Album Review – Lord Almighty / Wither (2020)

Transcending genre norms, the new opus by this amazing Progressive Black Metal band from Boston showcases an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads.

Formed in the grimy artist spaces of Rugg Road in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States in 2013 by vocalist and guitarist Keenan Carroll and guitarist Samuel “Goose” Willgoose, later enlisting bassist Phill Gelinas and drummer Christopher Narainen to complete the line up and hit the road, the unrelenting Progressive Black Metal unity Lord Almighty continues to play a crushing mix of Black Metal blasts and Rock N’ Roll melodics in their newborn opus entitled Wither, the follow-up to their 2015 full-length album Paths. Recorded by Goose himself at Murder Box Studios, mixed by Phillip Cope at Jam Room, mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, and featuring a Stygian cover Art by Adam O’Day, Wither transcends genre norms, showcasing an epic world that will surely be loved by all types of metalheads. “Wither is an album that really was written over a few years. There were plenty of experiences along the way that continued our descent into madness. It was a hazy time looking through smoke and double vision. Conceptually we had a lot of different emotions and life experiences that culminated to what you hear. If you listen hard enough, you might even hear the crackle of the fire in our building where we lived or the cops pounding on the doors. Or maybe even the dreams in which we envisioned when we found ourselves without homes,” commented the band about their new album.

Their sonic onrush of sounds begins in full force with the opening track Cry of the Earth, where Christopher already presents his heavy artillery while the guitars by both Keenan and Goose bring a thrilling fusion of Black Metal and Punk Rock to the music, building an instant connection with the also progressive, multi-layered Sundown, with their strident guitars and intricate beats providing Keenan all he needs to vociferate with tons of anger, alternating between more rhythmic moments and sheer brutality. After such exciting start to the album, the quartet invests into a classic Black Metal sonority, offering our ears Mercy, with Phill and his Marduk-inspired bass punches adding an extra touch of evil to the overall result, sounding imposing and grim from start to finish and suddenly morphing into a incendiary tune titled Rise, where the Jazz-ish guitars by Keenan and Goose grow in intensity until exploding in a bestial Progressive Black Metal feast led by the crushing beats by Christopher. Then we have V, an instrumental intermission spearheaded by Christopher’s tribalistic beats, setting the tone for the neck-breaking and utterly progressive Despite, showcasing devilish riffs and solos, low-tuned bass lines and the always hellish growls and snarls by Keenan, also bringing forward hints of classic Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll, therefore demonstrating all the band’s versatility and range.

Stifled is another one of their cryptic instrumental creations, this time offering our ears a somber atmosphere and background voices, keeping everything as dark and heavy as possible before they come crushing our spinal cords with the Doom Metal-infused aria titled Adrift, also adding a touch of Atmospheric Black Metal to the song’s already pulverizing sound. Moreover, all band members are on fire throughout the entire song, exhaling obscurity and hopelessness; and after some inspired jamming the quartet fires the demonic Black Metal extravaganza entitled Hour By Hour, where Keenan and Goose sound beyond infernal with their razor-edged riffs, not to mention Goose’s blazin’ guitar solo. Their second to last blast of malignancy comes in the form of the title-track Wither, bringing forward their core progressiveness with Phill’s bass jabs hammering our heads mercilessly in a vicious display of contemporary Melodic Black Metal, whereas closing the album the band brings forth the also strident and piercing Hooded Three. The song actually takes longer than expected to take off, but when it does it’s another display of brutality by Lord Almighty with the thrashing riffs by the band’s guitar duo inspiring us all to slam into the pit.

The beyond progressive and demolishing creations found in Wither can be better appreciated in full on YouTube, but of course as usual if you want to truly demonstrate your support to the guys from Lord Almighty and keep the fires of underground extreme music burning bright forever and ever, go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their music on Spotify, and above all that, grab your copy of their sulfurous new album from their own BandCamp page or webstore. As already mentioned, Wither is not only a very cohesive and vibrant album of extreme music, but it also translates into Black Metal all obscure experiences from each band member in their own descend into madness, which means you should definitely use the entire album as the soundtrack to your own downward spiral into the pits of the underworld. I’m sure the band would love to be part of that unique experience in your damned life.

Best moments of the album: Sundown, Rise and Hour By Hour.

Worst moments of the album: Hooded Three.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Cry of the Earth 3:51
2. Sundown 4:05
3. Mercy 2:31
4. Rise 4:20
5. V 0:51
6. Despite 3:43
7. Stifled 1:34
8. Adrift 3:55
9. Hour By Hour 3:57
10. Wither 4:49
11. Hooded Three 5:11

Band members
Keenan Carroll – vocals, guitars
Samuel “Goose” Willgoose – lead guitars
Phill Gelinas – bass
Christopher Narainen – drums

Album Review – Sepultura / Quadra (2020)

A sensational concept album based on Quadrivium embraced by a fusion of Thrash, Groove and Progressive Metal, masterfully crafted by the best Brazilian metal band of all time.

In case you’re form another dimension and haven’t listened to Quadra yet, let me tell you that the fifteenth studio effort by Brazilian Thrash/Groove Metal titans Sepultura is much more than just another metal album. With a concept based on Quadrivium, which are the four subjects or arts (namely arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy), taught after teaching the trivium, Quadra, meaning “four ways” from Latin, is a 12-track album divided into four sections of three songs each. The first being Thrash Metal songs based on the classic Sepultura sound; the second section is inspired by the groove-percussion oriented sound the band explored in Roots; the third part has more progressive songs inspired by the track Iceberg Dances from Machine Messiah, albeit not all are instrumental tracks; and side four features slow-paced and melodic tracks similar to the song Machine Messiah. Add to that the undeniable talent by the band’s four horsemen Derrick Green on vocals, Andreas Kisser on the guitars, Paulo Jr. on bass and Eloy Casagrande on drums, and there you have the band’s most successful record since 1998’s Against.

Recorded and produced by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden, and featuring a bold artwork by Christiano Menezes from Darkside Books revolving around the meaning of the number four, Quadra is also the Portuguese term for sports court. “We all come from different Quadras. The countries, all nations with their borders and traditions; culture, religions, laws, education and a set of rules where life takes place. Our personalities, what we believe, how we live, how we build societies and relationships, all depends on these set of rules that we grew up with. Concepts of creation, gods, death and ethics. Money, we are enslaved by this concept. Who’s poor and who’s rich, that’s how we measure people and material goods. Regardless of your Quadra you need money to survive, the prime rule to play this game called life. Hence the coin. The coin is forged with the senator skull, who represents the set of rules and laws we live by; the world map on his head delimiting the borders of all nations, imaginary lines separating people by concepts of race and the sacred,” explained Andreas about the concept behind the album art.

