Album Review – Head of Jeddore / How to Slaughter a Lamb (2021)

Do you know how to slaughter a lamb? If not, let these three Canadian metallers teach you that to the sound of their intense and frenetic debut album.

3.5rating

head-of-jeddore-how-to-slaughter-a-lamb-2021Made up of vocalist Friendly Rich Marsella (Friendly Rich, The Lollipop People) and guitarists Greg Dawson (Olde, Grale) and Billy Curtis (The Abandoned Hearts Club, Cunter), and featuring an array of special guests the likes of Damian Abraham (Fucked Up), Kenny Bridges (Moneen), Greg Wright (Shatterpoint) and Luke Roberts (Gargoyl), Brampton, Canada-based newest metal supergroup Head of Jeddore is ready to kick some ass with their debut album entitled How to Slaughter a Lamb, offering up a slab of sophisticated mayhem for fans of Mr. Bungle, System of a Down and the (more adventurous) Melvins. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg himself at BWC Studios, How to Slaughter a Lamb brings to our ears an intense and frenetic metal attack, tapping into a wide variety of musical influences that goes from Stoner and Doom Metal to more modern styles such as Groove and Alternative Metal, while staying fierce and fiery throughout its 31 minutes of music.

The title-track How to Slaughter a Lamb kicks off at full speed with Mr. Marsella delivering demented vocal lines à la Mike Patton while Billy and Greg fulminate our ears with their rockin’ riffs, and more of their sonic insanity comes in the form of Into the Well, bringing elements of the Progressive and Groove Metal blasted by bands like Gojira and Mastodon and with its intricate and visceral drums adding an extra touch of aggressiveness to the overall result. Back to a more straightforward, in-your-face mode, the trio offers our ears the groovy The Age of Entitlement, where once again Billy and Greg feed Marsella with everything he needs to vociferate like a rabid creature; whereas sick guitar riffs and solos will pierce your mind without a single drop of mercy in The Tragedy Network, while we face at the same time a humongous amount of rage and lunacy through the band’s classic beats and vocals. And slowing things down a bit and adding elements from Alternative Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for another wicked musical voyage with Head of Jeddore titled Let Me Rot, where Marsella is once again bestial on vocals.

The trio continues to haunt our damned souls with their high-octane fusion of rock and metal styles in Kathmandu, reminding me of the early days of System Of A Down, with Billy and Greg giving a lesson in how to pulverize their stringed weapons, while Blood Waltz is another demolishing, awesome composition by those Canadian metallers offering us all a hybrid of Stoner and Doom Metal with Progressive Metal that will certainly please any fan of good music worldwide. Then showcasing a Children of the Grave-inspired riff it’s time for Marsella to growl and roar manically once again in The Old Man and the Sea, a song that will certainly put you to bang your head nonstop together with the band; and their Mastodon vein arises one more time in Peepholes and Moles, also presenting hints of the sick creations by Faith No More, not to mention the kick-ass riffs by the band’s talented guitar duo beautifully accompanied by the song’s hammering drums. And finally, a Death Metal-inspired gnarl ignites the closing tune The Bake Sale, before all hell breaks loose one last time inviting us all to slam into the circle pit until its vile and sluggish grand finale.

head-of-jeddore-2021In summary, if you consider yourself a true explorer of the world of rock and metal music, you should definitely give the guys from Head of Jeddore a shot. This talented Canadian act offers in their new album everything you can imagine in terms of creativity, heaviness, insanity and more, positioning them as one of the best new names of the Canadian scene. Hence, don’t forget to show them your love by following them on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Head of Jeddore, and even more important than that, by purchasing a copy of their sick new album by clicking HERE. And who knows, maybe one day those metallers from the Great White North will actually teach you how to slaughter a lamb.

Best moments of the album: How to Slaughter a Lamb, Kathmandu and Blood Waltz.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. How to Slaughter a Lamb 2:59
2. Into the Well 3:20
3. The Age of Entitlement 3:07
4. The Tragedy Network 2:41
5. Let Me Rot 4:05
6. Kathmandu 3:18
7. Blood Waltz 2:06
8. The Old Man and the Sea 3:08
9. Peepholes and Moles 3:09
10. The Bake Sale 3:23

Band members
Friendly Rich Marsella – vocals
Billy Curtis – guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar

Guest musicians
Damian Abraham – vocals
Tyler Semrick-Palmateer – vocals, guitar
Luke Roberts – vocals, guitar, bass
Greg Wright – guitar
Kevin Theodoropolus – vocals
Matt Nimmo – vocals
Brandon McColl – guitar
Kenny Bridges – vocals, guitar
Shane Drake – vocals
Erik Hughes – bass, vocals
Steve Mitchell – vocals, guitar

Album Review – Lord Of Pagathorn / Age Of Curse (2021)

This unrelenting horde is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn of vicious, death-reaping Finnish Black Metal.

3.5rating

lord-of-pagathorn-age-of-curse-2021Hailing from Finland’s capital Helsinki, the unrelenting Black Metal horde that goes by the name of Lord Of Pagathorn is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn, entitled Age Of Curse, bringing to our ears eight original songs of death-reaping Finnish Black Metal crafted by vocalist and guitarist Corpselord, guitarist Skrubb, bassist Ronitor and drummer Skalder. Recorded by the band’s own Ronitor, who was also responsible for the album’s sick artwork, and mixed and mastered by Trollhorn (aka Henri Sorvali) at Trollhouse Audio, Age Of Curse is Lord Of Pagathorn’s most detailed and cohesive opus since the band’s inception in the distant year of 1992 in the city of Rovaniemi, showing those black metallers still have a lot of fire to burn in their path of evil and darkness.

A cryptic, sinister intro titled Burning Ominous Words sets the stage for the Finnish quartet to kill in Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, with Corpselord and Skrubb delivering old school Black Metal riffs while Skalder hammers his drums nonstop. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded rawer, more devilish nor more traditional than this, and continuing their feast of pure malignancy, Corpselord leads his infernal horde with his wicked gnarls while Ronitor and Skalder will make your head tremble with their hellish kitchen in Conqueror of Im-Kharasak. Then slowing things down a bit and adding a visceral dosage of Doom Metal to their core madness, the band fires the headbanging Insatiability of Man, with Ronitor’s bass jabs supporting the strident guitars by Corpselord and Skrubb; whereas their Black Magic-infused riffage will pierce our souls mercilessly in Over Throned, while Skalder dictates the pace through his intricate yet bestial beats in an awesome display of pure Black Metal.

The title-track Age of Curse is a lecture in old school, unfiltered Black Metal by Lord Of Pagathorn, with the band’s guitar duo being in total (and infernal) sync with Skalder’s drums, not to mention how vile the screeches and roars by Corpselord are, and more of their spine-chilling sounds permeate the air in the venomous Crush The Holy Spirit, a nonstop hurricane of Black Metal riffs, beats and growls that will please all fans of classics the likes of Mayhem, Immortal and Marduk. There’s no time to breathe as the band’s Stygian onrush of sounds goes on in Prophecy of Androgyne Being, bringing to our avid ears more of Corpselord’s demonic screams amidst a pulverizing and melodic sonority. And last but not least, the gates of hell are wide open to the sound of the sluggish and grim Dragging in the Dust, another wicked Black Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the neck-breaking beats by Skalder, all spiced up by Doom Metal elements carefully inserted into the band’s trademark sound.

lord-of-pagathorn-2021You can easily join the Black Metal cult led by Lord Of Pagathorn by following the band on Facebook, but of course if you want to prove to the entire world you’re a true servant of darkness you should purchase Age Of Curse (which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube) from the Woodcut Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Record Shop X or from Discogs. Lord Of Pagathorn are one of those bands that will always be loyal to the foundations of Black Metal, having followed the dark path since their very first demo released in 1993, and based on the sulfur and obscurity flowing from their excellent new opus I’m pretty sure the Black Metal scene in their homeland Finland will stand strong for decades to come.

Best moments of the album: Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, Age of Curse and Crush The Holy Spirit.

Worst moments of the album: Insatiability of Man.

Released in 2021 Woodcut Records

Track listing   
1. Intro – Burning Ominous Words 1:36
2. Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All 3:15
3. Conqueror of Im-Kharasak 5:29
4. Insatiability of Man 5:06
5. Over Throned 6:23
6. Age of Curse 5:26
7. Crush The Holy Spirit 4:41
8. Prophecy of Androgyne Being 6:01
9. Dragging in the Dust 7:56

Band members
Corpselord – vocals, guitar
Skrubb – guitar
Ronitor – bass
Skalder – drums

Album Review – Discarded Self / Discarded Self (2021)

Created during a time of personal isolation, the debut solo album by this Canadian metaller ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation.

3.5rating

discarded-self-discarded-self-2021Flooding forth with misery and hate comes the first (and self-titled) album from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada-based Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal act Discarded Self, the solo project from Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach, who’s also a member of the bands Destroy My Brains and Ashes of Yggdrasil. Created during a time of personal isolation, the album ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation that dredge up terrible memories of the past to drown in personal regret. In other words, there is no hope for the future in the debut opus by Discarded Self, only darkness and hatred in the form of raw, unfiltered extreme music recorded at Doom Tomb Studios, featuring an array of local Canadian drummers as special guests, and displaying a beyond demonic artwork by Thahir M (The Black Catalogue) and Angel Carvallo (Avenged Creations).

Featuring B.J. Gingell (of Dahlmers Realm) on drums, the opening tune I Smell Pipes brings forward a cryptic intro accompanied by the low-tuned, damned bass by Jarret, evolving into a sluggish, sinister Doom Metal feast that will put you to bang your head until your neck breaks in half; and it’s time for drummer Jadan Paluck (of Destroy My Brains and Wrought) to crush our heads in Orbitoclast, with Jarret roaring like a rabid beast while he slashes his axe in great fashion at the same time in an awesome display of modern-day Sludge and Stoner Metal. Then get ready for 10 minutes of suffocating Blackened Doom Metal masterfully brought into being by Jarret in Push The Knife, with guest Brett Stewart (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) on drums and backing vocals, with Jarret sounding utterly demonic on vocals and also firing melodious, grim riffs for our total delight. And Jadan returns with his darkened and sluggish beats in the full-bodied aria entitled On The Unlevel, supporting Jarret in his quest for doom. Jarret’s bass punches sound even more menacing than before, not to mention how the aggressiveness and malignancy grow in intensity as the music progresses, therefore resulting in a disturbing Doom Metal feast.

