Album Review – Flames Of Fire / Flames Of Fire (2022)

Hailing from Sweden, Norway and Finland, these fired up musicians will rock your world to the sound of their debut album of old school Heavy Metal.

Formed in the spring of 2021 by vocalist Christian Liljegren (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision) and guitarist and composer Mats-Åke Andersson (Zaragorn), but with its history going back to 1987 when the duo met for the first time in their hometown Jönköping, a city on the shores of Lake Vättern, in southern Sweden, the newborn Heavy Metal entity known as Flames Of Fire is ready to show us all what they got with the release of their self-titled debut album. With multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanovic (The Waymaker, Solution .45, Miseration), bassist Per Schelander (House of Shakira, Astrakhan, Royal Hunt, Pain of Salvation) and guitarist Stephen Carlson (Brotthogg, Peter Carlsohn’s The Rise, Tales, Viva) completing the line-up, this Sweden/Norway/Finland-based squad is highly recommended for admirers of the music by Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Dio, among others, delivering the awesomeness of metal music in their new album while also displaying a crystal clear and very professional overall production and sound quality.

The sinister intro New Dawn warms up Flames of Fire to strike us all with their high-octane sound in Gloria, with Jani dictating the pace with his fierce drumming while at the same time he embellishes the airwaves with his classy keys, all of course spiced up by the powerful vocals by Christian in an old school, no shenanigans Heavy and Power Metal hymn by the quintet. Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen keep slashing their guitars in the battle song that carries the name of the band, Flames Of Fire, supported by the thunderous bass by Per. Needless to say, it will inspire you to keep fighting for heavy music no matter what; whereas Madness brings to our ears classic Melodic Metal with that trademark European harmony, also presenting a pleasant pace with Jani kicking ass with his rhythmic beats. Then in I Am the band drinks from the same mystical fountain as bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden, while Christian’s soaring vocals add an extra touch of magic to the musicality accompanied by the galloping bass by Per.

It’s time to bang our heads to the electrifying fusion of Melodic and Power Metal found in Time To Live, showcasing traditional guitar riffs and solos, a breathtaking pace and the always visceral vocals by Christian, not to mention Per’s stunning bass lines. Are you ready for 10 minutes of epicness and a deep passion for metal music? That’s what the band has to offer us all in Solution, a heavy-as-hell aria by Flames of Fire where Christian darkly declaims the song’s wicked words. Moreover, it has a strong Black Sabbath vibe from their Dio-era, resulting in almost a metal opera with the massive drums by Jani making your head tremble mercilessly. The band has one final metal onrush for us all in the form of Soldiers Of The King, tailored for diehard fans of the genre, with their guitar triumvirate Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen being on absolute sync until the very last second, flowing into the outro End Theme, which puts an atmospheric ending to the album.

After carefully listening to Flames of Fire, you’ll easily notice how professional and focused those Scandinavian metallers are, which explains why the album sounds so thrilling from start to finish. Hence, in order to show them your support and admiration, you can start following the band on Facebook for news, tour dates (if they will do that one day, of course), plans for the future and other nice-to-know details about them, and purchase your copy of the album from the Melodic Passion Records’ webstore or by clicking HERE. Having said all that, are you ready to rock and bang your head in the name of Heavy Metal together with the guys from Flames of Fire? You won’t get disappointed at all, showing you once and for all that Scandinavia is and will always be a fantastic source of heavy music for your metallic heart.

Best moments of the album: Flames Of Fire, Time To Live and Solution.

Worst moments of the album: Madness.

Released in 2022 Melodic Passion Records

Track listing
1. New Dawn 1:25
2. Gloria 4:15
3. Flames Of Fire 3:16
4. Madness 3:55
5. I Am 4:31
6. Time To Live 4:07
7. Solution 9:58
8. Soldiers Of The King 5:05
9. End Theme 1:32

Band members
Christian Liljegren – vocals
Mats-Åke Andersson – guitars
Jani Stefanovic – guitars, keyboards, drums, backing vocals
Stephen Carlson – guitars
Per Schelander – bass

Album Review – Once Human / Scar Weaver (2022)

One of the most distinctive and destructive metal bands of the modern era strikes again with a breathtaking new opus, showcasing their own mutation into an even more devastating beast.

Formed in 2014 in Los Angeles, California, in the United States by guitarist Logan Mader (Machine Head) and vocalist Lauren Hart, the ruthless Groove Metal act known as Once Human has steadily established themselves as one of the most distinctive and destructive metal bands of the modern era. Now in 2022, Logan and Lauren, together with guitarist Max Karon, bassist Damien Rainaud and drummer Dillon Trollope, are ready to kill once again with Scar Weaver, their third full-length album following up on the highly acclaimed releases The Life I Remember (2015) and Evolution (2017), showcasing the band’s own mutation into an even more devastating beast. “It was not an easy path to reach this point, I’ll tell you that,” says Logan Mader. “The original masterplan for the band was really passion-project driven. The first two albums, we were still finding our way. Where we’re at now is with a really strong posture and by far the best album we’ve done. Over the years we’ve done a lot of groundwork and some smaller tours, just grinding things out, sometimes even in a DIY fashion. But now we have legit team around us, the band is firing on all cylinders and everything seems to be lining up this time.”

Dillon begins smashing his drums mercilessly in Eidolon, with Logan and Max extracting sheer violence from their guitars, all of course spiced up by the venomous roars by our she-demon Lauren. Needless to say, it will be an awesome opener for their live concerts. Then we have the menacing Deadlock, featuring Robb Flynn of Machine Head, who makes a pulverizing duo with Lauren on vocals in a modern-day Melodic Death Metal feast with Metalcore nuances, or in other words, a true headbanger by Once Human; followed by the title-track Scar Weaver, which sounds more devilish and darker than its predecessors with Damien hammering his bass nonstop, adding endless groove to the band’s core sonority (not to mention how sharp the riffage by the band’s guitar duo feels). After that the band brings forward Bottom Feeder, sounding infernal and utterly heavy from the very first second while presenting another great job done by Logan and Max with their riffs and solos. Moreover, the metallic bass jabs by Damien will knock you out in the name of Groove Metal, and you better get ready to slam into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac in Where The Bones Lie, with Lauren stealing the show with her flammable growls and vociferations while Damien and Dillon make the earth tremble with their evil kitchen.

