Wednesday, February 27, 2019

interview: Ascheregen

On February 15th, 2019 the debut album by Ascheregen (Germany) was released. The album is called Untot (Undead) and the music is perfect to the old-school heavy metal fans. Not knowing anything about the band, it was a good time to find out what this good-time band is all about. Let’s rock and roll!
Your album Untot (Undead) is a lot of fun, it’s like heavy metal for a party! Ascheregen is actually a new band, isn’t it? Tell us about it!
We are happy that you like our stuff. So first greetings to all our American metal fans. The band members have experience in other bands before. Andreas played with HAMMERSCHMITT and ASGARD and wrote guitar lines for bands like GRAVE DIGGER. Christina and Daniel also have been in bands before and I played in the early90ties in the German punk bands FREMDKÖRPER and SCHLEIFSTEIN. At that time I met Andreas for the first time and we did a project in 2007, but the stuff never got released because one of the members had a contract with another band. So we met again in 2017. Andreas worked with Daniel and Christina and two guys of the former line-up, so we came together, because they asked me for the second voice in the first song. Now we also have a new drummer, Detlef Schröder. He also is experienced in music, he is the drum teacher at the music conservatory in Frankfurt.
Who is answering this interview?
My name is Marc Debus alias Kaleun Cronos in the band. I’m one if the two vocalists, the other one is Lilith.
Now that the album is out. Are shows next?
Yes, we are planning to play shows and we are also working on new material for the next album in a few weeks.
Have the metal music publications done reviews of the album? What about radio? Where can fans hear the complete album?
Yes, there are a lot of reviews, some like the stuff, others don’t like it. They say metal with German vocals sounds horrible. Hahaha! The problem of a prophet in their own country! but for us it’s not a reason to stop our music. Because others like it, we have enough motivation to continue our work. In Germany we had our release show as a radio show on and they also played our album. Also, the radio played our songs. You can find the “Untot” official video on Youtube and “Lass es raus” from a live show in 2018. Also you can find the other songs on Youtube, but not at the same quality as on our album. You can buy this worldwide on Amazon. So please buy the album! Better for us. hahaha
The song “Untot” seems like a horror movie situation, but what about the song “Hey Christina”?
“Untot” is about a horror movie, because of the hype around TV shows like the “Walking Dead”. But you also can hear the song as a critique on people, following a system without will of their own. So there are two messages in this song. “Hey Christina” is the story of a girl with some mental problems, because of her surroundings, friend, job etc. Problems everybody knows in their own life, so everybody knows the feeling.
The song “Tod im Ascheregen” (“Death in Ashfall”) is a ballad love song, but it is the story of a brutal way of dying ha ha!! Then the song “Hau ab” is an anti-love song! How much of your music and lyrics is German humor that only German rock fans would understand?
“Tod im Ascheregen” is like you say a ballad about a hard part in someone’s life. A soft song about a hard time. “Hau ab” means “Go away” and it is a anti love song, about a relationship in its end. She says GO AWAY, because he was a dirty bastard! hahaha. But everybody can understand the meaning after a translation! It’s not only for Germans, its universal.
Ascheregen is old-school heavy metal but actually your band has female/male singing, the lyrics are in German and there are other surprises, like on the song “Wer bist du” (“Who are you?”) there is death metal growling! Therefore, Ascheregen music is also a bit rebellious against the rules. What is your opinion about experimenting a little bit with other genres in the music of Ascheregen?
Our main idea for our music, but we also like to add some things no one expects. We think the old metal also has influences from punk rock… see the Ramones or the Sex Pistols. Also some of the old punk bands like The Exploited do albums like “Beat the bastard” and that’s more metal! And every American metal fan knows, that Ross the boss from The Dictators is one of the founders of Manowar. So it always was a crossover. You talk about the vocals on “Wer bist du”. It’s not really a growling, because you can understand the words! hahaha But you are right. We like to do strange things sometimes. We hope for the listeners it’s fun, because they get different kinds of cake, not only ten pieces of the same one.
The song “Schnell wie ein Hai.” Every fan of old heavy metal in Germany knows exactly, exactly the title, right?! Is it your tribute to Accept? Maybe on the next album you will have a song called “Rock dich wie ein Hurrikan”?
Nice! You see the idea behind the song! and yes!! It’s a tribute to the old ACCEPT line up with Udo Dirkschneider! If you search you will find the shark also on the cover of the album on the left side. Accept is still a great band, but we are oriented towards the old metal stuff, that’s what we want. Also the song “Rockgott” (“Rock God”) is an homage to Ronnie James Dio, one of the best metal voices ever in our opinion.
The keyboards have the classic and fun feeling of 1980s. How were you able to find the right keyboard player?
That feeling was our intention bringing Daniel into the band. He is a fabulous key-player and we like to create the feeling of the old sounds. We think its old but also modern, because a lot young people listen to that music again. We like it and we don’t change it! … It’s a part of our music and gives us the possibility to sound reminiscent of the 80s.
Do you have any other news? When will you be coming to play in Seattle?! Maybe I need to buy a plane ticket and go to Frankfurt to catch a show!
Playing in Seatle is a good idea, I think. You can invite us and we will come! hahahahaha. But you are always welcome to attend our shows in Germany! Same we can say to each American metal fan. I would also like to extend some greetings to my good friends in Virginia Beach, Gorden, Kent, Kent and Fender. I shared some open stages with them and that was always fun, to play some German-Blues. Cheers to all our American fans, rock on and never forget to drink some beer when you do it!!!!!!

issue # 165 of Metal Bulletin Zine

Issue number 165 of Metal Bulletin Zine is available to read online at the link. Number 165 features: JT Ripper, Frenzy, Ad Patres, and Plague Pit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

upcoming on March 11th, 2019: Bloodthirst

The fans that like their thrash and black metal to mix it up should be interested in this long-running Polish band. The thrashing riffs, the blasting and the demented, aggressive vocals all the check the necessary boxes, and most of all, they specialize in headbanging songs from start to finish. The lyrics are furious and savage, like they have a lot of anger and hatred and no peace at all, and plenty of unresolved issues. The melody in the music comes from the guitar solos and you might be surprised how catchy some of the playing is. Otherwise, it is music for the moshpit at the local bar or at your work station or cubicle. One final warning: The band promotes a very antireligious view and they glorify evil and love that philosopher that fascists have liked a lot: Nietzsche. Know what you are getting yourself into. Just look at the title of the album and you will get an idea.
Founded some 20 years ago, this is the fourth studio album, but they have done lots of split, EP and demo recordings. If you are looking for some Polish blackthrash, check out Bloodthirst.
I am Part of that Power which Eternally Wills Evil and Eternally Works Wrong
Pagan Records
Release: 11 March 2019
The fourth full-length album from Polish thrash metal band BLOODTHIRST. The album entitled "I am Part of that Power which Eternally Wills Evil and Eternally Works Wrong" is going to be released on the 11 March 2019 via Pagan Records. This concept album contains 9 tracks filled with Nietzschean philosophy and aggressive Thrash Metal.
2019 is BLOODTHIRST' time to celebrate its remarkable history twenty years in the making. So a special show is planned on the 23rd of March 2019, together with Deus Mortem Official, Warfist and Temple Desecration. This event will be also a release party of the upcoming album.
Album credits: Recorded, mixed and mastered at Left Hand Sounds between March-October 2018. All music by Bloodthirst. All lyrics by Rambo. Lyrical concept based on „Twilight of the Idols or how to Philozophize with a Hammer”, „The Antichrist” and „Thus Spoke Zarathustra: a Book for All and None” by Fredrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Cover and artwork: Kontamination Design. Band photos: Stanisław Łakomy.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Skeletoon lands the power metal on March 8th, 2019

