Album Review – Refusal / Epitome of Void (2019)

A straight-to-the-point album of Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal, as pulverizing, heavy and infernal as it can be.

Founded back in 2008 in the city of Helsinki, Finland by guitarist Tero Pirhonen and bassist Timo Pirhonen, before bringing in vocalist Niikka Lius, drummer Aleksi Roitto and more recently guitarist Kalle Kuosmanen to complete the band, the unrelenting squad that goes by the name of Refusal does not just play your regular Death Metal, but something they like to call “Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal”, smashing you like an insect with all their fury and heaviness without showing a single drop of mercy. After releasing several demos and their debut full-length album We Rot Within, in 2016, Refusal are back in action in 2019 with a brand new (and pulverizing) opus, beautifully titled Epitome of Void. Featuring a somber artwork by Finnish artist Sakke Vinko, Epitome of Void is highly recommended for fans of the music by iconic bands like Napalm Death, Nasum and Entombed, being absolutely perfect for slamming into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow.

The distorted guitars by Tero and Kalle ignite the pulverizing opening track Suffocate, reminding me of the devilish sound by Turkish beasts Diabolizer, or in other words, a brutal slamming Death Metal extravaganza led by Niika and his deep, visceral growls. If you survive their initial onrush of extreme music get ready for the insanely heavy Hectic, showcasing an enraged Niikka on vocals while Aleksi decimates his drums in a precise and groovy manner, accompanied by Timo’s roaring bass; whereas Disregard brings forward a less frantic but still acid and violent version of the band, urging us all to bang our heads manically to the infernal riffs by Tero and Kalle while Timo smashes his bass chords nonstop.

Disgust is just as brutal as Death Metal can be, with Refusal inviting us all to crush our skulls into the circle pit while Niikaa vomits the song’s lyrics in a very traditional way; followed by Slaves, the darkest of all songs in Epitome of Void, showcasing hints of classic, obscure Black Metal added to their unrelenting music. Moreover, Tero and Timo bring some welcome balance to the sonic havoc going on with their crisp solos. Then it’s time for more demented slamming to the infernal beats by Aleksi in Exploit, while Niikka keeps growling and vociferating manically for our total delight. Put differently, this is the undisputed epitome of Refusal’s classic Death Metal, highly recommended for all fans of the genre.

If you think your neck will have a break from all the insane headbanging proposed by Refusal you’re absolutely wrong, as the band ignites their most demonic mode in the rip-roaring Bound, with their guitars and drums being in full destructive force. Then their second to last deranged Death Metal attack comes in the form of Futile, where all band members sound even more infuriated than ever, pleasing anyone who admires old school Brutal Death Metal from the bottom of their (blackened) hearts, setting the stage for the the thunderous and vile closing tune Void, where the smashing sounds of drums and bass provide Niikka the perfect atmosphere for his sick guttural vocals. There’s no escape from Refusal, and their most unfriendly, obscure and intricate creation beautifully represents all their fury and rage, ending the album on a very high note.

Do you have what it takes to face the demolishing Death Metal by Refusal? If your answer is yes, simply slam into the pit by listening to Epitome of Void in full on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, Epitome of Void, which by the way is on sale from Refusal’s own BandCamp page, from the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from Discogs, will not change or revolutionize the underground metal scene at all; quite the contrary, it’s pure old school Death Metal, without any artificial elements nor any type of shenanigans, thoroughly crafted by five Finnish guys who are beyond loyal to the foundations of the genre, deserving all our admiration and support for keeping the flames of true Death Metal alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Hectic, Disgust and Exploit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. Suffocate 2:20
2. Hectic 2:51
3. Disregard 3:13
4. Disgust 3:27
5. Slaves 4:33
6. Exploit 1:48
7. Bound 4:14
8. Futile 4:10
9. Void 5:19

Band members
Niikka Lius – vocals
Tero Pirhonen – guitars
Kalle Kuosmanen – guitars
Timo Pirhonen – bass, backing vocals
Aleksi Roitto – drums

Advertisements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Unmatched Brutality Records

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

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

Album Review – Lelahell / Alif (2018)

Like a firestorm crossing the desert valley, here comes the unstoppable Algerian dark angel of Death Metal armed with a brand new and crushing concept opus.

The unstoppable Algerian dark angel of Death Metal known as Lelahell is finally back with a brand new opus titled Alif, the follow-up to their 2014 pulverizing album Al Insane… The (Re)Birth Of Abderrahmane, containing 10 tracks of unrelenting Death Metal riffs with an Algerian folklore accent, combined with fast blast beats and technical rhythms. Spearheaded by Redouane Aouameur on vocals, guitars and bass, an iconic figure of the Algerian metal scene (as you can see on Highway To Lelahell – An Algerian Metal Documentary), and supported by the ruthless German drummer Hannes Grossmann (Necrophagist, Obscura, Alkaloid, Blotted Science, Hate Eternal), Lelahell are ready to take the world of heavy music by storm once again, with the music found in Alif cementing even more their already solid path of destruction.

Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step – another chapter in his own book. Featuring a classy cover artwork by Björn Gooßes from Killustrations (who has already worked with bands like Wolfheart, Motorjesus, Amon Amarth, Death Angel and Sodom, among several others), Alif focuses on Abderrahmane’s first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak and walk, learning about the world around him full of foes and fears, and that’s why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers. Musically speaking, Alif is like a firestorm crossing the desert valley, leaving you disoriented due to its endless heaviness, furious speed and undisputed rage, which together with the album’s intricate concept turns it into a must-have for any diehard fan of old school Death Metal.

And Hannes provides his welcome card by pounding his drums manically in the opening tune Paramnesia, being quickly joined by Redouane and his pulverizing riffs and bass punches. However, it’s when he starts barking the song’s lyrics that things get serious in this sonic havoc that lives up to the legacy of brutal and technical Death Metal, showcasing intricate drums and wicked guitar solos. Then a headbanging riffage ignites another belligerent and absolutely devastating tune by Lelahell, named Ignis Fatuus, with the sound of the guitar being insanely heavy, strident and therefore awesome. Furthermore, try following the lyrics along with Redouane (“A delusion, great confusion, foolish fire, Ignis Fatuus / Hallucination, false impression, false hope, Will o’ the wisp / A Fantasy, at first sight, strange light, Ignis Fatuus / It is just an erroneous perception of the reality”); whereas Thou Shalt Not Kill is a cinematic, epic bridge to the imposing hymn Ribat Essalem, where the duo showcases all their skills by blasting slashing riffs and solos, stone-crushing beats and classic demented Death Metal vocals, resulting in a circle pit-catalyst that will please all fans of the genre.

Adam the First gets closer to what they did in their previous album, which means a darker sonority and deeper guttural vocals, also presenting a smashing vibe led by Hannes and feeling at times like that type of Progressive Death Metal commonly found in the United States (but infused with elements from Redouane’s homeland), followed by The Fifth, another brutish display of classic Death Metal by Lelahell where the infernal and demonic growls by Redouane take the song’s malignancy to a whole new level, while Hannes doesn’t stop smashing his drums for a single second. And in Insiraf / Martyr, groovy beats initiate a vile and bold feast of cavernous sounds spearheaded by the uproarious riffs and bass lines by Redouane, with Hannes bringing his usual heavy artillery to support the band’s mastermind in his quest for Death Metal.

An ominous start suddenly morphs to a battering ram of Technical Death Metal made in Algeria in Litham (The Reach of Kal Asuf), with the Algerian nuances bringing a welcome extra flavor to the musicality while Redouane declaims the song’s lyrics in a devilish way (“A dominant symbol of their entity / The veiling of the men is an ancient custom / The origin remains obscure and conjectural / One fold is brought across the face to form the veil / The cloth is wrapped around the head / Touaregs and nomads, wearing those clothes to cover their faces against the desert storms.”). Then setting fire to the music with his lancinating riffs, Redouane kicks off a short and extremely vile Death Metal extravaganza titled Parasits, blasting sheer aggression and hatred in the name of extreme music. Lastly, Redouane’s coup-de-grâce comes in the form of an obscure and crisp Death Metal tune named Impunity of the Mutants, with Hannes sounding like a thunderstorm in the background. Very technical, detailed and full of layers, this is a must-listen for newcomers to the cataclysmic world of Lelahell, presenting sick bass lines and bestial beats that together flow powerfully into an epic finale.

If you have what it takes to enter the realm of crushing Death Metal ruled by Redouane and his Lelahell, you can check what the band is up to on Facebook and listen to more of their music on YouTube, and purchase your copy of Alif (available for a full listen on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, as well as from iTunes, Amazon or Discogs. In addition, although I’m not sure who’s responsible for the drums on their live concerts after the departure of Slaveblaster in 2016 (but something tells me he’s still playing with the band somehow), the multi-talented Redouane together with bassist Ramzi Curse (who replaced Nihil in 2015) are indeed a live act, proudly carrying the flag of Algerian and African metal wherever they go, and if I were you I would definitely keep an eye on their agenda for concerts not only in Algeria, but anywhere else where good Death Metal is appreciated. Well, I guess I don’t need to say what you should do if you don’t support Lelahell, right?

Best moments of the album: Paramnesia, Ribat Essalem and Impunity of the Mutants.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Metal Age Productions

Track listing
1. Paramnesia 4:33
2. Ignis Fatuus 3:04
3. Thou Shalt Not Kill 0:30
4. Ribat Essalem 4:27
5. Adam the First 4:26
6. The Fifth 4:01
7. Insiraf / Martyr 5:37
8. Litham (The Reach of Kal Asuf) 5:54
9. Parasits 2:44
10. Impunity of the Mutants 5:16

Band members
Redouane Aouameur – vocals, guitars, bass
Hannes Grosmann – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Eat the dead, cut the flesh!

Let’s turn up the heat on this last month of summer here on The Headbanging Moose with some old school, gory and extremely violent Death Metal, and in order to do that in style we have “recruited” the unstoppable Mallika Sundaramurthy, frontwoman for American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Abnormality, as our metal chick of the month. Born in Gardner, a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the United States, but currently residing in Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic (or Czechia), Mallika is not only the owner of a potent voice, but she’s also absolutely passionate for all things Death Metal, being a huge supporter of underground metal as a fan, as a musician and as a businesswoman as well. Having said that, get ready to slam into a vicious circle pit together with Mallika, because things are about to get as savage and heavy as hell.

