Album Review – Katharos XIII / Negativity (2017)

After the 56 minutes of intense and pensive Depressive Suicidal Black Metal thoroughly crafted by this Romanian quartet reach deep into your soul, you’ll never be the same again.

Born in 2007 in the city of Timișoara, the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania located around 550km northwest of the capital Bucharest, and functioned in the early days as a one-man band until de beginning of the recordings of the demo Silver Melancholy in late 2008, self-released in 2009, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal act Katharos XIII return after their 2011 debut Dead Emotions with their second full-length installment, titled Negativity, comprised of seven tracks emerged from the dark chambers of human psyche, questions and deep melancholy into black chords, a truly unique combination of different layers and influences.

Featuring a somber artwork by Romanian artist Alexandru Das (Argus Megere, North, Ordinul Negru), Negativity offers the listener an amalgamation of personal experiences (all kinds of abuse, paranoia, severe depressions), strange stories, movies (Greenaway, Lynch) and books (Eliade, Cioran, Zola), all thoroughly put together by the talented F on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Andrei on guitars, SQ on bass and Sabbat on drums, resulting in a unique experience of extreme music for admirers of the genre. And if you feel your heart got darker after listening to the album’s 56 minutes of intense and pensive Black Metal, that means Katharos XIII succeeded in sending you the desired message through their disturbing music.

Opening the album on a high note we have XIII, a modern approach to Black Metal sounding very melodic and epic thanks to the excellent guitars by F and Andrei, with the devilish gnarls by F bringing more obscurity to the overall result. Moreover, its riffs get to a very traditional mode halfway through it, while the song’s atmosphere keeps growing in intensity and mystery, flowing to an ominous ending led by the demonic vociferations by F. Slightly different than its predecessor, the title-track Negativity goes full Black Metal, overflowing blast beats, flammable riffs and infernal growls, also presenting elements from Atmospheric Black Metal and Doom Metal, not to mention its disturbing lyrics (“Burn in the kingdom of the blind / A garden that cannot be seen / By the ones who ignore the creation / The path of the eternal self-torment”) and its beyond somber break.

The steady beats by Sabbat together with the darkened keys by F create a truly somber ambience in No One Left to Lead the Way, a perfect fusion of Black Metal with Blackened Doom supported by a strong harmonious background, flowing into a smooth but very obscure ending; followed by The Chains are so Beautiful, where a melancholic and grim beginning led by Sabbat with his sluggish beats and bassist SQ with his low-tuned roars gradually leans towards old school Doom Metal, supporting the very macabre spoken words by F (“I will tell you a story / Stories as we all like to hear / The amphetamine has won the game / Enslaving the pain inside soul / Close your eyes and sleep tight / While the angels watch you closely / Nothing bad to happen to you / Only to fall into their arms”), before exploding into visceral and deranged Black Metal until its introspective finale.

Spearheaded by the piercing riffs by Andrei, World’s Coffin sounds like a blackened waltz, with F grasping his words bestially, blending old school Black Metal with contemporary Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir. Furthermore, the bass by SQ keeps rumbling in a demonic way in the background, topped with a soulful solo by Andrei. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path brings forward a serene and contemplative intro, generating a comforting but at the same time perturbing ambience where F instead of growling simply grasps in a vile manner. Not only that, tempestuous moments are thoroughly inserted in this Blackened Doom aria, with the beautiful work done by Andrei and SQ with their strings taking you to a dark dimension ruled by Katharos XIII. Lastly, closing this amazing album of extreme music the band offers a darkened assault titled Inside, with Sabbat pounding his drums vigorously while Andrei blasts straightforward demonic riffs, reaching an epic and reverberating stage before the song’s climatic and violent conclusion.

In other words, are you prepared to have your mortal soul embraced in the endless darkness crafted by Katharos XIII? If you can’t wait for that to happen, then you should definitely visit Katharos XIII on Facebook to know more about this distinct Romanian band, and purchase your copy of Negativity through the Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webshop, as well as at Discogs. As mentioned before, after listening to Negativity, you’ll never be the same again, and all you’ll have to do is to thank this amazing Romanian quartet for such unique experience of dark and mournful sounds.

