The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC+2 exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC+2) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your Greece-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC+2 (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

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Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Album Review – Shocker / Shocker EP (2021)

Enjoy this journey through the past, present and future of rock and metal music brought forth by five hardworking and talented Belgian “shockers”.

Formed somewhere in 2018 in Kuurne, a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, from an old idea by frontman Sammy Peleman (After All, September Syn) and bassist Koen (when Sammy performed as a guest vocalist in Koen’s cover band Back to Back), Shocker are a Heavy Metal and Hard Rock outfit that doesn’t like to be stuck to any boundaries or labeled as just one specific music style, bringing to our ears an amalgamation of rock and metal genres and subgenres with a strong 70’s Psychedelic Rock vibe to make things more entertaining and vibrant. Now in 2021 it’s time for Sammy and Koen, together with their bandmates  David Vandewalle (Anesthesy, Artrach) on the guitars, Chris Dedeurwaerder (Phoenix Rebellion) on guitars and keyboards, and Jelle Vandewalle on drums, to release their debut self-titled EP, containing four no shenanigans rockin’ songs that will take you on a journey to the past, bring you back to the present, and show you that the future of Rock N’ Roll is safe thanks to hardworking and talented bands like those Belgian rockers.

And let Shocker’s party begin with some good old, electrifying Rock N’ Roll in the opening tune Thrillseeker, with David and Chris bringing a touch of 80’s metal to the music with their riffs while of course Sammy kicks some ass with his Glam Metal vocals; whereas switching gears to a darker sonority found in some of the more contemporary songs by Iron Maiden they offer us all Twisted Shape of Man, before Jelle begins pounding his drums accompanied by the rumbling bass by Koen and the incendiary riffs from the band’s guitar duo. Then Koen ignites the band’s somber machine with his low-tuned, metallic bass in The Genuine Falls while Sammy declaims the lyrics with tons of passion and introspection, resulting in a classic Heavy Metal tune that slowly and gradually accelerates its pace until reaching an epic, galloping sound led by Jelle’s beats, also infused with a few welcome Progressive Rock and Metal nuances. Lastly, closing the EP it’s time for some groove in the Hard Rock and Hair Metal extravaganza titled Breaking the Silence, where the strident riffs and solos by David and Chris walk hand in hand with Sammy’s soaring vocals, therefore putting a classic conclusion to their debut effort.

Despite the fact that the EP is relatively short in duration, with the four songs lasting for a combined running time of a little less than 23 minutes, it’s indeed an amazing indication of where those five skillful musicians are headed to in their future releases, not to mention their progressive vein allows them to experiment a lot more than other regular bands, which of course means we can expect a few good surprises from Shocker anytime they release a new EP or full-length album. Furthermore, as a completely independent band that loves the DIY style from the bottom of their hearts as much as they love rock music, they need our support and admiration to keep moving forward in their career, so why not paying them a visit on their official Facebook page not only to provide your feedback on their music, but more important than that, to purchase their newborn EP and to keep on rockin’ in the free world? That’s what electrifying rock music like what those Belgian “shockers” have to offer us all is all about, and that’s pretty much all that we need in our lives.

Best moments of the album: The Genuine Falls.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Thrillseeker 5:07
2. Twisted Shape of Man 6:56
3. The Genuine Falls 5:17
4. Breaking the Silence 5:26

Band members
Sammy Peleman – vocals
David Vandewalle – guitars
Chris Dedeurwaerder – guitars, keyboards
Koen – bass, backing vocals
Jelle Vandewalle – drums

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 – Wojtek / Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops? EP (2021)

Bang your heads in total isolation to the sound of the new EP by this Italian Sludge Metal entity, offering us all four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns.

Wojtek is a basic, Polish male name. Wojtek is also a Syrian bear who fought in the Battle of Cassino, during World War II, carrying crates of ammunition and roaring at enemies. And Wojtek is also a Padua, Italy-based band born in May 2019, playing a heavy and raw fusion of Sludge and Doom Metal, and who have just released their third EP curiously titled Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, offering fans of heavy music four austere songs born from the boredom and frustration of two lockdowns. Comprised of vocalist Mattia Zambon, guitarists Morgan Zambon and Riccardo Zulato, bassist Simone Carraro and drummer Enrico Babolin (who was also the producer of the album), Wojtek dig deeper into their favorite topic, that being human misery, in each of the four tracks of the EP, with the mixing and mastering by Mattia Bonafini, the cryptic artwork by the band’s own guitarist Riccardo Zulato and the logo by View From The Coffin adding an extra touch of darkness, rage and despair to the band’s venomous metal music, therefore living up to the legacy of the most primeval form of Sludge Metal.

