Album Review – Inherits The Void / Monolith Of Light (2021)

A one-man Atmospheric Black Metal entity from France arises from the underworld with his first full-length album, offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man.

Brought into being in 2020 in Clermont-Ferrand, a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal entity known as Inherits The Void is the musical endeavor of French vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Antoine Scholtès, who’s releasing this year his debut full-length opus Monolith Of Light. The follow-up to the 2020 EP Mémoires, Monolith Of Light was born from Antoine’s desire for “a meeting between influences from the 90’s Swedish Black Metal scene and a more current orientation of the genre,” offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man, bringing to mind the great masterworks of Dissection, Dawn and Vinterland, as well as the more contemporary sounds of France. “The main idea behind that album was to compose songs that would be both melodic and atmospheric, embraced by the desire to propose a range of various emotions,” commented Antoine, also saying that Monolith Of Light “deals with the will to face human beings with the fact that they are ephemeral on the scale of cosmos and to confront them, also, with their faults and the absurdity of many of their acts.”

And Stygian, mesmerizing sounds arise from the underworld before Antoine comes ripping with his infernal roars in Pillars of the Aether, a brutal Black Metal tune with an ethereal background where his blast beats and hellish riffs are simply amazing; whereas As the Winds Moan the Threnody is even more breathtaking and detailed than the opening track, showcasing an Antoine on fire with his riff and drum attack while at the same time he crafts a sinister and incendiary ambience perfect for his enraged growls, resulting in a beautiful display of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal. Then the title-track Monolith of Light continues to pave Inherits The Void’s obscure path, setting an interesting and demonic flow to the album and displaying the aggressiveness of classic Black Metal intertwined with melodic passages, all embraced by a strong sense of hopelessness.

Another hurricane of darkened sounds is offered to us all in the form of Unfathomable Echoes, where Antoine hammers his guitar, bass and drums mercilessly in a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal that will please all fans of the genre, followed by Starless Path, which starts in a more melodic and serene manner and gradually evolves into Antoine’s trademark sonic strike, or in other words, it’s a stylish instrumental interlude that flows smoothly into the epic Through the Eyes of Cosmos, where once again our talented multi-instrumentalist extracts darkness and light at the same time from his riffage while his growls sound more demented than before, not to mention how the music drags you into the void to never let you out. And closing the album on a beyond high note we have Aorasia, another multi-layered, massive creation by Antoine showcasing his demonic gnarls enfolded by a very melodic and fierce sonority, with his guitar lines sounding utterly sharp until the very last second.

The somber and uncanny world of Inherits The Void can be explored in detail by following Antoine and his musical beast on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your utmost support to the underground you should purchase a copy of Monolith Of Light from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, or from Sound Cave as a digipack CD, as a black vinyl, or as a stunning silver and black galaxy vinyl. After all is said and done, we’ll all realize Monolith Of Light is indeed an album built on contrasts, which is both classic and modern, bridging the gap between decades afar and, therefore, proving Antoine is on the right path with his atmospheric and extreme alter-ego.

Best moments of the album: As the Winds Moan the Threnody and Unfathomable Echoes.

Worst moments of the album: Starless Path.

Released in 2021 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Pillars of the Aether 6:16
2. As the Winds Moan the Threnody 5:04
3. Monolith of Light 5:20
4. Unfathomable Echoes 4:45
5. Starless Path 2:04
6. Through the Eyes of Cosmos 5:41
7. Aorasia 7:53

Band members
Antoine Scholtès – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Muertissima / Inquisition (2021)

Let the inquisition begin to the sound of the dynamic and pulverizing debut opus by this demented Death Metal act from France.

Hailing from the always beautiful and charming Paris, France, a demented Death Metal horde that goes by the curious name of Muertissima (which would translate from Spanish as something like “very dead”) is ready to attack armed with their debut opus, entitled Inquisition, highly recommended for fans of the music by bands the likes of At the Gates, Carcass and Morbid Angel. Passionate about all genres of Extreme Metal, guitarist Stephane Prados composed the majority of the songs without imposing any constraints of styles or structures, which ended up giving the album a dynamic Death Metal vibe combined with Black and Thrash Metal nuances to generate an original old school sound. Recorded at Lower Tones Place Studio, Inquisition is the perfect welcome card by the aforementioned Stephane and his henchmen Simon Perrin on vocals and bass, Matthias “Macchabée” Bonhoure on the guitar, and Cédric Dupuy on drums, leaving you completely disoriented after its almost 50 minutes of savagery are over.

