Album Review – Bolu2 Death / Spiral (2018)

Aiming at becoming a reference in the Spanish underground scene, this up-and-coming “Flamencore hate crew” returns with their most ambitious release to date.

Born in 2009 as a side project based on Heavy Metal and Hardcore with electronic music and flamenco influences, to the point their music can also be labeled as “Flamencore”, Spanish quartet Bolu2 Death has been making a name for themselves in their homeland since the release of their 2011 debut album, titled Aviate, becoming a reference in the Spanish underground scene. Following the success of Aviate, the band continued to pave their path with a series of steady releases, those being Mastica Tus Dientes in 2013, Dualitas in 2016 (which by the way was elected “Album Of The Year” by Metal Nacional, a Spanish written metal webzine), and their brand new album Spiral now in 2018, their most ambitious release to date which aims at establishing this “Flamencore hate crew” comprised of Mario Lérida on vocals, Jose Luis Corrales on the guitar, Juan Miguel Ramírez on bass and Francisco Llévenes on drums as one of the most important bands in modern-day Spanish Metal.

The alternative, futuristic intro (0) sets up the stage to the electrifying Nace, Crece y Muere (which would translate from Spanish as “all is born, grows and dies”), a high-end Alternative and Nu Metal tune made in Spain where the demented growls and distorted noises blasted by the band will darken your mind and inspire you to break your neck headbanging, with Francisco simply crushing his drums. We Bleed, We Fight is a rebellious anthem of Alternative Metal, showcasing rumbling and metallic sounds extracted by Juan Miguel from his bass while Mario delivers some truly enraged words (“No, I don´t wanna be like you, never / I don´t wanna be like you / We must look at the past but never look back / We bleed, we fight / Create the path of your life / We will try again, come on, come on”); whereas Smells Like 90´s Spirit is a tribute to all bands from the 90’s that helped shape up the band’s musicality (“It´s the time when we grew up / Music came into our lives / We will never forget the smell / Que nos hizo amar / Nothing will ever be the same / But it in my heart the world doesn’t change / I give thanks for all”) in the form of another feast of extreme and modernized sounds, this time led by the sharp guitar lines by Jose Luis.

Todo y Nada could easily be used as the soundtrack to a wicked underground movie, where the band turns their instruments into noise-making machines and with Mario shaping his vocals in an inhuman, eerie way, being perfect for fans of both modern Industrial Metal and the Nu Metal played by bands like Korn. Then we have Forgiveness, a slower and more introspective creation by Bolu2 Death that sounds too “30 Seconds to Mars” to me, lacking the band’s usual violence and speed, and the whimsical instrumental bridge (vortice), warming up our senses for  the low-tuned, thunderous Korn-inspired chant I Am Doomed, where the entire band brings forward a high level of aggressiveness, dementia and heaviness, especially Jose Luis and Juan Manuel with their strings, while Mario vociferates sheer insanity from start to finish.

I like how they mix English and Spanish throughout the entire album, and they do it in great fashion in what’s perhaps the best depiction of what they call “Flamencore”, the fun and fresh Los De Arriba, followed by Statues, less belligerent but still very melodic and modern, becoming a great choice for banging your head together with the band and displaying a strong performance by Mario with both his clean and harsh vocals. Bury Yourself is another introspective composition by the Spanish quartet led by the thunderous riffs and bass lines by their stringed duo, losing its grip after a while despite their solid job done to keep it heavy and vibrant; while A.R.R. is a melancholic, cinematic bridge with a dark narration guiding us to the obscurity and rage blasted in the title-track Spiral, featuring guest vocalist Juan A. Soler “Kantz” (Tenpel, De la Cuna a la Tumba, Delobos, The Holy), presenting a fantastic balance between clean vocals during the darkest parts and harsh gnarls during the heaviest and most visceral moments, offering the listener over six minutes of modern and thrilling metal music that flows into a wicked downward spiral ending.

In summary, Bolu2 Death, who can be found on Facebook and on YouTube, sounds more mature, modern and experimental than ever in Spiral, proving the band is not exaggerating when they say they want to become a reference in contemporary metal in their homeland. And if you want to show your true support to such distinct group, go buy your copy of Spiral from their own BandCamp or webstore, as well as from the Necromance Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and from iTunes. Bolu2 Death offer music that inspires us to bang our heads and dance at the same time in Spiral, and they do it in such great fashion they truly deserve the recognition they’ve been gaining in Spain and in the rest of the world.

Best moments of the album: Nace, Crece y Muere, We Bleed, We Fight, I Am Doomed and Spiral.

Worst moments of the album: Forgiveness and Bury Yourself.

