Album Review – Necronomicon / Advent of The Human God (2016)

Behold the descent of the human god upon humanity to the symphonic and scorching Black Metal delivered by the most prominent Canadian horde of all time.

Rating4

Necronomicon_AHG_2000x2000_Rev_02If the original meaning of “Necronomicon” is a fictional grimoire (or textbook of magic), appearing in the stories by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, I believe we should refer to what Canadian Symphonic Black/Death Metal veterans Necronomicon offer us in their brand new opus entitled Advent of The Human God as a sonic compilation of evil spells. Discharging a lethal dose of symphonic and scorching Blackened Death Metal through their music, this power trio from the city of Montreal, Quebec takes no prisoners in their battle against religion, and nothing better than their artistic view of the descent of a human god upon humanity to showcase the always negative outcomes caused by our blind faith.

Fans of controversial bands like Behemoth, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir will connect instantly with the lyrics and themes explored by Necronomicon in their new album, which are in line with what was presented in their previous releases such as Rise of The Elder Ones (2013), Return of The Witch (2010) and Pharaoh of Gods (1999). Featuring a beautiful and ungodly artwork by Canadian artist and musician Filip Ivanović and having bassist Mars debuting on the low-keys, Advent of The Human God is another step further in the solid career of this precious gem made in Canada, which obviously translates into pure awesomeness for fans of extreme music.

The symphonic and epic intro The Descent grows until the tile-track Advent of The Human God comes smashing us all with its blasting beats and dark melody, with the iconic lead singer and guitarist Rob “The Witch” Tremblay firing his deep vociferations in this work-of-art the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth. And this is just the beginning, because The Golden Gods starts right where the previous track ended, with drummer Rick blasting his heavy artillery of darkness until all instruments join him and all hell breaks loose. In addition to that, Rob provides some wicked solos that only enhance the song’s quality, making the overall result very progressive and obviously thrilling.

Necronomicon - photo - Credit - Myriam Francoeur 6Sounding like if it was extracted from a futuristic horror movie, the symphonic instrumental tune Okkultis Trinity will captivate you and drag you to the underworld, where the ferocious Unification of The Four Pillars will crush your spine and distort your mind, showcasing yet another flawless performance by Rick on drums while Rob leads the musicality with his solid riffs and growls, all nicely complemented by the symphonic elements and choir in the background. And in Crown of Thorns, its “opening of an evil ceremony” morphs into brutal and merciless Black Metal (with huge doses of harmony to give more balance to it), and this sonic earthquake keeps kicking ass throughout the entire song for our absolute delectation.

Leaning towards the musicality by Behemoth, The Fjord is slightly slower but as demonic and aggressive as usual, displaying a great synchronicity between Rob and Rick, which ends up creating an imposing atmosphere perfect for nonstop circle pits and brutal headbanging; whereas the sinister and atmospheric Gaia, another movie-like instrumental bridge, slowly sets the stage for the puissant I (Bringer Of Light), which needs only two seconds to hit you like a lightning bolt. This precise fusion of Symphonic Black Metal and Blackened Death Metal presents a completely infuriated and possessed Rob, who helps increase the song’s effectiveness in special during its powerful chorus. Innocence And Wrath, a cover version for the intro from Celtic Frost’s 1985 cult album To Mega Therion, doesn’t do much for the album as it’s just a short instrumental track, and Alchemy Of The Avatar, a symphonic and melodic onslaught of Black Metal, concludes the album with Rick firing unstoppable beats and fills while Rob switches his voice to a more satanic level and back to his regular deep growls, with all these elements helping the music flow into a climatic ending.

In case you’re from another planet and haven’t heard anything about Necronomicon yet, I suggest you go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel and ReverbNation profile, and in order to get your copy of Advent of The Human God you should visit their BandCamp page or Season of Mist’s official webstore. As aforementioned, the advent of a human god upon humanity couldn’t have a better soundtrack than the unique Blackened Death Metal by this skillful Canadian horde.

Best moments of the album: Advent of The Human God, Unification of The Four Pillars and I (Bringer Of Light).

Worst moments of the album: Innocence And Wrath.

Released in 2016 Season of Mist

Track listing
1. The Descent 1:18
2. Advent of The Human God 5:27
3. The Golden Gods 4:13
4. Okkultis Trinity 2:27
5. Unification of The Four Pillars 3:27
6. Crown of Thorns 4:30
7. The Fjord 4:39
8. Gaia 2:43
9. I (Bringer Of Light) 4:04
10. Innocence And Wrath (Celtic Frost Cover) 1:08
11. Alchemy Of The Avatar 5:14

Band members
Rob “The Witch” Tremblay – vocals, guitar
Mars – bass
Rick – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Vanja Slajh

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I shall devour your flesh!

