Album Review – Haunted By Silhouettes / No Man Isle EP (2022)

Hailing from Norway, this unrelenting Melodic Death Metal squad is unleashing upon humanity a short and sweet EP destined to leave their listeners with a deadly taste for more.

Formed in 2013 in the city of Trondheim, Norway, the beautifully named Melodic Death Metal outfit Haunted By Silhouettes is unleashing upon humanity a new EP entitled No Man Isle, a short and sweet follow-up to their 2019 album The Last Day on Earth. Comprised of vocalist Mathias Jamtli Rye, guitarists Per Kristian Grimsland and Stian Hoel Fossen, bassist Ola Nilsen Kjøren, and drummer Håvard Bustad, the band is destined to leave their listeners with a deadly taste for more (along with necks bursting with pain) after listening to their new effort, portraying a style that is an actual evolution of what was once referred to as Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal or once proudly called Gothenburg Death Metal.

And the cinematic intro Departure sets the stage for the quintet to crush our souls in Flock, starting in full force to the infernal growling by Mathias while Ola hammers his bass majestically. In other words, it’s Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal infused with the most visceral elements from Groove Metal, resulting in a true headbanging composition for admirers of the genre. Then we have Selkie, featuring guest vocals by the one and only Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork), who makes a powerful duet with Mathias while the band makes sure the atmosphere remains dense and enfolding from start to finish in a great display of Melodic Death Metal. Putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for Icon, where Per and Stian extract sheer electricity and rage form their stringed axes while Håvard “gently” invites us all to slam into the circle pit to the sound of his furious beats; whereas the guitars by Per and Stian continue to embellish the airwaves in the title-track No Man Isle while Mathias roars and growls in anger nonstop, supported by the classy, rhythmic drums by Håvard and, therefore, sounding heavy and melodic at the same time just the way we like it.

The talented and unstoppable Norwegian metallers from Haunted By Silhouettes are waiting for your feedback on Facebook and on Instagram, where of course you can get to know more about the band, their tour dates and plans for the future, and don’t forget to also stream their music on Spotify as many times as you want, and to obviously purchase or stream No Man Isle from your favorite retailer or service by clicking HERE. As already mentioned, the EP might be short in duration, but that didn’t stop the band from delivering tons of awesomeness in the form of their classic Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal, warming us up for their upcoming full-length album which might not have a release date yet, but we know it’s going to be marvelously violent and melodic.

Best moments of the album: Flock and Icon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Departure 0:26
2. Flock 3:02
3. Selkie 3:24
4. Icon 4:16
5. No Man Isle 5:16

Band members
Mathias Jamtli Rye – vocals
Per Kristian Grimsland – guitar, vocals
Stian Hoel Fossen – guitar
Ola Nilsen Kjøren – bass
Håvard Bustad – drums

Guest musician
Björn “Speed” Strid – vocals on “Selkie”

Album Review – Endarken / The Plague of Truth (2021)

This new underground band formed of seasoned musicians will crush our heads with their debut album, offering us all 14 tracks of in-your-face, fast-paced technical metal music.

With former members of bands the likes of Hatesphere and Chaoswave, a new Death and Thrash Metal band hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark that goes by the name of Endarken has just released their debut full-length opus, entitled The Plague of Truth, offering us fans 14 tracks of in-your-face, fast-paced technical metal music. Mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, The Haunted, Rob Halford), and displaying a stunning artwork by Jeff Christensen, an amazing surrealist painter from Seattle, the album is the perfect depiction of the talent and passion for heavy music by vocalist Tim Nederveen, guitarists Anders Høeg and Henrik Rangstrup, bassist Troels Lehmann and drummer Dennis Buhl, being highly recommended for fans of a more modern version of Thrash Metal with a very welcome European twist.