Half Indian and half English-American, with her father coming from Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, and her mother being from New Hampshire, a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, Mallika is married to Russian musician Serge Gordeev, from Death Metal bands like Epicardiectomy and Fleshbomb. As you can see, pure Death Metal runs through the veins of the couple, which led to the creation of their own label Ultimate Massacre Productions. But before we talk about their label, let’s focus on the early days of Mallika, who has been playing in Death Metal bands since 2002, a couple of years after she graduated from Gardner High School, located in Gardner, Massachusetts. While Mallika was giving her first steps in extreme music, she was at the same time studying illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, in Boston, Massachusetts, which she graduated in 2004. And that knowledge she gained through her studies was not in vain, becoming a fundamental part of her up-and-coming career.

Regarding her career as a musician, Mallika got into Heavy Metal during her high school years. In the beginning, Mallika was more into classic rock and metal the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Alice in Chains, with her taste for heavier and more brutal music growing after she started listening to the pulverizing Death Metal by Deicide and Cannibal Corpse. By the way, becoming a fan of Death Metal was the main reason why she decided to do extreme vocals, which is pretty much the same path followed by anyone who chooses to play an instrument based on their favorite bands and styles. And just as a side note, our ruthless growler joined her first metal band while studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, but there aren’t any details available online about that part of her career.

What you will for sure find online are all details about her history with her own Death Metal band, Massachusetts-based squad Abnormality, formed in late 2005 by Mallika together with guitarist Jeremy Henry, drummer Jay Blaisdell and guitarist Michael O’Meara (who left the band in 2009), with bassist Josh Staples joining the band in 2009 and guitarist Sam Kirsch in 2015 to complete their current lineup. The band strives to make high quality extreme music without worrying about conforming to certain boundaries or styles, having released to date a four-track demo in 2007 (including the song Visions, which found its way onto the popular video game Rock Band 2 as a bonus track), a three-track EP titled The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion in 2010, and the full-length albums Contaminating the Hive Mind in 2012, and Mechanisms of Omniscience in 2016. If you want to have a very good taste of all the brutality and electricity flowing from the music by Abnormality, you can check for instance their official videos on YouTube for the songs Mechanisms of Omniscience, Monarch Omega, and Fabrication of the Enemy, or even take a more detailed listen at their full discography at their own BandCamp page (which obviously means you should also buy their albums from there). Furthermore, Mallika mentioned in one of her interviews that Abnormality did a cover version for the classic Desperate Cry by Sepultura at the formation of the band when she joined a band named Teratism on stage, impressing their then members Jay and Michael (culminating with the creation of Abnormality, as you can see), also playing other cover songs live over the years such as Eric Clapton’s Cocaine and Death’s The Philosopher, but never including any of those in their recorded material. Finally, one last interesting note about Abnormality is that their first concert ever happened in 2006 at a house party organized by their drummer Jay, including the bands Dehumanized, Sexcrement and Soul Remnants. That was probably one hell of a demolishing Death Metal party, I must say.

Apart from Abnormality, Mallika, who takes care of her potent voice by doing usual things like getting proper rest, keeping her throat hydrated and avoiding alcohol, is also the frontwoman for American Death Metal all-female band Castrator, an international project formed in 2013 and based in New York City with members from distinct parts of the earth such as Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Colombia and the United States. As you can see by the name of the band, Castrator is a confrontational band, with all of the song titles found in their 2014 demo and 2015 EP, both titled No Victim, being some sort of feminist revenge fantasy, such as Honor Killing and The Emasculator. Mallika explained that the band was born when her friend Carolina Perez, drummer for American Death/Thrash Metal act Hypoxia, expressed the desire to form an all-female band, aiming at writing aggressive music, playing some devastating concerts, and have fun together above all things. She also mentioned it was important to bring up through the horror and intensity of their lyrics the issues and struggles women from all over of the world face every single day, in particular parts of the world where women’s rights are far behind. When writing the lyrics, Mallika researched and read countless stories and documentaries of individual cases of honor killings, as well as violence, rape, and murder against women, translating all that hatred and negative thoughts into Death Metal lyrics. In order to be smashed by Castrator, go check their BandCamp page, where you’ll be able to listen to (and to buy) the austere and utterly brutal tunes Honor Killing, No Victim and The Emasculator.