Robert Hayman (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) is the guest drummer in I’m Weak, blasting his drums fiercely while Jarrett is infuriated with both his raspy screams and venomous riffage, or in other words, this is another fantastic option to headbang like a true metal maniac, whereas B.J. is back in action in Cultist Of The Pentagram in total sync with Jarrett’s devilish gnarls, riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline, rage and darkness. Then rumbling bass sounds will punch you in the head in Abused (e)Motionless, with Jarret once again adding his share of evil to the overall result through his wicked growls in a solid display of Blackened Sludge Metal. Jarret comes ripping one last time with his somber guitar lines in Dance Upon The Dead, while Jadan returns with his slow and steady beats; it lacks a little of the punch from its predecessors, though, but it’s still a damn good song. And if you go for the limited edition of the album you’ll be treated to Discarded Self’s cover version for Upside Down as a bonus, just as demented and heavy as the original version from the almighty Fistula’s 2006 EP For a Better Tomorrow.

discarded-self-2021Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach and his Discarded Self are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Sludge and Doom Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. As already mentioned, Discarded Self was brought into being during a time of personal isolation for Jarret, which proves once again extreme music is the perfect channel for all hatred, frustrations and fear we’ve been experiencing worldwide since the beginning of this endless pandemic. In other words, let’s all succumb to the dark side and join Jarret in his world of insanity and hopelessness, with his solo effort representing the perfect soundtrack to our damnation.

Best moments of the album: Orbitoclast, Push The Knife and I’m Weak.

Worst moments of the album: Dance Upon The Dead.

Released in 2021 Sarcophagus Recordings

Track listing   
1. I Smell Pipes 7:26
2. Orbitoclast 6:35
3. Push The Knife 10:51
4. On The Unlevel 10:04
5. I’m Weak 5:30
6. Cultist Of The Pentagram 5:55
7. Abused (e)Motionless 7:52
8. Dance Upon The Dead 8:27

Limited Edition bonus track
9. Upside Down (Fistula cover) 8:05

Band members
Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
B.J. Gingell – drums on  “I Smell Pipes” and “Cultist Of The Pentagram”
Jadan Paluck – drums on “Orbitoclast”, “On The Unlevel”, “Dance Upon The Dead” and “Upside Down”
Brett Stewart – drums and backing vocals on “Push The Knife”
Robert Hayman – drums on “I’m Weak” and “Abused (e)Motionless”

Album Review – Crypts of Despair / All Light Swallowed (2021)

Behold the breathtaking sophomore opus by a ruthless Death Metal unity from Lithuania, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere.

3.5rating

crypts-of-despair-all-light swallowed-2021Formed in 2009 in Kaunas, a city in south-central Lithuania, the ruthless Death Metal band known as Crypts of Despair has made a quantum leap from their well-received debut full-length opus The Stench of the Earth, released in 2017, to their brand new one, entitled All Light Swallowed. Produced by the band itself, recorded at Lapės Records, mixed and engineered by Alexander Sarychev at DTH Studios, mastered by Arthur Rizk, and featuring a classic, somber artwork by Néstor Avalos, All Light Swallowed is at once ferocious, rife with unearthly and dissonant sounds, and punctuated by hair-raising, eerie ambience, embodying the perfect combination of face-melting aggression and electrifying atmosphere, with song structures remaining unpredictable and yet strangely coherent, all carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Dovydas Auglys, guitarist Benas Juskus, bassist and vocalist Simonas Jurkevicius, and drummer Henri Mall. Put differently, if you’re an admirer of the music by bands the likes of Incantation, Anaal Nathrakh and Morbid Angel, this album is a must-have in your personal collection.

Get ready for total annihilation to the sound of the pulverizing opening track Being – Erased, a lecture in modern-day Death Metal led by the blast beast by Henri while Dovydas and Benas extract piercing, sulfurous Black Metal-inspired riffs from their guitars, and there’s no sign of slowing down as the quartet continues their path of devastation in Anguished Exhale, even more brutal and infernal than the opening tune with Dovydas and Simonas roaring manically nonstop. In Choked By The Void a cryptic start morphs into another visceral Death Metal feast led by the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo, smashing our cranial skulls and dragging us into eternal darkness, and more of their furious sounds comes in the form of Condemned To Life, where Henri pounds and crushes his drums in great fashion, sounding very violent but at the same time technical and melodic and, therefore, resulting into sheer Death Metal awesomeness.

crypts-of-despair-all-light-swallowed-black-coffin-shaped-wooden-cd-box-set

Crypts of Despair All Light Swallowed Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving

Living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Incantation and Immolation, the quartet fires the visceral Synergy Of Suffering, once again presenting the dynamic (and bestial) vocal duet between Dovydas and Simonas, and if you thought those Lithuanian metallers couldn’t sound more demonic you better get ready for The Great End, a sinister, neck-breaking tune that blends their trademark Death Metal with Black Metal nuances. Then venturing through more obscure lands we’re treated to the venomous Disgust, a beautiful Death, Black and (even) Doom Metal creation by Crypts of Despair where the vocal lines sound and feel utterly satanic, not to mention the thunderous drums by Henri. Dovydas and Benas definitely know how to send shivers down our spines with their wicked riffs, generating a menacing ambience in Excruciating Weight, putting a grim smile on the faces of the damned and flowing into the Stygian instrumental outro Bleak View, sounding as if it was taken from the most horrifying psychological thriller you can imagine.

