About Gustavo Scuderi

"If I could survive to live one more time I wouldn't be changing a thing at all Done more in my life than some do in ten I'd go back and do it all over again..."

Album Review – Agony Atlas / Retrogression Part I: Egomania EP (2020)

Bang you head to the debut EP by this newborn German band, combining elements of Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore and Groove Metal in their thrilling compositions.

Formed in 2019 in Koblenz, a German city on the banks of the Rhine and of the Moselle, a multi-nation tributary, female-fronted Progressive Metalcore unity Agony Atlas is ready to take the world of heavy music by storm with their debut EP entitled Retrogression Part I: Egomania, featuring three original tracks combining elements of Arch Enemy, Jinjer and Architects, among other renowned acts. Mixed and mastered by Aljoscha Sieg at Pitchback Studios, with vocals recorded at Airstream Studio Koblenz, and showcasing a modern logo designed by Jan Hilken, Retrogression Part I: Egomania might be really short in duration, with only 11 minutes of music, but that’s more than enough to prove frontwoman Liane Walter, guitarists Christoph “Smi” Fuchs and Andreas Nieratschker, and drummer Markus Möwis are on the right path to stardom, bringing forward all of their talent, hard work and passion for heavy music in their newborn spawn.

Just hit play and futuristic sounds will permeate the air in the Groove Metal feast titled Economy Class, where Christoph and Andreas extract metallic, austere sounds from their guitars nonstop, offering Liane all she needs to thrive with her enraged roars. Then you better get ready for another round of their fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore with modernized sounds in Egomania, where we’re all inspired to bang our heads to the crushing drums by Markus, living up to the legacy of the genre and, of course, with Liane once again sounding infernal with her she-demon screams. And last but not least, closing such short but extremely fun EP it’s time to jump up and down with Liane and the boys in Hymn Of Hatred, with the band’s guitar duo being in total sync with the blast beats by Markus, while the song’s lyrics exhale anger, hatred and obscurity, just the way we like it in extreme music.

Although Retrogression Part I: Egomania might represent only the very first step in the career of Agony Atlas, they already sound like true veterans throughout the entire EP, again pointing to a bright future ahead of them anywhere their music takes them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, to listen to their creations on Spotify, and obviously to purchase the EP (as well as other high-quality merch) from their own webstore, and soon from other retailers such as Apple Music and Amazon. As the name of the album already says, Retrogression Part I: Egomania is just the first part of something bigger Agony Atlas are planning on unleashing upon us sooner than later, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in the career of those German metallers based on the amazing music found in their debut effort.

Best moments of the album: Egomania.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Economy Class 3:25
2. Egomania 4:31
3. Hymn Of Hatred 3:28

Band members
Liane Walter – vocals
Christoph “Smi” Fuchs – guitars, keys
Andreas Nieratschker – guitars
Markus Möwis – drums

Album Review – Hark From The Tomb / Let Them Die (2020)

Behold the raw, primeval and heavy-as-hell statement of utter contempt for the current state of humanity by this uncanny Swedish Black Metal duo.

Sharing a history in the Swedish Black Metal scene ranging back to the 90’s, a mysterious duo known as Hark From The Tomb has just released their debut installment under this new moniker entitled Let Them Die, a statement of utter contempt for the current state of humanity as a species, tailored for fans of renowned acts like Marduk, Dark Funeral and Watain. Mixed by H.M. Corpse Foot in Atlantean Studios, mastered by Cripta, and featuring a stunning cover art based on the 19th century painting “Death” by Alphonse Edouard Enguérand Aufray de Roc’Bhian, a Paris, France-based artist who lived from 1833 until 1887, Let Them Die presents to the listener Hark From The Tomb’s firm stance in the low-fi ideals set by their Nordic predecessors, drawing their main inspiration from the old-school, primitive parts of the Black Metal scene, while the connecting themes of all songs on the album being the inability of humanity to evolve intellectually, the revolting character of mankind as a whole, and the unforgivable error of letting religion exist as anything more than an artefact of Bronze Age mythology.

And this Swedish two-headed entity doesn’t waste a single second and begin their 90’s-inspired Black Metal attack in Bring Forth Armageddon, showcasing the genre’s trademark blast beats, blazing riffs and those demonic, raspy gnarls perfect for haunting our souls, followed by His Will Made Flesh and its darkened words vociferated rabidly by the duo (“Seeking forbidden wisdom / Through spells and incantations / Unlocking untold powers / Through spiritual revelations / Every knowledge that corrupts me / That fills my body and my soul”), while the music remains fast, furious and absolutely infernal. Then the title-track Let Them Die will inspire you to slam your skull into the pit while the duo smashes their guitars and drums mercilessly in a solid display of classic Black Metal, sounding as raw and primeval as possible, whereas continuing their path of obscurity, sulfur and blasphemy those cryptic metallers fire the blackened feast titled No Longer Human, where they speed things up a bit, delivering extreme aggression through their wicked riffs and beats.

In Blood of the Lamb, an imposing atmosphere offers them exactly what they need to snarl the song’s acid lyrics (“Headfirst into the abyss / In search for salvation / Awash in the blood of the lamb / Blissful mental castration”), bringing forward nonstop savagery in the form of our beloved Swedish Black Metal, and there’s more bestiality flowing form their riffs and bass punches in Contamination of a Species, despite the fact the drums are not as dynamic as in previous songs, sounding way too rudimentary at times. After that it’s time for another hellish onrush of sounds in Plague, War, Death, a lot more melodic and vibrant, with all instruments being in great sync and, therefore, flowing smoothly and infernally until the very last second. Hark From The Tomb bring forth endless action and hatred in the also demonic Feeding His Hungering Flames, a pure, unfiltered Black Metal tune for the masses where their devilish roars match perfectly with the visceral music played, whereas closing the album we’re treated to one final Black Metal tempest by those Swedish metallers entitled Final Prayer, a headbanging, venomous tune where their raging growls and frantic blast beats sound like their own personal tribute to all things Black Metal.

