Concert Review – Godsmack & Volbeat (Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON, 05/10/2019)

And the city of Ottawa was more than ready to rumble with two of the best bands of the modern Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll scene.

OPENING ACT: Stitched Up Heart

Although my drive from Toronto to Ottawa on Thursday was a complete shit due to the nasty rain and all the trucks spraying tons of water on my windshield, that didn’t turn my energy level down not even a bit for the concert that was about to happen on Friday. I was really pumped to see what’s probably the best modern Rock N’ Roll bands available out there, the almighty Volbeat and the incendiary Godsmack, kicking some serious ass on stage at Richcraft Live (I honestly have no idea what that name means) at the Canadian Tire Centre. It was my first time at that venue and I must say it’s indeed a great place to watch a concert or a sports event, but unfortunately getting there is not that easy unless you drive, take a taxi or Uber to the venue, which ends up inflating the parking costs considerably.

Anyway, fans were still arriving at the venue when Los Angeles-based Hard Rock act STITCHED UP HEART began their short but effective performance, spearheaded by the beautiful Mixi on vocals. If you have no idea about what type of music Stitched Up Heart play, let’s say it’s a fusion of the contemporary Hard Rock played by Godsmack with Evanescence and Marilyn Manson, and the final result is very entertaining. It was a beyond solid warm-up for the main attractions of the night, and a very good welcome card from the band to us fans of rock music here in Canada, as I don’t actually remember seeing them anywhere around here before this tour opening for Volbeat and Godsmack. In other words, go to their official website for more information about the band, where they’re playing, where to buy their music, and so on, as those guys (and girl, of course) are definitely worth a shot.

Setlist
This Skin
Warrior
Catch Me When I Fall
Darkness
Straightjacket
Finally Free
Lost (feat. Sully Erna)

Band members
Mixi – vocals
Merritt – guitar
Randy – bass
Decker – drums 

VOLBEAT

After a short break, and with the Canadian Tire Centre already occupied by thousands of fans from different parts of Canada and the United States, it was time for Danish rockers VOLBEAT to bring to Ottawa their undisputed Rock N’ Roll infused with Heavy Metal nuances, proving once again that Copenhagen-based quartet is not one of the biggest names in the current Rock N’ Roll scene in vain. Still promoting their 2016 album Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie, but just about to release a brand new album (for our total delight), the band comprised of Michael Poulsen on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Caggiano on lead guitar, Kaspar Boye Larsen on bass, and Jon Larsen on drums set the venue on fire with their fast and melodic riffs and beats, and of course, endless electricity (despite the fact that Mr. Poulsen was visibly fighting some sort of cold or flu).

From the first few notes from the excellent The Devil’s Bleeding Crown to the closing moments from the already classic Still Counting, Volbeat delivered what’s expected from them, inspiring all fans from the floor section to ignite some fun (and furious) circle pits, especially during their most metallic songs such as A Warrior’s Call, 16 Dollars, Doc Holliday and Seal the Deal. Also, I think I’ve already mentioned this before, but it’s always impressive to witness how powerful and precise Mr. Caggiano is on the guitar, elevating the band’s sonority to new heights since entering the band in 2013. In addition, one song that I was extremely happy they played was Hallelujah Goat, one of my favorite Volbeat songs of all time due to its energy and heaviness, potentialized by Rob’s amazing technique and feeling. And before I forget, the band also played a brand new song for the first time ever in Ottawa, the 40-second Punk Rock tune Parasite, which albeit being extremely short it was well received by all fans who were paying attention at the moment, because you know, 40 seconds are not enough not even for a quick bathroom break. In a nutshell, I know that I just saw Volbeat live and that I’ll see them again with Slipknot, Gojira and Behemoth soon here in Toronto, but they’re so good live I cannot wait, and besides, their concerts are never long enough for them to play all of their classics.

Setlist
The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
Lola Montez
Sad Man’s Tongue (with Ring of Fire intro)
A Warrior’s Call / I Only Want to Be With You
Let It Burn
Black Rose
Parasite
16 Dollars
Dead but Rising
Fallen
Hallelujah Goat
Marie Laveau
Doc Holliday
Seal the Deal
Still Counting

Band members
Michael Poulsen – vocals, rhythm guitar
Rob Caggiano – lead guitar
Kaspar Boye Larsen – bass guitar
Jon Larsen – drums

GODSMACK

It was close to 9:45pm when the lights went out, a fun mashup of classic rock songs started playing from the amps, and finally GODSMACK hit the stage with their unique mix of Alternative Rock and Heavy Metal. I confess I don’t think their 2018 album When Legends Rise is one of their best efforts to date; quite the contrary, it’s relatively weak compared for example to their previous album, the fantastic 1000hp, released in 2014, but Sully Erna and his henchmen are so amazing in what they do they managed to turn all of the songs they played from their new album, those being When Legends Rise, Say My Name, Unforgettable, Under Your Scars and Bulletproof, into truly amazing moments of their performance. By the way, as explained by Sully during the concert, inspired by their own song Under Your Scars, Godsmack have recently founded The Scars Foundation to help raise awareness of the mental health issues that so many are faced with today. Needless to say, donate and show your support to such important and noble cause.

