Album Review – Singularity / Place of Chains (2019)

The emotions of being wrongfully imprisoned turned into an ass-kicking hybrid of Technical Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal by a sensational metal unity from Arizona.

Tempe, Arizona-based Technical Death Metal/Symphonic Black Metal hybrid act Singularity is back from outer space to pulverize our senses once again with the release of Places of Chains, the follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2014 self-titled debut album and their 2016 EP Void Walker. Since their formation in 2010, the band now comprised of Jack Fliegler (ToxicxEternity, Hemoptysis) on vocals and guitar, Adam King (Depraved Heretic, Arkaik) on bass and vocals, and Nathan Bigelow (Arkaik, Alterbeast, Solar Impulse) on drums, not to mention keyboardist Nick Pompliano (R.I.P), who sadly passed away during the creation process of the album in 2018, has continually shown themselves to be a forward-thinking act, one with a bold vision built on fusing Technical Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal together in a myriad of ways. In other words, let’s say this talented American entity was capable of uniting the best of both worlds in Place of Chains, bringing forth music that has at the same time the intricacy and aggressiveness of Death Metal with the beauty and mystery of Black Metal, and the final result is absolutely stunning to say the least.

Mixed by Mike Low (Inferi, Oubliette), mastered by Zak Denham (Anagnorisis), and featuring additional orchestrations on every track by Malcolm Pugh (Inferi, A Loathing Requiem) and a futuristic and apocalyptic artwork by Justin Abraham, who has already worked with several excellent bands like Equipoise, Inanimate Existence, Lecherous Nocturne, A Loathing Requiem, Virulent Depravity and Æpoch, among several others, Place of Chains will undoubtedly and strongly appeal to all fans of bands like  Fleshgod Apocalypse, Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir and the first album from Irreversible Mechanism. “Place of Chains is the translation to the song title ‘Desmoterion’ which lyrically illustrates the emotions of being wrongfully imprisoned. Considering that many of the songs on this record lyrically are about enslavement, we felt it was a good over-arching title for the record. We strongly believe that this is the best Singularity record so far. Singularity would also like to thank our guest artists that we had the privilege of having on this record. With every record, we try to further hone in on what the core of Singularity’s sound is and what we want to bring to the world of metal,” commented the band on the release of their newborn spawn.

Bellum, a cinematic and incendiary intro led by the futuristic orchestrations by guest Malcolm Pugh, sets the stage for Singularity to smash us all in Victory or Death, featuring Jared Christianson (Arkaik) as a guest vocalist.  Showcasing lyrics that invite us all to war (“Let the games begin / Your legions are chosen for a tournament / Worthy of the ages / The astral arena beckons your names”), this is a first-class Technical Death Metal tune where Jack is astounding with his riffs and solos while Nathan sounds like a stone crusher on drums, not to mention the intricacy and groove flowing from Adam’s bass. And in Sisyphean Cycle an ominous intro evolves into a doom-ish feast of Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir infused with Death Metal nuances, where Adam continues to impress with his thunderous bass jabs while the keys by Nick bring an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result.

Guest vocalist Jeremy Davis (Animus Complex) brings his own dosage of lunacy to Ritual of Regret (by the way, check the band’s amazing guitar playthrough for it HERE), a song that begins in full force spearheaded by Nathan and his insane beats while Jack and Nick have a healthy and thrilling “riffs-versus-keys duel”, leaning towards pure Symphonic Black Metal at times. Furthermore, all of their roars reach a true demonic level as the music progresses, also bringing to our ears sensational razor-edged guitar solos. Back to a more technical mode, Singularity offer us all Consume and Assume, a fast and intricate Death Metal chant perfect for slamming into the pit, all embraced by the whimsical keys by Nick and also featuring a guest guitar solo by Nick Padovani (Equipoise, Virulent Depravity), who co-composed the song with the band; whereas in Desmoterion you better get ready for over seven minutes of pulverizing Technical Death and Black Metal with all band members being in absolute and demonic sync, bringing forth an imposing and epic atmosphere for our total delight. The song’s vocals couldn’t sound more infernal and wicked than this, as well as its piercing guitar solos and all breaks and variations, resulting in a full-bodied aria by this talented metal unity.

In the berserk Serpentes, Eternal not a single space in the air is left empty, with the Stygian words vociferated by Jack and Adam (“Far below / Beneath black earth and snow and decay / Residing under ice and rot, they seek / Surface world never knows / Eyes like fire, these Serpentine / Hearts beat steady as the ancient ones”) shining amidst a feast of slashing riffs and solos, rumbling bass lines and unstoppable blast beats, followed by Dead Receptors, co-composed by Singularity and John Low (the band’s former drummer), which sounds like a hybrid between classic and a more technical version of Death Metal with a stylish twist, as if it was a dark and devilish “waltz” where the vocal lines alternate between obscure Black Metal moments and full Death Metal roars. And last but not least, As Dark as This Nefarious Night is another onrush of darkened and complex sounds by Singularity where Nathan once again delivers sheer violence on drums, while Jack and Adam make our heads tremble with their respective riffs and bass punches, ending in a visceral and epic manner.

You can enjoy this striking album of technical and symphonic extreme music in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your true support to the guys from Singularity, and as a tribute to the deceased Nick Pompliano, you should definitely purchase your copy of the album from The Artisan Era Records’ webstore, from Singularity’s BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. Also, don’t forget to give them a shout on their official Facebook page, as I’m sure the band would love to hear your thoughts on Place of Chains. Now it’s time for Singularity to give life to their creations on stage while promoting their new album (which means you should definitely keep an eye on their live tour announcements) before heading back to their spacecraft and begining the writing process of their new material, and I personally can’t wait to see what those skillful and hardworking guys from Arizona will provide us in their future releases.

Best moments of the album: Victory or Death, Ritual of Regret and Desmoterion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 The Artisan Era Records

Track listing
1. Bellum 2:44
2. Victory or Death 3:39
3. Sisyphean Cycle 6:26
4. Ritual of Regret 3:07
5. Consume and Assume 4:50
6. Desmoterion 7:07
7. Serpentes, Eternal 4:39
8. Dead Receptors 4:03
9. As Dark as This Nefarious Night 5:08

Band members
Jack Fliegler – vocals, guitar
Adam King – vocals, bass
Nick Pompliano (R.I.P) – keyboards
Nathan Bigelow – drums

Guest musicians
Malcolm Pugh – additional orchestrations
Jared Christianson – vocals on “Victory or Death”
Jeremy Davis – vocals on “Ritual of Regret”
Nick Padovani – guitar solo on “Consume and Assume”

Album Review – Inanimate Existence / Clockwork (2019)

A pulverizing album of Technical and Progressive Death Metal by a ruthless Bay Area triumvirate, dealing with the human tendency to struggle with the acceptance of mortality and our limited time on earth.

Formed in 2011 in the renowned Bay Area, in the state of California, United States, Progressive/Technical Death Metal trio Inanimate Existence returns in 2019 with a brand new opus entitled Clockwork, the follow-up to the group’s highly praised fourth album, Underneath a Melting Sky, released in 2017. Featuring a futuristic and whimsical cover art by by Justin Abraham (who has already worked with bands like Equipoise, Aepoch and Oubliette), with additional artwork by Mark Erskine (from Erskine Designs), recorded by Inanimate Existence and Zack Ohren, and mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren at Shark Bite Studios in Oakland, California, Clockwork delves deeper into cerebral Progressive Death Metal depths, while buoyed by the group’s established penchant for merciless full-throttle brutality and frenetic tech-death driven terrain.

And the band comprised of Cameron Porras on vocals and guitar, Scott Bradley on bass and backing vocals, and Ron Casey (Continuum, Brain Drill) on drums had a few nice words to say about their newborn spawn. “We’re thrilled to finally be able to share our 5th studio album with all of you! This is definitely the most work we have ever put into an album by a long shot. Sound wise I’d say that it’s a continuation of our last album but much more polished and mature,” commented the band, describing Clockwork’s thematic focus as “dealing with the human tendency to struggle with the acceptance of mortality and our limited time on earth. It explores the questions we torment ourselves with during life along with the irony of how small and insignificant we are in the grand scheme of the universe. The title refers to the mechanisms of a clock and how every tick brings you closer to your doom.”

The trio begins firing their fusion of insanity and progression mercilessly in the title-track Clockwork, with Ron dictating the rhythm with his furious beats while Cameron brings a touch of delicacy to the music with his guitar riffs and solos, sounding at the same time devastating and very melodic; whereas in Voyager we’re treated to lyrics that exhale insanity (“Isolated, trapped inside the capsule / I fear that I may now be on my own / My crew have perished, and I am alone / Orbiting beyond the atmosphere / My communications are down and the power is cut / I gaze back to the Earth / Wondering, will I be remembered?”), with the music bringing elements from smoother styles like Jazz while Scott extracts sheer thunder from his intricate bass lines. This talented American triumvirate keeps smashing our senses with their vicious Progressive Death Metal attack in Apophenia, as complex and pulverizing as possible, sounding as if the almighty Krisiun went full progressive at times, offering to the listener several neck-breaking moments led by Ron’s insane drumming; and their metal extravaganza goes on in Desert, with all three member firing wicked and intricate sounds and tones from their respective instruments. Put differently, it’s straightforward Progressive Death Metal with a vibrant atmosphere, not to mention Cameron’s sick solos adding some welcome lunacy to the overall result.

In Solitude the band offers us pensive and modern lyrics (“I return to solitude / Where once again I contemplate / What my purpose is inside this burdensome reality / I return to solitude / Where once again I contemplate / What is my purpose?”), while its instrumental parts are absolutely mental, with both Cameron and Ron crushing their weapons nonstop, followed by Diagnosis, where the band continues to slash our ears with the modernized and very complex version of Death Metal. Moreover, the bass lines by Scott sound insanely heavy and metallic, with the music also bringing interesting eerie passages and breaks (despite going on for a bit too long). Then back to a more demonic and infuriated mode we have Ocean, blending the most violent and thrilling elements from Progressive and Death Metal with Ron sounding infernal on drums, therefore providing Cameron the perfect ambience for gnarling deeply and rabidly, once again presenting spot-on melodic and ethereal passages. Lastly, Liberation closes the album with more of the dynamic, electrifying sounds from the depths of the human psyche by the trio, with Scott and Ron bringing thunder to the musicality while Cameron keeps delivering harmonious riffs and solos while growling like a beast until the song’s visceral ending.

You can have your brain shredded into pieces by listening to Clockwork in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and after being stunned by Inanimate Existence simply go check what they’re up to on their official Facebook page, including their tour dates, and purchase your copy of their brand new opus from their BandCamp page, from The Artisan Era webstore (in several exclusive formats and bundles), from Apple Music or from Amazon. As aforementioned, the band itself said that we all struggle with the concept of mortality and our limited time on this planet, which means we should not waste too much time thinking but enjoying some good, destructive and complex Death Metal while we’re alive, with Clockwork being an excellent choice for that.

Best moments of the album: Voyager, Desert and Ocean.

Worst moments of the album: Diagnosis.

Released in 2019 The Artisan Era Records

Track listing
1. Clockwork 4:34
2. Voyager 5:40
3. Apophenia 4:37
4. Desert 4:06
5. Solitude 4:42
6. Diagnosis 5:34
7. Ocean 4:55
8. Liberation 6:43

Band members
Cameron Porras – vocals, guitar
Scott Bradley – bass, vocals
Ron Casey – drums

Album Review – Target / Deep Water Flames (2019)

Let’s all dive into the incendiary deep waters of Technical and Progressive Death Metal ruled by one of the most talented and innovative names of the South American metal scene.

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to be absolutely stunned by the music crafted by four extremely talented guys hailing from Santiago, the beautiful capital of Chile, who seem to have mastered the art of blending sheer aggression and tons of progressiveness infused with atmospheric and melancholic passages. I’m talking about a Technical/Progressive Death Metal four-piece unity that goes by the name of Target, who released earlier this year their sophomore full-length opus, the amazing Deep Water Flames, one of the best metal albums of 2019 so far without a shadow of a doubt, and I’m sure you’ll agree with that after listening to such imposing and dense album of extreme music.

Formed in the year of 2002, the band now comprised of lead singer Andrés Piña, guitarist Luis Soto, bassist Rodrigo Castro and drummer Rodrigo Arias put on a lot of hard work, passion for heavy music and talent into the making of Deep Water Flames. Recorded and mixed in Santiago by Erick Martínez at Orange Studio, mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Recording Studios, and featuring dark and flammable artwork, design and graphics by Dehn Sora, from Paris, France, Deep Water Flames sounds and feels like a tribute to all things Progressive and Death Metal, captivating all your senses from its first notes until its climatic grand finale, therefore positioning Target as one of the best and most innovative names of the underground scene in South America.

The intro Immerse is absolutely eerie and atmospheric from the very first second, reaching deep inside your soul and warming up your mind for the bold and crushing Inverted Gloaming, featuring Juan Escobar (Aphonic Threnody, AstorVoltaires, Tetractys, Mar de Grises) on vocals. Sounding utterly wicked and experimental, this excellent tune is led by Rodrigo’s insane beats and fills, while Andrés screams in a deranged and visceral way, resulting in a lecture in contemporary Progressive Death Metal. Then once again offering madness in the form of music, the band brings forth No Solace Arises, where Luis is on fire with his razor-edged strings, or in other words, this is a neck-breaking tune where the band’s “Rodrigos” shake the foundations of the earth with their beats and bass punches, making it feel like we’re listening to three or four songs all at once.

As obscure and atmospheric as its predecessors, Oceangrave is a flawless fusion of intricacy and rage, sounding as if Lamb of god went full progressive, showcasing ominous passages blended with Luis’ evil guitar lines and Rodrigo Castro’s damned, thunderous bass roars; followed by Surge Drift Motion, which begins in full force with both Luis and Rodrigo Castro shredding their strings mercilessly. Put differently, it’s a heavier-than-hell version of classic Progressive Metal spiced up by Andrés’ roars, with the piercing guitar solos by the band’s stringed duo being the icing on the cake. Submerged is a futuristic and melancholic instrumental bridge that will mesmerize you and prepare you for the pulverizing Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra, starting in a purely experimental mode before Rodrigo Arias begins exterminating his drums beautifully. Furthermore, sheer violence emanates from every riff and beat, with the deep, bestial growls by Andrés seeming inspired by Deathcore while the instrumental pieces remind me of the gripping music by bands like Gojira and Opeth.

Target Deep Water Flames Digipak

The following song, entitled Blackwaters, couldn’t have started in a more demented way, with its eccentric notes morphing into another brutal feast of progressive sounds where Rodrigo Castro’s bass lines are more imposing than ever. Hence, it’s highly recommended for either slamming into the pit or simply witnessing the band playing it to perfection on stage; and get ready for over nine minutes of the most devastating and intricate form of Progressive Death Metal you can think of in Random Waves, featuring Jeronimo Ruiz (Entrefuego), who brings insanity to the music with his vocals, remaining completely wicked, vile and cinematic until the very end. And lastly, the band offers us the serene outro Emerge, where its piano notes and background elements will embrace you and make you feel comfortable in darkness.

You should definitely take a very good and detailed listen at this magnificent album of Technical and Progressive Death Metal made in Chile on YouTube and on Spotify, and after being hypnotized by Target’s heavy and complex sounds you can purchase Deep Water Flames directly from the band’s BandCamp page, from the Australis Records’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from CD Baby. Furthermore, if I were you I would go for the digipak version of the album as it’s simply fantastic. I got it from Australis Records, and let me tell you those guys did a beautiful job producing the physical CD format of such distinct album. Also, don’t forget to follow Target on Facebook and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and let your body and mind dive into the incendiary deep waters of progressive and heavy music ruled by those extremely talented Chilean musicians.

Best moments of the album: Inverted Gloaming, Oceangrave and Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Australis Records

Track listing
1. Immerse 2:15
2. Inverted Gloaming 6:11
3. No Solace Arises 5:28
4. Oceangrave 5:21
5. Surge Drift Motion 5:42
6. Submerged 2:14
7. Drowned in an Everlasting Mantra 5:24
8. Blackwaters 6:31
9. Random Waves 9:13
10. Emerge 3:59

Band members
Andrés Piña – vocals
Luis Soto – guitars
Rodrigo Castro – bass
Rodrigo Arias – drums

Guest musicians
Jeronimo Ruiz – vocals on “Random Waves”
Juan Escobar – vocals & instrumental arrangements on “Immerse”, “Inverted Gloaming” and “Emerge”

Album Review – Cronaxia / Collapsing The Outer Structure (2018)

After two decades of their inception, this talented Portuguese Death Metal squad is finally unleashing upon humanity their pulverizing and very technical debut opus.

Born in the distant year of 1997 in the capital city Lisbon, Portuguese Death Metal horde Cronaxia has been fighting for extreme music in the fantastic Portuguese underground scene since their inception, never giving up despite all their struggles to find the right musicians and finally solidify their lineup and sound through the years. Currently a trio consisting of Sérgio on vocals and Renato and Filipe on the guitars, Cronaxia recruited bassist Alex Ribeiro and drummer Rolando Barros (both from Portuguese Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore band Grog) now in 2018 to give life to their first full-length album, a pulverizing and very technical lesson in Death Metal titled Collapsing the Outer Structure, highly recommended for fans of bands like early Kataklysm, Morbid Angel and Deeds Of Flesh.

Mixed and mastered by Paulo Vieira, known for his production work with Ironsword and Ravensire, Collapsing The Outer Structure is a work that walks the tightrope between genius and insanity, with songs like the jagged, restless “Dimension Ratio” being a vivid explosion of mind warping ideas. Immersed within these eight conceptual whirlwinds, the feeling is akin to having the secrets of the universe downloaded directly to your cerebral cortex in a fraction of a second. Bewildering yet incredible, almost too much to comprehend, you will find few listening experiences as overwhelming and intense as Collapsing The Outer Structure. It may have taken Cronaxia two decades to reach this defining moment, but now that their planets have aligned the force that has been unleashed is momentous and breathtaking.

In the title-track Collapsing the Outer Structure we already face total devastation in less than five seconds, with Rolando living up to the legacy of classic stone crushers of Death Metal while frontman Sérgio growls and barks like a rabid beast, sounding frantic and furious from start to finish. If this brutal welcome card is not enough for your metallic ears, Cronaxia don’t waste a single second and keep hammering our heads with their ruthless music in Logarithmic Cavitation, an insanely violent, heavy and extreme display of underground music made in Portugal where Felipe and Renato are in total sync with their lancinating riffs and solos, followed by The Core Condition, another brutish and demolishing hymn showcasing thunderous bass lines by Alex while the vocal lines get deeper and more demented than before, sounding and feeling as dense as Extreme Metal can be but also being very technical and polished. And get ready to be smashed by Cronaxia and their sharp and cataclysmic Death Metal in Dimension Ratio, where Rolando fires some sick blast beast and fills while Felipe and Renato continue to extract complex and demonic sounds and tones from their guitars.

The awesome Continuous Signal brings forward a pulverizing atmosphere crafted by the band, being tailored for fans of the early days of Cannibal Corpse with a fresh twist, not to mention Sérgio never gets tired of vociferating rabidly and deeply. Then it’s time for a galloping and demented composition titled Embryonic Reanimation, led by the bestial drumming by Rolando while Felipe and Renato show no mercy for their guitars (neither for our necks), whereas their second to last onrush of gruesome and very technical and melodic sounds comes in the form of Plasmatech, crushing our senses with its metallic riffs and unstoppable blast beats. Put differently, what a devastating (and absolutely awesome) Death Metal extravaganza by Cronaxia, with highlights to Sérgio’s cavernous growls. Hence, if you’re still alive after such demented level of aggression and dexterity by Cronaxia you’ll have your ears and mind decimated by Tangential Threshold, offering six minutes of deep guttural gnarls, nonstop beats and extremely sharp and acid riffs, or in other words, a lesson in Progressive and Technical Death Metal, ending the album in a rumbling, neck-breaking and somewhat esoteric manner.

In order to have your ears smashed by Cronaxia, simply go to Spotify to listen to Collapsing The Outer Structure in its entirety, and if their music makes your blood boil as expected, you should definitely show them your utmost support by following them on Facebook, subscribing to their YouTube channel, and grabbing your copy of the album from their BandCamp page, from the Lusitania Music webstore, from Amazon or from Discogs. By doing that, you’ll prove you have what it takes to “collapse the outer structure” together with this talented Portuguese squad in the name of Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Dimension Ratio, Continuous Signal and Plasmatech.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Lusitanian Music

Track listing
1. Collapsing the Outer Structure 2:07
2. Logarithmic Cavitation 4:03
3. The Core Condition 4:11
4. Dimension Ratio 3:43
5. Continuous Signal 3:34
6. Embryonic Reanimation 3:02
7. Plasmatech 4:39
8. Tangential Threshold 6:03

Band members
Sérgio – vocals
Felipe – guitars, vocals
Renato – guitars, vocals

Guest musicians
Alex Ribeiro – bass (session)
Rolando Barros – drums (session)

Album Review – Lelahell / Alif (2018)

Like a firestorm crossing the desert valley, here comes the unstoppable Algerian dark angel of Death Metal armed with a brand new and crushing concept opus.

The unstoppable Algerian dark angel of Death Metal known as Lelahell is finally back with a brand new opus titled Alif, the follow-up to their 2014 pulverizing album Al Insane… The (Re)Birth Of Abderrahmane, containing 10 tracks of unrelenting Death Metal riffs with an Algerian folklore accent, combined with fast blast beats and technical rhythms. Spearheaded by Redouane Aouameur on vocals, guitars and bass, an iconic figure of the Algerian metal scene (as you can see on Highway To Lelahell – An Algerian Metal Documentary), and supported by the ruthless German drummer Hannes Grossmann (Necrophagist, Obscura, Alkaloid, Blotted Science, Hate Eternal), Lelahell are ready to take the world of heavy music by storm once again, with the music found in Alif cementing even more their already solid path of destruction.

Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step – another chapter in his own book. Featuring a classy cover artwork by Björn Gooßes from Killustrations (who has already worked with bands like Wolfheart, Motorjesus, Amon Amarth, Death Angel and Sodom, among several others), Alif focuses on Abderrahmane’s first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak and walk, learning about the world around him full of foes and fears, and that’s why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers. Musically speaking, Alif is like a firestorm crossing the desert valley, leaving you disoriented due to its endless heaviness, furious speed and undisputed rage, which together with the album’s intricate concept turns it into a must-have for any diehard fan of old school Death Metal.

And Hannes provides his welcome card by pounding his drums manically in the opening tune Paramnesia, being quickly joined by Redouane and his pulverizing riffs and bass punches. However, it’s when he starts barking the song’s lyrics that things get serious in this sonic havoc that lives up to the legacy of brutal and technical Death Metal, showcasing intricate drums and wicked guitar solos. Then a headbanging riffage ignites another belligerent and absolutely devastating tune by Lelahell, named Ignis Fatuus, with the sound of the guitar being insanely heavy, strident and therefore awesome. Furthermore, try following the lyrics along with Redouane (“A delusion, great confusion, foolish fire, Ignis Fatuus / Hallucination, false impression, false hope, Will o’ the wisp / A Fantasy, at first sight, strange light, Ignis Fatuus / It is just an erroneous perception of the reality”); whereas Thou Shalt Not Kill is a cinematic, epic bridge to the imposing hymn Ribat Essalem, where the duo showcases all their skills by blasting slashing riffs and solos, stone-crushing beats and classic demented Death Metal vocals, resulting in a circle pit-catalyst that will please all fans of the genre.

Adam the First gets closer to what they did in their previous album, which means a darker sonority and deeper guttural vocals, also presenting a smashing vibe led by Hannes and feeling at times like that type of Progressive Death Metal commonly found in the United States (but infused with elements from Redouane’s homeland), followed by The Fifth, another brutish display of classic Death Metal by Lelahell where the infernal and demonic growls by Redouane take the song’s malignancy to a whole new level, while Hannes doesn’t stop smashing his drums for a single second. And in Insiraf / Martyr, groovy beats initiate a vile and bold feast of cavernous sounds spearheaded by the uproarious riffs and bass lines by Redouane, with Hannes bringing his usual heavy artillery to support the band’s mastermind in his quest for Death Metal.

An ominous start suddenly morphs to a battering ram of Technical Death Metal made in Algeria in Litham (The Reach of Kal Asuf), with the Algerian nuances bringing a welcome extra flavor to the musicality while Redouane declaims the song’s lyrics in a devilish way (“A dominant symbol of their entity / The veiling of the men is an ancient custom / The origin remains obscure and conjectural / One fold is brought across the face to form the veil / The cloth is wrapped around the head / Touaregs and nomads, wearing those clothes to cover their faces against the desert storms.”). Then setting fire to the music with his lancinating riffs, Redouane kicks off a short and extremely vile Death Metal extravaganza titled Parasits, blasting sheer aggression and hatred in the name of extreme music. Lastly, Redouane’s coup-de-grâce comes in the form of an obscure and crisp Death Metal tune named Impunity of the Mutants, with Hannes sounding like a thunderstorm in the background. Very technical, detailed and full of layers, this is a must-listen for newcomers to the cataclysmic world of Lelahell, presenting sick bass lines and bestial beats that together flow powerfully into an epic finale.

If you have what it takes to enter the realm of crushing Death Metal ruled by Redouane and his Lelahell, you can check what the band is up to on Facebook and listen to more of their music on YouTube, and purchase your copy of Alif (available for a full listen on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page or Big Cartel, as well as from iTunes, Amazon or Discogs. In addition, although I’m not sure who’s responsible for the drums on their live concerts after the departure of Slaveblaster in 2016 (but something tells me he’s still playing with the band somehow), the multi-talented Redouane together with bassist Ramzi Curse (who replaced Nihil in 2015) are indeed a live act, proudly carrying the flag of Algerian and African metal wherever they go, and if I were you I would definitely keep an eye on their agenda for concerts not only in Algeria, but anywhere else where good Death Metal is appreciated. Well, I guess I don’t need to say what you should do if you don’t support Lelahell, right?

Best moments of the album: Paramnesia, Ribat Essalem and Impunity of the Mutants.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Metal Age Productions

Track listing
1. Paramnesia 4:33
2. Ignis Fatuus 3:04
3. Thou Shalt Not Kill 0:30
4. Ribat Essalem 4:27
5. Adam the First 4:26
6. The Fifth 4:01
7. Insiraf / Martyr 5:37
8. Litham (The Reach of Kal Asuf) 5:54
9. Parasits 2:44
10. Impunity of the Mutants 5:16

Band members
Redouane Aouameur – vocals, guitars, bass
Hannes Grosmann – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Eat the dead, cut the flesh!

Let’s turn up the heat on this last month of summer here on The Headbanging Moose with some old school, gory and extremely violent Death Metal, and in order to do that in style we have “recruited” the unstoppable Mallika Sundaramurthy, frontwoman for American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Abnormality, as our metal chick of the month. Born in Gardner, a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the United States, but currently residing in Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic (or Czechia), Mallika is not only the owner of a potent voice, but she’s also absolutely passionate for all things Death Metal, being a huge supporter of underground metal as a fan, as a musician and as a businesswoman as well. Having said that, get ready to slam into a vicious circle pit together with Mallika, because things are about to get as savage and heavy as hell.

Half Indian and half English-American, with her father coming from Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, and her mother being from New Hampshire, a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, Mallika is married to Russian musician Serge Gordeev, from Death Metal bands like Epicardiectomy and Fleshbomb. As you can see, pure Death Metal runs through the veins of the couple, which led to the creation of their own label Ultimate Massacre Productions. But before we talk about their label, let’s focus on the early days of Mallika, who has been playing in Death Metal bands since 2002, a couple of years after she graduated from Gardner High School, located in Gardner, Massachusetts. While Mallika was giving her first steps in extreme music, she was at the same time studying illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, in Boston, Massachusetts, which she graduated in 2004. And that knowledge she gained through her studies was not in vain, becoming a fundamental part of her up-and-coming career.

Regarding her career as a musician, Mallika got into Heavy Metal during her high school years. In the beginning, Mallika was more into classic rock and metal the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Alice in Chains, with her taste for heavier and more brutal music growing after she started listening to the pulverizing Death Metal by Deicide and Cannibal Corpse. By the way, becoming a fan of Death Metal was the main reason why she decided to do extreme vocals, which is pretty much the same path followed by anyone who chooses to play an instrument based on their favorite bands and styles. And just as a side note, our ruthless growler joined her first metal band while studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, but there aren’t any details available online about that part of her career.

What you will for sure find online are all details about her history with her own Death Metal band, Massachusetts-based squad Abnormality, formed in late 2005 by Mallika together with guitarist Jeremy Henry, drummer Jay Blaisdell and guitarist Michael O’Meara (who left the band in 2009), with bassist Josh Staples joining the band in 2009 and guitarist Sam Kirsch in 2015 to complete their current lineup. The band strives to make high quality extreme music without worrying about conforming to certain boundaries or styles, having released to date a four-track demo in 2007 (including the song Visions, which found its way onto the popular video game Rock Band 2 as a bonus track), a three-track EP titled The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion in 2010, and the full-length albums Contaminating the Hive Mind in 2012, and Mechanisms of Omniscience in 2016. If you want to have a very good taste of all the brutality and electricity flowing from the music by Abnormality, you can check for instance their official videos on YouTube for the songs Mechanisms of Omniscience, Monarch Omega, and Fabrication of the Enemy, or even take a more detailed listen at their full discography at their own BandCamp page (which obviously means you should also buy their albums from there). Furthermore, Mallika mentioned in one of her interviews that Abnormality did a cover version for the classic Desperate Cry by Sepultura at the formation of the band when she joined a band named Teratism on stage, impressing their then members Jay and Michael (culminating with the creation of Abnormality, as you can see), also playing other cover songs live over the years such as Eric Clapton’s Cocaine and Death’s The Philosopher, but never including any of those in their recorded material. Finally, one last interesting note about Abnormality is that their first concert ever happened in 2006 at a house party organized by their drummer Jay, including the bands Dehumanized, Sexcrement and Soul Remnants. That was probably one hell of a demolishing Death Metal party, I must say.

Apart from Abnormality, Mallika, who takes care of her potent voice by doing usual things like getting proper rest, keeping her throat hydrated and avoiding alcohol, is also the frontwoman for American Death Metal all-female band Castrator, an international project formed in 2013 and based in New York City with members from distinct parts of the earth such as Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Colombia and the United States. As you can see by the name of the band, Castrator is a confrontational band, with all of the song titles found in their 2014 demo and 2015 EP, both titled No Victim, being some sort of feminist revenge fantasy, such as Honor Killing and The Emasculator. Mallika explained that the band was born when her friend Carolina Perez, drummer for American Death/Thrash Metal act Hypoxia, expressed the desire to form an all-female band, aiming at writing aggressive music, playing some devastating concerts, and have fun together above all things. She also mentioned it was important to bring up through the horror and intensity of their lyrics the issues and struggles women from all over of the world face every single day, in particular parts of the world where women’s rights are far behind. When writing the lyrics, Mallika researched and read countless stories and documentaries of individual cases of honor killings, as well as violence, rape, and murder against women, translating all that hatred and negative thoughts into Death Metal lyrics. In order to be smashed by Castrator, go check their BandCamp page, where you’ll be able to listen to (and to buy) the austere and utterly brutal tunes Honor Killing, No Victim and The Emasculator.

Our relentless growler was also part of American Technical/Brutal Death Metal band Parasitic Extirpation from 2011 until 2015, with whom she recorded the EP Putrid Crown, in 2014. You can enjoy Mallika kicking some serious ass in this also very interesting band with the title-track Putrid Crown,  and all other tracks directly from their BandCamp page. And even with all her duties with Abnormality, Castrator and Parasitic Extirpation, she still found time to be part of several other bands and projects as a guest musician, like singing live for British Technical Brutal Death Metal unity Unfathomable Ruination, in 2017; and being a guest studio singer in the songs Circumcised with a Chainsaw, from the 2013 album Skewered in the Sewer by Indian Brutal Death Metal act Gutslit; the title-track The Redemption of Past Supremacy, from the 2012 album The Redemption of Past Supremacy by American Brutal Death Metal act Habitual Defilement; Endless Outrage, from the 2016 album Ouroboric Stagnation by International Brutal Death Metal act Neurogenic;    Dies Irae…, from the 2013 album Lords of Rephaim by America Brutal Death Metal act Pathology; Tower Deflower, from the 2012 album Festering Human Remains by America Death Metal act Scaphism; the superb cover version for Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker, from the 2014 EP XXX Bargain Bin Vol​.​2 by American Death Metal act Sexcrement; and Incinerator, from the 2013 album Black and Blood by American Death Metal act Soul Remnants. As you can see, all those songs are beyond brutal and demolishing, exactly the way good Death Metal is supposed to be.

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With respect to Mallika’s main influences in music, she’s a diehard and longtime fan of several renowned acts of the Extreme Metal scene such as Suffocation, Gorgasm, Decapitated, Immolation, Cryptopsy, Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, Carcass and Morbid Angel, among several others, with American Death Metal masters Hate Eternal, standing out among their influences if you take a detailed listen at their music. Questioned about which album she would take to her own grave, Mallika answered Pierced from Within, released in 1995 by American Technical Death Metal band Suffocation, and while listening to that album it makes total sense as to why she handpicked it instead of tons of other classics. Needless to say, Suffocation would obviously be part of her dream metal fest lineup, also including bands such as Immolation, Deeds of Flesh, Cryptopsy (with Lord Worm), Origin, Malignancy, Monstrosity, Vader, Gorgust, Wormed, Defeated Sanity, Napalm Death, Incantation, Vile, Decapitated, Hate Eternal, Nile, Krisiun, Devourment, and so on. And lastly, when asked to list the five albums any metalhead must have in his or her collection to have a deeper understanding of what Brutal and Technical Death Metal is all about, Mallika selected Close to a World Below by Immolation, Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation, Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel, She Lay Gutted by Disgorge, and Masticate to Dominate by Gorgasm. Also, when questioned about what inspires her and the rest of Abnormality when writing their lyrics, she said that the whole band enjoys writing about current events at home and abroad, conspiracies, and their contempt for the New World Order, as well as other things in their lives, in their imagination, science fiction and fact, corruption, and time travel, always focusing on the darker side of humanity and never afraid to take a political stand. Of course, Mallika considers real life horror far worse than anything imagined in fiction, albeit she also thinks those monsters in fiction reflect that same dark side of our own humanity and the evils that we are capable of.

Mallika’s business side together with her utter passion for extreme music are an essential piece of Ultimate Massacre Productions, an extreme music label managed by Mallika herself and her husband Serge Gordeev, originally founded in 2012 by Serge as a licensed merch supplier for metal bands. After her arrival and after taking on Mexico’s Human Decomposition as their first signed band, the project propelled to a new and promising direction, which could be seen in her own words at that time. “We thought it would be great to build the label together, combining our collective experience and passion for music to grow Ultimate Massacre,” she said, also mentioning that “our main goal is to spread great music that we ourselves love, and to help the bands on our roster to reach new levels.” Mallika and Serge work endlessly for the joys that art brings with it, putting a lot of effort and passion into making the label a genuine home for underground extreme bands. Based in Prague, the label has increased their portfolio considerably through the years, including today bands such as Apophys, Incontinence, Chordotomy, Fungus, Imperium and Natrium. Hence, if you consider yourself a true death metaller, you can keep an eye at their official Facebook page for new kick-ass bands and releases from the underground Death Metal scene.

As aforementioned, Mallika is a huge admirer and connoisseur of underground metal music, saying she’s fine with a huge part of metal music staying underground mainly because it’s extreme and offensive, and therefore not recommended for mainstream listeners. However, she also said it’s extremely difficult to survive in the underground scene, as the majority of underground musicians have to have income coming from other sources such as day jobs despite their passion and dedication to heavy music. Well, having to face issues like that doesn’t seem to be a problem for musicians like Mallika, because the underground scene at least in the United States seems to be very strong to her eyes, with lots of great bands keeping the flames of extreme music burning bright in her homeland. For instance, she recommends bands like Malignancy, Disgorge, Dehumanized, Bloodsoaked, Guttural Secrete, Goemagot, Sapremia, Habitual Defilement and Expurgate for starters, and from her hometown she thinks you should take a good listen at Revocation, Sexcrement, Dysentery, Hivesmasher, Scalpel, Scaphism, Soul Remnants, and many, many more. She also mentioned she believes that classifications in metal such as Deathcore, Power Metal, Blackened Death Metal and so on are necessary to help listeners find new bands according to their likes and dislikes, as long as people are not carried away with creating new subgenres. Furthermore, Mallika has a very peculiar view on how many people nowadays end up knowing new bands through illegal downloads, as she understands that albeit illegal downloads are inevitable due to several reasons such as lack of money for buying all the music downloaded, those fans need to realize the bands depend on that money to stay alive, but as long as they support the bands in other ways like attending their concerts, buying a shirt or listening to their music for free on Spotify or YouTube, some sort of balance can be reached.

When asked about how she feels being a woman in a male-dominated scene like Death Metal, Mallika said she has always felt good, always having a good time with her bands since the beginning of her career. She mentioned there are more and more talented and hardworking women making a name for themselves in the Death Metal scene, being really proud of them and supporting them whenever and however she can. She said it’s not easy to be a woman in metal as there’s a lot of sexism in the world and even more discouragement for a woman to be part of the extreme music scene; however, she hopes one day that will end, and it will become something we won’t even think about discussing as men and women will just be equal in numbers and in talent. If you think about names like Angela Gossow, Tarja Turunen, Simone Simons, Doris Yeh, Cristina Scabbia and Alissa White-Gluz, not to mention all the other ladies who put their hearts and souls into making first-class metal music from all parts of the world, I also believe we’re not that far from reaching Mallika’s dream.

Last but not least, Mallika is as aforementioned a professional graphic and concept artist in the video game industry, having already worked for Harmonix Music Systems (the company that created the Rock Band franchise) for four years, and later becoming a freelance artist and working for a company called Techona as a graphic artist since earlier this year. Regarding her time with Harmonix, Mallika provided a few interesting details about how Abnormality got involved in the game Rock Band 2 with the song Visions. While she was working on the game together with a team of artists, the company allowed employees to submit music for consideration to be entered into the game; at first she didn’t want to do it, but the rest of Abnormality asked her to try, and in the end the company picked their music to be one of the songs of the game together with a lot less violent (or I should say not violent at all) bands like Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold and Blondie. Needless to say, Mallika is not only passionate about Death Metal, but also crazy for old school Death Metal album arts, dark fantasy and surrealism, being inspired by artists such as Zdzisław Beksiński, Wayne Barlowe, and Dan Seagrave. As a matter of fact, you can easily see all that passion for abstract art and surrealism in the Abnormality album arts, all designed and created by our obstinate growler herself, as well as the cover art for the 2012 split album Phylum Morph-Apokalupsis by American Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore bands Animals Killing People and Andromorphus Rexalia, the layout and cover art for the 2016 album Eon by American Technical Death Metal band Formless, and the cover art for the 2013 EP One Inch Monster by Swedish Thrash Metal act Sonic Assault. As talented, honest and diligent as she is, being capable of screaming and gnarling like a beast with her band and of translating all the violence and gore of Death Metal into stunning album arts, it’s more than obvious why Mallika has turned into a reference in extreme music, and may she have a long and prosperous reign as our queen of guttural vocals.

Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Facebook page
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Twitter
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official YouTube channel
Mallika Sundaramurthy’s Official Instagram
Abnormality’s Official Facebook page
Abnormality’s Official Twitter
Abnormality’s Official YouTube channel
Abnormality’s Official Instagram

“I see there are many more talented women stepping up the plate in the death metal scene. I am really proud of my fellow ladies who are kicking ass, and I call many of them friends. I DO personally go out of my way to support women in metal, especially those who work hard, carry themselves professionally, and play really well. I know it’s not easy. There is so much sexism in the world, and we women are so often discouraged from taking part of the extreme metal scene.” – Mallika Sundaramurthy

Interview – Artyom (Amentia)

If you’re curious to know how the metal scene is in Belarus, here is Artyom, guitarist and one of the founders of Minsk-based Technical Death Metal four-piece beast Amentia, to talk about not only that, but also about his biggest influences in music and a lot of nice-to-know details about the band’s latest album, the pulverizing Scourge.

Artyom (Amentia)

The Headbanging Moose: Can you please introduce Amentia to the readers of The Headbanging Moose, telling a little about your origins, your goals and your music? What are the main differences between Amentia in the early days to what the band is now?

Artyom: Amentia was formed in 2003 in Minsk, Belarus. Initially it was created as a studio project and it remained like that until 2006 when the band performed live for the first time. But the live period didn’t take too long and since 2009 Amentia returned to the status of a studio project due to the numerous line-up changes and the lack of suitable musicians who could play the material live. Though there were some attempts to find the proper members and actually we still don’t give up on performing live and maybe someday we will complete the lineup and present our material on stage. If we speak about the differences between Amentia in the early days and now I can say that this band was playing technical brutal death metal from the very beginning but with each album the music was becoming more and more mature and emphatic. The structures of the songs became more complex, melodies – more interesting, more and more elements of different genres were embedded in the main style of the band’s music, like avant-garde, math, progressive and sometimes even jazzy tunes.

THM: Last year you released an amazing album of old school Death Metal titled Scourge, which has been getting lots of positive reviews worldwide. What can you tell us about the recording process of the album, what worked well and what were your biggest issues? In addition, Scourge is the first release of the band after six years of absolute silence. Why did it take so long for Amentia to record a new album?

Artyom: The recording process itself went pretty smooth but the most difficult part was mixing and mastering. This is the first album which Alex decided to mix himself and it was a big challenge for him. He was studying this process really thoroughly, by trials and errors, and it took a lot of time until he was satisfied with the result. But the main reason why Amentia was silent for 6 years is because each of us has (or had) other bands and we had to dedicate our time also to them. At that time Alex was playing in POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER and couple of other projects in different non-metal genres. I performed and am still performing in DEATHBRINGER, DISLOYAL, WOE UNTO ME, THY DISEASE, and also in some bands as a session guitarist. By the way DEATHBRINGER is one more band where we are playing together with Alex.

THM: Scourge also features two new members, Valery “Vile” Toothgrinder and Zubov, both on vocals. Can you tell us a bit about them? How were they chosen to be part of the band, and what do they bring to the band’s music that wasn’t there before?

Artyom: Well, Zubov was a vocalist in POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER so Alex and him know each other for quite a long time and played together, so when it came to recording vocals he was the easiest candidate, without any hesitation we decided that his guttural growls would fit perfectly. But we also wanted to diversify the vocals just a little bit by adding some screams and our good friend Vile was eager to try and it appeared that his screams were exactly what we’ve been looking for. The combination of their voices added some density and fat to the music.

THM: Two of my favorite songs of the album are the devastating Anorexia and Sentence Executioner. What’s the story behind those two songs, and what message are you sending to the listener through their lyrics?

Album Review – Amentia / Scourge (2017)

Artyom: I think the names speak for themselves. Anorexia is a song about a person with a very popular nowadays mental disorder, who is obsessed with losing weight and starvation so much that gradually deprives him/herself of vital energy and kills him/herself. Sentence Executioner is a song about a person who works as an executioner in prisons and killing people becomes his everyday routine, the line between life and death erases and he dissolves in the world of torture, mutilation and killing, forgetting about the normal life. In general we do not have any special message which we’d like to send to the listener, we are just showing the brutality of the real world, all the diseases, cruelty and injustice that surround us.

THM: Another nice detail in Scourge is its dark and sinister cover art, designed by Mayhem Project Art. How was the process together with that company until you reached this final design, and what does the album art mean to the overall concept of the album?

Artyom: Our label has offered us to work with Mayhem Project Art. We looked through his works and we were very satisfied with his style. We just gave him the lyrics, explained the main lyrical themes and he came up with an idea to depict a weak and sick character covered with sores and wounds, suffering from the combination of different diseases; a piece of old dirty cloth covers his head, he is abandoned and rejected by everyone. And this collective image covers all the main lyrical themes of this album, so we really liked the idea.

THM: As an old school Death Metal band I’m pretty sure your strongest influences in music come from traditional Death Metal bands like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse and Death, am I right? Who else has had a significant influence on your music from the Death Metal scene, from other types of heavy music, and even from non-metal styles?

Artyom: Definitely bands like MORBID ANGEL, DEATH, SUFFOCATION and CANNIBAL CORPSE have influenced most of the bands that play death metal. We are listening to all kinds of music and it is reflected to some extent in our works. If we are speaking about extreme music then I can name BLOTTED SCIENCE, DECREPIT BIRTH, MISERY INDEX, GORGASM, GORGUTS, NECROPHAGIST, MESHUGGAH, GOJIRA and many more. What concerns other genres in my case it would be worth mentioning ULVER, PINK FLOYD, WARDRUNA, DEVIN TOWNSEND, TOOL, HAMFERÐ, IHSAHN, LEPROUS, PAIN OF SALVATION, MASTODON, OPETH, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, etc. Alex listens also to a lot of funk music, jazz, rhythm and blues, like MARCUS MILLER, VIKTOR WOOTEN, AMY WINEHOUSE, JAMIROQUAI, Ukrainian rock band OKEAN ELZY.

THM: I had the pleasure to review a few bands from Belarus in the past few years, those being Irreversible Mechanism, Dzhatinga and more recently Ljosazabojstwa, all extremely talented but unfortunately with very little support from the media. With that said, how do you see the current metal scene in Belarus? Can we say it’s growing in importance, or is it still way too underground to be considered a true movement in the country? And what other Belarusian metal bands do you recommend to our readers?

Artyom: Nothing has changed in Belarus. Metal is still total underground in our country and looking at the number of people attending metal shows and buying CDs I would say that it’s slowly getting worse unfortunately. But it doesn’t affect so much the amount of metal bands. We have a lot of talented musicians in different genres but not all of them can withstand this situation in underground metal, this poor infrastructure and all kinds of obstacles created by our society, government and general cultural development of the masses. If you haven’t heard about the following bands from Belarus yet, then I’d recommend to check out: SERDCE, DEATHBRINGER, IRREVERSIBLE MECHANISM, RELICS OF HUMANITY, POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER, NEBULAE COME SWEET, WOE UNTO ME, and VICTIM PATH.

Amentia

THM: How have been the concerts to support the release of Scourge? Any memorable moments Amentia have had as a headliner or supporting any major acts in your homeland or in other countries that you would like to share with us?

Artyom: As I’ve mentioned before Amentia is still just a studio project and we don’t play live at all. But I really hope that it will change in the future and we will have some great touring and concert stories to share with you in our next interview.

THM: Now that Scourge has been out for a while, what can you tell us about the future of the band? What are your plans regarding the recording of new material and, consequently, new tour dates?

Artyom: We’ve already started working on new material. Slowly, in the intervals between activities in other bands but the new Amentia album arises.

THM: Thank you very much for your time, we really appreciate that! Please feel free to send your final words to our readers, and anything else you would like to say as your final considerations.

Artyom: Thank you so much for this interview and your interest in Amentia music. Huge thanks to all the readers who will check out this interview. Keep supporting underground metal, attend shows, buy CDs and stay brutal. Only thanks to you metal music is still alive.

Links
Amentia Facebook | VKontakte | BandCamp
Satanath Records Official Website | Facebook | VKontakte | YouTube | BandCamp

Album Review – Xenosis / Devour and Birth (2018)

Behold the next step in the remarkable musical evolution by one of the biggest new names of the Progressive Death Metal scene.

Hailing from New Haven, a coastal city on Long Island Sound, in Connecticut, American Progressive Death Metal legion Xenosis set out from their formation in 2010 with a precise goal in mind: To create Death Metal that blurs the lines, that draws from the past and present equally, and to continually evolve as a band from release to release. To date, they’ve lived up to that aim, and have continued to up the ante with each new musical effort put forth. After the releases of their self-titled debut EP in 2010, followed by the full-length albums Haunted Skies, in 2012, and Sowing the Seeds of Destruction, in 2015, it’s time for Xenosis to strike again with their third full-length opus, titled Devour and Birth.

On Devour and Birth, Xenosis offer the listener their characteristic Progressive Death Metal that blends old school-inspired Death Metal with a fair bit of more modern Technical Death Metal ideas, rounding out there sound with a lot of groove and some thrashy Melodic Death Metal influences as well. Given the eclectic style of Progressive Death Metal that Xenosis play, their list of influences, which includes names such as Death, Meshuggah, Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Testament, Gojira and Emperor, among others, serves as a guide of sorts that the music on Devour and Birth does not fit neatly inside one mold or style of Death Metal, and after taking a detailed listen at the entire album you’ll certainly get addicted to their intricate fusion of extreme sounds.

In the opening track, named Night Hag, a brutal wall of heavy and groovy sounds comes crushing our senses mercilessly, led by the demonic drumming by Gary Marotta and the gruesome roars by frontman Sal Bova, resulting in an extremely technical but at the same time crude sonority highly recommended for fans of the genre. Then in Army of Darkness we face total devastation with a demented level of complexity flowing from all instruments, with guitarists Kenny Bullard and Mark Lyon firing some Dream Theater-ish riffs and solos while Sal keeps growling deeper and deeper; and their onrush of Death and Groove Metal continues in full force in Delirium (Death of a God), where the bestial and utterly complex beats by Gary are flawlessly complemented by the wicked bass lines by Dave Legenhausen in a prefect representation of modern-day Progressive and Technical Death Metal.

I guess I don’t need to say Concave also sounds insanely aggressive and harmonious at the same time, with Dave and Gary making a dynamic duo from the underworld, therefore generating a fierce and vile background for Kenny and Mark to go mental with their riffs and solos. Then we have Oxidation, a mechanized bridge that reminds me of some of the weirdest tracks by Industrial Metal titans Fear Factory, revving up the engines for the heavy-as-hell Ominous Opus, full of breaks and variations to give its Death Metal core essence a demented twist, uniting the words “progressive” and “aggressive” in a fantastic manner. Put differently, simply go break your neck headbanging to the brutish riffs delivered by the band’s guitarists while Sal keeps growling like a beast.

The amazing title-track Devour and Birth takes their ferocity to a whole new level, sounding exciting form start to finish with the whole band displaying all their skills, in special Gary, Kenny and Mark, blasting sheer havoc through their sick beats and very technical shredding respectively. And the last track of the album, titled The Projector, is another hurricane of Death Metal masterfully executed by Xenosis, a circle pit-catalyst that sounds and feels very complete and detailed, being absolutely perfect for slamming into the pit during the band’s live performances.

Featuring a futuristic and menacing artwork by Brazilian graphic designer Caio Caldas (CadiesArt), Devour and Birth, which can be purchased through the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as on iTunes or on Amazon, not only cements Xenosis as one of the most interesting exponents of the current independent Progressive Death Metal scene, but it is also an album of extreme music that’s utterly recommended for all metalheads who are searching for a monumental amount of intricacy and progressiveness amidst all the chaos and destruction usually delivered in Death Metal. You can find more details about Xenosis and their elaborate music at their Facebook page and YouTube channel, and keep witnessing (and of course supporting) for years to come the remarkable musical evolution this talented five-piece act has been enjoying since their beginnings.

Best moments of the album: Night Hag, Concave and Devour and Birth.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing   
1. Night Hag 6:45
2. Army of Darkness 5:14
3. Delirium (Death of a God) 5:51
4. Concave 5:15
5. Oxidation 0:54
6. Ominous Opus 5:59
7. Devour and Birth 4:28
8. The Projector 5:56

Band members
Sal Bova – vocals
Kenny Bullard – guitar
Mark Lyon – guitar
Dave Legenhausen – bass
Gary Marotta – drums

Album Review – Hellish God / The Evil Emanations (2018)

An excellent album of brutal and technical Death Metal conceptually focused on Qlipoth, metaphorical shells which represent evil spiritual forces in the Jewish mysticism.

As the first review of 2018 from The Headbanging Moose to you, our dear metalheads, here comes Italian Death Metal four-piece beast Hellish God armed with their pulverizing debut full-length album titled The Evil Emanations, showcasing 10 tracks of top-notch unrelenting Death Metal, following their 2016 EP Impure Spiritual Forces. Featuring current and former members of Antropofagus, Imposer and Mindful Of Pripyat, this excellent Italian squad was formed in 2015 in Campobasso, a city and commune in southern Italy,  with the intent to play savage and satanic Death Metal influenced by the classic late 90’s sound, and I should say they more than succeed in their mission with The Evil Emanations.

Displaying a classic artwork by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize, The Evil Emanation is conceptually focused on Qlipoth, metaphorical shells which represent evil spiritual forces in the Jewish mysticism, with its instrumental parts being influenced by bands like Krisiun, Azarath and Abhorrence. “It has many facets, both compositional and conceptual but the composition process was totally spontaneous and homogeneous. Of course, I can say I am very proud of the final result! It sounds compact and extremely true, authentic…”, said frontman Tya about the album, with drummer Luigi Contenti complementing that idea by saying that “this album is the natural evolution of Impure Spiritual Forces, it sounds very natural, effective and damn old school! If compared to the previous work its most obscure component is totally exalted!”

The special effects by guest Mario Seaone set the tone for the whole album in the phantasmagoric intro Kelim Shattering Illumination, before a violent onslaught of Death Metal led by the demonic growler Tya begins, the very technical and impactful Qlipoth, with the low-tuned bass by Stefano Malgaretti sounding infernal while Luigi delivers sheer brutality through his blast beats. After such amazing start, the band keeps bringing chaos and devastation to our minds with a fantastic display of extreme music titled Anti-Cosmic Decree, with the sick guitar riffs by Michele Di Ioia living up to the legacy of old school brutal Death Metal, not to mention the pulverizing job done by Luigi on drums; followed by The Hindering Ones, a full-bodied tempest of gruesome sounds and beats where Tya distills more of his deep guttural gnarls, reminding me of the classic sonority by Brazilian metal masters Krisiun, therefore becoming an excellent choice for crushing your spine into the circle pit.

Hellish God truly know how to create total havoc and at the same time sound harmonious and technical, as we’re able to witness in Tagimron Is Summoned, with Michele and Stefano providing some Cannibal Corpse-inspired lines with their strings while Tya growls deeper and deeper as the music evolves. And if your brain is still somehow attached to your skull after such insane headbanging tunes, it’s time to be completely demolished by those Italian metallers in Burning The Infidel, offering our avid ears three minutes of old school Death Metal with the band’s contemporary twist, boosted by a sick guitar solo by guest musician Rangel Arroyo. In the instrumental bridge Choronzonic Hellfire, wicked noises open the gates of hell for the berserk Agitator Shall Be Triumphant!, with Luigi spearheading the band’s sonic onrush while Tya continues to bark like a rabid beast. Furthermore, Michele fires some old school riffs and solos to make this solid exhibit of Technical Death Metal even more thrilling.

Before all is said and done in The Evil Emanations, Hellish God still have a couple of tormenting hymns to slash our ears, starting with I Am Belial, a short and extremely heavy tune with its demented rhythm being effectively boosted by Tya’s infernal growls and the crushing sound of Luigi’s drums. In other words, this is exactly what extreme metalheads like us are always searching for in Death Metal. And lastly, their final blast of insanity comes in the form of a five-minute Death Metal extravaganza titled Marching With The Accuser, where Michele’s guitar and Stefano’s bass are in total sync, consequently building a menacing wall of cutting sounds until the music flows to a climatic grand finale. Needless to say, when the song is over you’ll feel absolutely disoriented and eager for more of the music by Hellish God.

It’s time to face the evil spiritual forces featured in The Evil Emanations by paying a visit to Hellish God on Facebook, and by purchasing the album (which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube) through their own BandCamp page, as well as through the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore in regular CD format or as a CD + shirt bundle. If Hellish God were capable of delivering such high level of professionalism and brutality already with their first full-length release, can you imagine how sensational and cataclysmic they will sound in their future albums? Yes, my friends, Death Metal is doing more than fine in Italy, no doubt about that.

Best moments of the album: Anti-Cosmic Decree, The Hindering Ones and I Am Belial.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Kelim Shattering Illumination 1:04
2. Qlipoth 4:33
3. Anti-Cosmic Decree 3:11
4. The Hindering Ones 4:03
5. Tagimron Is Summoned 4:02
6. Burning The Infidel 2:59
7. Choronzonic Hellfire 0:27
8. Agitator Shall Be Triumphant! 2:36
9. I Am Belial 2:15
10. Marching With The Accuser 5:24

Band members
Tya – lead vocals
Michele Di Ioia – rhythm & lead guitars, backing vocals
Stefano Malgaretti – bass guitar, backing vocals
Luigi Contenti – drums

Guest musicians
Rangel Arroyo – lead guitars on “Burning The Infidel”
Mario Seaone – effects on “Kelim Shattering Illumination”

Album Review – Amentia / Scourge (2017)

After six years of silence, this Belarusian Death Metal squad is finally back in action to dismantle our bodies and souls with 33 minutes of extreme dexterity and utter rage.

Initially created as a studio project in 2003 by Alex Goron, bass player for Belarusian band Posthumous Blasphemer, Minsk-based Technical Death Metal four-piece beast Amentia is finally awake from hibernation after six years of silence to dismantle our bodies and souls with their third full-length installment, the brutal Scourge. Comprised of seven relentless original compositions tailored for killing our brain cells with each second of their sound by bringing forward fast and furious riffs, machine gun bursts of drum fills and blast beats and demonic soul-destroying vocals, Scourge lives up to the band’s name, leaving you with a severe mental impairment after banging your head nonstop like a maniac to its 33 minutes of extreme dexterity and utter rage.

Featuring members of Posthumous Blasphemer, Deathbringer, Disloyal and Thy Disease, and being strongly recommended for fans of bands like Suffocation, The Faceless and Meshuggah, Amentia already released in their underground career the split EP Mind Degradation in 2006, and the full-length albums Burn to Hate, in 2007, and Incurable Disease, in 2011, but it’s now in 2017 with newcomers Valery “Vile” Toothgrinder and Zubov on vocals that the group has reached a whole new level of brutality with their music. Displaying an ominous cover artwork by Mayhem Project Art, Scourge is not only the epitome of modern and technical Death Metal, but a solid statement by Amentia telling the world the band is back in action and they’re thirstier for blood than ever.

In the opening track, an amazing display of Technical Death Metal perfect for breaking our spine in half headbanging titled Kill Me, the quartet begins firing sheer brutality through their razor-edged instruments, in special Alex with his demented beats and Artyom with his lancinating guitar solos, whereas in I Don’t Believe their violent and rhythmic sounds keep invading our ears mercilessly, with the level of intricacy found in this sea of savagery in the form of music being astounding. In addition, the deep growling by Vile sounds beyond cavernous, which together with the also menacing guitar and bass turn this song into a must-listen for fans of the genre. And then we have the infernal tune Anorexia, with its first part being an instrumental feast of contemporary Death Metal led by Alex and his amazing drums, supported by the always cutting guitars by Artyom, before Vile returns with his bestial roars in another lesson in violence by Amentia.

Vile and Zubov sound like two enraged monsters in the visceral chant named Slow Decay, with its frantic beats and riffs being in total sync with their devilish gnarls (not to mention Alex’s pounding bass punches), followed by Noble Death, a song that brings more up-to-date elements of extreme music and tons of progressiveness where the sound of guitars strenuously slashes our senses so heavy and metallic it sounds, while Vile keeps barking and growling like a rabid gorilla for the delight of us fans of old school Death Metal. And if you think their slaughterhouse of Death Metal is over you’re absolutely wrong, as you’ll have to face Amentia once again in the high-octane ode to bestiality titled Sentence Executioner, ignited by the cutting riffs by Artyom and a furious growl by Vile, feeling like a hellish version of Dream Theater with a demon on vocals, with highlights to the fantastic job done once again by Alex on both bass and drums. And without a single second of peace, this Belorusian squad delivers another explosion of Technical Death Metal named Paranoia, showcasing crisp guitar solos and nonstop savagery, as well as a duel of gargantuan harsh growls by Vile and Zubov.  The band keeps punching us in the head throughout the entire song with their blackened sounding, resulting in the perfect conclusion for such ruthless album of extreme music.

If you have the guts to confront this boisterous joint of Belarusian metallers and their demolishing Death Metal, you can take a full listen at Scourge on YouTube, follow them on Facebook and on VKontakte, and buy your copy of the album at Amentia’s BandCamp page, at the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, or at Discogs. I just hope Amentia do not take another six years to release a new album, and that they keep blasting our ears with their action-packed Death Metal over and over again for many years yet to come.

Best moments of the album: I Don’t Believe, Anorexia and Sentence Executioner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Satanath Records/Amputated Vein Records

Track listing
1. Kill Me 4:50
2. I Don’t Believe 4:28
3. Anorexia 4:35
4. Slow Decay 4:27
5. Noble Death 4:05
6. Sentence Executioner 5:09
7. Paranoia 5:48

Band members
Vile – scream
Zubov – esophagus
Artyom – guitars
Alex – bass, drums