Album Review – Hostis / Hostis (2016)

Experience all the destruction caused by the first-class fusion of Death and Thrash Metal by this technical band from Montenegro, blasting their austere message against politics, religion and media manipulation.


1-cover-artFans of the demolishing sound bred by extreme music giants such as Kreator, Sepultura, Exodus and Cannibal Corpse have a very good reason to turn their eyes to the cities of Budva, a Montenegrin town on the Adriatic Sea, and Tivat, a coastal town in southwest Montenegro located around 40 minutes from Budva. If you truly enjoy breaking your neck headbanging to traditional Death and Thrash Metal, I recommend you take a shot at the self-titled debut album by Montenegrin act Hostis, a 6-track album containing 6 crushing composition by a band whose name has 6 letters. Hence, the final number is 666, which means no further explanation is required regarding the core essence of Hostis and their purpose in our dying world.

Founded in 2010 by Srđan Mišović (vocals and programming), Miloš Klikovac (guitars) and Aleksandar Dragojević (bass guitar), all members of Montenegrin Atmospheric Death Metal band Abhoth, Hostis base their lyrics on social issues, mostly against political and religious dogma and indoctrination and media manipulation. Their debut album also features special guitar solos by Montenegrin musician Stefan Stanišić, as well as solos by Luka Milošević (Deadly Mosh, Istrulity) and Dušan Mlađenović (Alister), both hailing from Serbia. In addition, the stunning old school artwork drawn and initially coloured by Zvonimir Grabić, with the whole graphic design and editing done by Milena Nićić (Myllen), increases the darkness and impact of the music found in Hostis to a point the whole album feels like a classic Death Metal album from the 90’s and not like the debut release from a brand new band.

Tailored for admirers of the cutting and sharp sound of old school Thrash Metal riffs, the opening track Hostis is an instrumental extravaganza containing all elements we love in extreme music such as technical solos, nonstop drums and endless heaviness. In other words, a great display of modern Thrash and Death Metal flawlessly delivered by all band members, getting the listener more-than-ready for the havoc beautifully entitled Beneath The Machinery Of Demise. When Srđan starts growling the song’s lyrics like a demonic beast (“Throne of megalomania / Upon the ashes of scattered lives / Twisting the fragments of reality / Beneath the machinery of demise”), supported by the piercing guitar lines by Miloš, you’ll definitely feel tempted to bang your head like a maniac or slam into the pit to this brutal and dense Death Metal chant.

hostisThe sensational Mutilation Of Truth kicks off as pure Bay Area Thrash the likes of Exodus and Testament, with the vocals by Srđan leaning towards the deepest guttural found in Death Metal. Moreover, it’s amazing how Hostis sound so polished and crude at the same time, with the potent sounds of all instruments being enhanced by the album’s outstanding production, not to mention all the song’s tempo changes that end up increasing its overall quality and potency. Demigods is another bestial fusion of Death and Thrash Metal led by the scorching riffs by Miloš, with the bass guitar by Aleksandar truly adding the world “metal” to the musicality. It’s another song that sounds like two or three in one, showcasing the band’s versatility and dexterity to keep their music interesting all the time.

There isn’t a single song that doesn’t sound brutal and technical in Hostis, which is also the case in the seven minutes of low-tuned progressive and demonic sounds found in In Shadow Of The Crucified, a rhythmic aria of darkness exhibiting awesome guitar lines and solos and the always cavernous growls by Srđan. And how do you think the album ends? Well, obviously with more devastation brought forth by such talented band, this time named Gods Are Dead. We must admit it’s pretty hard for most human beings to reach such demented level of guttural growls, which makes the work done on vocals by Srđan even more impressive. And after a creepy break halfway through the song, Hostis return in full force and keep delivering first-class Extreme Metal until all is said and done.

Do you want to experience all the destruction caused by the infernal and intense music crafted by this high-skilled band from Montenegro? Simply go check their Facebook page for news, tour dates and future projects, and their YouTube channel to listen to their music at top volume just like any good Death and Thrash Metal band deserves. And if you want to buy this excellent album, you can find it on sale at Discogs by clicking HERE or HERE. The extreme aggression of Death and Thrash Metal, together with an acid message against politics and religion, always results in top-notch music, and with Hostis that magic formula will certainly continue to have an amazing impact on fans of extreme music for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Mutilation Of Truth and Demigods.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Miner Recordings

Track listing
1. Hostis 5:44
2. Beneath The Machinery Of Demise 6:35
3. Mutilation Of Truth 6:16
4. Demigods  6:25
5. In Shadow Of The Crucified 7:02
6. Gods Are Dead 7:28

Band members
Srđan Mišović – vocals, programming
Miloš Klikovac – guitars
Aleksandar Dragojević – bass

Guest musicians
Stefan Stanišić – lead guitar
Luka Milošević – lead guitar
Dušan Mlađenović – lead guitar

Interview – Cadaveria

Descend into the dark world of Cadaveria and Necrodeath in this exclusive interview to The Headbanging Moose where Cadaveria herself and Flegias discuss the past, present and future of their music, their high-yielding longtime partnership and the metal scene in Italy, among other topics.



The Headbanging Moose: First of all, could you please give a brief introduction of who Cadaveria is for the readers of The Headbanging Moose who for some reason don’t know you and your music yet? How would you define your style, and what’s your main objective with your music?

Cadaveria: CADAVERIA was formed in 2001 by Marçelo Santos (Flegias) and I with the intent to create a virtual space where to freely express ourselves as musicians and extreme artists. Since then we released five full length albums, a double DVD and, recently, an EP, entitled Mondoscuro, with the cooperation of Necrodeath. Basically our music is a personal mix of Black Metal and Death Metal with Doom and Gothic influences. Fans and critics have labeled it Horror Metal, not just for my dark and pale image, but rather for the obscure atmospheres evoked by our songs. This definition leaves us free to experiment while we compose and to play the music we like and feel, with no particular boundaries and without following any trend.

THM: What was the main idea that originated the amazing and distinct project Mondoscuro? You defined it as “a blood pact between two diabolic entities that will give life to a new irreligious and obscure soul”. Could you please explain that in more details for our readers?

Cadaveria: The idea to work with Necrodeath was flowing in our minds since a long time. These two bands have an individual history and they have always walked along parallel paths without meeting each other, but at the same time there is a strong connection between them, for the fact we share two band members: our drummer, Marçelo Santos/Flegias, is Necrodeath’s singer and GL/Peter Dayton plays the bass in both the bands. Last year we felt the time has come to make it real, so we started thinking about this EP and its contents. We wanted to create something special, not an ordinary split EP, and we wanted the two bands interact on the same songs. Finally Mondoscuro features two brand new and co-written songs, two covers (one of The Beatles and one of Type O Negative) and two unusual “exchange of roles”, that see CADAVERIA reinterpreting a classic by Necrodeath and Necrodeath performing a CADAVERIA hit. The EP title reminds of “Mondocane Project One” split by Necrodeath and Schizo, released in 1990, and it also refers to the cinematographic genre “Mondo film” of explicit documentaries, born in the 60s and depicting sensational, bloody and shocking scenes. The cover artwork synthesizes this topics in some way.

THM: How is your relationship with the other half of Mondoscuro, the unstoppable Black/Thrash Metal band Necrodeath? As you and Flegias have been together for decades already, since your time with Opera IX from 1992 to 2001, how easy was the process for you to compose songs together for this very special album, as well as playing each other’s songs (Cadaveria playing Mater Tenebrarum and Necrodeath playing Spell)?

Cadaveria: The creation of Mondoscuro was quite demanding. The involved bands have different methods concerning songwriting, so sometimes it was hard to merge forces. I enjoyed a lot to write the lyrics for Necrodeath’s song “Rise Above”, to cover “Mater Tenebrarum” and of course to duet with Flegias. This was a great for us both, although we play together since 1991. Recordings took place in two different Italian studios, so that each band preserved its own sound, vocal duets took place in the same studio where CADAVERIA recorded the rest of the EP and the recording studios worked in connection, in order to give unity to the final product.


Album Review – Mondoscuro / Mondoscuro EP (2016)

THM: Two tracks in Mondoscuro that certainly caught my attention were your cover version for Type O Negative’s classic Christian Woman, and Necrodeath firing a sick version for The Beatles’ Helter Skelter. Why did you and Necrodeath chose those specific songs to be part of Mondoscuro? What do they represent to your life and career?

Flegias: “Christian Woman” is part of “Bloody Kisses”, an album that Cadaveria and I have consumed and listened to so many times in our early years, it is part of our background. It formed that particular “doom-and-romantic” soul that you can often find in CADAVERIA compositions. The rest of CADAVERIA band love it as well and when we proposed to cover Christian Woman there was a standing ovation. For what concerns “Helter Skelter” we wanted to pay homage to a song that is considered the first heavy metal track ever composed in all the history of heavy metal. In addition, Peso, Necrodeath drummer, is a great expert of The Beatles and of Ringo Starr, a genius and a great innovator of the drums.

THM:  Another interesting detail in Mondoscuro is that, in the brand new song Rise Above, the first few sentences of the lyrics are in Italian, your mother tongue. English might be the “official language” of Dark Metal, but don’t you think more songs in Italian would bring an extra layer of obscurity and lust to the music? I’m asking this because I personally enjoyed a lot the energy of the Italian words in Rise Above and I would love to see more of that in the music by Cadaveria.

Flegias: Despite the fact the last full length from Necrodeath, “The Seven Deadly Sins”, was half written and sung in Italian, for me to sing in Italian was more difficult than to do it in English. By the way I’m very satisfied of this choice made by Cadaveria concerning the language to use in this song, the parts to leave in Italian and the parts of the lyrics I had to sing.

Cadaveria: I usually write lyrics in Italian then I translate them into English. Sometimes I feel English doesn’t get the proper synonym for a word. In those cases the temptation to leave it in Italian is strong, but usually I search and find a satisfying solution. This time, with Rise Above, I decided in advance what parts to compose and leave in Italian. The very beginning is a prologue, a sort of ritual or a prayer and it sounded so good like this. The following verses came to me in rhyme, so they were born to live in Italian.  But I don’t think an entire album in Italian would be a good idea. I like to use this language when verses are particularly poetic and the music is very atmospheric, but I think Italian lyrics would sound a bit punk-hardcore on a fast tempo.

THM: In regards to your career, what has changed in the music by Cadaveria from when the band started back in 2001 (with the release of The Shadows’ Madame in 2002) until today, and what have the biggest challenges been for the band to stay alive and kicking ass through the years?


Flegias (Necrodeath)

Cadaveria: We grew up as musicians and producers of ourselves. And we grew up as human beings, so the music we play now is on a higher level, enriched by our experiences. Passion and independence are still the same. This is probably what made us survive in the music business. I’m very proud of the fact we have our own style, that makes us be noticeable among so many clones.

THM: What’s next for Cadaveria? After the excellent album Silence, from 2014, and now Mondoscuro, what does the future hold for the band? Can we expect another project like Mondoscuro soon, or is it time for a brand new Cadaveria album to become alive?

Cadaveria: In the last four years we never stopped working, we have released the Horror Metal album, re-mastered and released our debut full length The Shadows’ Madame, we gave life to the retrospective double DVD Karma, then it was the time for Silence album and now Mondoscuro EP, without counting we played about 60 live gigs in Europe and outside it. It’s time to take a short break. I need to recharge energy and to find new inspiration before starting working on a new album, that could be the last one for us. And so it must be unique and perfect. In the meanwhile Mondoscuro will be released on vinyl by the end of this year and in Spring 2017 we will re-release our 2nd album Far Away From Conformity (2004). Both releases will be via Sleaszy Rider records. We will continue to play live here and there and I hope to be invited to play in places where we have never been before.

THM: Talking about your personal life now, what does Raffaella Rivarolo do in her free time that Cadaveria doesn’t do, and vice-versa? How do you work on the transition between the two, and how do you manage to keep both entities separate in your life? Or are Raffaella and Cadaveria the exact same person, sharing all their likes and dislikes all the time?

Cadaveria: Well, basically Cadaveria and Raffaella are the same person, it’s just a matter of names… (but many people call me Cadaveria or Cada in private life too). I love art and when I’m not busy with music I make videos (music videos, institutional, etc) to pay my bills. I travelled a lot in the last two years to follow an Italian athlete who cycled the world by bike. I made some video documentaries about this. You will find a lot of Raffaella in CADAVERIA lyrics… the experiences I live flow into CADAVERIA songs.


Album Review – Cadaveria / Silence (2014)

THM: I’ve been reviewing so many incredible Italian bands lately it’s hard to name just a few, for example we have the electrified Metalcore by Moth’s Circle Flight, the fusion of Black and Heavy Metal blasted by Malamorte, the badass Rock N’ Roll by Helligators and Roadless, the beautiful Gothic and Doom Metal by Witches Of Doom, among many others. How do you see the state of the underground metal scene in Italy today? What have been the biggest improvements in Italian metal, and what’s still far from being acceptable in your opinion?

Cadaveria: Italy counts many new bands that try to emerge and be noticed in the underground music scene. But in Italy everything connected to culture is very difficult to carry out and unfortunately music is not considered a major art here. I always say to new comers: do it just for yourself, release your passion and don’t think about success. Rather try to make the difference.

THM: Here at The Headbanging Moose we have a special section called Metal Chick of the Month, where every month we pay a tribute to an already established and prominent woman in metal such as Masha Scream (Arkona) and Lena Abé (My Dying Bride), or to an up-and-coming lady from an underground band that’s starting to make a difference in heavy music. How do you see the importance of women in metal today? And who are your biggest female idols in music?

Cadaveria: Yes and I can see it today and, however, I have never experienced any discrimination for being a female. Male or female it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to be strong and faithful to yourself. Music has no sex. The first female voice I heard in extreme metal was Sabina Classen. I was in the beginning of my career so I’m in a certain sense connected with her. I do not have idols but I like Skin’s voice very much.

THM: How about your current and upcoming tour dates to support the release of Mondoscuro? How have the fans reacted to the new songs and to the overall project during your live performances? And can we expect a Cadaveria tour to Canada and the United States in a not-so-distant future? We have a huge Italian community here in Toronto that would love to have you perform in front of them, no doubt about that.


