Album Review – Zohamah / Spread My Ashes (2019)

Combining Black, Death and Doom Metal into a poisonous but intoxicating musical cocktail, here comes an Israeli one-man band armed with his excellent debut opus.

An intentionally cryptic band from Israel, Black/Death Metal one-man army Zohamah, which by the way is an expression taken from the Kabbalah that translates to “darkness” or “pollution”, a form of evil that results in kilkull (or spiritual damage), is unleashing upon humanity its first full-length opus, entitled Spread My Ashes, a follow-up to its debut EP Manic Depression, from 2017. Combining Black, Death and Doom Metal into a poisonous but intoxicating musical cocktail, Zohamah is the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist H.M. (also known as Hezi Menashe), known from several underground bands such as Romuvos, Spawn of Evil and Immaterial, with all lyrics and music being written by H.M. himself, not to mention the album was also recorded, mixed and mastered by this extremely talented Israeli metaller.

The howling wind warns us all there’s a Black and Doom Metal storm coming in the opening track New World, generated by the somber gnarls and damned riffs blasted by H.M. It couldn’t have sounded more devilish than this, with H.M. also showcasing his superior skills on drums. Then presenting a Black Sabbath-inspired main riff enfolded in absolute obscurity we have The Darkness Whispers in My Ear, where H.M. is once again on fire with his demonic roars and intricate beats amidst the song’s hypnotizing rhythm; followed by Zohamah’s 2017 single, named Emptiness, a feast of the most Stygian sounds a man can generate, with his scorching hot guitar lines blending beautifully with his rumbling bass and rhythmic drumming, bringing elements from the most diverse types of classic extreme music.

A lot more Death Metal than its predecessors, which is noticeable specially on H.M.’s deeper growls, Black Cloud offers three minutes of aggressive, sulfurous and ruthless sounds, and the music remains vibrant and grim until all fades into pitch black darkness, whereas Broken Mirror is another demented creation by H.M., presenting the most melancholic and obscure elements from underground Blackened Doom. In addition, H.M. growls in a true desperate manner, bursting his lungs in pain and anguish. The title-track Spread My Ashes is a disturbing and harmonious instrumental bridge, building the ambience for the song that carries the name of the project, Zohamah, to captivate our senses with its neck-breaking pace, infernal screams and blast beats, ending the album on a high (and visceral) note just the way we love in underground extreme music.

It doesn’t really matter if you appreciate the works of one-man bands like Zohamah or not, you should definitely take a shot at Spread My Ashes, available in its entirety on on YouTube and on Spotify, as this is one of those albums that perfectly represent all the talent, hard work, passion for heavy music and darkness found in the independent Extreme Metal scene. If after listening to Spread My Ashes you feel like you want to know more about H.M. and his Zohamah (and I’m sure you will), you can follow him on Facebook, and show him your utmost support by purchasing the album from the Redefining Darkness Records’ BandCamp page, from the Hells Headbangers’ webstore, from iTunes or from Amazon. In the end, H.M. is not only spreading his ashes on us with Zohamah’s brand new album, but also showing all of us fans of metal music that the Israeli scene is a lot more interesting, vibrant and obscure than we can imagine.

Best moments of the album: The Darkness Whispers in My Ear and Broken Mirror.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Redefining Darkness Records

Track listing
1. New World 4:45
2. The Darkness Whispers in My Ear 4:38
3. Emptiness 5:04
4. Black Cloud 3:14
5. Broken Mirror 4:29
6. Spread My Ashes 1:52
7. Zohamah 5:42

Band members
H.M. – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – WhiteNoise / The Herd EP (2014)

Searching for an interesting mix of Rock N’ Roll, Metalcore and Hard Rock? This cool Israeli band might have exactly what you need.

Rating5

whitenoise_the herdTheir official Facebook page states they’re a Hardcore Rock N’ Roll band from Tel-Aviv, Israel, formed in 2004 by four childhood friends, all children to immigrants who moved from Soviet Russia to Israel in the early 90’s. That multicultural mixture alone is already enough to confirm how difficult it is to label the music by Israeli band WhiteNoise, but it’s when you start listening to their new EP entitled The Herd that things will get even more confusing (in the best way possible, of course).

Although it might seem at first glance that there’s nothing new in the music by WhiteNoise, their unique crossover of many different heavy music genres such as Hardcore, Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock, Death Metal, Metalcore and many others stands out and turns their musicality into something very entertaining for all types of metal fans. It’s almost as if they tried to add all their influences and personal experiences at the same time into their music, a bold move that actually ended up working for them.

whitenoiseThe Herd consists of three professional and honest tracks, with a high level of energy flowing throughout its entirety. The first one, 4 AM, is the best of all with a nice medley of Hard Rock, Glam Rock and Metalcore, with highlights to its melodious guitar lines and fun powerful screams by lead singer Yula. You can even check a live version of it at the D2O festival in Russia in 2013 by clicking HERE. The other two are Between The Lanes, a song that flirts with Thrash Metal (especially its chorus), with an inspired guitar solo full of feeling, and Near Life Experience, a modern American Thrash Metal/Metalcore tune where drummer Vladi fires up the song with his outstanding performance.

Lastly, the album art showing an evil skeleton dressed up as a wolf and his herd of demonic sheep is very artistic and old school, representing in a fun way everything the band wants to tell us with their music and corroborating their professionalism and passion for heavy music. So let’s show our support to WhiteNoise by checking their official SoundCloud, YouTube or BandCamp pages for more details about the band, their previous and new releases, and of course by purchasing their music. When heavy music is full of energy and creativity like this, it truly deserves our appreciation.

Best moments of the album: 4 AM.

Worst moments of the album: Let’s wait for a full-length album to do that, right?

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. 4 AM 3:20
2. Between The Lanes 3:15
3. Near Life Experience 3:27

Band members
Yura B. – vocals
Max G. – guitar
Greg P. – bass, vocals
Vladi A. – drums

Album Review – Syndrome / Colourful Cows EP (2013)

An interesting and totally experimental alternative outside the world of Heavy Metal.

Rating5

Colourful CowsWhenever you want to have a “break” from all the intensity of Heavy Metal (if that’s humanly possible), an interesting alternative is the EP Colourful Cows, launched in 2013 by Israeli/English Electro-Rock Alternative band Syndrome. Formed in 2010 and based in Israel and London, UK, this independent band adds a lot of different elements and experimental techniques to their regular instruments, generating a unique sonority that will certainly please fans of alternative music.

According to the band, the EP tells the first part of a story about the “Colourful Cows”, a metaphor to our life and society, and their music is totally designed based on virtual and real instruments mixed together, live sampling, programmed synthesizing and new live performance methods. All this “technical” explanation might not make a lot of sense for anyone who’s not connected to this world of electronic/experimental music. However, after listening to the entire EP, you’ll be able to better understand their proposal.

The first track of the EP, Exhibition Trial, works as a welcome card to what the band can offer us: it’s a very experimental song, with heavy keyboards and some moments that make me feel I’m inside a “psycho circus”. It’s a good start that will make you want to listen more of Syndrome’s music. The following song, Change, is a song full of special electronic effects and samples that also has an interesting intro with a female voice saying we have to shoot “them” in the head in order to kill them. Are they referring to zombies, or maybe to real living human beings as per the original idea of the album? Even being a huge fan of zombies, I choose the second option without a shadow of a doubt.

SyndromeThen come Open The Gate, a ballad with several elements that remind me of what artists like David Bowie usually present in their compositions, and L.Q.C, a more Rock N’ Roll and by far the heaviest song in Colourful Cows, which nice solos mixed with strong synths and drumming made it my favorite of all.

Colourful Cows has three more tracks that are completely different from one another: Exhibition Trial II is an instrumental ballad based on a calm and smooth piano; Get My Words is another crazy music voyage, full of synths and with a curious synthesized guitar solo; and the outro Colourful Cows is totally experimental and as odd as it can be.

The music in Colourful Cows is so “weird” that I didn’t know where to add this review, if in the 2013 New Releases or in the 2014 New Releases. Well, guess what? Neither category was selected, first because the EP was released back in August 2013 (a long, long time ago), and second because it’s not Heavy Metal at all, so it couldn’t be added to any of those categories anyway. That’s why it ended up here in the middle of the Other Reviews, which might sound weird, but remember that’s what Syndrome are and enjoy doing after all.

Last but not least, if you’re a musician interested in knowing more about how Syndrome creates their music, go to their technical webpage called Insight, which displays video clips demonstrating their technology and methods.

Best moments of the album: Exhibition Trial, Change and L.Q.C.

Worst moments of the album: Open the Gate.

Released in 2013 Independent

Track listing
1. Exhibition Trial 3:29
2. Change 3:09
3. Open The Gate 3:12
4. L.Q.C 4:18
5. Exhibition Trial II 3:00
6. Get My Words 3:59
7. Colourful Cows 1:23

Band members
Eric Shlomi – vocals
Amo – guitar & synth
Kiki Kalifa – guitar
Shaltiel Elul – synth & conductor
Gil Zissu – bass guitar
Dima Shchukin – soundman