Concert Review – Arch Enemy & Behemoth (Rebel, Toronto, ON, 04/25/2022)

A night of rain, insanity, blasphemy and, above all that, first-class Heavy Metal for the delight of thousands of metalheads in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Unto Others and Napalm Death

Despite the heavy rain that decided to hit Toronto only a couple of hours before the fantastic tour named The North American Siege 2022 took the city by storm, the venue chosen for such metal attack, the spacious Rebel, was almost packed already when the first band of the night hit the stage exactly at 6:30pm, American Heavy Metal/Gothic Rock act UNTO OTHERS, and let me tell you I feel a little ashamed for not knowing those guys before last night. Promoting their 2021 opus Strength, vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Franco and his henchmen put on a sensational show, with songs such as Give Me to the Night, Summer Lightning and When Will God’s Work Be Done inspiring all fans to dance, slam into the pit, or simply raise their horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. It was a short and sweet performance by such talented band, and I hope to see them again in Toronto (or anywhere else in the world) in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
Subdivisions (Rush song)
Heroin
Give Me to the Night
No Children Laughing Now
Can You Hear the Rain
Nightfall
Summer Lightning
When Will God’s Work Be Done

Band members
Gabriel Franco – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Sebastian Silva – guitars
Brandon Hill – bass
Colin Vranizan – drums

Right after a bathroom/beer break (not necessarily in this order), it was time for the iconic Barney Greenway and his Grindcore/Death Metal institution NAPALM DEATH to show Toronto what noise is all about for the delight of admirers of the heaviest and most demented side of music who attended the concert. Having released earlier this year the album Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes, the band was on absolute fire from start to finish, with Shane Embury and John Cooke hammering their respective bass and guitar mercilessly throughout their entire set. Amidst a hurricane of infernal tunes the likes of Fuck the Factoid, Contagion, Scum and the one-second masterpiece You Suffer, Barney had time to distill his opinion about controversial topics such as illegal immigration, being always of course on the side of the less fortunate. Closing their boisterous setlist, the band smashed our faces with their rendition of Dead Kennedys’ all-time classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off, sending a message of love and peace, and warning us it won’t take long for those four British noisemakers to return to our beloved city.

Setlist
Unchallenged Hate
Fuck the Factoid
Backlash Just Because
Hung
Contagion
Continuing War on Stupidity
Everyday Pox
Invigorating Clutch
Suffer the Children
Breed to Breathe
Scum
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
You Suffer
Smash a Single Digit
Deceiver
Dead
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)

Band members
Mark “Barney” Greenway – vocals
John Cooke – guitars
Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals, noises, effects
Danny Herrera – drums

ARCH ENEMY

Precisely at 8:35pm Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal army ARCH ENEMY (although we can say the band is now 60% Swedish, 20% American and 20% Canadian) hit the stage and delivered exactly what the crowd wanted, which was a fusion of some of their best classics with the new songs Deceiver, Deceiver, House of Mirrors and Handshake With Hell, from their upcoming album Deceivers (to be released in July), spearheaded by the unstoppable Alissa White-Gluz and, of course, by one of the best guitarists of the Scandinavian metal scene, Mr. Michael Amott. It was clear in their faces how much they missed playing in front of an audience during the pandemic, in special Alissa who always gets very emotional when playing for her Canadian “family”, which translated into sheer adrenaline for our vulgar delectation. As a longtime fan of the band I was obviously more inspired to bang my head to songs such as Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead and Nemesis, but I must say their entire performance was awesome. How long will we have to wait to see Alissa and the boys again in Toronto? Massive circle pits like the ones we witnessed yesterday are not created out of silence, you know. We need Arch Enemy!

Setlist
Set Flame to the Night
Deceiver, Deceiver
The World Is Yours
Ravenous
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
House of Mirrors
The Eagle Flies Alone
As the Pages Burn
Handshake With Hell
Dead Bury Their Dead
Nemesis
Fields of Desolation (Outro)
Enter the Machine

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

BEHEMOTH

And at 10:05pm the gates of hell opened once again and the almighty Blackened Death Metal horde BEHEMOTH emerged from the underworld with another flawless and very theatrical performance, darkening the skies of Toronto and putting a huge, devilish smile on the faces of everyone at Rebel (at least on the faces of the ones not wearing masks). Kicking off their demonic concert with one of my favorite Behemoth songs of all time, the incendiary Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, the multi-talented Nergal, Seth, Orion and Inferno did not disappoint their fans, sounding utterly heavy, dark and blasphemous until the very last second. Their brand new song, entitled Ov My Herculean Exile, from their upcoming (and still untitled) new album, sounded amazing live, but of course there’s nothing like raising our horns in the name of evil to masterpieces such as Ov Fire and the Void, Christians to the Lions, Chant for Eschaton 2000, and the hymn to Satan himself, O Father O Satan O Sun!, proving why Behemoth are one of the best and most obscure bands of the current metal scene. And when the night was over and those Polish blasphemers left the stage, it was time for us Torontonians to keep some of that darkness inside our hearts, face the cold and rainy weather outside again, and return to our lairs waiting for the next time Behemoth come back to crush the infidels in Toronto with their undisputed music.

Setlist
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Wolves ov Siberia
Ov Fire and the Void
Evoe
Christians to the Lions
Bartzabel
Conquer All
Ov My Herculean Exile
Decade of Therion
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

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Concert Review – Opeth & Mastodon (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON, 04/22/2022)

And Toronto was finally able to enjoy a night of absolute heaviness and progressiveness by two of the most important bands of the current rock and metal scene worldwide.

OPENING ACT: Khemmis

It looks like everything is back to normal as metal concerts in Toronto (and in the entire Canada) are happening everyday now, and after my return to action on April 13 with Judas Priest it was time to keep the ball rolling and head to the cozy Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on Friday night for a very special night of Progressive Rock and Metal with the co-headlining tour of OPETH and MASTODON, two bands that definitely know how to put on a wonderful show wherever they go. And besides, the weather was absolutely perfect, with a bright, sunny day and temperatures ranging between 5 and 14 degrees Celsius inspiring us to get out of our homes to bang our heads together with those impressive bands.

