Album Review – Stabbed / Long Way Down (2017)

A beautiful step further in the promising career of a Hungarian Post-Sludge Metal act that presents to the listener a slightly different sounding, showcasing a mad balance of Progressive and Groove Metal.

Following the release of their ambitious 2016 EP Submerge, Hungarian Post-Sludge Metal act Stabbed returns now in 2017 with their first full-length installment, entitled Long Way Down, a beautiful step further in their promising career that presents to the listener a slightly different band, tipping the balance in favor of dominating, heavy grooves, overwhelming raw energy over dark ambience and Post-Rock elements, also showcasing a mad balance of Progressive and Groove Metal.

In addition, Long Way Down is not only the debut of bassist Marcell Demeter with Stabbed, replacing Dávid Roskó (who left the band by the end of 2016), but it also features a welcome surprise in the album closer performed by guest vocalist Tadeusz Rieckmann, primarily known as the drummer of Týr and Dalriada, and the artwork by longtime collaborator Zénó Farkas (Artphetamin), who returned for this album to represent the band visually and artistically. Throughout the album’s eight tracks, this Budapest-based group aimed at materializing through their cryptic lyrics and sharp sounds a portrait of a world full of angst ridden people running in circles, blinded by their fears and apathy, bringing a stronger taste to their musicality.

A modern intro grows into electrifying contemporary Sludge Metal with elements from Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal in the title-track Long Way Down, opening the album on a higher-than-usual note. Furthermore,  frontman Alex Karamuskó sounds bestial with his demented screams, while the guitar duo Attila Kecskés and Gergely Kovács are simply lancinating with their riffs, not to mention the amazing European melody supporting the song in the background. In the vicious Becoming, the whole band is in their most aggressive mode, sounding like an enraged hybrid of Sepultura from the Roots-era with Caliban, with Márk Potkovácz with his potent beats together with newcomer Marcell and his rumbling bass enhancing the song’s ravenousness considerably. Whereas in Tides a somber beginning led by Márk is gradually accompanied by both guitars and bass, before Alex comes with his blend of demonic growling and obscure clean vocals. In other words, this great display of their vibrant Post-Sludge Metal couldn’t sound more modern, metallic and consequently perfect for their live performances.

The following tune, titled Nyctalopia, brings forward more violent sounds with a precise harmonious base, becoming one of the band’s most progressive creations to date with all its breaks and variations, as well as its acid and darkling lyrics (“Descending from the coruscating lights / Into intangible doom / Chimerical phantoms tearing away / The spark from my weakened soul / Complacent proprietor in the house of lies / Leading my rendition to a Blind idiot God”). Then we have Lataris, which just like all of their songs is very cohesive and energetic, showcasing fierce riffs by both Attila and Gergely while Alex keeps hitting us with both his smooth, clean lines and his sick gnarls; and Mute, a song that clearly draws influences from bands like Pantera and Lamb of God in an aggressive mix of Sludge and Groove Metal, with Alex and Márk leading the musicality with their screams and beats respectively, sounding dark and gripping from start to finish.

In Devoid,  Stabbed slow down a little after all their usual display of anger, providing the listener a more melodic and alternative sonority where a solid instrumental with some spot-on guitar solos keeps the momentum going for the band, despite not being one of their best creations. And finally, featuring guest singer Tadeusz Rieckmann, Vessel displays an epic vibe in its intro, morphing into an obscure Post-Sludge Metal anthem with a Groove Metal twist,menacing guitars and bass, and poetic lyrics (“You have to spit to see the shine / Wallow in mud / Look all your demons in the eye / Killing your mind / We have not built this ship to wreck / On promised lands / Take nothing, fuck the test / All that you’ve bled”), as well as the raging guttural by Alex, flowing into an abrupt but climatic ending.

In order to follow Stabbed on their upward journey to success in heavy music with Long Way Down, simply visit their Facebook page for new and tour dates and their YouTube channel for more of their groovy and mordant music. And if you want to buy Long Way Down (which is available for a full listen on Spotify), you can get it at Stabbed’s BandCamp page or on Amazon. After Long Way Down it’s hard to imagine the world of Post-Sludge Metal without Stabbed, a band that has been building a solid reputation since their genesis and that’s becoming a synonym of modern metal music not only in their homeland, but anywhere else where good music is appreciated.

Best moments of the album: Long Way Down, Tides and Vessel.

