Album Review – Arcane Marrow / The Elders Present To Me (2021)

This uncanny Tennessee-based horde is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus of raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal, bringing to our ears six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born.

3.5rating

arcane-marrow-the-elders-present-to-me-2021Labeling their own sound as “raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal”, the mysterious Tennessee, United States-based entity that goes by the straightforward name of Arcane Marrow has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, beautifully titled The Elders Present To Me. Featuring six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born, The Elders Present To Me will please all fans of primeval Scandinavian extreme music the likes of Mayhem and Immortal, crushing our souls and minds mercilessly like insignificant insects and, consequently, dragging us all into a Black Metal void for all eternity.

Like a demonic creature arising from the underworld, Arcane Marrow begin their Stygian Black Metal attack in Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism, showcasing infernal, old school riffs boosted by those vicious blast beats only classic Black Metal can provide us, not to mention the hellish vociferations that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. Closing your eyes and sensing Arcane Marrow’s darkness and rawness is a thing of beauty, and that’s exactly what they offer us all in Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains, with the strident, piercing sound of their guitars slashing our senses accompanied by their inhumane roars and gnarls, resulting in a lesson in old school Black Metal; and get ready for nine minutes of truly disturbing sounds not recommended for the lighthearted in the form of Before the First Notions of God, a bestial and extremely raw creation by this uncanny entity from Tennessee spiced up by a sick guitar solo and the endless screeches and screams flowing throughout the entire song.

If you thought the first half of the album was infernal, be prepared for seven minutes of absolute obscurity to the sound of the title-track The Elders Present to Me, presenting hints of Blackened Doom to make things even more sinister while once again bringing forward all elements we love in raw Black Metal, in special its vicious growling. Then a beyond melancholic and grim start will embrace our damned souls in the nine-minute aria The Dismal Woods Receive Me, exploding into sheer madness and violence to the sound of their crushing drums and razor-edged riffage, and last but not least, closing such intense album we have All Enveloping Black Harmony, once again hammering our blackened hearts and souls with their fulminating, unrelenting Black Metal spearheaded by their venomous blast beats, flowing infernally like an arrow on fire in pitch black darkness until the very last second.

arcane-marrow-logoThe gods of Black Metal are summoning us all to join Arcane Marrow in their evil mass to the sound of The Elders Present To Me, and you can do that by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following Arcane Marrow on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about such distinct horde, and above all that, by grabbing a copy of their pulverizing album from their BandCamp page. However, as already mentioned, I must warn you that once you begin your journey through the raw and infernal lands or raw and primeval Black Metal ruled by Arcane Marrow, there’s absolutely no way back from eternal damnation.

Best moments of the album: Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains and The Dismal Woods Receive Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing   
1. Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism 7:49
2. Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains 6:34
3. Before the First Notions of God 9:07
4. The Elders Present to Me 7:02
5. The Dismal Woods Receive Me 9:26
6. All Enveloping Black Harmony 7:51

Band members
*Information not available*

Interview – Jaume Antuñano (Eonian)

It’s time for The Headbanging Moose to chat with guitarist, composer and lyricist Jaume Antuñano about his awesome solo project Eonian and his debut EP The Nomad, among other fun topics.

jaume-antunano-eonian

Jaume Antuñano (Eonian)

The Headbanging Moose: Hi, Jaume! Welcome to The Headbanging Moose, and thanks for joining us for this interview! Can you please begin by introducing yourself to our readers and talk a little about your new project Eonian? How would you label your music?

Jaume Antuñano: Hi Gus! Thank you so much for having me. Eonian is a symphonic black/death metal solo project that I started in early 2020. The pandemic had just hit NYC and we were stuck at home, so I began writing music to keep my mind busy. Originally, this was going to be an instrumental project, but as I started composing and recording, I decided to write lyrics and to incorporate vocals too.

THM: You have just released a fantastic debut EP entitled The Nomad, which I highly recommend for fans of bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. What’s the main idea or concept behind the album, and how long did it take for you to finalize the entire process until the release of the album?

JA: The Nomad is a concept EP. All five songs tell the story of this mysterious, once powerful character who is condemned by the gods to wander for eternity after falling from grace. Trying to tie all the songs together both musically and through the lyrics made it a little harder, but overall it was a pretty quick process. It took about ten months for the EP to be completed.

THM: I personally enjoyed all five songs from the EP, especially Winter Wanderer and Cleansing Fire. What about you? What’s your favorite song of the EP and why? And you can’t say all five, of course! 😉

JA: This is like choosing between mom and dad! But okay, I’ll go ahead and say Cleansing Fire too.

THM: The main band that plays with you in The Nomad is formed by French vocalist DM, Italian bassist Francesco Loconte, Swedish drummer Freddy Ortscheid and Argentinian musician Diego Soldi. How difficult was it to put together such distinct international project, and how did you get to know each one of your band members?

JA: They all did such an amazing job and I’m so glad I got in touch with them. I can compose parts for different instruments, but I can only play the guitar, so I went on Fiverr and contacted these great musicians to record everything else. After I wrote the songs, I sent them a first demo and midi files, and we went from there. This was entirely done via the Internet and we actually never met in person, but despite all that, this was a very easy process and they knocked it out of the park.

THM: There are also seven other guest musicians on the album, as for example Russian violinist Margarita Chernova and Ukrainian pianist Polina Chornaya. Why did you decide to have so many guests on the album, how did you recruit each one of them, and how happy are you with the final result?

eonian-the-nomad-ep-2021 150px

Album Review – Eonian / The Nomad EP (2021)

JA: The reason behind having all these guest musicians is because I wanted to include musicians from different backgrounds. Some of them are used to playing metal, but some others are not, and I think that added some depth to my original ideas. Each one of them brought something to the table that I wouldn’t have been able to come up with myself, and I’m absolutely stoked with the results.

THM: What’s next for Eonian? Can we expect a full-length album from you in the near future? And as you’re basically a virtual band (at least for now), do you have any plans for a tour either with the same musicians featured on the album or with new local ones from the New York area?

JA:   I already have some ideas for new songs, but it is too early to know if the next release will be an EP or a full-length album. As for a future tour, I would really like it if Eonian became a band, so NYC folks, hit me up if you are interested.

THM: How has this never-ending pandemic impacted your work as a musician? And do you see a light at the end of the tunnel for metal bands now that the vaccination is picking up almost everywhere and concerts and festivals are starting to be scheduled again?

JA: Like many other musicians, new and consolidated, being stuck at home for so long really pushed me to start writing new stuff. Luckily, it looks like things are improving rapidly and that many bands are going to be presenting their new material live soon. I can’t wait and I already marked down a few concerts I don’t want to miss, including your fellow Canadians Unleash the Archers at Le Poisson Rouge here in NYC.

