Album Review – Prion / Aberrant Calamity (2019)

Erupting from the warped heart of chaos, here comes a roaring Argentinian Death Metal horde armed with their brand new and extremely brutal album.

Erupting from the warped heart of chaos, here comes a roaring, screaming and slithering mass of nightmares named Prion, a Death Metal horde formed in the distant year of 1994 in the city of Buenos Aires, the capital of the always vibrant Argentina, tearing down the doors which guard your sanity, and letting loose every childhood fear kept locked away in darkness and drown your dreams in terror. Four years after the release of the excellent album Uncertain Process, from 2015, Prion are back even more enraged and vile than before, unleashing upon our damned souls their brand new, rip-roaring full-length album Aberrant Calamity, a lesson in sheer brutality highly recommended for diehard fans of Immolation, Krisiun, Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel.

Comprised of Gregorio Kochian on vocals and guitar, Walter Barrionuevo on bass and Flavio Coscarella on drums, Prion take no prisoners in their quest for old school Death Metal, adding absolutely zero artificial elements to their crushing sonority. Featuring a phantasmagorical and creepy cover art by Italian artist Marco Hasmann (Comatose Music), Aberrant Calamity is a precise and thunderous album of classic Death Metal where all three band members are in absolute fire and in total sync from start to finish, putting a huge smile on the faces of not only the fans of the band, but also to newcomers to the world of Prion who love when a band transforms their instruments into weapons of total annihilation.

It’s quite impressive how crisp, vibrant and raw the trio sounds from the very first second in the opening track Fictitious Form of Stability, with Flavio beginning his onrush of blast and furious beats à la Krisiun while Gregorio is a beast both with his demented riffs and his infernal growls; and as demolishing and intricate as the opening track, Irreversible Ways brings some Brutal Death Metal for the masses, with poetry and violence walking hand in hand in its lyrics (“So much real the time proceeds / without ask. Everything born and die, / we are not exempt from that. / Accelerating the natural course of the things. / Life disorders! / The malformed system now is out of control, / till our non existence.”). Following such smashing start, the rumbling bass punches by Walter will hammer your head mercilessly in I Remembered to Breathe, a sonic devastation that lives up to the legacy of old school Death Metal (and don’t forget to check their playthrough version HERE).

Apparently Flavio never gets tired of smashing his drums like a maniac, which is the case in Unable to Discern, an imposing Death Metal tune that feels at times like a “Death Metal Opera” (if that exists, of course), where Gregorio keeps vociferating rabidly and deeply in a true lesson in extreme music by this evil triumvirate from Argentina. Then get ready to slam into the circle pit to an avalanche of violent and technical sounds in Over the Asphalt of a New Era, with Gregorio and Walter extracting thunderous lines from their stringed weapons and, therefore, generating some unstoppable action for our avid ears and bodies. As you might have already noticed, there’s no time to breathe in Aberrant Calamity, with the dark, headbanging massacre entitled I’m Jonah, Sacrifice Me, led by Gregorio’s sharp riffs (and who also screeches like a demonic entity, by the way) sounding inspired by the greatest of the genre like Morbid Angel, Death and especially Prion’s neighbors Krisiun; whereas Pathological Self Destruction starts as obscure as possible, suddenly exploding into vile and infernal Death Metal where Flavio is once again precise and berserk on drums, generating a Stygian atmosphere perfect for Gregorio’s deep roars.

Are you tired already? Because there’s still more pulverizing Death Metal sounds made in Argentina for our total delight starting with Observed Relativity, showcasing a demented performance by Flavio on drums supported by Walter’s metallic bass, recommended for crushing your damned skull into the circle pit. The Hesse Paradox is another solid and demented display of extreme music brought forth by the trio, spearheaded by the scorching riffs by Gregorio while Walter and Flavio show no mercy for their instruments, sounding visceral and disturbing just the way we like it. And closing the album on a demolishing note to the detailed and potent beats by Flavio we have Slow Down, a song about our society’s cult of rush (“We live in the age of speed. / We strain to be more efficient, / to cram more into each minute, / each hour, each day of the existence.”) that will leave countless bodies on the floor after all is said and done.

If I were you, and especially if you’re an admirer of the pulverizing sounds of old school Death Metal, I would definitely take a good listen at Aberrant Calamity in full on YouTube or on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and buy a copy of this fantastic album of Argentinian Death Metal from the band’s own BandCamp page or from Comatose Music’s BandCamp or webstore, as well as from Apple Music, Amazon or Discogs. There’s a very good reason why Prion have been proudly carrying the flag of classic Death Metal high for decades already, and that’s simply because those talented and obstinate Argentinian musicians breathe and live Death Metal, with Aberrant Calamity representing their boiling blood flowing through their metal hearts.

Best moments of the album: Irreversible Ways, Unable to Discern and Pathological Self Destruction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Comatose Music

Track listing
1. Fictitious Form of Stability 4:33
2. Irreversible Ways 4:33
3. I Remembered to Breathe 5:12
4. Unable to Discern 4:36
5. Over the Asphalt of a New Era 4:09
6. I’m Jonah, Sacrifice Me 4:47
7. Pathological Self Destruction 4:28
8. Observed Relativity 5:10
9. The Hesse Paradox 4:33
10. Slow Down 4:40

Band members
Gregorio Kochian – vocals, guitars
Walter Barrionuevo – bass
Flavio Coscarella – drums

Advertisements

Album Review – Target / Deep Water Flames (2019)

Let’s all dive into the incendiary deep waters of Technical and Progressive Death Metal ruled by one of the most talented and innovative names of the South American metal scene.

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to be absolutely stunned by the music crafted by four extremely talented guys hailing from Santiago, the beautiful capital of Chile, who seem to have mastered the art of blending sheer aggression and tons of progressiveness infused with atmospheric and melancholic passages. I’m talking about a Technical/Progressive Death Metal four-piece unity that goes by the name of Target, who released earlier this year their sophomore full-length opus, the amazing Deep Water Flames, one of the best metal albums of 2019 so far without a shadow of a doubt, and I’m sure you’ll agree with that after listening to such imposing and dense album of extreme music.

