The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017

“We sort of find that music tames the beast, you know.” – Malcom Young

It’s that wonderful time of the year again, and I’m obviously not talking about Christmas and the holiday season. In a year where we lost so many talented and important musicians in rock and heavy music for various reasons, including Malcolm Young (AC/DC), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Trish Doan (Kittie), Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost), Warrel Dane (Nevermore, Sanctuary), John Wetton (Uriah Heep), David Zablidowsky (Adrenaline Mob, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Chuck Mosley (Faith No More) and Cherry Taketani (Okotô, Hellsakura, NervoChaos), among several others, not to mention the end of the unmatched Black Sabbath, who we were able to witness live one last time during their farewell tour The End, only the freshness and energy flowing from brand new metal music can give us hope, not allowing Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll to die as many like to prophesy every single year.

Having said that, it’s time to blow our goddamn speakers with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2017, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, taming the beast inside us all as wisely said by AC/DC’s heart and soul Malcolm Young (R.I.P.). And as 2017 was the year of bands that cannot be considered dinosaurs in metal (or at least not yet), such as Trivium and Mastodon, that certainly points to a bright future ahead for Heavy Metal with their recent releases because, as you know, we won’t have behemoths like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica kicking ass on stage forever. By the way, this was definitely a fantastic year for Mastodon, who not only released one of the best albums of 2017, the excellent Emperor of Sand, but they also had some extra energy to burn with the classy EP Cold Dark Place, which by the way is part of our top 10 EP’s of the year (as you’ll see after our top 10/20 list). Alright, without further ado, turn up the volume and enjoy our 2017 list… LET THERE BE ROCK!

1. Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (REVIEW)
A superb album full of fast and intricate riffs, poetic lyrics, a sensational new drummer and, above all, the return of Matt’s trademark screams.
Best song of the album: Betrayer

2. Kreator – Gods Of Violence (REVIEW)
We shall praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.
Best song of the album: Totalitarian Terror

3. Blaze Bayley – Endure And Survive (REVIEW)
The indomitable Blaze Bayley returns with the second installment of Infinite Entanglement, his most ambitious project to date.
Best song of the album: Blood

4. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (REVIEW)
Follow the inspirational story of a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence in this excellent album of Progressive Metal.
Best song of the album: Word to the Wise

5. Accept – The Rise of Chaos (REVIEW)
Let total chaos and destruction rise to the sound of the brand new album by the unstoppable Teutonic masters of Heavy Metal.
Best song of the album: Analog Man

6. Moonspell – 1755 (REVIEW)
An orchestral and emotional concept album that will take you to the year when a giant earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon.
Best song of the album: Todos Os Santos

7. Striker – Striker (REVIEW)
Canadian Heavy Metal has never been more vibrant and rapturous than this.
Best song of the album: Born To Lose

8. Divine Element – Thaurachs Of Borsu (REVIEW)
Witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war and human society.
Best song of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu

9. Torture Squad – Far Beyond Existence (REVIEW)
Don’t cross the path of one of the most respectful bands from the Brazilian Thrash and Death Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Blood Sacrifice

10. Solitary – The Diseased Heart of Society (REVIEW)
Four veteran thrash metallers canalizing all the hatred, degradation and perversions of our modern-day society into their music.
Best song of the album: Architects of Shame

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

11. Karkaos – Children Of The Void (REVIEW)
12. Prometheus – Consumed In Flames (REVIEW)
13. Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain (REVIEW)
14. Terrifier – Weapons of Thrash Destruction (REVIEW)
15. Body Count – Bloodlust (REVIEW)
16. Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales (REVIEW)
17. Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay (REVIEW)
18. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (REVIEW)
19. Infernäl Mäjesty – No God (REVIEW)
20. Katharos XIII – Negativity (REVIEW)

As aforementioned, we also have for you this year our Top 10 EP’s of 2017, ranging from the most rebellious form of Deathcore to the most melodic type of Symphonic Metal, from visceral Doom Metal to demonic Black Metal, and so on. In addition, those bands hail from all four corner of the earth, proving once again that it doesn’t matter where you go you’ll always be able to find first-class metal music, including all of its genres and subgenres, to please your avid metallic ears.

