Album Review – Eternal Sacrifice / Ad Tertium Librum Nigrum (2018)

Relive the glory of 90’s Black Metal by listening to “the third black book” diabolically brought into being by one of the most important names from the Brazilian extreme music scene.

Forged in the already distant year of 1993 in the blazing fires of Salvador, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, a malevolent Pagan/Black Metal unity that goes by the name of Eternal Sacrifice has been haunting our souls since their inception, aiming at delivering a detailed and obscure new concept inside the Pagan Black Metal genre and, therefore, creating their own unique sound from an amalgamation of influences and styles. Now in 2018 the horde comprised of M. T. L. H. Anton Naberius on vocals, Charles Lucxor Persponne on the guitar, Marquis Orias Snake also on the guitars and bass, Sado Baron Szandor Kastiphas on keyboards and Frater Deo Sóror Comite Ferro on drums is firing upon humanity their third concept album, entitled Ad Tertium Librum Nigrum, taking the Pagan Black Metal to a level never reached by another band in terms of sound and graphic production.

Featuring a Luciferian artwork by Brazilian designer Alan Luvarth and celebrating 25 years in the career of Eternal Sacrifice, Ad Tertivm Librvm Nigrvm, which by the way is Latin for “the third black book”, presents around one hour of malevolent sounds split into ten unrelenting new songs (all carrying fantastic names, by the way), consolidating the name of such distinct entity in the vanguard of the Brazilian Pagan Black Metal scene. “Ad Tertivm Librvm Nigrvm is the greatest proof that strength and perseverance always win; it is an album full of symbologies and spells, made exclusively for those who enjoy the songs of the left hand,” said the band’s frontman Naberius, positioning the album as an indispensable work for those who have experienced the glory of 90’s Black Metal, and for those who seek to know more about that golden age of extreme music.

Somber, smooth piano notes kick things off in the intro curiously titled Introiro, before the guitars by Charles and Orias generate an embracing atmosphere in The Three Mashu’s Seals – The Conquest of the Ganzir and Arzir Gates (Hazred Area), bringing the most melodic elements from modern-day Black Metal without losing their raw old school sonority, feeling like a hybrid of the early days of Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Marduk, with the keys by Kastiphas adding an extra touch of malignancy to the musicality. And this Brazilian horde keeps invading our minds with their relentless and demonic music in the 8-minute Melodic Black Metal extravaganza The Vision of the Light of the Sculptures in the Monument of Mashu (The Black Book of Signs and Evil Spells), with Frater crushing his drums while Kastiphas keeps blasting ethereal sounds through his keys, all spearheaded by the Stygian and cryptic growls and vociferations by Naberius.

The Amulet, the Fire and the Seals of Wisdom in the Course of a Triple Life carries a stunning name for an Extreme Metal song, with the slashing riffs by Charles and Orias dictating its rhythm, while Naberius roars and gnarls like a true demonic entity throughout the entire song and Frater keeps the ambience as eerie and menacing as it can be with his drums. Then we have The Revelations of the First Sigil, Lucifer, After a Saga of Delusions and Battles, a mid-tempo tune where all band members fire blackened sounds and tones with highlights to the demented growls by Naberius, not to mention how in sync the band’s stringed duo is with Kastiphas’ phantasmagorical keys, and there’s no time to breathe as Eternal Sacrifice keep firing blasphemy in the form of Pagan Black Metal in When Angel of Light in Ur, in Invoking the Second Sign Agga, even more eccentric and devilish than its predecessors albeit not as gripping, despite getting back to a to a more violent and demolishing sonority in its final part.

Epic keys and guitars, unstoppable drums and a huge dosage of malignancy from Naberius’ otherworldly growls are the main ingredients in Nasha, Restitution of Double the Light (Luce) and Harmony (Fer) – Pagan’s Calls, a visceral fusion of Black and Pagan Metal setting fire to the atmosphere in a thrilling manner (not to mention how pulverizing Charles and Orias are with their infernal axes), followed by Interludium, an epic bridge that captivates our senses for their final blast of Epic and Pagan Black Metal titled The Emptiness, the Guard of the Sortileges and the Time in which the Dust Takes the Rites, starting with an acoustic guitar accompanied by the howling sound of the wind, and gradually morphing into some sort of obscure mass of old school Black Metal infused with Symphonic and Pagan Black Metal elements, with the music flowing like a frantic creature in the dark led by Naberius and his wicked vocalizations, until all fades into the Mephistophelian outro Prologum, an ode to Lucifer that puts a climatic, creepy and hellish end to such blasphemous album.

After all is said and done, Ad Tertium Librum Nigrum, available for a full listen on YouTube and on sale from the Hammer of Damnation’s BandCamp page or webstore, can indeed be considered a modern-day masterpiece in Pagan Black Metal, becoming even more important in the Brazilian scene due to the constant struggles every metal band has to face to survive in the country. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Eternal Sacrifice by getting in touch with them through their Facebook page, by buying their new opus, and of course by enjoying reading (or I should say listening to) “the third black book” by this ruthless and demonic South American horde.

Best moments of the album: The Three Mashu’s Seals – The Conquest of the Ganzir and Arzir Gates (Hazred Area), The Amulet, the Fire and the Seals of Wisdom in the Course of a Triple Life and Nasha, Restitution of Double the Light (Luce) and Harmony (Fer) – Pagan’s Calls.

Worst moments of the album: When Angel of Light in Ur, in Invoking the Second Sign Agga.

Released in 2018 Hammer Of Damnation/Sangue Frio Records

Track listing    
1. Introiro 1:50
2. The Three Mashu’s Seals – The Conquest of the Ganzir and Arzir Gates (Hazred Area) 8:00
3. The Vision of the Light of the Sculptures in the Monument of Mashu (The Black Book of Signs and Evil Spells) 8:03
4. The Amulet, the Fire and the Seals of Wisdom in the Course of a Triple Life 6:27
5. The Revelations of the First Sigil, Lucifer, After a Saga of Delusions and Battles 5:12
6. When Angel of Light in Ur, in Invoking the Second Sign Agga 6:18
7. Nasha, Restitution of Double the Light (Luce) and Harmony (Fer) – Pagan’s Calls 7:59
8. Interludium 2:10
9. The Emptiness, the Guard of the Sortileges and the Time in which the Dust Takes the Rites 8:22
10. Prologum 3:08

Band members
M. T. L. H. Anton Naberius – vocals
Charles Lucxor Persponne – guitars
Marquis Orias Snake – guitars, bass
Sado Baron Szandor Kastiphas – keyboards
Frater Deo Sóror Comite Ferro – drums

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Album Review – Bane / Esoteric Formulae (2018)

Conjuring visions of darkness, pain and frost, this Montreal-based Blackened Death Metal horde has poured their charred hearts into spawning their third and most complete opus to date.

Originally founded in 2006 in Novi Sad, a city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube River, but currently based out of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada, Blackened Death Metal horde Bane has poured their charred hearts into this third full-length release, entitled Esoteric Formulae, a masterwork that leads many influences to an evil culmination, with each track being atmosphere-evoking, filling the soundscape with nocturnal melodies and conjuring visions of darkness, pain and frost. With several tours under their belts as well as countless concerts and festival performances in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and Poland, among several other countries, Bane continue to push the limits of their unique blend of Blackened Death Metal to the world of the underground, and Esoteric Formulae is the perfect depiction of where the band is headed to.

Featuring a classy artwork by Indonesian graphic artist and illustrator Bahrull Marta (Abomination Imagery), Esoteric Formulae not only showcases a sharp and malevolent duo comprised of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Branislav and drummer Honza Kapak (Master’s Hammer), but also the additional (and very welcome) devilish touches by guest musicians Giulio Moschini (Hour Of Penance), Amduscias (Temple Of Baal) and Canadian composer Ophélie Gingras, enhancing the album’s taste and impact considerably. Put differently, if you’re a fan of the dark, blasphemous and very melodic music by iconic acts like Dissection, Behemoth and Rotting Christ, Esoteric Formulae will bring you a lot of (evil) joy without a shadow of a doubt, placing Bane as one of your top picks from the underground and independent Extreme Metal scene.

Invocation Of The Nameless One is a beautiful, ominous intro embraced by the epic orchestrations by Ophélie Gingras, setting the stage for Branislav and Honza to deliver sheer darkness in The Calling Of The Eleven Angles, a brutal Blackened Death Metal extravaganza where Branislav’s roars get deeper and more demonic while Honza provides a huge dosage of heaviness with his beats and fills; followed by Beneath The Black Earth, and such powerful name could only be accompanied by a crushing sonority, of course, with Branislav doing a fantastic job with his pulverizing riffs and rumbling bass lines, resulting in a vibrant, modern and obscure display of extreme music for admirers of the genre.

Then drinking form the same fountain of iconic bands like Behemoth and Dragonlord, Bane offer our avid ears Bringer Of Pandimensional Disorder, where Black Metal blast beats are intertwined with very melodic and strident guitar lines, all embraced by the cryptic, hellish words vociferated by Branislav (“I call upon the currents – of Wrathful Chaos / Let the oceans of formlessness – into this world / Awaken by the esoteric formulae / Open the gates to the Astral plane of the dark Water / Bringer of Pandimensional Disorder!”). Wretched Feast keeps the album at a sulfurous level, presenting gripping guitars and nonstop beats, and with guest Giulio Moschini adding his own personal twist to the music with his fiery guitar solo, whereas in Into Oblivion, featuring Amduscias as a guest vocalist, Bane summon all evil through their violent Blackened Death Metal, also bringing elements form Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir to their already dense musicality.

And they keep scorching our hearts and minds with their visceral Black Metal in Burning The Remains, a mid-tempo, infernal tune where the guitar lines alternate between sheer malignancy and hypnotizing lines, while Honza adds tons of intricacy and strength to the overall result with his bestial drumming. Putting the pedal to the metal, Bane deliver a violent and thrilling tune titled Reign In Chaos, presenting hints of Melodic Death Metal and of the music by Cradle of Filth, which obviously boosts the song’s impact and taste considerably and, therefore, turns it into one of the top moments of the album. Lastly, like a bulldozer smashing our heads, Honza ignites the also vile and metallic Acosmic Forces Of The Nightside, where the duo makes their devilish waves fill every single empty space in a feast of instrumental darkness, before the atmospheric outro Wrathful Reflections brings back a massive wall of orchestrations, finally fading into absolute darkness and void.

In a nutshell, the excellent Esoteric Formulae, available from Bane’s own BandCamp page as well as from the Black Market Metal Label’s Big Cartel, is definitely a must-have album for fans of contemporary and sulfurous Blackened Death Metal, consequently setting the bar really high for the band’s future releases. After purchasing such excellent album, you can also show your utmost support to Branislav and his horde by following Bane on Facebook and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, letting all the aforementioned darkness, pain and frost flowing from the music found in Esoteric Formulae guide you on a one-way journey to the depths of the netherworld.

Best moments of the album: Beneath The Black Earth, Into Oblivion and Reign In Chaos.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Black Market Metal Label

Track listing
1. Invocation Of The Nameless One 1:15
2. The Calling Of The Eleven Angles 3:46
3. Beneath The Black Earth 3:35
4. Bringer Of Pandimensional Disorder 3:49
5. Wretched Feast (feat. Giulio Moschini) 3:46
6. Into Oblivion (feat. Amduscias) 4:34
7. Burning The Remains 4:01
8. Reign In Chaos 3:30
9. Acosmic Forces Of The Nightside 5:27
10. Wrathful Reflections 1:59

Band members
Branislav – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Honza Kapak – drums

Guest musicians
Giulio Moschini – guitar solo on “Wretched Feast”
Amduscias – vocals on “Into Oblivion”
Ophélie Gingras – orchestrations on “Invocation Of The Nameless One” and “Wrathful Reflections”

Current/live lineup
Branislav – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Max Allard – guitars, backing vocals
Stéphane Deschênes – bass
Nicholas Wells – drums

Album Review – 1914 / The Blind Leading the Blind (2018)

It’s time to head into the battlefields of the Great War together with these talented and obstinate Blackened Death and Doom Metal infantrymen from Ukraine.

It’s time to head into the battlefields of World War I together with Ukranian Blackened Death/Doom Metal infantrymen 1914 and their brand new opus, the breathtaking The Blind Leading the Blind. World World I might not get explored as it should very often, as World War II typically overshadows it, but this Liviv-based squad, formed in 2014 at the 100th anniversary of World War I, makes a damn solid case for its historical significance (click HERE for an in-depth interview regarding the band’s ideology), with their unique and incendiary fusion of  Black, Death, Doom and even Sludge Metal being stomping, heavy-as-hell, therefore inspiring the strength and bravery within to march towards death.

Comprised of 2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumar on vocals, 37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen and 5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock on the guitars, 9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen on bass and 33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht on drums, 1914 pay homage to all that fell fighting the Great War, with their themes covering topics such as the Battle of Gallipoli (and the involvement of Ataturk), the Brusilovsky breakthrough, the Battle of Verdun and the gas attack at Ypres, not being political nor warmongers, but just telling the tales of war, injustice, fear, hopelessness and endless death as they happened. Featuring a deadly, lugubrious artwork by Czech artist Vladimir “Smerdulak” Chebakov, The Blind Leading the Blind is a precious gem of extreme music, positioning 1914 not only as one of the best underground metal bands of the current scene, but of the past decade without a shadow of a doubt.

War In is a beautiful, wicked and dark intro that takes us to the horrors of World War I, exploding into visceral Blackened Death Metal in Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne (inspired by the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the greatest American battle of the First World War, where in six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded), led by the pulverizing drums by Rusty, while Ditmar roars the song’s lyrics manically (“Arrival / The Meuse-Argonne offensive started like clockwork / We planned to break through the Hindenburg line / I know what we are fighting for / Hopefully to end the war”), also bringing the most Stygian elements from classic Doom Metal. Then we have A7V Mephisto, a World War I German tank masterfully translated into a brutal and heavy tune where the entire band showcases their heavy artillery by blasting sheer obscurity inspired by old school Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost, in special Liam and Vitalis with their lethal riffs, but with a more demonic twist; followed by High Wood. 75 Acres of Hell, an infernal display of Black and Death Metal spearheaded by Ditmar’s growls while Armin and Rusty keep the ambience as dense and grim as possible with their respective instruments, displaying the battle for High Wood’s 75 acres, which started on July 14 and raged nearly continuously for 64 days, coming to be known as “The hell of High Wood” or “The rottenest place on the Western Front.”

Bagpipes ignite a sinister and pulverizing cover version for The Exploited’s all-time hit Beat The Bastards, sounding as rebellious and fun as the original version, but of course with a more metallic and crushing vibe, with highlights to the beautiful job done by both Liam and Vitalis with their hellish guitars. In the interesting bridge Hanging On The Barbed Wire, the infantry sings while marching under a heavy storm (“If you want to find the General, / I know where he is, / If you want to find the General, / I know where he is / He’s pinning another medal on his chest / I saw him, I saw him / Pinning another medal on his chest.”), setting the tone for the superb Passchenhell, a wordplay with The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, a campaign of World War I fought by the Allies against the German Empire. Musically speaking, it’s another flawless display of Blackened Death Metal infused with Doom Metal nuances, also featuring the beyond special guest vocalist David Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Just Before Dawn). Furthermore, Rusty is once again bestial on drums, whereas Ditmar together with David will haunt your soul with their demonic growling.

“Hello there, soldier! Ready to kill more Germans?” Those warlike words ignite a fantastic sonic havoc by 1914 titled C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon, leaning towards pure old school Black Metal, feeling and sounding as thunderous and menacing as possible and ending in the most demolishing way you can think of; followed by Stoßtrupp, the German word used to describe shock troops or assault troops created to lead an attack, where another eerie, obscure narration suddenly explodes into a darkened feast of Black and Death Metal tailored for cracking your neck headbanging, with Armin sounding vicious with his rumbling bass punches. Lastly, we have The Hundred Days Offensive, an Allied offensive that lasted from August 8 to November 11, 1918, ending World War I, and 1914 turned that battle into 10 minutes of first-class Blackened Death and Doom Metal where you can feel the horrors of the battlefield in the music, remaining very introspective, melancholic, and flowing infernally until the music morphs into the sensational and creepy outro War Out, the perfect ending to such brilliant album.

In summary, The Blind Leading the Blind, which by the way had as its official release date the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month (Central European Time), marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, is a must-have not only for admirers of Extreme Metal, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about World War I in a very unorthodox and exciting way. Available for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Archaic Sounds’ BandCamp page, from the Redifining Darkness Records’ BandCamp page, from iTunes and from Discogs, The Blind Leading the Blind definitely redefines the career of 1914, propelling them into a more-than-promising future. Having said that, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, grab your weapons and be prepared to face death in the battlegrounds of the Great War.

Best moments of the album: Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne, Beat The Bastards, Passchenhell and C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Archaic Sound/Redefining Darkness Records

Track listing
1. War In 1:14
2. Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne 6:20
3. A7V Mephisto 8:13
4. High Wood. 75 Acres of Hell 5:27
5. Beat The Bastards (The Exploited cover) 5:02
6. Hanging On The Barbed Wire 2:28
7. Passchenhell (feat. David Ingram) 7:01
8. C’est Mon Dernier Pigeon 5:22
9. Stoßtrupp 6:13
10. The Hundred Days Offensive 10:01
11. War Out 1:55

Band members
2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumar – vocals
37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen – guitar
5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock – guitar
9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen – bass
33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht – drums

Guest musician
David Ingram – vocals on “Passchenhell”

Metal Chick of the Month – Polina Psycheya

I’ll take you far away to another land…

Brothers and sisters of heavy music, let’s all travel this November to Chelyabinsk (or Челя́бинск in Russian), a city in west-central Russia located in the northeast of the oblast, around 210 kilometers south of Yekaterinburg, just to the east of the Ural Mountains on the border of Europe and Asia, to meet our stunning and unstoppable metal chick of the month. She considers herself a true Russian Viking, always ready for heading into the battlefield armed with her potent vocals and endless energy, and in case you haven’t heard of this amazing frontwoman yet, I bet you’re going to be surprised by how talented, hardworking and passionate about metal she is. I’m talking about Polina Psycheya, whose real name is Polina Sibrikova (or Полина Сибрикова), former lead singer for Russian Melodic Death Metal band All I Could Bleed and current main frontwoman for Portuguese Symphonic Progressive Metal band The Autist, an obstinate woman that takes no prisoners in her quest for heavy music.

Before starting her career as an Extreme Metal singer, Polina had what we can call a normal life in her hometown Chelyabinsk, graduating from МОУ СОШ № 41 (or “secondary school number 41 of Chelyabinsk”) in 2007, and advancing for a degree in Graphic Design from РБИУ (or RBIM – Russian-British Institute of Management) in 2010, a higher education international institute also located in Chelyabinsk. As a matter of fact, even after joining All I Could Bleed she kept working as an artist and clothing and apparel designer, as you can see on her official Facebook page titled “World of Polina Psycheya”, where she usually posts details about her works, tutorials and items for sale. However, it looks like heavy music is her true passion in life, with her skills as a designer becoming a complement to her role as a female growler. And if you think she took any special courses in singing, you’re absolutely wrong, as Polina simply learned how to scream and growl by herself, only training during the band’s rehearsals, always shaping up her own vocal style without copying anyone or anything from books.

As already mentioned, Polina was the frontwoman for Russian act All I Could Bleed starting 2009, but the band started a few years before that, more precisely in 2004 when two old friends, guitarists Alex Sibrikov and Max Melnikov, decided to form a Death Metal band together as an outlet of their aggression. When they released their first single Follow Me, in 2009, Polina was not yet part of the band, with Alex taking care of the vocal duties. However, after Polina joined All I Could Bleed, the band reached its desired shape and form and was ready to take the world of heavy music by storm, with the release of their 2011 debut full-length album Burying the Past (available for a full listen on YouTube) being the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication of all band members to their music. As a matter of fact, Polina not only growled and screamed like a beast in the album, but she was also responsible for the lyrics, cover art and design, proving that although she might not be a founding member of All I Could Bleed, she had definitely become the band’s heart and soul during her time with them.

After the release of Burying the Past, Polina and her bandmates got back in action in 2014 when they released a single titled Debris of Earth, a lot more melodic, more experimental and groovier than all songs form their debut installment. Furthermore, if there’s one thing Polina loves from the bottom of her heart is playing live, and she certainly translates that passion into sheer energy during the band’s live performances. When asked about the idea for their onstage outfits, she said she took the inspiration from dark, ancient and powerful warriors like the Riders of the Apocalypse, designing all the clothing herself, and when she was asked about her first ever concert as the frontwoman of All I Could Bleed, she mentioned it was indeed an unforgettable night for her in her hometown Chelyabinsk, in 2009. Due to the fact she wasn’t writing the lyrics for their songs at that time, her bandmates gave her the task of learning the classic Enemy Within, originally recorded by Arch Enemy, and singing it as part of their setlist. Well, Polina didn’t disappoint at all; quite the contrary, the reception of the crowd at the venue was amazing, inspiring her to keep growling in the name of metal. You won’t be able to find that concert online, but there’s no need for panicking, as you can at least enjoy All I Could Bleed’s full (and absolutely awesome) performance at the Tele-Club in Yekaterinburg, Russia on April 24, 2014, where Polina simply kicked some serious fuckin’ ass on stage.

Apart form her career with All I Could Bleed, Polina has also been involved since 2017 with Portuguese Symphonic Progressive Metal band The Autist, a female-fronted metal project with progressive and symphonic elements highly recommended for fans of truly melancholic, tragic and conceptual music that was inspired by deep emotions we all go through in our lives. The origin of the project dates back to 2014 and is the mind reflection of guitarist and composer Pedro Remiz, who decided to recreate his own musical world after the end of Darkside of Innocence. Also featuring Alina Lesnik (from German Symphonic metal band Once), Chiara Tricarico (from bands like RavenWord and Sound Storm) and several other guest musicians, besides of course Polina as the band’s main vocalist, The Autist have already released two EP’s and one full-length album so far, with Polina lending her slashing roars to the songs The Sanctuary, Ethereal and Pandora’s Curse, from their 2017 album The Coldest Sun, and to the songs The Idol, Anima and Bloodlust, from their 2018 EP Anima.

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Regarding Polina’s biggest idols and influences in heavy music, her list is beyond fantastic, including bands (and obviously their respective vocalists) such as Rammstein, Metallica, Death, Pantera, Children Of Bodom, Arkona, Kreator, Destruction and Motörhead, all of which she would love to play alongside at Wacken Open Air by the way, with Rammstein and Children Of Bodom being considered by Polina herself the two bands with the highest impact on her vocal style and musical direction. In addition, during one of her interviews she was also asked to list the top 5 albums anyone should have in their collection, and once again her choices didn’t disappoint, including Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Death’s Symbolic, Dimmu Borgir’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power. Hence, you can enjoy Polina paying a tribute to several of her idols on her official YouTube channel, recording her own versions to classics like Dimmu Borgir’s Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse (together with German multi-insturmentalist André “Agordas” Groschopp); Arch Enemy’s Nemesis; Pantera’s all-time hit Walk  (recorded with All I Could Bleed during one of their rehearsal sessions); and Death’s Symbolic (recorded during one of All I Could Bleed’s live performances). Furthermore, you can also enjoy other exclusive videos on her YouTube channel, such as Progressive/Melodic Power Metal masters Kamelot featuring not only Polina but also the amazing Kobra Paige live in Moscow in 2017; and Polina herself talking a little about her style, about Death Metal and about Arch Enemy,  and the reason for that is because in the past let’s say Polina wasn’t very happy when compared to Arch Enemy’s former vocalist Angela Gossow. She said in one of her interviews that she didn’t like the comparison because it was only based on sex, not on their vocal styles, as she believes her vocals are a lot closer to Death’s  iconic Chuck Schuldiner’s than to Angela’s. Now Polina is a fan of Arch Enemy, but again, if you meet her don’t waste her time asking about Angela Gossow, right?

When questioned about the current state of heavy music and the metal scene in her homeland, especially the Death Metal scene, our Russian warrior said that despite the huge amount of talented and hardworking bands found in the underground Russian scene, Heavy Metal is not respected and it’s extremely hard to make a living out of it, resulting in several musicians leaving their bands and entire bands calling it quits. In her opinion, the only Russian band that has truly conquered success in Russia and outside of the country is Pagan/Folk Metal institution Arkona, always keeping in mind they were one of the pioneers of the genre and started their career over 15 years ago. On the other hand, she doesn’t think that metal becoming mainstream would be the solution for that because albeit mainstream bands can make a considerable amount of money to support their careers, not to mention touring and recording videos become a lot easier, she believes you can lose or give up your honesty if you’re not underground anymore. In other words, she thinks somewhere in between mainstream and underground would be ideal, and seeing successful but still loyal-to-their-roots bands like Trivium, Primal Fear and the aforementioned Arkona only corroborates with her opinion. In addition, Polina actually thinks metal isn’t thriving anywhere in the world except for South America, and that she sometimes wishes she was reborn in the 70’s or 80’s as those where the decades when metal was the big thing. She also said she doesn’t really care about all metal classifications and labels, as long as it’s metal and an honest way to express yourself, complementing by saying that despite the heaviness and aggressiveness of the lyrics, metal is a lot more honest and inspiring than other styles like pop and rap, where musicians only promote negative things like debauchery, drugs, dullness and false moral values. As Polina herself said, it’s hard to make a living out of metal music in Russia, and that’s why she keeps working as a designer while her former bandmates from All I Could Bleed also have regular day-to-day jobs like working at a music school or on railroad construction, as well as playing in bars and pubs with other projects and cover bands. Not only that, but just like any other regular person she also has her hobbies, all related to her passion for music, for costume designing and for outdoor sports such as hiking and bike riding. Who knows, maybe one day if you’re just walking around Chelyabinsk you might be surprised by our Russian Viking staying healthy and in shape on her bike.

As expected, Polina was also asked to give her opinion on how she sees the increasing importance and participation of women in heavy music, especially regarding the growing number of female singers in extreme music bands, and her answer to that was quite curious. Our gorgeous growler said she has never actually felt like an “outsider” in a male-dominated world, saying she doesn’t “feel” like a woman but just like a Death Metal musician. Moreover, when asked if she’s ever had any issues with fans, Polina said that despite her stunning beauty, her fans have always been very respectful with her, understanding she has always worked hard, always true to the foundations of Death Metal and never backing down, getting full support from all of her followers. And last but not least, still regarding the support received from fans from all parts of the world, when questioned about illegal downloads and all types of websites posting her material without her official consent, she mentioned that in the end that’s not as bad as it looks, saying that exposure in the internet is actually a good thing for unknown underground bands because they end up receiving free PR, and several people who get in contact with the band through an illegal download will buy the album or any other type of official merch, and attend the band’s concert if possible, meaning more money than expected will go to the band’s pockets. Having said that, although Polina herself is not against illegal downloads, I’m pretty sure our metal diva would simply love if you purchased Burying the Past from the Darknagar Records’ BandCamp page or from Discogs, or any of the releases from The Autist from their BandCamp page, showing your true support and appreciation for these two extremely talented bands and their Viking frontwoman.

Polina Psycheya’s Official Facebook page
Polina Psycheya’s Official Instagram
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Album Review – Barkasth / Decaying (2018)

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence in their debut full-length opus.

It’s time to get devilish, heavy and blasphemous with the interesting fusion of classic Black Metal with Melodic Black Metal and Blackened Doom blasted by a four-piece act hailing from Ukraine comprised of Arkhonth on guitars and vocals, Goreon also on guitars and vocals, Hagalth on bass and Malet on drums, collectively known as Barkasth. Formed in 2015 in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine located in the northeast part of the country, Barkasth are spreading darkness not only in their homeland but everywhere else in the world with their debut full-length album, simply titled Decaying.

A new formation on the landscape of the Ukrainian Black Metal scene, Barkasth’s source of inspiration is a radically negative attitude towards religion, in any of its manifestations, as the main cause of obscurantism and distorted perception of reality – the main indicator for the level of ignorance of a contemporary man. Throughout the seven unrelenting tracks in Decaying, this Stygian horde reveals the dark side of idolatry on human life and demonstrates the result of this pernicious influence. In other words, the music by Barkasth presents no artificial elements nor any other type of shenanigans added to it, going straight to the point and showing the world Black Metal is still one of the most effective weapons against all forms of religion.

And the opening track Begging By Freaks comes crushing with a classic and epic beginning that beautifully evolves into a mid-tempo, blackened sonority where harsh and demonic growls are supported by the scorching riffs by  Arkhonth and Goreon. Put differently, this is a sulfurous and austere display of Melodic Black Metal infused with elements from Blackened Doom and traditional Doom Metal that will please all fans of the genre, whereas an even darker atmosphere serves as the background for the hellish Alone, with Malet delivering rhythmic but at the same time fierce beats while the harsh vocals by Arkhonth exhale blasphemy and hatred, all enfolded by a mesmerizing vibe. And in Blood & Flesh the band accelerates their pace, therefore reaching a more traditional Black Metal sonority with Malet delivering sheer darkness through his blast beast while Arkhonth growls like a true Black Metal veteran, turning it into one of the top moments of the album without any doubt, also showcasing cutting riffs that will pierce through your ears in a violent manner.

Soul Away gets back to a more introspective and obscure hybrid of Black Metal and Blackened Doom, with Arkhonth and Goreon, together with bassist Hagalth, shredding their strings mercilessly, while all the growling and roaring gets as deep, reverberating and demonic as possible; but it’s when they focus on their darkest and most aggressive Black Metal side that they truly thrive, and the title-track Decaying is the perfect depiction of that, with the entire band sounding flammable and infernal, in special Malet with his always demolishing and melodic beats. Then their disturbing and demonic vein arises once again in the visceral hymn Shepherd, with the sound of guitars penetrating deep inside your flesh amidst a feast of desperate and deep roars, not to mention how vile the whole ambience feels. Lastly, as the icing on the cake we have another cryptic, low-tuned aria of darkness entitled …Where Was The Son Of God, where the Doom Metal-inspired beats by Malet are flawlessly complemented by the guitar duo’s anguished lines, resulting in a captivating and very harmonious ending to the album.

Decaying, which is available for a full (and darkened) listen on YouTube and for purchase from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Svarga Music mailorder, might be far from being a masterpiece or a reference in Black Metal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an extremely well-crafted and solid album by this hardworking quartet, positioning Barkasth as one of the most promising new acts from the Ukrainian scene and definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming years. Especially if, just like Barkasth’s band members, you also believe religion is one of the main factors in the imminent and inevitable downfall of our rotten society.

Best moments of the album: Blood & Flesh and Decaying.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Svarga Music

Track listing
1. Begging By Freaks 6:15
2. Alone 7:16
3. Blood & Flesh 5:53
4. Soul Away 5:17
5. Decaying 5:08
6. Shepherd 6:02
7. …Where Was The Son Of God 6:36

Band members
Arkhonth – guitars, vocals
Goreon – guitars, vocals
Hagalth – bass
Malet – drums

Album Review – Behemoth / I Loved You At Your Darkest (2018)

Poland’s most blasphemous metal institution returns after four years with a much more melodic and dynamic approach than before, but still loyal to their devilish foundations.

“It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this.” Those are the words by the mastermind behind Polish Blackened Death Metal institution Behemoth, the iconic Adam “Nergal” Darski, regarding the title of their 11th studio album, I Loved You At Your Darkest, a beautiful, bold and captivating follow-up to their 2014 masterpiece The Satanist. And the band comprised of the aforementioned Nergal on lead vocals and guitar, Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber on the guitar, Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski on bass and Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński on drums is not exaggerating when they say their new album reeks of sheer blasphemy. “It’s a verse from the Bible,” Nergal reveals. “It’s actually a quote from Jesus Christ himself. For Behemoth to use it as the basis of our record, it’s sacrilege to the extreme.”

Musically speaking, I Loved You At Your Darkest, which features a stunning artwork by Italian artist Nicola Samori, is not too far from what they did in The Satanist, but that doesn’t mean it’s an extension of their previous album, sounding less ferocious, more polished, and with a much more melodic and dynamic approach. “I really wanted to redefine ourselves with this record,” Nergal explains. “I Loved You At Your Darkest is a more dynamic record. It’s extreme and radical on one hand, but it’s also more rock-oriented than any other Behemoth record.” Furthermore, the lyrics for each and every song of the album also reinforce that kind of religious provocation Behemoth have mastered through the years. “It’s very religion-driven, maybe more than anything we’ve done before,” Nergal offers. “But it’s not just cheap goading. I believe this is some deeper metal language. It’s art.” Hence, listening to I Loved You At Your Darkest is not a simple journey, as it will demand your full attention, seizing all your senses at once and inviting you to repeat that path over and over again, but never sounding or feeling the same.

A creepy and totally awesome children’s choir kicks off the album on a high (and devilish) note in the intro Solve, reciting some cryptic words (“Elohim, I shall not forgive! / Adonai, I shall not forgive! / Living God, I shall not forgive! / Jesus Christ, I forgive thee not!”) while the music grows slowly and darkly until Wolves ov Siberia comes crushing our heads, following a similar musical pattern from their previous album with Nergal and Seth piercing our souls with their guitars, while Inferno brings tons of intricacy to the music with his precise beats. And things only get better in God = Dog, a full-bodied lecture in modern-day Blackened Death Metal that will work fantastically when played live, with Nergal blasting haunting growls and roars while Orion slams his bass strings beautifully, not to mention those demonic, Damian-like kids who return in full force to intone the same words from the album’s intro, supporting Nergal’s vocals to perfection. And in the excellent Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica we’re treated to a very melodic and thrilling fusion of Black and Death Metal with nuances of Symphonic Black Metal, with its background organ bringing even more darkness to the the song’s already obscure, austere and blasphemous lyrics (“Eritis sicut dii / Thus sermonized the serpent ov Eden / Thus struck the breath ov the Earth / And thus flooded the blood ov the soil / Slither into the gaping void!”).

Then after such demolishing first batch of songs in I Loved You At Your Darkest, Behemoth deliver Bartzabel, perhaps the most Stygian, melodic and melancholic of all tracks, proving they don’t have to play at the speed of light to sound imposing and devilish, showcasing a beyond catchy and hypnotizing chorus while Orion and Inferno bring sheer heaviness to the sonority with their damned instruments. In the also thunderous If Crucifixion Was Not Enough… the band speeds things up a bit, with the guitars by Nergal and Seth sounding ferocious but very harmonious at the same time while Inferno brings the usual intricacy in his beats to a whole new level; and leaning towards classic Black Metal we have Angelvs XIII, a song where Nergal’s growls sound and feel truly enraged and demonic, with the band’s guitar duo slashing their strings mercilessly and leaving the listener completely disoriented. Moreover, there’s no time to breathe as Behemoth keep darkening our minds and souls in Sabbath Mater, another bestial display of Blackened Death Metal made in Poland bringing to our avid ears an excellent job done on the guitars while Inferno’s fast and complex beats will hammer your head in a vibrant way.

Then a serene, almost acoustic intro evolves into a full-bodied aria of darkness and blasphemy titled Havohej Pantocrator (and please note “Havohej” is simply “Jehovah” backwards), sounding even even more melancholic than “Bartzabel” thanks to a brilliant performances by all band members, all enfolded by first-class poetics lyrics (“Our father, who art in hell / Unhallowed be Thy name / Thy legions come / Thy enemies begone / On Earth as it is in the Netherworld / Embrace our souls untraveled / Let us sail to the farthest sea / Ignite our craving hearts / Illuminate our ageless will”). In Rom 5:8 the band gets back to a more traditional vibe, blasting their core Blackened Death Metal with highlights to the perfect sync between Orion and Inferno with their rumbling bass and demented beats, respectively, whereas We Are the Next 1000 Years, the second to last song in I Loved You At Your Darkest, once again sounds closer to what they did in The Satanist, which obviously means awesomeness in the form of extreme music. Nergal delivers another bestial vocal performance, while the sound of the guitars gets more electrified and menacing than ever, flowing majestically until the outro Coagvla puts an end to a fantastic (and utterly blasphemous, as already mentioned) album of Extreme Metal by Behemoth, sounding like the grand finale to a theatrical play from the depths of hell.

In summary, I Loved You At Your Darkest (available for a full listen on YouTube and on sale HERE) is still Behemoth, but maybe not the same Behemoth you got used to. Do not expect to listen to The Satanist, nor to any of their old records, but at the same time there’s no need to panic as the Behemoth we learned to love is still there. I personally think I Loved You At Your Darkest might cause some controversy among admirers of the band, as their diehard, old school followers and their post-The Satanist fans might never reach an agreement if the album is actually good or not, but I don’t fear for the future of the band. Quite the contrary, although I still consider The Satanist their best release to date, I must admit I enjoyed a lot the direction Nergal took with the band in I Loved You At Your Darkest, providing the listener something new, something very melodic and groovy, but still loyal to the blasphemy and heaviness of their foundations.

Best moments of the album: God = Dog, Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica, Bartzabel and Havohej Pantocrator.

Worst moments of the album: Rom 5:8.

Released in 2018 Mystic Production

Track listing
1. Solve 2:04
2. Wolves ov Siberia 2:54
3. God = Dog 3:58
4. Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica 4:49
5. Bartzabel 5:01
6. If Crucifixion Was Not Enough… 3:16
7. Angelvs XIII 3:41
8. Sabbath Mater 4:56
9. Havohej Pantocrator 6:04
10. Rom 5:8 4:22
11. We Are the Next 1000 Years 3:23
12. Coagvla (Instrumental) 2:04

Japanese Edition bonus track
13. O Pentagram Ignis 4:48

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

Guest musicians
Dziablas – backing vocals
Michał Łapaj – Hammond organs
Krzysztof “Siegmar” Oloś – samples

Album Review – Dakhma / Hamkar Atonement (2018)

Do you dare to submerge thyself within the daeva’s very depths? Then let this peculiar Swiss duo offer you the perfect soundtrack to that with their brand new opus of Zoroastrian Death Music.

Dakhma (Avestan for “grave”) is a term for a ”Tower of Silence” (which is an English neologism), a circular, raised structure used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead, particularly to scavenging birds for the purposes of excarnation (although in the Avesta, the term is pejorative and does not signify a construction of any kind). In heavy music, the term is used to name the cryptic and hellish Blackened Death Metal entity Dakhma, who are releasing their first full-length opus, the enigmatic Hamkar Atonement. Formed in 2014 in Zürich, the largest city in Switzerland, the band comprised of Kerberos on “Howls of Druj and Rites of Purification” (vocals, guitar and bass) and H.A.T.T. on “Thunderstorm of Daeva” (drums) plays what they like to call “Zoroastrian Death Music”, with their new album being a work of towering immensity, of unorthodox ritualism and subverted bestiality, descending and ascending with seven hymns within a staggering 61 minutes in a total sensory overload, an immersion that begets annihilation that begets rebirth.

As Dakhma explain of the title, the Avestan word “Hamkar,” which literally translates to “co-worker” or “helper,” is used in reference to the daeva of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman in middle Persia), himself the omnimalevolent and most destructive spirit. In the collection of texts describing Zoroastrian cosmogony and creation, traditionally called Bundahishn, Angra Mainyu creates a horde of daeva to counter the creation of cosmos by Ahura Mazda (Ohrmazd or Ormuzd in middle Persian), with each daeva mirroring an opposite Amesha Spenta. In mirroring the tasks of the Amesha Spentas as servants of Ohrmazd, daeva are the instrument through which Ahriman creates all the horrors in the world. Following the interpretation laid out in texts such as the “Shayest ne shayest,” where the daeva are seen as being utterly real and not mere philosophical representations, the music contained on Hamkar Atonement describes creation through the ultimate destruction of Ohrmazd’s good deeds, good thoughts, and good work by the daeva. Hamkar Atonement begins with the demise of Ohrmazd and therefore the destruction of all that is holy on the earth, allowing the daeva to roam free and corrupt human existence, described in greater detail throughout the album. Each song serves a specific narrative purpose, be it the dedication to a specific daeva or describing the results of their exploits on earth.

An esoteric intro ignites an 11-minute feast of wicked and tribal sounds titled The Glorious Fall of Ohrmazd (Hail Death, Triumphant), with the vociferations by Kerberos crawling deep inside your mind, mesmerizing your senses and haunting your soul, until all hell breaks loose and sheer darkness is unleashed with H.A.T.T. crushing his drums manically. And their scorching hot riffs, thunderous bass lines and pounding beats keep shaking the foundations of the earth in Akhoman (Spill the Blood), another full-bodied display of their Zoroastrian Death Music where Kerberos delivers some deep, obscure roars, effectively blending old school Black Metal with the visceral sound of Death Metal, just as devastating as its predecessor. Following such distinguished tune we have Varun (Of Unnatural Lust), where tribal, ancient drums are gradually joined by eerie noises and tones, until the music explodes into rumbling and vile Black Metal for our total delight. Furthermore, the sound of the bass by Kerberos is amazingly thunderous and vibrant, adding an extra layer of dementia to the overall result.

In Nanghait (Born of Fire) the duo sounds even more tribal than before, generating a reverberating exhibit of Black and Death Metal led by the demonic roars by Kerberos while H.A.T.T. is simply bestial on drums, with their wicked extravaganza of sounds going on and on, leaving you disoriented and eager for more of their Blackened Death Metal, ending in an absolutely raw and cryptic manner. Then smooth and serene tones permeate the air in the atmospheric instrumental bridge Spendarmad (Holy Devotion), elevating your soul to new heights and preparing you for the Stygian and visceral Gannag Menog (Foul Death, Triumphant), where the duo takes their Black Metal to a more menacing level, with the guttural growls by Kerberos growing in intensity and getting as deep as hell. In addition, the piercing riffs and bass punches by Kerberos bring tons of electricity to the musicality, with the song’s ending being as crazy and imposing as possible,  building an instant connection with the closing hymn titled …Of Great Prophets, with Kerberos extracting a strident sound from his guitar; and just like what happened throughout the entire album, the music remains mysterious and austere from start to finish, taking you on a one-way trip to the band’s dissident world of Extreme Metal, also showcasing somber breaks intertwined with pure devastation that turn the experience of listening to this breathtaking song truly unique.

In summary, it’s not every day that we face something so peculiar and gripping as the music by Dakhma, with Hamkar Atonement representing to perfection the true meaning of Zoroastrian Death Music. In order to show your utmost support to this infernal Swiss duo,  go check what they’re up to on Facebook, and grab your copy of the whimsical Hamkar Atonement from the Iron Bonehead Productions’ BandCamp or webstore, as well as from the Hells Headbangers’ webstore, from Record Shop X or from the Shadow Kingdom Records’ webstore. In other words, do you dare to submerge thyself within the daeva’s very depths? Then let Dakhma offer you the perfect soundtrack to that with Hamkar Atonement.

Best moments of the album: Akhoman (Spill the Blood) and Nanghait (Born of Fire).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Iron Bonehead

Track listing
1. The Glorious Fall of Ohrmazd (Hail Death, Triumphant) 11:08
2. Akhoman (Spill the Blood) 11:55
3. Varun (Of Unnatural Lust) 5:24
4. Nanghait (Born of Fire) 10:58
5. Spendarmad (Holy Devotion) 4:13
6. Gannag Menog (Foul Death, Triumphant) 10:33
7. …Of Great Prophets 16:01

Band members
Kerberos – vocals, guitars, bass
H.A.T.T. – drums

Guest musician
Menetekel – High Priest incantation on “Gannag Menog (Foul Death Triumphant)”

Album Review – Akhenaten / Golden Serpent God (2018)

Steeped in the mythology and mysticism of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia while exploring forgotten paths of history, here comes an infernal duo armed with their brand new opus of crushing Blackened Death Metal.

Forged in 2012 in the fires of Manitou Springs, a resort city in Colorado, in the United States by the “Houseman Brothers” Wyatt Houseman on vocals and Jerred Houseman on all other instruments, here comes a unique and vibrant Black/Death Metal studio project infused with Middle Eastern Folk Influences (even called “Blackened Mesopotamian Folk/Death Metal”) known as Akhenaten with their brand new album Golden Serpent God, steeped in the mythology and mysticism of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia while exploring forgotten paths of history, extracting unknown lore and threads of truth. For instance, Akhenaten, known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV, was a pharaoh of Egypt especially noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, giving you a very good idea of how distinct and aggressive the music by the duo sounds.

With parallel themes to what’s found in the brother’s Symphonic Black Metal band Helleborus, and featuring an imposing cover artwork by Tony Koehl of Sketch The Soul and a title page artwork by Dennis Lee Hughes of Cythraul Art, Golden Serpent God will appeal to fans of the music by bands such as Al-Namrood, Narjahanam, Melechesh and Kartikeya just like what happened in their previous release Incantations Through the Gates of Irkalla, from 2015, whispering to the most remote regions of primal memory to the sound of their Blackened Death Metal, filled with exotic instruments and rhythmic structures of the ancient Near and Middle East. “The album is a mural of epics from Egypt and Mesopotamia. It tells stories of belief, warfare, men and Gods,” said Jerred about their newborn opus, inviting the listener to an idiosyncratic and extreme music journey together with the duo.

In the excellent opening track, titled Amulets of Smoke and Fire, ominous sounds take us to the Mesopotamian world of Akhenaten, with Jerred generating a dark and embracing atmosphere with his scorching riffs, whimsical keyboards and demonic beats, while Wyatt growls like an Egyptian beast; followed by the also imposing and devastating Dragon of the Primordial Sea, where the guitar and bass lines create a beautiful paradox with the epicness flowing from keyboards, while Wyatt declaims the song’s lyrics with his deep, visceral growls, enhancing the song’s taste and impact even more, creating an instant link with the crushing chant Throne of Shamash, where the drums by Jerred get more and more demolishing as the music progresses in an excellent display of classic Blackened Death Metal, feeling like a battle hymn due to its thunderous vibe.

Then Middle-Eastern and folk elements permeate the air in the captivating instrumental bridge Through the Stargate, setting the stage for Akhenaten to smash our senses in Erishkigal: Kingdom of Death, a full-bodied, metallic feast of darkened sounds and nuances where the Houseman Bothers are absolutely on fire and in total sync, with highlights to the rumbling sounds extracted from guitars and bass. And things get even more thrilling as the strident and piercing sound of keyboards take the lead in the melodic aria titled Pazuzu: Harbinger of Darkness, the perfect union of history, myths and metal music, with the vociferations by Wyatt matching the musicality flawlessly, whereas in Akashic Field: Enter Arcana Catacombs get ready for over seven minutes of tribal beats and Middle-Eastern tones and nuances in another fresh instrumental extravaganza by this talented band, with Jerred blasting hypnotizing beats while the atmosphere remains as cryptic as it can be.

Featuring Brian Palmer (Circaic) on the guitar, God of Creation is the most devastating and modern composition by Akhenaten, with Wyatt growling like a demonic entity while Jerred makes sure the ambience remains as violent as possible in a multi-layered, intricate feast of Black and Death Metal for our avid ears. After such furious explosion of extreme music we have another interesting display of Middle-Eastern music infused with Extreme Metal and even futuristic elements entitled Sweat of the Sun, sounding a bit too weird at times (not to mention it could have been slightly shorter and more metallic), while in Apophis: The Serpent of Rebirth the duo gets back to their more incendiary mode, blasting a potent fusion of Progressive and Blackened Death Metal, being therefore tailored for fans of bands like Behemoth. Furthermore, the intricacy flowing from guitars and bass are the exact background Wyatt needs to thrive with his gnarls, flowing like a firestorm until the music fades into the atmospheric and vibrant outro Golden Serpent God, with all its hypnotizing sounds generating an enfolding and obscure finale for such heavy and captivating album.

In case you want to explore in more detail the vast and eccentric realm of Akhenaten, simply pay them a visit on Facebook for news and other nice-to-know details, and grab your copy of Golden Serpent God (available for a full listen on YouTube, on Spotify and on SoundCloud) from their BandCamp page, from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, from the Cimmerian Shade Recordings’ webstore, from iTunes, from Amazon or from Discogs. Akhenaten offer you a one-way ticket into the blackened and mysterious lands of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in Golden Serpent God, and I’m sure such distinguished experience will deeply encourage you to stay there and not come back of your own free will.

Best moments of the album: Dragon of the Primordial Sea, Pazuzu: Harbinger of Darkness and God of Creation.

Worst moments of the album: Sweat of the Sun.

Released in 2018 Satanath Records/Cimmerian Shade Recordings/Murdher Records

Track listing
1. Amulets of Smoke and Fire 3:42
2. Dragon of the Primordial Sea 3:22
3. Throne of Shamash 2:50
4. Through the Stargate 2:35
5. Erishkigal: Kingdom of Death 4:03
6. Pazuzu: Harbinger of Darkness 4:09
7. Akashic Field: Enter Arcana Catacombs 7:05
8. God of Creation (feat. Brian Palmer) 3:22
9. Sweat of the Sun 5:59
10. Apophis: The Serpent of Rebirth 5:49
11. Golden Serpent God 2:44

Band members
Wyatt Houseman – vocals
Jerred Houseman – all instruments

Guest musicians
Brian Palmer – guitars on “God of Creation”
Rose White – female vocals

Album Review – Nachtlieder / Lynx (2018)

Witness the lynx, the antagonist of the antagonists and a symbol for knowledge and clairvoyance, in the form of the beastly Black Metal by Dagny Suzanne’s alter-ego, sticking its claws deep inside your flesh.

Our beloved Swedish Valkyrie of Black Metal, the talented multi-instrumentalist Dagny Suzanne, is finally back with her incendiary alter-ego Nachtlieder three years after the release of the excellent The Female Of The Species, showcasing another evolutionary step in her interesting and fruitful career with her third full-length album, simply titled Lynx. Once again accompanied by Martrum on drums, and with the fantastic support of the skillful Déhà (Musical Excrements), who not only provided some additional vocals and noises on the album but who also produced, mixed and mastered it, Nachtlieder will stick her claws deep inside your flesh with Lynx, proving her creativity and energy are soaring at this stage of her life.

Featuring a beautiful cover art based on a painting named Guldnyckeln by John Bauer, from 1915, and a digipack booklet portrait of Dagny by I Breathe Needles, the title of the album refers to the lynx as the antagonist of the antagonists (the wolves) and also as a symbol for knowledge and clairvoyance. The theme of the album is largely death and solitude, with many references to the lynx in cultural history, as well as to science in general. In other words, our Gothenburg-based she-wolf doesn’t just deliver high-quality music for our avid ears, but there’s also a lot to savor and learn in Lynx, one of those albums that you’ll get addicted to from the very first second without even noticing.

Distorted, wicked noises ignite a Black Metal feast entitled Claws and Bone, feeling more melodic and dissonant than the project’s previous albums, with Dagny sounding beautifully hellish and somewhat cryptic on vocals and on the guitar while Martrum adds a welcome dosage of intricacy to the music with his beats. Then we have the furious title-track Lynx, a song that grows in intensity until it reaches a pulverizing and mesmerizing tone, with the strident guitars by Dagny being flawlessly complemented by Martrum’s classic Black Metal beats and fills, resulting in a full-bodied sonority tailored for fans of modern-day Extreme Metal; followed by Song of Nova, an explosion of dark, crisp and low-tuned tones embellished by harmonious background elements, also presenting some welcome neck-breaking passages and Dagny’s usual poetic lyrics, giving even more depth to her already exhilarating music (“Dark frequencies, succumb to by every beast / As nova has swallowed the last light / And resigns / Their limbs tremble as the chords are strung / Fragile glass that shatter / Shards that dissolve into dust”).

The next tune, titled Nameless, Faceless, presents a creepy intro showcasing dark vociferations by Dagny, evolving into classy Scandinavian Black Metal with a superb job done by Dagny with both her slashing guitar lines and rumbling bass lines, flowing smoothly and powerfully from start to finish, whereas Law of Decay is a first-class, infuriated display of flammable and straightforward Black Metal, offering the listener a massive wave of classic riffs, unstoppable beats and those demonic, Stygian growls we all love so much in this type of music. And Dark Matter sounds closer to the music found in her two previous albums, especially the sound of the guitars and the hypnotizing music structure and pattern, with all instruments emanating metallic sounds that end up creating an enfolding atmosphere that will certainly captivate all your senses.

Eyes Ablaze, which brings forward what’s perhaps the most carnivore lyrics of the whole album (“Eyes, eyes staring in the dark in the misty night, eyes ablaze / Only star and spectre / Dare to meet my gaze / Claw, clawing round the walls round the bodies of the game / For carnage and grim sight / I will be to blame / Teeth, teeth sunken into meat into warm flesh, then like a flood / Fallen sheep and hound / Lapping blood”), is a rip-roaring Black Metal onrush that will leave you absolutely disoriented, showcasing an amazing performance by Martrum on drums while Dagny’s scorching riffs and visceral gnarls will crush your soul. And last but not least we have Moksha (a term in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism which refers to various forms of emancipation, liberation and release), bringing more of Dagny’s unparalleled music combined with the precision and complexity of Martrum’s drumming, therefore offering the listener over six minutes of classic Black Metal with a fresh twist, with all instruments getting heavier, darker and more piercing as the music progresses before all devastation gives place to a somber and atmospheric ending.

In summary, like what happened with Nachtlieder’s self-titled debut album in 2013 and The Female of the Species in 2015, Lynx is more than just a detailed and thrilling album of classic Black Metal, becoming Dagny’s outlet to the outside (and always dangerous) world we live in, and due to those additional layers the album ends up growing on you with each and every listen, revealing to your ears and mind previously unexplored grounds and nuances. Hence, if you want to venture through the realms of Natchlieder and Lynx deeper and deeper, you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course the most recommended way to do so is by purchasing the album from Nachtlider’s BandCamp page, as well as from iTunes, Amazon and Discogs, always keeping an eye on the project’s official Facebook page for news and other nice-to-know details. As the beast called Lynx has just been unleashed upon humanity, the only thing that’s left for us to do is succumb to its music and energy, all in the name of meaningful extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Song of Nova, Law of Decay and Eyes Ablaze.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Nigredo Records

Track listing 
1. Claws and Bone 4:31
2. Lynx 3:52
3. Song of Nova 5:22
4. Nameless, Faceless 5:04
5. Law of Decay 4:25
6. Dark Matter 4:47
7. Eyes Ablaze 3:56
8. Moksha 6:19

Band members
Dagny Susanne – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
Martrum – drums
Déhà – additional vocals, noise

Album Review – Evil Nerfal / Bellum Est Pater Omnium (2018)

Summoning the forces of chaos through the primordial horror of sinister music under the cloak of Satanic and anti-Christian opposition, here comes a Colombian infernal horde armed with their brand new opus.

Forged in the deepest fires of Pasto, the capital of the department of Nariño in southwestern Colombia, in 2007 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Brannagh Bapheker, but currently located in Pereira, the capital city of the Colombian department of Risaralda located in the foothills of the Andes, the demonic Black Metal act known as Evil Nerfal is unleashing upon the earth their second full-length opus, titled Bellum Est Pater Omnium, which translates from Latin as “war is the father of all”, summoning the forces of chaos through the primordial horror of sinister music under the cloak of Satanic and anti-Christian opposition, inspired by the early days of Mayhem, Marduk, Sarcófago, Enthroned and Denial of God.

Bellum Est Pater Omnium is an album that mixes European Black Metal elements from the 90’s with influences from old school metal made in South America, also including elements of Death Metal and western classical music. The result of this symbiosis is a Black Metal characterized by extreme intensity and speed, overloaded with contrasts of times (medium and slow speeds), polysemic in its riffs, versatile in the configuration of melodies and, above all, polyphonic, full of nuances, harmonizations and superposition of musical figures. Furthermore, the philosophical substratum that sustains the repertoire of lyrics of songs is based on the ontological configuration of evil, a poetic that evokes the cosmic supremacy of Satan, imbricated in knowledge, the anti-christian force, the anti-culture par excellence, while the strength of an inner experience that advocates for freedom in the opposition, in the experience, because Black Metal is a “consistent existential praxis”. And if none of this makes any sense to you, simply hit play and let you soul be darkened by the scorching music by Evil Nerfal.

An orchestral intro titled Coriolan (Overture) lets the curtains fall majestically for the furious and austere Fuck Off Jesus Christ, with Brannagh Bapheker extracting sulfurous riffs from his guitar while at the same time gnarling like a demonic entity. Furthermore, Purson Dominus crushes his drums ruthlessly, spreading sheer blasphemy and hatred in this devilish hybrid of Black and Death Metal. After such demented start we have In Endless Torment, another infernal creation by this Colombian outfit that might sound slower than its predecessor, but it’s still as dark as the pits of hell, with Brannagh once again delivering ominous riffs and bass punches while the beats by Purson alternate between a Doom Metal-inspired pace and the utter aggression from classic Black Metal.

The temperature rises once again in a hellish display of old school Black Metal titled Foedus Versus Deus (Against The Great Drone Of History), with the vocals by Brannagh bringing nuances of the rage of classic Death Metal, resulting in one of the best songs of the album without a shadow of a doubt; whereas En Las Fauces Del Demonio (Taedium Daemoni) begins as a diabolical march of extreme music led by the thunderous beats and fills by Purson, exploding into cataclysmic Black Metal to the growls by Brannagh. Moreover, the beauty of this song is the fact it’s sung in their mother tongue Spanish, sounding even more pulverizing, wicked and eccentric. And their sonic onrush of otherworldly sounds and noises goes on in the belligerent Agon (Bellum Est Pater Omnium), with both Brannagh and Purson firing sheer Black Metal through their instruments, summoning all the evil present in our decaying society.

Satanic Madness Black Metal Unleashed is an instrumental extravaganza led by Brannagh and his classic guitar riffs while Purson keeps the pace at a dark and demolishing level, setting the tone for the hard-hitting Sathanas Kingdom Rises, a demonic, chaotic devastation bred by the duo that will please all fans of underground Extreme Metal where Brannagh screams and growls like a beast nonstop, and with the merciless pounding drums by Purson making the whole song even more impactful. Then we have Vestigial (Manifiesto De Misantropía), their second blast of unrelenting Black Metal sung in Spanish, also presenting hints of the most vicious form of Death Metal in its blasphemous waves with Purson showcasing a great performance with his intricate, raging beats and fills, before an epic and orchestral outro named Egmont (Finale) puts a climatic end to this precious gem of underground extreme music.

You can join Evil Nerfal in their blasphemous and sulfuric quest for Black Metal by visiting their Facebook page and by listening to their music on SoundCloud, and if you want to show your true support to devilish Black Metal from the underworld you can purchase the scorching Bellum Est Pater Omnium (which by the way is available for a full listen on YouTube) from the GrimmDistribution’s BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon or at Discogs. May Evil Nerfal continue to pave their path of obscurity, blasphemy and hatred for many years to come, proving high-end underground Black Metal is stronger than ever even in places far away from its birthplace Scandinavia.

Best moments of the album: Fuck Off Jesus Christ, Foedus Versus Deus (Against The Great Drone Of History) and Sathanas Kingdom Rises.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 GrimmDistribution

Track listing
1. Coriolan (Overture) 2:25
2. Fuck Off Jesus Christ 4:20
3. In Endless Torment 4:44
4. Foedus Versus Deus (Against The Great Drone Of History) 4:31
5. En Las Fauces Del Demonio (Taedium Daemoni) 5:25
6. Agon (Bellum Est Pater Omnium) 4:16
7. Satanic Madness Black Metal Unleashed (Instrumental) 5:35
8. Sathanas Kingdom Rises 4:18
9. Vestigial (Manifiesto De Misantropía) 3:42
10. Egmont (Finale) 1:36

Band members
Brannagh Bapheker – vocals, guitars, bass
Purson Dominus – drums

Guest musicians
Óreidu – guitar (live/session)
Engram Zulphur – bass (live/session)