Metal Chick of the Month – Tatiana Shmayluk

Booyakah, Tatiana!

As The Headbanging Moose is celebrating nine years of existence this month of October, there’s nothing better than offering the first slice of our cake to a woman who’s undoubtedly the most important name of all time from the Ukrainian rock and metal scene, and I would dare to say even from the entire music scene in Ukraine. Born on March 15, 1987 in Horlivka, or Gorlovka, a city located in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, she’s a singer and songwriter better known as the frontwoman for Groove Metal/Metalcore act Jinjer since 2010, kicking some serious ass wherever she goes armed with both her furious roars and mesmerizing clean vocals. I’m talking about the one and only Tatiana Shmayluk, a multi-talented and humble woman who’s also a role model to countless girls out there who want to find in heavy music a way to express all of their feelings, hopes and frustrations, and I’m sure you’ll get addicted to her vocals and her music after reading this tribute to her.

Long before becoming the face of Jinjer, Tatiana was already singing and screaming according to her own mother, always listening to Russian and Ukrainian pop songs she heard on the radio. “My mother told me I started screaming when I was a very little girl. I screamed so loud I had a hernia in my belly.” Furthermore, one of her favorite songs from her childhood was the 1989 dance song Lambada, by French-Brazilian group Kaoma, which she mentioned she still sings along to it with great joy, although she doesn’t know Portuguese. She then began singing more seriously at the age of eight, taking vocal lessons for a couple of months and making her onstage debut that year in a concert hall with a choir. “The songs were accompanied with dancing. I was very nervous, and of course I screwed it up because of the dancing. So I said, ‘Never again.’ I cannot do synchronic dancing with someone else. I need to do it alone so I can control the whole thing,” commented Tatiana, who also said that it was her older brother, who was a guitar player to a Doom Metal band, who introduced her to metal music, more specifically to Aria, the long-running Moscow metal outfit hailed as the “Iron Maiden of Russia.”

Proudly carrying the flag of modern-day metal music to all four corner of the earth, Jinjer were formed back in 2008 in Donetsk, but the band considers their official start with the addition of Tatiana and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov in 2010. None of the founding members remain with the band, with the current lineup being comprised of the aforementioned Tatiana on vocals and Roman on the guitars, together with Eugene Abdukhanov on bass and Vladislav Ulasevish on drums. Influenced by countless renewned acts the likes of Opeth, Guano Apes, Slayer, Death, Pantera, Anathema, Lamb of God, Gojira and Twelve Foot Ninja, as well as groups across the spectrum of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop, such as Cypress Hill and House of Pain, the band has already released four studio albums in their career, those being their 2014 debut Cloud Factory, their 2016 sophomore album King of Everything, and more recently their 2019 opus Macro and their 2021 critically acclaimed album Wallflowers, all of which have reached number one in their native Ukraine, while also seeing a total of 16 singles, six of which reached the top of the Ukrainian charts and one of which, Pisces, became a global hit and has to date sold over 20 million copies. In addition, they’ve also released three EP’s, those being Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (2009), Inhale, Do Not Breathe (2012) and Micro (2019), and the 2020 live album Alive in Melbourne. You can enjoy several of their best compositions on YouTube, such as Vortex, Judgement (& Punishment), Wallflower, Home Back, Sit Stay Roll Over, and Who Is Gonna Be The One, as well as their full ass-kicking performance live at Resurrection Fest in Viveiro, Spain, in 2018, among many, many other awesome videos, and don’t forget to also stream their full discography on Spotify.

Unfortunately, not long after the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian military, anti-government protestors and pro-Russian rebels began in 2014, Tatiana and her bandmates had to escape Donetsk, moving to a suburb near the city of Lviv around 800 miles away, not far from the Polish border. “”But we got bored there because it’s a city for tourists,” explained Tatiana. “We rented a house but it was impossible to live there because there were problems with water, with electricity, heating. So that’s why we moved to a more civilized place.” Furthermore, when asked about what makes Jinjer uniquely Ukrainian, she said that because the band comes from a land where kindness equals weakness, a tough country for everyone including their parents, especially in the 90’s, the band members became really grind and tough. For instance, she mentioned that Ukrainians don’t go to a doctor if something hurts, for example, enduring the pain until the end. That’s one of the reasons why the band tries to never cancel any of their concerts and tours, even if it’s impossible to play, showing how strong and determined they are.

Apart from her undisputed career with Jinjer, you can also find Tatiana as a guest vocalist in an array of distinct albums and songs, including the songs Through the Never (I Will Return) and Horror of Daniel Wagner, from the 2022 album Horror of Daniel Wagner, by Ukrainian Heavy/Power Metal band Morton; the song Find My Way, released in 2022 by American Modern Metal band Lions At The Gate; the song Over and Out, released in 2021 by Australian Heavy Rock band Twelve Foot Ninja; and my favorite of all those tracks, the pulverizing Hello Death, from the 2022 album Cancer Culture, released by Polish Death/Groove Metal act Decapitated. Not only that, if you pay good attention to Jinjer’s song Judgment (& Punishment) you’ll notice several elements from reggae added to the band’s extreme music, and that’s something that comes from Tatiana as she was a part of a band that played reggae, ska, ska-punk and funk before Jinjer, playing several cover songs and singing in Ukrainian, Russian and English. “I was a huge fan of reggae. I wore dreadlocks and I was all about Rastafari,” commented Tatiana, who also said that, even being a huge reggae fan, she doesn’t smoke weed simply because she doesn’t like it.

Currently living in Los Angeles, California and spending as much time as possible on tour, having closed 2021 with over 70 concerts including many summer festivals, a short tour of mainland Europe and a two-month North American tour, Tatiana obviously misses her homeland, her family and friends, although she finds the region’s lingering Soviet attitudes unappealing, with the remnants of hardline communism surrounding everyone there. While she was still living in Ukraine, she said that “I was too young to remember life in Soviet Union, but the spirit of Soviet Union is still here. I’m living in an apartment built maybe 40 years ago, and my parents live in such an apartment, as well. All our shops and supermarkets are situated in buildings built then. So it is still like Soviet Union. And there are a lot of people who still have Soviet Union in their heads and their minds.” However, Tatiana mentioned she doesn’t feel safe when on tour it doesn’t matter which country she’s visiting, not only in Ukraine, saying she’s always afraid of going anywhere by herself.

In one of her interviews, Tatiana said it’s a surprise to her that people are still impressed that women can scream, mentioning for example female-fronted German thrash metallers Holy Moses, who she got to know when she was an 18-year old girl in Ukraine, and saying that despite the fact bands like Jinjer might impress the younger generations, the older generations have always known what women can do in rock and metal music. “Sometimes I’m annoyed, but then you say, ‘OK, well, I didn’t see a hummingbird until I was 35 years old.’ It’s always a right time to discover new stuff. It’s great that screaming women are a phenomenon.” She also said it’s incredible to know she’s an inspiration for many young women mainly because they don’t know she’s in fact a very shy person, also sensitive, fragile and easy to be offended, or in her own words, she’s not better than anyone, complementing by saying she’s just a performer when she’s on stage. “Of course there is some true shit, but I don’t move my head 24/7 and I don’t scream all the time. Well, I scream every night. But not every morning.” Furthermore, you can learn a little more about how Tatiana learned to scream by clicking HERE, from first hearing Otep to screaming Mudvayne lyrics, to the dominant force she is today.