Formed in the year of 2002, the band now comprised of lead singer Andrés Piña, guitarist Luis Soto, bassist Rodrigo Castro and drummer Rodrigo Arias put on a lot of hard work, passion for heavy music and talent into the making of Deep Water Flames. Recorded and mixed in Santiago by Erick Martínez at Orange Studio, mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Recording Studios, and featuring dark and flammable artwork, design and graphics by Dehn Sora, from Paris, France, Deep Water Flames sounds and feels like a tribute to all things Progressive and Death Metal, captivating all your senses from its first notes until its climatic grand finale, therefore positioning Target as one of the best and most innovative names of the underground scene in South America.

The intro Immerse is absolutely eerie and atmospheric from the very first second, reaching deep inside your soul and warming up your mind for the bold and crushing Inverted Gloaming, featuring Juan Escobar (Aphonic Threnody, AstorVoltaires, Tetractys, Mar de Grises) on vocals. Sounding utterly wicked and experimental, this excellent tune is led by Rodrigo’s insane beats and fills, while Andrés screams in a deranged and visceral way, resulting in a lecture in contemporary Progressive Death Metal. Then once again offering madness in the form of music, the band brings forth No Solace Arises, where Luis is on fire with his razor-edged strings, or in other words, this is a neck-breaking tune where the band’s “Rodrigos” shake the foundations of the earth with their beats and bass punches, making it feel like we’re listening to three or four songs all at once.

As obscure and atmospheric as its predecessors, Oceangrave is a flawless fusion of intricacy and rage, sounding as if Lamb of god went full progressive, showcasing ominous passages blended with Luis’ evil guitar lines and Rodrigo Castro’s damned, thunderous bass roars; followed by Surge Drift Motion, which begins in full force with both Luis and Rodrigo Castro shredding their strings mercilessly. Put differently, it’s a heavier-than-hell version of classic Progressive Metal spiced up by Andrés’ roars, with the piercing guitar solos by the band’s stringed duo being the icing on the cake. Submerged is a futuristic and melancholic instrumental bridge that will mesmerize you and prepare you for the pulverizing Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra, starting in a purely experimental mode before Rodrigo Arias begins exterminating his drums beautifully. Furthermore, sheer violence emanates from every riff and beat, with the deep, bestial growls by Andrés seeming inspired by Deathcore while the instrumental pieces remind me of the gripping music by bands like Gojira and Opeth.

Target Deep Water Flames Digipak

The following song, entitled Blackwaters, couldn’t have started in a more demented way, with its eccentric notes morphing into another brutal feast of progressive sounds where Rodrigo Castro’s bass lines are more imposing than ever. Hence, it’s highly recommended for either slamming into the pit or simply witnessing the band playing it to perfection on stage; and get ready for over nine minutes of the most devastating and intricate form of Progressive Death Metal you can think of in Random Waves, featuring Jeronimo Ruiz (Entrefuego), who brings insanity to the music with his vocals, remaining completely wicked, vile and cinematic until the very end. And lastly, the band offers us the serene outro Emerge, where its piano notes and background elements will embrace you and make you feel comfortable in darkness.

You should definitely take a very good and detailed listen at this magnificent album of Technical and Progressive Death Metal made in Chile on YouTube and on Spotify, and after being hypnotized by Target’s heavy and complex sounds you can purchase Deep Water Flames directly from the band’s BandCamp page, from the Australis Records’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Furthermore, if I were you I would go for the digipak version of the album as it’s simply fantastic. I got it from Australis Records, and let me tell you those guys did a beautiful job producing the physical CD format of such distinct album. Also, don’t forget to follow Target on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and let your body and mind dive into the incendiary deep waters of progressive and heavy music ruled by those extremely talented Chilean musicians.

Best moments of the album: Inverted Gloaming, Oceangrave and Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Australis Records

Track listing
1. Immerse 2:15
2. Inverted Gloaming 6:11
3. No Solace Arises 5:28
4. Oceangrave 5:21
5. Surge Drift Motion 5:42
6. Submerged 2:14
7. Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra 5:24
8. Blackwaters 6:31
9. Random Waves 9:13
10. Emerge 3:59

Band members
Andrés Piña – vocals
Luis Soto – guitars
Rodrigo Castro – bass
Rodrigo Arias – drums

Guest musicians
Jeronimo Ruiz – vocals on “Random Waves”
Juan Escobar – vocals & instrumental arrangements on “Immerse”, “Inverted Gloaming” and “Emerge”

Album Review – Exuviated / Déliquescence EP (2019)

Get ready to be smashed by 26 minutes of first-class Death Metal brought forth by a talented five-piece act hailing from “Hellgium”.

Forged in the fires of Marche-en-Famenne, a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the year of 2009, when they released their debut EP entitled An Era’s Condemned, the unstoppable Death Metal squad comprised of Jean-Philippe Sonnet on vocals, Cédric Grandhenry and Renaut Van Oeyen on the guitars, Pierre Pish Minet on bass and Ahephaim on drums, collectively known as Exuviated, are ready to smash our heads once again with the ruthless music from their brand new EP Déliquescence. Featuring a beyond obscure artwork by the band’s own vocalist Jean-Philippe Sonnet (Threadbare Artwork), Déliquescence not only cements the name of the band in the underground extreme music scene, showing why they’ve already shared the stage with several renowned acts like Six Feet Under, Dark Tranquility, Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation (not to mention their concert at the always insane Wacken Open Air Festival), but it also paves a promising path for the band in the future, all in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Get ready for a heavy and demonic feast of Death Metal made in Belgium (or “Hellgium” as the band likes to call it) in the opening track Rupture, with Cédric and Renaut initiating the devastation with their flammable guitars while Jean-Philippe growls in a true Unleashed-inspired style before a somber break brings fear to our hearts, exploding once again into visceral extreme music until we’re treated to the instrumental piece Trouble, showcasing atmospheric guitar lines intertwined with heavier riffs and tribal beats. And this grim ambience sets the tone for the berserk Errance, where Jean-Philippe gnarls and shrieks demonically while Ahephaim sounds like a stone crusher on drums. In other words, this is ass-kicking Death Metal with a modern twist, offering over seven minutes of intricate and devilish sounds, ethereal passages and sheer violence and rage.

