Album Review – Lucifuge / Infernal Power (2021)

The full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance to the infernal fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal crafted by an unrelenting beast hailing from Germany.

3.5rating

lucifuge-infernal-power-2021For the past five years, Bremen, Germany-based Black/Thrash Metal beast Lucifuge has been perfecting an addicting fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal, all guided by the iron fist of mainman Equinox. Starting in 2018 as a one-man wrecking crew inspired by Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer, Lucifuge have expanded to a full-bodied quartet comprised of the aforementioned Equinox on vocals and guitars, Berenjenix also on the guitars, Matorralix on bass and Dominatrix on drums, taking the band’s signature greasy n’ galloping riffs, locomotive rhythmic (dis)charge and twisted n’ pissed vocals, and spit-shining them with the dirtiest motor oil known to man, resulting now in 2021 in their brand new and fulminating opus Infernal Power, a breathtaking album of unrelenting metal music highly recommended for fans of bands the likes of Exciter, Warfare, Running Wild and Onslaught, embraced by the old school warlike artwork by Italian painter Paolo Girardi.

Rev up your engines as their feast of frantic and dirty sounds is about to begin in Infernal Power, blending old school Heavy Metal the likes of early Running Wild with Punk Rock, with Equinox and Berenjenix being on fire with their lancinating riffs. Put differently, what a bestial way to kick off the album, and they keep slashing their stringed weapons mercilessly accompanied by the furious blast beats by Dominatrix and the in-your-face bass punches by Matorralix in Leviathan Arise; followed by Black Battalions, where its lyrics reek of violence and rebelliousness (“Destruction, Disorder and Desire / They cling to him who braves the gale of high / They rush upon him like a wave and break / in fiery foam against him and they shake / They Open Hell”) while the music is a beautiful, galloping fusion of Heavy, Black and Speed Metal. And putting the pedal to the metal the quartet sounds like a demonic version of the early days of Megadeth in Temples Of Madness, with Equinox delivering his trademark raspy roars nonstop.

Let’s keep slamming into the pit and raising our horns and beers high in the name of metal to the sound of Heresy Shall Remain, with Equinox and Berenjenix once again sounding hellish on the gutiars, whereas in Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame we face another round of their wicked lyrics (“Solemn dusk descending from the East / Demons rise around us in the mist / Deep beneath the Eyes of The Black Flame / Rise the One whose name shall not be named”) amidst a hurricane of metallic and sulfurous sounds. Then investing in a more melodic sound while maintaining their core essence intact the band offers us Black Light of The Evening Star, not as demented as its predecessors but still extremely enjoyable; and they’ll make your head tremble to the sound of the Speed Metal and Punk Rock hybrid entitled The Doors of Hell May Shake, where Dominatrix is once again insane behind his drums. After such pulverizing tune, it’s time for their own rendition of Good as It Is, from the legendary Japanese Hardcore Punk band G.I.S.M.’s cult second album M.A.N., released in 1987 (and you can check the original version HERE), with Lucifuge’s tribute sounding and feeling beyond stunning and vibrant. And lastly, sounding more epic than usual, Equinox and his henchmen fire the neck-breaking Midnight Sun, with the bass jabs by Matorralix making the earth tremble while the music remains utterly venomous until the very last second.

lucifuge-2021After all is said and done, it’s quite easy to join Equinox and his henchmen in their quest for metal music. All you have to do is stream Infernal Power as many times as you want in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such talented horde, and above all that, purchase your copy of their scorching new album from their own BandCamp page, or from the Dying Victims Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore (in CD or LP format). As the band itself likes to say, the full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance. Prepare to feel Lucifuge’s Infernal Power!

Best moments of the album: Infernal Power, Black Battalions and Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame.

Worst moments of the album: Black Light of The Evening Star.

Released in 2021 Dying Victims Productions

Track listing  
1. Infernal Power 2:52
2. Leviathan Arise 2:55
3. Black Battalions 3:36
4. Temples Of Madness 2:54
5. Heresy Shall Remain 3:05
6. Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame 2:55
7. Black Light of The Evening Star 3:08
8. The Doors of Hell May Shake 3:48
9. Good as It Is (G.I.S.M. cover) 5:20
10. Midnight Sun 3:59

Band members
Equinox – vocals, guitars
Berenjenix – guitars
Matorralix – bass
Dominatrix – drums

Album Review – El Pistolero / Mexican Standoff (2021)

These German gunslingers are ready to draw their weapons and invade the airwaves with the fusion of depravity, booze and rebelliousness from their rockin’ debut album.

A bunch of Rock N’ Roll animals, dirty, loud and mean, are on their way to give the world what it needs, a rockin’ bastard which sounds as if Motörhead and Airbourne had an illegitimate child together. Founded back in 2012 in Mannheim, a city in southwest Germany, El Pistolero (which translates from Spanish as “the gunslinger”) are ready to take the world of rock music by storm with their debut full-length album, entitled Mexican Standoff, bringing forth a straightforward fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock à la Motörhead, Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and Airbourne. Mixed and mastered by Rolf Munkes (Empire, Crematory) at Empire Studios, Mexican Standoff is a lesson in depravity, booze and rebelliousness, showcasing all the undeniable talented and filthy passion for all things rock by frontman Alex ‘Nighty’ Blochmann, guitarists J.C. Müller and Chris Kaczynski, bassist Willy Krug and drummer Andy Hornef, inviting us all to dance the night away to each of the album’s vibrant compositions.

In the frantic and depraved opening track Sticky Fingers we’re treated to inebriate lyrics declaimed by Nighty and his raspy vocals (“I went drunk to a bar and claimed to be a star / Always want to take it for free / A girl to the left and a girl to right / That`s just the way that I love, that’s me / Bad girls like it – good girls love it / In rows they’re gonna follow me”), while the music is a hybrid of the Hard Rock played by AC/DC and Airbourne with the band’s own German twist. Then venturing through the lands of the badass Rock N’ Roll blasted by Motörhead, J.C. and Chris slash their guitars mercilessly in Desert Road while Willy showcases all his respect and admiration for the menacing bass by the iconic Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.); whereas in Stormbringer it’s beyond clear the band loves to tell stories of drinking and fighting in their lyrics (“Another day fallen up the stairs / A game of poker with two pairs / Someone rich, someone poor / See them lying on the floor”), not to mention you better get ready to party and dance nonstop to the crushing beats by Andy. After that, the band’s guitar duo seems to have a deal with the devil, firing pure evil and adrenaline through their riffs in Fear The Reaper while Nighty continues to vociferate in great fashion, supported by the song’s absolutely catchy backing vocals.

Then El Pistolero deliver a solid Hard Rock and Heavy Metal feast entitled Seeds Of Evil with hints of Southern Rock added to their core sonority, and after a short and eerie intro it’s time for more of their Motörhead-infused sounds in Machine Gun Preacher, perfect for slamming into the pit to the metallic riffs and bass jabs by J.C., Chris and Willy. Andy then pounds his drums nonstop in the title-track El Pistolero, a pub brawling tune bringing forward classic Hard Rock backing vocals and riffage, perfectly representing everything the band stands for, and let’s keep banging our heads to their visceral sound in the sonic extravaganza Down Under, with Nighty declaiming the song’s words while J.C. and Chris add fire to the music with their stylish riffs and solos. The quintet keeps putting the pedal to the metal in the musical train Still Riding, where the piercing sound of their guitars walks hand in hand with Andy’s old school drumming; and get ready to be smashed by El Pistolero in Five Bullets Come In Peace, accelerating their pace and turning up the heat, with the band’s guitar duo being on absolute fire. Liquor & Tits is an electrifying, deviant fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll where Nighty leads his rockin’ crew with his raspy vocals while Andy delivers endless stamina through his beats; and lastly, closing the album the band offers our ears the short and sweet Punk Rock-ish tune Painkillers, once again showcasing razor-edged guitars, rumbling bass jabs and El Pistolero’s trademark insubordination.

These German gunslinger are more than ready to rock your world to the sound of their insane debut effort, and in order to join them in their quest for old school rock and metal music you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream their music on Spotify, and of course click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream their alcohol and sex-infused album. In the end, although Germany might be thousands and thousands of kilometers away from the infamous American Wild West, that didn’t stop the guys from El Pistolero at all from crafting their ass-kicking album reeking of rye, bourbon, tequila, tits, blood and pure Rock N’ Roll, proving not only that rock music knowns no frontiers, but also that anytime, anywhere is a good place for a Hard Rock standoff.

Best moments of the album: Sticky Fingers, Fear The Reaper and Liquor & Tits.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Sticky Fingers 3:22
2. Desert Road 2:32
3. Stormbringer 3:03
4. Fear The Reaper 5:17
5. Seeds Of Evil 2:49
6. Machine Gun Preacher 3:37
7. El Pistolero 3:07
8. Down Under 3:52
9. Still Riding 4:29
10. Five Bullets Come In Peace 3:47
11. Liquor & Tits 5:06
12. Painkillers 2:20

Band members
Alex ‘Nighty’ Blochmann – vocals
J.C. Müller – guitar
Chris Kaczynski – guitar
Willy Krug – bass
Andy Hornef – drums

Guest musician
Carsten Schulz – backing vocals

Album Review – Salò / Sortez vos Morts EP (2021)

A newborn French entity brings out their dead in their debut EP of pulverizing Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust.

Labeling their own music as “Blackened Crust Industrial As Fuck”, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France-based Industrial/Blackened Crust outfit Salò is unleashing upon humanity their debut EP entitled Sortez vos Morts, or “bring out your dead” in English, which as the band itself says, “tells you, without telling you everything either, poor little ones, how it generally goes – after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed.” Recorded and mixed by Manu Laffeach at Studio Chaudelande, mastered by Cyrille Gachet at Dick Doom Studio, and featuring an apocalyptic artwork by CLLK Artwork and logo by Dehn Sora, Sortez vos Morts is highly recommended for fans of the darkest and most desperate form of Industrial Metal you can think of, showcasing all the rage and versatility of this up-and-coming quartet formed by HCT on vocals and bass, AVS on the guitars, DLE onkeyboards and samples, and NGH on drums.

There’s nothing better than kicking of an Industrial Metal album than with a wicked, cinematic intro the likes of La Morale C’est Ça… (or “the moral is that…” in English), setting the stage for the band to crush in the visceral Sans Gêne Ni Haine, or “without embarrassment or hatred”, sounding sick and demented from the very first second with AVS and NGH making an infernal duo with their respective riffs and beats, while HCT barks and roars like a rabid beast. Then the phantasmagorical keys by DLE add an extra touch of dementia to the furious fusion of Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust by Salò in Sans Toit Ni Loi (“no roof or law”), with AVS firing his Thrash Metal-inspired riffage, followed by Tant D’interdits (“so many prohibitions”), where another eerie, alternative intro morphs into a neck-breaking sonority showcasing the rhythmic drums by NGH spiced up by the sick keys and samples by DLE, not to mention how HCT effectively takes the lead with his deranged screams. Their second to last blast of industrialized sounds, titled Sonnez La Curée (“ring the quarry”), is an insane and demonic creation by the French quartet where its thrashing, Punk Rock-infused riffs, together with its rebellious attitude and Hardcore growling by HCT, turn it into the most detailed and thrilling of all songs; whereas the ruthless and hellish Contagion closes the album in the most aggressive way possible, bringing to our ears venomous screams and riffs, menacing keys and Doom Metal-inspired beats.

Sortez vos Morts is available for a full stream on YouTube, but of course if you want to truly show your support for those French metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and even more important than that, purchase the EP from their BandCamp page, from the Cold Dark Matter Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, from the Coups de Couteau’s BandCamp page, and soon also from the Duality Records’ Big Cartel. We must all admit Sortez vos Morts is indeed an amazing start for Salò, therefore already positioning them as a driving force of the genre in their homeland, and if that’s the music we’ll all hear “after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed”, then we can rest assured that the other side is at least heavy, furious and frantic, just the way we like it.

Best moments of the album: Sans Gêne Ni Haine and Sonnez La Curée.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Cold Dark Matter Records/Coups de Couteau/Duality Records

Track listing
1. La Morale C’est Ça… 1:04
2. Sans Gêne Ni Haine 6:53
3. Sans Toit Ni Loi 4:28
4. Tant D’interdits 4:02
5. Sonnez La Curée 6:29
6. Contagion 3:53

Band members
HCT – vocals, bass
AVS – guitars
DLE – keyboards, samples
NGH – drums

Album Review – Tantivy / Eyes in the Night EP (2021)

Rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals, all in one short and sweet EP recommended for anyone who thinks life is a disease, and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

With the drive of Motörhead, the hooks of Judas Priest and the thrash acrobatics of Toxic Holocaust, Wausau, Wisconsin-based duo Tantivy is chomping at the bit of traditional Heavy Metal. Named for an archaic word meaning a rapid gallop or ride, Tantivy are formed by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Adam Geurink (from crust-influenced outfit Wardehns) and drummer Jon Zimick in a musical match made in hell, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their debut EP titled Eyes in the Night. Recorded by Elliot Lozier, mixed and mastered by Trevor William Church at Church Recordings, and featuring a dark and rabid artwork by The Pit Forge, Eyes in the Night is everything a fan of the music by NWOBHM and Thrash Metal titans like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Dio, Toxic Holocaust, Motörhead and Anthrax, among others, can ask for, with its rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals inspiring us all to raise our fists high in the sky in the name of our beloved heavy music.

Jon’s crushing beats and Adam’s Motörhead-inspired, dirty bass lines ignite the frantic Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal feast titled I Am The Wolf, an amazing option for banging your head nonstop while enjoying a cold beer, with Adam’s raspy vocals adding an extra touch of rebelliousness to such vibrant sound. Then the 70’s and 80’s are united in the form of classic Hard Rock in Cut ‘Em Loose, exploding into a visceral and raw sonority led by Adam’s razor-edged riffs while Jon makes sure the level of adrenaline goes through the roof with his sick drumming, and the duo keeps smashing their instruments like there’s no tomorrow in Daggers, bringing forward a great fusion of classic Rock N’ Roll with Punk Rock. Moreover, Adam continues to vociferate manically while slashing his stringed axes mercilessly, driving the song’s fury through the roof. Then it’s time for guest Mason Kurth to kick some ass with his bass punches in Houndin’ Ya, another fast and electrifying display of Tantivy’s passion for Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll where Adam’s guitar roars like a true beast, always accompanied by Jon’s solid beats and fills; and the tribal drumming by Jon kicks off the 80’s-inspired extravaganza titled Nowhere, with Adam and Jon being in absolute sync during the entire song, therefore setting fire to the atmosphere and putting a beyond thrilling conclusion to the EP. Put differently, the one and only Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.) would certainly be very proud of those talented rockers.

It’s extremely easy to join Adam and Jon on their frantic quest for Heavy Metal. All you need to do is follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and more of their insane music, and even more important than that, purchase your copy of their amazing debut EP from their own BandCamp page to prove those unrelenting rockers you’re a worthy metalhead. Eyes in the Night is the perfect example of everything Heavy Metal has always been and will forever be, never slowing down, never giving up and never selling out, always remaining loyal to the roots of the genre and, above all, loyal to diehard fans of old school rock and heavy music. The EP might be short in duration, with only 19 minutes of music, but it’s so intense and well-crafted it sounds like a full-bodied album in the end, pointing to a very promising future for the duo in the American scene and anywhere else in the world where, as many people like to say, life is a disease and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: I Am The Wolf and Daggers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. I Am The Wolf 3:08
2. Cut ‘Em Loose 4:36
3. Daggers 4:19
4. Houndin’ Ya 3:29
5. Nowhere 4:02

Band members
Adam Geurink – vocals, guitars, bass
Jon Zimick – drums

Guest musician
Mason Kurth – bass on “Houndin’ Ya”

Album Review – Hearts & Hand Grenades / Turning To Ashes (2021)

Featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics, the debut album by this Buffalo, New York-based quartet is an ode to all things Rock N’ Roll.

Almost two years after the release of their debut EP in 2019, Buffalo, New York-based Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll outfit Hearts & Hand Grenades is ready to rock our hearts like there’s no tomorrow with their explosive fusion of rock and metal styles in their first full-length album, entitled Turning To Ashes. Originally founded as a cover band in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress, it didn’t take long for Hearts & Hand Grenades to spread their wings and begin crafting original music for lovers of our good old Rock N’ Roll, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their awesome new album featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics. Comprised of the same lineup since the band’s inception, with the aforementioned Mike Bress being accompanied by vocalist and bassist Stephanie Wlosinski, lead guitarist Kenny Blesy and drummer Tom Lafferty, Hearts & Hand Grenades are sharper than ever in Turning To Ashes, making it a must-listen for admirers of rock music with piercing female vocals and a rebellious attitude.

One of the songs from their 2019 EP, Turning to Ashes, becomes the opening track (and the title-track) in their debut full-length opus, an ode to Rock N’ Roll sounding modern, vibrant and fun from start to finish, followed by For the Weakened, also featured in their 2019 EP, where Stephanie is enraged with her high-pitched, raspy vocals while Kenny and Mike bring hints of Southern Rock to the music with their dirty riffs, showcasing all the band’s versatility. Then we have Daggers, inspired by 90’s Alternative Rock, the third (headbanging) tune from their previous effort where the rhythmic beats by Tom will put you to dance while Stephanie continues to kick ass with both her vocals and rumbling bass; whereas I Hide presents an introspective intro to an Alice In Chains-inspired sonority by the quartet, bringing forward a very pleasant pace boosted by the slashing Hard Rock riffage by Kenny and Mike. Needless to say, it will undoubtedly put a big smile on the faces of admirers of rock music from the 90’s.

The last composition from their 2019 EP, Adrenaline, is a lesson in Hard Rock transpiring sheer adrenaline, of course, with Kenny’s guitar solo bringing an extra touch of electricity to the overall result, and I must say this amazing song can be played on any radio station worldwide. Razor-edged guitars kick off the melodious Nothing Left, where Stephanie steals the spotlight with another fantastic vocal performance, leading her bandmates in this Rock N’ Roll party (not to mention another solid job done by Tom behind his drum set), and it’s time for the quartet to bring forth an entertaining fusion of styles such as Ska and Punk Rock in the amazing The In Crowd, where Stephanie is on fire with her piercing vocals as usual while Kenny and Mike alternate between minimalist guitar lines and pure stamina. Lastly, My Sickness is a classic Hard Rock creation that keeps the album at a high level of energy and heaviness, presenting elements form the music by renowned acts like Hole, AC/DC and Velvet Revolver, therefore leaving us all beyond excited for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

Having said all that, what are you waiting for to join Stephanie, Kenny, Mike and Tom in the high-octane Rock N’ Roll party that is their debut album Turning To Ashes? You can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, stream their rockin’ tunes on Spotify, and above all that, purchase your copy of their incendiary album or stream it as many times as you want by clicking HERE sooner than you can raise your horns and scream “Rock N’ Roll!” Actually, maybe that’s exactly what we need to do, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop to warm us all up for when Turning To Ashes is finally unleashed upon humanity, keeping our beloved rock music alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Daggers, Nothing Left and The In Crowd.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Turning to Ashes 4:18
2. For the Weakened 4:06
3. Daggers 3:39
4. I Hide 4:23
5. Adrenaline 5:30
6. Nothing Left 4:10
7. The In Crowd 3:51
8. My Sickness 4:18

Band members
Stephanie Wlosinski – vocals, bass
Kenny Blesy – lead guitars
Mike Bress – guitars, keyboards
Tom Lafferty – drums

Album Review – Waking Dream / Peculiarities of Evolution!!! EP (2020)

Hailing from Russia, this talented quartet is ready to put you to dance to the sound of their upbeat new EP of pure, unfiltered rock music.

Formed in Moscow, Russia in 2012 by guitarist Aleksandr Imaykin and singer Olga Karbusheva, Waking Dream are a hardworking band that plays an eclectic mix of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll and Punk Rock with high-pitched female vocals as the icing on the cake, influenced by renowned acts the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Nightwish, Ramones, Toy Dolls and Metallica. After releasing four full-length albums and two EP’s, it’s time for the band formed of the aforementioned Olga Karbusheva and Aleksandr Imaykin together with Mikhail Romanov on the guitars and Aleksandr Kislyakov on backing vocals and harmonica to kick some ass once again with their sixth release, the vibrant EP entitled Peculiarities of Evolution!!!, an upbeat album produced by Ivan Alyoshin and displaying a distinguished cover art by Russian artist Dasha Samsonova that will put you to dance to the sound of its four tracks filled with electricity, passion, rebelliousness and, more important than all that, pure, unfiltered rock music.

Featuring guest violinist Inna Hinkiladze, whose violin makes a beautiful paradox with the low-tuned bass by Aleksandr Imaykin, A Hit Song quickly morphs into a classic Rock N’ Roll song with Punk Rock, Ska and even some Folk influences, inviting us all to dance together with Olga and the boys, whereas the guitars by Mikhail and Aleksandr Imaykin bring a touch of 60’s and 70’s rock music to their core sonority in Broken Heart, while Aleksandr Kislyakov kicks some ass with his incendiary harmonica, resulting in a straightforward, no shenanigans tune that will undoubtedly put a smile on your face. Olga keeps embellishing the airwaves with her delicate but piercing vocals in Gift Frenzy, showcasing a great job done by Aleksandr Imaykin on drums and the trademark guitar solos by Mikhail Romanov, feeling modern and vibrant from start to finish, and let’s hit the dance floor one last time with the groovy Rock N’ Roll feast Peculiarities of Evolution, spearheaded by the unstoppable beats by Aleksandr Imaykin while the harmonica by Aleksandr Kislyakov adds a sense of nostalgia to the overall result.

In a nutshell, albeit extremely short in duration with just a little over 11 minutes of music, Peculiarities of Evolution!!!, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, is another amazing stone in the Rock N’ Roll path paved by Waking Dream in their already solid career, showing us all the quartet will stand strong in their quest for good rock and metal music for many years to come. Hence, in order to sow them your support and inspire them to keep moving forward, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, official videos and live footage, and above all that, purchase a copy of their fun and dancing new EP from their BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. Peculiarities of Evolution!!! might not be a revolution in music (well, that has never been the band’s goal anyway), but it’s indeed an extremely well-done and thrilling album of Rock N’ Roll, and in the end that’s all that really matters and, of course, everything a true rocker needs.

Best moments of the album: Broken Heart.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. A Hit Song 3:12
2. Broken Heart 2:40
3. Gift Frenzy 3:03
4. Peculiarities of Evolution 2:32

Band members
Olga Karbusheva – lead vocals
Mikhail Romanov – rhythm and lead guitars
Aleksandr Imaykin – rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards, drums
Aleksandr Kislyakov – backing vocals, harmonica

Guest musician
Inna Hinkiladze – violin on “A Hit Song”

Album Review – Code Noir / Jack of All Spades EP (2020)

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, this dynamic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo returns with a band new EP featuring five rockin’ tunes that speak of the darkness of the human psyche.

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, Code Noir are a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo formed in 2015 originally as a four-piece band comprised of Michael T on vocals and guitars, Moth also on the guitars, Adam Chapman on bass and Vaart Pilgrem on drums, with each member bringing their background and experience from a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from theatrical music to Punk Rock to Extreme Metal. However, shortly before the band entered the studio, Moth and Vaart left the band, leaving Michael and Adam to continue the recordings of their debut mini-album Burn Card by themselves. Now in 2020 the duo strikes back with their second EP, entitled Jack of All Spades, showcasing the project’s musical evolution by moving away from the punk influences to a much more rock and metal focused sound. Mixed by Adam himself at Black Dawn Studios in Sweden, mastered by Tobben Eriksson, and featuring a classy artwork by VisionBlack, Jack of All Spades brings to the listener five songs that speak of the darkness of the human psyche, drawing from principal songwriter Michael’s experiences and insight as a professional psychologist, therefore inviting us all to join the duo in this thrilling and psychological quest.

Michael and Adam begin their metallic feast with the classic The Devil Within, with both rockers slashing their strings in a thrilling Hard Rock manner while Michael’s 80’s-inspired voice is effectively supported by the backing vocals by guest Kiran Surana. Then putting the pedal to the metal the dynamic duo blasts the high-octane Supersonic, showcasing old school lyrics roared by Michael (“Slave / To everything that you see / Each time you look in the mirror / You run around / Like a rat in a maze / With space and time erased”) while the music remains as exciting as our good old Heavy Metal requires; and Kiran appears once again as a guest in the frantic Words Never Said, with Adam slashing his guitar in great fashion, firing razor-edged riffs and classy solos, while Michael not only thrives on vocals but his thunderous bass adds an extra touch of heaviness to the music. After such powerful tune, acoustic guitars and a somber atmosphere are the main ingredients in Monarch, a very melodic fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock crafted by Code Noir featuring guest guitarist Lukky Sparxx, who also returns to support the duo in Crucify Their Way, a very entertaining and electrifying metal extravaganza where both Michael and Adam are on fire from start to finish, all boosted by the song’s rebellious lyrics (“Live, fight to die, defy the opposition / Break through the control that builds your inhibition / Hate, steal the lies, deny their false religion / Annihilate the laws that waste upon your vision”).

In summary, Jack of All Spades, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, is not just a solid and entertaining display of rock and metal by Code Noir, but it also gives us fans a much better idea of the direction the band is taking with their music and, consequently, pointing to a very interesting future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the boys on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously to purchase their honest and fun EP from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the music by Code Noir is much more than “just” good Rock N’ Roll, making us think thanks to their austere lyrics and, as a consequence, proving once again how rock and metal music will always have an important role in our lives.

Best moments of the album: Supersonic and Crucify Their Way.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Leviaphonic Records

Track listing
1. The Devil Within 4:20
2. Supersonic 5:31
3. Words Never Said 3:46
4. Monarch 4:20
5. Crucify Their Way 3:55

Band members
Michael T – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass
Adam Chapman – lead guitar

Guest musicians
Kiran Surana – backing vocals on tracks “The Devil Within” and “Words Never Said”
Lukky Sparxx – lead guitar on tracks “Monarch” and “Crucify Their Way”

Album Review – Baxaxaxa / Devoted to HIM EP (2020)

A cult German Black Metal horde returns after almost two decades with an infernal new EP hailing from the most rotten and neglected graveyards.

Forged in the darkest pits of Germany in the already ancient year of 1992, Bavaria’s own Black Metal cult horde Baxaxaxa is back from the underworld after almost two decades to keep burning the flame that coursed through them in the very early 90’s with a new EP entitled Devoted to HIM, offering the listener two original ghoulish apparitions lurking in the most rotten and neglected graveyards. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Lord Noctifer at Black Bunker Sounds and featuring a grim cover art by German tattoo artist Slawa Pavlyguine (Black Venom Ink.), Devoted to HIM is a middle-fingered assertion of Baxaxaxa’s ancient values, being recommended to diehard fans of Mortuary Drape, Root, Hungary’s Tormentor, early Samael and very early Mayhem, showcasing all the talent and devotion to darkness by vocalist Traumatic, guitarist Cryptic Tormentor, bassist Sulphur Irae, drummer Condemptor and keyboardist Antitron Desecratum W2J1L8.

And this unrelenting five-piece horde form hell begins their raw and dirty Black Metal attack with the old school Revelation in Sin, with Cryptic Tormentor’s piercing guitar lines exhaling darkness and fire, while Sulphur Irae and Condemptor bring a touch of Doom Metal to their already devilish sonority and Antitron Desecratum W2J1L8 adds sheer dementia to the overall result with his wicked keys, all spearheaded by Traumatic’s infernal gnarls and screams. Put differently, this is one of those songs tailored for haunting the souls of the lighthearted. Then after such demented onrush of extreme music, cryptic sounds permeate the air in the Stygian and sulfurous title-track Devoted to HIM, suddenly exploding into ass-kicking Black Metal infused with the speed and fury of Slayer and the rebelliousness of classic Punk Rock. Moreover, all band members are on absolute fire from start to finish, in special Cryptic Tormentor armed with his hellish axe, and Condemptor, who doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second, providing Traumatic all he needs to blast his demented growls.

This short but utterly infernal display of the rawest form of Black Metal imaginable is available for a full listen on YouTube, but of course if you consider yourself a true servant of darkness and evil you should follow such insane Teutonic horde on Facebook and, above all, purchase your copy of Devoted to HIM from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Iron Bonehead Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore (in black or white vinyl). The demonic and ruthless Black Metal played by Baxaxaxa (which by the way was a name selected before the band’s first rehearsal and refers to a demon found in a now-lost-and-forgotten book) might not be an easy-listen at first for the regular metal fan, but you know what? That’s exactly how their music is supposed to be,  staying true to their roots and, obviously, forever and ever devoted to HIM.

Best moments of the album: Devoted to HIM.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Iron Bonehead

Track listing
1. Revelation in Sin 6:43
2. Devoted to HIM 4:05

Band members
Traumatic – vocals
Cryptic Tormentor – guitar
Sulphur Irae – bass
Condemptor – drums
Antitron Desecratum W2J1L8 – keyboards

Album Review – Lord Almighty / Wither (2020)

Transcending genre norms, the new opus by this amazing Progressive Black Metal band from Boston showcases an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads.

Formed in the grimy artist spaces of Rugg Road in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States in 2013 by vocalist and guitarist Keenan Carroll and guitarist Samuel “Goose” Willgoose, later enlisting bassist Phill Gelinas and drummer Christopher Narainen to complete the line up and hit the road, the unrelenting Progressive Black Metal unity Lord Almighty continues to play a crushing mix of Black Metal blasts and Rock N’ Roll melodics in their newborn opus entitled Wither, the follow-up to their 2015 full-length album Paths. Recorded by Goose himself at Murder Box Studios, mixed by Phillip Cope at Jam Room, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and featuring a Stygian cover Art by Adam O’Day, Wither transcends genre norms, showcasing an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads. “Wither is an album that really was written over a few years. There were plenty of experiences along the way that continued our descent into madness. It was a hazy time looking through smoke and double vision. Conceptually we had a lot of different emotions and life experiences that culminated to what you hear. If you listen hard enough, you might even hear the crackle of the fire in our building where we lived or the cops pounding on the doors. Or maybe even the dreams in which we envisioned when we found ourselves without homes,” commented the band about their new album.

Their sonic onrush of sounds begins in full force with the opening track Cry of the Earth, where Christopher already presents his heavy artillery while the guitars by both Keenan and Goose bring a thrilling fusion of Black Metal and Punk Rock to the music, building an instant connection with the also progressive, multi-layered Sundown, with their strident guitars and intricate beats providing Keenan all he needs to vociferate with tons of anger, alternating between more rhythmic moments and sheer brutality. After such exciting start to the album, the quartet invests into a classic Black Metal sonority, offering our ears Mercy, with Phill and his Marduk-inspired bass punches adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result, sounding imposing and grim from start to finish and suddenly morphing into a incendiary tune titled Rise, where the Jazz-ish guitars by Keenan and Goose grow in intensity until exploding in a bestial Progressive Black Metal feast led by the crushing beats by Christopher. Then we have V, an instrumental intermission spearheaded by Christopher’s tribalistic beats, setting the tone for the neck-breaking and utterly progressive Despite, showcasing devilish riffs and solos, low-tuned bass lines and the always hellish growls and snarls by Keenan, also bringing forward hints of classic Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll, therefore demonstrating all the band’s versatility and range.

Stifled is another one of their cryptic instrumental creations, this time offering our ears a somber atmosphere and background voices, keeping everything as dark and heavy as possible before they come crushing our spinal cords with the Doom Metal-infused aria titled Adrift, also adding a touch of Atmospheric Black Metal to the song’s already pulverizing sound. Moreover, all band members are on fire throughout the entire song, exhaling obscurity and hopelessness; and after some inspired jamming the quartet fires the demonic Black Metal extravaganza entitled Hour By Hour, where Keenan and Goose sound beyond infernal with their razor-edged riffs, not to mention Goose’s blazin’ guitar solo. Their second to last blast of malignancy comes in the form of the title-track Wither, bringing forward their core progressiveness with Phill’s bass jabs hammering our heads mercilessly in a vicious display of contemporary Melodic Black Metal, whereas closing the album the band brings forth the also strident and piercing Hooded Three. The song actually takes longer than expected to take off, but when it does it’s another display of brutality by Lord Almighty with the thrashing riffs by the band’s guitar duo inspiring us all to slam into the pit.

The beyond progressive and demolishing creations found in Wither can be better appreciated in full on YouTube, but of course as usual if you want to truly demonstrate your support to the guys from Lord Almighty and keep the fires of underground extreme music burning bright forever and ever, go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of their sulfurous new album from their own BandCamp page or webstore. As already mentioned, Wither is not only a very cohesive and vibrant album of extreme music, but it also translates into Black Metal all obscure experiences from each band member in their own descend into madness, which means you should definitely use the entire album as the soundtrack to your own downward spiral into the pits of the underworld. I’m sure the band would love to be part of that unique experience in your damned life.

Best moments of the album: Sundown, Rise and Hour By Hour.

Worst moments of the album: Hooded Three.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Cry of the Earth 3:51
2. Sundown 4:05
3. Mercy 2:31
4. Rise 4:20
5. V 0:51
6. Despite 3:43
7. Stifled 1:34
8. Adrift 3:55
9. Hour By Hour 3:57
10. Wither 4:49
11. Hooded Three 5:11

Band members
Keenan Carroll – vocals, guitars
Samuel “Goose” Willgoose – lead guitars
Phill Gelinas – bass
Christopher Narainen – drums