Worst moments of the album: Devoid.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing 
1. Long Way Down 3:52
2. Becoming 4:47
3. Tides 4:24
4. Nyctalopia 3:10
5. Lataris 4:33
6. Mute 5:32
7. Devoid 4:10
8. Vessel (feat. Tadeusz Rieckmann) 5:07

Amazon bonus tracks
9. Long Way Down (Instrumental) 3:52
10. Lataris (Instrumental) 4:33

Band members
Alex Karamuskó – vocals
Attila Kecskés – guitar
Gergely Kovács – guitar
Marcell Demeter – bass
Márk Potkovácz – drums

Guest musician
Tadeusz Rieckmann – additional vocals on “Vessel”

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Album Review – Stabbed / Submerge EP (2016)

Time to get “stabbed” with the groovy and metallic music by this emerging Hungarian Post-Sludge Metal band.

Rating5

stabbed_cover_fnl_txt_smlIf you appreciate all the crazy progressiveness and pulse from bands such as Opeth, Meshuggah, Katatonia, Mastodon and Tool, I think I have a brand new underground Post-Sludge Metal band hailing from the sophisticated city of Budapest, Hungary that might fulfill your needs for the interesting fusion of the modern Heavy Metal from the late 90’s with the vigorous punch of Groove Metal from the early 00’s. This band answers to the name of Stabbed, and they’ve just released their debut EP, straightforwardly entitled Submerge.

Formed in 2012 as an industrial/ambient rock project by guitarist Attila Kecskes, which culminated in a demo of six songs written and recorded solely by Attila, Stabbed evolved to a bolder and heavier act in 2013, and since then the band has been working hard to deliver good music to fans of contemporary metal music. From the enigmatic album art designed by Hungarian artist Zénó Rolf Farkas (Artphetamin) to the darkling lyrics found in each of its five songs, Submerge offers the listener Stabbed’s current view of the society we live in, also pointing to the direction the band will probably follow in their future releases.

The opening track, Ruins, is fully progressive and groovy from the very first second, proving Stabbed are not kidding when they say they’re heavily influenced by Opeth and Mastodon despite all the additional Metalcore elements found their music. Switching from pure heaviness to ominous passages and back to a more visceral sounding again, this song highlights the precision of drummer Mark Potkovacz behind his kit, as well as its Pantera-inspired solo ending things properly. Creed keeps the high level of energy up with guest vocalist Péter Palotás and its weird but interesting lyrics (“We carved graves into our eyes / Burying illusions of our flawless mind / Tremors of a heavy beating heart / Rupture scars into our restless skull”), getting a lot closer to the demented music played by Mastodon. In addition, pay good attention to the peculiar guitar sounding crafted by Attila and his fellow guitarist Gergely Kovacs, it’s indeed a nice experience.

009-D-FBLast Stand, with its spot-on headbanging beats and riffs, is another song that blends Sludge Metal with Metalcore in a solid manner especially due to the clean vocals by lead singer Alex Karamusko, who by the way also provides a good amount of anger through his harsh screams during the entire EP. And in Reversal a slower and melancholic start suddenly turns into a violent rhythm, with Alex powerfully vociferating the song’s cryptic lyrics (“Leave before they / Picked up your scent / Find out you’re not one of them / Never let yourself be seen / Through the smoke of fears / They will reach inside your dreams”). In a nutshell, this is an introspective Sludge Metal/Metalcore tune with some interesting tempo changes a la Mastodon.

Lastly, closing the EP Stabbed deliver another angry composition entitled Carceri, featuring Peter Kelner as a guest vocalist doing the deeper growls. Let me tell you this partnership works extremely well, turning this into the best tune of the EP in my opinion, with David and Mark smashing their bass guitar and drums respectively until the music flows into a groovy finale.

In order to get “stabbed” with the organic and metallic music by Stabbed, go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel (where you can take a listen at the entire EP) and SoundCloud page, and don’t forget to support this emerging Hungarian act by purchasing Submerge at their BandCamp page, on iTunes (where they also offer the instrumental versions of all songs) and in many others locations.

