Album Review – Serocs / Vore EP (2020)

Bang your heads to the new EP of brutal and technical Death Metal offered by a rising force from the international extreme music scene.

What began in 2009 in Guadalajara, a metropolis in western Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco, as a Brutal Technical Death Metal one-man project by guitarist Antonio Freyre under the name of Serocs later transformed into a full-blown international band with members from Mexico, France and Canada, exploding to its full capacity with the release of their 2018 opus The Phobos/Deimos Suite. Now in 2020 the band comprised of the aforementioned Antonio together with vocalist Laurent Bellemare (Sutrah), guitarist and bassist Antoine Daigneault (Chthe’ilist) and drummer Kévin Paradis (Benighted) returns with the next step in their evolutionary career, the five-track EP entitled Vore, offering fans of Cryptopsy, Severed Savior and Gorguts, among others, an excellent sample of what Serocs mean when they say they play “Death Metal from all over the world”. Reamped, mixed and mastered by Hugues Deslauriers at Roarrr Sound Studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Vore is “a very important release for me. It has all the elements of classic Serocs at first but then it transitions into something new and exciting,” commented the band’s mastermind Antonio about the album, inviting us all to know more about his project and his passion for brutal and technical music.

A wicked intro explodes into brutal and extremely technical Death Metal in Anthropic, where Kévin dictates the rhythm with his vicious beats while Laurent blasts inhumane, gruesome gnarls for our total delight, with the band’s guitar duo also showcasing all their rage and dexterity with their scorching riffage. More intricate and absolutely visceral sounds invade our senses in Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands, a lesson in Technical Death Metal spiced up by Groove Metal nuances where Antoine is on fire with both his guitar riffs and utterly metallic bass punches, not to mention the fiery guitar solos by guest Phil Tougas, whereas we’re treated to a few moments of peace in the instrumental bridge Shallow Vaults before the quartet comes crushing once again with their rumbling, venomous music in The Temple of Knowledge, with Kévin once again sounding very technical but at the same time berserk on drums while Laurent continues to vociferated deeply and rabidly in great Death Metal fashion. Then venturing through darker and more progressive lands the band brings forth To Self Devour, leaning towards pure Progressive Death Metal with Antonio and Antoine extracting sheer electricity from their guitars nonstop, providing Laurent all he needs to thrive with his vicious screeches. In addition, as bonuses to fans of Serocs’ music the band offers two demos recorded in 2011 for the songs Nihilus, from the album The Phobos/Deimos Suite (check the official and infernal studio version HERE), and Anthropic, both raw and demented, and both presenting even sharper and more thunderous bass lines and drums compared to their final, lapidated shape and form.

As mentioned by the band’s mastermind Antonio Freyre, Vore is more than “just” an excellent EP of Technical Death Metal, but a solid step in the career of a band that has been on a constant rise since their inception. Hence, you can follow Serocs on Facebook and listen to more of their music on Spotify to show Antonio and his henchmen all your support to the underground, and purchase your copy of Vore from the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore in regular MCD format or as a stylish MCD and shirt bundle, as well as from Apple Music, keeping the flames of brutal and technical extreme music burning bright and, consequently, fueling bands like Serocs to keep providing us all amazing options for banging our heads like maniacs, for practicing our musician skills, and for disturbing the peace of our quiet neighborhoods.

Best moments of the album: Anthropic and Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Anthropic 5:17
2. Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands 3:51
3. Shallow Vaults 1:22
4. The Temple of Knowledge 4:47
5. To Self Devour 4:40

Bonus tracks
6. Nihilus (2011 Demo) 3:18
7. Anthropic (2011 Demo) 3:09

Band members
Laurent Bellemare – vocals
Antonio Freyre – guitar
Antoine Daigneault – guitar, bass
Kévin Paradis – drums

Guest musician
Phil Tougas – guitar solos on “Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands”

Album Review – Voorhees / Chapter Two (2020)

A Death Metal quartet from France arises from their graves once again with more of their demolishing music inspired by old school horror movies.

If you’re a true metalhead and at the same time a fan of old school horror movies from the 70’s to the 90’s, you’ll have an absolute blast with the music found in Chapter Two, the first full-length opus by a French Death Metal unity that goes by the name of Voorhees. Formed in 2017 in Metz, a city in France’s northeastern Grand Est region, the band comprised of Chris on vocals and guitars, Sébastien “Seb” Valbrecq on lead guitars, Fred on bass and Will on drums obviously had their name, logo and everything else inspired by the one and only Jason Voorhees, the main character from the Friday the 13th franchise, with their old school Death Metal being highly recommended for admirers of the sonic devastation blasted by renowned acts such as Death, Cannibal Corpse, Massacre and Obituary. Having released their debut EP entitled Chapter One on Friday the 13th, October 2017, this talented slasher squad once again chose the iconic date to release Chapter Two, on Friday the 13th, March 2020, dedicating pretty much each one of the eight songs of the album to a specific movie. Recorded by the band’s own drummer Will (known for his work as Willy Lang with French Doom/Death Metal one-man act Nosphares), mixed by Dan Swanö at Unisound, and featuring a classic and visceral artwork by Fabrice Romo (Kaos Obscure Art), Chapter Two is the perfect soundtrack for your horror flick night.

