Album Review – Depressed Mode / Decade of Silence (2022)

One of the most interesting names of the underground Finnish scene returns to action after almost 13 years with a brand new album of stunning and symphonic Doom Metal.

Established in Pori, a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland, in 2005 by vocalist and composer Otto Salonen, the amazing Symphonic Death/Doom Metal act known as Depressed Mode is set to release their long-awaited third full-length album Decade of Silence, almost 13 years after ..for Death.., released in 2009. Recorded by the band’s guitarist Teemu Heinola and the aforementioned Otto Salonen at Ansa Studio, mixed by the same Teemu, and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, Decade of Silence will bring a humungous dosage of symphony and doom to your avid ears, showcasing all the talent and passion for heavy music by Otto and Teemu together with their bandmates Henri Hakala on bass and Iiro Aittokoski on drums.

Death Walks Among Us is sinister and obscure from the very first second, with the orchestrations by Otto giving it a cinematic vibe while his deep guttural will haunt your damned souls for all eternity, all spiced up by the vicious riffs by Teemu. Then featuring Veronica Bordacchini of Fleshgod Apocalypse as a guest vocalist, Endless November starts in the most lugubrious way possible, evolving into a sluggish, phantasmagorical Doom Metal song with Blackened Doom nuances, not to mention all symphonic elements sound and feel majestic; whereas back to a heavier and more symphonic mode it’s time for Iiro to dictate the pace with his pounding drums in Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind, featuring a guest guitar solo by Jarkko Kokko of Mors Principium Est. Veronica is back in As the Light Dims, another bold, multi-layered creation by Depressed Mode that starts in a serene way to the sounds of the piano and cello, offering our ears nine nocturnal minutes of stunning Doom Metal.

Just as imposing and grim as its predecessors,  Parasites of Mind explodes into a brutal fusion of Symphonic and Death Metal led by the venomous riffs by Teemu and the inhumane roars by Otto, smashing your cranial skull without a single drop of mercy, whereas drinking from the darkest fountain of Doom Metal you can think of, Kaamos (Land of Winter) brings forward the pounding beats by Iiro and the crushing riffs by Teemu, penetrating deep inside your soul while more of their sluggish, grim sounds permeate the air in Serpents, with sheer darkness flowing from both Otto’s vocals and Henri’s hammering bass. Eternal Darkness is another stunning creation featuring Veronica’s mesmerizing vocals, with the orchestrations by Otto sounding beautifully haunting while Iiro pulverizes his drums in a lesson in Symphonic Doom Metal. Finally, prepare your senses for 12 minutes of atmospheric passages, darkened skies and endless heaviness in the form of Aeternus, where Otto’s deep guttural brings a touch of Blackened Doom to the overall result, flowing darkly until its climatic and Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, the guys from Depressed Mode definitely know how to blend the heaviness of Doom Metal with the finesse of symphonic and orchestral music, and Decade of Silence is not only the perfect representation of that stunning fusion of sounds, but also a beyond strong comeback by those Finnish metallers. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about their music, to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Decade of Silence from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Inverse Records webstore sooner than you can say “doom”. After over a decade of silence it’s a pleasure to witness the return of such interesting name of the underground Finnish scene, and let’s hope that we don’t need to wait another ten years to listen to more of their awesome music.

Best moments of the album: Endless November, Eternal Darkness and Aeternus.

Worst moments of the album: Serpents.

Released in 2022 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Death Walks Among Us 5:53
2. Endless November 7:43
3. Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind 6:56
4. As the Light Dims 8:58
5. Parasites of Mind 6:39
6. Kaamos (Land of Winter) 6:16
7. Serpents 5:50
8. Eternal Darkness 5:46
9. Aeternus 12:09

Band members
Otto Salonen – vocals, orchestrations
Teemu Heinola – guitars
Henri Hakala – bass
Iiro Aittokoski – drums

Guest musicians
Veronica Bordacchini – vocals on “Endless November”, “As the Light Dims” and “Eternal Darkness”
Jarkko Kokko – lead guitars on “Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind”

Album Review – Eshtadur / From the Abyss (2020)

These unrelenting Colombian metallers return from the abyss once again embodying a deathly melodic atmosphere that reaches into realms of darkness and despair through the decay of humanity.

Three years after the release of the fantastic Mother Gray, which led the band to perform across several countries such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, the unrelenting Pereira, Colombia-based Melodic Death and Black Metal unity known as Eshtadur has just unleashed upon us all their fourth full-length installment, entitled From the Abyss, once again embodying a deathly melodic atmosphere that reaches into realms of darkness and despair through the decay of humanity. With a name translating to “rebellion of angels”, this South American outfit currently comprised of Jorg August on vocals and guitars, Alejo Guitarecho on the guitars and Andres El Negro on bass, with the support of Polish drummer Michał Łysejko, seeks to rebel in its own darkened way, embracing the abject reality, while offering in their new album ten potent and multi-layered songs tailored for diehard fans of the extreme music blasted by iconic bands such as SepticFlesh, Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Carach Angren, all embraced by the Stygian artwork by Colombian artist Carlos Jácome.

Featuring American guitarist Riche Brown from Mindscar, the opening tune Lowborn Bastard is imposing and atmospheric from the very first second, with Michał being already bestial on drums while Jorg roars deeply and manically, also presenting crisp guitar riffs and solos for our total delight, and pounding their instruments mercilessly the band offers our avid ears the fulminating The Adverse Side, showcasing a fantastic performance by Jorg and Alejo on the guitars accompanied by the thunderous bass by Andres and wicked symphonic background elements. Then we have The Red Door, a neck-breaking hybrid of Melodic Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal bringing forward cryptic words vociferated by Jorg (“The entrance of the never known / The altered state / I dare you find the door / Can you cross the line?”), while it’s impressive how Michał’s beats can be utterly bestial and intricate at the same time; and they go absolutely berserk in The Fall, blending the most visceral elements from Death and Black Metal spearheaded by the venomous growls by Jorg while their guitars sound as piercing and austere as possible. Following such demented tune, and featuring Swedish guiratist Henrik Danhage from Evergrey, She the Void ventures through the realms of Symphonic Doom Metal, presenting an interesting paradox between Jorg’s deep guttural and the song’s whimsical orchestrations, albeit being a little bit longer than what it should.

Then we’re treated to a very special cover version for the song All She Wrote, featuring Tunisian vocalist Zaher Zorgati from Myrath and once again Henrik Danhage on the guitars, originally recorded by Richmond, Virginia-based Glam Metal band FireHouse in their 1990 debut self-titled album (check the original version HERE), and Eshtadur’s version is simply amazing, bringing tons of metal to the original version’s core rockin’ vibe. It’s time for Eshtadur to put the pedal to the metal and blast the infernal Transient Stranger, where all band members are on fire, scathing our skins with their violence and wrath while Andres and Michał make the foundations of the earth tremble with their blackened, groovy sounds. Those Colombian metallers keep delivering sheer adrenaline, darkness and hatred in The Oathbreaker, with Jorg and Alejo making a demonic guitar duo while Michał pulverizes our senses with his menacing beats and fills in a lesson in contemporary Death Metal, followed by The Fear Difusser, featuring Colombian guitarist Adrián Holguín from Souledge, another round of acid, unfriendly extreme music by Eshtadur showcasing their usual blast beats intertwined with stunning background keys and slashing riffs. Lastly, there’s no better way to end such demolishing release than with an aggressive and furious tune, Disphased Dimension, led by Jorg’s devilish roars and the classic drums by Michał, while Andres brings the groove with his sick bass punches, putting a beautiful finale to the album.

As it happens with several bands from the most distinct parts of the world, it’s always a pleasure for fans of underground metal like myself to witness the organic and exciting growth of bands like Eshtadur, a band that’s not only carrying the flag of Colombian metal everywhere they go, but that has also been shaping up their own music style album after album, sounding more and more unique as times passes by, with From the Abyss representing another spot-on step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow Jorg and his henchmen on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, and to grab your copy of From the Abyss or to stream the album in its entirety by clicking HERE, keeping the flame of Colombian Melodic Death Metal burning bright for many years to come. After four ass-kicking albums and extensive tours all over the world, I wonder what’s next for such distinct band, and the answer to that seems quite simple after listening to their new album in full a few times, that Eshtadur will keep delivering first-class metal music no matter what, never selling off nor slowing down.

Best moments of the album: The Adverse Side, The Red Door and The Oathbreaker.

Worst moments of the album: She the Void.

Released in 2020 Blood Blast Distribution

Track listing
1. Lowborn Bastard 5:28
2. The Adverse Side 3:44
3. The Red Door 5:00
4. The Fall 3:46
5. She the Void 6:56
6. All She Wrote (FireHouse cover) 4:17
7. Transient Stranger 4:18
8. The Oathbreaker 4:41
9. The Fear Difusser 4:29
10. Disphased Dimension 4:35

Band members
Jorg August – vocals, guitars
Alejo Guitarecho – guitars
Andres El Negro – bass

Guest musicians
Michał Łysejko – drums (session)
Riche Brown – guitar solo on “Lowborn Bastard”
Zaher Zorgati – vocals on “All She Wrote”
Henrik Danhage – guitars on “All She Wrote” and “She the Void”
Adrián Holguín – guitars on “The Fear Difusser”