Album Review – Sharks In Your Mouth / Sacrilegious (2019)

A travel to the year of 1799 in Italy, where an elite group of rich and evil people founded a secret society called “The First Order”, in the form of incendiary Post-Hardcore and Djent.

From Post-Hardcore to Djent, including elements from Melodic Metalcore, Alternative Metal and Deathcore, to name a few, the Ancona, Italy-based band comprised of Andrea Pali on vocals, Valerio Quirini on lead guitar, Daniele Monaldi on the guitar, Diego Nardelli on bass and Enrico Rivetti on drums, collectively known as Sharks In Your Mouth, has never stopped improving their sound and style since their inception in 2010, always in pursuit of the “ultimate sound”. Now in 2019 the band returns with another round of heavy and melodic sounds with their sophomore album Sacrilegious, a follow-up to their 2016 debut opus Promises. Not only that, the album also narrates what the band calls “The Covenant” saga, bringing additional layers to their already dense and aggressive music.

Engineered by Federico Ascari and Sharks In Your Mouth, reamped, mixed and mastered by Federico Ascari at Wavemotion Recordings, and featuring a stylish artwork by Mattia Castiglia, Sacrilegious takes us to the year of 1799 in Italy,  where an elite group of rich and evil people founded a secret society called “The First Order”, possessing an ancient magical book that must be burned to avoid letting them dictate the social and moral laws of the future. A young boy gets caught up in one of their rituals and “The Order” kills him, but not before painting some “black tears” on his face as their tradition. From that you can already have a very good idea of how obscure their lyrics are, which together with the thunderous sounds blasted by their guitars, bass and drums generate a dark and enfolding atmosphere that will please all fans of the genre.

The cinematic intro Black Tears opens the gates of the underworld to the violent The Covenant, where Andrea begins roaring rabidly just the way we like it in Metalcore and Deathcore while Enrico makes sure our heads don’t stop trembling with his beats, resulting in a beyond amazing start to the album. Then Valerio and Daniele shred their axes mercilessly while Diego exhales rage from his metallic bass in the title-track Sacrilegious, presenting acid lyrics that match perfectly with the music (“What we did is sacrilegious / We’ve been fighting against the odds / What we did is sacrilegious / But we had to burn that book / They will give to this world their idols and the illusion of choice / Illusion of choice / Impostors, who will rise and who will fall?  / The Order is born”); and featuring guest musician Daniele Gottardo, who adds his personal touch of evil to the song with a sick guitar solo, we have another bestial Deathcore tune named Dethroned. Furthermore, it’s impressive how somber those guys can sound while at the same time being extremely melodic, with Diego and Enrico never stopping extracting low-tuned, thunderous roars from their instruments while Andrea alternates between clean vocals and demented screams.

In Sinner, an acoustic intro morphs into a crushing Symphonic Metalcore hymn led by Andrea while Diego smashes his bass chords manically, with all symphonic background elements adding a good amount of finesse to the sonority and also sounding very progressive at times, whereas R.I.P., one of the darkest songs of the album, showcases a focused and demonic duo on the guitars, supported by Enrico’s intricate drums and a berserk Andrea on vocals, and also presenting some creepy, obscure passages to give the whole song an extra infernal kick. Keep banging your head and slamming into the pit to the pulverizing As Above So Below, where you will feel Diego’s bass rumbling at the back of your head, providing the listener a fresh and vibrant fusion of more melodic lines and sheer aggression, and venturing through more modernized and radio-friendly lands, the band offers us the fast-paced This Is Gonna Hurt, incorporating elements from Alternative Metal and Rock to their more vicious style.

If Limp Bizkit suddenly turned into a heavier band, Fear Me, Feed Me is how they would sound, with its instrumental pieces being pretty solid as well as Andrea’s growls, bringing tons of rage and progressiveness for our avid ears, although his rap-like vocals don’t work as expected. Keeping their aggressiveness and dementia at a high level, the quintet fires the Melodic Metalcore tune Marked, bringing forward sick, distorted riffs by Valerio and Daniele, not to mention Enrico’s bestial drumming, while Curtain is a short and sweet piano bridge to the epic and visceral Fall (The Covenant Part II), an imposing tune where all rage flowing from drums is complemented by flammable riffs and bass punches while Andrea darkly declaims the song’s poetic lyrics (“I still hear their cry for help / While I paint my black tears on my face / Shadows in the night, trying to resist / Hunted from the ancient creed / All is lost, erased from reality / Paint your black tears / Paint your black tears”).

If you nurture a deep passion for Hardcore, Metalcore and Djent, and if you are constantly searching for new names in the market that can offer you something more than just well-crafted heavy music, you must give Sharks In Your Mouth a chance without a shadow of a doubt. Not only those guys master their instruments, but as already mentioned the theme found in Sacrilegious (available in full on Spotify) is way more flavorful and interesting than your average bands out there. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to those Italian metallers by following them on Facebook, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and of course by purchasing Sacrilegious from their official webstore or from several other locations like Apple Music and Amazon by clicking HERE, consequently joining the band’s army known as “Covenants” and banging your head like a beast to some high-end Djent made in Italy.

Best moments of the album: The Covenant, Sacrilegious and R.I.P.

Worst moments of the album: Fear Me, Feed Me.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Black Tears 1:04
2. The Covenant 4:39
3. Sacrilegious 4:12
4. Dethroned (feat. Daniele Gottardo) 4:03
5. Sinner 3:29
6. R.I.P. 3:23
7. As Above So Below 4:08
8. This Is Gonna Hurt 3:43
9. Fear Me, Feed Me 3:43
10. Marked 4:36
11. Curtain 0:23
12. Fall (The Covenant Part II) 4:40

Band members
Andrea Pali – vocals
Valerio Quirini – lead guitar
Daniele Monaldi – guitar
Diego Nardelli – bass
Enrico Rivetti – drums

Guest musician
Daniele Gottardo – guitar solo on “Dethroned”

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Album Review – Hiss From The Moat / The Harrier (2019)

A first-class album of Black and Death Metal made in Italy, inspired by the true harriers of our society such as politics, religion and dictatorship.

In case you’re not familiar with the brutality and rage of Italian Black/Death Metal horde Hiss From The Moat, the band was founded in 2006 by drummer James Payne (Vital Remains, Hour of Penance) with two Italian friends, bassist Carlo Cremascoli and guitarist Giacomo Poli, delivering a stream of very interesting releases since their inception, starting with their debut EP The Carved Flesh Message, in 2009, followed by their first full-length album Misanthropy, in 2013, eventually adding vocalist and guitarist Massimilano Cirelli to their lineup, and now their sophomore full-length opus The Harrier, in 2019. Regarding the album’s title, Mr. Payne says, “The Harrier refers to he who devastates. It’s not intended as someone whom we created to destroy, but rather to indicate everything that has devastated our history, like politics, religion and dictatorship etc. That’s why we used extracts of religious and political scripts in the lyrics.”

Based in the cities of Los Angeles (United States), London (England) and Milan (Italy), this multinational entity has recently issued a series of videos through their YouTube channel showing the band working on the recording of The Harrier in the city of Milan, therefore demonstrating their passion for what they do and a desire to be as honest and transparent as possible with their fans. Furthermore, regarding the album’s artwork designed by Stefano Bonora, Mr. Payne said that “the artwork of the album is defined by three elements: a head of a statue that represents the blind and apathetic attitude of mankind; the mechanical mask on top of the head that represents the institutions that oppress people (similar to the belt on the statue’s mouth and the crosses as blinders); and the alchemical circles that have the meaning of improving mankind through the mind and the body, to promote self-improvement without looking for external help,” just to give you an idea of how obscure and austere their music is.

The cryptic and serene intro The Badial Despondency suddenly explodes into the bestial title-track The Harrier, where the quartet begins pulverizing everything and everyone that crosses their path. Furthermore, James is unstoppable on drums, while Massimiliano roars the song’s dark lyrics manically from start to finish, and brutality and rage keep flowing from all instruments in I Will Rise, a beyond electrifying Melodic Black Metal tune where the guitars by both Massimiliano and Giacomo sound infernal, not to mention how fast, precise and ruthless James is on drums. Then some sort of “dark poem” is recited by Massimiliano before all hell breaks loose in The Passage To Hell, bringing not even a single second of peace for us to breathe, only sheer devastation in the form of classic Black Metal, with James once again hammering our heads with his hellish and intricate drumming.

Slaves To War is just as demonic as its predecessor, showcasing sick guitar riffs, endless violence and a sulfurous atmosphere only modern Black Metal can offer you, keeping the album on fire before the band comes ripping our hearts out with the magnificent Sine Animvs, a lecture in modern-day Melodic Black Metal infused with Death Metal nuances, close to the Blackened Death Metal blasted by the iconic Behemoth. Hence, it’s absolutely impossible to stand still to the incendiary riffs by the band’s guitar duo. In the interlude titled The Abandonment, acoustic guitars work as the “calm before the storm”, warming up our senses for The Allegory of Upheaval, another straightforward creation by those Italian metallers alternating between very complex and interesting moments and less inspired passages. It’s still a very good song though, proving how powerful the band always sounds.

Then we have another one of my favorite tracks, God Nephasto, and James himself had a few nice words to say about it. “The song is one of the most intense of the album as far as rhythm and atmosphere,” explained our talented drummer. “It has several parts of blast beats and breakdowns that combined with the dark atmosphere of the notes keep the song pretty nervous. This is to support the lyrics that have been taken from parts of the Enuma Elish and the Old Testament that talk about when the Gods mentioned in these scripts, ordered sacrifices in their honor.” Musically speaking, it’s a visceral sonic havoc that will please all fans of the genre, sounding crisp, thunderous and menacing, with highlights to Massimilano’s infernal growls and obviously to James’ demolishing beats. Their second to last Black Metal extravaganza, entitled Unperishing, is just as demonic and violent as the rest of the album, with its classic riffs and beats bringing endless heaviness to the overall musicality, while Carlo not only extracts thunder from his bass, but he also supports Massimiliano’s vociferations flawlessly with his backing vocals. And there’s still time for one final onrush of blackened sounds for our total delight, named The Decay of Lies, less frantic but as heavy as hell, working at times as a marching outro to such vile album. Needless to say, Massimiliano and Giacomo are absolutely demonic with their guitars from start to finish, ending the album on a high and obscure note.

There are several places where you can get your copy of such amazing album of Black and Death Metal, like the band’s own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, the M-Theory Audio’s webstore in regular CD or limited edition vinyl format, the Napalm Records’ webstore, iTunes, Amazon, and so on. Don’t forget to also follow Hiss From The Moat on Facebook, and to worship darkness to the sound of their crushing extreme music, always keeping a very good distance from all types of religion and from politics, the true destroyers of our decaying society. and that’s how you craft first-class extreme music, my friends. Music that not only makes you bang your head and raise your horns, but that above all that also makes you think.

Best moments of the album: I Will Rise, Sine Animvs and God Nephasto.

Worst moments of the album: The Allegory of Upheaval.

Released in 2019 M-Theory Audio

Track listing
1. The Badial Despondency 1:24
2. The Harrier 4:00
3. I Will Rise 3:56
4. The Passage To Hell 3:44
5. Slaves To War 4:35
6. Sine Animvs 3:48
7. The Abandonment (Interlude) 3:26
8. The Allegory of Upheaval 4:33
9. God Nephasto 4:12
10. Unperishing 4:46
11. The Decay of Lies 4:48

Band members
Massimilano Cirelli – vocals, guitar
Giacomo Poli – guitar
Carlo Cremascoli – bass, backing vocals
James Payne – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Federica Lanna

While angels are turning into grace… Demons languish because of their pains…

It’s time to be embraced by the beautiful voice of the stunning Italian singer Federica Lanna, frontwoman for Modena-based Symphonic Metal act Sleeping Romance, here on The Headbanging Moose, and let me tell you that once you are touched by the mesmerizing, delicate and passionate vocals by our metal chick of the month of March, you’ll become addicted to her voice and music. That’s what first-class Symphonic Metal with female vocals is all about, and Federica is here to show us all the metallic scene in Italy is alive and on fire and that her band is one of the most interesting names we should be paying attention to when it comes to symphonic music.

Born on April 26, 1986 in Modena, a city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region known for its balsamic vinegar, opera heritage, Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars, Federica lives up to the legacy and culture of her hometown, having studied opera singing for around three or four years in her career. She had to stop her course, though, due to the high cost for her at that time, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t resumed her studies in recent years, when she began studying with a speech therapist as well as started working with Italian singer, keyboardist, producer, bassist and vocal coach Michele Luppi (Vision Divine, Secret Sphere, Whitesnake). Federica said in one of her interviews that unfortunately she doesn’t play any other instruments like guitar or keyboards, but who said she needs more than her voice to embellish the airwaves, right?

In regards to her career with Sleeping Romance, when she joined the crew in 2012 the band was at that time still called Hybrid Resolution, playing a style closer to Gothic Metal instead of their current Symphonic Metal. Federica didn’t release anything under the name Hybrid Resolution, though, with the band’s only release since their inception in 2009 being their 2011 five-track self-titled debut EP. The original idea of the band’s mastermind, guitarist Federico Truzzi, was about combining orchestral and symphonic music to rock and metal, which is why it was originally named Hybrid Resolution, but they decided to change the name to Sleeping Romance in 2013, already with Federica as their lead singer, to give the band a darker, more evocative and more romantic touch. Owner of a delicate but at the same time very powerful voice, Federica’s approach when developing her vocals for the music by Sleeping Romance is quite straightforward, as she works together with Federico in order to create vocal lines that not only value her voice, but the entire song. The duo tries different solutions and ranges together until they reach a desired shape and form, with Federico always providing her keyboard drafts to help her with the vocal melodies.

Drawing influences from movie soundtracks and classical music, and playing what can be labeled as “Mediterranean Symphonic Metal”, the band currently comprised of our diva Federica Lanna on vocals, the aforementioned Federico Truzzi on the guitar and orchestrations, Fabrizio Incao also on the guitar, Lorenzo Costi on bass and Francesco Zanarelli on drums have already released two full-length albums, those being Enlighten, in 2013, and Alba, in 2017, as well as a few singles through the years. Since the release of their debut opus, the band has toured quite extensively in Europe, playing mini-tours and one-off festival shows around the continent, including Brainstorm Festival and FemME in the Netherlands, Christmas Rock Night in Germany and many others. There are several videos on YouTube where you can enjoy Federica’s voice (and obviously her beauty), such as Lost In My Eyes, Where The Light Is Bleeding, My Temptation, December Flower, The Promise Inside, and an acoustic version of Finding My Way.

Also, although Federica hadn’t been in any band of certain significance before joining Sleeping Romance, you can still enjoy her gorgeous voice as a guest singer in the song The Final Crusade, released in 2017 by Austrian Symphonic/Progressive Power Metal band Serenity in the album Lionheart. Besides that special appearance, Federica also updates her own YouTube channel on a regular basis with her personal versions for metal and even non-metal songs from an array of bands and musicians, such as Within Temptation’s Somewhere (in partnership with Angela Di Vincenzo, from Secret Rule), Epica’s Storm the Sorrow (together with Alex Lady Owl), and Tesseract’s Tourniquet.

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As Federica started singing when she was still a child, growing up among Disney soundtracks and her father’s albums (which included classics like Pink Floyd, Queen, Enigma and Enya), her range of influences in music can be considered quite wide. For instance, she loved singing both Bohemian Rhapsody and The Sleeping Beauty, two very distinct but obviously very impactful and multi-layered songs. Apart from Freddie Mercury, Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and her father’s influence, Federica said in one of her interviews that it was when she discovered the music by Within Temptation that she began developing her taste for Symphonic Metal, falling in love with the genre. Among her favorite bands, she always mentions Within Temptation, Nightwish, Evanescence, Rhapsody and so on, also including other bands and styles on her list in recent years, such as Shoegaze, Djent and Progressive Metal.

When asked about the metal environment in her homeland Italy, specially the Symphonic Metal scene, Federica said that, due to the increasing number of amazing bands, the biggest challenge not only for Sleeping Romance but for any band is to be unique, to stand out and not be just a copy of a band which already exists like Nightwish and Within Temptation. She complemented by saying that despite the fact Sleeping Romance is a fairly young band and that it’s an honor for them to be compared to renowned names in the scene, they’re always trying to create something unique and recognizable, always aiming at generating their own sound. Federica also said that metal in Italy is undervalued in spite of all those excellent new bands appearing in the scene, and that’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t usually have a lot of chances to meet other musicians and play with other metal bands in her homeland.

Federica is obviously passionate about touring with Sleeping Romance and playing live, saying that during her first ever tour with the band she hadn’t eaten anything for two days before their first gig in Holland so excited she was then, also saying that tour was one of the best experiences of their lives. When asked about the most important aspects while preparing for a live show, our talented metalhead said that it’s essential for all band members to work, move and look on stage as one single entity, focusing on the songs instead of on their individual performances, complementing her thought by saying that they truly enjoy involving the audience by stimulating their senses and imagination during their concerts. In addition, as a tip to anyone who’s going on a tour with a band, she said touring is not always easy despite all the satisfaction it might give you, and that it’s really important to take care of yourself, bringing with you things like medicine and blankets, as well as being very patient with everyone and everything and be ready for whatever comes during the tour.

Last but not least, Federica said in one of her interviews that finding the perfect lineup before getting into the studio to record a new album is more than essential (which is why by the way she ended up playing with Sleeping Romance, as they changed singers), and that recording an album that truly represents the musicians involved and show the listener the band in their very nature is something Sleeping Romance is always in pursuit of. Furthermore, as the only woman in Sleeping Romance, Federica said she feels like “the princess among the ogres”, saying that the guys can be quite rude sometimes, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like spending time with them; quite the contrary, that’s one of the main reasons why she enjoys being with them so much as it’s never boring or tiresome. Personally, I believe it’s Federico, Lorenzo, Francesco and Fabrizio who truly benefit from having such talented, beautiful and fun metal woman among them all the time, don’t you agree? That certainly brings a very welcome balance to their lives in the studio and on the road with Sleeping Romance.

Federica Lanna’s Official Facebook page
Federica Lanna’s Official Instagram
Federica Lanna’s Official YouTube channel
Sleeping Romance’s Official Facebook page
Sleeping Romance’s Official Instagram

“I have never thought to be so good to deserve a musical career and then Sleeping Romance came into my life and I experienced a constancy and a love that I ‘ve never felt for anything, and a couple of years ago I also started to teach singing; music gave me my place in the world when I didn’t know what to do with myself.” – Federica Lanna

Album Review – Karmian / Surgere et Cadere (2018)

Enjoy this flammable concept album of Swedish Death Metal made in Italy, taking us on a journey through forgotten times on which thousands of men died for freedom.

Born in 2005 in the Italian city of Modena under the name When the Storm Broke, a destructive Melodic Death Metal force currently known as Karmian is among us to spread violence and fury with a good amount of melody, playing what we fans of heavy music usually call Swedish Death Metal (or in the case of Karmian, we can call it “Swedish Death Metal from Italy”), culminating now in 2018 with the release of their first full-length opus, titled Surgere et Cadere (Latin for “rise and fall”), a concept album on the history of the Boii, a proud Celtic tribe who invaded northern Italy in 390 BC, conquering the city of Bologna. All the story told in the lyrics, even if they are dramatized, are based on true accounts of Romans historian, taking us on a journey through forgotten times on which thousands of men died for freedom.

Comprised of Andrea Bertolazzi on vocals, Andrea Baraldi on lead guitar (and who also played bass on the album), Mauro Leone on the guitar, Claudio Nasi on bass (although he didn’t record the album) and Nicholas Badiali on drums, Karmian are one of those bands who go straight to the point with their austere and visceral music, without adding any artificial elements nor other shenanigans to their sonority. Featuring a flammable artwork by Italian artist Lorenzo Paltrinieri, Surgere et Cadere narrates the rise and fall of the Boii in the best Melodic Death Metal style you can think of, translating all of the happenings to that given time in history into crushing metal music and, therefore, enhancing all aspects (especially the violent ones) of such distinct tribe.

In the amazing opening track titled They Burn the quartet wastes no time and begin blasting metallic and strident lines that penetrate deep inside our ears, before Andrea Bertolazzi begins growling like an enraged beast, making it impossible not to scream the chorus together with the band, followed by Conquering The Plain, a crushing tune led by the unstoppable Nicholas behind his drum kit that sounds a lot more Death Metal than Melodic Death Metal, with its lyrics perfectly telling the proposed story (“Bononia was the start / There’s a plain ahead to loot / Etruscans are divided / The league is weak / Belonos blesses our raid / In this land of the sun / The cities fear the tribe / They fall one by one”). And Shadow of the Eagles is a true headbanging chant by Karmian where the band’s guitar duo slashes their strings ferociously, inviting us to break our necks and slam into the circle pit like true metal maniacs.

The Gaul is another demolishing creation with highlights to the lancinating shredding and guitar solos by Andrea Baraldi and Mauro, sounding very technical and gripping while Andrea Bertolazzi goes on with his growling attack, and the band continues to hammer our heads with another Melodic Death Metal onrush named The Alliance, showcasing austere, harsh vocals, smashing drums and cutting riffs, keeping the album at a high level of violence. Then flirting with Black Metal thanks to the demonic riffs by both guitarists and the blast beats by Nicholas we have Total War, another visceral tune proving how amazing their lyrics are (“Placentia attacked for carthago / Padania freed again / Rebellion / Taranis on our hearts / Beside the blessed river / We have no fear of death / Rome bleeds, rome suffers / Entangled in total war”).

Be ready to snap your neck headbanging once again to their berserk music in the mid-tempo, hellish tune named Druids in the Forest, where all band members are on absolute fire, led by the visceral guitars by Andrea Baraldi and Mauro, once again presenting a demented but very precise Nicholas on drums, whereas their second to last explosion of Melodic Death Metal infused with old school Death and Black Metal comes in the form of Sacred Selva, a solid and violent tune where Andrea Bertolazzi fires some deep, enraged gnarls in sync with the song’s razor-edged riffs. Lastly, the gentle piano by guest Enrico Dolcetto kicks off the somber and introspective Mutina Capta Est (or “Modena is captured” from Latin), a dark power-ballad very distinct from the rest of the album, closing Surgere et Cadere as if it was the aftermath narrated in an anguished way by Andrea Bertolazzi.

In order to join Karmian in their quest for metal and learn more about the Boii as narrated in Surgere et Cadere, simply follow the band on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, listen to more of their music on Spotify, and grab your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, from iTunes, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Now, after all is said and done, it’s just a matter of waiting for the next chapter in the career of such promising band, making us all eager to see if they’ll keep drawing inspiration from the rich and vibrant historical facts of their homeland, therefore adding an extra touch of epicness to their already potent Melodic Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: They Burn, Shadow of the Eagles and Total War.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing 
1. They Burn 3:24
2. Conquering The Plain 4:05
3. Shadow of the Eagles 3:53
4. The Gaul 4:09
5. The Alliance 4:30
6. Total War 4:31
7. Druids in the Forest 5:13
8. Sacred Selva 5:29
9. Mutina Capta Est 6:04

Band members
Andrea Bertolazzi – vocals
Andrea Baraldi – lead guitar, bass
Mauro Leone – guitar
Nicholas Badiali – drums

Guest musicians
Marco Bocchi – bass
Enrico Dolcetto – piano

Album Review – Tannoiser / Alamut EP (2018)

An excellent album of crushing, distorted and obscure sounds, courtesy of an Italian power trio ready to spread darkness in the name of old school Sludge and Doom Metal.

Forged during the summer of 2015 in Salò, a town and comune in the Province of Brescia in the region of Lombardy on the banks of Lake Garda, in Italy, Stoner/Doom Metal power trio Tannoiser is a reality among us with their slow and obscure music inspired by cult acts such as Celtic Frost, Electric Wizard and Cathedral, also inserting some stylistic elements dear to the primordial Black Metal into the mix. Comprised of Bruno Almici on vocals and bass, Francesco Bellucci on the guitar and Davide Serpelloni on drums, Tannoiser are unleashing upon humanity their brand new EP, entitled Alamut, aiming at spreading darkness through their low-tuned, rumbling instruments and screams, all in the name of old school Doom Metal.

The name of the album is a clear reference to the mountain fortress, whose remains are located in the current Iran and which served as the basis for the sect of the Nizarites, better known as Hashashin, a story distinguished by mysteries that weave reality and legend. The dark, also understood as a lack of certainties, is another underlying macroscopic theme, starting from the subject chosen for the cover itself, the cannabis plant, whose history in the last century has been characterized by obscurantism and demonization, and which is linked to the history of the stronghold of Alamut. Musically speaking, as aforementioned Alamut brings to the listener doomed and distorted heavy music that lives up to the legacy of the genre, turning the album into a must-listen for diehard Doom Metal fans in pursuit of fresh alternatives in the market.

In the opening track, curiously named Baba Vanga after a blind Bulgarian mystic, clairvoyant, and herbalist, a beyond weird intro quickly explodes into piercing and rumbling Stoner Metal led by the low-tuned bass and the anguished roars by Bruno, while Francesco slashes his strings in a vibrant fusion of old school Doom Metal and modern Rock N’ Roll. And the trio wastes no time and keep firing their fun and vibrant Stoner Metal in Paradacsa, with the bass punches being nicely supported by Davide’s steady and fierce beats. Moreover, the song presents an even more menacing vibe than its predecessor, being highly recommended for banging your head really hard in pitch black darkness; whereas the scorching hot buzzing blasted by Bruno from his bass ignites a somber Doom Metal feast titled Necrophage, where he also growls in a perturbing way while Davide keeps pounding our heads with his drums, with the music flowing demonically until its crushing finale.

March of Wrecks continues to pave the power trio’s path of obscurity, anger and pain, even bringing more aggressive nuances from Black Metal to their dense musicality, with Francesco doing an awesome job with his razor-edged riffs, while The Void showcases the most serene start of all songs from the EP, sounding melancholic and eerie with Bruno’s Stygian bass lines taking the lead while Francesco’s guitar lines once again bring electricity to the music. Then it’s Davide who takes care of kicking off their last breath of top-of-the-line Doom and Stoner Metal, titled Mekkano, remaining as dark as doomed music can be, with all band members adding their touch of malignancy to the sonority, especially Francesco with his mesmerizing riffs.

Entering the dark and sluggish world of Tannoiser is quite easy, as all you need to do is follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and of course purchase your copy of Alamut (available for a full listen on YouTube and on SoundCloud) directly from their BandCamp page or from Amazon. Tannoiser were spot on with their thrilling fusion of Stoner and Doom Metal in Alamut, and apparently the band will only grow stronger and stronger as time goes by, pointing to a bright future not only for the band but for the entire genre as well.

Best moments of the album: Baba Vanga and March of Wrecks.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Leynir Booking & Prod

Track listing
1. Baba Vanga 4:11
2. Paradacsa 5:33
3. Necrophage 5:20
4. March of Wrecks 3:59
5. The Void 5:52
6. Mekkano 4:38

Band members
Bruno Almici – vocals, bass
Francesco Bellucci – guitar
Davide Serpelloni – drums

Album Review – Progenie Terrestre Pura / starCross EP (2018)

Embark on an exciting journey across the stars with the new concept album by this Italian Atmospheric Black Metal act, representing a further evolutionary step in their distinct career.

Initially announced as a complementary EP to last year’s album oltreLuna, the new album by Italian Atmospheric Black Metal act Progenie Terrestre Pura (which translates as “Pure Terrestrial Progeny”), entitled starCross, turned out to be an even more powerful and impressive opus than this Veneto-based band comprised of Emanuele Prandoni on vocals, Davide Colladon on guitars, drum programming and synths, and Fabrizio Sanna on bass could have imagined. Featuring a classy artwork by visual artist Kuldar Leement, starCross uses its 30 minutes to tell a precise story, as the EP is an all-round concept release based on a tale written by the band’s mastermind Davide Colladon.

In order to make the release fully understandable beyond the Italian borders, the band decided to use English for the first time in their career. The music, either, is very different from what could be heard on everything Progenie Terrestre Pura (also known as “q[T]p”) ever released since their inception in 2009. “starCross represents a further evolutionary step for qTp”, says Colladon, “its sound is extremely connected to the story it tells, which is pretty dark. My intention was to recall thrilling sci-fi masterworks such as Ridley Scott’s Alien, Grant Morrison’s Nameless and the Dead Space videogame saga.” In other words, get ready to embrace fear, madness and despair in the darkest Progenie Terrestre Pura release to date, and prepare yourself for what might be your last trip across the stars.

The band wastes no time in starCross by offering us Chant of Rosha, an atmospheric, futuristic intro from outer space, enfolding us and taking us to the whimsical world of Progenie Terrestre Pura, warming up our senses to the breathtaking Toward a Distant Moon, an explosion of the most disruptive elements from Black Metal led by the razor-edged guitar lines by Davide, with Emanuele’s enraged growls creating an electrifying paradox with the excellent background choir, remaining vibrant, ethereal and aggressive from start to finish for our total delight. And that electricity keeps permeating the air, as the music builds a cinematic connection with the also impactful Twisted Silhouette, starting in an eerie manner with a dark narration before all hell breaks loose, with the song’s demolishing beats together with Davide’s crisp riffs and Fabrizio’s thunderous bass building the perfect stage for Emanuele to fire his harsh growls, also adding tons of progressiveness to its core. In the end, you’ll get deliciously lost in all the madness, wicked noises and flammable sounds blasted by the band throughout the entire song.

Progenie Terrestre Pura starCross A5 Digipack Edition

The Greatest Loss also showcases a modern and creepy intro that morphs into a blend of Atmospheric Black Metal with Industrial Metal, with all mechanized elements and nuances bringing an extra touch of lunacy to the overall result. Furthermore, Davide does a superb job with his guitar and synths by generating a menacing ambience perfect for Emanuele’s growls, with the last part of the song being a heavier version of the industrial music played by bands like Ministry and KMFDM. And finally, q[T]p’s last blast of obscure, futuristic movie-inspired music comes in the form of a bizarre outro named Invocat, where future meets past with electrified and cold, mechanic sounds being complemented by a background Gregorian chant.

Do you have what it takes to join q[T]p in their metallic space odyssey? If the answer is yes, you can get to know more about the band, their tour dates and future plans on their official Facebook page, and purchase starCross (available for a full and detailed listen on YouTube and on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel as a very, very special A5 Digipack CD, showcasing a brand new  artwork (courtesy of Italian artist Ballak., who gave a face and a spaceship to the main character of the starCross concept, Robert I.C. Cross) and including the storyline of the EP in its entirety. You can also buy it from other regular retail places such as iTunes, Amazon and discogs (in vinyl or CD format), but if I were you I would certainly go for the A5 Digipack edition of the album, because if you’re going on a musical voyage through the stars, you better be armed with the best weapon and soundtrack available at the same time, right?

Best moments of the album: Toward a Distant Moon and The Greatest Loss.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Avantgarde Music

Track listing 
1. Chant of Rosha 2:22
2. Toward a Distant Moon 6:41
3. Twisted Silhouette 8:02
4. The Greatest Loss 7:50
5. Invocat 4:31

Band members
Emanuele Prandoni – vocals
Davide Colladon – guitars, drum programming, synths
Fabrizio Sanna – bass

Album Review – Derdian / DNA (2018)

Get ready for over one hour of top-of-the-line Symphonic Power Metal, courtesy of one of the most prominent and skillful bands from the Italian scene.

Hailing from the always fun and vibrant Italian city of Milan, a global capital of fashion and design, here comes one of the most important and most consistent metal acts from the European scene, Symphonic Power Metal squad Derdian, back with another vibrant and well-balanced album titled DNA, the seventh full-length release in their beyond prolific and interesting career. In an era where most renowned bands tend to release only a handful of songs per album, Derdian go against the tide by offering fans of their fusion of symphonic elements and Heavy Metal nothing more, nothing less than over one hour of first-class music split into 13 original songs, proving once again how much they love what they do.

Comprised of Ivan Giannini on vocals, Enrico Pistolese and Dario Radaelli on the guitars, Marco Banfi on bass, Marco Garau on keyboards and Salvatore Giordano on drums, which is the same extremely talented and focused lineup from their previous releases such as their 2014 album Human Reset and their 2016 release Revolution Era, Derdian keep blasting their usual sonic extravaganza full of symphonic layers, epic passages and endless electricity in DNA, all embraced by a crystal clear overall production that enhances the impact of their music even more, turning the experience of listening to DNA a musical orgasm for admirers of the genre.

Abduction, a symphonic-cinematic intro that sounds and feels very serene, sets the stage for Derdian to kick some serious ass with the title-track DNA, a fast and very melodic Power Metal feast inspired by the golden days of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, with Ivan showcasing a superb performance on vocals while Marco Garau and Salvatore have a healthy “duel” of delicacy versus stamina with their instruments. After such powerful start the band offers a top-notch Melodic Metal tune for the masses titled False Flag Operation, with its conspiracy theories-inspired lyrics (“It flies along the blue skies / No one knows what’s gonna happen / New York city will have / The right punishment to be / A nest of worms without a faith / Greedy hawks vultures and jackals / Soon the west will got a / Nice surprise to share with me!”) and sheer epicness flowing from the guitars by Enrico and Dario, followed by Never Born, where a smooth start evolves to a feast of harmonious and delicate sounds, but still bringing the traditional electricity of Melodic Power Metal. In addition, this is a great song to sing along with Ivan and the guys, with Enrico, Dario and Marco Banfi giving a lesson in intricacy, melody and feeling with their stringed weapons.

The next track in DNA, called Hail to the Masters, presents a fun fusion of Symphonic Power Metal with Epic and Folk Metal, considerably different from their traditional sonority, with Ivan singing like a true minstrel and with Marco Garau dictating the rhythm with his whimsical keys; while in Red and White, a perfect example of what Melodic Metal is all about, the band gets back to their old school musicality, which means fast and melodic riffs, nonstop drums and another great vocal exhibit by Ivan, flowing smoothly form start to finish. Then we’re treated to a prancing mid-tempo composition entitled Elohim, led by the rhythmic beats by Salvatore and feeling almost a hundred percent Folk Metal at times, before morphing into a Jazz-infused feast of bass punches, keyboard solos and an upbeat vibe. It’s indeed a fantastic and unique side of Derdian, but if that is not entertaining enough for you, we have another powerful tune named Nothing Will Remain for your avid ears, blending elements from classic and symphonic music with modern Progressive Metal, with highlights to the spot-on guitar solos by both Enrico and Dario.

While Fire from the Dust brings what’s perhaps their most aggressive lyrics (“Like a snake crawls out from the rocks / We go out from …this fucking hole / Let the hate becomes a fire / Fire from the dust! / Take the weapons, annihilate them / They are not machines! / Like a snake crawls out from the rocks  / Fire from the dust!”), musically speaking it’s a Symphonic Metal extravaganza tailored for diehard fans of the genre, with the solos by the band’s guitar duo and especially by Marco Garau adding even more electricity to the overall result. Then in Destiny Never Awaits a gentle piano intro evolves into a decent power ballad by this Italian six-piece squad, presenting pleasant guitar lines and potent vocals, but unfortunately never reaching the same electrifying vibe of the rest of the album; whereas in Frame of the End the band delivers a heavier version of their Symphonic Power Metal (it can even be considered a more symphonic and metallic version of the music by Dream Theater in my opinion) spearheaded by Ivan and his passionate and flammable vocal lines, with Stefano also having a precise and groovy performance on drums, not to mention all of the song’s nice breaks and variations. Marco Garau once again kicks things off in a vibrant feast of Melodic Metal titled Part of This World, where not only Enrico and Dario are in total sync with their riffs, but you should also pay attention to how they meticulously add several elements from classical music to their Power Metal. And lastly, as a “bonus” the band offers us a Spanish version for “Nothing Will Remain”, translated to Ya Nada Cambiara, bringing an extra dosage of epicness and an fresh kick to their Symphonic Power Metal.

If you’re not familiar yet with the symphonic and electrifying world of Derdian, you can get more details about the band, their tour dates and their music on Facebook and on YouTube, and purchase a copy of DNA directly from their webstore, from iTunes or from Amazon. In a nutshell, DNA is more than just another ass-kicking, thrilling album by this Italian squad that lives and breathes Melodic and Symphonic Power Metal, but a beyond recommended option for anyone who admires some good old Heavy Metal with a precise amount of symphonic elements and an epic aura. Some bands are comprised of talented musicians while others work their asses off to provide good music to the listener, but in the case of Derdian we can say they combine the best of both worlds, with DNA being the perfect depiction of the beautiful thing that happens when you put undisputed talent together with endless amounts of hard work.

Best moments of the album: DNA, Never Born, Elohim and Frame of the End.

Worst moments of the album: Destiny Never Awaits.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Abduction 1:12
2. DNA 5:27
3. False Flag Operation 5:00
4. Never Born 5:43
5. Hail to the Masters 4:27
6. Red and White 5:04
7. Elohim 5:26
8. Nothing Will Remain 5:31
9. Fire from the Dust 6:21
10. Destiny Never Awaits 5:41
11. Frame of the End 5:00
12. Part of This World 6:05
13. Ya Nada Cambiara 5:31

King Records Edition bonus track
14. Never Born (Japanese version) 5:41

Band members
Ivan Giannini – vocals
Enrico Pistolese – guitars
Dario Radaelli – guitars
Marco Banfi – bass
Marco Garau – keyboards
Salvatore Giordano – drums

Album Review – Coiled Around Thy Spine / Shades (2018)

An astonishing combination of brutal violence, shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals inspired by classic and melodic Death Metal.

If you consider yourself a diehard fan of modern-day Melodic Death Metal you have to take a very good and detailed listen at Shades, the debut album by Italian metallers Coiled Around Thy Spine. Formed in 2017 in the city of Turin by Italian guitarist Sergio Costa, when he met American drummer David Archie Weiss online, Coiled Around Thy Spine not only have their core essence deeply rooted in Melodic Death Metal, but it’s the classic Death Metal influences spiced up by symphonic elements that make their music so entertaining, electrifying and vibrant, with all songs in Shades being highly recommended for slamming into the pit, banging your head nonstop or simply enjoy their intricate and flammable waves.

After Sergio and David started working on the music together, they decided to expand beyond the initial instrumental idea, recruiting Italian vocalist Daniele Rosso to complete the band’s lineup.  Unfortunately, David decided to quit the band for personal reasons before the release of Shades, but that doesn’t mean Coiled Around Thy Spine will call it quits and cease their quest for top-tier metal music. Quite the contrary, featuring a simple but very effective artwork by TheSmashedRabbit, Shades is an astonishing combination of brutal violence, shredding guitar solos, blasting drums and soaring vocals, inspired by classic and melodic Death Metal as well as contemporary metal masterpieces alike, proving this up-and-coming metal unity is here to stay, and after listening to the album you’ll certainly be eager for more of their music.

A movie-inspired intro named Candles builds the ambiance for the hard-hitting tune [God Mode: On], blending the most visceral and modern elements from Melodic Death Metal and Blackened Death Metal, sounding absolutely pulverizing form start to finish with Daniele blasting devilish gnarls and growls while Sergio Costa shreds his guitar in a demonic way. Put differently, this can be called an evil and bastard hybrid of Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir. Then we have Dissected, where David sounds beyond brutal on drums, elevating the impact of this hellish tune considerably, also presenting hints of the music by Arch Enemy on vocals and guitars and flowing demonically until the end; followed by How Freedom Dies, another crushing spawn by the power trio where the strident and sharp sound of guitars is simply outstanding, bringing a high dosage of malignancy to the music. Moreover, its background keyboards add a touch of delicacy to the ambience, bringing more balance to this well-crafted, full-bodied chant. And their Arch Enemy-like vein arises once again in the title-track Shades, a darker and more melodic metal extravaganza than its predecessors, with the only issue being that the music never reaches the same speed as the rest of the album (its level of heaviness and aggression is still quite gargantuan, though).

Their intricate and berserk feast of sounds and tones goes on in Subhumanized, led by the lancinating riffs and solos by Sergio while David keeps smashing his drums, sounding modern and vile from start to finish, whereas in The Sick Game, their most demonic song of all, guitars and keys complement each other flawlessly, supported by the pulverizing drumming by David. Furthermore, the song also displays interesting nuances of Progressive Death and Black Metal, resulting in a lesson in extreme music by the Italian trio where Daniele bursts his lungs screaming like a demon. The second to last spawn of dark sounds by Coiled Around Thy Spine, titled In Vain, showcases more of their high-octane, flammable music tailored for banging your head frantically, with all three members sounding demented with their instruments (in special David and his Stygian beats and fills), and  their final avalanche of extreme sounds, named Safe, is perhaps their most obscure one, leaning towards modern Black Metal in a true feast of rhythm, harmony, and darkness led by Daniele and his otherworldly growls, not to mention Sergio and his neck-breaking riffs, ending the album in a menacing and climatic manner.

You can listen to Shades in full on Spotify, and if you have what it takes to face the modern and absolutely threatening music by Coiled Around Thy Spine you should definitely visit their Facebook page for news, tour dates and everything else that’s related to the band, and purchase the album on iTunes or on Amazon. As aforementioned, Shades combines the brutality and heaviness of Death Metal with the finesse of modern-day Melodic Death Metal in a fantastic way, proving this now Italian duo (who will certainly find another sensational drummer to replace David soon) has all that’s needed to thrive in the world of heavy music. And we’ll all be eagerly waiting for more of their incendiary music in the near future, of course.

Best moments of the album: [God Mode: On], How Freedom Dies and The Sick Game.

Worst moments of the album: Shades.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Candles 1:54
2. [God Mode: On] 5:36
3. Dissected 6:17
4. How Freedom Dies 4:48
5. Shades 6:52
6. Subhumanized 5:54
7. The Sick Game 5:16
8. In Vain 5:59
9. Safe 7:50

Band members
Daniele Rosso – vocals
Sergio Costa – guitars, bass, synth
David Archie Weiss – drums, synth

Album Review – Dogmathica / Start Becoming Nothing (2018)

Delivering a clear message that only with the annulment of ego we can be reborn as a species, here comes a ruthless Italian squad and their austere fusion of Groove Metal and Metalcore.

Aiming to resume a path interrupted in 2003, Italian Groove Metal/Metalcore act Dogmathica was born in 2006 in Cagliari, the capital city of the island of Sardinia, from the ashes of another Italian band named L’Ego to deliver what’s called by the band itself as “Groovy, Claustrophobic, Polyrhythmic Metal from Cagliari”. The band has faced some significant changes through the years, until in 2017 they finally reached a stable lineup comprised of vocalist Stefano Pilloni, guitarist and founder Sergio Boi, guitarist Matteo Spiga, bassist Gianni Farci (The Blacktones), and drummer Alessandro Castellano (Acts of Tragedy), culminating with the release in 2018 of their brand new album Start Becoming Nothing.

Featuring a somber artwork by Sergio Boi himself and Elena Delogu, where the leafless tree represents the human condition within modern society, a society that slowly absorbs and consumes our vital energies making us dependent on material possession of objects and people, and with the annulment of ego (“start becoming nothing”) being the only way that leads to rebirth as a species, Start Becoming Nothing is a heavy and bold album of modern-day Metalcore highly recommended for admirers of the genre, inspiring you to slam into the circle pit while at the same time making you think about the awful condition our society is currently going through.

The guitars by Sergio and Matteo generate a heavy and rumbling ambience in the opening track Praghma, before Stefano begins declaiming the song’s austere words (“My fists-the only shots I have / Glass splinter plated knuckles / To blast mirrors and their lies / To fuck fake people / And their doll eyes / From today on I’ll trust / Just my scars”) in a solid display of contemporary Metalcore perfect for cracking your neck headbanging. If that heavy-as-hell start wasn’t enough for your ears, in Chanel N°0 we face bassist Gianni and session drummer Elia Altea (who by the way recorded the drums in the whole album) crushing their instruments mercilessly, making the ground tremble while the band’s stringed trio blasts a potent fusion of classic Melodic Death Metal with American Metalcore, not to mention how beastly Stefano keeps growling and yelling, and consequently inspiring you to headbang like a maniac as well. And led by the groovy and thunderous bass punches by Gianni, Decadancers presents a darker and heavier side of Dogmathica, incorporating the most aggressive and primeval elements of Groove Metal into their Metalcore, with the final result sounding beyond awesome.

Those talented Italian metallers keep hitting us hard in the head with their heavy and groovy sounds in the title-track Start Becoming Nothing, with the guitar duo Sergio and Matteo once again delivering sharp and metallic riffs while Stefano bursts his lungs screaming; and get ready to break your spinal cord in half in another brutally heavy Metalcore tune named Rise Up, also showcasing hints of Groove and Progressive Metal, therefore being recommended for fans of bands like Meshuggah and Gojira, with highlights to the pounding drumming by Elia. After such destructive hymn we have Screaming In The Darkness, a well-balanced blend of the heavier and slower sounds of Groove Metal with the more frantic approach of Metalcore, with all band members bringing tons of progressiveness to the music and with its lyrics being perfect for shouting along with Stefano (“I’m awake, sitting in the middle of nowhere / Feeling your hands around my neck / I feel the cold inside me / I hold the iron of my cage / I perceive all my suffering / And I screaming in empty space / Screaming in the darkness”).

The last pair of unrelenting Metalcore tunes blasted by Dogmathica close the album on a high note, leaving you eager for more of their music. First we have Hatred, another good sample of how aggressive and intricate their music always sounds and feels, being full of breaks and variations, where Gianni and Elia continue to build a massive wall of rumbling sounds with their bass and drums, respectively, followed by Burnum, sounding more modern, belligerent and electrified than all previous tunes. Furthermore, it’s Elia with his complex, progressive beats and Stefano with his sick screams who dictate the rhythm, while Serigo and Matteo don’t get tired of slashing their strings.

In summary, if you love modern Metalcore with a strong Groove Metal essence, then Start Becoming Nothing (which you can listen in full on Spotify) is perfect for your avid ears, presenting all the heaviest and most rumbling elements from those metal styles. And if you want to show your support to Dogmathica, simply like them on Facebook, listen to more of their music on SoundCloud, and purchase Start Becoming Nothing directly from their BandCamp page or from CD Baby. Our society might be heading to its inevitable doomsday sooner than we can imagine, so why not at least banging our heads to the acid music by Dogmathica until the end?

Best moments of the album: Chanel N°0, Decadancers and Screaming In The Darkness.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Praghma 5:04
2. Chanel N°0 4:22
3. Decadancers 4:23
4. Start Becoming Nothing 4:53
5. Rise Up 4:25
6. Screaming In The Darkness 4:07
7. Hatred 3:50
8. Burnum 5:12

Band members
Stefano Pilloni – vocals
Sergio Boi – guitar
Matteo Spiga – guitar
Gianni Farci – bass
Alessandro Castellano – drums*

*Drums recorded by Elia Altea