Inspired by the Wes Craven movies The Hills Have Eyes (one of my favorite slasher flicks of all time), the opening track The Lucky Ones Die First exhales pure, undisputed Death Metal form the very beginning, with Chris and Seb doing a great job with their unstoppable riffage while Will smashes his drums in great fashion, followed by My Horror Event, drawing inspiration from the movie Creepshow, directed by George A. Romero in 1982 and with script by Stephen King. Putting the pedal to the metal, the band adds hints of Thrash Metal to their insane riffs in this wicked tune while Chris keeps barking like a true beast, not to mention Fred’s rumbling bass punches, whereas in Evil To Come, largely inspired by the movie The Day of the Beast (or “El Día de la Bestia” in Spanish), directed by Alex de la Iglesia in 1995, we’re treated to more classic Death Metal the likes of Unleashed and Obituary, resulting in the perfect choice for cracking your skull headbanging or for slamming into the circle pit. And in The Will To Kill, their musical representation of the movie Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, directed by John McNaughton in 1986, a somber start evolves into a mid-tempo, dark sonority led by Fred and Will with their thunderous weapons, while Chris vociferates the songs words deeply and rabidly.

The cryptic voice by Charles Manson kicks off I’m The Man Who Became God, a gruesome, headbanging Death Metal extravaganza re-recorded from their first EP where Chris and Seb sound truly infernal on the guitars, accompanied by Will’s putrid and classic beast and fills, setting the tone for Voorhees II, obviously inspired by the second chapter of the Friday the 13th franchise, directed by Steve Miner in 1981. It’s time to brutally slam into the pit to the sound of this frantic and berserk composition, may favorite of the album by the way, where Will is at the same time groovy and demented on drums and with the band’s stringed trio slashing our minds and ears with their razor-edged riffs and sick bass lines. Then we have Reanimated, originally supposed to be a song inspired by the movie Re-Animator and finally turned into an almost instrumental “tribute” to the evil characters that are Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, who always resurrect at the end. Will and Fred generate a menacing atmosphere perfect for Chris to growl and bark like a horror movie monster, all spiced up by Seb’s classic guitar solos, and closing the album it’s time for more obscurity and aggressiveness in the form of Death Metal with the climatic Into Darkness, a crushing, mid-tempo tune led by Will’s fierce beats while Chris keeps vociferating and roaring nonstop, and after all is said and done you’ll feel absolutely disoriented without a shadow of a doubt.

Voorhees’ horror movie-inspired Old School Death Metal feast can be appreciated in full on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your true support to the band (and avoid a visit of Jason Voorhees himself to your home) you should purchase the album from several locations such as the band’s own BandCamp page, the Great Dane Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, Apple Music or Discogs. In addition, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, filling your ears with that traditional Death Metal sonority we all love so much with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements added to it. Will they continue their path of violence and bloodshed with several more chapters in the form of metal albums inspired by each one of the Friday the 13th movies? Only time will tell, but based on the high quality of the music found in Chapter Two I’m sure it won’t take long for the quartet to arise from their graves once again to haunt our damned souls.

Best moments of the album: My Horror Event, Voorhees II and Reanimated.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Great Dane Records

Track listing
1. The Lucky Ones Die First 4:34
2. My Horror Event 3:44
3. Evil To Come 5:12
4. The Will To Kill 5:09
5. I’m The Man Who Became God 6:39
6. Voorhees II 3:31
7. Reanimated 5:14
8. Into Darkness 5:11

Band members
Chris – vocals, guitars
Sébastien “Seb” Valbrecq – lead guitars
Fred – bass
Will – drums

Album Review – Prismeria / Requiem (2020)

Behold the rise of one of the most promising acts of the current French underground scene armed with their new album of undisputed Deathcore.

Forged in the fires of Lyon, France in 2017, Thrash/Deathcore outfit Prismeria is back in action with their first full-length album Requiem, following up on the very positive feedback received for their debut effort, the 2018 EP Lost Individual Thoughts. Bringing forth a fusion of the different influences of each one of its five members, ranging from Thrash and Death Metal to more modern sounds such as Deathcore, the band comprised of frontman Cyril Weinbrenner, guitarists Benjamin Lamy and Leny Garcia, bassist Alexandre Gros and drummer Nicolas Voydeville put a lot of effort and heart into the creation of Requiem, resulting in nine original and electrifying songs that perfectly represent all the modernity and rage proposed by the band. Produced by Convulsound Productions, Requiem also showcases a crystal clear sound quality which enhances the band’s punch considerably, again proving why they’ve been recruited for so many gigs throughout France since their inception, including opening for renowned acts like Nervosa and Nervecell.

The opening track North is frantic and furious form the very first second, or in other words, a thrashing Deathcore tune where Cyril begins his growling attack accompanied by the bestial beats by Nicolas, resulting in an amazing welcome card by the quintet to newcomers to their metal realm. Then we have Native Spirit and its rebellious lyrics (“Bang your fucking head / The battalion of mad / Crossing the swamp of the fetish / Bringing the cornerstone from the underground / The shrine of their incarnate God, was set… to become”), while Benjamin and Leny bring forward a mix of insanity, melody and industrialized sound through their wicked guitars, followed by The Ceremony, a headbanging, galloping tune by Prismeria where Alexandre adds thunder and groove to the musicality with his metallic bass while Cyril keeps barking and growling like a beast.

