Metal Chick of the Month – Tatiana Shmayluk

Booyakah, Tatiana!

As The Headbanging Moose is celebrating nine years of existence this month of October, there’s nothing better than offering the first slice of our cake to a woman who’s undoubtedly the most important name of all time from the Ukrainian rock and metal scene, and I would dare to say even from the entire music scene in Ukraine. Born on March 15, 1987 in Horlivka, or Gorlovka, a city located in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, she’s a singer and songwriter better known as the frontwoman for Groove Metal/Metalcore act Jinjer since 2010, kicking some serious ass wherever she goes armed with both her furious roars and mesmerizing clean vocals. I’m talking about the one and only Tatiana Shmayluk, a multi-talented and humble woman who’s also a role model to countless girls out there who want to find in heavy music a way to express all of their feelings, hopes and frustrations, and I’m sure you’ll get addicted to her vocals and her music after reading this tribute to her.

Long before becoming the face of Jinjer, Tatiana was already singing and screaming according to her own mother, always listening to Russian and Ukrainian pop songs she heard on the radio. “My mother told me I started screaming when I was a very little girl. I screamed so loud I had a hernia in my belly.” Furthermore, one of her favorite songs from her childhood was the 1989 dance song Lambada, by French-Brazilian group Kaoma, which she mentioned she still sings along to it with great joy, although she doesn’t know Portuguese. She then began singing more seriously at the age of eight, taking vocal lessons for a couple of months and making her onstage debut that year in a concert hall with a choir. “The songs were accompanied with dancing. I was very nervous, and of course I screwed it up because of the dancing. So I said, ‘Never again.’ I cannot do synchronic dancing with someone else. I need to do it alone so I can control the whole thing,” commented Tatiana, who also said that it was her older brother, who was a guitar player to a Doom Metal band, who introduced her to metal music, more specifically to Aria, the long-running Moscow metal outfit hailed as the “Iron Maiden of Russia.”

Proudly carrying the flag of modern-day metal music to all four corner of the earth, Jinjer were formed back in 2008 in Donetsk, but the band considers their official start with the addition of Tatiana and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov in 2010. None of the founding members remain with the band, with the current lineup being comprised of the aforementioned Tatiana on vocals and Roman on the guitars, together with Eugene Abdukhanov on bass and Vladislav Ulasevish on drums. Influenced by countless renewned acts the likes of Opeth, Guano Apes, Slayer, Death, Pantera, Anathema, Lamb of God, Gojira and Twelve Foot Ninja, as well as groups across the spectrum of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop, such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain, the band has already released four studio albums in their career, those being their 2014 debut Cloud Factory, their 2016 sophomore album King of Everything, and more recently their 2019 opus Macro and their 2021 critically acclaimed album Wallflowers, all of which have reached number one in their native Ukraine, while also seeing a total of 16 singles, six of which reached the top of the Ukrainian charts and one of which, Pisces, became a global hit and has to date sold over 20 million copies. In addition, they’ve also released three EP’s, those being Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (2009), Inhale, Do Not Breathe (2012) and Micro (2019), and the 2020 live album Alive in Melbourne. You can enjoy several of their best compositions on YouTube, such as Vortex, Judgement (& Punishment), Wallflower, Home Back, Sit Stay Roll Over, and Who Is Gonna Be The One, as well as their full ass-kicking performance live at Resurrection Fest in Viveiro, Spain, in 2018, among many, many other awesome videos, and don’t forget to also stream their full discography on Spotify.

Unfortunately, not long after the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian military, anti-government protestors and pro-Russian rebels began in 2014, Tatiana and her bandmates had to escape Donetsk, moving to a suburb near the city of Lviv around 800 miles away, not far from the Polish border. “”But we got bored there because it’s a city for tourists,” explained Tatiana. “We rented a house but it was impossible to live there because there were problems with water, with electricity, heating. So that’s why we moved to a more civilized place.” Furthermore, when asked about what makes Jinjer uniquely Ukrainian, she said that because the band comes from a land where kindness equals weakness, a tough country for everyone including their parents, especially in the 90’s, the band members became really grind and tough. For instance, she mentioned that Ukrainians don’t go to a doctor if something hurts, for example, enduring the pain until the end. That’s one of the reasons why the band tries to never cancel any of their concerts and tours, even if it’s impossible to play, showing how strong and determined they are.

Apart from her undisputed career with Jinjer, you can also find Tatiana as a guest vocalist in an array of distinct albums and songs, including the songs Through the Never (I Will Return) and Horror of Daniel Wagner, from the 2022 album Horror of Daniel Wagner, by Ukrainian Heavy/Power Metal band Morton; the song Find My Way, released in 2022 by American Modern Metal band Lions At The Gate; the song Over and Out, released in 2021 by Australian Heavy Rock band Twelve Foot Ninja; and my favorite of all those tracks, the pulverizing Hello Death, from the 2022 album Cancer Culture, released by Polish Death/Groove Metal act Decapitated. Not only that, if you pay good attention to Jinjer’s song Judgment (& Punishment) you’ll notice several elements from reggae added to the band’s extreme music, and that’s something that comes from Tatiana as she was a part of a band that played reggae, ska, ska-punk and funk before Jinjer, playing several cover songs and singing in Ukrainian, Russian and English. “I was a huge fan of reggae. I wore dreadlocks and I was all about Rastafari,” commented Tatiana, who also said that, even being a huge reggae fan, she doesn’t smoke weed simply because she doesn’t like it.

Currently living in Los Angeles, California and spending as much time as possible on tour, having closed 2021 with over 70 concerts including many summer festivals, a short tour of mainland Europe and a two-month North American tour, Tatiana obviously misses her homeland, her family and friends, although she finds the region’s lingering Soviet attitudes unappealing, with the remnants of hardline communism surrounding everyone there. While she was still living in Ukraine, she said that “I was too young to remember life in Soviet Union, but the spirit of Soviet Union is still here. I’m living in an apartment built maybe 40 years ago, and my parents live in such an apartment, as well. All our shops and supermarkets are situated in buildings built then. So it is still like Soviet Union. And there are a lot of people who still have Soviet Union in their heads and their minds.” However, Tatiana mentioned she doesn’t feel safe when on tour it doesn’t matter which country she’s visiting, not only in Ukraine, saying she’s always afraid of going anywhere by herself.

