Album Review – Ratos de Porão / Necropolítica (2022)

The iconic João Gordo and his crew show no mercy for the absolute disaster that’s the current Brazilian government, bringing to us all a true masterpiece of Punk Rock and Hardcore.

If you take a quick look at the current political, economic and environmental situation in Brazil, you’ll notice things are not going well. Quite the contrary, the whole situation is Brazil is beyond delicate and catastrophic, and that’s the main reason as to why São Paulo, Brazil-based Hardcore/Punk Rock veterans Ratos de Porão have just released the fantastic Necropolítica, or “necropolitics” in English, their thirteenth studio album and their first since the 2014 album Século Sinistro. Known for their rebelliousness and acid lyrics since their inception in the distant year of 1981, vocalist João Gordo, guitarist Jão, bassist Juninho and drummer Boka show absolutely no mercy for the nasty, disastrous government of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro throughout the entire album, dealing with topics such as the rising far-right movement in the country, the countless deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the strong negative impact of the influence of the country’s evangelical church in all of the decisions taken by Bolsonaro and his horde of ignorants, all wrapped up by a sinister artwork designed by Rafael Gabrio, who intentionally made it very similar to Black Sabbath’s cult cover for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, as personally requested by João Gordo himself.

The sound of a dying patient using a mechanical ventilator kick off the absolutely vicious Alerta Antifascista (“anti-fascist alert”), where Boka smashes his drums ruthlessly offering João Gordo exactly what he needs to vociferate the song’s austere lyrics, whereas Aglomeração (“agglomeration”) is a freakin’ awesome Punk Rock and Hardcore creation by the quartet where Jão is on absolute fire with his demented riffs, or in other words, simply slam into the circle pit and “pray for Jesus” to protect you in there (without a mask, of course). More melodic and dancing than its predecessors, Passa Pano Pra Elite (“cover up for the elite”) is an excellent option for their live performances where the bass jabs by Juninho complement Jão’s solos flawlessly, followed by the title-track Necropolítica (“necropolitics”), a fast and furious extravaganza that matches perfectly with the current actions of the Brazilian government, with João Gordo blasting his trademark roars nonstop. It’s almost like a new “national anthem” for the country, which can also be said about Guilhotinado em Cristo (“guillotined in Christ”), offering us all another round of their old school Punk Rock and Hardcore with Thrash and Death Metal elements while Boka once again hammers his drums like a beast.

The band once again adds hints of Rockabilly to their core sonority (and the final result is brilliant) in O Vira-Lata (“the mutt”), with Jão and Juninho being yet again in absolute sync with their stringed weapons while João Gordo sends all his “love” to Bolsonaro and his hideous family. G.D.O. actually means “gado”, the Portuguese word for “cattle” which is how the followers of Bolsonaro are called, and the music gets back to a more frantic, demented sonority while João Gordo talks about how harmful all fake news spread by those idiots can be to the society; followed by Bostanágua, or “bosta na água” (“shit in the water”), a play word with Bolsonaro’s name, a straightforward, in-your-face Hardcore tune where João Gordo keeps barking rabidly while Boka dictates the song’s electrifying pace. Entubado (“intubated”) is a song about the horrible situation that happened in the city of Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon, where due to a total lack of support from the government several people sadly died without oxygen during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the music is not only brutal but perfectly depicts all that despair; and lastly, Neonazi Gratiluz, with “gratiluz” being the combination of the words “gratitude” and “luz”, or “gratitude” and “light”, is a way to refer to the Brazilian white supremacist elite who believes they’re better than everyone else and who keep sending “good vibes” to everyone (when in fact they’re not). Needless to say, Jão slashes his guitar in great fashion accompanied by the classic beats by Boka throughout the entire song, culminating in the perfect conclusion to such meaningful album.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand a single word in Portuguese, Necropolítica is a must-listen for any fan of heavy music, and you can enjoy the album in full on Spotify, as well as show your total support to Ratos de Porão by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by purchasing their newborn beast from their own webstore or by clicking HERE. To be honest, based on the endless crimes committed by Bolsonaro and his henchmen and all the garbage he vomits everyday to the press, I think Ratos de Porão might need to record parts II, III, IV, and so on of Necropolítica, which despite being really sad news for Brazil as a country, it’s a good thing for the world of Punk Rock, Hardcore and Heavy Metal. Hopefully the evil Bolsonaro won’t be re-elected this year and Ratos de Porão can get back to their less obscure lyrics in their future albums, but we must all admit Necropolítica is a masterpiece of Brazilian rock music that will always remind us of the dark times Brazil is living right now.