The next track, entitled Absence, is a more cinematic instrumental tune where the band seems like in a musical trance, and with Cédric and Renaut, together with Pierre, generating a vile atmosphere with their stringed weapons perfect for the absolute destruction that follows in Abîme, a classic Death Metal extravaganza infused with several modern extreme styles such as Deathcore and Grindcore, feeling and sounding dense throughout its entirety, with highlights to the amazing job done by the skillful Ahephaim with his brutality and refined technique on drums. Furthermore, it’s impressive how Exuviated are capable of composing Death Metal songs with over six minutes each and never sound boring or repetitive, proving how talented those Belgian metallers are.

In a nutshell, Déliquescence, which is available in full on Spotify and on YouTube, will certainly please all fans of both classic and contemporary Death Metal, leaving us all eager for more of Exuviated’s music in a not-so-distant future. Hence, let’s show our utmost support to the band by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and mainly by purchasing a copy of their brand new incendiary EP from BandCamp, from Apple Music or from Amazon. And may Exuviated keep turning Belgium into “Hellgium” for many years to come, filling our ears with the visceral and violent sounds of our beloved Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Errance.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:33
2. Trouble (Instrumental) 2:21
3. Errance 7:09
4. Absence (Instrumental) 2:58
5. Abîme 6:27

Band members
Jean-Philippe Sonnet – vocals
Cédric Grandhenry – guitars
Renaut Van Oeyen – guitars
Pierre Pish Minet – bass
Ahephaim – drums

Album Review – Angra Demana / Triptych Of Decay EP (2019)

From the the boundless darkness of hell, here comes an infernal Black Metal duo armed to the teeth with their sulfurous and violent new EP.

Formed in 2007 in the city of Karaj, Iran, but currently located in Innsbruck, capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, Ambient/Atmospheric Black Metal entity Angra Demana is unleashing upon humanity a brand new EP entitled Triptych Of Decay, marking a new beginning for the band such is the difference between this EP and the band’s debut full-length Dissolve Into Nothingness, released in 2012. For instance, the meaning of Angara Damana (which by the way was the band’s past name) is based according to Zoroaster’s book, stating there are four levels of hell, with the first three levels, Malicious, Scurrility and Malfesant, being the upper levels and beneath them is the boundless darkness, which is Angara Damana or “Angra Demana”.

Lead singer Atöm Krieg and guitarist and bassist Radman, together with guest drummers Jocke Wallgren (Amon Amarth) and Fredrik Widigs (Marduk), turned Triptych of Decay into a handful of surprises with their creativity, rage and dexterity, successfully avoiding to enter the mined fields of eccentricity or elitist avantgarde. Featuring a Stygian artwork by Vojtěch Doubek (Moonroot), Triptych Of Decay will lacerate your damned soul without a single drop of mercy, elevating the name of Angra Demana to new heights in the underground Extreme Metal scene, and leaving you eager for more of their intricate and vile Black Metal.

Brutal and raw from the very first second, Rupture is a true headbanging massacre featuring the demolishing Jocke on drums, or in other words, it’s a classic Black Metal composition where Radman fires sulfurous riffs from his guitar, not to mention how Stygian the lyrics vociferated by Atöm are (“Darkness emerged – enlightenment of my sight / It granted me a world , far beyond this life / To the seclusion atmosphere of flawless awareness / In resistance, transgression against this mortal breed / In a world of forgotten deserted mankind / I start a battle between glory and corruption”). And Jocke once again lends his refined technique to the ominous Erode, where the riffs by Radman will cut your skin deep while Atöm continues to bark rabidly, sounding wicked and diabolical from start to finish. Furthermore, its background keys give it an extra touch of obscurity, with the bass lines by Radman dictating the song’s lugubrious rhythm. Then it’s time for Fredrik to kick some ass on drums in Extinction, and the final result is a berserk onrush of Black Metal sounds. Radman sounds infernal on the guitar, as well as Atöm with his deranged roars and grim vocalizations, effectively giving life to the song’s apocalyptic words (“And the sickness will be erased / When the last scream drift away in the eternal cosmos / Peace through extinction of flesh and blood / And finally all is drenched in thy wisdom”). In my humble opninion, Angra Demana couldn’t have ended the album in a more hellish manner.

In a nutshell, the music by Angra Demana is evil, frantic, chaotic, ritualistic and sulfurous, exactly how we expect a good Black Metal band to sound, and Triptych Of Decay is the perfect depiction of their obscurity. With that said, let’s show our support to such distinct underground duo by following them on Facebook, and especially by purchasing their brand new EP directly from their BandCamp page, keeping the flame of devilish and atmospheric Black Metal burning bright for centuries to come, it doesn’t matter if it’s in Iran, in Austria or in any other part of our decaying world.

Best moments of the album: Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:06
2. Erode 5:55
3. Extinction 6:05

Band members
Atöm Krieg – vocals
Radman – guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Jocke Wallgren – drums on “Rupture” and “Erode”
Fredrik Widigs – drums on “Extinction”

Album Review – The Prophet / Essence (2019)

A vibrant and demolishing fusion of classic Black and Death Metal with contemporary Melodic Death Metal by a Russian band that’s been on an exciting rise since their inception.

It’s time to return to Siberia, Russia, more specifically to the city of Tomsk, for another round of violence, speed and rage in the form of the Melodic Death and Black Metal blasted by a very talented group of musicians collectively known as The Prophet. After releasing the full-length albums Sunrise (2011), Across the Sphere (2013) and Dying (2015), which by the way I had the pleasure of reviewing here at The Headbanging Moose when it was released, as well as the EP’s Chronos (2013) and Another Damned World (2016), the band comprised of Theodor on bass and vocals, Doctor on the guitar and backing vocals, and Raziel on drums (also featuring now Deathbringer on the guitar) returns now in 2019 with another amazing opus, entitled Essence. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Project Studio Infernal Records, in Tomsk, and featuring a grim artwork by Mark Erskine, from Erskine Designs, Essence will undoubtedly please all fans of both old school Death Metal and contemporary Melodic Death Metal, proving once again why the band is on a constant and exciting rise since their inception in 2010.

Ethereal sounds permeate the air in the beautiful and melancholic intro Essence before the trio begins hammering our minds and hearts in From the Endless Vortex, a brutal Melodic Death Metal tune infused with classic Death Metal elements, with Raziel crushing his drums while Theodor growls and roars like a beast, kicking off the album on a sulfurous note. Then the talented Doctor shreds his chords manically, igniting the also frantic and pulverizing Defeated by the Demons, even more aggressive than its predecessor and showcasing deep and demented growls mixed with unstoppable blast beats and low-tuned bass jabs; and there’s no sign of the band slowing down, as Emerald Eyes is another great song for banging your head vigorously, presenting a solid instrumental with highlights to the perfect sync between Doctor and Raziel.

A lot more introspective and dark, Blackword sounds closer to traditional Swedish Melodic Death Metal, spearheaded by Doctor’s razor-edged riffs while Theodor exhales anger from his harsh gnarls, ending with a smooth piano that builds a classy connection with the instrumental bridge Dreamside Areas, a touch of delicacy added amidst all the havoc blasted by the trio, soothing our souls and preparing our minds for World of Pain, an obscure and absolutely visceral display of Death Metal by The Prophet. Featuring absolutely no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, we’re treated to pure old school Death Metal flowing from all instruments into our avid ears, with the bass lines by Theodor sounding truly violent and metallic, whereas Flying is another straightforward composition that keeps Essence at a very good level of quality and stamina (albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album), with its background orchestral elements bringing an extra dosage of eccentricity to the music.

Back to a full demolishing mode, Time is highly recommended for slamming like an animal into the circle pit while Theodor’s bass and Raziel’s drums smash your senses mercilessly, flowing into an inspiring acoustic finale before another instrumental bridge titled Grand Deliriozo Part I (Imago) brings more peace to our hearts to the sound of stylish piano notes, enfolding us all until The Prophet begins firing their most ambitious and boldest creation to date, the somber and heavy-as-hell In the Dying Sunset. This is undoubtedly an excellent option for breaking your neck headbanging, with all band members delivering sheer aggression from their respective weapons, in special Theodor with his deep guttural roars, putting a dark and at the same time gentle ending to the album.

As I know my simple words are not enough to actually describe the strength and heaviness of the music by The Prophet, I suggest you take a good listen at their new album Essence in full on on YouTube and on Spotify, and in case you’re a diehard fan of this more aggressive version of Swedish Melodic Death Metal you should definitely pay The Prophet a visit on Facebook and on VKontakte, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Hence, you can purchase Essence from the Soundage Productions’ webstore, from Apple Music, from Google Play, from Amazon or from Discogs. Russian Melodic Death Metal has never been so good, and we have to thank the guys from The Prophet not only for leading that trend, but also for showing a healthy and interesting evolution in their sonority just the way we always like it in heavy music.

Best moments of the album: From the Endless Vortex, Defeated by the Demons and World of Pain.

Worst moments of the album: Flying.

Released in 2019 Soundage Productions

Track listing
1. Essence (Intro) 1:22
2. From the Endless Vortex 3:45
3. Defeated by the Demons 2:49
4. Emerald Eyes 3:44
5. Blackword 4:17
6. Dreamside Areas 1:56
7. World of Pain 2:50
8. Flying 3:23
9. Time 3:32
10. Grand Deliriozo Part I (Imago) 2:06
11. In the Dying Sunset 7:44

Band members
Theodor – bass, vocals
Doctor – guitar, backing vocals
Raziel – drums

Album Review – Dreams of the Drowned / Dreams of the Drowned I (2019)

Take a deep dive into the first full-length album by an Avantgarde Black Metal one-man band from France, representing years of wandering in a necromantic attempt to keep the fire of some long-time missing aesthetics burning.

Created in 2007 in Évreux, a commune in and the capital of the department of Eure, in the French region of Normandy, by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Camille (from Smohalla and Stagnant Waters), Avantgarde Black Metal one-man band Dreams of the Drowned is finally releasing its debut full-length album, entitled Dreams of the Drowned I, a decade after the band’s 2018 debut demo and the 2019 EP Thanatotropic Principle. A mixture of Experimental Black Metal and anarchist European witchcraft, the music by Dreams of the Drowned is highly inspired by bands such as Ved Buens Ende, Killing Joke, Emperor, Blind Idiot God and Amebix, with Dreams of the Drowned I representing years of wandering in a necromantic attempt to keep the fire of some long-time missing aesthetics burning, dealing with obscure topics such as atypical mental states, the feeling of loss, the forest, and the will to reclaim long-gone connections and power from within.

Ominous, atmospheric sounds emerge from the crypts of Hades in the instrumental piece Dream I, setting the tone for the hypnotizing Conciliabules, where Camille beings extracting Stygian notes from his guitar and bass while his vocal lines couldn’t sound more avantgarde and grim, resulting in a sonic onrush of modern and thrilling sounds and tones that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. The Revolutionary Dead is even more atmospheric and eccentric than its predecessor, with Camille going full Black Metal on vocals, roaring and gnarling deeply and rabidly, accompanied by the nonstop rumbling sounds coming from all instruments.

In Real and Sound, the main riff feels like a modern and obscure version of Judas Priest’s classic “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”, sounding very experimental and not as Black Metal as the other songs, all boosted by its wicked lyrics (“Longtime buried, my inner worlds without ends / Real enough, as long as I feed them / Reconstruct through invisible, through immanence / Where seems there’s none, I’ll grow as many senses as I can / Swarms of wounders? Crutches of faith / I’ll wash my time of those void-filled taints which prevents it to be / Let the wanderers see what they chose to see / The wounded put the S back to their realities”), whereas in Vieilles Pierres our talented multi-instrumentalist Camille slows things down a bit and sounds as mournful and eerie as possible, delivering another solid fusion of Atmospheric Black Metal with more avantgarde nuances and ending in an ethereal way before he comes crushing with the pulverizing Avantgarde Black Metal hymn Crawl of Concretes,  with the poetic words flowing from his vocals exhaling madness, despair and rage (“Oh precious trees and smells, priceless paths / Sceneries of inner legends… / I knew it alive, I knew it lived in these green brown darknesses / Felt it swarming with earth magick, felt it thrive in harmonies”).

In the somber Danced there isn’t a single second of peace or hope for our minds, it’s just an avalanche of darkened sounds blasted by Camille in the form of Avantgarde Black Metal infused with hints of progressiveness, with a classic Black Metal aura generated by the song’s unstoppable blast beats. Furthermore, madness just keeps growing in intensity until the song’s slashing finale, setting the stage for Dreams of the Drowned’s cover version for the song Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne, originally released by Norwegian Avantgarde Black Metal entity Dodheimsgard in their 1995 album Kronet Til Konge (take a listen at the original version HERE). Featuring Norwegian musician Aldrahn (from The Deathtrip, Thorns and Urarv) on vocals, who’s by the way the song’s original inceptor, this is indeed a sensational version by Dreams of the Drowned, maintaining the song’s primeval core essence intact while at the same time adding his own devilish twist, with the guitars sounding truly mesmerizing. And in order to give a proper conclusion to the album and beautifully close the circle, Camille offers the phantasmagorical instrumental outro Dream III, showcasing strident guitars and low-tuned bass that will pierce your skull ruthlessly.

In summary, although Avantgarde Black Metal might not be considered an easy listen to the average fan of rock and metal music, Dreams of the Drowned I ends up being a recommended album for newcomers to the cryptic and eccentric sounds of the genre, partially thanks to the above average production of the album, making its overall sound a lot clearer and sharp than several similar bands and albums, but mainly due to the undisputed creativity and dexterity presented by Camille in each and every song. Hence, don’t forget to pay Camille a visit on Facebook, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and if the music found in Dreams of the Drowned I truly soothes your soul and captivates your thoughts, you can purchase the album from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp page. Because, in the end, by showing your utmost support now to Camille and his Dreams of the Drowned, I’m pretty sure he won’t take another ten years to provide our avid ears more of his dark and enthralling music.

Best moments of the album: The Revolutionary Dead and Crawl of Concretes.

Worst moments of the album: Vieilles Pierres.

Released in 2019 Drowned Anthems Records/Cult Of Nine Records

Track listing
1. Dream I (Instrumental) 3:05
2. Conciliabules 6:32
3. The Revolutionary Dead 5:47
4. Real and Sound 6:28
5. Vieilles Pierres 6:48
6. Crawl of Concretes 6:57
7. Danced 9:22
8. Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne (Dodheimsgard cover) 8:43
9. Dream III (Instrumental) 3:08

Band members
Camille – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, synths

Guest musician
Aldrahn – vocals on “Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne”

Album Review – Funeral Hearse / In Devotion of… (2019)

A fantastic album of 80’s Hardcore and Crust Punk-infused Black Metal by a one-man army from Singapore, paying homage to the terrifying Aghori sadhus.

Hailing from Kovan, a neighborhood located within the town of Hougang, in the northeast region of Singapore, Black/Death Metal one-man army Funeral Hearse plays a diverse mix of 80’s Hardcore/Crust Punk-infused Black Metal with themes ranging from religion, politics, nuclear annihilation and society. Formed in 2016 as a two-piece outfit comprised of multi-instrumentalist Azrael (also known as Imran Manaff) and vocalist and lyricist Deadwax, who decided to leave the band in early 2018 leaving Azrael as the sole member, Funeral Hearse returns in full force with its first full-length album, entitled In Devotion of…, fresh off its 2017 successful double EP Heralding the Death Winds and The Fist, The Spit, The Sword, paying homage to the Aghori sadhus, a sect of Hinduism with left-hand path rituals, practices and philosophy towards life and death, bringing their attributes to life through a series of musical onslaught accompanied by sounds of nature interwoven to create a surreal journey.

Written, recorded and produced by Azrael himself, and featuring a dark, straightforward artwork by Czech artist Vojtech Doubek (Moonroot), In Devotion of… follows a similar pattern as the band’s 2017 releases by exploring a recurring theme of religion, this time focusing on the aforementioned Aghori sadhus. “The Aghori Sadhus theme was actually suggested by Deadwax, who was intrigued by this religious sect. He brought the idea to me and after reading more about them we became captivated and enthralled by these Aghoris who would display their devotion through indulging in left-hand practices such as residing on cremation grounds, acts of cannibalism and the list goes on,” explains Azrael on the theme of the album. Musically speaking, In Devotion of… is an ode to all things extreme music, inspired by iconic names such as Marduk, Immortal, Celtic Frost and Darkthrone, among others, leaving you completely disoriented after its infernal 37 minutes of music are over.

A ritualistic, tribal intro morphs into pulverizing sounds and tones in the opening track Into the Eye of the Serpent, where Azrael begins roaring like a demonic entity while at the same time he shreds his guitar chords in a dark and vile manner, not to mention how organic the programmed drums sound, with chaos reigning supreme from start to finish. And a classic Black Metal riffage dictates the rhythm in Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre, an ominous and dense creation by Azrael that grows in intensity and rage as the music progresses, all enhanced by his visceral growling attack, and with the guitar sounds slashing our ears and minds mercilessly until the song’s cryptic finale; followed by In Worship of the Divine, which already begins at full speed with Azrael smashing his ax in great fashion, adding a touch of Atmospheric Black Metal to his already visceral sound. In summary, this is that type of storm of heavier-than-hell sounds we all love to hear in Extreme Metal.

Then delicate sounds kick off the also demolishing Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon, where Azrael is on absolute fire delivering aggressive riffs and bass punches inspired by the greatest bands of the genre such as Immortal and Marduk, sounding at times like a dark waltz of extreme music. All that sonic havoc gives place to serene notes in Cleansing a Damned Soul, but that peace doesn’t last long as Azrael fires sheer violence and rage from his guitar lines and screams, with the music remaining obscure and sharp until the very end, proving our talented lone ranger loves extreme music from the bottom of his (blackened) heart. And last but not least, simply inhale and exhale deeply for a few seconds before Alternate State of Consciousness puts a ferocious ending to the album, with its old school Black Metal-inspired riffs being flawlessly accompanied by gruesome Death Metal vocal lines, flowing like an arrow in flames through the night, and with an acoustic passage giving us a chance to breathe before Azrael’s final onrush of crushing Black Metal.

I’m a huge fan of one-man bands, not only because it’s impressive how some people are capable of generating a full-bodied sonority all by themselves, especially in the Black Metal scene, but also because those lone wolves (and lone she-wolves, of course) are usually extremely creative when composing their music and writing their lyrics. Who else on earth would be able to bring forth an album of extreme music based on the practices and uniqueness of the Aghori sadhus if not a black metaller like Azrael? Having said that, please don’t forget to show your support to such talented musician by following Funeral Hearse on Facebook and, above all, by purchasing In Devotion of… from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Spy Satellite Records’ BandCamp page, as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. It’s a world of cannibalism, religion, devotion, life and death in the form of top-of-the-line Black Metal. What else can you ask for in underground extreme music?

Best moments of the album: Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre and Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Spy Satellite Records

Track listing
1. Into the Eye of the Serpent 6:46
2. Burning Embers from a Funeral Pyre 7:01
3. In Worship of the Divine 4:39
4. Under the Eclipse of a Pale Moon 7:08
5. Cleansing a Damned Soul 4:57
6. Alternate State of Consciousness 6:20

Band members
Azrael – vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming

Album Review – Heavy Feather / Débris & Rubble (2019)

Get ready to rock to the debut album by four talented musicians of the Swedish Rock N’ Roll scene, bringing listeners back in time yet still offering hope about the future of rock music.

Four heavily talented musicians from the bands Siena Root, Lisa Lystam Family Band, Diamond Dogs, Stacie Collins and Mårran have decided to gather and create a heavy riff-based rock group highly influenced by the greats of the 60’s and 70’s such as Free, Cream and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with a strong belief that organic Roots Rock deserves more attention in today’s global rock scene. The final result of that fusion of talent and sheer passion for rock music is Stockholm, Sweden-based Hard Rock/ Rock N’ Roll act Heavy Feather, a hardworking and ambitious quartet that aims at bringing listeners back in time yet still offering hope about the future of rock music.

Comprised of the stunning Lisa Lystam on vocals and harmonica, Matte Gustavsson on the guitar, Morgan Korsmoe on bass and Ola Göransson on drums, Heavy Feather have just released their debut full-length album entitled Débris & Rubble, a must-have for admirers of the genre, and a fantastic gateway for anyone who’s still taking their first steps in the always exciting world of classic rock music. Throughout the 42 minutes of music split into 11 distinguished tracks found in Débris & Rubble, get ready to be mesmerized by an avalanche of heavy riffs, soaring vocal lines and classic rock passages, sounding raw, real and unique from start to finish, and therefore leaving you in absolute desire for more once the last song of the album is over.

The intro Débris & Rubble will already put you to dance with its groove, catchy beats and Lisa’s vocalizations and old school harmonica, warming up your senses for the fantastic Where Did We Go, where Matte is on absolute fire with his riffs and solos while Ola keeps the music flowing smoothly with his precise beats, not to mention how gorgeous Lisa’s vocal lines sound. In other words, this is a lesson in old school 70’s-inspired Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, and we should all thank the band for providing our ears such amazing song. Then in Waited All My Life, another classic tune overflowing feeling and electricity, the band’s kitchen duo Morgan and Ola generate a rumbling and dense ambience perfect for Lisa to shine on vocals, turning it into a great option for hitting the road with your loved ones. And slowing things down a bit, Heavy Feather invest in a groovier and sexier sonority in Dreams, with Matte sounding like he’s in a trance or in a different dimension showcasing all his passion for his guitar, resulting in a great Rock N’ Roll song infused with Blues elements.

Higher (which official video live in Stockholm can be seen HERE) is a phenomenal Roots Rock composition by the quartet, elevating your spirit higher and higher while Ola pounds his drums beautifully, and with Matte’s soulful solo being the icing on the cake. Lisa’s harmonica returns to give an extra kick to the serene and touching ballad Tell Me Your Tale, where she will also soothe your soul with her vocals while Matte extracts simple, delicate sounds from his guitar in the most Blues-inspired way possible. If you think you can chain Lisa’s heart you’ve got another thing coming, because in Long Ride (which also has an official video live in Stockholm) she sings about uncompromising love (“Baby take me for the long ride / Oh, I want you to lose it / We can go by night time / Cus’ I love it when it’s spooky / Baby you don’t need to be my guy / We don’t need to be consistent / I love things that’s undefined / I like to keep a little distant”), with the music exhaling a 70’s sonority that’s beyond recommended for a strip-tease.

And the rock keeps on rolling in I Spend My Money Wrong, with Matte and Morgan being fast and metallic with their respective riffs and bass punches, dictating the rhythm in this old school rock feast. Put differently, simply grab a beer, relax and enjoy the song’s catchy vibe and sheer electricity, which also works for Hey There Mama, showcasing a vibrant and upbeat atmosphere where Lisa and Ola deliver incendiary performances, as well as Matte with his flammable guitar solo; and  fiery guitars and drums permeate the air in Please Don’t Leave, a solid tune by the quartet where Morgan and Ole’s passion for classic Blues becomes more than noticeable, with its second half morphing into a gentle and mesmerizing sonority until its classy finale. And lastly, a gorgeous and melancholic ballad entitled Whispering Things concludes the album on a high note, all embraced by Lisa’s delicate words (“I’m wandering all night and my bad conscious catch me / While I’m longing and hoping that maybe someday / Other times will me / I said I want things to be like they used to / You said if we could be real / I would marry you”), putting you in a delicious musical trance.

