Album Review – Carcass / Despicable EP (2020)

The trailblazers of Goregrind, Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal are back with a four-track collection of songs serving as a precursor to their upcoming 2021 album.

The legendary Liverpool, UK-based institution Carcass has released several classic albums over the years and changed the trajectory of Extreme Metal with each consecutive release, with albums like Reek of Putrefaction and Heartwork creating the template for Goregrind, Grindcore and Melodic Death Metal. Now in 2020, seven years after the release of the excellent Surgical Steel (and six years after the EP Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel), the band currently comprised of Jeff Walker on vocals and bass, Bill Steer and Tom Draper on the guitars, and Daniel Wilding on drums is about to release a new EP entitled Despicable, a four-track collection of songs serving as a precursor to the band’s upcoming 2021 full-length album and, above all, a bold and gory statement that those four guys still have a lot of fuel to burn and blood to spill with their wicked creations.

Just hit play and when The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue begins you’ll know it’s goddamn Carcass form the very first guitar note, with Bill and Tom sharpening their axes for a Grindcore and Death Metal onrush that’s about to start while Jeff snarls demonically as usual, also full of breaks and variations effectively inserted throughout this infernal tune. Led by the classy beats by Daniel, the quartet fires another solid, headbanging creation beautifully titled The Long and Winding Bier Road, where Jeff’s inhumane gnarls get deeper and more enraged, with their guitars showcasing more of their trademark riffage; and one more round of darkened riffs, devilish growls and rhythmic beats fills our avid ears in Under the Scalpel Blade, where it becomes clear the band is focusing a lot more on shaping up their melody rather than pure speed and heaviness. However, it’s when they accelerate their pace that things get really exciting (at least for old school fans like myself). Lastly, the band’s guitar duo keeps extracting strident, razor-edged sounds form their guitars in Slaughtered in Soho, sounding very progressive at times while Jeff continues to haunt our souls with his demon-like barks and vociferations.

I must admit Despicable is much better than what I was expecting, a really entertaining EP of modern-day Melodic Death Metal infused with Grindcore elements, and if this is the direction Carcass are taking with their music I can’t wait to see what they’ll bring into being in 2021 with their seventh full-length opus. Having said that, you can add Despicable to your demonic collection by clicking HERE or HERE, and keep an eye on the band’s official Facebook page and on Instagram for news about their upcoming album and, of course, for their tour dates as soon as all this madness is over. Let’s all hope 2021 is a much better year than this nasty 2020, and that bands like Carcass keep inspiring us all, “despicable” human beings, to slam into the circle pit while they pulverize our ears with their refined technique and aggressiveness for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue 6:00
2. The Long and Winding Bier Road 4:21
3. Under the Scalpel Blade 3:55
4. Slaughtered in Soho 4:37

Band members
Jeff Walker – vocals, bass
Bill Steer – guitars, backing vocals
Tom Draper – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Diva Satanica

Kill’em all, Diva Satanica!

My dear metalheads, how about we celebrate SEVEN FUCKIN’ YEARS of The Headbanging Moose in great fashion with one of the most charismatic, hardworking and talented growlers of the current metal scene? Not only she will haunt your soul with her wicked screams and roars, but she’s also a stunning alternative model and a collaborator of one of the best metal magazines in her home country. I’m talking about the venomous she-wolf Rocío Vázquez, better known by her incendiary moniker Diva Satanica, the frontwoman for Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Bloodhunter and more recently for the international all-female Thrash Metal horde Nervosa, kicking some serious ass with her onstage performance and her beyond potent vocals wherever she goes. Are you ready to have Diva Satanica screaming like a beast right in your face on our humble tribute to such amazing exponent of the Spanish Extreme Metal scene?

Born on June 25, 1988 in La Coruña, Galícia, in the North-West of Spain, known as “the land of witches”, but currently residing in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Diva Satanica is a lover of all kinds of music, but of course she nurtures a special, deep passion for Rock N’ Roll and almost all subgenres of Heavy Metal, especially the ones that suit her needs of talking about feelings. As mentioned by our unstoppable diva in one of her interviews, no one in her family enjoys metal music and in the beginning it was really hard for her to find friends with the same taste in music, but she managed to find her place in society as we can all witness now. In addition, although she said she was terrified the first time she listened to a Death Metal band, due to the fact she didn’t feel comfortable with melodic singing she decided to give growling a try, and well, we must all agree it was the best decision in her life, offering us all fans of heavy music the furious and thrilling creations brought forth by our diva together with her henchmen from Bloodhunter.

In regards to Bloodhunter, the band started about a year before Diva Satanica joined them, more specifically in 2008 in La Coruña (but also currently based in Madrid), by the hands of sole founding member, guitarist and main songwriter Dani Arcos, also known as Fenris, to develop some demos that didn’t fit at his other bands at that time, even with a melodic singer in the beginning. It was after several changes in their lineup and concept when Diva Satanica finally joined the band, currently comprised of our metal lady and Fenris, of course, together with guitarist G. Starless, bassist Daniel Luces and drummer Marcelo Aires. However, she only started singing (and growling) for the band in 2012, after writing the lyrics for a few of their songs and joining their rehearsals, and according to Diva Satanica her bandmates had to be very patient with her in the beginning as she used to sing looking to the wall instead of looking to the band, but from that moment on things started to happen for them, culminating with the release of their debut demo The First Insurrection, in 2013.

