Album Review – Golgata / Ur Eld Och Aska (2022)

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

An intriguing band is Golgata. A two man affair who list themselves as Spokesman 1 and 2, and a compelling and evocative piece of cover art on their new album that brings back some very nostalgic feelings for some important 90’s Black Metal releases. Ur Eld Och Aska or in English “out of fire and ashes”, is the duo’s third album in four years and has been released on CD by Satanath Records, as was debut album Skam (“Shame”) and 2020’s Tempel (“Temple”).

It isn’t just the artwork that gives off those 90’s vibes. Listen to the opening title track and you’ll be transported back thirty years to murky and bleak guitar tones, grandiose drumming techniques and biting melodies. Throw in some menacing croaky vocals, chanted backing vocals and an unrelenting bass tone, and all the ingredients are present for a superb album.

Another aspect of this album that harks back to another era is the production. The vocals sit slightly lower than the drums and bass in the mix, as do the guitars. Rather than this being a simple mistake in the mastering, I’d say this feels like it has been done deliberately and rather than diminish the overall sound it actually adds a level of bleak charm to proceedings.

Whilst the opening track has a compelling, fluid sound to it, tracks such as Undersatar (“Subjects”) have a far more rigid and steely sound to the riffs, and songs such as Liv for en Gud (“Live for one God”) combine the bands penchant for the melodic with a hard nosed determined sound, often at a slower and more calculating tempo.

Don’t get me wrong when I mentioned the 90’s influence, this is no album playing out a nostalgia trip for the sake of it, rather Golgata play music that pays tribute to the past whilst decisively moving forward. Ur Eld Och Aska is a supreme slice of Melodic Black Metal craftsmanship; captivating and enthralling.

Best moments of the album: The artwork is stunning, and the whole atmosphere of the album is captivating.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 by Satanath Records

Track listing
1. Ur Eld Och Aska 4:31
2. Undersåtar 4:13
3. Liv För En Gud 4:12
4. Vagabond 6:20
5. Återkomst 3:42
6. En Sista Synd Innan Fallet 4:29
7. Marvatten 4:22
8. Vagabond II 1:26

Band members
Spokesman 2 (Niclas Ankarbranth) – vocals, guitars, bass, drums
Spokesman 1 (S.) – guitars

Guest musicians
Jonas Olsson – mandolin (track 4, 6) on “Vagabond” and “En Sista Synd Innan Fallet”
Mari Biäre Howerdal – female vocals (track 1, 6, 7) on “Ur Eld Och Aska”, “En Sista Synd Innan Fallet” and “Marvatten”

Links
Golgata Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | BandCamp | Spotify

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