The band wastes no time and begins crushing our heads with their visceral music in Prophets of Apathy, with Anders and Henrik sounding infuriated armed with their axes in a classic Thrash Metal tune with Death Metal nuances. Tim continues to roar like a rabid beast in Da Stargo Tora (or “the black of my eyes”), another lesson in savagery and melody by the quintet showcasing piercing guitar riffs and solos for our total delight, and it’s time to slam into the circle pit to the sound of Insomnia, with Dennis dictating the song’s neck-breaking pace with his beats supported by the rumbling bass by Troels. Then drinking from the same thrashy fountain of bands like Exodus and Overkill while at the same time adding elements of Melodic Death Metal to their core sonority we have Reawake the Wolves, spearheaded by the venomous riffage by Anders and Henrik; and after the atmospheric interlude The Hunt Begins, the band comes crushing with the heavy-as-hell Reign of Disgrace, with Tim’s growls being effectively complemented by clean background vocals while the rest of the band delivers sheer animosity and rage through their sonic weapons. And get ready to bang your head nonstop to the violent Insurmountable, where Dennis blasts his drums with tons of fury and intricacy in another modern-day Thrash Metal tune made in Europe.

More melodic and somber than its predecessors, Seraphim brings forward another awesome riff work by the band’s talented guitar duo, providing Tim with all he needs to kick ass with his deep roaring, whereas more of their fulminating thrashing sounds come in the form of Velvet Redemption, where Tim sounds like a creature from the netherworld while Dennis showcases all his talent and technique behind his drums. In the title-track The Plague of Truth the band decided to invest into a more obscure sound, and although it’s still as heavy and melodic as the other songs it doesn’t really take off; followed by the cinematic bridge Endarkened, setting the tone for the pulverizing The Struggle, led by Dennis’ infernal drums and Troels’ metallic bass. Needless to say, it will inspire you to slam into the circle pit like a maniac without a shadow of a doubt, while their second to last hurricane of Thrash Metal, entitled The Pledge, brings to our ears more of Tim’s bestial gnarls supported by the slashing riffage and sick solos by Anders and Henrik. Last but not least, it’s time for the brutal Dead Swan Ballet, leaning towards pure Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal thanks to the crisp sound of their guitars, therefore putting a demented ending to the album.

This beast of an album can be fully appreciated on Spotify, but of course if you consider yourself a true metal collector you can grab a physical copy of the album from the band’s own webstore, or click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. In addition, don’t forget to give Endarken a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked creations. Endarken put their (blackened) hearts and souls into the making of The Plague of Truth, and all that passion for heavy music becomes crystal clear as soon as you hit play, proving why those underground veterans know exactly what they’re doing when armed with their killer instruments, and of ocurse leaving us eager for more of their music in the near future.

Best moments of the album: Da Stargo Tora, Insomnia, Seraphim and The Struggle.

Worst moments of the album: The Plague of Truth.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Prophets of Apathy 3:38
2. Da Stargo Tora 4:09
3. Insomnia 3:27
4. Reawake the Wolves 3:38
5. The Hunt Begins 0:47
6. Reign of Disgrace 3:20
7. Insurmountable 3:58
8. Seraphim 4:02
9. Velvet Redemption 3:48
10. The Plague of Truth 2:13
11. Endarkened 0:30
12. The Struggle 3:29
13. The Pledge 3:41
14. Dead Swan Ballet 4:30

Band members
Tim Nederveen – vocals
Anders Høeg – guitars
Henrik Rangstrup – guitars
Troels Lehmann – bass
Dennis Buhl – drums

Album Review – Ablaze My Sorrow / Among Ashes and Monoliths (2021)

One of the most exciting forces of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene returns with their fifth full-length album, ready to kill once again with their visceral and aggressive music.

A familiar name in the Melodic Death Metal arena, Falkenberg, Halland-based outfit Ablaze My Sorrow came together in 1993 when Gothenburg, Sweden’s own brand of Death Metal had just begun to take shape, unfortunately splitting up in 2006. However, in 2013 their long-awaited reunion happened, and since this rebirth the quintet released their fourth album, Black, and played a slew of memorable gigs and fests. Now in 2021, after four years of incubation, Ablaze My Sorrow are ready to unleash upon us all their fifth full-length album, entitled Among Ashes and Monoliths, highly recommended for fans of the music by At The Gates, Dark Tranquility and In Flames, among others. Mixed and mastered by Ulf Blomberg at HoboRec/The End Studios, and featuring a classic cover artwork by Algerian artist Mustapha Haraoui (Mustapha Design DZ), Among Ashes and Monoliths is the band’s first-ever record with new vocalist Jonas Udd, whose aggressive rasp fits this passionate band to perfection, while the other members, those being Magnus Carlsson and Dennie Lindén on the guitars, Anders Brorsson on bass and Alex Kribensten on drums, return intact from their previous releases and are ready to kill once again with their visceral Melodic Death Metal.