It was just a matter of time until the release of their debut full-length opus, self-titled Bloodhunter, which came to light in 2014 and quickly made a huge impact on the local Spanish scene, gathering the attention of fans and critics not only in Spain but anywhere else in the world where high-quality Melodic Death Metal is appreciated. A couple of years later, in 2017, the band released their sophomore effort, titled The End of Faith, showcasing a huge evolution in terms of sound quality, creativity, violence and, above all, in Diva Satanica’s guttural vocals, presenting a much more demonic, piercing and thrilling side of our devilish banshee. Apart from their two studio albums, Bloodhunter also released a couple of singles through the years, those being Ages of Darkness, in 2014, which was featured on a compilation called Oráculo Magazine: From the Shadows Vol.I, and a very entertaining cover version for Helloween’s all-time classic I Want Out, in 2018, where Diva Satanica shares the vocal duties with Spanish vocalist and guitarist Leo Jiménez, known for his solo band and other projects such as Stravaganzza and Saratoga. In addition to that, Bloodhunter also offered us fans a few more amazing cover songs, with their version for Arch Enemy’s hit Bury Me an Angel, featured on a compilation called Hardcore Hits Cancer Vol. III in 2018, Death’s Crystal Mountain, and more recently their rendition for Cradle of Filth’s demolishing tune Gilded Cunt, showing all of our diva’s versatility and range as the fantastic Extreme Metal singer she is.

Apart from those albums, singles and cover songs, you can also have a blast with Diva Satanica and the boys in their excellent 2020 live album Live in Madrid, containing six amazing live versions recorded on March 19, 2019 at the now (unfortunately) defunct We Rock in Madrid, including Dying Sun, All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, and Bring me Horror. Furthermore, you can find other non-official live footage from Bloodhunter on YouTube, such as for example Ancestors Ov All Gods also live at We Rock, but in 2015, The Bloody Throne live at Mangualde Hard Metal Fest 2017, and Eyes Wide Open live at Le Club in La Coruña in 2018, among many, many others. However, if you prefer watching official videos with all the usual production, special effects and other shenanigans, you can bang your head to the songs All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, Dying Sun, Embrace the Dark Light and Let the Storm Come.

As we don’t have anything official yet with Diva Satanica fronting the thrashing girls from Nervosa except for a live chat done in June 2020 with the “four horsewomen”, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace (The true Endless, Triumph of Death, Niryth, Abbath), Greek drummer Eleni Nota (Lightfold, Mask of Prospero, Simplefast) and of course our beloved Diva Satanica, let’s talk a little about her previous bands, projects and special appearances in an array of bands from the most diverse styles, starting with a band she fronted from 2015 until 2019, Spanish Progressive/Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band Outreach. Despite her short stint with Outreach, she recorded with the band the full-length Ephemeral Existence and the single Insane Mind, both in 2019, showcasing all her range and potency throughout the entire album (which I highly recommended you take a listen at).

You’ll also be able to enjoy her she-wolf roars in the songs Nothing to Believe, from the 2018 album Misanthropy, by El Salvadorian Thrash/Death Metal band Apes of God; Mutiladora Genital, from Spanish Death Metal masters Aposento’s 2014 self-titled album; Darkness Within, from the 2018 album Purgatory, by Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Suru; doing additional vocals in the entire album Mesías, released in 2019 by Spanish Heavy Metal band Leo Jiménez; impersonating the one and only Baphomet in the 2019 album El Secreto de los Templarios, by Spanish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Legado de una Tragedia, together with soprano Nancy Catalina and Sara Grün from Hiranya (and you can enjoy this nice making of with an explanation as to why those three vocalists were chosen for the part); and last but not least, doing additional and choir vocals in the songs La Cantiga de las Brujas (check also this amazing live version of the same song) and El Séptimo Sello, from the 2019 album Ira Dei, by Spanish Celtic/Folk Metal institution Mägo de Oz.

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Such multi-talented metal diva would obviously have tons of distinguished influences in her style and career, and despite the fact that her moniker was clearly inspired by one of the best Arch Enemy songs of all time, Diva Satanica, and that most fans tried to label them as the Spanish version of Arch Enemy in the beginning, the members of Bloodhunter have many different influences in their musical careers, from Judas Priest to Behemoth and Death. When asked about her own personal favorites, Diva Satanica mentioned bands and artists the likes of Astarte, Eths, In This Moment, Skullfist, Behemoth, Axewound, Rotting Christ, Nightrage, Firewind and Lana del Rey, showing she enjoys any type of music, not only rock and metal, but also saying that it’s in Extreme Metal where she found her identity when singing. If you know Spanish and want to spend some time with Diva Satanica and her collection of metal and non-metal albums, you should definitely watch this video on YouTube, where she presents some of her favorite albums from bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Ramones, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Firewind, Rotting Chirst, The Agonist and Eths. Regarding French metalcore band Eths, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the amazing Candice Clot, former frontwoman for what’s in my opinion one of the most underrated metal bands of all time, was essential in her decision to become an extreme music vocalist. In addition, you can enjoy Diva Satanica paying her own personal tribute to some of her biggest idols on her own YouTube channel, including her vocal performances of Septicflesh’s Prototype, Holy Moses’ Triggered, Behemoth’s Ov Fire And The Void, and a very unique version for Slayer’s darkest hit Raining Blood together with Spanish rock and metal cover band Femme Fractal.

As we’re talking about women in rock and metal, Diva Satanica complemented her thoughts by saying that apart from Candice Clot (and Diva Satanica even said that when Candice left Eths she was offered to audition, but she had to refuse it as she was barely 20 years old and had no means to travel nor the equipment to record with), she also loves the music by In This Moment, Jinjer and a Spanish underground band named Bones of Minerva, which I highly recommend you go check their music on their BandCamp page. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the song The Queen Beast is dedicated to Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri from Greek Black Metal horde Astarte, one of her main influences and a good friend that sadly passed away in 2014 due to complications from leukemia, saying she was the first woman to create the first Black Metal band formed only by women, and we can easily see that beautiful tribute Diva Satanica paid to Tristessa in the song’s amazing lyrics (“Feel her wrath / She’s watching from the stars / Abstraction of life / The air, the nature, the skies are now her reign / The shades in darkened silverlights / The black flame burns! / The highest priestess arise”).

