Album Review – Kreator / Hate Über Alles (2022)

Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.

Recorded at Hansa Studios and Studio Wong, both located in Berlin, Germany, produced by Arthur Rizk, and displaying a classy, demonic artwork by renowned Israeli artist Eliran Kantor, Hate Über Alles is not just the fifteenth studio album by German Thrash Metal masters Kreator, but the band’s first studio album since their 2017 opus Gods of Violence, marking the longest gap between studio albums in their career, and the first to feature former DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq, who replaced longtime band member Christian “Speesy” Giesler in 2019. And what do I think about the album? Well, let’s say Kreator more than nailed it once again, with the iconic Miland “Mille” Petrozza on vocals and guitar, Sami Yli-Sirniö also on the guitar, the aforementioned Frédéric Leclercq on bass, and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil on drums delivering sheer violence, blasphemy and hatred with a welcome dosage of progressiveness and experimentations throughout the entire album, therefore keeping the fires of German thrash burning bright for our total delight.

Sergio Corbucci was an Italian film director, screenwriter and producer who directed both very violent Spaghetti Westerns and bloodless Bud Spencer and Terence Hill action comedies, and there’s nothing better than the Spaghetti Western intro Sergio Corbucci Is Dead to set the stage for Kreator to kill in Hate Über Alles, with both Mille and Sami kicking some fuckin’ ass with their undisputed thrashing riffage. Put differently, a new metal anthem is born overflowing fury and hatred, and of course without a single second of boredom. Then in Killer Of Jesus we face an endless amount of brutality spiced up by absolutely austere lyrics (“Tell the hordes / I’ve come to save them all / Could their souls be dead / Or why can’t I hear their words? / Goddess of time / Always by my side / Faithless redemption / Is this what they have been praying for?”), with Ventor sounding demented behind his drums in another must-listen to any fan of our good old Thrash Metal, whereas the tribal beats by Ventor ignite the neck-breaking Crush The Tyrants, with Mille flawlessly vociferating the song’s visceral words. Strongest Of The Strong is very exciting from start to finish, with Mille and Sami delivering first-class riffs and solos throughout the entire song, resulting in another serious candidate to be part of their live performances, followed by Become Immortal, where I must say I love how Kreator are honoring all metal legends (including themselves) in their past few albums, with the song’s  galloping pace inviting us all to raise our horns together with one of the most important Thrash Metal bands of all time.

Conquer And Destroy brings forward old school Kreator for diehard fans of the band, and it will surely ignite some amazing circle pits if played live while Mille leads his horde with both his piercing vocals and melodic but razor-edged riffs and solos; and featuring guest vocalist Sofia Portanet, the hypnotizing Midnight Sun is by far the most experimental of all songs, with the final result being utterly captivating as if we were part of an uncanny, bloodthirsty Scandinavian midsummer festival. Demonic Future offers us all another round of wicked lyrics roared by Mille (“In terror, in riots in war / Just when you thought that you’ve seen it all / Awareness turns to repulsion / From everywhere, echoing chants / A requiem for their bitter lands / Just when you thought a sick society / Died in their final convulsions / Fantasies of omnipotence / Erased they’ll become aware”) while the music is that beautiful Thrash Metal we love so much, with Frédéric and Ventor making the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums, and when the entire album is awesome a song like Pride Comes Before The Fall that’s “just” very good becomes the “worst” one, albeit still showcasing of course Kreator’s unique thrashing sounds. And last but not least, Kreator darken the skies and send an apocalyptic message to everyone in Dying Planet, presenting hints of Doom Metal in their core sonority and, consequently, inspiring us to break our necks headbanging in the name of darkness together with Mille and his crew.

Kreator Hate Über Alles Deluxe Box

It’s time to let the hate blasted by Kreator in their outstanding new album flow through you, and you can do that by streaming it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing it from the band’s own webstore or by clicking HERE or HERE, where you can by the way find the limited deluxe box including the red and black splatter double vinyl with etching on side D in trifold cover, a digibook CD, a digipack live CD, a photobook, the artprint and a pin. Furthermore, Kreator are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their flammable music. Because in the end as you might already know it’s hate above all, as long as it’s blasted by an undisputed thrashing institution like Kreator.

Best moments of the album: Hate Über Alles, Killer Of Jesus, Strongest Of The Strong, Conquer And Destroy and Demonic Future.

Worst moments of the album: Pride Comes Before The Fall.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Sergio Corbucci Is Dead 0:58
2. Hate Über Alles 3:48
3. Killer Of Jesus 4:05
4. Crush The Tyrants 4:10
5. Strongest Of The Strong 4:01
6. Become Immortal 4:23
7. Conquer And Destroy 4:45
8. Midnight Sun (feat. Sofia Portanet) 3:38
9. Demonic Future 4:43
10. Pride Comes Before The Fall 4:48
11. Dying Planet 6:52

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Frédéric Leclercq – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums

Guest musician
Sofia Portanet – female vocals on “Midnight Sun”

Album Review – Am Himmel / As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow (2022)

An ecclesiastical nightmare formed by emanations from the metaphysical voids trapped in the eternal light arises to the sound of its debut effort of unearthly Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal.

“As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

An ecclesiastical nightmare formed by emanations from the metaphysical voids trapped in the eternal light, Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal entity Am Himmel, which translates as “in the sky” from German, is the new solo project from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist JMKP, an old soul from the Netherlands whose inspiration lies between doomy synth-based Drone, raw Black Metal and Shoegaze, channeling ancient and metaphysical energies through the combination of eerie soundscapes with raw and buzzing extreme music in his newborn beast entitled As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow. There’s a sinister and unearthly atmosphere surrounding the whole record, not just from the devilish growls and shrieks, but also from the hypnotic mystical synth layers, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the music by Urfaust, Lurker of Chalice and Xasthur, among other servants of darkness.