THM: When and why did you decide to move from Spain to the United States? Did it have anything to do with your career as a musician, or was it due to a completely different reason?

JA: I moved to the U.S. in 2011 to complete a Master’s degree in Literature. My plan was to stay for two years and go back to Spain, but I met my now-wife and… never left.

eonian-logoTHM: How different is the metal scene in your home country Spain compared to where you are now in The United States? Any local underground bands from both countries you would recommend to our readers?

JA: There is so many different styles and so much talent out there that I find it difficult to come up with major differences between the current metal scenes of Spain and the U.S. Maybe ten, fifteen years ago the difference was more defined, as European metalheads in general were very into the wave of Power Metal bands and also the Gothenburg sound was huge over there. The elitists will probably correct me, but I think that today there is quite an overlap regarding the genres that metalheads from both countries listen to. As for your second question, I’ll start by giving a shout-out to a couple of bands from my hometown of Valencia: In Mute (Melodic Death Metal) and Retribution (Symphonic Black/Death). And as for New York bands, I’m going to go with Valcata, which is another Internet-produced project that features many different musicians and vocalists from all over the world. Check them out!

THM: Thanks again for your time, and congratulations for your amazing debut EP! Please feel free to send your final message and considerations to our readers, and keep up with the excellent work with Eonian!

JA: Thank you for the interview and for your positive review of The Nomad! I would also like to thank all of the session musicians that recorded in this EP, and Fernán Nebiros, from Peruvian death metal legends Mortem, who was involved in the early stages of this project and whose valuable input helped me immensely. And to the readers, I encourage you to follow Eonian on Instagram and Facebook and to let me know what you think of the EP!

Links
Eonian Facebook | Instagram | Linktree | Spotify | BandCamp | DistroKid

Album Review – Eonian / The Nomad EP (2021)

Raise your horns to the first-class fusion of furious riffs, drums, and vocals with epic choirs and orchestral arrangements carefully brought forth by this international Symphonic Extreme Metal project.

4.0rating

eonian-the-nomad-ep-2021Assembled in 2020 by Manhattan, New York City-based Spanish guitarist Jaume Antuñano, the amazing multinational Symphonic Extreme Metal project that goes by the name of Eonian is set to release their debut EP, entitled The Nomad, a must-have for fans of bands the likes of Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Septicflesh. Mixed and mastered by Simone Pietroforte at Divergent Studios, and displaying a classic cover art by Javier Barjollo and a stunning logo designed by Alice Malvisi from Hexibex Design, The Nomad was fully produced online and includes five songs that blend furious riffs, drums, and vocals with epic choirs and orchestral arrangements carefully brought forth by Jaume together with French vocalist DM (Helioss), Italian bassist Francesco Loconte (Koroth, Kormak), Swedish drummer Freddy Ortscheid (Entrails) and Argentinian musician Diego Soldi on all orchestrations, as well as seven other very special guest musicians from all over the world.

A metal storm is about to begin in Winter Wanderer, featuring guest solos by Indian musician Manish Kashyap (Deathknell) and Spanish musician Isaac “Whitefingers” Solanas (Frozen Shield), with Jaume’s riffage and Freddy’s blast beats generating a bold and visceral ambience, all boosted by DM’s infernal roars; whereas living up to the legacy of Symphonic Black Metal the band delivers the imposing Versus The Titan, where the orchestrations by Diego are superb, not to mention the stunning guest violin solo by Russian musician Margarita Chernova. Then a movie-inspired intro grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose in the Dimmu Borgir-like aria Cleansing Fire, featuring a keyboard solo and arrangements by Mexican musician Andrés Samboní (Desvirtual), once again showcasing all the fury of DM on vocals together with the piercing, scorching riffs by Jaume. It’s time for an epic journey with Jaume and his horde in Delirium, offering us all a keyboard solo by Argentinian musician Pablo Pallares (Utópica) and an electric violin solo by Spanish musician Néstor Català (Tales of Gaia), with Francesco, Freddy and Diego generating a beautiful wall of sounds in the background, before the piano solo by Ukrainian musician Polina Chornaya adds a touch of finesse to the thunderous tune Shores Of A Lost Sea, putting a fantastic and climatic ending to the EP with DM roaring and screaming rabidly amidst a top-of-the-line Extreme Metal sonority.

eonian-logoIn a nutshell, the debut EP by Eonian is without a shadow of a doubt a precious gem hailing from the underground of several countries that truly deserves our admiration, and you’ll soon be able to stream it or purchase it from different locations by clicking HERE. Hence, if you want to know more about the team led by Jaume you can start following Eonian on Facebook and on Instagram and click HERE to not only read more about the project, but to also hire each person involved in the creation of The Nomad in case you’re looking for some skillful musicians for your own metal or non-metal endeavor. In a world where we’re all becoming more and more involved with technology yet at the same time isolated from society, it’s always a pleasure to witness guys like Jaume bringing people together in the name of heavy music, providing us fans first-class Extreme Metal and, therefore, pointing to a bright future ahead of the project. And although the name of the EP somehow represents Jaume’s personal and musical life, as if he is the nomad depicted in the album art moving from one place to another, he’s far from being a solitary man in our Heavy Metal universe as you can see.

Best moments of the album: Winter Wanderer and Cleansing Fire.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing 
1. Winter Wanderer 4:17
2. Versus The Titan 4:32
3. Cleansing Fire 4:55
4. Delirium 3:37
5. Shores Of A Lost Sea 4:44

Band members
DM – vocals
Jaume Antuñano – guitar
Francesco Loconte – bass
Freddy Ortscheid – drums
Diego Soldi – orchestrations

Guest musicians
Manish Kashyap – guitar solo on “Winter Wanderer”
Isaac “Whitefingers” Solanas – guitar solo on “Winter Wanderer”
Margarita Chernova – violin solo on “Versus The Titan”
Andrés Samboní – keyboard solo and arrangements on “Cleansing Fire”
Pablo Pallares – keyboard solo on “Delirium”
Néstor Català – electric violin solo on  “Delirium”
Polina Chornaya – piano solo on “Shores Of A Lost Sea”

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Violence Unimagined (2021)

State of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision is what you’ll find in the superb fifteenth studio album by the most violent and unrelenting band of all time.

