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

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

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

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

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

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

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

NERVOSA

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

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

DESTRUCTION

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

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

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Album Review – Notturno / Obsessions (2022)

A melancholic trip into the obsessive compulsions that take shape within our lives in the form of first-class Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal made in Italy.

Developing its atmosphere through lengthy songs with strong dynamics and pacing, keeping the listener lost in a reverie and crafting an immersive experience at once melancholic and infectious, the newborn Italian Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal project Notturno will take you on a melancholic trip into the obsessive compulsions that take shape within our lives, the psychological torment, and the scourge of madness that takes hold inside the ancient walls of the human psyche with their debut full-length opus entitled Obsessions, peering around the dark corners within all of us. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Sabelli (Dawn of a Dark Age, Suici.De.Pression), Notturno floats between Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal, Doom Metal and chamber music, sounding intimate and possessing a strong character highlighted by the unique and singular expressiveness of female vocalist Kjiel (Eyelessight) and organically driven drum work of Sven. Mixed and mastered by Stefan Traunmuller, and displaying a stylish artwork by Dario Ursino (featuring model Michela Suffritti), Obsessions offer the listener 36 minutes of an absolutely stunning Black Metal sound, pointing to a bright future ahead of such promising project.

The sluggish, somber beats by Sven kick off the first of the three tracks of the album, simply titled Fear, being gradually accompanied by the melancholic guitars and low-tuned bass by Vittorio while building a depressive and obscure atmosphere that will darken your heart and soul, all of course embraced by Kjiel’s smooth but anguished vocals. Furthermore, the guitar work by Vittorio is a thing of beauty, elevating the song’s intensity to a whole new level. Then more of the band’s Depressive Black Metal will invade our senses in Darkness, with Vittorio and Sven being in absolute sync with their respective riffage and slow and steady beats while Kjiel sounds even more perturbed and evil on vocals, adding an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result. And the last song of their triumvirate of darkness and depression, entitled Falling, brings forward Kjiel’s most anguished vocalizations accompanied by the minimalist and reverberating guitars by Vittorio in a lesson in Atmospheric Black Metal, with their despair, hatred and obscurity rising as the music progresses while also presenting elements from Progressive, Experimental and Doom Metal before ending in a beyond Stygian way.

If you want to know more about Vittorio Sabelli and his Notturno, you can find the project on Facebook for news and other details, and of course if you’re a true admirer of Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal with a beyond sinister aura you can purchase your copy of Obsessions as a very special bundle containing a digipack CD, a shirt printed on Gildan softstyle, a logo patch, a signed postcard, a magnet and a logo sticker, as well as a CD or in digital format. Italy has always been an amazing source of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal thanks to bands like Notturno, and may that darkness go on forevermore to the sound of classy and multi-layered albums like Obsessions. In other words, if this is just the first step in the career of Notturno, I can’t imagine what’s next for this newborn entity brought into being by the multi-talented Vittorio Sabelli.

Best moments of the album: Fear and Falling.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing
1. Fear 12:49
2. Darkness 9:06
3. Falling 14:55

Band members
Kjiel – vocals
Vittorio Sabelli – guitars, bass

Guest musician
Sven – drums

Album Review – Obscura Qalma / Apotheosis (2021)

Exploring human existence in an epistemological solipsistic view, the debut album by this Stygian Italian horde is a lecture in epic and dark Death Metal that exists in its own philosophically inspired realm.

Formed in 2018 in Venice, Italy from connections built in their local scene while performing within their prior projects, the unrelenting Blackened/Symphonic Death Metal horde known as Obscura Qalma have just released their debut full-length opus, entitled Apotheosis, the follow-up to their 2019 EP From the Sheol to the Apeiron. Mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studio and displaying a sinister artwork by Mexican artist Néstor Ávalos (Black Arts), Apotheosis (or “to deify” from Greek) explores human existence in an epistemological solipsistic view inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, as well as by contemporary figures such as Massimo Recalcati and James Owen Weatherall, while musically speaking the inspiration comes from bands the likes of Dissection, Emperor and Death as well as by classical music and film composers such as Alexandre Desplat, showcasing all the talent and passion for dark music by vocalist and guitarist Sirius (Necrosy, Supremacy), guitarist Sartorius (As Memory Dies), bassist Theo (From the Shores), and drummer Res (Supremacy).