Bleared By The Infinite Wings is darkly noisy from the very first second, inviting us all to the ethereal world of Am Himmel by blending the melancholy of Atmospheric Black Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal. Moreover, JMKP does an amazing job with both his sluggish beats and anguished gnarls, and continuing his path of darkness it’s time for The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death, even more somber than its predecessor with our lone wolf’s devilish roars penetrating deep inside your mind in a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal. Then get ready for over seven minutes of whimsical passages, slow and steady beats and cryptic vociferations in the form of The Virgin Wages Celestial War In The Seraphim Courts, flowing smoothly until the very last second thanks to the piercing riffage by the project’s mastermind; whereas adding elements from Drone and Ambient music to his core sonority JMKP offers us all the visceral The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment, where all background elements match perfectly with his demented gnarling and vile beats, resulting in first-class extreme music. Once again bring to our ears sheer obscurity and despair, JMKP will drag you to his Stygian lair to the sound of his hypnotizing drums and screaming guitars in The Bewildered Firstling Thrusts The Knife Into Her Brother; and lastly, our multi-talented Dutch metaller brings forward another round of wicked, venomous sounds in the title-track As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow, a song which not only concludes the album on a high note, but that will also please at the same time fans of old school Black Metal and admirers of modern-day Atmospheric Metal hands down.

If you want to put your doomed hands on As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow, you can soon purchase it directly from Am Himmel’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Burning World Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (for the US or the rest of the world customers). A starless kingdom bereft of celestial pureness, evoking strange rituals in the gothic catacombs of Christianity and insanity, Am Himmel will certainly change your view of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal for the better, with As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow beautifully representing everything JMKP and his new project stand for and, consequently, positioning it not only as one of the most promising names of the Dutch scene, but also as one of the driving forces of the genre worldwide.

Best moments of the album: The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death and The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Burning World Records

Track listing
1. Bleared By The Infinite Wings 6:56
2. The Patience And Silence Of A Saint’s Death 5:12
3. The Virgin Wages Celestial War In The Seraphim Courts 7:22
4. The Fumes Of Thy Preposterous Torment 6:31
5. The Bewildered Firstling Thrusts The Knife Into Her Brother 6:25
6. As Eternal As The Starless Kingdom Of Sorrow 5:23

Band members
JMKP – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Sisyphean / Colours of Faith (2022)

A massively ambitious yet sincere album that ought to be regarded as a landmark album in Dissonant Black Metal, carefully brought into being by an uncanny Lithuanian horde.

Intense as well as atmospheric, Vilnius, Lithuania-based Dissonant Black Metal entity Sisyphean has the perfectly tempered sound for this style of music by crafting thrilling and engaging songs that are both coherent and fulfilling, which can be appreciated in all of its glory in their brand new opus, entitled Colours of Faith. Mixed by Satanic Audio, mastered by Resonance Sound Studio, and displaying a stylish cover artwork by Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration, Colours of Faith is a massively ambitious yet sincere album that ought to be regarded as a landmark album in the style, showcasing all the talent of Dainius P. on vocals, Adomas V. and Kamil U. on the guitars, guest Andrius B. on bass, and Mantas D. on drums, appealing to admirers of the music by Svartidaudi, Deathspell Omega, Blut aus Nord, Mgla and Svartulven, just to name a few.

The dissonant, futuristic intro Before the Light warms up the listener for the pulverizing aria Scorched Timeless, with Adomas and Kamil showing absolutely zero mercy for their stringed axes accompanied by the rumbling bass by Andrius, all spiced up by the demonic vociferations by Dainius. Then investing in a more straightforward, no shenanigans Black Metal sonority, the band will darken your thoughts to the sound of Hearts of Mercury, again showcasing visceral riffs boosted by the infernal blast beats by Mantas, whereas strident guitar lines ignite the multi-layered Black Metal extravaganza titled Sovereigns of Livid Hope, offering our avid ears seven minutes of total chaos and darkness where Dainius roars in anger while Mantas adds a good dosage of intricacy to the overall result with his wicked drums.

After 25 seconds of ethereal sounds in the interlude The Descent the band comes crushing our senses with the beyond Stygian and heavy-as-hell Exiles, where the riffage by Adomas and Kamil will penetrate deep inside your psyche while Andrius and Mantas keep shaking the foundations of the earth with their respective bass and drums, resulting in a classic Black Metal tune with modern nuances. Their second to last explosion of evil sounds comes in the form of Open Wounds, a somber tune with Doom Metal hints that reminds me of some of the most recent creations by the almighty Watain; and lastly, it’s time for almost 10 minutes of insanity and chaos titled Conqueror, starting in a more than obscure manner before evolving into a sluggish, visceral feast of our beloved Black Metal where Mantas dictates the song’s hellish pace while Dainius keeps vociferating rabidly like there’s no tomorrow, with its second half becoming the soundtrack to a sinister horror movie until all fades into the unknown.

You can reach out to those Lithuanian metallers through Facebook and Instagram, letting them know how much you love their music, and also purchase Colours of Faith (which is also available for a full listen on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore in the US (as a digipak CD or as a gatefold LP) or in Europe (also in CD or LP format). A brilliantly written and arranged album, Colours of Faith provides for intuitive undulations of extremity and emotions, not only captivating your attention throughout but also moving you, and that’s exactly the beauty of the music played by Sisyphean, delivering much more than just plain Black Metal by creating an enfolding atmosphere that will last for all eternity and, therefore, allowing the band to continue exploring the darkest side of music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Hearts of Mercury, Sovereigns of Livid Hope and Exiles.

Worst moments of the album: Open Wounds.

