Album Review – Fifth Ring / Masochist (2022)

This ruthless trio based in Taiwan and the United States will break your bones with their debut full-length monstrosity, a maelstrom where Blackened Deathcore, Progressive Death Metal and sheer bloody brutality collide and explode.

With the soul focus on creating the heaviest riffs, the sickest slams and the filthiest breakdowns, the members of Tainan, Taiwan/Atlanta, Georgia, United States-based Blackened Deathcore horde Fifth Ring have been creatively active with other musical projects for over ten years now and have come together once again to create a whole new monstrosity, entitled Masochist. Following on directly from their 2022 three-track EP Dawn, Masochist is a huge leap forward for Fifth Ring in every department, a maelstrom where Blackened Deathcore, Progressive Death Metal and sheer bloody brutality collide and explode, therefore showcasing all the talent and fury by Zachary Kepley on vocals, bass and drum programming, Christopher Williamson on the guitar and Q. Keith Brown Jr. on drums, and being highly recommended for fans of Cattle Decapitation, Bog Wraith, Sun Speaker and Katabasis, among others.

The opening tune Ten Horns is noisy, vile and brutal from the very first second, with the infernal vociferations by Zachary walking hand in hand with his own demonic bass punches in an awesome fusion of Brutal Death Metal and Deathcore where the riffs by Zachary and Christopher will pierce your skull mercilessly. The Snake is just as demonic as its predecessor, with Q. Keith crushing his drums in the name of Blackened Deathcore, exhaling groove and rage for our total delight; whereas in Crimson Mask we face sick words barked by Zachary (“Stretch out the spine / Broken neck / Barbed wire / Guillotine / Now the wound has opened up”) amidst a hurricane of metallic sounds perfect for slamming into the circle pit. Then bringing forward elements from classic Thrash and Death Metal we have Head on a Pike, where Q. Keith once again does a great job behind his drums; and switching gears to a more melodic, pensive sonority, get ready for six intense minutes in Dust to Dust, which loses its grip after a while, consequently sounding a bit tiresome in the end.

Back to a more Hardcore sound, the trio drinks form the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Lorna Shore and Whitechapel in Maggot King, showcasing a violent riff attack by Zachary and Christopher, whereas in Waste we’re treated to another round of their acid lyrics (“Dead in the waste / By the time I was saved / I never / Prayed to a god / Who forsakes / Everyone who’s praises / Dead on cross / With no head / Upside down and rancid”) while the music brings to our ears endless savagery and heaviness. The Pit is a brutal, neck-breaking creation by the trio that will please all fans of the darkest side of Deathcore, with Zachary sounding inhumane on vocals while Q. Keith continues to kick ass on drums, resulting in the heaviest of all songs hands down. Lastly, ending the album on a demonic mode, more of the trio’s trademark aggressiveness is offered to us all in Lurking in the Open Wound, while also presenting some cryptic, somber passages until its melancholic finale.

You can enjoy Masochist and all of its heaviness and gore on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the underground extreme scene you should buy the album from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, or by clicking HERE, proving you’re indeed a circle pit connoisseur. In addition, go check what the trio is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their demented music. Listen to Masochist and feel your mind forcibly expanded while your bones are remorselessly broken, and may Fifth Ring keep destroying everything and everyone that crosses their path with more first-class releases such as their new album in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Ten Horns, Crimson Mask and The Pit.

Worst moments of the album: Dust to Dust.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Ten Horns 4:16
2. The Snake 4:05
3. Crimson Mask 3:20
4. Head on a Pike 4:59
5. Dust to Dust 6:02
6. Maggot King 3:39
7. Waste 3:47
8. The Pit 4:12
9. Lurking in the Open Wound 6:12

Band members
Zachary Kepley – vocals, bass, drum programming
Christopher Williamson – guitar
Q. Keith Brown Jr. – drums

Concert Review – Amon Amarth (History, Toronto, ON, 12/02/2022)

A beautiful night where all Vikings of Toronto put their backs into the oar and rowed in the name of heavy music together with the one and only Amon Amarth. 

OPENING ACTS: Cattle Decapitation, Obituary and Carcass

The last concert of 2022 (at least for me) couldn’t have been any better, as Toronto had the pleasure of hosting The Great Heathen Tour 2022 at this amazing new venue called History, which was by the way inaugurated in November 2021 and belongs to Toronto’s own rapper Drake, with the bands CATTLE DECAPITATION, OBITUARY, CARCASS and the unstoppable heathen horde AMON AMARTH. The venue is in a nice area of the city, near the beaches, with plenty of parking options and decent places to eat nearby such as The Burger’s Priest, making the whole experience a lot more enjoyable than going to a concert at Rebel, for example.

And everything was so well-organized, from the line to get into the venue to the merch booths, bars and coat check, that between the doors opening at 5:30pm and the first concert I had time to do all that and still had 15-20min left before American Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore outfit CATTLE DECAPITATION hit the stage at 6:30pm sharp with their vicious sonic attack. Still promoting their 2019 album Death Atlas, the band spearheaded by frontman Travis Ryan needed less than a minute to inspire the crowd to create a massive circle pit in the middle of the floor section, and that circle pit went on and on until the very end of their concert (and of the entire night, I might say). Moreover, although their setlist was extremely short, it was solid enough to put a smile on the faces of their diehard fans, with the pulverizing Bring Back the Plague being the icing on the cake of their great performance.

Setlist
Anthropogenic: End Transmission
The Geocide
Vulturous
The Great Dying Pt. II
Finish Them
We Eat Our Young
Time’s Cruel Curtain
Bring Back the Plague

Band members
Travis Ryan – vocals
Josh Elmore – lead guitars
Belisario Dimuzio – rhythm guitars
Olivier Pinard – bass
David McGraw – drums

If you’re familiar with the laws, rules and regulations in Toronto you know that most concerts must finish by 11pm depending on the neighborhood where the venue is located, so you can imagine that with four amazing bands like the ones from last night there weren’t any huge breaks in between bands. That being said, I had time to grab a quick beer before one of the biggest Death Metal institutions of all time, the unstoppable OBITUARY, began their insane performance led by the iconic vocalist John Tardy and the crushing drums by his younger brother Donald Tardy. It was again a short but precise and infernal performance by those American death metallers, blending their old school stuff the likes of I’m in Pain with a brand new song from their upcoming 2023 album Dying of Everything, the demolishing The Wrong Time, and by the reaction of the crowd to each and every song played by Obituary we know they’ll keep moving forward no matter what for many years to come. Needless to say, I can’t wait for Dying of Everything next year.