4.5rating

cannibal-corpse-violence-unimagined-2021Violence Unimagined. The title tells you everything you need to know about Buffalo, New York-based Death Metal titans Cannibal Corpse‘s fifteenth hellish opus. Comprised of eleven tracks, it is state of the art Death Metal played with passion and breathless precision by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals, Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan on the guitars, Alex Webster on bass and Paul Mazurkiewicz on drums, making for another flawless addition to what is inarguably one of the premier catalogues the genre has thrown up. Produced, engineered and mixed by Erik Rutan at Mana Recording Studios, mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music, and featuring another terror-infused artwork by Vincent Locke, Violence Unimagined is the band’s first album in nearly four years since Red Before Black, the longest gap between two records in their career, and the first studio album to feature Erik Rutan on lead guitar replacing Pat O’Brien. Not only that, already well known for the level of extreme technicality they bring to every record, on Violence Unimagined they have further upped their game, with the album’s titled, created by Paul Mazurkiewicz, “summing up what the band is about in every facet, and taking violence to another level of extremity.”

Their vile onslaught begins in full force in Murderous Rampage, with Corpsegrinder already barking like a rabid beast while Rob and Erik slash their axes furiously. Put differently, the album couldn’t have started in a better way, and the same can be said about Necrogenic Resurrection, a bestial creation by Cannibal Corpse where Paul hammers his drums while Alex extracts sheer insanity from his bass, and with its frantic vibe more than inspiring us all to crush our skulls into the circle pit. Then the title-track Inhumane Harvest (don’t forget to watch its sick official video below) showcases the band’s classic, visceral lyrics (“Twisted criminal underground / Subjugation of the victim / For complete control / Reaping vital body parts / Surgical precision taking / All that will be sold”) amidst a heavy-as-hell and extremely detailed sound; and it’s time to bang our heads nonstop to the demented riffage by Rob and Erik in another Death Metal extravaganza titled Condemnation Contagion, proving they don’t need to play at the speed of light to sound and feel absolutely insane. And their path of devastation and gore goes on in the superb Surround, Kill, Devour, with Paul dictating the pace with his trademark beats and fills, offering Corpsegrinder all he needs to thrive with his venomous guttural.

cannibal-corpse-2021There’s no time to breathe as our beloved Death Metal giants fire another massive tune entitled Ritual Annihilation, where the guitars, bass and drums make our heads tremble, overflowing sheer brutality and also showcasing wicked guitar solos, and you know it’s not a Cannibal Corpse album without a neck-breaking anthem the likes of Follow the Blood, where Alex proves once and for all why he’s by far the best extreme music bassist out there with his low-tuned, intricate and evil bass lines. Bound and Burned is another lecture in old school Death Metal where the band’s guitar duo is on fire with their riffs and solos, keeping the album at a high level of dementia and violence, whereas in Slowly Sawn the lyrics barked by Corpsegrinder seem as if they were taken from a slasher flick (“Bound tight to the table / Unable to scream / The blades of the sadist / Are all I see / Meticulous slaughter / A saw for each limb / Cuts through my flesh”) while the music will lacerate your ears just the way we like it in Death Metal. Then we have the fulminating Overtorture, and I must say I simply love this version of Cannibal Corpse, a straight-to-the-point, aggressive and infernal circle pit-catalyst tune where Paul is beyond ruthless behind his drums. Finally, the quintet darkens the sky once again with the hammering Cerements of the Flayed, spearheaded by the sick bass jabs by Alex and the always bestial roars by Corpsegrinder.

cannibal-corpse-violence-unimagined-artbook

Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined Limited Edition Artbook Set

Cannibal Corpse are by far the most violent and hardworking Death Metal band of all time, with Violence Unimagined not only representing another ass-kicking, top-of-the-line display of all their talent and passion for extreme music, but also showing a Death Metal band can indeed reinvent itself without selling out or sounding cheesy or tiresome at all. If you haven’t taken a listen at such masterpiece of extreme music yet, an album that will surely feature among the top metal albums of 2021, you can find it in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you purchase it from the band’s official webstore in the United States or in Europe, or from Metal Blade Records, where you can find the link to the fantastic Limited Edition Artbook Set, containing a digipak CD, a 12” exclusive crimson red marbled vinyl, a patch, a sticker and a flag, and don’t forget to also follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to get updated on all things Cannibal Corpse. Needless to say, if you don’t do all that, you can’t even imagine the level of violence you will suffer.

Best moments of the album: Murderous Rampage, Inhumane Harvest, Surround, Kill, Devour, Follow the Blood and Overtorture.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Murderous Rampage 4:07
2. Necrogenic Resurrection 3:06
3. Inhumane Harvest 4:32
4. Condemnation Contagion 4:17
5. Surround, Kill, Devour 4:10
6. Ritual Annihilation 3:48
7. Follow the Blood 4:39
8. Bound and Burned 4:04
9. Slowly Sawn 3:30
10. Overtorture 2:28
11. Cerements of the Flayed 4:07

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – lead and rhythm guitar
Erik Rutan – lead guitar, backing vocals on “Murderous Rampage”
Alex Webster – bass guitar
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Album Review – Unflesh / Inhumation (2021)

A lecture in Blackened and Melodic Death Metal made in the United States, delving into the concept of desensitization and losing one’s soul or humanity.

4.0rating

unflesh-inhumation-2021Showcasing an incredible amount of new growth from a group already brimming with abundant talent as is, Inhumation, the brand new opus by Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based three-piece Blackened Melodic Death Metal entity Unflesh, is not only the perfect follow-up to their 2018 album Savior, but also a bold statement by the band confirming they’re among us to stay. Mixed and Mastered by V. Santura at Woodshed Studios and featuring a killer artwork by Junki Sakuraba, Inhumation will show you why vocalist and guitarist Ryan Beevers (Solium Fatalis), bassist Orin Hubbard (Excrecor) and drummer Jeff Saltzman (Aversed, Allegaeon, Continuum, Solium Fatalis) have everything it takes to conquer the world of extreme music with their wicked creations. “Inhumation delves into the concept of desensitization and losing one’s soul or losing one’s humanity so to speak. The title itself is used in a metaphorical sense, as the actual definition of the word ‘Inhumation’ is the action or practice of burying the dead. For album purposes, the title is used on a more spiritual and emotional level. Each track on the album is a bit of a meditation on different aspects of the primary concept. When the listener gets to the last song on the album, the totality of the album will have taken form,” commented Ryan about the band’s newborn spawn.

The acoustic guitars by Ryan ignite the intro Behold Nightfall, gradually growing in intensity until all hell breaks loose in the devastating Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers, where Ryan vociferates the song’s devilish words manically (“Spawned from scales of iron / Demonic icon of fear / Bathing in the draining blood / From the steel / Emotionless / Orchestrating blasphemies / Of hundreds and thousands / Their putrefaction is my crest”) accompanied by the crushing drums by Jeff. To Renounce Flesh and Blood is another demonic and very technical creation by Unflesh blending the fury of Death Metal with the obscurity of Black Metal, not to mention Orin’s bass jabs will make your head tremble, followed by the title-track Inhumation, bringing to your ears over seven minutes of breathtaking riffs and bass punches, intricate beats and all of the elements that make Technical Death Metal so compelling. In addition, Jeff sounds truly bestial behind his drum set, while Ryan keeps roaring like a demonic entity from start to finish.

