Album Review – Orthostat / Monolith Of Time (2019)

A heavy-as-hell album ranging from slow and doom-ish parts to infernal blast beats, proving once again the underground Death Metal scene in Brazil is a lot more interesting than you might think.

Forged in the year of 2015 in the fires of Jaraguá Do Sul, a city located in the north of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, Death Metal squad Orthostat is unleashing upon humanity their debut full-length opus, entitled Monolith Of Time, a heavy-as-hell album ranging from slow and doom-ish parts to infernal blast beats, and a natural follow-up to their 2016 demo Into the Orthostat. Comprised of David Lago on vocals and guitars, Rudolph Hille also on the guitar and Eduardo Rochinski on bass (all supported by session drummer Thiago Nogueira), Orthostat are sending a solid statement to all fans of old school Death Metal with their new album, proving once again Brazil is and will always be an excellent source of underground metal music no matter which part of the country you visit.

Recorded by David Lago at HellFrost Studio, in Brazil, produced and engineered by David Lago and Thiago Nogueira, and Mixed and Mastered by Thiago Nogueira, Monolith Of Time will provide your ears a feast of pulverizing and highly technical sounds, with its lyrics dealing with themes related to ancient civilizations, their culture and their wars, all enfolded by a cryptic artwork by illustrator and storyteller Carlos Bercini. In other words, Orthostat offer in Monolith Of Time everything a metalhead can ask for in an album of Death Metal, and after hitting play you better get ready to have your skull crushed by this talented and ruthless horde of Brazilian musicians.

In the opening track, entitled Ambaxtoi, ominous sounds grow in intensity while desperate background vociferations make the whole atmosphere dense, disturbing and grim in great fashion, but after two and a half minutes the music morphs into sheer Death Metal for our total delectation. After such powerful start we’re treated to Qetesh, a lesson in gruesome and vile Death Metal by Orthostat where Thiago crushes his drums manically while David and Rudolph make sure our skin burns with their scorching riffs, not to mention the song’s uncanny lyrics (“Oh, Qetesh, deity of intercourse / Stream thy heat on us / Bring the human instinct forth / The breeding mild / The species thrive / Surviving the wild”); followed by Eridu, another classic and putrid Death Metal extravaganza spearheaded by the pulverizing riffs by the band’s guitar duo, with David taking his growling to deeper and deeper lands while Eduardo doesn’t stop smashing his bass chords violently. And it seems that their sonic havoc has no time to end, with all band member firing absolute fury and aggression in Incitatus, showcasing a very classic sonority the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under where not only the instrumental pieces are extremely well executed, but the vocals by David are also as visceral as they can be.

Then we have over six minutes of brutal sounds in Baetylus, with its lyricis perfectly representing what can be called “dark poetry” (“A large flint / Coned shaped obelisk / Wears the wool / Garbed deity / Pour the oil / Make the pebble shine / Hefty boulder / Stone divine”), and with the music ending with a sick guitar solo as the icing on the cake. If you’re a fan of the more straightforward sound by Cannibal Corpse, but with huge dosages of complexity added to the sound of each instrument, you’ll love The Will of Ningirsu, offering the listener nonstop action by the entire band with highlights to David, Rudolph and Eduardo’s razor-edged strings. Full of breaks and variations, Tezcatlipoca is a headbanging tune where your skull will be shattered by the unrelenting drums by Thomas, presenting over nine minutes of scorching riffs, pulverizing beats and rumbling bass lines. Furthermore, after a phantasmagorical break halfway through it, the band’s steamroller of Death Metal returns in full force to destroy your senses, working as their “coup de grâce”. And the song that carries the name of the band, Orthostat, closes the album by bringing forward a fusion of Death and Doom Metal recommended for fans of truly dark music, evolving into another sonic demolition boosted by the demonic guitar riffs and solos by Eduardo and Rudolph.

This precious gem of old school Death Metal from the Brazilian underground scene can be better appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but if you want to show your true support to Orthostat don’t forget to grab your copy of Monolith Of Time from their own BandCamp page, as well as from iTunes or from Amazon. In a nutshell, if you love pure, old school Death Metal, you must give Orthostat’s debut album a listen without a shadow of a doubt. And do you want to know why? Because they crush, as simple (and as Death Metal) as that.

Best moments of the album: Qetesh, Incitatus and The Will of Ningirsu.

Worst moments of the album: Eridu.

Released in 2019 Sangue Frio Records

Track listing
1. Ambaxtoi 7:12
2. Qetesh 5:13
3. Eridu 4:38
4. Incitatus 5:04
5. Baetylus 6:18
6. The Will of Ningirsu 4:50
7. Tezcatlipoca 9:17
8. Orthostat 6:09

Band members
David Lago – vocals, guitars
Rudolph Hille – guitars
Eduardo Rochinski – bass

Guest musician
Thiago Nogueira – drums (session)

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Album Review – Vessel of Iniquity / Void of Infinite Horror (2019)

Get ready for total annihilation, disembodiment and the disintegration of reality and existence in the form of a horrific strain of noise-infested black and death decimation.

Ritual black and death invocation. Terror noise-metal aimed at disintegrating one’s being and entire existence through the sheer force of hell in audial form. These are some of the words that can be used to describe the visceral music found in Void of Infinite Horror, the first full-length opus by British Black/Death Metal one-man sonic extermination entity Vessel of Iniquity. Formed in 2015 in Oxfordshire, a county in South East England, in the UK, Vessel of Iniquity is the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist A. White, a talented musician who definitely knows  how to transform austere topics such as annihilation, disembodiment and the disintegration of reality and existence into a horrific strain of noise-infested black and death decimation.

Once again crafted and home-recorded in total seclusion, mastered by James Plotkin (Plotkinworks) and featuring layout and design by M. Alagna, Void of Infinite Horror offers the listener five unrelenting tracks of extreme music, sounding claustrophobic, abominable and twisted, all enfolded by a minimalist and dark cover painting by American artist Ellen Hausner named “Untitled (Monoprint series 1A)”. If you’re a fan of the massacring industrial noise scarification by entities like Gnaw Their Tongues, Sutekh Hexen and Abruptum, as well as the grandiose and bludgeoning sonic warfare of bands like Teitanblood and Impetuous Ritual, you’ll have a blast with Void of Infinite Horror, positioning this insanely heavy and wicked one-man army of darkness as one of the most promising names in the the vast but yet unexplored land of what can be labeled as “Terror Noise Metal”.

