Album Review – Sepultura / Quadra (2020)

A sensational concept album based on Quadrivium embraced by a fusion of Thrash, Groove and Progressive Metal, masterfully crafted by the best Brazilian metal band of all time.

In case you’re form another dimension and haven’t listened to Quadra yet, let me tell you that the fifteenth studio effort by Brazilian Thrash/Groove Metal titans Sepultura is much more than just another metal album. With a concept based on Quadrivium, which are the four subjects or arts (namely arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy), taught after teaching the trivium, Quadra, meaning “four ways” from Latin, is a 12-track album divided into four sections of three songs each. The first being Thrash Metal songs based on the classic Sepultura sound; the second section is inspired by the groove-percussion oriented sound the band explored in Roots; the third part has more progressive songs inspired by the track Iceberg Dances from Machine Messiah, albeit not all are instrumental tracks; and side four features slow-paced and melodic tracks similar to the song Machine Messiah. Add to that the undeniable talent by the band’s four horsemen Derrick Green on vocals, Andreas Kisser on the guitars, Paulo Jr. on bass and Eloy Casagrande on drums, and there you have the band’s most successful record since 1998’s Against.

Recorded and produced by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden, and featuring a bold artwork by Christiano Menezes from Darkside Books revolving around the meaning of the number four, Quadra is also the Portuguese term for sports court. “We all come from different Quadras. The countries, all nations with their borders and traditions; culture, religions, laws, education and a set of rules where life takes place. Our personalities, what we believe, how we live, how we build societies and relationships, all depends on these set of rules that we grew up with. Concepts of creation, gods, death and ethics. Money, we are enslaved by this concept. Who’s poor and who’s rich, that’s how we measure people and material goods. Regardless of your Quadra you need money to survive, the prime rule to play this game called life. Hence the coin. The coin is forged with the senator skull, who represents the set of rules and laws we live by; the world map on his head delimiting the borders of all nations, imaginary lines separating people by concepts of race and the sacred,” explained Andreas about the concept behind the album art.

Tribal beats and futuristic sounds ignite the brutal and groovy Isolation, an old school Thrash Metal chant with Sepultura’s unique twist, where Derrick already tells us all this album is going to be fantastic through his enraged roars, whereas Means to an End is another ass-kicking, trademark creation by the quartet with the talented Eloy bringing tons of progressiveness and fury to the musicality, while Paulo continues to be precise and groovy as usual on bass. And there’s no sign of slowing down in Last Time, where Derrick and Eloy represent the brutality in the music while Andreas showcases his infinite talent as a shredder as well as with his fantastic solos; and adding primeval elements and beats from the band’s cultural background it’s time for one more round of savagery and groove united in the name of metal in Capital Enslavement, with Andreas slashing his strings beautifully accompanied by the unstoppable Eloy on drums. Back to a more traditional sound blending Thrash, Groove and Progressive Metal, Andreas, Paulo and Eloy generate a bold and reverberating atmosphere in Ali, sounding beyond perfect for Derrick to fire his beastly growls.

Raging Void is a mid-tempo, neck-breaking tune led by Eloy and his pounding drums where Derrick is effectively supported by all backing vocals, while Andreas keep stunning us all with his whimsical guitar. Then  a sensational acoustic intro by Andreas sets the stage for an austere and multi-layered metal feast entitled Guardians of Earth (which has one of the best and most touching official videos of the past decade), with all choirs and orchestrations making the whole song even more impactful and thrilling; followed by The Pentagram, bringing to our ears a classic Death Metal sonority infused with endless progressiveness and rage. Furthermore, Andreas is superb on the guitars as usual, while Paulo brings the groove with his minimalist but precise bass jabs, resulting in an excellent instrumental composition. After that we have Autem, uniting the past, present and perhaps the future of Sepultura by alternating between old school thrashing moments and the obscurity and hatred from Death and even Black Metal. Needless to say, Eloy and Andreas are in absolute sync throughout the entire song, and after the brief but beautiful acoustic intermission Quadra, it’s time for a darker, more introspective side of Derek in Agony of Defeat, where once again all background choirs and orchestrations bring a touch of finesse to the overall result, albeit not as majestic as the rest of the album, though. And last but not least, the delicate, sexy vocals by guest Emmily Barreto make a superb paradox with the raspy growls by Derrick in Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering, with the music sounding grim, melodic and vibrant form start to finish, or in other words, a great composition showcasing the band’s endless creativity and passion for heavy music.

After all is said and done, it’s more than fair to give such amazing album of heavy music four of our rating skulls, especially as the album revolves around the various meaning of the number four, right? In addition, in case you haven’t done so yet, I recommend you follow the best and most influential band of the Brazilian metal scene of all time on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their unique and heavy-as-hell songs and videos, and of course purchase or stream Quadra by clicking HERE. When Derrick was asked during an interview with BraveWords “Which Sepultura album are you most proud of?”, he replied, “Definitely Quadra. It’s the latest album, and we really worked so hard on it. We have so many different elements from the past that have helped us get to here – where we are at right now. So, without a doubt in my mind, this is the strongest album that we’ve done together. And I’m extremely proud of it.” I guess we must all agree with Derrick that Quadra is hands down the most detailed, diverse and electrifying album of his era fronting Sepultura, raising the flag of Brazilian metal higher and higher for the delight of all of their loyal and diehard fans.

Best moments of the album: Isolation, Capital Enslavement, Guardians of Earth and Fear and Pain, Chaos, Suffering.

Worst moments of the album: Agony of Defeat.

Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Isolation 4:56
2. Means to an End 4:39
3. Last Time 4:27
4. Capital Enslavement 3:40
5. Ali 4:12
6. Raging Void 3:57
7. Guardians of Earth 5:11
8. The Pentagram 5:20
9. Autem 4:06
10. Quadra 0:46
11. Agony of Defeat 5:51
12. Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering 4:09

Alive in Brazil Digipack and Earbook bonus disc (recorded live at “Audio” in São Paulo, Brazil on June 20, 2015)
1. Choke 3:46
2. Convicted in Life 3:31
3. Sepulnation 4:41
4. Apes of God 3:22
5. Sepultura Under My Skin 3:45
6. Manipulation of Tragedy 4:19
7. The Vatican 6:34
8. Cut-Throat 2:55

Band members
Derrick Green – lead vocals
Andreas Kisser – guitars
Paulo Jr. – bass
Eloy Casagrande – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Bruna Zenti – violin
Kadu Fernandes – percussion on “Capital Enslavement”
Renato Zanuto – keyboards, orchestrations on “Isolation”, “Means to an End”, “Capital Enslavement” and “Guardians of Earth”, choir arrangements
Francesco Ferrini – orchestrations on “Last Time” and “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering”
Robertinho Rodrigues – acoustic bass
Chorus Mysticus – choir vocals
Jens Bogren – backing vocals
Paulo Cyrino – effects on “Ali”
Gunnar Misgeld – choir arrangements on “Isolation”, “Last Time”, “Guardians of Earth” and “Agony of Defeat”
Emmily Barreto – female vocals on “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering”

Album Review – Reternity / A Test Of Shadows (2020)

Just one year after the release of their debut album, this German Melodic Heavy Metal outfit returns in full force with a worthy and stronger successor in every way.

