Album Review – Gorebringer / Terrified Beyond Measure (2022)

Behold the sophomore opus by an international entity that’s back from the underworld, offering us more of their blackened yet technical Melodic Death Metal with gory themes.

Almost three years after the release of their debut effort A Craving For Flesh, the infernal, multi-national outfit known as Gorebringer is back with more of their Melodic Death Metal with gory themes in the form of their sophomore album, entitled Terrified Beyond Measure. Produced by the band itself, mixed and mastered at Tide Studio in London, England, and displaying an old school cover art by Delic Saike, Terrified Beyond Measure represents a step forward in the band’s career, currently comprised of Serpent on vocals, Kaz “Stench” B on guitars and bass, and guests Krzysztof Klingbein on drums and Burak Ulugüney on keyboards and synths, showcasing an “evilution” in their slightly blackened and somewhat technical sound, but melodic and yet dirty at the same time, being therefore recommended for fans of At The Gates, Death and Dissection, among several others.

Arising from the underworld, the quartet begins blasting their instruments with sheer violence and hatred in The Bottomless Pit, where Serpent sounds beyond bestial on vocals supported by the pulverizing drums by Krzysztof, or in other words, a perfect and devilish way to kick things off; whereas keeping the level of adrenaline extremely high it’s time for Man To Beast, another high-octane, pulverizing feast where Stench is on fire armed with his sharp riffage and rumbling bass lines, while Burak keeps the atmosphere as grim as possible with his spot-on keys and synths. Then we have the title-track Terrified Beyond Measure, bringing to our ears a full-bodied sonority alternating between galloping drums and bass and pure dementia with Serpent roaring manically nonstop, and like a stone crusher from hell Krzysztof will demolish our senses in The Evil Ones, providing Stench all he needs to slash our ears off with his beyond strident guitar lines in a lecture in contemporary Melodic Death Metal with a visceral Black Metal twist.

The instrumental interlude Moon Circle sets the stage for the band to demolish our senses once again with A Blackened Circle, an Arch Enemy/In Flames/Soilwork-inspired extravaganza showcasing piercing riffs, pounding drums and the always venomous gnarls by Serpent. It’s indeed a solid and entertaining tune albeit losing some of its punch after a while, though, whereas Necro Mess is a thrilling instrumental creation by Gorebringer where Stench delivers an amazing performance on the guitar supported by the blast beats by Krzysztof, resulting in a sonic hurricane that will please all fans of the genre and generate intense mosh pits if played live one day. Finally, closing such infernal album of Melodic Death Metal we have Flesh Feast, sounding fast and furious just the way we like it with Serpent’s growls making a brutal paradox with the crisp, melodic guitars by Stench, leaving us eager for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

As aforementioned, the pulverizing Terrified Beyond Measure, which is by the way available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, represents a huge improvement in the sound by Gorebringer, and you can put your dirty hands on that album by purchasing it from the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page or from Apple Music. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping in mind that gore is their business (and business is good), which means unless you have what it takes to face their evil Melodic Death Metal, you’ll become an easy prey to them.

Best moments of the album: The Bottomless Pit, The Evil Ones and Necro Mess.

Worst moments of the album: A Blackened Circle.

Released in 2022 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. The Bottomless Pit 4:06
2. Man To Beast 4:49
3. Terrified Beyond Measure 5:49
4. The Evil Ones 4:25
5. Moon Circle 0:59
6. A Blackened Circle 4:47
7. Necro Mess 3:38
8. Flesh Feast 5:45

Band members
Serpent – vocals
Kaz “Stench” B – guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Krzysztof Klingbein – drums
Burak Ulugüney – keyboards, synths

Album Review – Booze Serpent / Slices Of Death (2021)

Turkey’s own Death Metal one-man army is ready to strike his venom once again through his first full-length opus, featuring nine original tracks of sick, alcohol-fueled terror.

