Album Review – Thecodontion / Supercontinent (2020)

An atmospheric and conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, blasted by two Italians who use no guitars – only death.

In case you’ve never heard of Thecodontion, they’re an Atmospheric Black/Death Metal band founded in 2016 in Rome, Italy by vocalist G.E.F. and bassist G.D. who don’t use guitars in their music. Instead, they use two finger-picked, distorted basses, with a third one for solos, accompanied by vocals and drums in order to convey a more ancestral sound. This approach compliments their lyrical imagery, which is based on prehistory, fossils and geologic periods, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Mithras and Neurosis, resulting in what the duo itself likes to call “Prehistoric Metal of Death”. As a matter of fact, the name Thecodontion comes from “Thecodontia”, an Ancient Greek word meaning “socket-teeth”, or an obsolete taxonomic grouping formerly used to describe a diverse group of reptiles which included both the ancestors of dinosaurs and of modern alligators and crocodiles, among others. After releasing their self-titled demo in 2018, followed by the EP Jurassic in 2019, Thecodontion return in full force in 2020 with their first full-length opus titled Supercontinent, an Atmospheric Black and Death Metal sonic journey and another step for the ever-developing and evolving sound of this archaic entity.

Recorded at Snakes Studio in Rome by Guglielmo Nodari, mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm, Sweden by Marco Salluzzo, and featuring an array of special guest musicians the likes of session drummer V.P. (Seventh Genocide), vocalist Skaðvaldur (Urðun, Igor Mortis), guitarist J.G.P. (Seventh Genocide, Bedsore) and vocalist R.C. (Seventh Genocide), Supercontinent is a conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, from the earliest known supercontinent (“Vaalbara”) to the most recent one (“Pangaea”), with extensive researches with an almost scientific approach having been made for the lyrical department, also bringing forward four instrumental non-metal songs featuring short poems about “superoceans” and a phenomenal artwork by Stefan Thanneur (Chaos Echoes), with a colorful representation of the final supercontinental stage and climax of the record, Pangaea surrounded by the Panthalassa Ocean.

The low-tuned, metallic bass lines by the duo ignite the album in the atmospheric intro Gyrosia before rumbling sounds and noises permeate the air in Vaalbara, blending the vilest elements from Black and Death Metal led by G.E.F.’s devilish roars while G.D. and V.P. hammer their instruments mercilessly, followed by Ur, featuring guest Skaðvaldur blasting some deep, gruesome vocals, where the band offers more of their primeval bass-driven music, sounding absolutely tribal and Stygian from start to finish (not to mention the amazing job done by V.P. with his ritualistic beats). After such demolishing start to the album, madness and chaos from the prehistorical times invade our ears in Kenorland, where it’s impressive how G.E.F and G.D. are capable of extracting such crisp and strident “guitar” sounds only using their bass guitars, overflowing the always amazing groove and rage of old school Death Metal. Then cinematic bass jabs set the tone in the bridge Lerova, growing in intensity until the duo comes crushing our senses accompanied by the pounding beats by V.P. in Nuna, a lesson in how to fill every single space in the air with menacing bass sounds while G.E.F. vociferates the song’s cryptic lyrics in great Black Metal fashion.

And they’ll make your head hurt with their pulverizing bass punches in Rodinia, where G.E.F. sounds even more demented and berserk on vocals, feeling very progressive and raw at the same time (albeit going on for a little too long, though), whereas Tethys is another atmospheric and enfolding bridge that warms up our senses for Laurasia-Gondwana, featuring guest J.G.P. on the baritone guitar, with the band smashing our skulls viciously with their infernal jamming, blending the fury and violence of Death Metal with the venomous screeches from Black Metal. Then we have the amazing Pangaea, where guest R.C. shares the vocal duties with G.E.F., while G.E.F. himself and G.D. make the earth tremble with their visceral bass attack. Moreover, it’s quite interesting to notice how the music evolves and progresses like the formation of a supercontinent, flowing darkly until the somber outro Panthalassa brings forward reverberating bass lines and slow-paced beats, giving the album a proper (and melancholic) ending.

Thecodontion’s journey through the history of ancient Earth’s supercontinents will soon be available for purchase from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and from the Repose Records’ webstore (in LP format), and you can also follow this dynamic duo from Italy on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and search from them on Spotify for more of their prehistorical metal music. As already mentioned, the duo uses no guitars in their music, only death, with Supercontinent undoubtedly representing the most important milestone in their short but already respectful career and, above all, a solid statement that the atmospheric, dark and heavy-as-hell music played by bands like Thecodontion will never face extinction.

Best moments of the album: Vaalbara, Kenorland and Pangaea.

Worst moments of the album: Rodinia.

