Album Review – Antim Sanskar / Antim Sanskar (2021)

An international outfit formed of members from India, Austria and the UK is ready to bring doom to us all with their heavy and dense new album.

What started back in 2019 as a one-man project evolved into an international three-headed beast part Indian, part Austrian and part British that’s ready to crush your damned souls with their undisputed extreme music. I’m talking about Antim Sanskar (referring to the funeral rites in Sikhism, as antim means “final” while sanskar means “rite”), an Atmospheric Doom and Black Metal entity comprised of Sunay Bhat on vocals, Riccardo Veronese on rhythm and lead guitars, and Desderoth on bass, keyboards and drums, who has just released their debut full-length self-titled album. Recorded, mixed and mastered by C.P.P at W.I.E Studio, featuring a minimalist cover art by Sunay Bhat himself, and band logo design and commissioned art design by Dandi Iskander, the album consists of seven tracks embedded with skull-crushing riffs, painful melodies and heartfelt lyrics presented with a blend of clean vocals and harsh growls, dealing with somber themes such as depression, loss, regret and death and, therefore, being highly recommended for admirers of the darkest and most melancholic side of doom.

The cryptic piano notes by Desderoth in the intro Funeral Without Goodbyes will penetrate deep inside your mind before gentle acoustic guitars kick off The Feral Child, earlier released as “Asylum” for Sunay’s solo project Window of Doom. The song has been completely reworked and rereleased, resulting in almost 10 minutes of melancholic Doom Metal presenting deep, visceral gnarls by Sunay beautifully supported by the sluggish beats and ethereal keys by Desderoth, as well as elements from Funeral Doom to make things even more obscure. Changing gears to a more introspective and melodic vibe, Embers of the Ancient Flame offers the listener Sunay’s dark, clean vocals accompanied by the classic piano by Desderoth, evolving into a Melodic Doom Metal extravaganza spiced up by the stunning guitar lines and solos by Riccardo.

Then in the cinematic, instrumental Interlude the music blends majestically with the sound of the storm and the Gregorian chants in the background, setting the tone for Window of Doom, showcasing darkly poetic lyrics declaimed by Sunay (“In her withered bosom / She held a bed of thorns / Yearning to fall asleep, / Lay there forever / Allow the time to fade / Slip into eternal darkness / The only friend she knew / To sink in grief”) while the music offers a fusion of classic Doom Metal and Funeral Doom thanks to the spot-on beats and guitars by Desderoth and Riccardo, respectively. After such intense aria, phantasmagorical keys will crawl under your skin in DRC, exploding into a massive Doom Metal sonority where Riccardo is on fire with his wicked riffs, sounding very unique and disturbing from start to finish; and last but not least, it’s time for the trio to deliver a more infernal version of their doomed sounds in Die, Decay, Disintegrate, with Sunay roaring in a deeper and more demonic way while the guitars by Riccardo sound utterly metallic.

In case you’re curious to see how the collaboration between India, Austria and the UK resulted in first-class Atmospheric Doom and Black Metal, you can enjoy the album in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to provide your utmost support to the guys from Antim Sanskar go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and purchase a copy of their newborn opus from their own BandCamp page (and don’t forget to visit their online merch store as there’s a lot of cool stuff there waiting for you). In a nutshell, the music crafted by Sunay, Riccardo and Desderoth in Antim Sanskar is truly unique and captivating, proving once again that good metal music has no boundaries, and leaving us eager for the next step in their short career in our world of death and doom.

Best moments of the album: The Feral Child and Window of Doom.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Funeral Without Goodbyes 2:56
2. The Feral Child 9:51
3. Embers of the Ancient Flame 7:49
4. Interlude 2:48
5. Window of Doom 8:12
6. DRC 6:01
7. Die, Decay, Disintegrate 4:54

Band members
Sunay Bhat – vocals
Riccardo Veronese – rhythm and lead guitars
Desderoth – bass, keyboards, drums

Album Review – Skverna Liniya / In a Garland of Wax (2021)

Behold the debut full-length album by this uncanny Russian Progressive and Atmospheric Black Metal entity, representing the breakdown of the worldview, spiritual torments and the path of self-destruction.

Forged in the fires of Voronezh, a city on the Voronezh River in southwestern Russia, Progressive/Atmospheric Black Metal entity Skverna Liniya (or Скверна Линия, which translates from Russian as something like “dirty line”) is set to unleash upon humanity their debut full-length album In a Garland of Wax (or В венке из воска), following up on their 2020 EP Snowfall. Mixed and mastered by Mikhail Kurochkin and displaying a stylish artwork by innersys32, In a Garland of Wax is based on the lyrics of Boris Poplavsky (1903-1935), a Russian poet in exile whose work was focused on the soul’s withering and searching in a hostile environment, loneliness and fear in coming into contact with reality. Representing the breakdown of the worldview, spiritual torments and the path of self-destruction, the album is a must-listen for all admirers of atmospheric and extreme music, carefully brought into being by multi-instrumentalists Sergey Chirkov and Andrey Pospelov supported by guest musicians Roman Graver on harsh vocals, Konstantin Bers on clean vocals and Ivan Salo on drums.

The Rustle of Smoldering Life (Шорох тлеющей жизни) sounds and feels atmospheric and enfolding from the very first note, with Ivan and Roman kicking some ass with their respective beats and roars, therefore providing Sergey and Andrey all they need to thrive with their riffage (not to mention the song’s ethereal finale), whereas How Cold It Is. The Empty Soul Keeps Silence… (Как холодно. Молчит душа пустая…) already begins in full force with Roman screaming rabidly nonstop while the strident, piercing riffs by the band’s guitar duo add a touch of progressiveness to the music, resulting in a modern-day Black Metal extravaganza spiced up by the phantasmagorical clean vocals by Konstantin. Then get ready for over seven minutes of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal made in Russia in Green Horror (Зеленый ужас), showcasing a somber ambience to the sound of the crisp guitars by Sergey and Andrey while Roman roars manically for our total delight. The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse… (Пылал закат над сумасшедшим домом…) brings forward sheer devastation and progressiveness, with Ivan sounding infuriated behind his drums accompanied by the thunderous bass punches by Sergey, flowing into an instrumental and utterly atmospheric Interlude (Интерлюдия) that will captivate our senses before the band crushes our souls one last time with the instrumental aria titled In Forgotten Wide Spaces (На забытых просторах), where the keys by Sergey bring a touch of finesse to their Doom Metal-infused sonority.

If you want to know more about this up-and-coming entity hailing from Mother Russia, go check what they’re up to on their official Facebook page, and of course don’t forget to also show your utmost support to the Russian underground by purchasing your copy of In a Garland of Wax from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Beverina Productions’ BandCamp page, from the Casus Belli Musica’s BandCamp page, or from the BMC Productions’ BandCamp page. And after putting your hands on such dense and enfolding album of extreme music, get ready to be dragged into the Stygian realms ruled by Skverna Liniya for all eternity, and have your soul consumed by darkness while you follow this musical one-way path to self-destruction.

Best moments of the album: The Rustle of Smoldering Life and The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse…

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Casus Belli Musica/Beverina Productions

Track listing
1. The Rustle of Smoldering Life (Шорох тлеющей жизни) 6:14
2. How Cold It Is. The Empty Soul Keeps Silence… (Как холодно. Молчит душа пустая…) 4:22
3. Green Horror (Зеленый ужас) 7:30
4. The Sunset Blazed O’er The Madhouse… (Пылал закат над сумасшедшим домом…) 5:55
5. Interlude (Интерлюдия) 2:03
6. In Forgotten Wide Spaces (На забытых просторах) 8:17

Band members
Sergey Chirkov – guitars, bass, keys
Andrey Pospelov – guitars, additional bass on “The Rustle of Smoldering Life”

Guest musicians
Roman Graver – harsh vocals
Konstantin Bers – clean vocals
Ivan Salo – drums

Album Review – Malacoda / The Strain EP (2021)

Inspired by the works of Guillermo Del Toro, this Canadian entity is unleashing upon us all their second EP of the year, delving even further into their horror inspired roots.

3.0rating

malacoda-the-strain-ep-2021After the releases of their debut self-titled album in 2015, the EP Ritualis Aeterna in 2016, the full-length opus Restless Dreams in 2018, and the EP Crawling Chaos earlier this year, Oakville, Canada-based metal band Malacoda continues to deliver their fusion of Gothic, Power, Symphonic, Melodic and Progressive Metal for our total delight with their second EP of the year, entitled The Strain. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio at Old Haunt Recording Studio,  and displaying a goth artwork by Yeganeh Ghasemi featuring model Goddess Ov Death, The Strain is inspired by the works of the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, delving even further into the band’s horror inspired roots and bringing forward all the talent of the aforementioned Lucas together with guitarist Wes MacDonald and bassist Zak Stulla, not to mention an array of guest musicians to make the EP even more compelling.

The title-track The Strain already begins in full force to the symphonic and epic keys by Lucas while guest drummer Andrew Suarez (Bangin Productions, Fatality) showcases all his dexterity behind his drum set, adding an extra touch of heaviness to the music, and also presenting elements from Doom and classic Heavy Metal with Lucas delivering his Ghost/Candlemass/Mercyful Fate-inspired vocals. Then featuring additional vocals by Beth Wilson and with Lucas taking care of the drumming duties, Crimson Peak is a slower but heavy-as-hell and obscure creation where Wes extracts sheer darkness from his riffage and solo, accompanied by the melodic, rumbling bass by Zak; whereas investing into a more progressive sonority were treated to Where Shadows Play, another solid tune by the band to also feature additional vocals by Beth Wilson, with Lucas and Beth making a great vocal duo while guest drummer Victor Boechat smashes his drums mercilessly from start to finish. And lastly, a very melodic and introspective intro morphs into the Gothic Rock and Metal feast entitled Mind Flayer, featuring drummer Ryan Claxton (This Is Death Valley) and additional vocals by Wes, while Lucas presents both his powerful clean vocals and his demonic gnarls from start to finish.

malacoda-2021You can stream the full EP on Spotify, show your support to Malacoda by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and click HERE for all social media, links to buy their music and merch, videos and so on. “There really is a balance of dark aggression and beauty in these songs,” stated Lucas about the band’s new EP, complementing by saying that “that’s been the consistent tone with these four tracks – keeping it dark but letting some tender spots poke through.” And let’s say Lucas nailed it, with his words precisely describing the music found in The Strain and, consequently, inviting us all to join him and his henchmen in the dark realm ruled by Malacoda, and proving Malacoda are following a healthy and strong musical path, evolving as a band and providing us all fans high-quality metal music made in Canada with each one of their releases.

Best moments of the album: The Strain and Where Shadows Play.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. The Strain 7:49
2. Crimson Peak 3:51
3. Where Shadows Play 3:51
4. Mind Flayer 5:11

Band members
Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, keys, drums on “Crimson Peak”
Wes MacDonald – guitar, additional background vocals on “Mind Flayer”
Zak Stulla – bass

Guest musicians
Andrew Suarez – drums on “The Strain”
Victor Boechat – drums on “Where Shadows Play”
Ryan Claxton – drums on “Mind Flayer”
Beth Wilson – background vocals on “Crimson Peak” and “Where Shadows Play”

Album Review – Scarlet Aura / Genesis of Time (2021)

One of the best Romanian bands of all time returns like a Phoenix with the breathtaking last part of “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy, offering us all more of their flawless fusion of Heavy and Power Metal.

4.0rating

scarlet-aura-genesis-of-time-2021Chaos on Earth, uncertainty in life, plagues, disasters and once again the feeling that there is no one there to save the world. But from a distance there is always someone or something that watches humankind. Scarlet, partly Devil, partly Angel and most important, partly Phoenix, is there together with its sidekicks to set rights and wrongs. That’s what you’ll get in Genesis of Time, the third and last part of “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy by Romanian Heavy/Power Metal outfit Scarlet Aura, following up on their critically acclaimed albums Hot’n’Heavy, released in 2018, and Stormbreaker, from 2020. Mixed, mastered and produced by the band’s own guitarist Mihai “Myke D” Dănciulescu at Silver City Studio, and displaying a stylish artwork by renowned Brazilian artist Gustavo Sazes, Genesis of Time does not shy away from taking risks and introducing unexpected turns, new musical atmospheres and landscapes, bringing the perfect and balanced ending to the trilogy with its over one hour of undisputed music carefully brought forth by frontwoman Aura Dănciulescu, guitarist Mihai “Myke D” Danciulescu, bassist Rene Nistor and drummer Matthias Klaus.

The futuristic and epic instrumental The Book of Scarlet will instantly transport you to the magical world of Scarlet Aura, with Mihai taking the lead with his stylish and sharp riffs and solos accompanied by Rene and Matthias with their heavy kitchen, flowing into the Power Metal extravaganza titled Raw Power, a song that will put you to bang your head nonstop to the classic beast by Matthias while Aura mesmerizes us all with her soaring, metallic and absolutely melodic vocals until the very last second. Then a a cinematic intro morphs into more of their classic fusion of Heavy and Power Metal in Dark Lightning, where Mihai once again steals the spotlight with his razor-edged riffs and striking solos while Rene doesn’t stop smashing his bass; and Aura and the boys masterfully bring forward the Stratovarius-inspired tune Utopia, another powerful composition that lives up to the legacy of Melodic Metal without showing a single second of boredom. Quite the contrary, it’s utterly electrifying from start to finish, and there’s no time to breathe as the quartet keeps delivering fast and melodic metal music for our vulgar delectation in Frostbite, with Matthias taking the lead with his kick-ass drums, whereas in The Black Roses the band slows things down a bit but keeping the heaviness of their core essence intact, with Aura declaiming the song’s lyrics with tons of passion and energy.

And the rumbling bass by Rene ignites their metal machine once again in Right Place, Wrong Time, also showcasing interesting background keys, and all of course spiced up by another sharp vocal performance by Aura, while in Human Obsolete they get back to a more metallic and thunderous sonority, with Mihai and Rene being in total sync with their respective riffage and bass jabs. It’s time for another Scandinavian Melodic Metal-like feast entitled In The Line of Fire, where Aura’s vocals are beyond impactful, supported by the old school sound crafted by her bandmates, whereas adding hints of the Doom Metal played by renowned acts like Candlemass and Black Sabbath to their trademark Power Metal they offer us all the heavy and sinister tune Saints Need Sinners, with over six minutes of groovy bass jabs, slashing guitars, pounding drums and dark vocals. Are you ready to fly high in the sky together with Aura and her henchmen? That’s exactly what Scarlet Aura deliver in the epic Wings of Light, a straight-to-the-point, in-your-face Power Metal tune showcasing all of the band’s heavy artillery, followed by the title-track Genesis Of Time, the most epic of all songs bringing forward nine minutes of sheer power and electricity, or in other words, a dense and imposing aria by the band that will please all fans of classic Power Metal, also presenting elements from Progressive Metal to give it an extra kick. Needless to say, the trilogy couldn’t have ended in a more climatic manner.

scarlet-aura-2021All good things must come to an end, which is the case with Scarlet Aura’s “The Book of Scarlet” trilogy with the release of the excellent Genesis of Time, and it’s impressive how the band managed to bring into being an even better opus than Stormbreaker, displaying a more mature, melodic and intricate sound that will undoubtedly be appreciated by metalheads from all over the world. Hence, if you want to know more about one of the best bands (if not the best) in the history of Romanian metal, you can follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their distinguished music and videos, stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and of course show your true support to the band by purchasing Genesis of Time from their own webstore or from other retailers such as Apple Music and Amazon sooner than you can say “scarlet”. Now that the trilogy is finally concluded, let’s see what Scarlet Aura will have for us fans with their upcoming releases. And despite the fact I doubt they can unleash upon us something better than Genesis of Time, I must also say that no one should ever doubt Aura and the boys, as just like a metallic Phoenix they keep coming back from the underworld spreading their fiery music to all four corners of the earth with each of their first-class albums.

Best moments of the album: Dark Lightning, Utopia, In The Line of Fire and Wings of Light.

Worst moments of the album: The Black Roses.

Released in 2021 Universal Music Romania/Silver City Records

Track listing  
1. The Book of Scarlet 6:31
2. Raw Power 4:49
3. Dark Lightning 5:14
4. Utopia 5:02
5. Frostbite 5:46
6. The Black Roses 6:13
7. Right Place, Wrong Time 5:46
8. Human Obsolete 5:28
9. In The Line of Fire 5:46
10. Saints Need Sinners 6:20
11. Wings of Light 4:27
12. Genesis Of Time 9:06

Band members
Aura Dănciulescu – lead vocals
Mihai “Myke D” Dănciulescu – guitars, vocals
Rene Nistor – bass, vocals
Matthias Klaus – drums

Album Review – Serpentrance / Akra Tapeinosis (2021)

This infernal Russian Sepulchral Death Metal horde comes ripping with their debut full-length opus, offering us all their raw and vile view of “the Utmost Humiliation”.