Beautiful witch give light to this black muddy sky…

Flegias: We did a unique show for Mondoscuro at an important festival in Italy last month. We had the opportunity to play a great show with a specific scenic design that evoked the birth and death theme of Mondoscuro. Just to mention a detail, Cadaveria appeared on stage in a mortuary body bag… and we performed some songs singing together. All was perfect and really great, but this will remain unique and once in a lifetime. The effort to bring two bands like this on the same stage into the same show is very big. We spent a lot of energies in this and we decided that it will not be possible to replicate this project live on stage in the future.

Cadaveria: We will bring at least one song from Mondoscuro in CADAVERIA future set list. As I said I need a pause, so next shows will happen in 2017. We would love to tour your country! We had received a couple of offers in the past but we need also a US tour segment to add, to make costs be covered. We really hope the Italian community in Toronto who wants to see us playing there will make their voices be heard by local promoters. Ask them to invite us. We are available and ready to kick ass.

THM: Thank you very much for your time, I truly appreciate that.  Please feel free to send a final message to all our readers and all metalheads not only in Canada, but everywhere else in the world.

Cadaveria: Flegias and I want to thank you a lot for your attention and interest. Hail to all CADAVERIA and Necrodeath fans. Check out Mondoscuro!

Cadaveria Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Necrodeath Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Concert Review – Gojira (Metropolis, Montreal, QC, 10/21/2016)

And Gojira melted the spinal cords of all metallers in Montreal with the scorching magma flowing from their kick-ass neck-breaking music.


gojira-fall-2016If you can move your neck, feel your back, walk and breathe normally, that means you didn’t attend the pulverizing performance by French icons Gojira this Friday at the neat and well-located Metropolis in Montreal, Quebec. Who cares if it was only 8 degrees outside and raining nonstop? It was a night of heavy music played to perfection, which means no weather could stop us metallers from leaving our places and head to the venue to bang our fuckin’ heads to the most important metal band in the history of France. Very few times I’ve seen such flawless interaction between band and crowd, a night that will forever be kept inside our hearts and remembered as the night Gojira beautifully conquered “La Métropole du Québec”.

img_1842Before we get to the Armageddon generated by Gojira, let’s talk about the opening act, British Progressive Metal/Rock band TESSERACT. Founded in 2003 and having released three full length albums and a few EP’s, including the 2016 EP Errai, The band formed by the talented musicians Daniel Tompkins, Acle Kahney, James Monteith, Amos Williams and Jay Postones provided the fans at the venue a very professional and technical performance, but that didn’t mean it was exciting. Quite the contrary, their whole concert felt like one endless 45-minute song so tiresome it was. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between songs, and I was about to fall asleep after just a few minutes. Well, there were many fans that had a good time during their concert, but for fans of old school stuff like Slayer, Pantera and Anthrax, for example, the concert never really clicked. They are all awesome musicians, especially Amos with his brutal and thunderous bass sounds, but overall they sound like a less metallic version of the latest (boring) album by Dream Theater. If you enjoyed the concert that’s fine, I respect it, but we must admit there were tons of other better choices to warm up the crowd for the main attraction of the night.

Concealing Fate, Part 2: Deception
Concealing Fate, Part 3: The Impossible
Of Matter – Proxy
Of Matter – Retrospect
Of Mind – Nocturne 

Band members
Daniel Tompkins – vocals
Acle Kahney – guitar
James Monteith – guitar
Amos Williams – bass
Jay Postones – drums


img_1843After TesseracT was over I was feeling so bored I chugged a beer to see if that would wake me up, but I didn’t realize that wasn’t necessary because when GOJIRA started, they needed less than a second to make my blood boil again with excitement. I’m pretty sure they are considered the active volcano of their hometown Bayonne in France, in special after the release of the marvelous Magma earlier this year. When the heavier-than-hell Only Pain kicked off the concert, that’s exactly what every single person present on the floor section felt: a lot of pain in their entire bodies caused by the demented circle pits that started right at the first notes played by Gojira, and that madness didn’t stop until the very end of the night.

After that spine-crushing beginning, Gojira showed no mercy for our souls and blasted three songs made in the depths of hell aiming at destroying our necks, the amazing The Heaviest Matter of the Universe (obviously played by one of the heaviest bands on the entire planet), and their two newborn classics Silvera and Stranded. Yes, they played those three in a row for our total delectation. Not that after that it wasn’t heavy, because they only played brutal material, as for example the bestial Backbone, but that initial sequence was memorable. The only moment of peace was during Terra Inc., but that didn’t last long because Wisdom Comes came crushing our souls like there was no tomorrow. There were beer flying all over the places, fists and horns in the air, pure anarchy and tons of screaming and headbanging. I was just sweating like a wild boar, with my Pantera T-shirt, my pants and even my underwear soaking wet with my own sweat, with many other people’s sweat and with a considerable amount of beer.

img_1851I really don’t know what to say about the rest of their setlist as everything was superb, like for instance the demonic Oroborus and Vacuity. Perhaps the moment where the connection between band and fans reached its peak was during the stunning circle pit generated by the melancholic hymn Pray, a song you don’t usually expect to see that type of aggressiveness coming from the crowd. Or maybe it was when bassist Jean-Michel Labadie threw himself into the crowd in wat can be called an “enhanced stage-diving” as he was still holding (and playing) his low-tuned ax? Anyway, brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier, as well as Jean and guitarist Christian Andreu, were absolutely flawless with their instruments, captivating everyone with their powerful performances during the entire concert. Furthermore, Mario’s drum solo even made me forget how boring drum solos usually are, just for you to have an idea of how good he was.

Well, it’s already Sunday night, I’m back to Toronto and my neck still hurts to the point I have to move around like the old Robocop from the 80’s, but it’s that kind of pain we all love to endure after such an incredible concert of first-class heavy music. I might be getting old for the level of devastation brought forth by Gojira in Montreal, but you know what? The day I cannot get into a pulverizing mosh pit like that, the day I don’t consider the pain in my body caused by a Heavy Metal concert a good thing, I’ll call it a day. Merci beaucoup pour cette nuit incroyable, Gojira! À bientôt, j’espère!

Only Pain
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Flying Whales
The Cell
Terra Inc.
Wisdom Comes
Drum Solo
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island


Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

Album Review – Soulwound / No Peace (2016)

This berserk quintet from Finland brings forward absolutely no peace with their high-end assault of visceral Death and Thrash Metal.


soulwound-cover640Carrying a robust and ominous name taken from a Fear Factory bonus song from the limited edition of their 1998 classic album Obsolete, Finnish Death/Thrash Metal group Soulwound are releasing their second opus entitled No Peace, offering fast, brutal, heavy and aggressive metal music with both old school and more contemporary influences, picking up where their 2013 debut full-length album Seeing Red left off. While listening to No Peace, you’ll find hints of the unique sonority crafted by Sepultura, the sonic havoc brought forth by Testament, the intricate and thunderous beats by Slayer, among other elements from several Thrash Metal giants, all enhanced by the band’s own Death Metal touch. In other words, if you’re looking for soft and romantic music, forget about Soulwound, as they’re among us to crush and destroy.

Forged in the fires of the small village of Myllykoski in Kouvola, Finland (located around 130 kilometers northeast of the capital Helsinki) by brothers Niko (guitar) and Janne Huusari (drums) in 2005, and having released a few demos before Seeing Red became a reality in 2013 with Arto Jauho stepping in as the band’s vocalist, Soulwound’s current lineup took form in 2014 when Mikko, the youngest of the Huusari brothers, joined the band as their second guitarist, resulting in all three brothers playing in the same band. And it’s perhaps that family unity that helped Soulwound achieve such a high level of professionalism in a short span of time, sounding like long-serving defenders of extreme music.

An eerie female voice explaining what impulsive aggression is makes the Fear Factory-inspired metallic Intro: Impulsive Aggression one of those creepy album starts that enfolds the listener before the neck-breaking Hurt Me Plenty kicks off, which despite showcasing lots of modern elements added to its background, in essence it’s old school visceral Death Metal. Moreover, while Arto fires his potent harsh growls, Janne delivers an avalanche of groovy and fierce beats and fills for the delight of lovers of the genre. As violent as the opening track but slightly heavier due to the kick-ass riffs by the guitar brothers Niko and Mikko (as well as the low-tuned sounds by bassist Joni Järvenmäki), Altars of Skin feels like a hybrid of Cavalera Conpiracy and Fear Factory with a Scandinavian twist, translating into pure awesomeness, whereas Alone Against All brings forward high-octane Death Metal highly influenced by the rebellious sound of Bay Area Thrash. Its sick guitar solos and endless amount of electricity turn it into one of the best moments of the album, being strongly recommended as the soundtrack for some insane circle pits.

p7172350-02Wasteland is yet another flawless Thrash Metal tune with elements from Sepultura, Slayer and Testament, in special the boisterous drumming by Janne and the visceral growls by Arto, and if you love darkened music emanating pure hatred you’ll have a complete blast listening to this superb tune. Then it’s time for more of Soulwound’s headbanging music with some menacing voices in the background before Anto comes gnarling like a beast in Crime and Punishment, which albeit slower than the previous songs it showcases some great riffage by both Niko and Mikko; followed by Misery Index with its berserk rhythm powered by huge dosages of anger. This is one of those songs the band wrote with their minds on their live performances due to its “festival potential”, also exhibiting some excellent guitar solos and a demented ending.

Hate Speech sounds very similar to its predecessor, displaying almost the same heaviness, speed and ferocity, which means that if they play these two songs in a row during their concerts I’m quite sure we’ll see some blood spilling from the crowd. And as one final explosion of Death Metal we have Damned, as brutal and well-crafted as the rest of the album, yet again embracing elements from Bay Area Thrash mixed with contemporary Death Metal and with highlights to the deep and desperate guttural by Anto.

As Soulwound is offering us all absolutely no peace with their visceral and modern music, we should all show them our respect and support by visiting their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and you can take all that peaceless Death Metal craziness home by purchasing their brand new album at the Inverse Records’ webstore (as a regular CD version or a CD + T-shirt bundle), at CDON.COM, or at Record Shop X. As already mentioned, Soulwound are not among us to bring joy or tranquility to our lives, but to provide a demolishing assault of high-end metal music, which is indeed all we ask for when the music in question is Death and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Altars of Skin, Alone Against All and Wasteland.

Worst moments of the album: Crime and Punishment.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Intro: Impulsive Aggression 1:57
2. Hurt Me Plenty 5:09
3. Altars of Skin 4:29
4. Alone Against All 3:40
5. Wasteland 4:59
6. Crime and Punishment 5:50
7. Misery Index 4:20
8. Hate Speech 4:26
9. Damned 5:55

Band members
Arto Jauho – vocals
Niko Huusari – guitar
Mikko Huusari – guitar
Joni Järvenmäki – bass
Janne Huusari – drums

Album Review – Abigail / The Final Damnation (2016)

Delivering chaos, sex and blasphemy for over 20 years, one of the most prominent bands from the underground Japanese scene strikes back with more of their libertine and devilish music.


abigail-the-final-damnation-coverWhenever the name “Abigail” is enunciated, your mind probably takes you to Denmark, home of one of the most iconic metallers of all time, the one and only King Diamond. However, if you travel further east, more specifically to Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll face a high-octane fusion of Black, Thrash and Heavy Metal from the 80’s with a libidinous twist through the music by an uncompromising power trio known as Abigail, who have recently released their fifth studio album, titled The Final Damnation, highly recommended for fans of bands like Venom, Bulldozer and Carnivore who also nurture a profound admiration for topics such as war, alcohol, partying, depravity and bitches.

Abigail, who have dubbed themselves as “The Most Evil Band in Japan”, was formed in 1992 in the city of Tokyo, Japan by Yasuyuki Suzuki, a talented multi-instrumentalist and one of the most important names in the underground extreme music scene in Japan, having played with bands such as Cut Throat, Barbatos, Tiger Junkies and the iconic Sigh, from our beloved metal chick Dr. Mikannibal. Their musicality might have shifted a bit from their earliest raw Black Metal to a more complex degree of Speed Metal mixed with Street Punk (a mixture classified by the band as “Street Metal”), also increasing the level of debauchery and blasphemy in their lyrics. With The Final Damnation, which features an obscure artwork by French artist Christophe Moyen, the band has considerably increased the dosage of Black Metal in their music, going back to their roots without losing their current thrashy attitude and electricity.

abigail-band-promoFrantic guitars and drums with a strong melody supporting them set the tone for the berserk title-track The Final Damnation, before Yasuyuki begins firing his inebriate gnarls. In essence, it’s music to drink and fight, exactly what the band wants you to do, boosted by all old school guitar solos Noboru “Jero” Sakuma delivers throughout the whole song. Blasphemy Night is insanity in the form of music, a bestial marriage between Black and Thrash Metal with nuances of Hardcore and Punk Rock where Yasuyuki sounds truly demonic on vocals while drummer Youhei shows no mercy for mankind, obviously commanding us all to slam into the fuckin’ pit, followed by a massacre titled Whisky Coke and Bitch. I guess nothing needs to be said about the name of the song, right? Anyway, Jero continues delivering his traditional solos in this less obscure chant, strongly inspired by the rebellious Punk Rock played by bands such as The Exploited and Black Flag.

In spite of its slower-than-usual start, the deranged composition Sex & Metal (another song with a “cute” name) is sheer devastation throughout its almost 6 minutes, with Yasuyuki and his henchmen smashing everyone who dares to cross their path, also exhibiting more of their insane high-speed guitar solos. And the gates are opened by Abigail’s infernal composition straightforwardly named Open the Gates of Hell, displaying a sonority highly inspired by Thrash Metal from the 80’s with an eccentric Japanese touch. In addition, the bass guitar by Yasuyuki sounds amazingly brutal in this hurricane of disturbing metal. Blazing guitar lines ignite the thrashy composition No Pain! No Limit!, showcasing backing vocals a la traditional Punk Rock while Youhei delivers precisely what we all want in this type of music by pounding his drums like a wild beast during the entire song.

