Album Review – Primeval Well / Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits (2021)

This uncanny metal entity is back with their sophomore album, overflowing with the fullness of the rivers, valleys and folk legends and mythology of the mountains of east Tennessee.

Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, commonly known as “Music City” for its vibrant country music scene, the uncanny Experimental Folk/Black Metal entity known as Primeval Well is ready to unleash upon humanity their sophomore effort, entitled Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, the follow-up to their 2019 self-titled album. Absolutely overflowing with the fullness of the rivers, valleys and folk legends and mythology of the mountains of east Tennessee, Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits beautifully represents what the band itself likes to call “Experimental Southern Gothic Black Metal”, offering our ears haunting and unsettling sounds and atmospheres carefully brought forth by Ryan Clackner on vocals and guitars, Luke Lindell on bass, Edward Longo on keyboards and Zac Ormerod on drums, showing a healthy evolution from their debut album and, more important than that, showcasing a stunning fusion of experimental sounds with the aggressiveness of traditional extreme music.

Eerie and cryptic from the very first second, the extended intro Psilocybin Psychosis by the Mountain Top Cross brings forward background vocalizations and wicked noises that set the stage for the band to kill in Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods, where an experimental start explodes into visceral Black Metal to the sick growls by Ryan and the infernal blast beats by Zac, showcasing some interesting breaks and variations and, of course, endless darkness and acidity. After such powerful start, Ryan’s classy guitars are quickly accompanied by the groovy bass by Luke and the galloping drums by Zac in She Flies Undead, less violent at first while presenting a wicked fusion of Southern Rock and Black Metal, or in other words, the epitome of musical experimentation, whereas again exploring new sounds armed with their sonic weapons the quartet adds hints of Doom Metal to their core sonority in Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes, with Ryan kicking ass with both his demented roars and crisp riffage while Edward adds a touch of finesse to the music with his keys.

The title-track Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you to the wicked world ruled by Primeval Well, displaying hellish gnarls, razor-edged Black Metal riffs and classic beats by the quartet, while once again presenting elements from their local culture, it’s time for a stylish hybrid of Gothic, Folk and Black Metal titled Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road, with the guitars by Ryan and the rumbling bass by Luke stealing the spotlight. Then in Where All Things are Forgotten we face a somber, melancholic start to the deep vocals by Ryan, and that atmospheric vibe goes on for over four minutes when everything suddenly bursts into chaos, spearheaded by the massive beast by Zac and finally flowing into the phantasmagorical outro Sickening Laughter with the Grinning Trees, where the acoustic guitars by Ryan walk hand in hand with the song’s haunting background sounds.

The chaotic but at the same time harmonious sounds of the rivers and valleys of Tennessee are waiting for you in Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, an album that might not be an easy listen at first for newcomers to the world of Experimental Black Metal, but that will surely captivate your senses for all eternity once you complete its full musical voyage. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Primeval Well a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to purchase a copy of such dense and distinguished album from their own BandCamp page. In a nutshell, as aforementioned, Ryan, Luke, Edward and Zac did an amazing job in Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits, delivering a majestic hybrid of several metal and non-metal styles that will undoubtedly place the album among the must-have releases of 2021 when the music in question is at the same time experimental and extreme.

Best moments of the album: Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods, Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes and Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road.

Worst moments of the album: Where All Things are Forgotten.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing
1. Psilocybin Psychosis by the Mountain Top Cross 3:20
2. Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods 10:45
3. She Flies Undead 9:44
4. Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes 9:13
5. Talkin’ in Tongues with Mountain Spirits 8:38
6. Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road 9:21
7. Where All Things are Forgotten 8:01
8. Sickening Laughter with the Grinning Trees 2:22

Band members
Ryan Clackner – vocals, guitars
Luke Lindell – bass, vocals
Edward Longo – keyboards, vocals
Zac Ormerod – drums

Album Review – -hrz- / fwd>> EP (2021)

To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. And if you decide to do so, do it to the sound of the debut solo EP by this multi-talented Finnish rocker.

3.0rating

hrz-fwd-ep-2021Hailing from Oulu, Finland, here comes a new Melodic Hard Rock act that goes by the curious name of -hrz-, the solo project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Harri Halonen (better known for his work with the amazing Finnish Hard Rock band Afire), armed with his debut EP entitled fwd>>. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Aki Karppinen at Olga Studios in Tyrnävä, Finland, fwd>> offers us fans five electrifying rock compositions carefully brought into being by Harri, supported by the talented Finnish drummer Ari Kemppainen. “To go forward, sometimes you need to turn back. I grew up in a rural village, mainly known for its potatoes. That’s where my first band with drummer cousin Ari took its baby steps. Now, decades later, we went back, rehearsed and recorded these new songs. No potatoes were harmed in the process. I have a soft spot for melodies and harmonies on a groovy rock song, so that’s what I went for. I handled the vocals and stringed instruments myself, Ari took care of the drums, naturally,” commented Harri about his newborn rockin’ baby.