3.5rating

serpentrance-akra-tapeinosis-2021Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Spīritō Destitutus in the desolate temples of doom, and displaying a beyond blasphemous artwork by the band’s own vocalist Morkh at Nether Temple Design, the excellent Akra Tapeinosis (or “the Utmost Humiliation”), is not only the debut full-length opus by Russian horde Serpentrance and the follow-up to their 2015 EP The Besieged Sanctum, but also a lesson in Black, Death and Doom Metal by this uncanny entity, or as the band itself likes to label their own sound, a fulminating exhibit of “Sepulchral Death Metal”. Formed in 2014, the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Morkh and Spīritō Destitutus together with bassist HTM and drummer Noersyl Skept is ready to darken the hearts of the unbelievers with their unique style and otherworldly sounds, proving once again why Russia is the go-to place for the most disturbing forms of extreme music you can think of.

Gregorian vociferations permeate the air in the Stygian opening tune Vomit & Myrrh, exploding into a primeval fusion of Black and Doom Metal that will haunt the souls of the lighthearted where Morkh sounds like a creature from the underworld on vocals, while Noersyl Skept hammers his drums in great fashion; followed by Clothed in Abomination, with its darkly poetic words (“Cathedrals howling in awe / The old woman of apocalypse awakes / To feed the hunger of the devoted ones / By the coffins of the blessed tree”) being beautifully complemented by a raw, sluggish sonority. Furthermore, the riffs by Spīritō Destitutus exhale pure sulfur, supported by the menacing bass by HTM in an ode to Blackened Doom. And Spīritō Destitutus keeps slashing his stringed axe with tons of hatred and obscurity in The Tarnished Shrines of God, another venomous tune by Serpentrance where the deep guttural growling by Morkh will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you into pitch black darkness for all eternity.

After such intense and bold display of damnation and hatred, get ready for over 11 minutes of a demented hybrid of Black, Death and Doom Metal by the quartet spearheaded by the demonic riffage by Spīritō Destitutus and the thunderous drums by Noersyl Skept entitled Underneath Babylon, not to mention how vile Morkh’s roars sound and feel in a lecture in sheer doom for admirers of the most sulfurous side of music. And last but not least, we’re treated to the superb The Black Dawn of Sophia, offering our avid ears one final round of Serpentrance’s wicked lyrics (“Man, hast thou felt the rising winds of death / Howling among these ancient marble walls? / There, below, crawling the procession / Groveling beneath the corroding sun”) to close the album on a high and infernal note. Put differently, it’s a flawless, neck-breaking aria that positions the band as one of the most interesting names of the Russian underground scene, ending the album on an absolutely cadaverous vibe.

serpentrance-2021If you think you can endure sheer darkness in the form of the Sepulchral Death Metal blasted by Serpentrance, you can stream the full album on YouTube, and in case you survive that metallic onslaught you can join Serpentrance’s horde by following them on Facebook and getting to know more about the band, their tour dates and their plans for the future. And above all that, of course, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Akra Tapeinosis from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore in CD, LP or cassette formats, showing your true love and admiration for sick and impious doom. Serpentrance are just starting in their grim and sulfurous career, and Akra Tapeinosis is the undisputed statement that they’re indeed following the right (and by that I mean infernal) path to conquer the world of extreme music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Vomit & Myrrh and The Black Dawn of Sophia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing  
1. Vomit & Myrrh 7:34
2. Clothed in Abomination 7:38
3. The Tarnished Shrines of God 7:14
4. Underneath Babylon 11:35
5. The Black Dawn of Sophia 9:10

Band members
Morkh – vocals
Spīritō Destitutus – guitars
HTM – bass
Noersyl Skept – drums

Album Review – Nunslaughter / Red is the Color of Ripping Death (2021)

Cleveland, Ohio’s own infernal squad returns with another bestial display of their trademark “Devil Metal”, their first album in seven years.

3.5rating

nunslaughter-red-is-the-color-of-ripping-death-2021Cleveland’s own infernal squad Nunslaughter requires no introduction. Since their inception in the distant year of 1987, those Ohio natives have prolifically perfected their own brand of what they like to label as “Devil Metal”, an evil blend of classic Death and Thrash Metal with Hardcore Punk, and now in 2021, at long last, the band is back in action with Red is the Color of Ripping Death, their first album in seven years. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Noah Buchanan, the album is a lesson in savagery, speed and sulfur by vocalist Don of the Dead, guitarist Tormentor, bassist Detonate and drummer Wrath, proving Nunslaughter are far from calling it quits even after so many years on the road. Furthermore, many are still mourning the loss of legendary drummer Jim Sadist (RIP), and while Red is the Color of Ripping Death is their first full-length without him playing on it, some of the 14 songs contained herein are unfinished or unrealized music that Jim and founding frontman Don of the Dead wrote years ago, giving the whole album an even more special feel and taste.

Wrath begins hammering his drums manically in the opening tune Murmur, a lecture in fast and heavy Death and Thrash Metal by the band to properly kick things off, not to mention how vile Don’s growls sound, whereas in Broken and Alone they speed up their pace and add a good amount of Hardcore and Punk Rock to their core sonority, with Tormentor treating us with his incendiary, slashing riffage. Then it’s time for a darker and more venomous tune by the quartet named To a Whore, once again inviting us all to slam into the pit to the Stygian riffs and bass jabs by Tormentor and Detonate, respectively; followed by Banished, not as infuriated as its predecessors but still showcasing the band’s trademark heaviness and spearheaded by the deep roars by Don, and the title-track Red Is the Color of Ripping Death, a hurricane of Death and Thrash Metal tailored for admirers of that beautiful sound from the Bay Area, with Wrath once again hammering his drums nonstop. Tormentor continues to extract sheer violence from his guitar in Eat Your Heart, while Don vociferates rabidly amidst a very melodic but at the same time brutal sonority, and in Annihilate the Kingdom of God the unrelenting Don beautifully declaims the song’s austere words while his bandmates keep delivering endless aggression, with Detonate and Wrath sounding bestial with their evil kitchen.