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As any other metalhead in the world, Tatiana has a lot of idols and influences in her life, in her vocal style, in the way she writes the music for Jinjer and so on, but following those artists wasn’t easy at all when she was a young girl due to the aforementioned impact of the Soviet Union over Ukraine at that time. “Metal wasn’t accessible for me. Where I grew up in Donetsk, not many worldwide metal artists would come. They’d go to the capital, and it was 700km and 12 hours on the train. I didn’t have money because I was a teenager and my mom was strict; she didn’t give me much pocket money, although that stimulated me to earn it myself, for which I’m really grateful to her. My parents wouldn’t have let me out of the town, but that was for the best too. It made me want to play my own music and form my own band.” As mentioned, her brother was the one who got her into metal (although he stopped listening to heavy music when he grew up), but before that she used to listen to a lot of rock music, grunge and punk especially after the Soviet Union collapsing in 1991, as MTV hit the Ukrainian airwaves and she began listening to bands like Nirvana and The Offspring. She then found the music by Otep, and got addicted to the vocals by the iconic Otep Shamaya. “I think I was 15 when I heard Otep the first time,” said Tatiana in one of her interviews. “I said, ‘This dude is so cool!’ And my friend said, ‘This is a girl!’ I was like, ‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ This is the first girl I am hearing do this. I was shocked, and I wanted to shock people like her.”

Being a rock and metal artist in Ukraine wasn’t easy at all, taking Tatiana and the rest of the band around five years just to cross the Ukrainian border and play in Romania, and even longer to reach other European countries and the United States, but fortunately everything seems to be working for Jinjer now, with the band organically growing in the worldwide scene and gaining more and more respect from fans from all four corners of the earth. As expected, Tatiana has some important complaints about the Ukrainian metal scene, saying that most Ukrainian bands stick to playing in Ukraine or Russia, and that they don’t usually sing in English, the main reason why they just play in their motherland. “I was always inspired by western music culture in jazz, blues and then metal. I always had this love for English speaking music, even pop music; Britney Spears is one of my biggest idols! People can understand it easily and for me, it was always about spreading my own message through a language that is more available for people all around the world of different countries. That’s why we chose to sing in English and that’s how we made our own path.” Another major issue in Ukraine according to her is the post-U.S.S.R. thinking and mindset, where you’re not accepted if you’re different, as for example tattoos (and we all know she has plenty) are not acceptable for men nor women in her homeland.

However, as you might probably know, Ukraine is suffering with the Russian invasion that started back in February this year, and that has been hitting the band hard in their hearts and minds since then. In March 2022, it was reported that Jinjer had “paused” their career to focus on relief efforts in Ukraine after the war began. Right after that, in June 2022, Jinjer announced that they received permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine and tour as ambassadors of the nation to raise funds and awareness. “We are very thankful to our Ministry Of Culture for the Ukraine who gave us this opportunity to do what we love to do, and play all the festivals we have announced. We’re using every festival to raise funds and spread awareness about the real war that is happening in the 21st century, which is crazy. It’s hard to believe, but this is the harsh reality. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time we are also full of hope that soon it is all going be over. We are spreading positivity and hope, and we are dreaming about peace. I hope that no other European or world country ever experiences the same as the Ukraine,” commented Tatiana, also saying she has no idea when Jinjer will be able to play in Ukraine again, and that the band will never stop fighting. Moreover, in their most recent releases there are lyrics addressing the war in Donbas and its effects on their home region of Donetsk, and you can also find tons of amazing interviews with Tatiana and the boys talking about the war in Ukraine, just like this one conducted by Loudwire.

Regarding her relationship with social media, Tatiana said that due to her explosive nature she usually replies back to anyone that messages her, it doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative comment, saying she “enjoys” replying back to internet trolls because she’s easy to piss off. “Sometimes it’s just overwhelming. I feel like if I let it go, I will let them continue to do this shit again and again. It’s like I give them unspoken permission,” commented our stunning diva, also saying most of the feedback she gets online is actually positive. In addition, one of her favorite ways of interacting with her fans is to customize shirts she receives from them before a show and wear them onstage the same night. “Most of the time, these shirts are very personal. For example, yesterday I was given a shirt — it has a huge ape giving a middle finger and it says something like, ‘Humans destroy everything.’ It’s so related to our song Ape. They will see me wear it on the stage and it is a huge pleaser. They get double joy. I love all the things they bring to me at meet and greet. They are so sweet,” said Tatiana, complementing by saying that some of those fans are very shy and don’t want to talk a lot, being very happy with just an autograph and a photo.

Our unstoppable frontwoman also said that, in an effort to improve her own standing with Mother Nature, she tried to be a vegan for three years, but she went back to eating meat in the middle of a tour because she was starving. She said she still tries to be moderate in consuming meat, and that she doesn’t drink milk, though, revealing her own inner conflict. “I still try being vegan, but it’s really hard for me because I was raised in a family that was not very rich,” she explained. “We could not afford eating meat very often. So when I stopped eating meat, I realized that I loved meat a lot. When I smell meat, it drives me crazy. Something inside of me forgets about animals, suffering, health, environment, and I just want a good piece of meat.” You can get to know more about Tatiana by listening to our growler answering 10 questions asked by Metalshop TV (volume 1 and volume 2), as well as other interviews online such as Tatiana and her bandmates answering the most asked questions on the Internet about Jinjer. Lastly, just like several people out there (including myself), Tatiana also believes something went wrong in our evolution, saying mankind went wrong, and that although we are so small on this earth we act like we are gods, which makes her really sad. She’s trying to learn how to be happy, how to find the happiness inside, and to appreciate her life. “That’s my biggest ambition, to be happy and find inner peace, and for there to be justice for Ukraine.”

Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Facebook page
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Instagram
Tatiana Shmayluk’s Official Twitter
Jinjer’s Official Facebook page
Jinjer’s Official VKontakte
Jinjer’s Official Instagram
Jinjer’s Official YouTube channel
Jinjer’s Official Twitter

“You know what, I’m losing my faith in music. I don’t feel like I can express myself enough to say what I really feel because there are no words to explain. So, I feel like I should give up… but then something makes me go further.” – Tatiana Shmayluk

Album Review – Majesty Of Revival / Pinnacle (2022)

One of Ukraine’s most prominent bands returns with their fifth full-length opus, continuing with their sonic experimentations while still loyal to their metal roots.

Following up on the successful releases of their 2016 album Dualism and their 2019 album Timeless, Uzhhorod, Ukraine-based Symphonic Power Metal explorers Majesty Of Revival are back in action with their fifth full-length installment, entitled Pinnacle, continuing with their eccentric experimentations while at the same time remaining loyal to their metal roots. Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by the band’s mastermind Dimitriy Pavlovskiy at Beast Sound Studios and displaying a stylish artwork by Ursula Tabaka, Pinnacle is about the experience of our thoughts, about casual situations that happen around us or with ourselves, problems that surround us daily like domestic violence, blind idolizing, struggles in front of big challenges, leadership, money issues and so on, consisting of 13 cross-genre and progressive compositions filled with subjective visual descriptions and tactile audio figures carefully brought into being by the aforementioned Dimitriy Pavlovskiy on vocals and guitars, Myroslav Danko also on the guitars, Vitalii Popfalushi on bass, Maestone on keyboards and Marvin on drums. In other words, you’re in for a ride with those Ukrainian metallers who will take you on a journey through the vast lands of progressiveness in the name of good music with their newborn opus.