Cédric begins hammering his drums like a demented beast in the opening tune Lockdown, accompanied by the sick riffage and guttural roars of his bandmates, whereas Simon continues to growl manically in Rise and Fight, another pulverizing display of the band’s classic Death Metal that will inspire you to slam your cranial skull into the circle pit. The rumbling bass by Simon is gradually joined by the razor-edged riffs by Matthias and Stephane in Cerveza, a true headbanger spearheaded by the massive beats by Cédric that should work perfectly when played live, followed by the title-track Inquisition, another Death Metal onrush provided by the quartet with Simon’s screams getting more and more demented as the music progresses, also presenting some welcome elements from Groove and Progressive Death Metal. And it’s time for more insanity in the form of extreme music with Godslayer, where the band’s guitar duo sounds utterly infernal with their axes supported by the rumbling bass by Simon and the always vicious beats by Cédric.

There’s no time to breathe as Muertissima keep crushing us all in Glory to Loki, another solid tune where their Cannibal Corpse-inspired guitars walk hand in hand with the demonic gnarls by Simon, and never slowing down nor selling out, Cédric’s hellish drums provide the rest of the band all they need to be even more ferocious with their respective instruments in Wild Hunt. Composing a Death Metal song that’s seven minutes long is a risky move, but Muertissima did a very decent job in Shooting Gallery, providing some interesting breaks and variations amidst their usual aggressiveness, with both Matthias and Stephane dictating the rhythm with their unstoppable guitars. They surpass the seven-minute barrier one more time in Prometeus, where Simon roars with tons of anger and hatred in his heart supported by the rest of the band, and the music remains heavy, dense, obscure and caustic until the very last second. Finally, sinister, acoustic guitars and the sound of the ocean are the main ingredients in Libertad, the most unique song of the album where the band seems to be inspired by classic Spanish music, resulting in a nice surprise despite not being Death Metal at all.

In a nutshell, the unstoppable Muertissima offer in Inquisition exactly what any fan of underground Death Metal is looking for, sounding sharp, straight to the point and electrified from the very first second of the album until its eccentric ending, positioning them as one of the most interesting new names of the French scene. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Muertissima a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and above that, to purchase your copy of Inquisition from countless locations including Rock Metal Market, Wow HD, Barnes & Noble, Fnac, Cultura, Waterloo Records, and The Record Exchange. And then simply hit play and let the fires of the band’s inquisition of old school Death Metal burn your soul for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Cerveza, Godslayer and Prometeus.

Worst moments of the album: Wild Hunt.

Released in 2021 Music-Records

Track listing
1. Lockdown 4:41
2. Rise and Fight 3:27
3. Cerveza 4:46
4. Inquisition 4:42
5. Godslayer 4:37
6. Glory to Loki 4:18
7. Wild Hunt 4:24
8. Shooting Gallery 7:28
9. Prometeus 7:05
10. Libertad 4:21

Band members
Simon Perrin – vocals, bass
Matthias “Macchabée” Bonhoure – lead guitar
Stephane Prados – rhythm guitar
Cédric Dupuy – drums

Album Review – Primal Age / Masked Enemy (2021)

One of the trailblazers of Hardcore and Edge Metal in Europe returns with another furious album, again dealing with animal rights, vegetarianism, ecology, denunciation of overconsumption and abuse of power.

3.5rating

primal-age-masked-enemy-2021Bringing forward a furious mix of Heavy Metal and Hardcore since 1993 and still going strong, always with a lot of energy, passion and determination, and relentlessly presenting a strong critical view on the ugliest parts of our rotten society, Évreux, France-based Hardcore/Edge Metal unity Primal Age is back with more of their furious music in their new opus entitled Masked Enemy, the follow-up to their 2017 EP A Silent Wound. Refusing to hold back on themes like defense of animal rights, vegetarianism, ecology, denunciation of overconsumption and abuse of power, the band comprised of Didier on vocals, Benoit and Florian on the guitars, Dimitri on bass, and newcomer Miguel on drums goes once again straight to your jugular in their new album, with the crisp recording and mixing by Guillaume Doussaud at Swan Sound Studio, the awesome mastering by Alan Douches at West West Side Music, and the ass-kicking artwork by Visual Injuries (who have been working for the band for several years and know how to translate their music and lyrics into images), turning it into a must-have for fans of extreme music with a meaningful message.

