Album Review – Evil Hunter / Lockdown (2021)

This unstoppable Spanish metal force attacks again with their sophomore album, showcasing an evolution in their sound together with endless energy and a deep passion for heavy music.

Comprised of experienced musicians from Galicia, Catalunya, Andalucía and Madrid, all in Spain, the Heavy Metal brigade known as Evil Hunter attacks again with their sophomore opus, entitled Lockdown, following up on all the energy and heaviness of their 2018 self-titled debut effort. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist José Rubio and displaying a classic artwork by Felipe Machado Franco, Lockdown represents a step forward in the band’s career, showcasing not only an evolution in the sound crafted by Damián Chicano on vocals, José Rubio and Victor Durán on the guitars, Alberto Garrido on bass and Anxo Silveira on drums, but also offering us fans of old school metal music an amazing option to enhance our personal collection of heavy music albums.

The quintet begins distilling their classic Heavy Metal in the opening track Guardian Angel, already putting the pedal to the metal with José and Victor taking the lead with their flammable riffs while Damián fires his Udo Dirkschneider-inspired roars, whereas investing in a pure Hard Rock vibe from the 80’s we have You’ll Never Walk Alone, an upbeat tune with a very positive message where Alberto and Anxo dictate the song’s headbanging pace with their respective bass punches and steady beats. Then infernal riffs ignite another metallic feast by Evil Hunter entitled Get Up, which will sound amazing during their upcoming live concerts as Damián screams the song’s words in great fashion accompanied by the thunderous beats by Anxo; and it’s time for the band to speed things up and deliver a classic Power Metal tune named Burning in Flames, blending the old school sound by Accept and Judas Priest with the more melodic approach by Stratovarius, also presenting an amazing performance by the band’s guitar duo with their striking riffs and solos.

Back to a smoother sonority, it’s time for Anxo to lead his bandmates with his 80’s-inspired beats in Fear Them All, a song that could have easily been released 40 years ago, with José and Victor once again doing a superb job on the guitars, followed by Beyond the Down, a beautiful treat to diehard fans of 80’s Heavy Metal where Damián is on fire with his raspy vocals supported by his bandmates classic backing vocals, not to mention the rumbling kitchen generated by Alberto and Anxo. And Evil Hunter slow things down and get slightly darker and more melancholic in Locked Down, evolving into another Heavy Metal hurricane where their sharp riffs and solos will penetrate deep inside your mind. Lastly, the band brings to our ears Blown With the Wind, with its headbanging rhythm, epic vocal lines and pounding drums reminding me of some of the older creations by Manowar and Hammerfall, putting an inspiring ending to such frantic and electrifying album.

Evil Hunter are more than ready to hunt you down with their first-class Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, and if you want to tell them how much you enjoy their music you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their incendiary creations. Furthermore, you should definitely purchase Lockdown from the Demons Records webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, proving you’re a true metalhead and an admirer of the underground. Those Spanish metallers stepped up their game considerably with Lockdown, setting the bar really high for their future releases and, of course, inviting us all to join them in their musical world and share with them our deep passion for heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Guardian Angel, Burning in Flames and Beyond the Down.

Worst moments of the album: Locked Down.

Released in 2021 Demons Records

Track listing
1. Guardian Angel 4:21
2. You’ll Never Walk Alone 4:36
3. Get Up 4:24
4. Burning in Flames 4:38
5. Fear Them All 4:37
6. Beyond the Down 4:11
7. Locked Down 5:46
8. Blown With the Wind 4:47

Band members
Damián Chicano – vocals
José Rubio – guitars
Victor Durán – guitars
Alberto Garrido – bass
Anxo Silveira – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Diva Satanica

Kill’em all, Diva Satanica!

My dear metalheads, how about we celebrate SEVEN FUCKIN’ YEARS of The Headbanging Moose in great fashion with one of the most charismatic, hardworking and talented growlers of the current metal scene? Not only she will haunt your soul with her wicked screams and roars, but she’s also a stunning alternative model and a collaborator of one of the best metal magazines in her home country. I’m talking about the venomous she-wolf Rocío Vázquez, better known by her incendiary moniker Diva Satanica, the frontwoman for Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Bloodhunter and more recently for the international all-female Thrash Metal horde Nervosa, kicking some serious ass with her onstage performance and her beyond potent vocals wherever she goes. Are you ready to have Diva Satanica screaming like a beast right in your face on our humble tribute to such amazing exponent of the Spanish Extreme Metal scene?