Setlist
Snortin’ Whiskey (Pat Travers Band song)
Redneck Stomp
Sentence Day
A Lesson in Vengeance
Visions in My Head
Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover)
The Wrong Time
I’m in Pain
Don’t Care

Band members
John Tardy – vocals
Kenny Andrews – lead guitars
Trevor Peres – rhythm guitars
Terry Butler – bass
Donald Tardy – drums

Another short break, another beer, and then it was finally time for my first ever face-to-face meeting with England’s own Melodic Death Metal/Death ‘n’ Roll trailblazers CARCASS, one of the very few bands I’ve always been a fan of but that I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing live. Still promoting their fantastic 2021 album Torn Arteries, Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, Tom Draper and Daniel Wilding put on a marvelous show for the delight of all fans at the venue, igniting some sick mosh pits to the sound of Incarnated Solvent Abuse, This Mortal Coil, Genital Grinder, and my favorite Carcass song of all time, Heartwork. Hopefully, Carcass will keep delivering amazing material such as Torn Arteries in the coming years, which means more world tours of course, because Toronto loves Carcass and we’re eager to see them again in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (Intro)
Buried Dreams
Kelly’s Meat Emporium
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Under the Scalpel Blade
This Mortal Coil
Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)
Genital Grinder
The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Heartwork
Carneous Cacoffiny (Outro)

Band members
Jeff Walker – vocals, bass
Bill Steer – guitars, backing vocals
Tom Draper – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums

AMON AMARTH

At long last, just like what happened with Cannibal Corpse, the unparalleled Swedish Melodic Death Metal horde AMON AMARTH was finally able to return to Canada after three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the wait was beyond worth it as their concert yesterday in Toronto was superb to say the least. Those Swedish Vikings kicked some serious ass from the very first second of the classic Guardians of Asgaard (and yes, they’re starting their shows this tour already with a bang), with frontman Johan Hegg being on fire with his deep roars and a very respectful beard. All songs form their 2022 album The Great Heathen Army sounded fantastic live, in special the title-track The Great Heathen Army, adding an extra taste to their incendiary setlist full of classic songs including Destroyer of the Universe and Shield Wall.

The most memorable moment for all fans at the venue was undoubtedly when the band played their new hit Put Your Back Into the Oar, when halfway through it the whole floor section sat down and began rowing like in a Viking ship. That was amazing, really, really fun, proving Amon Amarth are one of those bands that know exactly how to captivate their audiences and interact with each and every fan in the most exciting way possible. If you’re attending one of their upcoming concerts, don’t forget to join the rowing. Their music is awesome, their stage is getting better and better with each tour, but the rowing is something so unique I think it should be mandatory for anyone who purchases a ticket to participate. I can’t wait for the next time Amon Amarth takes the city of Toronto by storm, and I’ll surely be there to put my back into the oar again! ROW! ROW! ROW!

It’s always great to enjoy a night of heavy music in Toronto, to share a few beers with your friends, and to see several familiar faces in the crowd. However, there was one of those familiar faces missing, and it was THE MOST familiar face of the Toronto metal scene. Our beloved super metal fan Walter Froeberich passed away on November 26 after trying to get help for nearly ten days for a serious abdominal pain, but he was allegedly sent home with just some antibiotics and, sadly, died at home in the end. His closest friends organized a protest in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital today demanding justice for Walter, and I really hope something is done to make sure that type of situation doesn’t ever happen again with anyone else in Toronto. I didn’t formally know Walter, but I’ve shared the pit with him many, many times and I’ll miss him in all future concerts in the city. When Amon Amarth played the excellent Raise Your Horns, I raised my horns for Walter, and I’m sure one day I’ll say hello to him in person when we meet in Valhalla again.

Setlist
Run to the Hills (Iron Maiden song)
Guardians of Asgaard
Raven’s Flight
Deceiver of the Gods
Oden Owns You All
The Pursuit of Vikings
The Great Heathen Army
Get in the Ring
Destroyer of the Universe
Put Your Back Into the Oar
Cry of the Black Birds
The Way of Vikings
First Kill
Shield Wall
Raise Your Horns

Encore:
Twilight of the Thunder God

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

Album Review – Ryth / Deceptor Creator (2022)

Raise your horns to this four-piece Death Metal act from Bahrain, bringing to our ears their unique and brutal blend of extreme music in their debut album.

Formed in 2008 in Bahrain (a country not known for its metal scene for many reasons), the four-piece Death Metal act that goes by the name of Ryth is unleashing upon us their debut full-length album, entitled Deceptor Creator, offering our ears 44 minutes of what can be described as Blackened Death Metal with a technical and progressive edge. Mixed by Hani Taqi at Studio 77, mastered by legendary mastering engineer Alan Douches at West West Side Music, and displaying a Stygian artwork designed by Lucas Ruggieri, Deceptor Creator beautifully represents all the hard work and passion by vocalist and bassist Mohammed AlMeshkhas, guitarists Abdulrahman Rashed and Hisham AlAnsari, and drummer Mahmood AlAnsari, who despite all the struggles faced by any metal band in the Middle East never gave up their dream and were finally able to release their debut effort, forging their unique and brutal blend of extreme music.

The atmospheric, cryptic intro Firmament sets the stage for Ryth to crush our souls in Auto-Autonomous, with the guitars by Abdulrahman and Hisham exhaling hatred and animosity while Mohammed roars manically form the bottom of his devilish heart. Put differently, it’s in-your-face Death Metal the likes of Unleashed, flowing into Self Destruct, which begins in a somber manner to the minimalist riffage by the band’s guitar duo and the rhythmic beats by Mahmood while Mohammed continues to vociferate the song’s lyrics in great fashion. White Portrait is even more detailed and progressive than its predecessors, with Mahmood sounding fantastic behind his drums in a lecture in modern-day Progressive Death Metal; whereas Spiral Flood is more direct and infernal, with the riffage by Abdulrahman and Hisham cutting your skin deep while Mahmood keeps hammering his drums nonstop.

The second part of the album begins with the futuristic, eerie interlude Spectre, showcasing an obscure background voice and growing in intensity until exploding into Facade, another puissant, heavy-as-hell tune that brings to our ears more of the gruesome vociferations by Mohammed. Moreover, although the band’s trademark brutality is present, the song loses a bit of its punch after a while. Then sinister and atmospheric from the very first second, the multi-layered The Rise of Erebus will embrace you in pitch black darkness to the venomous growls by Mohammed and the puissant drums by Mahmood; and lastly, Explicit Name is another solid hybrid of classic Death Metal with more modern and progressive nuances, with their guitars walking hand in hand with both their wicked growls and anguished clean vocals.

In summary, if you’re a fan of bands such as Gojira, Dark Fortress, Shining and Opeth you must take a listen at Deceptor Creator, as the album will bring to your avid ears a massive dose of heaviness, groove and progressiveness altogether. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for all things Ryth, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, to stream their creations on Spotify, and above all that, to purchase Deceptor Creator by clicking HERE. It’s always a pleasure seeing metalheads from the Middle East going against all odds and delivering first-class metal even with all the hassles and prohibitions imposed by their authoritarian governments, and the band simply nailed it with Deceptor Creator, proving once again the Middle East could be an excellent source of metal music if only there was a little bit more freedom for talented musicians like the guys from Ryth.

Best moments of the album: Self Destruct, White Portrait and The Rise of Erebus.

Worst moments of the album: Facade.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Firmament 0:35
2. Auto-Autonomous 5:23
3. Self Destruct 5:20
4. White Portrait 6:41
5. Spiral Flood 5:48
6. Spectre 1:51
7. Facade 8:31
8. The Rise of Erebus 5:15
9. Explicit Name 4:51

Band members
Mohammed AlMeshkhas – vocals, bass
Abdulrahman Rashed – guitars
Hisham AlAnsari – guitars
Mahmood AlAnsari – drums

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 – De Profundis / The Corruption of Virtue (2022)

This unrelenting London, UK-based Death Metal entity will corrupt us all to the sound of their most intense, aggressive and challenging release to date.

Most bands mellow with age, but that’s not the case with London, UK-based Death Metal entity De Profundis. Nearly two decades since their inception, the band currently comprised of Craig Land on vocals, Shoi Sen and Paul Nazarkardeh (both of Monument of Misanthropy) on the guitars, Steve Woodcock on bass and Tom Atherton on drums has only evolved to become more and more extreme with each album, their latest probably being their most intense, aggressive and challenging release to date, entitled The Corruption of Virtue, the follow-up to their 2018 critically acclaimed album The Blinding Light of Faith. Produced by Peter Dowsett and displaying a sick artwork by Alex Tartsus (Depravity, Sepulchral Curse), The Corruption of Virtue is an absolute treat for any fan of Death Metal who likes the music to be demanding, engrossing and well thought out, being therefore highly recommended for lovers of bands such as Death, At The Gates, Carcass and Martyr, among several others.

The quintet wastes no time and begin their Progressive Death Metal attack in Ritual Cannibalism, where Craig sounds awesomely gruesome on vocals supported by Shoi and Paul’s acid riffage, not to mention the demolishing beats by Tom; whereas Sectarian Warfare is even more devastating than the opening tune, with Shoi and Paul being simply flawless armed with their stringed axes while Steve and Tom make the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums in a lecture in Death Metal. Then the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Steve will crawl deep inside your mind in the venomous Relentless March, the perfect fusion of brutality and intricacy, with Craig sounding like a creature from the abyss; and it’s time to slam into the circle pit like a headbanging bastard to the sound of Weaponised Rape, where their progressive vein gets even stronger spearheaded by the unstoppable blast beats by Tom.

Sick guitar riffs and solos spiced up by endless violence and dementia are the main ingredients in the multi-layered Death Metal feast Embrace Dystopia, simply infernal from start to finish, and more of their undisputed Death Metal is offered to us all in Desecrating Innocence, with Craig vociferating rabidly in the name of evil, blasphemy and rage. In Religious Cancer we face three minutes of vicious, thunderous sounds blasted by De Profundis where the guitar solos by Shoi and Paul sound as sharp as a knife, always supported by the metallic bass by Steve. Following such demented tune, another round of their obscure but extremely melodic and technical music is offered to us all in Scapegoat, showcasing a great job done by the band’s guitar duo while Tom hammers his drums mercilessly. Lastly, we’re treated to another solid composition titled The Sword Verses, and albeit it lacks a little of the violence from the rest of the album we can still enjoy Craig barking in great fashion as usual.

As already mentioned, De Profundis are far from slowing down or mellowing as the years go by; quite the contrary, in their vicious new opus The Corruption of Virtue they keep growing as a Death Metal beast, and if you want to show your total admiration and respect for those British death metallers you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, stream more of their infernal music on Spotify, and of course purchase a copy of the caustic The Corruption of Virtue from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore as a CD or as a gatefold LP with metallic effect and UV lamination by clicking HERE or HERE. It’s not easy at all to sound even more brutal than usual with each album released, but if the band in question is De Profundis let’s say that their new album proves that’s just another regular day in their undisputed career.

Best moments of the album: Sectarian Warfare, Desecrating Innocence and Scapegoat.

Worst moments of the album: The Sword Verses.

Released in 2022 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Ritual Cannibalism 3:34
2. Sectarian Warfare 4:09
3. Relentless March 4:47
4. Weaponised Rape 4:08
5. Embrace Dystopia 4:35
6. Desecrating Innocence 4:55
7. Religious Cancer 3:20
8. Scapegoat 4:03
9. The Sword Verses 4:59

Band members
Craig Land – vocals
Shoi Sen – guitars
Paul Nazarkardeh – guitars
Steve Woodcock – bass
Tom Atherton – drums

Album Review – Azaab / Summoning the Cataclysm (2022)

An earthquake of different influences blended together through proficient musicianship by an up-and-coming Pakistani Death Metal horde.

Formed in 2016 in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, out of love for both old school and modern Death Metal, the up-and-coming five-piece horde known as Azaab (which is pronounced “aa-zaab” and translates roughly as “calamity”) is proudly unleashing upon humanity their excellent debut effort, entitled Summoning the Cataclysm, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Morbid Angel, Decapitated, Nile and Abysmal Dawn, among many more. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Shahab Khan at Fractal Flow Studios, and displaying a demonic artwork by Ardha Lepa, Summoning the Cataclysm is an earthquake of different influences blended together through proficient musicianship by the aforementioned Shahab Khan on the guitars together with Saad Latif on vocals, Afraz Mamoon also on the guitars, Waqar Ghayas on bass and Adhytia Perkasa on drums, as well as a handful of guest musicians including former and current members from Death, Chthe’ilist, First Fragment and Worm, with the album’s lyrical themes spanning topics such as horror, politics, human nature, the end of days, war and even sci-fi.

The somber, acoustic guitars by Shahab and Afraz in the intro Pandemonium Twilight set the stage for Azaab to smash our senses in Carbon Plague, featuring additional vocals by guests Nick Mkhl (Brutal Sphere) and Aissam El Hassani (Vile Utopia), with Adhytia hammering his drums in the name of Death Metal while Saad roars deeply like an inhumane creature. More of their Technical and Progressive Death Metal is offered to us all in A Hollow Pact, where once again the band’s guitar duo extracts sheer electricity from their axes supported by the unstoppable bass jabs by Waqar, whereas Preachers of Hate is absolutely heavy and menacing from the very first second, with the guttural roars by Saad penetrating deep inside your mind mercilessly in a first-class fusion of modern-day Technical Death Metal with the band’s own Pakistani twist.

Featuring a sick guitar solo by guest Bobby Koelble (Death), it’s time for more savagery, gore and hatred by Azaab in When Worlds Collide, where Adhytia sounds infuriated behind his drum  accompanied by the always metallic bass by Waqar; and Shahab and Afraz deliver incendiary, crushing riffs in The Infernal Citadel, with a guitar solo by guest Phil Tougas (Chthe’ilist, First Fragment, Worm) this time, inviting us all to slam into the pit to their pulverizing Death Metal. Then a serene, acoustic intro explodes into sheer brutality in Trophies of Flesh, where all band members add tons of progressiveness to their core sonority, therefore turning it into the most intricate of all songs of the album. Azaab still have a lot of fuel to burn offering us all their venomous rendition for Decapitated’s The Empty Throne (check the original version HERE), showcasing an amazing job done by Saad on vocals, followed by B.L.O.O.D.B.O.R.N, a hellish, demolishing creation by the quintet with Adhytia sounding like a stone crusher on drums while Shahab and Afraz keep slashing our ears with their ass-kicking riffage and solos.

This unrelenting, vile horde hailing from Pakistan is waiting for you on Facebook and on Instagram to crush your senses with their top-of-the-line Death Metal, and of course if you want to show your total support to the underground you can purchase Summoning the Cataclysm from the band’s BandCamp page or from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for different locations where you can buy or stream the album). After all is said and done, Azaab were not joking when they said they had something for all types of Death Metal fans with their debut opus, as Summoning the Cataclysm indeed brings an amalgamation of elements from the past, present and future of Death Metal, all of course sounding very cohesive and as brutal as it can be for our total delight, positioning Azaab as one of the most interesting name of the Pakistani scene and, consequently, paving a fantastic road ahead of those death metallers.

Best moments of the album: Carbon Plague, Preachers of Hate and B.L.O.O.D.B.O.R.N.

Worst moments of the album: A Hollow Pact.

Released in 2022 Maxima Music Pro/Satanath Records

Track listing
1. Pandemonium Twilight 2:04
2. Carbon Plague 4:11
3. A Hollow Pact 4:39
4. Preachers of Hate 3:58
5. When Worlds Collide 4:49
6. The Infernal Citadel 5:02
7. Trophies of Flesh 4:11
8. The Empty Throne (Decapitated cover) 4:34
9. B.L.O.O.D.B.O.R.N 4:40

Band members
Saad Latif – vocals
Shahab Khan – guitars
Afraz Mamoon – guitars
Waqar Ghayas – bass
Adhytia Perkasa – drums

Guest musicians
Bobby Koelble – guitar solo on “When Worlds Collide”
Phil Tougas – guitar solo on “The Infernal Citadel”
Nick Mkhl – vocals on “Carbon Plague”
Aissam El Hassani – vocals on “Carbon Plague”

Concert Review – Opeth & Mastodon (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON, 04/22/2022)

And Toronto was finally able to enjoy a night of absolute heaviness and progressiveness by two of the most important bands of the current rock and metal scene worldwide.

OPENING ACT: Khemmis

It looks like everything is back to normal as metal concerts in Toronto (and in the entire Canada) are happening everyday now, and after my return to action on April 13 with Judas Priest it was time to keep the ball rolling and head to the cozy Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on Friday night for a very special night of Progressive Rock and Metal with the co-headlining tour of OPETH and MASTODON, two bands that definitely know how to put on a wonderful show wherever they go. And besides, the weather was absolutely perfect, with a bright, sunny day and temperatures ranging between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius inspiring us to get out of our homes to bang our heads together with those impressive bands.

Before Mastodon hit the stage, precisely at 7pm it was time for the opening act, American Doom Metal outfit KHEMMIS, to warm us up with their short but very entertaining performance. Named after an ancient Egyptian city, Khemmis showcased all their talent playing songs from their growing discography, including their latest album Deceiver, released in 2021, with songs such as Three Gates and Conversation with Death receiving a very positive return from the crowd that was already present at the venue. All band members were in absolute sync from start to finish, resulting in a solid performance that proved why they were chosen to be the opening act for those two behemoths of intricacy.

Setlist
Avernal Gate
Three Gates
Living Pyre
Isolation
Conversation with Death

Band members
Ben – vocals, guitars
Phil – vocals, guitars
David Small – bass
Zach – drums

MASTODON

Finally, after years of waiting, American Progressive Metal/Rock titans MASTODON finally returned to Toronto to kick some ass with their undisputed, electrifying music. It was around 8pm if I’m not mistaken when Brent Hinds, Bill Kelliher, Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor hit the stage with the excellent Pain With an Anchor, from their 2021 album Hushed and Grim, setting fire to the audience eager for their concert, including of course myself, and let me tell you that the wait was absolutely worth it.

Unfortunately, like what happened in the first part of the tour last year, there were no songs from their superb 2017 album Emperor of Sand in their setlist, but that doesn’t mean the show wasn’t awesome, with classics such as Crystal Skull, Megalodon and Black Tongue, intertwined with new songs the likes of Teardrinker and Pushing the Tides, captivating our senses mercilessly and urging us to raise our horns to one of the best bands from the current rock and metal scene. Not only that, the background titantron was simply mesmerizing, especially in beautiful songs like the aforementioned Megalodon and the impressive The Czar, adding an extra kick to the music played to perfection by the quartet.

Of course, their closing song was their biggest hit, the fantastic Blood and Thunder, and let me tell you that since watching the Netflix movie Metal Lords I immediately think of the two boys form the movie escaping from the psychiatric ward when the music starts. Although there were no kids running on stage, the band could witness a lot of crazy metalheads slamming into the circle pit, which inspired them to play even louder, heavier and better than ever. Troy was on fire throughout the entire set, becoming the band’s “frontman”, while Brann was not only flawless behind his drums, but at the end of the concert when he took the mic to say a lot of good things about Toronto, about how the band missed us fans, he also proved to be a very nice and humble guy (who also got worried about someone from the audience who apparently passed out during their concert). Thank you, Mastodon! and please come back to Toronto soon for another amazing night of first-class metal music!

Setlist
Pain With an Anchor
Crystal Skull
Megalodon
The Crux
Teardrinker
Bladecatcher
Black Tongue
The Czar
Pushing the Tides
More Than I Could Chew
Mother Puncher
Gobblers of Dregs
Blood and Thunder

Band members
Troy Sanders – vocals, bass
Brent Hinds – vocals, guitars
Bill Kelliher – guitars, backing vocals
Brann Dailor – vocals, drums

OPETH

After a short break, Sweden’s own Progressive Rock/Death Metal institution OPETH took the stage to distill their unique sound for the delight of their Torontonian fans, and although their most recent album, In Cauda Venenum, is from the already distant year of 2019, nobody seemed to care about that and had a great time enjoying the music played (to perfection) by the band’s frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt and his henchmen. I must confess I’m not a big fan of Opeth as I think their music is sometimes too progressive and their songs too long for playing live, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what I saw on stage.

My favorite songs from their setlist were by far Hjärtat vet vad handen gör, Ghost of Perdition and Deliverance, mainly due to the additional heaviness and obscurity found in them, but of course their entire show was great, entertaining all of their diehard fans who took over the venue. In addition, I need to say that Joakim Svalberg and Sami Karppinen are two beasts behind their instruments, enhancing the band’s punch considerably. Mikael also enjoyed interacting a lot with the crowd, exchanging a few words with a fan who could speak their mother tongue Swedish, repeating countless times he doesn’t do drugs (except for a few of them), and saying how much he missed playing to his Canadian fans. How long will their Toronto fans need to wait for another round of Opeth’s progressiveness no one knows, but based on the reaction from the crowd I bet everyone would have loved to see that happen again the next day.

Setlist
Livets Trädgård
Hjärtat vet vad handen gör
Ghost of Perdition
Cusp of Eternity
The Devil’s Orchard
The Drapery Falls
In My Time of Need
Sorceress
Deliverance

Band members
Mikael Åkerfeldt – vocals, guitars
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Martín Méndez – bass
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, piano, mellotron, backing vocals
Sami Karppinen – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Bruna Wanderley

Beauty in desolation, or else…

Born and raised in the city of Brasília, inaugurated as Brazil’s capital in 1960, but currently residing in the charming city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, in Canada, our metal lady of the month of April is here on The Headbanging Moose to embellish the airwaves with her distinguished music, bringing us the joy of the spring that has just started while still sounding as metal as she can be. If you’re a fan of progressiveness, groove and experimentations in Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, get ready to be stunned by the multi-talented Bruna Wanderley, a songwriter, vocalist and cellist who’s taking the world of heavy music by storm with her brand new project, entitled Kapitur. You’ll certainly fall in love for the thunderous sound of her cello, placing her among the most interesting new names of the independent scene in Canada. Having said that, are you ready to rock together with Bruna and her incendiary cello?

Drawing from a young life in Brazil, living in an environment of violence, fear and contrasting beauty, artist and multi-instrumentalist Bruna Wanderley grew up in a conservative Evangelical milieu, which has led her to tease her family’s most beloved boundaries and, since her solo arrival to infamously libertine Montreal in 2015, she has actively performed and recorded as a cellist in a wide array of contexts. For instance, until the beginning of 2019 she was part of an Art Punk Rock band from Montreal named Spectroom, before the band called it quits in February that year. Bruna played cello with Spectroom together with vocalist and bassist Angelo Carocci, guitarists Branco De Souza and Raya Traboulsi, and drummers Matisse Chan and Emixam Maxime Gaboriault, having recorded with them the 2018 five-song EP Kissing Garbage, available for a full listen on Spotify. Although not being metal at all, the music by Spectroom can indeed provide you with very nice and relaxing moments while listening to it, and of course you can enjoy each note played by Bruna on her stylish cello.

Apart from her time with Spectroom, Bruna can be seen playing live with Canadian Death Metal band Infección as their bassist (not cellist) together with vocalist and guitarist Diego, drummer Andrés, and also guest guitarist Jean Bélanger, since 2021. She might not have recorded anything yet with the band, but if you want to have a taste of their fury and aggressiveness you can enjoy their debut demo on their BandCamp page. Furthermore, Bruna was also a guest vocalist for Canadian Progressive Death Metal band Messora on their 2019 album The Door, recording additional vocals for the songs The Veil and The Tide. And if you want to see Bruna Wanderley “multiplied” by four, you can enjoy Bruna’s cover video of Making a Murderer’s full theme by composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who’s largely known for his original score for The Last of Us, with all effects on the electric cello achieved with Line 6’s Helix LT.

Before we talk about Bruna’s brand new endeavor Kapitur, it’s important to mention that, besides her career in the Arts and Culture industry working mainly as a cello instructor and performer in Montreal, where she currently resides as already mentioned, she also studied Sociology and Anthropology at UnB – Universidade de Brasília in Brazil from 2010 to 2015, Music at Escola de Música de Brasília from 2007 to 2013, and Music at Vanier College in Canada from 2016 to 2018, and has not only obtained several certifications in web programming and development such as Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3, Regex and jQuery, but she also has experience working to some companies in Montreal in that segment, as well as volunteering experience as a barista and also running art workshops for Coop Le Milieu, also in Montreal.

However, as this is an underground metal webzine let’s focus on what really matters, and that’s the fusion of extreme music with the whimsical, thunderous sound of her cello in her new project, entitled Kapitur, formed in 2020. Under the up-and-coming Montreal, Canada-based Kapitur she composes, sings, performs guttural vocals and plays the cello, while Sam Neumann’s unyielding drumming presents a strong contrast with the her unbound vocal and cello lines, also supported by guitarist Zach Dean and bassist Bruno Coe. The music is filled with soundscapes and hammering repetitions with bleak cacophony followed by heavenly melodies, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by Opeth, modern Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Saltland, and Tina Guo, among others. Bruna and her Kapitur will release an EP of original songs in the upcoming months, and while we wait for such distinguished experiment let’s stay in touch with the band on Facebook, on Instagram, on BandCamp, and on Spotify, where by the way you can find her first-ever releases, those being the demo song Decay, and the cover version for Sepultura’s all-time classic Roots Bloody Roots (or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the song).

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“Twenty-six years ago, Roots Bloody Roots pleaded for the preservation of Brazilian cultural diversity. Today, Kapitur’s distinctive revisit of the song revolves around the historical alienation of common people regarded as different, the Bloody Roots of us outsiders. It grips on the struggle of finding oneself estranged from one’s original and adoptive cultures, to the ongoing murder and colonization suffered by many people in a land that was theirs for centuries; from immigrant, racial, religious intolerance to the global, modern alien anxiety suffered by African descendants and their relationship to an inaccessible homeland. Roots Bloody Roots is about you, or someone you know and care for,” commented Bruna about her newborn beast. Recorded and mixed by Jonathan Lefrançois Leduc, Kapitur’s rendition for such undisputed metal classic will surely put a huge smile on the faces of Max and Igor Cavalera, Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr., not just because of its rawness and aggressiveness, but also because Bruna is proudly carrying the flag of Brazilian metal to the four corners of the earth with her talent and hard work.

There are a few fun facts about Kapitur and the recording of Roots Bloody Roots that are definitely worth sharing with everyone reading this tribute to Bruna. First of all, when Kapitur’s music video for the song was still unpublished, someone Bruna knows sent a private link to it to Sepultura, and they loved it so much that Derrick Green himself contacted her to say it’s very creative, that it sounds incredible and that he looked forward to meeting her in person, which happened during their concert in Montreal on March 17 this year. In addition, Bruna mentioned that shooting the music video for the song was one of the most demanding and fun experiences the band has had so far. “It was a very cold Fall day, we set up a tent on the sandpits and unexpectedly spent 13 hours outdoors on the first day. As soon as we got there, one of the cars got stuck in the mud, and only after greatly shoving, did a guy on a tractor appear to tow the car in a few seconds. The photographer was buried naked in the sand at 5°C – he did say he liked it. For the entire time, I was cold from shooting in a thin dress and being barefoot on the sand. At night, we had to beware of the coyote sounds coming our way – it was so reassuring to have combustible material available, just in case. Finally, all the team left the site at 3 a.m., with our gear frosted by the dew and fake blood stains on our clothes and shoes. That whole night felt really special though. Will do it again next year, once we get rid of all the sand stuck in our stuff,” said our skillful cellist.

In summary, the multi-talented Bruna Wanderley can sing, play cello and bass, compose, write lyrics, act, and so on, which proves how focused and talented she is and, at the same time, showcases all her passion for music in general. I won’t be surprised if in a not-so-distant future we start seeing partnerships between Bruna and both underground and mainstream rock and metal bands, and I would love to see what she could do together with renowned bands the likes of Cradle of Filth, Triptykon and Tristania, adding her own touch of darkness, doom and heaviness to their already venomous music. Having said all that, let’s raise our horns to the “Cello Metal” blasted by Bruna Wanderley, resting assured she’ll always remain loyal to heavy music and to her roots, bloody roots.

Bruna Wanderley’s Official Facebook page
Kapitur’s Official Facebook page
Kapitur’s Official Instagram
Kapitur’s Official YouTube channel
Kapitur’s Official BandCamp page

“It’s uncommon to hear a classical instrument like the cello in heavy music that isn’t Melodic or Symphonic Metal. My intent is to explore creative ways of using my instrument in heavier contexts.” – Bruna Wanderley

Album Review – Godless Truth / Godless Truth (2022)

The new album by this ruthless Czech Death Metal horde will bring Armageddon to us all, sounding refreshingly clear while also sounding sufficiently nasty.

Long-running Olomouc, Czech Republic-based Technical Death Metal band Godless Truth might have been around since the early 90’s, but they have definitely gone from strength to strength with each album, imbibing influences that enhance their sound and make them more powerful and effective than ever before. Mixed and mastered by Joe Haley at Crawlspace Productions, displaying a demonic artwork by Marcos Miller at Nauseaimage, and featuring an array of very special (and demolishing) guests, the band’s brand new self-titled album will bring Armageddon to us all, sounding refreshingly clear while also sounding sufficiently nasty, therefore establishing their identity in an overpopulated scene as a band doing it with panache and grit, and being highly recommended for admirers of the infernal sound blasted by bands the likes of Death, Benighted, Decapitated, Atheist and Obscura.

Eerie sounds arise from the underworld in the uncanny intro Wheels of Entity before the band smashes our damned souls with The Decision, featuring a sick guitar solo by guest Rafael Trujillo of Obscura, a pulverizing display of Death Metal that will make your head tremble to the blast beats by Petr Mikeš. Put differently, it’s absolutely infernal from start to finish thanks to the gruesome roars by Adam while Petr Švancara and Ondřej fire sheer animosity from their guitars, flowing into the sinister interlude Glory to Desperation, where the melodic sound of their riffs will mesmerize you before they crush our senses once again with their Technical Death Metal in Scissors, with Jakub and Petr Mikeš showing no mercy for our cranial skulls armed with their insane kitchen, offering Adam all he needs to shine with his deep, venomous guttural. And in Breathe Fire the name of the song matches perfectly with Adam’s flammable vociferations, adding hints of Black Metal to their already savage sonority while his bandmates make sure the music remains as demented as possible until the very last second.

Featuring guest vocalist Petr Angelo Čuka of Dissolution, it’s time for a neck-breaking feast entitled Fortune Time, with Petr Švancara and Ondřej kicking ass with both their sick riffage and piercing solos, inspiring us all to slam into some wild circle pits if played live; whereas Jakub’s rumbling bass ignites the Death Metal onrush named Bred in Greed, accompanied by the rhythmic drums by Petr Mikeš in a great display of dexterity and rage, keeping the album at a humongous level of insanity. Then with Joe Haley of Psycroptic delivering an incendiary guitar solo, Petr Mikeš sounds like a stone crusher from hell in The Eyechain, a song that will please all fans of the most demolishing side of Death Metal hands down, not to mention how visceral the roaring by Adam sounds, and the piano by guest Peter Gábor brings an extra touch of darkness to RIP Cage while Godless Truth simply decimate their devilish instruments, sounding fast and furious just the way we like it with the band’s guitar duo being on fire from start to finish. Finally, vocalist Matt Delirious lends his beastly roars to the band in Wake Up to Obey, ending the album on a dark, groovy and violent note, therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Technical and Progressive Death Metal.