Their political feast of heavy music begins with Intro & Wise Old Man, featuring an excerpt from 12-year old Severn Suzuki’s speech during the United Nation’s Earth Summit Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 (see the full video HERE), with sinister sounds growing in intensity until Didier comes growling manically supported by his bandmates, generating a sick atmosphere that lives up to the legacy of classic Hardcore. Then it’s time to slam into the pit to the vicious beats by Miguel and the always melodic but extremely austere riffage by Benoit and Florian in The Devil Is Hidden In Shadow, not to mention Didier sounds even more demented on vocals; followed by Adolescent Humanity, a fusion of Metalcore, Hardcore, Heavy Metal and classic Punk Rock that will invite you to crush your skull into the circle pit, with Dimitri and Miguel being on fire with their hellish kitchen. In The Two Heads Monster we’re treated to the acid lyrics barked by Didier (“Control of the living became an economic stake / Sectors collusion promises us the best / But it’s a dark future’s conjuring / Chemistry and Nature are not getting along”) amidst sheer violence in the form of old school Hardcore, whereas the title-track Masked Enemy reminds me of the music by The Exploited with hints of the Thrash Metal played by Slayer and Exodus, which obviously translates into pure awesomeness, while Miguel dictates the song’s visceral pace.

The frantic beats by Miguel, the intense riffs by Benoit and Florian, and endless electricity are the main ingredients in I Warn You, another excellent creation by Primal Age that will please all fans of the genre without a shadow of a doubt, while the semi-acoustic interlude The Downside Of Progress will capture your soul before the band comes ripping once again in Who Dares Wins, a smashing, in-your-face tune led by the infuriated roars by Didier displaying no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, just our good old Hardcore to make you crack your neck headbanging like a true beast. And get ready to be dragged into a hurricane of Metalcore and Hardcore to the incendiary guitars by Benoit and Florian in the high-octane tune Passion vs. Fashion, while Dimitri keeps hammering his bass nonstop. What a pulverizing composition, I might say, whereas the second to last explosion of their politics-infused metal music, entiled Blinded By Cruelty, brings to our ears another round of their wicked riffs and beats, all of course spiced up by the deep growling by Didier, before all comes to an end with the instrumental outro Awakening Of Consciousness, putting a serene, melancholic and climatic ending to the album.

primal-age-2021Masked Enemy is available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to properly show your support to Primal Age and join them in their fight against everything that’s wrong with our decaying society, you should definitely purchase the album from their Big Cartel in CD or vinyl, from the WTF Records webstore also as a CD or vinyl, from Coretex Records, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, or simply click HERE for the digital version of the album. In addition, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube to stay up to date with all things Primal Age. Those French trailblazers of Hardcore and Edge Metal nailed it once again with their new album, and may their powerful message reach the four corners of the earth in hopes that we can all make the world a better place to live to the sound of their first-class music.

Best moments of the album: The Devil Is Hidden In Shadow, Masked Enemy and Passion vs. Fashion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 WTF Records

Track listing   
1. Intro & Wise Old Man 4:24
2. The Devil Is Hidden In Shadow 3:12
3. Adolescent Humanity 2:22
4. The Two Heads Monster 3:16
5. Masked Enemy 3:14
6. I Warn You 3:14
7. The Downside Of Progress 1:09
8. Who Dares Wins 3:58
9. Passion vs. Fashion 3:16
10. Blinded By Cruelty 3:48
11. Awakening Of Consciousness 2:00

Band members
Didier – vocals
Benoit – guitars
Florian – guitars
Dimitri – bass
Miguel – drums

Album Review – Gojira / Fortitude (2021)

Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic, creative and thrilling bands of the current metal scene.