If you think it was easy for Diva Satanica to reach her current vocal style and growth as an Extreme Metal vocalist, she said her path so far has demanded (and will always demand) from her a lot of hard work, discipline and trial and error, acknowledging that she couldn’t sing properly on the band’s first album as she didn’t know exactly what she was doing nor she could sustain her vocals for long periods of time. It was only after watching several tutorials on YouTube , after consulting with different extreme music singers and after studying in detail the performances of all vocalists of the concerts she attended that she properly began shaping her voice, spending about two years improving her technique, even taking melodic singing classes at a given point in her life, and applying necessary warmup and diaphragm strengthening exercises to improve her performance. Then she said that because she started her “Extreme Vocal Lessons” to help other growlers to improve their vocals in the early stages of their careers, she ended up discovering different vocal types and ranges that she considered great choices to incorporate to her own style. If you want to take a peak at some of her videos where she gives important tips for growlers like her, you can watch this tutorial (also in Spanish) where she teaches how to do guttural and screaming vocals, and also this short lesson where she explains the difference between growls and screams versus grunts, pig squeals, shrieks and other vocalizations. One thing that is quite annoying to Diva Satanica is when people use gender to justify why women can’t growl, with her solution to that simply being inviting those people to watch Bloodhunter live, which in my opinion is indeed an amazing experience for the non-believers who will undoubtedly be stunned by her vicious roars.

When asked about the current metal scene in Galicia, where she comes from, and if her music and Death Metal are well-received by the people from that region in Northwest Spain, she said that although they’re a small community there are different styles that people tend to listen to the most from time to time. Around a decade ago, the Gothic scene was the most prevalent, switching to Alternative Metal and Metalcore in recent years. She also mentioned the importance of their own summer festival, Resurrection Fest, which started years ago as a small act but that it’s now one of the most important festival in Europe, proving the scene in Galicia is in excellent shape. As you might have noticed already, Diva Satanica loves performing on stage, and among her favorite songs to play live she mentioned some of her band’s most violent creations such as Let the Storm Come, Possessed by Myself and of course The Queen Beast, as already mentioned, as this song has a strong meaning for her and helps her add an extra amount of emotional feeling to her singing.

Not only an accomplished vocalist, Diva Satanica has also done some modeling in the past and contributed as a writer and journalist to a couple of magazines, including La Heavy, one of the biggest rock and metal publication in Spain, managed by the website Mariskal Rock. She said she started her modeling career a few years ago, but as she discovered a lot of people are interested in many different things other than art, she gave up and decided to focus on the metal scene, starting with a Greek webzine named Subexistance Music Production and then moving on to La Heavy. Apart from that, she’s also working towards a Degree as a Doctor in Nursery, and was a participant in the Spanish TV program La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice) in 2017, surprising the coaches by screaming and growling instead of only doing clean vocals, being the first contestant to perform this type of singing. The international artist Juanes chose her to be part of his team, where she performed songs like Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. There’s even an interview she gave to a guy named Juan Destroyer on Mariskal Rock TV where she talks about her participation on the show, and how she inspired Juanes to get back on doing a heavier kind of rock. Moreover, she always mentions that being on La Voz was one of the best experiences of her life without any doubt, saying that as she was the first even participant to do guttural, she got a lot of recognition from fans and bands from all over the world, with icons such as  Michael Amott of Arch Enemy or Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh congratulating her for her amazing performance on the show.

Our dauntless diva also mentioned that there’s still a long road ahead of all musicians that dedicate their careers to more extreme styles of rock and metal, as there’s still a lot of prejudice everywhere (saying that even today in Madrid she has to cover her tattoos depending on the situation), but that it’s up to the musicians themselves to make their style more accepted by society, and that the more musicians bring their experience to light and defend their identity, the more the road will open up. As you can see, Diva Satanica is not only extremely talented and focused on her career, but she also has a strong opinion about the current state of the metal scene and about what any person needs to do to thrive in the music industry. Hence, you can check some extra interviews with this amazing Spanish she-wolf on YouTube, such as this one where she shares the latest update on both Bloodhunter and Nervosa, the current coronavirus pandemic situation and more, or this one to a show called “That Metal Interview with James”, recorded in June 2020, where she speaks of how she met Prika Amaral of Nervosa and how she was approached to join the Brazilian death metallers, about her experience being on the TV show La Voz, and about the future plans of both Bloodhunter and Nervosa regarding their musical direction for their next records. You’ll notice from all those interviews and from her music that Rocío Vázquez is more than just another vocalist; she’s a very humble and gentle human being, a hardworking musician, and a fulminating growler. Having said that, all that’s left to say is… ALL HAIL THE ONE AND ONLY DIVA SATANICA!

Diva Satanica’s Official Facebook page
Diva Satanica’s Official Instagram
Diva Satanica’s Official Twitter
Diva Satanica’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official Facebook page
Bloodhunter’s Official Instagram
Bloodhunter’s Official Twitter
Bloodhunter’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official BandCamp
Nervosa’s Official Facebook page
Nervosa’s Official Instagram
Nervosa’s Official Twitter
Nervosa’s Official YouTube channel

“Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you feel scared and things don’t go as you planned before, but you must keep on fighting to discover what you want in your life and who you are.” – Diva Satanica

Album Review – Eight Lives Down / Humans (2020)

Four distinct musicians from four different countries united in the name of metal, bringing to us all a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable.

Originally founded by Greek-Kiwi vocalist and lyricist Aliki Katriou in 2016 together with British guitarist James Scott (replaced by French guitarist Paul Allain in 2017), bassist Marcin Orczyk from Poland, and Brazilian drummer Rodrigo Moraes Cruz, London, UK-based Extreme Metal act Eight Lives Down has its roots in Groove and Thrash Metal, but constantly branches out stylistically incorporating influences from Progressive, Death and Black Metal, as well as various other musical genres such as Punk Rock, Blues, and traditional folk music, while vocals range from low growls and high screams to clean and even operatic phrases, creating a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable. Now in 2020 the quartet is ready to invade our senses with their debut full-length opus, entitled Humans, showcasing all their versatility, dynamism, creativity and rage, all enhanced by the album’s top-notch mixing and mastering done by Dan Baune at Noise Foundry Productions, while embraced by a modern, stylish artwork by Dylan Sutton.