Released in 2022 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Before the Light 0:58
2. Scorched Timeless 6:43
3. Hearts of Mercury 5:18
4. Sovereigns of Livid Hope 7:02
5. The Descent 0:26
6. Exiles 5:49
7. Open Wounds 4:58
8. Conqueror 9:45

Band members
Dainius P. – vocals
Adomas V. – guitars
Kamil U. – guitars
Mantas D. – drums

Guest musician
Andrius B. – bass (session)

Concert Review – Cradle of Filth (The Opera House, Toronto, ON, 06/04/2022)

Existence might be futile, but witnessing Cradle of Filth live in Toronto every single time they come to the city is more than essential.

OPENING ACTS: Phantom High and Frayle

I always find it truly impressive how the traffic to get in and out of Toronto during the spring and summer seasons, mainly when the weather is clear and the temperatures are above +20oC, is multiplied by a thousand or more, making it impossible to arrive wherever you have planned on time. That’s the main reason why it took me hours to get to The Opera House this Saturday for the Existence Is Futile Tour with the bands PHANTOM HIGH, FRAYLE and the almighty CRADLE OF FILTH (not to mention American Thrash Metal act Misfire, who are missing part of the tour due to Covid-19 related issues), and because of that I sadly missed most of the awesome concert by Toronto’s own Glamcore/Death Pop/Alternative Metal outfit PHANTOM HIGH. Anyway, the few minutes of their performance I was able to witness were excellent, with their frontwoman Peril Erinyes showcasing all her talent, charisma and passion for what she does. I hope I can see them again in a not-so-distant future as their music and onstage performance are outstanding, and next time I promise I’ll beat traffic (even if that’s humanly impossible).

Band members
Peril Erinyes – vocals
Seven Six – guitars
Greg Shier – guitars
Faraz Jabbari – bass
Joey Prolx – drums

After a (very) quick break it was time for Cleveland, Ohio-based Doom Metal/Occult Rock band FRAYLE to kick some ass onstage with their massive, low-tuned, sluggish sounds, spearheaded by the angelic vocals by their stunning frontwoman Gwyn Strang, who by the way grew up on the east coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick (which is why she said “I’m home” to the crowd several times during their performance). Playing a mix of songs from their awesome 2020 album 1692 plus a brand new song entitled Treacle & Revenge, from their upcoming album Skin & Sorrow (to be released on July 7), Gwyn and the boys put on a mesmerizing show, with Sean Bilovecky extracting sheer electricity from his guitar while bassist Eric Mzik and drummer Pat Ginley added endless heaviness and groove to the music. Nobody was capable of taking their eyes off Gwyn during their entire set, as not only she was at the same time the personification of good and evil, but her minimalist, delicate vocals and moves were a thing of beauty. There weren’t any mosh pits for obvious reasons, but everyone at The Opera House loved what Frayle had to show us, and Toronto is waiting for Gwyn to “return home” whenever she wants with her whimsical music.

Band members
Gwyn Strang – vocals
Sean Bilovecky – lead guitar
Eric Mzik – bass
Pat Ginley – drums

CRADLE OF FILTH

The last time I saw the unparalleled CRADLE OF FILTH was at the same venue back in 2019, before all this Covid-19 madness hit the world and still with Lindsay Schoolcraft on keyboards, and as you can see from their 2019 setlist only two songs were the same this Saturday, those being Nymphetamine (Fix) and Her Ghost in the Fog, with everything else being either based on their 2021 ass-kicking opus Existence Is Futile, such as Existential Terror, How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose? and Necromantic Fantasies, or some welcome surprises the likes of Nocturnal Supremacy, I Am the Thorn, A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore) and Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds). Was it better, the same or worse than their 2019 performance? Well, I don’t like to compare concerts, as I strongly believe each performance has its own taste, its own details and its own energy, but what I can say is that Dani and his horde were as electrifying as expected, inspiring the fans at the venue to slam into the nonstop circle pits (even if you’re on a power mobility scooter) while screaming together with the band in the name of evil.

Most fans of course had an absolute blast with classics such as the aforementioned Nymphetamine (Fix) and the closing song Her Ghost in the Fog, but I might say their new songs Crawling King Chaos and Us, Dark, Invincible sounded simply superb live, proving once again how alive the band is and that we can expect at least a few more decades of pure filth from those devilish metallers. Dani, Ashok, Daniel Firth and Marthus were on fire as usual, but I must mention how powerful the performances by guest guitarist Donny Burbage (of Melodic Death/Folk Metal act Æther Realm) and the gorgeous keyboardist Zoë Marie Federoff (of Symphonic Metal act Catalyst Crime) were as well, translating into an even more incendiary concert by one of the trailblazers of Symphonic Extreme Metal. As a Cradle of Filth fanboy I think they should return to Toronto next week already, but of course I think all fans who attended another memorable concert by Dani and his crew will be more than happy to wait another year or so for the band to come to our beloved city again. The traffic back home was just as bad as when I was going to the concert, but who cares? It’s CRADLE OF FUCKIN’ FILTH, a metal institution that deserves all our admiration, and if next time they come to Toronto I have to walk 40km to get there, so be it.

Setlist
The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders
Existential Terror
Nocturnal Supremacy
Lilith Immaculate
I Am the Thorn
Crawling King Chaos
Nymphetamine (Fix)
A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)
How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose?
Scorched Earth Erotica
Us, Dark, Invincible
Portrait of the Dead Countess
Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds)
Necromantic Fantasies
Her Ghost in the Fog

Band members
Dani Filth – lead vocals
Marek “Ashok” Šmerda – guitars
Donny Burbage – guitars
Daniel Firth – bass
Zoë Marie Federoff – female vocals, keyboards
Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka – drums

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Album Review – Citadel / Remember Your Past (2022)

Let your darkest thoughts guide you to the sound of the debut album by a promising “Second Wave Orchestral Black Metal” band hailing from France.

