Album Review – Burning Witches / Dance with the Devil (2020)

The witches are back to mesmerize us all and put us to dance with them forever and ever to the sound of their incendiary Heavy Metal.

Swiss Heavy/Power Metal outfit Burning Witches is by far one of the hottest exports from the Alpine Republic since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2017, receiving a very positive feedback from fans and critics from all over the world. Formed in 2015 in Brugg, a Swiss municipality and a town in the canton of Aargau, the band currently comprised of Dutch newcomer Laura Guldemond on vocals (replacing the band’s original singer Seraina Telli in 2019), Romana Kalkuhl and Sonia Nusselder on the guitars, Jeanine Grob on bass and Lala Frischknecht on drums is ready to show the world everything they got once again with their third full-length installment Dance with the Devil, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed sophomore album Hexenhammer, released in 2018, and a lesson in Heavy Metal by five talented ladies who have always loved and breathed heavy music that will certainly inspire you to raise your horns and bang your head like there’s no tomorrow.

An eerie, mesmerizing intro titled The Incantation captivates our senses for the infernal Lucid Nightmare, with Romana and Sonia blasting sheer adrenaline through their sick riffage. Put differently, it’s classic Heavy Metal from the 80’s with Laura kicking some serious ass with her witch-like, soaring vocals, setting the bar really high for the rest of the album. Then it’s time to dance with our beloved Swiss witches in the title-track Dance with the Devil, a Hard Rock extravaganza led by Lala’s spot-on beats and Laura’s stunning vocals while the band’s stringed trio fills every single space in the air with adrenaline and electricity; followed by Wings of Steel, originally released in their 2019 EP Wings of Steel, a pure Heavy Metal tune showcasing the band’s dexterity and passion for what they do, all spiced up by Romana’s and Sonia’s classy guitar solos.

And Laura keeps blasting her high-pitched, piercing vocal lines in Six Feet Underground, another solid tune where Jeanine and Lala make the earth tremble with their low-tuned, metallic weapons, whereas in Black Magic we’re treated to an introspective, melancholic intro where Laura beautifully declaims the song’s words, evolving into a stunning ballad presenting passionate guitar solos and an ethereal atmosphere, showing a more delicate side of the band. Less visceral than the previous songs but still heavy-as-hell, Sea of Lies is a good composition bringing to our ears a great performance by Lala on drums, providing her bandmates a solid base for them to effectively slash their strings, while a Judas Priest-inspired riff kick off the metallic anthem The Sisters of Fate, perfect for banging your head nonstop with the girls or for hitting the road with your loved ones. This is the epitome of the band’s killer Heavy Metal with a Rock N’ Roll twist, with their guitar riffs and solos penetrating deep inside our minds.

Necronomicon is one of the darkest and most devilish of all songs, with Laura impersonating a true witch with her raspy, demonic vocals while Jeanine doesn’t stop hammering her bass strings, also presenting more of the band’s razor-edged riffs and solos, and bringing forward Helloween-inspired riffs blended with the classic Hard Rock by bands like Europe and Survivor we have The Final Fight, another lesson in charisma and vocal potency by Laura, therefore highly recommended for singing along with the band. Then taking their heaviness to a new level the quintet blasts the battle anthem Threefold Return, presenting an old school shredding infused with rumbling bass punches and rhythmic drums which will please all fans of classic Heavy and Power Metal without a shadow of a doubt, and lastly we have their cover version for Manowar’s classic Battle Hymn, featuring guest guitarist Ross the Boss (Manowar, Ross the Boss) and guest bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X, Ross the Boss). This is a sensational rendition by the witches with a welcome feminine touch, and still as strong and insurgent as the original version (which you can take a listen at HERE).

If you consider yourself a true metalhead and you think you have what it takes to face the stunning metal witches from Switzerland, go check what they’re up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course go grab your copy of the breathtaking Dance with the Devil (also available for a full listen on Spotify) from the Nuclear Blast webstore in different formats by clicking HERE or HERE. Hence, after putting your hands on such entertaining album of heavy music, you’ll quickly realize the unrelenting Burning Witches have taken over your mind for good, inspiring you to dance with them forever and ever to the sound of their undisputed Heavy Metal.

Best moments of the album: Lucid Nightmare, Dance with the Devil, The Sisters of Fate and The Final Fight.

Worst moments of the album: Sea of Lies.

Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Incantation 0:57
2. Lucid Nightmare 4:50
3. Dance with the Devil 4:26
4. Wings of Steel 4:29
5. Six Feet Underground 4:31
6. Black Magic 5:06
7. Sea of Lies 4:56
8. The Sisters of Fate 3:31
9. Necronomicon 4:12
10. The Final Fight 4:35
11. Threefold Return 3:56
12. Battle Hymn (Manowar cover) 6:55

Band members
Laura Guldemond – vocals
Romana Kalkuhl – guitars
Sonia Nusselder – guitars
Jeanine Grob – bass
Lala Frischknecht – drums

Guest musicians
Ross the Boss – guitars on “Battle Hymn”
Mike LePond – bass on “Battle Hymn”

Album Review – Eulogy / Memento Mori EP (2020)

Showcasing a multitude of influences and musical variations, this Hard Rock three-piece unity from Wales is ready to rock with their brand new EP.

Remember (that you have) to die. This is the meaning of the famous phrase Memento Mori, the title of the brand new EP by Welsh Hard Rock three-piece act Eulogy and the follow-up to their wildly popular EP Back To Life, released in 2017. Performing original music with a dark lyrical twist, Eulogy were formed back in 2017 in Cardiff, Wales by lead singer and bassist Neil Thomas, guitarist Mike Williams and drummer Darran Goodwin, aiming at showcasing a multitude of influences and musical variations, with the four track from their brand new EP being written and refined over a period of five months before being recorded, mixed and mastered at Coda Recordings by Neil Garland. “We wanted to create something heavier and darker while maintaining our melodic sound,” stated Neil Thomas about Memento Mori, featuring the band’s most dynamic writing to date throughout its 18 minutes of classic Hard Rock.

And the band kicks things of with Cross To Bare, a song about losing someone close and dealing with loss, presenting a flammable fusion of the music by classic hard rockers like Motley Crüe with the heaviness of Judas Priest and the Rock N’ Roll by Volbeat. Moreover, Darran dictates the pace with his spot-on beats while Neil fires rage and electricity through his vocals and bass, sounding and feeling like a rockin’ hit from the 80’s, whereas You’ll Die Alone, a song that focuses on the consequences of treating someone badly, is a mid-tempo Hard Rock feast of slashing riffs and tons of melody flowing from Mike’s guitar, while Neil and Darran keep the atmosphere dense and sinister with their respective weapons. Then its time to get faster, heavier and more aggressive in Corvid, dealing with the moment before death when your soul is taken. Led by Mike’s razor-edged riffs and Darran’s trademark beats, this is an awesome option to bang your head nonstop or dance with yourself (especially now while quarantined in your place during the coronavirus pandemic). And closing the EP the power trio fills every single space in the air with their melodious and classic rock music in Blood Red Skies, a song of hope presenting the trademark riffs and soulful solos by Mike while Neil passionately declaims its inspiring lyrics.

In summary, Memento Mori, available for a full listen on Spotify, not only points to a bright future for those Welsh hard rockers, but it also positions Wales as a very interesting source of old school Hard Rock for admirers of the genre. Hence, don’t forget to show your support to Neil, Mike and Darran by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their YouTube channel, and above all that, by purchasing your copy of Memento Mori from their official BandCamp page, from CD Baby or from Google Play, helping Eulogy to proudly carry the flag of British Hard Rock wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Corvid.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 One Eyed Toad Records

Track listing
1. Cross To Bare 3:44
2. You’ll Die Alone 4:18
3. Corvid 5:48
4. Blood Red Skies 4:08

Band members
Neil Thomas – vocals, bass
Mike Williams – guitars
Darran Goodwin – drums

Album Review – Chotzä / Tüüfuswärk (2020)

Succumb to the anti-social fusion of Black Metal and Black N’ Roll blasted by this infernal horde from Switzerland.

