschini on bass and Ken Bedene on drums, leaving us all eager for more of their extreme sounds in a not-so-distant future.

And otherworldly voices kick off the brutal and visceral opening tune Gloom and the Art of Tribulation, exploding into a feast of modern-day Death Metal infused with Deathcore and Grindcore elements where Sven roars and barks like a true beast while Harrison and Ian are venomous with their riffs. Needless to say, this will undoubtedly be a fantastic addition to their live performances, not to mention the impact of its psychological lyrics on our minds (“Trauma sets in / Mesmerized by the hell I created / Swallowed whole by the darkness that lives within me / Architect of my spiritual undoing / Lover to misery”). Following such beautiful start they offer more of their trademark progressiveness and rage in another grim and cryptic song titled Serpent of Depravity, with Ken’s intricate and fulminating beats being perfectly complemented by the scorching riffs fired by the band’s guitar duo in a hybrid of Groove and Progressive Death Metal. And lastly, we’re treated to Funereal Malediction, a pure, hellish Death Metal and Grindcore devastation where Stefano and Ken make the foundations of the earth tremble with their respective weapons while Sven sounds absolutely berserk and demented on vocals. This amazing composition couldn’t have sounds more infernal than what it already does, with the complexity of their riffage and drums being beyond amazing and, therefore, resulting in a vile conclusion to the album.

This short but very entertaining (and obviously demolishing) display of Brutal Death Metal can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course, as we’re all living through such difficult times, we metalheads must stay together and provide the bands we love our true support by purchasing their music and merch, which in the case of Aborted can be done by clicking HERE or HERE. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram (in case you don’t do that already), letting them know how much you enjoy their sonic devastation and inspiring them to provide us more and more albums and EP’s like La Grande Mascarade, keeping the fires of extreme music burning and, consequently, keeping us all with a huge smile on our faces (and a lot of pain in our necks due to some brutal headbanging).

Best moments of the album: Funereal Malediction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Century Media Records

Track listing
1. Gloom and the Art of Tribulation 4:38
2. Serpent of Depravity 3:21
3. Funereal Malediction 3:50

Band members
Sven De Caluwe – vocals
Harrison Patuto – guitar
Ian Jekelis – guitar
Stefano Franceschini – bass
Ken Bedene – drums

Album Review – Klendathu / Ad Nauseam EP (2020)

Bang your head to the debut EP by an Australian one-man band with a huge focus on artistic expressionism, animal rights, veganism and the inevitability of the planet’s decline.

The name Klendathu, which means means “triangular” in the Zulu language, is the homeworld of the creatures known as the Arachnids from the 1997 cult movie Starship Troopers, while the expression “ad nauseam” is a Latin term for argument or other discussion that has continued to the point of nausea. However, when you put those two together the result is a Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal/Dark Metal one-man project entitled Klendathu, formed in the beginning of 2020 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Masson, the lead singer for Metalcore/Deathcore act He Who Seeks Vengeance and more recently for Death Metal band Apocalyptian, both already reviewed at The Headbanging Moose. With a huge focus on artistic expressionism and with its lyrical content inspired by our ecological footprint, environmental issues, animal rights, veganism and the inevitability of the planet’s decline, the project’s debut EP Ad Nauseam will surely please fans of the music by Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Cannibal Corpse, Sylosis, Six Feet Under and Sepultura, among many others, while at the same time sending a strong message to everyone who still thinks our decaying world is doing just fine.

Scott, who’s by the way a very proud vegan and animal rights activist and environmentalist, has already hinted at that theme in his previous records with He Who Seeks Vengeance (They Will Speak Of The Ghosts That We Became, released in 2019) and Apocalyptian (Citizens Of The Apocalypse, released earlier this year), but it’s with Klendathu that Scott finally has all the freedom to be himself and express how he feels about the current state of things. In addition, just to give you an idea of how personal the album is, everything in the album was recorded by Scott himself, with the exception of the mixing part which was done by an electronic producer named Kibosh, and the final result is indeed very personal, heavy and dark.

