Album Review – Violent Life Violent Death / Sadness Rains EP (2019)

Charlotte, North Carolina’s own Metalcore institution returns with a venomous new EP, sounding as heavy, acid and violent as usual.

Owners of the best EP of 2018 as per our humble Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2018 with their amazing release Come, Heavy Breath, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Metalcore unity Violent Life Violent Death is back in action this year with another heavy-as-hell EP entitled Sadness Rains, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Every Time I Die, Zao and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Furthermore, if there’s one thing that really helps Violent Life Violent Death sound so cohesive from one release to another is their immaculate lineup, still formed by Scott Cowan on vocals, Joseph Benham and Joey Park on the guitars, Justin Campbell on bass and David Holquin on drums, building a solid and interesting connection between albums.

A cinematic intro morphs into the band’s characteristic austere sonority in Choke, with Scott firing his infernal gnarls manically while the rest of the band blasts sheer obscurity and hatred through their instruments, not to mention how Joseph and Joey will pierce your skin deep with their riffs. And it looks like Violent Life Violent Death decided to venture through much darker paths in their new EP, as Love In Violet begins in a mournful, somber way before exploding into high-octane Metalcore led by David’s frantic beats and fills, sounding as sharp and visceral as it can be; followed by the title-track Sadness Rains, another bestial display of modern-day Metalcore and Deathcore that will inspire you to slam into the pit, with Justin’s bass and David’s drums generating a rumbling ambience perfect for Scott to roar like a demonic entity. In Hissing Tongue the band sounds even faster and more demented, with the stringed trio Joseph, Joey and Justin being on absolute fire throughout the entire song, providing Scott all he needs to thrive with his evil vociferations and, therefore, resulting in what’s my favorite of the five songs. And last but not least, Pray concludes the EP with huge dosages of brutality, rage and darkness, with Justin extracting tons of groove form his bass while Joseph and joey fire crystalline but utterly venomous riffs from their axes.

In a nutshell, Sadness Rains, available for a full listen on Spotify, might not be as impactful as Come, Heavy Breath, but it’s just as heavy, vile and aggressive, keeping the band’s core essence burning bright and pointing to a healthy future for this American band that’s already more than just a promise. Having said that, what are you waiting for to follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel and grab your copy of Sadness Rains from their Big Cartel page or from the Innerstrength Records’ BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon (or simply click HERE for a list of all places where Sadness Rains is available)? Now after a trilogy of ass-kicking EP’s by Violent Life Violent Death it’s time for those talented metallers to release a full-length opus to blow our minds with their rage and electricity, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: Love In Violet and Hissing Tongue.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Innerstrength Records

Track listing
1. Choke 3:56
2. Love In Violet 4:25
3. Sadness Rains 2:40
4. Hissing Tongue 2:13
5. Pray 3:38

Band members
Scott Cowan – vocals
Joseph Benham – guitar
Joey Park – guitar
Justin Campbell – bass
David Holquin – drums

Album Review – Violent Life Violent Death / Come, Heavy Breath EP (2018)

Take a deep breath and enjoy a vicious and nostalgic feast of heavy sounds made in the United States, proving modern-day Metalcore can be just as pulverizing as old school extreme music.

Hailing from Charlotte, the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina, the incendiary Metalcore unity known as Violent Life Violent Death made their mark in late 2016 with the release of their first studio offering, V-EP, a five-track vicious, nostalgic effort blending the most visceral elements of Metalcore with hints of heavier-than-hell genres such as Thrash and Death Metal. Now in 2018 the band formed by vocalist Scott Cowan, guitarists Joseph Benham and Joey Park, bassist Justin Campbell and drummer David Holquin returns with a refreshed and even more ruthless contribution in the form of their second release, a brand new EP entitled Come, Heavy Breath, proving modern-day Metalcore can be just as pulverizing as old school extreme music.

“Our goal was to create a piece of music that had nostalgic qualities to it but with a new-school edge. Having spent some time in other bands has definitely helped create the sound we have adapted with this band, as we took a good look into what we feel has worked and not worked for us in the past and narrowed it down,” said Violent Life Violent Death, also explaining a little more the concept behind their new EP. “With Come, Heavy Breath, we really wanted to illustrate moments of fervor that draw a gasp, or, a heavy breath, as the title depicts. These are the moments of awe that we each experience in life, whether they be conjured through excitement, joy, sadness, loss, lust, love, wonder, etc., while bringing them each to life through our music in as straight forward of a manner possible, demanding the attention of the listener.”

The title-track Come, Heavy Breath, an austere and dynamic Metalcore tune tailored for disturbing the peace of your neighborhood, couldn’t have started in a more distorted and violent way, with Scott beginning his growling attack while Justin and David generate a brutal neck-breaking ambience with their metallic weapons, whereas in Backbiter the band puts pedal to the metal in a sonic onslaught of contemporary Metalcore infused with Melodic Death Metal and traditional Death Metal elements, with the guitar duo Joseph and Joey being on absolute fire with their crushing riffs while Scott screams almost like if he was not human. Put differently, this magnificent song lives up not only to the band’s own name, but also to the legacy of the most violent forms of Metalcore and Hardcore. And in Rot they keep the level of aggressiveness and destruction extremely high, with the razor-edged sound of the guitars inspiring us all to slam into the pit while David also adds his touch of adrenaline to the music through his fierce and straightforward beats.

Mourn is another tune perfect for cracking your spine in half headbanging and for jumping up and down with the band, with the vocals by Scott sounding even more deranged and furious, making it quite impossible to stand still to such demonic display of modern metal music, and there’s no sign of the band slowing down as we face the next song in the EP, entitled Lovers/Deceivers. Quite the contrary, Violent Life Violent Death blast sheer aggression from their instruments, with highlights to the amazing synchronicity between David’s beats and Joseph and Joey’s infernal riffs. And as the last act in Come, Heavy Breath it’s time to roar and gnarl together with Scott during the six minutes of classy Metalcore featured in the song Narcissist, bringing some welcome elements and nuances from Thrash Metal, which in the end translates into an accelerated pace, groovier bass lines, and obviously not a single second of peace, with Joseph and Joey sounding crisp, raw and very melodic at the same time until the music fades into a somber and menacing finale.

After all is said and done, the excellent Come, Heavy Breath, which is by the way available for a full listen on YouTube, will certainly help Violent Life Violent Death cement their name as one of the most promising (and one of the heaviest) Metalcore acts of the past few years, leaving us eager for more of their flammable music. And in order to show your support to those five metallers from Charlotte, you can go check what they’re up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and purchase Come, Heavy Breath from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, as well as from iTunes or Amazon. And when you have the album on your hands, simply take a deep, heavy breath and enjoy Violent Life Violent Death’s chaotic onrush of sounds just the way the band itself expects you to do.

Best moments of the album: Backbiter and Mourn.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing 
1. Come, Heavy Breath 3:51
2. Backbiter 3:39
3. Rot 2:50
4. Mourn 3:41
5. Lovers/Deceivers 2:10
6. Narcissist 6:05

Band members
Scott Cowan – vocals
Joseph Benham – guitar
Joey Park – guitar
Justin Campbell – bass
David Holquin – drums

Album Review – Temptation’s Wings / Skulthor Ebonblade (2017)

Follow the epic adventures of the mighty warrior Skulthor, told by a relentless American power trio through their vibrant fusion of Stoner and Southern Metal.

Hailing from the mountains of North Carolina, in the United States, more specifically from the city of Asheville, here comes a bludgeoning power trio known as Temptation’s Wings, who since the band’s inception in 2005 has been blasting an old school fusion of Stoner and Southern Metal full of raw power, crushing riffs and epic vocals with influences ranging from Amon Amarth to ZZ Top, from Candlemass to Iced Earth, and so on. All that passion for heavy music culminated with the release of a demo titled Destruction of Another Dimension, in 2010, and the EP’s WarMallet: An EP of Brutality, in 2011, and Legends of the Tusk, in 2013, leading the band to play several concerts in support of their releases, including opening for metal legends Iced Earth in their hometown’s biggest venue, The Orange Peel. However, it’s now in 2017 that the trio aims at spreading their metallic wings over the entire world with the release of their debut full-length album, the rip-roaring Skulthor Ebonblade.

Showcasing a comic-inspired artwork by Minneapolis-based artist David Paul Seymour (the “Artist of Doom”), Skulthor Ebonblade is a doom-thrashing sonic representation of battles, berserkers, bizarre beasts and bashing skulls by the trio comprised of Micah on vocals and guitars, Chad on bass and Jason on drums, who above all things love to tell us epic tales of bloodshed and conquest through their music. With each one of its songs being a crushing narrative of brutality from start to finish, Skulthor Ebonblade can be considered a concept album that keeps the level of epicness and adventure always at the highest possible level. Having said that, simply grab your sword, ax and shield and head into the battlefield together with Temptation’s Wings to the sound of the glorious anthems found in the album’s 48 minutes of unrelenting metal.

Blazing fires in the intro Burning of Hjalmar warn the listener a monumental war of Sludge and Stoner Metal is about to begin in I’ Destroyer, where Micah and Chad build a wall of sound with their strings, being powerfully joined by Jason and his smashing beats. In addition, Micah impersonates the main character of the story in a gripping manner, while Chad and his bass sound as thunderous as they can be throughout the entire song. And the rumbling tunes by Chad kick off another heavy and potent creation by Temptation’s Wings entitled Into the Maelstrom, presenting top-tier Southern Doom with an epic atmosphere in the background, together with faster passages interspersed with darker, slower moments that end up turning it into a full-bodied experience for the listener.

And it seems that the skies are getting darker and darker as the music in Skulthor Ebonblade evolves, which is the case in To Forge a Legend (Ulfbehrt). Micah fires spot-on enraged vocals in perfect sync with the pounding drums by Jason, exhibiting a more melodic side of Temptation’s Wings with highlights to its sustained epic vibe. Then we’re treated to one of the most thrilling, razor-edged chants of the whole album, Lair of the Gorgon Queen, where Micah not only slashes our ears with his riffs, but his vocal performance is beyond heroic and vibrant. Furthermore, this flammable chant is also full of breaks, variations and nuances of several different music styles, not to mention Micah’s fantastic guitar solos; followed by Treachery of the Blind Raven, which by the way has a superb name for a metal song, where they continue their quest for Southern Metal in great fashion, with guitar and bass sounding as metallic as they can be and with all spaces being filled with the dense sounds of all instruments.

Witches of Dredmoor offers our avid ears almost 10 minutes of melancholic passages, low-tuned bass punches and passionate performances by all band members (in special Micah with his gripping story-telling vocal lines). It’s by far the darkest of all songs, presenting more of their stunning guitar solos and rhythmic beats to make the whole composition even more exhilarating; before the closing tune of the album, titled My Name Was Skulthor, brings forward an anguished anti-hero Skulthor with his dark thoughts and evil feelings consuming his mind, with all that negativity flowing from the song’s low-tuned bass lines and obscure vocals. There’s no happiness in sight, only the melancholy and sadness of a fallen warrior beautifully turned into first-class Doom Metal by Temptation’s Wings, concluding the album majestically. Actually, if you buy the CD version of the album, you get as a nice bonus from the band a 2-minute acoustic instrumental track named Solitude (inserted between “Lair of the Gorgon Queen” and “Treachery of the Blind Raven”), a simple but very positive extra touch to the album in my opinion.

You can take a detailed listen at Skulthor Ebonblade on YouTube, follow the band on Facebook, and purchase the epic, rumbling adventures of Temptation’s Wings through their BandCamp page or official website, as well as on iTunes. Although no one truly knows what lies ahead for Skulthor, we all know for sure that, no matter what destiny brings to our fallen warrior, the skillful minstrels of Heavy Metal known as Temptation’s Wings will be there to tell us another gripping story of violence, death and revenge through their kick-ass music.

Best moments of the album: I’ Destroyer, Lair of the Gorgon Queen and My Name Was Skulthor.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Burning of Hjalmar 1:24
2. I’ Destroyer 7:03
3. Into the Maelstrom 6:25
4. To Forge a Legend (Ulfbehrt) 7:46
5. Lair of the Gorgon Queen 6:03
6. Treachery of the Blind Raven 4:40
7. Witches of Dredmoor 9:40
8. My Name Was Skulthor 6:44

CD bonus track
6. Solitude 2:18

Band members
Micah – vocals, guitars
Chad – bass
Jason – drums

Album Review – Rapheumets Well / Enders Door (2017)

Enjoy the third and final installment of the saga of the Atai in the form of a thirteen-song Sci-Fi opera of Symphonic and Progressive Black Metal.

After the releases of the first and second parts of a trilogy about the complex saga of the Atai (ancient architects), who aid in the propagation of sentient life throughout the multi-verse, those being the full length albums Dimensions, from 2014, and The Exile, from 2016, American Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal warriors Rapheumets Well return now in 2017 with the third and final installment of this musical saga, Enders Door, a thirteen-song science fantasy opera in the form of Symphonic Metal. Although this relentless North Carolina-based squad suffered a few lineup changes from their previous release, such as the departure of lead singer Tripp King (being replaced by the insanely talented growler Jeb Laird), their music remains bold, visceral and ominous, perfect to give a climatic ending to such compelling story.

And do you want to know what happens in Enders Door while the entire band is kicking some serious ass with their flammable instruments? Well, this is what Rapheumets Well will tell you: in the fifth era of the Avomenian Empire, amidst the planetary ruins of Vaath, a rogue traveler would discover an artifact that would forever change his place in the cosmos. Upon arriving to retrieve the artifact, it became apparent that Eryos’ brother Nathyiem would never make it to their arranged meeting point.  In departing from the planet Vaath, Eryos received a distress signal from his brother’s ship, coming from an uncharted planet.  Upon arriving, he found an odd world inhabited by a mysterious species called the Dreth led by lecherous matriarch named Eishar.  It is here that he would uncover a faced-door, an inter-dimensional gateway to the Ender.

In the opening track, titled The Traveler, we face an eerie, cinematic start to the album, transporting us to the world of Rapheumets Well by blending the finesse of keyboards and choir with devastating blast beats, before Jeb begins growling like a beast; followed by Distress on the Aberrant Planet, where the brutality led by the band’s mastermind Joshua “Nasaru” Ward on drums is effectively complemented by the keyboards by Annette Greene, while guitarists Brett Lee and Hunter Ross make sure they add the world “metal” to the music. The Autogenous Extinction offers the listener more demolishing, ominous sounds crafted by this unstoppable band, resulting in high-end Symphonic Black Metal with hints of Blackened Death Metal for admirers of the music by Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth, with Annette bringing balance to the sonic havoc with her smooth vocals. And in Secrets of the Demigods we’re treated to another great “duel” between Annette and Joshua, a true clash of delicate vocals and bestial beats, all embraced by a dark and dense background enhanced by classic guitar riffs and solos.

Then we have one of the longest and most complex of all tracks, Lechery Brought the Darkness, with its semi-acoustic intro suddenly exploding into sheer Symphonic Black Metal, with the paradox of voices between Annette with her angelic vocals and Jeb with his rabid gnarls sounding incredible from start to finish; and the title-track Enders Door, a fantastic tune showcasing a phantasmagorical background, extreme violence flowing form Joshua’s drums, and crushing guitar lines by both Brett and Hunter, perfectly depicting the traveler’s quest in the form of top-tier metal. In Prisoner of the Rift, they keep a menacing aura upon us with a fusion of Symphonic Metal with acoustic and even folk elements, creating a unique sonority led by the gentle voice of Annette, whereas The Diminished Strategist kicks off in full force, being an amazing representation of modern and intense Black Metal. Furthermore, the song’s keyboards sound mesmerizing when combined with the clean vocals by both Annette and Joshua, with the huge amount of progressiveness added to the music amidst all the sonic chaos going on resulting in an eccentric music voyage.

Nastarian Waltz works as a whimsical bridge to the imposing and epic Ghost Walkers Exodus, where Joshua continues to impress on drums with his nonstop beats and fills in a flawless combination of progressiveness, symphonic elements and the most devastating form of Black Metal. Put differently, this song alone sounds so complete it is already worth the investment on the album. On the other hand, Killing the Colossus, despite being another solid creation by Rapheumets Well, is not as gripping as the other songs of the album. Its guitars and keyboards in a dark sync help boost the song’s taste though, not to mention the obscure vociferations by Jeb. Lastly, after a piano-guided atmospheric bridge titled Eishar’s Lament, it’s time for the closing track of the album, the sinister Unveiling the Sapient, with Joshua once again pulverizing everything and everyone with his drums while Brett and Hunter deliver some Technical Death Metal-inspired guitar lines and solos, culminating in a sensational conclusion for this awesome Sci-Fi story.

What are you waiting for to dive into the metallic world of Rapheumets Well? You can buy your copy of Enders Door at the Test Your Metal Records’ BandCamp or Big Cartel, as well as on iTunes or Amazon, and remember you can also get online the first two installments of this heavy and gripping trilogy, such as HERE and HERE. I honestly don’t know what’s next for Rapheumets Well, if they’ll start a new trilogy with a whole different story, if they’ll release a regular album, or maybe even release a prequel to this existing trilogy. One thing is certain: no matter what their next step is, we can rest assured Joshua and his bandmates will certainly blow our minds once again with their multi-layered metal music.

Best moments of the album: Distress on the Aberrant Planet, Enders Door and Ghost Walkers Exodus.

Worst moments of the album: Killing the Colossus.

Released in 2017 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. The Traveler 4:39
2. Distress on the Aberrant Planet 3:57
3. The Autogenous Extinction 4:45
4. Secrets of the Demigods 4:40
5. Lechery Brought the Darkness 6:39
6. Enders Door 6:35
7. Prisoner of the Rift 2:58
8. The Diminished Strategist 5:36
9. Nastarian Waltz 1:13
10. Ghost Walkers Exodus 5:41
11. Killing the Colossus 5:58
12. Eishar’s Lament 1:18
13. Unveiling the Sapient 7:21

Band members
Jeb Laird – lead vocals
Annette Greene – clean vocals, keyboards
Brett Lee – guitar
Hunter Ross – guitar
Joshua “Nasaru” Ward – drums, clean vocals

Album Review – Undrask / Battle Through Time (2017)

The story of a man lost to eternity, forced to fight and die repeatedly throughout time and alternate realities, told by an amazing Melodic Death Metal act from the United States.

Rating4

coverFormed in 2013 in Greensboro, the third-largest city by population in North Carolina, inspired by metal of all flavors and with the goal of creating equal parts tasty and heavy Melodic Death Metal, American band Undrask returns with more of their gripping music after their critically acclaimed self-titled EP released in August 2015, this time offering a concept album that tells the story of a man lost to eternity, forced to fight and die repeatedly throughout time and alternate realities. The album, titled Battle Through Time, is not only their debut full-length release, but also an excellent option for fans of modern Melodic Metal the likes of Amon Amarth, Carcass and early In Flames.

If there’s one thing about Heavy Metal concept albums I truly enjoy is the fact that it doesn’t matter how epic or futuristic the story might be, heavy music always illustrates all characters, their struggles and all ongoing events to perfection, exhaling intensity and passion. Featuring a classy and modern artwork by Finnish artist and musician Jan “Örkki” Yrlund (Darkgrove), Battle Through Time is comprised of 10 distinct tracks that together will guide you through the main character’s eccentric journey, each one playing an important role in the overall storyline, introducing new elements and increasing the electricity flowing through the band’s top-notch music. And when the album is over, I bet you’ll catch yourself waiting for the final credits of this “movie”.

And the story begins with No Graves for the Dead, a fantastic fusion of Power Metal and Melodic Death Metal where guitarists Erik Collier and Darryl DeWitt shape up the musicality with their addictive riffs and create an amazing ambience for lead singer Steve Wynn to blast his furious growls, followed by Conscripted and its chorus that perfectly summarizes the main concept of the album (“Rise again / Conscripted / For conflict without end / Embrace eternal war / Live again / Unbound by death and fate of men / I fall, I rise again”). Guitar sounds from “outer space” are the main element in this tune, with drummer Aaron Schimmel and bassist Daniel McCoy firing their rhythmic beats and metallic lines respectively to provide the song a denser aura. And in Champion of the Dawn, a modern battle hymn led by the potent riffs by Erik and Darryl, we’re treated to tons of progressiveness and heaviness, not to mention the sonic impact of the thunderous bass guitar by Daniel.

Then we have more intricacy in the epic Black Ocean, which continues to tell the excruciating quest of the main character in a melodic and uproarious combination of Progressive, Death and Groove Metal. Furthermore, the way Steve declaims the lyrics with his raspy gnarls is spot-on to accurately depict the whole story being told. Featuring backing effects by Ryujixepic, Embers and Omens provides a calm acoustic bridge to the metallic Longhammer, easily one of the best songs of the album due to its headbanging rhythm, boisterous drumming and beautiful guitar lines, boosted by the endless amount of epicness contained in its lyrics (“Legend speaks of a mighty force / Sealed in its chamber, dormant for ages / Victims it enslaves will feel no remorse / Ripped from its tomb, the power rages / Flowing forth from a molten prison / Finding form in the ancient mold / Grasp the aspect of destruction arisen / Gods grant the name of the weapon I hold”). And Daniel and Aaron keep blasting our ears with their low, powerful beats and punches in Primal Revelation, showcasing a strong Amon Amarth vibe with the complexity found in modern Melodic Metal similar to the creations by Scar Symmetry.

undrask-picDespite not being as gripping as the rest of the album, Faceless Eyes is another good display of Undrask’s high-end Melodic Death Metal, especially the great sync between Steve and Aaron, whereas Final Right, the second to last track in Battle Through Time, keeps up with the electricity of the album by blending the violence of Melodic Death Metal with hints of Progressive Metal, as well as another excellent performance by Daniel with his bass lines. Lastly, the title-track Battle Through Time is the consummate climatic ending to the story, a feast of heavy riffs and rhythmic beats in eight minutes of first-class Melodic Death Metal, with highlights to the potent vocals by Steve and the piercing onslaught by Erik and Darryl with their axes.

This up-and-coming five-piece metal act is waiting for you at their Facebook page, YouTube channel and ReverbNation, and in case you’re brave enough to join them in their battle through time you can grab your copy of the album at their BandCamp page (and soon at all major digital distributors). With a copy of the album on one hand and the powerful Longhammer on the other, you’ll be more than ready to face all challenges and dangers from the alternate realities generated by the music by Undrask.

Best moments of the album: No Graves for the Dead, Longhammer and Battle Through Time.

Worst moments of the album: Faceless Eyes.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. No Graves for the Dead 5:29
2. Conscripted 4:45
3. Champion of the Dawn 5:03
4. Black Ocean 4:53
5. Embers and Omens 1:03
6. Longhammer 3:53
7. Primal Revelation 4:56
8. Faceless Eyes 4:31
9. Final Right 6:12
10. Battle Through Time 8:21

Band members
Steve Wynn – vocals
Erik Collier – lead guitar
Darryl DeWitt – rhythm guitar
Daniel McCoy – bass guitar
Aaron Schimmel – drums

Album Review – Rapheumets Well / The Exile (2016)

Once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by this unstoppable Extreme Metal act from the United States, there’s no turning back.

Rating4

Rapheumets Well - The Exile 2016 - Album Cover- smallNot only the small city of Hickory, located in the state of North Carolina, United States has a Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal band, but the music played by this band is so complex and thrilling I wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly the city turned into a worldwide reference for this type of Extreme Metal. Thus, if you like the theatrical havoc generated by Fleshgod Apocalypse and Dimmu Borgir, for example, you’ll fall in love for the music found in The Exile, the brand new concept album by the symphonic horde known as Rapheumets Well. Formed in 2008 and having released their debut album Dimensions in 2014, which featured ten songs that progressively tell a larger story portrayed in a complex saga of Atai (ancient architects), who aid in the propagation of sentient life throughout the multi-verse, Rapheumets Well return with the second “chapter” of a narrative that will blow your mind while their music penetrates deep into your soul.

Taking place during the “Soyumoth’s War” in the plain of Sovael, The Exile is in fact a fictional journey that viciously represents the hardships of life in a weird and complex way, thoroughly engendered by drummer and lyricist Joshua “Nassaru” Ward. In order to get in touch with this alternative universe created by Joshua, you can take a look at Sovael – The Great Divergence, which is indeed the inspiration for both of the band’s albums, or maybe I should say the albums are the soundtrack for the saga. Either way, I recommend you take a deep breath before you dive into the world of Rapheumets Well, because things are about to get extremely serious, heavy, symphonic and epic.

The acoustic intro in the opening track, Resurrecting The Blood Gate, doesn’t last long as symphonic and blasting sounds quickly invade our ears in a majestic way, with lead singer Tripp King vociferating the lyrics like a lunatic beast. Moreover, the sonority crafted by Joshua on drums is nicely complemented by keyboardist Aaron Rogers, enhancing the complexity and punch of this tune. In The Blight of Sotath Shal, wicked keyboards explode into brutal Black Metal with guitarists Daniel Presnell and Hunter Ross delivering solid riffs while Joshua keeps firing his blast beats, whereas in The Epic of Darmak, even more imposing and dense, the beautiful female vocals by Annette Greene provide a gentle balance to all destruction led by Tripp, turning this into one of the best songs of the album for sure.

Rapheumets WellCrucible of Titans (an awesome name for a song, by the way) couldn’t sound less violent and transcendent, with its polished production enhancing the reach of each instrument and therefore making us feel them inside our minds during this powerful blend of Atmospheric and Symphonic Black Metal; followed by Resurgence, a chant full of melancholy and anger where all three vocalists have amazing performances and, once again, the keyboards by Aaron generate a wicked atmosphere. In addition, this is the best song to enjoy the intricate bass lines by Jon Finney, especially if you’re a lover of the rumbling sound generated by this distinct instrument.

In Witch of Dark Spire, a lot more direct but as powerful as all previous tracks, the guitars by Daniel and Hunter are absolutely on fire, turning this into the most metallic of all tunes. However, in order to add some romance to this sonic havoc, we have Annette sounding like an angelic spirit with her smooth vocals. The title-track The Exile elevates even more the overall quality of the album, showcasing an astral intro that gently flows into potent and visceral music. Joshua is insanely amazing on drums with his fills and unstoppable beats, not to mention the yet again elaborate guitar riffs by both Daniel and Hunter and the demonic growls by Tripp. And as a formidable conclusion to this epic saga, Planetary Cenotaph brings forward more Symphonic Metal and huge doses of brutality meticulously tailored for all types of metalheads, with highlights to the entrancing ambience crafted by both Aaron and Annette.

While the aforementioned “Soyumoth’s War” goes on at the plain of Sovael, you can join Rapheumets Well on Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of this intense and multilayered soundtrack named The Exile at the band’s BandCamp page or at the Test You Metal Records’ Big Cartel page. But let me warn you that once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by Rapheumets Well, there’s no turning back.

Best moments of the album: Resurrecting The Blood Gate, The Epic of Darmak and The Exile.

Worst moments of the album: The Blight of Sotath Shal.

Released in 2016 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. Resurrecting The Blood Gate 4:44
2. The Blight of Sotath Shal 3:53
3. The Epic of Darmak 4:59
4. Crucible of Titans 4:14
5. Resurgence 6:07
6. Witch of Dark Spire 5:17
7. The Exile 6:13
8. Planetary Cenotaph 5:05

Band members
Tripp King – harsh vocals
Annette Greene – choir, female clean vocals
Daniel Presnell – guitar
Hunter Ross – guitar
Jon Finney – bass
Aaron Rogers – keyboards
Joshua “Nassaru” Ward – drums, clean vocals