Metal Chick of the Month – Sandie Gjørtz

The resurrection of the Lilith!

As the summer solstice is gone, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, and here at The Headbanging Moose it’s time to darken the skies even more with our metal lady of the month of August, the stunning, enigmatic and evil Sandie Gjørtz, also known as Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz, Sandie The Lilith, or simply Lilith, the unrelenting frontwoman for Danish Melodic Death Metal outfit Defacing God. Her devilish roars will haunt your damned soul for all eternity, and I’m sure you’ll thank us at The Headbanging Moose for introducing you to such talented woman of the current metal scene. Be careful, though, as Lilith is the primordial she-demon as you might know, and succumbing to her enchantment means you might never see the light of day again in your life.

Growing up with Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal as both her parents are metalheads, Sandie mentioned heavy music has always been a natural part of her life. “I’ve been told that even before I could walk, I often crawled in front of the TV when my parents played a VHS live video with Ozzy Osbourne and I managed to stand up in front of the TV and shake my diaper-ass to ‘Bark at the Moon’ for example. So yeah, it is simply in my veins”, commented our mesmerizing vocalist in one of her interviews, also saying she started out “softly” with Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and King Diamond before getting to know Pantera and, with the discovery of YouTube when she was around 11 years old, being introduced to harder and heavier bands the likes of Sepultura, a band her father loves by the way. When she told her father about that, he got so excited he showed her his copy of Slayer’s ultimate classic album Reign In Blood, and once again she felt that indescribable rush flowing through her veins.

“I am eternally grateful for these influences on music in my youth. It has always been following me and helped me through dark times, many times! And since that time, I just knew that I wanted to be or do something in this kind of music. It’s a deep, burning passion that is extremely hard to even describe as said. If you know and get it, you get it. If not… You never will,” complemented Sandie, who also said that although she knew nothing about growling or extreme vocal techniques when she was young, she has always been busy with music, singing and acting in drama classes during her school years, as well as choir singing at the church, which was curiously one of her hobbies before turning into Lilith. She knew she wanted to become a vocalist, but as mentioned she didn’t know at that age that women could also do extreme singing, while at the same time she realized choir singing and clean vocals weren’t enough for her.

Having a raging fire burning inside her and dealing with anger issues, things she wanted to express somehow as she considered herself an intense and emotional girl during her youth, Sandie finally discovered bands the likes of Holy Moses and Arch Enemy when she was around 15 years old, being blown away by those women who could manage to do extreme singing just like some of her idols such as Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. “First, it seemed a little bit extreme for me because I never saw anything like that before and for me, it was not a ‘natural’ thing for a woman to scream and sing that deep. Back then, I also don’t think that women who did growls, screams and extreme vocals, in general, was such a common or known phenomenon like it is nowadays. Not that I know at least. I just know that I adored it and decided that if they could do it, I sure as hell could do it too!”

Since then, our unstoppable growler has been investing all her talent, energy and passion into making extreme music, learning extreme techniques on her own, always trusting her feelings and saying metal music works as pure therapy for her, that it is really what she lives for. After so many years practicing and developing her vocal skills, Sandie knew it was time for her to have her own Extreme Metal band, leading to the creation of Defacing God in 2015. “I always wanted to play in a band, but only did something about it in 2015 when our drummer (Michael Olsson) and I decided to start a project together. After the decision was made, we began to search for musicians with the same intentions and passion as ourselves, and it ended up with the constellation we have today.” From that day on, Lilith was born.

Currently comprised of Sandie “The Lilith” Gjørtz on vocals (who’s also responsible for all visuals and lyrics), Signar Petersen and Christian Nielsen on the guitars, Rasmus “Kalke” Nielsen on bass, and Michael Olsson on drums, Defacing God were formed in 2015 in Aalborg, a city in the Jutland region of Denmark, but only going public in 2018. Sandie mentioned she hadn’t worked in any other projects before founding Defacing God, only focusing on her singing as well as on some other instruments like the guitar, keyboards, piano and cello, which means we can all consider Defacing God her beloved (and evil) first baby. “Since most of us in the band are experienced musicians by now, we chose to keep our project close to our bodies until we thought everything was completely clear. We didn’t think it made sense to make ourselves visible before, and none of us wanted to stand on stage and deliver something half-finished. Therefore, we have worked at high pressure to be coordinated and create something that we ourselves are proud to show off. I myself really appreciate bands that have a complete theme, stage expression, etc.,” commented our Lilith, also saying that “in addition to the above, we have had some legal construction problems with our rehearsal rooms, and we were therefore forced to take a break for a few months and have our rooms rebuilt and ready. Furthermore, we have had a change in the lineup and our band members. Everything takes time – especially when it comes to music. We have had so much in the making, so many ideas, and it is only now that I feel that we have found our right track and expression. I just think that’s how it is with art in general. It’s one big bubble of ideas, thoughts and expressions, and it can take a long time before the result of all this turns out to be something that makes sense.”

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Inspired by opulent Scandinavian metal traditions, Defacing God base their conceptual themes on the seeping darkness that moves in us all, rooted in occultism and witchcraft, but primarily the mythologically mysterious female demon Lilith and her tales of fervent defiance and perseverance. Through their storytelling, music and aesthetic, the band pulls their listeners into a dark universe of obscure myths, folklore and ancient stories, all the while weaving in often subtle lyrical inspirations from modern societal oppressions and personal demons while musically speaking they echo the styles of artists such as Cradle of Filth, Carach Angren and Dimmu Borgir, blending it with a conventional dose of Black Metal and merging these auras with infernal Death Metal. Hence, as Defacing God are gearing up for the release this September of their debut opus The Resurrection of Lilith, the band has already unleashed upon us a few songs that will feature in the album just to give us a taste of how devilish and heavy it will be, and you can already succumb to the dark world ruled by Defacing God by listening to the songs Succumb the Euphoria, Monolith Of Apocalypse Arise, The Marked Ones, and Rise Of The Trinity, all available on Spotify by the way, also showcasing stunning, hypnotizing visuals thanks to the wicked mind of Lilith. Celebrating feminist power and sisterhood throughout Defacing God’s entire upcoming album, Sandie mentioned that the trinity formed of Abyzou, Jezebel and Lilith is the kind of catalysator who speaks for all cremated witches who never got a voice through times and history, strong and wise women have been slaughtered, molested, executed and abused, just because the herd were scared of their wisdom and free spirit.

