Known to locals as “the Hammer” or “Hammertown” due to its industrial roots, the city of Hamilton has always been a mandatory stop for countless metal bands form all over the world. Names like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead and so on have played at least once in their careers in such important city for the Canadian industry, and one of the bands that always returns to Hamilton to kick some serious ass is of course our beloved Megadeth. That’s exactly what happened last night at FirstOntario Centre when guests ONI and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, together of course with the one and only MEGADETH, took the Hammer by storm as one of the Canadian stops of their Crush the World Tour 2023, and I must say it was indeed another memorable night of heavy music for the thousands of fans at the venue.
The first band to hit the stage, precisely at 7pm, was Windsor, Ontario-based Progressive Metalcore/Djent act ONI, and although there was still a lot of people outdoors those guys put on an excellent concert, properly warming up the fans of both Bullet For My Valentine and Megadeth with their harsh and clean vocals, thunderous and intricate bass lines, sharp riffs and headbanging drums. Still promoting their 2022 album Loathing Light, the band spearheaded by frontman Jake Oni, who’s by the way a fantastic vocalist capable of switching from demonic growls to stylish clean vocals without any actual effort, put everyone to jump up and down with them during their short and sweet performance, already igniting some fun mosh pits for the delight of lovers of such unique sport. I’m definitely going to take a more detailed listen at their music on Spotify, and you should do the same to get to know more about such interesting band of the current Canadian scene.
Heart to Stone
Jake Oni – vocals
Brandon White – guitars
Martin Andres – guitars
Johnny DeAngelis – xylosynth
Chase Bryant – bass
Joe Greulich – drums
After ONI finished their solid performance, and after a quick bathroom/beer/merch break, it was time for Welsh Melodic Metalcore icons BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE (or just BFMV, if you prefer) to begin their incendiary performance for their several fans at the venue, and I must admit there was a huge chunk of the audience that was there to see BFMV first and Megadeth as a bonus, and not the opposite. Despite not being my cup of tea, I had a good time watching Matthew “Matt” Tuck, Michael “Padge” Paget, Jamie Mathias and Jason Bowld delivering a solid show on stage, mixing their classics with newer songs from their 2021 self-titled album. Songs like Waking the Demon, Knives and the closer Scream Aim Fire worked really well last night while the band had a strong chemistry with the audience during their entire set, and of course although the mosh pits (full of young kids) were not as violent as the ones from Immolation and Obituary the night before, they were still decent enough for a band that lots of people don’t consider metal.
Waking the Demon
Piece of Me
4 Words (to Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
Tears Don’t Fall
Scream Aim Fire
Matthew “Matt” Tuck – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Michael “Padge” Paget – lead guitar, backing vocals
Jamie Mathias – bass, backing vocals
Jason Bowld – drums, percussion
The moment most fans in Hammertown were waiting for finally arrived at 9:15pm, when one of the most important names in the history of heavy music, Mr. Dave Mustaine, supported by his henchmen Kiko Loureiro on the guitars, Steve Di Giorgio on bass and Dirk Verbeuren on drums, collectively known as American Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH, kicked off their performance overflowing classics, heaviness and speed, all spearheaded by our beloved “MegaDave” as usual. The last time Megadeth played in Hamilton was 11 years ago, during their Gigantour 2012, and one of the bands that night was the unparalleled Motörhead, which is why I think the band’s diehard fans ignored ONI and BFMV yesterday and spent all the time prior to Megadeth outside smoking and having some beers.
Anyway, back to the concert, it was simply electrifying from the very first notes of Hangar 18, with flammable hits the likes of Sweating Bullets, She-Wolf, Trust and Tornado of Souls, plus newer songs like Dystopia, inspiring us all to scream the lyrics together with Dave, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop, and even venturing inside the sick mosh pits formed in the centre of the floor section. I also loved the fact they played Dread and the Fugitive Mind, a very underrated metal classic in my opinion, and I wish they had kept Angry Again in their setlist, but overall it was a lecture in heavy music by Megadeth, with kudos to Kiko once again for revitalizing the band and bringing so much energy, charisma and intricacy to their studio albums and live performances. In other words, Dave knew exactly what he was doing when he invited one of the best metal guitarists of the past 20 years to be part of the Megadeth family.
However, it was when Dave gave a short speech about how Covid-19 and his cancer delayed the release of the breathtaking The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (and he received a huge shout and a round of applauses from his fans when he proudly said he beat cancer) before playing the incendiary We’ll Be Back, when Vic Rattlehead joined the band onstage during the hard-hitting classic Peace Sells, plus of course his all-time masterpiece Holy Wars… The Punishment Due, that drove all fans mental at the venue, creating a beautiful connection between the band and the crowd. Needless to say, I don’t care if the play in Hammertown, in Toronto or anywhere else in the area, I’ll be there, and based on Dave’s final words they’ll be back to this part of the world sooner than you can say “Wake up dead! You die!”
Setlist Prince of Darkness Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
A Tout Le Monde
We’ll Be Back
Conquer or Die!
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due Silent Scorn
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitar, backing vocals
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Dirk Verbeuren – drums
One of the most interesting names of the current Swedish scene will crush your skull with their new album, blending their trademark Deathcore with tons of progressiveness and groove.
