Album Review – Heterogeneous Andead / Chaotic Fragments (2022)

A chaotic amalgamation of metal and non-metal styles beautifully brought into being by one of the most creative bands of the current Japanese scene.

Formed in 2013 in the metropolitan city of Tokyo, Japan, the idiosyncratic Symphonic Death/Thrash Metal unity that goes by the curious name of Heterogeneous Andead has just released their sophomore album, entitled Chaotic Fragments, the follow up to their 2018 debut album Deus Ex Machina. Comprised of Haruka Morikawa on vocals and Yusuke Kiyama on the guitars, synthesizers and programming (not to mention drummer Tomoyuki Nakano, who left the band shortly after the recordings of Chaotic Fragments), Heterogeneous Andead play a very unique style of heavy music that can be labeled as “Melodic and Symphonic Electro Death/Thrash Metal”, and it’s quite easy to identify all those elements in their new album, sounding very harmonious but at the same time chaotic, progressive but at the same time violent, and delicate but at the same time energetic.

The band begins a Speed and Thrash Metal-inspired attack entitled The Void Sacrifice, with Yusuke slashing his stringed axe while Haruka alternates between gnarling deeply in an old school Death Metal way and her operatic vocals; and the Anime-like keys and synths by Yusuke will penetrate deep inside your mind in Fragments of Memories, sounding as if you’re placed inside a video game where the soundtrack is ass-kicking heavy music, not to mention how awesome the drums by Tomoyuki sound and feel. Tomoyuki continues to crush his drums accompanied by the wicked riffs and keys by Yusuke in Last Reverie, fast and thrilling from start to finish with Haruka once again being a princess and a she-demon incarnate on vocals. Then close your eyes and succumb to the breathtaking Symphonic and Electronic Death Metal by Heterogeneous Andead in Beautiful Nightmare, also presenting elements from the Black Metal played by Cradle of Filth, or in other words, it’s nonstop adrenaline flowing through our avid ears.

Fission brings forward a fusion of the heaviness and rage of Death and Thrash Metal with the insanity of electronic music, with Haruka stealing the spotlight with another kick-ass vocal performance; whereas putting the pedal to the metal the trio fires the high-octane Mirror of the Lie, with its background keys adding hints of epicness to the demented Death Metal sounds blasted, once again reminding me of the heaviest and craziest Gothic Metal bands from the 80’s with a Black Metal twist. Their second to last explosion of idiosyncratic sounds is offered in the form of Regrettable, where Haruka’s barks make a beautiful paradox with the keys by Yusuke and obviously with her own operatic vocals, all supported by the classic blast beats by Tomoyuki. There’s time for one more round of their striking music with over eight minutes of flammable riffs and solos, sinister keys and massive beats entitled Licking, which despite lacking the creativity of the previous songs still provides a powerful ending to the album.

While Haruka and Yusuke search for a new guitarist, a new bassist and a new drummer to join them in their quest for heavy music, you can enjoy Chaotic Fragments in full on Spotify, as well as follow the band on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel. In addition, in order to show all your support and admiration for Heterogeneous Andead, you can purchase their classy new album by clicking HERE, or from Qobuz. You won’t regret succumbing to the chaotic and experimental music brought into being by Heterogeneous Andead, proving once and for all that if innovation is your cup of tea in heavy music, the beautiful Japan will always be your place to go.

Best moments of the album: The Void Sacrifice, Beautiful Nightmare and Mirror of the Lie.

Worst moments of the album: Licking.

Released in 2022 WormHoleDeath

Track listing
1. The Void Sacrifice 4:49
2. Fragments of Memories 8:26
3. Last Reverie 5:24
4. Beautiful Nightmare 6:53
5. Fission 6:05
6. Mirror of the Lie 5:34
7. Regrettable 5:23
8. Licking 8:29

Band members
Haruka Morikawa – vocals
Yusuke Kiyama – guitars, synthesizers, programming
Tomoyuki Nakano – drums

Album Review – Artamene / Ziggurat (2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Rain of Paradise.

Released in 2022 WormHoleDeath

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

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

Album Review – Belle Morte / Crime of Passion (2021)

Enjoy this stunning album of Gothic and Symphonic Metal made in Belarus with dark and progressive flavors and a beautiful, melancholic vibe.

