Album Review – Meathook / Crypts, Coffins, Corpses (2019)

Terror is coming in the form of an absolute ode to all things brutal by this ruthless and demented Death Metal squad from Arizona.

The very first album review of 2019 is an absolute ode to all things brutal, and I’m sure you’ll feel completely disoriented after listening to its 31 minutes of pulverizing and gruesome extreme music. I’m talking about Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, the third full-length installment by American Brutal Death Metal unity Meathook, released on January 1 via Unmatched Brutality Records. Formed in 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona by the Gonzales Brothers, Meathook are ready to strike again six years after the the cruel assault of their 2012 album, Facing Deformity, and their depraved inclinations have only become more sickening with the passage of time.

If the dreams of the deranged could be captured in music, if the tales of their sleeping journeys through kingdoms of the unspeakable and grotesque were vomited out from the mouths of demons, then you would have the sound found in Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, comprised of nine crushing hymns of old school, unrelenting Brutal Death Metal highly recommended for fans of Devourment, Skinless, Ingested and Terrordrome, among other utterly vicious and demolishing metal bands. As the new year begins, a new age of dark dreams and devastation will dawn with the new opus by Meathook, so simply say goodbye to quiet nights and untroubled sleep because terror is coming in the form of the most extreme type of music you can think of.

Wicked noises explode into sheer brutality led by the demented beats by drummer Johnny Gonzales in the opening track Awaiting Torment, while lead singer Mars Gonzales barks like a rabid demon in a feast of violent, gory and visceral sounds just the way we like it; and their onrush of crushing noises goes on in Cauldron of Dead Bodies, a lesson in Brutal Death Metal where guitarists Robin Mack and Aaron Gonzales decimate their strings beautifully, delivering classic Death Metal riffs while the roars by Mars get deeper and deeper. Then Mars once again leads his horde of sick bastards in Purification Through Pain, almost vomiting the lyrics (and therefore making it quite impossible to follow them) while Johnny pulverizes everything and everyone with his bestial drumming, followed by the fulminating title-track Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, perfect for braking your spinal cord in half headbanging, with Robin and Aaron being in total sync with their axes supported by the low-tuned punches by bassist Elliot Thomas in a lecture in gore and dementia. And in Placed Upon the Altar we’re treated to a high-octane devastation bringing the most disturbing and gruesome elements from Brutal Death Metal such as inhumane growls, incendiary guitars and nonstop blast beats, or in other words, another sensational creation by this devilish Death Metal squad.

Leaning towards old school Cannibal Corpse but at the same time presenting a more contemporary vibe, Temples Made From Flesh is a song perfect for slamming into the pit, with Mars sounding absolutely monstrous on vocals, whereas in Disseminated Remains an operatic intro morphs into an ass-kicking display of savagery led by Johnny’s potent and rhythmic beats, hammering our heads mercilessly from start to finish. If you’re still alive after such gargantuan level of havoc blasted by Meathook up until now, you better get ready because the album’s second to last bloodthirsty extravaganza, titled Awakened by the Stench, is just as perverse and vile as the rest of the album, with Mars and Johnny complementing each other’s demonic roars and beats respectively. And last but not least, closing their Death Metal coffin the band offers our avid ears the insanely heavy and brutal Coils of Entrails, presenting hints of the most devastating form of Grindcore, not to mention Mars’ spine-tingling screeches and gnarls as well as Robin’s and Aaron’s razor-edged riffs.

If you have what it takes to face the disturbing and thunderous Death Metal by Meathook, you can take a detailed listen at Crypts, Coffins, Corpses on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course if you’re already a longtime member of the Death Metal underworld you can purchase your copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Unmatched Brutality Records webstore, or from the Comatose Music webstore. As aforementioned, the first review of 2019 was going to be a total carnage, and we have to thank the guys from Meathook  for kicking off this new year on such a high, apocalyptic and barbaric mode for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Cauldron of Dead Bodies, Crypts, Coffins, Corpses and Placed Upon the Altar.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Unmatched Brutality Records

Track listing
1. Awaiting Torment 3:28
2. Cauldron of Dead Bodies 3:39
3. Purification Through Pain 3:09
4. Crypts, Coffins, Corpses 3:38
5. Placed Upon the Altar 3:19
6. Temples Made From Flesh 3:04
7. Disseminated Remains 3:56
8. Awakened by the Stench 3:32
9. Coils of Entrails 3:37

Band members
Mars Gonzales – vocals
Robin Mack – guitar
Aaron Gonzales – guitar
Elliot Thomas – bass
Johnny Gonzales – drums

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Album Review – Ghost Horizon / The Erotics of Disgust EP (2017)

Four distinct compositions that will pierce into your mind and soul in a beautiful way, brought forth by a musician that definitely knows how to transform his deepest feelings into great music.