According to Hark From The Tomb, the combination of easily led idiots, the charlatans that exploit the weak, and the ultimately cataclysmic symbiosis of the dumb and the evil that collectively holds back humanity as a species is the worst and most poisonous trait that both threatens the survival of humanity as a whole, and the source of the revulsion that led to the creation of Let Them Die. Hence, if you want to have a better taste and understanding of what their music is all about, and if you want to show them your utmost support, you can purchase the album directly form their BandCamp page or from Amazon, showing the world your admiration for the foundations of Scandinavian Black Metal and for the underground. Maybe one day the duo will finally reveal their faces and names to us all, but I guess you’ll agree with me when I say that’s just a minor detail in their new path under the name Hark From The Tomb, as long as they keep raising hell and blasphemy through their vicious creations, always portraying in their music the inevitable decay of our rotten society.

Best moments of the album: His Will Made Flesh, Let Them Die and Blood of the Lamb.

Worst moments of the album: Contamination of a Species.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Bring Forth Armageddon 3:24
2. His Will Made Flesh 3:17
3. Let Them Die 2:36
4. No Longer Human 3:13
5. Blood of the Lamb 4:00
6. Contamination of a Species 4:16
7. Plague, War, Death 3:20
8. Feeding His Hungering Flames 4:16
9. Final Prayer 5:09

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Vaginal Anomalies / Violent Devotion to Kill (2020)

Get ready for a feast of gore, heaviness and perversity in the form of Brutal Death Metal, courtesy of two demented Mexican metallers armed with their new full-length album.

What began as a one-man pathological project formed by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Pozolegrind (whose real name is Erick Alejandro Navarro Jimenez) back in 2014 in Poncitlán, a town and municipality in Jalisco, in central-western Mexico, has evolved into a beastly duo through the years, taking no prisoners in their quest for heaviness, blood and perversity. I’m talking about the infernal Brutal Death Metal/Deathslam two-headed monster curiously named Vaginal Anomalies, and even if you think the name of the band is too dark and gory for your standards, you should definitely take a listen at the infuriated fusion of Grindcore and Death Metal found in their first full-length opus, titled Violent Devotion to Kill, where Pozolegrind together with vocalist Cheve (also known as Alejandro Magallon) distill their most venomous sounds in the form of nine putrid and acid compositions, plus three amazing live bonus tracks.

A classic Mexican-inspired intro invites the listener to the blood-soaked world of Vaginal Anomalies, before exploding into a visceral and barbaric Death Metal feast led by the inhumane gnarls by Cheve in The Embalming Process in Decomposition Bodies, and Cheve’s growling gets even more demonic in Ditch Full of Dismembered Corpses, while Pozolegrind extracts sheer savagery from his riffage and beats. I must say this is a bestial way to break your neck headbanging to their vicious extreme music, whereas in Poncigrind we face less than two minutes of disturbing screeches and heavy-as-hell guitars that will penetrate deep inside your psyche before the demented tune Improper Desires to Fornicate Satan comes crushing our skulls mercilessly, with Pozolegrind maintaining the atmosphere as heavy and obscure as possible, therefore offering Cheve all he needs to basically vomit the song’s lyrics. And let’s keep banging our heads to the duo’s sick and brutal Death Metal in God Advise Me to Torture and Kill, where Cheve and Pozolegrind sound even more insane than before, in special Cheve who simply barks, snarls and roars like a demonic entity.

Perhaps inspired by one of the most iconic scenes from Breaking Bad, the duo fires another slamming and absolute raw creation titled Addicts to Disolve Torsos in a Bathub, where the guitars by Pozolegrind are just as hellish as Cheve’s deep guttural barks, while an ethereal start quickly turns into a visceral display of Brutal Death Metal entitled The Vulgar Pedophile Incitement of the Priest, featuring vocalist Alex Gama From Mexican Brutal Death Metal band Hallux Valgus, with both vocals being a lesson in bestiality and dementia. There’s no time to breathe as those Mexicans keep hammering our heads with their vicious sonic attack in Whore Maniac, offering more of their trademark riffs and otherworldly growling, and last but not least, they bring forth another shot of cinematic and traditional Mexican sounds in the title-track Violent Devotion to Kill, morphing into a slamming extravaganza led by the smashing drums by Pozolegrind while Cheve snarls in a true grim mode. Not only that, Vaginal Anomalies also offer their fans as bonus tracks the songs Internal Examination, Pelvic Infection and Placenta Abnormalities live at Mexxxicore Death Fest Open Air in 2019 in Poncitlán, providing us all a sonic carnage showcasing all their talent and fury on stage.

I guess I don’t need to say the music by Vaginal Anomalies is not recommended at all for the lighthearted, right? However, if their savagery and gruesome lyrics (and name) don’t make you vomit, you’re more than welcome to pay them a visit on Facebook and to grab your copy of their infernal album sooner than later from the Necromance Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from the Base Record Production’s BandCamp page. This is crude, primeval and extremely brutal Death Metal infused with Goregrind elements, with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, with Vaginal Anomalies clearly wanting to send us all fans of heavy music a clear message that their home country and of course the rest of the world are not a place for love, peace and butterflies, but for sheer violence viciously turned into the ruthless Death Metal played by those two depraved Mexican metallers.

Best moments of the album: Ditch Full of Dismembered Corpses, Improper Desires to Fornicate Satan and The Vulgar Pedophile Incitement of the Priest.

Worst moments of the album: Whore Maniac.

