This Finnish five-piece metal act is ready to attack with their new EP, a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death.
Formed back in 2017 in the city of Valkeakoski, Finland, the five-piece killer combo known as Bloody Falls combines all kind of elements of the most extreme metal genres, including blasting drums, epic passages and memorable guitar riffs that will make your head explode in a million pieces, while having their sound rooted in contemporary Melodic Black and Death Metal. Now in 2023 the band formed of Antero Hakala on vocals, Stavros Mathios and Marko Mäkinen on the guitars, Mika Lehtinen on bass and Rami Vartiainen on drums is unleashing upon humanity their new EP entitled Dying is Easy, following up on their 2021 album Burn the Witch. Recording and produced by the band’s own guitarist Stavros Mathios at VStudio, and mixed and mastered by Max Morton at Morton Studio, the EP is a representation of the way a happy life usually starts to sadden towards the end due to the inevitability of death, all introduced by heavy riffs and guttural vocals.
Are you scared to die, or are you scared to live? Well, Bloody Falls will answer that question to you in Dying is Easy, a brutal explosion of Black, Death and Groove Metal led by the venomous roars by Antero while Stravos and Marko darken the atmosphere with their devilish riffs. Then get ready for six minutes of sheer heaviness and obscurity in the modern-day Black and Death Metal feast titled Dancing with Flames, with Mika’s rumbling bass and Rami’s hammering drums inspiring us all to break our necks headbanging like crazy bastards; whereas Face Your Demise leans towards modern-day Melodic Death Metal with some Metalcore nuances, with Antero’s vocals sounding as evil as possible accompanied by the classic and melodic guitars by Stravos and Marko. It’s time for a headbanging, visceral Melodic Death Metal tune entitled Death By Hanging, with Rami stealing the spotlight with his massive beats while Antero keeps roaring like a beast, and their last blast of extreme music comes in the form of Reaper Is My Neighbor, where the bass jabs by Mika will hit you hard in the face while the band’s guitar duo keeps slashing their stringed weapons in great fashion.
Although it would have been nicer to have a full-length album released by the band instead of just an EP, the 25 minutes of music found in Dying is Easy are already incendiary enough to prove how talented and passionate for heavy music those Finnish metallers are, and if you want to show them your support you can find them and start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their music on Spotify, and grab a copy of their new EP from the Art Gates Records webstore, from Apple Music, or by clicking HERE. As death is inevitable, why not enjoy some good heavy music during our miserable lives like what Bloody Falls have to offer us all until our very last breath?
Best moments of the album:Dancing with Flames and Death By Hanging.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2023 Art Gates Records
1. Dying is Easy 5:13
2. Dancing with Flames 5:46
3. Face Your Demise 4:22
4. Death By Hanging 4:10
5. Reaper Is My Neighbor 4:39
Antero Hakala – vocals
Stavros Mathios – guitars
Marko Mäkinen – guitars
Mika Lehtinen – bass
Rami Vartiainen – drums
Let the music from the sophomore album by this Belgian Symphonic Metal trio embrace you, showcasing a continuous evolution of their sound.
Fans of Beyond the Black, Ad Infinitum, Epica and Within Temptation, among several other big names of the European symphonic and melodic scene, will have an amazing time listening to The Fundamental Paradox, the sophomore effort by a Belgian Symphonic Metal band that goes by the stylish name of Elusion. Currently formed of Evy Verbruggen on vocals, Domingo Smets on the guitars and backing vocals, and Frederik Van Mieghem on drums, the trio showcases a continuous evolution of the Elusion sound in their new installment compared to their debut album Singularity, released back in 2019, living up to the legacy of the genre while also carving their name in the underground Belgian scene by offering our avid ears nine solid songs throughout the album’s 42 minutes of music.
In the opening tune …In Love and War we already face a huge dosage of classic Heavy Metal added to their core Symphonic Metal thanks to the incendiary riffs by Domingo, with Evy kicking ass with both her strident clean vocals and her she-demon gnarls, whereas the sound of the rumbling bass will punch you in the head in the also electrifying Chiaroscuro, with Frederik dictating the song’s pace behind his drums, therefore offering Evy the perfect ambience for her soaring vocals. Acrimonious is even groovier and more metallic than the previous songs, with Domingo and Frederik being in absolute sync with their sonic weapons, once again sounding a lot more modern than classic Symphonic Metal mainly due to its Progressive and Groove Metal nuances. And there’s no sign of slowing down as the trio keeps embellishing the airwaves with their sharp music in Adversity, presenting another awesome performance by Evy on vocals supported by the crushing beats by Frederik and all of the song’s background elements.
The first single of the album, entitled Science|Fiction, brings to our avid ears more of the band’s incendiary Symphonic Metal spearheaded by the razor-edged riffage and solos by Domingo; and the tribalistic vocalizations by Evy ignite the next tune, titled From the Woods to the Water, a solid piece by Elusion despite lacking the same energy of the rest of the album. It’s then time to blast a purely European Symphonic Metal tune named In Balance, where Domingo keeps extracting endless electricity from his axe accompanied by the pounding drums by Frederik; whereas enhancing their epicness and emotion, the trio fires the symphonic extravaganza Isochronism, showcasing classic riffs, hammering drums, stunning orchestrations and the always enfolding vocals by Evy. Lastly, after such charming song the band closes the album on a high note with Deafening Silence, bringing forward another round of the metallic guitars by Domingo and the vicious but intricate beats by Frederik.
If you want to know more about Evy, Domingo and Frederik, listen to more of their their music, and stay up to date about their tour dates and plans for the future, you can find those Belgian metallers on Facebook, on Instagram, on YouTube, and on Spotify, and above all that, you can grab your copy of The Fundamental Paradox from the band’s own BandCamp page. After listening to each and every track from The Fundamental Paradox, we must all agree that Elusion are hands down one of the most interesting names of the Belgian Symphonic and Melodic Metal scene, with their newborn opus representing not only a big step in their career, but it’s also another must-listen album made in Belgium, leaving us eager for more of their refined music in a not-so-distant future.
Best moments of the album:Adversity, Science|Fiction and In Balance.
Worst moments of the album:From the Woods to the Water.
Released in 2023 Independent
Track listing 1. …In Love and War 3:43
2. Chiaroscuro 3:49
3. Acrimonious 4:20
4. Adversity 4:24
5. Science|Fiction 4:05
6. From the Woods to the Water 5:48
7. In Balance 6:23
8. Isochronism 4:29
9. Deafening Silence 5:21
Evy Verbruggen – vocals
Domingo Smets – guitars, backing vocals
Frederik Van Mieghem – drums
“Life is funny. If you don’t laugh, you’re in trouble.” – Taylor Hawkins
And just like that, after 880 days of nothing, I was finally able to attend a metal concert this year, just like countless other metalheads who patiently waited for the Canadian government to lift all restrictions due to the pandemic to get back to our normal lives. And it was a busy year concert-wise as you can see HERE, with Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Behemoth and several others putting a smile back on our faces and the horns back in our hands, because in the end the beauty of heavy music is when it’s played live, right? On the other hand, we unfortunately saw some important names of the global metal scene disbanding such as Nuclear Assault, Tristania and Every Time I Die, plus of course the brave warriors who left us and are now sitting beside the metal gods in Valhalla. Just to name a few, we all mourned the losses of Fredrik Johansson (former guitarist of Dark Tranquillity), Jon Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records), Bruce Greig (former guitarist of Misery Index and Dying Fetus), Taylor Hawkins (drummer of Foo Fighters), Ronnie Deo (former bassist of Incantation), Trevor Strnad (vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder), Alec John Such (former bassist of Bon Jovi), Bob Heathcote (former bassist of Suicidal Tendencies), Steve Grimmett (vocalist of Grim Reaper), Stuart Anstis (former guitarist of Cradle of Filth), David Andersson (guitarist of Soilwork), and Dan McCafferty (former vocalist of Nazareth).
However, one of the biggest losses in the world of heavy music happened right here in Toronto, Canada, as we lost the biggest metalhead of the entire Torontonian scene, Walter Froebrich. Our super fan Walter, who was a staple in the local scene for over 20 years (and I remember seeing him in every single concert I’ve attended in the past 10 years or more at least), sadly died alone at home last month following three visits to a local hospital due to severe abdominal pain. This is extremely tragic and cannot happen again, as we all have the right to decent healthcare it doesn’t matter who we are. There will be a memorial show for Walter on January 7, 2023 at The Rockpile (details can be found HERE and tickets HERE) with several local independent bands, and we at The Headbanging Moose also want to honor the life of Walter and his undisputed passion for heavy music by dedicating to him The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums.
1. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (REVIEW) Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hate Über Alles
2. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (REVIEW) The most explosive name of the current Deathcore scene invites us all to dance like flames to the sound of their newborn masterpiece.
Best song of the album: The Pain Remains Trilogy
3. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (REVIEW) The unstoppable Mr. Dave Mustaine strikes again with the sick, the dying… and the Megadeth!
Best song of the album: Life in Hell
4. Rammstein – Zeit (REVIEW) Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution wasted no time during the pandemic and is back in action with their fantastic eight opus.
Best song of the album: Angst
5. Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram (REVIEW) A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.
Best song of the album: Malaria Vvlgata
6. Arch Enemy – Deceivers (REVIEW) One of the most important names in metal is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.
Best song of the album: The Watcher
7. Lamb of God – Omens (REVIEW) Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.
Best song of the album: Ditch
8. Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (REVIEW) Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Saxons and Vikings
9. Hiss From The Moat – The Way Out Of Hell (REVIEW) There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by this Italian horde.
Best song of the album: Generation Of Cowardice
10. Diabolical Raw – Elegy of Fire Dusk (REVIEW) Behold this grandiose album of Symphonic Black and Death Metal inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology.
Best song of the album: Face the Judgement
And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:
11. Abaddon Incarnate – The Wretched Sermon (REVIEW)
12. Cage Fight – Cage Fight (REVIEW)
13. Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse (REVIEW)
14. Stratovarius – Survive (REVIEW)
15. Konvent – Call Down the Sun (REVIEW)
16. Scorpions – Rock Believer (REVIEW)
17. Disturbed – Divisive (REVIEW)
18. Thundermother – Black and Gold (REVIEW)
19. Blind Guardian – The God Machine (REVIEW)
20. Ferum – Asunder / Erode (REVIEW)
In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2022 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. Eskhaton – Horracle (REVIEW)
2. Headfist – This New World…. (REVIEW)
3. Sullen Guest – Phase (REVIEW)
4. Pyrrhic Salvation – Manifestum I (REVIEW)
5. Klendathu – Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once (REVIEW)
6. Through The Noise – Tragedies (REVIEW)
7. Rotten Casket – First Nail in the Casket (REVIEW)
8. Circa Arcana – Bridget Viginti (REVIEW)
9. All Else Fails – The Incident at Black Lake (REVIEW)
10. Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle (REVIEW)
Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2022? 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 2022 – 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 2023!
And before I go, I’ll leave you with what’s in my humble opinion not only the best song of 2022, but it also carries a very inspiring message to us all… ROW! ROW! ROW!
One of the most interesting names of the current Swedish scene will crush your skull with their new album, blending their trademark Deathcore with tons of progressiveness and groove.