Best moments of the album: XIII, Negativity and World’s Coffin.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music

Track listing
1. XIII 9:50
2. Negativity 6:13
3. No One Left to Lead the Way 6:24
4. The Chains are so Beautiful 8:21
5. World’s Coffin 5:58
6. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path 12:03
7. Inside 7:16

Band members
F – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Andrei – guitars
SQ – bass
Sabbat – drums

Album Review – Coldfells / Coldfells (2017)

Feel the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes through the Blackened Doom by a talented American power trio with their debut album, a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls.

“Visions of deep desire lay dormant, broken into fragments by an icy stare from the haggard, furrowed brow of nature – its cruel intent, to taunt the soul with beauty always out of reach, that disappears like mist with time…”

Hailing from Martins Ferry, a city in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, on the Ohio River, the extremely talented American Blackened Doom power trio Coldfells has just unleashed their debut full-length self-titled album upon us, bringing the aura of the band’s Appalachian surroundings as the album’s core essence. According to Coldfells themselves, the sonic purpose of the album is “to see the winter Appalachian landscapes we grew up around, the dead trees, grey skies, run-down mill towns, but, besides everything being desolate, it’s still beautiful.” And the trio comprised of Aaron Carey on vocals and additional guitars, Jonny Doyle on guitars, and Andrew D’Cagna on bass, drums and backing vocals definitely succeeded in providing with the music found in Coldfells a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls in a winter night of introspection.

Creepy, obscure keys ignite a 10-minute darkened feast of Doom Metal named The Rope, spearheaded by the sharp, slow-paced drumming by Andrew while Aaron fires his raspy gnarls tailored for the music and atmosphere created. This song brings a beautiful and melancholic musicality with a precise balance between clean and harsh vocals, or in other words, a very detailed composition recommended for fans of dark and smooth music with a piercing sonority, with its last part flirting with traditional Black Metal. With a melancholic start just like the opening track, The Sea Inside explodes into gripping Melodic Black Metal with highlights to the deep growls by Aaron and the mesmerizing riffs by Jonny, sounding atmospheric and doomed at all times and, consequently, providing amazing Blackened Doom for admirers of the genre. In Time Shall Be Forgotten, the shortest of all songs, is devastating from the very first second, with Andrew demolishing his drum set while Jonny fires sheer darkness through his strings. In addition, the song contains elements from the music by Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and other darkened bands, which ends up making it as menacing and lugubrious as hell.

All Night We Flew offers the listener sluggish and devilish Blackened Doom, with Aaron and Andrew adding tons of malignancy and darkness to the music with their anguished growls and steady, pounding beats. Once again, harsh and clean vocals complement each other in a fantastic manner, not to mention its magnificent main riff. Hence, while listening to this full-bodied hymn, simply bang your fuckin’ head nonstop until you feel that excruciating pain inside your head. And the last explosion of atmospheric Doom Metal by Coldfells, titled Eons Pass, sounds very stylish and harmonious, with the clean voice by Andrew bringing hope to our ears while Aaron reminds us all life is dark and dammed. Furthermore, the trio wants to drag us to a dark and cold side of life with the song’s mournful rhythm, and after a melancholic break the band returns in full force for one final breath of their Blackened Doom led by the blast beats by Andrew, until the song’s hellish conclusion.

In a nutshell, if what Coldfells wanted us all to feel while listening to their music was the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes, as aforementioned, they more than triumphed with each one of the five tracks of the album, which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety on Spotify. And if you want to purchase Coldfells, the album is available at the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as on CD Baby and on Amazon. Actually, there’s a special edition of the album that’s already sold out at the Eihwaz Recordings’ webstore, which includes the two songs from their 2014 demo Black Breath as bonus tracks, but if I were you I would keep an eye on that just in case they print more copies of it.

Best moments of the album: The Rope and All Night We Flew.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bindrune Recordings/Eihwaz Recordings

Track listing
1. The Rope 10:26
2. The Sea Inside 8:18
3. In Time Shall Be Forgotten 5:36
4. All Night We Flew 8:28
5. Eons Pass 7:51

Eihwaz Recordings Black Breath Demo 2014 (Disc 2) bonus tracks
1. Dungeons Deep 8:32
2. On Carven Throne 8:17

Band members
Aaron Carey – vocals, additional guitars
Jonny Doyle – guitars
Andrew D’Cagna – bass, drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Ocram / Nasu EP (2017)

A musical work deeply influenced by some elements of Zoroastrianism mixing classical Black Metal with a touch of Middle East, bred by a talented and restless one-man army from Spain.

Zoroastrianism, or more natively Mazdayasna, is one of the world’s oldest extant religions, combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique among the major religions of the world. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam. Having said that, it was quite obvious that Zoroastrianism would also be found in extreme music due to its strong connection with religious topics, with several Black Metal artists being inspired by such distinct religion, like Spanish Black Metal one-man army Ocram.

Hailing from Málaga, a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, located in Andalusia, Ocram is a one-man Black Metal band created in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist Ocram, who has already been featured at The Headbanging Moose with the insanely good 2015 album Exterminans IX:XI, by his other band Tsar Bomb. After the release of an EP titled Praeludium, in 2013, Ocram is back with a brand new EP named Nasu, the Avestan name of the female Zoroastrian demon (daeva) of corpse matter, also used as a general term for that which is false, immoral, impure or unclean. Featuring a darkly esoteric artwork by Victoria S. Mann (La Luna en un Hilo – Illustration & Handicraft), Nasu is a musical work deeply influenced by some elements of Zoroastrianism that mixes classical Black Metal with a touch of Middle East and a few clean chorus, and overall a lot of epic and melodic riffs, thoroughly spread throughout the album’s sixteen minutes of music.

The fire burns to the eerie sounds generated by Ocram in the arcane instrumental intro The Fire Worshipper, building the desired atmosphere for the darkened feast that’s about to come, titled The Bringer of the Unholy Flame, showcasing heavy riffs, a steady and brutal drumming, and the devilish gnarls by Ocram in an amazing display of high-end Black Metal, not to mention the song’s occult lyrics (“Enlighten my path, / Liberate my aged flesh, / Nourish my soul, / Spread your seed in the humanity. / Conceived by the entrails of the universe, /The bringer of the unholy flame.”), which you can definitely feel penetrating deep into your soul.

The second full-bodied song of the EP, The Tower of Silence,  features female choirs by guest vocalist Echo and disturbing lyrics (“The four eyes of the beast are looking at me, / The fire doesn’t warm up my body, / The bearers of the dead come for me, / The hands of the Druj are on my head.”), with Ocram accelerating the rhythm to a more demonic pace. In a nutshell, it’s old school Black Metal with hints of Death Metal and a huge amount of transcendental sounds, with the inclusion of some sluggish, heavy breaks that end up bringing more malignancy to the overall result of this obscure aria, flowing to a climatic and mesmerizing ending. And the outro The Nassesalars couldn’t sound more mysterious, presenting some background noises that will certainly disturb your mind.

Nasu is available for a comprehensive experience on YouTube, and if you like what Ocram has to offer you with his new EP I recommend you start following him on Facebook and also on YouTube to be up to speed with all news about his solo project, about Tsar Bomb and his other bands like Trees, Clouds & Silence. And let’s be honest, such talented musician deserves our utmost recognition for keeping the flame of underground metal alive and kicking with his creativity and passion for extreme music. Hence, you can show your true support to Ocram by purchasing Nasu through his BandCamp page, an album that not only brings to you some top-notch Black Metal, but that might also expand your religious horizons.

Best moments of the album: The Bringer of the Unholy Flame.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. The Fire Worshipper 2:49
2. The Bringer of the Unholy Flame 4:55
3. The Tower of Silence 7:17
4. The Nassesalars 0:58

Band members
Ocram – vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming

Guest musician
Echo – female choirs on “The Tower of Silence”

Album Review – Prometheus / Consumed In Flames (2017)

Let’s get consumed by the flames created by a fantastic Hellenic power trio who masterfully combined Black Metal with a more esoteric form of Death Metal, sounding at the same time devastating, provoking and true to the foundations of extreme music.

After a terrible motorcycle accident involving two members of the band, Hellenic black/death metallers Prometheus are finally reborn with their first full-length album, titled Consumed in Flames, a creation that is the result of discipline and persistence. Combining traditional Black Metal with a more esoteric form of Death Metal, the album is, according to the band, “characterized by its speed and the original way of changing forms inside the songs.” Highly influenced by Scandinavian Black Metal bands such as Emperor, Thorns and Limbonic Art, as well as the Death Metal by Morbid Angel, Consumed In Flames is a flaming example of high quality Black Metal art, being at the same time devastating, provoking and true to the foundations of extreme music.

