Album Review – Battle Beast / Circus of Doom (2022)

Welcome to the circus ruled by the one and only Battle Beast, featuring ten tracks that blend true Heavy Metal with pop and rock vibes.

Since their inception in 2005 in the city of Helsinki, Finland, the Heavy/Power Metal and Hard Rock bulldozer known as Battle Beast has been on an unstoppable ride, releasing an array of albums that can already be considered metal classics such as their 2015 opus Unholy Savior, and contemporary gems like their 2017 album Bringer Of Pain. Now in 2022 our beloved frontwoman Noora Louhimo and her bandmates Joona Björkroth and Juuso Soinio on the guitars, Eero Sipilä on bass, Janne Björkroth on the keyboards and orchestrations, and Pyry Vikki on drums are back in action with Circus of Doom, the follow-up to their not-so-good 2019 album No More Hollywood Endings. Recorded, produced, engineered and mixed by Janne Björkroth at JKB Studios, mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Jan “Örkki” Yrlund of Darkgrove Design, Circus of Doom features ten tracks that blend true Heavy Metal with pop and rock vibes, putting the band back on track and showing us all why they’ve become one of the most important names of the current European scene.

A quick circus-inspired intro evolves into the melodic and wicked title-track Circus of Doom, showcasing classic Power Metal lyrics declaimed by Noora (“The lions are hungry / And filled with rage / Afraid and angry / Locked in a cage / Ah / The circus is coming to town”) spiced up by the whimsical keys by Janne, whereas Wings of Light can be considered a journey back in time to their Bringer of Pain sound, with Pyry dictating  the song’s headbanging pace while Joona and Juuso keep slashing their guitars in the name of Heavy Metal firing riffs and solos that exhale pure electricity. Master of Illusion, one of the first singles of the album, brings forward the band’s more recent creations, mixing heavy music with pop in a theatrical manner, and once again it’s Noora who steals the spotlight with her powerful voice; followed by Where Angels Fear to Fly, another tune where the band focuses a lot more on their Hard Rock vein than on Heavy Metal while Janne kicks ass with his keys and orchestrations from start to finish. Then happy, strident riffs permeate the air in Eye of the Storm, an upbeat metal tune spearheaded by Noora’s soaring vocals and Pyry’s rhythmic drumming.

In Russian Roulette, witty words are powerfully sung by Noora (“In this game of Russian roulette / The room is filled with sin, would you let me in? / Tonight might be the night / As troubles disappear, the moon seems so near / Beneath electric starlight”) while her bandmates deliver a solid balance of Heavy Metal, Disco and Rock N’ Roll, whereas Freedom is an imposing, pounding composition that will please all fans of the early days of Battle Beast, bringing to our avid ears the galloping drums and bass by Pyry and Eero, respectively, not to mention how epic the backing vocals sound. The Road to Avalon sounds and feels extremely melodic, inviting us all to dance together with those Finnish rockers while Eero’s rumbling bass goes hand in hand with the old school riffage by the band’s guitar duo, and sharp vocalizations ignite the groovy and exciting tune Armageddon, bringing forward another striking performance by Noora on vocals supported by the stylish riffs and solos by Joona and Juuso. Last but not least, it’s time for a Power Metal feast entitled Place That We Call Home, where the sound of the guitars makes a potent paradox with the keys by Janne, putting a climatic ending to the album. As a matter of fact, if you go for the Digibook edition of the album you’ll be treated to two excellent bonus tracks, The Lightbringer and Tempest of Blades, both definitely worth the extra investment.

You can enjoy Noora’s soaring vocals and the thunderous Heavy Metal played by her henchmen in Circus of Doom in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE. In addition, don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel (if you haven’t done so yet, of course). Battle Beast might not sound as metallic as in their early days, but they managed to find an awesome balance between Heavy Metal and pop music that turns their more recent releases (with the exception of No More Hollywood Endings) a beyond enjoyable listen to any fan of good music, it doesn’t matter if that person is a metalhead or not, and that only contributes to elevate their name in the metal scene even more. In other words, welcome to the circus of Heavy Metal by Battle Beast, and don’t forget to bang your head nonstop to each one of the “attractions” of the show.

Best moments of the album: Wings of Light, Freedom, Armageddon and Tempest of Blades.