As we kicked off 2014 with a true badass bassist, and as the year was so awesome for The Headbanging Moose, let’s keep up with the “tradition” and start 2015 with another Heavy Metal babe that kicks some serious ass with her 4-string weapon. The chosen one this time is the enigmatic Swiss brunette Vanja Slajh (or also Vanja Šlajh), bassist for Zurich-based Gothic Doom Metal band Triptykon.

Although we can find pretty much any information about anything in the world on the Internet, it was a hard task collecting personal and professional details about Vanja’s life, showing how introverted she might be and how she has managed to remain as underground as possible even after joining Triptykon and gaining some considerable fame.

All that could be found on the Internet about the personal life of this stunning woman was the year she was born, which was 1984, and that she is from the beautiful country of Switzerland, but nothing else in regards to her favorite artists, bands, food, drinks, movies or hobbies. Not even her official Twitter account has any details about her life or projects, and basically all interviews related to Triptykon are done by the band’s founder Tom G. Warrior, who’s also the mastermind behind Swiss Extreme Metal bands Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. In case you love some mystery in a woman, you’ll probably fall in love for Vanja, as it seems her life is full of secrets that she’s not willing to share with almost anyone in this world. In an era where our lives are 100% exposed on all types of social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, Finding people who can have non-overexposed private lives is truly fantastic, and Vanja is one of those “heroes”.

So let’s talk about the known facts about her, all related to her career as a Heavy Metal bass player. Despite the fact that no one knows exactly when she started playing bass nor who her biggest influences in music were, before joining Triptykon she was part of a Swiss Black Metal project named Freitod, but the band has never really released anything. Besides, no one is really sure when she became the bassist for Freitod nor when she left the band (those Black Metal bands are way too obscure sometimes).

Finally, in 2008, Tom G. Warrior invited Vanja to be the bassist for Triptykon, and as he has mentioned several times during his interviews, she was the only person he had in mind for the 4-string position with the band. Some people say Vanja was the chosen one because after the two met when he was going to do some production for her previous band, Freitod, they suddenly became really good friends. I believe friendship among band members is valid, and of course essential for the survival of any band, but in my opinion her skills as a musician and her onstage performance were what actually influenced Tom in his decision.

So far she has recorded with the band the full-length album Eparistera Daimones, the EP Shatter, and more recently the amazing album Melana Chasmata. The lyrical themes changed slightly from what she used to play with Freitod, now more focused on feelings such as despair, pain and depression, as you can see in the lyrics for their single Breathing (“Every breath I take / Leaves me parched for air / Every hand I touch / Causes skin to tear / Every flame approached / Blinds my eyes / Every word I write / Leaves me drained”), taken from their most recent album.

However, it’s that dark, low and thunderous sound this gothic girl can extract from her instrument that really stands out when she’s playing, which can be easily noted in the aforementioned song Breathing, and in the songs Crucifixus and Shatter, from their Shatter EP, the later having one of the most powerful and bestial bass lines I’ve ever heard in my life. How can she play those notes? And before you ask, although she’s recorded some vocals for their latest album, it’s not her voice in Shatter, but of singer Simone Vollenweider.

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If you want to enjoy the thrilling live performance of this Goddess of Metal with Triptykon, I believe the best video available online is their masterful performance at Wacken Open Air in 2011. But in case you don’t have enough time or patience to watch the entire concert online, or if you’re a depressed person and don’t want to feel even more depressed with Triptykon’s dark music, you should at least check out one of the songs from that concert, their version for Celtic Frost’s classic and probably biggest masterpiece Procreation (Of The Wicked). To be honest, I have no idea how watching the stunning Vanja and her wicked bass kicking fuckin’ ass on stage can be depressing by any means, but that depends on each person’s perception of reality, right?

Besides Vanja’s unique technique as a bassist, one of the main reasons for this raven-haired woman being able to produce such low notes (as if her bass guitar was going to explode) is her excellent partnership with Ibanez guitars. I read somewhere that she uses the Ibanez Iceman Series Electric Basses (more specifically the Ibanez ICB300EX-BK Iceman Bass) because “she just fell in love with it”. What a lucky bass guitar!

One last detail about Triptykon’s awesome bassist is that she was featured in a special issue (#94) of Decibel Magazine in August 2012, called Women in Metal “Queens of Noise”, but unfortunately I couldn’t check what’s actually inside the magazine. Not sure if there was any kind of interview with her or just some pictures, which doesn’t bother me at all. As long as she keeps shaking the earth with her blustering bass, I’m pretty sure no one will care if she doesn’t give any interviews in her entire life. Well, at least not in English, because there’s one available in her mother tongue during Rock Hard Festival 2014, Swiss German, where I could at least enjoy her beauty, voice and smile as I don’t speak that language at all. If you speak Swiss German or regular German, enjoy it!