Tribal beats and futuristic sounds ignite the brutal and groovy Isolation, an old school Thrash Metal chant with Sepultura’s unique twist, where Derrick already tells us all this album is going to be fantastic through his enraged roars, whereas Means to an End is another ass-kicking, trademark creation by the quartet with the talented Eloy bringing tons of progressiveness and fury to the musicality, while Paulo continues to be precise and groovy as usual on bass. And there’s no sign of slowing down in Last Time, where Derrick and Eloy represent the brutality in the music while Andreas showcases his infinite talent as a shredder as well as with his fantastic solos; and adding primeval elements and beats from the band’s cultural background it’s time for one more round of savagery and groove united in the name of metal in Capital Enslavement, with Andreas slashing his strings beautifully accompanied by the unstoppable Eloy on drums. Back to a more traditional sound blending Thrash, Groove and Progressive Metal, Andreas, Paulo and Eloy generate a bold and reverberating atmosphere in Ali, sounding beyond perfect for Derrick to fire his beastly growls.

Raging Void is a mid-tempo, neck-breaking tune led by Eloy and his pounding drums where Derrick is effectively supported by all backing vocals, while Andreas keep stunning us all with his whimsical guitar. Then  a sensational acoustic intro by Andreas sets the stage for an austere and multi-layered metal feast entitled Guardians of Earth (which has one of the best and most touching official videos of the past decade), with all choirs and orchestrations making the whole song even more impactful and thrilling; followed by The Pentagram, bringing to our ears a classic Death Metal sonority infused with endless progressiveness and rage. Furthermore, Andreas is superb on the guitars as usual, while Paulo brings the groove with his minimalist but precise bass jabs, resulting in an excellent instrumental composition. After that we have Autem, uniting the past, present and perhaps the future of Sepultura by alternating between old school thrashing moments and the obscurity and hatred from Death and even Black Metal. Needless to say, Eloy and Andreas are in absolute sync throughout the entire song, and after the brief but beautiful acoustic intermission Quadra, it’s time for a darker, more introspective side of Derek in Agony of Defeat, where once again all background choirs and orchestrations bring a touch of finesse to the overall result, albeit not as majestic as the rest of the album, though. And last but not least, the delicate, sexy vocals by guest Emmily Barreto make a superb paradox with the raspy growls by Derrick in Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering, with the music sounding grim, melodic and vibrant form start to finish, or in other words, a great composition showcasing the band’s endless creativity and passion for heavy music.

After all is said and done, it’s more than fair to give such amazing album of heavy music four of our rating skulls, especially as the album revolves around the various meaning of the number four, right? In addition, in case you haven’t done so yet, I recommend you follow the best and most influential band of the Brazilian metal scene of all time on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their unique and heavy-as-hell songs and videos, and of course purchase or stream Quadra by clicking HERE. When Derrick was asked during an interview with BraveWords “Which Sepultura album are you most proud of?”, he replied, “Definitely Quadra. It’s the latest album, and we really worked so hard on it. We have so many different elements from the past that have helped us get to here – where we are at right now. So, without a doubt in my mind, this is the strongest album that we’ve done together. And I’m extremely proud of it.” I guess we must all agree with Derrick that Quadra is hands down the most detailed, diverse and electrifying album of his era fronting Sepultura, raising the flag of Brazilian metal higher and higher for the delight of all of their loyal and diehard fans.

Best moments of the album: Isolation, Capital Enslavement, Guardians of Earth and Fear and Pain, Chaos, Suffering.

Worst moments of the album: Agony of Defeat.

Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Isolation 4:56
2. Means to an End 4:39
3. Last Time 4:27
4. Capital Enslavement 3:40
5. Ali 4:12
6. Raging Void 3:57
7. Guardians of Earth 5:11
8. The Pentagram 5:20
9. Autem 4:06
10. Quadra 0:46
11. Agony of Defeat 5:51
12. Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering 4:09

Alive in Brazil Digipack and Earbook bonus disc (recorded live at “Audio” in São Paulo, Brazil on June 20, 2015)
1. Choke 3:46
2. Convicted in Life 3:31
3. Sepulnation 4:41
4. Apes of God 3:22
5. Sepultura Under My Skin 3:45
6. Manipulation of Tragedy 4:19
7. The Vatican 6:34
8. Cut-Throat 2:55

Band members
Derrick Green – lead vocals
Andreas Kisser – guitars
Paulo Jr. – bass
Eloy Casagrande – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Bruna Zenti – violin
Kadu Fernandes – percussion on “Capital Enslavement”
Renato Zanuto – keyboards, orchestrations on “Isolation”, “Means to an End”, “Capital Enslavement” and “Guardians of Earth”, choir arrangements
Francesco Ferrini – orchestrations on “Last Time” and “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering”
Robertinho Rodrigues – acoustic bass
Chorus Mysticus – choir vocals
Jens Bogren – backing vocals
Paulo Cyrino – effects on “Ali”
Gunnar Misgeld – choir arrangements on “Isolation”, “Last Time”, “Guardians of Earth” and “Agony of Defeat”
Emmily Barreto – female vocals on “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering”

Album Review – Póstuma / Moralis EP (2020)

Uniting the aggressiveness of Death Metal with the beauty of poetry, this promising Brazilian outfit is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their thrilling debut EP.

Formed in 2017 in the city of Americana, a municipality located in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, aiming at uniting the aggressiveness of Death Metal with the beauty of poetry, the up-and-coming Melodic Death Metal outfit Póstuma (the Portuguese word for “posthumous”) have just released their debut EP entitled Moralis, presenting Greek mythology and philosophy as the album’s main themes together with a questioning about honor, virtue and perhaps an ode to art and tragedy, something that has been in search of balance since the beginning of times. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Estúdio Fuzza by Ricardo Biancarelli, Moralis is recommended for fans of the aggression blasted by bands such as At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Hipocrisy and In Flames, among several others, with its lyrics exalting the pursuit of knowledge and existentialism combined with Death and Thrash Metal influences, as well as writers and philosophers, resulting in a strong and deep sound carefully crafted by frontwoman Bia da Aldea, guitarists Júlio Alves and Rodrigo Batista, bassist Diego “Bob” Carmelo and drummer Murilo Pasqualino.

Filling every single space in the air with violence and harmony, the band kicks off the EP with the Arch Enemy-inspired Prometheus, where Bia showcases all her vocal potency right from the beginning as the amazing growler she is, while Murilo sounds like a stone crusher on drums. This is what I call a fantastic  welcome card by Póstuma, followed by Minerva, where its poetically acid lyrics are roared by Bia (“Crushing an empire, just for desire / All life drained away / We just learn with pain / They make us discuss, we are numb / They manage our hate / Become misery slaves / So certain they beg for chaos / So modest they beg for chaos”) while the music sounds even more impactful than the opening tune due to the brutality blasted by her bandmates, with Júlio and Rodrigo firing venomous riffs from their guitars and, therefore, adding hints of Thrash and Black Metal to their already powerful sound. And Júlio and Rodrigo, supported by the insane bass punches by Diego, keep piercing our heads with their ass-kicking riffage and solos in the also demented Redemption, with Bia’s screams reaching a whole new level of insanity, whereas in the closing song Gaya the band’s guitar duo proves they’re never tired of slashing and shredding their stringed weapons, and together with Diego and Murilo they generate a massive and very melodic wall of sounds perfect for banging our heads in the name of classic and modern Death Metal.

Hopefully this never-ending coronavirus pandemic will not have a negative impact on the band’s plans for the future, especially because they had just released their fulminating debut EP when all this madness started, which means it’s up to us fans of heavy music to show Póstuma our support and encourage them to keep moving forward no matter what. Hence, I want to please ask you all to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream Moralis in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and above all that, to purchase a copy of the EP from their BandCamp page. As a matter of fact, why don’t you visit their BandCamp page and take a look at the lyrics for each one of the four songs of the EP? You’ll see the band is not kidding when they say they want to unite the beauty of poetry with metal music, and when you hit play on any of the songs simply close your eyes and let their amazing Melodic Death Metal flow through your mind and your soul.

Best moments of the album: Prometheus and Minerva.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Prometheus 3:58
2. Minerva 4:42
3. Redemption 4:02
4. Gaya 4:25

Band members
Bia da Aldea – vocal
Júlio Alves – guitar
Rodrigo Batista – guitar
Diego “Bob” Carmelo – bass
Murilo Pasqualino – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Diva Satanica

Kill’em all, Diva Satanica!

My dear metalheads, how about we celebrate SEVEN FUCKIN’ YEARS of The Headbanging Moose in great fashion with one of the most charismatic, hardworking and talented growlers of the current metal scene? Not only she will haunt your soul with her wicked screams and roars, but she’s also a stunning alternative model and a collaborator of one of the best metal magazines in her home country. I’m talking about the venomous she-wolf Rocío Vázquez, better known by her incendiary moniker Diva Satanica, the frontwoman for Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Bloodhunter and more recently for the international all-female Thrash Metal horde Nervosa, kicking some serious ass with her onstage performance and her beyond potent vocals wherever she goes. Are you ready to have Diva Satanica screaming like a beast right in your face on our humble tribute to such amazing exponent of the Spanish Extreme Metal scene?

Born on June 25, 1988 in La Coruña, Galícia, in the North-West of Spain, known as “the land of witches”, but currently residing in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Diva Satanica is a lover of all kinds of music, but of course she nurtures a special, deep passion for Rock N’ Roll and almost all subgenres of Heavy Metal, especially the ones that suit her needs of talking about feelings. As mentioned by our unstoppable diva in one of her interviews, no one in her family enjoys metal music and in the beginning it was really hard for her to find friends with the same taste in music, but she managed to find her place in society as we can all witness now. In addition, although she said she was terrified the first time she listened to a Death Metal band, due to the fact she didn’t feel comfortable with melodic singing she decided to give growling a try, and well, we must all agree it was the best decision in her life, offering us all fans of heavy music the furious and thrilling creations brought forth by our diva together with her henchmen from Bloodhunter.

In regards to Bloodhunter, the band started about a year before Diva Satanica joined them, more specifically in 2008 in La Coruña (but also currently based in Madrid), by the hands of sole founding member, guitarist and main songwriter Dani Arcos, also known as Fenris, to develop some demos that didn’t fit at his other bands at that time, even with a melodic singer in the beginning. It was after several changes in their lineup and concept when Diva Satanica finally joined the band, currently comprised of our metal lady and Fenris, of course, together with guitarist G. Starless, bassist Daniel Luces and drummer Marcelo Aires. However, she only started singing (and growling) for the band in 2012, after writing the lyrics for a few of their songs and joining their rehearsals, and according to Diva Satanica her bandmates had to be very patient with her in the beginning as she used to sing looking to the wall instead of looking to the band, but from that moment on things started to happen for them, culminating with the release of their debut demo The First Insurrection, in 2013.

It was just a matter of time until the release of their debut full-length opus, self-titled Bloodhunter, which came to light in 2014 and quickly made a huge impact on the local Spanish scene, gathering the attention of fans and critics not only in Spain but anywhere else in the world where high-quality Melodic Death Metal is appreciated. A couple of years later, in 2017, the band released their sophomore effort, titled The End of Faith, showcasing a huge evolution in terms of sound quality, creativity, violence and, above all, in Diva Satanica’s guttural vocals, presenting a much more demonic, piercing and thrilling side of our devilish banshee. Apart from their two studio albums, Bloodhunter also released a couple of singles through the years, those being Ages of Darkness, in 2014, which was featured on a compilation called Oráculo Magazine: From the Shadows Vol.I, and a very entertaining cover version for Helloween’s all-time classic I Want Out, in 2018, where Diva Satanica shares the vocal duties with Spanish vocalist and guitarist Leo Jiménez, known for his solo band and other projects such as Stravaganzza and Saratoga. In addition to that, Bloodhunter also offered us fans a few more amazing cover songs, with their version for Arch Enemy’s hit Bury Me an Angel, featured on a compilation called Hardcore Hits Cancer Vol. III in 2018, Death’s Crystal Mountain, and more recently their rendition for Cradle of Filth’s demolishing tune Gilded Cunt, showing all of our diva’s versatility and range as the fantastic Extreme Metal singer she is.

Apart from those albums, singles and cover songs, you can also have a blast with Diva Satanica and the boys in their excellent 2020 live album Live in Madrid, containing six amazing live versions recorded on March 19, 2019 at the now (unfortunately) defunct We Rock in Madrid, including Dying Sun, All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, and Bring me Horror. Furthermore, you can find other non-official live footage from Bloodhunter on YouTube, such as for example Ancestors Ov All Gods also live at We Rock, but in 2015, The Bloody Throne live at Mangualde Hard Metal Fest 2017, and Eyes Wide Open live at Le Club in La Coruña in 2018, among many, many others. However, if you prefer watching official videos with all the usual production, special effects and other shenanigans, you can bang your head to the songs All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, Dying Sun, Embrace the Dark Light and Let the Storm Come.