Our relentless growler was also part of American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Parasitic Extirpation from 2011 until 2015, with whom she recorded the EP Putrid Crown, in 2014. You can enjoy Mallika kicking some serious ass in this also very interesting band with the title-track Putrid Crown,  and all other tracks directly from their BandCamp page. And even with all her duties with Abnormality, Castrator and Parasitic Extirpation, she still found time to be part of several other bands and projects as a guest musician, like singing live for British Technical Brutal Death Metal unity Unfathomable Ruination, in 2017; and being a guest studio singer in the songs Circumcised with a Chainsaw, from the 2013 album Skewered in the Sewer by Indian Brutal Death Metal act Gutslit; the title-track The Redemption of Past Supremacy, from the 2012 album The Redemption of Past Supremacy by American Brutal Death Metal act Habitual Defilement; Endless Outrage, from the 2016 album Ouroboric Stagnation by International Brutal Death Metal act Neurogenic;    Dies Irae…, from the 2013 album Lords of Rephaim by America Brutal Death Metal act Pathology; Tower Deflower, from the 2012 album Festering Human Remains by America Death Metal act Scaphism; the superb cover version for Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker, from the 2014 EP XXX Bargain Bin Vol​.​2 by American Death Metal act Sexcrement; and Incinerator, from the 2013 album Black and Blood by American Death Metal act Soul Remnants. As you can see, all those songs are beyond brutal and demolishing, exactly the way good Death Metal is supposed to be.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With respect to Mallika’s main influences in music, she’s a diehard and longtime fan of several renowned acts of the Extreme Metal scene such as Suffocation, Gorgasm, Decapitated, Immolation, Cryptopsy, Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, Carcass and Morbid Angel, among several others, with American Death Metal masters Hate Eternal, standing out among their influences if you take a detailed listen at their music. Questioned about which album she would take to her own grave, Mallika answered Pierced from Within, released in 1995 by American Technical Death Metal band Suffocation, and while listening to that album it makes total sense as to why she handpicked it instead of tons of other classics. Needless to say, Suffocation would obviously be part of her dream metal fest lineup, also including bands such as Immolation, Deeds of Flesh, Cryptopsy (with Lord Worm), Origin, Malignancy, Monstrosity, Vader, Gorgust, Wormed, Defeated Sanity, Napalm Death, Incantation, Vile, Decapitated, Hate Eternal, Nile, Krisiun, Devourment, and so on. And lastly, when asked to list the five albums any metalhead must have in his or her collection to have a deeper understanding of what Brutal and Technical Death Metal is all about, Mallika selected Close to a World Below by Immolation, Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation, Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel, She Lay Gutted by Disgorge, and Masticate to Dominate by Gorgasm. Also, when questioned about what inspires her and the rest of Abnormality when writing their lyrics, she said that the whole band enjoys writing about current events at home and abroad, conspiracies, and their contempt for the New World Order, as well as other things in their lives, in their imagination, science fiction and fact, corruption, and time travel, always focusing on the darker side of humanity and never afraid to take a political stand. Of course, Mallika considers real life horror far worse than anything imagined in fiction, albeit she also thinks those monsters in fiction reflect that same dark side of our own humanity and the evils that we are capable of.

Mallika’s business side together with her utter passion for extreme music are an essential piece of Ultimate Massacre Productions, an extreme music label managed by Mallika herself and her husband Serge Gordeev, originally founded in 2012 by Serge as a licensed merch supplier for metal bands. After her arrival and after taking on Mexico’s Human Decomposition as their first signed band, the project propelled to a new and promising direction, which could be seen in her own words at that time. “We thought it would be great to build the label together, combining our collective experience and passion for music to grow Ultimate Massacre,” she said, also mentioning that “our main goal is to spread great music that we ourselves love, and to help the bands on our roster to reach new levels.” Mallika and Serge work endlessly for the joys that art brings with it, putting a lot of effort and passion into making the label a genuine home for underground extreme bands. Based in Prague, the label has increased their portfolio considerably through the years, including today bands such as Apophys, Incontinence, Chordotomy, Fungus, Imperium and Natrium. Hence, if you consider yourself a true death metaller, you can keep an eye at their official Facebook page for new kick-ass bands and releases from the underground Death Metal scene.

As aforementioned, Mallika is a huge admirer and connoisseur of underground metal music, saying she’s fine with a huge part of metal music staying underground mainly because it’s extreme and offensive, and therefore not recommended for mainstream listeners. However, she also said it’s extremely difficult to survive in the underground scene, as the majority of underground musicians have to have income coming from other sources such as day jobs despite their passion and dedication to heavy music. Well, having to face issues like that doesn’t seem to be a problem for musicians like Mallika, because the underground scene at least in the United States seems to be very strong to her eyes, with lots of great bands keeping the flames of extreme music burning bright in her homeland. For instance, she recommends bands like Malignancy, Disgorge, Dehumanized, Bloodsoaked, Guttural Secrete, Goemagot, Sapremia, Habitual Defilement and Expurgate for starters, and from her hometown she thinks you should take a good listen at Revocation, Sexcrement, Dysentery, Hivesmasher, Scalpel, Scaphism, Soul Remnants, and many, many more. She also mentioned she believes that classifications in metal such as Deathcore, Power Metal, Blackened Death Metal and so on are necessary to help listeners find new bands according to their likes and dislikes, as long as people are not carried away with creating new subgenres. Furthermore, Mallika has a very peculiar view on how many people nowadays end up knowing new bands through illegal downloads, as she understands that albeit illegal downloads are inevitable due to several reasons such as lack of money for buying all the music downloaded, those fans need to realize the bands depend on that money to stay alive, but as long as they support the bands in other ways like attending their concerts, buying a shirt or listening to their music for free on Spotify or YouTube, some sort of balance can be reached.