1. Primal Age – A Silent Wound (REVIEW)
2. Sinners Moon – Far Beyond The Stars (REVIEW)
3. Aversio Humanitatis – Longing for the Untold (REVIEW)
4. Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones (REVIEW)
5. Ljosazabojstwa – Sychodžańnie (REVIEW)
6. Lorn – Arrayed Claws (REVIEW)
7. Jupiter Hollow – Odyssey (REVIEW)
8. Dö – Astral: Death/Birth (REVIEW)
9. Mastodon – Cold Dark Place (REVIEW)
10. Afire – Afire (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2017? If you want to check another awesome list, I highly recommend Antichrst Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2017 (Editorial Staff), a great online publication that we at The Headbanging Moose also contribute to on a regular basis. Also, don’t forget to tune in to Timão Metal every Tuesday on Rádio Coringão for a blazing fusion of metal and soccer, and to The Headbanging Moose Show every Thursday on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal from all over the world!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2018!

Actually, before all is said and done, here’s for you the 2017 Christmas single from Norwegian Melodic Power Metal project Aldaria called When The Time Has Come, featuring several renowned guest musicians such as Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast In Black),  Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call) and Morten Gade Sørensen (Pyramaze), among others, with 100% of all income of this single being donated to Cancer Research. “This is a very important cause for me, as I lost my mother to this horrible disease in 2010. The single will be available across all streaming and digital platforms, and on Aldaria’s official webstore, where you will get a special edition with a lossless audio file, instrumental, high resolution cover art, and lyrics”, commented guitarist Frode Hovd, the mastermind behind Aldaria. Let’s all support such important cause!

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Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Red Before Black (2017)

Always loyal to their foundations and sounding rawer and more aggressive than ever, here comes the most hardworking act in Death Metal with another first-class onslaught of sheer brutality.

If there’s a band in extreme music that not only remains loyal to their foundations, but that also keeps delivering excellence with each and every album release, that band are American death metallers Cannibal Corpse. This Buffalo-based Death Metal institution never disappoints, always providing us fans everything we crave in extreme music, playing their music almost to perfection while maintaining a high level of rawness and aggressiveness in their sonority at all times, which is exactly the case in Red Before Black, the fourteenth studio album in their vile, ruthless and gory career. Having said that, do you have what it takes to face another brutal installment by the Corpse?

Released three years after the good A Skeletal Domain and featuring a slashing artwork by American comic book artist Vince Locke, Red Before Black not only proves why Cannibal Corpse are still alive and kicking after almost 40 years on the road, fighting against all odds and always going against anything that can be considered mainstream, but it also shows that there’s no sign of the band slowing down or venturing through less violent fields. Quite the contrary, it seems that the Corpse is thirstier for guts, entrails and blood than ever.  “We always try to make our music aggressive, but where an album like ‘A Skeletal Domain’ was definitely aggressive, it has a targeted refinement that the new album doesn’t. ‘Red Before Black’ is as well executed as anything we’ve done, but it has a rawness to it that we haven’t had in a long time,” asserted bassist Alex Webster.

Raw and putrid sounds impregnate our ears from the very first second in Only One Will Die, with the guitars by Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett sounding pulverizing while George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher barks manically as usual, showing why he’s one of the most respected and consistent growlers still in action. Furthermore, its lyrics reek of traditional Cannibal Corpse (“Both of us will throttle / Strangling with rage / Both consumed by madness, revenge has us enslaved / Both are badly wounded / And struggle to survive / Both are fighting to the death but only one will die”). Brutality keeps flowing from all instruments in the fantastic title-track Red Before Black, where the competent old school drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz maintains the pace at a frantic level while Corpsegrinder vociferates the song’s lancinating name ferociously. And those guys never get tired of blasting sheer Death Metal to our metallic ears, delivering violence and bloodshed from start to finish in this ominous circle pit-generator Code of the Slashers, with their always demonic guitar solos enhancing the song’s electricity to the limit; whereas Shedding My Human Skin is mid-tempo slashing tune where guitars penetrate deep inside our mind while Alex and Paul keep punching us in the head ruthlessly. The song loses its taste a bit after a while, though, but it’s still a decent creation by our beloved Corpse.

