Metal Chick of the Month – Mariia “Masha” Dementieva

Raise some hell, our true Lady Evil!

Are you ready to scream and roar together with our metal chick of the month of April in the name of darkness and evil, here on The Headbanging Moose webzine? If you’re a fan of the blasphemous, obscure and absolutely awesome music played by renowned acts like Behemoth, Septicflesh and Kaoteon, among many others, you’ll fall in love with the talent and beauty of Mariia “Masha” Dementieva, also known as simply Masha (or even  Mary Crematorium in a not-so-distant past, and if you prefer, Мария Дементьева in her mother tongue), the unrelenting frontwoman for Ukrainian Blackened Death Metal horde Nordwitch. That, of course, if you come from another galaxy or dimension and haven’t listened to Nordwitch’s sulfurous music yet, because if you’re from this planet I’m sure you’re already addicted to Masha’s demonic growling.

Although there’s isn’t much available online about Masha’s personal life (apart from many awesome photos from her career as a model, photo model and alternative tattoo model), you can still enjoy a good amount of information from her ass-kicking Kyiv-based band Nordwitch, formed in 2015. Singing about some very interesting topics such as satanism, occultism and ancient Scandinavian mythology, Nordwitch bring forth a flammable fusion of Black and Death Metal in their music, offering tons of melody amidst a brutal sonic devastation. The name Nordwitch, according to Masha herself, is the band’s representation of the mysticism and mystery of Scandinavian witches with a hint of female sexuality, which by the way matches perfectly with her diabolical vocal style. As a matter of fact, before becoming Nordwitch, Masha and the rest of the band, guitarists Max and Leo and bassist Max Senchilo, were all part of a Symphonic/Progressive Metal band named Crystalnight, where Masha was not their vocalist, but their keyboardist. If you’re curious to know how Masha and her bandmates used to sound before morphing into the dark beast known as Nordwitch, you can take a listen at some of their songs from their ReverbNation profile, such as Dark Angel and the original version of Nordwitch’s crushing tune Lady Evil.

In addition, not only Masha spearheads her horde of Blackened Death Metal in Nordwitch, but she was also one of the producers of their 2016 opus Mørk Profeti together with the other members of the band. You can listen to their pulverizing album in full on YouTube, and raise your horns to amazing songs like the aforementioned Lady Evil and Messiah of Death, or search for some live footage online like this one where the band is playing Lady Evil live at MHM – Metal Head’s Mission Festival in 2018. Furthermore, don’t forget to buy your copy of the album at the Satanath Records BandCamp, to subscribe to the band’s YouTube channel (where you can find for example a fun and raw version of the song No Regret live in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2016), follow them on VKontakte, and listen to more of their music through their ReverbNation and SoundCloud profiles. Who doesn’t enjoy listening to some brutal metal music like this remastered live version of Messiah of Death, right?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In regards to her idols and main influences in music and in life in general, Masha said in one of her interviews that not only herself but all of her bandmates are inspired by mysticism, occultism and several other eccentric topics when writing their music, always trying to make their sound as unique as possible. As the main founder and central figure of Nordwitch, a project that was originated inside her pagan mind, Masha is obviously influenced by all classic Black Metal bands, such as Mayhem, Watain and Bathory, which she’s been a fan since she was a teenager, and you can see how much she’s passionate about such controversial but fantastic subgenre of heavy music by visiting her official Instagram account and searching for her personal videos playing several Black Metal classics on the piano and keyboard. For instance, take a very good listen at her delicate but at the same time piercing piano versions for Burzum’s Dunkelheit and Han Som Reiste, Dark Funeral’s Stigmata, Dissection’s Where Dead Angels Lie and Thorns Of Crimson Death, and Shining’s Tillsammans Är Vi Allt, among others, as well as non-Black Metal hymns like Type O Negative’s Love You To Death. In addition, she mentioned in an interview that she’s also influenced by classical music and Scandinavian folk music, which kind of explains her passion for the piano, and that Runhild Gammelsæter, a Norwegian musician notable for being the vocalist for the American bands Thorr’s Hammer and Khlyst, is her favorite female metal singer of all time, complementing by saying that she cannot choose only one male singer as her favorite, though, as there are too many.