Released in 2020 Necromance Records/Base Record Production

Track listing
1. The Embalming Process in Decomposition Bodies 3:32
2. Ditch Full of Dismembered Corpses 2:19
3. Poncigrind 1:42
4. Improper Desires to Fornicate Satan 2:25
5. God Advise Me to Torture and Kill 2:33
6. Addicts to Disolve Torsos in a Bathub 2:04
7. The Vulgar Pedophile Incitement of the Priest 2:24
8. Whore Maniac 2:13
9. Violent Devotion to Kill 3:40

Bonus tracks
10. Internal Examination (Live) 2:31
11. Pelvic Infection (Live) 1:42
12. Placenta Abnormalities (Live) 1:36

Band members
Cheve – vocals
Pozolegrind – guitars, bass, drum programming, vocals

Guest musician
Alex Gama – vocals on “The Vulgar Pedophile Incitement of the Priest”

Album Review – Null Positiv / Independenz (2020)

A fantastic hybrid of Melodic Death Metal with Alternative Metal and Neue Deutsche Härte brought forth by one of the best new names of the underground German scene.

Forged in the fires of Lübbenau, Germany back in 2015 by the multi-talented frontwoman Elli Berlin, the up-and-coming Alternative/Nu Metal army known as Null Positiv has been on a constant and healthy rise in the underground scene releasing an array of electrifying albums since the band’s inception, starting with their 2016 debut EP Krieger until their brand new opus titled Independenz, or “independence” in English, brought into being earlier this year. Currently comprised of the stunning Elli Berlin on vocals, Bene Gugerbauer on the guitars, Manu Altendorfer on bass and Flo Schnablo on drums, Null Positiv are definitely one of the most interesting bands hailing from Germany from the past few years, not only presenting a fantastic hybrid of Melodic Death Metal with Alternative Metal, but singing all of their songs in their mother tongue German (just like their countrymen Rammstein), giving their music an organic and powerful vibe, with their new album Independenz beautifully representing their amalgamation of styles, their passion for heavy music and, therefore, pointing to an even brighter future for Elli and the boys.

In a truly Neue Deutsche Härte-inspired mode, Null Positiv begin their industrial feast with the excellent Freiheit (“freedom”), where Manu sounds bestial with his metallic bass jabs while Elli roars and screams rabidly from start to finish, followed by Insomnia, bringing forward a thrilling fusion of Alternative and Industrial Metal that reminds me of some of the best creations by Korn, led by the whimsical riffs by Bene and the pounding drums by Flo. Moreover, the music flows smoothly until the very end, setting the tone for the title-track Independenz, where you don’t need to speak a single word in German to understand and feel deep inside your soul what Elli passionately declaims, evolving into a dark ballad showcasing rumbling bass lines, melodious riffs and an empowering atmosphere. And growling like a demonic entity Elli steals the spotlight in the Melodic Death Metal tune Armageddon, infused with modern-day Groove Metal elements while Bene and Manu make a dynamic and incendiary duo with their thunderous strings.

Once again venturing through more alternative and modernized lands, Flo dictates the rhythm with his classy beats supported by the strident guitar lines by Bene in Gib Mir Ein Zeichen (“give me a sign”), while Elli “raps” the song’s lyrics. Then it’s time to be stunned by the gorgeous performance by Elli in the delicate but somber Blutdiamant (“blood diamond”), a stylish semi-ballad where its vicious bass and drums make an amazing paradox with its piano notes and all gentle background elements, whereas Phantomschmerz (“phantom pain”) sounds even more metallic and aggressive than its predecessors, with Elli singing and growling in great fashion while Flo shows no mercy for his drums (and consequently for our necks). After such amazing display of savagery by Null Positiv, grim vocalizations, a sense of hopelessness and endless electricity will penetrate deep inside your soul in Ich Fühl Nichts Mehr (“I don’t feel anything anymore”), one of their most atmospheric tunes while keeping their core Alternative Metal vibe intact.

Let’s keep banging our heads to their groove and melody in the exciting aria titled Fall Out, perfect for jumping up and down with Null Positiv in a fusion of contemporary Melodic Death Metal and alternative music, with Bene kicking ass with his riffs, and the quartet never seems tired of smashing our heads with their heavy-as-hell but very harmonious music as we can all witness in Schwarzes Labyrinth (“black labyrinth”), a very pleasant composition where Manu and Flo bring thunder and groove to our ears with their rumbling weapons. In Deine Haut (“your skin”) we’re treated to a rising metal intro where the guitars by Bene are intertwined with Elli’s striking vocals, resulting in a solid creation by Null Positiv (albeit not as flammable as the rest of the album), followed by Kommen Und Gehen (“come and go”), their last breath of insanity in the form of music with a welcome 80’s and 90’s vibe, bringing forward a great paradox between riffs and drums while Elli continues to hypnotize us all with her piercing clean vocals and evil gnarls.

In a nutshell, if you’re a fan of the Neue Deutsche Härte crafted by Rammstein and at the same time of female-fronted metal bands the likes of Arch Enemy, The Agonist and Infected Rain, you should definitely take a shot at Independenz, which is by the way available for streaming in its entirety on Spotify, as the new installment by Null Positiv might be exactly what you’re craving in heavy and alternative music. Hence, don’t forget to give Elli and the guys a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for all of their breathtaking videos, and of course to purchase Independenz from the band’s own webstore, as well as from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. Null Positiv not only reached new heights with Independenz, but as the name of the album already suggests, any band in the world can be one hundred percent independent (Triplebase Records is their own label, by the way) and still be successful and deliver first-class music to the masses, proving to all critics that heavy music might not be the exact same thing as decades ago, but it’s still alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Freiheit, Armageddon and Phantomschmerz.

Worst moments of the album: Deine Haut.

