Album Review – Scorpions / Rock Believer (2022)

Believe in the one and only Scorpions.

Seven years after the release of Return to Forever, which is by the way the longest gap between studio albums in their career, Germany’s Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock institution Scorpions is back in action with their nineteenth opus, entitled Rock Believer, the undisputed proof those German rockers still have a lot of fuel to burn after so many decades on the road. Recorded by Jakob Himmelein and Hans-Martin Buff, produced by Hans-Martin Buff at Peppermint Park Studios, mixed by Michael Ilbert at Hansa Studios, and displaying a beyond classic artwork by Jeff Thrower, Rock Believer is the band’s first-ever album to feature Mikkey Dee (famous for his time with the unparalleled Motörhead) on drums, who replaced James Kottak in 2016, adding an endless amount of adrenaline to the already iconic music brought into being by vocalist Klaus Meine, guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda, making us all believe in rock music even when a good part of our society says it’s already dead and gone.

There’s no better way to kick off a rockin’ album than with the excellent Gas in the Tank, where Klaus, Matthias and Rudolf are on fire from the very first second while Mikkey adds a very welcome, dirty Motörhead vibe to this lecture in classic Rock N’ Roll; and those German rockers keep putting the pedal to the metal in Roots in My Boots, with Rudolf and Matthias delivering sheer awesomeness through their axes. Put differently, it’s old school Scorpions without sounding outdated at all. Knock ‘Em Dead is a mid-tempo Hard Rock feast by Scorpions where Mikkey dictates the pace supported by the low-tuned bass by Paweł while Matthias kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos, whereas the title-track Rock Believer is perfect for their sold-out arena concerts, with Klaus declaiming the song’s inspiring lyrics beautifully (“You start to crawl until you walk / You make a scream and learn to talk / You discover life on every day / From the first day you were born / You walked a lifeline of your own / And if you always keep the faith”). Then we have Shining of Your Soul, darker but at the same time very melodic and groovy thanks to the pleasant vibe crafted by the band’s guitar duo accompanied by Mikkey’s beats, while the sinister bass lines by Paweł kick off the also groovy Seventh Sun, showcasing another flawless performance by Klaus amidst a wall of Rock N’ Roll sounds.

Back to a more dancin’ sonority, it’s time for Klaus to lead his henchmen in Hot and Cold, sounding like if it was taken from one of their 80’s albums (not to mention its beyond catchy chorus), whereas in When I Lay My Bones to Rest we’re treated to more of their rockin’ poetry (“Here comes a brother from another mother / Storming out into the light / We’re speeding up the pace, cutting to the chase / It’s gonna be a hell of a ride”), matching perfectly with the song’s undisputed Rock N’ Roll spearheaded by the flammable guitars by Matthias and Rudolf. Peacemaker is another fast, thrilling ride by the quintet that will sound fantastic when played live where Klaus once again steals the spotlight with his unparalleled Hard Rock vocals, while Call of the Wild is less visceral and more “romantic” than its predecessors. It’s not a bad song, but it lacks the same punch as the other songs in the album. After that it’s time for When You Know (Where You Come From), a beautiful ballad to put a proper ending to the album that will surely be added to the band’s “acoustic” set during their live performances, and if you go for the deluxe version of the album you’ll have a blast with five amazing bonus tracks, with Shoot for Your Heart being by far the most exciting of all. To be honest, this song alone is worth the investment in the deluxe edition.

Rock Believer, which is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, can be purchased from your favorite retailer or streamed in its entirety by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true rock believer you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, one of the trailblazers of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock is ready to kick your ass once again to the sound of their awesome new album, proving that not only they still got it, but also that they’re far from calling it quits. And if you keep believing in the one and only Scorpions, you can rest assured our beloved Rock N’ Roll will never die.

Best moments of the album: Gas in the Tank, Roots in My Boots, When I Lay My Bones to Rest, Peacemaker and Shoot for Your Heart.

Worst moments of the album: Call of the Wild.

Released in 2022 Vertigo Records

Track listing
1. Gas in the Tank 3:40
2. Roots in My Boots 3:17
3. Knock ‘Em Dead 4:11
4. Rock Believer 3:57
5. Shining of Your Soul 3:57
6. Seventh Sun 5:30
7. Hot and Cold 4:12
8. When I Lay My Bones to Rest 3:08
9. Peacemaker 2:56
10. Call of the Wild 5:21
11. When You Know (Where You Come From) 4:22

Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
12. Shoot for Your Heart 4:01
13. When Tomorrow Comes 3:47
14. Unleash the Beast 4:17
15. Crossing Borders 3:38
16. When You Know (Where You Come From) (Acoustic version) 3:44

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

Guest musicians
Ingo Powitzer – additional guitars and bass, guitar solo on “When Tomorrow Comes”, backing vocals, claps
Hans-Martin Buff – backing vocals, claps
Jakob Himmelein – backing vocals, claps
Alex Malek – backing vocals, claps
Pitti Hecht – percussion

Album Review – Battle Beast / Circus of Doom (2022)

Welcome to the circus ruled by the one and only Battle Beast, featuring ten tracks that blend true Heavy Metal with pop and rock vibes.

Since their inception in 2005 in the city of Helsinki, Finland, the Heavy/Power Metal and Hard Rock bulldozer known as Battle Beast has been on an unstoppable ride, releasing an array of albums that can already be considered metal classics such as their 2015 opus Unholy Savior, and contemporary gems like their 2017 album Bringer Of Pain. Now in 2022 our beloved frontwoman Noora Louhimo and her bandmates Joona Björkroth and Juuso Soinio on the guitars, Eero Sipilä on bass, Janne Björkroth on the keyboards and orchestrations, and Pyry Vikki on drums are back in action with Circus of Doom, the follow-up to their not-so-good 2019 album No More Hollywood Endings. Recorded, produced, engineered and mixed by Janne Björkroth at JKB Studios, mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Jan “Örkki” Yrlund of Darkgrove Design, Circus of Doom features ten tracks that blend true Heavy Metal with pop and rock vibes, putting the band back on track and showing us all why they’ve become one of the most important names of the current European scene.

A quick circus-inspired intro evolves into the melodic and wicked title-track Circus of Doom, showcasing classic Power Metal lyrics declaimed by Noora (“The lions are hungry / And filled with rage / Afraid and angry / Locked in a cage / Ah / The circus is coming to town”) spiced up by the whimsical keys by Janne, whereas Wings of Light can be considered a journey back in time to their Bringer of Pain sound, with Pyry dictating  the song’s headbanging pace while Joona and Juuso keep slashing their guitars in the name of Heavy Metal firing riffs and solos that exhale pure electricity. Master of Illusion, one of the first singles of the album, brings forward the band’s more recent creations, mixing heavy music with pop in a theatrical manner, and once again it’s Noora who steals the spotlight with her powerful voice; followed by Where Angels Fear to Fly, another tune where the band focuses a lot more on their Hard Rock vein than on Heavy Metal while Janne kicks ass with his keys and orchestrations from start to finish. Then happy, strident riffs permeate the air in Eye of the Storm, an upbeat metal tune spearheaded by Noora’s soaring vocals and Pyry’s rhythmic drumming.

