Album Review – Lucifuge / Infernal Power (2021)

The full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance to the infernal fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal crafted by an unrelenting beast hailing from Germany.

3.5rating

lucifuge-infernal-power-2021For the past five years, Bremen, Germany-based Black/Thrash Metal beast Lucifuge has been perfecting an addicting fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal, all guided by the iron fist of mainman Equinox. Starting in 2018 as a one-man wrecking crew inspired by Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer, Lucifuge have expanded to a full-bodied quartet comprised of the aforementioned Equinox on vocals and guitars, Berenjenix also on the guitars, Matorralix on bass and Dominatrix on drums, taking the band’s signature greasy n’ galloping riffs, locomotive rhythmic (dis)charge and twisted n’ pissed vocals, and spit-shining them with the dirtiest motor oil known to man, resulting now in 2021 in their brand new and fulminating opus Infernal Power, a breathtaking album of unrelenting metal music highly recommended for fans of bands the likes of Exciter, Warfare, Running Wild and Onslaught, embraced by the old school warlike artwork by Italian painter Paolo Girardi.

Rev up your engines as their feast of frantic and dirty sounds is about to begin in Infernal Power, blending old school Heavy Metal the likes of early Running Wild with Punk Rock, with Equinox and Berenjenix being on fire with their lancinating riffs. Put differently, what a bestial way to kick off the album, and they keep slashing their stringed weapons mercilessly accompanied by the furious blast beats by Dominatrix and the in-your-face bass punches by Matorralix in Leviathan Arise; followed by Black Battalions, where its lyrics reek of violence and rebelliousness (“Destruction, Disorder and Desire / They cling to him who braves the gale of high / They rush upon him like a wave and break / in fiery foam against him and they shake / They Open Hell”) while the music is a beautiful, galloping fusion of Heavy, Black and Speed Metal. And putting the pedal to the metal the quartet sounds like a demonic version of the early days of Megadeth in Temples Of Madness, with Equinox delivering his trademark raspy roars nonstop.

Let’s keep slamming into the pit and raising our horns and beers high in the name of metal to the sound of Heresy Shall Remain, with Equinox and Berenjenix once again sounding hellish on the gutiars, whereas in Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame we face another round of their wicked lyrics (“Solemn dusk descending from the East / Demons rise around us in the mist / Deep beneath the Eyes of The Black Flame / Rise the One whose name shall not be named”) amidst a hurricane of metallic and sulfurous sounds. Then investing in a more melodic sound while maintaining their core essence intact the band offers us Black Light of The Evening Star, not as demented as its predecessors but still extremely enjoyable; and they’ll make your head tremble to the sound of the Speed Metal and Punk Rock hybrid entitled The Doors of Hell May Shake, where Dominatrix is once again insane behind his drums. After such pulverizing tune, it’s time for their own rendition of Good as It Is, from the legendary Japanese Hardcore Punk band G.I.S.M.’s cult second album M.A.N., released in 1987 (and you can check the original version HERE), with Lucifuge’s tribute sounding and feeling beyond stunning and vibrant. And lastly, sounding more epic than usual, Equinox and his henchmen fire the neck-breaking Midnight Sun, with the bass jabs by Matorralix making the earth tremble while the music remains utterly venomous until the very last second.

lucifuge-2021After all is said and done, it’s quite easy to join Equinox and his henchmen in their quest for metal music. All you have to do is stream Infernal Power as many times as you want in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such talented horde, and above all that, purchase your copy of their scorching new album from their own BandCamp page, or from the Dying Victims Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore (in CD or LP format). As the band itself likes to say, the full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance. Prepare to feel Lucifuge’s Infernal Power!

Best moments of the album: Infernal Power, Black Battalions and Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame.

Worst moments of the album: Black Light of The Evening Star.

Released in 2021 Dying Victims Productions

Track listing  
1. Infernal Power 2:52
2. Leviathan Arise 2:55
3. Black Battalions 3:36
4. Temples Of Madness 2:54
5. Heresy Shall Remain 3:05
6. Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame 2:55
7. Black Light of The Evening Star 3:08
8. The Doors of Hell May Shake 3:48
9. Good as It Is (G.I.S.M. cover) 5:20
10. Midnight Sun 3:59

Band members
Equinox – vocals, guitars
Berenjenix – guitars
Matorralix – bass
Dominatrix – drums

Album Review – Motorjesus / Hellbreaker (2021)

Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene to the sound of their fantastic newborn album.

4.5rating

motorjesus-hellbreaker-2021Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to rev up your engines once again to the sound of the first-class, undisputed fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock brought forth by Mönchengladbach, Germany-based rockers Motorjesus, who have just unleashed upon us all their brand new studio album, beautifully titled Hellbreaker. Following up on the success of their 2014 album Electric Revelation and their most recent opus Race to Resurrection, released in 2018, the band comprised of Chris “Howling” Birx on vocals, Andreas “Andy” Peters on lead guitars and Oliver Beck on drums, supported by their buddies Patrick Wassenberg on rhythm guitars and  Dominik Kwasny on bass, truly stepped up their game in Hellbreaker, offering fans of heavy music the perfect soundtrack for crossing the fires of the underworld in the best rockin’ style together with the band.

A cinematic start is quickly joined by the scorching riffs by Andreas and Patrick in the electrifying feast Drive Through Fire, before Chris comes ripping with his trademark, soaring vocals, inviting us all to hit the road in the name of Rock N’ Roll, and if you think that was awesome wait until you listen to the Motörhead-infused hymn Battlezone, with Oliver smashing his drums in great fashion accompanied by the rumbling bass by Dominik. Put differently, this song will sound beyond perfect if played live, and Motorjesus keep driving way over the speed limit in the superb Hellbreaker, where Chris beautifully sings the song’s rockin’ lyrics (“This is the meltdown / Generation of the steel / When the worlds collide, together / Between the angels and the hell machine”) while his bandmates not only kick some ass with their sonic weapons but also with their spot-on backing vocals. Then it’s time for a Southern Rock and Metal party together with the boys in Beyond the Grave, a neck-breaking tune showcasing the dirty, furious riffage by Andreas and Patrick supported by Dominik and his classic bass jabs, whereas putting the pedal to the metal once again the saviors of Rock N’ Roll will put us to dance in Dead Rising, where all band members are in absolute sync while Chris takes the lead with his visceral vocal lines.

You better have some inner fuel left as the band’s rockin’ energy keeps flowing nonstop in Car Wars, another amazing tune by those German rockers where the riffs and solos by the band’s guitar duo are absolutely thrilling, also presenting hints of our good old Rockabilly; and the thunderous bass by Dominik kicks off the Heavy Metal mid-tempo extravaganza Firebreather, as melodic and groovy as it can be, being therefore perfect for some headbanging, beer drinking and horns raising, not to mention its stylish lyrics (“Got no place to call my own / Another journey starts now / As we’re marching on / On the path that leads, / but it’s too soon / You’re on the crossroads to your doom”). More of their trademark Hard Rock is presented to us in the form of Lawgiver, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline with Andreas and Patrick once again stealing the spotlight with their refined axes, while Black Hole Overload is a heavier and denser creation by Motorjesus where the band’s stringed trio has all the support they need from Oliver’s pounding drums to shine with their Stoner Metal sounds. They still have enough stamina for another round of their frantic Rock N’ Roll in Back to the Bullet, once again inspired by the furious music by Motörhead, with Chris sounding truly enraged form start to fish for our total delight, flowing into the acoustic and smooth outro The Outrun, soothing our souls after such avalanche of incendiary heavy music.

motorjesus-2021I guess I don’t need to say that Hellbreaker, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, is a mandatory addition to your rock and metal collection, right? It’s undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year, and it will surely inspire you to bang your head and sing along with the band every time you hit the highway. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Motorjesus a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their gasoline-infused creations on Spotify, and above all that, to buy or stream your favorite version of Hellbreaker by clicking HERE or HERE. The one and only “Motorjesus”, perhaps the coolest guy you’ll ever find out there, is ready to break through the fires of hell armed with his undisputed Rock N’ Roll. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join him in his awesome adventure? Simply hit play, raise your horns, and enjoy the ride.

Best moments of the album: Battlezone, Hellbreaker, Dead Rising, Car Wars and Back to the Bullet.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Track listing  
1. Drive Through Fire 5:52
2. Battlezone 3:36
3. Hellbreaker 4:07
4. Beyond the Grave 3:40
5. Dead Rising 3:47
6. Car Wars 3:35
7. Firebreather 4:28
8. Lawgiver 5:05
9. Black Hole Overload 4:35
10. Back to the Bullet 3:51
11. The Outrun 1:55

Band members
Chris “Howling” Birx – vocals
Andreas “Andy” Peters – lead guitars
Oliver Beck – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Wassenberg – rhythm guitars (live/session)
Dominik Kwasny – bass (live/session)

Album Review – Scythe Beast / Indicted for Misconception (2021)

A pulverizing display of German Melodic Death and Thrash Metal that will lay waste to any listener unfortunate enough to venture near the battlefield.

3.5rating

scythe-beast-indicted-for-misconception-2021Originally founded in 2012 in the city of Barnstorf, a municipality in the district of Diepholz, in Lower Saxony, Germany, as what was solely intended to be a studio project, Melodic Death/Thrash Metal outfit Scythe Beast quickly morphed into its very own entity, culminating with the released of their debut effort Breeding Devastation in 2016. Now in 2021 it’s time for frontman Claus Ulka, guitarists Sven Stoppelberg and Frank Schwenker, bassist Jens Weymann and drummer Andreas Tegeler to unleash upon us their sophomore opus, entitled Indicted for Misconception, a deadly barrage brought into being during the lockdown period in Germany that will lay waste to any listener unfortunate enough to venture near the battlefield, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of God Dethroned, Carcass and old Dark Tranquility.

Sven and Frank rev up Scythe Beast’s angry machine in the opening tune King of a Dead Land, evolving into a violent fusion of classic Death and Thrash Metal perfect for slamming into the pit right form the very first second, and it’s then time for a Carcass-infused tune entitled Kill Machine, where the quintet fires more of their vicious sounds spearheaded by the raspy roars by Claus, while Andreas keeps hammering his drums mercilessly. What a fulminating start to the album I might say, and their fire keeps burning in Soulicide, where they slow things down a bit while still sounding heavy-as-hell and utterly aggressive, increasing in insanity until exploding into visceral Melodic Death Metal where Jens extracts violent metallic sounds from his bass for our vulgar delectation; whereas the slashing riffs by the band’s guitar duo set the tone in the frantic Colonize, a Swedish Melodic Death Metal-inspired tune where the thrashing beats by Andreas bring even more fury to the overall sonority.

The tile-track Indicted for Misconception brings to our avid ears more of the band’s visceral and extremely harmonious metal music, a multi-layered, imposing tune spiced up by sick guitar solos by Sven and Frank as the icing on the cake, and never letting the energy level go down the quintet blasts our minds with the straightforward Signs of the Decline, where Claus’ demonic roaring is effectively supported by his bandmates’ classic backing vocals. If you think you’re safe from Scythe Beast, you better get ready to be crushed like an insect in For the Love of God, where Claus keeps vociferating rabidly while Sven and Frank are on fire with their wicked riffage, and Sven, Frank and Jens are once again ruthless with their stringed weapons in Truth Beyond, supported by the trademark blast beats by Andreas while also bringing some welcome hints of Black Metal. Lastly, the band demolishes everything and everyone that crosses their path with the venomous Scapegoat, presenting their usual demented riffs and beats and with Claus sounding like a furious beast on vocals just the way we like it in extreme music.

scythe-beast-2021These German beasts of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal are waiting for you on Facebook and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your true support to the underground you should definitely purchase a copy of Indicted for Misconception from the band’s own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. As already mentioned a few times on The Headbanging Moose in the past year or so, although no one can stand this never-ending lockdown anymore, it looks like several bands the likes of Scythe Beast are making very good usage of their time away from the road, generating top-of-the-line metal music for us fans and, consequently, keeping us sane and making our days a lot more fun to the sound of their wicked creations. I obviously hope this lockdown comes to an end sooner than later, but if this type of isolation is needed for Scythe Beast to keep smashing our souls with their music, then I’m more than fine having to spend some more time indoors.

Best moments of the album: King of a Dead Land, Kill Machine and Indicted for Misconception.

Worst moments of the album: Truth Beyond.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. King of a Dead Land 4:23
2. Kill Machine 4:21
3. Soulicide 6:31
4. Colonize 4:31
5. Indicted for Misconception 4:43
6. Signs of the Decline 4:53
7. For the Love of God 5:06
8. Truth Beyond 4:27
9. Scapegoat 5:00

Band members
Claus Ulka – vocals
Sven Stoppelberg – guitars
Frank Schwenker – guitars
Jens Weymann – bass
Andreas Tegeler – drums

Album Review – El Pistolero / Mexican Standoff (2021)

These German gunslingers are ready to draw their weapons and invade the airwaves with the fusion of depravity, booze and rebelliousness from their rockin’ debut album.

A bunch of Rock N’ Roll animals, dirty, loud and mean, are on their way to give the world what it needs, a rockin’ bastard which sounds as if Motörhead and Airbourne had an illegitimate child together. Founded back in 2012 in Mannheim, a city in southwest Germany, El Pistolero (which translates from Spanish as “the gunslinger”) are ready to take the world of rock music by storm with their debut full-length album, entitled Mexican Standoff, bringing forth a straightforward fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock à la Motörhead, Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and Airbourne. Mixed and mastered by Rolf Munkes (Empire, Crematory) at Empire Studios, Mexican Standoff is a lesson in depravity, booze and rebelliousness, showcasing all the undeniable talented and filthy passion for all things rock by frontman Alex ‘Nighty’ Blochmann, guitarists J.C. Müller and Chris Kaczynski, bassist Willy Krug and drummer Andy Hornef, inviting us all to dance the night away to each of the album’s vibrant compositions.

In the frantic and depraved opening track Sticky Fingers we’re treated to inebriate lyrics declaimed by Nighty and his raspy vocals (“I went drunk to a bar and claimed to be a star / Always want to take it for free / A girl to the left and a girl to right / That`s just the way that I love, that’s me / Bad girls like it – good girls love it / In rows they’re gonna follow me”), while the music is a hybrid of the Hard Rock played by AC/DC and Airbourne with the band’s own German twist. Then venturing through the lands of the badass Rock N’ Roll blasted by Motörhead, J.C. and Chris slash their guitars mercilessly in Desert Road while Willy showcases all his respect and admiration for the menacing bass by the iconic Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.); whereas in Stormbringer it’s beyond clear the band loves to tell stories of drinking and fighting in their lyrics (“Another day fallen up the stairs / A game of poker with two pairs / Someone rich, someone poor / See them lying on the floor”), not to mention you better get ready to party and dance nonstop to the crushing beats by Andy. After that, the band’s guitar duo seems to have a deal with the devil, firing pure evil and adrenaline through their riffs in Fear The Reaper while Nighty continues to vociferate in great fashion, supported by the song’s absolutely catchy backing vocals.

Then El Pistolero deliver a solid Hard Rock and Heavy Metal feast entitled Seeds Of Evil with hints of Southern Rock added to their core sonority, and after a short and eerie intro it’s time for more of their Motörhead-infused sounds in Machine Gun Preacher, perfect for slamming into the pit to the metallic riffs and bass jabs by J.C., Chris and Willy. Andy then pounds his drums nonstop in the title-track El Pistolero, a pub brawling tune bringing forward classic Hard Rock backing vocals and riffage, perfectly representing everything the band stands for, and let’s keep banging our heads to their visceral sound in the sonic extravaganza Down Under, with Nighty declaiming the song’s words while J.C. and Chris add fire to the music with their stylish riffs and solos. The quintet keeps putting the pedal to the metal in the musical train Still Riding, where the piercing sound of their guitars walks hand in hand with Andy’s old school drumming; and get ready to be smashed by El Pistolero in Five Bullets Come In Peace, accelerating their pace and turning up the heat, with the band’s guitar duo being on absolute fire. Liquor & Tits is an electrifying, deviant fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll where Nighty leads his rockin’ crew with his raspy vocals while Andy delivers endless stamina through his beats; and lastly, closing the album the band offers our ears the short and sweet Punk Rock-ish tune Painkillers, once again showcasing razor-edged guitars, rumbling bass jabs and El Pistolero’s trademark insubordination.

These German gunslinger are more than ready to rock your world to the sound of their insane debut effort, and in order to join them in their quest for old school rock and metal music you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream their music on Spotify, and of course click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream their alcohol and sex-infused album. In the end, although Germany might be thousands and thousands of kilometers away from the infamous American Wild West, that didn’t stop the guys from El Pistolero at all from crafting their ass-kicking album reeking of rye, bourbon, tequila, tits, blood and pure Rock N’ Roll, proving not only that rock music knowns no frontiers, but also that anytime, anywhere is a good place for a Hard Rock standoff.

Best moments of the album: Sticky Fingers, Fear The Reaper and Liquor & Tits.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Sticky Fingers 3:22
2. Desert Road 2:32
3. Stormbringer 3:03
4. Fear The Reaper 5:17
5. Seeds Of Evil 2:49
6. Machine Gun Preacher 3:37
7. El Pistolero 3:07
8. Down Under 3:52
9. Still Riding 4:29
10. Five Bullets Come In Peace 3:47
11. Liquor & Tits 5:06
12. Painkillers 2:20

Band members
Alex ‘Nighty’ Blochmann – vocals
J.C. Müller – guitar
Chris Kaczynski – guitar
Willy Krug – bass
Andy Hornef – drums

Guest musician
Carsten Schulz – backing vocals

Metal Chick of the Month – Britta Görtz

Follow me into the fire!

In times of turbulence, violence, uncertainty, hope and despair, perhaps the best subgenre of metal music to help us express all those feelings mixed together is our good old Death Metal, and in order to do that here at The Headbanging Moose let’s pay a humble tribute to a ferocious woman hailing from Germany that roars and growls with tons of passion when fronting her ass-kicking underground squads. Born on October 20, 1977 in Hannover, the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony, the unrelenting Extreme Metal vocalist, lyricist, songwriter and vocal coach Britta Görtz has been making a name for herself in the German and international scene with her potent guttural vocals since around 2005, standing out as the frontwoman for Thrash Metal act Cripper and more recently for Death Metal squads Critical Mess and Hiraes. Having said that, are you ready to bang your head and slam into the circle pit together with such talented growler?

Let’s kick off our tribute to Britta with her main band at the moment, the ruthless Death Metal horde known as Critical Mess, a Hannover-based act formed in 2012 that has already released two full-length albums so far in their career, those being Human Præy in 2018 and Man Made Machine Made Man in 2019, as well as the EP Zombie Apocoverlypse in 2020, all with Britta responsible for the vocal duties. After the band’s inception in 2012 they underwent many changes in lineup and writing styles until Britta replaced former vocalist Simon Körber in 2016, helping her bandmates Marco Schauff and Marco “Elmo” Evers on the guitars, Lommer Wiesener on bass and Benny Komatitsch on drums establish themselves and quickly finding their own, unique sound and style, always true to the familiar and beloved sound of old school Death Metal that they had all grown up with. Bringing forward crushing riffs, insane vocals, fierce harmonies and drum chops that put any industrial slaughterhouse soundscape to shame, Critical Mess have already shared the stage with insane acts the likes of Six Feet Under and Hatesphere, having also played in some of the most important festivals in the world like Wacken Open Air and Metaldays.

In case you’ve never heard any of the wicked creations by Critical Mess until today, you can stream all of their albums and songs on Spotify and enjoy their official videos on their YouTube channel, including the awesome videos for the songs Feasting, Into Oblivion, Cut The Cord, Pansperm; the song Echo live at Wacken Open Air 2019; live-recordings of the songs Gluttony (for the Apes Enraged Re-Live Online Festival) and Preacher of Lies (for Godslaves “Access All Areas” Online Festival), both recorded in their band practice room in Hannover; and a special video dedicated to their fans for the song Demise, from conception to stage. However, if you think Critical Mess are only brutality and rage, you must check their insane cover versions for the songs Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), by the infamous Backstreet Boys, Remmidemmi (Yippie Yippie Yeah), by Hamburg’s own Hip-Hop/Electro band Deichkind, and my favorite one Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd, all as seen on the German television show Halloween Gamenight with Luke Mockridge, which aired during last year’s Halloween. Britta is flawless on all three songs, but what she does in “Blinding Lights” is beyond awesome I must say.

Our skillful growler is also involved in a brand new project named Hiraes, a Melodic Death Metal band formed in 2020 that combines the full force of all four instrumentalists from Dawn Of Disease, those being Lukas Kerk, Oliver Kirchner, Christian Wösten and Mathias Blässe, with the powerful vocals by Britta in order to create an exciting new melodic death emergence. Currently, Hiraes are working on their debut album, which will certainly be highly recommended for fans of the Scandinavian madness brought forth by renowned acts the likes of Insomnium, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, pointing to a very interesting path ahead of Britta, therefore allowing her to showcase all her vocal range and potency outside of the purely Death Metal style she’s used to with Critical Mess. I honestly can’t wait to see what she’ll be able to do when venturing through more melodic realms, and let’s hope this never-ending pandemic doesn’t stop Britta and her henchmen from releasing new, vibrant music for all of us metalheads in a not-so-distant future.

Of course, we cannot talk about Britta and her pulverizing vocals without talking about the band that launched her to stardom in the metal community. I’m talking about German Death and Thrash Metal platoon Cripper, formed in 2005 in Hannover, with whom she recorded the EP Killer Escort Service in 2006, followed by the full-length albums Freak Inside (2007), Devil Reveals (2009), Antagonist (2012), Hyëna (2014) and Follow Me: Kill! (2017), with the last two being available on their BandCamp page, and all of them on Spotify. Hence, you can also visit their YouTube channel for official videos, interviews, unboxing of their albums and tons of other amazing footage from this hard-hitting band that unfortunately split up in 2018. Having toured with renowned acts like Overkill and Onslaught, in addition to repeat performances at major European festivals the likes of Summer Breeze, Wacken Rocks, Metalfest and Rockharz Open Air, Cripper effectively converted fans to their cause with their riveting mix of old school and modern thrash, as you can see in the official videos for the songs Animal Of Prey, Mother, Into the Fire, Tourniquet, Pressure, Totmann, A Dime For The Establishment, Shortcut, God Spoken Prayer/Cocoon and Damocles, as well as in their infernal live performances at Rock Im Betonwerk in 2012, at Metaldays in 2014 and at Wacken Open Air in 2016. As you might have noticed, when Critical Mess were formed, Britta was still singing for Cripper, but according to Britta herself it wasn’t difficult at all to manage both bands at the same time. “The two bands feel completely different,” she commented at that time, complementing by saying that “lyrically, Cripper is more expressive, while Critical Mess has so far been more storytelling.”

You can also find Britta screaming and roaring like a true she-wolf in several distinct bands and projects, where she was able to add her own share of violence and creativity to their music. For instance, you can enjoy Britta’s unique guttural vocals in the song My Abomination, from the album ED, released in 2020 by German Death Metal act Corrosive; in the song Into Darkness, from the 2014 album Drone, by German Groove Metal/Metalcore unity Drone; in the song Children of the Pit, from the 2016 album Welcome to the Green Zone, by German Thrash Metal squad Godslave; and doing backing vocals in the 2009 album Marauders, by German Death/Thrash Metal act Lost World Order. Not only that, Britta also showcased her skills as a photographer in the 2007 album Hate Is the Law, by German Death Metal band Ancient Existence.

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Regarding her influences, idols and first experiences in music, Britta has a very eclectic and wide range of musicians and bands that she admires. For instance, she said the first-ever concert in her life was back in 1990 in the small town of Seelze, where she grew up, of German Pop Rock band Die Prinzen; her first record was one containing the hit Bruttosozialprodukt, released in the 80’s by Neue Deutsche Welle group Geier Sturzflug; the first CD she bought herself was a live album by Guns N’ Roses (at the same time she bought her first CD player); and she would love to share the stage with the one and only Mike Patton, especially if it’s with his insane cult band Fantômas, which is quite easy to understand why as Mr. Patton is indeed one of the most talented, one of the wildest and one of the most creative vocalists ever. Also, on a side note, if you think Britta makes any distinction between male and female vocalists, or if she cares about the term “female-fronted metal”, she thinks that’s a stupid and very sexist concept, saying that she got tired of it right after her first interview where questions about her being a girl in a Death Metal band started to come up. Having said that, let’s simply stop asking that type of question when interviewing Britta, sounds good?

As mentioned, Britta has already been in several different festivals with all of her bands like the unparalleled holy land of metal music Wacken Open Air, having toured extensively across the entire European continent as well as being part of renowned and innovative events such as being aboard 70,000 Tons of Metal, saying the vibe in each one of those unique events might be different due to the number of people that attend each one, the ticket prices, the age of the fans and so on, but that in the end it’s always a pleasure for her to show her music and art to all types of metalheads. She also said that whenever someone can’t believe how powerful and aggressive her guttural vocals are when seeing he live for the first time, that doesn’t really amuse her as she thinks if you’re a true metal fan you’re already used to women growling for ages. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that she dreams of touring around South America, as (unfortunately) she’s never been there and she would love to experience all South American countries as a touring band, immersing herself in each local youth and music culture.

All that recording, touring and screaming can be extremely strenuous on one’s vocal chords, demanding a lot from the singer, and of course it couldn’t be any different with Britta. She mentioned that there are some warmup exercises she does prior to each show, such as humming and singing some scales, saying that those aren’t only important for her  vocal cords, but they also serve as a ritual to prepare herself mentally for hitting the stage, working at the same time as physical and mental warmups. In addition, our talented growler also listed lots of sleep and lots of water as necessary methods for anyone’s vocals to stay in shape, balancing her partying and avoiding drinking too much alcohol, working out regularly and eating healthy, fresh food (without stressing too much about that). If you want to have a one-hour online lesson (or even a face-to-face one after this pandemic is finally over) in growling, shouting and screaming with Britta, you can visit the LCHQ Online Shop and purchase a vocal coaching voucher, hiring her services to provide you some useful tips, teach you new techniques and warmups, and anything else related to guttural singing, and coming from such talented singer like Britta that’s definitely worth the investment.

Last but not least, Britta has a very strong opinion on populism and the tensions we’ve been experiencing worldwide, saying that it doesn’t matter which perspective you take, be it the way the media reports it or how the reporting is perceived, the desire for security paired with the abandonment of freedom, or the contribution that the so-called “western world” makes to all of this, in the end the situation is pretty tricky, leading people to think they have simple solutions to complex problems. There are countless interviews online with Britta where you can know more about her as a person, as an artist, her opinions, her likes and dislikes and so on, such as this one to Mama Goes Wacken where she talks about her passion for chocolate (among other topics, of course),  this one to The Metal Gods Meltdown where she discusses the decision of Cripper to call it quits, this one to Rock Titan and this one to DJ Vampire talking about Cripper, and this one to Metal & High Heels when they played at FEMME (Female Metal Event). As you can see, Britta is an extremely talented musician with an open heart and an open mind, always willing to share her ideas, experiences and opinions with her fans and, more important than that, always ready to scream and roar in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Britta Görtz’s Official Facebook page
Britta Görtz’s Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official Facebook page
Critical Mess’ Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official YouTube channel

“I never thought ‘oh look at what she is doing, a girl in a heavy metal, that’s what I wanna do, too’. What got me to wanting to play in a band was probably that I thought it was a good way for me to express myself and at the same time channel my energy. Energetic live shows no matter of which genre attract me. Shows where you can feel the electricity in the air, where it kicks your butt and really grabs you. I am trying to find a certain kind of flow on stage and to share my energy with the fans. That’s not easy, cause it is nothing that you can create every time, but that’s what I am aiming for.” – Britta Görtz

Album Review – Accept / Too Mean to Die (2021)

In their hard-hitting, uncompromising sixteenth studio album, the unrelenting German kingpins of Heavy Metal will tell you why they’re too mean to die.

Following on their critically acclaimed releases Blind Rage and The Rise of Chaos, the unrelenting German kingpins of Heavy Metal collectively known as Accept are back in 2021 with a brand new and pulverizing album of undisputed metal music entitled Too Mean to Die, the 16th studio album in their amazing career and the fifth to feature American frontman Mark Tornillo on vocal duties. Recorded in Nashville, the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and considered by many as the worldwide capital of music, the album was once again produced by British master producer Andy Sneap, known for his work with titans the likes of Judas Priest and Megadeth, and who has also been responsible for all Accept productions since 2010, enhancing the impact of the music blasted by the aforementioned Mark Tornillo on vocals, Wolf Hoffmann, Uwe Lulis and newcomer Philip Shouse on the guitars (marking it as their first-ever album with three guitarists), newcomer Martin Motnik on bass and Christopher Williams on drums, and therefore, proving this legendary squad will keep bringing to us all hard, direct and uncompromising metal music for many years to come.

Wolf, Uwe and Philip rev up Accept’s metallic engine in the amazing opening tune Zombie Apocalypse, delivering pure, unfiltered 80’s-inspired Heavy Metal with a modern twist, of course showcasing the band’s trademark sound and Mike’s piercing vocals, singing about mankind’s dependence and fixation with social media (“They’re walking by day, they stumble by night / Wandering blindly, with no end in sight / Mass communication, hand to hand / A new epidemic has control of this land”); whereas in Too Mean to Die we face lyrics about being a true headbanger (“I’m a heavy metal warrior / Restless son of a bitch / A weapon of destruction / With both hands on the switch”), while fast and furious German Power Metal flows from their riffs and Christopher hammers his drums in great fashion. And adding a good dosage of Hard Rock to their core metal music, the band fires the excellent Overnight Sensation, with Martin’s rumbling bass and Christopher’s classic beats providing Mike all he needs to shine on vocals in a song about becoming a (sub)celebrity and getting addicted to that ephemeral fame.

In No One’s Master, Accept lean towards some of their latest songs from The Rise of Chaos and Blind Rage, with the band’s guitar triumvirate being on fire with their crisp, crystalline riffs and soulful solos in another high-octane metal extravaganza, and Martin will make your head tremble with his wicked bass jabs in The Undertaker, a good, classic Heavy Metal tune that has its moments, but that’s considerably below the rest of the album in terms of adrenaline and punch. Then Wolf and his wolfpack extract sheer rage from their sonic weapons in the thrilling Sucks to Be You, with Mike’s classic screams being effectively supported by the band’s backing vocals, resulting in a beer-drinking, pub-brawling hymn for diehard fans of the band. And there’s no sign of slowing down or selling out by those dauntless metallers, as Accept keep blasting their instruments mercilessly in Symphony of Pain, showcasing a more imposing sonority found in Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad: Brothers in Death.

After so much heaviness and adrenaline, it’s time for one of Accept’s stylish, melancholic ballads entitled The Best Is Yet to Come, where Mike steals the spotlight with his introspective performance singing about how we get simpler as time goes by, while the band’s guitar trio embellishes the airwaves with their delicate riffs and piercing solos; followed by How Do We Sleep, a true headbanger by Mike, Wolf & Co. that sounds at the same time old school and modern, with Christopher dictating the pace with his pounding drums. And those metal veterans speed things up a bit, getting heavier and more aggressive in the acid tune Not My Problem, displaying an amazing job done by Wolf, Uwe and Philip on the guitars, adding endless electricity to the overall result and as a consequence sounding straight-to-the-point and as fun as hell until the very last second. Lastly, the solid instrumental tune Samson and Delilah closes the album on a distinct mode, with Wolf stealing the show with his classic riffs and solos and, of course, his undeniable and deep passion for all things Heavy Metal.

After listening to Too Mean to Die, I’m pretty sure you’ll get yourself headbanging nonstop, tapping on your desk, raising your horns while drinking a cold beer, and everything else that perfectly represents our beloved metal music, getting back to the start and repeating this exciting “ritual” over and over again, which means Accept moe than succeeded once again in their quest for Heavy Metal as expected. Hence, in case you’re from another dimension and don’t know Accept yet, you can start following them on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream their extensive catalogue on Spotify, and purchase their awesome new album by clicking HERE or HERE, showing the world that just like the unstoppable guys from one of the most important metal bands in the world, you’re also a true metalhead that’s too mean to die.

Best moments of the album: Zombie Apocalypse, Too Mean to Die, Sucks to Be You and Not My Problem.

Worst moments of the album: The Undertaker.

Released in 2021 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Zombie Apocalypse 5:31
2. Too Mean to Die 4:21
3. Overnight Sensation 4:24
4. No One’s Master 4:10
5. The Undertaker 5:37
6. Sucks to Be You 4:05
7. Symphony of Pain 4:39
8. The Best Is Yet to Come 4:47
9. How Do We Sleep 5:41
10. Not My Problem 4:21
11. Samson and Delilah 4:31

Band members
Mark Tornillo – lead vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – guitar
Uwe Lulis – guitar
Philip Shouse – guitar
Martin Motnik – bass
Christopher Williams – drums

Album Review – Tragedian / Seven Dimensions (2021)

This multicultural Melodic Power Metal unity hailing from Germany is ready to enlighten our destiny to the sound of their fourth full-length album, presenting to the world a new and reinvigorated lineup.

The esoteric and the obscure. Tales of the eternal fight between darkness and light… Formed by arcane energies. The mysteries that lay beyond human recognition. We are Tragedian, Power Metal that enlightens your destiny!

Formed in 2002 by American guitarist, songwriter and producer Gabriele Palermo, Tragedian are a multicultural metal band from Hamburg, Germany with a range of influences from Heavy Metal to Speed and Melodic Power Metal, taking their favorite elements from each genre and making their own interpretation. Currently comprised of the aforementioned Gabriele Palermo on the guitars together with Venezuelan vocalist Joan Pabón, German bassist Dawid Wieczorek, German keyboardist and pianist  Denis Scheither, and Italian drummer Nicolò Bernini, the band is about to unleash their fourth full-length album, entitled Seven Dimensions, the first with Joan, Dawid and Denis on the lineup. Produced by Gabriele himself, post-produced and mixed by Eike Freese at Chameleon Studios in Hamburg, and featuring an ethereal artwork by Polish artist Piotr Szafraniec (Archart Studio), Seven Dimensions takes the band to a different direction of Melodic Metal, showcasing nine new, electrifying anthems plus three previously released tracks reworked by the quintet.

Blazing guitars and whimsical keys kick off the Melodic Metal extravaganza titled Rising Rage, with Nicolò dictating the rhythm with his classic beats in a fast, harmonious and epic manner just the way we like it, and with Joan proving why he was chosen to be the band’s new lead singer. Then more of Gabriele’s slashing riffs and solos penetrate deep inside our ears in Aloneless, where Dawid and Nicolò’s low-tuned, rumbling sounds make a vibrant paradox with Denis’ classy keys. Put differently, it will certainly please all fans of bands like Stratovarius, Rhapsody of Fire and Angra, whereas investing in a more direct sonority, the band blends the electricity of Power Metal with the rebelliousness of old school Heavy Metal and Hard Rock in Out of the Dark, featuring guest guitars by Dan Palmer (Zebra Head, Death By Stereo), and the final result is simply awesome. And putting the pedal to the metal the quintet fires the melodic hurricane Darkest of My Days, where Joan is amazing on vocals supported by the unstoppable drums by Nicolò, not to mention the razor-edge guitar lines by Gabriele.

In Bringer of Dreams, featuring guest vocals by Wade Black (Crimson Glory, Leatherwolf), after a not-so-promising start the music fortunately evolves into another solid feast of Melodic Power Metal by Tragedian, with Joan and Wade bringing joy to our hearts with their dynamic vocal duo; and it’s time for a power ballad led by Joan’s passionate vocals and Denis’ melancholic piano notes entitled Crying in the Rain, also presenting background female vocals which bring an additional touch of finesse to the overall result, albeit going on for too long. Back to a more imposing and epic musicality, Nicolò kicks ass once again on drums while Gabriele keeps extracting sheer adrenaline from his axe in Enlightened, all spiced up by a classic Stratovarius-inspired keyboard solo by Denis, followed by an avalanche of classic riffs and nonstop drums in Forevermore, with the groovy bass punches by Dawid bringing thunder to the music. Needless to say, it can’t get any more melodic than this.

Destiny sounds relatively generic compared to the rest of the album, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad song, though, it’s just that it falls flat after a while despite the solid instrumental pieces blasted by the quintet. Then Joan showcases all his vocal potency and range is his mother tongue in Para Siempre (Forever), a very entertaining tune (and of course very special and personal for Joan himself) that results in a lecture in Spanish Melodic Metal; and those power metallers are never tired of embellishing the airwaves with their stylish sounds like what they do in The Journey, where Gabriele and Denis are once again in absolute sync form start to finish. Guest vocalist Zak Stevens (Savatage, Circle II Circle) adds his touch of melancholy and epicness to the inspiring ballad Forces of the Light, where we’re invited to let Tragedian’s enfolding music soothe our souls while Joan and Zak give a lecture in vocal performance, closing the digital edition of the album. However, you should definitely go for the CD version of Seven Dimensions, as the bonus tracks Crying in the Rain (duet version) and Forces of the Light (full orchestral version) are definitely worth the investment in the physical edition, especially the orchestral version for the embracing ballad with Zak Stevens.

As already mentioned, the addition of Joan, Dawid and Denis to Tragedian’s lineup brought a new share of epicness, melody and creativity to Gabriele’s brainchild, with Seven Dimensions perfectly depicting the band’s renewed energy throughout each one of the albums’ ten vibrant tracks (or twelve, if we also count the two bonus tracks of the CD version). Having said that, let’s all show the guys from Tragedian how much we admire their music, and that they’ve chosen to follow an exciting path in this new phase of their career by giving them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming more of their music on Spotify, and especially by purchasing a copy of Seven Dimensions or by streaming it in full by clicking HERE. This is first-class, international Melodic Power Metal that deserves our attention and recognition, my friends, and let’s hope Gabriele and his melodic army keep delivering sheer awesomeness to all of us with all of their future releases, always displaying their refined techniques, and of course, their passion for heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Rising Rage, Out of the Dark, Forevermore and Forces of the Light.

Worst moments of the album: Crying in the Rain and Destiny.

Released in 2021 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Rising Rage 4:19
2. Aloneless 4:03
3. Out of the Dark 3:42
4. Darkest of My Days 3:42
5. Bringer of Dreams 5:35
6. Crying in the Rain 4:48
7. Enlightened 5:01
8. Forevermore 4:13
9. Destiny 4:19
10. Para Siempre (Forever) 3:37
11. The Journey 4:32
12. Forces of the Light 6:35

CD Edition bonus tracks
13. Crying in the Rain (duet version) 4:49
14. Forces of the Light (full orchestral version) 4:50

Band members
Joan Pabón – vocals
Gabriele Palermo – guitar
Dawid Wieczorek – bass
Denis Scheither – keyboards, piano
Nicolò Bernini – drums

Guest musicians
Wade Black – vocals on “Bringer of Dreams”
Zak Stevens – vocals on “Forces of the Light”
Dan Palmer – guitars on “Out Of The Dark”

Album Review – Dark Zodiak / Ophiuchus (2021)

These Teutonic bringers of Death and Thrash Metal are ready to smash us all to the sound of their third full-length album, translating into extreme music the thirteenth sign of the zodiac.

Thrilling live shows, a crushing sound, direct interaction with the crowd and an incendiary fusion of Thrash and Death Metal forged from whipping riffs, vicious drums and thunderous female growls. That’s exactly what Eggingen, Germany-based squad Dark Zodiak stands for, leading the band to rock all over Germany and Europe and to share the stage with renowned acts such as Tankard, Debauchery and Eluveitie, among many others, since their inception in 2011. After the releases of their 2011 debut demo Throwing Stones, followed by the full-length albums See You in Hell, from 2014, and Landscapes of Our Soul, from 2017, it’s time for frontwoman Simone Schwarz, guitarists Charly Gak and Benni Poeck, bassist Steffi Bergmann and drummer Dieter Schwarz to smash our skulls once again with their third installment, the heavy and furious Ophiuchus, the thirteenth sign of the zodiac. A large constellation straddling the celestial equator, having its name taken from the Greek Ὀφιοῦχος (Ophioukhos, or “serpent-bearer”), Ophiuchus is a lesson in underground extreme music, showcasing a band that’s not only extremely talented, but that also nurtures a deep passion for Death and Thrash Metal presented as 48 minutes of music split into the ten unrelenting, organic and honest tracks.

A sinister intro evolves into the thrashing beast Do More Say Less, with Simone providing her welcome card through her guttural, she-demon vocals, while Charly and Benni fire razor-edge Death Metal riffs nonstop, and it’s time for Dieter to smash his drums rabidly in the fast and furious Heaven, Earth And Beneath, showcasing a perfect combination of the instrumental madness from Thrash Metal with the vile growling from Death Metal, consequently inspiring us all to smash our skulls into the circle pit. Their sick and violent display of Death and Thrash Metal goes on in Invisible Apocalypse, where Simone invests in some demented Deathslam-inspired screeches while Steffi and Dieter make sure the ambience remains as dense as possible with their infernal kitchen; whereas the obscure vociferations by Simone kick off the infernal Ophiuchus, sounding as if Exodus went full Death Metal and presenting a great job done once again by the band’s guitar duo with their dirty riffs and solos, resulting in over seven minutes of ass-kicking metal with atmospheric passages and endless rage. Then another round of their unstoppable beats, crushing riffage and devilish roars is offered to our ears in the form of Destroy Destruction, a classic Death Metal tune with Dieter showcasing all his dexterity and insanity behind his drums.

The band’s blazing guitars will slash your ears in the also violent, headbanging tune Humor, where Simone’s deep growls walk hand in hand with the classic beats by Dieter, resulting in a solid and entertaining display of old school Death Metal, followed by From Thrash Till Death, once again bringing to our avid ears a pulverizing fusion of Thrash and Death Metal spearheaded by the scorching riffs by Charly and Benni during its three minutes of music tailored for banging our heads like true maniacs. The lyrics in 2020 A.D. couldn’t have represented better the current (and shitty) state of our world, while musically speaking it’s a mid-tempo, hammering extravaganza where Steffi’s bass (together with Dieter’s drums) will make your head tremble in great Death Metal fashion; and after a quick intro, Total Freedom explodes into pure Death Metal in their second to last breath of violence, and you better get ready to growl and gnarl together with Simone during the entire song, not to mention the heaviness of the pounding beats by Dieter. Lastly, blending the gory sound of Cannibal Corpse with the thrashing madness of Exodus and Nuclear Assault the band offers us all Ignorance, a great choice to close the album showcasing Simone’s vicious and demonic growling and the always thrilling drums by Dieter from start to finish, leaving us disoriented but absolutely eager for more of their music in the future.

After all is said and done, we must all admit Dark Zodiak did a damn good job throughout the entire album, offering our ears humongous dosages of savagery, dexterity and passion for extreme music. Hence, we should all hail those Teutonic bringers of Death and Thrash Metal by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, by streaming more of their music on Spotify, and by grabbing a copy of Ophiuchus from their own website, from their BandCamp page, and soon enough from other retailers like Apple Music and Amazon. And may the stars of our beloved Death and Thrash Metal keep guiding Dark Zodiak in their quest for total annihilation, celebrating heavy music with more ass-kicking releases like Ophiuchus.

Best moments of the album: Heaven, Earth And Beneath, Ophiuchus and Ignorance.

Worst moments of the album: Total Freedom.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Do More Say Less 5:49
2. Heaven, Earth And Beneath 4:04
3. Invisible Apocalypse 3:45
4. Ophiuchus 7:18
5. Destroy Destruction 4:40
6. Humor 5:16
7. From Thrash Till Death 3:03
8. 2020 A.D. 4:52
9. Total Freedom 5:27
10. Ignorance 3:57

Band members
Simone Schwarz – vocals
Charly Gak – guitar
Benni Poeck – guitar
Steffi Bergmann – bass
Dieter Schwarz – drums