Just one year after the release of Facing the Demon and after several successful club shows and festivals, the creative duo consisting of frontman Stefan Zörner and guitarist Carsten Sauter, together with guitarist Oskar Schmidt, bassist Didi Schenk and drummer Suat Gören, collectively known as Heilbronn, Germany-based Melodic Heavy Metal outfit Reternity, are back in full force with their sophomore album entitled A Test of Shadows, a worthy and stronger successor in every way. Produced in cooperation with Jonas Kümmerle at Analog Mixing Studio, A Test Of Shadows brings forward compact songs without unnecessary lengths, always spiced up by the melodic and expressive vocals of Stefan as well as the powerful and original riffs of Carsten, with a musical spectrum ranging from homages to the Speed and Thrash Metal scene of the blissful 80’s to heavy and danceable mid-tempo hymns and neck-breakers, resulting in a sound that should quickly grow on the heart of every friend of melodic, varied metal.

A creepy version to an excerpt from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony NO. 9 in D Minor, OP. 125: IV. Finale: Presto – Allegro Assai – Rezitativo – Allegro Assai sets the stage for Sniper’s Death, where Suat begins crushing his drums in great fashion, offering Stefan all he needs to shine on vocals in a thrilling and heavy-as-hell Melodic Heavy Metal feast, also showcasing Thrash Metal-infused guitars. There’s more of their groovy and smashing riffs in This Is the End, courtesy of the band’s infernal guitar duo Carsten and Oskar supported by Didi’s rumbling bass, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and exhaling pure metal, and it’s interesting to see how the band has invested a lot more on the thrill and heaviness of classic Heavy Metal this time rather than the melody of their previous release as in My Crush, with Stefan doing a great job declaiming the song’s passionate lyrics. In the title-track A Test of Shadows, a very progressive and dark creation by Reternity, Carsten’s and Oskar’s riffage sounds as razor-edged as possible, with Suat dictating the pace with his intricate beats and fills. Needless to say, this should sound amazing when played live; and  starting with elements from Groove Metal and from the heavier-than-usual rock blasted by Volbeat and Godsmack they offer us all A Grave Called Home, alternating between more introspective, serene moments and obscure, pounding guitars and drums.

Time to put the pedal to the metal once again in (We Were) the Gods, with Stefan’s precise vocal lines being amazingly supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals in a hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with contemporary Melodic Metal, not to mention Suat’s old school beats, and they keep hammering our heads with their fusion of harmony and aggressiveness in Falling Shadows, where Didi once again blasts metallic sounds form his bass while the band’s guitar duo offers our ears Iron Maiden-inspired riffs. In You’ll See the Sun they tried to sound a little bit more stoner or alternative than usual; however, it didn’t work as well as expected, with even Stefan’s vocals sounding uninspired and bland, feeling disconnected from the rest of such amazing album. Fortunately, in No Deeper Hole the boys get back to a more frantic and berserk mode thanks to the smashing drums by Suat and the always incendiary riffs and solos by Carsten and Oskar, and the sheer electricity flowing from all instruments will surely generate some nice circle pits during their live concerts. Lastly, obscure piano notes kick off the somber and melancholic Stranded, created in collaboration with Jazz musician Aljoscha Crema, by far the most personal of all songs where Stefan has another superb performance on vocals, putting a gentle and introspective ending to A Test Of Shadows.

In summary, if you consider yourself a diehard fan of melodic and classic Heavy Metal, I highly recommend you take a shot at A Test Of Shadows, first by streaming the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, and then, even more important than that, by purchasing the album from your favorite retailer, including the MDD shop, Nuclear Blast, Apple Music and Amazon. Also, don’t forget to follow Reternity on Facebook for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about Stefan, Carsten & Co., as I’m more than sure those German metallers will keep embellishing the airwaves with their refined and extremely pleasant creations for many years to come, just like what they have to offer us in A Test Of Shadows, an album that explains why not only the big German bands like Scorpions and Helloween have conquered the world of heavy music, but also why the underground scene in Germany is by far one of the best in the entire world.

Best moments of the album: (We Were) the Gods, Falling Shadows and No Deeper Hole.

Worst moments of the album: You’ll See the Sun.

Released in 2020 Black Sunset

Track listing
1. Symphony NO. 9 in D Minor, OP. 125: IV. Finale: Presto – Allegro Assai – Rezitativo – Allegro Assai (Intro) 0:19
2. Sniper’s Death 4:08
3. This Is the End 3:21
4. My Crush 4:12
5. A Test of Shadows 4:29
6. A Grave Called Home 5:07
7. (We Were) the Gods 4:11
8. Falling Shadows 4:06
9. You’ll See the Sun 4:29
10. No Deeper Hole 2:47
11. Stranded 5:18

Band members
Stefan Zörner – vocals
Carsten Sauter – guitars
Oskar Schmidt – guitars
Didi Schenk – bass
Suat Gören – drums

Guest musician
Aljoscha Crema – piano on “Stranded”

Album Review – Póstuma / Moralis EP (2020)

Uniting the aggressiveness of Death Metal with the beauty of poetry, this promising Brazilian outfit is ready to conquer the world of heavy music with their thrilling debut EP.

Formed in 2017 in the city of Americana, a municipality located in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, aiming at uniting the aggressiveness of Death Metal with the beauty of poetry, the up-and-coming Melodic Death Metal outfit Póstuma (the Portuguese word for “posthumous”) have just released their debut EP entitled Moralis, presenting Greek mythology and philosophy as the album’s main themes together with a questioning about honor, virtue and perhaps an ode to art and tragedy, something that has been in search of balance since the beginning of times. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Estúdio Fuzza by Ricardo Biancarelli, Moralis is recommended for fans of the aggression blasted by bands such as At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Hipocrisy and In Flames, among several others, with its lyrics exalting the pursuit of knowledge and existentialism combined with Death and Thrash Metal influences, as well as writers and philosophers, resulting in a strong and deep sound carefully crafted by frontwoman Bia da Aldea, guitarists Júlio Alves and Rodrigo Batista, bassist Diego “Bob” Carmelo and drummer Murilo Pasqualino.

Filling every single space in the air with violence and harmony, the band kicks off the EP with the Arch Enemy-inspired Prometheus, where Bia showcases all her vocal potency right from the beginning as the amazing growler she is, while Murilo sounds like a stone crusher on drums. This is what I call a fantastic  welcome card by Póstuma, followed by Minerva, where its poetically acid lyrics are roared by Bia (“Crushing an empire, just for desire / All life drained away / We just learn with pain / They make us discuss, we are numb / They manage our hate / Become misery slaves / So certain they beg for chaos / So modest they beg for chaos”) while the music sounds even more impactful than the opening tune due to the brutality blasted by her bandmates, with Júlio and Rodrigo firing venomous riffs from their guitars and, therefore, adding hints of Thrash and Black Metal to their already powerful sound. And Júlio and Rodrigo, supported by the insane bass punches by Diego, keep piercing our heads with their ass-kicking riffage and solos in the also demented Redemption, with Bia’s screams reaching a whole new level of insanity, whereas in the closing song Gaya the band’s guitar duo proves they’re never tired of slashing and shredding their stringed weapons, and together with Diego and Murilo they generate a massive and very melodic wall of sounds perfect for banging our heads in the name of classic and modern Death Metal.

Hopefully this never-ending coronavirus pandemic will not have a negative impact on the band’s plans for the future, especially because they had just released their fulminating debut EP when all this madness started, which means it’s up to us fans of heavy music to show Póstuma our support and encourage them to keep moving forward no matter what. Hence, I want to please ask you all to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream Moralis in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and above all that, to purchase a copy of the EP from their BandCamp page. As a matter of fact, why don’t you visit their BandCamp page and take a look at the lyrics for each one of the four songs of the EP? You’ll see the band is not kidding when they say they want to unite the beauty of poetry with metal music, and when you hit play on any of the songs simply close your eyes and let their amazing Melodic Death Metal flow through your mind and your soul.

Best moments of the album: Prometheus and Minerva.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Prometheus 3:58
2. Minerva 4:42
3. Redemption 4:02
4. Gaya 4:25

Band members
Bia da Aldea – vocal
Júlio Alves – guitar
Rodrigo Batista – guitar
Diego “Bob” Carmelo – bass
Murilo Pasqualino – drums

Album Review – Cannibal / Fire Meets Steel (2020)

Fire meets steel in the name of 80’s Heavy Metal in the debut opus by the new band of the unstoppable Canadian guitarist Jo Capitalicide.

Playing 80’s-inspired metal music with catchy choruses and shredding leads, Ottawa, Canada-based Heavy/Speed Metal unity Cannibal is the newest brainchild from the unrelenting guitarist Jo Capitalicide, who has offered us the new albums by Ice War and Expunged earlier this year, and who’s also behind Canadian speed metallers Aphrodite. Together with Gretchen Steel (Zex, Espionage) on vocals, B. Destroyer (Machine Messiah) on the guitar, Andy Lust on bass and Christ Disappointer on drums, Jo and his Cannibal are unleashing upon us their debut effort Fire Meets Steel, an ode to the golden years of metal recorded during the summer of 2020, mixed and mastered by Dez D’Outre-Tombe, and featuring an old school cover art by Spanish artist Raul Gonzalez and a classic chrome logo by Venezuelan artist Daniel Porta, everything brought into being in the best DIY way possible.

It’s time to embark on a frantic and metallic journey together with Cannibal in The Warlock, with Jo and B. Destroyer firing blazing riffs and solos while Christ Disappointer doesn’t disappoint at all with his Thrash Metal-fueled beats, while in Skulls And Wings the band offers our ears a Warlock-inspired sonority with Gretchen doing a very good job by adding her feminine touch to the raw sounds blasted by her bandmates. Needless to say, once again Jo and B. Destroyer are on absolute fire on the guitars, and speeding things up and sounding more melodic than before they bring forward Gates Of Hell, presenting a classic Heavy Metal sonority from the 80’s with no shenanigans, spiced up by a catchy chorus tailored for being sung along together with Cannibal on any rock pub, followed by  On Your Feet, with Andy showing no mercy for his bass, blasting a metallic sound that will beautifully hammer our heads while Gretchen is effectively supported by her henchmen’s backing vocals in a very pleasant fusion of Heavy and Speed Metal.

The excellent title-track Fire Meets Steel is an ode to all of our metal heroes such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon, with Jo, B. Destroyer and Andy making a flammable stringed triumvirate while Christ Disappointer dictates the song’s vibrant pace behind his drums. Then the galloping bass by Andy supported by Christ Disappointer’s old school beats provide Gretchen all she needs to shine with her trademark she-wolf vocals in After All, bringing to our ears more of their straightforward metal music, with Jo and B. Destroyer yet again slashing their strings in great fashion. Last but not least, ending the album the quintet blasts the also raw and dirty Catacombs Of Hell, not as inspiring as the rest of the album (despite its great name) but still very cohesive and detailed. In addition, Gretchen’s vocals are not as powerful either, but the whole song still has a lot of good moments like the band’s trademark fiery riffage.

In summary, Cannibal don’t want to reinvent the wheel (or maybe I should say reinvent the steel) with their debut album; quite the contrary, Jo and his bandmates simply want to pay a humble tribute to the glory of the 80’s and 90’s with their music, offering us fans of classic Heavy Metal a very good reason for banging our heads while enjoying a cold beer together with our closest friends. As a matter of fact, with a Manowar-ish name like Fire Meets Steel, I don’t think you were expecting anything modern or futuristic, right? Hence, don’t forget to pay them a visit on Facebook and to purchase Fire Meets Steel, which is also available for a full listen on YouTube, from their own BandCamp page, keeping the fires of Cannibal burning bright and, therefore, helping them forge their steel to the best shape of all, which is of course the shape of our beloved Heavy Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Warlock and Fire Meets Steel.

Worst moments of the album: Catacombs Of Hell.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. The Warlock 3:42
2. Skulls And Wings 3:47
3. Gates Of Hell 3:15
4. On Your Feet 3:09
5. Fire Meets Steel 3:35
6. After All 3:44
7. Catacombs Of Hell 3:54

Band members
Gretchen Steel – vocals
Jo Capitalicide – guitar
B. Destroyer – guitar
Andy Lust – bass
Christ Disappointer – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Diva Satanica

Kill’em all, Diva Satanica!

My dear metalheads, how about we celebrate SEVEN FUCKIN’ YEARS of The Headbanging Moose in great fashion with one of the most charismatic, hardworking and talented growlers of the current metal scene? Not only she will haunt your soul with her wicked screams and roars, but she’s also a stunning alternative model and a collaborator of one of the best metal magazines in her home country. I’m talking about the venomous she-wolf Rocío Vázquez, better known by her incendiary moniker Diva Satanica, the frontwoman for Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Bloodhunter and more recently for the international all-female Thrash Metal horde Nervosa, kicking some serious ass with her onstage performance and her beyond potent vocals wherever she goes. Are you ready to have Diva Satanica screaming like a beast right in your face on our humble tribute to such amazing exponent of the Spanish Extreme Metal scene?

Born on June 25, 1988 in La Coruña, Galícia, in the North-West of Spain, known as “the land of witches”, but currently residing in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Diva Satanica is a lover of all kinds of music, but of course she nurtures a special, deep passion for Rock N’ Roll and almost all subgenres of Heavy Metal, especially the ones that suit her needs of talking about feelings. As mentioned by our unstoppable diva in one of her interviews, no one in her family enjoys metal music and in the beginning it was really hard for her to find friends with the same taste in music, but she managed to find her place in society as we can all witness now. In addition, although she said she was terrified the first time she listened to a Death Metal band, due to the fact she didn’t feel comfortable with melodic singing she decided to give growling a try, and well, we must all agree it was the best decision in her life, offering us all fans of heavy music the furious and thrilling creations brought forth by our diva together with her henchmen from Bloodhunter.