Skeletoon (Italy) is a new band to this publication, and they are now on their third album, actually. The band is proud to play traditional European power metal with singing and lots of melodies. They love the 1980s and they even cover a Cindy Lauper song, and Metal Archives says that the band started out of a Halloween tribute from years ago. The spirit of 1980s pop and heavy metal, and you get the power metal of Skeletoon. Go to their Facebook page and find out more, including a new song.
They Never Say Die
Scarlet Records
Release: 8 March 2019
OFFICIAL INFORMATION: ‘They Never Say Die’ is the new album from SkeleToon, a Power Metal tribute to Eighties classic flick ‘The Goonies’ by Richard Donner/Steven Spielberg. With eleven guests taking over the main roles, ‘They Never Say Die’ is the third of five chapters in the band’s “Nerd Saga”, a fictional journey that goes way beyond a natural love for the “geek” world of cult movies, videogames and comics, to describe the world seen through the eyes of those forcibly removed from the masses because of their passions. ‘They Never Say Die’ has been recorded, mixed and mastered at Domination Studios by Simone Mularoni (DGM) and includes many special guests including Michele Luppi (Whitesnake), Giacomo Voli (Rhapsody Of Fire), Morby (Domine) and Alessandro Conti (Trick Or Treat). The beautiful artwork has been made by Stan W. Decker (Primal Fear, Stryper, Ross The Boss, Jorn, Masterplan). SkeleToon released their first album ‘The Curse Of The Avenger’ in 2016, while the second chapter ‘Ticking Clock’ was released the following year and featured notable guest appearances by Roland Grapow, Dennis Ward (Unisonic), Jonne Jarvela and Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) among others. ‘They Never Say Die’ will see the light of the day in March 2019.

upcoming on the 8th of March: the Týr new album

It seemed like Týr had a new album every year. It wasn't literally true, but it was close enough to make you wonder how they were doing it. Then, after the 2013 album Valkyrja the recorded output slowed down and it is not until 2019 that there is a new album. They are still very much a folky progressive melodic band, but there is plenty of rocking going on. Nowadays the band has quite a bit of concert experience and they have learned what works live and what does not. Perhaps this is why they keep the traditional heavy metal close to their heart and we can only thank them for finding a way to balance things out and remembering to keep the metal going. You can now listen to two new songs at the link given here. Check out all the shirtless details with the official information below.
Metal Blade Records
Release: 8 March 2019
With Hel, the Faroe Islands' Týr provide even more irrefutable evidence that they stand at the vanguard of Scandinavian metal. Their eighth full-length is a collection of ruthlessly melodic and irresistibly compelling progressive folk metal that will immediately resonate with any who have followed the band at any point over the two decades of their storied career. "Being so close to the album, it's almost impossible for us in the band to have an objective opinion about it, but my impression is that it's a more diverse collection that's also more extreme in some ways. There are more instrumental passages than on 'Valkyrja' (2013), and there are a lot of guitar and bass details," states guitarist/vocalist Heri Joensen. "I really feel we've realized the vision we set out to create all those years ago, and as I listen through the album, I am satisfied with every aspect: the epicness, the intricacy, the melodies and harmonies, and the sheer heaviness of it. I love the whole atmosphere of it."
Known for their prolific nature - dropping their first five full-lengths in the space of just seven years - the six-year gap between Valkyrja and Hel is by far the longest between any two of their records. During that period the band toured hard, taking the album around the world, including a support run with Children Of Bodom in North America and an appearance on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise. However, other factors played into this extended break between releases. "We approached this one differently because I learned that if I continue doing albums in the way we had up to now, I would die from a heart attack before I'm 50!" says Joensen. "That's one of the reasons we changed our method and took such a long time on this one." That this tactic - which also includes more songwriting contributions from bassist/vocalist Gunnar Thomsen and guitarist Terji Skibenæs than on previous releases - has been beneficial is borne out in the finished product, which is perhaps more immersive than those that came before. "Musically it leans a bit towards our album, 'Ragnarok' (2005)," states Thomsen. "It's a bit more epic and also much better worked through than any of our previous albums." It also marks the recording debut of drummer Tadeusz Rieckmann, who has manned the drum throne for Týr's live shows since 2016. "We had some problems finding the right guy some years back, but Tadeusz is the man for the job," says Joensen. "He's a very technically able drummer, but at the same time, he has a very natural old-school heaviness to his style, and he plays with deep emotion, which is just what we need."
Conceptually, the album is informed by a combination of mythology, personal experience and observations of current international events, making for a multifaceted experience that can be processed and understood on many levels. Starting not with a specific story to tell but with an atmosphere in mind, Joensen prefers not to disclose too much detail when it comes to lyrics, keen for listeners to have a chance to take what they want from the songs, though he provides a basic description of that which inspired him. "Hel is the realm of death in Norse mythology, the underworld where those who die a natural death, not in battle, go. A bit confusingly, it is also the name of the goddess who rules over the same realm. She's the daughter of Loki and a terrifying creature to look upon." Two of the songs - "Ragnars Kvæõi" and "Álvur Kongur" - are traditional Faroese ballads and are as such sung in Joensen's native tongue. Followers of Týr will be aware that they have on numerous occasions strayed from English, which Joensen acknowledges as the "language of metal", though this time out it is only the ballads that feature non-English lyrics. "If I have a good folky melody, I always have the thought that I should write the lyrics in Faroese, but I seldom have the time. The traditional songs come with lyrics, so it's just about picking out the verses I want to use." These tracks were in actuality selected even before the release of Valkyrja and have had a long gestation period, Joensen feeling that in adapting them they very much fit with the band's signature sound. "I am always trying out melodies and chose 'Ragnars Kvæði' first for the fascinating melody in the chorus, and secondly for the storyline. The other ballad I picked first because of the lyrics, which refer to Odin extensively, and secondly for the melody and chorus. I was very satisfied with the harmonies and epic feel of the arrangements I'd come up with, and to tell you the truth, I wish there were more songs of this kind on the album."
Hel was tracked entirely by Thomsen and Joensen, with sessions split between the latter's studio in Søldarfjørður, drums lain down at Jacob Hansen's studio in Denmark, Skibenæs working in his home studio, and some solos and bass details recorded while they were on the road in North America. "The sessions took us a long time because we did it all on our own. But we gathered a lot of knowhow while doing it, so it will be a good reference for the future," states Thomsen. Joensen concurs, adding, "It was a bit more relaxing than usual, which was good for me. It took some discipline, and creative people are not typically the most disciplined types. I am definitely not, so I guess it could have gone faster with someone else at the whip!" That the delay in getting the record out means it's emerging in the twentieth year of Týr's existence is quite poignant. It has definitely not been an easy road to this point, with several members having come and gone, and those that remain having had to endure some very difficult periods, but despite all of it, they have managed to make it through, and achieved a great deal in the process. "I did dream about becoming an internationally successful professional when I started. It's what I aimed at, but still it's a bit surreal that we've made it this far," Joensen admits. "I didn't in my wildest dreams think I could put survive such misery and abject poverty that this career has lead me through. Still, here I am." Thomsen "could not be prouder" when he looks back at the string of records they have released, also acknowledging the ups and downs experienced along the way, but making an important point: "We've done something nobody from where we're from has done before," he states plainly. "But there's a lot more to come!"

