Album Review – Master’s Call / Morbid Black Trinity EP (2019)

Behold the rise of a new Black Metal entity from the UK and their debut EP, encompassing the darkness of faith, body and spirit with three powerful tracks that each tell a different potent story.

Originally conceived by guitarists John Wilcox and Dave Powell in the birthplace of metal itself, Birmingham, England, in 2014, but only reaching its full shape and form in 2016 after recruiting lead singer Shayan, bassist Adam Tricklebank and finally  drummer James Williams, Wolverhampton-based Black Metal unity Master’s Call walk forth through the flames beyond the gates with conviction and grit on their side, going against all odds and standing strong no matter what. For instance, vocalist Shayan, born in Tehran, the capital of Iran, where rock and metal music are banned (especially where anti-religious lyrics are concerned as the country’s hardline Islamic government considers it blasphemy), didn’t stop writing and performing Black Metal even with the potential risk of jail or even execution, proving how obstinate and passionate for extreme music Shayan and his bandmates from Master’s Call are.

Now in 2019 it’s time for this unrelenting British horde to unleash hell with their debut EP Morbid Black Trinity, an album highly recommended for fans of bands like Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Conjurer and Behemoth, encompassing the darkness of faith, body and spirit with three powerful tracks that each tell a different potent story. Recorded and mixed by Neil Haynes at The Parlour Studios in Northampton, mastered by Peter In De Betou at Tailor Maid Productions (Necrophobic, Dimmu Borgir, Watain) in Sweden, and featuring a creepy artwork created by the band’s own John Wilcox and Adam Tricklebank, Morbid Black Trinity is not just another fantastic extreme music album from the independent scene, but a beyond solid statement that Master’s Call are among us to stay and to keep spreading darkness and rage in the name of their beloved Black Metal.

An ominous intro morphs into a thrilling fusion of Black and Death Metal the likes of Behemoth in the first track, From Once Beneath The Cursed, led by Shayan’s sulfurous roars and James’ thunderous beats, while Dave and John extract the most metallic sounds you can imagine form their scorching hot guitars. Depicting the incarnation of a physical embodiment conjured from the underlying madness, hate and evil of the world, the entire song couldn’t sound more imposing than that, with poetry and darkness flowing as one from its vile lyrics (“Rise oh ferocious beast that lies within / At last we have reached the time to strike this mortal coil / So let loose the pain, gathering the serpents below / Sweet death shall conquer them all / May its annihilation bless our hearts / For we have snuffed long in slumber / Of the prison of life that you call a gift / We’ll burn it! / Scorch the solar as we have awakened”).

Rising from the depths of hell once again, Master’s Call offer our avid ears the fulminating The Spire Cranes, representing the holy buildings that tower high to cast the reach of their oppressive symbols of faith afar, but can be broken down through the cracks in their holy walls. Dave and John’s riffs dictate the song’s vibrant rhythm while James keeps crushing his drums mercilessly and Adam makes the ground tremble with his bass lines, all enfolded by Shayan’s deep, demonic vociferations. And lastly, the icing on the cake comes in the form of almost seven minutes of visceral Blackened Death Metal blasted by Shayan and his horde in My Eyes Are The Night, with Dave and John bringing hints of Thrash Metal in their amazing riffs, sounding violent and somber from start to finish. Assuming the perspective of a hunter that stalks the night, preying on victims who have lost themselves amid the atrocities of the world, by manipulating them into sacrificing themselves for the false hope of a greater existence beyond our own, this austere aria of darkness makes it impossible not to break your spinal cord headbanging to the brutal beats by James, ending the EP in a beyond demonic vibe.

In a nutshell, the gates to the underworld are open thanks to the awesome music crafted by this unstoppable group of musicians from the UK in Morbid Black Trinity,  and if you want to know more about such up-and-coming act you should definitely follow them on Facebook, and of course if you’re already a longtime fan of both classic and modern-day Black Metal go grab your copy of their debut EP directly from their BandCamp page. Although short in duration, Morbid Black Trinity already shows all the potential Master’s Call have and how furious and obscure their music can be, leaving us eager for more of their malevolent compositions in the form of another EP or full-length release and, consequently, pointing to a bright (or maybe I should say dark) future for this sharp and dauntless Black Metal entity.

Best moments of the album: From Once Beneath The Cursed.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. From Once Beneath The Cursed 5:50
2. The Spire Cranes 5:07
3. My Eyes Are The Night 6:41

Band members
Shayan – vocals
Dave Powell – guitars
John Wilcox – guitars
Adam Tricklebank – bass
James Williams – drums

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Album Review – Heterochrome / Melancholia (2017)

Embark on a journey through the aggressive peaks and heavenly calm moments of life and death, crafted by a five-piece Iranian act that’s willing to face all adversities in their homeland to spread their music all over the world.

Every single time we at The Headbanging Moose do a review of an album by a band hailing from the Middle-East, we never know exactly how hard and dangerous it was (and is) for that specific band to record that album due to all restrictions imposed by religious and political parties in those countries. If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, take a quick read at this short and sweet article titled “How playing heavy metal in Iran can put your life in danger”, posted online at the Huck Maganize website. Formed in 2014 in Tehran, the capital of Iran located in the north of the country, female-fronted five-piece Progressive Metal act Heterochrome have just released their debut effort entitled Melancholia, a journey through the aggressive peaks and heavenly calm moments of life and death, and it seems that they are willing to face all perils and adversities in their homeland to spread their music all over the world.

The band was brought into being when guitarist Mohammadreza Rezaei and vocalist Mida met each other in 2014 and started writing music together, with the rest of the band members joining the duo in the coming years. Displaying a delicate but powerful artwork designed by Caelan Stokkermans, from Caelan Stokkermans Arts (who already worked with another band recently reviewed at The Headbanging Moose, called Ezerath), Melancholia is an amalgamation of sounds and styles, from the darkest and heaviest screams and thoughts to moments of tenderness, love and hope, all meticulously embraced by the band’s progressive and intricate passages. Furthermore, Mida ends up stealing the spotlight with her passionate vocal performance throughout the entire album, and if what people say is true about how women are completely discouraged to create music (in special Heavy Metal) in Iran, putting even their lives in danger for doing that, then she’s not only a highly skilled singer, but also a daredevil metalhead.

The opening track Cage displays tons of progressiveness flowing from all instruments from its very first second, being led by the sharp guitars by Mohammadreza and his bandmate Khashayar Oveisi, with Mohammadreza and the angelical voice of Mida bringing a classy and melancholic vibe to the music. Then leaning towards Progressive Rock blended with contemporary Hard Rock we have Hang, where Mida enchants us all to the precise beats by drummer Mohammad Mirboland and the metallic bass by Armin Afzali, with the songs harsh growls adding  an extra dosage of heaviness and electricity to the song’s introspective lyrics (“Every breath I take, brings me closer / Every second wasted, counts past the border / Every bridge falls broken, burning over  / As I sprint through the myst, the night is over”).

The following track, named Regret, is a smooth instrumental Progressive Metal tune with hints of Acid Rock, generating a dark and soulful “waltz” perfect for closing your eyes and banging your head together with the band. Moreover, Mohammad becomes the “captain” of the ship with both his fast-paced beats and more rhythmic drumming, with the song ending with a kick-ass guitar solo by Mohammadreza. And the band keeps the momentum going with Purgatory, a song highly recommended for fans of all types of heavy music that can be broken down into several distinct pieces, from the hypnotizing, gentle parts led by Mida to a pure metallic extravaganza and more progressive passages, therefore showcasing all the band’s versatility and also experimenting with darker sounds and nuances of Rock N’ Roll.

Their most experimental vein rises in Paradise, with the guitar duo comprised of Mohammadreza and Khashayar spearheading this feast of whimsical tunes and notes, boosted by the intricate bass lines by Armin. Furthermore, this pleasant composition proves Heterochrome definitely know how to use the fusion of male and female vocals in all their creations in a beyond compelling way. And last but not least, let the fires burn to the sound of the thrilling chant Inferno, a multi-layered mid-tempo tune that will pierce your mind and hypnotize you, while the bass lines by Armin embrace Mida’s stunning voice. Once again presenting a gripping guitar solo by Mohammadreza and beautiful, poetic lyrics as the icing on the cake (“Let me bleed / Naked by the fire / I’m drowning deep / Drowning in denial / Burning in / The inferno I made for myself”), the song remains flawless from start to finish, flowing to a gentle ending full of melancholy bursting from both Mida’s and Mohammadreza’s voices.

As aforementioned, I don’t know for sure how dangerous it is for a band like Heterochrome to craft their music in Iran, but it seems that they’re more than ready to take all possible risks in the name of Heavy Metal. With that said, we should all show our utmost support to those Iranian metallers (and to their freedom of speech) by liking their Facebook page, listening to their music on YouTube or on Spotify, and especially by purchasing Melancholia on BandCamp, iTunes, Amazon or CD Baby, always hoping that they succeed in their arduous journey and that they keep delivering good metal music to our ears, therefore inspiring others in Iran to do the same.

Best moments of the album: Hang and Inferno.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. Cage 3:36
2. Hang 3:59
3. Regret 4:54
4. Purgatory 5:55
5. Paradise 3:55
6. Inferno 7:53

Band members
Mida – vocals
Mohammadreza Rezaei – guitars, backing vocals
Khashayar Oveisi – guitars
Armin Afzali – bass
Mohammad Mirboland – drums

Album Review – Nex Carnis / Obscure Visions of Dark (2015)

The flesh might be dead already, but the rise of Death Metal in Iran has just begun.

