Album Review – Bonded / Rest In Violence (2020)

Bonded by old school and modern Thrash Metal, these German metallers masterfully unite the past, present and future of the genre in their debut album.

Featuring former Sodom members Bernd “Bernemann” Kost on the guitar and Markus “Makka” Freiwald on drums, as well as guitarist Chris Tsitsis (Suicidal Angels), bassist Marc Hauschild (Tauron) and vocalist Ingo Bajonczak (Assassin), German Thrash Metal squad Bonded was formed in 2018 in Dortmund, a city in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region, aiming at creating nothing short of highly versatile and hard-hitting Thrash Metal with no shenanigans nor any type of artificial elements, and let’s say they more than succeeded in that with their debut full-length installment, the excellent and pulverizing Rest In Violence. Produced by Cornelius Rambadt (Sodom, Disbelief, Onkel Tom) at Rambado Recordings in Essen, Germany, ddsplaying an obscure artwork by German artist and musician Björn Gooßes (Killustrations), and featuring very special guest appearances by vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill) and bassist Christian “Speesy” Giesler (Extinct the Scum, Kreator), Rest In Violence will bring to your avid ears a well-balanced mix of the past, present and future of Thrash Metal, showing how much those guys love such rebellious and heavy metal style.

A Testament-inspired intro quickly explodes into melodic and vibrant Bay Area Thrash in Godgiven, where Bernd and Chris waste no time and begin slashing their strings mercilessly, resulting in a great headbanging tune to properly kick things off, whereas the even faster and more infuriated Suit Murderer is an amazing thrashing tune by Bonded bringing elements from the traditional sonority by Sodom and Destruction, where Ingo roars deeply like a maniac while Markus doesn’t stop crushing his drums not even for a single second. And featuring guest vocals by the aforementioned Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth and guest bass by Christian “Speesy” Giesler, Rest In Violence is a bestial display of modern-day thrash where Ingo and Bobby make an infernal vocal duo while the rest of the band puts the pedal to the metal armed with their instruments of mass devastation, also blasting some wicked guitar solos for our total delight.

And there’s more of their pounding and visceral Thrash Metal in Je Suis Charlie (the slogan created by French art director Joachim Roncin and adopted by supporters of freedom of speech and freedom of the press after the January 7, 2015 shooting in which twelve people were killed at the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo), with Marc and Markus being responsible for keeping the “kitchen” heavy and dense, providing Ingo all he needs to vociferate the song’s austere words. Then razor-edged riffs dictate the rhythm in the also furious and groovy The Rattle & The Snake, where Markus is once again bestial on drums while Ingo keeps growling loudly and rabidly, turning it into a fantastic option for slamming into the pit and with the harmonica bringing a welcome touch of finesse to the overall musicality. Although the obscure No Cure For Life is darker and heavier than its predecessors and a good choice for breaking your neck headbanging, it looses its grip after a while, though, but nothing that would harm the album. And keep banging your heads nonstop to Where Silence Reverberates, leaning towards the vicious Groove Metal blasted by Lamb of God and with the demolishing riffage by both Bernd and Chris sounding beyond awesome; followed by Galaxy M87, where bonded get back to a more berserk mode inspired by Bay Area Thrash the likes of Exodus and Testament. Furthermore, Ingo is on fire with his demented roars, while his bandmates exhale heaviness and rage from their sonic weapons.

In the deranged Arrival we’re all treated to an amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo with their incendiary riffs and solos, not to mention the accelerate pace spearheaded by Markus and his venomous beats, and it looks like their circle pit extravaganza has no time to end based on the violence flowing from The Beginning Of The End, one of the bonus tracks from the album’s limited first-pressing edition CD, led by Ingo and his enraged gnarls. The entire band blasts a lesson in modern-day Thrash Metal infused with Groove Metal nuances, once again highly inspired by the most contemporary creations by thrashing masters Exodus. But wait, as there’s still more, as melodic guitar lines ignite the second bonus tracks of the CD version of Rest in Violence, entitled To Each His Own, also speeding things up and offering us fans a very good reason to crush our skull into the mosh pit, with Markus stealing the spotlight with his infernal performance on drums. Lastly, a serene, acoustic intro kicks off the introspective and grim The Outer Rim, with Ingo’s vocals getting closer to the clean voice by Soilwork’s own Björn “Speed” Strid, while Bernd and Chirs bring tons of feeling and groove to the song with their riffs and solos, ending the album in a truly powerful way.

The year of 2020 has barely started and it has already provided us all several amazing Thrash Metal albums, with Rest In Violence by Bonded being one of the most interesting and honest of all releases hands down. Hence, go check what those metallers are up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and click HERE to check all places where you can grab your copy of such killer album. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, while listening to Rest In Violence I’m sure you’ll identify all influences from the past of Thrash Metal in their music while at the same time sensing a modern and fresh sound, always moving forward and never sounding outdated or obsolete. Those German guys are definitely bonded by Thrash Metal, guaranteeing a lot of fun for us fans of violence and rebelliousness in music and, above all, of our beloved mosh pits.

Best moments of the album: Suit Murderer, Rest In Violence, The Rattle & The Snake and Galaxy M87.

Worst moments of the album: No Cure For Life.

Released in 2020 Century Media

Track listing
1. Godgiven 4:13
2. Suit Murderer 4:12
3. Rest In Violence 3:49
4. Je Suis Charlie 3:55
5. The Rattle & The Snake 4:00
6. No Cure For Life 4:40
7. Where Silence Reverberates 5:14
8. Galaxy M87 4:52
9. Arrival 3:52
12.The Outer Rim 4:42

First-Pressing Edition CD bonus tracks
10. The Beginning Of The End 4:15
11.To Each His Own 4:26

Band members
Ingo Bajonczak – vocals
Bernd “Bernemann” Kost – guitar
Chris Tsitsis – guitar
Marc Hauschild – bass
Markus “Makka” Freiwald – drums

Guest musicians
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – vocals on “Rest In Violence”
Christian “Speesy” Giesler – bass on “Rest In Violence”

Album Review – The Spirit / Cosmic Terror (2020)

The soundtrack to the fear of vast nothingness in the form of melodic and progressive Black and Death Metal made in Germany, beautifully dragging the listener into a musical catharsis.