Best moments of the album: Aglomeração, Necropolítica, O Vira-Lata and Neonazi Gratiluz.

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2022 Shinigami Records

Track listing
1. Alerta Antifascista 3:31
2. Aglomeração 2:29
3. Passa Pano Pra Elite 3:42
4. Necropolítica 2:32
5. Guilhotinado em Cristo 3:09
6. O Vira-Lata 3:39
7. G.D.O. 2:08
8. Bostanágua 2:08
9. Entubado 4:10
10. Neonazi Gratiluz 4:06

Band members
João Gordo – vocals
Jão – guitars
Juninho – bass
Boka – drums

Album Review – Oathbringer / Tales of Glory (2022)

Let’s head into the battlefield together with this promising Serbian band armed with their debut opus, offering us all an overdose of pure, unfiltered Heavy Metal.

Formed in the city of Kragujevac, Serbia at the end of 2019 as a project of guitarist Lazar “Berserker” Zakić under the name Riddle of Steel, the incendiary Heavy Metal army currently known as Oathbringer is set to release their debut opus, entitled Tales of Glory, bringing to our metallic ears an overdose of pure, unfiltered metal music. Recorded at Studio Coolijana, produced by Marko Petković Petko, and displaying a dark, heathen artwork by Velio Josto, known for his work with bands such as Vulture, Enforcer, Riot V, Iron Angel and Warlord, Tales of Glory offers the listener a selection of classic Heavy and Power Metal songs carefully brought forth by the aforementioned Lazar “Berserker” Zakić on the guitars together with his bandmates Miloš “Priestkiller” Stošić on vocals and bass, Petar “Axxer” Đorđević also on the guitars, and Bora “Helldiver” Petrović on drums, pointing to a promising future ahead of those Serbian warriors.

Simply hit play and the epic intro Arrival will invite you to the world of Oathbringer before the band comes ripping in Odin’s Call, where Lazar and Petar rev up their engines to the sound of their stringed axes while Bora dictates the pace with his classic beats, not to mention how powerful Miloš sound with both his vocals and bass. More of the band’s old school Heavy Metal infused with groovy and dirty sounds is offered to us all in Hail to the King, a headbanging party led by the raspy vocals by Miloš with Bora pounding his drums like the hammer of Thor (as the guys from Manowar would say); whereas putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for the quartet to head into the battlefield to the sound of Stand or Fall, a high-octane Heavy and Power Metal hymn where the band’s guitar duo is on absolute fire with their raw, visceral riffs and solos.

Venturing through Hard Rock lands the band inspires us to raise our horns to Alone in the Night, bringing to our ears another thrilling performance by Lazar and Petar on the guitars; and an acoustic, ethereal start to the melancholic vocals by Miloš kick off the Lord of the Rings-inspired ballad The Ring, sounding utterly beautiful from start to finish and, of course, very enfolding and epic. Then back to their heaviest mode it’s time for the breathtaking Shayol Ghul, with Bora kicking some serious ass behind his drums while also reminding me of the fastest tunes by Stratovarius with a Power Metal twist. The band continues to blend the heaviness of Thrash Metal with the epicness of the music by Manowar in Moria, which should work really well if played live due to its headbanging rhythm and catchy chorus, ending in a classy way to the sound of a piano. In addition, as a bonus the band offers us all the demo version for Under the Spell, from when the band was still called Riddle of Steel. As it’s “just” a demo it’s not as detailed as the rest of the album, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as powerful and in line with the band’s core sound.

After all is said and done, you’ll certainly feel the urge to grab your sword and shield and head into the battlefield together with the guys from Oathbringer, and you can start doing so by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other cool info about the band. Furthermore, don’t forget to show your utmost support to the Serbian underground by purchasing the excellent Tales of Glory by clicking HERE, keeping the fires of classic Heavy and Power Metal burning in the beautiful country of Serbia. Oathbringer were capable of turningtheir tales of glory into first-class metal music in their first full-length album, and I’m sure that when their sophomore album is released they’ll sound even stronger, more focused and more powerful for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Hail to the King, Stand or Fall and Shayol Ghul.

Worst moments of the album: Under the Spell.

Released in 2022 RTR Records

Track listing
1. Arrival 0:50
2. Odin’s Call 4:20
3. Hail to the King 3:49
4. Stand or Fall 3:46
5. Alone in the Night 4:16
6. The Ring 4:02
7. Shayol Ghul 5:29
8. Moria 6:01

Bonus track
9. Under the Spell (demo) 4:32

Band members
Miloš “Priestkiller” Stošić – vocals, bass
Lazar “Berserker” Zakić – guitars
Petar “Axxer” Đorđević – guitars
Bora “Helldiver” Petrović – drums

Guest musician
Luka Milošević – guitars on “Under the Spell”

Album Review – Kreator / Hate Über Alles (2022)

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.

