Album Review – Misanthrope Monarch / Regress To The Saturnine Chapter (2017)

Be prepared for 35 minutes of ruthless and crushing music offered by a German act that has all it takes to become the next big name in the underground Death Metal scene.

It brings me a lot of joy to see that one of the first independent acts reviewed at The Headbanging Moose over three years ago has kept growing as a band since then, evolving to a much stronger, thrilling and boisterous entity through the years. The band in question goes by the imposing name of Misanthrope Monarch, who after the release of their self-titled mini-album in 2014 are finally back with their first full-length installment, the bold, technical and absolutely devastating Regress To The Saturnine Chapter. It doesn’t matter if you like a more modern and technical version of Death Metal or that traditional old school havoc brought forth by bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, as Misanthrope Monarch offers you all of that and more during the album’s 35 minutes of extreme brutality.

Supported by the Wacken Foundation and featuring a menacing artwork by the band’s ex-guitarist Chris Salmen (Combat Colour) as well as Sami Yli-Sirniö of Kreator as a guest guitarist, Regress To The Saturnine Chapter is the epitome of European underground Death Metal, not only representing to perfection what this Oberhausen-based quintet is all about, but also what you can expect from any other German band that knows how to beautifully blend the gore and heaviness of Death Metal with tons of melody and devotion to extreme music. Furthermore, the album also marks the debut of lead singer Cristoph “Chris” Mieves, a Death Metal bulldozer who also growls like a beast for German acts Grind Inc. and Resurrected, and if you know those bands I’m sure you have a very good idea of how savage the music by Misanthrope Monarch shall sound now.

The short, dissonant intro Towards The Utopian Kingdom Of Fire warns the listener there’s a first-class metal tempest coming entitled Usurping The Throne, where drummer Max Scheefeldt decimates his drum set while Chris provides those old school Death Metal deep guttural, menacing growls we all love in this type of music, not to mention the song’s insane main riff and the kick-ass solo by guest musician Sami Yli-Sirniö. Put differently, this is an absolutely fantastic display of what Misanthrope Monarch are capable of doing, pumping us all up for a lot more of their crushing Death Metal, which is what we end up getting in Crushing The Unbeliever, a re-recording from their 2014 mini-album (you can check the original version HERE). The bands gives a new shape and form to the song, with the new version sounding more destructive due to the cavernous screams by Chris. Moreover, the guitar duo comprised of Kristian Gøbels and Richie Zubek will burn your ears and pierce your mind with their lancinating riffs. And the insanely heavy and thrilling The Brotherhood Of Destruction has the perfect name for the chaotic music presented, sounding old school and modern at the same time. Furthermore, if you love the music by Cannibal Corpse you’ll have a blast with the infernal gnarls by Chris and the rhythmic and precise drumming by Max, as well as the intricate bass lines à la Alex Webster by Pat Fleischmann.

In the next track, titled Dispelled, metallic guitars and bass pound our heads violently, while Chris keeps vociferating like a demonic creature. Kristian and Richie bring a lot of melody to the musicality with their solos, never letting the energy level go down. The title-track Regress To The Saturnine Chapter is amazingly brutal and obscure, presenting a more progressive side of the band, in special the intricacy brought forth by Pat and Max on bass and drums respectively; whereas Father Sin And The Hollow Spirit is the second old song to be redesigned (enjoy the original version HERE). I personally love both versions of it, with the new one having as its strongest elements the gory growls by Chris and the more polished and thunderous overall production, making each instrument more aggressive and therefore more enjoyable.

Black Sirens Lurking presents another side of the band, showcasing an atmospheric, acoustic beginning that suddenly explodes into an imposing sonority led by the beautiful guitars by Kristian and Richie, setting the tone for the technical The Omega Embrace, which keeps the violent aura of the album burning through the demonic riffs, beats and growls bred by the entire band, despite losing some of its grip after a while. On the other hand, Trail Of The Heretic (Maleficium) is brutal Death Metal from start to finish, living up to the most gruesome icons of the genre. Max sounds bestial on drums as well as Chris on vocals, with the riffs and solos blasted by the band’s dynamic guitarists being the song’s icing on the cake. And lastly, their final onrush of demonic sounds comes in the form of a more complex and eerie song titled Cosmic Maze, sounding and feeling more somber than all previous tunes, with the guitars exhaling darkness and despair while Chris sends a not-so-happy message through his devilish vociferations, ending in a melancholic and beautiful way.

In a nutshell, with the ruthless Regress To The Saturnine Chapter (which can be listened in its entirety on YouTube or Spotify), Misanthrope Monarch are accrediting themselves as one of the strongest names in the underground scene when the style in question is Death Metal, and who knows, maybe we’re facing the actual future of Death Metal with those guys. I guess I don’t need to say that they need our full support to turn that future into an exciting reality, right? In order to do that, go visit their Facebook page for news and other info, enjoy their music on YouTube, and purchase Regress To The Saturnine Chapter through their own BandCamp or Big Cartel (where you can choose between the regular CD version or the CD + T-shirt bundle), on iTunes, on Amazon or at CD Baby. I was going to say that I’m eager to see what’s next for Misanthrope Monarch, but their new album is so damn good I guess for now it’s better if we simply enjoy it as much as we can without thinking about the future, and let the band follow their natural path and keep smashing us all with their impeccable Death Metal for the coming decades.

Best moments of the album: Usurping The Throne, The Brotherhood Of Destruction, Father Sin And The Hollow Spirit and Trail Of The Heretic (Maleficium).

Worst moments of the album: The Omega Embrace.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Towards The Utopian Kingdom Of Fire 0:44
2. Usurping The Throne 3:21
3. Crushing The Unbeliever 3:12
4. The Brotherhood Of Destruction 3:50
5. Dispelled 3:35
6. Regress To The Saturnine Chapter 3:22
7. Father Sin And The Hollow Spirit 2:43
8. Black Sirens Lurking 2:31
9. The Omega Embrace 3:15
10. Trail Of The Heretic (Maleficium) 3:25
11. Cosmic Maze 5:29

Band members
Chris Mieves – vocals
Kristian Gøbels – guitar
Richie Zubek – guitar
Pat Fleischmann – bass
Max Scheefeldt – drums

Guest musician
Sami Yli-Sirniö – lead guitar on “Usurping The Throne”

Album Review – Kreator / Gods of Violence (2017)

We shall praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.

Rating1

kreator_gods-of-violence_worldwideFrom the triumvirate of Teutonic Thrash Metal, comprised of Destruction, Kreator and Sodom, the band led by the iconic Miland “Mille” Petrozza has always been my favorite, delivering top-of-the-line, enraged and apocalyptic music since their inception in Essen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in 1982 when the band was still called Tormentor. And it might have taken almost five years for Mr. Mille Petrozza and his loyal bandmates to release new material since their 2012 opus Phantom Antichrist, marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career, but after listening to the breathtaking Gods of Violence, their fourteenth studio album, you’ll see the wait for the greatest Thrash Metal band in the history of European metal was definitely worth it.

Featuring an ungodly artwork (both the worldwide and the American versions) by German graphic designer and illustrator Jan Meininghaus, who has already worked with bands like Bolt Thrower, Sacred Steel and U.D.O., as well as Kreator themselves in Phantom Antichrist and their 2013 live album Dying Alive, Gods of Violence is a brilliant lesson in Thrash Metal that, at least for the year of 2017, will change the world capital of the genre from the famous San Francisco Bay Area, in California, to the city of Essen. One might ask how Gods of Violence can be so fantastic if it’s not a revolution in music, as it brings the same old Kreator we’re all used to. Well, that’s the beauty of it, as Kreator didn’t try to be different than what they are in essence. Quite the contrary, they sound more old school than ever in the new album, always drinking from the endless fountain of evil named man, and the amount of passion, aggressiveness and energy they put into each and every song is all that’s needed for Gods of Violence to become a contemporary classic.

The epic marching intro Apocalypticon builds up the expectation of the listener for this Thrash Metal masterpiece, and that’s exactly what Kreator bring forth starting with the sensational, belligerent World War Now, a true high-octane thrashing work-of-art that will sound thunderous when played live, with Mille and Sami Yli-Sirniö blasting their infuriated riffs while Jürgen “Ventor” Reil shows how drums should be played in this type of music. Moreover, it also contains their trademark European melody that makes their music so captivating, which can also be seen in Satan Is Real, a headbanging hymn with all the elements that made the band what they are today. Not only that, Mille sounds menacing with his raspy vocals during the song’s devilish chorus, leading us all to believe that Satan is indeed real.

kreator_2017Totalitarian Terror, a song about the fight for freedom and the war against oppression (and the best song of the album in my humble opinion), is a thrilling, bestial composition where the guitars by Mille and Sami will pierce your mind beautifully. Furthermore, this Teutonic Thrash Metal anthem is filled with fiery solos, frantic beats and a powerful, insurgent chorus (“Totalitarian Terror / Welcome the strike / Wielder to strike / Totalitarian Terror / Feeding the oppressor / Resistance must rise when freedom has died”), or in other words, the perfect combination of elements to turn it into a classic. After a  serene acoustic intro, the title-track Gods of Violence brings forward more traditional Kreator, perfect for going absolutely mental during the band’s live concerts, with Ventor having an outstanding performance on drums while Christian “Speesy” Giesler brings thunder to the musicality with his metallic bass lines.

Get ready for a sonic tempest named Army of Storms, another excellent option for their live concerts presenting poetry in the form of Thrash Metal (“For tornados and hurricanes / Will not hold us back / Ultra void as the ultimate deception / Ride the winds broken free / Now revolt and you will see / Nations and empires reborn / Beyond the blood red horizons you’ll hear us”) and sounding very melodic thanks to the brilliant guitars by Mille and Sami; followed by the mid-tempo classy composition Hail to the Hordes, where Kreator pay a kick-ass homage to their loyal fans (“If night will fall black shadows / Are taking our sight / We carry each other through the darkest / Moments of life, stronger than hate / Stronger than fear, stronger than all / We are one / Hail to the hordes”). Simply break your neck to the pounding drums by Ventor, with the epic sound of guitars inspiring us all to raise our fists in the air to this mighty German thrashing horde.

Kreator’s shredding has always been superb, and the metal whirlwind Lion with Eagle Wings is no exception to that rule. Not only it has a sophisticated and potent name, but the band also sticks to their foundations with a pinch of modern metal music, with the result being obviously awesome; whereas Fallen Brother showcases one of the most touching metal videos (and songs) ever made, a tribute to all our deceased heroes including Lemmy, Dio, Jeff Hanneman, David Bowie, Prince, Chuck Schuldiner, Scott Columbus, Bon Scott, H. R. Giger, Leonard Cohen, among many others. In regards to the music itself, it’s beyond powerful, vibrant and cohesive, a lesson in heavy music by Kreator that will stick to your head forever.

kreator_gods-of-violence_north-america

Gods of Violence North America Cover

Then we have Side by Side, where violent riffs and supersonic drums build the perfect atmosphere for Mille to vociferate the song’s lyrics against all types of prejudice and how we should unite to eradicate that from our society (“As we crush homophobia / Side by side / And we’ll never let the shame / Turn our vision to ice / And I’ll remain by your side”). It amazes me how such brutal album can contain so many references to brotherhood, friendship and unity, proving how high-quality metal can make our lives better. Lastly, Death Becomes My Light might be a melancholic and introspective creation by Mille and his horde, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as heavy as hell presenting crushing riffs and drums, while Speesy keeps galloping his bass guitar. And when the song is over, you’ll just realize there’s not a single moment in Gods of Violence that’s below excellent, as simple as that.

You can get a lot of extra details about Gods of Violence, including tour dates and news, at the special microsite created for the album, and grab your desired version of it at the Nuclear Blast webstore, including the amazing special edition with the bonus Blu-ray/DVD “Live at Wacken 2014”. It’s already a great moment for heavy music in general whenever Kreator release new material, but when the album is as splendid as this, we know it’s our duty to listen to it nonstop and  praise the best Teutonic Thrash Metal institution of all time, as the gods of violence come alive.

Best moments of the album: World War Now, Totalitarian Terror, Gods of Violence, Hail to the Hordes and Fallen Brother.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Apocalypticon 1:06
2. World War Now 4:28
3. Satan Is Real 4:38
4. Totalitarian Terror 4:45
5. Gods of Violence 5:51
6. Army of Storms 5:09
7. Hail to the Hordes 4:02
8. Lion with Eagle Wings 5:22
9. Fallen Brother 4:37
10. Side by Side 4:19
11. Death Becomes My Light 7:26

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Christian “Speesy” Giesler – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums

Guest musician
Boris Peifer – bagpipes on “Hail to the Hordes”

Concert Review – Arch Enemy & Kreator (The Opera House, Toronto, ON, 10/29/2014)

Mosh pits, mosh pits! We’ve got mosh pits! Come grab your mosh pits!

OPENING ACTS: Starkill and Huntress

arch enemy_kreator_natour2014Unfortunately, due to the absolutely insane traffic to get from Oakville to The Opera House in Toronto at 6pm on a Wednesday (plus the fact there were TWO accidents on the highway, making things even worse), I missed BOTH opening acts, American Melodic Death Metal band STARKILL and American Heavy Metal band HUNTRESS. Well, I got the very last song from Huntress and it was truly kick-ass for the less than 5 minutes I had to see them, but I cannot say I actually saw those two bands in action. I’m really sorry, guys! It’s the price to pay when you live in the suburbs and have to work for the entire day before going to concerts, but I’ll try to review Starkill’s 2014 new album Virus of the Mind as soon as possible and a new Huntress album whenever it’s released in the future for sure. And Jill Janus is so beautiful, she will be a Metal Chick of the Month one day here at The Headbanging Moose.

KREATOR

IMG_3046Fuckin’ brutal, fuckin’ sick, fuckin’ awesome, and all other “fuckings” you can think of. German Thrash Metal behemoths KREATOR delivered a motherfuckin’ amazing nonstop violent concert, tearing the house down with their classic, fast and furious heavy music. Mille Petroza drove the fans crazy each time he screamed “TORONTO!”, demanding every single person at The Opera House to slam into the mosh pits and scream as loud as possible. And what can be said about drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil? One day we’ll see the guy arrested for excessive violence against his drum kit.

The band’s setlist was also a lesson in violence, with classics such as Violent Revolution, Extreme Aggression, Phobia, Voices of the Dead and Impossible Brutality putting a smile on everyone’s faces, as well as some bruises along our bodies, of course. However, there were three songs that reached perfection and made their whole performance even more memorable: the sensational Enemy of God (my favorite Kreator song of all time), the new and boisterous Phantom Antichrist, and the last song of the setlist, Pleasure to Kill, which left a beautiful trail of devastation at the venue. The only problem with their performance and with the whole festival for me was: who was (were) the motherfucker(s) farting every 5 seconds during the concerts? C’mon, what had you eaten before getting to the venue? Rotten food? Five pounds of pulled pork? Rat meat? That smell was destroying my respiratory system, you sick bastard(s).

IMG_3055Anyway, I guess one of the top moments in everyone’s memories will be the infamous “Wall of Death”, especially for the ones who were at the opposite side of a giant fat bastard. Even at such a small venue, we did it, and it was so cool I saw people eager for more walls of death at every song played. Moreover, it’s always a pleasure to see metalheads picking other metalheads up whenever there was a fall, showing how respectful and united we are. Also, it amazes me to see more and more girls, Asians, Latin Americans and people from any other nationalities, religion, sexual orientation etc. at Heavy Metal concerts. I’m not going to be arrogant and say we are the evolution of mankind, but at least we’re trying harder and getting better results than any other “organized” society in the world, and that makes me really proud to be a metal fan.

Setlist
1. The Patriarch
2. Violent Revolution
3. Civilization Collapse
4. Extreme Aggression
5. Phobia
6. Enemy of God
7. Voices of the Dead
8. Endless Pain
9. Victory Will Come
10. Mars Mantra
11. Phantom Antichrist
12. Impossible Brutality
13. Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
14. Pleasure to Kill

Band members
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Christian “Speesy” Giesler – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums, vocals

ARCH ENEMY

IMG_3072When ARCH ENEMY open their concert with the superb Enemy Within, one of the best Melodic Death Metal songs in the history of music, you know it’s going to be a wild night. From the very first to the very last minute of their incredible performance, Michael, Alissa & Co. perfectly commanded the crowd with a flawless setlist, full of insane classics blended with newer songs. Maybe the only change I would have done to their setlist was replacing  the boring You Will Know My Name, which wasn’t that good live, with something more brutal like “Diva Satanica” or “I Am Legend/Out For Blood”, but that’s just my opinion. In regards to the other new songs from War Eternal, both War Eternal and As the Pages Burn sounded A LOT better live, with the latter being responsible for a humongous circle pit.

And how not to get thrilled with masterpieces like Ravenous, Revolution Begins, My Apocalypse, Dead Bury Their Dead, Blood on Your Hands and Nemesis? So many good moments I don’t even know what to say. Even less bestial songs like Under Black Flags We March, with Alissa White-Gluz waving the Arch Enemy flag for the delight of all fans, and No Gods, No Masters, where she led an intense jumping up and down during the entire song, were brilliant. By the way, although all songs played are classics or powerful enough to even wake up the dead, it was the band members’ individual performances that made the night truly memorable. Nick, Sharlee and Daniel were amazing, Alissa was a beast, and Mr. Michael Amott makes playing the guitar look so fuckin’ easy I want to buy one right know and start shredding, even if I have no idea on how to do it. Seriously, how can he be that awesome? It’s unbelievable how smooth, technical and soulful his guitar lines are. Snow Bound, oh, Snow Bound!

IMG_3087Talking about Alissa, our Canadian goddess was absolutely stunning, electrified, and more than happy and excited to be playing in Canada for the first time since joining Arch Enemy earlier this year. The smile on her face while holding the Canadian flag up high was priceless (and she looks gorgeous either smiling or playing the badass angry woman, no matter what). Now I truly know why Angela Gossow herself chose Alissa to replace her as the frontwoman of one of the most influential Melodic Death Metal bands of all time.

The Opera House will never be the same after all those hours of endless mosh pits, fists and horns in the air, and PURE FUCKIN’ METAL. They should change the name of the venue from now on to “The Mosh Pit House” or something like that. It was totally awesome, and I’m sure everyone that attended the festival will agree with me. At the end of the day, getting back to Oakville, waking up at 6am the next morning to work and go to the gym in the evening was extremely hard due to all the glorious pain flowing through my body, but nothing that some more Arch Enemy in my car and in my MP3 player couldn’t take care of. Mosh pits anybody?

Setlist
1. Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)
2. Enemy Within
3. War Eternal
4. Ravenous
5. Revolution Begins
6. My Apocalypse
7. You Will Know My Name
8. Bloodstained Cross
9. Under Black Flags We March
10. As the Pages Burn
11. Dead Eyes See No Future
12. No Gods, No Masters
13. Dead Bury Their Dead
14. We Will Rise

Encore:
15. Khaos Overture
16. Yesterday Is Dead and Gone
17. Blood on Your Hands

Encore 2:
18. Snow Bound
19. Nemesis
20. Fields of Desolation (outro)
21. Enter the Machine

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars
Nick Cordle – lead guitars
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

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