Blending their Deathcore essence with Progressive and Groove Metal the band fires the high-octane and violent Irkalla, with its razor-edged guitar riffs walking hand in hand with Nicolas’ blast beats and fills in a lesson in modern metal music; whereas Life is an instrumental extravaganza where the band accelerates the speed and invites us all to slam into the pit together with them, showcasing classic, incendiary riffs that live up to the legacy of Metalcore and also reminding me of the sonority blasted by Danish act Xenoblight. And Nicolas kicks things off in the high-speed Passenger with his insane drums before Benjamin and Leny come crushing our heads with their sick guitars, also presenting groovy passage where we have the pleasure of listening to the band uncompromisingly jamming, while Cyril darkly vociferates the song’s cryptic words (“Born in the nuclear explosion / Raised as nothing from the nothing / Your time here is just a perception / Stand up right now and act like a king”).

Deep Into Dementia sounds and feels like a ritualistic call to arms by Prismeria, displaying a scorching riffage by the band’s guitar duo and of course endless aggressiveness flowing from Cyril’s demented roars in an awesome feast of Metalcore infused with Thrash Metal nuances. After such demolishing song it’s time for Low Hopes of Men, a serene instrumental bridge featuring crisp acoustic guitars setting the stage for The Groovy Snake, even more progressive than its predecessors with both Benjamin and Leny firing sheer dementia through their riffs while Nicolas’ beats bring forward a huge amount of intricacy, ending the album on a dense and visceral way just the way we like it in Thrash, Death and Metalcore.

You can take a full and very detailed listen at Requiem on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to those French metallers and to properly bang your head to their modern and vibrant Deathcore you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp or Big Cartel, as well as from Amazon. In addition, keep up to date with all things Prismeria by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by subscribing to their official YouTube channel, witnessing the rise of one of the most promising acts of the current French underground scene, and with Requiem being another solid step forward in their musical journey.

Best moments of the album: North, Irkalla and Passenger.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. North 4:58
2. Native Spirit 3:19
3. The Ceremony 3:13
4. Irkalla 3:09
5. Life (Instrumental) 3:46
6. Passenger 4:38
7. Deep Into Dementia 3:32
8. Low Hopes of Men (Instrumental) 4:16
9. The Groovy Snake 4:12

Band members
Cyril Weinbrenner – vocals
Benjamin Lamy – guitars
Leny Garcia – guitars
Alexandre Gros – bass
Nicolas Voydeville – drums

Album Review – [P.U.T] / We Are [Br]others (2019)

An amalgamation of sludge, industrial and punk noises at their finest, brought forth by three brothers who have been delivering first-class music for over 20 years.

Blasting our eras with a raw and dirty fusion of Industrial and Sludge Metal since 1998, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France-based brothers Loïc Beyet (guitar, voice, programming), Lionel Beyet (bass, programming, voice) and Nicolas Beyet (guitar, voice), collectively known as Industrial Sludge Noise beast [P.U.T], are unleashing upon humanity their sixth full-length opus entitled We Are [Br]others, highly recommended for fans of the noisy music by acts like Sonic Youth, Killing Joke, Godflesh and Neurosis, among several others. Self-recorded between Paris and Brussels, mixed by Loïc at garlic.lab between November 2017 and May 2018, mastered by Alexandre Vitrac, an ex-[P.U.T] member, at Studio CBE in June 2018, and featuring a classy and obscure artwork by French artist Alexis Horellou, We Are [Br]others is the first [P.U.T] album to feature the three Beyet Brothers in the lineup, offering the listener the band’s trademark amalgamation of machine sounds, guitars, noise, sludge, industrial and punk at their finest, overflowing madness, heaviness and anger over the span of 50 minutes.

Their first onrush of distorted sounds, titled In Control, is a metallic fusion of the Industrial Metal played by bands like Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails with the sluggish and “polluted” riffs from classic Sludge Metal where the Beyet Brothers vociferate from the depths of the underworld, and with Lionel also delivering some powerful jabs from his bass. Following such eerie start we have Nothing, even more disruptive and grim than the opening track, a perfect option to be part of the soundtrack to a psychological thriller. Moreover, its guitars sound as raw and venomous as they can be, bringing all the heaviness and madness found in the music by the iconic Ministry, for example. Then putting the pedal to the metal [P.U.T] offer a high-octane mix of modern-day Rock N’ Roll with classic Industrial Metal titled In Conflict, where Loïc and Nicolas are in absolute sync with their riffs while all background voices and sound effects add a touch of lunacy to the music; and the roaring bass lines by Lionel ignite the dark and devilish Down, showcasing pugnacious gnarls and steady, fierce beats that live up to the legacy of Sludge and Stoner Metal the likes of Down (and I dare to say this is not a coincidence at all), all embraced and spiced up by additional orchestral elements. Closing the first half of the album, Opressed is perhaps the most electronic and weird of all tracks, presenting elements from contemporary Electronic Pop and Rock à la Daft Punk and Kraftwerk such as robotic voices and a dancing rhythm, all without forgetting the fury of rock music flowing from its guitars.

I Am Here is a cinematic and very experimental track by [P.U.T], with its wicked noises and futuristic atmosphere invading our senses before the disruptive Angry comes crushing, and that’s exactly how they sound, firing crude, unfiltered riffs from their flammable guitars and grunting rabidly nonstop. Furthermore, this is another interesting hybrid of the vicious music by acts like Ministry and Rob Zombie with the band’s own demented twist. And sounding like unstoppable machines from an assembly line, the trio delivers another vicious song entitled Possesed, where once again the guitars by Loïc and  Nicolas exhale rage while the low-tuned bass lines by Lionel bring even more insanity to their music; it just goes on for a little too long, though, but nothing that hurts the overall quality of the album.  In Not Your Dog the brothers are back to a more rockin’ sonority, bringing forward their trademark raspy vocals and visceral riffs and leaning towards old school Sludge Metal with a doom-ish vibe, offering the listener some piercing guitar solos as a “bonus”, whereas their coup de grâce comes in the form of a neck-breaking, eccentric creation titled Pain, with the sound of guitars being boosted by Lionel’s menacing bass in a good balance between mechanized, ethereal sounds and sheer aggression, flowing wickedly until its Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, [P.U.T] (or the Beyet Brothers, if you prefer) worked as hard an united as the family they are in We Are [Br]others, generating a must-have album for admirers of this more eccentric and experimental side of alternative music commonly referred to as Industrial Sludge Noise. Hence, if all their noises and distortions are your cup of tea, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook, and buy your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page or from the Cursed Monk Records’ BandCamp page. Much more than just regular brothers, Loïc, Lionel and Nicolas are extremely talented musicians, channeling all their energy and creativity into a very entertaining rock and electronic party, and therefore keeping underground alternative music relevant, vibrant and fresh.

Best moments of the album: Nothing, In Conflict and Angry.

Worst moments of the album: Possesed.

Released in 2019 Cursed Monk Records

Track listing
1. In Control 6:10
2. Nothing 3:15
3. In Conflict 3:15
4. Down 4:27
5. Opressed 5:41
6. I Am Here 2:53
7. Angry 6:04
8. Possesed 7:20
9. Not Your Dog 4:32
10. Pain 6:58

Band members
Loïc Beyet – guitar, voice, programming
Lionel Beyet – bass, programming, voice
Nicolas Beyet – guitar, voice

Album Review – Dreams of the Drowned / Dreams of the Drowned I (2019)

Take a deep dive into the first full-length album by an Avantgarde Black Metal one-man band from France, representing years of wandering in a necromantic attempt to keep the fire of some long-time missing aesthetics burning.

Created in 2007 in Évreux, a commune in and the capital of the department of Eure, in the French region of Normandy, by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Camille (from Smohalla and Stagnant Waters), Avantgarde Black Metal one-man band Dreams of the Drowned is finally releasing its debut full-length album, entitled Dreams of the Drowned I, a decade after the band’s 2018 debut demo and the 2019 EP Thanatotropic Principle. A mixture of Experimental Black Metal and anarchist European witchcraft, the music by Dreams of the Drowned is highly inspired by bands such as Ved Buens Ende, Killing Joke, Emperor, Blind Idiot God and Amebix, with Dreams of the Drowned I representing years of wandering in a necromantic attempt to keep the fire of some long-time missing aesthetics burning, dealing with obscure topics such as atypical mental states, the feeling of loss, the forest, and the will to reclaim long-gone connections and power from within.

Ominous, atmospheric sounds emerge from the crypts of Hades in the instrumental piece Dream I, setting the tone for the hypnotizing Conciliabules, where Camille beings extracting Stygian notes from his guitar and bass while his vocal lines couldn’t sound more avantgarde and grim, resulting in a sonic onrush of modern and thrilling sounds and tones that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. The Revolutionary Dead is even more atmospheric and eccentric than its predecessor, with Camille going full Black Metal on vocals, roaring and gnarling deeply and rabidly, accompanied by the nonstop rumbling sounds coming from all instruments.

In Real and Sound, the main riff feels like a modern and obscure version of Judas Priest’s classic “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”, sounding very experimental and not as Black Metal as the other songs, all boosted by its wicked lyrics (“Longtime buried, my inner worlds without ends / Real enough, as long as I feed them / Reconstruct through invisible, through immanence / Where seems there’s none, I’ll grow as many senses as I can / Swarms of wounders? Crutches of faith / I’ll wash my time of those void-filled taints which prevents it to be / Let the wanderers see what they chose to see / The wounded put the S back to their realities”), whereas in Vieilles Pierres our talented multi-instrumentalist Camille slows things down a bit and sounds as mournful and eerie as possible, delivering another solid fusion of Atmospheric Black Metal with more avantgarde nuances and ending in an ethereal way before he comes crushing with the pulverizing Avantgarde Black Metal hymn Crawl of Concretes,  with the poetic words flowing from his vocals exhaling madness, despair and rage (“Oh precious trees and smells, priceless paths / Sceneries of inner legends… / I knew it alive, I knew it lived in these green brown darknesses / Felt it swarming with earth magick, felt it thrive in harmonies”).

In the somber Danced there isn’t a single second of peace or hope for our minds, it’s just an avalanche of darkened sounds blasted by Camille in the form of Avantgarde Black Metal infused with hints of progressiveness, with a classic Black Metal aura generated by the song’s unstoppable blast beats. Furthermore, madness just keeps growing in intensity until the song’s slashing finale, setting the stage for Dreams of the Drowned’s cover version for the song Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne, originally released by Norwegian Avantgarde Black Metal entity Dodheimsgard in their 1995 album Kronet Til Konge (take a listen at the original version HERE). Featuring Norwegian musician Aldrahn (from The Deathtrip, Thorns and Urarv) on vocals, who’s by the way the song’s original inceptor, this is indeed a sensational version by Dreams of the Drowned, maintaining the song’s primeval core essence intact while at the same time adding his own devilish twist, with the guitars sounding truly mesmerizing. And in order to give a proper conclusion to the album and beautifully close the circle, Camille offers the phantasmagorical instrumental outro Dream III, showcasing strident guitars and low-tuned bass that will pierce your skull ruthlessly.

In summary, although Avantgarde Black Metal might not be considered an easy listen to the average fan of rock and metal music, Dreams of the Drowned I ends up being a recommended album for newcomers to the cryptic and eccentric sounds of the genre, partially thanks to the above average production of the album, making its overall sound a lot clearer and sharp than several similar bands and albums, but mainly due to the undisputed creativity and dexterity presented by Camille in each and every song. Hence, don’t forget to pay Camille a visit on Facebook, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and if the music found in Dreams of the Drowned I truly soothes your soul and captivates your thoughts, you can purchase the album from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Duplicate Records’ BandCamp page. Because, in the end, by showing your utmost support now to Camille and his Dreams of the Drowned, I’m pretty sure he won’t take another ten years to provide our avid ears more of his dark and enthralling music.

Best moments of the album: The Revolutionary Dead and Crawl of Concretes.

Worst moments of the album: Vieilles Pierres.

Released in 2019 Drowned Anthems Records/Cult Of Nine Records

Track listing
1. Dream I (Instrumental) 3:05
2. Conciliabules 6:32
3. The Revolutionary Dead 5:47
4. Real and Sound 6:28
5. Vieilles Pierres 6:48
6. Crawl of Concretes 6:57
7. Danced 9:22
8. Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne (Dodheimsgard cover) 8:43
9. Dream III (Instrumental) 3:08

Band members
Camille – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, synths

Guest musician
Aldrahn – vocals on “Midnattskogens Sorte Kjerne”

Album Review – Aephanemer / Prokopton (2019)

Blending the fury and harmony of Scandinavian metal with symphonic elements, here comes a French Melodic Death Metal unity ready to show the world what they got with their sophomore album.

If you’re a fan of modern-day Melodic Death Metal the likes of Arch Enemy, The Agonist, In Flames and Soilwork, I’m sure you’ll love the music found in Prokopton, the sophomore full-length album by French metallers Aephanemer. Blending the fury and harmony of the traditional Scandinavian sound from the Gothenburg scene with several distinct symphonic and epic elements, this talented French four-piece army will captivate your senses with the potency, speed and intricacy found in each one of the eight tracks of their brand new opus, positioning them as one of the most interesting and promising names not only of the current metal scene in their homeland France, but anywhere else in the world where the modernity and specially the intensity of Melodic Death Metal are truly appreciated.

Formed in 2013 in Toulouse, capital of France’s southern Occitanie region, as a one-man band by guitarist Martin Hamiche to release six instrumental pieces inspired by his Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal heroes (with the 2014 EP Know Thyself being forged of those six songs), Aephanemer, which is the merger of the French words “éphémère” (ephemeral) and “fânée” (folded), have been making a name for themselves since becoming a full-bodied group in 2015 when vocalist and guitarist Marion Bascoul, bassist Anthony Delmas (replaced by Lucie Woaye Hune in 2017) and drummer Mickaël Bonnevialle joined Martin in his quest for heavy music. Featuring a classy artwork by Niklas Sundin (Cabin Fever Media), mixed by Dan Swanö (Unisound AB) and mastered by Mika Jussila (Finnvox Studios), Prokopton is an amalgamation of everything the band stands for and what we can expect from them in the future, sounding as exciting as it can be from start to finish.

An epic, Arch Enemy-inspired intro morphs into a more symphonic version of Melodic Death Metal led by Martin’s razor-edged riffs and Marion’s demonic roars in the title-track Prokopton, flowing flawlessly like an arrow high in the sky until its grand finale; whereas  background orchestrations set the tone for the also inspiring The Sovereign, where Mickaël dictates the rhythm with his precise beats while Marion, Martin and Lucie offer the listener a feast of flammable sounds. Epicness keeps flowing from their music in Dissonance Within, another dense, multi-layered composition bringing the best elements from Symphonic and Melodic Death Metal where Marion growls its rebellious lyrics like a she-demon (“Time to fight, no backing down / For I will have no rest until my skill prevails / Disembodied, a whistling sound / The singing of my blade ravages the plain”), and flirting with Symphonic Black Metal at times, Snowblind is a fun headbanging extravaganza with highlights to the pounding drums by Mickaël and another thunderous performance by Marion on vocals, not to mention the song’s majestic atmosphere.

At Eternity’s Gate is an instrumental bridge the likes of Gamma Ray and Arch Enemy that sets the stage for the thrilling Back Again, perfect for slamming into the pit and enjoying a cold pint of beer while the quartet crushes our heads with their instruments, with the band’s stringed trio being in absolute (and totally awesome) sync. In the very progressive, intricate and exciting Bloodline, Marion takes the lead with her Black Metal-like gnarls while the rest of the crew doesn’t let the electricity go down, firing stunning guitar riffs and solos, thunderous bass punches and smashing beats. And last but not least, in the dark and imposing If I Should Die poetry flows majestically form its lyrics (“Maybe it is going to take me nowhere / But I reckon not having to go anywhere / I don’t keep any illusion to hold dear / I just need to be ready to disappear / Void comes from the self alone / Fear from what we believe we own / Stoics across time give an advice / May death be daily before our eyes”) while all band members showcase their refined skills, resulting in a hybrid of a metal opera with the devastation of extreme music.

In a nutshell, Aephanemer are ready to take you on a fun and thrilling music journey through the realms of contemporary Melodic Death Metal with Prokopton, and all you have to do to join them is following the band on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously purchase their new album directly from their BandCamp page or from iTunes or Amazon, where by the way the album comes with instrumental versions for each and every song as a beyond special bonus from the band to you. Mr. Martin Hamiche had a dream when he started Aephanemer, and now based on the high quality of the music found in Prokopton we can say without a shadow of a doubt that dreams not only do come true, but sometimes they also kick some serious ass for our total delectation.

Best moments of the album: The Sovereign, Dissonance Within and Bloodline.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Primeval Records

Track listing
1. Prokopton 5:13
2. The Sovereign 5:17
3. Dissonance Within 6:12
4. Snowblind 4:24
5. At Eternity’s Gate 2:55
6. Back Again 5:50
7. Bloodline 5:29
8. If I Should Die 9:08

Band members
Marion Bascoul – vocals, rhythm guitar
Martin Hamiche – lead guitar
Lucie Woaye-Hune – bass
Mickaël Bonnevialle – drums

Album Review – Garden of Sinners / Truthsayers (2018)

A classic metal album where sci-fi meets reality and where reality crosses the darkest theories of world domination, courtesy of a newcomer French act that loves traditional Heavy and Power Metal from the bottom of their hearts.

Formed in 2013 under a different name by guitarists Lizee Bauwens and Thierry Villard in La Rochelle, a coastal city in southwestern France, Heavy Metal warriors Garden of Sinners (whose name was by the way inspired by the beyond fantastic song “Gardens Of The Sinner”, by German Power Metal masters Gamma Ray) are releasing now in 2018 their debut full-length album entitled Truthsayers, a must-have for fans of renowned acts such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Halloween and Gamma Ray, who are always in pursuit of new bands from the independent scene who can be considered a nice “alternative” to those bigger names. Put differently, we all know those iconic bands we love so much cannot last forever, and those five French metallers are among us to keep the fires of traditional Heavy Metal burning bright and to proudly carry that flag as high as the sun wherever they go.

After a couple of years of writing new material and playing a few festivals and concerts, Garden of Sinners finally reached a stable lineup in 2018 with the arrivals of lead singer Guy Boutet and drummer Edgar Decrolière, who together with Lizee, Thierry and bassist Max Descubes are ready to take the world of heavy music by storm with their honest and electrifying heavy music. Featuring a stylish artwork by JP Fournier Illustration (Avantasia, Edguy), Truthsayers is a classic metal album where sci-fi meets reality, and where reality crosses the darkest theories of world domination, therefore bringing an extra dosage of epicness to each one of the 11 flammable tracks of the album and making the experience of listening to the music by Garden of Sinners much more fun than your regular metal album.

In the opening track Downfall the band starts firing sheer Power Metal in less than a second to your metallic ears, with Guy delivering high-pitched, tuneful vocal lines the likes of André Mattos, Tobias Sammet and Michael Kiske, while the “co-ed” guitar duo Lizee and Thierry brings tons of adrenaline to the music with their riffs and solos. Then we have the title-track Truthsayers, a mid-tempo, classic Heavy Metal tune led by the rhythmic beats by Edgar where once again Guy has an amazing vocal performance, boosting the song’s impact; and In Flames, another old school Heavy Metal hymn that will please fans of renowned German bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Edguy and so on, with the band’s stringed trio being in absolute sync, speeding up their pace and delivering thunderous and sharp riffs and punches from start to finish.

In the excellent New Dimension, an inspiring intro morphs into another fast and straight-to-the-face sonority, showcasing a great job done by Thierry and Lizee with their riffs and solos, as well as Edgar and his steady and powerful drums, with the music flowing powerfully until its gripping conclusion; whereas in Deliverance the quintet adds subtle hints of the classic Hard Rock by Van Halen into their Power Metal, but of course with their more galloping, epic vein taking the lead while Guy nicely tells the story proposed through his potent singing. Sounding like a hybrid between Gamma Ray and Helloween from their Walls of Jericho album, Savage is a highly recommended song for heading into the battlefield or simply savoring a beer while raising your fists and singing along with the band, with its second half being a fun Power Metal sonic masturbation, and drinking from the fountain of modern-day European Power Metal the band offers another fast-paced, electrifying tune entitled Inside The Mirror, with the awesome shredding delivered by the band’s guitar duo and the precision with which Edgar pounds his drums being the metallic catalysts of awesomeness found throughout the entire song.

Ignition is a classic and inspiring song perfect for hitting the highway, with Guy sounding fantastic on vocals while his bandmates blast the purest metal waves you can think of, creating an upbeat atmosphere for lovers of the genre and setting the stage for the also electrifying In This Land, bringing forward an old school sounding spearheaded by the thrilling drums by Edgar and the rumbling bass by Max, with Thierry and Lizee once again slashing their strings, keeping the album at a high level of awesomeness. Rise, the second to last Power Metal exhibit by Garden of Sinners, slows things down a bit, becoming a more rhythmic headbanging tune where the whole band is very precise with their instruments, albeit not as fun as the rest of the album, before an instrumental sonic voyage by this talented French act, named The Time Traveler, closes the album by bringing cutting riffs, epic drums, classic breaks and endless electricity, clearly inspired by traditional instrumental pieces by Iron Maiden like “Transylvania” and “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)”.

Do you want to take an invigorating stroll through the Garden of Sinners? If your answer is yes, simply go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on YouTube, listen to Truthsayers in full on Spotify, and obviously buy your copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page or from Amazon. As aforementioned, Garden of Sinners are not here to reinvent the wheel nor revolutionize the world of heavy music, but they do have a very clear and concise goal in mind, and that is to keep playing old school Heavy Metal until the end. And based on how awesome their music sounds in Truthsayers, that end is (fortunately) very far from happening.

Best moments of the album: Downfall, New Dimension and Inside The Mirror.

Worst moments of the album: Rise.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Downfall 4:32
2. Truthsayers 4:13
3. In Flames 5:05
4. New Dimension 5:48
5. Deliverance 5:15
6. Savage 4:26
7. Inside The Mirror 3:24
8. Ignition 4:33
9. In This Land 5:25
10. Rise 4:21
11. The Time Traveler (instrumental) 8:31

Band members
Guy Boutet – vocals
Lizee Bauwens – guitars
Thierry Villard – guitars
Max Descubes – bass
Edgar Decrolière – drums

Album Review – Black Box Warning / Attendre La Mort EP (2018)

A high dosage of Sludge and Doom Metal split in five corrosive tracks recommended for fans of devastatingly heavy, sulfur-smelling tunes, courtesy of an up-and-coming French power trio.

Their medicine is not a syrup. Formed in 2015, French Doom/Sludge Metal band Black Box Warning is here to offer us all a heavy über rhythm section, staggering as a depressive overdose of neuroleptics ready to commit the irreparable to silence the voices in his head, obscure guitar sticks and a black tar singing that graze your brain and you inexorably asphyxiate neurons. Comprised of Kevin Dubois d’Enghien on vocals and guitar, Hervé Bettios on bass and Julien Rousset on drums, this French unity is releasing their debut EP titled Attendre La Mort, or “waiting for death” in English, featuring a dark artwork by Gilles Da Costa and five corrosive and downtrodden tracks highly recommended for fans of devastatingly heavy, sulfur-smelling tunes à la Crowbar, Primitive Man and Old Man Gloom.

It takes the power trio only a few seconds to blast an overdose of heavy, sluggish sounds in the opening track, titled 5 mg, with Kevin firing some deep, obscure growls while Hervé and Julien keep the music dense, menacing and thunderous with their sharp bass lines and beats, respectively. Then faster, more aggressive beats and tones ignite another Sludge and Doom Metal extravaganza by the power trio, this time lowering the dosage and naming it 4 mg, before morphing into that old school sluggish-as-hell Stoner Metal sonority we all love so much. Furthermore, the strident sound of the guitar by Kevin brings a touch of finesse to the music, boosting its impact and taste considerably, with its last part being a frantic fusion of sounds with Julien smashing his drums furiously while Hervé extracts devilish roars from his bass guitar.

1 mg, the lowest dosage of the album, begins in the most traditional Sludge Metal way, flowing smoothly but at the same time violently from start to finish, with highlights to its neck-breaking rhythm led by the intricate beats by Julien; and the distorted bass by Hervé kicks off the most Stygian of all tracks of the EP, 2 mg, with the beats by Julien getting more intense and vibrant while Kevin slashes his guitar strings mercilessly, generating a rumbling and captivating sonority. And 3 mg, the last track of the EP, brings sheer aggressiveness and heaviness spearheaded by Kevin and his demonic gnarls, resulting in another tune perfect for banging your head nonstop with the band’s stringed duo blasting flammable, metallic lines while Julien once again doesn’t show any mercy for his drums.

In case you want to have an overdose of Black Box Warning, you can enjoy all 15 mg of the corrosive Sludge and Doom Metal found in Attendre La Mort at once on YouTube or on Spotify, and purchase your copy of the album from their official BandCamp page, as well as from several other locations. In addition, you can also keep an eye on all things Black Box Warning by following them on Facebook, on YouTube and on SoundCloud, and never miss your necessary dosage of crushing riffs and aggressive roars thanks to this talented power trio of Sludge Metal doctors.

Best moments of the album: 4 mg.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. 5 mg 3:37
2. 4 mg 5:54
3. 1 mg 4:28
4. 2 mg 5:47
5. 3 mg 3:26

Band members
Kevin Dubois d’Enghien – vocals, guitar
Hervé Bettios – bass
Julien Rousset – drums

Album Review – Ophe / Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude (2018)

An avantgarde and experimental album of Black Metal infused with dark atmospheres and nuances, meticulously put together by a one-man army hailing from France.

Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude, or “letter to the sad comfort of solitude” from Latin, is not only the brand new album by French Avantgarde Black Metal one-man army Ophe, but also a very avantgardish and experimental piece of Black Metal fixing without any doubt a new limit to the borders of a sound that is a personal mix of Extreme Metal, avantgarde music and dark atmospheres. Recorded and mixed by Edgard Chevallier at Lower Tones Place Studio, and featuring a glamorous artwork painted by the talented French artist Jeff Grimal, Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude will bring an obscure joy to the hearts of fans of the music by bands such as Fleurety, Blut Aus Nord, Manes, Anorexia Nervosa and Aevangelist.

Formed in 2015 in Châtillon, a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, by multi-instrumentalist Bargnatt XIX, better known for being the voice and guitar for French Avantgarde project Område, Ophe will certainly crush your senses throughout the 36 minutes of distorted passages, wicked noises and eerie gnarls in Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude, with the sonic extravaganza crafted by Bargnatt XIX being beautifully complemented by the saxophone schizophrenia delivered by guest musician Val Dorr (of Aevangelist). In other words, open your mind, let the music by Ophe penetrate deep inside your soul, and the way you view extreme music will never be the same again.

In the opening track, titled Somnum Sempiternum (which means “everlasting sleep” or ‘eternal sleep” from Latin), Bargnatt XIX begins firing Stygian riffs and blast beats together with his hellish gnarls in a vibrant and classy display of Atmospheric Black Metal, with the music getting darker, more fiendish and more demented as time goes by. Furthermore, the wicked saxophone sounds by Val Dorr add a touch of lunacy to the overall result, making the whole song even more delightful. Then we have Decem Vicibus (or “ten times” from Latin), a very obscure composition with the spoken words by Bargnatt XIX sounding smooth but perturbing at the same time, not evolving to any regular type of music you might be accustomed to. Well, that’s the beauty of Ambient Black Metal, as the creepiest sounds can become high-quality music just like that. And medieval, somber background noises set fire to an uncanny creation by Ophe named in XVIIII, with the sax by Val Dorr sounding even more disturbing than before, while Bargnatt XIX’s deep, enraged roars match perfectly with the hypnotizing heavy sounds emanating from all other instruments, in special the delicate and electrified guitar riffs and solos.

Missive Amphibologique D’Une Adynamie A La Solitude, a long and stylish song name that means “amphibological missive of an adynamy to loneliness” from French, is an 11-minute phantasmagoric aria that can easily be used as the soundtrack to your darkest nights, with its blast beats and ferocious growls bringing total chaos to our souls. And the song’s intense insanity goes on and on, with no sign of happiness or joy, courtesy of Bargnatt XIX and Val Dorr who generate a wall of strained, striking and grim sounds and tones in what can be considered a “controlled chaos”. Lastly, after such grandiose havoc it’s time to slow things down in Cadent, where Bargnatt XIX soothes our souls with his semi-acoustic lines embraced by an apocalyptic background to give it a beyond atmospheric vibe, closing the experimental journey by our skillful one-man army in a beautiful way.

In case you want to join the eccentric world of Bargnatt XIX and his Ophe, you can visit the project’s Facebook page for more details about such distinct endeavor, listen to Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude on Spotify, and purchase the album from Ophe’s own BandCamp page, from My Kingdom Music’s Big Cartel page, from the Season of Mist webstore, and from the JPC webstore, as well as from your regular retailers iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. And if this enticing album is Bargnatt XIX’s personal letter to the sad comfort of solitude, I can’t wait to see who or what he’s going to write a letter to next.

Best moments of the album: Somnum Sempiternum and XVIIII.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 My Kingdom Music

Track listing
1. Somnum Sempiternum 8:38
2. Decem Vicibus 4:33
3. XVIIII 5:45
4. Missive Amphibologique D’Une Adynamie A La Solitude 10:40
5. Cadent 5:16

Band members
Bargnatt XIX – vocals, all instruments, programming

Guest musician
Val Dorr – saxophone