Getting back to the concert, I have to say that even if they played bad music the whole thing would still have been at least great, as all the fire and other special effects on stage added a lot of energy to their performance. But, of course, Godsmack do not play bad music, and fantastic songs like 1000hp (my favorite of the night), Cryin’ Like a Bitch and Whatever put a huge smile on the faces of every single fan watching their concert. Furthermore, there were three very distinct moments that let’s say “surprised” most fans due to their uniqueness, those being their dark and enthralling performance of their all-time hit Voodoo, the interesting Batalla De Los Tambores (or “battle of the drums”, if you know nothing in Spanish) between Sully and the extremely talented drummer Shannon Larkin, and the Rock N’ Roll party established on stage when Rob Caggiano and the entire Stitched Up Heart joined them on stage for a cover version of AC/DC’s classic Highway to Hell.

In the end, after Godsmack played their heavier-than-hell hit I Stand Alone, all fans left the Canadian Tire Centre extremely satisfied, hoping the band doesn’t take another abysmal time to return to Canadian soil. On the other hand, if you live in Canada and missed Godsmack, I feel really sorry for your soul. A band like that is always busy, always touring the world, and they don’t have a lot of empty spot to fill out with Canadian dates. Well, don’t cry like a bitch if you missed it, simply stay tuned to their upcoming tours and do like the rockin’ citizens from Ottawa, whenever you hear the words “Volbeat” or “Godsmack”, put on your black shirt, you leather jacket and get ready to rumble like there’s no tomorrow with one of the best and most electrifying bands of the not-so-new generation of rock and metal music.

Setlist
When Legends Rise
1000hp
Say My Name
Keep Away (Moon Baby Outro)
Cryin’ Like a Bitch
Awake
Unforgettable
Something Different
Voodoo
Batalla De Los Tambores
Whatever

Encore:
Under Your Scars
Bulletproof
Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover)
I Stand Alone

Band members
Sully Erna – vocals, guitar
Tony Rombola – lead guitar
Robbie Merrill – bass
Shannon Larkin – drums

Album Review – Hexis / Tando Ashanti (2017)

Behold the epitome of Blackened Hardcore offered by a distinct Danish act, channeling pure darkness throughout 40 minutes of doomed sounds and noises split in 11 obscure compositions.

Hexis (ἕξις), a Greek word important in the philosophy of Aristotle (and because of this a traditional word of philosophy), is a relatively stable arrangement or disposition, for example a person’s health or knowledge or character. However, since 2010 the word has also been used to describe a distinct band from the city of Copenhagen, in Denmark, playing a mix of Hardcore and doomy Black Metal and singing about topics such as nihilism, anti-Christianity and abstract thought. Across their history, the band has played over 300 shows in the United States, Canada, Japan, Cuba, Russia, the UK and all over Europe, showing how appreciated their unique and obscure music is worldwide.

Following the success of their first full-length album Abalam, from 2014, as well as many other EP’s, demos and split albums released through the years, Hexis return with their second full-length installment, titled Tando Ashanti, the epitome of Blackened Hardcore channeling pure darkness in the vein of Celeste and Oathbreaker and the start of an almost year-long worldwide tour for 2017, released through Halo of Flies in North America and Alerta Antifascista Records in Europe. Furthermore, Hexis are one of those bands where informing their lineup is definitely an item of very low importance to them, which means the names featured on this review might not be accurate. What seems to be their current lineup is Filip on vocals, Victor Kaas on guitars, Luca Mele on bass and Tommaso Rey on drums, but if these names are somehow incorrect I apologize for that. Anyway, it’s the music that really matters, don’t you agree?

Distorted sounds and an apparent lack of hope permeate the air in the intro Tando, when we’re suddenly attacked by Hexis in Ashanti, with the lancinating riffs by Victor together with the demented beats by Tommaso creating a beyond belligerent atmosphere perfect for the irreligious lyrics growled by Filip (“Faithless. But yet you pray in hope that your nightmares will disappear, that these images will leave your head, leave your mind. Tied into anxiety, tied into hopelessness. Surrounded by flies, surrounded by thousands of eyes. Faithless. God is not here today.”). Molestus also begins in full force, a visceral amalgamation of heavy sounds and piercing noises by Filip and his crew, with highlights to the crude riffs by Victor and the rhythmic drumming by Tommaso; whereas Ritualis, albeit following a similar pattern, sounds sharper and more aggressive, which in the end boosts its impact on the listener, not to mention its old school Black Metal riffage and endless obscurity as its main ingredients.

