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”

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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”