Album Review – Rampart / WWII: Memories For The Future (2021)

Let’s join Maria and the boys into the battlefield to the sound of their newborn opus, encompassing less known historical facts about the most destructive war in world’s history.

Founded in 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria and led by frontwoman Maria “Dièse” Doychinova, the unstoppable Heavy Metal war machine that goes by the name of Rampart returns to the battlefront with their fifth full-length installment, entitled WWII: Memories For The Future, featuring 11 tracks full of energy, epicness, speed and violence. Produced by Maria Dièse herself, mastered by Michael “Miro” Rodenberg at Gate Studio, displaying a classic artwork by Stefan Valkanov, and featuring Rock Thrashler (aka Svetoslav Slaveykov) as a World War II and sound consultant and Valdemar (aka Vladimir Ivanov) as a guest bassist in four songs, WWII: Memories For The Future is a concept album that encompasses less known historical facts about the most destructive war in world’s history, all wrapped up by the straightforward, ass-kicking metal music brought forth by the aforementioned Maria together with guitarists Yavor Despotov and Sebastian Agini, bassist Svilen Ivanov and drummer Stefan Mijalković.

The guitars by Yavor and Sebastian ignite the opening tune June 22nd, inspired by Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union which started on Sunday June 22, 1941, with Maria delivering an epic vocal performance; whereas investing in a more melodic and thrashier sound, the quintet blasts the solid Napalm Stars, with Stefan dictating the song’s galloping pace accompanied by the rumbling bass by Svilen, showcasing interesting breaks and variations as well as elements from Progressive Metal. In Entropy Of Mind the band once again unites Heavy Metal with Hard Rock and Thrash Metal, resulting in a headbanging massacre spearheaded by the vicious beats by Stefan while Maria keeps stunning us all with her vocal lines; and drinking from the fountain of NWOBHM, the band delivers an Iron Maiden-inspired extravaganza titled Twice Occupied, with Yavor and Sebastian stealing the spotlight with their sharp riffs and solos, followed by Luftraum, switching gears to a more modern sonority, more inclined to Thrash Metal than Heavy Metal where Maria sounds infuriated on vocals.

Back to a more traditional musicality, it’s time to go all the way to the 80’s to the sound of Stormtalkers, where Maria is effectively supported by her bandmates’ backing vocals while the band’s guitar duo once again slashes their stringed axes nonstop. Valdemar makes sure the earth tremble to the sound of his bass in the fast and direct Power Metal tune Wolfsrudel, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline; while a Megadeth-like atmosphere will embrace your soul in Overcast Omen, with Maria and the boys bringing forward more of their old school metal music, and with Valdemar being once again on fire with his bass jabs. Then we have Harleys In Berlin, a tribute to all things metal by Rampart where the riffage by Yavor and Sebastian will pierce your ears in great fashion, while Maria declaims the song’s fresh and vibrant lyrics. Not only that, Yavor is also brilliant with his classy piano notes; whereas razor-edged riffs and solos are the main ingredients in the upbeat metal feast titled Black Sun, with Maria kicking some ass on vocals while Stefan doesn’t let the energy go down with his rhythmic beats and fills. Lastly, closing the album it’s time for another fast-paced, metallic creation entitled Now We Are One, again showcasing the band’s talent and passion for heavy music.

Maria and the boys are waiting for you to join their metallic army on Facebook, especially if you’re a fan of bands such as Helloween, Doro, Battle Beast and Burning Witches, and if you want to give WWII: Memories For The Future a try you can enjoy it in full on YouTube and on Spotify. In addition, don’t forget to show your utmost support to Rampart by purchasing their new opus from the Sleaszy Rider Records’ BandCamp page or webstore as a regular CD or as a CD + DVD combo including their live performance at Wacken Open Air in 2017 plus a couple of interviews and official videos, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon. When heavy music and World War II are put together the final result is usually above average, but in the case of Rampart they more than nailed it with their new album, pointing to an even brighter future ahead of those Bulgarian warriors.

Best moments of the album: Entropy Of Mind, Harleys In Berlin and Black Sun.

Worst moments of the album: Luftraum.

Released in 2021 Sleaszy Rider Records

Track listing
1. June 22nd 3:09
2. Napalm Stars 5:50
3. Entropy Of Mind 3:41
4. Twice Occupied 4:00
5. Luftraum 4:30
6. Stormtalkers 3:06
7. Wolfsrudel 4:28
8. Overcast Omen 5:42
9. Harleys In Berlin 5:07
10. Black Sun 4:32
11. Now We Are One 4:13

Dics 2 (DVD)
1. Apocalypse Or Theatre (Live At Wacken) 6:02
2. June 22nd (Live At Wacken) 3:10
3. Napalm Stars (Live At Wacken) 5:25
4. The Flood (Live At Wacken) 4:08
5. Give Nothing Back (Live At Wacken) 3:55
6. Crown Land (Live At Wacken) 3:38
7. Ghost Of Freedom (Live At Wacken) 4:50
8. Interview with Wacken Foundation 14:10
9. Interview with Rampart 8:39
10. June 22nd (Official Music Video) 3:31
11. Entropy Of Mind (Official Music Video) 3:54

Band members
Maria Dièse – vocals
Yavor Despotov – guitars, bass and piano on “Harleys In Berlin”
Sebastian Agini – guitars
Svilen Ivanov – bass
Stefan Mijalković – drums

Guest musicians
Valdemar – bass on “Luftraum”, “Wolfsrudel”, “Overcast Omen” and “Now We Are One”

Album Review – -hrz- / fwd>> EP (2021)

To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. And if you decide to do so, do it to the sound of the debut solo EP by this multi-talented Finnish rocker.