The cinematic and absolutely epic intro Demise Of The Sun sets the stage for Obscura Qalma to crush our souls in Impure Black Enlightenment, a lecture in Symphonic Black Metal with Res smashing his drums manically accompanied by the wicked riffage by Sirius and Sartorius, all spiced up by an imposing atmosphere and the demonic growls by Sirius. Then keeping the ambience as dark and sulfurous as possible the quartet blasts the venomous Gemini, with Theo and his rumbling bass adding a touch of aggressiveness to the overall result, not to mention how infernal the drums sound once again; and their onrush of obscurity goes on in The Forbidden Pantheon, another epic, massive Blackened Death Metal extravaganza led by the hellish vociferations by Sirius, sounding old school but at the same time offering the listener a fresh and modern twist. There’s no time to breathe as the quartet keeps decimating our souls in Transcending The Sefirot, with Res sounding like a three-headed beast behind his drums supported by the whimsical riffs and solos by Sirius and Sartorius.

It can’t get any more symphonic than in Paradise Lost, a dense, multi-layered creation by Obscura Qalma showcasing their trademark fusion of classic Death and Black Metal with movie-inspired scores and wicked sounds, and you better get ready to have your neck broken in half to the sound of Fleshbound, a pulverizing Blackened Death Metal tune where their riffs, bass lines and pounding beats will hammer your head mercilessly until the very last second. Never tired of bringing forward their passion and admiration for the dark side of music, it’s time for Sirius to roar in anger in The Telemachus Complex, a beautiful composition that will leave you completely disoriented, with Res taking the lead with his intricate and furious beats, whereas not a single moment of peace is offered to us all in Imperial Cult, with its background elements creating an interesting paradox with the savagery crafted by all band members. Lastly, we’re treated to Awaken A Shrine To Oblivion, starting in a more alternative and futuristic manner and evolving into their usual sound, albeit not as compelling as its predecessors.

You can enjoy all the obscurity and fury of Apotheosis by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your utmost support to those talented Italian metallers you should purchase the album from their BandCamp page or Big Cartel, from the Rising Nemesis Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, or simply click HERE for different places where you can buy or stream the album. In addition to all that, don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked music. “From the nihilistic foundations of European culture and epistemological solipsism to astrophysics and psychoanalysis, Apotheosis dwells on the limits of human knowledge and the impassable boundaries of its own existence,” commented the band about their newborn spawn, creating epic and dark Death Metal that exists in its own philosophically inspired realm and, therefore, paving a promising path ahead of the band in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Impure Black Enlightenment, Paradise Lost and The Telemachus Complex.

Worst moments of the album: Awaken A Shrine To Oblivion.

Released in 2021 Rising Nemesis Records

Track listing
1. Demise Of The Sun 1:24
2. Impure Black Enlightenment 4:07
3. Gemini 5:17
4. The Forbidden Pantheon 5:01
5. Transcending The Sefirot 4:33
6. Paradise Lost 6:23
7. Fleshbound 4:01
8. The Telemachus Complex 5:28
9. Imperial Cult 4:28
10. Awaken A Shrine To Oblivion 5:57

Band members
Sirius – vocals, guitar
Sartorius – guitar
Theo – bass, backing vocals
Res – drums, additional percussion

Album Review – Argesh / Excommunica (2021)

Behold 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal you can think of in the form of the debut album by an unrelenting horde from Italy.

3.5rating

argesh-excommunica-2021We live in a world corrupted by moral dogmas which, unconsciously, influence and create the rotten society in which we find ourselves, a vicious circle of self-destruction and self-castration. Fortunately for all of us metalheads, Varese, Italy-based Black Metal entity Argesh stands against all that, bringing forth now in 2021 their debut full-length opus entitled Excommunica, a stunning display of “Apostate Black Metal” blasted by HHG on the guitars, drums and voice reinforcements, Il Rakshasa on the guitars, and Azghal on bass and orchestrations. Recorded at Downstreet Studios, mixed and engineered by Simone Marzullo (also known as HHG) and Nicolò Paracchini (also known as Azghal), and mastered at Wavemotion Recordings by Federico Ascari, not to mention the more-than-special guests Michele Spallieri (Kenos), Lucifero Fieri (Tregenda), Vama Marga (Depths Above, Bhagavat), Chainerdog (Grendel) and Matteo Gresele (Ad Nauseam), Excommunica is a must-listen for fans of bands the likes of Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir and Deathspell Omega, bringing to our ears 31 minutes of the most solemn, majestic and uncompromising kind of Black Metal.