crypts-of-despair-2021It’s quite easy to put your hands on such amazing album of Baltic Death Metal, as All Light Swallowed (which you can by the way stream in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify) is available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, but if I were you I would definitely go for the ass-kicking, limited Black Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Engraving by clicking HERE, HERE or HERE (depending on where in the world you are), containing an 8-panel digipak CD with sandalwood scent, an autographed card, a shaped silver sigil patch, a keychain with bottle opener, an album artwork badge, a beer coaster and a metallic sticker. Also, don’t forget to give the guys from Crypts of Despair a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing your support to such incredible band from the Baltics. And you better hurry, before all light is finally swallowed and you’re trapped in eternal Death Metal darkness.

Best moments of the album: Being – Erased, Condemned To Life and Disgust.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing   
1. Being – Erased 4:33
2. Anguished Exhale 4:13
3. Choked By The Void 5:17
4. Condemned To Life 3:27
5. Synergy Of Suffering 2:57
6. The Great End 5:32
7. Disgust 4:23
8. Excruciating Weight 3:57
9. Bleak View 3:37

Band members
Dovydas Auglys – vocals, guitar
Benas Juskus – guitar
Simonas Jurkevicius – bass, vocals
Henri Mall – drums

Album Review – Funebria / Death of the Last Sun (2021)

An infernal invocation to darkness by a ruthless Colombia-based horde, positioning the band as one of the driving forces of the South American extreme music scene.

3.5rating

funebria-death-of-the-last-sun-2021Funebria, the name of a rare manuscript “Carmina Funebria in Obitum Clarissimi” of influences in opus “Cantiones Profanae” and a fascination for funeral processions, is also the name of Venezuelan Black Metal horde Funebria, founded in 2004 in Maracaibo, a city in northwestern Venezuela and the capital of Zulia state (but currently based in Bogota, Colombia), having started following the path of pure old school Black Metal with their debut demo Manifiesto Al Esclavo, released in 2005. Currently comprised of Daemonae on vocals and guitars, Blackmiroz also on the guitars, Perverssturm on bass and backing vocals, and Naberius on drums, the band is unleashing upon humanity their third full-length album, entitled Death of the Last Sun, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Behemoth, Hate, Decapitated and Svart Crown, among others. Recorded mixed and mastered at DAE Home Studio by Ranndy Garcia (aka Daemonae), known for his work with Black Metal act Theurgia, Death of the Last Sun is an invocation to darkness in the most tight and raw way imaginable, positioning the band as one of the driving forces of the South American extreme music scene.

The tolling of the bells darkens our minds and hearts in the intro AIN, before all hell breaks loose in Ominous Armaggeddon, a visceral, straightforward Black Metal feast spearheaded by the infernal beats by Naberius while Daemonae roars and barks like a true demonic entity, also presenting progressive and groovy elements to spice the whole song up considerably. After such intense start to the album, more of their venomous fusion of Black and Death Metal is offered to our avid ears in the obscure tune Upheaval & Decadence, with hints of Doom Metal added to its already somber vibe, not to mention how ruthless Daemonae and Blackmiroz are with their riffage; and there’s no time to breathe as those South American beasts keep smashing our skulls mercilessly in Bleeding Sacrament, another brutal display of Black Metal infused with Daemonae’s trademark Death Metal growls that will put a grim smile on the faces of fans of extreme music.

Ethereal Form Of Saints sounds and feels as doomed as its predecessors, with Perverssturm firing low-tuned, bestial bass punches straight to our faces, therefore supporting the headbanging riffs by his bandmates, resulting in a massive tune where every single space in the air is filled with sulfur and hate. Dawn Of Black Inericon might be the shortest song of the album, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as dense, bold and Mephistophelian as all other songs, with Daemonae once again taking the lead with his deep roars supported by Naberius’ massive drums, whereas closing the album there’s more evil and hatred in the form of Black Waters Caesar, a lecture in old school and modern-day Black Metal full of breaks and variations, scorching riffs, bass jabs and the always demented beats by Naberius. Put differently, what a pulverizing conclusion to Death of the Last Sun, leaving us all eager for more of Funebria’s infernal creations in a not-so-distant future.

funebria-2021If you want to have a much better taste of all the darkness and wrath flowing from Funebria’s music, you can enjoy their new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should definitely purchase the album from Dark Terror Temple’s BandCamp page, from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon to show your utmost support to such distinguished South American horde. In addition, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook for news, tour dates, plans for the future and so on, proving you’re indeed a servant of the underworld as you like to brag about. Funebria are one of those bands whose sound is always evolving in the best way possible without abandoning their roots, and Death of the Last Sun is indeed a fantastic representation of their talent, their passion for Black Metal and their loyalty to this always brutal and captivating style.