3.0rating

hrz-fwd-ep-2021Hailing from Oulu, Finland, here comes a new Melodic Hard Rock act that goes by the curious name of -hrz-, the solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Harri Halonen (better known for his work with the amazing Finnish Hard Rock band Afire), armed with his debut EP entitled fwd>>. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Aki Karppinen at Olga Studios in Tyrnävä, Finland, fwd>> offers us fans five electrifying rock compositions carefully brought into being by Harri, supported by the talented Finnish drummer Ari Kemppainen. “To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. I grew up in a rural village, mainly known for its potatoes. That’s where my first band with drummer cousin Ari took its baby steps. Now, decades later, we went back, rehearsed and recorded these new songs. No potatoes were harmed in the process. I have a soft spot for melodies and harmonies on a groovy rock song, so that’s what I went for. I handled the vocals and stringed instruments myself, Ari took care of the drums, naturally,” commented Harri about his newborn rockin’ baby.

The opening tune My Way Or The Highway kicks off in full force to the slashing riffs by Harri, sounding like a fusion of Velvet Revolver with his own band Afire, not to mention Ari also does an amazing job with his fast-paced beats and fills. Then presenting elements of modern-day Rock N’ Roll and Southern Rock the duo fires the solid Never Found, once again displaying an electrifying vibe thanks to the excellent job done by Harri with his always sharp guitar lines; and Ari keeps hammering his drums beautifully in Jaws/Claws, where Harri adds hints of the music by bands like Volbeat, Motorjesus and Motley Crüe to his no-shenanigans Hard Rock, inviting us to dance and bang our heads nonstop. The Pyre is even more melodic than its predecessors while at the same time not as frantic, with Harri and Ari being in absolute sync from start to finish, pleasing all fans of the more contemporary versions of rock music, whereas closing the EP it’s time for another Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots-infused tune titled Vortex, showcasing classic guitar lines, groovy bass jabs and pure, old school Hard Rock beats.

hrz-2021You can move forward in your life to the sound of fwd>> by streaming the full EP on Spotify and by purchasing it from Apple Music, and don’t forget to also give Harri a shout on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to his official YouTube channel to stay up to date with all things -hrz-. Although Harri mentioned that he had to take a step back in time before going forward in his career with fwd>>, let’s say that the music found in his debut solo effort is a million light-years away from being obsolete or outdated; quite the contrary, the 20 minutes of rock music offered in the EP exhale modernity and energy, keeping the atmosphere fresh and vibrant from start to finish and, therefore, leaving us eager for more of his distinct melodies and harmonies in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: My Way Or The Highway and Jaws/Claws.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Audion

Track listing
1. My Way Or The Highway 3:06
2. Never Found 4:06
3. Jaws/Claws 3:06
4. The Pyre 3:39
5. Vortex 5:52

Band members
Harri Halonen – vocals, guitars, bass
Ari Kemppainen – drums

Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Memento Mori, Motherfucker (2021)

This amazing Danish trio is back in action with a riff-laden Stoner Rock and Metal journey in the form of their crushing new album, reminding us all of the inevitability of death.

3.5rating

stone-cadaver-memento-mori-motherfucker-2021Having stewed for some time in the darkest and most evil of witch cauldrons, Memento Mori, Motherfucker, the brand new album by Aarhus, Denmark-based Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver is ready to be let loose upon humanity, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 release Reject Remove Replace. Just like its predecessor, Memento Mori, Motherfucker is a riff-laden journey through a dynamic soundscape that forms an organic whole, showcasing all the talent of Anders Bech Nielsen on vocals and guitar, Andreas Slocinski on bass and Stevie Dalla-Zuanna on drums. Produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen and recorded live in his Antfarm Studio north of the band’s hometown, the album is a strong feast of heavy, down-tuned Stoner Metal with elements of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock, crushing Doom Metal and classic Heavy Metal that will certainly please all fans of the mighty riff.

The low-tuned, menacing bass by Andreas set the tone in the heavy intro The Reckoning, warming up our senses for the visceral Realm Of Darkness, the perfect choice for cracking your neck headbanging to the classic riffs by Anders accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Stevie in a solid and entertaining feast of old school Doom and Sludge Metal. Then dark clouds of pure doom are above us all in the massive Doom Christ, offering the listener a Stygian wall of sounds crafted by the trio, sounding like a hybrid of the original Black Sabbath sound with their own Dio years, and with the guitar lines by Anders sounding truly infuriated and raw. And it’s time for Stoner Cadaver to bring forward their “tribute” to the catholic church in Whip The Sinners, a straightforward creation inspired by 70’s Doom Metal with Anders once again being on fire with his wicked vocals.