Founded in 2004 by guitarist and bassist Esophis in the city of Thessaloniki, located in Central Macedonia, Greece, and having already released the demos Beyond the Cosmic Twilight in 2006, Cosmogenesis Inferno in 2007 and Upon the Promethean Throne in 2013, Prometheus not only blast fierce and dense Black Metal through their instruments, but their lyrics are also a very important piece of their compositions, being inspired by ancient Hellenic mysticism, history and religion, the philosophy of war, death and transcendentalism. While listening to Consumed In Flames, be prepared to be embraced by the band’s unrelenting, dark musicality, and when the album is over you’ll certainly realize you’ve just experienced one of the best Extreme Metal albums from the past few years (and you’ll go right back to the beginning of the album again and again, without a shadow of a doubt).

And this Hellenic horde begins their demonic feast of old school Black Metal with Death Metal vibes from the very first second of the opening track, The Disgusting Tongues, a full-bodied aria of darkness where the deep guttural by Aggelos is effectively complemented by the guitars by Esophis and the bestial drums by Nodens, also presenting an epic background due to the synths by Qsnc. With a classic name like Hand of War, the music in the following tune had to be extremely violent, dense and obscure, or in other words, a gripping Blackened Death Metal extravaganza the likes of Behemoth, with Esophis simply blasting pure hatred through his guitar and bass while Nodens sounds like a stone crusher on drums. There’s not a single second of peace found in the entire song, and that says a lot about how powerful the music by Prometheus can be.

Moving on with Prometheus’ astounding symphony of darkness we have Seth, a wicked instrumental bridge showcasing acoustic guitar lines and a truly menacing atmosphere, setting the tone for the epic aria Vulture All Black, one of the darkest and most exciting Black Metal compositions of the past couple of years. Aggelos, Esophis and Nodens are in their most demonic mode, delivering an intricate sounding highly recommended for lovers of the darkest side of extreme music, with its Dimmu Borgir-inspired keyboards being a thing of beauty. After such brilliant sonic torment, this Greek power trio gets faster, heavier and more menacing in Prometheus Rising, as if Behemoth went full Black Metal, with Nodens delivering his most insane performance of the album while Aggelos continues to vociferate like a demonic entity. Put differently, you can feel their devilish power growing inside you while listening to such blackened tune.

Prometheus are absolutely on fire in another spawn of furious Extreme Metal entitled Hatesworn, where Aggelos is the beast incarnate on vocals supported by Esophis with his old school Black Metal riffs and the classy, demolishing beats by Nodens. Furthermore, in the last two minutes of the song we’re treated to a devastating feast of Black and Death Metal, including an amazing solo by Esophis, just to make things even more epic. The title-track Consumed in Flames, a vicious onslaught led by the Stygian drumming by Nodens and the deeper-than-hell guttural by Aggelos, showcases a mid-tempo sonority with its Black Metal core essence rumbling stronger than ever, not to mention that its lancinating riffs and extremely aggressive ambience will crush you mercilessly. And lastly, closing the album in great fashion we have an instrumental version of Hand of War, where you can enjoy the thunderous and piercing sounds of each instrument in detail.

Let’s all get consumed by the Hellenic flames created by Prometheus in their superb new album by following them on Facebook and by purchasing Consumed In Flames through the Katoptron IX Records’ Big Cartel. Such masterpiece deserves to be admired by all of us metalheads who love extreme sounds with dense melodies and a grandiose background, and Prometheus simply nailed it in each one of the eight tracks found in Consumed In Flames, proving once again how fantastic the underground metal scene is in one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

Best moments of the album: The Disgusting Tongues, Vulture All Black, Prometheus Rising and Hatesworn.

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none. This album is a lecture in extreme music.

Released in 2017 Katoptron IX Records

Track listing
1. The Disgusting Tongues 6:49
2. Hand of War 5:20
3. Seth (Instrumental) 2:23
4. Vulture All Black 9:18
5. Prometheus Rising 6:04
6. Hatesworn 6:57
7. Consumed in Flames 6:58
8. Hand of War (Instrumental) 5:20

Band members
Aggelos – vocals
Esophis – guitars, bass
Nodens – drums
Qsnc – synthesizers

Album Review – Divine Element / Thaurachs Of Borsu (2017)

In the hostile lands of Borsu, witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, all embraced by the fury and epicness of Melodic Death and Black Metal.

A comeback that has been slowly brewing since a few years now. Formed in 2002 in the city of Athens, Greece, Melodic Death/Black Metal act Divine Element was the first band of Spectral Lore’s multi-instrumentalist Ayloss and vocalist Antonis, releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2010. After a hiatus of almost seven years, Divine Element are finally back with the stunning Thaurachs of Borsu, the first chapter in many future ones to come under a new and ambitious conceptual undertaking, the combination of metal with fantasy literature and world-making. Featuring a classy artwork by Chilean artist Matias Trabold Rehren, Thaurachs of Borsu is based on the same-titled novel written by Ayloss, which will be unveiled not long after the album release (to be followed by short stories from Antonis), set on a medieval fantasy universe envisioned by the band.

Thaurachs of Borsu chronicles the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, as the gritty and daring warriors of his nation, Borsu, fight to regain their ancestral homeland from a much more powerful enemy. Musically speaking, the album ties together several styles of metal to serve the higher purpose of epic storytelling, albeit taking notice to never fall into the typical clichés of “soundtrack metal”, keeping an old-school approach mostly centered around Death and Black Metal of the heavy, melodic variety. Put differently, after hitting play you’ll find yourself wandering through the lands of Borsu, ready for battle and eager for some blood, banging your head nonstop to the majestic heavy music played by Antonis and Ayloss, with the precise and masterful support of German drummer Hannes Grossman (Alkaloid, Hannes Grossman, Shapeshift) to make their sound even more enthralling.

A Realignment With Destiny is a fantastic epic intro to the battle that’s about to come, the title-track Thaurachs Of Borsu, where Antonis and Ayloss begin their crushing onslaught in total sync with the Amon Amarth-inspired beats by Hannes. In other words, this is superb metal music, dense and profound, with all instruments filling all spaces with sheer aggression and might. In addition, how not to fall in love for those monumental lyrics (“The valley folk to the mountains’ slopes withdrew / Surrounded only by unwrought stone / The sea lords to the dry desert driven / Οswan roams frenzied in a soundless plain / Mestyr hangs discouraged with a rusting blade / And all hearts bellow in a silent wailing / A resignation to oblivion”)?

In Onto The Trail Of Betrayal, Antonis’ potent deep growls keep rumbling the earth while the instrumental pieces invest in a more Black Metal sonority. Moreover, the intricate beats by Hannes go along flawlessly with the cutting riffs by Ayloss, resulting in eight minutes of the best underground Melodic Death and Black Metal you can get anywhere, where they not only play superior music but the story being told is also a work-of-art. Then in Beyond This Sea we’re treated to a calm and melancholic start before the sound of the sea and the guitar lines blend in a beautiful manner, creating a potent atmosphere for the metallic sounds that are about to come. Adding elements of Blackened Doom and Folk Metal to their menacing Melodic Death Metal, the result couldn’t sound more imposing and appealing, with highlights to how vocals and guitar follow the exact same lines.

The movie-inspired bridge Interlude (The Point Of No Return) sounds even more majestic than the album’s intro, warming up your fighting soul for the crushing Call Of The Blade, a gripping fusion of the music played by Amon Amarth with traditional Folk Metal, with Antonis sounding like a beast on vocals, enhancing the impact of the song’s already powerful lyrics (“The land speaks to me in an alien tongue / Though my blood was born in these shores / What will I find, if I dig to unearth these roots / The echo of old thoughts faints quickly here / As the collective energy rises triumphant / Powered by the fiery will of a few”). Traitor’s Last Stand is another belligerent tune by Divine Element, showcasing almost eight minutes of heavier-than-hell riffs, electrifying passages and enlivening breaks. Furthermore, Hannes brings a high dosage of intricacy to the overall musicality with his drumming, while Antonis keeps telling the story with precision and passion through his anger-fueled growls. The last part of the song exhales epicness, gradually morphing into the cinematic outro Augury For A Shapeless Future, where the gorgeous sound of a rough ocean, together with the orchestrations in the background, make it the perfect climatic ending for the album.

No words can describe with the right amount of detail how amazing Thaurachs Of Borsu is, which is why I highly recommend you go take a listen at the album in its entirety HERE, and also visit the band’s official Facebook page for more information and their YouTube channel for more awesomeness in the form of heavy music. Also, there are several locations where you can purchase Thaurachs Of Borsu, such as Divine Element’s BandCamp, the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and the Season of Mist’s webstore, as well as on Amazon and at Discogs. And while we wait for the next chapter in the career of Divine Element, we have plenty to enjoy and absorb in this superb album where heavy music and a thrilling story-telling couldn’t be more connected, impactful and vibrant.