Worst moments of the album: Where Angels Fear to Fly.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Circus of Doom 4:57
2. Wings of Light 4:07
3. Master of Illusion 4:08
4. Where Angels Fear to Fly 3:56
5. Eye of the Storm 4:26
6. Russian Roulette 4:16
7. Freedom 3:44
8. The Road to Avalon 4:30
9. Armageddon 3:43
10. Place That We Call Home 3:47

Digibook bonus tracks
11. The Lightbringer 4:23
12. Tempest of Blades 3:32

Band members
Noora Louhimo – vocals
Joona Björkroth – guitars, backing vocals
Juuso Soinio – rhythm guitars
Eero Sipilä – bass, backing vocals
Janne Björkroth – keyboards, orchestrations, backing vocals
Pyry Vikki – drums

Album Review – Voidfallen / The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse (2021)

This young and restless Melodic Death Metal band from Finland comes ripping with their debut full-length album, dealing with the narrowness of the human mind.

Mixed by Juhamatti Kauppinen at Shedstudios, mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox, and displaying a sinister artwork by Petri Inkinen from Guilty Visuals, The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse is the awesome debut album by Helsinki, Finland-based Melodic Death Metal entity Voidfallen, a young but quickly acknowledged band formed in 2019 and currently comprised of Tommi Kangaskortet on vocals, Henri Vuorenmaa and Aleksi Tossavainen on the guitars, Lauri Myllylä on bass and Mika Lumijärvi on drums. Consisting of nine independent songs which still form the album’s own entirety, The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse deals with the narrowness of the human mind, the distress caused by that and the moral confrontations that follow, placing it among the must-listen Melodic Death Metal albums of the year and, therefore, representing a beyond solid step in the band’s up-and-coming career.

The sinister and cinematic intro The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse invites us all to join Voidfallen in their Melodic Death Metal realm to the sound of Remnants of the Heart, where Henri and Aleksi begin slashing their axes supported by the classic beats by Mika while Tommi roars manically nonstop; whereas The Hollows is even more demented than its predecessor thanks to the fulminating job done by Mika on drums, while Lauri hammers his bass mercilessly providing the band’s guitar duo all they need to shine with their riffage. Then after a serene start everything explodes into sheer savagery in The Daughters, a solid Melodic Death Metal tune spearheaded by the infernal roars by Tommi, and it’s time to bang your head like a beast in From Souls to Embers, featuring guest clean vocals by Inka Inkinen, where epic, imposing background elements elevate their core Melodic Death Metal to a whole new level.

From Embers to Fall, this time with guest clean vocals by Mikko Heikkilä (Dawn of Solace, Kaunis Kuolematon), is another rumbling, pounding creation by Voidfallen where the band’s guitar duo is on fire with their harmonious but at the same time visceral riffs; followed by the awesome Sui Generis, showcasing classy lyrics growled by Tommi (“Rise, the faithless kind and behold, your new king arrived / Now bow to me you peasants of mine / And so another chapter of this madness unfolds / Where man thinks he’s a god and the god’s a hero / Like the only star in the sky / The brightest of lights / Epitome of ego / Sui generis”) while his bandmates kick some ass with their sonic weapons in a powerful display of the band’s epic and heavy music. Featuring guest Vesa Salovaara (Ephemerald, Vorna) on vocals, The Slaves of the Echo Chambers is the second to last blast of aggressiveness with the band’s trademark melodic twist where Mika and Lauri make the earth shake with their respective beats and bass punches; and lastly, Symphonic Black Metal elements spice up the band’s sound in Seen Through Ice, allowing Tommi to deliver deeper, more demonic growls accompanied by the headbanging riffs by Henri and Aleksi.

The ruthless and extremely talented guys from Voidfallen are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube with more of their heavy and caustic music, news, tour dates and so on, and if you want to show them all your support and admiration you can stream The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase the album from their own BandCamp page as well as from Record Shop X or from Apple Music. Finland has always been an endless source of top-of-the-line Melodic Death Metal, and Voidfallen are no exception to that, taking the genre to new heigths with their darker-than-usual approach and visuals, and leaving us really curious to see what’s next in their aggressive and melodic path.

Best moments of the album: From Souls to Embers, Sui Generis and The Slaves of the Echo Chambers.

Worst moments of the album: From Embers to Fall.