Calamitas represents brutal devastation in the form of music, blending the most violent elements from Black Metal, Hardcore and Neocrust in a fantastic spawn of extreme music by Hexis, with the vocals by Filip sounding extremely demented; followed by Nocturnus, where heavier-than-hell riffs are quickly joined by frantic drums in another brutal creation. Moreover, their sonic havoc suddenly gives place to a slow-paced Doom Metal-ish musicality led by the low-tuned bass by Luca Melo, but all hell breaks loose again for our total delight. And it looks like Hexis mastered the art of crafting bold and devilish songs with less than three minutes like what we face in Opacus, presenting more of the band’s austere lyrics (“As shadows it passes by, creating what is his, taking what was yours. Purging the body, the body of the heartless. Immerse them, immerse the victims, immerse all life, the fragile souls. The shadows they pass, purging the souls.”). Can you imagine this song with a dark orchestra in the background? I can, and just the idea is already beyond awesome.

Cordolium, the longest of all tracks, comes crushing with a hurricane of distorted guitar sounds, slow and menacing beats, and the vociferations of Filip, and that negativity and despair goes on for the song’s six obscure minutes, growing in hostility until its resonant ending, which builds an instant connection with the demonic Resurrectio, with Filip being accompanied by only an eerie background noise and a few isolated beats. In the end, it’s just noise and feels a bit like filler, albeit it makes some kind of sense when put together with all other songs from the album. Luckily, in the belligerent Septem the band gets back to a more Hardcore sonority, delivering modern Black Metal riffs with progressive drumming and hellish gnarls, not to mention the guitars by Victor which are a demonic work-of-art. And ending this eccentric spawn of blackened sounds we have another intense creation named Praesagium, showcasing an amazing job done by Tommaso with his intricate beats, all the malignancy flowing from Filip’s grasps, and a truly Stygian ending in one of the most complete and visceral of all songs.

There are so many places where you can buy your copy of Tando Ashanti in different formats I might have forgotten a few of them on my list, but here we go anyway. You can get the album at Hexis’ BandCamp, at the Alerta Antifascista Records’ BandCamp, at the Init Records’ BandCamp or webshop, at the Halo of Flies’ BandCamp or webshop, at the Bloated Veins’ Big Cartel, on Amazon or at Discogs. Tando Ashanti might be considered by many the most complete, detailed and obscure work by Hexis to date, which is something I have to agree with. I don’t recall listening to such piercing and multi-layered Blackened Hardcore before, and let’s hope Hexis keep taking their aggressiveness and creativity to new heights for many years still to come.

Best moments of the album: Ritualis, Calamitas, Opacus and Praesagium.

Worst moments of the album: Resurrectio.

Released in 2017 Halo of Flies/Alerta Antifascista Records

Track listing
1. Tando 2:16
2. Ashanti 5:24
3. Molestus 2:37
4. Ritualis 2:46
5. Calamitas 1:59
6. Nocturnus 4:58
7. Opacus 2:24
8. Cordolium 5:54
9. Resurrectio 2:27
10. Septem 2:31
11. Praesagium 5:28

Band members
Filip – vocals
Victor Kaas – guitars
Luca Mele – bass
Tommaso Rey – drums

Interview – Andreas Slocinski (Stone Cadaver)

Andreas Slocinski, the talented bass player for Danish Stoner Rock/Metal power trio Stone Cadaver, talks to The Headbanging Moose about the band’s brand new album Reject Remove Replace, their passion for the music from the 70’s and all things metal, and the flourishing metal scene in Denmark, among other topics, in one of our most interesting interviews ever.

Andreas Slocinski (Stone Cadaver)

The Headbanging Moose: Could you please introduce yourselves to our readers? Who are Stone Cadaver, how was the band formed, what’s your goal with your music, and any other details you want to share with us about the band?

Andreas Slocinski (Stone Cadaver): Stone Cadaver is a Danish stoner metal threepiece from Aarhus, Denmark. The gentlemen that wield the instruments and compose the music are Anders Bech Nielsen (guitar and vocals), Jesper Hauptmann (drums) and yours truly, Andreas Slocinski, on bass. The band’s history is relatively short, so it’s easy to sum up. Stone Cadaver rose from the ashes of Chosen Legacy, a metal cover band that featured all of us. It was fun and all, but eventually we all got fed up with playing other people’s stuff, so we decided to abandon Chosen Legacy and start focusing on writing our own material in an attempt to satisfy our creative need. That was back in 2014. Chosen Legacy was all about thrash and groove metal (we played songs by Pantera, Slayer, even Cannibal Corpse), but none of us were interested in writing that kind of music, and, as it turned out, we all harbored a secret desire to play some dirty, 70s inspired stonerish metal, so we just said to each other, “hey, let’s give it a shot and see what happens”, and started jamming on a few riffs. The first song we wrote was “Black Magick” off the self-titled EP, and things just started growing from thereon. As for the goal or purpose of Stone Cadaver, well, it’s just to have a good time and write some cool music. We don’t plan to make a living from it, we’re too old for that now, but the idea of creating music and performing it under the moniker of Stone Cadaver, a beast that’s totally our own creation, appeals to us very much, and it’s definitely a cool way to spend your spare time.