When asked about her hobbies outside of music, Masha listed a few very interesting and healthy activities, like working out and practicing sports, modeling and photography, also mentioning her interest in satanism, occultism and the mythology of ancient Scandinavia, which as aforementioned are the main topics covered in the music by Nordwitch. In addition, Masha said in one of her interviews she’s an apolitical person, as in her opinion true Black Metal has always been and will continue to be away from politics or anything related to it, being focused on religion and other more obscure topics. She also said that she had always dreamed about being in an Extreme Metal band like Nordwitch, but she wasn’t sure if that was going to actually happen one day, also saying she understands being a woman in a Black and Death Metal band from the underground scene is not easy at all, but that she won’t give up and keep on rockin’, always counting on the support form her family, friends and fans, aiming as high as possible with Nordwitch in the years to come. And we, true metalheads, will be ready to hail darkness and raise our horns together with the unstoppable Masha and her henchmen, no doubt about that.

Masha’s Official Instagram
NordWitch’s Official Facebook page
NordWitch’s Official VKontakte
NordWitch’s Official YouTube channel

Metal Chick of the Month – Mayara “Undead” Puertas

Sanity… What about Insanity…

Can you hear those demonic gnarls coming from Brazil, sounding like the putrid screams of an undead woman rising from her grave? That’s the powerful and mesmerizing guttural voice by our metallic girl this month, the talented Brazilian growler Mayara “Undead” Puertas, born Mayara Puertas and also known as May “Undead” Puertas or even May Undead, frontwoman of the iconic old school Brazilian Thrash/Death Metal band Torture Squad, and a woman that loves heavy music from the bottom of her blackened heart above all things. If this is the first time you’re getting to know the work by Mayara, you better be ready as the “Undead” is more than ready to kick your ass with her devilish growls and fiery onstage attitude (and I’m sure you’ll get addicted to the music by Torture Squad after that).

Born on March 16, 1993 in a region known as ABC Paulista, an industrial region located in the Greater São Paulo, Brazil, Mayara Puertas has always been connected to some sort of musical art since she was little, singing popular songs and playing the piano, guitar and electric guitar, always encouraged by her family and by studying old music books owned by her father, covering songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Secos e Molhados (an innovative Brazilian band formed in the beginning of the 70’s) and Kansas, for example. She never took any formal lessons to learn how to sing and to play those instruments, as she preferred learning everything by herself as a good self-taught musician that she is, adding her passion for music and her personal touch to shape her own style.

When she was around 12 or 13 years old, she already nurtured a strong interest for rock music, until a good friend of hers introduced her to Heavy Metal, bringing all his albums to her home where she could make copies of all of them. She instantly fell in love for bands like Iron Maiden, Manowar, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall and Brazilian Celtic Metal band Tuatha de Danann, which as you can see have little to do with her singing style. Her curiosity and connection to heavy music only grew stronger and stronger in the coming years when she began searching for different bands and genres, including more brutal types of metal, finally finding in Thrash and Death Metal her true passion. Mayara then started to dedicate herself to learn more aggressive vocal techniques inspired by Extreme Metal titans such as Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Hypocrisy and Overkill, with some of her biggest influences being David Vincent (Morbid Angel), George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Rachel Heyzer (Infinited Hate, Occult, Sinister), Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain), Sabina Classen (Holy Moses) and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), a distinct selection of unique voices.

It was in 2013 when Mayara joined her first official band, Brazilian Death Metal act Necromesis, not only as a singer but by also recording some piano and acoustic guitars. As the screaming frontwoman of Necromesis, the “Undead” recorded the EP Echoes of a Memory in 2014 (which you can listen to in its entirety HERE) and the full-length album The Poet’s Paradox in 2015. You can enjoy Mayara’s beastly growling with Necromesis penetrating your ears in crushing songs such as Indifferent Echoes of Sensitivity and Desocial Inclusion, as well as this live version of the song Unlives as Undeads at a special event called I Domingo Metal BR in 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil. Her time with Necromesis also allowed her to tour several Brazilian cities, including a tour with American bands Master and Vital Remains, and being named one of the greatest Extreme Metal singers of the year of 2014.