As we don’t have anything official yet with Diva Satanica fronting the thrashing girls from Nervosa except for a live chat done in June 2020 with the “four horsewomen”, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace (The true Endless, Triumph of Death, Niryth, Abbath), Greek drummer Eleni Nota (Lightfold, Mask of Prospero, Simplefast) and of course our beloved Diva Satanica, let’s talk a little about her previous bands, projects and special appearances in an array of bands from the most diverse styles, starting with a band she fronted from 2015 until 2019, Spanish Progressive/Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band Outreach. Despite her short stint with Outreach, she recorded with the band the full-length Ephemeral Existence and the single Insane Mind, both in 2019, showcasing all her range and potency throughout the entire album (which I highly recommended you take a listen at).

You’ll also be able to enjoy her she-wolf roars in the songs Nothing to Believe, from the 2018 album Misanthropy, by El Salvadorian Thrash/Death Metal band Apes of God; Mutiladora Genital, from Spanish Death Metal masters Aposento’s 2014 self-titled album; Darkness Within, from the 2018 album Purgatory, by Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Suru; doing additional vocals in the entire album Mesías, released in 2019 by Spanish Heavy Metal band Leo Jiménez; impersonating the one and only Baphomet in the 2019 album El Secreto de los Templarios, by Spanish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Legado de una Tragedia, together with soprano Nancy Catalina and Sara Grün from Hiranya (and you can enjoy this nice making of with an explanation as to why those three vocalists were chosen for the part); and last but not least, doing additional and choir vocals in the songs La Cantiga de las Brujas (check also this amazing live version of the same song) and El Séptimo Sello, from the 2019 album Ira Dei, by Spanish Celtic/Folk Metal institution Mägo de Oz.

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Such multi-talented metal diva would obviously have tons of distinguished influences in her style and career, and despite the fact that her moniker was clearly inspired by one of the best Arch Enemy songs of all time, Diva Satanica, and that most fans tried to label them as the Spanish version of Arch Enemy in the beginning, the members of Bloodhunter have many different influences in their musical careers, from Judas Priest to Behemoth and Death. When asked about her own personal favorites, Diva Satanica mentioned bands and artists the likes of Astarte, Eths, In This Moment, Skullfist, Behemoth, Axewound, Rotting Christ, Nightrage, Firewind and Lana del Rey, showing she enjoys any type of music, not only rock and metal, but also saying that it’s in Extreme Metal where she found her identity when singing. If you know Spanish and want to spend some time with Diva Satanica and her collection of metal and non-metal albums, you should definitely watch this video on YouTube, where she presents some of her favorite albums from bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Ramones, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Firewind, Rotting Chirst, The Agonist and Eths. Regarding French metalcore band Eths, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the amazing Candice Clot, former frontwoman for what’s in my opinion one of the most underrated metal bands of all time, was essential in her decision to become an extreme music vocalist. In addition, you can enjoy Diva Satanica paying her own personal tribute to some of her biggest idols on her own YouTube channel, including her vocal performances of Septicflesh’s Prototype, Holy Moses’ Triggered, Behemoth’s Ov Fire And The Void, and a very unique version for Slayer’s darkest hit Raining Blood together with Spanish rock and metal cover band Femme Fractal.

As we’re talking about women in rock and metal, Diva Satanica complemented her thoughts by saying that apart from Candice Clot (and Diva Satanica even said that when Candice left Eths she was offered to audition, but she had to refuse it as she was barely 20 years old and had no means to travel nor the equipment to record with), she also loves the music by In This Moment, Jinjer and a Spanish underground band named Bones of Minerva, which I highly recommend you go check their music on their BandCamp page. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the song The Queen Beast is dedicated to Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri from Greek Black Metal horde Astarte, one of her main influences and a good friend that sadly passed away in 2014 due to complications from leukemia, saying she was the first woman to create the first Black Metal band formed only by women, and we can easily see that beautiful tribute Diva Satanica paid to Tristessa in the song’s amazing lyrics (“Feel her wrath / She’s watching from the stars / Abstraction of life / The air, the nature, the skies are now her reign / The shades in darkened silverlights / The black flame burns! / The highest priestess arise”).

If you think it was easy for Diva Satanica to reach her current vocal style and growth as an Extreme Metal vocalist, she said her path so far has demanded (and will always demand) from her a lot of hard work, discipline and trial and error, acknowledging that she couldn’t sing properly on the band’s first album as she didn’t know exactly what she was doing nor she could sustain her vocals for long periods of time. It was only after watching several tutorials on YouTube , after consulting with different extreme music singers and after studying in detail the performances of all vocalists of the concerts she attended that she properly began shaping her voice, spending about two years improving her technique, even taking melodic singing classes at a given point in her life, and applying necessary warmup and diaphragm strengthening exercises to improve her performance. Then she said that because she started her “Extreme Vocal Lessons” to help other growlers to improve their vocals in the early stages of their careers, she ended up discovering different vocal types and ranges that she considered great choices to incorporate to her own style. If you want to take a peak at some of her videos where she gives important tips for growlers like her, you can watch this tutorial (also in Spanish) where she teaches how to do guttural and screaming vocals, and also this short lesson where she explains the difference between growls and screams versus grunts, pig squeals, shrieks and other vocalizations. One thing that is quite annoying to Diva Satanica is when people use gender to justify why women can’t growl, with her solution to that simply being inviting those people to watch Bloodhunter live, which in my opinion is indeed an amazing experience for the non-believers who will undoubtedly be stunned by her vicious roars.

When asked about the current metal scene in Galicia, where she comes from, and if her music and Death Metal are well-received by the people from that region in Northwest Spain, she said that although they’re a small community there are different styles that people tend to listen to the most from time to time. Around a decade ago, the Gothic scene was the most prevalent, switching to Alternative Metal and Metalcore in recent years. She also mentioned the importance of their own summer festival, Resurrection Fest, which started years ago as a small act but that it’s now one of the most important festival in Europe, proving the scene in Galicia is in excellent shape. As you might have noticed already, Diva Satanica loves performing on stage, and among her favorite songs to play live she mentioned some of her band’s most violent creations such as Let the Storm Come, Possessed by Myself and of course The Queen Beast, as already mentioned, as this song has a strong meaning for her and helps her add an extra amount of emotional feeling to her singing.

