Album Review – Forte Ruin / Rebuilding the Machinery EP (2018)

A talented six-piece Melodic Death Metal act from Finland returns with a brand new EP where they step up their game in terms of quality, intricacy and professionalism.

If you’ve been following The Headbanging Moose for a few years already, you might remember a Finnish Melodic Death Metal band from the city of Lahti named Forte Ruin, who released in 2015 their debut self-titled EP comprised of three original compositions filled with memorable melodies, powerful riffs and catchy choruses. Now in 2018 that talented six-piece metal act returns with a brand new EP entitled Rebuilding the Machinery, where not only they step up their game in terms of quality and intricacy, but the band formed by Arttu Ruusunen on lead vocals, Saku and Samu Aaltonen on guitars and backing vocals, Arto Viitanen on bass and backing vocals, Veli-Matti Kyllönen on keyboards, and Jere Aaltonen on drums sounds a lot more professional and ready to spread their music throughout the four corner of the earth.

And the EP kick off in full force with Down in Perdition, a very melodic and pounding creation by the sextet showcasing clean and rumbling sounds, spiced up by the futuristic keys by Veli-Matti while Arttu growls the song’s poetic lyrics rabidly (“All these revelations and present / Are finally align so that we’ll understand / Our time here has come to an end / In perdition we could meet again perchance”). Furthermore, Saku and Samu not only deliver excellent riffs during the whole song, but their solos are also beyond thrilling. Then deeply rooted in classic Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal we have the title-track Rebuilding the Machinery, faster than its predecessor and presenting a great balance between visceral growls and clean vocals, as well as a great job done by all band members with their instruments, in special Jere with his fierce and rhythmic beats.

Displaying hints of American Alternative and Nu Metal (and once again with the keys by Veli-Matti bringing a whimsical aura to the musicality), Colony Collapse Disorder exhales sheer electricity, with Arto delivering thunder through his menacing bass lines while the guitar solos elevate the song’s impact and taste considerably. In Electric Frames, just like what they did in their previous EP, Forte Ruin add nuances of Jazz and electronic music to their Scandinavian Metal, and the the final result couldn’t sound more fantastic, all boosted by the song’s lyrics which seem taken from a song from the 70’s (“Great illusion within’ electric frames / We can see the integration / While we process all the traveling light / Of electric frames”). And Saturation Point, featuring guest vocals by Jules Näveri from Profane Omen, is tailored for banging your head nonstop or playing some ass-kicking air guitar, with the bass lines by Arto bringing tons of groove to the musicality while the keys by Veli-Matti keep adding a touch of delicacy to the overall result.

Featuring a modern and sinister artwork by Finnish artist Marianna Maaninka, Rebuilding the Machinery not only has all the elements we search for in Melodic Death Metal, but it also brings additional layers of intricacy and feeling thanks to all other music styles Forte Ruin incorporate in their music, and in order to show your proper support to this Finnish squad go check their Facebook page, YouTube channel and Spotify for news and more of their music. You can purchase Rebuilding the Machinery from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Record Shop X or CD Baby, and add such distinct collection of Scandinavian Metal songs to your personal playlist, courtesy of a band that might be taking their initial steps in the world of heavy music, but that at the same time already sounds like veterans due to the high quality of their compositions and their utter professionalism.

Best moments of the album: Rebuilding the Machinery and Electric Frames.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing  
1. Down in Perdition 4:18
2. Rebuilding the Machinery 3:57
3. Colony Collapse Disorder 4:29
4. Electric Frames 4:24
5. Saturation Point (feat. Jules Näveri) 6:27

Band members
Arttu Ruusunen – lead vocals
Saku Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Samu Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Arto Viitanen – bass & backing vocals
Veli-Matti Kyllönen – keyboards
Jere Aaltonen – drums

Guest musician
Jules Näveri – guest vocals on “Saturation Point”

Album Review – Mustan Kuun Lapset / Saatto (2017)

A fresh new start for an amazing Dark Metal band from Finland, with their renovated attitude and passion for heavy music translated into nine excellent compositions blending different styles and emotions.