In Russian Roulette, witty words are powerfully sung by Noora (“In this game of Russian roulette / The room is filled with sin, would you let me in? / Tonight might be the night / As troubles disappear, the moon seems so near / Beneath electric starlight”) while her bandmates deliver a solid balance of Heavy Metal, Disco and Rock N’ Roll, whereas Freedom is an imposing, pounding composition that will please all fans of the early days of Battle Beast, bringing to our avid ears the galloping drums and bass by Pyry and Eero, respectively, not to mention how epic the backing vocals sound. The Road to Avalon sounds and feels extremely melodic, inviting us all to dance together with those Finnish rockers while Eero’s rumbling bass goes hand in hand with the old school riffage by the band’s guitar duo, and sharp vocalizations ignite the groovy and exciting tune Armageddon, bringing forward another striking performance by Noora on vocals supported by the stylish riffs and solos by Joona and Juuso. Last but not least, it’s time for a Power Metal feast entitled Place That We Call Home, where the sound of the guitars makes a potent paradox with the keys by Janne, putting a climatic ending to the album. As a matter of fact, if you go for the Digibook edition of the album you’ll be treated to two excellent bonus tracks, The Lightbringer and Tempest of Blades, both definitely worth the extra investment.

You can enjoy Noora’s soaring vocals and the thunderous Heavy Metal played by her henchmen in Circus of Doom in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE. In addition, don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel (if you haven’t done so yet, of course). Battle Beast might not sound as metallic as in their early days, but they managed to find an awesome balance between Heavy Metal and pop music that turns their more recent releases (with the exception of No More Hollywood Endings) a beyond enjoyable listen to any fan of good music, it doesn’t matter if that person is a metalhead or not, and that only contributes to elevate their name in the metal scene even more. In other words, welcome to the circus of Heavy Metal by Battle Beast, and don’t forget to bang your head nonstop to each one of the “attractions” of the show.

Best moments of the album: Wings of Light, Freedom, Armageddon and Tempest of Blades.

Worst moments of the album: Where Angels Fear to Fly.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Circus of Doom 4:57
2. Wings of Light 4:07
3. Master of Illusion 4:08
4. Where Angels Fear to Fly 3:56
5. Eye of the Storm 4:26
6. Russian Roulette 4:16
7. Freedom 3:44
8. The Road to Avalon 4:30
9. Armageddon 3:43
10. Place That We Call Home 3:47

Digibook bonus tracks
11. The Lightbringer 4:23
12. Tempest of Blades 3:32

Band members
Noora Louhimo – vocals
Joona Björkroth – guitars, backing vocals
Juuso Soinio – rhythm guitars
Eero Sipilä – bass, backing vocals
Janne Björkroth – keyboards, orchestrations, backing vocals
Pyry Vikki – drums

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021

“I wanted to play drums because I fell in love with the glitter and the lights, but it wasn’t about adulation. It was being up there playing.” – Charlie Watts

And there goes another year without a single metal concert in Canada. Another year full of uncertainties, fears, polarization, restrictions, and everything else we “love” so much. I honestly don’t know what to say about 2021 apart form the fact it was undoubtedly much better than 2020, but that means nothing considering the total nightmare that 2020 was. We lost a lot of huge names in the rock and metal scene such as Joey Jordison, Dusty Hill, Mike Howe, Johnny Solinger, Marsha Zazula, Alexi Laiho, John Hinch, John Lawton, Charlie Watts and Hank Von Hell, among many others. Tons of festivals including Download, Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock Festival and Dynamo MetalFest were scheduled to return this year after the 2020 editions of those festivals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but unfortunately Sweden Rock, Hellfest, Download and Wacken Open Air were once again cancelled. With that said, why do we metalheads still believe in a better future? Is it because, despite all adversities, our favorite bands released some of their best albums from the past few years?

Hence, as new lockdowns are being imposed upon us in a never-ending pandemic loop, there’s not much we can do but enjoy The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, keeping us sane until this madness is finally over. Or maybe I should say if it will be over one day, of course. There’s a bit of everything for all types of fans, from classic Heavy Metal to the brutality of Death Metal, from the modern nuances of Melodic Death Metal to old school Thrash Metal, and so on, and in my humble opinions one of the most interesting facts about several albums launched in 2021 is their duration, with many of those surpassing the one hour barrier such as Senjutsu, Helloween, Persona Non Grata, Existence Is Futile and Blood on Blood, not to mention the over four hours of music from the Lordiversity boxset, which for me proves how much the bands responsible for those albums love their fans by offering them a lot of new music to enjoy during such difficult times. I would say that even if there are ZERO metal albums launched in 2022, we’ll still have a lot of great music to enjoy throughout the year thanks to all the amazing records released in 2021, don’t you agree?

1. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu (REVIEW)
Behold another masterpiece by the one and only Iron Maiden with its 82 minutes of tactics, strategy, war, resilience and determination.
Best song of the album: Hell on Earth

2. Helloween – Helloween (REVIEW)
A dream come true for all generations of “Happy, Happy Helloween” fans from all over the world.
Best song of the album: Skyfall

3. Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon (REVIEW)
It’s time to join Trivium in the court of the dragon to the sound of their magnificent new opus.
Best song of the album: Like a Sword Over Damocles

4. Exodus – Persona Non Grata (REVIEW)
Don’t be a “persona non grata” in the world of heavy music and get into the circle pit to the sound of this newborn thrashing beast.
Best song of the album: Lunatic-Liar-Lord

5. Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (REVIEW)
State of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision by the most violent and unrelenting band of all time.
Best song of the album: Surround, Kill, Devour

6. 1914 – Where Fear and Weapons Meet (REVIEW)
Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I.
Best song of the album: Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)

7. Motorjesus – Hellbreaker (REVIEW)
Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hellbreaker

8. Nervosa – Perpetual Chaos (REVIEW)
A deadly and thrashing lesson in perpetual chaos by four metalheads hailing from Brazil, Italy, Spain and Greece
Best song of the album: Time to Fight

9. Gojira – Fortitude (REVIEW)
Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Amazonia

10. Blaze Bayley – War Within Me (REVIEW)
The man who will live for a thousand years is back, inspiring us all to fight the war within us and to take our future in our own hands.
Best song of the album: Pull Yourself Up

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Running Wild – Blood on Blood (REVIEW)
12. Lordi – Lordiversity (REVIEW)
13. Cradle of Filth – Existence Is Futile (REVIEW)
14. Diabolizer – Khalkedonian Death (REVIEW)
15. Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida (REVIEW)
16. Moonspell – Hermitage (REVIEW)
17. Lutharo – Hiraeth (REVIEW)
18. Unflesh – Inhumation (REVIEW)
19. Scarlet Aura – Genesis of Time (REVIEW)
20. Coiled Around Thy Spine – From The Ashes (REVIEW)

In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2021 to prove once and for all that not all great albums of the year have to be so long. The EP’s from this list are simply awesome, showcasing the band’s talent and their ability to sound epic even if the music lasts for only a few minutes.

