Metal Chick of the Month – Ira Sidenko

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How to open your heart in the chaos of life? Learn to give and to share, to hustle and strive…

If you consider yourself a diehard fan of both old school and modern-day Death Metal, I’m certain you’ll have a very good time with our metal chick of the month of September. Not only she’s the owner of a potent and visceral voice, but her charisma, together with her onstage (and onscreen) performance, turn her into a must-listen and see for any admirer of first-class extreme music. I’m talking about the unstoppable Russian growler Ira Sidenko, also known as Irina Sidenko (or even Ирина Сиденко in Russian), the frontwoman for Tomsk, Russia-based Death Metal brigade Dehydrated, and a metalhead who is always expressing her passion for Heavy Metal through her music and art.

Born in the city of Tomsk, in Tomsk Oblast, a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) that lies in the southeastern West Siberian Plain, Ira studied at Tomsk State University, or TSU, known in her mother tongue as Томский Государственный Университет, or ТГУ, but it’s not clear exactly what course or courses she took at TSU. It was in 2008 when she founded Dehydrated (being named Dehydrated Entrails from 2008 until 2009, when they changed their name to the current one) together with guitarist Evgen Tsibulin, bassist Evgeny Zimin and drummer Alexey Ablayev, with only Ira and Evgen being still in the band from its original formation. Playing a fusion of classic Death Metal with other styles such as Deathcore, Grindcore, Groove Metal and even Progressive Metal, among others, the band didn’t know exactly what they wanted to play at first, but they knew it was going to be hard and aggressive, experimenting with several genres and subgenres of heavy music as aforementioned. By the way, when asked about the origin of the band’s name, Ira explained that’s how you feel after a concert, feeling dehydrated both physically and mentally after all the exchange of energy between the band and the crowd.

Having already played in several international festivals including Metal Head’s Mission (Ukraine), Metal Crowd (Belarus), Petrogrind (St. Petersburg), Metal Maidens (Kaluga), and Cieszanów Rock Festiwal (Poland), as well as tours around Russia and Eastern Europe, the band has unleashed upon humanity an array of high-quality albums and EP’s, those being the 2009 demo Suffering from Mummification, the full-lengths Duality of Existence (2011), Zone Beneath the Skin (2012) and Awake in Era (2012), the EP’s Mind Extract (2011), Piranha or Whale? (2019) and Piranha or Whale (Part II) (2020), and a 2011 split with the bands PureFilth, Grace Disgraced and Redrvm. Furthermore, in one of her interviews, Ira mentioned that her favorite Dehydrated album to date is Awake in Era, as she considers it more professional and more atmospheric than the other releases, with each of its songs representing a different story, but I’m sure that opinion will change with each of their releases just like what happens with any musician. And when asked about what Dehidrated means to her, she said that as music is her life, the band represents life to her, always showing a lot of love for her own work.

Dehydrated are a DIY band, doing everything themselves and relying a lot on the internet for sales and promotional activities just like countless underground bands worldwide. Ira mentioned that services like BandCamp, Spotify, Patreon and YouTube have been helping the band a lot with their promotion, but that at the same time they still have a hard time trying to organize tours all by themselves.  Hence, if you want to give the music by Dehydrated a try, you can stream all of their creations on BandCamp, on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can have an absolute blast with songs the likes of Hell Doesn’t Exist, Parallels, Sickness, Outlaws, Thirst of Dose, Werewolf, Alive Underground, Piranha or Whale, and their excellent covers for Motörhead’s Ace of Spades and Lake of Tears’ U.N.S.A.N.E.

Apart from her career with Dehydrated, you can also find Ira kicking some ass with a female-fronted metal band from Saint Petersburg, Russia named Fallcie for a while, and she can also be seen as a guest vocalist in the song А Время Шло, from the 2020 EP А Время Шло (or “time went on”) by Kaluga, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal band Last Trial. In addition, Ira is also an amazing online vocal coach as you can see on her own YouTube channel, not only providing some great tips to growlers worldwide, but also uploading to her channel cover versions for countless songs the likes of Slaughter to Prevail’s Hell, Rammstein’s Sonne, Linkin Park’s From the Inside, Decapitated’s Homo Sum, Death’s Without Judgement, Vader’s Hexenkessel, and Whitchapel’s I Dementia.

All those top-notch cover versions are not in vain, as all of those bands are also part of Ira’s idols and influences list. As a matter of fact, when asked about how she would define the sound by Dehydrated, she mentioned it’s a fusion of different styles from bands such as Death, Gojira, Animal as Leaders, and so on. Regarding her personal preferences, our beloved growler mentioned the first bands she fell in love with were Rammstein and Slipknot, later moving on to Black and Death Metal and getting absolutely addicted to that. Furthermore, the first time she heard a Death Metal band was when she got to know the music by Aborted, also getting hooked to the music by Whitechapel, Deicide and Vital Remains. However, Ira said she doesn’t have any limits when listening to music, being also a fan of Jazz, Blues, Grindcore and many other distinct styles, but of course always praising metal behemoths the likes of Motörhead, Manowar and Metallica.

