Album Review – Head of Jeddore / How to Slaughter a Lamb (2021)

Do you know how to slaughter a lamb? If not, let these three Canadian metallers teach you that to the sound of their intense and frenetic debut album.

3.5rating

head-of-jeddore-how-to-slaughter-a-lamb-2021Made up of vocalist Friendly Rich Marsella (Friendly Rich, The Lollipop People) and guitarists Greg Dawson (Olde, Grale) and Billy Curtis (The Abandoned Hearts Club, Cunter), and featuring an array of special guests the likes of Damian Abraham (Fucked Up), Kenny Bridges (Moneen), Greg Wright (Shatterpoint) and Luke Roberts (Gargoyl), Brampton, Canada-based newest metal supergroup Head of Jeddore is ready to kick some ass with their debut album entitled How to Slaughter a Lamb, offering up a slab of sophisticated mayhem for fans of Mr. Bungle, System of a Down and the (more adventurous) Melvins. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg himself at BWC Studios, How to Slaughter a Lamb brings to our ears an intense and frenetic metal attack, tapping into a wide variety of musical influences that goes from Stoner and Doom Metal to more modern styles such as Groove and Alternative Metal, while staying fierce and fiery throughout its 31 minutes of music.

The title-track How to Slaughter a Lamb kicks off at full speed with Mr. Marsella delivering demented vocal lines à la Mike Patton while Billy and Greg fulminate our ears with their rockin’ riffs, and more of their sonic insanity comes in the form of Into the Well, bringing elements of the Progressive and Groove Metal blasted by bands like Gojira and Mastodon and with its intricate and visceral drums adding an extra touch of aggressiveness to the overall result. Back to a more straightforward, in-your-face mode, the trio offers our ears the groovy The Age of Entitlement, where once again Billy and Greg feed Marsella with everything he needs to vociferate like a rabid creature; whereas sick guitar riffs and solos will pierce your mind without a single drop of mercy in The Tragedy Network, while we face at the same time a humongous amount of rage and lunacy through the band’s classic beats and vocals. And slowing things down a bit and adding elements from Alternative Metal to their core sonority, it’s time for another wicked musical voyage with Head of Jeddore titled Let Me Rot, where Marsella is once again bestial on vocals.

The trio continues to haunt our damned souls with their high-octane fusion of rock and metal styles in Kathmandu, reminding me of the early days of System Of A Down, with Billy and Greg giving a lesson in how to pulverize their stringed weapons, while Blood Waltz is another demolishing, awesome composition by those Canadian metallers offering us all a hybrid of Stoner and Doom Metal with Progressive Metal that will certainly please any fan of good music worldwide. Then showcasing a Children of the Grave-inspired riff it’s time for Marsella to growl and roar manically once again in The Old Man and the Sea, a song that will certainly put you to bang your head nonstop together with the band; and their Mastodon vein arises one more time in Peepholes and Moles, also presenting hints of the sick creations by Faith No More, not to mention the kick-ass riffs by the band’s talented guitar duo beautifully accompanied by the song’s hammering drums. And finally, a Death Metal-inspired gnarl ignites the closing tune The Bake Sale, before all hell breaks loose one last time inviting us all to slam into the circle pit until its vile and sluggish grand finale.

head-of-jeddore-2021In summary, if you consider yourself a true explorer of the world of rock and metal music, you should definitely give the guys from Head of Jeddore a shot. This talented Canadian act offers in their new album everything you can imagine in terms of creativity, heaviness, insanity and more, positioning them as one of the best new names of the Canadian scene. Hence, don’t forget to show them your love by following them on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Head of Jeddore, and even more important than that, by purchasing a copy of their sick new album by clicking HERE. And who knows, maybe one day those metallers from the Great White North will actually teach you how to slaughter a lamb.

Best moments of the album: How to Slaughter a Lamb, Kathmandu and Blood Waltz.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. How to Slaughter a Lamb 2:59
2. Into the Well 3:20
3. The Age of Entitlement 3:07
4. The Tragedy Network 2:41
5. Let Me Rot 4:05
6. Kathmandu 3:18
7. Blood Waltz 2:06
8. The Old Man and the Sea 3:08
9. Peepholes and Moles 3:09
10. The Bake Sale 3:23

Band members
Friendly Rich Marsella – vocals
Billy Curtis – guitar
Greg Dawson – guitar

Guest musicians
Damian Abraham – vocals
Tyler Semrick-Palmateer – vocals, guitar
Luke Roberts – vocals, guitar, bass
Greg Wright – guitar
Kevin Theodoropolus – vocals
Matt Nimmo – vocals
Brandon McColl – guitar
Kenny Bridges – vocals, guitar
Shane Drake – vocals
Erik Hughes – bass, vocals
Steve Mitchell – vocals, guitar

Album Review – Discarded Self / Discarded Self (2021)

Created during a time of personal isolation, the debut solo album by this Canadian metaller ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation.

3.5rating

discarded-self-discarded-self-2021Flooding forth with misery and hate comes the first (and self-titled) album from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada-based Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal act Discarded Self, the solo project from Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach, who’s also a member of the bands Destroy My Brains and Ashes of Yggdrasil. Created during a time of personal isolation, the album ranges from tales of the macabre to introspective trips into self-loathing and personal degradation that dredge up terrible memories of the past to drown in personal regret. In other words, there is no hope for the future in the debut opus by Discarded Self, only darkness and hatred in the form of raw, unfiltered extreme music recorded at Doom Tomb Studios, featuring an array of local Canadian drummers as special guests, and displaying a beyond demonic artwork by Thahir M (The Black Catalogue) and Angel Carvallo (Avenged Creations).

