Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Memento Mori, Motherfucker (2021)

This amazing Danish trio is back in action with a riff-laden Stoner Rock and Metal journey in the form of their crushing new album, reminding us all of the inevitability of death.

3.5rating

stone-cadaver-memento-mori-motherfucker-2021Having stewed for some time in the darkest and most evil of witch cauldrons, Memento Mori, Motherfucker, the brand new album by Aarhus, Denmark-based Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver is ready to be let loose upon humanity, following up on their highly acclaimed 2017 release Reject Remove Replace. Just like its predecessor, Memento Mori, Motherfucker is a riff-laden journey through a dynamic soundscape that forms an organic whole, showcasing all the talent of Anders Bech Nielsen on vocals and guitar, Andreas Slocinski on bass and Stevie Dalla-Zuanna on drums. Produced, mixed and mastered by legendary Danish producer Tue Madsen and recorded live in his Antfarm Studio north of the band’s hometown, the album is a strong feast of heavy, down-tuned Stoner Metal with elements of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock, crushing Doom Metal and classic Heavy Metal that will certainly please all fans of the mighty riff.

The low-tuned, menacing bass by Andreas set the tone in the heavy intro The Reckoning, warming up our senses for the visceral Realm Of Darkness, the perfect choice for cracking your neck headbanging to the classic riffs by Anders accompanied by the slow and steady beast by Stevie in a solid and entertaining feast of old school Doom and Sludge Metal. Then dark clouds of pure doom are above us all in the massive Doom Christ, offering the listener a Stygian wall of sounds crafted by the trio, sounding like a hybrid of the original Black Sabbath sound with their own Dio years, and with the guitar lines by Anders sounding truly infuriated and raw. And it’s time for Stoner Cadaver to bring forward their “tribute” to the catholic church in Whip The Sinners, a straightforward creation inspired by 70’s Doom Metal with Anders once again being on fire with his wicked vocals.

After such intense tune, we’re treated to an instrumental, ethereal interlude entitled Paean, soothing our souls and working as “the calm before the storm” as the band comes hammering our damned souls once again with Diseased Deceased, a flammable Stoner Rock and Metal extravaganza led by the pounding drums by Stevie while Andreas continues to extract devilish, metallic sounds from his bass, flowing into another whimsical bridge titled Fare Thee Well before all hell breaks loose one last time to the sound of the nine-minute Doom Metal aria Murder Mountain, starting with the eerie bass lines by Andreas amidst a background storm. It’s an infernal composition by Stoner Cadaver that will put you in a trance without a shadow of a doubt while Stevie keeps smashing his drums nonstop, also presenting tons of breaks and variations, exhaling groove and thunder and, of course, always praising the riff, with its final acoustic passage putting a climatic ending to the album.

stone-cadaver-2021If you want to know more about Stoner Cadaver, their music, tour dates and so on, you can find those Danish rockers on Facebook, on Instagram, on Spotify and on YouTube, but of course if you want to show your love for underground doom you should definitely purchase Memento Mori, Motherfucker sooner than you can say “motherfucker” by clicking HERE, as well as from imusic.dk in CD or LP format, or from gatewaymusicshop.dk. As you all know, memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, which makes me wonder if Stone Cadaver’s goal with their new album was to actually remind us that we’re all going to die one day. If that’s the case, let’s say that not only they did it in great fashion with Memento Mori, Motherfucker, but they also provided us a great option for enjoying our last moments on earth before our inevitable end.

Best moments of the album: Doom Christ and Murder Mountain.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Yog-Sothoth Records/Gateway Music

Track listing 
1. The Reckoning 1:26
2. Realm Of Darkness 6:50
3. Doom Christ 6:00
4. Whip The Sinners 3:36
5. Paean 1:13
6. Diseased Deceased 6:26
7. Fare Thee Well 1:08
8. Murder Mountain 9:11

Band members
Anders Bech Nielsen – vocals, guitar
Andreas Slocinski – bass
Stevie Dalla-Zuanna – drums

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 – Crystal Spiders / Molt (2020)

Bang your heads to the debut album by this amazing American duo of doom, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals.

It didn’t take long for Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Hard Rock/Doom Metal unity Crystal Spiders to draw attention to their crushing fusion of heavy and groovy styles after their inception in 2018. Comprised of Brenna Leath (of Lightning Born) on vocals and bass and drummer Tradd Yancey, with the support of session guitarist Mike Deloatch and guest guitarist Mike Dean (of Corrosion of Conformity), who also produced the album, the band returns in full force in 2020 with their debut album Molt, following up on their highly acclaimed 2019 demo. Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastering Studio and featuring a stylish artwork by American tattoo artist Tyler Pennington, Molt showcases their deep devotion to riff-worship, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals and, therefore, being highly recommended to fuzz-addicted legions from all four corner of the earth.

The low-tuned, creepy bass by Brenna kicks off the Stoner Rock and Metal feast titled Trapped, with Tradd smashing his drums powerfully while the song’s  obscure lyrics are darkly declaimed by Brenna (“There’s no one out here, just wild dogs and dust / Fill up the empty space with unholy sound and deathly grace / There’s something slithering away on a greasy belly / We’re trapped here in this place, drying up like old blood”), whereas the title-track Molt is a faster and more dynamic Rock N’ Roll party led by Tradd’s classic beats while Mike and Brenna slash their stringed weapons in great fashion, being perfect for banging your head nonstop while the band kicks ass on stage at a rock pub anywhere in the world. After such breathtaking tune we have Tigerlilly, one of the three songs from their 2019 demo, getting back to an old school, Black Sabbat-inspired Doom Metal mode, with Tradd being once again unstoppable on drums, providing Brenna all she needs to shine with her piercing vocals and dirty bass jabs. And eerie, minimalist sounds permeate the air in the grim Chronic Sick, where the sluggish beats by Tradd together with the acid riffage by Mike generate a neck-breaking ambience, with Brenna once again mesmerizing us all with her potent voice.

It’s time to speed things up once again and ride with Crystal Spiders on a highway to hell in C.U.N. Hell, where it’s impressive how devilish and sexy Brenna’s voice can sound at the same time, while Tradd dictates the pace with his wicked beats, followed by Gutter, another lecture in Stoner Rock and Doom Metal by the duo, with Brenna being on fire with both her high-pitched screams and metallic, fuzzy bass, taking us all on a journey back to the glory of the 70’s. Then let’s embark on another thunder-driven Rock N’ Roll journey together with Crystal Spiders in The Call, where Brenna, Tradd and Mike are on absolute sync, consequently making our blood boil in the name of the riff, not to mention the song’s addictive guitar solos. In the tribalistic, hypnotic tune entitled Headhunters the talented Brenna steals the spotlight with her witch-like vocal lines, setting the tone for Fog, featuring the aforementioned Mike Dean and his visceral riffs, a bestial, dark and delicious way to end such powerful album of doom. It’s slow and atmospheric from start to finish, with Brenna, Mike and Tradd building a damned wall of sounds with their respective sonic weapons, dragging us all into their foggy and somber lair before all is said and done.

If you want to experience Molt in its entirety you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Brenna and Tradd your honest support and admiration you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Ripple Music’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel (in digipak CD or deluxe vinyl format), or simply click HERE to have access to all locations where you can buy or stream the excellent Molt. Hence, don’t forget to follow Crystal Spiders on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright for many years to come. The name of the album itself is already very suggestive and points to an amazing future for Crystal Spiders, as if the duo has just shed their old feathers, making their way to a new growth stage in their career, and based on the high quality of the music found in Molt it looks like not even the sky is the limit for their doomed wings.

Best moments of the album: Molt and C.U.N. Hell and The Call.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Ripple Music

Track listing
1. Trapped 5:09
2. Molt 3:37
3. Tigerlilly 5:38
4. Chronic Sick 6:49
5. C.U.N. Hell 4:09
6. Gutter 3:58
7. The Call 5:47
8. Headhunters 2:26
9. Fog 6:14

Band members
Brenna Leath – vocals, bass
Tradd Yancey – drums, vocals

Guest musician
Mike Deloatch – guitars (session)
Mike Dean – guitars on “Fog”

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

Album Review – Bouquet of Dead Crows / Hemispheres Part 1: Celestial EP (2020)

Adopting a more progressive sound, this unstoppable UK-based Alternative Rock unity is more than ready to rock your world with the first half of their third full-length album.

After embellishing the airwaves with their refined fusion of Alternative Rock and Metal with nuances of Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock in their previous efforts, those being their 2015 debut album Of The Night and their 2018 release Motus Octo, Cambridge, UK’s own Bouquet of Dead Crows are back from outer space with the first part of their third full-length album Hemispheres, the six-track EP titled Hemispheres Part 1: Celestial. Adopting a more progressive sound with their trademark riffs with big melodies approach being enhanced to incorporate more layered and nuanced elements, the band currently comprised of Antoinette Cooper on vocals, Neil Bruce on the guitars, newcomer Karen Gadd on bass, and Andrew Coxall on drums and synths is more than ready to rock your world with Celestial, also preparing us all for the second half of their musical journey, Cerebral, scheduled for a late 2020 or maybe even an early 2021 release.