The pulverizing hymn Sweet Baby Metal Sluts doesn’t only have another gentle name, but the screeching gnarls by Yasuyuki will torment your mind while the band keeps discharging their libidinous music through your ears, with Jero continuing his feast of demented solos. And closing the album, how about 7 minutes of total anarchy? That’s what you’ll get in Holocaust by Evil with its Slayer-like guitars and extreme aggressiveness. Youhei pays his personal tribute to Thrash and Black Metal, and although there’s a melodic break influenced by traditional Heavy Metal after around two minutes, Abigail had to obviously finish off the album like a steamroller from hell with their lunatic musicality. Before all is said and done, Yasuyuki fires some final grasps from the depths of hell to give the whole song a more macabre touch.

As aforementioned, if you truly consider Heavy Metal, sex, alcohol and blasphemy as the most important things in your life (and you should), the music by Abigail will definitely be the perfect soundtrack for your metallic and carnal adventures. And in case you want to show your support for those Japanese metallers, go grab your copy of The Final Damnation at the Nuclear War Now! Productions’ BandCamp or at their webstore as a CDa regular LP or as a “die hard” LP, or at Abigail’s official webstore. Abigail have been on fire since their inception almost 20 years ago, and The Final Damnation is just another proof this defiant troop from Tokyo is far from calling it a day.

Best moments of the album: Blasphemy Night, Sex & Metal and Open the Gates of Hell.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Nuclear War Now! Productions

Track listing
1. The Final Damnation 4:32
2. Blasphemy Night 3:55
3. Whisky Coke and Bitch 4:50
4. Sex & Metal 5:50
5. Open the Gates of Hell 3:57
6. No Pain! No Limit! 3:04
7. Sweet Baby Metal Sluts 3:22
8. Holocaust by Evil 7:08

Band members
Yasuyuki Suzuki – vocals, bass
Noboru “Jero” Sakuma – guitars
Youhei – drums

Album Review – Misteyes / Creeping Time (2016)

Which side will you chose in the never-ending battle between Light and Dark Metal brought forth by this distinct symphonic band from Italy?


creeping-time-front-cover-artwork“Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.” – Heraclitus

The never-ending battle between good and evil, day and night, light and dark, heaven and hell, life and death or whatever other philosophical depiction you want to give to the two opposite worlds that guide our thoughts and actions has just been transformed into high-end music by Italian Symphonic Death/Gothic Metal act Misteyes in Creeping Time, the debut full-length album by a band that definitely knows how to put together the best elements from Light and Dark Metal, enhancing their contrast and, consequently, their impact on the listener.

Misteyes started back in 2012 in the city of Turin, Italy as a five-piece group, playing what could be considered Melodic Death/Black Metal before changing their music direction in 2014 to what exists today, including the addition of a female vocalist and a keyboardist to the band. The next couple of years were very fruitful for Misteyes, who not only started working on Creeping Time, but also shared the stage with renowned names in the Gothic scene such as Cadaveria, Opera IX, Lunarsea and Elegy Of Madness. The band’s approach and musicality can already be sensed through the obscure artwork by Italian artist Alessandro Alimonti (Overload Design Studio), but it’s when the music starts that you’ll find yourself in the middle of the fight between light and dark, getting completely mesmerized by the music that flows through your ears.

The melancholic intro The Last Knell, which begins with the sound of a baby crying, grows in intensity until the title-track Creeping Time arises from the depths of hell in a feast of Symphonic Black and Gothic Metal. Denise “Ainwen” Manzi is the beauty on vocals while Edoardo “Irmin” Iacono provides his beastly growls, perfectly depicting what the band wants to say with the “Light and Dark Metal” concept, with keyboardist Gabriele “Hyde” Gilodi being the one responsible for giving the song its operatic vibe. Then it’s time for some heavier riffs by Daniele “Insanus” Poveromo and Riccardo “Decadence” Tremaioni in the dense Brains in a Vat, an amazing composition filled with passion, hate and agony featuring the creepy spoken words by guest musician Mattia Casabona (Aspasia), sounding like a hybrid of the music by the early days of Cradle of Filth with Epica, resulting in a masterpiece of underground Symphonic Metal. Moreover, it’s interesting how Hyde maintains the mystery in Misteyes’ music through his keyboards no matter how fast and heavy the music is, which is the case in Inside the Golden Cage, where the vocals by Ainwen are once again heavily inspired by the diva Simone Simons whereas Irmin leans towards pure Black Metal, not to mention the thrilling beats by Federico “Krieger” Tremaioni.

Lady Loneliness, a beautiful atmospheric power ballad focused on the gentle voice of Ainwen with some pianos notes giving it an extra touch of delicacy, showcases a good story told through its lyrics (“If you are here, I cannot be overtaken by fear / Only this eternal silence is what can soothe my pain / In darkness I can find you, this time will be forever / Come! Come to me, my lady! Lady Loneliness!”); followed by The Prey, with the whole band getting back to a more brutish mode. Irmin effectively enhances the song’s aggressiveness due to his deranged harsh growls, with Insanus, Decadence and Hyde delivering sheer madness while bassist Andrea “Hephaestus” Gammeri brings forward his share of insanity through his low-tuned punches. Their operatic and dark vein becomes evident once again in Destroy Your Past, a song full of progressive passages thanks to the intricate lines delivered through guitars and bass and all tempo changes led by Krieger, as well as in the operatic metal hymn The Demon of Fear, where guest musician Roberto Pasolini (Embryo) complements the menacing keyboards by Hyde with his enraged growling. This excellent song, displaying a Symphonic Black Metal vibe with hints of Gothic Metal and Melodic Metal, is another good example of the fight between good and evil proposed by Misteyes, proving one more time how connected to the concept of opposition all songs are.

misteyes-2016Special guest Mattia Casabona is back in action, this time with clean vocals, in the two-part aria entitled “Awake the Beast”, starting with the operatic A Fragile Balance (Awake the Beast – Part 1), with its eerie piano intro and Ainwen providing her Tarja-inspired vocals. Almost “a capella”, it sounds like a horror flick soundtrack, leading to the furious and blackened Chaos (Awake the Beast – Part 2), a high-octane tune tailored for fans of obscure and harmonious music where Progressive and Symphonic Black Metal are flawlessly united. Krieger and Hyde are yet again the architects of the musicality, generating the perfect ambience for the sick riffs by both Insanus and Decadence to shine.

In the gripping Decapitated Rose, guest vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork) steals the spotlight by blasting his infuriated declamation of the song’s dark lyrics (“When life is withered …There is no water which can bring it back! / Ivy smothers your soul! Petals fall and you are alone! / All beauty is gone! Only the thorn is what remains! / In this garden of madness … Decapitated rose! Decapitated rose!”), with Hephaestus firing some thunderous bass lines that end up increasing the song’s creepiness while the keyboard sounds by Hyde will pierce your head and haunt your soul. And last but not least, the talented Nicole Ansperger (Eluveitie) and the awesome sound of her violin add the word “epic” to the powerful Winter’s Judgement, a Symphonic Gothic Metal feast that blends elements from the music by Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, Epica, Moonspell and other prominent bands. In addition, the growls by Irmin get deeper than ever, guiding the listener into a journey through the realms of darkness and light until the song’s soulful ending.

In summary, it doesn’t matter which side you choose in the battle between Light and Dark Metal proposed by Misteyes, you’ll certainly win due to the sensational quality of their music. Thus, you can get in touch with these Italian metallers and get to know more about their music through Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud, and acquire your copy of Creeping Time at several different places such as their BandCamp page, the Maple Metal Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, on iTunes, Amazon or CD Baby.