Rating4

ArtworkLet’s be honest and acknowledge that none of us know much about the Heavy Metal scene in Iran due to many well-known reasons, mostly related to the country’s religious and cultural barriers. In fact, if you check the list of Iranian metal bands on the Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives website, I’m sure you won’t recognize most of the names on the (extremely short) list. Fortunately, it seems that the tide is turning, Iranian metallers are now enjoying a higher level of liberty and, therefore, providing the world their share of heavy music, which is the case with old school Death Metal Nex Carnis.

After releasing their first demo in 2012 entitled Death of the Flesh, which by the way is the translation of the name of the band from Latin, and after some hurdles such as not being able to find a fitting drummer in the local scene, this talented Tehran-based group wants to show the world they’re ready to spread their evil wings and reach new heights with their debut ful-length album, the thunderous Obscure Visions of Dark. And if you’re a fan of that raw old school Death Metal perfect for having your brain melted after headbanging like crazy, you should definitely give these guys a shot.

The fuckin’ brutal opening track Darkened Rites of Existence, which is composed of two parts named “Part 1: Visions” and “Part 2: Labyrinth”, is very similar to what Brazilian Death Metal masters Krisiun do, just to give you an idea of how destructive the music by Nex Carnis is. Vocalist Asto Vidatu sounds like a wild beast with his growls, and it’s impressive how progressive the music is to an old school Death Metal band. In addition to that, what can I say about the infernal devastation caused by drummer Jirka “Jurgen” Zajíc during the last part of the song and the wicked guitar solo by guest musician Disguster? Anyway, with a macabre intro, Cryptic Depths of Unlight mixes the best elements from Death and Thrash Metal in a sick performance by all band members, with highlights to Incruent for leading all the breaks and variations with his morbid guitar riffs and solos.

3540353203_logoDissolution in Vortex of Sanity, which intro has that metallic guitar shredding we enjoy so much, offers the listener pure old school Death Metal where downright violence is its core factor. Not only that, Incruent and Jurgen provide all the necessary support for Asto Vidatu to keep roaring the song’s interesting lyrics, turning it into one of the top moments of the album. Following all that insanity we have Descent into Ethereal Realms, another song split in two parts (“Part 1: Entrance” and “Part 2: Transmigration”) where you can sense the influences of Morbid Angel, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and other Thrash/Death Metal icons, but with an aerial atmosphere due to the content of its lyrics. And pay attention to the song after around four minutes, varying between a sonic blast perfect for a wild circle pit and a slower and more obscure rhythm that aims at being truly unearthly, consequently making the entire song even more entertaining.

Nex Carnis need only five seconds to begin pulverizing every living creature that crosses their path in Abolishing Rancid Thrones of Deceit, probably the most traditional of all tunes in terms of rhythm and heaviness. However, Incruent and Jurgen get a lot progressive and innovative in some instances, adding a lot of value to the final result, as well as the guitar solo by guest musician Rafael Barros. Besides, due to the maximum speed imposed by Jurgen on drums, the second half of the song flirts with Black Metal, yet another interesting variant present in their music. And lastly, these skilled Iranian death metallers don’t seem to get tired at all, firing huge doses of morbidity in Murky Pits of Time. This might sound stupid, but does anyone have some lozenges for Asto Vidatu? He will need those after snarling so deeply and intensely for almost seven minutes. Also, kudos to guest musician Jacek Hiro for providing the music some “tranquility” with his excellent guitar solo, just before the song reaches its apocalyptic ending.

In summary, Obscure Visions of Dark is a very solid Death Metal album that goes a little beyond the traditional boundaries of that specific type of metal, giving the listener not only another excellent option in the world of extreme music but also a unique opportunity to know more about the Heavy Metal scene in Iran. You can check the band’s official Facebook page for more updates on their releases and tour dates, and purchase their debut album at the Nightbreaker Productions webstore. The flesh might be dead as the name of the band states, but the rise of Death Metal in Iran seems to be in good hands if Nex Carnis keep delivering such high-end music throughout the years.

Best moments of the album: Darkened Rites of Existence and Dissolution in Vortex of Sanity.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Nightbreaker Productions

Track listing
1. Darkened Rites of Existence 5:21
2. Cryptic Depths of Unlight 5:56
3. Dissolution in Vortex of Sanity 4:39
4. Descent into Ethereal Realms 6:39
5. Abolishing Rancid Thrones of Deceit 4:21
6. Murky Pits of Time 6:55

Band members
Asto Vidatu – vocals
Incruent – guitars, bass
Jirka “Jurgen” Zajíc – drums

Guest musicians
Jacek Hiro – guitar solo on “Murky Pits of Time”
Rafael Barros – guitar solo on “Abolishing Rancid Thrones of Deceit”
Disguster – guitar solo on “Darkened Rites of Existence”