Album Review – Hyperomm / In My Own Spaceship (2021)

Dealing with the conquest of space in different parts of history, the new and exciting album by this one-man army from Russia touches on historical facts and thoughts on the topic of our future.

3.5rating

hyperomm-in-my-own-spaceship-2021Dealing with the conquest of space in different parts of history, In My Own Spaceship, the third full-length opus by Moscow, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal project Hyperomm, following up on the success of the band’s 2019 album Transcendence, touches on historical facts and thoughts on the topic of our future, all taken from the innovative mind of the band’s founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Anton Trubin. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Anton himself, who was also responsible for all vocals, guitars, keys, sampling, lyrics, songwriting and the album’s artwork and design, In My Own Spaceship invites the listener for a metallic space journey together with Anton and session drummer Vladimir Fomenko (of bands like Lautreamont and Дебри), all embraced by a more futuristic version of the music played by renowned acts the likes of In Flames, At The Gates and Arch Enemy.

Rocket Scientist (1929) kicks off in full force to the sick blast beats by Vladimir and the always melodious but piercing riffs by Anton, resulting in a true headbanger that lives up to the legacy of Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal to set the tone in such futuristic album, followed by Hope Springs Eternal (2150),  where poetry flows from its lyrics (“Our fathers killed this place / Blood of their grandsons on their hands / We are looking for a clue / That will come to the rescue”) while the music blasted by Anton is imposing and epic from start to finish. Then guest vocalist Katerina Zabolotskaya brings a beautiful touch of finesse to Close Your Eyes (2151), where Anton once again slashes his guitar in great fashion accompanied by the thunderous beats by Vladimir in an amazing display of modern-day Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal, and there’s no time to breathe as our journey through space and time goes on in E Pur Si Muove! (1633), showcasing crisp, intricate riffs and drums while Anton growls and roars like a creature from outer space.

Investing in a more aggressive and demonic sonority, Anton and his Hyperomm put the pedal to the metal in Humanity’s Dream (1961), a great option for slamming into the pit in the name of metal and science, whereas a video game-inspired start explodes into first-class Melodic Death and Industrial Metal titled Emotional Anchors (2055), where once again Anton roars rabidly form start to finish while he delivers ass-kicking riffs and solos for our total delight. In Who Are on the Stars? (3000BC), get ready for another round of cryptic words declaimed by Anton (“Our grandfather’s fathers talked about the skies / That gods and our ancestors indwell there / They look onto us and guide our lives / Oh how we want to look at them”) amidst an intricate, Dream Theater-ish sound, while slowing things down a bit Anton fires Invention/Dissemination (2200), showcasing a heavier and darker atmosphere spiced up by Anton’s futuristic keys; however, it’s not as vibrant as the rest of the album. And lastly, we’re treated to the melancholic, pensive outro 13799000000 Years Ago, featuring arrangements by guest Alexander Glinsky and, therefore, putting a beautiful and climatic finale to In My Own Spaceship.

hyperomm-2021Anton’s journey through space and time can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your support to our dauntless Russian metaller you should purchase the album from his own BandCamp page, from the Soundage Productions’ webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. In addition, don’t forget to follow the project on Facebook, Instagram and VKontakte for all things Hyperomm, an to subscribe to his YouTube channel for more of his unique music. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to jump on Hyperomm’s spaceship and follow Anton on his wild quest through space? And instead of the silence found out there, you better be prepared for an overdose of first-class metal music by such creative and hardworking musician hailing from Russia.

Best moments of the album: Close Your Eyes (2151), Humanity’s Dream (1961) and Emotional Anchors (2055).

Worst moments of the album: Invention/Dissemination (2200).

Released in 2021 Soundage Productions

Track listing 
1. Rocket Scientist (1929) 5:03
2. Hope Springs Eternal (2150) 4:21
3. Close Your Eyes (2151) 4:53
4. E Pur Si Muove! (1633) 5:55
5. Humanity’s Dream (1961) 5:44
6. Emotional Anchors (2055) 5:13
7. Who Are on the Stars? (3000BC) 4:17
8. Invention/Dissemination (2200) 4:53
9. 13799000000 Years Ago 1:52

CD bonus track
10. We Made Because We Could 5:01

Band members
Anton Trubin – vocals, guitars, sampling, drums

Guest musicians
Vladimir Fomenko – drums (session)
Katerina Zabolotskaya – female vocals on “Close Your Eyes (2151)”
Alexander Glinsky – arrangements on “13799000000 Years Ago”

Metal Chick of the Month – Mikaela Attard

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I flew high on black wings when death looked me closer in the eye…

The Headbanging Moose is about to become The RED-banging Moose this summer with our multi-talented, sunning and rebellious metal chick of the month of June, and you better get ready because she’s out for blood. I’m talking about Mikaela Attard, a vocalist, composer, lyric writer and producer hailing from the island of Malta, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, with a wide vocal range that allows her to easily sing in multiple rock and metal styles, known in the metal community for her time with Maltese Extreme Metal act Martyrium and more recently for her wicked solo project MIKAELA. Born on May 8, 1993, Mikaela has been singing since the young age of eight, having actually started with classical singing training as well as classical piano training and examinations. In addition, she won the Pop Idol in Malta when she was 13 and released her first Alternative Rock EP Hear Me Out when she was 15, with all the singles from the EP getting constant airplay. Do you want more? Alright, here we go.

Having performed on several stages around Malta and overseas, including cities like Los Angeles and Boston, in the United States, and several European countries, Mikaela studied Vocal Performance on campus at Berklee College of Music in Boston and furthered her education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Production with Summa Cum Laude, always attracted to the creation and production side of the music, and also getting into the science and engineering behind it as well as into Game Audio and Film Scoring. All that passion, talent and education resulted in multiple awards in her career, including Best New Artist in 2010, Best Female Artist and Malta’s Export Artist in 2011, Vodafone Upcoming Artist and Berklee College Singer-Songwriter, and Best Metal Band in 2019.

Let’s begin her journey in our Heavy Metal universe with her two-year stint with Martyrium (or MartYriuM), an Extreme Metal band from Malta formed by Count Mortem in 1999 with the spawn of the second wave of Black Metal, offering fans of extreme music a unique blend of Black and Death Metal with a specific sound design introducing sinister orchestrations and industrial elements to the style. Our red-haired diva began her time with Martyrium back in 2018, and Mikaela herself mentioned that it was a great learning experience in the beginning. However, as time passed by she started to feel very uncomfortable inside the band, stating that things got unacceptable literally, from the conditions how they treated her as a frontwoman and how they used her pictures, never wanting to hear what she had to say about those topics, leading to her departure form the band in 2020. It is what it is, unfortunately, because as you can see in some live videos such as Martyrium playing the song Curse Of Salvation at Oskorei Midvinter Festival in 2019 and the song Vital in Willemeen, Arnhem, Netherlands during the Female Metal Voices Tour 2018 with the Butcher Babies and Kobra and The Lotus, Martyrium kicked some serious ass with Mikaela fronting the band. Not only that, Mikaela had also been part of several collaborations such as Xirka Rock, and collaborated with the legendary multi-instrumentalist Marco Minnemann on his album My Sister on the songs My Sister and A Working Town. In addition, she was also a member of a metal band called Hex Omega during part of the 2010’s.

A few months after leaving Martyrium due to the personal issues listed above with the other band members, our Maltese metal goddess founded her stunning solo project MIKAELA, having already released her debut effort Nocturne In Red in 2020 alongside guitarist and bassist Kyle Farrugia (from Maltese metal band Align the Tide) and the aforementioned Marco Minnemann on drums, bringing to our ears an electrifying and sexy fusion of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive, Black, Death and Nu Metal, as you can see in the excellent song Chaotic Mind. According to Mikaela herself, Nocturne In Red is a conceptual album and also comes to terms with her personal experiences. “The concept of the album is about state of the mind. In fact, even it is even portrayed in the artwork on the album. I hold on a crystal ball and assigned to it the human brain. It is dripping black blood from it, and basically what it means is that it is about six different states of the mind and it is different how we perceive them, but sometimes we still are the same in the difference. So that is what it generally is about. All the songs are about a particular episode and that is what inspired me to write a particular song,” said Mikaela, complementing by explaining the idea behind the song Bring Me Blood. “That was inspired by an extreme event I went through in the past. I was the victim of an attempted murder here in Malta. I wrote that song in literally five minutes basically, it was just spitting out the words and music. It just came right on and that is why I decided that it should be the first single on the album, because it is so authentic. It is like: I left from somewhere over there. The song speaks about the anger I felt towards the situation and also towards the misunderstanding of court. I do not think it was well dealt in court, I think justice was not delivered.” And you can watch Mikaela discussing about that in an interview to Gabriel Gignac from Grizzly Media named 10 Bites of Nocturne In Red.