Featuring B.J. Gingell (of Dahlmers Realm) on drums, the opening tune I Smell Pipes brings forward a cryptic intro accompanied by the low-tuned, damned bass by Jarret, evolving into a sluggish, sinister Doom Metal feast that will put you to bang your head until your neck breaks in half; and it’s time for drummer Jadan Paluck (of Destroy My Brains and Wrought) to crush our heads in Orbitoclast, with Jarret roaring like a rabid beast while he slashes his axe in great fashion at the same time in an awesome display of modern-day Sludge and Stoner Metal. Then get ready for 10 minutes of suffocating Blackened Doom Metal masterfully brought into being by Jarret in Push The Knife, with guest Brett Stewart (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) on drums and backing vocals, with Jarret sounding utterly demonic on vocals and also firing melodious, grim riffs for our total delight. And Jadan returns with his darkened and sluggish beats in the full-bodied aria entitled On The Unlevel, supporting Jarret in his quest for doom. Jarret’s bass punches sound even more menacing than before, not to mention how the aggressiveness and malignancy grow in intensity as the music progresses, therefore resulting in a disturbing Doom Metal feast.

Robert Hayman (of Ashes of Yggdrasil) is the guest drummer in I’m Weak, blasting his drums fiercely while Jarrett is infuriated with both his raspy screams and venomous riffage, or in other words, this is another fantastic option to headbang like a true metal maniac, whereas B.J. is back in action in Cultist Of The Pentagram in total sync with Jarrett’s devilish gnarls, riffs and bass jabs, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline, rage and darkness. Then rumbling bass sounds will punch you in the head in Abused (e)Motionless, with Jarret once again adding his share of evil to the overall result through his wicked growls in a solid display of Blackened Sludge Metal. Jarret comes ripping one last time with his somber guitar lines in Dance Upon The Dead, while Jadan returns with his slow and steady beats; it lacks a little of the punch from its predecessors, though, but it’s still a damn good song. And if you go for the limited edition of the album you’ll be treated to Discarded Self’s cover version for Upside Down as a bonus, just as demented and heavy as the original version from the almighty Fistula’s 2006 EP For a Better Tomorrow.

discarded-self-2021Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach and his Discarded Self are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, but of course in order to show your true support to underground Sludge and Doom Metal you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. As already mentioned, Discarded Self was brought into being during a time of personal isolation for Jarret, which proves once again extreme music is the perfect channel for all hatred, frustrations and fear we’ve been experiencing worldwide since the beginning of this endless pandemic. In other words, let’s all succumb to the dark side and join Jarret in his world of insanity and hopelessness, with his solo effort representing the perfect soundtrack to our damnation.

Best moments of the album: Orbitoclast, Push The Knife and I’m Weak.

Worst moments of the album: Dance Upon The Dead.

Released in 2021 Sarcophagus Recordings

Track listing   
1. I Smell Pipes 7:26
2. Orbitoclast 6:35
3. Push The Knife 10:51
4. On The Unlevel 10:04
5. I’m Weak 5:30
6. Cultist Of The Pentagram 5:55
7. Abused (e)Motionless 7:52
8. Dance Upon The Dead 8:27

Limited Edition bonus track
9. Upside Down (Fistula cover) 8:05

Band members
Jarret “Fuzzgod” Beach – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
B.J. Gingell – drums on  “I Smell Pipes” and “Cultist Of The Pentagram”
Jadan Paluck – drums on “Orbitoclast”, “On The Unlevel”, “Dance Upon The Dead” and “Upside Down”
Brett Stewart – drums and backing vocals on “Push The Knife”
Robert Hayman – drums on “I’m Weak” and “Abused (e)Motionless”

Album Review – Motorjesus / Hellbreaker (2021)

Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene to the sound of their fantastic newborn album.

4.5rating

motorjesus-hellbreaker-2021Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to rev up your engines once again to the sound of the first-class, undisputed fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock brought forth by Mönchengladbach, Germany-based rockers Motorjesus, who have just unleashed upon us all their brand new studio album, beautifully titled Hellbreaker. Following up on the success of their 2014 album Electric Revelation and their most recent opus Race to Resurrection, released in 2018, the band comprised of Chris “Howling” Birx on vocals, Andreas “Andy” Peters on lead guitars and Oliver Beck on drums, supported by their buddies Patrick Wassenberg on rhythm guitars and  Dominik Kwasny on bass, truly stepped up their game in Hellbreaker, offering fans of heavy music the perfect soundtrack for crossing the fires of the underworld in the best rockin’ style together with the band.

A cinematic start is quickly joined by the scorching riffs by Andreas and Patrick in the electrifying feast Drive Through Fire, before Chris comes ripping with his trademark, soaring vocals, inviting us all to hit the road in the name of Rock N’ Roll, and if you think that was awesome wait until you listen to the Motörhead-infused hymn Battlezone, with Oliver smashing his drums in great fashion accompanied by the rumbling bass by Dominik. Put differently, this song will sound beyond perfect if played live, and Motorjesus keep driving way over the speed limit in the superb Hellbreaker, where Chris beautifully sings the song’s rockin’ lyrics (“This is the meltdown / Generation of the steel / When the worlds collide, together / Between the angels and the hell machine”) while his bandmates not only kick some ass with their sonic weapons but also with their spot-on backing vocals. Then it’s time for a Southern Rock and Metal party together with the boys in Beyond the Grave, a neck-breaking tune showcasing the dirty, furious riffage by Andreas and Patrick supported by Dominik and his classic bass jabs, whereas putting the pedal to the metal once again the saviors of Rock N’ Roll will put us to dance in Dead Rising, where all band members are in absolute sync while Chris takes the lead with his visceral vocal lines.