Hailing from the dark pits of Antalya, a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, Death Metal one-man army Booze Serpent was formed back in 2019 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Serpent as an ode to 1980’s horror B-movies and H.P. Lovecraft novels, having already released in 2020 the project’s five-track debut EP Drünkard. After less than one year, Serpent returns in full force with his first full-length effort, the sick, alcohol-fueled terror party entitled Slices Of Death, offering us fans a high dosage of old school Death Metal with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements. Mixed and mastered by Polish musician Mikołaj Krzaczek (Thamnos Records), displaying a classic artwork by Death Rattle, and featuring an array of guest musicians such as Cezary Borawski on drums and Burak Ulugüney (of Minus Life) on keys, Slices Of Death was recorded entirely live, with no drum machines nor midi used in the recordings, giving it a more organic, honest and, therefore, violent feel throughout its nine inebriate and visceral tracks of groovy death.

An ominous, atmospheric intro ignites Booze Serpent’s evil brewing machine, morphing into the venomous Dead Fak, where Serpent blends a high dosage of Black, Death and Thrash Metal in his infernal riffs and screams; whereas Turkey’s own one-man horde gets the support of guitarist Gavin Brooks with a sick solo in Man-Eating Plant, while Cezary keeps hammering his drums nonstop, leaning towards contemporary Blackened Death Metal. Then guest drummer Jeremiasz Baum (of The Materia) lends his violence to Booze Serpent in Motel Hell, another short and sweet homage to darkness and drinking where the deep gnarls by Serpent will haunt your soul during your sleep, also presenting the trademark futuristic keys by Burak. And Serpent keeps slashing his guitar and bass in the straight-to-the-point, headbanging tune They Live We Drink!, another heavy and unfriendly creation showcasing the most visceral elements from Black and Death Metal, featuring a guest guitar solo by Gavin Brooks.

Venturing through the realms of Deathslam and Brutal Death Metal, Serpent fires the sick and vile The Beast (Pumpkinhead), blasting sheer rage through his demented riffs and growls, and all spiced up of course by the pounding beats by Cezary. Then uniting the obscurity of Black Metal with the bloodthirsty sounds of Death Metal we’re treated to The Animal, showcasing a bestial guest guitar solo by Croc (of Axxen Conners), resulting in the perfect tune for cracking our necks headbanging to the sound of Serpent’s hellish roars, while guest drummer Charlie Nicholson (of Psychosexual) brings his share of dementia to the short and pulverizing Live Brains!, a tribute to zombie flicks from the 80’s where Serpent sounds even more demonic than before on vocals, not to mention his infernal bass jabs and cutting riffs. The epic and imposing keys by Burak make the final result even more Stygian in Resurrected In Chapman Labs, where the cryptic lyrics barked by Serpent are complemented by his own razor-edged guitars and low-tuned bass, flowing into the atmospheric outro Slices Of Death, where grim piano notes permeate the air in the best Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir-inspired style.

Dedicated to Serpent’s dearest friend Onur Soyulmaz, who sadly passed away in 2018, Slices Of Death is indeed a fantastic display of underground extreme music made in Turkey, bringing to our ears endless amounts of fury, electricity, heaviness and acidity, which obviously translates into awesomeness after all is sad and done. Hence, don’t forget to show your utmost support to such skillful Turkish metaller by following his project on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course by grabbing your sulfurous, alcohol-infused copy of Slices Of Death directly from Booze Serpent’s own BandCamp page, raising your glass high in the sky in the name of horror movies and Death Metal, and getting absolutely drunk to the sound of Serpent’s venomous compositions on a dark and bitterly cold winter night.

Best moments of the album: Man-Eating Plant, The Beast (Pumpkinhead) and Live Brains!

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Plague Demon Records

Track listing
1. Intro/Dead Fak 4:19
2. Man-Eating Plant 3:04
3. Motel Hell 2:58
4. They Live We Drink! 2:50
5. The Beast (Pumpkinhead) 2:16
6. The Animal 3:18
7. Live Brains! 2:14
8. Resurrected In Chapman Labs 3:00
9. Slices Of Death 2:28

Band members
Serpent – vocals, guitar, bass

Guest musicians
Burak Ulugüney – intro, keys
Gavin Brooks – lead guitar on “Man-Eating Plant” and “They Live We Drink!”
Croc – lead guitar on “The Animal”
Cezary Borawski – drums on “Intro/Dead Fak”, “Man-Eating Plant”, “They Live We Drink!”, “The Beast (Pumpkinhead)”, “The Animal” and “Resurrected In Chapman Labs”
Jeremiasz Baum – drums on “Motel Hell”
Charlie Nicholson – drums on “Live Brains!”