After such intense tune, we’re treated to an instrumental, ethereal interlude entitled Paean, soothing our souls and working as “the calm before the storm” as the band comes hammering our damned souls once again with Diseased Deceased, a flammable Stoner Rock and Metal extravaganza led by the pounding drums by Stevie while Andreas continues to extract devilish, metallic sounds from his bass, flowing into another whimsical bridge titled Fare Thee Well before all hell breaks loose one last time to the sound of the nine-minute Doom Metal aria Murder Mountain, starting with the eerie bass lines by Andreas amidst a background storm. It’s an infernal composition by Stoner Cadaver that will put you in a trance without a shadow of a doubt while Stevie keeps smashing his drums nonstop, also presenting tons of breaks and variations, exhaling groove and thunder and, of course, always praising the riff, with its final acoustic passage putting a climatic ending to the album.

stone-cadaver-2021If you want to know more about Stoner Cadaver, their music, tour dates and so on, you can find those Danish rockers on Facebook, on Instagram, on Spotify and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your love for underground doom you should definitely purchase Memento Mori, Motherfucker sooner than you can say “motherfucker” by clicking HERE, as well as from imusic.dk in CD or LP format, or from gatewaymusicshop.dk. As you all know, memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which makes me wonder if Stone Cadaver’s goal with their new album was to actually remind us that we’re all going to die one day. If that’s the case, let’s say that not only they did it in great fashion with Memento Mori, Motherfucker, but they also provided us a great option for enjoying our last moments on earth before our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Doom Christ and Murder Mountain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Yog-Sothoth Records/Gateway Music

Track listing 
1. The Reckoning 1:26
2. Realm Of Darkness 6:50
3. Doom Christ 6:00
4. Whip The Sinners 3:36
5. Paean 1:13
6. Diseased Deceased 6:26
7. Fare Thee Well 1:08
8. Murder Mountain 9:11

Band members
Anders Bech Nielsen – vocals, guitar
Andreas Slocinski – bass
Stevie Dalla-Zuanna – drums

Album Review – Gasoline Guns / Motor Cult (2021)

Time to join this Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll.

3.5rating

gasoline-guns-motor-cult-2021Bringing to our avid ears another round of their high-octane fusion of Heavy Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock spiced up by ass-kicking harsh vocals, a combination the band itself likes to call “Metal N’ Roll”, the flammable Motor Cult, the brand new opus by Chernihiv, Ukraine-based metal drunkards Gasoline Guns, is a fun and vibrant collection of nine songs about a post-apocalypse and explosive world, blazing whiskey, fate, dusty roads and, of course, our good old, infernal Rock N’ Roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Higain Records and displaying a gasoline and coal-fueled artwork by Ian Guy the Motoring Artist, Motor Cult continues to pave the rockin’ path created by vocalist Dmytro “Talladega”, guitarists Danylo Sobolev and Volodymyr Zvol, bassist Andrew Moyseenko and drummer Volodymyr back in 2013, not only being the perfect follow-up to their 2015 demo and their 2016 full-length album Rust’n’Dust, but also a must-have for admirers of the fusion of burning fuel and badass riffs by bands such as Chrome Division and Motörhead.

Rev up your engines and join Gasoline Guns’ rockin’ feast in the alcohol-infused opening track Bourbon Burns, where Dmytro fires his trademark raspy vocals while Volodymyr crushes his drums in the best Motörhead style, whereas in Under Wicked Sky the raw and dirty lyrics barked by Dmytro (“There is no going back / And hope is a mistake / One more race, one more chase / One more lovely day / Riding road of fury / Riding road of pain / You live, you die / But you will live again”) bring even more thunder to the visceral riffs and solos blasted by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol, resulting in a fast-paced ode to pure, unfiltered Rock N’ Roll. Their acid hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll strikes again in the form of Hell Thunder, where the Lemmy-inspired bass by Andrew will make your head tremble mercilessly; and reminding us of the early days of Chrome Division, those Ukrainian rockers deliver a frantic tune entitled Gasoline and Guns, inviting us all to scream and shout the song’s catchy chorus together with them while Volodymyr dictates the pace with his pounding beats, not to mention Danylo’s sick guitar solo.

It’s not a true Rock N’ Roll album without a song with a Spanish name inspired by Mexican gunslingers, and that’s exactly what Gasoline Guns offer us all with tons of alcohol, bullets flying everywhere and the breathtaking sound of their guitars in El Pistolero, and the skies will get darker and the air heavier in the Stoner, Southern and Sludge Metal tune This Road Is a Snake, where Dmytro continues to tell tales of the life on the road with his inebriate vocals. Those five Ukrainian rockers keep hammering our heads with their vicious sounds in Nothing to Prove, where the riffage by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol will penetrate deep inside your skin and invite you for a bloody pub brawl, and the band’s guitar duo, together with Andrew, will put you to bang your head like a metal maniac in the awesome Wheels of Rust, a classic Rock N’ Roll extravaganza with no shenanigans that will please all fans of the genre. Finally, we’re treated to And That’s Why We Drink, urging us metalheads to grab our glasses and bottles and join Gasoline Guns in their metallic tribute to all things alcohol, led by the always heavy and unfriendly voice of Mr. Dmytro “Talladega”.

gasoline-guns-2021After all is said and done, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and hit the road together with Gasoline Guns to the sound of Motor Cult, and in order to do so you can stream their awesome new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, purchase Motor Cult from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing all your support to the underground. In the end, who doesn’t want to join a Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll, right? That’s all we need to find our inner strength to endure this dangerous highway we all like to call life.