You better have some inner fuel left as the band’s rockin’ energy keeps flowing nonstop in Car Wars, another amazing tune by those German rockers where the riffs and solos by the band’s guitar duo are absolutely thrilling, also presenting hints of our good old Rockabilly; and the thunderous bass by Dominik kicks off the Heavy Metal mid-tempo extravaganza Firebreather, as melodic and groovy as it can be, being therefore perfect for some headbanging, beer drinking and horns raising, not to mention its stylish lyrics (“Got no place to call my own / Another journey starts now / As we’re marching on / On the path that leads, / but it’s too soon / You’re on the crossroads to your doom”). More of their trademark Hard Rock is presented to us in the form of Lawgiver, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline with Andreas and Patrick once again stealing the spotlight with their refined axes, while Black Hole Overload is a heavier and denser creation by Motorjesus where the band’s stringed trio has all the support they need from Oliver’s pounding drums to shine with their Stoner Metal sounds. They still have enough stamina for another round of their frantic Rock N’ Roll in Back to the Bullet, once again inspired by the furious music by Motörhead, with Chris sounding truly enraged form start to fish for our total delight, flowing into the acoustic and smooth outro The Outrun, soothing our souls after such avalanche of incendiary heavy music.

motorjesus-2021I guess I don’t need to say that Hellbreaker, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, is a mandatory addition to your rock and metal collection, right? It’s undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year, and it will surely inspire you to bang your head and sing along with the band every time you hit the highway. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Motorjesus a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their gasoline-infused creations on Spotify, and above all that, to buy or stream your favorite version of Hellbreaker by clicking HERE or HERE. The one and only “Motorjesus”, perhaps the coolest guy you’ll ever find out there, is ready to break through the fires of hell armed with his undisputed Rock N’ Roll. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join him in his awesome adventure? Simply hit play, raise your horns, and enjoy the ride.

Best moments of the album: Battlezone, Hellbreaker, Dead Rising, Car Wars and Back to the Bullet.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Track listing  
1. Drive Through Fire 5:52
2. Battlezone 3:36
3. Hellbreaker 4:07
4. Beyond the Grave 3:40
5. Dead Rising 3:47
6. Car Wars 3:35
7. Firebreather 4:28
8. Lawgiver 5:05
9. Black Hole Overload 4:35
10. Back to the Bullet 3:51
11. The Outrun 1:55

Band members
Chris “Howling” Birx – vocals
Andreas “Andy” Peters – lead guitars
Oliver Beck – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Wassenberg – rhythm guitars (live/session)
Dominik Kwasny – bass (live/session)

Album Review – Sahara / The Curse EP (2021)

One of the most celebrated cult acts from the Argentinian scene is back with a brand new EP, offering us all a rusty-cage raw, drugged-out and dark fusion of Stoner, Sludge and Doom Metal.

3.0rating

sahara-the-curse-ep-2021A cult band in the Stoner and Doom Metal scene, Paraná, Argentina’s own Sahara released two celebrated studio full-length albums as well as a live album and a split with Mephistofeles before involuntarily disbanding in 2019. However, with the help of Mephistofeles members Gabriel Ravera on bass and Ivan Sacharczuk on drums, Sahara’s founder, vocalist and guitarist Martin Ludi decided to continue with the band, firing on all cylinders now in 2021 with a brand new four-track EP fittingly titled The Curse, the result of what Sahara have become and a hint of what the future holds for the band. Recorded at Evil Fidelity Studios on tape by John Follador and mixed by Dangerous, The curse offers fans of the genre a rusty-cage raw, drugged-out and dark fusion of Stoner, Sludge and Doom Metal that sounds at he same time punkish and impossibly catchy, proving the band’s comeback is not a curse, but in fact a blessing to the South American underground.

Vile and dirty from the very first second, the trio smashes their instruments flawlessly in the 70’s-inspired opening tune Hell on Earth, showcasing an amazing job done by Ivan with his old school drumming while Martin fires at the same time devilish riffs and Ozzy Osbourne-ish vocals; whereas the low-tuned, crude bass by Gabriel kick off the venomous Altar of Sacrifice, bringing to our ears more of their classic Doom Metal (not to mention the sick guitar solos by Martin), being tailored for admirers of damned and sharp doom. Following such obscure creation, Gallows Noose has a mysterious and hypnotizing vibe found in the music by Black Sabbath and Candlemass while also presenting elements from Psychedelic Rock, with Martin and Gabriel being in absolute sync with their stringed weapons by darkly jamming like there’s no tomorrow. Lastly, closing the EP it’s time for an instrumental extravaganza in the form of the title-track The Curse, where the bass punches by Gabriel will smash your heads mercilessly accompanied by the Stoner and Doom Metal beats by Ivan.