As far-reaching as the literary, philosophical and psychological meanings behind the term Cosmic Terror might be, for German Black/Death Metal trio The Spirit naming their sophomore full-length album with this title opens up a world of its own. They do not want to explain anything nor to analyze their lyrics, characterized by misanthropy and social criticism, having only one simple goal in mind, which is to let their music speak for itself. The result is a bold and breathtaking album containing seven raging tracks that blend and bend Black and Death Metal, extensive instrumental passages and some of the most face-ripping riffs you’ll hear, which apparently even attracted nearby snakes to the studio’s terrace during the recording according to the band members themselves.

Formed in 2015 in Saarbrücken, the capital and largest city of the state of Saarland in the always beautiful and vibrant Germany, The Spirit are currently comprised of MT on vocals and guitars, AT on bass and MS on drums, a talented and unrelenting trio of fairly anonymous musicians who have been making a name for themselves in the underground scene since the release of their debut opus entitled Sounds from the Vortex, in 2017, being highly recommended for fans of bands like Dissection, Satyricon and Naglfar, among others. Finalized with a unique cover artwork by French artist Valnoir (Metastazis), Cosmic Terror tears the listener into a musical catharsis, with the band once again crafting their own soundtrack to the fear of vast nothingness.

The trio wastes no time and begin blasting their crisp and incendiary Black Metal in Serpent As Time Reveals, offering over six minutes of classy and vicious extreme music for our avid ears where MS is a true beast on drums, while MT growls the song’s beautiful lyrics in great fashion (“The ability to spread agony / A sick craft you truly master / The enduring thirst for power and dominion / Poison, obsessional voracity / Dangerous strength to the perverted insane / Unleash hell to enhance pathetic egotism”); and they continue their obscure and melodic attack in Strive For Salvation, with MT’s heavier-than-hell riffs and AT’s fulminating bass lines generating the perfect ambience for the enraged gnarls by MT while MS keeps pounding and smashing his drums manically. Then drinking form the same infernal fountain as renowned acts like Marduk, Immortal and Mayhem, the trio explodes our senses with the fantastic Repugnant Human Scum, a lesson in Black Metal infused with Death Metal and Melodic Black Metal nuances.

A melancholic and somber intro morphs into a mid-tempo headbanging feast titled The Path Of Solitude, where all band members are in absolute sync and with MT sounding diabolical with both his roars and riffs, resulting in an ode to darkness and solitude in the form of ass-kicking Black Metal. After such dense tune, it’s time for more disruptive and Stygian sounds by The Spirit in Pillars Of Doom, where MT sounds possessed with his demonic riffage while AT and MS make the earth tremble with their respective weapons of mass destruction. In The Wide Emptiness the band doesn’t stop hammering their instruments and consequently our heads, showcasing classic Black Metal with more contemporary nuances, not to mention how impressive it is that only three guys can generate such bold and hellish sound, with MT’s soulful solo serving as the icing on the cake. Lastly, the title-track Cosmic Terror comes as an arrow piercing our ears and minds, concluding the obscure Black Metal journey by the trio that started “long time ago” with the opening track. However, despite being an amazing display of extreme music, the fact that it’s only an instrumental song takes away a little of its rawness and energy, but that’s just my opinion as I truly enjoy MT’s harsh vocals.

In a nutshell, the excellent Cosmic Terror, which is available from the AOP Records’ BandCamp page, from the EMP webstore, from IndieMerchstore.com in CD or 12” vinyl format, as well as from several other locations which you can check by clicking HERE, not only points to a bright future for The Spirit, positioning the band as one of the most promising names of the German extreme music scene, but it’s also a mandatory listen for fans of the more contemporary wave of Black and Death Metal bands with a huge focus on progressiveness, melodies and atmospheric passages. Hence, don’t forget to give The Spirit a shout via their official Facebook page, and let the cosmic terror flowing form their wicked creations penetrate deep inside your damned soul.

Best moments of the album: Repugnant Human Scum, The Path Of Solitude and The Wide Emptiness.

Worst moments of the album: Cosmic Terror.

Released in 2020 AOP Records

Track listing
1. Serpent As Time Reveals 6:38
2. Strive For Salvation 4:34
3. Repugnant Human Scum 5:18
4. The Path Of Solitude 8:07
5. Pillars Of Doom 5:51
6. The Wide Emptiness 6:13
7. Cosmic Terror 6:32

Band members
MT – vocals, guitars
AT – bass
MS – drums

Album Review – Hyperia / Insanitorium (2020)

Are you crazy enough to enter the “insanitorium” together with one of the most promising names of the current Canadian Thrash Metal scene?

Are you crazy enough to enter the Insanitorium, the debut full-length opus by Canadian Melodic Thrash Metal unity Hyperia? If your answer is yes, you better get ready for over 40 minutes of wailing and harsh vocals, melodic guitars, intricate bass lines and hard hitting drums, ranging from traditional Thrash Metal to Power Metal and even Death Metal, highly inspired by a myriad of bands such as Havok, Overkill, Running Wild, Hypocrisy and Gojira,  among others, with the album’s lyrical themes being based around the concept of being stuck in an insane asylum for committing evil crimes and having no way out. Put differently, after listening to Insanitorium, you’ll quickly understand why the band comprised of Marlee Ryley on vocals, Colin Ryley and David Kupisz on the guitars, Scott DeGruyter on bass and Jordan Maguire on drums was one of the nominees for “Metal Recording of the Year” at the 2019 YYC Music Awards and “Music Video of the Year” at the 2019 Stinger Awards, hosted by the CSIF – The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers.