Recorded at Hansa Studios and Studio Wong, both located in Berlin, Germany, produced by Arthur Rizk, and displaying a classy, demonic artwork by renowned Israeli artist Eliran Kantor, Hate Über Alles is not just the fifteenth studio album by German Thrash Metal masters Kreator, but the band’s first studio album since their 2017 opus Gods of Violence, marking the longest gap between studio albums in their career, and the first to feature former DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq, who replaced longtime band member Christian “Speesy” Giesler in 2019. And what do I think about the album? Well, let’s say Kreator more than nailed it once again, with the iconic Miland “Mille” Petrozza on vocals and guitar, Sami Yli-Sirniö also on the guitar, the aforementioned Frédéric Leclercq on bass, and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil on drums delivering sheer violence, blasphemy and hatred with a welcome dosage of progressiveness and experimentations throughout the entire album, therefore keeping the fires of German thrash burning bright for our total delight.

Sergio Corbucci was an Italian film director, screenwriter and producer who directed both very violent Spaghetti Westerns and bloodless Bud Spencer and Terence Hill action comedies, and there’s nothing better than the Spaghetti Western intro Sergio Corbucci Is Dead to set the stage for Kreator to kill in Hate Über Alles, with both Mille and Sami kicking some fuckin’ ass with their undisputed thrashing riffage. Put differently, a new metal anthem is born overflowing fury and hatred, and of course without a single second of boredom. Then in Killer Of Jesus we face an endless amount of brutality spiced up by absolutely austere lyrics (“Tell the hordes / I’ve come to save them all / Could their souls be dead / Or why can’t I hear their words? / Goddess of time / Always by my side / Faithless redemption / Is this what they have been praying for?”), with Ventor sounding demented behind his drums in another must-listen to any fan of our good old Thrash Metal, whereas the tribal beats by Ventor ignite the neck-breaking Crush The Tyrants, with Mille flawlessly vociferating the song’s visceral words. Strongest Of The Strong is very exciting from start to finish, with Mille and Sami delivering first-class riffs and solos throughout the entire song, resulting in another serious candidate to be part of their live performances, followed by Become Immortal, where I must say I love how Kreator are honoring all metal legends (including themselves) in their past few albums, with the song’s  galloping pace inviting us all to raise our horns together with one of the most important Thrash Metal bands of all time.

Conquer And Destroy brings forward old school Kreator for diehard fans of the band, and it will surely ignite some amazing circle pits if played live while Mille leads his horde with both his piercing vocals and melodic but razor-edged riffs and solos; and featuring guest vocalist Sofia Portanet, the hypnotizing Midnight Sun is by far the most experimental of all songs, with the final result being utterly captivating as if we were part of an uncanny, bloodthirsty Scandinavian midsummer festival. Demonic Future offers us all another round of wicked lyrics roared by Mille (“In terror, in riots in war / Just when you thought that you’ve seen it all / Awareness turns to repulsion / From everywhere, echoing chants / A requiem for their bitter lands / Just when you thought a sick society / Died in their final convulsions / Fantasies of omnipotence / Erased they’ll become aware”) while the music is that beautiful Thrash Metal we love so much, with Frédéric and Ventor making the earth tremble with their respective bass and drums, and when the entire album is awesome a song like Pride Comes Before The Fall that’s “just” very good becomes the “worst” one, albeit still showcasing of course Kreator’s unique thrashing sounds. And last but not least, Kreator darken the skies and send an apocalyptic message to everyone in Dying Planet, presenting hints of Doom Metal in their core sonority and, consequently, inspiring us to break our necks headbanging in the name of darkness together with Mille and his crew.

Kreator Hate Über Alles Deluxe Box

It’s time to let the hate blasted by Kreator in their outstanding new album flow through you, and you can do that by streaming it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing it from the band’s own webstore or by clicking HERE or HERE, where you can by the way find the limited deluxe box including the red and black splatter double vinyl with etching on side D in trifold cover, a digibook CD, a digipack live CD, a photobook, the artprint and a pin. Furthermore, Kreator are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their flammable music. Because in the end as you might already know it’s hate above all, as long as it’s blasted by an undisputed thrashing institution like Kreator.

Best moments of the album: Hate Über Alles, Killer Of Jesus, Strongest Of The Strong, Conquer And Destroy and Demonic Future.