4.5rating

gojira-fortitude-2021Recorded at the famous Silver Cord Studio in New York City, the amazing Fortitude, the seventh studio opus by French Progressive/Groove Metal giants Gojira and the follow-up to their 2016 critically-acclaimed album Magma, is considered by the band a “groovy, aerated album” inspired as an encouragement to self-reinforcement, “to show courage to face up the world, to face tomorrow’s problems,” and after listening to each and every track from the album you’ll realize vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier, guitarist Christian Andreu, bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and drummer Mario Duplantier simply nailed it. According to Joe, the album’s title Fortitude “is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to be strong no matter what”, while the cover art, which represents “the spirit of the album”, was designed and painted by Joe himself. His brother Mario brought him various paintings of warriors and knights and showed him Pallas Athena, an 1898 oil-on-canvas painting by Gustav Klimt, and Knights of the Round Table. As he wanted to represent an indigenous person, it ended with his own interpretation of all these elements.

Their progressive vein explodes into sheer electricity in the opening tune Born for One Thing, with Mario proving why he’s one of the best metal drummers of the current scene. Put differently, it’s pure Gojira to properly kick things off, followed by the stunning Amazonia, where the band’s trademark metal is infused with local elements from the Brazilian culture for our total delight. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to sing along its lyrics with Joe (“There’s fire in the sky / You’re in the Amazon / The greatest miracle / Is burning to the ground / Godly Amazonia / Bloody Amazonia / Mighty Amazonia / Killing Amazonia”); and Joe and Christian keep kicking ass with their wicked riffage in Another World, another classic tune by the quartet perfect for banging our heads nonstop, not to mention how in sync Jean-Michel and Mario are with their heavy kitchen. Hold On is a more atmospheric and experimental composition by Gojira, bringing forward rhythmic beats, slashing riffs and the always visceral vocals by Joe, whereas in New Found we’re treated to strident, piercing riffs that only those French metallers can provide us all, feeling like it was taken from their 2005 cult album From Mars to Sirius. Needless to say, the Duplantier Brothers are on fire with their crushing vocals and pounding beats.

The title-track Fortitude is one of those classic Gojira interludes, an enfolding acoustic sound to soothe our souls before the beautiful The Chant fills outevery single space in the air, showcasing the band’s trademark, meaningful words (“You were told to swallow crawl and hide / Victims of fear and deception / Get ahold of yourself rise above / The better part of you, immortal”) amidst a lesson in Progressive Rock and Metal; and their sharp guitars come ripping in the neck-breaking Sphinx, where Joel invests into darker vocal lines accompanied by the vicious drums by Mario, not to mention how metallic the bass by Jean-Michel sounds. Let’s keep banging our heads to the fantastic Heavy Metal blasted by Gojira in Into the Storm, where the quartet enhances the epicness in their music considerably, resulting in a massive creation that will please all fans of the band, whereas slowing things down a bit and sounding more melancholic and somber than before it’s time for The Trails, a very introspective song spearheaded by Joe’s cryptic vocals. Lastly, slashing our ears mercilessly the band fires the awesome Grind, where Mario showcases all his dexterity behind his drums accompanied by the electrifying riffage by Joe and Christian, therefore ending the album on a kick-ass, piercing Progressive Metal note. In addition, if you’re lucky enough to find the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll be treated to three bonus songs (Silvera, Backbone and Pray) recorded live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the United States on May 11, 2017.

gojira-2021Are you ready to have your mind and soul hypnotized by the unparalleled music brought into being by one of the biggest names of the current metal scene worldwide? If your answer is yes, you can enjoy Fortitude in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream such fantastic album. Also, don’t forget to follow Gojira on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates, initiatives they’re involved with, and so on, also subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their music and other exclusive footage. As aforementioned, those French metallers wanted to create an album that would help us face our problems, our monsters and inner demons, and it’s impressive how they managed to do so without abandoning their core musical essence, providing us fans of Heavy Metal what’s perhaps the best album of 2021, an year where we lost so much but that at the same time is giving us some hope to keep moving forward.

Best moments of the album: Amazonia, New Found, Sphinx, Into the Storm and Grind.

Worst moments of the album: The Trails.