1. Eonian – The Nomad (REVIEW)
2. Lady Beast – Omens (REVIEW)
3. The Agonist – Days Before the World Wept (REVIEW)
4. Tantivy – Eyes in the Night (REVIEW)
5. Grale – AGITACIÓN (REVIEW)
6. Bouquet of Dead Crows – Hemispheres Part 2: Cerebral (REVIEW)
7. Kadavereich – Radiance Of Doom (REVIEW)
8. Wolvencrown – A Shadow Of What Once Was (REVIEW)
9. Juliet Ruin – Dark Water (REVIEW)
10. Black Hole Deity – Lair Of Xenolich (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2021? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2021 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2022!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with some touching words by Mr. Lordi and his crew of monsters…

Something something blah blah to you
All the sincere wishes come true
I put vengeance on my wish list
And that’s what Santa brought
So have a merry something and a happy blah blah blah

Album Review – Lordi / Lordiversity (2021)

Over four hours of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, Progressive Rock, Disco, Industrial Rock and so on, masterfully brought into being by the most beloved horde of monsters in the world of music.

Four hours and 43 minutes of music. That’s what you’re going to get in Lordiversity, the brand new (and awesome) boxset by Finnish Heavy Metal and Hard Rock monsters Lordi, containing the band’s eleventh to seventeenth studio albums, those being Skelectric Dinosaur, SuperFlyTrap, The Masterbeast from the Moon, Abusement Park, Humanimals, Abracadaver and Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. Recorded right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the band had to postpone their tour in support of Killection, Mr. Lordi and his crew decided to use the extra time to start working on more material to release a week after the postponement, and the final result in Lordiversity is simply monumental.

Lordi Lordiversity Limited 7 CD Boxset

Mr. Lordi stated that “It was clear that it is the time to start planning the new album, even though Killection was released not even two months before. I was thinking that the most boring thing we could do after Killection, is to do another basic Lordi album. And I was very much enjoying the different styles of song writing, recording and production on Killection, but another boring idea would have been to do a part two.” With the release years of 1975, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1995 from the fictional eras in the Killection timeline, and with each album presenting its own style and its own killer album art, Lordiversity is a fantastic musical voyage led by Mr. Lordi on vocals and his loyal bandmates Amen on the guitars, Hiisi on bass, Hella on keyboards, and Mana on drums, being not only one of the boldest releases in the history of rock and metal music, but setting the bar absurdly high for the band itself with all of their upcoming albums.

Disc 1 – Skelectric Dinosaur

For Skelectric Dinosaur, the band used the influences of early Kiss and Alice Cooper. The first album offers us all old school Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock flowing majestically form start to finish. For instance, the very first song Day Off Of The Devil is pure Kiss from their early days as already mentioned. There’s not a single second of boredom; quite the contraty, it’s a rockin’ feast for admirers of rock and metal music from the 70’s, with songs like Carnivore inspiring you to dance in the name of Rock N’ Roll. Amen steals the spotlight in pretty much all songs with his classic riffage, supported of course by the rhythmic beats by Mana.

Best moments of the album: Starsign Spitfire, Carnivore and Phantom Lady.

Worst moments of the album: The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 7: The Arrival 1:09
2. Day Off Of The Devil 3:33
3. Starsign Spitfire 3:03
4. Maximum-O-Lovin’ 2:23
5. The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain 5:21
6. Carnivore 3:30
7. Phantom Lady 3:16
8. The Tragedy Of Annie Mae 3:45
9. Blow My Fuse 3:35
10. …And Beyond The Isle Was Mary 2:15

Disc 2 – SuperFlyTrap

It’s time to hit the dance floor together with Lordi and his crew in SuperFlyTrap, inspired by the bands Earth, Wind & Fire, Boney M. and Bee Gees. As expected, it’s Hella who shines in each and every song of the album thanks obviously to her stunning keys, as for example in the melodic and fun Believe Me. In addition, the female vocals add a touch of finesse to the overall results, with catchy tunes like Macho Freak and Spooky Jive paying a beautiful and exciting tribute to the Disco years. Put differently, I bet you’ll start doing that classic move with your arm and finger up and down during the entire album without even noticing.

Best moments of the album: Macho Freak, Spooky Jive and City Of The Broken Hearted.

Worst moments of the album: Cinder Ghost Choir.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 6: Delightful Pop-Ins 1:08
2. Macho Freak 3:42
3. Believe Me 4:27
4. Spooky Jive 3:55
5. City Of The Broken Hearted 4:02
6. Bella From Hell 3:26
7. Cast Out From Heaven 3:51
8. Gonna Do It (Or Do It And Cry) 2:51
9. Zombimbo 4:52
10. Cinder Ghost Choir 6:06

Disc 3 – The Masterbeast from the Moon

      

On The Masterbeast from the Moon, the band was influenced by Rush and Pink Floyd, which is why you can expect long and sinister passages, endless progressiveness, and Hella’s phantasmagorical keys. Songs like Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus have a very pleasant pace and vibe, while others such as Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld lack an extra kick and make the album drag for a little longer than it should. If Progressive Rock is your cup of tea you’ll have a very good time listening to the entire album; otherwise, you can take one listen at it just because it’s part of the boxset and then go for the heavier albums.

Best moments of the album: Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus.

Worst moments of the album: Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 5: Transmission Request 1:35
2. Moonbeast 6:29
3. Celestial Serpents 6:07
4. Hurricane Of The Slain 3:00
5. Spear Of The Romans 5:46
6. Bells Of The Netherworld 3:01
7. Transmission Reply 0:20
8. Church Of Succubus 11:58
9. Soliloquy 1:51
10. Robots Alive! 4:09
11. Yoh-Haee-Von 1:17
12. Transmission On Repeat 1:04

Disc 4 – Abusement Park

Set on a fictional timeline of 1983 and 1984, Abusement Park has a classic Heavy Metal sound influenced by W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Kiss and Scorpions, and includes a Christmas-themed single, entitled Merry Blah Blah Blah. The band wastes no time and begin slashing their sonic weapons already in the title-track Abusement Park, with Mr. Lordi kicking ass on vocals. And that’s the formula followed throughout the album, with Amen delivering his trademark solos nonstop in a lecture in 80’s classic Heavy Metal. In other words, if they had launched only this album, that would have already been awesome.

Best moments of the album: Abusement Park, House Of Mirrors, Pinball Machine and Rollercoaster.

Worst moments of the album: Ghost Train.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 4: The Carnival Barker 0:54
2. Abusement Park 3:33
3. Grrr! 3:48
4. Ghost Train 3:18
5. Carousel 4:24
6. House Of Mirrors 3:51
7. Pinball Machine 3:34
8. Nasty, Wild & Naughty 3:10
9. Rollercoaster 4:45
10. Up To No Good 4:02
11. Merry Blah Blah Blah 4:05

Disc 5 – Humanimals     

The AOR influenced sound in Humanimals is influenced by Bon Jovi, Desmond Child and Alice Cooper, and Mr. Lordi and his band of monsters make sure that’s crystal clear in all of the songs form the album, such as in Borderline. Mana and Hiisi are the stars here always generating an upbeat vibe with their respective beats and bass lines, turning songs like Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey into dancing feasts, always spiced up by Hella’s whimsical keys.

Best moments of the album: Borderline, Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey.