What are you waiting for to let your guard down and surrender to Lisa and her henchmen from Heavy Feather? You can follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their stylish rock music, and if Roots Rock is your cup of tea you should definitely purchase Débris & Rubble directly from BandCamp or from several other retailers by clicking HERE. After listening to such excellent album of Rock N’ Roll, I can tell you we can all rest assured the genre not only has a future, but that future is groovy, exciting and flammable, all thanks to those four skillful musicians hailing from Sweden.

Best moments of the album: Where Did We Go, Higher and Hey There Mama.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 The Sign Records

Track listing
1. Débris & Rubble 1:30
2. Where Did We Go 4:19
3. Waited All My Life 3:09
4. Dreams 3:44
5. Higher 2:43
6. Tell Me Your Tale 5:12
7. Long Ride 4:03
8. I Spend My Money Wrong 3:04
9. Hey There Mama 3:45
10. Please Don’t Leave 5:26
11. Whispering Things 4:58

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

Album Review – Uncured / Epidemic (2019)

Witness the evolution of the music crafted by the Cox Brothers with their pulverizing new album of Progressive Death and Groove Metal.

Founded in New York City by brothers Rex Cox and Zak Cox, who share the band’s vocal and guitar duties, American Progressive Death/Groove Metal unity Uncured has been making a name for themselves since their inception in 2016 when they released their debut EP Spontaneous Generation, followed by their first full-length opus Medusa, released in 2017, which attracted international attention for its combination of technical musicianship, brutal riffs and melodic interludes. After witnessing Uncured opening for renowned acts like Soulfly and the almighty Cradle of Filth last year while promoting their 2017 album Medusa, I’m happy to say those guys stepped up their game considerably with their brand new album, the powerful Epidemic, proving that although they might still be young faces in the scene, they already play and sound like veterans.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by their father Mitch Cox at Conclave Studios, in New York, Epidemic has everything a fan of modern and technical extreme music can ask for, with its crystal clear production enhancing the impact of each song thoroughly played by the aforementioned Zak and Rex on vocals, guitars and bass (as their current bassist Spencer Metela only joined the band after the recording of the album) and Liam Manley on drums.​ The only thing I don’t understand is why they left the excellent 2018 single Terminal out of the album, but that’s just me. And besides, who said Epidemic needed that song to be brutal? I’m pretty sure the boys know what they’re doing, and based on the feedback provided by their fans so far they’re undoubtedly on the right path to stardom with Epidemic.

The opening track Desecration is fast, furious and heavy from the very first second, with the Cox Brothers showcasing all their refined skills with their sick riffs and solos while Liam smashes his drums beautifully in a powerful display of modern Progressive Death Metal, sounding at the same time very technical and visceral. If that was not crazy enough for you, in Choke they take their progressiveness to the next level, and let me say both Zak and Rex are growling and screaming a lot better than in their previous releases, adding tons of rage and insanity to the song’s lyrics (“Tear your throat out / Reject everything from within / This is imperative, all will go black / The problem lies in the silence / There will be nothing that remains, only desolation / As our civilization reverts to dust / This will surely desecrate honor”), whereas in Conquistador the band drinks from the same fountain as modern-day bands like Trivium, delivering flammable riffs and intricate beats and also exploring new grounds by adding acoustic passages and distinct nuances from other metal and even non-metal genres to their music.

Eradicate is another feast of incendiary riffs and solos by Uncured highly recommended for slamming into the pit during their live performances, blending Melodic Death Metal with Groove Metal and an endless amount of progressiveness; followed by Death Valley, where after a serene intro the band comes crushing once again with their groovy and heavy-as-hell sounds, sounding perfect for cracking your neck headbanging and remaining as complex and vibrant as it can be until the very end. And in Resist The Infection all instruments sound absolutely pulverizing and metallic, with Zak and Rex screaming and roaring together like maniacs while Liam keeps the rhythm flowing smoothly with his beats. Put differently, although it might be the shortest of all songs, it still brings tons of stamina, feeling and rage to our avid ears.

The last batch of songs from Epidemic will crush you mercilessly, starting with Sacrifice, a classic Groove Metal tune infused with Death Metal nuances where its guitars and bass penetrate deep inside our minds, making our heads tremble. Furthermore, it feels like a hybrid of the music by Meshuggah, Tool, Dream Theater and other iconic bands, showing once again how talented those guys are. Albeit not as exciting as its predecessors, Stone Fortress is still a very good song, overflowing progressiveness, heaviness and groove, not to mention the usual crisp and piercing guitar lines by the band’s frontmen, while in Blinded By Demise the level of aggressiveness goes through the roof in another metal feast full of breaks and variations where all three band members display their refined skills in great fashion. And last but not least, after a somber, almost tribal intro Uncured attack us all one last time with more of their Progressive Death Metal in Nothing But Disease, with the music alternating between dark passages and extreme rage like the soundtrack to a psychological horror movie, ending in a creepy and captivating way.

There’s no excuse to not listen to Epidemic, as the album is available in full on YouTube, on Spotify and on the band’s official website, and after taking a good listen at it you can purchase your copy from their own BandCamp page or from their webstore in CD or vinyl format, as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. In summary, the Cox Brothers, together with Liam and Spencer, are definitely going places based on the high quality of the music found in Epidemic, presenting a huge step forward in terms of creativity, feeling and overall production after the also good Medusa. Having said that, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, as we might be in front of the next big name from the modern extreme music scene with a long (and prosperous) way to go yet in their promising career.

Best moments of the album: Desecration, Eradicate and Resist The Infection.

Worst moments of the album: Stone Fortress.

