Album Review – Xenos / Filthgrinder (2020)

No compromise, no fashion, no bullshit, just Thrash Metal. That’s what three unstoppable Italian metallers have to offer us all in their excellent debut album.

Are you ready to crush your skull into the circle pit to the sound of a 100% pure, no bullshit, no shenanigans Thrash Metal album born from the urge to go back to the roots of the genre and inspired by the more technical wing of 90’s Thrash Metal? That’s exactly what you’re going to get in Filthgrinder, the debut album by an Agrigento, Sicily-based Thrash Metal trio formed at the end of 2018 by vocalist and bassist Ignazio Nicastro (from post-thrashers Eversin) together with guitarist Giuseppe Taormina and drummer Danilo Ficicchia that goes by the sharp name of Xenos, clearly inspired by thrashing masters like Megadeth, Xentrix, Annihilator and Slayer, but of course without forgetting to add their own dosage of personality to each one of their compositions. Featuring a modern and aggressive album art that perfectly represents the band’s sound, as well as guest appearances by Jeff “Mantas” Dunn from Venom and Simon Cobb from Anihilated, Filthgrinder exalts the characteristics of the genre through fast and aggressive compositions, yet at the same time sounding technical and full of groove.

Soldados works like an acoustic and serene intro, or maybe I should say “the calm before the storm” by Xenos, as they begin their infuriated, berserk Thrash Metal attack in the title-track Filthgrinder, with Giuseppe shredding his axe in great fashion while Danilo pounds his drums mercilessly. Put differently, it’s pure old school Bay Area Thrash led by Ignazio’s raspy and demented screams, with no artificial elements added at all, followed by Post Apocalypse Breed, just as insane and frantic as its predecessor, reminding me of some of the creations by Exodus and Slayer. Furthermore, Danilo accelerates the song’s pace while Ignazio brings thunder and lightning to the musicality through his vocals and bass punches, resulting in a must-listen song for lovers of the genre.

And pounding our heads with their razor-edged riffs and venomous beats, the band offers us all Birth Of A Tyrant, a headbanging tune where Danilo is once again berserk on drums, also featuring a sick guitar solo by the aforementioned Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, whereas So Old, So Cold sounds and feels a lot more infuriated and faster, or in other words, a frantic display of classic Thrash Metal by the trio with Giuseppe kicking some serious ass on the guitar while Ignazio continues to bark manically, bursting his lungs with anger and rage. And leaning towards the Speed Metal played by Megadeth infused with the fury of Exodus we have Iconoclast, with violent beats and rumbling bass lines working as the driving force of this slamming feast.

There’s absolutely no sign of slowing down as the trio keeps blasting sheer violence and rebelliousness in Angel Of Silence, with its background speech adding a touch of insanity to the overall musicality while Ignazio and Giuseppe are on fire with their metallic bass lines and sick shredding, respectively. Then we have Xenos’ superb cover version for Megadeth’s all-time classic Peace Sells (check out the original one HERE), showcasing a fantastic job done by all band members who give their own raw and demented twist to this thrashing anthem, with Giuseppe stealing the spotlight with both his wicked riffs and crisp solos. And last but not least, featuring guest vocals by Simon Cobb, the closing song Of Magma And War is another ode to all things thrash where Ignazio and Simon make a demonic vocal duo while Danilo shows no mercy for his drum set, concluding the album on the highest and most visceral note possible.

In a nutshell, if thrashing is your business and business is good, you must give Xenos a try by following them on Facebook and by purchasing Filthgrinder directly from their own BandCamp page, from My Kingdom Music’s Big Cartel, or from other distinct locations by clicking HERE. Those Italian metallers definitely know what they’re doing and where they’re headed to, therefore paving a very interesting future in their up-and-coming career. As the band members themselves like to say, there’s “no compromise, no fashion, no bullshit, just Thrash Metal” in the music found in Filthgrinder, and to be fair that’s all we can ask for (and all we need) when the style in question is our beloved Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Filthgrinder, Peace Sells and Of Magma And War.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Club Inferno Ent.

Track listing
1. Soldados 2:34
2. Filthgrinder 3:28
3. Post Apocalypse Breed 5:02
4. Birth Of A Tyrant (feat. Jeff “Mantas” Dunn) 3:41
5. So Old, So Cold 4:16
6. Iconoclast 3:38
7. Angel Of Silence 5:26
8. Peace Sells (Megadeth cover) 3:52
9. Of Magma And War (feat. Simon Cobb) 5:37

Band members
Ignazio Nicastro – vocals, bass
Giuseppe Taormina – guitars
Danilo Ficicchia – drums

Guest musicians
Jeff “Mantas” Dunn – guitar solo on “Birth Of A Tyrant”
Simon Cobb – additional vocals on “Of Magma And War”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album Review – Vampiric / The Magic of the Night (2019)

An insatiable lust for blood and passion for the night will grow inside you to the sound of the debut album by this American Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal one-man army.

My dear creatures of the night, it’s time to join a Symphonic Black/Thrash Metal one-man army formed in 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States that goes by the straightforward name of Vampiric in his quest for blood with the released of his debut full-length opus The Magic of the Night, offering us all nine original songs that exhale darkness and the sweet smell of fresh blood. As a matter of fact, the true beginnings of Vampiric can be traced back to 2008, when the band’s mastermind, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nik Williams started writing music and recording demos at the young age of 14, eventually forming a full-bodied band and opening for renowned acts like Mayhem, Abigail Williams and Keep of Kalessin. This live lineup disbanded after a while, but Nik kept experimenting with music until the release of his debut EP Death Tore Through, in 2018, ranging from the project’s core Black and Thrash Metal to distinguished styles like Gothic, punk and classical, further developing all that depth and diversity this year with his newborn spawn The Magic of the Night.