Dimitriy and Myroslav begin their DragonForce-inspired riff attack in the opening tune Open, blending Progressive and Symphonic Metal to the pounding beats by Marvin, while You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG) reminds me of some of the best creations by Mastodon with their own Ukrainian touch, presenting an amazing job done by Vitalii on bass by generating a venomous paradox with the stylish keys by Maestone. In Rebellion we have powerful lyrics declaimed by Myroslav (“Fear has been born among us / Tied our hands with hardest chains / Cowardice grows like mushrooms under autumn rain / Left no word unspoken / Though desecration will touch all of you said / Let this silence to be banned / Let this silence be broken”) amidst a melodic, Hard Rock-ish sonority, followed by Mindcrime, featuring vocalist David Readman of Pink Cream 69, bringing forward another round of the band’s whimsical sounds with Maestone kicking some ass on keyboards supported by the Stratovarius-inspired beats by Marvin. Then featuring vocalist Kärtsy Hatakka (Waltari), trumpetist Volodymyr Shchobak and guitarist Vasil Dovganych, the band offers us all Fool, an imposing tune also presenting elements from rap music in its vocals, and Deliverance, featuring violinist Veronika Shestakova, where the band keeps embellishing the airwaves with their Progressive and Symphonic Power Metal.

In At All Costs a change in pace fills our ears with Dimitriy’s melancholic vocals embraced by a serene musicality led by Maestone’s keys and piano, resulting in a stunning ballad by those Ukrainian metallers, and it’s then time to hit the dance floor to the sound of the groovy Bury Me Part II: Dig Me Up, where Vitalii is once again on fire with his metallic bass punches. The band shows no sign of slowing down in Citylights; quite the contrary, they keep firing their Melodic Power Metal riffs, solos and keys for our total delight, which is also the case in the hard-hitting extravaganza Stone, with Dimitriy also delivering his demonic side through his deep, enraged roars. Things Are Not What They Seem, featuring guest vocals by Anzhelika Zyzych, brings forward more of their whimsical lyrics (“Sweet misguidance crucified us / Funeral bells won’t stop your yearning / Now its time for tables turning / Demolition in progress / But nothing will force you to confess / Desolation, commotion / Curtain call your emotions”) supported by a huge dosage of Progressive Rock and Metal, whereas their second to last explosion of melodious sounds, progressiveness and insanity comes in the form of Guardians, with Vitalii, Maestone and Marvin generating a stunning wall of sounds in the background. Lastly, the acoustic guitars by Dimitriy and Myroslav will soothe your soul in Overcome?, putting a melancholic, delicate ending to such multi-layered and detailed album, and if you go for the BandCamp edition you’ll also receive two bonus tracks, one being the instrumental version for Stone while the other, named Вартові, is “Guardians” but with Ukrainian lyrics.

Dimitriy and the boys are waiting to hear from you on Facebook and on Instagram, where you can find news about the band, their tour dates and so on, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their intricate and melodic creations. The excellent Pinnacle, which is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and on sale from the band’s own BandCamp page (or simply click HERE for all locations where you ca buy or stream the album, including a very interesting USB wooden flash drive version), will not only please all longtime fans of the band, but it will also attract the attention of newcomers to the world of Majesty Of Revival, proving once again this Ukrainian outfit is undoubtedly going places thanks to their undeniable creativity and feeling. If the album will become the pinnacle of their career no one knows for sure, but we must admit it’s becoming more and more difficult for them to top their own creations with each album released.

Best moments of the album: You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG), Mindcrime, Stone and Guardians.

Worst moments of the album: Fool.

Released in 2022 Massive Sound Recordings

Track listing
1. Open 4:04
2. You Have A Message (Welcome to GULAG) 4:38
3. Rebellion 3:46
4. Mindcrime 5:01
5. Fool 4:37
6. Deliverance 4:17
7. At All Costs 3:11
8. Bury Me Part II: Dig Me Up 3:24
9. Citylights 4:02
10. Stone 6:12
11. Things Are Not What They Seem 4:17
12. Guardians 4:54
13. Overcome? 3:35

BandCamp bonus tracks
14.Stone (Instrumental version) 6:12
15.Вартові 4:54

Band members
Dimitriy Pavlovskiy – vocals, guitars, choirs
Myroslav Danko – guitars, vocals, choirs
Vitalii Popfalushi – bass, vocals, choirs
Maestone – keyboards, backing vocals, choirs
Marvin – drums

Guest musicians
Kärtsy Hatakka – vocals on “Fool”
Vasil Dovganych – guitars on “Fool”
Volodymyr Shchobak – trumpet on “Fool”
David Readman – vocals on “Mindcrime”
Veronika Shestakova – violin on “Deliverance”
Anzhelika Zyzych – female voice on “Things Are Not What They Seem”, choirs
Rostik Groshick, Andy Brok & Yriy – choirs

Album Review – Anachronistic / 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay (2022)

Have fun with the Blackened Hardcore blasted by two ex-pats, centering around the vocalist’s life experiences and incorporating elements from his job into their sonic madness.

The product of two ex-pats, those being American vocalist and lyricist Matt Ramarge (currently living in South Korea) and Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Umarlak (currently residing in Poland), joining forces to create something truly unique, a heavy Black Metal sound overlaid with Hardcore vocals, or Blackened Hardcore if you prefer, Anachronistic have just unleashed upon humanity their debut effort, entitled 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay, the first installment of a metal trilogy in the works by the duo. Produced by Anachronistic themselves, mixed by Umarlak, mastered by Andreas “Jonsson” Westholm at Dark Prod Studios, and displaying a gory artwork by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize, the album centers a lot around Matt’s life experiences and incorporates elements from his job (by the way, 700-19 is the actual contract paperwork for working in Korea as a US contractor), being recommended for fans of Blood For Blood, Hatebreed and Behemoth, just to name a few.

Thunders cracking work as an intro to Recall, a metallic Black Metal storm led by the violent beats by Umarlak who also delivers sheer hatred from his riffage while Matt growls and barks in the name of Hardcore; whereas Time To Drink is more rhythmic and deranged than the opening tune, with Umarlak doing a great job armed with his unstoppable guitar and low-tuned bass, therefore living up to the legacy of Black Metal and Hardcore and inviting us all to slam into the pit manically. The duo is on fire from the very first second in the massive, extreme music feast entitled Late Night Fundraising, where Matt’s inebriate, deep vocals add an extra layer of insanity to the overall result, and if you think they will slow down or soften their sound at a given point in the album you’re absolutely wrong, as Matt’s raw screams and the Black Metal avalanche crafted by Umarlak will decimate you in Festering Stench.