Released in 2019 Seek & Strike

Track listing
1. Desecration 4:12
2. Choke 4:19
3. Conquistador 4:45
4. Eradicate 5:07
5. Death Valley 4:47
6. Resist The Infection 2:51
7. Sacrifice 4:04
8. Stone Fortress 4:07
9. Blinded By Demise 4:45
10. Nothing But Disease 4:26

Band members
Zak Cox – vocals, guitars, bass
Rex Cox – vocals, guitars, bass
Liam Manley – drums

Guest musician
Spencer Metala – bass (live)

Album Review – Be Under Arms / Red Wave Is Coming (2019)

A red wave of first-class Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore is coming to crush your senses, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It’s time for the Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore squad known as Be Under Arms to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their razor-edged and modern sonority in Red Wave Is Coming, their fourth full-length effort and an amazing follow-up to their previous releases, those being Let Shots Will Be Your Music (2014), Doomed to Life (2016), and more recently Evil Tales Of The Northern Country (2017). If you have never heard of Be Under Arms before, get ready to be stunned by the uniqueness of their music, instantly feeling the urge to join their army of unstoppable metal insurgents.

Combining Metalcore with Groove and Melodic Death Metal since their inception in 2013, this Moscow-based unity now comprised of the dynamic duo Anna “White Queen” Logacheva and Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov on vocals, Stanislav Shtrih on the guitar, Dmitriy Kashirin on bass and Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy on drums is on absolute fire in Red Wave Is Coming, always loyal to their foundations and still presenting their trademark military attire, dystopian atmosphere and austere lyrics about controversial social topics. Featuring a classic, rebellious album art by Estonian designer Darius Alas (Midiankai Arts), Red Wave Is Coming is not only a highly recommended album for admirers of modern metal music, but it also cements the band’s name as one of the biggest new exponents of the scene.

Bizarre, captivating sounds suddenly morph into a darkened intro entitled The Tsar, led by Stanislav’s metallic riffs, sounding not only slow and creepy, but also entirely sung in Russian by both Anna and Vladimir to give it a rawer taste, before all explodes into the band’s modernized Melodic Death and Groove Metal in the title-track Red Wave Is Coming, where Denis and Dmitriy smash their respective instruments nonstop. Furthermore, pay good attention to the song’s acid lyrics dealing with the most obscure side effects of having too much power (“I feel how darkness grows around me / This crown has become my burden, a sign that I’m not free / It presses like a crown of thorns / And blood pours from my eyes / All this gold and beauty / Such a good disguise”). And Rasstrel, another song fully sung in their mother tongue, is in my opinion one of the most fun tracks of the album showcasing amazing performances by all band members, in special Anna and Vladimir, not to mention it’s simply perfect for jumping up and down to the crushing and thunderous riffs and punches by both Stanislav and Dmitriy.

The Untouchables is another classic tune by Be Under Arms, alternating between faster and more aggressive passages and more melodic, headbanging moments, keeping the album at a high level of electricity, whereas Road to the Scaffold is a lot more introspective and obscure, almost sounding like a dark ballad, with Anna and Vladimir attacking us all with both their clean vocals and harsh roars while Denis add a touch of Doom Metal to the musicality with his beats. Then we have another one of my favorites, the violent No-Go Zone, bringing that classic Be Under Arms sounding closer to all of their previous releases, with Stanislav being ruthless with his scorching riffs while Dmitriy’s bass sounds as hammering as it can be. In other words, this is a top-notch warlike-inspired Groove Metal composition that will please all fans of the band without a shadow of a doubt, while New Crusader is a mid-tempo song that blends the heaviest elements from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal, being perfect for slamming into the circle pit while Denis dictates its rebellious rhythm.

Putting the pedal to the metal those Russian metallers deliver the frantic and visceral Breathe This, where Stanislav, Dmitriy and Denis generate a flawless atmosphere for Anna and Vladimir to growl and gnarl like two rabid beasts, followed by The Chosen One and its hypnotizing rhythm where Anna’s vocals truly represent her “White Queen” monicker, while Vladimir is responsible for bringing darkness to the music with his deep roars. Slightly different from their usual sound, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad song, this interesting tune would have worked better if a little shorter, I might say. Anyway, back to a more enraged sonority, the band offers us the insanely heavy The Death Instinct, presenting an amazing balance between melody and sheer aggression, and with its guitars and drums sounding bestial from start to finish for our total delight while Anna growls the song’s lyrics manically (“You are my brothers and I bear the burden for you / And every day I lift a Sisyphus stone / For prosperity but not for conviction / Hoping for the future without pain”), building an instant connection with the somber Bloody Shores, where acoustic guitars are intertwined with electrified and vile tones, resulting in a multi-layered creation by Be Under Arms that puts a melancholic and mesmerizing ending to the album.

In summary, as aforementioned Red Wave Is Coming (available for a full listen on Spotify) is undoubtedly a fantastic entrance door to the world of Be Under Arms if you know nothing about those Russian metalheads yet. Hence, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and VKontakte, listen to more of their music on YouTube and on SoundCloud, and purchase your copy of such entertaining album from Be Under Arms’ own BandCamp page or webstore (in digibook format or digibook + “Helmet” shirt combo), as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. As the destructive red wave by Be Under Arms approaches, there’s nothing better than a good dosage of their ass-kicking Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal to serve as the soundtrack to the apocalypse, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: Rasstrel, No-Go Zone and The Death Instinct.

Worst moments of the album: The Chosen One.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. The Tsar 2:45
2. Red Wave Is Coming 4:44
3. Rasstrel 3:55
4. The Untouchables 4:19
5. Road to the Scaffold 5:11
6. No-Go Zone 3:58
7. New Crusader 4:26
8. Breathe This 3:53
9. The Chosen One 4:04
10. The Death Instinct 3:56
11. Bloody Shores 3:24

Band members
Anna “White Queen” Logacheva – vocals
Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov – vocals
Stanislav Shtrih – guitar
Dmitriy Kashirin – bass
Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy – drums