More introspective and somber than the rest of the album, Erasure showcases the band’s trademark sound with its first half feeling a little bland while the second half gets back to their usual sonic devastation. And the massive bass lines by Damien attack our senses once again in Deserted, accompanied by the sick, razor-edged riffs by Logan and Max. The high-octane We Ride is a brutal, hellish and absolutely aggressive display of Groove Metal by the band where Lauren is on fire from start to finish, supported by the demented drums by Dillon, whereas in Cold Arrival we’re treated to poetic lyrics growled by Lauren (“I ran so blind / Into the blades of your life / Gray and disguised / And peeled my eyes / As they unfurled”) amidst another thunderous display of Groove and Melodic Death Metal. Lastly, Lauren keeps vociferating wicked words (“No shoulder that won’t cut like a blade / When they’re cold / Turned their backs / I beg them to take your words / Off my chest, take them / Take your worth from my headache / In death”) in Only In Death, putting a beyond sinister ending to the album.

When Logan mentioned Scar Weaver is their strongest album to date he was not joking nor exaggerating at all. Scar Weaver is indeed a powerful and very detailed album of modernized metal music where all band members are in absolute sync until the very last second, providing us fans a very good reason to raise our fists and bang our heads in the name of Heavy Metal. Hence, don’t forget to give Once Human a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and to obviously purchase your copy of Scar Weaver by clicking HERE or HERE. Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with plenty of additional time during the last year’s lockdown situation, Once Human have been able to refine and redefine their sound in Scar Weaver, turning the band into one of the driving forces of modern-day heavy music and, consequently, inviting us all to rock like there’s no tomorrow with Logan, Lauren & Co. for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Deadlock, Where The Bones Lie and We Ride.

Worst moments of the album: Erasure.

Released in 2022 earMUSIC

Track listing
1. Eidolon 4:06
2. Deadlock 3:39
3. Scar Weaver 4:36
4. Bottom Feeder 5:21
5. Where The Bones Lie 3:50
6. Erasure 5:01
7. Deserted 4:13
8. We Ride 2:50
9. Cold Arrival 4:20
10. Only In Death 5:14

Band members
Lauren Hart – vocals
Logan Mader – guitars
Max Karon – guitars
Damien Rainaud – bass
Dillon Trollope – drums

Guest musician
Robb Flynn – additional vocals on “Deadlock”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Review – Lordi / Lordiversity (2021)

Over four hours of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, Progressive Rock, Disco, Industrial Rock and so on, masterfully brought into being by the most beloved horde of monsters in the world of music.

Four hours and 43 minutes of music. That’s what you’re going to get in Lordiversity, the brand new (and awesome) boxset by Finnish Heavy Metal and Hard Rock monsters Lordi, containing the band’s eleventh to seventeenth studio albums, those being Skelectric Dinosaur, SuperFlyTrap, The Masterbeast from the Moon, Abusement Park, Humanimals, Abracadaver and Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. Recorded right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the band had to postpone their tour in support of Killection, Mr. Lordi and his crew decided to use the extra time to start working on more material to release a week after the postponement, and the final result in Lordiversity is simply monumental.

Lordi Lordiversity Limited 7 CD Boxset

Mr. Lordi stated that “It was clear that it is the time to start planning the new album, even though Killection was released not even two months before. I was thinking that the most boring thing we could do after Killection, is to do another basic Lordi album. And I was very much enjoying the different styles of song writing, recording and production on Killection, but another boring idea would have been to do a part two.” With the release years of 1975, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1995 from the fictional eras in the Killection timeline, and with each album presenting its own style and its own killer album art, Lordiversity is a fantastic musical voyage led by Mr. Lordi on vocals and his loyal bandmates Amen on the guitars, Hiisi on bass, Hella on keyboards, and Mana on drums, being not only one of the boldest releases in the history of rock and metal music, but setting the bar absurdly high for the band itself with all of their upcoming albums.

Disc 1 – Skelectric Dinosaur

For Skelectric Dinosaur, the band used the influences of early Kiss and Alice Cooper. The first album offers us all old school Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock flowing majestically form start to finish. For instance, the very first song Day Off Of The Devil is pure Kiss from their early days as already mentioned. There’s not a single second of boredom; quite the contraty, it’s a rockin’ feast for admirers of rock and metal music from the 70’s, with songs like Carnivore inspiring you to dance in the name of Rock N’ Roll. Amen steals the spotlight in pretty much all songs with his classic riffage, supported of course by the rhythmic beats by Mana.

Best moments of the album: Starsign Spitfire, Carnivore and Phantom Lady.

Worst moments of the album: The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 7: The Arrival 1:09
2. Day Off Of The Devil 3:33
3. Starsign Spitfire 3:03
4. Maximum-O-Lovin’ 2:23
5. The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain 5:21
6. Carnivore 3:30
7. Phantom Lady 3:16
8. The Tragedy Of Annie Mae 3:45
9. Blow My Fuse 3:35
10. …And Beyond The Isle Was Mary 2:15

Disc 2 – SuperFlyTrap

It’s time to hit the dance floor together with Lordi and his crew in SuperFlyTrap, inspired by the bands Earth, Wind & Fire, Boney M. and Bee Gees. As expected, it’s Hella who shines in each and every song of the album thanks obviously to her stunning keys, as for example in the melodic and fun Believe Me. In addition, the female vocals add a touch of finesse to the overall results, with catchy tunes like Macho Freak and Spooky Jive paying a beautiful and exciting tribute to the Disco years. Put differently, I bet you’ll start doing that classic move with your arm and finger up and down during the entire album without even noticing.

Best moments of the album: Macho Freak, Spooky Jive and City Of The Broken Hearted.