When asked about how she feels being a woman in a male-dominated scene like Death Metal, Mallika said she has always felt good, always having a good time with her bands since the beginning of her career. She mentioned there are more and more talented and hardworking women making a name for themselves in the Death Metal scene, being really proud of them and supporting them whenever and however she can. She said it’s not easy to be a woman in metal as there’s a lot of sexism in the world and even more discouragement for a woman to be part of the extreme music scene; however, she hopes one day that will end, and it will become something we won’t even think about discussing as men and women will just be equal in numbers and in talent. If you think about names like Angela Gossow, Tarja Turunen, Simone Simons, Doris Yeh, Cristina Scabbia and Alissa White-Gluz, not to mention all the other ladies who put their hearts and souls into making first-class metal music from all parts of the world, I also believe we’re not that far from reaching Mallika’s dream.

Last but not least, Mallika is as aforementioned a professional graphic and concept artist in the video game industry, having already worked for Harmonix Music Systems (the company that created the Rock Band franchise) for four years, and later becoming a freelance artist and working for a company called Techona as a graphic artist since earlier this year. Regarding her time with Harmonix, Mallika provided a few interesting details about how Abnormality got involved in the game Rock Band 2 with the song Visions. While she was working on the game together with a team of artists, the company allowed employees to submit music for consideration to be entered into the game; at first she didn’t want to do it, but the rest of Abnormality asked her to try, and in the end the company picked their music to be one of the songs of the game together with a lot less violent (or I should say not violent at all) bands like Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold and Blondie. Needless to say, Mallika is not only passionate about Death Metal, but also crazy for old school Death Metal album arts, dark fantasy and surrealism, being inspired by artists such as Zdzisław Beksiński, Wayne Barlowe, and Dan Seagrave. As a matter of fact, you can easily see all that passion for abstract art and surrealism in the Abnormality album arts, all designed and created by our obstinate growler herself, as well as the cover art for the 2012 split album Phylum Morph-Apokalupsis by American Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore bands Animals Killing People and Andromorphus Rexalia, the layout and cover art for the 2016 album Eon by American Technical Death Metal band Formless, and the cover art for the 2013 EP One Inch Monster by Swedish Thrash Metal act Sonic Assault. As talented, honest and diligent as she is, being capable of screaming and gnarling like a beast with her band and of translating all the violence and gore of Death Metal into stunning album arts, it’s more than obvious why Mallika has turned into a reference in extreme music, and may she have a long and prosperous reign as our queen of guttural vocals.

Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Facebook page
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Twitter
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official YouTube channel
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Instagram
Abnormality’s Official Facebook page
Abnormality’s Official Twitter
Abnormality’s Official YouTube channel
Abnormality’s Official Instagram

“I see there are many more talented women stepping up the plate in the death metal scene. I am really proud of my fellow ladies who are kicking ass, and I call many of them friends. I DO personally go out of my way to support women in metal, especially those who work hard, carry themselves professionally, and play really well. I know it’s not easy. There is so much sexism in the world, and we women are so often discouraged from taking part of the extreme metal scene.” – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Album Review – Aborted Fetus / The Ancient Spirits Of Decay (2018)

Behold the pulverizing new album by one of the strongest names of the Russian underground Death Metal scene, turning each one of their compositions into instruments of torture, pain and gore.

For nearly two decades, Russian Death Metal force Aborted Fetus has been unflinching in their pursuit of ruthless savagery, delivering unstoppable aural punishment and standing triumphant like a warlord on the broken bodies of their defeated enemies. Now in 2018, this Perm-based squad founded in 2000 returns with another pulverizing opus titled The Ancient Spirits Of Decay, following the same ruthless path of devastation from their 2017 intimidating album The Art Of Violent Torture and being highly recommended for fans of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and Devourment, among other crushing Death Metal giants.

In The Ancient Spirits Of Decay, which features a demonic, creepy artwork by Russian artist Andrey Khrisanenkov (from Armaada Art), the horde comprised of Igor Stafeev on vocals, Alexander ‘Meatgrinder’ Andreev on the guitar, Sergey Shchapov on bass and Sergey ‘Hammer’ Kulakov on drums lives up to the legacy of old school Death Metal, turning each one of the songs in the album into instruments of torture, pain and gore. Needless to say, you better prepare your ears and minds for over 48 minutes of brutal devastation not recommended for the lighthearted, showing why Aborted Fetus are one of the strongest names in the Russian independent extreme music scene.

Rising from the scorching pits of hell with the intro The Wind of Agonizing Spirits, here come Aborted Fetus and their crushing Death Metal in Eaten by Pigs in the Trough, the first “method of torture” from the album (that by the way reminds me of the 2001 movie Hannibal) and a gruesome welcome card by this filthy squad where Igor growls deeply like a devilish creature, while Hammer is bestial with his beats and fills; followed by Drenched Eyes in Boiling Oil, with the music sounding and feeling as destructive as the song’s name. Furthermore, Meatgrinder fires old school Death Metal riffs supported by the metallic bass by Sergey, keeping the atmosphere dense, menacing and gory. And they continue their path of sheer torture and pain with a classic Death Metal tune titled Nailed to the Cross, with Meatgrinder being unstoppable with his riffs and solos and Hammer pounding his drums like a stone crusher, and Beheaded on the Guillotine, where Igor keeps vociferating like a demon, also presenting some classic guitar solos to bring more balance to the utter devastation blasted by the quartet.