sahara-2021Like a violent phoenix arising from the ashes, Sahara are back in action stronger than ever with their newborn spawn The Curse, reclaiming their throne as the kings of doom in the Argentinian scene and, of course, aiming at spreading their damned wings and reaching new heights in the world of heavy music. Having said that, don’t forget to start following Martin and his henchmen on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates (if we’ll ever have those again, of course), more of their music and other nice-to-know info about the band, and above all that, to grab your copy of The Curse from the Regain Records’ BandCamp page or from the Shadow Records’ webstore, showing everyone you’re a true servant of doom and, therefore, allowing Sahara’s Stygian curse to haunt your soul for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Hell on Earth.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Regain Records

Track listing
1. Hell on Earth 4:57
2. Altar of Sacrifice 3:00
3. Gallows Noose 6:13
4. The Curse (Instrumental) 2:53

Band members
Martin Ludi – vocals, guitar
Gabriel Ravera – bass
Ivan Sacharczuk – drums

Album Review – Olde / Pilgrimage (2021)

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, one of the most hardworking bands of the Canadian scene returns with another round of their acid Doom Metal in their third full-length album.

Patiently awaiting for their next victim on the darkest corners of Malton, a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, located to the northwest of Toronto, the unrelenting Doom Metal entity known as Olde is back in action after four long years with their third full-length opus, entitled Pilgrimage, following up on the heaviness, aggression and madness of their 2017 album Temple. Written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Olde, with all production and mastering being done by the band’s own guitarist Greg Dawson at BWC Studios in Kingston, Ontario, displaying an apocalyptic artwork by Alexandre Goulet, and featuring guests Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (of Voivod) and Nichol S. Robertson on the guitars and Nick Teehan on saxophone, Pilgrimage will smash your cranial skull mercilessly, showcasing all the passion for doom by vocalist Doug McLarty, guitarists Chris Hughes and Greg Dawson, bassist Cory McCallum and drummer Ryan Aubin.

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, the sluggish beats by Ryan dictate the pace in the massive title-track Pilgrimage, with Chris and Greg extracting sheer obscurity from their axes while Doug delivers his usual roars for our total delight, whereas accelerating their pace like a behemoth of doom, Cory’s rumbling, low-tuned bass will pierce your soul in A New King, while the guitars by Chris and Greg exhale dementia and darkness from start to finish in a great display of Sludge and Doom Metal. Then we have Medico Della Peste, an awesome creation by those five talented Canadians bringing to our ears everything we love in Doom and Stoner Metal, including slow and steady beats, dirty riffs, soulful solos and the trademark raspy vocals by Doug; and the sharp but very delicate sound of their guitars is a thing of beauty in the atmospheric In Defiance, with Cory and Ryan generating a sinister wall of sounds with their bass jabs and classic drums, sounding perfect for breaking your neck headbanging.

More of the band’s classic Doom Metal is offered to our avid ears in The Dead Hand, once again dragging us down to the underworld, showcasing wicked lyrics barked by Doug while his bandmates make sure every single space in the air is filled with insanity, not to mention the sick sax solo by guest Nick Teehan. Then the tribal drums by Ryan ignite the damned feast entitled Depth Charge, tailored for admirers of the genre, bringing forward a violent yet melodic guitar solo to enhance our senses and with Doug once again leading his demented horde with his deep voice. In Under Threatening Skies we’re treated to over six minutes of first-class Canadian doom spearheaded by the visceral riffage by Chris and Greg together with the thunderous bass by Cory, resulting in an awesome composition that lives up to the legacy of old school Doom Metal; whereas raw riffs and slow, primeval beats kick off the closing tune Wastelands, where a menacing sonority flows slowly and majestically until the very end with Doug once again screaming in anger and pain, putting a vintage ending to the album.

After all is said and done, you’ll be more than tempted to succumb to the most doomed side of music together with Olde, with Pilgrimage representing another awesome step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Canadian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their damned catalogue on Spotify, and to put your dirty hands on a copy of Pilgrimage by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Sludgelord Records’ BandCamp page or from the Seeing Red Records’ webstore. Let’s all walk together with Olde on their journey of doom to the sound of their newborn spawn, showing the entire world that whenever their music sounds as heavy, grim, unfriendly and sluggish as it can be, that means it’s mission accomplished for such hardworking band of doom from the Great White North .

Best moments of the album: A New King, Medico Della Peste and Under Threatening Skies.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Sludgelord Records/Seeing Red Records

Track listing
1. Pilgrimage 5:03
2. A New King 5:20
3. Medico Della Peste 4:05
4. In Defiance 6:44
5. The Dead Hand 5:11
6. Depth Charge 3:47
7. Under Threatening Skies 6:08
8. Wastelands 5:44

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solos

Guest musicians
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – guitars
Nichol S. Robertson – guitars
Nick Teehan – saxophone

Album Review – Wojtek / Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops? EP (2021)

Bang your heads in total isolation to the sound of the new EP by this Italian Sludge Metal entity, offering us all four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns.

Wojtek is a basic, Polish male name. Wojtek is also a Syrian bear who fought in the Battle of Cassino, during World War II, carrying crates of ammunition and roaring at enemies. And Wojtek is also a Padua, Italy-based band born in May 2019, playing a heavy and raw fusion of Sludge and Doom Metal, and who have just released their third EP curiously titled Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, offering fans of heavy music four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns. Comprised of vocalist Mattia Zambon, guitarists Morgan Zambon and Riccardo Zulato, bassist Simone Carraro and drummer Enrico Babolin (who was also the producer of the album), Wojtek dig deeper into their favorite topic, that being human misery, in each of the four tracks of the EP, with the mixing and mastering by Mattia Bonafini, the cryptic artwork by the band’s own guitarist Riccardo Zulato and the logo by View From The Coffin adding an extra touch of darkness, rage and despair to the band’s venomous metal music, therefore living up to the legacy of the most primeval form of Sludge Metal.

