Album Review – SynlakrosS / Malice Murder (2018)

Get ready to be transported to a world of adventure with a good deal of rebellion in the brand new ass-kicking album by one of the most prominent names of the underground metal scene.

Formed in 2008 in the stunning city of Valencia, Spain by bassist Pablo “Roro” Fuentes and drummer Tiko Martínez, the unstoppable female-fronted Melodic Death Metal outfit that goes by the stylish name of SynlakrosS has just taken another amazing step in their (r)evolutionary career with the release of their third full-length installment, the creative, incendiary and utterly fun Malice Murder, cementing their name as one of the best bands in the Melodic Death Metal, Nu Metal and Metalcore scene all over the world, therefore being highly recommended for fans of bands such as In Flames, Slipknot, Butcher Babies, Arch Enemy and Lamb Of God, among several others. Injecting a considerable dosage of energy into our hearts and minds with their music and thematic lyrics, SynlakrosS will transport you to a world of adventure with a good deal of rebellion in Malice Murder, always moving forward but at the same time always loyal to their foundations and, of course, to their already huge fanbase.

In my humble opinion, what really stands out in Malice Murder, apart from its top-of-the-line production and endless electricity, are the insanely metallic and piercing sounds extracted by Pablo from his infernal bass, and especially all the experimentations and different vocalizations blasted by the band’s stunning frontwoman Patricia Pons. She sounds vile, demented, passionate and defiant with her wicked growls, roars and screams, taking her vocals to a whole new (and previously unexplored) level that will certainly please all fans of modern-day Melodic Death Metal. Add to that mix the crushing riffs and solos by the band’s axemen Iván Muñoz and Aarón Hidalgo, not to mention the sensational album artwork designed by Patricia herself, and there you have not only the perfect follow-up to their 2016 opus Death Bullets for a Forajido, but also a gargantuan avalanche of breathtaking metal sounds that will blow your senses mercilessly.

The opening track, titled Angel on Fire, sounds modern, electrified and vibrant right from the very first second, with its futuristic sounds and Patricia’s hypnotizing whispers kicking off a Melodic Death Metal party led by Pablo’s infuriated bass punches. Then in the fast-paced, heavy-as-hell extravaganza named Fatal Frame the band puts the pedal to the metal showcasing furious riffs and tones by the band’s stringed triumvirate, with Patricia growling and gnarling like a she-wolf while Tiko smashes his drums beautifully; followed by Dark Seed, not only the first single of the album but also the epitome of modern-day Metalcore, exhaling sheer madness and rage and with Patricia stealing the spotlight once again with her rabid growls and demented vociferations, as well as Aarón and Iván with their heavy and aggressive shredding. Put differently, this is the type of song that’s absolutely perfect for setting the crowd on fire during their live concerts. And let me remind you that the party is just starting, as in Alone in the Dark, spearheaded by Pablo and his thunderous, hammering bass, melodic guitar lines are flawlessly intertwined with moments of sheer lunacy, living up to the legacy of renowned Nu Metal acts like the iconic Korn.

Eternal Darkness showcases a classic song name for an explosive fusion of Metalcore, Melodic Death Metal and Groove Metal, breaking your neck in half to the precise beats by Tiko (which means it might become a fan-favorite if they add it to their setlists, of course), while Killing Diablos gets closer to their sonority from Death Bullets for a Forajido, but with a 2018 twist if I might say that. In addition, its background effects and tones nicely add an extra touch of madness to the music, while Patricia alternates between her rabid roars and demented clean vocals. Resurrection is another solid and well-crafted metal chant by SynlakrosS where the razor-edged guitars by Aarón and Iván shine brighter than the sun, also presenting a futuristic vibe and atmosphere and, as a consequence, being tailored for jumping up and down with the band; whereas in Morrígan it’s time for total devastation with this steampunk Spanish army, as the “Morrígan” is a figure from Irish mythology that represents a “great queen” or “phantom queen”, being mainly associated with war and fate, especially with foretelling doom, death or victory in battle. Does that remind you of someone? Anyway, I simply love how Patricia screams the song’s name from the bottom of her heart, making it impossible to stand still to this groovy and rumbling tune.