Cradle of Revulsion kicks off with a soulful guitar solo supported by a pulverizing background, evolving into a piercing and menacing sonority led by Igor and his cavernous roars in what’s their most detailed and thrilling tune (with a few good breaks and variations to make the overall result even more potent), whereas total anarchy and chaos arise in a classic Death Metal chant titled Cold Lake of the Sinner, with Meatgrinder delivering pure shredding and Hammer once again bringing aggressiveness to the music, getting extremely gory just the way we like it. Then we have Flame of Death, an instrumental bridge spearheaded by Sergey and his low-tuned bass, setting the stage for Rack of Torment, another traditional, straightforward and demolishing creation by Aborted Fetus (despite falling flat after a while), with Hammer and Meatgrinder being in total sync helping Igor thrive with his deep growls, and the insanely heavy Roasted Alive in the Copper Bull’s Stomach, a short and cataclysmic extravaganza where Hammer sounds as demolishing as he can be, reminding me of the early days of Cannibal Corpse due to its rawness, which means it will certainly ignite some serious mosh pits during their live concerts.

The last batch of torturing hymns by Aborted Fetus keep decimating our senses, starting with Genital Torture by the Alligator Tongs, which not only carries a “cute” name, but the music itself is also a blast of Brutal Death Metal with Igor’s growls getting deeper and deeper, while Meatgrinder continues with his feast of devilish riffs and solos. In Iron Petals of the Blasphemer’s Pear the band offers one final explosion of their devastating Death Metal for our avid ears, with Hammer leading their sonic havoc and Meatgrinder and Sergey slashing their strings mercilessly, ending in a melancholic instrumental outro titled Follow Into the Darkness, closing the album in a pleasant (but obviously obscure) manner.

You can get more details about the brutal music crafted by these Russian metallers through their Facebook page, VKontakte profile and YouTube channel, and grab your copy of The Ancient Spirits Of Decay from their own BandCamp page, or from the Comatose Records’ BandCamp or webstore (as a special package including the album, a shirt and a sticker), as well as from iTunes, Amazon or Discogs. And after you possess such destructive album on your hands, it’s just a matter of hitting play and letting the torture begin.

Best moments of the album: Eaten by Pigs in the Trough, Cradle of Revulsion and Roasted Alive in the Copper Bull’s Stomach.

Worst moments of the album: Rack of Torment.

Released in 2018 Comatose Music

Track listing
1. The Wind of Agonizing Spirits (Intro) 2:14
2. Eaten by Pigs in the Trough 3:53
3. Drenched Eyes in Boiling Oil 3:51
4. Nailed to the Cross 3:38
5. Beheaded on the Guillotine 2:43
6. Cradle of Revulsion 6:11
7. Cold Lake of the Sinner 3:43
8. Flame of Death (Instrumental) 0:54
9. Rack of Torment 5:19
10. Roasted Alive in the Copper Bull’s Stomach 3:21
11. Genital Torture by the Alligator Tongs 5:46
12. Iron Petals of the Blasphemer’s Pear 4:43
13. Follow Into the Darkness (Instrumental) 1:58

Band members
Igor Stafeev – vocals
Alexander ‘Meatgrinder’ Andreev – guitar
Sergey Shchapov – bass
Sergey ‘Hammer’ Kulakov – drums

Album Review – Acranius / Reign of Terror (2017)

It’s time to crown this talented German unit as the new slamming kings of this putrid reign of terror we live in, and enjoy their demolishing music while we witness the brutal downfall of our society.

Rating5

acranius-album-artFormed in 2009 in Rostock, the largest city in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brutal Slamming Death Metal wolf pack Acranius will tear you down with their third full-length installment, the unrelenting Reign of Terror, an album that will certainly leave some serious bruises and scars on your body and mind after you take a listen at each one of its ten rampant compositions. Besides, when you face a Death Metal album that contain songs named “Warpath” and “Return To Violence”, you already know there will be some good blood spilled before even listening to the music inside it, don’t you agree?

After releasing their debut EP The Echo of Her Cracking Chest in 2011, followed by the full-length albums When Mutation Becomes Homicidal, from 2013, and Dishonor, from 2014, and after a few lineup changes through the years, Acranius return with their most complete and professional work to date, featuring a killer artwork by Ukranian musician and illustrator Daemorph, who by the way also worked with the band in their previous album. As any good Death Metal release, get ready for putrid growls, flammable riffs and crushing drums, delivered by four German metallers that are building a beyond solid reputation among fans of the genre not only in their homeland, but also anywhere in the world where good Death Metal is appreciated.

After a short movie-inspired intro, Born A King brings forward a very metallic and aggressive explosion of blast beats and sheer fury, with the deep guttural by Kevin Petersen living up to the legacy of old school Death Metal, while Kingmaker, an amazing composition that will kick you in the face, continues the demolishing path of its predecessor with guitarist Björn Frommberger firing menacing neck-breaking riffs and drummer Robert Arndt smashing his drum set manically. As its name already states, Return To Violence is extreme violence in music where Kevin’s voice sounds more cavernous than before, while Björn keeps slashing his strings as a veteran in Death Metal, and the band doesn’t seem to get tired of being gory and brutal as we can witness in Outlaw, perhaps the most electrifying composition of the entire album. Kevin and Robert sound pulverizing, with Björn and bassist Lars Torlopp punching us in the head ferociously with their flammable strings.

acranius-band-photoBuilt On Tradition is another slamming gruesome tune by this talented quartet, displaying all the main elements from our good old Death Metal with highlights to its rhythmic beats and boisterous guitar lines, followed by The True Reign, where Robert sounds like a stone crusher on drums, blasting his beats and fills powerfully and providing the rest of the band all they need to sound extreme and bloodthirsty. After that bestial chant, we have the fantastic Warpath, a Death Metal hymn for metalheads who want to have a neck injury headbanging, showcasing an infernal rhythm with Kevin barking like a beast, but still melodic and quite progressive. I’m sure you’ll feel your brain moving inside your skull while banging your head to this song, no doubt about that.