upcoming on the 8th of March, 2019: IRON FIRE (Denmark) new album

Equipped with a robust sound, the Iron Fire of today is gritty. If anything, there’s a huge thrash/groove muscular side to the music, and it packs way more punch than the power metal that put on them on the map all those years ago. Only getting tougher with age. Times change, and Iron Fire has become very capable at their modern style. Thing is, this music never lacks melodies, but the both the chunky guitar and the rough-around-the-edges singing have added a lot more meat to the bones. Iron Fire keeps changing, but the metal is the metal and that is here to stay. They have a new song up already at the link below.
Iron Fire
Beyond The Void
Crime Records
Release: 8 March 2019
How do you top great power metal albums like Voyage of the Damned and Among the Dead? Well, the answer from Iron Fire is to keep the focus on songwriting straight, keep the approach real and speak straight from the beating metal heart. Beyond the Void is, therefore, nothing but an honest in your face metal album, filled with blistering power metal songs that meld traditional melodic heavy metal with hard-hitting power trash. This melting pot of heavy metal madness is mixed and mastered by legendary producer Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Dark Tranquillity, Madball etc.). This is an album spanning a musical range from Testament to Judas Priest to Helloween and beyond. Fans of good heavy metal songwriting should give this new creation a spin.

all of France is doomed on March 8th, 2019: Ataraxie

Ah, the land of love. France. The land of delicious cheese, sweet pastries, and Paris the city of love. And don't you forget: liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Words that have inspired generations of happy, cheery and joyful French youth for centuries:
"La liberté consiste à pouvoir faire tout ce qui ne nuit pas à autrui : ainsi, l'exercice des droits naturels de chaque homme n'a de bornes que celles qui assurent aux autres membres de la société la jouissance de ces mêmes droits. Ces bornes ne peuvent être déterminées que par la loi."
YOU KNOW WHAT?! Forget all that!! Everybody is doomed on the 8th of March of 2019. The prince of misery doom and gloom hopelessness is about to wash up on the shore and it's not going to be a pretty sight for the president of France or for the fancy Parisians enjoying their caviar with their wine.
It is the total ugliness of funeral death doom and the big heap of toxic waste that it brings along with it.
All of France will be thanking Ataraxie for its happiness. Check out the sexy details through the official information below. Cheer up, it's only the end of the world. Have some pancakes and syrup while you wait.
XenoKorp, Deadlight, Weird Truth
Release: 8 March 2019
1.People Swarming, Evil Ruling 21:18
2.Résignés 17:48
3.Coronation of the Leeches 19:18
4.Les affres du trépas 25:02
It took six long years to ATARAXIE to deliver the follow-up to 2013's ultra massive "L'être et la nausée". Six long years spent reinventing themselves when guitarist Sylvain ESTEVE (one of the founding members) left, replacing him with two new guitar players Hugo GASPAR (FATUM ELISUM, MALEMORT...) and Julian PAYAN (SORDIDE, VOID PARADIGM...), re-arranging their whole back-catalogue for this uncommon new line-up with three guitarists, touring Europe and writing new material. But when it comes to one of the European leaders of the Extreme Doom scene, delivery definitely doesn't mean deliverance. At all.
"Résignés", the new album, is all but just "music", it's a painful experience to be suffered by all senses, by all organs, innards... It's not just like swarming in the sewers. It's drowning in an oil spill of cataclysmic proportions where deep growls sound like the last words expectorated through a last breath from oil-filled lungs and screams express the utter madness invading the mind of the soon-to-be-dead, you.
Mixed by Sylvain BIGUET (TREPALIUM, EIBON, DISOWNING...) and mastered by Collin JORDAN (VOIVOD, EYEHATEGOD, YOB...) again, "Résignés" deals with the global failure of a whole specie chewing the rotten remains of the planet that once fed it, vowing itself to its own demise, wallowing in pathetic beliefs in a hallucinated salvation.
A world made of the madness of the masses, the morbid Human curiosity, its voyeurism and hunger for blood and a whole part of the society, hopeless and resignated to commit suicide before having to face an even more painful end, taking turns between the executioner's hands, watching in delight the one before them dying while waiting for their own time to come. Here's what "Résignés" is all about: the resignation to death as the sole deliverance.
Prepare to meet thy Extreme Doom.

upcoming on March 4th, 2019: Black Anvil

The New York extreme metal band Black Anvil does not want too much time to pass by before they remind everyone that they are still alive. The previous album is from 2017, and this is a four-song EP that includes a Mercyful Fate cover. Check out the official information below for details.
Black Anvil
STB Records
Release: 4 March 2019
1.Iron Sharpens Iron 02:45
2.Miles 05:12
3.Everlasting Saturnalia (The Devil's Blood cover) 04:44
4.A Corpse Without Soul (Mercyful Fate cover) 07:52
total time 20:33
New York City's BLACK ANVIL return with Miles, their follow up EP to 2017’s As Was. Miles was recorded over time from 2015 to 2018, initially consisting of just the title track and a cover of Mercyful Fates "A Corpse Without Soul." Miles was written in tribute to Selim Lemouchi, a friend and former mastermind of Dutch occult rock band The Devil’s Blood, after his untimely passing in 2014 finding the band take a more hauntingly melodic form, but it was shelved to focus on As Was.
In 2018, BLACK ANVIL finally rounded out this EP and is set to release it, with long time friend Steve Macioci of STB Records helping to make this a truly special offering. The band added one more original, the ferocious opening track "Iron Sharpens Iron," and brought the circle to a close with a cover of The Devil’s Blood's "Everlasting Saturnalia."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

upcoming: Witchfinder on April 1st, 2019

Witchfinder (France) is for fans of the good ole warm and fuzzy sounds of modern-day hippie rock known as stoner doom. The simple and accessible heaviness is attractive to the ear, even on the first listen. The warm fuzzy guitar and the singing (the vast majority of the vocals; some screaming/growling here and there) is also nice and pleasant on the ear. The icing on the cake is the cool slow and bluesy guitar solos. No, friends, you were not born too late: 1969 or 2019, it's just a circle to be closed by time.
Hazy Rites
Black Bow Records
Release: 1 April 2019
OFFICIAL INFORMATION: French doom trio Witchfinder is excited to announce the release of their second LP, Hazy Rites, via Black Bow Records on April 1, 2019.
Following their 2017 S/T debut, Witchfinder chose Kozmik Artifactz for the vinyl release in 2018. After a successful tour with Witchthroat Serpent in October 2017, they hit the road with Stonebirds in May 2018 and toured all over France. Witchfinder has also shared the stage with the likes of Conan, Monolord, Kadavar, The Flying Eyes, Hangman’s Chair, and The Necromancers.
Hazy Rites was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Satanic Audio in October 2018, incorporating more sludge and hardcore than their previous work. The sound of Witchfinder is a fusion between doom, stoner and sludge with psych and long instrumental pieces mixed in. The high vocals recall a Monolord and Windhand influence, whereas the saturated tone comes closer to Bongzilla or Weedeater. The general sound is heavy, fuzzy with long guitar leads and big riffs.
In addition to the unleashing of Hazy Rites, Witchfinder also looks forward to more touring through Blackskull Services. Keep an eye out for this crushing band to make their mark on the international heavy music scene.

