Album Review – Jordfäst / Av Stoft (2022)

A ruthless Swedish Black Metal duo returns with their sophomore opus, telling sobering tales of human struggles against societal norms and religious oppression, and the fight for the right to determine one’s own fate.

An old Swedish word for being buried, loosely translated to ”attached to soil”, Jordfäst is also the name of a Skåne, Sweden-based Black Metal duo who unearth the grim past of the Scandinavian peninsula in their songs, channeling the long-forgotten cries of people that once lived. Now in 2022 it’s time for vocalist Olof Bengtsson and multi-instrumentalist Elis Edin Markskog, supported by session drummer Joakim Unger, to unleash upon humanity their sophomore opus entitled Av Stoft, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2021 debut full-length album Hädanfärd. Epic and dreaming, conjuring up soundscapes comparable to genre greats such as Ulver, Saiva, and Primordial, Av Stoft, which is Swedish for “of dust”, continues where Hädanefter left off, with folky melodies and theatrical narratives woven into a solid backbone of Black Metal. Recorded at Studio Wheelmust, mixed and mastered by William Blackmon at The Overlook, and featuring guest vocals by Joakim Svensson of Skogen, the album is comprised of two songs which have a combined playing time of 33 minutes, telling sobering tales of human struggles against societal norms and religious oppression, and the fight for the right to determine one’s own fate, with its gloomy layers interspersed with searing melodies reflecting a reality as unforgiving as the northern winter.

Eerie voices are suddenly joined by the massive beats by Joakim in Abortologen (“the abortologist”, from Swedish), bringing to our damned ears over 16 minutes of Scandinavian Black Metal infused with Folk and Doom Metal nuances where Olof roars manically in the name of pure evil, while Elis crafts a beyond caustic and visceral sound with his riffs, bass and keys, not to mention his guitar solos are a thing of beauty, enhancing the song’s epicness and electricity considerably. Put differently, it’s imposing and violent from start to finish, being therefore tailored for admirers of the genre while also ending in a serene way to the sound of a piano. The second song of the album, Kom Eld, Kom Regn (“come fire, come rain”), offers our ears pure Scandinavian Black Metal flowing from the very first second, with its vocalizations adding an extra touch of darkness to the overall result. Furthermore, the song brings forward a headbanging pace led by the strident riffage by Elis while Joakim hammers his drums in great fashion, and the music alternates between sheer aggressiveness and more melodic, Stygian moments. Not only that, Olof sounds absolutely bestial with his enraged roars, without a single second left empty throughout its 17 minutes of Scandinavian awesomeness that builds up to a sinister, epic and chilling ending.

“With Av Stoft we took a more timeless approach by implementing themes which have always been part of humanity’s history and shaped our society. Concepts pertaining to life and death; the right of the lone individual to either end or start one or the other as he sees fit, as well as the consequences that might follow. As on Hädanefter, the stories are told from several perspectives and depict everything from personal suffering to the relentless forces of nature – all of which are indifferent to our suffering and just biding their time to sweep us away, once and for all,” commented the duo about their newborn spawn, which will soon be available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page and from Nordvis Produktion, as well as for streaming on Spotify. Hence, don’t forget to start following Olof and Elis on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with all things Jordfäst, letting the obscure tales told by the duo in Av Stoft crawl dep inside your mind while they keep carrying the flag of Scandinavian Black Metal armed with their austere music for many decades to come.

Best moments of the album: Kom Eld, Kom Regn.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Abortologen 16:08
2. Kom Eld, Kom Regn 16:59

Band members
Olof Bengtsson – vocals
Elis Edin Markskog – guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals

Guest musicians
Joakim Unger – drums (session)
Joakim Svensson – additional vocals

Album Review – Thundermother / Black and Gold (2022)

You better watch out as these Swedish girls are the light in the sky that turns black into gold in their new album, always loud and free in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

Two years after their highly acclaimed album Heat Wave, the unstoppable Stockholm, Sweden-based Hard Rock brigade Thundermother is back with a fantastic new album titled Black and Gold, a roar for all it’s worth. Not only musically rough and loud, but also controversial and honest, the band currently formed of the ass-kicking Guernica Mancini on vocals, Filippa Nässil on the guitar, newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren on bass, and Emlee Johansson on drums sounds beyond sharp and flammable throughout their entire new album, proving why they’ve become one of the most admired and respected bands of the current Hard Rock scene and, therefore, attracting the attention of diehard fans of renowned acts the likes of AC/DC, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo, among others.