In October 2015, after talking with Fernanda Lira (lead singer and bassist of the badass Brazilian Thrash Metal power trio Nervosa), Mayara was told she had been referred to be the vocalist of an important Brazilian Death Metal band, but she didn’t know exactly which one then. After a few weeks, she was contacted by Amílcar Christófaro, longtime drummer of Torture Squad, to officially join the band. That was a big surprise for Mayara, as she had always admired the work by those guys, following their career and attending their live concerts, and she knew it was going to be a great honor and an even greater responsibility to replace the iconic Vitor Rodrigues on vocals, who left the band in April 2012 to pursue new musical experiences. The other band members provided her all the necessary support for her to thrive as their new singer, making her confident enough to accept the challenge and add her touch of aggressiveness, electricity and passion to their always high-octane music, showing how professional and dedicated Torture Squad are, and how loyal they’ve always been to heavy music. Of course it wasn’t easy for her to adapt to her new life at first, as she had to rehearse with the band almost everyday, she had to quit her job and move to a new city, but all that extra effort was worth it thanks to the amazing receptivity she always gets from the diehard fans of the band, enjoying her live performances of old school Torture Squad songs as well as their new tunes already with her on vocals.

Mayara recorded her first official release with torture Squad in 2016, the EP titled Return of Evil, comprised of four unrelenting, original tracks (Return of Evil, Swallow Your Reality, Dreadful Lies and Iron Squad). If you want to know more about how the first Torture Squad album with Mayara on vocals came to life, I highly recommend you watch the online documentary named Behind the Evil, filmed in December 2015 during the recordings of Return of Evil at Na Cena Studios. Another amazing video online showcasing all the vocal potency by Mayara with the band, singing some of the band’s classics like Pull The Trigger and Mad Illusions, as well as an interview piece, can be seen HERE. After watching such powerful performance by Mayara, you’ll understand why her nickname is “Undead”, given to her by Amilcar during their first rehearsals due to the fact her growls sounded like the screams of an undead woman rising from her grave. She even said that became her “alter ego”, which she lets dominate her body and soul when she’s on stage performing.

In regards to touring with Torture Squad, a band that’s always doing extensive tours all over Brazil and also in Europe, Mayara said that when you’re on the road you have to get used to the fact that your house will be a van. There’s very little time to sleep, eat and take care of yourself, which means the band as a whole has to learn how to live in a harmonious way to make things work during the tours. She also said that her biggest concern is with her voice as there are many shows to do each tour, and she takes care of it by drinking lots of water and having fun with moderation. Also, our screaming metaller said that, despite the lack of time, she enjoys knowing a little more about the places where she plays with the band, most of which she would never have been able to visit if she wasn’t with torture Squad. Mayara is also the youngest member of the band; for instance, she wasn’t even born when the band started, but that doesn’t mean the difference in age is a barrier to her relationship with the other members of the band. She said their passion for metal unites them, helping them become a big metallic family, as well as the fact that she’s using her time with them to learn as much as possible from their expertise in the world of heavy music.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you prefer some action instead of all these never-ending words, you can find online a lot of high-quality footage of Mayara growling like a rabid beast as the frontwoman of Torture Squad, as you can see in the songs Inner Strength, and Black Sabbath’s classic Symptom of the Universe (with changed instruments); this series of videos recorded at the traditional Clash Club in São Paulo, Brazil, on February 27, 2016, where the band played, among others, the songs Living for the Kill/ Chaos Corporation, The Unholy Spell, and Horror and Torture/Pandemonium; or this amazingly done footage of Torture Squad kicking ass at De Verlichte Geest, in Roeselare, Belgium. You can also enjoy some online interviews with Mayara (if, of course, you understand Portuguese), as for example when they played at Tocandira Ritual Fest II in Macapá, a province located in the North of Brazil, in 2016; and her chat with the YouTube channel For headS for their Metal Live Drops programme, where she talks a little about how she became the lead singer for Torture Squad.

There’s already a brand new song online with Mayara on vocals, which is actually Torture Squad’s cover version of Motörhead’s high-octane classic Overkill that will be feature on a Brazilian tribute named “Going To Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute To Motörhead”, featuring several renowned Brazilian bands such as Nervochaos, Voodoopriest, Genocídio, Ratos de Porão, Claustrofobia and Hatefulmurder, among others, to be released later this year by British label Secret Service Records. And the wait for more Torture Squad with Mayara on vocals won’t be long, as the band has already announced they’ll release in July this year their eight studio album, titled Far Beyond Existence, containing ten ruthless songs with the “Undead” gnarling manically as their frontwoman. As the band has been updating their official Facebook page with videos and other details about the recordings of the new album, I highly recommend you like and follow them HERE to avoid missing anything.

As any modern musician, Mayara already lent her potent voice to some interesting bands and projects away from the Torture Squad world. For instance, she recorded additional vocals for the 2015 album Afterlife in Darkness, by Brazilian Death Metal band Depressed, and guest vocals for the song Time Enough at Last from the 2017 album Red Eyes, by Brazilian Thrash/Death Metal band Hatefulmurder. In addition to that, Mayara also recorded in 2015 a cover version of Bathory’s Man of Iron with Bathory Brazilian Tribute, and began working with bassist Patricia Schlithler (Hellarise, Harppia) in an Extreme Metal project named Gorgona (which I couldn’t find any additional details about online).

Despite the fact that our society is still extremely sexist, when asked about the increasing influence of women in heavy music Mayara said that although she has already experienced a few awkward situations in her life she still believes Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll are the two types of music that foster creativity and freedom of speech, therefore providing more room for women to grow and to be more and more respected by everyone. She mentioned she always receives a lot of positive feedback from both men and women, even inspiring fathers to take their daughters to Torture Squad concerts to show them they can be whatever they want in life, which is obviously a great thing not only for Mayara but for heavy music in general.

She was also asked about the feeling of being on stage with the band, singing in front of hundreds or thousands of crazy fans everywhere they go, and if there’s a big difference between fans in Brazil and in Europe. Mayara said the main difference is that, in Europe, you can see several distinct tribes mixed in the crowd, such as diehard fans of Punk Rock and Death Metal together, which in the end was excellent for her as she could connect to people with complete different tastes and opinions than hers, and that she wished that could also be a reality in Brazil, where the heavy music tribes are a lot more distant from each other. However, in terms of receptivity and electricity, she said both Brazilian and European headbangers are absolutely amazing and have a very good time during their shows.

Mayara is not only an extremely talented growler, but she’s also an entrepreneur, being the owner of an online store named Bloodline, specialized in custom clothing and accessories. She said she opened the store during a very difficult time of her life, when she was unemployed and needed to find an alternative source of income. If you want to know more about Bloodline, check their official website or Facebook page and, who knows, you might find something fancy that suits your style. In addition, she also works as a costume consultant for a company called Loud Factory, an audio and video producer focused on Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll. And that’s all about the talented Mayara, a woman that never gets tired of her “eat, sleep, scream like a beast, repeat” routine.

Mayara “Undead” Puertas’ Official Facebook page
Mayara “Undead” Puertas’ Official YouTube channel
Mayara “Undead” Puertas’ Official Instagram
Torture Squad’s Official Facebook page
Torture Squad’s Official YouTube channel
Torture Squad’s Official Twitter

Album Review – Armagh / Venomous Frost MCD (2016)

Let the venomous and menacing frost of Extreme Metal generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your body and dominate your soul.

Rating4

armagh_venomousfrost_coverGet the overpowering impact of metal music from the 80’s, the implacable and raging sound of the early days of Black and Thrash Metal the likes of Dissection, Bathory and Hellhammer, and four young musicians eager to show the world their passion for extreme music, and there you have the vigorous MCD entitled Venomous Frost, bred in the dark vaults of Warsaw, Poland by Blackened Thrash Metal horde Armagh. The band might be relatively new, being founded in 2012, and this MCD might be their first official release ever, but it feels like we’re dealing with an already established band so concise and potent the overall result is.

There is absolutely no (black) magic or any other special ingredients added to the music found in Venomous Frost, but pure Heavy Metal played by a newcomer quartet (actually, they’re now a power trio after the recent departure of guitarist Ace Hellion) that, above all things, knows exactly how to blend fury and melody in their compositions. Not only that, the old school album art, designed by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter, who has already worked with bands such as Outre, Bloodthirst, In Twilight’s Embrace, and more recently with Ragehammer (featured in one of our latest reviews), is beyond precise in portraying the music by Armagh. Just hit play and you’ll find death, nihilism, war and occultism in Venomous Frost, all embraced by faultless Extreme Metal.