Best moments of the album: Creeping Time, Brains in a Vat, The Prey and Decapitated Rose.

Worst moments of the album: Destroy Your Past.

Released in 2016 Maple Metal Records

Track listing
1. The Last Knell (Intro) 1:40
2. Creeping Time 6:29
3. Brains in a Vat 5:39
4. Inside the Golden Cage 5:24
5. Lady Loneliness 4:37
6. The Prey 7:03
7. Destroy Your Past 5:02
8. The Demon of Fear 6:55
9. A Fragile Balance (Awake the Beast – Part 1) 3:41
10. Chaos (Awake the Beast – Part 2) 5:26
11. Decapitated Rose 4:48
12. Winter’s Judgement 8:05

Band members
Edoardo “Irmin” Iacono – growl and scream vocals
Denise “Ainwen” Manzi – clean and operatic vocals
Daniele “Insanus” Poveromo – lead guitars
Riccardo “Decadence” Tremaioni – rhythm guitars
Gabriele “Hyde” Gilodi – piano, synth and orchestrations
Andrea “Hephaestus” Gammeri – bass and fretless bass
Federico “Krieger” Tremaioni – drums

Guest musicians
Björn “Speed” Strid – additional scream and clean vocals on “Decapitated Rose”
Nicole Ansperger – violin on “Winter’s Judgement”
Roberto Pasolini – additional growls and scream vocals on “The Demon of Fear”
Mattia Casabona – spoken words on “Brains in a Vat”, additional clean vocals on “A Fragile Balance (Awake the Beast – Part 1)”, and additional growls and scream vocals on “Chaos (Awake the Beast – Part 2)”

Album Review – Cryptic Shift / Beyond the Celestial Realms EP (2016)

An action-packed voyage through space and time, led by a Sci-Fi Death Metal Assault Squad from the UK eager to conquer the entire universe with their progressive and technical brutality.


btcr-coverAre you ready for a voyage through space and time, a daredevil journey to a parallel universe where you’ll face technology a million light-years beyond our knowledge and where unknown forms of extraterrestrial life coexist, all to the sound of a very progressive and technical fusion of Death and Thrash Metal? This is what you’ll get in Beyond the Celestial Realms, the brand new EP by British Progressive Death/Thrash Metal act Cryptic Shift. If you’re a fan of the hard-hitting and intricate sound of iconic bands such as Death, Obituary and Voivod, lasers will blast from your eyes with excitement while listening to Cryptic Shift.

Formed in 2010 under the name Crÿptic Shift, this Leeds-based group calls itself a “Sci-Fi Death Metal Assault Squad”, a distinct designation that makes total sense as soon as you start listening to their high-quality material. And this blend of extreme music and Sci-Fi led the band to share the stage with renowned acts like Exodus, Hirax and Lost Society, also playing at some up-and-coming festivals in the UK such as Thrashersaurus, Full Thrash Assault and Thrashoholic Fest, all between 2014 and 2015. Beyond the Celestial Realms, which features a “futuristic old school” (if that expression exists) artwork by Nemesis Design, can be considered the “encapsulation” of the band’s short but very active career,  containing revamped versions of some of their original demos mixed with brand new compositions and, of course, a high level of brutality and stamina.

In the cinematic/alien-inspired intro Beyond the Celestial Realms, ominous acoustic lines and a phantom voice inform the listener a dangerous journey is about to begin, entitled Voyage Through Dimensions.  This feast of old school Death and Thrash Metal with a futuristic concept brings forward sheer dexterity and aggressiveness through the guitar riffs by Xander Bradley and Henry Parker, which precisely follow the potent rhythm imposed by drummer Ryan Sheperson. The second half of the song gets groovier thanks to the rumbling sound of the bass guitar by John Riley, adding layers to a song that has all it takes to become the band’s biggest classic in the future.

cryptic-shiftWhen a song is named Deathcrusher, we all know it’s going to be a demonic onrush perfect for breaking your neck headbanging until its apocalyptic ending, with its Slayer-ish riffs being nicely complemented by some traditional Death Metal beats.  In addition to that, Xander and Ryan not only have their kick-ass riffs to provide us, but their solos are also amazing. The following song, Spore, showcases a traditional fast-paced Death Metal rhythm boosted by the piercing guitars by Xander and Ryan, sounding like a fusion of Anthrax and Death, in special the vocal lines by Xander. And after the song’s calm and harmonious break halfway through it, we’re treated to a storm of groovy high-end guitar solos and endless progressiveness. Lastly, the initial peace found in Glacial Reclamation suddenly gives place to an outstanding Thrash Metal extravaganza, with Xander blasting his growls while John keeps delivering his low-tuned punches. All band members display a high level of adroitness with their instruments in this solid and thrilling composition, getting even more progressive than all previous tracks.

The gates to the parallel universe of Death Metal crafted by Cryptic Shift can be found at the band’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, SoundCloud and ReverbNation, and the key to open those gates can be purchased at their official website or BandCamp page, at the Fractured Mind Records’ BandCamp, at the Nightbreaker Productions’ webstore, at the Tictail’s webstore, or at the Blood Harvest’s webstore. Cryptic Shift aim at conquering this universe (and any other existing ones) with their fusion of progressiveness and brutality, and based on the high quality of the music found in Beyond the Celestial Realms, we can say their spaceship of Death Metal is on course without a shadow of a doubt.

Best moments of the album: Voyage Through Dimensions.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Fractured Mind Records/Nightbreaker Productions

Track listing    
1. Beyond the Celestial Realms 1:12
2. Voyage Through Dimensions 5:29
3. Deathcrusher 6:04
4. Spore 5:40
5. Glacial Reclamation 4:40

Band members
Xander Bradley – vocals, guitars
Henry Parker – guitars
John Riley – bass
Ryan Sheperson – drums

Album Review – Sharked / Generalized Death Drive EP (2016)

In less than 15 minutes, this enraged quintet from France pulverizes everything and everyone that dares to cross their path with their relentless fusion of Deathcore and Death Metal.


coverPutting a label to French quintet Sharked might be a difficult task, but if there’s one thing we can say about the music by this unrelenting cohort is that it’s as pulverizing as an atomic bomb. Bringing together the most aggressive elements from Deathcore, Grindcore, Death, Thrash and even Black Metal, which makes them sound like the evil bastard of Testament, Pantera, Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse, Sharked are ready to disturb whatever is left of peace in our decaying society with their second EP, titled Generalized Death Drive, and let me tell you they need less than 15 minutes to achieve their malevolent goal.

Formed in October 2010 in the city of Lyon, France by guitarist Tom Roger, and having released their self-titled debut EP that same year, Sharked have suffered a few changes through the years before reaching their current lineup, shaping up their music to the high-octane and belligerent form found in Generalized Death Drive. Featuring a straightforward artwork by Grégory Diot, each song in the EP was baptized with the name of a type of killing (as the suffix -cide means “a killer of”), those being genocide (the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation), liberticide (the destruction of freedom), infanticide (the crime of killing a child within a year of birth), tyranicide (the killing of a tyrant), homicide (the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another) and suicide (the act of intentionally causing one’s own death), all seasoned with the sheer truculence and wrath by Tom and his crew.