Released in 2020 I, Voidhanger Records/Repose Records

Track listing
1. Gyrosia 2:09
2. Vaalbara 4:12
3. Ur 6:33
4. Kenorland 4:24
5. Lerova 2:24
6. Nuna 6:02
7. Rodinia 3:52
8. Tethys 1:58
9. Laurasia-Gondwana 3:06
10. Pangaea 7:37
11. Panthalassa 2:41

Band members
G.E.F. – vocals, arrangements
G.D. – bass, arrangements

Guest musicians
V.P. – drums (session)
J.G.P. – baritone guitar on “Laurasia-Gondwana”
R.C. – additional vocals on “Pangaea”
Skaðvaldur – vocals on “Ur”

Album Review – Ploughshare / Tellurian Insurgency EP (2019)

Feeding on sickness, unbearable oppression and blind violence, here comes a cryptic Australian entity armed with their new EP blending a multitude of influences and sounds.

Feeding on sickness, unbearable oppression and blind violence, the brand new EP by Australian Black/Death Metal entity Ploughshare, entitled Tellurian Insurgency, is the perfect depiction of what this mysterious band hailing from Canberra, the capital city of Australia, stands for, always with open arms to a multitude of influences and sounds in order to serve a greater purpose, including Black, Death and Doom Metal mixed with Noise Rock, Post-Punk and even the darkest offshoots of Electronic Ambient. In the span of a little over 22 minutes, Ploughshare’s music flows impetuous and intense in Tellurian Insurgency, the natural follow-up to their 2018 full-length album In Offal, Salvation. Recorded and mixed by Elliot Johnson and Max Napier, mastered by MR and featuring a demonic artwork and layout by JR and RT, the new EP by this idiosyncratic Australian horde is not an easy listen at all for the average rock and metal fan, representing the band’s urge to reinvent themselves and bring something new to the listener with each and every album released, never sticking to a specific formula or style. “Ploughshare is what occurs when we come together as a band,” they explain. “We all bring material, but this will always undergo transformation once we’re together. The music emerges contingently, and in a manner that makes it impossible to inscribe our wills into it. We might all contribute, but we are equally all caught up in it.”

Ominous noises explode into sheer madness and chaos in the opening track Abreactive Trance, a demented voyage through the realms of Experimental Black Metal showcasing enraged vociferations, slashing guitar riffs and infernal blast beats, reeking of desperation and insanity while the music lives up to the legacy of modern-day extreme music. Then we have Indistinguishable Beast of Flight, even more experimental and progressive, with its vocal lines reaching a new level of dementia while the guitars sound utterly strident and piercing, or in other words, get ready for a multi-layered metal extravaganza that will please all fans of heaviness and noise, all spiced up by the gargantuan amount of intricacy flowing from the song’s beats and fills. In Offal, Salvation (Andrew Nolan Re-mix), a new and interesting version for the title-track of their 2018 full-length opus, the disturbing and roaring sounds blasted by the band are infused with electronic noises and tones, resulting in a fresh and futuristic musical experiment albeit a the same time maintaining the core violence of the original version, whereas Xeno-Chemical Insider is another eerie composition by the band that sounds a lot more electronic than metal, which I’m pretty sure was the band’s original goal with this song.  Simply close your eyes and let Ploughshare penetrate deep inside your skin with their deranged screams, rhythmic beats and endless obscurity until the song’s ethereal and somber finale.

Although Ploughshare might be considered an unknown creature by many, you can still get in touch with them on Facebook to let them know how crazy you think their music is, and in order to show your support to this eccentric squad hailing from Australia you can purchase Tellurian Insurgency directly from their own BandCamp or from several other locations in different formats, such as the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp, the Brilliant Emperor Records’ BandCamp and Big Cartel, and the Metal Odyssey webstore. It’s almost impossible to predict what’s next for Ploughshare, but judging by the creativity and cohesiveness of the music found in the short but extremely diverse and thrilling Tellurian Insurgency, we can rest assured those metallers from Down Under won’t stop impressing us with their demented creations in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Indistinguishable Beast of Flight.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 I, Voidhanger Records/Brilliant Emperor Records/Night Rhythms Recordings

Track listing
1. Abreactive Trance 6:16
2. Indistinguishable Beast of Flight 5:22
3. In Offal, Salvation (Andrew Nolan Re-mix) 6:01
4. Xeno-Chemical Insider 4:10

Band members
*Information not available*

Guest musician
VS – additional vocals on “Abreactive Trance”

Album Review – Divine Element / Thaurachs Of Borsu (2017)

In the hostile lands of Borsu, witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, all embraced by the fury and epicness of Melodic Death and Black Metal.

A comeback that has been slowly brewing since a few years now. Formed in 2002 in the city of Athens, Greece, Melodic Death/Black Metal act Divine Element was the first band of Spectral Lore’s multi-instrumentalist Ayloss and vocalist Antonis, releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2010. After a hiatus of almost seven years, Divine Element are finally back with the stunning Thaurachs of Borsu, the first chapter in many future ones to come under a new and ambitious conceptual undertaking, the combination of metal with fantasy literature and world-making. Featuring a classy artwork by Chilean artist Matias Trabold Rehren, Thaurachs of Borsu is based on the same-titled novel written by Ayloss, which will be unveiled not long after the album release (to be followed by short stories from Antonis), set on a medieval fantasy universe envisioned by the band.