Before Mastodon hit the stage, precisely at 7pm it was time for the opening act, American Doom Metal outfit KHEMMIS, to warm us up with their short but very entertaining performance. Named after an ancient Egyptian city, Khemmis showcased all their talent playing songs from their growing discography, including their latest album Deceiver, released in 2021, with songs such as Three Gates and Conversation with Death receiving a very positive return from the crowd that was already present at the venue. All band members were in absolute sync from start to finish, resulting in a solid performance that proved why they were chosen to be the opening act for those two behemoths of intricacy.

Setlist
Avernal Gate
Three Gates
Living Pyre
Isolation
Conversation with Death

Band members
Ben – vocals, guitars
Phil – vocals, guitars
David Small – bass
Zach – drums

MASTODON

Finally, after years of waiting, American Progressive Metal/Rock titans MASTODON finally returned to Toronto to kick some ass with their undisputed, electrifying music. It was around 8pm if I’m not mistaken when Brent Hinds, Bill Kelliher, Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor hit the stage with the excellent Pain With an Anchor, from their 2021 album Hushed and Grim, setting fire to the audience eager for their concert, including of course myself, and let me tell you that the wait was absolutely worth it.

Unfortunately, like what happened in the first part of the tour last year, there were no songs from their superb 2017 album Emperor of Sand in their setlist, but that doesn’t mean the show wasn’t awesome, with classics such as Crystal Skull, Megalodon and Black Tongue, intertwined with new songs the likes of Teardrinker and Pushing the Tides, captivating our senses mercilessly and urging us to raise our horns to one of the best bands from the current rock and metal scene. Not only that, the background titantron was simply mesmerizing, especially in beautiful songs like the aforementioned Megalodon and the impressive The Czar, adding an extra kick to the music played to perfection by the quartet.

Of course, their closing song was their biggest hit, the fantastic Blood and Thunder, and let me tell you that since watching the Netflix movie Metal Lords I immediately think of the two boys form the movie escaping from the psychiatric ward when the music starts. Although there were no kids running on stage, the band could witness a lot of crazy metalheads slamming into the circle pit, which inspired them to play even louder, heavier and better than ever. Troy was on fire throughout the entire set, becoming the band’s “frontman”, while Brann was not only flawless behind his drums, but at the end of the concert when he took the mic to say a lot of good things about Toronto, about how the band missed us fans, he also proved to be a very nice and humble guy (who also got worried about someone from the audience who apparently passed out during their concert). Thank you, Mastodon! and please come back to Toronto soon for another amazing night of first-class metal music!

Setlist
Pain With an Anchor
Crystal Skull
Megalodon
The Crux
Teardrinker
Bladecatcher
Black Tongue
The Czar
Pushing the Tides
More Than I Could Chew
Mother Puncher
Gobblers of Dregs
Blood and Thunder

Band members
Troy Sanders – vocals, bass
Brent Hinds – vocals, guitars
Bill Kelliher – guitars, backing vocals
Brann Dailor – vocals, drums

OPETH

After a short break, Sweden’s own Progressive Rock/Death Metal institution OPETH took the stage to distill their unique sound for the delight of their Torontonian fans, and although their most recent album, In Cauda Venenum, is from the already distant year of 2019, nobody seemed to care about that and had a great time enjoying the music played (to perfection) by the band’s frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt and his henchmen. I must confess I’m not a big fan of Opeth as I think their music is sometimes too progressive and their songs too long for playing live, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy what I saw on stage.

My favorite songs from their setlist were by far Hjärtat vet vad handen gör, Ghost of Perdition and Deliverance, mainly due to the additional heaviness and obscurity found in them, but of course their entire show was great, entertaining all of their diehard fans who took over the venue. In addition, I need to say that Joakim Svalberg and Sami Karppinen are two beasts behind their instruments, enhancing the band’s punch considerably. Mikael also enjoyed interacting a lot with the crowd, exchanging a few words with a fan who could speak their mother tongue Swedish, repeating countless times he doesn’t do drugs (except for a few of them), and saying how much he missed playing to his Canadian fans. How long will their Toronto fans need to wait for another round of Opeth’s progressiveness no one knows, but based on the reaction from the crowd I bet everyone would have loved to see that happen again the next day.

Setlist
Livets Trädgård
Hjärtat vet vad handen gör
Ghost of Perdition
Cusp of Eternity
The Devil’s Orchard
The Drapery Falls
In My Time of Need
Sorceress
Deliverance

Band members
Mikael Åkerfeldt – vocals, guitars
Fredrik Åkesson – guitars, backing vocals
Martín Méndez – bass
Joakim Svalberg – keyboards, piano, mellotron, backing vocals
Sami Karppinen – drums

Album Review – Watain / The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (2022)

One of the world’s most well-known and notorious Black Metal bands is finally unleashing upon us their infernal seventh full-length opus.

Crawled out of Satan’s cunt in 1998 and has since then ascended and grown into one of the world’s most well-known and notorious Black Metal bands, Uppsala/Stockholm, Sweden-based horde Watain returns from the underworld with their greatly anticipated seventh studio album, entitled The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain. Continuing to arouse and electrify their audience with an unmistakable, adventurous brand of Black Metal Magic processed and distilled over the course of a 25-year long history, vocalist E. Danielsson and guitarist P. Forsberg, together with session musicians H. Eriksson on the guitar, A. Lillo on bass and E. Forcas on drums, show no mercy for our souls throughout the 50 minutes of insanity found in their new album. Recorded live inside an old church on the Swedish countryside, produced by T. Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio, and displaying a sick artwork by the band’s own vocalist E. Danielsson in collaboration with Indonesian artist Oik Wasfuk, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain takes the listener one step closer to the innermost heart of a band that despite always being surrounded by rumors and controversy has always strived for the most sincere and genuine ways of expression.

The visceral riffs by P. Forsberg and H. Eriksson will cut your skin deep in the fulminating opening track Ecstasies in Night Infinite, a brutal, old school Swedish Black Metal aria for our vulgar delectation, not to mention how infernal E. Forcas sounds on drums; whereas E. Danielsson growls and gnarls like a true servant of Satan in The Howling, with his bandmates blasting more of their demolishing Black Metal. Serimosa, a word or name of power communicated out of unknown origin which tells of the electric notion of the coming of a great power, is even darker, heavier and more atmospheric, or in other words, a different but amazing side of the band led by the demonic vociferations by E. Danielsson, followed by Black Cunt, which as you can see carries a Stygian name for another round of the band’s Mephistophelian Black Metal where P. Forsberg and H. Eriksson take the lead with their sulfurous riffs and solos. And back to their most demented mode the band offers us all the blackened chant Leper’s Grace, showcasing absolutely hellish guitar lines accompanied by the blast beast by E. Forcas and the massive bass punches by A. Lillo.