A musical project which began two years ago at the initiative of a single man, Meddy Beaufils Motte, responsible for the guitars, keyboards and orchestrations, and joined a few weeks later by vocalist and guitarist Jeff Grimal, Bordeaux, France-based Symphonic and Atmospheric Black Metal act Citadel has just released their debut full-length effort, entitled Remember Your Past, a “Second Wave Orchestral Black Metal” feast highly influenced by bands the likes of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Der Weg Einer Freiheit and Enslaved. Mixed and mastered by Mathis Delepierre, and displaying a sinister artwork by the band’s own Jeff Grimal, Remember Your Past offers the listener seven tracks which form the personal story of a character with a specific life path, ranging from the common murderer to the spiritual man, while mixing different universes (those being science fiction, fantasy and, of course, reality), therefore showcasing all the talent and passion for heavy music by the aforementioned Jeff and Meddy together with bassist Benoit Gateuil and drummer Léo Isnard.

A beyond cinematic and phantasmagorical Intro sets the stage for Citadel to crush our souls with I See You, where Léo begins his sonic attack armed with his devilish drums, providing Jeff with all he needs to gnarl like a creature form the abyss. In other words, it’s kick-ass old school Black Metal with atmospheric nuances, not to mention how sharp the riffage by Jeff and Meddy sounds. The Cradle of Filth-inspired keys by Meddy ignite the also infernal Look, Your Pathetic Attempts, an imposing composition by those French metallers that lives up to the legacy of primeval Black Metal, with Jeff being once again demonic on vocals, roaring deeply and with tons of hatred in his heart; whereas the rumbling bass by Benoit offers a solid support to the strident guitars by Jeff and Meddy in The Road, where Jeff sounds even more demented on vocals than before, consequently enhancing the song’s obscurity and madness in the name of Atmospheric Black Metal.

Your Choice is simply brutal and dense from the very first second thanks to the thunderous kitchen crafted by Benoit and Léo while Jeff keeps screaming with tons of anger, also showcasing orchestral passages and piercing guitars, followed by Resurection, where a serene, melancholic start suddenly evolves into an instrumental Black and Doom Metal aria led by the intricate beats by Léo (and all that progressiveness permeates the air until the very end). Then back to a more visceral and raw mode the quartet fires sheer insanity through their sonic weapons in You’re a Piece of Shit, with Léo and Benoit punching us in the head mercilessly while Jeff and Meddy bring forward their trademark razor-edged Black Metal riffs. Finally, before all is said and done, there’s time for Citadel to captivate our senses one last time with a sinister Outro, fading into the unknown for our total delight.

Such acid and obscure album made in France can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to add it to your personal, devilish collection you should purchase it by clicking HERE and selecting your favorite version of it. In addition, don’t forget to start following Citadel on Facebook for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, showing all your support to French Black Metal. Remember Your Past is not just dark or evil, but a musical representation of all the talent that emanates form those four metallers, and of course the insanity and obscurity from the human mind. In other words, simply join Citadel in their quest for extreme music, and let your darkest thoughts guide you while enjoying the epic Black Metal blasted by the band throughout their infernal debut opus.

Best moments of the album: Look, Your Pathetic Attempts, The Road and You’re a Piece of Shit.

Worst moments of the album: Resurection.

Released in 2022 Cold Dark Matter Records/Duality Records/Enter the Void Records

Track listing
1. Intro 2:10
2. I See You 4:01
3. Look, Your Pathetic Attempts 4:59
4. The Road 7:44
5. Your Choice 6:11
6. Resurection 6:45
7. You’re a Piece of Shit 5:04
8. Outro 5:32

Band members
Jeff Grimal – vocals, guitars
Meddy Beaufils Motte – guitars, keyboards, orchestrations
Benoit Gateuil – bass
Léo Isnard – drums

Album Review – Tishina / Uvod… (2022)

A first-class side-project by Bane’s mastermind to explore the slower, deeper and more emotional side of music, invoking the spirit of late 90’s and early 00’s doom.

Founded in 2020 by Serbian vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Branislav Panić, known best for his work with Blackened Death Metal band Bane, Tishina (Тишина), which means “silence” from Serbian, is a new Melodic Doom/Death Metal entity initially born as a side-project to explore the slower, deeper and more emotional side of music, highly influenced by giants such as Saturnus, October Tide, Mourning Beloveth, and Doom:vs, among others, who’s unleashing upon humanity its debut effort titled Uvod… (Увод…), which means “introduction” in English. Mixed and mastered at HellSound Studio by Honza Kapak, who also played drums in the album, and displaying a stylish artwork by Aleksandra Panić, Uvod… came mainly from the book of poems Nad Vodama Aheronta, written by Serbian author Predrag Rava, combining an exquisite blend of mid-paced melodic riffs, blackened sections, and various shifts in atmosphere and tone throughout its playtime while invoking the spirit of late 90’s and early 00’s doom.

Iz Mrtvog Ugla (Из Мртвог Угла), or “from a dead angle”, is a beautiful start to the album, reminding me of some of the classic creations by Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride with Branislav exhaling heaviness through his riffs and bass punches, supported by the sluggish beats by Honza; and continuing their path of obscurity and melancholy we have Dve Crne Ruze (Две Црне Руже), or “two black roses”, another Doom Metal extravaganza led by Branislav’s deep roars while Honza keeps pounding his drums in the name of darkness. Then after the short and sweet instrumental interlude Uteha (Утеха), or “consolation”, Branislav returns with his visceral riffage in Jutro Poslednjeg Dana (Јутро Последњег Дана), or “the morning of the last day”, darkening the skies even more in the name of Melodic Doom and Death Metal. Furthermore, it’s breathtaking to see how the duo is capable of sounding so heavy and serene at the same time, resulting in a multi-layered composition perfect for that type of slow and steady headbanging that’s characteristic of Doom Metal. Lastly, closing such somber album it’s time for Zauvek (Заувек), or “forever”, starting in a mesmerizing, enfolding manner before exploding into more of the project’s doomed sounds, with Branislav and Honza being in absolute sync from start to finish while Branislav’s anguished growls reach a whole new level of obscurity.

In case you would like to add the darkness and beauty of the music found in Uvod… to your personal collection, you can grab a copy of the album from Tishina’s own BandCamp page, from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, or from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, bringing an endless dosage of pure doom to your avid ears. I always find it impressive when a musician like Branislav can generate distinct, top-notch music such as with his two projects Bane and now Tishina, not only proving how talented and creative he is, but also providing us with double the awesomeness in the world of heavy music. And may Uvod…, just like the name of the album already says, be just the introduction to the amazing world of doom ruled by Branislav and his Tishina.

Best moments of the album: Iz Mrtvog Ugla [Из Мртвог Угла] and Jutro Poslednjeg Dana [Јутро Последњег Дана].

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Hypnotic Dirge Records/Satanath Records/The End of Times Records

Track listing
1. Iz Mrtvog Ugla [Из Мртвог Угла] 8:01
2. Dve Crne Ruze [Две Црне Руже] 5:55
3. Uteha [Утеха] 0:48
4. Jutro Poslednjeg Dana [Јутро Последњег Дана] 6:13
5. Zauvek [Заувек] 8:49

Band members
Branislav Panić – vocals, guitars, bass
Honza Kapak – drums

Album Review – Depressed Mode / Decade of Silence (2022)

One of the most interesting names of the underground Finnish scene returns to action after almost 13 years with a brand new album of stunning and symphonic Doom Metal.

Established in Pori, a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland, in 2005 by vocalist and composer Otto Salonen, the amazing Symphonic Death/Doom Metal act known as Depressed Mode is set to release their long-awaited third full-length album Decade of Silence, almost 13 years after ..for Death.., released in 2009. Recorded by the band’s guitarist Teemu Heinola and the aforementioned Otto Salonen at Ansa Studio, mixed by the same Teemu, and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, Decade of Silence will bring a humungous dosage of symphony and doom to your avid ears, showcasing all the talent and passion for heavy music by Otto and Teemu together with their bandmates Henri Hakala on bass and Iiro Aittokoski on drums.

Death Walks Among Us is sinister and obscure from the very first second, with the orchestrations by Otto giving it a cinematic vibe while his deep guttural will haunt your damned souls for all eternity, all spiced up by the vicious riffs by Teemu. Then featuring Veronica Bordacchini of Fleshgod Apocalypse as a guest vocalist, Endless November starts in the most lugubrious way possible, evolving into a sluggish, phantasmagorical Doom Metal song with Blackened Doom nuances, not to mention all symphonic elements sound and feel majestic; whereas back to a heavier and more symphonic mode it’s time for Iiro to dictate the pace with his pounding drums in Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind, featuring a guest guitar solo by Jarkko Kokko of Mors Principium Est. Veronica is back in As the Light Dims, another bold, multi-layered creation by Depressed Mode that starts in a serene way to the sounds of the piano and cello, offering our ears nine nocturnal minutes of stunning Doom Metal.

Just as imposing and grim as its predecessors,  Parasites of Mind explodes into a brutal fusion of Symphonic and Death Metal led by the venomous riffs by Teemu and the inhumane roars by Otto, smashing your cranial skull without a single drop of mercy, whereas drinking from the darkest fountain of Doom Metal you can think of, Kaamos (Land of Winter) brings forward the pounding beats by Iiro and the crushing riffs by Teemu, penetrating deep inside your soul while more of their sluggish, grim sounds permeate the air in Serpents, with sheer darkness flowing from both Otto’s vocals and Henri’s hammering bass. Eternal Darkness is another stunning creation featuring Veronica’s mesmerizing vocals, with the orchestrations by Otto sounding beautifully haunting while Iiro pulverizes his drums in a lesson in Symphonic Doom Metal. Finally, prepare your senses for 12 minutes of atmospheric passages, darkened skies and endless heaviness in the form of Aeternus, where Otto’s deep guttural brings a touch of Blackened Doom to the overall result, flowing darkly until its climatic and Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, the guys from Depressed Mode definitely know how to blend the heaviness of Doom Metal with the finesse of symphonic and orchestral music, and Decade of Silence is not only the perfect representation of that stunning fusion of sounds, but also a beyond strong comeback by those Finnish metallers. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about their music, to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Decade of Silence from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Inverse Records webstore sooner than you can say “doom”. After over a decade of silence it’s a pleasure to witness the return of such interesting name of the underground Finnish scene, and let’s hope that we don’t need to wait another ten years to listen to more of their awesome music.

Best moments of the album: Endless November, Eternal Darkness and Aeternus.

Worst moments of the album: Serpents.

Released in 2022 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Death Walks Among Us 5:53
2. Endless November 7:43
3. Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind 6:56
4. As the Light Dims 8:58
5. Parasites of Mind 6:39
6. Kaamos (Land of Winter) 6:16
7. Serpents 5:50
8. Eternal Darkness 5:46
9. Aeternus 12:09

Band members
Otto Salonen – vocals, orchestrations
Teemu Heinola – guitars
Henri Hakala – bass
Iiro Aittokoski – drums

Guest musicians
Veronica Bordacchini – vocals on “Endless November”, “As the Light Dims” and “Eternal Darkness”
Jarkko Kokko – lead guitars on “Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind”

Metal Chick of the Month – Jayn Maiven

So long in fear, I have gazed ghost tears….

