The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021

“I wanted to play drums because I fell in love with the glitter and the lights, but it wasn’t about adulation. It was being up there playing.” – Charlie Watts

And there goes another year without a single metal concert in Canada. Another year full of uncertainties, fears, polarization, restrictions, and everything else we “love” so much. I honestly don’t know what to say about 2021 apart form the fact it was undoubtedly much better than 2020, but that means nothing considering the total nightmare that 2020 was. We lost a lot of huge names in the rock and metal scene such as Joey Jordison, Dusty Hill, Mike Howe, Johnny Solinger, Marsha Zazula, Alexi Laiho, John Hinch, John Lawton, Charlie Watts and Hank Von Hell, among many others. Tons of festivals including Download, Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock Festival and Dynamo MetalFest were scheduled to return this year after the 2020 editions of those festivals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but unfortunately Sweden Rock, Hellfest, Download and Wacken Open Air were once again cancelled. With that said, why do we metalheads still believe in a better future? Is it because, despite all adversities, our favorite bands released some of their best albums from the past few years?

Hence, as new lockdowns are being imposed upon us in a never-ending pandemic loop, there’s not much we can do but enjoy The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, keeping us sane until this madness is finally over. Or maybe I should say if it will be over one day, of course. There’s a bit of everything for all types of fans, from classic Heavy Metal to the brutality of Death Metal, from the modern nuances of Melodic Death Metal to old school Thrash Metal, and so on, and in my humble opinions one of the most interesting facts about several albums launched in 2021 is their duration, with many of those surpassing the one hour barrier such as Senjutsu, Helloween, Persona Non Grata, Existence Is Futile and Blood on Blood, not to mention the over four hours of music from the Lordiversity boxset, which for me proves how much the bands responsible for those albums love their fans by offering them a lot of new music to enjoy during such difficult times. I would say that even if there are ZERO metal albums launched in 2022, we’ll still have a lot of great music to enjoy throughout the year thanks to all the amazing records released in 2021, don’t you agree?

1. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu (REVIEW)
Behold another masterpiece by the one and only Iron Maiden with its 82 minutes of tactics, strategy, war, resilience and determination.
Best song of the album: Hell on Earth

2. Helloween – Helloween (REVIEW)
A dream come true for all generations of “Happy, Happy Helloween” fans from all over the world.
Best song of the album: Skyfall

3. Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon (REVIEW)
It’s time to join Trivium in the court of the dragon to the sound of their magnificent new opus.
Best song of the album: Like a Sword Over Damocles

4. Exodus – Persona Non Grata (REVIEW)
Don’t be a “persona non grata” in the world of heavy music and get into the circle pit to the sound of this newborn thrashing beast.
Best song of the album: Lunatic-Liar-Lord

5. Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (REVIEW)
State of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision by the most violent and unrelenting band of all time.
Best song of the album: Surround, Kill, Devour

6. 1914 – Where Fear and Weapons Meet (REVIEW)
Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I.
Best song of the album: Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)

7. Motorjesus – Hellbreaker (REVIEW)
Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hellbreaker

8. Nervosa – Perpetual Chaos (REVIEW)
A deadly and thrashing lesson in perpetual chaos by four metalheads hailing from Brazil, Italy, Spain and Greece
Best song of the album: Time to Fight

9. Gojira – Fortitude (REVIEW)
Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Amazonia

10. Blaze Bayley – War Within Me (REVIEW)
The man who will live for a thousand years is back, inspiring us all to fight the war within us and to take our future in our own hands.
Best song of the album: Pull Yourself Up

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Running Wild – Blood on Blood (REVIEW)
12. Lordi – Lordiversity (REVIEW)
13. Cradle of Filth – Existence Is Futile (REVIEW)
14. Diabolizer – Khalkedonian Death (REVIEW)
15. Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida (REVIEW)
16. Moonspell – Hermitage (REVIEW)
17. Lutharo – Hiraeth (REVIEW)
18. Unflesh – Inhumation (REVIEW)
19. Scarlet Aura – Genesis of Time (REVIEW)
20. Coiled Around Thy Spine – From The Ashes (REVIEW)

In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2021 to prove once and for all that not all great albums of the year have to be so long. The EP’s from this list are simply awesome, showcasing the band’s talent and their ability to sound epic even if the music lasts for only a few minutes.