Worst moments of the album: Pride Comes Before The Fall.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Sergio Corbucci Is Dead 0:58
2. Hate Über Alles 3:48
3. Killer Of Jesus 4:05
4. Crush The Tyrants 4:10
5. Strongest Of The Strong 4:01
6. Become Immortal 4:23
7. Conquer And Destroy 4:45
8. Midnight Sun (feat. Sofia Portanet) 3:38
9. Demonic Future 4:43
10. Pride Comes Before The Fall 4:48
11. Dying Planet 6:52

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Frédéric Leclercq – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums

Guest musician
Sofia Portanet – female vocals on “Midnight Sun”

Album Review – Cage Fight / Cage Fight (2022)

It’s time to get into a bloodsoaked cage fight to the sound of the thrilling debut album by an up-and-coming London, UK-based Hardcore outfit.

Featuring the stunning French vocalist Rachel Aspe, known for her time with the iconic French Neo-Metal act Eths, and TesseracT guitarist James Monteith, London, England-based Crossover/Hardcore unity Cage Fight have just unleashed upon us mere mortals their debut self-titled effort, one of the most furious records to emerge from the UK in years. The anger and frustration of the band’s debut album is the perfect catharsis for our times, not only showcasing all the talent of the aforementioned Rachel and James together with bassist Jon Reid and drummer Nick Plews, but the artwork itself, a grabbing hand with the Cage Fight logo tattooed on the palm, visually portrays the violent rage at the core of the band’s music. Legitimately tattooed by Rachel, a tattoo artist by trade, the process of creating the image is as impactful as the final artwork itself, giving you a very good idea of how ruthless and austere the album sounds. “I cherish the ability to channel my anger through this outlet. In a world full of uncertainty and frustration this type of music was the only thing I found solace and balance in. These songs have a deep meaning for me and I hope this is something that other people can relate to,” commented the multi-talented Rachel about such outstanding album.

Featuring Jeremy Sylvester, a highly influential and prolific Garage and House producer from the UK, the album begins with a modern, electronic Intro that sets the stage for The Mirror Shattered, a bestial Hardcore tune with Punk Rock elements led by the venomous guitars by James while Rachel roars manically, therefore living up to the legacy of bands such as The Exploited and Ratos de Porão. There’s no time to breathe as Nick keeps hammering his drums in Killer, another excellent composition showcasing a high-octane fusion of Crossover Thrash and Groove Metal where once again James is infernal armed with his axe. Rachel sounds possessed by a demonic entity throughout the entire album, and it couldn’t have been any different than that in the awesome Hope Castrated, a massive, in-your-face Hardcore feast where Jon’s rumbling bass and Nick’s furious beats will make your head tremble, and it’s then time to slam into the pit and raise our horns in the name of rebelliousness and rage in Make A Decision, absolutely fast and furious thanks to another flawless performance by Nick on drums while Rachel showcases her trademark she-demon screams for our total delight. Their Punk Rock vein pulses stronger than ever in Guillotine, with the slashing, piercing riffs by James walking hand in hand with the bass punches by Jon, not to mention Rachel even fires some gruesome, vile Brutal Death Metal screeches.

The MMA entrance-inspired interlude Cage Fight! warms us up for the metal battle entitled Shine Don’t Fade, sounding and feeling pulverizing from the very first second thanks to the dynamic and evil sounds blasted by James, Jon and Nick, perfect for breaking your neck headbanging; whereas in One Minute the quartet plays at the speed of light in a great hybrid of classic Thrash Metal the likes of Anthrax with the more ferocious music by Lamb of God. In Tell Me What Real Is, less visceral but still heavy-as-hell, dense and demonic, Rachel keeps screaming inside our heads while her bandmates extract sheer animosity form their sonic weapons, whereas in Respect Ends there’s absolutely no sign of tiredness by the band, with James once again kicking ass with his riffage while Rachel delivers an insane dosage of animosity through her growls. Then we have Eating Me Alive, featuring guest vocalist Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder), who sadly died on May 11 at the very early age of 41, bringing an extra touch of violence to the overall result by making an awesome vocal duo with Rachel; followed by My Dreams, which starts in a somber manner before exploding into the band’s modern-day Crossover Thrash. Moreover, Rachel leads her henchmen for over six minutes of aggressiveness, dementia and fury. And lastly we’re treated to their cover version for Body Count’s Bitch In The Pit (check the original song HERE), a sensational rendition by Cage Fight with Rachel stealing the spotlight with her enraged, she-wolf roars, turning her into the undisputed “bitch in the pit”.