When asked about what us fans should expect from her first solo album, Mikaela explained how different the music style would be from her previous years with Martyrium. “My background of influences are quite different from Martyrium’s, although obviously there’s a lot of common favorites. I, however, like a more dynamic plateau of sounds and textures. I am a lot into deathcore, jazz, classical, electronic, groove and progressive music apart from all the metal in general. Obviously, I have a fond love for Black Metal and Death Metal too as well as all sorts of rock and metal in general. But I’m not quite a one kind of music-kind-of-girl. For that matter, I also love techno and industrial.” Regarding her main influences and idols, as expected she keeps getting inspired by a vast array of distinguished musicians and bands the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Metallica, Megadeth, Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Opeth, Janis Joplin, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lamb of God, Otep, Gojira, Slipknot, Thy Art Is Murder, Whitechapel, Jinjer, Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Silence, Northlane, Chelsea Grin, Behemoth, After The Burial, Emmure, In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Wage War, ERRA and Ded, just to mention a few, which explains why the music found in her solo project is so difficult to label, so unique and diverse.

An accomplished vocalist, Mikaela can easily switch from clean singing to powerful growls and screaming vocals, and when asked about how she grew to like and practice this kind of singing and who were her heroes or inspirations that got her into that, she said that she’s a trained classical singer with a fond love for rock and metal who has always listened to those styles, having been introduced to them at a young age by her parents, and as her voice has always had sort of a rasp and natural scream it was a smooth transition for her to start doing guttural vocals. “My first experiences growling and screaming in public came gradually but once I launched some of the music at my debut, it was then official,” commented Mikaela, who’s also absolutely passionate about being on stage. “I must have been 9 singing in public, festivals, auditions, cathedrals, singing with organs and orchestras, stages, karaoke’s, we used to do it all the time when I was kid. It was fun. My first official outside country experience in public was singing in Johannesburg, South Africa though on a much larger scale and I loved it. I never feared the stage, can’t really say I got ever shy or anything… And I guess that still shows to this day.” And although she believes the pandemic might destroy metal music if nothing is done urgently, she understands the whole situation and keeps working off stage in anything that requires her attention. “We’re doing this massive sacrifice to help stop the spread of covid which now I don’t even know when that will ever stop but let’s hang on. When I’m off stage, there’s still a lot of things to do for a musical act so I keep myself entertained and focused by practicing on my own, coming up with ideas, drawing, writing, preparing orders and doing everything necessary to keep it going.”

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As a woman that performs in a genre that is always connected with power and strength, when asked about what she would say to women in general who face sexism and undermining and are considered weaker than men, she believes that all women in metal and in life in general should not go down to the level of the bullies who are being sexist, as it’s a waste of time. “If you share negativity, that’s what you’ll get. So be positive, feel it for real and just shut them and their vibes out of your life. The world is much better than that. Always be yourself and look for people who share the same ambition, who can see through you for real and what you’re after in life and music. You deserve better, we are strong and our strength should be celebrated just as any man can,” commented Mikaela, who also thinks that music shouldn’t be divided by gender or sex at all, as if we don’t all have a pair of vocal cords and we all can sound unique no matter what techniques we use to voice our hearts out.

Regarding her view of the metal scene in her homeland Malta, she mentioned that although Malta is a small island with a population of only around 500,000 people, it’s pretty much the same population as Iceland, but a lot of great artists come from Iceland. “I do not think it is quite within the culture to appreciate Metal a lot. It is not the mainstream at all. With the Metal scene, there are a lot of bands and actually, if you play here, a lot of the people in the crowd perform themselves. In general, I think it is very hard to make it, you have to skip the first step and it has to be outside of Malta, unfortunately,” said our screaming queen, complementing by saying that despite the fact there are several excellent metal bands showcasing a lot of potential on the island, the lack of a proper market or industry makes it extremely hard (albeit not impossible) for most bands to reach a decent level of success. In addition, if you want to know more about Mikaela and her beautiful home country, I highly recommend you watch two very interesting interviews with her done by local publications, one being 73 Questions Malta, where she talks about her thoughts on the metal industry in Malta and what it was like growing up there, and another called Lovin Malta Meets: Mikaela, where Lovin Malta’s resident music journalist JP Azzopardi discussed everything with her, from her musical origins to the world of metal and her future plans.

There are many TV performances of Mikaela on Youtube with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during an event called Rockestra, a collaboration that Mikaela considers really amazing, singing in front of 13,000 fans in her homeland even with the fact that metal is still a controversial style in Malta. For instance, you can enjoy her powerful vocals in absolute sync with her country’s national orchestra in songs such as Metallica’s Enter Sandman in 2011, Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City in 2012, Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train in 2016, and AC/DC’s Back In Black in 2018, showing her performances with the orchestra were not a once-off, but she’s a recurrent guest during such unique festival. Also, there’s another great video of Mikaela performing Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Sea live on the Maltese TV channel One on the program Q, always showing her support for metal music in Malta.

Our talented Mikaela also loves to interact with her fans and followers on social media, not only posting pictures but also writing lengthy captions and asking them questions as well as for opinions or suggestions; however, people tend to simply “ignore” her questions and give her only compliments in the comments. Mikaela said she actually appreciates all the comments and compliments, not judging anyone for not answering any of the questions posted and always valuing the interactions with her followers. She also likes to keep track of the number of streams of her songs, which countries she’s listened the most and merchandise purchases, as she believes it’s very important to know where her music is being enjoyed. For instance, she mentioned in one of her interview that Germany is amongst the top countries where her debut solo album is being listened to, as well as the United States, Canada (and The Headbanging Moose is proud to contribute to that, of course), Mexico and Russia.

Having several beautiful tattoos all over her body, Mikaela said it all started with ‘Rock and Roll’ inked on the side of her palms some years ago and she has never looked back, having her two full arm sleeves, palms, fingers, front side of the thighs, some on the neck, ass and full back all covered (and always ready for more). “I love tattoos, I think it’s like turning a house into a home. I feel confident in my body and what I represent. In my country it was still a taboo, especially on women, until a few years ago, but things slowly started changing thankfully. I used to get looks for having red hair in the past, can you imagine when I had the first tattoo sleeve? Older mentalities still judge a woman with tattoos greatly and to be fair, it is still not the norm and could get a lot of judgement,” commented Mikaela, who’s always encouraging uniqueness and trying to lead by example. Furthermore, when asked why she has chosen red as her main color, when her zodiac sign says it should have been green or pink, she answered by saying she loves red a lot along with black, representing a lot of things for her personally and becoming an important part of her identity. Mikaela also has some interesting hobbies whenever she’s not listening to music, writing, playing the piano and experimenting with mixing and sound engineering. For example, she loves to paint occasionally with pencils or acrylics and of course to take part in photo shooting sessions, among other non-music activities, but yet again she has mentioned several times already that music is her life and vice-versa. “Well, I live the cliché, yes my life is the music.” Well said, Mikaela!

Mikaela Attard’s Official Facebook page
Mikaela Attard’s Official Instagram
Mikaela Attard’s Official Twitter
Mikaela Attard’s Official YouTube channel

“Honestly, the more you know about music, and the more you know how things are done behind that, I think being a vocalist is just the tip of the iceberg. I think it is good to you have some kind of knowledge. I mean, you do not have to have a degree if you just like to read about mixing, mastering and production and you have the space to do so, I think it is just awesome. But I really wanted to get that formal degree. So that is why I applied for that degree course. It was very important for me, it was a game changer, because I have always seen music not from a vocalist perspective. I have always seen it as a musician’s perspective, since I am formally trained and piano classically trained and also jazz trained.” – Mikaela Attard

Album Review – SynlakrosS / 0K4M1 (2021)

Spain’s own Melodic Death Metal institution returns with their most creative album to date, showcasing a message by a creature brought into being by humans from a synthetic embryo and alien DNA.

3.5rating

synlakross-0k4m1-2021Pre-produced by Roronona and produced by Facundo Novo at Novo Studios, 0K4M1 is the brand new opus by Valencia, Spain’s own Melodic Death Metal institution SynlakrosS, following up on their critically acclaimed 2018 release Malice Murder while addressing a conceptual message in which the listener also becomes the protagonist of the story. “This album is completely different from our previous albums. This time you are part of history, how? The album is a message sent by the creature 0K4M1, and you are the one who receives this message from millions of light years away. Like a message in a bottle. At the end of the listening, you must choose if you want to keep it a secret, or if you want to share it with others. And who is 0K4M1? 0K4M1 is a creature created by humans from a synthetic embryo and alien DNA. Created to be a lethal weapon, the new antichrist. Before dying, it decides to record its life experience and share it with everyone who receives this message. Because perhaps its experience can ease the listener’s existential pain and suffering. It’s a sad but beautiful album, dark but full of energy,” explained the band currently comprised of frontwoman Patricia Pons, guitarists Ivan Muñoz and Aaron Hidalgo, bassist ‘Roro’ Pablo Fuentes, and drummer Dan Shurak.