Released in 2021 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. The Atlas of Spiritual Apocalypse 1:11
2. Remnants of the Heart 4:04
3. The Hollows 4:16
4. The Daughters 6:02
5. From Souls to Embers 5:21
6. From Embers to Fall 5:21
7. Sui Generis 4:03
8. The Slaves of the Echo Chambers 5:00
9. Seen Through Ice 5:47

Band members
Tommi Kangaskortet – vocals
Henri Vuorenmaa – guitars
Aleksi Tossavainen – guitars
Lauri Myllylä – bass
Mika Lumijärvi – drums

Guest musicians
Vesa Salovaara – clean vocals on “The Slaves of the Echo Chambers”
Mikko Heikkilä – clean vocals on “From Embers to Fall”
Inka Inkinen – clean vocals on “From Souls to Embers”

Album Review – BloodBlind / False Light EP (2021)

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

3.0rating

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Hits and Blood.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

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

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

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

Album Review – Lord Of Pagathorn / Age Of Curse (2021)

This unrelenting horde is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn of vicious, death-reaping Finnish Black Metal.

3.5rating

lord-of-pagathorn-age-of-curse-2021Hailing from Finland’s capital Helsinki, the unrelenting Black Metal horde that goes by the name of Lord Of Pagathorn is ready to strike again with their newborn spawn, entitled Age Of Curse, bringing to our ears eight original songs of death-reaping Finnish Black Metal crafted by vocalist and guitarist Corpselord, guitarist Skrubb, bassist Ronitor and drummer Skalder. Recorded by the band’s own Ronitor, who was also responsible for the album’s sick artwork, and mixed and mastered by Trollhorn (aka Henri Sorvali) at Trollhouse Audio, Age Of Curse is Lord Of Pagathorn’s most detailed and cohesive opus since the band’s inception in the distant year of 1992 in the city of Rovaniemi, showing those black metallers still have a lot of fire to burn in their path of evil and darkness.

A cryptic, sinister intro titled Burning Ominous Words sets the stage for the Finnish quartet to kill in Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, with Corpselord and Skrubb delivering old school Black Metal riffs while Skalder hammers his drums nonstop. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded rawer, more devilish nor more traditional than this, and continuing their feast of pure malignancy, Corpselord leads his infernal horde with his wicked gnarls while Ronitor and Skalder will make your head tremble with their hellish kitchen in Conqueror of Im-Kharasak. Then slowing things down a bit and adding a visceral dosage of Doom Metal to their core madness, the band fires the headbanging Insatiability of Man, with Ronitor’s bass jabs supporting the strident guitars by Corpselord and Skrubb; whereas their Black Magic-infused riffage will pierce our souls mercilessly in Over Throned, while Skalder dictates the pace through his intricate yet bestial beats in an awesome display of pure Black Metal.

The title-track Age of Curse is a lecture in old school, unfiltered Black Metal by Lord Of Pagathorn, with the band’s guitar duo being in total (and infernal) sync with Skalder’s drums, not to mention how vile the screeches and roars by Corpselord are, and more of their spine-chilling sounds permeate the air in the venomous Crush The Holy Spirit, a nonstop hurricane of Black Metal riffs, beats and growls that will please all fans of classics the likes of Mayhem, Immortal and Marduk. There’s no time to breathe as the band’s Stygian onrush of sounds goes on in Prophecy of Androgyne Being, bringing to our avid ears more of Corpselord’s demonic screams amidst a pulverizing and melodic sonority. And last but not least, the gates of hell are wide open to the sound of the sluggish and grim Dragging in the Dust, another wicked Black Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the neck-breaking beats by Skalder, all spiced up by Doom Metal elements carefully inserted into the band’s trademark sound.

lord-of-pagathorn-2021You can easily join the Black Metal cult led by Lord Of Pagathorn by following the band on Facebook, but of course if you want to prove to the entire world you’re a true servant of darkness you should purchase Age Of Curse (which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube) from the Woodcut Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Record Shop X or from Discogs. Lord Of Pagathorn are one of those bands that will always be loyal to the foundations of Black Metal, having followed the dark path since their very first demo released in 1993, and based on the sulfur and obscurity flowing from their excellent new opus I’m pretty sure the Black Metal scene in their homeland Finland will stand strong for decades to come.

Best moments of the album: Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All, Age of Curse and Crush The Holy Spirit.

Worst moments of the album: Insatiability of Man.

Released in 2021 Woodcut Records

Track listing   
1. Intro – Burning Ominous Words 1:36
2. Baneful Curse To Destroy Them All 3:15
3. Conqueror of Im-Kharasak 5:29
4. Insatiability of Man 5:06
5. Over Throned 6:23
6. Age of Curse 5:26
7. Crush The Holy Spirit 4:41
8. Prophecy of Androgyne Being 6:01
9. Dragging in the Dust 7:56

Band members
Corpselord – vocals, guitar
Skrubb – guitar
Ronitor – bass
Skalder – drums

Album Review – Jessica Wolff / para dice (2020)

An unstoppable Finnish singer and her loyal “Wolffpack” will rock your world with their electrifying new album of modern-day Hard Rock.