upcoming: Frozen Crown on March 22nd, 2019

It's difficult to believe that Frozen Crown is back!!! It's good news for fans of traditional power metal. The 2018 album The Fallen King was awesome and catchy, and now the 2019 album Crowned in Frost sounds great, too. If you like fast, melodic, catchy and joyful songs, you can't go wrong with Frozen Crown!
Frozen Crown
Crowned in Frost
release date: March 22nd, 2019
label: Scarlet Records
OFFICIAL INFORMATION: ‘Crowned In Frost’ is the new album from Frozen Crown, coming a year after the very successful debut ‘The Fallen King’, which gave the band huge media exposure (over one million views for the single ‘Kings’ and two and a half million views for the 4 singles collectively) and brought a deal with international booking agency Nine Lives Entertainment amongst many other accomplishments.
This time mastermind and songwriter Federico Mondelli amplified the Classic/Heavy and Power Metal components of the band, making ‘Crowned In Frost’ an aggressive and monolithic album from the very beginning, still keeping the listener engaged with its rich sound and wide variety of songs, including instrumental interludes and outstanding female vocals, brought to life by talented Giada "Jade" Etro.
As with the first album, Federico wrote the music and recorded all guitars and keyboards (being an all-round artist he designed the beautiful artwork as well), whilst the drum parts were arranged by drummer Alberto Mezzanotte. Lyrics are once again the result of the joint efforts of Giada and Federico. Production duties have been handled by Andrea Fusini.
‘Crowned In Frost’ broadens Frozen Crown’s musical landscape still keeping intact an uncommon taste for melody and catchy refrains.

upcoming: West of Hell on April 1st, 2019

This band is just something else, I tell ya! The instrumentation is quite a beast. A hard, thrashing vibe engulfs this heavy metal riffamaggedon with both a technical and shred spirit. Thrash, traditional heavy metal, shred and a bit of technical metal all coexist and thrive. The rhythm section by itself is something to hear and the guitars, well, they will make you bang your head, of course. You have to hear this singer. You don’t hear singers like this every day! Strong powerful singing, and raging screams that sound good. There are some extreme metal vocals, too, so the singer can apparently do it all.
West of Hell
Blood of the Infidel
Release: 1 April 2019
OFFICIAL INFORMATION: Vancouver (BC) - Progressive power thrashers WEST OF HELL will release sophomore album Blood of the Infidel on April 1, coinciding with the start of “The Infidels Tour” of Canada with compatriots EXPAIN.
Rife with old-school influences, yet evolved with a modern sound, Blood of the Infidel blends with deftness traditional metal, thrash, and death metal, built on a foundation of penetrating melodies and progressive song structures. Vocalist Chris Valagao (ZIMMERS HOLE) has reached new heights here, ranging from thick death metal growls to the soaring notes of epic power metal, even adding the occasional harmony! Buttressed with shredding guitar solos, the album benefits as well from focused studio time that resulted in a crushing riff tone, sharp, sinewy bass lines, and a drum performance (studio only) by Vancouver brother Ash Pearson (REVOCATION, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD) that is as taut as it is tough.
Blood of the Infidel was produced, mixed and engineered by Rob Shallcross, and mastered by Greg Reely. Vocals, guitars, and bass were recorded at Infinity Studios in Victoria, BC, while drums were recorded at the legendary Armoury Studios in Vancouver.
The glorious album cover was crafted by band favorite Travis Smith, with album liner design/layout by Kevin Moore at Soft Surrogate.

upcoming: FORDÆRV on April 1st, 2019

Fordærv: Knep Dig Selv Ihjel
release April 1st 2019 (Digital, CD, Tape)
label: TONEwood Music (Tape), Cool Wah Dekay (Digital), Independent (CD)
It’s not so much music as it is the celebration of frenzied speed and the art of putting animalistic rage on tape. One track lasts all of five seconds and the longest one goes up to one minute and 44 seconds. Blasting and screaming right out of the gates and doing it until the last track ends, the recording is something like throwing a temper tantrum when you have your instruments handy and you have a microphone into which you scream until you are blue in the face, and in this case, this is probably literally true. Sixteen tracks in 19 minutes.
These Danish gentlemen have PhDs in the art of grind. It looks like they started bringing the noise in 2015, and then again in 2016, and now in 2019 they return with this major meltdown. If this were a book, it would be a book about volcanoes. If it were a movie, it would be a documentary with eruptions, magma and lava and nothing else. Have you ever seen a documentary about animals in the wild attacking each other? This is the soundtrack to that or the soundtrack to all the abominable evils that humans do to each other.
Apparently, the lyrics are not fit for politically correct people. I don’t have the lyrics, anyway. They are probably cursing everyone out and they are very angry about life in Denmark or just annoyed at the humans that inhabit Denmark. Humans! Can’t live with them, can’t live with them.
The 19 minutes of fun and rage go by fast. Lots of blasting. Abrasive irritated punk screaming grind. I probably have heard this album some 15 times, at least. Grind made simple, grind made fun (but shhh!, don’t tell the band that this is fun rock and roll music because they might get angry). It is 19 minutes of fun, and I am ready to head out to beach, tan in the sun, a couple of coconuts to drink from, and gently fall asleep listening to this music all afternoon with the hot sand in my toes.
The album is not yet available at the link below, but their previous recordings are. Listen to those hotcakes you while wait for more grind to come your way in April. This dish is going to be spicy.

number 164 of Metal Bulletin Zine

Here is issue number 164 of Metal Bulletin Zine.
Ahnengrab (German-language progressive pagan)
Dawn of Winter (miserable melodies and crooning)
Hollow (one-person do-it-all prog power individualism)
Rapheumets Well (symphonic ambitious monument to tech-extreme)
Slow (ain't nothing but desperation funeralisms)
Critical Defiance (shred guitars of thrashing woooarh)

read online issue number 163 of Metal Bulletin Zine

If you would like to read about the following bands, check the link below.
Ahnenkult (pagan metal)
The Filth Hounds (traditional heavy metal)
Greyhawk (Seattle true metal)
Malphas (melodic extreme metal)

news: RED CAIN out on March 1, 2019

The debut album by the band Red Cain (Canada) will be available on March 1st, 2019. Red Cain's music is melodic and progressive and features good singing and songwriting, and rather impressive for a debut recording. Metal Archives says that they have been together since 2016, and if that is true, then the album is a very good beginning for the new band. The link below does not yet have the full album ready, but it does have a song that illustrates the style and sound of the group. This album is recommended for fans of prog power and for fans of melodic bands with traditional singing.
Red Cain
Kindred: Act I - Out March 1, 2019
Release: 1 March 2019
OFFICIAL INFORMATION: Born out of the emerging metal scene of Calgary, AB, RED CAIN is a modern melodic metal project with European roots. With intricate songwriting, a heavy yet melodic feel reminiscent of progressive acts, and eerie ambient elements, RED CAIN champion a fluid, dynamic, and unique musical style centered around telling dark, conceptual Faustian sagas and constructing those into an unforgettable live experience.
Described by frontman Evgeniy Zayarny as wanting to bring back the “Devil’s music” mysticism all too often missing in modern metal acts, RED CAIN delivers flair, groove, and an intricate, lethal edge in their music. Listeners might well pick out elements reminiscent of such luminary acts as Kamelot, Symphony X, Tesseract, Draconian, Marilyn Manson, whipped into a venomous new shape. The current incarnation of the band is all of these influences mixed with a lot of vodka and Eastern European melancholy, shaken and stirred.
Unleashing their self-titled EP in 2016 to rave reviews, RED CAIN is returning in 2019 with their debut full length entitled “Kindred: Act I”. The album was produced by Sascha Laskow (Every Hour Kills, ex-Divinity) with the band at Perfect Filth Studios and also features vocalist Kobra Paige of Kobra and the Lotus on their single “Wing of The Crow”. Her work with Kobra and the Lotus needs no introduction, and when it came time to deliver the mighty yet intricate vocals for the Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war on that track, she was their unanimous choice for the part.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

out now: Gatekeeper

The heavy metal machine of Gatekeeper returns in 2019 without missing a beat. Last year was good for them and they don't want anyone to forget about them. Listen to the new EP at the link below. Here is the official propaganda about the EP.
Grey Maiden
Cruz Del Sur Music
Release: 22 February 2019
One of 2018’s true melodic metal breakout acts returns with sterling four-song EP!
Hot off the heels of their acclaimed East of Sun debut, Canada’s Gatekeeper strike while the iron is hot with the Grey Maiden EP, featuring a scorching new cut, re-recording of an old favorite, acoustic song and cover of an obscure NWOBHM track.
The metal scene moves fast. Hundreds of releases are made available every month from new bands jockeying for position or veteran outfits doing their best to keep up with the times. It simply may no longer be feasible to release an album, support it with some shows, then disappear for two years only to do it all over again. Such is the line of thinking for Canada’s Gatekeeper, who return in 2019 with the four-song Grey Maiden EP.
The follow-up to their successful East of Sun full-length debut, Grey Maiden includes the brand-new title track and acoustic “Moss,” a re-recording of “Tale of Twins” from their first demo and a cover of “Richard III” by obscure NWOBHM outfit Tredegar. Gatekeeper — who consist of vocalist Jean-Pierre, guitarist/founding member Geoff Blackwell, lead guitarist Kenny Kroecher, bassist David Messier and drummer Tommy Tro — originally had the idea to record an EP after being asked by Skol Records to contribute to their NOWBHM compilation, Grandbreton Invasion. Figuring they were already going to be ensconced in the studio recording “Richard III,” Gatekeeper decided to waste no time in pulling the Grey Maiden EP together, providing their fans with an early 2019 treat.
The title track finds Gatekeeper at their melodic best, showcasing the band’s penchant for twin guitar harmonies as well as the impressive range of Jean-Pierre, who ably weaves between heavy, complex riffing. In fact, Jean-Pierre’s work on “Grey Maiden,” “Tale of Twins” and “Richard III,” showcase a vocalist now coming into his own, something that Blackwell attests to the pair’s deep well of ideas and constant flow of communication between the band’s home base of Vancouver and Jean-Pierre’s current locale of Portland, Oregon. Blackwell, the consummate riff and melody writer, JP, a vocalist who likes to think outside of the box, are often looking for unique rhythmic patterns to suit his versatile vocals. The songwriting serve-and-volley between the two paid quick dividends on East of Sun and only gets better here, especially when Gatekeeper explores the challenging terrain of “Richard III.”
In fact, the members of Gatekeeper are more apt to drop obscure metal references then they are to vouch for the scene’s more prominent bands. Blackwell considers it to be their “bread and butter,” born from the never-ending desire to find bands off the beaten path who could offer something new and vibrant to influence Gatekeeper’s sound. This pursuit of individualism is one of Gatekeeper’s defining traits — they easily elude many of melodic and power metal’s stylistic trappings on both East of Sun and Grey Maiden.
The new year will find Gatekeeper hitting Europe with labelmates Sanhedrin in addition to hunkering down with a brand-new batch of songs for an eventual sophomore full-length release. Grey Maiden is hardly a stopgap release, but another bold proclamation from a band who appears to be just getting started.

out now: Traveler

Traditional heavy metal band Traveler now has its debut album ready for your ears. Below is the official propaganda and check out the full album at the link.
Gates of Hell Records
Release: 22 February 2019
Screaming leads, soaring vocals, heart-pounding drums…Canada’s Traveler has arrived to take no prisoners!
On their eight-song, self-titled debut full-length album, Canada’s Traveler effortlessly weave a classic metal web that propels the style into the future without forsaking the past. Shortly after the early 2018 release of their debut demo, Traveler had a good problem on its hands. The reception — from fans and critics — was so positive that founding member/primary songwriter/guitarist Matt Ries (also of Gatekrashör and Hrom) had no choice but to take what was originally a side-project and turn it into a full-fledged band. Before he did that, Traveler teamed with Finland’s Coronary for a split release via Gates of Hell Records, that much like the demo, was hailed across the metal scene for its pounding, up-tempo, classic metal tenacity. Now, in 2019, Traveler is ready to meet the demand with its self-titled first full-length album.
Traveler, who are now rounded out by vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud (also of Gatekeeper), second guitarist Toryin "Junior" Schadlich, bassist Dave Arnold (ex-Striker) and drummer Chad Vallier, tracked drums at AB Records, guitars at Ries’s home studio and vocals at Richhobo Studios. Ries cites his bandmembers musical abilities as one of the driving factors behind the album’s multi-faceted nature, from Abboud’s potent delivery, to Schadlich’s shredding capabilities and the powerful rhythm section of Arnold and Vallier. A complete lineup will also be the realization of another of Ries’s goals: To make Traveler a live band.
The self-titled album comprises three songs from the band’s debut demo, along with five brand-new compositions. Ries worked with Abboud to come up with some of his most demanding vocal parts to date — ensuring a lively, spirited approach that captures the vocalist’s sheer strength and diverse range. Abboud also has the less-than-enviable task of singing songs in E-standard tuning. One of the most rigorous tunings that is often reserved for vocalists with the ability to “reach the rafters,” Abboud and Ries show they’re perfect torchbearers for the time-honored style of classic metal where big, brash choruses, soaring leads and manic drums lead the way.
Traveler’s “let it rip” approach pays dividends across the self-titled album. Whereas their debut demo and split with Coronary merely scratched the surface, Traveler has gone above and beyond, now heading into terrain where only a few will dare to go.
Feel the reign of the Starbreaker!

out now: Ferndal

Ferndal is German-language black metal that integrates the cello as part of the sound. Classical music and black metal join together in Ferndal. The album is already out. Below is the official hype about it, and listen to the album at the link.
Ferndal: Singularitäten
Label: Einheit Produktionen; Release date: January 11th, 2019
With „Singularitäten“ FERNDAL continue the path they began in 2016, interweaving (Black-) Metal with elements of classical music. Anybody expecting keyboard sounds and kitschy samples is utterly wrong: this is definitely not artificially inflated symphonic pop music! Instead classic compositional structures are contrasted with those of Black Metal, transitioning and crossing over into each other: Black Metal songs in a classic outfit (piano quintet in e minor „Mother North“, a classic rendition of the Satyricon composition), classical composition with Black Metal sound („Serenade“) – and everything in between.
Thematically the album evolves around philosophical, psychologic and emotional aspects of freedom and and existence – sometimes with cold precision, at other times with expressive power. Music and lyrics again were created by Lestaya and Sorathiel. Not only is the band´s new album significantly longer than its predecessor „Ferndal“ but it is also more diverse and darker: sophisticated and rousing melodic Black Metal!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

metal from Russia; interview: Second to Sun

This publication has reported on the extreme metal of Second to Sun by sharing the band’s videos. Upon researching the Russian entity’s discography and history, it became obvious that something interesting in happening with prolific music coming out under the name Second to Sun. In this interview Vladimir Lehtinen answers questions about the music and life in Russia.
Friends! How is the Russian winter for you in 2019? I’m near Seattle and it is usually not very cold here and we don’t get snow, except on occasion. But we do get lots of rain. How is life for Second to Sun in Saint Petersburg?
Hello and greetings from Russia, despite all the crap that media keeps saying, this winter was beautiful, not very snowy though, but you might be surprised – actually rainy. I might be mistaken, but we have quite similar weather, seeing that Seatle and Saint-Petersburg are on the same latitude. We are doing good and working on new songs. Gleb (vocals) and Maks (bass) are living in Siberia, that’s where you find real cold weather.
Did your band really have two albums in 2018?
In 2018 we have actually released three albums: “The Black”, re-release of our instrumental album “Blackbound” with vocals and “The Walk” in standard and instrumental versions. So that is correct.
Do metal fans in your city come to your shows?
Honestly saying, we’re not playing gigs. Although, we have many listeners. And I feel bad for this, but at the same time we still don’t do gigs, because I’m a stubborn person and I want to create new music and not work at shows. Showmanship is musicians work, but writing albums is art.
Russia is a big, big country. Do you tour in Russia and the neighboring countries?
Russia has the same picture as I have described above: we have listeners, but not everywhere. To have a tour around Russia popular bands needs a few years, we’re not so popular on the other hand – so we’ll manage in one year, ha-ha. As for neighboring counties, if we take internet statistics, we’re more popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries than in Russia, also in Canada and the U.S. We would be very happy to visit those countries and Seattle too.
Tell us about The Walk. What inspired this album? One song is called “We Are Not Alone” and then another is called “We Are Alone,” ha ha ha! You have one called “From Outer Space.” Are extraterrestrials an important theme on the album?
Heck, we publish detailed information for each track in our social media and you can easily find it and read it, we have it on Bandcamp as well. We’re a band with idea, since we play black metal music, but you might find it funny that the name of the album is taken from Pantera’s “The Walk” and it’s intertwined with the album art and tracks, when each separate track takes you on some kind of trek: Say for example, “We Are Not Alone” is about a priest, who went to baptize pagans during christening of Rus and “We Are Alone” is about time, when I went to my father’s grave and recorded ambience at the graveyard. “From Outer Space” is somewhat an intro to a next track about a train, which was enveloped by some kind of mystic or alien power, which moves with incredible speed. In short, the main theme of album is mystic, but it is hard to tell the story in one sentence. I’m trying to make musical pictures and embed them with philosophy. It might be stupid nowadays, but I can’t fight my own nature.
Who are the members of the band in 2019? It began as a solo project, right? What motivated Vladimir to become such a hardworking musician?
Well, I’m basically project’s mastermind. Gleb Sysoev on vocals and Max Sysoev on bass guitar (Max and Gleb are twin brothers) and Fedor Brovskiy on drums. I write all instrument tracks, music and lyrics. I have my own home studio and I mix a lot of Russian bands and some international bands, but also my own friends (Max and Gleb’s other project Ultar and their yet another project Grima). I’m not motivated by anything in particular, I just feel that this is my life’s calling.
Here in the United States in the movies and in the news Russians are always evil people. The news never has anything positive to say about Russia. If you were to see the U.S. news, I think you would be surprised how much bad news about Russia there is in the U.S. How is it in Russia? Is the news in Russia always bad about the United States? Are the Americans evil in the Russian movies ha ha ha?!
Man, that’s totally screwed up, you know. I think it is all based on a fact, that in the U.S. people don’t know much about Russia, because they never spoke to any Russians, and nobody in Russia ever spoke to Americans. Last year I have mailed about 100 CDs of my music to US fans. I never met an unpleasant person out of those, I spoke a lot to them in social media and in person on few occasions. All these news are political bullshit, which our governments need to keep milking money off us and show us some form of enemy to keep us together. Because when people are together, they are a flock. And every flock has a shepherd. We have entirely the same here in Russia and I’m so sick of this media bullshit. I don’t want people to argue, I want them to experience positive emotions and clarity from good music. I fucking hate these media, that keep publishing all this paid bullshit. I know that’s what they do to earn their living, but is it worth making a conflict between millions of people basing on some fake causes. I don’t think so.
And yes, in mainstream Russian movies, Americans are depicted as evil and dumb and this is bullshit, too, this is sick and not right.
Here in the U.S. the working class is concerned with having a job so that they can provide for their families. American workers are not like the CIA, FBI and government agents in the movies. How is the life of a metal musician in Russia? What types of jobs do you have? What are some cool things about life in Russia? What do you like about living in your city?
Well, again I can say it’s the same here: no KGB agents and people are working to make ends meet.
But Russia is not as you might imagine it in America. Probably you think of us as a unified country, but in fact we’re united only in our language. Imagine that Saint Petersburg HDI is as high as in New York or Canada, but a neighboring Russian region has HDI, just as Uruguay or even Cuba and they’re practically living in communism. And don’t forget that we have many religions spreading across the regions and we don’t have racial diversity as you have. Probably it’s hard to imagine, but this is how Russia is. In some northern parts you can actually meet a bear on the street, and in Kuban’ region they have ostrich farms. This is the way it is. Metal musician’s life in Russia is not much different from life of such individual in Norther (less) and Eastern Europe. If you take Siberia and Urals, it’s quite slow paced and depending on the region you might be earning less than what you need. I have my own business in music, I write, mix and supervise music for hire, Gleb and Maks are renting costumes, do audio recording and teaching and Fedor is a sound engineer.
City where I live is 300 km away from Finland and the climate is pretty much the same and everything else is similar to Europe, aside from more people. Saint Petersburg is a cheap city by US standards. Food, alcohol and clothing is cheap and people are not very talkative. We often go hiking in nature in Russia: hunting and fishing are very popular as well as sauna bathing (with vodka or beer, just like in Finland). Russians spend a lot of time in gyms. But here we don’t go to the mountains a lot, because there are no actual mountains in the region and you get used to the grey weather and I personally don’t really enjoy, when the sun gets out. Such weather has a special artistic atmosphere. Russian people “When in Saint Petersburg – drink”, because we have so many bars and drinking spots around. Saint Petersburg is really fond of its soccer team – Zenit, we have local wrestling federation, but it’s not so popular and I personally love ice hockey.
But if you go 2000 km south, you’ll find an actual Wild West version of Russia with their own rednecks – Cossacks. So keep in mind, what I mentioned earlier. And 2000 km is not much in scale of Russia, some people take plane trips that long to get to work.
How are you feeling with multiple albums finished and released in 2018?! Does it matter to you if you get good or bad reviews? How can U.S. fans support your band?
I feel great. And it’s marvelous to be a creator. A lot of reviewers don’t really get in depth on our albums, thinking that if the band doesn’t go touring, you can just forget about it and skim through the album randomly. For example, one guy in Germany first made a negative review and only after three months he actually got to listen to it and read some additional information (initially he found out about the band from a video on Train 1702), in the end he was so inspired and bought a CD. Our music has an idea and nowadays it can be considered wrong and difficult. But aside from that we stick for heavy and atmospheric sound and despite having memorable hooks and refrains, but people prefer distilled and compressed sound of modern metal.
On the other hand there are people who make actual serious reviews. And we would like to thank them greatly. Listen our album all the way through, that’s the reason why it was made. I put my soul into each album and it’s very important for me not to become popular, but to find somebody, who shares similar perspective on the world and enjoys what I do. And judging by the positive reviews, there are some people like this. You can listen to our music on any digital distribution service: Apple Music or Spotify. You can easily find us.
We also have merch and it’s all presented at Bandcamp: You can always support us by buying digital release, CD or T-shirt.
Or you can just share our music with other people, that’s also a good way to show support.
Are you working on new music already?!
Hell yeah! And you should expect a new single album this or next month. We’re working hard, but music is what we dedicate ourselves to.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Opprobrium: The Fallen Entities
Label: High Roller Records; Release date: 22. Feb. 2019
With a history that reaches back to the 1980s and to the international rise of death metal, this band is one that some old-school fanatics might already know. The first album is from 1988 and the 1990 album on the up-and-coming record label Nuclear Blast earned them a permanent place in the history of extreme metal. To make a long story short, in 2019 they return some three years after their previous album. What is the situation in 2019? The album features a chunky production with thick guitars of the classic death metal tone that they are known for, a style that has thrashing rhythms with the heaviness of death metal. The music works for one main purpose, and that is to make fans feel the music as moshing and headbanging tunes.
The band delivers sharp riffs on every song and it is very much uptempo and fast throughout. These blood brothers are confident, and why shouldn’t they be? They have a good legacy. Do you want to know what this music is? Just look in the mirror, my thrash and death metal maniac friends, and you will know. This band thinks like you. No messing around. Plug in, and rock! Mosh if you want, bang your head if you need it, tap your toes if you must.
The album sounds strong. The vocals are with the full force of the body, a semi-intelligible roaring growl. Play this album. Reliable. Trustworthy. There’s satisfaction in hearing veterans sticking to their story. There is no wimping out here and no softening with age. That’s an offer you can’t refuse.

King Apathy

King Apathy (formerly Thränenkind): Wounds
Lifeforce Records; February 22nd, 2019
The music is generally slow and midtempo, with some chugging and with melodies present. The overall sound is mellow, melodic and slow, a catchy type of downtempo; easy to understand and enjoy. On occasion they speed up, but it’s not the norm.
The big contrast to the instrumentation comes in the form of the hardcore punk scream-shout growling. This is the only type of vocals on the album for 97% of the time. The vocals are generally on the harsher, abrasive side. The vocals might make you think that the music is extreme, noisy stuff, but the fact is that the music is rather melodic, mellow and memorable, but decidedly not upbeat and not joyful nor cheery. It’s music that is unhappy, but it is done so well that the listener can find a certain type of reluctant joy that comes from said style.
The band is a left-wing pro-environmentalist type of political entity, and so the lyrics are going to be important for the fans who agree politically, but it’s not like you can understand what the vocalist is growling. For instance, I do not have the lyrics and I have not been able to understand the words, maybe a few here and there.
There are three questions to be answered. First, would you like to hear and get into some slow and melancholic music? Second, do you like this type of vocals; are you willing to give the vocals a chance or are you against hardcore shout-growling? Third, is the left-wing politics going to be a problem for you?; are you opposed or in favor of bands using their music to promote a perspective of environmentalism? These Germans do know exactly what they are doing with their music. They do it very well. It is convincing.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Lance King

Lance King
Nightmare Records
Release: 29 March 2019
1.ReProgram 03:26
2.Pointing Fingers 05:26
3.Stand Your Ground 04:13
4.Technology 06:45
5.Reaction Formation 05:28
6.Limitless 05:18
7.Wide Open 05:02
8.Chaotica 04:16
9.Spell of Domestication 05:26
10.Perfect World 04:35
11.A Mind at War 09:58
total time 59:53
The singer Lance King has an incredible discography that fans of melodic and progressive heavy metal really owe it to themselves to spend the time investigating all the albums in which he has sung. Blessed with a very pleasant singing voice, and no doubt the result of lots of hard work, King brings a lot of life to the music. On March 29th, 2019 King will have a new album called ReProgram that lasts about an hour. The prog power fan that is new to the works of King should start here and hear this most recent work, while those already familiar the artist will be pleased to hear the talent and quality.
These songs illustrate where King is musically in 2019. The voice has always been high and smooth, and in the past on some albums the voice has gone very high. On this album the voice is still high, as usual, but it is slightly lower in tone. Each song has high spots in the choruses that contrast a bit more with the lower range used for the verses. Keep in mind that King has been singing with bands since at least the middle of the 1980s, but probably years before that. That’s a whole lot of singing experience, skills and knowledge under the belt. King’s voice has always sounded fresh and young, perhaps he always has been blessed with smooth pipes, and on this album the voice sounds healthy and strong.
The music is melodic and catchy progressive traditional heavy metal. It uses prog rock, classic and hard rock tropes as part of the overall framework of the songs. For instance, on the song “Technology” there is a guitar solo with a tapestry of the blues and classic rock, done so subtly. It’s a nice space rock moment in a song with a catchy chorus. The point here is that there are different layers on the album, but it’s all done under the umbrella of melodic heavy metal. Given that King has invited various friends to contribute on the album, there are some small and interesting differences in the songs that happen naturally from having different personalities involved.
This album is a coherent presentation of music that features stories about the need for new ways of thinking. King has often been concerned with lyrics that say, if the world seems like a mess, just take a look at the mind. In King’s perspective, people are driven by the belief that we know everything, that we are our own gods. We reap hatred, arrogance, pride, addictions, misery, the love of money and other evils because it’s what we have sown. That’s King’s point, to reboot our ways of thinking, as the album title says.


8 February 2019
This band must have pondered for a long time the question: What do you have to do if your objective is making your music sound, above all, beautiful? You already know how to be heavy. You already know to how growl like lion and you already know how to do raspy vocals. If you wanted to, you know to how do sick black metal. You already know to do death doom. You figured out how to sound somber. You know all this. Heavy. Slow. Growling. Fast parts. All those bases are covered. Now how do you go about making it beautiful? Or at least, beautiful to fans of metal and doom, given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
This is how they solved the riddle that they put before themselves. The guitars stay away from abrasive, loud obnoxious pounding groove or power chord rhythms, and focus on developing slow or midtempo melodies that make possible a quick understanding of what one is hearing. It is pleasant, mellow, soothing sounds, not overpowering loudness. The music doesn’t ask you to be quick or be dead, it asks you to settle down and enjoy the melodies. It doesn’t demand that you love it or leave it, it is patient with you, and gives the room and time to figure out the epic heaviness at hand.
Growling in metal in general is harsh on the ears, though it may sound good to the people who are already fans of it. Screaming has the same problem. This album does have a bit of black metal raspy vocals, but the band is keenly aware that they have to be careful with it. Therefore, they couple it with the lower growling to soften the harshness in order to steer it towards elegance in doom. The main vocal style is the low growling that is present as a vibe, a mood, a gentle monster, if you will, not as a shock to the ear. With such an album, and given that the band is already big time on this road, they would benefit from allowing themselves even more freedom by letting the melodies stand out even more. The keyboards work well with the album and it would be great to go at it and use them on a more upfront or at least on a more constant basis throughout the songs. This album is recommended highly to devoted fans of death doom, especially fans of the melodic-melancholic elegant-sublime kind of death doom.


Hadal Ascending
Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork / WOOAAARGH
7 December 2018
1.Paradise or Perdition 04:01
2.Tales from the Depths 06:01
3.Black Incantation 03:17
4.In Ecstasy 04:53
5.A Glowing in the Dark 04:08
6.Black Dragons 03:17
7.Architect of the Portal 03:57
8.The March 04:16
9.Children of the Sea 03:09
10.Conquering the Stars 05:55
total time 42:54
This album is compact and efficient, and it has all sorts of goodies that make it enjoyable and headbanging. In this extreme metal album there are various things taking place that make it fun in the way that the songs are constructed. The basic frame of the songs is by itself strong, but the fact that the band has gone beyond the meat and potatoes of the songs and added more elements is what makes it worthwhile. The vocal style is growling, the guitars are tuned down, and the drumming goes into blasting often, although blasting is not the only mode of operation, not at all As a way of illustrating what is going on here, let’s randomly choose songs 4, 5, 6 and 7 and see what they have to offer.
song 4. Some blasting, but also midtempo, with some breakdown chugging. Very nice heaviness and deep growling. The breakdown/chugging sounds awesome, and the use of some subtle melodies really give the song the vibe of both death metal and deathcore heaviness, but with some slight dissonance to great effect. When the song ends, the band takes away the extreme metal, and lets you hear some melodies they used, an example of another layer that has been there in the song, but that repeated listens reveal even more.
song 5. This one is typical of how the band works with different energies and is not afraid to mix it all up in the space of four minutes: slow parts, blasting segments, tremolo picking, super heavy-duty massiveness, low and high growling. How do they do it in four minutes? Well, they do it. It’s not chaotic, but it is kind of crazy, but it works!
song 6. The chugging breakdown parts are so good, with a bit of some good ole pinch harmonics. The blasting parts rock, too, of course. They throw down a bit of guitar hero licks. Overall, however, the guitar melodies coupled with the chugging make this track very fun.
song 7. The band’s ability to go from chugging breakdown to blasting to melancholic slow and back to death metal chugging moshpit heaven is a pretty cool thing. They don’t hesitate to inject blasting parts and their drummer certainly knows how to work in that pocket. As the song heads to the final lap, they hit you up with some monk chanting, yes, monk chanting, as they take out the song.
Conclusion. The songs are concise and efficient as can be. They find a way to stay on point even when they can do it all, reworking all sorts of styles into a coherent whole. Surprisingly fun.


Conspiracy Theorist
Release: 15 February 2019
This album is hard as nails. They do not care for making the music too melodic. It is hard-driving, grooving-thrashing pounding metal. The vocals are super aggressive and abrasive on the ears. The guitars, bass and drums work in marching unison with the purpose of making you form a moshpit or to jump into one or to make you think that you are going to bench press 500 pounds today and do 100 pull-ups at the gym. If you are driving and are listening to this album, you will probably get stopped by the long arm of the law looking to make you pay some money to the government.
No melodic singing. No sweet whispers in your ears, just aggro-angry metal to rile you up even more about politics, the government and the extraterrestrials. Oh, those extraterrestrials! In the middle of the album there is a quick break of two minutes of mellow, and the last song is a relaxing tune that shows that these Canadians can be melodic if they want to, but they don’t feel like it. This is a song for cooling down, for after your workout at the gym or after moshing. The band has figured out that they are good at what they do, and they are not going to mess it all up by pretending to be the most eclectic band. Find out what you do well and stick with it. That’s their philosophy. Look into this band if you enjoy the in-your-face no-nonsense aggro-groove thrash fueled by anger, hatred and high voltage metal. It’s not going to be pretty, and it’s going to be abrasive.


Hic Sunt Leones
Rockshots Records
Release: 8 February 2019
According to Metal Archives, this band began in 1992, and this is the fourth album, but the music sounds very modern, like an amalgamation of death metal, metalcore, thrash, groove, and melodic death metal all joining together. At times, the riffs sound like big thrashing rhythms to get you moving. Somewhere in there is the energy of the guitar found in both thrash and classic melodic death metal. It’s music that is fun, upbeat and easy to understand as upfront, muscular songs. The fact that they use a melodic style to the thrash riffs makes it all that much easier to get into. The energetic overall sound is helped by the use of the melodies because the album does stay intense throughout.
The vocals are busy-body growling and screaming, with a big metalcore/melodic death metal edge. Fans of the raspy screaming should hear this particular style. On this album the vocals control the feel of the songs because the screaming is right up there with the speed of the drumming and riffing, present constantly. This album is especially recommended for huge fans of the melodic death metal and metalcore screaming. The music ends up as a mix of headbanging, fast songs that have immediate impact, with abrasive, harsh screaming that is designed joyfully to destroy people’s hearing. If you like aggressive growl-screaming and melodic extreme metal, give a listen to this veteran Italian act that has been making noise for decades now.