In the opening track Catacomb we’re treated to wicked lyrics growled by Mattia (“Grow my fears / Is this town real? / Drill my ears / Endless pain I feel / Whenever you whisper I break / Every inch of my muscles will shake”) while his bandmates blast their instruments with tons of rage and aggressiveness from the very first second in an infernal display of contemporary Sludge Metal, and Enrico continues to add his share of animosity to their rebellious music through his Thrash and Death Metal beats in Desensitized, with Morgan and Riccardo slashing their strings mercilessly. Put differently, this is a neck-breaking, violent tune that reeks of progressiveness and obscurity. Then an instrumental and absolutely atmospheric horror movie-inspired interlude entitled Rednetrab (or “bartender” backwards) will send shivers down your spine before those Italian metallers come crushing one last time with their dirty and Stygian sounds in XX Years, a beyond disturbing creation where the bass punches by Simone will hit you right in the face while Mattia vociferates rabidly à la Mike Patton, bringing to our ears a flawless hybrid of Hardcore and modern-day Stoner and Sludge Metal tailored for admirers of the genre.

If you’re curious to know more about Wojtek and their wicked creations, you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram right away, and grab your copy of Does This Dream Slow Down, Until It Stops?, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, from several locations including the band’s own BandCamp page, the Ripcord Records’ BandCamp page, the Teschio Dischi’s BandCamp page, the Violence In The Veins’ BandCamp page, and Apple Music. In the end, it looks like this never-ending pandemic has been extremely fruitful for the guys from Wojtek, inspiring them to turn their inner darkness and frustrations into first-class doom and, consequently, offering us all another good reason to keep banging our heads while in total isolation from society.

Best moments of the album: Desensitized and XX Years.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Ripcord Records/Shove Records/Teschio Dischi/Fresh Outbreak Records/Violence In The Veins

Track listing
1. Catacomb 4:37
2. Desensitized 5:02
3. Rednetrab 4:08
4. XX Years 5:31

Band members
Mattia Zambon – vocals
Morgan Zambon – guitars
Riccardo Zulato – guitars
Simone Carraro – bass
Enrico Babolin – drums

Album Review – Wolvencrown / A Shadow Of What Once Was EP (2021)

The new EP by this UK Atmospheric Black Metal entity depicts a time when the primeval forest swathed their homeland in arboreal splendor, enfolding the listener in layers of dream and memory.

Following up on the success of their 2019 critically acclaimed album Of Bark And Ash, Nottingham, England-based Atmospheric Black Metal horde Wolvencrown returns with a three-track EP titled A Shadow Of What Once Was, building upon the dynamic melodies and rich atmosphere of their debut opus. Showcasing a stunning artwork by Spanish illustrator Joan Llopis Doménech (Lustre, Sojourner, Ruadh), A Shadow Of What Once Was enfolds the listener in layers of dream and memory, summoning the scent of fallen leaves, the touch of evening mists and the howl of the pack upon the cold night breeze, all accompanied by the enthralling sounds crafted by vocalist and guitarist Nick, guitarist Jack, bassist Reece, keyboardist Will and drummer Matt. In other words, this is a release to be cherished, a dark treasure to uncover, a chance meeting upon a midnight path with long dead kings whose shades are swift of foot and sharp of tooth.

And they don’t waste a single second and begin blasting unfiltered, no shenanigans Atmospheric Black Metal in A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.1, with Nick roaring and slashing his strings at the same time accompanied by the Doom Metal beats by Matt, not to mention the phantasmagorical keys by Will while also presenting elements from classic Norwegian Black Metal. Then we have A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2, the second part of this multi-layered extravaganza that is just as imposing and grandiose as its first act, with Will and Matt darkening the skies with their wicked keys and beats while Nick, Jack and Reece make an infernal stringed triumvirate, resulting in a captivating fusion of obscurity and madness with beautiful and atmospheric passages. Last but not least, get ready for over seven minutes of ethereal instrumental Atmospheric Black Metal made in the UK in Coming To An End, bringing forward a sinister Cradle of Filth-inspired vibe led by Will’s classy keys and the minimalist, tribal beats by Matt, therefore feeling like the soundtrack to a creepy horror movie.