The opening track, titled Abiura, works as a tribal intro that will put you in a trance, with the guest vocals by Vama Marga making things even more tenebrous and flowing into the visceral Suffocate in Oxygen, a fulminating aria of extreme music where guest Michele Spallieri’s vocals are nicely complemented by the celestial voice of Lucifero Fieri, while HHG, Il Rakshasa and Azghal generate a pulverizing wall of sounds. Put differently, this is what I call a bestial display of Blackened Death Metal by such talented horde, and HHG and Il Rakshasa continue to extract sheer malignancy from their guitars in Source of Miracles accompanied by the thunderous bass by Azghal, while Michele keeps growling like a demonic entity and also featuring a kick-ass guitar solo by guest Matteo Gresele.

And HHG once again sounds infernal with his blast beats in the beyond fantastic Praelatorum Pedophilia, another austere, sulfurous creation by the trio showcasing slashing riffs and rumbling bass lines, therefore living up to the legacy of both old school and modern-day Black Metal; whereas in Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 a Cradle of Filth-inspired ambience becomes even more imposing thanks to the amazing job done by HHG on drums and all background orchestrations by Azghal. Furthermore, Michele proves once again why he was chosen to record most of the vocals for the album with his vicious roars adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result. And last but not least, closing the album we’re treated to the multi-layered, bold and Stygian tune The Elohim’s Mark, featuring guest vocals and guitar solo by Chainerdog, and reminding me of some of the best creations by Dimmu Borgir. Needless to say, HHG and Il Rakshasa are relentless with their wicked riffage, ending the album on a truly sulfurous note for our total delight.

argesh-2021“Excommunica wants to point out how much can be spiritually self-sabotaging being born and grown in a religious context bare of awareness and consciousness. Its concept is based on disrupting these restrictions in order to find the human need to evolve and become something different from the herd, expressing the harsh hate against the hypocrisy which this moral society proves to be with its values. We’re all suffocating in this oxygen ruled by corrupted divine idols,” commented this talented Italian horde about their newborn spawn, and if you want to show them your utmost support and admiration you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course purchase Excommunica from their own BandCamp page, letting the world we live in rot in chaos and darkness while you enjoy their undisputed Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: Praelatorum Pedophilia and Apocalypse 20.7-8-9.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Nero Corvino Records/Sepulchral Silence Digital Music Distribution

Track listing 
1. Abiura 2:11
2. Suffocate in Oxygen 4:04
3. Source of Miracles 6:30
4. Praelatorum Pedophilia 5:51
5. Apocalypse 20.7-8-9 5:05
6. The Elohim’s Mark 7:13

Band members
HHG – guitars, drums, voice reinforcements
Il Rakshasa – guitars
Azghal – bass, orchestrations

Guest musicians
Michele Spallieri – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen”, “Source of Miracles”, “Praelatorum Pedophilia” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Lucifero Fieri – celestial vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”
Vama Marga – vocals on “Abiura” and “Apocalypse 20.7-8-9”
Chainerdog – vocals on “Suffocate in Oxygen” and “The Elohim’s Mark”, guitar solo on “The Elohim’s Mark”
Matteo Gresele – guitar solo on “Source of Miracles”

Album Review – Coiled Around Thy Spine / From The Ashes (2021)

From the ashes these Italian metallers rise with more of their shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals in the form of their sophomore album, representing an evolution in their visceral sound.

4.0rating

coiled-around-thy-spine-from-the-ashes-2021Three years after the release of their fulminating debut album Shades, vocalist Daniele Rosso and guitarist and bassist Sergio Costa, supported by session drummer Tomonobu ‘Tomi’ Inoue and collectively known as Turin, Italy-based Melodic Death Metal outfit Coiled Around Thy Spine, are back in action with their shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals inspired by classic and new Death Metal in the form of their sophomore effort entitled From The Ashes. A true step up in their career, From The Ashes offers us listeners an evolution in the sound by the Italian duo from their debut album, being highly recommended for fans of renowned acts the likes of Arch Enemy, Death, Trivium, early In Flames and Megadeth, and above all, for anyone who enjoys a huge dosage of violence mixed with great melodies and a very good reason for headbanging like there’s no tomorrow.