As soon as you hit play you’ll be treated to a futuristic, eerie intro simply named Intro 0K4M1, warming up our senses for the melodic and visceral Pitch Black, with Patricia screaming the song’s words beautifully (“Alone I am. Cold and black / Neutron Star / Dark halos of God shine when massive stars collapse / Black Goo / Blood, hate and fascination”) in a venomous display of the band’s modern-day fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore, flowing into the headbanging Melodic Death Metal extravaganza Oscilloscope, where newcomer Dan smashes his drums mercilessly while Roro extracts the most metallic sounds you can imagine form his menacing bass. After such exciting start to the album it’s time for The Last Day of Eris, another shot of their multi-layered and thrilling music once again showcasing cryptic words vociferated by Patricia (“This is the last day of Eris / I sail in the storm / Everything crashes around me, / but I don’t want to lose hope”) while Ivan and Aaron slash their axes in great fashion.

Then a cryptic beginning grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose in Ökami, with the rumbling bass by Roro walking hand in hand with the vicious drumming by Dan, therefore resulting in a solid display of Melodic Death Metal for admirers of the genre; followed by Lost In The Universe, a somber mid-tempo tune by SynlakrosS where the guitars by Ivan and Aaron sound utterly sharp, piercing our minds mercilessly (albeit not as breathtaking as the rest of the album). And Patricia mesmerizes us all with her wildest side in the high-octane Escape From Earth, screaming like a true she-wolf while also providing at the same time some rebellious clean vocals. Furthermore, her bandmates make sure we feel absolutely inspired to slam into the circle pit to the sound of their infernal riffs, bass punches and stylish beats, before the entire band brings forward six minutes of introspective, futuristic sounds in the grim Stardust, flowing smoothly and darkly until the very last second and, as a consequence, putting a climatic ending to their first-ever Sci-Fi release.

synlakross-2021After all is said and done, are you going to share the message sent by the creature known as 0K4M1 with the world, or are you going to keep it a secret? In case you haven’t made up your mind yet, you should definitely stream the album on  Spotify as many times as you want, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and more of the band’s unique music, subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their insane videos, and above all that, click HERE to purchase your copy of the album and support SynlakrosS on their quest for heavy music. Those Spanish metallers did an awesome job narrating the synthetic life and death of this uncanny creature named 0K4M1 in their new album, and let’s hope we hear more from Patricia, Roro & Co. in a not-so-distant future. End of transmission.

Best moments of the album: Oscilloscope, The Last Day of Eris and Escape From Earth.

Worst moments of the album: Lost In The Universe.

Released in 2021 independent

Track listing
1. Intro 0K4M1 1:14
2. Pitch Black 3:04
3. Oscilloscope 3:34
4. The Last Day of Eris 3:44
5. Ökami 3:30
6. Lost In The Universe 4:14
7. Escape From Earth 3:56
8. Stardust 6:27

Band members
Patricia Pons – vocals
Ivan Muñoz – guitar
Aaron Hidalgo – guitar
‘Roro’ Pablo Fuentes – bass
Dan Shurak – drums

Album Review – Aversed / Impermanent (2021)

An up-and-coming American entity is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their debut album, presenting their own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.

Let’s all celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the first-class metal music blasted by Boston, Massachusetts-based female-fronted unity Aversed in their debut full-length opus entitled Impermanent, the ass-kicking follow-up to their 2011 self-titled EP and their 2016 EP Renewal. Mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson at The Grid Productions, produced by the band’s own guitarist Alden Marchand, and displaying a sick artwork by Adam Burke at Nightjar Illustration, Impermanent illustrates the unique approach to songwriting by frontwoman Haydee Irizarry, guitarists Sungwoo Jeong and Alden Marchand, bassist Peter Albert de Reyna and drummer Jeff Saltzman with nine diverse compositions full of catchy hooks and vast melodies, pivoting from Melodic Death Metal towards a nuanced balance of Blackened and Orchestral Melodic Metal. “The album presents our own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.  However, like the changing mind, we present this inevitable human destruction as a chance for a beautiful rebirth, a chance for new life to flourish.  We attempted to portray this imagery by combining the violence of death and black metal with the lighthearted beauty of rock & roll, blues, and classical,” commented the band about their newborn beast.

A melancholic intro quickly explodes into a venomous Melodic Death Metal feast entitled Natsukashi, a Japanese word used when something evokes a fond memory from your past, also presenting hints of classic Death and Black Metal while Jeff takes the lead with his unstoppable beats, accompanied by the razor-edged guitars by Sungwoo and Alden and, therefore, resulting in a beyond perfect way to start the album. Then we have Close My Eyes, bringing to our ears a very pleasant and melodious vibe where Haydee steals the show with both her piercing clean vocals and her she-wolf roars, living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Arch Enemy and The Agonist, not to mention the amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo once again; followed by Laboratory, where we’re treated to very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Haydee (“Ten thousand years ago / the blossom of mankind / sprung forth unto Earth / a civilized mistake / Machines to woo thy mind / and spin it into exquisite design / separated from nature / we transcend into gods”) amidst a neck-breaking, demented Death Metal sound where Peter and Jeff make the earth tremble with their infernal kitchen. And putting the pedal to the metal the quintet offers the frantic and austere title-track Impermanent, with Jeff’s crushing drums walking hand in hand with the hellish screams by Haydee.

After such imposing tune, a smooth and serene intro and the background sound of waves kick off the thrilling Abandoned, alternating between more melodic Metalcore moments and sheer savagery, with Sungwoo’s and Alden’s riffs cutting our skin deep, whereas blending their core sonority with Progressive Death Metal, they bring forward the intricate, multi-layered Solar Sea, where Haydee keeps growling nonstop (and obviously stunning us all with her amazing voice), while Peter blasts his bass with tons of intricacy and rage. In Malaise the band invests into a more straightforward, in-your-face sound while still presenting their most melodic side, with the band’s guitar duo, accompanied by the bass jabs by Peter, generating a dense and strident atmosphere from start to finish; and Aversed will blow your mind with the epicness and violence flowing from Spiraling, a metallic and insane extravaganza where Jeff sounds utterly bestial behind his drums while Haydee keeps embellishing the airwaves with her piercing clean vocals and devilish growls. And lastly, it’s time for more of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal with Progressive Metal and Metalcore in Nightshade, once again presenting furious riffs and beats intertwined with the demented roars by Haydee, growing in intensity until fading into an ethereal finale.

After taking several listens to Impermanent, I must say that such awesome, multi-layered album of modern metal music will certainly become a (and sorry about the bad joke) permanent part of my daily metal playlist, and I highly recommend you also add it to yours by purchasing it from the band’s own BandCamp page, where you can by the way acquire a fantastic bundle containing a shirt, a double-sided hoodie, a CD in jewel case and the LP version of the album, or from Apple Music, showing your absolute support to one of the most promising and hardworking bands of the current American scene. Hence, don’t forget to also follow the guys and girl from Aversed on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their kick-ass videos, helping to keep the fires of the underground burning bright. In the end, Aversed did a superb job with Impermanent, paving an exciting path ahead of them in the melodic and progressive landscape while at the same time offering something fresh to admirers of the fusion of aggressiveness and harmony. And if this is just their first album, I can’t imagine how far the band can go in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Natsukashi, Laboratory and Nightshade.

Worst moments of the album: Malaise.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Natsukashi 5:29
2. Close My Eyes 5:35
3. Laboratory 4:13
4. Impermanent 6:45
5. Abandoned 6:21
6. Solar Sea 7:36
7. Malaise 5:52
8. Spiraling 6:27
9. Nightshade 8:35

Band members
Haydee Irizarry – vocals
Sungwoo Jeong – guitars
Alden Marchand – guitars
Peter Albert de Reyna – bass
Jeff Saltzman – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Logue – orchestrations
Eden Rayz – cello

Metal Chick of the Month – Tanya Beickert

Take my guiding hand, take my guiding hand with you…

As the winter snow is starting to melt in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s turn up the heat even more here on The Headbanging Moose with another humble tribute to a woman who definitely knows how to set fire to heavy music with her unparalleled roars and clean vocals, showcasing a wide vocal range that’s not easy to find out there, allowing her to sing in pretty much any style from Metalcore to classic Heavy Metal, from Progressive Metal to Melodic Death Metal, and so on. I’m talking about Tanya Elizabeth Beickert, better known as Tanya Beickert, the stunning frontwoman for Long Island, New York-based Progressive Death Metal act Monochromatic Black, an up-and-coming metal entity that will put you to bang your head nonstop while at the same time offering fresh, innovative and intricate music for your avid ears. And let me tell you that after knowing more about our talented metal lady of this month of March and her awesome band, you’ll undoubtedly get addicted to her voice and to the pulverizing music by one of the most interesting new bands of the current American scene.

