Album Review – Thecodontion / Supercontinent (2020)

An atmospheric and conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, blasted by two Italians who use no guitars – only death.

In case you’ve never heard of Thecodontion, they’re an Atmospheric Black/Death Metal band founded in 2016 in Rome, Italy by vocalist G.E.F. and bassist G.D. who don’t use guitars in their music. Instead, they use two finger-picked, distorted basses, with a third one for solos, accompanied by vocals and drums in order to convey a more ancestral sound. This approach compliments their lyrical imagery, which is based on prehistory, fossils and geologic periods, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Mithras and Neurosis, resulting in what the duo itself likes to call “Prehistoric Metal of Death”. As a matter of fact, the name Thecodontion comes from “Thecodontia”, an Ancient Greek word meaning “socket-teeth”, or an obsolete taxonomic grouping formerly used to describe a diverse group of reptiles which included both the ancestors of dinosaurs and of modern alligators and crocodiles, among others. After releasing their self-titled demo in 2018, followed by the EP Jurassic in 2019, Thecodontion return in full force in 2020 with their first full-length opus titled Supercontinent, an Atmospheric Black and Death Metal sonic journey and another step for the ever-developing and evolving sound of this archaic entity.

Recorded at Snakes Studio in Rome by Guglielmo Nodari, mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm, Sweden by Marco Salluzzo, and featuring an array of special guest musicians the likes of session drummer V.P. (Seventh Genocide), vocalist Skaðvaldur (Urðun, Igor Mortis), guitarist J.G.P. (Seventh Genocide, Bedsore) and vocalist R.C. (Seventh Genocide), Supercontinent is a conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, from the earliest known supercontinent (“Vaalbara”) to the most recent one (“Pangaea”), with extensive researches with an almost scientific approach having been made for the lyrical department, also bringing forward four instrumental non-metal songs featuring short poems about “superoceans” and a phenomenal artwork by Stefan Thanneur (Chaos Echoes), with a colorful representation of the final supercontinental stage and climax of the record, Pangaea surrounded by the Panthalassa Ocean.

The low-tuned, metallic bass lines by the duo ignite the album in the atmospheric intro Gyrosia before rumbling sounds and noises permeate the air in Vaalbara, blending the vilest elements from Black and Death Metal led by G.E.F.’s devilish roars while G.D. and V.P. hammer their instruments mercilessly, followed by Ur, featuring guest Skaðvaldur blasting some deep, gruesome vocals, where the band offers more of their primeval bass-driven music, sounding absolutely tribal and Stygian from start to finish (not to mention the amazing job done by V.P. with his ritualistic beats). After such demolishing start to the album, madness and chaos from the prehistorical times invade our ears in Kenorland, where it’s impressive how G.E.F and G.D. are capable of extracting such crisp and strident “guitar” sounds only using their bass guitars, overflowing the always amazing groove and rage of old school Death Metal. Then cinematic bass jabs set the tone in the bridge Lerova, growing in intensity until the duo comes crushing our senses accompanied by the pounding beats by V.P. in Nuna, a lesson in how to fill every single space in the air with menacing bass sounds while G.E.F. vociferates the song’s cryptic lyrics in great Black Metal fashion.

And they’ll make your head hurt with their pulverizing bass punches in Rodinia, where G.E.F. sounds even more demented and berserk on vocals, feeling very progressive and raw at the same time (albeit going on for a little too long, though), whereas Tethys is another atmospheric and enfolding bridge that warms up our senses for Laurasia-Gondwana, featuring guest J.G.P. on the baritone guitar, with the band smashing our skulls viciously with their infernal jamming, blending the fury and violence of Death Metal with the venomous screeches from Black Metal. Then we have the amazing Pangaea, where guest R.C. shares the vocal duties with G.E.F., while G.E.F. himself and G.D. make the earth tremble with their visceral bass attack. Moreover, it’s quite interesting to notice how the music evolves and progresses like the formation of a supercontinent, flowing darkly until the somber outro Panthalassa brings forward reverberating bass lines and slow-paced beats, giving the album a proper (and melancholic) ending.

Thecodontion’s journey through the history of ancient Earth’s supercontinents will soon be available for purchase from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and from the Repose Records’ webstore (in LP format), and you can also follow this dynamic duo from Italy on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and search from them on Spotify for more of their prehistorical metal music. As already mentioned, the duo uses no guitars in their music, only death, with Supercontinent undoubtedly representing the most important milestone in their short but already respectful career and, above all, a solid statement that the atmospheric, dark and heavy-as-hell music played by bands like Thecodontion will never face extinction.

Best moments of the album: Vaalbara, Kenorland and Pangaea.

Worst moments of the album: Rodinia.

Released in 2020 I, Voidhanger Records/Repose Records

Track listing
1. Gyrosia 2:09
2. Vaalbara 4:12
3. Ur 6:33
4. Kenorland 4:24
5. Lerova 2:24
6. Nuna 6:02
7. Rodinia 3:52
8. Tethys 1:58
9. Laurasia-Gondwana 3:06
10. Pangaea 7:37
11. Panthalassa 2:41

Band members
G.E.F. – vocals, arrangements
G.D. – bass, arrangements

Guest musicians
V.P. – drums (session)
J.G.P. – baritone guitar on “Laurasia-Gondwana”
R.C. – additional vocals on “Pangaea”
Skaðvaldur – vocals on “Ur”

Album Review – Witches Of Doom / Funeral Radio (2020)

Turn up the volume to 666 on your (funeral) radio and let one of the best Italian covens of all time embrace your soul with their undisputed rock and metal music.