Worst moments of the album: Cinder Ghost Choir.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 6: Delightful Pop-Ins 1:08
2. Macho Freak 3:42
3. Believe Me 4:27
4. Spooky Jive 3:55
5. City Of The Broken Hearted 4:02
6. Bella From Hell 3:26
7. Cast Out From Heaven 3:51
8. Gonna Do It (Or Do It And Cry) 2:51
9. Zombimbo 4:52
10. Cinder Ghost Choir 6:06

Disc 3 – The Masterbeast from the Moon

      

On The Masterbeast from the Moon, the band was influenced by Rush and Pink Floyd, which is why you can expect long and sinister passages, endless progressiveness, and Hella’s phantasmagorical keys. Songs like Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus have a very pleasant pace and vibe, while others such as Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld lack an extra kick and make the album drag for a little longer than it should. If Progressive Rock is your cup of tea you’ll have a very good time listening to the entire album; otherwise, you can take one listen at it just because it’s part of the boxset and then go for the heavier albums.

Best moments of the album: Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus.

Worst moments of the album: Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 5: Transmission Request 1:35
2. Moonbeast 6:29
3. Celestial Serpents 6:07
4. Hurricane Of The Slain 3:00
5. Spear Of The Romans 5:46
6. Bells Of The Netherworld 3:01
7. Transmission Reply 0:20
8. Church Of Succubus 11:58
9. Soliloquy 1:51
10. Robots Alive! 4:09
11. Yoh-Haee-Von 1:17
12. Transmission On Repeat 1:04

Disc 4 – Abusement Park

Set on a fictional timeline of 1983 and 1984, Abusement Park has a classic Heavy Metal sound influenced by W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Kiss and Scorpions, and includes a Christmas-themed single, entitled Merry Blah Blah Blah. The band wastes no time and begin slashing their sonic weapons already in the title-track Abusement Park, with Mr. Lordi kicking ass on vocals. And that’s the formula followed throughout the album, with Amen delivering his trademark solos nonstop in a lecture in 80’s classic Heavy Metal. In other words, if they had launched only this album, that would have already been awesome.

Best moments of the album: Abusement Park, House Of Mirrors, Pinball Machine and Rollercoaster.

Worst moments of the album: Ghost Train.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 4: The Carnival Barker 0:54
2. Abusement Park 3:33
3. Grrr! 3:48
4. Ghost Train 3:18
5. Carousel 4:24
6. House Of Mirrors 3:51
7. Pinball Machine 3:34
8. Nasty, Wild & Naughty 3:10
9. Rollercoaster 4:45
10. Up To No Good 4:02
11. Merry Blah Blah Blah 4:05

Disc 5 – Humanimals     

The AOR influenced sound in Humanimals is influenced by Bon Jovi, Desmond Child and Alice Cooper, and Mr. Lordi and his band of monsters make sure that’s crystal clear in all of the songs form the album, such as in Borderline. Mana and Hiisi are the stars here always generating an upbeat vibe with their respective beats and bass lines, turning songs like Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey into dancing feasts, always spiced up by Hella’s whimsical keys.

Best moments of the album: Borderline, Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey.

Worst moments of the album: Humanimal.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 3: Scarctic Circle Telethon 1:20
2. Borderline 4:12
3. Victims Of The Romance 3:47
4. Heart Of A Lion 4:33
5. The Bullet Bites Back 4:07
6. Be My Maniac 3:40
7. Rucking Up The Party 4:07
8. Girl In A Suitcase 4:07
9. Supernatural 3:49
10. Like A Bee To The Honey 4:15
11. Humanimal 3:53

Disc 6 – Abracadaver     

Now this is the real deal. Set on a fictional timeline for 1991, Abracadaver is inspired by Anthrax, Metallica and Pantera, which makes it by far the heaviest, fastest and most demonic of all seven albums. It’s impossible to stand still to the sonic devastation blasted by the most awesome monsters hailing from Scandinavia, with the title-track Abracadaver sounding not only heavy and piercing, but also spooky, which is always a good thing. You’ll bang your head, raise your horns and scream together with Mr. Lordi in songs like Rejected, Raging At Tomorrow and Beast Of Both Worlds, just the way we all like it in heavy-as-hell music.

Best moments of the album: Devilium, Abracadaver, Beast Of Both Worlds and Bent Outta Shape.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 2: Horricone 1:18
2. Devilium 3:46
3. Abracadaver 3:41
4. Rejected 3:44
5. Acid Bleeding Eyes 3:28
6. Raging At Tomorrow 5:01
7. Beast Of Both Worlds 4:59
8. I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry 3:34
9. Bent Outta Shape 5:05
10. Evil 4:35
11. Vulture Of Fire 3:47
12. Beastwood 0:56

Disc 7 – Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular       

The last record, from 1995, is a machine-made beast titled Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. That means the band added electronic elements to their music, flirting with Industrial Metal and Rock the likes of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. It’s quite impressive how a Hard Rock band like Lordi was capable of sounding so industrial in all songs of the album, with Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent being strong candidates to spice up any Rock N’ Roll party, including yours. Needless to say, Mana’s classic beats and Hella’s electrifying keys are the main ingredients throughout the album, adding a welcome industrialized touch of insanity to the overall result.

Best moments of the album: Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent.

Worst moments of the album: Goliath.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 1: The Ruiz Ranch Massacre 3:26
2. Demon Supreme 3:31
3. Re-Animate 4:13
4. Lizzard Of Oz 4:08
5. Killusion 3:09
6. Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) 3:16
7. Goliath 4:41
8. Drekavac 3:28
9. Terror Extra-Terrestrial 4:30
10. Shake The Baby Silent 3:36
11. If It Ain’t Broken (Must Break It) 3:24
12. Anticlimax 0:18

After listening to each and every track from the seven albums from Lordiversity, I personally found it truly impressive how Lordi managed to keep the whole project fresh and exciting from start to finish, avoiding repeating themselves or sounding basic or bland depending on the style chosen. That, my friends, undoubtedly required a lot of creativity, hard work and passion for what they do, and if you want to show your admiration for those unstoppable Finnish monsters you can give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their amazing creations on Spotify, and of course purchase the ass-kicking Lordiversity from several locations such as Napalm Records, AFM Records and Record Shop X. And as soon as you put your hands on Lordiversity, simply block your agenda for the rest of the day (or even the entire week or month) because a massive, breathtaking Rock N’ Roll party is about to start and has no time to end.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Band members
Mr. Lordi – lead and backing vocals, guitars, programming, whistle, orchestration
Amen – guitars
Hiisi – bass guitar
Hella – keyboards, backing vocals
Mana – drums, backing vocals, programming

Guest musicians
Ralph Ruiz – vocals
Dylan Broda – vocals
Tracy Lipp – vocals, backing vocals
Michael Monroe – saxophone on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Annariina Rautanen – flute on “Moonbeast” and “Yoh-Haee-Von”
Tony Kakko – backing vocals on “Rollercoaster”
Joonas Suotamo – Chewbacca voice on “Grrr!”
Kari A. Kilgast – vocals on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Hulk the Bulldog – voice on “Beastwood”
Maki Kolehmainen – cowbell, backing vocals
John Bartolome – vocals
Lara Anastasia Mertanen – intro lead on “Drekavac”
Jessica Love, Maria Jyrkäs, Kaarle Westlie, Ville Virtanen, Olli Virtanen, Isabella Larsson, Noora Kosmina, Katja Auvinen, Riitta Hyyppä, Josefin Silén, Minna Virtanen, Antton Ruusunen, Niki Westerback, Marja Kortelainen, Tom Roine, Netta Laurenne – backing vocals
Lumen Broda, Leia Broda, Lili Wasenius, Aviana Westerback, Roxana Westerback – children vocals

Album Review – Denfire / Riding the Winds of Death EP (2021)

After 30 years playing in several bands in Brazil and in the UK, this talented musician is ready to deliver his unique blend of heavy music with his debut solo EP.

After 30 years playing in several bands in Brazil and in the UK, it’s time for vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Denfire to go solo and deliver his unique blend of heavy music with his debut EP, entitled Riding the Winds of Death. Playing a solid and straight-to-the-point fusion of Thrash, Death and Heavy Metal throughout the EP’s 16 minutes of music, Denfire, who’s by the way the founder of a really interesting publishing company named Editora Denfire, specialized in the rock and metal scene worldwide, is literally on fire in his debut effort, making sure he transforms his talent and passion for heavy music into action, inviting us all to bang our heads and raise our horns to the sound of his incendiary creations.

Fires burning ignite the metal feast titled Break Out, where Denfire blasts a frantic fusion of Thrash and Speed Metal for our total delight, already showcasing all his dexterity armed with his guitar, delivering old school riffs just the way we like it. Then in Call to Arms he vociferates the song’s poetic lyrics (“Chains, locks and fences / Guard the public space / Blind compliance / Keeps power in place / Weapons of mass frustration / Plant the seed of domination”) while the music is a hammering Heavy Metal extravaganza. Lastly, we’re treated to another round of old school words by Denfire (“Clock is ticking / Thoughts race through my head / So nerve wrecking / Now I’m riding the winds of death”) in Enemy Mind, slashing his guitar in great fashion while also dictating the song’s pace with his fierce drumming, putting a bestial, thrashing ending to the album in the vein of Exodus and Testament.

In case you’re curious to know more about Denfire, his music and his devotion to heavy music, you can start following him on his official Facebook page, and of course you can show your utmost support and admiration for such skillful lone wolf by purchasing his debut EP from his own BandCamp page. In a nutshell, although Riding the Winds of Death might be relatively short in duration with only its aforementioned 16 minutes of music, it already presents a good chunk of what Denfire has to offer and what to expect from him in his future releases, concentrating an endless amount of heaviness and thrilling riffs that will undoubtedly please all fans of the genre.

Best moments of the album: Enemy Mind.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Break Out 5:33
2. Call to Arms 4:52
3. Enemy Mind 5:43

Band members
Denfire – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Nocturnal Wanderer / Gift of the Night (2021)

This unknown entity will crush your soul with its newborn beast, offering endless midnight mysticism and reverence for all that goes by night.

Formed in the Spring of 2021 in the Pacific Northwest region as a one-man anonymous project, Portland, Oregon-based Black Metal entity Nocturnal Wanderer has just released its debut full-length opus, entitled Gift of the Night. Recorded and produced at Sacred Atavism, and featuring illustrations by Thaumaturge Artworks and lettering by NW, the album showcases a traditional Black Metal sound and minimalist compositions, yet allowing the occasional Heavy Metal style solo to seep in. Ferocious while at the same time strangely serene and triumphant, Gift of the Night is a singular beast offering us all endless midnight mysticism and reverence for all that goes by night, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the music by Havukruunu, Malokarpatan, Panphage and Arckanum, among others.

The opening track Twilight Befell is an infernal, raw Black Metal feast with darkly poetic lyrics (“Eventide arrive / Sunlight’s glow fading / Darkness creatures stirring / Bats flitter across the black sky / Aria of dusk / Air chill and sharp / Breathe the night into lungs”) to properly kick off the album, whereas our anonymous lone wolf continues to hammer his drums and extract sulfur from his stringed axe in Darkness in Rapture, another demented old school Black Metal tune presenting all elements we love in the genre. Then adding the most Stygian elements from Doom Metal to his core sonority it’s time for the sinister Sentient Shadows, where once again this one-man horde presents a visceral job on the guitars and drums until the very last second; and drinking from the blasphemous fountain of classic bands the likes of Mayhem, Immortal and Dark Funeral he brings forward By Moonlight, showcasing another round of sick riffs, incendiary blast beats and venomous roars. His second to last breath of darkness comes in the form of Distant Stars in Distant Skies, sounding absolutely haunting and vile, all spiced up of course by his grim, otherworldly gnarls, and there’s time for one final blast of obscurity by Nocturnal Wanderer entitled The Amberdawn, which takes too long to take off and lacks those traditional Black Metal words and growls, but nothing that would cause any harm to the album.

If you consider yourself a true servant of darkness, you can enjoy Gift of the Night in its entirety on YouTube, and of course purchase a copy of such raw and intense album from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the Nameless Grave Records’ webstore or from the Balor’s Eye Productions’ BandCamp page, diving even deeper into the void that consumes our souls. Although the entity behind  Nocturnal Wanderer doesn’t want to disclose his identity (at least not for now), that won’t stop fans of the darkest side of music, including myself, to thank him for bringing into being Gift of the Night, a precious gem of the underground that will help in keeping the flames of Black Metal burning for centuries to come, leaving us even more curious to know the real name of a creature so loyal to the dark.

Best moments of the album: Darkness in Rapture and By Moonlight.

Worst moments of the album: The Amberdawn.

Released in 2021 Nameless Grave Records/Balor’s Eye Productions/Altare Productions

Track listing
1. Twilight Befell 4:45
2. Darkness in Rapture 3:57
3. Sentient Shadows 5:39
4. By Moonlight 5:27
5. Distant Stars in Distant Skies 5:25
6. The Amberdawn 6:10

Band members
Anonymous – vocals, all instruments

Metal Chick of the Month – Johanna Sadonis

Lucifer, oh, Lucifer… Falling for me…

As another weird and dark year is coming to its inevitable end, and as winter is finally coming, let’s set The Headbanging Moose on fire and warm us up this month of December with our tribute to the last metal lady of 2021, the unstoppable Johanna Sadonis, also known as Johanna Claudia Platow, the frontwoman for Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock entity Lucifer. Born on January 21, 1979 in Berlin, Germany, but currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden due to being married to Lucifer’s own guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, Johanna is not only an accomplished and extremely talented vocalist, but also a DJ, a designer, an art director and a lyricist involved in various metal bands and projects during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Having said all that, are you ready to join Johanna in her quest for dark and doomed music?

A late bloomer in the Hard Rock scene, Johanna started out in the 90’s playing and singing Extreme Metal in the underground scene, gradually moving to a darker and more melodic 70’s-inspired Hard Rock and Heavy Metal style after founding Lucifer back in 2014. But let’s take a step back in time and talk a little about her early days and how she started in music before moving on to her current band. Johanna got into rock music when she was really young with her parents’ record collection, getting to know bands the likes of The Rolling stones, AC/DC, ZZ Top and Deep Purple, among others, as well as Punk Rock from her older brother. Then in 1992 when she was 13 she went to see Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, with her next gig being Danzig when she was 14, setting her first step into the dark side of music and moving on to heavier and darker styles such as Death, Black and Doom Metal.

According to Johanna herself that happened because she was at a summer camp when she was 12 and two of her friends were into metal, and when she was 16 those guys asked her to guest sing on the demo cassette of their Death Metal band (which by the way ended up happening a few more times as that was the thing in the 90’s), getting her more and more involved with the underground scene in Berlin. At that time Johanna said she was very serious about all that. She had black hair, black clothes, her whole room was black, and she got into magic, having worked at an esoteric book shop after school. However, her earliest memory of her fascination with singing and music was when she discovered the song Leader Of The Pack by the Shangri-Las on a Rock N’ Roll compilation cassette that her mom gave her when she was six. As she couldn’t speak English at that time, she said she started writing lyrics to songs down phonetically so she could sing along as a child. Later in her early teenage years she started to write poems and lyrics, and bought her first acoustic guitar, teaching herself to play and to sing.

It was only in 2014 in Berlin when Johanna formed Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock outfit Lucifer, and after a few lineup changes Johanna became the only original member of the band currently comprised of our stunning frontwoman together with guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarists Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund, and bassist Harald Göthblad, having also relocated the band to Stockholm, Sweden, as already mentioned. When asked if she’s ever faced any legal problems with using the name Lucifer considering it’s a name other bands have already used throughout the years, she mentioned she wouldn’t have chosen the name if it would have belonged to a larger active band, but so far she hasn’t had any problems with it. In addition, when asked about how dark the name of the band is, Johanna reminded us all that bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram are not Black or Death Metal, also mentioning The Rolling Stones’ classic Sympathy for The Devil as an example of how demonic figures can also be used successfully in a more Rock N’ Roll way.

Playing what can be called a 70’s-inspired fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Doom Metal, Luficer have already released four full-length albums, those being Lucifer I (2015), Lucifer II (2018), Lucifer III (2020), and Lucifer IV (2021), with Johanna obviously being the lead singer in all of those records, plus the keyboardist and sampler on Lucifer I. If you want to have a very good taste of how awesome the music by Lucifer is, you can stream all of their albums on Spotify, or watch all of their breathtaking videos on YouTube including Dreamer, California Son, Bring Me His Head, Leather Demon, Midnight Phantom, their cover versions for The Rattles’ Devil’s On The Loose and Angel Witch’s Loser, and enjoy several amazing concerts like their ass-kicking performances at the Crossroads Festival in Bonn, Germany in 2018 and at Rockpalast in 2018 and in 2019.

Before forming Lucifer, Johanna could be seen in several distinct bands and projects. She was the vocalist for German Symphonic Black Metal band Cryogenic, with whom she recorded their 1996 demo and the 1998 album Celephais; sang for German Black Metal horde Dies Ater on their 1999 album Reign of Tempests, from 1999; formed the Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock band The Oath with her friends Vincent Wager and Linnéa Olsson in 2012, her last band before Lucifer, having recorded their self-titled full-length album in 2014; was part of the Electronic Indie Pop band Informer along with Rayshele Teige, a former employee of Century Media in the United States, in 2010; and was part of Swedish Melodic Black Metal unity Vinterkrig from 1996 until 1997, having recorded with them the demo Härskare över stjärnorna och mina drömmar (which was just released earlier this year).

Not only that, you can also find our beloved vocalist as a guest musician in different bands and projects through the years, those being the female vocals for the songs Marie Louise and Black Wedding, from the 1996 album Leviathan by a German Death Metal band called Ferox; vocals on the songs Now Howls the Beast and Psychic Visions, from the 2017 album Inside the Skull by American Doom Metal act Beastmaker; and vocals on the song Queen Among Rats, from the 2009 album Privilegivm, and on the cover version for Alice In Chains’ hit Them Bones, from the 2010 EP Them Bones / This Inner Soil, both by German Black/Gothic Rock/Metal band Secrets of the Moon. Not only that, Johanna was also the designer, producer and art director in all of the Lucifer’s albums, proving how talented she is. When asked if all her past experiences with the bands that came before Lucifer had an impact on the way she handles the band, she said that she certainly learned that she’s not putting up with ego bullshit and phoniness anymore, and that with Lucifer it’s all about the passion of creating music and enjoying the ride.

Regarding her idols and influences in rock and metal music, Johanna always lists some of the best, most classic vocalists and performers you can think of, including Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, also saying that she listens to a lot of 70’s classic Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and early Heavy Metal, and that fictional horror, real life horror and the horror in one’s head also have a huge influence in her lyrics. Furthermore, in one of her interviews she was asked to list ten albums which she feels don’t get the proper attention from the media and the fans, and her list was very diverse, including Hard Attack by Dust, Bloodrock U.S.A. by Bloodrock, the self-titled album by Starz, Electric Jewels by April Wine, Straight Up by Badfinger, the self-titled album by Bob Seger, the self-titled album by Journey, Special Forces by 38 Special, Year of The Cat by Al Stuart, and Lucifer III by “you know who”. Johanna also mentioned that Lucifer do not have a specific formula or concept behind their albums, that they simply think of what kind of songs would make people excited, what makes them feel good, and hope that the band doesn’t lose quality or doesn’t get stale with every release.

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In terms of her life on the road with Lucifer, Johanna mentioned that she has already performed hundreds of shows with the band and that each one of those are important in their own way, saying the band plays the same way in front of 20 people in some village or at Helffest in front of over 7,000 people. In addition, when it comes to organizing their setlist, she said that they usually like to start off the set with a mid tempo number to get into the groove and end the set in some sort of sonic eruption, never putting two songs of the same kind in a row (such as two ballads, for example), maintaining an interesting flow to keep the attention of the audience. She also shared an interesting story that happened on the road, when guitarist Martin Nordin ended up playing ping pong with Ace Frehley on the Kiss Kruise where Lucifer played three sets, and also mentioned she would love to play in places such as Australia, New Zealand and South America.

As a prominent woman in the world of rock and metal music, Johanna believes you have to have a little bit of a thick skin if you’re a woman due to the fact the scene has always been a male-dominated one, saying that things got a little better in recent years compared to when she was a teenager as now we can see a lot more bands with girls, but at the same time there are still weird expressions like “female-fronted”. Johana strongly believes gender shouldn’t be a genre, also commenting about how deep that’s within our culture as you get treated differently as a woman in obvious ways, but also in really subtle ways. Johanna also pointed to the fact that there are still too many sexist and nasty comments on social media whenever a woman is part of a rock or metal band, but that fortunately that’s changing. “I felt it necessary for the first time to post, ‘if you’re a homophobe, you’re a sexist, racist, you are not welcome here.’ If you feel like you have to burn your Lucifer album now, please do so. I don’t care. That post went around quite a lot. A lot of people were applauding it, but then there was also all kinds of people going, ‘you suck anyways.’ Because I’m against sexism, racism, and homophobia? I mean, what side are you on then. I’m really shocked at how much racism is out there. But luckily that’s getting talked about too. We’re still a little bit in the middle ages, unfortunately. It can’t go fast enough.”

When asked about the metal scene in her hometown Berlin versus her current home Stockholm, Johanna mentioned that there isn’t a huge difference between those places as the rock and metal community kind of networks around the world, as people in New York, Berlin, Stockholm, London or any other city in the world are connected and know each other through social media, making it a little bit more globalized and organized. She said though that although she used to go out and DJ quite often in Berlin, she doesn’t do that much anymore in Stockholm not because there aren’t enough clubs or because the scene is not big in Sweden, but mainly due to her busy touring schedule as she feels happier with the quietness of her home nowadays after so many weeks on the road. She still misses her DJ years, though, when she used to run a monthly old school Heavy Metal party at the Kill ‘Em All Club in Berlin, which by the way she started together with the same Vincent Wager from The Oath.

Having founded Riding Reaper Records in 2020 alongside her husband and bandmate Nicke Andersson, Johanna commented that some of her advantages of making music today are her wisdom and experience gathered through the years, but also saying that she can’t really compare it to the music industry in the 90’s when she started because she was only part of the underground music scene as a musician. Also, she considers streaming services like Spotify and any social media as necessary evils because they allow the band to stay closely connected to their fanbase and to feel the pulse of what’s up. That connection was actually very important for Lucifer during the pandemic, as Johanna and the boys also had to stay home in isolation for a long period of time without playing any concerts. She mentioned the sales were pretty good, though, probably due to the fact people had more time to listen to music at their homes.

Lastly, when asked about what she considers the most amazing thing in her life, she answered that musically it’s having met Nicke and marrying him because “he is the perfect partner in crime when it comes to music,” also saying that it’s a luxury that they can do what they love the most together, which is recording music and playing live. And if you want to know more about Johanna and her incendiary band Lucifer, there are countless video interviews online such as this one to Metal Insider’s Newsroom, where she talks about Lucifer’s overall sound and other nice-to-know topics; this one where Johanna and Nicke pick the best albums from 1975; this one to Doomed & Stoned in 2018; the ‘How Well Do You Know Your Bandmate’ for Metal Injection; and this one with Darren Paltrowitz (host of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast) where she talks about the influence of Glenn Danzig, getting through the Coronavirus pandemic, future plans and more. As you can see, there’s no reason not to fall in love for Johanna and her Lucifer, succumbing to the dark side to the sound of her unique voice and charisma.

Johanna Sadonis’ Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Facebook page
Lucifer’s Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Twitter
Lucifer’s Official YouTube channel

“After my initial love affair with classic rock and heavy metal I got heavily into death, doom and black metal at the age of 16 and sang on a variety of demo cassette tapes of local death and black metal bands in Berlin. I had black hair, black clothes, my whole room was black and I got into magic. I worked at an esoteric book shop after school. I was very serious about this all. My mother thought it was just a phase but look at me, not much has changed!” – Johanna Sadonis

Album Review – Emerald Rage / High King (2021)

Raise your horns to this triumphant and epic album of pure Heavy Metal crafted by three young American musicians, paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore.

After four intense years releasing a bunch of demos, EP’s and singles, Akron, Ohio-based Heavy/Power Metal unity Emerald Rage has finally unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length album, entitled High King, a fun and admirable sonic rollercoaster as the band successfully explores the melodic sense of the NWOBHM and all the explosive leads that come with the baggage, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Skyclad, Falconer, Iron Maiden, and so on. Paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore, the album sounds and feels absolutely triumphant and epic, showcasing all the talent and passion for old school metal music by Jacob Wherley on vocals and guitars, Patrick Kern also on the guitars, and Erik Curry on bass, supported by session drummer David Hardesty.