Worst moments of the album: Humanimal.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 3: Scarctic Circle Telethon 1:20
2. Borderline 4:12
3. Victims Of The Romance 3:47
4. Heart Of A Lion 4:33
5. The Bullet Bites Back 4:07
6. Be My Maniac 3:40
7. Rucking Up The Party 4:07
8. Girl In A Suitcase 4:07
9. Supernatural 3:49
10. Like A Bee To The Honey 4:15
11. Humanimal 3:53

Disc 6 – Abracadaver     

Now this is the real deal. Set on a fictional timeline for 1991, Abracadaver is inspired by Anthrax, Metallica and Pantera, which makes it by far the heaviest, fastest and most demonic of all seven albums. It’s impossible to stand still to the sonic devastation blasted by the most awesome monsters hailing from Scandinavia, with the title-track Abracadaver sounding not only heavy and piercing, but also spooky, which is always a good thing. You’ll bang your head, raise your horns and scream together with Mr. Lordi in songs like Rejected, Raging At Tomorrow and Beast Of Both Worlds, just the way we all like it in heavy-as-hell music.

Best moments of the album: Devilium, Abracadaver, Beast Of Both Worlds and Bent Outta Shape.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 2: Horricone 1:18
2. Devilium 3:46
3. Abracadaver 3:41
4. Rejected 3:44
5. Acid Bleeding Eyes 3:28
6. Raging At Tomorrow 5:01
7. Beast Of Both Worlds 4:59
8. I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry 3:34
9. Bent Outta Shape 5:05
10. Evil 4:35
11. Vulture Of Fire 3:47
12. Beastwood 0:56

Disc 7 – Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular       

The last record, from 1995, is a machine-made beast titled Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. That means the band added electronic elements to their music, flirting with Industrial Metal and Rock the likes of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. It’s quite impressive how a Hard Rock band like Lordi was capable of sounding so industrial in all songs of the album, with Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent being strong candidates to spice up any Rock N’ Roll party, including yours. Needless to say, Mana’s classic beats and Hella’s electrifying keys are the main ingredients throughout the album, adding a welcome industrialized touch of insanity to the overall result.

Best moments of the album: Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent.

Worst moments of the album: Goliath.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 1: The Ruiz Ranch Massacre 3:26
2. Demon Supreme 3:31
3. Re-Animate 4:13
4. Lizzard Of Oz 4:08
5. Killusion 3:09
6. Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) 3:16
7. Goliath 4:41
8. Drekavac 3:28
9. Terror Extra-Terrestrial 4:30
10. Shake The Baby Silent 3:36
11. If It Ain’t Broken (Must Break It) 3:24
12. Anticlimax 0:18

After listening to each and every track from the seven albums from Lordiversity, I personally found it truly impressive how Lordi managed to keep the whole project fresh and exciting from start to finish, avoiding repeating themselves or sounding basic or bland depending on the style chosen. That, my friends, undoubtedly required a lot of creativity, hard work and passion for what they do, and if you want to show your admiration for those unstoppable Finnish monsters you can give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their amazing creations on Spotify, and of course purchase the ass-kicking Lordiversity from several locations such as Napalm Records, AFM Records and Record Shop X. And as soon as you put your hands on Lordiversity, simply block your agenda for the rest of the day (or even the entire week or month) because a massive, breathtaking Rock N’ Roll party is about to start and has no time to end.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Band members
Mr. Lordi – lead and backing vocals, guitars, programming, whistle, orchestration
Amen – guitars
Hiisi – bass guitar
Hella – keyboards, backing vocals
Mana – drums, backing vocals, programming

Guest musicians
Ralph Ruiz – vocals
Dylan Broda – vocals
Tracy Lipp – vocals, backing vocals
Michael Monroe – saxophone on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Annariina Rautanen – flute on “Moonbeast” and “Yoh-Haee-Von”
Tony Kakko – backing vocals on “Rollercoaster”
Joonas Suotamo – Chewbacca voice on “Grrr!”
Kari A. Kilgast – vocals on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Hulk the Bulldog – voice on “Beastwood”
Maki Kolehmainen – cowbell, backing vocals
John Bartolome – vocals
Lara Anastasia Mertanen – intro lead on “Drekavac”
Jessica Love, Maria Jyrkäs, Kaarle Westlie, Ville Virtanen, Olli Virtanen, Isabella Larsson, Noora Kosmina, Katja Auvinen, Riitta Hyyppä, Josefin Silén, Minna Virtanen, Antton Ruusunen, Niki Westerback, Marja Kortelainen, Tom Roine, Netta Laurenne – backing vocals
Lumen Broda, Leia Broda, Lili Wasenius, Aviana Westerback, Roxana Westerback – children vocals

Album Review – Emerald Rage / High King (2021)

Raise your horns to this triumphant and epic album of pure Heavy Metal crafted by three young American musicians, paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore.

After four intense years releasing a bunch of demos, EP’s and singles, Akron, Ohio-based Heavy/Power Metal unity Emerald Rage has finally unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length album, entitled High King, a fun and admirable sonic rollercoaster as the band successfully explores the melodic sense of the NWOBHM and all the explosive leads that come with the baggage, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Skyclad, Falconer, Iron Maiden, and so on. Paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore, the album sounds and feels absolutely triumphant and epic, showcasing all the talent and passion for old school metal music by Jacob Wherley on vocals and guitars, Patrick Kern also on the guitars, and Erik Curry on bass, supported by session drummer David Hardesty.

Frantic riffs and beats ignite the metal extravaganza titled Into the Sky, a beautiful and electrifying tribute to the golden years of Heavy Metal with Jacob kicking ass on vocals accompanied by the galloping bass by Erik. In Wrathful Eyes the rumbling bass by Erik offers exactly what Jacob needs to declaim the song’s wicked lyrics (“You think the morning fog hides all the lies you’ve told / But I see through the dismal gloom straight to your blackened soul / Your forces they stand line by line grumbling to themselves / They know their leader is a thief, a craven and a fool”) in another high-octane display of classic metal music, whereas a more epic, thunderous vibe permeates the air in High King, spearheaded by the tribal beats by David while Jacob and Patrick extract sheer electricity from their guitars in the best Manowar style. Then telling a story of a pagan warrior, the band blasts the traditional Heavy and Power Metal tune Heart of a Pagan, showcasing an excellent guitar attack together with the unstoppable bass jabs by Erik.

In Dire Wolves the band delivers a solid hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with 80’s Hard Rock that reminds me of some of the most thrilling creations by Axel Rudi Pell, with their striking guitar riffs and solos penetrating deep inside your mind; and adding elements from Thrash Metal to their core sonority, Erik and David bring the groove to the music in White Stag while Jacob and Patrick keep slashing their stringed axes with tons of feeling and dexterity. Then inspired by the badass Rock N’ Roll by the unparalleled Motörhead, those young metallers will put you to bang your head and slam into the pit in Empress, with even Jacob’s voice displaying hints of the grumpy vocals by Lemmy, followed by Goddess Freya, which albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album still has its good moments, with Jacob doing another great job on vocals supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals. Last but not least, Emerald Rage bring forth the rumbling tune Wings of Solitude, sounding very stylish with its strident riffs in paradox with the low-tuned, metallic bass by Erik, also full of breaks, variations and endless stamina for our total delight.