Just hit play and be stunned by The Light In The Sky, a Rock N’ Roll anthem perfect to be played at the biggest stadiums in the world where Guernica is simply flawless on vocals while Emlee dictates the pace with her pounding beats; whereas the title-track Black And Gold is just as electrifying and vibrant, with Filippa delivering her usual rockin’ riffs and, therefore, resulting in another hymn for hitting the road. Raise Your Hands is a more rhythmic, headbanging tune by Thundermother paying a tribute to our beloved rock music, with some Jazz-ish influences showcasing the classy kitchen by Mona and Emlee, and after three breathtaking songs the quartet slows things down and offer us the Blues-infused ballad Hot Mess, with Guernica melting the hearts of her fans with her beautiful vocals. Getting back to a more incendiary mode it’s time for Wasted, a beer-drinking extravaganza where those four rockers are in absolute sync until the very last second, with Filippa kicking some serious ass with her riffs and solos, followed by Watch Out, where Guernica sends a fun message through the lyrics (“I’m beautiful with looks that kill / You better watch your words / You run around and talking shit /At least that’s what I heard”) while her bandmates smash their instruments in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

I Don’t Know You offers to our avid ears more of their classic lyrics (“I met you, a rainy day / In June, I met you / With a backstage pass / Like a fool / Drinking all our booze / With the crew / But who the fuck are you”) spiced up by an AC/DC-like sound and vibe, while All Looks No Hooks brings forward their usual fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll where Filippa and Mona deliver pure melody and groove from their stringed axes. Then it’s time for an AC/DC and Airbourne-inspired hurricane titled Loud And Free, one of the most exciting of all tracks with Guernica and Filippa kicking us hard in the head with their superb performances; and it’s pedal to the metal as those Swedish girls won’t stop rockin’ our world in Try With Love, where Emlee once again speeds things up with her incendiary beats. Stratosphere keeps the album at a high level of adrenaline, with Guernica leading her bandmates with her undisputed soaring vocals, whereas the closing song Borrowed Time is a ballad that feels more like a bonus track. It’s not bad at all, but they could have ended the album in a much more exciting way with the previous song.

Thundermother Black and Gold Limited Boxset

When Black and Gold was released just a week before I was going to see Thundermother live for the first time ever in Montreal, I already knew their concert was going to be fantastic (and, of course, they lived up to the hype). All of the songs from Black and Gold, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, are pure gold, with the girls always playing loud and free wherever they go. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, to purchase Black and Gold from their official webstore or by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true servant of rock music you should definitely go for the limited boxset (limited to a thousand units) packaged in a backpack, containing a digipak CD, a 100x150cm flag, a pair of socks, a DIN A5 fake tattoo, a sweat band, an autograph and a certificate of authenticity. Thundermother are the light in the sky of rock music, and their new album will undoubtedly help them strike fast and hard all four corner of the earth for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: The Light In The Sky, Black And Gold, Watch Out and Loud And Free.

Worst moments of the album: Borrowed Time.

Released in 2022 AFM Records

Track listing
1. The Light In The Sky 3:34
2. Black And Gold 3:19
3. Raise Your Hands 3:40
4. Hot Mess 4:25
5. Wasted 3:24
6. Watch Out 3:11
7. I Don’t Know You 3:35
8. All Looks No Hooks 3:41
9. Loud And Free 2:50
10. Try With Love 3:29
11. Stratosphere 3:21
12. Borrowed Time 4:08

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums

Concert Review – Scorpions (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 08/27/2022)

And the city of Montreal still believes in the Rock N’ Roll played by the most important band in the history of Germany.

OPENING ACT: Thundermother

One week after the stunning Rammstein concert in Montreal, and after several hikes through trails and mountains in different parks in Quebec, I was back to Montreal for an explosion of classic Rock N’ Roll at the Bell Centre thanks to the Rock Believer World Tour 2022 by the one and only German Hard Rock institution SCORPIONS, supported by the electrifying Swedish girls from THUNDERMOTHER. Unfortunately, due to an infection that afftecs Mr. David Coverdale’s ability to perform, there will be no Whitesnake in any of the North American dates, which was also the case in Montreal, reducing the whole night to three hours of music instead of maybe four and a half, and that’s my only complaint about the whole concert as they could have given Thundermother another 20 or 30 minutes to play.

Anyway, the crowd had only one hour form the opening of the doors at 6pm until the unstoppable girls from THUNDERMOTHER took Montreal by storm with their breathtaking Rock N’ Roll, presenting songs from their entire career while focusing as expected on their latest albums Heat Wave, from 2020, and their newborn beast Black and Gold, which will be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose Show sooner than you can say “Rock N’ Roll”. Frontwoman Guernica Mancini, guitarist Filippa Nässil, drummer Emlee Johansson, and newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren, who has recently replaced Majsan Lindberg on bass, put on a tremendous show that will surely help to grow their fanbase in Canadian lands, delivering nonstop fire and energy to the audience. Songs like Whatever, Black and Gold and Loud and Free are pure adrenaline in the form of music, but it was their last batch of songs comprised of We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Watch Out and their rockin’ hymn Driving in Style that truly showed why they were chosen to open for the mighty Scorpions and why they’re becoming more and more famous and admired in the world of music. Guernica’s voice is like thunder, so powerful and loud, that I wonder where she will go armed with such striking pipes. Hopefully back to Canada in a not-so-distant future for a few more concerts.

Setlist
Whatever
The Road Is Ours
Dog From Hell
Try with Love
Back in ’76
Black and Gold
Loud and Free
I Don’t Know You
We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Watch Out
Driving in Style

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums 

SCORPIONS

After a very short break it was time for the most important band in the history of Germany to kick some serious ass with their undisputed fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, putting a huge smile on the faces of every single person at the Bell Centre. As the name of the opening song of this new tour already says, the rockin’ SCORPIONS still have a lot of “gas in the tank”, which became crystal clear throughout their entire set blending new songs from the excellent Rock Believer with some of their biggest classics including Make It Real, Bad Boys Running Wild, Tease Me Please Me and Blackout. There was no time to breathe as those German rockers put the pedal to the metal until the very end, turning the night into another memorable visit to Montreal.

I honestly don’t know how Mr. Klaus Meine keeps on rockin’ like that at 74 years of age. He’s not human, he can’t be, as not only his voice is still fantastic, but his onstage performance is captivating. The same can be said about the band’s axe duo Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, supported by the rumbling bass by Paweł Mąciwoda and, of course, the demolishing beats by Mikkey Dee. To be fair, I can’t think of a better place for Mikkey Dee to be after the end of Motörhead, and Scorpions are really lucky for having such talented drummer with them as they’ve never sounded so heavy and groovy in their entire career (and may that happy marriage last for all eternity).

From their new songs, the most exciting ones were of course the opener Gas in the Tank and Peacemaker, but the title-track Rock Believer also worked really well live inspiring us all to raise our fists and horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. And what can I say about their classics? How many bands do you know that have so many rock hymns like Scorpions? Who doesn’t love to sing out loud Send Me an Angel, Big City Nights and Still Loving You from the bottom of their hearts? And what they did with the touching Wind of Change, adapting the original lyrics in support of Ukraine, is a thing of beauty that everyone at the venue loved to sing together with the band while the background showed the peace sign with the Ukrainian colors. “Now listen to my heart / It says Ukrainia / Waiting for the wind to change…”

As usual, a Scorpions concert is not complete without the Rock N’ Roll hit Rock You Like a Hurricane, and it didn’t matter if it was a little kid or a 75-year old lady, everyone who attended their concert at the Bell Centre screamed, danced and raised their fists in the air during the entire song, ending with a loud-as-hell standing ovation to the band that lasted for several minutes. It was deafening, sometimes even louder than the rock music played by Scorpions, showing how much respect and love the fans in Montreal have for the band. I almost missed Scorpions because their show in Toronto was on the same day as Rammstein in Montreal, but I’m glad I made the right decision to see them in Montreal a few days later. Why? Because just like the city of Montreal, I believe in the Rock N’ Roll played by Scorpions.

Setlist
Gas in the Tank
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Seventh Sun
Peacemaker
Bad Boys Running Wild
Delicate Dance
Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Tease Me Please Me
Rock Believer
Blackout
Big City Nights

Encore:
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

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Album Review – Arch Enemy / Deceivers (2022)

One of the most important names of the current heavy music scene is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.

Marking the longest gap between two of their studio albums since their 2017 opus Will to Power, the breathtaking Deceivers, the eleventh studio album by Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy, not only will inspire you to break your neck headbanging to its 11 pulverizing tracks, but it’s also by far their most solid and detailed album with the she-wolf Alissa White-Gluz on vocals. Produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and Hansen Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Alex Reisfar, Deceivers brings to our avid ears a much more cohesive band where the guitars by Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, supported by the heavy-as-hell kitchen by bassist Sharlee D’Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, provide Alissa with exactly what she needs to roar in full force, not to mention it’s also their first album from the Alissa-era where her clean vocals do not sound out of place; quite the contrary, they actually bring a welcome additional touch to their unparalleled music.

The unmatched guitar lines by Michael and Jeff set the stage for Alissa to kick some serious ass with her deep roaring in Handshake with Hell, an absolute banger spearheaded by the classic, pounding drums by Daniel, and they waste no time and keep decimating our senses with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal in Deceiver, Deceiver, where Sharlee and Daniel craft a boisterous kitchen perfect for Alissa’s screams, resulting in a true circle pit machine. In the Eye of the Storm is more melodic and somber than its predecessors with Michael and Jeff cutting your skin deep with their riffs and solos in a more contemporary version of Arch Enemy. Then it’s time for a fulminating creation entitled The Watcher, where Alissa sounds fantastic throughout the entire song growling and screaming deeply like there’s no tomorrow, not to mention the heavy artillery brought forward by Daniel; whereas Poisoned Arrow is the least exciting of all tracks, an introspective creation by Arch Enemy showcasing their usual melodic lines but that lacks the same power from the rest of the album.

Sharlee’s metallic bass ignites the infernal, epic Sunset over the Empire, with Alissa being absolutely demonic on vocals accompanied by her unstoppable bandmates, while House of Mirrors, one of the first singles to come out, sounds in line with their most recent albums, with Michael and Jeff once again elevating the song’s kick with their pulverizing riffs and solos. Dedicated to the memory of LG Petrov from Death Metal institution Entombed, who passed away in 2021 after battling an incurable form of bile duct cancer, Spreading Black Wings is a lot darker than its predecessors, with Daniel dictating the song’s somber pace in great fashion, flowing into the interlude Mourning Star, soothing our souls before the band comes ripping once again in One Last Time, a vicious composition that will inspire you to slam into the pit to the venomous roars by Alissa while Sharlee and Daniel bring thunder and groove to the overall result. Lastly, a sinister intro evolves into a marching tune entitled Exiled from Earth, putting an obscure and climatic ending to the album to the sharp riffage by Michael and Jeff. Moreover, if I were you I would go for the boxset or artbook edition of the album, as they offer us as bonus tracks their electrifying renditions for Fight’s undisputed hit Into the Pit (check the original version HERE), and Picture’s Diamond Dreamer (check the original version HERE).

As already mentioned, Alissa sounds a lot more in sync with the music by Arch Enemy in Deceivers, in special her clean vocals which now make a positive difference whenever they’re inserted in one of the songs from the album, strengthening the legacy of the band even more in the current metal scene. Having said that, you should definitely go after your favorite version of the album by clicking HERE, and also by streaming it in full on Spotify, and don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their awesome music. Now it’s just a matter of enjoying Deceivers by listening to it as many times as you want, by getting ready for their thrilling live concerts, by raising your horns to the first-class Melodic Death Metal played by one of the most important names in the more recent history of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Handshake with Hell, Deceiver, Deceiver, The Watcher and Sunset over the Empire.

Worst moments of the album: Poisoned Arrow.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Handshake with Hell 5:38
2. Deceiver, Deceiver 3:51
3. In the Eye of the Storm 4:09
4. The Watcher 4:58
5. Poisoned Arrow 3:51
6. Sunset over the Empire 4:03
7. House of Mirrors 3:40
8. Spreading Black Wings 4:46
9. Mourning Star 1:36
10. One Last Time 3:49
11. Exiled from Earth 4:44

Boxset/Artbook bonus tracks
12. Into the Pit (Fight cover) 3:52
13. Diamond Dreamer (Picture cover) 3:53

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

Guest musicians
Jacob Hansen – vocals on “Sunset over the Empire”
Raphael Liebermann – cello on “Poisoned Arrow”

Album Review – Amon Amarth / The Great Heathen Army (2022)

Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene to the sound of their electrifying, Viking-inspired new album.

One of the best-loved metal bands in the world, Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal horde Amon Amarth is back into the battlefield with a new opus, the heavy-as-hell, epic The Great Heathen Army, their twelfth studio album and the follow-up to their 2019 release Berserker. Produced, mixed and mastered at Backstage Productions in Derbyshire, England by the one and only Andy Sneap, and displaying a pure Viking-style artwork by Tom Thiel of Illuvision, the album encapsulates the essence of the band currently formed of frontman Johan Hegg, guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and drummer Jocke Wallgren, while still allowing acres of space for new ideas. “The Great Heathen Army is not a concept album like Jomsviking, but I’m taking inspiration from some of the same historical elements,” said Johan Hegg. “There were also some really cool and different ideas I wanted to explore, and they came very much from my wife, Maria, who has been tapping into the more esoteric aspects of Viking lifestyle and culture. Musically, I would say there are a couple of surprises on there, a little bit of uncharted territory for Amon Amarth. Overall it’s one of the heavier albums we’ve made.”

The dirty, raw guitars by Olavi and Johan permeate the air in Get in the Ring, a fighting song that exhales Amon Amarth with its official video featuring wrestling superstar Joseph Ruud (aka Eric Redbeard or Eric Rowan, of AEW and WWE), who’s by the way a huge metal fan, kicking off the album in great fashion. The title-track The Great Heathen Army is another headbanging creation by those Norsemen, where Johan Hegg growls deeply and with tons of anger like a true metal Viking from start to finish; whereas in the fantastic Heidrun it’s time to raise your horns and pints, and sing its catchy lyrics together with the band (“Hail the dead and the goat that gives us mead / On the roof she’s gnawing Lärad’s leaves / Fills the vat with a drink that is so sweet / Worthy of fame / Heidrun is her name”). Then they put the pedal to the metal and deliver the frantic Oden Owns You All, which will inspire all fans at their live concerts to slam into the circle pit manically while Jocke does a great job hammering his drums like there’s no tomorrow in the name of Melodic Death Metal.

Find a Way or Make One brings to our ears classic Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal by the Amon Amarth horde, with the riffage by Olavi and Johan Söderberg being simply incendiary while  the message sent by the band through the lyrics is beyond awesome. Following such powerful tune we have Dawn of Norsemen, a song that goes back to the early days of the band including its old school lyrics barked by Johan Hegg (“We’ve heard rumors of land to the West / Beyond the oceans, where the sun sets / Sailing across the waves, we will fly / This voyage of discovery, no one has tried”); and featuring guest vocals by the one and only Biff Byford of Saxon, as well as his bandmates Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn on the guitars, we’re treated to Saxons and Vikings, a beyond thrilling musical voyage where the unparalleled lines by such imposing vocal duet will pierce through our minds beautifully as a tribute to both bands (and to Heavy Metal in general). They keep pounding their instruments mercilessly in Skagul Rides with Me without forgetting their trademark harmony, and while it’s far from being a masterpiece it’s still very enjoyable. Finally, The Serpent’s Trail, the darkest song of the album, is also the longest one, with Johan Hegg’s introspective vocals bringing an extra somber touch to the overall result while Jocke smashes his drums supported by the low-tuned bass by Ted, flowing into a sinister ending.

My one and only complaint about The Great Heathen Army is the fact that the excellent song Put Your Back into the Oar was not included in the album, and apparently not even in any of its special or deluxe editions, but that’s not a real problem as there’s a lot to enjoy already in the album as is. Having said that, what are you waiting for to put your Viking hands on The Great Heathen Army? Simply go to their official webstore, to the Metal Blade Records webstore, or click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. Don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Amon Amarth, including their unique live performances, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their Viking-inspired creations. In other words, it’s time to grab your sword and shield and join the great heathen army of Amon Amarth to the sound of their new album, heading into the battlefield ruthlessly, without fear, and with metal music in our hearts.

Best moments of the album: Heidrun, Find a Way or Make One, Dawn of Norsemen and Saxons and Vikings.

Worst moments of the album: Skagul Rides with Me.

Released in 2022 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Get in the Ring 4:24
2. The Great Heathen Army 4:04
3. Heidrun 4:42
4. Oden Owns You All 4:17
5. Find a Way or Make One 4:30
6. Dawn of Norsemen 5:32
7. Saxons and Vikings 4:55
8. Skagul Rides with Me 4:34
9. The Serpent’s Trail 6:01

Band members
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – lead guitar
Johan Söderberg – rhythm guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Jocke Wallgren – drums

Guest musician
Biff Byford – vocals on “Saxons and Vikings”
Doug Scarratt – lead guitar on “Saxons and Vikings”
Paul Quinn – lead guitar on “Saxons and Vikings”

Album Review – Soilwork / Övergivenheten (2022)

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters are back with a fantastic new opus dealing with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself.

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters Soilwork are back with their twelfth studio album, entitled Övergivenheten, the follow-up to the amazing Verkligheten and one of their most complex and elaborate albums to date, strengthening their legacy even more in the world of heavy music. Recorded and produced by Thomas “Plec” Johansson and Soilwork at Nordic Sound Lab, and mixed and mastered by the same Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room (assisted by Simon Eliasson and Viktor Brunö), Övergivenheten, which means “abandonment” in Swedish, deals with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself and affected the development process of the album. The personal struggles align with social difficulties outside of the band, all embraced by the first-class, sharp music beautifully crafted by frontman Björn “Speed” Strid, guitarists Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson, bassist Rasmus Ehrnborn, keyboardist Sven Karlsson, and drummer Bastian Thusgaard.

The acoustic guitars and banjo by guest Johan Randén kick off the multi-layered title-track Övergivenheten before Björn and his henchmen begin a fantastic sonic attack showcasing melodious riffs, rhythmic beats and endless adrenaline; followed by Nous Sommes La Guerre, or “we are the war” from French, where the ladies’ choir brings an extra kick to the music while Björn beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics (“I can feel the shadows enter, risin’ from the earth / Now that everyone is giving me the widest berth / I have nightly visits, sentient absence watchin’ me / Nurturin’ the itch where other worlds are scratchin’ me”). There’s no time to breathe as the band keeps slamming their instruments in Electric Again, with Sylvain and David doing an amazing job armed with their stringed axes; and in Valleys Of Gloam the skillful Bastian adds tons of groove to the overall result is a first-class Melodic Death Metal feast for the masses. Let’s then slam into the circle pit together with the Soilwork boys in the striking, high-octane Is It In Your Darkness, with Bastian hammering his drums mercilessly supported by the rumbling bass by Rasmus, whereas the band keeps invading our senses with their dense, groovy Melodic Death Metal in Vultures, where Rasmus is on fire with his metallic bass lines, being therefore perfect for headbanging like a true metalmaniac. After the short, atmospheric instrumental interlude Morgongåva / Stormfågel, or “morning gift / stormbird” from Swedish, it’s time for us all to bang our heads to Death, I Hear You Calling, a solid composition where Björn’s angry vocals match perfectly with the song’s lyrics, pace and heaviness, meaning it should work amazingly if played live.

The gentle keys by Sven are suddenly joined by a wall of sounds spearheaded by Bastian’s crushing beats in This Godless Universe, presenting elements form Death and even Black Metal which bring a touch of eccentricity to it. More modern than its predecessors, Dreams Of Nowhere offers another round of their caustic lyrics (“Bleeding through the blanching skin you’re / Offering the Gods your name / Bound to see the sunrise fading / The everlasting flame”), flowing into the whimsical interlude The Everlasting Flame, where Sven will captivate your senses once again before we’re treated to tons of progressiveness in the form of Golgata, with Sylvain and David extracting sheer electricity form their guitars, providing Björn with exactly what he needs to fire both his guttural roars and his classic clean vocals. Those Swedish metallers still have a lot of fuel to burn in the album, with Harvest Spine being the perfect depiction of how heavy and melodic they can sound at the same time and with Björn stealing the spotlight once again with his flammable vocals; and lastly we have On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain, a stunning name for an incendiary song that begins in a sinister manner before evolving into one last Melodic Death Metal attack by Soilwork, offering our avid ears piercing, strident riffs and solos, massive blast beats and stylish keys, putting an outstanding ending to Övergivenheten.

Needless to say, Soilwork did it again, kicking some serious ass with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal throughout the entire Övergivenheten while always loyal to their core essence (even when experimenting with new elements and sounds). Hence, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their official YouTube channel for their official videos, to stream more of their top-of-the-line creations on Spotify, and above all that, to grab your favorite version of Övergivenheten by clicking HERE or HERE. Övergivenheten is one of those albums that not only represents what Soilwork are all about, but it also emanates a sharp and strong energy that’s the result of all of the aforementioned personal struggles from the band members, proving once again heavy music is always the best remedy for any type of adverse situation.

Best moments of the album: Is It In Your Darkness, Death, I Hear You Calling, Harvest Spine and On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain.

Worst moments of the album: Dreams Of Nowhere.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Övergivenheten 5:45
2. Nous Sommes La Guerre 6:53
3. Electric Again 4:22
4. Valleys Of Gloam 4:11
5. Is It In Your Darkness 4:04
6. Vultures 5:47
7. Morgongåva / Stormfågel 1:33
8. Death, I Hear You Calling 4:41
9. This Godless Universe 4:41
10. Dreams Of Nowhere 4:29
11. The Everlasting Flame 1:06
12. Golgata 4:59
13. Harvest Spine 5:10
14. On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain 7:31

Band members
Björn “Speed” Strid – vocals
Sylvain Coudret – guitar
David Andersson – guitar
Rasmus Ehrnborn – bass
Sven Karlsson – keyboards
Bastian Thusgaard – drums

Guest musicians
Johan Randén – acoustic guitars and banjo on “Övergivenheten”
Laila Prigorowsky, Helene Alexandersson, Catrine Ellwen, Gonca Yazan, Jenny Ericsson & Cia von Heijne – ladies’ choir on “Nous Sommes La Guerre”

Concert Review – Lamb of God & Megadeth (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/18/2022)

After two years of waiting, Toronto was finally able to witness all the energy and heaviness of “The Metal Tour of the Year”… and it was absolutely awesome!

OPENING ACTS: In Flames and Trivium

Ladies and gentlemen, or whatever way you like to be referred as, what an incredible night of first-class, high-octane, infernal Heavy Metal we had yesterday in Toronto at the unparalleled Budweiser Stage, with IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and the one and only MEGADETH showing us all why their tour was named The Metal Tour of the Year! As a matter of fact, last night’s concert was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but of course due to the shitty COVID-19 pandemic (which apparently seems to be finally over), it had to be rescheduled countless times. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it, as all bands were simply awesome yesterday, putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue (and the fans didn’t seem to care about the fact the temperature in the city dropped from the mid-30’s to the low-10’s in just a couple of days). Well, I believe Sweden’s own Melodic Groove Metal/Metalcore icons IN FLAMES were awesome as well, as due to work and traffic I wasn’t able to make it to their concert, but a friend that arrived earlier said they kicked ass.

Setlist
Cloud Connected
Behind Space
Everything’s Gone
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Call My Name
All for Me
I Am Above
Take This Life

Band members
Anders Fridén – vocals
Björn Gelotte – guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar
Bryce Paul Newman – bass
Niels Nielsen – keyboards
Tanner Wayne – drums

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it to see Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal maniacs TRIVIUM, but fortunately I arrived at the venue around 10 minutes before they hit the stage with their short but extremely powerful performance. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent were beyond happy to be back in Toronto after almost five years (yes, their last concert in the city was in the distant year of 2017), and add to that the superb tracks from their most recent album In the Court of the Dragon, those being the title-track In the Court of the Dragon and my favorite one of the album, Like a Sword Over Damocles, and there you have a recipe for success (and mosh pits). “Throes of Perdition” and “Feast of Fire”, which were on the setlist in the US dates, were replaced by Strife and Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, and let’s say those new additions to their setlist received a killer feedback from the crowd, who engaged in several mosh pits while the band was on fire onstage. And what can I say about the jumping up and down ignited by Matt during their hit In Waves? That was outstanding to say the least. Furthermore, Matt mentioned this was the biggest show of the entire North American tour, proving how much us Torontonians love all bands involved, and hopefully that will inspired Trivium to return to Toronto for a full-bodied performance on their own in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
X
In the Court of the Dragon
Like a Sword Over Damocles
Beyond Oblivion
Strife
Rain
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
Capsizing the Sea
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

LAMB OF GOD

If there’s a band that knows how to inspire any type of person in the world to slam into the mosh pit, that’s undoubtedly Richmond, Virginia’s Groove Metal horde LAMB OF GOD, who precisely at 8:10pm hit the stage for the total delight of all metalmaniacs ready for a good dosage of heaviness, rage and insanity. Still promoting their 2020 self-titled masterpiece, the unstoppable Randy Blythe and his henchmen put on an unforgettable show, from the opening song Memento Mori, until the very last second of their all-time classic Redneck. It’s beautiful to see the rise of Lamb of God to the status of metal giants, as now they even have fire onstage like what they provided us with in Walk With Me in Hell, which was by the way flawless and one of the top moments of the entire night. It doesn’t matter if they played darker, more introspective songs like 512 or if they exhaled sheer violence like in Contractor, everything was perfect, and Toronto definitely shared their love for the band with all horns in the air, all screaming, and of course the frantic, never-stopping mosh pits in the floor section. As expected, Randy, who seemed possessed throughout their entire set, delivered a couple of Woooooo!’s as his personal tribute to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and dedicated Redneck to the guy who in 2018 tried to swim back to that same venue during their tour with Slayer. Toronto can’t wait to have Lamb of God again in the city, an I can’t wait to slam into the pit to the sound of one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade.

Setlist
Memento Mori
Ruin
Walk With Me in Hell
Resurrection Man
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Contractor
11th Hour
512
Ghost Walking
Vigil
Laid to Rest
Redneck

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Phil Demmel – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

MEGADETH

As expected, most fans at the Budweiser Stage were there to witness “MegaDave” Mustaine and his Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH distill their unique classics in the city again after so many years, and when the clock hit 9:45pm our dreams came true as the first notes from Hangar 18 (right after the intro Prince of Darkness) were played by Dave and his bandmates Kiko Loureiro, James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren. Is there a better way to kick off a show than with such classic, followed by the underrated tunes Dread and the Fugitive Mind and Angry Again? What a brilliant start to their set, winning the hearts and minds of everyone instantly. Dave and Kiko played their guitars to perfection as usual during the entire concert, making our jaws drop and inspiring us to show them the horns during and after each song played. I loved the fact they’re still playing the superb Trust after so many decades, and although they replaced another pulverizing song, “She-Wolf”, with A Tout Le Monde, that didn’t do any harm to their concert. Who doesn’t love to sing such stunning ballad together with Dave, screaming the song’s French words at the top of his or her lungs? In addition, a few different versions of Vic Rattlehead appeared onstage during the songs Conquer or Die!, Dystopia and Peace Sells, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the show, culminating with their undisputed hymn Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. By the end of the concert, Dave mentioned the band is recording the follow-up to their 2016 album Dystopia and that the album should see the light of day this summer, so all we need to do now is wait for it and for another night of our beloved Megadeth in Toronto… and Dave promised he’ll return to the city, oh yeah!

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Angry Again
Conquer or Die!
Dystopia
The Conjuring
Trust
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn
My Way
Shadow of Deth

Band members
Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitars
Kiko Loureiro – guitars, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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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”