Album Review – Atomçk / Every Room In Britain (2017)

A 17-minute nonstop head crusher of cacophonous chaos, furious, catchy riffs and inhumanly ape-like shrieking vocals. That’s how good primeval Grindcore should always sound.

When the total running time of an album with 21 songs is only around 17 minutes, you know those 17 minutes will be as intense as hell. Founded in 2006 in Bristol, a city and county in South West England, Grindcore/Hardcore Punk trio Atomçk has evolved from their primitive noise roots into a uniquely eccentric and offbeat brand of Grindcore, culminating now in 2017 with the release of the full-length album Every Room In Britain, a nonstop head crusher of cacophonous chaos, furious, catchy riffs and inhumanly ape-like shrieking vocals, as if Cornelius, the son of Caesar from Planet of the Apes, decided to rebel against his father in his teens to form a Hardcore band.

Most probably the shortest intro of all time, the quick sonic havoc Rot Induction wakes our inner monsters up for the boisterous one-minute tunes Full Of Sell and Fuck Off Back To London, both presenting a solid Grindcore devastation with brutality flowing from all instruments. Furthermore, just try to follow the lyrics of the latter with the band (“Graffiti tours / Fuck off back to London / Moustache barbers / Fuck off back to London / Bad film clubs / Fuck off back to London / Cultural erosion / Fuck off back to London now”). In Back Office Savings we have the ultimate shrieking and slamming feast, courtesy of the demented “apes” Linus, Luke and Carl, and then you might wonder how they could possibly sound more violent than this in less than a minute, right? Well, their answer comes in the form of the songs Preston Slayer Fans and Young Professionals. And when you least expect, you’ll begin to deeply enjoy their primate-inspired screeches.

Every Room sounds slightly more rhythmic than its predecessors, but still insanely brutal, with its demonic guitars going along really well with their demented gnarls; followed by the incomprehensible, anarchic chant titled Community Payback, the thunderous bass lines of the “bridge” Bare Minimum Customer Service, and the amazingly violent, fast-paced tempest named Robot Cannibal. What about those lyrics, can you follow them (“What to do / I’m not sure / Might as well / Kill something / Didn’t work / The last time / Never mind / We have to / Do something / Someone must / Be murdered / Blind idiot god / Demands meat”)? Or should I ask if you’re still alive after so much savagery?

Misery Trance presents menacing low-tuned sounds accompanied by their trademark monkey-frog-hybrid screams, while in Waiting For Junko they speed up their pace and offer more of their Grindcore dementia. And the slamming party goes on with Two Grand Bro and Glass Floor, showcasing Mike Patton/Barney Greenway-inspired vocals in a turbulent manner, which is also the case in the demented Pro Area 1. Then after four seconds of noises in Micro Aggressions we’re treated to Self Defeater, with its fun lyrics (“No tolerance / For dogma / But be careful / With the use / Of language / Or thou shalt / Be cast out”) and deranged drumming. In Purged the trio proves why they’re the masters of sick Grindcore, destroying everything and everyone that crosses their path in less than one minute, whereas Another Nails In The Coffins brings forward more of their insane Mike Patton-ish vocals. How can Linus screech like that during their live concerts? That should be an interesting event to watch. Anyway, there are still two more minutes of pure aggression and wicked growling in Every Room In Britain, starting with Fastard and followed by Anguish Champion, closing this berserk and totally crazed album on a high note.

Portraying an elegant artwork by Luke Oram, Every Room In Britain can be relished in full on Spotify and purchased at several different locations such as the SuperFi Records BandCamp or webstore, the WOOAAARGH! Records BandCamp or webstore, and the Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records BandCamp or Big Cartel, as well as on iTunes, on Amazon, at the Boomkat webstore or at Discogs. It definitely feels like there are more places where you can buy the album than minutes of music in it, don’t you agree? Now please get up from that couch, stretch your muscles and get ready to jump up and down and slam like an ape to the hurricane of extreme sounds blasted by Atomçk, because that’s what entertaining high-end Grindcore is all about.

Best moments of the album: Fuck Off Back To London, Preston Slayer Fans, Robot Cannibal and Waiting For Junko.

Worst moments of the album: Misery Trance and Bare Minimum Customer Service.

Released in 2017 SuperFi Records

Track listing
1. Rot Induction 0:04
2. Full Of Sell 0:54
3. Fuck Off Back To London 1:07
4. Back Office Savings 0:49
5. Preston Slayer Fans 0:46
6. Young Professionals 0:53
7. Every Room 0:51
8. Community Payback 0:34
9. Bare Minimum Customer Service 0:09
10. Robot Cannibal 1:48
11. Misery Trance 0:55
12. Waiting For Junko 0:55
13. Two Grand Bro 0:55
14. Glass Floor 0:38
15. Pro Area 1:01
16. Micro Aggressions 0:04
17. Self Defeater 0:38
18. Purged 0:56
19. Another Nails In The Coffins 0:53
20. Fastard 0:42
21. Anguish Champion 1:11

Band members
Linus – vocals, machines
Luke – guitars
Karl – drums

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Album Review – Carcass / Heartwork (1993)

Wake up and listen to this Melodic Death Metal wonder.

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carcass_heartworkWhen a band or artist changes their musical direction towards something more commercial or mainstream, in order to become more famous and consequently make more money without worrying about their morality or principles, their old diehard fans start calling them a sellout. We have seen this type of thing happening hundreds of times with different bands from a wide range of musical styles, especially in Heavy Metal which always tends to be a more conservative genre than any other. Who doesn’t remember all the negative reaction of the fans and the specialized media to Metallica’s Load or Judas Priest’s Turbo? However, sometimes this change is for better, and that’s exactly what happened to Liverpool’s Extreme Metal masters Carcass when they “abandoned” their old Splatter/Grindcore to show the world a more polished material with the album Heartwork, released in 1993, becoming the pioneers of what we call today as Melodic Death Metal.