Best moments of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu, Beyond This Sea and Call Of The Blade.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing   
1. A Realignment With Destiny 2:13
2. Thaurachs Of Borsu 4:52
3. Onto The Trail Of Betrayal 7:45
4. Beyond This Sea 4:54
5. Interlude (The Point Of No Return) 1:30
6. Call Of The Blade 6:34
7. Traitor’s Last Stand 7:36
8. Augury For A Shapeless Future 2:39

Band members
Antonis – vocals
Ayloss – guitars, bass, synths

Guest musician
Hannes Grossman – drums (session)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Whispers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

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

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

Guest musician
Tyler Allen – additional vocals on “Whispers”

Album Review – Astral Corpse / Metsän Pimeydessä EP (2017)

Enter the forest of darkness ruled by a cold-hearted Keravian Black Metal horde and succumb to their malignancy and hatred.

From the depths of ancient Keravian burial grounds, influenced by Nordic nature and music, Finnish Black Metal horde Astral Corpse launches their first sonic onslaught, titled Metsän Pimeydessä, or “In the Forest of Darkness” from Finnish. If you love Black Metal without compromise, you’ll surely have fun listening to the 20 minutes of what the band calls “True Keravian Black Metal”, which translates into sheer obscurity, blasphemy, speed and raw sounds. Are you ready to enter the forest of darkness ruled by Astral Corpse?

Hailing from Kerava, a citiy in Southern Finland located around 40km north of the capital Helsinki, Astral Corpse have been through several lineup changes after their inception back in 2008 before reaching their current shape and form. With lead singer, guitarist and founding member AstroNuclear Agitator, guitarist Frostektor, bassist Arcane Desolator and drummer Cosmic Triumphator extracting extreme aggression and vileness from their instruments, Metsän Pimeydessä becomes more than just their debut EP, but a solid statement that Astral Corpse are among us to stay, bringing darkness to our souls and high-quality Black Metal to our ears.

The Black Metal attack led by the putrid growls by AstroNuclear Agitator begins in full force with Cease to Exist, with Cosmic Triumphator obviously delivering the most traditional blast beats you can imagine, not to mention how the song ends in a brutal way. In Drain the Blood, AstroNuclear Agitator and Frostektor accelerate their riffage, blasting sheer darkness through their guitars while Cosmic Triumphator and bassist Arcane Desolator keep a menacing atmosphere rumbling in the background, proving how loyal they are to the foundations of traditional Black Metal. And the title-track Metsän Pimeydessä lives up to its name, being an obscure Black Metal hymn spiced up with hints of Doom Metal, with the potent and precise beats by Cosmic Triumphator dictating the rhythm while AstroNuclear Agitator keeps gnarling and roaring like a demon.

Welcome to the Spirit World gets back to the band’s most demonic stage, being a furious display of extreme music where not only the guitars sound on fire, but the hatred and aggressiveness flowing from both vocals and drums is outstanding. Put differently, it can’t get any more blackened than this. Following that intense tune, epicness and blasphemy are the main ingredients in the evil chant Nocturnal Winds, inspired by the most traditional form of Scandinavian Black Metal with its old school guitar lines and bestial drums impregnating the atmosphere. Finally, how about ending the EP with a pulverizing Black Metal aria? That’s what we get in the thrilling Winds of Death, with AstroNuclear Agitator barking his last breath of malignancy while Cosmic Triumphator crushes his drums mercilessly, therefore generating a chaotic and dense musicality that aims at dragging us to the pits of hell.

All the malice, irreligiousness and odium flowing from the forest of darkness ruled by Astral Corpse can be explored through the band’s Facebook page and SoundCloud, with Metsän Pimeydessä (which you can take a listen at in its entirety HERE) being available at the Orbovoid Records’ webshop. But remember that once you enter this Keravian forest full of malignancy and hatred, there’s no way back. You’ll be trapped forever in Astral Corpse’s dark realm of old school Black Metal.