Let’s slam into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow with Going To The Ball, a beyond truculent Black Metal tune infused with the most electrifying elements from Hardcore where Umarlak’s instrumental feels like a nuclear bomb so heavy and sharp it sounds, while in Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut we face another round of their unfriendly sounds presenting hints of the Rock N’ Roll played by Motörhead, with Umarlak creating a puissant wall of sounds with his riffs and beats, supporting Matt and his enraged roars. Follow The Rules Or Die is just as noisy and dense as its predecessors with Matt doing a great job once again with his deep roars; the song loses its grip after a while, but it’s still very enjoyable if Blackened Hardcore is your cup of tea. And it’s time for one final Extreme Metal explosion in the form of Hatred For Work Causes Gout, with both Matt and Umarlak sounding possessed by a demonic entity, consequently enhancing the song’s impact and putting a visceral conclusion to the album.

“We tried to encapsulate a dark and raw merging of genres with this band. The vison behind Anachronistic initial trilogy LP release is to get people hooked on the concept and leave fans waiting for the next chapter to come out. Sonically and emotionally this album is really fun to listen to from a ‘bird’s eye viewpoint’. Once fans dig deeper into the song lyrics and album cover they will realize this is a true, hilarious story that will continue through two more releases, getting darker, heavier, nastier with each release. Even as a standalone release, 700 and 19 Ways of Decay will stand strong amongst fans of Black Metal and Hardcore,” commented the band about their newborn beast, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify. In addition, don’t forget to give the duo a shout on Instagram, and of course to purchase 700 And 19 Ways Of Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, banging your head nonstop until the second chapter of the adventures of Matt Ramarge see the light of day in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Time To Drink, Going To The Ball and Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut.

Worst moments of the album: Follow The Rules Or Die.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Recall 4:48
2. Time To Drink 3:59
3. Late Night Fundraising 3:11
4. Festering Stench 4:20
5. Going To The Ball 3:33
6. Eruption Of A Hork Filled Gut 3:02
7. Follow The Rules Or Die 4:55
8. Hatred For Work Causes Gout 3:38

Band members
Matt Ramarge – vocals
Umarlak – all instruments

Album Review – 1914 / Where Fear and Weapons Meet (2021)

Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten.

Lviv, Ukraine-based Blackened Death/Doom Metal offensive 1914 continues to reflect the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten, unleashing upon humanity their superb new opus entitled Where Fear and Weapons Meet, comprised of eleven tracks of pure historic harshness following up to the band’s sophomore album The Blind Leading the Blind and their debut effort Eschatology of War. Unlike their previous works, Where Fear and Weapons Meet is not about death, but about life, as most of the heroes and protagonists in the songs survived war, became heroes and finally returned home, with even the album cover emphasizing this by depicting an injured, shell-shocked and bleeding sole survivor of a shield attack holding his hand out to death, praying in agony, but death does not take him away. Furthermore, the album begins in Serbia and continues on the first track from the prospective of Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo and caused the outbreak of World War I, all masterfully embraced by the massive fusion of sludge, death and doom sounds crafted by vocalist Ditmar Kumarberg, guitarists Liam Fessen and Vitalis Winkelhock, bassist Armin von Heinessen and drummer Rusty Potoplacht.

As expected the band kicks things off with their trademark intro War In, this time showcasing the original of the most famous Serbian song of the Great War period, “Tamo Daleko”, setting the stage for 1914 to crush our senses with FN .380 ACP#19074, with Rusty sounding infernal and ruthless on drums while Liam and Vitalis deliver endless electricity and heaviness through their wicked riffage. What a bestial start to the album, I might say, followed by Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), offering us all another round of their WWI-inspired doomed lyrics growled by Ditmar (“Things didn’t go down as expected / Hill 145, ill-fated Vimy Ridge. / We are entrenched in mud as wild hogs, my 47th Battalion / A small wooded knoll we called “the Pimple” 2 miles in front of us. / We need to capture the machine gun nests, each was heavily defended”) in a demonic display of Ukrainian Sludge, Death and Doom Metal. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) describes the terrible events of the Battle of the Messines Ridge during June 7-14, 1917 in Belgium, one of the most insane episodes of the Great War, while musically speaking you better get ready for another multi-layered wall of sounds spearheaded by Rusty’s venomous blast beats and all the symphonic, cinematic background sounds; and continuing their path of doom and devastation we face Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters), where the sound of the guitars by Liam and Vitalis is phenomenal, not to mention the thunderous bass by Armin, whereas featuring Ukrainian country and folk musician, singer and songwriter Sasha Boole, Coward is very unique and distinct form the rest of the album, with the final result being really entertaining.

…And a Cross Now Marks His Place brings forward an amazing and brutal vocal duet between Ditmar and guest Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost), resulting in a lecture in old school Doom Metal that will inspire you to crack your neck headbanging, followed by Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M), where a wicked intro quickly morphs into a Blackened Doom feast showcasing the band’s trademark warlike words (“Hold the line, Minerva will cover us / The Hotchkiss machine gun poured lead in all directions / Send our messages to all boches – We will avenge for the Belgium! / 16 of us were killed in action, / 16 of us in this Galizian sludge / They called home”). In Mit Gott für König und Vaterland we’re treated to five minutes of obscurity, brutality and fear in the form of ass-kicking Doom and Death Metal led by the demented growls by Ditmar; whereas the sound of bagpipes will penetrate deep inside your mind before 1914 come crushing like a war tank in their version for Eric Bogle’s The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land), which original version can be appreciated HERE, an impressive rendition where Liam and Vitalis are on absolute fire with their unstoppable riffs, not to mention the song’s demonic, hellish ending, flowing into War Out, putting a climatic and stylish conclusion to their sonic battle.

It’s time to head into the battlefield together with the unstoppable troopers of 1914, and in order to do so you can enjoy the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for tour dates and other nice-to-know information about them, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their austere music, and above all that, purchase your favorite version of the stunning Where Fear and Weapons Meet by clicking HERE. This masterpiece is indeed another heavily intense and deep-reaching output that will grant 1914 even higher appreciation than the five-piece is already credited with, and I must say that after such powerful and bold album the band has gone beyond the underground barrier and can now be considered one of the torchbearers of warlike doom worldwide. In other words, the Great War lives on, mainly thanks to the brilliant job done by the best Ukrainian metal band of all time.

Best moments of the album: Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines), …And a Cross Now Marks His Place and The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover).

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2021 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. War In 1:11
2. FN .380 ACP#19074 5:54
3. Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal) 5:11
4. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) 7:04
5. Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters) 7:54
6. Coward (ft. Sasha Boole) 2:55
7. …And a Cross Now Marks His Place (ft. Nick Holmes) 7:29
8. Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M) 7:54
9. Mit Gott für König und Vaterland 5:18
10. The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover) 10:57
11. War Out 1:40

Band members
2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumarberg – vocals
37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen – guitar
5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock – guitar
9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen – bass
33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht – drums

Guest musician
Nick Holmes – vocals on “…And a Cross Now Marks His Place”
Sasha Boole – vocals on “Coward”

Album Review – Mental Torment / ego:genesis (2021)

This amazing Ukrainian doom horde returns from the underworld with over 50 minutes of music covering the catharsis that a person goes through in a moment of despair and hopelessness.