Released in 2020 Triplebase Records

Track listing
1. Freiheit 4:09
2. Insomnia 4:05
3. Independenz 5:29
4. Armageddon 2:55
5. Gib Mir Ein Zeichen 3:37
6. Blutdiamant 3:27
7. Phantomschmerz 3:55
8. Ich Fühl Nichts Mehr 3:37
9. Fall Out 4:00
10. Schwarzes Labyrinth 4:06
11. Deine Haut 5:02
12. Kommen Und Gehen 3:37

Band members
Elli Berlin – vocals
Bene Gugerbauer – guitars
Manu Altendorfer – bass
Flo Schnablo – drums

Album Review – Eight Lives Down / Humans (2020)

Four distinct musicians from four different countries united in the name of metal, bringing to us all a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable.

Originally founded by Greek-Kiwi vocalist and lyricist Aliki Katriou in 2016 together with British guitarist James Scott (replaced by French guitarist Paul Allain in 2017), bassist Marcin Orczyk from Poland, and Brazilian drummer Rodrigo Moraes Cruz, London, UK-based Extreme Metal act Eight Lives Down has its roots in Groove and Thrash Metal, but constantly branches out stylistically incorporating influences from Progressive, Death and Black Metal, as well as various other musical genres such as Punk Rock, Blues, and traditional folk music, while vocals range from low growls and high screams to clean and even operatic phrases, creating a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable. Now in 2020 the quartet is ready to invade our senses with their debut full-length opus, entitled Humans, showcasing all their versatility, dynamism, creativity and rage, all enhanced by the album’s top-notch mixing and mastering done by Dan Baune at Noise Foundry Productions, while embraced by a modern, stylish artwork by Dylan Sutton.

The blazing guitar riffs by Paul kick off the sick and groovy Opening Shots, bringing forward a fusion of Melodic Death Metal with more modern and alternative styles, with Aliki growling like a true she-demon for our total delight, followed by Misguided, where the metallic bass jabs by Marcin will hit you in the face while Aliki blasts her wicked mix of clean vocals and harsh gnarls, leaning towards contemporary Thrash and Groove Metal while Rodrigo dictates the pace with his classy beats. Then the mesmerizing vocalizations by Aliki accompanied by tribalistic sounds and tones ignite the heavy and experimental Angela, with Paul, Marcin and Rodrigo bringing sheer progressiveness to the music with their refined techniques, whereas From The Cradle is a lot more introspective, grim and atmospheric than its predecessors, starting in a semi-acoustic manner while Aliki declaims the song’s dark lyrics, sounding at the same time like a 90’s Groove and Funk Metal tune and a modern-day thrashing tune, something a wicked band like Faith No More would definitely do.

More of their rumbling sounds permeate the air in the also heavy and furious Sacrifice, a lecture in Groove Metal by Eight Lives Down where Aliki’s roars get deeper and more enraged while Rodrigo sounds pulverizing on drums, supported by Marcin’s menacing bass; and in Organize Your Mind the quartet offers us all a hybrid of the rebelliousness of Alternative Metal with the intricacy of Progressive Metal, with Paul being on absolute fire with his demented riffage, while also presenting interesting atmospheric passages and endless heaviness. After that it’s time to break our necks headbanging together with Aliki and the boys in Colder, adding hints of Heavy Rock to their already crushing sonority while Paul and Marcin have a fun duel with their strident riffs and solos and low-tuned bass punches, respectively. Lastly, you better get ready for nine minutes of introspection, groove and heaviness in the form of Why, starting in a serene way with Aliki declaiming the song’s cryptic words, evolving into a thunderous metal feast led by Rodrigo’s visceral beats, not to mention the incendiary solos by Paul as the icing on the cake.

This precious gem of Extreme and Experimental Metal can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to show your support to Aliki and her loyal henchmen you should definitely buy a copy of Humans from their own BandCamp page, from their webstore or from Amazon, as well as follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such up-and-coming metal band, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their idiosyncratic creations. It will certainly be more than just interesting to see what the future holds for Eight Lives Down with their upcoming releases, if they’ll keep experimenting like crazy or if they’ll set a defined shape and style for their music. Until then, while we wait for the creative mind of Aliki to provide us more insanity in the form of music, we can keep banging our heads nonstop to Humans, by far one of the best alternative albums of the year.

Best moments of the album: Opening Shots and Sacrifice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Opening Shots 3:50
2. Misguided 4:01
3. Angela 3:56
4. From The Cradle 7:40
5. Sacrifice 3:52
6. Organize Your Mind 4:21
7. Colder 4:20
8. Why 9:02

Band members
Aliki Katriou – vocals
Paul Allain – guitar
Marcin Orczyk – bass
Rodrigo Moraes Cruz – drums

Album Review – South of Salem / The Sinner Takes It All (2020)

This excellent UK outfit is ready to take the entire world by storm with an album full of cult anthems that have a truly original (but recognizable) take on the rock and metal genres with a horror twist.

Having spent the best part of a decade working on various musical projects supporting the likes of Iced Earth, The Damned, Wednesday 13, and The Birthday Massacre, the up-and-coming Bournemouth, UK-based Hard Rock outfit South of Salem has just brought to life their debut effort The Sinner Takes It All, an album full of cult anthems that have a truly original (but recognizable) take on the rock and metal genres with a horror twist. Recorded at Grindstone Studio in Suffolk, UK and produced, mixed, and mastered by Scott Atkins (Cradle Of Filth, Amon Amarth, Sylosis, Behemoth), the title of the album, according to vocalist Joey, guitarists Kodi and Fish, bassist Dee and drummer Pip, “represents the corruption connected to wealth and power. How in dark times the rich become more affluent and the poor become more disconnected. During the current pandemic, small businesses are going under and people are more reliant on their government. Human beings abusing others, when they should be helping one another. The sinners are truly preparing to take it all. Enough is enough!”