After listening to their debut self-titled EP, to Of Bark and Ash, and now to A Shadow of What Once Was, I must say it’s truly impressive what the guys from Wolvencrown are capable of offering us fans of extreme and atmospheric music without sounding outdated or cheesy; quite the contrary, those UK metallers are always reinventing themselves and surprising us with new sounds, elements and nuances added to their core Atmospheric Black Metal. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook, and to grab your copy of A Shadow of What Once Was from their own BandCamp page or from Clobber Records in CD or cassette format or as a special bundle that comes with their 2017 debut self-titled EP. For some bands an EP might represent a stop gap release, a time filler between the serious business of full-length albums, but for this skillful UK band A Shadow of What Once Was represents a doorway to new visions, a fresh opportunity to explore and create something vital, alive and utterly essential, depicting a time when the primeval forest swathed their homeland in arboreal splendor.

Best moments of the album: A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Clobber Records

Track listing
1. A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.1 5:22
2. A Shadow Of What Once Was pt.2 5:44
3. Coming To An End 7:04

Band members
Nick – vocals, guitars
Jack – guitars
Reece – bass
Will – keyboards
Matt – drums

Album Review – Vox Mortis / Avignam Jagat Samagram (2021)

The Indonesian rabid dogs of Death Metal are ready to attack in their visceral 13-track debut opus packed with aggressive riffs and intense blast beat while at the same time raising awareness about animal welfare.

Mixed and mastered by Indonesian musician Muhamad Ridho Leonard (of bands like Choria, Infitar and Kill Athena), who’s also the session guitarist in the album under the moniker Rsharsh, Avignam Jagat Samagram is the debut opus by Indonesian Death Metal act Vox Mortis (which translates from Latin as “the voice of the dead”), containing 13 visceral songs packed with aggressive riffs and intense blast beat while at the same time raising awareness about animal welfare. Formed in 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia’s massive capital sitting on the northwest coast of the island of Java, by vocalist Doni Herdaru Tona (of Funeral Inception, Bloody Gore, Kerangkenk and more), bassist Donirro and drummer Achmad Mustaid (of Vomitology and Funeral Inception), Vox Mortis will pulverize your senses with Avignam Jagat Samagram, attacking you like a feral beast while sending a very important (and obviously dark) message about how animal cruelty is helping to drive our society to its abominable and inevitable end.

Rev up your engines as total annihilation is about to start in Sadisfaction, with Achmad crushing his drums ruthlessly while the guitars by Rsharsh will slash your ears like a sharp razor blade. In other words, it’s brutal and technical Death Metal for the masses, which is also the case in Forever No To Dog Meat, a Brutal Slamming Death Metal chant made in Indonesia where the band tries to uncover the dark side of dog meat trade circulation and the cruelty behind it until it is served as food, with Doni sounding like a creature from the abyss with his guttural growls; followed by the title-track Avignam Jagat Samagram, just as bestial and pulverizing as the previous songs, with the addition of some background orchestrations making it even more diabolical and with Donirro and Achmad being on fire with their rumbling bass and blast beats. Their fusion of old school Death Metal with epic music goes on in Bayar Dendam Balas Hantam, where Donirro delivers some Alex Webster-inspired bass jabs while Achmad keeps hammering his drums furiously; and talking about human abusive behavior and animal cruelty, it’s time for the trio to get back to a rawer and more visceral sonority in Primata Durjana, where Doni keeps barking like a deranged dog (which makes total sense) accompanied by the demented kitchen by his bandmates. Then vile and aggressive from the very first second, Mati! Mati! Mati! Is another solid display of savagery in the form of Death Metal spearheaded by the thunderous drums by Achmad.

In Tetes Darah Pecundang the band adds elements of Groove Metal to their usual sonic madness, but of course always loyal to their vile roots, with Doni’s growls walking hand in hand with the stone crushing beats by Achmad, whereas leaning towards the Death Metal played by Cannibal Corpse in their most recent albums the band fires the obscure and groovy Torture 365, presenting an amazing job done by Donirro with his sick bass while Rsharsh’s riffs overflow violence. There’s no time to breathe as Ronta Semesta begins in full force, led by the infernal drumming by Achmad and the always wicked roars by Doni, and also no sign of things slowing down as Vox Mortis keep demolishing our senses in Di Atas Altar Tradisi, with Doni vociferating manically while Rsharsh brings wrath to the music with his riffage. After a wicked intro the band comes back with their fusion of Death Metal and Deathslam in the form of Friends Not Food, where the bass by Donirro sounds more metallic and vicious as the music progresses, and the band delivers a fast and hellish Death Metal sonority that’s pretty good by itself, but that of course lacks Doni’s evil roars, in the instrumental Ode Untuk Sang Jendral. Lastly, how about a sick tribute to the one and only Morbid Angel with Chapel of Ghouls/Immortal Rites, both taken from their 1989 classic album Altars of Madness? You can check the original versions for Chapel of Ghouls and Immortal Rites on YouTube and see for yourself that Vox Mortis’ tribute lives up to the darkness of the original songs.