The blazing guitar riffs by Paul kick off the sick and groovy Opening Shots, bringing forward a fusion of Melodic Death Metal with more modern and alternative styles, with Aliki growling like a true she-demon for our total delight, followed by Misguided, where the metallic bass jabs by Marcin will hit you in the face while Aliki blasts her wicked mix of clean vocals and harsh gnarls, leaning towards contemporary Thrash and Groove Metal while Rodrigo dictates the pace with his classy beats. Then the mesmerizing vocalizations by Aliki accompanied by tribalistic sounds and tones ignite the heavy and experimental Angela, with Paul, Marcin and Rodrigo bringing sheer progressiveness to the music with their refined techniques, whereas From The Cradle is a lot more introspective, grim and atmospheric than its predecessors, starting in a semi-acoustic manner while Aliki declaims the song’s dark lyrics, sounding at the same time like a 90’s Groove and Funk Metal tune and a modern-day thrashing tune, something a wicked band like Faith No More would definitely do.

More of their rumbling sounds permeate the air in the also heavy and furious Sacrifice, a lecture in Groove Metal by Eight Lives Down where Aliki’s roars get deeper and more enraged while Rodrigo sounds pulverizing on drums, supported by Marcin’s menacing bass; and in Organize Your Mind the quartet offers us all a hybrid of the rebelliousness of Alternative Metal with the intricacy of Progressive Metal, with Paul being on absolute fire with his demented riffage, while also presenting interesting atmospheric passages and endless heaviness. After that it’s time to break our necks headbanging together with Aliki and the boys in Colder, adding hints of Heavy Rock to their already crushing sonority while Paul and Marcin have a fun duel with their strident riffs and solos and low-tuned bass punches, respectively. Lastly, you better get ready for nine minutes of introspection, groove and heaviness in the form of Why, starting in a serene way with Aliki declaiming the song’s cryptic words, evolving into a thunderous metal feast led by Rodrigo’s visceral beats, not to mention the incendiary solos by Paul as the icing on the cake.

This precious gem of Extreme and Experimental Metal can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to show your support to Aliki and her loyal henchmen you should definitely buy a copy of Humans from their own BandCamp page, from their webstore or from Amazon, as well as follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such up-and-coming metal band, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their idiosyncratic creations. It will certainly be more than just interesting to see what the future holds for Eight Lives Down with their upcoming releases, if they’ll keep experimenting like crazy or if they’ll set a defined shape and style for their music. Until then, while we wait for the creative mind of Aliki to provide us more insanity in the form of music, we can keep banging our heads nonstop to Humans, by far one of the best alternative albums of the year.

Best moments of the album: Opening Shots and Sacrifice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Opening Shots 3:50
2. Misguided 4:01
3. Angela 3:56
4. From The Cradle 7:40
5. Sacrifice 3:52
6. Organize Your Mind 4:21
7. Colder 4:20
8. Why 9:02

Band members
Aliki Katriou – vocals
Paul Allain – guitar
Marcin Orczyk – bass
Rodrigo Moraes Cruz – drums

Album Review – Seventh / Vacarme (2020)

Let your soul be consumed by the atmospheric music crafted by this amazing Canadian act, exploring psychological distress, mental disorder and how some individuals will benefit from committing immoral acts to escape reality.

Hailing from the always amazing Québécois independent metal scene, the Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal act that goes by the straightforward name of Seventh might have started their path not a long time ago, being formed in 2016 in the charming Quebec City, Canada, but they’ve managed to put out already two full-length album, those being their 2017 debut effort Limbes, and their newborn spawn Vacarme now in 2020. Recorded at La Boîte Noire Studio in Quebec City with François C. Fortin, and featuring a Stygian artwork by Canadian illustrator Philippe D’Amours linking all the songs together to represent escapism and abandonment for a better realm, Vacarme explores psychological distress, mental disorder and how some individuals will benefit from committing immoral acts to escape reality, all embraced by the massive wall of atmospheric sounds crafted by Jean-Fred Gauvin on vocals, Olivier Falardeau on the guitars, Martin Lessard on bass and Alex “Blaireau” Bernatchez on drums.

The guitar lines by Olivier arise to the sound of a ticking clock in the intro Synthèse, building a strong atmosphere for the band to crush our senses with Echoes and its psychological lyrics growled by Jean-Fred (“Here come all the signs stranding from the mind / To keep death in motion redefined / Held inside I hear it loud and clear / Like a raging storm of noise that bleeds out all my dopamine”) in a fulminating display of Atmospheric Black Metal with a stunning acoustic ending. Then without wasting any time the quartet pierces our souls with Hundred Winters, where the blast beats by Alex walk hand in hand with the Black Metal riffage by Olivier, and the music keeps growing in intensity, darkness and fury until the very end led by the always anguished gnarls by Jean-Fred; and get ready to bang your heads in the name of darkness together with Seventh in The Gift of Death, where Olivier and Martin slash their strings in great fashion, bringing elements of Doom Metal to their already heavy-as-hell sonority.

Serene and melodious lines permeate the air in the bridge titled Bloom, before they come back in full force with Lust, with its over six minutes of grim and mesmerizing passages showcasing another amazing job done by Olivier on the guitars while Alex keeps pounding his drums like a beast in an exciting depiction of what the music by Seventh is all about, whereas those four metallers are ready to smash us like insects In the nine-minute aria Disheartened, a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal made in Canada presenting elements from what we like to call “Métal Noir Québécois”. Moreover, Jean-Fred is absolutely demonic on vocals, accompanied by the strident riffs by Olivier and the thunderous bass by Martin. And another stylish and charming interlude titled Collapse works as the calm before the storm for Through the Flesh, bringing forward more of their austere lyrics (“As the pleasure consumes all of these laws of morality / We consume all of these laws of indecency / As we consume all of these laws of misanthropy / We consume all of these laws of pure savagery”) and their pulverizing fusion of blackened sounds, ending the album on a truly incendiary and climatic note.