3.5rating

mental-torment-ego-genesis-2021Forged in the fires of Kiev, Ukraine back in 2009, the Stygian Death and Doom Metal entity known as Mental Torment returned from the ashes like a dark phoenix in 2020 after a five-year hiatus to crush us all once again with their undisputed Funeral Doom Metal, resulting now in 2021 in their sophomore effort titled ego:genesis. Bringing to our avid ears over 50 minutes of doom split into seven distinct tracks, ego:genesis covers the catharsis that a person goes through in a moment of despair and hopelessness, searching for answers to eternal questions, resisting the inevitable and final acceptance of their fate, all carefully brought into being by Roman Sagajdachnyj on vocals, Anatolii Doroshenko and Mykhailo Chuha on the guitars, Andrii Avramets on bass, Yaroslav Mosiievsky on keyboards and Artur Myrvoda on drums, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by October Tide, Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia and Swallow the Sun, among other torchbearers of pure doom.

The gentle, melancholic keys by Yaroslav kick off the eight-minute aria Acceptance, already showcasing the band’s passion for doomed and obscure music, before Artur begins hammering his drums with tons of anger. Needless to say, fans of bands like  Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride will certainly love it. And the strident and piercing guitars by Anatolii and Mykhailo set the tone in the sluggish and grim New Days Old Wounds, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Andrii and, therefore, offering Roman all he needs to vociferate and roar in the best Doom Metal way possible; whereas Yaroslav strikes again with his sinister keys in Untitled, before the music explodes into a slow and heavy-as-hell fusion of Death and Doom Metal spearheaded by the classic drums by Artur while the growls by Roman get more anguished and desperate as the music progresses.

Even heavier and more demonic than its predecessors, the multi-layered Conclusion will crush your damned soul mercilessly to the sound of the vicious guttural by Roman and the crisp guitars by Anatolii and Mykhailo while Andrii keeps smashing his bass flawlessly, and more of their delicate but at the same time caustic Funeral Doom Metal is offered to us all in The River, with the gruesome roaring by Roman generating a Stygian paradox with the whimsical piano notes by Yaroslav. Then keeping the album as doomed and infernal as possible, the band once again slams our heads with their boisterous music in Black, with Roman taking the lead once again with his deep growling while his bandmates add a touch of progressiveness to the overall result, followed by the closing tune Oblivion, an instrumental outro where the band’s guitar duo delivers a stunning stringed performance supported by the stylish beats by Artur, blackening the skies one last time for our total delight.

mental-torment-2021If you love funereal and melodic Doom Metal from the bottom of your damned heart, you should definitely start following Mental Torment on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such awesome Ukrainian band, and also subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their eerie and captivating music. And above all that, of course, let’s show our utmost support to those talented metallers by purchasing their fantastic new album from their own BandCamp page or Facebook webstore, as well as from the Metallug Music Facebook webstore soon. In the end, Mental Torment did a beautiful job turning our darkest emotions and feelings such as despair, hopelessness, fear and anger into cohesive and thrilling music, leaving us all eager for more of their music in the coming years and, consequently, keeping the fires of Ukrainian doom burning brighter than ever.

Best moments of the album: Acceptance and Conclusion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

Track listing 
1. Acceptance 8:15
2. New Days Old Wounds 7:19
3. Untitled 7:21
4. Conclusion 7:34
5. The River 7:48
6. Black 7:01
7. Oblivion 5:54

Band members
Roman Sagajdachnyj – vocals
Anatolii Doroshenko – guitars
Mykhailo Chuha – guitars
Andrii Avramets – bass
Yaroslav Mosiievsky – keyboards
Artur Myrvoda – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lilita Arndt

lilita01

Eternal darkness is covering my eyes and penetrating me…

Dark skies are over us all once again here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the raw and visceral Black Metal crafted by a multi-talented woman who will undoubtedly blacken our hearts even more. Hailing from Rivne, a historic city in western Ukraine located over 300 kilometers to the west of the country’s capital Kiev, she’s not only an amazing Extreme Metal vocalist, but she also plays all instruments including lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass and drums for her stunning one-woman Occult and Depressive Black Metal project entitled Ieschure. Her poetic name, Lilita Arndt, adds an extra touch of beauty to her unique creations, and you’ll be more than pleased with her music, her view of Black Metal and how she incorporates all her influences into each one of her songs.

Lilita’s interest in writing and playing music began at a very early stage of her childhood, when she started to write lyrics and later tried to create simple melodies for them on her acoustic guitar, which by the way was her very first instrument, then learning how to play keyboards (followed by all other instruments she currently knows), all self-taught and never having any sort of formal or structured music lessons with anyone. After taking part in different projects as a singer, including an old acoustic project called Embrace of Hedera from 2007 until 2015 which played melancholic, dark and romantic music with acoustic guitars and clean female vocals (and with whom she recorded the album The Castle On The Rolling Hills in 2015), Lilita wanted to explore new territories by creating her own music with her own melodies, lyrics, singing and atmosphere, being the mastermind of her own project and experimenting with melodies and vocals, the main reason why she decided to found her own solo project Ieschure back in 2015.

A word chosen by Lilita after the whole album The Shadow was finished in 2017, Ieschure has the project’s name related to occult things and the meaning of this word is really important for her, although our multi-talented musician prefers it to be known only by herself. Dealing with classic Black Metal lyrical themes such as occultism, witchcraft and death, and using a serpent as her symbol (more specifically as a primitive symbol of power and wisdom but at the same time representing death and damnation), this one-woman Black Metal force has already released an array of bold, captivating albums since the project’s inception in 2015, those being the aforementioned full-length opus The Shadow, in 2017, the EP’s Cold Stars of Eternity and Phantoms of God, in 2020, and more recently the split album Witch’s Consecration, now in 2021, with Brazilian Black Metal horde Promethean Gate. If you want to have a very good taste of how breathtaking the music by Ieschure is, you can enjoy some awesome songs online such as Eternal Agony, Mystic Schizophrenia and Phantoms Of God, or simply go to BandCamp, to Big Cartel and to Spotify (or click HERE) to stream and purchase all of her wicked creations.

Not only the woman responsible for all vocals and instruments in all of Ieschure releases, Lilita also handles all recording, mixing, mastering, lyrics and layout of the albums, which is absolutely in line with her initial dream of having a project of her own. In addition, Lilita has also collaborated in several albums from other bands, with the most memorable for her to date being singing with the bands Detention and Restless. For instance, she recorded vocals for the songs Nidhogg (from the album Lost Souls in a Godless World) and Wolf’s Head (from the album The Battle of Tara) by American Doom/Stoner/Southern Metal band Black Mountain Thunder, both in 2015; vocals for the song The Face of God, from the 2015 self-titled album by American Stoner/Doom Metal band Clawhammer; vocals on the 2014 album Marginal, by Kazakh Depressive Metal band Detention; vocals on the song Rurel, from the 2018 self-titled EP by Italian Black/Folk Metal band Dovrefjell; backing vocals on the songs Spiritueller Selbstmord, from the 2014 album Verwüstung, and Wenn Die Sterne Nicht Mehr Scheinen, from the 2014 EP Horizont, by Ukrainian Black Metal/Ambient band Moloch; vocals on the 2017 album Funeral Impressions, by Italian Funeral Doom Metal band Restless; and vocals on the song Bride of Winter, from the 2016 album Forgotten Tales, by Italian Black Metal band Waldweg; not to mention the cover art for the 2019 EP The Wanderer, by Tuskish Atmospheric Black Metal band Akrunant.