Hailing from Bollnäs, a Swedish locality and the seat of Bollnäs Municipality in Gävleborg County, Sweden, the up-and-coming Deathcore outfit known as Faustus plays what they like to call “a freight-train-full-of-sledgehammers-headed-straight-towards-your-whole-family” sound, adding elements from Death Metal, Progressive Metal and Djent, among others, to their vicious core sonority. Now in 2022 the band comprised of Ludvig Setterlind on vocals, Anton Pärlenskog and Mattias Lövhaga on the guitars, Nils Hedberg on bass and Oskar Pärlenskog on drums is ready to attack armed with their sophomore effort, entitled Memoriam, following up on their 2018 debut album Laments of an Obscure Mind. Produced, mixed and mastered by Robert Kukla at Obsidian Recording Studios, and displaying a classic artwork by Jani Stefanovic of Dreamdecipher Productions, “this album can be regarded as a tribute/homage to what has been. Both in regards to people from our past as well as things in life that have had a big impact on us. We felt that we needed an outlet for these feelings and took to our trade of choice to fulfil that need, and here we are. The music in itself is fuelled by these feelings and brings a sort of anger and sorrow. Not a gloomy one mind you, but more something that represents honour. With that said, we didn’t skimp out on the groove or heaviness of the music, no it’s quite the contrary. It’s our best and most complete album yet,” commented the band.
In the opening tune Deprived of Liberty we’re treated to a groovy riff attack by Anton and Mattias accompanied by the thunderous bass by Nils, kicking off the album on a high note and flowing into the also visceral Psychogenic, with Ludvig roaring and screaming in anger nonstop while Oskar dictates the pace with his pounding drums, sounding as heavy as it is intricate and melodic. Let’s keep banging our heads to the sound of Anhedonia, where Nils and Oskar sound like an earthquake together, therefore providing Ludvig with all he needs to scream manically, whereas Existence, Death? begins in the most Progressive Metal way possible, morphing into another solid tune where all instruments sound sharp, caustic and detailed. And following such pulverizing tune, The Creation of What’s Called Hell is an infernal Deathcore and Death Metal creation spiced up by its sinister lyrics (“In utter darkness / Death is my only friend / Corrupting everything / Tearing the soul apart / In the silence I scream / Rots with the corpses / No incoming sources / Creating what’s called hell”).
Ludvig continues to growl like a beast in Architect of Ruin, more modern than its predecessors with the guitars by Anton and Mattias piercing our ears mercilessly; and blending elements from the Melodic Death Metal by bands such as Arch Enemy and Soilwork in their sonority Faustus offer us all Sleep, once again hammering our heads with their venomous drums and bass. Then leaning towards contemporary Groove Metal we have Tempus, sounding darker and more demonic than the rest of the album and with Ludvig stealing the spotlight with his devilish roars; while Obscurity is slightly generic compared to the other songs albeit still presenting the band’s core sonority, with the guitars by Anton and Mattias sounding incendiary. Back to a more obscure sound, it’s time for the band to blast the multi-layered From the Beginning to the End where Nils is as usual fantastic on bass while Oskar keeps the energy level truly high with his beats, morphing into the atmospheric outro XI, putting a serene and pensive ending to Memoriam.
If you want to enjoy all the fury and melody blasted by Faustus in Memoriam you can stream the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase it by clicking HERE or HERE. Also, don’t forget to give the guys a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their visceral music. The Swedish metallers from Faustus did a very good job with Memoriam, blending a vast array of styles into their trademark Deathcore without losing their essence and without sounding confusing; as a matter of fact, I would love to see more of their experimentations and progressiveness in their upcoming albums as those elements brought a very welcome touch to their music, placing them among the most interesting names of the modern metal scene without a shadow of a doubt.
Best moments of the album:Psychogenic, The Creation of What’s Called Hell and Tempus.
Worst moments of the album:Obscurity.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. Deprived of Liberty 3:56
2. Psychogenic 5:01
3. Anhedonia 3:29
4. Existence, Death? 4:41
5. The Creation of What’s Called Hell 5:58
6. Architect of Ruin 4:15
7. Sleep 3:57
8. Tempus 4:06
9. Obscurity 3:19
10. From the Beginning to the End 5:43
11. XI 2:44
Band members Ludvig Setterlind – vocals
Anton Pärlenskog – guitar
Mattias Lövhaga – guitar
Nils Hedberg – bass
Oskar Pärlenskog – drums
This is my first experience of Danish band Cabal and I can only describe the sound they create as weaponized music. This their third album to date, entitled Magno Interitus and released through Nuclear Blast Records, is a sort of conglomeration of Blackened Deathcore, Djent, Dubstep, Doom and Hardcore.
What the band strive to achieve is a sort of gloomy, doom laden atmosphere, and this they achieve. Underneath that atmosphere however is something far more sinister. Whilst this kind of music isn’t my thing, I can certainly appreciate what has been pieced together here. So instead of banging on about what bands this reminds me of, (None, I have very little knowledge of this style) I’ll instead try to describe how this album makes me feel and what it brings to mind.
If I were a film maker engaged in creating a movie about two warring factions, one a desperate bedraggled remnant of humanity and the other a sleek, mechanical army of robots, (Yes, I am aware I’m essentially talking about the later Terminator films) then this would be my soundtrack. For this album sounds like mechanized Armageddon, and its unstoppable unwavering post-industrial style that fuses the disjointed nature of Djent with a more scattergun Dubstep element, as well as hostile crushing Deathcore, would be the perfect fit for my soundtrack.
In my opinion, a band like Cabal defies genre boundaries. If a band can take someone like me who has no real appreciation for Deathcore and make me think about what I’m experiencing, then they have to be a very talented and creative band indeed. So whilst a true Deathcore fan would give this a higher grade, a novice to the style like me to give it a seven I think says even more about why you should listen to Magno Interitus.
Best moments of the album: The album ends very strongly with Exsanguination and Plague Bringer.
Worst moments of the album: Nothing to massively complain about.