It has been truly exciting to witness the rise and evolution of Rome, Italy-based Goth-Stoner-Doom Metal outfit Witches Of Doom since their inception in 2013, starting with their 2014 debut album Obey, followed by their 2016 sophomore installment Deadlights, and now with their third full-length opus titled Funeral Radio, by far their most cohesive and strong album to date. Currently comprised of frontman Danilo “Groova” Piludu, guitarist Federico “Fed” Venditti, and newcomers Saiax on bass and Francesco Ciacciarelli on drums (although the bass and drums in the album were recorded by Jacopo Cartelli and Luca Iovieno, respectively), the band offers in Funeral Radio everything a fan of the music by renowned acts like Danzig, Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Joy Division and Moonspell can ask for. Recorded and mixed at Hombre Lobo and DaBox Studios in Rome, featuring a stylish artwork by Italian artist Carlo Muselli and keyboards by guest Fabio Reeks Recchia, Funeral Radio will paint new dark scenarios standing at the deep heart of each listener, showcasing all the passion this Italian institution nurtures for somber and heavy music.

Jacopo ignites the band’s doomed party with his rumbling bass in Master Of Depression, accompanied by the piercing riffs by Federico and the always mesmerizing and groovy-as-hell vocals by Danilo, exhaling the essence of everything the Witches Of Doom stand for, whereas the sluggish Doom Metal beats by Luca dictate the rhythm in the sexy and inebriate Coma Moonlight, spiced up by the stunning keys by Fabio and, consequently, living up to the legacy of amazing bands like Type O Negative and HIM, not to mention Fed’s awesome guitar solo as the icing on the cake. Then venturing through the realms of Gothic and Stoner Metal we have Queen Of Suburbia, where Fed leads his bandmates with his heavy and precise riffage while Danilo showcases another deep and vibrant vocal performance, with the keys by Fabio taking you back to the glory of the 90’s. And a Tarantino-inspired intro evolves into a damned and dark feast in the title-track Funeral Radio, where Danilo’s cryptic vocals match perfectly with the scorching riffs by Fed and the thunderous bass punches by Jacopo.

Enhancing their heaviness and leaning towards 90’s Gothic Rock and Metal, the band blasts the insanely catchy and fun Sister Fire, where Danilo and Fed are in absolute sync with their respective vocals and riffs, resulting in the perfect choice for an incendiary Rock N’ Roll party; and sounding like the soundtrack to an underground cult movie, mellow vocal lines and classy guitars dictate the rhythm in Ghost Train while Fabio keeps embellishing the airwaves with his keys, bringing an extra touch of melancholy to such dark and hypnotizing tune. November Flames offers the listener another blast of obscure and grim sounds inspired by the golden years of Gothic Rock, with Luca delivering a mix of Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll through his beats accompanied by the slashing riffs by Fed, sounding fast and melodic just the way we like it. Lastly, an atmospheric start led by Jacopo’s metallic bass gradually morphs into another hybrid of Gothic and Doom Metal titled Hotel Paranoia, putting a climatic and thrilling end to the album and flowing darkly and powerfully until its Stygian finale.

As already mentioned, Funeral Radio, which is available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, is undoubtedly the strongest and most diverse album to date by the Witches Of Doom, and in order to show your appreciation for such talented and obscure Italian coven don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course to add the album to your goth-rock collection by purchasing it from their official BandCamp page (or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy and/or stream the album). In other words, put on some Witches Of Doom on your (funeral) radio, turn up the volume to 666, and let their delicious and dark music embrace you like there’s no tomorrow.

Best moments of the album: Coma Moonlight, Queen Of Suburbia and Sister Fire.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 My Kingdom Music

Track listing
1. Master Of Depression 4:42
2. Coma Moonlight 4:45
3. Queen Of Suburbia 4:45
4. Funeral Radio 6:54
5. Sister Fire 4:55
6. Ghost Train 4:16
7. November Flames 5:59
8. Hotel Paranoia 7:29

Band members
Danilo “Groova” Piludu – vocals
Federico “Fed” Venditti – guitars
Saiax – bass
Francesco Ciacciarelli – drums

Guest musicians
Fabio Reeks Recchia – keyboards
Jacopo Cartelli – bass (session)
Luca Iovieno – drums (session)

Interview – Angela Di Vincenzo (Secret Rule)

Are you already tired and bored of staying home during this quarantine? Why not enjoying this exclusive interview with the multi-talented Angela Di Vincenzo, talking about her band Secret Rule and their brand new album Against?

Angela Di Vincenzo (Secret Rule)

The Headbanging Moose: First of all, thanks a lot for having time to chat with us, and let’s start with a very simple question: who are Secret Rule? When did the band start, how do you define the band’s sound, and what are your main goals in the world of heavy music?

Secret Rule: Hi and thank you for this space. Secret Rule is a female-fronted metal band from Italy. We have been active since 2014 and have released 5 albums. Our sound is modern metal with a lot of other influences (electronic, symphonic, etc.). Our goal is to find a space in the metal market, and at the moment we’re really satisfied.

THM: Although the band was formed only a few years ago, in 2014, your excellent new album Against is already the fifth studio album in your career. How do you manage to release such amazing amount of music in such a short period of time, what are the main differences between Against and your previous albums, and how do you see the evolution of your music through the years?

SR: It’s very simple for us. We play around 30/40 gigs per year, and the other 10 months, we are free to work on new material. I think that’s a good lapse of time to produce new songs. In addition, as you know, when you do something with passion nothing is boring or tiresome. About Against, I think it’s a more aggressive album than the other ones, and this is what we wanted. For sure, we don’t consider ourselves a symphonic metal band. It would be very limiting for us and not respectful to those who play that kind of music. No doubt there are some symphonic atmospheres in our music, but at the same time, there are a lot of electronic inserts. So in our future the sound will always have something new, and I have to say you that we like this more aggressive approach.

THM: Some of my favorite songs from the album, those being Rise Again, Digital Revolution and Outsiders, bring a high level of energy while at the same time sounding very melodic. How do you guys manage to reach that great balance in your music? Can you give us more details about your writing and recording process?

SR: Andy and I are the main composers of the band. Personally, I grew up with Italian melodic pop music and I met metal music only around my 20s, so all my catchy melodies come from this melting of styles.

Andy was born with metal music in his veins so the heavy aspects come from him! About the writing process, I record all my vocal ideas on my phone each time I have one, at whatever hour and wherever. Andy does the same on his PC when he has an idea for a riff. When we start on a new album, we actually already have a lot of stuff to analyze and in 2 months we work on it and record the album, more or less!