Best moments of the album: Under Wicked Sky, Gasoline and Guns and Wheels of Rust.

Worst moments of the album: None, you bastards!

Released in 2021 Mythrone Promotion / Defense Records

Track listing   
1. Bourbon Burns 3:02
2. Under Wicked Sky 2:32
3. Hell Thunder 3:08
4. Gasoline and Guns 4:08
5. El Pistolero 3:54
6. This Road Is a Snake 5:07
7. Nothing to Prove 3:58
8. Wheels of Rust 4:25
9. And That’s Why We Drink 4:42

Band members
Dmytro “Talladega” – vocals
Danylo Sobolev – lead guitars
Volodymyr Zvol – rhythm guitars
Andrew Moyseenko – bass
Volodymyr – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Kell Reis

kell01

When you die… I’ll be there… ‘Cause I’m inside you… Tearing the veil of insanity!

A Brazilian singer who nurtures a deep passion for music, in special of course our beloved Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, our metal chick of the month of July will hypnotize you with her potent and unique voice, making you addicted to her music and always eager for more of her classy vocal lines. I’m talking about Raquel Reis Gonçalves, better known as Kell Reis or sometimes as Kell Hell, the stunning frontwoman for Brazilian Heavy Metal act Sacrificed and a woman who can sing pretty much any metal or non-metal style you can think of, showcasing an undeniable talent, hard work and focus on everything she does in the world of music, therefore proving once again not only how awesome the Brazilian metal scene is, but also that there are tons of girls in Brazil who proudly carry the flag of heavy music anywhere they go.

Born on May 2, 1989 in the city of Belo Horizonte, the capital city of southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, which is by the way the same city that gave the world amazing metal acts the likes of Sarcófago and Holocausto, not to mention the one and only Sepultura, the skillful Kell, who has been singing since she was only two years old, started studying music when she was 11 at a non-credit course at UEMG – Universidade Estadual de Minas Gerais, where she spent the next four years studying classical singing. Highly influenced by her parents, as her mother is a singer and her father a singer, pianist and guitarist, not to mention her deceased brother who used to listen a lot to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Kell moved from Brazilian kids music like Sandy & Junior to Nirvana when she was around 13, then going straight into rock and metal bands including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Angra and System Of A Down, and joining her first ever band called No Stress, playing grunge music at school. At the age of 18 she joined a Brazilian Hard Rock band named Vienna, and at 19 she became the vocalist for a renowned act in the underground scene in her hometown named Helltown. It was after one of her several gigs with Helltown in a city called Cataguases, around 340km from Belo Horizonte, that she met the guys from Sacrificed, and that leads to our next part of our tribute to Kell.

Officially formed in 2006 in Belo Horizonte by guitarist Diego Oliveira under the name Sacriffice after changing the name from Metal Breath, when they basically played Metallica songs, the band evolved into a regular group playing their own songs influenced by names such as In Flames, Dream Theater, Evergrey, Lacuna Coil, Disturbed, Halestorm and Brazilian popular music known as MPB (plus cover songs for bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden) and changed their name to Sacrificed around 2009, when Kell joined them as their lead singer replacing their previous singer Fabricio just a few days after he left the band. Currently formed of the Kell on vocals and Diego on the guitars together with Sergio Barbieri also on the guitars, Gabriel Fernando on bass and Tiago Vitek on drums, Sacrificed released their debut self-titled EP in 2009, followed by the full-length albums The Path of Reflections, in 2011, and Enraged, in 2018, and more recently the EP Beyond the Gates, in 2021, plus a live album/video named Sacrificed no Release Showlivre in 2019 and appearances in two compilations named Woman from Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Deep Purple with the song Fireball, and Somewhere in Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Iron Maiden with the song Lord of the Flies, both released in 2020. You can enjoy Kell’s powerful vocals in several of Sacrificed’s songs and official videos such as Meet Your Fate, Silence is the Omen, Say My Name, Vertigo, Call of Insanity, Grudge is My Middle Name, and a cover version for Disturbed’s all-time classic Down With The Sickness, and of course you can always enjoy all of their wicked creations on Spotify.

Kell’s biggest influences in Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal perfectly depict her passion for music and singing, including names the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Bruce Dickison, Ian Guillan, Eric Adams, Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Dani Nolden as her favorite singers, bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Sinergy, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Warlock, Judas Priest, Deep Purple and Manowar, and non-metal singers such as Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Elis Regina and Maria Calas. She also mentioned during one of her interviews that her influences can vary from time to time, with bands like Halestorm, In This Moment, Arch Enemy and Alter Bridge being among her favorite ones from what can be called a “newer” generation of rock and metal acts. In addition, she mentioned Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale is currently her top vocalist, being influenced not only by her voice but also by her charisma.

When asked about the life of a band in her homeland, Kell said that despite the growing number of excellent metal bands arising from the Brazilian scene, as Brazil is even sometimes labeled as “the homeland of really good metal bands”, with the Death Metal scene being considered quite huge in her hometown Belo Horizonte, unfortunately the lack of new major bands like what Sepultura were in the 90’s makes it difficult for new bands to have their work published by the media, unless of course it’s something fully oriented to the rock and metal scene. She also said that due to the fact we live in a world where the illusory number of “likes” doesn’t actually translate into real fans, a band needs to properly manage their career to attract true people to their music, something a Brazilian Heavy Metal band called Project46 does really well according to her. And despite the fact she thinks that it’s almost impossible to live out of metal music in Brazil, the scene remains strong with a lot of collaboration between bands and, of course, the passion from each musician involved.