In the opening track Catacomb we’re treated to wicked lyrics growled by Mattia (“Grow my fears / Is this town real? / Drill my ears / Endless pain I feel / Whenever you whisper I break / Every inch of my muscles will shake”) while his bandmates blast their instruments with tons of rage and aggressiveness from the very first second in an infernal display of contemporary Sludge Metal, and Enrico continues to add his share of animosity to their rebellious music through his Thrash and Death Metal beats in Desensitized, with Morgan and Riccardo slashing their strings mercilessly. Put differently, this is a neck-breaking, violent tune that reeks of progressiveness and obscurity. Then an instrumental and absolutely atmospheric horror movie-inspired interlude entitled Rednetrab (or “bartender” backwards) will send shivers down your spine before those Italian metallers come crushing one last time with their dirty and Stygian sounds in XX Years, a beyond disturbing creation where the bass punches by Simone will hit you right in the face while Mattia vociferates rabidly à la Mike Patton, bringing to our ears a flawless hybrid of Hardcore and modern-day Stoner and Sludge Metal tailored for admirers of the genre.

If you’re curious to know more about Wojtek and their wicked creations, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram right away, and grab your copy of Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, from several locations including the band’s own BandCamp page, the Ripcord Records’ BandCamp page, the Teschio Dischi’s BandCamp page, the Violence In The Veins’ BandCamp page, and Apple Music. In the end, it looks like this never-ending pandemic has been extremely fruitful for the guys from Wojtek, inspiring them to turn their inner darkness and frustrations into first-class doom and, consequently, offering us all another good reason to keep banging our heads while in total isolation from society.

Best moments of the album: Desensitized and XX Years.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Ripcord Records/Shove Records/Teschio Dischi/Fresh Outbreak Records/Violence In The Veins

Track listing
1. Catacomb 4:37
2. Desensitized 5:02
3. Rednetrab 4:08
4. XX Years 5:31

Band members
Mattia Zambon – vocals
Morgan Zambon – guitars
Riccardo Zulato – guitars
Simone Carraro – bass
Enrico Babolin – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Jeanne Sagan

Am I the monster you created?

After such a difficult year for all of us, let’s start 2021 off with a bang to the sound of the rumbling, menacing bass by a woman that has been nothing but amazing to the metal community with her refined skills, her passion for heavy music and her immensurable contribution to the Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Metalcore scene. Not only that, she’s also a very talented singer and pianist, showcasing all her versatility and allowing her to take part in any type of band from an array of styles. Born on January 11, 1979 in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States, Jeanne Sagan (also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak) is the ass-kicking bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal band Crossing Rubicon, and also known as the former bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Metalcore band All That Remains from 2006 to 2015, having been embellishing the airwaves with her bass since 2001 and, more important than that, being ready to make this new year that has just been born a lot more fun with her music.

Having also played for a band called The Acacia Strain in 2003, Jeanne originally worked merchandise tables for Prosthetic Records before being called to join All That Remains in 2006 to replace their former bassist Matt Deis, which was by the way a funny story according to Jeanne herself as she had moved out to Arizona thinking she was done with Massachusetts, but after meeting someone at the record label and started helping out she ended up getting back to her birth state. In addition, if you think she comes from a family of musicians let me tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. When asked if she grew up in a musical household, Jeanne said that she only started in the world of music when she was in sixth grade, picking up the trumpet as her first instrument during high school, also mentioning her younger brother is also into music, DJ’ing and touring with bands, despite the fact their parents are not musicians. It was only when she was in college that she started playing bass and jamming with bands, and from that moment on the world of heavy music gained a new badass bass player.

Jeanne Sagan is also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak due to the fact she’s married to American vocalist Scott Wawrzyniak, better known by his stage name of Scotty Anarchy, the frontman for metal bands Crossing Rubicon and Piercing Immortality. In one of their interviews together, Scott and Jeanne said they met through two mutual friends, Ian Jones and Rusty Kupier, sometime in 2011, with Scott saying he was instantly attracted to Jeanne’s passion and kindness, but as he was married at that time it wasn’t the right thing to do (and Jeanne said she used to run away from him because of that connection she felt with him). A few years later Scott was single and playing a Buckcherry show, and Jeanne approached her after the show to talk, asking for his number, and they have not stopped talking since, saying it’s easy to play in a band with his wife as he gets to look to his right every night and see his best friend, his soul mate and the love of his life sharing his passion with him. Jeanne complemented by saying their bond is greater and stronger than they could have ever dreamed, mentioning important milestones like their mutual fight for sobriety as one of the things that strengthen their relationship every single day.

Regarding her 10-year stint with American Metalcore band All That Remains, from 2006 to 2015, as aforementioned she joined the band while working on the merch table for Prosthetics Records, having recorded her first single with the band that same year, the excellent The Air That I Breathe, proving she was the perfect choice for handling the band’s bass duties. After that first single, Jeanne recorded an array of first-class albums with the band, those being The Fall of Ideals (2006), Overcome (2008), …for We Are Many (2010), A War You Cannot Win (2012) and The Order of Things (2015), as well as a live album and DVD in 2007 simply titled Live, and you can enjoy her rumbling bass smashing your senses in songs such as What If I Was Nothing, This Probably Won’t End Well, Two Weeks, The Last Time, Chiron and This Calling, or simply go to the band’s Spotify profile to stream each one of those albums in full.