Released in 2022 by Nuclear Blast Records
Track listing 1. If I Hang, Let Me Swing 3:14
2. Insidious 2:09
3. Magno Interitus 3:27
4. Existence Ensnared 3:25
5. Insatiable 3:26
6. Blod af Mit 4:17
7. Exit Wound 2:43
8. Violent Ends 2:41
9. Like Vultures 3:05
10. Exsanguination 3:20
11. Plague Bringer 3:45
Andreas Bjulver Paarup – vocals
Christian Hammer Mattesen – guitars
Chris Kreutzfeldt – guitars
Malthe Strøyer Sørensen – bass
Nikolaj Kaae Kirk – drums
Simon Olsen – vocals on “Insidious”
Joe Bad – vocals on “Magno Interitus”
John Cxnnor – industrial noises on “Blod af Mit”
Bang your heads to the third studio album by this excellent Spanish Alternative Metal crew, revolving around the human being’s own prison, isolated in the confines of his own mind.
Born in the year of 2009 in the charming city of Barcelona, Spain with a common philosophy among their musicians to create independent music without a fixed style, where expressivity rules over clichés, Alternative Rock/Metal unity Donuts Hole is set to release their third studio album now in 2020, entitled Fragmenta. Produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Marco A. Papiz at PlyGrnd Studio in Barcelona, and featuring a classy artwork by Spanish artist Alejandro Gómez Parker (Windbreaker Design), Fragmenta revolves around the human being’s own prison, isolated in the confines of his own mind, without knowing what he is or what he really wants, without sufficient expertise to focus the will towards a goal that transgresses yourself and that allows integrating all the fragments of our consciousness to connect with the community. Add to that pensive and contemporary theme the groovy and progressive fusion of rock and metal blasted by vocalist Ariel Placenti, guitarists Gun Sato and Marco A. Papiz, bassist Franx Jurado and drummer Sebastián Gonzalez and there you have one of 2020’s strongest albums of the European alternative scene, with the Spanish language giving the overall result a more organic and honest vibe.
The opening track Desde Las Ruinas (“from the ruins”, in English) sounds modern and piercing from the very first second, with Franx firing sheer heaviness and electricity from his bass while Ariel raps the song’s lyrics with tons of anger, therefore resulting in an excellent (and groovy) way to properly kick things off in Fragmenta, whereas Heridas, or “wounds”, is more atmospheric and metalized, blending American Alternative Metal with the band’s European twist, and with both Gun and Marco slashing their stringed axes nonstop. And they keep hammering their instruments in Fraccion De Ser, or “a fraction of being”, where Ariel sounds even more demented on vocals in another solid blast of modern-day metal music spearheaded by the crushing and rhythmic beats by Sebástian, not to mention its catchy chorus will work perfectly during their live concerts. Then a grim and heavy ambience enfolds us all in Espina (“thorn”), with the melodious guitars by Gun and Marco making a beautiful paradox with the rumbling bass by Franx, alternating between more visceral moments and serene passages, while Mapas (“maps”), one of the first singles released for the album promotion, brings to our ears the band’s trademark groove and progressiveness with Ariel venturing through more introspective lands.
Back to a more violent sonority, the band speed things up and fire the modern and exciting Revelador (“illuminating”), where Sebástian is unstoppable on drums providing Ariel all he needs to scream and roar manically from start to finish; followed by Tu, or “you”, a semi-ballad blasted by the quintet showcasing a very good job done by Sebástian on drums, while the guitars maintain the atmosphere at the same time heavy and gentle (albeit not as powerful as the previous songs, though). And you better get ready for a minimalist creation by Donuts Hole titled Pequeño Guerrero (“little warrior”), a more pensive tune compared to the rest of the album, bringing electronic elements in the background together with their usual alternative sounds, while the stylish piano interlude Calma (“calm”) sets the tone for the closing song entitled En La Tormenta (“into the storm”), bringing hints of Djent added to their core sonority. Put differently, it’s an inspiring composition overflowing hope and energy thanks to the crisp riffage by the band’s guitar duo and another passionate performance by Ariel on vocals.
The guys from Donuts Hole are waiting for you to join them in their quest for melodious, introspective and groovy music by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by streaming more of their music on Spotify, and of course by purchasing a copy of Fragmenta from several locations such as their own BandCamp page or webstore and La Casa del Disco, as well as by adding it to your favorite streaming service. Fragmenta is more than just another album of Alternative Rock and Metal, but a solid statement by Donuts Hole that they are among us to stay, to make us think about our lives and decisions while enjoying their newborn creations and, above all, that the human mind is and will always be one o the most compelling sources for hardworking bands like Donuts Hole to keep embellishing the airwaves with their music.
Best moments of the album: Desde Las Ruinas, Fraccion De Ser and Revelador.
Worst moments of the album:Tu.
Released in 2020 Rock Estatal Records
Track listing 1. Desde Las Ruinas 2:53
2. Heridas 3:33
3. Fraccion De Ser 4:11
4. Espina 3:19
5. Mapas 3:22
6. Revelador 4:00
7. Tu 4:26
8. Pequeño Guerrero 4:48
9. Calma 1:04
10. En La Tormenta 3:13
Ariel Placenti – vocals
Gun Sato – guitar
Marco A. Papiz – guitar
Franx Jurado – bass
Sebastián Gonzalez – drums
As summer is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s take a trip to a place known not for its hot and warm weather, but for its wet and cool climate, which by the way has led to the growth of extensive forests featuring some of the largest trees in the world. I’m talking about the region known as the Pacific Northwest, in the United States, more specifically the city of Corvallis, located in central western Oregon and around 120km from the state’s largest city Portland, where our metal chick of the month, the unrelenting Malaysian-born vocalist Avienne Low, frontwoman for Progressive/Melodic Death/Black Metal unity Vintersea, has been embellishing the Pacific Northwestern airwaves with her powerful voice since moving from Penang, a state in northwest Malaysia, to pursue her studies in American soil. As you’ll be able to see, you’ll be absolutely stunned by Avienne with both her clean, delicate vocals and her infernal roars, showcasing all her vocal range and talent as the lead singer for Vintersea.