In case you know nothing about Monochromatic Black, the band was founded in January 2018 by vocalist and lyricist Tanya Beickert, guitarist and songwriter John Gribbin, and drummer and songwriter Eddie DeCesare, all seasoned musicians who had been in other previous projects in the scene, most notably Eddie’s previous band Painted In Exile, when their bands at the time were all gradually slowing down, joined on stage by guitarist Dan Rivera and bassist Arthur Erb (both found by Tanya through social media) to complete the five-piece live group. Whether it’s financial, creativity, shows or whatever decisions that need to be made, Tanya said John, Eddie and herself all come together and try to always do what’s best for the band (by the way, Tanya and John have been friends for years through their old bands), which is one of the main reasons why their music sounds so cohesive and melodic. When asked how she would define their sound, she said their genre could be considered Progressive Death Metal with Metalcore influences and even some Black Metal nuances, meshing a lot of different metal genres to keep things interesting.

There’s no denying of the talent of each band member, but it’s Tanya’s she-wolf, aggressive vocals that truly give their already brutal music an extra edge, with her soft, clean vocals also adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result, displaying her broad vocal range and, consequently, supporting the band’s atmospheric vein. If you want to explore in more detail the metal realm ruled by Tanya and her henchmen and listen to some of their vibrant and meaningful creations, you can find Monochromatic Black on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube and on Spotify, and also purchase their music and merch from their own BandCamp page and Big Cartel. If you want to have your mind blown by the visceral yet enthralling vocals by Tanya (and also enjoy her stunning looks, of course), you can take a very good look and listen at the official videos for the songs Warmth of the Sun, Phosphenes, The Herd, and their newest single Abbadon, or simply have a blast with their debut EP Pneuma in its entirety. There are also some very interesting interviews online with Tanya and the rest of the band, like this one for The Mosh Network where they answered some questions about how the band got started, how they write their music, and what sets them apart from other bands, among other topics, to give you an even better view of the importance of Monochromatic Black to the current underground scene.

Although Tanya acknowledges the similarities between her band and iconic acts like Jinjer and Entheos, bands which Monochromatic Black are usually compared to by fans, and of course that are a huge influence for Tanya herself, she said she doesn’t want her band to be compared to just other female-fronted bands, though, saying they have their own sound and that they want to be admired that way. In order to be on the same level as the aforementioned bands, she said Monochromatic Black have been working hard nonstop from day one, taking the whole project as serious as it can be, always touring, making new music and videos, and working hard to achieve all of their goals. Regarding her own personal influences in music, she mentioned bands like A Perfect Circle, Sikth and After the Burial as some of her top metal acts of all time, with her biggest influences as a singer varying depending on her vocal style. For instance, for clean vocals she’s a huge fan of Maynard James Keenan of A Perfect Circle and Tool, Jimmy Gnecco of Ours, Jeff Buckley (R.I.P.), and Michael Lessard of The Contortionist, while her harsh vocals are influenced by Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, and Anthony Notarmaso of After the Burial. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the different past projects all members of Monochromatic Black have been in and their personal experiences have surely helped them in the long run, but it’s hard to pinpoint the one that had the biggest influence in the making of Pneuma.

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In regards to touring, due to the obvious restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 there aren’t any upcoming concerts scheduled for Monochromatic Black in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean Tanya and the boys are not getting ready for hitting the road once all this madness is finally over. They will focus on the United States at first for obvious reasons, but based on the quality of their music and how fans from all over the world really love that style of metal music I’m sure we’ll see the band kicking some serious ass in foreign lands soon enough. Also, despite the fact Monochromatic Black is fairly new to the scene, as mentioned Tanya and her bandmates are seasoned musicians, having played with countless bands from the New York Death Metal scene and being open to playing alongside all local bands like The Machinist, Internal Bleeding, Dehumanized, Pyrexia and so on. In order to get ready to kick some ass on stage with her powerful voice, Tanya  mentioned she warms up beforehand by screaming the alphabet in low, mid and high screams, and to keep her voice fit she practices as much as possible all the time (not to mention she also took a few vocal lessons years ago).

Our skillful growler was also asked in some of her interviews to give more details about the writing process and meaning of Monochromatic Black’s debut effort, where she said that Pneuma is a concept album that walks the listener through, starting from rock bottom to finally rising to the top, as everyone has different struggles and experiences and the album is just one journey written about that. She also said together with her bandmates that their unique sound came naturally as they all write and bring material to the table, meeting up twice a week while writing on their own time and shaping the songs on the spot together, with no planned out idea, just what they sound like when they come together. She also commented a little about two of the songs featured in Pneuma, more specifically Phosphenes and Dream Catcher; while she mentioned that Phosphenes for her is about losing your confidence, inner peace or who you truly are as a person to someone extremely negative or abusive, she said that her favorite song of the album is Dream Catcher, simply because it goes from serene to eerie to brutal all in one track.

Lastly, when asked about how she sees the band in the coming years, she said that hopefully they’ll already be headlining professional level tours and releasing more records (and stay tuned as their new opus is about to hit the market in the coming year or so), a combination which as you can see seems to be the biggest passion of all band members. Hence, you can check some awesome video interviews online with Tanya (either alone or together with the rest of Monochromatic Black) to not only learn more about such promising American act, but to also see how humble, focused and entertaining the entire band is, as for example Tanya’s interview on The Metal Magdalene with Jet international radio broadcast on Metal Messiah Radio, where she talks about some of her main influences, about her clean and guttural vocals, about Pneuma and about the future of the band; and an interview to Showbiz Music where the band talks about their “preshow rituals”. Also, you might not know about this, but Monochromatic Black are affiliated with Blakhart Coffee in their mission in helping wildlife, with a portion of the sales from their branded coffee, “Monochromatic Black Roast” NY Style Dark Ground, going to a local non-profit organization. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join Tanya and the boys in their quest for metal music and wildlife, while at the same time enjoying some high-quality coffee? I’m sure Tanya would love to see us all metalheads supporting a very noble cause, raising our horns while she growls and screams the lyrics to her insanely good and heavy creations.

Monochromatic Black’s Official Facebook page
Monochromatic Black’s Official Instagram
Monochromatic Black’s Official Twitter
Monochromatic Black’s Official YouTube channel
Monochromatic Black’s BandCamp page
Monochromatic Black’s Big Cartel

“I think what makes us stand out is the genre we play. It’s all different genres and energy combined into one and a lot of people have noticed that which is awesome.” – Tanya Beickert

Album Review – Orecus / The Obliterationist (2021)

Behold the rebirth of an amazing Swedish act armed with their first full-length album, drawing influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart.

Founded in 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden and having released an EP titled Conclusion in 2016, but re-ignited as a band in 2020, Melodic Death Metal unity Orecus draws influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart, forming a clear path between sheer brutality and clever songwriting. Comprised of Philip Grüning on vocals, Elias Ryen-Rafstedt and Francis Larsson on the guitars, and Martin Maxe on bass, Orecus are set to release their first full-length opus entitled The Obliterationist, showcasing the band’s capability to create uncompromising Modern Death Metal that both grooves and reeks havoc, spiced up by the pristine re-amping, mixing and mastering by Buster Odeholm of Impact Studios and enfolded by a dark and aggressive artwork by Jorden Haley, who has already worked with bands the likes of Daath and The Agony Scene.

Elias and Francis begin slashing their guitars mercilessly in The Obliterationist while Philip roars the song’s austere lyrics like a true beast (“There’s money to be made in reeking havoc / When our leaders slaughter for personal gain / Provoking the underdogs / Until their fates are sealed”) in a vicious display of modern-day Melodic Death Metal; and hammering drums are accompanied by the low-tuned, metallic bass by Martin in Distress Signal, a good headbanging tune where Philip’s growling gets deeper and more demonic than before, also presenting elements from classic Death and Groove Metal. Then investing in a more contemporary sonority by adding hints of Metalcore to their already infernal sound, the band fires the venomous The Destruction Path, where the strident riffage by Elias and Francis will pierce your mind like a bullet, whereas featuring guest vocalist Chad Kapper (Frontierer) we’re treated to Blodvite, displaying industrialized sounds and endless electricity flowing smoothly from all instruments. Moreover, it’s impressive how they can sound technical but at the same time extremely dark and heavy, and it’s time to crush our spinal cords into the circle pit to the sound of Omnipotent, a brutal Melodic Death Metal composition where sheer violence and rage exhale from the band’s riffs, bass jabs and drums nonstop.