Back to their more visceral mode, sounding like a war machine of Brutal Death Metal crushing everything and everyone, Acranius offer the listener Battle Scars, where Björn managed to sound even more menacing than in all previous songs. And the musicality crafted by Acranius will “execute” you ruthlessly in The Executioner, another heavy composition full of bestial drums and hellish growls where devastation never stops. If you can still feel your neck after this song is over, their deathblow comes in the form of more traditional Death Metal titled Died A Liar, bringing another shot of sharp riffs and beats by these German metallers.

You can stream Reign of Terror in its entirety and consequently put an end to all that calm and peace environment in your neighborhood by clicking HERE, follow Acranius on Facebook, check more of their music on YouTube and, as usual, show your passion for slamming Death Metal by purchasing the album at the Rising Nemesis Records’ BandCamp and Big Cartel, on iTunes or on Amazon. As this reign of terror we live in becomes more and more hideous day after day due to all the shit done by mankind, there’s nothing better than crowning Acranius as our new slamming kings of Death Metal and enjoy their demolishing music while we witness our world falling apart.

Best moments of the album: Kingmaker, Outlaw and Warpath.

Worst moments of the album: Died A Liar.

Released in 2017 Rising Nemesis Records

Track listing
1. Born A King 2:10
2. Kingmaker 3:12
3. Return To Violence 3:12
4. Outlaw 3:36
5. Built On Tradition 3:22
6. The True Reign 3:26
7. Warpath 3:09
8. Battle Scars 2:51
9. The Executioner 3:28
10. Died A Liar 3:05

Band members
Kevin Petersen – vocals
Björn Frommberger – guitar
Lars Torlopp – bass
Robert Arndt – drums

Album Review – Mastication Of Brutality Uncontrolled / Preemptive Space Warfare (2015)

Do you have what it takes to survive a flesh ripping Brutal Death Metal Slam Alien Apocalypse attack?

Rating5

MOBU -Preemptive Space WarfareAre you ready for a flesh ripping Brutal Death Metal Slam Alien Apocalypse attack? Well, at least that’s how German/Swiss Technical Slamming Death Metal band Mastication Of Brutality Uncontrolled, also known as M.O.B.U., define the sonic dementia found in their debut full-length album, entitled Preemptive Space Warfare, and they’re not kidding when they say their music will rip your flesh off so bestial it is.

Formed in 2007 as a side project by members of other brutal slamming bands from Germany such as Incesticide and Provocation, this Death Metal steamroller became a full-bodied band by the end of 2009, reaching their apex of devastation now in 2015 with Preemptive Space Warfare, curiously and properly released this Halloween to haunt the souls of those who don’t have the required dexterity or competence to see beauty behind all the cruelty disgorged through the band’s merciless instruments.

Preemptive Space Warfare is probably one of the coolest intros I’ve ever heard in my life, where M.O.B.U. courteously give us around two minutes for stretching our muscles before their psychotic slamming extravaganza takes off, starting with the visceral Mother Earth Abortion, an extremely technical and noisy tune. I truly love how poetic the lyrics in Brutal Death Metal are and how easy it is to follow them, especially when they sound just like “beeh beeh beeh beeh beeeeeh” almost all the time. Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without the deep growls by lead singer Manuel, one of the main catalysts of their musical holocaust.

MOBU Bandpic_300dpiIn the also calamitous Brutal Laser Devastation, drummer Basti M. sounds like a machine gun while Manuel keeps grunting like a wild boar being dissected alive, not to mention how cool the riffs by guitarist Flo are. Then we have Milkstreet Mass Collision, a brutal Death Metal onslaught with some amazing riffs that remind me of old school Cannibal Corpse, and Life-Form Adoption, which confirms this is kind of a “concept” album as all songs are about alien invasions and the outer space (although I don’t think you will care about that as soon as you start being smashed inside the sick circle-pits generated by this song). And Human Resources keeps slamming nonstop, with highlights to its killer drums guiding the seismic activity caused by the band.

Manuel takes a quick break to recharge his snarling while the rest of the band displays their skills in the instrumental Prophecy Of The Apocalypse (Interlude), and as soon as the demolishing chant Orbital Corpses begins, showcasing great synchronicity between its heavy riffs and brutal beats, you can have a pretty good idea of all the bruises you might get all over your body during one of their concerts if this song is played live. Infrastructure Destruction, a high-octane tribute to Death Metal, offers the listener the band’s unique vomiting growls and harmful beats, turning this sick chant into a nightmare for the faint-hearted, but it’s in New Space Order that M.O.B.U. go above and beyond. How can a brutal slamming band like this have a 7-minute song in their repertoire? The only thing I can say about this song is that it’s the end of the world in the form of music.