It’s time to darken the skies here at The Headbanging Moose in this month of May thanks to the somber and absolutely beautiful music crafted by our metal lady of the month, and I bet you’ll get addicted to her voice after listening to her Stygian creations. Inspired by natured in all her forms, this West Yorkshire, England-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is known by many under her nom de plume of Darkher, one of the most interesting names of the current folk and doom scene worldwide. I’m talking about Jayn Maiven, a multi-talented woman who devotes her life to dark music for our total delight, and who has a beyond bright future ahead of her and her Darkher as all of her releases are simply awesome.

As I like to say about this type of project, there’s no Jayn Maiven without Darkher and vice-versa, with Darkher representing not only Jayn’s alter-ego but also her view of our world, using her musical creature as a catharsis that can be noticed from her painful and truthful lyrics. Conceived as the sole brainchild and solo project of our unrelenting flame-haired metal diva in 2012, whose fragile elegance lies the creator of a powerfully emotive work, Darkher brings forth an amalgamation of sounds and styles carefully embraced by the project’s trademark fusion of folk and doom music, with her compositions inviting the listener into the mystical ancient world characterized by slowly building storm clouds of guitars and Jayn’s haunting, spine-tinglingly evocative voice.

Having already released her self-titled debut EP in 2013, followed by the 2014 EP The Kingdom Field and the full-length albums Realms, from 2016, and The Buried Storm, released earlier this year, the sound of Darkher has been described as “ghostly transmissions that sound like they were delivered by lost souls in the dead of night”, leading her to support several renowned acts the likes of Robin Guthrie, Dead Meadow, Esben And The Witch, Enslaved and Chelsea Wolfe, and playing in festivals such as Roadburn Festival and Damnation, among others. Creating extraordinarily dark music full of contrasts, including both chilling loneliness and the warmth of hope, Darkher is a derivate of the words “dark” and “her”, showcasing some sort of symbolism from Jayn’s past as she wanted to find a name which she felt better described the direction she had been heading in with her solo career after a decade working with and around other musicians.

Several different guest musicians have already been involved with Jayn in Darkher, such as for example guitarist and bassist Martin Wissenberg, former My Dying Bride drummer Shaun ‘Winter’ Taylor-Steels, drummer Christopher Smith, cellists Ludvig Swärd (Forndom), Arianna Mahsayeh and Melanie Chaplin, violinist Lambert Segura and guitarist Daniel Land. If you want to see the result of the collaboration between our skillful vocalist, guitarist, composer, lyricist and producer with all those distinguished musicians, you can enjoy the official videos on YouTube for Where the Devil Waits (filmed at the stunning location of Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, within its Victorian gardens and grounds), a song of empowerment and light relating to the shadows within that lead to attachment, to what can become destructive; Love’s Sudden Death, a dark, romantic ballad which was heavily inspired by the mood of the ancient landscape as it mirrors the emotions within, being “dramatic, beautiful and sometimes bleak” as mentioned by Jayn herself; Hollow Veil, recorded in Salem Woods in October 2015; as well as Ghost Tears, Immortals, Lament, and The Dawn Brings a Saviour, or you can also enjoy The Buried Storm in its entirety on YouTube, and all of her albums on Spotify. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Jayn and her Darkher by purchasing her releases from her BandCamp page and through her Patreon.

Before forming Darkher, our unstoppable rock and metal diva was a member of Epic Dark Folk band The Steals for several years, having released with them the EP Floodlights, in 2006, and the full-length effort Stactic Kingdom, in 2009, both available on Spotify and on BandCamp. However, that wasn’t the path she actually wanted to follow in her career after a certain time. “Throughout the years I was previously working on tracks for The Steals album and EP, I was in a very sombre state and I needed to make music to lift me out of that state. By the time I was ready to start writing songs again for what would be Darkher, I felt that I needed to symbolically burn what I had in order to begin a new chapter,” commented Jayn in one of her interviews, describing the musical metamorphosis that was happening inside her.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In addition, her inspirations in music and life in general come from very distinct sources. For instance, she always says that her father has been a huge inspiration to her growing up, with both her parents having encouraged her passion for creating music for many years. “I am mostly inspired by my inner world, emotions and imagination, which I run in parallel to the outer world. Nature and the elements are always with me when I write, and are equally as inspiring for me due to their mood and drama,” said Jayn in one of her interviews, also mentioning that her lyrics are always from her deepest depths, past, future or present, and showcasing a strong fascination for water. “When I walk each day to The Kingdom Field I pass a river, everyday is a different picture, it has its own life force and seemingly personality. Where I live is surrounded by water, I live in the basin of a valley, a hamlet which is surrounded by streams, rivers and a canal all of which have caused flooding. So I think because of this I am deeply respectful of water in its many forms.”

Heavily influenced by mood-based dark music from an early age, and having a father who performed on stage in the 60’s, not only she grew up in a musical house but she has always nurtured a deep passion for the darker exponents of the post punk indie scene. “I was really into bands like the Sex Gang Children, Virgin Prunes and Alien Sex Fiend. I’ve always suffered with a bit of a depression and as a teenager was drawn to dark music and the whole theatrical Goth thing. I loved the textures and atmosphere of guitars,” also saying that at one point she was completely absorbed by the Cocteau Twins and she used to re-play their performance of Pink Orange Red on the TV every night after school. On the other hand, if you think Amalie Bruun’s Danish Black Metal band Myrkur has had any influence on Darkher’s style, being even called “Myrkur for the Folkies”, you’re absolutely wrong. “I’ve only come across her name very recently, I haven’t listened to her music yet, so I’m not sure if there is any thread of similarity,” said our diva.

