Album Review – Hiss From The Moat / The Way Out Of Hell (2022)

There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by one of the best bands of the current Italian scene.

Following their 2019 acclaimed sophomore record The Harrier, Italian Black/Death Metal beats Hiss From The Moat are back in action with their impending, monstrous third full-length opus, entitled The Way Out Of Hell, an extension of their signature, menacing sound while it carves out a unique place in the blackened underground as they search for the light amidst the darkness. Produced by the band’s own bassist Carlo Cremascoli at The Obscure Country Recording Studio, The Way Out Of Hell is the representation of how vocalist and guitarist Max Cirelli,  guitarist Jack Poli, bassist Carlo Cremascoli and drummer James Payne feel that life is, a very difficult thing to go through with a lot of pain and challenges to deal with. “This album is our way to express the feelings about how life is a hard, complicated and confusing way out of hell, there are many things, emotions and people that get in your way, but that’s what life is: getting out of it going through as less suffering as possible,” commented James about their amazing new album.

Arising from the dark pits of the underworld the band comes ripping with the infuriated title-track The Way Out Of Hell, where James sounds utterly infernal on drums while Max roars manically nonstop in a great display of Blackened Death Metal, and the caustic guitars by Max and Jack will penetrate deep inside your skin in I Am Deceived, continuing their path of destruction tailored for lovers of the music by bands such as Behemoth and Septicflesh. More savagery and darkness are offered to us all in Staring At The Abyss, with Carlo and James making the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums, therefore providing Max with all he needs to vociferate like a demonic creature; and get ready for another onrush of Black and Death Metal by those Italian metallers entitled Generation Of Cowardice, sounding brutal and visceral from start to finish with the band’s guitar duo being on absolute fire with their devilish riffage.

Let’s keep raising our horns in the name of evil with The Killing Of Innocence, very progressive and groovy with Carlo sounding amazing with his bass jabs accompanied by the always massive beats by James, whereas a melodic and heavy start morphs into an ode to death and obscurity titled Bury Me, perfect for breaking our necks headbanging while Max rabidly growls the song’s acid lyrics. There’s absolutely no sign of the band slowing down; quite the contrary, their onrush of metallic sounds will hammer our heads mercilessly in All I Have, with James once again stealing the spotlight with his demented drums, followed by A Gallows Of Mirrors, a no shenanigans, Stygian creation by the quartet that exhales Blackened Death Metal for our total delight, showcasing a fantastic guitar work as usual. Lastly, there’s still time for The Magnificent Vision, one final explosion of Extreme Metal by the band where Max leads his horde with his hellish roaring and riffage while Jack and Carlo join him with their stringed weapons in a fulminating onrush of darkened sounds.

Such precious gem of the extreme music scene can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but as I like to say if you want to show your utmost support to the underground you should definitely purchase a copy of The Way Out Of Hell from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Distortion Music Group’s webstore as a CD or as a special bundle including a CD, a shirt and a poster, or simply click HERE for all locations here you can find the album available. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more darkness in the form of music. In a nutshell, Hiss From The Moat have seriously stepped up their game with their new album, proving that if there’s a way out of hell, that needs to happen to the sound of first-class underground Blackened Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Way Out Of Hell, Generation Of Cowardice, The Killing Of Innocence and A Gallows Of Mirrors.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Distortion Music Group

Track listing
1. The Way Out Of Hell 4:10
2. I Am Deceived 4:44
3. Staring At The Abyss 4:17
4. Generation Of Cowardice 4:22
5. The Killing Of Innocence 4:27
6. Bury Me 4:37
7. All I Have 3:46
8. A Gallows Of Mirrors 4:48
9. The Magnificent Vision 4:17

Band members
Max Cirelli – vocals, guitar
Jack Poli – guitar
Carlo Cremascoli – bass
James Payne – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Haruka Morikawa

A beautiful Japanese nightmare!

As we’re getting closer and closer to the end of another year of pure fuckin’ metal, let’s keep banging our heads nonstop to another extremely talented woman from the underground scene, this time hailing from Japan, or as several people like to call it, the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Easily switching between deep, demonic growls and an angelic, operatic voice, our metal lady of the month of November has been making a strong impact not only on the underground scene in her homeland, but her voice has been echoing all over the world and, therefore, attracting the attention of a wide variety of headbangers worldwide. I’m talking about Haruka Morikawa, also simply known as Haruka, the lead singer for Japanese Melodic/Symphonic Electro Death/Thrash Metal band Heterogeneous Andead, and just by the name of the band and the type of music they play you know you’re in for a treat in our humble tribute to such unique vocalist.

Born and raised in Japan, the skillful Haruka has been the voice of Tokyo’s own Heterogeneous Andead since April 2014, when the band’s current style reached its desired shape and form. However, the band was formed a little before that, though, starting as a project named Andead by founder and multi-instrumentalist Yusuke Kiyama in 2012, changing its name to Heterogeneous Andead in 2013 when they started playing some live concerts. Singing about caustic topics such as sorrow, grief and despair, Heterogeneous Andead have already released one EP and two full-length albums in their career, those being their 2015 debut EP Undead, the 2017 album Deus Ex Machina, and now in 2022 the album Chaotic Fragments, which will be reviewed by The Headbanging Moose sooner than you can say “Japan” and is already available for purchasing HERE. In addition to those, the band was also featured in the compilations Fear Candy 150 (Terrorizer Magazine, 2015), 嘘。(BM Records, 2015), Bad Wish (BM Records, 2015), Halloween – Trick Or Treat (BM Records, 2015), Imperative Music Compilation DVD Vol. 14 (Imperative Music, 2017), and Metal Japan Heavy Chains Vol.5 TieUp ConneXion #2 (Metal Japan Records, 2019).