Born on June 25, 1988 in La Coruña, Galícia, in the North-West of Spain, known as “the land of witches”, but currently residing in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Diva Satanica is a lover of all kinds of music, but of course she nurtures a special, deep passion for Rock N’ Roll and almost all subgenres of Heavy Metal, especially the ones that suit her needs of talking about feelings. As mentioned by our unstoppable diva in one of her interviews, no one in her family enjoys metal music and in the beginning it was really hard for her to find friends with the same taste in music, but she managed to find her place in society as we can all witness now. In addition, although she said she was terrified the first time she listened to a Death Metal band, due to the fact she didn’t feel comfortable with melodic singing she decided to give growling a try, and well, we must all agree it was the best decision in her life, offering us all fans of heavy music the furious and thrilling creations brought forth by our diva together with her henchmen from Bloodhunter.

In regards to Bloodhunter, the band started about a year before Diva Satanica joined them, more specifically in 2008 in La Coruña (but also currently based in Madrid), by the hands of sole founding member, guitarist and main songwriter Dani Arcos, also known as Fenris, to develop some demos that didn’t fit at his other bands at that time, even with a melodic singer in the beginning. It was after several changes in their lineup and concept when Diva Satanica finally joined the band, currently comprised of our metal lady and Fenris, of course, together with guitarist G. Starless, bassist Daniel Luces and drummer Marcelo Aires. However, she only started singing (and growling) for the band in 2012, after writing the lyrics for a few of their songs and joining their rehearsals, and according to Diva Satanica her bandmates had to be very patient with her in the beginning as she used to sing looking to the wall instead of looking to the band, but from that moment on things started to happen for them, culminating with the release of their debut demo The First Insurrection, in 2013.

It was just a matter of time until the release of their debut full-length opus, self-titled Bloodhunter, which came to light in 2014 and quickly made a huge impact on the local Spanish scene, gathering the attention of fans and critics not only in Spain but anywhere else in the world where high-quality Melodic Death Metal is appreciated. A couple of years later, in 2017, the band released their sophomore effort, titled The End of Faith, showcasing a huge evolution in terms of sound quality, creativity, violence and, above all, in Diva Satanica’s guttural vocals, presenting a much more demonic, piercing and thrilling side of our devilish banshee. Apart from their two studio albums, Bloodhunter also released a couple of singles through the years, those being Ages of Darkness, in 2014, which was featured on a compilation called Oráculo Magazine: From the Shadows Vol.I, and a very entertaining cover version for Helloween’s all-time classic I Want Out, in 2018, where Diva Satanica shares the vocal duties with Spanish vocalist and guitarist Leo Jiménez, known for his solo band and other projects such as Stravaganzza and Saratoga. In addition to that, Bloodhunter also offered us fans a few more amazing cover songs, with their version for Arch Enemy’s hit Bury Me an Angel, featured on a compilation called Hardcore Hits Cancer Vol. III in 2018, Death’s Crystal Mountain, and more recently their rendition for Cradle of Filth’s demolishing tune Gilded Cunt, showing all of our diva’s versatility and range as the fantastic Extreme Metal singer she is.

Apart from those albums, singles and cover songs, you can also have a blast with Diva Satanica and the boys in their excellent 2020 live album Live in Madrid, containing six amazing live versions recorded on March 19, 2019 at the now (unfortunately) defunct We Rock in Madrid, including Dying Sun, All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, and Bring me Horror. Furthermore, you can find other non-official live footage from Bloodhunter on YouTube, such as for example Ancestors Ov All Gods also live at We Rock, but in 2015, The Bloody Throne live at Mangualde Hard Metal Fest 2017, and Eyes Wide Open live at Le Club in La Coruña in 2018, among many, many others. However, if you prefer watching official videos with all the usual production, special effects and other shenanigans, you can bang your head to the songs All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, Dying Sun, Embrace the Dark Light and Let the Storm Come.

As we don’t have anything official yet with Diva Satanica fronting the thrashing girls from Nervosa except for a live chat done in June 2020 with the “four horsewomen”, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace (The true Endless, Triumph of Death, Niryth, Abbath), Greek drummer Eleni Nota (Lightfold, Mask of Prospero, Simplefast) and of course our beloved Diva Satanica, let’s talk a little about her previous bands, projects and special appearances in an array of bands from the most diverse styles, starting with a band she fronted from 2015 until 2019, Spanish Progressive/Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band Outreach. Despite her short stint with Outreach, she recorded with the band the full-length Ephemeral Existence and the single Insane Mind, both in 2019, showcasing all her range and potency throughout the entire album (which I highly recommended you take a listen at).

You’ll also be able to enjoy her she-wolf roars in the songs Nothing to Believe, from the 2018 album Misanthropy, by El Salvadorian Thrash/Death Metal band Apes of God; Mutiladora Genital, from Spanish Death Metal masters Aposento’s 2014 self-titled album; Darkness Within, from the 2018 album Purgatory, by Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Suru; doing additional vocals in the entire album Mesías, released in 2019 by Spanish Heavy Metal band Leo Jiménez; impersonating the one and only Baphomet in the 2019 album El Secreto de los Templarios, by Spanish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Legado de una Tragedia, together with soprano Nancy Catalina and Sara Grün from Hiranya (and you can enjoy this nice making of with an explanation as to why those three vocalists were chosen for the part); and last but not least, doing additional and choir vocals in the songs La Cantiga de las Brujas (check also this amazing live version of the same song) and El Séptimo Sello, from the 2019 album Ira Dei, by Spanish Celtic/Folk Metal institution Mägo de Oz.

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Such multi-talented metal diva would obviously have tons of distinguished influences in her style and career, and despite the fact that her moniker was clearly inspired by one of the best Arch Enemy songs of all time, Diva Satanica, and that most fans tried to label them as the Spanish version of Arch Enemy in the beginning, the members of Bloodhunter have many different influences in their musical careers, from Judas Priest to Behemoth and Death. When asked about her own personal favorites, Diva Satanica mentioned bands and artists the likes of Astarte, Eths, In This Moment, Skullfist, Behemoth, Axewound, Rotting Christ, Nightrage, Firewind and Lana del Rey, showing she enjoys any type of music, not only rock and metal, but also saying that it’s in Extreme Metal where she found her identity when singing. If you know Spanish and want to spend some time with Diva Satanica and her collection of metal and non-metal albums, you should definitely watch this video on YouTube, where she presents some of her favorite albums from bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Ramones, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Firewind, Rotting Chirst, The Agonist and Eths. Regarding French metalcore band Eths, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the amazing Candice Clot, former frontwoman for what’s in my opinion one of the most underrated metal bands of all time, was essential in her decision to become an extreme music vocalist. In addition, you can enjoy Diva Satanica paying her own personal tribute to some of her biggest idols on her own YouTube channel, including her vocal performances of Septicflesh’s Prototype, Holy Moses’ Triggered, Behemoth’s Ov Fire And The Void, and a very unique version for Slayer’s darkest hit Raining Blood together with Spanish rock and metal cover band Femme Fractal.

As we’re talking about women in rock and metal, Diva Satanica complemented her thoughts by saying that apart from Candice Clot (and Diva Satanica even said that when Candice left Eths she was offered to audition, but she had to refuse it as she was barely 20 years old and had no means to travel nor the equipment to record with), she also loves the music by In This Moment, Jinjer and a Spanish underground band named Bones of Minerva, which I highly recommend you go check their music on their BandCamp page. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the song The Queen Beast is dedicated to Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri from Greek Black Metal horde Astarte, one of her main influences and a good friend that sadly passed away in 2014 due to complications from leukemia, saying she was the first woman to create the first Black Metal band formed only by women, and we can easily see that beautiful tribute Diva Satanica paid to Tristessa in the song’s amazing lyrics (“Feel her wrath / She’s watching from the stars / Abstraction of life / The air, the nature, the skies are now her reign / The shades in darkened silverlights / The black flame burns! / The highest priestess arise”).

If you think it was easy for Diva Satanica to reach her current vocal style and growth as an Extreme Metal vocalist, she said her path so far has demanded (and will always demand) from her a lot of hard work, discipline and trial and error, acknowledging that she couldn’t sing properly on the band’s first album as she didn’t know exactly what she was doing nor she could sustain her vocals for long periods of time. It was only after watching several tutorials on YouTube , after consulting with different extreme music singers and after studying in detail the performances of all vocalists of the concerts she attended that she properly began shaping her voice, spending about two years improving her technique, even taking melodic singing classes at a given point in her life, and applying necessary warmup and diaphragm strengthening exercises to improve her performance. Then she said that because she started her “Extreme Vocal Lessons” to help other growlers to improve their vocals in the early stages of their careers, she ended up discovering different vocal types and ranges that she considered great choices to incorporate to her own style. If you want to take a peak at some of her videos where she gives important tips for growlers like her, you can watch this tutorial (also in Spanish) where she teaches how to do guttural and screaming vocals, and also this short lesson where she explains the difference between growls and screams versus grunts, pig squeals, shrieks and other vocalizations. One thing that is quite annoying to Diva Satanica is when people use gender to justify why women can’t growl, with her solution to that simply being inviting those people to watch Bloodhunter live, which in my opinion is indeed an amazing experience for the non-believers who will undoubtedly be stunned by her vicious roars.

When asked about the current metal scene in Galicia, where she comes from, and if her music and Death Metal are well-received by the people from that region in Northwest Spain, she said that although they’re a small community there are different styles that people tend to listen to the most from time to time. Around a decade ago, the Gothic scene was the most prevalent, switching to Alternative Metal and Metalcore in recent years. She also mentioned the importance of their own summer festival, Resurrection Fest, which started years ago as a small act but that it’s now one of the most important festival in Europe, proving the scene in Galicia is in excellent shape. As you might have noticed already, Diva Satanica loves performing on stage, and among her favorite songs to play live she mentioned some of her band’s most violent creations such as Let the Storm Come, Possessed by Myself and of course The Queen Beast, as already mentioned, as this song has a strong meaning for her and helps her add an extra amount of emotional feeling to her singing.

Not only an accomplished vocalist, Diva Satanica has also done some modeling in the past and contributed as a writer and journalist to a couple of magazines, including La Heavy, one of the biggest rock and metal publication in Spain, managed by the website Mariskal Rock. She said she started her modeling career a few years ago, but as she discovered a lot of people are interested in many different things other than art, she gave up and decided to focus on the metal scene, starting with a Greek webzine named Subexistance Music Production and then moving on to La Heavy. Apart from that, she’s also working towards a Degree as a Doctor in Nursery, and was a participant in the Spanish TV program La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice) in 2017, surprising the coaches by screaming and growling instead of only doing clean vocals, being the first contestant to perform this type of singing. The international artist Juanes chose her to be part of his team, where she performed songs like Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. There’s even an interview she gave to a guy named Juan Destroyer on Mariskal Rock TV where she talks about her participation on the show, and how she inspired Juanes to get back on doing a heavier kind of rock. Moreover, she always mentions that being on La Voz was one of the best experiences of her life without any doubt, saying that as she was the first even participant to do guttural, she got a lot of recognition from fans and bands from all over the world, with icons such as  Michael Amott of Arch Enemy or Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh congratulating her for her amazing performance on the show.

Our dauntless diva also mentioned that there’s still a long road ahead of all musicians that dedicate their careers to more extreme styles of rock and metal, as there’s still a lot of prejudice everywhere (saying that even today in Madrid she has to cover her tattoos depending on the situation), but that it’s up to the musicians themselves to make their style more accepted by society, and that the more musicians bring their experience to light and defend their identity, the more the road will open up. As you can see, Diva Satanica is not only extremely talented and focused on her career, but she also has a strong opinion about the current state of the metal scene and about what any person needs to do to thrive in the music industry. Hence, you can check some extra interviews with this amazing Spanish she-wolf on YouTube, such as this one where she shares the latest update on both Bloodhunter and Nervosa, the current coronavirus pandemic situation and more, or this one to a show called “That Metal Interview with James”, recorded in June 2020, where she speaks of how she met Prika Amaral of Nervosa and how she was approached to join the Brazilian death metallers, about her experience being on the TV show La Voz, and about the future plans of both Bloodhunter and Nervosa regarding their musical direction for their next records. You’ll notice from all those interviews and from her music that Rocío Vázquez is more than just another vocalist; she’s a very humble and gentle human being, a hardworking musician, and a fulminating growler. Having said that, all that’s left to say is… ALL HAIL THE ONE AND ONLY DIVA SATANICA!

Diva Satanica’s Official Facebook page
Diva Satanica’s Official Instagram
Diva Satanica’s Official Twitter
Diva Satanica’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official Facebook page
Bloodhunter’s Official Instagram
Bloodhunter’s Official Twitter
Bloodhunter’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official BandCamp
Nervosa’s Official Facebook page
Nervosa’s Official Instagram
Nervosa’s Official Twitter
Nervosa’s Official YouTube channel

“Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you feel scared and things don’t go as you planned before, but you must keep on fighting to discover what you want in your life and who you are.” – Diva Satanica

Album Review – Arkaik Excruciation / Cursed Blood of Doom (2016)

Invoking the impure sense of primitivism through their aggressive and ruthless music, here comes a new Spanish Black and Death Metal quartet with their excellent debut full-length album.

Rating5

front_cover_aeIt doesn’t matter if you go to Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia, Madrid or any other region in Spain, you’ll always find amazing heavy music all over “la piel del toro”. And if the genre in question is extreme music things get even better, with names such as Sartegos, Balmog, Xérion and Suspiral, as well as bands already reviewed by The Headbanging Moose like Tsar Bomb, Mørknatt and EvnaR, proudly carrying the flag of Spanish Extreme Metal and turning the whole country into an oasis of cutting riffs, blast beats and demonic growls. Thus, that distinguished selection of extreme groups has recently been joined by another hellish band named Arkaik Excruciation, who are releasing their debut full-length album entitled Cursed Blood of Doom, a solid tribute to the foundations of Black, Death and Thrash Metal.

Invoking the impure sense of primitivism through their aggressive and ruthless music since their inception in 2014, when they released their first demo tape named Among the Vortex of Chaos, this La Coruña-based horde of darkness adds the most obscure elements from extreme music to their creations, something you can easily notice and truly enjoy while listening to each track from Cursed Blood of Doom, featuring an obscure artwork by artist Alejandro Tedín. There’s no secret ingredient in the music by Arkaik Excruciation, just well-engendered extreme music by four talented musicians, presented as eight powerful and straightforward tracks embellished by classy and somber names. In other words, how not to get thrilled by a song named “Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat”, right?

Rude and putrid sounds will invade your ears in the bestial Black and Death Metal composition Spiral Scythes of Endless Pain, a darker version of Cannibal Corpse where drummer M. presents his business card through his demonic beats and fills, while lead singer and guitarist M.S. enhances the song’s ferocity with his metallic riffs and cavernous growls. And the song doesn’t actually end, it simply builds a direct link to the brutish Night of Sodom, where the band’s fast and furious carnage goes on with M.S. getting even more aggressive on vocals. In addition, the musicality feels more Death than Black Metal at times, showcasing the bands versatility when switching between extreme styles.

bandStills of Fire and Poison is an eerie interlude comprised of noises that feel they’re coming from the pits of hell, opening the gates for the infernal Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat, a pulverizing lesson in dementia and heaviness in Extreme Metal and definitely one of the top moments of such obscure album, with highlights to the sick drumming by M. In addition to that, its guitars also keep spreading a constant and deranged sensation of hatred until its funereal ending, paving the way to Anesthesic Ritual of Silence and its initial wicked noises, replaced by the hellish guitars by M.S. and K. Moreover, M. provides some spot-on Doom Metal-inspired beats to this semi-instrumental track, while M.S. just keeps gnarling a little in the background in a dark and satanic way.

Suddenly, all hell breaks loose in the most demented of all tracks, Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood, a kick-ass hybrid of Black Metal with the extreme pugnacity of old school Death Metal where the screams by M.S. are effectively complemented by all other instruments and their nonstop savagery, creating a damned ambience that will devour your soul. The creepy and short Clockwork Devotional Saw works as a bridge to the last song of the album, the demented Sadistic Scourge, where elements from Black, Thrash and Death Metal are united in a high-octane demolishing way. K. and F. are unrelenting with their strings, whereas M. fires his groovy and menacing beats, fading into ominous noises and vociferations that go on for over two minutes until the song is finally over.

In case you want to know more about the demonic realm of Arkaik Excruciation, go check their Facebook page, and if you want to purchase a copy of the maleficent Cursed Blood of Doom (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE), you’ll find it for sale at their own BandCamp page, at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp and Discogs page, or at the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp and webstore. And, from now on, always remember that if you’re searching for good Extreme Metal, the region of Galicia (as well as the rest of spain) is your go-to place.

Best moments of the album: Night of Sodom, Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat and Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood.

Worst moments of the album: Anesthesic Ritual of Silence.

Released in 2016 Caverna Abismal Records / Duplicate Records

Track listing
1. Spiral Scythes of Endless Pain 5:18
2. Night of Sodom 4:18
3. Stills of Fire and Poison (Interlude) 2:02
4. Swallow the Black Wings of Agrat bat Mahlat 5:50
5. Anesthesic Ritual of Silence 4:15
6. Into the Fields of the Sun-Blood 7:26
7. Clockwork Devotional Saw (Interlude) 0:26
8. Sadistic Scourge 7:15

Band members
M.S. – guitars, vocals
K. – lead guitars
F. – bass
M. – drums