As already mentioned, Sandie is highly inspired by Scandinavian metal as well as witchcraft and occultism, also nurturing a personal love for Black Metal, all expressed through the band’s upcoming stage performances and in many of her texts, representing her view of the world and her own experiences. “In the era of witch hunting (between the 15th and 18th centuries) it was only women who stood out from the crowd or perhaps knew something. They were not considered part of normality, and so they were burned – basically because the ‘masses’ did not understand them and were afraid of them. Today it is more acceptable to fall outside the norm. Actually, I think that it has become modern to be alternative – but no matter what, there will always be those who cannot or will not understand you, and you cannot and must not please everyone. That is really what is the message in the theme and what many of the texts can be analyzed down to. Therefore, we have decided that it must be a consistent theme throughout our expression,” commented Sandie in one of her interviews. Furthermore, among her favorite artist and bands, you’ll find some renowned acts the likes of Marduk, Lord Belial, Rotting Christ, Nile, Morbid Angel, Septicflesh, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Belzebubs, also being inspired by movies, books, games, ancient history and “dark places” that she has visited through time.

A proud Aalborg citizen, Sandie said that the metal community in her hometown and in the entire Denmark is quite strong, also saying that it houses a lot of talented solo musicians and great bands compared to other bigger countries. “The community is strong here in Aalborg, too, where I live. We, for example, have a big international festival, Aalborg Metal Festival, scheduled in November every year which is a great festival with lots of passionate, hard-working people behind. Through blood, sweat and tears they make this huge festival work each fucking year without complaints,” also mentioning concerts and festivals arranged by AR&M (Aalborg Rock & Metal) several times a year, where a bunch of hard-working volunteers line up for making the whole thing work as well. One interesting fact about Sandie and her Defacing God is the fact that in 2019 the band was booked for Viborg Metal Festival having only released one song at that time, which according to Sandie herself happened because some people behind the festival already knew her bandmates from other bands and trusted them to put on a great show regardless.

Although she hasn’t been involved with other bands prior to Defacing God, Sandie was a guest musician in the album To Live To Kill To Live, by Danish Heavy/Power Metal act Manticora, saying she loved the experience of collaborating with the band in their latest album. “This part I sang was supposed to be an evil Chinese aunt who killed her whole family due to jealousy. The more brutal, the better!” However, if you think her life is just surrounded by brutality, you might be really impressed by the quality work she used to do before focusing on her career as a musician. “After I finished high school, I took some exams related to business and straight after that I followed my vision (besides of the music) to become a social worker, specialized in young people with mental health diagnoses and social problems. I started to study my bachelor’s in social education and on the side I worked as a teacher,” she said in one of her interviews, also mentioning her passion for the beauty industry. She simply loves everything that has to do with makeup, skincare routines and the ways we can express ourselves in a visual and creative way, taking some exams in the beauty industry and having actually made a living off her own beauty firm, Gorgeous By Gjoertz, while at the same time taking a degree in service, hospitality and tourism management at University College in Aalborg. Not only that, she was also a self-employed insurance agent at one of Scandinavia’s biggest insurance companies, proving how unrelenting and full of energy she is. So, after all is said and done, what are you waiting for to renounce to your weak gods and succumb to the dark powers of a true goddess like Lilith?

Sandie Gjørtz’s Official Instagram
Defacing God’s Official Facebook page
Defacing God’s Official Instagram

“In the name of art there should no boundaries and everyone should have the freedom to be their own independent self, to explore and to express as they desire without being judged or oppressed.” – Sandie Gjørtz

Metal Chick of the Month – Bruna Wanderley

Beauty in desolation, or else…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metal Chick of the Month – Johanna Sadonis

Lucifer, oh, Lucifer… Falling for me…

As another weird and dark year is coming to its inevitable end, and as winter is finally coming, let’s set The Headbanging Moose on fire and warm us up this month of December with our tribute to the last metal lady of 2021, the unstoppable Johanna Sadonis, also known as Johanna Claudia Platow, the frontwoman for Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock entity Lucifer. Born on January 21, 1979 in Berlin, Germany, but currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden due to being married to Lucifer’s own guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, Johanna is not only an accomplished and extremely talented vocalist, but also a DJ, a designer, an art director and a lyricist involved in various metal bands and projects during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Having said all that, are you ready to join Johanna in her quest for dark and doomed music?

A late bloomer in the Hard Rock scene, Johanna started out in the 90’s playing and singing Extreme Metal in the underground scene, gradually moving to a darker and more melodic 70’s-inspired Hard Rock and Heavy Metal style after founding Lucifer back in 2014. But let’s take a step back in time and talk a little about her early days and how she started in music before moving on to her current band. Johanna got into rock music when she was really young with her parents’ record collection, getting to know bands the likes of The Rolling stones, AC/DC, ZZ Top and Deep Purple, among others, as well as Punk Rock from her older brother. Then in 1992 when she was 13 she went to see Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, with her next gig being Danzig when she was 14, setting her first step into the dark side of music and moving on to heavier and darker styles such as Death, Black and Doom Metal.

According to Johanna herself that happened because she was at a summer camp when she was 12 and two of her friends were into metal, and when she was 16 those guys asked her to guest sing on the demo cassette of their Death Metal band (which by the way ended up happening a few more times as that was the thing in the 90’s), getting her more and more involved with the underground scene in Berlin. At that time Johanna said she was very serious about all that. She had black hair, black clothes, her whole room was black, and she got into magic, having worked at an esoteric book shop after school. However, her earliest memory of her fascination with singing and music was when she discovered the song Leader Of The Pack by the Shangri-Las on a Rock N’ Roll compilation cassette that her mom gave her when she was six. As she couldn’t speak English at that time, she said she started writing lyrics to songs down phonetically so she could sing along as a child. Later in her early teenage years she started to write poems and lyrics, and bought her first acoustic guitar, teaching herself to play and to sing.

It was only in 2014 in Berlin when Johanna formed Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock outfit Lucifer, and after a few lineup changes Johanna became the only original member of the band currently comprised of our stunning frontwoman together with guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarists Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund, and bassist Harald Göthblad, having also relocated the band to Stockholm, Sweden, as already mentioned. When asked if she’s ever faced any legal problems with using the name Lucifer considering it’s a name other bands have already used throughout the years, she mentioned she wouldn’t have chosen the name if it would have belonged to a larger active band, but so far she hasn’t had any problems with it. In addition, when asked about how dark the name of the band is, Johanna reminded us all that bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram are not Black or Death Metal, also mentioning The Rolling Stones’ classic Sympathy for The Devil as an example of how demonic figures can also be used successfully in a more Rock N’ Roll way.