Thaurachs of Borsu chronicles the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, as the gritty and daring warriors of his nation, Borsu, fight to regain their ancestral homeland from a much more powerful enemy. Musically speaking, the album ties together several styles of metal to serve the higher purpose of epic storytelling, albeit taking notice to never fall into the typical clichés of “soundtrack metal”, keeping an old-school approach mostly centered around Death and Black Metal of the heavy, melodic variety. Put differently, after hitting play you’ll find yourself wandering through the lands of Borsu, ready for battle and eager for some blood, banging your head nonstop to the majestic heavy music played by Antonis and Ayloss, with the precise and masterful support of German drummer Hannes Grossman (Alkaloid, Hannes Grossman, Shapeshift) to make their sound even more enthralling.

A Realignment With Destiny is a fantastic epic intro to the battle that’s about to come, the title-track Thaurachs Of Borsu, where Antonis and Ayloss begin their crushing onslaught in total sync with the Amon Amarth-inspired beats by Hannes. In other words, this is superb metal music, dense and profound, with all instruments filling all spaces with sheer aggression and might. In addition, how not to fall in love for those monumental lyrics (“The valley folk to the mountains’ slopes withdrew / Surrounded only by unwrought stone / The sea lords to the dry desert driven / Οswan roams frenzied in a soundless plain / Mestyr hangs discouraged with a rusting blade / And all hearts bellow in a silent wailing / A resignation to oblivion”)?

In Onto The Trail Of Betrayal, Antonis’ potent deep growls keep rumbling the earth while the instrumental pieces invest in a more Black Metal sonority. Moreover, the intricate beats by Hannes go along flawlessly with the cutting riffs by Ayloss, resulting in eight minutes of the best underground Melodic Death and Black Metal you can get anywhere, where they not only play superior music but the story being told is also a work-of-art. Then in Beyond This Sea we’re treated to a calm and melancholic start before the sound of the sea and the guitar lines blend in a beautiful manner, creating a potent atmosphere for the metallic sounds that are about to come. Adding elements of Blackened Doom and Folk Metal to their menacing Melodic Death Metal, the result couldn’t sound more imposing and appealing, with highlights to how vocals and guitar follow the exact same lines.

The movie-inspired bridge Interlude (The Point Of No Return) sounds even more majestic than the album’s intro, warming up your fighting soul for the crushing Call Of The Blade, a gripping fusion of the music played by Amon Amarth with traditional Folk Metal, with Antonis sounding like a beast on vocals, enhancing the impact of the song’s already powerful lyrics (“The land speaks to me in an alien tongue / Though my blood was born in these shores / What will I find, if I dig to unearth these roots / The echo of old thoughts faints quickly here / As the collective energy rises triumphant / Powered by the fiery will of a few”). Traitor’s Last Stand is another belligerent tune by Divine Element, showcasing almost eight minutes of heavier-than-hell riffs, electrifying passages and enlivening breaks. Furthermore, Hannes brings a high dosage of intricacy to the overall musicality with his drumming, while Antonis keeps telling the story with precision and passion through his anger-fueled growls. The last part of the song exhales epicness, gradually morphing into the cinematic outro Augury For A Shapeless Future, where the gorgeous sound of a rough ocean, together with the orchestrations in the background, make it the perfect climatic ending for the album.

No words can describe with the right amount of detail how amazing Thaurachs Of Borsu is, which is why I highly recommend you go take a listen at the album in its entirety HERE, and also visit the band’s official Facebook page for more information and their YouTube channel for more awesomeness in the form of heavy music. Also, there are several locations where you can purchase Thaurachs Of Borsu, such as Divine Element’s BandCamp, the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and the Season of Mist’s webstore, as well as on Amazon and at Discogs. And while we wait for the next chapter in the career of Divine Element, we have plenty to enjoy and absorb in this superb album where heavy music and a thrilling story-telling couldn’t be more connected, impactful and vibrant.

Best moments of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu, Beyond This Sea and Call Of The Blade.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing   
1. A Realignment With Destiny 2:13
2. Thaurachs Of Borsu 4:52
3. Onto The Trail Of Betrayal 7:45
4. Beyond This Sea 4:54
5. Interlude (The Point Of No Return) 1:30
6. Call Of The Blade 6:34
7. Traitor’s Last Stand 7:36
8. Augury For A Shapeless Future 2:39

Band members
Antonis – vocals
Ayloss – guitars, bass, synths

Guest musician
Hannes Grossman – drums (session)

Album Review – Lorn / Arrayed Claws EP (2017)

Absorb the music found in these five psychotic and violent tracks that perfectly exemplify the evolutionary path within the Black Metal field of this distinguished Italian act.


ivr068-lorn-arrayed-clawsListening to the distinct Atmospheric Black Metal engendered by Italian act Lorn feels like contemplating a work-of-art by an unusual modern artist, changing its shape and form and bringing forward new elements every single time you stare at it. Since its inception in 1999, this alluring band from Bolzano, a city in the South Tyrol province of north Italy, has been delivering fresh extreme music through each of their releases, never sounding repetitive or outdated, with their full-length albums Towards the Abyss of Disease (2006) and Subconscious Metamorphosis (2013) being their most remarkable works to date. Now in 2017 Lorn are back with Arrayed Claws, featuring five psychotic and violent tracks that perfectly exemplify their evolutionary path within the Black Metal field.