Released in 2018 Necromance Records

Track listing
1. (0) 0:52
2. Nace, Crece y Muere 3:58
3. We Bleed, We Fight 3:57
4. Smells Like 90´s Spirit 4:34
5. Todo y Nada 4:41
6. Forgiveness 4:12
7. (vortice) 2:00
8. I Am Doomed 3:19
9. Los De Arriba 3:43
10. Statues 4:07
11. Bury Yourself 4:02
12. A.R.R. 2:10
13. Spiral (feat. Kantz) 6:21

Band members
Mario Lérida – vocals
Jose Luis Corrales – guitar
Juan Miguel Ramírez – bass
Francisco Llévenes – drums 

Guest musician
Juan A. Soler “Kantz” – vocals on “Spiral”

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Album Review – Kaos Reign / Epiphany (2018)

This American Groove Metal power trio returns with a brand new album showcasing more of their crushing guitars, gritty vocals and thrash and groove drumming.

Norwalk, Connecticut-based Groove Metal power trio Kaos Reign is here to assault your senses with their unique mix of Death, Doom, Groove And Thrash Metal, drawing influences from early Sepultura, Slayer, Death and Pantera. Formed in 2013 by lead singer and guitarist Bill Klopfer and drummer Chris Anderson, the band has been on a roll since their inception, having already released the full-length albums Embrace the Fire, in 2014, Screaming for Salvation, in 2016, and now in 2018 their brand new opus Epiphany, an album that continues to follow Kaos Reign’s path of crushing guitars, gritty vocals, and thrash and groove drumming, but at the same time showing an evolution in their music.

More refined and dynamic than its predecessors, and featuring a straightforward, dark artwork by the band’s own Bill Klopfer, Epiphany brings a band that’s in absolute sync, with Bill’s vocals sounding versatile while his riffs are memorable and captivating. Bassist Matt Duggan rounds out the sound with the execution of his distinctive bass lines, whereas Chris Anderson’s extreme drumming portrays confidence and style. With its lyrics touching on themes of inner struggle, determination to overcome, and societal issues, encouraging us to proceed with caution and understand the chaos that consumes us, Epiphany will certainly please fans of fast and extreme music who are also searching for gripping background stories that effectively spice up the music being played.

Wicked, dark sounds ignite a belligerent Groove Metal onslaught by Kaos Reign titled Selfish Backstabber, displaying a solid instrumental, endless electricity, and Bill screaming the song’s acid lyrics like there’s no tomorrow (“I watch your actions and learn / You preach your belief, you don’t believe / You taste so sour I yack / The aftertaste, post nasal burning”). Following such sharp start we have a hybrid of Thrash Metal and Hardcore named Dispatch the Threat, where Chris keeps smashing his drums, therefore inspiring us to slam into the pit, with the song’s cleaner vocals sounding like a metal version of Rage Against The Machine’s Zack de la Rocha; and Lethal Injection, bringing more rumbling and groovy sounds blasted by Bill and Matt while Chris continues to add intricacy to the band’s violent music. Put differently, this is an excellent choice for their live concerts and a fantastic addition to the playlist of anyone who loves modern Groove Metal. And the title-track Epiphany presents darker elements in its intro, suddenly morphing into another crushing metal attack and also displaying hints of Southern Metal, with all instruments together generating a hurricane of heavy sounds and tones.

The album loses its grip a little with the not-so-inspired tune The Criminal Inside, despite all aggressiveness showcased by the band and the always rhythmic beats by Chris, but fortunately in Parasite the band gets back on track with their flammable Groove Metal, with highlights to the thrilling guitar lines by Bill and to more of their austere and aggressive words (“Leeching off society / A parasite sucks the blood / Right from / the eye of the storm / The side effects / are visible”). Under the Knife is the most visceral and destructive of all songs, and therefore one of the top moments of the album, with all three band members extracting crushing sounds form their instruments, presenting a great sync between Bill’s riffs and Chris’ drums, not to mention the metallic bass lines by Matt, whereas in Everyone is Offended they slow down their dementia, but still sounding heavier than hell. In a nutshell, this is a mid-tempo, groovy creation by Kaos Reign where Bill keeps sending a not-so-happy message through his demented vocals.

And their slamming party goes on with another melodic and fierce song titled How Do You Sleep at Night?, where Chris doesn’t stop pounding his drums and Bill even brings forth some thrashier riffs the likes of Slayer and Testament. Punish Myself is perfect for headbanging like a maniac, blending the thunderous sounds of Groove Metal with the slashing insanity of Thrash Metal, with Bill smashing his strings mercilessly without forgetting to add harmony to the music; followed by Placebo, a lot less groovy and venturing through Southern Metal grounds, singing about the dangerous market of addictive legal drugs (“I am on a big dose / I feel so comforted and relaxed / Why live life sober? / When you can be prescribed happiness”). However, despite being a relatively good song, it definitely lacks the band’s characteristic speed. And Isolation Chamber, the most somber and wicked of all tracks, closes the album on a high (and obscure) note, even presenting elements from Doom Metal (especially on Chris’ beats and Bill’s vocals).