Formed as a side-project in 2011 in the city of Bern, on the German-speaking side of Switzerland, with the aim to create anti-social Black Metal and Black N’ Roll, the unstoppable and blasphemous unity known as Chotzä (which means “to vomit” in Swiss-German) is ready to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their third full-length opus, entitled Tüüfuswärk, the follow-up to their previous installments Plump u Primitiv, released in 2014, and Bärner Bläck Metal Terror, released in 2017. Apart from their frantic and aggressive sonority, perhaps one of the main ingredients in the music by Chotzä is the fact that all of their songs are sung in “Bärndütsch”, which is one of many existing Swiss-German dialects, allowing the wicked music crafted by lead singer Szivilzs, guitarists Gruäbähung and Raven Dust, bassist Näbugring, pianist Leopold and drummer Cpt. Cunt to sound even more organic, visceral and austere than what they would ever sound in English, and as a fan of extreme music I must say their dialect blends extremely well with their vicious Black Metal.

Featuring guest vocalist Herr Morbid (also known as Ferdinando Marchisio) of Italian Black Metal band Forgotten Tomb, the opening track Dräck am Schtäckä (Vatikan Version) presents a wicked intro that quickly explodes into berserk, blasphemous extreme music led by the devilish roars by Szivilzs while Raven Dust and Gruäbähung cut our skin deep with their infernal riffage, followed by Schtächzähni, as fast and demonic as its predecessor, with Cpt. Cunt dictating the rhythm with his Punk Rock/Hardcore-infused beats while the guitars bring a welcome Thrash Metal twist to the overall result, not to mention how Näbugring keeps the atmosphere dense with his wicked bass lines. And blending old school Black Metal with the Rock N’ Roll blasted by bands like Motörhead, Misfits and Danzig we have Horrorotika, where the sound of guitars will pierce your mind mercilessly and the backing vocals provide an amazing support to Szivilzs in this ode to blasphemy, sex and horror.

In Sex, Suff & Satan, what starts in a sinister, introspective way morphs into a mid-tempo Symphonic Black Metal aria led by Leopold and his Stygian piano notes, also presenting slashing guitar solos and bringing some welcome elements from Gothic Rock and Doom Metal, whereas our beloved Swiss horde speeds things up and enhance their already insane level of rage in Fiesä, Fulä Fettsack, where Szivilizs barks the song’s cryptic lyrics manically while Cpt. Cunt keeps smashing his drums like a beast, resulting in another sensational fusion of the band’s core Black Metal with the most vicious form of Rock N’ Roll. And leaning towards a more classic version of Black Metal, especially due to Cpt. Cunt’s blast bats and fills, Süüchägott showcases the band’s dynamic guitar duo firing lancinating, hellish riffs for our total delight while Szivilzs continues with his demonic vociferations.

Abfau brings forward an onrush of darkened sounds, infernal screams and endless wrath, or in other words, it’s ruthless Black Metal infused with Doom Metal nuances, with Gruäbähung and Raven Dust once again crafting pulverizing riffs and solos; and Leopold comes ripping with his phantasmagorical keys in Ds Tanzgebei, a fun (and somewhat dancing) Black Metal extravaganza where all band members sound bestial and electrifying form start to finish, keeping the album at a high level of dementia. Then get ready for battle to the sound of Fotzä, smashing our heads with an avalanche of blackened sounds and sulfurous growls, while Cpt. Cunt gives a lesson in Black Metal drumming. And last but not least, we’re treated to the rebellious and dense title-track Tüüfuswärk with its eight minutes of extreme and vile sounds, where the band’s stringed trio keeps hammering their axes with tons of precision and violence, all spearheaded by Szivilzs and his trademark gnarls.

The gates to the underworld are open in Switzerland thanks to the incendiary music blasted by Chotzä in their newborn spawn Tüüfuswärk, and if you want to show your support to such demented Black Metal horde you can follow them on Facebook to know more about their music, their concerts and other nice-to-know details about the band, and purchase your copy of the album from Northern Fog Records (CD), Sturmglanz (vinyl) or Worship Tapes (cassette). It’s truly impressive how those Swiss metallers are capable of blending the most hellish elements form a myriad of styles like Black Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hardcore without sounding confusing or disorganized; quite the contrary, the music by Chotzä is absolutely furious, cohesive and thrilling, just like what we can see in Tüüfuswärk, showing us all this six-piece horde of darkness will still haunt our soul for years to come with their dark-as-the-night creations.

Best moments of the album: Dräck am Schtäckä (Vatikan Version), Horrorotika and Fiesä, Fulä Fettsack.

Worst moments of the album: Sex, Suff & Satan.

Released in 2020 Northern Fog Records/Sturmglanz/Worship Tapes

Track listing
1. Dräck am Schtäckä (Vatikan Version) 3:44
2. Schtächzähni 5:59
3. Horrorotika 4:28
4. Sex, Suff & Satan 6:15
5. Fiesä, Fulä Fettsack 4:47
6. Süüchägott 2:48
7. Abfau 7:11
8. Ds Tanzgebei 5:07
9. Fotzä 5:56
10. Tüüfuswärk 8:06

Band members
Szivilizs – vocals
Raven Dust – guitars
Gruäbähung – guitars
Näbugring – bass
Leopold – piano
Cpt. Cunt – drums

Guest musician
Herr Morbid – vocals on “Dräck am Schtäckä (Vatikan Version)”

Album Review – Tomorrow Is Lost / Therapy (2020)

Dance like there’s no tomorrow to the sound of eleven mind-blowing Alternative Metal anthems carefully crafted by one of the fastest-rising modern rock bands in the United Kingdom.

If you’re a fan of the radio-friendly but still heavy and incendiary Rock N’ Roll played by renowned heavyweights such as Halestorm, Evanescence and Paramore, you should take a shot at Therapy, the first full-length album by Newcastle Upon Tyne, England-based Rock N’ Roll/Alternative Metal band Tomorrow Is Lost and the follow-up to their highly acclaimed debut EP Shadowman, released in 2018. Produced by Dave Boothroyd (Phil Campbell, Don Broco, The Bastard Sons) at 6db Studios and mastered by Jon Astley (Judas Priest, The Who, The Rolling Stones) at Close To The Edge, Therapy features eleven mind-blowing Alternative Metal anthems carefully crafted by one of the fastest-rising modern rock bands in the United Kingdom, showcasing all the hard work and passion for rock music by frontwoman Cass King, guitarists Joe Mac and Ryan O’Hara, bassist Josh Fodden and drummer Marc Rush and, above all, positioning the band as one of the most promising names in a new era of British metal and rock that will undoubtedly endure the test of time for years to come.

A modern, eerie Intro sets the stage for Cass and the boys to kick some serious ass in Wildchild, a groovy and electrifying tune led by the crushing bass punches by Josh while Cass delivers a blend of delicate, dark vocals and rebellious screams, resulting in a great Rock N’ Roll dancing tune full of headbanging moments and infinite stamina. And more modernized sounds invade our ears in Smile, a song ready to be played on any rock station anywhere in the world with Ryan and Joe blasting sheer adrenaline from their strings, while Marc dictates the pace with his spot-on beats, whereas in White Noise we’re treated to more of their contemporary Rock N’ Roll showcasing metallic bass lines, classic riffs and the always stunning vocals by Cass, also bringing a welcome dosage of pop music to make the final result even more entertaining.