The opening tune My Way Or The Highway kicks off in full force to the slashing riffs by Harri, sounding like a fusion of Velvet Revolver with his own band Afire, not to mention Ari also does an amazing job with his fast-paced beats and fills. Then presenting elements of modern-day Rock N’ Roll and Southern Rock the duo fires the solid Never Found, once again displaying an electrifying vibe thanks to the excellent job done by Harri with his always sharp guitar lines; and Ari keeps hammering his drums beautifully in Jaws/Claws, where Harri adds hints of the music by bands like Volbeat, Motorjesus and Motley Crüe to his no-shenanigans Hard Rock, inviting us to dance and bang our heads nonstop. The Pyre is even more melodic than its predecessors while at the same time not as frantic, with Harri and Ari being in absolute sync from start to finish, pleasing all fans of the more contemporary versions of rock music, whereas closing the EP it’s time for another Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots-infused tune titled Vortex, showcasing classic guitar lines, groovy bass jabs and pure, old school Hard Rock beats.

hrz-2021You can move forward in your life to the sound of fwd>> by streaming the full EP on Spotify and by purchasing it from Apple Music, and don’t forget to also give Harri a shout on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to his official YouTube channel to stay up to date with all things -hrz-. Although Harri mentioned that he had to take a step back in time before going forward in his career with fwd>>, let’s say that the music found in his debut solo effort is a million light-years away from being obsolete or outdated; quite the contrary, the 20 minutes of rock music offered in the EP exhale modernity and energy, keeping the atmosphere fresh and vibrant from start to finish and, therefore, leaving us eager for more of his distinct melodies and harmonies in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: My Way Or The Highway and Jaws/Claws.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Audion

Track listing
1. My Way Or The Highway 3:06
2. Never Found 4:06
3. Jaws/Claws 3:06
4. The Pyre 3:39
5. Vortex 5:52

Band members
Harri Halonen – vocals, guitars, bass
Ari Kemppainen – drums

Album Review – KLEE Project / Screaming Out Loud (2021)

This talented Italian act is ready to rock and scream out loud once again with their brand new album of old school Southern and Hard Rock.

3.5rating

klee-project-screaming-out-loud-2021Almost three years after the release of their debut album The Long Way, Rome, Italy-based Southern/Hard Rock act Klee Project is finally ready to rock you like a hurricane once again with their brand new album Screaming Out Loud, showcasing all the passion for our beloved rock music by vocalist and guitarist Roberto Sterpetti, guitarist Chicco Gussoni, bassist Lorenzo Poli and drummer Daniele Iacono. Recorded and mixed at Memphistudio in Rome by Frank Altare and Roberto Sterpetti, mastered at Elephant Mastering by Riccardo Parenti, and featuring lyrics by Jessie Galante and a stylish artwork by Antonella Regi, Screaming Out Loud is a lesson in 80’s Hard Rock that will certainly please all fans of the genre. “Screaming Out Loud was composed in a difficult period and we want to remember it as a sign of confidence, a strong reaction in the face of critical moods. The new album is this, a sense of optimism and hope for the future,” commented frontman Roberto Sterpetti.

The guitars by Roberto and Chicco set fire to the music in Another Man, accompanied by the classic Hard Rock beats by Daniele and the rumbling bass by Lorenzo, also presenting hints of Southern Rock and Metal in their core sonority; and continuing their rockin’ path the quartet offers the electrifying Heaven, living up to the legacy of Italian Rock N’ Roll. Moreover, it’s impressive how their guitars sound so dirty and melodious at the same time, not to mention the old school vocals by Roberto, whereas investing in a stronger Southern Rock vibe, it’s time for the headbanging feast titled Wicked Soul, where the band blends 80’s Hard Rock with the modernity of Godsmack, and the final result couldn’t have been better, led by the slashing riffage by Roberto and Chicco. And One Time is another old school, straight-to-the-point creation by KLEE Project where Lorenzo and Daniele provide Roberto a solid base for his raspy vocals, keeping the energy level of the album as high as an eagle flying in the sky.

Razor-edged riffs are the main ingredients in the Rock N’ Roll party Back on in Love Again, with Daniele kicking some serious ass with his pounding drums while Roberto declaims the song’s 80’s Glam Metal-inspired lyrics (“Here we go / Here we go again / Our love keeps sitting on the fence / You’re playing me / Over and over / Want you to move in a little closer”). It’s then time for a classic Hard Rock ballad by those Italian rockers titled One Word, presenting a decent instrumental spiced up by a soulful guitar solo by Chicco, albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album, while back to a more intense musicality the quartet fires the somber and harmonious Right Now, with the band’s stringed trio being in absolute sync from start to finish while Daniele dictates the song’s catchy pace with his classy beats. The title-track Screaming Out Loud is a classic Hard Rock extravaganza where Roberto leads his crew with his vibrant vocals in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll, with Chicco once again stealing the spotlight with another in-your-face guitar solo, and lastly we have You’re My Champion, an atmospheric ballad where Roberto fires some inspirational words supported by the enfolding sound crafted by his bandmates, putting a beautiful ending to the album.

klee-project-2021You can easily find more information about KLEE Project, their music, tour dates, plans for the future and other shenanigans on Facebook and on Instagram, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their official YouTube channel and, above all that, to purchase Screaming Out Loud from Apple Music or from Amazon, and to stream the full album as many times as you want on Spotify. The Italian rockers from KLEE Project are waiting for you to join them for a kick-ass Rock N’ Roll party to the sound of their new album, and I bet as soon as you hit play you’ll be banging your head, screaming out loud and rockin’ like there’s no tomorrow together with the band and your loved ones, just the way things are supposed to be in our lives filled with rock and metal music.

Best moments of the album: Wicked Soul, Back on in Love Again and Screaming Out Loud.

Worst moments of the album: One Word.