When asked about her evolution from Realms until The Buried Storm, Jayn said that she sees it as a continuation of her creativity, feeling like it has many similar elements in the instrumentation, though she puts even more emphasis on the vocal harmonies as a feature on her newest album and she believes it leans towards a more cinematic feel. Moreover, the pandemic doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact on her creative process for The Buried Storm. “The effects of the pandemic were actually quite beneficial for me, to be able to take time out from any tour dates and really focus on the writing and recording. I also spent even more time alone, which I found to be very necessary for the writing process,” commented Jayn, and we must all agree with her the whole pandemic has been positive at least for the writing process of not only Darkher but countless other bands out there, who obviously had a lot more time to focus on their creative process with the whole touring thing being on hold for almost two years.

Interested in art and photography, beautiful and inspiring imagery, animals and nature, Jayn tries to spend half of her life outdoors, also nurturing a deep passion for doing videos and photographic imagery, which for her is all part of the creative process. “When I make music I see a lot of visions and imagery, so it’s great to be able to achieve some of that in video form,” said Jayn, which can be easily noticed in the video for Ghost Tears, for example. “The environment that I am surrounded by and the vast landscape is always in my mind when I write as I see music in a very visual way. For this reason I would love to one day try to write for film or TV and I equally feel the presence of many images when I write or produce. The studio walls otherwise would not inspire me to develop the sound and present it in such a way,” complemented our multi-talented artist. And lastly, when asked what the secret is to keep her long flaming hair look so grandiose and beautiful, she simply said there’s no actual secret, just that she never cuts it and therefore it serves her well for hiding behind it. Well, of course we would love to see her face on all of her videos, but the combination of nature and her long, incendiary hair is more than enough to keep us hooked not only on her music, but on her stunning art in general.

Darkher’s Official Facebook page
Darkher’s Official Instagram
Darkher’s Official YouTube channel
Darkher’s Official BandCamp page

“I find it very healing to make music, like a form of meditation.” – Jayn Maiven

Album Review – Konvent / Call Down the Sun (2022)

Denmark’s own Doom Metal institution returns with a masterful sophomore offering, doubling down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound.

Two years after taking the entire Doom and Heavy Metal scene by storm with the release of their boisterous debut full-length album Puritan Masochism, Copenhagen, Denmark’s own Death/Doom Metal institution Konvent returns with a sophomore offering entitled Call Down the Sun that doubles down on the band’s songwriting talent and brutal, heavy sound. Recorded and mixed by Lasse Ballade at Ballade Studios, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Studio, displaying a Stygian artwork by Mads Berg, and undoubtedly inspired by recent dark times, the ongoing pandemic and cancellation of live performances, the new album’s thunderous apocalyptic sound is impossible to escape, with the four-piece entity formed of Rikke Emilie List on vocals, Sara Helena Nørregaard on the guitars, Heidi Withington Brink on bass, and Julie Simonsen on drums unleashing hurricanes of Blackened Death and Doom Metal upon us all, sounding even more pissed-off, fast-paced and pitch-black than ever.

The cryptic words barked by Rikke (“Climb into the distance / Aiming for the price / Seeking a device / Climb into the distance / High”) are the main ingredient in the sluggish and atmospheric Into the Distance, darkening the skies to the slow and steady beats by the talented Julie, whereas Sara and Heidi hammer their stringed weapons mercilessly in Sand is King, sounding utterly perfect for breaking your neck headbanging in the name of doom, not to mention Rikke’s roars get even more demonic and obscure. Julie continues to deliver her trademark tribal beats in In the Soot, another solid fusion of Death and Doom Metal where Sara’s Black Sabbath-inspired riffs will penetrate deep inside your lost soul; and Stygian clouds keep blocking all sunlight in Grains, with Heidi providing those low-tuned bass lines we darkly love so much while Sara keeps slashing her axe in great fashion for our total delight.

And the reverberating bass by Heidi kicks off the superb Fatamorgana, with its somber, poetic lyrics being powerfully vociferated by Rikke (“Time to venture out again through the sand to Neverend / Every step is poorly cast / Leave them in the past / Forever, the orb is a guide / Endeavour from morning till night”) while the music flows flawlessly in a lecture in contemporary Doom Metal, all spiced up by its cult-like backing vocals, morphing into a massive, sinister instrumental Interlude for the also venomous Never Rest, bringing forward the quartet’s undisputed heaviness spearheaded by another brutal work done by Julie on drums, with Rikke once again haunting us all with her inhumane, deep gutturals. Then adding hints of Stoner and Sludge Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for the thunderous Pipe Dreams, where the synchronicity between Sara and Heidi is superb form start to finish as usual. Lastly, we’re treated to Harena, perhaps the band’s deepest and most detailed composition of all time. The melodic but extremely sharp riffs by Sara are a thing of beauty, supported as always by the demolishing kitchen by Heidi and Julie while Rikke roars from the bottom of her blackened heart, resulting in a stunning, dense and climatic ending to the album.

Such delicious masterpiece of Death and Doom Metal can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase your favorite copy of the album by clicking HERE, adding an amazing touch of darkness to your private collection. Also, don’t forget to follow the girls from Konvent on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with news, their plans for the future and their tour dates, and I’m more than sure that watching Konvent playing live might be a fantastic experience. Who knows, maybe one days they’ll tour across Canada? Anyway, having said all that, let’s all call down the sun to the undisputed doom played by those four Danish metallers, and enjoy their beyond sweet companionship in darkness for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Sand is King, Fatamorgana and Harena.

Worst moments of the album: In the Soot.

Released in 2022 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Into the Distance 5:23
2. Sand is King 4:12
3. In the Soot 4:52
4. Grains 6:05
5. Fatamorgana 5:54
6. Interlude 2:00
7. Never Rest 5:39
8. Pipe Dreams 4:05
9. Harena 7:13

Band members
Rikke Emilie List – vocals
Sara Helena Nørregaard – guitars
Heidi Withington Brink – bass
Julie Simonsen – drums

Concert Review – Opeth & Mastodon (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON, 04/22/2022)

And Toronto was finally able to enjoy a night of absolute heaviness and progressiveness by two of the most important bands of the current rock and metal scene worldwide.

OPENING ACT: Khemmis

It looks like everything is back to normal as metal concerts in Toronto (and in the entire Canada) are happening everyday now, and after my return to action on April 13 with Judas Priest it was time to keep the ball rolling and head to the cozy Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on Friday night for a very special night of Progressive Rock and Metal with the co-headlining tour of OPETH and MASTODON, two bands that definitely know how to put on a wonderful show wherever they go. And besides, the weather was absolutely perfect, with a bright, sunny day and temperatures ranging between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius inspiring us to get out of our homes to bang our heads together with those impressive bands.

Before Mastodon hit the stage, precisely at 7pm it was time for the opening act, American Doom Metal outfit KHEMMIS, to warm us up with their short but very entertaining performance. Named after an ancient Egyptian city, Khemmis showcased all their talent playing songs from their growing discography, including their latest album Deceiver, released in 2021, with songs such as Three Gates and Conversation with Death receiving a very positive return from the crowd that was already present at the venue. All band members were in absolute sync from start to finish, resulting in a solid performance that proved why they were chosen to be the opening act for those two behemoths of intricacy.

Setlist
Avernal Gate
Three Gates
Living Pyre
Isolation
Conversation with Death

Band members
Ben – vocals, guitars
Phil – vocals, guitars
David Small – bass
Zach – drums

MASTODON

Finally, after years of waiting, American Progressive Metal/Rock titans MASTODON finally returned to Toronto to kick some ass with their undisputed, electrifying music. It was around 8pm if I’m not mistaken when Brent Hinds, Bill Kelliher, Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor hit the stage with the excellent Pain With an Anchor, from their 2021 album Hushed and Grim, setting fire to the audience eager for their concert, including of course myself, and let me tell you that the wait was absolutely worth it.

Unfortunately, like what happened in the first part of the tour last year, there were no songs from their superb 2017 album Emperor of Sand in their setlist, but that doesn’t mean the show wasn’t awesome, with classics such as Crystal Skull, Megalodon and Black Tongue, intertwined with new songs the likes of Teardrinker and Pushing the Tides, captivating our senses mercilessly and urging us to raise our horns to one of the best bands from the current rock and metal scene. Not only that, the background titantron was simply mesmerizing, especially in beautiful songs like the aforementioned Megalodon and the impressive The Czar, adding an extra kick to the music played to perfection by the quartet.

Of course, their closing song was their biggest hit, the fantastic Blood and Thunder, and let me tell you that since watching the Netflix movie Metal Lords I immediately think of the two boys form the movie escaping from the psychiatric ward when the music starts. Although there were no kids running on stage, the band could witness a lot of crazy metalheads slamming into the circle pit, which inspired them to play even louder, heavier and better than ever. Troy was on fire throughout the entire set, becoming the band’s “frontman”, while Brann was not only flawless behind his drums, but at the end of the concert when he took the mic to say a lot of good things about Toronto, about how the band missed us fans, he also proved to be a very nice and humble guy (who also got worried about someone from the audience who apparently passed out during their concert). Thank you, Mastodon! and please come back to Toronto soon for another amazing night of first-class metal music!

Setlist
Pain With an Anchor
Crystal Skull
Megalodon
The Crux
Teardrinker
Bladecatcher
Black Tongue
The Czar
Pushing the Tides
More Than I Could Chew
Mother Puncher
Gobblers of Dregs
Blood and Thunder

Band members
Troy Sanders – vocals, bass
Brent Hinds – vocals, guitars
Bill Kelliher – guitars, backing vocals
Brann Dailor – vocals, drums

OPETH

After a short break, Sweden’s own Progressive Rock/Death Metal institution OPETH took the stage to distill their unique sound for the delight of their Torontonian fans, and although their most recent album, In Cauda Venenum, is from the already distant year of 2019, nobody seemed to care about that and had a great time enjoying the music played (to perfection) by the band’s frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt and his henchmen. I must confess I’m not a big fan of Opeth as I think their music is sometimes too progressive and their songs too long for playing live, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what I saw on stage.

My favorite songs from their setlist were by far Hjärtat vet vad handen gör, Ghost of Perdition and Deliverance, mainly due to the additional heaviness and obscurity found in them, but of course their entire show was great, entertaining all of their diehard fans who took over the venue. In addition, I need to say that Joakim Svalberg and Sami Karppinen are two beasts behind their instruments, enhancing the band’s punch considerably. Mikael also enjoyed interacting a lot with the crowd, exchanging a few words with a fan who could speak their mother tongue Swedish, repeating countless times he doesn’t do drugs (except for a few of them), and saying how much he missed playing to his Canadian fans. How long will their Toronto fans need to wait for another round of Opeth’s progressiveness no one knows, but based on the reaction from the crowd I bet everyone would have loved to see that happen again the next day.

Setlist
Livets Trädgård
Hjärtat vet vad handen gör
Ghost of Perdition
Cusp of Eternity
The Devil’s Orchard
The Drapery Falls
In My Time of Need
Sorceress
Deliverance

Band members
Mikael Åkerfeldt – vocals, guitars
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Martín Méndez – bass
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, piano, mellotron, backing vocals
Sami Karppinen – drums