Album Review – False Coda / Secrets and Sins (2016)

A lesson in progressiveness and feeling by a five-piece Greek band that brings forth a classy fusion of different musical styles, highly recommended for fans of top-of-the-line Heavy Metal.

Rating4

album-coverI think I’ve never faced a boring band from Greece to review here at The Headbanging Moose, and Greek Progressive Metal act False Coda is no exception to that. Formed in 2009 in Athens by brothers Andreas Milios (drums) and Vasilis “Bill” Milios (guitars), this five-piece band brings forth a marvelous fusion of genres and subgenres of heavy music, including Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, Power Metal and Doom Metal, among many others, as well as other styles such as classical music, never getting tiresome or repetitive even playing songs that go on for over eight or nine minutes. Quite the opposite, it looks like the longer their compositions are, the more exciting they get.

However, it was only in 2014, after considerable lineup changes, that False Coda were able to release their debut album, entitled Closer to the Edge, which received excellent reviews from magazines and webzines from around the globe. And that positive feedback fueled those Greek metallers with confidence for more, culminating with the release this year of their brand new album Secrets and Sins, a lesson in progressiveness and feeling featuring Stefanos Zafeiropoulos as their new lead singer, a classy artwork by French artist Nihil, world-famous guitarist Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Nevermore) with a special solo for one of the album songs, and of course an infinite amount of first-class heavy music.

An exotic and pleasant intro with elements from the East ignite the excellent Throne Of Blood, an upbeat heavy music composition with cutting guitar lines and a high dosage of complexity the likes of Dream Theater, with the keyboards by Lefteris Kapetanios sounding sharp and exciting throughout the whole song (and as you’ll see, throughout the whole album as well). Moral Compass brings forward more intricacy and metallic sounds to us fans of Progressive Metal, where Bill showcases all his abilities with his stringed weapon while the vocals by Stefanos remind me of both Matt Barlow and Stu Block (Iced Earth), adding an extra touch of violence to the overall result; whereas in New Paradigm a gentle intro flows into pure progressiveness, morphing into a song that could easily be played on any rock n’ roll station with highlights to the spot-on performances by Stefanos on vocals and Nick Pogkas with his groovy bass lines.

false-codaThe title-track Secrets and Sins couldn’t be more imposing and symphonic, a feast of tempo changes, beautiful solos and tons of heaviness flowing from all instruments, sounding as if Dream Theater merged with Iced Earth in the most effective way. Needless to say, it’s one of the best songs of the album, highly recommended for some good headbanging. Flickering Lights, despite having an amazing intro and some interesting moments (in special the solid riffs by Bill), is not as captivating as the rest of the album, sounding a bit generic compared to the other songs. And Monolith, perhaps the darkest of all songs, is also one of the most thrilling, with its dense ambience and the theatrical vocals by Stefanos, together with the powerful Doom Metal-ish beats by Andreas and the sensational solo by guest guitarist Jeff Loomis, making listening to it simply mandatory to any fan of modern and organic Heavy Metal.

The multilayered Moment, with its rumbling bass lines and eerie atmosphere, is the longest of all tracks and, thanks to that, it’s also the song where the band had the highest amount of freedom to showcase all their creativity and passion for heavy music, with highlights to the final guitar solo by Bill, while The Truth Lies, a passionate power ballad by these talented Greek metallers, presents another sensational job done by the guitar/keyboard duo comprised of Bill and Lefteris, enhancing the song’s appeal. Furthermore, I simply love the smooth break with the piano notes, bringing a good balance to the heaviness of the rest of the song. And lastly, California is a very innovative way to finish such powerful album, a beautiful ballad with elements from Blues added to the musicality, tailored for listening to it together with your significant other as he or she will surely enjoy the moment a lot.

You can get more details on False Coda through their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, with the sophisticated Secrets and Sins being available at their BandCamp page, on iTunes or on Amazon. As aforementioned, several distinct Greek bands from different genres and styles have already been reviewed by The Headbanging Moose, and none of those were even close to being boring. Now we can definitely add False Coda to this select Hellenic team, hoping that their music can travel the seven seas and reach the ears of headbangers avid for high-quality Heavy Metal all over the world for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Secrets and Sins, Monolith and The Truth Lies.

Worst moments of the album: Flickering Lights.

Released in 2016 Freia Music

Track listing
1. Throne Of Blood 6:06
2. Moral Compass 6:11
3. New Paradigm 5:37
4. Secrets and Sins 8:25
5. Flickering Lights 4:09
6. Monolith (feat. Jeff Loomis) 5:29
7. Moment 9:20
8. The Truth Lies 6:03
9. California 3:36

Band members
Stefanos Zafeiropoulos – vocals
Vasilis “Bill” Milios – guitars
Nick Pogkas – bass
Lefteris Kapetanios – keyboards
Andreas Milios – drums

Guest musician
Jeff Loomis – guitar solo on “Monolith”

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2015

“Good day
My name is Necropolis
I am formed of the dead
I am the harvester of the soul meat
And I suck the lives from around my bed
My own two sons I gave them breath
And I filled their living corpses with my bile
What humanity I knew I have long forgotten
For me eternity is nothing
But a short while…” 

– If Eternity Should Fail, by Iron Maiden

Eternity might be nothing but a short while for the harvester of the soul meat, but for us mere mortals it looked like 2015 was never going to reach its end. Well, the year is finally phasing out and 2016 is already knocking on our doors, promising to be a much better (and less tragic) time for mankind. With that said, once again as a tribute to all bands and musicians who kept our hearts warm in the throes of a world crisis, here is The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2015, excluding of course all EP’s, best of’s and live albums. Profitez-en bien!

Iron Maiden_The Book of Souls1. Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (REVIEW)
As you read through the pages of The Book Of Souls you’ll inevitably realize that Iron Maiden’s gonna get us all, no matter how far.
Best song of the album: The Red and the Black

moonspell_extinct2. Moonspell – Extinct (REVIEW)
While this distinguished Portuguese Dark Metal band is among us, we can rest assured good and meaningful music is far from being extinct.
Best song of the album: Extinct

Stratovarius_Eternal3. Stratovarius – Eternal (REVIEW)
The Finnish masters of Power Metal are back with a beautiful album made to be eternal.
Best song of the album: My Eternal Dream

battle beast_unholy savior4. Battle Beast – Unholy Savior (REVIEW)
Battle Beast want the world and everything in it, and they’re definitely on their way to conquer it all with their brilliant brand new album.
Best song of the album: I Want The World… And Everything In It

My God-Given Right5. Helloween – My God-Given Right (REVIEW)
It’s our God-given right to keep banging our heads to the music by the happiest and most awesome Power Metal band in the world.
Best song of the album: Creatures in Heaven

scorpions_return to forever6. Scorpions – Return to Forever (REVIEW)
This rock may be rolling home after so many years of good service, but it still has A LOT to teach the world on how to make true Hard Rock.
Best song of the album: Rock ‘N’ Roll Band

cover7. Marduk – Frontschwein (REVIEW)
The Babylonian gods of Black Metal return with more of their blasphemous and apocalyptic war-themed music.
Best song of the album: Thousand-Fold Death

CoF_Hammer of the Witches8. Cradle of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches (REVIEW)
The metallic coven instituted by one of the most important Extreme Metal bands of all time keeps haunting our world with their music.
Best song of the album: Onward Christian Soldiers

Survivalist Album Cover9. 4ARM – Survivalist (REVIEW)
A phenomenal heavy music album full of groove, fury and energy by an extremely talented Thrash Metal band from Down Under.
Best song of the album: Poisoned Mind

Slayer_Repentless10. Slayer – Repentless (REVIEW)
Live fast, on high, repentless, and keep listening to Slayer until the day you die.
Best song of the album: Repentless

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld II (REVIEW)
12. Monolith – Against The Wall Of Forever (REVIEW)
13. The Agonist – Eye of Providence (REVIEW)
14. Acrassicauda – Gilgamesh (REVIEW)
15. Vingulmork – Chiaroscuro (REVIEW)
16. Vorna – Ei Valo Minua Seuraa (REVIEW)
17. Dys Inbunden – One With Morbidity, The Opus Misanthropy (REVIEW)
18. Deadly Circus Fire – The Hydra’s Tailor (REVIEW)
19. Tsar Bomb – Exterminans IX:XI (REVIEW)
20. Profane And The Sacred – Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming (REVIEW)

As this year we had tons of amazing EP’s being released by extremely talented bands from all over the world, why not providing you our Top 10 EP’s of 2015, right? (To be fair, although shorter in duration, some of them are significantly better and more complex than several full-length albums that became available throughout the year.)

1. Goatchrist – The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil (REVIEW)
2. Dö – Den (REVIEW)
3. Chip DiMonick – Uncaged (REVIEW)
4. Omega Diatribe – Abstract Ritual (REVIEW)
5. The Passion Of Our Souls – Soulmates (REVIEW)
6. Velaverante – My Dark Images (REVIEW)
7. Novallo – Novallo II (REVIEW)
8. Meridius – Meridius (REVIEW)
9. Judas Avenger – Judas Avenger (REVIEW)
10. Pergana – The Visit (REVIEW)

One thing that 2015 taught us all is that Heavy Fuckin’ Metal is still alive and on fire, and based on the music by countless independent bands reviewed here (that for different reasons did not make it to our top 10/20), it will keep shining brighter than ever for many years to come. Take a listen at the music by Rifftera and Amanita Virosa (Finland); Reanimator and Fractal Generator (Canada); Sarpentra and The Prophet (Russia); Dzhatinga and Irreversible Mechanism (Belarus); Helligators and Lykaion (Italy); Warmask and Hateful Warfare (Brazil); Morkesagn and Gasoline Guns (Ukraine); Void Creation (Austria); Nachtlieder (Sweden); Fjorsvartnir (Denmark); Broken Rain (Slovakia); Lanthanein (Argentina), among many others, and there you have the future of heavy music. And, obviously, don’t forget to listen to the METAL MOOSE RADIO SHOW every week, and to always HAIL SANTA!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2016!

And now, last but not least, a Christmas message from Eddie and the boys…

Album Review – Monolith / Against The Wall Of Forever (2015)

A remarkable album of pure heavy music that will take you on a journey back to the glorious early days of Heavy Metal.

Rating3

cover1400x1400There are bands that are born to play more progressive or introspective music, with thoughtful lyrics that will make you reconsider some aspects of your life. Other groups focus on a more theatrical side of business, relying heavily on their outfits, makeup, corpse-painting and/or stage production to differentiate themselves in the market. And there are American Heavy Metal saviors Monolith, which had only one thing in mind while crafting their superb brand new full-length album Against The Wall Of Forever: 100% pure Heavy Metal.

Founded in 2013 by guitarist Doug Walker (The Hookers, Nixon), with current and former members of MF Ruckus, The Embalmers and Zombie Cartel and having already played with names like The Dwarves, Sepultura and Electric Wizard, Monolith do not want to start any revolution in heavy music. What those talented guys from San Diego, California really want to offer us all headbangers is honest and electrifying heavy music inspired by their idols from the mid-70’s/early-80’s era of Heavy Metal, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica, and they simply nailed it with their new album, a serious contender for top metal album of 2015.

Against The Wall Of Forever is a huge kick in your face right from the start with the spectacular old school Thrash/Heavy Metal anthem The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools), especially due to the excellent vocals by Aaron Howell and the exciting guitar duo comprised of Doug Walker and Jared Bliss. Their traditional riffs and solos remind me a lot of some Iron Maiden classics from the 80’s, and I don’t need to say how positive that is. Following that metal music havoc we have the title-track, Against The Wall Of Forever, which showcases more influences from the NWOBHM such as its thrilling galloping rhythm thanks to the great job done by drummer Ben Pincock and bassist David Ortuno.

The next track, Caravan, comes with a very simple question: are you ready for some intense circle pits? It’s amazing how they managed to create such polished music without losing that rawness needed in classic Heavy Metal, and you’ll feel pumped for screaming the name of the song together with Aaron during its chorus. Furthermore, none of the guitar solos sound out of place in this song (nor in the entire album). And can we call the dark ballad Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) as “Blues Metal”? Well, call it the way you prefer, as long as you acknowledge the incredible job Aaron does by impersonating the character of “Dr. Jest”, which based on my online research is an alchemist and chief interrogator of Melnibone who is a connoisseur of torture, and his life’s work is to elevate the infliction of pain in to an art form. It can’t get any better than this!

Monolith PicDie With Your Master, another of the top moments of the entire album, is a terrific tribute to the good old times of Metallica, inspired by masterpieces like “Whiplash”, “Metal Militia” and so on: it’s as raw and fast as it can be, and more than perfect for some furious mosh pits with your friends. Then a more progressive vein arises in The Prophet, with lots of breaks and variations nicely inserted amidst all the sonic madness.

The heavy music celebration  goes on with another very solid track named The All-Father And The Chaos Lords, which focus heavily on its headbanging riffs blended with the screams by Aaron. If you’re a fan of frantic metal music, the last part of this song is tailored for you. And last but not least, sounding even more Iron Maiden-ish than ever (apparently inspired by the all-time classic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” or any other track from the flawless album Powerslave), Monolith offer us the excellent Elusive Prey (The Hunter), where Doug and Jared are kicking some serious ass on the guitars with their awesome riffs and solos.

Even the album art, by illustrator Matthew Haas, transpires Heavy Metal and perfectly represents how impactful the music by Monolith is. So go like them on Facebook, visit their YouTube channel, listen to their music on their SoundCloud page, and order your copy of Against The Wall Of Forever at the official Funeral Noise Records webstore (they have some cool bundles available). Although we’re already in 2015, Monolith will take you on a journey back in time, more specifically to the early 80’s when heavy music was beyond glorious and mighty.

Best moments of the album: The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools), Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) and Die With Your Master.

Worst moments of the album: Honestly, it’s really hard to find something bad or uninspired in the whole album. Maybe The All-Father And The Chaos Lords?

Released in 2015 Funeral Noise Records

Track listing
1. The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools) 5:02
2. Against The Wall Of Forever 3:34
3. Caravan 3:11
4. Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) 4:27
5. Die With Your Master 3:22
6. The Prophet 4:21
7. The All-Father And The Chaos Lords 3:54
8. Elusive Prey (The Hunter) 3:41

Band members
Aaron Howell – vocals
Doug Walker – guitar
Jared Bliss – guitar
David “Gordo” Ortuno – bass
Ben Pincock – drums