If you want to show your support to this talented and unrelenting American power trio, you can purchase Epiphany (which by the way is available for a full listen on Spotify) from the band’s own BandCamp page, from CD Baby or from Amazon, but as you already know the world of Kaos Reign is not limited to Epiphany only, which means you can get an overdose of their belligerent music by visiting them on Facebook, on YouTube, on ReverbNation and on SoundCloud. And I believe you might be asking yourself what will be the next step in the evolving path crafted by Kaos Reign, right? Well, let’s hope it doesn’t take too long for us all to have an answer to that and get more of their sharp metal music sooner than expected.

Best moments of the album: Selfish Backstabber, Lethal Injection, Parasite and Under the Knife.

Worst moments of the album: The Criminal Inside and Placebo.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Selfish Backstabber 5:12
2. Dispatch the Threat 4:11
3. Lethal Injection 4:45
4. Epiphany 4:09
5. The Criminal Inside 4:21
6. Parasite 4:54
7. Under the Knife 3:53
8. Everyone is Offended 4:39
9. How Do You Sleep at Night? 4:35
10. Punish Myself 5:26
11. Placebo 4:32
12. Isolation Chamber 4:53

Band members
Bill Klopfer – vocals, guitar
Matt Duggan – bass
Chris Anderson – drums

Album Review – Dormanth / IX Sins (2018)

Succumb to the dark side with the well-crafted and entertaining collection of crushing, riff-oriented Doom and Death Metal tunes by an old school act hailing from Spain.

Born in Bilbao, Spain in January 1993 after various experiences of its components in different bands, such as Nopresion, Beer Mosh and Elbereth, Melodic Doom/Death Metal act Dormanth went on an almost 20-year hibernation period in 1996 after releasing their debut album Valley of Dreams, in 1995, breaking the silence in 2015 with the release of the EP Voice of the Soul… Under the Tears of Sun, followed by the full-length album Winter Comes, in 2016. And it looks like Dormanth are on a roll on this second phase of the band, as their brand new album, titled IX Sins, is an extremely well-crafted and entertaining collection of crushing, riff-oriented metal tunes that will certainly drag your soul into pitch black darkness.

Comprised of founding member Oscar del Val on vocals and guitar, Javi Prieto on lead guitar, newcomer Miguel A. Richart on bass and Victor Franquelo on drums, Dormanth are an unstoppable Extreme Metal machine in IX Sins, delivering nine pestilent, heavier-than-hell compositions (or maybe we should call them “sins”) that will please most fans of the darker and more lugubrious vibe of the fusion between Doom and Death Metal. Furthermore, Spanish artist Igor “Mugi” Mugerza (Abigor Artwork) is again the artist chosen for the cover art concept, with the nine knights (clearly inspired by the Nazgûl, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) representing all the heaviness and obscurity present in the music by Dormanth.

Oscar and Javi begin their Black Metal-riffage onrush in the opening track Human Claim, a pounding funeral march that tells us all darkness is about to take over our minds in a dense and potent hybrid of Doom and Death Metal with melodic influences. After such strong start, the strident sound of guitars keeps permeating the air in another atmospheric and melodic composition titled Lamb Or Wolf, with the band’s guitar duo accelerating their riffs until all hell breaks loose. Moreover, the vocals by Oscar get more putrid and devilish as the music progresses, while Victor becomes the band’s driving force with his potent beats. And in Let See The Wood, we’re treated to a frantic and furious Death Metal extravaganza with Thrash Metal and Hardcore influences where Victor and Miguel simply demolish their instruments. Hence, the nonstop violence contained in this gripping tune will certainly set the crowd on fire during their live performances.

Slowing things down considerably and venturing through the realms of modern Doom Metal, the band offers the listener Like Ice, keeping a solid pace and providing Oscar exactly what he needs to fire his deep, enraged growls; followed by Promised Land, where Dormanth get back to a more piercing mix of Death and Black Metal. During its almost five minutes, Victor delivers from blast beats to rhythmic, galloping moments, while the band’s guitarists keep the sound cohesive and gripping with their riffs and solos. And the sixth “sin” of the album, entitled Soul Shall Die, once again leans towards more old school, sluggish Doom Metal, with Oscar growls being in perfect sync with Victor’s steady beats.

Misery is a potent, galloping tune with tons of shredding and demented beats and fills, showcasing an almost-Black Metal sound mixed with old school Death Metal and, as a consequence, reminding me of some of the creations by Swedish masters Unleashed; whereas The Skin, the second to last display of blackened sounds by Dormanth, begins with an old school guitar solo before all instruments explode, generating a menacing atmosphere, while its second half is a feast of shredding and blast beats intertwined with an eerie female voice. And closing this obscure album we have another threatening tune named Sands Of Frozen Tears, yet again displaying the band’s solid instrumental and Oscar’s deep growls, albeit not as vibrant as the rest of the album.