In a nutshell, Cage Fight more than nailed it with their debut opus, providing us headbangers with a very good reason for raising our horns nonstop and slamming into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow. Hence, don’t forget to stream the album in full on Spotify, to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates (and believe me, you don’t want to miss their live performances if they take your city by storm), and of course, to purchase your favorite version of such intense album of European Hardcore by clicking HERE. As you might have noticed, Rachel, James, Jon and Nick are waiting for you inside the cage for an ass-kicking metal fight to the sound of their debut opus, but you better be prepared to have your ass kicked in the name of Hardcore and Thrash Metal, of course.

Best moments of the album: The Mirror Shattered, Hope Castrated, Guillotine and Bitch In The Pit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Candlelight Records

Track listing
1. Intro 1:25
2. The Mirror Shattered 2:34
3. Killer 3:17
4. Hope Castrated 2:54
5. Make A Decision 3:15
6. Guillotine 2:32
7. Cage Fight! 0:58
8. Shine Don’t Fade 3:15
9. One Minute 4:04
10. Tell Me What Real Is 3:18
11. Respect Ends 3:03
12. Eating Me Alive 3:37
13. My Dreams 6:16
14. Bitch In The Pit (Body Count cover) 3:05

Band members
Rachel Aspe – vocals
James Monteith – guitar
Jon Reid – bass
Nick Plews – drums

Guest musicians
Jeremy Sylvester – samplers on “Intro”
Trevor Strnad – vocals on “Eating Me Alive”

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 – Nervosa & Destruction (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 05/01/2022)

The German butchers of Thrash Metal struck back in another diabolical night of heavy music in the city of Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

There’s nothing better than ending another fun weekend and getting ready for a cold and rainy Monday than a night of pure Thrash and Death Metal, and that’s exactly what several Torontonian metalheads were able to enjoy last night at Lee’s Palace thanks to the ruthless Diabolical North American Tour 2022, with the bands VX36, SUNLORD, NERVOSA and the iconic DESTRUCTION offering their fans exactly what they needed to slam into the pit and raise their horns nonstop. The first band to hit the stage was Geyserville, California-based Thrash/Groove Metal band VX36, led by vocalist and guitarist Nate Klug, who inspired all thrashers at the venue to bang their heads to great songs such as Satan’s Fury and Blood War. That was an excellent start to the night, and I just wish the band had new material to present as everything they played, despite being awesome, was from over seven years ago I believe.

Band members
Nate Klug – vocals, guitar
Gage Higgins – lead guitar, vocals
Nick Altenburg – bass
John Lorence – drums

After a really, really quick break, it was time for Jackson Heights, New York’s own Heavy/Speed Metal trio SUNLORD to kick some ass on stage. Comprised of vocalist, guitarist and founder Alfonso Ferrazza, bassist Ashely Wells and drummer Lamar Little, the band delivered a solid show including the fun songs Forbidden Witch and Turn Me Loose, with Lamar stealing the spotlight with a beyond professional and thrilling performance behind his drums, adding an extra touch of groove and heaviness to the band’s music. In the end, Sunlord might not be as thrash as the other bands from the night, but they definitely proved why they were chosen to open for Nervosa and Destruction with their energy and passion for heavy music.

Band members
Alfonso Ferrazza – vocals, guitars
Ashely Wells – bass
Lamar Little – drums

NERVOSA

Finally, after years and years waiting, I was able to see for the first time ever the all-female thrashing machine NERVOSA pulverizing everything and everyone live on stage. One of the most multinational bands of the current metal scene, as the band is now formed of Spanish frontwoman Diva Satanica, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace and Greek drummer Eleni Nota, the quartet was infernal with their fusion of Death and Thrash Metal from start to finish, with the stunning Diva Satanica not only showcasing a breathtaking vocal performance, but her stage presence was also a thing of beauty. Still promoting their 2021 opus  Perpetual Chaos, Nervosa made a lot of awesome noise playing songs the likes of Kill the Silence, Masked Betrayer, Into Moshpit, Guided By Evil and Under Ruins, as well as my favorite ones of the night, Genocidal Command, Time to Fight and Rebel Soul, where not only Diva Satanica was flawless on vocals, but Prika, Mia and Eleni were also smashing their instruments in great fashion. I just wish the girls had some time to interact with their fans at their booth (which apparently was reduced to just a few random items as their shirts couldn’t be delivered on time), but again, what really matters is what they do on stage, and they more than succeeded by inflicting that nice pain in our necks due to all headbanging involved.