If Subconscious Metamorhposis was a transcendental mental journey towards a superior illumination, Lorn’s new album looks more like a physical and desperate odyssey through the regions of Death. Featuring a classy artwork by Joel Angelini, with layout by Francesco Gemelli, Arrayed Claws will disturb your peace of mind and take you to the obscure realms of Black Metal crafted by the band’s mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Radok. Hence, as aforementioned, every instance you take a listen at such eccentric album you’ll experience different thoughts and feelings, expanding your comprehension of what atmospheric and experimental Extreme Metal truly means and, therefore, enhancing your personal connection with the music by Lorn.

In the opening track, titled Disharmonic Feticism, a darkened squall of brutal, extreme music hits the listener without clemency, with drummer Chimsicrin discharging furious old school Black Metal beats while Radok showcases all his skills through his demonic gnarls and violent riffs, not to mention its beautifully deranged lyrics (“Intentness / So that nothing correspond / Intolerance to the familiar / Orgasmic grate”). After seven minutes of violence and chaos, we face four minutes of a calm atmospheric passage to help soothe our souls, proving how broad extreme music can be when played by the right musicians (especially if they come from Italy, a never-ending source of high-end Black Metal). Their sonic demolition comes back in full force in Abstract Trap, a solid display of vicious Black Metal with Death and Thrash Metal elements to make it more aggressive, with the beastly Chimsicrin being unstoppable behind his drums. Moreover, this is another long, complex composition where again after around four minutes the band transitions their demonic music to an eerie atmospheric aura, with the difference that this time their havoc returns after a short while, with its ending feeling phantasmagorical and menacing.

lorn-logoThe second half of the album offers the listener two songs inspired by the Altaian mythology, two stages of a purification path. Toybodim, a fast-paced high-end Extreme Metal tune showcasing possessed vocals and lancinating guitars, takes its name from a black lake where the souls of the dead fall and become larvae, which can be seen in its lyrics (“Miserable parasite / The cowardice inebriates your void / Hidden haughtiness / Allegiance frighten your rotten self”); whereas the multilayered instrumental tune Sut-aq-Kol is a lake of milk where the spirits get purified, a placenta for the newborns. Musically speaking, this second song continues with Lorn’s banquet of extreme music, once again displaying boisterous drums and infernal riffs. The transition between these two tracks to the atmospheric Aus Nebel Turm aims at leaving the listener beaten and dismayed, with the painful awareness of being only a grain of nothing, lost in mysterious fogs of existence. After an ominous beginning, the music flows into pure Atmospheric and Experimental Black Metal, concluding the transcendental journey proposed by Lorn.

As mentioned in the beginning of this review, every single time you take a listen at the music by Lorn you’ll feel different,  and if you’re ready to experience and absorb all the fury and complexity found in the five tracks of Arrayed Claws, simply go to the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore to purchase this unconventional and extremely well-crafted album. Also, in order to keep track of such distinguished act, go visit Lorn’s Facebook page to know more about their music, future releases and other details, as a project like this that can unite harmony and disharmony in such enthralling way definitely deserves our sincere support.

Best moments of the album: Disharmonic Feticism and Toybodim.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Disharmonic Feticism 10:53
2. Abstract Trap 10:15
3. Toybodim 6:09
4. Sut-aq-Kol 4:56
5. Aus Nebel Turm 6:40

Band members
Radok – guitars, bass, synth, vocals
Chimsicrin – drums

Album Review – Howls Of Ebb / Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows (2016)

Derranged howls, mesmerizing riffs, distorted screeches and hellish beats. These are the main ingredients for one of the most unique and interesting heavy albums from the past few years, brought forth by an eccentric duo from San Francisco, California.


IVR058 - HOWLS OF EBB - Cursus ImpasseSometimes I think I overuse the words “weird”, “eerie” and “unnatural” in our reviews at The Headbanging Moose, but after taking a listen at Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows, the first full-length release by American Black/Death Metal act Howls Of Ebb, you’ll have to agree with me there are no better words to describe the distinct music crafted by this talented duo from San Francisco, California. This is not an album for the regular fan of heavy music, but a journey though the most distorted thoughts and horrifying visions created deep down the human mind.

After releasing their debut EP Vigils of the 3rd Eye in 2014 and the MLP The Marrow Veil in 2015, it’s time for Howls Of Ebb to expand their deranged horizons and offer another blast of the freakish drug they call music, forged in the pitch black darkness of their evil den in the United States. Simply look at the names of the songs and tell me if you’ve ever seen anything as crazy as that in your entire life as a metalhead, but when you hit play you’ll realize those names are even too “soft” for all the insanity and outcry coming out of the screams and strings by Zee-Luuuvft-Huund and the beats by Roteen’ Blisssss, not to mention the eccentric cover art named “Theoin II”, by Italian artist Agostino Arrivabene.

Zee-Luuuvft-HuundIn the opening track, curiously entitled The 6th Octopul’th Grin, distorted and piercing noises and growls attack the listener mercilessly, with its Doom Metal beats and wicked riffs creating a tempestuous ambience, therefore turning this amazing song in the perfect soundtrack to a soul-torturing horror flick. If you survive this demented tune, you’ll be smashed by a furious Progressive Black Metal turmoil named Cabals Of Molder, where the guitar sounds like anguished screams by an evil entity from hell, being perfectly complemented by its constantly-changing rhythm and the grim vocals by Zee-Luuuvft-Huund.

The slower and sinister tune Maat Mons’ Fume offers a creepy atmosphere enhanced by its somber lyrics (“Fetid foul upon Sullied Jowls / Endlessly propagate! / We send gifts from afar / Now, Giant Red Tomb Agitate!”), with both guitars and drums growing into a thunderous level of aggression that goes on until a purely Doom Metal ending (guided by the low-tune bass lines by Zee-Luuuvft-Huund) put an end to this hellish creation. There was only one thing that came to my mind while listening to 7 Ascetic Cinders, 8 Dowries of gA’nOm: this is the type of song that would never, ever play in any radio station so anti-mainstream it is, which in the end means it reached its main goal, right? This multi-song brings forward seven minutes of distortions, vociferations and demonic echoes not for the average listener, and it’s interesting how each instrument sounds “individualist” at first, but together they work extremely well.

Roteen' BlisssssGaunt Vertigo is a smooth but dark instrumental bridge that prepares the listener to The Subliminal Lock – A Precursor To Vengeance, an explosion of Black Metal and Blackened Doom showcasing lyrics as bizarre as possible (“Come Dark Morbid Zen! / Illusory sub-Gnosis takes deeper root / Fleshly cowls crawl deep in the soot / The wick is raised, eyes in pursuit / Come Dark Morbid Zen!”), with the instrumental pieces always “surprising” the listener with all tempo changes, distorted passages and mesmerizing riffs and screeches. And as one last raid we have The Apocryphalic Wick, where after its initial three minutes of wicked noises, an obscure feeling grows uncontrollably until demonic growls open the gates of the underworld. Moreover, the despair in the voice by Zee-Luuuvft-Huund is superb, as if he’s getting asphyxiated due to his soul being consumed by darkness.

This unusual and interesting opus can be found on sale at the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp, or at the Cagliari Records’ BandCamp or webstore. And if you like the  weird effect caused by the noises from Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows penetrating your ears, go give Howls Of Ebb a shout at their Facebook page. Or maybe I should say you must give them a deranged howl instead, it all depends on how much your soul gets darkened by their music.

Best moments of the album: The 6th Octopul’th Grin and Maat Mons’ Fume.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. The 6th Octopul’th Grin 5:31
2. Cabals Of Molder 6:14
3. Maat Mons’ Fume 8:14
4. 7 Ascetic Cinders, 8 Dowries of gA’nOm 7:09
5. Gaunt Vertigo 1:20
6. The Subliminal Lock – A Precursor To Vengeance 6:23
7. The Apocryphalic Wick 7:21

Band members
Zee-Luuuvft-Huund – vibrations, low auras, polysyllabic morbid mysticisms (a.k.a. vocals, guitar, bass)
Roteen’ Blisssss – cadence of limp and duress, bronze aura (a.k.a. drums)

Album Review – Skáphe / Skáphe² (2016)

Embrace the psychotic and dissonant uproar pouring from the satanic Black Metal crafted by this implacable duo, and you’ll definitely shorten your descent to the netherworld.


skhape2_coverBorn in 2014 as a new project from American multi-instrumentalist A.P., also known as Alex Poole (Chaos Moon, Esoterica, Krieg), and having released their self-titled debut full-length album that same year, Chaotic Black Metal band Skáphe return with their disturbing music and nightmarish vibe in Skáphe², an album that not only will keep haunting your soul just like their first installment, but that also consolidates this talented American duo as one of the most promising Black Metal acts in the world of heavy music.

The addition of Icelandic singer D.G., or Dagur (Misþyrming, Naðra), added a lot of dark power to this band from Philadelphia, located in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States, enhancing the obscurity, impact and malignancy found in their music. In other words, the macabre passages and enigmatic vociferations in Skáphe² will simply bring your deepest fears to light (or maybe I should say to darkness), a usually desired effect of Black Metal on people. Moreover, the hypnotizing artwork by Icelandic musician and artist H.V. Lyngdal, exhibiting an eviscerated devil devouring a human being, is the perfect depiction of our mental insanity and of our souls poisoned by the same fears exposed in the music by Skáphe.

Instead of regular song names, Skáphe simply numbered their creations from 1 to 6 in Roman numerals. The first track, entitled I, offers a darkling psychedelic start followed by a turmoil of dissonant growls and blast beats that will lacerate your soul, proving why they don’t label themselves “chaotic” in vain. In addition to that, D.G. provides his business card as the demonic voice of Skáphe in this bestial Black Metal chant with lots of Atmospheric Doom elements added to increase its infernal aura. II continues right where the opening track stopped, which means more satanic passages and cavernous screams with A.P. putting all his demons and anger into the music, resulting in sheer darkness. Needless to say, the anguished grasps by D.G. will make you feel very uncomfortable (in a good way, of course).

skhape_apIII, the third installment, is even sharper and more mesmerizing. It’s fast and sludgy at the same time thanks to the excellent job done by A.P. with all instruments, resulting in an ode to Black and Doom Metal represented by four minutes of despair with absolutely no hope in sight. In the Stygian tune IV, D.G. howls like a werewolf during its obscure start, and its eight minutes of extreme music are definitely not suitable at all for the faint at heart. Moreover, after an eerie break in the middle of the song, brutal Black Metal nicely explodes from all instruments for our total delight.

Obviously, the fifth chant, named V, keeps the fires of hell burning bright, showcasing a tormented performance by D.G. enhanced by the reverberating riffs and the doomed drumming by A.P. The tone of the guitar throughout the whole song is amazing, sounding like a downward spiral to Hades. And finally, the last tune VI reminds me of the most obscure songs by Triptykon at first, evolving to an extremely disturbing form of dark music. A.P. has an enraged performance, while D.G. continues his demented path to the underworld. And when the blasting Black Metal music stops, we’re treated to about two minutes of wicked background noises, meaning we’ve finally reached the gates of hell.

You can get more details on the apocalyptic loudness engendered by Skáphe at their Facebook page, and if you really want to add more affliction and pandemonium to your everyday life, you can buy a copy of Skáphe² at the band’s official BandCamp page, at the I, Voidhanger Records’s BandCamp page, at the Fallen Empire Records’ webstore (LP version) or at the Vánagandr’s Big Cartel page (cassette version). Embrace the psychotic and dissonant noises pouring from the satanic Black Metal crafted by this implacable duo, and you’ll consequently shorten your descent to the netherworld.

Best moments of the album: III and V.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 I, Voidhanger Records/Fallen Empire Records/Vánagandr

Track listing
1. I 6:32
2. II 4:40
3. III 4:11
4. IV 8:16
5. V 5:42
6. VI 6:34

Band members
D.G. (Dagur) – vocals
A.P. (Alex Poole) – all instruments

Album Review – Nachtlieder / The Female Of The Species (2015)

The Swedish Valkyrie of Black Metal returns with her aggressive night songs to tell us the spiteful story of Eve, the female of the species.


IVR048_NACHTLIEDER_The_Female_Of_The_Species_1500pxThere couldn’t be a more suitable name than Nachtlieder for the Black Metal storm spearheaded by the skillful Swedish multi-instrumentalist Dagny Susanne. Nachtlieder is German for “night songs” or “songs of the night”, an epitome of the music found in The Female Of The Species, which is not only the brand new release by this talented Valkyrie from Gothenburg, Sweden, but also a concept album that will tell you the resentful story about Eve, the female of the species.

Unleashing her fury upon mankind since 2008, our female warrior has clearly expanded her horizons and aggressiveness from their debut album in 2013, evolving from feelings of desolation, loneliness and misanthropy to a much bolder and controversial theme. “The Garden of Eden is decaying,” she says, “and Eve’s sudden revelation of desolation and mortality has grown into spite. Stepping barefoot in the soil, she finds her path under the frozen leaves.”

In Malice, Come Closer, an incandescent Black Metal aria with hints of Atmospheric Doom, Dagny proves within less than two minutes how powerful women can sound in extreme music by offering the listener stunning sinister growls and sharp guitar riffs. And sounding even heavier and darker, Nightfall disseminates a sense of sorrow and despair that darkly reeks in the air, with lyrics that couldn’t be more Black Metal (“Stillness, sinister, crystal clear awakening / Open hands in a wordless prayer / A chilling pulse violently beating within / The silent horizon”) and a precise drumming by Martrum (by the way, drums are the only instrument not played by Dagny in the entire album).

IMG_3658-1Including elements of Doom Metal and Blackened Doom, which end up making it sound more obscure than raw Black Metal, Fatale keeps the album at a good level of quality, with highlights to its mesmerizing and diabolical riff; and if you enjoy faster and more extreme metal music, the amazing Lonely Mortal, a very well-crafted chant where Dagny shines brighter than a lonely star on a deadly winter night, will satisfy your most devilish cravings. Then, Eve gets back to a doom-ish sonority, a nefarious song with stronger keyboard notes by Dagny while the beats by Martrum get a lot more rhythmic.

You’ll need only a few seconds to know Silence And Devastation is going to be a blast of old school Black Metal from start to finish, not to mention how interesting it is to notice the way Dagny blends riffs and keyboards into one unique “entity”. Following all that heaviness we have the somber Cimmerian Child, with its grim rhythm and low-tuned riffs. Moreover, as “Cimmerian” relates to members of a mythical people who lived in perpetual mist and darkness near the land of the dead, the lyrics in this tune are spot-on to depict the result of their inbreeding (“Follow a path toward the light / Through the dense dark forest / Pretty little one / Brush the thorns from your cloak”). At long last, the album wouldn’t be complete without its title-track The Female Of The Species, closing the album in the most obscure and violent way possible. This is not only a thrilling 8-minute Black Metal opus, but also an excellent display of what our multi-instrumentalist diva of darkness is capable of and the direction her music might probably follow in her future releases.

In short, although The Female Of The Species might be considered by many as a raw Black Metal album, there’s a lot more than that offered by Nachtlieder both musically and thematically speaking. In case you want to know more about the Swedish Valkyrie of Black Metal and her distinct music, she can be reached directly via her Facebook page, and if you’re eager to relish the vindictive story told by Dagney in The Female Of The Species through her rampant and enthralling songs of the night, you can find it for sale at her official BandCamp page, as well as at the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp page or official webshop.

Best moments of the album: Nightfall and Lonely Mortal.

Worst moments of the album: Fatale.

Released in 2015 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Malice, Come Closer 4:20
2. Nightfall 4:34
3. Fatale 4:14
4. Lonely Mortal 4:39
5. Eve 5:16
6. Silence And Devastation 3:58
7. Cimmerian Child 4:34
8. The Female Of The Species 8:25

Band members
Dagny Susanne – vocals, all instruments
Martrum – drums

Album Review – Absconditus / Kατάβασις (2015)

An obscure descent to the underworld in the form of extreme music by a talented Occult Black Metal act from France.


IVR041 Absconditus_Katabasis_1600pxIn Greek mythology, Kατάβασις (pronounced “katabasis”) means a descent to the underworld, and that is exactly what you will feel while listening to the debut full-length album by French Occult Black Metal band Absconditus. By the way, the name of the band comes from Latin, meaning “occult” or “hidden”, which perfectly represents their musicality, lyrics and everything else. In other words, if you have the nerve to face such a cryptic band piercing your mind with their dark and deranged music, you may ultimately relish a distinct experience in Extreme Metal.

Founded in 2010 by guitarist/songwriter Loxias upon the ashes of French Cult Black/Death Metal band Borgia, Absconditus offer solid and dissonant melodies enhanced by hints of melancholy, drama and introspective tension, with Kατάβασις being the the initiatic path that one has to walk in order to gain freedom and mastery over existence in a demiurgic world, according to the band. Not only that, the whole album is sung entirely in French. Do you think this is already too much information to absorb? Well, wait until you read the rest of this review and, of course, listen to the entire album, and you’ll see this is just the beginning.

An intro that goes on for over three minutes like Prologue à l’Agonie (or “prologue to agony”, in English) gives you an idea of the obscure voyage that’s about to start. What begins in a slow and dark way suddenly becomes a massacre full of melancholy, setting the stage for the macabre Mystagogie des Limbes (“limbo mystagogy”), or the principles, doctrines, and practices of mysticism, powered by its beautiful lyrics (“L’effroi illumine ma voie, je perçois la ruine en eminence / Un oremus cristallin s’élève vers les cieux / La dualité de ma noblesse fait écho à la décadence des ages / Dans l’ascension vertigineuse de mon âme captive”) amidst an atmosphere generated by Blackened Doom. Is there a way vocalist Aliexagore could have sounded more desperate than this? Moreover, in my opinion its riffs somehow transport the listener to Norway due to their strong Black Metal-ish feeling.

3540396969_logoElegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe), or “elegy (confession at the cenotaph)”, which means an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere, brings forth a huge amount of darkness and disgrace, including a draconian invocation performed by Aliexagore, Loxias and Guillaume Pingard. Drummer Anderswo shows he’s an extremely technical musician whose skills contribute to add extra layers of violence and intricacy to the musicality, while Loxias seems to be hypnotized by the dark side, delivering truly demonic lines. And get ready for the ending climax of the song, it is outstanding. Darkening their sonority a bit more we have Exultet – L’Aurore Schismatique (“exultet – schismatic dawn”), the hymn of praise sung, ideally by a deacon, before the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. It varies from atmospheric Doom Metal to pure Black Metal, with Aliexagore sounding even more satanic than in the previous tracks and with the addition of considerable dosages of progressiveness thanks to the talent of the musicians involved, as if Mastodon became a Black Metal act.

Hybris au Bord du Précipice (“hybris at the border of the precipice”), with the word “hybris” meaning extreme pride or self-confidence, is yet another exhibit of despair and chaos, and even if you don’t speak French you will love those lyrics (“Je partage le destin du fils de Prométhée / Sans assumer la puissance de l’affront / La semeuse d’étoiles attend mon retour / Nourrissant les espoirs de la vermine affamée”). The music itself is comprised of Occult and Progressive Black Metal professionally put together, where Loxias tries some new techniques that elevate the magnitude of the music, with highlights to the last part of the song being some kind of downward spiral to the depths of hell. And lastly, Le Nouvel Astre (“the new star”) is an instrumental outro as sinister as the intro, a dark but beautiful ending where the amazing guitar lines by Loxias are perfectly complemented by the complex beats by Anderswo.

Featuring an at the same time beautiful but eerie artwork by British artist Bethany White, Kατάβασις, which can be purchased at the I, Voidhanger Records BandCamp page, exhales darkness and complexity, making it a recommended choice for your extreme music collection. If a downward journey to the underworld is part of your plans, let this occult French act help you with the soundtrack.

Best moments of the album: Elegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe) and Hybris au Bord du Précipice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1.Prologue à l’Agonie 3:30
2.Mystagogie des Limbes 8:46
3.Elegeía (Confession au Cénotaphe) 9:24
4.Exultet – L’Aurore Schismatique 8:39
5.Hybris au Bord du Précipice 7:56
6.Le Nouvel Astre 3:09

Band members
Aliexagore – session vocals
Loxias – guitars, bass
Anderswo – drums

Album Review – Inconcessus Lux Lucis / Crux Lupus Corona EP (2014)

This very talented band from the UK is offering us what they call “Saturnian Black Magic”. Are you going to accept the darkness inside you, eager for this type of music?


IVR037_INCONCESSUS_LUX_LUCIS_Crux_Lupus_Corona_front_cover_1500pxSome people will call it Occult Black Metal, others will prefer referring to it as Blackened Heavy Metal, but according to British band Inconcessus Lux Lucis themselves, the music they play is a mix of Black Metal with the aggressiveness of 80’s Heavy Metal and the grooves of 70’s Hard Rock, resulting in what the band beautifully named as “Saturnian Black Magic”. Thus, if you’re curious to actually know what Saturnian Black Magic sounds like, you must take a shot at the new EP by this Manchester-based band, entitled Crux Lupus Corona.

After releasing their debut album Disintegration: Psalms Of Veneration For The Nefarious Elite earlier this year, Inconcessus Lux Lucis (which I’m almost sure means something like “forbidden light”) is releasing this new EP inspired by the constellations Crux, Lupus and Corona (the Cross, the Wolf and the Crown, as per the 88 Modern Constellations) and all their occult significances. If that’s not weird or complex enough for you, well, just listen to their music and you will fulfill your inner desire for all things mystical.

Crux Lupus Corona kicks off with a 2-minute intro called Via Dolorosa, which already inspires the listener for more of the band’s modern music with a 70’s vibe, followed then by the first “constellation”, Crux, with its mesmerizing riffs, harsh vocals and very rhythmic drumming highly influenced by old school Heavy and Thrash Metal. It’s an amazing track, enhanced by its excellent eerie lyrics (“Now slowly undress / Sweet seed of life which you possess / And softly caress / The fruit from which I ate / A sword spins counter-deosil / Its hilt marked 358”).

Inconcessus Lux Lucis band picThe second “constellation”, Lupus, sounds like the dark side of Hard Rock clashing with demonic Black Metal, alternating slower and somber passages with faster 70’s Rock N’ Roll. Not only that, the excellent guitar solo at the end actually makes the whole song even more solid. And last but not least, we have Corona: the third “constellation” is a more melancholic tune with some outstanding instrumental, with its lyrics (“O hollow temptress, I call to thee – Fuck me! / Come, join the slow dance, with maggots, shit and entropy!”) making it easy to understand what the band wants to say with “Black Magic”, just like if they were a distant cousin of Black Sabbath with an even more bizarre attitude.

The freakish album art, created by English artist Bethany White, follows the same distinctive pattern established by the band’s music, complementing the EP in a very cohesive and interesting way. You can listen to the entire Crux Lupus Corona HERE, purchase the unique music by this very talented band from the UK, and accept the darkness inside you, eager for more devilish music.

Best moments of the album: Crux is my favorite song of the EP, although all others are pretty interesting and consistent as well.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2014 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing
1. Via Dolorosa 2:09
2. Crux 5:05
3. Lupus 5:06
4. Corona 4:55

Band members
Malphas – guitars, drums, vocals
Baal – bass