Album Review – Rapheumets Well / Enders Door (2017)

Enjoy the third and final installment of the saga of the Atai in the form of a thirteen-song Sci-Fi opera of Symphonic and Progressive Black Metal.

After the releases of the first and second parts of a trilogy about the complex saga of the Atai (ancient architects), who aid in the propagation of sentient life throughout the multi-verse, those being the full length albums Dimensions, from 2014, and The Exile, from 2016, American Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal warriors Rapheumets Well return now in 2017 with the third and final installment of this musical saga, Enders Door, a thirteen-song science fantasy opera in the form of Symphonic Metal. Although this relentless North Carolina-based squad suffered a few lineup changes from their previous release, such as the departure of lead singer Tripp King (being replaced by the insanely talented growler Jeb Laird), their music remains bold, visceral and ominous, perfect to give a climatic ending to such compelling story.

And do you want to know what happens in Enders Door while the entire band is kicking some serious ass with their flammable instruments? Well, this is what Rapheumets Well will tell you: in the fifth era of the Avomenian Empire, amidst the planetary ruins of Vaath, a rogue traveler would discover an artifact that would forever change his place in the cosmos. Upon arriving to retrieve the artifact, it became apparent that Eryos’ brother Nathyiem would never make it to their arranged meeting point.  In departing from the planet Vaath, Eryos received a distress signal from his brother’s ship, coming from an uncharted planet.  Upon arriving, he found an odd world inhabited by a mysterious species called the Dreth led by lecherous matriarch named Eishar.  It is here that he would uncover a faced-door, an inter-dimensional gateway to the Ender.

In the opening track, titled The Traveler, we face an eerie, cinematic start to the album, transporting us to the world of Rapheumets Well by blending the finesse of keyboards and choir with devastating blast beats, before Jeb begins growling like a beast; followed by Distress on the Aberrant Planet, where the brutality led by the band’s mastermind Joshua “Nasaru” Ward on drums is effectively complemented by the keyboards by Annette Greene, while guitarists Brett Lee and Hunter Ross make sure they add the world “metal” to the music. The Autogenous Extinction offers the listener more demolishing, ominous sounds crafted by this unstoppable band, resulting in high-end Symphonic Black Metal with hints of Blackened Death Metal for admirers of the music by Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth, with Annette bringing balance to the sonic havoc with her smooth vocals. And in Secrets of the Demigods we’re treated to another great “duel” between Annette and Joshua, a true clash of delicate vocals and bestial beats, all embraced by a dark and dense background enhanced by classic guitar riffs and solos.

Then we have one of the longest and most complex of all tracks, Lechery Brought the Darkness, with its semi-acoustic intro suddenly exploding into sheer Symphonic Black Metal, with the paradox of voices between Annette with her angelic vocals and Jeb with his rabid gnarls sounding incredible from start to finish; and the title-track Enders Door, a fantastic tune showcasing a phantasmagorical background, extreme violence flowing form Joshua’s drums, and crushing guitar lines by both Brett and Hunter, perfectly depicting the traveler’s quest in the form of top-tier metal. In Prisoner of the Rift, they keep a menacing aura upon us with a fusion of Symphonic Metal with acoustic and even folk elements, creating a unique sonority led by the gentle voice of Annette, whereas The Diminished Strategist kicks off in full force, being an amazing representation of modern and intense Black Metal. Furthermore, the song’s keyboards sound mesmerizing when combined with the clean vocals by both Annette and Joshua, with the huge amount of progressiveness added to the music amidst all the sonic chaos going on resulting in an eccentric music voyage.

Nastarian Waltz works as a whimsical bridge to the imposing and epic Ghost Walkers Exodus, where Joshua continues to impress on drums with his nonstop beats and fills in a flawless combination of progressiveness, symphonic elements and the most devastating form of Black Metal. Put differently, this song alone sounds so complete it is already worth the investment on the album. On the other hand, Killing the Colossus, despite being another solid creation by Rapheumets Well, is not as gripping as the other songs of the album. Its guitars and keyboards in a dark sync help boost the song’s taste though, not to mention the obscure vociferations by Jeb. Lastly, after a piano-guided atmospheric bridge titled Eishar’s Lament, it’s time for the closing track of the album, the sinister Unveiling the Sapient, with Joshua once again pulverizing everything and everyone with his drums while Brett and Hunter deliver some Technical Death Metal-inspired guitar lines and solos, culminating in a sensational conclusion for this awesome Sci-Fi story.

What are you waiting for to dive into the metallic world of Rapheumets Well? You can buy your copy of Enders Door at the Test Your Metal Records’ BandCamp or Big Cartel, as well as on iTunes or Amazon, and remember you can also get online the first two installments of this heavy and gripping trilogy, such as HERE and HERE. I honestly don’t know what’s next for Rapheumets Well, if they’ll start a new trilogy with a whole different story, if they’ll release a regular album, or maybe even release a prequel to this existing trilogy. One thing is certain: no matter what their next step is, we can rest assured Joshua and his bandmates will certainly blow our minds once again with their multi-layered metal music.

Best moments of the album: Distress on the Aberrant Planet, Enders Door and Ghost Walkers Exodus.

Worst moments of the album: Killing the Colossus.

Released in 2017 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. The Traveler 4:39
2. Distress on the Aberrant Planet 3:57
3. The Autogenous Extinction 4:45
4. Secrets of the Demigods 4:40
5. Lechery Brought the Darkness 6:39
6. Enders Door 6:35
7. Prisoner of the Rift 2:58
8. The Diminished Strategist 5:36
9. Nastarian Waltz 1:13
10. Ghost Walkers Exodus 5:41
11. Killing the Colossus 5:58
12. Eishar’s Lament 1:18
13. Unveiling the Sapient 7:21

Band members
Jeb Laird – lead vocals
Annette Greene – clean vocals, keyboards
Brett Lee – guitar
Hunter Ross – guitar
Joshua “Nasaru” Ward – drums, clean vocals

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Album Review – Terrifier / Weapons of Thrash Destruction (2017)

A Canadian army of Thrash Metal proves through their phenomenal new album that thrashing is their business… and business is good.

Rating3

terrifierwotdalbumcoverasofdec21If you have already checked out our Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2016 you know that, at least for us at The Headbanging Moose, 2016 was the year of Thrash Metal, with bands like Testament, Anthrax and Death Angel delivering the cream of the thrashing crop. With that said, how about keeping the flame of Thrash Metal burning brighter than a thousand suns, with the first review of 2017 being not only a kick-ass album, but a tribute to this always thrilling subgenre of heavy music? Formed in 2003 in the city of Kelowna, in the province of British Columbia, Canada, but currently located in Vancouver, here comes Thrash Metal squad Terrifier (originally known as Skullhammer) armed to the teeth with their brand new opus, the thundering Weapons of Thrash Destruction.

The album’s old school straightforward artwork already tells you what you’re about to face in Weapons of Thrash Destruction, and after listening to such amazing album you’ll agree that the band’s motto could well be “thrashing is our business… and business is good.” Having release their debut album Destroyers of the Faith in 2012, followed by the EP Metal or Death in 2013, Terrifier offer in their new album exactly what diehard thrash metallers desire, being highly inspired by icons like Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Megadeth, Metallica, Overkill and Kreator, also adding to their musicality hints of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pantera, Iced Earth and several other of their influences in heavy music. The band’s frontman and mastermind Chase Thibodeau explains their reason for being. “We formed this band because we love thrash and play what we think sounds cool… our music is fast, technical, heavy and melodic and shredding.”

Guitarists Rene Wilkinson and Brent Gallant waste no time and begin slashing their instruments in the opening track, the superb Reanimator, delivering the thrashiest riffs you can think of, with Chase screaming the song’s lyrics in a frantic Paul Baloff style. Inspired by the 1985 cult horror flick Re-Animator, it’s five minutes of nonstop action perfect for getting some hardcore bruises in the circle pit. In Deceiver, it’s confirmed Terrifier is a band that definitely knows how to craft true old school Thrash Metal, blasting more of their unstoppable blazing riffs while drummer Kyle Sheppard showcases his passion for metal through his insane beats; followed by Nuclear Demolisher, bringing forward sheer madness in the form of music. After an amazing rhythmic start, we’re treated to a heavy and cohesive sonority led by the beats by Kyle, with highlights to its electrifying guitar solos and to Chase’s hellish vociferations.

terrifierKeeping the speed over the “recommended” limit, fans of old school Exodus and Overkill will go crazy with the demented tune Violent Reprisal, especially due to its belligerent riffs, solos and vocals, whereas Skitzoid Embolism pays a fun tribute to one of the most iconic scenes from the 1990 classic Total Recall. This is yet another top-notch display of traditional Thrash Metal by Terrifier, with both Rene and Brent having sensational performances with their flammable guitars. And galvanized by the music bred by Exodus with Zetro on vocals, Drunk as Fuck epitomizes what Canadian Thrash Metal is all about, including the song’s spirituous lyrics. As the band states, “Heavy Metal is not just music, it’s a way of life”, so raise your beers to this awesome drinking hymn!

In Bestial Tyranny,  yet again we witness a tenacious band that is never tired of blasting high-octane thrash music, with Chase sounding completely demented with his screams while Rene and Brent, together with bassist Alexander Giles, form a “stringed trinity of Thrash Metal” throughout the song’s six breathtaking minutes. And violence never ends in this fantastic album, with Riders of Doom, an instrumental bridge displaying some nice guitar solos, setting the stage for their last onslaught of old school Thrash Metal, titled Sect of the Serpent, a song inspired by Conan the Barbarian (they do love the almighty Arnold, don’t you think?) played at the speed of light. Chase leads his demented troop of metallers, with Kyle’s berserk beats crushing the listener mercilessly.

In a nutshell, the sonic Armageddon caused by Terrifier and their Weapons of Thrash Destruction goes beyond all expectations, proving one more time how underground metal can be just as mighty and exhilarating as the classic bands we love so much. In order to know more about the band’s fantastic arsenal of Thrash Metal, go check their Facebook page, SoundCloud or ReverbNation, and if you want to put your hands on such awesome thrashy armament, simply go to Terrifier’s BandCamp page or to the Test Your Metal Records’ Big Cartel page. Weapons of Thrash Destruction will provide you the precise amount of ammunition you need to kick some serious ass into the mosh pit, no doubt about that.

Best moments of the album: Reanimator, Nuclear Demolisher, Drunk as Fuck and Sect of the Serpent.

Worst moments of the album: Deceiver.

Released in 2017 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. Reanimator 5:24
2. Deceiver 5:15
3. Nuclear Demolisher 4:26
4. Violent Reprisal 4:17
5. Skitzoid Embolism 4:08
6. Drunk as Fuck 4:12
7. Bestial Tyranny 6:13
8. Riders of Doom 1:40
9. Sect of the Serpent 6:44

Band members
Chase Thibodeau – vocals
Rene Wilkinson – guitar
Brent Gallant – guitar
Alexander Giles – bass
Kyle Sheppard – drums

Album Review – Rapheumets Well / The Exile (2016)

Once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by this unstoppable Extreme Metal act from the United States, there’s no turning back.

Rating4

Rapheumets Well - The Exile 2016 - Album Cover- smallNot only the small city of Hickory, located in the state of North Carolina, United States has a Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal band, but the music played by this band is so complex and thrilling I wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly the city turned into a worldwide reference for this type of Extreme Metal. Thus, if you like the theatrical havoc generated by Fleshgod Apocalypse and Dimmu Borgir, for example, you’ll fall in love for the music found in The Exile, the brand new concept album by the symphonic horde known as Rapheumets Well. Formed in 2008 and having released their debut album Dimensions in 2014, which featured ten songs that progressively tell a larger story portrayed in a complex saga of Atai (ancient architects), who aid in the propagation of sentient life throughout the multi-verse, Rapheumets Well return with the second “chapter” of a narrative that will blow your mind while their music penetrates deep into your soul.

Taking place during the “Soyumoth’s War” in the plain of Sovael, The Exile is in fact a fictional journey that viciously represents the hardships of life in a weird and complex way, thoroughly engendered by drummer and lyricist Joshua “Nassaru” Ward. In order to get in touch with this alternative universe created by Joshua, you can take a look at Sovael – The Great Divergence, which is indeed the inspiration for both of the band’s albums, or maybe I should say the albums are the soundtrack for the saga. Either way, I recommend you take a deep breath before you dive into the world of Rapheumets Well, because things are about to get extremely serious, heavy, symphonic and epic.

The acoustic intro in the opening track, Resurrecting The Blood Gate, doesn’t last long as symphonic and blasting sounds quickly invade our ears in a majestic way, with lead singer Tripp King vociferating the lyrics like a lunatic beast. Moreover, the sonority crafted by Joshua on drums is nicely complemented by keyboardist Aaron Rogers, enhancing the complexity and punch of this tune. In The Blight of Sotath Shal, wicked keyboards explode into brutal Black Metal with guitarists Daniel Presnell and Hunter Ross delivering solid riffs while Joshua keeps firing his blast beats, whereas in The Epic of Darmak, even more imposing and dense, the beautiful female vocals by Annette Greene provide a gentle balance to all destruction led by Tripp, turning this into one of the best songs of the album for sure.

Rapheumets WellCrucible of Titans (an awesome name for a song, by the way) couldn’t sound less violent and transcendent, with its polished production enhancing the reach of each instrument and therefore making us feel them inside our minds during this powerful blend of Atmospheric and Symphonic Black Metal; followed by Resurgence, a chant full of melancholy and anger where all three vocalists have amazing performances and, once again, the keyboards by Aaron generate a wicked atmosphere. In addition, this is the best song to enjoy the intricate bass lines by Jon Finney, especially if you’re a lover of the rumbling sound generated by this distinct instrument.

In Witch of Dark Spire, a lot more direct but as powerful as all previous tracks, the guitars by Daniel and Hunter are absolutely on fire, turning this into the most metallic of all tunes. However, in order to add some romance to this sonic havoc, we have Annette sounding like an angelic spirit with her smooth vocals. The title-track The Exile elevates even more the overall quality of the album, showcasing an astral intro that gently flows into potent and visceral music. Joshua is insanely amazing on drums with his fills and unstoppable beats, not to mention the yet again elaborate guitar riffs by both Daniel and Hunter and the demonic growls by Tripp. And as a formidable conclusion to this epic saga, Planetary Cenotaph brings forward more Symphonic Metal and huge doses of brutality meticulously tailored for all types of metalheads, with highlights to the entrancing ambience crafted by both Aaron and Annette.

While the aforementioned “Soyumoth’s War” goes on at the plain of Sovael, you can join Rapheumets Well on Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of this intense and multilayered soundtrack named The Exile at the band’s BandCamp page or at the Test You Metal Records’ Big Cartel page. But let me warn you that once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by Rapheumets Well, there’s no turning back.

Best moments of the album: Resurrecting The Blood Gate, The Epic of Darmak and The Exile.

Worst moments of the album: The Blight of Sotath Shal.

Released in 2016 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. Resurrecting The Blood Gate 4:44
2. The Blight of Sotath Shal 3:53
3. The Epic of Darmak 4:59
4. Crucible of Titans 4:14
5. Resurgence 6:07
6. Witch of Dark Spire 5:17
7. The Exile 6:13
8. Planetary Cenotaph 5:05

Band members
Tripp King – harsh vocals
Annette Greene – choir, female clean vocals
Daniel Presnell – guitar
Hunter Ross – guitar
Jon Finney – bass
Aaron Rogers – keyboards
Joshua “Nassaru” Ward – drums, clean vocals

Album Review – Gomorrah / The Haruspex (2016)

Enter the gates of Gomorrah and be prepared for an insane feast of first-class Canadian Death Metal that will crush your body and mind.

Rating4

CDDIGI-2.1BWhen most people see the name “Gomorrah”, they automatically associate it with to the city mentioned in the Book of Genesis, the Qur’an and Hadith, the Torah, and the New Testament. But such interpretation has been shifting considerably since 2006 in the world of heavy music, when Canadian Death Metal act Gomorrah was born in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia as a Black Metal outfit, storming the world with their refined and brutal music. Growing to a bolder form of Death Metal through the years, this talented band is releasing their second full-length album, entitled The Haruspex, an excellent option for fans of the devastating music by Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated and Bloodbath.

Their short but substantial existence, which includes the unique experience of sharing the stage with renowned acts like Suffocation, Cryptopsy and The Agonist, together with the thorough production of the album, allowed this Kelowna-based band to step up their game in The Haruspex, therefore cementing their path in extreme music. Featuring a sinister artwork by artist Kevin Ellis Moore, The Haruspex will promptly assault you and leave you lying on the floor covered in blood, eager for more of the band’s unyielding compositions.

The intro Imperial kicks off the album in a more than ferocious way, giving you a good idea of what’s coming next, the bestial Nine Kings of Sulphur, where its eerie ambience gets stronger with each instrument growing until the song reaches a pulverizing rhythm. Moreover, the technical riffs by guitarist Bowen Matheson magnificently support the deep growling by frontman Jeff Bryan during the entire song. And following that strong start, get ready to be smashed by Gomorrah in Carcosa, a song that will make fans of Deicide and Cannibal Corpse truly happy. The vociferations by Jeff are insanely powerful in this sick tune, not to mention its unstoppable beats (reproduced live by drummer Casey Long-Read).

GOMORRAH press photo as Nov 17Are you tired already? Because those guys still have a lot more of their demonic music to disturb our minds, beginning with Dismantling The Throne, an extremely poisonous version of Progressive Death Metal where its bass lines (reproduced live by bassist Clayton Harder) add tons of groove to the musicality; followed by Sitra Achra, the epitome of modern Death Metal, being ruthless and harmonious at the same time. Blast beats multiply in the air, while the bass guitar keeps rumbling thunderously, making this one of the best tunes of the entire album. And in Crowns of Flesh, an eerie intro deceives the listener as it takes a few seconds for the band’s nuclear assault to reignite, with its potent riffs and beats alongside the song’s resonant bass lines aiming at dislocating your brain due to the intense headbanging they might cause.

Cerulean is not only an amazing display of Death and Groove Metal where Jeff continues his ode to dementia through his pungent growls, but I personally love when extreme music can be so violent without being played at the speed of light, proving how talented the musicians involved in this band are. Then we have the brutal and melodic Venom and Rapture, where you’ll be instigated to bang your head up and down violently, and Architects, a short instrumental break before one last shot of insanity begins in the form of The Mark of Veritas, a derranged chant where the band’s growls and blast beats come crushing from the very first second. In addition, the fusion of Jeff’s howls and the song’s flammable drumming is outstanding, closing the album on a high note.

If you got psyched up with the music by Gomorrah, go check their Facebook page for more details on the band, including their future tour dates, as well as their YouTube channel and SoundCloud page. And lastly, you can purchase The Haruspex at their BandCamp page or at the Test Your Metal Records’ Big Cartel page. If you dare to enter the gates of Gomorrah, I can guarantee you won’t get disappointed at all with the insane level of destruction this awesome Canadian band can offer you.

Best moments of the album: Carcosa, Sitra Achra and The Mark of Veritas.

Worst moments of the album: Venom and Rapture.

Released in 2016 Test Your Metal Records

Track listing
1. Imperial 1:55
2. Nine Kings of Sulphur 3:17
3. Carcosa 2:31
4. Dismantling The Throne 2:59
5. Sitra Achra 3:51
6. Crowns of Flesh 3:50
7. Cerulean 3:05
8. Venom and Rapture 4:14
9. Architects 1:33
10. The Mark of Veritas 3:40

Band members
Jeff Bryan – vocals
Bowen Matheson – guitars

Band live lineup
Jeff Bryan – vocals
Bowen Matheson – guitars
Clayton Harder – bass
Casey Long-Read – drums