And the opening track of the album, beautifully entitled Invocation of the Heart Girt With a Serpent, is already the perfect depiction of that so-called Terror Noise Metal, offering our ears a disruptive, eccentric and dissident avalanche of sounds and noises by A. White, with its drums sounding like a machine gun perforating our skulls mercilessly. Babalon is even darker and more menacing, presenting low-tuned sounds and deep, obscure roars that feel more like whispers, resulting in a modern-day Blackened Doom feast tailored for fans of devilish music. Hence, this track could easily be used as part of a horror movie score due to its strength, range and potential to instill fear in our hearts.

A. White’s demented onrush of sounds and noises goes on in Void of Infinite Sorrow, blending the most Stygian elements from Black and Doom Metal in its sluggish beats, thunderous riffs and bass, and malevolent rhythm, also presenting a menacing aura that ends up boosting its impact even more. If you think A. White and his Vessel of Iniquity will have to slow down at a given point to let us breathe you’re absolutely wrong, as his hurricane of dementia only gets stronger and darker as the music flows in Mother of Abomination, being utterly insane from start to finish, before the music switches from total chaos to an atmospheric and ethereal vibe in Once More Into the Abyss, where A. White delivers to our perturbed minds an endless amount of hypnotizing and damned sounds. Furthermore, I’m not sure if this can be called Atmospheric Black Metal, Drone, Noise, none of these, or even all at once, proving how unique and vile Vessel of Iniquity’s music can be.

If I had to summarize the music found in Void of Infinite Horror in one word, that would certainly be “chaos”, and if chaotic music is exactly what you crave in underground metal you must give Vessel of Iniquity a chance and support such distinct one-man act by following him on Facebook, and obviously by purchasing your copy of the album from the Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ BandCamp, from the Xenoglossy Productions’ BandCamp (in a fancy, old school cassette format), from CD Baby or from Discogs. No one knows exactly what lies ahead for A. White and his Vessel of Iniquity, as it’s not an easy task to predict what type of madness and experimentation musicians like him might add to their compositions, but at least we can rest assured that, as long as this cryptic metal entity is alive, chaos will reign.

Best moments of the album: Invocation of the Heart Girt With a Serpent and Babalon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Xenoglossy Productions

Track listing
1. Invocation of the Heart Girt With a Serpent 3:50
2. Babalon 4:26
3. Void of Infinite Sorrow 4:59
4. Mother of Abomination 4:55
5. Once More Into the Abyss 6:07

Band members
A. White – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Refusal / Epitome of Void (2019)

A straight-to-the-point album of Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal, as pulverizing, heavy and infernal as it can be.

Founded back in 2008 in the city of Helsinki, Finland by guitarist Tero Pirhonen and bassist Timo Pirhonen, before bringing in vocalist Niikka Lius, drummer Aleksi Roitto and more recently guitarist Kalle Kuosmanen to complete the band, the unrelenting squad that goes by the name of Refusal does not just play your regular Death Metal, but something they like to call “Finnish Crust Old School Death Metal”, smashing you like an insect with all their fury and heaviness without showing a single drop of mercy. After releasing several demos and their debut full-length album We Rot Within, in 2016, Refusal are back in action in 2019 with a brand new (and pulverizing) opus, beautifully titled Epitome of Void. Featuring a somber artwork by Finnish artist Sakke Vinko, Epitome of Void is highly recommended for fans of the music by iconic bands like Napalm Death, Nasum and Entombed, being absolutely perfect for slamming into the circle pit like there’s no tomorrow.

The distorted guitars by Tero and Kalle ignite the pulverizing opening track Suffocate, reminding me of the devilish sound by Turkish beasts Diabolizer, or in other words, a brutal slamming Death Metal extravaganza led by Niika and his deep, visceral growls. If you survive their initial onrush of extreme music get ready for the insanely heavy Hectic, showcasing an enraged Niikka on vocals while Aleksi decimates his drums in a precise and groovy manner, accompanied by Timo’s roaring bass; whereas Disregard brings forward a less frantic but still acid and violent version of the band, urging us all to bang our heads manically to the infernal riffs by Tero and Kalle while Timo smashes his bass chords nonstop.

Disgust is just as brutal as Death Metal can be, with Refusal inviting us all to crush our skulls into the circle pit while Niikaa vomits the song’s lyrics in a very traditional way; followed by Slaves, the darkest of all songs in Epitome of Void, showcasing hints of classic, obscure Black Metal added to their unrelenting music. Moreover, Tero and Timo bring some welcome balance to the sonic havoc going on with their crisp solos. Then it’s time for more demented slamming to the infernal beats by Aleksi in Exploit, while Niikka keeps growling and vociferating manically for our total delight. Put differently, this is the undisputed epitome of Refusal’s classic Death Metal, highly recommended for all fans of the genre.

If you think your neck will have a break from all the insane headbanging proposed by Refusal you’re absolutely wrong, as the band ignites their most demonic mode in the rip-roaring Bound, with their guitars and drums being in full destructive force. Then their second to last deranged Death Metal attack comes in the form of Futile, where all band members sound even more infuriated than ever, pleasing anyone who admires old school Brutal Death Metal from the bottom of their (blackened) hearts, setting the stage for the the thunderous and vile closing tune Void, where the smashing sounds of drums and bass provide Niikka the perfect atmosphere for his sick guttural vocals. There’s no escape from Refusal, and their most unfriendly, obscure and intricate creation beautifully represents all their fury and rage, ending the album on a very high note.