Heterogeneous Andead have been suffering with several lineup changes lately, with guitarist Sho and bassist Takashi Onitake leaving the band in December 2021 and drummer Tomoyuki Nakano also leaving the band in July this year, which means Yusuke and Haruka are currently searching for a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer to join them in their quest for heavy music. I’m sure they’ll find some talented musicians to be part of the band soon, and until then you can enjoy Haruka’s unique vocals in the official videos for the amazing songs Denied, Automaton and Fission, as well as live recordings of the songs Demise of Reign, Flash of Calamity and Denied live at WildSideTokyo on September 16, 2019, and Unleashed live on February 11, 2017 at Shinjuku Head Power. Furthermore, you can always stream all of the band’s creations on Spotify as well.

An admirer of Classical Music, Jazz, Electronic Pop, Brutal Death Metal and Grindcore, the stunning Haruka doesn’t only mesmerize us all with her mezzo-soprano vocals, singing like an angel, and with her guttural growls and screeches, sounding like a devil, but she also makes sure her looks on stage are in sync with the music being played. According to her bandmate Yusuke, the concept of costumes is basically darkness or gorgeousness influenced by Japanese visual kei, a movement among Japanese musicians that is characterized by the use of varying levels of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics, similar to Western Glam Rock. Simply watch the aforementioned videos of the band, as well as their live performances, and you’ll see the incredible fusion of music and visuals in their creations.

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Owner of a natural Anime voice (according to the band itself), when asked about how she manages to go from her growls to her mezzo-soprano voice (and back) in seconds without having any sort of vocal issues, Haruka said she has already found the perfect way to switch from one style to another, complementing she has never lost her voice due to that extreme change. In one of her interviews our beloved vocalist said that although she didn’t feel her voice was the most remarkable piece of her identity in the beginning, she now understands and feels the power of her voice as part of her character, saying that it was Yusuke who inspired her to sing both harsh and clean vocals when she first joined the band. It was a challenge for her at first, of course, but Yusuke made sure he adapted part of the band’s style to match with her abilities, resulting in a win-win situation for both him and Haruka as the music by Heterogeneous Andead sounds fantastic nowadays. If you’re in Japan you might be lucky enough to witness them playing live, which occurs only once or twice a month, and despite not filling up big venues yet they certainly have a decent amount of followers that always attend their concerts.

Regarding the metal scene in Japan and how well their unique type of Extreme Metal is accepted in the country, Haruka mentioned during an interview that she can see metal bands having issues playing in countries or regions where the catholic church is very strong, but that’s not a problem in Japan as most of the Japanese population doesn’t follow any religion (or at least they don’t follow it blindly, I might say). What’s interesting is that Haruka is a Protestant Christian herself (and she mentioned only 1% of the country is Christian, by the way), but fortunately music and religion are not connected in any particular way in Japan. She also said that because she follows a Christian way of living she believes she can better express herself when singing with Heterogeneous Andead, externalizing all the sorrow and grief from the lyrics in great fashion.

You can watch a few fun and informative interviews on YouTube with Haruka, who’s by the way a big fan of our beloved monster Godzilla. For example, you can enjoy this nice interview to Antichrist Magazine in 2018 where Haruka and Yusuke talk about their previous album Deus Ex Machina; and this one to the Argentinian webzine Territorio Rock, also in 2018. And last but not least, anytime you watch a live performance by Haruka with Heterogeneous Andead you’ll certainly notice her movements are very theatrical, adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result. The reason for that is that not only Haruka was part of plays and musicals when she was a student, but she also practiced Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art that is split into many different styles, during her childhood, allowing her to improve the visual effects of her personal performance while singing at the same time. In other words, don’t mess with Haruka or you’ll get your ass kicked, got it? Simply relax and enjoy her unique vocals to the fullest, proving how much Japan is and will always be one of the most creative countries in the world when the music in question is Heavy Metal.

Haruka Morikawa’s Official Twitter
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official Facebook page
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official YouTube channel
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official Twitter

Album Review – Behemoth / Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)

A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.

Opvs Contra Natvram, or “a work against nature”. That’s the name of the brand new album by Polish Blackened Death Metal institution Behemoth, their twelfth studio album and a beastly follow-up to their 2018 album I Loved You At Your Darkest. Mixed by Joe Barresi, mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, and displaying a stylish and blasphemous artwork by Anton Pavsyuk, Opvs Contra Natvram showcases a band that’s on absolute and eternal fire, taking us back to the austere sonority of their sensational 2014 effort The Satanist and, therefore, proving vocalist and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski, guitarist Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber, bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski and drummer Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński still have a lot of fuel to burn in the name of evil while at the same time always fighting against any type of religious oppression.

Otherworldly sounds accompanied by the tribal percussion by guest Einar Selvik are the main ingredients in the fantastic intro Post-God Nirvana, darkening the skies to the wicked vociferations by Nergal and setting the tone for the demolishing Malaria Vvlgata, showcasing devilish lyrics (“Let all bibles preach the sermon ov vengeance / Let the hallowed verses call for war / Behold as seraphs fall from ebonising skies / Let’s stab the world and halt the cosmic lie / Spare no one / Show them no pity / Tooth for a tooth / Eye for an eye”) amidst less than three minutes of pure Black and Death Metal savagery. The Deathless Sun, one of the first singles of the album, sounds very atmospheric while Orion and Seth generate a dense, menacing base with their inhumane kitchen, followed by Ov My Herculean Exile, another one of the band’s blasphemous, imposing tunes, with Nergal roaring deeply while Seth extracts darkness from his axe. And there’s no time to breathe as blasphemy keeps permeating the air in Neo-Spartacvs, with Nergal and Seth being in an infernal guitar sync supported by the thunderous bass by Orion.

The second half of the album begins in full force with Disinheritance, and Behemoth’s demolishing Blackened Death Metal burns majestically, again presenting visceral, hammering drums by Inferno for our total delight; whereas Off to War! is simply perfect for their live performances, or in other words, it’s a brutal, flawless Black and Death Metal attack displaying stunning lyrics declaimed by Nergal (“Am I ov god, Satan or an obsidian hemisphere? / Am I the fated sovereign or sanctitude inverse? / Consider the great solitude ov the truly liberated man / Set forth to raze frail humanity once again”). Less violent and a lot more melodic and rhythmic, Once upon a Pale Horse is a decent composition albeit not as thrilling as the rest of the album, while guest vocalist Zofia Fraś joins Nergal and his horde in Thy Becoming Eternal, a straightforward, classic Behemoth tune showcasing an excellent guitar work by Seth with Inferno crushing his drums like a demonic beast. Lastly, it’s time to darken the skies and surrender to the Blackened Death Metal by Behemoth in the obscure, somber Versvs Christvs, alternating between sheer heaviness and more atmospheric moments, therefore ending the album on a beyond Stygian note.

Behemoth Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset

After all is said and done, it’s more than clear that Behemoth keep standing tall in their Blackened Death Metal castle with the release of Opvs Contra Natvram, which is by the way available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, with their importance and influence in the world of extreme music growing exponentially with each one of their albums. Hence, 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 wicked videos (such as their brilliant live performance playing four songs form the new album atop the Palace of Culture in Poland), to stream all of their sulfurous creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Opvs Contra Natvram by clicking HERE, where you can also find the lavish Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset, limited to 1,000 copies and including a 180g yolk crystal/gold LP in a gatefold, a CD digibook, a 100x100x flag, a vinyl slipmat, and a cut out patch and pin, or simply click HERE for all things Behemoth. More than just an album of extreme music, Opvs Contra Natvram is a work against all types of religion, and may Behemoth keep on fighting against the darkness of the church until their very last breath.

Best moments of the album: Malaria Vvlgata, Disinheritance, Off to War! and Thy Becoming Eternal.

Worst moments of the album: Once upon a Pale Horse.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Post-God Nirvana 3:10
2. Malaria Vvlgata 2:18
3. The Deathless Sun 4:43
4. Ov My Herculean Exile 4:43
5. Neo-Spartacvs 4:18
6. Disinheritance 4:22
7. Off to War! 4:47
8. Once upon a Pale Horse 4:16
9. Thy Becoming Eternal 4:09
10. Versvs Christvs 6:29

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

Guest musicians
Zofia Fraś – vocals on “Thy Becoming Eternal” and “Versvs Christvs”
Einar Selvik – tribal percussion on “Post-God Nirvana”
Michał Łapaj – piano on “Versvs Christvs”
Jan Stokłosa – orchestral arrangements
Piotr Wróbel – tuba
Wawrzyniec Dramowicz – percussion, timpani

Album Review – Diabolical Raw / Elegy of Fire Dusk (2022)

Behold this grandiose album of Symphonic Black and Death Metal, telling a deep and detailed story inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology.

Having entered the Turkish Extreme Metal scene in the city of Izmir in the now distant year of 1998 under the name Diabolical and currently located in Hanover, Germany, the fantastic Symphonic Black/Death Metal duo now known as Diabolical Raw, comprised of vocalist Ozan Erkmen and multi-instrumentalist Ozan Tunc, is back from the pits of hell with their sophomore full-length opus, the imposing and epic Elegy of Fire Dusk, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2019 album Estrangement. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band itself, and displaying a sinister yet gorgeous artwork by Mukadder “Muko” Karaoğlan, the album tells a story inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology that develops around Kaygun, the daughter of a small clan leader, showing that not only the music found in the album is grandiose, but there’s also a lot of depth in its lyrics.

Middle-Eastern elements spice up the bold, obscure intro Revelations, opening the gates of the underworld for the duo to crush our souls in Commands of the Gods, with Ozan Tunc generating a menacing ambience with his riffs, drums and all orchestrations, resulting in an imposing Dimmu Borgir-style aria showcasing the demonic vocal potency by Ozan Erkmen. Wise Old Woman is another blast of obscurity in the form of top-notch Symphonic Extreme Metal that feels like the soundtrack to a hellish horror movie, where Ozan Tunc sounds possessed by an evil entity behind his drums; and there’s no time to breathe as the duo’s fusion of Black Metal with symphonic elements and a Stygian storytelling is offered to us all in Entry into Erlik’s Hell, with Ozan Tunc extracting sheer darkness from his guitars, bass and drums while Ozan Erkmen roars and barks manically for our total delight. They keep guiding us through the realms of Turkish mythology in the incendiary aria Tilgen’s Fall, blending the most pulverizing elements of classic Black Metal with pure symphony, and get ready to be decimated by the duo in Face the Judgement, a brilliant Symphonic Black and Death Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the massive, unstoppable beats by Ozan Tunc, flowing into the instrumental interlude Uprising, which will captivate our senses before we’re treated to Talking With Gods, sounding as if it was taken directly form the soundtrack to an epic, demonic movie, with Ozan Tunc being simply majestic throughout the entire song.

No sign of slowing down as Diabolical Raw keep hammering our heads with their Symphonic Black Metal in The Invincible Army, where the wicked, evil vociferations by Ozan Erkmen will haunt your soul for all eternity while Ozan Tunc generates a beautiful wall of sounds in the background. Then an otherworldly roar by Ozan Erkmen kick off the infernal tune The Last War With Evil, the perfect combination of the rawness and violence of traditional Black Metal riffs with the finesse of Symphonic Black Metal, reminding me of some of the most visceral creations by Cradle of Filth, followed by its second part entitled The Last War With Evil II, once again exploding our senses with their somber sounds and wicked vociferations. Put differently, I must say that Ozan Erkmen might be one of the best Extreme Metal vocalists of the current scene. The Council at the Asar Land is one of the most symphonic and detailed of all songs, a flawless fusion of heaviness and orchestral elements thanks to a brilliant job done by Ozan Tunc, in special his venomous blast beats, before the album ends with the cinematic outro Epic Grandeur, putting a classy finale to all the madness and obscurity crafted by the duo.

In a nutshell, Diabolical Raw simply nailed it with Elegy of Fire Dusk, one of the best Extreme Metal albums of 2022 hands down, and if you want to show your support to such talented duo you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream more of their hellish creations on Spotify, and of course, above all that, purchase a copy of such awesome album from their own BandCamp page or from the Base Record Production’s BandCamp page. Do you think you have what it takes to face ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology in the form of Symphonic Black and Death Metal? If your answer is yes, don’t waste your time and go prove to Diabolical Raw that you’re a loyal servant of the dark side of music, inspiring the duo to keep embellishing the airwaves with their unparalleled music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Commands of the Gods, Entry into Erlik’s Hell, Face the Judgement and The Last War With Evil.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Base Record Production

Track listing
1. Revelations 2:31
2. Commands of the Gods 6:18
3. Wise Old Woman 5:33
4. Entry into Erlik’s Hell 8:02
5. Tilgen’s Fall 7:19
6. Face the Judgement 6:06
7. Uprising 2:06
8. Talking With Gods 6:37
9. The Invincible Army 5:54
10. The Last War With Evil 8:30
11. The Last War With Evil II 7:42
12. The Council at the Asar Land 7:45
13. Epic Grandeur 2:36

Band members
Ozan Erkmen – vocals
Ozan Tunc – all instruments

Album Review – Hellfuck / Diabolic Slaughter (2022)

A horde of seasoned musicians from Poland brings pure sulfur and blasphemy to us all throughout the 32 minutes of Blackened Thrash and Speed Metal from their new album.

It looks like the more religious and conservative a country becomes, the better its Extreme Metal scene is, and when the country in question is Poland that becomes even more noticeable as some of the best metal acts to arise from the country are in the extreme music landscape such as Behemoth, Ragehammer, Embrional, Kult Mogił, and so on. That couldn’t have been any different with Blackened Thrash/Speed Metal horde Hellfuck, and if the name of the band is not enough to attract your attention maybe you’ll enjoy the name of their new opus, Diabolic Slaughter. Recorded at Panzer Studio, mixed and mastered by Haldor Grunberg at Satanic Audio, and displaying a sick cover artwork and layout design by Maciej Kamuda Art, Diabolic Slaughter is a beast of an album carefully brought into being by vocalist and guitarist Skullripper, guitarist Nelek, bassist Armagog and drummer Darek Mlody, all seasoned musicians from bands the likes of Embrional, Azarath, Stillborn, F.A.M. and Squash Bowels, bringing pure sulfur and blasphemy to our demented minds throughout the album’s 32 demolishing minutes.

Distorted, evil guitars ignite the opening tune Religious Scum, exploding into ass-kicking Thrash Metal spearheaded by the unfriendly, raspy vocals by Skullripper, consequently sounding absolutely perfect for slamming into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac. Darek continues to hammer his drums in great fashion in War Obsession accompanied by the razor-edged riffage by Skullripper and Nelek, as if Municipal Waste made a deal with the devil in the name of Black Metal; whereas Reigning in Hell is infernal, frantic and demented just the way we like it, with Armagog and Darek generating a reverberating atmosphere perfect for Skullripper to fire his demonic screams in a lecture in Blackened Thrash Metal by the band. The quartet keeps the momentum going with Angel’s Disgrace, another brutal fusion of Black and Speed Metal showcasing a fantastic riff work by the band’s guitar duo, and get ready to be pulverized by this Polish horde in God in Flames, even more demonic and breathtaking than the previous songs, where Darek once again dictates the pace with his hellish drums.

Living up to the legacy of the most demolishing form of Thrash Metal, it’s time for Time to Suicide, with the riffage by Skullripper and Nelek walking hand in hand with the massive beats by Darek; and the incendiary riffs and solos by Skullripper and Nelek keep piercing our ears in Church – Pigsty of Nations, with Armagog and Darek once again shaking the foundations of the earth with their Black Metal-inspired kitchen. Then arising from the very depths of the underworld the band offers us all H.M.S.T.O.P.S (or “Holy Mary, Suck The Prick Of Satan”), a no shenanigans sonic onslaught by Hellfuck that keeps the album at an insane level of animosity and rage, with Darek crushing our damned souls with his unstoppable beats. Their second to last blast of insanity, blasphemy and darkness comes in the form of The Vampiric Oath, with Skullripper gnarling rabidly supported by his devilish bandmates, not to mention its headbanging riffs are absolutely awesome; whereas last but not least, the quartet incorporates an extra dosage of the rebelliousness of bands like Toxic Holocaust, Exodus and Obituary into their core sonority, resulting in a thrashing creature entitled Despise the Priest to properly conclude the album.

As already mentioned, Poland is the place to be if you’re a diehard fan of the most extreme, blasphemous and ruthless forms of heavy music, and the guys from Hellfuck are making sure the fires of Polish metal keep burning bright anywhere they go to the sound of their awesome new album. Hence, don’t forget to start following those headbanging bastards from Poland on Facebook for news, tour dates and more of their wicked music, and to grab your copy of the incendiary Diabolic Slaughter from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page, adding an extra dosage of profanity to your already devilish collection and, as a consequence, making sure there’s absolutely no peace for your religious neighbors.