In one of her interviews, Tatiana said it’s a surprise to her that people are still impressed that women can scream, mentioning for example female-fronted German thrash metallers Holy Moses, who she got to know when she was an 18-year old girl in Ukraine, and saying that despite the fact bands like Jinjer might impress the younger generations, the older generations have always known what women can do in rock and metal music. “Sometimes I’m annoyed, but then you say, ‘OK, well, I didn’t see a hummingbird until I was 35 years old.’ It’s always a right time to discover new stuff. It’s great that screaming women are a phenomenon.” She also said it’s incredible to know she’s an inspiration for many young women mainly because they don’t know she’s in fact a very shy person, also sensitive, fragile and easy to be offended, or in her own words, she’s not better than anyone, complementing by saying she’s just a performer when she’s on stage. “Of course there is some true shit, but I don’t move my head 24/7 and I don’t scream all the time. Well, I scream every night. But not every morning.” Furthermore, you can learn a little more about how Tatiana learned to scream by clicking HERE, from first hearing Otep to screaming Mudvayne lyrics, to the dominant force she is today.

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As any other metalhead in the world, Tatiana has a lot of idols and influences in her life, in her vocal style, in the way she writes the music for Jinjer and so on, but following those artists wasn’t easy at all when she was a young girl due to the aforementioned impact of the Soviet Union over Ukraine at that time. “Metal wasn’t accessible for me. Where I grew up in Donetsk, not many worldwide metal artists would come. They’d go to the capital, and it was 700km and 12 hours on the train. I didn’t have money because I was a teenager and my mom was strict; she didn’t give me much pocket money, although that stimulated me to earn it myself, for which I’m really grateful to her. My parents wouldn’t have let me out of the town, but that was for the best too. It made me want to play my own music and form my own band.” As mentioned, her brother was the one who got her into metal (although he stopped listening to heavy music when he grew up), but before that she used to listen to a lot of rock music, grunge and punk especially after the Soviet Union collapsing in 1991, as MTV hit the Ukrainian airwaves and she began listening to bands like Nirvana and The Offspring. She then found the music by Otep, and got addicted to the vocals by the iconic Otep Shamaya. “I think I was 15 when I heard Otep the first time,” said Tatiana in one of her interviews. “I said, ‘This dude is so cool!’ And my friend said, ‘This is a girl!’ I was like, ‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ This is the first girl I am hearing do this. I was shocked, and I wanted to shock people like her.”

Being a rock and metal artist in Ukraine wasn’t easy at all, taking Tatiana and the rest of the band around five years just to cross the Ukrainian border and play in Romania, and even longer to reach other European countries and the United States, but fortunately everything seems to be working for Jinjer now, with the band organically growing in the worldwide scene and gaining more and more respect from fans from all four corners of the earth. As expected, Tatiana has some important complaints about the Ukrainian metal scene, saying that most Ukrainian bands stick to playing in Ukraine or Russia, and that they don’t usually sing in English, the main reason why they just play in their motherland. “I was always inspired by western music culture in jazz, blues and then metal. I always had this love for English speaking music, even pop music; Britney Spears is one of my biggest idols! People can understand it easily and for me, it was always about spreading my own message through a language that is more available for people all around the world of different countries. That’s why we chose to sing in English and that’s how we made our own path.” Another major issue in Ukraine according to her is the post-U.S.S.R. thinking and mindset, where you’re not accepted if you’re different, as for example tattoos (and we all know she has plenty) are not acceptable for men nor women in her homeland.

However, as you might probably know, Ukraine is suffering with the Russian invasion that started back in February this year, and that has been hitting the band hard in their hearts and minds since then. In March 2022, it was reported that Jinjer had “paused” their career to focus on relief efforts in Ukraine after the war began. Right after that, in June 2022, Jinjer announced that they received permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine and tour as ambassadors of the nation to raise funds and awareness. “We are very thankful to our Ministry Of Culture for the Ukraine who gave us this opportunity to do what we love to do, and play all the festivals we have announced. We’re using every festival to raise funds and spread awareness about the real war that is happening in the 21st century, which is crazy. It’s hard to believe, but this is the harsh reality. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time we are also full of hope that soon it is all going be over. We are spreading positivity and hope, and we are dreaming about peace. I hope that no other European or world country ever experiences the same as the Ukraine,” commented Tatiana, also saying she has no idea when Jinjer will be able to play in Ukraine again, and that the band will never stop fighting. Moreover, in their most recent releases there are lyrics addressing the war in Donbas and its effects on their home region of Donetsk, and you can also find tons of amazing interviews with Tatiana and the boys talking about the war in Ukraine, just like this one conducted by Loudwire.

Regarding her relationship with social media, Tatiana said that due to her explosive nature she usually replies back to anyone that messages her, it doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative comment, saying she “enjoys” replying back to internet trolls because she’s easy to piss off. “Sometimes it’s just overwhelming. I feel like if I let it go, I will let them continue to do this shit again and again. It’s like I give them unspoken permission,” commented our stunning diva, also saying most of the feedback she gets online is actually positive. In addition, one of her favorite ways of interacting with her fans is to customize shirts she receives from them before a show and wear them onstage the same night. “Most of the time, these shirts are very personal. For example, yesterday I was given a shirt — it has a huge ape giving a middle finger and it says something like, ‘Humans destroy everything.’ It’s so related to our song Ape. They will see me wear it on the stage and it is a huge pleaser. They get double joy. I love all the things they bring to me at meet and greet. They are so sweet,” said Tatiana, complementing by saying that some of those fans are very shy and don’t want to talk a lot, being very happy with just an autograph and a photo.

Our unstoppable frontwoman also said that, in an effort to improve her own standing with Mother Nature, she tried to be a vegan for three years, but she went back to eating meat in the middle of a tour because she was starving. She said she still tries to be moderate in consuming meat, and that she doesn’t drink milk, though, revealing her own inner conflict. “I still try being vegan, but it’s really hard for me because I was raised in a family that was not very rich,” she explained. “We could not afford eating meat very often. So when I stopped eating meat, I realized that I loved meat a lot. When I smell meat, it drives me crazy. Something inside of me forgets about animals, suffering, health, environment, and I just want a good piece of meat.” You can get to know more about Tatiana by listening to our growler answering 10 questions asked by Metalshop TV (volume 1 and volume 2), as well as other interviews online such as Tatiana and her bandmates answering the most asked questions on the Internet about Jinjer. Lastly, just like several people out there (including myself), Tatiana also believes something went wrong in our evolution, saying mankind went wrong, and that although we are so small on this earth we act like we are gods, which makes her really sad. She’s trying to learn how to be happy, how to find the happiness inside, and to appreciate her life. “That’s my biggest ambition, to be happy and find inner peace, and for there to be justice for Ukraine.”

Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Facebook page
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Instagram
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Twitter
Jinjer’s Official Facebook page
Jinjer’s Official VKontakte
Jinjer’s Official Instagram
Jinjer’s Official YouTube channel
Jinjer’s Official Twitter

“You know what, I’m losing my faith in music. I don’t feel like I can express myself enough to say what I really feel because there are no words to explain. So, I feel like I should give up… but then something makes me go further.” – Tatiana Shmayluk

Album Review – All Else Fails / The Incident at Black Lake EP (2022)

An award-winning Canadian Metalcore act returns to their DIY roots with their musically and lyrically dark brand new four-track EP.

Over the last 15 years, Edmonton, Alberta-based award-winning Metalcore band All Else Fails has become a cornerstone of the Melodic Heavy Metal community in Canada. Combining intense riffs, intricate rhythm sections, brutal guttural screams, and melodic yet unusual vocal lines paired with relevant and relatable lyrics, their message resonates with us all, and now in 2022 it’s time for vocalist and guitarist Barrett Klesko, guitarist John Saturley, bassist Coco Lee and drummer Nelson Collins-Lee to return to their DIY roots by mindfully abandoning their social media and redirecting their energy to contributing to their local metal scene by building a direct personal connection to their fans and followers, living in line with a humanist philosophy and encouraging a culture of support between artists, culminating with the release of a new EP entitled The Incident at Black Lake. Produced by All Else Fails, mixed and mastered by Bevin Booth at In The Booth Recordings, and displaying a somber artwork by Indonesian illustrator and graphic designer Zulmi_m, The Incident at Black Lake is musically and lyrically dark according to Barrett himself, who complemented by saying that “I think this EP is beautiful, there is elegance in darkness. I think it’s sad because I know the turmoil and pain it took to write it, and I think it’s powerful because it’s the first time I have truly been honest in my music.”

A cinematic intro grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose to the demented screams by Barrett in I, Defiler while Coco brings sheer groove to the sound with his low-tuned, metallic bass, resulting in classic Metalcore alternating between pure savagery and melodic, ethereal moments, all spiced up by its background Symphonic Deathcore elements. Then another imposing start morphs into the Metalcore and Deathcore feast entitled Devour The Sun, offering our ears over eight minutes of slashing riffs by Barrett and John while Nelson hammers his drums in total sync with the bass by Coco, overflowing heaviness, intricacy and harmony, not to mention Barrett does an amazing job on vocals as usual; followed by Flesh /Excess /Wealth, another multi-layered, detailed aria masterfully brought into being by the quartet. The guitars by Barrett and John exhale fire throughout the entire song while Nelson’s beats add an extra dosage of complexity to the music, being therefore  perfect for banging your head nonstop and singing its lyrics together with Barrett. Lastly, the band puts the pedal to the metal as the closing song of the EP, Crystal Mountain, is just as violent and melodic as its predecessors, blending Metalcore with Progressive Death Metal nuances, with all band members showcasing their refined skills until the very last second and with Nelson stealing the spotlight with another ass-kicking performance on drums. In addition, its background epic sounds are simply fantastic.

The Incident at Black Lake might be “just” a four-track EP by All Else Fails, but its 25 minutes of music are absolutely intense and electrifying, proving why they’re undoubtedly one of the most important names of the Canadian Metalcore scene. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from All Else Fails a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their music on Spotify, and to purchase a copy of The Incident at Black Lake really soon from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. As already mentioned, there’s a lot of darkness flowing from the music and the lyrics found in the EP, and that’s exactly what makes it so compelling, showing that their decision to channel their energy into their local metal scene and “forget” about social media will bring tons of benefits to their career.

Best moments of the album: Devour The Sun and Flesh /Excess /Wealth.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. I, Defiler 5:48
2. Devour The Sun 8:24
3. Flesh /Excess /Wealth 5:36
4. Crystal Mountain 5:19

Band members
Barrett Klesko – vocals, guitar
John Saturley – guitar
Coco Lee – bass, backing vocals
Nelson Collins-Lee – drums

Album Review – Bleed Like Mylee / Nuk Soo Kow EP (2022)

You will bleed like Mylee after listening to the hard-hitting Metalcore blasted by this talented and ruthless five-piece act hailing from the United States.

The drunken brainchild of vocalist Joseph Izayea (Seeking Sirens, From Under Concrete Kings, Sour Times) bassist Josh Previte (From Under Concrete Kings, Patient 0) and drummer Doug Waite (To Die This Night, Gamohra), United States-based  Metalcore act Bleed Like Mylee is a hard-hitting five-piece outfit comprised of the aforementioned musicians plus longtime friends Jeremy Litton (Patient 0) on the guitars and Armando Yambao (Galvanized) on additional vocals, delivering crushing breakdowns, epic choruses and gut-punching songwriting, all absurdly packaged in a tribute to the movie Kickboxer featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Fans of acts like Austrian Death Machine and Okilly Dokilly should easily find enjoyment in their debut EP Nuk Soo Kow, which stands to leave some bruises on 2022 due to its endless adrenaline and heaviness carefully brought into being by a band that’s more than ready to kick some ass in the name of heavy music and, of course, in honor of the unparalleled Van-Damme.

Get in the ring to the sharp riffs by Jeremy and the infuriated beats by Doug in the opening tune Kiss Of Death, inspired by this classic scene from the movie, with Joseph roaring the song’s lyrics as if he was a true kickboxer ready for a fight, followed by Now Kiki Even Too, another iconic line of the movie turned into visceral Metalcore where Jeremy and Josh are in perfect sync with their stringed weapons, sounding melodic and heavy-as-hell at the same time. Then one more unforgettable movie moment has its own tribute in the form of Kick The Tree, bringing forward ass-kicking Metalcore perfect for slamming into the pit with Armando supporting Joseph’s rabid roars in great fashion; and the band alternates between pensive moments and sheer adrenaline in Stone City (inspired by the movie’s own stone city), with Joseph screaming from the bottom of his heart while Doug sounds like a machine gun behind his drums. Lastly, the screams of “Nok Su Kao! Nok Su Kao! Nok Su Kao!” taken from this fantastic movie scene ignite the closing song, the frantic, insane Nuk Soo Kow, showcasing an awesome job done by Jeremy on the guitars while Josh makes the earth tremble with his bass, resulting in a lesson in Metalcore violence.