Get ready to be massacred by Corpsegrinder and his henchmen in Remaimed (let’s see if you can survive this hurricane of Death Metal), with all instruments played with extreme violence, in special the bass by Alex who once again proves why he’s in my humble opinion the best Extreme Metal bassist of all time; followed by Firestorm Vengeance, a heavy-as-hell metal tempest ignited by putrid, raw riffs that grow in intensity until all hell breaks loose, led by the unstoppable Paul on drums. Put differently, if you’re getting to know Cannibal Corpse at this point in your life, this is a very good sample of their more contemporary sound. Heads Shoveled Off is perfect for banging your head like Corpsegrinder himself, while Paul keeps demolishing his drums and the guitar duo Pat and Rob shows no mercy by cutting our ears with their sharp-edged strings, not to mention the song’s slashing words (“Back in Nam he killed a man / A shovel was used to cut his head off / Now forever changed lust to decapitate / Chop at the neck to keep the skull intact / Going insane / Come back deranged”), and displaying hints of progressiveness but still maintaining the band’s crude sonority, Corpus Delicti is another great job done by Rob and Pat with their axes, delivering amazing riffs and solos nonstop.

Red Before Black Collectors Bundle

In Scavenger Consuming Death we have the pleasure to witness Mr. Webster doing what he does best, shaking the foundations of the earth with his devilish bass lines, also presenting a fantastic chorus to follow along with Corpsegrinder, as well as visceral guitar solos and a thrilling pace. In other words, it can’t get any more Cannibal Corpse than this. The crude, primeval sonority found in In the Midst of Ruin, a beyond perfect tune for some carnage inside the circle pit, takes us back to the band’s early days, with Alex Webster firing bestial, rumbling tunes from his bass; while Destroyed Without a Trace, the second to last tune in Red Before Black, is filled with the band’s trademark harmony and aggressiveness (and a Corpsegrinder sounding more enraged than you can imagine), with all breaks and changes from slower, heavier moments to sheer devastation making it a great choice for their live concerts. Lastly, closing this crushing record we have more of the band’s old school Death Metal in Hideous Ichor, which despite being slightly below the rest of the album in terms of quality, it’s still very enjoyable if you’re a longtime fan of the band.

Metal Blade Records kind of surprised us all by uploading the full album on their YouTube channel, but of course in case you’re also a “Corpse addict” like myself you’re certainly going to buy your favorite version of the album at their webstore, like the Red Before Black Collectors Bundle, including among a ton of pretty cool stuff a bonus CD named “Blood Covered”, featuring Cannibal Corpse turning some metal classic by Accept, Metallica, Kreator, Possessed and other bands into their own infernal sound. Red Before Black exhales pure Cannibal Corpse, and it will surely maintain this fantastic Death Metal horde relevant in the minds of old school metal fans, it will show newcomers to the world of heavy music how Death Metal should always be played, and last but not least, it will keep haunting the souls of those who are not brave enough to face the most hardworking band in the history of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Only One Will Die, Red Before Black, Heads Shoveled Off and Scavenger Consuming Death.

Worst moments of the album: Shedding My Human Skin and Hideous Ichor.

Released in 2017 Metal Blade Records

Track listing 
1. Only One Will Die 3:24
2. Red Before Black 3:12
3. Code of the Slashers 4:45
4. Shedding My Human Skin 3:28
5. Remaimed 4:13
6. Firestorm Vengeance 3:43
7. Heads Shoveled Off 3:37
8. Corpus Delicti 3:29
9. Scavenger Consuming Death 4:33
10. In the Midst of Ruin 3:25
11. Destroyed Without a Trace 4:01
12. Hideous Ichor 4:33

Limited edition bonus disc “Blood Covered”
13. Sacrifice (Sacrifice cover) 3:04
14. Confessions (Possessed cover) 2:58
15. No Remorse (Metallica cover) 6:16
16. Demon’s Night (Accept cover) 4:17
17. Bethany Home (A Place to Die) (The Accused cover) 3:20
18. Endless Pain (Kreator cover) 3:11
19. Behind Bars (Razor cover) 2:20

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Pat O’Brien – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Guest musician
Erik Rutan – backing vocals on “Only One Will Die”, lead guitar on “In the Midst of Ruin”

Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse & Behemoth (Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015)

If you want to live in the bitter cold of Toronto, you have to kill or become.