Recorded at the beginning of the year at Parlour Studios, mixed and produced by Neil Haynes, and featuring a stylish artwork by longtime collaborator Stewart Harris, from Stewart Harris Designs, Celestial has an overall theme of mental health, which is a topic all band members are very passionate about. With each song, they’ve written about issues that affect them individually and personally. There’s been a lot of stigma about depression and anxiety over the years, and as the mood slowly shifts, this album captures the zeitgeist of our current unpredictable day-to-day life, the fears we are all experiencing right now. In addition, although written before the pandemic that the world is currently experiencing, a lot of the lyrics do seem strangely prescient and also very relevant, such as the chorus of the title track which says that “it’s not the end of the world this time, it feels like the end of the world every time.”

Atmospheric and eerie from the very first second, the Sci-Fi intro Terraformer will captivate your senses and warm you up for the British Rock extravaganza titled Before The Storm, where Neil and Karen are in absolute sync with their riffs and bass, respectively, providing Antoinette exactly what she needs to shine on vocals while also bringing elements of Jazz to their core alternative essence, flowing smoothly into the gentle and enfolding Caged, where Andrew does a superb job with both his beats and his ethereal synths. In addition, Karen brings the groove to the overall result, also full of nice breaks and variations, whereas Neil begins slashing his strings in great fashion in the fast and thrilling Left to Rot, the most metallic of all songs of the EP with Antoinette adding a touch of finesse to the rumbling sounds blasted by her bandmates with her piercing vocals. Then it’s time to celebrate all giant monsters from the Japanese culture like Godzilla and Gamera in Kaiju Hijinks, another explosion of groove and adrenaline by the quartet presenting elements from Stoner Rock and Jazz to make things more interesting, not to mention the razor-edged riffs by Neil, followed by the title-track for the full album, Hemispheres, an introspective and futuristic song that evolves into a gentle Hard Rock ballad led by Andrew’s rhythmic drums and Neil’s classic riffs, ending the EP on a high note and setting the bar high for the second act Cerebral in the coming months.

Celestial, which is available for a full listen on YouTube (as six very entertaining visualizers) and on Spotify, is definitely a step forward in the career of Bouquet of Dead Crows, and in order to show those rockers your true appreciation don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, and of course to grab your copy of the EP from the German Shepherd Records’ BandCamp page, from Music Glue, from Apple Music or from Amazon. After putting your hands on this excellent EP, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for rockin’ around your house or in your car during such strange times we’re living, while we all wait for Antoinette, Neil & Co. to deliver more of their stylish Rock N’ Roll with the next chapter in their evolutionary career, Cerebral.

Best moments of the album: Left to Rot and Kaiju Hijinks.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 German Shepherd Records

Track listing
1. Terraformer 1:32
2. Before The Storm 2:34
3. Caged 3:49
4. Left to Rot 3:31
5. Kaiju Hijinks 2:36
6. Hemispheres 5:22

Band members
Antoinette Cooper – vocals
Neil Bruce – guitars
Karen Gadd – bass, backing vocals
Andrew Coxall – drums, synths, programming, backing vocals

Album Review – Puta Volcano / AMMA (2020)

A highly enterprising and unusual release by four Greek rockers who definitely know how to blend 90’s Seattle Grunge with Stoner and Southern Rock.

Athens, Greece-based Hard Rock/Post-Grunge quartet Puta Volcano has been building up their legacy and fanbase one gig, one album and one song at a time since their inception in 2012, having released their debut EP Represent Victory Below Eye that same year, their first full-length installment The Sun in 2015,  and more recently another EP titled Harmony of Spheres, in 2017, gaining notoriety in their homeland for their heavy mixture of Seattle Grunge with Stoner and Southern Rock, all with a Southeastern European twist. Already acknowledged in the Greek heavy rock scene, the band comprised of Anna Papathanasiou on vocals, Alex Pi on the guitar, Bookies on bass and Steve Stefanidis on drums is ready to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their brand new opus AMMA, a highly enterprising and unusual release full of heft and verve, combining elements from the music by Alice In Chains, Melvins, Hole, A Perfect Circle, Kylesa and Baroness and, therefore, creating a tantalizing and electrifying sound.

