Album Review – Serocs / Vore EP (2020)

Bang your heads to the new EP of brutal and technical Death Metal offered by a rising force from the international extreme music scene.

What began in 2009 in Guadalajara, a metropolis in western Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco, as a Brutal Technical Death Metal one-man project by guitarist Antonio Freyre under the name of Serocs later transformed into a full-blown international band with members from Mexico, France and Canada, exploding to its full capacity with the release of their 2018 opus The Phobos/Deimos Suite. Now in 2020 the band comprised of the aforementioned Antonio together with vocalist Laurent Bellemare (Sutrah), guitarist and bassist Antoine Daigneault (Chthe’ilist) and drummer Kévin Paradis (Benighted) returns with the next step in their evolutionary career, the five-track EP entitled Vore, offering fans of Cryptopsy, Severed Savior and Gorguts, among others, an excellent sample of what Serocs mean when they say they play “Death Metal from all over the world”. Reamped, mixed and mastered by Hugues Deslauriers at Roarrr Sound Studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Vore is “a very important release for me. It has all the elements of classic Serocs at first but then it transitions into something new and exciting,” commented the band’s mastermind Antonio about the album, inviting us all to know more about his project and his passion for brutal and technical music.

A wicked intro explodes into brutal and extremely technical Death Metal in Anthropic, where Kévin dictates the rhythm with his vicious beats while Laurent blasts inhumane, gruesome gnarls for our total delight, with the band’s guitar duo also showcasing all their rage and dexterity with their scorching riffage. More intricate and absolutely visceral sounds invade our senses in Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands, a lesson in Technical Death Metal spiced up by Groove Metal nuances where Antoine is on fire with both his guitar riffs and utterly metallic bass punches, not to mention the fiery guitar solos by guest Phil Tougas, whereas we’re treated to a few moments of peace in the instrumental bridge Shallow Vaults before the quartet comes crushing once again with their rumbling, venomous music in The Temple of Knowledge, with Kévin once again sounding very technical but at the same time berserk on drums while Laurent continues to vociferated deeply and rabidly in great Death Metal fashion. Then venturing through darker and more progressive lands the band brings forth To Self Devour, leaning towards pure Progressive Death Metal with Antonio and Antoine extracting sheer electricity from their guitars nonstop, providing Laurent all he needs to thrive with his vicious screeches. In addition, as bonuses to fans of Serocs’ music the band offers two demos recorded in 2011 for the songs Nihilus, from the album The Phobos/Deimos Suite (check the official and infernal studio version HERE), and Anthropic, both raw and demented, and both presenting even sharper and more thunderous bass lines and drums compared to their final, lapidated shape and form.

As mentioned by the band’s mastermind Antonio Freyre, Vore is more than “just” an excellent EP of Technical Death Metal, but a solid step in the career of a band that has been on a constant rise since their inception. Hence, you can follow Serocs on Facebook and listen to more of their music on Spotify to show Antonio and his henchmen all your support to the underground, and purchase your copy of Vore from the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore in regular MCD format or as a stylish MCD and shirt bundle, as well as from Apple Music, keeping the flames of brutal and technical extreme music burning bright and, consequently, fueling bands like Serocs to keep providing us all amazing options for banging our heads like maniacs, for practicing our musician skills, and for disturbing the peace of our quiet neighborhoods.

Best moments of the album: Anthropic and Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Anthropic 5:17
2. Building a Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands 3:51
3. Shallow Vaults 1:22
4. The Temple of Knowledge 4:47
5. To Self Devour 4:40

Bonus tracks
6. Nihilus (2011 Demo) 3:18
7. Anthropic (2011 Demo) 3:09

Band members
Laurent Bellemare – vocals
Antonio Freyre – guitar
Antoine Daigneault – guitar, bass
Kévin Paradis – drums

Guest musician
Phil Tougas – guitar solos on “Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands”

Album Review – Frogg / A Reptilian Dystopia EP (2020)

A short and sweet stash of riffs, licks and raw emotion inoculated over the years, poured out into the world in the form of modern and thrilling Technical Death Metal.

Formed in 2019 in Stamford, a town in Delaware County, New York, United States, the unrelenting Modern and Technical Death Metal project known as Frogg has been in the works for years in the mind of Sky Moon Clark, and over the years he has been inoculating a stash of riffs, licks and raw emotion, which will now be poured out into the world in the form of the band’s debut EP beautifully entitled A Reptilian Dystopia. Comprised of the aforementioned Sky Moon Clark on lead vocals and guitars, Liam Zintz-Kunkel on rhythm guitars, Siebe Sol Sijpkens on bass, Emma Rae on keyboards and backing vocals and Anthony Barrone on drums, Frogg are one of those bands highly recommended for metalheads looking for something new and creative, especially fans of Obscura, Arsis, Necrophagist and Born of Osiris, blending the violence from classic Death Metal with modern and innovative sounds from the current music scene.

Produced and mixed by Shane Stanton, mastered by Ermin Hamidovic (Systematic Productions), distributed by Distrokid, and featuring a devilish artwork by Yann Kempen and Bertrand Lefebvree, the short and sweet A Reptilian Dystopia will certainly put a smile on your face while you headbang to each one of its four well-engendered and classy tracks. “Our EP is kind of our raw sound put on a plate without much refinement, but it’s still the basic punch and flavour Frogg has to offer. Just think of the EP as our base, while our in-the-works Album I (expected 2021/2022) will be a more fleshed out form of Frogg with an emphasized focus on the overall songs start to finish,” said Mr. Sky Moon Clark himself about the future material Frogg intend to release.

Right from the very first second in Ancient Rain we can enjoy tons of intricacy and insanity flowing from all instruments, while the song’s austere lyrics are effectively vociferated by Sky Moon (“Surrender to the ancient rain / Greed is all there is to blame / No vaccination to this strain / ‘Til earth is free of human stain / Deep below the monster waits / Under ice and time and space”). Not only that, Anthony slams his drums majestically, with the song also showcasing a great riffage sync between Sky Moon and Liam in what’s a bestial and fun feast of Technical Death Metal. Then groovier and more atmospheric than the opening tune thanks to the thunderous bass by Siebe and the whimsical keys by Emma, Nuclear Storm is a two-minute explosion of aggression and progressiveness led by Anthony’s nonstop beats and fills, maintaining the EP at a very high level of acidity and heaviness.

Strident guitars ignite the metallic extravaganza titled DNA, even more atmospheric than its predecessors and once again showcasing more of their cryptic lyrics (“I refuse to accept this rusty machine / As my sole source of bibliography / Further corrupting our genes / A modification delivering new geography / Dip your brain through your poison”). Put differently, it’s a multi-layered display of the band’s dexterity, with its piercing riffs being effectively intertwined with crushing beats and rumbling bass jabs, not to mention Sky Moon’s awesome closing solo as the icing on the cake. Following such dense composition we have the also amazing Ranidaphobia, which by the way means fear of frogs and toads, bringing forward sheer violence, dementia and rage in the form of Technical Death Metal by Frogg, alternating between the savagery led by Anthony’s visceral drums and the delicate keys and vocalizations by Emma, with the song’s ending being absolutely climatic for our total delight. And as a bonus to their fans, Frogg close the EP with an instrumental version of Ancient Rain, blasting our ears with their refined techniques and deep passion for heavy music.

A member of ASCAP (or the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), Sky Moon Clark and his Frogg are looking for guitarists, bassists and drummers in the New York City area to join him and Emma Rae for their live performances, and if you’re a musician looking for a good challenge the likes of Frogg simply get in touch with them on Facebook. In addition, if you want to support such up-and-coming band from New York, you can purchase A Reptilian Dystopia from the project’s own BandCamp page or from Distrokid. In a nutshell, A Reptilian Dystopia might already be a very entertaining album of metal music, but let’s not forget it’s only the first step (or maybe I should say the first leap) in the promising career of Frogg, which fortunately means we can rest assured we’ll be hearing from Sky Moon and his band a lot more in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: DNA and Ranidaphobia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Ancient Rain 3:23
2. Nuclear Storm 2:05
3. DNA 7:29
4. Ranidaphobia 3:47
5. Ancient Rain (Instrumental) 3:24

Band members
Sky Moon Clark – lead vocals, guitars
Liam Zintz-Kunkel – rhythm guitar
Siebe Sol Sijpkens – bass
Emma Rae – keyboards, backing vocals
Anthony Barrone – drums

The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2019

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

The year of 2019 might be reaching its inevitable end in the blink of an eye for most of us, but if there’s one thing we must admit is that it has been indeed a year of countless events, episodes and changes with a huge impact on how pretty much everything works in our Heavy Metal universe. For instance, 2019 was the year where we unfortunately witnessed the ultimate campaign by Thrash Metal titans Slayer, who at the same time left an undisputed and brilliant legacy to Heavy Metal and a giant hole in our hearts and in the global Thrash Metal scene. Do you think there’s any band that can fill that gap created by the end of Slayer? In my humble opinion, although I love bands like Exodus, Testament and Death Angel, I doubt anyone can claim Slayer’s throne as the meanest, most demonic and most pulverizing band of all time, but that doesn’t mean Thrash Metal is dead and gone. Quite the contrary, it’s still alive and kicking, with many of the underground bands reviewed at The Headbanging Moose contributing to keep the flame of such distinct subgenre of heavy music burning bright.

In addition, 2019 was also the year we lost many of our rock and metal icons, including André Matos (vocalist of Angra, Shaman and Viper), Larry Wallis (former guitarist of Motörhead), and Timi Hansen (former bassist of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond), as well as several talented musicians from non-metal styles like Marie Fredriksson (lead singer and keyboardist of Roxette), Keith Flint (frontman of The Prodigy), and the “King of the Surf Guitar”, Mr. Dick Dale. However, even with all those significant losses, we can say 2019 was a productive year for rock and metal music, with many iconic and underground bands delivering some fantastic albums for our total delectation, and that’s why here we are again with The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2019, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums, to prove once and for all that heavy music will never, ever die. Having said that, enjoy our list of top metal albums for this year that’s coming to an end, and keep raising your horns high together with us in 2020!

1. Rammstein – Rammstein (REVIEW)
A magnificent lecture in Neue Deutsche Härte from the bottom of the flaming hearts of the pioneers of the genre.
Best song of the album: Deutschland

2. Necronomicon – UNUS (REVIEW)
Canadian powerhouses of Blackened Death Metal return with the heaviest, most obscure and most infernal opus of their career.
Best song of the album: Infinituum Continuum

3. Rotting Christ – The Heretics (REVIEW)
It’s time to burn in the fires of the dark and occult Black Metal crafted by the greatest Greek institution in the history of heavy music.
Best song of the album: Fire God and Fear

4. Soilwork – Verkligheten (REVIEW)
Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters return in full force with a fresh, groovy and addictive album of first-class heavy music.
Best song of the album: Stålfågel

5. The Agonist – Orphans (REVIEW)
Canadian juggernauts of Melodic Death Metal return with a brand new album that’s more extreme, more melodic and more exciting than ever.
Best song of the album: Blood as My Guide

6. Helevorn – Aamamata (REVIEW)
Embrace darkness and melancholy with the breathtaking new opus by one of the most interesting names from the current Spanish scene.
Best song of the album: Aurora

7. Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind (REVIEW)
The world’s most famous masked metallers are back with a fantastic album that proves once again why Heavy Metal is our kind of music.
Best song of the album: Unsainted

8. Amon Amarth – Berserker (REVIEW)
Raise the shield wall, hold your hammers high, and unleash the berserker that lives inside you together with Amon Amarth.
Best song of the album: Shield Wall

9. Target – Deep Water Flames (REVIEW)
Let’s all dive into the incendiary deep waters of Technical and Progressive Death Metal ruled by this amazing band from Chile.
Best song of the album: Oceangrave

10. Singularity – Place of Chains (REVIEW)
The emotions of being wrongfully imprisoned turned into an ass-kicking hybrid of Technical Death Metal and Symphonic Black Metal.
Best song of the album: Ritual of Regret

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Grand Magus – Wolf God (REVIEW)
12. Hiss From The Moat – The Harrier (REVIEW)
13. Lucifera – La Caceria De Brujas (REVIEW)
14. Alunah – Violet Hour (REVIEW)
15. Dö – Astral Death Cult (REVIEW)
16. Rifftera – Across the Acheron (REVIEW)
17. Rage Of Light – Imploder (REVIEW)
18. Rexoria – Ice Breaker (REVIEW)
19. HerezA – Death Metal Drunks (REVIEW)
20. Aephanemer – Prokopton (REVIEW)

Also, let’s not forget about some of the best albums which, although might be short in duration, they did bring to our ears an endless amount of heaviness, speed and harmony this year, accrediting them to be part of our Top 10 EP’s of 2019. As you can see, those EP’s were recorded by the most diverse types of bands and artists from all over the world, becoming some sort of “tasting sample” of what we can expect from those metallers in a not-so-distant future.

1. Eleine – All Shall Burn (REVIEW)
2. Quilombo – Itankale (REVIEW)
3. Master’s Call – Morbid Black Trinity (REVIEW)
4. Violent Life Violent Death – Sadness Rains (REVIEW)
5. Angra Demana – Triptych Of Decay (REVIEW)
6. Vorga – Radiant Gloom (REVIEW)
7. Shuulak – Citrinitas (REVIEW)
8. Moanaa – Torches (REVIEW)
9. Exuviated – Déliquescence (REVIEW)
10. Sophist – Betrothal To The Stone: Conception of Mephisto (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2019? And, as usual, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show!

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2020!

And before The Headbanging Moose takes a well-deserved break to recover our energies and return in full force in 2020, how about we enjoy what’s probably one of the best and most detailed “Christmas” songs of all time, the fantastic Valhalleluja, recently released by Italian Heavy/Power Metal outfit Nanowar of Steel? This is the perfect soundtrack for your Christmas night with your loved ones, especially if you give someone anything from IKEA as a Christmas gift. Well, simply watch the official video below and follow the lyrics to understand what I’m talking about. Having said that, let’s all pray to Odin, drink beer and sing Valhalleluja together with Nanowar of Steel, my friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Gold Roots of War.

Released in 2019 Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records

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

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

Album Review – 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.

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“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