Recorded and mixed by Colin Ryley himself at Singularity Sound Studios in Calgary, Canada, mastered by Mika Jussila (Finntroll, Children of Bodom, Ensiferum) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and featuring a beyond classic cover art by Belarusian illustrator Andrei Bouzikov (Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust), Insanitorium perfectly represents what Hyperia are all about, proving that despite the fact the band was only formed less than two years ago, more specifically in September 2018, they can already be considered one of the most interesting and hardworking names of the Canadian underground scene, thrashing venues and taking the metal community by storm since their inception. Put differently, who doesn’t enjoy some old school shredding accompanied by soaring female vocals, right?

In the opening track Mad Trance, a movie-inspired intro morphs into ass-kicking Thrash Metal with a Melodic Death Metal twist, with both Colin and David showing what they got with their incendiary riffs before Marlee comes crushing with both her clean vocals and she-wolf gnarls, and a demented scream by Marlee sets fire to the also berserk Starved By Guilt, where the whole band puts the pedal to the metal spearheaded by Jordan’s frantic and vile beats. In other words, it’s simply perfect for slamming into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac, whereas in Asylum it’s time to break our necks headbanging, blending the ferocity of Exodus with the melody of Arch Enemy and showcasing an amazing sync between Colin and David, providing all Marlee needs to vociferate the song’s psychological words (“My dead lover under a cover / Screaming, trapped in monomania / They cringed as I unhinged / I’m drowning, set me free / Straight jacket because of a hatchet / Bewitched, lost in compulsion / I’m banished, mind vanished / Fixated, please help me!”).

Then eerie noises are quickly joined by the band’s strident guitars in Unleash The Pigs, evolving into another sonic onslaught where Jordan brutally smashes his drums supported by the rumbling bass by Scott, while Marlee once again delivers a superb performance on vocals; and fasten your seat belts as Hyperia flirt with old school Death Metal in the high-octane tune Nullified,  a very detailed and dense creation that lives up to the legacy of extreme music, sounding as frantic, aggressive and demented as it can be, and with Colin being unstoppable with his riffs and solos. And bringing elements from the music by Metallica, Megadeth and other fast and furious thrashing masters we have Fish Creek Frenzy, where Marlee’s wicked vocals are beautifully complemented by Colin’s and David’s flammable riffs, not to mention all the energy flowing from the song’s spot-on backing vocals.

Dystopia is another awesome composition bursting with rage, madness and heaviness, all embraced by the insurgent lyrics blasted by Marlee in a mix of Black and Thrash Metal styles (“War, bloodshed, slavery, hypocrisy / Everywhere, everyday it’s all you see / Take a look at yourself and your plight / It won’t end unless we STAND UP AND FIGHT”). Well, do you think they still have energy for more violence and bloodshed after so many thrashing hymns in a roll? Their answer comes in the form of the metallic hurricane entitled The Scratches on the Wall, with the sick growling by Marlee being flawlessly boosted by the bestial shredding by the band’s guitarists, as well as Jordan’s nonstop beats and fills, while pure, unrelenting riffage is the main ingredient in Contagion, sounding at the same time very old school, inspired by 80’s Heavy Metal, but also bringing a fresh, modern vibe thanks to the polished production of the album. Lastly, how about more undisputed, deranged Thrash Metal to close the album? That’s what Hyperia have to offer us all as infernal riffs and fast and rhythmic drums permeate the air in Evil Insanity, and when it’s over you’ll feel absolutely disoriented just the way we love it in extreme music.

The nonstop metal thrashing madness blasted by Hyperia in Insanitorium can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but if I were you I would definitely show my true support to such promising name of the current Canadian metal scene by purchasing their sensational debut album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Dead Pulse webstore or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook for news, tour dates and all other things Hyperia, because you know, you have to be absolutely insane not to support those Canadian metallers, and even more “insane” to slam into the circle pit to their melodic, furious and utterly entertaining creations.

Best moments of the album: Starved By Guilt, Fish Creek Frenzy, Dystopia and The Scratches on the Wall.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Mad Trance 4:36
2. Starved By Guilt 3:55
3. Asylum 4:08
4. Unleash The Pigs 4:56
5. Nullified 4:18
6. Fish Creek Frenzy 3:41
7. Dystopia 4:14
8. The Scratches on the Wall 3:57
9. Contagion 4:09
10. Evil Insanity 4:01

Band members
Marlee Ryley – vocals
Colin Ryley – lead guitar, backing vocals
David Kupisz – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Scott DeGruyter – bass, backing vocals
Jordan Maguire – drums

Album Review – Xenos / Filthgrinder (2020)

No compromise, no fashion, no bullshit, just Thrash Metal. That’s what three unstoppable Italian metallers have to offer us all in their excellent debut album.

Are you ready to crush your skull into the circle pit to the sound of a 100% pure, no bullshit, no shenanigans Thrash Metal album born from the urge to go back to the roots of the genre and inspired by the more technical wing of 90’s Thrash Metal? That’s exactly what you’re going to get in Filthgrinder, the debut album by an Agrigento, Sicily-based Thrash Metal trio formed at the end of 2018 by vocalist and bassist Ignazio Nicastro (from post-thrashers Eversin) together with guitarist Giuseppe Taormina and drummer Danilo Ficicchia that goes by the sharp name of Xenos, clearly inspired by thrashing masters like Megadeth, Xentrix, Annihilator and Slayer, but of course without forgetting to add their own dosage of personality to each one of their compositions. Featuring a modern and aggressive album art that perfectly represents the band’s sound, as well as guest appearances by Jeff “Mantas” Dunn from Venom and Simon Cobb from Anihilated, Filthgrinder exalts the characteristics of the genre through fast and aggressive compositions, yet at the same time sounding technical and full of groove.

Soldados works like an acoustic and serene intro, or maybe I should say “the calm before the storm” by Xenos, as they begin their infuriated, berserk Thrash Metal attack in the title-track Filthgrinder, with Giuseppe shredding his axe in great fashion while Danilo pounds his drums mercilessly. Put differently, it’s pure old school Bay Area Thrash led by Ignazio’s raspy and demented screams, with no artificial elements added at all, followed by Post Apocalypse Breed, just as insane and frantic as its predecessor, reminding me of some of the creations by Exodus and Slayer. Furthermore, Danilo accelerates the song’s pace while Ignazio brings thunder and lightning to the musicality through his vocals and bass punches, resulting in a must-listen song for lovers of the genre.

And pounding our heads with their razor-edged riffs and venomous beats, the band offers us all Birth Of A Tyrant, a headbanging tune where Danilo is once again berserk on drums, also featuring a sick guitar solo by the aforementioned Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, whereas So Old, So Cold sounds and feels a lot more infuriated and faster, or in other words, a frantic display of classic Thrash Metal by the trio with Giuseppe kicking some serious ass on the guitar while Ignazio continues to bark manically, bursting his lungs with anger and rage. And leaning towards the Speed Metal played by Megadeth infused with the fury of Exodus we have Iconoclast, with violent beats and rumbling bass lines working as the driving force of this slamming feast.

There’s absolutely no sign of slowing down as the trio keeps blasting sheer violence and rebelliousness in Angel Of Silence, with its background speech adding a touch of insanity to the overall musicality while Ignazio and Giuseppe are on fire with their metallic bass lines and sick shredding, respectively. Then we have Xenos’ superb cover version for Megadeth’s all-time classic Peace Sells (check out the original one HERE), showcasing a fantastic job done by all band members who give their own raw and demented twist to this thrashing anthem, with Giuseppe stealing the spotlight with both his wicked riffs and crisp solos. And last but not least, featuring guest vocals by Simon Cobb, the closing song Of Magma And War is another ode to all things thrash where Ignazio and Simon make a demonic vocal duo while Danilo shows no mercy for his drum set, concluding the album on the highest and most visceral note possible.

In a nutshell, if thrashing is your business and business is good, you must give Xenos a try by following them on Facebook and by purchasing Filthgrinder directly from their own BandCamp page, from My Kingdom Music’s Big Cartel, or from other distinct locations by clicking HERE. Those Italian metallers definitely know what they’re doing and where they’re headed to, therefore paving a very interesting future in their up-and-coming career. As the band members themselves like to say, there’s “no compromise, no fashion, no bullshit, just Thrash Metal” in the music found in Filthgrinder, and to be fair that’s all we can ask for (and all we need) when the style in question is our beloved Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Filthgrinder, Peace Sells and Of Magma And War.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Club Inferno Ent.

Track listing
1. Soldados 2:34
2. Filthgrinder 3:28
3. Post Apocalypse Breed 5:02
4. Birth Of A Tyrant (feat. Jeff “Mantas” Dunn) 3:41
5. So Old, So Cold 4:16
6. Iconoclast 3:38
7. Angel Of Silence 5:26
8. Peace Sells (Megadeth cover) 3:52
9. Of Magma And War (feat. Simon Cobb) 5:37

Band members
Ignazio Nicastro – vocals, bass
Giuseppe Taormina – guitars
Danilo Ficicchia – drums

Guest musicians
Jeff “Mantas” Dunn – guitar solo on “Birth Of A Tyrant”
Simon Cobb – additional vocals on “Of Magma And War”

Album Review – Colosso / Apocalypse EP (2020)

Pestilence, War, Death and Famine masterfully turned into brutal and obscure Death Metal by a heavier-than-hell unity hailing from Portugal.

What if a vicious horde hailing from Portugal decided to turn the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, into gruesome and raw Death Metal? That’s exactly what a project formed in 2011, currently comprised of Max Tomé on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Alexandre Ribeiro (Grog) on bass and Robin Stone (Norse) on drums, collectively known as Porto, Portugal-based Death Metal unity Colosso, has to offer us all in their brand new EP simply titled Apocalypse, translating into modern and sharp Death Metal all the darkness flowing from the four riders Pestilence, War, Famine and Death.

After years of toiling in the underground, putting out six releases of ever-evolving Death Metal such as their debut full-length opus Peaceful Abrasiveness, in 2012, and more recently Rebirth, in 2018, Colosso seem to have reached their most demonic shape and form in Apocalypse, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Norse, Morbid Angel, Nile, Incantation and Suffocation, among other behemoths of extreme music. Mixed and mastered by Max Tomé himself, and featuring a beyond obscure album art by Phlegeton Art Studio, as well as guest vocals by Guilherme Henriques of Oak and Gaerea, Diogo Santana of Analepsy, and Sérgio Afonso of Bleeding Display, Apocalypse is an undoubtedly breathtaking and refreshingly diverse album, showcasing the myriad aspects of this bold and innovative Death Metal band without compromising on their aggressive, apocalyptic sound.

And pestilence and plague permeate the air in the vicious and heavy-as-hell Pestilence, blending the violence of Death Metal with the grim and infernal sounds of Blackened Doom while guest vocalist Guilherme Henriques barks and roars like a creature from the netherworld. Not only that, Robin smashes his drums mercilessly nonstop, with that disturbing and evil onrush of sounds going on and on until the song’s visceral ending. Then guest Sérgio Afonso lends his guttural vocals to Colosso in the also Stygian tune War, with the sounds of machine guns and explosions making the whole song even more realistic, leaning towards classic Death Metal. Moreover, Alexandre’s bass jabs and Robin’s beats feel like the epitome of evil, resulting in a pulverizing display of extreme music for lovers of the genre.

Max himself is responsible for the vocal duties in Death, a lot more melodic and crisper than its predecessors while still providing the band’s characteristic rawness and darkness. Furthermore, Max is spot-on with his razor-edged riffs accompanied by Robin’s intricate drums and, as a surprise, Max fires clean, ethereal vocals instead of the album’s characteristic putrid gnarls, bringing elements from Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal to Colosso’s core savagery. And last but not least, Diogo Santana provides his share of deep guttural roars to Famine, where the band gets back to their most demented and hellish mode, showcasing all band members in total sync led by Max’s strident riffs, while Robin sounds like a stone crusher on drums and, as a consequence, flirting with Brutal Death Metal at times.

In summary, if you’re an admirer of the meanest and heaviest side of Death Metal you must give these Portuguese metallers a very good try as Max and his henchmen have all it takes to explode your mind and darken your soul with their brand new installment Apocalypse, which by the way will soon be available from the band’s own BandCamp page and from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in distinct formats such as the awesome T-shirt + CD + Digital Download bundle. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Colosso by following them on Facebook and by listening to more of their somber creations on Spotify. As the four dreadful figures in the Book of Revelation who symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world get closer and closer to us, there’s nothing better than the avalanche of Death Metal roars crafted by Colosso to provide them a warm and friendly welcome, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: War and Famine.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Pestilence 8:14
2. War 4:07
3. Death 4:11
4. Famine 4:14

Band members
Max Tomé – guitars, keyboards, vocals on “Death”
Alexandre Ribeiro – bass
Robin Stone – drums

Guest musicians
Guilherme Henriques – vocals on “Pestilence”
Sérgio Afonso – vocals on “War”
Diogo Santana – vocals on “Famine”

Album Review – Gorevent / Fate (2020)

Let’s all slam into the circle pit to the sound of the new album by this ruthless Japanese outfit, representing the sound of humanity come full circle.

Ushering in a new age of primitive savagery come Niigata, Japan-based Brutal Slamming Death Metal kings Gorevent, armed to the teeth with their brand new opus entitled Fate, the fifth full-length album in their undisputed career, representing the sound of humanity come full circle, ending in blood and darkness as we began. Put differently, remorseless riffs, blunt force trauma rhythm battery and animalistic vocals are the main ingredients in the new slamming feast brought forth by this unrelenting band formed in the already distant year of 2004 and currently comprised of Gokucho on vocals, Suguru and Kasahara on the guitars and Takasick on bass, not to mention Metadon, who recorded the drums for the album as a session musician. Featuring a beyond obscure artwork by an enigmatic artist named Mr. Utsuro, Fate will smash you like an insect, being highly recommended for fans of the vicious creations by bands like Devourment, Autopsy, Visceral Disgorge and Cephalotripsy.

Get ready to have your spinal cord and your skull crushed to pieces in the opening track Confront, sounding as heavy and rude as it can be with Gokucho blasting his Chirs Barnes-inspired deep roars like a beast, while session drummer Metadon proves why he was chosen to record the album. After such demented welcome card the band offers our putrid ears the also gory Justice, where Suguru and Kasahara simply smash their stringed weapons in a feast of infernal riffs perfect for headbanging or slamming manically, and their brutal and primeval sounds keep hammering our heads in Keep It Tightening, where its guitars will slash your ears while Takasick and Metadon generate a thunderous ambience with their respective bass punches and beats. In Swell, a song for lovers of our good old headbanging, Gokucho’s guttural gnarls get closer to the ones of a dark and demonic creature, resulting in a first-class, gruesome Death Metal composition where not a single space is left empty.

Then it’s time for Gorevent to accelerate their beastly machine and deliver sheer brutality in Energies, tailored for breaking your neck in half to the sound of the blast beast by Metadon while the band’s guitar duo extract tons of aggressiveness from their strings. Needless to say, their demented party has no time to end, offering us all the Brutal Death Metal extravaganza entitled Round 13, where Gokucho’s primate growls are effectively supported by the vicious sounds crafted by his bandmates, whereas in the title-track Fate we all witness guest vocalist Ryo Honma taking his vile vocals to a whole new level of dementia and brutality, while Metadon keeps the song’s pace obscure and evil. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded more demonic than this, ending the album on a high and visceral note, and as a “bonus track” to such violent album Gorevent deliver the also berserk and grim Day to Head, reminding me of the early days of Cannibal Corpse when all you could hear were deep roars and crushing beats, definitely not recommended for the lighthearted.

In a nutshell, although Gorevent might not be reinventing Death Metal nor anything close to that in their new album Fate, those Japanese metallers did a very good and solid job throughout the entire album, living up to the legacy of Brutal Slamming Death Metal and, even more important than that, providing fans of the genre more fuel for their insane circle pits. Hence, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, including their tour dates, as you might be able to witness them live in your city crushing everything and everyone that dares to cross their path, and don’t forget to purchase Fate from your favorite retailer such as the Comatose Music’s BandCamp page or webstore, Apple Music and Amazon. While veteran metal acts like Gorevent exist, and I guess we can already call them veterans, we can rest assured Death Metal will remain strong, violent and gory just the way we like it, and based on the sheer aggressiveness flowing from each and every track found in Fate I honestly (and happily) don’t believe the band is thinking about calling it quits in the foreseeable future.

Best moments of the album: Justice, Energies and Round 13.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Comatose Music

Track listing
1. Confront 2:51
2. Justice 2:39
3. Keep It Tightening 3:04
4. Swell 3:12
5. Energies 3:13
6. Round 13 2:36
7. Fate 4:10
8. Day to Head 3:13

Band members
Gokucho – vocals
Suguru – guitar
Kasahara – guitar
Takasick – bass

Guest musician
Metadon – drums (session)
Ryo Honma – vocals on “Fate”

Album Review – Frogg / A Reptilian Dystopia EP (2020)

A short and sweet stash of riffs, licks and raw emotion inoculated over the years, poured out into the world in the form of modern and thrilling Technical Death Metal.

