Album Review – Vulcano / Eye In Hell (2020)

A hellish and incendiary fusion of Thrash, Death and Black Metal blasted by an obstinate veteran squad from Brazil that loves extreme music above all things.

Forged in the distant year of 1981 under the name Astaroth in the fires of Santos, a coastal city in southern Brazil’s São Paulo state, Black, Death and Thrash Metal veterans Vulcano are back in action with a brand new album titled Eye In Hell. Produced by the band’s own guitarist Zhema Rodero together with Ivan Pelliciotti at O Beco Estúdio in Curitiba, Brazil and featuring a classic artwork by Italian artist Roberto Toderico (Paganizer, Pestilence, Sodom, Tygers Of Pan Tang), the album is a bold statement by this five-piece act comprised of vocalist Luiz Carlos Louzada, guitarists Zhema Rodero and Gerson Fajardo, bassist Carlos Diaz and drummer Bruno Conrado, proving why not only they were one of the first influences for their countrymen Sepultura, but also why they attained together with other fellow Brazilian bands like Sarcófago and Mutilator a worldwide cult legend status among some of the most extreme practitioners in heavy music, Norway’s feared Black Metal inner circle of the early 90’s.

And the band begins smashing our heads mercilessly in Bride of Satan with their old school Thrash Metal infused with Death Metal elements, with Bruno sounding insane on drums while Zhema and Gerson give a lecture in shredding. I must say this tune is a fantastic welcome card by Vulcano, and there’s still a lot more to come in the form of an avalanche of scorching riffs and crushing beats in Cursed Babylon, spearheaded by Luiz Carlos and his aggressive roars, and ending in a frantic and violent Slayer-inspired manner for our total delectation. There’s no time to breathe as they fire another bestial tune entitled Evil Empire, where Carlos’ rumbling bass and Bruno’s blast beats bring groove and rage to the musicality. In other words, it’s pure old school extreme music spiced up by the crisp riffs and solos by the band’s guitar duo; and blending the most furious elements from Thrash and Death Metal the band offers us all the wicked Struggling Beside Satan, where Luiz sounds even more demented on vocals while the rest of the band hammers their instruments with sheer brutality from start to finish.

Following the same Bay Area Thrash pattern as its predecessors, Sinister Road is a fantastic option for slamming into the circle pit like a maniac or for some sick headbanging, with Zhema and Gerson being on absolute fire with their stringed axes, whereas in Devil Bloody Banquet the band once again shows they’re never tired of delivering fast and furious metal to the masses. Not only all band members are ruthless with their respective instruments, but if you’re a fan of the early days of Slayer and Exodus you must listen to this excellent composition. Then Bruno doesn’t stop pounding his drums not even for a single second in Sirens of Destruction, another demolishing creation by Vulcano with highlights to the amazing sync between the guitar riffs and Carlos’ groovy bass punches, followed by Dealer of My Curse, a brutal and very melodic hybrid between old school Thrash Metal and contemporary Groove Metal where the amazing riffage by both Zhema and Gerson makes sure the energy level doesn’t go down at all, keeping their music absolutely far from being obsolete or flat.

Rev up your engines as Vulcano are about to kill in the berserk Mysteries of the Black Book, a demolishing aria of thrash where Luiz leads the horde with his rabid roars, not to mention the insanity flowing from their riffs and demented drumming, while Inferno sounds and feels like their personal tribute to all things Thrash Metal, with Carlos and Bruno making the earth tremble with their rumbling weapons. Put differently, don’t waste a single second and go crush your skull into the pit together with the Vulcano boys. In Cybernetic Beast the band gives another lesson in shredding and brutality, showcasing the band’s guitarists’ dexterity while maintaining their core violence intact, followed by When the Days Falls, the second to last song in the album, leaning towards classic Black Metal and sounding heavier than its predecessors (albeit not as fiery nor  as exciting), with Luiz bursting his lungs screaming. Lastly, closing the album the band offers our avid ears the title-track Eye in Hell, pulverizing our senses while Luiz sounds infernal on vocals. Furthermore, it’s interesting how they managed to add elements from Doom, Stoner and Southern Metal to their classic sound, and the final result is not only awesome but also extremely sharp and vile.

There’s an infinite number of locations where you can purchase Eye In Hell in different formats, including TargetShop (CD and vinyl), Nuclear Blast (CD and vinyl), Season of Mist (CD and vinyl), Record Shop X (CD and vinyl), Apple Music and Amazon, and don’t forget to give the band a shout on Facebook and to stream their flammable music on Spotify. One might be asking how a band like Vulcano has managed to survive for so many decades in the underground scene, against all odds, never giving up nor selling out, and the answer to that is quite simple. They love Thrash, Death and Black Metal from the bottom of their hearts, with their new album Eye In Hell perfectly depicting all that passion, obstinance and electricity, and that’s all we always ask for in heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Struggling Beside Satan, Sinister Road, Mysteries of the Black Book and Inferno.

Worst moments of the album: When the Days Falls.

Released in 2020 Mighty Music

Track listing
1. Bride of Satan 3:25
2. Cursed Babylon 2:57
3. Evil Empire 3:15
4. Struggling Beside Satan 2:56
5. Sinister Road 3:14
6. Devil Bloody Banquet 2:53
7. Sirens of Destruction 3:35
8. Dealer of My Curse 3:50
9. Mysteries of the Black Book 2:45
10. Inferno 3:14
11. Cybernetic Beast 3:29
12. When the Days Falls 2:59
13. Eye in Hell 4:07

Band members
Luiz Carlos Louzada – vocals
Zhema Rodero – guitar
Gerson Fajardo – guitar
Carlos Diaz – bass
Bruno Conrado – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Dani Nolden

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You know what I am… An angel with horns!

Brazil has a lot more to offer than just samba, caipirinha and half-naked mulatas dancing during Carnival. Especially in regards to women there, that stereotype really makes me sick: I guess not even 1% of the Brazilian girls are like that, and a very good example is the stunning Daniela Nolden, or simply Dani Nolden, lead singer of Brazilian Heavy Metal band Shadowside.

Dani Nolden was born on December 26, 1982 in the coastal city of Santos, Brazil, located about 70 km from the city of São Paulo and 500 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro. She started her life in music at the age of 8, taking piano lessons, but after she was introduced to bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest and Skid Row, she took a completely different path of what their parents were expecting from her. She then became a Metal/Rock singer and songwriter, being with many independent bands until founding Shadowside back in 2001. The band then reached some success and status in the world of heavy music in its first year of existence, being one of the opening bands for the South American/Brazilian tours of Nightwish and Primal Fear.

In the following years, Dani Nolden and her band Shadowside literally “went places”: in 2006, Shadowside supported German Heavy Metal icons Helloween during their tour in Brazil; in 2007, the band won the AirPlay Direct‘s  “All Things Digital Hard Rock/Heavy Metal” among over 1,000 bands worldwide; and due to that exposure they signed a major worldwide deal and began touring the United States, Europe and South America, performing with bands such as Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Kittie, Sepultura and Temple of Brutality (feat. David Ellefson of Megadeth). One of Dani’s career highlights happened during Shadowside’s first US tour in 2008, at the Flight of the Valkyries festival in St. Paul, Minnesota, when she shared the stage with American heavy metal band Benedictum for a few Dio cover songs as part of an exclusive performance.

To date, Dani has recorded one EP and three full-length albums with Shadowside, being responsible for the vocals and keyboards in all recordings: Shadowside – Demo EP (2001), Theatre of Shadows (2005), Dare to Dream (2009), and Inner Monster Out (2011). By the way, the album Theatre of Shadows brings an awesome cover version for Dio’s unique classic Rainbow in the Dark, where Dani beautifully shows all her vocal range and potency. Besides Shadowside, Dani has also played with the symphonic band Sphaera Rock Orchestra, a project created by musician Alexey Kurkdjian that mixes Classical and Rock music, and appeared as a guest vocalist with the Brazilian Power Metal band Soulspell during their 2011 tour. She also works as a music consultant for the company The Ultimate Music when she’s not recording or on tour with her band.

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Her biggest influences in music include Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden, Helloween, Nightwish and Sepultura, Hard Rock giants W.A.S.P., Skid Row and Guns N’ Roses, and more modern or contemporary bands like Disturbed, Soilwork and Rammstein. Moreover, she mentioned in an interview that if she had to choose only one band or artist for the “tour of her dreams”, that band would certainly be Iron Maiden. Up the Irons, Dani!

Last but not least, when this gorgeous metalhead is not doing anything related to her career with Shadowside, she enjoys playing videogames, reading books, watching movies, surfing, and practicing Kung Fu. She also loves soccer, which might be her biggest Brazilian characteristic, even being a teenage soccer player before having to abandon that potential career due to her increasing amount of work and tours with Shadowside. I know the world of heavy music is a lot better with Dani Nolden as a Heavy Metal singer rather than as a soccer player, but I guess no one would mind watching a simply stunning epic duel between our “Metal Chick of the Month” for Brazil and Hope Solo for the United States, don’t you agree? At least visually speaking, that would be a lot more pleasant to watch than any of the matches between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Dani Nolden’s Official Facebook page
Dani Nolden’s Official Twitter

“Dare to dream, it just might come true!” – Dani Nolden