A few beeps warn the listener it’s time for total anarchy in Genocide, a devastating tune led by Tom and his lancinating riffs, while lead singer L’Abbé S.M. growls and barks like a rabid dog. And the massacre goes on until the very end of the song with not a single second of peace, giving no time for the listener to breathe before a hurricane of metal music named Liberticide begins. Faster and leaning towards modern Death Metal, it sounds very clean, professional and metallic due to the album’s amazing production, with drummer Nicolas Ramboz keeping the musicality on fire with his unstoppable blast beats. The next track, Infanticide, also showcases an outstanding level of anger and hatred, where the vocals by L’Abbé S.M. will inspire you for some violent slamming into the circle pit. This is like a Deathcore version of contemporary Cannibal Corpse thanks to the unique sonority generated by Sharked’s heavy artillery, in special by the bestial drumming by Nicolas and the fierce bass lines by Jérémy Conil.

sharkedIn Tyranicide they send a statement saying they’ll never slow down their music, reaching a demented pace enhanced by the sick beats by Nicolas, not to mention the crisp and menacing sound of Tom’s guitar; followed by Homicide, a modernized Deathcore chant where the wicked noises and samples by ArtRose work really well together with the rabid havoc brought forth by the rest of the band. And closing the album we have Suicide, offering more brutality for lovers of extreme music with L’Abbé S.M. sounding like a choleric Max Cavalera at times. In less than two minutes, they triturate whoever is still alive after all the insanity in the form of music found in the EP.

To sum up, Sharked’s killing feast witnessed in Generalized Death Drive might be considerably short, but it’s more than enough to carve their names in the underground of French extreme music and, consequently, to open the doors for the band to record their first full-length album pretty soon. If you want to know more about Sharked, go check their Facebook page and SoundCloud, and you can buy a copy of the EP at the Sepulchral Silence Record’s BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon and tons of other locations. Their songs might be named after types of killings, but if there’s one thing they don’t kill at all is good music. Quite the contrary, it’s bands like Sharked who keep the fire of underground metal burning bright, always putting their passion for extreme music above everything else, maintaining the longevity of this type of music even when society and mainstream record labels and producers go against it.

Best moments of the album: Liberticide and Infanticide.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Sepulchral Silence Records

Track listing   
1. Genocide 3:12
2. Liberticide 3:09
3. Infanticide 2:54
4. Tyranicide 1:19
5. Homicide 2:11
6. Suicide 1:54

Band members
L’Abbé S.M. – vocals
Tom Roger – guitars
Jérémy Conil – bass
Nicolas Ramboz – drums
ArtRose – samples

Album Review – The Agonist / Five (2016)

An average album by a band that has the potential to offer a lot more than this, full of highs and lows and quite confusing at times.


the-agonist_fiveI might be absolutely wrong in what I’m about to say and many of you won’t probably agree with me but, after the remarkable success achieved by the fantastic Eye of Providence last year, I believe Canadian Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band The Agonist rushed things a bit in the release of Five, their fifth installment and by far the album containing some of the weakest tracks ever recorded by this iconic Montreal-based band. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good moments in Five, but the album as a whole lacks more creativity and punch, being full of highs and lows that end up making listening to it quite confusing at times.

Featuring an eccentric artwork by Brazilian artist Gustavo Sazes, and with all song names beginning with “THE” (in case you’re a person obsessed with minor details), Five doesn’t sound as fresh and inspiring as their previous albums, feeling at times as if they were “forced” by some contractual clause to release a new album in 2016, which kind of explains why you’ll find amazing compositions like “The Anchor and the Sail” mixed with forgettable songs such as “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. For instance, the album is unimaginatively called Five, a pedestrian name not even close to the beauty of Lullabies for the Dormant Mind or Eye of Providence. However, if there’s one thing that’s absolutely awesome from start to finish is the performance by the stunning blonde banshee Vicky Psarakis, who saved several parts of the album from being a disaster.

Despite its promising ominous intro, The Moment doesn’t live up to its hype, quickly turning into generic Melodic Metal with lazy guitars and drumming. As aforementioned, although Vicky continues to impress on vocals as she did in Eye of Providence (and she had a lot of fun recording the official video for this song which you can see at the end of this review, by the way), this is certainly one of the most unexciting songs the band has ever written. The Chain is a billion times faster and heavier, just the way it’s supposed to be, with Danny Marino and Pascal “Paco” Jobin doing an awesome job on guitars, and despite its backing vocals sounding a bit out of place the overall result is pretty good, with highlights to its interesting lyrics (“Can I have the attention of the class? / Open up your text / The city of Seven Hills / Another illustration of the autophagy / Put down your fiddle, Lady Liberty / And take a good long look”).

My favorite of all tracks, The Anchor and The Sail, is the good old The Agonist we got used to but with a more contemporary touch, perfectly representing the evolution in music every artist always search for. Its rhythmic and potent riffs and beats, together with Vicky kicking fuckin’ ass on both clean vocals and harsh screams (especially during the song’s enraged chorus), accredit this to become one of their biggest hits in a near future as soon as fans have time to absorb all the music in Five properly, which is not the case in The Game, another song with a promising intro that unfortunately fades into genericism, feeling more like filler than like an honest composition by the band. Then Vicky and drummer Simon McKay lead the musicality in the solid The Ocean through their beautiful vocal lines and harmonious and powerful beats, displaying the right amount of classic The Agonist blended with some interesting experimentations that could easily become a radio hit; followed by The Hunt, which albeit not a masterpiece in terms of creativity, at least it maintains a good flow of energy with Vicky once again stealing the show. And if you say I’m being too picky and that I only enjoy their old classics, let me tell you one of my favorite compositions in Five hands down is the devilish Blues-inspired semi-acoustic ballad The Raven Eyes, completely different from anything the band has ever done before and something I would love to see The Agonist replicating live. The stunning performance by Vicky, declaiming the song’s venomous lyrics embraced by a deliciously dark atmosphere and complemented by smooth piano notes and acoustic guitar lines, is the epitome of awesomeness.

the-agonist_2016I have absolutely no idea why the Nightwish-like instrumental track The Wake was included in Five. It’s not a bad composition, not at all, but it doesn’t add anything remarkable to the album except for almost three minutes to its total duration. I’m not even sure if I can consider this one of the worst songs of the album so out of place it is. Anyway, The Resurrection, one of the heaviest of all songs in Five, brings forward another promising start and excellent lyrics (“Take these coins off my eyes / I’m not ready to be put down / If only you could hear the screaming in my mind / Take these coins off my eyes”), with my only complaint being that it could have kept the same wrath from its first few seconds during the whole song. The Villain follows a similar pattern, losing a little of its punch halfway through it, but nothing that harms its overall electricity. Moreover, the amazing low-tuned sounds by bassist Chris Kells and the furious drumming by Simon provide all the necessary support for Vicky to keep firing her potent growls.

