Album Review – Valgrind / Seal Of Phobos EP (2017)

Behold the brand new blood-claiming opus by this long-established Italian act, highly recommended for fans of the crushing sounds of old school Death Metal.

Valgrind is not only the main entrance to Valhalla in Norse mythology, but also the name of a four-piece Italian Death Metal brigade (born from the ashes of the ultra-underground act Necrospell in 1993, in the city of Modena) who, one year after the release of their widely acclaimed full-length album Speech Of The Flame, are back with a new blood-claiming EP titled Seal Of Phobos, a great option for fans of the crushing music by Morbid Angel, Monstrosity and Cruciamentum, and a sound message to the world of heavy music by a band that has been on a very positive roll since being reborn from the ashes back in 2008.

Featuring a stylish artwork by the band’s own vocalist and bassist Daniele Lupidi, who’s not only a talented musician but an accomplished artist as well, Seal Of Phobos sounds simply pulverizing from start to finish, with each song of the EP presenting a high level of dexterity, aggression and feeling in the form of Technical Death Metal. “This is probably our most aggressive material to date. All of the four tracks are extremely intense and we decided to go with a different vocal approach for every tune to give each one its own strong identity. We’re also extremely happy to have Jonny Petterson (Wombbath, Ashcloud, Henry Kane) doing some guest vocals on ‘Ekphora’s Day’. Last but not least, this is the first studio appearance for our new guitarist Umberto Poncina, who also engineered and mixed the EP”, said Daniele about how Seal Of Phobos was created and his expectations with it.

The truly bestial drumming by Gianmarco Agosti arises from the pits of hell to hit us in the face before the other band members begin their demolishing feast of Death Metal in the opening track, the amazing The Endless Circle, where Daniele delivers traditional growls à la Cannibal Corpse while the guitar duo Massimiliano Elia and Umberto Poncina are spot-on with their shredding and solos. And their sonic carnage goes on with an even more violent and blackened composition, New Born Deceit, where Daniele and Gianmarco are on their most infernal mode delivering enraged growls and insanely aggressive beats and fills respectively. Moreover, fans of old school Death Metal will crack their skulls into the circle pit to this hostile tune during their live performances without a shadow of a doubt.

Epic sounds in Prelude to Downfall (Interlude) warm up our ears for another Death Metal attack by Valgrind, this time titled Traitors Will Bleed, with Massimiliano and Umberto incinerating our skins with their metallic riffs. The whole song sounds very technical and rhythmic, with the intricate beats by Gianmarco building the perfect ambience for Daniele and his guttural vocals, ending with a nice Slayer-inspired guitar solo. And lastly, featuring guest vocalist Jonny Pettersson, we have Ekphora’s Day, a devastating chant showcasing a vile drumming, a neck-breaking main riff and beyond aggressive growls, not to mention its lyrics which can be considered the epitome of Death Metal (“Sacrifices, spill the blood / Those who died need final offers / Walking nightmares gathered around the flock / Ekphora’s day / Everything in this rotten earth is terminal / Lamentations guide mankind to the final resting place”), with all those elements being thoroughly connected until the sonic madness generated by the band fades away into a cryptic conclusion.

In case you want to take an initial full-listen at Seal Of Phobos before buying the album, you can find it in its entirety on YouTube, but I’m sure after the first song you’ll already run to the band’s own Big Cartel to grab either the regular version of the album or the special CD + T-shirt bundle, which you can also find at the Everlasting Spew Record’s webshop by clicking HERE or HERE, as well as at the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp or at Discogs. I’m sure that after listening to Seal Of Phobos you’ll also go after the previous releases by Valgrind, a band that knows how to deliver to us avid metalheads high-quality old school Technical Death Metal with tons of aggressiveness and rawness added to the mix.

Best moments of the album: The Endless Circle and New Born Deceit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. The Endless Circle 4:07
2. New Born Deceit 4:09
3. Prelude to Downfall (Interlude) 0:47
4. Traitors Will Bleed 3:24
5. Ekphora’s Day 5:03

Band members
Daniele Lupidi – Vocals, bass
Massimiliano Elia – lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards
Umberto Poncina – rhythm and lead guitars, keyboards
Gianmarco Agosti – drums

Guest musician
Jonny Pettersson – additional vocals on “Ekphora’s Day”

Album Review – Just Before Dawn / The Dead And Those About To Die EP (2016)

Put on your military gear, give no quarter and bang your head to the excellent Death Metal crafted by these belligerent men-at-arms.


CR-043CD_ARTWORKI must warn you that the first review of 2016 will be as devastating as a blitzkrieg, leaving you completely disoriented after this 27-minute bloodthirsty onslaught is over. I’m talking about The Dead And Those About To Die, the brand new EP by Swedish Death Metal infantrymen Just Before Dawn, who above all things are here to lead us all into the battleground with their refined and belligerent metal music.

Formed in 2012 and having already released the full-length albums Précis Innan Gryningen (Swedish for “Just Before Dawn”) in 2013 and The Aftermath in 2014, Just Before Dawn are back with a more solid lineup, also including some guest troopers armed with their screams and guitars (including Swedish musician Benny Moberg, who was also responsible for the artwork). As a matter of fact, the EP was already “released” in 2015 as a cassette under the Till You Fukkin Bleed label, but the official release as a CD by Chaos Records and by the band itself on BandCamp  (also in digital format) is set to January 2016, which means now it’s the right time to get to war.

And let me tell you that the warfare bred by Just Before Dawn will be brutal based on the opening track, the old school Counterbattery, where heaviness is taken to a higher level thanks to the carnivore growls by Jonny Pettersson, the demonic riffs by Jonny and the band’s mastermind Anders Biazzi, and the imposing beats by drummer Brynjar Helgetun. Next, the voice in the background only adds more wickedness to Otnumbered, slightly faster than the previous song but as heavy as hell, with Jonny getting insanely aggressive on vocals while the song’s riffs drag the listener to the battlefield.

Inlaysheet.epsThe following tune, Graves Without Crosses, presents hints of Doom Metal, which end up making the atmosphere a lot denser in its 7 minutes of obscurity, therefore sounding like a deadlier version of Blackened Doom. Besides, how not to get excited with its warlike lyrics (“A war is fought by man / At the gates of every battle / He stands strong / Stand his ground and face his enemy face on / Defeat is not an option / Surrender, he will never do”)?

Anyway, it’s time to accelerate the rhythm and consequently add more fuel (and blood) to the battle with Into The Iron Mist, an amazing composition showcasing how metallic this army can be. Simply put, it’s top-notch Death Metal, with highlights to the impactful combination of its hawkish growls and headbanging riffs. And the last tune, beautifully entitled Through A Rain Of Fire, keeps up with the offensive ambience generated by the rest of the EP, breaking your neck mercilessly. Bombs explode into pure Death Metal in this hellish chant, not to mention its chorus which, albeit being excellent already, gets even more electrifying due to the song’s pounding drums.

You can find more about Just Before Dawn and their music at their Facebook page, and order your copy of The Dead And Those About To Die at the Chaos Records’ official BandCamp page or webshop. What are you waiting for? Put on your military gear, give no quarter and bang your head to the excellent Death Metal by these unstoppable men-at-arms from Sweden.

Best moments of the album: Into The Iron Mist.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Chaos Records

Track listing
1. Counterbattery 5:30
2. Otnumbered 5:17
3. Graves Without Crosses 7:03
4. Into The Iron Mist 4:38
5. Through A Rain Of Fire 5:12

Band members
Jonny Pettersson – vocals, guitars
Anders Biazzi – guitars, bass
Brynjar Helgetun – drums

Guest musicians
Rogga Johansson – vocals
Håkan Stuvemark – lead guitars
Vesa Kenttäkumpu – lead guitars
Marko Palmér – lead guitars
Benny Moberg – lead guitars, artwork