Released in 2021 This Is Core

Track listing
1. Another Man 2:44
2. Heaven 3:07
3. Wicked Soul 3:02
4. One Time 3:18
5. Back on in Love Again 3:03
6. One Word 4:07
7. Right Now 3:08
8. Screaming Out Loud 3:15
9. You’re My Champion 4:07

Band members
Roberto Sterpetti – vocals, guitars
Chicco Gussoni – lead guitars
Lorenzo Poli – bass
Daniele Iacono – drums

Guest musician
Corrado Pirri – additional guitars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

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

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

Album Review – Hearts & Hand Grenades / Turning To Ashes (2021)

Featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics, the debut album by this Buffalo, New York-based quartet is an ode to all things Rock N’ Roll.

Almost two years after the release of their debut EP in 2019, Buffalo, New York-based Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll outfit Hearts & Hand Grenades is ready to rock our hearts like there’s no tomorrow with their explosive fusion of rock and metal styles in their first full-length album, entitled Turning To Ashes. Originally founded as a cover band in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress, it didn’t take long for Hearts & Hand Grenades to spread their wings and begin crafting original music for lovers of our good old Rock N’ Roll, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their awesome new album featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics. Comprised of the same lineup since the band’s inception, with the aforementioned Mike Bress being accompanied by vocalist and bassist Stephanie Wlosinski, lead guitarist Kenny Blesy and drummer Tom Lafferty, Hearts & Hand Grenades are sharper than ever in Turning To Ashes, making it a must-listen for admirers of rock music with piercing female vocals and a rebellious attitude.

One of the songs from their 2019 EP, Turning to Ashes, becomes the opening track (and the title-track) in their debut full-length opus, an ode to Rock N’ Roll sounding modern, vibrant and fun from start to finish, followed by For the Weakened, also featured in their 2019 EP, where Stephanie is enraged with her high-pitched, raspy vocals while Kenny and Mike bring hints of Southern Rock to the music with their dirty riffs, showcasing all the band’s versatility. Then we have Daggers, inspired by 90’s Alternative Rock, the third (headbanging) tune from their previous effort where the rhythmic beats by Tom will put you to dance while Stephanie continues to kick ass with both her vocals and rumbling bass; whereas I Hide presents an introspective intro to an Alice In Chains-inspired sonority by the quartet, bringing forward a very pleasant pace boosted by the slashing Hard Rock riffage by Kenny and Mike. Needless to say, it will undoubtedly put a big smile on the faces of admirers of rock music from the 90’s.

The last composition from their 2019 EP, Adrenaline, is a lesson in Hard Rock transpiring sheer adrenaline, of course, with Kenny’s guitar solo bringing an extra touch of electricity to the overall result, and I must say this amazing song can be played on any radio station worldwide. Razor-edged guitars kick off the melodious Nothing Left, where Stephanie steals the spotlight with another fantastic vocal performance, leading her bandmates in this Rock N’ Roll party (not to mention another solid job done by Tom behind his drum set), and it’s time for the quartet to bring forth an entertaining fusion of styles such as Ska and Punk Rock in the amazing The In Crowd, where Stephanie is on fire with her piercing vocals as usual while Kenny and Mike alternate between minimalist guitar lines and pure stamina. Lastly, My Sickness is a classic Hard Rock creation that keeps the album at a high level of energy and heaviness, presenting elements form the music by renowned acts like Hole, AC/DC and Velvet Revolver, therefore leaving us all beyond excited for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

Having said all that, what are you waiting for to join Stephanie, Kenny, Mike and Tom in the high-octane Rock N’ Roll party that is their debut album Turning To Ashes? You can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, stream their rockin’ tunes on Spotify, and above all that, purchase your copy of their incendiary album or stream it as many times as you want by clicking HERE sooner than you can raise your horns and scream “Rock N’ Roll!” Actually, maybe that’s exactly what we need to do, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop to warm us all up for when Turning To Ashes is finally unleashed upon humanity, keeping our beloved rock music alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Daggers, Nothing Left and The In Crowd.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Turning to Ashes 4:18
2. For the Weakened 4:06
3. Daggers 3:39
4. I Hide 4:23
5. Adrenaline 5:30
6. Nothing Left 4:10
7. The In Crowd 3:51
8. My Sickness 4:18

Band members
Stephanie Wlosinski – vocals, bass
Kenny Blesy – lead guitars
Mike Bress – guitars, keyboards
Tom Lafferty – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Cammie Gilbert

Holding on to everything you say… Cause’ your words they paint a picture of me…

In a very difficult year where the world sadly witnessed an increase in violence and racism against black people, and of course the more-than-necessary rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in their fight for freedom, liberation and justice, we at The Headbanging Moose want to share with all of you our humble tribute to another black woman who has been brilliantly fighting all that racism and showing to the world black women have their place in heavy music, just like other rock and metal divas who have already been honored here on our webzine like Melissa Bonny, Militia Vox, Alexis Brown, Thalìa Bellazecca and Kayla Dixon. I’m talking about the multi-talented and gorgeous vocalist and songwriter Cammie Gilbert, the stunning frontwoman for American Progressive Rock and Metal act Oceans of Slumber, a band that has already been labeled by many as “Opeth or Katatonia with female vocals”, but that in my opinion managed to craft their own sound and style, embellishing the airwaves with their delicate but at the same time scorching creations.