If you want to savor the atmospheric and somber “Métal Noir Québécois” brought forth by Seventh in Vacarme in its entirety, you can stream the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course I highly recommend you grab a copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream such distinct release. In addition, let’s show our support to Seventh by also following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to their YouTube channel, getting absolutely mesmerized and embraced by their dark creations. It’s always a pleasure to witness the rise of Extreme Metal bands here in Canada like Seventh, keeping the scene alive and, consequently, offering us fans of heavy music more and more options for our daily playlists, with Vacarme being specially recommended for the ones who admire the darkest and most introspective side of our beloved metal.

Best moments of the album: Echoes, The Gift of Death and Disheartened.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Synthèse 1:26
2. Echoes 8:10
3. Hundred Winters 5:47
4. The Gift of Death 5:34
5. Bloom 1:08
6. Lust 6:21
7. Disheartened 9:01
8. Collapse 1:07
9. Through the Flesh 7:58

Band members
Jean-Fred Gauvin – vocals
Olivier Falardeau – guitars
Martin Lessard – bass
Alex “Blaireau” Bernatchez – drums

Album Review – Xythlia / Immortality Through Quantum Suicide (2020)

Enjoy this visionary soundtrack for our brutal, mutant universe, pushing the boundaries of Extreme Metal through the horrors of space vacuum.

The solo project of Minneapolis, Minnesota-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nick Stanger (also active in the ranks of black metallers Ashbringer), the distinguished entity named Xythlia brilliantly blends the most extreme Technical Death Metal and Grindcore with Voivod’s progressive and experimental approach and the mind-shattering guitar acrobatics of Krallice and Ocrilim, resulting in the perfect visionary soundtrack for our brutal, mutant universe, constantly changing its shape and skillfully alternating complex concatenations of schizoid death-grind riffs with short atmospheric interludes and space noises, dissonant and slanted melodies and crushing slow tempos. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Nick himself at Sound of the Northwoods in Minneapolis, and featuring a creepy and fascinating artwork by Mexican illustrator Carlos Agraz (The Art of Asty), where an alien creature performs a suicide ritual through the space and time continuum, furiously stabbing itself to death, the project’s debut album, entitled Immortality Through Quantum Suicide, testifies the birth of a new talent capable to look beyond the narrow confines of Extreme Metal, and to push it through the horrors of space vacuum. “When quarantine started, I had nothing but time to kill with a myriad of frantic uncertainty and anxiety,” explained Nick. “This record is a reflection of that. It’s a concept album that follows a character experiencing the full extent of isolation throughout infinite time.”

In the visceral opening track Death Unyielding, we already face a vile sonic devastation led by Nick’s infernal shredding, while at the same time he barks the song’s demented and chaotic lyrics (“Collider, a force that could wield the aeons / The secret to transcending time / Death will always show / Rearing its ugly head / Chaos, the beast unfolds / Devouring what’s left of this world / Day of reckoning / Waking nightmare / Chaos reigning / Death unyielding”), flowing into the also demolishing To Defy Inevitability, a lesson in Grindcore the likes of Napalm Death which also presents groovier and more atmospheric moments than its predecessor. In Initiation: Void we’re treated to thirty seconds of insanity in the form of sick riffs and blast beats, morphing into a Technical Death Metal havoc titled Tachyon Malnourishment, where Nick’s growls get more and more violent as the music progresses, with his riffs and bass punches sounding utterly metallic. Then in Antidream serene guitar lines work as the calm before a metal storm titled Ablation of Subconscious, starting in a more introspective way with Nick of course roaring like a beast while at the same time smashing his guitars and bass mercilessly, accompanied by his programmed but very organic drums in the most technical and progressive form of Grindcore you can think of.

Flesh Prison sounds infernal, rumbling and hammering from start to finish, with Nick’s riffs setting fire to the music, boosted by his thunderous bass jabs and the song’s wicked words (“Damnation / An eternity of peril / No end to suffering / Clench my fist / One more click / Body frail / Frantic mind”), whereas Post-Ironic Indoctrination is probably one of the most insane and disrupting minutes you’ll ever experience in heavy music. And that musical madness goes on in Schrödinger’s Foreskin, bringing elements from bands like Slayer and Exodus to Nick’s already hellish sound, not to mention the demented progressiveness he extracts from his violent bass, followed by The Eye Bath, another atomic bomb delivered by our lone wolf in a little over three minutes where he doesn’t stop slashing his guitar not even for a single second, therefore making your head tremble vigorously. After another round of sheer dementia titled Mutagenic Growth, it’s time for the closing tune Fester in the Nether, showcasing an eerie intro gradually evolving into more of Nick’s Technical Death Metal, blending furious riffs and beats with a reverberating bass sound. Furthermore, Nick definitely knows how to make the earth shake with his technical Grindcore, always vociferating rabidly to make things even heavier and more sinister.

Nick and his wild Xythlia are waiting for you to exterminate your senses in Immortality Through Quantum Suicide, and in order to show such insane entity of Technical Death Metal and Grindcore your support simply follow Xythlia on Facebook and purchase your copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page, or from the Metal Odissey webstore. Nick might be one single man enduring isolation just like the rest of us, but we must admit he made an excellent use of his time alone to bring his unrelenting Grindcore beast to life in Immortality Through Quantum Suicide, condensing all the horrors, darkness and fears from space vacuum into a massive wall of sounds that will leave you absolutely disoriented after the album’s 23 crushing minutes are over. Let’s hope we can witness a second round (or maybe I should say reincarnation) of Xythlia in the near future, pushing the boundaries of extreme music more and more into the unknown, exploding our heads with his austere sounds for centuries to come.