Although Heartwork was considered a radical change by lots of their old fans, and as I mentioned before a sellout by many, the album is far from sounding commercial or any shit like that. This is a milestone in the world of extreme music, quickly becoming the source of inspiration for hundreds of bands all over the world due to the quality and complexity of its music. The first track, Buried Dreams, already shows a much “cleaner” Carcass than ever before, but it’s still very extreme and violent. That new Carcass, a lot more melodic, offer us then Carnal Forge, which is pure Melodic Death Metal with amazing vocals, especially the initial scream, and beautiful solos by both Bill Steer and Michael Amott.

Can we call the unique No Love Lost a Melodic Death Metal ballad? This song is a classic with its perfect riffs and lyrics (“Without emotion you heartstring’s played / Strummed and severed to the tune of a tragic serenade”), and as one of the album’s singles it got a pretty cool video too. Then comes the best song of all, the title-track Heartwork,  a heavy music masterpiece with incredibly fast riffs, awesome solos, an addictive chorus (“A canvas to paint, to degenerate / Dark reflections – degeneration / A canvas to paint, to denigrate / Dark reflections, of dark foul light”), and Jeff Walker being absolutely fantastic on vocals, sounding like an (extremely) evil version of Dave Mustaine. This is a Death Metal anthem with flawless synchronicity of all band members, and a mandatory track in any music selection for a heavy workout at the gym.

carcassAfter an impeccable start, the album loses a little momentum with Embodiment, which is not as amazing as all previous tracks. Moreover, this song reminds me a lot of what Arch Enemy do today, clearly due to Michael Amott’s influence, but not as cohesive. This Mortal Coil is an excellent song with awesome guitars, making it one of the best in the album and a great song for any live performances. The next song is fantastic too, albeit it has a very weird name: Arbeit Macht Fleisch is a derivation of “arbeit macht frei”, the famous German phrase found over the main gates of many Nazi concentration camps during World War II (including Auschwitz I) that means “work makes (you) free”. In this case, the meaning would be “work makes (you) meat”, a more suitable expression for the gruesome heavy music played by Carcass.

The last part of Heartwork begins with Blind Bleeding the Blind, a very technical song with lots of groove and electricity, followed by Doctrinal Expletives, which is a more straightforward, traditional metal song. The last track of the album, Death Certificate, has an amazing start and very interesting lyrics, but in my opinion it’s its fast and heavy rhythm what makes it so great. This is the end of an outstanding album, with Bill Steer and Michael Amott kickin’ ass from start to finish (what those two guys did with their guitars together in Heartwork was glorious) and Jeff Walker adding a creepy touch to it with his guttural, raspy voice. In addition, we can see here one of the most extraordinary front covers in the history of heavy music, called “Life Support 1993”, designed by the deceased Swiss artist H. R. Giger.

The band released Swansong in 1996, and 17 years later they got back with the amazing Surgical Steel, in 2013, but Heartwork is still their biggest work so far and something quite impossible to be beaten (and if I were you, I would definitely go for the Full Dynamic Range Edition with its four amazing bonus tracks). Carcass might have changed their musicality, with an almost complete shift in their vocal style and more diversity in their music and lyrics, but instead of a sellout they became a reference in Melodic Extreme Metal. If you love truly heavy, violent music with a solid melody in the background and insanely gory words, well, let’s just say that you must “wake up and smell the carcass”.

Best moments of the album: No Love Lost, Heartwork, This Mortal Coil and Arbeit Macht Fleisch.

Worst moments of the album: Embodiment.

Released in 1993 Earache Records

Track listing
1. Buried Dreams 3:58
2. Carnal Forge 3:54
3. No Love Lost 3:22
4. Heartwork 4:33
5. Embodiment 5:36
6. This Mortal Coil 3:49
7. Arbeit Macht Fleisch 4:21
8. Blind Bleeding the Blind 4:57
9. Doctrinal Expletives 3:39
10. Death Certificate 3:38

Full Dynamic Range Edition bonus tracks
11. This Is Your Life 4:09
12. Rot ‘n’ Roll 3:51
13. Carnal Forge (live in Tokyo) 4:25
14. Heartwork (live in Tokyo) 5:01

Band members
Jeff Walker – vocals, bass guitar
Bill Steer – lead guitar
Michael Amott – lead guitar
Ken Owen – drums

Album Review – Lunatic Hooker / Embracing The Filth (2017)

Be embraced by the filthy and crushing Grindcore with a Sludge Metal twist crafted by five British musicians who got together to reignite their inner fire and passion for extreme music.

The music business can be spirit crushing and soul destroying, where bands that start as groups of friends with a passion for music can end up disillusioned, with the flames of their passion near extinguished. This happened to British musicians George (vocals), Ross (guitar), Tim (guitar), Duncan (bass, vocals) and Rafael (drums) in their respective bands, but rather than let those last flickering embers burn out for good, they got together to reignite the fire, forging in 2014 a new evil entity that goes by the name of Lunatic Hooker, blasting a roaring fusion of Grindcore and Sludge Metal perfect for nonstop slamming and headbanging.

After the release of a two-track demo in 2015 and a single with their cover version for Motörhead’s all-time classic (We Are) The Road Crew in 2016, this London-based squad is unleashing upon humanity their debut full-length opus, titled Embracing The Filth. Featuring twelve tracks of unrelenting, punishing and pulverizing Extreme Metal, all enfolded by a captivating artwork by Dan Capp (Winterfylleth) and crackling with that irresistible rediscovered electricity, Embracing The Filth is one of those albums you might not know what you’re dealing with at first, but that you’ll get addicted to as soon as you hit play and let its piercing sounds invade your ears.

Rafael and his doomed beats ignite the sludgy party named My God Is Bigger than Yours (what a clever name for a song), before chaos reigns through the putrid gnarls by George and the dirty and fast riffage by Ross and Tim. Once again uniting Grindcore with Sludge Metal, demonic sounds emanate from all instruments in Beard Feared, in special the blast beats by Rafael and the devilish growling by George, with its brutal slamming rhythm drawing influences from Slayer, Napalm Death and other devastating groups; followed by The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword, another song with a very intelligent name that also presents crushing riffs and beats while George sounds more demonic than ever (and let me say that, if you survive the intense circle pit this song can generate, you’re pretty much immortal), and Unearthed Dead Children, a sonic onslaught of Grindcore bursting heaviness through the cavernous growls by George and Rafael’s ruthless drumming.

The title-track Embracing the Filth lives up to its name, being a dirty, crude and absolutely vile composition of darkness. Moreover, it feels like the guitars by Ross and Tim are an extension of George’s sick vocals, consequently enhancing the song’s overall impact, with Rafael once again showing no mercy for his drum set. In Blood Eagle we face an eerie start that lasts for almost half of the song before the band gets back to their sick high-speed musicality, with its guitars and drums exhaling sheer Grindcore, whereas Fucks All brings elements from Hardcore and Thrash Metal to their already aggressive sonority. Tim and Ross keep firing some sick dirty riffs to make the whole song more demonic, also presenting Black and Death Metal blast beats thanks to the unwearying Rafael. And the excellent Cult Chaos begins at full speed, reminding me of some of the most visceral creations by Cannibal Corpse, with all instruments sounding extremely sharp from start to finish. Hence, this slamming composition should work really well during their live performances.

In Transformation Walrus, a song inspired by and featuring footage in its official video from Kevin Smith’s 2014 film Tusk, darkness takes control of the band from the very first second, with George leading his crew with his deranged growls, before See the Light, perhaps the most violent of all tracks, showcases deeper guttural vocals by George and the merciless drums by Rafael highly influenced by old school Death Metal. In other words, Lunatic Hooker offer us two and a half minutes of pure brutality, with some harmonious guitar lines and solos to give more balance to the overall result. There are two more songs to go in this demonic opus, starting with Spain in the Neck, another recommended soundtrack for a sick mosh pit where Ross and Tim sound like two beasts with their flammable strings, while Rafael keeps the adrenaline high with his unstoppable beats. And finally, the closing of their awesome casket comes in the form of a 6-minute demented extravaganza named Sarlac, where George reaches the deepest and most obscure growls of the entire album. Slow and steady, almost sounding like Funeral Doom, this composition is very different from all previous tracks, showing the band’s crisp versatility in Extreme Metal.

If you feel more than ready to be embraced by Lunatic Hooker’s filthy and crushing Grindcore with the sluggish twist coming from their Sludge Metal vein, go join their demented crew at their official Facebook page and enjoy more of their cutting music at their YouTube channel. In Embracing The Filth, available at the band’s Big Cartel, at the Black Bow Records’ BandCamp and on Amazon, Lunatic Hooker were extremely successful in concentrating all their passion for extreme music and transform that metallic amalgam into reality, leaving all doors open for another blast of their vicious music anytime soon, and hopefully for many years to come as well.

Best moments of the album: My God Is Bigger than Yours, Embracing the Filth and Cult Chaos.

Worst moments of the album: Blood Eagle.

Released in 2017 Black Bow Records

Track listing
1. My God Is Bigger than Yours 3:16
2. Beard Feared 2:32
3. The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword 3:08
4. Unearthed Dead Children 2:48
5. Embracing the Filth 3:07
6. Blood Eagle 4:13
7. Fucks All 2:46
8. Cult Chaos 3:24
9. Transformation Walrus 3:32
10. See the Light 2:35
11. Spain in the Neck 2:46
12. Sarlac 6:24

Bonus track
13. (We Are) The Road Crew (Motörhead cover) 2:44

Band members
George – vocals
Ross – guitar
Tim – guitar
Duncan – bass, vocals
Rafael – drums

Album Review – Next Bullet / Zero (2017)

Are you ready to thrash to the debut album by a trio of Italian insurgents who take no prisoners in their quest for heavy music?

In case you don’t know what Thrashcore means, let me do a quick introduction to you of this electrifying style of heavy music. Thrashcore, also known as Fastcore, is a fast-tempo subgenre of Hardcore Punk that emerged in the early 1980’s, being often less dissonant and metallic than Grindcore, but still making good usage of blast beats. Thrashcore songs are usually short in duration, with the lyrics typically emphasizing youthful uprising or anti-militarism, being aligned with the skateboarder subculture in many ways. Having said that, are you ready to thrash to Zero, the debut album by a trio of Italian Thrashcore insurgents who together go by the name of Next Bullet?

Formed in 2016 in northeast Italy by members of Groove Metal act Overblood and Deathcore group Awake The Secrets, the trio comprised of Marc1 on vocals, Paske on guitar and bass, and Tom KT on drums takes no prisoners in their quest for heavy music, delivering ten ruthless compositions that exhale rebelliousness with the hardcore attitude of Grindcore, but also presenting the more melodious lines of Metalcore. Zero is already a pretty good album by itself, but if you take into account the fact that it’s just their debut release, I wonder how far those Italian metallers can go in the world of underground heavy music with this new endeavor.

Next Bullet, the track that carries the name of the band, is a precise depiction of what this power trio stands for, locked and loaded with pure heaviness and a hardcore attitude, where Marc1 begins explaining their “mission” through his deep growls while Tom KT sounds like a machine gun on drums. Following that intense start, we have All I Have Earned, a faster and more melodic Thrashcore song with elements from traditional Thrash Metal and Punk Rock, with Marc1 continuing his vocal attack and Paske delivering metallic, sharp riffs perfect for banging our heads nonstop; and Not Allow Them, where the trio keeps hitting us with their hardcore sounds. Moreover, pay attention to the drumming by Tom KT as it’s an interesting blend of the traditional Thrash Metal played by Exodus with the demented beats by old school Punk Rock drummers.

In Antiparasitic they once again unite the aggressiveness of American Hardcore with the melody found in European metal music, resulting in one of my favorite tracks of the album due to its high level of electricity, with all three members being in total sync generating a truly belligerent sonority; whereas in Unrelenting Will, another solid composition that showcases all the band’s anger and defiance, the musicality is led by the guitar lines by Paske while Marc1 bursts his lungs with his sick screams. After an eerie bridge named 2015: Mission Accomplished, we face more of the destructive music by Next Bullet titled Born On The Wrong Side, a mid-tempo, dark composition showing a more visceral side of the band. Not only that, Paske and Tom KT make a great duo with their heavy-as-hell riffs and demonic beats, therefore increasing the song’s punch and taste.

As I hate hashtags from the bottom of my heart, I have to say the furious The New Hashtag puts a smile on my face with its less than two minutes of sheer craziness, in a well-balanced fusion of Thrash Metal, Hardcore and Punk Rock. And bringing a lot of groove to their sonority, Kill The Maniac Pedophile is another short and sweet creation by Next Bullet that overflows rage despite being a bit bland, with its the last part getting a lot more dynamic (which unfortunately doesn’t last as long as it should), before the supersonic Remember! concludes the album in great fashion. The sound of the guitar by Paske is truly exciting, as if he is cutting our flesh with his riffs mercilessly, while Tom KT continues to pound his drums manically and Marc1 gets more and more insane on vocals.

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of what Thrashcore stands for and its purpose in heavy music, you should definitely give a try to Next Bullet and their berserk music by visiting their Facebook page and purchasing your copy of Zero at their BandCamp page. As mentioned before, Zero is a beyond solid debut by this angry power trio, having all the necessary qualities to become a reference in underground Thrashcore and a great source of energy for the band to keep moving forward in their career.

Best moments of the album: Next Bullet, All I Have Earned and Antiparasitic.

Worst moments of the album: Kill The Maniac Pedophile.

Released in 2017 KT Records

Track listing
1. Next Bullet 3:20
2. All I Have Earned 3:20
3. Not Allow Them 2:00
4. Antiparasitic 2:18
5. Unrelenting Will 3:04
6. 2015: Mission Accomplished 0:38
7. Born On The Wrong Side 2:38
8. The New Hashtag 1:30
9. Kill The Maniac Pedophile 1:34
10. Remember! 2:40

Band members
Marc1 – vocals
Paske – guitar, bass
Tom KT – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Elizabeth Schall

elizabeth01

So follow me now, you’re falling behind… Have the will to set free…

It’s time to get really heavy at The Headbanging Moose with a woman that not only kicks some serious ass on guitar, but she manages to channel all her passion for Heavy Metal into her music flawlessly, creating some sick tunes that will definitely put you to bang your head and raise your horns like crazy. Of Chilean descent, here comes the incredible metal shredder Elizabeth Schall, an American singer, songwriter and guitarist mainly known for her work with Winterthrall, Dreaming Dead and The Iron Maidens, among several other bands and projects. If you want to know how badass Elizabeth is, let me tell you that some of her biggest influences in music are Iron Maiden, Slayer and Megadeth. Do I need to say more?

Daughter of Federico and Amanda Renee Schall, Elizabeth had to relocate to Chile after living in California, which despite not being easy for her and her family in the beginning it helped them learn to appreciate what they left behind in the United States, not to mention the enormous benefit for Elizabeth as she became fully bilingual then. In regards to music, our kick-ass guitarist started taking accordion lessons at an early stage of her life, switching to guitar later, saying that if it wasn’t for the accordion lessons maybe she wouldn’t be playing guitar today. Due to her exceptional skills as a guitar player, her commitment to learning the instrument and her passion for Heavy Metal, Elizabeth has become a role model for many young women who want to play guitar and play extreme music.

In regards to her career in metal music, she first came into the scene when she was recruited to join Death Metal band Winterthrall in 2003 as their guitarist and also doing backing vocals, leaving the band two years later. It was in September 2005 that she finally joined The Iron Maidens, right after the departure of guitarist and co-founder Josephine Draven, becoming the female version of Adrian Smith named “Adrianne Smith”. Despite leaving the band one year later, in October 2006, Elizabeth rejoined them in June 2010 in a guest appearance as “Deena Murray”. There’s a full concert of The Iron Maidens with Elizabeth on the guitar on YouTube, recorded on August 25, 2006 at Vinnie’s Bar & Grill in Concord, California, which might not be a high-quality footage but at least you can have a pretty good idea of how awesome she sounds playing all the mighty classics from Iron Maiden.

It was in 2006 when Elizabeth formed the band Manslaughter together with drummer Mike Caffell, recording that same year the EP Through the Eyes of Insanity. Following a brief tour, our raven-haired bombshell and Mike renamed the band to Dreaming Dead, recording the albums Within One in 2009, Midnightmares in 2012, and Funeral Twilight (which will soon be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose) now in 2017. In all three records she was responsible for vocals and guitar, but in Within One our daredevil musician also recorded bass guitar and wrote all lyrics, proving how talented she is and how destined she was to heavy music. If you want to have a good taste of the havoc Elizabeth and Dreaming Dead are capable of generating, you should take a good listen at potent compositions like Midnightmares (you can check the official video for it at the end of this essay), Overlord and Buried.

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There are several other bands and projects where we can find Elizabeth shredding her axe, most of them related to Death Metal with hints of other extreme (and even not-so-extreme) subgenres of heavy music. Since 2013 she has been part of American Death Metal/Grindcore band Cretin, blasting her vicious riffs and solos in songs such as It from their 2014 album Stranger, and since 2014 she’s also been the guitarist for American Death/Thrash/Groove Metal project Dia de los Muertos.  In addition, you can also enjoy Elizabeth on lead guitar on  the song My Secret Things, from the 2012 album Horny Beast by American Heavy Metal/Deathrock band Lover of Sin; her backing vocals on the Cacophony cover Burn the Ground, from the 2008 album Future Addict, by the Progressive Rock/Metal solo project led by renowned guitarist Marty Friedman; and on piano on the 2012 album Results, by American Death Metal/Grindcore band Murder Construct (a side-project of members from Exhumed and Cattle Decapitation). If playing the guitar, the piano and singing is not enough for you, how about her work as a photographer in the 2013 album The Dead Still Dead Remain (a completely re-recorded version of the 2000 full-length The Dead Shall Dead Remain featuring the return of Leon del Muerte), by American Death Metal band Impaled? That’s how skillful our badass Elizabeth is.

Elizabeth, who by the way used to be married to Charles Elliott, lead singer and guitarist for American Death Metal band Abysmal Dawn, cites Swedish musician Peter Tägtgren (Hipocrisy, Pain) and American guitar hero Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Nevermore) among her main influences, as well as renowned acts like Cryptopsy, Metallica, and the aforementioned Megadeth and Slayer. If you want to take a look at how our stunning guitar player deals with her beloved instrument, you can watch this high quality video of Elizabeth setting up and tuning her guitar, where she reviews tools, changing strings, tuning (from B to E standard), action and intonation, or also this other video where she talks about and demos her favorite Fernandes guitar and the Fernandes Sustainer.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this short but humble tribute to the amazing Elizabeth is the list of her favorite guitar riffs published on Decibel Magazine in July 2012, where she commented on the most impactful and meaningful riffs in her life, the ones that helped shape up her style and enhanced her relationship with her instrument. In the article you’ll be able to see exactly which riffs from specific songs she loves the most, blending metal and non-metal acts on her list. Obviously, as this is a Heavy Metal webzine, we need to highlight the presence of unmatched classics like Megadeth’s Tornado of Souls (by the way, she said she’s crazy about all the riffs in this masterpiece), Emperor’s The Tongue Of Fire, Type O Negative’s Love You To Death, and my favorite of all by far, Iron Maiden’s all-time classic Aces High. However, you’ll also find other interesting riffs from non-metal acts on her list, such as Los Prisioneros’ Estrechez de Corazon (80’s Chilean alternative pop) and Soundgarden’s Jesus Christ Pose. Well, there’s of course one of her own riffs on the list, the one from the chorus of the song Overlord by Dreaming Dead, but that’s more than expected when the musician in question is extremely talented and her music kicks some serious ass.

Elizabeth Schall’s Official Facebook page
Elizabeth Schall’s Official Twitter
Elizabeth Schall’s Official YouTube channel
Elizabeth Schall’s Official ReverbNation
Dreaming Dead’s Official Facebook page
Dreaming Dead’s Official Twitter
Dreaming Dead’s Official ReverbNation

“I like to think I live in a world where my gender has nothing to do with what I am capable of doing. You go onto YouTube and see 13-year old girls shredding out on metal songs.” – Elizabeth Schall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best moments of the album: Liberticide and Infanticide.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Sepulchral Silence Records

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

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

Album Review – The Sound That Ends Creation / We Are The Burden (2016)

Get ready for 21 minutes of brutal and technical Grindcore that will crush your spinal cord mercilessly.

Rating5

the sound that ends creation - we are the burdenIf someone asks you to mention a good one-man or one-woman band in Heavy Metal, the first names that will come to your mind probably play raw and obscure Black Metal. I would say that’s the case in nine out of ten projects, but obviously there are also many excellent multi-instrumentalists generating interesting material in other ramifications of heavy music such as Death and Doom Metal, for example. However, I believe this will be the first time you’ll be facing a one-man army blasting a trenchant fusion of Grindcore and Metalcore, two subgenres of heavy music where you’ll usually find regular bands comprised of at least three members. I’m talking about The Sound That Ends Creation, the indomitable creature generated inside the mind of American musician Chris Dearing in which he plays all of guitar and bass, as well as performing vocals and programming drums.

Formed in early 2016 in the city of Allen, Texas, in the United States, The Sound That Ends Creation blends all main styles found in extreme music, those being Death Metal, Black Metal, Mathcore and even Sludge and Stoner Metal, together with the project’s core essence formed of unrelenting Grindcore. The result of that brutal fusion can be seen in We Are The Burden, the debut album by The Sound That Ends Creation that will crush your spinal cord mercilessly in its 21 minutes of uncompromised devastation. Do not expect any sign of happiness or positivity emanating from the music, but only sheer savagery perfect for slamming into the pit as expected from any good Grindcore band.

Chris comes barking like a rabid dog in the opening track, a two-minute technical Grindcore tune named The Complex, also blasting the first wave of heavy riffs and violent beats in We Are The Burden. Moreover, drums sound amazingly organic despite being programmed, which is also the case in Burn the Trees, Burn the Bark, a diabolical mix of Grindcore and Black Metal, with its guitar lines being as sharp as the Death Metal-inspired growls by Chris. It doesn’t matter if the music gets faster than a bullet or as sluggish and somber as traditional Doom Metal, the entire song kicks fuckin’ ass. And the distorted mind of Chris provides the listener another two-minute havoc overflowing anger and hatred entitled A Cyclical Dawn, with highlights to all its tempo changes, which in my opinion means a lot considering the fact this is a relatively short composition.

TSTECLOGOThe Fires Are Growing trespasses the boundaries of heaviness, almost feeling like pure old school Death Metal at times while also sounding extremely progressive, flowing to a lancinating ending before the most intricate composition of the album, Machinations Of Progress, brings forth chaos and harmony at the same time. Highly recommended for fans of complexity and fury in music the likes of old school Carcass, this is the perfect example of how our lone wolf is capable of sounding like many well-established Technical Death Metal bands even being by himself and having no support from any record label. And how about an atmospheric break titled Interlude before Chris’ onslaught returns? You better take that time off to breathe, because what he delivers in A Hollow Pine Box is simply awesome. Not only guitars are superb (as well as all rhythmic beats and breaks), but there’s also room for hints of Pantera and the low-tuned sonority of Stoner Metal, enhancing the song’s impact on the listener.

If you’re still alive after such level of devastation, there’s still more madness in the form of music for you. Pounding his guitar and bass, Chris offers more high-quality Death Metal and Grindcore in less than two minutes titled Bottom Feeders, followed by The Open Eye, where the high-pitched growling by Chris together with his deeper guttural brings more flavor to the overall result. And closing the album with a beautiful message about how cruel and heartless we can all be, Chris presents the extremely technical A Portrait Of Inhumanity, a brutal Death Metal assault with progressive notes where Chris has another visceral performance on vocals.

After listening to such an inspiring album, I suggest you all go get in touch with Chris and his electrified The Sound That Ends Creation at the project’s Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube channel, and if you love the demolishing sound of raw and technical Grindcore you can purchase We Are The Burden at The Sound That Ends Creation’s BandCamp page. Chris’ 21 minutes of ruthless and virulent music are definitely worth the investment, and by buying the album you will also help this talented artist in perpetrating the awesomeness and energy of the independent scene of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Burn the Trees, Burn the Bark, The Fires Are Growing and A Hollow Pine Box.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. The Complex 2:06
2. Burn the Trees, Burn the Bark 2:18
3. A Cyclical Dawn 2:24
4. The Fires Are Growing 2:08
5. Machinations Of Progress 2:10
6. Interlude 1:13
7. A Hollow Pine Box 2:07
8. Bottom Feeders 1:38
9. The Open Eye 1:59
10. A Portrait Of Inhumanity 3:14

Band members
Chris Dearing – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Ape Unit / Turd EP (2015)

Leave five demented Italian apes by themselves for just 10 minutes and what do you get? Total devastation, obviously.

Rating5

Ape Unit_TurdIf you have no idea how impactful the sound of Grindcore can be, you better get ready for an intense sonic earthquake that, despite lasting for only around 10 minutes, will surely leave you disoriented and probably all covered in bruises due to its bestial rage. I’m talking about Turd, the new album by Italian Grindcore/Powerviolence lunatics Ape Unit, a delight for fans of the deranged music by acts such as Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Fuck The Facts and Ratos De Porão, and a true nightmare for “soccer moms” all over the world.

Forged in the year of 2008 in the town of Cuneo, Italy, around 150km east of the city of Genoa, Ape Unit offer a basic but very efficient formula that consists of short and wicked lyrics blended with immensurable amounts of craziness and grinding powerviolence. In other words, don’t expect to find anything philosophical or introspective in their music, all you will find is a very good reason for slamming into the pit like a rabid gorilla. In case you still don’t get it, simply take a good look at the chaotic state of the primates in the amazing artwork by renowned artist Craoman and you’ll have a comprehensive representation of the music by Ape Unit.

The opening track, entitled Puberal Baphomet, and you better get used to beautiful song names like this one, evolves from a heavy and imposing intro to a frantic devastation with highlights to all the screaming by lead singer Mariano Somà, which is very melodic and groovy despite sounding like a carnivorous mutant creature. In Mullet For My Valentine, follow the lyrics if you can while you enjoy its awesome Grindcore vibe (“The only way to rape my crush apart / The 80s: true men and true metal / You must love me / Even if I am a fat ass I’ve got the hairdo of the Gods! / I’ll stay gold: I’m like Jacob B.”); whereas the brutal slamming tune Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour showcases riffs and drums at an insane speed and ferocity, and of course if you’re a circle- pit lover this is the perfect soundtrack for you to practice your passion.

Ape UnitIn The Will To Smith they get considerably faster with hints of Death Metal added to the song’s musicality, especially through the badass bass lines by Umberto Salvetti, turning it into one minute of visceral barbarism. And could they sound even more demonic in less than 40 seconds? Well, the answer is a song named Tropical Mode-ON, which pretty much feels like being hit by a truck. The following tune, Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas, talks about a curious “curse”, telling us what happens to your body if you touch the “forbidden congas”, before the vicious Grindcore tune Orango Juice comes kicking you in the head with its Slayer-ish riffs. Besides, I’m not really sure what to say about its lyrics, so you can take your own conclusions about them (“Satan’s coming back to town / To find out another victim / Four legs and one cock / Beg down on your knees / This is the way you beg and suck my dick, now! / So long and thanks for all the juice! / Hail Satanas – Dominus – Satanas / Orango juice down your throat, in your mouth”).

Sperm Bank Robbery presents a “delicate” sounding for an even “cuter” story told while the whole band lacerates their instruments, followed by Children Of Boredom, a merciless ode to the place where the band comes from showcasing the best lyrics of all songs in Turd (“Cuneo, born and raised / But I’m not the Fresh Prince / Tell me now what I should do / Gianna Gancia is not the cure / Fed up of this fucking shit / Children of Boredom”). Last but not least, how about a song called Go Kart Kobain, a demented tune firing sheer violence in your face in less than a minute? And just out of curiosity, this song is a tribute to the iconic American musician Seth Putnam (R.I.P.), the founder of Grindcore band Anal Cunt.

In order to be properly be shredded apart by this excellent Italian quintet, go check their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and if you’re a true fan of violent music go grab your copy of their atomic bomb Turd at their BandCamp or Big Cartel. Needless to say, this solid Grindcore album is the result of leaving five demented Italian apes by themselves for just 10 minutes. And we all love it, of course.

Best moments of the album: Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour and Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas.

Worst moments of the album: Sperm Bank Robbery.

Released in 2015 Uterus Productions/Here And Now Records/Zas Autoproduzioni/Distrozione/Don Carlos Productions/Tadca Records/Vollmer Industries

Track listing
1. Puberal Baphomet 2:13
2. Mullet For My Valentine 0:46
3. Your Body Will Become My Abat-Jour 1:09
4. The Will To Smith 0:56
5. Tropical Mode-ON 0:34
6. Don’t Touch The Forbidden Congas 1:53
7. Orango Juice 0:45
8. Sperm Bank Robbery 0:57
9. Children Of Boredom 0:54
10. Go Kart Kobain 0:41

Band members
Mariano Somà – vocals
Marco Losano – guitars
Alberto Cornero – guitars
Umberto Salvetti – bass
Steve Bianco – drums

Guest musician
Mattia Gatti – additional vocals on “Your Body Will Become My
Abat-Jour”

Album Review – Carcass / Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel EP (2014)

Is this really a “surplus” of Surgical Steel, or maybe just a pile of uninspired “leftovers”?

Rating9

CoverI love Carcass, it doesn’t matter if it’s their gruesomeness from their beginnings, as the undisputed pioneers of Grindcore, or their more polished musicality adopted during the 90’s when they became a Melodic Death Metal band. For instance, Heartwork is in my opinion one of the most incredible extreme metal albums of all time, an album that was even capable of making it to MTV without sounding commercial, and Surgical Steel was a more than awesome comeback by those British metalheads. However, their new EP entitled Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel sounds a lot more like “leftovers” than actually a “surplus”.

And what’s the problem with the EP if it’s the same band that launched one year ago one of the best metal albums of 2013? To begin with, there’s a huge lack of inspiration and motivation, as if they just released it for (more) money, which I refuse to believe coming from a band so cool as they are. Let’s face it, there isn’t a single song in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel that gets close to the awesome destruction found in Surgical Steel, or is anyone going to say anything in this EP is better than the excellent “Thrasher’s Abattoir”, “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System”, “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” or “Captive Bolt Pistol”?

The first track in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel, A Wraith in the Apparatus, is relatively decent, groovy and with less gory and more political/religious lyrics, a little different than what Carcass usually offer us (“Harmless or nefrarious / A gilded new church / A false god to worship / Blind acceptance with no repentence / A jaded new church / A false deity to service”). However, it’s nothing really special or outstanding, just a good song that if it had been included in Surgical Steel it would probably be one of its worst moments.

CarcassAlthough I enjoyed the guitar riff in Intensive Battery Brooding, that’s another song that doesn’t provide us anything memorable. It pretty much sounds like a lazy version of Megadeth or a failed attempt to sound more Sludge or Southern Metal, with its drums being as boring as possible. The last part of the song, a lot faster and more Carcass-ish, is kind of interesting, but again, that’s it. Zochrot showcases another good guitar work, but it sounds like one more “leftover” from the full-length album than something fresh and unique as a B-side is supposed to be.

Finally, we have Livestock Marketplace, which despite it’s extremely fun lyrics (“Fiscal sexuality for we are all whores & prostitutes / Life’s a celebration at the cattle market / The frigid and recycling death disco / Bestial passion at the cattle market”) doesn’t have the energy we love in the music by Carcass, it’s just like if they were jamming without any commitment to the final result. And I’m not sure why there’s a “reprise” to the intro of their latest album as an outro, named 1985 (Reprise): it doesn’t really make any sense, unless their goal with this was to inspire the fans to go listen to Surgical Steel, an album worth our money, unlike this EP.

It truly breaks my heart to acknowledge Carcass have tremendously failed in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel, but at least it’s just an EP with mediocre tracks that didn’t make it to Surgical Steel. Anyway, I’m sure whenever they launch a new full-length album it will be brutally amazing, with all those sick riffs and diabolical lyrics we all love from those metal icons from the UK. Until then, please go listen to Surgical Steel, Heartwork, Swansong, Reek of Putrefaction, the superb compilation Wake Up and Smell the… Carcass, or anything else but this disappointing jumble of leftovers.

Best moments of the album: A Wraith in the Apparatus is acceptable, especially compared to the other songs in Surgical Remission/Surplus Steel.

Worst moments of the album: Unfortunately, almost everything found in the EP sounds really lazy and uninspired.

Released in 2014 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. A Wraith in the Apparatus 3:31
2. Intensive Battery Brooding 4:44
3. Zochrot 3:22
4. Livestock Marketplace 4:15
5. 1985 (Reprise) 1:48

Band members
Jeff Walker – bass, vocals
Bill Steer – guitars
Ben Ash – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums

Album Review – Bombnation / Night Invasion (2014)

A nonstop heavy music party that will fulfill your inner desire for old school Thrash Metal.

Rating4

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}Who doesn’t love the unparalleled heavy music from the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s? Those were definitely good times, when heavy music in general was the most fun thing in the entire world, thanks largely to all new bands born during that period who were able to blend the technique from traditional Heavy Metal with the undisputed attitude from Punk Rock, bringing forth what we know today as Thrash Metal.  Despite the nuisance that the music industry has become since then, and consequently the negative impact it has had on old school Thrash Metal, there are still some awesome bands proudly carrying the flag of true and honest heavy music, such as Canadian Crossover/Hardcore band Bombnation.

Founded in 2007 in “La Belle Province de Québec”, Bombnation do not hide their influences nor their goals with their music. Inspired by classics like Slayer, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, D.R.I. and many others, and adding to their musicality some elements from D-Beat and Grindcore, those Québécois thrash metallers simply want to have fun and make life more enjoyable, and they indeed do it with their brand new album called Night Invasion. There’s nothing controversial, profound or melancholic in their lyrics: it’s a motherfuckin’ heavy music party, just the way old school Thrash Metal is supposed to be.

Fire Of The Night kicks off the album relying heavily on its harsh vocals, uprising lyrics, insane riffs and drums perfect for slamming into the pit. What really amazes me from the very first song of the album is the overall quality of the production, because although we’re talking about brutal music, it’s also very clean and pleasant to listen to. The following two tracks are the epitome of hardcore: Slayed By Slayer is a short but sick tribute to the most awesome Thrash Metal band of all time, and it’s impossible not to love its lyrics, especially when vocalist Mike Waters screams “Do you want to die!”, probably inspired by Slayer’s classic “Postmortem”; while War Beer Warrior (where do they find those song names?) was born to be a classic, sounding even more ferocious and more Slayer-ish than the previous song.

In the next track, Hops, Bombnation get closer to old school Exodus, especially its riffs, drums, and of course the guitar solo, followed by more sonic violence in Obituary, with its gory lyrics and anarchist vibe. Another brilliant tribute happens in Kreator’s Destruction Of Sodom, this time as you can see to the mighty Teutonic Thrash Metal. It is “extreme aggression” as the band says, with even its vocals being “adapted” to that type of music. Blackout Without Stout is another great choice for having a beer while getting into a sick mosh pit, and the title-track, Night Invasion, sounds more imposing, mainly due to its slow heavy riffs and great backing vocals, giving it an extra touch of wickedness.

I would definitely try the next song’s name, Kentucky Fried Seagulls, screaming its chorus with my mouth full of this “delicacy” from the hardcore cuisine, while Le D-Beat De La 50 doesn’t let the party slow down, reminding me of the Punk Rock played by Black Flag in their early days. Forget It is very similar to the previous track, but with some deeper vocals à la Chuck Billy, followed by one minute of pure devastation  with another great name, Pissed Off To Listen To Pop, as fast as violent as it can be.

The band doesn’t let the ball drop with the direct and raw musicality of Reggie’s Calling, and the pure old school Thrash Metal of Order666, where the band invites us to “Feel the power of Metal!”, followed by the violent Iron Whale and the even faster and more violent (if that’s humanly possible) Black Cable. Are you tired already? Because Bombnation still have to offer us some intense riffs and nonstop drumming in Astro Turf, a great mix of Thrash Metal and Hardcore by the way, and finally the last song of the album, In The Night, another tribute to that raw heavy music from 80’s, with highlights to its nice guitar solo,  strong bass lines, and an amazing high-pitched scream similar to what Tom Araya used to do in the first Slayer albums.

Take a listen at Bombnation’s new album at their official BandCamp page and you’ll see I’m not exaggerating when I say those guys are one of the most loyal bands to old school Thrash Metal in the world. And if you enjoy beer, mosh pits, and especially your life, simply go for it and you will not regret. I just have to find my old jacket full of Heavy Metal patches before I join the “Bombnation”, being proud of loving Thrash Metal so much.

Best moments of the album: Slayed by Slayer, War Beer Warrior, Kentucky Fried Seagulls and Order666.

Worst moments of the album: Obituary and Reggie’s Calling.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Fire Of The Night 2:33
2. Slayed By Slayer 1:36
3. War Beer Warrior 1:37
4. Hops 1:53
5. Obituary 1:53
6. Kreator’s Destruction Of Sodom 1:29
7. Blackout Without Stout 1:46
8. Night Invasion 2:22
9. Kentucky Fried Seagulls 1:50
10 .Le D-Beat De La 50 1:44
11. Forget It 1:42
12. Pissed Off To Listen To Pop 0:59
13. Reggie’s Calling 2:49
14. Order666 1:58
15. Iron Whale 1:15
16. Black Cable 1:42
17. Astro Turf 1:55
18. In The Night 2:26

Band members
Mike Waters – vocals
Whale – guitar
Jack – guitar
Dan – bass
Crocko – drums