Born on October 8, 1987 in Shepherd, a city located in San Jacinto County, Texas, in the United States, Cammie joined Houston, Texas-based Oceans of Slumber at the age of 27, more specifically in the year of 2014 after the departure of the band’s former vocalist Ronnie Allen, who had been with the band since their inception in 2011. Cammie, who’s by the way on a solid and healthy relationship with the band’s founder, drummer and pianist Dobber Beverly, the sole reminiscent of their original lineup, became the primary songwriter for the group after joining, having already released with Oceans of Slumber the EP Blue, in 2015, followed by the full-length albums Winter (2016), The Banished Heart (2018) and more recently Oceans of Slumber (2020), all available for a full listen on Spotify. You can enjoy tons of amazing official videos of Cammie and Oceans of Slumber kicking some serious ass on their YouTube channel, including the songs The Decay Of Disregard, Pray for Fire, The Colors of Grace, The Adorned Fathomless Creation, Winter, To the Sea (A Tolling of the Bells), The Banished Heart, Strange Fruit, Suffer The Last Bridge, a cover version for Candlemass’ Solitude, an acoustic version for Turpentine, and a live in the studio version for the song This Road.

Currently comprised of the aforementioned Cammie and Dobber together with keyboardist Mat V. Aleman and newcomers Jessie Santos and Alexander Lucian on the guitars and Semir Ozerkan on bass, Cammie said that the band’s former guitarists Sean Gary and Anthony Contreras and bassist Keegan Kelly wanted to explore different influences and styles which never fit with what Oceans of Slumber were doing at that time, the kind of tension that’s absolutely normal, but she also said there were tensions as soon as she got into the band, resulting in a split between the former members not wanting to be “female fronted”. “There is a certain metal crowd that thinks its a gimmick. I’m not growling, I just sing clean and am emotional, but a lot of male singers have that emotion too. There’s just stigmas that make anything a woman does, the wrong thing for metal. We had a couple of those old school attitudes and transition wasn’t their strong suite,” mentioned Cammie in one of her interviews.

Apart from her years with Oceans of Slumber, Cammie is also the lead singer for a Houston, Texas-based project called Genoa Band together with Dobber and guitarist Christian Larson, another branch from Oceans of Slumber’s musical tree drawing upon the lyrical and atmospheric production of bands and artists like Nick Cave, Portishead and This Mortal Coil while still sounding heavy but more intimate, playing a fusion of styles such as Southern, Gothic and Dark Rock. However, there’s nothing officially released by the band and no news since mid-2019 when they announced their first single Paraffin was almost ready to be released, making me think if they gave up the idea of moving forward with the project due to everything that has been going on with Oceans of Slumber, including the recording and release of their 2020 self-titled album. You can also find Cammie as a very special guest in the 2020 album Transitus, by Dutch Progressive Metal/Rock project Ayreon, playing the part of Abby throughout the entire album. “We met a friend of Arjen Lucassen over in the UK and he was interviewing us and asked if there was anything that we wanted to tell Arjen. And so Dobber is like, ‘Yeah, if he could get any of us on an album, we’re big fans, and if you could have him listen to The Banished Heart, that’d be great.’ And so he followed through with that request. Shortly after that Arjen wrote that he loved The Banished Heart and he would love to work with me someday. And we were like, ‘Yeah, of course that’d be great.’ And then maybe a couple more months after that, it was, ‘You want to be on the album?’ And I peed my pants,” commented Cammie about her collaboration with one of her idols in heavy music.

When asked to make a list of the top 10 albums that changed her life, Cammie listed a collection of albums that usually occupy a dark corner of her mind where often emotions outweigh the heaviness of the music, including 40 Watt Sun’s 2011 EP The Inside Room, Agnes Obel’s 2013 album Aventine, Alice In Chains’ 1992 album Dirt (which by the way reminds her why she loves the kind of music that she makes), Anathema’s 2012 album Weather Systems, Eivør’s 2015 album Slør, Evergrey’s 2016 album The Storm Within, Katatonia’s 2016 album The Fall Of Hearts, Swallow The Sun’s 2015 triple album Songs From The North I, II & III, Agents Of Oblivion’s 2000 self-titled album, and last but not least, Type O Negative’s 1996 masterpiece October Rust. “I love Peter Steele. We love Type O Negative, there’s  just nothing like it. We go through a lot of his albums but that’s the main one for me. I love Cinnamon Girl, Be My Druidess and also Wolf Moon. Dobber saw them live once. Super jealous. I’ve just had to make up for it by reading the autobiography, and he buys everything he can as far as media regarding the band. It’s an experience to go through their songs. He [Peter Steele] is such a clever lyricist. It’s the funniest kind of music I feel like I listen to. It brings up my energy and makes me happy,” commented our talented vocalist about the unparalleled work by Mr. Peter Steele (R.I.P.).

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In one of her interviews, when questioned about the lack of more black women in heavy music, Cammie said that it’s due to a multitude of reasons, including sexist comments saying that her voice would fit pop or hip hop music much better than metal, and that clean singing that isn’t symphonic is connotated to sounding pop, which might influence the decision of a black woman to move towards a soul, gospel, R&B or blues direction. Cammie herself was basically told to sing in hip hop or pop and to never go anywhere near rock and metal, but no one ever told her why except for the preconceptions already mentioned. “And what Dobber heard in my voice and what he heard from me… I’m a very melancholy person. I’m in and out of bouts of depression and what I identify with metal and metal-adjacent music is, what I identify with the music that I find, if it makes me, if I’m already sad and it makes me sadder then I’m like, “This is going on a playlist.” And I like things that give me these, not give me these dark feelings, but validate my dark feelings, because I feel like that helps me release them,” said Cammie, also saying that she feels that’s changing as there are more and more alternative black and black metalhead females out there. For instance, her own parents were extremely religious, not allowing her to listen to extreme styles like Death Metal or Grindcore, but that’s different now as younger black kids and people in general can have access to all types of metal music through their phones, for example.