Best moments of the album: To Defy Inevitability, Flesh Prison, Schrödinger’s Foreskin and Fester in the Nether.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Death Unyielding 1:06
2. To Defy Inevitability 1:38
3. Initiation: Void 0:27
4. Tachyon Malnourishment 1:32
5. Antidream 0:45
6. Ablation of Subconscious 3:04
7. Flesh Prison 2:05
8. Post-Ironic Indoctrination 1:04
9. Schrödinger’s Foreskin 2:55
10. The Eye Bath 3:04
11. Mutagenic Growth 0:41
12. Fester in the Nether 4:45

Band members
Nick Stanger – vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming

Album Review – Vampiric / Supernatural Tales (2020)

Phoenix, Arizona’s own lone wolf returns with more of his blood-soaked Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal in a tribute to darkness and the supernatural.

Arising from the depths of his lair less than one year after the release of his debut full-length album The Magic of the Night, the Phoenix, Arizona-based one-man army Nik Williams, the mastermind behind Symphonic Black/Thrash Metal entity Vampiric, is back with more of his blood-soaked, dark and captivating music in his brand new opus entitled Supernatural Tales, bringing to our ears more of his fusion of extreme and symphonic sounds while singing about vampires, wolves and other creatures of the night. Not only that, Nik once again did everything by himself, including all music, lyrics, artwork and so on, proving how passionate he is about heavy music and vampirism, and how his undeniable talent allows him to unite those two distinct topics into a collection of dynamic and obscure compositions.

Phantasmagorical synths and a stench of blood permeate the air in the opening track Endless Night, where Nik generates a bold atmosphere with all instruments, also firing both harsh growls and cryptic clean vocals and uniting Black and Thrash Metal in the name of darkness. In Bloodthirst we’re treated to sheer brutality, with Nik barking the song’s vampiric lyrics manically (“Do you hear it? / Does it not sound like the shadows calling your name? / At midnight’s strike, piercing the dark / Calling to you as if in dream / His presence made known / His shadow crawls across the wall”) while the music brings a fusion of Second-Wave Black Metal with classic Bay Area Thrash, all spiced up by its background keys; and blasting a more straightforward and rockin’ sonority, Nik offers us all the dark and dancing tune The Wolves Of Winter, showcasing slashing riffs and massive beats and bass punches, being tailored for admirers of Gothic Rock and Metal from the 80’s and 90’s with a more venomous twist. Then Nik continues to blast his drums and extract sheer malignancy from his guitar, resulting in a hybrid of Blackened Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal entitled Heart Of Fire, where our lone wolf sings about how fear sometimes controls our lives (“Rise from the fire whose flames burn you not / Become the fire / It matters not the fear that lives inside of your heart / But how you go forth and face that fear / Times of turmoil beget times of peace”).

Melodic guitars ignite the also frantic and obscure The Embrace Of The Vampire, with Nik growling and gnarling while at the same time generating a truly wicked ambience with his Phantom of the Opera-inspired keys, also presenting some elements found in the music by the almighty Cradle Of Filth, whereas an exciting ride through the lands of Rock N’ Roll, Black Metal and symphonic music is condensed into the multi-layered The Darkness Reborn, where Nik does a superb job with all instruments, in special with his demonic riffage and vicious roars. A Descent Into Madness is a visceral, in-your-face Extreme Metal tune where the bass sounds are absolutely metallic and thunderous, making a solid paradox with all the ethereal keys in the background, while Fall From The Sky leans towards the rawer musicality from his 2019 album, also bringing forward a spot-on balance between aggressiveness and melody while the drums sound as Black Metal as they can be. It’s a bit lengthy, though, despite all of its breaks and variations, but nothing to worry about, before the cinematic outro The Dawn Is No More puts a melancholic and at the same time epic conclusion to this bloodthirsty album.

Not only Supernatural Tales represents a healthy and interesting step forward in the career of Nik Williams and his Vampiric, but it’s also a solid statement that Nik is an unstoppable force of the underground, always working on new material and always eager to release original music to fans of that more extreme side of metal, having released so far two excellent albums in less than one year, and I’m not even counting his debut EP Death Tore Through, also released in 2019. Hence, you can show your support to such up-and-coming, hardworking artist by following him on Facebook, by subscribing to his official YouTube channel, and obviously by purchasing Supernatural Tales sooner than you can expect from his own BandCamp page (where you can by the way take a listen at a couple of his new songs already, as well as his previous releases). In a nutshell, in praising darkness and the supernatural with his new album, Nik is also carving his name in the metal underworld, leaving us eager for more of his vampiric tales and extreme sounds until the end of days.

Best moments of the album: Bloodthirst, The Wolves Of Winter and The Darkness Reborn.

Worst moments of the album: Fall From The Sky.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Endless Night 5:28
2. Bloodthirst 2:50
3. The Wolves Of Winter 5:40
4. Heart Of Fire 4:51
5. The Embrace Of The Vampire 5:31
6. The Darkness Reborn 3:36
7. A Descent Into Madness 3:20
8. Fall From The Sky 6:22
9. The Dawn Is No More (Outro) 2:31

Band members
Nik Williams – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Abanoch / Buried And Left Behind EP (2020)

Dealing with the apocalyptic reality we live in, the debut EP by this Qatar-based quartet brings to our ears a classic fusion of Death, Black and Thrash Metal.

Blending traditional Death Metal with a myriad of sounds ranging from Thrash and Black Metal to classic Heavy Metal and even Progressive Rock since their inception in 2015, the up-and-coming Doha, Qatar-based hellraisers Abanoch are the sole Extreme Metal band hailing from their homeland playing original music, proudly carrying the flag of metal and defying all social and religious norms wherever they go. Now in 2020 the quartet comprised of Almarri on vocals and rhythm guitars, Sefiroth Ounane on lead guitars, Dahman Ouzzane on bass and Geoff Fontillas on drums aims at new heights with their debut EP Buried And Left Behind, an awesome warm-up for their first full-length opus which is currently scheduled to be released by the end of this year. Taking their name from ancient Middle-Eastern demonology, more specifically from a book titled The Sun of Major Knowledge (or The Sun Of Knowledge & Kindly Knowing) by Ahmed Bin Ali Al-Bonny, meaning a demon king who ruled the Sabbath, Abanoch deals with the apocalyptic and dark reality we live in in their new album, calling for Abanoch’s saving in all his glory to take us out of this reality.

The quartet begins hammering their instruments mercilessly in The Rise Of Abanoch, led by the electrifying riffs by Almarri and Sefiroth while Geoff smashes his drums in great Death Metal fashion, also presenting eerie, atmospheric passages and a huge amount of adrenaline and rage. Then another round of their solid and intricate Death Metal comes in the form of Five Spells, with Almarri’s demonic screeches and roars adding an extra touch of darkness to the music while Almarri himself together with Sefiroth and Dahman keep the ambience aggressive and sharp with their stringed weapons; whereas in End Of Times the band mixes the violence by bands such as Death and Cannibal Corpse with the obscurity and epicness of Cradle Of Filth, with its demonic growls, slashing riffage and nonstop blast beats turning it into an amazing option for slamming into the circle pit, all spiced up by a spot-on guitar solo by Sefiroth. The title-track Buried And Left Behind brings forward the most metallic and cutting riffs of the entire EP, resulting in a Death Metal feast tailored for admirers of the genre with Geoff dictating the pace with his rhythmic and berserk beats, and lastly, venturing through more thrashing and visceral lands, the band offers us all Treacherous Ways, highly inspired by 80’s Thrash and Speed Metal and showcasing an amazing job done by both Almari and Sefiroth with their scorching shredding, reminding me of the early days of Megadeth. In other words, get ready for over eight minutes of experimentations, epic riffs and fast beats, flowing smoothly until its climatic finale.

You can enjoy Buried And Left Behind in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your true support to Abanoch you should follow them on Facebook and grab your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page. The metal scene in Qatar is making its baby steps, and with our support in spreading the word the guys from Abanoch hope they can encourage more bands to come out and create music in their homeland, elevating the importance of extreme music all over the country and, therefore, opening the minds of their young generation to the beauty of Death, Black and Thrash Metal. Just like in the aforementioned book, Abanoch are among us to save us all from our harsh reality with their first-class extreme music, with Buried And Left Behind representing only the first step in their promising career.

Best moments of the album: The Rise Of Abanoch and Treacherous Ways.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. The Rise Of Abanoch 4:20
2. Five Spells 3:29
3. End Of Times 4:33
4. Buried And Left Behind 4:17
5. Treacherous Ways 8:17

Band members
Almarri – vocals, rhythm guitars
Sefiroth Ounane – lead guitar
Dahman Ouzzane – bass
Geoff Fontillas – drums

Album Review – Odraza / Rzeczom (2020)

A unique and caustic album of Black Metal made in Poland about myths, projections, appearances, fears we fight, and the legacy we cannot deny.

Formed in the year of 2009 in the obscure basements and gray courtyards of the charming city of Kraków, in Lesser Poland by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Stawrogin (Gruzja, Massemord and Totenmesse) and guitarist, bassist and drummer Priest (Massemord, Totenmesse and Voidhanger), the Stygian Black Metal duo known as Odraza, or “disgust” from Polish, returns from the pits of the underworld with their sophomore studio album Rzeczom (“things”), the follow up to their 2014 debut opus Esperalem Tkane. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Impressive-Art Studio in Beskidu Małego, Poland, and portraying the stunning Polish model Dorota Maria Kuźmicka as its cover art, Rzeczom will take you on a dark and captivating journey through the wicked world of Odraza. “We dedicate Rzeczom to ourselves, the authors. It is a diary; excerpts from our lives and the lives of the people once close to us come across the words by the authors that inspire us. It is about myths, about projections, appearances, fears we fight, and the legacy we cannot deny. It is also about the lie – after all, it is but us who decide how many of those memories reflect what has never been,” darkly commented the duo about their new and weird creation.

In the opening tune titled Schadenfreude (“malicious joy” or “spitefulness” from German), an eerie, cryptic intro quickly explodes into modern and visceral Black Metal led by the duo’s scorching riffs, with Priest blasting savagery and intricacy through his beats nonstop. The album couldn’t have started in a better (and more venomous) way, I might say, with the duo’s rumbling bass igniting the title-track Rzeczom, sounding as if Triptykon went full Blackened Doom. Moreover, Stawrogin growls and barks like a true demonic beast throughout the entire song, spiced up by somber passages and vicious backing vocals, resulting in a song definitely not recommended for the lighthearted. Then back to a more ferocious and berserk mode those Polish metallers fire the Behemoth-inspired W Godzinie Wilka (“at the hour of the wolf”), bringing to our ears Blackened Death Metal at its finest with Stawrogin’s harsh gnarls being effectively supported by Priest’s pounding drums; whereas a serene, acoustic intro permeates the air in …Twoją Rzecz Też (“…your thing too”), evolving into a metallic and alternative, almost circus-like onrush of sounds showcasing the band’s versatility and their will to never sound outdated or repetitive.

Once again sounding wicked and vile form start to finish, the duo surprises us with another round of unusual extreme music in Długa 24 (“long 24”), where Stawrogin does a very entertaining job with both his darker vocals and his clean vociferations, followed by Świt Opowiadaczy (“dawn of the storytellers”), offering the listener six minutes of obscure passages and endless violence flowing from their damned instruments, with Priest stealing the spotlight with his frantic and intricate drumming. And venturing through the realms of Doom and Stoner Metal to give their core Black Metal an even more badass vibe, they offer us all Młot Na Małe Miasta (“a hammer for small towns”), with both Stawrogin and Priest extracting electricity from their stringed weapons and, therefore, keeping the album at a high level of obscurity and madness.