The Cradle of Filth-inspired riffs and keys by Nik kick off the phantasmagorical opening track A Death in the Throne Room, an old school Extreme Metal tune reeking aggressiveness, madness and obscurity; and his slashing guitars keep dictating the rhythm in the faster and more exciting Vampire Blood, where not only we’re treated to poetic lyrics (“I wake from a deathlike slumber / And gaze at the harvest moon in the night sky / Bloodlust, the children of the night sing / As I fly above the land of broken hearts”), but once again Nik generates a cryptic paradox between his atmospheric keys and enraged growls. And if you’re still hungry for human flesh it’s time for over six minutes of pitch black darkness and blood in The Full Moon Rising, with his keys sounding as strident and piercing as usual, while at the same time he kicks ass on drums, resulting in sheer adrenaline in the form of Symphonic Black Metal that sounds and feels hypnotizing and ritualistic form start to finish.

Adding the frantic riffage of Thrash Metal and the complexity of Progressive Metal to his core obscurity, Nik delivers Gothic, This Masquerade, a true masquerade ball feeling like two or three songs in one where our dauntless one-man band goes full thrasher on vocals, reminding me of Exodus original singer Paul Baloff (R.I.P.) at times. Of Bloodlust and the Moon is another display of bestiality and insanity the likes of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Marduk where Nik’s raspy gnarls and scorching riffs steal the spotlight, and with its last piece being an instrumental shredding extravaganza for our total delight; followed by Nosferatu, filling the airwaves with three minutes of an intense feast of Thrash and Black Metal by Vampiric where the guitars breathe fire while drums are played with tons of violence and rage, all spiced up by Nik’s demonic vociferations.

Then pounding his drums manically Nik offers another circle pit-catalyst entitled The Witch, with its heavier-than-hell riffs being perfectly complemented by somber and piercing background sounds, leaning towards classic Blackened Thrash Metal. And besides, songs about witches are always very enjoyable and fun to listen to, don’t you think? In Carpathian Lycan Curse our talented musician puts the pedal to the metal in a hurricane of cryptic keys and berserk shredding, also presenting elements from bands like Slayer and Misfits added to his traditional sonority, while its catchy chorus is an ode to all wolf-men of the world (“Carpathian lycan curse / Condemned to darkness and blood thirst / Carpathian full moon curse / The wolfs bane blooms to my return”). Lastly, closing the album we have the 11-minute aria of darkness titled The Magic of the Night, living up to the legacy of the emperors of long and intricate extreme music compositions such as Cradle of Filth and their infamous Bathory Aria. Nik does an amazing job throughout the entire song, elevating the electricity of all instruments to new heights and also making the whole ambience absolutely enfolding and Stygian until the very last second.

If you’re more than eager to join Nik’s Symphonic Black and Thrash Metal coven, simply go check what he’s up to on Facebook, and don’t forget to purchase your copy of The Magic of the Night directly from his own BandCamp page. After listening to such well-crafted, aggressive and melodic album of extreme music, you better be prepared to feel an insatiable lust for blood growing inside you, dragging you into an endless night and keeping you away from sunlight for all eternity. Well, in the end, who doesn’t want to be an immortal, bloodthirsty creature of the night, always accompanied by a good dosage of metal music, right?

Best moments of the album: The Full Moon Rising, Nosferatu and The Witch.

Worst moments of the album: A Death in the Throne Room.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. A Death in the Throne Room 6:27
2. Vampire Blood 3:33
3. The Full Moon Rising 6:16
4. Gothic, This Masquerade 7:22
5. Of Bloodlust and the Moon 4:20
6. Nosferatu 3:06
7. The Witch 4:40
8. Carpathian Lycan Curse 6:40
9. The Magic of the Night 10:53

Band members
Nik Williams – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Hellsodomy / Morbid Cult (2019)

Unleashing their most lethal form of sonic detonation, this Turkish squad is ready to crush with their unrelenting new album of Blackened Deathrash.

Formed in 2011 in Kadıköy, a neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian shore, in Turkey, the unrelenting Death Metal squad known as Hellsodomy can be considered a study in patience and perseverance, having taken around three years after the band’s inception before the release of their first demo, Masochistic Molestation, in 2014. However, after that demo things started to happen for the band, with the release of the EP Sodomy Is Nigh, in 2015, and their debut full-length opus, titled Chaostorm, in 2016, retaining the rawness of their earlier work with a more finessed expression of such and, therefore, positioning the band as one of the most promising names of the Turkish scene. Now three years later it’s time for the horde comprised of Nekro Kasil on the guitar and vocals, Destroyer D also on the guitar, Necrolepsy on bass and A.D.B on drums to explode our ears once again with their sophomore opus, entitled Morbid Cult, unleashing their most lethal sonic detonation yet in the form of what the band likes to call “Blackened Deathrash”.

An onrush of violent and berserk sounds led by Nekro and Destroyer’s demonic riffs in the instrumental intro Into Perversion warms up our senses for Endless Demise, offering the listener total devastation in the form of Death Metal and bringing a Hardcore feeling that makes it even more aggressive, with the infernal blast beast by A.D.B and the harsh vociferations by Nekro turning it into a must-listen for fans of the genre. Then hitting us hard with their riffage and rhythmic beats, the quartet blasts sheer insanity the likes of Krisiun and Deicide in Pestilence of Black Blood, showcasing a beyond visceral name and the always putrid growls by Nekro, followed by Charged to Kill, where they add elements from our good old Thrash Metal to their core sonority, resulting in a wicked circle pit-generator. Furthermore, while the band’s guitarists slash their strings manically, A.D.B brings groove and devastation at the same time with his unstoppable, visceral drums.

And there’s no time to rest or breathe in From the Seed to the Grave, a classic Death Metal extravaganza that will disturb your peace of mind, with Necrolepsy not only providing great backing vocals, but his bass lines are as metallic and evil as they can be; whereas in Hateclan, perhaps the most devastating of all songs, A.D.B sounds absolutely pulverizing on drums, providing Nekro all he needs to darkly shine with his enraged harsh vocals, being therefore highly recommended for slamming into the pit like a beast. And Divided Souls is another crushing creation by Hellsodomy displaying all elements we love in Death Metal, feeling like Nekro is getting more and more rabid as the album progresses while A.D.B adds endless stamina to the music with his thrashing beats.

Continuing their path of gruesome devastation, Mortem in Comfort presents a well-balanced fusion of sheer aggressiveness with more melodic sounds where Nekro, Destroyer and Necrolepsy can’t stop mutilating their stringed weapons in great fashion, and get ready to headbang like there’s no tomorrow to the frantic hybrid of Death and Thrash Metal by Hellsodomy entitled Dazed Victims, inspired by some of the sickest creations by Death Metal titans Cannibal Corpse. Their second to last breath of ruthless aggression, named Furious Chants, reminds me of the demented sound by Croatian act HerezA, with A.D.B blasting sheer rage through his drums while Nekro keeps growling like a demonic entity and shredding his guitar fiercely. In addition, its ending couldn’t have been more violent and ravenous, building an instant connection with the closing tune Souls Devoured, where all band members generate a thunderous and vile atmosphere with their hellish instruments, smashing our heads and cutting our skin deep until the song’s classic finale, all embraced by a sick guitar solo to make things even more tasteful.

The gates to the underworld have just opened in Turkey thanks to the flammable Morbid Cult, the brand new album of old school Death Metal crafted by the talented musicians from Hellsodomy featuring a Stygian cover art by Turkish artist Zezeah (Big Baboli Print House), and in order to join them in their path of pure devastation and rage go check what they’re up to on Facebook, listen to more of their music from their own BandCamp page, and grab your copy of such sulfurous album from the Saturnal Records’ webstore. Nejro Kasil, Destroyer D, Necrolepsy and A.D.B are eager to welcome you to their blasphemous cult of Death and Thrash Metal, with their new opus perfectly representing all the energy and fire coming from the underworld of their homeland.

Best moments of the album: Endless Demise, Charged to Kill and Hateclan.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Saturnal Records

Track listing
1. Into Perversion 1:26
2. Endless Demise 3:18
3. Pestilence of Black Blood 4:51
4. Charged to Kill 2:58
5. From the Seed to the Grave 3:23
6. Hateclan 3:54
7. Divided Souls 2:57
8. Mortem in Comfort 3:15
9. Dazed Victims 2:49
10. Furious Chants 4:08
11. Souls Devoured 5:41

Band members
Nekro Kasil – guitars, vocals
Destroyer D – guitars
Necrolepsy – bass, backing vocals
A.D.B – drums

Album Review – Anmasker / How Much Is Your Mask? (2019)

Take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and slam into the circle pit to this high-octane album of old school Thrash Metal made in Ukraine.

Are you ready for some traditional old school Thrash Metal made in Zaporizhia, a city on the Dnieper River in southeastern Ukraine? That’s exactly what an unrelenting trio that goes by the name of Anmasker has to offer our avid ears in their debut full-length opus entitled How Much Is Your Mask?. Comprised of Andrii Kachanov on lead vocals and bass, Serhii Bielikov on the guitar and backing vocals, and Olexandr Hubko on drums and backing vocals, Anmasker were officially formed in 2016 from the ashes of a previous version of the band named Unmasker, which existed from 2012 to 2016, aiming at shaking the moldy looks of the local scene with their high-octane thrashing creations. Recorded at TA Production Recording Studio in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, mixed and mastered by Anton Vorozhtsov, and featuring a beyond classic cover illustration by Indonesian illustrator Shynd Danendrea (Syndromea Illustration), led by the band’s consistent mascot Facemasker, How Much Is Your Mask? is a very cohesive onrush of Thrash Metal, proving those Ukrainian guys were right when they said their main goal is to make some noise in the existing metal scene in their homeland and anywhere where our good old thrash is properly appreciated.

Snap your finger, crack your neck, and get ready to slam together with the boys in World On Skulls Holding, featuring an interesting sample from the Sportpalast speech or total war speech, a speech delivered by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large, carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war. Musically speaking, it is pure old school thrash for the masses where Andrii sounds utterly demented no vocals, while Olexandr showcases all his technique and rage on drums. Then the rumbling bass by Andrii and the slashing riffs by Serhii are the main ingredients in the also frantic Look Under Your Feet!, a truly arcane tune reminding me of some of the oldest and most insane creations by Exodus and Toxic Holocaust, whereas in Be Silent And Listen a classic riff-praising intro evolves into a dark and ravenous extravaganza presenting in-your-face lyrics roared by Andrii (“Has / Anyone asked what you need? / Has / Anyone asked what you feel? / We all / Consist of self-love and greed! / We are all / Just waiting for another good deal!”).

The trio jams in ominous fashion before they speed things up and add sheer madness and heaviness to their musicality in Trench Mud, another fun and electrifying display of Bay Area Thrash perfect for headbanging like a maniac with Serhii kicking ass with his riffs and solos, featuring sounds of war taken from the 1969 Soviet war movie On the way to Berlin (original title Na puti v Berlin). After such fantastic display of old school thrash it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and go mental with Anmasker in Effort To Get Out, with Serhii and Oleksandr not only smashing their instruments furiously, but their backing vocals are also amazing. In other words, this is the purest form of Thrash Metal you can think of, followed by Patients Behind, presenting more contemporary guitar lines while Andrii’s berserk vocals are effectively supported by Oleksandr’s rhythmic beats, all spiced up by sick guitar solos and endless electricity.

As the first song from the last batch of thrashing hymns we have the title-track How Much Is Your Mask?, highly recommended for slamming into the pit like a headbanging bastard to the lyrics vociferated by Andrii (“World history is just a change of masks / Be it the twenty-first AD or BC / He who can put on a mask, he survives / Who can’t like this – he quickly dies!”), while his bandmates keep playing at the speed of light. And as the last breath of insanity Anmasker offer us all That’s Enough!, a madhouse of Thrash Metal from start to finish with Andrii and Serhii sounding brutal with their strings, also bringing to our ears unstoppable beats and wicked guitar solos, ending the album in a groovy and exciting way.

The guys from Anmasker are waiting for your comments about their music on Facebook and on VKontakte, also asking you to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their razor-edged music and, above all, to put your hands on their debut album by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Alone Records’ webstore, or from Discogs. Put differently, take off your “Good Samaritan” mask and let’s all hail the pure and classic Thrash Metal played by Anmasker, with no shenanigans, no artificial elements nor any other type of add-ons or modernisms, and if you don’t like such thrilling form of heavy music, well, I feel really sorry for you.

Best moments of the album: World On Skulls Holding, Trench Mud and How Much Is Your Mask?

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Alone Records

Track listing
1. World On Skulls Holding 3:56
2. Look Under Your Feet! 4:35
3. Be Silent And Listen 4:44
4. Trench Mud 5:54
5. Effort To Get Out 4:43
6. Patients Behind 5:24
7. How Much Is Your Mask? 5:33
8. That’s Enough! 3:44

Band members
Andrii Kachanov – lead vocals, bass
Serhii Bielikov – guitar, backing vocals
Olexandr Hubko – drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Mindead / Mindead (2019)

Playing a gritty kind of Melodic Groove Metal, this German squad is ready to put Stuttgart on the world map of modern metal music with their brand new album.

Hailing from the beautiful city of Stuttgart, capital of southwest Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state, Thrash/Groove Metal five-piece act Mindead plays a gritty kind of modern metal music with lots of passion and a unique flavor, having quickly established themselves in the local scene surrounding Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart since their inception in 2001. After the release of their debut EP Still Empty in 2004, followed by their first full-length album Abandon All Hope in 2008 (re-released in 2016, by the way) and more recently their sophomore opus Controlling The Tides in 2015, it’s time for Mindead to strike once again with their third installment, self-titled Mindead, a solid statement showing the band has become aware of their own self and that they are proud of what they currently stand for.

And the band comprised of frontman Timo Fielker, guitarists Pablo Mateo and Chris Lohrmann, bassist Benedikt Wagner and drummer Benjamin Hölle had a strong and clear idea of what they wanted to do in their new album, translating that into nine solid and vibrant compositions where the quintet never repeats themselves. “Let’s do something different, deeper, more intense, heavier. We’ll still sound like us, no matter what others may say,” commented Mindead about what the listener can expect to find in the album, an amalgamation of heavy and melodic styles highly recommended for fans of bands like Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Tool, Machine Head and Deftones, just to name a few.

An atmospheric intro is gradually “invaded” by the classic beats by Benjamin and the crushing riffs by Pablo and Chris in The Edge, evolving into a modern-day Melodic Groove Metal feast and sounding neck-breaking and very harmonious from start to finish; whereas Killing The Flame is as groovy as it can be thanks to the rumbling bass by Benedikt, while frontman Timo alternates between deranged screams and darker, more serene vocals, also bringing elements from more contemporary styles like Metalcore and Deathcore. The band’s electrifying party goes on in One Last Time, presenting a similar sound as the current American metal scene and feeling a lot more introspective and melodic than its predecessors. Moreover, pay attention to the amazing job done by Benedikt with his metallic bass lines, adding more stamina to the overall result.

And the dark clouds from the previous song keep blocking any sunlight in At The Borderline while the band blasts minimalist sounds and a female voice sends an obscure message, before Timo begins roaring with a lot of anguish and rage. In the even more modern and melodic Every Second, Timo sounds absolutely enraged on vocals while the rest of the band keeps the ambience grim and pensive with their razor-edged riffs and rhythmic beats, generating a catchy musicality full of interesting breaks and variations. Then drinking from the same ravenous fountain as Lamb Of God the quintet fires the excellent The Narcissist King, an ass-kicking Groove Metal tune with Timo stealing the spotlight with his growls while Pablo and Chris continue to slash our ears with their riffage.

All That’s Left is a touching and gripping ballad by Mindead where Benjamin adds some punch to the acoustic guitars with his precise beats, while Timo delivers his most passionate vocal performance of the whole album, and distorted lines permeate the air in To Fight A Demon, igniting the most Slipknot-inspired song of the album and presenting classic and heavy-as-hell riffs by the band’s dynamic guitar duo, which provide Timo all he needs to thrive with his Black Metal-ish vocals. Lastly, closing the alum we have the obscure and groovy Tired, where Pablo, Chris and Benedikt sound at the same time aggressive and gentle with their stringed weapons. In my humble opinion, the only issues with this song is that it goes on for a little too long, albeit still dense and entertaining. Moreover, in most versions of the album you’ll also be treated to an acoustic version of All That’s Left, a beautiful rendition of what’s already a damn good song, enhancing the reach and all  other details of Timo’s vocals considerably.

In summary, the talented Mindead are more than ready to put their hometown Stuttgart and the entire Germany on the map of modern metal music with their new album, breaking free from the confines of local stardom by effectively blending classic and modern-day elements in their inspiring creations and pointing to a bright future ahead of them. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, to listen to more of their music on Spotify and, of course, to purchase their self-titled opus from your favorite location by clicking HERE. In case modern and very melodic Groove Metal is your cup of tea, simply give Mindead a chance and you won’t regret at all; quite the contrary, I bet you’ll end up at a concert venue in Stuttgart having a beer and raising your horns to such up-and-coming Teutonic squad.

Best moments of the album: The Edge, The Narcissist King and All That’s Left.

Worst moments of the album: Tired.

Released in 2019 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. The Edge 4:30
2. Killing The Flame 3:48
3. One Last Time 5:25
4. At The Borderline 4:37
5. Every Second 3:53
6. The Narcissist King 3:44
7. All That’s Left 3:13
8. To Fight A Demon 5:26
9. Tired 6:07
10. All That’s Left (Acoustic) (Hidden track) 3:06

Band members
Timo Fielker – vocals
Pablo Mateo – guitar
Chris Lohrmann – guitar
Benedikt Wagner – bass
Benjamin Hölle – drums

Album Review – Iced Earth / Horror Show (2001)

Are you looking for the ultimate Heavy Metal soundtrack to spice up your Halloween party? Mr. Jon Schaffer and his henchmen can definitely help you with that.

IcedEarth-HorrorShowTampa, Florida-based Power/Thrash Metal veterans Iced Earth might be one of the most underrated bands in the history of heavy music, and I believe they’re not bigger or more famous due to Mr. Jon Schaffer’s fickle temper, which has resulted in countless (and unstable) lineup changes in the history of the band, lowering any expectations a fan might have about their future. I personally don’t care that much about the mood of any musician, as long as this doesn’t negatively affect the overall quality of the music. Take a look at Dave Mustaine and Dani Filth, for example, and you’ll notice there are some changes in their music, but the core essence of Megadeth and Cradle of Filth is always there for the delight of their fans. Due to those constant changes you never know exactly what to expect from Iced Earth, as they sometimes deliver really bad material, but fortunately for all of us their 2001 album Horror Show showcases the Iced Earth we all want to listen to, sounding powerful, well-engendered and, above all, very creative and entertaining.

Horror Show is not just a traditional Heavy Metal album, also bringing a lot of the energy from Power Metal and some of the violence found in Thrash Metal, and that’s in my opinion the best “formula” Jon and his crew can offer us. Furthermore, it’s kind of  a concept album focused on different horror stories, making it even more interesting for Heavy Metal fans that also enjoy reading a frightful book or going to the movies to see a good dosage of monsters and blood. For instance, all songs on the album are based on classic horror films, from werewolves to vampires and mummies, and many of the lyrics are lifted directly from the source material, proving that when Jon doesn’t let his personal issues interfere in his music, the final result is always fantastic. Add to all that some incredibly talented musicians like Matt Barlow on vocals, Larry Tarnowski on the lead guitar, Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Death, Charred Walls of the Damned) on bass and Richard Christy (Death, Charred Walls of the Damned) on drums, and there you have the utmost recipe for awesomeness.

Wolf, the first track of the album inspired by The Wolf Man films, is an excellent heavy song to kick things off, showing why Jon is considered by many one of the best riff-makers in Heavy Metal. The speed of the song and its grinding riffs give it an amazing Thrash Metal touch, not to mention its chorus inspired by a poem that is recited in the 1941 film The Wolf Man, making any fan excited for the rest of the album. Then we have Damien, inspired by The Omen films, presenting outstanding lyrics that make a lot of sense if you have read the book or seen the movies like I’ve done (“When the Jews return to Zion / And a comet fills the sky / The Holy Roman Empire rises / And you and I must die”). As a matter of fact, the chorus was taken from the 1976 film The Omen, and the spoken section was adapted from a speech in its 1981 sequel, Omen III: The Final Conflict, just to give you a sense of how detailed this song is. Things get even better in Jack, inspired by the one and only Jack the Ripper, with Jon slashing our ears with his riffs in great “Ripper” fashion. Moreover, perhaps the funniest thing about this song is that Horror Show was the last studio album (apart from their album of cover songs called Tribute to the Gods, from 2002) Matt recorded before Tim “Ripper” Owens (The Ripper himself!) joined the band in 2003 and recorded The Glorious Burden in 2004, which is for me one of their best and most consistent albums of all.

The album continues with Ghost of Freedom, the only song that wasn’t inspired by any horror movie or character. It’s a very beautiful ballad and one of the top moments of the whole album, showing us a more “romantic” side of Jon and how good Matt’s voice can be even when he’s not screaming. The following three songs might not be masterpieces, but they surely keep the album at a high level of adrenaline and epicness. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh’s Curse) (inspired by The Mummy), Jekyll & Hyde (inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), and Dragon’s Child (inspired by Creature from the Black Lagoon) not only have amazing concepts, but the music itself is very pleasant and cohesive, embracing us all and pulling us deeper into the world of horror created by the band throughout the entire album.

IcedEarth_Promo2001Frankenstein (“surprisingly” inspired by Frankenstein) is even better than those three tracks, raising your energy level and making you want to headbang like a crazy motherfucker, followed by the best song of Horror Show without a shadow of a doubt, the stunning Dracula (also “astoundingly” inspired by Dracula), a metal masterpiece that’s absolutely flawless from start to finish, presenting to the listener the duo Jon and Matt at the peak of their forms. This is an all-time fan favorite and a mandatory track in any of the band’s live setlists, also bringing to our avid ears ass-kicking lyrics (“Do you believe in love? / Do you believe in destiny? / True love may come only once in a thousand lifetimes…”). Lastly, we have The Phantom Opera Ghost, obviously inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, and despite all the additional elements and musicians it sounds too pretentious and doesn’t deliver what the fans are actually expecting.

The limited edition has a bonus disc with two totally opposite moments: an incredible cover for Iron Maiden’s Transylvania, where Jon does what he does best with his guitar; and a tedious interview with him that lasts for over an hour. I guess there’s a one-disc version of Horror Show that includes Transylvania as a regular track, so if I were you that’s the one I would buy. And finally, one thing that Iced Earth have always delivered are stunning album arts. The band’s own mascot, Set Abominae, might not be part of the compositions this time, but he certainly makes the front cover of Horror Show designed by Danny Miki and Travis Smith darkly captivating. In a nutshell, Horror Show, which makes the already distant year of 2001 look like it just happened yesterday, is a mandatory choice for that Heavy Metal Halloween party you’re planning with your friends (as well as a good source of inspiration for your costumes), or maybe you can just dress up as Jon Schaffer and walk around your neighborhood playing some of the tracks from Horror Show on your guitar, how about that? We could even call this new Halloween tradition as “Trick or Thrash”.

Best moments of the album: Wolf, Damien, Ghost of Freedom, Dracula and Transylvania.

Worst moments of the album: The Phantom Opera Ghost.

Released in 2001 Century Media Records

Track listing
1. Wolf 5:20
2. Damien 9:12
3. Jack 4:14
4. Ghost of Freedom 5:12
5. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh’s Curse) 4:45
6. Jekyll & Hyde 4:39
7. Dragon’s Child 4:21
8. Frankenstein 3:50
9. Dracula 5:54
10. The Phantom Opera Ghost 8:41

Limited Edition Disc Two
11. Transylvania (Iron Maiden cover) 4:30
12. Interview with Jon Schaffer (conducted by Sumit Chandra) 69:27

Band members
Matt Barlow – vocals
Jon Schaffer – guitar
Larry Tarnowski – lead guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
Richard Christy – drums

Guest musicians
Yunhui Percifield – lead vocals on “The Phantom Opera Ghost” as “Christine”, backing vocals
Jim Morris – guitar solo on “Ghost of Freedom”, keys, backing vocals
Howard Helm – keys (pipe organ) on “The Phantom Opera Ghost”
Richie Wilkison, Rafaela Farias & Sam King – backing vocals

Album Review – Thrashfire / Into the Armageddon (2019)

It’s time for total annihilation blasted by three metallers from “the land of four seasons” who are ready to thrash until their very last breath.

It’s not everyday that we’re able to face a band hailing from Turkey, but whenever that happens, and we have some good examples here on The Headbanging Moose with Inhuman Depravity, Diabolizer, Grotesque Ceremonium, Axxen Conners, Sülfür Ensemble and Engulfed, the music is always vibrant, fun and, above all, heavy-as-hell. That can also be said about an unrelenting Ankara-based trio that goes by the name of Thrashfire, unleashing upon humanity pure Speed and Thrash Metal since their inception back in 2006. After the release of their debut self-titled demo in 2007, followed by a promo EP titled World Domination in 2010, their first full-length album Thrash Burned The Hell in 2011 and the EP Vengeance Of Fire in 2015, it’s time for Thrashfire to violently thrash us all with their sophomore opus Into the Armageddon, undoubtedly their best work to date.

Comprised of vocalist and guitarist Burak Tavus, bassist Okan Özden and drummer Gürkan Güvendik, the band has been on an incendiary roll since day one, having already shared the stage with renowned acts like Destruction, Artillery, Rumble Militia and Venom Inc., as well as numerous shows within Turkey and a mini-tour in Germany in 2017, where they will return in November 2019 to play at the infamous True Thrash Fest Hamburg. Featuring a classic, gruesome and absolutely awesome artwork by Ozan Yildirim (Deadhouse Studio), Into the Armageddon is an intense and infernal thrashing extravaganza that will surely be the delight of lovers of bands like Kreator, Dark Angel, Slayer and Sodom, proving why Thrashfire are one of the biggest names in Turkish Thrash Metal, if not the biggest one of all.

The opening tune Pure Devastating Necromancy begins in full force with Burak screaming like a demented beast from the very first second, offering us all pulverizing, high-octane Thrash Metal where Gürkan sounds absolutely brutal on drums, generating a thunderous ambience together with Okan’s vile bass lines. In Katacomb (The Kingdom of Ressurrection), a quick and somber intro morphs into a frantic circle pit-catalyst led by Burak’s classic thrashing riffs and raspy vocals, feeling like a hybrid between old school Slayer with Death Angel and Exodus (which obviously means it’s infernally fantastic); and there’s no time to breathe as the power trio attacks our senses with hatred and electricity in Dybbukim, an enraged display of Thrash Metal where Burak bursts his lungs growling manically while Gürkan alternates between more rhythmic moments and sheer brutality on drums.

The trio keeps hammering and pounding our heads in Wisdom of Sacrilegious, with Burak’s shredding being amplified by Okan and Gürkan’s kitchen of hell, therefore resulting in nonstop action in the form of Turkish Thrash Metal for our avid ears. Then razor-edged riffs and bestial beats turn up the heat in Supreme Command, a classic Bay Area Thrash chant made in Turkey where Burak’s roars get more and more deranged as the music progresses, while Okan’s bass punches add an overdose of metal to the overall result. And if you thought the trio couldn’t sound more violent and visceral you better get ready for Through the Crimson Darkness, bringing forward slashing riffs, unstoppable beats and endless aggressiveness flowing from all instruments.

Then drinking from the same electrifying fountain as thrash masters Slayer and Exodus, the band offers us a breathtaking hymn of evil entitled Slaughtered By Hellgoats, where our beloved Turkish triumvirate is on absolute fire from start to finish; followed by Post Apocalyptic Holy Terror, a beautiful name for a “gentle” composition by Thrashfire. Burka sounds deeply infuriated and possessed with his vocals and riffs, not to mention Gürkan’s stone crushing drums, being highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good old, violent mosh pit. High Heel in the Hell is a solid, straightforward tune also perfect for slamming into the pit, with Burak and Okan smashing their strings in great fashion, and after the music is over it’s time for the traditional “body count”. And lastly, we’re treated to over six minutes of old school thrash in the title-track Into the Armageddon, where the trio doesn’t stop delivering extreme aggression and fury. Moreover, Gürkan has a fantastic performance on drums, with the music getting more and more obscure and demonic as it approaches its demolishing and grim conclusion.

If you want to get caught in a mosh, you can enjoy Into the Armageddon in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and purchase your copy of the album from the Xtreem Music’s BandCamp page or webstore, as well as from Apple Music or Amazon. Also, don’t forget to show your support to underground Turkish metal by following the band on Facebook, preparing yourself for total annihilation to the sound of the music crafted by three metallers from “the land of four seasons” who are ready to thrash until their very last breath.

Best moments of the album: Dybbukim, Supreme Command and Slaughtered By Hellgoats.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Xtreem Music

Track listing
1. Pure Devastating Necromancy 2:58
2. Katacomb (The Kingdom of Ressurrection) 5:03
3. Dybbukim 3:33
4. Wisdom of Sacrilegious 3:53
5. Supreme Command 5:49
6. Through the Crimson Darkness 3:17
7. Slaughtered By Hellgoats 3:06
8. Post Apocalyptic Holy Terror 5:11
9. High Heel in the Hell 3:19
10. Into the Armageddon 6:16

Band members
Burak Tavus – vocals, guitar
Okan Özden – bass
Gürkan Güvendik – drums

Album Review – Death Angel / Humanicide (2019)

A solid and entertaining album of old school Thrash Metal that marks the band’s return to the wolves alongside a survivalist pack mentality.

Since their return from a long hiatus in 2001, American Thrash Metal wolfpack Death Angel has been on a constant and solid roll, releasing a series of albums that, although might not be considered masterpieces, are extremely high-quality albums of good old, classic thrash. If their 2016 installment The Evil Divide is in my humble opinion their strongest album of this new phase of the band and one of their all-time best ones in terms of creativity, speed and rage, we can say their brand new opus Humanicide, the ninth studio album in their career, continues to pave their thrashing path and keeps the band more than just relevant in the current metal scene, therefore keeping the flames of old school Thrash Metal burning brighter than a thousand suns.

Recorded and mixed at Audio Hammer Studios in Sanford, Florida, with additional recording at Spiderville Studios in Oakland, California and mastered at Sterling Sound in Nashville, Tennessee, Humanicide is the band’s fourth album in a row to be produced by Jason Suecof (Charred Walls of the Damned, Crotchduster, Capharnaum) and also to have the same lineup comprised of vocalist Mark Osegueda, guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar, bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll. In addition to that, Humanicide also marks Death Angel’s return to the wolves alongside a survivalist pack mentality, which is also reflected in the album artwork designed by renowned American artist Brent Elliott White (Megadeth, Trivium, 4ARM, Thy Art Is Murder, Amon Amarth), who already worked with Death Angel in their 2010 album Relentless Retribution and in their 2013 album The Dream Calls for Blood. Having said that, are you ready to join this unrelenting wolfpack in their quest for Thrash Metal?

An epic intro ignites the bold title-track Humanicide, with the strident guitars by both Rob and Ted morphing into a shredding feast while Mark’s vocals sound piercing and acid just the way we like it, thrashing our souls mercilessly for almost six minutes before we’re treated to Divine Defector, devastating form start to finish thanks to the pounding beats by Will, and albeit not a brilliant song it’s still classic Thrash Metal and a good option for slamming into the pit. And more melodic but utterly aggressive, Death Angel put the pedal to the metal in another feast of classic guitar lines, nonstop drums and raspy vociferations in Aggressor, with Rob and Ted doing a very good job with both their acoustic lines and electrified riffs.

I Came for Blood, my favorite of all songs, is a fast and infuriated explosion of old school thrash where its guitars couldn’t sound more thrilling, while Damien and Will bring sheer thunder with their respective instruments, not to mention the song’s aggressive, take-no-prisoners-like lyrics (“The bloody nose of victory / Fueled by seeds of hate / Make peace with my enemies? / No chance, not today / I’ve traveled through the unknown / That is where I thrive / You chose to say my name aloud / So I shall never die”). Featuring the smooth piano by Ukrainian guest musician Vika Yermolyeva, Immortal Behated is a pensive and beautiful metal tune, very detailed and full of layers and nuances, and also presenting crisp guitar solos, intricate drumming and endless darkness to heighten our senses, whereas in Alive and Screaming they get back to their trademark berserk mode, with Mark being on fire on vocals supported by his bandmates’ potent backing vocals, showcasing once again a demolishing job done by Will on drums. And The Pack, as Mark himself says, is a call to arms, sounding as if the band wants to gather all thrashing wolves to fight side by side with them, with Rob and Ted stealing the spotlight with their flammable riffage.

Children Of Bodom’s own Alexi Laiho delivers a vibrant guitar solo in Ghost of Me, another fast-paced, high-octane tune with Mark firing his trademark screams, bringing to our ears riffs and solos played at the speed of light, therefore inspiring us all to slam into the pit like maniacs. Next, it’s time for Jason Suecof to fire a guitar solo in Revelation Song, focusing on the melody rather than the speed and offering another blast of dark poetry by the band (“Watch for their people dawning / Watch for their evil task / A negative space revival / A negative faceless mask, hey / A child to be so wicked / Coming to steal your mind / Lost in a destructive space / Lost in a revolting time”), with Damien’s bass sounding truly ominous in the background. Of Rats and Men is a generic version of their own music, which despite Mark’s efforts to make it more engaging the music never really takes off, while The Day I Walked Away, some sort of a “bonus track” included in all versions of the album (and that’s why I don’t understand why it’s called a bonus track), is one more not-so-exciting song by the band with a bland sound and vibe, but still presenting some good moments such as the guitar solos blasted by Rob and Ted.

In summary, as already mentioned Humanicide (available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and on sale from several locations as you can see HERE) is far from being a masterpiece, but it’s still an above average album of old school thrash that definitely deserves a shot. To be honest with you, I would love to see Death Angel go back to the more diverse and crisp musicality found in The Evil Divide, but of course I wouldn’t complain at all if they decide to keep following the same formula and deliver to us another ten albums on the same vein as Humanicide in the coming years. And for a great band like Death Angel, who have always crafted first-class Thrash Metal since their beginnings, that’s more than enough to keep us happy.

Best moments of the album: Humanicide, I Came for Blood, Immortal Behated and The Pack.

Worst moments of the album: Of Rats and Men and The Day I Walked Away.

Released in 2019 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Humanicide 5:42
2. Divine Defector 3:24
3. Aggressor 5:11
4. I Came for Blood 3:12
5. Immortal Behated 6:08
6. Alive and Screaming 3:36
7. The Pack 3:33
8. Ghost of Me 4:34
9. Revelation Song 5:33
10. Of Rats and Men 4:08
11. The Day I Walked Away 3:29

Band members
Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitar
Ted Aguilar – guitar
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums

Guest musicians
Alexi Laiho – lead guitars on “Ghost of Me”
Jason Suecof – lead guitars on “Revelation Song”
Vika Yermolyeva – piano on “Immortal Behated”

Album Review – +MROME+ / Leech Ghetto (2019)

Back from the very depths of the underworld, this unrelenting Polish entity is ready to crush our senses once again with their unique and scorching fusion of Black and Death Metal.

Poland’s own Black and Death Metal entity +MROME+ is back from the very depths of the underworld once again to crush our senses with the unique and scorching music found in their brand new album, curiously entitled Leech Ghetto. Furthermore, as already expected (or not), the new opus by +MROME+, who are now a trio with the addition of bassist LV’s, joining lead singer and guitarist Key V and drummer P in their quest for heavy music, is completely different from their 2016 album Noetic Collision on the Roof of Hell, yet still maintaining the band’s core essence and heaviness intact, working as a new start and keeping the band’s unpredictability as high as possible just the way we like it. Add to all that the wicked guest vocals by Ataman Tolovy (from Polish Experimental Black Metal band Túrin Turambar) in a couple of songs, and there you have an excellent DYI album highly recommended for anyone in pursuit of innovative and obscure metal music.

And Key V’s guitar ignites the engines of the opening track titled The Rogue, a mid-tempo, dark tune perfect for breaking your neck headbanging, also presenting a very welcome thrashing twist that makes it truly incendiary. Then ominous riffs and beats permeate the air in Born Old, which sounds like a hybrid of the music by Obituary, Exodus and Celtic Frost, just to name a few (and to show you how insane it sounds), with P being very precise with his drums, delivering aggressiveness and intricacy and, therefore, being tailored for fans of 80’s and 90’s heavy music; whereas in Anti-Ant Entante the band ventures through more rockin’ lands, with Key V’s raspy roars and razor-edged riffs piercing your soul mercilessly while LV’s and P keep the ambience thunderous with their respective bass and drums.

Led by LV’s metallic bass, The City of Opax offers our ears a significantly different start from all previous songs, sounding melancholic and grim and evolving into a very introspective tune, proving once again how wide the band’s range is when crafting their music. Featuring the aforementioned Ataman Tolovy on guest vocals, the stylish Coffin Nail is a feast of demented sounds as if Faith No More went Death or Thrash Metal, showcasing steady beats, wicked gnarls and a feeling of insanity as its main ingredients, and the trio continues to extract Stygian sounds form their instruments in Detroit Daze, especially LV’s with his groovy jabs, bringing elements from Progressive Metal to their already multi-layered music. Not only that, all of its changes and variations turn it into a very pleasant musical journey that will certainly smash your mind in the best way possible.

Ataman Tolovy returns in Twarz Niezawisła (“an independent face” from Polish), perhaps the most obscure and atmospheric of all songs, blending the thunder from Doom Metal with alternative and experimental music, followed by Bellies Grow, and let me tell you that the second to last blast of insanity by +MROME+ sounds and feels it was taken straight from the 80’s while having a futuristic touch at the same time, as if The Misfits and Motörhead had a bastard son. Do you understand now how multi-layered their music is? Anyway, Key V’s riffs dictate the rhythm in this distinguished tune, while P doesn’t stop pounding his drums for our total delight. And LV’s and his rumbling bass kick off the closing tune Primordial Soup, bringing forward slashing guitars, in-your-face, straightforward beats and aggressive vocals, flowing darkly until its venomous ending. Can this song be added to the official soundtrack of a Tarantino movie, please?

In a nutshell, +MROME+’s Leech Ghetto, which will really soon (aka later this week) be available on Spotify for a full listen and on the band’s own BandCamp page for purchase, continues to pave the band’s path of madness while sounding fresh and distinct from their previous releases as already mentioned, leaving us all disoriented and eager for more of their music in the coming years. We just can’t predict at all what Key V and his bandmates have in mind for their next album, but again that’s the beauty of their music and I truly hope they never change while they keep always changing (if that makes any sense to you).

Best moments of the album: The Rogue, Coffin Nail and Detroit Daze.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 NRA

Track listing
1. The Rogue 5:11
2. Born Old 4:22
3. Anti-Ant Entante 3:56
4. The City of Opax 4:30
5. Coffin Nail 3:47
6. Detroit Daze 3:31
7. Twarz Niezawisła 3:56
8. Bellies Grow 4:03
9. Primordial Soup 5:38

Band members
Key V – vocals, guitar
LV’s – bass
P – drums

Guest musician
Ataman Tolovy – guest vocals on “Coffin Nail” and “Twarz Niezawisła”