Supported by the spot-on guest vocals by Fredrik Söderberg (Soreption), the bass by Martin sounds and feels beyond visceral in Below The Threshold, while the band’s guitar duo cuts our skin deep with their demonic shredding accompanied by Philip’s inhumane gnarls, and they continue their Melodic Death Metal onrush with the also heavy and dark Unborn, Reborn, showcasing an amazing job done by both Elias and Francis in absolute sync with the song’s intricate beats. Then the deep guttural roars by Philip will haunt your soul in the bludgeoning tune My Manifest, presenting their trademark Melodic Death Metal guitars intertwined with a somber atmosphere and endless savagery. In Become The Nihilist the band shows why they’re never tired of blasting obscurity and rage from their sonic weapons, albeit not as vibrant as its predecessors and sounding a bit generic after a while. It’s still heavy-as-hell, though, setting the tone for Extinct, bringing to our ears one last round of their Stygian words barked by Philip (“I’ve caught a glimpse of what’s to come / A sinking world / Suffocated by submissive views / The deafening silence speaks volumes”) while the music remains as demented as possible, not to mention how thunderous Martin sounds on bass.

The ruthless guys from Orecus are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on Spotify to show you exactly what they got, and of course in order to provide them your utmost support you can purchase The Obliterationist from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, adding such intense album of Melodic Death Metal to your personal and vile collection. As already mentioned, Orecus offer us fans of extreme music a fantastic fusion of old school and modern-day Death Metal with endless aggression, heaviness and intricacy in The Obliterationist, and let’s hope that their newborn spawn is just the first step in this new phase of their career, keeping the flames of underground Swedish Melodic Death Metal burning high and bright for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: The Obliterationist, The Destruction Path and Below The Threshold.

Worst moments of the album: Become The Nihilist.

Released in 2021 Violent Groove

Track listing
1. The Obliterationist 4:42
2. Distress Signal 3:23
3. The Destruction Path 4:08
4. Blodvite 3:32
5. Omnipotent 4:27
6. Below The Threshold 3:57
7. Unborn, Reborn 5:06
8. My Manifest 3:52
9. Become The Nihilist 3:39
10. Extinct 4:27

Band members
Philip Grüning – vocals
Elias Ryen-Rafstedt – guitars
Francis Larsson – guitars
Martin Maxe – bass

Guest musicians
Chad Kapper – vocals on “Blodvite”
Fredrik Söderberg – vocals on “Below The Threshold”

Metal Chick of the Month – Britta Görtz

Follow me into the fire!

In times of turbulence, violence, uncertainty, hope and despair, perhaps the best subgenre of metal music to help us express all those feelings mixed together is our good old Death Metal, and in order to do that here at The Headbanging Moose let’s pay a humble tribute to a ferocious woman hailing from Germany that roars and growls with tons of passion when fronting her ass-kicking underground squads. Born on October 20, 1977 in Hannover, the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony, the unrelenting Extreme Metal vocalist, lyricist, songwriter and vocal coach Britta Görtz has been making a name for herself in the German and international scene with her potent guttural vocals since around 2005, standing out as the frontwoman for Thrash Metal act Cripper and more recently for Death Metal squads Critical Mess and Hiraes. Having said that, are you ready to bang your head and slam into the circle pit together with such talented growler?

Let’s kick off our tribute to Britta with her main band at the moment, the ruthless Death Metal horde known as Critical Mess, a Hannover-based act formed in 2012 that has already released two full-length albums so far in their career, those being Human Præy in 2018 and Man Made Machine Made Man in 2019, as well as the EP Zombie Apocoverlypse in 2020, all with Britta responsible for the vocal duties. After the band’s inception in 2012 they underwent many changes in lineup and writing styles until Britta replaced former vocalist Simon Körber in 2016, helping her bandmates Marco Schauff and Marco “Elmo” Evers on the guitars, Lommer Wiesener on bass and Benny Komatitsch on drums establish themselves and quickly finding their own, unique sound and style, always true to the familiar and beloved sound of old school Death Metal that they had all grown up with. Bringing forward crushing riffs, insane vocals, fierce harmonies and drum chops that put any industrial slaughterhouse soundscape to shame, Critical Mess have already shared the stage with insane acts the likes of Six Feet Under and Hatesphere, having also played in some of the most important festivals in the world like Wacken Open Air and Metaldays.

In case you’ve never heard any of the wicked creations by Critical Mess until today, you can stream all of their albums and songs on Spotify and enjoy their official videos on their YouTube channel, including the awesome videos for the songs Feasting, Into Oblivion, Cut The Cord, Pansperm; the song Echo live at Wacken Open Air 2019; live-recordings of the songs Gluttony (for the Apes Enraged Re-Live Online Festival) and Preacher of Lies (for Godslaves “Access All Areas” Online Festival), both recorded in their band practice room in Hannover; and a special video dedicated to their fans for the song Demise, from conception to stage. However, if you think Critical Mess are only brutality and rage, you must check their insane cover versions for the songs Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), by the infamous Backstreet Boys, Remmidemmi (Yippie Yippie Yeah), by Hamburg’s own Hip-Hop/Electro band Deichkind, and my favorite one Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd, all as seen on the German television show Halloween Gamenight with Luke Mockridge, which aired during last year’s Halloween. Britta is flawless on all three songs, but what she does in “Blinding Lights” is beyond awesome I must say.

Our skillful growler is also involved in a brand new project named Hiraes, a Melodic Death Metal band formed in 2020 that combines the full force of all four instrumentalists from Dawn Of Disease, those being Lukas Kerk, Oliver Kirchner, Christian Wösten and Mathias Blässe, with the powerful vocals by Britta in order to create an exciting new melodic death emergence. Currently, Hiraes are working on their debut album, which will certainly be highly recommended for fans of the Scandinavian madness brought forth by renowned acts the likes of Insomnium, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, pointing to a very interesting path ahead of Britta, therefore allowing her to showcase all her vocal range and potency outside of the purely Death Metal style she’s used to with Critical Mess. I honestly can’t wait to see what she’ll be able to do when venturing through more melodic realms, and let’s hope this never-ending pandemic doesn’t stop Britta and her henchmen from releasing new, vibrant music for all of us metalheads in a not-so-distant future.

Of course, we cannot talk about Britta and her pulverizing vocals without talking about the band that launched her to stardom in the metal community. I’m talking about German Death and Thrash Metal platoon Cripper, formed in 2005 in Hannover, with whom she recorded the EP Killer Escort Service in 2006, followed by the full-length albums Freak Inside (2007), Devil Reveals (2009), Antagonist (2012), Hyëna (2014) and Follow Me: Kill! (2017), with the last two being available on their BandCamp page, and all of them on Spotify. Hence, you can also visit their YouTube channel for official videos, interviews, unboxing of their albums and tons of other amazing footage from this hard-hitting band that unfortunately split up in 2018. Having toured with renowned acts like Overkill and Onslaught, in addition to repeat performances at major European festivals the likes of Summer Breeze, Wacken Rocks, Metalfest and Rockharz Open Air, Cripper effectively converted fans to their cause with their riveting mix of old school and modern thrash, as you can see in the official videos for the songs Animal Of Prey, Mother, Into the Fire, Tourniquet, Pressure, Totmann, A Dime For The Establishment, Shortcut, God Spoken Prayer/Cocoon and Damocles, as well as in their infernal live performances at Rock Im Betonwerk in 2012, at Metaldays in 2014 and at Wacken Open Air in 2016. As you might have noticed, when Critical Mess were formed, Britta was still singing for Cripper, but according to Britta herself it wasn’t difficult at all to manage both bands at the same time. “The two bands feel completely different,” she commented at that time, complementing by saying that “lyrically, Cripper is more expressive, while Critical Mess has so far been more storytelling.”

You can also find Britta screaming and roaring like a true she-wolf in several distinct bands and projects, where she was able to add her own share of violence and creativity to their music. For instance, you can enjoy Britta’s unique guttural vocals in the song My Abomination, from the album ED, released in 2020 by German Death Metal act Corrosive; in the song Into Darkness, from the 2014 album Drone, by German Groove Metal/Metalcore unity Drone; in the song Children of the Pit, from the 2016 album Welcome to the Green Zone, by German Thrash Metal squad Godslave; and doing backing vocals in the 2009 album Marauders, by German Death/Thrash Metal act Lost World Order. Not only that, Britta also showcased her skills as a photographer in the 2007 album Hate Is the Law, by German Death Metal band Ancient Existence.