THM: How was the writing and recording process of your new album, Reject Remove Replace, and what’s the main difference between it and your debut self-titled EP from 2014?

AS: RRR differs musically from the EP in a lot of ways, although there are also a lot of similarities. The EP is more doomy and, perhaps, slightly more metal overall. RRR is more dirty and fresh. We have always tried, though, to mix the 70s with more modern elements to create some varied music, and although RRR is more varied than the EP that whole idea of mixing newer and older stuff in an effort to create some exciting material that stays interesting to the listener throughout, is sort of the red thread that runs through all our compositions. I am into bands like Electric Wizard and I always to try to get some really heavy, slow stuff into the stew. Anders digs bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and likes to add faster paced stuff akin to those bands to the recipe. The end result is almost always a compromise and thus amalgamation of all those things, heavy, doomy elements coupled with faster parts. Naturally, all of us love Black Sabbath, and the mantra WWBSD (What Would Black Sabbath Do?) act as a sort of litmus test if we’re stuck in a song and don’t know how to finish it or get from one part to the next. Ah, that might be a stretch, but Sabbath are very important to all of us and most definitely act as a shared key inspiration. The album was recorded over a week or so at our old rehearsal space, which we shared with another band, Magnified Eye, probably one of the oldest Danish stoner bands. Torben Egebjerg, lead singer and guitarist in the ol’ Eye, recorded and produced the songs in collaboration with us. A guy named Michael Larsen, who’s been part of the local music scene as a booker and all-round technical guy for many years, helped us get the sound of the instruments just right for the recording. The album was then mixed by Stefan Krey, who also plays in Magnified Eye. He has another band, Alkymist, which is a new name on the Danish metal scene. It’s progressive doom metal and very cool. Definitely worth checking out! Lastly, the album was mastered by James Plotkin. We chose him, because he worked on Electric Wizard’s “Time To Die”, so if he’s good enough for the Wizard, he’s good enough for us. A very helpful and cool guy!

THM: In our review for Reject Remove Replace, we quoted a sentence from you stating it’s a concept album, with the concept being “a unified, musical whole”. Can you elaborate more on that? Why do you consider it a concept album? What’s the main storyline that guides the album from start to finish?

Album Review – Stone Cadaver / Reject Remove Replace (2017)

AS: It’s true that we call it a concept album, but it’s not a concept album in the sense that there’s an overarching storyline or theme guiding everything. Albums from the 60s and 70s are often as good as they are, because a lot them work as albums. Today, there’s a tendency to just slap a bunch of songs together without really paying much attention to how they work in relation to each other and the album as a whole. We wanted to create an album that really works as an album, and not just a collection of songs. To this effect, RRR was actually only intended to be released on vinyl, because we “designed” it for vinyl, and because vinyl, at least as far as we are concerned, is a superior way of enjoying an album. An example of what we mean when we say that it was designed for vinyl is the small instrumental interlude “Ruins In The Sand” at the end of side A, a short, atmospheric piece with acoustic guitars. This segment is very different from the preceding and following songs, which have a lot more bang for the buck. “Ruins” was placed at the end of side A very intentionally. As you know, once the A-side is finished, you have to lift the vinyl, flip the disc over and lower the pickup in order to start the B-side. While you’re doing this, there’s obviously no music playing. “Ruins” ends softly, so you could argue that it actually segues into the musical void that accompanies the lifting and flipping of the disc. Likewise, the B-side also ends on a soft note with the instrumental piece “Omega”, which is part 2 of the song “Dead Horses, pts. I & II”. The soft endings of both sides create unity and bind both sides together nicely, we think. This obviously doesn’t work as well on the CD. Combined with the varied nature of the rest of the songs themselves, the album, as a whole, has the feel of one those good albums from the 70s. That’s the intention, anyways. Hopefully, there are people out there who have picked up on it.

THM: The official video for the opening track of the album, the heavy and groovy Sscum, is in my humble opinion really entertaining, just like those old low-budget, catchy-as-hell horror and suspense movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Can you tell us more about the story behind the song and how you decided to shoot the video? Will there be a sequel for it?