You can join Emerald Rage in their metal voyage through the glory of the medieval times by streaming High King in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and above all that, by grabbing your copy of their thrilling debut installment from their own BandCamp page, from the Stormspell Records’ Big Cartel, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. Now that those young rockers have finally released their first full-length album, let’s wait and see what’s next in their career and to what period in time they’ll take us with their refined Heavy Metal, sounding like true veterans and, consequently, keeping the fires of old school heavy music burning bright wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Into the Sky, Dire Wolves and Empress.

Worst moments of the album: Goddess Freya.

Released in 2021 Stormspell Records

Track listing
1. Into the Sky 5:30
2. Wrathful Eyes 4:26
3. High King 5:37
4. Heart of a Pagan 3:25
5. Dire Wolves 3:29
6. White Stag 3:54
7. Empress 3:21
8. Goddess Freya 3:56
9. Wings of Solitude 5:35

Band members
Jacob Wherley – lead vocals, guitars
Patrick Kern – guitar, backing vocals
Erik Curry – bass, backing vocals

Guest musician
David Hardesty – drums (session)

Album Review – Running Wild / Blood on Blood (2021)

The German pirates of Heavy and Power Metal are back with what’s unarguably their strongest album in over 20 years.

The German pirates of Heavy and Power Metal, collectively known as Running Wild, are finally back with an album that lives up to their own legacy, the excellent Blood on Blood. Produced, recorded and mixed by the band’s own mastermind, vocalist and guitarist, the one and only Rock N’ Rolf (aka Rolf Kasparek), and displaying an old school artwork by Jens Reinhold of Zenz-Art, the seventeenth studio album by one of the most important names of the German metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-80’s puts the band back on track after a few bland albums, offering us fans the power and the glory of fantastic albums such as Under Jolly Roger, Death or Glory, Black Hand Inn, Masquerade and The Rivalry. Put differently, if you’re into stories and tales of piracy, or into songs about riding your motorbike wildly and freely, then Rock N’ Rolf and his crew comprised of Peter Jordan on the guitars, Ole Hempelmann on bass and Michael Wolpers on drums have exactly what you’re craving in heavy music with their new opus.

Rolf and Peter begin their incendiary riff attack in the title-track Blood on Blood, an upbeat Heavy Metal tune will put you to headbang within 20 seconds without a shadow of a doubt, whereas Wings of Fire sounds even more traditional than the opening track, with Rolf being on fire with his trademark raspy vocals while Michael dictates the song’s pace, inviting us to hit the road to the sound of such rockin’ tune. Say Your Prayers is another thrilling mid-tempo song mixing old school Heavy Metal with badass Rock N’ Roll, with Rolf’s piercing voice being effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals; followed by Diamonds & Pearls, where albeit their pirate-inspired lyrics might be too cheesy (“Setting all gear, no doubt and no fear / Trailblazers stories were told / Sliding the waves that cover the graves / Of seamen and ships in the cold”), they go along really well with their straightforward Heavy Metal instrumental parts. There’s no time to breathe as Rolf and his crew keep kicking ass in Wild & Free, another fast song about riding free in the name of rock and metal music, with Ole making the earth tremble with his sick bass, not to mention the slashing riffs and solos by Rolf and Peter. Then soulful guitars set the stage for the quartet to shine with their Pirate Metal in Crossing the Blades, showcasing an addictive chorus (“Crossing the blades / Flashing the steel / We will ride, and united we stand / Flashing the blades / Crossing the steel / One for all, and all for one, in the end”) amidst a prancing, beer-drinking, sword-fighting sonority.

Running Wild Blood on Blood Deluxe Box

I personally believe Running Wild shouldn’t try to do any ballads, and One Night, One Day is the ultimate proof that those do not match with their core essence, getting tiresome and bland after a short while, falling flat and sounding way too generic, especially if compared to the rest of the album. Fortunately they get back to a much more thrilling vibe in The Shellback, where Rolf leads his crew of buccaneers inspired by the band’s own early days, with Ole and Michael bringing the groove to the overall result. It’s then time for another rockin’ tune with a powerful vibe that will inspire you to hit the road with your metal brothers, entitled Wild, Wild Nights, where Rolf and Peter are precise as usual with their razor-edged riffs, before the band invites us to join them in an epic journey through The Iron Times (1618-1648), showcasing stunning passages, sharp riffs and solos and pounding beats, all spearheaded by Rolf’s dark, storytelling vocal lines, flowing like an arrow on fire in total darkness until its epic finale. In addition, if you go for the Japanese edition of Blood on Blood you’ll be treated to three very special bonus tracks, those being Stargazed, their cover version for KISS’ classic Strutter (which you can check the original one HERE), and my favorite one Ride on the Wild Side, all worth the investment in this unique version of the album.

As aforementioned, if you’re into Heavy and Power Metal with a strong pirate vein you’ll have a really good time listening to Blood on Blood, which is available for purchase from the Steamhammer Records webstore or as a very special deluxe box from the Napalm Records webstore, strictly limited to 666 units and including the digipak CD and tape versions of the album, a flag, a pendant, a patch, an autograph card and a chain, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. “We all know the difficulties the cultural sector was faced with during the lockdown. On the other hand, it also gave me and many other artists some extra time since most releases had to be postponed. I used that time to fine-tune every little detail of my new material. The result is an album that in my opinion is probably the best in Running Wild’s career to date. Every one of the ten songs sounds exactly as I had it in mind when I composed it. I’ve never been happier with a Running Wild record before,” said Rock N’ Rolf himself, and although he might be exaggerating when saying it’s the best Running Wild album ever we must agree it’s indeed a sharp, exciting and detailed piece of work by those German pirates, who are by the way waiting for you to join their crew on Facebook and on Instagram. As the title track says, “one for all and all for one, blood on blood, we stand as one!”

Best moments of the album: Wings of Fire, Say Your Prayers, Crossing the Blades, Wild & Free and The Iron Times (1618-1648).

Worst moments of the album: One Night, One Day.

Released in 2021 Steamhammer Records

Track listing
1. Blood on Blood 4:07
2. Wings of Fire 3:57
3. Say Your Prayers 5:14
4. Diamonds & Pearls 4:44
5. Wild & Free 5:28
6. Crossing the Blades 6:00
7. One Night, One Day 4:59
8. The Shellback 6:11
9. Wild, Wild Nights 4:30
10. The Iron Times (1618-1648) 10:29

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
11. Stargazed 3:40
12. Strutter (KISS cover) 3:05
13. Ride on the Wild Side 4:05

Band members
Rock N’ Rolf – vocals, guitars
Peter Jordan – guitars
Ole Hempelmann – bass
Michael Wolpers – drums

Album Review – Bouquet of Dead Crows / Hemispheres Part 2: Cerebral EP (2021)

The second half of Hemispheres is finally among us, showcasing a more Post-Rock side of one of the most interesting names of the current British scene.

When two become one. That’s the story behind the EP’s Hemispheres Part 1: Celestial, released last year, and Hemispheres Part 2: Cerebral, recently brought into being, which together form a single entity named Hemispheres by Cambridge, UK-based Sci-Fi Alternative Rock and Metal act Bouquet of Dead Crows. Originally written as one album but released in two parts mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hemispheres combines big riffs with big melodies and shifting time signatures, with Celestial showcasing a more punkish and upbeats vibe, while Cerebral leans towards Post-Rock. Recorded at the Parlour Studios, produced by Neil Haynes and displaying a classy artwork by Stewart Harris from Stewart Harris Designs, just like the 2020 EP, Cerebral continues to showcase all the talent and attention to detail by vocalist Antoinette Cooper, guitarist Neil Bruce, bassist Karen Gadd and drummer Andrew Coxall, putting a dark and very melodic ending to Hemispheres that will please all fans of our good old rock music.

Neil begins extracting serene notes from his guitar accompanied by the steady beats by Andrew in Idle Thoughts before Antoinette delivers her trademark, smooth vocals for our total delight in a great display of Post-Rock with progressive elements; then putting the pedal to the metal the band fires the dancing and heavy tune Standing at the Precipice, bringing forward their Alternative Metal vein with Neil and Karen being on fire with their respective riffs and bass lines, not to mention how visceral the drums by Andrew sound. In One More Sunrise the band gets back to a more gentle and enfolding sonority, presenting a charming atmosphere crafted by all four band members spearheaded by the stunning vocals by Antoinette, followed by The Longest Road, a fantastic ballad where they invest in a more melancholic sound by blending their core Alternative Rock with Post-Rock nuances, and with Neil doing a beautiful job on the guitar as usual. Lastly, get ready for over nine minutes of classy Rock N’ Roll in the form of Somewhere in the Static, where Antoinette sounds majestic supported by the strident guitars by Neil and the rumbling kitchen by Karen and Andrew, flowing smoothly and flawlessly until the very last second.

The second part of Hemispheres can be better appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course if you want to add Cerebral (and Celestial) to your collection of rock albums you can purchase it from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, or simply grab the full Hemispheres album by clicking HERE or HERE. In addition, don’t forget to give Antoinette, Neil, Karen and Andrew a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their stylish music. Now that Celestial and Cerebral are finally united and Hemispheres has reached its final shape and form, I’m eager to know what’s next in the career of one of the most interesting names of the current British rock scene, and based on what they have already offered us with their latest releases I’m sure their next endeavor will be just as awesome.

Best moments of the album: Standing at the Precipice and Somewhere in the Static.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 German Shepherd Records

Track listing
1. Idle Thoughts 4:20
2. Standing at the Precipice 2:29
3. One More Sunrise 4:17
4. The Longest Road 5:36
5. Somewhere in the Static 9:48

Band members
Antoinette Cooper – vocals
Neil Bruce – guitars
Karen Gadd – bass, backing vocals
Andrew Coxall – drums, synths, programming, backing vocals

Metal Chick of the Month – Haydee Irizarry

Blame the witch! Shame the witch! Hang the witch!

As the days are getting shorter and colder in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s warm things up here at The Headbanging Moose this November with the incendiary vocals and performance of our metal lady of the month, the multi-talented Haydee Irizarry, or Haydée Irizarry if you prefer. Vocalist for Melodic Groove/Death Metal act Carnivora, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer for Alternative Rock/Metal project Zahra Lux, and vocalist and composer for her own solo project, not to mention her six years as the vocalist for Melodic Death Metal outfit Aversed, Haydee owns a very potent and dynamic voice, delivering a wide range of styles that go from smooth, clean vocals to deep and visceral growls, positioning her as one of the most interesting names of the current American underground scene. Having said that, are you ready to know a little more about Haydee, her bands and projects, her influences, and her passion for all types of music?

Born on February 28, 1995 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, but currently residing in Salem, Massachusetts, and of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, Haydee graduated in 2013 from Lincoln Park High School in Chicago and then moved on to study jazz, classical and contemporary music writing and production at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts that same year, where she also became the lead singer for her classmates’ band Aversed. However, before we start talking about her professional career in music, let’s take a step back and go all the way to her childhood years, more specifically to when she was only four years old. At that age, Haydee received a keyboard that ignited her interest in studying and writing songs on the piano, while her grade school was a Lutheran school that introduced hymnals and sight reading to her and prompted her to join choirs at the age of eight, when she realized she had a natural talent and love for singing that was undeniable and she knew she wanted to be a vocalist. Not only a vocalist, but a metal vocalist, as while she remembers her family listened to everything from Redding’s soul to their Latin culture’s salsa when she was a kid in Chicago, she also became enchanted by Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. When asked what attracted her to the harder stuff, she said metal offered release and salvation as she struggled with her parents’ divorce, an abusive brother and her mental health. “When I was getting started, I really connected to the aggression because of all the things I was feeling at the time,” she explained. “I was feeling a lot of dark, intense things that I didn’t really quite know how to express outside of music.” Then at the age of 16 she joined the Chicago School of Rock so she could perform and develop as a performing frontwoman, having also studied guitar, piano and bass through private teachers, and through that plus her choral experience she achieved many honors and had the ability to play Lollapalooza and many other local festivals in Chicago. She learned pop, rock, jazz, blues, metal and so on, all of which directed her to the Berklee College of Music, as already mentioned.

Since 2017, Haydee has been the voice of American Melodic Groove/Death Metal act Carnivora, with whom she has already recorded three singles, those being Bogdweller, in 2019, Witch City, in 2020, and more recently Hypnogenic, featuring guests Jon Donais (Anthrax, Shadows Fall) and Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall, Act Of Defiance). The band’s guitarist Cody Michaud believes Haydee is helping Carnivora evolve in a more sophisticated, more accessible, less testosterone-fueled direction, helping them transition their sound from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal to a more groove-oriented Heavy Metal with Death Metal influences. “If you’re a fan of folk music, there’s folk metal, and there’s symphonic metal,” commented Haydee in one of her interviews. “It doesn’t have to be the Cookie Monster screams. It isn’t always aggressive. It can be very beautiful.” She also explained how she ended up becoming the band’s new vocalist a few years ago. “I had met the Carnivora members at an early Aversed gig and we had become friends and performed with each others bands’ many times. They were interested in transitioning their style and believed my vocal skills and personality was compatible and here we are!”

Speaking about Boston, Massachusetts-based Progressive/Melodic Death Metal act Aversed, Haydee was the band’s vocalist from 2015 until September 1, 2021, having recorded with the band their 2016 EP Renewal and the full-length opus Impermanent earlier in 2021, not to mention the live album Abandoned in Charlestown, released in August 2021. You can enjoy Haydee kicking some ass with Aversed in the official videos for the songs Laboratory, Impermanent, and Close My Eyes, or simply click HERE to enjoy the album in its entirety. When asked how she was invited to join Aversed, she said the band had been active since 2009, before she lived in Boston, and as she was attending Berklee College of Music she had met many local metal musicians and bands and had been referred to be their new vocalist and joined them in 2015. In addition, Haydee mentioned that she had studied gutturals before joining them and it proved to be a great transition to practice performing the new technique that she had been developing.

Apart from her time with Carnivora and Aversed, our beloved vocalist has also lent her beautiful voice to an array of distinct bands through the years, with the first ever metal band she was officially in, called Ephemeral Sunrise, being a huge learning experience as she was able to get a taste of where she needed to grow and what the local scene was like. Another amazing project she’s currently involved with is called Zahra Lux, which translates to “beautiful light” or “flower light”, combining classical, rock and blues music to form one heavy and delicate musical experience featuring gorgeous piano lines, soulful vocals and orchestral arrangements. “Before I went down the surprising road of melodic death metal and guttural vocals I had thought that I would strictly be a blues and heavy metal vocalist that would sound more like Evanescence, and other female fronted rock and metal bands,” said Haydee, having already released under her Zahra Lux project the EP’s The Deam (2018) and Rosewater (2020), and more recently the single Say No More, in August this year.

You can also enjoy Heydee’s powerful vocals in other bands and projects, such as Symphonic/Progressive Power Metal band Widows Rite, with whom she recorded the album Volume 1 back in 2018, and Queen Boudicca Metal Opera. Haydee has also been a guest in distinct albums by excellent underground bands, those being vocals on the song Shutter, from the 2020 EP Eulogy by American Gothic/Death/Doom Metal band Autumn’s Ashes; vocals on Per Erebus, from the 2018 album Per Erebus ad Astra by American Blackened Thrash Metal band Graviton; vocals as “The Soldier” on Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster, from the 2018 album Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster by American Power Metal band Helion Prime; and vocals on A Gathering of Storms, from the 2018 album Genetically Engineered to Enslave, by American Death Metal band Solium Fatalis.

As aforementioned, Haydee grew up listening to all kinds of music such as blues, classic rock, classical, and Latin music, but when the music in question is our beloved Heavy Metal her main influences range from Joe Duplantier of Gojira and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy to all classic metal vocalists such as Dio, Ozzy and Rob Halford. Her first ever record which introduced her to heavy music was Fallen, by Evanescence, when she was eight years old, taking her down the rabbit hole that would eventually lead her to find Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and all of the icons of early metal, also delving into the early punk scene. Nowadays you can find pretty much anything on her playlist including Chelsea Wolfe, Bjork, Black Sabbath and At The Gates, as well as “guilty pleasures” such as Katy Perry, Sia and Lady Gaga, as long as it’s well-written pop music, of course. When asked which three songs would be perfect for someone listening to her for the first time, Haydee mentioned her cover versions for Sia’s Everyday is Christmas and Arch Enemy’s As The Pages Burn, plus Aversed’s Renewal, because they are diverse and represent her as she is now, still growing but slowly establishing a strong voice within the music industry. By the way, if you want to see how wide Haydee’s range can be and how eclectic her taste for music is, you can take a shot at her cover versions for Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name, Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited, Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel, and Prince’s Purple Rain, among several others on her personal YouTube channel.

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Absolutely engaged in the music no matter which band she’s in, Haydee not only has an incendiary voice, but her onstage performance is just as flammable and electrifying, earning her a few unique nicknames including Haydee the Hyena, Metal J.Lo and Metal Selena. “I love the Metal Selena and Metal J.Lo because I like to embrace my culture,” she said, “like wearing my hoops.” Furthermore, she mentioned in one of her interviews the importance of understanding R&B and classical music to become a better metal vocalist. “Both styles have extreme soul and depth that is definitely important in metal music in both style and vocal delivery. Having experienced performing many different songs with different stories and intentions I have a large understanding of what level of emotions, strength, and movements to deliver to any song to make it as effective as it can be. I couldn’t do that if those many styles had not molded my range to be the way it is now as well. Every life and musical experience finds itself in each new performance that you share and it’s really wonderful.”

Regarding touring, Haydee said that she dreams of touring the world with Carnivora and of being able to make a living from her art without having to work a day job. having already played in many small to large stages in a wide variety of local bars and clubs, she would also love to play some major festivals the likes of Maryland Death Fest, NAMM and SWSW, and return to Chicago Open Air, a festival that holds a spot in her heart. “At Chicago Open Air 2017 Aversed and I had performed on the last day alongside acts such as Slayer, Behemoth, and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few. Nearing the end of Ozzy’s set our tour bus crew was giving the band a last call to get on the bus or else it was leaving without us! My phone has been dead and I didn’t know. By the grace of the metal gods I ran into my band mates while I was getting a pretzel and ran back with them. Everyone was there besides our guitarist Sungwoo Jeong. After an awful 10 minutes of frantic calling, searching, and figuring out a way for him to fly back to Boston on his own, we searched the bus one last time and found he’d been asleep the whole time. I had immense luck and Sungwoo cracked us all up and it made one hell of a story.” In addition, her first metal experience as a vocalist was the Iron Maiden vs. Judas Priest show at the Chicago School of Rock in 2011, a huge moment for her because it had really transitioned her from a bedroom performer to a real one, pushing her to keep doing it.

As Carnivora is now a female-fronted metal band, Haydee was asked her opinion about the role of women in the current metal scene. She said that the face of metal is shifting a lot towards women, but the metal community still has a lot to learn and that can be frustrating, mainly because bands with female lead singers often get lumped together even if they’re creating radically different sub-styles, although she’s fine with the label “female-fronted metal”. In addition, she said that as a growing force, women get a lot of attention that may not be given as frequently to an all-male group because there is something different brought to the table that is intriguing. Women have the same depth and aggression as men, and to have an artistic platform to display that (as well as their delicate nature) is a new and amazing thing. The only disadvantage that she sees is the play on sexism and creating sex appeal that purposefully overshadows or interferes with the platform for ones natural talent. “Women work hard to do what they do and they do not need to hide behind sex appeal to be respected for their time, talent, and work. Knowing that and showing that is important,” commented Haydee.

Last but not least, Haydee also provided her comments about things that she learned recording new music during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting by saying how important it was for her to put a strong focus on songwriting, something that we all know cannot be done properly when the musician is on the road most of the time, saying the simplicity of “one-on-one” writing with guitarist Cody Michaud allowed them to present something more refined to the rest of the team. Secondly, she mentioned how hard the entire band worked on the recording process of their demos, saying she pushed herself to knock out vocal takes and stacked harmonies. Then Haydee moved on to talking about their jam sessions, how important it was for them to get back to practicing together as soon as it was safe to meet up, and how tighter their playing got after that, followed by how important it was to release new music during the pandemic even without being able to tour during that time. And last but not least, she mentioned a fun game Carnivora had during the video shoot for Hypnogenic, the first time they had to load in and get together since everything shut down, where each band member had to wear their newest Vans shoes acquired during quarantine and compare them. Let’s say this is indeed a very healthy competition for a group of metalheads eager to get back on the road, and those shoes are beyond awesome for any trip or for a demanding activity like kicking ass on stage, and we cannot wait to see Haydee and Carnivora eating our flesh alive during their upcoming concerts.

Haydee Irizarry’s Official Facebook page
Haydee Irizarry’s Official Instagram
Haydee Irizarry’s Official Twitter
Haydee Irizarry’s Official YouTube channel
Carnivora’s Official Facebook page
Carnivora’s Official Instagram
Carnivora’s Official Twitter
Carnivora’s Official YouTube channel

“The face of metal is shifting a lot towards women and women from all different countries that look so different. It’s awesome to be a part of that change.” – Haydee Irizarry

Album Review – -hrz- / fwd>> EP (2021)

To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. And if you decide to do so, do it to the sound of the debut solo EP by this multi-talented Finnish rocker.

3.0rating

hrz-fwd-ep-2021Hailing from Oulu, Finland, here comes a new Melodic Hard Rock act that goes by the curious name of -hrz-, the solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Harri Halonen (better known for his work with the amazing Finnish Hard Rock band Afire), armed with his debut EP entitled fwd>>. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Aki Karppinen at Olga Studios in Tyrnävä, Finland, fwd>> offers us fans five electrifying rock compositions carefully brought into being by Harri, supported by the talented Finnish drummer Ari Kemppainen. “To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. I grew up in a rural village, mainly known for its potatoes. That’s where my first band with drummer cousin Ari took its baby steps. Now, decades later, we went back, rehearsed and recorded these new songs. No potatoes were harmed in the process. I have a soft spot for melodies and harmonies on a groovy rock song, so that’s what I went for. I handled the vocals and stringed instruments myself, Ari took care of the drums, naturally,” commented Harri about his newborn rockin’ baby.

The opening tune My Way Or The Highway kicks off in full force to the slashing riffs by Harri, sounding like a fusion of Velvet Revolver with his own band Afire, not to mention Ari also does an amazing job with his fast-paced beats and fills. Then presenting elements of modern-day Rock N’ Roll and Southern Rock the duo fires the solid Never Found, once again displaying an electrifying vibe thanks to the excellent job done by Harri with his always sharp guitar lines; and Ari keeps hammering his drums beautifully in Jaws/Claws, where Harri adds hints of the music by bands like Volbeat, Motorjesus and Motley Crüe to his no-shenanigans Hard Rock, inviting us to dance and bang our heads nonstop. The Pyre is even more melodic than its predecessors while at the same time not as frantic, with Harri and Ari being in absolute sync from start to finish, pleasing all fans of the more contemporary versions of rock music, whereas closing the EP it’s time for another Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots-infused tune titled Vortex, showcasing classic guitar lines, groovy bass jabs and pure, old school Hard Rock beats.

hrz-2021You can move forward in your life to the sound of fwd>> by streaming the full EP on Spotify and by purchasing it from Apple Music, and don’t forget to also give Harri a shout on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to his official YouTube channel to stay up to date with all things -hrz-. Although Harri mentioned that he had to take a step back in time before going forward in his career with fwd>>, let’s say that the music found in his debut solo effort is a million light-years away from being obsolete or outdated; quite the contrary, the 20 minutes of rock music offered in the EP exhale modernity and energy, keeping the atmosphere fresh and vibrant from start to finish and, therefore, leaving us eager for more of his distinct melodies and harmonies in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: My Way Or The Highway and Jaws/Claws.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Audion

Track listing
1. My Way Or The Highway 3:06
2. Never Found 4:06
3. Jaws/Claws 3:06
4. The Pyre 3:39
5. Vortex 5:52

Band members
Harri Halonen – vocals, guitars, bass
Ari Kemppainen – drums

Album Review – Gasoline Guns / Motor Cult (2021)

Time to join this Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll.

3.5rating

gasoline-guns-motor-cult-2021Bringing to our avid ears another round of their high-octane fusion of Heavy Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock spiced up by ass-kicking harsh vocals, a combination the band itself likes to call “Metal N’ Roll”, the flammable Motor Cult, the brand new opus by Chernihiv, Ukraine-based metal drunkards Gasoline Guns, is a fun and vibrant collection of nine songs about a post-apocalypse and explosive world, blazing whiskey, fate, dusty roads and, of course, our good old, infernal Rock N’ Roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Higain Records and displaying a gasoline and coal-fueled artwork by Ian Guy the Motoring Artist, Motor Cult continues to pave the rockin’ path created by vocalist Dmytro “Talladega”, guitarists Danylo Sobolev and Volodymyr Zvol, bassist Andrew Moyseenko and drummer Volodymyr back in 2013, not only being the perfect follow-up to their 2015 demo and their 2016 full-length album Rust’n’Dust, but also a must-have for admirers of the fusion of burning fuel and badass riffs by bands such as Chrome Division and Motörhead.

Rev up your engines and join Gasoline Guns’ rockin’ feast in the alcohol-infused opening track Bourbon Burns, where Dmytro fires his trademark raspy vocals while Volodymyr crushes his drums in the best Motörhead style, whereas in Under Wicked Sky the raw and dirty lyrics barked by Dmytro (“There is no going back / And hope is a mistake / One more race, one more chase / One more lovely day / Riding road of fury / Riding road of pain / You live, you die / But you will live again”) bring even more thunder to the visceral riffs and solos blasted by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol, resulting in a fast-paced ode to pure, unfiltered Rock N’ Roll. Their acid hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll strikes again in the form of Hell Thunder, where the Lemmy-inspired bass by Andrew will make your head tremble mercilessly; and reminding us of the early days of Chrome Division, those Ukrainian rockers deliver a frantic tune entitled Gasoline and Guns, inviting us all to scream and shout the song’s catchy chorus together with them while Volodymyr dictates the pace with his pounding beats, not to mention Danylo’s sick guitar solo.

It’s not a true Rock N’ Roll album without a song with a Spanish name inspired by Mexican gunslingers, and that’s exactly what Gasoline Guns offer us all with tons of alcohol, bullets flying everywhere and the breathtaking sound of their guitars in El Pistolero, and the skies will get darker and the air heavier in the Stoner, Southern and Sludge Metal tune This Road Is a Snake, where Dmytro continues to tell tales of the life on the road with his inebriate vocals. Those five Ukrainian rockers keep hammering our heads with their vicious sounds in Nothing to Prove, where the riffage by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol will penetrate deep inside your skin and invite you for a bloody pub brawl, and the band’s guitar duo, together with Andrew, will put you to bang your head like a metal maniac in the awesome Wheels of Rust, a classic Rock N’ Roll extravaganza with no shenanigans that will please all fans of the genre. Finally, we’re treated to And That’s Why We Drink, urging us metalheads to grab our glasses and bottles and join Gasoline Guns in their metallic tribute to all things alcohol, led by the always heavy and unfriendly voice of Mr. Dmytro “Talladega”.

gasoline-guns-2021After all is said and done, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and hit the road together with Gasoline Guns to the sound of Motor Cult, and in order to do so you can stream their awesome new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, purchase Motor Cult from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing all your support to the underground. In the end, who doesn’t want to join a Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll, right? That’s all we need to find our inner strength to endure this dangerous highway we all like to call life.

Best moments of the album: Under Wicked Sky, Gasoline and Guns and Wheels of Rust.

Worst moments of the album: None, you bastards!

Released in 2021 Mythrone Promotion / Defense Records

Track listing   
1. Bourbon Burns 3:02
2. Under Wicked Sky 2:32
3. Hell Thunder 3:08
4. Gasoline and Guns 4:08
5. El Pistolero 3:54
6. This Road Is a Snake 5:07
7. Nothing to Prove 3:58
8. Wheels of Rust 4:25
9. And That’s Why We Drink 4:42

Band members
Dmytro “Talladega” – vocals
Danylo Sobolev – lead guitars
Volodymyr Zvol – rhythm guitars
Andrew Moyseenko – bass
Volodymyr – drums