A Rock N’ Roll storm is about to begin in Let Us Prey, with its lyrics inspired by The Purge film series (“They call us sick but we’re feeling fine / Just counting down to the killing time / Tonight, tonight was made for us / We know we’re sick but we hide it well / On a murder mile straight to hell / Tonight we’re armed and dangerous”) while Kodi and Fish sound beyond insane with their riffs, followed by The Hate In Me, a modernized hybrid of Motley Crüe and Godsmack with a heavier twist where Joey exhales rage through his vocals while Pip keeps pounding his drums in great fashion. Then it’s time for the band’s guitar duo to slash their axes nonstop in the Hard rock extravaganza No Plague Like Home, the perfect soundtrack for a pub brawl with Dee and Pip bringing the thunder to the overall result, not to mention its kick-ass guitar solos, whereas the rumbling bass punches by Dee provides Joey a dense base for his introspective vocals in Pretty Little Nightmare, a song about the darkest side of love, ready to be played on any Rock N’ Roll radio station thanks to the dynamic and classic beats by Pip. After such introspective composition, let’s all rev up our engines to the sound of Made To Be Mine, where the fiery riffs by Kodi and Fish will make your blood boil, evolving into a melodious and vibrant sonority showcasing spot-on backing vocals and another excellent performance by Joey.

Piercing guitars and an 80’s-inspired vibe are the main ingredients in the Melodic Rock tune titled Cold Day In Hell, with Joey leading his crew with his rockin’ vocals in another song about obscure relationships, whereas in Demons Are Forever, featuring Alex Avdis (aka The AvD) of Red Method and The Defiled, we face a grim, eerie atmosphere generated by all band members while Joey delivers a somber performance on vocals. Furthermore, don’t forget to check the stunning official video for this song as it is intended to raise suicide awareness. Back to a more berserk and vicious mode, the quintet blasts the Punk Rock-infused Another Nail In My Coffin, blending elements from the music by The Misfits and Social Distortion with their classic rock sound, all spiced up by the song’s enfolding riffs, and keeping the level of adrenaline high South of Salem offer us all Severely Yours, a song about temptation in long-term relationships presenting a great job done once again by Joey with his raspy vocals while Pipi delivers classic beats nonstop. Finally, closing such excellent album we have one more punk-ish tune entitled Dead Hearts Don’t Break, dealing with negative thoughts and the way one relationship can contaminate all future ones, with Kodi, Fish and Dee being on absolute fire with their stringed weapons.

In a nutshell, South of Salem more than nailed it with The Sinner Takes It All, an album that will undoubtedly entertain any type of rock and metal fan, from the ones who love a good melody to rockers who enjoy some action in the mosh pit. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, to stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, to support those talented UK musicians by purchasing their debut album from their own Big Cartel page (and sooner than later from other retailers such as Apple Music and Amazon). Relationships are always tough, it doesn’t matter where you come from, your religion, sexual orientation and so on, and as there’s not much we can do about that besides trying to be the best person to our significant other every single day, why not doing that while also enjoying the top-of-the-line rock and metal music provided by South of Salem in their new album? I’m more than certain that at least your ears, your mind and your soul will feel a lot stronger and happier to the sound of their awesome creations.

Best moments of the album: Let Us Prey, No Plague Like Home and Another Nail In My Coffin.

Worst moments of the album: Pretty Little Nightmare.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Let Us Prey 3:24
2. The Hate In Me 3:35
3. No Plague Like Home 4:06
4. Pretty Little Nightmare 3:53
5. Made To Be Mine 3:41
6. Cold Day In Hell 4:28
7. Demons Are Forever 4:41
8. Another Nail In My Coffin 3:53
9. Severely Yours 3:15
10. Dead Hearts Don’t Break 3:35

Band members
Joey – vocals
Kodi – guitar
Fish – guitar
Dee – bass
Pip – drums 

Guest musicians
The AvD – keyboards and samples on “Demons Are Forever”

Album Review – Eshtadur / From the Abyss (2020)

These unrelenting Colombian metallers return from the abyss once again embodying a deathly melodic atmosphere that reaches into realms of darkness and despair through the decay of humanity.

Three years after the release of the fantastic Mother Gray, which led the band to perform across several countries such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, the unrelenting Pereira, Colombia-based Melodic Death and Black Metal unity known as Eshtadur has just unleashed upon us all their fourth full-length installment, entitled From the Abyss, once again embodying a deathly melodic atmosphere that reaches into realms of darkness and despair through the decay of humanity. With a name translating to “rebellion of angels”, this South American outfit currently comprised of Jorg August on vocals and guitars, Alejo Guitarecho on the guitars and Andres El Negro on bass, with the support of Polish drummer Michał Łysejko, seeks to rebel in its own darkened way, embracing the abject reality, while offering in their new album ten potent and multi-layered songs tailored for diehard fans of the extreme music blasted by iconic bands such as SepticFlesh, Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Carach Angren, all embraced by the Stygian artwork by Colombian artist Carlos Jácome.

Featuring American guitarist Riche Brown from Mindscar, the opening tune Lowborn Bastard is imposing and atmospheric from the very first second, with Michał being already bestial on drums while Jorg roars deeply and manically, also presenting crisp guitar riffs and solos for our total delight, and pounding their instruments mercilessly the band offers our avid ears the fulminating The Adverse Side, showcasing a fantastic performance by Jorg and Alejo on the guitars accompanied by the thunderous bass by Andres and wicked symphonic background elements. Then we have The Red Door, a neck-breaking hybrid of Melodic Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal bringing forward cryptic words vociferated by Jorg (“The entrance of the never known / The altered state / I dare you find the door / Can you cross the line?”), while it’s impressive how Michał’s beats can be utterly bestial and intricate at the same time; and they go absolutely berserk in The Fall, blending the most visceral elements from Death and Black Metal spearheaded by the venomous growls by Jorg while their guitars sound as piercing and austere as possible. Following such demented tune, and featuring Swedish guiratist Henrik Danhage from Evergrey, She the Void ventures through the realms of Symphonic Doom Metal, presenting an interesting paradox between Jorg’s deep guttural and the song’s whimsical orchestrations, albeit being a little bit longer than what it should.

Then we’re treated to a very special cover version for the song All She Wrote, featuring Tunisian vocalist Zaher Zorgati from Myrath and once again Henrik Danhage on the guitars, originally recorded by Richmond, Virginia-based Glam Metal band FireHouse in their 1990 debut self-titled album (check the original version HERE), and Eshtadur’s version is simply amazing, bringing tons of metal to the original version’s core rockin’ vibe. It’s time for Eshtadur to put the pedal to the metal and blast the infernal Transient Stranger, where all band members are on fire, scathing our skins with their violence and wrath while Andres and Michał make the foundations of the earth tremble with their blackened, groovy sounds. Those Colombian metallers keep delivering sheer adrenaline, darkness and hatred in The Oathbreaker, with Jorg and Alejo making a demonic guitar duo while Michał pulverizes our senses with his menacing beats and fills in a lesson in contemporary Death Metal, followed by The Fear Difusser, featuring Colombian guitarist Adrián Holguín from Souledge, another round of acid, unfriendly extreme music by Eshtadur showcasing their usual blast beats intertwined with stunning background keys and slashing riffs. Lastly, there’s no better way to end such demolishing release than with an aggressive and furious tune, Disphased Dimension, led by Jorg’s devilish roars and the classic drums by Michał, while Andres brings the groove with his sick bass punches, putting a beautiful finale to the album.

As it happens with several bands from the most distinct parts of the world, it’s always a pleasure for fans of underground metal like myself to witness the organic and exciting growth of bands like Eshtadur, a band that’s not only carrying the flag of Colombian metal everywhere they go, but that has also been shaping up their own music style album after album, sounding more and more unique as times passes by, with From the Abyss representing another spot-on step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow Jorg and his henchmen on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, and to grab your copy of From the Abyss or to stream the album in its entirety by clicking HERE, keeping the flame of Colombian Melodic Death Metal burning bright for many years to come. After four ass-kicking albums and extensive tours all over the world, I wonder what’s next for such distinct band, and the answer to that seems quite simple after listening to their new album in full a few times, that Eshtadur will keep delivering first-class metal music no matter what, never selling off nor slowing down.

Best moments of the album: The Adverse Side, The Red Door and The Oathbreaker.

Worst moments of the album: She the Void.

Released in 2020 Blood Blast Distribution

Track listing
1. Lowborn Bastard 5:28
2. The Adverse Side 3:44
3. The Red Door 5:00
4. The Fall 3:46
5. She the Void 6:56
6. All She Wrote (FireHouse cover) 4:17
7. Transient Stranger 4:18
8. The Oathbreaker 4:41
9. The Fear Difusser 4:29
10. Disphased Dimension 4:35

Band members
Jorg August – vocals, guitars
Alejo Guitarecho – guitars
Andres El Negro – bass

Guest musicians
Michał Łysejko – drums (session)
Riche Brown – guitar solo on “Lowborn Bastard”
Zaher Zorgati – vocals on “All She Wrote”
Henrik Danhage – guitars on “All She Wrote” and “She the Void”
Adrián Holguín – guitars on “The Fear Difusser”

Album Review – Ragehammer / Into Certain Death (2020)

It’s time to head into certain death to the sound of the new album by this insane Polish brigade, offering us all ten slabs of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal violence.

Kraków, Poland’s own Black/Thrash Metal institution Ragehammer is finally back to the battlefront after four years of studio inactivity (since the release of their 2016 opus The Hammer Doctrine) and a year-long live hiatus with the same lineup comprised of The Hellstörm on vocals, Bestial Avenger on the guitars, Corpsebutcher on bass and Mortar on drums to once again spit with scorn at the trend-ridden scene, where aesthetics took over the ethics, armed with their sophomore full-length album entitled Into Certain Death. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikołaj Żentara at No Solace, featuring an enraged artwork by Devinez, and consisting of ten slabs of sonic violence with variable pain levels in the characteristic of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal style which continues the path Ragehammer chose when starting almost 10 years ago, Into Certain Death will offer the listener exactly what the band has always promised to provide in their rebellious career, a raw, warlike fusion of Black and Thrash Metal without compromises, unnecessary distance or mercy, and of course a very good reason for getting drunk and raising our horns in the name of evil.

Metal troopers are marching to the beats by Mortar in the uprising intro Beneath the Red Suns, suddenly exploding into a lesson in Blackened Thrash Metal titled We Are the Hammer, with Bestial Avenger extracting endless savagery and electricity form his stringed weapon, therefore providing The Hellstörm exactly what he needs to shine with his raspy, berserk growls. Moreover, when they speed things up it’s time to simply crush your skull into the pit, and there’s no sign of those four horseman slowing their music down as they blast a furious hybrid of Black, Death and Thrash Metal titled Jesus Goat, with Corpsebutcher and Mortar being thunderous with their respective bass punches and blast beats. In Peace let’s say the name of the song doesn’t match with its infuriated rhythm, with the band bringing forward a potent display of extreme music led by Bestial Avenger’s razor-edged riffage while The Hellstörm vociferates rabidly from start to finish in great blackened, thrashing fashion, whereas the band’s frontman roars viciously in his mother tongue in the sick Black and Thrash Metal extravaganza titled Na Pewną Śmierć, which is Polish for the album’s title “into certain death”, tailored for admirers of the heaviest side of thrash, with Mortar sounding utterly demented behind his drum set.

