Album Review – Tantivy / Eyes in the Night EP (2021)

Rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals, all in one short and sweet EP recommended for anyone who thinks life is a disease, and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

With the drive of Motörhead, the hooks of Judas Priest and the thrash acrobatics of Toxic Holocaust, Wausau, Wisconsin-based duo Tantivy is chomping at the bit of traditional Heavy Metal. Named for an archaic word meaning a rapid gallop or ride, Tantivy are formed by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Adam Geurink (from crust-influenced outfit Wardehns) and drummer Jon Zimick in a musical match made in hell, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their debut EP titled Eyes in the Night. Recorded by Elliot Lozier, mixed and mastered by Trevor William Church at Church Recordings, and featuring a dark and rabid artwork by The Pit Forge, Eyes in the Night is everything a fan of the music by NWOBHM and Thrash Metal titans like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Dio, Toxic Holocaust, Motörhead and Anthrax, among others, can ask for, with its rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals inspiring us all to raise our fists high in the sky in the name of our beloved heavy music.

Jon’s crushing beats and Adam’s Motörhead-inspired, dirty bass lines ignite the frantic Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal feast titled I Am The Wolf, an amazing option for banging your head nonstop while enjoying a cold beer, with Adam’s raspy vocals adding an extra touch of rebelliousness to such vibrant sound. Then the 70’s and 80’s are united in the form of classic Hard Rock in Cut ‘Em Loose, exploding into a visceral and raw sonority led by Adam’s razor-edged riffs while Jon makes sure the level of adrenaline goes through the roof with his sick drumming, and the duo keeps smashing their instruments like there’s no tomorrow in Daggers, bringing forward a great fusion of classic Rock N’ Roll with Punk Rock. Moreover, Adam continues to vociferate manically while slashing his stringed axes mercilessly, driving the song’s fury through the roof. Then it’s time for guest Mason Kurth to kick some ass with his bass punches in Houndin’ Ya, another fast and electrifying display of Tantivy’s passion for Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll where Adam’s guitar roars like a true beast, always accompanied by Jon’s solid beats and fills; and the tribal drumming by Jon kicks off the 80’s-inspired extravaganza titled Nowhere, with Adam and Jon being in absolute sync during the entire song, therefore setting fire to the atmosphere and putting a beyond thrilling conclusion to the EP. Put differently, the one and only Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.) would certainly be very proud of those talented rockers.

It’s extremely easy to join Adam and Jon on their frantic quest for Heavy Metal. All you need to do is follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and more of their insane music, and even more important than that, purchase your copy of their amazing debut EP from their own BandCamp page to prove those unrelenting rockers you’re a worthy metalhead. Eyes in the Night is the perfect example of everything Heavy Metal has always been and will forever be, never slowing down, never giving up and never selling out, always remaining loyal to the roots of the genre and, above all, loyal to diehard fans of old school rock and heavy music. The EP might be short in duration, with only 19 minutes of music, but it’s so intense and well-crafted it sounds like a full-bodied album in the end, pointing to a very promising future for the duo in the American scene and anywhere else in the world where, as many people like to say, life is a disease and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: I Am The Wolf and Daggers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. I Am The Wolf 3:08
2. Cut ‘Em Loose 4:36
3. Daggers 4:19
4. Houndin’ Ya 3:29
5. Nowhere 4:02

Band members
Adam Geurink – vocals, guitars, bass
Jon Zimick – drums

Guest musician
Mason Kurth – bass on “Houndin’ Ya”

Album Review – Hearts & Hand Grenades / Turning To Ashes (2021)

Featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics, the debut album by this Buffalo, New York-based quartet is an ode to all things Rock N’ Roll.

Almost two years after the release of their debut EP in 2019, Buffalo, New York-based Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll outfit Hearts & Hand Grenades is ready to rock our hearts like there’s no tomorrow with their explosive fusion of rock and metal styles in their first full-length album, entitled Turning To Ashes. Originally founded as a cover band in 2012 by guitarist Mike Bress, it didn’t take long for Hearts & Hand Grenades to spread their wings and begin crafting original music for lovers of our good old Rock N’ Roll, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their awesome new album featuring eight original songs full of savage riffs and powerfully deep lyrics. Comprised of the same lineup since the band’s inception, with the aforementioned Mike Bress being accompanied by vocalist and bassist Stephanie Wlosinski, lead guitarist Kenny Blesy and drummer Tom Lafferty, Hearts & Hand Grenades are sharper than ever in Turning To Ashes, making it a must-listen for admirers of rock music with piercing female vocals and a rebellious attitude.

One of the songs from their 2019 EP, Turning to Ashes, becomes the opening track (and the title-track) in their debut full-length opus, an ode to Rock N’ Roll sounding modern, vibrant and fun from start to finish, followed by For the Weakened, also featured in their 2019 EP, where Stephanie is enraged with her high-pitched, raspy vocals while Kenny and Mike bring hints of Southern Rock to the music with their dirty riffs, showcasing all the band’s versatility. Then we have Daggers, inspired by 90’s Alternative Rock, the third (headbanging) tune from their previous effort where the rhythmic beats by Tom will put you to dance while Stephanie continues to kick ass with both her vocals and rumbling bass; whereas I Hide presents an introspective intro to an Alice In Chains-inspired sonority by the quartet, bringing forward a very pleasant pace boosted by the slashing Hard Rock riffage by Kenny and Mike. Needless to say, it will undoubtedly put a big smile on the faces of admirers of rock music from the 90’s.

The last composition from their 2019 EP, Adrenaline, is a lesson in Hard Rock transpiring sheer adrenaline, of course, with Kenny’s guitar solo bringing an extra touch of electricity to the overall result, and I must say this amazing song can be played on any radio station worldwide. Razor-edged guitars kick off the melodious Nothing Left, where Stephanie steals the spotlight with another fantastic vocal performance, leading her bandmates in this Rock N’ Roll party (not to mention another solid job done by Tom behind his drum set), and it’s time for the quartet to bring forth an entertaining fusion of styles such as Ska and Punk Rock in the amazing The In Crowd, where Stephanie is on fire with her piercing vocals as usual while Kenny and Mike alternate between minimalist guitar lines and pure stamina. Lastly, My Sickness is a classic Hard Rock creation that keeps the album at a high level of energy and heaviness, presenting elements form the music by renowned acts like Hole, AC/DC and Velvet Revolver, therefore leaving us all beyond excited for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

Having said all that, what are you waiting for to join Stephanie, Kenny, Mike and Tom in the high-octane Rock N’ Roll party that is their debut album Turning To Ashes? You can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and videos, stream their rockin’ tunes on Spotify, and above all that, purchase your copy of their incendiary album or stream it as many times as you want by clicking HERE sooner than you can raise your horns and scream “Rock N’ Roll!” Actually, maybe that’s exactly what we need to do, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop to warm us all up for when Turning To Ashes is finally unleashed upon humanity, keeping our beloved rock music alive and kicking.

Best moments of the album: Daggers, Nothing Left and The In Crowd.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Turning to Ashes 4:18
2. For the Weakened 4:06
3. Daggers 3:39
4. I Hide 4:23
5. Adrenaline 5:30
6. Nothing Left 4:10
7. The In Crowd 3:51
8. My Sickness 4:18

Band members
Stephanie Wlosinski – vocals, bass
Kenny Blesy – lead guitars
Mike Bress – guitars, keyboards
Tom Lafferty – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Jeanne Sagan

Am I the monster you created?

After such a difficult year for all of us, let’s start 2021 off with a bang to the sound of the rumbling, menacing bass by a woman that has been nothing but amazing to the metal community with her refined skills, her passion for heavy music and her immensurable contribution to the Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Metalcore scene. Not only that, she’s also a very talented singer and pianist, showcasing all her versatility and allowing her to take part in any type of band from an array of styles. Born on January 11, 1979 in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States, Jeanne Sagan (also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak) is the ass-kicking bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal band Crossing Rubicon, and also known as the former bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Metalcore band All That Remains from 2006 to 2015, having been embellishing the airwaves with her bass since 2001 and, more important than that, being ready to make this new year that has just been born a lot more fun with her music.

Having also played for a band called The Acacia Strain in 2003, Jeanne originally worked merchandise tables for Prosthetic Records before being called to join All That Remains in 2006 to replace their former bassist Matt Deis, which was by the way a funny story according to Jeanne herself as she had moved out to Arizona thinking she was done with Massachusetts, but after meeting someone at the record label and started helping out she ended up getting back to her birth state. In addition, if you think she comes from a family of musicians let me tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. When asked if she grew up in a musical household, Jeanne said that she only started in the world of music when she was in sixth grade, picking up the trumpet as her first instrument during high school, also mentioning her younger brother is also into music, DJ’ing and touring with bands, despite the fact their parents are not musicians. It was only when she was in college that she started playing bass and jamming with bands, and from that moment on the world of heavy music gained a new badass bass player.

Jeanne Sagan is also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak due to the fact she’s married to American vocalist Scott Wawrzyniak, better known by his stage name of Scotty Anarchy, the frontman for metal bands Crossing Rubicon and Piercing Immortality. In one of their interviews together, Scott and Jeanne said they met through two mutual friends, Ian Jones and Rusty Kupier, sometime in 2011, with Scott saying he was instantly attracted to Jeanne’s passion and kindness, but as he was married at that time it wasn’t the right thing to do (and Jeanne said she used to run away from him because of that connection she felt with him). A few years later Scott was single and playing a Buckcherry show, and Jeanne approached her after the show to talk, asking for his number, and they have not stopped talking since, saying it’s easy to play in a band with his wife as he gets to look to his right every night and see his best friend, his soul mate and the love of his life sharing his passion with him. Jeanne complemented by saying their bond is greater and stronger than they could have ever dreamed, mentioning important milestones like their mutual fight for sobriety as one of the things that strengthen their relationship every single day.

Regarding her 10-year stint with American Metalcore band All That Remains, from 2006 to 2015, as aforementioned she joined the band while working on the merch table for Prosthetics Records, having recorded her first single with the band that same year, the excellent The Air That I Breathe, proving she was the perfect choice for handling the band’s bass duties. After that first single, Jeanne recorded an array of first-class albums with the band, those being The Fall of Ideals (2006), Overcome (2008), …for We Are Many (2010), A War You Cannot Win (2012) and The Order of Things (2015), as well as a live album and DVD in 2007 simply titled Live, and you can enjoy her rumbling bass smashing your senses in songs such as What If I Was Nothing, This Probably Won’t End Well, Two Weeks, The Last Time, Chiron and This Calling, or simply go to the band’s Spotify profile to stream each one of those albums in full.

However, in 2015 Jeanne announced her amicable departure from All That Remains in order to pursue personal interests (and by that I mean playing bass and backing vocals in Crossing Rubicon alongside her husband), being replaced by Aaron “Bubble” Patrick, formerly of the band Bury Your Dead. At the time of her departure form the band, Jeanne commented, “It is with heavy heart that I depart from All That Remains. I’ve decided to follow my heart and pursue other opportunities in life. I truly appreciate the amazing experiences and the great fans over the last decade. I wish ATR all the best going forward.” She said that just like in every band there are ups and downs to everything, and in that particular case the negatives started to outweigh the good, which drove her away eventually. She does take away growing as a person and as a musician, though, becoming more outgoing and overcoming insecurities, standing up for herself and getting the courage to follow her own path.

Now as the bass player and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne seems to be enjoying a lot more freedom in her bass playing style and in contributing to the band’s writing process, having already recorded with the band their two full-length albums so far, those being  No Less than Everything, in 2016, and more recently Seeing Red, in 2019. Formed in 2009 in Bristol, Connecticut, in the United States, and having their name inspired by the expression “Crossing (the) Rubicon”, which means to pass a point of no return after Julius Caesar’s crossing of the river Rubicon in Italy in 49 BC, the band offers a molten blend of 80’s hooks and musicianship with modern rock power and relevance, having already opened for renowned acts including Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Pop Evil and many more. Hence, if you want to enjoy some of the creations by Crossing Rubicon, simply search for them on Spotify or watch their official videos on YouTube for songs like The Fallen, Who’s Gonna Save You, I Will Remain and Seeing Red.

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Apart from her career with All That Remains and Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne is also featured in several other bands and projects, all hailing form the United States. For instance, she has been the bass player for a Mathcore band called Blood Has Been Shed, known for having two members of Killswitch Engage (Howard Jones and Justin Foley) in the band, since 2012, but nothing official has been released with Jeanne on the band so far (and no one knows if that will ever happen). She’s also a member of a Heavy Metal band called Piercing Immortality under the moniker Jeanne Anarchy, also with her husband Scotty Anarchy on vocals as mentioned before, playing bass and backing vocals on their 2018 EP Systematic Global Poisoning and on their 2019 EP Risen from the Ashes, and in her years before All That Remains she was the bassist for Metalcore band Ligeia, for Technical Metalcore band Light Is the Language (having recorded with them the EP The Void Falls Silent, in 2001), and for Metalcore band The Acacia Strain in 2003. In addition, you can also find Jeanne as the guest bassist for Stoner/Sludge Metal band Oxen in their 2015 album The Vanishing.

As any true rock and metal fan, Jeanne has a lot of different influences and idols regarding not only her playing style but also her looks. She said that apart from her past in the Hardcore scene, which has obviously had an impact on her style, she also considers both of Tool bass players (Paul D’Amour and Justin Chancellor) and Jason Newsted-era Metallica as her biggest influences in music. Furthermore, although she has always looked up to rock stars with larger than life personas like David Bowie, being a little envious of all his bright and vibrant hair colors, she said she’s never done anything too extreme with her appearance, considering herself more of a Janis Joplin than a Lady Gaga, and when asked about which bands or artists she enjoys listening to, she mentioned amazing options from the rock and metal scene including Hatebreed, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths and so on. Her equipment is also a very important part of her career, and you can see her in different stages of her life using several ass-kicking pieces such as a black cherry Spector Legend 4 Classic four-string bass with EMG 35DC active pickups and Ampeg SVT bass amplifiers, a Soundgear 4-strings and an ARTB100 four-string (the latter of which can be seen in the music video for the song Hold On), Orange amplifiers and Omega speaker cabinets, Tiny Terror 1000 watt, Boss tuner, Darkglass B7K, and Shure wireless system.

Touring is obviously a crucial piece in the career of any rock and metal musician, and it couldn’t be any different than that with Jeanne. In one of her interviews, she talked about how important it is not only to put on a great show on stage, but also to hang out with the other bands, to meet new people, to do great interviews and to convince people who are seeing the band for the first time how great their music is. Apart from festivals like Graspop and Ozzfest, where not only she said she had an amazing time and was able to watch performances by bands she enjoys a lot like Dragonforce, Jeanne mentioned that she would like to return to festivals such as Download and Rock Am Ring, and to explore a little more countries like Japan. She also said that playing a lot of shows in a short span of time plus all the traveling can be a little exhausting, but that in the end she feels great after seeing so many happy fans attending the concerts. Moreover, in order to stay fit and put on a kick-ass show on stage, Jeanne and her bandmates said that they try to stay in shape by running a lot (around the parking lots), going to the gym and cooking on the bus (instead of eating junk food), usually having much healthier eating habits than if they were all at home.

Our dauntless bassist also has some interesting thoughts about the current state of metal in the digital age we’re all living in, saying that although metal is alive and kicking, a lot of people refused to change and got stuck in their old mentalities, fighting and ignoring downloading music instead of finding a way to use it as an advantage. However, if there’s one thing that annoys Jeanne is the fact that people keep taking pictures, recording everything and posting that online when her band is playing live instead of enjoying the show. “What does get annoying is people just staring at their phones when we’re playing and I wonder, are we doing our jobs right? What can we do to get their attention? We’re there to put on a show and that’s our focus,” complained our skillful bass player, and we must all agree with her that such behavior is indeed quite disturbing. Jeanne also talked about the fact she’s been doing a lot more vocals both in the studio and on stage, both clean and harsh ones, something that she used to be insecure about and learned how to overcome by practicing and preparing until making herself more confident.

Both Jeanne and her husband Scott have mentioned in several interviews about their fight against alcoholism, their struggles and how they managed to get clean and sober, something both are really proud of. Jeanne said that she used to drink to numb herself from things that were bothering her, and that after some time she talked to Scott about sobriety and they inspired each other to get sober and stay sober, having a reason to want to wake up every single day, open their eyes and live life together to the fullest. In addition, she mentioned their involvement with Road Recovery, an organization founded in 1998 that helps addiction through music, which is very inspiring and humbling from a sobriety standpoint, and we must all celebrate everything the couple has accomplished in their lives and career by getting clean and, therefore, having more energy, creativity and focus to apply to their music. Hence, if you want to know more about Jeanne, her career, her relationship with Scott, her adventures on the road and so on, go check some of her interviews on YouTube such as this one at Carolina Rebellion in 2013, this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2008, and this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2009, among several others, where you can see why Jeanne is not only a badass bass player, but also an awesome human being and a fantastic metalhead.

Crossing Rubicon’s Official Facebook page
Crossing Rubicon’s Official Twitter
Crossing Rubicon’s Official YouTube channel
Piercing Immortality’s Official Facebook page
Piercing Immortality’s Official Instagram
Piercing Immortality’s Official Twitter

“I think that Metal is alive. It seems that people are stuck in mentalities and refuse to change. The industry fought and ignored downloading rather than finding a way to make it work for them. Also because of the Internet, people think they are going to be overnight stars—that goes for TV also. No one wants to put their nose to grind, but we will. We believe in ourselves and we believe in the scene.” – Jeanne Sagan

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2020

“Rock stars come and go. Musicians play until they die.” – Eddie Van Halen

What can I say about the year of 2020? No words can describe all the pain, fear, anxiety, losses and struggles we all had to endure during what’s going to be sadly remembered as the worst year of our modern times. We saw the rise of coronavirus, which had a huge negative impact on pretty much everything and everyone we know, with millions of hardworking people unfortunately losing their jobs, concerts being cancelled, restaurants and other businesses being shut down, people getting stuck in their homes and having to deal with psychological issues like depression, and more important than that, with countless lives, and in some cases people really close to us, people we love, losing their battle against such horrible disease. We also witnessed a gut-wrenching surge in racism against black people all over the world, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in the never-ending fight for freedom and justice, trying to make our world a better place for everyone. And last but not least, we lost so many iconic figures it’s hard to list everyone without crying a little. We lost sports titans such as Kobe Bryant, Diego Maradona and Paolo Rossi, amazing, talented actors and actresses including our beloved “Black Panther” Chadwick Boseman, the original “Darth Vader” David Prowse and the unstoppable Mad Max’s villain “Immortal Joe” Hugh Keays-Byrne, and music geniuses like Rush’s unparalleled Neil Peart and one of the best and most revolutionary guitarists of all time, the one and only Eddie Van Halen. May their souls rest in peace.

However, although we might be living such difficult and stressful times, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with the development of effective vaccines that will certainly put our society back on track sooner than later, giving us all some hope and pointing to a much better future for all of us. In the meantime, I guess one thing that we metalheads have been doing (and will always do) throughout such shitty year is using the music we love to face all of our problems and fears with our heads and horns high in the sky, never giving up nor giving in. Having said that, I’ll leave you with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2020, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, showing to us all that it doesn’t matter what happens with the world, heavy music will always stand strong. From the most primeval form of Black Metal to fast and electrifying Power Metal, from a beyond amazing soaring numbers of women kicking ass in an array of styles such as Doom, Symphonic and Death Metal to the most underground Atmospheric Black Metal entities you can think of, from our good old Rock N’ Roll to modern-day Alternative Metal, music prevailed above darkness, pain and hate, and that’s how it will be forever and ever. Enjoy our list of top metal albums for this (terrible) year that’s coming to an end, and let’s keep raising our horns and banging our heads together in 2021!

1. Primal Fear – Metal Commando (REVIEW)
Join Primal Fear’s undisputed rock brigade and become a true metal commando to the sound of their breathtaking new album.
Best song of the album: Infinity

2. Trivium – What The Dead Men Say (REVIEW)
It’s time to listen to what these four (un)dead men from Orlando, Florida have to say in their thrilling new opus.
Best song of the album: Amongst the Shadows & the Stones

3. Testament – Titans Of Creation (REVIEW)
The titans of Thrash Metal are back in action with another technical, melodic and absolutely pulverizing album of extreme music.
Best song of the album: Night of the Witch

4. Lamb of God – Lamb of God (REVIEW)
Re-energized and unrelenting, Lamb of God are finally back after five years with their pulverizing eighth studio album.
Best song of the album: Gears

5. Sepultura – Quadra (REVIEW)
A sensational concept album based on Quadrivium embraced by a fusion of Thrash, Groove and Progressive Metal.
Best song of the album: Guardians of Earth

6. Onslaught – Generation Antichrist (REVIEW)
These UK veterans are ready to set the world on fire once again with one of the most ferocious Thrash Metal albums of the year.
Best song of the album: Religiousuicide

7. Ecclesia – De Ecclesiæ Universalis (REVIEW)
This army of French inquisitors stands strong on their crusade against every doom heretic with their incendiary debut album.
Best song of the album: Antichristus

8. Eleine – Dancing In Hell (REVIEW)
Time for us all to dance in the fires of hell to the sound of the striking new opus by this unstoppable Swedish Symphonic Metal group.
Best song of the album: Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.)

9. Grave Digger – Fields of Blood (REVIEW)
Grave Digger celebrate 40 years of their undisputed Heavy Metal on a journey back to the vastness of the Scottish Highlands.
Best song of the album: Freedom

10. Konvent – Puritan Masochism (REVIEW)
A dark, primeval and stunning fusion of Death and Doom Metal masterfully crafted by four unrelenting women hailing from Denmark.
Best song of the album: Puritan Masochism

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Genus Ordinis Dei – Glare of Deliverance (REVIEW)
12. Paradise Lost – Obsidian (REVIEW)
13. Axel Rudi Pell – Sign of the Times (REVIEW)
14. Raventale – Planetarium II (REVIEW)
15. Hellsmoke – 2020 (REVIEW)
16. My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion (REVIEW)
17. Burning Witches – Dance with the Devil (REVIEW)
18. Naglfar – Cerecloth (REVIEW)
19. Scarlet Aura – Stormbreaker (REVIEW)
20. Thundermother – Heat Wave (REVIEW)

And how about we also pay a tribute to the bands that released short and sweet albums that condensed pretty much the same amount of electricity, rage and intricacy than any of the full-length albums from the list above? That’s why we’re also going to provide you as usual our Top 10 EP’s of 2020 for you to see that size doesn’t really matter.

1. Front – Antichrist Militia (REVIEW)
2. Malfested – Shallow Graves (REVIEW)
3. Tøronto – Under Siege (REVIEW)
4. Soul Dissolution – Winter Contemplations (REVIEW)
5. Lutharö – Wings of Agony (REVIEW)
6. Póstuma – Moralis (REVIEW)
7. Black Sun – Silent Enemy (REVIEW)
8. MĀRA – Self​-​Destruct. Survive. Thrive! (REVIEW)
9. Serocs – Vore (REVIEW)
10. Invocation – Attunement to Death (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2020? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2020 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2021!

And before we go, let’s bang our heads one last time in 2020 with a classic Christmas song by an amazing Romanian band that loves Heavy Metal from the bottom of their hearts, pointing to much better times ahead for all of us! Enjoy!

Album Review – Waking Dream / Peculiarities of Evolution!!! EP (2020)

Hailing from Russia, this talented quartet is ready to put you to dance to the sound of their upbeat new EP of pure, unfiltered rock music.

Formed in Moscow, Russia in 2012 by guitarist Aleksandr Imaykin and singer Olga Karbusheva, Waking Dream are a hardworking band that plays an eclectic mix of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll and Punk Rock with high-pitched female vocals as the icing on the cake, influenced by renowned acts the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Nightwish, Ramones, Toy Dolls and Metallica. After releasing four full-length albums and two EP’s, it’s time for the band formed of the aforementioned Olga Karbusheva and Aleksandr Imaykin together with Mikhail Romanov on the guitars and Aleksandr Kislyakov on backing vocals and harmonica to kick some ass once again with their sixth release, the vibrant EP entitled Peculiarities of Evolution!!!, an upbeat album produced by Ivan Alyoshin and displaying a distinguished cover art by Russian artist Dasha Samsonova that will put you to dance to the sound of its four tracks filled with electricity, passion, rebelliousness and, more important than all that, pure, unfiltered rock music.

Featuring guest violinist Inna Hinkiladze, whose violin makes a beautiful paradox with the low-tuned bass by Aleksandr Imaykin, A Hit Song quickly morphs into a classic Rock N’ Roll song with Punk Rock, Ska and even some Folk influences, inviting us all to dance together with Olga and the boys, whereas the guitars by Mikhail and Aleksandr Imaykin bring a touch of 60’s and 70’s rock music to their core sonority in Broken Heart, while Aleksandr Kislyakov kicks some ass with his incendiary harmonica, resulting in a straightforward, no shenanigans tune that will undoubtedly put a smile on your face. Olga keeps embellishing the airwaves with her delicate but piercing vocals in Gift Frenzy, showcasing a great job done by Aleksandr Imaykin on drums and the trademark guitar solos by Mikhail Romanov, feeling modern and vibrant from start to finish, and let’s hit the dance floor one last time with the groovy Rock N’ Roll feast Peculiarities of Evolution, spearheaded by the unstoppable beats by Aleksandr Imaykin while the harmonica by Aleksandr Kislyakov adds a sense of nostalgia to the overall result.

In a nutshell, albeit extremely short in duration with just a little over 11 minutes of music, Peculiarities of Evolution!!!, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, is another amazing stone in the Rock N’ Roll path paved by Waking Dream in their already solid career, showing us all the quartet will stand strong in their quest for good rock and metal music for many years to come. Hence, in order to sow them your support and inspire them to keep moving forward, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, on Instagram and on VKontakte, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, official videos and live footage, and above all that, purchase a copy of their fun and dancing new EP from their BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. Peculiarities of Evolution!!! might not be a revolution in music (well, that has never been the band’s goal anyway), but it’s indeed an extremely well-done and thrilling album of Rock N’ Roll, and in the end that’s all that really matters and, of course, everything a true rocker needs.

Best moments of the album: Broken Heart.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. A Hit Song 3:12
2. Broken Heart 2:40
3. Gift Frenzy 3:03
4. Peculiarities of Evolution 2:32

Band members
Olga Karbusheva – lead vocals
Mikhail Romanov – rhythm and lead guitars
Aleksandr Imaykin – rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards, drums
Aleksandr Kislyakov – backing vocals, harmonica

Guest musician
Inna Hinkiladze – violin on “A Hit Song”

Album Review – Code Noir / Jack of All Spades EP (2020)

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, this dynamic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo returns with a band new EP featuring five rockin’ tunes that speak of the darkness of the human psyche.

Hailing from Greece and Sweden, Code Noir are a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal duo formed in 2015 originally as a four-piece band comprised of Michael T on vocals and guitars, Moth also on the guitars, Adam Chapman on bass and Vaart Pilgrem on drums, with each member bringing their background and experience from a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from theatrical music to Punk Rock to Extreme Metal. However, shortly before the band entered the studio, Moth and Vaart left the band, leaving Michael and Adam to continue the recordings of their debut mini-album Burn Card by themselves. Now in 2020 the duo strikes back with their second EP, entitled Jack of All Spades, showcasing the project’s musical evolution by moving away from the punk influences to a much more rock and metal focused sound. Mixed by Adam himself at Black Dawn Studios in Sweden, mastered by Tobben Eriksson, and featuring a classy artwork by VisionBlack, Jack of All Spades brings to the listener five songs that speak of the darkness of the human psyche, drawing from principal songwriter Michael’s experiences and insight as a professional psychologist, therefore inviting us all to join the duo in this thrilling and psychological quest.

Michael and Adam begin their metallic feast with the classic The Devil Within, with both rockers slashing their strings in a thrilling Hard Rock manner while Michael’s 80’s-inspired voice is effectively supported by the backing vocals by guest Kiran Surana. Then putting the pedal to the metal the dynamic duo blasts the high-octane Supersonic, showcasing old school lyrics roared by Michael (“Slave / To everything that you see / Each time you look in the mirror / You run around / Like a rat in a maze / With space and time erased”) while the music remains as exciting as our good old Heavy Metal requires; and Kiran appears once again as a guest in the frantic Words Never Said, with Adam slashing his guitar in great fashion, firing razor-edged riffs and classy solos, while Michael not only thrives on vocals but his thunderous bass adds an extra touch of heaviness to the music. After such powerful tune, acoustic guitars and a somber atmosphere are the main ingredients in Monarch, a very melodic fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock crafted by Code Noir featuring guest guitarist Lukky Sparxx, who also returns to support the duo in Crucify Their Way, a very entertaining and electrifying metal extravaganza where both Michael and Adam are on fire from start to finish, all boosted by the song’s rebellious lyrics (“Live, fight to die, defy the opposition / Break through the control that builds your inhibition / Hate, steal the lies, deny their false religion / Annihilate the laws that waste upon your vision”).

In summary, Jack of All Spades, which is available in its entirety on YouTube, is not just a solid and entertaining display of rock and metal by Code Noir, but it also gives us fans a much better idea of the direction the band is taking with their music and, consequently, pointing to a very interesting future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the boys on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously to purchase their honest and fun EP from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the music by Code Noir is much more than “just” good Rock N’ Roll, making us think thanks to their austere lyrics and, as a consequence, proving once again how rock and metal music will always have an important role in our lives.

Best moments of the album: Supersonic and Crucify Their Way.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Leviaphonic Records

Track listing
1. The Devil Within 4:20
2. Supersonic 5:31
3. Words Never Said 3:46
4. Monarch 4:20
5. Crucify Their Way 3:55

Band members
Michael T – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass
Adam Chapman – lead guitar

Guest musicians
Kiran Surana – backing vocals on tracks “The Devil Within” and “Words Never Said”
Lukky Sparxx – lead guitar on tracks “Monarch” and “Crucify Their Way”

Album Review – AC/DC / PWRϟUP (2020)

The greatest Hard rock band of all time returns after the most turbulent period in their career with a brand new (and absolutely powered up) album as a tribute to the deceased Malcom Young.

“This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother. It’s a tribute for him like Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott.” – Angus Young, on PWRϟUP

Following the not-so-good 2014 album Rock or Bust and several internal issues with the band, including the passing of co-founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young in 2017, Australian Hard Rock titans AC/DC seem to be back on track after such turbulent period in their career with the excellent PWRϟUP, also known as Power Up (or even PWR/UP if you prefer), their sixteenth internationally released studio album and the seventeenth to be released in Australia. Featuring a minimalist but sharp artwork by renowned London, UK-based CG artist Ben Ib, and with every track being credited to the band’s masterminds Angus and Malcolm Young (as Angus raided the AC/DC vault of unreleased songs to record the album), PWRϟUP not only marks the return of vocalist Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, all of whom left AC/DC before, during or after the supporting tour for their previous album, rejoining Angus and his other brother Stevie Young on rhythm guitar, but it’s also their first album since 1985’s Fly on the Wall to not include a track containing the word “rock” in the title and the first album since 1988’s Blow Up Your Video to not include a title-track.

As soon as the opening track Realize begins, you already know it’s classic AC/DC right from Angus’ very first note, or in other words, a good old Rock N’ Roll tune perfect for hitting the road where Phil is precise as usual on drums. Moreover,  it’s indeed a true pleasure seeing Brian back where he belongs, which is also the case in Rejection, slightly slower but just as electrifying as the opening tune, a song that will please all fans of the band for sure showcasing Angus and Stevie in perfect sync, not to mention the spot-on, old school backing vocals by Stevie and Cliff. Then we have Shot in the Dark, the AC/DC we’ve all been waiting for, going straight to the point with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements. Needless to say, Angus is once again flawless with his unique riffs and solos throughout the entire song, whereas Through the Mists of Time will take you on a journey back to the 80’s, led by Brian’s trademark raspy vocals and Phil’s steady beats. Put differently, don’t listen to it at home, but only in your car on your favorite highway, alright? Anyway, in the beautifully titled Kick You When You’re Down the music keeps up with what it “promises” in the song’s name, bringing to our ears the strident riffage by Angus and Stevie supported by the heavy kitchen by Cliff and Phil; and sounding like it was taken from one of their classic albums, Witch’s Spell is an amazing tune where Brian is yet again a beast on vocals, while Angus makes sure we keep banging our heads and raising our horns in the name of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll.

Speeding things up and turning up the heat, AC/DC offer our avid ears the electrifying Demon Fire, the epitome of their undisputed Rock N’ Roll that will make your hearts beat faster during their live performances while Angus mesmerizes us as usual with his devilish riffage. In Wild Reputation they get back to a more classic sonority, with all band members providing Brian exactly what he needs to deliver more of his unique vocals, followed by No Man’s Land, by far the weakest of all songs in Power Up. It’s still classic AC/DC with some Southern Rock influences, but it gets tiresome and falls flat after a while, with not even Angus being inspired in this case. Systems Down offers our ears another round of their trademark riffs, beats and truck driver-inspired vocals, keeping the album at a very good level of adrenaline (albeit not as awesome as the rest of the album), not to mention how effective the backing vocals are in supporting Brian, while the second to last explosion of Rock N’ Roll by Brian, Angus & Co. comes in the form of Money Shot, where Angus is not only amazing with his riffs, but his solo is also mesmerizing, and with Cliff bringing his dosage of groove through his wicked bass lines. Lastly, presenting a darker and more badass sound, Code Red is a great option for banging our heads nonstop together with Angus while he slashes his guitar in great fashion, resulting in a beer-drinking tune that puts a rockin’ ending to such old school album.

If you’re a longtime fan of AC/DC, you can go ahead and purchase your favorite copy of the album by clicking HERE or HERE without even listening to a single song from it, but in case you want to do a test-drive before making a decision you can stream PWRϟUP in full on YouTube and on Spotify, also keeping updated will all things AC/DC on Facebook and on Instagram, and listening to more of their undisputed rock music on YouTube and on Spotify. Most bands wouldn’t survive such dark times experienced by AC/DC since 2014, but who are we to question the power of the riff by Mr. Angus Young? I have absolutely no idea if PWRϟUP will be their last album ever, if Angus had to release it in the memory of his deceased brother before calling it quits, or if it’s just the beginning of a new era for the band. All I know is that PWRϟUP rocks, and if that’s by any chance their farewell studio album, let’s say Angus and the boys are going down in style, making Malcom really proud of his family wherever he might be.

Best moments of the album: Realize, Shot in the Dark, Witch’s Spell and Demon Fire.

Worst moments of the album: No Man’s Land and Systems Down.

Released in 2020 Sony Music

Track listing
1. Realize 3:37
2. Rejection 4:06
3. Shot in the Dark 3:06
4. Through the Mists of Time 3:32
5. Kick You When You’re Down 3:10
6. Witch’s Spell 3:42
7. Demon Fire 3:30
8. Wild Reputation 2:54
9. No Man’s Land 3:39
10. Systems Down 3:12
11. Money Shot 3:05
12. Code Red 3:31

Band members
Brian Johnson – lead vocals
Angus Young – lead guitar
Stevie Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals
Phil Rudd – drums, percussion

Album Review – Hvalross / Cold Dark Rain (2020)

Rocking since they were teenagers in punk, metal, prog and rock bands, this fantastic Dutch four-piece act is ready to kick some ass armed with their electrifying debut opus.

Rocking since they were teenagers in punk, metal, prog and rock bands, Roosendaal, Netherlands-based Hard Rock/Stoner Metal act Hvalross, which is by the way the Norwegian word for “walrus” (and don’t ask me why they opted for such distinct name for their band), was born in 2018 after lead singer Gerben van Oosterhout, guitarist Barry Veeke, bassist Maarten Vermeulen and drummer Tristan de Rijk decided to end their three-year musical break to make great hard rocking music together. Heavily influenced by bands such as Mastodon, Judas Priest, Gojira, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but of course with their own Dutch twist, Hvalross have just unleashed upon humanity their debut album, entitled Cold Dark Rain, offering fans of Doom, Stoner and Southern Metal a very good reason for raising their horns and bang their heads to the sound of nine original, heavy-as-hell and groovy compositions in the span of 35 intense minutes.

And it’s time for the quartet to kill in the opening tune Death From Above, a headbanging extravaganza led by the classic riffage by Barry and the pounding beats by Tristan, or in other words, a fusion of old school Hard Rock the likes of AC/DC with heavier and groovier styles that will please all fans of our good old Rock N’ Roll. In Trenchfeet the band sounds clearly inspired by 80’s Heavy Metal infused with Stoner and Doom Metal elements, with Gerben sounding truly epic on vocals supported by the spot-on backing vocals by Maarten. There are no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, it’s straightforward rock music made in the Netherlands for our total delight, and they keep venturing through the realms of Southern Rock and Metal in Finally Repent, where Barry and Maarten make a dynamic stringed duo while Gerben keeps singing with tons of passion. Then I Shot My Best Friend presents a curious name for a high-octane feast of metallic riffs, low-tuned bass jabs and frantic beats, sounding and feeling like an European version of Mastodon with Barry going full progressive on the guitar, while Tristan doesn’t let the level of energy go down not even for a single second.

There’s more of their solid and electrifying rock music in Oblivion, bringing to our ears another round of Gerben’s classic Hard Rock vocal lines accompanied by the groovy bass by Maarten, therefore keeping the album as vibrant as it can be; followed by The Owl, a more melodious and psychedelic tune by Hvalross that will take you on a journey through the 70’s and 80’s to the sound of their strident riffage, rumbling bass and classic beats, with Tristan once again stealing the spotlight with his refined technique. As I Am is a truly neck-breaking Stoner Rock and Metal exhibit by the quartet, blending the groove by Mastodon with the obscurity of Black Sabbath and sounding very detailed from start to finish, with Gerben kicking ass yet again on vocals, whereas the quartet puts the pedal to the metal in the thrilling Playing The Big Game, presenting nonstop sonic action by all band members with Gerben’s vocals being boosted by the incendiary riffs by Barry and the crushing drums by Tristan. Lastly, a more sinister side of the band is showcased in the closing tune Geryon, which despite being another solid and detailed composition it’s not as electrifying as the rest of the album. Maarten’s thunderous bass will punch in the head mercilessly, though, enhancing the song’s impact considerably.

After all is said and done, we must all admit Gerben, Barry, Marteen and Tristan were absolutely precise throughout the entire album, available for a full listen on Spotify, blending elements from all of their rock and metal heroes while at the same time crafting something unique that sounds like Hvalross and nothing else. Hence, as we all love when a band is capable of uniting their passion for heavy music with endless creativity and feeling like the guys from Hvalross did in Cold Dark Rain, let’s show our true support to them by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, and obviously by purchasing their newborn opus from their own BandCamp page. And may the walruses of Hard Rock and Stoner Metal keep hammering our heads with their amazing music with countless more albums through the years.

Best moments of the album: Death From Above, I Shot My Best Friend and Playing The Big Game.

Worst moments of the album: Geryon.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Death From Above 3:52
2. Trenchfeet 4:00
3. Finally Repent 3:28
4. I Shot My Best Friend 2:58
5. Oblivion 3:48
6. The Owl 4:02
7. As I Am 3:31
8. Playing The Big Game 3:45
9. Geryon 5:56

Band members
Gerben van Oosterhout – vocals
Barry Veeke – guitars
Maarten Vermeulen – bass, backing vocals
Tristan de Rijk – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Madame Mayhem

Let the Mayhem begin!

As the year of 2020 has been nothing but pure chaos and mayhem, how about we celebrate the month of November and the fact we’re getting closer and closer to the end of such unique year in the history of mankind with our multi-talented metal chick of the month, the one and only Madame Mayhem, frontwoman of her own solo band Madame Mayhem? I’m sure you’ll enjoy knowing a little about her career, her personal life and, above all that, rocking like there’s no tomorrow to her electrifying and meaningful compositions, putting you to dance wherever you are even if it’s your own living room during this never-ending quarantine. Having said that, grab a cold beer, raise your horns and let the Mayhem begin!

Born on January 24, 1989 in Tenafly, one of the best places to live in New Jersey, in the United States, really close to the rich and multicultural Manhattan, Madame Mayhem, whose real name is Natalie Ann Cohen, began her musical training at the Manhattan School Of Music and went on to Frost School Of Music at the University Of Miami, where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, double majoring in Classical Opera and Musical Theatre, in three years. Before that, when she was still a little kid, she said her mom used to play music in the car when she drove her around to try to get her to nap, playing mostly grunge, which Mayhem’s likes to joke it was her “baby music”, making a big impression on her and helping develop her taste for heavier music as she grew older. Always having the will to perform, sing, write and create music, she said her nickname Madame Mayhem was actually created by her parents, meaning she needed to take control and rise above the “Mayhem” around her, taking charge of her own anxiety, hurt and frustrations, and then channeling all that towards her pulse-pounding anthems, instantly connecting with anyone who has struggled.

Madame Mayhem actually began her professional career back in 2011 when she was featured on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio New Discovered and Uncovered Artist chart, before opening for Buckcherry’s Live Nation tour at The Sands Casino, already creating some buzz in North America and internationally. Having already performed all across the United States in famous venues such as The Roxy, The Viper Room, Bowery Ballroom, Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room and the Bluebird Café, she has also headlined the VH1’s “That Metal Show” annual Christmas Party, performed on Shiprocked Cruise in 2017, scheduled to perform at Sunfest in 2017, and has recently performed on national tours with renowned and respected metal artists such as Doro and Mushroomhead. Not only that, owner of a ravishing looks that blends the colors of goth, glam and nuances of other rock styles, our beloved diva has also been covered in both fashion and rock music media including Aquarian Weekly, Brave Words, Fashion Style, Gannett, Guitar World, KNAC, Loudwire, New Noise, Revolver and The Day In Rock, among others, and has also been featured in international publications like Sweden Rock Magazine, Aardschok Magazine, Rock Hard Magazine France and Metal Hammer Magazine Spain.

Musically speaking, she has already collaborated with a vast array of renowned rock and metal artists and bands such as Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (KoRn, KXM), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Russ Parrish (“Satchel” from Steel Panther), Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio), John Moyer (Disturbed), Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia), Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and more, having also shared the stage with amazing bands the likes of Sevendust, Memphis May Fire, Fozzy and Doro. There’s a very good reason for all those connections with prominent names of the rock and metal scene, which is obviously the high quality of the music found in her three official albums released so far, those being her 2012 debut effort White Noise, produced by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Mark Hudson, her sophomore album Now You Know, from 2015, and her most recent album Ready For Me, released in 2017, always offering the listener a high-octane, fresh fusion of  Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Alternative Rock and Metal.

Apart from those full-length installments, Madame Mayhem has also released a few more recent singles, those being her cover version for Paul McCartney’s My Valentine, in 2018, Broken, in 2019, and Breaking Down and an amazing cover version for Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge now in 2020. Regarding her rendition of one of the biggest classics by Aerosmith, she said that “earlier in my career I covered Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge during our live shows. We had recorded a version, but it stayed in the Mayhem vault of songs completed, yet never released…until now! During these times, I feel this song is especially relevant. I wanted to give fans and fellow music lovers alike, a little something to rock out to during these strange and difficult days which we are all experiencing together.” Hence, if you want to keep on rocking together with Madame Mayhem, you can also enjoy her official videos and live footage for songs such as Monster, a cover version for Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited, a live acoustic version of Broken, as well as Ready For Me, All Around The World, Left For Dead, Dead Will Rise and Save Me.

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Having always wanted to become a singer, a musician and a performer, therefore never having a plan B in life, Madame Mayhem has a very eclectic taste in music, looking up to and showing her deepest respect and admiration for countless artists, as for example Chris Cornell, whose incredible voice really got her and still does, and Alanis Morissette, a strong female artist who really impacted her as a child. According to Mayhem herself, Incubus was her first real rock concert, with every live show coming with awesome memories in her humble opinion. In addition, when asked about which artists she would love to collaborate on a song or album, she said she has been fortunate enough to already have collaborated with so many incredible musicians and artists, but some would be Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Korn, Halestorm, Evanescence and Sevendust, among many, many others. Also, she mentioned that opening up for Sevendust, Fozzy and Doro was an amazing experience, learning different things from each band she has toured with.

Regarding her life on the road, she mentioned that an average day on tour is not as glamorous as one might think, but when you’re surrounded by your band and team that all have each other’s backs every day is fun and great. When on tour, Madame Mayhem tries to interact with her fans as much as possible both on stage and after the concert is over, also trying to stay connected with them through all her social media profiles. Furthermore, in order to stay healthy while on tour, she said she tries to rest whenever possible, never partying too hard so that she can preserve her voice and put on the best show she can each night. However, as we’re all aware of, music concerts are pretty much nonexistent nowadays due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as bands cannot play live and sell merch to their fans, Mayhem said that apart from her social media, she’s more than happy to sell her products through her own webstore to keep her fans entertained, also making use of live streaming platforms like countless other bands around the world to keep the fires of rock and metal music alive while music concerts and festivals continue to be prohibited worldwide.

Still talking about the pandemic, she said that due to the fact she lives in New York she still spends most of her time in her apartment, having set up a small makeshift home studio and writing music, as well as playing some live cover songs for her Youtube page and doing some virtual festivals. Mayhem tries to stay active by doing cardio outside when she can and Les Mills’ Body Combat in her living room, saying those workouts have really helped keep her sane during such difficult times, and of course spending time home with her family has also been great. She even said that because of the extra time she has in her hands right now she was the one who put together the official lyric video for Breaking Down and the music video for Livin’ On The Edge, showcasing another one of her many talents as a musician and an artist. That’s also related to her belief as to how someone can become a better musician or singer, commenting that anyone should keep working hard and practicing as much as possible, complementing by saying that she’s an example of that by having periodic vocal training sessions, trying to practice every single day, and learning new things within the realm of her career as a musician and a singer, something she considers extremely important.

When asked about how she feels about streaming services like Spotify, Madame Mayhem said that although she has always been a fan of releasing full-length physical CD’s that you can hold and that the artwork and the music together can tell a story from front to back, streaming music has made it easier for people to discover new music and new artists, and I guess we must all agree with her on that as without streaming most independent and underground bands would have a hard time trying to spread their music everywhere. That also includes streaming of programs and movies, which in this case are very beneficial for the viewers who can enjoy an endless variety of shows and movies, just like what Madame Mayhem herself likes to do during her downtime. If you want to know more about our unstoppable vocalist and performer, you can find several online interviews with her such as this one to an online magazine named  Bionic Buzz,  where she talks about her latest releases, touring with Sevendust and Fozzy in Europe, and other fun stories. Having said all that, let’s keep banging our heads to our multi-talented artist and her incendiary Rock N’ Roll, and let the Mayhem continue forever and ever!

Madame Mayhem’s Official Facebook page
Madame Mayhem’s Official Instagram
Madame Mayhem’s Official Twitter
Madame Mayhem’s Official YouTube channel

“Music, singing, and performing have been my passions my entire life, and always will be.” – Madame Mayhem

Album Review – Memoira / Carnival of Creation (2020)

Combining a symphonic atmosphere with beautiful female vocals, this Finnish Gothic Metal outfit is back after a long hiatus with their third (and amazing) full-length album.

Known for their melancholic melodies and powerful guitar riffs, while combining a symphonic atmosphere with beautiful female vocals, Pori/Jyväskylä, Finland-based Symphonic Gothic Metal act Memoira is back after a long hiatus with their third full-length album, entitled Carnival Of Creation, the follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut album and to their 2013 release Memories, Tragedies, Masquerades. Featuring a dark and melancholic artwork by Finnish artist Niina Varheenmaa, Carnival of Creation is highly recommended for fans of the music by Kamelot, Nightwish and Delain, among others, showcasing all the passion for the darkest and most delicate side of metal by founding members Jani Puusa on the guitars and Lassi Nuolivaara on keyboards and piano, together with newcomers Annika Jalkanen (For Selena and Sin, Blood Region) on vocals, Hannu Lindholm (The Howl) on the guitars, Niko Laaksonen (Randy Reckless, Blowtorch, Rorschach) on bass and Matti Virtanen (Dark Tone Company, Concrete Words, Anomaly) on drums.

And the gentle piano notes by Lassi intertwined with the enfolding voice by Annika set the tone in the charming opening track Dawn of Time, a very pleasant fusion of Gothic Metal and modern Hard Rock to properly kick things off in Carnival of Creation, followed by the title-track Carnival of Creation, bringing forward circus-inspired keys, potent beats by Matti and a strong symphonic vibe, with the band’s guitar duo Jani and Hannu keeping the ambience as dense and electrifying as possible through their riffs. Then get ready for over six minutes of adrenaline and groove in Queen Element, where sheer poetry flows from Annika’s mesmerizing vocals (“First rays of the sun awake the sleeping land / The roots of the bitter earth shall guide her hand / She pours the wine, sweet taste of divine”) while Niko pounds his bass in great fashion accompanied by the kick-ass drums by Matti; whereas sounding like a symphonic and delicate 80’s-inspired version of the Melodic Metal played by Stratovarius, Hunter’s Moon will please all fans of Scandinavian metal, with Lassi being in absolute sync with Niko and Matti, therefore generating a bold and gripping atmosphere.

Dark Passenger is an embracing metal waltz by Memoira that will penetrate deep inside your soul, with Annika once again stealing the spotlight with her dark and gentle vocals while her bandmates provide her a beautiful wall of sounds perfect for her to shine even brighter; and clearly inspired by the trademark sonority by Nightwish, Shooting Star reminds me of one of their greatest classics “Nemo”, with Niko bringing the groove with his rumbling bass. Put differently, it couldn’t have sounded more pleasant nor more atmospheric, which is also the case in Snowglobe, another gentle composition by Memoira with Annika taking the lead once again accompanied by the melancholic and smooth piano notes by Lassi, resulting in a lecture in Gothic Rock and Metal made in Finland. Last but not least, it’s time for a thrilling fusion of Gothic and Symphonic Metal in Crimson Bride Symphony, where all band member are on absolute fire, especially Jani and Hannu with their precise riffage, while Annika invites us all to dance to Memoira’s top-of-the-line music.

In a nutshell, Carnival of Creation, which is available for a full listen on Spotify, will undoubtedly take Memoira back to the position they deserve in the world of heavy music as one of the most interesting and talented bands from the Finnish Gothic scene, and if you want to show your support to such amazing band from the land of ice and snow you should follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and of course grab your copy of the album from their own webstore, from the Inverse Store, from Apple Music or from Amazon. Memoira seem to be back for good, inviting us all to join them in their dark and atmospheric carnival of Symphonic Gothic Metal, with their new album pointing to a bright and thrilling future ahead of those skillful Finnish rockers.

Best moments of the album: Dawn of Time, Queen Element and Crimson Bride Symphony.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Dawn of Time 5:52
2. Carnival of Creation 5:54
3. Queen Element 6:12
4. Hunter’s Moon 5:15
5. Dark Passenger 6:16
6. Shooting Star 5:45
7. Snowglobe 6:50
8. Crimson Bride Symphony 7:50

Band members
Annika Jalkanen – vocals
Jani Puusa – guitar
Hannu Lindholm – guitar
Lassi Nuolivaara – keyboards, piano
Niko Laaksonen – bass
Matti Virtanen – drums