When questioned about the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and if metal has a problem with racism, she said that racism is everywhere, and that it’s something more people have to unlearn than they realize, especially in America. Despite being fortunate enough to not experience too many issues related to racism since joining Oceans of Slumber, she stated that she can no longer approach this subject without a multitude of emotions overtaking her resolve, nor keep the angry tears from welling up and pouring out of her eyes when black senators, mayors, celebrities and brave people online share their frustrations over America’s shortcomings. She feels like her history and the entire country are broken, with George Floyd’s death being a tipping point or a catalyst for a new generation to finally say enough is enough due to the undeniable ruthlessness in which his life was taken. “When you think about the history of America, there’s very little that’s good for anyone who isn’t white. That’s just the truth. It leaves a hollow feeling in your chest taking this information in from so many different outlets. You realize this country isn’t fixing something, it’s letting something go,” complemented Cammie about such delicate matter, also saying that in the days ahead we face the challenge of putting these emotions into goal-focused actions.

Lastly, always evolving as a vocalist and always ready to experiment with her music, Cammie is more than sure Oceans of Slumber are already starting to break out of the Progressive Rock and Metal scene, letting her inspirations guide her music and warning people who already like the band that they’ll have to let go of any expectations for what comes next, leaving us curious to see what the future holds for her and for Oceans of Slumber. Furthermore, as the fantastic vocalist  that she is, Cammie surely misses the stage and performing live to the band’s fans and to newcomers to their progressive world, and they’re already thinking of ways of getting back onstage in Houston obeying all recommended protocols of social distancing to keep everyone safe, including obviously all band members. And, of course, all of us fans of a good fusion of progressiveness, emotions and heavy music can’t wait to see Cammie back to where she belongs, mesmerizing us all with her powerful voice and showing us all black girls can and will forever rock no matter what.

Cammie Gilbert’s Official Instagram
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Facebook page
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Instagram
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Twitter
Oceans of Slumber’s Official YouTube channel

“I am a black woman in America and I am the great, great granddaughter of slaves. Memories upheld only in photographs; as a little girl I would try to imagine what their lives were like. But as it goes, reality unravelled the mystery behind my childish imagination. Now when I see old photos in civil war documentaries, I see their faces. When I watch the grainy black and white footage depicting the Jim Crow era, I see their faces. When I watch the films of the marches inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., I see their faces. And now when I sign into social media and see protestors getting tear-gassed, I see their faces, only now mine is there too.” – Cammie Gilbert

Album Review – AC/DC / PWRϟUP (2020)

The greatest Hard rock band of all time returns after the most turbulent period in their career with a brand new (and absolutely powered up) album as a tribute to the deceased Malcom Young.

“This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother. It’s a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott.” – Angus Young, on PWRϟUP

Following the not-so-good 2014 album Rock or Bust and several internal issues with the band, including the passing of co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young in 2017, Australian Hard Rock titans AC/DC seem to be back on track after such turbulent period in their career with the excellent PWRϟUP, also known as Power Up (or even PWR/UP if you prefer), their sixteenth internationally released studio album and the seventeenth to be released in Australia. Featuring a minimalist but sharp artwork by renowned London, UK-based CG artist Ben Ib, and with every track being credited to the band’s masterminds Angus and Malcolm Young (as Angus raided the AC/DC vault of unreleased songs to record the album), PWRϟUP not only marks the return of vocalist Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, all of whom left AC/DC before, during or after the supporting tour for their previous album, rejoining Angus and his other brother Stevie Young on rhythm guitar, but it’s also their first album since 1985’s Fly on the Wall to not include a track containing the word “rock” in the title and the first album since 1988’s Blow Up Your Video to not include a title-track.

As soon as the opening track Realize begins, you already know it’s classic AC/DC right from Angus’ very first note, or in other words, a good old Rock N’ Roll tune perfect for hitting the road where Phil is precise as usual on drums. Moreover,  it’s indeed a true pleasure seeing Brian back where he belongs, which is also the case in Rejection, slightly slower but just as electrifying as the opening tune, a song that will please all fans of the band for sure showcasing Angus and Stevie in perfect sync, not to mention the spot-on, old school backing vocals by Stevie and Cliff. Then we have Shot in the Dark, the AC/DC we’ve all been waiting for, going straight to the point with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements. Needless to say, Angus is once again flawless with his unique riffs and solos throughout the entire song, whereas Through the Mists of Time will take you on a journey back to the 80’s, led by Brian’s trademark raspy vocals and Phil’s steady beats. Put differently, don’t listen to it at home, but only in your car on your favorite highway, alright? Anyway, in the beautifully titled Kick You When You’re Down the music keeps up with what it “promises” in the song’s name, bringing to our ears the strident riffage by Angus and Stevie supported by the heavy kitchen by Cliff and Phil; and sounding like it was taken from one of their classic albums, Witch’s Spell is an amazing tune where Brian is yet again a beast on vocals, while Angus makes sure we keep banging our heads and raising our horns in the name of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll.