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Regarding her first experiences with Heavy and Black Metal, Lilita mentioned in one of her interviews that she began listening to popular metal bands when she was a teenager, becoming more and more interested in the underground and, consequently, getting attracted to the world of Black Metal. In her opinion, Black Metal is not just a music style, but a dark side of art, an irrational fusion of music, theatre and philosophy, full of paradoxes and concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life, which is the main reason why she considers it perfect. She complemented by saying that she has felt the presence of hidden forces in the world since she was a little child, gradually getting more interested in those and in occultism, also saying that realizing that she will die some day was what truly attracted her to that. Apart from drawing inspiration from the works of renowned occultists the likes of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi, Stanislas de Guaita and George Gurdjieff, she also enjoys reading and studying about her work as a designer, all forms of art, mythology, psychology, history, travelling and everything that can give her new knowledge about the world. And in terms of what inspires the music by Ieschure the most, she mentioned Black Metal behemoths such as early Urfaust, Behexen, Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride, Opeth and, above all, Burzum, as his music embodies the ideas of misanthropy and loneliness in the best way imaginable according to our sinister diva.

When asked about her vocal style and technique, Lilita said that her screaming vocals were influenced by classic Black Metal bands, whereas for clean vocals she gets her inspiration from non-Black Metal music, as for example Julie Christmas, her favorite female singer of bands like Battle Of Mice and Made Out of Babies, and Free Dominguez, of Kidneythieves. In addition, regarding her songwriting process, Lilita said the first thing she does is many improvisations on the guitar at her home studio, recording various ideas, listening to them again at a later stage, and if she finds any of those ideas interesting enough she rerecords them to include all other instruments. Also, she complemented by saying most of her time in that process is taken by the lyrics writing process, as she can rewrite those many times and do various vocal improvisations to find the best version, finally rerecording everything.

As a true admirer of the underground, in special the first wave of Black Metal bands, their sound and atmosphere, as well as old Doom Metal, Lilita also said that although she doesn’t listen to a lot of bands from the Black Metal scene in her homeland Ukraine she knows there are several bands and projects in the country who create true underground music, always prioritizing the music instead of fame or money. However, she said she cannot compare herself to any of those bands, as she tries to go her own way with her own opinion about music. In addition, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she doesn’t usually attend concerts, as for her personally the best way to listen to music is to listen to it in her headphones.

Lastly, when questioned if one day Ieschure will become a full-bodied group with other members joining her, Lilita said that, although she’s always open to change, she doesn’t think that’s a possibility for now. Furthermore, she mentioned that if one day she finds that a good alternative for embodying her ideas she will definitely try working with other musicians, as long as of course they’re sincerely interested in music and follow similar or the same ideas as hers. In the end, it doesn’t matter if she continues to create music as a lone she-wolf or if she finds the perfect lineup for Ieschure, our beloved metal witch will keep experimenting with melodies and vocal styles while always keeping an evil Black Metal atmosphere in the background, playing raw and devilish sounds for our total delectation in the name of darkness, death and the occult.

Ieschure’s Official Facebook page
Ieschure’s Official Instagram
Ieschure’s Official Twitter
Ieschure’s Official YouTube channel

“For me black metal is really a dark side of Art. It’s not just a music style. Mixture of music, theatre and philosophy, more irrational than other music styles, full of paradoxes, concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life. That is why it is perfect.” – Lilita Arndt

Album Review – Gasoline Guns / Motor Cult (2021)

Time to join this Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll.

3.5rating

gasoline-guns-motor-cult-2021Bringing to our avid ears another round of their high-octane fusion of Heavy Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock spiced up by ass-kicking harsh vocals, a combination the band itself likes to call “Metal N’ Roll”, the flammable Motor Cult, the brand new opus by Chernihiv, Ukraine-based metal drunkards Gasoline Guns, is a fun and vibrant collection of nine songs about a post-apocalypse and explosive world, blazing whiskey, fate, dusty roads and, of course, our good old, infernal Rock N’ Roll. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Higain Records and displaying a gasoline and coal-fueled artwork by Ian Guy the Motoring Artist, Motor Cult continues to pave the rockin’ path created by vocalist Dmytro “Talladega”, guitarists Danylo Sobolev and Volodymyr Zvol, bassist Andrew Moyseenko and drummer Volodymyr back in 2013, not only being the perfect follow-up to their 2015 demo and their 2016 full-length album Rust’n’Dust, but also a must-have for admirers of the fusion of burning fuel and badass riffs by bands such as Chrome Division and Motörhead.

Rev up your engines and join Gasoline Guns’ rockin’ feast in the alcohol-infused opening track Bourbon Burns, where Dmytro fires his trademark raspy vocals while Volodymyr crushes his drums in the best Motörhead style, whereas in Under Wicked Sky the raw and dirty lyrics barked by Dmytro (“There is no going back / And hope is a mistake / One more race, one more chase / One more lovely day / Riding road of fury / Riding road of pain / You live, you die / But you will live again”) bring even more thunder to the visceral riffs and solos blasted by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol, resulting in a fast-paced ode to pure, unfiltered Rock N’ Roll. Their acid hybrid of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll strikes again in the form of Hell Thunder, where the Lemmy-inspired bass by Andrew will make your head tremble mercilessly; and reminding us of the early days of Chrome Division, those Ukrainian rockers deliver a frantic tune entitled Gasoline and Guns, inviting us all to scream and shout the song’s catchy chorus together with them while Volodymyr dictates the pace with his pounding beats, not to mention Danylo’s sick guitar solo.

It’s not a true Rock N’ Roll album without a song with a Spanish name inspired by Mexican gunslingers, and that’s exactly what Gasoline Guns offer us all with tons of alcohol, bullets flying everywhere and the breathtaking sound of their guitars in El Pistolero, and the skies will get darker and the air heavier in the Stoner, Southern and Sludge Metal tune This Road Is a Snake, where Dmytro continues to tell tales of the life on the road with his inebriate vocals. Those five Ukrainian rockers keep hammering our heads with their vicious sounds in Nothing to Prove, where the riffage by Danylo and Volodymyr Zvol will penetrate deep inside your skin and invite you for a bloody pub brawl, and the band’s guitar duo, together with Andrew, will put you to bang your head like a metal maniac in the awesome Wheels of Rust, a classic Rock N’ Roll extravaganza with no shenanigans that will please all fans of the genre. Finally, we’re treated to And That’s Why We Drink, urging us metalheads to grab our glasses and bottles and join Gasoline Guns in their metallic tribute to all things alcohol, led by the always heavy and unfriendly voice of Mr. Dmytro “Talladega”.

gasoline-guns-2021After all is said and done, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and hit the road together with Gasoline Guns to the sound of Motor Cult, and in order to do so you can stream their awesome new album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, purchase Motor Cult from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing all your support to the underground. In the end, who doesn’t want to join a Ukrainian cult of gasoline, guns, rum, whiskey, bourbon and badass Rock N’ Roll, right? That’s all we need to find our inner strength to endure this dangerous highway we all like to call life.

Best moments of the album: Under Wicked Sky, Gasoline and Guns and Wheels of Rust.

Worst moments of the album: None, you bastards!