Produced by Johnny Tercu, recorded by Alex Ketenjian, Nick Dimitrakakos and Alex Bolpasis and mixed and mastered by Alex Ketenjian and Johnny Tercu, all at Unreal Studioz in Athens, and featuring a classy artwork that’s the collective effort of artists Anna Papathanasiou herself and Laura Bricta, with an inner sleeve photo by Chrysalena Antonopoulou and logo and layout by Fuzz Ink., AMMA is a multi-layered and very entertaining album of rock music, bringing forward a collection of songs reflecting the whereabouts of a band who illustrates the well documented character of their craft, while simultaneously branching out to new territories using bits and pieces of novelties, making the exploration of each and every track of the album a detailed nit-picking adventure for the listener.

The inspiring an cinematic intro R-Entry prepares our ears and minds for the groovy Entropica, showcasing poetic lyrics declaimed by Anna (“Back from an endless slumber / Across event horizons / Silence where once was thunder / Ashes and rust surround me / I’m breaking / Having seen too many ends / I’m choking / Struggling to let go”) while Steve blasts some sluggish and potent beats accompanied by Bookies’ low-tuned bass, resulting in a lecture in Post-Grunge. Then again drinking from the same fountain as iconic bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden we have Venus Lullaby, presenting a beautiful sonority led by Alex’s distortions and Anna’s charming vocals, driving you absolutely addicted to her passionate performance, not to mention the song’s electrifying vibe; and venturing through more aggressive and harder lands the band offers us all First Light, a true headbanging Rock N’ Roll anthem with hints of classic Heavy Metal where Alex and Bookies are on fire with their stringed weapons, while Anna continues to shine on vocals.

Then a somber intro morphs into a Hard Rock and Grunge extravaganza titled Black Box, with Steve and Bookies hammering their instruments ruthlessly, therefore providing Anna all she needs to fire her Alice In Chains-inspired vocals and inspiring us all to bang our heads like there’s no tomorrow, followed by Sugar Cube, a more introspective creation by the quartet showcasing crisp and delicate guitar lines and beats, bringing to our ears that trademark Seattle sound with a nice Greek twist. The atmospheric bridge Echoing Icons sets the stage to the exciting Primitive Data, another explosion of Post-Grunge with gorgeous lyrics (“Like raindrops on the sea / Break stillness and riple the veil / I fall from blackest space / A flailing newborn / Heliacal rising again / More shadows in my head / I left my center back home / A lifetime ago”), also showcasing the ass-kicking shredding by Alex and the fierce drumming by Steve.

Wicked guitars and deep, dark vocals permeate the air in Apnea, again exploring 90’s Grunge grounds with metallic nuances, flowing smoothly until its crisp ending, whereas Torus sounds groovier than all previous songs thanks to the potent bass jabs by Bookies, presenting stunning performances by all band members with Steve slamming his drum kit mercilessly, living up to the legacy of the Seattle sound. After such enfolding sonority it’s time for Puta Volcano to enhance their heaviness and rage in Space Blanket, a very melodic, sinister and vibrant song where Anna sounds as dark and devilish as possible and with Alex having another amazing performance with his riffs and solos, while ethereal sounds ignite the closing tune titled Kassandra’s Gift, led by Anna and her whimsical voice before the entire band comes crushing our senses one last time in a lesson in modernity and progressiveness.

The excellent AMMA is available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your true support to Puta Volcano you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can grab a copy of the album or simply stream it. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, with AMMA working as the utmost representation of everything the band stands for, their talent and their strong focus on what they do, leaving us all eager for more of their music and pointing to a fantastic future for such distinguished Greek quartet with their Seattle-inspired sound.

Best moments of the album: First Light, Black Box, Primitive Data and Space Blanket.

Worst moments of the album: Sugar Cube.

Released in 2020 The Orchard

Track listing
1. R-Entry 0:42
2. Entropica 4:28
3. Venus Lullaby 3:45
4. First Light 3:41
5. Black Box 4:20
6. Sugar Cube 3:18
7. Echoing Icons 1:41
8. Primitive Data 4:32
9. Apnea 2:43
10. Torus 4:15
11. Space Blanket 4:15
12. Kassandra’s Gift 5:47

Band members
Anna Papathanasiou – vocals
Alex Pi – guitar
Bookies – bass, backing vocals
Steve Stefanidis – drums

Album Review – Bouquet of Dead Crows / Motus Octo (2018)

Enjoy the “eight movements” of modern-day rock music presented by this talented Cambridge, England-based Alternative Rock and Metal squad.