The last batch of songs from Malice Murder begins with Bloody Waltz, a dark an eerie “waltz” of contemporary Alternative Metal presenting elements from the wicked music by Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, such as its uncanny background keys, sounding and feeling very theatrical, which means it’s perfect for Patricia to showcase all her skills as the amazing singer and performer she is. Then the number of the beast, the famous 666, names another furious and ominous hymn by the quintet where Pablo slams his bass strings manically, extracting beyond lancinating sounds from it and, therefore, supporting Patricia’s screams flawlessly; whereas in Under the Ice there’s absolutely no sign of the band slowing down or getting any softer. Quite the contrary, it’s time for total anarchy with highlights to the perfect sync between Pablo’s bass and the guitar duo’s crisp riffage, sounding even more modernized than all previous songs. In the short and sweet semi-acoustic bridge Undying, we’re treated to some sort of futuristic western-like sonority, before SynlakrosS come crushing one last time in Siren’s Bloody Curse, the perfect conclusion to such powerful album, feeling more melancholic and obscure than all previous songs, transpiring melody and displaying an amazing performance by Pablo on bass and Iván with his fiery guitar solo. Needless to say, Patricia once again slays our senses with her potent growls and gripping clean vocals throughout the entire song.

In case you’re not a “curly wolf” yet, you should definitely start following SynlakrosS on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously purchase your copy of Malice Murder (available for a full listen on Spotify) from their own webstore in regular CD format or as a CD + T-shirt bundle (with the T-shirt also being designed by the unstoppable Patricia), as well as from iTunes, Amazon, or CD Baby. And if you’re already a diehard fan of SynlakrosS, you know the band is going places with their hard work, talent and extreme dedication, with the incendiary Malice Murder beautifully representing what their music is all about and pointing to an even brighter future for what’s in my humble opinion the best metal act hailing from Spain from the past decade and one of the best new names of the current metal scene worldwide.

Best moments of the album: Fatal Frame, Dark Seed, Morrígan and 666.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Angel on Fire 4:24
2. Fatal Frame 3:26
3. Dark Seed 4:03
4. Alone in the Dark 3:46
5. Eternal Darkness 4:33
6. Killing Diablos 3:50
7. Resurrection 3:54
8. Morrígan 3:38
9. Bloody Waltz 3:56
10. 666 3:18
11. Under the Ice 4:05
12. Undying 2:24
13. Siren’s Bloody Curse 4:26

Band members
Patricia Pons – vocals
Iván Muñoz – guitar
Aarón Hidalgo – guitar
Pablo Fuentes – bass
Tiko Martínez – drums

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Concert Review – Rotting Christ (L’Astral, Montreal, QC, 09/08/2016)

No Marduk? No problem at all, as Montreal still got an incredible night of extreme music spearheaded by the best Greek band of all time, the one and only Rotting Christ.

OPENING ACTS: Necronomicon and Carach Angren

marduk-tourFinally back from a lengthy trip to Montreal and Quebec City, it’s time to get the ball rolling again at The Headbanging Moose, and let’s begin with an outstanding night of Extreme Metal this Thursday in Montreal. First and foremost, in my opinion it was a huge lack of respect to all fans who had bought their tickets to see Marduk, Rotting Christ, Carach Angren and Necronomicon Thursday night at L’Astral in Montreal (by the way, what an amazing venue) to inform that Marduk had not received their Canadian working visas on time and, therefore, could not perform together with the other three bands of the night, only a couple of hours before the doors actually opened. I don’t believe the organizers were expecting the decision to not provide the visas to Marduk reversed the same day of the show, and I’m pretty sure most of you will agree with me it looks a lot more like an attempt to avoid a significant loss of money due to tickets being returned and refunded.

Anyway, Necronomicon, Carach Angren and Rotting Christ didn’t disappoint at all and put up a sensational show from start to finish, minimizing the pain we all had to endure due to the absence of the main band of the night. The first band to hit the stage was Canadian Symphonic Black/Death Metal horde NECRONOMICON, who after over a month on the road were finally back to their hometown to once again spread darkness over their beloved city at a packed L’Astral. Promoting their latest (and kick-ass) album Advent of The Human God, the band led by the talented (and also really cool guy) Rob “The Witch” Tremblay played a well-balanced mix of old songs with new demolishing tunes such as I (Bringer of Light) and Crown of Thorns, letting every single fan at the venue with a darkened heart and a huge smile on their faces. After their performance, Rob stayed at the band’s merch booth taking pictures with fans and selling high-quality T-shirts (really good stuff for only $25 each) and CD’s, which by the way are being re-printed already due to the high demand by fans worldwide. It’s so good to see bands like Necronomicon succeeding like that in an era where very few people buy physical music, and even better to see that when they play live they can transfer all the obscurity and potency of their music to the stage.