Rating4

mkl_saatto_coverart2500pisLegendary Finnish Dark Metal group Mustan Kuun Lapset, which is Finnish for “Children of the Black Moon”, have finally resurrected from the depths of abyss since ending their career in 2007, setting to release in 2017 their first official full-length album since their 2011 compilation 14 Talvea and their 2007 album Viimeinen Laulu Kuolemasta. And their brand new album, entitled Saatto (the Finnish word for “procession” or “follow-through”), not only brings forward MKL’s new lineup, but it’s also a fresh new beginning for this talented band, with their renovated attitude and passion for heavy music translated into nine excellent compositions blending different styles of Extreme Metal.

Founded in the city of Hollola under the name Häiriö (or “disorder” in Finnish) in the distant year of 1993, MKL recorded a few garage tapes during their first couple of years, never releasing them to the public. In 1996, after changing the name to Mustan Kuun Lapset, the band released their first demo titled Kunnes Loppuu Yö, being on a roll for the next decade before it was time to close the coffin in December 2007 due to lack of time and commitment. Fortunately for fans of their dark music, in 2015 MKL decided to start all over again, now hailing from the city of Lahti and as already mentioned with a reformulated lineup, culminating with the release of their brand new diverse, many-sided record Saatto, and I’m sure even if you have absolutely zero knowledge of the Finnish language you’ll have a blast listening to it.

Right after the atmospheric intro Ja Toinen Yötä Rakastaa, or “and another night love”, we have the melodious Peikonmieli (“the troll’s mind”), with the soulful guitar lines by Pete Lehtinen and Heikki Piipari dictating the song’s very pleasant pace and sonority, whereas the harsh vocals by Pete sound like a blend of Symphonic Black Metal and Melodic Death Metal. And the aura generated by the first song goes on in Kuolemanvirta (“death power”), where drummer Mikko Hautala showcases his abilities by being fierce and melodic at the same time with his darkened Doom Metal beats.

An obscure start announces another epic and powerful composition by MKL, Amor Vincit Omnia, which is Latin for “love conquers all”, with Pete doing an amazing job not only on vocals and guitars but also with his synths, delivering a rousing musicality with hints of Scandinavian Folk Metal full of variations and tempo changes. Cilice brings forward more folk elements, gently morphing into Dark Metal with Pete firing some deeper guttural growls amidst his harsh gnarls, all embraced by the band’s solid instrumental, while Sudenilma (“wolf’s air”) offers the listener heavier, headbanging riffs that lean towards pure Melodic Death Metal from Scandinavia. In addition, Mikko delivers faster beats nicely complemented by the bass lines by Ville Pelkonen, not to mention the song’s outstanding guitar solo as the icing on the cake.

mkl_promokuvaValkoinen Satama – Haaksi (“white haven – the ship”) is the first part of a two-piece story, epic and metallic from the very first second thanks to the awesome job done by both guitarists with Pete getting a lot darker on vocals. The second part of this journey, titled Valkoinen Satama – Tyven (“white haven – calm”), is a smooth, melancholic acoustic ballad wtih female vocals that end up providing a good balance to all the obscurity from the first part, an interesting variation to the MKL we’re used to. And closing the album we have the title-track Saatto, also the longest of all tracks, which begins in an introspective way, as calm and serene as the previous track, suddenly exploding into kick-ass modern Melodic Death Metal. In this multilayered composition, MKL bring forth cleaner vocals and plenty of epicness flowing from all instruments, in special the precise beats by Mikko, until the song’s thrilling conclusion.

You can witness the rebirth of the Finnish children of the black moon, appreciate their music and get updates about their upcoming projects and concerts at their Facebook page, and you can also put your metal hands on Saatto at the Inverse Records webstore or at Record Shop X. Mustan Kuun Lapset have not arisen from the ashes in vain, they’re back from the netherworld with an invigorated passion for metal to deliver their diehard fans more of their high-end music and to show the new generation how good Scandinavian Metal should always be done, and by supporting them you’ll not only help to keep that metallic fire burning, but also become part of their inspirational career.

Best moments of the album: Peikonmieli, Amor Vincit Omnia and Saatto.

Worst moments of the album: Cilice.

Released in 2017 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Ja Toinen Yötä Rakastaa 2:06
2. Peikonmieli 5:19
3. Kuolemanvirta 5:47
4. Amor Vincit Omnia 4:59
5. Cilice 5:12
6. Sudenilma 5:17
7. Valkoinen Satama – Haaksi 5:29
8. Valkoinen Satama – Tyven 5:08
9. Saatto 8:45

Band members
Pete Lehtinen – vocals, guitar, synths
Heikki Piipari – guitar
Ville Pelkonen – bass
Mikko Hautala – drums

Album Review – Front / Iron Overkill (2016)

Into the battlefield we march to the hellish sound blasted by three unrelenting Finnish soldiers of Black and Death Metal.

Rating3

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}When a band states that their music sounds like “rusty barbed wire moving at the speed of a missile”, you already know a sonic war is about to start, and that obviously means there’s nowhere to run, no place to hide from that brutal devastation. The band in question is Finnish Black/Death Metal squad Front, a power trio of darkness blasting a fulminating sound deeply inspired by iconic Black Metal juggernauts such as Marduk, Infernal War and Bestial Warlust blended with the badass attitude from their Rock N’ Roll heroes Motörhead, resulting in their debut full-length opus, a deadly weapon of mass destruction entitled Iron Overkill.

Founded in 2015 in the city of Lahti, Finland, Front already conquered the deepest pits of the black and death underground in their homeland after the release of their 2015 demo, making all fans of extreme music eager for more of their onslaught of crushing ultra-violence. Despite Front being a brand new name to the scene, the three troopers behind this beast (Kaosbringer on vocals, Von Bastard on guitars and bass, and Revenant on drums) have deep roots in the Finnish underground, having played in bands like Sacrilegious Impalement, Evil Angel and Neutron Hammer, among others, clearly explaining the high level of professionalism and malignancy found in their music.

Transpiring Black Metal with a rebellious attitude, let the raw and noisy drums and riffs by Front kick off the demented opening tune Defiance, a song to break the walls and exterminate everything where the vocals by Kaosbringer remind me of the unstoppable Swedish bulldozer Mortuus (Marduk) with a Death Metal vibe, followed by the insane massacre named Legion Front. This is unrelenting Black Metal displaying cutting guitar lines and infernal beats, while the growls by Kaosbringer reach a new devilish level. In other words, this song is beyond perfect for slamming like a motherfucker into an insane circle pit. And when a song is called I Am Death it definitely has to sound evil, with the bass guitar by Von Bastard and the menacing drums by Revenant setting fire to another feast of darkness that takes Black Metal to a new level of destruction, similarly to what Marduk do today but with Front’s own wicked touch.

front_promopic-2016-aOne single but powerful word pronounced by Kaosbringer (“ATTACK!”) ignite sheer devastation in the excellent Wargods Unbound, with the rumbling bass lines by Von Bastard leading the initial onrush before satanic Black Metal riffs and an enraged Kaosbringer join this chaotic but extremely well-crafted chant. It’s simply impossible not to get thrilled by the band’s performance and by the song’s warlike atmosphere, enhanced by its amazing backing vocals. Front’s sonic assault goes on with the extremely heavy Kypck, with highlights to its metallic guitar lines and bestial drumming, as well as the deeper growls by Kaosbringer which end up adding an extra dosage of ferocity to the overall result; followed by Tribunal of Terror, where a rhythmic start complemented by some devilish vociferations explodes into a full-bodied Extreme Metal hymn. There are absolutely no shenanigans in this solid composition, only brutality fired by a high-skilled band, especially through the dynamic rockin’ riffs by Von Bastard.

And there’s still more combat-inspired extreme music for you flowing from the Hardcore guitars, fiery growls and infinite hatred found in Cold Gravel Grave, a song that will kick you in the guts due to its unparalleled aggression (with its second half being perfect for breaking your neck headbanging), before sheer violence and evil come ripping in Heathen Resistance, where our electrified Black Metal platoon showcases their skills and tell the world they will always fight for extreme music, never giving up or betraying their roots, displaying once again an amazing job done on drums by Revenant and the thunderous bass guitar by Von Bastard. In addition, pay good attention to the song’s rhythm, going from pure Black Metal to beer-drinking Rock N’ Roll the likes of Motörhead and Chrome Division, a fusion Front are capable of doing almost to perfection.

As we march into the battlefield to the aggressive music presented in this excellent album by Front, go check their Facebook page for more info on their music, upcoming tours and plans for the future, and you can also find Iron Overkill on sale at the Iron Bonehead Productions’ BandCamp, at their webshop in two different versions (as a regular jewelcase CD or as a special 12” LP edition including a 350gsm jacket with matt varnish and inside flooded in black, a 140g black vinyl, a 220g printed cardboard innersleeve and an A2 poster on 150gsm art paper), at the Record Shop X or at Discogs. If you purchase a copy of Iron Overkill, then maybe (just maybe) these three unrelenting soldiers of Black and Death Metal will spare your miserable life from total doom.

Best moments of the album: Defiance, I Am Death, Wargods Unbound and Tribunal of Terror.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Iron Bonehead Productions

Track listing
1. Defiance 4:37
2. Legion Front 3:27
3. I Am Death 3:39
4. Wargods Unbound 4:34
5. Kypck 5:02
6. Tribunal of Terror 4:13
7. Cold Gravel Grave 4:39
8. Heathen Resistance 5:58

Band members
Kaosbringer – vocals
Von Bastard – guitars, bass, choir vocals
Revenant – drums, choir vocals

Guest musician
Lux Tenebris – backing vocals

Album Review – Forte Ruin / Forte Ruin EP (2015)

A cohesive and entertaining display of Melodic Death Metal, directly from Finland into our minds and souls.

Rating5

EP_CoverIf someone says Finnish Melodic Death Metal band Forte Ruin are more like a family than just a regular band, that person won’t be lying at all. The guitar duo comprised of Saku and Samu Aaltonen, together with drummer Jere Aaltonen, are the electric brotherhood that keeps the band’s engine running fast and efficiently, with lead singer Arttu Ruusunen, bassist Arto Viitanen and keyboardist Veli-Matti Kyllönen adding loads of extra fuel to their compositions, thus culminating in high-end music like what you’ll find in their self-titled debut EP, Forte Ruin.

The band was originally founded in 2011 in the city of Lahti, Finland under a different name, but after some major changes in their line-up they decided it was also necessary to adopt a new heading for their six-piece cohort. In regards to the overall production of the EP, it is truly remarkable how professional and organic the band sounds, having recorded everything by themselves without the help of any external sources, except for the recording of drums in a real studio. And after listening to this short and sweet display of Melodic Death Metal you’ll feel eager for more of their dynamism and energy in an upcoming EP or even a full-length studio album in a not-so-distant future.

You can sense influences from In Flames, Soilwork and the more contemporary American Alternative/Melodic Death Metal in the first of the three tracks, Alienated Humanity, where as expected there’s an embracing and eerie atmosphere created by its keyboards thanks to the excellent job done by Veli-Matti. In addition, its strong vocal lines (especially the screams and growls by Arttu) and catchy chorus enhance the impact of the song to the listener, making it the perfect opening to instantly captivate the crowd during their live performances.

Forte Ruin promoIn the excellent 45 Days, a thrilling start is augmented by powerful drums and solid riffs until the music reaches its full force, yet again showcasing ass-kicking sinister keyboard notes. Moreover, its straightforward rhythm and harmonious instrumental end up turning it into the best of all three tracks in my opinion, with highlights to the tuneful guitar lines by Saku and Samu and to the keen progressive touch added by the whole band at the end of the song.

Lastly, Enter The Masquerade presents melancholy and melody together in a pleasant composition the likes of the latest works by Arch Enemy and other Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal bands. Its clean vocals are more incisive and therefore more effective in this tune, with elements of Symphonic Black Metal and Progressive Metal increasing the song’s range and complexity. Not only this is another track with a powerful chorus, but its ending is a thing of beauty and the perfect hook for their next release.

Forte Ruin can be reached at their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and you can also become part of their family by purchasing their EP at their BandCamp page or at the Record Shop X webstore. As long as we keep supporting underground metal music, bands like Forte Ruin will keep rising from all over the world, and while those bands keep working hard and never give up their dreams and goals, more amazing music such as this cohesive and exciting EP of Melodic Death Metal will keep invading our minds and souls for our total amusement.

Best moments of the album: 45 Days.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Alienated Humanity 3:46
2. 45 Days 3:41
3. Enter The Masquerade 5:52

Band members
Arttu Ruusunen – lead vocals
Saku Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Samu Aaltonen – guitars & backing vocals
Arto Viitanen – bass & backing vocals
Veli-Matti Kyllönen – keyboards
Jere Aaltonen – drums

Album Review – Endzeit / Years Of Hunger EP (2014)

Are you hungry for some high-end old school Black Metal? These guys from the land of ice and snow are here to provide you all the apocalyptic madness and derangement you want to listen to.

Rating5

Endzeit Years of HungerHeavy music in Finland has become famous and respected worldwide due to the Melodic Power Metal by Stratovarius, Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, the Hard Rock by Lordi, the Melodic Death Metal by Children of Bodom, the Dark Rock by HIM, among other great bands and artists. However, If you want to listen to some really badass raw Black Metal, that’s not the best place to go according to what most people say. You should try your luck in other Scandinavian countries like Norway or Sweden, right? Well, let me tell you the beautiful land of ice and snow also has some high-quality extreme metal to offer you, a million light-years more brutal than any of the aforementioned bands.

Founded in 2012 in the city of Lahti, located around 100km from the capital Helsinki, Finnish Raw Apocalyptic Black Metal band Endzeit couldn’t sound more Black Metal than this, with absolutely no shenanigans or any type of soft stuff added to their musicality. Dealing with controversial subjects such as religion, the apocalypse and the absence of an optimistic future (triggered by the decay of the city of Detroit, where modern capitalism has failed), their debut EP entitled Years Of Hunger might be relatively short, but it’s a 100% ruthless metal feast that will leave you totally disoriented, which of course is a good thing in Black Metal.

And there’s no “calm before the storm” in Years Of Hunger: the intro Inception is already apocalyptic (were you expecting anything different than that?), setting the stage for the obscure Hunger, with its traditional Black Metal riffs and drums at the speed of light creating that characteristic somber and chaotic atmosphere found in extreme music, intensified by the excellent demonic vocals by singer Schwarz. In other words, it’s perfect for diehard black metallers searching for new bands but with an old school approach. Following that havoc, we have Godless, slightly heavier than the previous track due to its awesome disturbing riffs, and especially due to the insane drumming by Samuli.

Endzeit bandThe last original composition by Endzeit is the amazing song Life?, where a dark choir in the background “beautifully” complements the intense tremolo picking riffs, creating an even more frightening atmosphere. Besides, I guess I don’t need to say how pessimistic and acid the lyrics are, right? Anyway, an awesome thing about Endzeit is that they manage to play the most deranged type of extreme music you can imagine, but it’s so professional and melodic you actually feel good listening to it. That’s corroborated by their sick cover version of The Dawn No More Rises, originally recorded by Swedish Black Metal icons Dark Funeral in their classic debut album The Secrets of the Black Arts (1996). I personally find this track an awesome “bonus” Endzeit offer us in this EP, very honest to the original but with the band’s own modern and diabolic touch to make it unique.

In my humble opinion, if Enzeit release a full-length album as good as Years Of Hunger EP, available at their official BandCamp page, the “map” of Black Metal might suffer a few changes in a near future, even moving its “capital” to the city of Lahti. Years Of Hunger will surely satisfy your current hunger for high-quality old school Black Metal and, of course, leave you eager for more of Endzeit’s apocalyptic brutality directly from ice cold Finland.

Best moments of the album: Hunger and Life? are truly kick-ass songs.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Inception 1:08
2. Hunger 4:58
3. Godless 5:29
4. Life? 6:42
5. The Dawn No More Rises (Dark Funeral cover) 3:52

Band members
Schwarz – guitars, vocals
Polaris – guitars
Pyry – bass
Samuli – drums