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

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

3.5rating

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

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Acceptance and Conclusion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

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

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

Metal Chick of the Month – Lilita Arndt

lilita01

Eternal darkness is covering my eyes and penetrating me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Review – Pantheist / Seeking Infinity (2018)

After almost a decade, this London-based Funeral Doom institution returns to their musical roots with a 60-minute cinematic journey through obscure and atmospheric landscapes.

A pantheist is someone who believes that God and the universe are the same, or in other words, that “All Is God”, as pantheism literally means “God Is All” (pan means all and Theos means God when translated from Greek). Brought to life in the year 2000 in Antwerp, Belgium by vocalist and keyboardist Kostas Panagiotou, but currently based in London, England, the dark and vile Progressive/Funeral Doom Metal entity known as Pantheist, one of the standard bearers of the Funeral Doom sound, is among us to prove that “All is Doom” with their brand new opus entitled Seeking Infinity, their fifth full-length album and their first release in seven years. Seeking Infinity is a 60-minute cinematic journey through Funeral Doom landscapes, a decisive return to Pantheist’s musical roots whilst still incorporating the atmospheric and progressive elements that have become an integral part of their sound over the years.

The long journey leading to the creation of this album started all the way back in the summer of 2012, when Kostas announced to his then band members an outline for a new concept album. A lot of things have changed since then and the concept and sound have evolved dramatically until the creation of the album; however, despite the changes, the philosophy behind this concept album and its singular purpose have remained intact. Recorded, mixed and engineered by drummer Daniel “Dan” Neagoe (Shape of Despair, Clouds) and enhanced with the enchanting artwork of the band’s visual artist Cheryl, the album sounds and looks both modern and familiar, surely to fill with nostalgia fans of old-school traditional Funeral Doom/Death Metal, while also drawing to its mystical sound new followers for the years to come.

An ominous intro named Eye of the Universe keeps growing in intensity, with an eerie and somber narration setting the stage for the sluggish, obscure and visceral Control and Fire, a lesson in Funeral Doom with Kostas sounding demonic with both his deep growls and his phantasmagorical keys, while Dan keeps the rhythm as lugubrious as it can be with his slow and potent beats, being effectively supported by Frank Allain and his slashing riffs, with the music flowing darkly and smoothly until 500 B.C. to 30 A.D.- The Enlightened Ones comes crushing with its beyond atmospheric start on the piano, complemented by its cryptic words darkly declaimed by Kostas (“You can run, but you can’t hide from the quiet flow of time / the dark tentacles of fate push you towards your destiny / and when you think you are free to live your life as you please / you’ll find you’re nothing but a pawn of history / There is a fire, a desire in my head / eat my battered body, drink my wasted blood / and tell me endless tales of who I am: / the man who feels inside him that change has come”). Put differently, this is a funeral march of metal music tailored for admirers of the genre, with its second half getting creepy and enigmatic, beautifully exploding into classy Blackened Doom.

Amidst obscure background elements and nuances, the acoustic guitar by guest Pete Benjamin (Voices, Akercocke) kicks off another multi-layered feast of Doom Metal by Pantheist titled 1453: an Empire Crumbles, also showcasing the deep Gregorian chant-inspired vocals by the other guest Andy Koski-Semmens (Syven, Pantheist), offering the listener six minutes of what can be called a Stygian and mesmerizing mass. Then the serene keys by Kostas are the main ingredient in the also slow and dense Emergence, with the low-tuned bass lines by Alexsej creating a menacing ambience in paradox with the delicacy of the piano notes. In other words, Pantheist will crush your senses mercilessly throughout the entire song in the perfect depiction of how visceral and vibrant Doom Metal can be. And lastly we have Seeking Infinity, Reaching Eternity, another deep and full-bodied display of Funeral Doom led by Kostas’ anguished roars and church-like keys, giving life to the song’s imposing, poetic lyrics (“I hear the sound of horns, I see a beast appearing from the sea / it has ten horns and seven heads / looks like a lion, like a leopard it crawls / I stretch out my shaking hand / and touch the body of the dancing Shiva / I want to scream, but I can’t / instead I cry, shake and shiver”), with Dan pounding his drums in perfect sync with Frank’s harmonious and fierce riffs and, therefore, keeping the atmosphere vibrant and thunderous until its climatic finale.

Pantheist are a Funeral Doom institution that’s certainly worth a shot, no doubt about that, and the extremely high quality of the music found in Seeking Infinity is a solid statement that this very talented band is here to stay, living up to the legacy of all classic and old school Doom Metal, Funeral Doom and Blackened Doom bands from all over the world. Having said that, I highly recommend you follow the band on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more details about them and to enjoy more of their music. And, of course, purchase your copy of Seeking Infinity from their own BandCamp or webstore, from The Vynil Division’s BandCamp or webstore, from iTunes or from Discogs, and may the somber and lugubrious sounds and tones blasted by Pantheist permeate your thoughts whenever you visit the darkest corners of your mind.

Best moments of the album: 500 B.C. to 30 A.D.- The Enlightened Ones and Emergence.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Melancholic Realm Productions

Track listing
1. Eye of the Universe 1:59
2. Control and Fire 11:45
3. 500 B.C. to 30 A.D.- The Enlightened Ones 13:13
4. 1453: an Empire Crumbles 6:04
5. Emergence 12:17
6. Seeking Infinity, Reaching Eternity 14:39

Band members
Kostas Panagiotou – vocals, keyboards
Frank Allain – guitars
Aleksej Obradović – bass
Daniel “Dan” Neagoe – drums

Guest musicians
Pete Benjamin – acoustic guitar on “1453: an Empire Crumbles”
Andy Koski-Semmens – vocals on “1453: an Empire Crumbles”

Album Review – Necropoli / I (2014)

Unique and avant-garde Funeral Doom Metal from Italy, recommended for lovers of the darkest side of music.

Rating5

Forged by musicians Rodolfo Baroni and Dario Fabiani in the wonderful city of Rome, Italy, the music by Funeral Doom / Avantgarde Metal band Necropoli might not be an easy listening for people who usually stick to basic radio stuff, including even the most badass Rock N’ Roll radio stations. However, it’s indeed a delectable experimental voyage with lots of Dhrone, Death, Black and Downtempo influences, going way beyond the average Doom Metal most of us are used to, taking your senses to a whole new freakish level.

Their debut album, symbolically named I, can be considered an epitome of darkness in heavy music, with its truly long and devilish songs taking you down to a world where things like happiness, beauty and love do not exist at all. Just by looking at the album art you know this is not going to be just another commercial album full of cheesy content.

When you listen to the baby crying during the ominous intro in Ashes of my Soul, you can get a taste of how grim Necropoli can be. But it’s when their slow and dark Doom Metal really begins, with the deepest growls you can think of and its double bass and eerie synths giving the whole song a totally lugubrious atmosphere, that you’ll feel you’re like taking part of a ritual. In addition, its obscure lyrics (“This restless circle is complete / This maze will never set me free / The winds of eternity shall take away / The ashes of my soul…”) and its more than frightful ending complement the song very effectively.

Inner Space starts with some kind of weird electric or industrial sounds, and its intro goes on for almost three minutes before turning into ferocious Black Metal with sick guitar riffs and guttural vocals. It goes back to pure atmospheric music with sounds of ocean, seagulls and an acoustic guitar after seven minutes, finally becoming a Doom Metal tune to finish this dark sonic journey. A Step doesn’t make things happier or lighter, focusing on interesting piano keys blended with evil vocals and heavy riffs, all enhanced by depressive lyrics (“Opening his eyes and looking at the world around me, one single step / I got lost in it and maybe found myself many times in my path”) and an ending that is a fuckin’ massacre.

NECROPOLI band photoHowever, things get even more interesting in Silence Awaits Me, another ghostly tune filled by symphonic elements, getting closer to Death Metal in some moments and with so many rhythmic breaks it could easily be divided into three or four distinct songs.  Very epic and full of feeling, it encompasses 17 minutes of occultism and mystery that will please anyone that enjoys this type of music. And closing the album we have Curriculum Vitae (I have no idea why they chose this song name), the only track with less than 10 minutes of duration: it’s such a weird outro, consisting of demonic voices accompanied only by some persistent low synths, that I don’t know what to say about it. You’ll have to listen to it and take your own conclusions.

In summary, Necropoli’s debut album I, available at the band’s official Bandcamp page, is as unique and avant-garde as it can be, always focusing on a more unhappy and wicked side of life, of course, which doesn’t mean you’ll regret listening to it. Quite the contrary, I bet you’ll keep going back to it again and again to savor its complexity, heaviness and malice.

Best moments of the album: Silence Awaits Me.

Worst moments of the album: Curriculum Vitae.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Ashes of my Soul 10:37
2. Inner Space 11:47
3. A Step 12:13
4. Silence Awaits Me 17:06
5. Curriculum Vitae 4:04

Band members (Recording line up)
David Unsaved – voice
Dario Fabiani – guitar, bass, synth, vocals, programming
Rodolfo Baroni – guitar

Current line up
David Unsaved – voice
Dario Fabiani – guitar, bass, synth, vocals, programming
Francesco Romano – drums