The stunning Helsinki, Finland-based Hard Rock vocalist Jessica Wolff is a very busy young Finnish artist who’s not only committed to music, but she is also into acting, practicing kung fu and doing stunt work. However, behind the actions of this adrenaline junkie, you’ll find a warm-hearted girl with a striking personality, which is beautifully reflected in the music, in the catchy melodies and in the thought-provoking lyrics of her brand new album titled para dice, the follow-up to her 2013 album Renegade and her 2017 release Grounded, being highly recommended for fans of Pink Floyd, Joan Jett and Morcheeba, among others. Produced by Jonas Olsson, para dice, which title refers to going against the stream and daring to take risks in life if you want to achieve your goals, will offer your avid ears a direct and entertaining fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, showcasing all the talent by Jessica and her “Wolffpack” formed by guitarists Ari Manninen and Sebastian Lindqvist, bassist Taneli Tulkki and drummer Jarno Vanhanen.

Ari and Sebastian begin slashing their strings in great fashion in the opening track Ella’s Song, providing Jessica exactly what she needs to shine on vocals in a thrilling hybrid of modern-day Hard Rock with classic Rock N’ Roll. Not only that, this song is particularly special for Jessica and a little girl named Ella. “A couple of years ago I saw a post from the charity organization called Brother Christmas. It was about a girl who had been so school bullied she didn’t dare to go outside the house.  I contacted her mother and offered to come and hang out with Ella, talk, take walks or work out. I started to meet Ella who opened about her story. Ella is a true fighter with the heart of an angel. Her story really touched me and I asked if we could write a song about it,” said Jessica about the inspiration for such amazing tune. And keeping the adrenaline level truly high the band fires another dancing tune titled Perfect Kind Of Wrong, with Jarno dictating the rhythm with his classic beats while Jessica continues to embellish the airwaves with her piercing vocals, followed by All The Tight Things, a radio-friendly composition where Tanelli and his bass punches together with Jarno’s beats build a solid base for Jessica’s crisp vocals, while the band’s guitar duo delivers strident rockin’ riffs nonstop.

Then it’s time for a Blues-ish ballad by Jessica and the boys entitled The Sunny Side Of The Bay, with its delicate ambience being effectively boosted by Jarno’s minimalist beats, inviting us all to simply relax and enjoy the serene sounds and introspective lyrics of such enfolding song. In Kill Switch the unstoppable Jessica and her henchmen continue to venture through the gentle and passionate lands of rock ballads, but this time increasing their punch and electricity significantly and presenting a solid job done by both Ari and Sebastian with their riffs and solos, whereas in Fight Forever they blend contemporary Rock N’ Roll the likes of Paramore with the groove and heaviness of Hard Rock, also bringing forward another awesome vocal performance by Jessica supported by her loyal bandmates. Needless to say, this is a great option for hitting the road with your loved ones during the hot and fun days of summer.

The awesome Superhero offers us all a high dosage of acid lyrics with Jessica’s own feminine touch (“You say you need nobody / Here we go again why do you pretend / I see the pain inside you / You ain ́t fooling me, you ́re not a mystery / Yeah, come and look at mister cool, hey / Mister all the time, mister blow my mind, yeah / Come and look at mister fool, hey / I get so tired of your shit”) while at the same time presenting the heaviest riffs of the whole album, endless stamina and pounding beats, which together turn it into the best song of para dice hands down. Adding hints of Southern Rock to their Rock N’ Roll core essence, the band brings forth Demons, a headbanging tune where all guitar riffs and heavy beats create an interesting paradox with Jessica’s delicate but powerful vocals, while Take Me Away is another heavy ballad that keeps the momentum going with Jessica’s pensive vocal performance bringing a touch of finesse to the overall result while Taneli keeps hammering his bass, generating a welcome rumbling background sound. Lastly, closing the album we’re treated to the Rock N’ Roll extravaganza titled Strangers, offering the listener classic heavy riffs intertwined with lighter and more melodious moments and, therefore, putting a very pleasant and embracing ending to para dice.