3.5rating

belle-morte-crime-of-passion-2021Formed in 2015 in Minsk, the capital and the largest city of Belarus, the musical project that goes by the Stygian name of Belle Morte plays a fusion of Gothic and Symphonic Metal with dark and progressive flavors and a beautiful, melancholic vibe. Spearheaded by the talented and stylish vocalist Belle Morte, the project has just released their brand new opus entitled Crime of Passion, following up on their highly acclaimed 2018 debut EP Game On. Produced, mixed and mastered by Sergey Butovsky (who also plays bass and does backing vocals on the entire album), displaying a delicate artwork by Stefan Heilemann (Heilemania), and inspired by John Fowles’ novel The Collector, Crime of Passion tells a coherent story which started as an unhealthy obsession and stalking and resulted in murder, both from the side of the murderer and his victim, all beautifully and meticulously put together by Belle Morte and her bandmates Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich on the guitars, Sergey Butovsky on bass, Maria Shumanskaya on keyboards and Rostislav Golubnichiy on drums in a way that will certainly please all fans of the genre.

Dark and melancholic sounds permeate the air in the cinematic intro Overture, preparing our hearts and souls for Who Are You, where Belle declaims the song’s poetic lyrics majestically (“You’re watching me, what do you see / I want to hide, but you’re behind / I try to run the hunt begun / Don’t cross this line, there’s no return”) while the band’s guitar duo slashes his stringed axe accompanied by the rumbling bass by Sergey; whereas investing in a more Gothic and modern sonority it’s time for the delicate If Only You Knew, featuring guest guitars by Artur Naumenko and displaying hints of Industrial Rock and Metal added to the band’s core essence. Artur keeps delivering his classic riffs in To Get Her, keeping the dark flames of Gothic and Symphonic Metal burning bright while Belle is again fantastic on vocals, resulting in a thrilling fusion of the music by Nightwish, Tristania and Lacrimosa, and leaning towards pure old school Symphonic Metal we’re treated to Beauty And The Beast, showcasing crushing beats, atmospheric passages and endless passion flowing from Belle’s distinguished voice supported by the guitars by Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich.

My Little Demon brings forward another round of their cryptic words declaimed by Belle and Sergey (“Come to me, my little demon, stay with me until the dawn / I won’t lie to you, my darling, when you fall asleep I’ll run / I won’t lie to you, my darling, you will lose me with the sun”), with the guitars by Ilya Rogovoy and Ilya Petrashkevich adding a touch of evil to the overall musicality, which is also the case in Broken Things, presenting a pleasant sonority led by Belle and her whimsical vocals and with Sergey once again kicking ass with his groovy bass. Then a serene intro gradually grows in intensity, evolving into a dark and melancholic ballad entitled Beauty Meant To Kill where the acoustic guitars by Sergey generate the perfect ambience for Belle to shine on vocals once again; whereas enfolding piano notes will penetrate deep inside your mind in Lace, featuring guest guitars by Kirill Movshuk, sounding very orchestral at times and with Belle hypnotizing us all with her soulful vocals as usual. And lastly, featuring guest backing vocals by Alexandra Mantis and Katya Shtirts, My Legacy drinks form the same fountain as renowned bands the likes of Epica, Within Temptation and Nightwish, or in other words, it’s the perfect way to close the album in great fashion.

belle-morte-2021The gorgeous and mesmerizing music by Belle Morte in Crime of Passion can be appreciated in full on Spotify, but of course in order to show your true support to the band you should definitely purchase a copy of the album by clicking HERE or HERE, as well as from their own BandCamp page or from the Aural webstore, and if you want to know more about Belle Morte and listen to more of their classy metal music simply go to their official Facebook page, to Instagram, to VKontakte and to their YouTube channel. Crime of Passion is one of those albums that will drag you to darkness, take you to another world and captivate all your senses once and for all, just the way we like it in Gothic music, and let’s hope Belle Morte and her amazing crew can keep embellishing the airwaves with more releases like their excellent new album for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: Beauty And The Beast, My Little Demon and My Legacy.

Worst moments of the album: Broken Things.

Released in 2021 WormHoleDeath

Track listing     
1. Overture 1:38
2. Who Are You 3:48
3. If Only You Knew 4:35
4. To Get Her 5:11
5. Beauty And The Beast 3:43
6. My Little Demon 5:41
7. Broken Things 4:10
8. Beauty Meant To Kill 4:26
9. Lace 5:15
10. My Legacy 3:07

Bonus track
11. To Get Her (Acoustic version) 4:19

Band members
Belle Morte – vocals
Ilya Rogovoy – guitars on “Who Are You”, “Beauty And The Beast”, “My Little Demon”, “Broken Things” and “My Legacy”
Ilya Petrashkevich – guitars
Sergey Butovsky – bass, backing vocals, vocals on  “My Little Demon” and “To Get Her”, acoustic guitars on “Beauty Meant To Kill”
Maria Shumanskaya – keyboards
Rostislav Golubnichiy – drums

Guest musicians
Alexandra Mantis – backing vocals on “My Legacy”
Katya Shtirts – backing vocals on “My Legacy”
Kirill Movshuk – guitars on “Lace”
Artur Naumenko – guitars on “If Only You Knew” and “To Get Her”