In regards to Bloodhunter, the band started about a year before Diva Satanica joined them, more specifically in 2008 in La Coruña (but also currently based in Madrid), by the hands of sole founding member, guitarist and main songwriter Dani Arcos, also known as Fenris, to develop some demos that didn’t fit at his other bands at that time, even with a melodic singer in the beginning. It was after several changes in their lineup and concept when Diva Satanica finally joined the band, currently comprised of our metal lady and Fenris, of course, together with guitarist G. Starless, bassist Daniel Luces and drummer Marcelo Aires. However, she only started singing (and growling) for the band in 2012, after writing the lyrics for a few of their songs and joining their rehearsals, and according to Diva Satanica her bandmates had to be very patient with her in the beginning as she used to sing looking to the wall instead of looking to the band, but from that moment on things started to happen for them, culminating with the release of their debut demo The First Insurrection, in 2013.

It was just a matter of time until the release of their debut full-length opus, self-titled Bloodhunter, which came to light in 2014 and quickly made a huge impact on the local Spanish scene, gathering the attention of fans and critics not only in Spain but anywhere else in the world where high-quality Melodic Death Metal is appreciated. A couple of years later, in 2017, the band released their sophomore effort, titled The End of Faith, showcasing a huge evolution in terms of sound quality, creativity, violence and, above all, in Diva Satanica’s guttural vocals, presenting a much more demonic, piercing and thrilling side of our devilish banshee. Apart from their two studio albums, Bloodhunter also released a couple of singles through the years, those being Ages of Darkness, in 2014, which was featured on a compilation called Oráculo Magazine: From the Shadows Vol.I, and a very entertaining cover version for Helloween’s all-time classic I Want Out, in 2018, where Diva Satanica shares the vocal duties with Spanish vocalist and guitarist Leo Jiménez, known for his solo band and other projects such as Stravaganzza and Saratoga. In addition to that, Bloodhunter also offered us fans a few more amazing cover songs, with their version for Arch Enemy’s hit Bury Me an Angel, featured on a compilation called Hardcore Hits Cancer Vol. III in 2018, Death’s Crystal Mountain, and more recently their rendition for Cradle of Filth’s demolishing tune Gilded Cunt, showing all of our diva’s versatility and range as the fantastic Extreme Metal singer she is.

Apart from those albums, singles and cover songs, you can also have a blast with Diva Satanica and the boys in their excellent 2020 live album Live in Madrid, containing six amazing live versions recorded on March 19, 2019 at the now (unfortunately) defunct We Rock in Madrid, including Dying Sun, All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, and Bring me Horror. Furthermore, you can find other non-official live footage from Bloodhunter on YouTube, such as for example Ancestors Ov All Gods also live at We Rock, but in 2015, The Bloody Throne live at Mangualde Hard Metal Fest 2017, and Eyes Wide Open live at Le Club in La Coruña in 2018, among many, many others. However, if you prefer watching official videos with all the usual production, special effects and other shenanigans, you can bang your head to the songs All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, Dying Sun, Embrace the Dark Light and Let the Storm Come.

As we don’t have anything official yet with Diva Satanica fronting the thrashing girls from Nervosa except for a live chat done in June 2020 with the “four horsewomen”, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace (The true Endless, Triumph of Death, Niryth, Abbath), Greek drummer Eleni Nota (Lightfold, Mask of Prospero, Simplefast) and of course our beloved Diva Satanica, let’s talk a little about her previous bands, projects and special appearances in an array of bands from the most diverse styles, starting with a band she fronted from 2015 until 2019, Spanish Progressive/Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band Outreach. Despite her short stint with Outreach, she recorded with the band the full-length Ephemeral Existence and the single Insane Mind, both in 2019, showcasing all her range and potency throughout the entire album (which I highly recommended you take a listen at).

You’ll also be able to enjoy her she-wolf roars in the songs Nothing to Believe, from the 2018 album Misanthropy, by El Salvadorian Thrash/Death Metal band Apes of God; Mutiladora Genital, from Spanish Death Metal masters Aposento’s 2014 self-titled album; Darkness Within, from the 2018 album Purgatory, by Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Suru; doing additional vocals in the entire album Mesías, released in 2019 by Spanish Heavy Metal band Leo Jiménez; impersonating the one and only Baphomet in the 2019 album El Secreto de los Templarios, by Spanish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Legado de una Tragedia, together with soprano Nancy Catalina and Sara Grün from Hiranya (and you can enjoy this nice making of with an explanation as to why those three vocalists were chosen for the part); and last but not least, doing additional and choir vocals in the songs La Cantiga de las Brujas (check also this amazing live version of the same song) and El Séptimo Sello, from the 2019 album Ira Dei, by Spanish Celtic/Folk Metal institution Mägo de Oz.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Such multi-talented metal diva would obviously have tons of distinguished influences in her style and career, and despite the fact that her moniker was clearly inspired by one of the best Arch Enemy songs of all time, Diva Satanica, and that most fans tried to label them as the Spanish version of Arch Enemy in the beginning, the members of Bloodhunter have many different influences in their musical careers, from Judas Priest to Behemoth and Death. When asked about her own personal favorites, Diva Satanica mentioned bands and artists the likes of Astarte, Eths, In This Moment, Skullfist, Behemoth, Axewound, Rotting Christ, Nightrage, Firewind and Lana del Rey, showing she enjoys any type of music, not only rock and metal, but also saying that it’s in Extreme Metal where she found her identity when singing. If you know Spanish and want to spend some time with Diva Satanica and her collection of metal and non-metal albums, you should definitely watch this video on YouTube, where she presents some of her favorite albums from bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Ramones, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Firewind, Rotting Chirst, The Agonist and Eths. Regarding French metalcore band Eths, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the amazing Candice Clot, former frontwoman for what’s in my opinion one of the most underrated metal bands of all time, was essential in her decision to become an extreme music vocalist. In addition, you can enjoy Diva Satanica paying her own personal tribute to some of her biggest idols on her own YouTube channel, including her vocal performances of Septicflesh’s Prototype, Holy Moses’ Triggered, Behemoth’s Ov Fire And The Void, and a very unique version for Slayer’s darkest hit Raining Blood together with Spanish rock and metal cover band Femme Fractal.

As we’re talking about women in rock and metal, Diva Satanica complemented her thoughts by saying that apart from Candice Clot (and Diva Satanica even said that when Candice left Eths she was offered to audition, but she had to refuse it as she was barely 20 years old and had no means to travel nor the equipment to record with), she also loves the music by In This Moment, Jinjer and a Spanish underground band named Bones of Minerva, which I highly recommend you go check their music on their BandCamp page. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the song The Queen Beast is dedicated to Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri from Greek Black Metal horde Astarte, one of her main influences and a good friend that sadly passed away in 2014 due to complications from leukemia, saying she was the first woman to create the first Black Metal band formed only by women, and we can easily see that beautiful tribute Diva Satanica paid to Tristessa in the song’s amazing lyrics (“Feel her wrath / She’s watching from the stars / Abstraction of life / The air, the nature, the skies are now her reign / The shades in darkened silverlights / The black flame burns! / The highest priestess arise”).

If you think it was easy for Diva Satanica to reach her current vocal style and growth as an Extreme Metal vocalist, she said her path so far has demanded (and will always demand) from her a lot of hard work, discipline and trial and error, acknowledging that she couldn’t sing properly on the band’s first album as she didn’t know exactly what she was doing nor she could sustain her vocals for long periods of time. It was only after watching several tutorials on YouTube , after consulting with different extreme music singers and after studying in detail the performances of all vocalists of the concerts she attended that she properly began shaping her voice, spending about two years improving her technique, even taking melodic singing classes at a given point in her life, and applying necessary warmup and diaphragm strengthening exercises to improve her performance. Then she said that because she started her “Extreme Vocal Lessons” to help other growlers to improve their vocals in the early stages of their careers, she ended up discovering different vocal types and ranges that she considered great choices to incorporate to her own style. If you want to take a peak at some of her videos where she gives important tips for growlers like her, you can watch this tutorial (also in Spanish) where she teaches how to do guttural and screaming vocals, and also this short lesson where she explains the difference between growls and screams versus grunts, pig squeals, shrieks and other vocalizations. One thing that is quite annoying to Diva Satanica is when people use gender to justify why women can’t growl, with her solution to that simply being inviting those people to watch Bloodhunter live, which in my opinion is indeed an amazing experience for the non-believers who will undoubtedly be stunned by her vicious roars.

When asked about the current metal scene in Galicia, where she comes from, and if her music and Death Metal are well-received by the people from that region in Northwest Spain, she said that although they’re a small community there are different styles that people tend to listen to the most from time to time. Around a decade ago, the Gothic scene was the most prevalent, switching to Alternative Metal and Metalcore in recent years. She also mentioned the importance of their own summer festival, Resurrection Fest, which started years ago as a small act but that it’s now one of the most important festival in Europe, proving the scene in Galicia is in excellent shape. As you might have noticed already, Diva Satanica loves performing on stage, and among her favorite songs to play live she mentioned some of her band’s most violent creations such as Let the Storm Come, Possessed by Myself and of course The Queen Beast, as already mentioned, as this song has a strong meaning for her and helps her add an extra amount of emotional feeling to her singing.

Not only an accomplished vocalist, Diva Satanica has also done some modeling in the past and contributed as a writer and journalist to a couple of magazines, including La Heavy, one of the biggest rock and metal publication in Spain, managed by the website Mariskal Rock. She said she started her modeling career a few years ago, but as she discovered a lot of people are interested in many different things other than art, she gave up and decided to focus on the metal scene, starting with a Greek webzine named Subexistance Music Production and then moving on to La Heavy. Apart from that, she’s also working towards a Degree as a Doctor in Nursery, and was a participant in the Spanish TV program La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice) in 2017, surprising the coaches by screaming and growling instead of only doing clean vocals, being the first contestant to perform this type of singing. The international artist Juanes chose her to be part of his team, where she performed songs like Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. There’s even an interview she gave to a guy named Juan Destroyer on Mariskal Rock TV where she talks about her participation on the show, and how she inspired Juanes to get back on doing a heavier kind of rock. Moreover, she always mentions that being on La Voz was one of the best experiences of her life without any doubt, saying that as she was the first even participant to do guttural, she got a lot of recognition from fans and bands from all over the world, with icons such as  Michael Amott of Arch Enemy or Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh congratulating her for her amazing performance on the show.

Our dauntless diva also mentioned that there’s still a long road ahead of all musicians that dedicate their careers to more extreme styles of rock and metal, as there’s still a lot of prejudice everywhere (saying that even today in Madrid she has to cover her tattoos depending on the situation), but that it’s up to the musicians themselves to make their style more accepted by society, and that the more musicians bring their experience to light and defend their identity, the more the road will open up. As you can see, Diva Satanica is not only extremely talented and focused on her career, but she also has a strong opinion about the current state of the metal scene and about what any person needs to do to thrive in the music industry. Hence, you can check some extra interviews with this amazing Spanish she-wolf on YouTube, such as this one where she shares the latest update on both Bloodhunter and Nervosa, the current coronavirus pandemic situation and more, or this one to a show called “That Metal Interview with James”, recorded in June 2020, where she speaks of how she met Prika Amaral of Nervosa and how she was approached to join the Brazilian death metallers, about her experience being on the TV show La Voz, and about the future plans of both Bloodhunter and Nervosa regarding their musical direction for their next records. You’ll notice from all those interviews and from her music that Rocío Vázquez is more than just another vocalist; she’s a very humble and gentle human being, a hardworking musician, and a fulminating growler. Having said that, all that’s left to say is… ALL HAIL THE ONE AND ONLY DIVA SATANICA!

Diva Satanica’s Official Facebook page
Diva Satanica’s Official Instagram
Diva Satanica’s Official Twitter
Diva Satanica’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official Facebook page
Bloodhunter’s Official Instagram
Bloodhunter’s Official Twitter
Bloodhunter’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official BandCamp
Nervosa’s Official Facebook page
Nervosa’s Official Instagram
Nervosa’s Official Twitter
Nervosa’s Official YouTube channel

“Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you feel scared and things don’t go as you planned before, but you must keep on fighting to discover what you want in your life and who you are.” – Diva Satanica

Album Review – Eight Lives Down / Humans (2020)

Four distinct musicians from four different countries united in the name of metal, bringing to us all a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable.

Originally founded by Greek-Kiwi vocalist and lyricist Aliki Katriou in 2016 together with British guitarist James Scott (replaced by French guitarist Paul Allain in 2017), bassist Marcin Orczyk from Poland, and Brazilian drummer Rodrigo Moraes Cruz, London, UK-based Extreme Metal act Eight Lives Down has its roots in Groove and Thrash Metal, but constantly branches out stylistically incorporating influences from Progressive, Death and Black Metal, as well as various other musical genres such as Punk Rock, Blues, and traditional folk music, while vocals range from low growls and high screams to clean and even operatic phrases, creating a truly unique sound, unmistakably heavy and angry, yet refreshingly different and unpredictable. Now in 2020 the quartet is ready to invade our senses with their debut full-length opus, entitled Humans, showcasing all their versatility, dynamism, creativity and rage, all enhanced by the album’s top-notch mixing and mastering done by Dan Baune at Noise Foundry Productions, while embraced by a modern, stylish artwork by Dylan Sutton.

The blazing guitar riffs by Paul kick off the sick and groovy Opening Shots, bringing forward a fusion of Melodic Death Metal with more modern and alternative styles, with Aliki growling like a true she-demon for our total delight, followed by Misguided, where the metallic bass jabs by Marcin will hit you in the face while Aliki blasts her wicked mix of clean vocals and harsh gnarls, leaning towards contemporary Thrash and Groove Metal while Rodrigo dictates the pace with his classy beats. Then the mesmerizing vocalizations by Aliki accompanied by tribalistic sounds and tones ignite the heavy and experimental Angela, with Paul, Marcin and Rodrigo bringing sheer progressiveness to the music with their refined techniques, whereas From The Cradle is a lot more introspective, grim and atmospheric than its predecessors, starting in a semi-acoustic manner while Aliki declaims the song’s dark lyrics, sounding at the same time like a 90’s Groove and Funk Metal tune and a modern-day thrashing tune, something a wicked band like Faith No More would definitely do.

More of their rumbling sounds permeate the air in the also heavy and furious Sacrifice, a lecture in Groove Metal by Eight Lives Down where Aliki’s roars get deeper and more enraged while Rodrigo sounds pulverizing on drums, supported by Marcin’s menacing bass; and in Organize Your Mind the quartet offers us all a hybrid of the rebelliousness of Alternative Metal with the intricacy of Progressive Metal, with Paul being on absolute fire with his demented riffage, while also presenting interesting atmospheric passages and endless heaviness. After that it’s time to break our necks headbanging together with Aliki and the boys in Colder, adding hints of Heavy Rock to their already crushing sonority while Paul and Marcin have a fun duel with their strident riffs and solos and low-tuned bass punches, respectively. Lastly, you better get ready for nine minutes of introspection, groove and heaviness in the form of Why, starting in a serene way with Aliki declaiming the song’s cryptic words, evolving into a thunderous metal feast led by Rodrigo’s visceral beats, not to mention the incendiary solos by Paul as the icing on the cake.

This precious gem of Extreme and Experimental Metal can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube, but of course in order to show your support to Aliki and her loyal henchmen you should definitely buy a copy of Humans from their own BandCamp page, from their webstore or from Amazon, as well as follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such up-and-coming metal band, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their idiosyncratic creations. It will certainly be more than just interesting to see what the future holds for Eight Lives Down with their upcoming releases, if they’ll keep experimenting like crazy or if they’ll set a defined shape and style for their music. Until then, while we wait for the creative mind of Aliki to provide us more insanity in the form of music, we can keep banging our heads nonstop to Humans, by far one of the best alternative albums of the year.

Best moments of the album: Opening Shots and Sacrifice.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Cult Of Parthenope

Track listing
1. Opening Shots 3:50
2. Misguided 4:01
3. Angela 3:56
4. From The Cradle 7:40
5. Sacrifice 3:52
6. Organize Your Mind 4:21
7. Colder 4:20
8. Why 9:02

Band members
Aliki Katriou – vocals
Paul Allain – guitar
Marcin Orczyk – bass
Rodrigo Moraes Cruz – drums

Album Review – Ragehammer / Into Certain Death (2020)

It’s time to head into certain death to the sound of the new album by this insane Polish brigade, offering us all ten slabs of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal violence.

Kraków, Poland’s own Black/Thrash Metal institution Ragehammer is finally back to the battlefront after four years of studio inactivity (since the release of their 2016 opus The Hammer Doctrine) and a year-long live hiatus with the same lineup comprised of The Hellstörm on vocals, Bestial Avenger on the guitars, Corpsebutcher on bass and Mortar on drums to once again spit with scorn at the trend-ridden scene, where aesthetics took over the ethics, armed with their sophomore full-length album entitled Into Certain Death. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikołaj Żentara at No Solace, featuring an enraged artwork by Devinez, and consisting of ten slabs of sonic violence with variable pain levels in the characteristic of sincere and brutal Blackened Thrash Metal style which continues the path Ragehammer chose when starting almost 10 years ago, Into Certain Death will offer the listener exactly what the band has always promised to provide in their rebellious career, a raw, warlike fusion of Black and Thrash Metal without compromises, unnecessary distance or mercy, and of course a very good reason for getting drunk and raising our horns in the name of evil.

Metal troopers are marching to the beats by Mortar in the uprising intro Beneath the Red Suns, suddenly exploding into a lesson in Blackened Thrash Metal titled We Are the Hammer, with Bestial Avenger extracting endless savagery and electricity form his stringed weapon, therefore providing The Hellstörm exactly what he needs to shine with his raspy, berserk growls. Moreover, when they speed things up it’s time to simply crush your skull into the pit, and there’s no sign of those four horseman slowing their music down as they blast a furious hybrid of Black, Death and Thrash Metal titled Jesus Goat, with Corpsebutcher and Mortar being thunderous with their respective bass punches and blast beats. In Peace let’s say the name of the song doesn’t match with its infuriated rhythm, with the band bringing forward a potent display of extreme music led by Bestial Avenger’s razor-edged riffage while The Hellstörm vociferates rabidly from start to finish in great blackened, thrashing fashion, whereas the band’s frontman roars viciously in his mother tongue in the sick Black and Thrash Metal extravaganza titled Na Pewną Śmierć, which is Polish for the album’s title “into certain death”, tailored for admirers of the heaviest side of thrash, with Mortar sounding utterly demented behind his drum set.

In the fulminating 616. TerrorKorps the band drinks from the same wicked fountain as thrashing masters Exodus and Slayer, but of course with the band’s own Polish twist, while the stringed duo Bestial Avenger and Corpsebutcher will at the same time pierce your ears and smash your head with their extreme aggression and speed. It’s clear that slamming is their business, and business is good, as in the high-octane Fear Toxin we’re treated to more of the infernal screams by The Hellstörm and the unstoppable drums by Mortar in what’s perhaps the song with the most Black Metal riffs of all, while tribal beats and a hellish atmosphere are offered to the listener in Omega Red, sounding darker and more introspective than its predecessors, and showcasing another brutal job done by Bestial Avenger armed with his devilish guitar. Ragehammer keep distilling their demonic hybrid of extreme styles in the fast and furious Dragon City, where the rebellious gnarls by The Hellstörm are effectively supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals while Mortar doesn’t stop hammering his drums not even for a single second. And finally, a Stygian, somber intro darkly evolves into a massive wall of sounds in the imposing 8-minute aria titled Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal), the sequel to “Prophet of Genocide” from their 2012 demo War Hawks, with The Hellstörm investing into more anguished vocal lines while its second half presents Ragehammer’s usual sonic devastation.

I bet you can’t wait to join Ragehammer and head into certain death to the sound of their warlike metal music, and in order to do so simply pay the guys a visit on Facebook and (soon) purchase a copy of their breathtaking new album from the Pagan Records’ BandCamp or webstore in CD or LP format. The Hellstörm, Bestial Avenger, Corpsebutcher and Mortar nailed it once again with Into Certain Death, elevating their status in their homeland (and anywhere else in the world where ass-kicking extreme music is appreciated) from just a promise to one of the best and most entertaining acts of the underground scene, beautifully translating into their wicked creations exactly what Blackened Thrash Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: We Are the Hammer, Jesus Goat and 616. TerrorKorps.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Pagan Records

Track listing
1. Beneath the Red Suns 1:45
2. We Are the Hammer 3:58
3. Jesus Goat 3:29
4. Peace 4:25
5. Na Pewną Śmierć 4:28
6. 616. TerrorKorps 4:00
7. Fear Toxin 4:38
8. Omega Red 5:46
9. Dragon City 4:47
10. Prophet of Genocide Part II (Mother Winter Eternal) 8:54

Band members
The Hellstörm – vocals
Bestial Avenger – guitars
Corpsebutcher – bass
Mortar – drums

Album Review – Silent Obsession / Lost EP (2020)

Bang your heads to this venomous fusion of Technical, Progressive and Brutal Death Metal made in Algeria.

Inspired by renowned bands such as Decapitated and Morbid Angel, among other modern metal acts, Algiers, Algeria-based Death Metal unity Silent Obsession is eager to spread their fusion of Technical and Brutal Death Metal with more contemporary styles such as Groove Metal to all four corners of the earth, sending a bold message that Algerian metal can be as vibrant, demolishing and entertaining as any of their North American or European friends. Originally conceived as a solo project by guitarist Max Marginal in 2017 aiming at exploring humanity’s dark side, Silent Obsession evolved to a full-bodied band in the next couple of years until reaching their current lineup comprised of the aforementioned Max Marginal on the guitar, Danny on vocals and guitar, Manil on bass and Ben Der on drums, strengthening their sound and creativity and, consequently, culminating with the release now in 2020 of their debut EP entitled Lost, bringing to our avid ears 12 minutes of top-of-the-line extreme music made in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

The blazing guitars by Danny and Max set the tone in the violent EP intro, already showcasing all their skills while Ben Der crushes his drums manically and also presenting elements from Thrash and Black Metal, with Danny’s vicious roars adding a touch of malignancy to the overall result. Then bringing tons of progressiveness and rage together with their core sonority the quartet fires Paranoia Activity, where Manil’s bass punches will hit you hard in the face and with Danny growling more deeply and demonically than before in a technical display of Death Metal infused with Groove Metal nuances, all spiced up by some sick guitar solos, whereas D.E.A.D. sounds even more violent and devastating, with Manil and Ben Der generating an earthquake with their sonic weapons while Danny and Max keep extracting sheer dementia form their guitars, not to mention how rabid and insane Danny’s roars sound. In other words, this is an absolutely perfect Progressive Death Metal tune for smashing your spinal cord into the circle pit. Lastly, in Destruction of the Spirit the band once again blends their core Death Metal with other extreme styles such as Thrash Metal and even Progressive Groove Metal, with their riffs and solos being utterly fantastic, accompanied by the always infernal drums by Ben Der.

Just like their friends from Lelahell, Litham and Hellium, among several other excellent bands, Silent Obsession are determined to carry the flag of Algerian Death Metal wherever they go, and their debut effort Lost is indeed a great example of what they are capable of offering to demanding metalheads always searching for heavy, violent and fast music. Hence, don’t forget to give the EP a listen on Spotify, on YouTube and on Deezer, to follow Silent Obsession on their official Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and to purchase a copy of Lost from Apple Music. Max and his loyal henchmen are eager to know what you think of their debut installment, especially if you’re a diehard fan of underground Death Metal, showing you once again that not only high-quality metal music can be found anywhere in the world, but also if Death Metal is your cup of tea, you should definitely take a musical trip to “Al Jaza’ir”.

Best moments of the album: D.E.A.D.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Intro 2:34
2. Paranoia Activity 4:32
3. D.E.A.D. 3:11
4. Destruction of the Spirit 2:22

Band members
Danny – vocals, guitars
Max Marginal – guitars
Manil – bass
Ben Der – drums

Album Review – The Glorious Dead / Into Lifeless Shrines (2020)

Ranging from blasting intensity to a more down-trodden doom crawl, enjoy over 50 minutes of “Filthy Northern Death Metal” by this talented Michigan, US-based act.

Founded by T.J. Humlinski (Feast Eternal) and Marty Rytkonen (Prosthesis, Slaunchwise, Charnel Valley, Bindrune Recordings) in Traverse City, a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, Death Metal four-piece act The Glorious Dead is a band that finds its roots planted somewhere back in 2008 and 2009 with the three-song demo The Burdensome Ceremony of Internment. Upon suffering a few line-up changes the band went dormant until 2017, when drummer Chris Fulton (Reasonable Deception, Neither) relocated to the area and agreed to join the band. With Chris Boris from the Northern Michigan band and forest metal stalwarts Pan permanently joining the ranks on bass, the band finalized a two-year quest and all necessary material for their debut full-length album Into Lifeless Shrines, offering the listener songs that range from blasting intensity to a more down-trodden doom crawl. Highly influenced by ancient Death Metal and the 80’s darkened thrash movement, The Glorious Dead focuses on memorable and diseased sounding riffs lurking at its core in Into Lifeless Shrines, resulting in the rise of what they like to call “Filthy Northern Death Metal”.

The eerie, cinematic intro Solium Mortis opens the gates of hell to the putrid and violent Vitreous Hemmorhage, a solid and straightforward Death Metal song with no shenanigans where T.J. roars and growls like a creature of the underworld while his bandmates generate a venomous ambience with their instruments, whereas Chris Fulton pounds his drums nonstop in the heavy-as-hell The Noise of Gravediggers, another bestial Death Metal feast with T.J. and Marty extracting sheer savagery from their stringed axes, living up to the legacy of renowned acts like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Morbid Angel. And they keep smashing our skulls with their brutality in Cranial Festering, where Chris Boris and Chris Fulton generate a dense and menacing base perfect for T.J. to thrive with his gruesome gnarls, maintaining the album at a high level of aggressiveness and obscurity.

The band then ventures through the realms of Doom Metal and Blackened Doom, and the final result is a sluggish and grim creation entitled Tenebris Arca, with the slashing sound of the guitars bringing an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result, while the crushing beats by Chris Fulton dictate the rhythm in the venomous Putrefactive Adoration, a brutal display of classic Death Metal shredding by the band’s guitar duo, all spiced up by the always vile guttural by T.J. After such high level of dementia, it’s time for the quartet to arise from the pits of the netherworld and fire one more round of bestiality in the form of Reunite in Grotesque, a lecture in old school Death Metal with no artificial elements, just plain, unfiltered violence, tons of shredding and the unstoppable beats by Chris Fulton. And even darker than its predecessors, Celebrate the Corpse blends Death and Doom Metal with subtle nuances of Black and Thrash Metal, presenting a great job on the guitars by both T.J. and Marty while Chris Boris keeps delivering endless groove through his bass punches.

Into Lifeless Shrines, one of their oldest compositions, comes smashing our heads mercilessly, showcasing a violent pace boosted by the song’s austere lyrics while once again bringing to our avid ears classic Death Metal spiced up by the most Stygian elements from Doom Metal, and the rumbling bass by Chris Boris kicks off the also visceral Leave it with the Worms, where the guitars by T.J. and Marty will pierce your ears while Chris Fulton gives us all a very good reason for slamming into the pit. Following this ode to darkness, Cannibal Corpse-inspired riffage and intricate and berserk beats are the main ingredients in the Death Metal extravaganza titled The Ruin of Flesh, with T.J. demonstrating all his skills as a growler once again, and there’s nothing better than a huge dosage of gore and violence to end a Death Metal album, which is exactly what you’ll get in Exordium of Decay, with its wicked guitar solos and hammering drums keeping the music vibrant and grim until the song’s climatic finale.

If you consider yourself a fan of underground Death Metal, then you should definitely give the guys from The Glorious Dead a try, as their raw and pulverizing creations might be exactly what you’re looking for in extreme music. Hence, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook for news, tour dates and other details about the band, and purchase a copy of Into Lifeless Shrines from the Bindrune Recordings’ BandCamp page or webstore, fueling The Glorious Dead to keep demolishing our heads and disturbing our peace with their frantic and heavy Death Metal for many years to come. Put differently, let’s all hail the northern hordes of Death Metal together with the talented metallers from The Glorious Dead, with Into Lifeless Shrines marking the most cohesive and detailed step in their career so far.

Best moments of the album: The Noise of Gravediggers, Tenebris Arca and Reunite in Grotesque.

Worst moments of the album: Celebrate the Corpse.

Released in 2020 Bindrune Recordings

Track listing
1. Solium Mortis (Intro) 1:42
2. Vitreous Hemmorhage 4:17
3. The Noise of Gravediggers 5:02
4. Cranial Festering 3:16
5. Tenebris Arca 5:27
6. Putrefactive Adoration 4:21
7. Reunite in Grotesque 4:14
8. Celebrate the Corpse 5:33
9. Into Lifeless Shrines 4:20
10. Leave it with the Worms 4:11
11. The Ruin of Flesh 5:25
12. Exordium of Decay 4:37

Band members
T.J. Humlinski – vocals, guitars
Marty Rytkonen – guitars
Chris Boris – bass
Chris Fulton – drums

Album Review – Manticora / To Live to Kill to Live (2020)

Let the Progressive Power and Thrash Metal by this Denmark-based unity mesmerize you during the 63 minutes of music found in the second part of their horror novel-inspired concept album.

Hvidovre, Denmark’s own Progressive Power/Thrash Metal unity Manticora is back in action in 2020 with their ninth full-length opus, entitled To Live to Kill to Live, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed To Kill to Live to Kill, released in 2018. This is the second part of a grandiose concept based on their 334-page horror novel (which by the way can be purchased HERE), mixed by Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, U.D.O., Destruction) and featuring guest musicians form bands like Allegiance Reign, Defacing God and Withering Surface, all embraced by a comic book-inspired artwork by Danish artist David Troest. To Live to Kill to Live offers the listener 63 minutes of undisputed metal music, showcasing not only all the dexterity by frontman Lars F. Larsen, gutarists Kristian Larsen and Stefan Johansson, bassist Kasper Gram and drummer Lawrence Dinamarca, but also their creativity and precision in uniting Heavy Metal with a thrilling storytelling. “It all started out as a crazy and almost impossible idea… A book and two albums… I mean… come on? Today I’m so proud of the final result and I still can’t understand that we actually did it,” commented Kristian about the band’s newborn spawn, inviting us all to join them in this breathtaking adventure in the “Land of the Rising Sun”.

A cinematic intro ignites the 14-minute aria entitled Katana – The Moths and the Dragonflies/Katana – Mud, quickly exploding into modern and electrifying Heavy Metal where Lawrence is absolutely bestial on drums, sounding like a hybrid between the music by Trivium and Stratovarius, and with Kristian and Stefan delivering sheer stamina from their riffs and solos. Furthermore, the storyline progresses flawlessly together with the massive wall of sounds and all breaks and variations blasted by Manticora, building an instant connection with the Japanese-inspired bridge To Nanjing, bringing peace to our minds and soothing our souls before those Danish metallers explode our senses with the imposing The Farmer’s Tale, Pt. 3 – Eaten by the Beasts, where Kasper and Lawrence bring tons of groove and intricacy to the music while Lars keeps declaiming the song’s dark words in great fashion, not to mention the guitar duo’s wicked solos. Then it’s time for a Groove and Heavy Metal feast entitled Slaughter in the Desert Room, where both guitars and Kasper’s bass jabs generate a rumbling atmosphere perfect for Lars to fire more of his trademark vocals. In other words, this amazing song couldn’t have sounded bolder nor more epic than what it already is.

Following such insane composition, phantasmagorical keys give an extra touch of evil and darkness to Through the Eyes of the Killer – Filing Teeth, a true Metal Opera where Kristian and Stefan take the lead with their sinister guitars while Lawrence blasts sluggish, Doom Metal-inspired beats; followed by Katana – Death of the Meaning of Life, leaning towards classic Scandinavian Melodic Death and Power Metal and at the same time sounding as thunderous as it can be, with Lars giving a lesson in passion and feeling while his bandmates don’t stop crushing their instruments not even for a single second for our total delectation. And Tasered/Ice Cage is another explosion of modern-day Melodic Death Metal with both Kristian and Stefan kicking some serious ass with their strident, piercing guitar lines, always in absolute sync with Lawrence’s intricate beats.

Then serene, acoustic guitars intertwined with crisp riffs in a Dream Theater-ish style ignite the pleasant Goodbye Tina, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline and with tons of harmony flowing from Lars’ vocal lines, before Manticora come ripping once again with Tasered/Removal, a heavy and rumbling tune where Kasper does a superb job with his metallic bass, being perfect for cracking your neck headbanging to their solid fusion of Groove and Power Metal; whereas the atmospheric instrumental bridge Stalin Strikes will expand your senses and gently flow into a Japanese-spoken narrative titled Ten Thousand Cold Nights, advancing the storyline into the closing tune Katana – Beheaded, sounding and feeling imposing and vibrant form the very first second, therefore putting a climatic end to the album with all band members being on fire, in special the band’s unstoppable guitar duo and the talented Lawrence, while Lars continues to give life to the story through his soaring vocals.

If you haven’t got in touch with the music by Manticora yet, go check what those Danish metallers are up to on Facebook and on Instagram, listen to more of their music (including the first part of the story released in 2018) on Spotify, and grab a copy of To Live to Kill to Live from their own BandCamp page, from the Sound Pollution webstore, from the ViciSolum Productions’ BandCamp page, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In summary, we must all admit Manticore have definitely outdone themselves in their new album, sounding tighter and even more melodic and incendiary than in their previous album, and concluding their epic Japanese saga on a high and utterly metallic note. After setting the bar so high with To Live to Kill to Live, what’s next for Manticora? Well, that’s something only time will tell, but until then we have a lot of high-end metal music to enjoy thanks to one of the best bands hailing from the Danish scene.

Best moments of the album: Katana – The Moths and the Dragonflies/Katana – Mud, Slaughter in the Desert Room and Katana – Death of the Meaning of Life.

Worst moments of the album: Goodbye Tina.

Released in 2020 ViciSolum Productions

Track listing
1. Katana – The Moths and the Dragonflies/Katana – Mud 14:40
2. To Nanjing 1:57
3. The Farmer’s Tale, Pt. 3 – Eaten by the Beasts 4:23
4. Slaughter in the Desert Room 6:11
5. Through the Eyes of the Killer – Filing Teeth 4:59
6. Katana – Death of the Meaning of Life 5:25
7. Tasered/Ice Cage 5:45
8. Goodbye Tina 5:54
9. Tasered/Removal 3:16
10. Stalin Strikes 2:36
11. Ten Thousand Cold Nights 0:51
12. Katana – Beheaded 7:26

Band members
Lars F. Larsen – vocals
Kristian Larsen – guitars
Stefan Johansson – guitars
Kasper Gram – bass
Lawrence Dinamarca – drums