THM: What inspires Secret Rule to write and record heavy music? Do you avoid repeating the themes covered in each song and album, or is this something that’s “out of control” due to the way you create your music?

SR: We can say it’s “out of control” LOL Actually, we like to experiment with new influences and everything comes naturally. We like heavy music but as you can hear, you also can find electronic, symphonic, pop and rock influences in our music, because we are all these things together. For the variety you can find inside, our albums are like a playlist on Spotify instead of a single album.

Album Review – Secret Rule / Against (2020)

THM: As you guys are from Italy, it’s impossible not to ask you about the current COVID-19 crisis that’s having devastating effects on your beautiful country. How are you guys managing the band amidst all the chaos that’s going on there? Also, I hope all is well with you and your loved ones during such difficult times.

SR: Thank you for your question and interest. Here the situation is a little bit hard. At the moment we have been at home just over three weeks. We can go out only to get food or medicine. We have to have a piece of paper with us with our name and reason we’re out and there are heavy penalties for those who don’t respect the government restrictions. It has been difficult for some people to understand they have to stay at home. Now things seem to be getting better in the North of Italy but we have to still wait to have a clearer picture of the situation. About us, we have had to postpone our tour with Semblant in September and we have had to postpone our tour in the UK as well. Since we can’t go on tour and we can’t meet with each other, Andy and I (we live in the same building) have started to work on some cover songs and new stuff. The first music video was released on the 24th of March and was Gets Me Through by Ozzy Osbourne and the second one on the 2nd of April was The Bitter End by Placebo. We already have other songs in mind. In this way, we keep busy and give our fans something new in this difficult period we all are living. We hope to return to normality very soon!

THM: I’ve been following the whole COVID-19 situation in Italy, and during the past couple of weeks I received some videos of Italians playing and singing metal songs such as Slayer’s “Raining Blood” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” on their balconies during this never-ending quarantine. Having said that, how important do you think Heavy Metal and music in general are for everyone in Italy right now?

SR: You have been lucky to see these videos because around my house I only hear people who sing classic Italian music, every day at 6 pm! At the moment here in Italy a lot of newfound musicians and singers are coming out on their balconies every evening hahahaha But this has been fun and it has been a way to give positive vibes in this dark moment. Italian people have great energy and sense of humor.

Unfortunately, this is not the right country for the metal music genre. There are more musicians than fans. But at least they are very good musicians 🙂

THM: How’s the current underground metal scene in Italy in terms of bands, venues and live concerts? And can you tell us about any Italian bands apart from Secret Rule that we should take a listen to?

SR: mmmm…hard question. In Italy there are a lot of metal bands, probably there are more musicians than listeners 😀 ….unfortunately, the scene is not so good. There’s no great cultural movement to listen to new bands. So it’s always very hard to bring people to little shows. Anyway, the few people who follow metal music give a warm welcome and support.

If you wanna listen to THE ITALIAN METAL BAND, you should obviously listen to Lacuna Coil!! Hahahahh LOL

Secret Rule

THM: Who are your biggest idols in music? And who do you dream of sharing the stage with?

SR: Personally, I like a lot of bands and singers but if I had to choose, I would say Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation. Sharing the stage with them would be awesome, a dream. I might cry if I were to meet Cristina and Sharon. I think they have great talent and unique voices. There’s no one like them. First and foremost, I’m a fan of theirs.

THM: As a Symphonic and Alternative Metal band, your whole performance is obviously impacted by your attire, or by the way you look on stage. Who’s responsible for creating all the clothing you guys wear during your promo pictures and on stage during your live concerts?

SR: What you see on us reflects our taste and work.

It’s not simple but for the last album, we made a deal with the fashion brand PUNK RAVE. This has been awesome because they believe in us and we love their style. So it’s been a perfect marriage.

In addition, the mood and the meaning they put in their fashion style fits perfectly with the messages in our latest album “AGAINST”.

THM: Thanks again for your time, and please feel free to send your final message to our readers, to your fans and to anyone else that’s getting in touch with Secret Rule for the first time ever.

SR: Thank you for this opportunity. We invite all readers to get a taste of our music if they haven’t done so before and to trust their perceptions.

You can find our music on the best digital platforms like Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and so on. The album is distributed worldwide so you can find it everywhere.

Links
Secret Rule Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music

Album Review – Secret Rule / Against (2020)

A beautiful album of Symphonic Metal showcasing a collection of songs from romantic and intimate ones to dark and fast tunes, all of them about being overwhelmed in a hurricane of emotions.

Formed at the beginning of 2014 in Rome, Italy with the intention to create a special sound with powerful rhythms and catchy melodies, Symphonic Rock/Metal unity Secret Rule can be considered one of the most hardworking bands of the current Italian scene without a shadow of a doubt, having released nothing more, nothing less than four studio albums since their inception until 2019, or almost one album per year, with the year of 2018 being the only exception to that. After the released of the full-length installments Transposed Emotions, in 2015, Machination, in 2016, The Key to the World, in 2017, and more recently The 7 Endless, in 2019, it’s time for the band spearheaded by the stunning vocalist Angela Di Vincenzo (Kyla Moyl) together with guitarist and keyboardist Andy Menario (Martiria), bassist Michele Raspanti (S.O.S., Graal) and drummer Alex Beccati to take the world of heavy music by storm once again with their fifth album, entitled Against, exhaling endless energy, epicness and romance though the band’s feast of heavy riffs, soaring vocals and electronic elements. In other words, you will find all types of songs in Against, from the most romantic, intimate and mellow one to dark, fast and powerful tunes, all of them about being overwhelmed in a hurricane of emotions, exactly how we like it in Symphonic Metal.