Do you have what it takes to face the demolishing Death Metal by Refusal? If your answer is yes, simply slam into the pit by listening to Epitome of Void in full on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, Epitome of Void, which by the way is on sale from Refusal’s own BandCamp page, from the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from Discogs, will not change or revolutionize the underground metal scene at all; quite the contrary, it’s pure old school Death Metal, without any artificial elements nor any type of shenanigans, thoroughly crafted by five Finnish guys who are beyond loyal to the foundations of the genre, deserving all our admiration and support for keeping the flames of true Death Metal alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Hectic, Disgust and Exploit.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. Suffocate 2:20
2. Hectic 2:51
3. Disregard 3:13
4. Disgust 3:27
5. Slaves 4:33
6. Exploit 1:48
7. Bound 4:14
8. Futile 4:10
9. Void 5:19

Band members
Niikka Lius – vocals
Tero Pirhonen – guitars
Kalle Kuosmanen – guitars
Timo Pirhonen – bass, backing vocals
Aleksi Roitto – drums

Album Review – Death Tribe / Beyond Pain And Pleasure: A Desert Experiment (2019)

Inspired by the suffering of warfare, spirit breaking oppression and the refusal to submit to either, behold the debut album by Anthony Kaoteon’s newborn spawn of Extreme Metal.

“Come confess your mortal sins,
Sadistic violence, the trademark of kings”

Inspired by the suffering of warfare, spirit breaking oppression and the refusal to submit to either, Extreme Metal project Death Tribe is the sound of vociferous rebellion and defiant resistance spearheaded by Anthony Kaoteon, the mastermind behind Death/Black Metal band Kaoteon, who released in 2018 the excellent Damnatio Memoriae. And if you’re already familiar with Kaoteon’s insurgent music, you’ll certainly have a blast with Death Tribe’s first installment, entitled Beyond Pain And Pleasure: A Desert Experiment, Anthony’s personal monument to independence and his eternal tribute to every man, woman and child that refuses to bend the knee and submit.

Born into the chaos and conflict of Beirut, Lebanon, but currently residing in Utrecht, Netherlands, Anthony refuses to accept the strictures of others in his day-to-day life as well as in music, always determined to shape his own destiny. Conceived over a few years and drawing on sounds from different periods of metal’s development, Beyond Pain And Pleasure: A Desert Experiment features an array of guest vocalists such as Serge the Slave (Aramaic) and Youmni Abou el Zahab (Ascendant), who together with Anthony and his henchmen Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Alkaloid, Kaoteon) on bass and Mattias Landes (Dark Fortress, ReVamp) on drums generate a massive wall of violent and austere sounds recommended for fans of renowned acts like Revocation, Gojira and Skeletonwitch.  “I dedicate this album to those who keep chasing their dreams, to every person that was born with a tag on his forehead and defied the world to make his own statement heard – I will die soon but the music stays to remind those who listen of a man who didn’t obey,” said Anthony about his newborn spawn, inviting us all to join him in his musical rebellion.

Featuring Anthony himself on lead vocals, the opening track Hollow offers the listener an explosion of Groove Metal from the very first second, with Anthony barking like a beast while Mattias smashes his drums manically, or in other words, a straightforward, in-your-face tune tailored for admirers of rabid and pulverizing music. Following such demented start, Walid Wolflust (Kaoteon) lends his visceral roars to Beyond Pain and Pleasure, giving life (or I should say death) to its acid lyrics (“Are you delighted from others pain? / Are you distressed by another’s pleasure? / Come confess your mortal sins, / Sadistic violence, the trademark of kings”) in a brutal fusion of Black and Death Metal where Linus and Mattias are in an infernal sync; whereas in Implode Explode Anthony not only vociferates manically, but his scorching riffs add an extra touch of dementia to the overall musicality, inspiring us to slam into the circle pit to Death Tribe’s frantic fusion of Groove, Death and Thrash Metal.

It’s time for Death Tribe to go full Death Metal in Neurotic Breakdown, sounding gory, virulent and putrid from start to finish, with guest vocalist Serge the Slave (Aramaic) doing an amazing job by almost vomiting the song’s lyrics. Needless to say, the violence and hatred flowing from Anthony’s riffs and Mattias’ darkened beats is simply outstanding. Adnan Mryhij (Svengali) is the designated guest growler in Psychopathetic, a hybrid of Groove and Progressive Metal infused with the violence of Thrash Metal, sounding like a more demented version of Mastodon and also presenting a beyond infuriated Linus with his intricate bass punches; followed by Death Blues, where Youmni Abou el Zahab (Ascendant) brings a Hard Rock and Power Metal twist to the band’s crushing sonority with his high-pitched screams, with the overall result sounding as if classic 80’s metal has met the insanity and rage of modern-day extreme music.

Walid is back on vocals in the demolishing Narcissist Bastard Nation, where Linus and Mattias make the earth tremble with their respective instruments, sounding closer to Kaoteon’s sound from their 2018 album, also carrying obscure lyrics that are nothing but a sad reflection of our reality (“Money and Power is what they seek / Blinded by Hatred and their love of creed, / Sinners as saints covered by shame, / Killing each other’s and no justice to blame, / Narcissist Nation – Clueless bastard marionettes”). Then JM Elias (Damage Rite, Svengali) brings sheer hate and violence to the onrush of demented sounds titled Nuclear Hate, with Anthony slashing his strings in a very melodic but fierce manner while Linus keeps extracting thunderous tones from his bass nonstop. And Anthony and Serge bark and scream together in the closing tune named Face the Facts, a groovy extravaganza spiced up by elements from Southern Metal delivering lots of shredding and deranged growls for your avid ears, ending the album in an absolutely berserk way.

If you want to know more about this newborn beast known as Death Tribe, their music, their goals, principles and tour dates, simply go check what they’re up to on Facebook, and don’t forget to grab your copy of the flammable Beyond Pain And Pleasure: A Desert Experiment from the project’s own BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Because, in the end, it doesn’t really matter if Anthony incarnates his Kaoteon or his Death Tribe form, as he will keep being the voice of the voiceless until his final breath. Having said that, it’s time for all of us to join Anthony’s newly founded tribe of extreme music, always fighting for freedom of speech, and never kneeling to anyone.

Best moments of the album: Beyond Pain and Pleasure, Neurotic Breakdown and Nuclear Hate.

