Album Review – Lady Beast / Omens EP (2021)

Bang your head nonstop to the straight-to-the-point new EP of pure Heavy Metal by this fantastic Pittsburgh-based band, sprinkling a dust on the poisoned path from which they summit.

The stunning Deborah Levine and her bandmates Andy Ramage and Chris Tritschler on the guitars, Amy Bianco on bass and Adam Ramage on drums, collective known as Pittsburgh, United States-based Heavy Metal outfit Lady Beast, are back in action now in 2021 with a short and sweet EP entitled Omens, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2020 album The Vulture’s Amulet, featuring four original tracks plus a very special cover song that transpire pure Heavy Metal throughout the EP’s almost 20 minutes of music. Sprinkling a dust on the poisoned path from which Lady Beast summit, Omens is highly recommended for admirers of the NWOBHM combined with the badass music and rockin’ attitude by Motörhead, Thin Lizzy and Mercyful Fate, among others, providing newcomers to their metallic realm a very good sample of what the band has been delivering to their fans since their inception in 2009, and of what we can expect from such talented crew in their future releases.

The Poisoned Path already brings pure Heavy Metal to our avid ears, with its old school lyrics declaimed by Deborah (“I go out in the dark, / I whisper to the night… / A voice, it soon replies… / Secure a candles flame, / and sharpen up your blade. / Follow me down the poisoned path I’ve made.”) making things even more exciting, while Amy kicks some ass with her low-tuned bass. Then it’s time for more of the band’s melodic sounds in Reaper, with Andy being on fire with his riffs and solos accompanied by his guitar comrade Chris, feeling utterly inspired by the classic music by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest; and they continue to travel through the golden years of rock and metal in Blood For Blood, with Adam smashing his drums in great fashion while Deborah mesmerizes us all once again with her sharp and captivating vocals. After such powerful tune, Lady Beast pay a high-octane tribute to the one and only Rainbow with their electrifying rendition for the undisputed classic Kill the King (you can check the original song HERE), with Deborah and the boys (and girl) being on fire from start to finish, specially Andy and Chris who deliver together sheer awesomeness through their guitars. Last but not least, let’s bang our heads once again to the pounding drums by Adam in the thrilling The Fool’s Journey, showcasing incendiary riffs and solos supported by the rumbling bass by Amy, therefore providing Deborah all she needs to shine on vocals.

If you want to give Omens a spin, you can find the EP in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Heavy Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of it from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Reaper Metal Productions’ webstore in regular CD format or as an ass-kicking 12″ LP on screen printed black/white splatter vinyl that comes with a 11×11 two sided insert with band photo and lyrics (and as side A is the only playable side, on side B is a screen printed image in metallic silver ink). Also, don’t forget to give the band a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their first-class music and stylish videos. I guess I don’t need to explain that the omens found in Lady Beast’s new EP are all beyond good, but just in case you don’t believe me, simply hit play and let this fantastic beast from Pittsburgh show you how heavy music should be played. I bet you’ll instantly fall in love for their music.

Best moments of the album: Kill the King and The Fool’s Journey.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Reaper Metal Productions

Track listing
1. The Poisoned Path 3:26
2. Reaper 3:50
3. Blood For Blood 3:34
4. Kill the King (Rainbow cover) 4:17
5. The Fool’s Journey 4:25

Band members
Deborah Levine – vocals
Andy Ramage – lead guitar
Chris Tritschler – rhythm guitar
Amy Bianco – bass
Adam Ramage – drums

Album Review – Dethlehem / Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon (2020)

Raise your swords and enjoy this epic album of Melodic Death Metal that will make you want to bang your head while beating the living shit out of magical creatures.

Hailing from Ghorusalem (it’s actually Pittsburgh, a city in western Pennsylvania, in the United States, but please bear with us), the warriors of Dethlehem have traveled through time and space to fight against dragons, wizards, warlocks, leviathans, shape-shifters and a shit ton of other things that needed to die since their inception in 2008. Despite the gimmick, it would be a big mistake to think that Dethlehem’s sound is no more than a witless joke. Truth be told, once you enter their realm you’ll face some good and epic Melodic Death Metal, as the fourth full-length opus from this four-piece army formed by Brutalitus the BloodBeard on vocals, Paladin Bovice on the guitars, Ranger Grimshaw Longfellow on bass and Overlord Brom on drums, entitled Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon, harnesses the spirit of old whilst drawing from the power of modern Death Metal, creating a multi-layered sound that becomes even more compelling if you go full Dungeons & Dragons with the “Story Mode” edition of the album. Featuring an original artwork by American artist Joe Mruk (Red Buffalo Illustration), Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon presents a band that has truly stepped up their game, sounding tighter and more technical than ever, showcasing a more progressive take on Death Metal and covering a lot of ground on an album that will make you want to bang your head while beating the living shit out of magical creatures.