Best moments of the album: Drain the Blood and Welcome to the Spirit World.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Orbovoid Records

Track listing
1. Cease to Exist 3:43
2. Drain the Blood 3:04
3. Metsän Pimeydessä 2:53
4. Welcome to the Spirit World 2:41
5. Nocturnal Winds 3:28
6. Winds of Death 5:24

Band members
AstroNuclear Agitator – vocals, guitars
Frostektor – guitars
Arcane Desolator – bass
Cosmic Triumphator – drums

Album Review – NONE / NONE (2017)

Over 30 minutes of chilling and despondent Atmospheric Black Metal by an unknown entity from the Pacific Northwest that will darkly guide you on a one-way journey to emptiness.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Chilling and despondent music from the Pacific Northwest is what you’ll hear on the impressive self-titled debut album by Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal entity NONE, a dark, full-bodied album comprised of three freakish and distinct arias interconnected by the howling winds of winter that will certainly appeal to fans of the Atmospheric Black Metal and DSBM (Depressive Suicidal Black Metal) crafted by groups such as Shining, ColdWorld and Woods of Desolation. Misery, grief, negativity and hopelessness are just a few elements you’ll find in the music by NONE, darkly guiding you on a one-way journey to emptiness.

Formed in 2015 in the city of Portland, Oregon, in the United States, NONE doesn’t carry its simple but enigmatic name in vain. NONE is precisely that, as they have no faces and they are no one, being solely represented by the depressive and obscure sounds emanating from each one of the three multi-layered compositions of the album. Drawing influences from the most melancholic and austere forms of atmospheric extreme music, NONE can quickly become the soundtrack to your most obscure moments, showing you that solitude might not be a bad solution at all in our lives.

In the opening track, simply titled Cold, the atmosphere couldn’t feel more sinister and disheartened, with its background noises and smooth piano notes quickly exploding into a puissant sonority. This is beautiful Depressive Black Metal perfect for closing your eyes and letting darkness embrace you, showcasing not only demonic gnarls and Stygian Black Metal guitars, but also presenting acoustic elements to bring some sort of false peace and hope to our hearts, before its climatic ending gets back to a somber and heavy sonority.

Also phantasmagorical and doomed, Wither is a direct sequel to its predecessor, with its Black Metal sounds invading our ears and souls while its hellish growls transpire hatred and despair. Furthermore, it brings forward a distressing aura found in the most sluggish and evil form of Blackened Doom, resulting in a delicate and at the same time powerful creation by NONE. And in Suffer we finally reach the stage where all songs together become one, displaying anguished screams and slow-paced Doom Metal beats complemented by the song’s serene piano notes. It’s a strong conclusion to the story being told by this arcane creature known as NONE, morphing into a desolated ending where it’s clear that darkness has taken full control of our souls.

You can purchase a digital copy of NONE at the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp, but if you prefer to actually put your hands on such bitterly cold and mordant Depressive Black Metal work-of-art, the album is available in a 6-panel digipack (limited to 300 copies) at the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ webstore, where you can also find it as a T-shirt + CD bundle, or at Discogs. You already know that after following the dark path crafted by this unknown entity there’s no way back, but I guess you really don’t care about the consequences. Quite the contrary, that’s exactly where you want to be.

Best moments of the album: Wither.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing
1. Cold 11:57
2. Wither 8:45
3. Suffer 9:25

Band members
*Information not available*

The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your London-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
Facebook
Twitter
Online Radio Box
Tunein
Streema
Listen2MyRadio
Radio Garden
Streamitter.com

Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Album Review – Lunatic Hooker / Embracing The Filth (2017)

Be embraced by the filthy and crushing Grindcore with a Sludge Metal twist crafted by five British musicians who got together to reignite their inner fire and passion for extreme music.

The music business can be spirit crushing and soul destroying, where bands that start as groups of friends with a passion for music can end up disillusioned, with the flames of their passion near extinguished. This happened to British musicians George (vocals), Ross (guitar), Tim (guitar), Duncan (bass, vocals) and Rafael (drums) in their respective bands, but rather than let those last flickering embers burn out for good, they got together to reignite the fire, forging in 2014 a new evil entity that goes by the name of Lunatic Hooker, blasting a roaring fusion of Grindcore and Sludge Metal perfect for nonstop slamming and headbanging.

After the release of a two-track demo in 2015 and a single with their cover version for Motörhead’s all-time classic (We Are) The Road Crew in 2016, this London-based squad is unleashing upon humanity their debut full-length opus, titled Embracing The Filth. Featuring twelve tracks of unrelenting, punishing and pulverizing Extreme Metal, all enfolded by a captivating artwork by Dan Capp (Winterfylleth) and crackling with that irresistible rediscovered electricity, Embracing The Filth is one of those albums you might not know what you’re dealing with at first, but that you’ll get addicted to as soon as you hit play and let its piercing sounds invade your ears.

Rafael and his doomed beats ignite the sludgy party named My God Is Bigger than Yours (what a clever name for a song), before chaos reigns through the putrid gnarls by George and the dirty and fast riffage by Ross and Tim. Once again uniting Grindcore with Sludge Metal, demonic sounds emanate from all instruments in Beard Feared, in special the blast beats by Rafael and the devilish growling by George, with its brutal slamming rhythm drawing influences from Slayer, Napalm Death and other devastating groups; followed by The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword, another song with a very intelligent name that also presents crushing riffs and beats while George sounds more demonic than ever (and let me say that, if you survive the intense circle pit this song can generate, you’re pretty much immortal), and Unearthed Dead Children, a sonic onslaught of Grindcore bursting heaviness through the cavernous growls by George and Rafael’s ruthless drumming.

The title-track Embracing the Filth lives up to its name, being a dirty, crude and absolutely vile composition of darkness. Moreover, it feels like the guitars by Ross and Tim are an extension of George’s sick vocals, consequently enhancing the song’s overall impact, with Rafael once again showing no mercy for his drum set. In Blood Eagle we face an eerie start that lasts for almost half of the song before the band gets back to their sick high-speed musicality, with its guitars and drums exhaling sheer Grindcore, whereas Fucks All brings elements from Hardcore and Thrash Metal to their already aggressive sonority. Tim and Ross keep firing some sick dirty riffs to make the whole song more demonic, also presenting Black and Death Metal blast beats thanks to the unwearying Rafael. And the excellent Cult Chaos begins at full speed, reminding me of some of the most visceral creations by Cannibal Corpse, with all instruments sounding extremely sharp from start to finish. Hence, this slamming composition should work really well during their live performances.

In Transformation Walrus, a song inspired by and featuring footage in its official video from Kevin Smith’s 2014 film Tusk, darkness takes control of the band from the very first second, with George leading his crew with his deranged growls, before See the Light, perhaps the most violent of all tracks, showcases deeper guttural vocals by George and the merciless drums by Rafael highly influenced by old school Death Metal. In other words, Lunatic Hooker offer us two and a half minutes of pure brutality, with some harmonious guitar lines and solos to give more balance to the overall result. There are two more songs to go in this demonic opus, starting with Spain in the Neck, another recommended soundtrack for a sick mosh pit where Ross and Tim sound like two beasts with their flammable strings, while Rafael keeps the adrenaline high with his unstoppable beats. And finally, the closing of their awesome casket comes in the form of a 6-minute demented extravaganza named Sarlac, where George reaches the deepest and most obscure growls of the entire album. Slow and steady, almost sounding like Funeral Doom, this composition is very different from all previous tracks, showing the band’s crisp versatility in Extreme Metal.

If you feel more than ready to be embraced by Lunatic Hooker’s filthy and crushing Grindcore with the sluggish twist coming from their Sludge Metal vein, go join their demented crew at their official Facebook page and enjoy more of their cutting music at their YouTube channel. In Embracing The Filth, available at the band’s Big Cartel, at the Black Bow Records’ BandCamp and on Amazon, Lunatic Hooker were extremely successful in concentrating all their passion for extreme music and transform that metallic amalgam into reality, leaving all doors open for another blast of their vicious music anytime soon, and hopefully for many years to come as well.

Best moments of the album: My God Is Bigger than Yours, Embracing the Filth and Cult Chaos.

Worst moments of the album: Blood Eagle.

Released in 2017 Black Bow Records

Track listing
1. My God Is Bigger than Yours 3:16
2. Beard Feared 2:32
3. The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword 3:08
4. Unearthed Dead Children 2:48
5. Embracing the Filth 3:07
6. Blood Eagle 4:13
7. Fucks All 2:46
8. Cult Chaos 3:24
9. Transformation Walrus 3:32
10. See the Light 2:35
11. Spain in the Neck 2:46
12. Sarlac 6:24

Bonus track
13. (We Are) The Road Crew (Motörhead cover) 2:44

Band members
George – vocals
Ross – guitar
Tim – guitar
Duncan – bass, vocals
Rafael – drums