OPENING ACTS: Tribulation and Aeon

cannibal corpse_behemoth_winter tour 2015If you live in Toronto or anywhere nearby you know how bitterly cold the past couple of months have been. For instance, I personally don’t remember when we had temperatures above the freezing mark (or even above -5°C) for the last time, and it looks like February 2015 is about to become the coldest month in the history of Toronto. Well, nothing better than a hotter-than-hell extreme music night to warm up the hearts of lots of headbangers in the city, right? The venue chosen for this awesome gathering was the always welcoming Phoenix Concert Theatre, where friends wearing the T-shirts of their favorite extreme bands and even a group of girls with their well-crafted corpsepaint were able to enjoy some beers together, headbang like motherfuckers and especially slam into the circle pits.

The bands chosen to liven this mini-festival up were the excellent Swedish Death Metal bands TRIBULATION and AEON, both raising the flag of Scandinavian metal really high with their ferocious performances. If you truly love extreme music but have never heard of either Tribulation or Aeon, I kindly ask you to please go check these two bands: you’ll be surprised with how good they are. The first band was Tribulation, playing a very technical and progressive Death Metal permeated with elements from Black and Doom Metal and singing about darkness, horror, vampires, death and all other of those “beautiful” themes. In case you want to know more about this great Swedish band, my suggestions are the songs Beyond the Horror, Rånda and When the Sky Is Black With Devils, masterfully executed by this four-piece act in front of an avid Torontonian crowd.

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Aeon @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

After a short break it was time for Aeon to deliver their infernal music, blasting everyone’s ears and necks with each and every song played. Lead singer Tommy Dahlström is a beast on vocals (and you can easily notice he’s a huge fan of Cannibal Corpse by his stage performance), perfectly vociferating the violent lyrics of all songs of their brutal setlist, with highlights to the opening song Satanic Victory and also to the amazing Kill Them All and Blessed by the Priest. In addition, how can I describe the performance of drummer Emil Wiksten? That guy is like an unbelievable human stone crusher behind his drums so fast and precise he is, which added a lot of power and fury to the band’s performance. As I said, go after the music by Tribulation and Aeon as quick as the blast beats by Emil!

BEHEMOTH

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Behemoth @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

It was around 8:45pm when the iconic Nergal and his horde of darkness hit the stage with an incredible concert, both in terms of their ominous music and their unique theatrical performance, and it’s amazing how they were capable of delivering so much content in such a limited space. Still promoting their most recent album, the impeccable The Satanist, which even after one year of its release it continues to astonish me, Polish Black/Death Metal masters BEHEMOTH proved why they’re one of the most influential and portentous groups in the world of extreme music.

Although they didn’t play the best song of The Satanist in my opinion, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, the songs selected from the album were just as superb live, with highlights to Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer and Ben Sahar. Older classics also helped keep the audience mesmerized by their obscurity, such as Chant for Eschaton 2000 and Slaves Shall Serve. However, I believe almost everybody will agree with me when I say they simply kicked all possible asses with the already classic O Father O Satan O Sun!, a song that live sounds even more grandiose than its studio version, augmented by the band’s special satanic attire worn during its execution. This might sound stupid for a lot of people, but Behemoth performing this song at the Oscars would have been beyond spectacular. Unfortunately, the world and all mere mortals that live in it don’t seem ready for Behemoth yet.

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Behemoth @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

Also, it’s undeniable that Nergal is a true Extreme Metal leader and he’s passionate about what he does, and consequently he had almost all eyes staring at him during the whole concert, but the other band members are also wonderful and skillful musicians who help Nergal achieve the level of excellence he has in his mind for the band. Who didn’t enjoy the performance by bassist Orion, who looked like an even more devilish version of Gene Simmons’ stage persona The Demon? And what about the dark riffs by Seth or the rhythmic drumming by Inferno? What an awesome band, and if you missed them this time, may Lucifer have mercy on your soul. Or not.

Setlist
1. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
2. Conquer All
3. Ben Sahar
4. Decade of Therion
5. Messe Noire
6. Ov Fire and the Void
7. At the Left Hand ov God
8. Slaves Shall Serve
9. Chant for Eschaton 2000
10. O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

CANNIBAL CORPSE

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Cannibal Corpse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

In order to properly close the night and pulverize anyone or anything that was still alive after Behemoth, Death Metal titans CANNIBAL CORPSE arose from the crypts of hell to transform the entire venue into their own “skeletal domain”, obviously promoting their most recent album, the visceral A Skeletal Domain. If there’s one thing that I love about Cannibal Corpse is the fact that they’re a band that always moves forward, despite having a solid past which they could live on forever like many classic bands do. All their latest albums are brutally superb, and technically speaking they’re getting better and better year after year.

Their setlist was an awesome mix of old classics and newer songs, including almost one track from each one of their albums, from Eaten Back to Life (1990) to last year’s A Skeletal Domain. Mosh pits and pure headbanging erupted with classics such as A Skull Full of Maggots, Demented Aggression, Make Them Suffer and The Wretched Spawn, while the selected songs from their new album for this tour, in special the great Sadistic Embodiment and the steamroller Kill or Become, intensified even more the hurricane that was happening on the “dance” floor.

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Cannibal Corpse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

Moreover, anything I say about the band members will just be pure repetition of common sense: they are all really talented musicians that love Death Metal above all things (well, Corpsegrinder said he loves pussy above all things), and that translates into pure electricity when they’re performing on the stage. You can barely see Alex Webster’s face, but he’s there delivering the most intricate bass lines you can find in extreme music, while Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett keep firing their evil riffs and Paul Mazurkiewicz his nonstop beats. And as I always say, Mr. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is the face of Cannibal Corpse and the one to give life (or death) to the band’s gory lyrics while headbanging like a fuckin’ chopper in a way only he is capable of. Besides, seeing him scratching himself with one of Paul’s drumsticks due to an incontrollable itch in the middle of his back, and you know he’s not a small guy, was priceless.

When Cannibal Corpse played their last two songs, the unparalleled classics Hammer Smashed Face and Devoured by Vermin (my top Cannibal Corpse song of all time), they turned the whole venue into a fuckin’ monstrous mosh pit with absolutely no place to hide, showcasing how awesome those songs are. But do you think anyone in the audience complained about it? There were so many smiles and so much sweat everywhere when the show was over I’m pretty sure the fans of the Corpse cannot wait for them to storm Toronto once again and heat up our chilly winter with their perfect Death Metal. Fire up the chainsaw!

Setlist
1. Scourge of Iron
2. Demented Aggression
3. Evisceration Plague
4. Stripped, Raped and Strangled
5. Kill or Become
6. Sadistic Embodiment
7. Icepick Lobotomy
8. The Wretched Spawn
9. Pounded into Dust
10. I Cum Blood
11. Make Them Suffer
12. A Skull Full of Maggots
13. Hammer Smashed Face
14. Devoured by Vermin

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Pat O’Brien – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Long live the Corpse and their wicked domain of Death Metal.

Rating4

Cannibal Corpse_A Skeketal DomainIn my humble opinion, the most important legacy the city of Buffalo, New York (also known as “The Queen City”) will ever leave to humanity is the unrivalled twisted music by American Death Metal heavyweights Cannibal Corpse. Not only that, I personally consider George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Alex Webster & Co. the best, most cohesive and most amusing Death Metal band of all time, and now once again they prove us all why they’re so awesome with the excellent A Skeletal Domain, the thirteenth studio album in their path of ruthless devastation.

One might ask how they keep being relevant in heavy music after all those years, maintaining their musicality almost intact but without sounding repetitive at the same time. Well, although every Cannibal Corpse album has the band’s hallmarks such as their gruesome lyrics and intrinsic brutal instrumental and vocals, those guys somehow manage to reinvent themselves and offer something distinct in each of their releases. For instance, A Skeletal Domain provides us a darker and more freakish sounding than their previous albums, as mentioned by bassist Alex Webster in some recent interviews. Just take a look at the Stygian album art and you’ll have an idea of how eerie this album is.

