Album Review – Diabology / Father of Serpents (2022)

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

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

Band members
Jesse Bergen – vocals, guitars, bass
Jack Kleinman – guitars, bass on “Spoil” and “Chimera”
Matt Morales – drums

Links
Diabology Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Linktree | Spotify | BandCamp | YouTube

Album Review – Lamb of God / Omens (2022)

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

Band members
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”

Metal Chick of the Month – Tatiana Shmayluk

Booyakah, Tatiana!

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.

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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.”

Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Facebook page
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Instagram
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Twitter
Jinjer’s Official Facebook page
Jinjer’s Official VKontakte
Jinjer’s Official Instagram
Jinjer’s Official YouTube channel
Jinjer’s Official Twitter

“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

Album Review – Chimera / Gloria Mortis (2022)

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

Album Review – Fireproven / Epilogue (2022)

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

Album Review – As Paradise Falls / Madness / Medicine EP (2022)

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.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. BATS 3:08
2. Captain Hero 3:38
3. KFBR392 2:52
4. Mechanical Hannibals 3:05
5. TR4K 1 2:11

Band members
Ravi Sherwell – vocals
Danny Kenneally – guitar

Album Review – Cage Fight / Cage Fight (2022)

It’s time to get into a bloodsoaked cage fight to the sound of the thrilling debut album by an up-and-coming London, UK-based Hardcore outfit.

Featuring the stunning French vocalist Rachel Aspe, known for her time with the iconic French Neo-Metal act Eths, and TesseracT guitarist James Monteith, London, England-based Crossover/Hardcore unity Cage Fight have just unleashed upon us mere mortals their debut self-titled effort, one of the most furious records to emerge from the UK in years. The anger and frustration of the band’s debut album is the perfect catharsis for our times, not only showcasing all the talent of the aforementioned Rachel and James together with bassist Jon Reid and drummer Nick Plews, but the artwork itself, a grabbing hand with the Cage Fight logo tattooed on the palm, visually portrays the violent rage at the core of the band’s music. Legitimately tattooed by Rachel, a tattoo artist by trade, the process of creating the image is as impactful as the final artwork itself, giving you a very good idea of how ruthless and austere the album sounds. “I cherish the ability to channel my anger through this outlet. In a world full of uncertainty and frustration this type of music was the only thing I found solace and balance in. These songs have a deep meaning for me and I hope this is something that other people can relate to,” commented the multi-talented Rachel about such outstanding album.

Featuring Jeremy Sylvester, a highly influential and prolific Garage and House producer from the UK, the album begins with a modern, electronic Intro that sets the stage for The Mirror Shattered, a bestial Hardcore tune with Punk Rock elements led by the venomous guitars by James while Rachel roars manically, therefore living up to the legacy of bands such as The Exploited and Ratos de Porão. There’s no time to breathe as Nick keeps hammering his drums in Killer, another excellent composition showcasing a high-octane fusion of Crossover Thrash and Groove Metal where once again James is infernal armed with his axe. Rachel sounds possessed by a demonic entity throughout the entire album, and it couldn’t have been any different than that in the awesome Hope Castrated, a massive, in-your-face Hardcore feast where Jon’s rumbling bass and Nick’s furious beats will make your head tremble, and it’s then time to slam into the pit and raise our horns in the name of rebelliousness and rage in Make A Decision, absolutely fast and furious thanks to another flawless performance by Nick on drums while Rachel showcases her trademark she-demon screams for our total delight. Their Punk Rock vein pulses stronger than ever in Guillotine, with the slashing, piercing riffs by James walking hand in hand with the bass punches by Jon, not to mention Rachel even fires some gruesome, vile Brutal Death Metal screeches.

The MMA entrance-inspired interlude Cage Fight! warms us up for the metal battle entitled Shine Don’t Fade, sounding and feeling pulverizing from the very first second thanks to the dynamic and evil sounds blasted by James, Jon and Nick, perfect for breaking your neck headbanging; whereas in One Minute the quartet plays at the speed of light in a great hybrid of classic Thrash Metal the likes of Anthrax with the more ferocious music by Lamb of God. In Tell Me What Real Is, less visceral but still heavy-as-hell, dense and demonic, Rachel keeps screaming inside our heads while her bandmates extract sheer animosity form their sonic weapons, whereas in Respect Ends there’s absolutely no sign of tiredness by the band, with James once again kicking ass with his riffage while Rachel delivers an insane dosage of animosity through her growls. Then we have Eating Me Alive, featuring guest vocalist Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder), who sadly died on May 11 at the very early age of 41, bringing an extra touch of violence to the overall result by making an awesome vocal duo with Rachel; followed by My Dreams, which starts in a somber manner before exploding into the band’s modern-day Crossover Thrash. Moreover, Rachel leads her henchmen for over six minutes of aggressiveness, dementia and fury. And lastly we’re treated to their cover version for Body Count’s Bitch In The Pit (check the original song HERE), a sensational rendition by Cage Fight with Rachel stealing the spotlight with her enraged, she-wolf roars, turning her into the undisputed “bitch in the pit”.

In a nutshell, Cage Fight more than nailed it with their debut opus, providing us headbangers with a very good reason for raising our horns nonstop and slamming into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow. Hence, don’t forget to stream the album in full on Spotify, to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates (and believe me, you don’t want to miss their live performances if they take your city by storm), and of course, to purchase your favorite version of such intense album of European Hardcore by clicking HERE. As you might have noticed, Rachel, James, Jon and Nick are waiting for you inside the cage for an ass-kicking metal fight to the sound of their debut opus, but you better be prepared to have your ass kicked in the name of Hardcore and Thrash Metal, of course.

Best moments of the album: The Mirror Shattered, Hope Castrated, Guillotine and Bitch In The Pit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Candlelight Records

Track listing
1. Intro 1:25
2. The Mirror Shattered 2:34
3. Killer 3:17
4. Hope Castrated 2:54
5. Make A Decision 3:15
6. Guillotine 2:32
7. Cage Fight! 0:58
8. Shine Don’t Fade 3:15
9. One Minute 4:04
10. Tell Me What Real Is 3:18
11. Respect Ends 3:03
12. Eating Me Alive 3:37
13. My Dreams 6:16
14. Bitch In The Pit (Body Count cover) 3:05

Band members
Rachel Aspe – vocals
James Monteith – guitar
Jon Reid – bass
Nick Plews – drums

Guest musicians
Jeremy Sylvester – samplers on “Intro”
Trevor Strnad – vocals on “Eating Me Alive”

Concert Review – Gojira & Deftones (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/22/2022)

A great night of Progressive, Groove and Alternative Metal in Toronto almost ruined by the total lack of organization and respect for customers by Live Nation.

INTRODUCTION: No VOWWS, and a massive headache caused by Live Nation

The only word I can use to start this review is “nightmare”. All the happiness from the moment I knew Australian Death Pop duo VOWWS was not opening for GOJIRA and DEFTONES at the Budweiser Stage, which meant more Gojira for me, simply vanished when I arrived at the venue and saw the massive line formed for what the so-called organization decided to do to reassign seats based on a “first come first serve” basis that absolutely NO ONE was informed beforehand. I bought floor tickets because I hate seats, and to my surprise I was assigned to seats at the 200 level. It’s like ordering a pizza but receiving a burger instead because “the pizza is over”, right? Not only that, seats at the Budweiser Stage are AT LEAST 40-50% cheaper than floor tickets, so not only I got a burger, but it was one 50% cheaper than the pizza I paid for. Live Nation is the sole responsible for such mess when they decided to move the concert from the RBC Echo Beach (which is basically a huge floor section with no seats) to the Budweiser Stage, and if you’re pissed off just like I am, I highly recommend you submit a huge complaint about the whole situation by EMAIL to Live Nation including your order details, screenshots of your tickets and anything else you might want to send them. This is absolutely ridiculous, and we should receive some sort of refund for their total lack of organization and respect for their customers.

GOJIRA

Moving on to the concerts, although I was completely disappointed and pissed off with our stupid seats, at least France’s own Progressive/Groove Metal masters GOJIRA were capable of reducing my stress considerably with another flawless performance in the city. Mixing some of their classics such as Backbone, Stranded, Flying Whales and Silvera with songs from their latest album Fortitude, including the fantastic Born for One Thing and Amazonia, the quartet comprised of the Duplantier brothers Joe and Mario, plus bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and guest guitarist Aldrick Guadagnino  of KLONE (as Christian Andreu returned home to be present with his first newborn child), inspired the fans in the floor section (not in the seats, of course, which made me even more furious) to jump up and down and slam into the circle pit nonstop during their longer set as VOWWS wasn’t there, as mentioned. Mario is a beast behind his drums, proving why he’s a reference to any rock and metal drummer these days, while also interacting with the audience all the time and throwing lots of drumsticks to the fans during the entire concert. To the floor section fans, of course.

Setlist
Born for One Thing
Backbone
Stranded
Flying Whales
The Cell
Love / Remembrance
Hold On
Grind
Silvera
L’enfant Sauvage
Amazonia
The Gift of Guilt

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

DEFTONES

After a somewhat lengthy break, it was time for Sacramento, California-based Alternative Metal trailblazers DEFTONES to mesmerize their loyal and supportive fans with a long and very dynamic setlist that traveled through all of their albums until their most recent opus Ohms, released in 2020. Songs like Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Swerve City, Change (In the House of Flies) and my favorite of the night, My Own Summer (Shove It), drove the crowd crazy and, for the ones who could make it to the floor section (and sorry for repeating this a thousand times, but I’m really pissed off with what Live Nation did to me and to so many others), the whole concert turned into a massive rock and metal party spearheaded by the band’s charismatic frontman Chino Moreno. And what to say about their lighting? It was a thing of beauty, adding an extra touch of insanity and passion to their solid performance. I’m beyond certain Deftones will return to Toronto several times due to the standing ovation they received from the fans when the concert was over at the Budweiser Stage this Sunday, and hopefully next time EVERYONE who bought GENERAL ADMISSION tickets can actually be in the floor section to jump and enter the circle pits freely without being stuck in a tiny, very uncomfortable and, above all that, unsolicited chair.

Setlist
Pompeji (outro)
Genesis
Rocket Skates
Prayers/Triangles
Royal
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Tempest
Swerve City
Digital Bath
Knife Prty
Beware
Sextape
Diamond Eyes
Rosemary
Bloody Cape
Change (In the House of Flies)
Ohms

Encore:
Lotion
7 Words

Band members
Chino Moreno – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Stephen Carpenter – lead guitar
Lance Jackman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Fred Sablan – bass, backing vocals
Frank Delgado – keyboards, turntables, samples
Abe Cunningham – drums

Concert Review – Lamb of God & Megadeth (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/18/2022)

After two years of waiting, Toronto was finally able to witness all the energy and heaviness of “The Metal Tour of the Year”… and it was absolutely awesome!

OPENING ACTS: In Flames and Trivium

Ladies and gentlemen, or whatever way you like to be referred as, what an incredible night of first-class, high-octane, infernal Heavy Metal we had yesterday in Toronto at the unparalleled Budweiser Stage, with IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and the one and only MEGADETH showing us all why their tour was named The Metal Tour of the Year! As a matter of fact, last night’s concert was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but of course due to the shitty COVID-19 pandemic (which apparently seems to be finally over), it had to be rescheduled countless times. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it, as all bands were simply awesome yesterday, putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue (and the fans didn’t seem to care about the fact the temperature in the city dropped from the mid-30’s to the low-10’s in just a couple of days). Well, I believe Sweden’s own Melodic Groove Metal/Metalcore icons IN FLAMES were awesome as well, as due to work and traffic I wasn’t able to make it to their concert, but a friend that arrived earlier said they kicked ass.

Setlist
Cloud Connected
Behind Space
Everything’s Gone
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Call My Name
All for Me
I Am Above
Take This Life

Band members
Anders Fridén – vocals
Björn Gelotte – guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar
Bryce Paul Newman – bass
Niels Nielsen – keyboards
Tanner Wayne – drums

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it to see Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal maniacs TRIVIUM, but fortunately I arrived at the venue around 10 minutes before they hit the stage with their short but extremely powerful performance. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent were beyond happy to be back in Toronto after almost five years (yes, their last concert in the city was in the distant year of 2017), and add to that the superb tracks from their most recent album In the Court of the Dragon, those being the title-track In the Court of the Dragon and my favorite one of the album, Like a Sword Over Damocles, and there you have a recipe for success (and mosh pits). “Throes of Perdition” and “Feast of Fire”, which were on the setlist in the US dates, were replaced by Strife and Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, and let’s say those new additions to their setlist received a killer feedback from the crowd, who engaged in several mosh pits while the band was on fire onstage. And what can I say about the jumping up and down ignited by Matt during their hit In Waves? That was outstanding to say the least. Furthermore, Matt mentioned this was the biggest show of the entire North American tour, proving how much us Torontonians love all bands involved, and hopefully that will inspired Trivium to return to Toronto for a full-bodied performance on their own in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
X
In the Court of the Dragon
Like a Sword Over Damocles
Beyond Oblivion
Strife
Rain
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
Capsizing the Sea
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

LAMB OF GOD

If there’s a band that knows how to inspire any type of person in the world to slam into the mosh pit, that’s undoubtedly Richmond, Virginia’s Groove Metal horde LAMB OF GOD, who precisely at 8:10pm hit the stage for the total delight of all metalmaniacs ready for a good dosage of heaviness, rage and insanity. Still promoting their 2020 self-titled masterpiece, the unstoppable Randy Blythe and his henchmen put on an unforgettable show, from the opening song Memento Mori, until the very last second of their all-time classic Redneck. It’s beautiful to see the rise of Lamb of God to the status of metal giants, as now they even have fire onstage like what they provided us with in Walk With Me in Hell, which was by the way flawless and one of the top moments of the entire night. It doesn’t matter if they played darker, more introspective songs like 512 or if they exhaled sheer violence like in Contractor, everything was perfect, and Toronto definitely shared their love for the band with all horns in the air, all screaming, and of course the frantic, never-stopping mosh pits in the floor section. As expected, Randy, who seemed possessed throughout their entire set, delivered a couple of Woooooo!’s as his personal tribute to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and dedicated Redneck to the guy who in 2018 tried to swim back to that same venue during their tour with Slayer. Toronto can’t wait to have Lamb of God again in the city, an I can’t wait to slam into the pit to the sound of one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade.

Setlist
Memento Mori
Ruin
Walk With Me in Hell
Resurrection Man
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Contractor
11th Hour
512
Ghost Walking
Vigil
Laid to Rest
Redneck

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Phil Demmel – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

MEGADETH

As expected, most fans at the Budweiser Stage were there to witness “MegaDave” Mustaine and his Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH distill their unique classics in the city again after so many years, and when the clock hit 9:45pm our dreams came true as the first notes from Hangar 18 (right after the intro Prince of Darkness) were played by Dave and his bandmates Kiko Loureiro, James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren. Is there a better way to kick off a show than with such classic, followed by the underrated tunes Dread and the Fugitive Mind and Angry Again? What a brilliant start to their set, winning the hearts and minds of everyone instantly. Dave and Kiko played their guitars to perfection as usual during the entire concert, making our jaws drop and inspiring us to show them the horns during and after each song played. I loved the fact they’re still playing the superb Trust after so many decades, and although they replaced another pulverizing song, “She-Wolf”, with A Tout Le Monde, that didn’t do any harm to their concert. Who doesn’t love to sing such stunning ballad together with Dave, screaming the song’s French words at the top of his or her lungs? In addition, a few different versions of Vic Rattlehead appeared onstage during the songs Conquer or Die!, Dystopia and Peace Sells, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the show, culminating with their undisputed hymn Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. By the end of the concert, Dave mentioned the band is recording the follow-up to their 2016 album Dystopia and that the album should see the light of day this summer, so all we need to do now is wait for it and for another night of our beloved Megadeth in Toronto… and Dave promised he’ll return to the city, oh yeah!

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Angry Again
Conquer or Die!
Dystopia
The Conjuring
Trust
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn
My Way
Shadow of Deth

Band members
Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitars
Kiko Loureiro – guitars, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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

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

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

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

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

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

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

NERVOSA

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

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

DESTRUCTION

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

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

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