AS: We’re glad you like the video and that you dig the 70s low-budget vibe, because that kind of vibe was exactly what writer/director Ulrik Haenschke was aiming for. The lyrical content of the song and the storyline in the video actually have nothing in common. The song is about neo-nazis and how fucking stupid they are, but it wasn’t important to us or Ulrik that the video dealt with that topic at all. Ulrik was involved in the video for Magnified Eye’s “Legion”, which was done very professionally and we all liked it, so Anders chatted him up at a concert, and, as it turned out, Ulrik was interested in doing a video for “Sscum”. He had heard the song at one of our gigs and, basically, wrote the entire script in his head right there on the spot. For some reason, he envisioned this psycho redneck in a really cool car who picks up a hot blonde that he brings home to kill in a twisted, misguided attempt to get back at his girlfriend, who left him because he cheated on her. A pretty simple plot, but very effective nonetheless. The entire process was one of those things where everything just came together very smoothly. Ulrik wrote the script, consulted with us, auditioned the actors and procured all the equipment, lamps, cameras etc. He’s attending some sort of film school and he did the video for a project, which enabled him to use all the equipment for free. Otherwise, it would have been an extremely expensive shoot. The camera alone, a Red which is the same kind of camera used by Peter Jackson on “The Hobbit”, costs between 60-80,000 CAD, so if we had had to rent it, it would have been costly. We also got hold of the car, a ‘69 Torino, for free (thank you Susan!). The video was shot over the course of two weekends in a barn close to Aarhus. The exterior shots were also done not too far away. Ulrik then spent a few weeks editing the material and in late 2016 we were able to premiere it at a local hard rock and metal bar. It was a fun and drunken night. There’s no plan for a sequel, but, you know what, none of us has thought about making one, and it might actually just be a very cool thing to do. Let’s see what happens …

THM: Talking about heavy music made in your gorgeous homeland Denmark, the average metalhead usually knows only the classic metal by King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, and more recently the hybrid of metal and rock by Volbeat, but no other Danish bands are part of his regular playlist. With that said, how’s the current Heavy Metal scene in Denmark? Is the scene getting stronger, with new bands booming all over the country, or do you feel it’s stagnated like in many other countries?

AS: The metal scene in Denmark is alive and thriving. It may not be booming per se, but it’s definitely not on the decline. Denmark is a small country, but we have a lot of metal festivals, Copenhell, Aalborg Metalfestival, Metal Royale, Metal Magic to name some of the bigger ones, and there are metal concerts in almost all Danish cities, big and small. That being said, it’s not always easy to land gigs, for some reason. You really have to put a lot of effort into landing gigs and it’s boring work.

THM: Which new bands from Denmark do you recommend to our listeners? It can be in the same Stoner Metal and Rock vein as Stone Cadaver, or any other style like Black Metal, Metalcore or Power Metal. How bright do you think the future is for those bands?

AS: There are loads of Danish bands. Some cool names to check out are the curly haired troupe of death metal jugglers in BAEST. They are definitely on the rise, and will probably make it big. Bersærk is another band who also enjoys a lot of success. They sing in Danish and call their music “hedningehegn”, which is a pretty cool, self-invented word for “pagan noise” (that’s probably what comes closest). Alkymist, as mentioned before, are definitely also worth checking out as are Magnified Eye. Currently, there’s talk of a New Wave Of Danish Black Metal spearhedead by bands such as Myrkur, Solbrud and Orm. They are also very worthy of your attention, if black metal is your thing. An older black metal band, or black n roll, is Horned Almighty, which you may have heard of. Smaller interesting names include Disrule, Fusskalt, Drön, ThunerWhip, Impalers and Fordærv.

Stone Cadaver

THM: In regards to your influences and idols in music, what would be your top metal or even non-metal artists and albums, the ones that have a strong influence in the music by Stone Cadaver, that helped shape your musicality and fuel your creativity?

AS: As previously mentioned, Ozzy-era Black Sabbath is a major shared influence. On a more individual level, Anders always cites Alice In Chains and Jerry Cantrell as some of his key influences. “Dirt” ranks really high on his personal list of faves as does Deep Purple’s “Fireball”. Jesper is in love with Iron Maiden and Satyricon. Frost’s drumming in particular on “Nemesis Divina”, one of Jesper’s top favorite albums, has had a major impact on his playing as can be heard on RRR. My own main influences include Geezer Butler, Steve Harris and Jaco Pastorius and some of my all-time favorite bands include Electric Wizard and Pink Floyd. All of us dig all kinds of metal and rock, though. It’s important to listen to a lot of music, when you’re in a band, so we try to keep our minds and ears open.

THM: What about your current tour dates to promote Reject Remove Replace? How have the concerts been so far? In addition, as the summer is considered “festival season” all over Europe, have you guys been able to play any major or even smaller festivals, and if so, how was the experience? Did you play alongside any of your music idols in any of those festivals?