In order to kick off the album the best way possible, the band invites us to join them in this dark domain of music with the aggressive High Velocity Impact Spatter, which right after a quick Horror movie-ish intro becomes a Death Metal feast full of excellent riffs, solos and creativity led by bassist Alex Webster and guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett. Moreover, the initial roar by Mr. Corpsegrinder and the desperate way he screams the chorus prove once again why he’s and will always be the true voice of Cannibal Corpse. Following that sonic massacre we have Sadistic Embodiment, a song that couldn’t be more Cannibal Corpse than that, with Alex Webster kicking ass one more time and Paul Mazurkiewicz always killing on drums; and Kill or Become, a song about a zombie outbreak with a beautiful message in the lyrics (“Fire up the chainsaw / Hack all their heads off / Fire up the chainsaw / Hack their fucking heads off”), with the instrumental parts reminding me of another Cannibal Corpse track, “As Deep as the Knife Will Go”, intensified by a sick guitar solo by Rob Barrett. Do I need to mention it is more than perfect to be part of any truly disgusting zombie movie soundtrack?

Cannibal CorpseAnd their rampant Death Metal extravaganza goes on with the amazing title-track, A Skeletal Domain, another lesson in bestiality with highlights to its insane double bass and superb riffs. I simply love the chorus and how Corpsegrinder “recites” the lyrics, especially when he says people are turning into some kind of creatures that are “not a zombie not a human”. Can you imagine how grotesque those creatures are? Anyway, Headlong into Carnage is a straightforward song made for breaking your neck due to the intensity which you’ll bang your head, where the instrumental parts sound like old school Thrash Metal in many moments, followed by The Murderer’s Pact, which is more melodic than all previous tracks and where Corpsegrinder’s voice and the guitar riffs end up making a very interesting duo.

Funeral Cremation, with its Black Metal elements and very macabre lyrics, and the “smooth” Ice-Pick Lobotomy, with its complex musicality (especially the bass lines and all the guitar shredding), keep the overall quality of the album really high, while Vector of Cruelty, despite not being as powerful as the other tracks, offers us pure traditional Death Metal with some interesting rhythmic breaks. And what can I say about the fast and furious Bloodstained Cement? The violence in its lyrics is outstanding (“Smash his skull onto the pavement / Make the bastard pay / Don’t stop until it cracks / And spills out his brain”), and I cannot wait for the absurd circle pits this song will generate if played live.

Lastly, there’s still time for more extreme music with Asphyxiate to Resuscitate, with another awesome performance by Mr. Corpsegrinder and some excellent drumming blended really well with some sick guitar lines and solos, and the fast and heavy neck-breaking tune Hollowed Bodies, with its evil guttural vocals and Paul Mazurkiewicz stealing the show again, to finish exterminating whoever is still alive. However, regardless of all that savagery, the guys from Cannibal Corpse are far from being heartless individuals, as A Skeletal Domain is dedicated to the memory of Michael Trengert, who was the managing director of Silverdust Records and former promoter at Nuclear Blast and manager of Metal Blade Records Europe. He passed away on September 23, 2013, leaving many friends all over the world.

In addition, as I’ve already mentioned a billion times before, there would be no Cannibal corpse without bassist Alex Webster. As a matter of fact, that guy is not just a regular Death Metal bassist like those ones you can barely listen to and who usually don’t make any difference to their bands’ musicality. The architect and mastermind behind the realm of the Corpse is a fuckin’ wild beast responsible for the darkest, sickest, most innovative, most fiendish and most intricate bass lines one can ever imagine in the world of extreme music, elevating the quality of their records so much even some people who loathe traditional Death Metal have to acknowledge how good Cannibal Corpse are. Pay attention to all the bass lines in each and every song from A Skeletal Domain, they’re beyond impressive!