Married to a guy called Nick Kiuttu in Keizer, a city located in Marion County, Oregon, in 2016, which led her to use the name Avienne Kiuttu for a while (and because she switched back to Avienne Low I have absolutely no idea if she’s still married), Avienne started her life and career in music when she found an acoustic guitar in a box under her parents’ bed when she was 11 years old, and after having the guitar dusted and tuned, she discovered her passion for singing and performing while playing covers and originals for her family and friends. During her college years, her love for performing grew bigger as she joined an all-ladies a capella group named Divine, a small group of singers hand-picked from Oregon State University’s Bella Voce that began in 2003, with whom she stayed for about a year and a half before fully directing her focus on being the vocalist for Vintersea. Avienne also stated that “I absolutely love fronting the band, and my past experiences have cultivated my ongoing passion for singing, screaming, and performing.”
Regarding her career with Vintersea, as you might already know they are a female-fronted metal band from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, from the aforementioned city of Corvallis, born in 2016 from the ashes of a previous incarnation of the band itself when it was called Asterion, combining the essential elements of metal’s most revered sub-genres with memorable and anthemic song-writing sensibility, therefore crafting a unique brand of crushing Blackened Progressive Metal inspired by the dark skies of the Pacific Northwest and leading the band to share the stage with renowned acts the likes of Jinjer, Ne Obliviscaris and Arkona, among others.
Shortly after entering the United States, Avienne found her home with Vintersea, with guitarists Riley Nix and Jorma Spaziano, drummer Jeremy Spencer and bassist Karl Whinnery rounding out their current lineup. The band was actually born in the summer of 2014 under its previous moniker Asterion when high school friends Riley and Jeremy put out an ad on Craigslist searching for the right musicians to form a new metal act, with Avienne and Jorma (who had moved to Oregon from the east coast, not even sure he was going to be in a band anymore) responding to their ad based on a few early demos. They quickly got together and started jamming out, and it felt like a really good fit right away, which led them to start working on music and playing a few shows as Asterion, which by the way was based on stars and constellations, leaning towards a modern and progressive side of music, almost to a Djent vibe, releasing that same year a five-track EP titled Constellations, which you can enjoy in its entirety HERE or HERE.
However, despite the high-quality of the music found in their debut EP, Riley, Avienne & Co. figured out pretty quick that the music by Asterion wasn’t exactly what they wanted to do. Heavily inspired by European Black Metal, Atmospheric Metal and Post-Metal, the band started playing a hybrid of Progressive and Melodic Metal types, making the collective decision to delve headfirst into that and develop their own sound and later changing their name to Vintersea, with “Vinter” being winter and “sea” because they are from the Pacific Northwest, as grey ocean waves are a heavy asthetic. After such significant changes, they released two official full-length albums, The Gravity of Fall, in 2017, and more recently Illuminated, in 2019, and you can enjoy several top-notch music videos for some of the best songs from both albums on YouTube, such as Illuminated, The Host, Skies Set Ablaze, Old Ones and Entities, as well as their official tour video for the song The Gravity of Fall, and you can also go to Spotify or BandCamp for more of their stylish creations. Furthermore, there are some great interviews with Avienne on YouTube where you can get to know more about her role with Vintersea, such as this one given to Metal Shop Steve where she talks about their 2019 album Illuminated and their music videos, and this one to Dani Zed Reviews where they talk about several topics including their albums, the feedback received on them and their live performances.
Avienne has already made it pretty clear in several interviews that she wants to be a great metal vocalist, not just ‘great for a female’ metal vocalist, as almost all of her main influences are male vocalists or bands with male vocalists, including Ghost Iris, Disentomb, Unprocessed, Logic, Devin Townsend, Ne Obliviscaris, Enslaved, Ihsahn, Between the Buried and Me, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, TesseracT and Skyharbor, to name a few, with her vocal idol being Chris Barretto, from bands such as Ever Forthright, Monuments, Periphery and Haunted Shores. In addition, when Avianne was asked about how she discovered metal music and which artists and bands caught her attention while she was growing up in Malaysia, our talented vocalist answered by saying that because she didn’t have access to online platforms like BandCamp almost all the music she listened to as a child was either from the radio or MTV, mentioning Linkin Park from their Hybrid Theory days as a huge influence when she was only around seven years old. During the following decade, she got obsessed with discovering new metal bands after listening to the 2010 album Long Live, by American Metalcore act The Chariot, with bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me and Converge fueling her obsession. As she didn’t play any sports nor go to the beach at that time, she spent hours and hours developing her taste for metal and finding lesser-known bands online. Also, when questioned about which song by any artist she wishes she could have written, Avienne mentioned Celestial Violence, from the 2016 album Arktis. by Norway’s own Ihsahn, as Vintersea were all listening to Arktis. a lot during the recording of The Gravity of Fall, and that song in particular spoke to all band members with its severe changes in dynamics and epic conclusion.
Regarding her vocal style, Avienne said that learning how to do harsh vocals and finding the perfect formula to combine them with her clean singing wasn’t an easy task at first. She complemented by saying that she started doing harsh vocals because she wanted to scream along to her favorite bands at that time, and there was a lot of trial and error while she was developing her style, also saying that one of her main techniques was to record herself, study those recordings, and look for areas of improvement, becoming familiar and comfortable with her own screams and playing around with different tones and styles to see what worked best. She also said that it is not only important to be aware of how your body feels when learning to scream, but to be patient throughout the process, complementing by mentioning that she takes care of her voice by doing vocal warm-ups and relaxing a little before hitting the stage, and avoiding spicy food prior to any concert because it’s not a good feeling to jump around the stage with a “ball of fire” burning inside her stomach.