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Regarding her influences, idols and first experiences in music, Britta has a very eclectic and wide range of musicians and bands that she admires. For instance, she said the first-ever concert in her life was back in 1990 in the small town of Seelze, where she grew up, of German Pop Rock band Die Prinzen; her first record was one containing the hit Bruttosozialprodukt, released in the 80’s by Neue Deutsche Welle group Geier Sturzflug; the first CD she bought herself was a live album by Guns N’ Roses (at the same time she bought her first CD player); and she would love to share the stage with the one and only Mike Patton, especially if it’s with his insane cult band Fantômas, which is quite easy to understand why as Mr. Patton is indeed one of the most talented, one of the wildest and one of the most creative vocalists ever. Also, on a side note, if you think Britta makes any distinction between male and female vocalists, or if she cares about the term “female-fronted metal”, she thinks that’s a stupid and very sexist concept, saying that she got tired of it right after her first interview where questions about her being a girl in a Death Metal band started to come up. Having said that, let’s simply stop asking that type of question when interviewing Britta, sounds good?

As mentioned, Britta has already been in several different festivals with all of her bands like the unparalleled holy land of metal music Wacken Open Air, having toured extensively across the entire European continent as well as being part of renowned and innovative events such as being aboard 70,000 Tons of Metal, saying the vibe in each one of those unique events might be different due to the number of people that attend each one, the ticket prices, the age of the fans and so on, but that in the end it’s always a pleasure for her to show her music and art to all types of metalheads. She also said that whenever someone can’t believe how powerful and aggressive her guttural vocals are when seeing he live for the first time, that doesn’t really amuse her as she thinks if you’re a true metal fan you’re already used to women growling for ages. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that she dreams of touring around South America, as (unfortunately) she’s never been there and she would love to experience all South American countries as a touring band, immersing herself in each local youth and music culture.

All that recording, touring and screaming can be extremely strenuous on one’s vocal chords, demanding a lot from the singer, and of course it couldn’t be any different with Britta. She mentioned that there are some warmup exercises she does prior to each show, such as humming and singing some scales, saying that those aren’t only important for her  vocal cords, but they also serve as a ritual to prepare herself mentally for hitting the stage, working at the same time as physical and mental warmups. In addition, our talented growler also listed lots of sleep and lots of water as necessary methods for anyone’s vocals to stay in shape, balancing her partying and avoiding drinking too much alcohol, working out regularly and eating healthy, fresh food (without stressing too much about that). If you want to have a one-hour online lesson (or even a face-to-face one after this pandemic is finally over) in growling, shouting and screaming with Britta, you can visit the LCHQ Online Shop and purchase a vocal coaching voucher, hiring her services to provide you some useful tips, teach you new techniques and warmups, and anything else related to guttural singing, and coming from such talented singer like Britta that’s definitely worth the investment.

Last but not least, Britta has a very strong opinion on populism and the tensions we’ve been experiencing worldwide, saying that it doesn’t matter which perspective you take, be it the way the media reports it or how the reporting is perceived, the desire for security paired with the abandonment of freedom, or the contribution that the so-called “western world” makes to all of this, in the end the situation is pretty tricky, leading people to think they have simple solutions to complex problems. There are countless interviews online with Britta where you can know more about her as a person, as an artist, her opinions, her likes and dislikes and so on, such as this one to Mama Goes Wacken where she talks about her passion for chocolate (among other topics, of course),  this one to The Metal Gods Meltdown where she discusses the decision of Cripper to call it quits, this one to Rock Titan and this one to DJ Vampire talking about Cripper, and this one to Metal & High Heels when they played at FEMME (Female Metal Event). As you can see, Britta is an extremely talented musician with an open heart and an open mind, always willing to share her ideas, experiences and opinions with her fans and, more important than that, always ready to scream and roar in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Britta Görtz’s Official Facebook page
Britta Görtz’s Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official Facebook page
Critical Mess’ Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official YouTube channel

“I never thought ‘oh look at what she is doing, a girl in a heavy metal, that’s what I wanna do, too’. What got me to wanting to play in a band was probably that I thought it was a good way for me to express myself and at the same time channel my energy. Energetic live shows no matter of which genre attract me. Shows where you can feel the electricity in the air, where it kicks your butt and really grabs you. I am trying to find a certain kind of flow on stage and to share my energy with the fans. That’s not easy, cause it is nothing that you can create every time, but that’s what I am aiming for.” – Britta Görtz

Metal Chick of the Month – Jeanne Sagan

Am I the monster you created?

After such a difficult year for all of us, let’s start 2021 off with a bang to the sound of the rumbling, menacing bass by a woman that has been nothing but amazing to the metal community with her refined skills, her passion for heavy music and her immensurable contribution to the Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Metalcore scene. Not only that, she’s also a very talented singer and pianist, showcasing all her versatility and allowing her to take part in any type of band from an array of styles. Born on January 11, 1979 in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States, Jeanne Sagan (also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak) is the ass-kicking bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal band Crossing Rubicon, and also known as the former bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Metalcore band All That Remains from 2006 to 2015, having been embellishing the airwaves with her bass since 2001 and, more important than that, being ready to make this new year that has just been born a lot more fun with her music.

Having also played for a band called The Acacia Strain in 2003, Jeanne originally worked merchandise tables for Prosthetic Records before being called to join All That Remains in 2006 to replace their former bassist Matt Deis, which was by the way a funny story according to Jeanne herself as she had moved out to Arizona thinking she was done with Massachusetts, but after meeting someone at the record label and started helping out she ended up getting back to her birth state. In addition, if you think she comes from a family of musicians let me tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. When asked if she grew up in a musical household, Jeanne said that she only started in the world of music when she was in sixth grade, picking up the trumpet as her first instrument during high school, also mentioning her younger brother is also into music, DJ’ing and touring with bands, despite the fact their parents are not musicians. It was only when she was in college that she started playing bass and jamming with bands, and from that moment on the world of heavy music gained a new badass bass player.

Jeanne Sagan is also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak due to the fact she’s married to American vocalist Scott Wawrzyniak, better known by his stage name of Scotty Anarchy, the frontman for metal bands Crossing Rubicon and Piercing Immortality. In one of their interviews together, Scott and Jeanne said they met through two mutual friends, Ian Jones and Rusty Kupier, sometime in 2011, with Scott saying he was instantly attracted to Jeanne’s passion and kindness, but as he was married at that time it wasn’t the right thing to do (and Jeanne said she used to run away from him because of that connection she felt with him). A few years later Scott was single and playing a Buckcherry show, and Jeanne approached her after the show to talk, asking for his number, and they have not stopped talking since, saying it’s easy to play in a band with his wife as he gets to look to his right every night and see his best friend, his soul mate and the love of his life sharing his passion with him. Jeanne complemented by saying their bond is greater and stronger than they could have ever dreamed, mentioning important milestones like their mutual fight for sobriety as one of the things that strengthen their relationship every single day.

Regarding her 10-year stint with American Metalcore band All That Remains, from 2006 to 2015, as aforementioned she joined the band while working on the merch table for Prosthetics Records, having recorded her first single with the band that same year, the excellent The Air That I Breathe, proving she was the perfect choice for handling the band’s bass duties. After that first single, Jeanne recorded an array of first-class albums with the band, those being The Fall of Ideals (2006), Overcome (2008), …for We Are Many (2010), A War You Cannot Win (2012) and The Order of Things (2015), as well as a live album and DVD in 2007 simply titled Live, and you can enjoy her rumbling bass smashing your senses in songs such as What If I Was Nothing, This Probably Won’t End Well, Two Weeks, The Last Time, Chiron and This Calling, or simply go to the band’s Spotify profile to stream each one of those albums in full.

However, in 2015 Jeanne announced her amicable departure from All That Remains in order to pursue personal interests (and by that I mean playing bass and backing vocals in Crossing Rubicon alongside her husband), being replaced by Aaron “Bubble” Patrick, formerly of the band Bury Your Dead. At the time of her departure form the band, Jeanne commented, “It is with heavy heart that I depart from All That Remains. I’ve decided to follow my heart and pursue other opportunities in life. I truly appreciate the amazing experiences and the great fans over the last decade. I wish ATR all the best going forward.” She said that just like in every band there are ups and downs to everything, and in that particular case the negatives started to outweigh the good, which drove her away eventually. She does take away growing as a person and as a musician, though, becoming more outgoing and overcoming insecurities, standing up for herself and getting the courage to follow her own path.

Now as the bass player and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne seems to be enjoying a lot more freedom in her bass playing style and in contributing to the band’s writing process, having already recorded with the band their two full-length albums so far, those being  No Less than Everything, in 2016, and more recently Seeing Red, in 2019. Formed in 2009 in Bristol, Connecticut, in the United States, and having their name inspired by the expression “Crossing (the) Rubicon”, which means to pass a point of no return after Julius Caesar’s crossing of the river Rubicon in Italy in 49 BC, the band offers a molten blend of 80’s hooks and musicianship with modern rock power and relevance, having already opened for renowned acts including Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Pop Evil and many more. Hence, if you want to enjoy some of the creations by Crossing Rubicon, simply search for them on Spotify or watch their official videos on YouTube for songs like The Fallen, Who’s Gonna Save You, I Will Remain and Seeing Red.