In the atmospheric and dark opening track My Sorrow, Magnus and Dennie provide their welcome card from the very first second with their slashing riffs, exploding into Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal for diehard fans of the style, followed by the title-track Among Ashes and Monoliths, where Alex hammers his drum set mercilessly providing Jonas all he needs to shine with his enraged roars, also presenting elements from old school Black Metal in an amazing depiction of what the band is capable of. Then an introspective beginning showcasing clean, anguished vocals evolves into the obscure Black Waters, where the guitars by Magnus and Dennie cry in pain from start to finish while Anders and Alex add their share of heaviness to their core sonority; and more of their classic Melodic Death Metal is offered in Grit, with all band members extracting sheer adrenaline and violence from their sonic weapons, all spearheaded by the venomous growling by Jonas. After that, a melodious rhythm spiced up by Anders’ metallic bass punches will inspire you to bang your head with the band in Her Cold Embrace, where Jonas gets the sensational and stunning support of guest vocalist Jonna Enckell; whereas leaning towards old school Death Metal, the band puts the pedal to the metal and decimates our ears with At the Graves of Giants, with the demonic gnarls by Jonas walking hand in hand with the blast beats by Alex.

Dark Chasms brings forward another round of their vicious and aggressive Melodic Death Metal, with the band’s guitar duo extracting rage, pain and electricity form their strings accompanied by the rumbling bass by Anders, and an eerie, wicked intro ignites the In Flames-inspired tune titled The Cavernous Deep, presenting more of Jonas’ clean vocals while the instrumental pieces keep the ambience as dark and heavy as it can be. Then violence and obscurity continue to flow from their music in Nonexistence, exhibiting hints of Thrash Metal carefully added to their core sound and spearheaded by the sharp riffage by Magnus and Dennie, consequently inviting us all to slam into the pit together with the band, whereas somber sounds permeate the air in the instrumental interlude March of the Eldricht Spawn, setting the stage for Ablaze My Sorrow to come crushing once again in The Day I Die, a solid Melodic Death Metal tune showcasing all elements we learned to love in this type of music, including harsh growls intertwined with clean vocals, smashing drums and epic and frantic riffs and solos. Lastly, we have Frihet Framför Feghet, which is Swedish for “freedom over cowardice”, a bestial, hellish creation by the quintet with guest Ulf Blomberg bringing his share of dementia to the band’s sick music, sounding perfect for jumping up and down with those Swedish metallers and cracking our necks headbanging nonstop.

If Melodic Death Metal is your business, and business is good, you should definitely go check what the guys form Ablaze My Sorrow are up to on Facebook and on Instagram, stream their full catalog on Spotify, and purchase your favorite version of Among Ashes and Monoliths by clicking HERE. In the end, despite the ups and downs faced by the band through the years, and by that I mean the fact they ended up splitting up in 2006 and going on a hiatus for seven long years before reuniting in 2013, it doesn’t look and feel at all that the band didn’t “exist” during that period due to the high quality and energy found in their new album, proving those guys are back for good and hungrier than ever for more, strengthening their name as one of the driving forces of contemporary Swedish Melodic Death Metal and, therefore, providing us fans all we need to bang our heads and raise our horns in support of underground Swedish metal music.

Best moments of the album: Among Ashes and Monoliths, Her Cold Embrace, At the Graves of Giants and Frihet Framför Feghet.

Worst moments of the album: My Sorrow and The Cavernous Deep.