Album Review – Daelkyr / Eternal Decay EP (2020)

An infernal duo hailing from Turkey is ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their debut EP of raw and undisputed Black Metal.

Forged in 2018 in the fires of Antalya, a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters, an infernal Black Metal duo that goes by the stylish name of Daelkyr is ready to take the underworld of heavy music by storm with their debut EP titled Eternal Decay, blasting our ears with their raw and undisputed Black Metal. By the way, the name of the band was taken from “The World of Eberron”, a number of features for the Eberron campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, meaning the evil embodiments of madness itself because they were Outsiders from Xoriat, the Plane of Madness, just to give you an idea of how dark and vile their music sounds. Featuring a devilish artwork by Turkish artist Reza Putra and a classic logo by Croatian artist Neon Cacti, Eternal Decay will certainly please all fans of the most primeval form of Black Metal, showcasing all the talent of vocalist and bassist Serpent (from Turkish Melodic Groove/Death Metal act Axxen Conners) and guitarist Kaulfel, supported by the unstoppable session drummer Krzysztof Klingbein (from bands like Aggressor, Akral Necrosis and Thunderwar).

The opening track As The Fog Rises exhales pure, unfiltered Black Metal from the very first second, demolishing everything and everyone that crosses Daelkyr’s path, with Krzysztof sounding utterly demented on drums while Kaulfel extracts sheer rage and obscurity form his guitar riffs, generating the perfect ambience for Serpent to vomit his demonic gnarls. And the band continues to smash our senses with their raw sounds in the more melodic and somber title-track Eternal Decay, where Kaulfel does a superb job with his crisp riffs living up to the legacy of classic Norwegian Black Metal, also sounding extremely sulfurous from start to finish; followed by Grey Inferno, another bestial and hellish creation by Daelkyr spearheaded by Serpet’s venomous Black Metal-growls, while Krzysztof puts the pedal to the metal with his blast beats, resulting in a full-bodied aria of underground extreme music. And closing the EP this talented Turkish horde offers the fulminating The Ritual of Existence, bringing to our ears a fusion of classic Black Metal with more harmonious and epic sounds, with the scorching riffs by Kaulfel walking hand in hand with the vicious beats and fills by Krzysztof.

If you want to dive deep into the obscure realm ruled by Daelkyr, you can take a full listen at Eternal Decay on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your true support to this ruthless Turkish duo you can purchase the EP directly from their BandCamp page or from the Dark East Productions’ BandCamp page. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, staying updated of all things Daelkyr from now on. The dark and evil clouds of Turkish Black Metal are upon us all once again thanks to Daelkyr, with Eternal Decay being only the first step in their promising (and devilish) career.

Best moments of the album: Grey Inferno.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. As The Fog Rises 4:57
2. Eternal Decay 4:49
3. Grey Inferno 4:16
4. The Ritual of Existence 4:40

Band members
Serpent – vocals, bass
Kaulfel – guitars

Guest musician
Krzysztof Klingbein – drums (session)

Album Review – Axxen Conners / Nowhere to Escape Sins EP (2016)

And the calm and turquoise waters of Antalya will never be the same after the turmoil of extreme music generated by this up-and-coming masked duo from hell.

Rating5

album-coverThe Turkish city of Antalya, the country’s biggest international sea resort located on the Turkish Riviera and a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters, is about to have its peaceful and breathtaking landscapes intensely disturbed by a wicked turmoil of extreme music crafted by a new dynamic duo known as Axxen Conners. If you’re planning on visiting the city anytime soon to enjoy its beaches and atmosphere, you better watch out because Axxen Conners might be hiding in the shadows just waiting to attack you when you least expect.

Formed in 2015 by the sinful outlaws Bilge Ozce (known as Serpent) and Serdar Evren (known as Croc), Axxen Conners somehow managed to turn all the usual inspiration that comes from a place like Antalya upside down. In other words, instead of playing any type of beach-like smooth music for teenage girls, they decided to join the dark side of music and fire a high-octane fusion of Progressive Black and Death Metal upon humanity. Hence, the result of their rebelliousness and passion for heavy music can be seen in Nowhere to Escape Sins, the technical and very enjoyable debut EP by this unstoppable masked duo of darkness.

And now, ladies and gentleman, get ready to dance with Serpent and Croc in the first of the three tracks of the EP, entitled Behind The Walls Of Primal Existence, where an atmospheric intro by guest keyboardist Brook gradually morphs into a metallic blend of Melodic Death, Black and Power Metal. While Serpent begins spilling his venomous gnarls, Croc focus on his harmonious and aggressive riffs and solos, bringing more balance to the overall result. The special musicality generated by Axxen Conners in this tune is what happens when progressiveness and obscurity meet in metal music, I should say.

_mg_9239Not only Serpent is Axxen Conners’ lead singer, but he’s also the drummer and bassist for the project, and as you’ll notice in the puissant and extremely belligerent Creator Became Absolute he simply loves to smash his drum set and his four-stringed low-tuned weapon. Flirting with contemporary Black Metal (especially its demonic aura and high-pitched demon growls), this devilish hymn showcases all the refined skills of the duo, sounding like an established full-bodied band even being two brand new guys from the independent scene. That alone deserves a lot of respect from us headbangers, no doubt about that.

In the third and last composition, beautifully named Cursed Messiah For Doomed Society, the guitar lines by Croc lean towards pure Melodic Death Metal the likes of Arch Enemy with hints of Amon Amarth, resulting in a musicality absolutely opposed to what we call “mainstream”, which by the way is always a good thing in Extreme Metal. Moreover, the right amount of progressiveness led by Croc’s ominous synths and the beats and fills by Serpent are exactly what Serpent needs to vociferate the song’s lyrics, which as excpeted do not point to a happy ending (“Fuelled by fear / All living things will perish / The lost from the world above / have nowhere to escape sins / Feel the Hellish dreams / Death to those who stray from the path / hear the voice of dark destruction / your body  will rot in pain”).

I personally consider Nowhere to Escape Sins a debut way beyond expectations for Axxen Conners taking into account the limited resources Serpent and Croc have available for generating music in their homeland, and I’m curious to know what those masked metallers could offer the world of heavy music with proper support. Well, I just saw that they became part of the Butcher Records family, which means we now should patiently wait to see what surprises that will bring to us all and the impact that will have on their musicality. In the meantime, don’t forget to like their Facebook page, enjoy their music through their YouTube channel and on Spotify, and if possible purchase Nowhere to Escape Sins through their BandCamp page.

Best moments of the album: Creator Became Absolute.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing  
1. Behind The Walls Of Primal Existence 4:03
2. Creator Became Absolute 3:24
3. Cursed Messiah For Doomed Society 4:58

Band members
Serpent – vocals, bass, drums
Croc – guitars, synths, backing vocals

Guest musician
Brook – keyboards on “Behind The Walls Of Primal Existence”

Live musicians
Brook – keyboards
Oni – guitars
Todd – drums

Album Review – Sirenia / The Seventh Life Path (2015)

If dark and symphonic music is what you want, Mr. Morten Veland and his crew are always there to help satisfy your craving.

Rating4

sirenia_the seventh life pathDeliberately entitled The Seventh Life Path, the seventh (got it?) full-length album by Norwegian Gothic/Symphonic Metal band Sirenia has everything it takes to please diehard fans of the band and newcomers to the world of symphonic music: melodic instrumentals, wicked synthesizers, a powerful choir, the charming female vocals by Spanish diva Ailyn Giménez and, of course, the iconic Morten Veland.

Perhaps one of the most interesting components in The Seventh Life Path is its artwork, designed by renowned artist Gyula Havancsák of Hjules Illustration and Design, whose latest works can be seen in the new albums by Ensiferum and Grave Digger, for example. It’s a very detailed illustration, where the artist and the band clearly wanted to augment the importance and meaning of the number seven to the album. “The 7 number appears as 7 ravens, 7 snakes, 7 roses on the dried out wreath…”, said Gyula about this peculiarity in an interview.