Playing what can be called a 70’s-inspired fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Doom Metal, Luficer have already released four full-length albums, those being Lucifer I (2015), Lucifer II (2018), Lucifer III (2020), and Lucifer IV (2021), with Johanna obviously being the lead singer in all of those records, plus the keyboardist and sampler on Lucifer I. If you want to have a very good taste of how awesome the music by Lucifer is, you can stream all of their albums on Spotify, or watch all of their breathtaking videos on YouTube including Dreamer, California Son, Bring Me His Head, Leather Demon, Midnight Phantom, their cover versions for The Rattles’ Devil’s On The Loose and Angel Witch’s Loser, and enjoy several amazing concerts like their ass-kicking performances at the Crossroads Festival in Bonn, Germany in 2018 and at Rockpalast in 2018 and in 2019.

Before forming Lucifer, Johanna could be seen in several distinct bands and projects. She was the vocalist for German Symphonic Black Metal band Cryogenic, with whom she recorded their 1996 demo and the 1998 album Celephais; sang for German Black Metal horde Dies Ater on their 1999 album Reign of Tempests, from 1999; formed the Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock band The Oath with her friends Vincent Wager and Linnéa Olsson in 2012, her last band before Lucifer, having recorded their self-titled full-length album in 2014; was part of the Electronic Indie Pop band Informer along with Rayshele Teige, a former employee of Century Media in the United States, in 2010; and was part of Swedish Melodic Black Metal unity Vinterkrig from 1996 until 1997, having recorded with them the demo Härskare över stjärnorna och mina drömmar (which was just released earlier this year).

Not only that, you can also find our beloved vocalist as a guest musician in different bands and projects through the years, those being the female vocals for the songs Marie Louise and Black Wedding, from the 1996 album Leviathan by a German Death Metal band called Ferox; vocals on the songs Now Howls the Beast and Psychic Visions, from the 2017 album Inside the Skull by American Doom Metal act Beastmaker; and vocals on the song Queen Among Rats, from the 2009 album Privilegivm, and on the cover version for Alice In Chains’ hit Them Bones, from the 2010 EP Them Bones / This Inner Soil, both by German Black/Gothic Rock/Metal band Secrets of the Moon. Not only that, Johanna was also the designer, producer and art director in all of the Lucifer’s albums, proving how talented she is. When asked if all her past experiences with the bands that came before Lucifer had an impact on the way she handles the band, she said that she certainly learned that she’s not putting up with ego bullshit and phoniness anymore, and that with Lucifer it’s all about the passion of creating music and enjoying the ride.

Regarding her idols and influences in rock and metal music, Johanna always lists some of the best, most classic vocalists and performers you can think of, including Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, also saying that she listens to a lot of 70’s classic Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and early Heavy Metal, and that fictional horror, real life horror and the horror in one’s head also have a huge influence in her lyrics. Furthermore, in one of her interviews she was asked to list ten albums which she feels don’t get the proper attention from the media and the fans, and her list was very diverse, including Hard Attack by Dust, Bloodrock U.S.A. by Bloodrock, the self-titled album by Starz, Electric Jewels by April Wine, Straight Up by Badfinger, the self-titled album by Bob Seger, the self-titled album by Journey, Special Forces by 38 Special, Year of The Cat by Al Stuart, and Lucifer III by “you know who”. Johanna also mentioned that Lucifer do not have a specific formula or concept behind their albums, that they simply think of what kind of songs would make people excited, what makes them feel good, and hope that the band doesn’t lose quality or doesn’t get stale with every release.

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In terms of her life on the road with Lucifer, Johanna mentioned that she has already performed hundreds of shows with the band and that each one of those are important in their own way, saying the band plays the same way in front of 20 people in some village or at Helffest in front of over 7,000 people. In addition, when it comes to organizing their setlist, she said that they usually like to start off the set with a mid tempo number to get into the groove and end the set in some sort of sonic eruption, never putting two songs of the same kind in a row (such as two ballads, for example), maintaining an interesting flow to keep the attention of the audience. She also shared an interesting story that happened on the road, when guitarist Martin Nordin ended up playing ping pong with Ace Frehley on the Kiss Kruise where Lucifer played three sets, and also mentioned she would love to play in places such as Australia, New Zealand and South America.

As a prominent woman in the world of rock and metal music, Johanna believes you have to have a little bit of a thick skin if you’re a woman due to the fact the scene has always been a male-dominated one, saying that things got a little better in recent years compared to when she was a teenager as now we can see a lot more bands with girls, but at the same time there are still weird expressions like “female-fronted”. Johana strongly believes gender shouldn’t be a genre, also commenting about how deep that’s within our culture as you get treated differently as a woman in obvious ways, but also in really subtle ways. Johanna also pointed to the fact that there are still too many sexist and nasty comments on social media whenever a woman is part of a rock or metal band, but that fortunately that’s changing. “I felt it necessary for the first time to post, ‘if you’re a homophobe, you’re a sexist, racist, you are not welcome here.’ If you feel like you have to burn your Lucifer album now, please do so. I don’t care. That post went around quite a lot. A lot of people were applauding it, but then there was also all kinds of people going, ‘you suck anyways.’ Because I’m against sexism, racism, and homophobia? I mean, what side are you on then. I’m really shocked at how much racism is out there. But luckily that’s getting talked about too. We’re still a little bit in the middle ages, unfortunately. It can’t go fast enough.”

When asked about the metal scene in her hometown Berlin versus her current home Stockholm, Johanna mentioned that there isn’t a huge difference between those places as the rock and metal community kind of networks around the world, as people in New York, Berlin, Stockholm, London or any other city in the world are connected and know each other through social media, making it a little bit more globalized and organized. She said though that although she used to go out and DJ quite often in Berlin, she doesn’t do that much anymore in Stockholm not because there aren’t enough clubs or because the scene is not big in Sweden, but mainly due to her busy touring schedule as she feels happier with the quietness of her home nowadays after so many weeks on the road. She still misses her DJ years, though, when she used to run a monthly old school Heavy Metal party at the Kill ‘Em All Club in Berlin, which by the way she started together with the same Vincent Wager from The Oath.

Having founded Riding Reaper Records in 2020 alongside her husband and bandmate Nicke Andersson, Johanna commented that some of her advantages of making music today are her wisdom and experience gathered through the years, but also saying that she can’t really compare it to the music industry in the 90’s when she started because she was only part of the underground music scene as a musician. Also, she considers streaming services like Spotify and any social media as necessary evils because they allow the band to stay closely connected to their fanbase and to feel the pulse of what’s up. That connection was actually very important for Lucifer during the pandemic, as Johanna and the boys also had to stay home in isolation for a long period of time without playing any concerts. She mentioned the sales were pretty good, though, probably due to the fact people had more time to listen to music at their homes.