Hailing from Bollnäs, a Swedish locality and the seat of Bollnäs Municipality in Gävleborg County, Sweden, the up-and-coming Deathcore outfit known as Faustus plays what they like to call “a freight-train-full-of-sledgehammers-headed-straight-towards-your-whole-family” sound, adding elements from Death Metal, Progressive Metal and Djent, among others, to their vicious core sonority. Now in 2022 the band comprised of Ludvig Setterlind on vocals, Anton Pärlenskog and Mattias Lövhaga on the guitars, Nils Hedberg on bass and Oskar Pärlenskog on drums is ready to attack armed with their sophomore effort, entitled Memoriam, following up on their 2018 debut album Laments of an Obscure Mind. Produced, mixed and mastered by Robert Kukla at Obsidian Recording Studios, and displaying a classic artwork by Jani Stefanovic of Dreamdecipher Productions, “this album can be regarded as a tribute/homage to what has been. Both in regards to people from our past as well as things in life that have had a big impact on us. We felt that we needed an outlet for these feelings and took to our trade of choice to fulfil that need, and here we are. The music in itself is fuelled by these feelings and brings a sort of anger and sorrow. Not a gloomy one mind you, but more something that represents honour. With that said, we didn’t skimp out on the groove or heaviness of the music, no it’s quite the contrary. It’s our best and most complete album yet,” commented the band.
In the opening tune Deprived of Liberty we’re treated to a groovy riff attack by Anton and Mattias accompanied by the thunderous bass by Nils, kicking off the album on a high note and flowing into the also visceral Psychogenic, with Ludvig roaring and screaming in anger nonstop while Oskar dictates the pace with his pounding drums, sounding as heavy as it is intricate and melodic. Let’s keep banging our heads to the sound of Anhedonia, where Nils and Oskar sound like an earthquake together, therefore providing Ludvig with all he needs to scream manically, whereas Existence, Death? begins in the most Progressive Metal way possible, morphing into another solid tune where all instruments sound sharp, caustic and detailed. And following such pulverizing tune, The Creation of What’s Called Hell is an infernal Deathcore and Death Metal creation spiced up by its sinister lyrics (“In utter darkness / Death is my only friend / Corrupting everything / Tearing the soul apart / In the silence I scream / Rots with the corpses / No incoming sources / Creating what’s called hell”).
Ludvig continues to growl like a beast in Architect of Ruin, more modern than its predecessors with the guitars by Anton and Mattias piercing our ears mercilessly; and blending elements from the Melodic Death Metal by bands such as Arch Enemy and Soilwork in their sonority Faustus offer us all Sleep, once again hammering our heads with their venomous drums and bass. Then leaning towards contemporary Groove Metal we have Tempus, sounding darker and more demonic than the rest of the album and with Ludvig stealing the spotlight with his devilish roars; while Obscurity is slightly generic compared to the other songs albeit still presenting the band’s core sonority, with the guitars by Anton and Mattias sounding incendiary. Back to a more obscure sound, it’s time for the band to blast the multi-layered From the Beginning to the End where Nils is as usual fantastic on bass while Oskar keeps the energy level truly high with his beats, morphing into the atmospheric outro XI, putting a serene and pensive ending to Memoriam.
If you want to enjoy all the fury and melody blasted by Faustus in Memoriam you can stream the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase it by clicking HERE or HERE. Also, don’t forget to give the guys a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their visceral music. The Swedish metallers from Faustus did a very good job with Memoriam, blending a vast array of styles into their trademark Deathcore without losing their essence and without sounding confusing; as a matter of fact, I would love to see more of their experimentations and progressiveness in their upcoming albums as those elements brought a very welcome touch to their music, placing them among the most interesting names of the modern metal scene without a shadow of a doubt.
Best moments of the album:Psychogenic, The Creation of What’s Called Hell and Tempus.
Worst moments of the album:Obscurity.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. Deprived of Liberty 3:56
2. Psychogenic 5:01
3. Anhedonia 3:29
4. Existence, Death? 4:41
5. The Creation of What’s Called Hell 5:58
6. Architect of Ruin 4:15
7. Sleep 3:57
8. Tempus 4:06
9. Obscurity 3:19
10. From the Beginning to the End 5:43
11. XI 2:44
Band members Ludvig Setterlind – vocals
Anton Pärlenskog – guitar
Mattias Lövhaga – guitar
Nils Hedberg – bass
Oskar Pärlenskog – drums
The sophomoric album from young Los Angeles based trio Diabology, Father of Serpents is the band’s first opus with new bassist Destin Treu who replaces previous bass player Joseph Mazisyuk. Another significant change is that whilst debut album Nobody Believes Me was self-released, Father of Serpents has label backing through Dissonant Hymns Records.
Their debut album was nothing short of an out right banger. Playing an insanely catchy brand of Blackened Thrash Metal, Diabology came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and laid a foundation with which to build something really special. Two years on and their second opus sees the band effect a stylistic shift. Gone is the Blackened influence and in comes a more modern sounding Thrash Metal with a huge amount of Groove Metal influence.
Diabology also pulls off something for the second time that a lot of bands never manage, and that is creating an album that gets stronger and stronger the further in you get. For the first few tracks they hammer out some impressive but steady tracks that are in the process of feeling out the bands new more mainstream direction. However, by the time they kick into the superbly melodic Eat My Heart Out they are well and truly at home. During March to the Sea there is something about the vocal structure that kept bringing System of A Down to mind, whilst the chugging ferocity of Ode to Ogtha has an almost Sludge like quality to the riffs as well as a little Death Metal influence around the guitar leads. New bassist Destin Treu also becomes far more prominent as the album progresses and has some impressive bass leads during this track and the equally powerful Chimera.
Their debut album is a nasty blackened slice of filthy thrash with a lot of stank on it. Father of Serpents is a far more progressive and mature offering that grows in power and intrigues the further into the journey you venture. Plus you have to love an album that features a song about fucking cockroaches!
Best moments of the album: From the start of March to the Sea until the album’s climax is spectacular.
Worst moments of the album: Nada!
Released in 2022 by Dissonant Hymns Records
Track listing 1. Father of Serpents 4:15
2. Writhe 3:21
3. The Softest Grave 4:15
4. Eat My Heart Out 5:03
5. Spoil 2:03
6. Blackblood 3:35
7. March to Sea 4:58
8. Ode to Ogtha 5:20
9. Chimera 5:37
10. Lighthouse Hymn 5:41
Jesse Bergen – vocals, guitars, bass
Jack Kleinman – guitars, bass on “Spoil” and “Chimera”
Matt Morales – drums
Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.
Two years after the release of their excellent self-titled album, Richmond, Virginia’s own Groove Metal institution Lamb of God is back in action with another magnificent release entitled Omens, the ninth studio album (eleventh if including those under the name Burn the Priest) in their undisputed career. “If anybody paying attention to the state of the world over the last few years isn’t angry, I have nothing to say to them,” commented the band’s frontman D. Randall “Randy” Blythe about the generally pissed-off tone of their new album. Recorded and produced by Josh Wilbur, mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, and featuring a stylish artwork by K3n Adams, Omens offers us all 40 minutes of sheer aggressiveness and groove by the aforementioned Randy Blythe and his henchmen Mark Morton and Willie Adler on the guitars, John Campbell on bass, and Art Cruz on drums, cementing their name as one of the most important forces of the current metal scene worldwide.
Sheer groove flows from the very first second in Nevermore, a solid tune where Mark and Willie’s axes are flawlessly supported by the rumbling bass by John, and the band keeps hammering their weapons in great fashion in Vanishing, sounding visceral and exciting as good Groove Metal should be with of course Randy kicking us in the head with his visceral roars, not to mention the awesome job done by Art on drums. Then let’s bang our heads nonstop to the groovy and heavy-as-hell To the Grave, showcasing another dynamic kitchen brought into being by John and Art while the guitars exhale fire and animosity; followed by the high-octane Ditch, bringing forward an extremely fun chorus to sing along with Randy (“You’re face down, down in a ditch that you dug yourself / You can live and die by the hand you’re dealt / Unwound consequence and you can never tell / Live or die by the hand you’re dealt”) while his bandmates deliver a flawless, infuriated Groove Metal extravaganza for admirers of the genre. And the title-track Omens is another superb moment of the album, a lecture in contemporary metal music by Lamb of God where Mark and Willie extract endless aggressiveness from their guitars while Art shows no mercy for his drums.
Slowing things down a bit while investing in pure heaviness, it’s time for us all to break our necks headbanging to the sound of Gomorrah, with Randy barking and screaming manically nonstop, and there’s no time to breathe thanks to the massive beats by Art in Ill Designs, another violent hybrid of Groove, Thrash and Death Metal where the riffage by the band’s guitar duo is tailored for slamming into the pit. Putting the pedal to the metal, Randy & Co. deliver a humongous dose of heaviness and rage in the form of Grayscale, where John makes sure the earth trembles to the sound of his thunderous bass, whereas in Denial Mechanism we’re treated to another round of the band’s trademark acid lyrics (“A pathetic birth of the end times / Slowly creeping to the final deadline / No fairytale on a movie screen / Just slow collapse beneath our gluttony”) amidst a hurricane of metallic sounds perfect for their incendiary live concerts. Lastly, the band offers us all the introspective September Song, which morphs from a very serene sonority into the band’s usual madness while its background keys add a touch of epicness to the overall result, putting a climatic ending to the album.
Fortunately for all of us with serious budget restrictions the band made Omens available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you have some extra money to spend on music you can click HERE and grab your favorite version of such intense album of modern-day heavy music. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates (and believe me, if you’ve never seen Lamb of God live you don’t know what you’re missing), to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify. “We’re being marketed and sold falling skies, doom and gloom and all this end-of-days material. That stuff makes wonderful fodder for metal music,” said Randy, and we must all agree that although our world might be reaching its inevitable and sinister fate soon, at least Lamb of God will keep absorbing all that darkness and turning it into first-class music for our total delight until the very end of all days. Well, as the band itself says in their new album, fuck it all, ignore the omens.
Best moments of the album:Vanishing, Ditch, Omens and Denial Mechanism.
Worst moments of the album:Gomorrah.
Released in 2022 Epic Records/Nuclear Blast
Track listing 1. Nevermore 4:35
2. Vanishing 4:48
3. To the Grave 3:43
4. Ditch 3:37
5. Omens 3:47
6. Gomorrah 4:12
7. Ill Designs 3:41
8. Grayscale 3:59
9. Denial Mechanism 2:37
10. September Song 6:00
Japanese Edition bonus track 11. Evidence 3:50
D. Randall “Randy” Blythe – vocals
Mark Morton – guitar
Willie Adler – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums
Guest musicians Ernie C, Juan Garcia, Wes Eisold, Toby Morse & Sara Taylor – gang vocals on “Omens”
As The Headbanging Moose is celebrating nine years of existence this month of October, there’s nothing better than offering the first slice of our cake to a woman who’s undoubtedly the most important name of all time from the Ukrainian rock and metal scene, and I would dare to say even from the entire music scene in Ukraine. Born on March 15, 1987 in Horlivka, or Gorlovka, a city located in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, she’s a singer and songwriter better known as the frontwoman for Groove Metal/Metalcore act Jinjer since 2010, kicking some serious ass wherever she goes armed with both her furious roars and mesmerizing clean vocals. I’m talking about the one and only Tatiana Shmayluk, a multi-talented and humble woman who’s also a role model to countless girls out there who want to find in heavy music a way to express all of their feelings, hopes and frustrations, and I’m sure you’ll get addicted to her vocals and her music after reading this tribute to her.
Long before becoming the face of Jinjer, Tatiana was already singing and screaming according to her own mother, always listening to Russian and Ukrainian pop songs she heard on the radio. “My mother told me I started screaming when I was a very little girl. I screamed so loud I had a hernia in my belly.” Furthermore, one of her favorite songs from her childhood was the 1989 dance song Lambada, by French-Brazilian group Kaoma, which she mentioned she still sings along to it with great joy, although she doesn’t know Portuguese. She then began singing more seriously at the age of eight, taking vocal lessons for a couple of months and making her onstage debut that year in a concert hall with a choir. “The songs were accompanied with dancing. I was very nervous, and of course I screwed it up because of the dancing. So I said, ‘Never again.’ I cannot do synchronic dancing with someone else. I need to do it alone so I can control the whole thing,” commented Tatiana, who also said that it was her older brother, who was a guitar player to a Doom Metal band, who introduced her to metal music, more specifically to Aria, the long-running Moscow metal outfit hailed as the “Iron Maiden of Russia.”
Proudly carrying the flag of modern-day metal music to all four corner of the earth, Jinjer were formed back in 2008 in Donetsk, but the band considers their official start with the addition of Tatiana and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov in 2010. None of the founding members remain with the band, with the current lineup being comprised of the aforementioned Tatiana on vocals and Roman on the guitars, together with Eugene Abdukhanov on bass and Vladislav Ulasevish on drums. Influenced by countless renewned acts the likes of Opeth, Guano Apes, Slayer, Death, Pantera, Anathema, Lamb of God, Gojira and Twelve Foot Ninja, as well as groups across the spectrum of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop, such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain, the band has already released four studio albums in their career, those being their 2014 debut Cloud Factory, their 2016 sophomore album King of Everything, and more recently their 2019 opus Macro and their 2021 critically acclaimed album Wallflowers, all of which have reached number one in their native Ukraine, while also seeing a total of 16 singles, six of which reached the top of the Ukrainian charts and one of which, Pisces, became a global hit and has to date sold over 20 million copies. In addition, they’ve also released three EP’s, those being Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (2009), Inhale, Do Not Breathe (2012) and Micro (2019), and the 2020 live album Alive in Melbourne. You can enjoy several of their best compositions on YouTube, such as Vortex, Judgement (& Punishment), Wallflower, Home Back, Sit Stay Roll Over, and Who Is Gonna Be The One, as well as their full ass-kicking performance live at Resurrection Fest in Viveiro, Spain, in 2018, among many, many other awesome videos, and don’t forget to also stream their full discography on Spotify.
Unfortunately, not long after the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian military, anti-government protestors and pro-Russian rebels began in 2014, Tatiana and her bandmates had to escape Donetsk, moving to a suburb near the city of Lviv around 800 miles away, not far from the Polish border. “”But we got bored there because it’s a city for tourists,” explained Tatiana. “We rented a house but it was impossible to live there because there were problems with water, with electricity, heating. So that’s why we moved to a more civilized place.” Furthermore, when asked about what makes Jinjer uniquely Ukrainian, she said that because the band comes from a land where kindness equals weakness, a tough country for everyone including their parents, especially in the 90’s, the band members became really grind and tough. For instance, she mentioned that Ukrainians don’t go to a doctor if something hurts, for example, enduring the pain until the end. That’s one of the reasons why the band tries to never cancel any of their concerts and tours, even if it’s impossible to play, showing how strong and determined they are.
Apart from her undisputed career with Jinjer, you can also find Tatiana as a guest vocalist in an array of distinct albums and songs, including the songs Through the Never (I Will Return) and Horror of Daniel Wagner, from the 2022 album Horror of Daniel Wagner, by Ukrainian Heavy/Power Metal band Morton; the song Find My Way, released in 2022 by American Modern Metal band Lions At The Gate; the song Over and Out, released in 2021 by Australian Heavy Rock band Twelve Foot Ninja; and my favorite of all those tracks, the pulverizing Hello Death, from the 2022 album Cancer Culture, released by Polish Death/Groove Metal act Decapitated. Not only that, if you pay good attention to Jinjer’s song Judgment (& Punishment) you’ll notice several elements from reggae added to the band’s extreme music, and that’s something that comes from Tatiana as she was a part of a band that played reggae, ska, ska-punk and funk before Jinjer, playing several cover songs and singing in Ukrainian, Russian and English. “I was a huge fan of reggae. I wore dreadlocks and I was all about Rastafari,” commented Tatiana, who also said that, even being a huge reggae fan, she doesn’t smoke weed simply because she doesn’t like it.
Currently living in Los Angeles, California and spending as much time as possible on tour, having closed 2021 with over 70 concerts including many summer festivals, a short tour of mainland Europe and a two-month North American tour, Tatiana obviously misses her homeland, her family and friends, although she finds the region’s lingering Soviet attitudes unappealing, with the remnants of hardline communism surrounding everyone there. While she was still living in Ukraine, she said that “I was too young to remember life in Soviet Union, but the spirit of Soviet Union is still here. I’m living in an apartment built maybe 40 years ago, and my parents live in such an apartment, as well. All our shops and supermarkets are situated in buildings built then. So it is still like Soviet Union. And there are a lot of people who still have Soviet Union in their heads and their minds.” However, Tatiana mentioned she doesn’t feel safe when on tour it doesn’t matter which country she’s visiting, not only in Ukraine, saying she’s always afraid of going anywhere by herself.
In one of her interviews, Tatiana said it’s a surprise to her that people are still impressed that women can scream, mentioning for example female-fronted German thrash metallers Holy Moses, who she got to know when she was an 18-year old girl in Ukraine, and saying that despite the fact bands like Jinjer might impress the younger generations, the older generations have always known what women can do in rock and metal music. “Sometimes I’m annoyed, but then you say, ‘OK, well, I didn’t see a hummingbird until I was 35 years old.’ It’s always a right time to discover new stuff. It’s great that screaming women are a phenomenon.” She also said it’s incredible to know she’s an inspiration for many young women mainly because they don’t know she’s in fact a very shy person, also sensitive, fragile and easy to be offended, or in her own words, she’s not better than anyone, complementing by saying she’s just a performer when she’s on stage. “Of course there is some true shit, but I don’t move my head 24/7 and I don’t scream all the time. Well, I scream every night. But not every morning.” Furthermore, you can learn a little more about how Tatiana learned to scream by clicking HERE, from first hearing Otep to screaming Mudvayne lyrics, to the dominant force she is today.
As any other metalhead in the world, Tatiana has a lot of idols and influences in her life, in her vocal style, in the way she writes the music for Jinjer and so on, but following those artists wasn’t easy at all when she was a young girl due to the aforementioned impact of the Soviet Union over Ukraine at that time. “Metal wasn’t accessible for me. Where I grew up in Donetsk, not many worldwide metal artists would come. They’d go to the capital, and it was 700km and 12 hours on the train. I didn’t have money because I was a teenager and my mom was strict; she didn’t give me much pocket money, although that stimulated me to earn it myself, for which I’m really grateful to her. My parents wouldn’t have let me out of the town, but that was for the best too. It made me want to play my own music and form my own band.” As mentioned, her brother was the one who got her into metal (although he stopped listening to heavy music when he grew up), but before that she used to listen to a lot of rock music, grunge and punk especially after the Soviet Union collapsing in 1991, as MTV hit the Ukrainian airwaves and she began listening to bands like Nirvana and The Offspring. She then found the music by Otep, and got addicted to the vocals by the iconic Otep Shamaya. “I think I was 15 when I heard Otep the first time,” said Tatiana in one of her interviews. “I said, ‘This dude is so cool!’ And my friend said, ‘This is a girl!’ I was like, ‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ This is the first girl I am hearing do this. I was shocked, and I wanted to shock people like her.”
Being a rock and metal artist in Ukraine wasn’t easy at all, taking Tatiana and the rest of the band around five years just to cross the Ukrainian border and play in Romania, and even longer to reach other European countries and the United States, but fortunately everything seems to be working for Jinjer now, with the band organically growing in the worldwide scene and gaining more and more respect from fans from all four corners of the earth. As expected, Tatiana has some important complaints about the Ukrainian metal scene, saying that most Ukrainian bands stick to playing in Ukraine or Russia, and that they don’t usually sing in English, the main reason why they just play in their motherland. “I was always inspired by western music culture in jazz, blues and then metal. I always had this love for English speaking music, even pop music; Britney Spears is one of my biggest idols! People can understand it easily and for me, it was always about spreading my own message through a language that is more available for people all around the world of different countries. That’s why we chose to sing in English and that’s how we made our own path.” Another major issue in Ukraine according to her is the post-U.S.S.R. thinking and mindset, where you’re not accepted if you’re different, as for example tattoos (and we all know she has plenty) are not acceptable for men nor women in her homeland.
However, as you might probably know, Ukraine is suffering with the Russian invasion that started back in February this year, and that has been hitting the band hard in their hearts and minds since then. In March 2022, it was reported that Jinjer had “paused” their career to focus on relief efforts in Ukraine after the war began. Right after that, in June 2022, Jinjer announced that they received permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine and tour as ambassadors of the nation to raise funds and awareness. “We are very thankful to our Ministry Of Culture for the Ukraine who gave us this opportunity to do what we love to do, and play all the festivals we have announced. We’re using every festival to raise funds and spread awareness about the real war that is happening in the 21st century, which is crazy. It’s hard to believe, but this is the harsh reality. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time we are also full of hope that soon it is all going be over. We are spreading positivity and hope, and we are dreaming about peace. I hope that no other European or world country ever experiences the same as the Ukraine,” commented Tatiana, also saying she has no idea when Jinjer will be able to play in Ukraine again, and that the band will never stop fighting. Moreover, in their most recent releases there are lyrics addressing the war in Donbas and its effects on their home region of Donetsk, and you can also find tons of amazing interviews with Tatiana and the boys talking about the war in Ukraine, just like this one conducted by Loudwire.
Regarding her relationship with social media, Tatiana said that due to her explosive nature she usually replies back to anyone that messages her, it doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative comment, saying she “enjoys” replying back to internet trolls because she’s easy to piss off. “Sometimes it’s just overwhelming. I feel like if I let it go, I will let them continue to do this shit again and again. It’s like I give them unspoken permission,” commented our stunning diva, also saying most of the feedback she gets online is actually positive. In addition, one of her favorite ways of interacting with her fans is to customize shirts she receives from them before a show and wear them onstage the same night. “Most of the time, these shirts are very personal. For example, yesterday I was given a shirt — it has a huge ape giving a middle finger and it says something like, ‘Humans destroy everything.’ It’s so related to our song Ape. They will see me wear it on the stage and it is a huge pleaser. They get double joy. I love all the things they bring to me at meet and greet. They are so sweet,” said Tatiana, complementing by saying that some of those fans are very shy and don’t want to talk a lot, being very happy with just an autograph and a photo.
Our unstoppable frontwoman also said that, in an effort to improve her own standing with Mother Nature, she tried to be a vegan for three years, but she went back to eating meat in the middle of a tour because she was starving. She said she still tries to be moderate in consuming meat, and that she doesn’t drink milk, though, revealing her own inner conflict. “I still try being vegan, but it’s really hard for me because I was raised in a family that was not very rich,” she explained. “We could not afford eating meat very often. So when I stopped eating meat, I realized that I loved meat a lot. When I smell meat, it drives me crazy. Something inside of me forgets about animals, suffering, health, environment, and I just want a good piece of meat.” You can get to know more about Tatiana by listening to our growler answering 10 questions asked by Metalshop TV (volume 1 and volume 2), as well as other interviews online such as Tatiana and her bandmates answering the most asked questions on the Internet about Jinjer. Lastly, just like several people out there (including myself), Tatiana also believes something went wrong in our evolution, saying mankind went wrong, and that although we are so small on this earth we act like we are gods, which makes her really sad. She’s trying to learn how to be happy, how to find the happiness inside, and to appreciate her life. “That’s my biggest ambition, to be happy and find inner peace, and for there to be justice for Ukraine.”
“You know what, I’m losing my faith in music. I don’t feel like I can express myself enough to say what I really feel because there are no words to explain. So, I feel like I should give up… but then something makes me go further.” – Tatiana Shmayluk
Playing what can be described as a mix of Heavy and Black Metal, this up-and-coming Polish group returns with their sophomore album, as dark and heavy as it is melodic and epic.
Established at the end of 2013 in Warsaw, Poland, Chimera play what can be described as a mix of Heavy and Black Metal, which is exactly what they have to offer us all in their sophomore opus Gloria Mortis, the follow-up to their 2016 debut effort Transmutation. Recorded at Hainrich House Studio, Gloria Mortis is just as dark and heavy as it is melodic and epic, being highly recommended for admirers of the newest wave of extreme music, in special all the new names hailing form the vibrant underground scene in Poland, therefore showcasing all the talent by the band currently formed of Krzysztof Gałecki on vocals and guitars, founder Rafał “Charon” Mazur on lead guitars, Wiktor Waliłko on bass, and Andrzej Ruszkowski on drums.
An eerie intro simply titled I, where Krzysztof distills his Polish words to give it a darker edge, sets the tone for the pulverizing and grim Dunkelheit (“darkness” from German), presenting Black Metal riffs by Krzysztof and Charon while Andrzej hammers his drums powerfully, being at the same time ferocious and melodic, and kicking things off on a very high note. Then investing in a similar sound of its predecessor, Necrosis of Soul is another infuriated creation by Chimera where the band adds elements from Groove Metal and Deathcore to their core essence, not to mention Krzysztof sounds inhumane with his deep roars; whereas Madness sounds and feels even heavier and more demented, with Charon being on fire with his riffage and solos accompanied by the rumbling bass by Wiktor in an electrifying fusion of Black, Heavy and Death Metal. And the thunderous bass and beats by Wiktor and Andrzej, respectively, generate a menacing ambience in Nieistniejąc (“non-existent” from Polish), with the sharp riffs by the band’s guitar duo slashing our ears mercilessly.
The album’s “second act” begins with the horror-movie inspired interlude II, also displaying cryptic vocalizations and morphing into the intricate and groovy Immortal Self, reminding me of the music by several bands from the current American modern metal scene. Moreover, the song’s devilish growls and razor-edged riffs will pierce your mind like a bullet, whereas headbanging guitars and a Stygian atmosphere will embrace your soul in The Bable Tower, where Krzysztof continues to vociferate like a creature from the underworld in a vicious onrush of Black and Death Metal. Then in Asmodeus we’re all invited to slam into the circle pit thanks to its endless brutality, groove and electricity, with Andrzej sounding insane behind his drums supported by the metallic bass by Wiktor, resulting in one of the best songs of the album hands down. And the band keeps delivering their trademark hybrid of violence and intricacy in Dziki Sęp (“wild vulture” from Polish), bringing forward an awesome job done by Krzysztof and Charon with their Black Metal-infused riffs. There’s still time for one last breath of pure insanity entitled Among Wolves, getting heavier and heavier as time passes by, all spearheaded by the venomous vocalizations by Krzysztof before a narration-style outro named III puts a Stygian ending to the album.
If you’re an admirer of a modern fusion of Black, Death and Heavy Metal with a dense background, you should definitely give the new album by Chimera a try by streaming it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase it from the band’s own Facebook page to show your utmost support to the underground. In addition, go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, including their tour dates, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos. Gloria Mortis is undoubtedly a step forward in the career of such promising band from the Polish metal scene, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll hear more from those guys sooner than we can imagine as their third opus isn’t far from seeing the light of day.
Best moments of the album:Dunkelheit, Madness and Asmodeus.
Worst moments of the album:Immortal Self.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. I 1:48
2. Dunkelheit 5:36
3. Necrosis of Soul 4:33
4. Madness 4:02
5. Nieistniejąc 5:15
6. II 1:22
7. Immortal Self 4:01
8. The Bable Tower 4:05
9. Asmodeus 4:30
10. Dziki Sęp 3:28
11. Among Wolves 3:59
12. III 1:07
Band members Krzysztof Gałecki – vocals, guitars
Rafał “Charon” Mazur – lead guitars
Wiktor Waliłko – bass
Andrzej Ruszkowski – drums
Let’s all say farewell to this talented Progressive Metal act from Finland to the sound of their second (and last) full-length album.
Hailing from the Finnish capital of Helsinki, the Progressive Metal outfit known as Fireproven has just unleashed upon us their sophomore effort, entitled Epilogue, which is also their last album as in January 2022 the band announced they would be disbanded, thanking their loyal fans for their support through the years. “Sadly, we have to announce that Fireproven will no longer continue. There are number of reasons that led us to this decision but we’re all still good friends, and will continue to keep it that way. We’re going to release our last album later this spring but all shows will be cancelled. We want to thank you all for your love and support during these years. None of this would have been possible without you guys listening to our tracks and showing us your love,” commented vocalist Sanna Solanterä, guitarist Janne Väätämöinen, bassist Juha Väätämöinen, keyboardist Ilari Hannula and drummer Nuutti Hannula, leaving us with the musical freedom and explorations from Epilogue embraced by a stylish cover art by Petri Lampela.
The whimsical keys by Ilari will captivate your senses in the opening track The Maze, being joined by the slashing riffage by Janne and the blast beats by Nuutti, sounding very modern, progressive and melodic from start to finish. Then blending the Melodic Metal from bands such as Epica and Within Temptation with Progressive and Groove Metal nuances we have The Addict, a pleasant, headbanging tune led by the always striking vocals by Sanna; whereas the metallic, thunderous bass by Juha dictates the pace in King, offering more of the band’s hybrid of Melodic and Progressive Metal with the growls by Juha making a great paradox with Sanna’s vocals. And phantasmagorical keys and pounding drums generate a dense atmosphere in Haunted, sounding very theatrical while Janne extracts pure obscurity from his guitar. Moreover, it’s very different from its predecessors, but still loyal to the band’s core essence.
In Time to Heal, the tick tock on the clock grows in intensity until the music turns into a heavy and aggressive onrush with Juha roaring like a beast alternating with Sanna and her beyond melodic vocals, while sheer adrenaline flows from the breathtaking Dream Catcher, where all band members are in absolute sync spearheaded by the Melodic Death Metal keys by Ilari. After such intense tune, an epic, imposing intro to the slashing riffs by Janne evolves into more of the band’s Progressive Metal in Grace, where Janna once again beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics; and the band offers our ears over six minutes of progressiveness in the form of Waves of Extinction, with a delicate but mesmerizing vocal performance by Sanna as if Dream Theater or Opeth had a female vocalist. Lastly, the keys by Ilari add an extra touch of finesse to the nine-minute aria Unity, where Nuuutti keeps hammering his drums nonstop, providing Sanna with exactly what she needs to shine on vocals while Janne and Juha make an incendiary duo with their stringed weapons.
If Progressive and Melodic Metal with female vocals is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a listen at Epilogue, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, and although Fireproven have just called it quits you can still give a shout to the band on Facebook and on Instagram (and who knows, maybe that will inspire them to get back in action in the near future, right?), listen to more of their music on YouTube, and purchase Epilogue from Apple Music. Unfortunately, as already mentioned, Epilogue is the last album by Fireproven, which means we won’t probably hear from those talented Finnish metallers again unless they decide to come back from the ashes one day. However, they’re definitely going out with a bang thanks to the amazing job done in their new album, leaving their mark in the underground Finnish scene while also bringing a lot of fun and joy to our ears and hearts, all in line with the name chosen for their farewell album.
Best moments of the album: The Addict, Dream Catcher and Waves of Extinction.
Worst moments of the album:Haunted.
Released in 2022 Independent
Track listing 1. The Maze 4:29
2. The Addict 5:19
3. King 4:11
4. Haunted 5:08
5. Time to Heal 5:08
6. Dream Catcher 4:54
7. Grace 5:40
8. Waves of Extinction 6:29
9. Unity 9:02
Band members Sanna Solanterä – vocals
Janne Väätämöinen – guitar, backing vocals
Juha Väätämöinen – bass, vocals
Ilari Hannula – keyboards
Nuutti Hannula – drums
Let’s bang our heads to the new EP by a Deathcore duo aiming at redefining what the Australian metal scene is capable of.
“They laugh at me because I am different… I laugh at them because they are all the same…”
Aiming at redefining what the Australian metal scene is capable of, Brisbane-based Deathcore duo As Paradise Falls (also known as APF) has been on a dark rollercoaster of pure emotion in the pursuit to find where they truly fit in the world both as people and as a band. After the releases of their 2014 debut EP Save Yourself and their 2017 debut full-length album Digital Ritual, As Paradise Falls dropped off the radar and halted the progress of the band with no explanation, but it looks like they’re back on track with their 2020 single Bleed for the Crown, and more important than that, with their brand new EP titled Madness / Medicine. Produced by Shane Edwards at Studio 28 in Thailand, Madness / Medicine is a new breed of Deathcore that has raised the archetype of heavy music, proving how talented vocalist Ravi Sherwell and guitarist Danny Kenneally are while also providing music lovers with a very good reason to bang their heads nonstop to the sound of the EP’s five incendiary tracks.
BATS is simply sinister and caustic from the very first second, where Ravi’s enraged, demonic vocals will pierce your mind mercilessly while Danny hammers his guitar in great fashion, resulting in a fantastic opener for the EP. If you’re a diehard fan of Deathcore you’ll fall in love for this tune without a shadow of a doubt, whereas Captain Hero is even more demented than its predecessor, with the heaviness exhaling from the song’s bass and drums being outstanding while the duo adds elements from classic Death and Groove Metal to their core sound to make things even more violent. Then we have KFBR392, slightly more alternative as if Slipknot ventured through the realms of Deathcore, where once again Ravi barks and roars like a demented beast while Danny will haunt your damned soul with his riffage; and get ready for another round of insanity and heaviness by As Paradise Falls entitled Mechanical Hannibals, a lecture in Deathcore showcasing all elements we love in the genre such as wicked vociferations, rumbling bass lines and pulverizing riffs. Finally, closing the EP we’re treated to two minutes of dementia in the form of TR4K 1, with Danny cutting our skin deep with his sick riffs, therefore inspiring us all to succumb to the dark side of Deathcore.
As already mentioned, As Paradise Falls want to show the world the Deathcore scene in Australia is stronger than ever, with their new EP representing that evolution and, consequently, where we should expect to see the duo in the coming years. Hence, you can keep track of all things As Paradise Falls by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram and by listening to more of their wicked creations on Spotify, and don’t forget to obviously purchase a copy of Madness / Medicine sooner than you can say “Deathcore” by clicking HERE. Hopefully, Ravi and Danny will continue to deliver awesomeness in their upcoming releases without having to put the band on hold again, expanding their reach to new, unexplored lands and showing the world what Australian Deathcore is all about, just like what they have to offer us all in their entertaining new release.
Best moments of the album: BATS and Mechanical Hannibals.