Vanja Slajh’s Official Twitter
Triptykon’s Official Facebook page
Triptykon’s Official YouTube channel

Album Review – Triptykon / Melana Chasmata (2014)

Gothic, Black and especially Doom Metal as grandiose as they can be.

Rating2

Triptykon-Melana-ChasmataOne of the most expected albums of 2014 from one of today’s darkest and heaviest bands has finally arrived: Melana Chasmata, or Μελανά Χασματα (in the Greek alphabet), which can be translated as “black, deep depressions”, from Swiss Gothic/Doom Metal band Triptykon, has everything it takes to be one of the most acclaimed albums of the year, and undoubtedly the best in terms of extreme music.

This Zurich-based Doom Metal “dream team” founded by Heavy Metal icon Tom G. Warrior (Hellhammer, Celtic Frost) is as cohesive and effective as possible, and of course, totally wicked. There isn’t a single song on this album that can be considered filler or commercial: quite the contrary, Triptykon offer us a masterpiece of darkness, with lots of melancholy, pain and hopelessness, perfect for people who hate all those disposable pop songs made for that annoying and fake sense of “collective joy”.

Tom & Co. open the album with a pure Black Metal track called Tree Of Suffocating Souls, with a fuckin’ heavy instrumental, especially bass and drums, which sound simply amazing together. Moreover, the lyrics are also very intelligent and controversial, making the whole song even better. And what can I say about the Gothic/Doom Metal work-of-art Boleskine House? Its low resonant bass and the female vocals give me the shivers, and make me want to literally feel this song at a Triptykon concert. It’s a flawless brilliant composition, the best song of the album, and the lyrics are those things we feel grateful for being able to enjoy (“Your eyes that once / Have gazed the waves / Have long been closed / Become enslaved / Within these walls”).

Altar Of Deceit continues with the greatness in Melana Chasmata with its dark intro, Tony Iommi-ish demonic riffs, desperate vocals, and a very nice solo at the end, while Breathing, another extremely dark track with a depressive and at the same time beautiful intro, suddenly accelerates to an awesome mix of Death and Black Metal and ends in a very good “old school Slayer” way. What else do we need in a song, right?

The following two tracks are the epitome of evil: Aurorae is a dreary song, tailored for people who enjoy “suffering” alone while savoring the most obscure tunes a band can produce, and its guitar solo gives it an extra touch of fineness; and Demon Pact sounds like if its riffs, vocals, drums, bass and everything else were actually recorded in hell. Based on the name of the song I wasn’t expecting anything less evil, making it one of my favorite tracks by far.

triptykonIn The Sleep Of Death, a very atmospheric and eerie low-paced song, has some more desperate vocals, followed by the longest track of the album, Black Snow, a lesson in Doom Metal with over 12 minutes of obscurity and awesomeness. Tom proves here he’s the beast incarnate, and it’s impossible not to scream together with him “Black snow! Black snow!”. And to close this stunning album in a majestic way, we have Waiting, with its delicate rhythm and mesmerizing female vocals. It’s a very gothic and beautiful song, and I’m sure lots of fans will consider it one of the highlights of the whole album.

The album art, once again created by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger, who has already worked with music icons such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Carcass, Celtic Frost and Danzig, perfectly represents all the density in the music in Melana Chasmata. Besides that, one thing I need to say is that, although all musicians are amazing and Tom G. Warrior is a genius, the badass bass lines are my favorite part of all songs. Vanja Slajh is a Doom Metal Goddess, no doubt about that.

Tom always says that only Death is real. However, he forgot to say the same about his band Triptykon, and now about Melana Chasmata, an album we’re more than glad it’s a reality. Eparistera Daimones was already a great album, but this time Triptykon took Doom Metal to such a level of grandiosity it’s hard to find words to describe it. When music is able to reach our souls like what’s found in Melana Chasmata, we know there’s something special about it. And if Triptykon go to your town for a live performance, don’t miss it by any chance: it’s going to be a unique and thrilling experience that very few bands can provide you nowadays.

Best moments of the album: Boleskine House, Breathing, Aurorae, Demon Pact and Black Snow. As a matter of fact, I should say that the whole album is amazing.

Worst moments of the album: It’s difficult to find a weak song in Melana Chasmata, but if I really had to choose one I would say In The Sleep Of Death.

Released in 2014 Prowling Death Records/Century Media Records

Track listing
1. Tree Of Suffocating Souls 7:55
2. Boleskine House 7:12
3. Altar Of Deceit 7:32
4. Breathing 5:50
5. Aurorae 6:17
6. Demon Pact 6:07
7. In The Sleep Of Death 8:10
8. Black Snow 12:24
9. Waiting 5:55

Band members
Tom G. Warrior – guitar, vocals
V. Santura – guitar, vocals
Vanja Slajh – bass, vocals
Norman Lonhard – drums, percussion