In summary, A Skeletal Domain might not be as magnificent as Vile (1996), Kill (2006) or Torture (2012), which I consider the best Cannibal Corpse albums of all time, but it is indeed an amazing record that will surely keep the Corpse alive after almost 30 years of wildness, expanding their perverse domain of Death Metal and, of course, it’s also an excellent choice to invest your hard-earned money (go for the “A Skeletal Domain Deluxe Bundle”, it’s just plain awesome) if you’re a real fan of traditional Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: High Velocity Impact Spatter, A Skeletal Domain and Bloodstained Cement.

Worst moments of the album: The Murderer’s Pact and Vector of Cruelty.

Released in 2014 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. High Velocity Impact Spatter 4:06
2. Sadistic Embodiment 3:17
3. Kill or Become 3:50
4. A Skeletal Domain 3:38
5. Headlong into Carnage 3:01
6. The Murderer’s Pact 5:05
7. Funeral Cremation 3:41
8. Ice-Pick Lobotomy 3:16
9. Vector of Cruelty 3:25
10. Bloodstained Cement 3:41
11. Asphyxiate to Resuscitate 3:47
12. Hollowed Bodies 3:05

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Pat O’Brien – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Album Review – Phobiatic / Fragments Of Flagrancy (2014)

Get ready for a technical and blustering sonic havoc by this terrific Death Metal band from Germany.

Rating4

COVERThere’s only one word that comes to my mind after listening to Fragments Of Flagrancy, the second full-length album by German Technical Death Metal band Phobiatic, and it’s DEVASTATION. That’s what this awesome band from Essen, Germany, offers us with their new album: a violent sonic war full of complex riffs and devastating drums, perfect for fans of the atrocious music by old school icons such as Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus and Suffocation, with an extra dose of modernity that intensifies their musicality even more.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference from their first album, disregarding of course the fact that all band members are a lot more mature and experienced now, is the change in vocals from the deeper guttural by Christian Markwald to the more technical and sharper voice by Sebastian Meisen. This change reminds me a lot of what happened to the music by American Death Metal masters Cannibal Corpse when Chris Barnes was replaced by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, which in my humble opinion was indeed a very positive change for the band.

It seems that Phobiatic wanted to send a message to all listeners as soon as the opening track starts, the raging Bugging Operation, telling everyone something like “this is what we do, and if you don’t like it just fuck off”. It’s a devilishly technical and violent song, similar to what Brazilian Death Metal monsters Krisiun do and highly recommended for all lovers of extreme brutality, or in other words, not for the faint of heart. In Downward Spiral they were able to accelerate things even more, with an outstanding chorus and drummer Kai Bracht showing no mercy for his drum set, while Ripped To Shreds showcases an impressive synchronicity between guitars and drums, with the demonic and boisterous vocals by Sebastian Meisen perfectly fitting all that music havoc. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure bassist Michael Stifft is a huge fan of Cannibal Corpse’s one and only Alex Webster due to the complexity of the bass lines throughout this song.

Then this nonstop Death Metal machine brings us House In Cleveland, which despite being slower than the previous tracks is as heavy as it can be, with focus on deeper guttural vocals, and the superb A Genius Of Manipulation, where the complexity in its very technical and fast drumming and guitar lines is truly above average. Not only that, the violence found in its chorus is another highlight of this extreme metal composition, contributing to elevating it to the status of best song of the whole album. The following tracks, R.A.T.T. and Suitable Method, sound totally inspired by the music of Deicide and Krisiun and remind you that you need to be in really good shape to keep up with their speed and brutality, especially the latter where we have another awesome performance by drummer Kai Bracht, with all music variations making the song even more complex and disturbing. I’m sure you’ll love the last part of this song, it is an amazing lesson in Death Metal.

phobiatic-photo3But before you can raise your white flag amidst all the rage and violence bred by Phobiatic, the band still has time to deliver us some more awesomeness in form of Death Metal: in Abnormal Dilation, vocalist Sebastian Meisen adds some desperate high-pitched screams to his vocal range, while Like Pigs In The Dirt goes straight to the point with its old school approach (and don’t forget to pay attention to the “beautiful” message in the lyrics). And lastly, we have Metropolis (Of The Dead), a more obscure track with a melancholic intro that suddenly turns into another pure Death Metal tune, with highlights to the excellent job done by guitarist Robert Nowak.

