Metal Chick of the Month – Luana Dametto

I curse at their holy symbols… I laugh as they pray…

As we’re reaching the end of 2022, let’s all make a lot of noise together with our last metal lady of the year in the name of rock and metal music, sounds good? And when I say a lot of noise, I mean A LOT OF noise, because our metallic diva this month of December is undoubtedly one of the most talented drummers of the current Death and Thrash Metal scene, hammering her drums mercilessly for our total delight wherever she goes. I’m talking about the talented and charismatic Luana Dametto, the unrelenting drummer for Brazilian Death/Thrash Metal horde Crypta, and also known for her work with the bands Nervosa, Chaos Rising and Apophizys. Having said that, are you ready to know more about such unstoppable lady of the extreme music scene?

Born on November 22, 1996 in Tapejara, a municipality in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Luana started her path in the world of music at the young age of 12 when she already began to play drums, later joining her very first band, Passo Fundo, Brazil-based Death Metal act Apophizys, at the age of 16. That’s exactly when she discovered her passion for Death Metal, and from there it was just a matter of time until she joined Brazilian Thrash Metal ladies Nervosa back in 2016. However, before becoming part of Nervosa, Luana studied Graphic Design at UPF – Universidade de Passo Fundo in Brazil in order to build a career in this field while still working as a musician in her spare time until the age of 19, which turned out to be very useful for her as she actually applied her studies into her passion for heavy music, being responsible for the artwork for the first (and only) full-length album by Apophizys.

Speaking about Apophizys, our metal lady was part of the band between 2012 and 2017, when the band split up, having recorded with them the album Into the Chaos back in 2015, which included some excellent songs such as Fear of the Unknown and Carnage (and you can enjoy a nice drum cam recorded by Luana herself for this song by clicking HERE). In one of her interviews, Luana explained exactly how she made it to  Apophizys, saying that in the city of Passo Fundo there were two Death Metal bands, one formed by brothers who wouldn’t allow her to join the band, and the aforementioned Apophizys. She said Apophizys already had a drummer at that time, but Luana didn’t give up and stayed tuned to them hoping their drummer would leave the band, opening the so much needed spot for her. As you might already know, that worked, and Luana kicked some ass behind her drums with Apophizys for six years before joining Nervosa.

Luana was still in college when Nervosa’s founder and guitarist Prika Amaral added her on Facebook and contacted her for an audition (being referred by Brazilian drummer Eduardo Lane of NervoChaos, who had already toured with Apophizys before), as at that time Nervosa had just lost their previous drummer Pitchu Ferraz. She then travelled to the city of São Paulo, passed the test, and went on to start playing live with the band that same year and to record the band’s 2018 opus Downfall of Mankind. From such intense album, you can enjoy amazing songs the likes of Kill The Silence and Never Forget, Never Repeat (and there’s also a kick-ass drum cam for this song HERE). After the album release, she traveled and toured a lot around the world, playing at several big festivals and, therefore, turning music into her main occupation.  In addition, Luana also recorded with Nervosa the single Freakshow, originally released on the Adult Swim metal compilation 2 in 2019. It was in 2020 when Luana parted ways with Nervosa, saying that the main reason for her departure was the fact that the three girls at that time felt there was no more passion for doing music together. There wasn’t any type of fighting or arguing, and she said they could have even continued with the band as is, but they all agreed they had to change something to reignite that passion and love for extreme music.

The seed for what’s known today as Crypta had already been planted before she left Nervosa, more specifically in June 2019, as a new musical project by Luana together with Fernanda Lira, also from Nervosa. As the co-founder of the band, she said the focus would be on playing Death Metal in a way that could not be done with Nervosa, inviting Dutch guitarist Sonia Anubis (of Burning Witches) to the band and later also adding Brazilian guitarist Tainá Bergamaschi (of Hagbard) to their lineup. After consolidating the band members, they started working on their debut effort Echoes of the Soul, released in 2021, and you can have an absolute blast to the sound of such incendiary album to the sound of songs such as From The Ashes, Dark Night Of The Soul and Kali (check out another awesome drum cam for this song HERE). Furthermore, earlier this year the band released the single I Resign (which also has a really cool drum cam video that can be watched HERE), once again presenting the visceral and heavy elements that are characteristic of their sound. Moreover, if live concerts are your cup of tea, you can find Luana pounding her drums in great fashion in several live videos of the band including From The Ashes live at Wacken Open Air 2022, and a 30-minute performance at Espaço Som studio in São Paulo, Brazil in November 2021.

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Apart from Crypta, Nervosa and Apophizys, you can also find Luana smashing her drums since 2021 with Chaos Rising, a collaborative international project focused on different subgenres of heavy music open to every female artist interested in metal that includes members from Brazil, France, Germany, England, Sweden, Hungary, Russia, Iran and Argentina, among others. She recorded with Chaos Rising in 2021 the single Cost of Inaction alongside Swiss vocalist Alessia Mercado (Burning Flesh, Murge), French guitarist Stéphanie Nolf (Unsafe), Italian guitarist Francesca Mancini (Sudden Death), and German bassist Tina Gruschwitz (Demorphed, Cryoblood), and the final result is a bestial Death and Thrash Metal attack that will please all fans of extreme music. In addition, Luana was also a guest drummer in the 2016 EP Souls Dragged into the Abyss of Torment, by Brazilian Melodic Black/Death Metal act Isfet,  also working in the recording of the album. If you want to listen to Luana playing a more demonic, blackened style of music, you can enjoy for example what’s perhaps the best song of the album, Perennial Pain Domain.

Regarding her idols and influences, Luana mentioned that she’s a huge fan of Thrash, Black and in special Death Metal, and that she began playing drums influenced by Joey Jordison (RIP) of Slipknot and Vinnie Paul (RIP) of Pantera, learning a lot about double bass and groove by listening to and watching them. She also mentioned Kerim “Krimh” Lechner of Decapitated and Derek Roddy of Hate Eternal as influences on the way she does her blast beats, complementing by saying that playing drums was actually a random thing that happened to her, as she was only 11 years old when she got in touch with a friend who played drums who led her to get her own set and begin playing. Not sure if her setup is still the same, but a few years ago she was using a 14″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Hi-Hat, a 16″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Crash, a 17″ Color Sound 900 Black Heavy Crash, a 18″ 2002 Giga Bell Ride “Psychoctopus”, and a 16″ Color Sound 900 Black China.

Speaking about her life on the road, although Luana might still be a very young drummer, she has already been to several different parts of the world including of course most regions in Brazil, the United States, Colombia, many countries across Europe and Asia (even recommending Singaporean Grindcore act Wormrot as one of her favorite bands of the region), and even the United Arab Emirates together with Nervosa and now Crypta. She mentioned Rock in Rio in Brazil and Altavoz Fest in Colombia as the most memorable concerts so far in her career, saying that Altavoz Fest is some sort of “Rock in Rio Colombia” where she played in front of over 30,000 people. Moreover, when asked which bands she enjoyed the most to play alongside, our dauntless drummer mentioned Havok (Brazil), Warbringer (United States) and Venom Inc. (England) as her favorite bands to tour together. There are some very interesting interviews with Luana on YouTube (most of them in Portuguese, though) where she talks about not only her touring experience but also about what’s next for Crypta, their music and so on, such as this one to a podcast named TUPFS, this one to Revista Freak, and this one to Hedflow.

There’s also another excellent interview to a podcast named Music Hero where she talks about being a woman in the extreme metal scene, and that’s how we’ll conclude this humble tribute to her. As a prominent female drummer in the world of heavy music, Luana thinks the scene is still ruled by men and that there’s a lot of sexism everywhere, saying she feels extremely disappointed when people treat her as if she knows less about her instrument than guys just because she’s a woman. Her advice to other women who are starting their careers in music is to focus on your work and ignore all the negativity that might come from some people, only doing what you truly feel comfortable doing. When asked about her favorite female metal musicians, Luana listed Canadian drummer Justine Éthier (Karkaos, Blackguard), Dutch vocalist Simone “Som” Pluijmers (Your Chance to Die, Lacerated, Cerebral Bore), and American vocalist Reba Meyers (Pray for Teeth) as the best for her, and just by mentioning only names from the underground scene we can see how much Luana is passionate about it. Hence, if you also love the underground extreme scene, you must go check what Luana and the other girls from Crypta are doing and, of course, stay tuned for when the band takes your city by storm with their pulverizing live performance, with Luana proving that you don’t need to be a big guy to powerfully smash your drums in the name of extreme music.

Luana Dametto’s Official Facebook page
Luana Dametto’s Official Instagram
Luana Dametto’s Official Linktree
Luana Dametto’s Official YouTube channel
Crypta’s Official Facebook page
Crypta’s Official Instagram
Crypta’s Official YouTube channel
Crypta’s Official Linktree

Album Review – Deep Memories / Why Do We Suffer? (2022)

Behold this beautiful album of doom made in Brazil, leading us to reflect on the fragility of human existence when facing the challenges of life on planet earth.

Having consolidated itself as one of the main names from the Brazilian Melodic Doom/Death Metal scene due to its heaviness, originality and melodic complexity, Americana, São Paulo-based one-man act Deep Memories has just unleashed the project’s sophomore full-length album Why Do We Suffer?, following up on their 2018 release Rebuilding the Future. The brainchild of vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Douglas Martins, Deep Memories has been on a constant and healthy evolution since its inception in 2016, with Why Do We Suffer? perfectly depicting the professionalism and hard work by Douglas throughout its 41 intense minutes of music. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Douglas himself at AJM Studio, and displaying a stylish artwork by Iranian graphic artist Agreen Paymazd (together with Douglas) illustrating the emotional charge generated by human suffering, the album deals with a high degree of introspection, leading us to reflect on the fragility of human existence when facing the challenges of life on planet earth.

The doomed guitar lines by Douglas kick off the opening track Enslaved by Reciprocity Obligation, with its atmosphere growing in intensity and darkening the skies as time passes by, being therefore tailored for admirers of the music by Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. Moreover, Douglas’ deep guttural vocals add a devilish touch of melancholy to the overall result, whereas in Please, Do Not Close the Coffin! we face another round of his obscure fusion of Doom and Death Metal, showcasing sluggish beats and sharp riffs while also bringing to our ears an interesting paradox between his harsh roars and very melodic guitars. And Douglas’ piercing guitar lines keep screaming inside our minds in Get Away From Poison, offering us all over seven minutes of classic Doom Metal with a strong Insomnium vibe, sounding very cohesive from start to finish. Needless to say, it’s quite impressive that only one man was responsible for such dense and complex sonority.

Uncontrolled Cells Multiplication is one of the most introspective and melancholic of all songs, which is also reflected in both the anguished gnarls and clean vocals by Douglas, consequently living up to the legacy of old school doom; followed by the title-track Why Do We Suffer?, beginning in a very atmospheric way with minimalist, ethereal sounds permeating the air until Douglas attacks with his acoustic guitar and clean vocals. Prerogatives or Exceptions also starts in a pensive manner, with the hellish growls by Douglas invading our senses while he keeps the music as lugubrious as possible through his beats and fills, being perfect for lovers of the more contemporary creations by Paradise Lost, flowing into A Rocket to Homeland, a simple but effective outro guided by the piano notes by Douglas. I would love to see it evolving into a more complete song, but it’s nothing to worry about as it’s still very enjoyable in the end.

After all is said and done, you’ll quickly realize Douglas Martins is more than just an extremely talented musician. He clearly put all his heart and soul into the making of  Why Do We Suffer?, showcasing all his passion for the dark and doomed, and the final result will please anyone who’s also addicted to this gloomier side of music. Having said that, you can provide Douglas with all your support and admiration by purchasing his imposing new album from his own BandCamp page or webstore, by streaming the album in full on on YouTube and on Spotify, or simply by clicking HERE for all places where you can buy or stream it, and don’t forget to also follow Douglas and his Deep Memories on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with all things Deep Memories. Why do we all suffer so much in our lives? Perhaps you’ll be able to find the answer to such difficult question while listening to the new album by Deep Memories, and even if you can’t answer that at least you’ll certainly have a very good time listening to the first-class doom blasted by this lone wolf from Brazil.

Best moments of the album: Please, Do Not Close the Coffin!, Get Away From Poison and Prerogatives or Exceptions.

Worst moments of the album: A Rocket to Homeland.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Enslaved by Reciprocity Obligation 5:37
2. Please, Do Not Close the Coffin! 6:15
3. Get Away From Poison 7:29
4. Uncontrolled Cells Multiplication 7:30
5. Why Do We Suffer? 3:04
6. Prerogatives or Exceptions 8:46
7. A Rocket to Homeland 2:27

Band members
Douglas Martins – vocals, all instruments

Metal Chick of the Month – Haruka Morikawa

A beautiful Japanese nightmare!

As we’re getting closer and closer to the end of another year of pure fuckin’ metal, let’s keep banging our heads nonstop to another extremely talented woman from the underground scene, this time hailing from Japan, or as several people like to call it, the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Easily switching between deep, demonic growls and an angelic, operatic voice, our metal lady of the month of November has been making a strong impact not only on the underground scene in her homeland, but her voice has been echoing all over the world and, therefore, attracting the attention of a wide variety of headbangers worldwide. I’m talking about Haruka Morikawa, also simply known as Haruka, the lead singer for Japanese Melodic/Symphonic Electro Death/Thrash Metal band Heterogeneous Andead, and just by the name of the band and the type of music they play you know you’re in for a treat in our humble tribute to such unique vocalist.

Born and raised in Japan, the skillful Haruka has been the voice of Tokyo’s own Heterogeneous Andead since April 2014, when the band’s current style reached its desired shape and form. However, the band was formed a little before that, though, starting as a project named Andead by founder and multi-instrumentalist Yusuke Kiyama in 2012, changing its name to Heterogeneous Andead in 2013 when they started playing some live concerts. Singing about caustic topics such as sorrow, grief and despair, Heterogeneous Andead have already released one EP and two full-length albums in their career, those being their 2015 debut EP Undead, the 2017 album Deus Ex Machina, and now in 2022 the album Chaotic Fragments, which will be reviewed by The Headbanging Moose sooner than you can say “Japan” and is already available for purchasing HERE. In addition to those, the band was also featured in the compilations Fear Candy 150 (Terrorizer Magazine, 2015), 嘘。(BM Records, 2015), Bad Wish (BM Records, 2015), Halloween – Trick Or Treat (BM Records, 2015), Imperative Music Compilation DVD Vol. 14 (Imperative Music, 2017), and Metal Japan Heavy Chains Vol.5 TieUp ConneXion #2 (Metal Japan Records, 2019).

Heterogeneous Andead have been suffering with several lineup changes lately, with guitarist Sho and bassist Takashi Onitake leaving the band in December 2021 and drummer Tomoyuki Nakano also leaving the band in July this year, which means Yusuke and Haruka are currently searching for a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer to join them in their quest for heavy music. I’m sure they’ll find some talented musicians to be part of the band soon, and until then you can enjoy Haruka’s unique vocals in the official videos for the amazing songs Denied, Automaton and Fission, as well as live recordings of the songs Demise of Reign, Flash of Calamity and Denied live at WildSideTokyo on September 16, 2019, and Unleashed live on February 11, 2017 at Shinjuku Head Power. Furthermore, you can always stream all of the band’s creations on Spotify as well.

An admirer of Classical Music, Jazz, Electronic Pop, Brutal Death Metal and Grindcore, the stunning Haruka doesn’t only mesmerize us all with her mezzo-soprano vocals, singing like an angel, and with her guttural growls and screeches, sounding like a devil, but she also makes sure her looks on stage are in sync with the music being played. According to her bandmate Yusuke, the concept of costumes is basically darkness or gorgeousness influenced by Japanese visual kei, a movement among Japanese musicians that is characterized by the use of varying levels of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics, similar to Western Glam Rock. Simply watch the aforementioned videos of the band, as well as their live performances, and you’ll see the incredible fusion of music and visuals in their creations.

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Owner of a natural Anime voice (according to the band itself), when asked about how she manages to go from her growls to her mezzo-soprano voice (and back) in seconds without having any sort of vocal issues, Haruka said she has already found the perfect way to switch from one style to another, complementing she has never lost her voice due to that extreme change. In one of her interviews our beloved vocalist said that although she didn’t feel her voice was the most remarkable piece of her identity in the beginning, she now understands and feels the power of her voice as part of her character, saying that it was Yusuke who inspired her to sing both harsh and clean vocals when she first joined the band. It was a challenge for her at first, of course, but Yusuke made sure he adapted part of the band’s style to match with her abilities, resulting in a win-win situation for both him and Haruka as the music by Heterogeneous Andead sounds fantastic nowadays. If you’re in Japan you might be lucky enough to witness them playing live, which occurs only once or twice a month, and despite not filling up big venues yet they certainly have a decent amount of followers that always attend their concerts.

Regarding the metal scene in Japan and how well their unique type of Extreme Metal is accepted in the country, Haruka mentioned during an interview that she can see metal bands having issues playing in countries or regions where the catholic church is very strong, but that’s not a problem in Japan as most of the Japanese population doesn’t follow any religion (or at least they don’t follow it blindly, I might say). What’s interesting is that Haruka is a Protestant Christian herself (and she mentioned only 1% of the country is Christian, by the way), but fortunately music and religion are not connected in any particular way in Japan. She also said that because she follows a Christian way of living she believes she can better express herself when singing with Heterogeneous Andead, externalizing all the sorrow and grief from the lyrics in great fashion.

You can watch a few fun and informative interviews on YouTube with Haruka, who’s by the way a big fan of our beloved monster Godzilla. For example, you can enjoy this nice interview to Antichrist Magazine in 2018 where Haruka and Yusuke talk about their previous album Deus Ex Machina; and this one to the Argentinian webzine Territorio Rock, also in 2018. And last but not least, anytime you watch a live performance by Haruka with Heterogeneous Andead you’ll certainly notice her movements are very theatrical, adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result. The reason for that is that not only Haruka was part of plays and musicals when she was a student, but she also practiced Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art that is split into many different styles, during her childhood, allowing her to improve the visual effects of her personal performance while singing at the same time. In other words, don’t mess with Haruka or you’ll get your ass kicked, got it? Simply relax and enjoy her unique vocals to the fullest, proving how much Japan is and will always be one of the most creative countries in the world when the music in question is Heavy Metal.

Haruka Morikawa’s Official Twitter
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official Facebook page
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official YouTube channel
Heterogeneous Andead’s Official Twitter

Metal Chick of the Month – Haley Roughton

We are food for a predator… immobilized, we die this night!

Houston, we have Heavy Metal. And it’s not just Heavy Metal, but a bold and electrifying fusion of extreme music with symphonic elements and movie scores, and if you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about I’m sure our metal lady of the month of September will help you with that. Not only an extremely talented vocalist capable of flowing from the most demonic growls to clean, groovy vocals, she also works as a spacesuit instructor and flight controller at NASA, which gives you an idea of her wide range of skills and level of intellect and energy. I’m talking about the multi-talented vocalist Haley Roughton, the frontwoman for Houston, Texas-based Symphonic/Melodic Death Metal horde The Xebellian Triangle. I bet you’re curious to know more about Haley, her work with The Xebellian Triangle and with NASA, her other music projects and so on, so get ready for a wild ride with such up-and-coming name of the current metal scene.

Before we head into her current adventure with The Xebellian Triangle, let’s take a step back and know more about her studies and career, just to give you a taste of how smart and focused Haley is and how she also applies those strengths into her music. As aforementioned, Haley has been very busy with projects and assignments at her workplace at NASA, having recently been certified as a flight controller and having already been an intern at the Avionic Systems Division (Command and Data Handling), working with MSP430 microcontroller, C language, QNAP API, HTTP protocol, general computer networks and programming microcontrollers in C in the development of software/drivers for a network-attached storage (NAS) device interfacing to the MPS430 microcontroller for the Modular Integrated Stackable Layers (MISL) project. Not only that, she was also an intern a few years ago for a company called Magaw Medical, in Texas, laying the foundations for a wireless, HD video laryngoscope, and also a student researcher at Texas Christian University, where by the way she graduated in Engineering with Electrical Emphasis. Moreover, she’s awesome in LTSpice/PSpice, MS Excel, C, MATLAB and Inventor/AutoCAD, among other technical skills needed in her career.

Do you think Haley is a nerd or geek after reading about her career? Well, yes, but of course she’s proud of that, and when you listen to her vocals with her bandmates from The Xebellian Triangle you’ll then realize she’s not just a nerd, but a badass nerd. Currently formed of Haley on vocals, who joined the band in the spring of 2021, alongside Ivy Jayne Lance (Suicide Pandemic, The Crypt Alive, The Isdal Cadaver, Remnants of Izanagi) on the guitars, Hakeem De Hoyos on bass, and Aron Hetsko (Aethereus, The Crypt Alive, Dorzia) on drums, The Xebellian Triangle were formed back in 2019 by Ivy and Aron, who had their initial band together in high school and after several years  met up to talk about how it would be great to finish their old songs, put them out and play them live, leading to the birth of The Xebellian Triangle, with their sound being inspired by renowned acts the likes of Amon Amarth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Epica, Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse, among several others. After releasing a few singles starting in December 2021, The Xebellian Triangle (also referred to as TXT) released in the beginning of July their debut full-length opus, entitled At the Banks of the Rubicon (which is by the way available in full on Spotify), offering us all nine songs of first-class Melodic and Symphonic Death Metal with Haley kicking some serious ass on vocals, as you can witness in the songs Dracarys, with Haley being also responsible for its lyrics and arrangements (and which also has a very nice vocal playthrough by our metal diva on YouTube), and Confirmed.

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Sometimes labeled by the band itself as “The Black Dahlia Murder meets Hans Zimmer”, the music by The Xebellian Triangle is highly influenced by fantasy books, movies and series the likes of The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and The Witcher, among several others, as well as games such as World of Warcraft, which Haley plays (or at least used to play) on her free time, and sci-fi and horror films including John Carpenter’s The Thing, one of Haley’s favorite horror movies of all time. As already mentioned, Haley was involved in the development of some of the album lyrics and arranging patterns during the recording process by offering different perspectives, and if you click HERE you’ll have access not only to the band’s top-of-the-line creations, but also to their tour dates, merch, social media links and so on, seeing how focused and hardworking the entire band is and how they added all of those influences into their music. As you can see in Haley’s influences as well as in the rest of The Xebellian Triangle’s, they are all kind of nerds with their own varying preferences, including the aforementioned books, movies, shows, games and other things like anime, but Hailey also brings to the band elements from R&B thanks to her vocal training, adding more clean singing spots where they fit in the music by The Xebellian Triangle. Moreover, the band also tries to speak on things that are important to them such as feminism, the fight for racial equality, gay rights, trans rights, and supporting methods that build a greener, cleaner, safer, fairer world.

Always developing a portfolio of covers to show off her vocal ranges both clean and harsh on her YouTube channel, including Take This Lonely Heart, by Nothing But Thieves, Out of Time, by Skyharbor, and Holy Roller, by Spiritbox, Haley has also been part of a Death Metal band named Dorzia since 2021, having already recorded with them the singles  Blood Portrait, Looking In and Deity’s Grasp, with all three songs demonstrating Haley’s flexibility in her extreme vocals from gutturals to piercing high screams. Calling themselves “sonic brutality from Houston, Texas”, this six-piece act fronted by Haley has a lot of potential to grow in the coming years, and I can’t wait to see if their first ever EP or full-length album will become a reality in a not-so-distant future. In addition, just like what was mentioned about The Xebellian Triangle, you can find all details, important links and other shenanigans about Dorzia by clicking HERE. Furthermore, in addition to her recent work with The Xebellian Triangle and Dorzia, Haley was also featured as a guest vocalist in the song Oubliette, released in November 2021 as a single by an Austin, Texas-based Deathcore outfit named Snake Father, and let me tell you that Haley simply stole the show with her infernal she-wolf growls.

Regarding their live performance, The Xebellian Triangle always bring a lot of energy to the stage, with Haley loving to run and jump around, therefore engaging with the crowd whenever possible, not to mention Haley and Ivy both have stage clothes they wear to keep a recurring image. The band mentioned in one of their interviews that they plan to expand further in this and always want to bring new and exciting things to the live show, and we all know that usually translates into some extra awesomeness to the performance of any band. There are no current dates scheduled for The Xebellian Triangle for the rest of 2022 due to personal reasons, though, such as Haley doing some travelling on her own, but I’m sure it won’t take long for The Xebellian Triangle to take your city by storm. Hence, I wouldn’t miss the chance to see them live if I were you simply because you’ll be able to see one of the most exciting new names of the current American metal scene, fronted by a multi-talented woman who’s eager to scream and roar in your face and show you that no matter what happens, the stage is hers.

Haley Roughton’s Official Instagram
The Xebellian Triangle’s Official Facebook page
The Xebellian Triangle’s Official Instagram
The Xebellian Triangle’s Official YouTube channel
The Xebellian Triangle’s Official Twitter

Album Review – Arch Enemy / Deceivers (2022)

One of the most important names of the current heavy music scene is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.

Marking the longest gap between two of their studio albums since their 2017 opus Will to Power, the breathtaking Deceivers, the eleventh studio album by Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy, not only will inspire you to break your neck headbanging to its 11 pulverizing tracks, but it’s also by far their most solid and detailed album with the she-wolf Alissa White-Gluz on vocals. Produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and Hansen Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Alex Reisfar, Deceivers brings to our avid ears a much more cohesive band where the guitars by Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, supported by the heavy-as-hell kitchen by bassist Sharlee D’Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, provide Alissa with exactly what she needs to roar in full force, not to mention it’s also their first album from the Alissa-era where her clean vocals do not sound out of place; quite the contrary, they actually bring a welcome additional touch to their unparalleled music.

The unmatched guitar lines by Michael and Jeff set the stage for Alissa to kick some serious ass with her deep roaring in Handshake with Hell, an absolute banger spearheaded by the classic, pounding drums by Daniel, and they waste no time and keep decimating our senses with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal in Deceiver, Deceiver, where Sharlee and Daniel craft a boisterous kitchen perfect for Alissa’s screams, resulting in a true circle pit machine. In the Eye of the Storm is more melodic and somber than its predecessors with Michael and Jeff cutting your skin deep with their riffs and solos in a more contemporary version of Arch Enemy. Then it’s time for a fulminating creation entitled The Watcher, where Alissa sounds fantastic throughout the entire song growling and screaming deeply like there’s no tomorrow, not to mention the heavy artillery brought forward by Daniel; whereas Poisoned Arrow is the least exciting of all tracks, an introspective creation by Arch Enemy showcasing their usual melodic lines but that lacks the same power from the rest of the album.

Sharlee’s metallic bass ignites the infernal, epic Sunset over the Empire, with Alissa being absolutely demonic on vocals accompanied by her unstoppable bandmates, while House of Mirrors, one of the first singles to come out, sounds in line with their most recent albums, with Michael and Jeff once again elevating the song’s kick with their pulverizing riffs and solos. Dedicated to the memory of LG Petrov from Death Metal institution Entombed, who passed away in 2021 after battling an incurable form of bile duct cancer, Spreading Black Wings is a lot darker than its predecessors, with Daniel dictating the song’s somber pace in great fashion, flowing into the interlude Mourning Star, soothing our souls before the band comes ripping once again in One Last Time, a vicious composition that will inspire you to slam into the pit to the venomous roars by Alissa while Sharlee and Daniel bring thunder and groove to the overall result. Lastly, a sinister intro evolves into a marching tune entitled Exiled from Earth, putting an obscure and climatic ending to the album to the sharp riffage by Michael and Jeff. Moreover, if I were you I would go for the boxset or artbook edition of the album, as they offer us as bonus tracks their electrifying renditions for Fight’s undisputed hit Into the Pit (check the original version HERE), and Picture’s Diamond Dreamer (check the original version HERE).

As already mentioned, Alissa sounds a lot more in sync with the music by Arch Enemy in Deceivers, in special her clean vocals which now make a positive difference whenever they’re inserted in one of the songs from the album, strengthening the legacy of the band even more in the current metal scene. Having said that, you should definitely go after your favorite version of the album by clicking HERE, and also by streaming it in full on Spotify, and don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their awesome music. Now it’s just a matter of enjoying Deceivers by listening to it as many times as you want, by getting ready for their thrilling live concerts, by raising your horns to the first-class Melodic Death Metal played by one of the most important names in the more recent history of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Handshake with Hell, Deceiver, Deceiver, The Watcher and Sunset over the Empire.

Worst moments of the album: Poisoned Arrow.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Handshake with Hell 5:38
2. Deceiver, Deceiver 3:51
3. In the Eye of the Storm 4:09
4. The Watcher 4:58
5. Poisoned Arrow 3:51
6. Sunset over the Empire 4:03
7. House of Mirrors 3:40
8. Spreading Black Wings 4:46
9. Mourning Star 1:36
10. One Last Time 3:49
11. Exiled from Earth 4:44

Boxset/Artbook bonus tracks
12. Into the Pit (Fight cover) 3:52
13. Diamond Dreamer (Picture cover) 3:53

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

Guest musicians
Jacob Hansen – vocals on “Sunset over the Empire”
Raphael Liebermann – cello on “Poisoned Arrow”

Album Review – Amon Amarth / The Great Heathen Army (2022)

Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene to the sound of their electrifying, Viking-inspired new album.

One of the best-loved metal bands in the world, Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal horde Amon Amarth is back into the battlefield with a new opus, the heavy-as-hell, epic The Great Heathen Army, their twelfth studio album and the follow-up to their 2019 release Berserker. Produced, mixed and mastered at Backstage Productions in Derbyshire, England by the one and only Andy Sneap, and displaying a pure Viking-style artwork by Tom Thiel of Illuvision, the album encapsulates the essence of the band currently formed of frontman Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and drummer Jocke Wallgren, while still allowing acres of space for new ideas. “The Great Heathen Army is not a concept album like Jomsviking, but I’m taking inspiration from some of the same historical elements,” said Johan Hegg. “There were also some really cool and different ideas I wanted to explore, and they came very much from my wife, Maria, who has been tapping into the more esoteric aspects of Viking lifestyle and culture. Musically, I would say there are a couple of surprises on there, a little bit of uncharted territory for Amon Amarth. Overall it’s one of the heavier albums we’ve made.”

The dirty, raw guitars by Olavi and Johan permeate the air in Get in the Ring, a fighting song that exhales Amon Amarth with its official video featuring wrestling superstar Joseph Ruud (aka Eric Redbeard or Eric Rowan, of AEW and WWE), who’s by the way a huge metal fan, kicking off the album in great fashion. The title-track The Great Heathen Army is another headbanging creation by those Norsemen, where Johan Hegg growls deeply and with tons of anger like a true metal Viking from start to finish; whereas in the fantastic Heidrun it’s time to raise your horns and pints, and sing its catchy lyrics together with the band (“Hail the dead and the goat that gives us mead / On the roof she’s gnawing Lärad’s leaves / Fills the vat with a drink that is so sweet / Worthy of fame / Heidrun is her name”). Then they put the pedal to the metal and deliver the frantic Oden Owns You All, which will inspire all fans at their live concerts to slam into the circle pit manically while Jocke does a great job hammering his drums like there’s no tomorrow in the name of Melodic Death Metal.

Find a Way or Make One brings to our ears classic Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal by the Amon Amarth horde, with the riffage by Olavi and Johan Söderberg being simply incendiary while  the message sent by the band through the lyrics is beyond awesome. Following such powerful tune we have Dawn of Norsemen, a song that goes back to the early days of the band including its old school lyrics barked by Johan Hegg (“We’ve heard rumors of land to the West / Beyond the oceans, where the sun sets / Sailing across the waves, we will fly / This voyage of discovery, no one has tried”); and featuring guest vocals by the one and only Biff Byford of Saxon, as well as his bandmates Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn on the guitars, we’re treated to Saxons and Vikings, a beyond thrilling musical voyage where the unparalleled lines by such imposing vocal duet will pierce through our minds beautifully as a tribute to both bands (and to Heavy Metal in general). They keep pounding their instruments mercilessly in Skagul Rides with Me without forgetting their trademark harmony, and while it’s far from being a masterpiece it’s still very enjoyable. Finally, The Serpent’s Trail, the darkest song of the album, is also the longest one, with Johan Hegg’s introspective vocals bringing an extra somber touch to the overall result while Jocke smashes his drums supported by the low-tuned bass by Ted, flowing into a sinister ending.

My one and only complaint about The Great Heathen Army is the fact that the excellent song Put Your Back into the Oar was not included in the album, and apparently not even in any of its special or deluxe editions, but that’s not a real problem as there’s a lot to enjoy already in the album as is. Having said that, what are you waiting for to put your Viking hands on The Great Heathen Army? Simply go to their official webstore, to the Metal Blade Records webstore, or click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Amon Amarth, including their unique live performances, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their Viking-inspired creations. In other words, it’s time to grab your sword and shield and join the great heathen army of Amon Amarth to the sound of their new album, heading into the battlefield ruthlessly, without fear, and with metal music in our hearts.

Best moments of the album: Heidrun, Find a Way or Make One, Dawn of Norsemen and Saxons and Vikings.

Worst moments of the album: Skagul Rides with Me.

Released in 2022 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Get in the Ring 4:24
2. The Great Heathen Army 4:04
3. Heidrun 4:42
4. Oden Owns You All 4:17
5. Find a Way or Make One 4:30
6. Dawn of Norsemen 5:32
7. Saxons and Vikings 4:55
8. Skagul Rides with Me 4:34
9. The Serpent’s Trail 6:01

Band members
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – lead guitar
Johan Söderberg – rhythm guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Jocke Wallgren – drums

Guest musician
Biff Byford – vocals on “Saxons and Vikings”
Doug Scarratt – lead guitar on “Saxons and Vikings”
Paul Quinn – lead guitar on “Saxons and Vikings”

Album Review – Soilwork / Övergivenheten (2022)

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters are back with a fantastic new opus dealing with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself.

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters Soilwork are back with their twelfth studio album, entitled Övergivenheten, the follow-up to the amazing Verkligheten and one of their most complex and elaborate albums to date, strengthening their legacy even more in the world of heavy music. Recorded and produced by Thomas “Plec” Johansson and Soilwork at Nordic Sound Lab, and mixed and mastered by the same Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room (assisted by Simon Eliasson and Viktor Brunö), Övergivenheten, which means “abandonment” in Swedish, deals with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself and affected the development process of the album. The personal struggles align with social difficulties outside of the band, all embraced by the first-class, sharp music beautifully crafted by frontman Björn “Speed” Strid, guitarists Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson, bassist Rasmus Ehrnborn, keyboardist Sven Karlsson, and drummer Bastian Thusgaard.

The acoustic guitars and banjo by guest Johan Randén kick off the multi-layered title-track Övergivenheten before Björn and his henchmen begin a fantastic sonic attack showcasing melodious riffs, rhythmic beats and endless adrenaline; followed by Nous Sommes La Guerre, or “we are the war” from French, where the ladies’ choir brings an extra kick to the music while Björn beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics (“I can feel the shadows enter, risin’ from the earth / Now that everyone is giving me the widest berth / I have nightly visits, sentient absence watchin’ me / Nurturin’ the itch where other worlds are scratchin’ me”). There’s no time to breathe as the band keeps slamming their instruments in Electric Again, with Sylvain and David doing an amazing job armed with their stringed axes; and in Valleys Of Gloam the skillful Bastian adds tons of groove to the overall result is a first-class Melodic Death Metal feast for the masses. Let’s then slam into the circle pit together with the Soilwork boys in the striking, high-octane Is It In Your Darkness, with Bastian hammering his drums mercilessly supported by the rumbling bass by Rasmus, whereas the band keeps invading our senses with their dense, groovy Melodic Death Metal in Vultures, where Rasmus is on fire with his metallic bass lines, being therefore perfect for headbanging like a true metalmaniac. After the short, atmospheric instrumental interlude Morgongåva / Stormfågel, or “morning gift / stormbird” from Swedish, it’s time for us all to bang our heads to Death, I Hear You Calling, a solid composition where Björn’s angry vocals match perfectly with the song’s lyrics, pace and heaviness, meaning it should work amazingly if played live.

The gentle keys by Sven are suddenly joined by a wall of sounds spearheaded by Bastian’s crushing beats in This Godless Universe, presenting elements form Death and even Black Metal which bring a touch of eccentricity to it. More modern than its predecessors, Dreams Of Nowhere offers another round of their caustic lyrics (“Bleeding through the blanching skin you’re / Offering the Gods your name / Bound to see the sunrise fading / The everlasting flame”), flowing into the whimsical interlude The Everlasting Flame, where Sven will captivate your senses once again before we’re treated to tons of progressiveness in the form of Golgata, with Sylvain and David extracting sheer electricity form their guitars, providing Björn with exactly what he needs to fire both his guttural roars and his classic clean vocals. Those Swedish metallers still have a lot of fuel to burn in the album, with Harvest Spine being the perfect depiction of how heavy and melodic they can sound at the same time and with Björn stealing the spotlight once again with his flammable vocals; and lastly we have On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain, a stunning name for an incendiary song that begins in a sinister manner before evolving into one last Melodic Death Metal attack by Soilwork, offering our avid ears piercing, strident riffs and solos, massive blast beats and stylish keys, putting an outstanding ending to Övergivenheten.

Needless to say, Soilwork did it again, kicking some serious ass with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal throughout the entire Övergivenheten while always loyal to their core essence (even when experimenting with new elements and sounds). Hence, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their official YouTube channel for their official videos, to stream more of their top-of-the-line creations on Spotify, and above all that, to grab your favorite version of Övergivenheten by clicking HERE or HERE. Övergivenheten is one of those albums that not only represents what Soilwork are all about, but it also emanates a sharp and strong energy that’s the result of all of the aforementioned personal struggles from the band members, proving once again heavy music is always the best remedy for any type of adverse situation.

Best moments of the album: Is It In Your Darkness, Death, I Hear You Calling, Harvest Spine and On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain.

Worst moments of the album: Dreams Of Nowhere.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Övergivenheten 5:45
2. Nous Sommes La Guerre 6:53
3. Electric Again 4:22
4. Valleys Of Gloam 4:11
5. Is It In Your Darkness 4:04
6. Vultures 5:47
7. Morgongåva / Stormfågel 1:33
8. Death, I Hear You Calling 4:41
9. This Godless Universe 4:41
10. Dreams Of Nowhere 4:29
11. The Everlasting Flame 1:06
12. Golgata 4:59
13. Harvest Spine 5:10
14. On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain 7:31

Band members
Björn “Speed” Strid – vocals
Sylvain Coudret – guitar
David Andersson – guitar
Rasmus Ehrnborn – bass
Sven Karlsson – keyboards
Bastian Thusgaard – drums

Guest musicians
Johan Randén – acoustic guitars and banjo on “Övergivenheten”
Laila Prigorowsky, Helene Alexandersson, Catrine Ellwen, Gonca Yazan, Jenny Ericsson & Cia von Heijne – ladies’ choir on “Nous Sommes La Guerre”

Metal Chick of the Month – Sandie Gjørtz

The resurrection of the Lilith!

As the summer solstice is gone, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, and here at The Headbanging Moose it’s time to darken the skies even more with our metal lady of the month of August, the stunning, enigmatic and evil Sandie Gjørtz, also known as Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz, Sandie The Lilith, or simply Lilith, the unrelenting frontwoman for Danish Melodic Death Metal outfit Defacing God. Her devilish roars will haunt your damned soul for all eternity, and I’m sure you’ll thank us at The Headbanging Moose for introducing you to such talented woman of the current metal scene. Be careful, though, as Lilith is the primordial she-demon as you might know, and succumbing to her enchantment means you might never see the light of day again in your life.

Growing up with Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal as both her parents are metalheads, Sandie mentioned heavy music has always been a natural part of her life. “I’ve been told that even before I could walk, I often crawled in front of the TV when my parents played a VHS live video with Ozzy Osbourne and I managed to stand up in front of the TV and shake my diaper-ass to ‘Bark at the Moon’ for example. So yeah, it is simply in my veins”, commented our mesmerizing vocalist in one of her interviews, also saying she started out “softly” with Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and King Diamond before getting to know Pantera and, with the discovery of YouTube when she was around 11 years old, being introduced to harder and heavier bands the likes of Sepultura, a band her father loves by the way. When she told her father about that, he got so excited he showed her his copy of Slayer’s ultimate classic album Reign In Blood, and once again she felt that indescribable rush flowing through her veins.

“I am eternally grateful for these influences on music in my youth. It has always been following me and helped me through dark times, many times! And since that time, I just knew that I wanted to be or do something in this kind of music. It’s a deep, burning passion that is extremely hard to even describe as said. If you know and get it, you get it. If not… You never will,” complemented Sandie, who also said that although she knew nothing about growling or extreme vocal techniques when she was young, she has always been busy with music, singing and acting in drama classes during her school years, as well as choir singing at the church, which was curiously one of her hobbies before turning into Lilith. She knew she wanted to become a vocalist, but as mentioned she didn’t know at that age that women could also do extreme singing, while at the same time she realized choir singing and clean vocals weren’t enough for her.

Having a raging fire burning inside her and dealing with anger issues, things she wanted to express somehow as she considered herself an intense and emotional girl during her youth, Sandie finally discovered bands the likes of Holy Moses and Arch Enemy when she was around 15 years old, being blown away by those women who could manage to do extreme singing just like some of her idols such as Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. “First, it seemed a little bit extreme for me because I never saw anything like that before and for me, it was not a ‘natural’ thing for a woman to scream and sing that deep. Back then, I also don’t think that women who did growls, screams and extreme vocals, in general, was such a common or known phenomenon like it is nowadays. Not that I know at least. I just know that I adored it and decided that if they could do it, I sure as hell could do it too!”

Since then, our unstoppable growler has been investing all her talent, energy and passion into making extreme music, learning extreme techniques on her own, always trusting her feelings and saying metal music works as pure therapy for her, that it is really what she lives for. After so many years practicing and developing her vocal skills, Sandie knew it was time for her to have her own Extreme Metal band, leading to the creation of Defacing God in 2015. “I always wanted to play in a band, but only did something about it in 2015 when our drummer (Michael Olsson) and I decided to start a project together. After the decision was made, we began to search for musicians with the same intentions and passion as ourselves, and it ended up with the constellation we have today.” From that day on, Lilith was born.

Currently comprised of Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz on vocals (who’s also responsible for all visuals and lyrics), Signar Petersen and Christian Nielsen on the guitars, Rasmus “Kalke” Nielsen on bass, and Michael Olsson on drums, Defacing God were formed in 2015 in Aalborg, a city in the Jutland region of Denmark, but only going public in 2018. Sandie mentioned she hadn’t worked in any other projects before founding Defacing God, only focusing on her singing as well as on some other instruments like the guitar, keyboards, piano and cello, which means we can all consider Defacing God her beloved (and evil) first baby. “Since most of us in the band are experienced musicians by now, we chose to keep our project close to our bodies until we thought everything was completely clear. We didn’t think it made sense to make ourselves visible before, and none of us wanted to stand on stage and deliver something half-finished. Therefore, we have worked at high pressure to be coordinated and create something that we ourselves are proud to show off. I myself really appreciate bands that have a complete theme, stage expression, etc.,” commented our Lilith, also saying that “in addition to the above, we have had some legal construction problems with our rehearsal rooms, and we were therefore forced to take a break for a few months and have our rooms rebuilt and ready. Furthermore, we have had a change in the lineup and our band members. Everything takes time – especially when it comes to music. We have had so much in the making, so many ideas, and it is only now that I feel that we have found our right track and expression. I just think that’s how it is with art in general. It’s one big bubble of ideas, thoughts and expressions, and it can take a long time before the result of all this turns out to be something that makes sense.”

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Inspired by opulent Scandinavian metal traditions, Defacing God base their conceptual themes on the seeping darkness that moves in us all, rooted in occultism and witchcraft, but primarily the mythologically mysterious female demon Lilith and her tales of fervent defiance and perseverance. Through their storytelling, music and aesthetic, the band pulls their listeners into a dark universe of obscure myths, folklore and ancient stories, all the while weaving in often subtle lyrical inspirations from modern societal oppressions and personal demons while musically speaking they echo the styles of artists such as Cradle of Filth, Carach Angren and Dimmu Borgir, blending it with a conventional dose of Black Metal and merging these auras with infernal Death Metal. Hence, as Defacing God are gearing up for the release this September of their debut opus The Resurrection of Lilith, the band has already unleashed upon us a few songs that will feature in the album just to give us a taste of how devilish and heavy it will be, and you can already succumb to the dark world ruled by Defacing God by listening to the songs Succumb the Euphoria, Monolith Of Apocalypse Arise, The Marked Ones, and Rise Of The Trinity, all available on Spotify by the way, also showcasing stunning, hypnotizing visuals thanks to the wicked mind of Lilith. Celebrating feminist power and sisterhood throughout Defacing God’s entire upcoming album, Sandie mentioned that the trinity formed of Abyzou, Jezebel and Lilith is the kind of catalysator who speaks for all cremated witches who never got a voice through times and history, strong and wise women have been slaughtered, molested, executed and abused, just because the herd were scared of their wisdom and free spirit.

As already mentioned, Sandie is highly inspired by Scandinavian metal as well as witchcraft and occultism, also nurturing a personal love for Black Metal, all expressed through the band’s upcoming stage performances and in many of her texts, representing her view of the world and her own experiences. “In the era of witch hunting (between the 15th and 18th centuries) it was only women who stood out from the crowd or perhaps knew something. They were not considered part of normality, and so they were burned – basically because the ‘masses’ did not understand them and were afraid of them. Today it is more acceptable to fall outside the norm. Actually, I think that it has become modern to be alternative – but no matter what, there will always be those who cannot or will not understand you, and you cannot and must not please everyone. That is really what is the message in the theme and what many of the texts can be analyzed down to. Therefore, we have decided that it must be a consistent theme throughout our expression,” commented Sandie in one of her interviews. Furthermore, among her favorite artist and bands, you’ll find some renowned acts the likes of Marduk, Lord Belial, Rotting Christ, Nile, Morbid Angel, Septicflesh, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Belzebubs, also being inspired by movies, books, games, ancient history and “dark places” that she has visited through time.

A proud Aalborg citizen, Sandie said that the metal community in her hometown and in the entire Denmark is quite strong, also saying that it houses a lot of talented solo musicians and great bands compared to other bigger countries. “The community is strong here in Aalborg, too, where I live. We, for example, have a big international festival, Aalborg Metal Festival, scheduled in November every year which is a great festival with lots of passionate, hard-working people behind. Through blood, sweat and tears they make this huge festival work each fucking year without complaints,” also mentioning concerts and festivals arranged by AR&M (Aalborg Rock & Metal) several times a year, where a bunch of hard-working volunteers line up for making the whole thing work as well. One interesting fact about Sandie and her Defacing God is the fact that in 2019 the band was booked for Viborg Metal Festival having only released one song at that time, which according to Sandie herself happened because some people behind the festival already knew her bandmates from other bands and trusted them to put on a great show regardless.

Although she hasn’t been involved with other bands prior to Defacing God, Sandie was a guest musician in the album To Live To Kill To Live, by Danish Heavy/Power Metal act Manticora, saying she loved the experience of collaborating with the band in their latest album. “This part I sang was supposed to be an evil Chinese aunt who killed her whole family due to jealousy. The more brutal, the better!” However, if you think her life is just surrounded by brutality, you might be really impressed by the quality work she used to do before focusing on her career as a musician. “After I finished high school, I took some exams related to business and straight after that I followed my vision (besides of the music) to become a social worker, specialized in young people with mental health diagnoses and social problems. I started to study my bachelor’s in social education and on the side I worked as a teacher,” she said in one of her interviews, also mentioning her passion for the beauty industry. She simply loves everything that has to do with makeup, skincare routines and the ways we can express ourselves in a visual and creative way, taking some exams in the beauty industry and having actually made a living off her own beauty firm, Gorgeous By Gjoertz, while at the same time taking a degree in service, hospitality and tourism management at University College in Aalborg. Not only that, she was also a self-employed insurance agent at one of Scandinavia’s biggest insurance companies, proving how unrelenting and full of energy she is. So, after all is said and done, what are you waiting for to renounce to your weak gods and succumb to the dark powers of a true goddess like Lilith?

Sandie Gjørtz’s Official Instagram
Defacing God’s Official Facebook page
Defacing God’s Official Instagram

“In the name of art there should no boundaries and everyone should have the freedom to be their own independent self, to explore and to express as they desire without being judged or oppressed.” – Sandie Gjørtz

Album Review – Fireproven / Epilogue (2022)

Let’s all say farewell to this talented Progressive Metal act from Finland to the sound of their second (and last) full-length album.

Hailing from the Finnish capital of Helsinki, the Progressive Metal outfit known as Fireproven has just unleashed upon us their sophomore effort, entitled Epilogue, which is also their last album as in January 2022 the band announced they would be disbanded, thanking their loyal fans for their support through the years. “Sadly, we have to announce that Fireproven will no longer continue. There are number of reasons that led us to this decision but we’re all still good friends, and will continue to keep it that way. We’re going to release our last album later this spring but all shows will be cancelled. We want to thank you all for your love and support during these years. None of this would have been possible without you guys listening to our tracks and showing us your love,” commented vocalist Sanna Solanterä, guitarist Janne Väätämöinen, bassist Juha Väätämöinen, keyboardist Ilari Hannula and drummer Nuutti Hannula, leaving us with the musical freedom and explorations from Epilogue embraced by a stylish cover art by Petri Lampela.

The whimsical keys by Ilari will captivate your senses in the opening track The Maze, being joined by the slashing riffage by Janne and the blast beats by Nuutti, sounding very modern, progressive and melodic from start to finish. Then blending the Melodic Metal from bands such as Epica and Within Temptation with Progressive and Groove Metal nuances we have The Addict, a pleasant, headbanging tune led by the always striking vocals by Sanna; whereas  the metallic, thunderous bass by Juha dictates the pace in King, offering more of the band’s hybrid of Melodic and Progressive Metal with the growls by Juha making a great paradox with Sanna’s vocals. And phantasmagorical keys and pounding drums generate a dense atmosphere in Haunted, sounding very theatrical while Janne extracts pure obscurity from his guitar. Moreover, it’s very different from its predecessors, but still loyal to the band’s core essence.

In Time to Heal, the tick tock on the clock grows in intensity until the music turns into a heavy and aggressive onrush with Juha roaring like a beast alternating with Sanna and her beyond melodic vocals, while sheer adrenaline flows from the breathtaking Dream Catcher, where all band members are in absolute sync spearheaded by the Melodic Death Metal keys by Ilari. After such intense tune, an epic, imposing intro to the slashing riffs by Janne evolves into more of the band’s Progressive Metal in Grace, where Janna once again beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics; and the band offers our ears over six minutes of progressiveness in the form of Waves of Extinction, with a delicate but mesmerizing vocal performance by Sanna as if Dream Theater or Opeth had a female vocalist. Lastly, the keys by Ilari add an extra touch of finesse to the nine-minute aria Unity, where Nuuutti keeps hammering his drums nonstop, providing Sanna with exactly what she needs to shine on vocals while Janne and Juha make an incendiary duo with their stringed weapons.

If Progressive and Melodic Metal with female vocals is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a listen at Epilogue, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, and although Fireproven have just called it quits you can still give a shout to the band on Facebook and on Instagram (and who knows, maybe that will inspire them to get back in action in the near future, right?), listen to more of their music on YouTube, and purchase Epilogue from Apple Music. Unfortunately, as already mentioned, Epilogue is the last album by Fireproven, which means we won’t probably hear from those talented Finnish metallers again unless they decide to come back from the ashes one day. However, they’re definitely going out with a bang thanks to the amazing job done in their new album, leaving their mark in the underground Finnish scene while also bringing a lot of fun and joy to our ears and hearts, all in line with the name chosen for their farewell album.

Best moments of the album: The Addict, Dream Catcher and Waves of Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: Haunted.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. The Maze 4:29
2. The Addict 5:19
3. King 4:11
4. Haunted 5:08
5. Time to Heal 5:08
6. Dream Catcher 4:54
7. Grace 5:40
8. Waves of Extinction 6:29
9. Unity 9:02

Band members
Sanna Solanterä – vocals
Janne Väätämöinen – guitar, backing vocals
Juha Väätämöinen – bass, vocals
Ilari Hannula – keyboards
Nuutti Hannula – drums

Album Review – Bloodhunter / Knowledge Was the Price (2022)

Spain’s most ferocious Melodic Death Metal entity offers us all an impressive 55-minute album full of incendiary riffs, blast beats, and the always venomous roars by Diva Satanica.

Almost five years after the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album The End of Faith, Spanish Melodic Death Metal outfit Bloodhunter is finally back in action with their third full-length installment, beautifully titled Knowledge Was the Price. Formed in 2008 in A Coruña, Galicia, but currently located in the Spanish capital Madrid, the band comprised of the stunning Diva Satanica on vocals, Dani Arcos and Guillermo Starless on the guitars, Daniel Luces on bass and Adrián Perales on drums is on fire throughout the album’s impressive 55 minutes of flammable metal music, all of course spiced up by the top-notch production by Dani Arcos, the production, mixing and recording by Carlos Santos at Sadman Studio, the mastering by Víctor García at Ultramarinos Mastering, the recording by Daniel Luces, and the stylish cover art by Antonio Sicre, turning the album into a must-listen for fans of a good mix of melody, rage and storytelling with venomous vocals.

The opening tune Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside is very progressive and sinister, spiced up by its wicked lyrics barked by Diva Satanica (“Sharpened tongues spitting venom inside, / The disease is growing, you’re falling, it’s your last sigh. / Repulsive minds create a world full of lies, / Your false awareness infected the world’s demise.”), whereas Adrián kicks off the title-track Knowledge Was the Price with his rhythmic beats accompanied by the strident guitars by Dani and Guillermo in another ass-kicking display of sharp, devilish Melodic Death Metal. In A Twist of Fate to Come the band drinks from the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Arch Enemy and Soilwork, with Adrián hammering his drums nonstop and, therefore, providing Diva Satanica with exactly what she needs to vociferate like a true she-wolf; and an eerie intro evolves into a neck-breaking feast in Medea’s Guidance, with the metallic bass by Daniel beautifully reverberating in the air. The song could have been a little shorter, though, but nothing to worry about. Then featuring the sensational guest vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, KK’s Priest, Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, Charred Walls of the Damned) we’re treated to Never Let It Rest, where Ripper makes an incendiary, devilish duo with Diva Satanica while the music is simply bestial thanks to the fantastic guitar work by Dani and Guillermo; and more of their piercing guitars are offered to us all in Find Your Inner Fire while Diva Satanica darkly declaims the song’s inspiring lyrics (“Blind Faith – There’s no “tomorrow can wait”. / The Shame – Will be your final disgrace. / All Ends – Even darkness and despair. / Be Brave – Open your arms to self-defense.”).

Investing into a more ferocious, thrilling sonority it’s time for the band to crush us all in The Eye of the Serpent, once again showcasing an amazing job by Adrián with his rhythmic but always demented beats. Put differently, it’s first-class Melodic Death Metal made in Spain, which is also the case in Spreading Your Disease, starting in a somber way to the minimalist guitars by Dani and Guillermo before exploding into another frantic sonority perfect for slamming into the circle pit, also showcasing some sick guitar solos for our total delight. In Nothing Beyond the Realms of Death we face another round of their fusion of melodic, rage and progressiveness, with the intricacy flowing from Adrián’s drums walking hand in hand with the riffage by the band’s guitar duo, whereas an enfolding start to the sound of their harmonious guitars that lasts for almost two minutes morphs into a Stratovarius-ish instrumental tune titled A Relentless Force, followed by The Forsaken Idol, featuring guest vocals by Rosalía Sairem of Therion, a wicked creation by the band that will please all fans of extreme music with Diva Sanatica’s gnarls generating an interesting paradox with Rosalía’s clean vocals. The last original song of the album, The Hunters, brings forward more of the excellent string work by Dani, Guillermo and Daniel while Adrián hammers his drums mercilessly, and as a beyond infernal and heavy-as-hell treat the band blasts their cover version for Children of Bodom’s hit Bodom After Midnight, from their 2000 classic Follow the Reaper (check the original version HERE), with Diva Satanica stealing the spotlight with her roars as usual.

After all is said and done, we can all agree Bloodhunter have outdone themselves with Knowledge Was the Price, stepping up their game and positioning themselves as one of the driving forces of Melodic Death Metal in their homeland. Having said that, you can enjoy their newborn beast in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and so on, and purchase their new album by clicking HERE or HERE. Diva Satanica and the boys are on absolute fire from start to finish in Knowledge Was the Price, and I’m sure after such intense album they’ll advance even further in their already solid career, cementing their name among other giants of the Melodic Death Metal scene worldwide and, consequently, leaving us eager for more of their music in the near future.

Best moments of the album: Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside, Never Let It Rest, The Eye of the Serpent and The Forsaken Idol.

Worst moments of the album: Medea’s Guidance and A Relentless Force.

Released in 2022 Maldito Records

Track listing
1. Sharpened Tongues Spitting Venom Inside 3:34
2. Knowledge Was the Price 3:45
3. A Twist of Fate to Come 2:49
4. Medea’s Guidance 5:23
5. Never Let It Rest 4:39
6. Find Your Inner Fire 3:40
7. The Eye of the Serpent 5:05
8. Spreading Your Disease 5:16
9. Nothing Beyond the Realms of Death 4:47
10. A Relentless Force 4:05
11. The Forsaken Idol 4:03
12. The Hunters 4:30
13. Bodom After Midnight (Children of Bodom cover) 3:38

Band members
Diva Satanica – vocals
Dani Arcos – guitars
Guillermo Starless – guitars
Daniel Luces – bass
Adrián Perales – drums

Guest musicians
Tim “Ripper” Owens – vocals on “Never Let It Rest”
Rosalía Sairem – vocals on “The Forsaken Idol”
Raúl Plaza – bass