Album Review – 5 Star Grave / The Red Room (2017)

The six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers.

This is one of those bands that, as soon as you listen to their flammable music for the very first time, you become addicted to their electricity and rebellious attitude, especially if you’re already a huge fan of the sound by bands like the Misfits, Social Distortion, the Ramones, Minot Threat and so on, but with a heavier and more melodic approach. I’m talking about Italian Melodic Death Metal six-piece wolf pack 5 Star Grave, who have just released a Rock N’ Roll party-catalyst entitled The Red Room, an album that will surely put you to dance, bang your head, slam into the pit, drink a few beers and do everything else we love so much in heavy music. In other words, the six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers, and there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from them.

Formed in 2005 in Cuneo, a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, under the name Ground Zero, changing to 5 Star Grave in 2007, the band already released in their decade of existence the full-length albums Corpse Breed Syndrome, in 2008, and Drugstore Hell, in 2012, as well as a single with a cover version for one of the biggest hits by the Ramones, the classic Pet Sematary, before releasing The Red Room now in 2017. Bringing forth a weird and fun combination of several styles like traditional Heavy Metal and Punk Rock with industrial atmospheres, the band comprised of frontman Claudio Ravinale (who’s also the lead singer for Death Metal act Disarmonia Mundi and Industrial Metal outfit The Silverblack), bassist Andrea Minolfi, guitarists Thierry Bertone and Alessandro Blengino, keyboardist Hervè De Zulian and drummer Domenico Fazzari aims at charging the listener with their relentless hardcore/horror punk-influenced metal highly inspired by the golden years of 80’s metal and shock rock, which they more than achieve with The Red Room.

Wicked noises are suddenly joined by the slashing riffs by Thierry and Alessandro in the opening track, beautifully titled Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, with Hervè and his keys giving it a futuristic aura. Moreover, this amazing tune brings forward the two main characteristics of Melodic Death Metal, those being aggressiveness and harmony, helping the band in breaking down the walls in fantastic fashion. Following that superb start we have the also whimsical and modern Eat You Alive, where Claudio screams like a maniac supported by the potent backing vocals by Andrea, not to mention the song’s fiery guitar solos and catchy chorus; and Once Upon A Time, with Claudio sounding even more demented on vocals, enhancing the song’s impact while Domenico smashes his drums with tons of dexterity, being highly recommended for admirers of modern and alternative music.

The Ballad Of The Vampire is not a ballad at all, but an ode to the fusion of Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore blasted by bands like the Misfits, a fast-paced and electrifying hymn showcasing great performances by Claudio and Domenico that will set their live concerts on fire without a shadow of a doubt, while in Alice the keys by Hervè make it sound more melodic and consequently less violent than the other tunes, but still a heavier-than-usual version of punk music perfect for an insane rockin’ party with its guitars burning our ears nonstop. And adding progressiveness to their high-octane Rock N’ Roll sonority, 5 Star Grave offer us Through The Eyes Of The Monster, where Thierry and Alessandro steal the spotlight with their sick riffs while Hervè brings a touch of lunacy with his synths. Put differently, it’s quite impossible to stand still to this explosion of modern metal music.

And those guys definitely know how to blend the music by the Misfits with modern Metalcore like what can be seen in He Never Died, which means you should start banging your head and screaming together with the band as the party doesn’t have a time to end. In Hell On Heels, a mid-tempo rockin’ tune with hints of Southern Rock, we have an acoustic intro as a variation to their trademark rowdy sounding, and at this point of the album you’ll realize 5 Star Grave cannot craft bad music; whereas For Better Or Worse sounds like the soundtrack to a demented circus act, again inspired by old school punk and metal. In addition, the strident sound of guitars increases the song’s temperature quite a bit, with Domenico taking the lead with his spot-on beats. And before all is said and done we have a semi-ballad entitled There Is No Heaven, which despite presenting their rumbling sounds and growls is slightly below the rest of the album in terms of creativity. Actually, to be fair I wouldn’t consider that a problem at all, as the other songs of the album are way too awesome.

In a nutshell, grab your leather jacket, your fighting boots, make sure the beer is crisp and cold, put on your warrior makeup or mask, and join the uncontrollable party held by 5 Star Grave in The Red Room by following them on Facebook, by listening to their music on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify, and by purchasing this excellent album of modern metal music on BandCamp, on iTunes or on Amazon. And after having The Red Room on your hands, simply hit play and get the party started, motherfuckers.

Best moments of the album: Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, The Ballad Of The Vampire and Through The Eyes Of The Monster.

Worst moments of the album: There Is No Heaven.

Released in 2017 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers 4:14
2. Eat You Alive 4:17
3. Once Upon A Time 3:58
4. The Ballad Of The Vampire 1:43
5. Alice 4:03
6. Through The Eyes Of The Monster 3:39
7. He Never Died 3:00
8. Hell On Heels 4:16
9. For Better Or Worse 4:36
10. There Is No Heaven 4:20

Band members
Claudio Ravinale – vocals
Andrea Minolfi – bass, vocals
Thierry Bertone – guitars
Alessandro Blengino – guitars
Hervè De Zulian – synth
Domenico Fazzari – drums

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Album Review – Ape Unit / Turd EP (2015)

Leave five demented Italian apes by themselves for just 10 minutes and what do you get? Total devastation, obviously.

Rating5

Ape Unit_TurdIf you have no idea how impactful the sound of Grindcore can be, you better get ready for an intense sonic earthquake that, despite lasting for only around 10 minutes, will surely leave you disoriented and probably all covered in bruises due to its bestial rage. I’m talking about Turd, the new album by Italian Grindcore/Powerviolence lunatics Ape Unit, a delight for fans of the deranged music by acts such as Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Fuck The Facts and Ratos De Porão, and a true nightmare for “soccer moms” all over the world.

Forged in the year of 2008 in the town of Cuneo, Italy, around 150km east of the city of Genoa, Ape Unit offer a basic but very efficient formula that consists of short and wicked lyrics blended with immensurable amounts of craziness and grinding powerviolence. In other words, don’t expect to find anything philosophical or introspective in their music, all you will find is a very good reason for slamming into the pit like a rabid gorilla. In case you still don’t get it, simply take a good look at the chaotic state of the primates in the amazing artwork by renowned artist Craoman and you’ll have a comprehensive representation of the music by Ape Unit.

The opening track, entitled Puberal Baphomet, and you better get used to beautiful song names like this one, evolves from a heavy and imposing intro to a frantic devastation with highlights to all the screaming by lead singer Mariano Somà, which is very melodic and groovy despite sounding like a carnivorous mutant creature. In Mullet For My Valentine, follow the lyrics if you can while you enjoy its awesome Grindcore vibe (“The only way to rape my crush apart / The 80s: true men and true metal / You must love me / Even if I am a fat ass I’ve got the hairdo of the Gods! / I’ll stay gold: I’m like Jacob B.”); whereas the brutal slamming tune Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour showcases riffs and drums at an insane speed and ferocity, and of course if you’re a circle- pit lover this is the perfect soundtrack for you to practice your passion.

Ape UnitIn The Will To Smith they get considerably faster with hints of Death Metal added to the song’s musicality, especially through the badass bass lines by Umberto Salvetti, turning it into one minute of visceral barbarism. And could they sound even more demonic in less than 40 seconds? Well, the answer is a song named Tropical Mode-ON, which pretty much feels like being hit by a truck. The following tune, Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas, talks about a curious “curse”, telling us what happens to your body if you touch the “forbidden congas”, before the vicious Grindcore tune Orango Juice comes kicking you in the head with its Slayer-ish riffs. Besides, I’m not really sure what to say about its lyrics, so you can take your own conclusions about them (“Satan’s coming back to town / To find out another victim / Four legs and one cock / Beg down on your knees / This is the way you beg and suck my dick, now! / So long and thanks for all the juice! / Hail Satanas – Dominus – Satanas / Orango juice down your throat, in your mouth”).

Sperm Bank Robbery presents a “delicate” sounding for an even “cuter” story told while the whole band lacerates their instruments, followed by Children Of Boredom, a merciless ode to the place where the band comes from showcasing the best lyrics of all songs in Turd (“Cuneo, born and raised / But I’m not the Fresh Prince / Tell me now what I should do / Gianna Gancia is not the cure / Fed up of this fucking shit / Children of Boredom”). Last but not least, how about a song called Go Kart Kobain, a demented tune firing sheer violence in your face in less than a minute? And just out of curiosity, this song is a tribute to the iconic American musician Seth Putnam (R.I.P.), the founder of Grindcore band Anal Cunt.

In order to be properly be shredded apart by this excellent Italian quintet, go check their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and if you’re a true fan of violent music go grab your copy of their atomic bomb Turd at their BandCamp or Big Cartel. Needless to say, this solid Grindcore album is the result of leaving five demented Italian apes by themselves for just 10 minutes. And we all love it, of course.

Best moments of the album: Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour and Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas.

Worst moments of the album: Sperm Bank Robbery.

Released in 2015 Uterus Productions/Here And Now Records/Zas Autoproduzioni/Distrozione/Don Carlos Productions/Tadca Records/Vollmer Industries

Track listing
1. Puberal Baphomet 2:13
2. Mullet For My Valentine 0:46
3. Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour 1:09
4. The Will To Smith 0:56
5. Tropical Mode-ON 0:34
6. Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas 1:53
7. Orango Juice 0:45
8. Sperm Bank Robbery 0:57
9. Children Of Boredom 0:54
10. Go Kart Kobain 0:41

Band members
Mariano Somà – vocals
Marco Losano – guitars
Alberto Cornero – guitars
Umberto Salvetti – bass
Steve Bianco – drums

Guest musician
Mattia Gatti – additional vocals on “Your Body Will Become My
Abat-Jour”