If you’re an admirer of the most obscure and melancholic forms of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal, I have some very good news for you. Critically acclaimed Post-Black Metal act Ghost Horizon is back with a brand new EP, titled The Erotics of Disgust, a follow-up (but with a considerably different sounding) to the band’s previous EP Astral Possessions, released in 2016.  This time around, this Phoenix-based project consists of founder Dan Stollings on vocals and all stringed instruments, and newcomer “Frog” Magus (Norse) on drums, who together brought into being four distinct compositions that will pierce into your soul and crush your feelings in a beautiful way.

Dan commented that the EP “has been waiting in the darkness for quite a while now – it’s been completed for months. It’s been hard to let this EP into the world, because in a lot of ways, I’m sharing some pretty deep emotions that I would never talk about otherwise. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in the process of its creation, and I think that’s reflected pretty heavily in the music. The decision to do the vocals myself was also a part of this realization that in order to portray exactly what I’m thinking, I need to use my own voice. Nothing on this album is perfect. I didn’t want it to be perfect. At first I went into writing with the mentality that this will be the best produced thing I’ve ever done, but after finishing the vocals, I realized this thing needs to be raw. And so it was.” After reading such powerful words by Dan, I’m sure you’re more than curious to listen to The Erotics of Disgust, but once again let me warn you that the music might be too dark for the average listener.

Radiant Eyes presents an introspective beginning for this new phase of Ghost Horizon, gradually morphing into a dark amalgamation of Blackened Doom and Post-Black Metal with hints of progressiveness enhancing the song’s depressive sonority. Moreover, “Frog” Magus does an amazing job on drums, maintaining the song’s dense rhythm flowing smoothly. In So Hollow, not only Dan surprises us with his clean vocals supported by a gentle ambience, but the song’s lyrics also prove that he’s definitely a skillful poet of darkness (“You can take it all / Everything we know / You can break it all / You chose a path I cannot follow / You left a heart in me so hollow / Changing skies above / Breaking hearts below / On again / True love / Off again / Bruised love”). This is modern and gripping Atmospheric Black Metal that brings at the same time peace and hopelessness to our hearts, making us eager for more of the music by Ghost Horizon.

Following a similar pattern to the previous song, This Forever Flow also presents delicate guitars and bass lines together with the Doom Metal-inspired beats by “Frog”, with its last piece getting heavier due to the harsh growls by Dan without losing its core subtlety. Besides, how not to get touched by its profound lyrics (“Fading from my heart is the will to be one / Fear in my words – last words to my love / Fire fading quickly, your lips have left me cold / The ending of a romance with the ending left untold”)? Lastly, featuring guitarist and composer Tyler Allen on guest vocals, Ghost Horizon deliver a full-bodied darkened composition bursting with anguish, despair and melancholy entitled Whispers, with its Black Metal riffs and blast beats bringing an extra dosage of obscurity to the overall musicality. In my humble opinion, it’s the best and most complete of the four songs of the EP, the type of music I would like to see Dan explore even more with his future releases.

In summary, although many people have a lot of difficulties to talk about their deepest feelings, it seems that Dan has simply mastered how to express his own feelings through the music by Ghost Horizon. However, you have to be very open-minded and absorb each second of The Erotics of Disgust in order to fully understand the whole message delivered by Dan this time, letting your mind and soul minutely merge with the music found on this fine album. And you can always get to know Ghost Horizon in more detail through their Facebook page and listen to their music on Spotify, as well as purchase your copy of The Erotics of Disgust on BandCamp, at the Tridroid Records’ webshop, on Cd Baby, on Amazon or on iTunes. The Erotics of Disgust is certainly not Dan’s last stint with his Ghost Horizon, which means there’s still a lot to come from such distinct act, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Best moments of the album: Whispers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Radiant Eyes 4:11
2. So Hollow 4:05
3. This Forever Flow 5:01
4. Whispers 4:34

Band members
Dan Stollings – all stringed instruments, vocals
“Frog” Magus – drums

Guest musician
Tyler Allen – additional vocals on “Whispers”

Album Review – Ghost Horizon / Astral Possession EP (2016)

An excellent Black Metal release exhaling agony, torment and depression, crafted by a promising American duo that has all it takes to succeed in the world of extreme music.

Rating5

Album CoverStraight from the city of Phoenix, located in the southwestern state of Arizona, in the United States, comes a band that aims at bringing pitch-black darkness not only to their precious Valley of the Sun, but also to the rest of the world with their unconditional rage and hopelessness. This wrathful band is called Ghost Horizon, and the quality of the music they offer us metalheads during the 12 minutes of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal found in their debut EP, entitled Astral Possession, is undoubtedly beyond what anyone could expect from such a fresh new act.

Formed in 2015 by ex-Severed Receptors and Psychobliss guitarist Dan Stollings, the obscurity crafted by Ghost Horizon will definitely please fans of bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Woods of Ypres and Alcest, among other eccentric Extreme Metal groups. Moreover, when you listen to the music in Astral Possession, you can rest assured you’re listening to truthful music and not to any type of shenanigans many bands tend to deliver just to sound badass or evil. “Ghost Horizon, to me, is everything I ever wanted in a band. I can express both my anger/depression and happiness to whatever degree I wish, while also allowing the two opposite emotions to marry.”, commented Daniel on the direction of the band.

Ghost Horizon pic2The ominous intro in Pale Apparition warms up the listener for a brutal fusion of Doom and Black Metal effectively fired by the duo, with the desperate vocals by Uræus being exactly what the music needs to be more imposing. In addition, string-man Daniel keeps delivering flammable guitar and bass lines until the music flows into a melancholic ending. Spectral Threnody gets even more somber, sounding like Blackened Doom with deeper growls and a sorrowful ambience where Uræus does a superb job on drums with all his tempo changes and blast beats. And lastly, the demonic composition Astral Possession (The Cold Years Unearthed) closes the EP  in a powerful way, bringing forward modern but at the same time raw Black Metal perfect for fans of old school extreme music who are looking for something new in their lives. It’s indeed a feast of classic Black Metal riffs by Daniel which do not sound outdated at all, while Uræus keeps spreading electric darkness through his devilish vocals.

All the agony and torment provided in the form of extreme music by Ghost Horizon can be relished at their Facebook page and SoundCloud, and Astral Possession can pretty soon be purchased through their BandCamp page or on Amazon. Put differently, if you love extreme music exhaling anger, depression, anguish and sorrow all at the same time in a solid and convincing way, don’t waste your time and go check the high-end Black Metal by this dynamic American duo right now.

Best moments of the album: Astral Possession (The Cold Years Unearthed).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Pale Apparition 4:31
2. Spectral Threnody 3:08
3. Astral Possession (The Cold Years Unearthed) 4:08

Band members
Uræus – vocals, drums, additional instruments
Daniel Stollings – guitars, bass

Metal Chick of the Month – Ashley “Ellyllon” Jurgemeyer

ashley01

Fall for the love of me… Crawl for the love of me.

If you’re a fan of Cradle Of Filth, Abigail Williams or Orbs, you must have already heard of the red-haired diva Ashley “Ellyllon” Jurgemeyer, Ashley Ellyllon or Ashley Jurgemeyer, a very talented pianist, keyboardist and songwriter involved in so many different projects and bands, including scoring for film and television, that it’s quite hard to list all of them here without missing anything.

Born on July 30, 1984 in Scottsdale, Arizona, but currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Ashley started her music career at the age of six by taking classical piano lessons, finally earning some years later her Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and Composition from Arizona State University in 2006. During her years at the Arizona State University, she studied with John Metz, Jody Rockmaker, and James DeMars, and was granted the Louis Kerr Grant in composition. After her graduation, she began her career in Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal in New York, where she was able to combine her background in classical music with the more modern musicality of genres such as Experimental Rock, Symphonic Black Metal and Extreme Metal.

Our redhead pianist was one of the founding members of American Symphonic Black Metal band Abigail Williams in 2005, with whom she recorded one EP called Legend, in 2006, and two full-length albums: In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns, in 2008, and more recently Becoming, in 2012, this time just as a guest musician. During her years with the band, where she was always responsible for all piano, synths, and orchestration parts, and sometimes also for some background vocals, she was able to go on tour and share the stage with Extreme Metal icons Emperor, Dark Funeral, Enslaved, among many others. If you want to know more about her contribution to the music of Abigail Williams, my suggestions as a start are the awesome songs FloodsInto the Ashes and Acolytes, all three from the album In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns.

Between her departure from Abigail Williams in 2009 and her return in 2012, Ashley became the new keyboardist for English Extreme Metal band Cradle Of Filth, replacing English keyboardist Rosie Smith. She toured with the band for a while, even taking part of the music video for The Death Of Love (watch it at the end of this text), from the album Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder (which she didn’t record), and then recorded her only album with the band, the excellent Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa, in 2010. Her beautiful keyboard and piano lines can be enjoyed in powerful and heavy songs such as The Cult of Venus Aversa, Retreat of the Sacred Heart, and especially Lilith Immaculate (although she’s not in the official music video for this song). However, she mentioned her favorite Cradle Of Filth song to play live was not from her album with the band, but the sonic massacre Cthulhu Dawn, from the masterpiece Midian (2000).

She’s also part of American Experimental Rock supergroup Orbs, together with Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me) and Adam Fisher (Fear Before), with whom she recorded the album Asleep Next to Science, in 2010, the single These People Are Animals, in 2014, and now in 2015 the band will be releasing a new full-length album entitled Past Life Regression. The music here is completely different from Abigail Williams and Cradle Of Filth, as you’ll notice in the songs Sayer of the Law, Megaloblastic Madness, Something Beautiful, and The Northwestern Bearitories B – Kid Cancer, which is something mentioned by Ashley in one of her rare interviews like this one for PunkWorldViews.com.

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Besides those bands and projects, Ashley was also responsible for the programming and string arrangement in the album Until I Feel Nothing (2011) by American Deathcore band Carnifex, and helped American Shock Rock singer Ryann Donnelly with the songwriting for her Girl EP (2012), which can be seen for example in the song Bang.. But hold your breath, because there’s still a lot more to go: our gorgeous “ginger” musician is also working on a solo classical piano album; composed the song Sunday Sundress for the Handmade Hostess Official Book Trailer; played keyboards and composed Casting The Circle, a very interesting song by a project called The Dreadful Hours; and was named “Best Keyboardist of 2010” by Alternative Press.

Are you tired already? Well, Ashley is definitely not, and it looks like she’s always ready for more when it’s about music, as she’s also featured on a video called Antiquity Music Sessions – Ep. 1 – The Baldwin Solid Body Harpsichord, where she beautifully plays the Baldwin Solid Body Harpsichord and, although we cannot see her pretty face, we can enjoy some of her abilities as a musician (and her perfect red hair, of course). And don’t forget to check all her other contributions, compositions and projects on her official website. In addition, one can imagine how much time Ashley has to spend on the road with all her bands and projects, and what she likes to do to spend free time on tour. She mentioned she loves exploring any city she’s in, reading, writing new music, connecting to her family through the internet, and of course playing her keyboards.

Ashley’s list of idols in the world of music is very eclectic, including many classical masters such as Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, Polish composer Frédéric Chopin, French composer Claude Debussy and Russian classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz, as well as more contemporary artists like English musician Matt Bellamy (Muse) and American keyboardist Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater). Moreover, her top 5 albums simply corroborate her broad music taste, as the list is composed by Muse’s Origin of Symmetry, Darkest Hour’s Undoing Ruin, Dimmu Borgir’s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, Radiohead’s OK Computer, and Sigur Rós’ Agaetis Byrjun, which means she’s a fan of Alternative/Experimental Rock, Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Black Metal, Post-Rock, and remember we’re only talking about her favorite albums, not everything that she listens to while performing her day-to-day activities!

In regards to her personal life, Ashley loves yoga, running, cooking, traveling, and curiously one of her favorite hobbies is making comic books. I tried to find anything she’s already produced in terms of comics on the web, but nothing came up. Maybe it’s just a personal thing for her, in other words, something she’s not willing to share with anybody else? Anyway, talking about her likes and dislikes, among her top places are Greece and New Zealand, her favorite movie is the unparalleled classic Silence of the Lambs, her favorite books are “Mozart in the Jungle” by Blair Tindall and “Still Life With Woodpecker” by Tom Robbins, and finally her favorite food and drink are, respectively, Thai food and Blood Mary. Why am I not surprised our redhead rocker loves a drink that has BLOOD in its name and is completely RED?

Equipment
Roland Fantom G8
Yamaha S90 ES
Roland Juno
Nord Stage 2 88

Ashley Jurgemeyer’s Official website
Ashley Jurgemeyer’s Official Facebook page
Ashley Jurgemeyer’s Official Twitter