Lastly, when asked about what she considers the most amazing thing in her life, she answered that musically it’s having met Nicke and marrying him because “he is the perfect partner in crime when it comes to music,” also saying that it’s a luxury that they can do what they love the most together, which is recording music and playing live. And if you want to know more about Johanna and her incendiary band Lucifer, there are countless video interviews online such as this one to Metal Insider’s Newsroom, where she talks about Lucifer’s overall sound and other nice-to-know topics; this one where Johanna and Nicke pick the best albums from 1975; this one to Doomed & Stoned in 2018; the ‘How Well Do You Know Your Bandmate’ for Metal Injection; and this one with Darren Paltrowitz (host of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast) where she talks about the influence of Glenn Danzig, getting through the Coronavirus pandemic, future plans and more. As you can see, there’s no reason not to fall in love for Johanna and her Lucifer, succumbing to the dark side to the sound of her unique voice and charisma.

Johanna Sadonis’ Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Facebook page
Lucifer’s Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Twitter
Lucifer’s Official YouTube channel

“After my initial love affair with classic rock and heavy metal I got heavily into death, doom and black metal at the age of 16 and sang on a variety of demo cassette tapes of local death and black metal bands in Berlin. I had black hair, black clothes, my whole room was black and I got into magic. I worked at an esoteric book shop after school. I was very serious about this all. My mother thought it was just a phase but look at me, not much has changed!” – Johanna Sadonis

Metal Chick of the Month – Kell Reis

kell01

When you die… I’ll be there… ‘Cause I’m inside you… Tearing the veil of insanity!

A Brazilian singer who nurtures a deep passion for music, in special of course our beloved Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, our metal chick of the month of July will hypnotize you with her potent and unique voice, making you addicted to her music and always eager for more of her classy vocal lines. I’m talking about Raquel Reis Gonçalves, better known as Kell Reis or sometimes as Kell Hell, the stunning frontwoman for Brazilian Heavy Metal act Sacrificed and a woman who can sing pretty much any metal or non-metal style you can think of, showcasing an undeniable talent, hard work and focus on everything she does in the world of music, therefore proving once again not only how awesome the Brazilian metal scene is, but also that there are tons of girls in Brazil who proudly carry the flag of heavy music anywhere they go.

Born on May 2, 1989 in the city of Belo Horizonte, the capital city of southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, which is by the way the same city that gave the world amazing metal acts the likes of Sarcófago and Holocausto, not to mention the one and only Sepultura, the skillful Kell, who has been singing since she was only two years old, started studying music when she was 11 at a non-credit course at UEMG – Universidade Estadual de Minas Gerais, where she spent the next four years studying classical singing. Highly influenced by her parents, as her mother is a singer and her father a singer, pianist and guitarist, not to mention her deceased brother who used to listen a lot to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Kell moved from Brazilian kids music like Sandy & Junior to Nirvana when she was around 13, then going straight into rock and metal bands including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Angra and System Of A Down, and joining her first ever band called No Stress, playing grunge music at school. At the age of 18 she joined a Brazilian Hard Rock band named Vienna, and at 19 she became the vocalist for a renowned act in the underground scene in her hometown named Helltown. It was after one of her several gigs with Helltown in a city called Cataguases, around 340km from Belo Horizonte, that she met the guys from Sacrificed, and that leads to our next part of our tribute to Kell.

Officially formed in 2006 in Belo Horizonte by guitarist Diego Oliveira under the name Sacriffice after changing the name from Metal Breath, when they basically played Metallica songs, the band evolved into a regular group playing their own songs influenced by names such as In Flames, Dream Theater, Evergrey, Lacuna Coil, Disturbed, Halestorm and Brazilian popular music known as MPB (plus cover songs for bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden) and changed their name to Sacrificed around 2009, when Kell joined them as their lead singer replacing their previous singer Fabricio just a few days after he left the band. Currently formed of the Kell on vocals and Diego on the guitars together with Sergio Barbieri also on the guitars, Gabriel Fernando on bass and Tiago Vitek on drums, Sacrificed released their debut self-titled EP in 2009, followed by the full-length albums The Path of Reflections, in 2011, and Enraged, in 2018, and more recently the EP Beyond the Gates, in 2021, plus a live album/video named Sacrificed no Release Showlivre in 2019 and appearances in two compilations named Woman from Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Deep Purple with the song Fireball, and Somewhere in Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Iron Maiden with the song Lord of the Flies, both released in 2020. You can enjoy Kell’s powerful vocals in several of Sacrificed’s songs and official videos such as Meet Your Fate, Silence is the Omen, Say My Name, Vertigo, Call of Insanity, Grudge is My Middle Name, and a cover version for Disturbed’s all-time classic Down With The Sickness, and of course you can always enjoy all of their wicked creations on Spotify.

Kell’s biggest influences in Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal perfectly depict her passion for music and singing, including names the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Bruce Dickison, Ian Guillan, Eric Adams, Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Dani Nolden as her favorite singers, bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Sinergy, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Warlock, Judas Priest, Deep Purple and Manowar, and non-metal singers such as Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Elis Regina and Maria Calas. She also mentioned during one of her interviews that her influences can vary from time to time, with bands like Halestorm, In This Moment, Arch Enemy and Alter Bridge being among her favorite ones from what can be called a “newer” generation of rock and metal acts. In addition, she mentioned Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale is currently her top vocalist, being influenced not only by her voice but also by her charisma.

When asked about the life of a band in her homeland, Kell said that despite the growing number of excellent metal bands arising from the Brazilian scene, as Brazil is even sometimes labeled as “the homeland of really good metal bands”, with the Death Metal scene being considered quite huge in her hometown Belo Horizonte, unfortunately the lack of new major bands like what Sepultura were in the 90’s makes it difficult for new bands to have their work published by the media, unless of course it’s something fully oriented to the rock and metal scene. She also said that due to the fact we live in a world where the illusory number of “likes” doesn’t actually translate into real fans, a band needs to properly manage their career to attract true people to their music, something a Brazilian Heavy Metal band called Project46 does really well according to her. And despite the fact she thinks that it’s almost impossible to live out of metal music in Brazil, the scene remains strong with a lot of collaboration between bands and, of course, the passion from each musician involved.

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One thing Kell always complains about is the fact that organizing, attending and playing live concerts in Brazil has always been extremely difficult due to several facts such as exorbitant prices, lack of good public transportations, horrible roads and highways, and above all that, the lack of decent proposals that respect the band and its value. Apart from bands like Sepultura and Angra, she mentioned it’s difficult to see independent bands touring around Brazil. For instance, Sacrificed currently focuses their tours in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo, although they’re working on expanding their reach to the northern and southern parts of Brazil. Still regarding her life on the road, Kell said that playing alongside Kamelot, Eluviete, Blaze Bayley and The Agonist was truly amazing, but that sharing the stage with Lacuna Coil, one of their main influences, has been indeed one of the most special moments of the band’s career so far.

In addition to her up-and-coming career with Sacrified, Kell also became an active figure in terms of female representation in the Brazilian metal scene, promoting lives on her social media to discuss the theme together with special guests. When questioned how she sees the role of women in the Brazilian metal scene, she said that when she first stepped on stage over a decade ago the scene for women was completely different, having changed to something much better over time, but even today there’s still a lot of prejudice and an unbalance in terms of the number of women in roles such as roadies and sound technicians, and even band members like drummers. She commented she has been barred from entering the dressing room several times because “girlfriends” are not allowed, having to prove she was part of the band and not a groupie, complementing by saying the current women’s movement in metal will surely bring a lot of benefits to any woman worldwide who loves metal and who wants to have equal opportunities to any man, less discrimination and more respect. Furthermore, when asked what advice she would give to girls who want to pursue a career in heavy music, her message was loud and clear. “Don’t give up! Don’t be silent. Don’t settle for less for being a woman! You are not alone,” said Kell, pointing out the crucial importance of the support all girls should provide to each other.

Last but not least, our talented diva, who’s by the way crazy for pasta, whiskey, beer ad wine, strongly believes the underground should be more united in order to make a difference out there, also saying the true support from music fans by attending concerts and buying merch is also essential for the scene to get stronger and stronger. As the frontwoman for an independent band like Sacrificed, she mentioned it’s important for bands and musicians to never give up and keep working hard to make the band as professional as possible, and keep following your dreams no matter what. As Kell mentioned in one of her interviews, the lyrics form Sacrificed’s song Before a Dream, from the album The Path of Reflections, say that “before a dream a storm comes,” but your dream will get closer and closer if you keep walking even during the toughest times. Wise words from a woman that beautifully represents all the passion, talented and hard work of all Brazilians who love metal music from the bottom of their hearts.

Kell Reis’ Official Facebook page
Kell Reis’ Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official Facebook page
Sacrificed’s Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official YouTube channel

Album Review – Nuclear Winter / Greystone (2021)

Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic and Industrial Death Metal one-man army is back in action sharper than ever with his most powerful and detailed album to date.

3.5rating

nuclear-winter-greystone-2021After the success of his 2020 EP Stormscapes, Harare, Zimbabwe-based Melodic/Industrial Death Metal one-man army Nuclear Winter is set to unleash the project’s third full-length opus, entitled Greystone, where the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gary Stautmeister recorded, wrote and produced everything by himself, giving the whole album a very personal touch. “I’m very happy to have completed this new album titled Greystone. I was aiming to produce something heavy but also more electronic than my previous EP. It was quite challenging mix-wise because each song uses a slightly different sound on the drums/bass/guitars, but I feel the overall production is an improvement from my previous work, and the songs are now hopefully more distinct from each other. I especially like Corridor of Shells – which is about a battle in which the surrendering army brings shame to their country,” proudly commented Gary about his new “baby”.

And Gary doesn’t waste a single second and begins shredding his guitar mercilessly in the opening tune The Wastelands, all boosted by the song’s futuristic background elements, therefore reminding me of some creations by the iconic Fear Factory. More of his fusion of Industrial and Death Metal comes in the form of the visceral and somber Stygian Awakening, with Gary growling like a demonic entity while at the same time generating an interesting paradox with his own clean vocals, resulting in a headbanging, epic and progressive creation by this Zimbabwean lone wolf; whereas Gary’s metallic bass jabs will hit you hard in the head in The Harvest Moon, another whimsical, multi-layered creation that travels through the realms of Progressive, Death and Melodic Metal flawlessly. It’s quite impressive how his music is so dense and detailed taking into account he’s only one single musician, and in Orwellian Future his undeniable talent becomes even clearer as he’s capable of bringing some welcome hints of electronic music to the song’s overall heaviness.

Time for Gary to invest in a more rockin’ sound in Corridor of Shells, where our one-man band kicks some serious ass with his riffs and solos while crushing his drums with tons of intricacy, sounding very atmospheric and therefore living up to the legacy of modern-day Industrial Metal. The Wavering Shadows beings in full force showcasing strident riffs, epic keyboards and hammering drums, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and insanity, with Gary firing truly demonic, Black Metal-inspired gnarls, while he will put you to dance under the moonlight in Hidden Shrine, showcasing elements from 80’s electronic bands the likes of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order added to the project’s core essence. The second to last explosion of Industrial Death Metal by Gary, entitled Graveyard Sculpture, continues his path of devastation and insanity, with the machine-like drums walking hand in hand with all futuristic keys; and The Failing Dawn, the closing tune of the album, might not be as impactful as its predecessors, but it still showcases Gary’s own “darkness versus light” vocal duel and his always visceral riffage.

nuclear-winter-2021In a nutshell, as aforementioned, it’s truly impressive how Gary manages to sound like a full-bodied band even doing all by himself, and in Greystone we must all admit he outdid himself in terms of creativity, punch and heaviness, offering us fans of heavy music what’s perhaps the best metal album that has ever been recorded in Zimbabwe, and even if Zimbabwe might not be considered a true metal country that still means a lot. Hence, don’t forget to show Gary your support and admiration by following him and his Nuclear Winter on Facebook and on Twitter, by streaming all of his wicked compositions on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing your copy of Greystone from the MDD Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for all locations where you can stream or buy the full album). As he keeps evolving as a musician (and as a producer), let’s wait and see what’s next in the career of Mr. Gary Stautmeister, and until then we can keep enjoying all tracks from the excellent Greystone in the name of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: Stygian Awakening, Corridor of Shells and The Wavering Shadows.

Worst moments of the album: The Failing Dawn.

Released in 2021 MDD Records

Track listing
1. The Wastelands 4:00
2. Stygian Awakening 4:12
3. The Harvest Moon 3:58
4. Orwellian Future 3:43
5. Corridor of Shells 4:20
6. The Wavering Shadows 4:07
7. Hidden Shrine 4:40
8. Graveyard Sculpture 3:13
9. The Failing Dawn 4:08

Band members
Gary Stautmeister – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Unknown Refuge / From The Darkness (2021)

Get ready to rock to the debut album by four young musicians hailing from the UK, offering us all ten electrifying songs dealing with the struggles of growing up in the digital age of expression.

Formed early in 2016 by Alex Mancini, then aged 15 as lead singer, and four friends from the Music and Performing Arts Service in Salford, a large English town directly west of Manchester city center, Bolton-based Hard Rock outfit Unknown Refuge offers an accomplished, mature sound and performance that will set your fillings on edge despite the young ages of its members, those being the aforementioned Alex Mancini on vocals and bass, Jack Tracey and Harry Skinner on the guitars, and Morgan Deveney on drums. Now in 2021 it’s time for such promising act to unleash upon us their debut album, entitled From The Darkness, a 10-track electrifying opus showcasing forward-thinking from those young rockers and demonstrating laser-sharp musicianship accompanied by thoughtful songwriting, telling the evolution of a songwriter’s life growing up as a teenager, the personal interests during those years as well as capturing some of the struggles faced while growing up in the digital age of expression.

The cinematic, obscure intro From The Darkness sets the stage for the quartet to kick some ass in To The Light, where Jack already fires a sick guitar solo as his welcome card, accompanied by the classic vocals by Alex and the rhythmic beats by Morgan, blending the most incendiary elements form Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll and old school Heavy Metal. Then with Alex’s menacing bass and Morgan’s heavy beats generating a thunderous ambience, the band fires the old school feast titled Kicked To The Floor, highly recommended for fans of the modern rock and metal music crafted by Alter Bridge; and it’s time for the boys to put the pedal to the metal and blast a Motörhead-fueled rockin’ tune titled Battle Hymn, showcasing slashing riffs by Jack and Harry while Alex leads his crew with his straightforward vocals and thunderous bass punches. And Shadows is another great composition by Unknown Refuge, bringing elements from the music by Volbeat and Godsmack to their core Hard Rock, with Morgan pounding his drums mercilessly nonstop.

Presenting hints of 80’s Heavy and Progressive Metal, which only proves how versatile the band is, Palace Walls is slightly darker than its predecessors, with Jack and Harry showcasing another awesome job on the guitars, not to mention how smoothly Alex’s vocals flow from start to finish, whereas razor-edged riffs ignite the also fun and vibrant Wall Of Lies, once again blending the past and present of rock music and with its thrilling pace being led by the rhythmic drumming by Morgan. Following such entertaining song, we face another round of their kick-ass modern-day Hard Rock in If The Gods Be Good, with Alex being supported by the band’s classic backing vocals, therefore being perfect for hitting the road or raising your horns on the dance floor. And speeding things up a bit, the quartet fires the Godsmack-inspired extravaganza I’m Not A Bad Guy, offering a hybrid of Alternative Rock and Metal with old school thrash the likes of Metallica, also with Jack and Harry being on absolute fire from start to finish. And last but not least, old school, epic riffs kick off the closing tune titled Journey, with its headbanging rhythm and dense atmosphere being exactly what Alex needs to declaim the song’s pensive words, putting a climatic ending to such powerful album of Rock N’ Roll.

It’s quite easy to join the boys from Unknown Refuge in their quest for Rock N’ Roll. All you need to do is follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream their music on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of From The Darkness from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel (where by the way you’ll find an amazing bundle containing a CD, a charcoal grey Unknown Refuge shirt and four beer mats), or from Apple Music. Growing up as a teenager anywhere in the world nowadays is a true pain in the ass, but there’s nothing better than our good old Rock N’ Roll to guide us through such difficult times, just like what Unknown Refuge did in their debut album. That being said, how about hitting the dance floor to the high-octane music found in From The Darkness? It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or a grown-up, that will definitely make your day a lot better.

Best moments of the album: To The Light, Battle Hymn and I’m Not A Bad Guy.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. From The Darkness 1:09
2. To The Light 5:09
3. Kicked To The Floor 4:56
4. Battle Hymn 5:04
5. Shadows 3:32
6. Palace Walls 4:46
7. Wall Of Lies 3:23
8. If The Gods Be Good 3:14
9. I’m Not A Bad Guy 3:10
10. Journey 5:16

Band members
Alex Mancini – vocals, bass
Jack Tracey – lead guitar
Harry Skinner – rhythm guitar
Morgan Deveney – drums

Album Review – Maverick / Ethereality (2021)

The unstoppable “Balfour Brothers” are back in action with another explosion of old school, electrifying Hard Rock and Heavy Metal from their ethereal new album.

After three years in the making, including delays in the recording process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethereality, the brand new album by Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Hard Rock group Maverick is ready to see the light of day, bringing to our avid ears all of the trademark elements that helped the “Balfour Brothers” David (vocals) and Ryan (guitars) to conquer the hearts of admirers of old school rock and metal music from all over the world. Combining the catchy, hookline oriented songwriting from their 2016 album Big Red with the heaviness of their 2018 opus Cold Star Dancer, and featuring a beautiful artwork by Ukrainian artist Cardaan, Maverick is indeed an ethereal album of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, resulting in the strongest effort to date by David and Ryan together with their bandmates Ric Cardwell on the guitars, Richie Diver on bass, and newcomer Jason-Steve Mageney on drums.

Falling already kicks off in full force to the piercing vocals by David in a stunning display of classic Hard Rock by Maverick, reminding me of the golden years of Skid Row, Def Lepard and all of our 80’s Hair Metal heroes; and Ryan and Ric keep slashing their strings in great fashion in Thirst, another very melodic and electrifying tune with Jason kicking some ass with his old school beats, being perfect for any Rock N’ Roll party from all around the world. Never is a thrilling song for hitting the road with your loved ones, showcasing the always soaring voice by David supported by his bandmates spot-on backing vocals, while Richie and Jason are in total sync with their respective bass jabs and stylish beats, whereas in Switchblade Sister we’re treated to old school Glam Metal lyrics (“I know / I’m never number one when you need someone to hold you / But I’ll do just fine / Can’t help / But laugh when I hear your excuses / Can only think of me as a list of uses”) boosted by a vibrant sound crafted by all band members. And piercing guitars ignite the Melodic Rock tune Bells Of Stygian, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline while Jason continues to pound his drums nonstop.

It’s time for more of their 80’s-fueled hybrid of Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal in the form of Angels 6, where the entire band kicks some ass with their sharp instruments, with David and Ryan stealing the spotlight with their top-of-the-line vocals and crisp riffs and solos, respectively, whereas classic guitars permeate the air in The Last One, a well-crafted semi-ballad that can be played on any radio station worldwide, despite not being as exciting or detailed as the rest of the album. Then in Dying Star the band gets back to a more rockin’ sound, overflowing electricity with the band’s stringed trio providing David all he needs to shine on vocals once again, including a sick guitar solo, while in Light Behind Your Eyes, another ode to traditional Hard Rock and Heavy Metal by Maverick, Jason’s intricate and rhythmic beats dictate the song’s pace while Richie brings thunder to the music armed with his metallic bass. And lastly, the quintet blasts one final round of their undisputed Hard Rock in Ares, with David’s vocals sounding truly inspirational while the band’s riffs and beats keep the atmosphere as vibrant and harmonious as it can be.

When the band itself mentioned Ethereality is their strongest effort to date, well, they were not kidding at all. This is one of those precious gems of the underground that deserves our full attention and admiration, playing it on an endless loop in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll. Hence, if you want to know more about Maverick, their music, tour dates and plans for the future, I highly recommend you start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their Youtube channel, stream more of their awesome music on Spotify, and of course buy a copy of Ethereality from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, or from the Metalapolis Records’ webstore in regular CD format or as a very special black vinyl + CD bundle. The album title says it all as the word “ethereal” means “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world”, with my only adjustment to that would be on the “delicate and light” side, because what Maverick did in their new album is beyond heavy and electrifying, exactly what we all crave in old school rock and metal music.

Best moments of the album: Falling, Switchblade Sister and Angels 6.

Worst moments of the album: The Last One.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Falling 4:07
2. Thirst 3:49
3. Never 3:55
4. Switchblade Sister 3:53
5. Bells Of Stygian 3:57
6. Angels 6 3:44
7. The Last One 3:55
8. Dying Star 3:48
9. Light Behind Your Eyes 4:00
10. Ares 4:28

Band members
David Balfour – vocals
Ryan Balfour – guitar
Ric Cardwell – guitar
Richie Diver – bass
Jason-Steve Mageney – drums

Album Review – Captain Naysayer / Captain Naysayer EP (2021)

All aboard the Rock N’ Roll vessel captained by a talented five-piece Belgian crew, taking you on a trip through the unruly waters of rock and metal music to the sound of their self-titled debut EP.

Starting as a wet dream of guitarist Daan and drummer Evert from a Belgian rock band named The DeVilles, Keerbergen, Belgium-based Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock act Captain Naysayer are ready to rock your world to the sound of their self-titled debut EP, bringing to the table a fun and vibrant sound inspired by 70’s Rock N’ Roll. Comprised of the aforementioned Daan and Evert together with their countrymen Tom on keyboards and Bert on bass, as well as Brazilian vocalist Arthur, who by the way joined the band from overseas after seeing their online post to lure some candidates for the job, Captain Naysayer take no prisoners in their quest for classic rock and metal, offering to us all six undisputed songs that go from the most classic form of Rock N’ Roll to heavier and more melodic passages, and the final result will certainly put you to dance and bang your heads together with the boys like there’s no tomorrow.

Arising from the bottom of the ocean like a true kraken, Captain Naysayer start blasting their 70’s Rock N’ Roll in Black Silhouette, spearheaded by the smashing beats by Evert and the classic vocals by Arthur, with the Axel Rudi Pell-inspired keys by Tom being the icing on the cake. And more of their old school rock music is offered in the form of Changes, where Daan’s soulful riffs and Bert’s low-tuned bass add an extra touch of nostalgia to the overall result, not to mention how rhythmic and pleasant the drumming by Evert sounds; followed by Voodoo Lovin’, an amazing display of Psychedelic Rock with a Southern Rock twist where the lyrics declaimed by Arthur couldn’t have been more Hard Rock than this (“Since we first met you put me through a test / Going through the ringer on the tip of your finger / It was hard each day just to get a little closer to you / It was like a spell, it was like a trance / Nothing in my mind except for the desire / For the fire that was burning in between your legs”).

After such powerful start, the second half of the EP kicks off with I See Danger, showcasing a Placebo-like vibe in Arthur’s strident vocals accompanied by some tribalistic elements and the Rock N’ Roll riffage by Daan. In addition, tons of progressiveness flows from all instruments, with Tom’s keys bringing electricity and epicness to their core sound in another ode to rock and metal music. Then smooth keys and a whimsical atmosphere suddenly explode into a Jethro Tull-like sonority in Blue Eyed Mask, a delicate ballad by Captain Naysayer where the vocals by Arthur exhale poetry and melancholy from start to finish, whereas they showcase their Deep Purple vein and passion for classic Progressive Rock and Metal in the closing tune Living Again, where Tom is on fire with his ass-kicking keys while Evert and Bert bring the Blues to the music, all spiced up by an incendiary performance by Arthur on vocals while ending in the most vibrant way imaginable.

If you want to know more about Captain Naysayer before boarding their Rock N’ Roll vessel, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and plans for the future, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, and of course purchase their thrilling EP from BandCamp and stream it on Spotify (or simply click HERE to choose your favorite version of the album). I’m sure those Belgian musicians (and of course their Brazilian vocalist) will love to hear from you, keeping their inner rockin’ fire burning and, therefore, inspiring them to move forward in their career and continue to embellish the airwaves with their great fusion of old school Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Blues, carving their names in the small but always prolific underground Belgian scene.

Best moments of the album: Voodoo Lovin’ and Living Again.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Black Silhouette 4:27
2. Changes 3:53
3. Voodoo Lovin’ 4:18
4. I See Danger 3:33
5. Blue Eyed Mask 4:23
6. Living Again 5:09

Band members
Arthur – vocals
Daan – guitar
Tom – keys
Bert – bass
Evert – drums

Album Review – Shocker / Shocker EP (2021)

Enjoy this journey through the past, present and future of rock and metal music brought forth by five hardworking and talented Belgian “shockers”.

Formed somewhere in 2018 in Kuurne, a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, from an old idea by frontman Sammy Peleman (After All, September Syn) and bassist Koen (when Sammy performed as a guest vocalist in Koen’s cover band Back to Back), Shocker are a Heavy Metal and Hard Rock outfit that doesn’t like to be stuck to any boundaries or labeled as just one specific music style, bringing to our ears an amalgamation of rock and metal genres and subgenres with a strong 70’s Psychedelic Rock vibe to make things more entertaining and vibrant. Now in 2021 it’s time for Sammy and Koen, together with their bandmates  David Vandewalle (Anesthesy, Artrach) on the guitars, Chris Dedeurwaerder (Phoenix Rebellion) on guitars and keyboards, and Jelle Vandewalle on drums, to release their debut self-titled EP, containing four no shenanigans rockin’ songs that will take you on a journey to the past, bring you back to the present, and show you that the future of Rock N’ Roll is safe thanks to hardworking and talented bands like those Belgian rockers.

And let Shocker’s party begin with some good old, electrifying Rock N’ Roll in the opening tune Thrillseeker, with David and Chris bringing a touch of 80’s metal to the music with their riffs while of course Sammy kicks some ass with his Glam Metal vocals; whereas switching gears to a darker sonority found in some of the more contemporary songs by Iron Maiden they offer us all Twisted Shape of Man, before Jelle begins pounding his drums accompanied by the rumbling bass by Koen and the incendiary riffs from the band’s guitar duo. Then Koen ignites the band’s somber machine with his low-tuned, metallic bass in The Genuine Falls while Sammy declaims the lyrics with tons of passion and introspection, resulting in a classic Heavy Metal tune that slowly and gradually accelerates its pace until reaching an epic, galloping sound led by Jelle’s beats, also infused with a few welcome Progressive Rock and Metal nuances. Lastly, closing the EP it’s time for some groove in the Hard Rock and Hair Metal extravaganza titled Breaking the Silence, where the strident riffs and solos by David and Chris walk hand in hand with Sammy’s soaring vocals, therefore putting a classic conclusion to their debut effort.

Despite the fact that the EP is relatively short in duration, with the four songs lasting for a combined running time of a little less than 23 minutes, it’s indeed an amazing indication of where those five skillful musicians are headed to in their future releases, not to mention their progressive vein allows them to experiment a lot more than other regular bands, which of course means we can expect a few good surprises from Shocker anytime they release a new EP or full-length album. Furthermore, as a completely independent band that loves the DIY style from the bottom of their hearts as much as they love rock music, they need our support and admiration to keep moving forward in their career, so why not paying them a visit on their official Facebook page not only to provide your feedback on their music, but more important than that, to purchase their newborn EP and to keep on rockin’ in the free world? That’s what electrifying rock music like what those Belgian “shockers” have to offer us all is all about, and that’s pretty much all that we need in our lives.

Best moments of the album: The Genuine Falls.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Thrillseeker 5:07
2. Twisted Shape of Man 6:56
3. The Genuine Falls 5:17
4. Breaking the Silence 5:26

Band members
Sammy Peleman – vocals
David Vandewalle – guitars
Chris Dedeurwaerder – guitars, keyboards
Koen – bass, backing vocals
Jelle Vandewalle – drums

Album Review – Heavy Feather / Mountain of Sugar (2021)

Rawer, heavier and harder, the sophomore album by these sensational Swedish roots rockers ooze with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs.

Two years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Débris & Rubble, vocalist Lisa Lystam, guitarist Matte Gustavsson, bassist Morgan Korsmoe and drummer Ola Göransson, collectively known as Stockholm, Sweden-based Roots Rock outfit Heavy Feather, are ready to stun us all once again with their sophomore effort entitled Mountain of Sugar, an even rawer, heavier and harder album than their previous one, but still with the Roots and Psychedelic Rock touch holding it all together. Recorded by  Erik “Errka” Petersson at No Regrets Fonogram in Stockholm and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Lucifer, Imperial State Electric), Mountain of Sugar consists of 11 tracks oozing with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs, therefore being once again highly recommended for fans of iconic bands like Free, Cream and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Let’s take a journey back to the 70’s to the magical riffs by Matte in 30 Days, and Lisa doesn’t take too long to begin mesmerizing us with her powerful voice accompanied by her bandmates’ classic backing vocals in an awesome way to properly kick off the album, whereas singing about the eternal fight between time and love (“When I get old / Start counting my days / Living them slow / Living in haze / There’s one thing that’s clear / And that is your grace”), Bright in My Mind is another solid Rock N’ Roll tune with Morgan carefully slamming his bass from start to finish. Love Will Come Easy brings forward more of their fusion of 70’s rock music with contemporary Hard Rock and Blues, with Ola dictating the pace while Lisa shines as usual with her piercing vocal lines; and catchy lyrics (“Yes I’m relentless, a mountain of sugar / And I keep on rising, the mountain of sugar / I am mesmerizing, a mountain of sugar / But don’t get me feisty, the mountain of sugar”) and an upbeat vibe are the main ingredients in the vibrant Mountain of Sugar, not to mention Lisa’s kick-ass harmonica. Then a Deep Purple-inspired riff by Matte is boosted by the classy kitchen blasted by Morgan and Ola in Too Many Times, where Matte also adds tons of electricity to the music with his soulful riffs. And did I mention there’s also some cowbell for our total delight?

It’s time for a classic ballad by Heavy Feather titled Let It Shine, where Lisa steals the spotlight with a very passionate vocal performance while her bandmates deliver smoothness and love through their refined instruments, whereas Come We Can Go is old school Rock N’ Roll for admires of the genre, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and showcasing an amazing job done by Ola on drums. In Sometimes I Feel we’re introduced to a male vocalist (perhaps Matte?) instead of Lisa’s usual vocals, with Matte and Morgan being in total sync with their stringed weapons, generating a gentle but at the same time heavy ambience. Lisa is then back on vocals to hypnotize our senses in Lovely Lovely Lovely, while Ola fires classic beats and fills and Matte continues to shine with his electrifying solos; and a high dosage of Rock N’ Roll riffs and beats permeate the air in the awesome Rubble & Débris, a wordplay with the title of their previous album, inspiring you to sing, drink and bang your head together with the quartet while Lisa steals the show once again with her visceral vocals. Finally, ending the album the band delivers a delicate and beautiful ballad titled Asking in Need, perfect for listening to it while embracing your loved ones, all spiced up by the whimsical riffs and solos by Matte.

Those Swedish rockers are definitely making a name for themselves in the worldwide Rock N’ Roll scene, first with Débris & Rubble and now with Mountain of Sugar, two albums that can already be considered a must-have for anyone who enjoys old school rock music. You can get to know more about Heavy Feather on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel, stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and grab your copy of Mountain of Sugar from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, and soon from other locations. It’s a pleasure seeing how Heavy Feather took a step forward in their career with Mountain of Sugar without giving up their passion for the past, which only proves Rock N’ Roll is not only timeless, but also as sweet and delicious as sugar.

Best moments of the album: 30 Days, Mountain of Sugar and Rubble & Débris.

Worst moments of the album: Sometimes I Feel.

Released in 2021 The Sign Records

Track listing
1. 30 Days 3:41
2. Bright in My Mind 3:27
3. Love Will Come Easy 4:07
4. Mountain of Sugar 2:23
5. Too Many Times 2:46
6. Let It Shine 2:52
7. Come We Can Go 3:44
8. Sometimes I Feel 3:59
9. Lovely Lovely Lovely 4:13
10. Rubble & Débris 3:15
11. Asking in Need 3:40

Band members
Lisa Lystam – vocals, harmonica
Matte Gustavsson – guitars
Morgan Korsmoe – bass
Ola Göransson – drums