The opening track Spira Mirabilis sounds ominous and atmospheric like the soundtrack to a dark horror movie, suddenly exploding into captivating Symphonic Metal led by Angela’s potent vocals who’s always supported by the theatrical performance by her band members, with Andy kicking ass with his wicked keys. And Andy also slashes his strings in great fashion in Shades of Humanity, accompanied by the thunderous bass by Michele while Angela continues to shine on vocals, sounding heavier than its predecessor but at the same time very delicate and also presenting strident guitar solos and never-ending stamina. Then it’s time for Secret Rule to put the pedal to the metal and offer us all a feast of rock and metal sounds in Rise Again, showcasing a great balance between the pounding beats by Alex and the futuristic keys by Andy, while at the same time blending elements from the music by Evanescence, Epica and Lacuna Coil; followed by the more introspective and cryptic Going Nowhere, a song perfect for Angela to steal the spotlight with her dark and sexy vocals amidst the solid and dense musicality blasted by the whole band.

Adding a touch of modernity to their musicality, with hints of Rammstein’s Industrial Metal being thoroughly inserted into its core but still keeping the band’s classic Symphonic Metal intact, of course, Digital Revolution is beyond exciting and vibrant from start to finish, becoming one of the best moments of the album without any doubt. Endless Promises is a radio-friendly tune by Secret Rule spearheaded by Alex’s unstoppable drums while Angela takes her vocals up a notch, sounding and feeling very pleasant right from the very first second, whereas Purgatory is a lot groovier and more demonic thanks to its harsh vocals, building a great paradox with Angela’s angelical voice, not to mention Andy’s flammable solos. Put differently, it will certainly please all fans of the genre, which can also be said about the title-track Against, bringing forward a video game-inspired intro that’s quickly joined by the band’s characteristic riffs and beats, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline.

Deep Solitude sounds a little generic if compared to the rest of the album despite the great job done by Angela on vocals; nothing that would harm the album though, as it can be quite entertaining for many fans, as a matter of fact. Fortunately, they get back on track with Outsiders, another fun composition uniting the electricity of Symphonic Metal with the modern and futuristic nuances of orchestral music, with Andy, Michele and Alex being on absolute fire with their thunderous instruments, while My Last Breath flirts with Alternative Rock and Metal, resulting in a semi-ballad that sounds at the same time very gentle and obscure, with Angela embellishing the airwaves with another passionate vocal performance. And lastly, the keys by Andy dictate the rhythm in the closing tune Don’t Let Me Fade, where Alex pounds his drums potently and Andy injects an extra dosage of electricity to the song’s pace through his always sharp guitar solos.

As already mentioned, Secret Rule are not only an unstoppable, hardworking band hailing form Italy, but their talent is also undeniable as we can all see in their brand new opus Against, and if you want to know more about Angela and the boys you can get in touch with them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to more of their music on Spotify. Also, above all that, don’t forget to preorder your copy of Against from the band’s own webstore in a Special Limited Edition Boxset format, from Record Shop X or from Apple Music, and soon from other locations such as the Pride & Joy Music webstore. Let’s enjoy this fresh and exciting new endeavor by Secret Rule now in 2020, attending their live concerts and raising our horns for such distinct metal act from Italy, and when 20201 comes I’m sure Angela, Andy & Co. will present us with another round of their awesome Symphonic Metal. Because you know, Secret Rule never know when to stop, which in their case is always a very good thing.

Best moments of the album: Spira Mirabilis, Rise Again, Digital Revolution and Outsiders.

Worst moments of the album: Deep Solitude.

Released in 2020 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Spira Mirabilis 4:03
2. Shades of Humanity 3:29
3. Rise Again 4:37
4. Going Nowhere 4:56
5. Digital Revolution 3:56
6. Endless Promises 3:36
7. Purgatory 3:50
8. Against 4:34
9. Deep Solitude 3:47
10. Outsiders 4:30
11. My Last Breath 3:35
12. Don’t Let Me Fade 3:46

Band members
Angela Di Vincenzo – vocals
Andy Menario – guitars, keys
Michele Raspanti – bass
Alex Beccati – drums

Album Review – ADE / Rise of the Empire (2019)

Armed with their furious and technical Death Metal, they came, they saw and they conquered, beautifully narrating the epic rise of the Roman Empire.

Focusing on the past and the origin of the customs of their homeland Italy, inspired by the ancient Greek music mainly used by Romans in war situations, fusing it with modern Death Metal with lyrics written in English and Latin, and also featuring traditional instruments which give their technical music a strong epic touch, Ancient Roman Death Metal army ADE is back in action with a brand new album entitled Rise of the Empire, aiming at educating the listeners a little more on the ancient history of Rome, more specifically on the age of Caesar. In case you have never heard of ADE before, I highly recommend you grab your sword and shield and get ready to head into the battlefield together with the band, because that’s the only way you can enjoy Rise of the Empire to the fullest.

Produced by Stefano Morabito at 16th Cellar Studios and featuring a stylish artwork by Italian artist Fabio Timpanaro (Storm.Studio), Rise of the Empire is still entrenched in traditional old school Death Metal, however presenting a more mature yet aggressive sound suitable for old and new generations of fans interested in the Ancient Rome and Epic and Technical Death Metal. Now comprised of guitarist and only remaining founding member Fabivs, together with newcomers Diocletianvs on vocals, Nerva on the guitar, Cornelivs on bass and Decivs on drums, this talented band formed in 2007 in Rome is on fire in the follow-up to their 2016 album Carthago Delenda Est, sounding a lot more refined, more pulverizing and, consequently, more exciting than ever.

The cinematic intro Forge the Myth warms us up for the war that’s about to begin in Empire, bringing forward tons of heaviness with epic elements in the background and poetic lyrics based on historical facts (“Pieces of the world were born in Rome / Seeping into memories like water in the loam / From the mind of Caesar, seed of the empire / Far from the senate and its opulent liars”). Decivs sounds utterly furious on drums, while Diocletianvs roars and growls like a beast, resulting in a beyond fantastic way to kick off the album. In The Gallic Hourglass the band continues to march into the battlefield led by Fabivs’ and Nerva’s slashing riffs, with all folk elements adding an extra touch of mystery to their pulverizing Death Metal while at the same time sounding very cohesive and dense from start to finish; whereas Diocletianvs’ roars get deeper and darker in Chains of Alesia, a mid-tempo, utterly heavy chant by ADE showcasing razor-edged riffs and intricate beats, not to mention the flammable solos by Fabivs and Nerva.

