Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, The Relentless (Drums), The Hammer (Guitar), The Channeler (Vocals), and The Watcher (Bass), collectively known as Malleus, have returned with a debut album of Black/Speed Metal spite by the name of The Fires of Heaven, which will see the light of day on both CD and LP through the Armageddon Label.
Opening with the soft violin and cello tones of The Tempest, Malleus soon gets down to the business at hand of angry, snarling Black Metal with a hugely abrasive Speed Metal influence on the riffs and the vocals. Breakneck drumming, gnarly bass tones and raw, aggressive vocals all plough a forward furrow of steady, barely controlled violence, whilst the riffs plunge and rise with alacrity and vehemence.
Tracks such as Beyond the Pale have a more workmanlike quality, not plodding but more methodical in the delivery of the drums and guitar leads, though the vocal work stays particularly vociferous throughout the whole album.
Other tracks such as The Prophetess rely on savage bass leads and marauding drum tones to create a more volatile and aggressive sound, and it’s here that Malleus truly come alive and pull your attention firmly into what they are creating. During the second half of the album the tracks get a lot lengthier, allowing Malleus to explore their sound more as well as giving each component more time to showcase themselves. This is particularly noticeable for the bass play during The Fires of Heaven which has a far more prominent sound and meshes well with riffs that have a slight brooding quality to them.
The Fires of Heaven then is an album that grows on you, and is definitely back end heavy in terms of intensity of tracks towards the latter half of the album and in terms of creativity.
Best moments of the album: The intro is an impressive and misleading start to the album. Also Prophetess and The Fires of Heaven for the snarling bass tones.
Worst moments of the album: Nothing really.
Released in 2023 by Armageddon Label
Track listing 1. The Tempest 1:34
2. A Dark Sun Rises 4:11
3. Beyond The Pale 5:33
4. Prophetess 3:54
5. The Fires Of Heaven 7:33
6. Into The Flesh 3:48
7. Awakening 8:01
8. Mourning War 9:34
The Channeler – vocals
The Hammer – guitar
The Watcher – bass
The Relentless – drums
Guest musicians Kris Force – violin in “The Tempest”
Jackie Perez Gratz – cello in “The Tempest”
“Life is funny. If you don’t laugh, you’re in trouble.” – Taylor Hawkins
And just like that, after 880 days of nothing, I was finally able to attend a metal concert this year, just like countless other metalheads who patiently waited for the Canadian government to lift all restrictions due to the pandemic to get back to our normal lives. And it was a busy year concert-wise as you can see HERE, with Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Behemoth and several others putting a smile back on our faces and the horns back in our hands, because in the end the beauty of heavy music is when it’s played live, right? On the other hand, we unfortunately saw some important names of the global metal scene disbanding such as Nuclear Assault, Tristania and Every Time I Die, plus of course the brave warriors who left us and are now sitting beside the metal gods in Valhalla. Just to name a few, we all mourned the losses of Fredrik Johansson (former guitarist of Dark Tranquillity), Jon Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records), Bruce Greig (former guitarist of Misery Index and Dying Fetus), Taylor Hawkins (drummer of Foo Fighters), Ronnie Deo (former bassist of Incantation), Trevor Strnad (vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder), Alec John Such (former bassist of Bon Jovi), Bob Heathcote (former bassist of Suicidal Tendencies), Steve Grimmett (vocalist of Grim Reaper), Stuart Anstis (former guitarist of Cradle of Filth), David Andersson (guitarist of Soilwork), and Dan McCafferty (former vocalist of Nazareth).
However, one of the biggest losses in the world of heavy music happened right here in Toronto, Canada, as we lost the biggest metalhead of the entire Torontonian scene, Walter Froebrich. Our super fan Walter, who was a staple in the local scene for over 20 years (and I remember seeing him in every single concert I’ve attended in the past 10 years or more at least), sadly died alone at home last month following three visits to a local hospital due to severe abdominal pain. This is extremely tragic and cannot happen again, as we all have the right to decent healthcare it doesn’t matter who we are. There will be a memorial show for Walter on January 7, 2023 at The Rockpile (details can be found HERE and tickets HERE) with several local independent bands, and we at The Headbanging Moose also want to honor the life of Walter and his undisputed passion for heavy music by dedicating to him The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums.
1. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (REVIEW) Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hate Über Alles
2. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (REVIEW) The most explosive name of the current Deathcore scene invites us all to dance like flames to the sound of their newborn masterpiece.
Best song of the album: The Pain Remains Trilogy
3. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (REVIEW) The unstoppable Mr. Dave Mustaine strikes again with the sick, the dying… and the Megadeth!
Best song of the album: Life in Hell
4. Rammstein – Zeit (REVIEW) Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution wasted no time during the pandemic and is back in action with their fantastic eight opus.
Best song of the album: Angst
5. Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram (REVIEW) A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.
Best song of the album: Malaria Vvlgata
6. Arch Enemy – Deceivers (REVIEW) One of the most important names in metal is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.
Best song of the album: The Watcher
7. Lamb of God – Omens (REVIEW) Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.
Best song of the album: Ditch
8. Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (REVIEW) Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Saxons and Vikings
9. Hiss From The Moat – The Way Out Of Hell (REVIEW) There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by this Italian horde.
Best song of the album: Generation Of Cowardice
10. Diabolical Raw – Elegy of Fire Dusk (REVIEW) Behold this grandiose album of Symphonic Black and Death Metal inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology.
Best song of the album: Face the Judgement
And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:
11. Abaddon Incarnate – The Wretched Sermon (REVIEW)
12. Cage Fight – Cage Fight (REVIEW)
13. Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse (REVIEW)
14. Stratovarius – Survive (REVIEW)
15. Konvent – Call Down the Sun (REVIEW)
16. Scorpions – Rock Believer (REVIEW)
17. Disturbed – Divisive (REVIEW)
18. Thundermother – Black and Gold (REVIEW)
19. Blind Guardian – The God Machine (REVIEW)
20. Ferum – Asunder / Erode (REVIEW)
In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2022 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. Eskhaton – Horracle (REVIEW)
2. Headfist – This New World…. (REVIEW)
3. Sullen Guest – Phase (REVIEW)
4. Pyrrhic Salvation – Manifestum I (REVIEW)
5. Klendathu – Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once (REVIEW)
6. Through The Noise – Tragedies (REVIEW)
7. Rotten Casket – First Nail in the Casket (REVIEW)
8. Circa Arcana – Bridget Viginti (REVIEW)
9. All Else Fails – The Incident at Black Lake (REVIEW)
10. Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle (REVIEW)
Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2022? 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 2022 – 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 2023!
And before I go, I’ll leave you with what’s in my humble opinion not only the best song of 2022, but it also carries a very inspiring message to us all… ROW! ROW! ROW!
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
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”