Released in 2021 Mythrone Promotion / Defense Records

Track listing   
1. Bourbon Burns 3:02
2. Under Wicked Sky 2:32
3. Hell Thunder 3:08
4. Gasoline and Guns 4:08
5. El Pistolero 3:54
6. This Road Is a Snake 5:07
7. Nothing to Prove 3:58
8. Wheels of Rust 4:25
9. And That’s Why We Drink 4:42

Band members
Dmytro “Talladega” – vocals
Danylo Sobolev – lead guitars
Volodymyr Zvol – rhythm guitars
Andrew Moyseenko – bass
Volodymyr – drums

Album Review – Raventale / Planetarium II (2020)

A deep and profound journey through the black wastelands of extraneous cosmos offered by a Ukrainian one-man army in the form of first-class atmospheric and extreme music.

Playing what he likes to call “Atmospheric Blackened Metal” since the project’s inception in 2005 in Kyiv, Ukraine, the talented vocalist and mutli-instrumentalist Astaroth Merc, from bands like Balfor, Chapter V:F10 and P’hevda Phenomenon, returns in 2020 with his Atmospheric Black Metal alter ego Raventale armed with his eleventh (and grandiose) full-length album titled Planetarium II, the conceptual follow-up to his 2017 album Planetarium. Recorded at Miasma Studio between 2017 and 2020, featuring a celestial artwork by Belarusian artist Olga Kann and guest female vocals by Ukrainian singer Alina Belova (Helengard, Kauan), as well as a linguistic adaptation by Nataliia GrimMe, Planetarium II extends the analysis of extrapolation of cosmic mysteries, clandestine dimensions and extramundane weirdness, or in other words, it’s a deep and profound journey through the black wastelands of extraneous cosmos offered by Astaroth in the form of first-class atmospheric and extreme music.

Sheen Of Urania works as some sort of  wicked intro led by the crushing, razor-edged guitar lines by Astaroth, dragging us all to the doomed and atmospheric world of Raventale in Extra Terrestrial Arcana, where the imposing sounds blasted by Astaroth generate a menacing and epic ambience perfect for his demonic roars, resulting in a beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal creation bringing to our ears crisp solos, whimsical keys and endless epicness while also overflowing rage and insanity. Not only Drinking Sulfur, Devouring The Sun carries a beautiful name for a song just like what Cradle of Filth would offer us, but musically speaking it’s beyond sensational, with Astaroth and his Raventale continuing to blend classic Black Metal with the Symphonic Black Metal played by Dimmu Borgir and nuances of Doom Metal and Blackened Doom for our total delight; whereas a damned rhythm intertwined with stylish background keys and a futuristic vibe are the main ingredients in the breathtaking Route To Andromeda, with our lone wolf growling in the darkest way possible in perfect sync with his scorching, venomous riffs.

The Moon In The Seventh House, perhaps the most Stygian of all songs, is a lecture in atmospheric and grim music, with guest Alina Belova adding a touch of finesse to the overall result while Astaroth’s vicious riffage walks hand in hand with his blast beats and phantasmagorical keys; and as atmospheric as it can be from the very first second, Let The Fire Burn! is another imposing composition that paves Raventale’s cosmic path to the bold and multi-layered Earth (Alpha & Omega), sounding at the same time very fresh and modern while living up to the legacy of classic Symphonic Black Metal. Furthermore, Astaroth’s infernal growling makes a fantastic paradox with his classy keyboards, while the drums keep the song’s pace vibrant and heavy-as-hell. And finally, the Doom Metal-infused aria A Temple Of My Choice puts a melancholic and climatic ending to the album, showcasing Astaroth’s anguished gnarls, sluggish beats and a feeling that all hope is lost, with the music marching on stunningly while our one-man army simply kicks ass with all instruments from start to finish.

You can show your support to such skillful and hardworking black metaller by following Raventale on Facebook and on VKontakte, and by purchasing your copy of Planetarium II in just a few days from his own BandCamp page, as well as from Ashen Dominion’s BandCamp page or webstore. In the end, we must all admit Astaroth has definitely outdone himself with his newborn spawn, elevating his music to the same level as some of the biggest names of the genre including Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Septicflesh, to name a few, showing all his hard work through the years is truly paying off, positioning Raventale as one of the most prominent names of the Ukrainian scene and, above all that, offering us fans of atmospheric music the perfect soundtrack for exploring the vastness and obscurity of the cosmos.

Best moments of the album: Drinking Sulfur, Devouring The Sun, The Moon In The Seventh House and Earth (Alpha & Omega).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Ashen Dominion

Track listing
1. Sheen Of Urania 1:53
2. Extra Terrestrial Arcana 6:38
3. Drinking Sulfur, Devouring The Sun 6:24
4. Route To Andromeda 5:48
5. The Moon In The Seventh House 7:06
6. Let The Fire Burn! 3:27
7. Earth (Alpha & Omega) 6:03
8. A Temple Of My Choice 5:30

Band members
Astaroth Merc – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
Alina Belova – female vocals

Album Review – Anmasker / How Much Is Your Mask? (2019)

Take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and slam into the circle pit to this high-octane album of old school Thrash Metal made in Ukraine.

Are you ready for some traditional old school Thrash Metal made in Zaporizhia, a city on the Dnieper River in southeastern Ukraine? That’s exactly what an unrelenting trio that goes by the name of Anmasker has to offer our avid ears in their debut full-length opus entitled How Much Is Your Mask?. Comprised of Andrii Kachanov on lead vocals and bass, Serhii Bielikov on the guitar and backing vocals, and Olexandr Hubko on drums and backing vocals, Anmasker were officially formed in 2016 from the ashes of a previous version of the band named Unmasker, which existed from 2012 to 2016, aiming at shaking the moldy looks of the local scene with their high-octane thrashing creations. Recorded at TA Production Recording Studio in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, mixed and mastered by Anton Vorozhtsov, and featuring a beyond classic cover illustration by Indonesian illustrator Shynd Danendrea (Syndromea Illustration), led by the band’s consistent mascot Facemasker, How Much Is Your Mask? is a very cohesive onrush of Thrash Metal, proving those Ukrainian guys were right when they said their main goal is to make some noise in the existing metal scene in their homeland and anywhere where our good old thrash is properly appreciated.

Snap your finger, crack your neck, and get ready to slam together with the boys in World On Skulls Holding, featuring an interesting sample from the Sportpalast speech or total war speech, a speech delivered by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large, carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war. Musically speaking, it is pure old school thrash for the masses where Andrii sounds utterly demented no vocals, while Olexandr showcases all his technique and rage on drums. Then the rumbling bass by Andrii and the slashing riffs by Serhii are the main ingredients in the also frantic Look Under Your Feet!, a truly arcane tune reminding me of some of the oldest and most insane creations by Exodus and Toxic Holocaust, whereas in Be Silent And Listen a classic riff-praising intro evolves into a dark and ravenous extravaganza presenting in-your-face lyrics roared by Andrii (“Has / Anyone asked what you need? / Has / Anyone asked what you feel? / We all / Consist of self-love and greed! / We are all / Just waiting for another good deal!”).