If you’re not only a fan of all the aggressiveness and speed of more extreme forms of metal music, but also an admirer of the melodious and gentle waves of Alternative Rock and Metal, you’ll be extremely pleased to know that Cambridge, England-based alternative rockers Bouquet of Dead Crows are finally back after three long years with a brand new album  titled Motus Octo, the follow-up to their 2015 debut album Of The Night. The title, referring to the fact that there are eight tracks on the album, essentially means “eight movements”, or eight emotions, and that’s exactly what you’ll get throughout the entire album, with each of its tracks awakening different emotions and reactions from deep inside your heart and mind.

Featuring a beautiful packaging designed by Stewart Harris Designs, Motus Octo is a very different beast to the band’s previous work, moving into more of a progressive direction but still showcasing all the characteristics that made people enjoy their first album, such as the huge wall-of-sound guitar riffs by Neil Bruce, the pounding bass lines by Graeme Clarke and the bat-shit drumming by Andrew Coxall, all sitting beautifully underneath vocalist Antoinette Cooper’s soaring vocals. Furthermore, the quartet goes from the heavier waves of Alternative Metal to the charm of British Rock and the melancholy of Blues, extracting crisp and vibrant sounds from their instruments throughout the entire album, keeping us hooked on their music and always eager for more.

Distorted, whimsical waves ignite the fun Faultlines, before Graeme and Andrew come crushing with their bass lines and beats respectively in a modern display of British Rock infused with alternative elements from bands like Garbage and Hole, while Neil slams and slashes his guitar mercilessly. And their music gets even more piercing and rumbling in The Devil’s in the Detail, with the beautiful voice by Antoinette leading the band in this Alternative Rock feast while Neil fires his classic solos, presenting hints of Ska and traditional Rock N’ Roll; followed by No Tomorrow, a song perfect for enjoying a nice and relaxed road trip with your loved ones, once again showcasing an inspired Antoinette on vocals and a precise and groovy Andrew on drums. Then Bouquet of Dead Crows deliver an introspective and enfolding ballad titled Slow Motion Ghosts, where all band members provide Antoinette all she needs to thrive, exhaling passion and delicacy through her vocals until the music gently fades away.

Fragments (Black Hole Eyes) contains some very welcome elements from the music by AC/DC blended with contemporary Rock N’ Roll and even Stoner Rock, not to mention how inspired Neil is with his stylish riffs and solos, while Andrew pounds his drums with tons of precision, therefore turning it into one of the best songs of the album. In Cold Inside, the band slows things down a bit in another gentle rock ballad, with highlights to the solid synchronicity between Neil and Graeme with their strings, getting considerably heavier at times in special when Neil is firing his guitar solos; whereas in Incessant Desire things get groovier, faster and heavier, which obviously translates into awesomeness, being highly inspired by classic Ska and Rock N’ Roll music from the 90’s, spearheaded by Neil and Andrew while Antoinette sounds extremely sexy with her fiery vocal lines. And lastly we have Undone, bringing forward an eerie intro to the thunderous sounds of Graeme’s bass punches and the passionate vocals by Antoinette, evolving into a Stoner Rock extravaganza perfect for headbanging while enjoying a cold beer (or even a strip-tease, it’s up to you), until wicked noises put an end to the song and, obviously, to the entire album.

As you already know, all you need to do to keep in touch with Bouquet of Dead Crows and stay informed about their plans for the future, tour dates and other shenanigans is follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel, but of course if you want to show your true support to one of the most promising names from the current British Rock scene, you should definitely purchase your copy of Motus Octo from the German Shepherd Records’ BandCamp page, as well as from the band’s own webstore in CD or vinyl. In addition, in order to celebrate the release of Motus Octo, the band will be playing a special launch gig at The Blue Moon  in Cambridge on November 24, where they’ll play the full album live. If you’re going to be around the Cambridge area that day, why not joining Antoinette, Neil & Co. for a night of kick-ass rock music accompanied by good food, cold beer and nice people? You can buy your ticket HERE, get ready to rock, and show your “eight movements” on the dance floor, how about that? That’s the way our good old Rock N’ Roll should always be enjoyed, and Motus Octo is the perfect soundtrack for that.