Speeding things up and turning up the heat, AC/DC offer our avid ears the electrifying Demon Fire, the epitome of their undisputed Rock N’ Roll that will make your hearts beat faster during their live performances while Angus mesmerizes us as usual with his devilish riffage. In Wild Reputation they get back to a more classic sonority, with all band members providing Brian exactly what he needs to deliver more of his unique vocals, followed by No Man’s Land, by far the weakest of all songs in Power Up. It’s still classic AC/DC with some Southern Rock influences, but it gets tiresome and falls flat after a while, with not even Angus being inspired in this case. Systems Down offers our ears another round of their trademark riffs, beats and truck driver-inspired vocals, keeping the album at a very good level of adrenaline (albeit not as awesome as the rest of the album), not to mention how effective the backing vocals are in supporting Brian, while the second to last explosion of Rock N’ Roll by Brian, Angus & Co. comes in the form of Money Shot, where Angus is not only amazing with his riffs, but his solo is also mesmerizing, and with Cliff bringing his dosage of groove through his wicked bass lines. Lastly, presenting a darker and more badass sound, Code Red is a great option for banging our heads nonstop together with Angus while he slashes his guitar in great fashion, resulting in a beer-drinking tune that puts a rockin’ ending to such old school album.

If you’re a longtime fan of AC/DC, you can go ahead and purchase your favorite copy of the album by clicking HERE or HERE without even listening to a single song from it, but in case you want to do a test-drive before making a decision you can stream PWRϟUP in full on YouTube and on Spotify, also keeping updated will all things AC/DC on Facebook and on Instagram, and listening to more of their undisputed rock music on YouTube and on Spotify. Most bands wouldn’t survive such dark times experienced by AC/DC since 2014, but who are we to question the power of the riff by Mr. Angus Young? I have absolutely no idea if PWRϟUP will be their last album ever, if Angus had to release it in the memory of his deceased brother before calling it quits, or if it’s just the beginning of a new era for the band. All I know is that PWRϟUP rocks, and if that’s by any chance their farewell studio album, let’s say Angus and the boys are going down in style, making Malcom really proud of his family wherever he might be.

Best moments of the album: Realize, Shot in the Dark, Witch’s Spell and Demon Fire.

Worst moments of the album: No Man’s Land and Systems Down.

Released in 2020 Sony Music

Track listing
1. Realize 3:37
2. Rejection 4:06
3. Shot in the Dark 3:06
4. Through the Mists of Time 3:32
5. Kick You When You’re Down 3:10
6. Witch’s Spell 3:42
7. Demon Fire 3:30
8. Wild Reputation 2:54
9. No Man’s Land 3:39
10. Systems Down 3:12
11. Money Shot 3:05
12. Code Red 3:31

Band members
Brian Johnson – lead vocals
Angus Young – lead guitar
Stevie Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals
Phil Rudd – drums, percussion

Album Review – Hvalross / Cold Dark Rain (2020)

Rocking since they were teenagers in punk, metal, prog and rock bands, this fantastic Dutch four-piece act is ready to kick some ass armed with their electrifying debut opus.

Rocking since they were teenagers in punk, metal, prog and rock bands, Roosendaal, Netherlands-based Hard Rock/Stoner Metal act Hvalross, which is by the way the Norwegian word for “walrus” (and don’t ask me why they opted for such distinct name for their band), was born in 2018 after lead singer Gerben van Oosterhout, guitarist Barry Veeke, bassist Maarten Vermeulen and drummer Tristan de Rijk decided to end their three-year musical break to make great hard rocking music together. Heavily influenced by bands such as Mastodon, Judas Priest, Gojira, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but of course with their own Dutch twist, Hvalross have just unleashed upon humanity their debut album, entitled Cold Dark Rain, offering fans of Doom, Stoner and Southern Metal a very good reason for raising their horns and bang their heads to the sound of nine original, heavy-as-hell and groovy compositions in the span of 35 intense minutes.

And it’s time for the quartet to kill in the opening tune Death From Above, a headbanging extravaganza led by the classic riffage by Barry and the pounding beats by Tristan, or in other words, a fusion of old school Hard Rock the likes of AC/DC with heavier and groovier styles that will please all fans of our good old Rock N’ Roll. In Trenchfeet the band sounds clearly inspired by 80’s Heavy Metal infused with Stoner and Doom Metal elements, with Gerben sounding truly epic on vocals supported by the spot-on backing vocals by Maarten. There are no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, it’s straightforward rock music made in the Netherlands for our total delight, and they keep venturing through the realms of Southern Rock and Metal in Finally Repent, where Barry and Maarten make a dynamic stringed duo while Gerben keeps singing with tons of passion. Then I Shot My Best Friend presents a curious name for a high-octane feast of metallic riffs, low-tuned bass jabs and frantic beats, sounding and feeling like an European version of Mastodon with Barry going full progressive on the guitar, while Tristan doesn’t let the level of energy go down not even for a single second.

There’s more of their solid and electrifying rock music in Oblivion, bringing to our ears another round of Gerben’s classic Hard Rock vocal lines accompanied by the groovy bass by Maarten, therefore keeping the album as vibrant as it can be; followed by The Owl, a more melodious and psychedelic tune by Hvalross that will take you on a journey through the 70’s and 80’s to the sound of their strident riffage, rumbling bass and classic beats, with Tristan once again stealing the spotlight with his refined technique. As I Am is a truly neck-breaking Stoner Rock and Metal exhibit by the quartet, blending the groove by Mastodon with the obscurity of Black Sabbath and sounding very detailed from start to finish, with Gerben kicking ass yet again on vocals, whereas the quartet puts the pedal to the metal in the thrilling Playing The Big Game, presenting nonstop sonic action by all band members with Gerben’s vocals being boosted by the incendiary riffs by Barry and the crushing drums by Tristan. Lastly, a more sinister side of the band is showcased in the closing tune Geryon, which despite being another solid and detailed composition it’s not as electrifying as the rest of the album. Maarten’s thunderous bass will punch in the head mercilessly, though, enhancing the song’s impact considerably.