Released in 2021 Black Lion Records

Track listing
1. My Sorrow 4:30
2. Among Ashes and Monoliths 4:11
3. Black Waters 3:47
4. Grit 3:39
5. Her Cold Embrace 4:55
6. At the Graves of Giants 4:43
7. Dark Chasms 4:15
8. The Cavernous Deep 4:44
9. Nonexistence 3:45
10. March of the Eldricht Spawn 1:40
11. The Day I Die 3:17
12. Frihet Framför Feghet 3:41

Band members
Jonas Udd – vocals
Magnus Carlsson – guitars
Dennie Lindén – guitars
Anders Brorsson – bass
Alex Kribensten – drums

Guest musicians
Ulf Blomberg – additional vocals on “Frihet Framför Feghet”
Jonna Enckell – additional vocals on “Her Cold Embrace”

Album Review – Forte Ruin / Rebuilding the Machinery EP (2018)

A talented six-piece Melodic Death Metal act from Finland returns with a brand new EP where they step up their game in terms of quality, intricacy and professionalism.

If you’ve been following The Headbanging Moose for a few years already, you might remember a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band from the city of Lahti named Forte Ruin, who released in 2015 their debut self-titled EP comprised of three original compositions filled with memorable melodies, powerful riffs and catchy choruses. Now in 2018 that talented six-piece metal act returns with a brand new EP entitled Rebuilding the Machinery, where not only they step up their game in terms of quality and intricacy, but the band formed by Arttu Ruusunen on lead vocals, Saku and Samu Aaltonen on guitars and backing vocals, Arto Viitanen on bass and backing vocals, Veli-Matti Kyllönen on keyboards, and Jere Aaltonen on drums sounds a lot more professional and ready to spread their music throughout the four corner of the earth.

And the EP kick off in full force with Down in Perdition, a very melodic and pounding creation by the sextet showcasing clean and rumbling sounds, spiced up by the futuristic keys by Veli-Matti while Arttu growls the song’s poetic lyrics rabidly (“All these revelations and present / Are finally align so that we’ll understand / Our time here has come to an end / In perdition we could meet again perchance”). Furthermore, Saku and Samu not only deliver excellent riffs during the whole song, but their solos are also beyond thrilling. Then deeply rooted in classic Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal we have the title-track Rebuilding the Machinery, faster than its predecessor and presenting a great balance between visceral growls and clean vocals, as well as a great job done by all band members with their instruments, in special Jere with his fierce and rhythmic beats.

Displaying hints of American Alternative and Nu Metal (and once again with the keys by Veli-Matti bringing a whimsical aura to the musicality), Colony Collapse Disorder exhales sheer electricity, with Arto delivering thunder through his menacing bass lines while the guitar solos elevate the song’s impact and taste considerably. In Electric Frames, just like what they did in their previous EP, Forte Ruin add nuances of Jazz and electronic music to their Scandinavian Metal, and the the final result couldn’t sound more fantastic, all boosted by the song’s lyrics which seem taken from a song from the 70’s (“Great illusion within’ electric frames / We can see the integration / While we process all the traveling light / Of electric frames”). And Saturation Point, featuring guest vocals by Jules Näveri from Profane Omen, is tailored for banging your head nonstop or playing some ass-kicking air guitar, with the bass lines by Arto bringing tons of groove to the musicality while the keys by Veli-Matti keep adding a touch of delicacy to the overall result.

Featuring a modern and sinister artwork by Finnish artist Marianna Maaninka, Rebuilding the Machinery not only has all the elements we search for in Melodic Death Metal, but it also brings additional layers of intricacy and feeling thanks to all other music styles Forte Ruin incorporate in their music, and in order to show your proper support to this Finnish squad go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel and Spotify for news and more of their music. You can purchase Rebuilding the Machinery from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Record Shop X or CD Baby, and add such distinct collection of Scandinavian Metal songs to your personal playlist, courtesy of a band that might be taking their initial steps in the world of heavy music, but that at the same time already sounds like veterans due to the high quality of their compositions and their utter professionalism.

Best moments of the album: Rebuilding the Machinery and Electric Frames.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing  
1. Down in Perdition 4:18
2. Rebuilding the Machinery 3:57
3. Colony Collapse Disorder 4:29
4. Electric Frames 4:24
5. Saturation Point (feat. Jules Näveri) 6:27

Band members
Arttu Ruusunen – lead vocals
Saku Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Samu Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Arto Viitanen – bass & backing vocals
Veli-Matti Kyllönen – keyboards
Jere Aaltonen – drums

Guest musician
Jules Näveri – guest vocals on “Saturation Point”