Her view of the music industry is also quite interesting, as she said that in many ways she thinks the music industry has never been healthier, with the power being concentrated in the hands of the fans, the small labels, writers and so on, with the big, faceless corporations having lost most of the power they once had, letting truly innovative and independent bands to reach a much broader audience due to the evolution and changes to internet distribution. As long as fans keep listening to Vintersea’s music, buying their merchandise and supporting them at their live performances, Avienne said she’ll continue to write beautiful and meaningful music together with her bandmates, which is exactly what we all desire, don’t you agree? And talking about touring and live concerts, Avienne said one of Vintersea’s most memorable shows was when they shared the stage with the talented female-fronted Graveshadow, Mindmaze, Sirenia and Arkona at the Bossanova Ballroom downtown Portland in 2017, also saying that there are countless other bands they would love to play shows with or tour with, but as they’re all hugely fond of the guys in Ne Obliviscaris, she thinks it would be simply fantastic to have the opportunity to spend time on the road with that level of talent.
As it happens with pretty much all women who decide to venture through the realms of metal music, Avienne has also been asked countless times about how she sees the importance and influence of women in a music genre that’s still considered sexist by many, and her answers couldn’t have been more spot-on. “My advice is to acknowledge that misogynists and sexists are there, but don’t give them any fuel to their hateful fire. Don’t turn their hate into your hate. Focus on what makes you happy. If you focus on yourself, not only you will be happier in the long run, but your happiness and success will annoy the haters. It’s a win-win situation,” said our stunning vocalist, also saying that in her opinion the metal scene has never had so many badass, powerful and brutal women like nowadays, with more and more metal bands with women fronting them or slaying an instrument coming to light, which is a very inspiring situation for her personally. The metal scene has been exclusionary of women in metal for years, which is why she believes it’s important that there is more women in metal not only because they represents a significant portion of the listeners, but mainly because there is an endless amount of skill and talent that women in metal bring that should definitely be recognized. Moreover, when asked about who she considers the most influential women in metal today, Avienne cited the unstoppable Tatiana Shmaylyuk from Jinjer and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, saying it’s impressive what they can do with their vocals, and that they both have showed many people for the first time that women can bring endless energy and fire through harsh vocals.
When asked about her writing process (and of the entire band), Avienne said that before starting it they discuss as a band what the theme of the album should be, followed by determining each song’s theme and message, writing the music prior to the vocal parts and making sure each of their songs can be interpreted on multiple levels, from deeply personal to globally conceptual, all within the same framework. There are songs that can come together in a matter of days, but most of them take shape over a period of months with a lot of intense work, consideration and debate, with their collective vision usually coming together after a couple of weeks. There’s a lot of trust among the band members, and they have found that this dynamic and exciting process helps them produce their best results. Avienne also said that since the band’s inception she has developed and grown in both skill and style, helping her explore different facets of her voice and making the band’s songwriting more cohesive, mentioning the moment they started receiving messages from fans saying they were inspired by Vintersea or that their music helped them through tough times was a breakthrough moment for the band, making they proud of what they’ve accomplished so far. In addition, as an up-and-coming metal artist, Avienne said that the best advice she can give to new bands and musicians is that they shouldn’t be afraid to be who they are, saying people should find their own voice to be able to craft timeless music, instead of being a “one-hit wonder” molded by the industry, also saying we should never stop learning and never close our minds to new ideas. Well, I guess we couldn’t agree more with Avienne, wishing her and her bandmates from Vintersea a bright and healthy future in the world of heavy music, taking the band to new and unexplored lands in the coming years for our total delight.
“I love singing about things that can make a person think about things differently, and I love exposing things that are poignant yet not talked about or thought of enough. I view music as another mode about storytelling, and I know I’m on the right path if I can feel the emotions rising from deep within my body.” – Avienne Low
A high-octane fusion of classic Metalcore with Hardcore, Deathcore, Death and Thrash Metal made in Australia, inspired by the biggest names of the current rock and metal scene.
Highly inspired by some of the biggest names of the modern rock and metal scene such as As I Lay Dying, Of Mice & Men, Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon, Thy Art Murder and Trivium, Australian Metalcore outfit He Who Seeks Vengeance is unleashing upon humanity their debut full-length album beautifully entitled They Will Speak Of The Ghosts That We Became, blasting a high-octane fusion of classic Metalcore with Hardcore, Deathcore, Death and Thrash Metal for the masses. Formed in 2016 in Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, the band comprised of lead singer Scott Masson, guitarist Kye Bradbury-Flint, bassist Joel Petry and drummer Adam Vousden sounds a lot more cohesive, polished and focused in their new album than in their 2017 debut EP The Kid’s Got Alligator Blood, proving the quartet is on the right path in their promising career and explaining why they’ve already become a reference in the underground scene in their homeland.
Distorted sounds and crushing beats invade our ears in Death Mountain before Scott begins roaring deeply for our total delight in a feast of fast, furious and vicious Metalcore infused with classic Death Metal elements, or in other words, an ass-kicking welcome card by the quartet. And keep banging your heads to the band’s demolishing sound in I Know You’re out There, Demon, where we’re able to enjoy the first stint of clean vocals of the album while Kye showcases his refined guitar skills, adding a lot of groove and electricity to their musicality; whereas Screw Feet presents a rumbling sonority led by Joel’s bass jabs and Adam’s vile beats. Furthermore, this is the type of modern metal music I enjoy a lot, being violent, melodic and progressive all at once, not to mention the incendiary riffs fired by Kye from start to finish. Slowing down and getting more obscure, Ghosts brings forward a solid instrumental that lacks the same energy and impact from the previous songs, despite the great job done by Scott with both his growls and clean vocals, followed by Nothing Lasts Forever, where an enraged intro explodes into a fusion of Metalcore with Groove Metal and Deathcore and with Joel’s thunderous bass powerfully complementing the song’s crisp, razor-edged guitar riffs.