After all is said and done, we must all admit Gerben, Barry, Marteen and Tristan were absolutely precise throughout the entire album, available for a full listen on Spotify, blending elements from all of their rock and metal heroes while at the same time crafting something unique that sounds like Hvalross and nothing else. Hence, as we all love when a band is capable of uniting their passion for heavy music with endless creativity and feeling like the guys from Hvalross did in Cold Dark Rain, let’s show our true support to them by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and obviously by purchasing their newborn opus from their own BandCamp page. And may the walruses of Hard Rock and Stoner Metal keep hammering our heads with their amazing music with countless more albums through the years.

Best moments of the album: Death From Above, I Shot My Best Friend and Playing The Big Game.

Worst moments of the album: Geryon.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Death From Above 3:52
2. Trenchfeet 4:00
3. Finally Repent 3:28
4. I Shot My Best Friend 2:58
5. Oblivion 3:48
6. The Owl 4:02
7. As I Am 3:31
8. Playing The Big Game 3:45
9. Geryon 5:56

Band members
Gerben van Oosterhout – vocals
Barry Veeke – guitars
Maarten Vermeulen – bass, backing vocals
Tristan de Rijk – drums

Album Review – Hellsmoke / 2020 (2020)

Raise your horns to the debut album of gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock by five Swedish rockers who are ready to kick some ass and burn some fuel in the name of good music.

Playing what the band itself likes to call “a gasoline-infused Heavy Metal and Hard Rock combination”, Helsingborg, Sweden’s own Hellsmoke were born when guitarist Christofer Dahlman (Alyson Avenue, Bai Bang) and a previous member of the band got together with their longtime friend and drummer Roger Landin (Cloudscape), starting then to iron out what the band should be all about, which is obviously heavy guitars, pounding drums and rough but refined melodies. With the additions of the skillful vocalist Rimbert Vahlström (Syron Vanes), guitarist Michael Åkesson (Alicate) and bassist Jörgen Löfberg (Darkane) to the crew, it’s time for Hellsmoke to kick some serious ass and burn a huge amount of fuel in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll with their debut full-length album, simply titled 2020, and although the year of 2020 itself is a million light-years away from being even close to decent as you all know, the music found in Hellsmoke’s debut effort positions them as one of the most interesting and electrifying names of the new Swedish scene and of the global Hard Rock scene hands down.

Their infernal train of Rock N’ Roll is about to arrive in the opening track Devils Train, a Volbeat-meets-Black Sabbath-meets-Black Label Society extravaganza with Jörgen being thunderous on bass while Rimbert showcases all his vocal potency right from the start, whereas the blazing guitars by Christofer and Michael ignite their machine once again in the dark and melodic Black Sun Rising, a headbanging tune blending the heaviness of classic metal music with contemporary Hard Rock for our total delight. Following such strong start, there’s nothing better than drinking a cold pint of beer while banging our heads to a fun rockin’ hymn like Rest When You’re Dead, led by the pounding beats by Roger while Rimbert has another sensational performance with his raspy, flammable vocals; and it’s then time for a dark and groovy ballad titled Nowhereland, where Jörgen and Roger generate a menacing atmosphere with their metallic instruments in contrast with the piercing riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael. And there’s more of their fusion of Heavy Metal with Stoner and Southern Rock in Hellcome to the Badland, bringing to our avid ears a hammering sonority with classic beats, strident guitars and very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Rimbert.

Get ready for a frantic pub brawl to the sound of the Rock N’ Roll anthem Raise Your Fist, where all band members are on absolute fire, therefore inspiring us all to (guess what?) raise our fists in the name of rock and metal. Needless to say, Rimbert steals the show once again in this amazing tune, while the band’s unstoppable guitar duo puts the pedal to the metal in the fast and furious Hell Adrenaline, sounding as if Volbeat and Motörhead had a bastard son, exhaling heaviness, groove, electricity and endless adrenaline. The menacing bass by Jörgen kicks off the stoner-fueled, neck-breaking Common Man, where once again we face the soulful riffs and solos by Christofer and Michael intertwined with the intricate, progressive drums by Roger, and in Bad Motor Breath the band shows they’re never tired of blasting old school, badass Rock N’ Roll in what’s perhaps the most Southern Rock-inspired song of all, with Rimbert and Roger taking the lead with their respective dirty vocals and smashing beats. Finally, closing such amazing album let’s enjoy another awesome display of the band’s perfect hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll entitled Nitro Woman, and I must point out  what a bestial performance by the band’s stringed trio, providing Rimbert exactly what he needs to kill with his always precise vocal lines.