Best moments of the album: Ominous Armaggeddon and Black Waters Caesar.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Dark Terror Temple/Satanath Records

Track listing
1. AIN 0:52
2. Ominous Armaggeddon 6:35
3. Upheaval & Decadence 4:43
4. Bleeding Sacrament 4:13
5. Ethereal Form Of Saints 5:35
6. Dawn Of Black Inericon 3:52
7. Black Waters Caesar 5:17

Band members
Daemonae – guitars, vocals
Blackmiroz – guitars
Perverssturm – bass, backing vocals
Naberius – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Heike Langhans

heike01

The shackles of your demons fall silent… The shackles of your demons fall…

It’s time for the skies to get dark and melancholic here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the doomed music blasted by our metal lady of the month of May, and I bet you’ll get absolutely addicted to her music right after the very first listen (in case you know nothing yet about her and her bands and projects, of course). Though of German descent, she was born on February 9, 1988 in Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, and currently resides in Sweden, where she joined Swedish Doom Metal band Draconian as the replacement to former singer Lisa Johansson in 2012. I’m talking about the multi-talented Heike Langhans, a songwriter, singer and designer well known for her work in the Gothic and metal scenes, always exploring a vast array of styles including Dark Wave, Electronic and Gothic Rock, among several others, therefore conquering the blackened hearts of the damned ones.

Drawn to melancholy Gothic music during her teenage years, Heike Langhans (which correct pronunciation is ‘hey-keh’ and ‘lung [the organ] – huns [like guns]’, as it’s a German name) began to dabble in composition, writing and singing at a very young age, already being part of school choirs at the age of eight, although she got sick of singing in groups, left that behind and started doing her own thing. She played piano occasionally, but mostly played classical guitar, which helped a lot in her writing process, and used to sing with her father when he played guitar at social gatherings. Heike joined her first band when she was around 15 years old, an all-girls band comprised of friends of her that was mainly a fun holiday thing, while she kept doing music on her own until she joined a proper band at the age of 19. Needless to say, she kept doing her own thing on the side to stay focused and as an outlet for her frustrations with the world and her surroundings.

Active since 2005, our South African started her career being associated with a few distinguished projects and bands, those being her Dark Electronic solo project :LOR3L3I:, South African Symphonic Metal band Inferium, and South African Black/Thrash Metal band Warthane, with her vocals being known to be sorrowful and her music peculiar and melancholic in nature. Regarding :LOR3L3I: (also known as LOR3L3I, LORELEI, or simply Lorelei), everything started back in 2006 as a melancholic electronic side project, with the name Lorelei having almost acted as an alter ego in a sense. According to Heike herself, the songs are raw and unpolished, a “spur-of-the-moment” type project where she just pours her heart into a song, record it and then struggle to touch it again, and you can take a very good listen at all her demos on her official BandCamp page, savoring delicate creations such as Jade Light and Fables. “I’ve said many times that I will never be able to sing these songs live, simply because I’ll be too emotional. It’s hard for me to wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, so music is the only way. Lorelei is definitely my outlet and it’s quite revealing in many ways. Many people think me intimidating and secretive, but I’m more of an open book than what they care to realize,” commented Heike about her solo endeavor.

Inferium and Warthane are completely different stories, as they were already relatively established bands when Heike joined them. Under the moniker Heike Van Dominic, she was Inferium’s vocalist from 2005 until 2010, joining the band when they were still an instrumental group. They were the only band she knew doing Symphonic Metal at that time, with a huge influence from bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation. She said in one of her interviews that the band had a lot of potential and that they were doing quite well, but as they had a lot of issues with finding time and money to record and push it further they decided to call it quits in 2010. “I’ll always remember and enjoy my time in Inferium and I’ll forever be sad about the stellar songs that were to come, but it’s a sweet memory,” said Heike. Right after Inferium disbanded, more specifically in 2011, our diva, again under the name Heike Van Dominic, recorded the female vocals for the album Black Divine, by Warthane, which you can enjoy in its entirety on Spotify. Not only that, she also used her graphic designer skills to create the album’s stylish, somber artwork, proving how focused and talented she is it doesn’t matter which band or project she’s involved with.

Since 2012, Heike has been acting as the singer for Swedish Gothic/Doom Metal act Draconian, a cult band that started back in the already distant year of 1994 as Kerberos, playing Melodic Heavy and Death Metal with Black Metal influences, changing its name to Draconian around seven months after its inception. Heike joined the band following the departure of singer Lisa Johansson in 2011 after having made contact with guitarist Daniel Arvidsson, then with vocalist Anders Jacobsson to try an audition in Sweden. At first, she struggled to get a work visa in Sweden, which hampered the band’s ability to record an album, and until obtaining the visa she performed as a temporary singer for Gothic Rock band The Great Sleep in South Africa, as you can see for example in the song The Last Funeral. At the end of 2013, she finally received her work visa and was able to emigrate to Sweden, when she started working with Draconian while at the same time she started playing as a guest singer, guitarist and keyboardist in 2015 for Swedish Doom Metal band ISON, a side-project of Daniel Änghede (of Crippled Black Phoenix and Hearts of Black Science). She mentioned her main reasons for joining ISON were being able to play an instrument again like what she used to do in her teens, and putting a part of her own soul into it within a genre that was not electronic. You can have a very good taste of the music by ISON on their BandCamp page, with their first three albums having Heike on vocals, those being Cosmic Drone, Andromeda Skyline and Inner Space, or go to YouTube and search for their official videos such as the one for the song ISAE, as well as other precious gems like the duo playing a stunning acoustic version for The Final Cut by Pink Floyd (and you can compare their beautiful rendition with the original one HERE).

Finally, in 2015 Heike was able to record her first album with Draconian, by the way the sixth in the band’s career, the excellent Sovran, which she was not only responsible for the female vocal parts, but she also collaborated on writing the lyrics for tracks Dusk Mariner, Dishearten and The Marriage of Attaris, showing how easy it has been for Heike to connect with everyone at Draconian. “When I came to Sweden, I thought it would be very intimidating to have to all of a sudden be in this professional studio and work with world-class producers, and I underestimated myself a lot. But once I actually started doing it, I realized I was completely over-thinking everything. The guys were really laid back and easy to work with,” commented Heike. Then in 2020 she released with Draconian their second opus together, entitled Under a Godless Veil, where once again she was responsible for part of the lyrics, more specifically for the lyrics for the song Sleepwalkers, on top of her usual vocal duties. She also mentioned in one of her interviews that her work with Draconian hasn’t had any negative impact on her solo project :LOR3L3I: so far; quite the contrary, several Draconian fans kept writing her and asking her to continue to create music under her solo project, although she said nowadays she doesn’t have enough time to focus on that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan of Draconian or a newcomer to their doomed world, you must check all of their official videos on YouTube such as the ones for the songs Sorrow Of Sophia, Sleepwalkers, Lustrous Heart, The Sacrificial Flame, Moon Over Sabaoth and Stellar Tombs, all of their creations on Spotify, as well as live footage the likes of Pale Tortured Blue live at MS Connexion Complex in Mannheim, Germany in 2019, and simply get lost in their realm of melancholy.

Apart from all of those previous and current bands and projects, you can also enjoy Heike’s unique voice as a guest vocalist in several other bands from all over the world. For instance, she played live with Finnish Atmospheric Doom/Death Metal band Hallatar in 2018, with whom she also recorded vocals for the song My Mistake and narrations for the songs Raven’s Song, Pieces and Spiral Gate from their 2017 album No Stars Upon the Bridge; she was a guest vocalist in the song Vision VII: One with the Soil from the 2017 album Visions, by Austrian Post-Black Metal act Anomalie; she also recorded the female vocal parts for the song The Path to Puya, from the 2019 album Aamamata by Spanish Doom/Gothic Metal act Helevorn; and vocals for the song Wolves at the Border, from the 2015 album Signal, by Swedish duo Hearts of Black Science. Not only that, Heike also did the layout and band photos for the 2020 album Premonitions, by International Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal band Sojourner, and was responsible for the vocals, keyboards, songwriting, lyrics, vocal recording, artwork, layout and design in the 2020 album Another World, by International Atmospheric Doom Metal band Light Field Reverie.

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When asked about her main idols and influences in music, Heike said it’s actually hard to pinpoint influences because many of her personal likes are not in any genres considered as Gothic in modern terms. However, the bands she related to early on would be Fields of The Nephilim, The Awakening, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Type O Negative, Dead Can Dance and Lycia, to name a few. In addition, as far as more modern Goth-inspired music goes, she has spent a great deal of time listening to Diary Of Dreams, Tiamat, Tristania, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Sins Of Thy Beloved, Katatonia, Draconian, and of course My Dying Bride. She said her passion for metal started when she was a teenager, as she used to get her father’s Pink Floyd and Meat Loaf CD’s and listen to them on repeat in her room while singing along, also watching renowned acts like Black Sabbath on VH1 and taping whatever metal she could find onto VHS or cassette. By the time she was 16, she was consuming a lot of metal from all sub-genres, gradually focusing on what suited her best emotionally speaking like Gothic, Symphonic and Doom Metal, only getting into Black Metal in her 20’s, but of course the emotional aspect and the melodies found in Doom Metal turned it into her all-time favorite genre as it certainly triggers a lot more in her personally.

In regards to touring, Heike said in one of her interviews she would love to tour around a South America, South Africa and Australia with Draconian, understanding that requires a lot of traveling and a huge investment, of course. “I look forward to traveling to countries to enjoy the scenery, food and people. The music is just our way of saying thank you for having us. It would feel slightly selfish to think our music is what made the show worth it, if you know what I mean,” complemented Heike, who also has a deep connection with the metal scene in her homeland. “Despite what most South Africans make themselves believe, Cape Town actually has a great metal scene and more bands than you might think. I can count on one hand the amount of friends I have there who ISN’T a musician. It’s a very creative and beautiful town.” She recommends Atmospheric Black Metal band Crow Black Sky, 2017 Battle for Wacken winners Megalodon, scene-legend Industrial Metal band Terminatryx and a few new-comers such as Constellatia as excellent bands from her beautiful country (and city) that we should all take a listen at.

Moving from South Africa to Sweden wasn’t an easy task for Heike, as it took around 19 months for her to receive her residence permit renewal in Sweden due to the country dealing with an influx of refugees. Based in Säffle, a municipality in Värmland County in west central Sweden, with the rest of the band since December 2019, Heike said she obviously misses Cape Town, her friends, the forwardness of people, Afrikaans jokes and Afrikaans words that you really can’t say anywhere else, but of course that she loves Scandinavia and that her head and her heart are in the North. Her Swedish might not be perfect yet, but her Afrikaans (Dutch) and German background ended up helping her a lot in understanding the language in the beginning, and she’s picking it up quite fast in her own opinion. She also commented about the fact that a lot of people in Sweden and in different parts of the world keep asking her why she’s white, which she believes that happens due to the idea the media sells that everyone in the African continent is black, complementing by saying she usually takes the opportunity to explain how things really work in South Africa.