Now that you have a better understanding of what a “flesh ripping Brutal Death Metal Slam Alien Apocalypse attack” is, go show your support for M.O.B.U. at their Facebook page, and of course purchase the unrelenting Preemptive Space Warfare at the Rotten Roll Rex BandCamp page or webstore, as well as on eBay. And if you’re not convinced yet of the disturbing firepower spawned by the music by M.O.B.U., or if you think you can easily survive their slamming assault, simply take a quick listen at the album teaser and be prepared to have your mind brutally swarmed with alien swine fluids.

Best moments of the album: Mother Earth Abortion, Brutal Laser Devastation and Infrastructure Destruction.

Worst moments of the album: Milkstreet Mass Collision.

Released in 2015 Rotten Roll Rex

Track listing
1. Preemptive Space Warfare 2:10
2. Mother Earth Abortion 3:36
3. Brutal Laser Devastation 3:04
4. Milkstreet Mass Collision 2:04
5. Life-Form Adoption 3:48
6. Human Resources 4:16
7. Prophecy Of The Apocalypse (Interlude) 1:45
8. Orbital Corpses 2:22
9. Infrastructure Destruction 3:32
10. New Space Order 7:42

Band members
Manuel – vocals
Flo – guitars
Basti S. – bass
Basti M. – drums

Album Review – Heisenberg / Heisenberg (2014)

Say their name, because they are the ones who slam.

Rating5

heisenberg_coverDirectly from Long Island, New York, comes a band which specialty and purpose are pretty straight-forward: having fun and slamming into the pit. Not only that, they have chosen an excellent name for the band, honoring one of the most outstanding fictional characters the world has even seen from the cult series Breaking Bad, the chemist teacher and drug lord Walter “Walt” Hartwell White Sr., or simply Walter White (who doesn’t love his most famous quote, “SAY MY NAME”?). I’m talking about American Brutal Death Metal/Deathslam band Heisenberg, who have just released their self-titled debut album and are ready to slam as much as possible.

Heisenberg, which is the  clandestine pseudonym used by Walter White in the show (as if you didn’t know that already), was formed by members of other Deathslam bands: Two Shells Left, The Forrest Gump Mile High Marathon and Ellery Park, and they list among their biggest idols many important Death Metal bands such as Devourment and Suffocation, and other less crude but still heavy names like Industrial Metal band Fear Factory. Those influences are easily noticed throughout the entire album, which despite being short will surely disturb your neighbors’ peace and provide you some bruises and that unique pain in the neck after listening to it.

One of the best things in the music by Heisenberg is that you can actually listen to all instruments, which means you can also enjoy the musicians’ abilities instead of only slam like a motherfucker. That’s the case with the opening song, Plecostomus Prime, with its brutal guttural vocals, and riffs and drums as heavy as hell, followed by one of the top songs of the album, the violent Meth Shots, where the excellent vocals and chorus match perfectly with the instrumental parts. The following track, Explosive Innards, is as explosive as its name says, with highlights to its good riffs.

The band doesn’t let the ball drop, offering us another massacre named Glory Hole Confession Session, with its strong bass lines and drums showing why they cite Fear Factory as one of their biggest influences. And pay attention to the vocals on the last part of the song, they’re gruesome (in a good way, of course). Then we have what in my opinion is the best track of the album by far, the brutal The Pantera Factor: the “Beavis & Butthead” intro as a tribute to the mighty PANTERA is so cool, and the song itself is so heavy (especially the riffs), that I’m pretty sure wherever Mr. Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P.) is he might be really proud of Heisenberg now.

heisenberg_bandThe last part the album kicks off with Black Metal Joe, the longest track of all and also the one with the most melodic riffs, and I have to admit this song sounds extremely professional for an independent band, with highlights to the changes in rhythm and breaks which give it an extra level of energy. Then we have Razorblade Enema, a very Death Metal tune perfect for slamming like crazy, and finally Fulminated Mercury closing the album, which despite being an extremely heavy track, lacks something to put it in the same level as the rest of the album.

I have some trouble understanding the lyrics in all songs, but who cares?  As I said, the objective of Heisenberg with their music is providing the fans an awesome soundtrack for slamming, nothing else. In addition, the album art by American bassist, singer and artist Mike Majewksi, showing a very violent and merciless Walter White butchering all those rotten corpses, is more than awesome and becomes a crucial part of the album.

In summary, Heisenberg, which can be streamed and purchased at the band’s bandcamp page, is a recommended album for all fans of old-fashioned Deathslam and even for metalheads that want to learn more about this music genre. And if you’re also a huge fan of Mr. Walter White, you’ll surely “remember his name” while slamming with Heisenberg’s music.

Best moments of the album: Meth Shots and The Pantera Factor.

Worst moments of the album: Fulminated Mercury.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Plecostomus Prime 2:49
2. Meth Shots 2:14
3. Explosive Innards 1:57
4. Glory Hole Confession Session (feat. Joe Marchese) 2:22
5. The Pantera Factor 2:12
6. Black Metal Joe 3:05
7. Razorblade Enema 1:56
8. Fulminated Mercury 1:59

Band members
Paul McGrath – vocals
Brandon Moran – guitars
Billy Haiduk – bass
Tim Schmidt – drums