The trio jams in ominous fashion before they speed things up and add sheer madness and heaviness to their musicality in Trench Mud, another fun and electrifying display of Bay Area Thrash perfect for headbanging like a maniac with Serhii kicking ass with his riffs and solos, featuring sounds of war taken from the 1969 Soviet war movie On the way to Berlin (original title Na puti v Berlin). After such fantastic display of old school thrash it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and go mental with Anmasker in Effort To Get Out, with Serhii and Oleksandr not only smashing their instruments furiously, but their backing vocals are also amazing. In other words, this is the purest form of Thrash Metal you can think of, followed by Patients Behind, presenting more contemporary guitar lines while Andrii’s berserk vocals are effectively supported by Oleksandr’s rhythmic beats, all spiced up by sick guitar solos and endless electricity.

As the first song from the last batch of thrashing hymns we have the title-track How Much Is Your Mask?, highly recommended for slamming into the pit like a headbanging bastard to the lyrics vociferated by Andrii (“World history is just a change of masks / Be it the twenty-first AD or BC / He who can put on a mask, he survives / Who can’t like this – he quickly dies!”), while his bandmates keep playing at the speed of light. And as the last breath of insanity Anmasker offer us all That’s Enough!, a madhouse of Thrash Metal from start to finish with Andrii and Serhii sounding brutal with their strings, also bringing to our ears unstoppable beats and wicked guitar solos, ending the album in a groovy and exciting way.

The guys from Anmasker are waiting for your comments about their music on Facebook and on VKontakte, also asking you to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their razor-edged music and, above all, to put your hands on their debut album by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Alone Records’ webstore, or from Discogs. Put differently, take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and let’s all hail the pure and classic Thrash Metal played by Anmasker, with no shenanigans, no artificial elements nor any other type of add-ons or modernisms, and if you don’t like such thrilling form of heavy music, well, I feel really sorry for you.

Best moments of the album: World On Skulls Holding, Trench Mud and How Much Is Your Mask?

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Alone Records

Track listing
1. World On Skulls Holding 3:56
2. Look Under Your Feet! 4:35
3. Be Silent And Listen 4:44
4. Trench Mud 5:54
5. Effort To Get Out 4:43
6. Patients Behind 5:24
7. How Much Is Your Mask? 5:33
8. That’s Enough! 3:44

Band members
Andrii Kachanov – lead vocals, bass
Serhii Bielikov – guitar, backing vocals
Olexandr Hubko – drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Chasing Embers / Beckoning Call (2019)

The debut album by this up-and-coming Ukrainian outfit is a fresh and exciting feast of modern-day Alternative Metal revolving around our inner world, our thoughts, desires and aspirations.

Founded in 2016 in Kyiv, Ukraine by drummer Vladyslav Pospolitak, who quit all his previous projects back then to focus on the creation of his own band, the story of Alternative Metal outfit Chasing Embers actually began when vocalist July Tallina joined the band as their frontwoman after numerous unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable candidate to be their male vocalist. Comprised of the aforementioned Vladyslav and July, guitarist and co-founder Alexey Hrankyn, and newcomers Oleksandr Zahorulia also on the guitar and Vladyslav Kachanovskyi on bass, Chasing Embers are strongly influenced by a wide range of styles, from old school rock and metal music to Alternative and Nu Metal from the 2000’s, and that full-bodied amalgamation of sounds can be appreciated in detail in their debut album titled Beckoning Call.

Featuring a dark and pensive cover art conceptualized by July herself, Beckoning Call deals with the issues of industrialization and human separation from nature, with its lyrics revolving around our inner world, our thoughts, desires and aspirations. Aiming at writing about things they experienced in their own lives in order to achieve the utmost honesty in their songs, Chasing Embers deliver a fresh and exciting feast of modern metal music in their debut album, being recommended for fans of female-fronted bands like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation as well as more alternative acts such as Korn and Linkin Park. Not only that, the crystal clear production of Beckoning Call is also way above average, enhancing the impact of each instrument and, therefore, making the whole experience of listening to the album a lot more detailed and enjoyable.

A captivating intro led by Vladyslav Kachanovskyi’s metallic bass sets fire to the album in the opening track Beckoning Call, one of those songs perfect for headbanging vigorously while enjoying July’s fiery vocals all at once, resulting in a beautiful welcome card by the band that flows smoothly into Desires And Fears, bringing forward a well-balanced fusion of Alternative Rock and Metal with Alexey and Oleksandr being on fire with their unstoppable riffs, while its lyrics will penetrate deep inside your psyche (“Let’s try to make something better / Than reality / Just stop and show me / What you’ve got / I want to fill it forever / Room deep inside / I want to find out what is a lie”). And an atmospheric, ethereal start grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose in Spiritual, feeling like a hybrid of the music by Evanescence and Lacuna Coil and with Vladyslav Pospolitak dictating the song’s rhythm while Vladyslav Kachanovskyi keeps blasting his bass chords in great fashion.

The band’s skillful bassist keeps bringing thunder and groove to the band’s music in High Stakes, providing July all she needs to shine on vocals in another melodic display of modern rock music showcasing a catchy rhythm and endless electricity; whereas in Carnage it’s time for a more serene and charming moment inspired by the music by Evanescence, with the spotlight being of course on July and her passionate vocals, all enhanced by a soulful guitar solo and some gentle piano notes. Then the excellent Silent House starts in a wicked way and evolves into an absolute madhouse of Alternative Metal, a lot heavier and more austere than all previous songs, which means it will work amazingly when played live especially due to the adrenaline blasted by Vladyslav Pospolitak on drums and July’s darkened vocals.

Once again dealing with mental issues (“Turn off the light / I’m falling into my mind / This room is quite / Where real me waits a sign / Just draw the crack / And water will come in / Just draw the crack / And water will come in”), Drown With Me offers the listener a good dosage of heaviness albeit sounding very smooth at the same time, with the passion coming from July’s words being truly captivating while Alexey and Oleksandr extract piercing and touching riffs from their axes; and Chasing Embers do not stop smashing their instruments, bringing to our ears the also solid and well-crafted Last Night Tonight, speeding things up a bit and incorporating elements from Progressive Metal to their sonority. Lastly, the quintet fires more of their alternative music in The Moonman, a good rockin’ tune that’s a little generic if compared to the rest of the album, with its guitars and bass sounding as vibrant as usual.

If you’re a fan of this more alternative side of music like what Chasing Embers deliver in Beckoning Call, you can take a detailed listen at the entire album on Spotify, and obviously purchase it from the band’s BandCamp page or webstore, or simply click HERE for all places where you can listen to or put your hands on such distinct album. Also, keep an eye on their Facebook page, VKontakte and YouTube channel for more of their music, tour dates, news and other nice-to-know details about their career, and may those talented Ukrainian metallers keep embellishing the airwaves with their stylish musical creations for many decades to come for our total delectation.

Best moments of the album: Beckoning Call, High Stakes and Silent House.

Worst moments of the album: The Moonman.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Beckoning Call 6:15
2. Desires And Fears 4:39
3. Spiritual 5:19
4. High Stakes 4:09
5. Carnage 3:31
6. Silent House 4:51
7. Drown With Me 5:27
8. Last Night Tonight 4:41
9. The Moonman 5:09

Band members
July Tallina – vocals
Alexey Hrankyn – guitar
Oleksandr Zahorulia – guitar
Vladyslav Kachanovskyi – bass
Vladyslav Pospolitak – drums