Interminable displays a more melodic and less aggressive side of the band led by the metallic, low-tuned bass by Joel, while Scott declaims the song’s lyrics in a Punk-ish/Hardcore-inspired way, sounding perfect for fans of this less bestial side of Metalcore. Then the flammable guitar lines by Kye ignite the also groovy and rhythmic Money Is God, where Scott sounds truly deranged and insane and with Adam pounding his drums just the way we like it in modern-day metal, before the band blasts a rebellious circle pit-generator spearheaded by Adam and Kye titled Mark Me with an X, with both being armed to the teeth with their respective instruments. Needless to say, it should work really well if played live, with the deep guttural roars by Scott being the icing on the cake. In Strychnine the band sounds as modern and metallic as they can be, especially Adam with his crushing beats and fills, also showcasing the band’s trademark neck-breaking rhythm and pace in a solid display of what contemporary Metalcore truly means, while in 80-20, a song tailored for being played live at rock and metal festivals, we’re all invited to jump up and down with He Who Seeks Vengeance, presenting a blazing main riff that will rip your spinal cord out, unstoppable drums and endless stamina.
Once again bringing hints of classic Death Metal and even some Thrash Metal influences to their core sonority, the band offers us Shrapnel, alternating between groovier, more melodic moments and sheer insanity. Moreover, Scott doesn’t stop screaming and roaring, bursting his lungs with his deep guttural lines. Into the Shape of a Heart keeps the album at a high level of adrenaline (which by the way is kind of a tough job as we’re talking about fifteen songs in total), bringing to our ears a great riffage delivered by Kye while Joel continues to hammer his bass mercilessly, followed by Defeatist, offering the listener a more rumbling, dense sonority infused with Djent and Hardcore nuances while its guitar riffs are in total sync with the sound of drums, generating a vibrant atmosphere perfect for Scott’s sick vociferations. Lastly, closing the album we have two very distinct songs, starting with This Is My Day, which despite not being a bad song is slightly generic if compared to the rest of the album, albeit still presenting the band’s characteristic style and vibe and with Adam delivering another great performance on drums, while Blackwater is a very unique, dark and pensive ballad, not as devastating as their usual sound but, in the end, it works extremely well, closing the album on a somber note as if it is some sort of “aftermath”.
What are you waiting for to show your support to this talented four-piece act from Down Under? Go check what they’re up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and purchase your copy of They Will Speak Of The Ghosts That We Became (available for a full listen on Spotify) by clicking HERE or from CD Baby. Those guys definitely want to put Australia on the map of contemporary Metalcore and Hardcore, and based on the high quality of the music found in their brand new album there’s no doubt they will succeed, which means we can expect to hear more from He Who Seeks Vengeance in a not-so-distant future.
Best moments of the album:Death Mountain, Screw Feet, 80-20 and Shrapnel.
Worst moments of the album:Ghosts and This Is My Day.
Released in 2019 Independent
Track listing 1. Death Mountain 3:33
2. I Know You’re out There, Demon 4:08
3. Screw Feet 4:36
4. Ghosts 5:12
5. Nothing Lasts Forever 4:30
6. Interminable 5:43
7. Money Is God 3:30
8. Mark Me with an X 4:24
9. Strychnine 4:51
10. 80-20 4:40
11. Shrapnel 3:51
12. Into the Shape of a Heart 3:50
13. Defeatist 3:31
14. This Is My Day 4:04
15. Blackwater 4:27
Band members Scott Masson – vocals
Kye Bradbury-Flint – guitar
Joel Petry – bass
Adam Vousden – drums
A travel to the year of 1799 in Italy, where an elite group of rich and evil people founded a secret society called “The First Order”, in the form of incendiary Post-Hardcore and Djent.
From Post-Hardcore to Djent, including elements from Melodic Metalcore, Alternative Metal and Deathcore, to name a few, the Ancona, Italy-based band comprised of Andrea Pali on vocals, Valerio Quirini on lead guitar, Daniele Monaldi on the guitar, Diego Nardelli on bass and Enrico Rivetti on drums, collectively known as Sharks In Your Mouth, has never stopped improving their sound and style since their inception in 2010, always in pursuit of the “ultimate sound”. Now in 2019 the band returns with another round of heavy and melodic sounds with their sophomore album Sacrilegious, a follow-up to their 2016 debut opus Promises. Not only that, the album also narrates what the band calls “The Covenant” saga, bringing additional layers to their already dense and aggressive music.
Engineered by Federico Ascari and Sharks In Your Mouth, reamped, mixed and mastered by Federico Ascari at Wavemotion Recordings, and featuring a stylish artwork by Mattia Castiglia, Sacrilegious takes us to the year of 1799 in Italy, where an elite group of rich and evil people founded a secret society called “The First Order”, possessing an ancient magical book that must be burned to avoid letting them dictate the social and moral laws of the future. A young boy gets caught up in one of their rituals and “The Order” kills him, but not before painting some “black tears” on his face as their tradition. From that you can already have a very good idea of how obscure their lyrics are, which together with the thunderous sounds blasted by their guitars, bass and drums generate a dark and enfolding atmosphere that will please all fans of the genre.
The cinematic intro Black Tears opens the gates of the underworld to the violent The Covenant, where Andrea begins roaring rabidly just the way we like it in Metalcore and Deathcore while Enrico makes sure our heads don’t stop trembling with his beats, resulting in a beyond amazing start to the album. Then Valerio and Daniele shred their axes mercilessly while Diego exhales rage from his metallic bass in the title-track Sacrilegious, presenting acid lyrics that match perfectly with the music (“What we did is sacrilegious / We’ve been fighting against the odds / What we did is sacrilegious / But we had to burn that book / They will give to this world their idols and the illusion of choice / Illusion of choice / Impostors, who will rise and who will fall? / The Order is born”); and featuring guest musician Daniele Gottardo, who adds his personal touch of evil to the song with a sick guitar solo, we have another bestial Deathcore tune named Dethroned. Furthermore, it’s impressive how somber those guys can sound while at the same time being extremely melodic, with Diego and Enrico never stopping extracting low-tuned, thunderous roars from their instruments while Andrea alternates between clean vocals and demented screams.