Worst moments of the album: Psychopathetic.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Hollow 4:10
2. Beyond Pain and Pleasure 3:41
3. Implode Explode 4:25
4. Neurotic Breakdown 5:25
5. Psychopathetic 3:09
6. Death Blues 3:41
7. Narcissist Bastard Nation 4:14
8. Nuclear Hate 3:52
9. Face the Facts 3:35

Band members
Anthony Kaoteon – guitars, lead vocals on “Hollow”, “Implode Explode” and “Face the Facts”
Linus Klausenitzer – bass
Mattias Landes – drums

Guest musicians
Walid Wolflust – vocals on “Beyond Pain and Pleasure” and “Narcissist Bastard Nation”
Serge the Slave – vocals on “Neurotic Breakdown” and “Face the Facts”
Adnan Mryhij – vocals on “Psychopathetic”
Youmni Abou el Zahab – vocals on “Death Blues”
JM Elias – vocals on “Nuclear Hate”

Metal Chick of the Month – Mariia “Masha” Dementieva

Raise some hell, our true Lady Evil!

Are you ready to scream and roar together with our metal chick of the month of April in the name of darkness and evil, here on The Headbanging Moose webzine? If you’re a fan of the blasphemous, obscure and absolutely awesome music played by renowned acts like Behemoth, Septicflesh and Kaoteon, among many others, you’ll fall in love with the talent and beauty of Mariia “Masha” Dementieva, also known as simply Masha (or even  Mary Crematorium in a not-so-distant past, and if you prefer, Мария Дементьева in her mother tongue), the unrelenting frontwoman for Ukrainian Blackened Death Metal horde Nordwitch. That, of course, if you come from another galaxy or dimension and haven’t listened to Nordwitch’s sulfurous music yet, because if you’re from this planet I’m sure you’re already addicted to Masha’s demonic growling.

Although there’s isn’t much available online about Masha’s personal life (apart from many awesome photos from her career as a model, photo model and alternative tattoo model), you can still enjoy a good amount of information from her ass-kicking Kyiv-based band Nordwitch, formed in 2015. Singing about some very interesting topics such as satanism, occultism and ancient Scandinavian mythology, Nordwitch bring forth a flammable fusion of Black and Death Metal in their music, offering tons of melody amidst a brutal sonic devastation. The name Nordwitch, according to Masha herself, is the band’s representation of the mysticism and mystery of Scandinavian witches with a hint of female sexuality, which by the way matches perfectly with her diabolical vocal style. As a matter of fact, before becoming Nordwitch, Masha and the rest of the band, guitarists Max and Leo and bassist Max Senchilo, were all part of a Symphonic/Progressive Metal band named Crystalnight, where Masha was not their vocalist, but their keyboardist. If you’re curious to know how Masha and her bandmates used to sound before morphing into the dark beast known as Nordwitch, you can take a listen at some of their songs from their ReverbNation profile, such as Dark Angel and the original version of Nordwitch’s crushing tune Lady Evil.

In addition, not only Masha spearheads her horde of Blackened Death Metal in Nordwitch, but she was also one of the producers of their 2016 opus Mørk Profeti together with the other members of the band. You can listen to their pulverizing album in full on YouTube, and raise your horns to amazing songs like the aforementioned Lady Evil and Messiah of Death, or search for some live footage online like this one where the band is playing Lady Evil live at MHM – Metal Head’s Mission Festival in 2018. Furthermore, don’t forget to buy your copy of the album at the Satanath Records BandCamp, to subscribe to the band’s YouTube channel (where you can find for example a fun and raw version of the song No Regret live in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2016), follow them on VKontakte, and listen to more of their music through their ReverbNation and SoundCloud profiles. Who doesn’t enjoy listening to some brutal metal music like this remastered live version of Messiah of Death, right?

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In regards to her idols and main influences in music and in life in general, Masha said in one of her interviews that not only herself but all of her bandmates are inspired by mysticism, occultism and several other eccentric topics when writing their music, always trying to make their sound as unique as possible. As the main founder and central figure of Nordwitch, a project that was originated inside her pagan mind, Masha is obviously influenced by all classic Black Metal bands, such as Mayhem, Watain and Bathory, which she’s been a fan since she was a teenager, and you can see how much she’s passionate about such controversial but fantastic subgenre of heavy music by visiting her official Instagram account and searching for her personal videos playing several Black Metal classics on the piano and keyboard. For instance, take a very good listen at her delicate but at the same time piercing piano versions for Burzum’s Dunkelheit and Han Som Reiste, Dark Funeral’s Stigmata, Dissection’s Where Dead Angels Lie and Thorns Of Crimson Death, and Shining’s Tillsammans Är Vi Allt, among others, as well as non-Black Metal hymns like Type O Negative’s Love You To Death. In addition, she mentioned in an interview that she’s also influenced by classical music and Scandinavian folk music, which kind of explains her passion for the piano, and that Runhild Gammelsæter, a Norwegian musician notable for being the vocalist for the American bands Thorr’s Hammer and Khlyst, is her favorite female metal singer of all time, complementing by saying that she cannot choose only one male singer as her favorite, though, as there are too many.

When asked about her hobbies outside of music, Masha listed a few very interesting and healthy activities, like working out and practicing sports, modeling and photography, also mentioning her interest in satanism, occultism and the mythology of ancient Scandinavia, which as aforementioned are the main topics covered in the music by Nordwitch. In addition, Masha said in one of her interviews she’s an apolitical person, as in her opinion true Black Metal has always been and will continue to be away from politics or anything related to it, being focused on religion and other more obscure topics. She also said that she had always dreamed about being in an Extreme Metal band like Nordwitch, but she wasn’t sure if that was going to actually happen one day, also saying she understands being a woman in a Black and Death Metal band from the underground scene is not easy at all, but that she won’t give up and keep on rockin’, always counting on the support form her family, friends and fans, aiming as high as possible with Nordwitch in the years to come. And we, true metalheads, will be ready to hail darkness and raise our horns together with the unstoppable Masha and her henchmen, no doubt about that.