In a nutshell, the high-octane Nuk Soo Kow, which by the way should become available in its entirety on Spotify soon, is indeed a fun and vibrant tribute to one of the best fight movies of all time throughout its 22 minutes of classic Metalcore blasted by those five talented American metallers, with all of them being on fire from start to finish and, therefore, leaving us eager for more of their kickboxing heavy music in a not-so-distant future. And as Bleed Like Mylee smashes your head with their furious Metalcore, you’ll be lying on the ground like Kurt Sloane in the movie Kickboxer while the band approaches you with a smile on their faces and simply pronounce Tong Po’s famous words, “You bleed like Mylee! Mylee… good fuck!”

Best moments of the album: Now Kiki Even Too and Nuk Soo Kow.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Kiss Of Death 4:12
2. Now Kiki Even Too 3:47
3. Kick The Tree 3:47
4. Stone City 4:28
5. Nuk Soo Kow 5:40

Band members
Joseph Izayea – vocals
Jeremy Litton – guitar
Josh Previte – bass
Doug Waite – drums
Armando Yambao – additional vocals

Album Review – Ibaraki / Rashumon (2022)

Trivium’s own Matt Heafy turns his inner demon into first-class Black Metal in his new solo project, the end-result of a journey to find his own voice.

Originally formed in 2012 under the name Mrityu by Trivium’s own vocalist and guitarist Matt Heafy with the goal of generating Norwegian-style Black Metal (while also presenting elements from Extreme Progressive Metal and Metalcore in its sound), United States-based Black Metal project Ibaraki (which is by the way the name for a terrifying Japanese demon taken from feudal legend) has finally unleashed upon humanity its debut effort, entitled Rashomon, which according to Matt himself is the end-result of a journey to find his voice. Mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Recording Studios, and produced and engineered by Emperor’s one and only Ihsahn, Rashomon is more than just an expression of Matt and Ihsahn’s deep creative resonance, with his bandmates from Trivium, those being guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto and drummer Alex Bent, contributing to the album as session musicians. “The violence in America towards Asians, the murders of Asians because of people’s small-mindedness – we can see what’s happening. It’s like I never quite felt like I was Asian enough because I’m half and I never felt white enough because I’m half, but I feel like it’s important for me to talk about this now. Everything has a rich, amazing, beautiful culture behind it – every single civilization, every culture, every walk of life. So I hope that it can make Asian metalheads or Asian fans of music feel a little bit more represented. It’s great to be able to say, ‘this is where I’m from,’ and, ‘this is who I am.’,” commented Matt about the album.

Hakanaki Hitsuzen (which translates as something like “inevitably ephemeral”) is a whimsical intro that will transport you to the world of Ibaraki before Matt and his crew come ripping in Kagutsuchi, where Matt is on fire with both his enraged screams and unstoppable riffs accompanied by the always pulverizing drums by Alex. Furthermore, everything from the breaks and variations to its ethereal passages, clean vocals and the ass-kicking bass solo by Paolo is stunning, resulting in a lesson in Experimental Black Metal. Then continuing his path of experimentations and progressiveness, we’re treated to another explosion of majestic Black Metal entitled Ibaraki-Dōji, with Matt and Corey slashing their stringed axes while Alex sounds infernal on drums, all enhanced by the song’s background orchestrations. In Jigoku Dayu, an acoustic start evolves into a gentle sonority to the calm, clean vocals by Matt, sounding enfolding until the very end, whereas in Tamashii no Houkai (or “collapse of the soul”), featuring Ihsahn on lead guitars, the band blasts a vicious fusion of classic Black Metal with progressiveness, rage and groove, also showcasing another great vocal performance by Matt.

The skies get darker and darker as the music progresses in Akumu (which means “nightmare”), where you can sense all the anguish and despair in Matt’s roars supported by Alex’s massive beats and the beastly gnarls by guest vocalist Nergal of Behemoth; followed by Komorebi (or “sunbeams”), a very melodic tune presenting different layers plus lead guitars by Corey, despite lacking the same energy of its predecessors. Then alternating between smooth passages and the hellish heaviness of Black Metal we have one of the most detailed of all songs, Rōnin, featuring backing vocals by Norwegian vocalist Heidi Solberg Tveitan of Starofash, who’s by the way married to Ihsahn and has a son, Angell Solberg Tveitan, and a daughter, Ariadne Solberg Tveitan, with him, both also doing backing vocals on the song, plus additional screams by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and lead guitars by Ihsahn. Susanoo no Mikoto is as experimental and groovy as it can be, with Paolo and Alex generating a rumbling atmosphere perfect for Matt’s screams while the song’s second half is a wicked sonic experiment conducted by Matt and featuring additional vocals by Ihsahn. And lastly, it’s time for a little less than three minutes of pure eccentricity entitled Kaizoku (or “pirate”), with Matt declaiming the song’s lyrics like a true bard.

The breathtaking, multi-layered Rashomon can be better  appreciated in its full glory on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you can add it to your private collection of Extreme Metal albums by grabbing your favorite version of it from Ibaraki’s official homepage or by clicking HERE, and don’t forget to also follow the project on Facebook and on Instagram for news and, who knows, some tour dates in the upcoming months, and to subscribe to its YouTube channel for more wicked videos. It might have taken almost 10 years for Matt and his inner demon Ibaraki to finally see the light of day, but the wait was definitely worth it as the music found in Rashomon is outstanding to say the least, and hopefully Matt will continue his path of self-discovery with Ibaraki in the coming years, bringing to us fans more of his experimental fusion of extreme music with progressive elements and Japanese legends.

Best moments of the album: Kagutsuchi, Ibaraki-Dōji, Akumu and Rōnin.

Worst moments of the album: Komorebi.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Hakanaki Hitsuzen (儚き必然) 1:28
2. Kagutsuchi (迦具土) 7:34
3. Ibaraki-Dōji (茨木童子) 7:51
4. Jigoku Dayu (地獄太夫) 7:40
5. Tamashii no Houkai (魂の崩壊) 5:58
6. Akumu (悪夢) 5:53
7. Komorebi (木漏れ日) 6:06
8. Rōnin (浪人) 9:13
9. Susanoo no Mikoto (須佐之男命) 7:12
10. Kaizoku (海賊) 2:53

Band members
Matt Heafy – vocals, guitars

Guest musicians
Corey Beaulieu – guitars, lead guitars on “Komorebi”
Paolo Gregoletto – bass, bass solo on “Kagutsuchi”
Alex Bent – drums
Ihsahn – lead guitars on “Tamashii no Houkai” and “Rōnin”, additional vocals on “Susanoo no Mikoto”
Nergal – additional vocals on “Akumu”
Heidi Solberg Tveitan – backing vocals on “Rōnin”, samples on “Susanoo no Mikoto”
Gerard Way – additional vocals on “Rōnin”
Angell Solberg Tveitan – backing vocals on “Rōnin”
Ariadne Solberg Tveitan – backing vocals on “Rōnin”

Concert Review – Lamb of God & Megadeth (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/18/2022)

After two years of waiting, Toronto was finally able to witness all the energy and heaviness of “The Metal Tour of the Year”… and it was absolutely awesome!

