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 – 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

Metal Chick of the Month – Adrienne Cowan

So sin ‘til you win, let your demons out! Lady Lightbringer!

It’s time for a true metal opera this February on The Headbanging Moose, courtesy of our multi-talented metal lady of the month. A metal vocalist, poet, vocal coach and musician best known for being the frontwoman and composer for American Symphonic Metal band Seven Spires, among several other amazing metal bands and projects, Adrienne Elizabeth Catli Cowan, who goes by her stage name of Adrienne Cowan, will mesmerize you with her unique vocals, both extreme and classic Heavy Metal clean vocals. In other words, she can sing pretty much any type of metal and non-metal music, from the Symphonic Metal of Seven Spires to Death Metal, Deathcore and Dark Jazz, and I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast with Adrienne after knowing more about the life and career of such skillful artist.

Born on January 28, 1995 in Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, Adrienne is formally trained in classical and most contemporary styles as a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (with a degree in Music Composition) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Academy of Contemporary Music in the UK, although she was also self-taught in both extreme clean vocals for many years before finally finding a perfect vocal coach in Swedish singer David Äkesson. Her connection with music started a lot earlier than that, though, as since she was a child she was already taking part in choirs and taking piano lessons, performing in musicals and then entering music school, and from there starting to compose her music and to expand her knowledge and skills, especially as a singer. For instance, Adrienne had her first performance as a vocalist at the age of three at an event at the church her family attended, beginning her piano lessons after that at the age of six and being mainly into choir and darker popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera throughout elementary and middle school. Not only that, her parents pulled her out of high school so that she could attend a music school full-time, so through that show of support she already had a good feeling about her potential skills.

When she was still living in England, in 2012, Adrienne was making demos by herself for a dark and theatrical project she had yet to debut, and after moving back to the United States in 2013 she met Jack Kosto in a bookstore in her first week at Berklee and told him about her project and songs. From there Seven Spires were born, with all band members having extensive musical knowledge and studies, therefore drawing on their backgrounds to express themselves musically without limits of genre or technique. Seven Spires released their first album in 2014, the EP The Cabaret of Dreams, with all of its songs representing half of their 2017 full-length opus Solveig, where not only Adrienne was responsible for all vocals, keyboards, lyrics and songwriting, but also for the production and vocal engineering, showcasing all her talent and professionalism. After Solveig, the band released the full-length albums Emerald Seas, in 2020, and Gods of Debauchery, in 2021, and if you want to enjoy all of the band’s epic creations you can find Seven Spires on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can also have a visual orgasm with their official videos for the songs Lightbringer, Succumb, The Unforgotten Name, The Cabaret Of Dreams, Drowner Of Worlds, Bury You, The Paradox, This God Is Dead, Silvery Moon, The Cursed Muse, and Dare To Live, as well as some live footage, making of’s, behind the scenes and other awesome videos by Adrienne and her crew.

Apart from her career with Seven Spires, you can also find Adrienne and her powerful vocals in distinct bands and projects such as International Power Metal band Light & Shade, with whom she recorded the vocals for the 2016 album The Essence of Everything; International Power Metal/Hard Rock band Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, with whom she recorded the vocals (and piano for one track) in the 2019 album Signs of Wings; and American Symphonic Deathcore band Winds of Plague, with whom she recorded the keyboards and backing vocals in the 2017 album Blood of My Enemy. In addition, Adrienne was also part of American Melodic Heavy Metal band FirstBourne from 2016 to 2018, having recorded the vocals and keyboards in their 2016 album Riot and in the 2017 acoustic single Home, and of Frontiers All Stars in 2020 and Riot Underground between 2012 and 2013.

You can also find her singing and playing live with German Symphonic Power Metal band Avantasia since 2018, with American Heavy Metal band Mike Kerr from 2015 until 2018, and with American Power/Thrash Metal band Sonic Pulse. Not only that, Adrienne was also a guest musician in an array of bands and projects, those being vocals for the song I Declare War from the 2020 album The Journey, by German Melodic Death Metal band Deliver the Galaxy; vocals for several songs from the 2021 album The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson, by Swedish Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal band Heart Healer; vocals for the song My Guide My Hunger from the 2018 album As Above So Below, by Italian Melodic Death Metal band Hell’s Guardian; vocals for the song The End of Innocence from the 2017 album Reflections, by American Neoclassical Heavy Metal artist Jimi Mitchell; vocals for the song Mammoth from the 2017 album Pianometal, by American Symphonic/Progressive Metal artist Kyle Morrison; vocals for the song The Truth of the Lion from the 2015 album The Truth of the Lion, by Mike Kerr; harsh and clean vocals for the songs Conjunction of Souls and The Restitution from the 2020 album Pile of Priests, by American Progressive Death Metal band Pile of Priests; vocals for the song Let It Go from the 2018 album Re-Animated, by Italian Power Metal band Trick or Treat; and vocals and lyrics for the 2018 album Lights in the Murk, by Italian Symphonic Black Metal band Yass-Waddah. Do you want more? Because our she-wolf was also responsible for the songwriting for the song Hold Tight from the 2016 EP Dirty Lyxx, by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Dirty Lyxx, and she also sung vocals in Black Science’s Freedom (Or Die Trying), featured in the outro of one Camp Camp episode, and sang both a duet with Casey Lee Williams in the RWBY Volume 6 credits song Nevermore, and in the song War of Volume 7. Adrienne has also been a part of the Freelance Orchestra in their RTX 2016 (where to her surprise she ended up in the RWBY music panel) and 2018 concerts, plus Anime Boston 2018, and you can always have a great time watching her own videos on her official YouTube channel.

