Album Review – Target / Deep Water Flames (2019)

Let’s all dive into the incendiary deep waters of Technical and Progressive Death Metal ruled by one of the most talented and innovative names of the South American metal scene.

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to be absolutely stunned by the music crafted by four extremely talented guys hailing from Santiago, the beautiful capital of Chile, who seem to have mastered the art of blending sheer aggression and tons of progressiveness infused with atmospheric and melancholic passages. I’m talking about a Technical/Progressive Death Metal four-piece unity that goes by the name of Target, who released earlier this year their sophomore full-length opus, the amazing Deep Water Flames, one of the best metal albums of 2019 so far without a shadow of a doubt, and I’m sure you’ll agree with that after listening to such imposing and dense album of extreme music.

Formed in the year of 2002, the band now comprised of lead singer Andrés Piña, guitarist Luis Soto, bassist Rodrigo Castro and drummer Rodrigo Arias put on a lot of hard work, passion for heavy music and talent into the making of Deep Water Flames. Recorded and mixed in Santiago by Erick Martínez at Orange Studio, mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Recording Studios, and featuring dark and flammable artwork, design and graphics by Dehn Sora, from Paris, France, Deep Water Flames sounds and feels like a tribute to all things Progressive and Death Metal, captivating all your senses from its first notes until its climatic grand finale, therefore positioning Target as one of the best and most innovative names of the underground scene in South America.

The intro Immerse is absolutely eerie and atmospheric from the very first second, reaching deep inside your soul and warming up your mind for the bold and crushing Inverted Gloaming, featuring Juan Escobar (Aphonic Threnody, AstorVoltaires, Tetractys, Mar de Grises) on vocals. Sounding utterly wicked and experimental, this excellent tune is led by Rodrigo’s insane beats and fills, while Andrés screams in a deranged and visceral way, resulting in a lecture in contemporary Progressive Death Metal. Then once again offering madness in the form of music, the band brings forth No Solace Arises, where Luis is on fire with his razor-edged strings, or in other words, this is a neck-breaking tune where the band’s “Rodrigos” shake the foundations of the earth with their beats and bass punches, making it feel like we’re listening to three or four songs all at once.

As obscure and atmospheric as its predecessors, Oceangrave is a flawless fusion of intricacy and rage, sounding as if Lamb of god went full progressive, showcasing ominous passages blended with Luis’ evil guitar lines and Rodrigo Castro’s damned, thunderous bass roars; followed by Surge Drift Motion, which begins in full force with both Luis and Rodrigo Castro shredding their strings mercilessly. Put differently, it’s a heavier-than-hell version of classic Progressive Metal spiced up by Andrés’ roars, with the piercing guitar solos by the band’s stringed duo being the icing on the cake. Submerged is a futuristic and melancholic instrumental bridge that will mesmerize you and prepare you for the pulverizing Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra, starting in a purely experimental mode before Rodrigo Arias begins exterminating his drums beautifully. Furthermore, sheer violence emanates from every riff and beat, with the deep, bestial growls by Andrés seeming inspired by Deathcore while the instrumental pieces remind me of the gripping music by bands like Gojira and Opeth.

Target Deep Water Flames Digipak

The following song, entitled Blackwaters, couldn’t have started in a more demented way, with its eccentric notes morphing into another brutal feast of progressive sounds where Rodrigo Castro’s bass lines are more imposing than ever. Hence, it’s highly recommended for either slamming into the pit or simply witnessing the band playing it to perfection on stage; and get ready for over nine minutes of the most devastating and intricate form of Progressive Death Metal you can think of in Random Waves, featuring Jeronimo Ruiz (Entrefuego), who brings insanity to the music with his vocals, remaining completely wicked, vile and cinematic until the very end. And lastly, the band offers us the serene outro Emerge, where its piano notes and background elements will embrace you and make you feel comfortable in darkness.

You should definitely take a very good and detailed listen at this magnificent album of Technical and Progressive Death Metal made in Chile on YouTube and on Spotify, and after being hypnotized by Target’s heavy and complex sounds you can purchase Deep Water Flames directly from the band’s BandCamp page, from the Australis Records’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Furthermore, if I were you I would go for the digipak version of the album as it’s simply fantastic. I got it from Australis Records, and let me tell you those guys did a beautiful job producing the physical CD format of such distinct album. Also, don’t forget to follow Target on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and let your body and mind dive into the incendiary deep waters of progressive and heavy music ruled by those extremely talented Chilean musicians.

Best moments of the album: Inverted Gloaming, Oceangrave and Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Australis Records

Track listing
1. Immerse 2:15
2. Inverted Gloaming 6:11
3. No Solace Arises 5:28
4. Oceangrave 5:21
5. Surge Drift Motion 5:42
6. Submerged 2:14
7. Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra 5:24
8. Blackwaters 6:31
9. Random Waves 9:13
10. Emerge 3:59

Band members
Andrés Piña – vocals
Luis Soto – guitars
Rodrigo Castro – bass
Rodrigo Arias – drums

Guest musicians
Jeronimo Ruiz – vocals on “Random Waves”
Juan Escobar – vocals & instrumental arrangements on “Immerse”, “Inverted Gloaming” and “Emerge”

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Album Review – Exuviated / Déliquescence EP (2019)

Get ready to be smashed by 26 minutes of first-class Death Metal brought forth by a talented five-piece act hailing from “Hellgium”.

Forged in the fires of Marche-en-Famenne, a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the year of 2009, when they released their debut EP entitled An Era’s Condemned, the unstoppable Death Metal squad comprised of Jean-Philippe Sonnet on vocals, Cédric Grandhenry and Renaut Van Oeyen on the guitars, Pierre Pish Minet on bass and Ahephaim on drums, collectively known as Exuviated, are ready to smash our heads once again with the ruthless music from their brand new EP Déliquescence. Featuring a beyond obscure artwork by the band’s own vocalist Jean-Philippe Sonnet (Threadbare Artwork), Déliquescence not only cements the name of the band in the underground extreme music scene, showing why they’ve already shared the stage with several renowned acts like Six Feet Under, Dark Tranquility, Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation (not to mention their concert at the always insane Wacken Open Air Festival), but it also paves a promising path for the band in the future, all in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Get ready for a heavy and demonic feast of Death Metal made in Belgium (or “Hellgium” as the band likes to call it) in the opening track Rupture, with Cédric and Renaut initiating the devastation with their flammable guitars while Jean-Philippe growls in a true Unleashed-inspired style before a somber break brings fear to our hearts, exploding once again into visceral extreme music until we’re treated to the instrumental piece Trouble, showcasing atmospheric guitar lines intertwined with heavier riffs and tribal beats. And this grim ambience sets the tone for the berserk Errance, where Jean-Philippe gnarls and shrieks demonically while Ahephaim sounds like a stone crusher on drums. In other words, this is ass-kicking Death Metal with a modern twist, offering over seven minutes of intricate and devilish sounds, ethereal passages and sheer violence and rage.

The next track, entitled Absence, is a more cinematic instrumental tune where the band seems like in a musical trance, and with Cédric and Renaut, together with Pierre, generating a vile atmosphere with their stringed weapons perfect for the absolute destruction that follows in Abîme, a classic Death Metal extravaganza infused with several modern extreme styles such as Deathcore and Grindcore, feeling and sounding dense throughout its entirety, with highlights to the amazing job done by the skillful Ahephaim with his brutality and refined technique on drums. Furthermore, it’s impressive how Exuviated are capable of composing Death Metal songs with over six minutes each and never sound boring or repetitive, proving how talented those Belgian metallers are.

In a nutshell, Déliquescence, which is available in full on Spotify and on YouTube, will certainly please all fans of both classic and contemporary Death Metal, leaving us all eager for more of Exuviated’s music in a not-so-distant future. Hence, let’s show our utmost support to the band by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and mainly by purchasing a copy of their brand new incendiary EP from BandCamp, from Apple Music or from Amazon. And may Exuviated keep turning Belgium into “Hellgium” for many years to come, filling our ears with the visceral and violent sounds of our beloved Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Errance.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:33
2. Trouble (Instrumental) 2:21
3. Errance 7:09
4. Absence (Instrumental) 2:58
5. Abîme 6:27

Band members
Jean-Philippe Sonnet – vocals
Cédric Grandhenry – guitars
Renaut Van Oeyen – guitars
Pierre Pish Minet – bass
Ahephaim – drums

Album Review – When Plagues Collide / Tutor of the Dying (2018)

A superb amalgamation of melodic riffs and sweeping solos embraced by the beauty and finesse of symphonic music, blasted by a Belgian outfit that’s among us to dictate violence and spread the plague.

As total strangers, but sharing the same passion for heavy music, five friends met in June 2016 with the same goal in mind, which was translating their vision of life and musical ideas into a genre that’s not well known or developed among headbangers yet, but that has tons of potential to become your next favorite thing in metal. I’m talking about Symphonic Deathcore, an amalgamation of sounds and styles that encompasses melodic riffs and sweeping solos embraced by the beauty and finesse of symphonic music, and there’s no better band to introduce you to this thrilling new genre than Belgian metallers When Plagues Collide (a name standing for the reflection of our modern-day society and, therefore, allowing a critical view on social issues) and their debut full-length opus, titled Tutor of the Dying.

Believe me when I say you’ll be absolutely stunned by the complex and brutal creations by this Aarschot-based squad, comprised of Wouter Dergez on vocals, Joris Dergez and Santy Van der Mieren on the guitars, Bastiaan Barbieux on bass and Siebe Hermans on drums. Featuring an old school Death Metal-inspired artwork by Hans Trasid of Disart Design, as well as the very special guest musicians Ben Duerr (Shadow of Intent, Hollow Prophet), Luke Griffin (Acrania, Human Error) and Tim De Ridder (The Seventh, Before He Shot her), Tutor of the Dying is highly recommended for fans of bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Make them Suffer, Martyr Defiled and Molotov Solution, with each one of the album’s 11 tracks “dictating violence and spreading the plague”, like the band itself would say.

If you’re curious to know what Symphonic Deathcroe is all about, simply hit play and let cryptic sounds and noises from the underworld kick off the six-minute aria Messengers of the Holy Falsehood, being gradually accompanied by a choir and background symphonic elements until all hell breaks loose to the demented beats by Siebe and the lunatic vociferations by Wouter, with both Joris and Santy firing truly incendiary riffs from their axes. Fertilization with the Body of Men is a lot more metallic and closer to traditional Metalcore, with Bastiaan and Siebe shaking the foundations of the earth with their rumbling instruments, not to mention how the background piano and other symphonic elements bring an ethereal touch to the band’s sonic havoc, whereas Legion is another ass-kicking, demolishing tune by the quintet where Wouter sounds even more enraged and demented than before, with the strident sound of the guitars beautifully penetrating deep inside our minds.

And their level of destruction and rage only grows in Dictating Violence, a Deathcore tune perfect for slamming into the pit featuring the first guest of the album, vocalist Ben Duerr, blasting sheer brutality and wrath. Then an eerie and somber semi-acoustic bridge titled Als Imperatieve Grootmacht (which means “as an imperative superpower”, from Dutch) showcases devilish vocalizations and enigmatic words, setting the tone for the fulminating title-track Tutor of the Dying, bringing the most demonic, high-pitched screeches by Wouter, while Siebe shows no mercy for his drums nor for our necks. In other words, this is top-notch Deathcore to the masses with a phantasmagorical and amazing atmosphere, which can also be said about Fleshmould, where guest vocalist Luke Griffin growls and barks like a beast together with Wouter while the band’s guitar duo continues their insane shredding feast for our total delight.

An imposing intro evolves into a bold and introspective creation named Belials Archetype, led by the visceral riffs by both Joris and Santy and also presenting truly wicked lyrics (“Malevolent thoughts slither through the mind of this broken man / The weeping eyes of his unborn child reflecting on the name of his murdered wife / The ever cold breeze carries her scent as reminder of the elegance of life / In her fragile existence she achieves in maintaining the breath of belief in the essence of his being / Still death and reunification offer solace and liberation”); and When Plagues Collide continue their deranged feast of sounds and noises in Marked for Destruction, featuring guest vocalist Tim De Ridder, all embraced by spot-on symphonic elements and without showing any signs of the band slowing down. Quite the contrary, they keep taking their violent Deathcore to new heights, obviously making us fans of extreme music happy. Lastly, presenting a sonority slightly different from the previous songs we have Corpus Maleficus, more symphonic and less barbaric than its predecessors but of course still keeping intact their Deathcore roots, with highlights to the great sync between Siebe’s beats and the flammable guitars by Joris and Santy, before the orchestral, Stygian outro Vows captivates our senses and depressurizes our souls from all the devastation brought forth by the band throughout the entire album.

As already mentioned, I’m certain that after taking a more detailed listen at Tutor of the Dying in its entirety on YouTube or on Spotify you’ll get addicted to Symphonic Deathcore, and in order to show your appreciation for the music by When Plagues Collide don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel. In a nutshell, the excellent Tutor of the Dying, available from the band’s BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Chugcore’s BandCamp page, from iTunes and from Amazon, is the utmost depiction of what high-end Symphonic Deathcore is all about, always dictating violence, always spreading the plague and, above all that, showing us all When Plagues Collide are among us to stay (and slay).

Best moments of the album: Messengers of the Holy Falsehood, Dictating Violence and Tutor of the Dying.

Worst moments of the album: Corpus Maleficus.

Released in 2018 Chugcore

Track listing
1. Messengers of the Holy Falsehood 6:27
2. Fertilization with the Body of Men 4:25
3. Legion 4:16
4. Dictating Violence (feat. Ben Duerr) 3:42
5. Als Imperatieve Grootmacht 2:41
6. Tutor of the Dying 4:49
7. Fleshmould (feat. Luke Griffin) 3:28
8. Belials Archetype 3:25
9. Marked for Destruction (feat. Tim De Ridder) 4:00
10. Corpus Maleficus 4:18
11. Vows 2:54

Band members
Wouter Dergez – vocals
Joris Dergez – guitar
Santy Van der Mieren – guitar
Bastiaan Barbieux – bass
Siebe Hermans – drums

Guest musicians
Ben Duerr – vocals on “Dictating Violence”
Luke Griffin – vocals on “Fleshmould”
Tim De Ridder – vocals on “Marked for Destruction”

Concert Review – Trivium & Arch Enemy (The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, 11/07/2017)

Over 1,500 metalheads headed over to Toronto’s Greektown for a flammable night of modern and vibrant contemporary metal music, courtesy of the iconic Arch Enemy and the unstoppable Trivium.

OPENING ACTS: Fit For An Autopsy and While She Sleeps

Although it’s getting colder and colder as the month of November begins to switch from the colors of fall to the monochromatic look of winter, I guess no one can complain about the clear and not-so-chilly weather yesterday in Toronto, turning the night into the perfect occasion to head to The Danforth Music Hall, located at the easternmost side of what’s known as “Greektown”, to watch the fulminant performances by two of the most important bands in contemporary metal music, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters Arch Enemy and American Heavy Metal troopers Trivium, both promoting their brand new kick-ass albums. Not only that, weeks before the concert all tickets were already sold out, which means we were going to experience around 1,500 metalmaniacs screaming, jumping up and down and slamming into the pit together with the bands. It can’t get any better than this, my friends.

The two bands chosen to warm up the crowd in a night of modern and aggressive heavy music were American Deathcore act Fit For An Autopsy and British Metalcore group While She Sleeps, with FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY being the first to hit the stage at 6:30pm. Formed in 2008 in Jersey City, in the state of New Jersey, United States, the band is supporting Arch Enemy and Trivium during their fall tour by promoting their latest album, titled The Great Collapse, released earlier this year. If Deathcore is your cup of tea, go check The Great Collapse in full on YouTube as their setlist was 2/3 formed of songs from that album, and also watch their official video for Black Mammoth, the closing song of their performance.

Setlist
Hydra
Heads Will Hang
Absolute Hope Absolute Hell
Still We Destroy
Iron Moon
Black Mammoth

Band members
Joe Badolato – vocals
Will Putney – guitar
Patrick Sheridan – guitar
Tim Howley – guitar
Peter Spinazola – bass
Josean Orta – drums

After that good start it was time for WHILE SHE SLEEPS to blast their Metalcore precisely at 7:15pm to all metalheads that were already at the venue (and the ones arriving a little late). Formed in 2006, this Sheffield-based squad is currently promoting their new album You Are We, with their setlist also being almost 100% based on it. New songs like the opening tune You Are We, Silence Speaks, and the closing one Hurricane kept the audience warm enough for the main attractions of the night, with lead singer Lawrence Taylor and bassist Aaran Mckenzie being absolutely on fire from start to finish.

Setlist
You Are We
Civil Isolation
Brainwashed
Feel
Silence Speaks
Hurricane

Band members
Lawrence Taylor – vocals
Sean Long – guitar
Mat Welsh – guitar, vocals
Aaran Mckenzie – bass
Adam Savage -drums

ARCH ENEMY

Finally, after over three long years (the last time the band was in town was in 2014 together with Kreator), Toronto had the pleasure of witnessing another bestial performance by ARCH ENEMY, precisely at 8:05pm (the punctuality of the concerts in Toronto always amazes me), and let me tell you that this time the whole band was even sharper and heavier than last time. Well, let’s say that is most probably due to the fact that in their new album, the excellent Will to Power, Arch Enemy put the pedal to the metal, sounding less melodic and more ruthless, and when their new songs were transferred to the stage the result couldn’t be different than some insane mosh pits, lots of growling and fists and horns in the air.

Frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz (with her always exotic and apocalyptic attire) seemed extremely happy and excited (as expected) to be with Arch Enemy once again in her homeland Canada, saying that it might be difficult for the band to cross the ocean to play in North America, but when they’re able to finally come to Canada and the US, it’s definitely worth it. She said that although she’s originally from Montreal, Quebec, she nurtures a deep passion and respect for Toronto, and the fans responded to that statement with a lot of enthusiasm, banging their heads nonstop to each and every song played by Arch Enemy. As mentioned, the new songs worked extremely well, in special the high-octane Slayer-ish tornado titled The Race, which by the way Alissa said is her favorite of the new album (and mine too), and the classy and groovy Blood in the Water.

Sharlee D’Angelo and Daniel Erlandsson were as precise and competent as usual with their bass and drums, respectively, but I must say it’s impressive how crystal clear, blazing and tuneful the guitars by Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis sounded during their entire performance. Those guys are true BEASTS with their cutting riffs and solos, sounding so perfect to the point you couldn’t tell if they were playing live or if it was the studio version of the songs. Whoever adjusts their instruments prior to the shows is a technical genius, no doubt about that, and if you get to see Arch Enemy live anywhere during this tour simply close your eyes and let each note played by Mr. Amott during the classic instrumental piece Snow Bound penetrate deep into your soul. The only “complaint” I have about their concert was the presence of not-so-exciting songs in their setlist, like Stolen Life, You Will Know My Name and Avalanche, which worked well, I have to admit that, but imagine if they played some of their more obscure and scathing classic tunes, like what happened with Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead and especially Nemesis? Well, we’ll have to wait for their next Canadian tour to see what they’ll do to their setlist (and I can’t wait for that).

Setlist
Set Flame to the Night (Intro)
The World Is Yours
Ravenous
Stolen Life
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
Blood in the Water
You Will Know My Name
The Race
The Eagle Flies Alone
As the Pages Burn
Dead Bury Their Dead
We Will Rise
Avalanche
Snow Bound
Nemesis
Enter the Machine (Outro)

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

TRIVIUM

After a short break, where the house DJ played some all-time classics on the speakers such as Iron Maiden’s “The Prisoner” and Motörhead’s “Born to Raise Hell” to keep the momentum created by Arch Enemy going, Orlando-based metallers TRIVIUM took the stage by storm at 9:45pm sharp already with the opening track of their superb new opus, The Sin and the Sentence, the title-track The Sin and the Sentence, which made the crowd explode in awe and ignited some serious mosh pits all over the venue. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu and Paolo Gregoletto were as electrified and in sync as usual, with Matt leading the fans with his “meme-generator” faces and gestures, but it was newcomer Alex Bent who stole the spotlight. Holy shit, that guy is a relentless killing machine on drums, elevating the band’s already heavy sonority to a whole new level. Needless to say, he played all songs to perfection, in special one of the best of the new album and a serious candidate to become a Trivium classic, the Black Metal-inspired tune Betrayer.

Surprisingly (at least for me), one of the songs with the strongest reaction from fans was Until the World Goes Cold, which is a pretty nice ballad but, let’s be realistic, it’s far from being as awesome as classics like Down From the Sky and Kirisute Gomen. Two of the other songs from The Sin and the Sentence, the radio-friendly The Heart From Your Hate and Thrown Into the Fire, also sounded and felt truly heavy and thrilling, proving once again that Trivium are one of the most effective bands in heavy music when composing both heavier and slower, more melodic songs. Just like what happened with Arch Enemy, I missed a few songs in their setlist, especially some of the more complex tunes from Shogun, but Matt & Co. know what they were doing when they put this setlist together, trying to encompass all of the band’s phases in a little less than one hour and a half.

Last but not least, when the intro Capsizing the Sea started playing we all knew the show was coming to an end, but not before Matt thanked Toronto for another fantastic night of metal, promising to always return to the city with another blast of Trivium music, and asking everyone present at the venue to get down or kneel before one of their biggest classics, if not the biggest of all, In Waves. If you enjoy Slipknot you’ve already seen Corey Taylor and his bandmates do the same during their concerts, and with In Waves that Slipknot-ish formula worked extremely well like a precise time bomb, with all fans jumping up and down like maniacs while bursting their lungs screaming the two words from the song’s name. I guess there wasn’t a single fan that wasn’t eager for more Trivium when the show was over, as both Arch Enemy and Trivium had shorter-than-usual time slots to play for co-headlining the tour, but again, we must learn to be patient and wait for Trivium to get back in town in a not-so-distant future, right? At least Matt promised to be back soon, and we must trust the man.

Setlist
The Sin and the Sentence
Down From the Sky
Betrayer
Until the World Goes Cold
Like Light to the Flies
Rain
Dusk Dismantled
Strife
The Heart From Your Hate
Kirisute Gomen
Thrown Into the Fire

Encore:
Capsizing the Sea (Intro)
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

Album Review – When Ashes Are Rising / Of Earth and Men (2017)

Witness the fall of everything the virus called “man” has created through the eyes of a raging five-piece Italian Metalcore act.

“You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Formed in 2014 with ex-members of underground Italian bands Absence (Torino), Cybercage (Sassari) and OxC (Sassari), here comes Italian Death Metal/Deathcore act When Ashes Are Rising, commonly referred to as W.A.A.R. or WAAR, and their brand new album, titled Of Earth and Men. After a more Hardcore-oriented first self-titled EP, the band decided they wanted to go for a more old school Metalcore sound heavily influenced by the Swedish metal scene, with bands like In Flames, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility, and, above all, At The Gates, being the source of inspiration for this promising Sassari-based group.

And their music is more than just your regular Metalcore, being a strong and austere social and political message for all mankind. W.A.A.R. believe in the total collapse of all the powers that make every human being a slave, from the very moment you are born until you die; they believe in the destruction of all the systems that enslave us through imposition and violence, and in the fall of everything the virus called “man” has created, constantly raping Mother Earth. Featuring a classy artwork by Emanuele Gutierrez, Of Earth and Men is the perfect musical representation of the band’s core essence and beliefs, with its mix of aggressive sounds and a very cohesive narrative sending a powerful and disturbing warning about the imminent doom of our decaying society.

The instrumental intro Of Earth And Men, featuring futuristic elements mixed with some gentle piano notes, is a good warm up for the belligerent Gaia’s Revenge, a Deathcore onrush with xZEDx as a guest vocalist and blending the melody of Metalcore with the sheer aggressiveness of Death Metal, all led by the rabid riffs by guitarists Giuseppe and Delio which end up supporting the maniacal growls by frontman Afshin in a powerful way. The following tune, titled W.A.A.R., presents a violent instrumental with the pounding drums by Nico elevating the song’s hostility to a whole new level while Luca smashes his bass guitar, generating a tempestuous sounding perfect for Afshin to explain to the listener who W.A.A.R. are through his deep guttural (“When Ashes are Rising. / I used to watch you walk among the trees / while they offered you their fruits / and now I see you abuse each other / You live on materialism / the true richness of the soul / you forget you erected / physical and mental cages / in a world with no borders / has this eternal misery killed your compassion?”).

In Dust Diamonds, featuring guest musician Blasi (Strength Approach) on additional vocals, their demented assault of Deathcore goes on in a fast-paced turmoil of nonstop beats and fills, crushing riffs and endless stamina, highly recommended for slamming into the pit; whereas Extinction, featuring guest guitarist Zack Cignetti (Tomorrowillbeworse), is another melodic tune where Afshin sounds possessed while Giuseppe and Delio continue to pierce our ears with their venomous strings, not to mention the song’s menacing aura. And this amazing quintet knows how to externalize their fury and hatred against what’s wrong in our society through their unrelenting metal music like what we see in After Tomorrow. In other words, get into the circle pit or simply bang your head nonstop to this solid tune full of metallic guitar lines, precise beats and unfriendly growls.

Then in Prelude To Life we’re treated to a futuristic instrumental bridge that connects to the final chapter in Of Earth and Men, the thoughtful and demolishing chant Life Will Find A Way, which not only showcases interesting and somewhat melancholic lyrics (“Our sacrifice was inevitable / but filling the void of a loss is hard / for she lost her children / and is left alone to cry. / They raped her, robbed her / she fed them anyway to sustain their reigns. / They raped her, robbed her / she fed them anyway, life will find a way.”), but its sounding also gets closer to pure Death Metal before becoming a modern display of Metalcore. Moreover, Afshin goes absolutely mental with his deep growls, while Nico’s double bass adds tons of fury to the musicality.

You can find all details about W.A.A.R. on Facebook, and buy Of Earth and Men through their BandCamp page, as well as through the Bound By Modern Age Records’ BandCamp or webstore. As time goes by, I feel more and more convinced that our society as we know it is coming to an inevitable and unpleasant end, and perhaps the extinction of the human race is exactly what needs to happen for the world to restore its peace and balance, especially because our current situation is far, far away from being sustainable. In case you agree with that concept and you love heavy music at the same time, the music by W.A.A.R. might become the perfect soundtrack for you while you witness our society crumbling to pieces.

Best moments of the album: Gaia’s Revenge and Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bound By Modern Age Records

Track listing
1. Of Earth And Men 1:56
2. Gaia’s Revenge (feat. xZEDx) 4:20
3. W.A.A.R. 3:46
4. Dust Diamonds (feat. Blasi) 3:02
5. Extinction (feat. Zack Cignetti) 4:16
6. After Tomorrow 3:04
7. Prelude To Life 1:32
8. Life Will Find A Way 5:02

Band members
Afshin – vocals
Giuseppe – guitar
Delio – guitar
Luca – bass
Nico – drums

Guest musicians
xZEDx – additional vocals on “Gaia’s Revenge”
Blasi – additional vocals on “Dust Diamonds”
Zack Cignetti – guitar solo and outro section on “Extinction”

Album Review – Sharked / Generalized Death Drive EP (2016)

In less than 15 minutes, this enraged quintet from France pulverizes everything and everyone that dares to cross their path with their relentless fusion of Deathcore and Death Metal.

Rating5

coverPutting a label to French quintet Sharked might be a difficult task, but if there’s one thing we can say about the music by this unrelenting cohort is that it’s as pulverizing as an atomic bomb. Bringing together the most aggressive elements from Deathcore, Grindcore, Death, Thrash and even Black Metal, which makes them sound like the evil bastard of Testament, Pantera, Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse, Sharked are ready to disturb whatever is left of peace in our decaying society with their second EP, titled Generalized Death Drive, and let me tell you they need less than 15 minutes to achieve their malevolent goal.

Formed in October 2010 in the city of Lyon, France by guitarist Tom Roger, and having released their self-titled debut EP that same year, Sharked have suffered a few changes through the years before reaching their current lineup, shaping up their music to the high-octane and belligerent form found in Generalized Death Drive. Featuring a straightforward artwork by Grégory Diot, each song in the EP was baptized with the name of a type of killing (as the suffix -cide means “a killer of”), those being genocide (the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation), liberticide (the destruction of freedom), infanticide (the crime of killing a child within a year of birth), tyranicide (the killing of a tyrant), homicide (the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another) and suicide (the act of intentionally causing one’s own death), all seasoned with the sheer truculence and wrath by Tom and his crew.

A few beeps warn the listener it’s time for total anarchy in Genocide, a devastating tune led by Tom and his lancinating riffs, while lead singer L’Abbé S.M. growls and barks like a rabid dog. And the massacre goes on until the very end of the song with not a single second of peace, giving no time for the listener to breathe before a hurricane of metal music named Liberticide begins. Faster and leaning towards modern Death Metal, it sounds very clean, professional and metallic due to the album’s amazing production, with drummer Nicolas Ramboz keeping the musicality on fire with his unstoppable blast beats. The next track, Infanticide, also showcases an outstanding level of anger and hatred, where the vocals by L’Abbé S.M. will inspire you for some violent slamming into the circle pit. This is like a Deathcore version of contemporary Cannibal Corpse thanks to the unique sonority generated by Sharked’s heavy artillery, in special by the bestial drumming by Nicolas and the fierce bass lines by Jérémy Conil.

sharkedIn Tyranicide they send a statement saying they’ll never slow down their music, reaching a demented pace enhanced by the sick beats by Nicolas, not to mention the crisp and menacing sound of Tom’s guitar; followed by Homicide, a modernized Deathcore chant where the wicked noises and samples by ArtRose work really well together with the rabid havoc brought forth by the rest of the band. And closing the album we have Suicide, offering more brutality for lovers of extreme music with L’Abbé S.M. sounding like a choleric Max Cavalera at times. In less than two minutes, they triturate whoever is still alive after all the insanity in the form of music found in the EP.

To sum up, Sharked’s killing feast witnessed in Generalized Death Drive might be considerably short, but it’s more than enough to carve their names in the underground of French extreme music and, consequently, to open the doors for the band to record their first full-length album pretty soon. If you want to know more about Sharked, go check their Facebook page and SoundCloud, and you can buy a copy of the EP at the Sepulchral Silence Record’s BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon and tons of other locations. Their songs might be named after types of killings, but if there’s one thing they don’t kill at all is good music. Quite the contrary, it’s bands like Sharked who keep the fire of underground metal burning bright, always putting their passion for extreme music above everything else, maintaining the longevity of this type of music even when society and mainstream record labels and producers go against it.

Best moments of the album: Liberticide and Infanticide.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Sepulchral Silence Records

Track listing   
1. Genocide 3:12
2. Liberticide 3:09
3. Infanticide 2:54
4. Tyranicide 1:19
5. Homicide 2:11
6. Suicide 1:54

Band members
L’Abbé S.M. – vocals
Tom Roger – guitars
Jérémy Conil – bass
Nicolas Ramboz – drums
ArtRose – samples

Album Review – Dzhatinga / Black Wings (2015)

Spread your black wings and fly away to the dark realms of Death Metal constructed by these excellent Belarusian metallers.

Rating4

coverThe Republic of Belarus is usually known for its enchanting culture, its pristine forests and nature, and obviously for its historical importance as part of the imposing Soviet Union. However, the country has been turning into a mandatory stopover in recent years for fans of heavy and complex music, as previously seen with Progressive Death Metal band Irreversible Mechanism and now with Deathcore/Death Metal newcomers Dzhatinga, who are releasing in 2015 their debut full-length album Black Wings.

Hailing from the city of Minsk, Belarus, like their countrymen from Irreversible Mechanism, the band was formed just earlier this year by brothers Alexey Krapitsky (vocals, guitar) and Dmitry Krapitsky (bass), but their music sounds so solid and professional it feels like they’ve been on the road for a good time already. Furthermore, another interesting fact about Black Wings is that the way the songs (or “acts”) are named and sorted gives the idea the album is a theatrical play, which is reinforced by the ominous and beautiful artwork by Belarusian artist Elena Zharkova. And don’t expect to find any clean singing in the entire album, as Dzhatinga is a lot heavier than almost all Metalcore, Deathcore and Melodic Death Metal bands you might know.

The eerie intro Into The Abyss kicks off Black Wings by setting the stage to the extremely heavy Act I: Faith Devourer, which I personally wouldn’t call Melodic Death Metal but a more modern version of Death Metal, with the outstanding production of the album enhancing the impact of each instrument. Not only Alexey Krapitsky is a talented guitarist, but the way he uses his voice as an eldritch instrument, going from deep guttural to maniacal screams, truly adds a lot of kick to the song. Keeping the level of aggression high, Act II: Neverwhere showcases a futuristic sounding with an old school vibe and tons of brutality, not to mention the excellent guitar lines by Alexey Krapitsky and Alexey Yalovsky, followed by Act III: Bearpaw, an amazing tune that sounds like a heavier version of the Industrial Metal played by Fear Factory. Its lyrics might be simple but are indeed very precise (“My fur is like armor, my claws like blades. / The colour of your hope was lost in the shades. / Show me your fear, give me your life! / Your turn to die!”), and the additional harsh vocals by the awesome singer Anastasia Palamar (Exist M), being sexy and beastly at the same time, turn it into the best act of Black Wings in my opinion.

dzhatingaPassion To Kill (Prelude) is even more obscure than the album intro, being the perfect bridge from the first three acts to the following three, starting with a groovy massacre named Act IV: Their Knock, with highlights to the great job done by drummer Denis Kozyrev by adding hints of progressiveness to the music with his intricate beats, and to the vocals by Alexey Krapitsky, slightly more guttural than before. Then we have Act V: Seasoned With Pain, a hefty assault of Groove and Death Metal focused on its cannibalistic/vampirical lyrics (“Your flesh, your blood is so sweet for me. / My teeth are sharp. They will make you free. / Your taste is so subtle, so delicious. / Your heart and your brain is seasoned with your pain.”), and finally Act VI: Black Wings, featuring additional harsh vocals by Vitaly Shalak (Stanmarsh, Andrea Gail), where Dzhatinga keep devouring our souls with their wicked musicality despite being more introspective than the other acts, with the resonant bass lines by Dmitry guiding the song to its desolate ending.

In order to spread your black wings and fly away to the dark world constructed by Dzhatinga and their music, go visit their Facebook page, VKontakte and in special their SoundCloud page, where you can listen to Black Wings in its entirety and enjoy some high-end Death Metal directly from Belarus, a country that, as aforementioned, is gaining more and more significance and respect in the world of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Act II: Neverwhere and Act III: Bearpaw.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Into The Abyss (Intro) 1:13
2. Act I: Faith Devourer 3:49
3. Act II: Neverwhere 3:54
4. Act III: Bearpaw (feat. Anastasia Palamar) 4:11
5. Passion To Kill (Prelude) 1:21
6. Act IV: Their Knock 4:12
7. Act V: Seasoned With Pain 3:41
8. Act VI: Black Wings (feat. Vitaly Shalak) 4:31

Band members
Alexey Krapitsky – vocals, guitar
Alexey Yalovsky – guitar
Dmitry Krapitsky – bass
Denis Kozyrev – drums

Guest musicians
Anastasia Palamar – additional harsh vocals on “Act III: Bearpaw”
Vitaly Shalak – additional harsh vocals on “Act VI: Black Wings”

Album Review – Alienchrist / Exolution EP (2015)

Get ready to have your body and soul abducted by an alien onslaught of Extreme Metal.

Rating5

Front CoverIt doesn’t matter if you believe in extraterrestrial life or not: as long as you believe in Spanish/Portuguese Exocore band Alienchrist and their brand new EP entitled Exolution, your life will be spared. Well, at least in terms of an alien abduction, because if there’s one thing you will suffer for sure are the effects of this Seville-based project’s brutal sonic storm full of deep growls, unorthodox tempos and bizarre riffs. Or as metalheads would say in Portuguese about the music by Alienchirst, “É PESADO PRA CARALHO!”

Formed in 2014 by Portuguese musician Mario Rocha and inspired by names like Carnifex, Whitechapel and Meshuggah, Alienchirst have already played at various events such as the Alburock Open Air in Murcia, Spain, sharing the stage with Even When Dead, Bloodyard, Resurrection, The Fall Of Atlantis, among many others. It’s important to mention that except for Alienchrist’s architect Mario Rocha, all other members are handpicked to tour or to play live gigs, which means this cannot be considered a band per se. Nothing that will stop Alienchrist from invading and conquering your city with their unearthly extreme sounding, though.

In case you have no idea what Exocore is, think of it as the coalition of Death Metal and Metalcore, also known as Deathcore, but with a kind of primeval exoskeleton (or “external shell”) to make it even more rigid and resistant. With that said, you can get a sense of how heavy and organic it sounds, which is exactly what you’ll find in the opening track, Zimabu Eter, featuring Bryan Long from American Deathcore band Dealey Plaza. Inspired by the movie The Fourth Kind, the whole song is a brutal assault of Death Metal riffs and blast beats, led by the deepest guttural growls you can think of. In summary, if an alien invasion or abduction has by any chance this song as the soundtrack, we’re totally doomed.

alienchristSignals continues delivering savagery, with its eerie intro suddenly turning into modern and violent metal. It will break your fuckin’ neck with its badass riff, plus some special keyboard effects in the background that end up establishing an interesting and ominous atmosphere. The next track of the EP, All Seeing Eye, is Death Metal to the second power: it’s like an “alien” version of Deicide with a monster on vocals, and obviously you have to master the art of guttural singing to understand whatever Mario Rocha is screaming.

The Mind Of The Psychopath showcases low-end bass lines and hardcore riffs, adding a lot of brutality to it, as well as ghoulish long-lasting growls by Mario Rocha. What a massacre! Finally, as a bonus to the listener, Exolution has a Dubstep remix for Zimabu Eter, and even if you hate electronic music you must admit this remix is pretty cool, capturing all the main elements from the original version.

You can take a listen at Exolution in its entirety on YouTube and also listen to it and purchase it at Alienchrist’s BandCamp page. As previously mentioned, if one day the human race faces an extraterrestrial invasion (as many people are eagerly expecting), let’s hope for it to be orchestrated by Alienchrist and their ruthless onslaught of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Zimabu Eter.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Zimabu Eter (feat. Bryan Long) 3:39
2. Signals 3:48
3. All Seeing Eye 3:52
4. The Mind Of The Psychopath 3:34
5. Zimabu Eter (Dubsteb Remix) 2:58

Band members
Mister V (Mario Rocha) – vocals
Mister W – guitar
Mister X – guitar
Mister Y – bass
Mister Z – drums

Guest musician
Bryan Long – additional vocals on “Zimabu Eter”