The last part of the album is just downhill in terms of quality and adrenaline, starting with The Pursuit of Emptiness, which is not heavy enough to be Melodic Death Metal nor light enough to be Hard Rock, getting lost in trying to incorporate too many different genres at the same time; whereas the worst of all songs, The Man Who Fell to Earth, would have been a complete disaster if it wasn’t for Vicky’s passionate vocals. Exhibiting the blandest instrumental parts of all tracks, you’ll forget this song exists as soon as it’s over. And the regular version of the album ends with a not-so-bad composition entitled The Trial, nothing truly remarkable but at least it adds some fire to an album below my expectations. And if you grab the limited edition of Five you’ll be treated to their cover version for Hozier’s Take Me to Church, a solid tribute to a contemporary classic, albeit I still prefer Vicky’s old cover songs available on her YouTube channel like her sensational version for “Stricken” by Disturbed.

One day Five might grow on me, but so far after tons of listens at different times and places I still don’t feel this is the best The Agonist could have done as the next step in their amazing career and I don’t believe what I wrote in this review will change much. You can listen to a preview of each track HERE and take your own conclusions (or you can obviously buy the full album), and although I’ll add a few of the songs from Five to my playlist together with all their previous classics, I think it will be hard for me to go and pick Five in its entirety to be part of the soundtrack for my commute, at the gym, at home or anywhere else. I don’t believe the band sold out like I read many people saying in the past week, but the fact that they released a new album when the previous one was still very fresh and vibrant doesn’t make a lot of sense. Well, let’s see what they will offer us next, and as long as it’s not called “Six” it will already be an advancement compared to Five.

Best moments of the album: The Anchor and the Sail, The Ocean and The Raven Eyes.

Worst moments of the album: The Moment, The Pursuit of Emptiness and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Released in 2016 Napalm Records

Track listing  
1. The Moment 4:14
2. The Chain 3:12
3. The Anchor and the Sail 3:49
4. The Game 2:50
5. The Ocean 4:27
6. The Hunt 3:35
7. The Raven Eyes 5:34
8. The Wake 2:44
9. The Resurrection 5:22
10. The Villain 5:00
11. The Pursuit of Emptiness 4:03
12. The Man Who Fell to Earth 3:53
13. The Trial 4:33

Limited Edition Digipack bonus tracks
14. Take Me to Church (Hozier cover) 5:52
15. The Raven Eyes (acoustic version) 5:36

Band members
Vicky Psarakis – vocals
Danny Marino – guitar
Pascal “Paco” Jobin – guitar
Chris Kells – bass
Simon McKay – drums

Album Review – Front / Iron Overkill (2016)

Into the battlefield we march to the hellish sound blasted by three unrelenting Finnish soldiers of Black and Death Metal.


12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}When a band states that their music sounds like “rusty barbed wire moving at the speed of a missile”, you already know a sonic war is about to start, and that obviously means there’s nowhere to run, no place to hide from that brutal devastation. The band in question is Finnish Black/Death Metal squad Front, a power trio of darkness blasting a fulminating sound deeply inspired by iconic Black Metal juggernauts such as Marduk, Infernal War and Bestial Warlust blended with the badass attitude from their Rock N’ Roll heroes Motörhead, resulting in their debut full-length opus, a deadly weapon of mass destruction entitled Iron Overkill.

Founded in 2015 in the city of Lahti, Finland, Front already conquered the deepest pits of the black and death underground in their homeland after the release of their 2015 demo, making all fans of extreme music eager for more of their onslaught of crushing ultra-violence. Despite Front being a brand new name to the scene, the three troopers behind this beast (Kaosbringer on vocals, Von Bastard on guitars and bass, and Revenant on drums) have deep roots in the Finnish underground, having played in bands like Sacrilegious Impalement, Evil Angel and Neutron Hammer, among others, clearly explaining the high level of professionalism and malignancy found in their music.

Transpiring Black Metal with a rebellious attitude, let the raw and noisy drums and riffs by Front kick off the demented opening tune Defiance, a song to break the walls and exterminate everything where the vocals by Kaosbringer remind me of the unstoppable Swedish bulldozer Mortuus (Marduk) with a Death Metal vibe, followed by the insane massacre named Legion Front. This is unrelenting Black Metal displaying cutting guitar lines and infernal beats, while the growls by Kaosbringer reach a new devilish level. In other words, this song is beyond perfect for slamming like a motherfucker into an insane circle pit. And when a song is called I Am Death it definitely has to sound evil, with the bass guitar by Von Bastard and the menacing drums by Revenant setting fire to another feast of darkness that takes Black Metal to a new level of destruction, similarly to what Marduk do today but with Front’s own wicked touch.

front_promopic-2016-aOne single but powerful word pronounced by Kaosbringer (“ATTACK!”) ignite sheer devastation in the excellent Wargods Unbound, with the rumbling bass lines by Von Bastard leading the initial onrush before satanic Black Metal riffs and an enraged Kaosbringer join this chaotic but extremely well-crafted chant. It’s simply impossible not to get thrilled by the band’s performance and by the song’s warlike atmosphere, enhanced by its amazing backing vocals. Front’s sonic assault goes on with the extremely heavy Kypck, with highlights to its metallic guitar lines and bestial drumming, as well as the deeper growls by Kaosbringer which end up adding an extra dosage of ferocity to the overall result; followed by Tribunal of Terror, where a rhythmic start complemented by some devilish vociferations explodes into a full-bodied Extreme Metal hymn. There are absolutely no shenanigans in this solid composition, only brutality fired by a high-skilled band, especially through the dynamic rockin’ riffs by Von Bastard.

And there’s still more combat-inspired extreme music for you flowing from the Hardcore guitars, fiery growls and infinite hatred found in Cold Gravel Grave, a song that will kick you in the guts due to its unparalleled aggression (with its second half being perfect for breaking your neck headbanging), before sheer violence and evil come ripping in Heathen Resistance, where our electrified Black Metal platoon showcases their skills and tell the world they will always fight for extreme music, never giving up or betraying their roots, displaying once again an amazing job done on drums by Revenant and the thunderous bass guitar by Von Bastard. In addition, pay good attention to the song’s rhythm, going from pure Black Metal to beer-drinking Rock N’ Roll the likes of Motörhead and Chrome Division, a fusion Front are capable of doing almost to perfection.

As we march into the battlefield to the aggressive music presented in this excellent album by Front, go check their Facebook page for more info on their music, upcoming tours and plans for the future, and you can also find Iron Overkill on sale at the Iron Bonehead Productions’ BandCamp, at their webshop in two different versions (as a regular jewelcase CD or as a special 12” LP edition including a 350gsm jacket with matt varnish and inside flooded in black, a 140g black vinyl, a 220g printed cardboard innersleeve and an A2 poster on 150gsm art paper), at the Record Shop X or at Discogs. If you purchase a copy of Iron Overkill, then maybe (just maybe) these three unrelenting soldiers of Black and Death Metal will spare your miserable life from total doom.

Best moments of the album: Defiance, I Am Death, Wargods Unbound and Tribunal of Terror.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Iron Bonehead Productions

Track listing
1. Defiance 4:37
2. Legion Front 3:27
3. I Am Death 3:39
4. Wargods Unbound 4:34
5. Kypck 5:02
6. Tribunal of Terror 4:13
7. Cold Gravel Grave 4:39
8. Heathen Resistance 5:58

Band members
Kaosbringer – vocals
Von Bastard – guitars, bass, choir vocals
Revenant – drums, choir vocals

Guest musician
Lux Tenebris – backing vocals