AS: We actually haven’t played a lot of gigs in 2017 so far. We played three in May and we don’t have anything planned until October. Jesper recently became a dad for the first time, so that naturally put a dampener on things, but we’re slowly starting to get the gears grinding again. The 2017 gigs we’ve played so far, however, have been cool. We played the inaugural Children Of The Sun festival in Copenhagen, two days of stoner, doom and space rock. We shared the stage with bands such as Dead Witches, Yuri Gagarin and Dopelord. We opened the second day to a rather small crowd and the sun was baking through some overhead windows, so it was not the easiest of gigs, but it was fun and we had a swell time afterwards, drinking with some of the other bands. Dead Witches in particular was a fun crowd to hang with and we would love to meet with them again at another festival or concert at some point. In October we’ll play Copenhagen again with Drön and French band Dot Legacy. We are working on landing gigs for 2018 and so far things are looking bright.

THM: What’s next for Stone Cadaver after the Reject Remove Replace tour is over? As Stoner Rock and Metal is a type of music widely appreciated in North America and in the UK, do you have any plans to further explore those regions in a not-so-distant future with perhaps a combined tour with a well-established band?

AS: We have started writing material for a new album, but it’ll be some time before we’ll get to record anything. The album will be fucking killer! As for touring outside of Denmark, that’s definitely something we’d love to do. There are no plans yet, though, but hopefully, one day, we’ll get a chance to go on a smaller tour abroad with some other bands. As previously stated, we handle all the booking ourselves, so putting together a “world tour” would be quite taxing. A booking agency might be worth considering at some point, but right now that’ll have to wait.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time, we really appreciate that. Please feel free to send a final message to our readers in Canada and all over the world.

AS: Thanks for taking your time to read this interview. Remember to keep the underground alive and support the bands you like by buying their albums and not downloading them.

Links
Stone Cadaver Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | BandCamp

Album Review – Volbeat / Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie (2016)

Seal the deal and let’s boogie to the classy and flammable music by Denmark’s best Rock N’ Roll band of all time.

Rating4

volbeat_seal the deal & lets boogieAfter the release of the highly acclaimed Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies in 2013, which entered the Billboard 200 in the United States at number nine, topped the charts in Austria, Canada, Denmark and Germany, among others, receiving immediate gold and platinum status in those countries, as well as being nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, many fans started to wonder where Danish Rock N’ Roll rebels Volbeat could go after achieving such a great success. Fortunately for all admirers of good old Rock N’ Roll music, those rockers from the stunning city of Copenhagen are still on top form, strong and sparkling with excitement, releasing now their action-packed sixth full-length album entitled Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie.

The album is their first not to feature longtime bassist Anders Kjølholm, who left in November 2015 after being responsible for Volbeat’s rumbling tones since the band’s inception in 2001. Despite that significant change in the lineup, all other ingredients we love in the music by Volbeat are present in the entire album, including obviously their thrilling heavy riffs and the inebriate (and sometimes even hard to understand) vocals by frontman Michael Polsen. Add to that the classy contribution of two very special guests, these being singer Johan Olsen (from Danish rock group Magtens Korridorer) and Canada’s own Danko Jones, and the final result is exactly what every fan of Volbeat could expect from such an accomplished band.

The initial riff in the opening track, the hit single The Devil’s Bleeding Crown, is the purest form of Volbeat you can find on earth, as well as pretty much all vocal lines by Michael Poulsen. Born to be a radio hit, this is the type of song that has all aspects necessary to be successful, such as a catchy chorus, electrified guitars and headbanging beats, which can also be found in the next track, Marie Laveau, another classic Volbeat tune, offering the listener some smooth Rock N’ Roll with a nice melody, not to mention the excellent job done by Rob Caggiano with his always fiery solos. For Evigt (which means “Forever” in Danish), is the song to feature Johan Olsen on guest vocals, being the second collaboration between Olsen and Volbeat following “The Garden’s Tale”. It’s definitely not as amazing as their 2007 classic, but still fresh and exciting, with its guitar riffs and solos, together with the Danish parts of the lyrics, becoming the top moments of this solid Rock N’ Roll song.