However, in 2015 Jeanne announced her amicable departure from All That Remains in order to pursue personal interests (and by that I mean playing bass and backing vocals in Crossing Rubicon alongside her husband), being replaced by Aaron “Bubble” Patrick, formerly of the band Bury Your Dead. At the time of her departure form the band, Jeanne commented, “It is with heavy heart that I depart from All That Remains. I’ve decided to follow my heart and pursue other opportunities in life. I truly appreciate the amazing experiences and the great fans over the last decade. I wish ATR all the best going forward.” She said that just like in every band there are ups and downs to everything, and in that particular case the negatives started to outweigh the good, which drove her away eventually. She does take away growing as a person and as a musician, though, becoming more outgoing and overcoming insecurities, standing up for herself and getting the courage to follow her own path.

Now as the bass player and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne seems to be enjoying a lot more freedom in her bass playing style and in contributing to the band’s writing process, having already recorded with the band their two full-length albums so far, those being  No Less than Everything, in 2016, and more recently Seeing Red, in 2019. Formed in 2009 in Bristol, Connecticut, in the United States, and having their name inspired by the expression “Crossing (the) Rubicon”, which means to pass a point of no return after Julius Caesar’s crossing of the river Rubicon in Italy in 49 BC, the band offers a molten blend of 80’s hooks and musicianship with modern rock power and relevance, having already opened for renowned acts including Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Pop Evil and many more. Hence, if you want to enjoy some of the creations by Crossing Rubicon, simply search for them on Spotify or watch their official videos on YouTube for songs like The Fallen, Who’s Gonna Save You, I Will Remain and Seeing Red.

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Apart from her career with All That Remains and Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne is also featured in several other bands and projects, all hailing form the United States. For instance, she has been the bass player for a Mathcore band called Blood Has Been Shed, known for having two members of Killswitch Engage (Howard Jones and Justin Foley) in the band, since 2012, but nothing official has been released with Jeanne on the band so far (and no one knows if that will ever happen). She’s also a member of a Heavy Metal band called Piercing Immortality under the moniker Jeanne Anarchy, also with her husband Scotty Anarchy on vocals as mentioned before, playing bass and backing vocals on their 2018 EP Systematic Global Poisoning and on their 2019 EP Risen from the Ashes, and in her years before All That Remains she was the bassist for Metalcore band Ligeia, for Technical Metalcore band Light Is the Language (having recorded with them the EP The Void Falls Silent, in 2001), and for Metalcore band The Acacia Strain in 2003. In addition, you can also find Jeanne as the guest bassist for Stoner/Sludge Metal band Oxen in their 2015 album The Vanishing.

As any true rock and metal fan, Jeanne has a lot of different influences and idols regarding not only her playing style but also her looks. She said that apart from her past in the Hardcore scene, which has obviously had an impact on her style, she also considers both of Tool bass players (Paul D’Amour and Justin Chancellor) and Jason Newsted-era Metallica as her biggest influences in music. Furthermore, although she has always looked up to rock stars with larger than life personas like David Bowie, being a little envious of all his bright and vibrant hair colors, she said she’s never done anything too extreme with her appearance, considering herself more of a Janis Joplin than a Lady Gaga, and when asked about which bands or artists she enjoys listening to, she mentioned amazing options from the rock and metal scene including Hatebreed, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths and so on. Her equipment is also a very important part of her career, and you can see her in different stages of her life using several ass-kicking pieces such as a black cherry Spector Legend 4 Classic four-string bass with EMG 35DC active pickups and Ampeg SVT bass amplifiers, a Soundgear 4-strings and an ARTB100 four-string (the latter of which can be seen in the music video for the song Hold On), Orange amplifiers and Omega speaker cabinets, Tiny Terror 1000 watt, Boss tuner, Darkglass B7K, and Shure wireless system.

Touring is obviously a crucial piece in the career of any rock and metal musician, and it couldn’t be any different than that with Jeanne. In one of her interviews, she talked about how important it is not only to put on a great show on stage, but also to hang out with the other bands, to meet new people, to do great interviews and to convince people who are seeing the band for the first time how great their music is. Apart from festivals like Graspop and Ozzfest, where not only she said she had an amazing time and was able to watch performances by bands she enjoys a lot like Dragonforce, Jeanne mentioned that she would like to return to festivals such as Download and Rock Am Ring, and to explore a little more countries like Japan. She also said that playing a lot of shows in a short span of time plus all the traveling can be a little exhausting, but that in the end she feels great after seeing so many happy fans attending the concerts. Moreover, in order to stay fit and put on a kick-ass show on stage, Jeanne and her bandmates said that they try to stay in shape by running a lot (around the parking lots), going to the gym and cooking on the bus (instead of eating junk food), usually having much healthier eating habits than if they were all at home.

