Enjoy the Progressive Metalcore blasted by a promising Swiss band in their second EP, blending different styles in a hypnotic atmosphere with a desire to present a scenic performance of sound and light.
Hailing from Yverdon Les Bains, a municipality in the district of Jura-Nord vaudois of the canton of Vaud in French-speaking Switzerland, Progressive Metalcore (or “Prog-core”, if you prefer) act Lasskahl tries to blend different styles in a hypnotic atmosphere with a desire to present a scenic performance of sound and light, all while looking for the perfect mix between breakdown and delicacy as well as a complex part in syncopated rhythms. Now in 2023 the band formed of Stefano Montemari on vocals, Ludovic Coker and Philip Calvet on the guitars, Kilian Rustichelli on bass and Yves Bidaux on drums is releasing their sophomore EP titled Seasons, highly recommended for lovers of the music by Monuments, Vola and Meshuggah, among others. Mixed and mastered by Simone Pietroforte at Divergent Studio and by Vladimir Cochet at Conatus Studio, Seasons is the follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut EP, with each one of its four songs being released as individual singles between 2022 and 2023.
The thunderous bass by Kilian bring the groove to the opening tune Labyrinth Gates, accompanied by the pounding drums by Yves before Stefano attacks with his melodic vocals in a modern-day Metalcore feast full of progressive nuances. Then we have Clouds Above Chains, sounding harsher and more progressive, where Ludovic and Philip are absolutely on fire with their riffs from start to finish while Kilian continues to hit us hard in the head armed with his bass in a great display of Progressive Metalcore; whereas an ominous start quickly evolves into a rumbling Mathcore extravaganza in Faces From The Past, presenting ethereal background elements while Yves keeps hammering his drums, all of course spiced up by a demonic vocal performance by Stefano and, therefore, turning it into the strongest of all four songs. Lastly, the band enhances their darkness considerably in Grudge, Gift Of Suffering, with the guitar duo Ludovic and Philip kicking some ass with their metallic riffage while Stefano continues to declaim the song’s acid words in great fashion.
While the band is gearing up for the release of a full-length album closer to the end of the year, you can enjoy Seasons in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase a copy of it from their own BandCamp page if you enjoy the more progressive and groovy side of European Metalcore. Hence, don’t forget to also follow Lasskahl on Facebook and on Instagram for more details about the band, their music and their live concerts, showing all your support to the Swiss metal scene. If their upcoming album is just half as good as Seasons, all admirers of the genre will have a very good reason for banging their heads nonstop as soon as it’s released, because the 16 minutes of music found in the EP are already amazing enough to entertain us in the name of contemporary Metalcore.
Best moments of the album:Faces From The Past.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2023 Independent
Track listing 1. Labyrinth Gates 3:55
2. Clouds Above Chains 3:25
3. Faces From The Past 5:17
4. Grudge, Gift Of Suffering 3:37
Stefano Montemari – vocals
Ludovic Coker – guitar
Philip Calvet – guitar
Kilian Rustichelli – bass
Yves Bidaux – drums
Known to locals as “the Hammer” or “Hammertown” due to its industrial roots, the city of Hamilton has always been a mandatory stop for countless metal bands form all over the world. Names like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead and so on have played at least once in their careers in such important city for the Canadian industry, and one of the bands that always returns to Hamilton to kick some serious ass is of course our beloved Megadeth. That’s exactly what happened last night at FirstOntario Centre when guests ONI and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, together of course with the one and only MEGADETH, took the Hammer by storm as one of the Canadian stops of their Crush the World Tour 2023, and I must say it was indeed another memorable night of heavy music for the thousands of fans at the venue.
The first band to hit the stage, precisely at 7pm, was Windsor, Ontario-based Progressive Metalcore/Djent act ONI, and although there was still a lot of people outdoors those guys put on an excellent concert, properly warming up the fans of both Bullet For My Valentine and Megadeth with their harsh and clean vocals, thunderous and intricate bass lines, sharp riffs and headbanging drums. Still promoting their 2022 album Loathing Light, the band spearheaded by frontman Jake Oni, who’s by the way a fantastic vocalist capable of switching from demonic growls to stylish clean vocals without any actual effort, put everyone to jump up and down with them during their short and sweet performance, already igniting some fun mosh pits for the delight of lovers of such unique sport. I’m definitely going to take a more detailed listen at their music on Spotify, and you should do the same to get to know more about such interesting band of the current Canadian scene.
Heart to Stone
Jake Oni – vocals
Brandon White – guitars
Martin Andres – guitars
Johnny DeAngelis – xylosynth
Chase Bryant – bass
Joe Greulich – drums
After ONI finished their solid performance, and after a quick bathroom/beer/merch break, it was time for Welsh Melodic Metalcore icons BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE (or just BFMV, if you prefer) to begin their incendiary performance for their several fans at the venue, and I must admit there was a huge chunk of the audience that was there to see BFMV first and Megadeth as a bonus, and not the opposite. Despite not being my cup of tea, I had a good time watching Matthew “Matt” Tuck, Michael “Padge” Paget, Jamie Mathias and Jason Bowld delivering a solid show on stage, mixing their classics with newer songs from their 2021 self-titled album. Songs like Waking the Demon, Knives and the closer Scream Aim Fire worked really well last night while the band had a strong chemistry with the audience during their entire set, and of course although the mosh pits (full of young kids) were not as violent as the ones from Immolation and Obituary the night before, they were still decent enough for a band that lots of people don’t consider metal.
Waking the Demon
Piece of Me
4 Words (to Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
Tears Don’t Fall
Scream Aim Fire
Matthew “Matt” Tuck – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Michael “Padge” Paget – lead guitar, backing vocals
Jamie Mathias – bass, backing vocals
Jason Bowld – drums, percussion
The moment most fans in Hammertown were waiting for finally arrived at 9:15pm, when one of the most important names in the history of heavy music, Mr. Dave Mustaine, supported by his henchmen Kiko Loureiro on the guitars, Steve Di Giorgio on bass and Dirk Verbeuren on drums, collectively known as American Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH, kicked off their performance overflowing classics, heaviness and speed, all spearheaded by our beloved “MegaDave” as usual. The last time Megadeth played in Hamilton was 11 years ago, during their Gigantour 2012, and one of the bands that night was the unparalleled Motörhead, which is why I think the band’s diehard fans ignored ONI and BFMV yesterday and spent all the time prior to Megadeth outside smoking and having some beers.
Anyway, back to the concert, it was simply electrifying from the very first notes of Hangar 18, with flammable hits the likes of Sweating Bullets, She-Wolf, Trust and Tornado of Souls, plus newer songs like Dystopia, inspiring us all to scream the lyrics together with Dave, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop, and even venturing inside the sick mosh pits formed in the centre of the floor section. I also loved the fact they played Dread and the Fugitive Mind, a very underrated metal classic in my opinion, and I wish they had kept Angry Again in their setlist, but overall it was a lecture in heavy music by Megadeth, with kudos to Kiko once again for revitalizing the band and bringing so much energy, charisma and intricacy to their studio albums and live performances. In other words, Dave knew exactly what he was doing when he invited one of the best metal guitarists of the past 20 years to be part of the Megadeth family.
However, it was when Dave gave a short speech about how Covid-19 and his cancer delayed the release of the breathtaking The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (and he received a huge shout and a round of applauses from his fans when he proudly said he beat cancer) before playing the incendiary We’ll Be Back, when Vic Rattlehead joined the band onstage during the hard-hitting classic Peace Sells, plus of course his all-time masterpiece Holy Wars… The Punishment Due, that drove all fans mental at the venue, creating a beautiful connection between the band and the crowd. Needless to say, I don’t care if the play in Hammertown, in Toronto or anywhere else in the area, I’ll be there, and based on Dave’s final words they’ll be back to this part of the world sooner than you can say “Wake up dead! You die!”
Setlist Prince of Darkness Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
A Tout Le Monde
We’ll Be Back
Conquer or Die!
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due Silent Scorn
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitar, backing vocals
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Dirk Verbeuren – drums
Guitarist Andreas Nieratschker, from Germany-based act Agony Atlas, joins us for an exclusive interview about their new EP Retrogression Part I: Egomania, the metal scene in his homeland, the future of the band (and of the entire world), and more.
Andreas Nieratschker (Agony Atlas)
The Headbanging Moose: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about the music by Agony Atlas. Can you please start by introducing yourself to our readers? Who Agony Atlas and what are your goals with the band?
Andreas Nieratschker: One could say, we are a four-person sonically chaotic gathering of people that is actually not that chaotic…
Christoph e.g., my companion on the guitar, is particularly good at collecting tattoos and being a caring father. He simply is our savior when it comes to organising whatsoever. Well actually, everyone is, except Liane and myself (laughter). Organisationally, I mean.
Markus plays like Thor’s hammer when he’s out on his drums. You can feel the concentrated power of the gods, although you hardly see it. – Absolutely smooth playing. Above all, he manages everything when it comes to texting and working towards our famosity.
Liane just has a brute voice, which has impressed me since the first rehearsal of our other band, where we used to play together. I just thought “THIS is the voice I want!”
Well, yeah and I am Andreas.
Together we decided to travel back in time to prevent humanity from its own extinction and to enlighten them about the fucked-up conditions the human kind exposes to our planet. At least, this is the short version behind our story.
THM: Your music is being labeled by fans and the media as “Progressive Metalcore”. Do you agree with that classification, and if so, how would you personally describe it? What other genres and styles can the listener expect to hear in your music?
AN: It’s almost always hard to pinpoint the band’s genre. But I think besides many different influences the term “Progressive Metalcore” describes our music best. Although the progressive part is not extremely present yet, but you will hear more of it in the future songs. Speaking in genres: you can find melodic death metal and metalcore, djent, electro, industrial and thrash metal and sometimes even a hint of black metal.
THM: You have just released your debut EP, titled Retrogression Part I: Egomania. Can you please give us more details about it? What’s the story behind the EP, and what can we expect to see in “the next chapter”, assuming this is just the first part of something bigger the band is planning?
AN: Actually, we don’t have a concrete concept for the EP. It is rather based on the general idea we are pursuing with Agony Atlas. The other publications will lead along this common thread and complement our story.
For a while now, environmental movements have been causing enormous discussions in society. The behavior of people towards one another, towards our living space and towards the world in its entirety has become an important and recurring topic. Now is the latest time for a final change to save our whole future. And that’s exactly what we want to tell with our background story: The time travel from the already destroyed future back to the here and now, to save what can be saved. “Retrogression” stands for the development that we want to prevent – from a future perspective, to a certain extent, for a regression. Therefore we chose the title. We are playing our part in not waking up in a dystopian world, like Mad Max, in the near future. So, we will continue our guiding idea and stick to the band concept.
THM: Let’s now talk about each one of the songs from the EP, starting with the opening track Economy Class, which carries a name that couldn’t be more relevant these days. Can you please elaborate a little more on the meaning of the song and why you’ve chosen such important topic as its main theme?
AN: As I said, the environmental issues are very important. In the EP, we address some of the current problems people have in this regard, such as consuming, digitally induced comfort and an egocentric worldview. The concrete events for the song “Economy Class” were the man-made rainforest fires at the beginning of 2019.
THM: What about Egomania, my favorite song of the EP? What was the process to write and compose this song, and what should the listener take from the music and the lyrics while listening to it?
AN: The irrepressible greed of the people has made them look for another “habitable” or, as I’d like to say, “exploitable” planet for years. Earth alone is apparently not enough. Although it is and was more than sufficient for the remaining living beings. However, because of our curiosity, which we take as a given condition of superiority and as unique selling point of the human kind, it seems that we want to take everything – regardless of the losses.
The song should not only serve through unbelievably good acoustic satisfaction, but also stimulate everyone to reflect one’s own behavior and to question society.
Album Review – Agony Atlas / Retrogression Part I: Egomania EP (2020)
THM: Lastly, the closing song in Retrogression Part I: Egomania, Hymn Of Hatred, is undoubtedly the heaviest and most obscure of all three songs. Why did you decide to end the EP with such dark composition?
AN: For us it’s the most forward moving song. It forges a smooth transition to what the listener can expect in the future. “Hymn Of Hatred” is the newest song on the EP and rather reflects our songwriting. Last but not least: the fact is that future doesn’t look bright, if we don’t act now.
THM: How is it to be fronted by such talented woman like Liane Walter, who certainly makes your music appeal to fans of bands like Arch Enemy and Jinjer? How do you see the importance of women in metal music nowadays, and do you see any type of rejection from fans for having a woman as your lead singer?
AN: The question could also be: What is it like to have such a good vocalist? It’s not about gender, but about skills, human interaction, commitment, creativeness and fun.
By now it should rather be normal to see and hear women in the metal genre. There are already a few more bands than Arch Enemy and Jinjer who sing gutturally in the low frequency range. I haven’t heard of any rejections for now. But in any case, I’m a huge fan of her singing, especially while being in the same band.
THM: Changing the topic a bit, what are your main influences in music and arts in general? And how do you incorporate those influences into the music by Agony Atlas?
AN: I can hardly say where all the inspiration comes from. Christoph, for example, takes part in local cultural associations, plays also in his alternative rock band Karabooza and is involved as guitar sub in a carnival rock band. Furthermore, Markus and I are involved in the jazz genre and beyond. And with Liane, I can only guess, but it seems like she started screaming since birth. Over the years of practicing she must be influenced by all kinds of stuff. But who can really tell? Maybe it can be compared with ideas which are formed by words to be explained. I assume, it’s the same with music. The inspiration comes from memories, visions and random synapse formations, which pop up in your mind. And if you listen closely, you can repeat them to write them down.
If you want to know what everybody of us is listening to, just take a look on our Spotify page. There you can find a playlist of each one of us.
THM: We all know the Germany metal scene is extremely vibrant with some of the best metal fans in the world, which probably means there’s more room for underground acts like Agony Atlas to play their music to live audiences there, right? Have you been able to start touring around Germany (and any other countries) with Agony Atlas already, or is the pandemic still impacting your touring plans?
AN: Standing in the starting blocks, we slipped straight into the corona pandemic and the light has not yet jumped from red to green. Well, we just recently formed up, therefore we use the unexpected waiting time to prepare ourselves sensibly with concentrated power to play in front of a trembling audience. At least now we will have an encore in petto.
THM: What does the future hold for Agony Atlas? Can we expect to see more of your heavy and melodic music in a not-so-distant future?
AN: Yes, definitely! We are already busy in the process for the next release. Five new songs are ready for recording and more are on the way. Hopefully, we’ll get them on the road in 2021.
THM: Thank you very much for the interview! Any final considerations or comments you would like to share with our readers?
AN: Thank you for the opportunity. Listen to our songs and start to change the world! Everybody has an impact to make a difference.
Bang you head to the debut EP by this newborn German band, combining elements of Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore and Groove Metal in their thrilling compositions.
Formed in 2019 in Koblenz, a German city on the banks of the Rhine and of the Moselle, a multi-nation tributary, female-fronted Progressive Metalcore unity Agony Atlas is ready to take the world of heavy music by storm with their debut EP entitled Retrogression Part I: Egomania, featuring three original tracks combining elements of Arch Enemy, Jinjer and Architects, among other renowned acts. Mixed and mastered by Aljoscha Sieg at Pitchback Studios, with vocals recorded at Airstream Studio Koblenz, and showcasing a modern logo designed by Jan Hilken, Retrogression Part I: Egomania might be really short in duration, with only 11 minutes of music, but that’s more than enough to prove frontwoman Liane Walter, guitarists Christoph “Smi” Fuchs and Andreas Nieratschker, and drummer Markus Möwis are on the right path to stardom, bringing forward all of their talent, hard work and passion for heavy music in their newborn spawn.
Just hit play and futuristic sounds will permeate the air in the Groove Metal feast titled Economy Class, where Christoph and Andreas extract metallic, austere sounds from their guitars nonstop, offering Liane all she needs to thrive with her enraged roars. Then you better get ready for another round of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore with modernized sounds in Egomania, where we’re all inspired to bang our heads to the crushing drums by Markus, living up to the legacy of the genre and, of course, with Liane once again sounding infernal with her she-demon screams. And last but not least, closing such short but extremely fun EP it’s time to jump up and down with Liane and the boys in Hymn Of Hatred, with the band’s guitar duo being in total sync with the blast beats by Markus, while the song’s lyrics exhale anger, hatred and obscurity, just the way we like it in extreme music.
Although Retrogression Part I: Egomania might represent only the very first step in the career of Agony Atlas, they already sound like true veterans throughout the entire EP, again pointing to a bright future ahead of them anywhere their music takes them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, to listen to their creations on Spotify, and obviously to purchase the EP (as well as other high-quality merch) from their own webstore, and soon from other retailers such as Apple Music and Amazon. As the name of the album already says, Retrogression Part I: Egomania is just the first part of something bigger Agony Atlas are planning on unleashing upon us sooner than later, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in the career of those German metallers based on the amazing music found in their debut effort.
Best moments of the album: Egomania.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2020 Independent
Track listing 1. Economy Class 3:25
2. Egomania 4:31
3. Hymn Of Hatred 3:28
Liane Walter – vocals
Christoph “Smi” Fuchs – guitars, keys
Andreas Nieratschker – guitars
Markus Möwis – drums