Containing absolutely no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, 2020 offers fans of rock and metal a straightforward sound perfect for hitting the road or spending some time with our most beloved friends and family members, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the hard-hitting music by bands like Motörhead, Volbeat, Motorjesus and Black Label Society, proving the guys from Hellsmoke are among us to stay with their incendiary creations. Hence, keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page and Instagram for news, tour dates and everything else surrounding them, and of course don’t forget to support the guys from Hellsmoke by purchasing 2020 from an array of locations including the Pride & Joy Music webstore, the Season of Mist webstore, the Wind Up Production webstore, the Banquet Records webstore, Amazon and so on. As aforementioned, 2020 might be the nastiest, most disturbing and most disgusting year of the past few decades, but at least that damned number will always be well-represented by the smoky and acid music played by those talented Swedish rockers in their newborn spawn.

Best moments of the album: Rest When You’re Dead, Raise Your Fist, Hell Adrenaline and Nitro Woman.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Devils Train 4:09
2. Black Sun Rising 4:50
3. Rest When You’re Dead 4:12
4. Nowhereland 4:52
5. Hellcome to the Badland 4:10
6. Raise Your Fist 3:51
7. Hell Adrenaline 2:57
8. Common Man 5:39
9. Bad Motor Breath 4:27
10. Nitro Woman 4:12

Band members
Rimbert Vahlström – vocals
Christofer Dahlman – guitars
Michael Åkesson – guitars
Jörgen Löfberg – bass
Roger Landin – drums

Album Review – Fenisia / The Spectator (2020)

Have fun with the third and final chapter of the conceptual discography by these Italian rockers, showcasing a fantastic fusion of styles from early Doom Metal to Southern Rock and Alternative Metal.

Produced by Ray Sperlonga (American Idol) at Rosary Lane Studios and mastered by Collin Davis (Imagica, Deeds of Flesh), The Spectator, the brand new album by Rome, Italy-based Alternative Rock/Metal act Fenisia, is a concept album featuring nine Southern Rock-influenced Alternative Metal songs that together represent a bold statement against organized religion, questioning the very roots of faith, telling a story surrounding the English enlightenment newspaper published in England from 1711 to 1712, which quickly became the symbol of modern journalism. Founded in 2009, Fenisia are currently comprised of Nic Ciaz on vocals and lead guitar, J Snake on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Doc Liquido on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Tig Smith on drums, all strongly influenced by the “deep south” sound of the American Southern Rock movement, and their new effort perfectly depicts that influence in their music, offering our ears an even more melodic side of the band if compared to their previous albums Lvcifer and Fenisia Café, released back in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

The opening track Lord Lumieres, the main character of the story told in The Spectator, is very melodic and atmospheric from the very first second, with Nic and J Snake showing no mercy for their stringed axes in a modern Hard Rock party with a 70’s and 80’s twist; and venturing through the lands of Stoner Rock and Metal they bring forth the awesome Sky Oracle, where Nic’s vocals remind me of the early days of the one and only Ozzy Osbourne, while Tig dictates the pace with his classic, neck-breaking beats and fills. Then the low-tuned, rumbling bass by Doc Liquido is quickly joined by the band’s heavy and strident riffs in Manifesto, another excellent tune blending elements from Alternative Rock with classic Rock N’ Roll and Stoner Rock, and you better get ready for another round of incendiary guitars and headbanging beats in Wake Me Up, where Doc Liquido continues to bring the groove to the music with his unstoppable bass, sounding fast and melodious from start to finish with Nic kicking ass on vocals.

Their 70’s vein keeps pulsing in Eternal Cult, with both Nic and J Snake firing their trademark riffs and solos accompanied by Tig’s rhythmic drums, whereas it’s time for a smooth ballad by the quartet titled Burned In My Brain, a pleasant tune albeit not as gripping as their usual Hard Rock, showcasing an introspective performance by Nic on vocals. After a moment of calmness, let’s bang our heads like true maniacs together with Fenisia in Wizard of the World, starting with an infernal riffage before morphing into a feast of Stoner Metal and Hard Rock, also presenting a fantastic sync between Tig and the band’s guitar duo, and adding elements from bands like Down to their Black Sabbath-ish sonority the band offers us the rockin’ Conspiracy Rules, with Nic delivering sheer electricity through his guitar solos. And lastly, as the icing on the cake we have a cover version for Lenny Kravitz’s biggest hit Are You Gonna Go My Way, an amazing rendition by Fenisia adding their own personal touch to the original song, with Doc Liquido being on fire with his bass jabs.

This fun and vibrant amalgamation of styles, from the early Doom Metal played by Black Sabbath to modern-day Alternative Rock and Metal, will soon be available from several locations such as Apple Music and Amazon, or you can simply click HERE and choose your preferred music service to get the album as soon as it’s unleashed upon us all. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Fenisia a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to listen to more of their music on YouTube and on Spotify, showing your support to such talented rock band from the beautiful Italy. Two years in the making, the third and final chapter of the band’s conceptual discography is finally ready to be released, exploring its roots in depth and extending the songwriting a step above the band’s previous releases, therefore putting a beyond climatic ending to such dark story. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join Fenisia and their “friend” Lord Lumieres in the rockin’ world brought into being in The Spectator?

Best moments of the album: Sky Oracle, Wake Me Up and Wizard of the World.

Worst moments of the album: Burned In My Brain.

Released in 2020 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Lord Lumieres 4:38
2. Sky Oracle 4:34
3. Manifesto 4:18
4. Wake Me Up 4:08
5. Eternal Cult 3:45
6. Burned In My Brain 5:42
7. Wizard of the World 4:00
8. Conspiracy Rules 4:33
9. Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz cover) 3:39

Band members
Nic Ciaz – vocals, lead guitar
J Snake – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Doc Liquido – bass guitar, backing vocals
Tig Smith – drums