Living up to the legacy of old school thrash the likes of Slayer and Overkill, the quartet fires the absolutely infernal Beware of God, with Don leading his demented horde with his sick growling and screams, whereas another round of deranged roars, classic blast beats and flammable riffs comes in the form of Black Cat Hanging, keeping the album at a high level of animosity for our total delight. And are you ready to be smashed like an insect? Because that’s what will happen to you in Dead in Ten, spearheaded by the fulminating drums by Wrath and the wicked riffage by Tormentor in a superb display of extreme music by Nunslaughter. Then let’s all “calm down” a bit and enjoy a headbanging extravaganza entitled The Devil Will Not Stray, where the band adds hints of Black and Doom Metal to make things even more devilish, while they get back to a more ferocious sonority in The Temptress, with Wrath kicking ass on drums once again supported by the metallic bass jabs by Detonate. Casket Lid Creaks is another slower-than-usual song that albeit displaying the band’s heaviness and obscurity, it doesn’t really take off. Detonate still showcases a great job with his low-tuned bass, though. Lastly, less than one minute is everything the band needs to crush anyone that’s still alive in Below the Cloven Hoof, putting a beyond demonic ending to such awesome album.

nunslaughter-2021In case you want to join Nunslaughter in their quest for metal, depravity and evil, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about them, stream more of their savage creations on Spotify, and above all that, purchase the awesome Red Is the Color of Ripping Death from their own BandCamp page or from the Hells Headbangers Records’ webstore in CD or cassette format. As Jim Sadist would say, “red is the color of ripping death,” and I’m sure he’s truly proud of his bandmates for their new album. Long live Jim Sadist, and long live Nunslaughter.

Best moments of the album: Broken and Alone, Red Is the Color of Ripping Death, Beware of God and Dead in Ten.

Worst moments of the album: Banished and Casket Lid Creaks.

Released in 2021 Hells Headbangers Records

Track listing 
1. Murmur 1:33
2. Broken and Alone 1:50
3. To a Whore 2:34
4. Banished 2:48
5. Red Is the Color of Ripping Death 3:34
6. Eat Your Heart 2:41
7. Annihilate the Kingdom of God 2:48
8. Beware of God 1:49
9. Black Cat Hanging 2:13
10. Dead in Ten 3:39
11. The Devil Will Not Stray 2:51
12. The Temptress 2:01
13. Casket Lid Creaks 3:04
14. Below the Cloven Hoof 0:52

Band members
Don of the Dead – vocals
Tormentor – guitars
Detonate – bass
Wrath – drums

Album Review – Fleshtorture / Grotesca Doctrina De La Perversidad (2021)

A fulminating display of Death Metal made in Nicaragua, dealing with the poisonous hypocrisy of faith in unseen gods and the structures of domination built around those abominable names.

3.5rating

fleshtorture-grotesca-doctrina-de-la-perversidad-2021Armed with riffs that no god could stand against and a vocal roar to cut through lies and debasement, León, Nicaragua-based Death Metal bulldozers Fleshtorture are back in action with the third and most powerful full-length album of their career, the devastating Grotesca Doctrina De La Perversidad, or “grotesque doctrine of perversity” in English. A consistently stunning display of real Death Metal from start to finish, dealing with the poisonous hypocrisy of faith in unseen gods and the structures of domination built around those abominable names, the album is highly recommended for fans of renowned Death Metal titans the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Suffocation and Incantation, showcasing all the talent and violence of vocalist Xhugore, guitarists Lenin Galo and René Schock, bassist Hanry Cano and drummer Rudy Wolf. Add to that the visceral recording by Hector Cerrato at Zombie Records, the vile mixing and mastering by Chris Wisco, the sharp production by Joi Brute, and the demented artwork by John Quevedo Janssens, and there you have an essential  album that will certainly leave a permanent scar on the tortured visage of Death Metal.

In the insane Intro: Grotesca Doctrina de la Perversidad, gruesome, cryptic vociferations will warm us up for the bestial Canibalismo Eclesiástico (“ecclesiastical cannibalism”), where Xhugore’s roars together with the frantic drums by Rudy Wolf are a stunning invitation for all of us to slam into the pit like true maniacs, not to mention the awesome Cannibal Corpse-inspired riffs by the band’s guitar duo; and their Death Metal extravaganza goes on in the visceral tune Blasfemando en el Trono de Dios (“blaspheming on the throne of god”), showcasing another amazing job done by Lenin Galo and René Schock on the guitars accompanied by the menacing bass jabs by Hanry Cano. The band continues hammering their wicked instruments in Flagelando al Mesías (“flogging the messiah”), with Rudy Wolf dictating the song’s demonic pace while Xhugore barks the song’s Spanish lyrics with tons of hatred and darkness, followed by Tumba de Niños (“children’s tomb”), another ode to old school Death Metal with the band’s own twist. Furthermore, its backing vocals provide a very effective support to Xhugore, while the guitars keep piercing our souls mercilessly until the very last second.

Crucificado, Muerto y Sepultado (“crucified, dead and buried”) is undoubtedly one of the most violent compositions of the album, a circle pit-catalyst that will please all fans of classic Death Metal with Rudy Wolf once again taking the lead with his rhythmic and utterly aggressive beats and fills, whereas sinister sounds permeate the air in Aberracíon Maligna (“malignant aberration”), with the band offering a Doom Metal-ish side of their music evolving into another showcase of sheer brutality. Needless to say, Lenin Galo and René Schock are on fire with their riffs and solos, and more of their sulfurous and blasphemous sounds comes in the form of Morgue (“morgue”), again presenting wicked vociferations by Xhugore amidst a rumbling atmosphere crafted by Hanry Cano and Rudy Wolf. The band’s last breath of malignancy and depravation is offered to us in Crematorio (“crematorium”), less intense than its predecessors but still dark and heavy, with their guitars again penetrating deep inside your skin while also presenting Xhugore’s trademark guttural gnarls, flowing into a quick and phantasmagorical Outro to darkly conclude such hellish piece of music.

fleshtorture-2021If carnivorous and blasphemous Death Metal is your cup of tea (or maybe I should say “cup of blood”), then you should definitely take a full listen at the new album by Fleshtorture on YouTube or on Spotify, but of course in order to show those Nicaraguan metallers your true support you can purchase a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, from the Brute! Productions’ Big Cartel, from the Sevared Records’ webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to also follow such distinguished Death Metal force on Facebook, keeping up to date with all things Fleshtorture and, above all that, inspiring them to continue their path of perversity and violence just like what they offered us all in the excellent Grotesca Doctrina De La Perversidad.

Best moments of the album: Canibalismo Eclesiástico, Flagelando al Mesías and Crucificado, Muerto y Sepultado.

Worst moments of the album: Crematorio.

Released in 2021 Brute! Productions

Track listing 
1. Intro: Grotesca Doctrina de la Perversidad 0:42
2. Canibalismo Eclesiástico 4:17
3. Blasfemando en el Trono de Dios 4:20
4. Flagelando al Mesías 4:30
5. Tumba de Niños 3:16
6. Crucificado, Muerto y Sepultado 5:20
7. Aberración Maligna 5:20
8. Morgue 3:58
9. Crematorio 4:59
10. Outro 0:18

Band members
Xhugore – vocals
Lenin Galo – guitars
René Schock – guitars
Hanry Cano – bass
Rudy Wolf – drums

Album Review – Mental Torment / ego:genesis (2021)

This amazing Ukrainian doom horde returns from the underworld with over 50 minutes of music covering the catharsis that a person goes through in a moment of despair and hopelessness.

3.5rating

mental-torment-ego-genesis-2021Forged in the fires of Kiev, Ukraine back in 2009, the Stygian Death and Doom Metal entity known as Mental Torment returned from the ashes like a dark phoenix in 2020 after a five-year hiatus to crush us all once again with their undisputed Funeral Doom Metal, resulting now in 2021 in their sophomore effort titled ego:genesis. Bringing to our avid ears over 50 minutes of doom split into seven distinct tracks, ego:genesis covers the catharsis that a person goes through in a moment of despair and hopelessness, searching for answers to eternal questions, resisting the inevitable and final acceptance of their fate, all carefully brought into being by Roman Sagajdachnyj on vocals, Anatolii Doroshenko and Mykhailo Chuha on the guitars, Andrii Avramets on bass, Yaroslav Mosiievsky on keyboards and Artur Myrvoda on drums, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by October Tide, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia and Swallow the Sun, among other torchbearers of pure doom.

The gentle, melancholic keys by Yaroslav kick off the eight-minute aria Acceptance, already showcasing the band’s passion for doomed and obscure music, before Artur begins hammering his drums with tons of anger. Needless to say, fans of bands like  Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride will certainly love it. And the strident and piercing guitars by Anatolii and Mykhailo set the tone in the sluggish and grim New Days Old Wounds, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Andrii and, therefore, offering Roman all he needs to vociferate and roar in the best Doom Metal way possible; whereas Yaroslav strikes again with his sinister keys in Untitled, before the music explodes into a slow and heavy-as-hell fusion of Death and Doom Metal spearheaded by the classic drums by Artur while the growls by Roman get more anguished and desperate as the music progresses.

Even heavier and more demonic than its predecessors, the multi-layered Conclusion will crush your damned soul mercilessly to the sound of the vicious guttural by Roman and the crisp guitars by Anatolii and Mykhailo while Andrii keeps smashing his bass flawlessly, and more of their delicate but at the same time caustic Funeral Doom Metal is offered to us all in The River, with the gruesome roaring by Roman generating a Stygian paradox with the whimsical piano notes by Yaroslav. Then keeping the album as doomed and infernal as possible, the band once again slams our heads with their boisterous music in Black, with Roman taking the lead once again with his deep growling while his bandmates add a touch of progressiveness to the overall result, followed by the closing tune Oblivion, an instrumental outro where the band’s guitar duo delivers a stunning stringed performance supported by the stylish beats by Artur, blackening the skies one last time for our total delight.

mental-torment-2021If you love funereal and melodic Doom Metal from the bottom of your damned heart, you should definitely start following Mental Torment on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such awesome Ukrainian band, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their eerie and captivating music. And above all that, of course, let’s show our utmost support to those talented metallers by purchasing their fantastic new album from their own BandCamp page or Facebook webstore, as well as from the Metallug Music Facebook webstore soon. In the end, Mental Torment did a beautiful job turning our darkest emotions and feelings such as despair, hopelessness, fear and anger into cohesive and thrilling music, leaving us all eager for more of their music in the coming years and, consequently, keeping the fires of Ukrainian doom burning brighter than ever.

Best moments of the album: Acceptance and Conclusion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

Track listing 
1. Acceptance 8:15
2. New Days Old Wounds 7:19
3. Untitled 7:21
4. Conclusion 7:34
5. The River 7:48
6. Black 7:01
7. Oblivion 5:54

Band members
Roman Sagajdachnyj – vocals
Anatolii Doroshenko – guitars
Mykhailo Chuha – guitars
Andrii Avramets – bass
Yaroslav Mosiievsky – keyboards
Artur Myrvoda – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lilita Arndt

lilita01

Eternal darkness is covering my eyes and penetrating me…

Dark skies are over us all once again here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the raw and visceral Black Metal crafted by a multi-talented woman who will undoubtedly blacken our hearts even more. Hailing from Rivne, a historic city in western Ukraine located over 300 kilometers to the west of the country’s capital Kiev, she’s not only an amazing Extreme Metal vocalist, but she also plays all instruments including lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass and drums for her stunning one-woman Occult and Depressive Black Metal project entitled Ieschure. Her poetic name, Lilita Arndt, adds an extra touch of beauty to her unique creations, and you’ll be more than pleased with her music, her view of Black Metal and how she incorporates all her influences into each one of her songs.

Lilita’s interest in writing and playing music began at a very early stage of her childhood, when she started to write lyrics and later tried to create simple melodies for them on her acoustic guitar, which by the way was her very first instrument, then learning how to play keyboards (followed by all other instruments she currently knows), all self-taught and never having any sort of formal or structured music lessons with anyone. After taking part in different projects as a singer, including an old acoustic project called Embrace of Hedera from 2007 until 2015 which played melancholic, dark and romantic music with acoustic guitars and clean female vocals (and with whom she recorded the album The Castle On The Rolling Hills in 2015), Lilita wanted to explore new territories by creating her own music with her own melodies, lyrics, singing and atmosphere, being the mastermind of her own project and experimenting with melodies and vocals, the main reason why she decided to found her own solo project Ieschure back in 2015.

A word chosen by Lilita after the whole album The Shadow was finished in 2017, Ieschure has the project’s name related to occult things and the meaning of this word is really important for her, although our multi-talented musician prefers it to be known only by herself. Dealing with classic Black Metal lyrical themes such as occultism, witchcraft and death, and using a serpent as her symbol (more specifically as a primitive symbol of power and wisdom but at the same time representing death and damnation), this one-woman Black Metal force has already released an array of bold, captivating albums since the project’s inception in 2015, those being the aforementioned full-length opus The Shadow, in 2017, the EP’s Cold Stars of Eternity and Phantoms of God, in 2020, and more recently the split album Witch’s Consecration, now in 2021, with Brazilian Black Metal horde Promethean Gate. If you want to have a very good taste of how breathtaking the music by Ieschure is, you can enjoy some awesome songs online such as Eternal Agony, Mystic Schizophrenia and Phantoms Of God, or simply go to BandCamp, to Big Cartel and to Spotify (or click HERE) to stream and purchase all of her wicked creations.

Not only the woman responsible for all vocals and instruments in all of Ieschure releases, Lilita also handles all recording, mixing, mastering, lyrics and layout of the albums, which is absolutely in line with her initial dream of having a project of her own. In addition, Lilita has also collaborated in several albums from other bands, with the most memorable for her to date being singing with the bands Detention and Restless. For instance, she recorded vocals for the songs Nidhogg (from the album Lost Souls in a Godless World) and Wolf’s Head (from the album The Battle of Tara) by American Doom/Stoner/Southern Metal band Black Mountain Thunder, both in 2015; vocals for the song The Face of God, from the 2015 self-titled album by American Stoner/Doom Metal band Clawhammer; vocals on the 2014 album Marginal, by Kazakh Depressive Metal band Detention; vocals on the song Rurel, from the 2018 self-titled EP by Italian Black/Folk Metal band Dovrefjell; backing vocals on the songs Spiritueller Selbstmord, from the 2014 album Verwüstung, and Wenn Die Sterne Nicht Mehr Scheinen, from the 2014 EP Horizont, by Ukrainian Black Metal/Ambient band Moloch; vocals on the 2017 album Funeral Impressions, by Italian Funeral Doom Metal band Restless; and vocals on the song Bride of Winter, from the 2016 album Forgotten Tales, by Italian Black Metal band Waldweg; not to mention the cover art for the 2019 EP The Wanderer, by Tuskish Atmospheric Black Metal band Akrunant.

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Regarding her first experiences with Heavy and Black Metal, Lilita mentioned in one of her interviews that she began listening to popular metal bands when she was a teenager, becoming more and more interested in the underground and, consequently, getting attracted to the world of Black Metal. In her opinion, Black Metal is not just a music style, but a dark side of art, an irrational fusion of music, theatre and philosophy, full of paradoxes and concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life, which is the main reason why she considers it perfect. She complemented by saying that she has felt the presence of hidden forces in the world since she was a little child, gradually getting more interested in those and in occultism, also saying that realizing that she will die some day was what truly attracted her to that. Apart from drawing inspiration from the works of renowned occultists the likes of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi, Stanislas de Guaita and George Gurdjieff, she also enjoys reading and studying about her work as a designer, all forms of art, mythology, psychology, history, travelling and everything that can give her new knowledge about the world. And in terms of what inspires the music by Ieschure the most, she mentioned Black Metal behemoths such as early Urfaust, Behexen, Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride, Opeth and, above all, Burzum, as his music embodies the ideas of misanthropy and loneliness in the best way imaginable according to our sinister diva.