The dark and sinister realm of Dormanth can be better explored by visiting their Facebook page, and if you want to put your hands on IX Sins simply go to the band’s BandCamp page, to the Necromance Records’ Big Cartel or webshop, to the Dead Sheep Productions’ webshop, or to Discogs. Dormanth are also beyond ready to hit the road and bring to the stage the same energy and darkness flowing from their music, with the only difference being that their live lineup has studio bassist Miguel on the lead guitar (instead of bass), Isma Fernandez on bass, and original member Javi Martinez on drums, but of course still spearheaded by Oscar on vocals and guitar. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t really matter if you prefer staying home to listen to their studio version of the songs or if seeing them live is what really excites you, as long as you succumb to their captivating fusion of Death and Doom Metal.

Best moments of the album: Lamb Or Wolf, Let See The Wood and Misery.

Worst moments of the album: Sands Of Frozen Tears.

Released in 2018 Necromance Records/Base Record Production/Dead Sheep Productions

Track listing  
1. Human Claim 4:02
2. Lamb Or Wolf 4:29
3. Let See The Wood 4:46
4. Like Ice 4:38
5. Promised Land 4:55
6. Soul Shall Die 4:08
7. Misery 4:26
8. The Skin 4:32
9. Sands Of Frozen Tears 5:02

Band members
Oscar del Val – vocals, guitar
Javi Prieto – lead guitar
Miguel A. Richart – bass
Victor Franquelo – drums

Live members
Oscar del Val – vocals, guitar
Miguel A. Richart – lead guitar
Isma Fernandez – bass
Javi Martinez – drums

Album Review – 5 Star Grave / The Red Room (2017)

The six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers.

This is one of those bands that, as soon as you listen to their flammable music for the very first time, you become addicted to their electricity and rebellious attitude, especially if you’re already a huge fan of the sound by bands like the Misfits, Social Distortion, the Ramones, Minot Threat and so on, but with a heavier and more melodic approach. I’m talking about Italian Melodic Death Metal six-piece wolf pack 5 Star Grave, who have just released a Rock N’ Roll party-catalyst entitled The Red Room, an album that will surely put you to dance, bang your head, slam into the pit, drink a few beers and do everything else we love so much in heavy music. In other words, the six pricks from Hell are back in town, hic sunt the motherfuckers, and there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from them.

Formed in 2005 in Cuneo, a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, under the name Ground Zero, changing to 5 Star Grave in 2007, the band already released in their decade of existence the full-length albums Corpse Breed Syndrome, in 2008, and Drugstore Hell, in 2012, as well as a single with a cover version for one of the biggest hits by the Ramones, the classic Pet Sematary, before releasing The Red Room now in 2017. Bringing forth a weird and fun combination of several styles like traditional Heavy Metal and Punk Rock with industrial atmospheres, the band comprised of frontman Claudio Ravinale (who’s also the lead singer for Death Metal act Disarmonia Mundi and Industrial Metal outfit The Silverblack), bassist Andrea Minolfi, guitarists Thierry Bertone and Alessandro Blengino, keyboardist Hervè De Zulian and drummer Domenico Fazzari aims at charging the listener with their relentless hardcore/horror punk-influenced metal highly inspired by the golden years of 80’s metal and shock rock, which they more than achieve with The Red Room.

Wicked noises are suddenly joined by the slashing riffs by Thierry and Alessandro in the opening track, beautifully titled Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, with Hervè and his keys giving it a futuristic aura. Moreover, this amazing tune brings forward the two main characteristics of Melodic Death Metal, those being aggressiveness and harmony, helping the band in breaking down the walls in fantastic fashion. Following that superb start we have the also whimsical and modern Eat You Alive, where Claudio screams like a maniac supported by the potent backing vocals by Andrea, not to mention the song’s fiery guitar solos and catchy chorus; and Once Upon A Time, with Claudio sounding even more demented on vocals, enhancing the song’s impact while Domenico smashes his drums with tons of dexterity, being highly recommended for admirers of modern and alternative music.

The Ballad Of The Vampire is not a ballad at all, but an ode to the fusion of Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore blasted by bands like the Misfits, a fast-paced and electrifying hymn showcasing great performances by Claudio and Domenico that will set their live concerts on fire without a shadow of a doubt, while in Alice the keys by Hervè make it sound more melodic and consequently less violent than the other tunes, but still a heavier-than-usual version of punk music perfect for an insane rockin’ party with its guitars burning our ears nonstop. And adding progressiveness to their high-octane Rock N’ Roll sonority, 5 Star Grave offer us Through The Eyes Of The Monster, where Thierry and Alessandro steal the spotlight with their sick riffs while Hervè brings a touch of lunacy with his synths. Put differently, it’s quite impossible to stand still to this explosion of modern metal music.