Unflesh keep decimating our senses in the hellish extravaganza titled Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell, displaying an amazing job done by Ryan with his visceral Black Metal riffage and growling, therefore adding an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result, whereas putting the pedal to the metal the trio brings forward the explosive Blackened Death Metal tune Holocaust of Stars, where Orin and Jeff are on fire with their thunderous kitchen generating a reverberating ambience that will ruthlessly smash your cranial skull; and featuring a sick guitar solo by guest Jim Gregory (Solium Fatalis), The Sepulchral Depths is just as violent and sulfurous as its predecessors, offering us fans an ass-kicking portrait of the band’s trademark hybrid of Blackened and Melodic Death Metal. Not only that, Jeff is once again a stone crusher on drums, taking the lead with his blast beats and fills for our total delight. And last but not least, Unflesh bring forth nine minutes of sonic savagery, acoustic and atmospheric passages, enraged roars and endless obscurity in the form of Dehumanized Legion, where the trio is unstoppable and vile throughout the entire song, putting a beyond demolishing end to this precious gem of Extreme Metal.

unflesh-2021After all is said and done, I’m sure you’re more than eager to put your hands on Inhumation, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and in order to do that simply go to the band’s own BandCamp page, to Apple Music or to Amazon, and don’t forget to also show your support to such promising act by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to their YouTube channel. Ryan and his henchmen Orin and Jeff did a superb job in Inhumation, beautifully translating into eight multi-layered, dense Blackened and Melodic Death Metal compositions exactly what Ryan mentioned as “the concept of desensitization and losing one’s soul or losing one’s humanity.” This is exactly how dark and extreme music should always sound, with the band’s new album being a strong contender to feature among the best albums of the year, consequently pointing to a brilliant future ahead of those multi-talented musicians.

Best moments of the album: Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers, Inhumation and Holocaust of Stars.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Behold Nightfall 2:21
2. Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers 5:21
3. To Renounce Flesh and Blood 5:26
4. Inhumation 7:20
5. Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell 6:37
6. Holocaust of Stars 4:42
7. The Sepulchral Depths 5:27
8. Dehumanized Legion 9:01

Band members
Ryan Beevers – vocals, guitars, acoustic guitars, orchestrations
Orin Hubbard – bass
Jeff Saltzman – drums

Guest musician
Jim Gregory – guitar solo on “The Sepulchral Depths”

Metal Chick of the Month – Mary Zimmer

maryz01

It’s my time to soar… I am here to stay!

Born and raised in Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin, but currently residing in “Sin City” Las Vegas, Nevada, the multi-talented Mary Zimmer, our metal chick of the month of April, is ready to set the world of heavy music on fire with her unique vocal range, stunning looks and ass-kicking onstage performance, proving why she was chosen in 2019 to become the frontwoman for Sacramento, California-based Power Metal unity Helion Prime. Not only an accomplished vocalist who can do both clean vocals and harsh screams, known for her work with bands the likes of Luna Mortis and White Empress (not to mention her years as a touring member of Helion Prime from 2018 to 2019), Mary has also been a vocal coach and instructor for more than a decade, a session musician for some amazing underground bands, and a YouTuber who discusses about singing, screaming and music theory, as well as reviews and reaction videos. Put differently, Mary Zimmer is just awesome, and I bet you’ll have a very good time knowing a little more about such skillful musician here on The Headbanging Moose.

A classically trained singer who has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Mary has also studied additional techniques to shout and sing with The Zen of Screaming creator, Melissa Cross, allowing her to showcase all her vocal skills in bands from different styles as aforementioned, as well as her studies in audio engineering. “I got my degree in classical music fairly young at the age of 22. Even after my music degree, I did an absolute ton of research on the anatomy of the voice and tried to absorb all of the information that’s available out there,” commented Mary on her passion for technical singing. Long before joining Helion Prime, Mary was the vocalist for a band named A Touch of Evil between 2001 and 2002; for an American Folk/Gothic Metal/Ambient group named Earthen; for American Progressive Metal act Luna Mortis (and its previous incarnation The Ottoman Empire); for a band called Santa Marta from 2016 to 2019; and for American Extreme Symphonic Metal outfit White Empress from 2013 until 2016.

Perhaps the two most interesting projects she was involved in her pre-Helion Prime days are Luna Mortis and White Empress, with whom she recorded some excellent material and official videos. Let’s begin talking about Luna Mortis, formed in 2002 in her hometown under the name The Ottoman Empire, and as the vocalist for The Ottoman Empire she recorded the album Way of the Blade, in 2006, and the EP The Answer: Does Not Exist, in 2008. Then after the change in the band’s name to Luna Mortis still in 2008, Mary recorded with the band the 2009 album The Absence, presenting a much stronger sound and polished production compared to the band’s two previous releases. You can enjoy online the official videos for the songs Forevermore and Anemic World, and if you think Luna Mortis will be back in action one day, well, after their reunion back in 2013, which was not as great as the band itself expected as they had several internal issues (shortening the reunion considerably), and as mentioned by Mary herself, it was a failed experiment and she can pretty much guarantee they won’t try to reunite again. After Luna Mortis, Mary said she’s a completely different person on many levels, having changed mentally, emotionally, physically, visually and vocally, as you’ll be able to notice in White Empress.

It was in 2013 under the moniker “White Empress” (and later as Mary Z) that our unstoppable diva helped to found the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Extreme Symphonic Metal unity White Empress, having recorded a self-titled EP in 2014 and the full-length opus Rise of the Empress that same year (containing the four songs from the EP plus other original tracks). When asked about the concept of White Empress, Mary said that the band was band based around the character of the White Empress herself, an empowering and a feminine power in her own right, representing the individual inner strength and power we all have within, with the original concept being created by the band’s founder Paul Allender (better known for his superb work with Cradle of Filth for over two decades). If you want to have a quick and incendiary taste of their music, you can enjoy the official video for the awesome song Darkness Encroaching.

Mary can also be seen lending her powerful voice to different bands and projects as a guest vocalist, on top of her years as a live member of Helion Prime as mentioned before. For instance, she recorded the harsh vocals for the song Goodbye to Farewells, from the 2021 album Psychosomatic by Austin, Texas-based Progressive/Power Metal band Immortal Guardian; and vocals as “President Fox” on the 2019 self-titled album by Brooklyn, New York-based Symphonic/Progressive Metal project Valcata. Not only that, Mary was also involved in the recordings of the 2018 eight-track demo The Remains of Judgment, by Madison, Wisconsin-based Death Metal act Burial of an Era, showing another side of our multi-talented musician (and we’ll talk more about her technical skills shortly). When asked about how she became a session musician, Mary said that the fact she already had the skills necessary to record her own vocals, plus her business professionalism, made it easier for people to trust and hire her, complementing by saying that it’s important to choose if you want to be an in-person guest musician or if you want to learn how to record yourself at home and work worldwide, which of course demands some investments that can be a bit expensive for beginners.