And the story begins with Prelude – As Fate Would Have It, where acoustic guitars permeate the air before all hell breaks loose in A Tale That Time Forgot, with all band members blasting ass-kicking Melodic Death Metal sounds led by the raspy roars by Brutalitus, also bringing forward some good breaks and variations, a considerable amount of progressiveness and endless epicness. Although I understand Interlude I – Cloud Megalopolis is the explanation to the beginning of the adventure, it’s way too lengthy for people like me who prefer music rather than talking, sounding like one of those frustrated Manowar interludes from their latest albums; however, back to what really matters, which is metal music, the quartet fires another berserk, groovy and heavy-as-hell tune titled Return to the Halls of Madness, where Overlord Brom does an amazing job pounding his drums with strength and fury accompanied by the scorching riffs by Paladin Bovice, and they keep smashing their instruments in Mind Flayer, where Paladin Bovice’s guitar lines walk hand in hand with the rumbling and groovy bass by Ranger Grimshaw Longfellow, also bringing an Iron Maiden-ish vibe to make things even more vibrant.

Interlude II – Task for the Bog Witch is another interlude to advance the storyline, shorter and more entertaining with a lot of special “characters”, setting the stage for Escape From Wolf Mountain, a lot heavier and also more metallic than its predecessors, with Brutalitus growling manically and, consequently, injecting more adrenaline to the story being told, while Overlord Brom fires classic, furious beats nonstop, followed by the also frantic Beware the Mimic, showcasing a flammable fusion of classic Death Metal with Epic and Melodic Death Metal where once again Paladin Bovice shreds his strings in great fashion, all spiced up by the song’s old school lyrics (“Terrorize / In the rivets and wood lives teeth and eyes / Biding time / Ready to strike and dissolve your insides / This quagmire in plain sight / The treasure it holds is…”). After another decent bridge titled Interlude III – A Ravenous Storm where the heroes interact with a couple of funny giants, it’s time for a brutal extravaganza titled On the Backs of Giants, with sheer epicness flowing from its lyrics (“We rode on the backs of giants through the snow / Making our way through fractured ice / This journey lumbers on”) while all band members craft another vibrant and dark ambience with their respective instruments.

Gelatinous Cube Labyrinth is perhaps the most modernized tune of the album, with its guitars and bass at the same time piercing your mind and punching you in the stomach, flirting with Progressive Death Metal while Paladin Bovice adds a touch of awesomeness to the overall result with his sick guitar solos, whereas Interlude IV – Welcome to Your Doom is obviously another interlude preparing the listener for the final chapter of the story, with our heroes facing a witch and a dragon in The Emerald Dragon, bringing to our avid ears over seven minutes of melodic passages, clean and harsh vocals, thunderous bass punches and crisp guitars, while Overlord Brom sounds absolutely mental on drums from start to finish, flowing smoothly until its epic conclusion and setting the tone for the outro Interlude V – Cyclical Past, putting an interesting conclusion to the album while making the heroes “aware” of “the listeners”, leaving us all eager for more of their fantasy stories. Well, as it’s mentioned during the outro, the story is “to be continued”, which means we’ll hear a lot more from those dauntless metal warriors in a not-so-distant future.

There are actually two versions of the album available, one with no theatrical interludes for those who just want the music, and the full experience presented in the form of the semi-cohesive story that intertwines with the musical tracks, as reviewed above. You can stream the simpler version with no interludes in full on Spotify or purchase it from the band’s own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, or you can prove yourself a true metalhead, grab your sword and shield, and buy the full Story Mode version of Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon also from their BandCamp page. In addition, don’t forget to join Dethlehem in their quest for metal by following them on Facebook, on Instagram, and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, staying up to date with all things Dethlehem, knowing where their next battles (or live concerts, if you prefer) will happen, and getting useful tips on how to ride giants while fighting witches and dragons at the same time you listen to their crushing and modern extreme music.

Best moments of the album: A Tale That Time Forgot, Escape From Wolf Mountain and On the Backs of Giants.

Worst moments of the album: Interlude I – Cloud Megalopolis.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Prelude – As Fate Would Have It 1:53
2. A Tale That Time Forgot 6:00
3. Interlude I – Cloud Megalopolis 4:20
4. Return to the Halls of Madness 5:01
5. Mind Flayer 5:04
6. Interlude II – Task for the Bog Witch 1:53
7. Escape From Wolf Mountain 4:00
8. Beware the Mimic 5:52
9. Interlude III – A Ravenous Storm 1:56
10. On the Backs of Giants 4:54
11. Gelatinous Cube Labyrinth 5:06
12. Interlude IV – Welcome to Your Doom 3:39
13. The Emerald Dragon 7:36
14. Interlude V – Cyclical Past 1:36

Band members
Brutalitus the BloodBeard – vocals
Paladin Bovice – guitars
Ranger Grimshaw Longfellow – bass
Overlord Brom – drums

Guest musicians
Lord Bonecrush – narrator, boisterous witch, Overlord Brom, backing vocals
Dan Behrens – Magic Man Dan
Bridget Yeager – Veldras
Dan Gold – giant 1, giant 2
Leighann Calamera – valley girl witch
Doyle M. Daigle II – Nildorph
Jack – himself

Album Review – Lady Beast / The Vulture’s Amulet (2020)

The Heavy Metal beasts from Pittsburgh return with another sensational round of soaring vocals, incendiary riffs and classic drums in their fourth full-length opus.

After hundreds of concerts, festivals, tours, three full-length albums, one EP and one compilation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Heavy Metal machine Lady Beast is more than ready to celebrate over 10 years kicking ass and spreading their fulminating music all over the world with their fourth full-length opus entitled The Vulture’s Amulet, an ode to all things metal highly inspired by behemoths the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Mercyful Fate and Motörhead. Featuring a beyond stylish and sexy artwork by American artist Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration), The Vulture’s Amulet has everything it takes to conquer the hearts of any diehard metalhead, from soaring vocals to breathtaking riffs and blast beats, showcasing all the talent, energy and passion flowing from frontwoman Deborah Levine, guitarists Andy Ramage and Chris Tritschler, bassist Greg Colaizzi (who has just left the band, being replaced by Amy Bianco) and drummer Adam Ramage and, above all, proving once again heavy music is still alive and kicking inside our hearts forever and ever.

Classic, razor-edged riffs ignite the frantic and electrifying ode to heavy music titled Metal Machine, filling every single space in the air with electricity and rage before Deborah comes ripping with her powerful and piercing vocals, or in other words, an 80’s classic metal hymn released a few decades later, in 2020. And get ready for another metal storm led by Andy and Chris with their incendiary riffage in Runes of Rust, a Judas Priest-inspired hymn where Adam smashes his drums with tons of precision and groove, sounding as old school as it can be; while the sick bass lines by Greg generate a thunderous atmosphere perfect for the band’s guitar duo to pierce our ears with their riffs in The Gift, a beautiful fusion of the music by renowned Teutonic bands like Grave Digger, Running Wild and Accept, giving you all you need to bang your head like there’s no tomorrow.

Then phantasmagorical guitars à la Mercyful Fate are one of the main ingredients in Sacrifice to the Unseen, while Deborah continues to kick us in the head with her feminine and ferocious vocal lines, also bringing the most electrifying elements from classic Hard Rock to the overall result, followed by the even more metallic and inspiring Betrayer, reminding me of some of the best songs from Judas Priest’s 1978 classic album Killing Machine (or Hell Bent For Leather), with Deborah being simply fantastic on vocals accompanied by the NWOBHM-like riffs by Andy and Chris. And drinking from the same fountain as Iron Maiden in their instrumental classics “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)” and “Transylvania”, but of course with Deborah’s ass-kicking vocals embellishing the airwaves, we have The Champion, an epic Heavy Metal anthem filling our hearts with hope, fire and, of course, Heavy Metal.

It’s time to put the pedal to the (heavy) metal in the absolutely furious, high-octane tune entitled Transcend the Blade, this time a fully instrumental track with Andy and Chris spearheading their sonic onrush, firing beautiful riffs and solos for our total delight, whereas slowing things down a bit (while at the same time getting darker) the band offers us all the title-track The Vulture’s Amulet, a mid-tempo tune where Greg and Adam are ruthless with their thunderous bass and drums, respectively, with Deborah returning in full force declaiming the song’s stylish lyrics. and last but not least, the closing tune Vow of the Valkyrie is an exciting and flammable feast of old school riffs and solos, blast beats and the always killer vocals by Deborah, resulting in a true born-to-be-an-underground-metal-classic bringing forward an amazing guitar “duel” by Andy and Chris tailored for lovers of the seven-stringed ax.

In a nutshell, as already mentioned, The Vulture’s Amulet has everything one might ask for in traditional Heavy Metal, plus of course the mesmerizing touch added by Deborah with her she-wolf vocals, and if you want to show Lady Beast your true support you can buy the album directly from their BandCamp page, from the Reaper Metal Productions webstore (in both vinyl and cassette formats), from Apple Music or from Amazon, as well as stream it in full on YouTube and on Spotify. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, proving to Deborah and her henchmen you’re worth joining their metal den and with The Vulture’s Amulet being the perfect soundtrack for enjoying a cold beer deep down there together with those heavy music beasts.

Best moments of the album: Metal Machine, The Gift, Betrayer and Vow of the Valkyrie.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Reaper Metal Productions

Track listing
1. Metal Machine 3:15
2. Runes of Rust 4:26
3. The Gift 5:09
4. Sacrifice to the Unseen 5:09
5. Betrayer 3:29
6. The Champion 5:24
7. Transcend the Blade 3:42
8. The Vulture’s Amulet 5:14
9. Vow of the Valkyrie 5:03

Band members
Deborah Levine – vocals
Andy Ramage – lead guitar
Chris Tritschler – rhythm guitar
Greg Colaizzi – bass
Adam Ramage – drums

Album Review – Dendritic Arbor / Sentient Village // Obsolescent Garden EP (2015)

Follow the exploratory path of madness by a talented five-piece band whose main objective is to provide us distinct extreme music from multiple perspectives.

Rating5

“Different music from multiple perspectives.”

Dendriticarbor_Svog_cover-page-001If you visit the official Facebook page by American Progressive Black Metal quintet Dendritic Arbor, that’s the short and sweet description you’ll find about the eccentric music by this band hailing from the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, and let me tell you there couldn’t be better words to describe their challenging and lunatic creations and experimentations. I myself consider labeling them as “just” a Progressive Black Metal band a limitation to their unique scope and creativity,  but that’s something I’ll leave up to you to decide after you take a listen at their brand new EP entitled Sentient Village // Obsolescent Garden.

Formed in 2012, the band composed of Maxwell Beehner (guitars, vocals), Adam Henderson (guitars, vocals), Thomas Bittner (bass), Chris McCune (drums) and Kyle Lambert (responsible for the “noise”, or whatever that’s supposed to mean) is on a hot streak since their inception, releasing high-quality extreme music no matter if it’s just a single, a full-length album or an EP like Sentient Village // Obsolescent Garden. Featuring a more-than-unusual album art designed by Hannah MacAulay and Maxwell Beehner (Ageless Christian Records), this avant-garde four-track album will demolish you like a wrecking ball in its 20 minutes of psychedelic rage.

The weird noises in the beginning of Cotard Delusion (a rare mental illness in which an afflicted person holds the delusion that they are dead, either figuratively or literally) might deceive you a bit, making you think the music by Dendritic Arbor is not as heavy as promised, but as soon as the sonic carnage arises with an explosion of blast beats, absurdly demented guitar riffs and disgruntled howls and barks by both Maxwell and Adam, sounding like there’s a horde of hideous trolls making noises behind the band, you’ll realize these guys are not fooling around. However, things get even more demonic (and therefore better) in Failed Manifestations, a top-notch mix of Black, Death and Thrash Metal, all at once in a powergrinding turmoil, not to mention the “trolls” who keep vociferating their evil spell against mankind. In other words, it’s a complex, progressive and totally destructive nightmare for the faint of heart.

Dendritic Arbor band pictureKeratoconus, which by the way is the name of a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than the more normal gradual curve, offers the listener brutal slamming Black Metal with no shenanigans, with drummer Chris McCune simply crushing everything with his inhuman beats. And what the hell are those wicked lyrics about (“Ruby moonlight harvesting the growth. / golden fishbone, lodged into the throat. / guess whose eating from the trash again?”)? Anyway, Latex, the most progressive of the four tracks, is an eldritch canticle forged in the pits of hell, where the whole band focuses all their strength and vileness to generate an idiosyncratic sonority until it becomes just a fading eerie noise to put an end to the album.

In a nutshell, Dendritic Arbor are not among us to provide us relaxing or charming songs, but a disquieting tsunami of Extreme Metal aiming at your ill-fated soul and your filthy heart. And with Sentient Village // Obsolescent Garden, available at their BandCamp page, they continue their exploratory path of madness that will send to your ears, as aforementioned, distinct heavy music from multiple perspectives.

Best moments of the album: Failed Manifestations.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Cotard Delusion 3:44
2. Failed Manifestations 3:25
3. Keratoconus 6:08
4. Latex 7.37

Band members
Maxwell Beehner – guitars, vocals
Adam Henderson – guitars, vocals
Thomas Bittner – bass
Chris McCune – drums
Kyle Lambert – noise

Album Review – Chip DiMonick / Uncaged EP (2015)

Everybody break out and raise your fists and glasses to this electrifying mix of Hard Rock and Punk Metal.

Rating4

ChipDiMonick-Uncaged-CoverI’ve been receiving some feedback on the material added to The Headbanging Moose, saying this webzine is getting too “evil” with all the Death and Black Metal bands recently reviewed. As this is a very democratic webzine (and to avoid becoming “The Demonic Moose”), it’s time to soothe the mood a little with the top-notch Hard Rock by Pittsburgh-based band Chip DiMonick and their brand new party-all-the-time EP entitled Uncaged, the fifth release in their career. However, that doesn’t mean things are not going to get loud or nasty, so you better be ready to break out and enjoy the music by Chip Dimonick and his notorious crew.

Formed in 2005 and being voted “Best Punk Band” in the Iron City Rocks Pittsburgh Music Awards for the past three consecutive years, this Pennsylvanian quartet is back with two new members (DJ Carothers on lead guitar and Gregg Livengood on drums) and, of course, more of their Hard Rock/Punk Metal music, offering us all catchy tunes talking about love, hate and revenge, among other bitter topics. “Uncaged is all about breaking down the barriers that restrict who you are, whether imposed by yourself, society, or whomever”, said Chip DiMonick, founder of the band.

From the very first notes of the title-track, Uncaged, you can already get a sense of how interesting the mix of Hard Rock and Punk Rock in their music is. It’s gripping “pub” music, perfect to be played on any radio station, where Chip commands the festivities with the song’s sing-along chorus (“Hey, tonight we’re uncaged / You can’t hold us down / Hey, forever uncaged / Everybody break out”) while the rest of the band delivers solid Rock N’ Roll lines. And they keep rolling on with You Ain’t Punk, a message to their haters due to their aforementioned awards as “Best Punk Band” in Pittsburgh (“You ain’t punk, you ain’t punk, I bet you never saw the Misfits once…”). Talking about the music itself, it sounds like if Green Day (especially the riffs found in the classic “Welcome to Paradise”) met Motley Crüe: they managed to stay heavy even adding that specific Punk Rock sounding we’re used to listen on the radio, leaning towards fresh and exciting Punk Metal with highlights to the strong bass lines by Joe P.

ChipDiMonickPressPhotoThe band gets heavier and slower in That’s How Much I Hate You, a pure Rock N’ Roll tune thanks to DJ Carothers for his awesome guitar riffs and solo which would definitely be an excellent song for a strip-tease, despite its acid lyrics. Actually, I guess the lyrics would also be perfect for that special “presentation”, don’t you agree? Anyway, the following track, Lightning Bolt, is a smooth Hard Rock ballad that seems to have been crafted in the 80’s or 90’s so classic it is, with the great vocal performance by Chip adding the emotion the song demands. Girls will fall in love for this ballad, no doubt about that.

The last two songs in Uncaged are just as good and catchy as everything else, starting with Hand Grenade (check out the acoustic version HERE), another incredible radio-ready tune where all band members are throwing their “hand grenades” in the form of fast and heavy riffs in total sync with the drums by Gregg, boosted by huge doses of energy. Let me say that the fact it’s the heaviest of all songs has nothing to do with it being my favorite of all tracks. Or maybe yes? Well, the last track of all, Dig Deep, is yet again a melodic display of pure Hard Rock enhanced by hints of Rap Metal. And how not to feel inspired by these simple but very effective lyrics (“You gotta dig deep, you gotta have faith / Put all those doubts right in their place / When you’re dead and gone, you can finally sleep / But you’re alive right now so you gotta dig deep”)?

In a nutshell, pick any song from Uncaged, play it on the radio and you have an instant hit. As simple as that. And if you like what you see, go check their official Facebook page and also grab your copy of Uncaged on CD Baby, Amazon or iTunes. Let’s break out and raise our fists and glasses to the heartening music by this awesome American band.

Best moments of the album: Uncaged and Hand Grenade.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Uncaged 4:09
2. You Ain’t Punk 3:47
3. That’s How Much I Hate You 4:02
4. Lightning Bolt 3:39
5. Hand Grenade 3:04
6. Dig Deep 3:01

Band members
Chip DiMonick – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards
Joe P. – bass, backing vocals
DJ Carothers – lead guitar
Gregg Livengood – drums