If you want to know more about those relentless Indonesian death metallers and their quest for animal rights, you can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream more of their music on Spotify, and sooner than you think purchase their excellent and devastating debut album from their own BandCamp page, from the Necropsy Records webstore and from the Rapture Records webstore. The album’s aggressive album art, designed by the talented Indonesian musician and illustrator Adi Christianize (Dechristianize Art), is the perfect depiction of the music by Vox Mortis, where a beastly, monstrous dog is finally unleashed from his chains and is ready to seek revenge against mankind, exactly how the Death Metal by those Indonesian rabid dogs sound. It’s visceral, violent and thrilling from start to finish, just the way we fans of extreme music love it, and I personally can’t wait to see what’s next for such promising band from “The Emerald of the Equator.”

Best moments of the album: Forever No To Dog Meat, Avignam Jagat Samagram and Torture 365.

Worst moments of the album: Ode Untuk Sang Jendral.

Released in 2021 Cerberus Productions/Necropsy Records/Rapture Records

Track listing
1. Sadisfaction 4:02
2. Forever No To Dog Meat 3:17
3. Avignam Jagat Samagram 4:09
4. Bayar Dendam Balas Hantam 3:58
5. Primata Durjana 3:17
6. Mati! Mati! Mati! 2:51
7. Tetes Darah Pecundang 3:55
8. Torture 365 3:54
9. Ronta Semesta 3:37
10. Di Atas Altar Tradisi 3:50
11. Friends Not Food 3:49
12. Ode Untuk Sang Jendral (Instrumental) 5:00
13. Chapel of Ghouls/Immortal Rites (Tribute to Morbid Angel) 3:52

Band members
Doni Herdaru Tona – vocals
Donirro – bass
Achmad Mustaid – drums

Guest musician
Rsharsh – guitars (session)

Album Review – Orecus / The Obliterationist (2021)

Behold the rebirth of an amazing Swedish act armed with their first full-length album, drawing influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart.

Founded in 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden and having released an EP titled Conclusion in 2016, but re-ignited as a band in 2020, Melodic Death Metal unity Orecus draws influences from the riff-focused modern-era Death Metal together with the aggression of its older counterpart, forming a clear path between sheer brutality and clever songwriting. Comprised of Philip Grüning on vocals, Elias Ryen-Rafstedt and Francis Larsson on the guitars, and Martin Maxe on bass, Orecus are set to release their first full-length opus entitled The Obliterationist, showcasing the band’s capability to create uncompromising Modern Death Metal that both grooves and reeks havoc, spiced up by the pristine re-amping, mixing and mastering by Buster Odeholm of Impact Studios and enfolded by a dark and aggressive artwork by Jorden Haley, who has already worked with bands the likes of Daath and The Agony Scene.

Elias and Francis begin slashing their guitars mercilessly in The Obliterationist while Philip roars the song’s austere lyrics like a true beast (“There’s money to be made in reeking havoc / When our leaders slaughter for personal gain / Provoking the underdogs / Until their fates are sealed”) in a vicious display of modern-day Melodic Death Metal; and hammering drums are accompanied by the low-tuned, metallic bass by Martin in Distress Signal, a good headbanging tune where Philip’s growling gets deeper and more demonic than before, also presenting elements from classic Death and Groove Metal. Then investing in a more contemporary sonority by adding hints of Metalcore to their already infernal sound, the band fires the venomous The Destruction Path, where the strident riffage by Elias and Francis will pierce your mind like a bullet, whereas featuring guest vocalist Chad Kapper (Frontierer) we’re treated to Blodvite, displaying industrialized sounds and endless electricity flowing smoothly from all instruments. Moreover, it’s impressive how they can sound technical but at the same time extremely dark and heavy, and it’s time to crush our spinal cords into the circle pit to the sound of Omnipotent, a brutal Melodic Death Metal composition where sheer violence and rage exhale from the band’s riffs, bass jabs and drums nonstop.

Supported by the spot-on guest vocals by Fredrik Söderberg (Soreption), the bass by Martin sounds and feels beyond visceral in Below The Threshold, while the band’s guitar duo cuts our skin deep with their demonic shredding accompanied by Philip’s inhumane gnarls, and they continue their Melodic Death Metal onrush with the also heavy and dark Unborn, Reborn, showcasing an amazing job done by both Elias and Francis in absolute sync with the song’s intricate beats. Then the deep guttural roars by Philip will haunt your soul in the bludgeoning tune My Manifest, presenting their trademark Melodic Death Metal guitars intertwined with a somber atmosphere and endless savagery. In Become The Nihilist the band shows why they’re never tired of blasting obscurity and rage from their sonic weapons, albeit not as vibrant as its predecessors and sounding a bit generic after a while. It’s still heavy-as-hell, though, setting the tone for Extinct, bringing to our ears one last round of their Stygian words barked by Philip (“I’ve caught a glimpse of what’s to come / A sinking world / Suffocated by submissive views / The deafening silence speaks volumes”) while the music remains as demented as possible, not to mention how thunderous Martin sounds on bass.

