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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: The Chosen One.

Released in 2019 Independent

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

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

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The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

The unexpected death of the most badass musician in history, Motörhead’s heart and soul Lemmy Kilmister, on December 28, 2015 was a harbinger of all the bad, shocking and revolting things that would turn the year of 2016 a true nightmare for mankind. That dark prophecy was confirmed less than two weeks later, more specifically on January 10 when we lost another true star in rock music to cancer, the unparalleled chameleon David Bowie, just two days after the release of his final masterpiece Blackstar. If that was not enough to make 2016 a miserable year, we also had to endure the passing of other icons who, despite not being metal, have always inspired countless bands and artists in heavy music. We lost Prince, Leonard Cohen and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), to name a few, all irreplaceable losses to music in general. In addition, important names in the history of Heavy Metal also left us in 2016, such as Nick Menza (Megadeth) and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio), not to mention the disbandment of amazing groups like Eths (who are by the way part of our top 10 this year), Crucified Barbara and Bolt Thrower. And I’m not even going to talk about all other types of disasters and tragedies that happened all over the world, as the list is too macabre and grievous to be remembered in full.

Fortunately, 2016 was considerably generous for us headbangers in terms of the quantity and quality of albums released throughout the entire year, especially for diehard fans of old school Thrash Metal. Except for Slayer and Exodus, all other prominent names in Thrash Metal blasted the world with their high-speed, thrilling music, led by another superb album by Testament. Even Metallica released a decent album this year, just to give you an idea of how fruitful 2016 was for this rebellious type of music. Having said that, it’s time for The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums. And even if 2017 is as hideous as 2016, let’s never forget the wise words by Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan. Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

testament_brotherhood-of-the-snake1. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake (REVIEW)
Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet.
Best song of the album: The Number Game

cover2. Charred Walls Of The Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead (REVIEW)
A magnificent lecture in Heavy Metal by four electrified beasts.
Best song of the album: As I Catch My Breath

Cover3. Eths – Ankaa (REVIEW)
One of the most prominent and innovative French bands of all time returns with a true masterpiece of complexity, darkness and heaviness.
Best song of the album: Nefas

cover4. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker (REVIEW)
Who said rules must be broken for a metallic eagle to spread its wings and soar high in the skies of heavy music?
Best song of the album: Rulebreaker

megadeth_dystopia5. Megadeth – Dystopia (REVIEW)
And the dystopian world portrayed in the brand new album by the iconic Dave Mustaine and his Thrash Metal army is beyond awesome.
Best song of the album: Lying In State

abbathsoloface_6386. Abbath – Abbath (REVIEW)
The one and only Abbath takes a new step in his career with a brand new band an album.
Best song of the album: Fenrir Hunts

death angel_the evil divide7. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (REVIEW)
Fast and furious anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and endless stamina. This is how Thrash Metal should always be done.
Best song of the album: Hell To Pay

anthrax_for all kings8. Anthrax – For All Kings (REVIEW)
A classy and electrifying Thrash Metal album especially crafted for all of us, the real kings of heavy music.
Best song of the album: Breathing Lightning

front9. Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins (REVIEW)
You might be a sinner, but don’t be a fool and go relish another magnificent album by Mr. Axel Rudi Pell and his loyal henchmen.
Best song of the album: Falling Star

nervosa-agony-201610. Nervosa – Agony (REVIEW)
Brazil’s meanest power trio returns with another marvelous blast of their kick-ass high-octane Thrash Metal.
Best song of the album: Theory of Conspiracy

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Blaze Bayley – Infinite Entanglement (REVIEW)
12. The Silent Rage – The Deadliest Scourge (REVIEW)
13. Neverworld – Dremasnatcher (REVIEW)
14. Ancesttral – Web Of Lies (REVIEW)
15. Front – Iron Overkill (REVIEW)
16. Dö – Tuho (REVIEW)
17. Be Under Arms – Doomed To Life (REVIEW)
18. SystemHouse33 – Regression (REVIEW)
19. Gojira – Magma (REVIEW)
20. False Coda – Secrets and Sins (REVIEW)

As in Heavy Metal the artwork is just as important as the music itself, like what always happens with bands such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, KISS and tons of other metallic titans, we decided to list the Top 10 Cover Artworks of 2016. There are several reasons for an album art to be considered outstanding, such as its strong connection with the music like Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, its visual impact (usually associated with its controversial content) like Slayer’s God Hates Us All, or its perfect minimalism and finesse like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Do you agree with our list?