In the fulminating 616. TerrorKorps the band drinks from the same wicked fountain as thrashing masters Exodus and Slayer, but of course with the band’s own Polish twist, while the stringed duo Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher will at the same time pierce your ears and smash your head with their extreme aggression and speed. It’s clear that slamming is their business, and business is good, as in the high-octane Fear Toxin we’re treated to more of the infernal screams by The Hellstörm and the unstoppable drums by Mortar in what’s perhaps the song with the most Black Metal riffs of all, while tribal beats and a hellish atmosphere are offered to the listener in Omega Red, sounding darker and more introspective than its predecessors, and showcasing another brutal job done by Bestial Avenger armed with his devilish guitar. Ragehammer keep distilling their demonic hybrid of extreme styles in the fast and furious Dragon City, where the rebellious gnarls by The Hellstörm are effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals while Mortar doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second. And finally, a Stygian, somber intro darkly evolves into a massive wall of sounds in the imposing 8-minute aria titled Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal), the sequel to “Prophet of Genocide” from their 2012 demo War Hawks, with The Hellstörm investing into more anguished vocal lines while its second half presents Ragehammer’s usual sonic devastation.

I bet you can’t wait to join Ragehammer and head into certain death to the sound of their warlike metal music, and in order to do so simply pay the guys a visit on Facebook and (soon) purchase a copy of their breathtaking new album from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp or webstore in CD or LP format. The Hellstörm, Bestial Avenger, Corpsebutcher and Mortar nailed it once again with Into Certain Death, elevating their status in their homeland (and anywhere else in the world where ass-kicking extreme music is appreciated) from just a promise to one of the best and most entertaining acts of the underground scene, beautifully translating into their wicked creations exactly what Blackened Thrash Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: We Are the Hammer, Jesus Goat and 616. TerrorKorps.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Beneath the Red Suns 1:45
2. We Are the Hammer 3:58
3. Jesus Goat 3:29
4. Peace 4:25
5. Na Pewną Śmierć 4:28
6. 616. TerrorKorps 4:00
7. Fear Toxin 4:38
8. Omega Red 5:46
9. Dragon City 4:47
10. Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal) 8:54

Band members
The Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums

Album Review – Silent Obsession / Lost EP (2020)

Bang your heads to this venomous fusion of Technical, Progressive and Brutal Death Metal made in Algeria.

Inspired by renowned bands such as Decapitated and Morbid Angel, among other modern metal acts, Algiers, Algeria-based Death Metal unity Silent Obsession is eager to spread their fusion of Technical and Brutal Death Metal with more contemporary styles such as Groove Metal to all four corners of the earth, sending a bold message that Algerian metal can be as vibrant, demolishing and entertaining as any of their North American or European friends. Originally conceived as a solo project by guitarist Max Marginal in 2017 aiming at exploring humanity’s dark side, Silent Obsession evolved to a full-bodied band in the next couple of years until reaching their current lineup comprised of the aforementioned Max Marginal on the guitar, Danny on vocals and guitar, Manil on bass and Ben Der on drums, strengthening their sound and creativity and, consequently, culminating with the release now in 2020 of their debut EP entitled Lost, bringing to our avid ears 12 minutes of top-of-the-line extreme music made in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

The blazing guitars by Danny and Max set the tone in the violent EP intro, already showcasing all their skills while Ben Der crushes his drums manically and also presenting elements from Thrash and Black Metal, with Danny’s vicious roars adding a touch of malignancy to the overall result. Then bringing tons of progressiveness and rage together with their core sonority the quartet fires Paranoia Activity, where Manil’s bass punches will hit you hard in the face and with Danny growling more deeply and demonically than before in a technical display of Death Metal infused with Groove Metal nuances, all spiced up by some sick guitar solos, whereas D.E.A.D. sounds even more violent and devastating, with Manil and Ben Der generating an earthquake with their sonic weapons while Danny and Max keep extracting sheer dementia form their guitars, not to mention how rabid and insane Danny’s roars sound. In other words, this is an absolutely perfect Progressive Death Metal tune for smashing your spinal cord into the circle pit. Lastly, in Destruction of the Spirit the band once again blends their core Death Metal with other extreme styles such as Thrash Metal and even Progressive Groove Metal, with their riffs and solos being utterly fantastic, accompanied by the always infernal drums by Ben Der.

Just like their friends from Lelahell, Litham and Hellium, among several other excellent bands, Silent Obsession are determined to carry the flag of Algerian Death Metal wherever they go, and their debut effort Lost is indeed a great example of what they are capable of offering to demanding metalheads always searching for heavy, violent and fast music. Hence, don’t forget to give the EP a listen on Spotify, on YouTube and on Deezer, to follow Silent Obsession on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and to purchase a copy of Lost from Apple Music. Max and his loyal henchmen are eager to know what you think of their debut installment, especially if you’re a diehard fan of underground Death Metal, showing you once again that not only high-quality metal music can be found anywhere in the world, but also if Death Metal is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a musical trip to “Al Jaza’ir”.

Best moments of the album: D.E.A.D.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Intro 2:34
2. Paranoia Activity 4:32
3. D.E.A.D. 3:11
4. Destruction of the Spirit 2:22

Band members
Danny – vocals, guitars
Max Marginal – guitars
Manil – bass
Ben Der – drums

Album Review – Calarook / Surrender Or Die (2020)

On a quest for booze we go together with those unstoppable Swiss pirates and their debut full-length album.