The ruthless guys from Orecus are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on Spotify to show you exactly what they got, and of course in order to provide them your utmost support you can purchase The Obliterationist from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon, adding such intense album of Melodic Death Metal to your personal and vile collection. As already mentioned, Orecus offer us fans of extreme music a fantastic fusion of old school and modern-day Death Metal with endless aggression, heaviness and intricacy in The Obliterationist, and let’s hope that their newborn spawn is just the first step in this new phase of their career, keeping the flames of underground Swedish Melodic Death Metal burning high and bright for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: The Obliterationist, The Destruction Path and Below The Threshold.

Worst moments of the album: Become The Nihilist.

Released in 2021 Violent Groove

Track listing
1. The Obliterationist 4:42
2. Distress Signal 3:23
3. The Destruction Path 4:08
4. Blodvite 3:32
5. Omnipotent 4:27
6. Below The Threshold 3:57
7. Unborn, Reborn 5:06
8. My Manifest 3:52
9. Become The Nihilist 3:39
10. Extinct 4:27

Band members
Philip Grüning – vocals
Elias Ryen-Rafstedt – guitars
Francis Larsson – guitars
Martin Maxe – bass

Guest musicians
Chad Kapper – vocals on “Blodvite”
Fredrik Söderberg – vocals on “Below The Threshold”

Album Review – Heavy Feather / Mountain of Sugar (2021)

Rawer, heavier and harder, the sophomore album by these sensational Swedish roots rockers ooze with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs.

Two years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Débris & Rubble, vocalist Lisa Lystam, guitarist Matte Gustavsson, bassist Morgan Korsmoe and drummer Ola Göransson, collectively known as Stockholm, Sweden-based Roots Rock outfit Heavy Feather, are ready to stun us all once again with their sophomore effort entitled Mountain of Sugar, an even rawer, heavier and harder album than their previous one, but still with the Roots and Psychedelic Rock touch holding it all together. Recorded by  Erik “Errka” Petersson at No Regrets Fonogram in Stockholm and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Lucifer, Imperial State Electric), Mountain of Sugar consists of 11 tracks oozing with a 70’s sound and feel, filled with attitude, raw vocals and roaring guitar riffs, therefore being once again highly recommended for fans of iconic bands like Free, Cream and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Let’s take a journey back to the 70’s to the magical riffs by Matte in 30 Days, and Lisa doesn’t take too long to begin mesmerizing us with her powerful voice accompanied by her bandmates’ classic backing vocals in an awesome way to properly kick off the album, whereas singing about the eternal fight between time and love (“When I get old / Start counting my days / Living them slow / Living in haze / There’s one thing that’s clear / And that is your grace”), Bright in My Mind is another solid Rock N’ Roll tune with Morgan carefully slamming his bass from start to finish. Love Will Come Easy brings forward more of their fusion of 70’s rock music with contemporary Hard Rock and Blues, with Ola dictating the pace while Lisa shines as usual with her piercing vocal lines; and catchy lyrics (“Yes I’m relentless, a mountain of sugar / And I keep on rising, the mountain of sugar / I am mesmerizing, a mountain of sugar / But don’t get me feisty, the mountain of sugar”) and an upbeat vibe are the main ingredients in the vibrant Mountain of Sugar, not to mention Lisa’s kick-ass harmonica. Then a Deep Purple-inspired riff by Matte is boosted by the classy kitchen blasted by Morgan and Ola in Too Many Times, where Matte also adds tons of electricity to the music with his soulful riffs. And did I mention there’s also some cowbell for our total delight?

It’s time for a classic ballad by Heavy Feather titled Let It Shine, where Lisa steals the spotlight with a very passionate vocal performance while her bandmates deliver smoothness and love through their refined instruments, whereas Come We Can Go is old school Rock N’ Roll for admires of the genre, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and showcasing an amazing job done by Ola on drums. In Sometimes I Feel we’re introduced to a male vocalist (perhaps Matte?) instead of Lisa’s usual vocals, with Matte and Morgan being in total sync with their stringed weapons, generating a gentle but at the same time heavy ambience. Lisa is then back on vocals to hypnotize our senses in Lovely Lovely Lovely, while Ola fires classic beats and fills and Matte continues to shine with his electrifying solos; and a high dosage of Rock N’ Roll riffs and beats permeate the air in the awesome Rubble & Débris, a wordplay with the title of their previous album, inspiring you to sing, drink and bang your head together with the quartet while Lisa steals the show once again with her visceral vocals. Finally, ending the album the band delivers a delicate and beautiful ballad titled Asking in Need, perfect for listening to it while embracing your loved ones, all spiced up by the whimsical riffs and solos by Matte.