Lastly, although Heike seems to be an unstoppable music-making machine, she’s just a regular human being like all of us who has her favorite hobbies and pastimes when she’s not singing, recording or performing on stage. As an avid gamer, she said she loves playing World of Warcraft and old school RPG’s the likes of Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Lionheart, as well as newer games like Skyrim, but of course she spends a great amount of time doing art, mostly digital and editing. There are days when she doesn’t want to deal with technology and she focuses of drawings and illustrations by hand, though. She also enjoys painting and photography, albeit she considers those quite expensive hobbies, and sewing, showing how versatile and talented she is. Furthermore, Heike is a big supporter of the Ubuntu Liberation Movement in South Africa, the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement, always focusing on human liberation and free energy. “I will not eat or drink anything that comes from big corporations. Yes it’s difficult, but I refuse to support them. I also don’t eat meat any more, and I don’t really care what people have to say about that. I think that once people really put in the time and effort and research, not only from a health or principle perspective, but from an environmental perspective, they will realize that there is a lot that they are not being told. If they want to follow all the bullshit lies in the industry, then fine. But I will actively be against that. That’s what I think being an activist is about,” said our dauntless diva, and you can know a lot more about Heike, her bands, projects and so on by watching several online interviews with her, such as this one at FemME 2015 and this one for Metal & High Heels in 2019, letting her smooth and enchanting words and her undeniable charisma penetrate deep inside your doomed soul.

Heike Langhans’ Official Facebook page
Heike Langhans’ Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Facebook page
Draconian’s Official Instagram
Draconian’s Official Twitter
:LOR3L3I:’s Official Facebook page

“I love slow and melancholic music. It brings my inner suffering to the surface and Doom Metal makes me feel like it’s okay to be an emotional being that suffers in this strange world.” – Heike Langhans

Album Review – Sullen Guest / Chapter III (2021)

An excellent album of old school death and doom mixed with brighter melodies and alluring rhythms, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are forced to face in our lives.

3.5rating

sullen-guest-chapter-iii-2021Formed in 2013 in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, Death/Doom Metal entity Sullen Guest has just released their third full-length opus, simply titled Chapter III, based on the foundations of old school death and doom sounds while at the same time mixed with brighter melodies and more alluring rhythms. One of the most important roles in the album is the emotional vocals, which inevitably forces the listener to experience the emotion of the lyrical character, not to mention the main inspiration for the lyrics has been the ailment of the soul, death and fragility of life. Mixed and mastered by L. Baškys at Lapės Records and featuring a cryptic life-and-death artwork by Lithuanian artist Arūnas Staugaitis, Chapter III flawlessly translates into music the meaning behind the name Sullen Guest, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are inevitably forced to face in our lives such as pain, death, loneliness, fear and betrayal, with even the group members themselves having symbolic “guest” names in Latin that reflect these emotions, those being Inanitas on vocals and guitar, Tenebra also on the guitar, Demissio on bass and Doloribus on drums.

The Stygian guitars by Inanitas and Tenebra ignite the black mass Nothing Will Be Forgotten, as sluggish and somber as it can be, living up to the legacy of classic Blackened Doom while also reminding me of the early days of Tristania (but of course without the female vocals). Doom Metal lyrics are always a thing of beauty, and it couldn’t have been any different than that in Dewfall (“Dew grace once has fallen upon me / You were my friend, but I could not be with you / I reached for emptiness / Looking to the past wishing all could be different”) while the music remains dense and grim from start to finish, with Doloribus crushing his drums with tons of rage and melancholy; whereas Mortal Cord is another brutal creation by Sullen Guest where Inanitas keeps vociferating like a demonic entity while Demissio and Doloribus dictate the pace with their infernal kitchen until the very last second.

Even more doomed and nocturnal than its predecessors, Footprints brings forward a beautiful melody accompanied by the lugubrious bass lines by Demissio (which will certainly please all fans of 90’s and 2000’s Doom Metal), and with the anguished roars by Inanitas being the icing on the cake. Then blending the ferocity of Death Metal vocals with the darkness of Doom Metal riffs we’re treated to Limbonic Perdition, where Inanitas and Tenebra are once again on fire with their stringed axes, generating an enfolding atmosphere that lurks in the dark ready to attack; whereas the venomous Doom Metal riffs by Inanitas and Tenebra are the main ingredient in the funereal hymn Samsara, while Doloribus keeps pounding his drums slowly and steadily, therefore generating a neck-breaking, obscure rhythm while the stench of hopelessness permeates the air. And closing the album it’s time for a serene and gentle instrumental tune titled October Lullaby, where the band darkly jams until all fades into the unknown.

sullen-guest-2021I bet you’re more than curious to know how the fusion of death and doom made in Lithuania sounds, and luckily Chapter III is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify for your total delight. Also, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their unique music, and above all that, to put your filthy hands on Chapter III by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, allowing such distinguished band to haunt your damned soul for all eternity. Because, as you might already know, as soon as you start listening to Chapter III there is no light in your window anymore. You have been visited by Sullen Guest.