Best moments of the album: Last Stand and Carceri.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Ruins 5:10
2. Creed (feat. Péter Palotás) 3:09
3. Last Stand 4:17
4. Reversal 5:13
5. Carceri (feat. Peter Kelner) 6:04

Band members
Alex Karamusko – vocals
Attila Kecskes – guitars
Gergely Kovacs – guitars
David Rosko – bass
Mark Potkovacz – drums

Guest musicians
Péter Palotás – additional vocals on “Creed”
Peter Kelner – additional vocals on “Carceri”

Album Review – Omega Diatribe / Abstract Ritual EP (2015)

Open your mind to the groovy and heavy music by this Hungarian act and you might survive the transmission.

Rating4

cover_HDThere’s a secret ancient writing stem from an unknown alien civilization, a contract between Humans and Aliens about the use of the planet Earth that states Humans could only use the Earth in a limited time, and when our time is over they’ll come back and take us to a higher level planet. However, only the open-minded people could survive the transmission. The government calls it Omega Diatribe, which is also the name of an amazing Hungarian Extreme Groove Metal band formed in Budapest in 2008 by guitarist Gergő Hájer and bassist Ákos Szathmáry.

After the release of their first promo track Forty Minutes, in 2012, and their debut full-length album entitled IAPETVS, in 2013, those Hungarian metallers return stronger than ever with a brand new EP called Abstract Ritual, where they not only keep delivering groovy polyrhythmic metal music, but they also continue their persevering trek through the limitless potential of the human mind. In other words, it’s another auspicious case of elaborate Heavy Metal permeated by an enthralling concept, and if you are a habitual reader of The Headbanging Moose you know how much we value that type of work.

That futuristic view of the world, as well as the power of the human psyche, are already explicit in the modern Thrash/Groove Metal of the opening track Subsequent Phase, with the resonant bass lines by Ákos adding a lot of power to the music. In addition, lead singer Gergely Komáromi translates the message of the lyrics into sheer aggression with his growls, enhanced by the clean and professional production of the album. Right after that promising start, it’s time to get even more barbaric and bang your fuckin’ head to the dark throbbing tune Extrinsic, which offers the listener very thoughtful lyrics despite all the violence found in it (“Don’t push me / Let me decide the fate of body / Questions remain unanswered / Leave vigor for my time / That included doubts / And eternal uncertainty”). Moreover, guitarists Gergő Hájer and Attila Császár deliver those eerie riffs perfect for this type of contemporary metal music, building a much stronger atmosphere that ends up elevating the overall quality of the song.

In Hydrozoan Periods, the band continues the upbuilding of their high-end metal music, with progressiveness and heaviness walking hand in hand. The last part of the song showcases all the anger and skills of the musicians, with highlights to Ákos and drummer Kevin Talley for the cohesive sonority they put up together. The title-track Abstract Ritual is another groovy and heavy feast, showcasing once again the aptitude those guys have for delivering an interesting concept through their lyrics (“How could it be absorbed in the mind when I’d concealed my senses? / And it returns. / It’s me sitting around the sun with these beings / I’d sunk the key for my projections into a cube and swallowed / To attach the new molecules / To be the eye”), not to mention the great performance by Gergely, who puts his heart and soul into singing and screaming those beautiful lyrics.

omega diatribeAnd in order to provide the EP a fresh ending, Omega Diatribe present the instrumental track The Quantum, where the main ingredient is a very interesting speech by the illustrious American esoteric philosopher Terence McKenna, and an alternate version for Unshadowed Days, from their 2013 debut album IAPETVS, which sounds like a completely brand new song to my ears. I personally prefer this new version especially in terms of sound quality and the extra layers of complexity added to it, but you can listen to the original one HERE and take your own conclusions.

There are countless ways to know more about Omega Diatribe and keep in touch with the band, either through their Facebook page, YouTube channel, SoundCloud and, of course, by buying their music at their BandCamp page or at the 515 Studio website. Open your mind to the music in Abstract Ritual, listen and absorb, and you might become part of the selected ones who survive the transmission.

Best moments of the album: Extrinsic and Abstract Ritual.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Subsequent Phase 4:48
2. Extrinsic 4:16
3. Hydrozoan Periods 3:17
4. Abstract Ritual 4:46
5. The Quantum 3:27
6. Unshadowed Days (Perception Remix) 6:44

Band members
Gergely Komáromi – vocals
Gergő Hájer – lead guitar
Attila Császár – guitar
Ákos Szathmáry – bass
Tommy Kiss* – drums

Additional musician
Kevin Talley – drums (studio recording)

* Drummer Tommy Kiss joined Omega Diatribe at the beginning of 2015.