Formed in 2019 in Stamford, a town in Delaware County, New York, United States, the unrelenting Modern and Technical Death Metal project known as Frogg has been in the works for years in the mind of Sky Moon Clark, and over the years he has been inoculating a stash of riffs, licks and raw emotion, which will now be poured out into the world in the form of the band’s debut EP beautifully entitled A Reptilian Dystopia. Comprised of the aforementioned Sky Moon Clark on lead vocals and guitars, Liam Zintz-Kunkel on rhythm guitars, Siebe Sol Sijpkens on bass, Emma Rae on keyboards and backing vocals and Anthony Barrone on drums, Frogg are one of those bands highly recommended for metalheads looking for something new and creative, especially fans of Obscura, Arsis, Necrophagist and Born of Osiris, blending the violence from classic Death Metal with modern and innovative sounds from the current music scene.

Produced and mixed by Shane Stanton, mastered by Ermin Hamidovic (Systematic Productions), distributed by Distrokid, and featuring a devilish artwork by Yann Kempen and Bertrand Lefebvree, the short and sweet A Reptilian Dystopia will certainly put a smile on your face while you headbang to each one of its four well-engendered and classy tracks. “Our EP is kind of our raw sound put on a plate without much refinement, but it’s still the basic punch and flavour Frogg has to offer. Just think of the EP as our base, while our in-the-works Album I (expected 2021/2022) will be a more fleshed out form of Frogg with an emphasized focus on the overall songs start to finish,” said Mr. Sky Moon Clark himself about the future material Frogg intend to release.

Right from the very first second in Ancient Rain we can enjoy tons of intricacy and insanity flowing from all instruments, while the song’s austere lyrics are effectively vociferated by Sky Moon (“Surrender to the ancient rain / Greed is all there is to blame / No vaccination to this strain / ‘Til earth is free of human stain / Deep below the monster waits / Under ice and time and space”). Not only that, Anthony slams his drums majestically, with the song also showcasing a great riffage sync between Sky Moon and Liam in what’s a bestial and fun feast of Technical Death Metal. Then groovier and more atmospheric than the opening tune thanks to the thunderous bass by Siebe and the whimsical keys by Emma, Nuclear Storm is a two-minute explosion of aggression and progressiveness led by Anthony’s nonstop beats and fills, maintaining the EP at a very high level of acidity and heaviness.

Strident guitars ignite the metallic extravaganza titled DNA, even more atmospheric than its predecessors and once again showcasing more of their cryptic lyrics (“I refuse to accept this rusty machine / As my sole source of bibliography / Further corrupting our genes / A modification delivering new geography / Dip your brain through your poison”). Put differently, it’s a multi-layered display of the band’s dexterity, with its piercing riffs being effectively intertwined with crushing beats and rumbling bass jabs, not to mention Sky Moon’s awesome closing solo as the icing on the cake. Following such dense composition we have the also amazing Ranidaphobia, which by the way means fear of frogs and toads, bringing forward sheer violence, dementia and rage in the form of Technical Death Metal by Frogg, alternating between the savagery led by Anthony’s visceral drums and the delicate keys and vocalizations by Emma, with the song’s ending being absolutely climatic for our total delight. And as a bonus to their fans, Frogg close the EP with an instrumental version of Ancient Rain, blasting our ears with their refined techniques and deep passion for heavy music.

A member of ASCAP (or the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), Sky Moon Clark and his Frogg are looking for guitarists, bassists and drummers in the New York City area to join him and Emma Rae for their live performances, and if you’re a musician looking for a good challenge the likes of Frogg simply get in touch with them on Facebook. In addition, if you want to support such up-and-coming band from New York, you can purchase A Reptilian Dystopia from the project’s own BandCamp page or from Distrokid. In a nutshell, A Reptilian Dystopia might already be a very entertaining album of metal music, but let’s not forget it’s only the first step (or maybe I should say the first leap) in the promising career of Frogg, which fortunately means we can rest assured we’ll be hearing from Sky Moon and his band a lot more in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: DNA and Ranidaphobia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Ancient Rain 3:23
2. Nuclear Storm 2:05
3. DNA 7:29
4. Ranidaphobia 3:47
5. Ancient Rain (Instrumental) 3:24

Band members
Sky Moon Clark – lead vocals, guitars
Liam Zintz-Kunkel – rhythm guitar
Siebe Sol Sijpkens – bass
Emma Rae – keyboards, backing vocals
Anthony Barrone – drums

Album Review – Secret Rule / Against (2020)

A beautiful album of Symphonic Metal showcasing a collection of songs from romantic and intimate ones to dark and fast tunes, all of them about being overwhelmed in a hurricane of emotions.

Formed at the beginning of 2014 in Rome, Italy with the intention to create a special sound with powerful rhythms and catchy melodies, Symphonic Rock/Metal unity Secret Rule can be considered one of the most hardworking bands of the current Italian scene without a shadow of a doubt, having released nothing more, nothing less than four studio albums since their inception until 2019, or almost one album per year, with the year of 2018 being the only exception to that. After the released of the full-length installments Transposed Emotions, in 2015, Machination, in 2016, The Key to the World, in 2017, and more recently The 7 Endless, in 2019, it’s time for the band spearheaded by the stunning vocalist Angela Di Vincenzo (Kyla Moyl) together with guitarist and keyboardist Andy Menario (Martiria), bassist Michele Raspanti (S.O.S., Graal) and drummer Alex Beccati to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their fifth album, entitled Against, exhaling endless energy, epicness and romance though the band’s feast of heavy riffs, soaring vocals and electronic elements. In other words, you will find all types of songs in Against, from the most romantic, intimate and mellow one to dark, fast and powerful tunes, all of them about being overwhelmed in a hurricane of emotions, exactly how we like it in Symphonic Metal.