Masha’s Official Instagram
NordWitch’s Official Facebook page
NordWitch’s Official VKontakte
NordWitch’s Official YouTube channel

Album Review – Zohamah / Spread My Ashes (2019)

Combining Black, Death and Doom Metal into a poisonous but intoxicating musical cocktail, here comes an Israeli one-man band armed with his excellent debut opus.

An intentionally cryptic band from Israel, Black/Death Metal one-man army Zohamah, which by the way is an expression taken from the Kabbalah that translates to “darkness” or “pollution”, a form of evil that results in kilkull (or spiritual damage), is unleashing upon humanity its first full-length opus, entitled Spread My Ashes, a follow-up to its debut EP Manic Depression, from 2017. Combining Black, Death and Doom Metal into a poisonous but intoxicating musical cocktail, Zohamah is the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist H.M. (also known as Hezi Menashe), known from several underground bands such as Romuvos, Spawn of Evil and Immaterial, with all lyrics and music being written by H.M. himself, not to mention the album was also recorded, mixed and mastered by this extremely talented Israeli metaller.

The howling wind warns us all there’s a Black and Doom Metal storm coming in the opening track New World, generated by the somber gnarls and damned riffs blasted by H.M. It couldn’t have sounded more devilish than this, with H.M. also showcasing his superior skills on drums. Then presenting a Black Sabbath-inspired main riff enfolded in absolute obscurity we have The Darkness Whispers in My Ear, where H.M. is once again on fire with his demonic roars and intricate beats amidst the song’s hypnotizing rhythm; followed by Zohamah’s 2017 single, named Emptiness, a feast of the most Stygian sounds a man can generate, with his scorching hot guitar lines blending beautifully with his rumbling bass and rhythmic drumming, bringing elements from the most diverse types of classic extreme music.

A lot more Death Metal than its predecessors, which is noticeable specially on H.M.’s deeper growls, Black Cloud offers three minutes of aggressive, sulfurous and ruthless sounds, and the music remains vibrant and grim until all fades into pitch black darkness, whereas Broken Mirror is another demented creation by H.M., presenting the most melancholic and obscure elements from underground Blackened Doom. In addition, H.M. growls in a true desperate manner, bursting his lungs in pain and anguish. The title-track Spread My Ashes is a disturbing and harmonious instrumental bridge, building the ambience for the song that carries the name of the project, Zohamah, to captivate our senses with its neck-breaking pace, infernal screams and blast beats, ending the album on a high (and visceral) note just the way we love in underground extreme music.

It doesn’t really matter if you appreciate the works of one-man bands like Zohamah or not, you should definitely take a shot at Spread My Ashes, available in its entirety on on YouTube and on Spotify, as this is one of those albums that perfectly represent all the talent, hard work, passion for heavy music and darkness found in the independent Extreme Metal scene. If after listening to Spread My Ashes you feel like you want to know more about H.M. and his Zohamah (and I’m sure you will), you can follow him on Facebook, and show him your utmost support by purchasing the album from the Redefining Darkness Records’ BandCamp page, from the Hells Headbangers’ webstore, from iTunes or from Amazon. In the end, H.M. is not only spreading his ashes on us with Zohamah’s brand new album, but also showing all of us fans of metal music that the Israeli scene is a lot more interesting, vibrant and obscure than we can imagine.

Best moments of the album: The Darkness Whispers in My Ear and Broken Mirror.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Redefining Darkness Records

Track listing
1. New World 4:45
2. The Darkness Whispers in My Ear 4:38
3. Emptiness 5:04
4. Black Cloud 3:14
5. Broken Mirror 4:29
6. Spread My Ashes 1:52
7. Zohamah 5:42

Band members
H.M. – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – The Wandering Ascetic / Crimson (2019)

Drawing influences from the Hellenic Black Metal scene, here comes a Singaporean squad armed with their brand new album of dissonant and hypnotic sounds.

Formed in 2011 in Singapore by Kathir, vocalist and bassist for Rudra, an iconic Death and Black Metal act from the local scene, The Wandering Ascetic are making a name for themselves in the underground of heavy music by blasting a more exemplary black and thrash sonority without the Indian classical instruments seen in the music by Rudra, but still retaining their trademark spiritual fervor. Accompanied by guitarist Vinod (also from Rudra), bassist Jayakumar and drummer Kannan K, Kathir and his The Wandering Ascetic draw their influences from the Hellenic Black Metal scene (as well as obviously from Rudra), generating dissonant, hypnotic sound s infused with crushing riffs and grooves, elevating their music and art to a whole different level.

After the release of their debut EP titled Manifest Destiny, in 2013, it’s time for The Wandering Ascetic to smash our senses once again with their first full-length opus, the excellent Crimson, featuring a life-transforming artwork by Mark Riddick (Fetid Zombie) and layout by Turkka Rantanen (Demilich, Demigod). Comprised of 10 unrelenting songs ranging from pure old school Black Metal to modern-day Southern Rock and Groove Metal, Crimson is a solid and very entertaining statement by The Wandering Ascetic in a scene that seems stagnant at times, showing how powerful Singaporean metal can be and, as a consequence, opening several doors in the international market for the band.

Vinod begins his slashing attack accompanied by Jayakumar’s thunderous bass in Eva Braun, with Kathir roaring demonically for our total delight in a Black and Death Metal attack spiced up by hints of Progressive Metal, flowing darkly until its eerie end; then the tribal beats by Kannan K ignite another obscure composition named I Sing the Body Electric, showcasing an obscure rhythm inspired by old school Black and Doom Metal tailored for fans of the genre where the guitar lines by Vinod sound as flammable as they can be. Bringing elements form the music by Gojira, Mastodon and Tool we have the beautifully titled The Exorcism of Mrs. Doe, a very intricate and sulfurous tune where Jayakumar and Kannan K generate a dense and disturbing atmosphere with their weapons, followed by The Gods Bleed!, a song perfect for breaking your neck headbanging spearheaded by Vinod’s devilish riffs, while Kathir continues to vociferate like a demonic entity, not to mention how metallic and impactful Jayakumar’s bass punches sound and feel.

Beast of Burden presents more melody blended with sheer darkness in the form of modern-day Death and Black Metal, with Vinod being on absolute fire with his riffs and solos while the gnarls by Kathir only get more and more infernal, and The Wandering Ascetic keep hammering our heads with their crushing sonority in The Will to Live, where all four band members make sure we don’t stop banging our heads to their vicious music, with highlights to Kathir’s enraged growls and Vinod’s ass-kicking guitar solo. After such high level of devastation, it’s time to dive deep into the crypts of Hades with those Singaporean metallers in To Hell, Back and to Hell Again, a classic, straightforward metal extravaganza with elements from the dirty Rock N’ Roll played by bands like Motörhead and Chrome Division, which obviously means it kicks some serious ass.

Here for the Good Things keeps the album at a very good level of malignancy and hatred despite sounding a bit generic (or I should say less inspired than the other songs), with Vinod slashing his guitar in a very precise and aggressive manner; and the cutting sound of his guitar is once again the main ingredient in the visceral Assassins, displaying some hypnotizing instrumental parts, in special Vinod’s guitar solo, while Kannan K doesn’t let the energy go down by smashing his drums nonstop. Finally we have Orang Laut, an ominous and grim blast of extreme music highly inspired by classic Doom Metal, with Vinod and Jayakumar extracting the most Stygian sounds from their strings and with the music ending as dark as anyone can imagine.

It’s not always that we have the pleasure of facing high-end metal music from such distinct country, completely out of the North American and European markets, and we metalheads should not only thank The Wandering Ascetic for that by following them on Facebook, but mainly by purchasing their new album Crimson from their own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscurity webstore, or from other retailers like Target. Crimson might not be considered a true revolution in music, but the four guys from The Wandering Ascetic definitely put on a lot of energy, creativity and passion in the writing, composing and recording of the album to ensure they were not just playing “more of the same”. Quite the contrary, Crimson does sound very unique and compelling, elevating the name of Singapore in the world of heavy music and paving a very interesting future for the quartet.

Best moments of the album: I Sing the Body Electric, The Gods Bleed! and To Hell, Back and to Hell Again.

Worst moments of the album: Here for the Good Things.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Asia

Track listing
1. Eva Braun 5:18
2. I Sing the Body Electric 4:46
3. The Exorcism of Mrs. Doe 4:28
4. The Gods Bleed! 4:42
5. Beast of Burden 4:01
6. The Will to Live 3:15
7. To Hell, Back and to Hell Again 3:10
8. Here for the Good Things 4:10
9. Assassins 5:04
10. Orang Laut 3:12

Band members
Kathir – vocals
Vinod – lead & rhythm guitars
Jayakumar – bass
Kannan K – drums

Album Review – Master’s Call / Morbid Black Trinity EP (2019)

Behold the rise of a new Black Metal entity from the UK and their debut EP, encompassing the darkness of faith, body and spirit with three powerful tracks that each tell a different potent story.

Originally conceived by guitarists John Wilcox and Dave Powell in the birthplace of metal itself, Birmingham, England, in 2014, but only reaching its full shape and form in 2016 after recruiting lead singer Shayan, bassist Adam Tricklebank and finally  drummer James Williams, Wolverhampton-based Black Metal unity Master’s Call walk forth through the flames beyond the gates with conviction and grit on their side, going against all odds and standing strong no matter what. For instance, vocalist Shayan, born in Tehran, the capital of Iran, where rock and metal music are banned (especially where anti-religious lyrics are concerned as the country’s hardline Islamic government considers it blasphemy), didn’t stop writing and performing Black Metal even with the potential risk of jail or even execution, proving how obstinate and passionate for extreme music Shayan and his bandmates from Master’s Call are.

Now in 2019 it’s time for this unrelenting British horde to unleash hell with their debut EP Morbid Black Trinity, an album highly recommended for fans of bands like Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Conjurer and Behemoth, encompassing the darkness of faith, body and spirit with three powerful tracks that each tell a different potent story. Recorded and mixed by Neil Haynes at The Parlour Studios in Northampton, mastered by Peter In De Betou at Tailor Maid Productions (Necrophobic, Dimmu Borgir, Watain) in Sweden, and featuring a creepy artwork created by the band’s own John Wilcox and Adam Tricklebank, Morbid Black Trinity is not just another fantastic extreme music album from the independent scene, but a beyond solid statement that Master’s Call are among us to stay and to keep spreading darkness and rage in the name of their beloved Black Metal.

An ominous intro morphs into a thrilling fusion of Black and Death Metal the likes of Behemoth in the first track, From Once Beneath The Cursed, led by Shayan’s sulfurous roars and James’ thunderous beats, while Dave and John extract the most metallic sounds you can imagine form their scorching hot guitars. Depicting the incarnation of a physical embodiment conjured from the underlying madness, hate and evil of the world, the entire song couldn’t sound more imposing than that, with poetry and darkness flowing as one from its vile lyrics (“Rise oh ferocious beast that lies within / At last we have reached the time to strike this mortal coil / So let loose the pain, gathering the serpents below / Sweet death shall conquer them all / May its annihilation bless our hearts / For we have snuffed long in slumber / Of the prison of life that you call a gift / We’ll burn it! / Scorch the solar as we have awakened”).

Rising from the depths of hell once again, Master’s Call offer our avid ears the fulminating The Spire Cranes, representing the holy buildings that tower high to cast the reach of their oppressive symbols of faith afar, but can be broken down through the cracks in their holy walls. Dave and John’s riffs dictate the song’s vibrant rhythm while James keeps crushing his drums mercilessly and Adam makes the ground tremble with his bass lines, all enfolded by Shayan’s deep, demonic vociferations. And lastly, the icing on the cake comes in the form of almost seven minutes of visceral Blackened Death Metal blasted by Shayan and his horde in My Eyes Are The Night, with Dave and John bringing hints of Thrash Metal in their amazing riffs, sounding violent and somber from start to finish. Assuming the perspective of a hunter that stalks the night, preying on victims who have lost themselves amid the atrocities of the world, by manipulating them into sacrificing themselves for the false hope of a greater existence beyond our own, this austere aria of darkness makes it impossible not to break your spinal cord headbanging to the brutal beats by James, ending the EP in a beyond demonic vibe.

In a nutshell, the gates to the underworld are open thanks to the awesome music crafted by this unstoppable group of musicians from the UK in Morbid Black Trinity,  and if you want to know more about such up-and-coming act you should definitely follow them on Facebook, and of course if you’re already a longtime fan of both classic and modern-day Black Metal go grab your copy of their debut EP directly from their BandCamp page. Although short in duration, Morbid Black Trinity already shows all the potential Master’s Call have and how furious and obscure their music can be, leaving us eager for more of their malevolent compositions in the form of another EP or full-length release and, consequently, pointing to a bright (or maybe I should say dark) future for this sharp and dauntless Black Metal entity.

Best moments of the album: From Once Beneath The Cursed.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. From Once Beneath The Cursed 5:50
2. The Spire Cranes 5:07
3. My Eyes Are The Night 6:41

Band members
Shayan – vocals
Dave Powell – guitars
John Wilcox – guitars
Adam Tricklebank – bass
James Williams – drums

Album Review – Inferno / Basado En Hechos Reales (2019)

An up-and-coming thrashing beast from Spain returns with another sensational round of old school, unrelenting Thrash Metal, telling stories of violence, death and corruption from our rotten society.

Born in 2009 as a cover band from the ashes of several underground groups from the Spanish city of Ceuta, but writing their own original material since 2011 after some important lineup changes, the unstoppable Thrash Metal unity known as Inferno has been on a row in the past few years, having released their six-track debut EP Arrodíllate in 2014 and their first full-length album Genética Humana in 2017, both receiving very positive feedback from the press and from fans on heavy music in general. After such solid start, it was more than obvious that this thrashing beast from Spain would strike again in a not-so-distant future, which is exactly what’s happening now in 2019 with their sophomore release, the pulverizing Basado En Hechos Reales, which translates to English as “based on true events”.

Comprised of frontman Juan Manuel León, guitarists Ángel “Koto” Bermúdez and Antonio González, bassist Carlos Bermejo and drummer Miguel Osuna, Inferno take no prisoners in their quest for extreme music, playing as loudly, fast and aggressively as they can without giving us a single second to breathe. Recorded, mixed and mastered by their own guitarist Koto and featuring an old school cover artwork designed by Indonesian artist Wibowo Yudo Baskoro (Five Milligrams), who has already worked with bands like Napalm Death, Possessed, Morbid Saint and Massacre, Basado En Hechos Reales is an electrifying ode to all things thrash, perfectly representing all the band’s passion and commitment to such entertaining sub genre of heavy music.

An ominous Gregorian chant kicks off the blasphemous havoc entitled Ruega Por Nosotros (or “pray for us” in English), with Koto and Antonio cutting our skin deep with their riffs while frontman Juan Manuel vociferates the song’s harsh and anti-religious words rabidly, setting the tone for the also hammering Tu Sucio Dinero (“your dirty money”), with the rumbling bass punches by Carlos kicking us in the face mercilessly. Put differently, it’s raw, visceral and frantic Thrash Metal that lives up to the legacy of the genre, not to mention how potent the beats by Miguel sound throughout the entire song. And as aforementioned there’s no time to breathe with another kick-ass tune titled Como A Marionetas (“like puppets”), where we’re all invited to get smashed into the circle pit to more of their old school thrashing music, with highlights to the razor-edged guitar riffs and solos by Koto and Antonio.

Are you tired already? Because Inferno will hit you hard with their Spanish-spoken version of the early days of Testament and Exodus entitled Vuestra Ceguera (“your blindness”), where Miguel is an unstoppable stone crusher on drums while the guitars exhale harmony and brutality at the same time, whereas in Apriétate El Bozal (“squeeze the muzzle”) we face a high-octane fusion of sounds as if Metallica and Megadeth form the 80’s had a Spanish Chuck Billy as their vocalist (thanks to the great job done by Juan Miguel with his raspy, enraged vocals), with all destruction being boosted by the pulverizing drums by Miguel. There’s no sign of slowing down, as they continue their Thrash Metal party in Espiral De Mentiras (“spiral of lies”), where the guitar lines are in perfect sync with the vocals during the entire song, followed by Condenado A Vivir (“condemned to live”), an 80’s-inspired Bay Area Thrash hymn tailored for slamming into the circle pit, having a cold beer with your friends or simply banging your head nonstop like a beast. In addition, Juan Manuel sounds even more ferocious and demented on vocals than before, with the music flowing infernally until all is said and done.

Inferno’s source of energy seems to be endless as they add tons of horsepower to another piercing creation named Sin Domesticar (“without taming”), a sonic tribute to everyone that’s antisocial, rude and grim, with the Thrash Metal riffs and beats blasted by the band matching perfectly with the song’s sick lyrics, followed by Exterminio (“extermination”), where Juan Manuel roars and barks like a demonic entity in a fusion of Thrash and Death Metal highly recommended for diehard fans of extreme music. Lastly, in order to finish the extermination of the human race proposed in the previous song we have the fantastic Noches Sin Tregua (“nights without truce”) as the icing on the cake, with Miguel simply destroying his drum set while the band’s stringed trio provide Juan Manuel all he needs to thrive, vociferating violently like there’s no tomorrow without showing any mercy for our souls. Put differently, the album couldn’t have ended in a more fun and demolishing way, I might say.

Are you ready to slam into the pits of hell to the thunderous Thrash Metal made in Spain by Inferno? If the answer is yes, simply go check what those talented metallers are up to on Facebook, including their live concerts (the best thing in metal music, of course), and buy your copy of Basado En Hechos Reales from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Necromance Records’ BandCamp page or webstore. Basado En Hechos Reales is, as its name already says, based on all sad but true stories of corruption, death and violence from our decaying society, and the guys from Inferno certainly deserve our utmost recognition for gathering all that evil and putting together such entertaining album of classic Thrash Metal for our total delectation.

Best moments of the album: Ruega Por Nosotros, Condenado A Vivir and Noches Sin Tregua.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Necromance Records

Track listing
1. Ruega Por Nosotros 4:01
2. Tu Sucio Dinero 3:00
3. Como A Marionetas 3:10
4. Vuestra Ceguera 2:56
5. Apriétate El Bozal 3:41
6. Espiral De Mentiras 4:00
7. Condenado A Vivir 3:21
8. Sin Domesticar 3:20
9. Exterminio 3:05
10. Noches Sin Tregua 3:22

Band members
Juan Manuel León – vocals
Ángel “Koto” Bermúdez – guitar
Antonio González – guitar
Carlos Bermejo – bass
Miguel Osuna – drums

Album Review – Rifftera / Across the Acheron (2019)

Let’s brave the waters of the Acheron to the sound of the brand new opus by this talented Melodic Death and Thrash Metal squad from Finland.

If in 2015 a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band that goes by the stylish name of Rifftera stunned us all with their  aggressive and futuristic debut opus Pitch Black, now in 2019 it’s time for this talented Vaasa-base squad comprised of Janne Hietala and Mikko Kuoppamaa on vocals and guitars, Jupe Karhu on bass, Antti Pöntinen on keyboards and newcomer Ville Härkönen on drums to take another amazing step in their more-than-promising career with Across the Acheron, which is not only their sophomore release but an album that exhales harmony, electricity and rage, bringing a well-balanced and thrilling fusion of Death and Thrash Metal for both fans of what the band presented in their previous album as well as newcomers to their whimsical realm of modern-day metal music.

Featuring once again a beautiful cover art by Petri Lampela, who besides Rifftera has already worked with other excellent bands like  Vinide and Ratbreed, Across the Acheron might have taken longer than expected to be released, but the wait was definitely worth it as each and every song of the album is an absolute feast of first-class Melodic Death Metal. “The aim was basically to take steps forward from our debut in every aspect and we are really happy with the result. In my honest and not at all biased opinion I think that clear improvement was achieved musically, lyrically and production-wise,” commented lead singer and guitarist Janne, complementing his thought by saying that “when it comes to comparing the music between Across the Acheron and Pitch Black, I would say that our expression has reached new levels on both ends of the spectrum; some parts on the new album are more brutal than anything that what we had on Pitch Black and then again some songs are more straight forward and melodic than before. Overall it could be described that the building blocks are the same but writing and performing skills have evolved.”

The opening track Burning Paradise already showcases an epic start led by the always cinematic keys by Antti, being gradually joined by all other instruments until all hell breaks loose to a deep, enraged roar by Janne, becoming an almost Blackened Death Metal tune infused with Melodic and Industrial Metal elements where both Janne and Mikki slash their guitars in a piercing manner. Then we have the 8-minute extravaganza Two Sides of the Story, sounding very close to what they did in Pitch Black, with Ville simply demolishing his drums while Jupe and Antti generate a captivating background sounding with their instruments, also delivering tons of harmony and ethereal vibes for our total delight; followed by Eye of the Storm, a rhythmic, imposing and thrilling display of contemporary Scandinavian metal, showcasing pounding drums, epic keys and a dark and menacing atmosphere. Furthermore, Janne and Mikko have a very healthy “duel” of vocal styles, and as they sing during the entire song, it’s indeed beautiful to enjoy their ass-kicking metal music when you’re “in the eye of the storm”.

And those Finnish metallers keep invading our senses with their fusion of futuristic sounds and endless harmony in Cutthroat Game, with both guitars sounding as sharp as a knife while the bass punches by Jupe get even more thunderous then before, accompanied by Ville’s nonstop drums. After such crushing tune, it’s time to speed things up a bit in the superb Cry Wolf, led by Janne’s deranged growls and with Antti bringing an extra touch of lunacy to the sonority through his keys, resulting in what’s the most metallic and visceral of all songs; whereas Warmonger is another brutal composition tailored for cracking your neck in half headbanging, with Mikko’s clean vocals and Antti’s spot-on keys bringing some peace and hope to all devastation blasted by their bandmates. Not only that, the song’s main riff will entice you to keep bang your head nonstop, which obviously means this is an amazing option to be added to their setlist during their live concerts. Things slow down a bit in Deep Waters, getting more melodic, delicate and introspective than its predecessors but still exhaling the band’s characteristic rage, with the always inspiring keys by Antti stealing the spotlight and, therefore, keeping the level of electricity high, setting the stage for the 11-minute aria Across the Acheron, a very detailed and cinematic exhibit of their Melodic Death and Thrash Metal where you’ll be enfolded by inspiring passages, melodious riffs and solos, powerful vocals and violent growls. Moreover, this song has an amazing vibe and a touch of delicacy that only a band like Rifftera can bring you directly from the stunning Scandinavia, ending the album on a high, ominous and majestic mode.

It’s always a pleasure watching a hardworking and honest group of skillful musicians like Rifftera evolving like what they did from Pitch Black to their new album Across the Acheron, and in order to show them our true support don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and to listen to their music on Spotify, and of course purchase your copy of Across the Acheron from the Inverse Records webstore, from Record Shop X, from iTunes, or from Amazon. In ancient Greek mythology, the Acheron was known as the “river of woe”, and was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. Having said that, I guess it’s time for all of us fans of Melodic Death Metal to brave the waters of the Acheron together with Rifftera, and face all the perils the underworld might bring us to the sound of their brand new and excellent album.

Best moments of the album: Eye of the Storm, Cry Wolf and Warmonger.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Burning Paradise 6:12
2. Two Sides of the Story 8:04
3. Eye of the Storm 6:34
4. Cutthroat Game 6:12
5. Cry Wolf 5:08
6. Warmonger 6:29
7. Deep Waters 4:50
8. Across the Acheron 11:20

Band members
Janne Hietala – guitars, harsh vocals
Mikko Kuoppamaa – guitars, clean vocals
Jupe Karhu – bass
Antti Pöntinen – keyboards
Ville Härkönen – drums