Album Review – Ann My Guard / Innocence Descent (2014)

A very professional and vigorous album of alternative heavy music enhanced by an amazing feminine touch.

Rating4

AnnMyGuard_IDI’ll be honest with you and admit Alternative Metal has never been on my top picks whenever I want to listen to music. As I’ve said a couple of times here, I usually stick to the foundations of Heavy Metal. However, sometimes it’s interesting (and good for your brain) to listen to bands outside of this traditional world, especially when the band is as technical and pleasant as Hungarian “Doll Metal” band Ann My Guard, who have recently released their debut album, the energetic Innocence Descent.

This 4-piece band from the stunning city of Budapest, Hungary, took around six long years to thoroughly write the whole album, a process that might look too exhausting at first but that was definitely worth every second and penny spent in the end. Produced by the most renowned producer in their native Hungary, Gábor Vári, the album couldn’t sound more professional and ready for the absurdly competitive and demanding music market than that: Innocence Descent is a great mix of Alternative Metal and Rock with a huge focus on melody and harmony (something commonly done by most European bands), which will please fans of Evanescence, Hole, Kittie, H.I.M. and all other bands that are part of that more “delicate” side of heavy music.

As soon as the interesting intro Enchant begins, you can already notice all the band’s aforementioned influences, which becomes even clearer in Grey Witch, with its Alternative Metal riffs and the smooth vocals by Eszter. Moreover, its high-end production and the excellent chorus make it an excellent option for becoming a radio hit. Another important detail in Innocence Descent are the lyric themes, with pretty much every song talking about women, witches, sex and all other taboos present in the feminine world.

Getting back to the music, it seems the band loves deep key notes such as the ones found in Dark Sea Blue, a song that flirts with Pop Rock without losing that heavier approach from Alternative Metal, and the melancholic Ivory Ballad. Then we have the strong bass lines and nice drumming from Crush Honey, which sounds like some old songs from Hole, and the awesome rhythm from the powerful Morgana’s Song, another excellent example of how Ann My Guard took care of all details in their musicality to sound as professional as possible. Once again, I should say this song could easily be played in any Rock N’ Roll radio around the world.

AnnMyGuardThe next part of the album slows things down a little in a very introspective way, starting with the short acoustic ballad Hollow Red (which focus 100% on Eszter’s voice to enhance its atmosphere), followed by another ballad, My Lullaby, with beautiful lyrics and lots of harmony, and Easy, a melancholic tune with highlights to the good work done by guitarists István Tagcherer and Krisztián Varga both in the slow and the fast parts of the song. But it’s when the band accelerates their music that they hit the bull’s-eye in my opinion: H.K.A. Bitch has lots Punk Rock elements blended with Nu Metal, which together with its heavy riffs and acid lyrics turn it into a perfect choice for entertaining a more energetic audience during their live performances; while the vigorous Fallen follows a similar pattern as the previous track, boosted by some rhythmic variations and a delicate but strong chorus.

And lastly, Ann My Guard offer us the semi-acoustic ballad Gone, with highlights to the good guitar solo at the end of the song, and Circles, a unique Pop Rock track that gets heavier halfway through the song before fading into a melancholic rhythm to close the album.

You can take a good listen at the entire album HERE, and also support Ann My Guard by purchasing their official merchandise, or a digital copy of the album on iTunes or Amazon. As I said before, if you’re a fan of alternative heavy music with a feminine touch, Innocence Descent is indubitably one of the best new options in the market. I’m pretty sure all members of the band are proud of their “baby”, and you won’t be disappointed at all with the professionalism and vitality of their music.

Best moments of the album: Morgana’s Song, H.K.A. Bitch and Fallen.

Worst moments of the album: Dark Sea Blue and Gone.

Released in 2014 Smash Fabric Records

Track listing
1. Enchant 1:23
2. Grey Witch 3:11
3. Dark Sea Blue 3:48
4. Ivory Ballad 4:01
5. Crush Honey 4:15
6. Morgana’s Song 3:19
7. Hollow Red 1:19
8. My Lullaby 3:59
9. Easy 2:57
10. H.K.A. Bitch 1:55
11. Fallen 3:42
12. Gone 3:35
13. Circles 7:44

Band members
Eszter Anna Baumann – vocals, bass, flute, keys
István Tagcherer – guitars
Krisztián Varga – guitars
Joci Vadász – drums