Band members
Rob “The Witch” Tremblay – vocals, guitar
Mars – bass
Rick – drums

img_1735After a short break, it was time for Dutch Horror Metal act CARACH ANGREN to haunt L’Astral with their theatrical and blackened performance. In case you know nothing about this excellent band from the city of Limburg, in the Netherlands, I highly recommend you go after their material because it’s not only very professional, but also unique and exciting. Furthermore, things get even better live, as all band members make sure they offer their fans a true depiction of their diabolical music. While Namtar kept smashing his drums and Ardek built a Mercyful Fate-inspired atmosphere through his keyboard notes, it were frontman Seregor and guest guitarist Jack Owen (let me say the presence of the famous ex-Cannibal Corpse guitarist was a huge and awesome surprise for me) who stole the show with their precise performances. I believe everyone at the venue loved the concert by Carach Angren, with songs such as When Crows Tick on Windows and Killed and Served by the Devil proving once again the fusion of theatre and extreme music, like what Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir do, always has a very positive impact on any live audience. There was even a wall of death close to the end of their show, which always translates into greatness for fans of demolishing music like myself.

Band members
Seregor – vocals
Ardek – keyboards, orchestrations
Namtar – drums 

Guest musician
Jack Owen – guitars 

ROTTING CHRIST

img_1744As aforementioned, we did not get Marduk, but who said the night wasn’t superb even with that unforeseen letdown? Well, that was only possible thanks to the flawless performance by Greek Black/Dark Metal titans ROTTING CHRIST, a concert that I personally recommend to anyone who loves violence and groove blended with history in heavy music. Call it tribal, ritualistic or warlike music, what Mr. Sakis Tolis and his army delivered to the fans in Montreal was beyond magnificent, with Sakis inciting every metalhed at the venue to “fight” in the circle pit. It was a neck-breaking, mind-blowing metal extravaganza that only a distinguished band like Rotting Christ is capable of delivering, leaving every single person in the crowd absolutely thrilled during their entire show.

I simply loved their precise mix of old classics, like the infernal The Sign of Evil Existence and Non Serviam, more contemporary tunes like the bestial 666, and brand new songs from the excellent Rituals, such as the hypnotizing chant Ze Nigmar, the delivish and rhythmic Apage Satana and my favorite song of the new album, the aggressive and energetic Elthe Kyrie (even with the stunning female vocals by Danai Katsameni not being live for obvious reasons). Nobody seemed to care about the fact that very few parts of the songs were sung in English, with most of their setlist being sung in Greek and other languages. The ritualistic and demonic aura of each song, played to perfection by all band members (in special by guitarist George Emmanuel, who was on fire during the whole concert as if he was possessed by an evil entity), was all that Rotting Christ needed to dominate the hearts, minds and souls of every fan at L’Astral.

img_1749I already nurture a lot of respect for Rotting Christ, but after what I saw in Montreal that respect grew even bigger than before. When you see a gorgeous girl that unfortunately has to be on a wheelchair (probably for the rest of her life) due to reasons beyond our control having an absolute blast the entire concert, getting totally mesmerized by the band’s powerful and primeval music, you know the band has something special in them. There are things only heavy music is capable of doing, especially bringing together all types of people it doesn’t matter how the person looks, the gender, religion, race or anything else. Unfortunately as I was still in Montreal until yesterday I couldn’t see them in Toronto Friday night, but I’m sure their Torontonians fans got exactly what they paid for: a stupendous concert of extreme music, perfectly fired by the most important and influential Greek band of all times. Put differently, next time Rotting Christ visit your city, don’t even think about missing the chance of seeing them live. Period.

Setlist
Ze Nigmar
Kata ton Demona Eautou
Athanati Este
Elthe Kyrie
Apage Satana
Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
Konx om Pax
666
The Sign of Evil Existence
Noctis Era

Encore:
Non Serviam

Band members
Sakis Tolis – vocals, guitars
George Emmanuel – guitars
Van Ace – bass
Themis Tolis – drums