1. Eonian – The Nomad (REVIEW)
2. Lady Beast – Omens (REVIEW)
3. The Agonist – Days Before the World Wept (REVIEW)
4. Tantivy – Eyes in the Night (REVIEW)
5. Grale – AGITACIÓN (REVIEW)
6. Bouquet of Dead Crows – Hemispheres Part 2: Cerebral (REVIEW)
7. Kadavereich – Radiance Of Doom (REVIEW)
8. Wolvencrown – A Shadow Of What Once Was (REVIEW)
9. Juliet Ruin – Dark Water (REVIEW)
10. Black Hole Deity – Lair Of Xenolich (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2021? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2021 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2022!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with some touching words by Mr. Lordi and his crew of monsters…

Something something blah blah to you
All the sincere wishes come true
I put vengeance on my wish list
And that’s what Santa brought
So have a merry something and a happy blah blah blah

Album Review – Sense of Noise / Sense of Noise (2021)

This newborn Mexican unity is ready to kill armed with their debut opus of ass-kicking Melodic Death Metal deeply rooted in the Gothenburg sound.

Born in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, Sense of Noise are a Mexico City, Mexico-based Melodic Death Metal band that mixes the speed and strength of Death Metal with catchy melodies, clean vocals, a modern production and several musical influences from metal and non-metal genres. Comprised of vocalist Jero Chanona, guitarist and vocalist Fede d’Empaire, guitarist Diego Caná, bassist Mao Rubio, keyboardist Nibsen and drummer Bart Chanona, all with a remarkable experience in different areas of the music industry within and outside metal, this six-piece act is unleashing upon humanity their debut self-titled effort, presenting a collection of songs deeply rooted in the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sound. Produced, recorded and mixed by guitarist Fede himself, mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios, and displaying a straightforward artwork by the band’s own frontman Jero, the album is highly recommended for fans of Soilwork, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Amorphis, At the Gates and Scar Symmetry, among others, positioning the band as one of the strongest names of the current Mexican metal scene.

The cinematic intro A Forgotten Oath will captivate your senses and prepare you for Sense of Noise’s metal attack in The Broken Hope, where Fede and Diego are on absolute fire with their Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal-inspired riffage, setting the tone for Jero to scream like a beast (not to mention the utterly metallic bass jabs by Mao), whereas once again drinking from the same fountain as bands like In Flames, Soilwork and Arch Enemy, it’s time for Bart to hammer his drums in War Within, showcasing a very pleasant balance between guttural roars and clean vocals. Then you better get ready for a headbanging, melodic extravaganza titled Morning Glory, again presenting classic riffs spiced up by the whimsical keys by Nibsen. In other words, it will surely please all fans of the genre, putting everyone to bang their heads nonstop to their solid metal music.

Investing into a darker and groovier sound, the band fires the smashing March of the Fallen, with Jero growling the song’s austere words manically accompanied by the rumbling bass by Mao and the always classy keys by Nibsen; and featuring the one and only Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork) on vocals, Zero Killed is a pure, visceral Melodic Death Metal tune that will inspire you to slam into the pit, and Björn adds tons of violence and feeling to the band’s already rumbling sonority as expected. Then after a serene, acoustic start the band offers more of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal with Groove Metal in Our Dying Light, presenting a stylish paradox between their deep roars and ethereal keys; whereas guest Antony Hämäläinen (Meridian Dawn) lends his sick growling to the band in Rage of Existence, another solid composition showcasing their traditional heavy riffs, low-tuned bass punches and crushing drums. And finally, let’s bang our heads one more time with Sense of Noise in Sense of Darkness, where Jero vociferates rabidly as usual supported by Fede’s clean vocals and the Groove Metal bass by Mao.

You can get to know more about such promising band of the Mexican metal scene by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about those six skillful metallers, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by streaming their ass-kicking music on Spotify, and by clicking HERE for all that plus the links to pre-save or pre-order their debut album. As already mentioned, Sense of Noise will undoubtedly face among the biggest names in their home country when the music in question is not only Melodic Death Metal, but heavy music in general, and based on the quality of the music found in their debut effort I’m pretty sure they’ll spread their wings and fly even higher, reaching fans from all over the world with their detailed and sharp compositions, and if you consider yourself a true admirer of the Gothenburg sound (albeit made in Mexico) you better hurry and add this melodic gem to your personal collection.

Best moments of the album: War Within, March of the Fallen and Zero Killed.

Worst moments of the album: Rage of Existence.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. A Forgotten Oath 1:54
2. The Broken Hope 3:37
3. War Within 3:39
4. Morning Glory 3:44
5. March of the Fallen 3:35
6. Zero Killed 3:59
7. Our Dying Light 4:40
8. Rage of Existence 4:17
9. Sense of Darkness 4:34

Band members
Jero Chanona – harsh and clean vocals
Fede d’Empaire – guitars, clean vocals
Diego Caná – guitars
Mao Rubio – bass
Nibsen – keyboards
Bart Chanona – drums

Guest musicians
Björn “Speed” Strid – vocals on “Zero Killed”
Antony Hämäläinen – vocals on “Rage of Existence”

Album Review – Muertissima / Inquisition (2021)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Wild Hunt.