A demonic riff kicks off the excellent Criostail/Exmortis, which after an epic intro becomes brutal devastation blending the demonic aura of Black Metal with the always exciting turmoil generated by Thrash Metal. Moreover, Galin Soulreaper and Ace Hellion make an amazing guitar duo, with their riffs and solos transpiring ferocity and malignancy. Their devastation goes on in an old school Black Metal onslaught named Eternal Awareness, with drummer Bloodhammer sounding indeed like he’s using hammers to blast his beats. Put differently, you won’t have a single second to breathe in this high-octane chant of darkness.  And what can I say about Warbeast? They truly sound like beats unleashed from hell, blasting a vile Thrash Metal sounding enhanced by the obscure elements found in Black Metal. This newborn underground classic is perfect for some bestial circle pits and brutal headbanging, not to mention Galin’s spot-on hellish barks.

armagh_bandIn the epic Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf, you’ll be able to enjoy the best riffs of the album by far, with both Galin and Ace being absolutely on fire with their scorching instruments delivering excellent extreme music to us, while Bloodhammer and bassist Mark Usurper provide all the support needed in this exciting tune. Then we have Dark Procession, which in my opinion should be used as the soundtrack to any Satanist procession. This is the most Black Metal of all songs, especially its obscure riffs and growls, with the music slowing down a bit before all hell breaks loose and the band comes crushing again with their furious music, showcasing all band members in total sync.

The last seven minutes of the MCD are an ode to darkness, starting with Witchcraft, a fantastic cover version for Bathory’s 1984 classic. An enraged band blasts pure hatred in their excellent tribute to one of the most important bands in the history of Black Metal, with highlights to the desperate vocals by Galin and the kick-ass drumming by Bloodhammer, qualifying it to be one of the best covers of the year without a shadow of a doubt. And lastly, the title-track Venomous Frost is the icing on the (demonic) cake baked by this awesome Polish quartet, being slightly slower but as obscure and vicious as the rest of the album. In addition, I love how clear and heavy the bass lines by Mark and the drums by Bloodhammer sound throughout the entire song, helping conclude Venomous Frost on a high note and, as a consequence, keeping the flame of Polish metal more alive than ever.

More of the mischievous fusion of Black and Thrash Metal distilled by Armagh can be enjoyed at their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and their amazing debut MCD can be purchased at the official Third Eye Temple in two different versions: a regular jewel case CD limited to 100 copies or a black jewel case CD branded with serigraphy print. Let the venomous and menacing frost of extreme music generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your entire body, and consequently dominate your soul. You won’t regret such an amazing experience in Black and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Warbeast, Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf and Witchcraft.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Criostail/Exmortis 5:40
2. Eternal Awareness 3:38
3. Warbeast 4:32
4. Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf 6:23
5. Dark Procession 4:59
6. Witchcraft (Bathory cover) 2:35
7. Venomous Frost 4:46

Band members
Galin Soulreaper – vocals, guitars
Ace Hellion* – guitars
Mark Usurper – bass
Bloodhammer – drums

*No longer part of the band.

Concert Review – Behemoth (Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 04/26/2016)

The Satanist triumphed over Toronto, taking no prisoners in a memorable night of darkness and blasphemy.

OPENING ACT: Myrkur

Blasfemia Amerika Tour 2016Only a couple of weeks after watching Iron Maiden kicking fuckin’ ass in Montreal and Toronto, I knew my next concert had to be beyond amazing to keep the electricity flowing, otherwise I would start yawning during the show and not even a cold beer would wake me up. Fortunately, what I was able to witness yesterday at the Phoenix Concert Theatre here in Toronto together with thousands of other crazy metalheads was a fantastic night of obscure and blasphemous music, as part of the infamous Blasfemia Amerika Tour 2016. From start to finish, the night was absolutely flawless. And we were treated to the darkest and most amazing music we could possibly imagine as a warm-up for Behemoth, offered to us all by the gorgeous and charming Danish multi-instrumentalist and model Amalie Bruun, the mastermind behind the one-woman Black Metal project MYRKUR (or “darkness” in Icelandic).

IMG_1254For obvious reasons, our Valkyrie of Black Metal couldn’t deliver the whole concert by herself, having as a very solid support band guitarist Teloch (Mayhem), bassist Liam (Dillinger Escape Plan) and drummer Øyvind Myrvoll (Nidingr), helping her blast Myrkur’s entrancing music last night. She was responsible for both clean (almost operatic) and harsh vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar, dancing and more, though. Is there anything she cannot do? Anyway, with stunning compositions like Den Lille Piges Død (“the little girl’s death” in Danish), Mordet (“assassination”) and her flawless version for Bathory’s Song to Hall Up High, Amalie hypnotized the entire crowd, drawing sighs from every single person during the smoothest passages of her songs and inspiring some decent mosh pits during the heaviest moments. If anyone asked me to summarize Myrkur in only a couple of words, I would definitely select “beauty” and “beast”, and you’ll notice she does that personality split herself on purpose, having two microphones during her performance: her right one being used only for clean vocals, while the left one is used for her demonic screaming. Would this be her depiction of the angel on the right shoulder and the devil on the left? Also, almost at the same time she got flowers from a fan and thanked the audience for such an amazing reception, when a guy asked her to play some nonsense song, she replied with a gentle “suck my dick”. Do you want to know more about this angel of darkness? Go check her BandCamp page, where you can listen to everything she’s already released in her promising career.

Setlist
Den Lille Piges Død
Hævnen
Onde Børn (False Start)
Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne
Mordet
Dybt I Skoven
Skøgen Skulle Dø
Skaði
Song to Hall Up High (Bathory cover)
Norn (outro)

Band members
Myrkur – vocals, piano, guitar
Teloch – guitar
Liam – bass
Øyvind Myrvoll – drums

BEHEMOTH

IMG_1265Finally, one year after their last concert in Toronto, the best metal band in the history of Poland returned with their magnificent Blackened Death Metal to storm the city once again and leave us all completely disoriented when their black mass was over. If a regular BEHEMOTH gig is already outstanding, I have no words to describe what witnessing them playing The Satanist in its entirety followed by some of their biggest classics feels like. Not only each and every song from The Satanist was played to perfection, but the stage was also amazingly set and the theatrical performance by all band members was sensational. I hope no one from those stupid churches ever goes to a Behemoth concert in Toronto, otherwise they might be banished from Canada like it happened with the band in other places.

If Myrkur was the evil queen of the night, the one and only Adam “Nergal” Darski could be considered our hellish king (or should I say priest?), commanding his loyal bandmates and the entire crowd with his refined technique as a guitarist and his trademark growls. I was eager to see the classic Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel live for the first time, and after Nergal appeared holding two torches up high and the music started, I got even more than what I expected. In addition, after each song of The Satanist the band had something different to offer, either being a disturbing video on the background, some extra smoke, dark lighting, or a wicked narration connecting it to the following opus. I’m not even going to say how incredible my other two favorite chants of the album, Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer and the mesmerizing O Father O Satan O Sun!, sounded. You have to be there to feel their fury and darkness.

IMG_1284When The Satanist part of the gig was concluded, Nergal and his horde still had some classics to blast our ears and fuel the insane circle pits that were consuming the entire venue, starting with the bestial Pure Evil and Hate. If anyone lost their lives during the execution of this anthem, I wouldn’t be surprised. Moreover, both guitarist Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber and bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski seemed to be having a great time during the encores, mainly due to the awesome reaction they got from the fans who couldn’t stop slamming into the pit, and especially during songs like Conquer All and the last one of their setlist, Chant for Eschaton 2000, two high-octane compositions that sound even more powerful live than their already demonic studio versions. Except for the considerable line at the end of the concert for the coat check, everything else was beyond perfect, lefting us all wondering when Behemoth will return to Toronto to take over our beloved city one more time.

Setlist
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
Furor Divinus
Messe Noire
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Amen
The Satanist
Ben Sahar
In the Absence ov Light
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Encore:
Pure Evil and Hate
Antichristian Phenomenon
Conquer All

Encore 2:
At the Left Hand ov God
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

Album Review – Valknacht / Le Sacrifice D’Ymir (2014)

There are Vikings in Canada, and they play extraordinary heavy music.

Rating4

coverWhat if someone told you there’s a band from Canada that merges the extremely rich Norse mythology, constantly present in the Melodic Death Metal from Amon Amarth, with the more extreme sonority and obscure atmosphere from Black Metal in a very powerful and engaging way? Fortunately that band indeed exists: it goes by the robust name of Valknacht, and in order to make things even more unique their new album, the excellent Le Sacrifice D’Ymir, is entirely sung in Canadian French.

This Heathen Black Metal band from Quebec (or “Black Métal Païen Québecois”, as they would prefer) started back in 2005 and has already released three full-length albums: When the Might of the Storm Becomes Mine (2009), Chants de Guerre (2011), and now Le Sacrifice D’Ymir (2014), with the latest being in my opinion their strongest work so far. Moreover, although I’m not an expert in Canadian French, it’s easy to notice the presence of very interesting themes such as mythology, history and paganism in their lyrics and compositions, making the whole experience of listening to Valknacht even more enjoyable.

For instance, the name of the album, “The Sacrifice Of Ymir” in English, seems to be inspired by Ymir, father of the race of giants in Norse mythology and the grandfather of Odin, King of the Gods. “In Norse mythology, Ymir is the primordial giant and the progenitor of the race of frost giants. He was created from the melting ice of Niflheim, when it came in contact with the hot air from Muspell.”, according to the Encyclopedia Mythica. Honestly, it’s been quite a while since I saw such an original and appealing album name for the last time. But of course, not only the album name is good: each and every song from Le Sacrifice D’Ymir is a boisterous sonic storm that will please any headbanger that enjoys heavy riffs and a dense atmosphere together with an awesome lyrical content.

Le Sacrifice D’Ymir begins with the intro Normandnorum Ira, which opens the album at a high note and sounds as if it was tailored for an epic movie, followed by the perfect soundtrack for any battle La Bataille De Maldon, an excellent mix of Amon Amarth and Bathory with awesome vocals and damn heavy riffs and drums in its almost 10 minutes of awesomeness. And the Nordic battle rages on with Chants De Guerre, a Heavy Metal storm with a strong chorus that makes it one of the best of the entire album without any doubt.

valknachtThe next track, Sur Les Ruines De Rome, has a very dark and powerful atmosphere, and the addition of some folk elements (such as the flute) works really well when mixed with lead singer Thorleïf’s potent vocal range, which goes from sharp piercing vocals to totally gruesome guttural. And pay attention to the female vocals towards the end of the song, they’re pretty interesting too. Then comes what might be soon considered Valknacht’s biggest masterpiece: Le Sacrifice D’Ymir is a fast tune with an amazing intro and over 10 minutes of pure sonic massacre. It’s impossible not to love the riffs and the whole journey this song takes you through, and as soon as it’s over you’ll probably go back to listen to it again and again.

Furthermore, the epic side of the band continues to dominate their compositions in the last part of the album, with over 20 minutes of music in only three songs: De Murmures Et De Givre is more Folk and Black Metal than all other songs, albeit not as good; while Que Le Sang Constelle Mes Mains kicks off with a nice folk intro before turning into an extremely heavy song with massive riffs and drums. By the way, one interesting detail about this track are its rhythmic variations throughout the entire song, including nice acoustic passages and atmospheric keyboards. And finally we have Le Carmin Des Anges, a very Black Metal tune with an amazing riff in the beginning that remains as heavy as hell until the very end, closing the album in a very powerful way.

All band members did a wondrous job in this album, with highlights to the excellent lead singer Thorleïf and the monstrous drummer Matoleos. Not only that, the album art representing the sacrifice of Ymir is so professional and nicely done it could easily be mistaken with an actual painting at any vernissage, as even non-Heavy Metal fans would certainly appreciate it. The album is available for purchase HERE and HERE. By the way, you can also find an awesome limited edition available through the second link, which consists of a limited digipack (DVD size) hand numbered to 250 that includes the same booklet as the CD version and some extras.

To sum up, Le Sacrifice D’Ymir is a very good album that is here to prove to all of us that “la belle province” of Quebec has a lot more to offer than just smoked meat, poutine, Céline Dion and the Montreal Canadiens, and it will surely make not only the band members, but all “Québecois” metalheads and other Heavy Metal fans across the rest of Canada, very proud of their music.

Best moments of the album: La Bataille De Maldon, Chants De Guerre and Le Sacrifice D’Ymir.

Worst moments of the album: De Murmures Et De Givre.

Released in 2014 PRC Music

Track listing
1. Normandnorum Ira (Intro) 3:07
2. La Bataille De Maldon 9:32
3. Chants De Guerre 6:45
4. Sur Les Ruines De Rome 8:37
5. Le Sacrifice D’Ymir 10:07
6. De Murmures Et De Givre 7:17
7. Que Le Sang Constelle Mes Mains 7:24
8. Le Carmin Des Anges 4:56

Band members
Thorleïf – vocals
Dörv – guitars
Froidure – guitars
Siger – bass
Matoleos – drums