An ominous intro grows in intensity until dark and damned sounds invade our senses in Denying The Birth, where Scott fires Doom Metal-inspired riffs and infernal blast beats while screaming like a rabid beast, reminding me of old school Behemoth with some phantasmagorical background elements to add an extra kick to it. Then once again demolishing everything and everyone with his insane beats and riffage, Scott vociferates and barks nonstop in Anger Awakening, presenting hints of the Thrash and Groove Metal by Sepultura from their Roots-era while keeping Klendathu’s core obscurity intact, followed by Bargaining The New Revelation, the most vicious and devastating of all songs, with Scott doing a great job with his harsh roars and thunderous bass and drums, therefore  generating a reverberating sound that will crush your skull mercilessly, all spiced up by teen activist Greta Thunberg’s famous one-liner “How dare you!” and other parts of her speech during the UN climate summit in New York on September 23, 2019. After such bold and dense tune, Scott adds nuances of devilish Blackened Doom to his already scorching sonority in The Prelude Depression, where you can easily feel all the anguish and hatred flowing from his demented screams while the song’s keys and piano notes give the overall result a touch of finesse. And last but not least, more groovy and enraged sounds permeate the air in Accepting The End, with Scott going full Death Metal on vocals and firing crisp guitar riffs and solos. Moreover, its modern-day Black Metal-like drums are the ultimate proof that this incendiary song couldn’t have sounded more austere than what it already is.

You can follow Scoot and his very interesting Klendathu on Facebook, showing your appreciation not only for his music but also for his fight for animal rights and his efforts against all environmental issues we’ve been facing in the past few decades, and of course purchase his debut opus Ad Nauseam directly from his BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music and from Amazon, or stream the EP in full on YouTube and on Spotify. In the end, as long as you bang your head to Klendathu’s flammable music while doing your part in trying to make this world a better place, I’m sure guys like Scott will feel utterly inspired to keep crafting meaningful heavy music for many years to come. That, of course, if the world as we know it doesn’t come to an end first.

Best moments of the album: Bargaining The New Revelation and Accepting The End.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Denying The Birth 6:19
2. Anger Awakening 4:52
3. Bargaining The New Revelation 5:27
4. The Prelude Depression 5:52
5. Accepting The End 5:02

Band members
Scott Masson – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Trivium / What The Dead Men Say (2020)

It’s time to listen to what these four (un)dead men from Orlando, Florida have to say in their thrilling new opus.

Three years after the release of the excellent The Sin and the Sentence, the unrelenting Matt Heafy on lead vocals and guitar, Corey Beaulieu on guitar and backing vocals, Paolo Gregoletto on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Alex Bent on drums and percussion, collectively known as Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal unity Trivium, return with another round of their always cohesive and breathtaking heavy music in What The Dead Men Say, the ninth studio album and another awesome addition to their undisputed career. Recorded at Studio 606 West in Northridge, Los Angeles, California, engineered, mixed and produced by Josh Wilbur, and mastered by Ted Jensen, What The Dead Men Say brings forward a myriad of styles and sounds that will please fans of all phases of the band, from Melodic Death Metal to Progressive Metal, Black Metal, Thrash Metal and Deathcore. “We’ve found a really great place to exist in this world. We love Melodic Death Metal, we love Death and Black Metal, and we love Hardcore. What the Dead Men Say is everything we do on one record,” commented Matt about their newborn spawn.

Furthermore, like The Sin and the Sentence, the lyrical content on What The Dead Men Say was inspired by modern aspects of life, with the album’s title being taken from a science fiction novella of the same name written by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in Worlds of Tomorrow magazine in June 1964. For instance, “Catastrophist” deals with the theme of humanity in a crisis, “Amongst the Shadows & the Stones” is about the horrors of war, “The Defiant” was inspired by R. Kelly’s documentary and abuse-enabling, “Bending the Arc to Fear” talks about the surveillance aspect of modern society, and so on, with the closing song “The Ones We Leave Behind” being about “running over” people to succeed in life, delivering a powerful message and portraying a whole new meaning in the wake of the 2019–2020 COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, it was more than obvious that the fusion of a precise and powerful music with meaningful lyrics would result in another future classic by Trivium, leaving us eager for more of their always-evolving and never-repetitive music in the years yet to come.

As soon as you hit play, the cinematic instrumental intro IX (a clear reference to the fact that What The Dead Men Say is their ninth full-length album) sets the stage for Matt & Co. to kick some ass with the title-track What the Dead Men Say, where Alex begins crushing his drums with tons of precision and fury accompanied by the scorching riffs by Matt and Corey. Bringing elements from the Progressive and Groove Metal by bands like Lamb Of God added to their core musicality, this is indeed an excellent way to start their new opus, followed by Catastrophist, one of the previously released singles of the album, keeping the groove and electricity flowing from start to finish. Moreover, its razor-edged riffs remind me of some of their compositions from their 2013 album Vengeance Falls, while Paolo makes the earth tremble with his sick bass jabs.

Then it’s time to go absolutely mental to the sound of Amongst the Shadows & the Stones, by far my favorite of all songs, presenting their trademark riffage and solos, intricate beats, tons of breaks and variations and an endless amount of violence in a hybrid of Groove, Heavy and Thrash Metal, with Matt rabidly roaring the song’s lyrics (“Bloodied corpses, broken bones reveal / A throng of clashes crushed, our nightmare sealed / Amongst the shadows and the stones”), whereas the semi-ballad Bleed Into Me, despite the solidness of the instrumental pieces (in special Paolo’s somber bass lines), doesn’t really click and falls flat after a while, but there’s nothing to worry about as this is the only low (or maybe I should say less intense) point of the entire album. And back to their usual high-octane mode the quartet fires the also amazing The Defiant, showcasing Iron Maiden-inspired guitars walking hand in hand with the vicious beats by Alex while at the same time presenting a great balance between Matt’s clean vocals and harsh screams. As a matter of fact, could this be an “alternate” version or a sequel to their classic “The Deceived” due to the sonic similarity between both songs? That’s a question only Matt, Corey, Paolo and Alex can answer, of course.

In the top-of-the-line Sickness Unto You a mellow and melancholic start gradually morphs into a violent metal feast by Trivium, with sheer rage flowing form Matt’s vocals while he and Corey demolish our ears with their razor-edged riffs, both supported by the always thunderous bass by Paolo, whereas Scattering the Ashes can be considered a good example of how diverse their new album is by blending the music from Silence In The Snow with In Waves, once again presenting a solid instrumental and spot-on backing vocals overflowing pure anguish. Then we’re treated to more of their always cryptic lyrics (“A strain of vigilance / Deep roots that all connect / We wait so diligent / Watching you / Watching you”) in Bending the Arc to Fear, starting in a Black and Thrash Metal-ish vibe and sounding perfect for slamming into the pit to the sound of the bestial drums by Alex. On a side note, I personally love the strident and metallic sound of their stringed axes throughout the entire album, enhanced by its crisp and polished overall production. Lastly, closing the album the quartet offers us all the melodic and vibrant The Ones We Left Behind, featuring the rumbling bass by Paolo accompanied by the stunning beats and fills by Alex while Matt and Corey give a lesson in riffs and feeling, concluding the album in a powerful and effective manner.

After listening to What The Dead Men Say in its entirety for a few times, you’ll quickly notice how not only the band’s technique and professionalism, but also their synchronicity, have been growing stronger and stronger through the years, pointing to an even brighter future for Matt and his bandmates in a near future and, therefore, positioning Trivium as one of the driving forces of modern-day metal music, never sounding tiresome nor predictable at all with each one of their releases. Hence, go check what the boys are up to on Facebook and on Instagram (especially because they’re all very active users of most social media platforms), subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, grab your copy of such entertaining album from the Warner Music webstore or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album (and if you have some extra money go for the Japanese Edition of the album, as it contains two very special acoustic versions for the songs “Bleed Into Me” and “Scattering the Ashes”), raising your horns, banging your head and listening to what the (un)dead men from Trivium have to say through their unparalleled music.

Best moments of the album: Amongst the Shadows & the Stones, The Defiant, Sickness Unto You and The Ones We Left Behind.

Worst moments of the album: Bleed Into Me.

Released in 2020 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. IX 1:59
2. What the Dead Men Say 4:45
3. Catastrophist 6:28
4. Amongst the Shadows & the Stones 5:40
5. Bleed Into Me 3:49
6. The Defiant 4:29
7. Sickness Unto You 6:14
8. Scattering the Ashes 3:25
9. Bending the Arc to Fear 4:46
10. The Ones We Left Behind 4:57

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
11. Bleed Into Me (Acoustic version) 3:45
12. Scattering the Ashes (Acoustic version) 3:04

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion