Album Review – Enmity / Demagoguery (2022)

***Review by Luke Hayhurst, writer for Morbid Wings (Print) ZineVM Underground Fanzine and Doom-Metal.com***

A debut album of old school Thrash/Death Metal that spans four countries and two continents. Enmity hails from France and Greece in Europe, and Jordan and Indonesia in Asia. A multicultural smorgasbord spread across thousands of miles combines to create one aggressive Thrash entity with anger in their collective hearts towards the state of the world and our messed up society. Their debut album Demagoguery means to partake in political activities whilst seeking support by pandering to the prejudices of people instead of using rational argument. Nothing speaks louder than that to sum up the world in which we live in.

Unfortunately, due to a corrupt file I couldn’t listen to the albums opening track and so my first experience of Enmity is the groove drenched tones and mesmerizing guitar solos of The Bullet That Kills You. Chugging Death Metal and intricate Thrash collide through thick meaty drumming, ominous sounding guitar leads and raw vocal work.

So, whilst the main ingredients are present for an intensive Thrash/Death bout of rampaging societal angst, Demagoguery never really hits the highs that I expected of it, despite more than adequate musicianship and song writing ability. There are times when Enmity feels like they are trying to fit far too much technicality into their style, and the stop start nature of their playing robs them of a lot of momentum. Where the band should simply find a groove and ride that crest with the sense of rhythm they clearly possess, they let the moment ebb away on so many occasions that the album feels stilted.

Let me be perfectly clear, Demagoguery isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but there is just something about the overall flow of this album that just loses something in translation.

Best Moments of the album: In all honesty, nothing massively stands out.

Worst moments of the album: The stop start nature of some of the melodies which decrease the albums intensity. Also the band occasionally loses momentum by trying to be a little too technical.

Released in 2022 by Kvlt and Kaos Productions

Track listing
1. My Enemy 4:32
2. The Bullet That Kills You 4:45
3. The Enemy Below 5:54
4. Preventable Genocide 4:56
5. Flying Fortress 5:33
6. Resistance 4:32
7. Demagoguery 7:41

Band members
Zuul – vocals
David Decobert – guitar
Michael Perwira – guitar
Mohammed Kutkut – bass
George Kollias – drums

Links
Enmity Facebook | Instagram | Linktree | Spotify | BandCamp | YouTube | Bfan.link

Album Review – Anticreation / From The Dust Of Embers (2022)

Behold this 34-minute aural declaration of war toward the insignificance of all terrain things masterfully crafted by a dynamic duo from Greece.

Born in the beginning of 2021 in Athens, Greece with the intent of creating sprawling, otherworldly abstract Death Metal embraced with lyrics about chaos, death and nightmarish realms and states of consciousness, the ruthless Black/Death Metal duo Necro on guitars and vocals and Noctus on bass and vocals, collectively known as Anticreation, emerges from the abysses of hell with their colossal debut album From the Dust of Embers, a 34-minute aural declaration of war toward the insignificance of all terrain things. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Descent Studio, and with layout by Cold Poison an logo and inner parts by Nox Fragor Art, From The Dust Of Embers is an imposing beast levitating with an immense aura of complete ruin and inevitability highly recommended for fans of Pseudogod, Immolation, Dead Congregation and Lucifyre, showcasing all the fury of Necro and Noctus accompanied by guest musicians Krzysztof Klingbein on drums and Slanderer on ambient and noise tracks.

The sinister intro Faith’s Demystifcation welcomes the listener to the Stygian lair ruled by Anticreation before the duo comes crushing in the title-track From the Dust of Embers, a straight-to-the-point, no shenanigans Black Metal onrush where Krzysztof proves why he was chosen by Necro and Noctus to take care of the drumming duties, and with Necro being not only bestial on the guitar but his guttural vocals are also infernal. Then starting in a beyond phantasmagorical manner, the obscure The Beauty of Lava brings forward elements from Doom Metal and Blackened Doom to make things even more menacing, with Noctus hammering his bass mercilessly, and the duo continues to extract sheer malignancy from their stringed weapons in Abomination Reborn while Krzysztof dictates the pace with his pounding beats. Put differently, it’s sulfurous Black Metal at its finest spiced up by a humongous dosage of Death Metal roars, whereas The Last Perception sounds even more demented and vicious than its predecessors, resulting in a Black Metal extravaganza where Necro’s strident, devilish riffs will pierce your mind ruthlessly.

Krzysztof smashes his drums like a beast in A Journey Into the Throat of Death, giving it a tribalistic vibe while the guitars and bass sound as caustic as possible, flowing into the interlude The Swarm, which will send shivers down your spine thanks to all the eerie, otherworldly noises and sounds crafted by Anticreation until all hell breaks loose in Unborn, a brutal Black Metal aria where Necro and Noctus once again darken our minds with their riffs and bass lines, not to mention how inhumane Krzysztof sounds behind his drums. Kathagiasis, the last song from the regular version of the album, showcases wicked vociferations by Necro accompanied by the menacing bass by Noctus, whereas lastly we’re treated to more of their caustic fusion of Black and Death Metal that’s worth the investment in the digital version of the album with the bonus track The Supreme Terror, which as its name already says will terrorize you for all eternity.

There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for your damned soul, which means the only option left for you is to succumb to the dark side and join Anticreation on their devilish path, and you can do so by following the band on Facebook and by purchasing the amazing From The Dust Of Embers from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ BandCamp page or webstore, or from the Nuclear Winter Records’ BandCamp page. In the end, we’re all insignificant, and Anticreation are among us to show us this unwanted truth armed with From The Dust Of Embers, an album that will surely be considered one of the top metal albums hailing from Greece this year.

Best moments of the album: From the Dust of Embers, Abomination Reborn and Unborn.

Worst moments of the album: The Beauty of Lava.

Released in 2022 Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Nuclear Winter Records

Track listing
1. Faith’s Demystifcation 0:45
2. From the Dust of Embers 4:04
3. The Beauty of Lava 5:44
4. Abomination Reborn 4:48
5. The Last Perception 4:10
6. A Journey Into the Throat of Death 4:33
7. The Swarm 0:45
8. Unborn 4:26
9. Kathagiasis 4:37

Digital Edition bonus track
10. The Supreme Terror 3:16

Band members
Necro – guitars, vocals
Noctus – bass, vocals

Guest musicians
Krzysztof Klingbein – drums
Slanderer – ambient/noise tracks

Metal Chick of the Month – Ambre Vourvahis

I will not give up… I will not stand down!

Greece, France and Germany are three countries well known for their immensurable contributions to rock and metal music, and here on The Headbanging Moose how about we unite all three and have an absolute blast with our metal lady of the month of July? That’s exactly what you’ll get with the talented, gorgeous vocalist Ambre Vourvahis, the new frontwoman for German Symphonic Metal act Xandria, and a woman who definitely knows how to add tons of passion and feeling to her already powerful vocal lines. Having said all that, are you ready to join us and Ambre in this short but sweet tribute to one of the most promising names of the Symphonic Metal scene worldwide?

Half-Greek and half-French, but currently residing in Germany, the mesmerizing Ambre Vourvahis was already singing in choirs and musicals when she was in middle school, saying in one of her interviews that her life has always revolved around music, although she continued her studies in literature and philosophy and concluded it with a philosophy degree while at the same time she was still dreaming of making music, singing and going to concerts (which she confessed she sometimes did instead of going to class, just like all of us metalheads have already done at a given point in our lives). She said she started listening to metal music when she was around 11 years old, saying metal has been a crucial part of her whole life, and let’s say it’s quite easy to notice that by the way she sings, always putting her heart and soul into her performances.

Just a few weeks ago, our Greek goddess was announced as the new vocalist of Xandria, and in her own words, “I am beyond happy to be part of this adventure, I gave everything I had on the songs that are about to come and I love every single one of them. I hope you will do too. I can’t wait to meet you all and hear about your own musical journey.” Combining atmospheric, delicate vocals with harsh, visceral roars, her potent and versatile voice fits perfectly with the new musical direction of the band, which can already be seen in their new single title Reborn (which you can also stream on Spotify). Formed in 1994 in Bielefeld, a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Xandria have already had in their career the impressive number of eight vocalists, those being Nicole Tobien, Lisa Middelhauve, Kerstin Bischof, Manuela Kraller, Dianne van Giersbergen, Lisa Middelhauve, Aeva Maurelle, and now our metal lady Ambre Vourvahis. Accompanied by fellow musicians Robert Klawonn on the guitars, Tim Schwarz on bass and Dimitrios Gatsios on drums, as well as of course Ambre on vocals, the newly formed outfit around band leader, main songwriter, composer and guitarist Marco Heubaum is ready to bring its impressive career to the next level.

“Xandria is reborn… and the first sign of the return to life is the respectively titled song. Like before, Xandria are taking you on a voyage to your imagination, and the emotional and varied voice of new frontwoman Ambre Vourvahis will show you the way there with more facets then ever – prepare for some surprises! The new line up around mastermind Marco Heubaum will definitely start a whole new chapter that is fascinating and fresh, but still genuinely Xandria. Because this is what Xandria always has been – a voyager and explorer in the inspiring world of symphonic and heavy music. And now it is reborn,” commented the band about this new phase in their career, with Ambre also having some words to say about her new band. “I knew the band personally for a long time now and during their break Marco and I started to work on music for a possible project, while at the same time he was writing already some new Xandria songs, and then he thought my voice would fit very well on them, too. In the end we even took some of the ideas for that project into Xandria as it was fitting also really well actually and brought some new elements and diversity.”

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Although nothing is known about the new album yet, Ambre seems to be very excited and can’t wait to meet the band’s fans on the road. “I feel grateful, especially with the overwhelming warm welcome I got so far by the wonderful Xandria fans,” said our raven-haired diva, and I bet you can’t wait to listen to the follow-up to their 2017 album Theater of Dimensions and to see Ambre taking the stages by storm when the band begins their tour to promote their upcoming album. By the way, starting this September the band will embark on a massive European double headlining tour with Austrian Melodic/Symphonic Power Metal band Visions of Atlantis, inviting fans to dive deep into breathtaking soundscapes of Symphonic Metal, and hopefully that tour will also be extended to other places such as North and South America, Japan and Australia. “We want to plan a lot of tours, in as many countries as we can. But especially continue to make music that will be exciting for us and our fans,” said Ambre, also mentioning that she wants to thank all of the band’s fans in person and discover their musical journeys and taste as well, as she really loves to talk about music. Well, I bet you don’t want to miss that opportunity when Ambre hits the road together with Xandria, right?

You can also find Ambre doing the female vocals for Fragment Soul, a Progressive Metal band formed in 2016 in Greece which has another metal lady featured already on our webzine, the charming Heike Langhans, as a special member on vocals. How can she sing in such different bands at the same time, one might ask? Well, Ambre mentioned in one of her interviews that she loves to challenge herself vocally and to try new things, and as she can do both clean and guttural vocals it won’t be a surprise if other musicians and bands start recruiting her to be part of their new albums or live concerts, consequently leading her to visit more and more cities and countries while on tour. Hence, let’s show our total support to Ambre in this new phase of her career, and hope that sooner than later we’ll be able to witness her kicking some ass onstage with her bandmates from Xandria in our hometowns, showing once again why Symphonic Metal has always been the perfect place for skillful and hard working women who rock our world like our up-and-coming Greek vocalist.

Ambre Vourvahis’ Official Facebook page
Ambre Vourvahis’ Official Instagram
Xandria’s Official Facebook page
Xandria’s Official Instagram
Xandria’s Official YouTube channel
Xandria’s Official Twitter

“I trained and developed my singing on my own (especially the harsh vocals) as well as with vocal coaches for many years, and still today – there is always so much more to learn and to achieve so I will probably never stop working with a professional vocal coach.” – Ambre Vourvahis

Concert Review – Nervosa & Destruction (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 05/01/2022)

The German butchers of Thrash Metal struck back in another diabolical night of heavy music in the city of Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

There’s nothing better than ending another fun weekend and getting ready for a cold and rainy Monday than a night of pure Thrash and Death Metal, and that’s exactly what several Torontonian metalheads were able to enjoy last night at Lee’s Palace thanks to the ruthless Diabolical North American Tour 2022, with the bands VX36, SUNLORD, NERVOSA and the iconic DESTRUCTION offering their fans exactly what they needed to slam into the pit and raise their horns nonstop. The first band to hit the stage was Geyserville, California-based Thrash/Groove Metal band VX36, led by vocalist and guitarist Nate Klug, who inspired all thrashers at the venue to bang their heads to great songs such as Satan’s Fury and Blood War. That was an excellent start to the night, and I just wish the band had new material to present as everything they played, despite being awesome, was from over seven years ago I believe.

Band members
Nate Klug – vocals, guitar
Gage Higgins – lead guitar, vocals
Nick Altenburg – bass
John Lorence – drums

After a really, really quick break, it was time for Jackson Heights, New York’s own Heavy/Speed Metal trio SUNLORD to kick some ass on stage. Comprised of vocalist, guitarist and founder Alfonso Ferrazza, bassist Ashely Wells and drummer Lamar Little, the band delivered a solid show including the fun songs Forbidden Witch and Turn Me Loose, with Lamar stealing the spotlight with a beyond professional and thrilling performance behind his drums, adding an extra touch of groove and heaviness to the band’s music. In the end, Sunlord might not be as thrash as the other bands from the night, but they definitely proved why they were chosen to open for Nervosa and Destruction with their energy and passion for heavy music.

Band members
Alfonso Ferrazza – vocals, guitars
Ashely Wells – bass
Lamar Little – drums

NERVOSA

Finally, after years and years waiting, I was able to see for the first time ever the all-female thrashing machine NERVOSA pulverizing everything and everyone live on stage. One of the most multinational bands of the current metal scene, as the band is now formed of Spanish frontwoman Diva Satanica, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace and Greek drummer Eleni Nota, the quartet was infernal with their fusion of Death and Thrash Metal from start to finish, with the stunning Diva Satanica not only showcasing a breathtaking vocal performance, but her stage presence was also a thing of beauty. Still promoting their 2021 opus  Perpetual Chaos, Nervosa made a lot of awesome noise playing songs the likes of Kill the Silence, Masked Betrayer, Into Moshpit, Guided By Evil and Under Ruins, as well as my favorite ones of the night, Genocidal Command, Time to Fight and Rebel Soul, where not only Diva Satanica was flawless on vocals, but Prika, Mia and Eleni were also smashing their instruments in great fashion. I just wish the girls had some time to interact with their fans at their booth (which apparently was reduced to just a few random items as their shirts couldn’t be delivered on time), but again, what really matters is what they do on stage, and they more than succeeded by inflicting that nice pain in our necks due to all headbanging involved.

Band members
Diva Satanica – lead vocals
Prika Amaral – guitar, backing vocals
Mia Wallace – bass
Eleni Nota – drums

DESTRUCTION

Another short break and there they were, German Thrash Metal institution DESTRUCTION, ready to show everyone at Lee’s Palace what old school thrash is all about. Anything I say about the band’s frontman and mastermind Schmier won’t be enough to depict his energy, his charisma and his onstage performance, kicking ass from the very first second and showing absolutely no mercy for our souls armed with his metallic bass and raspy vocals. Blending classics the likes of Nailed to the Cross, Born to Perish, Mad Butcher, Thrash Till Death, Bestial Invasion and The Butcher Strikes Back with songs from their recently released album Diabolical, including the amazing title-track and the pulverizing No Faith in Humanity, Schmier and his henchmen Damir Eskić and Martin Furia on the guitars and Canadian beast Randy Black on drums gave a lecture in Thrash Metal to their fans, showing why they’ve been alive and kicking since their inception in the distant year of 1983. By the way, close to the end of the show, Schmier had some very nice words to say about a guy that was present at the venue who was their first ever North American fan, being the first person in the US and Canada to purchase their 1984 demo Bestial Invasion of Hell. That was a really cool moment, and that guy, who was not too far from where I was standing, seemed deeply touched by such amazing tribute by one of his favorite bands of all time. That’s pure Thrash Metal, and after all was said and done (already past midnight, by the way), we were all certain those Teutonic metallers will return to destroy Toronto once again in a not-so-distant future.

Band members
Schmier – vocals, bass
Damir Eskić – lead guitars
Martin Furia – guitars
Randy Black – drums

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Album Review – Svartulven / Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side (2021)

Immerse yourself into the 40 minutes of Orthodox Black Metal split into seven obscure arias carefully crafted by an up-and-coming horde from the Hellenic Republic.

3.5rating

If you’re an admirer of the darkest side of extreme music it’s time for you to enjoy some Orthodox Black Metal made in Greece in the vein of Misotheist and Ascension, courtesy of an occult and mystic entity known as Svartulven armed with their debut opus entitled Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side. Mixed by Nikos Trialonis at Goblin’s Lair Studios in Greece, mastered by V.Santura at Woodshed Studio in Germany, and displaying a cryptic cover artwork by Adrian Baxter, the album brings forward 40 minutes of ass-kicking Black Metal split into seven obscure arias carefully crafted by this up-and-coming horde from the Hellenic Republic.

Arising from the depths of the underworld, this uncanny band comes ripping with their phantasmagorical sounds in Witness of Fire Beyond, with its venomous roars and strident riffs penetrating deep inside your psyche in a great display of sulfurous Black Metal, whereas Svartulven in Twilight begins in full force with its pounding drums hammering our cranial skulls mercilessly, also displaying an amazing fusion of visceral screams with some background vocalizations and, therefore, being highly recommended for fans of a more progressive and diverse style of Black Metal. And continuing their path of devastation, obscurity and evil, Svartulven deliver the straightforward extravaganza Therianthropic Metamorphosis, again presenting classic blast beats, Stygian guitars, low-tuned bass lines, and a crushing sense of despair that permeates the air until the very last second.

The Parable of Abel offers us all five minutes of sheer darkness in the form of old school Black Metal, or in other words, it’s another amazing example of what the band is capable of doing, with the song’s razor-edged riffs generating a pulverizing paradox with its groovy bass jabs. Back to a more classic sound, Herald of Eternal Damnation presents a mid-tempo start spearheaded by their always harsh vociferations that explodes into an avalanche of brutality and violence, resulting in a lecture in Black Metal by such talented Hellenic outfit. Their second to last onrush of extreme music comes in the form of Feast for the Black Earth, again showcasing a heavier-than-hell kitchen, a sinister atmosphere and sharp riffs for our total delight, before the band crushes us one last time with The Crystal Scythe of the Old, a beyond caustic composition where its wicked vocals and a disturbing ambience will haunt our damned souls until all fades into the unknown.

The gates to the Hellenic underworld are open thanks to Svartulven and their Ruins of Desolation, Transcendence for the Other Side, and in order to join them in their quest for extreme music you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and soon purchase a copy of their austere new album from Dark Terror Temple’s BandCamp page or webstore, proving you’re a true servant of darkness. Although the names of the musicians that are part of such distinguished horde are unknown, in the end that’s just a minor detail taking into account the high quality of the music found in their debut effort, and they can keep their identities as secret as they want as long as they keep delivering more of their incendiary Black Metal for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Svartulven in Twilight and Herald of Eternal Damnation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Dark Terror Temple/The Chalice Prod

Track listing
1. Witness of Fire Beyond 7:01
2. Svartulven in Twilight 4:59
3. Therianthropic Metamorphosis 6:30
4. The Parable of Abel 5:15
5. Herald of Eternal Damnation 4:19
6. Feast for the Black Earth 4:35
7. The Crystal Scythe of the Old 6:01

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Yoth Iria / As The Flame Withers (2021)

Dark, diabolical, and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. That’s what these infernal veterans have to offer in their newborn spawn.

Forged in the fires of Athens, Greece in 2019 by bassist Jim Mutilator, a founding member of legendary Greek Black Metal band Rotting Christ, and vocalist The Magus, who formed Necromantia in 1989 together with Baron Blood (R.I.P.), one of the most influential and avantgarde bands of the scene, Hellenic Black Metal outfit Yoth Iria is an amalgam of the influences and visions of its creators, sounding dark, diabolical, emotional, powerful and majestic while taking a fresh look into 90’s Greek Occult Black Metal with a nostalgia of the past and a twist into the future. Now in 2021, the duet which developed and pioneered the underground scene back in the day is ready to crush our souls with their first full-length album, titled As The Flame Withers. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Pentagram Studio by Yoth Iria and George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Lucifer’s Child), and displaying a Stygian artwork by Indian artist Harshanand Singh, As The Flame Withers represents everything this primeval entity stands for, supported by guest musicians George Emmanuel on the guitars, John Patsouris on keys and J.V. Maelstrom (Dephosphorus, Nigredo) on drums, dragging the listeners into the pits of the underworld and keeping them there forever in pitch black darkness.

The Children of Bodom-inspired riffage by George kicks of the melodic and infernal The Great Hunter, bringing to our ears old school Norwegian Black Metal blended with the epicness of Behemoth and Rotting Christ, whereas mesmerizing, imposing sounds permeate the air in the insane title-track Yoth Iria, showcasing beyond obscure lyrics growled by The Magus (“For aeons he laid dormant / speaking through dreams / conspiring in visions / watching from his Throne / Arch-Priest and King / of the Seven Hells / The Highest of Angels / the Brightest of them all”) while his bandmates keep the atmosphere as heavy and somber as possible. Then it’s time for George and Jim to slash their respective guitar and bass in the very melodious but of course heavy-as-hell Hermetic Code, a very atmospheric creation by the band offering our ears a good dosage of Doom Metal added to their core ferocity; and arising from the pits of the underworld like a demonic entity, The Magus and Jim bring forward Demonaz-inspired vocalizations and dirty, rumbling bass lines in The Mantis, with the background keys by John Patsouris sounding insanely epic while J.V. Maelstrom hammers his drums mercilessly.

In the excellent The Red Crown Turns Black we face more of their blasphemous lyrics (“From the deserts of Saturn / and the depths of the Abyss / the General of Chaos / the Devourerof Souls”) while the music sounds like a demonic fusion of Behemoth, Immortal and Children of Bodom, with George being once again sensational with his wicked riffs and solos, and rocking guitars and classic beats ignite the Stygian extravaganza titled Unborn, Undead, Eternal, reminding me of some of the most recent creations by Rotting Christ, with The Magus gnarling like a creature from the netherworld nonstop. The second to last explosion of their Ritualistic Black Metal comes in the form of Tyrants, where The Magus’ roars are effectively supported by the hellish kitchen by Jim and Maelstrom, resulting in another doomed, thunderous aria blasted by this talented Greek horde, while Jim continues to smash his bass in the closing tune The Luciferian, accompanied by the grim guitars by George. Once again blending old school Black Metal with Doom Metal and more contemporary styles, the song unfortunately loses its grip after a while, albeit nothing that could do any harm to such powerful album.

In the end, As The Flame Withers, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube, is exactly what such prominent duo from the Greek Black Metal scene is saying the album is, an ode to the early days of the genre without sounding outdated, tiresome nor bland at all. Hence, if you want to explore their obscure realm in more detail and stay updated with all things Yoth Iria, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase your copy of As The Flame Withers from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (including the CD and black LP versions of the album), as well as from Record Shop X. It’s indeed a true pleasure witnessing two trailblazers of the Greek Black Metal scene generating such infernally dark music with so much punch and potency even after all these decades on the road, proving once again extreme music can be a true fountain of youth for many, while the flames of Black Metal keep burning the souls of the unbelievers for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Yoth Iria, The Mantis and The Red Crown Turns Black.

Worst moments of the album: The Luciferian.

Released in 2021 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. The Great Hunter 4:24
2. Yoth Iria 5:41
3. Hermetic Code 6:34
4. The Mantis 7:19
5. The Red Crown Turns Black 6:26
6. Unborn, Undead, Eternal 5:14
7. Tyrants 4:51
8. The Luciferian 6:32

Band members
The Magus – vocals
Jim Mutilator – bass

Guest musicians
George Emmanuel – guitars (session)
John Patsouris – keys (session)
J.V. Maelstrom – drums (session)

Album Review – Nervosa / Perpetual Chaos (2021)

What happens when you put together four metalheads hailing from Brazil, Italy, Spain and Greece? A deadly and thrashing lesson in perpetual chaos, of course.

Staying true to their roots while exploring new terrains with a revitalized international line-up now comprised of Brazilian founding guitarist Prika Amaral, Spanish growler Diva Satanica (of Bloodhunter), Italian bassist Mia Wallace (of bands such as Abbath, Triumph of Death and The True Endless) and Greek drummer Eleni Nota (of Lightfold and Mask of Prospero), the ruthless all-female Death and Thrash Metal powerhouse Nervosa is ready to attack with inexorable fury, pungently sharp riffs and aggressive vocals on the 13 massive tracks from their newborn spawn, entitled Perpetual Chaos, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2018 opus Downfall Of Mankind. Recorded at Artesonao Casa de Grabación Studio in Málaga, Spain, produced by Prika Amaral and Martin Furia at Studio Porino, and mastered by Yarne Heylen, Perpetual Chaos builds upon the turbulence, adding diverse musical elements to create an infallible new standout that will strike the listener in a way only Nervosa could, therefore placing the album as one of the best releases of 2021 hands down.

The unstoppable Prika ignites their thrashing machine with her flammable riffs in the brutal Venomous, sounding pulverizing from the very first second with Diva Satanica being a true she-demon on vocals while Eleni showcases all her skills and rage on drums, whereas in Guided by Evil the rumbling, obscure sounds blasted by Mia and Eleni are everything Diva Satanica needs to growl the song’s vile words (“Desire consumes you, blinds you, takes you off the line / But you go slowly cause all you do is lie / Every step taken, misfortune is your delight / Tormented by feelings, swallowed by quicksand”) in another ass-kicking fusion of Death, Thrash and Black Metal. Following such frantic start, People of the Abyss is perhaps one of the most infuriated and heaviest of all songs in the history of Nervosa where Prika will pierce your ears mercilessly with her classy riffs and solos accompanied by the devilish bass by Mia, therefore inflicting some serious pain in your neck due to the intense headbanging needed. And more of their demented and grim sounds is offered in the title-track Perpetual Chaos, with Eleni and Prika making a hellish duo and, consequently, providing Diva Satanica a solid base for her to haunt our souls with her otherworldly screeches and gnarls.

Featuring guest guitarist Guilherme Miranda (of Entombed A.D.), Until the Very End is a high-octane fusion of Death and Thrash Metal brought forth by those unrelenting women where Prika is once again phenomenal armed with her killer strings; and it’s time for Nervosa to smash our skulls mercilessly in Genocidal Command, with German thrash legend Schmier, from the one and only Destruction, making a demented vocal duo with Diva Satanica, always supported by the thunderous kitchen by Mia and Eleni. Slower but heavy-as-hell, Kings of Domination presents hints of Groove Metal added to the guitar lines by Prika and the bass jabs by Mia, resulting in the perfect sound for headbanging like there’s no tomorrow, while Time to Fight is another short and sweet display of their thrashing savagery, inviting us all to slam into the pit while Eleni pounds her drums in great fashion. If you think the girls from Nervosa are tired already of so much violence, you better get ready for more of their Stygian sounds in Godless Prisoner, showcasing a straightforward sonority led by Prika while Eleni dictates the pace with her solid beats, albeit not as powerful as the other songs from the album.

Blood Eagle gets back to a more ferocious and somber musicality, with Prika and Mia being in total sync with their stringed weapons while Diva Satanica adds her personal dosage of Death Metal to the band’s core Thrash Metal through her devilish gnarls; and Eric A.K. (of Flotsam and Jetsam) lends his trademark vocals to Rebel Soul, a Motörhead-inspired metal extravaganza that will invite you to raise your horns and bang your head like a beast, bringing forward Diva Satanica and Eric on absolute fire from start to finish. Never slowing down nor selling out, and always loyal to the foundations of Thrash Metal, the band offers us all Pursued by Judgement, with Mia hammering her evil bass accompanied by the crushing drums by Eleni, keeping the album at a high level of animosity before we’re treated to the closing tune Under Ruins, presenting disruptive words viciously barked by Diva Satanica (“I feel death coming / Getting lonelier everyday / In the cravings that consume me / Self destruction without limits”) while her bandmates make sure the electricity keeps flowing nonstop through their wicked instrumental.

To be fair, I was a little worried about the future of Nervosa after the departures of vocalist and bassist Fernanda Lira and drummer Luana Dametto last year, but the moment Prika announced Diva Satanica, Mia Wallace and Eleni Nota as the new members of her thrashing squad I was more than sure their new album would sound phenomenal to say the least based on their unique talent and background in heavy music. Well, let’s say those four metal ladies exceeded all expectations in Perpetual Chaos, delivering an album that’s at the same time brutal, melodic, thrilling and detailed. Hence, don’t forget to give the girls a shout on Facebook and on Instagram to let them know how much you enjoyed their newest creations, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their distinguished music and videos, to stream all of their catalogue on Spotify, and above all that, to purchase Perpetual Chaos from their own BandCamp page or webstore (America or Europe), or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream what’s by far one of the most exciting metal albums of the year. And before I forget… VIVA PERPETUAL CHAOS!

Best moments of the album: People of the Abyss, Genocidal Command, Time to Fight and Rebel Soul.

Worst moments of the album: Godless Prisoner.

Released in 2021 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Venomous 3:46
2. Guided by Evil 3:30
3. People of the Abyss 3:27
4. Perpetual Chaos 3:39
5. Until the Very End 3:18
6. Genocidal Command 2:56
7. Kings of Domination 3:41
8. Time to Fight 2:32
9. Godless Prisoner 3:19
10. Blood Eagle 3:41
11. Rebel Soul 3:17
12. Pursued by Judgement 3:27
13. Under Ruins 3:57

Band members
Diva Satanica – lead vocals
Prika Amaral – guitar, backing vocals
Mia Wallace – bass
Eleni Nota – drums

Guest musicians
Guilherme Miranda – additional guitars on “Until the Very End”
Schmier – additional vocals on “Genocidal Command”
Eric A.K. – additional vocals on “Rebel Soul”

Album Review – Code Noir / Jack of All Spades EP (2020)

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, this dynamic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo returns with a band new EP featuring five rockin’ tunes that speak of the darkness of the human psyche.

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, Code Noir are a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo formed in 2015 originally as a four-piece band comprised of Michael T on vocals and guitars, Moth also on the guitars, Adam Chapman on bass and Vaart Pilgrem on drums, with each member bringing their background and experience from a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from theatrical music to Punk Rock to Extreme Metal. However, shortly before the band entered the studio, Moth and Vaart left the band, leaving Michael and Adam to continue the recordings of their debut mini-album Burn Card by themselves. Now in 2020 the duo strikes back with their second EP, entitled Jack of All Spades, showcasing the project’s musical evolution by moving away from the punk influences to a much more rock and metal focused sound. Mixed by Adam himself at Black Dawn Studios in Sweden, mastered by Tobben Eriksson, and featuring a classy artwork by VisionBlack, Jack of All Spades brings to the listener five songs that speak of the darkness of the human psyche, drawing from principal songwriter Michael’s experiences and insight as a professional psychologist, therefore inviting us all to join the duo in this thrilling and psychological quest.

Michael and Adam begin their metallic feast with the classic The Devil Within, with both rockers slashing their strings in a thrilling Hard Rock manner while Michael’s 80’s-inspired voice is effectively supported by the backing vocals by guest Kiran Surana. Then putting the pedal to the metal the dynamic duo blasts the high-octane Supersonic, showcasing old school lyrics roared by Michael (“Slave / To everything that you see / Each time you look in the mirror / You run around / Like a rat in a maze / With space and time erased”) while the music remains as exciting as our good old Heavy Metal requires; and Kiran appears once again as a guest in the frantic Words Never Said, with Adam slashing his guitar in great fashion, firing razor-edged riffs and classy solos, while Michael not only thrives on vocals but his thunderous bass adds an extra touch of heaviness to the music. After such powerful tune, acoustic guitars and a somber atmosphere are the main ingredients in Monarch, a very melodic fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock crafted by Code Noir featuring guest guitarist Lukky Sparxx, who also returns to support the duo in Crucify Their Way, a very entertaining and electrifying metal extravaganza where both Michael and Adam are on fire from start to finish, all boosted by the song’s rebellious lyrics (“Live, fight to die, defy the opposition / Break through the control that builds your inhibition / Hate, steal the lies, deny their false religion / Annihilate the laws that waste upon your vision”).

In summary, Jack of All Spades, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, is not just a solid and entertaining display of rock and metal by Code Noir, but it also gives us fans a much better idea of the direction the band is taking with their music and, consequently, pointing to a very interesting future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the boys on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously to purchase their honest and fun EP from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the music by Code Noir is much more than “just” good Rock N’ Roll, making us think thanks to their austere lyrics and, as a consequence, proving once again how rock and metal music will always have an important role in our lives.

Best moments of the album: Supersonic and Crucify Their Way.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Leviaphonic Records

Track listing
1. The Devil Within 4:20
2. Supersonic 5:31
3. Words Never Said 3:46
4. Monarch 4:20
5. Crucify Their Way 3:55

Band members
Michael T – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass
Adam Chapman – lead guitar

Guest musicians
Kiran Surana – backing vocals on tracks “The Devil Within” and “Words Never Said”
Lukky Sparxx – lead guitar on tracks “Monarch” and “Crucify Their Way”

Album Review – Sombria / Chirographon Dei (2020)

Let your soul be embraced by the beautiful fusion of Dark and Melancholic Metal from the debut album by a promising international group that has all it takes to conquer the world of heavy music.

Formed in 2019 by singer and songwriter Dimi De San, who comes under the name ‘’Valentina Devin’’, and guitarist and composer Raven Seven, Sombria are an international Dark/Melancholic Metal project featuring members from Greece, Norway and Mexico, those being the aforementioned Dimi De San on vocals and Raven Seven on guitars and orchestrations together with session musicians Lucien Keir also on the guitar, Saber Thorn on bass and Winter Cain on drums, aiming at raising awareness through their music, lyrics and performances over many sensitive subjects like child poverty and environmental issues. Now in 2020 this recently formed unity is unleashing upon humanity their debut opus Chirographon Dei, which translates from Latin as something like “the manuscript of the gods”, containing nine original songs recorded, mixed and mastered by Raven Seven at his own studio, all embraced by a gorgeous artwork by Dimi De San, and all depicting everything Symphonic Gothic Metal stands for.

Enfolding orchestrations and piano notes permeate the air in the opening tune Voyage into Lethe, with Dimi embellishing the airwaves with her operatic vocals while Raven Seven extracts somber, minimalist sounds form his guitar in a hybrid of the early days of Nightwish and Tristania. Then leaning towards the most melancholic form of Gothic Metal the band offers our ears the sorrowful Black December, with Saber Thorn and Winter Cain bringing a welcome dosage of Doom Metal to the musicality, followed by Sarcophagus of Roses, another symphonic and epic aria by Sombria where Winter Cain showcases all his dexterity behind his drums, offering Dimi all she needs to shine once again on vocals and, therefore, resulting in the perfect depiction of modern-day Symphonic Gothic Metal. And whimsical piano notes are intertwined with the rumbling bass by Saber Thorn in the gothic extravaganza Mirror of God, where Raven Seven and Lucien Keir make a dynamic duo with their darkened riffage, with the music remaining dense and imposing until the very end.

Dimi takes the lead with her pensive, anguished vocals in the darkly beautiful Ballet of Sadness, a delicate ballad by Sombria that will conquer the hearts of even the toughest metalheads, whereas the crying sound of the violin kicks off the epic and obscure The Soul’s Manuscript, where Winter Cain keeps pounding his drums and bringing doom to us all while Dimi invades our souls with her mesmerizing voice, not to mention the excellent job done once again by the band’s guitar duo. Then like a creature from another world the band comes ripping in the symphonic and heavy-as-hell Wine of Lunacy, where Gothic, Doom and Symphonic Metal are united in the name of darkness. Needless to say, Dimi is once again stunning on vocals, and investing in an even more romantic musicality we have Penitence, with all band members providing Dimi a truly enfolding ambience perfect for her sexy vocals, while the music alternates between heavier moments and menacing passages. Lastly, Sombria’s final breath of obscurity, melancholy and melodious lines comes in the form of the multi-layered Poem from the Dark Gardens, even more epic and operatic than all previous songs, with Raven Seven and Lucien Keir slashing their axes in great fashion supported by all background orchestrations.

The magical and dark world crafted by Sombria in Chirographon Dei can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Dimi, Raven Seven and their loyal henchmen all your support and admiration you should grab a copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to also follow Sombria on Facebook and on Instagram to keep an eye on everything surrounding such amazing multi-national band, once again demonstrating your passion for the darkest and most melancholic form of heavy music. Sombria’s hybrid of Dark and Melancholic Metal found in their debut opus will surely embrace you like the bitterly cold wind on a winter night, dragging you to their lair and keeping you in the shadows forever and ever. And I’m more than sure that’s exactly what you’re expecting from those ptalented musicians who put their hearts and souls into creating meaningful music for lovers of the dark side.

Best moments of the album: Voyage into Lethe, Sarcophagus of Roses and Wine of Lunacy.

Worst moments of the album: Black December.

Released in 2020 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Voyage into Lethe 5:47
2. Black December 6:07
3. Sarcophagus of Roses 7:07
4. Mirror of God 6:52
5. Ballet of Sadness 5:01
6. The Soul’s Manuscript 5:45
7. Wine of Lunacy 7:28
8. Penitence 7:11
9. Poem from the Dark Gardens 9:02

Band members
Valentina Devin (Dimi De San) – vocals
Raven Seven – guitars, orchestrations

Guest musicians
Lucien Keir – guitar (session)
Saber Thorn – bass (session)
Winter Cain – drums (session)

Album Review – Helestios / Your Pain Tastes Good (2020)

Drawing upon ancient mythology while at the same time looking at the current state of the world, this newborn multi-cultural metal act is ready to attack armed with the fusion of melody and fury from their debut release.

Combining the melodic approach and broad appeal of Metallica with the ferocity and thematic invention of Sepultura, Basingstoke, UK-based Power/Thrash Metal outfit Helestios is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their debut album titled Your Pain Tastes Good, a reminder of how metal stays true to itself and its fans, reflecting the reality of life and urging people to think for themselves and move forward positively. Formed in early 2020 by Henrijs Leja on vocals and guitar, Stelios Aggelis on lead guitar, Agnis Aldiņš on bass and Ian den Boer on drums, all skillful musicians hailing from Latvia, Greece and Netherlands, Helestios are both the power and the fury we need to inspire us, with their new album offering our ears both traditional metal riffing and melodic structure as well as more aggressive and atmospheric tones, and with its lyrics drawing upon ancient mythology while at the same time looking at the state of the world around us right now.

Wicked vocalizations and the slashing riffs by Henrijs and Stelios ignite Helestios’ metal machine in Sacrifice, blending the fury of the Groove Metal by Lamb of God with the Power Metal by bands like Gamma Ray and Primal Fear, whereas Black Storm, a churning sea of riffs and tales told in the ancient mythologies of Syria and Egypt, sounds and feels as modern as the opening track with Ian dictating the rhythm with his classic beats accompanied by the thunderous bass by Agnis and the deep roars by Henrijs, keeping the album at a high level of animosity and rage. And  let’s keep banging our heads together with those four metallers in Downgraded World, presenting another amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo with their incendiary riffs and solos and all spiced up by the powerful vocal performance by Henrijs; and Back to Where it Starts offers us all more of their solid fusion of Thrash and Power Metal, albeit not as exciting as its predecessors. It still showcases a great work done by the stringed trio with their venomous riffage and rumbling bass, though.

The title-track Your Pain Tastes Good begins in an ominous manner before exploding into another round of Helestios’ infuriated metal music, again bringing forward a nice mix of harsh growls and clean vocals while Ian adds tons of progressiveness and intricacy to the music with his beats. Then it’s time for a metal onslaught spearheaded by the flammable guitars by Henrijs an Stelios in All Attack, a modern-day Thrash Metal extravaganza with hints of Death and Groove Metal written in support of the Belorussian people who have spent recent months fighting to overthrow what many see as one of the last tyrannies of Europe. Put differently, it can’t get any heavier nor darker than this, I might say.  And the quartet continues to slam their instruments in great fashion in You Are Free, where its headbanging rhythm is nicely boosted by Ian’s massive drums while also bringing forward very melodic lines exploding from their guitars and vocals. And last but not least, hypnotizing guitars kick off their final breath of Thrash Metal entitled Return to Baalbek, with Henrijs sounding truly demonic on vocals, therefore resulting in the perfect soundtrack for slamming into the circle pit in an amazing hybrid of sheer aggressiveness and soulful melodies.

In a nutshell, although Helestios might be a brand new name in the metal community, each band member know exactly what they are doing in Your Pain Tastes Good, sounding as polished, professional, focused and aggressive as any of the big names of the Thrash and Power Metal scene. Hence, don’t forget to show this talented, multi-cultural metal act your support by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, by streaming more of their powerful music on Spotify, and by grabbing your copy of their top-notch debut album from different locations sooner than you can say the word “pain”. Helestios’ fusion of melody and fury will surely please all fans of Heavy Metal in general, leaving us eager for more of their thrilling creations and, of course, putting a huge smile on our faces for knowing underground metal music in the UK is alive and kicking as usual.

Best moments of the album: Sacrifice, All Attack and Return to Baalbek.

Worst moments of the album: Back to Where it Starts.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Sacrifice 4:46
2. Black Storm 3:08
3. Downgraded World 4:05
4. Back to Where it Starts 3:39
5. Your Pain Tastes Good 5:45
6. All Attack 3:57
7. You Are Free 3:44
8. Return to Baalbek 5:11

Band members
Henrijs Leja – vocals, guitar
Stelios Aggelis – lead guitar
Agnis Aldiņš – bass
Ian den Boer – drums