The opening track Spira Mirabilis sounds ominous and atmospheric like the soundtrack to a dark horror movie, suddenly exploding into captivating Symphonic Metal led by Angela’s potent vocals who’s always supported by the theatrical performance by her band members, with Andy kicking ass with his wicked keys. And Andy also slashes his strings in great fashion in Shades of Humanity, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Michele while Angela continues to shine on vocals, sounding heavier than its predecessor but at the same time very delicate and also presenting strident guitar solos and never-ending stamina. Then it’s time for Secret Rule to put the pedal to the metal and offer us all a feast of rock and metal sounds in Rise Again, showcasing a great balance between the pounding beats by Alex and the futuristic keys by Andy, while at the same time blending elements from the music by Evanescence, Epica and Lacuna Coil; followed by the more introspective and cryptic Going Nowhere, a song perfect for Angela to steal the spotlight with her dark and sexy vocals amidst the solid and dense musicality blasted by the whole band.

Adding a touch of modernity to their musicality, with hints of Rammstein’s Industrial Metal being thoroughly inserted into its core but still keeping the band’s classic Symphonic Metal intact, of course, Digital Revolution is beyond exciting and vibrant from start to finish, becoming one of the best moments of the album without any doubt. Endless Promises is a radio-friendly tune by Secret Rule spearheaded by Alex’s unstoppable drums while Angela takes her vocals up a notch, sounding and feeling very pleasant right from the very first second, whereas Purgatory is a lot groovier and more demonic thanks to its harsh vocals, building a great paradox with Angela’s angelical voice, not to mention Andy’s flammable solos. Put differently, it will certainly please all fans of the genre, which can also be said about the title-track Against, bringing forward a video game-inspired intro that’s quickly joined by the band’s characteristic riffs and beats, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline.

Deep Solitude sounds a little generic if compared to the rest of the album despite the great job done by Angela on vocals; nothing that would harm the album though, as it can be quite entertaining for many fans, as a matter of fact. Fortunately, they get back on track with Outsiders, another fun composition uniting the electricity of Symphonic Metal with the modern and futuristic nuances of orchestral music, with Andy, Michele and Alex being on absolute fire with their thunderous instruments, while My Last Breath flirts with Alternative Rock and Metal, resulting in a semi-ballad that sounds at the same time very gentle and obscure, with Angela embellishing the airwaves with another passionate vocal performance. And lastly, the keys by Andy dictate the rhythm in the closing tune Don’t Let Me Fade, where Alex pounds his drums potently and Andy injects an extra dosage of electricity to the song’s pace through his always sharp guitar solos.

As already mentioned, Secret Rule are not only an unstoppable, hardworking band hailing form Italy, but their talent is also undeniable as we can all see in their brand new opus Against, and if you want to know more about Angela and the boys you can get in touch with them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to more of their music on Spotify. Also, above all that, don’t forget to preorder your copy of Against from the band’s own webstore in a Special Limited Edition Boxset format, from Record Shop X or from Apple Music, and soon from other locations such as the Pride & Joy Music webstore. Let’s enjoy this fresh and exciting new endeavor by Secret Rule now in 2020, attending their live concerts and raising our horns for such distinct metal act from Italy, and when 20201 comes I’m sure Angela, Andy & Co. will present us with another round of their awesome Symphonic Metal. Because you know, Secret Rule never know when to stop, which in their case is always a very good thing.

Best moments of the album: Spira Mirabilis, Rise Again, Digital Revolution and Outsiders.

Worst moments of the album: Deep Solitude.

Released in 2020 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Spira Mirabilis 4:03
2. Shades of Humanity 3:29
3. Rise Again 4:37
4. Going Nowhere 4:56
5. Digital Revolution 3:56
6. Endless Promises 3:36
7. Purgatory 3:50
8. Against 4:34
9. Deep Solitude 3:47
10. Outsiders 4:30
11. My Last Breath 3:35
12. Don’t Let Me Fade 3:46

Band members
Angela Di Vincenzo – vocals
Andy Menario – guitars, keys
Michele Raspanti – bass
Alex Beccati – drums

Album Review – Arcana 13 / Black Death EP (2020)

A lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock in the form of a short but extremely sharp and obscure EP.

“Emblems seen through the fog, it’s the end of it all. Look upon the blood-red moon and you’ll be facing the Black Death.”

Hailing from Italy, the birthplace of cult horror movie masters like Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Mario Bava, among many others, more specifically from Ravenna, a city in in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, Doom/Heavy Metal entity Arcana 13 (which should be read as Arcana Tredici, as “tredici” is 13 in Italian) is unleashing upon humanity more of their “Horror Doom”, a lethal mixture between the visual terror of Italian horror with the heavy and magical atmospheres of 70’s Occult Rock, with their brand new EP entitled Black Death, the follow-up to their 2016 full-length opus Danza Macabra.

Comprised of Simone Bertozzi and Andrea Burdisso on vocals and guitars, Filippo Petrini on bass and Luigi Taroni on drums, Arcana 13’s latest gravestone is the collaboration with director Luca Canale Brucculeri on his new horror TV series Black Death, based on the eponymous comic book. He got enthralled by Arcana 13’s music and decided to commission the main theme’s songwriting for the series, resulting in this short but extremely effective display of horror and doom by Arcana 13, all complemented by a grim artwork designed by Spanish artist Pol Abran (Branca Studio). Having said that, are you ready to face darkness and horror together with this talented four-piece act of doom?

Like in a sinister horror movie the song Black Death starts in a truly phantasmagorical way, evolving into a feast of damned beats blasted by Luigi and cryptic guitar lines by both Simone and Andrea. Not only that, it has a beautiful Black Sabbath-inspired vibe that will certainly captivate all your senses, inviting you to feel the thunderous bass by Filippo smashing your skull mercilessly, while the last part of the song is faster, more dynamic and more flammable, bringing to our avid ears a wild guitar solo as the icing on the cake. Then Arcana 13 offer us all something I’d never thought I would see one day, a somber and atmospheric Doom Metal version of an Iron Maiden song, more specifically the old school Wrathchild (check out this amazing version from Iron Maiden’s latest live album The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter, released in 2018), where Filippo kicks ass on bass while the vocal lines sound and feel grim and introspective from start to finish, also showcasing a fantastic job done by Simone and Andrea with their damned riffage.