1. Anthrax – For All Kings [by Alex Ross]
2. Primeval Mass – To Empyrean Thrones [by Karmazid]
3. Witches Of Doom – Deadlights [by Carlo Muselli]
4. Ragehammer – The Hammer Doctrine [by Robert A. von Ritter]
5. Howls Of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows [by Agostino Arrivabene]
6. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake [by Eliran Kantor]
7. Henriette B – Tales of Reality (EP) [by Pierre-Alain D.]
8. Skáphe – Skáphe² [by H.V. Lyngdal]
9. Diabolizer – Apokalypse (MCD) [by Robert A. von Ritter]
10. Hostis – Hostis [by Zvonimir Grabić & Milena Nićić]

Rest assured in 2017 we at The Headbanging Moose will keep providing you the best of the underworld of Death, Thrash, Black, Symphonic, Epic, Power Metal and all other genres and subgenres of heavy music, as well as our view of the biggest names worldwide. There are already brand new albums confirmed for 2017 by Kreator, Sepultura, Grave Digger, Battle Beast and more, which means at least musically the new year promises to be really good. Thank you very much for your precious time, and keep on rockin’! Au revoir!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2017!

Well, before we go, here’s a special gift from Iron Maiden to all metalheads all over the world… A nice festive yule log fireplace to keep our hearts warm during the entire season!

Album Review – Be Under Arms / Doomed To Life (2016)

Do you think you’re worthy of joining this Russian army of Alternative Metal? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to get armed to the teeth with their uproarious and ruthless music.

Rating3

be under arms_doomed to lifeDon’t you just love when completely independent bands are capable of delivering to the world music that sounds a lot more entertaining and well-crafted than many of the already established and famous groups that have a lot of support from their record labels? Maybe that’s simply a statement of how many magnificent musicians are out there just waiting for their chance to shine to a bigger audience, or maybe that only proves how much the passion for heavy music can push the musician even further in their creative process. In the case of Russian Groove/Alternative Metal act Be Under Arms I would say it’s both, and after listening to their excellent new album Doomed To Life you’ll understand how this solid balance between technique and feeling will take this band to stardom.

Despite being a fairly new band, formed in 2013 by the dynamic duo Anna “White Queen” Logacheva and Vladimir “Szandor” Nasonov in Moscow, Russia, Be Under Arms already released a full-length album in 2014 named Let Shots Will Be Your Music, displaying what would be perhaps the most “Americanized” sounding you might ever find on Russian soil. Now with Doomed To Life their main influences coming from bands like Slipknot, Stone Sour and Five Finger Death Punch become even more noticeable, which combined with their unique concept, blending the atmosphere of old westerns with steampunk and our modern and urbanized world, makes their music even more electrifying. Even the dystopian album art transpires rebellion and anarchy. Put differently, are you ready for a neck-breaking experience offered by these talented Neo-Metal troopers?

Be Under Arms kick off the album with the theatrical and contemporary Armed & Defenseless and its Slipknot-inspired intro in an interesting blend of Alternative and Symphonic Metal, where Vladimir is responsible for the deep guttural growls while Anna takes care of the clean (and almost operatic) passages and high-pitched screams, followed by Lord Of The Bomb, a polished onslaught full of elements from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal. Vladimir pays a tribute to the most gruesome Death Metal singers such as Chris Barnes and Jeff Becerra, with bassist Dmitriy Kashirin and drummer Denis “John Doe” Vinitskiy adding tons of groove to the musicality, therefore enhancing the song’s punch. And their working single, Burn For This, is an breathtaking fusion of the high-speed and intricate music by Arch Enemy with the straightforward aggressiveness of the Butcher Babies, with the final result sounding beyond entertaining. Moreover, pay good attention to the metallic riffs by guitarists Viktor Gostemilov and Dmitriy Solo and to the passionate performance by Anna, they truly deserve that.

The whole band demands we keep banging our heads nonstop in March Of The Iron Hearts, a tune that leans towards pure Groove Metal with nuances of Death Metal, and as aforementioned it amazes me how a Russian band can sound so American and consequently ready to conquer the Western side of the world. And yet again inspired by the Butcher Babies, Keep This World provides the listener a violent ambience where Vladimir sounds as bestial as possible on vocals, with the song’s guitar riffs penetrating our heads and piercing our brains mercilessly. Then out of nowhere Be Under Arms morph their musicality from brutal Death Metal to modern Alternative Metal and back again within a short span of five minutes in the thrilling Locked And Bound, where Anna once again steals the spotlight with her deranged screams and also with her potent clean vocal lines.

be under armsDon’t even think about taking a break, because there’s a lot more to come in this awe-inspiring album, starting with To Rise From The Ashes, which presents that characteristic riffage from bands such as Slipknot by Viktor and Dmitriy, helping Vladimir and Anna in offering a great vocal duo to the listener. Be Under Arms then put the pedal to the metal in a hurricane of Melodic Death Metal full of anguished growls, fast beats and tons of groove entitled No Place Like Home, a short and sweet tune perfect for putting the audience to “dance” (or, in other words, slam into the circle pit). Surprisingly, after that we’re treated to a distinct chant named Spit On Your Grave, which is in fact a thoughtful power ballad despite its demented name (who doesn’t love that movie franchise?). While Anna’s vocals work extremely well during the whole song, Vladimir sounds a little weird with his clean vocals, somewhat like a gothic singer from the 80’s, but in the end when all is put together the result is very pleasant indeed.

The last part of the album gets back to sheer brutality, as you’ll be able to enjoy in Human Testing, which due to being slightly rawer than the other songs will surely cause a strong pain in your neck and maybe some bruises when played live. Then we have the title-track Doomed To Life showcasing the best riffs of the whole album by far (Viktor and Dmitriy were remarkably inspired when they composed them), with all other instruments being boosted by that energy flowing from the guitars and consequently turning this into another top moment of the album. On the other hand, in Kings Of Wasteland they tried to be even more alternative than usual, and despite not being a bad song it sounds a bit over the top. That doesn’t harm the overall quality of the album at all, but it’s surely the weakest chant in Doomed To Life. Lastly, we have the vile Metalcore chant Becoming A Monster, where we can enjoy a more introspective side of the band with highlights to the outstanding performances by Anna and Denis (not to mention its short but effective guitar solo), perfectly depicting the name given to it.

Do you think you’re worthy of joining this uproarious cyber army of Alternative Metal from Russia? If your answer is yes, go check their Facebook page, VKontakte and YouTube channel, and in order to get armed to the teeth with their ruthless music, you can find Doomed To Life on sale at the band’s official webshop or BandCamp page, as well as on iTunes. As aforementioned, based on what you will be able to witness in Doomed To Life, you’ll quickly realize this talented sextet from Moscow is actually “doomed” to awesomeness.

Best moments of the album: Lord Of The Bomb, Burn For This, No Place Like Home and Doomed To Life.

Worst moments of the album: Kings Of Wasteland.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Armed & Defenseless 4:39
2. Lord Of The Bomb 3:53
3. Burn For This 3:53
4. March Of The Iron Hearts 2:57
5. Keep This World 3:43
6. Locked And Bound 4:57
7. To Rise From The Ashes 3:29
8. No Place Like Home 2:24
9. Spit On Your Grave 2:36
10. Human Testing 3:19
11. Doomed To Life 4:27
12. Kings Of Wasteland 3:06
13. Becoming A Monster 4:28

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