After such demented tune, we’re treated to Najkrótsza Z Wieczności (“the shortest of eternities”), a contemplative and melancholic display of extreme music made in Poland where Stawrogin devilishly declaims the song’s Polish words, being multi-layered and grim just the way we like it in Extreme Metal. Following this cryptic composition, a phantasmagorical storm is about to begin in Bempo, growing in intensity until morphing into ass-kicking Blackened Death Metal led by Priest’s always fulminating drums, also showcasing a razor-edged guitar solo by guest musician Azar. And last but not least, it’s time for Odraza to stun us once and for all with eight minutes of absolute darkness in the instrumental aria Ja Nie Stąd (“I’m not from here”), starting in a progressive and atmospheric manner and flowing beautifully to the riffage and beats by the band’s dynamic duo until its inevitable and ethereal end.

This precious gem of contemporary Black Metal made in Poland can be better appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should definitely buy a copy of the album from Odraza’s own BandCamp page, as well as from the Godz Ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore and from Discogs, showing your true support to the talented Stawrogin and Priest and to the entire underground scene. Also, don’t forget to follow Odraza on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for news, tour dates and more of their distinguished music. It doesn’t matter if you are a native Polish metalhead or if you don’t understand a single word said by the band in Rzeczom, this is the type of album that’s a must-have in your collection of dark and acid extreme music, and just like Odraza dedicated the album to themselves, you can go ahead a dedicate it to your own Black Metal persona in your most introspective moments in life.

Best moments of the album: Schadenfreude, W Godzinie Wilka and Młot Na Małe Miasta.

Worst moments of the album: Długa 24.

Released in 2020 Godz Ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Schadenfreude 4:18
2. Rzeczom 5:21
3. W Godzinie Wilka 4:50
4. …Twoją Rzecz Też 5:43
5. Długa 24 2:06
6. Świt Opowiadaczy 6:01
7. Młot Na Małe Miasta 5:41
8. Najkrótsza Z Wieczności 5:06
9. Bempo 6:29
10. Ja Nie Stąd 8:01

Band members
Stawrogin – vocals, guitars, bass
Priest – guitars, bass, drums

Guest musician
Azar – guitar solo on “Najkrótsza Z Wieczności” and “Bempo”

Album Review – Goat Necropsy / Bloody and Fresh EP (2020)

Pure gore, violence and blood in less than eight minutes of music, carefully blasted by a new Brazilian duo through their putrid debut EP of Death Metal and Grindcore.

There’s a new dynamic (and vicious) duo hailing form the city of São Paulo, Brazil that not only knows how to apply all aspects of the DIY approach to their music, but they also do it in the goriest and most violent way possible, resulting in an avalanche of demented sounds that will leave completely disoriented after its less than eight minutes are over. I’m talking about the ruthless Death Metal/Grindcore act Goat Necropsy, who are ready to butcher us all with their berserk debut EP entitled Bloody and Fresh. Except for the photo session conducted by Brazilian artist Jessica Mar (Reverbera Music Media), everything else was done by vocalist Vic Ferreira and guitarist and bassist W. Johann (from bands such as Krow, Nervochaos and Victorizer), including all the music and lyrics, the drum programming, the artwork and the overall production, mixing and mastering of the album, and let’s say those two insane metallers nailed it from start to finish, delivering a more-than-fine debut effort that lives up to the traditions of our beloved Goregrind the likes of Carcass, Exhumed, Cattle Decapitation, Napalm Death and Aborted, among several others.

As soon as you hit play and the opening track Chopping Organs begins, you’ll be asking yourself “how can only two guys generate such demolishing and disturbing sonority?” It’s truly pulverizing in its entirety, with Vic sounding infernal with his inhumane roars and gnarls darkly vociferating the song’s visceral words (“Creeping / The butcher arrives / Wretched, mindless / Disturbing death / This grinding machine / Will open your guts / My merciless knife / Reddish shines”), while W. Johann extracts sheer savagery from his riffs. Then continuing their path of devastation and gore, razor-edged riffs and menacing bass lines permeate the air in The Collector, where the gruesome screeches by Vic will disturb your peace of mind in great Goregrind fashion, also sounding very detailed taking into account it’s only two minutes long; and it’s time to go utterly mental to the sound of Anal Vomit, a frantic and demonic display of Death Metal and Grindcore perfect for smashing your skull into the circle pit. Furthermore, Vic and W. Johann once again bring chaos and blood to our ears through their respective screams and riffage, which is also the case in the bestial Devoured by the Hounds, showcasing devilish, psychological lyrics barked by Vic and the awesome Cannibal Corpse-inspired riffs by W. Johann. In addition, we must all admit they did an amazing job with the drum programming throughout the entire EP, sounding very organic and extremely aggressive.

In case you don’t believe when I say Goat Necropsy might be one of the most violent Extreme Metal unities hailing from Brazil, simply dedicate nothing more, nothing less than eight minutes of your spare time to take a full listen at Bloody and Fresh on YouTube or on Spotify, and after being annihilated by such demented duo go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and above all that, purchase your copy of their debut endeavor from their BandCamp page or from Apple Music, showing the world you have what it takes to face sheer gore and dementia in the form of extreme music. Vic and W. Johann surely have a great future ahead of them as Goat Necropsy, proving through their austere compositions that less is always more (brutal, of course).

Best moments of the album: The Collector and Devoured by the Hounds.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Chopping Organs 1:26
2. The Collector 2:30
3. Anal Vomit 1:18
4. Devoured by the Hounds 2:15

Band members
Vic Ferreira – vocals, drum programming
W. Johann – guitars, bass, drum programming