OPENING ACTS: In Flames and Trivium

Ladies and gentlemen, or whatever way you like to be referred as, what an incredible night of first-class, high-octane, infernal Heavy Metal we had yesterday in Toronto at the unparalleled Budweiser Stage, with IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and the one and only MEGADETH showing us all why their tour was named The Metal Tour of the Year! As a matter of fact, last night’s concert was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but of course due to the shitty COVID-19 pandemic (which apparently seems to be finally over), it had to be rescheduled countless times. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it, as all bands were simply awesome yesterday, putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue (and the fans didn’t seem to care about the fact the temperature in the city dropped from the mid-30’s to the low-10’s in just a couple of days). Well, I believe Sweden’s own Melodic Groove Metal/Metalcore icons IN FLAMES were awesome as well, as due to work and traffic I wasn’t able to make it to their concert, but a friend that arrived earlier said they kicked ass.

Setlist
Cloud Connected
Behind Space
Everything’s Gone
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Call My Name
All for Me
I Am Above
Take This Life

Band members
Anders Fridén – vocals
Björn Gelotte – guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar
Bryce Paul Newman – bass
Niels Nielsen – keyboards
Tanner Wayne – drums

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it to see Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal maniacs TRIVIUM, but fortunately I arrived at the venue around 10 minutes before they hit the stage with their short but extremely powerful performance. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent were beyond happy to be back in Toronto after almost five years (yes, their last concert in the city was in the distant year of 2017), and add to that the superb tracks from their most recent album In the Court of the Dragon, those being the title-track In the Court of the Dragon and my favorite one of the album, Like a Sword Over Damocles, and there you have a recipe for success (and mosh pits). “Throes of Perdition” and “Feast of Fire”, which were on the setlist in the US dates, were replaced by Strife and Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, and let’s say those new additions to their setlist received a killer feedback from the crowd, who engaged in several mosh pits while the band was on fire onstage. And what can I say about the jumping up and down ignited by Matt during their hit In Waves? That was outstanding to say the least. Furthermore, Matt mentioned this was the biggest show of the entire North American tour, proving how much us Torontonians love all bands involved, and hopefully that will inspired Trivium to return to Toronto for a full-bodied performance on their own in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
X
In the Court of the Dragon
Like a Sword Over Damocles
Beyond Oblivion
Strife
Rain
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
Capsizing the Sea
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

LAMB OF GOD

If there’s a band that knows how to inspire any type of person in the world to slam into the mosh pit, that’s undoubtedly Richmond, Virginia’s Groove Metal horde LAMB OF GOD, who precisely at 8:10pm hit the stage for the total delight of all metalmaniacs ready for a good dosage of heaviness, rage and insanity. Still promoting their 2020 self-titled masterpiece, the unstoppable Randy Blythe and his henchmen put on an unforgettable show, from the opening song Memento Mori, until the very last second of their all-time classic Redneck. It’s beautiful to see the rise of Lamb of God to the status of metal giants, as now they even have fire onstage like what they provided us with in Walk With Me in Hell, which was by the way flawless and one of the top moments of the entire night. It doesn’t matter if they played darker, more introspective songs like 512 or if they exhaled sheer violence like in Contractor, everything was perfect, and Toronto definitely shared their love for the band with all horns in the air, all screaming, and of course the frantic, never-stopping mosh pits in the floor section. As expected, Randy, who seemed possessed throughout their entire set, delivered a couple of Woooooo!’s as his personal tribute to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and dedicated Redneck to the guy who in 2018 tried to swim back to that same venue during their tour with Slayer. Toronto can’t wait to have Lamb of God again in the city, an I can’t wait to slam into the pit to the sound of one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade.

Setlist
Memento Mori
Ruin
Walk With Me in Hell
Resurrection Man
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Contractor
11th Hour
512
Ghost Walking
Vigil
Laid to Rest
Redneck

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Phil Demmel – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

MEGADETH

As expected, most fans at the Budweiser Stage were there to witness “MegaDave” Mustaine and his Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH distill their unique classics in the city again after so many years, and when the clock hit 9:45pm our dreams came true as the first notes from Hangar 18 (right after the intro Prince of Darkness) were played by Dave and his bandmates Kiko Loureiro, James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren. Is there a better way to kick off a show than with such classic, followed by the underrated tunes Dread and the Fugitive Mind and Angry Again? What a brilliant start to their set, winning the hearts and minds of everyone instantly. Dave and Kiko played their guitars to perfection as usual during the entire concert, making our jaws drop and inspiring us to show them the horns during and after each song played. I loved the fact they’re still playing the superb Trust after so many decades, and although they replaced another pulverizing song, “She-Wolf”, with A Tout Le Monde, that didn’t do any harm to their concert. Who doesn’t love to sing such stunning ballad together with Dave, screaming the song’s French words at the top of his or her lungs? In addition, a few different versions of Vic Rattlehead appeared onstage during the songs Conquer or Die!, Dystopia and Peace Sells, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the show, culminating with their undisputed hymn Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. By the end of the concert, Dave mentioned the band is recording the follow-up to their 2016 album Dystopia and that the album should see the light of day this summer, so all we need to do now is wait for it and for another night of our beloved Megadeth in Toronto… and Dave promised he’ll return to the city, oh yeah!

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Angry Again
Conquer or Die!
Dystopia
The Conjuring
Trust
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn
My Way
Shadow of Deth

Band members
Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitars
Kiko Loureiro – guitars, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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Album Review – Artamene / Ziggurat (2022)

Behold the debut opus by this Iranian metal horde, setting out on the difficult path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice.

Setting out on the difficult path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice, Tehran, Iran-based Heavy/Thrash Metal band Artamene has just unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length opus, entitled Ziggurat, bringing into being much more than just an amalgamation of metal and non-metal styles, but a solid statement that vocalist Soheil Avakh, guitarists Pedram Shitrah and Ali Karimi, bassist Yahya Rahmani and drummer Pooya Shitrah are among us to stay, showcasing their deep and sincere passion for heavy music with each track of their newborn spawn. “Ziggurat is based on Iranian ancient mythology which we tried to show human life in the era that we are living, especially ourselves as an Iranian metal band who are labeled as Satan worshipers and accused as an anti-cultural wave and relate it to the storyline which was told,” commented the band about the album, inviting us all to join them in their quest for Heavy Metal, freedom and equality.

The sinister guitars by Pedram and Ali kick off the opening tune Infinite Escape, with Soheil declaiming the song’s lyrics with tons of anger in his heart (“As the sun appears / Spate of piercing thoughts start to flow / Desertion, illusion, an infinite escape / As you decide to face your fears / The same coward you always have been grown”) in a fusion of Thrash and Groove Metal with Metalcore elements, whereas the band’s guitar duo keeps darkening the skies with their riffage and solos in Fear of Darkness, another heavy and melodic creation by the quintet where Pooya dictates the song’s wicked pace while also presenting hints of Progressive Metal. It’s then time for another neck-breaking extravaganza entitled Heavy Motion, with Yahya and Pooya adding tons of groove to the music armed with their sonic weapons, resulting in an awesome display of heavy music inspired by renowned acts the likes of Pantera and Lamb of God; and in Mayhem the name of the song says it all, sounding brutal and fierce from the very first second with Soheil showcasing his dirtiest and deepest roars of the whole album.

Get ready to slam into the circle pit to the sound of Shining Black, where Pedram and Ali show no mercy for our souls while Yahya is on absolute fire with his metallic bass, or in other words, it’s a solid, progressive and thrilling instrumental feast by Artamene; and Yahya’s bass keeps hammering our heads in Inshushinak, blending the heaviest elements from Groove and Thrash Metal and all spiced up by the gruesome, infernal screams and vociferations by Soheil in paradox with his own clean vocals. The sound of rain ignites the delicate interlude Rain of Paradise, with Pedram and Ali jamming in great fashion, setting the stage for Petrichor, starting in the same enfolding manner as its predecessor before evolving into a melodic and somber musicality, with Soheil’s melancholic vocals walking hand in hand with the whimsical riffs by the band’s guitarists.

As aforementioned, Ziggurat, which is available for a full listen on on YouTube and on Spotify, is much more than just an album of contemporary metal music, but proof that Artamene will keep moving forward no matter what, going against all odds in the name of heavy music and working hard for their place in the scene. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Iranian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram for all things Artamene, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for their wicked videos, and of course, above all that, to purchase a copy of Ziggurat by clicking HERE. Let your hearts shine through this blackened earth, and let the violent but melodic music blasted by Artamene in Ziggurat enter deep inside your soul forever and ever.

Best moments of the album: Heavy Motion, Mayhem and Inshushinak.

Worst moments of the album: Rain of Paradise.

Released in 2022 WormHoleDeath

Track listing
1. Infinite Escape 5:27
2. Fear of Darkness 4:10
3. Heavy Motion 3:54
4. Mayhem 3:50
5. Shining Black 5:24
6. Inshushinak 6:01
7. Rain of Paradise 2:55
8. Petrichor 5:38

Band members
Soheil Avakh – vocals
Pedram Shitrah – lead guitar
Ali Karimi – rhythm guitar
Yahya Rahmani – bass
Pooya Shitrah – drums

Album Review – Beyond The Styx / Sentence (2022)

An unstoppable French outfit offers us all ten rip-roaring tracks of ruthless Metalcore, manifesting an authentic desire to open minds to the evils of our most decadent modern society.

Riding across Europe since 2011, Tours, France-based Metalcore outfit Beyond The Styx is inspired by a dark and violent musical universe, embodying the flapping of a butterfly wing, and becoming a part of the storm of change. At the crossroads between Hardcore, Heavy Metal and Thrash Crossover, the French quintet comprised of Emile Duputié on vocals, Arnaud Morfoisse and David Govindin on the guitars, Yoann César on bass and Adrien Joulin on drums is ready to kill with their newborn opus Sentence, incarnating themselves as a musical chimera. Recorded, produced, mixed, mastered and engineered by Christian Donaldson at Studio Pôle Nord, and featuring a kick-ass artwork by AMMO Illustration, Sentence is indeed a metal beast ready to be unleashed upon us all by Beyond The Styx, proving why they have successfully been on the road for over a decade.

The band’s sonic attack begins in full force in DC, with Arnaud and David crushing their stringed axes mercilessly while Emile roars like a demonic entity in an awesome fusion of Metalcore with classic Hardcore, and the band keeps delivering rage and violence in the form of music in Collateral, where Adrien showcases all his talent behind his drums firing vicious and groovy beats nonstop, supported by the thunderous bass by Yoann. Then featuring Luis Ifer (Teething) on guest vocals, the band brings forward the massive New World Disorder, where the riffage by Arnaud and David is in perfect sync with Yoann’s bass punches, or in other words, what a demented display of modern-day Metalcore. In ESC XIX the band continues their path of devastation and groove, with Yoann and Adrien stealing the spotlight and inviting us all to slam into the circle pit, and there’s no time to breathe as those French metallers keep hammering our heads in Self Hatred, showcasing another round of Emile’s wicked vociferations amidst sheer aggression and fury.

Get ready to crack your neck headbanging like a true metal bastard in Chain of Life, with Adrien dictating the song’s puissant pace while the band’s guitar duo keeps slashing our minds with their wicked riffs, and more of their insane Metalcore is offered to our ears in Overload, with Emile screaming and barking manically just the way we like it in the genre. With guest Guillaume Duhau (Final Shodown, Happy Face) blasting deep, guttural roars it’s time for Scorch AD, the most pulverizing of all tracks presenting hints of classic Death Metal in its already devilish essence, and let’s keep banging our heads to the sound of Machination, bringing forward the band’s trademark screams and frantic beats with Arnaud and David being on fire with their guitars. The last guest on the album is Vincent Peingnart-Mancini (The Butcher’s Rodeo, Aqme), who roars like a beast in Cyclops, also showcasing piercing riffs and rumbling bass jabs in a beyond visceral way to conclude the album.

Sentence is available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your appreciation for the band’s undisputed Metalcore you can purchase a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, from Season of Mist, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. In addition, don’t forget to also follow Beyond The Styx on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and to stream their incendiary creations on Spotify. Is our history an eternal beginning? That’s the challenge Beyond The Styx undertake, and through the ten rip-roaring tracks found in Sentence the band manifests an authentic, incisive desire to open minds to the evils that have been gnawing away for too long at this most decadent modern society.

Best moments of the album: DC, New World Disorder and Scorch AD.

Worst moments of the album: Overload.

Released in 2022 WTF Records/Diorama Records

Track listing
1. DC 2:47
2. Collateral 3:03
3. New World Disorder 2:38
4. ESC XIX 2:44
5. Self Hatred 2:40
6. Chain of Life 3:58
7. Overload 1:57
8. Scorch AD 3:38
9. Machination 2:37
10. Cyclops 4:03

Band members
Emile Duputié – vocals
Arnaud Morfoisse – lead guitar
David Govindin – rhythm guitar
Yoann César – bass
Adrien Joulin – drums

Guest musicians
Luis Ifer – vocals on “New World Disorder”
Guillaume Duhau – vocals on “Scorched AD”
Vincent Peingnart-Mancini – vocals on “Cyclops”

Album Review – Circa Arcana / Bridget Viginti EP (2022)

A short and sweet explosion of American Metalcore, ranging from personal struggles with addiction and personal demons to stories of occult legends and disassociated dreams.

Formed in the summer of 2020 in the city of El Paso, Texas, in the United States, the five-piece Metalcore act Circa Arcana is starting to come into the forefront of the local scene, with each of the band’s five musicians, those being Kevin Cangas on vocals, Johny Serna and Felipe Jasso on the guitars, Ben Reyes on bass, and Frank Loya on drums, already having experience playing in other bands. Produced by the band itself at JTS Studio Productions, mixed and mastered by Chris Hard at Resartus Productions, and displaying a dark artwork by Kavan the Kid, Bridget Viginti is the debut EP by Circa Arcana, with its lyrical themes ranging from personal struggles with addiction and personal demons to stories of occult legends and disassociated dreams.

Melancholic sounds permeate the air in the obscure opening tune Ten of Swords, until Kevin comes ripping with his anguished roars supported by the metallic bass by Ben and the infernal drums by Frank in a solid display of modern-day Metalcore, also presenting a spot-on balance between clean and harsh vocals. Then continuing their path of harmony and rage the quintet fires the headbanging The Tower, with Johny and Felipe delivering captivating, slashing riffs nonstop while Kevin once again has an amazing performance on vocals. It’s time to bang our heads like maniacs with Circa Arcana in The Chariot, with the band’s stringed trio being on absolute fire from start to finish and also showcasing traditional Metalcore growls and hammering beats, whereas Kevin focuses a lot more on his clean vocals in Luna, declaiming the song’s lyrics in a fusion of Metalcore and contemporary Punk Rock while Johny and Felipe keep extracting sheer melody from their sonic axes. Lastly, back to a more visceral mode the band brings forward Esoteric, with Ben and Frank dictating the song’s crushing pace while Kevin roars like a beast, ending the album on a potent and at the same time dark manner.

In a nutshell, although the guys from Circa Arcana might just be taking their first steps as a band with Bridget Viginti, the music found in their debut EP is not just solid and professional but it also paves a very promising path ahead of them, proving once again how strong the Metalcore scene is in the United States. Hence, in order to show your support to those American metallers, you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, and of course stream their debut EP on Spotify and purchase it from Apple Music really soon. It’s tarot, it’s black magic, and it’s the occult in the form of heavy and groovy metal music. What else can we ask for, right?

Best moments of the album: The Tower and The Chariot.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Ten of Swords 5:42
2. The Tower 4:31
3. The Chariot 3:00
4. Luna 4:28
5. Esoteric 4:40

Band members
Kevin Cangas – vocals
Johny Serna – guitar
Felipe Jasso – guitar
Ben Reyes – bass
Frank Loya – drums

Album Review – Once Human / Scar Weaver (2022)

One of the most distinctive and destructive metal bands of the modern era strikes again with a breathtaking new opus, showcasing their own mutation into an even more devastating beast.

Formed in 2014 in Los Angeles, California, in the United States by guitarist Logan Mader (Machine Head) and vocalist Lauren Hart, the ruthless Groove Metal act known as Once Human has steadily established themselves as one of the most distinctive and destructive metal bands of the modern era. Now in 2022, Logan and Lauren, together with guitarist Max Karon, bassist Damien Rainaud and drummer Dillon Trollope, are ready to kill once again with Scar Weaver, their third full-length album following up on the highly acclaimed releases The Life I Remember (2015) and Evolution (2017), showcasing the band’s own mutation into an even more devastating beast. “It was not an easy path to reach this point, I’ll tell you that,” says Logan Mader. “The original masterplan for the band was really passion-project driven. The first two albums, we were still finding our way. Where we’re at now is with a really strong posture and by far the best album we’ve done. Over the years we’ve done a lot of groundwork and some smaller tours, just grinding things out, sometimes even in a DIY fashion. But now we have legit team around us, the band is firing on all cylinders and everything seems to be lining up this time.”

Dillon begins smashing his drums mercilessly in Eidolon, with Logan and Max extracting sheer violence from their guitars, all of course spiced up by the venomous roars by our she-demon Lauren. Needless to say, it will be an awesome opener for their live concerts. Then we have the menacing Deadlock, featuring Robb Flynn of Machine Head, who makes a pulverizing duo with Lauren on vocals in a modern-day Melodic Death Metal feast with Metalcore nuances, or in other words, a true headbanger by Once Human; followed by the title-track Scar Weaver, which sounds more devilish and darker than its predecessors with Damien hammering his bass nonstop, adding endless groove to the band’s core sonority (not to mention how sharp the riffage by the band’s guitar duo feels). After that the band brings forward Bottom Feeder, sounding infernal and utterly heavy from the very first second while presenting another great job done by Logan and Max with their riffs and solos. Moreover, the metallic bass jabs by Damien will knock you out in the name of Groove Metal, and you better get ready to slam into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac in Where The Bones Lie, with Lauren stealing the show with her flammable growls and vociferations while Damien and Dillon make the earth tremble with their evil kitchen.

More introspective and somber than the rest of the album, Erasure showcases the band’s trademark sound with its first half feeling a little bland while the second half gets back to their usual sonic devastation. And the massive bass lines by Damien attack our senses once again in Deserted, accompanied by the sick, razor-edged riffs by Logan and Max. The high-octane We Ride is a brutal, hellish and absolutely aggressive display of Groove Metal by the band where Lauren is on fire from start to finish, supported by the demented drums by Dillon, whereas in Cold Arrival we’re treated to poetic lyrics growled by Lauren (“I ran so blind / Into the blades of your life / Gray and disguised / And peeled my eyes / As they unfurled”) amidst another thunderous display of Groove and Melodic Death Metal. Lastly, Lauren keeps vociferating wicked words (“No shoulder that won’t cut like a blade / When they’re cold / Turned their backs / I beg them to take your words / Off my chest, take them / Take your worth from my headache / In death”) in Only In Death, putting a beyond sinister ending to the album.

When Logan mentioned Scar Weaver is their strongest album to date he was not joking nor exaggerating at all. Scar Weaver is indeed a powerful and very detailed album of modernized metal music where all band members are in absolute sync until the very last second, providing us fans a very good reason to raise our fists and bang our heads in the name of Heavy Metal. Hence, don’t forget to give Once Human a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and to obviously purchase your copy of Scar Weaver by clicking HERE or HERE. Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with plenty of additional time during the last year’s lockdown situation, Once Human have been able to refine and redefine their sound in Scar Weaver, turning the band into one of the driving forces of modern-day heavy music and, consequently, inviting us all to rock like there’s no tomorrow with Logan, Lauren & Co. for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Deadlock, Where The Bones Lie and We Ride.

Worst moments of the album: Erasure.

Released in 2022 earMUSIC

Track listing
1. Eidolon 4:06
2. Deadlock 3:39
3. Scar Weaver 4:36
4. Bottom Feeder 5:21
5. Where The Bones Lie 3:50
6. Erasure 5:01
7. Deserted 4:13
8. We Ride 2:50
9. Cold Arrival 4:20
10. Only In Death 5:14

Band members
Lauren Hart – vocals
Logan Mader – guitars
Max Karon – guitars
Damien Rainaud – bass
Dillon Trollope – drums

Guest musician
Robb Flynn – additional vocals on “Deadlock”

Album Review – Infected Rain / Ecdysis (2022)

One of the most prominent bands of the current Metalcore scene returns with an incendiary new album, showcasing their own metamorphosis while blending extreme, progressive groove with dark, haunting melodies.

Since forming in 2008, Chișinău, Moldova-based Progressive Modern Metal outfit Infected Rain has become one of the most exciting new acts in the heavy music world, with multi-talented frontwoman Elena “Lena Scissorhands” Cataraga emerging as one of the fastest-rising leading ladies of the genre. Now, after amassing a slew of new fans since the release of their acclaimed albums Asylum (2011), Embrace Eternity (2014), 86 (2017), and more recently Endorphin (2019), the band redefined themselves with their highly anticipated follow-up opus, the futuristic rebirth entitled Ecdysis. Currently comprised of the aforementioned Lena Scissorhands together with guitarists Vadim “Vidick” Ojog and Serghei Babici, bassist Vladimir Babici and drummer Eugen Voluta, Infected Rain showcases their own metamorphosis in Ecdysis while blending extreme, progressive groove with dark, haunting melodies. Produced by Voluta Valentin, Ecdysis successfully demonstrates the ultramodern brutality from Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore without sacrificing emotion and melody, displaying a new layer of Infected Rain that longtime followers and new fans alike will embrace.

Futuristic waves permeate the air in the opening track Postmortem Pt. 1, a song that flawlessly represents the band’s current sound with Lena starting her she-wolf vocal attack accompanied by the metallic bass by Vladimir; whereas Fighter is modern-day Metalcore at its finest, sounding heavy, ethereal and sinister at the same time with the band’s guitar duo Vidick and Serghei slashing their stringed axes in great fashion. And Vladimir and Eugen keep hammering their respective bass and drums in Longing, another puissant Metalcore extravaganza where Lena alternates between her beastly roars and her mesmerizing clean vocals, followed by Goodbye, a solid tune by Infected Rain bringing forward their trademark riffs, bass lines and pounding drums. Featuring the one and only Heidi Shepherd of Butcher Babies, the stunning The Realm of Chaos “was inspired by the massive depression we all lived in 2020. Dedicated to the lost nation and confused society we live in,” commented Lena herself. Musically speaking, it’s a fierce exhibit of the band’s core sonority with Lena and Heidi being on absolute sync from start to finish; and let’s keep banging our heads together with Lena and the boys in Everlasting Lethargy, with its second half lacking an extra kick, albeit still being a very entertaining song.

Lena’s sexy and whimsical vocals will penetrate deep inside your psyche in These Walls, supported by the disruptive guitar lines by Vidick and Serghei. It should sound amazing if they decide to add it to their live performances, I might say, and more of their unparalleled music comes in the form of Showers, with Lena once again stealing the spotlight with a spot-on vocal performance, not to mention all of the song’s stunning background elements. Then electronic sounds kick off the dancing tune November, evolving into a violent display of Metalcore by the quintet with the razor-edged sound of the guitars bringing an extra touch of darkness to the overall result; whereas blending hints of Groove Metal to their core essence it’s time for the visceral Never the Same, also presenting smooth, gentle passages to the gorgeous clean vocals by Lena and, therefore, resulting in a multi-layered creation that will please all fans of the band. Nine, Ten is one of Infected Rain’s trademark dark ballads, offering us all a hypnotizing sound flirting with New Wave music while making the band’s Alternative Rock and Metal vein pulse stronger, sounding beautiful and enfolding until the very last second. Finally, Postmortem Pt. 2 intentionally closes the circle in Ecdysis, continuing the more atmospheric path of the previous song and focusing on Lena’s passionate vocals while also presenting the heaviness of pure Metalcore thanks to the crushing beats by Eugen and the thunderous bass by Vladimir.

Lena and the boys are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte to know what you think about Ecdysis, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their sick videos, making of’s and so on, and above all that, to grab your copy of their incendiary new opus by clicking HERE. As already mentioned, Infected Rain nailed it with Ecdysis by smoothly blending the brutality and rage of heavy music with gentle nuances of electronic and futuristic sounds, placing them as one of the most prominent names of the current Metalcore scene and, therefore, pointing to an even more exciting road ahead of such distinguished Moldovan band.

Best moments of the album: Fighter, The Realm of Chaos and Never the Same.

Worst moments of the album: Everlasting Lethargy.

Released in 2022 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Postmortem Pt. 1 4:59
2. Fighter 5:05
3. Longing 5:14
4. Goodbye 5:28
5. The Realm of Chaos 3:44
6. Everlasting Lethargy 4:13
7. These Walls 4:01
8. Showers 4:29
9. November 4:00
10. Never the Same 3:00
11. Nine, Ten 5:17
12. Postmortem Pt. 2 5:16

Band members
Elena “Lena Scissorhands” Cataraga – vocals
Vadim “Vidick” Ojog – guitars
Serghei Babici – guitars
Vladimir Babici – bass
Eugen Voluta – drums

Guest musician
Heidi Shepherd – vocals on “The Realm of Chaos”