If you’re more than curious to take a full and detailed listen at para dice, you can stream the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your utmost support to such talented vocalist from the land of ice and snow you can purchase your desired version of the album by clicking HERE, as well as follow her on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to her official YouTube channel. Jessica is definitely poised to become one of the biggest contemporary female singers of her homeland, following the steps of renowned vocalists such as Tarja Turunen (Nightwish, Tarja) and Suvi Hiltunen (Afire), with para dice representing a fantastic step in her career and the perfect path for her to follow in order to keep on rocking our world and our hearts with her classy and electrifying music.

Best moments of the album: Ella’s Song, Fight Forever and Superhero.

Worst moments of the album: All The Tight Things.

Released in 2020 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Ella’s Song 3:14
2. Perfect Kind Of Wrong 3:45
3. All The Right Things 3:19
4. The Sunny Side Of The Bay 3:28
5. Kill Switch 3:44
6. Fight Forever 3:33
7. Superhero 4:09
8. Demons 3:23
9. Take Me Away 3:42
10. Strangers 3:08

Band members
Jessica Wolff – vocals
Ari Manninen – guitar
Sebastian Lindqvist – guitar
Taneli Tulkki – bass
Jarno Vanhanen – drums

Album Review – Dö / Astral Death Cult (2019)

Saluting the great forces of nature and the void that surrounds us, Finland’s own riff-praising, cosmos-worshiping metal unity returns with another round of their raw northern “döömer”.

Hail Cosmos! We’re all döömed!

Helsinki’s own riff-praising, cosmos-worshiping trio of doom, the infamous and heavy-as-hell unity known as , is ready to stimulate and distort our senses once again with what they like to call “döömer” in their brand new opus entitled Astral Death Cult. And if you have absolutely no idea of what “döömer” means, let’s say it’s simply dark astral energy masterfully compressed by our beloved sonic triumvirate comprised of Deaf Hank on vocals and bass, Big Dog on the guitar and Joe E. Deliverance on drums into a unique northern mix of stoner, doom, sludge and psychedelic elements with hints of Death and Black Metal. Or is this still too complicated for your terrestrial mind?

Astral Death Cult is the second full-length album released by Dö and their fifth release since the band’s inception in 2013 in “Hellsinki”, following the path of reverberating sounds and distortions paved in their previous releases, those being their debut self-tiled EP from 2014, the EP Den from 2015, their first full-length installment Tuho from 2016, and the EP Astral: Death/Birth from 2017. However, while their core essence remained intact through the years, with all albums being recorded live to get the genuine dynamics of the trio on each track, the lyrical themes have evolved from mysticism, misanthropy and anti-religiousness towards saluting the great forces of nature and the void that surrounds us, matching their musical direction flawlessly and, consequently, providing the listener a truly unique experience while listening to the album’s 36 minutes of pure “dööm”.

Joe’s funereal beats kick off the three-minute invitation to emptiness and obscurity titled Intergalacticlude, where the bass by Deaf Hank sounds as dirty and raw as it can be, also bringing to our ears and minds somber vociferations and a menacing aura. After such killer start we have the superb Atmosfear, which kicks off in a truly Stygian, atmospheric way before Deaf Hank begins exhaling evil and fear through his bass and raspy vocals, exploding into ass-kicking Doom and Sludge Metal for our total delight. Just break your damned neck headbanging to this visceral hymn, while Big Dog’s Black Sabbath-inspired demonic riffs add an extra touch of evil to the music. And the pounding drums by Joe together with Deaf Hank’s malevolent bass take the lead in Drifting (In a Methane Ocean), showcasing over nine minutes of sluggish passages, a grey ambience, endless heaviness, and desperate vocalizations amidst embracing, minimalist guitar lines, smashing our heads ruthlessly. Put differently, this is exactly what happens when distortion, harmony and heaviness unite in the name of doom.

Their astral journey goes on in the also pulverizing Cosmic Communion, bringing elements from Experimental and Progressive Metal to their already multi-layered sound. I simply love the rumbling sounds Deaf Hank blasts from his bass while Big Dog keeps shredding his strings beautifully, turning it into the perfect soundtrack to a futuristic slasher flick as they keep jamming like there’s no tomorrow. Planet Eater couldn’t have started in a more menacing way, representing the epitome of old school Doom and Stoner Metal. Big Dog is on fire with his riffs and solos, while Deaf Hank barks and roars nonstop, and let me tell you their synchronicity with their stringed weapons is amazing, complemented by Joe’s slow and potent beats. And lastly, never letting the level of energy, rage and distortions go down they offer us the groovy and dark Beyond the Cosmic Horizon, where its bass and drums will make your brain tremble. Deaf Hank’s anguish gnarls get darker and darker as the music progresses, with the soulful solo by Big Dog being the icing on the cake in this excellent closing tune.