And those guys definitely know how to blend the music by the Misfits with modern Metalcore like what can be seen in He Never Died, which means you should start banging your head and screaming together with the band as the party doesn’t have a time to end. In Hell On Heels, a mid-tempo rockin’ tune with hints of Southern Rock, we have an acoustic intro as a variation to their trademark rowdy sounding, and at this point of the album you’ll realize 5 Star Grave cannot craft bad music; whereas For Better Or Worse sounds like the soundtrack to a demented circus act, again inspired by old school punk and metal. In addition, the strident sound of guitars increases the song’s temperature quite a bit, with Domenico taking the lead with his spot-on beats. And before all is said and done we have a semi-ballad entitled There Is No Heaven, which despite presenting their rumbling sounds and growls is slightly below the rest of the album in terms of creativity. Actually, to be fair I wouldn’t consider that a problem at all, as the other songs of the album are way too awesome.

In a nutshell, grab your leather jacket, your fighting boots, make sure the beer is crisp and cold, put on your warrior makeup or mask, and join the uncontrollable party held by 5 Star Grave in The Red Room by following them on Facebook, by listening to their music on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify, and by purchasing this excellent album of modern metal music on BandCamp, on iTunes or on Amazon. And after having The Red Room on your hands, simply hit play and get the party started, motherfuckers.

Best moments of the album: Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers, The Ballad Of The Vampire and Through The Eyes Of The Monster.

Worst moments of the album: There Is No Heaven.

Released in 2017 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Hic Sunt The Motherfuckers 4:14
2. Eat You Alive 4:17
3. Once Upon A Time 3:58
4. The Ballad Of The Vampire 1:43
5. Alice 4:03
6. Through The Eyes Of The Monster 3:39
7. He Never Died 3:00
8. Hell On Heels 4:16
9. For Better Or Worse 4:36
10. There Is No Heaven 4:20

Band members
Claudio Ravinale – vocals
Andrea Minolfi – bass, vocals
Thierry Bertone – guitars
Alessandro Blengino – guitars
Hervè De Zulian – synth
Domenico Fazzari – drums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Released in 2017 SuperFi Records

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

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

Album Review – Clawfinger / Use Your Brain (1995)

Use your brain and listen to the cult album by this distinct Swedish act, presenting an austere and impactful fusion of Rap and Heavy Metal.

Rating4

use-your-brainA few years before Limp Biskit, Slipknot or any other band considered part of the Nu Metal scene from the 90’s/2000’s started, there was already a Swedish band called Clawfinger playing a very original mix of Rap Metal, Hardcore, Rapcore, Funk Metal and even Industrial Metal in a very aggressive, politicized and anti-racist way. Although the band was formed back in 1989, it was just in 1993 that they launched their debut album called Deaf Dumb Blind (which included a very controversial song called “Nigger”, but again, in the most anti-racist way possible), and a couple of years later, in 1995, they launched their most interesting album in my humble opinion, titled Use Your Brain. If you hate Rap by all means and/or if you’re too narrow-minded to accept it mixed with Heavy Metal, don’t even bother listening to it. However, if you enjoy heavy music no matter what, then Use Your Brain might be an amazing addition to your day-to-day playlist.

Use Your Brain starts at a high note with my favorite song from the album, Power, which talks about exactly the opposite of most songs with the word “power” in their names: power can be really harmful to anyone who doesn’t know how to use it properly, which happens to the majority of the people that have it anyway. “Power to the one who doesn’t want it / Do you want it why do you want it”, screams lead singer Zak Tell, accompanied by some excellent heavy riffs by Erlend Ottem and Bård Torstensen and keyboards by Jocke Skog. The song is followed by Pay the Bill, which keeps the energy level up, and Pin Me Down, a more rhythmic track with strong lyrics that ended up becoming one of the band’s biggest classics.

ClawfingerThe next song is called Wipe My Ass, a good example of how the band was able to unite Rap and Metal in a very solid way. The only thing I don’t understand is why sometimes I find this song with a different name, “Waste My Time”. Well, it’s probably due to the “beautiful” expression used in the original name, but honestly, who cares about that? Anyway, the next two tracks, Die High and It, are just average songs, especially the second one which is quite bland compared to the rest of the album. Fortunately the next song, called Do What I Say, takes the album back on track with its simple but strong riffs and amazing lyrics about the emotional and sometimes physical (and endless) war between parents and their kids, acidly declaimed by Zak Tell and his hostile vocals. I normally don’t add a huge chunk of any lyrics in my reviews, but this one is so good that deserves to be appreciated almost in full. Besides, although this song might have been recorded over 20 years ago, it still sounds fresh and contemporary, just to show you how parenting will never, ever be an easy task to anyone.

“I‘ve paid to raise you good
Done everything I could so don’t you dare to say
That I ever cared about you anyway
I gave you good food to eat
I kept you on your feet
I gave you all my good advice
Not once did I hear you
thank me for all that I’ve done
You don’t know anything
About my suffering
I went through a lot of pain
Just to get you where you are today
If I ever hit you
It’s because I have to
You have done something wrong
And you deserve the punishment, you’ll have to pay”

The rest of the album doesn’t have anything too special: Undone is considerably tasteless, while What Are You Afraid Of doesn’t do any good but at the same time it doesn’t harm the album. Things get a lot better with Back to the Basics, especially the eerie sound the band created with the guitars and keyboards working together; Easy Way Out with its addictive chorus and the groovy drums by Ottar Vigerstøl; and Tomorrow, a very good Rap Metal track that powerfully ends this very original and catchy album, with highlights to the rumbling sounds generated by Ottar and bassist André Skaug. In addition, the front cover is absolutely precise in summarizing the content of the music in the album (despite being fairly simplistic), and that “less is more” type of art is most probably the reason why I love it so much.

Use Your Brain_remastered

Use Your Brain 2004 Remastered Edition

The 2004 remastered version of the album also includes 3 bonus tracks and 3 bonus videos, so if you’re interested in buying it I suggest you go after the remastered one (which by the way is a lot easier to find in any webstore). Clawfinger released a statement around August 2013 saying they split up, which was a bummer at that time based on the quality of their music, but fortunately it seems those Swedish metallers are back in action and ready to deliver us another blast of their venomous music, going against the sea of boredom that dominates the scene nowadays. Hence, Use Your Brain (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE) is far from being a true masterpiece, but it’s an extremely enjoyable album with meaningful lyrics crafted by talented musicians and, above all, an excellent option to expand your horizons in the world of heavy music and a lot better choice than most of the crap the media makes us swallow every single day. In other words, use your goddamn brain at least once and enjoy the austere music by this unique band hailing from Sweden, alright?

Best moments of the album: Power, Pin Me Down, Do What I Say and Back to the Basics.

Worst moments of the album: It and Undone.

Released in 1995 WEA/MVG (Warner Music Group)

Track listing
1. Power 3:14
2. Pay the Bill 4:20
3. Pin Me Down 4:10
4. Wipe My Ass 3:13
5. Die High 2:34
6. It 5:21
7. Do What I Say 4:25
8. Undone 4:11
9. What Are You Afraid Of 3:47
10. Back to the Basics 2:27
11. Easy Way Out 2:39
12. Tomorrow 4:09

2004 Remastered Edition bonus tracks & videos
13. Better Than This 3:36
14. Three Good Riffs 3:56
15. Armageddon Down 3:36
16. Pin Me Down (Video Clip) 4:10
17. Tomorrow (Video Clip) 4:09
18. Do What I Say (Video Clip) 4:25

Band members
Zak Tell – lead vocals
Jocke Skog – keyboards, vocals
Erlend Ottem – lead guitar
Bård Torstensen – rhythm guitar
André Skaug – bass
Ottar Vigerstøl – drums

Album Review – Hexis / Tando Ashanti (2017)

Behold the epitome of Blackened Hardcore offered by a distinct Danish act, channeling pure darkness throughout 40 minutes of doomed sounds and noises split in 11 obscure compositions.

Hexis (ἕξις), a Greek word important in the philosophy of Aristotle (and because of this a traditional word of philosophy), is a relatively stable arrangement or disposition, for example a person’s health or knowledge or character. However, since 2010 the word has also been used to describe a distinct band from the city of Copenhagen, in Denmark, playing a mix of Hardcore and doomy Black Metal and singing about topics such as nihilism, anti-Christianity and abstract thought. Across their history, the band has played over 300 shows in the United States, Canada, Japan, Cuba, Russia, the UK and all over Europe, showing how appreciated their unique and obscure music is worldwide.

Following the success of their first full-length album Abalam, from 2014, as well as many other EP’s, demos and split albums released through the years, Hexis return with their second full-length installment, titled Tando Ashanti, the epitome of Blackened Hardcore channeling pure darkness in the vein of Celeste and Oathbreaker and the start of an almost year-long worldwide tour for 2017, released through Halo of Flies in North America and Alerta Antifascista Records in Europe. Furthermore, Hexis are one of those bands where informing their lineup is definitely an item of very low importance to them, which means the names featured on this review might not be accurate. What seems to be their current lineup is Filip on vocals, Victor Kaas on guitars, Luca Mele on bass and Tommaso Rey on drums, but if these names are somehow incorrect I apologize for that. Anyway, it’s the music that really matters, don’t you agree?

Distorted sounds and an apparent lack of hope permeate the air in the intro Tando, when we’re suddenly attacked by Hexis in Ashanti, with the lancinating riffs by Victor together with the demented beats by Tommaso creating a beyond belligerent atmosphere perfect for the irreligious lyrics growled by Filip (“Faithless. But yet you pray in hope that your nightmares will disappear, that these images will leave your head, leave your mind. Tied into anxiety, tied into hopelessness. Surrounded by flies, surrounded by thousands of eyes. Faithless. God is not here today.”). Molestus also begins in full force, a visceral amalgamation of heavy sounds and piercing noises by Filip and his crew, with highlights to the crude riffs by Victor and the rhythmic drumming by Tommaso; whereas Ritualis, albeit following a similar pattern, sounds sharper and more aggressive, which in the end boosts its impact on the listener, not to mention its old school Black Metal riffage and endless obscurity as its main ingredients.

Calamitas represents brutal devastation in the form of music, blending the most violent elements from Black Metal, Hardcore and Neocrust in a fantastic spawn of extreme music by Hexis, with the vocals by Filip sounding extremely demented; followed by Nocturnus, where heavier-than-hell riffs are quickly joined by frantic drums in another brutal creation. Moreover, their sonic havoc suddenly gives place to a slow-paced Doom Metal-ish musicality led by the low-tuned bass by Luca Melo, but all hell breaks loose again for our total delight. And it looks like Hexis mastered the art of crafting bold and devilish songs with less than three minutes like what we face in Opacus, presenting more of the band’s austere lyrics (“As shadows it passes by, creating what is his, taking what was yours. Purging the body, the body of the heartless. Immerse them, immerse the victims, immerse all life, the fragile souls. The shadows they pass, purging the souls.”). Can you imagine this song with a dark orchestra in the background? I can, and just the idea is already beyond awesome.

Cordolium, the longest of all tracks, comes crushing with a hurricane of distorted guitar sounds, slow and menacing beats, and the vociferations of Filip, and that negativity and despair goes on for the song’s six obscure minutes, growing in hostility until its resonant ending, which builds an instant connection with the demonic Resurrectio, with Filip being accompanied by only an eerie background noise and a few isolated beats. In the end, it’s just noise and feels a bit like filler, albeit it makes some kind of sense when put together with all other songs from the album. Luckily, in the belligerent Septem the band gets back to a more Hardcore sonority, delivering modern Black Metal riffs with progressive drumming and hellish gnarls, not to mention the guitars by Victor which are a demonic work-of-art. And ending this eccentric spawn of blackened sounds we have another intense creation named Praesagium, showcasing an amazing job done by Tommaso with his intricate beats, all the malignancy flowing from Filip’s grasps, and a truly Stygian ending in one of the most complete and visceral of all songs.

There are so many places where you can buy your copy of Tando Ashanti in different formats I might have forgotten a few of them on my list, but here we go anyway. You can get the album at Hexis’ BandCamp, at the Alerta Antifascista Records’ BandCamp, at the Init Records’ BandCamp or webshop, at the Halo of Flies’ BandCamp or webshop, at the Bloated Veins’ Big Cartel, on Amazon or at Discogs. Tando Ashanti might be considered by many the most complete, detailed and obscure work by Hexis to date, which is something I have to agree with. I don’t recall listening to such piercing and multi-layered Blackened Hardcore before, and let’s hope Hexis keep taking their aggressiveness and creativity to new heights for many years still to come.

Best moments of the album: Ritualis, Calamitas, Opacus and Praesagium.

Worst moments of the album: Resurrectio.

Released in 2017 Halo of Flies/Alerta Antifascista Records

Track listing
1. Tando 2:16
2. Ashanti 5:24
3. Molestus 2:37
4. Ritualis 2:46
5. Calamitas 1:59
6. Nocturnus 4:58
7. Opacus 2:24
8. Cordolium 5:54
9. Resurrectio 2:27
10. Septem 2:31
11. Praesagium 5:28

Band members
Filip – vocals
Victor Kaas – guitars
Luca Mele – bass
Tommaso Rey – drums

Album Review – Dirty Machine / Discord (2017)

Enjoy the debut album by a tenacious Nu Metal outfit that has all it takes to successfully spread their metallic and groovy wings all over the world.

Hailing from the rockin’ Los Angeles, California, a city that never sleeps, Nu Metal outfit Dirty Machine has been proudly carrying the flag of Alternative and Nu Metal since their inception in 2012, pulling major influences from bands such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Linkin Park and Sevendust, having already shared the stage with renowned acts like Ghost, Sixx AM, Disturbed and Trivium. The band has quickly built a rabid underground following, especially in the Kansas City area due to getting regular airtime on the leading Kansas City rock station 98.9 The Rock and headlining the Jägermeister Stage at the 2016 Kansas City Rockfest.

Now in 2017 the band has joined forces with Zombie Shark Records to release their debut album, entitled Discord, featuring eight uproarious composition (plus three bonus songs) blending the most electrifying elements from Groove and Rap Metal that will inspire you to jump up and down and have a very good time with your friends. Moreover, Dirty Machine’s music is so cohesive and catchy that you’ll find yourself singing the songs along with the band and tapping on your desk even if you’re not a fan of Nu Metal at all, and that says a lot about a band that has all it takes to successfully spread their metallic and groovy wings all over the world.

Their modern fusion of the Nu Metal by Limp Bizkit and the Rap Metal by Bodycount is crystal clear from the very first second in the exciting title-track Discord, showcasing great sync between the aggressive rapper lines by lead singer David Leach and the clean vocals by guitarist and vocalist Darren Davis, as well as endless heaviness boosted by the song’s solid melody. The next tune, titled Seeds, is ready to be played on any radio station, where not even the harsher vocals by David make it too aggressive for some air time, while the guitars by Darren and his bandmate Arnold Quezada bring the right amount of fire to their musicality. And taking their pugnacity to a whole new level, Self Made Hero feels like an alternate version of Slipknot led by the song’s blazing guitars thoroughly blended with the wicked samples by DJ Ecusa. Put differently, this is one of those songs to keep jumping up and down nonstop during their live concerts.

Social Recoil is another excellent display of fresh and thrilling Nu Metal, with Mike Weekley smashing his drums while Arnold and Darren follow him with their crushing riffs, not to mention the insane amount of groove coming from the low-tuned, metallic bass by Nathan Young. Now, are you ready for a “fight” with DJ Ecusa? That’s what you’ll get in Ecusa’s Nightmare, a three-minute whimsical party full of weird noises and voices, with the rest of the band effectively supporting this talented DJ and his “stunts”; and connecting instantly with the wicked feast led by DJ Ecusa we have Built, bringing more of Dirty Machine’s Limp Bizkit-Korn-Sevendust-inspired sounding, where the duo David and Darren keeps delivering amazing vocal lines, powerfully complementing each other, while Nathan and Mike sound as thunderous as possible with their bass punches and beats, respectively.

Although C4 is as heavy and groovy as the rest of the album, for some reason it doesn’t click to me, with its vocal lines being a bit disconnected from the instrumental pieces. Not only that, the guitars don’t sound as inspired as in the rest of the album, which makes me agree with the funny message sent by David at the end of the song saying not-so-nice things about the song itself. Fortunately, everything gets back on track with Wonka, where the band sounds faster, crazier and heavier than ever. This is what Dirty Machine need to do to really pump us up, providing a balanced mix of heavy riffs from Alternative Metal and witty vocals from Rap Metal and Hardcore. Not only this is a wise choice to close the album, but the demented screams by Darren add a lot of anger to the overall result, turning it into one of my favorite compositions in Discord.

If you want to know more details about the music and career of Dirty Machine, go to their Facebook page and YouTube channel for an overdose of high-end Nu Metal, and you can also support this dirty sextet by purchasing Discord at the Zombie Shark Records’ BandCamp, on iTunes or on Amazon. As Dirty Machine are a very active band, who knows, you might even get them in action in LA or any other city in the United States blasting their Nu Metal in one of your visits to their homeland, and I bet you’ll get addicted to their catchy and groovy music without even noticing.

Best moments of the album: Discord, Seeds, Self Made Hero and Wonka.

Worst moments of the album: C4.

Released in 2017 Zombie Shark Records

Track listing
1. Discord 3:18
2. Seeds 4:15
3. Self Made Hero 3:22
4. Social Recoil 3:42
5. Ecusa’s Nightmare 2:55
6. Built 3:32
7. C4 2:45
8. Wonka 3:47

Bonus tracks
9. Refuse To Follow 3:46
10. Victory 3:47
11. J-Dead 3:58

Band members
David Leach (Dirty Davo) – vocals
Arnold Quezada (Hedge) – guitar
Darren Davis – guitar, vocals
Nathan Young (Youngblood) – bass, backing vocals
Mike Weekley (Nightmare) – drums
DJ Ecusa – turntables & samples

The Headbanging Moose Show – Thursdays @ 20:00 UTC exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio

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Attention, metalheads!

It’s time to rumble with THE HEADBANGING MOOSE SHOW every Thursday @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) exclusively at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, your London-based web radio blasting the best of heavy music nonstop 24/7!

Presented by Gustavo Scuderi, The Headbanging Moose Show will bring to you the cream of underground metal music, giving you a short and sweet background on every band played on the show. No silly jokes, no shenanigans… THIS IS PURE F****N’ METAL!

So remember, EVERY THURSDAY @ 20:00 UTC (with a reprise on Saturdays @ 19:00 UTC) tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to enjoy one hour of kick-ass underground metal from all over the world, courtesy of The Headbanging Moose!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
Facebook
Twitter
Online Radio Box
Tunein
Streema
Listen2MyRadio
Radio Garden
Streamitter.com

Don’t forget to follow The Headbanging Moose on Facebook to know beforehand which bands will be played on the show every week.

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Blood Eagle.

Released in 2017 Black Bow Records

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

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

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