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One thing Kell always complains about is the fact that organizing, attending and playing live concerts in Brazil has always been extremely difficult due to several facts such as exorbitant prices, lack of good public transportations, horrible roads and highways, and above all that, the lack of decent proposals that respect the band and its value. Apart from bands like Sepultura and Angra, she mentioned it’s difficult to see independent bands touring around Brazil. For instance, Sacrificed currently focuses their tours in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo, although they’re working on expanding their reach to the northern and southern parts of Brazil. Still regarding her life on the road, Kell said that playing alongside Kamelot, Eluviete, Blaze Bayley and The Agonist was truly amazing, but that sharing the stage with Lacuna Coil, one of their main influences, has been indeed one of the most special moments of the band’s career so far.

In addition to her up-and-coming career with Sacrified, Kell also became an active figure in terms of female representation in the Brazilian metal scene, promoting lives on her social media to discuss the theme together with special guests. When questioned how she sees the role of women in the Brazilian metal scene, she said that when she first stepped on stage over a decade ago the scene for women was completely different, having changed to something much better over time, but even today there’s still a lot of prejudice and an unbalance in terms of the number of women in roles such as roadies and sound technicians, and even band members like drummers. She commented she has been barred from entering the dressing room several times because “girlfriends” are not allowed, having to prove she was part of the band and not a groupie, complementing by saying the current women’s movement in metal will surely bring a lot of benefits to any woman worldwide who loves metal and who wants to have equal opportunities to any man, less discrimination and more respect. Furthermore, when asked what advice she would give to girls who want to pursue a career in heavy music, her message was loud and clear. “Don’t give up! Don’t be silent. Don’t settle for less for being a woman! You are not alone,” said Kell, pointing out the crucial importance of the support all girls should provide to each other.

Last but not least, our talented diva, who’s by the way crazy for pasta, whiskey, beer ad wine, strongly believes the underground should be more united in order to make a difference out there, also saying the true support from music fans by attending concerts and buying merch is also essential for the scene to get stronger and stronger. As the frontwoman for an independent band like Sacrificed, she mentioned it’s important for bands and musicians to never give up and keep working hard to make the band as professional as possible, and keep following your dreams no matter what. As Kell mentioned in one of her interviews, the lyrics form Sacrificed’s song Before a Dream, from the album The Path of Reflections, say that “before a dream a storm comes,” but your dream will get closer and closer if you keep walking even during the toughest times. Wise words from a woman that beautifully represents all the passion, talented and hard work of all Brazilians who love metal music from the bottom of their hearts.

Kell Reis’ Official Facebook page
Kell Reis’ Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official Facebook page
Sacrificed’s Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official YouTube channel

Album Review – Bólido / Against the World (2021)

An unstoppable power trio from Chile goes against the world armed with their third full-length album, continuing on their path of traditional Heavy Metal.

3.5rating

bolido-against-the-world-2021Formed in Santiago, Chile in the year of 2010, Heavy Metal/Hard Rock brigade Bólido has just unleashed upon us all their third full-length opus, entitled Against the World, the electrifying follow-up to their 2014 debut installment We Are Rock and their 2017 critically-acclaimed effort Heavy Bombers. Now a power trio comprised of Johnny Triviño on vocals and guitar, Vic Deimos on bass and Chris Von Daniken on drums, Bólido are heavily influenced by classic rock and metal acts from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s the likes of Manowar, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anvil and Jag Panzer, among several others, with their new album continuing on their path of traditional Heavy Metal while at the same time showcasing an extra touch of originality and energy that led the band to stand out in the Chilean metal scene.

The old school riffs by Johnny kick off the Manowar-inspired tune Against the World, overflowing pure Heavy Metal for admirers of the genre while Chris pounds his drums “with the hammer of Thor”, dictating the song’s headbanging pace; and putting the pedal to the metal the trio fires the rockin’ extravaganza titled MIG Alley, with Vic’s thunderous, metallic bass hitting us hard in the head while Johnny declaims the song’s lyrics with might and power. Then investing in a fusion of Heavy Metal with 70’s Progressive Rock, Johnny is once again flawless on vocals in Time to Be Yourself while his bandmates bring the groove to the music (it falls flat after a while, though). Their progressive vein goes on in Angel in Black and White, showcasing strident riffs and groovy bass punches while Chris keeps hammering his drums nonstop, resulting in a classic metal tune inspired by the golden years of the 70’s and 80’s, whereas another shot of their Manowar-like sonority comes in the form of BHWF, with Johnny slashing his guitar nonstop accompanied by the low-tuned bass by Vic.