Best moments of the album: Dewfall and Samsara.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

Track listing
1. Nothing Will Be Forgotten 7:39
2. Dewfall 7:01
3. Mortal Cord 5:03
4. Footprints 6:37
5. Limbonic Perdition 7:00
6. Samsara 5:45
7. October Lullaby (instrumental) 4:54

Band members
Inanitas XII – vocals, guitar
Tenebra I – guitar
Demissio XIII – bass
Doloribus XI – drums

Guest musician
R. Budriūnas – flute

Album Review – Demonia Mundi / In Grembo Mater… (2021)

After over a decade of silence, this infernal Italian horde returns from the netherworld with an amazing, ritualistic concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess.

3.5rating

demonia-mundi-in-grembo-mater-2021Born in 1994 in Reggio di Calabria, a coastal city in southern Italy, by the will of their vocalist Daemonia, influenced by obscure Italian metal music, 90’s Epic Black Metal horde Demonia Mundi returns in full force after 12 years of silence with their new long-awaited full length album titled In Grembo Mater…, their best and most ambitious work to date, a stunning concept album featuring a furious metal journey enhanced by beautiful folkish atmospheres that reminds of cult bands such as Death SS, Opera IX, Windir and Limbonic Art. Currently comprised of the aforementioned frontman Daemonia together with guitarists Morlock and Vagrant, bassist Beast and drummer Uw, this Stygian Italian entity brought into being a concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess, a ritualistic path in which the music is a soundtrack that leads the listener during the evocation and invocation of familiar demons, realized using also traditional and ritualistic instruments  used thousand years ago during the Matriarchal Era previous to our Patriarchal Era, with the album art representing the double-headed axe, or the weapon symbol of the Mother Goddess.

The fires of Black Metal burn bright accompanied by melancholic acoustic guitars in the intro Iniziazione (or “initiation” in English), with the vociferations by Daemonia setting the tone for A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, exploding into a Dimmu Borgir-inspired hybrid of Symphonic and Epic Black Metal led by the incendiary riffs by Morlock and Vagrant, therefore sounding dense and bold from start to finish. Uw and Beast generate a venomous base for their bandmates in the infuriated hymn Et In Arcadia Ego, exhaling sulfur and hatred while once again presenting an old school Black Metal sonority with imposing and epic background elements, ending in a darkly tribal way; whereas an acoustic start evolves into a feast of Black and Doom Metal in Alesa, where Daemonia’s devilish gnarls will haunt your soul for all eternity supported by the pounding beats by Uw and all phantasmagorical sounds that permeate the atmosphere in this hellish composition.

And cryptic, eerie sounds enfold us all in The Golden Bough, before Beast begins hammering his bass in great fashion, once again morphing into a disruptive and vicious display of Symphonic Black Metal that sounds majestic and infernal, with Uw being unstoppable behind his drum set, while razor-edged riffs and the otherworldly growling by Daemonia are the main ingredients in the also demolishing Hieros Gamos, not to mention the song’s skull crushing aura. After such disruptive tune we have Intra Grembo, where the band slows things down a bit and sounds more melodic than before, spearheaded by the stylish guitars by Morlock and Vagrant. However, although they tried to make it sound like a black mass, it unfortunately falls flat in the end. Lastly, another Stygian intro evolves into the early Cradle of Filth-inspired hymn The Horned And His Thousand Whelps, where all band members are on fire with their sonic weapons, in special Daemonia with his vicious roaring and Uw with his violent but very intricate beats and fills, until the music fades into a ritualistic, horror movie-ish ambience that goes on until the very last second.

demonia-mundi-2021In a nutshell, if you consider yourself a lover of the darkest side of music, I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast listening to In Grembo Mater…, which is by the way available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify, as the album brings forward all elements we learned to love in such distinct type of heavy music through the years. In addition, if you want to put your evil hands on this amazing opus, you can purchase it from several locations including the Cult Of Parthenope’s BandCamp page, Season of Mist, IndieMerchstore and Amazon, or simply click HERE for other places where you can buy or stream the album. Also, don’t forget to follow Demonia Mundi on Facebook for news, tour dates and more of their demonic music. It might have taken over a decade for Daemonia and his venomous horde to provide us fans with a new batch of devilish arias, but after listening to In Grembo Mater… we must all admit the wait was absolutely worth it, inviting us all to worship the Mother Goddess to the sound of their wicked Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, The Golden Bough and The Horned And His Thousand Whelps.

Worst moments of the album: Intra Grembo.

Released in 2021 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Iniziazione 2:28
2. A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires 6:49
3. Et In Arcadia Ego 6:13
4. Alesa 5:49
5. The Golden Bough 4:57
6. Hieros Gamos 5:03
7. Intra Grembo 6:43
8. The Horned And His Thousand Whelps 8:16

Band members
Daemonia – vocals
Morlock – guitars, backing vocals
Vagrant – guitars, backing vocals
Beast – bass
Uw – drums

Album Review – Innersphere / Omfalos (2021)

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Nature Of Sorrow.

Released in 2021 Slovak Metal Army

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

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