Not only an accomplished vocalist, Diva Satanica has also done some modeling in the past and contributed as a writer and journalist to a couple of magazines, including La Heavy, one of the biggest rock and metal publication in Spain, managed by the website Mariskal Rock. She said she started her modeling career a few years ago, but as she discovered a lot of people are interested in many different things other than art, she gave up and decided to focus on the metal scene, starting with a Greek webzine named Subexistance Music Production and then moving on to La Heavy. Apart from that, she’s also working towards a Degree as a Doctor in Nursery, and was a participant in the Spanish TV program La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice) in 2017, surprising the coaches by screaming and growling instead of only doing clean vocals, being the first contestant to perform this type of singing. The international artist Juanes chose her to be part of his team, where she performed songs like Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. There’s even an interview she gave to a guy named Juan Destroyer on Mariskal Rock TV where she talks about her participation on the show, and how she inspired Juanes to get back on doing a heavier kind of rock. Moreover, she always mentions that being on La Voz was one of the best experiences of her life without any doubt, saying that as she was the first even participant to do guttural, she got a lot of recognition from fans and bands from all over the world, with icons such as  Michael Amott of Arch Enemy or Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh congratulating her for her amazing performance on the show.

Our dauntless diva also mentioned that there’s still a long road ahead of all musicians that dedicate their careers to more extreme styles of rock and metal, as there’s still a lot of prejudice everywhere (saying that even today in Madrid she has to cover her tattoos depending on the situation), but that it’s up to the musicians themselves to make their style more accepted by society, and that the more musicians bring their experience to light and defend their identity, the more the road will open up. As you can see, Diva Satanica is not only extremely talented and focused on her career, but she also has a strong opinion about the current state of the metal scene and about what any person needs to do to thrive in the music industry. Hence, you can check some extra interviews with this amazing Spanish she-wolf on YouTube, such as this one where she shares the latest update on both Bloodhunter and Nervosa, the current coronavirus pandemic situation and more, or this one to a show called “That Metal Interview with James”, recorded in June 2020, where she speaks of how she met Prika Amaral of Nervosa and how she was approached to join the Brazilian death metallers, about her experience being on the TV show La Voz, and about the future plans of both Bloodhunter and Nervosa regarding their musical direction for their next records. You’ll notice from all those interviews and from her music that Rocío Vázquez is more than just another vocalist; she’s a very humble and gentle human being, a hardworking musician, and a fulminating growler. Having said that, all that’s left to say is… ALL HAIL THE ONE AND ONLY DIVA SATANICA!

Diva Satanica’s Official Facebook page
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Diva Satanica’s Official Twitter
Diva Satanica’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official Facebook page
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“Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you feel scared and things don’t go as you planned before, but you must keep on fighting to discover what you want in your life and who you are.” – Diva Satanica

Album Review – Hark From The Tomb / Let Them Die (2020)

Behold the raw, primeval and heavy-as-hell statement of utter contempt for the current state of humanity by this uncanny Swedish Black Metal duo.

Sharing a history in the Swedish Black Metal scene ranging back to the 90’s, a mysterious duo known as Hark From The Tomb has just released their debut installment under this new moniker entitled Let Them Die, a statement of utter contempt for the current state of humanity as a species, tailored for fans of renowned acts like Marduk, Dark Funeral and Watain. Mixed by H.M. Corpse Foot in Atlantean Studios, mastered by Cripta, and featuring a stunning cover art based on the 19th century painting “Death” by Alphonse Edouard Enguérand Aufray de Roc’Bhian, a Paris, France-based artist who lived from 1833 until 1887, Let Them Die presents to the listener Hark From The Tomb’s firm stance in the low-fi ideals set by their Nordic predecessors, drawing their main inspiration from the old-school, primitive parts of the Black Metal scene, while the connecting themes of all songs on the album being the inability of humanity to evolve intellectually, the revolting character of mankind as a whole, and the unforgivable error of letting religion exist as anything more than an artefact of Bronze Age mythology.

And this Swedish two-headed entity doesn’t waste a single second and begin their 90’s-inspired Black Metal attack in Bring Forth Armageddon, showcasing the genre’s trademark blast beats, blazing riffs and those demonic, raspy gnarls perfect for haunting our souls, followed by His Will Made Flesh and its darkened words vociferated rabidly by the duo (“Seeking forbidden wisdom / Through spells and incantations / Unlocking untold powers / Through spiritual revelations / Every knowledge that corrupts me / That fills my body and my soul”), while the music remains fast, furious and absolutely infernal. Then the title-track Let Them Die will inspire you to slam your skull into the pit while the duo smashes their guitars and drums mercilessly in a solid display of classic Black Metal, sounding as raw and primeval as possible, whereas continuing their path of obscurity, sulfur and blasphemy those cryptic metallers fire the blackened feast titled No Longer Human, where they speed things up a bit, delivering extreme aggression through their wicked riffs and beats.

In Blood of the Lamb, an imposing atmosphere offers them exactly what they need to snarl the song’s acid lyrics (“Headfirst into the abyss / In search for salvation / Awash in the blood of the lamb / Blissful mental castration”), bringing forward nonstop savagery in the form of our beloved Swedish Black Metal, and there’s more bestiality flowing form their riffs and bass punches in Contamination of a Species, despite the fact the drums are not as dynamic as in previous songs, sounding way too rudimentary at times. After that it’s time for another hellish onrush of sounds in Plague, War, Death, a lot more melodic and vibrant, with all instruments being in great sync and, therefore, flowing smoothly and infernally until the very last second. Hark From The Tomb bring forth endless action and hatred in the also demonic Feeding His Hungering Flames, a pure, unfiltered Black Metal tune for the masses where their devilish roars match perfectly with the visceral music played, whereas closing the album we’re treated to one final Black Metal tempest by those Swedish metallers entitled Final Prayer, a headbanging, venomous tune where their raging growls and frantic blast beats sound like their own personal tribute to all things Black Metal.

According to Hark From The Tomb, the combination of easily led idiots, the charlatans that exploit the weak, and the ultimately cataclysmic symbiosis of the dumb and the evil that collectively holds back humanity as a species is the worst and most poisonous trait that both threatens the survival of humanity as a whole, and the source of the revulsion that led to the creation of Let Them Die. Hence, if you want to have a better taste and understanding of what their music is all about, and if you want to show them your utmost support, you can purchase the album directly form their BandCamp page or from Amazon, showing the world your admiration for the foundations of Scandinavian Black Metal and for the underground. Maybe one day the duo will finally reveal their faces and names to us all, but I guess you’ll agree with me when I say that’s just a minor detail in their new path under the name Hark From The Tomb, as long as they keep raising hell and blasphemy through their vicious creations, always portraying in their music the inevitable decay of our rotten society.

Best moments of the album: His Will Made Flesh, Let Them Die and Blood of the Lamb.

Worst moments of the album: Contamination of a Species.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Bring Forth Armageddon 3:24
2. His Will Made Flesh 3:17
3. Let Them Die 2:36
4. No Longer Human 3:13
5. Blood of the Lamb 4:00
6. Contamination of a Species 4:16
7. Plague, War, Death 3:20
8. Feeding His Hungering Flames 4:16
9. Final Prayer 5:09

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Eight Lives Down / Humans (2020)

Four distinct musicians from four different countries united in the name of metal, bringing to us all a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable.

Originally founded by Greek-Kiwi vocalist and lyricist Aliki Katriou in 2016 together with British guitarist James Scott (replaced by French guitarist Paul Allain in 2017), bassist Marcin Orczyk from Poland, and Brazilian drummer Rodrigo Moraes Cruz, London, UK-based Extreme Metal act Eight Lives Down has its roots in Groove and Thrash Metal, but constantly branches out stylistically incorporating influences from Progressive, Death and Black Metal, as well as various other musical genres such as Punk Rock, Blues, and traditional folk music, while vocals range from low growls and high screams to clean and even operatic phrases, creating a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable. Now in 2020 the quartet is ready to invade our senses with their debut full-length opus, entitled Humans, showcasing all their versatility, dynamism, creativity and rage, all enhanced by the album’s top-notch mixing and mastering done by Dan Baune at Noise Foundry Productions, while embraced by a modern, stylish artwork by Dylan Sutton.

The blazing guitar riffs by Paul kick off the sick and groovy Opening Shots, bringing forward a fusion of Melodic Death Metal with more modern and alternative styles, with Aliki growling like a true she-demon for our total delight, followed by Misguided, where the metallic bass jabs by Marcin will hit you in the face while Aliki blasts her wicked mix of clean vocals and harsh gnarls, leaning towards contemporary Thrash and Groove Metal while Rodrigo dictates the pace with his classy beats. Then the mesmerizing vocalizations by Aliki accompanied by tribalistic sounds and tones ignite the heavy and experimental Angela, with Paul, Marcin and Rodrigo bringing sheer progressiveness to the music with their refined techniques, whereas From The Cradle is a lot more introspective, grim and atmospheric than its predecessors, starting in a semi-acoustic manner while Aliki declaims the song’s dark lyrics, sounding at the same time like a 90’s Groove and Funk Metal tune and a modern-day thrashing tune, something a wicked band like Faith No More would definitely do.

More of their rumbling sounds permeate the air in the also heavy and furious Sacrifice, a lecture in Groove Metal by Eight Lives Down where Aliki’s roars get deeper and more enraged while Rodrigo sounds pulverizing on drums, supported by Marcin’s menacing bass; and in Organize Your Mind the quartet offers us all a hybrid of the rebelliousness of Alternative Metal with the intricacy of Progressive Metal, with Paul being on absolute fire with his demented riffage, while also presenting interesting atmospheric passages and endless heaviness. After that it’s time to break our necks headbanging together with Aliki and the boys in Colder, adding hints of Heavy Rock to their already crushing sonority while Paul and Marcin have a fun duel with their strident riffs and solos and low-tuned bass punches, respectively. Lastly, you better get ready for nine minutes of introspection, groove and heaviness in the form of Why, starting in a serene way with Aliki declaiming the song’s cryptic words, evolving into a thunderous metal feast led by Rodrigo’s visceral beats, not to mention the incendiary solos by Paul as the icing on the cake.

This precious gem of Extreme and Experimental Metal can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to show your support to Aliki and her loyal henchmen you should definitely buy a copy of Humans from their own BandCamp page, from their webstore or from Amazon, as well as follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such up-and-coming metal band, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their idiosyncratic creations. It will certainly be more than just interesting to see what the future holds for Eight Lives Down with their upcoming releases, if they’ll keep experimenting like crazy or if they’ll set a defined shape and style for their music. Until then, while we wait for the creative mind of Aliki to provide us more insanity in the form of music, we can keep banging our heads nonstop to Humans, by far one of the best alternative albums of the year.

Best moments of the album: Opening Shots and Sacrifice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Opening Shots 3:50
2. Misguided 4:01
3. Angela 3:56
4. From The Cradle 7:40
5. Sacrifice 3:52
6. Organize Your Mind 4:21
7. Colder 4:20
8. Why 9:02

Band members
Aliki Katriou – vocals
Paul Allain – guitar
Marcin Orczyk – bass
Rodrigo Moraes Cruz – drums

Album Review – Ragehammer / Into Certain Death (2020)

It’s time to head into certain death to the sound of the new album by this insane Polish brigade, offering us all ten slabs of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal violence.

Kraków, Poland’s own Black/Thrash Metal institution Ragehammer is finally back to the battlefront after four years of studio inactivity (since the release of their 2016 opus The Hammer Doctrine) and a year-long live hiatus with the same lineup comprised of The Hellstörm on vocals, Bestial Avenger on the guitars, Corpsebutcher on bass and Mortar on drums to once again spit with scorn at the trend-ridden scene, where aesthetics took over the ethics, armed with their sophomore full-length album entitled Into Certain Death. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikołaj Żentara at No Solace, featuring an enraged artwork by Devinez, and consisting of ten slabs of sonic violence with variable pain levels in the characteristic of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal style which continues the path Ragehammer chose when starting almost 10 years ago, Into Certain Death will offer the listener exactly what the band has always promised to provide in their rebellious career, a raw, warlike fusion of Black and Thrash Metal without compromises, unnecessary distance or mercy, and of course a very good reason for getting drunk and raising our horns in the name of evil.

Metal troopers are marching to the beats by Mortar in the uprising intro Beneath the Red Suns, suddenly exploding into a lesson in Blackened Thrash Metal titled We Are the Hammer, with Bestial Avenger extracting endless savagery and electricity form his stringed weapon, therefore providing The Hellstörm exactly what he needs to shine with his raspy, berserk growls. Moreover, when they speed things up it’s time to simply crush your skull into the pit, and there’s no sign of those four horseman slowing their music down as they blast a furious hybrid of Black, Death and Thrash Metal titled Jesus Goat, with Corpsebutcher and Mortar being thunderous with their respective bass punches and blast beats. In Peace let’s say the name of the song doesn’t match with its infuriated rhythm, with the band bringing forward a potent display of extreme music led by Bestial Avenger’s razor-edged riffage while The Hellstörm vociferates rabidly from start to finish in great blackened, thrashing fashion, whereas the band’s frontman roars viciously in his mother tongue in the sick Black and Thrash Metal extravaganza titled Na Pewną Śmierć, which is Polish for the album’s title “into certain death”, tailored for admirers of the heaviest side of thrash, with Mortar sounding utterly demented behind his drum set.

In the fulminating 616. TerrorKorps the band drinks from the same wicked fountain as thrashing masters Exodus and Slayer, but of course with the band’s own Polish twist, while the stringed duo Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher will at the same time pierce your ears and smash your head with their extreme aggression and speed. It’s clear that slamming is their business, and business is good, as in the high-octane Fear Toxin we’re treated to more of the infernal screams by The Hellstörm and the unstoppable drums by Mortar in what’s perhaps the song with the most Black Metal riffs of all, while tribal beats and a hellish atmosphere are offered to the listener in Omega Red, sounding darker and more introspective than its predecessors, and showcasing another brutal job done by Bestial Avenger armed with his devilish guitar. Ragehammer keep distilling their demonic hybrid of extreme styles in the fast and furious Dragon City, where the rebellious gnarls by The Hellstörm are effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals while Mortar doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second. And finally, a Stygian, somber intro darkly evolves into a massive wall of sounds in the imposing 8-minute aria titled Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal), the sequel to “Prophet of Genocide” from their 2012 demo War Hawks, with The Hellstörm investing into more anguished vocal lines while its second half presents Ragehammer’s usual sonic devastation.

I bet you can’t wait to join Ragehammer and head into certain death to the sound of their warlike metal music, and in order to do so simply pay the guys a visit on Facebook and (soon) purchase a copy of their breathtaking new album from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp or webstore in CD or LP format. The Hellstörm, Bestial Avenger, Corpsebutcher and Mortar nailed it once again with Into Certain Death, elevating their status in their homeland (and anywhere else in the world where ass-kicking extreme music is appreciated) from just a promise to one of the best and most entertaining acts of the underground scene, beautifully translating into their wicked creations exactly what Blackened Thrash Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: We Are the Hammer, Jesus Goat and 616. TerrorKorps.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Beneath the Red Suns 1:45
2. We Are the Hammer 3:58
3. Jesus Goat 3:29
4. Peace 4:25
5. Na Pewną Śmierć 4:28
6. 616. TerrorKorps 4:00
7. Fear Toxin 4:38
8. Omega Red 5:46
9. Dragon City 4:47
10. Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal) 8:54

Band members
The Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums

Album Review – Silent Obsession / Lost EP (2020)

Bang your heads to this venomous fusion of Technical, Progressive and Brutal Death Metal made in Algeria.

Inspired by renowned bands such as Decapitated and Morbid Angel, among other modern metal acts, Algiers, Algeria-based Death Metal unity Silent Obsession is eager to spread their fusion of Technical and Brutal Death Metal with more contemporary styles such as Groove Metal to all four corners of the earth, sending a bold message that Algerian metal can be as vibrant, demolishing and entertaining as any of their North American or European friends. Originally conceived as a solo project by guitarist Max Marginal in 2017 aiming at exploring humanity’s dark side, Silent Obsession evolved to a full-bodied band in the next couple of years until reaching their current lineup comprised of the aforementioned Max Marginal on the guitar, Danny on vocals and guitar, Manil on bass and Ben Der on drums, strengthening their sound and creativity and, consequently, culminating with the release now in 2020 of their debut EP entitled Lost, bringing to our avid ears 12 minutes of top-of-the-line extreme music made in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

The blazing guitars by Danny and Max set the tone in the violent EP intro, already showcasing all their skills while Ben Der crushes his drums manically and also presenting elements from Thrash and Black Metal, with Danny’s vicious roars adding a touch of malignancy to the overall result. Then bringing tons of progressiveness and rage together with their core sonority the quartet fires Paranoia Activity, where Manil’s bass punches will hit you hard in the face and with Danny growling more deeply and demonically than before in a technical display of Death Metal infused with Groove Metal nuances, all spiced up by some sick guitar solos, whereas D.E.A.D. sounds even more violent and devastating, with Manil and Ben Der generating an earthquake with their sonic weapons while Danny and Max keep extracting sheer dementia form their guitars, not to mention how rabid and insane Danny’s roars sound. In other words, this is an absolutely perfect Progressive Death Metal tune for smashing your spinal cord into the circle pit. Lastly, in Destruction of the Spirit the band once again blends their core Death Metal with other extreme styles such as Thrash Metal and even Progressive Groove Metal, with their riffs and solos being utterly fantastic, accompanied by the always infernal drums by Ben Der.

Just like their friends from Lelahell, Litham and Hellium, among several other excellent bands, Silent Obsession are determined to carry the flag of Algerian Death Metal wherever they go, and their debut effort Lost is indeed a great example of what they are capable of offering to demanding metalheads always searching for heavy, violent and fast music. Hence, don’t forget to give the EP a listen on Spotify, on YouTube and on Deezer, to follow Silent Obsession on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and to purchase a copy of Lost from Apple Music. Max and his loyal henchmen are eager to know what you think of their debut installment, especially if you’re a diehard fan of underground Death Metal, showing you once again that not only high-quality metal music can be found anywhere in the world, but also if Death Metal is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a musical trip to “Al Jaza’ir”.

Best moments of the album: D.E.A.D.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Intro 2:34
2. Paranoia Activity 4:32
3. D.E.A.D. 3:11
4. Destruction of the Spirit 2:22

Band members
Danny – vocals, guitars
Max Marginal – guitars
Manil – bass
Ben Der – drums

Album Review – Onirik / The Fire Cult Beyond Eternity (2020)

A unique Black Metal album that is the consequence of the descent and return from below carrying the flames and lava on its scales, giving it back to the world in posthumous vengeance.

Following up on his highly-acclaimed 2015 album Casket Dream Veneration, Lisbon, Portugal-based Black Metal one-man horde Onirik, the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gonius Rex, returns with yet another distinct and heavy-as-hell album entitled The Fire Cult Beyond Eternity, the fifth studio album in his solid career. Active since 2002, Onirik has been exploring Black Metal in several approaches, always faithful to its original purpose, the emission of unordinary, dissonant and raw outputs with trance-inducing atmospheres, typically very cold and bathed in magic. With the special guest participation of none other than Dirge Rep on drums (Gehenna, Enslaved, Orcustus, The Konsortium), and mixed and mastered by Semjaza of Thy Darkened Shade at Sitra Ahra Studio, who also took care of the album’s ambient elements, The Fire Cult Beyond Eternity is the consequence of the descent and return from below carrying the flames and lava on its scales, giving it back to the world in posthumous vengeance.

Prepare your senses for six minutes of a classic Norwegian Black Metal inferno in the opening tune Cult Beyond Eternity, where Gonius Rex extracts sheer malignancy from his guitar while gnarling demonically at the same time, and it’s impressive how he is capable of adding so much groove and progressiveness to his Stygian creations such as Trapped in Flesh, Blood and Dirt, piling up additional layers of awesomeness to his already scorching sound while guest Dirge Rep takes care of the violence and brutality with his blast beats. Then our avid ears are penetrated furiously by over nine minutes of a downward spiral into the pits of the underworld together with Gonius Rex entitled Assigned to the Inexorable Flames, with his bass lines sounding utterly demented, groovy and wicked, proving how talented and focused he is at what he does, with the entire song feeling as grandiose and somber as it can be from start to finish.

In Melodies of Reflections and Praise this unearthly entity offers us all a modern yet old school version of Melodic Black Metal infused with Progressive Black Metal elements where Dirge Rep continues to deliver insanity and intricacy through his beats, providing Gonius Rex all he needs to distill his Jazz-inspired bass jabs.  And venturing through the sluggish realms of Doom Metal, Onirik blast the heavy and thunderous Granted the Vision, Molded into Stone, with the bass punches by Gonius Rex allied with the slow and steady beats by Dirge Rep punching us all in the head mercilessly. After such dense extravaganza, and again blending traditional Black Metal with modern-day sounds and a demented atmosphere, we’re treated to an avalanche of darkened sounds for our vulgar delectation in Murmurs of the Aging Vessel, with both Gonius Rex and Dirge Rep being on fire with their respective sonic weapons, whereas back to a more berserk mode Onirik haunt our souls one last time with their infuriated Black Metal in Apathy of Might, and they keep hammering their instruments nonstop until the song’s grand finale.

You can show your support and admiration for Gonius Rex’s alter ego Onirik by following the project on Facebook, and of course by purchasing a copy of such incendiary album from the underground Portuguese scene from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page or from the Metal Odissey webstore in CD or in LP format.  “I have travelled beyond the casket and returned only to illustrate the certain retribution. This time the old ways flow deep like liquefied lava, ready to break the wounds of this earth and resurface in arsonists’ bliss,” cryptically said Gonius Rex about his newborn album, and even if you have no clue what exactly he wanted to say, let me tell you that the best way to understand his eerie words is by playing The Fire Cult Beyond Eternity at top volume and enjoying one of the best releases of the Portuguese underground scene in this obscure year of 2020.

Best moments of the album: Trapped in Flesh, Blood and Dirt and Assigned to the Inexorable Flames.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Cult Beyond Eternity 6:15
2. Trapped in Flesh, Blood and Dirt 4:35
3. Assigned to the Inexorable Flames 9:00
4. Melodies of Reflections and Praise 7:32
5. Granted the Vision, Molded into Stone 6:18
6. Murmurs of the Aging Vessel 6:47
7. Apathy of Might 5:32

Band members
Gonius Rex – vocals, guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Dirge Rep – drums
Semjaza – ambient

Album Review – Seventh / Vacarme (2020)

Let your soul be consumed by the atmospheric music crafted by this amazing Canadian act, exploring psychological distress, mental disorder and how some individuals will benefit from committing immoral acts to escape reality.

Hailing from the always amazing Québécois independent metal scene, the Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal act that goes by the straightforward name of Seventh might have started their path not a long time ago, being formed in 2016 in the charming Quebec City, Canada, but they’ve managed to put out already two full-length album, those being their 2017 debut effort Limbes, and their newborn spawn Vacarme now in 2020. Recorded at La Boîte Noire Studio in Quebec City with François C. Fortin, and featuring a Stygian artwork by Canadian illustrator Philippe D’Amours linking all the songs together to represent escapism and abandonment for a better realm, Vacarme explores psychological distress, mental disorder and how some individuals will benefit from committing immoral acts to escape reality, all embraced by the massive wall of atmospheric sounds crafted by Jean-Fred Gauvin on vocals, Olivier Falardeau on the guitars, Martin Lessard on bass and Alex “Blaireau” Bernatchez on drums.

The guitar lines by Olivier arise to the sound of a ticking clock in the intro Synthèse, building a strong atmosphere for the band to crush our senses with Echoes and its psychological lyrics growled by Jean-Fred (“Here come all the signs stranding from the mind / To keep death in motion redefined / Held inside I hear it loud and clear / Like a raging storm of noise that bleeds out all my dopamine”) in a fulminating display of Atmospheric Black Metal with a stunning acoustic ending. Then without wasting any time the quartet pierces our souls with Hundred Winters, where the blast beats by Alex walk hand in hand with the Black Metal riffage by Olivier, and the music keeps growing in intensity, darkness and fury until the very end led by the always anguished gnarls by Jean-Fred; and get ready to bang your heads in the name of darkness together with Seventh in The Gift of Death, where Olivier and Martin slash their strings in great fashion, bringing elements of Doom Metal to their already heavy-as-hell sonority.

Serene and melodious lines permeate the air in the bridge titled Bloom, before they come back in full force with Lust, with its over six minutes of grim and mesmerizing passages showcasing another amazing job done by Olivier on the guitars while Alex keeps pounding his drums like a beast in an exciting depiction of what the music by Seventh is all about, whereas those four metallers are ready to smash us like insects In the nine-minute aria Disheartened, a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal made in Canada presenting elements from what we like to call “Métal Noir Québécois”. Moreover, Jean-Fred is absolutely demonic on vocals, accompanied by the strident riffs by Olivier and the thunderous bass by Martin. And another stylish and charming interlude titled Collapse works as the calm before the storm for Through the Flesh, bringing forward more of their austere lyrics (“As the pleasure consumes all of these laws of morality / We consume all of these laws of indecency / As we consume all of these laws of misanthropy / We consume all of these laws of pure savagery”) and their pulverizing fusion of blackened sounds, ending the album on a truly incendiary and climatic note.

If you want to savor the atmospheric and somber “Métal Noir Québécois” brought forth by Seventh in Vacarme in its entirety, you can stream the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you grab a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream such distinct release. In addition, let’s show our support to Seventh by also following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, getting absolutely mesmerized and embraced by their dark creations. It’s always a pleasure to witness the rise of Extreme Metal bands here in Canada like Seventh, keeping the scene alive and, consequently, offering us fans of heavy music more and more options for our daily playlists, with Vacarme being specially recommended for the ones who admire the darkest and most introspective side of our beloved metal.

Best moments of the album: Echoes, The Gift of Death and Disheartened.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Synthèse 1:26
2. Echoes 8:10
3. Hundred Winters 5:47
4. The Gift of Death 5:34
5. Bloom 1:08
6. Lust 6:21
7. Disheartened 9:01
8. Collapse 1:07
9. Through the Flesh 7:58

Band members
Jean-Fred Gauvin – vocals
Olivier Falardeau – guitars
Martin Lessard – bass
Alex “Blaireau” Bernatchez – drums