In Sinner, an acoustic intro morphs into a crushing Symphonic Metalcore hymn led by Andrea while Diego smashes his bass chords manically, with all symphonic background elements adding a good amount of finesse to the sonority and also sounding very progressive at times, whereas R.I.P., one of the darkest songs of the album, showcases a focused and demonic duo on the guitars, supported by Enrico’s intricate drums and a berserk Andrea on vocals, and also presenting some creepy, obscure passages to give the whole song an extra infernal kick. Keep banging your head and slamming into the pit to the pulverizing As Above So Below, where you will feel Diego’s bass rumbling at the back of your head, providing the listener a fresh and vibrant fusion of more melodic lines and sheer aggression, and venturing through more modernized and radio-friendly lands, the band offers us the fast-paced This Is Gonna Hurt, incorporating elements from Alternative Metal and Rock to their more vicious style.
If Limp Bizkit suddenly turned into a heavier band, Fear Me, Feed Me is how they would sound, with its instrumental pieces being pretty solid as well as Andrea’s growls, bringing tons of rage and progressiveness for our avid ears, although his rap-like vocals don’t work as expected. Keeping their aggressiveness and dementia at a high level, the quintet fires the Melodic Metalcore tune Marked, bringing forward sick, distorted riffs by Valerio and Daniele, not to mention Enrico’s bestial drumming, while Curtain is a short and sweet piano bridge to the epic and visceral Fall (The Covenant Part II), an imposing tune where all rage flowing from drums is complemented by flammable riffs and bass punches while Andrea darkly declaims the song’s poetic lyrics (“I still hear their cry for help / While I paint my black tears on my face / Shadows in the night, trying to resist / Hunted from the ancient creed / All is lost, erased from reality / Paint your black tears / Paint your black tears”).
If you nurture a deep passion for Hardcore, Metalcore and Djent, and if you are constantly searching for new names in the market that can offer you something more than just well-crafted heavy music, you must give Sharks In Your Mouth a chance without a shadow of a doubt. Not only those guys master their instruments, but as already mentioned the theme found in Sacrilegious (available in full on Spotify) is way more flavorful and interesting than your average bands out there. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to those Italian metallers by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and of course by purchasing Sacrilegious from their official webstore or from several other locations like Apple Music and Amazon by clicking HERE, consequently joining the band’s army known as “Covenants” and banging your head like a beast to some high-end Djent made in Italy.
Best moments of the album:The Covenant, Sacrilegious and R.I.P.
Worst moments of the album:Fear Me, Feed Me.
Released in 2019 Independent
Track listing 1. Black Tears 1:04
2. The Covenant 4:39
3. Sacrilegious 4:12
4. Dethroned (feat. Daniele Gottardo) 4:03
5. Sinner 3:29
6. R.I.P. 3:23
7. As Above So Below 4:08
8. This Is Gonna Hurt 3:43
9. Fear Me, Feed Me 3:43
10. Marked 4:36
11. Curtain 0:23
12. Fall (The Covenant Part II) 4:40
Band members Andrea Pali – vocals
Valerio Quirini – lead guitar
Daniele Monaldi – guitar
Diego Nardelli – bass
Enrico Rivetti – drums
Guest musician Daniele Gottardo – guitar solo on “Dethroned”
Bringing forth complex arrangements combined with a large dose of modern electronic music, here comes a metal unity from Poland ready to smash our senses with their debut album of incendiary Metalcore and Djent.
Electronicore, also known as Trancecore or Synthcore, is a fusion of Metalcore and Djent with elements of various electronic music genres, such as trance, electronica, and dubstep, with bands and artists like Attack Attack! in the United States and Enter Shikari in the UK having contributed to the development and the dissemination of the genre all over the world. Furthermore, it looks like the style has been expanding in a healthy and interesting way in recent years with the rising of bands like Switzerland’s own Rage Of Light and Polish Metalcore/Djent unity Down To The Heaven, who are releasing this year their debut album curiously titled [level -1].
Formed in 2013 in the city of Bielsko-Biała, Down To The Heaven have all it takes to become one of the references in Eletronicore and Djent. Comprised of Rusty on vocals, Shaun and Majster on the guitars, Grzela on bass, Cyfrowe Zło on keys and electronic noises, and Hoomer on drums, the band brings forth a style characterized by complex arrangements with heavy guitar playing combined with a large dose of melody and modern electronic music. In [level -1], which was mixed and mastered at Seeker Studio in Wrocław, Poland in 2017 and which features a modern and captivating artwork by Sztuczny Horyzont, this Polish six-piece act showcases all they got, being ready to smash your senses with their vicious and rumbling sounds and noises.
As if a wicked horror flick was about to begin, a creepy intro titled Down to the… gets heavier and heavier as time goes by, generating a metallic and embracing atmosphere for the demolishing Catharsis, where frontman Rusty barks deeply like a beast while the whimsical keys by Cyfrowe Zło make a vibrant contrast with the furious beats by Hoomer, resulting in a fantastic and modern hybrid between Metalcore, Industrial Metal and Melodic Death Metal. Then Shaun and Majster ignite another crushing feast of sounds named Lost in Memories with their cutting riffs, while Grzela will make your head tremble with his sick bass lines. Moreover, the music remains bold and thunderous from start to finish, proving how talented and heavy Down To The Heaven are. And putting the pedal to the metal the band blasts sheer madness and aggression in Unbroken, an excellent sample of contemporary Djent infused with elements from heavier styles where Rusty is once again demented on vocals, while Cyfrowe Zło brings insanity to the music with his keys and special effects.
