Album Review – Loathfinder / The Great Tired Ones EP (2017)

A newborn Blackened Doom entity hailing from Poland will bring endless obscurity, fearfulness and anguish to your mind and soul with their menacing 28-minute debut opus.

We might not have the slightest idea of who they really are, but we know without a shadow of a doubt that their spine-chilling, perverse Blackened Doom lives up to the legacy of bands such as Forgotten Tomb, Woods of Ypres and the early days of Katatonia, also presenting an ominous vein inspired by the most funereal form of Atmospheric Black Metal. I’m talking about a newborn evil entity known as Loathfinder, who have just released their debut EP titled The Great Tired Ones, a 28-minute opus that, above all things, will bring endless obscurity, fearfulness and anguish to your mind and soul.

Founded somewhere back in time in the imposing city of Cracow, one of the most fertile cities not only in Poland but in the entire Europe in regards to arts and music, Loathfinder are a remorseless spawner of the most obscure elements found in Extreme Metal, with The Great Tired Ones being the amalgamation of all their evil. Displaying a visceral artwork by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Diabolizer, Armagh, Ragehammer), with the design and colors originated by Polish illustrator and graphic designer Maciej Kamuda (HerezA, Misanthropic Rage, Virgin Snatch), this is an album that will certainly be part of your personal playlist for a long time if you love the rotten and grim sounds of old school Blackened Doom piercing your ears.

Flies buzzing and thunderous bass and guitar lines ignite the damned feast named Genetic Gloom, with the cavernous growls coming from an unknown creature impregnating the musicality through and through. Furthermore, a few moments of tranquility are meticulously inserted amidst the ominous Blackened Doom that reeks in the air, with steady beats dictating the song’s lugubrious rhythm. Darker and more aggressive due to its infernal gnarls and deep guttural growls, Feast on My Entrails presents lyrics that couldn’t be more putrescent (“My cradle is rotten / Black fingers ream my ribs from inside / As I gaze into sky with learned apathy / And miss places I’ve never been / When venom is dripping from every wall / Only thing you can do is spit, spit and spit”), which together with its mesmerizing riffs and rumbling ambience (led by the song’s Stygian bass lines) turn it into a macabre hymn of darkness.

Metallic and lancinating bass sounds kick off another vile creation by Loathfinder, the excellent Scents of Regression, bringing forward putrid growls and doomed beats in total sync, increasing the song’s obscurity even more. Not only that, this song also offers the listener a solid Doom Metal sonority with the band’s blackened vein pulsing inside it, enhanced by sharp guitar solos and riffs. And lastly we have the title-track The Great Tired Ones, where a truly macabre intro goes on for about a minute until all instruments rise from the pits of hell, also displaying acid lyrics perfect for the music played (“Through the black eyes / Of agonized priestess / We were allowed to see / The gathering / Of faceless / Of whipped / And lost in time / The Great Tired Ones / Black chain of greatest lies / The Great Tired Ones / One were all, all were One”). If you love Blackened Doom, get ready for almost ten minutes of mournful passages, cutting guitars and desperate growls, ending with rancid gnarls that will darken your mind instantly.

You can savor the 28 minutes of hatred and anguish found in The Great Tired Ones by clicking HERE, and also grab your copy of this devilish album at Loathfinder’s BandCamp, at the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp, or at Discogs. This is a beyond solid debut album by Loathfinder, with no fillers, no artificial sounds and no happy feelings, but only the deepest rooted form of our good old Blackened Doom, and if those enigmatic musicians were capable of delivering such high-quality music with their very first release, I’m sure Blackened Doom will remain strong and menacing for years with Loathfinder being one of the new remarkable names of the genre.

Best moments of the album: Feast on My Entrails.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing
1. Genetic Gloom 6:08
2. Feast on My Entrails 6:50
3. Scents of Regression 5:25
4. The Great Tired Ones 9:37

Band members
*Information not available*

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The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

The unexpected death of the most badass musician in history, Motörhead’s heart and soul Lemmy Kilmister, on December 28, 2015 was a harbinger of all the bad, shocking and revolting things that would turn the year of 2016 a true nightmare for mankind. That dark prophecy was confirmed less than two weeks later, more specifically on January 10 when we lost another true star in rock music to cancer, the unparalleled chameleon David Bowie, just two days after the release of his final masterpiece Blackstar. If that was not enough to make 2016 a miserable year, we also had to endure the passing of other icons who, despite not being metal, have always inspired countless bands and artists in heavy music. We lost Prince, Leonard Cohen and Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), to name a few, all irreplaceable losses to music in general. In addition, important names in the history of Heavy Metal also left us in 2016, such as Nick Menza (Megadeth) and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow, Dio), not to mention the disbandment of amazing groups like Eths (who are by the way part of our top 10 this year), Crucified Barbara and Bolt Thrower. And I’m not even going to talk about all other types of disasters and tragedies that happened all over the world, as the list is too macabre and grievous to be remembered in full.

Fortunately, 2016 was considerably generous for us headbangers in terms of the quantity and quality of albums released throughout the entire year, especially for diehard fans of old school Thrash Metal. Except for Slayer and Exodus, all other prominent names in Thrash Metal blasted the world with their high-speed, thrilling music, led by another superb album by Testament. Even Metallica released a decent album this year, just to give you an idea of how fruitful 2016 was for this rebellious type of music. Having said that, it’s time for The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums. And even if 2017 is as hideous as 2016, let’s never forget the wise words by Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted “Theodore” Logan. Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!

testament_brotherhood-of-the-snake1. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake (REVIEW)
Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet.
Best song of the album: The Number Game

cover2. Charred Walls Of The Damned – Creatures Watching Over the Dead (REVIEW)
A magnificent lecture in Heavy Metal by four electrified beasts.
Best song of the album: As I Catch My Breath

Cover3. Eths – Ankaa (REVIEW)
One of the most prominent and innovative French bands of all time returns with a true masterpiece of complexity, darkness and heaviness.
Best song of the album: Nefas

cover4. Primal Fear – Rulebreaker (REVIEW)
Who said rules must be broken for a metallic eagle to spread its wings and soar high in the skies of heavy music?
Best song of the album: Rulebreaker

megadeth_dystopia5. Megadeth – Dystopia (REVIEW)
And the dystopian world portrayed in the brand new album by the iconic Dave Mustaine and his Thrash Metal army is beyond awesome.
Best song of the album: Lying In State

abbathsoloface_6386. Abbath – Abbath (REVIEW)
The one and only Abbath takes a new step in his career with a brand new band an album.
Best song of the album: Fenrir Hunts

death angel_the evil divide7. Death Angel – The Evil Divide (REVIEW)
Fast and furious anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and endless stamina. This is how Thrash Metal should always be done.
Best song of the album: Hell To Pay

anthrax_for all kings8. Anthrax – For All Kings (REVIEW)
A classy and electrifying Thrash Metal album especially crafted for all of us, the real kings of heavy music.
Best song of the album: Breathing Lightning

front9. Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins (REVIEW)
You might be a sinner, but don’t be a fool and go relish another magnificent album by Mr. Axel Rudi Pell and his loyal henchmen.
Best song of the album: Falling Star

nervosa-agony-201610. Nervosa – Agony (REVIEW)
Brazil’s meanest power trio returns with another marvelous blast of their kick-ass high-octane Thrash Metal.
Best song of the album: Theory of Conspiracy

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

11. Blaze Bayley – Infinite Entanglement (REVIEW)
12. The Silent Rage – The Deadliest Scourge (REVIEW)
13. Neverworld – Dremasnatcher (REVIEW)
14. Ancesttral – Web Of Lies (REVIEW)
15. Front – Iron Overkill (REVIEW)
16. Dö – Tuho (REVIEW)
17. Be Under Arms – Doomed To Life (REVIEW)
18. SystemHouse33 – Regression (REVIEW)
19. Gojira – Magma (REVIEW)
20. False Coda – Secrets and Sins (REVIEW)

As in Heavy Metal the artwork is just as important as the music itself, like what always happens with bands such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, KISS and tons of other metallic titans, we decided to list the Top 10 Cover Artworks of 2016. There are several reasons for an album art to be considered outstanding, such as its strong connection with the music like Iron Maiden’s Powerslave, its visual impact (usually associated with its controversial content) like Slayer’s God Hates Us All, or its perfect minimalism and finesse like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Do you agree with our list?

1. Anthrax – For All Kings [by Alex Ross]
2. Primeval Mass – To Empyrean Thrones [by Karmazid]
3. Witches Of Doom – Deadlights [by Carlo Muselli]
4. Ragehammer – The Hammer Doctrine [by Robert A. von Ritter]
5. Howls Of Ebb – Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows [by Agostino Arrivabene]
6. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake [by Eliran Kantor]
7. Henriette B – Tales of Reality (EP) [by Pierre-Alain D.]
8. Skáphe – Skáphe² [by H.V. Lyngdal]
9. Diabolizer – Apokalypse (MCD) [by Robert A. von Ritter]
10. Hostis – Hostis [by Zvonimir Grabić & Milena Nićić]

Rest assured in 2017 we at The Headbanging Moose will keep providing you the best of the underworld of Death, Thrash, Black, Symphonic, Epic, Power Metal and all other genres and subgenres of heavy music, as well as our view of the biggest names worldwide. There are already brand new albums confirmed for 2017 by Kreator, Sepultura, Grave Digger, Battle Beast and more, which means at least musically the new year promises to be really good. Thank you very much for your precious time, and keep on rockin’! Au revoir!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2017!

Well, before we go, here’s a special gift from Iron Maiden to all metalheads all over the world… A nice festive yule log fireplace to keep our hearts warm during the entire season!

Album Review – Diabolizer / Apokalypse MCD (2016)

A short and violent soundtrack to apocalypse delivered by a promising Death Metal band forged in the scorching fires of Turkey.

Rating4

diabolizer_apokalypse_coverThe already scorching fires of Kadıköy, a large cosmopolitan district of Istanbul, Turkey, are about to become even more incandescent due to the release of the excellent MCD entitled Apokalypse, forged in the pits of hell by a relentless Death Metal entity known as Diabolizer. Formed in 2012, this apocalyptic horde is comprised of members from Decaying Purity, Engulfed, Deggial and Godslaying Hellblast, among others, all prominent bands from the Turkish underground scene, with a sole purpose of worshiping destruction and punishing any living creature that dares to confront them with their decimating Death Metal.

This thrilling MCD contains five brand new compositions by the Diabolizer crew and two tracks from their very limited 2012 promo Shadows Of Impending Decimation, as a bonus to all true supporters of good old Death Metal. Not only that, in order to give a proper face to their music, Diabolizer recruited Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Armagh, Ragehammer) for the artwork and Polish artist Piotr Kurek of Mentalporn (Ulcer, Embrional) to take care of the design of the album, and the final result is obviously amazing, representing in images all the fury and melody found in Apokalypse.

Diabolizer come crushing with their loud and infernal Death Metal from the very first second of the opening track, Process the Void, with lead singer Abomination sounding like a raving bulldozer while drummer Aberrant delivers pure hatred through his drums. After listening to this amazing showcase of Extreme Metal made in Turkey, you’ll start wondering if there’s a way they could sound even more furious than this. Well, those Turkish metallers actually answer that question with the superb Death Metal chant Condemned to Burn in Hell, where they masterfully unleash hell with Mustafa and Ewan pounding their strings and Abomination going from the deepest guttural to enraged high-pitched screams in an solid and demonic way.

And there’s absolutely no sign of Diabolizer slowing down in Temple of Demonic Torments, where Aberrant keeps showing off his tremendous skills as a drummer whereas Mustafa and Ewan once again fire their aggressive but melodious riffs and solos, followed by Blood Aesthetics Dictated,  with Abomination commanding this sonic onslaught by bursting his lungs out. This is brutal Death Metal with highlights to its barbaric rhythm and relentless riffage, and get ready to feel your entire body soaring after banging like a wild beast to this demented tune.

diabolizerInspired by the musicality found in most albums by the iconic Cannibal Corpse and blended with elements of contemporary Black Metal, Hammer of Diabolization (such a beautiful name for a song) offers the listener some interesting tempo changes and lots of variations to its intensity, a breathe of “sulfuric” air that ends up providing a humongous extra dosage of electricity to the overall result. In regards to the two bonus songs taken from their 2012 promo, I bet you can imagine they are as demolishing as the new songs if you haven’t heard them yet. Beneath the Skullthrone and Descend into Desolation are both exceptional Death Metal songs, with the latter being more brutal and, therefore, more gripping.

In order to get in touch with Diabolizer, simply go check their Facebook page, and if you want to purchase a digital copy of Apokalypse you can find it for sale at their BandCamp page. In case you’re an old school metal fan and prefer a physical copy of the album, the MCD is available in two versions: a regular jewel case CD with an 8-page booklet and a limited edition (100 copies) of jewel case CD branded with serigraphy print and patch. If Diabolizer were capable of delivering such a high level of violence and hatred in only a few songs like what we can see in Apokalypse, I wonder what will happen when they finally release their first full-length album upon humanity. Maybe we’ll witness the ultimate “soundtrack to apocalypse”, don’t you think?

Best moments of the album: Condemned to Burn in Hell and Hammer of Diabolization.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Process the Void 4:57
2. Condemned to Burn in Hell 2:58
3. Temple of Demonic Torments 4:34
4. Blood Aesthetics Dictated 4:37
5. Hammer of Diabolization 5:34

Shadows Of Impending Decimation (Promo 2012) bonus tracks
6. Beneath the Skullthrone 4:34
7. Descend into Desolation 4:57

Band members
Abomination – vocals
Mustafa – guitars
Ewan – guitars
Alican – bass
Aberrant – drums

Album Review – Armagh / Venomous Frost MCD (2016)

Let the venomous and menacing frost of Extreme Metal generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your body and dominate your soul.

Rating4

armagh_venomousfrost_coverGet the overpowering impact of metal music from the 80’s, the implacable and raging sound of the early days of Black and Thrash Metal the likes of Dissection, Bathory and Hellhammer, and four young musicians eager to show the world their passion for extreme music, and there you have the vigorous MCD entitled Venomous Frost, bred in the dark vaults of Warsaw, Poland by Blackened Thrash Metal horde Armagh. The band might be relatively new, being founded in 2012, and this MCD might be their first official release ever, but it feels like we’re dealing with an already established band so concise and potent the overall result is.

There is absolutely no (black) magic or any other special ingredients added to the music found in Venomous Frost, but pure Heavy Metal played by a newcomer quartet (actually, they’re now a power trio after the recent departure of guitarist Ace Hellion) that, above all things, knows exactly how to blend fury and melody in their compositions. Not only that, the old school album art, designed by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter, who has already worked with bands such as Outre, Bloodthirst, In Twilight’s Embrace, and more recently with Ragehammer (featured in one of our latest reviews), is beyond precise in portraying the music by Armagh. Just hit play and you’ll find death, nihilism, war and occultism in Venomous Frost, all embraced by faultless Extreme Metal.

A demonic riff kicks off the excellent Criostail/Exmortis, which after an epic intro becomes brutal devastation blending the demonic aura of Black Metal with the always exciting turmoil generated by Thrash Metal. Moreover, Galin Soulreaper and Ace Hellion make an amazing guitar duo, with their riffs and solos transpiring ferocity and malignancy. Their devastation goes on in an old school Black Metal onslaught named Eternal Awareness, with drummer Bloodhammer sounding indeed like he’s using hammers to blast his beats. Put differently, you won’t have a single second to breathe in this high-octane chant of darkness.  And what can I say about Warbeast? They truly sound like beats unleashed from hell, blasting a vile Thrash Metal sounding enhanced by the obscure elements found in Black Metal. This newborn underground classic is perfect for some bestial circle pits and brutal headbanging, not to mention Galin’s spot-on hellish barks.

armagh_bandIn the epic Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf, you’ll be able to enjoy the best riffs of the album by far, with both Galin and Ace being absolutely on fire with their scorching instruments delivering excellent extreme music to us, while Bloodhammer and bassist Mark Usurper provide all the support needed in this exciting tune. Then we have Dark Procession, which in my opinion should be used as the soundtrack to any Satanist procession. This is the most Black Metal of all songs, especially its obscure riffs and growls, with the music slowing down a bit before all hell breaks loose and the band comes crushing again with their furious music, showcasing all band members in total sync.

The last seven minutes of the MCD are an ode to darkness, starting with Witchcraft, a fantastic cover version for Bathory’s 1984 classic. An enraged band blasts pure hatred in their excellent tribute to one of the most important bands in the history of Black Metal, with highlights to the desperate vocals by Galin and the kick-ass drumming by Bloodhammer, qualifying it to be one of the best covers of the year without a shadow of a doubt. And lastly, the title-track Venomous Frost is the icing on the (demonic) cake baked by this awesome Polish quartet, being slightly slower but as obscure and vicious as the rest of the album. In addition, I love how clear and heavy the bass lines by Mark and the drums by Bloodhammer sound throughout the entire song, helping conclude Venomous Frost on a high note and, as a consequence, keeping the flame of Polish metal more alive than ever.

More of the mischievous fusion of Black and Thrash Metal distilled by Armagh can be enjoyed at their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and their amazing debut MCD can be purchased at the official Third Eye Temple in two different versions: a regular jewel case CD limited to 100 copies or a black jewel case CD branded with serigraphy print. Let the venomous and menacing frost of extreme music generated by this young and restless four-piece act from Poland cover your entire body, and consequently dominate your soul. You won’t regret such an amazing experience in Black and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Warbeast, Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf and Witchcraft.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Criostail/Exmortis 5:40
2. Eternal Awareness 3:38
3. Warbeast 4:32
4. Foggy Dew/Wehrwolf 6:23
5. Dark Procession 4:59
6. Witchcraft (Bathory cover) 2:35
7. Venomous Frost 4:46

Band members
Galin Soulreaper – vocals, guitars
Ace Hellion* – guitars
Mark Usurper – bass
Bloodhammer – drums

*No longer part of the band.

Album Review – Ragehammer / The Hammer Doctrine (2016)

Are you ready to follow the awesome doctrine of Black and Thrash Metal established by this ruthless band from Poland?

Rating4

ragehammer-cover-artwork-1000x1000Forged in the scalding fires of Cracow, Poland in 2012, and embracing all the darkness and violence spawned by icons such as Death, Bathory and Slayer, among many other Extreme Metal bands, here comes Black/Thrash Metal horde Ragehammer, tormenting the entire world with their highly anticipated debut album entitled The Hammer Doctrine. Quoting the band, the album was created “with cold hatred of the modern world and contempt for the values of love and humanity”, and just like a hammer this album will smash your face with its relentless brutality.

With controversial topics such as death, anti-religion and desecration flowing from its lyrics, and featuring a demonic artwork by Polish illustrator Robert A. von Ritter (Outre, Bloodthirst, In Twilight’s Embrace) and an outstanding graphic design by Kontamination Design (Blaze of Perdition, Bloodthirst, Voidhanger), The Hammer Doctrine offers the full package to metalheads who nurture a profound passion for sheer violence in music. In other words, Ragehammer devoted all their talent, cruelty and wrath to deliver the most hellish music you can think of during the album’s rambunctious 42 minutes.

Kicking off this insanely good havoc we have First Wave Black Metal, opening the gates of hell (hammer) with highlights to its old school darkened lyrics barked by frontman Heretik Hellstörm (“Neurodeliric screams / Battle cry of the hordes those days / No gods – no masters, creatures and crawling in space / Scarlet slaughterers, living only for metal and hell / Legacy of pride, from tombs it rises again”). Furious circle pits will ignite instantly, with the nonstop riffs by Bestial Avenger and the brutal bass lines by Corpsebutcher crushing you like a helpless insect. In case you survive this first assault, LET’S HAVE A WAR! Unleash The Dogs will bring you war in an infernal Blackened Thrash Metal turmoil, where drummer Mortar keeps up with the tradition of the most influential thrashing drummers of all time. This song proves to me that this band loves a disturbed and violent sounding more than they love their own families, don’t you think?

ragehammerIn Wróg (or “enemy” from Polish), a potent circle-pit generator and a strong sample of what this amazing band is capable of doing, the metallic bass by Corpsebutcher stands out amidst all turbulence and devastation crafted by the entire band; whereas in Warlord’s Fall, a solid fusion of old school Slayer with Hardcore, Ragehammer fire a high-octane tune where Bestial Avenger has a superb performance with his piercing riffs while Heretik Hellstörm keeps barking like a lunatic. In addition, its Doom Metal-ish break gets truly obscure and evil before the music gets back to total anarchy, adding an additional layer of intricacy to it. And bang your heads and enjoy the heavy beats by Mortar in the longest of all tracks, named Knives, highly inspired by traditional Black Metal with the punch of our good old Thrash Metal.

I am the Tyrant brings forward a brutal sonic devastation bred by those Polish metallers, I should say the perfect depiction of what Blackened Thrash Metal is, with Bestial Avenger once again commanding the band’s onrush, followed by the heaviest version of Thrash Metal you can find anywhere, entitled Pure Hatred, where Mortar shatters his drums while Corpsebutcher thumps his bass cords throughout the entire song until its pulverizing ending. Then it’s simply time to slam into the pit and enjoy the amazing synchronicity between Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher in what’s definitely the top moment of this great album, the high-speed anthem From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor, where Ragehammer make a statement about who they are and their mission (“The dawn of the hammer doctrine / The evolution of mankind / From homo sapiens to homo raptor / Constant warfare – way of life”), giving no signs of slowing down or being less visceral. And finally, they offer the listener a crazy, fast and furious cover version for Spotkanie z Diabłem, or “meeting with the devil” in Polish, by Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony. It’s incredible what they did to the original version, and the whole band deserves our respect for such a brilliant job giving a new life to an old classic.

Are you ready to follow the ruthless doctrine of Ragehammer and break your neck to the berserk music crafted by this skillful quartet from Poland? If you can’t wait to put your hands on their sonic “hammer”, go grab your copy of The Hammer Doctrine at the Pagan Records’ official BandCamp or webshop, and as I already mentioned, be prepared to have your physiognomy completely disfigured by a wicked blast of extreme music.

Best moments of the album: First Wave Black Metal, From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor and Spotkanie z Diabłem.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. First Wave Black Metal 4:43
2. Unleash The Dogs 3:46
3. Wróg 4:47
4. Warlord’s Fall 5:48
5. Knives 6:30
6. I am the Tyrant 5:00
7. Pure Hatred 4:22
8. From Homo Sapiens to Homo Raptor 4:33
9. Spotkanie z Diabłem (Krzysztof Klenczon i Trzy Korony cover) 2:38

Band members
Heretik Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums