Album Review – Tristwood / Blackcrowned Majesty (2020)

Behold the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul through the eyes of an infernal Industrial Black and Death Metal band from Austria.

Blasting their venomous hybrid of Avantgarde, Black, Death and Industrial Metal with Grindcore nuances (being even labeled Blackened Grindcore by some fans and critics) since their inception in 2001 in the city of Linz, Austria, the cryptic entity known as Tristwood is ready to raise some hell with their fifth full-length opus entitled Blackcrowned Majesty, a musical journey led via Nihilist, early Bathory, Oxiplegatz, Morbid Angel, Hellhammer, Skinny Puppy and Killing Joke into the world of the real underground of the rough 80’s and early 90’s. Representing the final part of a saga about the return of a legendary ruler named Ar’ath to Ma’haxul, born out of pure blackness and disaster, the album describes in a musical way how she flows to the north after her destruction and is crowned again by her faithful. The album art, created in the summer of 2019 in the Alps by Ani van Sunnjurck, is the basis and building block of the story, showing the anti-hero Rauthra and hinting at his outer appearance as well as his quest from northern shores to the interior of the country to join Ar’ath. Comprised of Deimon on vocals, synths and flute, Jegger on vocals and guitars, Neru on guitars, backing vocals and synths, JD on bass and fretless bass solos, and HMG on drums, Tristwood are on fire throughout the almost 40 minutes of music found in Blackcrowned Majesty, uniting a very entertaining concept with their usual musical madness and rage.

Arising from the underworld like evil creatures of darkness, Tristwood begin blasting their fusion of industrial, electronic and extreme music in Re-Enthronement Of The Damned, bringing forward an infernal sound masterfully crafted by all band members, with HMG being beyond pulverizing on drums while Deimon and Jegger keep growling like true demons. In the heavier and more caustic He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, the scorching riffs by Jegger and Neru will pierce your ears mercilessly in a frantic and chaotic fusion of Industrial and Black Metal, whereas wicked, uncanny sounds ignite the electro-dark title-track A Blackcrowned Majesty, before all hell breaks loose in another hellish extravaganza by Tristwood. Moreover, the background synths and keys by Deimon and Neru add a touch of dementia to the music, while JD simply hammers his metallic bass nonstop. And it’s time to bang our heads like maniacs to the obscure and futuristic Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands, where Deimon and Jegger are once again berserk on vocals, supported by the classic beats by HMG and the venom and acid flowing from the band’s stylish guitar riffs.

The quintet keeps smashing our skulls in The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate, a vicious fusion of Black and Industrial Metal presenting machine gun-like blast beats, razor-edged riffs and demonic gnarls and roars, sounding as dark and grim as it can be from start to finish; and there’s no sign of Tristwood slowing down at all as they continue to fill every single space in the air with sheer darkness, hatred and lunacy in Acherontic Deathcult, with the whimsical keys and synths by Deimon and Neru bringing a welcome balance to their sonic havoc. Then inhumane, desperate screams are potentialized by the band’s high-octane guitars and drums in the visceral Bone Cathedral, a lesson in contemporary Industrial Extreme Metal by Tristwood, not to mention how thunderous the bass by JD sounds during the entire song, followed by the Stygian and captivating Nightshade Eternal, the epic finale to the saga of Rauthra, where the sick and deranged harsh growls by Deimon and Jegger are effectively spiced up by all background elements and the always pounding beats by HMG, flowing smoothly and infernally until its abrupt and somber ending.

Will Rauthra join the Nightshade? All you need to do to have the answer to that question is listening to Blackcrowned Majesty in full, and in order to do that simply go to Tristwood’s official BandCamp page, where you can obviously purchase your copy of the album and show your support to such talented Austrian band. In addition, don’t forget to give the guys from Tristwood a shout on their Facebook page, where you can get more details about the band, their future releases and tour dates. In summary, Tristwood undoubtedly reinvented themselves in Blackcrowned Majesty, adding another solid stone to their ever-growing castle of Industrial Black and Death Metal with such multi-layered and distinguished concept album and, consequently, paving a promising path for those Austrian veterans who know how to make some reverberating and loud noise when armed with their weapons of sonic destruction.

Best moments of the album: He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion, Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands and The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Re-Enthronement Of The Damned 4:16
2. He Who Traversed A Greater Oblivion 4:23
3. A Blackcrowned Majesty 5:18
4. Her Wraith Through Stygonian Lands 4:54
5. The Hall Of Rauthra´s Fate 4:08
6. Acherontic Deathcult 4:24
7. Bone Cathedral 4:24
8. Nightshade Eternal 6:16

Band members
Deimon – vocals, synths, flute
Jegger – vocals, guitars
Neru – guitars, backing vocals, synths
JD – bass, fretless bass solos
HMG – drums

Album Review – Zebadiah Crowe / Host Rider (2020)

An infernal British duo returns after almost eight excruciating years of silence with the utmost sound of violence, horror, darkness, filth and savagery in their brand new opus.

Almost eight years after the release of their sophomore album Omak K’aah, a beyond infernal British duo that goes by the curious name of Zebadiah Crowe returns from the pits of the underworld with more of their incendiary hybrid of Black, Thrash and Industrial Metal with Grindcore nuances in their brand new opus entitled Host Rider, a new tome of foulness and fractured sanity featuring seven new psalms of wild abandon and dangerous delirium. Formed in 2006 in London, UK, the duo comprised of The Horrid on vocals, bass and drum programming and Forrrthen on the guitars sounds sharper and more caustic than ever in their newborn spawn, bringing forth the sound of violent punk attitude, suffocating black horror, gothic darkness, mechanistic filth and the savagery of the most vicious outliers of thrash, being highly recommended for admirers of the distinguished terror blasted by renowned acts such as Venom, Ministry, Mantar and Babylon Whores, leaving you broken and destroying your senses without a single drop of mercy.

Imposing, epic sounds explode into a venomous fusion of Black and Industrial Metal in the amazing opening track Knucklebones, where the dirty, scorching riffs by Forrrthen provide The Horrid exactly what he needs to thrive with his wicked gnarls, whereas the thunderous and metallic bass by The Horrid takes the lead in the pulverizing A Tincture of Malic, a song that will undoubtedly inspire you to slam into the circle pit together with this talented unity from hell. Moreover, although the drums might be programmed, they actually sound very organic and evil, giving the whole album an extra touch of rawness. And there’s no time to breathe at all as they keep hammering our heads with their frantic and industrialized sounds in Mantel of Nails and Orphan Skin, reminding me of some of the most vicious creations by Ministry, with The Horrid going full Black Metal with his vile screams while Forrrthen keeps slashing his stringed ax manically.

In The Neon Goat of Crimson Grief we’re treated to more of their blackened music, with the programmed drums working really well once again while the duo smashes their guitar and bass mercilessly, even bringing hints of Punk Rock to its core mechanized essence. Slightly groovier and more visceral than its predecessors, A Horror to the Eyes of Saintly Men is an underground lesson in savagery and dementia where Forrrthen’s riffage sounds bestial from start to finish, not to mention the trademark enraged roars by The Horrid, while in Godblind and Destitute they once again blend the heaviness of Black Metal with the violence of Thrash Metal and the metallic noises of industrial music, keeping the album’s electricity flowing at an insane speed. Lastly, closing such short but utterly extreme and malignant album we have Wormhavens Dance, where Zebadiah Crowe fire tons of rage and darkness through their razor-edged instruments, all spearheaded by The Horrid’s demonic screams and at the same time spiced up by futuristic background elements.

If you think you have what it takes to face Zebadiah Crowe and the anthems of horror and perversion found in their new album Host Rider, you should definitely follow them on Facebook to know more about this distinct entity hailing from the UK, including their tour dates and upcoming releases, but of course in order to show them you’re a creature of the dark just like The Horrid and Forrrthen themselves, you should purchase your copy of Host Rider from their own BandCamp page. No one knows if Zebadiah Crowe will take another long and excruciating eight years to bring to our ears a new sonic beast the likes of Host Rider, but for now let’s not worry about that, as we do have their new album to enjoy, letting their piercing, austere sounds penetrate deep inside our psyche, therefore dragging us to the world of horrors and dementia ruled by one of the most talented duos of the underground British scene.

Best moments of the album: Knucklebones, Mantel of Nails and Orphan Skin and A Horror to the Eyes of Saintly Men.

Worst moments of the album: A Tincture of Malic.

Released in 2020 Lore Breaker Records

Track listing
1. Knucklebones 4:17
2. A Tincture of Malic 2:58
3. Mantel of Nails and Orphan Skin 3:13
4. The Neon Goat of Crimson Grief 3:44
5. A Horror to the Eyes of Saintly Men 3:40
6. Godblind and Destitute 3:50
7. Wormhavens Dance 3:45

Band members
The Horrid – vocals, bass, drum programming
Forrrthen – guitars

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

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

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

Metal Chick of the Month – İlkim Oulanem

Doomsday is not so far… See you in hell, İlkim!

Every single time we at The Headbanging Moose decide to honour a woman in Black Metal in our metal chick of the month segment, we have a really hard time finding most details about that specific woman most probably due to all the secrecy, mystery and obscurity that are inherent to such distinct subgenre of heavy music. Having said that, it couldn’t have been any different with our metal lady on the month of March, as almost everything related to İlkim Oulanem is about her career in Black Metal, with very few, rare interviews and other articles being available about her personal life. However, thanks to my superior “detective” skills, I managed to find a very interesting side of our Turkish Valkyrie that might be a surprise to most people that have already had any contact with İlkim’s work in the Black Metal scene, and as any good journalist I’ll save that distinct side of our metal lady for the end of this tribute, how about that? I’m sure you’ll love both her more aggressive and infernal Black Metal side, and her more recent endeavours in music.

Born in the year of 1989 in Ankara, Turkey’s cosmopolitan capital, sitting in the country’s central Anatolia region, İlkim began her career in Black Metal around 2005, when she formed a pure Black Metal band called Messershmit in Ankara. After performing as a vocalist and bassist for Messershmit until 2008, with whom she recorded a split album titled Split Way of Life in 2005 together with Turkish Black Metal band Satanic Verses, as well as an unlisted demo entitled Beyond the Wall of Sleep, İlkim formed her own one-woman Black Metal project self-titled İlkim Oulanem back in 2008, recording all vocals and instruments (and being also responsible for all lyrics) in all of her releases under the now defunct project. In addition, if you’re not familiar with the music by İlkim Oulanem, let me tell you that her sound suffered a few changes through the years, evolving from a raw Black Metal sonority to what can be called Melodic Black Metal or even Black n’ Roll.

As the one-woman band İlkim Oulanem (which you might also find under the name İlkim2), she released the two-track demo The Alarm, in 2005, gathering considerable interest from critics and fans in her homeland (which led her to tour around İstanbul, Gaziantep and Eskişehir), the EP Iblisbilim, in 2009, and her only full-length opus Girdap, in 2011, not to mention the split albums Pentagram, Legions of the Black Ice Fires, Unholy Culture and Sixth Hell of the East IV, all released in 2009, and BPMTh and International Black Scene Vol.1, both from 2010, with some amazing underground bands such as Storm of Darkness, Lux Serpent of Eden, Oculus Sathanas, Solus, Diabolis Interriym, Sirannon, Moderix and Ambient Fabric, among others. Hence, if you want to have a very good taste of the rawness and obscurity flowing from her music under her İlkim Oulanem moniker, you can listen to songs like Asil Varoluş, Hey Kukla and İblisbilim, all sung in her mother tongue Turkish, by the way, and always about controversial topics such as war and destruction.

Apart from her work with İlkim Oulanem, our talented metaller has also been involved with a band named Karabudun (albeit there’s nothing from this band available anywhere online), played drums for Mexican Black Metal band Demonic Forest in 2008, participated as a guest drummer in the 2009 demo titled 191919…, by Turkish all-female Death/Black Metal band Ancestry (previously known as War Ancestry), and was a guest vocalist and lyricist in the song Screams of Lost Horrors, from the 2010 album The Dark… the Withered…, by Colombian Depressive Black Metal band Asbel. Furthermore, after the end of her one-woman Black Metal project, she started playing pop and rock music under the name İlkim, but the only material you’ll find anywhere from that project is the official video for a song titled Melekler Hatırına.

Highly influenced by underground Black Metal, Death Metal and Grindcore bands, with Immortal being one of her biggest idols in extreme music, İlkim sees (or at least used to see) Black Metal as more than just music, being an essential part of her life it doesn’t matter if she’s simply walking down a street or drinking a cup of coffee. When asked about the Norwegian Black Metal scene and all the events that took place in the 90’s involving the infamous members of Mayhem and Burzum, she said that although she considers Norway the birthplace and a great nation for Black Metal, you can be a successful Black Metal musician anywhere in the world despite your age, sex or anything else, complementing by saying she doesn’t like to label different strands of Black Metal such as National Socialist Black Metal, Christian Black Metal (also known as Unblack Metal) or Anti-Human Black Metal, saying that for her there’s only one type of Black Metal, period. Moreover, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she considers the Satanic imagery commonly used by Black Metal bands as a metaphor for individualism and personal freedom as the best option indeed, much better than any God imagery.

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As a one-woman Black Metal band in a country like Turkey, where extreme music is the underground of the underground, İlkim said the Turkish metal scene is very active and robust despite all the hassles that the Turkish society might impose to the musicians from the scene, also saying there’s a lot of room for creativity and that there are several underground venues where bands share their expertise, their stories and music. Regarding her writing process, İlkim mentioned that she doesn’t follow a strict or structured process to compose her music and write her lyrics, as everything comes straight from her heart and personal experiences and struggles, complementing by mentioning that although she has already used and consumed alcohol, cigarettes and even drugs in her life, she enjoys writing and recording her songs with a clean mind and a healthy body, without any external substances impacting her train of though.

Last but not least, as mentioned in the beginning of this tribute, there’s a very distinguished side of İlkim that I’m sure most people know nothing about, especially due to her “departure” from the Black Metal world back in 2011. As a matter of fact, while she was still playing Black Metal, İlkim mentioned in an interview that she loved listening to underground Black Metal and classical music, and it’s classical music what might have influenced her the most in her decision to step away from extreme music and venture through the realms of rock and pop music. However, even that pop period of İlkim seems a little shady, with nothing truly solid happening from 2011 until more recent years, and after searching and searching online for more information on her current career it was with great surprise that I found out İlkim is now known as İlkim Yılmaz, a music director and the chief orchestral conductor for Bilintur Women’s Chamber Orchestra and Muzed Music Teachers’ Orchestra during the 2019-2020 season. Unless she has an identical twin, a clone or there’s someone out there that looks exactly like her and uses her exact same name, our underground black metaller became a classical musician. Interesting, isn’t it?

If İlkim Yılmaz is indeed our İlkim Oulanem, and I’m pretty sure she is, she graduated from the Department of Composition and Music Theory at Başkent University State Conservatory in 2017 with  High Honor Degree and Secondary Degree, continuing her studies between 2017 and 2019 with the distinguished conductor Işın Metin. In addition, during her bachelor degree, she attended Burak Tüzün and Rengim Gökmen’s lessons at Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory between 2015 and 2017 as a guest, also conducting during that same period the youth chamber orchestra as a guest conductor. Furthermore, right after her graduation in 2017, İlkim became the assistant conductor for the Middle East Technical University Fine Arts Ensemble Choir, and in the spring of 2018 she served as the music director and conductor for the Middle East Technical University Fine Arts Orchestra, performing four concerts with them, three of which at the famous METU Kemal Kurdaş Hall. There are several other concerts, workshops and events she has already participated through the years in the classical and orchestral music scene in Turkey (and you can always know more about her work and events by following her on Facebook), and perhaps that’s exactly where she should be in spite of her undeniable contribution to Black Metal in Turkey. I’m quite sure she’s not ashamed of her past as a metalhead, and that deep inside her heart she still nurtures a great passion for Black Metal. And who knows, maybe one day İlkim Oulanem will arise from the ashes like a Black Metal phoenix for our total delight, right?

Album Review – Quilombo / Itankale EP (2019)

The history and evolution of Afro-descendants told by the black hands of a ruthless Death Metal and Grindcore unity from Brazil.

Formed in 2018 by drummer and vocalist Panda Reis (Oligarquia, Armagedom, Brigada do Ódio, Heresia 666), who’s also involved in several amazing endeavors such as an educational and cultural project named Coyote Vive, and guitarist and bassist Allan Kallid (Oligarquia) in São Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil and one of the biggest cities in the world, Death Metal/Grindcore unity Quilombo is among us to tell the evolution of Afro-descendants all over the world as well as the technological history from the African continent in their debut EP, entitled Itankale. Their main objective with Itankale is not political, though, but to unveil the truth about the African slaves taken from their homelands, from their people and from their culture to live a new reality in Brazil, the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery, using the most underground of all music styles, our relentless Heavy Metal, as the perfect soundtrack for their speech.

Featuring an impactful artwork by Brazilian artist Artur Fontenelle, showing some of the greatest icons in the African-American history, and recorded and mixed at O Beco Estudio, Itankale is the voice of the voiceless, telling the history of slavery from the standpoint of the slaves themselves, who were discriminated, persecuted, tortured, raped and killed, but that never gave up, surviving an endless period of pain in the hands of the white man. Furthermore, according to Panda and Allan themselves, Quilombo are not trying to generate any controversy, fights or turmoil with other people, but to provide the view of those who were not allowed to write or speak to anyone about their reality. Based on historical sources that have been ignored until now purely due to ideological and political issues to maintain the status quo, Quilombo will crush your senses with their visceral Death Metal in Itankale, writing with their own black hands about all the suffering and sorrow that haunted the souls of their African ancestors for centuries.

In the opening track, simply titled Melanina (or “melanin” in English), we already face an intro that’s completely different from everything you might have ever heard, showcasing intonations and vocalizations inspired by the African culture before exploding into a sonic devastation overflowing rebelliousness and rage, led by Panda’s demented drumming and sick growls while Allan cuts our skin deep with his riffs. Put differently, this is one of those songs that will leave a mark on your psyche, sounding very unique and raw like the music found in Sepultura’s masterpiece Roots. Ancestralidade (“ancestry”) is another song with an eccentric intro that morphs into a carnivorous feast of Death Metal where Panda smashes his drums like a beast, also vociferating the song’s austere lyrics deeply and rabidly and with guest Binho Gerônimo bringing an extra kick to the music with his tribal percussion, followed by Treze Nações (“thirteen nations”), showcasing a capoeira-inspired intro and of course sheer savagery in the form of Death Metal and Grindcore, sounding as fast and heavy as it can be. Needless to say, Panda shows no mercy for his drums while Allan is on fire with his riffs, with their already violent musicality being effectively spiced up by guest Guilherme Sorbello’s deranged vocals.

Once again paying a powerful tribute to their Africa roots and their music, Descendentes de Reis (“descendants of kings”) reminds me of some of the most brutal creations by their countrymen Ratos de Porão, which obviously translates into awesomeness, whereas in Semideusas (“demigods”) it’s time to talk (and growl) about the importance of women in the African culture, flirting with old school Punk Rock. In addition, the wicked guitar riffs and solos by Allan mixed with Panda’s infernal roars provide the listener all that’s needed for some brutal slamming into the circle pit. And closing the EP we have Diáspora D.C. (“diaspora A.D.”), bringing hints of classic Reggae music in its intro but again quickly morphing into one final blast of aggressive and frantic Death Metal, with Panda sounding truly enraged on vocals and with its primeval, tribal finale putting a glorious ending to the album.

If you want to put your hands on Itankale, which by the way is available for a full listen on SoundCloud, you can contact Quilombo directly through their Facebook page or by sending an email to Panda himself, with the cost of the physical copy of the album being only 10 Brazilian Reais (plus shipping costs). The band is also working on several partnerships to distribute their album all over the Brazilian territory, with stores like Paranoid Records and Die Hard Records, both located in the famous Galeria do Rock in São Paulo, already being confirmed as part of the band’s distribution list. It’s not everyday that we are able to enjoy such distinguished and meaningful album of extreme music, and let’s hope that Quilombo keep giving a (heavy and thunderous) voice to all Afro-descendants for many years to come, it doesn’t matter if they’re metalheads or not.

Best moments of the album: Melanina and Treze Nações.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Poluição Sonora Records

Track listing
1. Melanina 6:44
2. Ancestralidade 4:33
3. Treze Nações 1:43
4. Descendentes de Reis 1:53
5. Semideusas 2:54
6. Diáspora D.C. 1:49

Band members
Panda Reis – vocals, drums
Allan Kalid – guitars, bass

Guest musicians
Bruno – bass (recording)
Binho Gerônimo – percussion
Guilherme Sorbello – vocals on “Treze Nações”

Album Review – Sophist / Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto (2019)

Inspired by some of the greatest names of the Black Metal and Grindcore scene, this Canadian duo is ready to disturb our peace of mind with their unholy and blistering fast creations.

soph·ist·ry
/ˈsäfəstrē/
noun
the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

Conjured in June of 2019 in the city of Edmonton, capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, Black Metal/Grindcore duo Sophist has put their blackened hearts and souls into the making of their debut EP entitled Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto, a frantic blend of extreme styles inspired by bands such as Anaal Nathrakh, Mayhem and Napalm Death in order to create a sound that is unholy as it is blistering fast. Both veterans in the local music scene, Michael Sparks (bass, guitars) and Davis Hay (vocals, programming) kept the writing process fairly simple, with Davis defining the drums and song structure followed by Michael’s overlay of bass and guitar. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Davis himself, and featuring an obscure artwork by Unexpected Specter, Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto deals with the esoteric and the occult, with much of the inspiration for the lyrics on the album coming from an alchemical text called Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon (which you can find available in full HERE).

Musically speaking, Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto is a feast of violent and blasphemous sounds, as already mentioned, with the title-track Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto​ exploding into raw, obscure Black Metal after a short and creepy intro. Moreover, Davis roars and gnarls manically while Michael shreds his guitar chords nonstop in this lesson in bestiality, reminding me of truly old school Mayhem. Faster and more demented, Choke on Your Own Bile is infused with Grindcore and Hardcore elements, with Davis and Michael extracting pure hatred from their instruments. Not only that, albeit the drums are programmed, they do sound really organic, bringing even more ferocity to the music. Then get ready for total anarchy in the form of visceral Black Metal blasted by the Canadian duo in A Captive of Saturn’s Scythe, where the insanity flowing from their riffs and beats is perfect for Davis to keep vociferating like a demon, inviting us all to slam into the circle pit with them. And as a beyond special and interesting bonus, the duo offers us the instrumental versions of all three songs of the EP, showcasing the same rage and heaviness but obviously without Davis’ demonic growls.

If you enjoy exploring the darkest pits of extreme music and are addicted to the most visceral and unholy forms of Black Metal available out there, then Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings. Hence, go show your support to Sophist and to underground Black Metal in general by following the duo on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and by purchasing their flammable debut EP from their own BandCamp page or from other locations like Apple Music. And, of course, this is just the beginning for Sophist, as I’m pretty sure Davis and Michael will return with more of their razor-edged, blasphemous creations in a not-so-distant future, carving their names even deeper onto the darkened walls of Canadian extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Choke on Your Own Bile.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto​ 3:16
2. Choke on Your Own Bile 5:10
3. A Captive of Saturn’s Scythe 2:53

Bonus tracks
4. Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto​ (Instrumental version) 3:16
5. Choke on Your Own Bile (Instrumental version) 5:10
6. A Captive of Saturn’s Scythe (Instrumental version) 2:53

Band members
Davis Hay – vocals, programming
Michael Sparks – bass, guitars

Album Review – Exuviated / Déliquescence EP (2019)

Get ready to be smashed by 26 minutes of first-class Death Metal brought forth by a talented five-piece act hailing from “Hellgium”.

Forged in the fires of Marche-en-Famenne, a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the year of 2009, when they released their debut EP entitled An Era’s Condemned, the unstoppable Death Metal squad comprised of Jean-Philippe Sonnet on vocals, Cédric Grandhenry and Renaut Van Oeyen on the guitars, Pierre Pish Minet on bass and Ahephaim on drums, collectively known as Exuviated, are ready to smash our heads once again with the ruthless music from their brand new EP Déliquescence. Featuring a beyond obscure artwork by the band’s own vocalist Jean-Philippe Sonnet (Threadbare Artwork), Déliquescence not only cements the name of the band in the underground extreme music scene, showing why they’ve already shared the stage with several renowned acts like Six Feet Under, Dark Tranquility, Suffocation and Cattle Decapitation (not to mention their concert at the always insane Wacken Open Air Festival), but it also paves a promising path for the band in the future, all in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Get ready for a heavy and demonic feast of Death Metal made in Belgium (or “Hellgium” as the band likes to call it) in the opening track Rupture, with Cédric and Renaut initiating the devastation with their flammable guitars while Jean-Philippe growls in a true Unleashed-inspired style before a somber break brings fear to our hearts, exploding once again into visceral extreme music until we’re treated to the instrumental piece Trouble, showcasing atmospheric guitar lines intertwined with heavier riffs and tribal beats. And this grim ambience sets the tone for the berserk Errance, where Jean-Philippe gnarls and shrieks demonically while Ahephaim sounds like a stone crusher on drums. In other words, this is ass-kicking Death Metal with a modern twist, offering over seven minutes of intricate and devilish sounds, ethereal passages and sheer violence and rage.

The next track, entitled Absence, is a more cinematic instrumental tune where the band seems like in a musical trance, and with Cédric and Renaut, together with Pierre, generating a vile atmosphere with their stringed weapons perfect for the absolute destruction that follows in Abîme, a classic Death Metal extravaganza infused with several modern extreme styles such as Deathcore and Grindcore, feeling and sounding dense throughout its entirety, with highlights to the amazing job done by the skillful Ahephaim with his brutality and refined technique on drums. Furthermore, it’s impressive how Exuviated are capable of composing Death Metal songs with over six minutes each and never sound boring or repetitive, proving how talented those Belgian metallers are.

In a nutshell, Déliquescence, which is available in full on Spotify and on YouTube, will certainly please all fans of both classic and contemporary Death Metal, leaving us all eager for more of Exuviated’s music in a not-so-distant future. Hence, let’s show our utmost support to the band by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and mainly by purchasing a copy of their brand new incendiary EP from BandCamp, from Apple Music or from Amazon. And may Exuviated keep turning Belgium into “Hellgium” for many years to come, filling our ears with the visceral and violent sounds of our beloved Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Errance.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Rupture 7:33
2. Trouble (Instrumental) 2:21
3. Errance 7:09
4. Absence (Instrumental) 2:58
5. Abîme 6:27

Band members
Jean-Philippe Sonnet – vocals
Cédric Grandhenry – guitars
Renaut Van Oeyen – guitars
Pierre Pish Minet – bass
Ahephaim – drums

Album Review – Meathook / Crypts, Coffins, Corpses (2019)

Terror is coming in the form of an absolute ode to all things brutal by this ruthless and demented Death Metal squad from Arizona.

The very first album review of 2019 is an absolute ode to all things brutal, and I’m sure you’ll feel completely disoriented after listening to its 31 minutes of pulverizing and gruesome extreme music. I’m talking about Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, the third full-length installment by American Brutal Death Metal unity Meathook, released on January 1 via Unmatched Brutality Records. Formed in 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona by the Gonzales Brothers, Meathook are ready to strike again six years after the the cruel assault of their 2012 album, Facing Deformity, and their depraved inclinations have only become more sickening with the passage of time.

If the dreams of the deranged could be captured in music, if the tales of their sleeping journeys through kingdoms of the unspeakable and grotesque were vomited out from the mouths of demons, then you would have the sound found in Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, comprised of nine crushing hymns of old school, unrelenting Brutal Death Metal highly recommended for fans of Devourment, Skinless, Ingested and Terrordrome, among other utterly vicious and demolishing metal bands. As the new year begins, a new age of dark dreams and devastation will dawn with the new opus by Meathook, so simply say goodbye to quiet nights and untroubled sleep because terror is coming in the form of the most extreme type of music you can think of.

Wicked noises explode into sheer brutality led by the demented beats by drummer Johnny Gonzales in the opening track Awaiting Torment, while lead singer Mars Gonzales barks like a rabid demon in a feast of violent, gory and visceral sounds just the way we like it; and their onrush of crushing noises goes on in Cauldron of Dead Bodies, a lesson in Brutal Death Metal where guitarists Robin Mack and Aaron Gonzales decimate their strings beautifully, delivering classic Death Metal riffs while the roars by Mars get deeper and deeper. Then Mars once again leads his horde of sick bastards in Purification Through Pain, almost vomiting the lyrics (and therefore making it quite impossible to follow them) while Johnny pulverizes everything and everyone with his bestial drumming, followed by the fulminating title-track Crypts, Coffins, Corpses, perfect for braking your spinal cord in half headbanging, with Robin and Aaron being in total sync with their axes supported by the low-tuned punches by bassist Elliot Thomas in a lecture in gore and dementia. And in Placed Upon the Altar we’re treated to a high-octane devastation bringing the most disturbing and gruesome elements from Brutal Death Metal such as inhumane growls, incendiary guitars and nonstop blast beats, or in other words, another sensational creation by this devilish Death Metal squad.

Leaning towards old school Cannibal Corpse but at the same time presenting a more contemporary vibe, Temples Made From Flesh is a song perfect for slamming into the pit, with Mars sounding absolutely monstrous on vocals, whereas in Disseminated Remains an operatic intro morphs into an ass-kicking display of savagery led by Johnny’s potent and rhythmic beats, hammering our heads mercilessly from start to finish. If you’re still alive after such gargantuan level of havoc blasted by Meathook up until now, you better get ready because the album’s second to last bloodthirsty extravaganza, titled Awakened by the Stench, is just as perverse and vile as the rest of the album, with Mars and Johnny complementing each other’s demonic roars and beats respectively. And last but not least, closing their Death Metal coffin the band offers our avid ears the insanely heavy and brutal Coils of Entrails, presenting hints of the most devastating form of Grindcore, not to mention Mars’ spine-tingling screeches and gnarls as well as Robin’s and Aaron’s razor-edged riffs.

If you have what it takes to face the disturbing and thunderous Death Metal by Meathook, you can take a detailed listen at Crypts, Coffins, Corpses on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course if you’re already a longtime member of the Death Metal underworld you can purchase your copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Unmatched Brutality Records webstore, or from the Comatose Music webstore. As aforementioned, the first review of 2019 was going to be a total carnage, and we have to thank the guys from Meathook  for kicking off this new year on such a high, apocalyptic and barbaric mode for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: Cauldron of Dead Bodies, Crypts, Coffins, Corpses and Placed Upon the Altar.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Unmatched Brutality Records

Track listing
1. Awaiting Torment 3:28
2. Cauldron of Dead Bodies 3:39
3. Purification Through Pain 3:09
4. Crypts, Coffins, Corpses 3:38
5. Placed Upon the Altar 3:19
6. Temples Made From Flesh 3:04
7. Disseminated Remains 3:56
8. Awakened by the Stench 3:32
9. Coils of Entrails 3:37

Band members
Mars Gonzales – vocals
Robin Mack – guitar
Aaron Gonzales – guitar
Elliot Thomas – bass
Johnny Gonzales – drums

Album Review – Infuriate / Infuriate (2018)

Here comes a group of Texas all-stars armed with their debut album of fast and furious Death Metal, focusing on the brutal side of nature and unconscientious human behavior.

A group of Texas all-stars, Austin-based Death Metal/Grindcore unit Infuriate was founded in late 2015 by drummer Sterling Junkin (Widower, Laughing and Lying, Venereal Baptism) and guitarist Steven Watkins (Serpentian, Sect of Execration, Sarcolytic, Images of Violence), with vocalist and guitarist Jason Garza (Blast Perversion, Slow Grind) and bassist Alan Berryman (Whore of Bethlehem, Cathexis) completing the band’s pulverizing lineup. After about a year and a half of songwriting, nine demolishing tracks of unrelenting Death Metal and Grindcore had been arranged for the band’s debut self-titled album, released earlier this year, being highly recommended for fans of bands like Deeds Of Flesh, Severed Savior, Severe Torture and Disavowed.

Featuring an obscure artwork by the legendary artist Jon Zig, as well as special images for each song for a more vivid lyric booklet, the album contains a wide range of sinister topics that focus mainly on the brutal side of nature and unconscientious human behavior, with the music being deeply rooted in late 90’s Death Metal with a modern speed. Furthermore, although the album might not surpass the 30-minute barrier, it doesn’t feel incomplete or simplistic at all. Quite the contrary, just like several renowned acts like Slayer and Cannibal Corpse have mastered doing, Infuriate were capable of condensing a gargantuan amount of violence, hatred, heaviness and speed throughout the album’s relatively short time span, positioning the quartet as one of the most promising new names of the underground extreme music scene.

The opening track Juggernaut Of Pestilence is total savagery from the very first note, led by the razor-edged riffs by Jason and Steven while drummer Sterling pounds his drums mercilessly, and their devastation goes on in the sonic havoc titled Slaughter For Salvation, with Jason growling in a demonic and rabid way, being perfect for slamming into the circle pit with the sound of the guitars getting extremely acute and flammable for our total delight. Then Collective Suffering showcases a modern-day Cannibal Corpse vibe, mainly due to the amazing job done by the band’s stringed trio, with the bass punches by Alan sounding as heavy as hell; whereas in Engastration we’re treated to a violent and metallic sonority that gets quite progressive at times, therefore enhancing its taste considerably, also presenting lyrics that reek of old school Death Metal (“Creatures of ingenuity / With voracious appetites / Lacking conscience / They gather…”).

Only Pain Remains is another hurricane of Death Metal and Grindcore for your avid (and evil) ears, with both guitars exhaling rage and madness while Sterling continues to smash his drum set, not to mention Jason’s berserk growls and roars. And the band keeps smashing our heads with their visceral music in Matando, an unstoppable Grindcore tune infused with Death Metal elements spearheaded by an inspired guitar duo, with Jason once again vociferating contemporary and aggressive words (“False sense of security / Betrayed for all to see / Bleeding profusely / From the wounds of treachery / An altercation bred from deception / You must bleed with me”), followed by Mori Terrae, where their guitar shredding is effectively complemented by the fierce beats by Sterling while Jason barks like a beast nonstop in this full-bodied hymn of destruction, and Surrogate, a frantic and pulverizing display of crushing Grindcore with the bestial growls by Jason being supported by another excellent job done on the guitars, with the song’s fulminating pace being furiously led by Sterling’s beats. And lastly we have Cannibalistic Gluttony, portraying a beautiful name for another disturbing tune by Infuriate with the music remaining vile, demented and intricate from start to finish, with highlights to the groovy and complex beats by Sterling, closing the album on an absolutely brutal mode.

In a nutshell, what are you waiting for to slam your damn skull into the circle pit to the pulverizing Death Metal crafted by Infuriate? You can purchase their debut album (available for a full listen on YouTube) from the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp or webstore (in regular CD format or as a CD + T-shirt bundle), as well as from your usual online retailers iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Discogs, and keep up to date to all things Infuriate by following them on Facebook, but that, of course, only if you think you’re brave enough to face an overdose of sheer aggression and rage in the form of extreme music made in Texas.

Best moments of the album: Slaughter For Salvation, Only Pain Remains and Matando.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Juggernaut Of Pestilence 2:28
2. Slaughter For Salvation 2:56
3. Collective Suffering 2:41
4. Engastration 3:20
5. Only Pain Remains 4:10
6. Matando 3:35
7. Mori Terrae 3:46
8. Surrogate 3:18
9. Cannibalistic Gluttony 3:17

Band members
Jason Garza – vocals, guitar
Steven Watkins – guitar
Alan Berryman – bass
Sterling Junkin – drums

Album Review – Galvanizer / Sanguine Vigil (2018)

A violent and frantic album by three Finnish metallers who know exactly how to blend classic Scandinavian Death Metal with the more modern sound of Deathgrind.

From the swamping lands of Finland, old school Death Metal/Grindcore unity Galvanizer emerges with their debut full-length album Sanguine Vigil, after having paid all their dues like we were used back in the 90’s with several demo tapes and a 7″ EP titled Horrid Tales of Death…, released in 2015. Fans of bands like Machetazo, Abhorrence and Haemorrhage will have a good time listening to the ten pulverizing tracks featured in Sanguine Vigil, being recommended for admirers of both classic Finnish Death Metal and the more modern Deathgrind sound found in the scene nowadays.

Formed in 2015 as a one-man project, this Laitila-Tammela-based act quickly turned into a power trio, comprised of Vili Mäkinen on vocals and bass, Aleksi Vähämäki on guitars and backing vocals, and Nico Niemikko on drums, becoming one of the most promising underground bands in Finland due to their old school approach and their youthful energy. Featuring a gory cover art painted by Turkka G. Rantanen, a Finnish institution famous for his works with Demilich, Demigod, Adramelech, Depravity and many more, Sanguine Vigil is a violent and frantic statement by Galvanizer, sending a sound message to everyone that stands in their way that they’re not among us to fool around. “Expect the same primitive Finnish grinding death madness but this time much more faster and brutal,” said Aleksi about their new opus, probably devilishly grinning about it.

An initial narration which seems to be taken from one of the Friday the 13th movies ignite the moshing feast titled Mood For The Blade, an amazing welcome card by the band exploding into a grinding devastation by Galvanizer led by the infuriated growls by Vili, while Aleksi sounds heavier-than-hell on the guitar. Then simply slam into the circle pit to the frantic Grindcore spearheaded by Nico and his unstoppable beats in Enjoyment Of Annihilation, with its lyrics reminding me of the always inspiring words by metal masters Carcass (“Pulmonary artery hemorrhage / hacksaw through the raped face / cock dismembered brutally / rectum penetrated ghastly way / pleasure to kill / cadavers raping is the name of thrill / game of life / deep thoughts of dirty, sick mind”); followed by Deathbeat Deity, the perfect fusion of old school Death Metal with contemporary Grindcore translated into a rhythmic, pulverizing wall of sounds, with highlights to the amazing job done by Nico on drums and the slashing riffs by Aleksi.

The title-track Sanguine Vigil, the longest of all songs, begins in a somber and ominous manner, morphing into a dense and crushing sonority where Vili growls deeper and deeper (also extracting aggressive tones from his bass) while Nico keeps kicking some serious ass with his beats and fills, whereas Grind Till… You’re Dead! brings forward an absolute brutal demolition in less than two minutes, with all three members pounding their instruments, generating a tornado of violence and gore recommended only for the brave. And the trio keeps blasting their high-octane music with no mercy for our souls in Domestic Mastication, another straightforward, classic Grindcore composition with Vili and Aleksi grinding their strings from start to finish; and in Gorefestation they add an extra dosage of groove to their music thanks to the thunderous bass by Vili, resulting in a fantastic display of extreme music where Nico gets even more demented on drums than before, enhancing the song’s punch considerably. Put differently, the grinding extravaganza proposed by Galvanizer can’t get any better than this.

In Premature Rot, another groovy and flammable chant where the band continues to pave their path of destruction, have fun singing along those beautiful lyrics with Vili (“A premature rot is your fear / as minor treat comes real / accidental slit of the blade / can kill by horrible way / deep wound and painful omen / uncleaned and it’s open / let in the streptococcus / and other hocus pocus”), before the demented Unfinished Autopsy comes crushing your skull mercilessly, with an anguished intro and total havoc being the main ingredients in such hellish feast of Death Metal and Grindcore, with the entire band blasting sheer aggression and rage through their riffs, punches and beats. And as the icing on the cake we have their cover version for Finnish old school Death Metal/Grindcore band Necrobiosis’ A Painful End For Curiosity, originally released in a split album with a Hungarian band named Intense Agonizing in 1994. Well, their version is just as demonic, berserk and gory, and you can compare both by checking the original version HERE.

You can have your brain smashed by Galvanizer by taking a full listen at Sanguine Vigil on YouTube, and get to know more details about the band and their music on Facebook and YouTube. Hence, there’s no excuse for not supporting Galvanizer and not purchasing their visceral music, as Sanguine Vigil is on sale from several different locations, such as the band’s own BandCamp page, the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, in different formats from the Me Saco Un Ojo Records’ webstore, as well as from Record Shop X, iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. Got it? Or should I say “gore” it?

Best moments of the album: Mood For The Blade, Deathbeat Deity and Gorefestation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Mood For The Blade 3:45
2. Enjoyment Of Annihilation 2:30
3. Deathbeat Deity 3:09
4. Sanguine Vigil 5:14
5. Grind Till… You’re Dead! 1:23
6. Domestic Mastication 3:03
7. Gorefestation 2:26
8. Premature Rot 2:28
9. Unfinished Autopsy 3:37
10. A Painful End For Curiosity (Necrobiosis cover) 3:04

Band members
Vili Mäkinen – vocals, bass
Aleksi Vähämäki – guitars, backing vocals
Nico Niemikko – drums