Best moments of the album: The Devil’s in the Detail, Fragments (Black Hole Eyes) and Incessant Desire.

Worst moments of the album: Cold Inside.

Released in 2018 German Shepherd Records

Track listing
1. Faultlines 7:14
2. The Devil’s in the Detail 3:29
3. No Tomorrow 3:56
4. Slow Motion Ghosts 5:42
5. Fragments (Black Hole Eyes) 3:49
6. Cold Inside 8:37
7. Incessant Desire 3:40
8. Undone 6:14

Band members
Antoinette Cooper – vocals
Neil Bruce – guitars
Graeme Clarke – bass
Andrew Coxall – drums

Album Review – Suum / Buried Into The Grave (2018)

Enjoy this Stygian and occult album featuring seven tracks of pure gloomy Doom Metal, masterfully delivered by an Italian quartet that has already succumbed to the dark side of music.

Let’s dive deep into the sluggish and obscure realms of old school Doom Metal to the music by a Italian quartet that goes by the name of Summ, formed in 2017 in the Italian capital Rome. Comprised of Mark Wolf on vocals, Painkiller on the guitar, Marcas on bass and Rick on drums, Suum are releasing now in 2018 the full-length album Buried Into The Grave, featuring seven tracks of pure gloomy Doom Metal, bringing to your ears not only a Stygian sound tailored for the doomed, but also cryptic lyrics about darkness, doom and occultism, being highly recommended for fans of Black Sabbath, Danzig, Candlemass, My Dying Bride, Electric Wizard, and all other bands and artists that have beautifully succumbed to the darkest and most lugubrious side of music.

If there’s rain, thunder and wind, you know the music is going to be doomed, which is exactly what happens in the opening track Tower Of Oblivion. Marcas kicks off this damned feast with his low-tuned bass until the rest of the band joins him in darkness, with lead singer Mark Wolf haunting our souls with his Black Sabbath-inspired vocals while Painkiller fires sheer obscurity through his riffs, with all vileness increasing in intensity until its crisp ending. And their Doom Metal mass goes on in Black Mist, led by the steady beats by Rick while the phantasmagoric vocals by Mark and the heavier-than-hell riffs by Painkiller generate a truly somber atmosphere; followed by Buried Into The Grave, which in my humble opinion is the most Stygian of all tracks of the album (hence, it would definitely make Tony Iommi proud). Not only the vocal lines are deep and deranged, but the combined sound of guitar, bass and drums create this gloomy creature that will mercilessly enfold you just like pitch black darkness.

Last Sacrifice is another classic Doom Metal tune spearheaded by the slashing riffage by Painkiller and the slow but intricate beats by Rick, putting you on a trance and inspiring you to crack your neck headbanging, with the music flowing smoothly and darkly until the end. Then bringing the most acid and somber elements from Stoner Metal and Rock we have Seeds Of Decay, an atmospheric and sluggish creation by Suum with highlights to the rumbling sounds extracted by both Painkiller and Marcas from their hellish strings, whereas in the melancholic and introspective instrumental The Woods Are Waiting we face more rain and wind, going on for a bit too long though (albeit nothing that will make you skip it). And finally, rhythmic drums and scorching hot riffs ignite their last breath of old school Doom Metal, the somber extravaganza titled Shadows Haunt The Night, where Painkiller sounds absolutely on fire during the entire song, adding an extra touch of malignancy and obscurity to the final result.

You can succumb to total darkness by listening to Buried Into The Grave in its entirety on YouTube, by visiting Suum’s official Facebook page, and obviously by purchasing such dense and entertaining album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Endless Winter webstore, from the Hellas Records webstore, or from Discogs. Those four skillful Italian metallers not only live up to the legacy of traditional Doom Metal, but based on the high-quality of the music found in Buried Into The Grave, they’re also more than ready to carve their names in the history of such distinct music style.

Best moments of the album: Tower Of Oblivion, Buried Into The Grave and Shadows Haunt The Night.

Worst moments of the album: The Woods Are Waiting.

Released in 2018 Endless Winter/Hellas Records

Track listing
1. Tower Of Oblivion 6:25
2. Black Mist 4:40
3. Buried Into The Grave 4:55
4. Last Sacrifice 5:13
5. Seeds Of Decay 5:44
6. The Woods Are Waiting (Instrumental) 3:38
7. Shadows Haunt The Night 4:23

Band members
Mark Wolf – vocals
Painkiller – guitars
Marcas – bass
Rick – drums