However, it’s not just the artwork that makes The Seventh Life Path a good album, but the music itself. As soon as the symphonic and imposing intro Seti begins, it already embraces the listener and sets the tone for the next track, the (at the same time) creepy and captivating Serpent.  Ailyn and Morten provide a beautiful balance of clean female vocals and harsh growls, and even with the presence of some Gothic passages the song ends up sounding truly metallic and symphonic. Once My Light is a lot more “commercial” due to the focus on the smooth vocal lines by Ailyn and the less imposing instrumental, also providing us all a lovely atmosphere and eerie passages with a Gothic touch that only Morten is capable of crafting.

In Elixir, featuring Joakim Næss on clean vocals (who by the way already worked with the band in Perils of the Deep Blue), modernity and tradition are put together, while just the intro in Sons Of The North already kicks ass by itself even before the main portion of the music takes shape. It’s a motherfuckin’ epic ode to Scandinavia, almost a Norse hymn, where the deep growls by Morten, all the orchestrations and especially the choir are flawless. Besides, the lyrics are far from being original (“Here the thunder and lightning / Are both enforced by the mighty Thor / We are the sons of legends / We are sons of myths and lore / Our legacy is forever / Behold its radiance forevermore”), but they didn’t really need to be to sound amazing. They kept it simple, and it worked pretty well. However, once again embraced by symphonic elements, Earendel (or Aurvandil) doesn’t live up to its predecessor, getting too generic after a while even with all the breaks and variations.

sireniaWith a denser sonority and a faster pace, where drummer Jonathan A. Perez showcases his more ferocious skills, Concealed Disdain has one significant issue in my opinion: I find Ailyn’s voice too low during the whole song, preventing it from being a lot more pleasant. On the other hand, sounding like old school Tristania enhanced by the more contemporary musicality by Sirenia, the excellent Insania shows beyond doubt that Morten is a terrific musician, with highlights to its synths and drums for adding so much power to the final result. I also love when Morten goes back in time and revives his darkest side in lyrics like the ones found in Contemptuous Quitus (“You’re the torn in my heart / You will tear me apart / You’re a plague and a curse / Contemptuous quietus”), and besides, I must say I was eager for some heavier riffs, which are finally delivered in this song.

The last two tracks of the regular version of The Seventh Life Path are also well-engendered and contribute to the overall quality of the album. Firstly, The Silver Eye, which could have been just a little shorter, sounds like Symphonic Black Metal in many of its moments, with Ailyn and Morten making a good vocal duo once again. And secondly, we have the Gothic ballad Tragedienne, with Ailyn’s voice and the piano notes being its centre pieces. Of course what I’m going to say is not a universal truth, but I believe fans of Tristania will enjoy it more than fans of Sirenia. In addition, there’s also a Spanish version for this song as a bonus track depending on the version of the album you acquire.

In short, if what Sirenia wanted to achieve with The Seventh Life Path was a well-balanced and energizing continuation to their entertaining career, keeping the names of Morten and Ailyn alive in the minds of Gothic and Symphonic Metal partisans, they more than succeeded in their quest. And if you are one of those dark music supporters, you should thank Morten and his crew for always bringing forth your favorite type of music, just like what is presented in The Seventh Life Path.

Best moments of the album: Serpent, Sons Of The North and Insania.

Worst moments of the album: Earendel and Concealed Disdain.

Released in 2015 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Seti 2:05
2. Serpent 6:31
3. Once My Light 7:21
4. Elixir (featuring Joakim Næss) 5:45
5. Sons Of The North 8:16
6. Earendel 6:14
7. Concealed Disdain 6:11
8. Insania 6:39
9. Contemptuous Quitus 6:29
10. The Silver Eye 7:29
11. Tragedienne 4:54

Bonus track
12. Tragica (Spanish version of Tragedienne) 4:55

Band members
Morten Veland – guitars, vocals, bass, piano, synth, mandolin, programming
Ailyn – female vocals
Jan Erik Soltvedt – guitars
Jonathan A. Perez – drums

Guest musicians
Joakim Næss – clean male vocals on “Elixir”
Damien Surian – choir
Emilie Bernou – choir
Emmanuelle Zoldan – choir
Mathieu Landry – choir