This precious gem of doom, or maybe I should just start writing “dööm” all the time from now on, can be relished in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your absolute support to Finland’s meanest and most demented trio you can purchase the album from their official BandCamp, from the Dust & Bones Records webstore, from the Lay Bare Recordings webstore, form Apple Music or from Amazon. Also, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their raw and classy music, because as you’re all already aware of, we’re all “döömed” in this rotten and decaying world, and there’s nothing we can do about that apart from banging our heads and raising our horns together with Deaf Hank, Big Dog and Joe E. Deliverance until our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Atmosfear and Cosmic Communion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Lay Bare Recordings/Mercyful Tapes

Track listing
1. Intergalacticlude 3:11
2. Atmosfear 5:50
3. Drifting (In a Methane Ocean) 9:18
4. Cosmic Communion 6:11
5. Planet Eater 5:43
6. Beyond the Cosmic Horizon 5:55

Band members
Deaf Hank – vocals, bass
Big Dog – guitar, backing vocals
Joe E. Deliverance – drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Refusal / Epitome of Void (2019)

A straight-to-the-point album of Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal, as pulverizing, heavy and infernal as it can be.

Founded back in 2008 in the city of Helsinki, Finland by guitarist Tero Pirhonen and bassist Timo Pirhonen, before bringing in vocalist Niikka Lius, drummer Aleksi Roitto and more recently guitarist Kalle Kuosmanen to complete the band, the unrelenting squad that goes by the name of Refusal does not just play your regular Death Metal, but something they like to call “Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal”, smashing you like an insect with all their fury and heaviness without showing a single drop of mercy. After releasing several demos and their debut full-length album We Rot Within, in 2016, Refusal are back in action in 2019 with a brand new (and pulverizing) opus, beautifully titled Epitome of Void. Featuring a somber artwork by Finnish artist Sakke Vinko, Epitome of Void is highly recommended for fans of the music by iconic bands like Napalm Death, Nasum and Entombed, being absolutely perfect for slamming into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow.

The distorted guitars by Tero and Kalle ignite the pulverizing opening track Suffocate, reminding me of the devilish sound by Turkish beasts Diabolizer, or in other words, a brutal slamming Death Metal extravaganza led by Niika and his deep, visceral growls. If you survive their initial onrush of extreme music get ready for the insanely heavy Hectic, showcasing an enraged Niikka on vocals while Aleksi decimates his drums in a precise and groovy manner, accompanied by Timo’s roaring bass; whereas Disregard brings forward a less frantic but still acid and violent version of the band, urging us all to bang our heads manically to the infernal riffs by Tero and Kalle while Timo smashes his bass chords nonstop.

Disgust is just as brutal as Death Metal can be, with Refusal inviting us all to crush our skulls into the circle pit while Niikaa vomits the song’s lyrics in a very traditional way; followed by Slaves, the darkest of all songs in Epitome of Void, showcasing hints of classic, obscure Black Metal added to their unrelenting music. Moreover, Tero and Timo bring some welcome balance to the sonic havoc going on with their crisp solos. Then it’s time for more demented slamming to the infernal beats by Aleksi in Exploit, while Niikka keeps growling and vociferating manically for our total delight. Put differently, this is the undisputed epitome of Refusal’s classic Death Metal, highly recommended for all fans of the genre.

If you think your neck will have a break from all the insane headbanging proposed by Refusal you’re absolutely wrong, as the band ignites their most demonic mode in the rip-roaring Bound, with their guitars and drums being in full destructive force. Then their second to last deranged Death Metal attack comes in the form of Futile, where all band members sound even more infuriated than ever, pleasing anyone who admires old school Brutal Death Metal from the bottom of their (blackened) hearts, setting the stage for the the thunderous and vile closing tune Void, where the smashing sounds of drums and bass provide Niikka the perfect atmosphere for his sick guttural vocals. There’s no escape from Refusal, and their most unfriendly, obscure and intricate creation beautifully represents all their fury and rage, ending the album on a very high note.