When asked about her vocal style and technique, Lilita said that her screaming vocals were influenced by classic Black Metal bands, whereas for clean vocals she gets her inspiration from non-Black Metal music, as for example Julie Christmas, her favorite female singer of bands like Battle Of Mice and Made Out of Babies, and Free Dominguez, of Kidneythieves. In addition, regarding her songwriting process, Lilita said the first thing she does is many improvisations on the guitar at her home studio, recording various ideas, listening to them again at a later stage, and if she finds any of those ideas interesting enough she rerecords them to include all other instruments. Also, she complemented by saying most of her time in that process is taken by the lyrics writing process, as she can rewrite those many times and do various vocal improvisations to find the best version, finally rerecording everything.

As a true admirer of the underground, in special the first wave of Black Metal bands, their sound and atmosphere, as well as old Doom Metal, Lilita also said that although she doesn’t listen to a lot of bands from the Black Metal scene in her homeland Ukraine she knows there are several bands and projects in the country who create true underground music, always prioritizing the music instead of fame or money. However, she said she cannot compare herself to any of those bands, as she tries to go her own way with her own opinion about music. In addition, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she doesn’t usually attend concerts, as for her personally the best way to listen to music is to listen to it in her headphones.

Lastly, when questioned if one day Ieschure will become a full-bodied group with other members joining her, Lilita said that, although she’s always open to change, she doesn’t think that’s a possibility for now. Furthermore, she mentioned that if one day she finds that a good alternative for embodying her ideas she will definitely try working with other musicians, as long as of course they’re sincerely interested in music and follow similar or the same ideas as hers. In the end, it doesn’t matter if she continues to create music as a lone she-wolf or if she finds the perfect lineup for Ieschure, our beloved metal witch will keep experimenting with melodies and vocal styles while always keeping an evil Black Metal atmosphere in the background, playing raw and devilish sounds for our total delectation in the name of darkness, death and the occult.

Ieschure’s Official Facebook page
Ieschure’s Official Instagram
Ieschure’s Official Twitter
Ieschure’s Official YouTube channel

“For me black metal is really a dark side of Art. It’s not just a music style. Mixture of music, theatre and philosophy, more irrational than other music styles, full of paradoxes, concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life. That is why it is perfect.” – Lilita Arndt

Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Memento Mori, Motherfucker (2021)

This amazing Danish trio is back in action with a riff-laden Stoner Rock and Metal journey in the form of their crushing new album, reminding us all of the inevitability of death.

3.5rating

stone-cadaver-memento-mori-motherfucker-2021Having stewed for some time in the darkest and most evil of witch cauldrons, Memento Mori, Motherfucker, the brand new album by Aarhus, Denmark-based Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver is ready to be let loose upon humanity, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 release Reject Remove Replace. Just like its predecessor, Memento Mori, Motherfucker is a riff-laden journey through a dynamic soundscape that forms an organic whole, showcasing all the talent of Anders Bech Nielsen on vocals and guitar, Andreas Slocinski on bass and Stevie Dalla-Zuanna on drums. Produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen and recorded live in his Antfarm Studio north of the band’s hometown, the album is a strong feast of heavy, down-tuned Stoner Metal with elements of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock, crushing Doom Metal and classic Heavy Metal that will certainly please all fans of the mighty riff.

The low-tuned, menacing bass by Andreas set the tone in the heavy intro The Reckoning, warming up our senses for the visceral Realm Of Darkness, the perfect choice for cracking your neck headbanging to the classic riffs by Anders accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Stevie in a solid and entertaining feast of old school Doom and Sludge Metal. Then dark clouds of pure doom are above us all in the massive Doom Christ, offering the listener a Stygian wall of sounds crafted by the trio, sounding like a hybrid of the original Black Sabbath sound with their own Dio years, and with the guitar lines by Anders sounding truly infuriated and raw. And it’s time for Stoner Cadaver to bring forward their “tribute” to the catholic church in Whip The Sinners, a straightforward creation inspired by 70’s Doom Metal with Anders once again being on fire with his wicked vocals.

After such intense tune, we’re treated to an instrumental, ethereal interlude entitled Paean, soothing our souls and working as “the calm before the storm” as the band comes hammering our damned souls once again with Diseased Deceased, a flammable Stoner Rock and Metal extravaganza led by the pounding drums by Stevie while Andreas continues to extract devilish, metallic sounds from his bass, flowing into another whimsical bridge titled Fare Thee Well before all hell breaks loose one last time to the sound of the nine-minute Doom Metal aria Murder Mountain, starting with the eerie bass lines by Andreas amidst a background storm. It’s an infernal composition by Stoner Cadaver that will put you in a trance without a shadow of a doubt while Stevie keeps smashing his drums nonstop, also presenting tons of breaks and variations, exhaling groove and thunder and, of course, always praising the riff, with its final acoustic passage putting a climatic ending to the album.

stone-cadaver-2021If you want to know more about Stoner Cadaver, their music, tour dates and so on, you can find those Danish rockers on Facebook, on Instagram, on Spotify and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your love for underground doom you should definitely purchase Memento Mori, Motherfucker sooner than you can say “motherfucker” by clicking HERE, as well as from imusic.dk in CD or LP format, or from gatewaymusicshop.dk. As you all know, memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which makes me wonder if Stone Cadaver’s goal with their new album was to actually remind us that we’re all going to die one day. If that’s the case, let’s say that not only they did it in great fashion with Memento Mori, Motherfucker, but they also provided us a great option for enjoying our last moments on earth before our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Doom Christ and Murder Mountain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Yog-Sothoth Records/Gateway Music

Track listing 
1. The Reckoning 1:26
2. Realm Of Darkness 6:50
3. Doom Christ 6:00
4. Whip The Sinners 3:36
5. Paean 1:13
6. Diseased Deceased 6:26
7. Fare Thee Well 1:08
8. Murder Mountain 9:11

Band members
Anders Bech Nielsen – vocals, guitar
Andreas Slocinski – bass
Stevie Dalla-Zuanna – drums