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Ira also provided her view on how to become a metal vocalist in one of her interviews, saying that there’s no secret to that but several years of practice and studies (and tons of mistakes) and a never-ending desire to grow, always searching for the right sound and for professional development. Although she mentioned she hadn’t had an older brother to show her metal music, Ira mentioned she had a friend with whom she used to listen to Rammstein together, which inspired her to form a band and, later, as her taste for music became heavier and heavier, she naturally decided to learn how to do guttural by herself. Having the flexibility to sing in English, Russian and German, Ira believes her vocal performance and her confidence have improved a lot since the band’s 2009 debut demo Suffering from Mummification, again pointing out to the importance of constant learning to become a better vocalist.

When asked about the metal scene in Russia (and in Eastern Europe in general), she thinks the bands in Russia need to show more of their own culture and ideas when creating music instead of trying to mimic famous European or American bands, but of course she acknowledges there are tons of fantastic bands in her homeland such as Katalepsy and Arkona. Moreover, in regards to her hometown Tomsk, she said that there was a time when Siberia, where Tomsk is located, once had a very strong metal scene, but that has changed over time and today the scene is not as powerful and the attendance to metal concerts has dropped significantly. She complemented by saying that not only in Tomsk, but in the entire Russia (and maybe we can also add the rest of the world to the mix), you can only get in contact with metal music through the internet, as the radio and TV do not offer any space to bands like Dehydrated, and there aren’t any major festivals either to promote the bands. She still thinks that there are great bands coming from her hometown, though, such as Apokefale and Dark Revenge, which needless to say need our total support to avoid getting extinct.

Last but not least, our Russian growler believes that becoming a Death Metal vocalist isn’t easy at all, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, but of course it can be a little bit tougher to girls depending on the situation due to the sexism that still happens in the metal community all over the world. She said that once in a while she’s the target of that sexism, but she doesn’t really care about it and keeps working hard to make Dehydrated a better band and to make herself a better vocalist. When asked about how she responds to those attacks, she said she simply doesn’t answer back to the haters, ignoring them on social media and focusing on what really matters, which is the opinion and support of her fans, her friends and her family. And to be fair, she’s more than right in doing so, avoiding bringing that negativity to her work as a musician, therefore keeping her haters screaming in anger (but not as greatly as her) for not engaging in a virtual battle with her. That’s how you recognize a true musician, and let’s hope Ira keeps growling in our faces for many years to come with her ass-kicking band.

Ira Sidenko’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Facebook page
Dehydrated’s Official VKontakte
Dehydrated’s Official Instagram
Dehydrated’s Official YouTube channel

“We are very pleased to be able to create and do what we like, we do not know for how long but the only certainty is that there is only one here and now. We look to the future positively.” – Ira Sidenko

Album Review – Serpentrance / Akra Tapeinosis (2021)

This infernal Russian Sepulchral Death Metal horde comes ripping with their debut full-length opus, offering us all their raw and vile view of “the Utmost Humiliation”.

3.5rating

serpentrance-akra-tapeinosis-2021Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Spīritō Destitutus in the desolate temples of doom, and displaying a beyond blasphemous artwork by the band’s own vocalist Morkh at Nether Temple Design, the excellent Akra Tapeinosis (or “the Utmost Humiliation”), is not only the debut full-length opus by Russian horde Serpentrance and the follow-up to their 2015 EP The Besieged Sanctum, but also a lesson in Black, Death and Doom Metal by this uncanny entity, or as the band itself likes to label their own sound, a fulminating exhibit of “Sepulchral Death Metal”. Formed in 2014, the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Morkh and Spīritō Destitutus together with bassist HTM and drummer Noersyl Skept is ready to darken the hearts of the unbelievers with their unique style and otherworldly sounds, proving once again why Russia is the go-to place for the most disturbing forms of extreme music you can think of.

Gregorian vociferations permeate the air in the Stygian opening tune Vomit & Myrrh, exploding into a primeval fusion of Black and Doom Metal that will haunt the souls of the lighthearted where Morkh sounds like a creature from the underworld on vocals, while Noersyl Skept hammers his drums in great fashion; followed by Clothed in Abomination, with its darkly poetic words (“Cathedrals howling in awe / The old woman of apocalypse awakes / To feed the hunger of the devoted ones / By the coffins of the blessed tree”) being beautifully complemented by a raw, sluggish sonority. Furthermore, the riffs by Spīritō Destitutus exhale pure sulfur, supported by the menacing bass by HTM in an ode to Blackened Doom. And Spīritō Destitutus keeps slashing his stringed axe with tons of hatred and obscurity in The Tarnished Shrines of God, another venomous tune by Serpentrance where the deep guttural growling by Morkh will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you into pitch black darkness for all eternity.

After such intense and bold display of damnation and hatred, get ready for over 11 minutes of a demented hybrid of Black, Death and Doom Metal by the quartet spearheaded by the demonic riffage by Spīritō Destitutus and the thunderous drums by Noersyl Skept entitled Underneath Babylon, not to mention how vile Morkh’s roars sound and feel in a lecture in sheer doom for admirers of the most sulfurous side of music. And last but not least, we’re treated to the superb The Black Dawn of Sophia, offering our avid ears one final round of Serpentrance’s wicked lyrics (“Man, hast thou felt the rising winds of death / Howling among these ancient marble walls? / There, below, crawling the procession / Groveling beneath the corroding sun”) to close the album on a high and infernal note. Put differently, it’s a flawless, neck-breaking aria that positions the band as one of the most interesting names of the Russian underground scene, ending the album on an absolutely cadaverous vibe.