Frantic riffs and beats ignite the metal extravaganza titled Into the Sky, a beautiful and electrifying tribute to the golden years of Heavy Metal with Jacob kicking ass on vocals accompanied by the galloping bass by Erik. In Wrathful Eyes the rumbling bass by Erik offers exactly what Jacob needs to declaim the song’s wicked lyrics (“You think the morning fog hides all the lies you’ve told / But I see through the dismal gloom straight to your blackened soul / Your forces they stand line by line grumbling to themselves / They know their leader is a thief, a craven and a fool”) in another high-octane display of classic metal music, whereas a more epic, thunderous vibe permeates the air in High King, spearheaded by the tribal beats by David while Jacob and Patrick extract sheer electricity from their guitars in the best Manowar style. Then telling a story of a pagan warrior, the band blasts the traditional Heavy and Power Metal tune Heart of a Pagan, showcasing an excellent guitar attack together with the unstoppable bass jabs by Erik.

In Dire Wolves the band delivers a solid hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with 80’s Hard Rock that reminds me of some of the most thrilling creations by Axel Rudi Pell, with their striking guitar riffs and solos penetrating deep inside your mind; and adding elements from Thrash Metal to their core sonority, Erik and David bring the groove to the music in White Stag while Jacob and Patrick keep slashing their stringed axes with tons of feeling and dexterity. Then inspired by the badass Rock N’ Roll by the unparalleled Motörhead, those young metallers will put you to bang your head and slam into the pit in Empress, with even Jacob’s voice displaying hints of the grumpy vocals by Lemmy, followed by Goddess Freya, which albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album still has its good moments, with Jacob doing another great job on vocals supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals. Last but not least, Emerald Rage bring forth the rumbling tune Wings of Solitude, sounding very stylish with its strident riffs in paradox with the low-tuned, metallic bass by Erik, also full of breaks, variations and endless stamina for our total delight.

You can join Emerald Rage in their metal voyage through the glory of the medieval times by streaming High King in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and above all that, by grabbing your copy of their thrilling debut installment from their own BandCamp page, from the Stormspell Records’ Big Cartel, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. Now that those young rockers have finally released their first full-length album, let’s wait and see what’s next in their career and to what period in time they’ll take us with their refined Heavy Metal, sounding like true veterans and, consequently, keeping the fires of old school heavy music burning bright wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Into the Sky, Dire Wolves and Empress.

Worst moments of the album: Goddess Freya.

Released in 2021 Stormspell Records

Track listing
1. Into the Sky 5:30
2. Wrathful Eyes 4:26
3. High King 5:37
4. Heart of a Pagan 3:25
5. Dire Wolves 3:29
6. White Stag 3:54
7. Empress 3:21
8. Goddess Freya 3:56
9. Wings of Solitude 5:35

Band members
Jacob Wherley – lead vocals, guitars
Patrick Kern – guitar, backing vocals
Erik Curry – bass, backing vocals

Guest musician
David Hardesty – drums (session)

Album Review – Running Wild / Blood on Blood (2021)

The German pirates of Heavy and Power Metal are back with what’s unarguably their strongest album in over 20 years.

The German pirates of Heavy and Power Metal, collectively known as Running Wild, are finally back with an album that lives up to their own legacy, the excellent Blood on Blood. Produced, recorded and mixed by the band’s own mastermind, vocalist and guitarist, the one and only Rock N’ Rolf (aka Rolf Kasparek), and displaying an old school artwork by Jens Reinhold of Zenz-Art, the seventeenth studio album by one of the most important names of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-80’s puts the band back on track after a few bland albums, offering us fans the power and the glory of fantastic albums such as Under Jolly Roger, Death or Glory, Black Hand Inn, Masquerade and The Rivalry. Put differently, if you’re into stories and tales of piracy, or into songs about riding your motorbike wildly and freely, then Rock N’ Rolf and his crew comprised of Peter Jordan on the guitars, Ole Hempelmann on bass and Michael Wolpers on drums have exactly what you’re craving in heavy music with their new opus.

Rolf and Peter begin their incendiary riff attack in the title-track Blood on Blood, an upbeat Heavy Metal tune will put you to headbang within 20 seconds without a shadow of a doubt, whereas Wings of Fire sounds even more traditional than the opening track, with Rolf being on fire with his trademark raspy vocals while Michael dictates the song’s pace, inviting us to hit the road to the sound of such rockin’ tune. Say Your Prayers is another thrilling mid-tempo song mixing old school Heavy Metal with badass Rock N’ Roll, with Rolf’s piercing voice being effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals; followed by Diamonds & Pearls, where albeit their pirate-inspired lyrics might be too cheesy (“Setting all gear, no doubt and no fear / Trailblazers stories were told / Sliding the waves that cover the graves / Of seamen and ships in the cold”), they go along really well with their straightforward Heavy Metal instrumental parts. There’s no time to breathe as Rolf and his crew keep kicking ass in Wild & Free, another fast song about riding free in the name of rock and metal music, with Ole making the earth tremble with his sick bass, not to mention the slashing riffs and solos by Rolf and Peter. Then soulful guitars set the stage for the quartet to shine with their Pirate Metal in Crossing the Blades, showcasing an addictive chorus (“Crossing the blades / Flashing the steel / We will ride, and united we stand / Flashing the blades / Crossing the steel / One for all, and all for one, in the end”) amidst a prancing, beer-drinking, sword-fighting sonority.

Running Wild Blood on Blood Deluxe Box

I personally believe Running Wild shouldn’t try to do any ballads, and One Night, One Day is the ultimate proof that those do not match with their core essence, getting tiresome and bland after a short while, falling flat and sounding way too generic, especially if compared to the rest of the album. Fortunately they get back to a much more thrilling vibe in The Shellback, where Rolf leads his crew of buccaneers inspired by the band’s own early days, with Ole and Michael bringing the groove to the overall result. It’s then time for another rockin’ tune with a powerful vibe that will inspire you to hit the road with your metal brothers, entitled Wild, Wild Nights, where Rolf and Peter are precise as usual with their razor-edged riffs, before the band invites us to join them in an epic journey through The Iron Times (1618-1648), showcasing stunning passages, sharp riffs and solos and pounding beats, all spearheaded by Rolf’s dark, storytelling vocal lines, flowing like an arrow on fire in total darkness until its epic finale. In addition, if you go for the Japanese edition of Blood on Blood you’ll be treated to three very special bonus tracks, those being Stargazed, their cover version for KISS’ classic Strutter (which you can check the original one HERE), and my favorite one Ride on the Wild Side, all worth the investment in this unique version of the album.

As aforementioned, if you’re into Heavy and Power Metal with a strong pirate vein you’ll have a really good time listening to Blood on Blood, which is available for purchase from the Steamhammer Records webstore or as a very special deluxe box from the Napalm Records webstore, strictly limited to 666 units and including the digipak CD and tape versions of the album, a flag, a pendant, a patch, an autograph card and a chain, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. “We all know the difficulties the cultural sector was faced with during the lockdown. On the other hand, it also gave me and many other artists some extra time since most releases had to be postponed. I used that time to fine-tune every little detail of my new material. The result is an album that in my opinion is probably the best in Running Wild’s career to date. Every one of the ten songs sounds exactly as I had it in mind when I composed it. I’ve never been happier with a Running Wild record before,” said Rock N’ Rolf himself, and although he might be exaggerating when saying it’s the best Running Wild album ever we must agree it’s indeed a sharp, exciting and detailed piece of work by those German pirates, who are by the way waiting for you to join their crew on Facebook and on Instagram. As the title track says, “one for all and all for one, blood on blood, we stand as one!”

Best moments of the album: Wings of Fire, Say Your Prayers, Crossing the Blades, Wild & Free and The Iron Times (1618-1648).

Worst moments of the album: One Night, One Day.

Released in 2021 Steamhammer Records

Track listing
1. Blood on Blood 4:07
2. Wings of Fire 3:57
3. Say Your Prayers 5:14
4. Diamonds & Pearls 4:44
5. Wild & Free 5:28
6. Crossing the Blades 6:00
7. One Night, One Day 4:59
8. The Shellback 6:11
9. Wild, Wild Nights 4:30
10. The Iron Times (1618-1648) 10:29

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
11. Stargazed 3:40
12. Strutter (KISS cover) 3:05
13. Ride on the Wild Side 4:05

Band members
Rock N’ Rolf – vocals, guitars
Peter Jordan – guitars
Ole Hempelmann – bass
Michael Wolpers – drums

Album Review – Evil Hunter / Lockdown (2021)

This unstoppable Spanish metal force attacks again with their sophomore album, showcasing an evolution in their sound together with endless energy and a deep passion for heavy music.

Comprised of experienced musicians from Galicia, Catalunya, Andalucía and Madrid, all in Spain, the Heavy Metal brigade known as Evil Hunter attacks again with their sophomore opus, entitled Lockdown, following up on all the energy and heaviness of their 2018 self-titled debut effort. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist José Rubio and displaying a classic artwork by Felipe Machado Franco, Lockdown represents a step forward in the band’s career, showcasing not only an evolution in the sound crafted by Damián Chicano on vocals, José Rubio and Victor Durán on the guitars, Alberto Garrido on bass and Anxo Silveira on drums, but also offering us fans of old school metal music an amazing option to enhance our personal collection of heavy music albums.

The quintet begins distilling their classic Heavy Metal in the opening track Guardian Angel, already putting the pedal to the metal with José and Victor taking the lead with their flammable riffs while Damián fires his Udo Dirkschneider-inspired roars, whereas investing in a pure Hard Rock vibe from the 80’s we have You’ll Never Walk Alone, an upbeat tune with a very positive message where Alberto and Anxo dictate the song’s headbanging pace with their respective bass punches and steady beats. Then infernal riffs ignite another metallic feast by Evil Hunter entitled Get Up, which will sound amazing during their upcoming live concerts as Damián screams the song’s words in great fashion accompanied by the thunderous beats by Anxo; and it’s time for the band to speed things up and deliver a classic Power Metal tune named Burning in Flames, blending the old school sound by Accept and Judas Priest with the more melodic approach by Stratovarius, also presenting an amazing performance by the band’s guitar duo with their striking riffs and solos.

Back to a smoother sonority, it’s time for Anxo to lead his bandmates with his 80’s-inspired beats in Fear Them All, a song that could have easily been released 40 years ago, with José and Victor once again doing a superb job on the guitars, followed by Beyond the Down, a beautiful treat to diehard fans of 80’s Heavy Metal where Damián is on fire with his raspy vocals supported by his bandmates classic backing vocals, not to mention the rumbling kitchen generated by Alberto and Anxo. And Evil Hunter slow things down and get slightly darker and more melancholic in Locked Down, evolving into another Heavy Metal hurricane where their sharp riffs and solos will penetrate deep inside your mind. Lastly, the band brings to our ears Blown With the Wind, with its headbanging rhythm, epic vocal lines and pounding drums reminding me of some of the older creations by Manowar and Hammerfall, putting an inspiring ending to such frantic and electrifying album.

Evil Hunter are more than ready to hunt you down with their first-class Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, and if you want to tell them how much you enjoy their music you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their incendiary creations. Furthermore, you should definitely purchase Lockdown from the Demons Records webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, proving you’re a true metalhead and an admirer of the underground. Those Spanish metallers stepped up their game considerably with Lockdown, setting the bar really high for their future releases and, of course, inviting us all to join them in their musical world and share with them our deep passion for heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Guardian Angel, Burning in Flames and Beyond the Down.

Worst moments of the album: Locked Down.

Released in 2021 Demons Records

Track listing
1. Guardian Angel 4:21
2. You’ll Never Walk Alone 4:36
3. Get Up 4:24
4. Burning in Flames 4:38
5. Fear Them All 4:37
6. Beyond the Down 4:11
7. Locked Down 5:46
8. Blown With the Wind 4:47

Band members
Damián Chicano – vocals
José Rubio – guitars
Victor Durán – guitars
Alberto Garrido – bass
Anxo Silveira – drums