I never thought I would see Volbeat singing about a topic usually explored by traditional Heavy Metal bands like what we see in the awesome The Gates of Babylon (“Awakening a goddess in the dark / On a stake she’s been hanging like a doll / Tried to reach for the underworld / Had to pass through the seven gates of hell”), a beautiful composition that adds a lot of harmony and groove to the album and consequently to the band’s portfolio, with even the guitar lines sounding more “Babylonic” than usual. And they do not get tired of firing good rock music, this time entitled Let It Burn, a song that all fans of Volbeat will have a good time listening while on the road, with highlights to Michael’s performance with his Johnny Cash-like vocals enhanced by Rob’s powerful guitar lines.

volbeat 2016Black Rose, featuring Danko Jones, is an awesome Hard Rock hymn perfect for being played on the radio as well, where our guest rocker made in Canada adds a lot of stamina to the song with his heavier and deeper voice; whereas the average Rebound,  a cover version for a generic song by American Punk Rock band Teenage Bottlerocket, brings nothing special to the album. Well, maybe if they turned the electricity up a bit the final result would have been a lot better, because it gets really tiring even having only two and a half minutes. Anyway, girls named Mary Jane will definitely fall in love with the power semi-ballad Mary Jane Kelly, very tuneful and pleasant like most of the songs in the album. Furthermore, Jon Larsen might not be the fastest or most technical drummer in the world, but he knows what to do to make Volbeat’s music thrive. On the other hand, Goodbye Forever is by far the worst of all songs, not because of its rhythm or lyrics, but it’s those horrible choir-like backing vocals that join Michael after three minutes that truly annoy me, being too “churchy” for my taste.

At least that boredom doesn’t last long, as Volbeat blast one of the most electrifying of all songs, the Rock N’ Roll hymn Seal the Deal, with its thrilling rhythm, the blazing solos by Rob, and a first-rate old school Volbeat chorus (“I get groovy / Now turn it on and fight / Seal the deal and let’s boogie for a while / Let’s get groovy / Burning out with rage / Seal the deal and let’s do it all again”). In other words, this is surely one of their best new songs to be added to their live concerts. The second cover of the album, Battleship Chains by American Southern Rock group The Georgia Satellites, sounds a lot better, an old rock classic with a southern sonority nicely played by Volbeat, while You Will Know, the second to last song of the regular version of the album, brings forward more melodic rock crafted in Denmark showcasing passionate performances by all members, with Rob stealing the show once again thanks to his amazing solos. And lastly, the heavy and metallic The Loa’s Crossroad offers the listener a more aggressive side of the band, with its resonant bass guitar and especially its bag pipes adding more violence and epicness to the musicality displayed. Additionally, if you buy the deluxe edition of the album, you’ll also get four awesome bonus tracks that live up to Volbeat’s tradition: a one-minute devastation named Slaytan, the North American version of “For Evigt” entitled The Bliss (where the Danish chorus sung by Johan is replaced by Michael singing it in English), a version of Black Rose without Danko Jones, and a live version of The Devil’s Bleeding Crown recorded in Denmark in 2015.

It might take time for some fans to get used to Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie, mainly because a few of the songs presented in the album sound too “commercial” compared to their old classics, but after a few listens you’ll realize there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the album, it’s simply the Volbeat we all enjoy. Of course, as a huge fan of extreme music, I would love to see Volbeat getting heavier and darker than what they really are in some of their compositions, but it’s undeniable they remain loyal to their roots no matter what, and I respect that a lot. As long as they keep delivering their unique Rock N’ Roll to the world, with Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie being a very good example of that, I’ll continue to be a happy rocker.

Best moments of the album: The Devil’s Bleeding Crown, The Gates of Babylon and Seal the Deal.

Worst moments of the album: Rebound and Goodbye Forever.

Released in 2016 Vertigo/Republic/Universal

Track listing
1. The Devil’s Bleeding Crown 3:56
2. Marie Laveau 3:13
3. For Evigt (feat. Johan Olsen) 4:44
4. The Gates of Babylon 4:34
5. Let It Burn 3:39
6. Black Rose (feat. Danko Jones) 3:55
7. Rebound (Teenage Bottlerocket cover) 2:29
8. Mary Jane Kelly 5:39
9. Goodbye Forever 4:30
10. Seal the Deal 4:09
11. Battleship Chains (Georgia Satellites cover) 3:21
12. You Will Know 4:31
13. The Loa’s Crossroad 4:21

Deluxe edition bonus tracks
14. Slaytan 0:58
15. The Bliss 4:42
16. Black Rose 3:57
17. The Devil’s Bleeding Crown (Live at Tusindårsskoven, Odense 2015) 4:04

Band members
Michael Poulsen – vocals, rhythm guitar
Rob Caggiano – lead guitar, bass guitar
Kaspar Boye Larsen – bass guitar (live)
Jon Larsen – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Johan Olsen – additional vocals on “For Evigt”
Danko Jones – additional vocals on “Black Rose”

Album Review – Fjorsvartnir / Mzoraxc’ Forbandelse (2015)

Loyal to the foundations of Black Metal, this talented one-man army from Denmark offers an action-packed album that, above all things, sounds fresh and unique at all times.