What starts in a gentle manner evolves into a feast of heavy sounds in Self Destruct, spearheaded by Joe and Ryan’s melodic guitar lines and alternating between more serene moments and electronic passages, with its heavier parts exhaling pure Alternative Metal. Then it’s time for Cass to mesmerize us all with her stunning voice in the semi-ballad Black and Blue, where a sexy sonority boosts her vocal reach even more, being perfect for enjoying it together with your significant other; while we face more of the metallic bass jabs by Josh in the incendiary and groovy Hideaway, where they let their alternative side dominate the atmosphere, presenting another beautiful performance by Cass on vocals in a very classy and powerful manner.

In Too Young to Know the quintet brings forth another soulful ballad showcasing an ethereal vibe and the always enfolding vocals by Cass, not to mention it’s a song about the issues we all face in our relationships, which in the end is always a great topic in rock music. Moreover, the band’s guitar duo takes the lead in the song’s second (and heavier) part with their riffs and solos for our total delectation. In Electric the name of the song says it all, or in other words, it’s a feast of slashing riffs and thunderous bass lines spiced up by Marc’s classic beats and another sensational vocal performance by Cass, while Pause Rewind presents elements of the Nu Metal played by Limp Bizkit blended with the alternative sounds by Paramore, with Ryan and Josh doing a great job with their electrified strings once again. And last but not least, closing the album we have one final shot of adrenaline and fun in the form of the title-track Therapy, a song that will definitely please all fans of contemporary rock music, with Marc blasting fierce beats while Cass hypnotizes us all with her piercing voice.

If you also think the motto “I know it’s only Rock N’ Roll, but I like it!” perfectly represents your state of mind, as aforementioned you should undoubtedly give Therapy a chance by listening to the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and obviously by adding it to your personal collection by purchasing a copy of the album from the band’s own webstore, or click HERE for all options where you can buy or stream such entertaining opus of rock music. Also, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, showing your support for such promising band of the UK scene in the name of our good old Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: Wildchild, Hideaway and Electric.

Worst moments of the album: Pause Rewind.

Released in 2020 Eclipse Records

Track listing
1. Intro 1:09
2. Wildchild 2:27
3. Smile 3:25
4. White Noise 2:27
5. Self Destruct 2:56
6. Black and Blue 4:14
7. Hideaway 4:02
8. Too Young to Know 4:22
9. Electric 3:46
10. Pause Rewind 2:58
11. Therapy 3:27

Band members
Cass King – vocals
Joe Mac – guitar
Ryan O’Hara – guitar
Josh Fodden – bass
Marc Rush – drums

Album Review – Thrashera / Não Gosto! (2020)

Blasting thrashing anthems about devious behavior, sex, alcohol and drug abuse, this Brazilian horde delivers an ode to all things metal in their band new (and rebellious) opus.

With nearly 20 releases under their bullet belts, Brazilian Thrash Metal horde Thrashera is a veritable institution in the underground in their homeland, blasting thrashing anthems about devious behavior, sex, alcohol and drug abuse, horror films, war, massacres, nuclear disasters, violence, underground counterculture, punk issues and the headbanging way of life since their inception in the year of 2010 in the city of Rio de Janeiro by three maniacs deeply into the 80’s wave of Satanic metal and primitive Rock N’ Roll. It’s that lattermost element which has endeared the band to so many across the international underground, and their brand new full-length album, rebelliously titled Não Gosto!, is definitely going to launch Thrashera onto an ever wider stage, which the band will promptly destroy.

Currently comprised of vocalist Chakal, guitarists Madcrusher and Bode de Sade, bassist Anras Vardamir and drummer Surtur Impurus, Thrashera are not just about partying, with the album title, translated to English as “I don’t like it!”, depicting the band’s distrust in the current political and religious scenario in their homeland. “The name of the album stands as a denial manifest towards the present political and religious ideologies in Brazil responsible for ‘killing’ – oppressing – all artistic forms of expression. It’s a reinforcement of our lyric approach in the last decade as a band, in an era where the individual liberty for the underground movement and its followers is in serious danger. Expressing Não Gosto! as a mantra, it’s probably the only reasonable path! Não Gosto! synthesizes all the refusal towards the hypocrisy that commands the world, guiding our masses into the abyss with an unconscious grin. This is also a shout-out and a wakeup call to all the underground forces to organize, react, and unite themselves in order to avoid the extinction of the most marginalized culture in the planet. Metal always said No! And always will!”, commented the band about the album.

A cinematic, eerie and anti-religious intro evolves into a feast of old school Thrash Metal led by Surtur’s frantic beats in Intro Víbora Resistente / Não Gosto!, featuring guest vocals by Luiz Carlos Louzada (Vulcano) and Armando Exekutor (Flageladör), and I must say all vocal lines couldn’t have sounded more demonic than this, with its raw and primeval sound making the whole thing even more entertaining. Then acoustic guitars permeate the air in Maré 669 before all hell breaks loose and Madcrusher and Bode de Sade begin slashing their stringed weapons beautifully, resulting in over six minutes of nonstop electricity and blasphemy blasted by Thrashera with Chakal sounding absolutely demented and wicked on vocals; followed by Rei dos Excessos, a song that begins in full force with Surtur and Anras being in an infernal sync with their respective instruments. Put differently, it’s pure old school thrash with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements, where once again the band worships Satan and all that’s considered immoral or forbidden. And Sangue ao Metal is a fast and furious ode to all things metal led by Chakal’s vicious, deep roars while Surtur keeps hammering and pounding his drums manically, inspired by the classic sonority from the early days of the almighty Slayer.

Sounding heavy-as-hell and utterly aggressive just the way we like it, it’s time for the band to fire a new (and hard) version for their 2012 song Trapped in the 80’s (you can check the original one HERE, released in the split album Guerreiros do Álcool), with the 2020 version sounding more polished and thrashier, leaning at times towards Speed Metal. After such demented onrush of sounds, guess what the band has to offer us all? Well, those guys love metal music more than anything, which becomes beyond clear in the high-octane Metal!, where both Madcrusher and Bode de Sade decimate our ears with their hellish riffs, while Chakal keeps vociferating the song’s boisterous words in the name of Heavy Metal. Mysterious female voices praising the power of women and their fight against sexism ignite another bestial tune titled Correntes Não Prendem Serpentes, where Chakal (together with an uncanny female guest vocalist) barks the song’s lyrics about witches and other female characters, followed by Igreja, the band’s personal  tribute to a cult album titled Cabeça Dinossauro, released in 1986 by an amazing Brazilian band called Titãs (check the original song HERE), with Thrashera’s version sounding and feeling amazing with its raw and visceral Thrash Metal vibe, once again against all that’s wrong with religion and the church.

You can join Thrashera in their cult to Thrash Metal and everything that’s considered evil (and therefore good) by following the band on Facebook, and grab your copy of their rebellious soundtrack to the end of our days from the Hellprod Records’ BandCamp page or webstore. I must warn you, though, that once you enter their realm of depravity, blasphemy and violence, there’s no way back, which in the end is a good thing as you’ll be against all that’s wrong in their homeland right now. This is what first-class old Thrash Metal is all about, always against religion and politics, always fast, furious and infernal, and always perfect for having a beer while slamming into the circle pit with your friends. That’s all that we really like in our lives, and always will.

Best moments of the album: Maré 669, Sangue ao Metal and Metal!.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Helldprod Records

Track listing
1. Intro Víbora Resistente / Não Gosto! 5:46
2. Maré 669 6:19
3. Rei dos Excessos 3:09
4. Sangue ao Metal 4:08
5. Trapped in the 80’s (Hard version) 4:22
6. Metal! 4:08
7. Correntes Não Prendem Serpentes 5:17
8. Igreja (Titãs cover) 2:51

Band members
Chakal – vocals
Madcrusher – guitars
Bode de Sade – guitars, backing vocals
Anras Vardamir – bass, backing vocals
Surtur Impurus – drums

Guest musicians
Luiz Carlos Louzada – vocals on “Não Gosto!”
Armando Exekutor – vocals on “Não Gosto!”

Album Review – Lucifer Star Machine / The Devil’s Breath (2020)

Raise your horns to the high-octane, hard-hitting fusion of Rock N’ Roll, Punk Rock and Hardcore blasted by a German squad armed with their brand new album.

Are you ready for a feast of high-octane, hard-hitting Rock N’ Roll, Punk Rock and Hardcore blasted by the tattooed, white trash bastard sons of the devil, collectively known as German Punk N’ Roll squad Lucifer Star Machine? Telling tales about love, pain, death and religious atrocities, Lucifer Star Machine will unleash hell upon us once again with their fourth full-length opus titled The Devil’s Breath, a 42-minute long road to hell that lures the listener with huge choruses, infernal riffs and monstrous melodies presented with the band’s trademarked straightforward, no-bullshit attitude, and perfectly visualized in the album cover art by Polish artist Łukasz Jaszak, giving the album a a vintage horror magazine look which complements the music and pays homage to the big boys of Rock N’ Roll such as Motörhead, Ramones, Social Distortion, Volbeat, Misfits and Turbonegro.

Formed in London, England in 2002, but based in Hamburg, Germany since 2014, the hometown of lead singer Tor Abyss, the now all-German band comprised of the aforementioned Tor Abyss on vocals, Mickey Necro and Marshall Speed on the guitars, Benny Zin on bass and Jay Impact on drums has outdone themselves in The Devil’s Breath, resulting in an album full of honesty, heart and soul with a fantastic storyline captured in every song. Setting a new standard for the band itself, The Devil’s Breath brings to our ears a high-energy mixture of classic rock and punk with a touch of metal and hints of 50’s Rock n’ Roll, combining raw, heartfelt music with great musicianship and addictive hooks and, therefore, being highly recommended for fans of the dancing and electrifying music of all aforementioned Rock N’ Roll icons.

Excerpts from “not-so-good” TV news ignite the frantic and electrifying The Void, blending the best elements from Punk Rock with the badass Rock N’ Roll by Motörhead. Moreover, Tor is berserk on vocals while Jay doesn’t stop smashing his drums not even for a single second, and after such demolishing start to the album it’s time for more melodic and dancing punk music in Dwell In Misery, where Mickey and Marshall are on fire with their razor-edged riffs, being therefore recommended for admirers of the music by the Misfits and Social Distortion. Jay keeps hammering his drums in Cruel Hearts, and if you enjoy a good mosh pit with your friends this is the perfect soundtrack for that, not to mention how Benny’s rumbling bass makes the earth tremble, feeling like the Misfits and Volbeat had a bastard son; followed by Baby, When You Cry, a great song presenting an old school vibe without sounding outdated or obsolete at all, perfect for lovers who want to dance the night away together, while the band’s guitar duo continues to kick some serious ass with their riffs and solos.

A strident riffage and a headbanging rhythm are the main ingredients in The Night Is Young, with Tor leading his henchmen with his raspy vocals in this never-ending party while Benny extracts insane sounds from his bass; whereas more rumbling bass punches and endless electricity fill out every empty space in Eat Dust, originally released in 2015 as a single, with all band members being in perfect sync delivering a vibrant Punk Rock extravaganza for our total delectation. In A Touch Of Death the band adds nuances of Rockabilly to their music just the way Volbeat would do, but of course keeping their Punk Rock core essence intact, resulting in another great option for slamming into the pit, while El Camino Real definitely feels like a song that could be used in a Quentin Tarantino movie, with Tor impersonating a classic singer the likes of Elvis Presley while Jay brings forward tons of groove with his precise beats. And their Rock N’ Roll party goes on in Pretender, showcasing a solid job done by both Mickey and Marshall on the guitars (despite getting a bit tiring after a while).

Then putting the pedal to the metal the quintet pierces our ears with the frantic and vicious Evil Blood, blasting nonstop action with highlights to Jay’s awesome performance on drums and with Tor sounding even more rabid and demented on vocals. And as there’s no such thing as getting tired of Rock N’ Roll, the band delivers another fun composition titled Midnight Crawler, where their crisp guitar riffs are effectively boosted by Benny’s thunderous bass, with more high-speed dirty pounding rock music filling our avid ears in Your Love Remains, where Jay and Benny show no mercy for our heads with their menacing low-tuned roars. Put differently, this song will certainly please all fans of classic punk music the likes of the Misfits without a shadow of a doubt. And lastly, their personal “tribute” to the devil comes as the title-track Devil’s Breath, starting in an acoustic way in great Spaghetti Western/Johnny Cash fashion and continuing on that obscure and very entertaining vibe until the very end, with Tor having an amazing and introspective vocal performance.

Having said all that, what are you waiting for to join Lucifer Star Machine and their best buddy, the devil himself, in their quest for Rock N’ Roll? Simply follow them on Facebook for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and grab your copy of The Devil’s Breath directly from their BandCamp page or from their official webstore, as well as from other locations such as the Season of Mist webstore and the Bilocation Records webstore. And you know what to do after putting your hands on such incendiary album of Punk N’ Roll, right? That’s quite a simple and very pleasant task. Grab a cold beer, slam into the circle pit together with Lucifer Star Machine and, above all that, always raise your horns.

Best moments of the album: The Void, Cruel Hearts, Eat Dust and Evil Blood.

Worst moments of the album: Pretender.

Released in 2020 The Sign Records

Track listing
1. The Void 3:40
2. Dwell In Misery 3:12
3. Cruel Hearts 2:57
4. Baby, When You Cry 3:33
5. The Night Is Young 3:50
6. Eat Dust 2:32
7. A Touch Of Death 4:00
8. El Camino Real 2:33
9. Pretender 3:46
10. Evil Blood 2:18
11. Midnight Crawler 3:44
12. Your Love Remains 3:22
13. Devil’s Breath 3:15

Band members
Tor Abyss – vocals
Mickey Necro – guitars
Marshall Speed – guitars
Benny Zin – bass
Jay Impact – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Nadja Peulen

Say it, Nadja! We’re out for blood!

As part of our annual tradition here at The Headbanging Moose, the first metal chick of the year must be a badass bass player to properly kick things off with a lot of thunder and heaviness just the way we like it in Heavy Metal, and in 2020 that couldn’t be any different than that, of course. Having said that, get ready to venture through the realms of Alternative and Nu Metal with the one and only Nadja Peulen, a German-born bassist and backing vocalist currently based in Los Angeles, California, in the United States known for bringing tons of groove to our avid ears as the bassist for American metallers Coal Chamber from 1999 to 2000, again between 2002 and 2003, and one last time after a huge band hiatus from 2013 until 2016 when the group disbanded once and for all.

Born on January 10, 1975 somewhere in the always beautiful Germany, our 1.73m-tall blue-eyed, red-haired bassist started her life in music at a very early age due to her family travelling a lot and staying at several different places, always on the road in the name of Rock N’ Roll, always surrounded by distinct people, and always attending music concerts. Of Polish and German descent, Nadja grew up in the Netherlands and listened to a lot of 70’s music such as Motown, disco and classic rock at home because of her parents, being highly influenced by those styles in her current way of playing bass. Originally starting out studying art with aspirations to be a painter, Nadja naturally decided to switch to music, playing drums before becoming a bassist and continuing her career as a drummer after moving to Los Angeles when she was only 18, learning from renowned drummers and jamming with several different musicians (while at the same time working in different jobs such as tiling bathrooms and working as a waitress in a strip bar).

After a while, when Nadja decided she wanted to get more into songwriting, she was given a bass guitar (a cheap $100 one, by the way) and started playing with one finger only, gradually evolving to a couple more fingers and never having a single lesson in her life. Three months later, she was already in an all-girl band named Tail, playing around Hollywood for a couple of years at Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room and whatever clubs were there at the time. After a couple of years, Nadja was invited to join Los Angeles-based Nu Metal outfit Coal Chamber in 1999 while bassist Rayna Foss-Rose was on maternity leave, and again after the recording of the 2002 album Dark Days when Rayna left the band for good, playing live with the band in several domestic and international tours with bands like Drowning Pool co-headlining the tours. Despite not having recorded the bass lines in Dark Days, Nadja is featured in the official video for Fiend, one of the band’s most well known songs which is thought to be about how the band and the Nu Metal genre were getting heavily criticized at the time. In addition, Nadja was also featured as the band’s bass player in the excellent concert Live at the Maritime Hall, San Francisco, CA, 1999 in the bonus DVD from the 2005 special re-release of their 1997 debut album Coal Chamber.

Then after a long period of silence from 2003 until 2011, Coal Chamber reunited for a short run of international shows with bassist Chela Rhea Harper instead of Nadja, but our talented red-haired bassist officially returned to the band in October 2013 shortly before the band signed to Napalm Records to record a new album. “Beyond happy and excited today to announce my return on bass with Coal Chamber,” Nadja wrote on the day of her official return to the band. “I’ve missed my brothers and can’t wait to rock the stage with them again and see all of you!” It was in May 2015 that Coal Chamber released their fourth album in thirteen years and their only studio album with Nadja on bass, entitled Rivals, adding a touch of Groove Metal to their musicality while at the same time distancing themselves from their previous Gothic Metal style. From Rivals, you can enjoy Nadja’s rumbling bass punching you in the face in songs like Another Nail In The Coffin, Suffer In Silence (featuring Ministry’s driving force Al Jourgensen on guest vocals), and I.O.U. Nothing.

Apart from her awesome stints with Coal Chamber, Nadja was also the bass player and backing vocalist for a Los Angeles-based Theatrical/Alternative Avantgarde Rock duo known as Vera Mesmer, together with vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Christopher Mesmer, formerly of Reveille, as well as guest drummer Bones Elias (Julien K, formerly of Dead by Sunrise), from 2010 until 2013. Vera Mesmer left two very interesting releases to the world before the duo parted ways in 2013, those being the 2012 EP Orphans and the 2013 single Down the Hole, showing a different and very theatrical storytelling side of both Chris and Nadja, as you can see for example in the official video for the song Back from the Dead. “We’re constantly brainstorming and creating. We’ve completely let go of templates and we don’t stick to the genre game,” said Nadja about the artistic freedom she found with Vera Mesmer while the band was still active. “We encompass all music styles while still undeniably retaining that Vera Mesmer sound.”

You can also find Nadja lending her thunderous bass lines to a project entitled Roadrunner United from 2005 to 2008, having recorded the excellent single and video The End together with Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour) and Matt Heafy (Trivium), among others, for the 2005 album The All-Star Sessions, as well as the 2008 DVD featuring a making of and a live concert with several artists such as Ville Valo (HIM), Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Tim “Ripper” Owens, with Nadja kicking some serious ass in songs like Type O Negative’s all-time classic Black No. 1 together with Ville Valo on vocals, Andreas Kisser on lead guitar, Dino Cazares on rhythm guitar, Joey Jordison on drums and Rob Caggiano on keyboards, and Tired ‘n Lonely together with Mina Caputo on vocals, Matt Baumbach on lead guitar, Acey Slade on rhythm guitar, Joey Jordison on drums and Rob Caggiano on keyboards. Furthermore, between 2004 and 2006, Nadja was also featured in the music videos for the songs (Rock) Superstar and What’s Your Number? as part of the backup band with Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and Christian Olde Wobbers (Fear Factory), both by American Hip-Hop group Cypress Hill.

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As already mentioned, Nadja has a wide and eclectic taste for music, with her primary influences lying along the Trip Hop, Industrial and Alternative Rock and Metal vein the likes of Massive Attack, Killing Joke, The Cult, Faith No More, Jane’s Addiction, Ministry, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, David Bowie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad and Stevie Wonder, with the one and only Iggy Pop being part of one of the most exciting moments in her career. A friend of hers called Whitney, who used to play guitar for Iggy Pop, invited Nadja for a jamming session one day, but she initially said no. “Why don’t you come down to the Swinghouse and jam with me and a couple of friends?”, said Whitney, and she promptly answered “Well I’m in bed. My bass is dusty and I’m watching TV. I really don’t feel like jamming with you right now.” Whitey called back a couple of times and finally said, “Well, it’s Iggy and he wants to jam with you.” Nadja didn’t believe her friend, saying “Yeah you’re fucking with me. You just want me to come down there and hang out.” Then she got another phone call from Iggy’s manager, which turned out to be his son Eric. He said, “Yeah, Iggy Pop is down here and he really, really wants to jam with you.” She still thought it was a prank, when she finally got a phone call from Iggy himself where she recognized his voice and nearly pissed her pants. Iggy said, “Nadja, I have heard a lot of really good things about you. I want to jam with you. Come down here – can you be here in 10 minutes?” Needless to say, Nadja joined her idol and they jammed for a few hours, with Nadja later saying in one of her interviews that she was always afraid to meet someone like Iggy Pop because she believed a person like that would probably be an asshole and she would never be able to listen to his music the same way. However, he was really nice to her, a humble guy exactly how anyone would expect.

Regarding her life on the road with Coal Chamber, Nadja mentioned in one of her interviews that she really loved playing the songs Another Nail In The Coffin and Bad Blood Between Us live with the band, both from the album Rivals, and that she would have loved to be in a tour co-headlined by Coal Chamber, System Of A Down and Korn, the latter with whom Coal Chamber only played at the same festivals such as Heavy Montreal in 2015 and Graspop Metal Meeting in 2013. When questioned about the fact she was the only female on the tours with Coal Chamber, she said that it was indeed challenging as she had for example to get dressed in the bathroom of the bus, which was a very small space. However, Nadja also said she was fine being the only girl in a “boy’s club”, complementing by saying that being utterly professional was what kept everything working well. Also, on a side note, Nadja mentioned being on stage, being in that moment, is when her mind stops and she can achieve some peace of mind, having also achieved that peace by doing yoga, more specifically Kundalini Yoga, a school of yoga influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism.

Nadja also launched in 2003 her own T-shirt and apparel company called CruelTees, selling her products not only online but also through stores such as Hot Topic. Owner and head designer of CruelTees, Nadja has always loved painting and sketching, having even been in Art Academy before quitting it to move to Los Angeles, with her designs fusing dark Gothic and wild Rock N’ Roll images with clever slogans. However, if you click on the official website for CruelTees, it will redirect you to her website Sonic Dominion without any products available. There are a few items in her webshop, though, but nothing related to CruelTees. Perhaps Nadja is working on a new collection for the future? If you’re curious to know more about CruelTees and ask Nadja for any updates on the brand, you can message her directly through her official website contact form, and who knows, maybe you’ll be one of the first to receive news on a new series of CruelTees shirts and apparel.

Endorsed by Schecter Guitars, Mesa Boogie, Dean Markley Strings, Monster Energy Drink and Monster Cable, our skillful bassist, who by the way thinks labeling a music style is not really that relevant, commented in one of her interviews that she’s happy to see an increasing number of female bass players (as well as guitarists and drummers) out in the market playing with their bands, which is always a good thing in heavy music, also saying she likes the fact that several of those bassists are adopting the finger style when playing their instruments, something that was a taboo in the past. Nadja herself is a finger bass player, as mentioned before, and the fact this old school technique is becoming popular again brings a lot of joy to her heart. And last but not least, Nadja’s relationship with her fans is quite healthy, with some of her fans even becoming her personal friends. She said that she can’t obviously answer everything to everyone due to her busy schedule, as she doesn’t consider herself an Internet person with enough time for social media. She actually doesn’t enjoy engaging on social media on a personal level, focusing on her work as a musician and as a designer instead. We have to agree with Nadja on that, and if you want to know more about her professional career you can either follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or watch some of her interviews and other videos on YouTube like the BIAS FX demo, an interview during Heavy Montreal in 2015, an interview to INDIEPOWER TV! in 2015, or an interview she gave to Dean Markley at NAMM also in 2015. What are you waiting for to let one of the most badass female bassists of all time show you all she got? Nadja kicks some serious ass, and she will crush you like an insect with her thunderous bass, no doubt about that.

Nadja Peulen’s Official Facebook page
Nadja Peulen’s Official Instagram
Nadja Peulen’s Official Twitter
Nadja Peulen’s Official YouTube channel
Coal Chamber’s Official Facebook page
Coal Chamber’s Official Instagram
Coal Chamber’s Official Twitter

“To me being on stage and playing music is one of the best things because I have a very busy mind – I’m always thinking.” – Nadja Peulen

Album Review – Danger Zone / Don’t Count On Heroes (2019)

Rest assured we can always count on this talented Italian squad to make our lives better to the sound of their first-class, 80’s-inspired Hard Rock.

As we’re quickly approaching the end of 2019, let’s enjoy a melodious and vibrant feast of Hard Rock infused with Heavy and Power Metal elements to properly warm us up for the year that’s about to begin, hosted by Bologna, Italy-based veteran rockers Danger Zone, who have just released their fourth full-length album Don’t Count On Heroes, the follow-up to their highly-acclaimed 2016 album Closer To Heaven. Featuring the same lineup as in their 2016 album, that being Giacomo Gigantelli on vocals, Roberto Priori and Danilo Faggiolino on the guitars, Matteo Minghetti on bass, Pier Mazzini on keyboards and Paolo Palmieri on drums, Don’t Count On Heroes is another ode to 80’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal split into 11 classy compositions, reminding us all once again that although those golden years of rock and metal might be long gone, they’re still alive and kicking inside the hearts of us fans and of talented musicians like the ones from Danger Zone.

As soon as you hit play, futuristic sounds will ignite the Hard Rock party entitled Demon or Saint, led by Paolo’s steady beats and Pier’s classic keys, while Matteo brings thunder to the music with his metallic bass. Needless to say, it’s quite impossible to stand still to this electrifying display of rock music. After such amazing welcome card, the band delivers more melodic and pleasant notes in Faster Than Love, where Giacomo gives a lesson in 80’s Hard Rock on vocals, or in other words, it couldn’t sound more Sunset Strip than this; followed by Somewhere Out of Time, keeping the rhythm fast and upbeat, with Roberto and Danilo extracting sheer electricity form their guitars accompanied by the thunderous bass by Matteo, resulting in a beautiful composition that will please all fans of our good old Rock N’ Roll.

Firing a more melodic and radio-friendly sound, those Italian rockers offer to our ears the ballad Destiny, with the guitars by Danilo and Roberto filling our ears with joy and harmony, all boosted by Pier’s classic keys, whereas it’s time to speed things up again and increase the level of adrenaline in Down to Passion, led by Paolo’s spot-on beats and Matteo’s rumbling bass. Put differently, this is a dancing tune that lives up to the legacy of 80’s Hard Rock with the band’s own European twist, not to mention Pier and Roberto’s healthy “duel of solos”, adding even more energy to the overall result. In Rise Again we’re treated to an acoustic, serene intro where Giacomo showcases all his vocal potency flowing into a beautiful ballad with introspective lyrics and endless passion, while Hang on to Your Heart is another straightforward creation by Danger Zone showcasing classic guitar lines and beats. It’s nothing truly special, but its chorus is indeed catchy and should work really well if played at a rock n’ roll radio station.

And it seems Danger Zone are investing heavily on ballads this time, as Forever Now is one more display of how mellow and passionate they can sound, with Roberto bringing a sensational rockin’ touch to the song with his guitar solos while Giacomo beautifully declaims the song’s positive lyrics. Then rev up your engines for a mid-tempo Hard Rock extravaganza entitled Rolling Thunder, where Paolo doesn’t stop pounding his drums, therefore providing Giacomo all he needs to thrive on vocals and again presenting awesome guitar solos for our total delectation. The second to last tune in Don’t Count On Heroes, titled Breakaway, is faster and more furious than most songs of the album, with its guitars sounding utterly strident and sharp, not to mention Pier’s 80’s-inspired keys bringing even more adrenaline to the music, and that heaviness and fun goes on until the song’s very last second. Last but not least, a piano-based ballad named Eternity closes the album on a melancholic and gentle note, again focusing on Giacomo’s potent vocal lines but with Roberto obviously stealing the spotlight with his lean solos, resulting in a perfect song for listening together with your loved ones.

As aforementioned, Danger Zone have been putting a lot of effort and focus on the melody and harmony of their compositions, which is beyond clear in their new album Don’t Count On Heroes (available for a full listen on Spotify), and if you’re a fan of this very melodic side of 80’s Hard Rock and Glam Metal go check what the band is up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and grab your copy of their pleasant new album from the Pride & Joy Music webstore, from the AOR Heaven webstore, from CDON.se, from Apple Music or from Amazon. We might not be able to count on heroes to save us in our dangerous society, but we can surely count on Danger Zone to make our lives easier and happier to the sound of their excellent and classic Hard Rock.

Best moments of the album: Demon or Saint, Down to Passion and Breakaway.

Worst moments of the album: Hang on to Your Heart.

Released in 2019 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Demon or Saint 4:55
2. Faster Than Love 4:40
3. Somewhere Out of Time 4:17
4. Destiny 4:12
5. Down to Passion 4:05
6. Rise Again 4:07
7. Hang on to Your Heart 4:07
8. Forever Now 4:36
9. Rolling Thunder 4:25
10. Breakaway 4:30
11. Eternity 4:58

Band members
Giacomo Gigantelli – vocals
Roberto Priori – lead guitar
Danilo Faggiolino – guitar
Matteo Minghetti – bass
Pier Mazzini – keyboards
Paolo Palmieri – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Aura Dănciulescu

Let’s go fucking wild, Aura!

The year of 2019 might be coming to an end, but not before we fill the airwaves with the stunning vocals by Aura Dănciulescu, the winged frontwoman for Romanian Symphonic Heavy/Power Metal band Scarlet Aura and our awesome metal chick of the month of December. Born Aura Gabriela Danciulescu on October 28, 1985 in Fălticeni, a city in Suceava County, north-eastern Romania, situated in the historical region of Moldavia, Aura is a multi-talented singer, lyricist and songwriter, always passionate about music and writing. Of light brown hair (but currently dyed blonde) and brown eyes, Aura has all the attributes fans of heavy music look for in a vocalist, and I’m sure after reading a little about our gorgeous metalhead you’ll get addicted to her music and be quite impressed with her skills, transparency and deep love for our good old Heavy Metal.

Aura, who by the way has a famous sister, Mihaela Pohoaţă, a Romanian aerobic gymnast who won five world championships medals (three gold and two bronze) and three European championships gold medals during her career, started singing when she was just a little kid, and her initial performance was so bad her parents actually decided to put her in vocal lessons to improve her skills. By the way, her parents have always supported her decisions, letting her be free, believe in herself and have her own goals. She then naturally decided to become a singer after the vocal lessons when she was around 10 years old, developing her voice through the years until reaching the superb level she sings nowadays. Although she’s always been a rock and metal fan, it was when she met her now husband, Mihai Danciulescu, lead guitarist and backing vocalist for Scarlet Aura, that she really started to adore it, with Mihai explaining to her all the different styles of rock and metal music and introducing her to some of his biggest idols. Furthermore, before dedicating her life to music from the year of 2011 onward, Aura went to University of Bucharest and studied political science and law school, also holding a few extra courses on diplomacy and national defense and having worked for a few years at the Romanian Senate.

After numerous music projects and her first rock band Steelborn, having recorded with the band the EP’s Un Nou Inceput and Intr-Un Vis, both in 2010, and the full-length album Trup De Apa, in 2012, all in her mother tongue Romanian (and if you want to listen to Aura beautifully singing the band’s pleasant Rock N’ Roll you can check a couple of YouTube videos with the songs Orice Ar Fi & Suflet Furat live and Ratacire), it all eventually led to creation in 2014 of Scarlet Aura, the exotic rising metal star of the East that quickly got the attention of promoters and fans worldwide. By the way, if you would like to enjoy a very interesting “fusion” of Aura’s past and present, Scarlet Aura recorded in 2018 a heavier version of one of Steelborn’s oldest songs, Un Nou Inceput, the title-track to their 2010 debut EP. Having already toured with renowned acts like Tarja Turunen, Beast in Black and Soto, the band comprised of our unstoppable Aura on vocals, the aforementioned Mihai on the guitars and backing vocals, Rene Nistor on bass and backing vocals, and Doru Gheorghita on drums are on a roll since their inception, positioning them as one of the most promising names in the current European scene.

As a matter of fact, the name scarlet Aura was only adopted in 2015, with the band’s original name AURA being used only during their first year of existence, having released under their old name the album The Rock Chick. In addition, as you might have noticed, Aura and Mihai met in 2010 while playing with Steelborn, and after a few years they fell in love, got married and decided to pursue a career together as Scarlet Aura. Under their new and powerful name, Aura and the boys have already released the full-length albums Falling Sky in 2016, Memories in 2017, and Hot’n’Heavy in 2018, as well as the EP The Beast Within Me in 2017 and the CD/DVD box set Scarlet Aura in Concert (recorded live at Quantic Pub in Bucharest on April 27, 2017) in 2018. Moreover, Scarlet Aura are set to release in 2020 their fifth album, entitled Stormbreaker, and the second one in the trilogy The Book Of Scarlet, once again combining metal music with fantasy literature, and if you want to show your true support to Aura and the boys you can help them make the album come true by participating in their Indiegogo campaign. also, the band’s official YouTube channel is and endless source of awesomeness, providing us metalheads several first-class videos for the best songs form all of their albums, such as Hail To You!, High in the Sky, Hate is Evanescent, Violence is Forever, My Own Nightmare, You’re Not Alone, Immortal In Your Eyes and Fallin’ to Pieces, not to mention other interesting videos from the band playing songs like In The Name Of My Pain at a Romanian TV show called  Antena 1, and their full performance at Transalpina Rock Fest in 2018.

In addition to all of the band’s original material, I would also recommend you take a very good listen at their 2017 album Memories, which is pretty much a tribute to all of their idols and influences in music, mixing some of the biggest metal hits in history with non-metal cover songs as well. For instance, you can enjoy Aura giving her own feminine twist to all-time Heavy Metal and Hard Rock classics like Judas Priest’s Breaking the Law, Blind Guardian’s A Past and Future Secret, Europe’s The Final Countdown, Iron Maiden’s Wasting Love, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It, Ozzy Osbourne & Lita Ford’s If I Close My Eyes Forever, and Dio’s Don’t Talk To Strangers, or maybe you fancy listening to her personal interpretation of hits by female-fronted bands from the most diverse styles like Skunk Anansie’s My Ugly Boy, Doro’s All We Are, and The Cranberries’ Zombie. You can obviously find these and all of their own original songs by directly visiting their Spotify profile, bringing to your metallic ears hours of first-class metal music made in Romania.

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Apart from her life with Scarlet Aura, was also a guest vocalist in a song called Plecăciune Zăului, from the album Zăul Moș, released in 2017 by Romanian Symphonic Black Metal band Syn Ze Șase Tri (with the name of the band translating as “I Am With Triple Six”, just to give you an idea of how dark their music is). Not only that, Aura has also been working as a moderator at Wacken Radio since April this year, spearheading the first ever English show of the radio called Go Wild. “I was invited to give an interview on Scarlet Aura in the S.T.U.N.T.S. metal show, for Wacken Radio, held by TinU and SlayerOfMadness. We connected immediately and the invitation to join them as host came naturally and I couldn’t be more honored and happy to say Yes! And soon I discovered that Wacken Radio supports radio hosts applicants that can join the family by applying and going through some tests and if they pass, they can be also part of Wacken Radio! I passed the tests too so here I am!”, said Aura about her new experience as a show host. Furthermore, this is not the first connection with Wacken organization for Scarlet Aura, as the band was supported by Wacken Foundation in 2018.

Aura doesn’t use only her voice as her instrument of work, as her brain also seems to be a nonstop source of great ideas and projects. For example, Aura is the managing director for a Tallinn, Estonia-based record label named Silver City Records, founded by Aura herself together with her husband and bandmate Mihai and Tatyana Shubina (from Outlanders Productions), exclusively for rock and metal bands, and if you have a band looking for an up-and-coming label you can contact them directly via Facebook or by e-mail at contact@silvercityrecords.com. She was also a guest speaker at an event held by Mastering the Music Business, the leading Romanian music conference and showcase event, where she talked about her music, her business and her vision as a a successful performing artist, manager and record label CEO that she is, and you can also hire Aura for marketing and advertising purposes as a voice actor through a website called Voices.com, where you can see our multi-talented diva has already worked for Vodafone România, real estate companies and other local advertising companies, being able not only to sing classical, rock and metal music, but also to impersonate voices from all ages in English, Romanian, French and Italian for an array of projects like animations, documentaries, movie trailers and video-games, among others. Well, in the end I think the question should be “is there something she CAN’T do?”

A lover of the simple things that make our lives more fun such as pizza, red wine, yoga, cats, writing, reading, carpentry and painting, with her favorite movie of all time being the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind and her favorite books being from English author Terry Pratchett, Aura has among her biggest idols some of the most iconic names in the history of Heavy Metal, including the one and only Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.), the unstoppable Mr. Bruce Dickinson, and Slayer’s own roaring engine Tom Araya, as well as bands like German institution Helloween, and on a more feminine side she always mentions names like the unparalled Tarja Turunen and Doro. However, Aura mentioned in one of her interviews that she always searches inside herself for the power she needs to print her own convictions, her own beliefs and of course her own voice, also mentioning her own mother as her biggest idol of all, which is just fantastic, don’t you agree? She also considers scarlet as her favorite color (which makes total sense to me),  My Own Nightmare as her favorite Scarlet Aura song, and the day she married Mihai, on September 22, 2012, as the best day of her life.

Just like any other true metalhead, our Romanian bombshell simply loves touring and performing live, always eager to promote her music to the four corners of the earth and to inspire all girls out there to join her in her female-fronted metal movement. When asked about her experience sharing the stage with her idol Tarja Turunen in 2016, considered by many as the most influential woman in modern-day metal music, she said that meeting her was really overwhelming at first, and that she was able to learn a lot from her during that tour. One funny (and somewhat stressful) episode during the tour with Tarja happened when Scarlet Aura’s crew crew lost their stage clothing luggage, forcing the band to improvise by borrowing belts, T-Shirts and make up. Moreover, Aura also has very good memories of other conerts with renowned acts of the metal scene like Accept, Doro, Nazareth, Gotthard, Helloween and Europe, showing how much all members of Scarlet Aura are connected to metal and how much they admire and are influenced by their music idols. And last but not least, when Aura was asked about the current metal scene in her birthplace Romania, she said that it has been continuously growing, getting bigger and shinier as the years go by, and that she expects it keeps getting more and more important to the world of heavy music. She complemented by saying that growth, especially her own band’s rise to stardom, wouldn’t be possible without the support of metalheads in Romania and worldwide, always praising fans like us for all support and passion we have for our good old Heavy Metal.

Aura Dănciulescu’s Official Facebook page
Aura Dănciulescu’s Official VKontakte
Aura Dănciulescu’s Official Instagram
Aura Dănciulescu’s Official Twitter
Scarlet Aura’s Official Facebook page
Scarlet Aura’s Official VKontakte
Scarlet Aura’s Official Instagram
Scarlet Aura’s Official Twitter
Scarlet Aura’s Official YouTube channel

“As an artist I’m not afraid to dig into the unknown by approaching sensible subjects in our songs, subjects like the difficulty of being honest with others but also with yourself regarding your own feelings, the need of overcoming a huge sufferance that troubles you, the lack of courage when it’s about doing the right thing, the lack of love or the crying for it… subjects that make ourselves human, subjects that are in each one of us and that makes us who we are and maybe throughout our music, we get recovered, healed or better, we discover ourselves for who we really are because with any doubt music heals the spirit, metal heals the heart.” – Aura Dănciulescu

Album Review – R.U.S.T.X / Center Of The Universe (2019)

Deeply rooted into 70’s and 80’s rock and metal music, three brothers and one sister from Cyprus are unleashing upon us their sensational third full-length album.

Formed in Agioi Trimithias, a village located in the Nicosia District of Cyprus, in the year of 2003 under the name Flames In Ice, and known as R.U.S.T. from 2004 until 2014, Heavy Metal/Hard Rock four-piece act R.U.S.T.X is ready to take the world of rock and metal by storm once again with their third full-length album entitled Center Of The Universe, bringing to our avid ears truly from-the-heart and no bullshit melodic Heavy Metal with classic rocking passages highly inspired by renowned bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Warlord, Savatage, Stormwitch and Riot, their absolute passion as one can easily determine with just one listen. Comprised of three brothers and one sister, those being Peter Pan Xanthou on the guitars, George Xanthou on bass, Katerina Xanthou on keyboards and John Xanthou on drums, all four members share the vocal duties in the album, giving it an even more unique taste.

Enthusiastic and passionate about everything they do, their brand new opus will unquestionably convince old school lovers that they do mean serious business, with their outstanding positive energy and originality being accurately reflected by each of the album’s ten magnificent songs deeply rooted into 70’s and 80’s Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. Featuring guest appearances by Paolo Nipa (Dark Quarterer) and Andrea Ramacciotti (Deadly Tide), recorded and mixed at Woodstock Recording Studio in Piombino, Italy by Andrea Ramacciotti, and displaying a magical artwork created by the amazing Chris Achilleos, known for his unique interpretation of stunning amazons, epic dragons and paintings inspired by ancient civilizations and mythology, Center Of The Universe will put you in a trance from start to finish, showing how powerful and gripping the music by R.U.S.T.X can be. “With this album we really pushed ourselves to the limit and the result is like something out of this planet. A comeback to the 70’s and 80’s era of Rock and Metal music that we so much adore,” commented the band, giving you a very good idea of the insane rock n’ roll party that’s about to begin as soon as you hit play.

Uniting the classic rock by AC/DC with the progressiveness of Rush, the Xanthou Brothers and Sister embellish the airwaves with the opening track Defendre Le Rock, showcasing a healthy and beautiful balance between the heavy riffs and piercing solos by Peter and the whimsical keys by Katerina, whereas in Running Man the quartet speeds things up and delivers sheer adrenaline in the form of music, with John taking the lead with his frantic drums while Katerina continues to blast her Deep Purple and Axel Rudi Pell-inspired keys, resulting in a true Cypriot Metal hymn. And in Black Heart the band takes us all to a journey back to the 70’s, blasting high-end Progressive Rock with George shaking the foundations of the earth with his bass. Not only that, it’s definitely very interesting how their vocal lines are always more enraged than the usual Progressive Rock and Metal acts throughout the entire song.

Then an eccentric intro grows in intensity until pure Rock N’ Roll hits us in the head in I Stand To Live, spearheaded by Katerina’s powerful vocals, and again it’s amazing how they can offer so many vocal styles in one album, not to mention their superb job on the guitars and bass (especially the flammable solos by Peter Pan); followed by Endless Skies, an upbeat composition by the band displaying classic Hard Rock infused with 80’s and 90’s elements, as well as numerous breaks and variations, presenting an amazing job done by both George and John with their rumbling instruments. And the sounds of nature and gentle voices ignite the title-track Center Of The Universe, feeling like the overture of a sonic ritual and sounding absolutely unique and experimental. Get ready for over ten minutes of complex guitar lines and classy keys, enfolding vocalizations and all of the band’s other magical sounds and tones until the song’s grand finale, turning it into a must-listen for admirers of the genre.

The electric guitars by Peter Pan dictate the rhythm in the dancing rock tune Widow’s Cry, sounding like a Hybrid between the early days of Nightwish with Doro where Katerina once again steals the spotlight with her gorgeous vocal lines, while Peter Pan’s slashing riffs and solos and George’s Iron Maiden-inspired bass lines are the icing on the cake. In Wake Up, an excellent Progressive Rock extravaganza, they sound like a younger and European version of Rush, bringing forward a fantastic work done by John with his intricate beats, and keys and riffs in total sync that will certainly warm up the listener’s heart and soul. And last but not least, the CD version of the album contains two awesome bonus tracks, starting with the headbanging rock tune Dirty Road, where the entire band breathes fire from their tuneful instruments, and Band On The Run, a sensational cover version of the song by Paul McCartney & Wings released in 1973 (check the original one HERE), where R.U.S.T.X give the song a more progressive and psychedelic vibe.

You can find Center Of The Universe available for a full and detailed listen on Spotify, but of course in order to show your utmost support to this talented family I recommend you purchase your desired version of the album from the band’s own webstore, from the Pitch Black Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and from several other locations such as Saturn.de, Apple Music, Amazon and Discogs. Also, why don’t you give them a shout on their Facebook page and also subscribe to their YouTube channel? Those are excellent ways to keep in touch with what’s certainly one of the best and most exciting bands hailing from Cyprus, and without any doubt the most united and passionate family from the underground Rock N’ Roll scene.

Best moments of the album: Running Man, I Stand To Live, Widow’s Cry and Band On The Run.

Worst moments of the album: Black Heart.

Released in 2019 Pitch Black Records

Track listing
1. Defendre Le Rock 4:51
2. Running Man 3:25
3. Black Heart 4:29
4. I Stand To Live 5:26
5. Endless Skies 4:32
6. Center Of The Universe 9:09
7. Widow’s Cry 5:38
8. Wake Up 4:45

CD bonus tracks
9. Dirty Road 4:17
10. Band On The Run (Paul McCartney & Wings cover) 5:18

Band members
Peter Pan Xanthou – guitars, vocals
George Xanthou – bass, vocals
Katerina Xanthou – keyboards, vocals
John Xanthou – drums, vocals

Guest musicians
Paolo “Nipa” Ninci – drums, percussion
Andrea Ramacciotti – guitars