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Adrienne got into the world of metal music around the age of 11 when her uncle showed her Metallica and Scorpions, but it wasn’t until she found out about musicians the likes of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wierman and Yngwie Malmsteen that she really started to feel at home listening to Heavy Metal. She mentioned it appealed in some way to her classical background, and watching live Children of Bodom videos was quite inspiring. However, she’s not only into metal, but showcases a wide variety of influences in her life. “I’m not a one-dimensional person – I’m a human – so I’m allowed to like other stuff”, she said in one of her interviews. “I’m not a huge K-pop fan or anything, but I really like good pop writing. From a technical standpoint, as a songwriter, I’m like: damn, good for you guys. And there’s a certain sassy energy – it just speaks to me in a way that a lot of metal doesn’t.” Another influence on our beloved diva as a writer are painters of the Romantic period, with German painter Caspar David Friedrich and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky being two of her main inspirations. “I’m also a big fan of (the English composer) Edward Elgar – he does this piece called ‘Sospiri Op. 70,’ which is the most beautiful thing, it sounds like the pain of falling in love. It was something I listened to a lot when we were writing this record. And of course, Chopin,” she said, also finding inspiration under night skies and in the darker depths of the human condition to write her lyrics. Adrienne also nurtures an amazing openness with her fans on social media, which she credits to her experience as a My Chemical Romance fan back when she was younger. “This one interview with them came out, and I remember one of the guys in the band saying basically, ‘We say these things in our music, we are a bunch of fucked up guys, and it helps our fans know… you’re not alone.’ That really made me feel less alone when I was a sad teenager, and then when I grew up into a sad adult, I thought, damn, I could be that for somebody else.”

Regarding her singing style, technique and how she maintains her vocal cords in great shape, Adrienne mentioned in one of her interviews that she likes to meditate before shows and uses her instincts to decide what she’ll sing or scream either high or low. “The low death metal style is more present and more grounded and more angry and earthier in a way. The higher black metal screams are more spiritually pitched or spiritually empty — when there’s black metal themes and nihilistic lyrics, of course I’m probably going to scream with that high tone”, said Adrienne. In addition, when she was enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the age of 16 she joined an after-school club where all metalhead students gathered to jam on a new song every week, opening her eyes to the rest of the metal world and challenging her to vocally try different styles of each subgenre of metal. She also mentioned that she has studied many techniques of singing including theatrical belting, Speech Level Singing, bel canto and even some throat singing, with the hardest part being unlearning things previous teachers had told her in order to properly approach whatever new technique she was learning, and with the very high Power Metal “scream” being one of the styles that took her the longest to develop. In order to maintain her vocal health, she mentioned that she basically has to just mind her sleep and hydration levels, trying to stay out of the direct blast of heaters or air conditioners, and trying not to get sick or allergic. However, at the end of the day, even dehydrated or sick the show must go on, which forced her to develop alternate techniques to sing through sickness.

A huge fan of Lord of the Rings, all forms of art, Gothic style, cheesy Sci-Fi, vampire shows, coffee and fantasy games, Adrienne enjoys mountain hikes, spending time by any shore, and playing JRPG’s (Japanese Role-Playing Games) and games with friends between her musical ventures. “After a long tour, I like to sit at home and sleep in my own bed, play video games, maybe think about going out… If I get to go on a little holiday or something, I love road trips and anywhere remote with alpine forests and quiet waters. Wyoming is great for this, as are many spots on the West Coast. Anything to get me away from people and out of my regular world,” commented Adrienne, who despite being very fond of animals cannot take care of a dog or cat due to her lack of space and time to do so. And when asked which hobbit from Lord of the Rings she would choose to be part of her band for the rest of their days, she provided a curious and fun answer to that. “Either Sam or Pippin, I think. Because I think I’m a Frodo, and I need a support system like Sam. But also I need a Pippin to just make me laugh all the time no matter what, and just help lighten the mood, and tell me to eat my carrots and mushrooms.”

Last but not least, our raven-haired vocalist also had a few interesting words to say about the whole pandemic and how it has been impacting her life on the road with Seven Spires. “All of this resulted in connecting more with our fans online. So although it’s super frustrating to not know exactly when we’re going to be able to play live again, we have found a way to do the online equivalent of hugging people at the merch table and listening to their stories,” said Adrienne, who also mentioned she keeps working hard to entertain and stay in touch with her fanbase, also teaching online, private vocal lessons and running a weekly workshop on everything from orchestration to arranging to songwriting techniques, all of which you can find on Linktree and on Patreon. “Mostly I teach tools for people to be able to express what they have in mind, and I teach from a really emotional standpoint.” And if you want to know more about Adrienne, her likes and dislikes, her inspirations and so on, there are countless interview online with her such as this one to Rock Titan or this one called RichardMetalFan Interviews! Ep. 33: Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Winds of Plague/Avantasia, where she talks about her journey with music from where she started until now. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Adrienne reach deep inside your heart and take you on a breathtaking musical voyage to the sound of her stunning vocals?

Adrienne Cowan’s Official Facebook page
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Instagram
Adrienne Cowan’s Official YouTube channel
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Twitter
Seven Spires’ Official Facebook page
Seven Spires’ Official Instagram
Seven Spires’ Official YouTube channel
Seven Spires’ Official Twitter

“I know that if I’m just stagnant and sitting on my ass, I’m not going to be happy. So if I want to be happy, I have to do something about it.” – Adrienne Cowan

Album Review – Apolinara / Shadows & Signs (2022)

It’s time for this multi-talented singer to fly solo and deliver a powerful message about facing the endless fight with inner demons in her striking debut album.