On a quest for booze we go! That’s what frontman Philipp Wyssen, guitarist Nico Wiget, bassist Flavio Pompeo, drummer Yves Locher and violinist Lukas Mischler, collectively known as the unrelenting Winterthur, Switzerland-based Pirate Metal crew Calarook, promise to deliver in their debut full-length album Surrender Or Die, mixing rabid Melodic Death Metal with Folk Metal parts and sometimes a pinch of wonderful nonsense, therefore inviting us all to celebrate, mosh and headbang like there’s no tomorrow. Calarook have been on a roll since the band’s inception in 2014 (under the name Calico), firing an endlessly captivating seafaring sound that leaves no one standing still or even sober, starting with their 2017 EP Calico, but it’s now with Surrender Or Die that the quintet is ready to take us all on a full-bodied adventure across the seven seas, offering our avid ears over 69 minutes of first-class metal music while at the same time being always ready for more booze, pillaging and partying in the name of heavy music.

The tolling bells in the epic intro 47°30’18”N 8°51’52”E warn us all their festivities are about to start in A Cursed Ship’s Tale, sounding furious and imposing thanks to the crushing beats by Yves and the guttural roars by Philipp, while Lukas brings his share of lunacy with his whimsical violin, flowing smoothly until its climatic finale. They offer more of their visceral fusion of Melodic Death Metal with classic Death Metal and pirate music in Quest For Booze, an ode to all alcoholic beverages where Nico is unstoppable with his riffage accompanied by the rumbling bass by Flavio and the once again magical violin by Lukas, whereas it’s time to break your necks headbanging to the sound of Into The Storm, with Yves pounding his drums like a cannon from a pirate ship while Philipp continues to blast his inebriate, unfriendly growls. In the title-track Surrender Or Die the “captain” vociferates the song’s sailing lyrics rabidly (“We change the course / To pursue the prey / The distance gets smaller / The target turns away / But we can catch up / Prepared to fight / The cannons are loaded / Everyone is quiet”) while his bandmates generate a strong ambience with their respective instruments, inspiring us all to fight side by side with the band; and Flavio and his metallic bass ignite the rhythmic, dancing tune curiously titled Invisible Pineapples, showcasing an amazing job done by Nico with his slashing riffs. Put differently, simply  grab your beer and your sword and get ready to rock together with those metal pirates.

And those buccaneers keep delivering heaviness, speed and harmony in the excellent Kraken’s Chest, the epitome of Pirate Metal overflowing electricity and fury, also presenting an interesting paradox between Lukas’ classy violin and Yves’ thunderous beats, before it’s time to slam into the circle pit to the fun Paul The Parrot. Let’s all be honest, no one can stand still to a metal song about a parrot, with Nico and Yves making sure the rhythm remains as vibrant as possible in a great display of modern-day Melodic Death Metal, while Jack Rackham is another song exhibiting a pleasant speed and pace, with the violin by Lukas adding tons of finesse to the overall result while his bandmates continue to invite us all to prance around the fire pit. Kicking Flamingos is what I call a weird name for a song, but they’re pirates which means all makes sense; however, musically speaking it’s not on par with the rest of the album, sounding a bit generic despite Flavio’s great performance on bass. Fortunately, Calarook get back on track with their trademark Pirate Metal in Davy Jones’ Locker, a lot more introspective than its predecessors while Nico dictates the pace with his classic riffs, accompanied by Philipp’s deep growling.

In Tentacle Explosion we have less than three minutes of hammering Melodic Death Metal infused with the stylish violin by Lukas, resulting in a great option for their live performances which will certainly inspire us all to raise our horns and grab a pint in the name of metal music; and their loyalty to drinking and piracy goes on in Loyal To None But Rum, where all Calarook are telling us is to simply get drunk and slam into the circle pit to the sound of their thrilling music. Then venturing through more traditional lands, they fire their most Heavy Metal of all songs, The Legend Of Liquor Island, bringing forward a galloping rhythm led by Yves and his old school beats while Philipp keeps roaring and growling like a true pirate, whereas in The Feast Of Emerald Meadows the band fills our ears with a more vicious and violent sonority while Nico’s riffs walk hand in hand with Lukas’ violin. Hence, it will certainly urge you to sing its chorus along with Calarook while crushing your skull into the mosh pit once again, and closing this 69-minute pirate quest the band fires the classic The Undying Sailor, where despite the great job done by Yves and Lukas with their beats and violin, the final result is a bit messy, not to mention the song goes on for way too long.

If you’re ready to set sail together with the drunk and talented Swiss pirates of Calarook and support them in their epic adventures, you can follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for their fun and fresh official videos, stream more of their rebellious music on Spotify, and obviously purchase a copy of Surrender Or Die from the band’s own webstore (and soon enough from several other locations). In a world where people have the attention span of a goldfish, we must admit releasing a 69-minute album is a beyond bold move by Calarook, but yet again, as already mentioned they are not just musicians, but metal pirates, and as the great privateers they are they know exactly what they are doing by releasing such imposing and epic album. Or do you think only 20 or 30 minutes of music would be enough for all the action you can have together with Calarook on board of their ship in their quest for metal, rum, flamingos, parrots and pineapples?

Best moments of the album: Quest For Booze, Invisible Pineapples, Kraken’s Chest and The Feast Of Emerald Meadows.

Worst moments of the album: Kicking Flamingos and The Undying Sailor.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. 47°30’18”N 8°51’52”E 2:02
2. A Cursed Ship’s Tale 4:33
3. Quest For Booze 5:36
4. Into The Storm 7:05
5. Surrender Or Die 4:27
6. Invisible Pineapples 5:09
7. Kraken’s Chest 5:46
8. Paul The Parrot 3:36
9. Jack Rackham 3:22
10. Kicking Flamingos 3:33
11. Davy Jones’ Locker 3:47
12. Tentacle Explosion 2:34
13. Loyal To None But Rum 4:38
14. The Legend Of Liquor Island 3:03
15. The Feast Of Emerald Meadows 4:34
16. The Undying Sailor 5:37

Band members
Philipp Wyssen – vocals
Nico Wiget – guitar
Flavio Pompeo – bass
Yves Locher – drums
Lukas Mischler – violin