Rating4

FJORSVARTNIR - 'Mzoraxc' Forbandelse' , front cover 2015Fans of Scandinavian mythology, Vikings, battles, drinking and atmospheric extreme music, behold the brand new opus by Danish Melodic/Pagan Black Metal one-man army Fjorsvartnir, the excellent Mzoraxc’ Forbandelse, or “Mzoraxc’ Curse” in English. Not only the album took three years to be concluded, but it’s also the first of the band’s three full-length releases to be fully in Danish, and by that you can imagine how organic it sounds and how connected to the themes proposed the music is.

Founded in 2007 in the stunning city of Copenhagen, Denmark by multi-instrumentalist Fjorgynn (who’s supported by three other musicians when it’s time to materialize his music during the band’s live performances), the music by Fjorsvartnir can be at the same time a demonic onslaught and a melodic aria of melancholy, depending on the topic chosen by Fjorgynn when composing his songs. If this is not enough to show you the depth of Fjorsvartnir’s music, maybe the explanation for the name of the band can help you understand that. Fjorsvartnir is another name for Rimfaxe, the black horse that runs over the sky carrying the moon in its chariot, driven by a giant woman named Nat. With that said, are you ready for battle now?

Pagan and nature elements kick off the opening chant, entitled Ravneskrig Og Ulvehyl (“The Raven Scream And The Wolf Howl”), which after a brief acoustic intro becomes a powerful and symphonic exhibit of Scandinavian Black Metal. In addition, it’s impressive how Fjorgynn is capable of crafting such organic and imposing music all by himself, where not only his vocals sound truly demonic but his riffs are also exactly what good extreme music demands. The following tune, Nordens Genopstandelse (“Nordic Resurrection”), is more inclined to traditional Black Metal, with the incorporation of symphonic elements in the background creating a beautiful melody that supports the sonic havoc presented from start to finish. Besides, Fjorgynn delivers desperate vocals mixed with deeper guttural growls, sounding violent and harmonious at the same time.

Embraced by a very solid instrumental, Fjorsvartnir offer us an epic and ominous tune forged in the fires of hell named En Rejse Igennem Fortidens Riger (“A Journey Through Past Kingdoms”), where its keyboards act like a melancholic ray of light in the middle of all the darkness generated by the other instruments, reminding me of some old songs by Dimmu Borgir. Moreover, its last part feels like an ode to anguish, only making it even more enjoyable to fans of Black and Doom Metal. The Viking/Pagan instrumental tune Riget (“Empire”) is a pleasant surprise after so much despair, with Fjorgynn doing a superb job showing his music is more than just pure Black Metal, before Mzoraxc – Mødet Med Underverdenen (“Mzoraxc – Meeting With The Underworld”) rumbles the earth with a creepy intro and a somber rhythm led by its guitar riffs. It has those mesmerizing blast beats found in traditional Black Metal boosted by the harsh growls by Fjorgynn, and although I (unfortunately) do not speak Danish I’m absolutely sure the story told during the song is complex, intense and gripping.

FJORSVARTNIR - promo photo 2015Tailored for fans of complex Extreme Metal, Krigssat contains elements from the most obscure Black Metal from Norway, the more melodic lines from Sweden and the symphonic vibe found in bands from Norway, Finland and the UK, with the gentle and operatic female vocals being a welcome touch of beauty to the song, followed by Det Sidste Slag (“The Last Battle”), a highly recommended soundtrack for an epic battle. I love how the song keeps changing its rhythm and emotions; for instance, you can enjoy sheer brutality through its sick blast beats or feel enfolded by its ominous passages, as there’s excellence for all types of extreme music fans (especially if you are a true black metaller, you’ll go crazy with this incredible composition). Once again, Fjorgynn sounds like a demon incarnate on vocals, which only adds more wickedness to the song. And to properly wrap things up, the melancholic outro Valkyrie provides the listener the sensation of a sorrowful aftermath in a precise and passionate way.

Fjorsvartnir, the Norse creation by the talented Fjorgynn, can be reached through their Facebook page, YouTube channel and ReverbNation, and the energetic Mzoraxc’ Forbandelse can be purchased at the band’s official BandCamp page. Loyal to the foundations of Black Metal, Fjorsvartnir created an action-packed album that, above all things, sounds fresh and unique at all times, even amidst so many other extreme music bands available worldwide.

Best moments of the album: Ravneskrig Og Ulvehyl, Nordens Genopstandelse and Det Sidste Slag.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Grom Records

Track listing
1.Ravneskrig Og Ulvehyl 6:35
2.Nordens Genopstandelse 6:52
3.En Rejse Igennem Fortidens Riger 8:42
4.Riget 2:40
5.Mzoraxc – Mødet Med Underverdenen 6:42
6.Krigssat 6:20
7.Det Sidste Slag 7:48
8.Valkyrie 2:00

Band members
Fjorgynn – vocals, all instruments

Live
Fjorgynn – vocals, lead & rhythm guitar
Helgarm – lead & rhythm guitar
Onslaughter – keyboards
Arent – drums