If you want to know more about the fusion of brutality and melody blasted by Godless Truth, you can start following the band on Facebook and purchase your copy of their insane self-titled beast from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records webstore, where you can find a beautiful, natural-textured, green-coloured wooden box set with matte finish that has the band logo laser-engraved on it with the label logo on the back, strictly limited to 65 copies and packed with an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect and UV lamination, an autographed card, a green shaped logo patch, an album artwork coaster, a large badge and metallic stickers. In a nutshell, despite being on the road for so long, it’s with their new album that Godless Truth have reached their finest moment, elevating the name of Czech Technical Death Metal to new heights.

Best moments of the album: The Decision, Breathe Fire and The Eyechain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Wheels of Entity 0:59
2. The Decision 4:22
3. Glory to Desperation 0:44
4. Scissors 3:44
5. Breathe Fire 3:11
6. Fortune Time 4:10
7. Bred in Greed 4:19
8. The Eyechain 3:30
9. RIP Cage 3:49
10. Wake Up to Obey 4:06

Band members
Adam B. Sychrow – vocals
Petr Švancara – guitar
Ondřej Černobila – guitar
Jakub Grunt – bass
Petr Mikeš – drums

Guest musicians
Rafael Trujillo – lead guitar on “The Decision”
Joe Haley – lead guitar on “The Eyechain”
Petr Angelo Čuka – vocals on “Fortune Time”
Peter Gábor – piano on “RIP Cage”
Matt Delirious – vocals on “Wake Up To Obey”

Metal Chick of the Month – Adrienne Cowan

So sin ‘til you win, let your demons out! Lady Lightbringer!

It’s time for a true metal opera this February on The Headbanging Moose, courtesy of our multi-talented metal lady of the month. A metal vocalist, poet, vocal coach and musician best known for being the frontwoman and composer for American Symphonic Metal band Seven Spires, among several other amazing metal bands and projects, Adrienne Elizabeth Catli Cowan, who goes by her stage name of Adrienne Cowan, will mesmerize you with her unique vocals, both extreme and classic Heavy Metal clean vocals. In other words, she can sing pretty much any type of metal and non-metal music, from the Symphonic Metal of Seven Spires to Death Metal, Deathcore and Dark Jazz, and I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast with Adrienne after knowing more about the life and career of such skillful artist.

Born on January 28, 1995 in Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, Adrienne is formally trained in classical and most contemporary styles as a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (with a degree in Music Composition) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Academy of Contemporary Music in the UK, although she was also self-taught in both extreme clean vocals for many years before finally finding a perfect vocal coach in Swedish singer David Äkesson. Her connection with music started a lot earlier than that, though, as since she was a child she was already taking part in choirs and taking piano lessons, performing in musicals and then entering music school, and from there starting to compose her music and to expand her knowledge and skills, especially as a singer. For instance, Adrienne had her first performance as a vocalist at the age of three at an event at the church her family attended, beginning her piano lessons after that at the age of six and being mainly into choir and darker popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera throughout elementary and middle school. Not only that, her parents pulled her out of high school so that she could attend a music school full-time, so through that show of support she already had a good feeling about her potential skills.

When she was still living in England, in 2012, Adrienne was making demos by herself for a dark and theatrical project she had yet to debut, and after moving back to the United States in 2013 she met Jack Kosto in a bookstore in her first week at Berklee and told him about her project and songs. From there Seven Spires were born, with all band members having extensive musical knowledge and studies, therefore drawing on their backgrounds to express themselves musically without limits of genre or technique. Seven Spires released their first album in 2014, the EP The Cabaret of Dreams, with all of its songs representing half of their 2017 full-length opus Solveig, where not only Adrienne was responsible for all vocals, keyboards, lyrics and songwriting, but also for the production and vocal engineering, showcasing all her talent and professionalism. After Solveig, the band released the full-length albums Emerald Seas, in 2020, and Gods of Debauchery, in 2021, and if you want to enjoy all of the band’s epic creations you can find Seven Spires on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can also have a visual orgasm with their official videos for the songs Lightbringer, Succumb, The Unforgotten Name, The Cabaret Of Dreams, Drowner Of Worlds, Bury You, The Paradox, This God Is Dead, Silvery Moon, The Cursed Muse, and Dare To Live, as well as some live footage, making of’s, behind the scenes and other awesome videos by Adrienne and her crew.

Apart from her career with Seven Spires, you can also find Adrienne and her powerful vocals in distinct bands and projects such as International Power Metal band Light & Shade, with whom she recorded the vocals for the 2016 album The Essence of Everything; International Power Metal/Hard Rock band Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, with whom she recorded the vocals (and piano for one track) in the 2019 album Signs of Wings; and American Symphonic Deathcore band Winds of Plague, with whom she recorded the keyboards and backing vocals in the 2017 album Blood of My Enemy. In addition, Adrienne was also part of American Melodic Heavy Metal band FirstBourne from 2016 to 2018, having recorded the vocals and keyboards in their 2016 album Riot and in the 2017 acoustic single Home, and of Frontiers All Stars in 2020 and Riot Underground between 2012 and 2013.

You can also find her singing and playing live with German Symphonic Power Metal band Avantasia since 2018, with American Heavy Metal band Mike Kerr from 2015 until 2018, and with American Power/Thrash Metal band Sonic Pulse. Not only that, Adrienne was also a guest musician in an array of bands and projects, those being vocals for the song I Declare War from the 2020 album The Journey, by German Melodic Death Metal band Deliver the Galaxy; vocals for several songs from the 2021 album The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson, by Swedish Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal band Heart Healer; vocals for the song My Guide My Hunger from the 2018 album As Above So Below, by Italian Melodic Death Metal band Hell’s Guardian; vocals for the song The End of Innocence from the 2017 album Reflections, by American Neoclassical Heavy Metal artist Jimi Mitchell; vocals for the song Mammoth from the 2017 album Pianometal, by American Symphonic/Progressive Metal artist Kyle Morrison; vocals for the song The Truth of the Lion from the 2015 album The Truth of the Lion, by Mike Kerr; harsh and clean vocals for the songs Conjunction of Souls and The Restitution from the 2020 album Pile of Priests, by American Progressive Death Metal band Pile of Priests; vocals for the song Let It Go from the 2018 album Re-Animated, by Italian Power Metal band Trick or Treat; and vocals and lyrics for the 2018 album Lights in the Murk, by Italian Symphonic Black Metal band Yass-Waddah. Do you want more? Because our she-wolf was also responsible for the songwriting for the song Hold Tight from the 2016 EP Dirty Lyxx, by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Dirty Lyxx, and she also sung vocals in Black Science’s Freedom (Or Die Trying), featured in the outro of one Camp Camp episode, and sang both a duet with Casey Lee Williams in the RWBY Volume 6 credits song Nevermore, and in the song War of Volume 7. Adrienne has also been a part of the Freelance Orchestra in their RTX 2016 (where to her surprise she ended up in the RWBY music panel) and 2018 concerts, plus Anime Boston 2018, and you can always have a great time watching her own videos on her official YouTube channel.

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Adrienne got into the world of metal music around the age of 11 when her uncle showed her Metallica and Scorpions, but it wasn’t until she found out about musicians the likes of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wierman and Yngwie Malmsteen that she really started to feel at home listening to Heavy Metal. She mentioned it appealed in some way to her classical background, and watching live Children of Bodom videos was quite inspiring. However, she’s not only into metal, but showcases a wide variety of influences in her life. “I’m not a one-dimensional person – I’m a human – so I’m allowed to like other stuff”, she said in one of her interviews. “I’m not a huge K-pop fan or anything, but I really like good pop writing. From a technical standpoint, as a songwriter, I’m like: damn, good for you guys. And there’s a certain sassy energy – it just speaks to me in a way that a lot of metal doesn’t.” Another influence on our beloved diva as a writer are painters of the Romantic period, with German painter Caspar David Friedrich and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky being two of her main inspirations. “I’m also a big fan of (the English composer) Edward Elgar – he does this piece called ‘Sospiri Op. 70,’ which is the most beautiful thing, it sounds like the pain of falling in love. It was something I listened to a lot when we were writing this record. And of course, Chopin,” she said, also finding inspiration under night skies and in the darker depths of the human condition to write her lyrics. Adrienne also nurtures an amazing openness with her fans on social media, which she credits to her experience as a My Chemical Romance fan back when she was younger. “This one interview with them came out, and I remember one of the guys in the band saying basically, ‘We say these things in our music, we are a bunch of fucked up guys, and it helps our fans know… you’re not alone.’ That really made me feel less alone when I was a sad teenager, and then when I grew up into a sad adult, I thought, damn, I could be that for somebody else.”

Regarding her singing style, technique and how she maintains her vocal cords in great shape, Adrienne mentioned in one of her interviews that she likes to meditate before shows and uses her instincts to decide what she’ll sing or scream either high or low. “The low death metal style is more present and more grounded and more angry and earthier in a way. The higher black metal screams are more spiritually pitched or spiritually empty — when there’s black metal themes and nihilistic lyrics, of course I’m probably going to scream with that high tone”, said Adrienne. In addition, when she was enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the age of 16 she joined an after-school club where all metalhead students gathered to jam on a new song every week, opening her eyes to the rest of the metal world and challenging her to vocally try different styles of each subgenre of metal. She also mentioned that she has studied many techniques of singing including theatrical belting, Speech Level Singing, bel canto and even some throat singing, with the hardest part being unlearning things previous teachers had told her in order to properly approach whatever new technique she was learning, and with the very high Power Metal “scream” being one of the styles that took her the longest to develop. In order to maintain her vocal health, she mentioned that she basically has to just mind her sleep and hydration levels, trying to stay out of the direct blast of heaters or air conditioners, and trying not to get sick or allergic. However, at the end of the day, even dehydrated or sick the show must go on, which forced her to develop alternate techniques to sing through sickness.

A huge fan of Lord of the Rings, all forms of art, Gothic style, cheesy Sci-Fi, vampire shows, coffee and fantasy games, Adrienne enjoys mountain hikes, spending time by any shore, and playing JRPG’s (Japanese Role-Playing Games) and games with friends between her musical ventures. “After a long tour, I like to sit at home and sleep in my own bed, play video games, maybe think about going out… If I get to go on a little holiday or something, I love road trips and anywhere remote with alpine forests and quiet waters. Wyoming is great for this, as are many spots on the West Coast. Anything to get me away from people and out of my regular world,” commented Adrienne, who despite being very fond of animals cannot take care of a dog or cat due to her lack of space and time to do so. And when asked which hobbit from Lord of the Rings she would choose to be part of her band for the rest of their days, she provided a curious and fun answer to that. “Either Sam or Pippin, I think. Because I think I’m a Frodo, and I need a support system like Sam. But also I need a Pippin to just make me laugh all the time no matter what, and just help lighten the mood, and tell me to eat my carrots and mushrooms.”

Last but not least, our raven-haired vocalist also had a few interesting words to say about the whole pandemic and how it has been impacting her life on the road with Seven Spires. “All of this resulted in connecting more with our fans online. So although it’s super frustrating to not know exactly when we’re going to be able to play live again, we have found a way to do the online equivalent of hugging people at the merch table and listening to their stories,” said Adrienne, who also mentioned she keeps working hard to entertain and stay in touch with her fanbase, also teaching online, private vocal lessons and running a weekly workshop on everything from orchestration to arranging to songwriting techniques, all of which you can find on Linktree and on Patreon. “Mostly I teach tools for people to be able to express what they have in mind, and I teach from a really emotional standpoint.” And if you want to know more about Adrienne, her likes and dislikes, her inspirations and so on, there are countless interview online with her such as this one to Rock Titan or this one called RichardMetalFan Interviews! Ep. 33: Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Winds of Plague/Avantasia, where she talks about her journey with music from where she started until now. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Adrienne reach deep inside your heart and take you on a breathtaking musical voyage to the sound of her stunning vocals?

Adrienne Cowan’s Official Facebook page
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Instagram
Adrienne Cowan’s Official YouTube channel
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Twitter
Seven Spires’ Official Facebook page
Seven Spires’ Official Instagram
Seven Spires’ Official YouTube channel
Seven Spires’ Official Twitter

“I know that if I’m just stagnant and sitting on my ass, I’m not going to be happy. So if I want to be happy, I have to do something about it.” – Adrienne Cowan