Over eight minutes of doomed, sluggish sounds are offered to us all in In Dreams, with Johnny adding tons of passion and darkness to his vocal performance while Vic and Chris are heavy-as-hell with their respective weapons, and let’s slam into the circle pit while enjoying a cold beer together with the boys from Bólido in the Heavy Metal thunder Turbo, with Johnny leading his crew with his wicked vocals and riffs while Chris shows no mercy for his drums. Piercing guitars ignite the second to last breath of pure metal music entitled Heartbreaker, once again taking us back to the glory of the 80’s with Vic being unstoppable with his stylish bass jabs, inviting us all to stand up and hit the dance floor. Last but not least, Bólido tell the story of the battle of Stalingrad in 21 minutes of classic, unfiltered Heavy Metal entitled White Hell, alternating between faster moments, groovy passages, grim narrations and endless epicness, with Johnny kicking some ass with his intricate riffage supported by the fierce bass lines by Vic and the always visceral beats by Chris, and the music progresses majestically until the song’s climatic ending.

bolido-2021If you would like to join Bólido in their quest for Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, you can enjoy Against the World in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and above all that, grab your copy of their thrilling new album from the Fighter Records’ BandCamp page, from the Xtreem Music webstore or from Amazon, proving you’re a true defender of underground metal music. And we all know that there’s nothing better than going against the world armed with our good old Heavy Metal like what Bólido offer us all in their awesome new album, right?

Best moments of the album: Against the World, Turbo and White Hell.

Worst moments of the album: Time to Be Yourself.

Released in 2021 Fighter Records

Track listing 
1. Against the World 2:51
2. MIG Alley 4:36
3. Time to Be Yourself 3:28
4. Angel in Black and White 3:38
5. BHWF 3:20
6. In Dreams 8:53
7. Turbo 4:00
8. Heartbreaker 4:12
9. White Hell 21:12

Band members
Johnny Triviño – vocals, guitar
Vic Deimos – bass
Chris Von Daniken – drums

Album Review – Helloween / Helloween (2021)

A dream come true for all generations of “Happy, Happy Helloween” fans from all over the world.

5.0rating

helloween-helloween-2021The first album to feature vocalist and guitarist Kai Hansen since the 1988 all-time classic Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II and the first one with vocalist Michael Kiske since 1993’s Chameleon, the self-titled sixteenth album by German Power Metal legends Helloween has everything a diehard fan of the band could have asked for (and more). Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind, co-produced by Dennis Ward, mixed by Ronald Prent, mastered by Sascha “Busy” Bühren, and displaying a classy, old school artwork by Eliran Kantor, Helloween marks the longest gap between two albums from the band, released six years after My God-Given Right, but the wait was absolutely worth it. Featuring for the first time ever Hansen, Kiske and Andi Deris sharing lead vocal duties, in addition to Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner on the guitars, Markus Grosskopf on bass and Dani Löble on drums, their new album is a dream come true after the critically-acclaimed Pumpkins United World Tour, a precise time travel through all phases of the band’s history going back to the roots but at the same time at the speed of light towards the future, therefore offering a complete metal universe within its 12 incendiary songs and opening a new chapter after 35 years of a beyond glorious career.

Ominous sounds kick off the beautiful Out for the Glory, a lesson in classic, fast-paced and extremely melodic Heavy and Power Metal that Helloween shaped up in the 80’s, and therefore an ass-kicking start to the album. Furthermore, it’s impressive how Mr. Kiske still has that hypnotizing voice from decades ago, followed by Fear of the Fallen, showcasing a vibrant singalong chorus (“Here come The Fear Of The Fallen / We rise when you’re calling / A light in the night / We are the flame in the fire / The voice in the choir / We’re always nearby”) while Kai, Weikath and Sascha slash their axes majestically. Then get ready for a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal extravaganza entitled Best Time, where Andi, Kiske and Kai will put you to dance and sing with them while Markus and Dani are simply flawless with their rumbling bass jabs and headbanging beats. And more of Markus’ metallic bass is offered to us all in the powerful Mass Pollution, an ode to all things metal where Andi takes the lead with his high-pitched screams accompanied by the stylish solos by the band’s guitar triumvirate, keeping the level of adrenaline in the album absurdly high.

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Helloween Helloween Limited Vinyl Boxset

More modern sounds permeate the air in Angels, with Kiske taking the lead with his operatic vocals from start to finish. It’s a good Helloween song with all of their trademark elements, albeit not as powerful as the rest of the album, whereas Markus makes the earth shake with his bass attack in the fast and melodic Rise Without Chains, leaning towards the band’s more recent creations with Andi on vocals, resulting in great option for hitting the road with your loved ones. Then an upbeat vibe brings joy to our hearts in the dancing tune Indestructible, where the band’s guitar trio keeps embellishing the airwaves with their riffs and solos while Andi and Kiske are beautifully supported by Kai’s unparalleled backing vocals; followed by Robot King, another contemporary Helloween tune with Andi and Dani dictating the pace with their respective screams and beats, while the guitar lines by Weikath, Sascha and Kai will bring fire to your ears.

The last part of the album begins with another solid composition titled Cyanide, with Andi showcasing all his vocal potency accompanied by the groovy and melodious riffage, bass jabs and beats by his bandmates, and get ready for a journey back to the 80’s with the mesmerizing voice of Mr. Kiske in Down in the Dumps, once again presenting the pounding beast by Dani intertwined with a classic riff lesson by Helloween’s undisputed axe masters. Lastly, the instrumental interlude Orbit will heighten our senses for the absolutely stunning 12-minute aria Skyfall, an instant classic offering us fans another one of Helloween’s fantastic and memorable choruses (“I fell from the sky, so don’t ask me why I’m feeling so down / attacked, shot down and wrecked, / there’s no turning back to find my way home”). Moreover, the music itself is superb, full of breaks and variations and with all band members kicking some serious ass nonstop, or in other words, a lecture in German Heavy and Power Metal that I can’t wait to see them playing live. What a brilliant vocal performance by Andi and Kiske, I must say, not to mention the epicness flowing from the band’s breathtaking riffs and solos until the song’s climatic ending.

helloween-2021In case you’re from another planet like the little alien from Skyfall and haven’t listened to their unparalleled new album yet, you can enjoy it in its entirety on Spotify, but if I were you I would definitely purchase a copy of it by clicking HERE or HERE, in special the limited vinyl boxset including an earbook with the album on CD, a three-track bonus CD (with of course Pumpkins United being by far my favorite one) and a black double vinyl including two bonus tracks, plus a clock, an album cover print, six pins, a necklace, a patch and a certificate, which you can buy from Nuclear Blast’s webstores in Europe or in North America. And of course, don’t forget to stay updated with all things Helloween on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube. The one and only Mr. Michael Weikath characterizes the band’s new lineup and the album in his own way, saying that “it is the incomprehensible encounter of seven musicians who are working as friends and even family and created something that no one would have thought it could be possible. It is like awaking from a sleep but still being in an incredible dream.” Well, we must all agree with him as it’s indeed a dream come true for all of us fans, as I already mentioned, and may Helloween stay united and delivering first-class metal music to us all like what’s in their sensational new album for decades to come.

Best moments of the album: Out for the Glory, Best Time, Mass Pollution, Indestructible and Skyfall.

Worst moments of the album: Angels.

Released in 2021 Nuclear Blast

Track listing  
1. Out for the Glory 7:18
2. Fear of the Fallen 5:38
3. Best Time 3:35
4. Mass Pollution 4:14
5. Angels 4:42
6. Rise Without Chains 4:56
7. Indestructible 4:42
8. Robot King 7:07
9. Cyanide 3:29
10. Down in the Dumps 6:01
11. Orbit 1:04
12. Skyfall 12:11

Earbook/Japanese Limited Edition Disc 2 bonus tracks
13. Golden Times 4:48
14. Save My Hide 3:11
15. Pumpkins United 6:21

Japanese Limited Edition Disc 2 bonus track
16. We Are Real 4:24

Band members
Michael Kiske – vocals
Andi Deris – vocals
Kai Hansen – guitars, vocals
Michael Weikath – guitars
Sascha Gerstner – guitars
Markus Grosskopf – bass
Dani Löble – drums

Guest musicians
Jens Johansson – keyboards on “Skyfall”
Matthias Ulmer – keyboards
Xavier Russell – narration on “Out for the Glory”

Album Review – Mustasch / A Final Warning – Chapter One EP (2021)

Celebrating 20 years since their first record was released, these Swedish rockers are inviting us all to hit the dance floor to the sound of their new EP.

3.0rating

mustasch-a-final-warning-chapter-one-ep-2021With their straightforward and uncompromising attitude, Gothenburg, Sweden-based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock squad Mustasch is ready to celebrate 20 years since their first record was released now in 2021 with two new EP’s, the first being A Final Warning – Chapter One, followed by A Final Warning – Chapter Two (to be released in October). Comprised of Ralf Gyllenhammar on vocals and guitar, David Johannesson on lead guitar, Stam Johansson on bass and Robban Bäck on drums, Mustasch started way back in 1998 and have quickly become one of the most important Hard Rock bands of the Swedish scene, provoking many and having their music loved by many more, leading the band to win two Swedish Grammys so far in their career.  In A Final Warning – Chapter One, the band sounds more incendiary and melodic than ever, offering fans 20 minutes of pure Mustasch and, therefore, leaving us all eager for the second part of their celebrations later this year.

Without further ado, it’s time to ignite your rockin’ engines to the sound of the sharp riffs by Ralf and David and the rumbling bass by Stam in A Final Warning, blending the heaviness of classic Hard Rock with modern nuances and epic background effects, whereas going back to the golden years of pure Heavy Metal the quartet fires the metallic extravaganza Contagious, where Robban kicks some ass on drums while Ralf declaims the song’s lyrics with tons of energy and aggressiveness. Then investing in a more modern version of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll we have Albert Einstein, again showcasing classic, in-your-face guitar riffs while Ralf delivers a mix of System Of a Down and The Cult through his enraged vocals. Stam’s bass brings the groove to the dancing and sexy You Are Killing Me, and you better get ready to bang your heads nonstop together with the quartet as Ralf steals the spotlight on vocals accompanied by Robban’s crushing beats; followed by Searching for Long Range Communication, sounding as if it was taken from a 70’s action movie. In other words, it’s sheer Rock N’ Roll with Stam and Robban jamming like there’s no tomorrow until the melancholic and smooth outro To Be Continued puts an end to the EP.

mustasch-2021You can hit the dance floor by listening to the full EP on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the guys from Mustasch you should purchase your copy of the EP from the Sound Pollution webstore, from Napalm Records, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow those unstoppable Swedish rockers on Facebook and on Instagram, getting to know more about the band and warming up your senses for their upcoming EP. Will Mustach outdo themselves in the next chapter of A Final Warning? Stay tuned for the wild conclusion this October, my friends!

Best moments of the album: Contagious and You Are Killing Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Tritonus Records

Track listing
1. A Final Warning 5:03
2. Contagious 3:01
3. Albert Einstein 3:25
4. You Are Killing Me 3:52
5. Searching for Long Range Communication 3:49
6. To Be Continued 1:28

Band members
Ralf Gyllenhammar – lead vocals, guitar
David Johannesson – lead guitar
Stam Johansson – bass
Robban Bäck – drums

Album Review – Motorjesus / Hellbreaker (2021)

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

4.5rating

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

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

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

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

Interview – Alex Mancini (Unknown Refuge)

Do you know what it is to grow up in the digital age of expression? Let’s have a chat with Alex Mancini, the talented vocalist and bassist for UK rockers Unknown Refuge, where he talks about that, the band’s debut album From The Darkness, and a lot more.

alex-mancini-unknown-refuge

Alex Mancini (Unknown Refuge)

The Headbanging Moose: Thank you for your time in chatting with us today! Could you please introduce yourselves to our readers and talk a little about the idea behind Unknown Refuge?

Alex Mancini: Hi I’m Alex, I’m the lead singer from Unknown refuge, we originally formed in 2016. The idea Unknown Refuge really came from us needing a band name for our first gig, we looked around where we were rehearsing and I saw a sign that said refuge point which made me wonder where mine was and that’s where the idea Unknown Refuge came from.

THM: You guys have just released your debut album From The Darkness. How difficult was it for the band to record it, and what inspired each band member to write the songs from the album?

AM:   It wasn’t too difficult for the band to record it, it was just difficult in terms of organizing a time where we were all available to pit aside a few weeks. The songs primarily stem from things I come across in my own life and I reflect these themes through use of ideas such as mythology, wars and some of my own personal experiences.

THM: I had a very good time enjoying each and every track from the album, but of course everyone has a favorite song and in my case it’s I’m Not A Bad Guy. I just love the pace, the punch and the lyrics from this specific song. What about you guys? Which song or songs from the album are your favorite ones and why?

Alex: My favourite is Journey because it depicts a lot of my life and I really enjoy playing it.

Morgan Deveney (drums): I’d say Battle Hymn  is my favorite I just love the energy behind the riff and the drums.

Jack Tracey (lead guitar): I really like playing Palace Walls, I quite like the breakdown and think it gives it a really good feel.

Harry Skinner (rhythm guitar): I’d say my favorite is To The Light,  I just really enjoy that opening riff.

THM: Who are your main idols in music and in life in general, and how much do they influence the band’s style and lyrical content?

AM:   I’d say we take a lot of influence from old metal bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slash and we try and incorporate that with new ideas to form what we believe is a new style of Hard Rock/Metal.

unknown-refuge-from-the-darkness-2021_150x150

Album Review – Unknown Refuge / From The Darkness (2021)

THM: You might be tired already of answering questions about the effect of COVID-19 to the music scene worldwide, with of course a huge negative impact on the shows and events industry. How has this pandemic been to you guys? As you’re a fairly new band, do you think you’re suffering more or less than established bands out there?

AM: We’ve definitely been suffering less than bands that completely rely on that income. Fortunately we have jobs on the side as this isn’t our full time career; however it has presented its own struggles with trying to produce new music and get people interested whilst no gigs are available.

THM: When Unknown Refuge was formed back in 2016, you were still teenagers in your 15’s. How have you guys managed the balance between Unknown Refuge and your studies since the band’s inception? Apart from touring, of course, what else in your student’s life is let’s say hampering your work with the band?

AM: Music is something that we all love deeply and I believe that no matter what we’re doing outside of that we’ll always try and make the time to progress our musical careers as much as we can.

THM: All band members are really young and were pretty much born already in the digital era. However, I would like to know your opinion on illegal downloads, on streaming services such as Spotify versus buying the physical copy of an album, and so on. And taking all that into account, how do you envision the future of the music industry in the coming years?

AM: That’s a tough one, I personally love physical copies of music, I do not agree with illegal streaming or downloading and I think places such as Spotify and streaming services like that are slowly killing the music industry. I know that that’s how people consume content nowadays, I can’t see that changing, but for me personally I think physical copies will always hold a place in my heart as that’s what I was around whilst growing up with rocker parents.

THM: Let’s have some fun now and talk about what could be considered a “dream tour” for Unknown Refuge. If you could choose 2 or 3 bands to tour with for one year, who would those be and why?

AM: I’d say Alter Bridge, Volbeat and Iron Maiden would be absolutely amazing. We are all huge fans of these and to play with bands that we admire so much would be a dream come true.

unknown-refuge

Unknown Refuge

THM: What’s next for Unknown Refuge? Now that you have already released your first album, which is the most important milestone for any band, what else do you have planned for the band in the short and long term?

AM: As soon as we are able we are going to get out and gig as much as possible, beyond that hopefully we will have new material written and be looking at recording a second album soon.

THM: Once again, thanks a lot for your time and for letting us know a little more about Unknown Refuge! Keep on rockin’, and please feel free to send any final messages you want to our readers.

AM: Thank you for having us, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, and if you haven’t then please checkout our website and Facebook for updates as to what we have coming up!

Links
Unknown Refuge Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | BandCamp | Big Cartel