You can find Fragments Of Flagrancy on sale here, and I’m sure it will soon be available in other places such as iTunes and some physical stores. Let’s help this amazing brutal band spread their infernal music all over the world and torment our souls for many years to come. After all, that’s what traditional Death Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: Downward Spiral, A Genius Of Manipulation and Suitable Method.

Worst moments of the album: House In Cleveland and Metropolis (Of The Dead).

Released in 2014 Unundeux/Cargo Records

Track listing
1. Bugging Operation 2:50
2. Downward Spiral 2:41
3. Ripped To Shreds 2:53
4. House In Cleveland 4:41
5. A Genius Of Manipulation 3:38
6. R.A.T.T. 2:42
7. Suitable Method 4:22
8. Abnormal Dilation 2:20
9. Like Pigs In The Dirt 1:45
10. Metropolis (Of The Dead) 5:40

Band members
Sebastian Meisen – vocals
Robert Nowak – guitars
Michael Stifft – bass
Kai Bracht – drums

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Vile (1996)

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mr. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.

Rating3

VilecannibalcorpseThe year of 1996 was excellent for heavy music fans, with bands like Sepultura, Slayer, Pantera, In Flames and Stratovarius launching some unique albums, and of course we also had the ferocious Vile from Death Metal icons Cannibal Corpse, this time with a fresh new singer, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Although some old diehard fans didn’t enjoy the change, in my opinion Chris Barnes always sounded like a desperate gorilla choking on his own vomit screaming for help, while Corpsegrinder added more dynamism and creativity to the band’s music.

Devoured By Vermin opens this musical massacre at a very high level, showing what to expect from the rest of the album. This quickly became my top Cannibal Corpse song of all time, even better than their most acclaimed classic Hammer Smashed Face, and even after listening to what was going to be the original version before Barnes left I still prefer the official one the band re-recorded with Corpsegrinder on vocals.

cannibalcorpse1996promophoto1The following three songs keep on “destroying” our necks and bodies: Mummified in Barbed Wire, Perverse Suffering and Disfigured, especially this last one, are perfect for any circle-pits or for a heavy workout at the gym after a stressful day at school or work. With Bloodlands the band seems to give a break to all the insanity with a heavy but slow song, just to get back as fast and destructible as possible with the amazing Puncture Wound Massacre and the instrumental Relentless Beating. The album continues with another great song for a horror movie soundtrack, Absolute Hatred, the violent Eaten from Inside (which has some awesome riffs and solos), and the short but complex Orgasm Through Torture (what a beautiful name). The last song, Monolith, is nice but sounds too generic compared to the rest of the album. Nothing that makes Vile less amazing, though.

There’s not much to say about the totally brutal and gruesome lyrics, or about the insanely evil front cover (if you’re a pussy, go for the censored version of it). Those are trademarks of one of the heaviest bands on Earth and make the final material even better. The guitar players do an excellent job and I’ve already said what I think about Corpsegrinder, but let me focus on Paul Mazurkiewicz and Alex Webster. Paul is not a simple drummer, he’s a ruthless human jackhammer, while Alex is a beast that makes anyone completely forget about Cliff Burton after listening to his demented and unmatched bass lines.

You can say whatever you want about the band with Barnes or Corpsegrinder on vocals, as each fan of the band has their own reasons to prefer this or that guttural style, but one thing is certain: Cannibal Corpse’s Vile kicks some serious fuckin’ ass and is mandatory in the collection of anyone who appreciates some brutal and extremely technical high-quality Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Devoured By Vermin, Disfigured and Puncture Wound Massacre.

Worst moments of the album: Bloodlands and Monolith.

Released in 1996 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Devoured by Vermin 3:13
2. Mummified in Barbed Wire 3:09
3. Perverse Suffering 4:14
4. Disfigured 3:48
5. Bloodlands 4:20
6. Puncture Wound Massacre 1:41
7. Relentless Beating 2:14
8. Absolute Hatred 3:05
9. Eaten from Inside 3:43
10. Orgasm Through Torture 3:41
11. Monolith 4:24

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – guitar
Jack Owen – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums