Album Review – Varang Nord / Pārķiuņa Uomurs (2021)

One of the best metal hordes hailing from Latvia is ready to bring down the hammer with their fourth studio album, proudly dedicated to their vast and beautiful homeland.

3.5rating

varang-nord-pārķiuņa-uomurs-2021Founded in 2014 in the cold woods of Latvia, more specifically in the city of Daugavpils, located in south-eastern Latvia, the unstoppable horde known as Varang Nord combines harsh Death Metal riffs with epic accordion chants, creating a unique blend of northern Folk, Pagan and Viking Metal while praising a mighty battle, a bloody sacrifice to the Old Gods and a joyful northern feast with endless mugs of ale. Now in 2021, the band comprised of Maksims “Wolf” Popovs on vocals and guitar, Jelena Kalniša on vocals and accordion, Javgenijs Selivanovs also on the guitar, Danila Lopuha on bass and vocals, Vjačeslavs Janens on percussion and vocals, and Aigars Zeiza on drums returns to the battlefield with Pārķiuņa Uomurs, or “thunder’s hammer” in English, their fourth studio album, proudly dedicated to their homeland, the power and beauty of its nature and the depth of its cultural roots. Produced by the band and recorded at their personal studio, and mixed and mastered by Gints Lundbergs at Sound Division Studios, Pārķiuņa Uomurs is also the band’s first-ever album where all lyrics are written in the Latgalian language (an eastern dialect of Latvian), giving it an even more personal and organic feel.

A war is about to begin in the epic intro Pi Tuoļim Krostym, getting us ready for our bloodthirsty destiny to the sound of Stuojīs!, where the accordion by Jelena and the blast beats by Aigars make a superb paradox, offering Maksims everything he needs to roar like a true barbarian while Jelena brings a touch of finesse and melancholy with her clean vocals. Cīņis Gors, a battle anthem capturing the spirit of hard, long sea travels and conquests Northmen have been involved in, is a fun and inspiring Pagan and Viking Metal tune where the background elements by guest Yuri Borin walk hand in hand with the slashing guitars by Maksims and Javgenijs; and let’s keep banging our heads to Pārķiuņa Uomurs, another solid composition by this Latvian horde with Danila, Vjačeslavs and Aigars making the earth tremble with their imposing kitchen, whereas their warlike metal feast goes on in Dzeļža Ryuda, again presenting a headbanging, prancing rhythm led by Jelena’s wicked accordion, not to mention the awesome job done by Maksims with his evil growls.

It’s time then for a journey through the melancholic realms of old school Pagan Metal spearheaded by Jelena’s vocals in Svietņeica, accompanied by the rhythmic beats by Aigars and all somber background sounds, while Maksims roars deeply and more enraged in Uperiešona, a classic Viking Metal extravaganza the likes of Amon Amarth that will please all fans of the genre, with Danila crushing his bass guitar while Maksims and Javgenijs bring fire to the music with their riffage. And let’s prance around the fire pit together with those Latvian marauders in Syt Pa Seyi, a Pagan Metal feast perfect for their live performances with Aigars once again kicking some ass behind his drum set. Then mesmerizing accordion sounds, infernal and thunderous bass jabs and blast beats, and troll-like vocals set the tone in Troļļs, the epitome of Latvian Folk Metal where all band members are on absolute fire from start to finish, followed by Karaveiri, another good composition by those talented metallers (albeit not as dynamic nor creative as its predecessors) that flows into the atmospheric, acoustic outro Ceļš Da Sātai, bringing peace to our hearts after such intense battle.

varang-nord-2021Having said all that, I guess I don’t need to tell you that the time has come to grab your sword and shield, and join Varang Nord in the battlefield to the sound of their new opus, right? In order to do that, you can stream the album in full on Spotify, or prove you’re a true warrior from the North and purchase a copy of the album from Dead Pulse or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on VKontakte and on Instagram for all things Varang Nord, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their epic music and videos. Varang Nord are not just another band recommended for fans of bands the likes of Ensiferum, Amon Amarth and Turisas, but a fantastic Latvian institution that truly deserves our appreciation for their contribution to heavy music. And let those talented Latvians bring down the hammer on us all!

Best moments of the album: Cīņis Gors, Uperiešona, Syt Pa Seyi and Trolls.

Worst moments of the album: Karaveiri.

Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records

Track listing  
1. Pi Tuoļim Krostym 2:07
2. Stuojīs! 4:28
3. Cīņis Gors 4:18
4. Pārķiuņa Uomurs 4:44
5. Dzeļža Ryuda 5:18
6. Svietņeica 5:39
7. Uperiešona 5:00
8. Syt Pa Seyi 4:06
9. Troļļs 4:18
10. Karaveiri 5:48
11. Ceļš Da Sātai 2:16

Band members
Maksims “Wolf” Popovs – vocals, guitar
Jelena Kalniša – vocals, accordion
Javgenijs Selivanovs – guitar
Danila Lopuha – bass, vocals
Vjačeslavs Janens – percussion, vocals
Aigars Zeiza – drums

Guest musicians
Alyona Fomina – medieval bagpipes, talharpa, other traditional instruments
Yuri Borin – orchestral arrangements

Album Review – Marble / S.A.V.E (2021)

It’s time to bang your heads to the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in the form of first-class Melodic Metal made in Italy.

3.5rating

marble-s.a.v.e-2021Formed in the spring of 2003 in Mortara, a town and comune located in the Province of Pavia, in the region of Lombardy, Italy, Melodic Metal band Marble is finally back in full force after over a decade with their sophomore installment, entitled S.A.V.E, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2008 album A.t.G.o.d. Mixed and Mastered by Giulio Capone (Moonlight Haze) and displaying a stunning artwork by renowned Finnish artist Jan “Örkki” Yrlund of Darkgrove Design, S.A.V.E presents an irrepressible mix of heavy guitar riffs, powerful aggressiveness, amazing guitar solos, surprising keyboard harmonies and original technical rhythms by Paul Beretta and Omar Gornati on the guitars, Jacopo Marchesi on keyboards, Daniel Fleba on bass and Norman Ceriotti on drums, blended with frontwoman Eleonora Travaglino’s breathtaking, catchy melodies and epic choruses, while at the same time dealing with human behavior and entwined with the three theological virtues and the seven deadly sins in a gloomy and decadent mood, being therefore recommended for fans of both melodic and extreme music.

The smooth keys by Jacopo set the tone in the opening track Mine, based on the sin of greed, before exploding into violent and melodic Heavy Metal with Paul and Omar kicking ass with their classic riffs, whereas investing in a more Progressive Metal vein thanks to the intricate beats by Norman we have Heartless Disease, where Eleonora declaims the song’s words about the sin of luxury (“Outline of a moral / You will never fall into / You try to blame me for what? Blame your creed / This life is not an heartless disease”), followed by 30 Silver Coins, a song about hope, featuring guest vocals by Maurizio Caverzan (Ghostheart Nebula, Verlaine) who makes an interesting duo with Eleanora, leaning towards Melodic Death Metal at times. And it’s time to talk about vanity in My Mask Collection, where instead of being progressive like they wanted the music sounds a little confused or mixed, fortunately getting better after a while thanks to the good job done by Norman on drums. And inspired by the music by Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and Epica, the quintet fires the headbanging tune What Leads Us To, with Eleonora taking the lead with her captivating vocals singing about the sin of envy, accompanied by the crisp guitars by Paul and Omar.

Then Daniel and Norman smash their thunderous weapons in a song about gluttony entitled To Feed The Worms, inviting us all to dance and raise our horns together with the band in a solid display of Progressive and Melodic Metal, not to mention another awesome vocal performance by Eleonora; and a gripping vibe sets the tone in the ballad A Darker Shade Of Me, dealing with the sin of wrath, where Eleonora declaims the song’s poetic lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitars. Following such introspective tune, the band gets back to a more electrifying sonority firing the epic and imposing Where Is The Light, a song about faith led by the Black Sabbath-inspired beats by Norman and the sharp riffage by Paul and Omar. The rumbling, low-tuned bass by Daniel kick off the also melodic Timelines, revolving around the sin of sloth, evolving into a Gothic Metal ballad by Marble that will please all fans of this more delicate side of metal music, with Eleonora stealing the show with her smooth vocals, whereas putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for a classic Heavy Metal feast about charity by Marble entitled Daymare Town, where Jacopo is on absolute fire with his whimsical keys, living up to the legacy of renowned acts the likes of Nightwish and Epica, before soulful riffs and dark bass lines are offered to us all in the instrumental outro Sins And Virtues Ending, closing the album in a somber and melancholic manner.

marble-2021If you want to have a better taste of how the seven deadly sins and the three theological virtues taste and feel in S.A.V.E, you can stream the full album on Spotify, but of course in order to show your utmost support to those Italian metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their great music, and above all that, purchase your favorite copy of S.A.V.E by clicking HERE, as well as from Dead Pulse or Apple Music. As we’re all sinners in the end, why not succumb to our deepest sins and desires to the sound of the Melodic Metal played by Marble? I’m sure the band would love to be part of the soundtrack to your most wicked and immoral moments.

Best moments of the album: What Leads Us To, To Feed The Worms and Daymare Town.

Worst moments of the album: My Mask Collection.

Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Mine 4:38
2. Heartless Disease 3:50
3. 30 Silver Coins 4:41
4. My Mask Collection 4:46
5. What Leads Us To 5:49
6. To Feed The Worms 4:36
7. A Darker Shade Of Me 2:38
8. Where Is The Light 4:17
9. Timelines 3:55
10.Daymare Town 4:05
11. Sins And Virtues Ending 1:57

Band members
Eleonora Travaglino – vocals
Paul Beretta – guitar
Omar Gornati – guitar
Jacopo Marchesi – keyboards
Daniel Fleba – bass
Norman Ceriotti – drums

Guest musician
Maurizio Caverzan – additional vocals on “30 Silver Coins”

Album Review – Sintax / Nano 3000 (2021)

It’s time to celebrate mankind’s downfall to the sound of the brand new opus by this Israeli thrashing squad, telling stories of technologies rising against us all.

After years of performing all across Israel on their own ticket and alongside international acts, keeping Jerusalem’s metal scene alive and kicking, members of local cult bands the likes of Showrchtsechaye and DeuSphera decided to come together to form a Thrash and Groove Metal beast named Sintax back in 2013, delivering a strong punch of groove and a unique raw energy with each one of their sick compositions. Now in 2021 the band comprised of Yehi Zaken on vocals, Roi Illouz and Yoav Gruper on the guitars, Slava Kishka on bass and Adam Levit on drums have just released their sophomore effort, titled Nano 3000, offering the listener an avalanche of old school metal music combined with a modern production and sound. Mixed and mastered by Mark Mynett at Mynetaur Productions and displaying a futuristic artwork by Nadav Halevi, Nano 3000 tells stories of technologies rising against us and a dystopic prophecy taking in the subjects of anarchy, politics, religion, philosophy, war, sex and more, all embraced by an endless dosage of visceral and acid Thrash Metal.

Like a demented grinding machine, the band begins their Groove Metal attack in Skeleton Scale, with the riffage by Roi and Yoav sounding utterly pulverizing while Yehi vociferates rabidly, therefore resulting in the perfect welcome card by the band in their new album. And more of their fusion of the madness of Pantera with the heaviness of Fear Factory is offered to us all in Reefers Sting And Honey, also presenting hints of the early days of Sepultura, and with the frantic and demonic beats by Adam providing Yehi all he needs to growl like a true beast; whereas in Most Hated Man In The Universe the band gets back to a more traditional Thrash Metal sonority, where the brutal sounds blasted by Roi, Yoav and Slava with their stringed axes will pierce your minds, not to mention the song’s pounding, neck-breaking drums and sick backing vocals. Then we face strident riffs and rumbling bass punches in Sight Got Past, morphing from a more melodic vibe to pure adrenaline and rage with Yehi once again roaring and growling nonstop, accompanied by the visceral beats by Adam.

The title-track Nano 3000 sounds and feels highly inspired by 90’s Groove and Industrial Metal, but without abandoning the band’s thrashing core sound of course, with Adam being infernal as usual on drums while Roi and Yoav extract sheer electricity from their guitars; and the menacing bass by Slava ignites another violent yet very melodic feast of riffs and beats titled Shooting Stars, perfect for jumping up and down with the boys from Sintax and slamming into the pit with your metal buddies. Then after a short and wicked intro we’re treated to the fulminating Death and Thrash Metal hurricane Lethal And Armed, where Yehi continues to lead his horde of thrashing maniacs with his deranged screams while Roi and Yoav slash our minds with their metallic riffage, and a massive wall of sounds will smash your cranial skull in the closing tune Lunchtime Funeral, presenting sick guitar solos and bass punches by the band’s stringed warriors from start to finish. Furthermore, when it’s over, I bet you’ll be begging for more of Sintax’s thrashing music.

After listening to Nano 3000, not only you’ll realize how powerful the music by Sintax can be, but also that the Israeli metal scene seems to be getting stronger and stronger, with bands like Sintax proving once and for all first-class metal music is simply everywhere. Hence, let’s show our support to those talented metallers by purchasing their new album from Dead Pulse, Apple Music or Amazon, by streaming the full album as many times as you want on Spotify, by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other shenanigans, and by subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their demented music and videos. We all know that the future of mankind doesn’t look so good right now, and that the advancements in technology are not exactly bringing tons of benefits for us mere mortals, so why not celebrate the end of our existence to the sound of the top-of-the-line Thrash Metal blasted by Sintax in Nano 3000? At least that way we’ll definitely go out with a bang.

Best moments of the album: Reefers Sting And Honey, Most Hated Man In The Universe and Lethal And Armed.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Skeleton Scale 4:08
2. Reefers Sting And Honey 2:54
3. Most Hated Man In The Universe 3:51
4. Sight Got Past 3:47
5. Nano 3000 4:24
6. Shooting Stars 5:17
7. Lethal And Armed 3:45
8. Lunchtime Funeral 4:14

Band members
Yehi Zaken – vocals
Roi Illouz – guitar
Yoav Gruper – guitar
Slava Kishka – bass
Adam Levit – drums

Album Review – Hyperia / Insanitorium (2020)

Are you crazy enough to enter the “insanitorium” together with one of the most promising names of the current Canadian Thrash Metal scene?

Are you crazy enough to enter the Insanitorium, the debut full-length opus by Canadian Melodic Thrash Metal unity Hyperia? If your answer is yes, you better get ready for over 40 minutes of wailing and harsh vocals, melodic guitars, intricate bass lines and hard hitting drums, ranging from traditional Thrash Metal to Power Metal and even Death Metal, highly inspired by a myriad of bands such as Havok, Overkill, Running Wild, Hypocrisy and Gojira,  among others, with the album’s lyrical themes being based around the concept of being stuck in an insane asylum for committing evil crimes and having no way out. Put differently, after listening to Insanitorium, you’ll quickly understand why the band comprised of Marlee Ryley on vocals, Colin Ryley and David Kupisz on the guitars, Scott DeGruyter on bass and Jordan Maguire on drums was one of the nominees for “Metal Recording of the Year” at the 2019 YYC Music Awards and “Music Video of the Year” at the 2019 Stinger Awards, hosted by the CSIF – The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers.

Recorded and mixed by Colin Ryley himself at Singularity Sound Studios in Calgary, Canada, mastered by Mika Jussila (Finntroll, Children of Bodom, Ensiferum) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and featuring a beyond classic cover art by Belarusian illustrator Andrei Bouzikov (Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust), Insanitorium perfectly represents what Hyperia are all about, proving that despite the fact the band was only formed less than two years ago, more specifically in September 2018, they can already be considered one of the most interesting and hardworking names of the Canadian underground scene, thrashing venues and taking the metal community by storm since their inception. Put differently, who doesn’t enjoy some old school shredding accompanied by soaring female vocals, right?

In the opening track Mad Trance, a movie-inspired intro morphs into ass-kicking Thrash Metal with a Melodic Death Metal twist, with both Colin and David showing what they got with their incendiary riffs before Marlee comes crushing with both her clean vocals and she-wolf gnarls, and a demented scream by Marlee sets fire to the also berserk Starved By Guilt, where the whole band puts the pedal to the metal spearheaded by Jordan’s frantic and vile beats. In other words, it’s simply perfect for slamming into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac, whereas in Asylum it’s time to break our necks headbanging, blending the ferocity of Exodus with the melody of Arch Enemy and showcasing an amazing sync between Colin and David, providing all Marlee needs to vociferate the song’s psychological words (“My dead lover under a cover / Screaming, trapped in monomania / They cringed as I unhinged / I’m drowning, set me free / Straight jacket because of a hatchet / Bewitched, lost in compulsion / I’m banished, mind vanished / Fixated, please help me!”).

Then eerie noises are quickly joined by the band’s strident guitars in Unleash The Pigs, evolving into another sonic onslaught where Jordan brutally smashes his drums supported by the rumbling bass by Scott, while Marlee once again delivers a superb performance on vocals; and fasten your seat belts as Hyperia flirt with old school Death Metal in the high-octane tune Nullified,  a very detailed and dense creation that lives up to the legacy of extreme music, sounding as frantic, aggressive and demented as it can be, and with Colin being unstoppable with his riffs and solos. And bringing elements from the music by Metallica, Megadeth and other fast and furious thrashing masters we have Fish Creek Frenzy, where Marlee’s wicked vocals are beautifully complemented by Colin’s and David’s flammable riffs, not to mention all the energy flowing from the song’s spot-on backing vocals.

Dystopia is another awesome composition bursting with rage, madness and heaviness, all embraced by the insurgent lyrics blasted by Marlee in a mix of Black and Thrash Metal styles (“War, bloodshed, slavery, hypocrisy / Everywhere, everyday it’s all you see / Take a look at yourself and your plight / It won’t end unless we STAND UP AND FIGHT”). Well, do you think they still have energy for more violence and bloodshed after so many thrashing hymns in a roll? Their answer comes in the form of the metallic hurricane entitled The Scratches on the Wall, with the sick growling by Marlee being flawlessly boosted by the bestial shredding by the band’s guitarists, as well as Jordan’s nonstop beats and fills, while pure, unrelenting riffage is the main ingredient in Contagion, sounding at the same time very old school, inspired by 80’s Heavy Metal, but also bringing a fresh, modern vibe thanks to the polished production of the album. Lastly, how about more undisputed, deranged Thrash Metal to close the album? That’s what Hyperia have to offer us all as infernal riffs and fast and rhythmic drums permeate the air in Evil Insanity, and when it’s over you’ll feel absolutely disoriented just the way we love it in extreme music.

The nonstop metal thrashing madness blasted by Hyperia in Insanitorium can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but if I were you I would definitely show my true support to such promising name of the current Canadian metal scene by purchasing their sensational debut album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Dead Pulse webstore or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook for news, tour dates and all other things Hyperia, because you know, you have to be absolutely insane not to support those Canadian metallers, and even more “insane” to slam into the circle pit to their melodic, furious and utterly entertaining creations.

Best moments of the album: Starved By Guilt, Fish Creek Frenzy, Dystopia and The Scratches on the Wall.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Mad Trance 4:36
2. Starved By Guilt 3:55
3. Asylum 4:08
4. Unleash The Pigs 4:56
5. Nullified 4:18
6. Fish Creek Frenzy 3:41
7. Dystopia 4:14
8. The Scratches on the Wall 3:57
9. Contagion 4:09
10. Evil Insanity 4:01

Band members
Marlee Ryley – vocals
Colin Ryley – lead guitar, backing vocals
David Kupisz – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Scott DeGruyter – bass, backing vocals
Jordan Maguire – drums

Album Review – 5 Star Grave / The Red Room (2017)

The six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers.

This is one of those bands that, as soon as you listen to their flammable music for the very first time, you become addicted to their electricity and rebellious attitude, especially if you’re already a huge fan of the sound by bands like the Misfits, Social Distortion, the Ramones, Minot Threat and so on, but with a heavier and more melodic approach. I’m talking about Italian Melodic Death Metal six-piece wolf pack 5 Star Grave, who have just released a Rock N’ Roll party-catalyst entitled The Red Room, an album that will surely put you to dance, bang your head, slam into the pit, drink a few beers and do everything else we love so much in heavy music. In other words, the six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers, and there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from them.

Formed in 2005 in Cuneo, a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, under the name Ground Zero, changing to 5 Star Grave in 2007, the band already released in their decade of existence the full-length albums Corpse Breed Syndrome, in 2008, and Drugstore Hell, in 2012, as well as a single with a cover version for one of the biggest hits by the Ramones, the classic Pet Sematary, before releasing The Red Room now in 2017. Bringing forth a weird and fun combination of several styles like traditional Heavy Metal and Punk Rock with industrial atmospheres, the band comprised of frontman Claudio Ravinale (who’s also the lead singer for Death Metal act Disarmonia Mundi and Industrial Metal outfit The Silverblack), bassist Andrea Minolfi, guitarists Thierry Bertone and Alessandro Blengino, keyboardist Hervè De Zulian and drummer Domenico Fazzari aims at charging the listener with their relentless hardcore/horror punk-influenced metal highly inspired by the golden years of 80’s metal and shock rock, which they more than achieve with The Red Room.

Wicked noises are suddenly joined by the slashing riffs by Thierry and Alessandro in the opening track, beautifully titled Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, with Hervè and his keys giving it a futuristic aura. Moreover, this amazing tune brings forward the two main characteristics of Melodic Death Metal, those being aggressiveness and harmony, helping the band in breaking down the walls in fantastic fashion. Following that superb start we have the also whimsical and modern Eat You Alive, where Claudio screams like a maniac supported by the potent backing vocals by Andrea, not to mention the song’s fiery guitar solos and catchy chorus; and Once Upon A Time, with Claudio sounding even more demented on vocals, enhancing the song’s impact while Domenico smashes his drums with tons of dexterity, being highly recommended for admirers of modern and alternative music.

The Ballad Of The Vampire is not a ballad at all, but an ode to the fusion of Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore blasted by bands like the Misfits, a fast-paced and electrifying hymn showcasing great performances by Claudio and Domenico that will set their live concerts on fire without a shadow of a doubt, while in Alice the keys by Hervè make it sound more melodic and consequently less violent than the other tunes, but still a heavier-than-usual version of punk music perfect for an insane rockin’ party with its guitars burning our ears nonstop. And adding progressiveness to their high-octane Rock N’ Roll sonority, 5 Star Grave offer us Through The Eyes Of The Monster, where Thierry and Alessandro steal the spotlight with their sick riffs while Hervè brings a touch of lunacy with his synths. Put differently, it’s quite impossible to stand still to this explosion of modern metal music.

And those guys definitely know how to blend the music by the Misfits with modern Metalcore like what can be seen in He Never Died, which means you should start banging your head and screaming together with the band as the party doesn’t have a time to end. In Hell On Heels, a mid-tempo rockin’ tune with hints of Southern Rock, we have an acoustic intro as a variation to their trademark rowdy sounding, and at this point of the album you’ll realize 5 Star Grave cannot craft bad music; whereas For Better Or Worse sounds like the soundtrack to a demented circus act, again inspired by old school punk and metal. In addition, the strident sound of guitars increases the song’s temperature quite a bit, with Domenico taking the lead with his spot-on beats. And before all is said and done we have a semi-ballad entitled There Is No Heaven, which despite presenting their rumbling sounds and growls is slightly below the rest of the album in terms of creativity. Actually, to be fair I wouldn’t consider that a problem at all, as the other songs of the album are way too awesome.

In a nutshell, grab your leather jacket, your fighting boots, make sure the beer is crisp and cold, put on your warrior makeup or mask, and join the uncontrollable party held by 5 Star Grave in The Red Room by following them on Facebook, by listening to their music on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify, and by purchasing this excellent album of modern metal music on BandCamp, on iTunes or on Amazon. And after having The Red Room on your hands, simply hit play and get the party started, motherfuckers.

Best moments of the album: Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, The Ballad Of The Vampire and Through The Eyes Of The Monster.

Worst moments of the album: There Is No Heaven.

Released in 2017 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers 4:14
2. Eat You Alive 4:17
3. Once Upon A Time 3:58
4. The Ballad Of The Vampire 1:43
5. Alice 4:03
6. Through The Eyes Of The Monster 3:39
7. He Never Died 3:00
8. Hell On Heels 4:16
9. For Better Or Worse 4:36
10. There Is No Heaven 4:20

Band members
Claudio Ravinale – vocals
Andrea Minolfi – bass, vocals
Thierry Bertone – guitars
Alessandro Blengino – guitars
Hervè De Zulian – synth
Domenico Fazzari – drums

Album Review – Witches Of Doom / Deadlights (2016)

The Italian coven of Doom and Gothic Metal returns in full force to put another electrifying Rock N’ Roll spell on you.

Rating4

WOD_DeadlightsAfter releasing their debut album Obey back in 2014, I knew it was just a matter of time until Italian Goth-Stoner-Doom Metal act Witches Of Doom returned with more of their mesmerizing Rock N’ Roll extravaganza. Two years have gone by since that amazing album, and here we have the Rome-based warlocks Danilo “Groova” Piludu on vocals, Federico “Fed” Venditti on the guitar, Jacopo Cartelli on bass, Graziano “Eric” Corrado on keyboards and Andrea “Budi” Budicin on drums offering all fans of old school dark music the likes of Type O Negative, Moonspell and The Cult their brand new album whimsically entitled Deadlights which, just like its predecessor, will put you to dance, drink and make love like there’s no tomorrow.

Although I’m not a professional musician, producer or anything similar to that, I must say the upward growth in the overall quality of the album in terms of its production and sound is one of those things that not only helped Witches Of Doom explore new horizons and add new elements to their music, but it also shows how professional those Italian metallers are and how much they are focused on what they do. Thus, due to the enhanced quality of their music and to the brand new songs added to their portfolio, I think the band is more than ready to reach new heights and start spreading their exciting music throughout the world by touring in places like the United States, Canada and South America, either by themselves or as one of the attractions of some music festivals held in those regions.

While we wait for their first world tour, let’s rock to the sound of the superb opening track in Deadlights, called Lizard Tongue, where after an alternative and electronic we are embraced by a modernized goth atmosphere and the band’s pure Rock N’ Roll attitude. These guys know how to bring that magic aura from the 80’s to our present days, with frontman Danilo being better than ever with his inebriate and dark vocals, perfectly declaiming the song’s catchy lyrics (“Daughter of a thousand sins / Angel praying for your last wish / The city crawls in the dead of night / A knife cuts deep flesh open wide / Trick or treat is the only law / Merchant on the killing floor / The city crawls in the dead of night / A knife cuts deep flesh open wide”). In Run with the Wolf, an eerie waltz mixed with symphonic elements in what’s probably their most obscure composition to date, keyboardist Andrea crafts the perfect doomed ambience, supported by the low-tuned bass lines by Jacopo; whereas in Deface (The Things That Made Me a Man), heavier and weirder than usual due to the rumbling bass by Jacopo and the always passionate guitar riffs and experimentations by the band’s mastermind Fed, the listener faces a solid blend of Gothic Rock with Alternative Rock and Metal.

WOD 2016Melancholy and sorrow flow from the beautiful Winter Coming, where Danilo once again provides an additional layer of emotion to the musicality with his vocal lines (not to mention the song’s sorrowful lyrics), followed by Homeless, another shot of wickedness provided by this talented band with the groovy bass lines by Jacopo and the progressive drumming by Andrea enhancing the song’s punch. In other words, this could become a radio hit anytime, anywhere. And get ready to be hypnotized by the Black Voodoo Girl, with its Gothic start getting heavier and darker until it becomes another one of the band’s “striptease” hymns. The keyboard passages by Graziano match perfectly with the heavy riffs by Fed and the somber vocals by Danilo, and you’ll surely have a good time singing its chorus along with the band.

In Mater Mortis, what begins as an epic chant quickly morphs into a futuristic tune, more specifically into an ode to the music from the 80’s with highlights to its awesome keyboards, and this instrumental voyage sets the tone for Gospel for War, a badass Gothic/Stoner Rock chant tailored for fans of Rock N’ Roll pub fights where Fed keeps blasting his excellent riffs while Andrea takes his drumming to a whole new and amazing level of intricacy. And last but not least, bringing elements from non-metal genres like Jazz and Blues to their sounding, the band offers us all the introspective and soulful I Don’t Want to Be a Star, showcasing smooth but fierce piano notes by Eric and strong performances by Danilo on vocals and by Fed with his fiery solos. If you love long and experimental songs with the energy and feeling of Rock N’ Roll, you might have found your new favorite song in rock music.

In summary, the music presented in Deadlights, which features a stunning artwork by Italian artist Carlo Muselli (who by the way is the big boss at Sliptrick Records) and is available on iTunes or on Amazon, has everything a true fan of heavy rock always looks for and more, and in order to know more about the Witches Of Doom, including their future plans and tour dates, don’t forget to go check their official Facebook page. This skilled coven of Doom and Gothic Metal is not among us to simply play some rock tunes, but in special to put an electrifying Rock N’ Roll spell on all of us, lovers of dark and rhythmic heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Lizard Tongue, Black Voodoo Girl and Gospel for War.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Lizard Tongue 4:13
2. Run with the Wolf 4:49
3. Deface (The Things That Made Me a Man) 5:45
4. Winter Coming 4:35
5. Homeless 5:32
6. Black Voodoo Girl 4:46
7. Mater Mortis 3:01
8. Gospel for War 4:35
9. I Don’t Want to Be a Star 6:59

Band members
Danilo “Groova” Piludu – vocals
Federico “Fed” Venditti – guitars
Jacopo Cartelli – bass
Graziano “Eric” Corrado – keyboards
Andrea “Budi” Budicin – drums

Album Review – Helligators / Road Roller Machine (2015)

A high-end primeval nitro-rock music album, with the sole purpose of smashing every living creature that stands on its way just like an enraged road roller machine would do.

Rating4

copertina_road_roller_machineSometimes the Rock N’ Roll played by a band is so loud, filthy and ruthless that the band surpasses the invisible boundaries established by the music industry, becoming respected and loved by the always-demanding diehard Heavy Metal fans. This is what happens with icons such as Motörhead, Volbeat, Crucified Barbara and many other badass bands in the world, and since 2009 we can also include Italian Rock N’ Roll band Helligators on this list so vicious their music is. With that said, if you want to give them a try I suggest you take a listen at their brand new album, entitled Road Roller Machine, and you’ll be able to feel all that Rock N’ Roll electricity flowing through your veins.

Merging elements from different genres and subgenres of rock and metal music, and relying heavily on their deep-rooted Rock N’ Roll/Stoner Rock attitude night and day, this excellent band formed in Rome, Italy returns with more of their immoral music after releasing their debut album Against All Odds, from 2011. It’s interesting to see an Italian band playing what is considered pure American music, but they do it so well you’ll start asking yourself if they’re indeed from Italy or if they’re American guys who left their homeland and are now just living in “il bel paese”. Either way, by the time you find an answer to those questions, you’ll be already addicted to their top-notch heavy music.

The opening track Nomad sounds clearly inspired by the musicality from Motörhead and the badass attitude from Chrome Division, with its nonstop dirty riffs and groovy drumming supporting the rockin’ raspy vocals by Emanuele “Hellvis” and, of course, all embellished by an exciting guitar solo, exactly what is needed in visceral Rock N’ Roll. Not only the initial riff in the next track, The Doomstroyer, a killer Stoner Rock tune with no shenanigans, is 100% kick-ass, but also the atmosphere generated by the guitar lines by Kamo and Mik “El Santo” takes you to some sort of desolated and pungent desert where the music by Helligators reverberates like thunder. And if you’re taking the road anytime soon don’t forget to add Scream to your playlist, a song perfect for enjoying a cold one, banging your head and screaming as loud as you can together with Hellvis and the rest of the crew. Two lessons that can be taken from this track are first that, when they stick to the basics the result is absolutely awesome, and secondly, Kamo is an awesome guitarist who truly knows how to craft the perfect guitar solo the music is asking for.

Listen to She Laughs and you’ll see how much they love Stoner Rock/Metal the likes of Down so heavy and soulful it is, not to mention the song’s lyrics about a sultry demon-like woman, which turn it into another interesting option for a fiery strip-tease at any gentlemen’s club in the world. Then we have the outstanding razin’ tune Snake Oil Jesus, previously released in 2012 as a single, where the band puts the pedal to the metal offering the listener some fuming guitar riffs and solos while drummer Alex fuels the rhythm with his strong beats. In addition, try not to get addicted to its chorus, it’s as catchy as hell (“If you feel so sad and lonely / Pray and give me all your money / I just wanna be your friend / Come Holy Ghost and feed us / I will treat you good I swear / I am the Snake Oil Jesus”).

helligatorsRev up your engines because there’s still a lot more awesomeness to come, starting with Truckdriver, a great Rock N’ Roll song where Hellvis lives up to his nickname and its accelerated rhythm and excellent guitar duo will surely please all fans of old school rock music, followed by Swamp Man Voodoo, with elements of the eerie music by Groove Metal icons White Zombie fittting perfectly to the theme of this song. Moreover, it’s a good option for a psychological horror flick soundtrack, with the only letdown being its backing vocals, not as effective as in previous tracks. And when a song is called Bad Ass you know it’s going to be heavy and fun, with Helligators getting back to that low-tuned sonority from Stoner Rock blended with faster Rock N’ Roll and the vocals by Hellvis reminding me of the amazing Eddie Guz, the harsh and inebriate voice of The Carburetors and ex-Chrome Division.

Last but not least, the pub song Stone Crusher is perhaps the most extreme version of their Stoner Rock side, and how about that awesome guitar solo halfway through the song? Although the second half of the song loses part of its electricity, it’s nothing that would make it less entertaining, before the Country Rock semi-acoustic ballad Black Sun closes the album enhanced by huge dosages of feeling and passion by the band members, with highlights to the cool bass lines by Pinna “Yeti”, the song’s doomsday vibe and its melancholic ending. You can listen to a preview of each and every song of Road Roller Machine HERE, where Helligators present the album on the European Metal Channel.

To sum up, Road Roller Machine might not be the most innovative and complex album in the world, but who said it should be so? Helligators do a superb job delivering high-end primeval nitro-rock music, with the sole purpose of smashing every living creature that stands on their way just like an enraged road roller machine would do. If you want to connect with this talented rockin’ machine and know more about their music and tour dates, go check their official Facebook page, and if you’re one of those crazy rockers who salivates whenever you listen to a dirty riff, you can find Road Roller Machine on Amazon or Google Play, among other locations. I honestly doubt you’ll regret purchasing such an incredible feast of Rock N’ Roll like the one offered by Helligators.

Best moments of the album: The Doomstroyer, Scream, Snake Oil Jesus and Truckdriver.

Worst moments of the album: Swamp Man Voodoo and Stone Crusher.

Released in 2015 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Nomad 5:17
2. The Doomstroyer 5:26
3. Scream 4:29
4. She Laughs 4:55
5. Snake Oil Jesus 3:57
6. Truckdriver 4:10
7. Swamp Man Voodoo 6:21
8. Bad Ass 6:20
9. Stone Crusher 6:14
10. Black Sun 5:02

Band members
Emanuele “Hellvis” – lead vocals
Kamo – lead guitar, backing vocals
Mik “El Santo” – guitar, backing vocals
Pinna “Yeti” – bass
Alex – drums

Album Review – Witches Of Doom / Obey (2014)

These Italian guys bring you some awesome Doom and Stoner Metal with a unique goth vibe. They’re the Witches of Doom, yeah!

Rating4

Witches-Of-Doom-ObeyThere were so many brilliant Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll bands from the 80’s and part of the 90’s with a strong goth vibe it’s hard to name just a few, like for example The Cult, Paradise Lost and Sisters of Mercy. However, very few bands playing that type of music were created (and survived) in the past decade or so, which unfortunately ended up dragging such a rich genre down to the underground of music. Let’s say that this little “problem” is almost over with the blessed birth of Italian Goth-Stoner-Doom Metal band Witches Of Doom and their outstanding debut album Obey, released a couple of months ago.

Although they’re not reinventing goth, doom or anything else, the way this Rome-based band blends all the elements from those music genres, also adding hints of 70’s Hard Rock and elements of more contemporary heavy music, is beyond amazing. In other words, you’ll be able to easily identify the influence of bands such as Moonspell and Depeche Mode in their music, but it’s far from being just a “cover” band. Witches Of Doom have their own musicality, a modern and personalized goth heavy rock that will please all fans of good occult music.

The Betrayal begins with a Breaking Bad-ish intro before turning into a thrilling mix of Doom Metal and Southern Rock, with highlights to the great vocal performance by Danilo “Groova” Piludu. The last part of the song sounds a lot like American Sludge Metal supergroup Down, especially its raw riffs and soulful solo. Following that excellent beginning, we have Witches of Doom, a much heavier version of that goth music from the 80’s played by Sisters of Mercy and an excellent “business card” from the band (“We are the Witches of Doom, yeah!”), and To the Bone, a song that could be played in any radio station in the world: it’s 100% catchy with a really cool atmosphere. Besides, it’s easy to see how much guitarist Federico “Fed” Venditti loves 80’s rock music based on his guitar lines.

The next track, Needless Needle, is another interesting song full of guitar effects the likes of Paradise Lost and a nice old-fashioned keyboard solo at the end, but its main strength is how the band supports the chorus with their instruments, making it exciting and unique; while the piano ballad Crown of Thorns focus on a more melancholic feeling, especially its lyrics, getting heavier halfway through it.

DSC_0683The second half of the album starts with the awesome distorted guitar and bass lines of Dance of the Dead Flies, which can be considered the first of the two songs that sound like a tribute to the one and only Type O Negative. It’s Doom and Stoner Metal to the maximum heaviness, with kudos to singer Groova for his badass performance on vocals one more time. The second and most Type O Negative-ish song of the album is entitled Rotten to the Core: this is one of those songs tailored to be played during a strip-tease at the most underground Rock N’ Roll strip club in the world, something like From Dusk Till Dawn (and I can even imagine Salma Hayek, or I should say Santanico Pandemonium, doing her sexy dance). In addition, once again the guitar solo enhances the overall energy of the song.

Last but not least, we have It’s My Heart (Where I Feel the Cold), a heavier and a lot better ballad than “Crown of Thorns” with nice piano notes by Graziano “Eric” Corrado and some really dark low riffs, giving it an intense goth vibe; and the title-track Obey, with its tribal intro, powerful keyboards, poetic lyrics (“I was waiting for you in the sky”), and a mesmerizing rhythm. It even has some interesting sitar notes to boost its delicious eerie atmosphere. And just for your information, this song doesn’t actually have 14 minutes: it ends at around minute 8 or 9, “returning” at minute 12 as some kind of “hidden track” that contains only some weird distorted noises.