Even more imposing and obscure, Once the Die Is Cast presents a gargantuan amount of progressiveness added to the band’s core Death Metal, where Cornelivs and Decivs, armed with their respective bass and drums, couldn’t sound more thunderous and incendiary, or in other words, simply bang your heads nonstop to this lesson in extreme music infused with pure epicness. And ADE keep blasting their whimsical sounds in Gold Roots of War, a neck-breaking tune where Fabivs and Nerva decimate their strings in great fashion, followed by Ptolemy Has to Fall, where the band gets back to a rawer and more direct sonority while still presenting all of their trademark background elements, pulverizing beats and crisp guitar solos, all embraced by the warrior-like vociferations by Diocletianvs. ADE never get tired of smashing their instruments, always with a lot of harmony, precision and feeling, resulting in enfolding extreme creations like Suppress the Riot, where Decivs is absolutely ruthless with his venomous drums.

Veni Vidi Vici, by far one of the most electrifying of all songs in Rise of the Empire and my favorite moment of the album, brings forward the enraged growls by Diocletianvs while the rest of the band delivers a stunning fusion of demolishing Death Metal with folk and percussion sounds, and following a similar pattern tribal beats ignite the enigmatic The Blithe Ignorance, alternating between semi-acoustic and introspective moments and the traditional rage from Death Metal, with its guitar riffs cutting your skin deep mercilessly. Lastly, in Imperator we’re treated to an amalgamation of heavy styles such as Progressive and Epic Metal spearheaded by Decivs’ fulminating drums, while Fabivs, Nerva and Cornelivs are in absolute sync with their stringed weapons, putting a beautiful and climatic ending to the album.

In a nutshell, Rise of the Empire, available for a full listen on Spotify and on sale from several locations such as ADE’s own BandCamp and Big Cartel (in digipack format or as a special pack containing the digipack CD plus an exclusive T-shirt), the Rockshots Records’ webstore, Apple Music and Amazon, is an excellent choice for fans of extreme music that also enjoy a good story behind all the devastation being blasted from the guitars, bass and drums, positioning ADE as one of the most interesting names of the current underground scene in Italy (needless to say, you should start following them on Facebook for news, tour dates and other awesome shenanigans) and, more important than that, keeping the flames of the always grandiose Roman Empire alive through their thrilling and technical music. They came, they saw, and they conquered, no doubt about that.

Best moments of the album: Empire, Once the Die Is Cast and Veni Vidi Vici.

Worst moments of the album: Gold Roots of War.

Released in 2019 Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records

Track listing
1. Forge the Myth 1:28
2. Empire 4:25
3. The Gallic Hourglass 3:42
4. Chains of Alesia 3:33
5. Once the Die Is Cast 4:48
6. Gold Roots of War 3:14
7. Ptolemy Has to Fall 5:07
8. Suppress the Riot 4:22
9. Veni Vidi Vici 4:31
10. The Blithe Ignorance 5:14
11. Imperator 3:28

Band members
Diocletianvs – vocals
Fabivs – guitars
Nerva – guitars
Cornelivs – bass
Decivs – drums

Album Review – Suum / Buried Into The Grave (2018)

Enjoy this Stygian and occult album featuring seven tracks of pure gloomy Doom Metal, masterfully delivered by an Italian quartet that has already succumbed to the dark side of music.

Let’s dive deep into the sluggish and obscure realms of old school Doom Metal to the music by a Italian quartet that goes by the name of Summ, formed in 2017 in the Italian capital Rome. Comprised of Mark Wolf on vocals, Painkiller on the guitar, Marcas on bass and Rick on drums, Suum are releasing now in 2018 the full-length album Buried Into The Grave, featuring seven tracks of pure gloomy Doom Metal, bringing to your ears not only a Stygian sound tailored for the doomed, but also cryptic lyrics about darkness, doom and occultism, being highly recommended for fans of Black Sabbath, Danzig, Candlemass, My Dying Bride, Electric Wizard, and all other bands and artists that have beautifully succumbed to the darkest and most lugubrious side of music.

If there’s rain, thunder and wind, you know the music is going to be doomed, which is exactly what happens in the opening track Tower Of Oblivion. Marcas kicks off this damned feast with his low-tuned bass until the rest of the band joins him in darkness, with lead singer Mark Wolf haunting our souls with his Black Sabbath-inspired vocals while Painkiller fires sheer obscurity through his riffs, with all vileness increasing in intensity until its crisp ending. And their Doom Metal mass goes on in Black Mist, led by the steady beats by Rick while the phantasmagoric vocals by Mark and the heavier-than-hell riffs by Painkiller generate a truly somber atmosphere; followed by Buried Into The Grave, which in my humble opinion is the most Stygian of all tracks of the album (hence, it would definitely make Tony Iommi proud). Not only the vocal lines are deep and deranged, but the combined sound of guitar, bass and drums create this gloomy creature that will mercilessly enfold you just like pitch black darkness.

Last Sacrifice is another classic Doom Metal tune spearheaded by the slashing riffage by Painkiller and the slow but intricate beats by Rick, putting you on a trance and inspiring you to crack your neck headbanging, with the music flowing smoothly and darkly until the end. Then bringing the most acid and somber elements from Stoner Metal and Rock we have Seeds Of Decay, an atmospheric and sluggish creation by Suum with highlights to the rumbling sounds extracted by both Painkiller and Marcas from their hellish strings, whereas in the melancholic and introspective instrumental The Woods Are Waiting we face more rain and wind, going on for a bit too long though (albeit nothing that will make you skip it). And finally, rhythmic drums and scorching hot riffs ignite their last breath of old school Doom Metal, the somber extravaganza titled Shadows Haunt The Night, where Painkiller sounds absolutely on fire during the entire song, adding an extra touch of malignancy and obscurity to the final result.

You can succumb to total darkness by listening to Buried Into The Grave in its entirety on YouTube, by visiting Suum’s official Facebook page, and obviously by purchasing such dense and entertaining album from the band’s own BandCamp page, from the Endless Winter webstore, from the Hellas Records webstore, or from Discogs. Those four skillful Italian metallers not only live up to the legacy of traditional Doom Metal, but based on the high-quality of the music found in Buried Into The Grave, they’re also more than ready to carve their names in the history of such distinct music style.

Best moments of the album: Tower Of Oblivion, Buried Into The Grave and Shadows Haunt The Night.

Worst moments of the album: The Woods Are Waiting.

Released in 2018 Endless Winter/Hellas Records

Track listing
1. Tower Of Oblivion 6:25
2. Black Mist 4:40
3. Buried Into The Grave 4:55
4. Last Sacrifice 5:13
5. Seeds Of Decay 5:44
6. The Woods Are Waiting (Instrumental) 3:38
7. Shadows Haunt The Night 4:23

Band members
Mark Wolf – vocals
Painkiller – guitars
Marcas – bass
Rick – drums

Album Review – Helslave / Divination EP (2017)

Prepare yourself for a grim and murky fusion of old school and modern Swedish-inspired Death Metal by five Italian troopers in their path of destruction and killing.

Formed in 2009 by guitarist Jari, Italian Death Metal act Helslave is a Rome-based band taking its influences from the 90’s Death Metal and Melodic Death Metal Swedish scene, adding their personal twist to generate a mix of old and modern school metal music. After releasing a self-titled demo in 2010, followed by the EP Ethereal Decay in 2013 and their first full-length album An Endless Path in 2015, the band started playing shows all over Italy and Europe, sharing the stage with acts such as Grave, Asphyx, Havok, Hideous Divinity and Destroyer 666, also appearing at Metaldays in 2014, keeping themselves busy and always charged up to continue their path of destruction wherever they go.

In the beginning of the year, Helslave entered the studio to record a brand new EP titled Divination, comprised of four brand new tracks leaning towards darker and heavier sounds, playing their already traditional Swedish-inspired Death Metal in the vein of Grave, Entombed and Desultor, all embraced by the devilish artwork designed by Misanthropic Art. Prepare yourself for grim and murky old school Death Metal, the kind of stuff that doesn’t rely on triggered blast beats, light-in-the-loafers warbling, or anything but the crudest building blocks to construct its killing art. Hence, although Divination lasts for only around 16 minutes, that’s more than enough for Helslave to crush your spine mercilessly.

In the opening track, beautifully titled Summoning The Eternal Eclipse, an ominous intro morphs into sheer devastation by Jari and his henchmen, with drummer Francesco Comerci dictating the song’s demented rhythm in a solid display of Swedish Death Metal. In addition, newcomer Diego Laino and his Unleashed-inspired vocals keep the song’s ferocity at an extremely high level, perfect for declaiming the song’s menacing lyrics (“Silence falls, it freezes all around / the arrival of divine / ancestral ritual summon
/ Blinding lights, no human eye can see
/ let the plague fall on the weak”). And there’s no time to breathe, as the band rises from the pits of hell with another brutal carnage named Lord Of Lies, presenting old school, visceral Death Metal with hints of other extreme genres such as Black and Thrash Metal to add more dynamism to the musicality. The guitar duo Jari and Lorenzo Fabiani are simply fantastic, blasting scorching, darkened riffs through their instruments, not to mention the intricate beats by Francesco in this ode to obscurity.

In The Spawn Of Astaroth, the band slows things down a bit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fire truly dismembering riffs and beats, with Diego growling like a beast while Francesco and bassist Luca Riccardelli maintain a dense ambience in the background. Moreover, the final guitar lines exhale pure Black Metal, not to mention the song’s insurgent lyrics (“The fate of a great battle / has to be faced / an indomitable army has to be defeated / We are the ones who walk the left hand path / As written in the blood of the prophecy / The only way to conquer this land”). And Desecration, their last spawn of vicious Death Metal, is fast, demonic and amazingly neck-breaking, again presenting traditional piercing riffs and solos by Jari and Lorenzo as well as the complex and vibrant drumming by Francesco, being highly recommended for fans of Unleashed and Obituary.

You can take a full listen at Divination on YouTube, and follow Helslave through their Facebook page, YouTube channel, ReverbNation and SoundCloud. And if you want to show your true support to high-end underground Death Metal, you can purchase the EP at Helslave’s BandCamp or Big Cartel, at the Black Market Metal’s Big Cartel, or at Discogs. The only “issue” with Divination is that it’s only 15 minutes long, but as aforementioned that doesn’t stop Helslave from shining and destroying with their unrelenting Death Metal, leaving us eager for more kick-ass extreme music by this hardworking Italian squad.

Best moments of the album: Summoning The Eternal Eclipse.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Black Market Metal

Track listing
1. Summoning The Eternal Eclipse 4:08
2. Lord Of Lies 3:32
3. The Spawn Of Astaroth 3:43
4. Desecration 4:35

Band members
Diego Laino – vocals
Jari – lead guitars
Lorenzo Fabiani – guitars
Luca Riccardelli – bass
Francesco Comerci – drums

Album Review – A Taste Of Fear / God’s Design (2017)

An amazing display of dexterity, professionalism and devotion to Thrash and Death Metal by a promising Italian quartet, representing to perfection what the band is all about.

Musically inspired by old school Thrash and Death Metal bands such as Testament, Kreator, Death and Obituary, just to mention some of them, while the lyrics are essentially based on moods, feelings, sensations and on social injustices, God’s Design, the brand new album by Italian Technical Thrash/Death Metal act A Taste Of Fear, is not only a top-notch high-speed feast of metallic and belligerent sounds, but it also represents to perfection what this Rome-based four-piece band is all about and their goals in the world of extreme music.

A Taste Of Fear came alive in 2014 thanks to bassist Michele Attolino (Avanguard, Ruinthrone, Blooddawn) and his deep passion for Thrash and Death Metal, being joined at later stages of the band by the versatile vocalist Stefano Sciamanna (Endaemona), the unstoppable drummer Flavio Castagnoli (Exhume to Consume, Forgotten Lore), and finally the experienced guitarist Emiliano Pacioni (Lunarsea, Catales). After the lineup reached its final shape and form, it was time for those four Italian metallers to begin crushing with their unrelenting music, culminating with the release of God’s Design now in 2017, an album that will definitely leave some good scars on you due to its high level of intricacy, progressiveness and, above all, sheer aggression.

Michele kicks off the title-track God’s Design in an eerie way with his mesmerizing bass, being smoothly joined by the other band members, always sounding very technical and fresh in a solid hybrid of Thrash and Death Metal with hints of Black Metal, with Stefano switching his gentle clean vocals to an even more demonic version of Mille Petrozza. Following that excellent start we have Into Hell, with no slow or atmospheric intros, but only sheer Death Metal bursting with dexterity and stamina where Flavio seems to be in ecstasy while smashing his drums. Moreover, the great string duo comprised of Emiliano and Michele delivers cutting riffs and metallic low-tuned sounds respectively, making the whole song even more impactful.

A calm and serene intro once again explodes into brutal devastation in Out Of Place, a fast-paced creation by the quartet with highlights to the amazing synchronicity between Flavio’s beats and Emiliano’s riffage, not to mention its Flamenco-inspired short break; whereas A Feared Secret brings the most electrifying elements found in Thrash and Death Metal, with Stefano’s harsh gnarls getting more piercing and ferocious. In other words, this is a full-bodied hymn perfect for headbanging or slamming into the pit with its almost 8 minutes of a very intricate and technical sonic attack, all enhanced by an amazing guitar solo by Emiliano. And Make Suffer, a high-octane chant led by the demented growls by Stefano and the furious drumming by Flavio, feels like a kick-ass fusion of Kreator and Carcass. Simply sing its chorus along with the band and crush your skull into the circle pit to this awesome composition, and don’t forget to thoroughly enjoy the song’s superb bass solo.

In Ripped Soul’s Gift, the heavy, headbanging riffs by Emiliano impregnate the air, building a truly demonic ambience for Stefano’s hellish screams in this nonstop sonic demolition tailored for fans of gory and menacing Death Metal, followed by The Passage, which sounds considerably thrashier than its predecessor (in special the frantic drumming by Flavio). This is a good sample of what we can call Blackened Thrash Metal due to its darker and more aggressive sounds, with Emiliano and Michele pounding their strings ferociously from start to finish, emanating keen, demonic sounds to pulverize our ears. And last but not least we have A Taste Of Fear, the song that carries the band’s name, a 7-minute Death Metal onslaught full of demonic guitar lines, thunderous bass and drums and the always deranged growling by Stefano, also showcasing hints of progressiveness to enhance its taste. Moreover, every single second of this tune bursts with anger, hatred and obviously fear, ending with another sensational guitar solo by Emiliano.

If you want to know more about A Taste Of Fear, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of God’s Design (available for a full listen on Spotify) at their own BandCamp page, at the Time to Kill Records’ Big Cartel, at Qobuz or on Amazon. God’s Design might not be the revolution in heavy music, and I truly believe that was never the band’s intention with it, but it’s indeed an amazing display of dexterity, professionalism and devotion to Thrash and Death Metal by this Italian quartet, and let’s hope the band releases several albums in the future with the same punch and finesse as their debut endeavor.

Best moments of the album: Into Hell, A Feared Secret and Make Suffer.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Time To Kill Records

Track listing
1. God’s Design 6:08
2. Into Hell 4:04
3. Out Of Place 5:24
4. A Feared Secret 7:48
5. Make Suffer 5:18
6. Ripped Soul’s Gift 4:55
7. The Passage 5:56
8. A Taste Of Fear 7:27

Band members
Stefano Sciamanna – vocals
Emiliano Pacioni – guitars
Michele Attolino – bass
Flavio Castagnoli – drums

Album Review – Gaerea / Gaerea EP (2016)

This five-piece faceless and nameless horde from Italy will blast your ears and minds with the darkened, dissonant and furious extreme music flowing from their debut self-titled album.

Rating5

front_coverPlaying darkened, dissonant and furious Black Metal without displaying any hints of mercy for mankind in the demonic 27 minutes of their self-titled debut EP Gaerea, Italian Black Metal quintet Gaerea will please fans of controversial groups such as Mgła, Secrets Of The Moon, Celeste and Behemoth, among others, bringing an infinite amount of obscurity and consternation to our ears and souls. Hailing from the cities of Rome and Lazio, this five-piece faceless and nameless act is one of the biggest promises in the Italian underground scene, and after listening to this professional and multi-layered album I’m sure the beautiful name of this phantasmagoric horde will stick inside your mind forever.

“Let’s make one thing clear. We need to stress the fact that our era is lost in a huge void of numbness. We are here to bring and present you what your system could not solve by itself. We’ll cover the daylight with ashes and smash the massive skull that’s blocking your brain and will to evolve. We’re Gaerea.” Those interesting words spilled by the band itself are precise in describing their musicality, a dense mix of different extreme styles such as Blackened Death Metal and Funeral Doom, which obviously leads to tenebrous lyrics and a total lack of happiness or hope in each one of the five tracks of the album.

An ominous intro with eerie background noises grows until guitars and deep guttural vocals join the musicality in Santificato, a demonic display of Black and Doom Metal that sounds disturbing from start to finish, setting the tone for the next tune, titled Final Call. Boisterous bass and guitar sounds open the gates to the underworld in this darkened chant blending Atmospheric Black Metal with elements from Funeral Doom and traditional Doom Metal, with its lyrics dealing with our personal struggles and all issues our society faces in this rotting world (“Why we all fight if the end is the same? / Six feet under is deep enough to make us equal like an unborn child / Black or white we want to be someone / We are all made of choices so why do we choose the wrong one? / War is not the answer to stop this carnage / So stand up and face it”).

img_0429Crisp guitar lines ignite the blackened tune Pray To Your False God, where drums come crushing like a steamroller. Moreover, desperate growls and an obscure vibe are the main ingredients in the most menacing of all songs, with its second half getting more sluggish with Black and Doom Metal flawlessly merging into one forbidding organism; followed by the sinister Through Time, a song fans of Behemoth and Triptykon will enjoy for sure due to its flammable Black Metal guitar riffs, anguished screams and a rhythmic and fierce drumming. And singing about death (“You scream for silence / You yell for pain / You just want to be quiet / On this pleasant dream / It burns you must feel / Your flesh going to ashes”), Void Of Numbness is Blackened Death Metal at its finest with a great performance by all band members, closing the EP in a more-than-fantastic and somber way. Furthermore, its drums sound amazingly powerful and heavy, making a precise duo with the satanic gnarls blasted by the band’s phantom vocalist.

Gaerea can be found (but not unmasked) at their official Facebook page, with their devilish EP being available for purchase at their BandCamp page and at the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, but if you want to put your perverse hands on an awesome bundle containing the album and an exclusive, stylish T-shirt, simply visit the Everlasting Spew Records’ webstore for that very special offer. In short, Gaenea might be faceless and nameless, but they’re undoubtedly a solid evil identity that will reach the darkest depths of your mind with their unrelenting music.

Best moments of the album: Pray To Your False God and Void Of Numbness.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Santificato 3:32
2. Final Call 6:25
3. Pray To Your False God 5:50
4. Through Time 6:31
5. Void Of Numbness 5:09

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Lectern / Precept Of Delator (2016)

It doesn’t matter what happens to the world of music, these Italian metallers will never back off, always blasting our ears with their high-quality brutal Death Metal.

Rating5

lectern_precept-of-delatorIf there’s an underground Death Metal band that deserves our utmost respect for never giving up on extreme music, remaining always loyal to their foundations and beliefs despite all the hurdles faced during their entire career, it’s Italian death metallers Lectern. Since their inception in 1999 in the Italian capital city of Rome, the band led by lead singer and bassist Fabio Bava has been through several lineup changes, enduring an increasing lack of support from record labels and even the general public to any type of Extreme Metal, which ended up hampering the band from producing music for many years. But if you think that all those issues would cease their inner fire to craft old school brutal Death Metal, you’re absolutely wrong.

Inspired by all Death Metal bands from the United States from the 90’s, especially the ones based in Tampa, Florida, Lectern have always delivered excellent music to fans of the genre, starting with their debut EP Bisbetical in 1999, followed by a series of albums released after a huge hiatus, those being the EP Salvific Of Perhaps Lambent (2010) and the self-titled EP Lectern (2014), and their first full-length album Fratricidal Concelebration (2015). Now in 2016 it’s time for Lectern to haunt the world once again with Precept Of Delator, their brand new beastly album which features a Satanic old school artwork by Indonesian musician and artist Adi Dechristianize and an unbounded amount of sheer aggressiveness.

The opening track Gergal Profaner offers brutal devastation from the very first second, with drummer Marco Valentine being that rhythmic annihilator we all enjoy in technical Death Metal, while the band’s mastermind Fabio keeps growling like a beast. In short, this is awesome straightforward Death Metal for lovers of extreme music, period. Singing about the Catholic Church and their issues with pedophilia (“Palpation of sacramentarian / Sworn with fratricidal scars / Molested flesh / Eluded truth”), Palpation of Sacramentarian feels like old school Cannibal Corpse with a Thrash Metal vibe, with guitarist Pietro Sabato and Gabriele Cruz firing those traditional kick-ass riffs that always inspire us to slam into the pit; followed by the Satanic Fluent Bilocation, a brutal metallic massacre with Fabio and Marco dictating the rhythm with their respective gnarls and boisterous beats. In addition to that, the insanely good neck-breaking riff in the middle of the song keeps up with the basis of the Death Metal institution, proving how much those guys love that type of music.

lectern-2016Distil Shambles is a metal storm bursting aggressive growls and beats upon the listener, with all its tempo changes adding tons of ferocity and electricity to the musicality, as well as an excellent solo to close the song in an apocalyptic way. Then we have some ominous voices kicking off the obscure and putrid chant Pellucid, tailored for fans of pure pugnacity in music, with the guitars by both Pietro and Gabriele sounding truly menacing during the song’s five minutes of the most violent Death Metal you can think of. And Lectern continue their path of doom in Diptych of Perked Oblation, blasting brutal music with guitars and drums smashing your brain while Fabio roars each word of the song manically, turning this into a beyond excellent composition for their live performances.

Garn for Debitors brings forward two minutes of crushing riffs and drums, another song that sounds like the early days of Cannibal Corpse, and if you survive this hurricane of metal music you’re definitely a true badass headbanger ready for the title-track Precept of Delator and its pure Satanic lyrics (“With blasphemy reasons burn / Infamous scriptures / Devotional calvary / Precept of delator / Evil truth”). It might not be as fast-paced as its predecessors, but it’s dark and thrilling, with highlights to the furious riffage and solos by Pietro and Gabriele. Closing this brutal album we have another shot of traditional Death Metal titled Discorporation with Feral, showcasing a good pace and the deranged, deep growls by Fabio as its main ingredients.

All the exciting history, the metallic victories and the inspiring losses of such amazing underground band can be better appreciated at their Facebook page, and you can enjoy their extreme and technical music at their YouTube channel, ReverbNation and SoundCloud. Precept Of Delator, available for purchasing at the Via Nocturna’s BandCamp page and at the band’s Big Cartel page, is a solid and uproarious declaration by Lectern which confirms that it doesn’t matter what happens to the world of music, these Italian metallers will never back off, continuing to blast our ears with their belligerent Death Metal for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Gergal Profaner, Fluent Bilocation and Diptych of Perked Oblation.

Worst moments of the album: Discorporation with Feral.

Released in 2016 Via Nocturna

Track listing
1. Gergal Profaner 3:50
2. Palpation of Sacramentarian 5:13
3. Fluent Bilocation 3:45
4. Distil Shambles 3:35
5. Pellucid 5:05
6. Diptych of Perked Oblation 3:55
7. Garn for Debitors 2:15
8. Precept of Delator 4:34
9. Discorporation with Feral 4:43

Band members
Fabio Bava – vocals, bass
Pietro Sabato – guitar
Gabriele Cruz – guitar
Marco Valentine – drums