Do you have what it takes to face the demolishing Death Metal by Refusal? If your answer is yes, simply slam into the pit by listening to Epitome of Void in full on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, Epitome of Void, which by the way is on sale from Refusal’s own BandCamp page, from the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from Discogs, will not change or revolutionize the underground metal scene at all; quite the contrary, it’s pure old school Death Metal, without any artificial elements nor any type of shenanigans, thoroughly crafted by five Finnish guys who are beyond loyal to the foundations of the genre, deserving all our admiration and support for keeping the flames of true Death Metal alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Hectic, Disgust and Exploit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. Suffocate 2:20
2. Hectic 2:51
3. Disregard 3:13
4. Disgust 3:27
5. Slaves 4:33
6. Exploit 1:48
7. Bound 4:14
8. Futile 4:10
9. Void 5:19

Band members
Niikka Lius – vocals
Tero Pirhonen – guitars
Kalle Kuosmanen – guitars
Timo Pirhonen – bass, backing vocals
Aleksi Roitto – drums

Album Review – Dark Archive / Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon EP (2018)

Sharing the same admiration and respect for the beauty of darkness and Satan, this infernal Finnish duo will pulverize your senses with 17 minutes of ruthless and vibrant Black Metal.

Formed in the summer of 2016 in Finland by vocalist and lyricist Niko “Perdition” Aromaa and composer and multi-instrumentalist Joakim “Lord Mordor” Lindholm, with a vision to form a Black Metal band that would create something fresh and something which would stand out from the scene, the demonic entity known as Dark Archive is ready to spread darkness upon the earth with their brand new EP titled Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon. Considering themselves as a satanic band, with both Niko and Joakim sharing the same admiration and respect for the beauty of darkness and Satan, Dark Archive will pulverize your senses with each of the five tracks in Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon, making you feel all that darkness growing inside you during the album’s 17 minutes of ruthless extreme music.

Sinister sounds are suddenly joined by a sulphurous onrush of Black Metal in the opening track, Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon, with Joakim blasting demonic beats and riffs nonstop while Niko growls the song’s blasphemous and poetic lyrics in a rabid way (“Hunger holds their brethren, as they hold this world dominion, even voices of our fathers can’t describe this burden / Beneath their holy sculptures, they see us as aberrations to their perfect heaven frame, we are the caricature”). Put differently, if you want violence, Dark Archive will give you violence, which can also be said about Closure Of Empyrean Delirium, where the duo brings modern and deranged Black Metal for your avid ears. In this flammable tune, Niko keeps screaming like a savage beast while Joakim continues to pave his path of devastation, with the overall result sounding like a less symphonic version of the early days of Dimmu Borgir.

Their fusion of contemporary Blackened Death Metal and old school Black Metal gives form to another hellish composition titled Godfear Eradication, where Joakim kicks some serious ass with his scorching riffs while austere words are aggressively vociferated by Niko (“While they burden their grief / While puppets dance behind the curtains / Waiting to unleash / Still they flood air with words from bible / Toxic as gas”); followed by the pulverizing Unohda Ei Ikinä, or “never forget” from Finnish, with its demonic guitar riffs crawling deep inside your skin, sounding as belligerent, demented and enraged as it can be, but still bringing tons of harmony and feeling in an amazing exhibit of modern-day Extreme Metal. And the duo has time for one final blast of absolute darkness and hatred entitled Essence Of Death, with both Niko and Joakim sounding extremely vile and sharp with their harsh growls, fierce riffs and thunderous drums.

Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon, which by the way is available for a full listen on Spotify, certainly points to a dark future (in a good way, of course) for Dark Archive, and if you want to show your support for such up-and-coming name of the underground extreme music scene go check their Facebook page for news and tour dates, their YouTube channel and SoundCloud page for more of their disturbing music, and obviously grab your copy of the EP from their own BandCamp page or from iTunes. If this demonic Finnish duo was capable of creating such high level of devastation and obscurity in just a little over 17 minutes, can you imagine what they’ll be able to accomplish when they release their first full-length opus?

Best moments of the album: Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon and Unohda Ei Ikinä.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Cultivate Our Blood In Aeon 4:03
2. Closure Of Empyrean Delirium 2:22
3. Godfear Eradication 4:31
4. Unohda Ei Ikinä 3:36
5. Essence Of Death 2:40

Band members
Niko “Perdition” Aromaa – vocals
Joakim “Lord Mordor” Lindholm – all instruments

Album Review – Sata Kaskelottia / Sydän On Vuori (2018)

The most unconventional gam of sperm whales hailing from Finland strikes back with more of their flammable fusion of Stoner and Progressive Metal.

After three long years of writing and recording, the most unconventional gam of sperm whales hailing from the Finnish capital Helsinki is back with a brand new album, ready to show us all that the human heart is a mountain. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, then you should definitely take a listen at Sydän On Vuori (Finnish for “heart is a mountain”), the brand new album by Stoner/Progressive Metal act Sata Kaskelottia, following the success of the band’s 2015 debut self-titled release while experimenting with new sounds and nuances and exploring the breaking points of life, points in which difficult choices have to be made.

Sata Kaskelottia’s combination of progressive, darker tones and often catchy, lighter and strangely triumphant mood produces a unique musical blend that walks its own path, with Sydän On Vuori introducing the band’s evolved sound and songwriting. Comprised of Eetu Kauppinen on vocals and guitar, Matti Kangaskoski on the guitar, Markku Suoniemi on bass, and Ville Salonen on drums and percussion, Sata Kaskelottia, which means “one hundred sperm whales” (if you don’t know that already), are beyond sharp and electrified in Sydän On Vuori, and if you’re a fan of the music by bands such as Mastodon and Baroness I’m sure you’ll have a good time listening to the nine tracks of unrelenting rock and metal found throughout the album.

We need only a few seconds in the opening track Aamumandaatti (“the morning mandate” from Finnish) to know we’re dealing with the “Finnish Mastodon”, with the guitars by Eetu and Matti sounding as sharp as a sword, not to mention you’ll certainly feel compelled to sing along with the band even knowing nothing in Finnish. Just as psychedelic and heavy as its predecessor, Leskentekijä (“widow’s origins”) is a well-balance hybrid between Stoner and Progressive Metal, with Ville bringing an extra dosage of electricity with his intricate beats while Eetu keeps firing his wicked vocals nonstop; followed by Parantaja (“the healer”), where the whole band speeds things up a bit sounding more aggressive, rawer and denser, with the music being led by the crushing riffs by both Eetu and Matti. In addition, the bass guitar by Markku sounds thunderous and metallic, adding an extra dosage of heaviness to what’s by far one of my favorite songs of the album.

Samarkand might be known as a city in modern-day Uzbekistan and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia, but from now on it should also be recognized as a lesson in Progressive and Sludge Metal, with its guitar lines and rhythmic beats inspiring you to bang your head together with the band, whereas the title-track Sydän On Vuori begins in an atmospheric, almost psychedelic way, evolving into a dark and deep Stoner Metal feast with Markku and Ville smashing their respective instruments, therefore creating a beyond obscure background of sounds. And in Ennen Kuin Sateet Alkavat (“before the rain begins”), Sata Kaskelottia deliver sheer electricity through their music weapons in a top-of-the-line fusion of Stoner Metal with old school Rock N’ Roll and modern Hard Rock, with highlights to the fantastic job done by Eetu with his demented vocal lines.

Bringing elements from traditional Heavy Metal to their musicality (which ends up giving it an epic vibe), the band offers the listener the vibrant Musta Tähti (“black star”), once again showcasing Eetu and Makki in absolute sync with their riffs; while Lumimies (“abominable snowman”) lacks the same punch and energy from the rest of the album, despite presenting melodious guitar lines and a solid performance by Markku on drums. And lastly, instead of another hard and heavy tune, Sata Kaskelottia surprise us all with a pensive ballad titled Ovet (“doors”), closing the album in a unique and very interesting manner, with Eetu leading the sonority with his introspective vocals until the song’s somber finale.

What are you waiting for to dive into the sea of Progressive and Stoner Metal ruled by Sata Kaskelottia? You can listen to their new album in full on Spotify, follow them on Facebook for new and tour dates, listen to more of their music on YouTube and on SoundCloud, and buy a copy of Sydän On Vuori from their BandCamp page, from Record Shop X, on iTunes or on Amazon. As you might already know, there’s nothing better than listening to the potent nad harmonious metal music blasted by one hundred sperm whales, and the new album by Sata Kaskelottia is here to show us that.

Best moments of the album: Aamumandaatti, Parantaja and Ennen Kuin Sateet Alkavat.

Worst moments of the album: Lumimies.

Released in 2018 Rhoska Records

Track listing
1. Aamumandaatti 5:03
2. Leskentekijä 4:54
3. Parantaja 3:30
4. Samarkand 5:19
5. Sydän On Vuori 5:16
6. Ennen Kuin Sateet Alkavat 4:01
7. Musta Tähti 5:39
8. Lumimies 5:14
9. Ovet 4:56

Band members
Eetu Kauppinen – vocals, guitar
Matti Kangaskoski – guitar, vocals
Markku Suoniemi – bass, vocals
Ville Salonen – drums, percussion