If Black Death is only the “teaser trailer” to what Arcana 13 are preparing for us in the near future in the form of a new horror movie-inspired full-length opus, then we can all rest assured great things are about to happen in the ominous world of such skillful and hardworking Italian group. Hence, keep an eye on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the quartet, and grab your copy of Black Death from their official BandCamp page, from the Aural Music webstore, from FYE.com and soon from several other locations, showing your utmost support to a band that certainly knows how to transform a spine-chilling, psychological horror story into top-of-the-line heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Both songs are darkly amazing.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Aural Music

Track listing
1. Black Death 6:48
2. Wrathchild (Iron Maiden cover) 3:52

Band members
Simone Bertozzi – vocals, guitar
Andrea Burdisso – vocals, guitar
Filippo Petrini – bass
Luigi Taroni – drums

Album Review – Nightfear / Apocalypse (2020)

An unstoppable Heavy Metal entity hailing from Spain returns in full force with their most powerful and mature album to date, always true and loyal to their origins.

Formed in the already distant year of 2008 in Madrid, Spain, an unstoppable Heavy Metal force that goes by the name of Nightfear is about to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their third full-length installment, entitled Apocalypse, by far their most powerful and mature album to date, featuring ten impressive compositions full of catchy melodies, razor-edged guitar riffs and the remarkable vocals by Lorenzo Mutiozabal, being highly recommended for fans of the fusion of Heavy and Power Metal blasted by iconic bands like Judas Priest, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Maiden And Primal Fear.

Comprised of the aforementioned Lorenzo Mutiozabal on vocals, Ismael Retana and Ángel Fernández on the guitars, Manuel Moreno on bass and Osckar Bravo on drums, Nightfear released their debut album Inception in 2012, quickly establishing their name in the Spanish Heavy Metal scene, with their 2015 concept album Drums of War cementing their name as one of the most prominent national bands within the genre. However, it’s with Apocalypse that this unrelenting Spanish squad aims at conquering the world of heavy music, offering their fans and newcomers to their metal realm a new step in the evolution of the band while at the same time always staying true to their origins.

And Osckar already gives a taste of his refined skills in the opening track We are Back, kicking off the album on a high (and fast) note. In other words, this is definitely how any band should announce their return to action, with Lorenzo’s vocals reminding me of the golden years of Helloween’s own Andi Deris, not to mention the incendiary riffs and solos by the band’s guitar duo. Their ode to old school Heavy and Power Metal goes on in Shine, another Helloween-inspired anthem where Ismael and Ángel slash their strings majestically, resulting in an upbeat creation by the band where Manuel’s thunderous bass and Osckar’s nonstop beats generate a powerful atmosphere for our total delight, followed by Living Your Life, a mid-tempo rockin’ tune where Lorenzo is on fire with his high-pitched, passionate vocal lines, supported by spot-on backing vocals and classic, strident riffs.

It’s definitely impossible to stand still to the dynamic and high-octane A Better World, where Osckar and the band’s stringed trio are on absolute fire, therefore providing Lorenzo all he needs to shine on vocals. Furthermore, not only the song’s ending brings a beautiful guitar solo for our avid ears, but its utterly catchy chorus and sheer speed turn it into a must-listen for admirers of the genre. There’s no sign of slowing down, as in The Stranger, a very melodic and captivating tune once again drinking from the same fountain as several of their German neighbors, the band remains loyal to traditional Heavy Metal from start to finish. How can it get any better than this? Then even faster and more aggressive than its predecessors, the instrumental feast of metallic sounds and tones titled Psichokiller sounds like a Spanish version of Primal Fear, with Ismael and Ángel delivering pulverizing riffs and electrifying guitar solos nonstop; whereas the tribal beats by Osckar ignite the also incendiary Through the Stars, presenting over six minutes of flammable guitar lines and killer drums and bass punches, while Lorenzo keeps doing what he does best, which is blasting his soaring vocals majestically in this lecture in traditional Melodic and Power Metal.

Nuclear Winter is another pounding, headbanging creation by Nightfear where the entire band kicks some serious ass with their flammable vocals, piercing riffs, and thunderous bass and drums. Put differently, it’s an ode to 80’s and 90’s Heavy Metal, bringing forward beautiful, melodious lines intertwined with sheer adrenaline, and the band puts the pedal to the metal mercilessly, accelerating the pace and delivering a Power Metal extravaganza entitled The Evil in You, led by the intricate, high-octane shredding by the band’s talented guitarists while Osckar dictates the song’s frantic rhythm on drums. And lastly we have Angels of Apocalypse, one of the boldest creations of their career surpassing the eight-minute barrier, starting in a serene manner with a narration inviting the listener to join Nightfear in their new adventure and exhaling epicness, with Lorenzo giving a lesson in metal singing while the music flows smoothly and powerfully until the very end.

If you want to put your metallic hands on this precious gem of Heavy and Power Metal made in Spain, simply go to the Fighter Records’ BandCamp page or to Apple Music (and soon also available from the Xtreem Music webstore and other locations) to grab your copy of the album, and obviously don’t forget to follow Nightfear on Facebook and to listen to more of their music on Spotify, showing your true support to such distinct and talented metallers. A new year has just begun, and as several people are saying 2020 will be the year of the Apocalypse, at least we can rest assured Nightfear are among us to provide our ears and minds a vibrant and thrilling soundtrack to the end of the world.

Best moments of the album: We are Back, The Stranger, Through the Stars and Nuclear Winter.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Fighter Records

Track listing
1. We are Back 5:59
2. Shine 5:11
3. Living Your Life 5:00
4. A Better World 4:09
5. The Stranger 5:32
6. Psichokiller 4:29
7. Through the Stars 6:29
8. Nuclear Winter 6:05
9. The Evil in You 4:42
10. Angels of Apocalypse 8:27

Band members
Lorenzo Mutiozabal – vocals
Ismael Retana – guitar
Ángel Fernández – guitar
Manuel Moreno – bass
Osckar Bravo – drums