Those Swedish rockers are definitely making a name for themselves in the worldwide Rock N’ Roll scene, first with Débris & Rubble and now with Mountain of Sugar, two albums that can already be considered a must-have for anyone who enjoys old school rock music. You can get to know more about Heavy Feather on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel, stream all of their awesome creations on Spotify, and grab your copy of Mountain of Sugar from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, and soon from other locations. It’s a pleasure seeing how Heavy Feather took a step forward in their career with Mountain of Sugar without giving up their passion for the past, which only proves Rock N’ Roll is not only timeless, but also as sweet and delicious as sugar.

Best moments of the album: 30 Days, Mountain of Sugar and Rubble & Débris.

Worst moments of the album: Sometimes I Feel.

Released in 2021 The Sign Records

Track listing
1. 30 Days 3:41
2. Bright in My Mind 3:27
3. Love Will Come Easy 4:07
4. Mountain of Sugar 2:23
5. Too Many Times 2:46
6. Let It Shine 2:52
7. Come We Can Go 3:44
8. Sometimes I Feel 3:59
9. Lovely Lovely Lovely 4:13
10. Rubble & Débris 3:15
11. Asking in Need 3:40

Band members
Lisa Lystam – vocals, harmonica
Matte Gustavsson – guitars
Morgan Korsmoe – bass
Ola Göransson – drums

Album Review – Black Diamonds / No-Tell Hotel (2021)

These talented Swiss hard rockers are finally back in action with their fourth full-length album, inviting us all for a massive load of rock and glamour once we step through the door of the band’s own hotel.

Following up on the success of their 2017 album Once Upon A Time, Rhine Valley, Switzerland-based hard rockers Black Diamonds are finally back in action with their fourth full-length album entitled No-Tell Hotel, inviting us all for a massive load of rock and glamour once we step through the door of the band’s own hotel. Currently formed of Michael Kehl on vocals and guitar, newcomer Chris Johnson on lead guitar (replacing the band’s former guitarist Andreas Rohner), Andi Fässler on bass and Manuel Peng on drums, Black Diamonds tell gripping stories of the guests at No-Tell Hotel, leaving no detail out in their new album and, more important than that, offering our ears pure, kick-ass Rock N’ Roll that brings back the fun and rebellious attitude of the Sunset Strip of 1986, being therefore recommended for fans of Mötley Crüe, Poison and the early years of Bon Jovi, among others.

Chris and Michael ignite the band’s rockin’ machine with their classic riffs in No-Tell Hotel, where the whole band sounds sharper and more melodic than in their 2017 album, all spiced up by wicked guitar solos and a catchy chorus, while in Evil Twin we’re treated to lyrics about the dangers of alcoholism (“I am a married man, the nice guy next door / A valued member of community / I lead a quiet life, yet I’m far from bored / Because my job can be sheer lunacy / And in the nighttime, when the mood is right / A few drinks are all it takes to turn the tide”) embraced by a true headbanging rhythm where Manuel is bestial behind his drums. Then acoustic guitar generate an introspective ambience for Michael to shine on vocals before the electricity level goes through the roof in Lonesome Road, an old school Rock N’ Roll tune infused with 80’s Hard Rock; and putting the pedal to the metal the band delivers a Hard Rock and Glam Metal hymn titled Forever Wild, spearheaded by the slashing guitars by Michael and Chris while Andi hammers his bass in great Duff McKagan-inspired fashion.

It’s time for a pure, unfiltered Hair Metal chant titled Saturday (and don’t forget to check their South Park-themed official video as it kicks ass), where although its lyrics are a bit odd they make total sense if you’re into 80’s rock and metal, with Manuel dictating the pace with his stylish beats. Then slowing things down the quartet delivers a passionate ballad named Anytime, a bit cheesy (but in a good way), with their soulful solos adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result, not to mention its delicate piano notes; while pounding drums and endless stamina are the main ingredients in The Island, with Michael being absolutely on fire with his raspy vocals accompanied by the razor-edged and very melodic guitars by Chris, resulting in a song highly recommended for a day at the beach. And their Rock N’ Roll steamroller continues to crush us all in the melodic My Fate, where the rumbling bass by Andi and the headbanging drums by Manuel will put you to dance together with the band.

Hand In Hand is another serene and atmospheric ballad by Black Diamonds where Michael takes the lead with his classic vocal lines while Chris provides him a solid support with his Bon Jovi-like acoustic guitars, whereas back to a more thrilling sound it’s time to get down to the Sunset Strip in Reaching For The Stars, with Andi and Manuel delivering sheer thunder with their a heavy kitchen while Michael sends a positive message through his vocals. And as we all know, it’s not a true Hard Rock album without some cowbell, offered by Black Diamonds in the exciting Turn To Dust, presenting hints of the music by icons such as AC/DC, Motley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses, consequently being perfect for singing along with the band; whereas a Western-ish intro evolves into a dancing tune entitled Outlaw, showcasing a galloping rhythm, endless fun and a very entertaining performance by all band members incorporating traditional country music elements to their core Hard Rock.

Black Diamond’s Rock N’ Roll party is just starting inside No-Tell Hotel, and if you want to join those talented Swiss rockers in their celebration of life, death, love and hate you can follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, subscribe to their YouTube channel and stream their catalogue on Spotify for more of their 80’s Hard Rock, and of course purchase No-Tell Hotel from their own webstore, or by clicking HERE to buy or stream your favorite version of the album. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to spend a few nights at No-Tell Hotel together with Black Diamonds? I’m sure you’ll have nothing but a good time relaxing at such respectful hotel to the sound of their inspiring music.

Best moments of the album: Evil Twin, Forever Wild and The Island.

Worst moments of the album: Hand In Hand.

Released in 2021 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. No-Tell Hotel 4:01
2. Evil Twin 5:12
3. Lonesome Road 3:50
4. Forever Wild 4:22
5. Saturday 3:20
6: Anytime 4:45
7. The Island 3:58
8. My Fate 3:31
9. Hand In Hand 5:17
10. Reaching For The Stars 3:57
11. Turn To Dust 3:50
12. Outlaw 3:55

Band members
Michael Kehl – vocals, guitar
Chris Johnson – lead guitar
Andi Fässler – bass
Manuel Peng – drums

Album Review – Rioghan / Blackened Sky EP (2021)

An up-and-coming Finnish poet and lyricist translates her work into music in her debut EP, deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal.

Formed in 2019 by Finnish singer Rioghan Darcy, Lapua, Finland-based Alternative/Gothic Metal entity Rioghan is deeply rooted in Progressive, Gothic and Progressive Metal, translating into fresh and captivating music Rioghan’s work as both a poet and a lyricist. Now in 2021 our dauntless artist teamed up with Jonne Soidinaho, Eemeli Bodde and Atte Pohjonen, all skilled musicians from the Finnish music scene, to come up with a four-song EP entitled Blackened Sky, her debut installment as a vocalist. With all instruments being recorded and programming done by Eemeli and Jonne in various locations while vocals were recorded with Ville Hautaluoma in his studio in Seinäjoki, Finland, Blackened Sky brings something new to the table, being recommended for fans of rock and metal music who are not afraid of exploring newer, more alternative lands that are at the same time heavy, obscure, whimsical and fascinating.

Atmospheric and ethereal form the very first second, the opening track Hollowness already presents Rioghan’s delicate, enfolding vocals boosted by the song’s gentle background keys in a stylish fusion of Progressive and Alternative Rock and Metal, whereas sick Groove Metal riffs and bass punches together with tribalistic beats generate the perfect ambience for Rioghan’s piercing voice in Enough, where she showcases her more aggressive side and, therefore, turning this song into a must-listen for fans of the music by bands like Tesseract and Jinjer. Then investing in a much more alternative sound Rioghan brings forth the stylish Wither, where you won’t find the heaviness of the guitars from the previous song but instead electronic and atmospheric elements like what’s seen in the music by Lorde; and lastly, it’s time for an embracing, orchestral ambience in Corrupt, with Rioghan being supported by classic acoustic guitars while the music flows smoothly until everything fades to the sound of her comforting vocals.

I guess there’ll be a lot of discussion among fans of alternative music if Rioghan is rock, metal or something else, and that’s in my humble opinion the beauty of her music, avoiding any labels while at the same time bringing forth stunning elements from an array of musical styles, with Blackened Sky perfectly representing the first step in her promising career. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Rioghan by following her on Facebook and on Instagram, by streaming her music on Spotify, and of course, by purchasing Blackened Sky from her own BandCamp page (or by pre-saving it to your desired music library by clicking HERE). I truly hope she doesn’t take too long to mesmerize us all once again with another EP or, even better, with her first full-length album, but until then let’s close our eyes and relax to the sound of the unique creations found in Blackened Sky, a short and sweet display of what this talented musician from the land of ice snow is capable of doing.

