Concert Review – Striker & Unleash The Archers (The Velvet Underground, Toronto, ON, 10/01/2018)

Do you want to know how to easily brave a cold and rainy Monday in Toronto? Striker and Unleash The Archers had the perfect recipe for that last night when they took our beloved city by storm.

OPENING ACT: Lutharö

Not only last night in Toronto was cold and rainy, but it was also a Monday, the day of the week all of us usually feel like doing absolutely nothing. However, when that same Monday offers us a night of pure Canadian Metal with the amazing bands Lutharö, Striker and Unleash The Archers at the small and very cozy The Velvet Underground, why not facing that shitty weather (I know it could have been a lot worse like what they’re having in Calgary now, but it’s still shitty) to meet some friends, enjoy a few beers and bang our fuckin’ heads to the best metal music you’ll find in the entire country? That, my friends, is the recipe for a packed (and hot) concert on what was supposed to be another boring Monday night, as simple as that.

Photos by Aline Cavalheiro – https://www.instagram.com/aline.cavalheiro81/

The first band of the night was Hamilton-based female-fronted squad LUTHARÖ, playing an extremely fun, crisp and pleasant fusion of 80’s Heavy Metal with modern-day Melodic Death Metal the likes of The Agonist and Arch Enemy. Spearheaded by the talented she-wolf Krista Shipperbottom, whose vocal style, hair and looks remind me of The Agonist’s stunning frontwoman Vicky Psarakis, the band delivered a solid performance for the fans at the venue who probably had zero knowledge of the band before the concert. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names of all songs they played last night, but I do remember the names of my two favorite ones, I of the Axe and their newborn tune Unleash the Beast, and in both cases all band members kicked some serious ass. Having said that, don’t waste your time and go check their music out on YouTube and on BandCamp, and keep an eye on their Facebook page for news and tour dates, because you never know when Krista and her henchmen will mercilessly attack your hometown.

Band members
Krista Shipperbottom – lead vocals
Victor Bucur – lead guitars, backing vocals
John Raposo – guitar
Ruslan Lypovsky – bass
Cory Hofing – drums 

STRIKER

Photos by Aline Cavalheiro – https://www.instagram.com/aline.cavalheiro81/

After a short break, where fans either went to the washroom, got another beer or checked out the merch from the bands, it was time for my favorite Canadian band of the past decade to show everyone at the venue that Canada is indeed a land of first-class Heavy Metal. When award-winning Edmonto-based act STRIKER hit the stage, we all knew it was going to be a heavy, melodic and utterly entertaining performance, kicking things off with the opening track from their 2016 album Stand in the Fire, the electrifying Phoenix Lights, followed by two of my favorite tracks from their latest albums, Born to Lose, from their 2017 self-titled masterpiece Striker, and Heart of Lies, from their brand new opus Play To Win (to be officially released later this month). Needless to say, after such action-packed start, the game was already won by Striker.

And the quintet comprised of frontman Dan Cleary (what a voice, ladies and gentlemen!), guitarists Tim Brown and Chris Segger, bassist William Wallace and drummer Adam Brown kept blasting their fusion of old school Heavy Metal and Hard rock with contemporary Power Metal without giving a single second for us to breathe, impressing us all with their level of energy, professionalism and passion for what they do, with incendiary songs like Former Glory and Pass Me By (both from their 2017 self-titled album), and especially the high-octane Full Speed or No Speed (from their 2010 album Eyes in the Night) and the metal hymn Fight for Your Life (from their 2012 album Armed to the Teeth), representing to perfection what the music by Striker is all about. At a given moment of the show, when Dan was introducing us to the next song to be played (I don’t remember which one he was talking about, but it was of course amazing), he asked the crowd if there were any fans in the house of the music by metal giants like Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Anvil, complementing his joke by saying they were not going to play any of that, but “some old school Striker shit”. Well, who said we were expecting them to play any cover songs? When the band in question is a fantastic one like Striker, we want to listen to their own songs, and I can’t wait to do that again when they return to Toronto in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
Phoenix Lights
Born to Lose
Heart of Lies
Lethal Force
Crossroads
Former Glory
Too Late
Out for Blood
Pass Me By
Locked In
Full Speed or No Speed
The White Knight
Fight for Your Life

Band members
Dan Cleary – lead vocals
Tim Brown – lead and rhythm guitar
Chris Segger – lead and rhythm guitar
William Wallace – bass
Adam Brown – drums

UNLEASH THE ARCHERS

Photos by Aline Cavalheiro – https://www.instagram.com/aline.cavalheiro81/

I was so entertained and electrified by the concert by Striker that I completely lost track of time, not knowing exactly what time their concert ended and what time the main attraction of the night, the unstoppable Vancouver-based metal warriors known as UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, hit the stage at The Velvet Underground. And keep in mind it was a Monday night, which means most people would be checking their watches all the time counting every minute to go home. Just like Striker delivered a flawless performance, the band led by the warrior princess Brittney Slayes was absolutely on fire on stage from start to finish, inspiring the fans to ignite some mosh pits (all pretty good except for a silly moron with a moustache that was either too drunk, too high or way too stupid to respect everyone else, to the point Brittney had to call his attention to stop acting like a jerk), to do some crowd surfing, to raise our fists in the air and to sing along every single song with them.

Still promoting their 2017 opus Apex, the quintet formed by the skillful, humble and sympathetic Brittney Slayes on vocals (sending hearts with her hands to the fans during the entire show), Grant Truesdell on the guitar, Andrew Kingsley on the  guitar and harsh growls, newcomer Nick Miller on bass and Scott Buchanan on drums returned to the city after three long years, proving how hard it is to travel and tour inside Canada, but that excruciating wait was definitely worth it. Firing the most awesome songs from Apex such as Awakening, The Matriarch and Cleanse the Bloodlines, mixed with battle hymns from their previous albums like Time Stands Still, Tonight We Ride and my favorite of all, Test Your Metal, from their 2015 opus Time Stands Still, Unleash The Archers fully captivated our senses during their whole concert, also showing their awe for the amount of fans that gathered at the venue on a rainy Monday night (and yes, I have to repeat that again) to celebrate metal with them (and to sing A-Ha’s Take On Me which was coming out of the speakers after all was said and done).

Today is Tuesday, most of us might have been really tired the entire day and probably bored at work (as Brittney herself said, fuck work!), but happy to have witnessed a true feast of the best Heavy Metal made in Canada you can think of. As already mentioned, let’s hope none of the bands take too long to return to the city, and that they play at a bigger venue so that a lot more metal maniacs from Toronto and from other parts of the province are able to enjoy the lesson in heavy music given by such distinct bands, even if they play on a snowy Monday night in the middle of the winter, with chilling temperatures and bitterly cold winds. Do you think you have what it takes to ride with Striker and Unleash The Archers under such adverse conditions? If you love metal music as much as I do, I’m sure you’ll be there with us.

Setlist
Intro
Awakening
The Matriarch
Cleanse the Bloodlines
Test Your Metal
Dreamcrusher
Time Stands Still
General of the Dark Army
Tonight We Ride

Encore:
Apex

Band members
Brittney Slayes – vocals
Grant Truesdell – guitar
Andrew Kingsley –  guitar, harsh growls
Nick Miller – bass
Scott Buchanan – drums

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Metal Chick of the Month – Brittney Slayes

There’s no hiding from her, she sees everything!

In order to properly celebrate nothing more, nothing less than FIVE years of The Headbanging Moose, there’s nothing better than paying a humble tribute to a true Warrior of the North as our metal chick of this month of October, a woman that perfectly represents all the passion, strength and perseverance from the people that make our beloved Canada one of the best places to live in the world. Born in 1985 in Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities not only in the province of British Columbia but in the entire country, here comes the dauntless vocalist Brittney Slayes, whose real name is Brittney Hayes, frontwoman and founding member of Canadian Heavy Metal band Unleash The Archers, always ready to show you what metal music from the Great White North is all about.

The talented Brittney, who discovered her voice when she was five years old and began singing in her local community choir at the age of eight, traveled with several choirs during her school years, taking part in many musical theater productions and working with some of the best vocal coaches in Western Canada. In university, she attended the UVic School Of Music, but choosing instead to attain her undergraduate degree in History. Furthermore, during her time at the University of Victoria, she traveled the world as a member of the Juno Award-winning ensemble the Uvic Chamber Singers. As a UVic alumna and the lead singer of Victoria-born Unleash the Archers, Brittney gave a keynote talk on July 10, 2018 for UVic’s upcoming conference Boundaries and Ties: The Place of Metal Music in Communities, with her talk, entitled “View from the ‘Apex’: A Metal Musician’s Views on Metal and Community”, drawing on her firsthand experience with local, national, and international metal communities. And do you want to know what our metal warrior thinks about us, metalheads? “People are so open-minded. They’re not going to cast judgement and never give you a chance. From what I’ve seen, metalheads are very kind and caring and open-hearted. I just think that the metal community is uplifting, really,” said our wise vocalist.

Apart from her time singing with different choirs, our Canadian warrior had never been involved in any other bands or music projects before founding Unleash The Archers back in 2007 with her boyfriend and drummer Scott Buchanan, and according to Brittney herself starting the band was the best thing she could have ever done (and we all agree with that, of course), allowing her to use her background in classical music and her four octave range to provide a more dynamic approach to the band’s incendiary fusion of traditional Heavy Metal with Power and Melodic Metal. In late 2008, the band recorded a self-titled four-song demo, which featured two songs (Black Goat of the Woods and Destroyer) they would end up re-recording for their first studio album. In one of her interviews, Brittney explained a little more about the origins of the band, saying it all began when Scott, former guitarist Brayden Dyczkowski (who left the band in 2014) and herself were in university, when Scott and Brayden were playing in a Death Metal band together, and as the drummer’s girlfriend Brittney simply loved to go to their shows and rock out. When the band broke up, she called Brayden and asked him if he wanted to start a band with herself as the vocalist and Scott on drums, and from that day on Unleash The Archers became a reality, leading the band to grow and become a reference in Canadian metal music, winning the Best Metal Band and Best Vocalist awards during the 2015 Vancouver Whammy Awards, as well as being voted number 6 in Exclaim Magazine’s Readers Choice Awards for Best Metal Albums of 2009.

Apart from the aforementioned self-titled debut demo, Unleash The Archers have already released four full-length albums and one EP, those being their 2009 debut album Behold the Devastation (when she was still known as as B. Hayes), the 2011 album Demons of the AstroWaste, the 2012 EP Defy the Skies, the 2015 album Time Stands Still, and last year’s highly acclaimed opus Apex. Currently comprised of our Canadian Valkyrie of metal Brittney on vocals, Grant Truesdell and Andrew Kingsley on the guitars and harsh growls, and Scott Buchanan on drums, as well as Nick Miller taking care of the bass duties during their live performances, Unleash The Archers have a great selection of official videos, lyric videos and unofficial live footage for us to enjoy for hours on YouTube. For instance, you can join Unleash The Archers in their quest for metal with the songs Tonight We Ride, Ten Thousand Against One, Apex, General Of The Dark Army, Time Stands Still, Cleanse The Bloodlines, Awakening, The Matriarch and Dawn Of Ages. And if live concerts and performances are your cup of tea, you can enjoy Brittney and the guys kicking ass with the songs Dreamcrusher and Time Stands Still live in Montreal in 2015; General Of The Dark Army live at the Pont Rouge in Monthey, Switzerland  in 2016; an acoustic version of The Outlander recorded live at CHSR in New Brunswick with Matt Nightingale during the 2011 “Tour Through The AstroWaste”; and their full set during their 2015 appearance at ProgPower USA in 2015. When asked about her favorite Unleash The Archers songs, those she believes a newcomer to their metal world should definitely take a listen at, Brittney said she has always loved Battle In The Shadow (Of The Mountain), from their second album Demons of the AstroWaste, saying she has a strong emotional connection to that song, also including on the list Four In Hand, from their debut album Behold the Devastation, as it’s about sin becoming personified as a cloaked figure riding around in a chariot pulled by the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Interesting, isn’t it?

Brittney has also been featured in several other bands and projects as a guest musician, each one of them being very peculiar and showcasing all the talent and range of our metal warrior. For instance, she provided additional vocals to the song Leather Lord, featured on the 2013 EP Live at Mushroom: Vol. I, by Canadian Power/Heavy Metal band 3 Inches of Blood; guest vocals on the song Queen of the Galaxy, from the 2014 EP Queen of the Galaxy (and also featured on the 2018 album The Extraterrestrial Compendium), by American Power/Thrash Metal band Dire Peril (and you can also check a cool live version of it in 2016 at the Blue Lamp HERE); vocals on the song Lunar Sunrise, from the 2014 album The Age of Ether, by American Power/Progressive Metal band Disforia; vocals for the full 2018 album Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster, by American Power Metal band Helion Prime, like in the song Spectrum; vocals for the excellent song Burn It Down (With Fire), from the 2018 album Shadows from the Past, by American Heavy Metal band Lords of the Trident; and last but not least, she was also a guest on the song Siren’s Song, from the 2016 album Lawful Evil, by The Dread Crew of Oddwood (an acoustic pirate band from San Diego, California).

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Regarding her career and life on the road, Brittney said that living life through music is every musician’s dream, living and breathing music every second of every day while on tour, and she wants to keep playing with Unleash The Archers everywhere, every corner of the globe, every continent and every type of venue, from Japan to Scotland, from Brazil to Antarctica (if they can find metalheads there, of course). When asked about the main difference between festivals and regular shows, she said that in the end they’re not that different, only that there are a lot more bands hanging out backstage waiting for their turn and the atmosphere seems quite a bit more laid back. Having already played with Unleash The Archers all over the world, from North America to China and Japan, Brittney has been collecting a lot of good memories and moments from each and every concert, such as their performance at Hell & Heaven Fest in Mexico City in 2014, where they played a side stage but were able to see the concerts by some of their favorite bands like Angra and KISS. Furthermore, all that passion for heavy music and her family had a very positive impact on her performance on stage. For instance, her brother used to play in a punk band and her father worked as a musician for a long time in the 60’s and 70’s. She used to play with his music equipment when she was a little kid, and there are many pictures of Brittney rocking out with an old SM57 in her hand standing on a table or any other stage-like apparatus. Also, as aforementioned, she was always involved in musical theater, drama, choir or any other sort of performing art, making her feel very comfortable when facing the crowd, it doesn’t matter if at a small venue or at a big renowned festival.

As it happens with any up-and-coming artist in metal music, Brittney has been asked several times through the years about who her biggest idols and influences are in music and in life in general, and her answers couldn’t be more classic, more inspiring and, of course, more metal. She said in one of her interviews that as a vocalist she has always been highly influenced by the one and only Bruce Dickinson, the metal god Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork), Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon), and Jonas Heidgert (Dragonland), among many others, with bands such as Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, Helloween and Septicflesh playing an important role in the development of her taste for music and her singing style. Furthermore, Brittney mentioned that the unparalleled Countdown To Extinction, released by Megadeth in 1992, was the first metal record she’s ever heard in her life, and that was basically the moment that would define her musical preferences for the rest of her life, but she also complemented her thought by saying Best Of The Beast, Iron Maiden’s first “best of” album, released in 1996, was the album that inspired her to use her vocal talents as a singer in a metal band. In addition, when questioned which bands she would choose if she could create her own festival, Brittney simply listed Iron Maiden, Lost Horizon, Iced Earth, Sabaton and Dragonland, all beyond formidable acts, also saying that she would love to tour with Iced Earth, one of her favorite bands of all time, as their music speaks to her on a whole other level.

And last but not least, When Brittney was asked how it feels to be in a Power Metal band from a country like Canada where the Power Metal scene is not as developed as in other places like Scandinavia and Japan, she admitted it’s a bit tough for bands that play metal the likes of Unleash The Archers due to the music culture in Canada being a lot more inclined to Death Metal and other more extreme styles, with Canadian metalheads growing up with bands like Kataklysm and Voivod,  even saying a Power Metal band can feel very “lonely” in the country. However, she also mentioned that even in that not-so-inspiring scenario there are still lots of traditional Power Metal acts all over the country, proving that as long as Power Metal bands keep playing music from their hearts and stay united and strong, the genre has all it takes to grow in popularity among Canadian fans. And there’s no one better than the warrior princess Brittney to lead that metal army and “unleash the archers” upon all of us.

Brittney Slayes’ Official Facebook page
Brittney Slayes’ Official Instagram
Brittney Slayes’ Official Twitter
Unleash The Archers’ Official Facebook page
Unleash The Archers’ Official Instagram
Unleash The Archers’ Official Twitter

“There’s always going to be those faces in the crowd that you have known since the beginning, and that you know will always be there for you; they were fans, and they’ve become friends. I think that there’s very much this foundation of fans that keep you standing. That will never change. The only thing that happens is that it just grows.” – Brittney Slayes

Album Review – Jollymon / Void Walker (2018)

A lesson in groove, electricity and punch by an American Stoner Metal power trio reborn from the ashes in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, more specifically from Vancouver, a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, Stoner Metal outfit Jollymon has just released their fifth full-length album titled Void Walker, their first in eighteen years and a lesson in groove, electricity and punch. Comprised of frontman and songwriter Carey Rich on vocals and bass, John Colgate on guitar and vocals, and Mark Blackburn on drums, Jollymon were originally formed in Eugene, Oregon, releasing their debut full-length album, Sailing, in 1995, followed by a stream of high-quality albums until the band exploded in 2000 with no plans to return, until the power trio began to talk, jam and work on a batch of songs that would become their newborn child. “Whereas the previous four records were more grungy rock songs, the material on Void Walker is more on the metal side. But, we managed to keep the space-rock element, and even turned it up,” comments Carey on the band’s shift of direction with Void Walker.

Another thing Carey notices about Void Walker compared to the band’s previous releases is that the album is clearer and better produced. “We’ve come full circle with our recording approach. The first and second albums had great studio gear with Grammy-nominated producer Drew Canulette running the show. However, the third was a lesser studio done on more of a budget. And, the fourth album, our self-titled one, was a home studio recording. Sure, it sounds good, but you can definitely hear the quality difference between it and Void Walker – or even our first two records, for that matter.” He also explained that the album is entitled Void Walker because it is what Jollymon’s name should be. “Void Walker is a kind of symbol of what our sound is. It’s hard to describe, because it’s really left up to the imagination, which has been more of what we are: less wordy, forced lyrics, but simple imaginative shorelines with an epic soundtrack to back whatever is said.”

Old school ass-kicking Rock N’ Roll permeates the atmosphere in the psychedelic and catchy opening track Tsunami, led by the deep vocals by Carey while John mesmerizes us all with his wicked riffs and solos, followed by Monkeyhawk, where an eccentric intro turns into a very progressive tune, with John’s guitar lines being flawlessly complemented by Mark’s groovy beats, not to mention the song’s wicked lyrics, something you can only find in Sludge Metal (“Monkeyhawks not black or white, makin love giving life to fire, Monkeyhawk baby sings a song, its gonna make me cry, its gonna make me cry…”). And inspired by the potent and unique music by Mastodon, the trio fires a dancing-headbanging-beer-drinking extravaganza titled A Good Day, with Corey showcasing an awesome vocal performance while Mark’s precise drumming keeps the rhythm vibrant and entertaining from start to finish.

Less piercing and more rhythmic, Be Nice presents the band’s “softer” side in a 70’s-inspired Rock N’ Roll vibe, perfect for warming up the night at a rock pub anywhere in the world (and you’ll definitely feel compelled to sing the chorus along with them). After that classic rock tune we have Slice of Life, perhaps the most psychedelic of all songs, where the trio extracts pure groove form their instruments, in special John with his hypnotizing guitar while Mark is responsible for bringing heat to the musicality; followed by Forecast, where all you need to do is simply close your eyes and let Jollymon guide you on a whimsical music journey. John is simply superb with his sick guitar solos, and the music remains ethereal and captivating until its gentle ending for our total delight.

The metallic bass lines by Corey ignite the rockin’ feast Missile Commander, another solid composition by the band with John and Mark being in absolute sync, therefore providing Corey all he needs to thrive on vocals, whereas the title-track Void Walker is a flawless fusion of Stoner and Progressive Metal, proudly representing the high quality of the music found in the entire album with an electrifying vibe morphing into Progressive Rock beautifully, all in line with the song’s enthralling lyrics (“Here we go away through the sky, / here we go wade through the fields, / wondering where are lives, are drifting / away through the wheel. / With wings so wide and no room to soar, / before you can fly, you must find the floor. / A picture of the rain, when it falls it won’t feel the same.”). And last but not least, the closing song of the album, entitled Sky Burial, is just as pleasant and soulful as its predecessors, with John kicking some serious ass with his fiery guitar solos.

Do you want to surf the rockin’ waves blasted by Jollymon and show your appreciation for such distinct underground band? You can follow them on Facebook, listen to more of their music on YouTube, and grab your copy of Void Walker (which by the way you can listen in full on Spotify) from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Amazon or from CD Baby. Let’s hope Jollymon don not explode again after the release of Void Walker, but based on the awesomeness found in the album and the way the band is facing this new phase in their career I’m pretty sure we don’t have to worry about that at all. Quite the contrary, those three dauntless musicians will surely keep on rockin’ in our free world and keep marveling us all with their sensational music.

Best moments of the album: Monkeyhawk, A Good Day and Void Walker.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Independent

Track listing
1. Tsunami 3:48
2. Monkeyhawk 4:43
3. A Good Day 3:56
4. Be Nice 3:46
5. Slice of Life 3:50
6. Forecast 4:07
7. Missile Commander 2:35
8. Void Walker 4:50
9. Sky Burial 5:02

Band members
Carey Rich – vocals, bass
John Colgate – guitar, vocals
Mark Blackburn – drums

Album Review – Infernäl Mäjesty / No God (2017)

A powerful album of Canadian Thrash and Death Metal that confirms there’s no god in our decaying world, but only an infernal majesty of extreme music reigning supreme among us.

Formed in the distant year of 1986 in the city of Toronto, Canada, but currently located on the opposite side of the country, in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Thrash/Death Metal squad Infernäl Mäjesty has been unleashing complex and exciting metal tunes upon humanity since their inception, starting with their 24-track demo recorded at the renowned Metalworks Studios in Toronto (owned by members of Canadian Hard Rock band Triumph) and their 1987 debut album None Shall Defy, and culminating with the release of their brand new opus now in 2017 titled No God.

Featuring an elegant cover art by Safir & Rifas (based on their 2014 oil on canvas art named “Death Angel”), No God offers the listener 11 imposing thrash tunes for the delight of fans of the heaviness and aggressiveness of giants such as Slayer, Behemoth and Testament, masterfully played by founding members Chris Bailey (vocals), Steve Terror (guitar) and Kenny Hallman (guitar), together with newcomers Daniel Nargang on bass and Kiel T. Wilson on drums. “We put a lot into it physically and mentally and feel it has a classic Infernäl Mäjesty undertone while artfully expanding into episodes of melodic cacophony. Recorded at our studio in Vancouver, Canada and produced by Steve Terror, Chris Bailey and Ken Hallman, we enrolled the masterful mixing skills of Chris ”Hollywood” Holmes and believe this to be our best works since None Shall Defy”, says the band about their brand new spawn.

Chris and his horde begin their ominous attack from the very first second of the belligerent tune Enter The World Of The Undead, where we’re furiously invited to enter their world of Thrash and Death Metal to the sound of the cutting riffs by Steve and Kenny, while Kiel keeps up with the legacy of iconic drummers such as Dave Lombardo, Gene Hoglan and Tom Hunting. Dark and acrid words flow from Chris’ visceral growls in the rhythmic onslaught of extreme music called In God You Trust, also presenting a hellish aura in the background which ends up enhancing the song’s obscurity; followed by a very aggressive and infernal composition named Signs Of Evil, displaying a similar pattern than both previous songs, with highlights to the unstoppable Kiel behind his drums and to the once again sharp guitar riffs and solos by Steve and Kenny. And in Another Day in Hell the music feels like it’s rising from the pits of the underworld, with the initial roar by Chris being a sign of how heavy this tune will be. Not only it brings an old school sonority the likes of Unleashed, but its calmer but blackened breaks make the whole composition even more menacing.

Kingdom Of Heaven, a mid-tempo straightforward Death Metal chant with thrashing elements added to it, presents a neck-breaking start with lots of groove emanating from Kiel’s drumming, while Steve, Kenny and Daniel slash our skin with their razor-edged strings, whereas the title-track No God is a blasphemous feast of Death and Thrash Metal perfect for their live performances, with Chris vociferating the song’s wicked lyrics manically (“Born of fire from the starless depths of hell / The red cross turns black so many dead sent up the stacks / Spill the blood of virtue for the empire of gold / Satan laughing defecating into open mouths below”), therefore being one of the strongest compositions of the whole album. Then we have an eerie instrumental track about the 9/11 attacks titled False Flag for Europe, paving the path for the rhythmic Nation of Assassins, starting in a darker and heavier pace before exploding into a thrilling hurricane of metal, with Chris darkly screaming the song’s name while the rest of the band blasts a very cohesive fusion of Thrash and Death Metal.

The killer drumming by Kiel and the straightforward guitars by both Steve and Kenny are all Chris needs to fire his infuriated growls in the fantastic House Of War, with the aggressiveness of the entire song being way above average. All band members are absolutely on fire, delivering an intricate but always crude and primeval hymn for admirers of traditional Death Metal that has all it takes to become an underground classic. Systematical Extermination keeps the quality of the album at a very good level, albeit being less creative than the others (it might have been more effective if it was a little shorter, though), while in Extinction Level Event a truly macabre intro morphs into a pounding sonic devastation. Steve and Kenny continue with their merciless slashing, also blasting melodious lines to give more balance to all the havoc going on, with Kiel helping Chris to poetically scream about the end of mankind until the song’s somber ending.

Infernäl Mäjesty is another one of those amazing bands that makes us proud of being Canadian, and if I were you I would certainly like their Facebook page, listen to more of their demonic Thrash Metal at their YouTube channel and at their BandCamp page (where No God will be available soon), and grab your copy of No God at the High Roller Records’ webstore in different formats (CD digipak, LP black, LP splatter and LP royal blue), at the Napalm Records’ webstore, at the Season of Mist’s webstore, at Target, at Record Shop X, on Amazon and several other locations (please note that “False Flag for Europe” and “House Of War” are on the CD and digital download, but not on the vinyl edition because they are already on a custom House Of War 7”). After listening to this raging lecture of Extreme Metal, I’m more than inclined to believe there’s no god, but only an infernal majesty of metal music reigning supreme among us.

Best moments of the album: Enter The World Of The Undead, No God and House Of War.

Worst moments of the album: Systematical Extermination.

Released in 2017 High Roller Records

Track listing
1. Enter The World Of The Undead 5:44
2. In God You Trust 5:14
3. Signs Of Evil 4:53
4. Another Day in Hell 6:37
5. Kingdom Of Heaven 6:46
6. No God 5:58
7. False Flag for Europe 2:05
8. Nation of Assassins 6:24
9. House Of War 4:47
10. Systematical Extermination 6:28
11. Extinction Level Event 6:08

Band members
Chris Bailey – vocals
Steve Terror – guitar
Kenny Hallman – guitar
Daniel Nargang – bass
Kiel T. Wilson – drums

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

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

Rating3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst moments of the album: Deceiver.

Released in 2017 Test Your Metal Records

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

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

Album Review – Kafirun / Glorification Of Holy Death EP (2015)

Welcome to the darkest side of metal music, put forward by a very promising Canadian Black Metal act.

Rating5

KAFIRUN Glorification of Holy Death EPIt’s always a pleasure to review the release by a Canadian band, especially when the band in question is capable of delivering such creative and venomous music to the point it contaminates our deranged minds and souls in the best way possible. That’s what Black Metal band Kafirun has to offer with their brand new EP, the deadly ravage entitled Glorification Of Holy Death.

Brought into being in 2014 and hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, this new breed of Canadian black metallers is releasing their second installment after their debut demo/EP Death Worship, which if you haven’t taken a listen to yet I suggest you do it now by clicking HERE. More than just a sequel to Death Worship, the new EP aims at reaching new levels of perversity and complexity, and Kafirun end up conquering their objectives by stepping up their technique, wrath and malice.

The psychedelic intro, the doom-ish drumming by Corpus Vile and the demonic and desperate vocals by Luzifaust in the opening track, Wings of Malevolence, evoke darkness and welcome all of us to the kingdom of Kafirun. Far from being raw old school Black Metal, this song has a more melancholic and somber sounding with a sustained rhythm perfect for some slow but intense headbanging, while in Salvation Through Sin they speed things up and also blacken their music, delivering some sick riffs, growls and blast beats in a very crude way. This is indeed a very obscure type of Black Metal that fans of the genre will enjoy, with the devilish break halfway through it making the song more interesting to the listener.

kafirun photoThe third track of the EP, Destruction of the Divine Self, showcases more modern and thrashier riffs by guitarist Hanephi before suddenly turning into brutal Black Metal, with vociferations and drums at the speed of evil, followed by another bestial song named Chaos Magnum Opus. The initial scream by Luzifaust says it all: it’s going to be a disturbingly blackened tune, where Corpus Vile violently pounds his drums while Hanephi and Hypnocrotizer brutalize their strings with some wicked lines. You will definitely feel distraught with this malevolent song, no doubt about that.

Last but not least, in Open Veins the band gets back to Blackened Doom, with even the vocal lines getting deeper and more grievous. Its funereal sonority is beyond perfect to close the EP and emphasizes all the disorientation and addiction to the darkest side of metal music put forward by this promising Canadian quartet. With that said, what are you waiting for to succumb to all unholy sins and let the right one in by visiting Kafirun’s official Facebook page and by purchasing their music at their BandCamp page?

Best moments of the album: Destruction of the Divine Self and Chaos Magnum Opus.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Wings of Malevolence 4:07
2. Salvation Through Sin 4:18
3. Destruction of the Divine Self 3:32
4. Chaos Magnum Opus 3:28
5. Open Veins 6:14

Band members
Luzifaust – vocals
Hanephi – guitars
Hypnocrotizer – bass
Corpus Vile – drums

Album Review – Meridius / Meridius EP (2015)

Get ready for war with this rising and upfront Canadian Thrash Metal army.

Rating5

meridius-cover-small2Named after Russell Crowe`s iconic character Maximus Decimus Meridius from the Academy Award-winning epic movie Gladiator, Canadian Thrash/Groove Metal band Meridius is here to provide us headbangers a short and extremely energetic Thrash Metal assault with their debut self-titled EP, Meridius, which will please all fans of veterans the likes of Slayer, Exodus and Pantera. And just like General Maximus, this five-piece army won’t stop until the last body drops to the sound of their cutthroat music.

Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia and singing about inevitable (but always fresh) topics such as death, torture, war and violence, Meridius are not aiming at revolutionizing Thrash Metal. What those guys really want is pretty simple and straightforward: to entertain all thrash metallers in the world with huge doses of dark humor and high-quality music, and let me tell you that based on what is available in Meridius they have more than what it takes to succeed. Who doesn’t enjoy some honest and violent Thrash Metal, eh!?

The first track in Meridius is also my favorite one, Speed Kills, where the 100% Slayer-ish riffs by guitarists Kieran Marquis and Sam Buchanan support the song’s dense and heavy musicality. It’s ruthless music with lots of groove, sounding like a “tribute” to contemporary North American Thrash Metal, especially the vocals by frontman Eric Willmott which are more aggressive and modern than usual just like what Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) and Rob Dukes (Exodus, Generation Kill) usually do. Moreover, when the song reaches its guitar solo, it gets closer to the music by Pantera, which is always a good thing.

meridius-press-photo-hailey-statlerConquer The Throne, with its riffs and drums inspired by Swedish Melodic Death Metal and Speed Metal, is another aggressive metal attack with more melodic vocals, showcasing lyrics as violent as the music and a very catchy chorus, followed by the third and last track of the EP, Walk The Plank, which goes back to the musicality of Bay Area Thrash. The song is not at the speed of light, but it’s very groovy and truly heavy with the addition of even some clean vocals. The neck-breaking riff in the middle of the song is perfect for lovers of slow but gigantic headbanging, and the second half of it is an exhibit of the Heavy Metal skills of all band members, with a melancholic acoustic ending that was probably put there on purpose for the listener to slow down after so much violence.

It’s particularly important to acknowledge the high-end production of the entire EP, and if the band’s first full-length album, which is already being crafted and should be available in the next few months, sounds as professional as any of the three tracks from the EP, diehard thrash metallers from any nationality will soon turn their eyes and ears to Canada without a shadow of a doubt. While Meridius are writing new material and getting ready to tour Canada, go check their music at their official BandCamp page and also on SoundCloud, and get ready for war with this 101 proof Canadian Thrash Metal band.

Best moments of the album: Speed Kills.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Speed Kills 3:42
2. Conquer The Throne 4:17
3. Walk The Plank 5:27

Band members
Eric Willmott – vocals
Kieran Marquis – lead guitar
Sam Buchanan – rhythm guitar
Peter Reimann – bass guitar
Nolan Olson – drums

Album Review – id. / Sagittarius A EP (2015)

Progressive, aggressive and intricate metal music created to flow directly into your body and mind.

Rating5

EP cover - id - Sagitarrius AInspired by Sigmund Freud’s theory on the levels of the human psyche (id, ego and super-ego), comes Canadian Progressive Metal band id. and their brand new EP, entitled Sagittarius A, which will take you on a relatively short but very interesting expedition through several music genres, from World Music to Death Metal. Longtime fans of Opeth, Gojira and Mastodon will quickly fall in love with id., while others might be positively surprised with the depth offered in the music by this Vancouver-based group.

The story behind the EP title is very entertaining and shows how much attention the band members paid to every detail while composing it. Sagittarius A, which touches on topics such as inner struggle and self-awareness, is the name of the black hole in the center of our galaxy (as represented by the album art). The central idea comes from a fundamental belief in a scientific world view, free of religious influence and tyranny, outlining how people are susceptible to believe things without evidence if it appeals to their vanity, as opposed to being presented with evidence and being able to accept something that is inherently contradictory to their intuition. But don’t worry if you didn’t really get it: just sit down, relax and enjoy the heavy music spectacle presented in this four-track EP.

idphotoshoot-5920-3611476671-PM-HAnd the psychedelic heavy music journey begins with The Greatest Secret Never Told, where huge influences from French Groove/Progressive Metal band Gojira can be easily noticed in all instruments, especially in its drums and riffs. Not only that, the high-end sounding is above average for any indie band like id., something that must be acknowledged for sure. Very technical and progressive instrumental passages are also found in Humanity’s Cry, an introspective and melancholic track (not only the music itself, but also the lyrics), with highlights to the theatrical clean vocals by lead singer Jason Pennington and the amazing beats by drummer Kris DeBoer.

id.entity is a lot angrier and more complex than the previous songs, sounding almost like Progressive Black Metal before turning into rawer Death Metal, which just confirms how creative this band can be. It’s a progressive feast where all band members have a very professional and solid performance, especially guitarists Alex Dubreuil and Tyson Araszewski, all guided by the excellent desperate vocals by Jason. Lastly, we have the title-track, Sagittarius A, which despite beginning in a very smooth way, suddenly becomes a violent but harmonic flow of blast beats and harsh screams. It’s in my opinion the best of all four tracks, mainly due to its high-energy rhythm and intricacy.

You can visit the band’s official Facebook page and/or BandCamp to obtain more details and stream the music by this band that’s helping put the awesome province of British Columbia, Canada in the map of Progressive Metal. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a profound connoisseur of the life and work of the father of psychoanalysis or not: if you’re a metalhead with a strong inclination to progressiveness, your body and mind will demand more of the elaborate musicality generated by these Canadian metallers.

Best moments of the album: As already mentioned, Sagittarius A.

Worst moments of the album: None, of course.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. The Greatest Secret Never Told 3:58
2. Humanity’s Cry 5:36
3. id.entity 6:01
4. Sagittarius A 5:57

Band members
Jason Pennington – lead vocals
Alex Dubreuil – lead guitars, bass, backing vocals
Tyson Araszewski – rhythm guitar
Kris DeBoer – drums

 

Album Review – The Order of the Solar Temple / The Order of the Solar Temple (2014)

A fresh and psychedelic music journey through the realms of heavy music, engendered by a very talented Canuck band.

Rating4

The_Order_Of_The_Solar_Temple_front_coverWhen you put together music genres such as Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Doom Metal, the final result is at least interesting, especially in terms of creativity and feeling. But if you really want to spice things up, simply add to that some nuances of occultism and lots of groove from the dawn of Heavy Metal and you have the excellent self-titled debut album by Canadian Hard Rock/Doom Metal band The Order of the Solar Temple.

Let’s say that if people asked me to describe The Order of the Solar Temple in just a few words, I would call it a psychedelic heavy music journey. This Vancouver-based band was capable of sounding fairly original during the entire album even using only really old music elements in all compositions, mainly due to the above average skills and the passion for music of each musician involved. Not only that, the production of the album, which also seems to be inspired by the music from the 70’s, helps enhance that classic occult sonority regularly found in the music by bands like Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath.

The album opens with the groovy Fallout Woman, a pure Rock N’ Roll song that makes me feel like I’m listening to an album from the 70’s, with highlights to its smooth vocals, soft and melancholic atmosphere and a soulful guitar solo, followed by Aeon Of Horus, a dark tune with lots of Doom Metal elements from bands such as Danzig that curiously starts with an ominous intro but ends in an acoustic way  and, of course, focus heavily on all the obscurity in the lyrics (“Mother Egypt sets the stage for the dawning of an age / Har-par-Khered / Ancient magick is exhumed to free us from our doom / Abrahadabra”) to make the entire song more vibrant and meaningful to the listener. By the way, their classic but unique lyric themes are one of the greatest strengths of the band, staying far away from all the repetitiveness and lack of depth so common in the world of music nowadays.

the_order_of_the_solar_templeGetting back to the album, The Cult (Of Rock’n’Roll) sounds like a “tribute” to the good old KISS, with an awesome work done on riffs and drums, elevating it to the status of best track of the album. Moreover, it’s perfect for becoming a Rock N’ Roll radio hit as it would certainly please not only traditional hard rockers but also any fan of some good quality music. Then we have the psychedelic rhythm and melody of Jervas Dudley, a song that could be summarized as “when Black Sabbath meets Jethro Tull” and also an excellent “journey” for guitar players that enjoy the groove from the 70’s, followed by another fast and classic tune the likes of Deep Purple named Pale Horse, which I’m pretty sure you’ll get addicted to its melodic riffs and keyboards.

The last part of the album consists of the excellent Back Home, a song with lots of elements from good old Blues that sounds like a “pub song” perfect for having a beer with friends; the most Hard Rock track of all, Dominance And Submission, which also reminds me of the good times of Deep Purple, with kudos to Matt “Macabre” Emery for his performance: he might not have the most powerful voice in the world, but it fits perfectly into the musicality of the band. And finally, closing the album we have the obscure track The Order, which is good (especially if you’re a fan of “black magic”), but maybe more variations would make it a more intense song.

Sorry if I kept repeating the expressions “70’s”, “journey” and “psychedelic” every two or three sentences, but there’s no better way to describe the music from The Order of the Solar Temple: it truly is an awesome combination of past and future, carefully brought forth to people like us who live and breathe Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. Even the album art is a tribute to the music that enchanted the world 40 years ago. Not only that, these guys are here to remind us how magic Rock N’ Roll was in its inception and how it can still be exciting even after all those years with the music industry trying to kill everything that sounds real, and we all should thank them for keeping on rockin’ and staying true to the roots of heavy music. And if you don’t want this magic to disappear, you can support the band by listening to their music and purchasing their album at their BandCamp page.

Best moments of the album: The Cult (Of Rock’n’Roll), Pale Horse and Dominance And Submission.

Worst moments of the album: The Order.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Fallout Woman 3:47
2. Aeon Of Horus 8:31
3. The Cult (Of Rock’n’Roll) 3:09
4. Jervas Dudley 6:58
5. Pale Horse 5:31
6. Back Home 5:01
7. Dominance And Submission 5:23
8. The Order 6:37

Band members
Matt “Macabre” Emery – lead vocal, electric guitar, theremin and primordial howls
S. Mulleady – organ, synthesizers, guitar, additional vocals
A. MacGreagor – bass guitar, additional vocals
M. Morrison – drums

Interview – Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear)

Let’s get ready for Power Metal icons Primal Fear to “deliver the black” here in Canada next month with this exclusive interview with one of the best and most respected metal singers in the world, the amazing Mr. Ralf Scheepers. Metal is forever!

Ralf ScheepersThe Headbanging Moose: First of all, I have to say that the new Primal Fear album, Delivering the Black, is a true Heavy Metal masterpiece and it will be for sure one of the best albums of 2014. There isn’t a single moment of the album that’s not pure and direct metal, especially the kick-ass songs King for A Day, Rebel Faction, Inseminoid and Delivering The Black. How was the creative process of the album, and how were you able to come up with such fast and powerful music even after almost 20 years of the first Primal Fear album?

Ralf Scheepers: Thank you very much! I’m glad that you like it!

We are in the great situation to have 4 writing members in Primal Fear, so basically we come up with many different ideas for an album and put them together as a short list of which could be on the album and which might fit to the flowing of an album. This is also a very important key when you put an album together. This time Mat and Magnus were coming up with the basic playbacks of the tracks and we sat together and worked on vocal melodies and lyrics. For some tracks I have worked on the playbacks to find my ideas on it and some of them were written together, as mentioned before.

This is basically how we are working on every album.

THM: I’ve been checking the music charts and it seems that Delivering the Black is doing extremely well, especially in Europe and Japan, and of course the band is huge in South America too. However, it’s not that easy to find your music or many other Power Metal bands available in the stores here in Canada and in the rest of North America. How do you see this “cultural barrier” here in North America against many subgenres of Heavy Metal that are not Death or Thrash Metal? Do you believe the Internet is being of great help for bands like Primal Fear, Chthonic, Amon Amarth and many others to penetrate this quite conservative market?

RS: I don’t consider this as a cultural barrier rather than judging it by seeing the size of the continent and the fact that we all still have to struggle against the illegal downloads. So to answer your second part of the question: I see both sides. I see the possibility to promote yourself as an advantage and on the other side I see the illegal downloading as a disadvantage.

THM: Talking about German heavy music, the past few years have been amazing for most of the bands from your country. For instance, in 2014 we’ve already had really awesome albums from Primal Fear, Axel Rudi Pell, Van Canto, Iron Savior and Gamma Ray, last year we had one of the best Helloween albums of all time, there are also other excellent bands that are not Power Metal like Hard Rock band Motorjesus and Metalcore band Caliban, among others. In your opinion, what’s the secret for such a rich, diverse and creative heavy music scene in Germany? Is it just the beer, or is it something else?

Primalfeardeliveringtheblack2014

Album Review – Primal Fear / Delivering the Black (2014)

RS: It’s definitely the beer, yes! 🙂

Well I think we had the opportunity to jump into this genre as music fans in the 80’s, especially the NWOBH era was creating a lot of great musicians here in Europe…. It’s somehow learning by hearing. So if you had or have the talent to play the guitar or to play the drums or to sing, you change from a fan into a musician by yourself and that’s what happened a lot over here.

THM: Going back to the new album, there’s a very interesting partnership with the gorgeous Liv Kristine in the Japanese bonus track version of the ballad Born With A Broken Heart. How did you guys end up choosing her for this track? In my opinion, this version is more beautiful than the original one, so why didn’t you add it as a regular track instead? And after some stunning duets with Liv Kristine on the new Primal Fear album, Simone Simmons on New Religion, and Tim “Ripper” Owens on your solo album, who else would you love to record a Primal Fear or Scheepers song together on vocals and why?

Liv_and_Ralf

Liv Kristine & Ralf Scheepers

RS: The basic idea was to add a female voice to the chorus for this track, just as an interesting color and so we did that for the album version. For the Japanese bonus track we thought it would be a great idea to remix the track and use more of Liv’s input on it. It both worked out and we’re all happy about both results, for the album and for the bonus.

We never really plan those things in a long term rather than listening to the tracks we wrote. Sometimes we hear additional voices, male or female to add a different color to it. Sometimes we don’t see or hear the reason to do that.

THM: Regarding your solo album Scheepers, from 2011, you re-recorded a song from your Tyran’ Pace years, the excellent Saints of Rock. Why did you choose this song to be part of your debut solo album, and are there any plans for another Scheepers album soon? If so, is there anything you could share with us about it?

RS: As the idea for “Saints of Rock” came up from me back then in the 80’s I thought it would be a good idea to modern up the sound of this track on my solo album. It was so much fun to re sing this one and to do all voices of the chorus on my own this time. Back then Charlie Huhn (Victory) helped me out doing the choir.

There are no plans for another solo album. This year our focus is to tour the world.

THM: You’ve recently finished a series of concerts with the Rock Meets Classic Tour 2014. How did you get invited to be part of this project, how was the overall experience, who were some of the musicians there with you, and what were the highlights of the tour for you?

Rock Meets Classic 2014

Rock Meets Classic 2014

RS: As Mat Sinner is the musical director and co producer of this event he thought it would be a good idea to add some male voices to the already existing female choir. So he has offered me the possibility to join in and I did. In the second and third year I was alone as a male choir member and in the forth and fifth year Sascha Krebs (Musical artist) has joined in. It was and still is a great experience every year! To be on stage with some of my idols and stars from the 80’s music scene is simply an amazing experience! It’s great fun. Every night you hear those popular tracks combined with the classical sounds of strings, trumpets and trombones, it gives me shivers and goose bumps. It’s an amazing vibe and atmosphere on stage!

We had Ian Gillan, Lou Gramm, Paul Rodgers, Alice Cooper feat. Orianthi, Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Lukather, Eric Bazilian, Jimi Jamison, Mick Box and Bernie Shaw from Uriah Heep, Steve Augeri, Midge Ure, Marc Storace, Dan McCafferty, Bonnie Tyler, Robin Beck and Kim Wilde with us. This is listed in no particular following.

THM: You’re not only the frontman of Primal Fear, but you also have your solo career, you’re part of different music projects such as Rocks Meets Classic, you’re a vocal coach, you provide singing lessons, you’re a microphone development consultant, you provide file processing, among many other activities, including your personal life where you have to take care of your son, work out at the gym etc. How are you able to manage all that? And what’s the advice you have for any artists and musicians that want to perform as well as you do on stage without losing track of all other things in life?

RS: I simply juggle duties and do not do everything at the same time! 🙂

Sometimes my focus is more on one thing and then again on the others when it’s necessary. To set priorities is the overall key to all this. I think as a grown up person you don’t need any advices to handle your life right? 🙂

Primal FearTHM: There haven’t been any Primal Fear concerts in Canada since 2010, and even before that there were only very few Canadian dates whenever the band came to North America. Now that you have a fairly bigger tour with four concerts schedule in Canada for 2014, in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, what is the band preparing for your Canadian fans so eager to see you guys playing live again? Will there be any special songs in the setlist, or any other surprises at all?

RS: We are all looking forward to this and we are happy that there are more cities planned for Canada this year! In our existing setlist we have tried to add the most significant songs. On the other hand we also took care that there is a reasonable change in the flow of the songs of our live set.

THM: Which bands or artists (including all types of music) do you enjoy listening while at home with your family, at the gym or on the road? What about Canadian bands or artists, what are your favorite ones and why? And are there any new bands from anywhere in the world you would recommend us?

RS: When I have time to listen to other music I listen to every kinds of genres. I’m very open to all kinds of bands and songs with melodies. As I am not really up date what’s new at the market I am not able to recommend anything right now.

THM: Thank you very, very much for your time. Please feel free to send a final message to your fans here in Canada and to invite everyone to the Primal Fear concerts here. I’ll be there at the Mod Club on May 3 in Toronto to bang my head with some pure Heavy Metal, no doubt about that!

RS: As mentioned above we are looking forward to perform in more cities of Canada this year! It would be awesome if you all could join in for a show in your city and to rock out and hang out with us for a non alcoholic beer or two. 🙂

Primal Fear North America 2014 – Canadian dates

Primal Fear_NA_2014

May 1, 2014 – Quebec City, Quebec | Le Cercle TICKETS
May 2, 2014 – Montreal, Quebec | Foufounes Électriques TICKETS
May 3, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario | Virgin Mobile Mod Club TICKETS
May 11, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia | Venue Nightclub TICKETS

Links
Ralf Scheepers Official Website | Facebook
Primal Fear Official Website | Facebook