Released in 2021 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Born for One Thing 4:20
2. Amazonia 5:00
3. Another World 4:24
4. Hold On 5:30
5.New Found 6:36
6. Fortitude 2:07
7. The Chant 5:12
8. Sphinx 4:00
9. Into the Storm 5:02
10. The Trails 4:07
11. Grind 5:34

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
12. Silvera (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 3:57
13. Backbone (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 6:23
14. Pray (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 10:20

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

Guest musician
Adriana Vanella – vocals on “Amazonia”

Album Review – Salò / Sortez vos Morts EP (2021)

A newborn French entity brings out their dead in their debut EP of pulverizing Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust.

Labeling their own music as “Blackened Crust Industrial As Fuck”, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France-based Industrial/Blackened Crust outfit Salò is unleashing upon humanity their debut EP entitled Sortez vos Morts, or “bring out your dead” in English, which as the band itself says, “tells you, without telling you everything either, poor little ones, how it generally goes – after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed.” Recorded and mixed by Manu Laffeach at Studio Chaudelande, mastered by Cyrille Gachet at Dick Doom Studio, and featuring an apocalyptic artwork by CLLK Artwork and logo by Dehn Sora, Sortez vos Morts is highly recommended for fans of the darkest and most desperate form of Industrial Metal you can think of, showcasing all the rage and versatility of this up-and-coming quartet formed by HCT on vocals and bass, AVS on the guitars, DLE onkeyboards and samples, and NGH on drums.

There’s nothing better than kicking of an Industrial Metal album than with a wicked, cinematic intro the likes of La Morale C’est Ça… (or “the moral is that…” in English), setting the stage for the band to crush in the visceral Sans Gêne Ni Haine, or “without embarrassment or hatred”, sounding sick and demented from the very first second with AVS and NGH making an infernal duo with their respective riffs and beats, while HCT barks and roars like a rabid beast. Then the phantasmagorical keys by DLE add an extra touch of dementia to the furious fusion of Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust by Salò in Sans Toit Ni Loi (“no roof or law”), with AVS firing his Thrash Metal-inspired riffage, followed by Tant D’interdits (“so many prohibitions”), where another eerie, alternative intro morphs into a neck-breaking sonority showcasing the rhythmic drums by NGH spiced up by the sick keys and samples by DLE, not to mention how HCT effectively takes the lead with his deranged screams. Their second to last blast of industrialized sounds, titled Sonnez La Curée (“ring the quarry”), is an insane and demonic creation by the French quartet where its thrashing, Punk Rock-infused riffs, together with its rebellious attitude and Hardcore growling by HCT, turn it into the most detailed and thrilling of all songs; whereas the ruthless and hellish Contagion closes the album in the most aggressive way possible, bringing to our ears venomous screams and riffs, menacing keys and Doom Metal-inspired beats.

Sortez vos Morts is available for a full stream on YouTube, but of course if you want to truly show your support for those French metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and even more important than that, purchase the EP from their BandCamp page, from the Cold Dark Matter Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, from the Coups de Couteau’s BandCamp page, and soon also from the Duality Records’ Big Cartel. We must all admit Sortez vos Morts is indeed an amazing start for Salò, therefore already positioning them as a driving force of the genre in their homeland, and if that’s the music we’ll all hear “after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed”, then we can rest assured that the other side is at least heavy, furious and frantic, just the way we like it.

Best moments of the album: Sans Gêne Ni Haine and Sonnez La Curée.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Cold Dark Matter Records/Coups de Couteau/Duality Records

Track listing
1. La Morale C’est Ça… 1:04
2. Sans Gêne Ni Haine 6:53
3. Sans Toit Ni Loi 4:28
4. Tant D’interdits 4:02
5. Sonnez La Curée 6:29
6. Contagion 3:53

Band members
HCT – vocals, bass
AVS – guitars
DLE – keyboards, samples
NGH – drums

Album Review – Subterraen / Rotten Human Kingdom (2020)

Behold the debut opus by this Nantes, France-based Sludge and Doom Metal entity, narrating epic, anguish-ridden tales of the slow destruction of the planet and sowing seeds of the inexorable vengeance of mother nature.