In summary, Witches Of Doom’s Obey, available at their Big Cartel page, on iTunes and other different places, brings back to you directly from Italy that awesome 80’s goth sonority, offering you everything you loved so much in that era but without sounding obsolete at all. Quite the contrary, those guys are looking to the future of music, supported by their technique, their influences and, more important than that, a lot of feeling and passion for Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: The Betrayal, Dance of the Dead Flies and Rotten to the Core.

Worst moments of the album: Crown of Thorns.

Released in 2014 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. The Betrayal 3:49
2. Witches of Doom 3:54
3. To the Bone 3:49
4. Needless Needle 5:01
5. Crown of Thorns 5:25
6. Dance of the Dead Flies 5:06
7. Rotten to the Core 4:10
8. It’s My Heart (Where I Feel the Cold) 4:17
9. Obey 14:45

Band members
Danilo “Groova” Piludu – vocals
Federico “Fed” Venditti – guitar
Jacopo Cartelli – bass
Graziano “Eric” Corrado – keyboards
Andrea “Budi” Budicin – drums

Album Review – Gory Blister / The Fifth Fury (2014)

It’s time for these talented Italian Death Metallers to unleash the Fifth Fury upon humanity.

Rating4

03. Gory Blister - ArtworkThis year has been more than amazing for Death Metal so far, as there have been tons of kick-ass albums, lots of shredding, huge doses of violence, and thousands of excellent reasons to bang our heads and slam into the circle pits. Joining that demented “2014 Hall of Rage” we welcome The Fifth Fury, the fifth full-length album by Italian Technical Death Metal band Gory Blister.

Formed in the 90’s in Milan, Italy, Gory Blister has recently been through some lineup changes, which includes vocalist John St John (Statica Nera, Orthodox) teaming up with the band in 2012 and more recently the addition of Emi Dattolo (Faust, Illogicist, Eternal Tragedy) as their new bassist. Those changes seem to have had a very positive effect to the band’s musicality and energy, which together with their usual lyric themes such as psychology, poetry and outer space result in some very entertaining extreme music, especially for fans of more technical and melodic Death Metal.

With its blazing guitar duo intro, the opening track Psycho Crave sets the tone of the whole album: a total fuckin’ music madness full of insane blast beats by Joe Laviola, which together with some interesting riffs provide an eerie atmosphere to the listener. Besides, its technical shredding sounds like a heavier version of Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy, which in my opinion is always a good thing. Thresholds, a more brutal but very melodic tune, showcases what John St John is capable of doing with his voice, switching from deeper growls the likes of Krisiun and Deicide to more harsh vocals similar to Jeff Walker from Carcass.

gory blisterFollowing those two sonic tornadoes, the band keeps the momentum going with the fast drumming and ghastly vocals in Toxamine, which disturbing lyrics (“Stomach ulceration, hate perceived / Your blood doesn’t clot / In full clarity of mind / killing is your only wish / Your skin turns red”) turn it into one of the best songs of the album; and Devouring Me, another shredding attack led by Raff with a very melancholic intro. By the way, it’s amazing how an extreme band like Gory Blister can create such atmospheric music without keyboards or synths, don’t you agree?

The dark title-track, The Fifth Fury, narrates the story of “all furies”: First Fury (Tisiphone), Second Fury (Megaera), Third Fury (Alecto), Fourth Fury (Nemesis), and of course, the Fifth Fury created by the band. In Greek mythology, the Furies (or Erinyes) were female chthonic deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses”. By that you can have an idea of how obscure and heavy this song is, also perfectly represented in the album art. Right after all that darkness, comes one of the best songs of the album, if not the best of all, named Prometheus Scars, with its ferocious instrumental, diabolic vocals and great guitar lines. In addition, it has  a meaningful storyline too, as “Prometheus is a Titan who sided with Zeus and the ascending Olympian gods in the vast cosmological struggle against Cronus and the other Titans.”

The last part of the album is not as awesome as all previous tracks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not badass too, starting with (Meet Me) In the Mass Grave, a decent track focusing on a more traditional Death Metal with highlights to the strong bass lines by Emi, followed by the very technical The Grey Machinery, with its hints of Black and Thrash Metal and potent guitar riffs and solos, and finally the bonus track Heretic Infected Orchestra, which starts with a somber piano before becoming a 100% orchestral song with no vocals at all, totally different from the rest of the album and something I would only expect from bands such as Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir.

To sum up, The Fifth Fury, which is available on iTunes and at the official Sliptrick Records online store, ends up being an absolutely fun and fresh heavy music album, especially due to the good distance kept from pedestrian Death Metal, and for offering us all some intelligent content to make us think and learn more about the topics “discussed”. May the Fifth Fury be unleashed upon us!

Best moments of the album: Psycho Crave, Toxamine and Prometheus Scars.

Worst moments of the album: (Meet Me) In the Mass Grave and The Grey Machinery.

Released in 2014 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Psycho Crave 4:26
2. Thresholds 3:30
3. Toxamine 4:15
4. Devouring Me 4:18
5. The Fifth Fury 4:47
6. Prometheus Scars 3:32
7. (Meet Me) In the Mass Grave 3:52
8. The Grey Machinery 3:37

Bonus track
9. Heretic Infected Orchestra 3:34

Band members
John St John – vocals
Raff – guitar
Emi – bass guitar
Joe Laviola – drums