Creating Symphonic Gothic Metal with a mystical twist, United States-based but Ukraine-born multi-talented, independent singer and songwriter Apolinara is among us to light up the path where music evokes magic to the sound of her debut full-length opus, entitled Shadows & Signs. Drawing inspiration from her travels and delivering a powerful message about facing the endless fight with inner demons, Apolinara took destiny into her own hands creating the project to write music she loves, with Shadows and Signs being a thrilling odyssey venturing into the realms of dark emotions balanced with the light. Produced by Max Morton (Jinjer, Ignea, Bare Infinity, Morton, Nimea) at Morton Studio and featuring an array of special guests, those being Fabian Morales (Paralyzed Sun, Silent Poetry) on harsh vocals, Vyacheslav Khabarov on lead, rhythm and bass guitars, Alexander Kasiarum on drums, Tatyana Krasavina on cello, Julia Polishchuk on the violin, and Brien Engel on the glass harp, Shadows & Signs is a must-listen for admirers of the music by renowned acts such as Nightwish, Epica and Within Temptation, with each track bringing something different to the record while remaining faithful to the project’s symphonic, gothic roots.

The cinematic and enfolding Intro sets the stage for Apolinara and her guests to mesmerize us all in Wonderful, with Alexander dictating the pace with his classy beats accompanied by epic keys and strident guitars while Apolinara declaims the song’s words beautifully, reminding me of some of the trademark compositions by Nightwish and Epica. Then Vyacheslav adds tons of rage and fire to the music with his riffs and rumbling bass in You Can’t Get Away With This, an awesome display of European Symphonic Metal spearheaded by Apolinara’s stunning vocals; and it’s time to dance with Apolinara to the sound of the epic and symphonic Dragon Dance, with the metallic bass by Vyacheslav making a stylish paradox with the violin by Julia and the crisp vocal lines by Apolinara. Another round of embracing sounds and metallic riffs and bass lines comes in the form of Slowly, with Fabian playing “beauty and the beast” with Apolinara thanks to his hellish gnarls, whereas in The Smile of the Demon the name of the song matches flawlessly with its rhythm, heaviness and epicness, or in other words, it’s a lesson in Symphonic Gothic Metal that will please all fans of the genre, all spiced up by a superb performance by our beloved diva on vocals.

The melodic guitar lines by Vyacheslav kick off the mid-tempo, dark tune No More, feeling more modern than the rest of the album while maintaining Apolinara’s core essence, resulting in what’s perhaps the most commercial of all songs; and back to a more symphonic vibe it’s time for Shadows and Signs, presenting a catchy chorus by Apolinara and Fabian (“Once you learn how to fly / Nothing weights you down / Claim the right to decide / What your life is about / Who are we to deny / Universal Design? / Path of the Warrior of Light  / Lies in Shadows and Signs”) amidst the thunderous bass punches by Vyacheslav. Apolinara and her crew slow things down and bring love to the airwaves with the whimsical ballad Tears of Love, with the gentle sound of the piano complementing Apolinara’s vocals in great fashion, whereas featuring guest Brien Engel on the glass harp, the band delivers a gorgeous acoustic rendition of Slowly, with Apolinara bringing to our avid ears her most passionate vocals of the entire album. Lastly, putting a climatic ending to the album we have the delicate ballad We Had It All, with the ethereal cello by Tatyana adding a touch of melancholy to the music while Apolinara tells her “goodbye” to the listener.

If you want to know more about Apolinara, her career, her projects and plans for the future, you can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to her YouTube channel for more of her music and other videos, stream her stylish compositions on Spotify, and of course purchase your copy of Shadows & Signs from her BandCamp page, or click HERE for all locations where you can get in touch with Apolinara and enjoy all her musical voyages. As Apolinara herself commented about her debut solo album, “Shadows and Signs is my first full length musical baby. No wonder I feel very sentimental but fierce about it. I’m excited to share it with the world as my personal manifest of inspiration and inner fight with personal demons. Let’s Fire Up!” And that’s exactly what you’ll get in Shadows & Signs, an album overflowing with fire, passion and, of course, the first-class Symphonic Metal brought into being by our beyond talented, distinct musician.

Best moments of the album: Dragon Dance, The Smile of the Demon and Shadows and Signs.

Worst moments of the album: No More.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Intro 1:04
2. Wonderful 4:56
3. You Can’t Get Away With This 5:24
4. Dragon Dance 6:52
5. Slowly 5:12
6. The Smile of the Demon 4:37
7. No More 5:00
8. Shadows and Signs 5:11
9. Tears of Love 3:26
10. Slowly (acoustic) 5:10
11. We Had It All 2:16

Band members
Apolinara – lead and backing vocals, arrangements

Guest musicians
Fabian Morales – growls
Vyacheslav Khabarov – lead, rhythm and bass guitars
Alexander Kasiarum – drums
Tatyana Krasavina – cello
Julia Polishchuk – violin
Brien Engel – glass harp on “Slowly (acoustic)”

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021

“I wanted to play drums because I fell in love with the glitter and the lights, but it wasn’t about adulation. It was being up there playing.” – Charlie Watts

And there goes another year without a single metal concert in Canada. Another year full of uncertainties, fears, polarization, restrictions, and everything else we “love” so much. I honestly don’t know what to say about 2021 apart form the fact it was undoubtedly much better than 2020, but that means nothing considering the total nightmare that 2020 was. We lost a lot of huge names in the rock and metal scene such as Joey Jordison, Dusty Hill, Mike Howe, Johnny Solinger, Marsha Zazula, Alexi Laiho, John Hinch, John Lawton, Charlie Watts and Hank Von Hell, among many others. Tons of festivals including Download, Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock Festival and Dynamo MetalFest were scheduled to return this year after the 2020 editions of those festivals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but unfortunately Sweden Rock, Hellfest, Download and Wacken Open Air were once again cancelled. With that said, why do we metalheads still believe in a better future? Is it because, despite all adversities, our favorite bands released some of their best albums from the past few years?

Hence, as new lockdowns are being imposed upon us in a never-ending pandemic loop, there’s not much we can do but enjoy The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2021, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, keeping us sane until this madness is finally over. Or maybe I should say if it will be over one day, of course. There’s a bit of everything for all types of fans, from classic Heavy Metal to the brutality of Death Metal, from the modern nuances of Melodic Death Metal to old school Thrash Metal, and so on, and in my humble opinions one of the most interesting facts about several albums launched in 2021 is their duration, with many of those surpassing the one hour barrier such as Senjutsu, Helloween, Persona Non Grata, Existence Is Futile and Blood on Blood, not to mention the over four hours of music from the Lordiversity boxset, which for me proves how much the bands responsible for those albums love their fans by offering them a lot of new music to enjoy during such difficult times. I would say that even if there are ZERO metal albums launched in 2022, we’ll still have a lot of great music to enjoy throughout the year thanks to all the amazing records released in 2021, don’t you agree?

1. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu (REVIEW)
Behold another masterpiece by the one and only Iron Maiden with its 82 minutes of tactics, strategy, war, resilience and determination.
Best song of the album: Hell on Earth

2. Helloween – Helloween (REVIEW)
A dream come true for all generations of “Happy, Happy Helloween” fans from all over the world.
Best song of the album: Skyfall

3. Trivium – In the Court of the Dragon (REVIEW)
It’s time to join Trivium in the court of the dragon to the sound of their magnificent new opus.
Best song of the album: Like a Sword Over Damocles

4. Exodus – Persona Non Grata (REVIEW)
Don’t be a “persona non grata” in the world of heavy music and get into the circle pit to the sound of this newborn thrashing beast.
Best song of the album: Lunatic-Liar-Lord

5. Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined (REVIEW)
State of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision by the most violent and unrelenting band of all time.
Best song of the album: Surround, Kill, Devour

6. 1914 – Where Fear and Weapons Meet (REVIEW)
Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I.
Best song of the album: Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines)

7. Motorjesus – Hellbreaker (REVIEW)
Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hellbreaker

8. Nervosa – Perpetual Chaos (REVIEW)
A deadly and thrashing lesson in perpetual chaos by four metalheads hailing from Brazil, Italy, Spain and Greece
Best song of the album: Time to Fight

9. Gojira – Fortitude (REVIEW)
Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Amazonia

10. Blaze Bayley – War Within Me (REVIEW)
The man who will live for a thousand years is back, inspiring us all to fight the war within us and to take our future in our own hands.
Best song of the album: Pull Yourself Up

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Running Wild – Blood on Blood (REVIEW)
12. Lordi – Lordiversity (REVIEW)
13. Cradle of Filth – Existence Is Futile (REVIEW)
14. Diabolizer – Khalkedonian Death (REVIEW)
15. Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida (REVIEW)
16. Moonspell – Hermitage (REVIEW)
17. Lutharo – Hiraeth (REVIEW)
18. Unflesh – Inhumation (REVIEW)
19. Scarlet Aura – Genesis of Time (REVIEW)
20. Coiled Around Thy Spine – From The Ashes (REVIEW)

In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2021 to prove once and for all that not all great albums of the year have to be so long. The EP’s from this list are simply awesome, showcasing the band’s talent and their ability to sound epic even if the music lasts for only a few minutes.

1. Eonian – The Nomad (REVIEW)
2. Lady Beast – Omens (REVIEW)
3. The Agonist – Days Before the World Wept (REVIEW)
4. Tantivy – Eyes in the Night (REVIEW)
5. Grale – AGITACIÓN (REVIEW)
6. Bouquet of Dead Crows – Hemispheres Part 2: Cerebral (REVIEW)
7. Kadavereich – Radiance Of Doom (REVIEW)
8. Wolvencrown – A Shadow Of What Once Was (REVIEW)
9. Juliet Ruin – Dark Water (REVIEW)
10. Black Hole Deity – Lair Of Xenolich (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2021? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2021 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2022!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with some touching words by Mr. Lordi and his crew of monsters…

Something something blah blah to you
All the sincere wishes come true
I put vengeance on my wish list
And that’s what Santa brought
So have a merry something and a happy blah blah blah

Album Review – Immaterium / The Primal Evil EP (2021)

This newborn project from Poland is ready to stun us all with its debut EP, offering us all a journey through the realms of Symphonic and Progressive Metal.

Inspired by the aggressive guitars of Tesseract and Gojira, the epic orchestrations of Wintersun and the powerful vocals of Wind Rose and Rhapsody of Fire, Polish self-taught songwriter and composer Ma’ar Gareth is ready to unleash upon humanity The Primal Evil, the debut EP by her Symphonic/Progressive Metal project Immaterium. Featuring guest vocalists Filip Robertsson from Sweden, Craig Cairns (Midnight Prophecy, Cosmic Void) from the UK and Lucas Rodrigues (FerReus, Hell Gun) from Brazil, as well as multi-instrumentalists Zebyl from Romania and Barthelemy from France, The Primal Evil is a stunnig debut effort by Ma’ar Gareth, who’s responsible not only for all keyboards, synths and orchestrations in the album, but also for all lyrics, which are by the way based on Sci-Fi and fantasy series, resulting in a journey through the realms of Symphonic and Progressive Metal that shall please all fans of those subgenres of heavy music.

Like the soundtrack to a fantasy movie, Ma’ar brings forth epic orchestrations and eerie piano notes accompanied by the operatic vocals by Lucas in The Phoenix Falls, while Barthelemy takes takes care of the more metallic part of the music with his classic riffs and beats. Then investing in a more Progressive Metal sonority it’s time for Vargöld, When All Is Dust, where Zebyl plays all guitars, bass and drums while Filip fires his Dream Theater-inspired vocal lines, all of course embraced by Ma’ar’s epic sounds; and continuing to explore mystical lands it’s time for the Symphonic Metal tune Hymn Of The Warmaster, this time with Craig on the vocal duties, while the music exhales groove and heaviness. Lastly, Ma’ar and her henchmen Filip and Zebyl offer our ears a fusion of Symphonic, Progressive and Groove Metal entitled The Curse Of Enlightenment, presenting strong elements from the music by Gojira, Fear Factory and Therion, sounding futuristic and somber at the same time.

You can stream The Primal Evil in its entirety on YouTube (and most probably also on Spotify) starting December 14, and also show your support to Ma’ar Gareth by following Immaterium on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to the project’s YouTube channel, by streaming its music on Spotify, and above all that, by purchasing the EP from its own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. The Primal Evil showcases not only a very promising start to Immaterium, but also all the passion for heavy music and epic tales by the project’s mastermind Ma’ar Gareth, leaving us eager for more of her captivating music in a not-so-distant future, and who knows, perhaps that will come in the form of a full-length concept album for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Vargöld, When All Is Dust and The Curse Of Enlightenment.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. The Phoenix Falls 4:13
2. Vargöld, When All Is Dust 6:32
3. Hymn Of The Warmaster 5:32
4. The Curse Of Enlightenment 4:55

Band members
Ma’ar Gareth – keyboards, synths, orchestrations

Guest musicians
Filip Robertsson – vocals on “Vargöld, When All Is Dust” and “The Curse Of Enlightenment”
Zebyl – guitars, bass and drums on “Vargöld, When All Is Dust”, “Hymn Of The Warmaster” and “The Curse Of Enlightenment”
Craig Cairns – vocals on “Hymn Of The Warmaster”
Barthelemy – guitars, bass and drums on “The Phoenix Falls”
Lucas Rodrigues – vocals on “The Phoenix Falls”

Album Review – Ewiniar / Burning the Night (2021)

From a mutual love of dark, moody and melancholic music emerges the debut album by a Melodic Gothic Rock and Metal husband-and-wife unity from Croatia.

From a mutual love of dark, moody and melancholic music emerges the sound of Split, Croatia-based Melodic Gothic Rock/Metal unity Ewiniar,  who has just released their debut effort Burning the Night. Combining female vocals over juddering drums and blistering guitar work to deliver a sonic experience that is all their own, the husband-and-wife duo formed of vocalist Katarina Tramontana and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Marin Tramontana explores the broad range of their influences by producing music that lights their inner fire in Burning the Night, all enhanced by the top-of-the-line mixing and mastering by Theodor Borovski at Slaughtered Studio and the stylish artwork by James Hutton Illustration, therefore being highly recommended for admirers of the music by renowned bands the likes of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Epica, among many others.

As soon as you hit play a doomed atmosphere will embrace your soul in Against the Stream, with Marin delivering classic beats and riffs, and consequently providing Katarina with all she needs to shine on vocals. Not only that, all elements from 80’s Gothic Rock added to their music make things even more mesmerizing. Then blending the whimsical sounds of bands like Tristania, Nightwish and Paradise Lost, the band offers us all Under the Stars, a beautiful creation by the duo showcasing Katarina’s crisp vocal lines amidst the rumbling bass lines and rhythmic beats by Marin, followed by Years of Heaven, another enfolding creation by Ewiniar where Marian has an awesome performance as a one-man music machine, with his riffs and solos walking hand in hand with his ethereal keys. And a serene start to the acoustic guitars by Marin and Katarina’s gorgeous vocals evolves into Mother, presenting a solid sound but lacking the same punch and feeling from the rest of the album.

Adding hints of folk to their doomed Gothic Rock it’s time for the almost medieval ballad Midnight Sun, flowing smoothly until the very end (and all spiced up by a soulful guitar solo by Marin), whereas drinking form the same fountain as Epica, Nightwish and After Forever the duo brings forward Suspiria, with Katarina stealing the spotlight with her stunning vocals. Back to an 80’s goth sonority the couple delivers the melodic Until the End of Time, feeling like the soundtrack to a fantasy movie thanks to the cryptic ambience crafted by Marin; and the second to last blast of their fusion of Gothic Rock and Metal comes in the form of Seekers of the Sense, another stylish, gentle but at the same time dark composition. Lastly, the title-track Burning the Night is even more epic and imposing than its predecessors, with Katarina embellishing the airwaves with her voice while Marin brings thunder to the music with his riffs, beats and keys until the very last second.

Burning the Night might be available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but in order to show your true support to such talented couple you should definitely purchase a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page. Also, don’t forget to follow Katarina and Marin on Facebook and on Instagram for news, more of their music and other nice-to-know details about them, immersing yourself in the Gothic and melodic world of Ewiniar. Katarina and Marin deserve our full appreciation and respect for putting together such beautiful and embracing album all by themselves, and let’s hope that their aforementioned mutual love for dark music never dies and that they keep bringing forth an array of albums as good as their debut opus in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Under the Stars, Suspiria and Burning the Night.

Worst moments of the album: Mother.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Against the Stream 4:43
2. Under the Stars 4:30
3. Years of Heaven 5:23
4. Mother 5:31
5. Midnight Sun 6:29
6. Suspiria 5:11
7. Until the End of Time 5:02
8. Seekers of the Sense 4:57
9. Burning the Night 5:09

Band members
Katarina Tramontana – vocals
Marin Tramontana – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Trivium / In the Court of the Dragon (2021)

It’s time to join Trivium in the court of the dragon to the sound of their magnificent new opus.

“In the court of the dragon
Death of gods and world
In the court of the dragon
You will know your worth”

After getting back on track with their two previous albums, those being the excellent The Sin and the Sentence, released in 2017, and What The Dead Men Say, released in the beginning of 2020, Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal unity Trivium continues to deliver their trademark fusion of violence, speed and intricacy with their newborn spawn, beautifully titled In the Court of the Dragon, the tenth studio album in their beyond solid career. Produced by Josh Wilbur and mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, In the Court of the Dragon sounds and feels even better than its predecessors, proving the isolation during the pandemic was extremely productive for vocalist and guitarist Matt Heafy, guitarist Corey Beaulieu, bassist Paolo Gregoletto, and drummer Alex Bent, who as I always like to say elevated Trivium’s sound to a whole new level after joining the band in 2017, and in their new album he sounds even more awesome than usual.

Composed and arranged by Emperor’s own Ihsahn, X is an epic, dark and cinematic intro that warms up our senses for the fulminating In the Court of the Dragon, where Matt begins screaming the song’s powerful lyrics (“In the court of the dragon / Death of gods and world / In the court of the dragon / You will know your worth”) accompanied by the headbanging riffs and beats by Corey and Alex, whereas an imposing start morphs into sheer adrenaline in Like a Sword Over Damocles, with Matt and Corey kicking ass on the guitars while Paolo makes the earth tremble with his bass jabs. Needless to say, Alex adds tons of intricacy and feeling to this already fantastic composition, turning it into my favorite of the entire album. Then we have Feast of Fire, the second single of the album and a solid, traditional Trivium song, albeit not as powerful as the rest of the album. Then it’s time for another frantic, high-octane creation by the quartet named A Crisis of Revelation, providing an excellent balance between their heaviest side and their more melodious, clean sounds, and if played live it will surely ignite some fun mosh pits during their live concerts.

In The Shadow of the Abattoir we’re treated to a gentle beginning to the deep, clean vocals by Matt, evolving into another complex Melodic Death and Heavy Metal feast spearheaded by Alex and his unstoppable drums and spiced up by their sick guitar solos; and more of their groovy sounds are offered to us all in the neck-breaking No Way Back Just Through, with Matt once again thriving with both his clean singing and enraged roars. A massive wall of sounds will hammer your head mercilessly in Fall Into Your Hands, even heavier and more detailed than its predecessors, where Matt screams nonstop from the bottom of his heart while his bandmates add elements from Progressive, Death and even Symphonic Metal to their core sonority. It looks like the guys form Trivium wanted to offer endless heaviness in their new album, and they more than succeeded in that as From Dawn to Decadence is another bestial Metalcore tune where Matt, Corey and Paolo are in absolute sync from start to finish with their infernal riffage and bass. Lastly, closing the album we face one final round of their trademark wicked lyrics in The Phalanx (“Within the thrill, amidst the kill / One against all, soon blood will spill / We cannot wait to make your pain / We are the burn inside your brain”) amidst a hurricane of heavy sounds that lasts for stunning seven minutes.

Trivium are a band that at the same respects their past while always looking towards the future, and In the Court of the Dragon (available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify) is the perfect depiction of that, pointing to an even brighter future ahead of those four talented metallers who are becoming one of the most important bands of the current scene worldwide. Hence, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates, and more of their sick music and videos, and if you want to add the majestic In the Court of the Dragon to your personal collection, you can purchase it from their official webstore, or click HERE for several other places where you can buy the physical or digital copy of the album. As the lyrics to the title-track say, “in the court of the dragon you will know your worth”, and if you’re there to the sound of Trivium’s new album, you can rest assured the “dragon” will provide you with exactly what you deserve.

Best moments of the album: In the Court of the Dragon, Like a Sword Over Damocles, A Crisis of Revelation and Fall Into Your Hands.

Worst moments of the album: Feast of Fire.

Released in 2021 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. X 1:26
2. In the Court of the Dragon 5:09
3. Like a Sword Over Damocles 5:30
4. Feast of Fire 4:18
5. A Crisis of Revelation 5:35
6. The Shadow of the Abattoir 7:11
7. No Way Back Just Through 3:53
8. Fall Into Your Hands 7:45
9. From Dawn to Decadence 4:08
10. The Phalanx 7:15

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

Guest musician
Ihsahn – orchestration and synths on “X”

Metal Chick of the Month – Başak Ylva

Between love and hate… I’m waiting for you daydreamer…

There’s nothing better than celebrating any type of anniversary with some classy metal music, and here at The Headbanging Moose it couldn’t be any different than that as we celebrate eight years of existence supporting the underground by paying a humble tribute to our beyond amazing metal chick of the month of October. Owner of a stunningly operatic voice, she’s the singer, songwriter and founder of a fantastic Symphonic Metal act that goes by the poetic name of Dream Ocean, as well as a professional Opera singer. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the multi-talented Başak Ylva, also known as Başak C., a woman that will surely put you in a trance with her powerful vocals and stylish music. Are you ready to join Basak and The Headbanging Moose on a very pleasant symphonic journey?

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, but currently residing in Cologne, the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Başak began her singing career at the age of seven encouraged by her parents (although they were hoping she would sing traditional Turkish music) in the children’s choir of the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television) and continued it in 2003 as a soprano in the youth classical choir of the TRT. During her high school years, she initially pursued a scientific focus, which she followed in 2004 with a degree in business administration at the University of Istanbul, which she completed in 2008 as a bachelor’s degree. On the advice of her professors, she decided in 2008 to make music her profession and at the age of 23 she started her first bachelor’s degree for her operatic career with Prof. Ayşe Sezerman in Opera singing at the Music Conservatory of Istanbul University as a mezzosoprano. During her studies, she sang as a choir singer in various Opera projects such as Die Opernprobe and Dido and Aeneas, while in 2012 she sang for the first time in Europe at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival under the direction of Rolf Beck, later making her solo debut in 2013 as Susanna in La Nozze di Figaro.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2014 in the role of Giovanna Seymour from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, she began her master’s degree at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne with Professor Mechthild Georg in 2015, where she sang in many different Opera projects such as the literary Opera of the HfMT Cologne, AscheMOND or The Fairy Queen (choir, Opera Wuppertal), Hansel and Gretel (witch, Opera studio of the HfMT Cologne), Dido and Aeneas (Sorceress, Festival of Early Music Knechtsteden) and The Clever Little Fox (Forester and Owl at the Theater Aachen). In addition to her operatic activities, she also performs musicals and film and crossover music with event orchestras. Furthermore, as a choir and solo singer, she was able to gain further experience with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Tan Dun and E. Oronzo Estrada in countries such as Brazil, China, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Poland and South Korea.

An accomplished mezzosoprano and vocal coach, an admirer of makeup, interior design, fashion, movies and video games, and a huge supporter of female freedom and empowerment, Başak started her metal music career with Dream Ocean in Turkey in 2009, having “moved” the band to Germany in 2015 to pursue her career as an Opera singer. As she’s the creative mind, lyricist and composer behind the band, it was becoming really hard for her to fly all the time back to Turkey due to the fact she had been working in Germany for three years already. Currently comprised of our beloved diva together with Oz Khan and Borna Matosic on the guitars, Sebastian Heuckmann on bass, Nils Kessen on drums and Sebastian Plück on the keyboards, the band has been on a roll for the past ten years, having already released the EP Daydreamer, in 2012, and the full-length albums Lost Love Symphony, in 2018, and The Missing Stone, now in 2021. Before that, the band was “just a name” according to Başak herself, as they were just entertaining themselves without investing into anything more serious at first. In other words, Dream Ocean was a hobby band where they tried some covers with friends every now and then in the studio, and then she started to write her own songs and got encouraged to take things a lot more serious due to all the positive feedback received. As they were all working in different jobs or studying, and due to their their limited financial situation, they couldn’t record and album and the band was put on hold from 2011 to 2016. In between that they still did concerts and wrote songs, until they were finally able to record their debut album. If you want to have a very good taste of the music by Dream Ocean, you can enjoy several of their official videos on YouTube including Eterna Espera, Uyan, Daydreamer, The Great Silence, Somewhere Untouched, Everstorm, Forever and Beyond The Greed, or you can also stream all of their creations on Spotify.

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As aforementioned, Başak is also a professional Opera singer, using even a different name for her metal career (Başak Ylva, instead of Başak C.) due to the prejudice that still exists in classical music. “I actually try to hide it. Because in the past, I was told that I am dressing too much femme fatale-like, very extravagant. Or that my hair was too red for singing in a church. Or I should not make my hair blond because I am Turkish. Or that I should not wear red lipstick because this was not a job to wear red lipstick. Therefore the classical music branch, especially in Germany, not so much in Sweden or Norway, but in Germany, it is terribly backwards and conservative. And several times, I got severely bullied because of that,” commented our diva. Still regarding her career as an Opera singer, she described the dark moments experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany. “We performed a couple of performances around September and October. But then the next lockdown came, and the theatre decided to not extend the contracts. And when I thought I was just starting my job and was thinking, I landed in a good opera house, and I could slowly build up my career. And now I was jobless! Like from top to zero. Of course, for me, this is another thing. When I don’t have a job, I am at risk to lose my visa. And I am also helping my brother in Turkey. So everything went down. And I got a big depression. I could not go out for 6 months. I did not sing for 6 months. And I just started to have therapy. Because everything was falling apart in my life. I mean, in everybody’s life, in Sebastian’s too. But for me, my visa and everything is depending on my job. I thought something like, my career has ended. I’m done. They will throw me out of the country.”

Although she doesn’t have any side projects aside from Dream Ocean, Başak mentioned in one of her interviews that she would love to do her own solo crossover project with folk and Celtic touches. However, due to her very busy agenda with Dream Ocean and her career as an Opera singer, she said it will be really tough to actually pursue that. Let’s say that she already does A LOT with both Dream Ocean and her classical career (as you can see in her beautiful repertoire), and that we’re all more than fine with “just” those two projects. And lastly, regarding her influences and idols in music and what inspires her the most to compose her stunning creations, Başak said her introduction to Symphonic Metal happened with Nightwish, plus a local Turkish band called Almôra (which unfortunately split up in 2009). She said she used to listen to those bands and sing along with them, and the final result was so good that later on Almôra found her recordings online and invited her to sing with them in front of a real audience. Moreover, she also expressed her passion for Opera as well, saying that in the end her distinct influences end up complementing each other. “I love Opera because it has another challenging side and gives another satisfaction such as learning very hard, complicated music and then singing it with perfect technique. One is for technicality and the other is for my creativity.” Having said all that, how about we stop right here and go listen to the amazing creations by our metal diva and her Dream Ocean, and also enjoy her awesome performances as an Opera singer? I’m sure you’ll love every single second of her music and get addicted to her distinguished voice.

Başak Ylva’s Official Facebook page
Başak Ylva’s Official Instagram
Başak Ylva’s Official YouTube channel
Dream Ocean’s Official Facebook page
Dream Ocean’s Official Instagram
Dream Ocean’s Official Twitter
Dream Ocean’s Official YouTube channel

“I just want people to know that musicians and the audience – we complete a whole and we’re the same. Having the same struggles and happiness, the same problems and same solutions – one may find the way easier while the other needs to take a second look. But in the end, we meet at the same place, which is the concert hall. There we want to reach them, get to know them, and for them to get to know us. To see that we mean what we play and sing with our words, and while we do this we want to be speaking their words. Things maybe they could never say out loud. We just want people to know that we desire to tell stories and meet with people who ARE the heroes of those stories. We hope we can do this.” – Başak Ylva

Album Review – Malacoda / The Strain EP (2021)

Inspired by the works of Guillermo Del Toro, this Canadian entity is unleashing upon us all their second EP of the year, delving even further into their horror inspired roots.

3.0rating

malacoda-the-strain-ep-2021After the releases of their debut self-titled album in 2015, the EP Ritualis Aeterna in 2016, the full-length opus Restless Dreams in 2018, and the EP Crawling Chaos earlier this year, Oakville, Canada-based metal band Malacoda continues to deliver their fusion of Gothic, Power, Symphonic, Melodic and Progressive Metal for our total delight with their second EP of the year, entitled The Strain. Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own founder, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Di Mascio at Old Haunt Recording Studio,  and displaying a goth artwork by Yeganeh Ghasemi featuring model Goddess Ov Death, The Strain is inspired by the works of the one and only Guillermo Del Toro, delving even further into the band’s horror inspired roots and bringing forward all the talent of the aforementioned Lucas together with guitarist Wes MacDonald and bassist Zak Stulla, not to mention an array of guest musicians to make the EP even more compelling.

The title-track The Strain already begins in full force to the symphonic and epic keys by Lucas while guest drummer Andrew Suarez (Bangin Productions, Fatality) showcases all his dexterity behind his drum set, adding an extra touch of heaviness to the music, and also presenting elements from Doom and classic Heavy Metal with Lucas delivering his Ghost/Candlemass/Mercyful Fate-inspired vocals. Then featuring additional vocals by Beth Wilson and with Lucas taking care of the drumming duties, Crimson Peak is a slower but heavy-as-hell and obscure creation where Wes extracts sheer darkness from his riffage and solo, accompanied by the melodic, rumbling bass by Zak; whereas investing into a more progressive sonority were treated to Where Shadows Play, another solid tune by the band to also feature additional vocals by Beth Wilson, with Lucas and Beth making a great vocal duo while guest drummer Victor Boechat smashes his drums mercilessly from start to finish. And lastly, a very melodic and introspective intro morphs into the Gothic Rock and Metal feast entitled Mind Flayer, featuring drummer Ryan Claxton (This Is Death Valley) and additional vocals by Wes, while Lucas presents both his powerful clean vocals and his demonic gnarls from start to finish.

malacoda-2021You can stream the full EP on Spotify, show your support to Malacoda by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and click HERE for all social media, links to buy their music and merch, videos and so on. “There really is a balance of dark aggression and beauty in these songs,” stated Lucas about the band’s new EP, complementing by saying that “that’s been the consistent tone with these four tracks – keeping it dark but letting some tender spots poke through.” And let’s say Lucas nailed it, with his words precisely describing the music found in The Strain and, consequently, inviting us all to join him and his henchmen in the dark realm ruled by Malacoda, and proving Malacoda are following a healthy and strong musical path, evolving as a band and providing us all fans high-quality metal music made in Canada with each one of their releases.

Best moments of the album: The Strain and Where Shadows Play.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. The Strain 7:49
2. Crimson Peak 3:51
3. Where Shadows Play 3:51
4. Mind Flayer 5:11

Band members
Lucas Di Mascio – vocals, keys, drums on “Crimson Peak”
Wes MacDonald – guitar, additional background vocals on “Mind Flayer”
Zak Stulla – bass

Guest musicians
Andrew Suarez – drums on “The Strain”
Victor Boechat – drums on “Where Shadows Play”
Ryan Claxton – drums on “Mind Flayer”
Beth Wilson – background vocals on “Crimson Peak” and “Where Shadows Play”