Best moments of the album: Religious Scum, Reigning in Hell and Church – Pigsty of Nations.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Religious Scum 3:29
2. War Obsession 3:18
3. Reigning in Hell 2:43
4. Angel’s Disgrace 3:23
5. God in Flames 3:36
6. Time to Suicide 3:33
7. Church – Pigsty of Nations 2:23
8. H.M.S.T.O.P.S 3:36
9. The Vampiric Oath 2:49
10. Despise the Priest 3:13

Band members
Skullripper – vocals, guitar
Nelek – guitar
Armagog – bass
Darek Mlody – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Sandie Gjørtz

The resurrection of the Lilith!

As the summer solstice is gone, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, and here at The Headbanging Moose it’s time to darken the skies even more with our metal lady of the month of August, the stunning, enigmatic and evil Sandie Gjørtz, also known as Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz, Sandie The Lilith, or simply Lilith, the unrelenting frontwoman for Danish Melodic Death Metal outfit Defacing God. Her devilish roars will haunt your damned soul for all eternity, and I’m sure you’ll thank us at The Headbanging Moose for introducing you to such talented woman of the current metal scene. Be careful, though, as Lilith is the primordial she-demon as you might know, and succumbing to her enchantment means you might never see the light of day again in your life.

Growing up with Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal as both her parents are metalheads, Sandie mentioned heavy music has always been a natural part of her life. “I’ve been told that even before I could walk, I often crawled in front of the TV when my parents played a VHS live video with Ozzy Osbourne and I managed to stand up in front of the TV and shake my diaper-ass to ‘Bark at the Moon’ for example. So yeah, it is simply in my veins”, commented our mesmerizing vocalist in one of her interviews, also saying she started out “softly” with Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and King Diamond before getting to know Pantera and, with the discovery of YouTube when she was around 11 years old, being introduced to harder and heavier bands the likes of Sepultura, a band her father loves by the way. When she told her father about that, he got so excited he showed her his copy of Slayer’s ultimate classic album Reign In Blood, and once again she felt that indescribable rush flowing through her veins.

“I am eternally grateful for these influences on music in my youth. It has always been following me and helped me through dark times, many times! And since that time, I just knew that I wanted to be or do something in this kind of music. It’s a deep, burning passion that is extremely hard to even describe as said. If you know and get it, you get it. If not… You never will,” complemented Sandie, who also said that although she knew nothing about growling or extreme vocal techniques when she was young, she has always been busy with music, singing and acting in drama classes during her school years, as well as choir singing at the church, which was curiously one of her hobbies before turning into Lilith. She knew she wanted to become a vocalist, but as mentioned she didn’t know at that age that women could also do extreme singing, while at the same time she realized choir singing and clean vocals weren’t enough for her.

Having a raging fire burning inside her and dealing with anger issues, things she wanted to express somehow as she considered herself an intense and emotional girl during her youth, Sandie finally discovered bands the likes of Holy Moses and Arch Enemy when she was around 15 years old, being blown away by those women who could manage to do extreme singing just like some of her idols such as Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. “First, it seemed a little bit extreme for me because I never saw anything like that before and for me, it was not a ‘natural’ thing for a woman to scream and sing that deep. Back then, I also don’t think that women who did growls, screams and extreme vocals, in general, was such a common or known phenomenon like it is nowadays. Not that I know at least. I just know that I adored it and decided that if they could do it, I sure as hell could do it too!”

Since then, our unstoppable growler has been investing all her talent, energy and passion into making extreme music, learning extreme techniques on her own, always trusting her feelings and saying metal music works as pure therapy for her, that it is really what she lives for. After so many years practicing and developing her vocal skills, Sandie knew it was time for her to have her own Extreme Metal band, leading to the creation of Defacing God in 2015. “I always wanted to play in a band, but only did something about it in 2015 when our drummer (Michael Olsson) and I decided to start a project together. After the decision was made, we began to search for musicians with the same intentions and passion as ourselves, and it ended up with the constellation we have today.” From that day on, Lilith was born.

Currently comprised of Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz on vocals (who’s also responsible for all visuals and lyrics), Signar Petersen and Christian Nielsen on the guitars, Rasmus “Kalke” Nielsen on bass, and Michael Olsson on drums, Defacing God were formed in 2015 in Aalborg, a city in the Jutland region of Denmark, but only going public in 2018. Sandie mentioned she hadn’t worked in any other projects before founding Defacing God, only focusing on her singing as well as on some other instruments like the guitar, keyboards, piano and cello, which means we can all consider Defacing God her beloved (and evil) first baby. “Since most of us in the band are experienced musicians by now, we chose to keep our project close to our bodies until we thought everything was completely clear. We didn’t think it made sense to make ourselves visible before, and none of us wanted to stand on stage and deliver something half-finished. Therefore, we have worked at high pressure to be coordinated and create something that we ourselves are proud to show off. I myself really appreciate bands that have a complete theme, stage expression, etc.,” commented our Lilith, also saying that “in addition to the above, we have had some legal construction problems with our rehearsal rooms, and we were therefore forced to take a break for a few months and have our rooms rebuilt and ready. Furthermore, we have had a change in the lineup and our band members. Everything takes time – especially when it comes to music. We have had so much in the making, so many ideas, and it is only now that I feel that we have found our right track and expression. I just think that’s how it is with art in general. It’s one big bubble of ideas, thoughts and expressions, and it can take a long time before the result of all this turns out to be something that makes sense.”

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Inspired by opulent Scandinavian metal traditions, Defacing God base their conceptual themes on the seeping darkness that moves in us all, rooted in occultism and witchcraft, but primarily the mythologically mysterious female demon Lilith and her tales of fervent defiance and perseverance. Through their storytelling, music and aesthetic, the band pulls their listeners into a dark universe of obscure myths, folklore and ancient stories, all the while weaving in often subtle lyrical inspirations from modern societal oppressions and personal demons while musically speaking they echo the styles of artists such as Cradle of Filth, Carach Angren and Dimmu Borgir, blending it with a conventional dose of Black Metal and merging these auras with infernal Death Metal. Hence, as Defacing God are gearing up for the release this September of their debut opus The Resurrection of Lilith, the band has already unleashed upon us a few songs that will feature in the album just to give us a taste of how devilish and heavy it will be, and you can already succumb to the dark world ruled by Defacing God by listening to the songs Succumb the Euphoria, Monolith Of Apocalypse Arise, The Marked Ones, and Rise Of The Trinity, all available on Spotify by the way, also showcasing stunning, hypnotizing visuals thanks to the wicked mind of Lilith. Celebrating feminist power and sisterhood throughout Defacing God’s entire upcoming album, Sandie mentioned that the trinity formed of Abyzou, Jezebel and Lilith is the kind of catalysator who speaks for all cremated witches who never got a voice through times and history, strong and wise women have been slaughtered, molested, executed and abused, just because the herd were scared of their wisdom and free spirit.

As already mentioned, Sandie is highly inspired by Scandinavian metal as well as witchcraft and occultism, also nurturing a personal love for Black Metal, all expressed through the band’s upcoming stage performances and in many of her texts, representing her view of the world and her own experiences. “In the era of witch hunting (between the 15th and 18th centuries) it was only women who stood out from the crowd or perhaps knew something. They were not considered part of normality, and so they were burned – basically because the ‘masses’ did not understand them and were afraid of them. Today it is more acceptable to fall outside the norm. Actually, I think that it has become modern to be alternative – but no matter what, there will always be those who cannot or will not understand you, and you cannot and must not please everyone. That is really what is the message in the theme and what many of the texts can be analyzed down to. Therefore, we have decided that it must be a consistent theme throughout our expression,” commented Sandie in one of her interviews. Furthermore, among her favorite artist and bands, you’ll find some renowned acts the likes of Marduk, Lord Belial, Rotting Christ, Nile, Morbid Angel, Septicflesh, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Belzebubs, also being inspired by movies, books, games, ancient history and “dark places” that she has visited through time.

A proud Aalborg citizen, Sandie said that the metal community in her hometown and in the entire Denmark is quite strong, also saying that it houses a lot of talented solo musicians and great bands compared to other bigger countries. “The community is strong here in Aalborg, too, where I live. We, for example, have a big international festival, Aalborg Metal Festival, scheduled in November every year which is a great festival with lots of passionate, hard-working people behind. Through blood, sweat and tears they make this huge festival work each fucking year without complaints,” also mentioning concerts and festivals arranged by AR&M (Aalborg Rock & Metal) several times a year, where a bunch of hard-working volunteers line up for making the whole thing work as well. One interesting fact about Sandie and her Defacing God is the fact that in 2019 the band was booked for Viborg Metal Festival having only released one song at that time, which according to Sandie herself happened because some people behind the festival already knew her bandmates from other bands and trusted them to put on a great show regardless.

Although she hasn’t been involved with other bands prior to Defacing God, Sandie was a guest musician in the album To Live To Kill To Live, by Danish Heavy/Power Metal act Manticora, saying she loved the experience of collaborating with the band in their latest album. “This part I sang was supposed to be an evil Chinese aunt who killed her whole family due to jealousy. The more brutal, the better!” However, if you think her life is just surrounded by brutality, you might be really impressed by the quality work she used to do before focusing on her career as a musician. “After I finished high school, I took some exams related to business and straight after that I followed my vision (besides of the music) to become a social worker, specialized in young people with mental health diagnoses and social problems. I started to study my bachelor’s in social education and on the side I worked as a teacher,” she said in one of her interviews, also mentioning her passion for the beauty industry. She simply loves everything that has to do with makeup, skincare routines and the ways we can express ourselves in a visual and creative way, taking some exams in the beauty industry and having actually made a living off her own beauty firm, Gorgeous By Gjoertz, while at the same time taking a degree in service, hospitality and tourism management at University College in Aalborg. Not only that, she was also a self-employed insurance agent at one of Scandinavia’s biggest insurance companies, proving how unrelenting and full of energy she is. So, after all is said and done, what are you waiting for to renounce to your weak gods and succumb to the dark powers of a true goddess like Lilith?

Sandie Gjørtz’s Official Instagram
Defacing God’s Official Facebook page
Defacing God’s Official Instagram

“In the name of art there should no boundaries and everyone should have the freedom to be their own independent self, to explore and to express as they desire without being judged or oppressed.” – Sandie Gjørtz

Album Review – Cadaveria / Emptiness (2022)

After almost eight years, one of the torchbearers of Italian Dark Metal is back with a fantastic, multi-layered work that seals the artistic and human path of the band.

Almost eight years after the excellent Silence, Black/Gothic Metal entity Cadaveria, the creative alter-ego of Italian-based frontwoman Raffaella “Cadaveria” Rivarolo (one of the first women to hit the Extreme Metal scene in the early 90’s), is back with an exciting new album entitled Emptiness, a fantastic, multi-layered work that seals the artistic and human path of the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Cadaveria together with bassist Peter Dayton and drummer Marçelo Santos, plus guest guitarist Kris Laurent (Cadaveria, The Providence) and additional guitars by Pier Gonella (Athlantis, Necrodeath, Mastercastle). Recorded and mixed at Rrooaarr Sound Studio, mixed and mastered at Shadows Studios, produced by Cadaveria and Pier Gonella, and displaying a stylish artwork by Roberto Toderico, Emptiness represents a rebirth for Cavaderia after a three-year long pause from the scene during which Raffaella had to be treated for cancer, containing four singles digitally released between December 2020 and June 2021 alongside seven previously unreleased songs which combined will smoothly penetrate deep inside your mind in the name of rock and metal.

The band wastes no time and begins their sonic attack in The Great Journey, with Cadaveria’s raspy vocals being accompanied by the classic beast by Marçelo and the rumbling bass by Peter, followed by Shamanic Path, blending their core Gothic Metal with Death and Doom Metal nuances while Cadaveria does an excellent job with both her she-demon screams and anguished clean vocals. Then in the title-track Emptiness our beloved Cadaveria declaims the song’s poetic lyrics in a dark and sinister way while Kris fires traditional riffs that match perfectly with her voice; and Marçelo adds endless fury and heaviness with his drums to The Woman Who Fell to Earth, feeling utterly electrifying from start to finish. Cadaveria sounds truly possessed on vocals supported by her bandmates in Divination, with Marçelo kicking some ass behind his drums, while Matryoshcada is more sluggish and somber than its predecessors, with tons of groove flowing from Peter’s bass while Kris’ riffage sounds inspired by old school Black Sabbath.

In Silver Rain we’re treated to pensive words declaimed by Cadaveria (“The children of my thoughts are running / Away naked up to the hill / Your seeds will sprout inside me to enjoy new Springs together / My mind is clear I carry no weight, no pain on my shoulders / Your seeds will sprout inside me to enjoy new Springs together”) amidst a mesmerizing fusion of Dark and Gothic Metal, whereas Cadaveria and her henchmen continue to explore the realms of Dark Metal in The Cure, with her she-wolf roars walking hand in hand with the piercing guitars by Kris while also presenting the rawness and fury of Black Metal in its core essence. Strident riffs ignite the melancholic, sinister tune Life After, where Cadaveria flawlessly alternates between her raspy gnarls and mesmerizing clean vocals, therefore resulting in a beautiful creation by the band that depicts everything Dark Metal stands for; while in La Casa dell’Anima the fact the lyrics are in Italian is awesome, although the music is not as exciting as the rest of the album. Lastly, the band offers more of their darkened sounds in The Sky That Screams Above Us, a sluggish composition where Marçelo brings forward pure doom through his beats.

You can have a very good time by streaming Emptiness in its entirety on Spotify, and also by following Cadaveria on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on, by subscribing to their YouTube channel for not only more of their music but mainly for their top-notch official videos, and above all that, by purchasing a copy of Emptiness by clicking HERE or HERE. Our beloved diva Raffaella “Cadaveria” Rivarolo didn’t only beat the shit out of cancer, but she did that while at the same time she worked on the awesome music found in Emptiness, proving metal is and will always be the best treatment for any type of disease and also highly recommended for filling that emptiness we all have inside us. Thank you, Cadaveria, and may you keep embellishing the airwaves with your beautiful fusion of Gothic and Black Metal for many decades to come.

Best moments of the album: The Great Journey, Divination and Silver Rain.

Worst moments of the album: La Casa dell’Anima.

Released in 2022 Scarlet Records

Track listing
1. The Great Journey 4:55
2. Shamanic Path 5:10
3. Emptiness 5:00
4. The Woman Who Fell to Earth 5:52
5. Divination 3:07
6. Matryoshcada 5:09
7. Silver Rain 4:24
8. The Cure 4:52
9. Life After 4:35
10. La Casa dell’Anima 4:55
11. The Sky That Screams Above Us 5:33

Vinyl Edition bonus track
12. Return (Deine Lakaien cover) 4:04

Band members
Cadaveria – vocals
Peter Dayton – bass
Marçelo Santos – drums

Guest musicians
Kris Laurent – guitars
Pier Gonella – additional guitars

Album Review – Krisiun / Mortem Solis (2022)

The best and most infernal Death Metal band in the history of Brazil returns with their twelfth studio album, celebrating the death of the sun with ten tracks of pure aggressiveness and fury.

Four years after the release of their 2018 album Scourge of the Enthroned, Brazilian Death Metal masters Krisiun are back from the pits of the underworld from their hometown Ijui, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, with their impressive twelfth studo opus, entitled Mortem Solis, which is Latin for “death of the sun”. Recorded at Family Mob Studios, mixed and mastered by Mark Lewis at Audiohammer Studios, and displaying a sinister, stylish artwork by renowned Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco, Mortem Solis has all the elements that turned Krisiun into one of the best Death Metal bands in the world, and by far the best one hailing from Brazil, plus an additional dosage of aggressiveness and fury by vocalist and bassist Alex Camargo, guitarist Moyses Kolesne and drummer Max Kolesne to always keep their music fresh, darkening the skies even more with their undisputed, first-class Extreme Metal.

Sworn Enemies is utterly sinister and demonic from the very first second with Max showcasing all his dexterity and rage behind his drums, or in other words, it’s ass-kicking Krisiun to properly start the album, with Alex vociferating the song’s Stygian lyrics flawlessly. Alex’s bass will make the earth tremble in Serpent Messiah while Moyses hammers his guitar nonstop, extracting sheer obscurity and aggressiveness from it and therefore sounding brutal from start to finish just the way we like it in old school death; and the band’s undisputed Death Metal keeps permeating the air in Swords into Flesh, another infernal, detailed and very technical creation by the trio with Max sounding like a stone crusher on drums. Then the rumbling, menacing bass by Alex ignites the heavy-as-hell Necronomical, highly recommended for breaking your neck in half headbanging together with the band, whereas there’s no time to breathe as Krisiun keep decimating our senses in Tomb of the Nameless, where Moyses is on total freakin’ fire with both his sick riffage and piercing solos.

The instrumental, atmospheric interlude Dawn Sun Carnage (Intro) will captivate your mind before the trio comes back into the battlefield in Temple of the Abattoir, starting in a somber manner to the minimalist guitars by Moyses before his bandmates join him in a hurricane of Death Metal that will smash you like an insect. By the way, kudos do Max once again for never sounding tired on vocals, always roaring like a true beast, and the trio fires a first-class fusion of violence and harmony in the Death Metal extravaganza War Blood Hammer, where brothers Moyses and Max provide Alex with everything he needs to bark manically, resulting in one of the most pulverizing of all tracks. Their second to last explosion of Death Metal made in Brazil, entitled As Angels Burn, will inspire you to slam into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow mainly due to the demented drumming by the beyond talented Max, while lastly we’re treated to more heaviness, obscurity and savagery in Worm God, putting a pulverizing conclusion to an album that doesn’t have a single second of boredom.

The bold, incendiary music found in Mortem Solis can be appreciated in all of its glory on Spotify, but if I were you I would definitely add such amazing album to my personal collection of evil by clicking HERE. Also, don’t forget to give the guys form Krisiun a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, where you can stay up to date with all things Krisiun including their upcoming tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked creations. As already mentioned, the best and most infernal Death Metal band in the history of Brazil is back in action with their awesome new album, celebrating the death of the sun with ten tracks of pure aggressiveness, wrath and obscurity, and I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to join them in this darkened feast of classic Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Swords into Flesh, Tomb of the Nameless and War Blood Hammer.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Sworn Enemies 3:46
2. Serpent Messiah 5:10
3. Swords into Flesh 4:19
4. Necronomical 4:12
5. Tomb of the Nameless 4:28
6. Dawn Sun Carnage (Intro) 1:33
7. Temple of the Abattoir 5:22
8. War Blood Hammer 4:07
9. As Angels Burn 3:08
10. Worm God 4:41

Band members
Alex Camargo – bass, vocals
Moyses Kolesne – guitar
Max Kolesne – drums

Album Review – Anachronistic / 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay (2022)

Have fun with the Blackened Hardcore blasted by two ex-pats, centering around the vocalist’s life experiences and incorporating elements from his job into their sonic madness.

The product of two ex-pats, those being American vocalist and lyricist Matt Ramarge (currently living in South Korea) and Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Umarlak (currently residing in Poland), joining forces to create something truly unique, a heavy Black Metal sound overlaid with Hardcore vocals, or Blackened Hardcore if you prefer, Anachronistic have just unleashed upon humanity their debut effort, entitled 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay, the first installment of a metal trilogy in the works by the duo. Produced by Anachronistic themselves, mixed by Umarlak, mastered by Andreas “Jonsson” Westholm at Dark Prod Studios, and displaying a gory artwork by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize, the album centers a lot around Matt’s life experiences and incorporates elements from his job (by the way, 700-19 is the actual contract paperwork for working in Korea as a US contractor), being recommended for fans of Blood For Blood, Hatebreed and Behemoth, just to name a few.

Thunders cracking work as an intro to Recall, a metallic Black Metal storm led by the violent beats by Umarlak who also delivers sheer hatred from his riffage while Matt growls and barks in the name of Hardcore; whereas Time To Drink is more rhythmic and deranged than the opening tune, with Umarlak doing a great job armed with his unstoppable guitar and low-tuned bass, therefore living up to the legacy of Black Metal and Hardcore and inviting us all to slam into the pit manically. The duo is on fire from the very first second in the massive, extreme music feast entitled Late Night Fundraising, where Matt’s inebriate, deep vocals add an extra layer of insanity to the overall result, and if you think they will slow down or soften their sound at a given point in the album you’re absolutely wrong, as Matt’s raw screams and the Black Metal avalanche crafted by Umarlak will decimate you in Festering Stench.

Let’s slam into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow with Going To The Ball, a beyond truculent Black Metal tune infused with the most electrifying elements from Hardcore where Umarlak’s instrumental feels like a nuclear bomb so heavy and sharp it sounds, while in Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut we face another round of their unfriendly sounds presenting hints of the Rock N’ Roll played by Motörhead, with Umarlak creating a puissant wall of sounds with his riffs and beats, supporting Matt and his enraged roars. Follow The Rules Or Die is just as noisy and dense as its predecessors with Matt doing a great job once again with his deep roars; the song loses its grip after a while, but it’s still very enjoyable if Blackened Hardcore is your cup of tea. And it’s time for one final Extreme Metal explosion in the form of Hatred For Work Causes Gout, with both Matt and Umarlak sounding possessed by a demonic entity, consequently enhancing the song’s impact and putting a visceral conclusion to the album.

“We tried to encapsulate a dark and raw merging of genres with this band. The vison behind Anachronistic initial trilogy LP release is to get people hooked on the concept and leave fans waiting for the next chapter to come out. Sonically and emotionally this album is really fun to listen to from a ‘bird’s eye viewpoint’. Once fans dig deeper into the song lyrics and album cover they will realize this is a true, hilarious story that will continue through two more releases, getting darker, heavier, nastier with each release. Even as a standalone release, 700 and 19 Ways of Decay will stand strong amongst fans of Black Metal and Hardcore,” commented the band about their newborn beast, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify. In addition, don’t forget to give the duo a shout on Instagram, and of course to purchase 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, banging your head nonstop until the second chapter of the adventures of Matt Ramarge see the light of day in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Time To Drink, Going To The Ball and Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut.

Worst moments of the album: Follow The Rules Or Die.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Recall 4:48
2. Time To Drink 3:59
3. Late Night Fundraising 3:11
4. Festering Stench 4:20
5. Going To The Ball 3:33
6. Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut 3:02
7. Follow The Rules Or Die 4:55
8. Hatred For Work Causes Gout 3:38

Band members
Matt Ramarge – vocals
Umarlak – all instruments

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

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

OPENING ACTS: Phantom High and Frayle

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

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

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

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

CRADLE OF FILTH

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

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

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

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

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