Following the ponderous steps of giants like Eremit and Jupiterian while adding their own darkened grit and weighed down heaviness to the proceedings, Nantes, France-based Blackened Sludge/Doom Metal trio Subterraen has just released their debut opus entitled Rotten Human Kingdom, crafting 10+ minute songs narrating epic, anguish-ridden tales of the slow destruction of the planet and sowing seeds of the inexorable vengeance of mother nature. Formed in 2017, the band comprised of Clem Helvete on vocals and guitars, Chris KKP also on the guitar and Milvus on drums masterfully carries the torch of the style on their newborn spawn, with the crisp recording, mixing and mastering by the band’s own Chris KKP and the cryptic artwork by the talented illustrator Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration) turning it into a must-listen for admirers of the somber creations by renowned acts such as Eyehategod, Neurosis, , Conan and Primitive Man.

Just like a creature form the abyss the band arises with their sluggish, eerie sounds in the 13-minute doomed feast titled Blood for the Blood Gods, where Clem roars and gnarls demonically while Milvus pounds his drums in the most devilish way possible. Furthermore, their guitar work is also amazing, exhaling darkness and evil, and with all atmospheric, melancholic passages enhancing the song’s taste and punch considerably. Then we have For a Fistful of Silver, an explosion of the most Stygian and darkest fusion of Sludge and Doom Metal, with Clem once again taking the lead with his enraged roaring while Milvus alternates between Black Metal-inspired drums and primeval doom beats. It’s impressive how the music evolves and progresses like if it was the soundtrack to a psychological horror movie, with the dirty and visceral riffs by both Clem and Chris penetrating deep inside your skin. After such avalanche of blackened sounds, it’s time for the trio to enfold us all with the delicate interlude Oceans are Rising, where minimalist guitar lines permeate the air for over two minutes until Clem, Chris and Milvus show no mercy for our souls with the demolishing Blackened Doom Metal aria Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet, a beastly creation by Subterraen where slow and steady beats and malignant ambience provide Clem exactly what he needs to darken our thoughts with his hellish screams, and the music remains as imposing, dense and vile as it can be, all spiced up by their trademark raw, piercing guitars.

Subterraen’s massive monolith of doom can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show those French metallers your support and admiration go grab your copy of Rotten Human Kingdom from countless locations such as their own BandCamp page, the official Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore, where by the way you can find an amazing Coffin-Shaped Wooden CD Box Set with Laser Engraving including an 8-panel Digipak CD with metallic effect/UV embossing and sandalwood scent, an autographed certificate, a fridge magnet, a metallic sticker, a gold patch and a badge (also available through their US store), Apple Music, Amazon, Walmart and Strictly Discs, and don’t forget to also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram. As the band members themselves like to say, “from ashes to ashes, from dust to dust”, and in the case of their debut album Rotten Human Kingdom, we can also add to that “from doom to doom.”

Best moments of the album: For a Fistful of Silver and Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Blood for the Blood Gods 13:28
2. For a Fistful of Silver 14:30
3. Oceans are Rising 2:33
4. Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet 18:20

Band members
Clem Helvete – vocals, guitars
Chris KKP – guitar
Milvus – drums

Album Review – Ecclesia / De Ecclesiæ Universalis (2020)

Showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal, this army of French inquisitors stands strong on their crusade against every doom heretic with their incendiary debut album.

Playing what they like to call epic and dark Doom Metal-influenced Heavy Metal since their formation as a trio in 2016, the now fully-formed army of French inquisitors known as Ecclesia (the Latin word for “church”) unleashed upon us sinners this Friday the 13th their debut full-length musical mass De Ecclesiæ Universalis, which is Latin for “the universal church”, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 demo Witchfinding Metal of Doom. Armed with purifying fire, blessed swords and Holy Rage, the band currently comprised of Frater Arnhwald on vocals, Julius Accusator and The Witchfinder General on the guitars, Frater Ignis Sacer on bass, Pater Hexenhammer on drums and Pater Walkelinus on organ and keyboards deals with the 12th Century dark medieval age of Holy Inquisition in their lyrics, showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal in their music and, therefore, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Candlemass, Cathedral and Solitude Aeternus, among other giants of the 80’s heavy and doom scene, standing strong on their crusade against every doom heretic and urging us all to confess our unholy sins.