And futuristic sounds arise from the underworld in the opening tune Paracosm, before Sergio and Tomi begin their respective riffs and beats attack, exploding into sheer Melodic Death Metal to the wicked roars by Daniele while all is carefully spiced up by a trademark guitar solo by Sergio. Then epic, Stygian background elements set the tone in the visceral tune Back To The Dark Dimension, with Daniele’s growls and screams getting even more enraged while Sergio continues to slash his axe majestically; and there’s no time to breathe as Coiled Around Thy Spine keep crushing our souls with their melodic and intricate Death Metal in Breath Of Existence, where Tomi is once again bestial behind his drums, not to mention the awesome job done by Sergio with both his riffs and bass lines. After such demolishing tune, a sinister and melancholic intro morphs into a mid-tempo Melodic Death Metal feast the likes of early Arch Enemy in Graveyard Of Thoughts, an excellent choice for breaking your neck to the pounding drums by Tomi.

The band keeps exploring darker paths in Burning Souls, another somber creation by Daniele and Sergio showcasing those piercing guitars that only Melodic Death Metal can provide us. It would have been more effective if a little shorter, though, whereas back to a more epic and violent mode it’s time for a fulminating metal onrush entitled Survival Instinct, with Sergio’s riffs generating a flammable paradox with the song’s background keys while Daniele and Tomi fire sheer animosity and hatred through their respective growls and beats. Then get ready to have your ears and minds pierced mercilessly by the scorching riffs by Sergio while Daniele keeps gnarling like a beast in Red Rising Sun, keeping the album as sulfurous and obscure as it can be, while the title-track From The Ashes closes the regular version of the album on a demolishing note, inviting us all to bang our heads and slam into the pit while Daniele vociferates rabidly nonstop. Furthermore, if you go for the special edition of the album you’ll be treated to two amazing cover songs as a bonus, those being Like Hell by Loudness and Bite The Pain by Death (and you can check the original ones HERE and HERE). Needless to say, Coiled Around Thy Spine simply kicked some serious ass with both versions.

coiled-around-thy-spine-2021In a nutshell, the guys from Coiled Around Thy Spine have outdone themselves in From The Ashes (which is available for a full listen on Spotify), delivering a thrilling hybrid of old school and modern sounds that will undoubtedly please any fan of Heavy Metal, even the ones who don’t enjoy extreme music that much. Hence, in order to show those Italian metallers your utmost support, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and of course, to purchase From The Ashes from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon. And let’s all hope Coiled Around Thy Spine do not take too long to get back “from the ashes” with more of their sick and visceral music.

Best moments of the album: Back To The Dark Dimension, Breath Of Existence, Survival Instinct and From The Ashes.

Worst moments of the album: Burning Souls.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing      
1. Paracosm 5:51
2. Back To The Dark Dimension 4:59
3. Breath Of Existence 5:01
4. Graveyard Of Thoughts 6:05
5. Burning Souls 8:36
6. Survival Instinct 5:51
7. Red Rising Sun 5:45
8. From The Ashes 6:10

Special Edition bonus tracks
9. Like Hell (Loudness cover) 3:40
10. Bite The Pain (Death cover) 4:47

Band members
Daniele Rosso – vocals
Sergio Costa – guitars, bass, synth

Guest musician
Tomonobu ‘Tomi’ Inoue – drums (session)

Album Review – Celtic Hills / Mystai Keltoy (2021)

A massive metal attack made in Italy offering us all 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli.

3.5rating

celtic-hills-mystai-keltoy-2021Mystai Keltoy, an enigmatic name that alludes to the Elusian Mysteries, is also the name of the brand new album by an Italian Melodic Power/Thrash Metal entity formed in 2010 that goes by the epic name of Celtic Hills, offering us fans of heavy music 11 tracks that speak of ancient alien civilizations, European pyramids, legends and historical facts of Friuli. Recorded and produced at The Groove Factory in Udine, Italy by Michele Guaitoli, and displaying a classy artwork representing the myth of the ancient visitors hand painted by artist Sheila Franco, Mystai Keltoy is a journey through several metal styles from early Thrash Metal to modern-day Power Metal, showcasing all the talent of the band comprised of Jonathan Vanderbilt on vocals and guitar, Jacopo Novello on bass, and Simone Cescutti on drums.

The Iron Maiden-like riffs by Jonathan and the crushing drums by Simone kick off the band’s metal extravaganza in The Light, blending the magic of traditional Heavy Metal with the acidity of the Speed Metal played by Megadeth. And let’s keep banging our heads to the smashing drums by Simone in Blood is not Water, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Jacopo, reminding me of some classic compositions by Overkill, Exodus and Metal Church, whereas powerful backing vocals add an extra touch of epicness to the imposing The Tomorrow of Our Sons, supporting Jonathan and his old school vocal lines. Putting the pedal to the metal, the trio fires the absolutely pulverizing battle hymn The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, where all three musicians are in total sync with their incendiary riffs, bass punches and pounding drums, resulting in a lesson in Italian Heavy and Thrash Metal. There’s no time to breathe as those Italian metallers deliver another kick-ass tune entitled The Landing of the Gods, with Jonathan slashing his stringed axe nonstop.

Already Lost is epic and bold form the very first second, with the trio being on fire throughout the entire song which “forgets” their previous Speed Metal and invests into a pure Melodic Metal sonority. Then a futuristic atmosphere walks hand in hand with the metal demolition spearheaded by Simone’s drums in Falling Star, where it’s impressive how only three musicians can generate such dense sound; followed by Battle Of Frigidium, once again drinking from the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Manowar, Iron Maiden and Iced Earth, with Jonathan’s vocals getting darker and more enraged as the music progresses. Featuring guest vocals by Italian singer Germana Noage (Aetherna, ƝOΔGE), Celtic Hills offer us fans a more melodic side of their music à la Nightwish, After Forever and Lacuna Coil in Eden, while Temple of Love never really takes off albeit sounding similar to the previous song, and never showing the same amount of adrenaline form the rest of the album. Finally, closing the album it’s time for a Melodic Power Metal tune entirely sung in Italian entitled Allitteratio, with Jacopo and Simone kicking some ass with their groovy and heavy kitchen.

celtic-hills-2021If you’re curious to see how the fusion of heavy music and legends of ancient civilizations sounds, you can enjoy Mystai Keltoy in its entirety on Spotify, but if I were you I would certainly purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE. And, of course, you can start following Celtic Hills on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the band. Inspired by the history of the populations that inhabited the area of present-day Carnia and Friuli, as aforementioned, but seen with a different perspective, Mystai Keltoy will blow your mind so heavy and detailed it sounds, leaving you eager for more as soon as it’s over and, therefore, keeping the fires of Italian metal burning bright thanks to the amazing job done by the unstoppable Celtic Hills.

Best moments of the album: The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo, The Landing of the Gods and Eden.

Worst moments of the album: Temple of Love.

Released in 2021 Elevate Records

Track listing  
1. The Light 3:16
2. Blood is not Water 4:05
3. The Tomorrow of Our Sons 3:29
4. The 7-Headed Dragon of Osoppo 4:02
5. The Landing of the Gods 3:27
6. Already Lost 3:51
7. Falling Star 3:58
8. Battle Of Frigidium 4:59
9. Eden 3:54
10. Temple of Love 3:10
11. Allitteratio 3:20

Band members
Jonathan Vanderbilt – vocals, guitar
Jacopo Novello – bass
Simone Cescutti – drums

Guest musician
Germana Noage – vocals on “Eden”

Album Review – Marble / S.A.V.E (2021)

It’s time to bang your heads to the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in the form of first-class Melodic Metal made in Italy.

3.5rating

marble-s.a.v.e-2021Formed in the spring of 2003 in Mortara, a town and comune located in the Province of Pavia, in the region of Lombardy, Italy, Melodic Metal band Marble is finally back in full force after over a decade with their sophomore installment, entitled S.A.V.E, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2008 album A.t.G.o.d. Mixed and Mastered by Giulio Capone (Moonlight Haze) and displaying a stunning artwork by renowned Finnish artist Jan “Örkki” Yrlund of Darkgrove Design, S.A.V.E presents an irrepressible mix of heavy guitar riffs, powerful aggressiveness, amazing guitar solos, surprising keyboard harmonies and original technical rhythms by Paul Beretta and Omar Gornati on the guitars, Jacopo Marchesi on keyboards, Daniel Fleba on bass and Norman Ceriotti on drums, blended with frontwoman Eleonora Travaglino’s breathtaking, catchy melodies and epic choruses, while at the same time dealing with human behavior and entwined with the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in a gloomy and decadent mood, being therefore recommended for fans of both melodic and extreme music.

The smooth keys by Jacopo set the tone in the opening track Mine, based on the sin of greed, before exploding into violent and melodic Heavy Metal with Paul and Omar kicking ass with their classic riffs, whereas investing in a more Progressive Metal vein thanks to the intricate beats by Norman we have Heartless Disease, where Eleonora declaims the song’s words about the sin of luxury (“Outline of a moral / You will never fall into / You try to blame me for what? Blame your creed / This life is not an heartless disease”), followed by 30 Silver Coins, a song about hope, featuring guest vocals by Maurizio Caverzan (Ghostheart Nebula, Verlaine) who makes an interesting duo with Eleanora, leaning towards Melodic Death Metal at times. And it’s time to talk about vanity in My Mask Collection, where instead of being progressive like they wanted the music sounds a little confused or mixed, fortunately getting better after a while thanks to the good job done by Norman on drums. And inspired by the music by Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and Epica, the quintet fires the headbanging tune What Leads Us To, with Eleonora taking the lead with her captivating vocals singing about the sin of envy, accompanied by the crisp guitars by Paul and Omar.

Then Daniel and Norman smash their thunderous weapons in a song about gluttony entitled To Feed The Worms, inviting us all to dance and raise our horns together with the band in a solid display of Progressive and Melodic Metal, not to mention another awesome vocal performance by Eleonora; and a gripping vibe sets the tone in the ballad A Darker Shade Of Me, dealing with the sin of wrath, where Eleonora declaims the song’s poetic lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitars. Following such introspective tune, the band gets back to a more electrifying sonority firing the epic and imposing Where Is The Light, a song about faith led by the Black Sabbath-inspired beats by Norman and the sharp riffage by Paul and Omar. The rumbling, low-tuned bass by Daniel kick off the also melodic Timelines, revolving around the sin of sloth, evolving into a Gothic Metal ballad by Marble that will please all fans of this more delicate side of metal music, with Eleonora stealing the show with her smooth vocals, whereas putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for a classic Heavy Metal feast about charity by Marble entitled Daymare Town, where Jacopo is on absolute fire with his whimsical keys, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of Nightwish and Epica, before soulful riffs and dark bass lines are offered to us all in the instrumental outro Sins And Virtues Ending, closing the album in a somber and melancholic manner.

marble-2021If you want to have a better taste of how the seven deadly sins and the three theological virtues taste and feel in S.A.V.E, you can stream the full album on Spotify, but of course in order to show your utmost support to those Italian metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their great music, and above all that, purchase your favorite copy of S.A.V.E by clicking HERE, as well as from Dead Pulse or Apple Music. As we’re all sinners in the end, why not succumb to our deepest sins and desires to the sound of the Melodic Metal played by Marble? I’m sure the band would love to be part of the soundtrack to your most wicked and immoral moments.

Best moments of the album: What Leads Us To, To Feed The Worms and Daymare Town.

Worst moments of the album: My Mask Collection.

Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Mine 4:38
2. Heartless Disease 3:50
3. 30 Silver Coins 4:41
4. My Mask Collection 4:46
5. What Leads Us To 5:49
6. To Feed The Worms 4:36
7. A Darker Shade Of Me 2:38
8. Where Is The Light 4:17
9. Timelines 3:55
10.Daymare Town 4:05
11. Sins And Virtues Ending 1:57

Band members
Eleonora Travaglino – vocals
Paul Beretta – guitar
Omar Gornati – guitar
Jacopo Marchesi – keyboards
Daniel Fleba – bass
Norman Ceriotti – drums

Guest musician
Maurizio Caverzan – additional vocals on “30 Silver Coins”

Album Review – Demonia Mundi / In Grembo Mater… (2021)

After over a decade of silence, this infernal Italian horde returns from the netherworld with an amazing, ritualistic concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess.

3.5rating

demonia-mundi-in-grembo-mater-2021Born in 1994 in Reggio di Calabria, a coastal city in southern Italy, by the will of their vocalist Daemonia, influenced by obscure Italian metal music, 90’s Epic Black Metal horde Demonia Mundi returns in full force after 12 years of silence with their new long-awaited full length album titled In Grembo Mater…, their best and most ambitious work to date, a stunning concept album featuring a furious metal journey enhanced by beautiful folkish atmospheres that reminds of cult bands such as Death SS, Opera IX, Windir and Limbonic Art. Currently comprised of the aforementioned frontman Daemonia together with guitarists Morlock and Vagrant, bassist Beast and drummer Uw, this Stygian Italian entity brought into being a concept album based on the figure of the Mother Goddess, a ritualistic path in which the music is a soundtrack that leads the listener during the evocation and invocation of familiar demons, realized using also traditional and ritualistic instruments  used thousand years ago during the Matriarchal Era previous to our Patriarchal Era, with the album art representing the double-headed axe, or the weapon symbol of the Mother Goddess.

The fires of Black Metal burn bright accompanied by melancholic acoustic guitars in the intro Iniziazione (or “initiation” in English), with the vociferations by Daemonia setting the tone for A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, exploding into a Dimmu Borgir-inspired hybrid of Symphonic and Epic Black Metal led by the incendiary riffs by Morlock and Vagrant, therefore sounding dense and bold from start to finish. Uw and Beast generate a venomous base for their bandmates in the infuriated hymn Et In Arcadia Ego, exhaling sulfur and hatred while once again presenting an old school Black Metal sonority with imposing and epic background elements, ending in a darkly tribal way; whereas an acoustic start evolves into a feast of Black and Doom Metal in Alesa, where Daemonia’s devilish gnarls will haunt your soul for all eternity supported by the pounding beats by Uw and all phantasmagorical sounds that permeate the atmosphere in this hellish composition.

And cryptic, eerie sounds enfold us all in The Golden Bough, before Beast begins hammering his bass in great fashion, once again morphing into a disruptive and vicious display of Symphonic Black Metal that sounds majestic and infernal, with Uw being unstoppable behind his drum set, while razor-edged riffs and the otherworldly growling by Daemonia are the main ingredients in the also demolishing Hieros Gamos, not to mention the song’s skull crushing aura. After such disruptive tune we have Intra Grembo, where the band slows things down a bit and sounds more melodic than before, spearheaded by the stylish guitars by Morlock and Vagrant. However, although they tried to make it sound like a black mass, it unfortunately falls flat in the end. Lastly, another Stygian intro evolves into the early Cradle of Filth-inspired hymn The Horned And His Thousand Whelps, where all band members are on fire with their sonic weapons, in special Daemonia with his vicious roaring and Uw with his violent but very intricate beats and fills, until the music fades into a ritualistic, horror movie-ish ambience that goes on until the very last second.

demonia-mundi-2021In a nutshell, if you consider yourself a lover of the darkest side of music, I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast listening to In Grembo Mater…, which is by the way available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify, as the album brings forward all elements we learned to love in such distinct type of heavy music through the years. In addition, if you want to put your evil hands on this amazing opus, you can purchase it from several locations including the Cult Of Parthenope’s BandCamp page, Season of Mist, IndieMerchstore and Amazon, or simply click HERE for other places where you can buy or stream the album. Also, don’t forget to follow Demonia Mundi on Facebook for news, tour dates and more of their demonic music. It might have taken over a decade for Daemonia and his venomous horde to provide us fans with a new batch of devilish arias, but after listening to In Grembo Mater… we must all admit the wait was absolutely worth it, inviting us all to worship the Mother Goddess to the sound of their wicked Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires, The Golden Bough and The Horned And His Thousand Whelps.

Worst moments of the album: Intra Grembo.

Released in 2021 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Iniziazione 2:28
2. A:·A:·Of Black Fogs And Shaded Empires 6:49
3. Et In Arcadia Ego 6:13
4. Alesa 5:49
5. The Golden Bough 4:57
6. Hieros Gamos 5:03
7. Intra Grembo 6:43
8. The Horned And His Thousand Whelps 8:16

Band members
Daemonia – vocals
Morlock – guitars, backing vocals
Vagrant – guitars, backing vocals
Beast – bass
Uw – drums

Album Review – KLEE Project / Screaming Out Loud (2021)

This talented Italian act is ready to rock and scream out loud once again with their brand new album of old school Southern and Hard Rock.

3.5rating

klee-project-screaming-out-loud-2021Almost three years after the release of their debut album The Long Way, Rome, Italy-based Southern/Hard Rock act Klee Project is finally ready to rock you like a hurricane once again with their brand new album Screaming Out Loud, showcasing all the passion for our beloved rock music by vocalist and guitarist Roberto Sterpetti, guitarist Chicco Gussoni, bassist Lorenzo Poli and drummer Daniele Iacono. Recorded and mixed at Memphistudio in Rome by Frank Altare and Roberto Sterpetti, mastered at Elephant Mastering by Riccardo Parenti, and featuring lyrics by Jessie Galante and a stylish artwork by Antonella Regi, Screaming Out Loud is a lesson in 80’s Hard Rock that will certainly please all fans of the genre. “Screaming Out Loud was composed in a difficult period and we want to remember it as a sign of confidence, a strong reaction in the face of critical moods. The new album is this, a sense of optimism and hope for the future,” commented frontman Roberto Sterpetti.

The guitars by Roberto and Chicco set fire to the music in Another Man, accompanied by the classic Hard Rock beats by Daniele and the rumbling bass by Lorenzo, also presenting hints of Southern Rock and Metal in their core sonority; and continuing their rockin’ path the quartet offers the electrifying Heaven, living up to the legacy of Italian Rock N’ Roll. Moreover, it’s impressive how their guitars sound so dirty and melodious at the same time, not to mention the old school vocals by Roberto, whereas investing in a stronger Southern Rock vibe, it’s time for the headbanging feast titled Wicked Soul, where the band blends 80’s Hard Rock with the modernity of Godsmack, and the final result couldn’t have been better, led by the slashing riffage by Roberto and Chicco. And One Time is another old school, straight-to-the-point creation by KLEE Project where Lorenzo and Daniele provide Roberto a solid base for his raspy vocals, keeping the energy level of the album as high as an eagle flying in the sky.

Razor-edged riffs are the main ingredients in the Rock N’ Roll party Back on in Love Again, with Daniele kicking some serious ass with his pounding drums while Roberto declaims the song’s 80’s Glam Metal-inspired lyrics (“Here we go / Here we go again / Our love keeps sitting on the fence / You’re playing me / Over and over / Want you to move in a little closer”). It’s then time for a classic Hard Rock ballad by those Italian rockers titled One Word, presenting a decent instrumental spiced up by a soulful guitar solo by Chicco, albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album, while back to a more intense musicality the quartet fires the somber and harmonious Right Now, with the band’s stringed trio being in absolute sync from start to finish while Daniele dictates the song’s catchy pace with his classy beats. The title-track Screaming Out Loud is a classic Hard Rock extravaganza where Roberto leads his crew with his vibrant vocals in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll, with Chicco once again stealing the spotlight with another in-your-face guitar solo, and lastly we have You’re My Champion, an atmospheric ballad where Roberto fires some inspirational words supported by the enfolding sound crafted by his bandmates, putting a beautiful ending to the album.

klee-project-2021You can easily find more information about KLEE Project, their music, tour dates, plans for the future and other shenanigans on Facebook and on Instagram, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their official YouTube channel and, above all that, to purchase Screaming Out Loud from Apple Music or from Amazon, and to stream the full album as many times as you want on Spotify. The Italian rockers from KLEE Project are waiting for you to join them for a kick-ass Rock N’ Roll party to the sound of their new album, and I bet as soon as you hit play you’ll be banging your head, screaming out loud and rockin’ like there’s no tomorrow together with the band and your loved ones, just the way things are supposed to be in our lives filled with rock and metal music.

Best moments of the album: Wicked Soul, Back on in Love Again and Screaming Out Loud.

Worst moments of the album: One Word.

Released in 2021 This Is Core

Track listing
1. Another Man 2:44
2. Heaven 3:07
3. Wicked Soul 3:02
4. One Time 3:18
5. Back on in Love Again 3:03
6. One Word 4:07
7. Right Now 3:08
8. Screaming Out Loud 3:15
9. You’re My Champion 4:07

Band members
Roberto Sterpetti – vocals, guitars
Chicco Gussoni – lead guitars
Lorenzo Poli – bass
Daniele Iacono – drums

Guest musician
Corrado Pirri – additional guitars