The cryptic instrumental interlude Not Sun Nor Man Nor God sets the stage for Watain to kill again in Before the Cataclysm, utterly violent and obscure from the very first second, with E. Danielsson roaring nonstop with tons of anger and hatred in his damned heart, therefore living up to the legacy of classic Swedish Black Metal. Then featuring guest vocalist Farida Lemouchi (Molasses, The Devil’s Blood) and guest guitarist Gottfrid Åhman (Invidious, In Solitude) we’re treated to We Remain, and Farida will crush your corrupted, doomed heart with her enfolding vocals while the band blends the most obscure elements of Black and Doom Metal, resulting in a stunning hymn to darkness. Get ready to be pulverized by those Swedish devils in Funeral Winter, where E. Forcas is on fire behind his drums dictating the song’s pace while his bandmates extract pure evil from their sonic weapons, and before Watain crawls back into the shadows they offer our avid ears the old school Septentrion, with the band’s guitar duo slashing our minds with their wicked riffage.

You can experience the same agony and ecstasy of such important band from the global Black Metal scene by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, by streaming more of their infernal creations on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing the excellent The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain by clicking HERE or HERE. Characterized by a twisted beauty and primal ecstatic force, Watain are the wolf that keeps on hunting, fearless and free, in the dark night of man, with their new album depicting that hunt to perfection thanks to its endless heaviness, obscurity, rage and hatred, all elements that have made our beloved Black Metal so powerful and compelling through the years, while the band keeps always exploring the winding depths of both mind and spirit with a new sense of clarity and determination.

Best moments of the album: Ecstasies in Night Infinite, Serimosa, Leper’s Grace and We Remain.

Worst moments of the album: Black Cunt.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Ecstasies in Night Infinite 4:01
2. The Howling 4:05
3. Serimosa 5:26
4. Black Cunt 5:25
5. Leper’s Grace 4:09
6. Not Sun Nor Man Nor God 1:26
7. Before the Cataclysm 7:25
8. We Remain 6:15
9. Funeral Winter 4:27
10. Septentrion 6:43

Band members
E. Danielsson – vocals
P. Forsberg – guitars

Guest musicians
H. Eriksson – guitars (session)
A. Lillo – bass (session)
E. Forcas – drums (session)
Farida Lemouchi – vocals on “We Remain”
Gottfrid Åhman – lead guitar on “We Remain”

Album Review – Dark Funeral / We Are The Apocalypse (2022)

One of the pillars of Swedish Black Metal returns from the underworld with a new opus to prove once and for all that they’re the apocalypse.

The year of 1993 was when it all began, when Lord Ahriman and Blackmoon founded the infernal war machine we now know as Stockholm, Sweden-based Dark Funeral, one of the most intense and prominent Black Metal acts ever. Now in 2022, vocalist Heljarmadr, guitarists Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol, bassist Adra Melek and drummer Jalomaah are back from the underworld with another opus of sheer obscurity and hatred, beautifully entitled We Are The Apocalypse. Mixed by Daniel Bergstrand at Dugout Productions, mastered by Paul Logus at PLX Mastering, and displaying a devilish artwork by by Marcelo Vasco, the band’s long-awaited seventh full-length album is a lecture in Swedish Black Metal not recommended for the lighthearted, proving why the band has been haunting our damned souls for almost three decades.

The evil guitars by Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol will pierce your minds in the infernal opening tune Nightfall, a classic Scandinavian Black Metal onrush with no artificial elements, only our good old darkness and hatred, while the tribal beats by Jalomaah ignite the Stygian aria Let The Devil In, with Heljarmadr vociferating the song’s wicked words rabidly (“I take a deep, good look inside myself / I open up the gates to let the Devil in / He’s riding on the shadow of my soul / And everywhere I go, he’ll be there walking beside me”). Then get ready to be pulverized by Dark Funeral in When Our Vengeance Is Done, a fast, furious and demented creation by the band showcasing those old school Black Metal riffs we all love so much, whereas Nosferatu carries a beautiful name for another blackened sonic attack by the quintet, with Jalomaah being on fire behind his drums with both his rhythmic and demented beats.

Slowing things down a bit it’s time for the Blackened Doom-infused chant When I’m Gone, perfect for the darkest days of your useless lives, with Adra and Jalomaah making our heads tremble to the sound of their respective bass and drums. Their evil sounds keep permeating the atmosphere in Beyond The Grave, with Jalomaah’s hellish blast beast providing Heljarmadr all he needs to growl like a creature from the underworld. A Beast To Praise brings forward absolutely dark, psychological lyrics barked by Heljarmadr (“In solitude I am talking to ghosts / And while the netherworld is being ripped open wide / My human flesh is still keeping me / Between these walls, and I am eager to die”) while Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol slash our senses with their otherworldly riffs in a lecture in Black Metal; whereas cryptic guitar lines kick off their second to last breath of obscurity titled Leviathan, not as inspiring nor as visceral as the other songs form the album, albeit still extremely violent. And last but not least, it’s time for one final explosion of pure Black Metal in the form of We Are The Apocalypse, with the demolishing drums by Jalomaah walking hand in hand with the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo.

Such beast of an album can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but if I were you I would certainly purchase your favorite version of this devilish masterpiece by clicking HERE. We Are The Apocalypse, which will undoubtedly feature among the best metal albums of the year in countless lists from all over the world, has no artificial elements added to it, just the wrath of five insanely talented Swedish black metallers who remain loyal to the foundations of the genre even after so many years on the road. Hence, don’t forget to follow Dark Funeral on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their disturbing Black Metal. Because you know, when it comes to Black Metal, Dark Funeral are indeed the apocalypse.

Best moments of the album: Nightfall, When Our Vengeance Is Done, Beyond The Grave and A Beast To Praise.

Worst moments of the album: Leviathan.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Nightfall 5:13
2. Let The Devil In 4:40
3. When Our Vengeance Is Done 4:20
4. Nosferatu 4:41
5. When I’m Gone 5:46
6. Beyond The Grave 5:08
7. A Beast To Praise 4:49
8. Leviathan 4:34
9. We Are The Apocalypse 4:33

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Adra Melek – bass
Jalomaah – drums

Album Review – Bhleg / Fäghring (2022)

This unstoppable Swedish duo returns with their most ambitious recording to date, the fourth and closing part of the album tetralogy “Ár”.

After the blackest night comes the most radiant dawn; the spark of life illuminates all that which was swallowed by shadows. Fäghring, or “florescence” in English, bears the gift of rebirth both in nature and for Västra Götaland, Sweden-based Black/Folk Metal entity Bhleg. The fourth and closing part of the album tetralogy “Ár”, with the other three parts being Solarmegin (2018), Äril (2019) and Ödhin (2021), is the most ambitious Bhleg recording to date, with its metal parts being saturated with both primal ferocity and majestic atmosphere, while the ambient interludes from their early works are still present, but now conveyed mostly through analogue recordings. Tracked and mixed using the band’s own recording setup at Studio Asu, mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studios, displaying custom photography as well as illustrations and calligraphy by T. Väänänen, and featuring guest vocalists specialized in different aspects of the Scandinavian folk tradition the likes of Andreas Pettersson of Saiva, Êlea of Noêta, and Swedish author Lars Magnar Enoksen, Fäghring is undoubtedly the strongest album to date by vocalist L. and multi-instrumentalist S., this time supported by drummer H.

Vårdträdet (or “the warden tree” from Swedish) works as an extended intro that will transport your soul to the ethereal realm ruled by Bhleg, with S. being on fire with both his riffs and his tribalistic sounds, flowing into the 10-minute aria Grönskande gryning (“verdant dawn”), where L. begins screaming like a demonic entity in a brilliant fusion of Black and Folk Metal. Furthermore, S. once again is bestial with his riffage while H. hammers his drums with tons of passion and feeling, alternating between sheer heaviness and mesmerizing passages, not to mention how awesome all additional instruments by S. sound and feel. The piercing Black Metal riffs by S. set the tone in Alyr i blom (“Alyr in bloom”), with H.’s beats dictating the song’s frantic pace amidst over 12 minutes of insanity, darkness and a deep connection with nature, with S. darkening the skies with his sick guitar lines and low-tuned bass jabs, therefore resulting in one of the band’s most complex and detailed compositions to date.

Birds chirping ignite the and melancholic Befruktad jord (“nourished soil”), evolving into a massive wall of ethereal and harsh sounds and tones for our total delight while also bringing forward wicked vocalizations, flammable riffs and H.’s pounding drums. Then the sounds of nature will put you in a trance in Solvigd “(solar wedlock”), a beautiful, enfolding tune showcasing primeval elements intertwined with whimsical female vocals, before Bhleg comes crushing with Frö (“seed”), a 12-minute onrush of Black and Folk Metal that will decimate your senses with L. delivering his most infernal and anguished vocals of the entire album supported by the always venomous beats by H., blackening the ambience more and more as the music progresses to the razor-edged riffs by S. and ending with eerie, grim vociferations that build an instant connection with the atmospheric outro Fagna sumrí, (“celebration of summer”), which goes on for too long despite being very delicate and smooth. It’s still a very decent conclusion to the album, of course.

“From death springs life – stronger, wiser, and alive. Fäghring, our homage to the glorious spring, signifies the part of the natural process where life is reborn. The album is dedicated to life and its triumphs over death; it is the fourth and last album in this cycle,” commented the duo. And if you want to join Bhleg in their quest for Black and Folk Metal you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, stream all of their creations on Spotify, and soon purchase your copy of the stunning Fäghring from their BandCamp page, from Nordvis Produktion, or click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. This cycle might be closed, as mentioned by L. and S., but the duo is far from calling it quits; quite the contrary, Bhleg will be reborn again and again, for the delight of all fans of first-class extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Grönskande gryning, Alyr i blom and Frö.

Worst moments of the album: Fagna sumrí.

Released in 2022 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Vårdträdet 2:40
2. Grönskande gryning 10:41
3. Alyr i blom 12:06
4. Befruktad jord 8:52
5. Solvigd 3:30
6. Frö 12:22
7. Fagna sumrí 4:11

Band members
L. – lead vocals
S. – guitar, bass, lyre, hurdy-gurdy, mouth harp, keyboards, bullroarer, birch trumpet, frame drums, birch sticks, stones, vocals

Guest musicians
H. – drums (session)
Andreas Pettersson – vocals
Êlea – vocals
Lars Magnar Enoksen – vocals

Album Review – Emetropia / Equinox (2022)

This imposing Swedish metal band is ready to hypnotize us all with their breathtaking debut concept album.

Formed in 2017 in the city of Linköping, Sweden, Symphonic Metal act Emetropia is set to release their debut album, entitled Equinox, bringing the full Equinox Saga which was teased in their 2018 debut EP Procession of the Kings, with all EP tracks also being “re-imagined” and re-recorded. While many bands in the genre choose to lean towards a gothic, dark theme, Emetropia instead focus on delivering energetic and dynamic metal driven by big orchestras and choirs carefully brought forth by Lisa Wallenberg on vocals, Olle Renius and Jonatan Jakobsson on the guitars, Kristoffer “Bobo” Pynnönen on bass, Liam Strand on keyboards and orchestrations, and Oscar Heikkinen on drums. Mixed and mastered by Michele “Meek” Guaitoli and displaying a stunning artwork by Jani Stefanović, Equinox “is a story about a small boy who finds himself captivated by a story told by the fireplace at night. In this tale, the kings of Summer and Winter rage a never-ending battle for the throne. Saddened by the fact that they are trapped in a cycle of bloodshed and suffering, the boy sets out to convince the Fey King and Frost King to make peace. However, while the Great Wheel turns, can it ever stop spinning?”, as explained by the band’s vocalist and lyricist Lisa.

Liam kicks some ass from the very first second with his striking keys in the re-imagined version of Seasonal Warfare, while Olle and Jonathan begin their guitar duel in great fashion in a classic Symphonic Metal feast for admirers of the genre. Then in the also re-imagined version of A Summer Breeze, Oscar dictates the song’s epic pace with his thunderous beats supported by the rumbling bass by Kristoffer and the magical orchestrations by Liam, not to mention how powerful and hypnotizing Lisa’s operatic vocals sound; and this six-piece squad keeps embellishing the airwaves with their unique Symphonic Metal in That Fateful Night, with all backing vocals enhancing the song’s impact and epicness considerably while Lisa beautifully tells the story proposed. In the re-imagined version of Lord of the Blizzards we’re treated to the angelic vocals by Lisa in paradox with harsh growls, turning the song into a metal opera  with the rhythmic drums by Oscar and the riffage by Olle and Jonatan guiding us on Emetropia’s musical voyage; whereas the stunning piano notes by Liam kick off the whimsical The First Leaf Falls, absolutely epic and bringing to our ears over six minutes of classic Symphonic Metal with a cinematic approach.

The visceral riffs by the band’s guitar duo set fire to the music in Fall’s First Storm, offering us all an electrifying wall of sounds spearheaded by the crushing drums by Oscar while providing Lisa with all she needs to shine on vocals, and it’s time for a classic Melodic Metal tune with symphonic nuances entitled The Old Gods, as if Stratovarius and Nightwish had a child together, and with Liam and Oscar once again stealing the spotlight with their respective instruments. The re-imagined version of Procession of the Kings is another Nightwish-inspired tune by those Swedish rockers that will put you to dance while you enjoy Lisa’s mesmerizing vocal performance, resulting in a top-of-the-line composition flawlessly brought forth in the name of metal music. Finally, prepare your senses as an 11-minute voyage through the realms of Symphonic Metal is about to begin in His Final Endeavour, full of breaks and variations and feeling like the score to an epic movie blending the band’s core essence with Heavy and Power Metal elements. Furthermore, Olle and Jonatan are bestial with their guitars, all of course spiced up by the stunning vocals by Lisa until the song’s smooth and climatic finale.

The talented musicians from Emetropia are waiting for your feedback on their music on Facebook and on Instagram, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their official YouTube channel and to stream all of their creations on Spotify. “Equinox represents everything about Emetropia. After half a decade of songwriting and developing as musicians, we’ve finally completed an album that sounds just like we envisioned it. There will be straight forward power metal, there will be mind-boggling progressive metal, and there will be bombastic symphonic metal over the course of its 53 minute run time! In the end, Equinox provides listeners with nine diverse and unique songs, all displaying the different sides of Emetropia to look forward to. We can’t wait to finally unveil the complete Equinox Saga,” commented Liam about the band’s new opus, which will be available for purchase from their BandCamp page, and I’m sure you’ll be beyond thrilled to join Emetropia in their quest for Symphonic Metal to the awesome music found in Equinox.

Best moments of the album: Fall’s First Storm, Procession of the Kings and His Final Endeavour.

Worst moments of the album: That Fateful Night.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Seasonal Warfare (Re-Imagined) 4:00
2. A Summer Breeze (Re-Imagined) 5:47
3. That Fateful Night 5:27
4. Lord of the Blizzards (Re-Imagined) 5:31
5. The First Leaf Falls 6:29
6. Fall’s First Storm 5:14
7. The Old Gods 4:29
8. Procession of the Kings (Re-Imagined) 4:54
9. His Final Endeavour 11:06

Band members
Lisa Wallenberg – vocals
Olle Renius – lead guitars
Jonatan Jakobsson – rhythm guitars
Kristoffer “Bobo” Pynnönen – bass
Liam Strand – keyboards, backing vocals
Oscar Heikkinen – drums

Album Review – Flames Of Fire / Flames Of Fire (2022)

Hailing from Sweden, Norway and Finland, these fired up musicians will rock your world to the sound of their debut album of old school Heavy Metal.

Formed in the spring of 2021 by vocalist Christian Liljegren (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision) and guitarist and composer Mats-Åke Andersson (Zaragorn), but with its history going back to 1987 when the duo met for the first time in their hometown Jönköping, a city on the shores of Lake Vättern, in southern Sweden, the newborn Heavy Metal entity known as Flames Of Fire is ready to show us all what they got with the release of their self-titled debut album. With multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanovic (The Waymaker, Solution .45, Miseration), bassist Per Schelander (House of Shakira, Astrakhan, Royal Hunt, Pain of Salvation) and guitarist Stephen Carlson (Brotthogg, Peter Carlsohn’s The Rise, Tales, Viva) completing the line-up, this Sweden/Norway/Finland-based squad is highly recommended for admirers of the music by Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Dio, among others, delivering the awesomeness of metal music in their new album while also displaying a crystal clear and very professional overall production and sound quality.

The sinister intro New Dawn warms up Flames of Fire to strike us all with their high-octane sound in Gloria, with Jani dictating the pace with his fierce drumming while at the same time he embellishes the airwaves with his classy keys, all of course spiced up by the powerful vocals by Christian in an old school, no shenanigans Heavy and Power Metal hymn by the quintet. Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen keep slashing their guitars in the battle song that carries the name of the band, Flames Of Fire, supported by the thunderous bass by Per. Needless to say, it will inspire you to keep fighting for heavy music no matter what; whereas Madness brings to our ears classic Melodic Metal with that trademark European harmony, also presenting a pleasant pace with Jani kicking ass with his rhythmic beats. Then in I Am the band drinks from the same mystical fountain as bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden, while Christian’s soaring vocals add an extra touch of magic to the musicality accompanied by the galloping bass by Per.

It’s time to bang our heads to the electrifying fusion of Melodic and Power Metal found in Time To Live, showcasing traditional guitar riffs and solos, a breathtaking pace and the always visceral vocals by Christian, not to mention Per’s stunning bass lines. Are you ready for 10 minutes of epicness and a deep passion for metal music? That’s what the band has to offer us all in Solution, a heavy-as-hell aria by Flames of Fire where Christian darkly declaims the song’s wicked words. Moreover, it has a strong Black Sabbath vibe from their Dio-era, resulting in almost a metal opera with the massive drums by Jani making your head tremble mercilessly. The band has one final metal onrush for us all in the form of Soldiers Of The King, tailored for diehard fans of the genre, with their guitar triumvirate Mats-Åke, Jani and Stephen being on absolute sync until the very last second, flowing into the outro End Theme, which puts an atmospheric ending to the album.

After carefully listening to Flames of Fire, you’ll easily notice how professional and focused those Scandinavian metallers are, which explains why the album sounds so thrilling from start to finish. Hence, in order to show them your support and admiration, you can start following the band on Facebook for news, tour dates (if they will do that one day, of course), plans for the future and other nice-to-know details about them, and purchase your copy of the album from the Melodic Passion Records’ webstore or by clicking HERE. Having said all that, are you ready to rock and bang your head in the name of Heavy Metal together with the guys from Flames of Fire? You won’t get disappointed at all, showing you once and for all that Scandinavia is and will always be a fantastic source of heavy music for your metallic heart.

Best moments of the album: Flames Of Fire, Time To Live and Solution.

Worst moments of the album: Madness.

Released in 2022 Melodic Passion Records

Track listing
1. New Dawn 1:25
2. Gloria 4:15
3. Flames Of Fire 3:16
4. Madness 3:55
5. I Am 4:31
6. Time To Live 4:07
7. Solution 9:58
8. Soldiers Of The King 5:05
9. End Theme 1:32

Band members
Christian Liljegren – vocals
Mats-Åke Andersson – guitars
Jani Stefanovic – guitars, keyboards, drums, backing vocals
Stephen Carlson – guitars
Per Schelander – bass

Album Review – Through The Noise / Tragedies EP (2022)

This talented Swedish Post-Hardcore and Nu Metal outfit is back in action with an inspiring three-track EP, pointing to an exciting musical direction prior to their next full-length album.

Vocalist Jowl Nyberg, guitarists Victor Adonis and Marcus Skantz, bassist Martin Lingonblad and drummer Peter Liwgren, collectively known as Lund/Malmö, Sweden-based Post-Hardcore/Nu Metal outfit Through The Noise, are back in action now in 2022 with a brand new EP entitled Tragedies, following up on their highly acclaimed 2019 album Dualism. During the Covid-19 lockdowns the band was unable to tour; however, there was plenty of time to write new material and they wrote a bunch of new songs, and after some careful consideration they decided that it would be best to release an EP before a full-length album, so they tracked three songs which make up Tragedies. Produced by Robert Kukla at Obsidian Recording Studios, Tragedies showcases a more sinister and heavier side of Through The Noise, appealing not only to the band’s current fanbase but also to anyone in search for fresh and vibrant heavy music.

The quintet arises from the underworld with a fusion of Alternative Metal and darker elements in Tantalus, bringing forward poetic lyrics rabidly declaimed by Jowl (“Perpetually trapped / Lost sense of time / Eternal damnation / Cursed with temptation”) and an amazing job done by Peter with his crushing drums, while Victor and Marcus add tons of heaviness to the music with their refined riffage. And Peter keeps hammering his drums in Aktaion, with all whimsical background elements making a thrilling paradox with the metallic bass by Martin and the raspy roars by Jowl, being therefore perfect for banging your head and jumping up and down with the band in the name of heavy music. Lastly, in Lamia we’re treated to another round of their wicked words (“Aggression bottled up from past transgressions / Disfigured, tormented by the pain / Forever haunted by my heinous actions / A victim, forced by godly hands”) supported by the visceral hybrid of Alternative Metal and Hardcore blasted by the quintet, making us eager for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

You can get in touch with the talented guys from Through The Noise and know more about the band, their tour dates and plans for the future on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, steam their entire catalog on Spotify, and of course purchase your copy of Tragedies by clicking HERE, showing your utmost support to the Swedish underground. Nobody truly knows what will happen to the world of music in the coming months due to this never-ending Covid-19 madness, but at least we can rest assured the fires of heavy music will keep burning thanks to hardworking bands like Through The Noise, and based on the heaviness and melodies offered to us in Tragedies I can’t wait to see how their next full-length album will sound. It will be awesome, no doubt about that.

Best moments of the album: Tantalus.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Tantalus 3:55
2. Aktaion 4:41
3. Lamia 3:24

Band members
Jowl Nyberg – vocals
Victor Adonis – guitar
Marcus Skantz – guitar
Martin Lingonblad – bass
Peter Liwgren – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Johanna Sadonis

Lucifer, oh, Lucifer… Falling for me…

As another weird and dark year is coming to its inevitable end, and as winter is finally coming, let’s set The Headbanging Moose on fire and warm us up this month of December with our tribute to the last metal lady of 2021, the unstoppable Johanna Sadonis, also known as Johanna Claudia Platow, the frontwoman for Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock entity Lucifer. Born on January 21, 1979 in Berlin, Germany, but currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden due to being married to Lucifer’s own guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, Johanna is not only an accomplished and extremely talented vocalist, but also a DJ, a designer, an art director and a lyricist involved in various metal bands and projects during the 90’s and early 2000’s. Having said all that, are you ready to join Johanna in her quest for dark and doomed music?

A late bloomer in the Hard Rock scene, Johanna started out in the 90’s playing and singing Extreme Metal in the underground scene, gradually moving to a darker and more melodic 70’s-inspired Hard Rock and Heavy Metal style after founding Lucifer back in 2014. But let’s take a step back in time and talk a little about her early days and how she started in music before moving on to her current band. Johanna got into rock music when she was really young with her parents’ record collection, getting to know bands the likes of The Rolling stones, AC/DC, ZZ Top and Deep Purple, among others, as well as Punk Rock from her older brother. Then in 1992 when she was 13 she went to see Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, with her next gig being Danzig when she was 14, setting her first step into the dark side of music and moving on to heavier and darker styles such as Death, Black and Doom Metal.

According to Johanna herself that happened because she was at a summer camp when she was 12 and two of her friends were into metal, and when she was 16 those guys asked her to guest sing on the demo cassette of their Death Metal band (which by the way ended up happening a few more times as that was the thing in the 90’s), getting her more and more involved with the underground scene in Berlin. At that time Johanna said she was very serious about all that. She had black hair, black clothes, her whole room was black, and she got into magic, having worked at an esoteric book shop after school. However, her earliest memory of her fascination with singing and music was when she discovered the song Leader Of The Pack by the Shangri-Las on a Rock N’ Roll compilation cassette that her mom gave her when she was six. As she couldn’t speak English at that time, she said she started writing lyrics to songs down phonetically so she could sing along as a child. Later in her early teenage years she started to write poems and lyrics, and bought her first acoustic guitar, teaching herself to play and to sing.

It was only in 2014 in Berlin when Johanna formed Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock outfit Lucifer, and after a few lineup changes Johanna became the only original member of the band currently comprised of our stunning frontwoman together with guitarist and drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarists Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund, and bassist Harald Göthblad, having also relocated the band to Stockholm, Sweden, as already mentioned. When asked if she’s ever faced any legal problems with using the name Lucifer considering it’s a name other bands have already used throughout the years, she mentioned she wouldn’t have chosen the name if it would have belonged to a larger active band, but so far she hasn’t had any problems with it. In addition, when asked about how dark the name of the band is, Johanna reminded us all that bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram are not Black or Death Metal, also mentioning The Rolling Stones’ classic Sympathy for The Devil as an example of how demonic figures can also be used successfully in a more Rock N’ Roll way.

Playing what can be called a 70’s-inspired fusion of Rock N’ Roll and Doom Metal, Luficer have already released four full-length albums, those being Lucifer I (2015), Lucifer II (2018), Lucifer III (2020), and Lucifer IV (2021), with Johanna obviously being the lead singer in all of those records, plus the keyboardist and sampler on Lucifer I. If you want to have a very good taste of how awesome the music by Lucifer is, you can stream all of their albums on Spotify, or watch all of their breathtaking videos on YouTube including Dreamer, California Son, Bring Me His Head, Leather Demon, Midnight Phantom, their cover versions for The Rattles’ Devil’s On The Loose and Angel Witch’s Loser, and enjoy several amazing concerts like their ass-kicking performances at the Crossroads Festival in Bonn, Germany in 2018 and at Rockpalast in 2018 and in 2019.

Before forming Lucifer, Johanna could be seen in several distinct bands and projects. She was the vocalist for German Symphonic Black Metal band Cryogenic, with whom she recorded their 1996 demo and the 1998 album Celephais; sang for German Black Metal horde Dies Ater on their 1999 album Reign of Tempests, from 1999; formed the Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock band The Oath with her friends Vincent Wager and Linnéa Olsson in 2012, her last band before Lucifer, having recorded their self-titled full-length album in 2014; was part of the Electronic Indie Pop band Informer along with Rayshele Teige, a former employee of Century Media in the United States, in 2010; and was part of Swedish Melodic Black Metal unity Vinterkrig from 1996 until 1997, having recorded with them the demo Härskare över stjärnorna och mina drömmar (which was just released earlier this year).

Not only that, you can also find our beloved vocalist as a guest musician in different bands and projects through the years, those being the female vocals for the songs Marie Louise and Black Wedding, from the 1996 album Leviathan by a German Death Metal band called Ferox; vocals on the songs Now Howls the Beast and Psychic Visions, from the 2017 album Inside the Skull by American Doom Metal act Beastmaker; and vocals on the song Queen Among Rats, from the 2009 album Privilegivm, and on the cover version for Alice In Chains’ hit Them Bones, from the 2010 EP Them Bones / This Inner Soil, both by German Black/Gothic Rock/Metal band Secrets of the Moon. Not only that, Johanna was also the designer, producer and art director in all of the Lucifer’s albums, proving how talented she is. When asked if all her past experiences with the bands that came before Lucifer had an impact on the way she handles the band, she said that she certainly learned that she’s not putting up with ego bullshit and phoniness anymore, and that with Lucifer it’s all about the passion of creating music and enjoying the ride.

Regarding her idols and influences in rock and metal music, Johanna always lists some of the best, most classic vocalists and performers you can think of, including Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, also saying that she listens to a lot of 70’s classic Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and early Heavy Metal, and that fictional horror, real life horror and the horror in one’s head also have a huge influence in her lyrics. Furthermore, in one of her interviews she was asked to list ten albums which she feels don’t get the proper attention from the media and the fans, and her list was very diverse, including Hard Attack by Dust, Bloodrock U.S.A. by Bloodrock, the self-titled album by Starz, Electric Jewels by April Wine, Straight Up by Badfinger, the self-titled album by Bob Seger, the self-titled album by Journey, Special Forces by 38 Special, Year of The Cat by Al Stuart, and Lucifer III by “you know who”. Johanna also mentioned that Lucifer do not have a specific formula or concept behind their albums, that they simply think of what kind of songs would make people excited, what makes them feel good, and hope that the band doesn’t lose quality or doesn’t get stale with every release.

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In terms of her life on the road with Lucifer, Johanna mentioned that she has already performed hundreds of shows with the band and that each one of those are important in their own way, saying the band plays the same way in front of 20 people in some village or at Helffest in front of over 7,000 people. In addition, when it comes to organizing their setlist, she said that they usually like to start off the set with a mid tempo number to get into the groove and end the set in some sort of sonic eruption, never putting two songs of the same kind in a row (such as two ballads, for example), maintaining an interesting flow to keep the attention of the audience. She also shared an interesting story that happened on the road, when guitarist Martin Nordin ended up playing ping pong with Ace Frehley on the Kiss Kruise where Lucifer played three sets, and also mentioned she would love to play in places such as Australia, New Zealand and South America.

As a prominent woman in the world of rock and metal music, Johanna believes you have to have a little bit of a thick skin if you’re a woman due to the fact the scene has always been a male-dominated one, saying that things got a little better in recent years compared to when she was a teenager as now we can see a lot more bands with girls, but at the same time there are still weird expressions like “female-fronted”. Johana strongly believes gender shouldn’t be a genre, also commenting about how deep that’s within our culture as you get treated differently as a woman in obvious ways, but also in really subtle ways. Johanna also pointed to the fact that there are still too many sexist and nasty comments on social media whenever a woman is part of a rock or metal band, but that fortunately that’s changing. “I felt it necessary for the first time to post, ‘if you’re a homophobe, you’re a sexist, racist, you are not welcome here.’ If you feel like you have to burn your Lucifer album now, please do so. I don’t care. That post went around quite a lot. A lot of people were applauding it, but then there was also all kinds of people going, ‘you suck anyways.’ Because I’m against sexism, racism, and homophobia? I mean, what side are you on then. I’m really shocked at how much racism is out there. But luckily that’s getting talked about too. We’re still a little bit in the middle ages, unfortunately. It can’t go fast enough.”

When asked about the metal scene in her hometown Berlin versus her current home Stockholm, Johanna mentioned that there isn’t a huge difference between those places as the rock and metal community kind of networks around the world, as people in New York, Berlin, Stockholm, London or any other city in the world are connected and know each other through social media, making it a little bit more globalized and organized. She said though that although she used to go out and DJ quite often in Berlin, she doesn’t do that much anymore in Stockholm not because there aren’t enough clubs or because the scene is not big in Sweden, but mainly due to her busy touring schedule as she feels happier with the quietness of her home nowadays after so many weeks on the road. She still misses her DJ years, though, when she used to run a monthly old school Heavy Metal party at the Kill ‘Em All Club in Berlin, which by the way she started together with the same Vincent Wager from The Oath.

Having founded Riding Reaper Records in 2020 alongside her husband and bandmate Nicke Andersson, Johanna commented that some of her advantages of making music today are her wisdom and experience gathered through the years, but also saying that she can’t really compare it to the music industry in the 90’s when she started because she was only part of the underground music scene as a musician. Also, she considers streaming services like Spotify and any social media as necessary evils because they allow the band to stay closely connected to their fanbase and to feel the pulse of what’s up. That connection was actually very important for Lucifer during the pandemic, as Johanna and the boys also had to stay home in isolation for a long period of time without playing any concerts. She mentioned the sales were pretty good, though, probably due to the fact people had more time to listen to music at their homes.

Lastly, when asked about what she considers the most amazing thing in her life, she answered that musically it’s having met Nicke and marrying him because “he is the perfect partner in crime when it comes to music,” also saying that it’s a luxury that they can do what they love the most together, which is recording music and playing live. And if you want to know more about Johanna and her incendiary band Lucifer, there are countless video interviews online such as this one to Metal Insider’s Newsroom, where she talks about Lucifer’s overall sound and other nice-to-know topics; this one where Johanna and Nicke pick the best albums from 1975; this one to Doomed & Stoned in 2018; the ‘How Well Do You Know Your Bandmate’ for Metal Injection; and this one with Darren Paltrowitz (host of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast) where she talks about the influence of Glenn Danzig, getting through the Coronavirus pandemic, future plans and more. As you can see, there’s no reason not to fall in love for Johanna and her Lucifer, succumbing to the dark side to the sound of her unique voice and charisma.

Johanna Sadonis’ Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Facebook page
Lucifer’s Official Instagram
Lucifer’s Official Twitter
Lucifer’s Official YouTube channel

“After my initial love affair with classic rock and heavy metal I got heavily into death, doom and black metal at the age of 16 and sang on a variety of demo cassette tapes of local death and black metal bands in Berlin. I had black hair, black clothes, my whole room was black and I got into magic. I worked at an esoteric book shop after school. I was very serious about this all. My mother thought it was just a phase but look at me, not much has changed!” – Johanna Sadonis

Album Review – Häxkapell / Eldhymner (2021)

Let your soul burn to the debut album by this Swedish Black Metal beast, examining, contemplating and utilizing the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards…”

Founded in 2015 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oraklet in the city of Haparanda, a locality and the seat of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County, Sweden, a caustic Black Metal entity that goes by the name of Häxkapell (which means “witch chapel” or “chapel of witchery” from Swedish) is set to release its first full-length opus, titled Eldhymner (or “fire hymns”), an album which examines, contemplates and utilizes the concept of fire as a source of power, a destroyer and a bringer of life. Mastered by T. Stjerna at NBS Studio, and featuring session musicians JM on drums and IPU on the violin, Eldhymner conveys sheer, unadulterated veneration for classic Swedish Black Metal of all kinds, being recommended for admirers of the extreme music blasted by bands the likes of Covenant, Naglfar, Marduk, Emperor and Dissection, among several others.

Ominous sounds permeate the air in the epic intro Kallet (“the call”), inviting us to the Stygian realm ruled by Häxkapell before they take our minds by storm with Tomhetens Lågor (“the flames of emptiness”), with JM dictating the song’s imposing pace while Oraklet roars with tons of anger in his damned heart, resulting in an old school Black Metal composition with some very welcome elements from Atmospheric Black Metal added to its core essence. And this venomous Swedish entity blasts another fulminating Black Metal tune titled Eldskapt (“created by fire”), living up to the legacy of bands like Marduk and Immortal, while Oraklet is utterly infernal with his growls and riffs accompanied by the demonic beats by JM, all spiced up by the crying violin by IPU; flowing into the phantasmagorical Askans Drottning (“the queen of ashes”), where they continue to haunt our souls with their infernal sounds. Moreover, JM is once again bestial behind his drum set, providing Oraklet all he needs to shine with his demonic screams.

Ur Malströmmens Famn (“from the embrace of the maelstrom”) is absolutely demolishing from the very first second, a lecture in Black Metal by Oraklet and his henchmen that will penetrate deep inside your skin and burn your veins and muscles mercilessly. Not only that, Oraklet’s riffage couldn’t have sounded more Black Metal than this, not to mention the song’s cryptic background voices. Then investing into a more cadenced sonority it’s time for a Melodic Black Metal tune titled Solraviner (“sun ravines”), full of breaks and variations supported by the cinematic keys by Oraklet, followed by Häxkapellet (“the witch chapel”), where once again Oraklet vociferates rabidly accompanied by the headbanging drums by JM in a lesson in contemporary Black Metal, evolving into a beyond heavy and crushing extravaganza. In other words, it’s over eight minutes of dark and caustic sounds for our total delight, until the band embraces us all with the ethereal outro Sanningen (“the truth”), where the violin by IPU will finally bring peace to our blackened hearts.

An eternal furnace of chaos breeding that which lies beyond, forever tempting the embers of life with the flames of everlasting silence, fire will always be a pivotal element in our society, representing at the same time life and death, darkness and light, and in Eldhymner the talented Oraklet was capable of transforming that scorching nature of fire into first-class Black Metal, helping to pave the band’s path to stardom in the underground community. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Häxkapell by following the project on Facebook, and more important than that, by purchasing a copy of Eldhymner from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Nordvis Produktion’s webstore in CD or LP format, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album. And let the fires of Swedish Black Metal burn bright for centuries to come to the sound of amazing bands like Häxkapell.

Best moments of the album: Eldskapt, Ur Malströmmens Famn and Häxkapellet.

Worst moments of the album: Solraviner.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Kallet 2:20
2. Tomhetens Lågor 5:51
3. Eldskapt 6:50
4. Askans Drottning 4:46
5. Ur Malströmmens Famn 4:05
6. Solraviner 5:40
7. Häxkapellet 8:31
8. Sanningen 2:18

Band members
Oraklet – vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest musicians
JM – drums (session)
IPU – violin (session)