Gregorian chants and the always tenebrous sound of the rain ignite the album in the bold intro Excommunicamus, before the strident riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General dictate the rhythm in the hybrid of classic Heavy and Doom Metal titled Vatican III, a superb song to start the album where the rockin’ vocals by Arnhwald truly enhance the song’s impact and blasphemous feel, whereas their Black Sabbath vein beautifully explodes in Ecclesia Sathani, with Walkelinus’ phantasmagorical pipes bringing a touch of evil to the overall result, blending the glory of the 70’s and 80’s with their modern-day Doom Metal. Then get ready to crack your neck headbanging in the name of the unholy church of doom ruled by Ecclesia in Montségur, where Hexenhammer and Walkelinus are in absolute sync with their respective beats and keys while Arnhwald continues to fire his ass-kicking, King Diamond-inspired vocal lines. And never tired of hammering their sonic weapons, Ecclesia deliver another amazing tune entitled Behold the Heretic Burning, feeling like it was taken from one of Dio’s classic albums (which obviously means excellency), while Ignis Sacer makes sure the earth shakes to the sound of his menacing bass.

After such amazing first half of the album, how about seven minutes of a fusion of classic Doom Metal with Stoner and Southern Metal, spiced up by epic keys and soaring vocals? That’s what you’ll get in the Stygian hymn Antichristus. Needless to say, the band’s guitar duo will pierce your skin deep with their venomous riffs, ending the song in the most visceral way possible, and you better prepare your ears for another round of slashing riffs in Deus Vult, where the church-like organ pipes by Walkelinus will captivate your mind, opening it up for the slamming Rock N’ Roll crafted by his band members while sounding as harmonious and thrilling as it can be. It’s time to go full doom in the cryptic God’s Trial, with the sluggish beats by Hexenhammer walking hand in hand with the riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General, being tailored for admirers of the most primeval form of Doom Metal (albeit not as powerful as the rest of the album). Before all is said and done, we’re treated to their cover version for Venom’s classic Burn The Witches (actually, the original song is titled “Don’t Burn The Witch”), from their 1982 cult album Black Metal, and you check the original version HERE, with Ecclesia’s version being absolutely awesome from start to finish, morphing into the stunning church-inspired outro Ite Missa Est to put a proper ending to their metal mass.

In case you’re considering joining a church for any given reason, I suggest you go check the services provided at the temple of doom ruled by Ecclesia on their Facebook page, and purchase your copy of the sensational De Ecclesiæ Universalis from their own BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from Season of Mist, from jpc.de, from Best Buy or from Amazon, proving to those French metallers you’re not a doom heretic and that you’re worth their mercy. Put differently, why not confessing your darkest and most impure sins to the sound of the ass-kicking metal music blasted by Ecclesia in their flammable newborn spawn? I’m sure both God and the Devil will love to witness you succumbing to their visceral, damned creations.

Best moments of the album: Vatican III, Montségur, Antichristus and Deus Vult.

Worst moments of the album: God’s Trial.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Excommunicamus 1:07
2. Vatican III 4:44
3. Ecclesia Sathani 5:26
4. Montségur 6:03
5. Behold the Heretic Burning 4:57
6. Antichristus 7:11
7. Deus Vult 5:33
8. God’s Trial 6:32
9. Burn The Witches (Venom cover) 3:25
10. Ite Missa Est 1:39

Band members
Frater Arnhwald – vocals
Julius Accusator – lead guitar
The Witchfinder General – rhythm guitar
Frater Ignis Sacer – bass
Pater Hexenhammer – drums
Pater Walkelinus – organ, keyboards

Album Review – Dead Tree Seeds / Push The Button (2020)

Simply slam into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow to the sound of the brand new album by these talented thrashing maniacs hailing from France.

Born from the ashes of a Thrash Metal band named Triakanthos in 2009 in Paris, France, an unstoppable thrashing beast known as Dead Tree Seeds is back in action after seven long years with their sophomore full-length album, entitled Push The Button, the follow-up to their 2013 release Seeds of Thrash. Inspired by the biggest names of the scene, from Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer to the most violent fringe of Kreator or Sepultura, as well as the groovy forays the likes of Testament and Pantera, Dead Tree Seeds go straight to the point in Push The Button, paying a vibrant and aggressive tribute to that classic Thrash Metal sound from the 80’s and 90’s while at the same time adding their own French twist to each one of the ten original tracks of the album. Currently comprised of Frank Vortex on vocals, Francois Odonnet and Aurelien Gonzalez on the guitars, Sidi Assila on bass and Alexandre Prudent on drums, Dead Tree Seeds are definitely back on track in their explosive new album, inviting us all to join them into the circle pit to the sound of their American Thrash Metal-fueled creations.