serpentrance-2021If you think you can endure sheer darkness in the form of the Sepulchral Death Metal blasted by Serpentrance, you can stream the full album on YouTube, and in case you survive that metallic onslaught you can join Serpentrance’s horde by following them on Facebook and getting to know more about the band, their tour dates and their plans for the future. And above all that, of course, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Akra Tapeinosis from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore in CD, LP or cassette formats, showing your true love and admiration for sick and impious doom. Serpentrance are just starting in their grim and sulfurous career, and Akra Tapeinosis is the undisputed statement that they’re indeed following the right (and by that I mean infernal) path to conquer the world of extreme music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Vomit & Myrrh and The Black Dawn of Sophia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing  
1. Vomit & Myrrh 7:34
2. Clothed in Abomination 7:38
3. The Tarnished Shrines of God 7:14
4. Underneath Babylon 11:35
5. The Black Dawn of Sophia 9:10

Band members
Morkh – vocals
Spīritō Destitutus – guitars
HTM – bass
Noersyl Skept – drums

Album Review – Axedra / Mass Deception (2021)

After a long period of inactivity, this promising Vancouver, Canada-based Death Metal unity is back in action and ready to kill armed with their debut full-length album.

3.5rating

axedra-mass-deception-2021Formed in Russia in 2008 by the “Garipov Brothers”, those being vocalist and guitarist Ramil Garipov and guitarist Ilnur Garipov, Death Metal unity Axedra played only a few shows in their hometown before they had to disband when both of them moved to the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada in 2010. After a long period of inactivity, they finally gathered their material, put together a full-bodied band with Logan Jarred Charron on bass and Daniil Volovik on drums, and recorded their debut album Mass Deception, released now in 2021. Mixed and mastered at Death Culture Studio and displaying a bloody, cult-like artwork by Joyce Peng, the first official effort by Axedra will smash you like an insect with its old school Death Metal approach, being therefore recommended for admirers of the gore and destruction blasted by bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and early Decapitated.

Get ready for an infernal hurricane of old school death in the opening tune Momentary Control, a visceral welcome card by the quartet where Ramil begins his growling attack accompanied by the crushing beast by Daniil, whereas speeding things up they offer our ears the slamming hymn Buried Alive, showcasing classic Death Metal riffs by the band’s guitar duo and vile lyrics barked by Ramil (“Awoken by the deafening silence / Blinded by the absolute fiery darkness / Dampened air tastes decrepit / Restricted mind within fibromyalgic body”). Then the title-track Mass Deception will bring to your putrid ears two and a half minutes of sheer savagery led by the scorching riffage by Ramil and Ilnur, while Logan hammers his bass mercilessly, and it’s time to slam into the circle pit to the sound of Apocalypse, a straightforward, thunderous creation by Axedra where Daniil dictates the pace with his fierce and rhythmic beats.

Axedra keep destroying everything and everyone that crosses their path in Infectious Insanity, a pulverizing Death Metal feast where the riffage by Ramial and Ilnur is as demented as it can be, followed by Parasitic Nightmare, showcasing apocalyptic words vociferated rabidly by Ramil (“Wake, see your world turn into a parasitic nightmare / Left a wasteland, there’s no retreating / Soon you’ll find your soul is bleeding / Trapped, your dream is now a burden / Watch this planet contort and worsen”) while Logan and Daniil make the earth shake with their sharp and thunderous instruments in a lesson in violence and hatred. Are you tired already of their sick and heavy sounds? Because you better be prepared as the quartet will kill once again in Thought Corruption, offering us all a huge dosage of the old school, pounding drums by Daniil. And last but not least, it’s time for Hellbringer, a solid composition by the band that keeps the album flammable and demonic, albeit not as dynamic as the other songs.

axedra-2021In a nutshell, in Mass Deception, which is by the way available in full on YouTube, Axedra don’t aim at reinventing the wheel as you can see, but at keeping the fires of classic Death Metal burning bright thanks to the talent, hard work and aggressiveness of the band spearheaded by the Garipov Brothers. Hence, don’t forget to show them your support by following the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, by subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their heavy-as-hell music, and above all that, by grabbing your copy of Mass Deception from the band’s own BandCamp page. I’m beyond certain you’ll have an amazing time slamming and banging your head nonstop to the first-class Death Metal crafted by Axedra, leaving you eager for more from those Canada-based Russian brothers in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Buried Alive, Apocalypse and Parasitic Nightmare.

Worst moments of the album: Hellbringer.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing  
1. Momentary Control 4:12
2. Buried Alive 3:30
3. Mass Deception 2:36
4. Apocalypse 4:36
5. Infectious Insanity 2:37
6. Parasitic Nightmare 4:06
7. Thought Corruption 2:53
8. Hellbringer 3:11

Band members
Ramil Garipov – vocals, guitar
Ilnur Garipov – guitar
Logan Jarred Charron – bass
Daniil Volovik – drums

Album Review – Hyperomm / In My Own Spaceship (2021)

Dealing with the conquest of space in different parts of history, the new and exciting album by this one-man army from Russia touches on historical facts and thoughts on the topic of our future.

3.5rating

hyperomm-in-my-own-spaceship-2021Dealing with the conquest of space in different parts of history, In My Own Spaceship, the third full-length opus by Moscow, Russia-based Melodic Death Metal project Hyperomm, following up on the success of the band’s 2019 album Transcendence, touches on historical facts and thoughts on the topic of our future, all taken from the innovative mind of the band’s founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Anton Trubin. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Anton himself, who was also responsible for all vocals, guitars, keys, sampling, lyrics, songwriting and the album’s artwork and design, In My Own Spaceship invites the listener for a metallic space journey together with Anton and session drummer Vladimir Fomenko (of bands like Lautreamont and Дебри), all embraced by a more futuristic version of the music played by renowned acts the likes of In Flames, At The Gates and Arch Enemy.

Rocket Scientist (1929) kicks off in full force to the sick blast beats by Vladimir and the always melodious but piercing riffs by Anton, resulting in a true headbanger that lives up to the legacy of Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal to set the tone in such futuristic album, followed by Hope Springs Eternal (2150),  where poetry flows from its lyrics (“Our fathers killed this place / Blood of their grandsons on their hands / We are looking for a clue / That will come to the rescue”) while the music blasted by Anton is imposing and epic from start to finish. Then guest vocalist Katerina Zabolotskaya brings a beautiful touch of finesse to Close Your Eyes (2151), where Anton once again slashes his guitar in great fashion accompanied by the thunderous beats by Vladimir in an amazing display of modern-day Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal, and there’s no time to breathe as our journey through space and time goes on in E Pur Si Muove! (1633), showcasing crisp, intricate riffs and drums while Anton growls and roars like a creature from outer space.

Investing in a more aggressive and demonic sonority, Anton and his Hyperomm put the pedal to the metal in Humanity’s Dream (1961), a great option for slamming into the pit in the name of metal and science, whereas a video game-inspired start explodes into first-class Melodic Death and Industrial Metal titled Emotional Anchors (2055), where once again Anton roars rabidly form start to finish while he delivers ass-kicking riffs and solos for our total delight. In Who Are on the Stars? (3000BC), get ready for another round of cryptic words declaimed by Anton (“Our grandfather’s fathers talked about the skies / That gods and our ancestors indwell there / They look onto us and guide our lives / Oh how we want to look at them”) amidst an intricate, Dream Theater-ish sound, while slowing things down a bit Anton fires Invention/Dissemination (2200), showcasing a heavier and darker atmosphere spiced up by Anton’s futuristic keys; however, it’s not as vibrant as the rest of the album. And lastly, we’re treated to the melancholic, pensive outro 13799000000 Years Ago, featuring arrangements by guest Alexander Glinsky and, therefore, putting a beautiful and climatic finale to In My Own Spaceship.

hyperomm-2021Anton’s journey through space and time can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your support to our dauntless Russian metaller you should purchase the album from his own BandCamp page, from the Soundage Productions’ webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. In addition, don’t forget to follow the project on Facebook, Instagram and VKontakte for all things Hyperomm, an to subscribe to his YouTube channel for more of his unique music. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to jump on Hyperomm’s spaceship and follow Anton on his wild quest through space? And instead of the silence found out there, you better be prepared for an overdose of first-class metal music by such creative and hardworking musician hailing from Russia.

Best moments of the album: Close Your Eyes (2151), Humanity’s Dream (1961) and Emotional Anchors (2055).

Worst moments of the album: Invention/Dissemination (2200).

Released in 2021 Soundage Productions

Track listing 
1. Rocket Scientist (1929) 5:03
2. Hope Springs Eternal (2150) 4:21
3. Close Your Eyes (2151) 4:53
4. E Pur Si Muove! (1633) 5:55
5. Humanity’s Dream (1961) 5:44
6. Emotional Anchors (2055) 5:13
7. Who Are on the Stars? (3000BC) 4:17
8. Invention/Dissemination (2200) 4:53
9. 13799000000 Years Ago 1:52

CD bonus track
10. We Made Because We Could 5:01

Band members
Anton Trubin – vocals, guitars, sampling, drums

Guest musicians
Vladimir Fomenko – drums (session)
Katerina Zabolotskaya – female vocals on “Close Your Eyes (2151)”
Alexander Glinsky – arrangements on “13799000000 Years Ago”

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

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

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Broken Heart.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

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

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

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

Album Review – Hyperomm / Transcendence (2019)

Dealing with otherworldly, cultural ideas, thoughts and systematic overviews of postmortem life, the sophomore album by this one-man Russian army will teach you a lesson in Melodic Death Metal.

Founded in 2016 in Moscow, Russia by multi-instrumentalist, sound producer and designer Anton Trubin, Melodic Death Metal one-man project Hyperomm has just unleashed upon humanity his sophomore full-length album entitled Transcendence, a follow-up to his 2017 full-length opus From Nothing to Eternity and his 2016 debut EP …Death, once again highly influenced by iconic names of the scene such as Children Of Bodom, Kalmah, Omnium Gatherum and In Flames, but bringing to our avid ears Anton’s own fresh and more technical twist. Featuring a dark cover art created by Anton himself, and with lyrics written by Demether Grail (from bands like Arcanorum Astrum, Grailight, Skylord and Zmey Gorynich), Transcendence is about otherworldly, cultural ideas, thoughts and systematic overviews of postmortem life, thematically devoted to various forms of life after death and dealing with the eternal existence of the soul.

“Transcendence was recorded in my home studio. The process itself was different from traditional bands because I use MIDI drums. The sound of drums is the foundation of a good metal mix, so sampling drums is one of the most important parts of my work on the overall sound. I start by recording one track and mixing it at once. First I get a sound that suits me, after that, when I compose and record songs, I hear almost the final result at the same time. It helps me with the arrangements,” commented Trubin on his creative process, also adding a few comments about the overall sound of the album.  “I tried to achieve a more aggressive sound than on the first album. The sound of drums is leaning more towards a modern metal sound, but there is still a lot of classic melodic death metal in the guitars and melodies. Many use the drop tuning, but I’m playing in standard tuning. I’m trying to do the hard sound without using any low tuned guitars, but by composing good riffs.”

Portal is in fact an intro that’s not just an intro, but a short and sweet display of modern and melodic metal music by Anton presenting his piercing shredding and roars, setting the stage for Weighing of the Heart, where Anton definitely feels like a full-bodied band right from the start, with his scorching riffs and damned beats living up to the legacy of bands like In Flames and Soilwork, not to mention the whimsical keys in the background bringing more balance to the music. And an epic and symphonic intro explodes into sheer speed, rage and progressiveness in Metempsychosis, an amazing display of Anton’s dexterity as a multi-instrumentalist showcasing poetic lyrics darkly vociferated by our one-man army (“On dying the soul flies off / Into the original world / Into the aerial trough / And then reborn on the mold”).

Sounding closer to what In Flames are doing nowadays, but of course with Anton’s own personal touch, Patala is another feast of classic riffs and pounding beats perfect for breaking your neck headbanging, followed by the excellent Eternal Feast, where it’s interesting to witness how the keys make the whole song sound and feel very futuristic and experimental, while the other instruments bring forward traditional metal elements, resulting in what’s perhaps Anton’s closest creation to classic Progressive Metal. In Charnel Wraith, a shredding extravaganza supported by old school drums and ethereal keys, we face more of Anton’s wicked lyrics (“Without goodness your black life was dwelled / You die in torment, eaten by demons / And thrown into the grave without farewell / Tormented self-gnawing genie”), whereas Illusory State is very vibrant and groovy from start to finish thanks to the amazing job done by Anton on bass and drums, exhaling melody and intricacy and exploding into a sonic havoc at times, all spiced up by a beautiful keys solo by guest Sergey Shulzhenko (from Sunless Rise).

In Vortex of Hell, Anton shreds his stringed axe in great fashion while at the same time hammering his drums mercilessly in a fusion of old school and modern-day Melodic Death Metal that will certainly please all fans of the genre; then after the wicked instrumental bridge Transcendence, Anton returns for one final blast of his hybrid of modernity and rage in The Story, once again presenting a solid balance between heavy riffs and stylish keys, with the music flowing as smoothly and detailed as possible until the very end. In addition, some versions of the album will contain two sick bonus tracks, the first being Living in a Cage, offering the listener over five minutes of Hyperomm’s trademark sound, while in 3000 we’re treated to a pop song by Ukrainian singer and DJ Ivan Dorn, from the 2014 album Randorn (check out the original one HERE), turned into ass-kicking metal music.

It’s truly impressive how only one musician was capable of crafting a multi-layered and thrilling album like Transcendence, which is available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and on sale from the project’s own BandCamp page or from several other locations by clicking HERE, all by himself, and such humongous amount of hard work, focus, talent and tenacity must be praised by all of us metalheads by following Anton and his Hyperomm on Facebook and on VKontakte. Having already released two outstanding albums and one EP, there’s nothing but a brilliant path ahead of Anton armed with his multiple instruments, positioning him not only as an example of what DIY is really all about, but also as a role model for any musician from the underground metal scene, with Transcendence being the perfect depiction of how powerful the music by lone rangers like Anton can sound.

Best moments of the album: Metempsychosis, Eternal Feast and Vortex of Hell.

Worst moments of the album: The Story.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Portal 1:53
2. Weighing of the Heart 4:30
3. Metempsychosis 3:20
4. Patala 3:53
5. Eternal Feast 4:04
6. Charnel Wraith 3:49
7. Illusory State 5:01
8. Vortex of Hell 5:19
9. Transcendence 1:30
10. The Story 4:15

Bonus tracks
11. Living in a Cage 5:11
12. 3000 (Ivan Dorn cover) 2:56

Band members
Anton Trubin – vocals, guitars, sampling, drums

Guest musician
Sergey Shulzhenko – keys solo on “Illusory State”

Album Review – The Prophet / Essence (2019)

A vibrant and demolishing fusion of classic Black and Death Metal with contemporary Melodic Death Metal by a Russian band that’s been on an exciting rise since their inception.

It’s time to return to Siberia, Russia, more specifically to the city of Tomsk, for another round of violence, speed and rage in the form of the Melodic Death and Black Metal blasted by a very talented group of musicians collectively known as The Prophet. After releasing the full-length albums Sunrise (2011), Across the Sphere (2013) and Dying (2015), which by the way I had the pleasure of reviewing here at The Headbanging Moose when it was released, as well as the EP’s Chronos (2013) and Another Damned World (2016), the band comprised of Theodor on bass and vocals, Doctor on the guitar and backing vocals, and Raziel on drums (also featuring now Deathbringer on the guitar) returns now in 2019 with another amazing opus, entitled Essence. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Project Studio Infernal Records, in Tomsk, and featuring a grim artwork by Mark Erskine, from Erskine Designs, Essence will undoubtedly please all fans of both old school Death Metal and contemporary Melodic Death Metal, proving once again why the band is on a constant and exciting rise since their inception in 2010.

Ethereal sounds permeate the air in the beautiful and melancholic intro Essence before the trio begins hammering our minds and hearts in From the Endless Vortex, a brutal Melodic Death Metal tune infused with classic Death Metal elements, with Raziel crushing his drums while Theodor growls and roars like a beast, kicking off the album on a sulfurous note. Then the talented Doctor shreds his chords manically, igniting the also frantic and pulverizing Defeated by the Demons, even more aggressive than its predecessor and showcasing deep and demented growls mixed with unstoppable blast beats and low-tuned bass jabs; and there’s no sign of the band slowing down, as Emerald Eyes is another great song for banging your head vigorously, presenting a solid instrumental with highlights to the perfect sync between Doctor and Raziel.

A lot more introspective and dark, Blackword sounds closer to traditional Swedish Melodic Death Metal, spearheaded by Doctor’s razor-edged riffs while Theodor exhales anger from his harsh gnarls, ending with a smooth piano that builds a classy connection with the instrumental bridge Dreamside Areas, a touch of delicacy added amidst all the havoc blasted by the trio, soothing our souls and preparing our minds for World of Pain, an obscure and absolutely visceral display of Death Metal by The Prophet. Featuring absolutely no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, we’re treated to pure old school Death Metal flowing from all instruments into our avid ears, with the bass lines by Theodor sounding truly violent and metallic, whereas Flying is another straightforward composition that keeps Essence at a very good level of quality and stamina (albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album), with its background orchestral elements bringing an extra dosage of eccentricity to the music.

Back to a full demolishing mode, Time is highly recommended for slamming like an animal into the circle pit while Theodor’s bass and Raziel’s drums smash your senses mercilessly, flowing into an inspiring acoustic finale before another instrumental bridge titled Grand Deliriozo Part I (Imago) brings more peace to our hearts to the sound of stylish piano notes, enfolding us all until The Prophet begins firing their most ambitious and boldest creation to date, the somber and heavy-as-hell In the Dying Sunset. This is undoubtedly an excellent option for breaking your neck headbanging, with all band members delivering sheer aggression from their respective weapons, in special Theodor with his deep guttural roars, putting a dark and at the same time gentle ending to the album.

As I know my simple words are not enough to actually describe the strength and heaviness of the music by The Prophet, I suggest you take a good listen at their new album Essence in full on on YouTube and on Spotify, and in case you’re a diehard fan of this more aggressive version of Swedish Melodic Death Metal you should definitely pay The Prophet a visit on Facebook and on VKontakte, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Hence, you can purchase Essence from the Soundage Productions’ webstore, from Apple Music, from Google Play, from Amazon or from Discogs. Russian Melodic Death Metal has never been so good, and we have to thank the guys from The Prophet not only for leading that trend, but also for showing a healthy and interesting evolution in their sonority just the way we always like it in heavy music.

Best moments of the album: From the Endless Vortex, Defeated by the Demons and World of Pain.

Worst moments of the album: Flying.

Released in 2019 Soundage Productions

Track listing
1. Essence (Intro) 1:22
2. From the Endless Vortex 3:45
3. Defeated by the Demons 2:49
4. Emerald Eyes 3:44
5. Blackword 4:17
6. Dreamside Areas 1:56
7. World of Pain 2:50
8. Flying 3:23
9. Time 3:32
10. Grand Deliriozo Part I (Imago) 2:06
11. In the Dying Sunset 7:44

Band members
Theodor – bass, vocals
Doctor – guitar, backing vocals
Raziel – drums

Album Review – Be Under Arms / Red Wave Is Coming (2019)

A red wave of first-class Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore is coming to crush your senses, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It’s time for the Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore squad known as Be Under Arms to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their razor-edged and modern sonority in Red Wave Is Coming, their fourth full-length effort and an amazing follow-up to their previous releases, those being Let Shots Will Be Your Music (2014), Doomed to Life (2016), and more recently Evil Tales Of The Northern Country (2017). If you have never heard of Be Under Arms before, get ready to be stunned by the uniqueness of their music, instantly feeling the urge to join their army of unstoppable metal insurgents.

Combining Metalcore with Groove and Melodic Death Metal since their inception in 2013, this Moscow-based unity now comprised of the dynamic duo Anna “White Queen” Logacheva and Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov on vocals, Stanislav Shtrih on the guitar, Dmitriy Kashirin on bass and Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy on drums is on absolute fire in Red Wave Is Coming, always loyal to their foundations and still presenting their trademark military attire, dystopian atmosphere and austere lyrics about controversial social topics. Featuring a classic, rebellious album art by Estonian designer Darius Alas (Midiankai Arts), Red Wave Is Coming is not only a highly recommended album for admirers of modern metal music, but it also cements the band’s name as one of the biggest new exponents of the scene.

Bizarre, captivating sounds suddenly morph into a darkened intro entitled The Tsar, led by Stanislav’s metallic riffs, sounding not only slow and creepy, but also entirely sung in Russian by both Anna and Vladimir to give it a rawer taste, before all explodes into the band’s modernized Melodic Death and Groove Metal in the title-track Red Wave Is Coming, where Denis and Dmitriy smash their respective instruments nonstop. Furthermore, pay good attention to the song’s acid lyrics dealing with the most obscure side effects of having too much power (“I feel how darkness grows around me / This crown has become my burden, a sign that I’m not free / It presses like a crown of thorns / And blood pours from my eyes / All this gold and beauty / Such a good disguise”). And Rasstrel, another song fully sung in their mother tongue, is in my opinion one of the most fun tracks of the album showcasing amazing performances by all band members, in special Anna and Vladimir, not to mention it’s simply perfect for jumping up and down to the crushing and thunderous riffs and punches by both Stanislav and Dmitriy.

The Untouchables is another classic tune by Be Under Arms, alternating between faster and more aggressive passages and more melodic, headbanging moments, keeping the album at a high level of electricity, whereas Road to the Scaffold is a lot more introspective and obscure, almost sounding like a dark ballad, with Anna and Vladimir attacking us all with both their clean vocals and harsh roars while Denis add a touch of Doom Metal to the musicality with his beats. Then we have another one of my favorites, the violent No-Go Zone, bringing that classic Be Under Arms sounding closer to all of their previous releases, with Stanislav being ruthless with his scorching riffs while Dmitriy’s bass sounds as hammering as it can be. In other words, this is a top-notch warlike-inspired Groove Metal composition that will please all fans of the band without a shadow of a doubt, while New Crusader is a mid-tempo song that blends the heaviest elements from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal, being perfect for slamming into the circle pit while Denis dictates its rebellious rhythm.

Putting the pedal to the metal those Russian metallers deliver the frantic and visceral Breathe This, where Stanislav, Dmitriy and Denis generate a flawless atmosphere for Anna and Vladimir to growl and gnarl like two rabid beasts, followed by The Chosen One and its hypnotizing rhythm where Anna’s vocals truly represent her “White Queen” monicker, while Vladimir is responsible for bringing darkness to the music with his deep roars. Slightly different from their usual sound, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad song, this interesting tune would have worked better if a little shorter, I might say. Anyway, back to a more enraged sonority, the band offers us the insanely heavy The Death Instinct, presenting an amazing balance between melody and sheer aggression, and with its guitars and drums sounding bestial from start to finish for our total delight while Anna growls the song’s lyrics manically (“You are my brothers and I bear the burden for you / And every day I lift a Sisyphus stone / For prosperity but not for conviction / Hoping for the future without pain”), building an instant connection with the somber Bloody Shores, where acoustic guitars are intertwined with electrified and vile tones, resulting in a multi-layered creation by Be Under Arms that puts a melancholic and mesmerizing ending to the album.

In summary, as aforementioned Red Wave Is Coming (available for a full listen on Spotify) is undoubtedly a fantastic entrance door to the world of Be Under Arms if you know nothing about those Russian metalheads yet. Hence, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and VKontakte, listen to more of their music on YouTube and on SoundCloud, and purchase your copy of such entertaining album from Be Under Arms’ own BandCamp page or webstore (in digibook format or digibook + “Helmet” shirt combo), as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. As the destructive red wave by Be Under Arms approaches, there’s nothing better than a good dosage of their ass-kicking Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal to serve as the soundtrack to the apocalypse, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: Rasstrel, No-Go Zone and The Death Instinct.

Worst moments of the album: The Chosen One.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. The Tsar 2:45
2. Red Wave Is Coming 4:44
3. Rasstrel 3:55
4. The Untouchables 4:19
5. Road to the Scaffold 5:11
6. No-Go Zone 3:58
7. New Crusader 4:26
8. Breathe This 3:53
9. The Chosen One 4:04
10. The Death Instinct 3:56
11. Bloody Shores 3:24

Band members
Anna “White Queen” Logacheva – vocals
Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov – vocals
Stanislav Shtrih – guitar
Dmitriy Kashirin – bass
Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy – drums

Album Review – Grenouer / Ambition 999 (2019)

Over 55 minutes of classy and modern rock music showcasing a different side of this talented Russian band, but still keeping their amazing core Alternative Rock and Metal intact.

Offering over 55 minutes of modern and melodic Alternative Metal with several distinct rock elements, Ambition 999, the ninth album in the career of Saint Petersburg, Russia-based act Grenouer, turned out to be a long-term project due to all the re-recording needed until the band reached its desired sound. That resulted into one of the biggest gaps between albums in their career, with nothing more, nothing less than four years separating Ambition 999 from their previous album, Unwanted Today, released in 2015. However, all that wait was definitely worth it as their new album is indeed a fresh addition to their discography, with each one of its 15 songs offering a different approach when compared to the band’s two previous efforts in terms of riff intensity and rapid-fire solos, balancing between new and clichés, double density and marked vocal temperament.

Engineered and recorded by Al Bolo at RDS& Moscow Gates Apartment Studios, Anssi Kippo at Astia-Studio, and Luigi Del Missier at BlackMirror Studios, produced, mixed and mastered by Giuseppe “Dualized” Bassi from dysFUNCTION Productions, and featuring a futuristic artwork by Brazilian artist Jobert Mello (Sledgehammer Graphix) and Italian artist Zimon (New Breed Graphic Studio), Ambition 999 feels like a heavier version of bands such as Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, presenting a more than inspired and electrified band comprised of Andrey Ind on lead vocals, Dmitry Rubanovsky and Alexander Motor on the guitars, Al Bolo on bass and Danny D on drums, and bringing to our avid ears everything we need to have a good time on the road, at a pub, at home, or anywhere else where good rock music is properly appreciated.

Electric waves permeate the air before the band begins blasting their modernized blend of Alternative Rock and Metal in Burnt to the Ground, with highlights to the slashing guitar riffs and solos by Dmitry and Alexander; followed by Nevermind Tomorrow, a song perfect for banging our heads to their riffs and beats while Andrey gives life to its party-like lyrics (“Fast and tight / High heel party night / Tomorrow never knows and never dies / Drinks on me / Any chicks for free? / We’re born to make some noise, so sing with me / Or you’d better shout”), and One Day, another thrilling tune in the same vein as bands like Godsmack, Shinedown and Three Days Grace, sounding very melodic and showcasing a passionate performance by Andrey on vocals while Danny D dictates the rhythm with his spot-on beats. Then in Infinite Grace the band adds a good amount of heaviness to their music, getting closer to the musicality by bands like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson but still keeping their core Alternative Rock intact, also presenting some sick guitar solos for our total delectation, whereas in Medicine Treats No Lies the quintet continues their feast of modern-day rock and metal music, with Al together with Danny D bringing thunder to the music with their respective instruments.

If Cure for the Lonely is even more futuristic and atmospheric, displaying a strong focus on Andrey’s vocals and feeling at times like a hybrid of modern rock music with the electronic and alternative sounds by old school bands like Depeche Mode, Uncommon Faith is a good song for hitting the highway, presenting great sync between the band’s stringed trio and Danny D’s beats, all infused with Hard Rock elements. On the other hand, Back on Track is slightly below the rest of the album in terms of electricity, albeit it does bring forward a considerable amount of progressiveness as well as Andrey’s smooth but potent vocals; while Universe of My Heaven sounds very modern and progressive, also bringing some symphonic elements in the background to give it an extra taste. Moreover, Al’s bass sounds as groovy as it can be, while Danny D pounds his drums just the way we like it in good modern Rock N’ Roll. After that, it’s time for Grenouer to take their musicality to even more eccentric lands with the weird, atmospheric and fun Crimson Lines, with highlights to its classy, poetic lyrics (“Read between the crimson lines / Sacred destination / Go behind the scenes of life / Steady irritation / Read between the crimson lines / Go behind the sonic nightmares / Black and white visions in the sky”).

It’s interesting how Grenouer manage to keep their essence while exploring new sounds, which is the case in the almost electronic-dancing tune Chase the Sun, and although the final result is quite entertaining the guitars by both Dmitry and Alexander needed an extra kick for the whole song to work even better. Then melancholic, acoustic guitars ignite the introspective Ingenious Care, showcasing smooth vocal lines, complex and serene drums, and featuring guests Chayka Chursina on vocals and Zimon on bass, sounding dark from start to finish and, therefore, sending the desired message by the band. Dangerous Girls takes the band back to a heavier, more pounding sonority, with their guitar duo being on fire as well as Al and his rumbling bass, or in other words, this is a well-balanced hybrid of Progressive and Alternative Metal for admirers of the genre. The second to last blast of Grenouer’s rockin’ sounds comes in the form of Paranormal Star, sounding as whimsical and piercing as its name, placing it as another serious candidate to be part of their live setlists, whereas the last tune from Ambition 999 is a superb acoustic ballad entitled Alone in the Dark, which not only presents beautiful guitars and vocals, but its official video is amazingly obscure and captivating. Put differently, it might not be the usual electrified Grenouer we’re used to, but this somber, pensive side of the band is just as enfolding as their more regular sonority.

What are you waiting for to put your hands on 15 extremely well-crafted and energizing rock songs made in Russia? Simply go to the band’s official BandCamp page to grab your copy of the album, as well as to the Sleaszy Rider Records’ BandCamp or webstore, to iTunes or to Amazon, and keep an eye on their Facebook page, VKontakte and YouTube channel for news, tour dates and more of their crisp rock music. As an already established and successful band in the world of heavy music, we can rest assured Grenouer are far from calling it quits, hoping that all of their future releases are just as good as the music found in Ambition 999 and that they proudly keep carrying the flag of Rock N’ Roll wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Nevermind Tomorrow, Medicine Treats No Lies, Crimson Lines and Alone in the Dark.

Worst moments of the album: Back on Track and Chase the Sun.

Released in 2019 Sleaszy Rider Records

Track listing
1. Burnt to the Ground 3:30
2. Nevermind Tomorrow 3:32
3. One Day 4:15
4. Infinite Grace 4:07
5. Medicine Treats No Lies 3:25
6. Cure for the Lonely 2:37
7. Uncommon Faith 5:13
8. Back on Track 3:41
9. Universe of My Heaven 3:49
10. Crimson Lines 4:16
11. Chase the Sun 3:17
12. Ingenious Care 3:24
13. Dangerous Girls 4:08
14. Paranormal Star 3:10
15. Alone in the Dark 3:20

Band members
Andrey Ind – lead vocals
Dmitry Rubanovsky – guitars
Alexander Motor – guitars
Al Bolo – bass
Danny D – drums

Guest musicians
Chayka Chursina – female vocals on “Ingenious Care”
Zimon – bass on “Ingenious Care”