Best moments of the album: Enough.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Hollowness 3:25
2. Enough 4:46
3. Wither 3:18
4. Corrupt 3:26

Band members
Rioghan Darcy – vocals

Guest musicians
Eemeli Bodde & Jonne Soidinaho – all instruments, programming

Album Review – Los Males Del Mundo / Descent Towards Death (2021)

It’s time to descend into death to the sound of the debut album by this Argentinian duo, inviting us all to a conceptual journey and dragging us into the darkest and most remote places of the human soul.

Formed in 2016 in Buenos Aires, the capital of the charming Argentina, by vocalist and drummer Dany Tee (of bands like Acathexis and Seelenmord) and guitarist Cristian Yans (of Eroica), Los Males Del Mundo (which translates from Spanish as “the evils of the world”) combine today’s modern Black Metal sound with late 90’s Melodic Black Metal, with lyrics deeply influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, Emil Cioran and A. Schopenhauer. Later joined by bassist Nikita Kamprad (of German Black Metal band Der Weg einer Freiheit) as a producer and guest musician, the project released in 2020 their debut self-titled EP, shaping up their sound and inspiring them to release now in 2021 their first full-length effort, titled  Descent Towards Death. Recorded at Estudio Carmen in Argentina, produced, mixed, and mastered in Würzburg, Germany by Nikita himself, and displaying a grim artwork by Matt Lombard, Descent Towards Death is an invitation to a conceptual journey, dragging you into the darkest and most remote places of the human soul, reflecting an internal battle between aggressive and furious passages blended with dense and introspective landscapes full of melancholic melodies. In other words, simply hit play and be prepared to face one of the best and most intense Black Metal albums of the year.

The sluggish, somber guitars by Cristian kick off the 12-minute Atmospheric Black Metal feast titled Falling Into Nothing, exploding into dissident Black Metal where Dany not only crushes his drums ruthlessly, but his demonic gnarls bring even more obscurity to the final result, taking the listener on a one-way journey into the netherworld. In The Silent Agony their cryptic words will penetrate deep inside your psyche (“Like worms hiding from sunlight / we take shelter in the dirt / descending to the deepest filth -memories of the past – / trying to give sense to our existence / as redemption / to justify the misery of our days”) while the music remains dense and scorching from start to finish, with Dany sounding infuriated behind his drum set and screaming like Dani Filth in his Cruelty and the Beast-era; whereas in Eternal Circle Of Vain Effords they add a huge dosage of Blackened Doom and Doom Metal to their core sonority, with the bass punches by Nikita hammering your head without mercy while Cristian continues to extract darkness from his wicked riffs. Then venturing through more epic and Stygian lands the band fires the infernal Nothing But A Lie, where Cristian’s riffage and Nikita’s vicious bass walk hand in hand, therefore providing Dany all he needs to haunt our souls with his otherworldly roars and screeches. And Slayer-ish guitars à la “Seasons in the Abyss” permeate the air in the closing aria The Heavy Burden while Dany continues to growl like a demonic entity, always accompanied by the rumbling bass by Nikita, resulting in a multi-layered creation that will undoubtedly blacken the skies and your heart, not to mention how beautiful Cristian’s closing guitar solo sounds and feels.

In a nutshell, it’s truly impressive how bold, detailed and sharp the entire Descent Towards Death sounds coming from only two guys from Argentina that are just starting their career in metal music, positioning the album as one of the best releases of 2021 as aforementioned. Hence, if you want to put your hands on such precious gem of South American Black Metal, simply go to their own BandCamp page, to the Northern Silence Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore, as well as other locations such as Juno Records and Clear Spot. In addition, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for all things Los Males Del Mundo, including new music and videos, tour dates and plans for the future. It’s time to begin our descent into darkness and death together with this multi-talented Argentinian duo, and there’s nothing better than the austere and captivating music found in their newborn opus to guide us on this harsh but extremely thrilling voyage.

Best moments of the album: Falling Into Nothing and The Heavy Burden.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Northern Silence Productions

Track listing
1. Falling Into Nothing 12:12
2. The Silent Agony 8:28
3. Eternal Circle Of Vain Effords 5:16
4. Nothing But A Lie 4:56
5. The Heavy Burden 10:00

Band members
Dany Tee – vocals, drums
Cristian Yans – guitars

Guest musician
Nikita Kamprad – bass (session)