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Regarding her career with Helion Prime, after joining the band as their full-time frontwoman Mary recorded the album Question Everything in 2020 with the band, currently comprised of our electrifying diva on vocals together with guitarists Jason Ashcraft and Chad Anderson, bassist Jeremy Steinhouse and drummer Alex Bosson. When asked what attracted her to Helion Prime in first place, she said she learned to love the guys from the band during her two years as their touring singer, enjoying singing their material, and finally deciding to join forces with them after it became logistically difficult for their previous singer Sozos Michael to be involved as needed. As Question Everything contains several songs that work as tributes to influential names in the history of science, Mary was asked which one of those people was her favorite one to sing about. “I think my favorite is Katherine Johnson. She’s the subject of the song Madame Mercury. Her story really speaks to the successes people can have against daunting odds, and she’s certainly an inspiration to folks all over the world,” said Mary, providing some inspirational words to us fans.

As already mentioned, Mary is a famous YouTuber who runs her own channel called VoiceHacks, providing singing and screaming tutorials for beginner to advanced vocalists, teaching private lessons, and training people in a variety of techniques. “I kind of became a YouTuber by accident. I’m a vocal coach and vocalist first and foremost who kind of ‘fell’ into YouTube as a result of using it as a hosting place for my tutorials and other resources for the people I teach,” commented Mary in one of her interviews, also saying that “I’ve been doing all lessons online since 2013 because physical in-person lessons are out of date and relatively impractical. Most people prefer not having to leave home for their lessons.” If you explore her YouTube channel, you’ll find several videos with important tips on how to preserve your voice while doing harsh vocals, how to reach the right key, how to fix “easy-to-correct” mistakes a lot of singers and producers make in the studio, and so on. For example, did you know that getting vocalists to aim upwards into the microphone while recording is not a good idea? “It’s way easier for a singer to sing a high note while looking DOWN! This being the case, I want all engineers to stop putting the microphone above the singer, and instead to place it straight in-front, or slightly below their mouth at a 45-degree angle,” said our talented vocal coach.

As usual, such important woman to the world of heavy music was asked several times about her view of women in metal, and her answer to that question focuses on the respect she gets as a musician instead of hearing things like “you’re a chick in a band, you’re a novelty”, also saying you don’t have to be a super model to be a great vocalist, although she truly enjoys all types of singers in the end. “I think there are a lot of particularly glamorous metal singers, I think… Simone Simons (Epica), Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), there is a lot of glamorous metal singers but then you also have your ones that just came in their t-shirt and jeans like Anneke (van Giersbergen) from The Gathering you know?” She also mentioned in one of her interviews when asked about the fact the recording industry is a heavily male-dominated business that it still astonishes her that all these years later she’s still one of the only women who knows anything about recording, albeit she doesn’t see it as a masculine or physically challenging task.

There were also three other interesting topics where Mary was asked to provide her insights on, those being the evolution in the music industry, what a manager can offer a band that’s proactive aside from contacts, and all environmental issues the world is facing. Mary said that what has changed most is the evolution from physical product to monetized music listening streaming and that has been a very positive change for all musicians everywhere, and she personally vastly prefers living in the digital era of music now. “It’s an utterly fantastic time to be a musician. There are so many resources at our fingertips. The only limit is our attitude, willingness to educate ourselves about the new music industry landscape and tools, and writing good music. That hasn’t changed, even with all the abundant opportunities for musicians, the songs still have to be good.” Regarding the need for a band manager or not, Mary said that there are good managers out there that have a good business sense, that are rooted in the genre that the band is playing and they have contacts and connections they can work on the band’s behalf to deal with publicists, tour planners, other things and just sort of be the mouth for the musician, and of course, that can be the a neutral face when dealing with people, avoiding exposing the band to negative feedback and opinions (in a good way, of course). And lastly, in regards to the way mankind is treating the environment, she said that she has three degrees in varying areas of Renewable Energy and from that education she has learned that sustainability is necessary for human survival. “The earth is a finite sphere with a finite amount of resources – a finite amount of matter and energy.  If we seek to live on a habitable planet, we must find totally 100% sustainable ways to live.  Unsustainable practices shouldn’t even exist.  I am a huge renewable energy advocate, as it is the most logical, safe, sustainable, abundant means of powering humanity,” suggesting we all watch the video or read the book Cradle to Cradle and learn about sustainability and how it changes the world and the environment.

If you want to have fun together with Mary, you can find several excellent interviews online with her as for example this one for Musican’s HQ podcast, episode 23; the one she did together with Helion Prime’s own guitarist Jason Ashcraft for Rustyn Rose from Metalnation where they discussed their new album Question Everything, Ronnie James Dio, special guests and the impact of Covid-19 on the music industry, among other topics; and this one for Audible.com where she discusses about her YouTube channel VoiceHacks. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Mary Zimmer and her powerful voice penetrate deep inside your soul in the name of Heavy Metal? I’m sure Mary will love to hear from you and to get your feedback on her undisputed work as the great vocalist she is.

Mary Zimmer’s Official Facebook page
Mary Zimmer’s Official Instagram
Mary Zimmer’s Official YouTube channel
Mary Zimmer’s Official Twitter
Mary Zimmer’s LinkTree
Helion Prime’s Official Facebook page
Helion Prime’s Official Instagram
Helion Prime’s Official YouTube channel

“I don’t think that metal is an intentionally sexist genre, I think metalheads are pretty broad thinking people and I think that most of them will give you a shot. If you can play you can play if you can sing you can sing. And it doesn’t really matter to a lot of them if you’re a woman or a man.” – Mary Zimmer

Album Review – Mare Cognitum / Solar Paroxysm (2021)

A Portland, Oregon-based one-man Cosmic Black Metal entity returns with his fifth full-length opus, finding a new voice for his frustrations with humankind through five aggressive, metallic songs.

From the depths of the outer rim to solid footing of green earth, Solar Paroxysm, the fifth full-lenth opus by Portland, Oregon-based one-man Cosmic Black Metal entity Mare Cognitum, finds itself moving from the impossible to the familiar, with the project’s lone wolf Jacob Buczarski occupying himself with the failures of humankind over the past epoch, finding a new voice for his frustrations through five aggressive, metallic songs. Featuring a beyond stunning artwork by Adam Burke at Nightjar Illustration, Solar Paroxysm lifts the veil and reveals the true musicianship which has fueled Mare Cognitum since its impetus a decade ago, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the Stygian creations by Spectral Lore, Dawn, Blut Aus Nord and Chaos Moon, among others.

In the beautiful opening track Αntaresian, a beyond atmospheric and enfolding start grows in intensity and darkness until exploding into visceral Black Metal where Jacob showcases all his dexterity with his fulminating beats and blazing riffs, as well as showing his deep passion for old school and modern-day extreme music, roaring with tons of anguish and despair in his blackened heart. And Jacob keeps firing unstoppable blast beats and fills, razor-edged guitar lines and rumbling bass punches, generating a massive wall of sounds that will penetrate deep inside your psyche in the 11-minute aria titled Frozen Star Divinization, a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal infused with classic Black Metal nuances; whereas investing in a more obscure and menacing sonority by presenting elements from Blackened Doom and classic Doom Metal we have Terra Requiem, where Jacob’s riffage is absolutely mesmerizing, dragging us all into his Stygian lair forever and ever while the music flows majestically until the song’s epic finale.

The following aria, entitled Luminous Accretion, already starts in full force with Jacob hypnotizing our senses once again through his whimsical riffs and classic Black Metal drumming. Moreover, there’s not a single space left in the air, resulting in top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal for lovers of the genre, or in other words, one of the most complete, detailed and therefore best extreme music songs of the past few years. And last but not least, we’re treated to Ataraxia Tunnels, sounding primeval and intense from the very first second thanks to Jacob’s thunderous drums and piercing riffs, not to mention the hints of Epic Metal added to its core musicality, and of course it’s not an Atmospheric Black Metal song if it doesn’t carry pensive, austere lyrics for our total delectation (“Visions conjure throughout / A delusion searing into memory / So vividly / Once compulsively wrought / Now imbued to confine a once-great mind / Forever”).

The sinister and obscure realms of Cosmic Black Metal ruled by Jacob and his Mare Cognitum can be further explored by following the project on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming more of his wicked creations on Spotify and, above all that, by purchasing Solar Paroxysm from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page, from Metal Odissey in CD and double LP formats, or from Apple Music. Now suddenly so outwardly truculent and antagonistic, Mare Cognitum finally reveals the project’s true essence with Solar Paroxysm, inviting us all to join Jacob on a one way journey into madness and sorrow, with his Cosmic and Atmospheric Black Metal being everything we need to get lost in darkness for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Frozen Star Divinization and Luminous Accretion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 I, Voidhanger Records/Extraconscious Records

Track listing
1. Αntaresian 11:16
2. Frozen Star Divinization 10:59
3. Terra Requiem 10:35
4. Luminous Accretion 10:51
5. Ataraxia Tunnels 12:31

Band members
Jacob Buczarski – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Aversed / Impermanent (2021)

An up-and-coming American entity is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their debut album, presenting their own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.

Let’s all celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the first-class metal music blasted by Boston, Massachusetts-based female-fronted unity Aversed in their debut full-length opus entitled Impermanent, the ass-kicking follow-up to their 2011 self-titled EP and their 2016 EP Renewal. Mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson at The Grid Productions, produced by the band’s own guitarist Alden Marchand, and displaying a sick artwork by Adam Burke at Nightjar Illustration, Impermanent illustrates the unique approach to songwriting by frontwoman Haydee Irizarry, guitarists Sungwoo Jeong and Alden Marchand, bassist Peter Albert de Reyna and drummer Jeff Saltzman with nine diverse compositions full of catchy hooks and vast melodies, pivoting from Melodic Death Metal towards a nuanced balance of Blackened and Orchestral Melodic Metal. “The album presents our own struggles with anxiety and depression reflected on the backdrop of environmental collapse on Earth.  However, like the changing mind, we present this inevitable human destruction as a chance for a beautiful rebirth, a chance for new life to flourish.  We attempted to portray this imagery by combining the violence of death and black metal with the lighthearted beauty of rock & roll, blues, and classical,” commented the band about their newborn beast.

A melancholic intro quickly explodes into a venomous Melodic Death Metal feast entitled Natsukashi, a Japanese word used when something evokes a fond memory from your past, also presenting hints of classic Death and Black Metal while Jeff takes the lead with his unstoppable beats, accompanied by the razor-edged guitars by Sungwoo and Alden and, therefore, resulting in a beyond perfect way to start the album. Then we have Close My Eyes, bringing to our ears a very pleasant and melodious vibe where Haydee steals the show with both her piercing clean vocals and her she-wolf roars, living up to the legacy of renowned acts such as Arch Enemy and The Agonist, not to mention the amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo once again; followed by Laboratory, where we’re treated to very entertaining lyrics declaimed by Haydee (“Ten thousand years ago / the blossom of mankind / sprung forth unto Earth / a civilized mistake / Machines to woo thy mind / and spin it into exquisite design / separated from nature / we transcend into gods”) amidst a neck-breaking, demented Death Metal sound where Peter and Jeff make the earth tremble with their infernal kitchen. And putting the pedal to the metal the quintet offers the frantic and austere title-track Impermanent, with Jeff’s crushing drums walking hand in hand with the hellish screams by Haydee.

After such imposing tune, a smooth and serene intro and the background sound of waves kick off the thrilling Abandoned, alternating between more melodic Metalcore moments and sheer savagery, with Sungwoo’s and Alden’s riffs cutting our skin deep, whereas blending their core sonority with Progressive Death Metal, they bring forward the intricate, multi-layered Solar Sea, where Haydee keeps growling nonstop (and obviously stunning us all with her amazing voice), while Peter blasts his bass with tons of intricacy and rage. In Malaise the band invests into a more straightforward, in-your-face sound while still presenting their most melodic side, with the band’s guitar duo, accompanied by the bass jabs by Peter, generating a dense and strident atmosphere from start to finish; and Aversed will blow your mind with the epicness and violence flowing from Spiraling, a metallic and insane extravaganza where Jeff sounds utterly bestial behind his drums while Haydee keeps embellishing the airwaves with her piercing clean vocals and devilish growls. And lastly, it’s time for more of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal with Progressive Metal and Metalcore in Nightshade, once again presenting furious riffs and beats intertwined with the demented roars by Haydee, growing in intensity until fading into an ethereal finale.

After taking several listens to Impermanent, I must say that such awesome, multi-layered album of modern metal music will certainly become a (and sorry about the bad joke) permanent part of my daily metal playlist, and I highly recommend you also add it to yours by purchasing it from the band’s own BandCamp page, where you can by the way acquire a fantastic bundle containing a shirt, a double-sided hoodie, a CD in jewel case and the LP version of the album, or from Apple Music, showing your absolute support to one of the most promising and hardworking bands of the current American scene. Hence, don’t forget to also follow the guys and girl from Aversed on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their kick-ass videos, helping to keep the fires of the underground burning bright. In the end, Aversed did a superb job with Impermanent, paving an exciting path ahead of them in the melodic and progressive landscape while at the same time offering something fresh to admirers of the fusion of aggressiveness and harmony. And if this is just their first album, I can’t imagine how far the band can go in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Natsukashi, Laboratory and Nightshade.

Worst moments of the album: Malaise.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Natsukashi 5:29
2. Close My Eyes 5:35
3. Laboratory 4:13
4. Impermanent 6:45
5. Abandoned 6:21
6. Solar Sea 7:36
7. Malaise 5:52
8. Spiraling 6:27
9. Nightshade 8:35

Band members
Haydee Irizarry – vocals
Sungwoo Jeong – guitars
Alden Marchand – guitars
Peter Albert de Reyna – bass
Jeff Saltzman – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Logue – orchestrations
Eden Rayz – cello

Metal Chick of the Month – Tanya Beickert

Take my guiding hand, take my guiding hand with you…

As the winter snow is starting to melt in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s turn up the heat even more here on The Headbanging Moose with another humble tribute to a woman who definitely knows how to set fire to heavy music with her unparalleled roars and clean vocals, showcasing a wide vocal range that’s not easy to find out there, allowing her to sing in pretty much any style from Metalcore to classic Heavy Metal, from Progressive Metal to Melodic Death Metal, and so on. I’m talking about Tanya Elizabeth Beickert, better known as Tanya Beickert, the stunning frontwoman for Long Island, New York-based Progressive Death Metal act Monochromatic Black, an up-and-coming metal entity that will put you to bang your head nonstop while at the same time offering fresh, innovative and intricate music for your avid ears. And let me tell you that after knowing more about our talented metal lady of this month of March and her awesome band, you’ll undoubtedly get addicted to her voice and to the pulverizing music by one of the most interesting new bands of the current American scene.

In case you know nothing about Monochromatic Black, the band was founded in January 2018 by vocalist and lyricist Tanya Beickert, guitarist and songwriter John Gribbin, and drummer and songwriter Eddie DeCesare, all seasoned musicians who had been in other previous projects in the scene, most notably Eddie’s previous band Painted In Exile, when their bands at the time were all gradually slowing down, joined on stage by guitarist Dan Rivera and bassist Arthur Erb (both found by Tanya through social media) to complete the five-piece live group. Whether it’s financial, creativity, shows or whatever decisions that need to be made, Tanya said John, Eddie and herself all come together and try to always do what’s best for the band (by the way, Tanya and John have been friends for years through their old bands), which is one of the main reasons why their music sounds so cohesive and melodic. When asked how she would define their sound, she said their genre could be considered Progressive Death Metal with Metalcore influences and even some Black Metal nuances, meshing a lot of different metal genres to keep things interesting.

There’s no denying of the talent of each band member, but it’s Tanya’s she-wolf, aggressive vocals that truly give their already brutal music an extra edge, with her soft, clean vocals also adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result, displaying her broad vocal range and, consequently, supporting the band’s atmospheric vein. If you want to explore in more detail the metal realm ruled by Tanya and her henchmen and listen to some of their vibrant and meaningful creations, you can find Monochromatic Black on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube and on Spotify, and also purchase their music and merch from their own BandCamp page and Big Cartel. If you want to have your mind blown by the visceral yet enthralling vocals by Tanya (and also enjoy her stunning looks, of course), you can take a very good look and listen at the official videos for the songs Warmth of the Sun, Phosphenes, The Herd, and their newest single Abbadon, or simply have a blast with their debut EP Pneuma in its entirety. There are also some very interesting interviews online with Tanya and the rest of the band, like this one for The Mosh Network where they answered some questions about how the band got started, how they write their music, and what sets them apart from other bands, among other topics, to give you an even better view of the importance of Monochromatic Black to the current underground scene.

Although Tanya acknowledges the similarities between her band and iconic acts like Jinjer and Entheos, bands which Monochromatic Black are usually compared to by fans, and of course that are a huge influence for Tanya herself, she said she doesn’t want her band to be compared to just other female-fronted bands, though, saying they have their own sound and that they want to be admired that way. In order to be on the same level as the aforementioned bands, she said Monochromatic Black have been working hard nonstop from day one, taking the whole project as serious as it can be, always touring, making new music and videos, and working hard to achieve all of their goals. Regarding her own personal influences in music, she mentioned bands like A Perfect Circle, Sikth and After the Burial as some of her top metal acts of all time, with her biggest influences as a singer varying depending on her vocal style. For instance, for clean vocals she’s a huge fan of Maynard James Keenan of A Perfect Circle and Tool, Jimmy Gnecco of Ours, Jeff Buckley (R.I.P.), and Michael Lessard of The Contortionist, while her harsh vocals are influenced by Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, and Anthony Notarmaso of After the Burial. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the different past projects all members of Monochromatic Black have been in and their personal experiences have surely helped them in the long run, but it’s hard to pinpoint the one that had the biggest influence in the making of Pneuma.

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In regards to touring, due to the obvious restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 there aren’t any upcoming concerts scheduled for Monochromatic Black in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean Tanya and the boys are not getting ready for hitting the road once all this madness is finally over. They will focus on the United States at first for obvious reasons, but based on the quality of their music and how fans from all over the world really love that style of metal music I’m sure we’ll see the band kicking some serious ass in foreign lands soon enough. Also, despite the fact Monochromatic Black is fairly new to the scene, as mentioned Tanya and her bandmates are seasoned musicians, having played with countless bands from the New York Death Metal scene and being open to playing alongside all local bands like The Machinist, Internal Bleeding, Dehumanized, Pyrexia and so on. In order to get ready to kick some ass on stage with her powerful voice, Tanya  mentioned she warms up beforehand by screaming the alphabet in low, mid and high screams, and to keep her voice fit she practices as much as possible all the time (not to mention she also took a few vocal lessons years ago).

Our skillful growler was also asked in some of her interviews to give more details about the writing process and meaning of Monochromatic Black’s debut effort, where she said that Pneuma is a concept album that walks the listener through, starting from rock bottom to finally rising to the top, as everyone has different struggles and experiences and the album is just one journey written about that. She also said together with her bandmates that their unique sound came naturally as they all write and bring material to the table, meeting up twice a week while writing on their own time and shaping the songs on the spot together, with no planned out idea, just what they sound like when they come together. She also commented a little about two of the songs featured in Pneuma, more specifically Phosphenes and Dream Catcher; while she mentioned that Phosphenes for her is about losing your confidence, inner peace or who you truly are as a person to someone extremely negative or abusive, she said that her favorite song of the album is Dream Catcher, simply because it goes from serene to eerie to brutal all in one track.

Lastly, when asked about how she sees the band in the coming years, she said that hopefully they’ll already be headlining professional level tours and releasing more records (and stay tuned as their new opus is about to hit the market in the coming year or so), a combination which as you can see seems to be the biggest passion of all band members. Hence, you can check some awesome video interviews online with Tanya (either alone or together with the rest of Monochromatic Black) to not only learn more about such promising American act, but to also see how humble, focused and entertaining the entire band is, as for example Tanya’s interview on The Metal Magdalene with Jet international radio broadcast on Metal Messiah Radio, where she talks about some of her main influences, about her clean and guttural vocals, about Pneuma and about the future of the band; and an interview to Showbiz Music where the band talks about their “preshow rituals”. Also, you might not know about this, but Monochromatic Black are affiliated with Blakhart Coffee in their mission in helping wildlife, with a portion of the sales from their branded coffee, “Monochromatic Black Roast” NY Style Dark Ground, going to a local non-profit organization. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join Tanya and the boys in their quest for metal music and wildlife, while at the same time enjoying some high-quality coffee? I’m sure Tanya would love to see us all metalheads supporting a very noble cause, raising our horns while she growls and screams the lyrics to her insanely good and heavy creations.

Monochromatic Black’s Official Facebook page
Monochromatic Black’s Official Instagram
Monochromatic Black’s Official Twitter
Monochromatic Black’s Official YouTube channel
Monochromatic Black’s BandCamp page
Monochromatic Black’s Big Cartel

“I think what makes us stand out is the genre we play. It’s all different genres and energy combined into one and a lot of people have noticed that which is awesome.” – Tanya Beickert

Album Review – Immortal Guardian / Psychosomatic (2021)

What’s the best thing to do during this never-ending pandemic? This talented American group has the answer to that armed with their brand new album of breathtaking Progressive Power Metal.

After winning over new audiences with their acclaimed 2018 debut full-length album Age of Revolution and touring relentlessly alongside fellow shredders such as Marty Friedman, Powerglove and Exmortus, Austin, Texas’ own Progressive Power Metal entity Immortal Guardian is back in action in 2021 with their sophomore effort, entitled Psychosomatic, offering their fans more of what they like to call “Super Metal”. As a matter of fact, as the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent pandemic began to ensue, each member of the band retreated to their respective hometowns; guitarist and keyboardist Gabriel Guardian (also known as Gabriel Guardiola) remained in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States, vocalist Carlos Zema (of bands like Outworld and Heaven’s Guardian) recorded his vocals from his home in Brazil, new drummer Justin Piedimonte stayed in Montreal, Canada, and new bassist Josh Lopez remained in the band’s native Texas. With shutdowns around the world being enforced, the band completely scrapped the originally planned record that they had been working on and were heavily inspired to write and create a new thematic record about their emotions surrounding current events, with the final result being at the same time epic, bold and of course very personal to each one of those four talented musicians.

The title-track Psychosomatic beings in an imposing manner led by the whimsical keys by Gabriel, gradually evolving into a feast of Progressive Metal showcasing the high-pitched screams by Carlos (and somewhat working as an extended intro to the rest of the album), and they put the pedal to the metal in the heavy and groovy Power Metal tune Read Between the Lines, with the bass jabs by Josh adding sheer heaviness to the overall result while Carlos continues to shine on vocals. Then it’s time to enjoy this eternal lockdown together with the guys form Immortal Guardian in the multi-layered, electrifying Lockdown, with Justin dictating the pace with his intricate beats while Gabriel kicks some serious ass with both his riffs and keys, whereas featuring guest guitars by Marcelo Barbosa (of Almah and Angra), Phobia is another thunderous dosage of their fusion of Progressive and Power Metal where Gabriel, Josh and Justin are in absolute sync with their sonic weapons. And more of their intricate sounds and magical passages are offered in the epic extravaganza titled Clocks, with the keys by Gabriel generating a beautiful ambience perfect for his own piercing guitar solos.

After the short atmospheric interlude Self-isolation, let’s keep banging our heads to the sound of the Heavy Metal hurricane titled Goodbye to Farewells, featuring guest vocals by Mary Zimmer (of Helion Prime), with all band members extracting tons of adrenaline from their instruments while Mary sounds utterly bestial with her harsh roars, showcasing a different side from her work with her main band. Then in Candlelight we’re treated to a pensive, melancholic intro where Josh adds his share of darkness through his bass, evolving into a more traditional hybrid of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock (albeit not as entertaining nor dynamic as the rest of the album, though, going on for too long), and more of their refined piano notes permeate the air in Find a Reason, a more gripping ballad than the previous song, sounding dense from start to finish and with Carlos passionately declaiming the song’s words while Justin pounds his drums flawlessly. Finally, Gabriel once again brings forward his deep passion for shredding in New Day Rising, a spot-on depiction of their Progressive Power Metal, offering many breaks, variations, complex passages and the usual speed and energy of Power Metal for the delight of admirers of the genre.

It’s quite easy to join the army of immortals spearheaded by Gabriel, Carlos, Josh and Justin, as their newborn spawn is available from an array of locations including the band’s own BandCamp and webstore, the M-Theory Audio webstore (in CD and limited purple LP format), the Plastic Head webstore (also in CD and limited purple LP format), or simply click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. Also, let’s show our support to those talented metallers by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel and by streaming more of their music on Spotify. Psychosomatic is undoubtedly the perfect example of how we should face the COVID-19 pandemic, turning our fears, anxiety and hopelessness into ass-kicking metal music like what Immortal Guardian were capable of doing (perhaps not in such majestic way, of course), showcasing once again the positive energy Heavy Metal can bring to us all even during the most difficult times of our lives. Stay home, stay safe, and rock on!

Best moments of the album: Lockdown, Phobia and Goodbye to Farewells.

Worst moments of the album: Candlelight.

Released in 2021 M-Theory Audio

Track listing
1. Psychosomatic 5:33
2. Read Between the Lines 6:01
3. Lockdown 4:12
4. Phobia 6:13
5. Clocks 5:12
6. Self-isolation 0:39
7. Goodbye to Farewells 5:50
8. Candlelight 5:24
9. Find a Reason 7:00
10. New Day Rising 5:56

Band members
Carlos Zema – vocals
Gabriel Guardian – guitars, keyboards
Josh Lopez – bass
Justin Piedimonte – drums

Guest musician
Mary Zimmer – harsh vocals on “Goodbye to Farewells”
Marcelo Barbosa – guitars on “Phobia”