In the instrumental opening track Thrash Tales, Francois and Aurelien begin extracting serene, acoustic sounds form their guitars, gradually enhancing their rage and punch while accompanied by Alexandre’s fierce drums, setting the tone for Fangs Of The White Wolf, an old school Thrash Metal hymn perfect for crushing your skull into the pit, with Frank rabidly vociferating the song’s epic lyrics (“Fear, frost, blizzard in your eyes, welcome to the great white storm / Lost in travel, gone to the North, hailstones like a swarn / You’ve been followed by hungry eyes, the wild is craving for your flesh / Meet the Lord of the frozen wastelands, killer of a million wanderers”), whereas drinking form the same rebellious fountain as Anthrax, Exodus and Overkill, it’s time for the quintet to put the pedal to the metal in Thru God For Vengeance, where the band’s guitar duo fires their trademark shredding and solos while Frank keeps barking and growling like a true thrashing maniac.

No Time To Complain stats in a darker way before morphing into classic Thrash Metal led by Frank’s rabid roars while Sidi keeps smashing his bass mercilessly, maintaining the level of adrenaline in Push The Button extremely high, followed by the title-track Push The Button, a demented thrashing extravaganza where Alexandre sounds brutal and demolishing on drums, therefore providing his bandmates all they need to thrive, in special Frank with his raspy, punk-ish vocals, not to mention the sick guitar solos fired by Francois and Aureliene. Then strident guitar sounds permeate the air in the melodic bridge The Way To Eternity before tribal beats hammer our heads in the headbanging tune Abjection, blending the obscurity from Slayer with the inebriate sounds from the early years of Exodus while also showcasing a great balance between their razor-edged riffage, visceral growls and groovy background sounds.

And Alexandre doesn’t let their wrath and electricity go down with his vicious beats in Enemies Of Rome, where Frank’s deranged screams are effectively supported by the band’s old school backing vocals, all spiced up by their accelerated pace halfway through it for our total delight. Wailing Wall reminds me of both old school and contemporary Testament, which is obviously an amazing feature of the song, focusing on the precise and incendiary riffs by the band’s guitarists while Frank alternates between deeper growls and more desperate screams, paving the band’s path of destruction to the closing tune Shotdead, offering over seven minutes of savagery, rebelliousness and, above all, pure 80’s Thrash Metal spearheaded by Alexandre’s blast beats. Furthermore, their sharp riffs will pierce your ears in great fashion, and despite all breaks and atmospheric passages not sounding bad, they end up taking away some of the song’s ferocity in the end.

As I already mentioned in a few older reviews, if thrashing is your business (and business is good), you can start following Dead Tree Seeds on Facebook to know more about those talented French thrashers, and in order to show them your utmost support and admiration you can purchase a copy of Push The Button from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Rock Metal Market webstore in regular CD format, in vinyl format, as a special CD + vinyl bundle, or as a very special CD + vinyl + cassette bundle. It might have taken seven years for the seeds of thrash planted by Dead Tree Seeds to finally grow into their newborn spawn Push The Button, but the wait was definitely worth it for all fans of classic Bay Area Thrash, who know have another excellent reason for having a cold beer and slamming into the circle pit just the way we love doing since the beginning of the glorious decade known as the 80’s.

Best moments of the album: Fangs Of The White Wolf, Push The Button and Abjection.

Worst moments of the album: Shotdead.

Released in 2020 M.U.S.I.C. Records

Track listing
1. Thrash Tales (Instrumental) 1:42
2. Fangs Of The White Wolf 3:40
3. Thru God For Vengeance 3:52
4. No Time To Complain 6:27
5. Push The Button 4:12
6. The Way To Eternity (Instrumental) 2:03
7. Abjection 4:34
8. Enemies Of Rome 6:00
9. Wailing Wall 4:53
10. Shotdead 7:29

Band members
Frank Vortex – lead vocals
Francois Odonnet – guitar
Aurelien Gonzalez – guitar
Sidi Assila – bass
Alexandre Prudent – drums