Even more modernized and eccentric than its predecessors, No Vision is a movie-inspired instrumental extravaganza where its beautiful piano notes go along really well with the guitar solos and the mesmerizing atmosphere, whereas in Kingdom of Delusion it actually feels we’re “entering” a movie, with the rhythmic and tribal beats by Hoomer setting the stage for Rusty and his deranged, lunatic growls. In addition, the music evolves to a potent industrialized sounding, with both Shaun and Majster firing sheer electricity through their crisp riffs. In Tyrant’s Fall we’re treated to an explosion of modern-day Metalcore with an electronic and demented twist, led by Cyfrowe Zło and his piercing keys while Hoomer keeps pounding and smashing his drums and Rusty growls the song’s rebellious lyrics (“Arise in rage! / Image of madness / Dripping from rusty chains / Like deadly poison inside our brains / Blood under feet / Groan of tormented souls / Who’s lurking behind the Throne / BURN THEM ALL!”), before We Are, the last track of the album, continues to punch you in the head with the violent sounds extracted from all instruments, being effectively complemented by the most electronic noises of the entire album. Moreover, the song also presents clean vocals at times, making the whole experience of listening to it even more tasteful and, therefore, ending the album on a high and wicked note.
In summary, Down To The Heaven nailed it in [level -1], creating something truly unique by adding their own twist and electricity to the already innovative Eletronicore, and if you want to know more about this skillful act from Poland simply pay them a visit on Facebook for news, tour dates and other shenanigans, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, and purchase [level -1] directly from their BandCamp page or from iTunes. Put differently, if it’s fresh and modern music you’re craving, but without giving up that raw and aggressive vibe from heavy music, it’s time you get “down to the heaven”.
Best moments of the album: Catharsis, Unbroken and Tyrant’s Fall.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2018 Independent
Track listing 1. Down to the… 3:25
2. Catharsis 5:02
3. Lost in Memories 3:48
4. Unbroken 4:10
5. No Vision 6:07
6. Kingdom of Delusion 5:51
7. Tyrant’s Fall 3:32
8. We Are 3:02
Band members Rusty – vocals
Shaun – guitar
Majster – guitar
Grzela – bass
Cyfrowe Zło – electronic noises, keys
Hoomer – drums
A sea of complexity and groove thoroughly presented by an auspicious French quintet that definitely knows how to craft high-quality Djent and Metalcore.
The subgenre of heavy music known as Djent, a development of progressive metal named for an onomatopoeia for the distinctive distorted, low-pitch guitar sound first employed by Swedish icons Meshuggah, with bands like After The Burial, Sikth, Animals As Leaders and Born Of Osiris becoming some of its biggest exponents, has been also represented worldwide since 2013 by a dexterous quintet hailing from the charming city of Bordeaux, France named Ashes To Fire. Fans of Metalcore, Djent, Hardcore and Post-Hardcore will have a great time listening to the music by these French metallers, in special the six potent compositions from their brand new EP entitled Still Waters.
Featuring members of local French bands such as Hate To Eleven, Defeat The Foe and Heaven Can Wait, Ashes To Fire offer the listener a very professional and punchy fusion of all their metal inspirations. The artwork in Still Waters, designed by French artist Serge Cleoron, features an ocean that represents the harmony among all band members while the octopus and its tentacles depict some of the band’s main influences in music like August Burns Red, Thy Art Is Murder and Born Of Osiris, among others, continuing the musical path initiated with their 2014 self-titled demo and their 2015 debut EP Karmalogy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan of Djent or not, you’ll certainly sense elements from all those bands in Still Waters, and will probably start banging your head to Ashes To Fire’s powerful compositions without even noticing.
Modern sounds together with heavy guitars in the EP’s Intro kick things off in a thunderous way, before guitarists Nico and Dylan lead the Metalcore massacre Real Life, with lead singer Yas growling like there’s no tomorrow. In addition, the song gets less violent and more melodic at times, keeping the sonority always fresh in an awesome display of what this French quintet is capable of. The violence of Hardcore turns Dad And Mum into the most electrifying and complete track of the EP, where once again again Yas demonstrates all his vocal potency while Corekie and William generate a true storm of metal music with their respective rumbly, noise bass and dense beats.
Bringing elements from Melodic Death Metal the likes of In Flames mixed with the modern American Metalcore from August Burns Red, To Disappear displays a flawless sync between the heavy riffs by Nico and Dylan and the roaring bass by Corekie, whereas in Roots To Sheet, the sound of guitars grows and is complemented by bass and drums in another solid exhibition of Djent and Metalcore by this awesome band. Moreover, a constant, heavy ambience keeps the music at a truly dark level perfect for Yas to fire his distressed harsh vocals. Finally, a sinister intro ignites the last track in Still Waters, titled Sara, being sharply joined by the intricate bass wallops by Corekie, with Nico delivering his solid guitar solos in a sea of complexity and groove that goes on until the song’s abrupt and effective ending.
In summary, the excellent Still Waters, available at Ashes To Fire’s BandCamp page or at M.U.S.I.C. Records’ webstore, is definitely your go-to album for contemporary high-quality Djent and Metalcore, and if you want to explore the already mentioned groovy sea of heavy music created by those French metallers simply visit their Facebook page and YouTube channel, consequently showing your support and appreciation for a music style that keeps reinventing itself, proudly carrying the flag of modern metal music all over the world.
Best moments of the album: Dad And Mum and To Disappear.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2016 M.U.S.I.C. Records
Track listing 1. Intro 1:11
2. Real Life 2:45
3. Dad And Mum 4:25
4. To Disappear 4:28
5. Roots To Sheet 4:18
6. Sara 5:04
Band members Yas – vocals
Nico – lead guitar
Dylan – rhythm guitar
Corekie – bass
William – drums