Released in 2021 Music-Records

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

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

Metal Chick of the Month – Ira Sidenko

ira01

How to open your heart in the chaos of life? Learn to give and to share, to hustle and strive…

If you consider yourself a diehard fan of both old school and modern-day Death Metal, I’m certain you’ll have a very good time with our metal chick of the month of September. Not only she’s the owner of a potent and visceral voice, but her charisma, together with her onstage (and onscreen) performance, turn her into a must-listen and see for any admirer of first-class extreme music. I’m talking about the unstoppable Russian growler Ira Sidenko, also known as Irina Sidenko (or even Ирина Сиденко in Russian), the frontwoman for Tomsk, Russia-based Death Metal brigade Dehydrated, and a metalhead who is always expressing her passion for Heavy Metal through her music and art.

Born in the city of Tomsk, in Tomsk Oblast, a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) that lies in the southeastern West Siberian Plain, Ira studied at Tomsk State University, or TSU, known in her mother tongue as Томский Государственный Университет, or ТГУ, but it’s not clear exactly what course or courses she took at TSU. It was in 2008 when she founded Dehydrated (being named Dehydrated Entrails from 2008 until 2009, when they changed their name to the current one) together with guitarist Evgen Tsibulin, bassist Evgeny Zimin and drummer Alexey Ablayev, with only Ira and Evgen being still in the band from its original formation. Playing a fusion of classic Death Metal with other styles such as Deathcore, Grindcore, Groove Metal and even Progressive Metal, among others, the band didn’t know exactly what they wanted to play at first, but they knew it was going to be hard and aggressive, experimenting with several genres and subgenres of heavy music as aforementioned. By the way, when asked about the origin of the band’s name, Ira explained that’s how you feel after a concert, feeling dehydrated both physically and mentally after all the exchange of energy between the band and the crowd.

Having already played in several international festivals including Metal Head’s Mission (Ukraine), Metal Crowd (Belarus), Petrogrind (St. Petersburg), Metal Maidens (Kaluga), and Cieszanów Rock Festiwal (Poland), as well as tours around Russia and Eastern Europe, the band has unleashed upon humanity an array of high-quality albums and EP’s, those being the 2009 demo Suffering from Mummification, the full-lengths Duality of Existence (2011), Zone Beneath the Skin (2012) and Awake in Era (2012), the EP’s Mind Extract (2011), Piranha or Whale? (2019) and Piranha or Whale (Part II) (2020), and a 2011 split with the bands PureFilth, Grace Disgraced and Redrvm. Furthermore, in one of her interviews, Ira mentioned that her favorite Dehydrated album to date is Awake in Era, as she considers it more professional and more atmospheric than the other releases, with each of its songs representing a different story, but I’m sure that opinion will change with each of their releases just like what happens with any musician. And when asked about what Dehidrated means to her, she said that as music is her life, the band represents life to her, always showing a lot of love for her own work.

Dehydrated are a DIY band, doing everything themselves and relying a lot on the internet for sales and promotional activities just like countless underground bands worldwide. Ira mentioned that services like BandCamp, Spotify, Patreon and YouTube have been helping the band a lot with their promotion, but that at the same time they still have a hard time trying to organize tours all by themselves.  Hence, if you want to give the music by Dehydrated a try, you can stream all of their creations on BandCamp, on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can have an absolute blast with songs the likes of Hell Doesn’t Exist, Parallels, Sickness, Outlaws, Thirst of Dose, Werewolf, Alive Underground, Piranha or Whale, and their excellent covers for Motörhead’s Ace of Spades and Lake of Tears’ U.N.S.A.N.E.

Apart from her career with Dehydrated, you can also find Ira kicking some ass with a female-fronted metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia named Fallcie for a while, and she can also be seen as a guest vocalist in the song А Время Шло, from the 2020 EP А Время Шло (or “time went on”) by Kaluga, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal band Last Trial. In addition, Ira is also an amazing online vocal coach as you can see on her own YouTube channel, not only providing some great tips to growlers worldwide, but also uploading to her channel cover versions for countless songs the likes of Slaughter to Prevail’s Hell, Rammstein’s Sonne, Linkin Park’s From the Inside, Decapitated’s Homo Sum, Death’s Without Judgement, Vader’s Hexenkessel, and Whitchapel’s I Dementia.

All those top-notch cover versions are not in vain, as all of those bands are also part of Ira’s idols and influences list. As a matter of fact, when asked about how she would define the sound by Dehydrated, she mentioned it’s a fusion of different styles from bands such as Death, Gojira, Animal as Leaders, and so on. Regarding her personal preferences, our beloved growler mentioned the first bands she fell in love with were Rammstein and Slipknot, later moving on to Black and Death Metal and getting absolutely addicted to that. Furthermore, the first time she heard a Death Metal band was when she got to know the music by Aborted, also getting hooked to the music by Whitechapel, Deicide and Vital Remains. However, Ira said she doesn’t have any limits when listening to music, being also a fan of Jazz, Blues, Grindcore and many other distinct styles, but of course always praising metal behemoths the likes of Motörhead, Manowar and Metallica.

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Ira also provided her view on how to become a metal vocalist in one of her interviews, saying that there’s no secret to that but several years of practice and studies (and tons of mistakes) and a never-ending desire to grow, always searching for the right sound and for professional development. Although she mentioned she hadn’t had an older brother to show her metal music, Ira mentioned she had a friend with whom she used to listen to Rammstein together, which inspired her to form a band and, later, as her taste for music became heavier and heavier, she naturally decided to learn how to do guttural by herself. Having the flexibility to sing in English, Russian and German, Ira believes her vocal performance and her confidence have improved a lot since the band’s 2009 debut demo Suffering from Mummification, again pointing out to the importance of constant learning to become a better vocalist.

When asked about the metal scene in Russia (and in Eastern Europe in general), she thinks the bands in Russia need to show more of their own culture and ideas when creating music instead of trying to mimic famous European or American bands, but of course she acknowledges there are tons of fantastic bands in her homeland such as Katalepsy and Arkona. Moreover, in regards to her hometown Tomsk, she said that there was a time when Siberia, where Tomsk is located, once had a very strong metal scene, but that has changed over time and today the scene is not as powerful and the attendance to metal concerts has dropped significantly. She complemented by saying that not only in Tomsk, but in the entire Russia (and maybe we can also add the rest of the world to the mix), you can only get in contact with metal music through the internet, as the radio and TV do not offer any space to bands like Dehydrated, and there aren’t any major festivals either to promote the bands. She still thinks that there are great bands coming from her hometown, though, such as Apokefale and Dark Revenge, which needless to say need our total support to avoid getting extinct.

Last but not least, our Russian growler believes that becoming a Death Metal vocalist isn’t easy at all, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, but of course it can be a little bit tougher to girls depending on the situation due to the sexism that still happens in the metal community all over the world. She said that once in a while she’s the target of that sexism, but she doesn’t really care about it and keeps working hard to make Dehydrated a better band and to make herself a better vocalist. When asked about how she responds to those attacks, she said she simply doesn’t answer back to the haters, ignoring them on social media and focusing on what really matters, which is the opinion and support of her fans, her friends and her family. And to be fair, she’s more than right in doing so, avoiding bringing that negativity to her work as a musician, therefore keeping her haters screaming in anger (but not as greatly as her) for not engaging in a virtual battle with her. That’s how you recognize a true musician, and let’s hope Ira keeps growling in our faces for many years to come with her ass-kicking band.

Ira Sidenko’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Facebook page
Dehydrated’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Instagram
Dehydrated’s Official YouTube channel

“We are very pleased to be able to create and do what we like, we do not know for how long but the only certainty is that there is only one here and now. We look to the future positively.” – Ira Sidenko

Album Review – Internal Conflict / A P O R I A (2021)

Over 40 minutes of first-class Metalcore made in the UK, delivering a deep exploration of modern metal whilst reflecting on society and what it is to be human in deeply challenging times.

3.5rating

internal-conflict-aporia-2021Following their 2018 EP Nothing Is Lost and continuing their progressive creativity and innovative take on Heavy Metal, A P O R I A, the sophomore opus by Leicester, England-based Metalcore/Thrash Metal outfit Internal Conflict, is part brutal, part melodic, delivering a deep exploration of modern metal whilst the lyrical themes reflect on society and what it is to be human in deeply challenging times. Mixed and mastered by Neil Hudson at Initiate Audio & Media Studios and displaying a stunning artwork designed by Domonic Sohor, A P O R I A is undoubtedly the band’s strongest effort to date, proving why vocalist Adam Kyle, guitarists Sean Rice and Matt Hall, bassist Dan Laffar and drummer Chris Bentley carved themselves a slot at the renowned Bloodstock Open Air next month.

Chris begins his metal attack from the very firs second in the awesome fusion of Metalcore and Thrash Metal titled Kingdom of Apathy, offering Adam all he needs to roar and scream manically, not to mention his clean vocals are also powerful and full of rage, whereas a serene intro quickly explodes into another feast of heavy riffs, crushing drums and visceral vocals in Paraesthesia, sounding very modern and thrilling and, therefore, resulting in a great option for banging our heads nonstop with the band. The quintet speeds things up a bit and gets heavier-than-hell in Atlas Down, with Adam’s vocals sounding even more demented while Sean and Matt slash their guitars mercilessly, supported by the classic bass lines by Dan; and Bleed the Sky is one more tune inspired by contemporary Metalcore that will please all fans of the genre, with the piercing sound of their guitars bringing endless heaviness to the final result, also showcasing an electrifying paradox between clean and harsh vocals.

Let’s keep cracking our necks headbanging to the pounding beats by Chris in Hollow Heart, also offering our ears those classic atmospheric and melancholic moments from Metalcore, followed by Traitorous, a good song where Internal Conflict keep delivering their trademark sound, but that lacks the violence and punch from its predecessors, sounding a bit repetitive after a while. Nothing that truly harms the album, though. The second to last blast of heavy music by those British metallers comes in the form of The Line, with Sean, Matt and Dan sounding venomous with their stringed weapons, once again generating a dense ambience for Adam to kill with his vile screams; and closing the album it’s time for a six-minute Metalcore journey infused with Thrash, Groove and Heavy Metal elements entitled Kayfabe, with the old school riffage by the band’s guitar duo walking hand in hand with the rhythmic beats by Chris.

internal-conflict-2021You can get to know more about Internal Conflict by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their thrilling fusion of modern-day metal music with old school nuances, and above all that, show your support to UK’s underground by purchasing a physical copy of A P O R I A by clicking HERE or by purchasing a digital copy of the album or streaming it on your favorite platform by clicking HERE. If you’re attending Bloodstock Open Air this August, there you have a fantastic chance to witness Internal Conflict kicking some ass on stage playing several songs from A P O R I A live (as well as some of their previous creations), showing you why they can be considered one of the leaders of the Metalcore scene in their homeland and, of course, why we can rest assured we’ll hear a lot more from those British musicians sooner than we can imagine.

Best moments of the album: Kingdom of Apathy, Atlas Down and Kayfabe.

Worst moments of the album: Traitorous.

Released in 2021 PHD

Track listing 
1. Kingdom of Apathy 5:28
2. Paraesthesia 4:12
3. Atlas Down 4:29
4. Bleed the Sky 5:17
5. Hollow Heart 5:02
6. Traitorous 3:56
7. The Line 5:43
8. Kayfabe 6:10

Band members
Adam Kyle – vocals
Sean Rice – lead guitar
Matt Hall – rhythm guitar
Dan Laffar – bass
Chris Bentley – drums

Album Review – BloodBlind / False Light EP (2021)

Light, darkness and ass-kicking metal music. That’s exactly what this Finnish band has to offer us all in their new EP.

3.0rating

bloodblind-false-light-ep-2021Recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Niila Perkkiö at Sniper Sounds, the fast and melodic False Light, the brand new EP by Helsinki, Finland-based Heavy/Groove Metal unity BloodBlind, picks up where they left after going on a two-year hiatus shortly after the release of their 2017 self-titled debut EP, while at the same time offering us fans a fresher and more dynamic sound thanks to the excellent job done by Tommi Kokko on vocals, Joni Halmetoja (Rottendawn, Legacy) and Marko Lundahl (Six Inch, Korpsesoturi) on the guitars, Janne Saksola on bass and backing vocals, and Frank Fagerström on drums. In other words, if you enjoy the heavy, groovy and melodic metal music made not only Finland, but also from the entire Scandinavia, you must take a listen at the new EP brought forth by those skillful musicians from the land of ice and snow.

The whimsical keys, violin and cello by guests Kelly Walsh, Oona Yliperttula and Suvi Lehtimäki, respectively, in the intro Lucem Ac Tenebras (or “light and darkness” from Latin) will put you in a trance before BloodBlind begin their wicked metal feast in [Redacted], where the headbanging, visceral riffs by Joni and Marko are effectively accompanied by the pounding drums by Frank, blending the fury and groove of bands the likes of At The Gates and Lamb Of God. Then the sick bass jabs by Janne will invite you to slam into the circle pit to the Punk Metal-infused tune Hits and Blood, with Tommi roaring and screaming nonstop like a demented creature. Furthermore, this metallic composition is thrilling and electrifying from start to finish, also showcasing classic guitar solos and, of course, bringing rage to our damned hearts. Lastly, leaning towards the trademark sound from countless Finnish Melodic Death Metal acts, the title-track False Light keeps the EP moving forward at full speed, with the heavy beats by Frank dictating the pace while supporting Tommi with his vocal attack until the very last second.

bloodblind-2021If heavy music is your business (and business is good), you can enjoy False Light in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course the best way to support underground metal is by purchasing your favorite format of the EP by clicking HERE. Also, don’t forget to show the guys from BloodBlind your love and tell them how much you like their music by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and also to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their high-octane music. The term “false light” might mean an untrue or misleading portrayal, but that’s not what BloodBlind have to offer us in their new EP; quite the contrary, it’s ass-kicking metal music with no filters nor any artificial elements, staying true to their roots and, consequently, pointing to a bright future ahead of those unrelenting musicians.

Best moments of the album: Hits and Blood.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. Lucem Ac Tenebras 1:22
2. [Redacted] 4:42
3. Hits and Blood 2:08
4. False Light 4:46

Band members
Tommi Kokko – vocals
Joni Halmetoja – guitar
Marko Lundahl – guitar
Janne Saksola – bass, vocals
Frank Fagerström – drums

Guest musicians
Kelly Walsh – piano and synths on “Lucem Ac Tenebras”
Oona Yliperttula – violin on “Lucem Ac Tenebras”
Suvi Lehtimäki – cello on “Lucem Ac Tenebras”

Album Review – Head of Jeddore / How to Slaughter a Lamb (2021)

Do you know how to slaughter a lamb? If not, let these three Canadian metallers teach you that to the sound of their intense and frenetic debut album.

3.5rating

head-of-jeddore-how-to-slaughter-a-lamb-2021Made up of vocalist Friendly Rich Marsella (Friendly Rich, The Lollipop People) and guitarists Greg Dawson (Olde, Grale) and Billy Curtis (The Abandoned Hearts Club, Cunter), and featuring an array of special guests the likes of Damian Abraham (Fucked Up), Kenny Bridges (Moneen), Greg Wright (Shatterpoint) and Luke Roberts (Gargoyl), Brampton, Canada-based newest metal supergroup Head of Jeddore is ready to kick some ass with their debut album entitled How to Slaughter a Lamb, offering up a slab of sophisticated mayhem for fans of Mr. Bungle, System of a Down and the (more adventurous) Melvins. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg himself at BWC Studios, How to Slaughter a Lamb brings to our ears an intense and frenetic metal attack, tapping into a wide variety of musical influences that goes from Stoner and Doom Metal to more modern styles such as Groove and Alternative Metal, while staying fierce and fiery throughout its 31 minutes of music.

The title-track How to Slaughter a Lamb kicks off at full speed with Mr. Marsella delivering demented vocal lines à la Mike Patton while Billy and Greg fulminate our ears with their rockin’ riffs, and more of their sonic insanity comes in the form of Into the Well, bringing elements of the Progressive and Groove Metal blasted by bands like Gojira and Mastodon and with its intricate and visceral drums adding an extra touch of aggressiveness to the overall result. Back to a more straightforward, in-your-face mode, the trio offers our ears the groovy The Age of Entitlement, where once again Billy and Greg feed Marsella with everything he needs to vociferate like a rabid creature; whereas sick guitar riffs and solos will pierce your mind without a single drop of mercy in The Tragedy Network, while we face at the same time a humongous amount of rage and lunacy through the band’s classic beats and vocals. And slowing things down a bit and adding elements from Alternative Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for another wicked musical voyage with Head of Jeddore titled Let Me Rot, where Marsella is once again bestial on vocals.

The trio continues to haunt our damned souls with their high-octane fusion of rock and metal styles in Kathmandu, reminding me of the early days of System Of A Down, with Billy and Greg giving a lesson in how to pulverize their stringed weapons, while Blood Waltz is another demolishing, awesome composition by those Canadian metallers offering us all a hybrid of Stoner and Doom Metal with Progressive Metal that will certainly please any fan of good music worldwide. Then showcasing a Children of the Grave-inspired riff it’s time for Marsella to growl and roar manically once again in The Old Man and the Sea, a song that will certainly put you to bang your head nonstop together with the band; and their Mastodon vein arises one more time in Peepholes and Moles, also presenting hints of the sick creations by Faith No More, not to mention the kick-ass riffs by the band’s talented guitar duo beautifully accompanied by the song’s hammering drums. And finally, a Death Metal-inspired gnarl ignites the closing tune The Bake Sale, before all hell breaks loose one last time inviting us all to slam into the circle pit until its vile and sluggish grand finale.

head-of-jeddore-2021In summary, if you consider yourself a true explorer of the world of rock and metal music, you should definitely give the guys from Head of Jeddore a shot. This talented Canadian act offers in their new album everything you can imagine in terms of creativity, heaviness, insanity and more, positioning them as one of the best new names of the Canadian scene. Hence, don’t forget to show them your love by following them on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Head of Jeddore, and even more important than that, by purchasing a copy of their sick new album by clicking HERE. And who knows, maybe one day those metallers from the Great White North will actually teach you how to slaughter a lamb.

Best moments of the album: How to Slaughter a Lamb, Kathmandu and Blood Waltz.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. How to Slaughter a Lamb 2:59
2. Into the Well 3:20
3. The Age of Entitlement 3:07
4. The Tragedy Network 2:41
5. Let Me Rot 4:05
6. Kathmandu 3:18
7. Blood Waltz 2:06
8. The Old Man and the Sea 3:08
9. Peepholes and Moles 3:09
10. The Bake Sale 3:23

Band members
Friendly Rich Marsella – vocals
Billy Curtis – guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar

Guest musicians
Damian Abraham – vocals
Tyler Semrick-Palmateer – vocals, guitar
Luke Roberts – vocals, guitar, bass
Greg Wright – guitar
Kevin Theodoropolus – vocals
Matt Nimmo – vocals
Brandon McColl – guitar
Kenny Bridges – vocals, guitar
Shane Drake – vocals
Erik Hughes – bass, vocals
Steve Mitchell – vocals, guitar

Album Review – Gojira / Fortitude (2021)

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

4.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: The Trails.

Released in 2021 Roadrunner Records

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

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

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

Guest musician
Adriana Vanella – vocals on “Amazonia”

Album Review – Juliet Ruin / Dark Water EP (2021)

Bang your heads to the new EP by this amazing Canadian Modern Metal crew, reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are.

3.0rating

juliet-ruin-dark-water-ep-2021Formed in 2015 in Edmonton, the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta, from the ashes of a previous project named Fiction of Fate with the desire to fuse a metal sound with clean technical vocal stylings in a way that is both beautiful and beastly, Modern Metal outfit Juliet Ruin has just unleashed upon us all a new EP titled Dark Water, following the band’s 2019 critically-acclaimed album Old Stardust, Love and Chaos. Comprised of Jess Fleming on lead vocals, Kent Geislinger and Wesley Rands on the guitars, Cody Reid on bass and Jesse Bauman on drums, Juliet Ruin are highly recommended for fans of the music by Jinjer, Infected Rain, The Agonist, Butcher Babies and so on, with their new EP reflecting a turn to darker sounds and grittier vocals while still preserving the spirit of what makes the band who they are, all spiced up by the first-class production, mixing and mastering by Diego Fernandez (who also plays the guitar as a guest in the title-track, by the way) and the enfolding artwork by Brandy Black. “The listening experience we are going for is a hard-edged, but catchy experience with lyrics you can shout in anger, but also it leans positive on message,” said the band about their newborn child.

The vicious bass by Cody sets the tone in the Alternative Metal hurricane Dark Water, with Jess bringing forward a fusion of the pop vocals by Shirley Manson (of Garbage) with visceral Melodic Death Metal growls, boosted by the awesome guitar job by Kent, Wesley and guest Diego Fernandez. Then sheer poetry flows from the celestial lyrics (“Banish me like burned down planets / Write my fate with sparkling lies / I am the universe you’re just one sky”) found in Cosmic Vertigo, while Jesse smashes his drums in great Alternative Rock and Metal fashion, therefore inviting us all to headbanging together with the band; followed by Fake Stigmata, considerably heavier and darker than its predecessors, with Jess being on fire with a passionate vocal performance supported by the massive and groovy wall of sounds by her bandmates, in special Cody and his metallic bass jabs. Lastly, it’s time for more of their hybrid of Groove Metal with Metalcore and Alternative Rock in Might, showcasing a delicate but at the same time grim side of the band, with Kent and Wesley firing classic, incendiary riffs throughout the entire song.

juliet-ruin-2021When Jess and the boys from Juliet Ruin said their new EP Dark Water would bring forward an edgier and angrier side of the band, they were not kidding at all. This talented Canadian quintet made sure the EP title was not chosen in vein, investing in a much darker sound and pointing to a bright future ahead of them. Hence, if you want to know more about such up-and-coming crew hailing from Canada, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music and watch their videos on YouTube and on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of Dark Water from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing your utmost support to the Canadian underground. Juliet Ruin are inviting us all to sail through darker waters together with them in their new EP, and based on the high-quality of each of its four tracks I’m pretty sure that journey with the band will not only be thrilling, but it will also (and fortunately) last for a long time.

Best moments of the album: Dark Water and Cosmic Vertigo.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Dark Water 4:47
2. Cosmic Vertigo 4:08
3. Fake Stigmata 4:54
4. Might 4:16

Band members
Jess Fleming – vocals
Kent Geislinger – guitar
Wesley Rands – guitar
Cody Reid – bass
Jesse Bauman – drums

Guest musician
Diego Fernandez – guitars on “Dark Water”

Album Review – Chainsword / Blightmarch (2021)

These vicious Polish troopers are ready to spread the flames of war and conflict in a death and doom inferno armed with their brutal debut opus.

Founded in 2016 in Warsaw, Poland with the sole purpose of waging war, a five-men Death Metal squad known as Chainsword is ready to spread the flames of conflict in a death and doom inferno armed with their debut opus, entitled Blightmarch, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of Unleashed, Bolt Thrower and Benediction, among several other Death Metal giants. Mixed, mastered and reamped by Haldor Grunberg at Satanic Audio, and displaying an old school, warlike artwork by Argentinian draftsman and painter Wilson Germán Arrieta, Blightmarch will invite you to head into the battlefield alongside vocalist Herr Brummbär, guitarists Sarin Spreizer and Herr Hornad, bassist Wutender Ente and drummer Herr Feldgrau, turning into ten first-class Death Metal tunes all the darkness, hatred and violence of war.

And those troopers are ready to pulverize us all with their heavy artillery in the opening tune Ost Front 1943 – Stalingrad, where Herr Brummbär vociferates like a demonic entity while Herr Feldgrau blasts his drums in great Death Metal fashion, kicking off the album on an infernal note; whereas in Spinehammer the band’s guitarists Sarin Spreizer and Herr Hornad fire unrelenting Thrash and Death Metal riffs for our total delight, resulting in a fulminating tune perfect for slamming into the pit (not to mention Herr Brummbär sounds even more demented on vocals), followed by Horus, the Chosen Son, where we’re treated to austere words barked by Herr Brummbär (“The foundation of terror / The shadow of torment / When hate consumes / the souls of man / It now is my mission / My final conquest / The right hand of chaos / That I become”) accompanied by the thunderous kitchen by Wutender Ente and Herr Feldgrau. More of the sick riffage by Sarin Spreizer and Herr Hornad permeates the air in the obscure Death Metal hymn Ost Front 1942: Moskau, with the rhythmic beats by Herr Feldgrau inviting us all to crack our necks headbanging like maniacs, and another Stygian wall of sounds smashes our senses in the vile Dead Hand Call, where Chainsword’s guitar duo not only keeps delivering sheer violence through their riffs, but also through their sick solos.

Bringing elements from Thrash and Groove Metal to their core malevolence, Chainsword will destroy anyone who crosses their path in Exterminatus, a lesson in Death Metal showcasing a brutal drumming by Herr Feldgrau amidst tons of groove and harmony blasted by the band’s stringed trio, and there’s no time to breathe as they continue their ode to violence and war in Daemonculaba, a true headbanger where Herr Brummbär roars and growls manically, always supported by the visceral riffs and bass jabs by his bandmates. Then featuring guest guitarist Cheesy Dude (aka Piotr Sadza of Belzebong and Weedpecker) and guest vocalist Nun (aka Lech Kowal of Sun No More), the title-track Blightmarch is as vile and demonic as its predecessors, keeping the album at a high level of animosity, whereas their war-like Death Metal keeps crushing our skulls in Dreadquake Mortar, sounding heavier-than-hell and demented from start to finish, with Herr Brummbär stealing the spotlight with his grim guttural lines. Lastly, we face 06.08 9:15, with the name of the song representing the date and time when the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 at 9:15am. Musically speaking, it’s another old school, vicious Death Metal onrush to end the album in the heaviest and darkest way possible.

In case you’re curious to know how Chainsword’s hybrid of Death Metal and war sounds in Blightmarch, you can stream the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you consider yourself a true Death Metal soldier you should definitely purchase the album from Chainsword’s BandCamp page, from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore, or from Apple Music. Also, in order to properly enlist in their army of extreme music, simply follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for more of their music, news, tour dates and everything else surrounding Chainsword in the battlefield. Having said that, what are you waiting for to put your dirty hands on such pulverizing album of Death Metal made in Poland? Let’s all join the attack!

Best moments of the album: Spinehammer, Exterminatus and Daemonculaba.

Worst moments of the album: Horus, the Chosen Son.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Ost Front 1943 – Stalingrad 4:03
2. Spinehammer 3:30
3. Horus, the Chosen Son 4:24
4. Ost Front 1942: Moskau 4:19
5. Dead Hand Call 3:37
6. Exterminatus 4:56
7. Daemonculaba 4:31
8. Blightmarch 3:42
9. Dreadquake Mortar 3:51
10. 06.08 9:15 5:15

Band members
Herr Brummbär – vocals
Sarin Spreizer – guitar
Herr Hornad – guitar
Wutender Ente – bass
Herr Feldgrau – drums, vocals

Guest musicians
Cheesy Dude – guitars on “Blightmarch”
Nun – additional vocals on “Blightmarch”