Our dauntless bassist also has some interesting thoughts about the current state of metal in the digital age we’re all living in, saying that although metal is alive and kicking, a lot of people refused to change and got stuck in their old mentalities, fighting and ignoring downloading music instead of finding a way to use it as an advantage. However, if there’s one thing that annoys Jeanne is the fact that people keep taking pictures, recording everything and posting that online when her band is playing live instead of enjoying the show. “What does get annoying is people just staring at their phones when we’re playing and I wonder, are we doing our jobs right? What can we do to get their attention? We’re there to put on a show and that’s our focus,” complained our skillful bass player, and we must all agree with her that such behavior is indeed quite disturbing. Jeanne also talked about the fact she’s been doing a lot more vocals both in the studio and on stage, both clean and harsh ones, something that she used to be insecure about and learned how to overcome by practicing and preparing until making herself more confident.

Both Jeanne and her husband Scott have mentioned in several interviews about their fight against alcoholism, their struggles and how they managed to get clean and sober, something both are really proud of. Jeanne said that she used to drink to numb herself from things that were bothering her, and that after some time she talked to Scott about sobriety and they inspired each other to get sober and stay sober, having a reason to want to wake up every single day, open their eyes and live life together to the fullest. In addition, she mentioned their involvement with Road Recovery, an organization founded in 1998 that helps addiction through music, which is very inspiring and humbling from a sobriety standpoint, and we must all celebrate everything the couple has accomplished in their lives and career by getting clean and, therefore, having more energy, creativity and focus to apply to their music. Hence, if you want to know more about Jeanne, her career, her relationship with Scott, her adventures on the road and so on, go check some of her interviews on YouTube such as this one at Carolina Rebellion in 2013, this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2008, and this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2009, among several others, where you can see why Jeanne is not only a badass bass player, but also an awesome human being and a fantastic metalhead.

Crossing Rubicon’s Official Facebook page
Crossing Rubicon’s Official Twitter
Crossing Rubicon’s Official YouTube channel
Piercing Immortality’s Official Facebook page
Piercing Immortality’s Official Instagram
Piercing Immortality’s Official Twitter

“I think that Metal is alive. It seems that people are stuck in mentalities and refuse to change. The industry fought and ignored downloading rather than finding a way to make it work for them. Also because of the Internet, people think they are going to be overnight stars—that goes for TV also. No one wants to put their nose to grind, but we will. We believe in ourselves and we believe in the scene.” – Jeanne Sagan

Album Review – Ecclesia / De Ecclesiæ Universalis (2020)

Showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal, this army of French inquisitors stands strong on their crusade against every doom heretic with their incendiary debut album.

Playing what they like to call epic and dark Doom Metal-influenced Heavy Metal since their formation as a trio in 2016, the now fully-formed army of French inquisitors known as Ecclesia (the Latin word for “church”) unleashed upon us sinners this Friday the 13th their debut full-length musical mass De Ecclesiæ Universalis, which is Latin for “the universal church”, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 demo Witchfinding Metal of Doom. Armed with purifying fire, blessed swords and Holy Rage, the band currently comprised of Frater Arnhwald on vocals, Julius Accusator and The Witchfinder General on the guitars, Frater Ignis Sacer on bass, Pater Hexenhammer on drums and Pater Walkelinus on organ and keyboards deals with the 12th Century dark medieval age of Holy Inquisition in their lyrics, showcasing the perfect syncretism between Heavy and Doom Metal in their music and, therefore, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Candlemass, Cathedral and Solitude Aeternus, among other giants of the 80’s heavy and doom scene, standing strong on their crusade against every doom heretic and urging us all to confess our unholy sins.

Gregorian chants and the always tenebrous sound of the rain ignite the album in the bold intro Excommunicamus, before the strident riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General dictate the rhythm in the hybrid of classic Heavy and Doom Metal titled Vatican III, a superb song to start the album where the rockin’ vocals by Arnhwald truly enhance the song’s impact and blasphemous feel, whereas their Black Sabbath vein beautifully explodes in Ecclesia Sathani, with Walkelinus’ phantasmagorical pipes bringing a touch of evil to the overall result, blending the glory of the 70’s and 80’s with their modern-day Doom Metal. Then get ready to crack your neck headbanging in the name of the unholy church of doom ruled by Ecclesia in Montségur, where Hexenhammer and Walkelinus are in absolute sync with their respective beats and keys while Arnhwald continues to fire his ass-kicking, King Diamond-inspired vocal lines. And never tired of hammering their sonic weapons, Ecclesia deliver another amazing tune entitled Behold the Heretic Burning, feeling like it was taken from one of Dio’s classic albums (which obviously means excellency), while Ignis Sacer makes sure the earth shakes to the sound of his menacing bass.

After such amazing first half of the album, how about seven minutes of a fusion of classic Doom Metal with Stoner and Southern Metal, spiced up by epic keys and soaring vocals? That’s what you’ll get in the Stygian hymn Antichristus. Needless to say, the band’s guitar duo will pierce your skin deep with their venomous riffs, ending the song in the most visceral way possible, and you better prepare your ears for another round of slashing riffs in Deus Vult, where the church-like organ pipes by Walkelinus will captivate your mind, opening it up for the slamming Rock N’ Roll crafted by his band members while sounding as harmonious and thrilling as it can be. It’s time to go full doom in the cryptic God’s Trial, with the sluggish beats by Hexenhammer walking hand in hand with the riffage by Julius and The Witchfinder General, being tailored for admirers of the most primeval form of Doom Metal (albeit not as powerful as the rest of the album). Before all is said and done, we’re treated to their cover version for Venom’s classic Burn The Witches (actually, the original song is titled “Don’t Burn The Witch”), from their 1982 cult album Black Metal, and you check the original version HERE, with Ecclesia’s version being absolutely awesome from start to finish, morphing into the stunning church-inspired outro Ite Missa Est to put a proper ending to their metal mass.

In case you’re considering joining a church for any given reason, I suggest you go check the services provided at the temple of doom ruled by Ecclesia on their Facebook page, and purchase your copy of the sensational De Ecclesiæ Universalis from their own BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from Season of Mist, from jpc.de, from Best Buy or from Amazon, proving to those French metallers you’re not a doom heretic and that you’re worth their mercy. Put differently, why not confessing your darkest and most impure sins to the sound of the ass-kicking metal music blasted by Ecclesia in their flammable newborn spawn? I’m sure both God and the Devil will love to witness you succumbing to their visceral, damned creations.

Best moments of the album: Vatican III, Montségur, Antichristus and Deus Vult.

Worst moments of the album: God’s Trial.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Excommunicamus 1:07
2. Vatican III 4:44
3. Ecclesia Sathani 5:26
4. Montségur 6:03
5. Behold the Heretic Burning 4:57
6. Antichristus 7:11
7. Deus Vult 5:33
8. God’s Trial 6:32
9. Burn The Witches (Venom cover) 3:25
10. Ite Missa Est 1:39

Band members
Frater Arnhwald – vocals
Julius Accusator – lead guitar
The Witchfinder General – rhythm guitar
Frater Ignis Sacer – bass
Pater Hexenhammer – drums
Pater Walkelinus – organ, keyboards

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 – Peculiar Three / Leap Of Faith (2020)

A talented trio of Greek musicians invites us all to their cyclical dance in their first full-length album full of rock emotion, metal aesthetic and prog essence.

“Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.” – Sherlock Holmes – A Study in Scarlet

Formed in 2013 in Livadia, a town located in the central part of Greece, Progressive Rock/Metal studio project Peculiar Three, also known as peculiar three or even π3, is inviting us all to their cyclical dance with their first full-length opus Leap Of Faith, following up on their 2014 EP P3culiar. Mixed, produced and mastered at Locomotive Sound Studio by Ektoras Sohos, and displaying a stunning artwork by Greek artist Sotiris Kotsonis, Leap Of Faith was entirely performed and recorded live by vocalist and bassist Valantis Dafkos, guitarist an keyboardist Panos Karkanas and drummer Paris Gatsios, offering fans of the genre 46 minutes of first-class, organic heavy music split into seven new songs plus a very special bonus track, all full of rock emotion, metal aesthetic and prog essence.

Panos kicks of the band’s progressive party with his melodious riffage in Perpetual, gradually accompanied by the rhythmic beats by Paris and the whimsical vocals by Valantis, evolving into a fusion of epicness and creativity; whereas investing into a Black Sabbath-inspired Doom Metal sonority (sounding like their classic “Heaven & Hell” at times) the band offers us all Innermost, featuring a saz solo by guest Mantis Savvidis, with Valantis smashing his bass beautifully and with the music remaining dark and melodic from start to finish. Then we have Inkblot, a Progressive Rock extravaganza by the trio that’s more direct and less dense than its predecessors, where Panos keeps embellishing the airwaves with his riffs while Valantis provides some wicked vocal lines; and a somber and melancholic intro ignites the also entertaining Marginal, blending progressiveness with the heavier sounds of Southern and Stoner Metal, with Paris dictating the pace with his slow and steady beats.

The title-track Leap of Faith is an electrifying feast of traditional rock and metal where all band members are in total sync, with Panos once again slashing his strings in great fashion while also presenting melancholic and somber passages. In The Sentient, less vibrant than the rest of the album, the band goes full progressive and abandons most of their heaviness for a while, and albeit not being truly exciting, it’s still a very pleasant song perfect for admirers of the genre with Panos and Paris making a dynamic duo with their riffs and beats. Peculiar Three get back to a more headbanging sound in Knaves o’ Knives, displaying elements from the music by bands such as Alice In Chains blended with the doom by Black Sabbath and a touch of 70’s rock, resulting in a great jamming vibe by the trio from start to finish. And lastly, featuring orchestrations and keys by guest Panos Makoulis, the bonus track Caliban’s End brings to our ears a serene and inspiring sound, with its acoustic lines and orchestrations walking hand in hand and, therefore, putting a very beautiful ending to the album.

You can enjoy this very entertaining and utterly independent, DIY album of Progressive Rock and Metal in its entirety on Spotify, but of course the best way to show the guys from Peculiar Three your support and admiration is by purchasing the album from their BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, as well as by following them on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their music. There’s still a long road ahead of those talented Greek rockers, but the healthy evolution in their sound from their debut EP to Leap Of Faith in terms of creativity and overall sound quality already indicates that the sky is the limit for them, which is not only good new for fans of progressive music, but to anyone who enjoys an honest and fun combination of the thrilling sound of guitars, bass and drums in the name of rock.

Best moments of the album: Innermost and Knaves o’ Knives.

Worst moments of the album: The Sentient.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Perpetual 5:41
2. Innermost 5:40
3. Inkblot 5:44
4. Marginal 5:36
5. Leap of Faith 5:14
6. The Sentient 4:55
7. Knaves o’ Knives 7:10
8. Caliban’s End (bonus track) 5:49

Band members
Valantis Dafkos – lead & backing vocals, bass
Panos Karkanas – guitars, keys
Paris Gatsios – drums

Guest musicians
Mantis Savvidis – saz solo on “Innermost”
Panos Makoulis – orchestration & keys on “Caliban’s End”