Band members
Diva Satanica – lead vocals
Prika Amaral – guitar, backing vocals
Mia Wallace – bass
Eleni Nota – drums

DESTRUCTION

Another short break and there they were, German Thrash Metal institution DESTRUCTION, ready to show everyone at Lee’s Palace what old school thrash is all about. Anything I say about the band’s frontman and mastermind Schmier won’t be enough to depict his energy, his charisma and his onstage performance, kicking ass from the very first second and showing absolutely no mercy for our souls armed with his metallic bass and raspy vocals. Blending classics the likes of Nailed to the Cross, Born to Perish, Mad Butcher, Thrash Till Death, Bestial Invasion and The Butcher Strikes Back with songs from their recently released album Diabolical, including the amazing title-track and the pulverizing No Faith in Humanity, Schmier and his henchmen Damir Eskić and Martin Furia on the guitars and Canadian beast Randy Black on drums gave a lecture in Thrash Metal to their fans, showing why they’ve been alive and kicking since their inception in the distant year of 1983. By the way, close to the end of the show, Schmier had some very nice words to say about a guy that was present at the venue who was their first ever North American fan, being the first person in the US and Canada to purchase their 1984 demo Bestial Invasion of Hell. That was a really cool moment, and that guy, who was not too far from where I was standing, seemed deeply touched by such amazing tribute by one of his favorite bands of all time. That’s pure Thrash Metal, and after all was said and done (already past midnight, by the way), we were all certain those Teutonic metallers will return to destroy Toronto once again in a not-so-distant future.

Band members
Schmier – vocals, bass
Damir Eskić – lead guitars
Martin Furia – guitars
Randy Black – drums

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Album Review – Cauchemar / Rosa Mystica (2022)

Behold the fully realized expression of this French-Canadian band’s signature sound of somber traditional doom they have been perfecting since their inception.

Rising from their moss-covered crypt, French-Canadian Heavy/Doom Metal act Cauchemar is back with their third full-length opus, darkly titled Rosa Mystica, the band’s first offering since the 2019 compilation Trapped Under Ice. Meticulously composed and rehearsed to perfection, recorded at No Man’s Land Studio, and displaying a stylish cover art by Russian artist Valeria Sakseeva, the album is a fully realized expression of Cauchemar’s signature sound of somber traditional doom the band has been perfecting since their inception in 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, delivered with the vigor of Heavy Metal. The atmosphere on Rosa Mystica is spacious and rustic, gilded by the warm glow of stained-glass luminescence, all carefully brought into being by frontwoman Annick Giroux and her French-language incantations, guitarist François Patry and his austere muscular riffs, and bassist Andres Arango and drummer Joel Ladouceur’s vaulted geometry.

An atmospheric, grim intro to the acoustic guitars by François kicks off the old school opening song Jour de colère (or “day of wrath” in English) while Andres and Joel generate a rumbling ambience with their respective bass and drums, offering Annick all she needs to powerfully shine on vocals, whereas blending the epicness of classic Heavy Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal the quartet offers us all the excellent Rouge sang (“blood red”), with Annick taking the lead with her solid vocals while François keep extracting fire from his riffs. Leaning towards pure Doom Metal, Notre-Dame-sous-Terre (“Notre-Dame-under-Earth”) is a Stygian composition by Cauchemar with Joel delivering those sluggish beats we love so much, and more of the blazing riffs and solos by François embellish the airwaves in Danger de nuit (“danger at night”), accompanied by the low-tuned bass by Andres in a thrilling hybrid of Heavy and Doom Metal with classic Hard Rock.

The title-track Rosa mystica brings to our ears another round of their cryptic Doom Metal spearheaded by the slow and steady drums by Joel. Needless to say, the guitar lines by François are a thing of beauty, whereas adding elements from Speed and Thrash Metal to their core sonority we’re treated to the high-octane aria Le tombeau de l’aube (“the tomb of dawn”), showcasing another spot-on performance by Joel on drums. Volcan (“volcano”), featuring a guest guitar solo by Alan Jones, is an old school Doom Metal chant with Blackened Doom nuances slightly less visceral than its predecessors but still very enjoyable; and last but not least, François’ acoustic guitars and the low-tuned bass by Andres kick off the melancholic La sorcière (“the witch”), offering our ears six minutes of mesmerizing doom enhanced by a guest guitar solo by Chany Pilote that puts a beyond climatic ending to the album.

Annick and her henchmen are waiting for your feedback on their music on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your total support to the Canadian underground you can purchase a copy of Rosa Mystica from the band’s own BandCamp page, or if you’re in Canada, in the United States or other non-EU country you can also get the album from the Temple of Mystery webstore as a CD, an LP or as a very special gold “Die Hard” version with a 4-page insert, a woven patch, a sticker and an 11″ x 17″ A3 poster, as well as from Record Shop X. In other words, let the atmospheric music found in Rosa Mystica penetrate deep inside your soul, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright thanks to the talent and hard work of one of the torchbearers of the Québécoise scene.

Best moments of the album: Rouge sang, Danger de nuit and Le tombeau de l’aube.

Worst moments of the album: Volcan.

Released in 2022 Temple of Mystery

Track listing
1. Jour de colère 6:18
2. Rouge sang 3:11
3. Notre-Dame-sous-Terre 5:49
4. Danger de nuit 4:51
5. Rosa mystica 5:28
6. Le tombeau de l’aube 2:50
7. Volcan 5:22
8. La sorcière 6:07

Band members
Annick Giroux – vocals
François Patry – guitars
Andres Arango – bass
Joel Ladouceur – drums

Guest musicians
Alan Jones – guitar solo on “Volcan”
Chany Pilote – guitar solo on “La sorcière”

Album Review – Demiricous / III: Chaotic Lethal (2022)

An epic collection of tracks exploring a dark narrative of the barbaric and grotesque, marking the return into the battlefield by an old school Death and Thrash Metal horde from Indianapolis.

Rising from the depths of the abyss in Indianapolis, the state capital and most-populous city of the US state of Indiana, Death/Thrash Metal horde Demiricous is unleashing upon humanity their most monstrous record yet, entitled III: Chaotic Lethal, following an extended hiatus of 15 years since the release of their last album, Two (Poverty). An epic collection of tracks exploring a dark narrative of the barbaric and grotesque, the album presents to the listener a revived and restored sound by Nate Olp on vocals and bass, Ben Parrish and Scott Wilson on the guitars, and Dustin Boltjes on drums, as the band have evolved into their next chapter, delving into heavier instrumentation and sinister moods while releasing a plethora of hard-hitting sounds for the delight of admirers of extreme music.

The gates of the underworld are open wide in the opening tune Unconditional Hate, with Dustin smashing his drums with endless violence while Nate roars manically from start to finish in a lecture in modern-day Thrash Metal; and it’s time to slam into the circle pit to the blazing riffs by Ben and Scott in Terminal Future, living up to the legacy of Bay Area Thrash while its backing vocals provide a spot-on support to the visceral screams by Nate, all spiced up by Ben’s devilish solo. In Smoke Chaser we face nonstop adrenaline and action in the form of Thrash Metal where once again Dustin steals the spotlight with his classic, unstoppable beats, accompanied by the incendiary riffs by his bandmates, whereas The Follow is a hybrid of old school Thrash Metal with Crossover Thrash and Hardcore that will please all fans of speed and violence, with Ben and Scott setting fire to the atmosphere armed with their guitars.

There’s no time to breathe as the quartet keeps hammering our heads with their aggressiveness and rage in Fuck The Fire, perfect for breaking your neck headbanging while growling together with Nate, followed by the title-track Chaotic Lethal, bringing to our avid ears a dark and sinister atmosphere led by the doomed beats by Dustin, and that heaviness and obscurity goes on until the very last second. Then a cryptic intro morphs into the high-octane, demolishing Merciless Slut Cult, a no-shenanigans, in-your-face Thrash Metal onrush spearheaded by the visceral riffage by Ben and Scott, blending the best elements found in the music by Slayer, Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies; while Choke is another rumbling creation by Demiricous presenting their trademark violence amidst tons of melody and dexterity, with Nate bursting his lungs roaring. And the band generates a somber ambience one last time in Faith Crime, evolving into a nine-minute thrashing behemoth where Dustin shows no mercy for his drums, not to mention how hellish and demented the growling by Nate sounds and feels.

Like a phoenix arising from the ashes, Demiricous are back in action with the fulminating III: Chaotic Lethal, highly recommended for thrash metallers from all over this doomed world who enjoy a balanced fusion of the past and present (and even future) of the genre. Hence, let’s show our support to the guys from Demiricous by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming more of their pulverizing music on Spotify, and by purchasing a copy of their newborn beast from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the POST. Recordings’ webstore in CD or LP format, or from Apple Music. “It’s been 15 years since we’ve released a record. We are so unbelievably proud of this one, and this is the Demiricous record we’ve always wanted to make. Prepare yourselves. It’s a fucking monster,” commented the band, who won’t hopefully go into another hiatus in the nearby future, continuing to smash our senses with their Thrash Metal for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Terminal Future, Merciless Slut Cult and Faith Crime.

Worst moments of the album: Chaotic Lethal.

Released in 2022 POST. Recordings

Track listing
1. Unconditional Hate 5:07
2. Terminal Future 3:50
3. Smoke Chaser 5:10
4. The Follow 4:05
5. Fuck The Fire 4:54
6. Chaotic Lethal 5:57
7. Merciless Slut Cult 3:36
8. Choke 3:59
9. Faith Crime 9:19

Band members
Nate Olp – vocals, bass
Ben Parrish – lead guitars
Scott Wilson – rhythm guitars
Dustin Boltjes – drums

Album Review – Artamene / Ziggurat (2022)

Behold the debut opus by this Iranian metal horde, setting out on the difficult path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice.

Setting out on the difficult path of breaking barriers and scaling the cliffs of prejudice, Tehran, Iran-based Heavy/Thrash Metal band Artamene has just unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length opus, entitled Ziggurat, bringing into being much more than just an amalgamation of metal and non-metal styles, but a solid statement that vocalist Soheil Avakh, guitarists Pedram Shitrah and Ali Karimi, bassist Yahya Rahmani and drummer Pooya Shitrah are among us to stay, showcasing their deep and sincere passion for heavy music with each track of their newborn spawn. “Ziggurat is based on Iranian ancient mythology which we tried to show human life in the era that we are living, especially ourselves as an Iranian metal band who are labeled as Satan worshipers and accused as an anti-cultural wave and relate it to the storyline which was told,” commented the band about the album, inviting us all to join them in their quest for Heavy Metal, freedom and equality.

The sinister guitars by Pedram and Ali kick off the opening tune Infinite Escape, with Soheil declaiming the song’s lyrics with tons of anger in his heart (“As the sun appears / Spate of piercing thoughts start to flow / Desertion, illusion, an infinite escape / As you decide to face your fears / The same coward you always have been grown”) in a fusion of Thrash and Groove Metal with Metalcore elements, whereas the band’s guitar duo keeps darkening the skies with their riffage and solos in Fear of Darkness, another heavy and melodic creation by the quintet where Pooya dictates the song’s wicked pace while also presenting hints of Progressive Metal. It’s then time for another neck-breaking extravaganza entitled Heavy Motion, with Yahya and Pooya adding tons of groove to the music armed with their sonic weapons, resulting in an awesome display of heavy music inspired by renowned acts the likes of Pantera and Lamb of God; and in Mayhem the name of the song says it all, sounding brutal and fierce from the very first second with Soheil showcasing his dirtiest and deepest roars of the whole album.

Get ready to slam into the circle pit to the sound of Shining Black, where Pedram and Ali show no mercy for our souls while Yahya is on absolute fire with his metallic bass, or in other words, it’s a solid, progressive and thrilling instrumental feast by Artamene; and Yahya’s bass keeps hammering our heads in Inshushinak, blending the heaviest elements from Groove and Thrash Metal and all spiced up by the gruesome, infernal screams and vociferations by Soheil in paradox with his own clean vocals. The sound of rain ignites the delicate interlude Rain of Paradise, with Pedram and Ali jamming in great fashion, setting the stage for Petrichor, starting in the same enfolding manner as its predecessor before evolving into a melodic and somber musicality, with Soheil’s melancholic vocals walking hand in hand with the whimsical riffs by the band’s guitarists.

As aforementioned, Ziggurat, which is available for a full listen on on YouTube and on Spotify, is much more than just an album of contemporary metal music, but proof that Artamene will keep moving forward no matter what, going against all odds in the name of heavy music and working hard for their place in the scene. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Iranian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram for all things Artamene, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for their wicked videos, and of course, above all that, to purchase a copy of Ziggurat by clicking HERE. Let your hearts shine through this blackened earth, and let the violent but melodic music blasted by Artamene in Ziggurat enter deep inside your soul forever and ever.

Best moments of the album: Heavy Motion, Mayhem and Inshushinak.

Worst moments of the album: Rain of Paradise.

Released in 2022 WormHoleDeath

Track listing
1. Infinite Escape 5:27
2. Fear of Darkness 4:10
3. Heavy Motion 3:54
4. Mayhem 3:50
5. Shining Black 5:24
6. Inshushinak 6:01
7. Rain of Paradise 2:55
8. Petrichor 5:38

Band members
Soheil Avakh – vocals
Pedram Shitrah – lead guitar
Ali Karimi – rhythm guitar
Yahya Rahmani – bass
Pooya Shitrah – 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