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Apart from her career with All That Remains and Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne is also featured in several other bands and projects, all hailing form the United States. For instance, she has been the bass player for a Mathcore band called Blood Has Been Shed, known for having two members of Killswitch Engage (Howard Jones and Justin Foley) in the band, since 2012, but nothing official has been released with Jeanne on the band so far (and no one knows if that will ever happen). She’s also a member of a Heavy Metal band called Piercing Immortality under the moniker Jeanne Anarchy, also with her husband Scotty Anarchy on vocals as mentioned before, playing bass and backing vocals on their 2018 EP Systematic Global Poisoning and on their 2019 EP Risen from the Ashes, and in her years before All That Remains she was the bassist for Metalcore band Ligeia, for Technical Metalcore band Light Is the Language (having recorded with them the EP The Void Falls Silent, in 2001), and for Metalcore band The Acacia Strain in 2003. In addition, you can also find Jeanne as the guest bassist for Stoner/Sludge Metal band Oxen in their 2015 album The Vanishing.

As any true rock and metal fan, Jeanne has a lot of different influences and idols regarding not only her playing style but also her looks. She said that apart from her past in the Hardcore scene, which has obviously had an impact on her style, she also considers both of Tool bass players (Paul D’Amour and Justin Chancellor) and Jason Newsted-era Metallica as her biggest influences in music. Furthermore, although she has always looked up to rock stars with larger than life personas like David Bowie, being a little envious of all his bright and vibrant hair colors, she said she’s never done anything too extreme with her appearance, considering herself more of a Janis Joplin than a Lady Gaga, and when asked about which bands or artists she enjoys listening to, she mentioned amazing options from the rock and metal scene including Hatebreed, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths and so on. Her equipment is also a very important part of her career, and you can see her in different stages of her life using several ass-kicking pieces such as a black cherry Spector Legend 4 Classic four-string bass with EMG 35DC active pickups and Ampeg SVT bass amplifiers, a Soundgear 4-strings and an ARTB100 four-string (the latter of which can be seen in the music video for the song Hold On), Orange amplifiers and Omega speaker cabinets, Tiny Terror 1000 watt, Boss tuner, Darkglass B7K, and Shure wireless system.

Touring is obviously a crucial piece in the career of any rock and metal musician, and it couldn’t be any different than that with Jeanne. In one of her interviews, she talked about how important it is not only to put on a great show on stage, but also to hang out with the other bands, to meet new people, to do great interviews and to convince people who are seeing the band for the first time how great their music is. Apart from festivals like Graspop and Ozzfest, where not only she said she had an amazing time and was able to watch performances by bands she enjoys a lot like Dragonforce, Jeanne mentioned that she would like to return to festivals such as Download and Rock Am Ring, and to explore a little more countries like Japan. She also said that playing a lot of shows in a short span of time plus all the traveling can be a little exhausting, but that in the end she feels great after seeing so many happy fans attending the concerts. Moreover, in order to stay fit and put on a kick-ass show on stage, Jeanne and her bandmates said that they try to stay in shape by running a lot (around the parking lots), going to the gym and cooking on the bus (instead of eating junk food), usually having much healthier eating habits than if they were all at home.

Our dauntless bassist also has some interesting thoughts about the current state of metal in the digital age we’re all living in, saying that although metal is alive and kicking, a lot of people refused to change and got stuck in their old mentalities, fighting and ignoring downloading music instead of finding a way to use it as an advantage. However, if there’s one thing that annoys Jeanne is the fact that people keep taking pictures, recording everything and posting that online when her band is playing live instead of enjoying the show. “What does get annoying is people just staring at their phones when we’re playing and I wonder, are we doing our jobs right? What can we do to get their attention? We’re there to put on a show and that’s our focus,” complained our skillful bass player, and we must all agree with her that such behavior is indeed quite disturbing. Jeanne also talked about the fact she’s been doing a lot more vocals both in the studio and on stage, both clean and harsh ones, something that she used to be insecure about and learned how to overcome by practicing and preparing until making herself more confident.

Both Jeanne and her husband Scott have mentioned in several interviews about their fight against alcoholism, their struggles and how they managed to get clean and sober, something both are really proud of. Jeanne said that she used to drink to numb herself from things that were bothering her, and that after some time she talked to Scott about sobriety and they inspired each other to get sober and stay sober, having a reason to want to wake up every single day, open their eyes and live life together to the fullest. In addition, she mentioned their involvement with Road Recovery, an organization founded in 1998 that helps addiction through music, which is very inspiring and humbling from a sobriety standpoint, and we must all celebrate everything the couple has accomplished in their lives and career by getting clean and, therefore, having more energy, creativity and focus to apply to their music. Hence, if you want to know more about Jeanne, her career, her relationship with Scott, her adventures on the road and so on, go check some of her interviews on YouTube such as this one at Carolina Rebellion in 2013, this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2008, and this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2009, among several others, where you can see why Jeanne is not only a badass bass player, but also an awesome human being and a fantastic metalhead.

Crossing Rubicon’s Official Facebook page
Crossing Rubicon’s Official Twitter
Crossing Rubicon’s Official YouTube channel
Piercing Immortality’s Official Facebook page
Piercing Immortality’s Official Instagram
Piercing Immortality’s Official Twitter

“I think that Metal is alive. It seems that people are stuck in mentalities and refuse to change. The industry fought and ignored downloading rather than finding a way to make it work for them. Also because of the Internet, people think they are going to be overnight stars—that goes for TV also. No one wants to put their nose to grind, but we will. We believe in ourselves and we believe in the scene.” – Jeanne Sagan

Album Review – Mikaela / Nocturne In Red (2020)

Succumb to the dark and personal fusion of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive and Nu Metal by one of the most prominent voices of the Maltese metal scene in her debut solo album.

A few months after leaving her previous band MartYrium due to personal issues with the other band members, Maltese metal goddess Mikaela Attard is unleashing upon humanity under her newborn Metalcore solo project Mikaela her debut opus entitled Nocturne In Red, featuring guitarist and bassist Kyle Farrugia (from Maltese Active Metal band Align the Tide) and drummer Marco Minnemann as her loyal henchmen throughout the entire album. Written and produced by Mikaela herself, and mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studio, the pivotal concept behind Nocturne In Red highlights subjects surrounding personal experiences and states of the mind, but according to Mikaela it is up to the listener and viewer to perceive them on how it’s relative to their lives. Not only that, the album also provides an incendiary mixture of Metalcore, Deathcore, Progressive and Nu Metal, and even nuances of Black and Death Metal, all spiced up by Miakela’s native language Maltese carefully added to some of the tracks from the album, being therefore recommended for fans of the music by Pantera, Godsmack, Mastodon and Lamb Of God, among several others.

The cinematic and creepy intro Into a New Hell opens the gates of the underworld for the she-demon Mikaela to stun us all in Bring Me Blood, showcasing darkly poetic lyrics declaimed by Mikaela (“I flew high on black wings when death looked me closer in the eye / I may have pushed up daisies before, I gasped and wanted more / Now, hell came to me to show you what I see / The blade won’t reign on me, you sick fuck, it ends when you can’t breathe”) embraced by the solid fusion of Metalcore and Deathcore blasted by Kyle and Marco. And her insanity in the form of music keeps flowing nonstop in the also heavy and groovy Chaotic Mind, once again presenting psychological lyrics growled by our talented diva (“A whisper of existence / A face wrapped in maleficent greed / Silence even grins at you / Delusion creeps in the lies let lose”), smashing drums by Marco and Groove Metal-inspired riffs and bass punches by Kyle; followed by Disenthralled, highly recommended for fans of the demented music by Slipknot and Jinjer, where Mikaela is on fire with both her violent roars and strident clean vocals, and with the riffage and solos by Kyle sounding even more piercing than before. Then it’s time to break your neck headbanging to the venomous Alternative Metal hymn Nightmare, with Mikaela’s growling ranging from deep guttural to hellish gnarls while Marco brings his dosage of heaviness with his progressive beats.

In Death Dance we face more of Kyle’s metallic, rumbling bass jabs accompanied by Marco’s smashing drums and the mesmerizing vocals by Mikaela, blending elements from Metalcore with Melodic Death and Groove Metal, albeit going on for a bit too long, though, whereas Abyss is a piano-infused dark ballad by Mikaela where the sharp guitars by Kyle walk hand in hand with her passionate vocal performance, sounding very personal, epic and obscure from start to finish and presenting a unique and captivating side of our banshee. Back to her beastly she-wolf mode, our dauntless diva of darkness and her henchmen will penetrate deep inside our psyche once again with the Metalcore extravaganza titled Enthalpy Rage, feeling like an electrifying fusion of the current music played by Arch Enemy with modern-day Deathcore, while Ophidian’s Whisper is another solid composition by the trio with Marco dictating the pace with his infernal and intricate drumming, and with Mikaela once again alternating between demonic screams and melodious clean lines. And lastly, we’re treated to a sinister atmosphere embellished by a melancholic piano and the gorgeous voice by Mikaela, morphing into one final metal attack titled Room Hell, with both Marco and Kyle being on absolute fire with their sonic weapons, providing all Mikaela needs to shine on vocals and, consequently, ending the album in a truly devilish way.

Mikaela’s musical journey to hell and back can be appreciated in its entirety on Spotify and on Deezer, but of course you should purchase a copy of such amazing album of modern-day Metalcore from her own webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon, also showing your support to one of Malta’s most prominent names in metal music by following her on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to her YouTube channel for more of her darkly enchanting official videos. Nocturne In Red is a very personal album by Mikaela that will undoubtedly please all fans of Metalcore, Deathcore and all related styles, showing us all the darkest side of such talented artist while at the same time adding the charming Republic of Malta to the worldwide map of contemporary metal music.

Best moments of the album: Bring Me Blood, Disenthralled and Enthalpy Rage.

Worst moments of the album: Death Dance.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Into a New Hell – Intro 2:29
2. Bring Me Blood 4:25
3. Chaotic Mind 4:35
4. Disenthralled 5:44
5. Nightmare 6:37
6. Death Dance 6:20
7. Abyss 4:56
8. Enthalpy Rage 4:41
9. Ophidian’s Whisper 5:23
10. Room Hell 5:00

Band members
Mikaela Attard – vocals

Guest musicians
Kyle Farrugia – guitars, bass
Marco Minnemann – drums

Interview – Andreas Nieratschker (Agony Atlas)

Guitarist Andreas Nieratschker, from Germany-based act Agony Atlas, joins us for an exclusive interview about their new EP Retrogression Part I: Egomania, the metal scene in his homeland, the future of the band (and of the entire world), and more.

Andreas Nieratschker (Agony Atlas)

The Headbanging Moose: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about the music by Agony Atlas. Can you please start by introducing yourself to our readers? Who Agony Atlas and what are your goals with the band?

Andreas Nieratschker: One could say, we are a four-person sonically chaotic gathering of people that is actually not that chaotic…

Christoph e.g., my companion on the guitar, is particularly good at collecting tattoos and being a caring father. He simply is our savior when it comes to organising whatsoever. Well actually, everyone is, except Liane and myself (laughter). Organisationally, I mean.

Markus plays like Thor’s hammer when he’s out on his drums. You can feel the concentrated power of the gods, although you hardly see it. – Absolutely smooth playing. Above all, he manages everything when it comes to texting and working towards our famosity.

Liane just has a brute voice, which has impressed me since the first rehearsal of our other band, where we used to play together. I just thought “THIS is the voice I want!”

Well, yeah and I am Andreas.

Together we decided to travel back in time to prevent humanity from its own extinction and to enlighten them about the fucked-up conditions the human kind exposes to our planet. At least, this is the short version behind our story.

THM: Your music is being labeled by fans and the media as “Progressive Metalcore”. Do you agree with that classification, and if so, how would you personally describe it? What other genres and styles can the listener expect to hear in your music?

AN: It’s almost always hard to pinpoint the band’s genre. But I think besides many different influences the term “Progressive Metalcore” describes our music best. Although the progressive part is not extremely present yet, but you will hear more of it in the future songs. Speaking in genres: you can find melodic death metal and metalcore, djent, electro, industrial and thrash metal and sometimes even a hint of black metal.

THM: You have just released your debut EP, titled Retrogression Part I: Egomania. Can you please give us more details about it? What’s the story behind the EP, and what can we expect to see in “the next chapter”, assuming this is just the first part of something bigger the band is planning?

AN: Actually, we don’t have a concrete concept for the EP. It is rather based on the general idea we are pursuing with Agony Atlas. The other publications will lead along this common thread and complement our story.

For a while now, environmental movements have been causing enormous discussions in society. The behavior of people towards one another, towards our living space and towards the world in its entirety has become an important and recurring topic. Now is the latest time for a final change to save our whole future. And that’s exactly what we want to tell with our background story: The time travel from the already destroyed future back to the here and now, to save what can be saved. “Retrogression” stands for the development that we want to prevent – from a future perspective, to a certain extent, for a regression. Therefore we chose the title. We are playing our part in not waking up in a dystopian world, like Mad Max, in the near future. So, we will continue our guiding idea and stick to the band concept.

THM: Let’s now talk about each one of the songs from the EP, starting with the opening track Economy Class, which carries a name that couldn’t be more relevant these days. Can you please elaborate a little more on the meaning of the song and why you’ve chosen such important topic as its main theme?

AN: As I said, the environmental issues are very important. In the EP, we address some of the current problems people have in this regard, such as consuming, digitally induced comfort and an egocentric worldview. The concrete events for the song “Economy Class” were the man-made rainforest fires at the beginning of 2019.

THM: What about Egomania, my favorite song of the EP? What was the process to write and compose this song, and what should the listener take from the music and the lyrics while listening to it?

AN: The irrepressible greed of the people has made them look for another “habitable” or, as I’d like to say, “exploitable” planet for years. Earth alone is apparently not enough. Although it is and was more than sufficient for the remaining living beings. However, because of our curiosity, which we take as a given condition of superiority and as unique selling point of the human kind, it seems that we want to take everything – regardless of the losses.

The song should not only serve through unbelievably good acoustic satisfaction, but also stimulate everyone to reflect one’s own behavior and to question society.

Album Review – Agony Atlas / Retrogression Part I: Egomania EP (2020)

THM: Lastly, the closing song in Retrogression Part I: Egomania, Hymn Of Hatred, is undoubtedly the heaviest and most obscure of all three songs. Why did you decide to end the EP with such dark composition?

AN: For us it’s the most forward moving song. It forges a smooth transition to what the listener can expect in the future. “Hymn Of Hatred” is the newest song on the EP and rather reflects our songwriting. Last but not least: the fact is that future doesn’t look bright, if we don’t act now.

THM: How is it to be fronted by such talented woman like Liane Walter, who certainly makes your music appeal to fans of bands like Arch Enemy and Jinjer? How do you see the importance of women in metal music nowadays, and do you see any type of rejection from fans for having a woman as your lead singer?

AN: The question could also be: What is it like to have such a good vocalist? It’s not about gender, but about skills, human interaction, commitment, creativeness and fun.

By now it should rather be normal to see and hear women in the metal genre. There are already a few more bands than Arch Enemy and Jinjer who sing gutturally in the low frequency range. I haven’t heard of any rejections for now. But in any case, I’m a huge fan of her singing, especially while being in the same band.

THM: Changing the topic a bit, what are your main influences in music and arts in general? And how do you incorporate those influences into the music by Agony Atlas?

AN: I can hardly say where all the inspiration comes from. Christoph, for example, takes part in local cultural associations, plays also in his alternative rock band Karabooza and is involved as guitar sub in a carnival rock band. Furthermore, Markus and I are involved in the jazz genre and beyond. And with Liane, I can only guess, but it seems like she started screaming since birth. Over the years of practicing she must be influenced by all kinds of stuff. But who can really tell? Maybe it can be compared with ideas which are formed by words to be explained. I assume, it’s the same with music. The inspiration comes from memories, visions and random synapse formations, which pop up in your mind. And if you listen closely, you can repeat them to write them down.

If you want to know what everybody of us is listening to, just take a look on our Spotify page. There you can find a playlist of each one of us.

Agony Atlas

THM: We all know the Germany metal scene is extremely vibrant with some of the best metal fans in the world, which probably means there’s more room for underground acts like Agony Atlas to play their music to live audiences there, right? Have you been able to start touring around Germany (and any other countries) with Agony Atlas already, or is the pandemic still impacting your touring plans?

AN: Standing in the starting blocks, we slipped straight into the corona pandemic and the light has not yet jumped from red to green. Well, we just recently formed up, therefore we use the unexpected waiting time to prepare ourselves sensibly with concentrated power to play in front of a trembling audience. At least now we will have an encore in petto.

THM: What does the future hold for Agony Atlas? Can we expect to see more of your heavy and melodic music in a not-so-distant future?

AN: Yes, definitely! We are already busy in the process for the next release. Five new songs are ready for recording and more are on the way. Hopefully, we’ll get them on the road in 2021.

THM: Thank you very much for the interview! Any final considerations or comments you would like to share with our readers?

AN: Thank you for the opportunity. Listen to our songs and start to change the world! Everybody has an impact to make a difference.

Links
Agony Atlas Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify