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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: Ruins Of Elysium - Seeds Of Chaos And Serenity

Continuing to uphold their past success, international symphonic metallers Ruins of Elysium have brought their epic sound and capabilities to offer even more bombast and grandeur into their material than their previous efforts. Taking a concept approach around the anime Sailor Moon for their epic title track, the groups’ sophomore full-length was self-released April 4, 2017.

Similar to their previous effort, the band is once again in full-on bombastic and glory mode throughout this one offering a stellar look into their formula. Efforts like “Kama Sutra,” “Serpentarius” and “The Birth of a Goddess” showcase the grandiose tempos, featuring lightning-fast riffing and barreling drumming that is completely overshadowed by the bombastic keyboards that offer the over-the-top theatrics customary within the genre. It runs through these efforts with reckless abandon as the histrionics from the music match the spoken tales of glory and heroism that is captured expertly by these over-the-top rhythms giving this one the kind of driving attitude that works for the most part. That gets held up by the one detrimental, overriding flaw here in the overriding and truly bombastic five-part, near-forty-minute epic title track at the end, going on far longer than necessary to really prove its point and making for a truly exhaustive ending more than anything. The dedication to go for something like this, a massive mini-album in it’s own right as the five track suite makes for a fun enough representation of their work anyway beyond going through the motions of what’s on offer elsewhere on the album, yet the fact that it just goes on endlessly as the five movements clock in around regular-length tracks anyway and it just makes the album a drag to have to get through in order to experience it all. Though it’s fun enough, the daunting feel and approach are what somewhat lower this one.

As there’s one huge, nearly overwhelming effort holding this one back somewhat, it’s a little lower than what it should be as the rest of this one is some rather impressive symphonic-styled power metal that’s featured here make this a must for any fan of the style or can celebrate the excess within. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Ruins Of Elysium Facebook
Ruins Of Elysium Twitter

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: Angel Martyr - Black Book: Chapter One

Formed initially back in 2006, Italian heavy/speed metallers Angel Martyr changed to their current moniker from Wraith’sing and set about to forge ahead with their love of old-school heavy metal as the band toured relentlessly honing their attack into a lethal assault. Now finally able to unleash their first official offering, the bands’ full-length debut was released March 17, 2017 on Iron Shield Records.

Taking their cues from the past, the group offers a rather impressive and convincing manner of attack that gives off the tone and feel of the old-school classics. There’s efforts like “They...Among Us,” “Victims” and “Turn On the Fire” which offer a strong semblance of classic speed metal riff-work throughout here, bouncing along at breakneck tempos that keep this one at a rather engaging pace throughout here which makes for quite a fantastic feeling here. This makes the music light and melodic while allowing for plenty of epic arrangements alongside the tight speed metal sections, working nicely here to make this rather enjoyable and fun as the heavier sections are still displayed prominently alongside the lighter sections that provide the fine melodic accents and furthering the steps into the old-school style. Given that the album does tend to go for the longer, more involved tracks like “Erik the Conqueror,” “Pirate Song” and “On the Divine Battlefield” here, that becomes all the more important to give these sections room to breathe and grow as the extended time allows for more arrangements to be included here, although that introduces the one main lowering factor with this one in that there’s just not a whole lot that can be done with how these drag on and feels overlong. The riffing loses a lot of its power noodling along at these extended lengths, the sections get drawn out more than needed and the album tends to slough along until the end which can make for a draining experience. However, being a debut this does get a bit of leeway and doesn’t hold this back all that much.

Though it can get a little bloated and features some rather troubling segments, there’s plenty of highly enjoyable efforts to like with this one’s old-school influenced attack that it should readily appeal to all fans of classic heavy/speed metal or those looking for solid classic metal in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Angel Martyr Facebook
Angel Martyr Twitter

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Review: Kingdom - Sepulchral Psalms From The Abyss Of Torment

Keeping their old-school sound intact, Polish death metal veterans Kingdom have gained a loyal following for their die-hard adherence to a blackened old-school attack of churning death metal madness. With a three-year gap between records that sees the band employing new bassist STH and being his first recorded output for the band, their third full-length effort is originally released October 30, 2016 on new label Godz ov War Productions.

From the onset here this is quite obviously a grand old-school styled affair which wraps plenty of strong and impressive elements within. The main focus here from tracks "Spulchlar Psalms" and "Forsaken Tribe" is on the band's devoutly old-school style attack, from the swirling tremolo-laced patterns that are intertwined throughout here with the lurching, sprawling riff-work at the core of the band’s sound which manage to add a darkened, swampy attack to the slow, sprawling riff-work. This is highly impressive for the most part as this atmospheric display reeks of the sprawling, deep churning old-school vibe which is then played at a variety of tempos that alternate from the ferocious up-tempo thrasher to a chugging mid-tempo outburst and a doom-riddled sprawl that offers plenty of crusty elements to the band’s signature swampy lurch with this series of deviations allowing for a wholly well-rounded outcome that gets melded together in competent, coherent fashion. It’s all tied together in lengthy, sprawling numbers like "Kaplica Ducha Zgniłego" and "Abyss of Torment" that gel incredibly well together as this allows for the album to ebb and flow together while still remaining constant and charging to generate the required liveliness to make for a compelling effort. The fact that this all comes together so well yet still feels way too short is a great effort as well, but does highlight the one minor flaw here in that this does come off like it needs another track or two just to round itself off into a complete form, as everything here works so well but does feel brief with only eight tracks, albeit seven originals with the fine cover at the end tying this up nicely so it does feel like another track or so would’ve pushed this over the edge.

Though this one does feel a bit too short and rather brief overall, the fact that the competency and utterly impressive displays found throughout here overcome that to quite a large degree that it becomes the main element holding this one back from further greatness as it should readily appeal to all revivalist death metal fans, old-school aficionados or most fans of extreme metal in general. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Kingdom Facebook

Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Hereza - I Become Death

Attempting to follow up from their debut, Croatian death metallers Hereza have brought a more refined and devastating attack to their vibrant sound which has brought a far more impressive and dynamic variation which makes this a surprisingly strong offering. With the duo offering a strong collection of material, their sophomore full-length was released February 13, 2017 on Godz ov War Productions.

As is expected from this attack, the band is keeping their old-school riffing style in strong outbursts throughout this release which gives this a strong outcome. Efforts like the title track, “Full Moon Slaughter” and “Pošast” are based on tight, furious churning patterns that offer a darkened atmosphere prevalent in the scene and is frankly given plenty of strong support by the lengthier rhythm sections to generate plenty of enjoyable elements here. Even on the shorter tracks that pop up throughout here as in “Jebem Vas u Usta 'ladna,” “Uništi, pali, ruši” and “Torn from the Death’s Bed,” this series of tight riffing allows for an even more devastating charge with the focus more on driving the rhythms along for the tracks’ duration rather than breaking it up with varying breakdowns or extended sections as the fury unleashed takes on an approach similar to the Swedish scene with the ravenous riffing being brought to the forefront. This charge comes off much better in that context, although it does highlight one of the main flaws here in that the album’s overall brevity which does make the tracks seem all too short in light of being just barely over a minute long, and almost all the tracks in here being between two and three minutes makes this feel just way too short, with the shortened tracks really just being way too obvious here that it holds this back slightly. However, it’s really the only issue with this one.

Offering plenty of rather strong elements throughout here even if they’re somewhat slightly undone by the overall brevity of the bands’ approach, this one manages to offer a far stronger and much more enjoyable variation of their style that’ll be appreciated by all fans of their previous work or old-school death fanatics in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Hereza Facebook

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: Magnacult - Infinitum

Five guys from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, together they are Magnacult. They already released two albums, called Synoré and Insua EnVenom, now, since May 12th, their third full-length is unleashed upon the world. Prepare your ears for this album called Infinitum.

Looking at the cover of Infinitum you can see a lot of creepy hands reaching at an unborn baby. It's a cover which, together with the title Infinitum, makes you start thinking about it. A really nice cover which makes you curious about the music Infinitum has for you.

So, about the music. Hit the play button and immediately you will be blown away. No intro, no time to get prepared for the wall of sound coming at you. That wall of sound, which is done in a great way, starts from the first second. This has groove, this is aggressive, this will blow you away, as well as your neighbors. Their songs are very technical written as well as played, with a lot of tempo changes, but it's dosed very well, so it won't be a mess.

The whole band is doing a very great job on Infinitum, but the vocals and the drums stand out the most for me. Those vocals are intense, from deep growling to very intense screaming, sometimes it even sounds a bit inhuman, greatly done. About the drums, what a power, what an energy, this way of drumming sounds like it's very intense and in my opinion it's a perfect way for this album.

Magnacult delivers an immense album with Infinitum, I surely recommend to check it out. Those 46 minutes are definitely worth it. So, get this album, warn your neighbors (or not), turn the volume up and hit play, you won't regret it!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Magnacult Official Website
Magnacult Facebook

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: Fading Azalea - Maze Of Melancholy

Fading Azalea… Why on earth you would name your band after a plant? I’m pretty sure many of you, if not most, must have had this very same first thought. However, it’s not that peculiar when you consider the fact the Azalea is symbol for femininity and romance and Fading Azalea has been formed by a single lady. Combine that with the symphonic progressive metal with a dark edge to it that this band produces and the name makes a lot more sense all of a sudden. Of course I am assuming here, the name might have been chosen because of one of its meanings as a girl’s name as well. Not that it’s a big deal, it’s all about the tunes anyway. It might very well be they feel the same, because there’s not that much information available about this Gothenburg, Sweden based band. Formed in 2013 by singer-songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Olivia, it’s current line-up remains pretty much a mystery. Judging by the line-up used for recording their debut called ‘Maze Of Melancholy’, drummer Kristoff (who replaced Alexander in 2016) and bassist Johan are the current members alongside Olivia, but it never becomes clear if they truly still are. A modest contribution to this release comes from the vocal chords of Rafael Basso from Unlit Face. This release is the band’s first test of competence the world gets to judge. Clocking well over an hour there’s an awful lot to judge, at least time-wise you get plenty bang for your buck. Whether you also get that music-wise of course remains to be seen.

‘Maze Of Melancholy’ opens with ‘Reverie Funeste’ (disastrous daydream) an instrumental intro that is best described as a soothing, atmopheric piece of music. There’s really not that much more to say about it. Pretty much the same can be said about the first minute of the next song, ‘In The Name Of Justice’, although now the atmosphere has subtly darkened, a distinct sign it definitely won’t be all smooth sailing from here. Proof of that isn’t far away, because right after that minute an impressive grunt complemented by an aggressive, slightly unnerving musical frame blasts from my speakers. Not exactly what I expected to hear from a symphonic, progressive metal band, but it turns out this song is the stranger in our midst. The grunt, whoever is responsible for them never become clear, dies along with this song, only to return briefly in ‘Burning To Ashes’, while the unnerving feel fades to an intermittent role far in the background. However small that role may be, every time it’s there it manages to cause a threatening undertone in the music, creating an ominous, oppressing feeling that is almost constantly present in the back of your mind. As if something alarming is about to happen.

The rest of this album is filled with a variety of songs that are more along the lines of symphonic metal with at times a progressive edge. Although there’s plenty of rougher parts in almost every single song, I feel it’s more an atmospheric album than a true metal release. The symphonic side of the music predominates, which is probably a good choice considering Olivia’s voice. She has a great operatic vocal range, where I got the feeling her ‘regular’ clean vocals sounded a bit strained, unnatural at times, as if she’s a bit out of her comfort zone and had to force her voice into submission in those parts. It doesn’t happen a lot, and it certainly isn’t a huge disadvantage if you ask me, but it’s there nevertheless. However, and I’m once again assuming here, both Fading Azalea and Olivia are young, it could very well be Olivia’s vocal performance still has to, can and will grow significantly in time. If anything the potential is there.

Apart from this minor point of criticism, if you can call it that to begin with, I can only be deeply impressed with what she is capable of. Apart from the rhythm section and a part in composing she is responsible for just about everything else that is Fading Azalea and their music. She appears equally at ease on lead guitar as well as on rhythm guitar and spicing up the songs with an at times stellar keyboard performance doesn’t seem to be a problem for her either. The songs themselves, though not particularly original style-wise, are very well composed and vary from dark and rough around the edges (‘In The Name Of Justice’) via pumped up metal (‘Flames Of Death’) to a genuine ballad (‘L’ombre Derriere l’ame’, which means the man behind the soul). On top of that they contain just enough variety, style breaks and surprises to keep them interesting throughout the entire album which, considering its length, is a considerable achievement. To finish it all off, last but not least of course, the guys from the rhythm section provide a solid backbone for every song, making it safe to say there’s not much wrong with this album.

Like I said, I heard nothing drastically new, but in my opinion that is not always necessary. You can create great things from what has already been invented simply by cleverly dosing and composing, and that is exactly what Fading Azalea has done with ‘Maze Of Melancholy’, which turns out to be a fitting title. If you’re looking for raging, fierce, more extreme forms of metal this is not what you’re after, but at far as I’m concerned playing this is certainly a well-spent hour of your time. Music to be enjoyed at any given time.

Written by Henric van Essen

Fading Azalea Official Website
Fading Azalea Facebook

Friday, May 19, 2017

Promoting Bands Part 8 (+ an exclusive Dutch premiere!)

Hey metalheads,

Time for another part of Promoting Bands! This time Promoting Bands also features one band's exclusive Dutch single premiere!

As always: Also want to be featured in Promoting Bands? Send us an email, Facebook message or Twitter us.

Check out the earlier parts below:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7


Tim van Velthuysen

1. Anger Machine

This modern thrash metal band from The Netherlands exists since 2012 and began as guitarist Thijmen den Hartigh's project for his exams. In September last year they released their debut called Unbreakable, below you can watch the videoclip for it's first song, called Unbreakable I Am. Be sure to watch it and also check their debut on Bandcamp.

Anger Machine Official Website
Anger Machine Facebook

2. Eyes Wide Open (exclusive Dutch premiere)

On September 1st, Swedish melodic death metallers Eyes Wide Open will release their new album called And So It Begins. Today their first single of And So It Begins is released. It is called Defining Me and DutchMetalManiac is proud to give you the exclusive Dutch premiere of it below! Be sure to check it and mark September 1st in your agenda's.

Eyes Wide Open Official Website
Eyes Wide Open Facebook
Eyes Wide Open Twitter

3. Les Chants Du Hasard

This one-man project from France is something you won't hear very often for sure. It's black metal, but not black metal as you, probably, would expect. Hazard, the project's sole member, makes his black metal without guitar, bass and drums. In fact, by only using orchestral instruments, he perfectly mixes classical music and black metal to the orchestral black metal of Les Chants Du Hasard. Its self-titled debut will be released in June, but below you can already listen to one track of it.

Les Chants Du Hasard Facebook

4. The Fifth Alliance

This atmospheric sludge band coming from The Netherlands manages to combine atmospheric vibes and aggressiveness in a perfect way. They already released two albums, below you can listen to their latest one, called Death Poems. This surely is band to keep an eye (ear) on.

The Fifth Alliance Official Website
The Fifth Alliance Facebook
The Fifth Alliance Twitter

5. Ruptured Birth

Want some brutal as fuck brutal death metal? Well, Ruptured Birth surely is brutal! So when you dig fast, heavy and brutal music and it can't be enough for you, listen to them. You won't regret it, so you can start, if you dare, with their latest album called Transmutant below. You can also read our review of it here.

Ruptured Birth Facebook

6. The 3rd Attempt

In 2014, former Carpathian Forest guitarists Tchort and Bloodpervertor started The 3rd Attempt, Ødemark (on vocals) and Tybalt (on drums) complete the line-up. In 2015 they released their debut called Born In Thorns, in my opinion an great release, but you can decide for yourself below. They recently announced they will be making a new album, so really looking forward to that!

The 3rd Attempt Official Website
The 3rd Attempt Facebook

7. Into The Arcane

This new band from The Netherlands, formed by (ex) Dead End members, plays atmospheric doom rock. In June they will release their debut EP called Het Verlangen Der Geest, below you can hear some tunes from Into The Arcane to get you in the right mood for when the EP will be out!

Into The Arcane Facebook

8. Stranger Dimensions

Stranger Dimensions hail from Belgium and these guys play experimental metalcore. They exist since 2015 and already released an Demo and an EP. You can listen to their EP, called Heartless, below. These guys know how to do their thing and they do it in a great way. Looking forward to the future of this band!

Stranger Dimensions Official Website
Stranger Dimensions Facebook
Stranger Dimensions Twitter

9. Santa Cruz

Glam metal in the 80's, many have heard of it or experienced it. These Finns from Santa Cruz are probably, just as me, to young to have it experienced, but that doesn't mean they can make some great glam metal. Since 2007, when they formed, they already released two albums and a third one is in the making as we write. Below you can watch their videoclip for Let Them Burn, coming from their second album, and here you can read an live review I did from their show together with Reckless Love.

Santa Cruz Official Website
Santa Cruz Facebook
Santa Cruz Twitter

10. The Autist

The Autist is a band for fans of female vocals, for melody and symphony as well for fans of male vocals, aggressivity and technical playing. The members of The Autist hail from Portugal and Russia and they play their metal in a very nice way, combining all the things mentioned earlier in an perfect way. Recently they released their lyric video for Ethereal, which you can watch below. Be prepared!

The Autist Facebook
The Autist Twitter

Review: Haster - The Current Sea

‘The Current Sea’ has floated gifts to me!

Those wanting to believe I give this amazing rating as a result, it’s true; all of it. Those that think humans don’t respond to incentives, you’re living in a dream world. Had a case of beer been thrown in there with the ultra-cool gift pack I received from these lads, it would have been a 15/10. Thanks for choosing me as winner of your Twitter contest! I must have been special, desperate or overly Canadian to have been selected amongst your 595K followers.

This band from April 2010 has been around and shared stages with the likes of Godsmack (yea!), Seether (yea!!) and Tool (yea!!!) plus 3 other albums and 3 consecutive “Best Band” awards from 2012 to 2014. A heavy social media interaction and good metal vibe, they are doing it right.

This album is pure, deserved talent and hard rocking energy that is very refreshing for me, amazing harmonies and a judicious use of the Gravocals all throughout. Thundering beats and grabbing harsh-assed guitars are prevalent everywhere and the songs flow well, showcasing each of their talents. A Linkin Park feel to it, Korn thrown in, Tool also gives me a nice memory of the 90’s music scene with a refined edge.

‘STAYYY AWAYY FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAAAAA!’ yea! Love the chants of ‘The Unscene’ but you’re not advertising your digs too well! Ha! It’s alright however; as everyone knows So-Cal is IT! Can’t wait to see and experience that in concert and toss some bodies about.

‘Haunt Me’….does. Very emotional, heart-string tune for me and it deserves a 10 on its own. Enough said.

‘Asfixiate’ has the makings of a current hit and needs not just the lyric video. Amazing tune and I love the gothic, dark and yet hopeful meaning to it. Grinding guitars are the order served up and second’s on that please. A powerful, purposeful song bringing dark and light together, with a side of hard, tight playing that hits your noise centers full force. This will not be a good weekend for the neighbors.

The final track ‘Shoved Aside’, strategically placed at the end and the longest at over 6 minutes, is quite awesome, showcasing great vocals and tight playing. The transitions between vocal ranges are great and make this tune one of my favourites. Some great homage to Three Day’s Grace in here as I hear smidgens of it in the vox’s great range, and a beautiful outro piano piece to close the disc off.

This record is going to stand the test of time I believe and a real pleasure to listen to in this world of ready-made-metal.


Written by Alessandro

Haster Facebook

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Logic of Denial - Aftermath

Continuing to bring out their sound, Italian brutal death metallers Logic of Denial have given their relentless and unyielding brand of technically-complex brutal death metal further room to breathe with a three-part concept album based on the struggles of grief. With a four-year gap between releases that sees the addition of new guitarist Marco to the group, their third full-length will be released June 9, 2017 on Comatose Music.

As has been the case for the band, this one offers up rather frantic and truly blistering styles of technically-challenging material for the duration here. As efforts like “Devouring Seeds of the Apocalypse,” “Gorging on Innocence” and “Violating the Canvas of Forgotten Purity” show, this has a strong predilection for tight, choppy rhythms and challenging start/stop patterns that are truly massive-sounding throughout here as the spurts of blasting energy coming off this approach makes for a rather engaging time. The fact that the material is as tight, frantic and utterly challenging as it is makes these rhythms all the more dynamic, impressive and brutal. Given that this is the vast majority of the album, there are tons of positive elements strewn throughout here for this type of attack as the barbaric speed and blistering rhythms on display give this one a great showcase for those general attributes. The main thing holding this one back is the fact that there’s just not a good reason for this one to include all the different thirty-second introductions to the tracks here separating all the different sections of the music. The fact that they’re all just short snippets, sometimes not even containing any kind of actual music as they feature movie samples or just incessant droning with the occasional blast to signify the change into the next track do nothing for this one but stifle the momentum somewhat, keeping this one to an odd pattern of several great tracks and then a screeching halt with the interstitial effort slowing it down. Otherwise, there’s not much else to dislike here.

Featuring plenty of ravenous and blistering material that has plenty to really enjoy overall here, the minor issues with the stumbling pace due to the interstitial efforts doesn’t hold this one back enough to not be of interest to fans of their past work or challenging brutal death metal in general. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Logic Of Denial Official Website
Logic Of Denial Facebook
Logic Of Denial Twitter

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Norđ - Alpha

The Danish metal quintet norđ released its first 4-track EP, entitled “Alpha”, on 3rd of March this year via Inverse Records. Let’s give it a spin!

The first track, “Kill The Marshalls”, starts off with a melodic intro, then switches towards a more thrashy sound which reminds of early Metallica, combined with clear singing and growls. The second track, “Roseship Garden”, has a short piano sequence at its beginning, before it becomes heavier and takes more into the death metal direction. Things slow down again about midway through the song, and the sound gets more thrash-like again. Next up is “Restless”, which starts off with some more oriental tunes and gets back to the particular death/thrash blend mentioned before. Last song of the EP is “Omega”, which starts off again very slowly, but then has the by far most death metal-like sounding part of the EP. This soon blends back to the aforementioned Metallica-like thrash style.

In conclusion: “Alpha” is quite a diverse EP, making it hard to pinpoint a particular genre it falls in. NORĐ rather developed their own sound, which can be perceived throughout the entire release. It is definitely worth listening to, so give it a go! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Norđ Official Website
Norđ Facebook
Norđ Twitter

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Arch Enemy - As The Stages Burn!

Swedish melodic death metallers Arch Enemy will probably be known in the metal world by most of the people, especially after their critically acclaimed release “War Eternal” from 2014. In 2016, the group got the chance to headline Wacken Open Air, making it the to date biggest show in the bands history. Missed out on it? Don’t be sad, as Arch Enemy taped and released the entire concert in form of their latest live album, entitled “As The Stages Burn!”.

A total of 16 songs are taking us through the bands history, and were chosen by bassist Sharlee D’Angelo. For starters we go back to 2011 and experience “Khaos Overture” and “Yesterday Is Dead And Gone”, the first two tracks from the album “Khaos Legions”. The sound has been remastered, and is now really brilliant for a live album. Next up is the title track from the latest album, and singer Alissa White-Gluz is at her best again! From now on it’s going back and forth between old and very recent material, older ones including “Ravenous”, "Bloodstained Cross” and “Under Black Flags We March”, and new tracks such as “Stolen Life”, “You Will Know My Name” or “As The Pages Burn”, the namesake of this release. The concert / album ends after 16 tracks with the classics “No Gods, No Masters” and “Nemesis”.

All in all, Arch Enemy played a great gig there, which is reflected in a very nice live album. The polishing of the sound just ameliorates the listening experience, and with the awesome choice of songs no fan will be left disappointed. Grab a copy and give it a spin! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Arch Enemy Official Website
Arch Enemy Facebook
Arch Enemy Twitter

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Review: Stormhammer - Welcome To The End

Continuing to carry on nicely, German power metallers Stormhammer have steadily built up their brand of power metal with the expanded use of live dates and constant work to get to the point where the band has improved with every release thus far. Keeping the same lineup from their last effort, the groups’ sixth full-length was released March 24, 2017 on Massacre Records.

Offering up plenty of rather impressive work here, this is driven quite nicely by the bands’ rather fun and impressive driving, melodic attack. Featuring efforts like the title track, “Northman” and “Secret” that utilize a rather thick rhythm section, there’s a much heavier, more traditional-sounding structure built up here with a nice driving attack utilizing the more harder-hitting rhythms during the main sections here. That translates into a steady stream of heavy mid-tempo gallops for the most part here, letting the bands’ faster moments carry this one along to the point of enjoyment throughout here by going for the striking riff-work, the old-school sounding patterns and generous melodic rhythms that give this such a strong and enjoyable method of attack here that manages to hold this up one over the album’s one overbearing, glaring flaw that’s nearly impossible to overcome. Simply, there’s just way too many tracks here and it really wears on the longer this goes as it just features such an enlarged running time with over a dozen tracks here that there’s just no reason for the release to be this long, especially with so many of the songs here being pretty much of the same type and quality. Once you hear efforts like “The Law” and “Watchmen” sound basically like the same fiery, energetic crunch as the earlier tracks the need for going on this long makes less sense with no deviation or variation, so regardless of the quality of the tracks the fact that this one has this bloated, overlong feeling is hard to pass-up and ignore.

While this one is just a touch too long and overblown with a few too many tracks here, there’s still something to be said for how energetic and engaging this one is in spite of that somewhat crippling factor here makes this one recommended mainly for hardcore power metal fans or those who can look past the flaws in this one. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Stormhammer Official Website
Stormhammer Facebook

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Sinister - Syncretism

One of the most respected and uncompromising bands in the scene, Dutch death metal legends Sinister have weathered the storm of continuous line-up changes and the times to usher a monster of untethered ferocity and savageness that follows the path of their previous work. Joined by new guitarist Ricardo Falcon and bassist Ghislain van der Stel prior to the release, the groups’ thirteenth studio album was released February 24, 2017 on Massacre Records.

As part of their continued history, the band is firing on all cylinders and making for some of the most sonically devastating work of their career. The main focus of efforts like “Neurophobic,” “Blood Soaked Domain” and “Dominance by Acquisition” is on ravenous, churning riff-work with plenty of tight, chaotic leads that frantically buzz along to the ferocious tempos featured here, and this makes for a stylistically enjoyable offering. These typically envelop the sort of dark atmospheres associated with the early days of the scene when they first appeared, and with the bands’ choppy rhythm section delivering a loud, churning backbone to this material the band offers quite a thunderous full-throttle charge offset by celestial keyboards for a majestic melodic bent. That style of melodic accent is enhanced slightly on the slower-tempo styles of “Convulsion of Christ” and “Rite of the Blood Eagle” where things slow down into a slight chug that adds a great base for some of the keyboards that are placed throughout here to take on a far grander sense of scale and tone than otherwise would be the case here for most older-sounding death metal bands, and that works to its advantage here. This is overall fast, frantic and utterly ferocious in its delivery focusing on the savage riff-work and leaves the melodic accents to select spaces rather than overwhelming the album which can happen here. Some of the longer tracks could’ve been shortened by a minute or two and still leave this with a brutal beatdown, but it’s the one minor flaw in this effort.

Showing every bit of the measured attack and viciousness that’s defined their career thus far, this is a pretty savage offering that maintains their revered name in the scene overall and sees this as a wholly worthwhile offering for any fan into extreme metal, their past works or old-school death metal in general. 9.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Sinister Facebook

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: GraVil - No More Forgiveness

London-based death metallers GraVil released their second full-length record, entitled “No More Forgiveness”, on 5th of May. Let’s give it a go!

Right from the start, we are more in the brutal rather than the melodic part of the death metal genre. The whole sound is very angry, with very prominent drumming and riffs. Complete destruction seems to be the goal of the guys, and they do that while keeping the listener entertained. Awesome! You can have a first impression on how that sounds by listening to the first single taken from the album, called “Decommissioned” – I am talking about the heavy part after the intro! While there is a trademark sound throughout the album, the songs themselves are still diverse enough to engage the listener over the total of 10 tracks. The lyrics are very intense and personal on this record, ranging from criticism on current UK politics to personal loss and betrayal and definitely add to the overall awesomeness of the record.

In conclusion: there’s nothing to criticize from my side, as I regard “No More Forgiveness” as one, if not the, highlight album of the year in the genre. Personal favorites are “I Am The Blood” and the somewhat more melodic “Fractured, Divided”. Be sure to pick up your copy and support these guys! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: God Dethroned - The World Ablaze

Death metallers God Dethroned hail again from the Netherlands with their newest album, entitled “The World Ablaze”. It was released on 5th of May and is the last release within the band’s World War I trilogy, also composed of “Passiondale” from 2009 and “Under the Sign of the Iron Cross” from 2010. Let’s see what the guys have in store for us!

We start with a crescendo of an instrumental intro, which is very melodic but still, with its stomping sound, gets the vibe of being at war across. This is picked up by the album’s second track, “Annihilation Crusade”, which settles somewhere between midtempo and speedy passages, with a very melodic, slow passage towards the end. Next up is the title track, which starts off as more oldschool death-like, but then again becomes very melodic and atmospheric. Same hold true for the next one, called “On The Wrong Side Of The Wire”, while the album’s fifth track, “Close To Victory”, is again speedier, before we can breathe through once more during the very harmonious instrumental interlude “Königsberg”. Next up is my personal favorite of the album, called “Escape Across the Ice (The White Army)”, a very atmospheric, yet very strong mid-tempo song. “Breathing Through Blood” is alike “On The Wrong Side Of The Wire”, while you can even imagine being on the battlefield and see the tanks rolling up with yet another strong track, the ninth one called “Messina Ridge”. The album then closes off with the tenth and final one, “The 11th Hour”, a more somber midtempo track which reflects the general tone of the record again nicely.

In conclusion: the third installment of God Dethroned’s WWI trilogy can definitely hold up with its predecessors. While the production’s great and the songwriting very good, the album is a bit generic soundwise, and only has few highlights, like the aforementioned “Escape Across The Ice”, for me. Still, “The World Ablaze” is a very solid album and if you are into the genre, then definitely check it out! 8.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Disbelief - The Symbol Of Death

As a non-fan of black/death/shit metal, I have to state this isn’t bad. From the thundering double-beats of the opening track ‘Full Of Terrors’ and the refreshingly understandable Gravocals™, this band might just sway me to the Dark Side (not my trademark that one). A new and fresh 13 track release, it is sure to impress (and has) most of the bands.

Moody, plucking bassline intro of ‘The Unsuspecting One’ and the cool talk intrigued me and pleasantly surprised by the next smashing crescendo of this tight knit 5 piece group from Germany. The bridge at 2:33 is neat and flows wonderfully into the next segment. The arrangements are impressive and a testament to the bands skill and experience.

Sporting a very informative and well organized FB page, you can see them in action on many vids. The title track, while I tire of the (albeit) brief visual of the marching Nazi theme, is a slow plodding uphill climb into the Dark Metal world. Crunching guitars and vox in the near same crushed rock range, it would be a Death/Black Metallers mixtape staple. I can’t even stop myself from scraping out the throaty scream at 2:02 – 2:08…fun!

The impressive echo-y intro to ‘Embrace The Blaze’ is exceptional and I like the steely sounding guitar, flowing into a rhythm reminding me of Fear Factory. Nicely done and my favourite track thus far. The writing is great and the flow of this tune is very catchy; at 2:00 love the vocals and the subsequent speed up is awesome…’CRY OUT!”

‘Shattered’, a 7 minute delve into a prog-metal sea of rhythm changes and intricate playing, is now my favourite! Astounding playing and the vox must need much lubricant to choke those lyrics out in that staccato style. The shuffling riff at 2:28 onwards is awesome! Some great tempo change at about 4:45 and wicked guitars!

The remainder of the record is also up to par with this praise although, personally, I can’t do a lot of this style at one sitting. Well produced, clear and very listenable, it’s a sound effort and very good overall. It will impress more fans as it gets out there.

The final ‘Anthem Of The Doomed’ is a nice way to close out this opus and possibly a great way to start a live gig, of which they have seen and are on many currently! Very active and out there for the fans to see indeed!


Written by Alessandro

Disbelief Official Website
Disbelief Facebook

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Interview: Jotnar

In April, melodic death metallers Jotnar released their debut album called Connected/Condemned. DutchMetalManiac's Julia Obenauer already reviewed it here. She also interviewed Jotnar's guitarist Ben Melero, which you can read below.

Hey Ben! Thank you for doing this interview with DutchMetalManiac. Could you briefly introduce yourself and your band?

Hey! It's a real pleasure! Well, I'm Ben Melero, guitar from Jotnar. We are from Canary Islands, Spain. We make some kind of melodic death metal, very influenced by the Scandinavian Metal but with our little personal sauce in there.

How did you guys meet up, and can you tell us a bit about the band history up until now?

My guitar buddy Elhadji and I have been together since we were 6 years old. We've been thru a lot together and we even learned to play guitar at the same time. We always knew that we should do something together someday and by 2005, we decided to start a band. At that moment, just a project. It was really hard at the begining because it was complicated to find musicians in the island who were not playing in some other bands. All of the metal musicians were already spoken, and it took us a few years until we could finally set the first steady line up. In the meantime we started writing songs, rehearsing them by ourselves and basically, setting the foundation of our sound.
We started playing live in 2009 but we had to make some lineup changes by then. We had many songs ready but we decided to make a short EP album to show the world our music in order to release a full album in like 6-8 months. That was the initial idea but it didn't work out that way. We released the EP "Giant" in March '12 and it worked so great that we started touring a lot in Spain and some parts of Europe. So the full album had to wait.
After that, we stopped touring to focus in the new album, work on all the material and polish it before entering on studio. We recorded the whole album but our former singer had some personal issues that made him impossible to record the vocals. We waited for him, with everything recorded, for about a year and a half, but at the end he told us he couldn't make it so we had to part ways. He is still family for us and one of our best friends, but we simply couldn't make it. That is when Mario entered in the band and we decided to make a fresh start with him. We didn't want him to simply track the original versions but instead, we wanted him to add his personal touch, so he never listened the original vocal demos. We started working from scratch and created a new demo. All of this forced a big delay for the album but we are extremely happy with the final result. It really worthed all the wait.

How did you come up with the band name?

Jotnar is a term that comes from the old nordic mythology. They were the giants, a superhuman race in between the gods and the humans who lived at Jotunheim. I personally love the Norse mythology and since our style is very influenced by nordic music, it was a great match for our band's name.

Your music falls into the melodic death metal category, even though you also incorporate some other styles as well. What do you like about the melodeath genre in particular?

The Melodic Death Metal genre is sooo wide, with many differences that it's very complicated compare and even label a band in. We personally love the mix between aggressiveness and melodies, and we express this duality in the guitars as well as in the vocals. This is the key for us and what we really love the most, no doubt.

You just released your first album, called “Connected/Condemned”, on 21st of April. I really loved it when listening to it, were other reactions as positive?

Thank you so much! We are really proud of the final result. As I mentioned before, it was a very hard and tedious work, with many problems and delays, but we are extremely happy with it. About the reactions, well… so far we are thrilled by the possitive feedbacks, from press and fans. We even had some of our videos shared in their social medias by some of our musical mentors like Tom Englund from Evergrey or Jesper Strömblad from In Flames, with amazing comments about us which totally blowed our minds! So we cannot be happier with the feedback so far.

How did you experience the album production process? How did you approach the songwriting and the recording?

That's a tough and I guess long question to answer but for us, the songwriting always start from the guitar riff. Everything in our music is guitar based. For sure, everything must work in consonance at the end, but everything starts from the guitar. We really work by heart and by feeling, and when we write we don't follow anything, just do what we feel and what we enjoy and then, work it all out all together to make all the arrangements.
About the recording, I have a recording studio and our both albums have been produced and engineered by me, and then I send it to mix and master by a clean and not so corrupted ears. This album was mixed by Sacha Laskow at the Perfect Filth studios in Canada and mastered by Jens Bogren at the Fascination Street Studios in Sweden. They totally nailed it!

How long did it take it to get the whole album done?

It's hard to know for sure cause we had that stop I mentioned before for the singer issues and then we had to start from scratch with the new singer. It has took us so much time that I really don't want to even think about it, heheheh. The important thing is that it's finally released and we are really proud of it.

A cool bit is the Nelly Furtado cover. How did you come up with the idea for it?

I've always loved that song and everytime I listened it, in my mind sounded with this kind of rhythm guitar over it, so I made my own version a few years ago. It was just a personal project but when Mario entered in the band and we were working on the album, I showed it to him and ask him to record a vocal demo. We loved the result that much that we decided to add it to the album, not because we needed more tracks (that we didn't) but just because we found it really cool.

You guys come from the Canary Islands. Is there an active metal music scene, and if so: could you recommend us other bands from the islands?

Yeah, it's a very small scene, we all know each other but it's a nice scene. There are some really cool bands like "Mondo Diavolo", "Tears of Martyr", "G-noma", "Disomnia", "The Zeronaut", "The Hole" and a really long etc. There is a good vibe and some kind of brotherhood between the bands. In fact, most of the musicians there play in several bands and it's kinda fun.

Which bands inspire you as individual musicians or as a band, and why?

There are hundred bands which inspire me personally. I started playing guitar because of Slash, back in the '90s, and then all the bands from that decade, Metallica, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Aerosmith, Pantera and an infinite etc. Then I started moving into more metal, and listen bands like Dream Theater, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the gates, Arch Enemy, Soilwork and again, the list could go and go with no ending. These latest bands are the ones who forged the base of what we do know... That mix between power riffs and melodies was what opened a new way of playing for me and that's what we love.

I read that you confirmed two festival dates in Spain, and that you are planning on playing more shows. Can we anticipate on a European tour then? Do you have more details for us already?

That's correct. In fact, we've already played one of them about 2 weeks ago and we also made a tour with Sonic Syndicate in Spain, which was really great. We will also play in a festival in Italy on June 17th, the “Straevil Fest” in Brescia, and then we will play at the Barcelona Rock Fest in July 2nd, a huge festival with bands like Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Airbourne, and a long etc.
We are also working on more dates, for sure, and our idea would be to do an European tour, maybe next year. It's still everything in the first steps, but that's what we'd love to do. And of course, all the European festivals we can make.

Do you have any cool or bizarre stories from life on the road or on stage you feel like sharing?

Man, lots of road stories, lots of fun and craziness but you know the saying, what happens on the road stays on the road, hehehe.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Just invite you all to listen our music and watch our videos on youtube. We hope you can enjoy with our music as much as we enjoyed it creating it. You can always support us and follow us in our official site and facebook, etc, and if we play near your hometown, jump in and say hi. We'll take some beers after the show for sure!

Jotnar Official Website
Jotnar Facebook
Jotnar Twitter

Review: Jotnar - Connected/Condemned

Spanish melodic death metallers Jotnar, coming from the Canary Islands, released their debut album, entitled “Connected/Condemned”, on 21st of April this year, five years after their EP “Giants”. Let’s see what the guys have in store for us!

The very beginning of the first song, which is also the title track, sound like straight from an early Linkin Park album – but only shortly, and then we experience some clearly In Flames-inspired melodeath. Funny combination, but it works out well, and sticks because of its groovy sound. Next up is “Remaining Still”, which is way more brutal than the previous track – totally awesome. The third track, “Missing Shadows”, is back to the groovier style in its biggest parts, but nevertheless quite catchy. “Broken Esteem” then combines these two types of songs into one, making it another one that will stick with you. The next six songs are more “standard Gothenburg” melodeath tracks, albeit very well played. Very fun, after some getting-used-to, is the Nelly Furtado cover “Say It Right”. “Envy World”, the album’s second last song, is quite alike the starters and thus a great ending. The very last one is called “The Portrait” and features Jennie Nord. After a rather brutal start the song softens quite a lot and is more of a ballad – which is nice, given that none of the likes can be found on the rest of the album.

In conclusion: Jotnar’s “Connected/Condemned” is a great album. The musicianship is brilliant, and is best reflected in the first 4 songs of the album and a great Nelly Furtado cover. While the remainder of the songs still is very well executed, the songs themselves are more generic melodeath tunes and somewhat loose the very unique style that made the first songs so great. “Connected/Condemned” is nevertheless a very strong release and will surely please any fan of the genre. Go ahead and listen to it, and keep your eye out for this band! 9/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

You can also check our interview with Jotnar here

Jotnar Official Website
Jotnar Facebook
Jotnar Twitter

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Review: Damnation Plan - Reality Illusion

Damnation Plan is a melodic death metal band from Finland, which released its second album, called “Reality Illusion”, on 10th of March via Inverse Records.

The album starts off with an instrumental intro, which mixes melodic metal with post-rock elements and synths. It is followed by “Beyond These Walls”, a very aggressive and pressing song. It is marked by metalcore and progressive rock influences, which are mixed together well. “Rulers Of Truth” is at first a contrast to it: a slow instrumental intro with synths in it, followed by a more classic melodeath tune. There’s quite some variety in the singing at first as well, creating an oriental atmosphere and reminds a bit of the style also to be found on Amorphis’ “Under The Red Cloud”-album. “Rise Of The Messenger” and “Blinded Faith”, the next two songs on the album, are very alike in style and followed by the beautiful, instrumental interlude “The Empowerment”. “Maze Of Despair” is marked by clean vocals and progressive rock-style riffs, which remind of i.e. Symphony X. This remains true for the next songs as well. The final one is a cover of Ronnie James Dio’s “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, which is very well done.

In conclusion: Damnation Plan produced a solid album, which will appeal however more to progrock rather than melodeath fans. While the production and the musicianship are excellent, to me the interest spiked already at the second track, which was too bad – a tad more variation towards the end would have been even better. Still, “Reality Illusion” is worthwhile listening to, so give it a go! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Damnation Plan Official Website
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Lux Perpetua - The Curse Of The Iron King

Originally formed in 2003, Polish power metallers Lux Perpetua began as Sentinel which lasted until 2009 before they dropped the name and were resurrected in their current moniker which took their sound to their current formation and standing. With longtime member Martinez leaving and being replaced by vocalist Artur Rosiński and new keyboardist Meg, the groups’ full-length debut was originally released February 28, 2017 on Underground Symphony.

Firing off straight from the old-school, the group is quite intent on letting their influences get pushed to the forefront that it’s quite apparent from the start. There are efforts like the title track, “The Legend” and “Riders Of The Dead” which feature a prominent showing of fiery neoclassical-inspired rhythms and bombastic paces that keep the majority of the tracks at full-throttle for the massive sound generated here. The inclusion of twinkling keyboards and blistering drum-work makes for an even greater sprinkling of power, and this creates the kind of bombastic take on the genre which gives this one the required speed and tone that falls right in line with the bombastic efforts in this style. When this drops off into the softer realms in “An Old Bard” or the requisite ballad “Eversong,” this drops those elements in favor of a lethargic chug and a more overblown keyboard-drenched style that keeps the fiery speed-metal riffing in the background as the melodic tones become far more prominent which does take some of the sting out of the attack even with these still providing plenty of engaging work in these sections. There’s a slight tendency here to feel somewhat overlong as the second half does get a more enhanced epic vibe in the material here which does strike as a somewhat minor problematic issue, but for the most part, this one really doesn’t detract much from what’s expected here. Far more problematic, though, is the fact that the vocals here are somewhat off-putting in the genre being much too gravelly and gruff for this type of light and fluffy genre so those going in expecting an operatic performance might be somewhat surprised here. However, even combined these aren’t enough to knock this down that much.

Despite the slightly off vocals and a minor bloated second half, there’s far too much good produced here for a first-time effort that this one manages to come out of the gates swinging and lands often enough to be of great significance for those yearning for the early days of the Power Metal explosion and bright, bombastic power metal. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Interview: Striker

In February, Canadian metallers Striker released their latest, self-titled album. DutchMetalManiac's Don Anelli already reviewed it here, now he interviewed them.

Well, first off, let’s talk about the new album. Are you pleased with its reaction so far?

Yea everyone has had a very positive response to the album, both fans and critics, and even people who have never heard of us before! It’s great to see that people are enjoying your work. We also tried out some new ideas on this album, some people love it, some people dislike it, but it’s cool to see that people are invested enough in your band to notice these changes and actually say something in reviews and stuff. I think in the past we were very much pigeon holed into the throwback traditional metal scene, and didn’t make much impact outside of that, so now it’s really cool to see that we are getting traction in the mainstream metal scene. We even got a short review from Ice T!

Do you have a favorite track off the album? What makes it special for you?

I really like Former Glory myself! Also Born to Lose…and Shadows in the Light, those are probably my favorite 3, but it’s so hard to choose! It’s like picking your favorite child. All the tracks on the new album are really strong, and we worked really hard to make sure they all were the best they could possibly be. I feel like this album is our most well thought out, in that we really took a fine tooth comb to all the songs and made sure everything was exactly how we wanted it.

Why did you decide to work with producer Fredrik Nordstrom once again? Did he bring out anything special to the material while you were recording?

Well he’s done a great job with our previous 2 albums, City of Gold and Stand in the Fire. He’s done so many of my favorite albums too, why would anyone not want to work with him? He does a great job mixing and mastering and he is always willing to fit us into his schedule.

So, what was the cause for the quick turn-around between these last two albums?

Well now that we are on our own label, we can do whatever we want! We all love writing music. We are musicians after all. I feel like a lot of bands aren’t really into that lifestyle, maybe they like playing their instruments and having fun on tour or whatever, but when it comes to writing music it feels more like work. At least for us, we write music for fun. That’s why we are in a band in the first place. It feels good to play around with music and ideas. We are always writing and we had some time off. Why not get another album out?

This has a far more pronounced and distinctive attempt to streamline your sound. Was that by design or did you purposefully write that way?

We just wanted to write the best music possible. I think a lot of that comes down to knowing what to cut out of a song. Often times songs can be jam packed with ideas, but all these different ideas don’t necessarily make a song good. So initially we started by tearing everything down, and then building back up again after we had a strong core idea for each song. I think everything fits together better and the songs all flow really well.

There's a stronger Iron Maiden influence on the release than before, is there any big reason to include those elements into your sound?

Well as a melodic metal band, I think we will always sound a little bit like Maiden! They are always a huge influence, to probably almost every metal band. When we write music, we just write stuff that we want to listen to. So maybe we were just on more of a maiden-esque kick? I know we were focusing really hard on having lots of hooks and creating the chorus, so maybe that’s the same focus that Maiden uses to write.

Was there any unique reasons for choosing the cover version of 'Desire' included here?

Not really! Had a few beers and picked some songs we liked for bonus tracks! If you are in Europe, get your copy with Desire as it was only limited to the first pressing!

What plans do you have to promote the album as far as tours or videos?

We just finished a 7 week tour with Sonata Arctica in Europe, and we have a full North American tour with Dark Tranquility in September as well. We are also planning some more tours for the winter! And of course we hope to have a new music video out for each tour, we are actually starting work on new videos right now!

So, we’ll end this on a fun note. What’s your all-time favorite activity to partake in while on the road?

Well we love doing sports on tour! We had an ab roller challenge with Sonata Arctica and Triosphere while on tour with them last month, and those Sonata guys beat our asses!

Do you wish to say something to our readers?

Thanks to everyone that supports Striker! We appreciate it and we hope to shred your faces off live soon!

Striker Official Website
Striker Facebook
Striker Twitter

Review: Hellias - Eight Cardinal Sins

Ever since their reformation, Polish thrash legends Hellias have continued to bring their rousing brand of Eastern European-styled take on the Bay Area formula of thrash that originally brought them out of the underground back in the late 80s. Still fighting hard after the eight-year gap between releases, the groups’ fifth full-length overall was originally released February 10, 2017 on Thrashing Madness Productions.

Forged through their decades of work, the album here clearly and dominantly showcases their love and enjoyment of the Old-School style of thrash. Tracks like “Devilish Circle,” “Ant Democracy” and “Twelve Angry Men” are full of tight, slightly technical riffing featuring a generally steady mid-tempo crunch that makes for a much more pronounced charge than expected here, with the fine ability to shift into a heavy-handed groove-style series of rhythms to add that extra boost to the proceedings also thrown in as well. That keeps the album with a nice violent streak in terms of intensity as well, as the swirling patterns add a thoroughly rewarding punch to the classic riff-work featured in here with the title track, “Mental Violence” and “Angels Make War” showcasing this facet of their sound. While on the whole this approach gives it a fine and enjoyable approach, this does create the issue of the album going through the lower-intensity efforts when it’s not firing away on the thrash as the more groove-inspired rhythms here do give this one a slightly more restrained feel which gives this a much greater discrepancy in tone than expected. The fiery and energetic riffing styles are drained somewhat slightly by the lowered intensity found there, and it really lowers this somewhat. Still, that’s not a big issue for it’s not as constant or consistent as the more enjoyable elements are.

With some rather stylish thrashing alongside some minor problematic issues, there’s still more than enough fun at play here for fans of the bands’ previous work or the less-discerning old-school thrash aficionados who will quite like the attack here while those looking for more fervent thrash will likely find it decent at best. 7/10

Written by Don Anelli

Hellias Official Website
Hellias Facebook

Review: Ghusa - Öswedeme

Continuing to uphold their country’s output, French death metallers Ghusa have utilized the famous style Swedish attack that was at the forefront of their original evolution years ago and brings them back from the grave once again to deliver the onslaught. After over a decade of silence that only included a compilation release in the interim, the bands’ sophomore album was originally released May 5, 2017 on White Square Records.

Once this one gets going, the full-force of their Swedish influenced take on this style comes across in rapid succession as there’s little denying those elements. Tracks like “Project 9,” “Sickening” and “In Gods We Fear” take that focus on the rapid, tight rhythms featuring plenty of swirling buzzsaw grooves throughout here that feature plenty of utterly ferocious rhythms, thrashing patterns and that lively bouncy set of riffing that gives the material a great atmosphere in the faster sections. Even the slower sections like “Epitaph” and “Carve Up” contain a steady mid-tempo groove with plenty of tight, thunderous rhythms and a rather stylish series of riff-work which gives this a rather enjoyable air as well as plenty of diversity compared to the faster sections alongside these efforts. While none of this is particularly groundbreaking or original in the slightest as it’s basically just yet another band playing vicious and intense Swedish-styled death metal, it’s pretty much the main strike against the album where it doesn’t really offer up many flaws beyond its rather familiar and overly-accomplished style.

Being yet another in a long line of rather familiar and really proficient stabs at this style of death metal, that’s really all that can really be levied against this one in terms of finding flaws which really makes this a strong if unessential choice for connoisseurs of the genre for the most part. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Interview: Scum

Last year Italian metallers Scum released Humana. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed them, read it below.

Hey guys, how’s life?

Hi, it's all ok!!! :)

In October you released your third full-length called Humana, how is the response you got so far?

Maybe we are expecting something more but we are still promoting “Humana” , we wait a little longer!!:)

Can you explain what can be seen on the cover of Humana and why you choose this?

The cover of “Humana” is a jellyfish with a human brain in place of the body, is an idea of the new singer Carlo Settembrini. It represents the ability and man's tendency to manipulation.

The intro of Humana, called ‘We Are The Evil’, is a speech from Gustav Jung about human as the origin of all evil. What is your vision about humanity?

Our vision of humanity is one of the most pessimistic. The indifference and the lack of empathy are the topics covered in the album. We are the evil and it is true, but whether to suffer or not is our choice. Unfortunately, it's easier to do evil than to do good!

All bass in Humana was played by your old bass player Simon Blust, now you have a new bass player called Mauro Calia. What was the reason to part ways with Simon?

Simon has played with us for 5 years, he is a friend and a great musician, unfortunately his work and family commitments were not compatible with the band and we jointly agreed to replace him with Mauro. Simon is our first fan !!

What made you decide Mauro was the right choice for this job?

We knew Mauro for a lot of time, we needed a person who, in addition to having technical skills, had human beings compatible with us, and we did not go wrong.

At the end of November, you supported Annihilator on their last European date in St. Petersburg, Russia. How was it for you?

It was a fantastic experience. Playing with a historic metal band from the world in front of a large, unlearned audience.

You also just had the release party for Humana. How did the audience respond to the new music?

The release party we did in a Grosseto's club so we played at home, but it was more than a year we did not perform in our town and the audience responded well to the new formation.

What are Scum’s plans for the future? Can we expect some touring, for example?

For the moment we are promoting "Humana" with a tour of 5 dates in Italy, and we are looking forward to foreign proposals for the next winter. We have good contacts also thanks to our manager Giacomo Paradiso, we hope to visit also Holland!

Is there something you want to say to the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

Ah ok, support SCUM on our Facebook page and on our official website . Rock n Roll guys!!! \m/

Scum Official Website
Scum Facebook
Scum Twitter

Review: Serenius - Cocoon

Serenius is a melodic death metal band from Paris, France. Founded in 2006 by Larry Etienne and Jeremy Plantaz, it has had a turbulent past. After having several line-up changes it went through a split-up after releasing two full-length albums called ‘Coming From Serenius’ (2010) and ‘Equilibrium’ (2012) and playing a boatload of live shows. Vocalist and guitarist Larry decided to keep Serenius alive and managed to form a line-up with both new and earlier members. Keeping up the tradition Serenius’ line-up still is very unstable, switching members at an alarming rate. Next to Larry the current line-up consists of Louis Borel on guitar and Cyril Gromoff on drums. According to the accompanying info sheet the position of bass player is vacant at the moment after the departure of Antoine Ambert, although on their Facebook page they state their bassist is Loïc Gallo. Apparently Serenius thrives on instability, because despite all their personnel changes they managed to compose a third full-length called ‘Cocoon’, which will be released in May this year.

Up until now I wasn’t familiar with Serenius’ music and sound, but considering the fact they have been around for over a decade and managed to release three albums despite turbulent times it was about time this would change. As stated above they play melodic death metal but not in a straight-forward fashion. Their lyrical themes cover the confinement and manipulation of the human being as a whole by society in order to shape him as society sees fit, a much used theme these days. Obviously many people are worried about the current state of our society and world, which seems to deteriorate on a daily basis at our own hands, and Serenius’ members are no different. And what’s more, they are not afraid to show it either. The album title, ‘Cocoon’, refers to the cocooned human being society tries to create, but it also refers to the cocoon we have to create to preserve the precious parts of us as individual human beings.

Music-wise it all starts on an easy note with ‘World’, which seems to serve as the intro to the album. Lyric-wise however the tone is immediately set to ponderous with what is best described as a summary of the band’s view on the world and us through gloomy, ominous lyrics. Right after that the accelerator is hit, rewarding us with fifty minutes of heavy, at times aggressive, but always accessible death metal starting with the gripping ‘Identity’. Throughout the album the guys explore every possible corner of the death metal genre, merging it all together into coherent, ear-pleasing and -teasing songs, complementary grunted together by Larry. Whether it’s the raging, relentless riffs backed by a blazing bass line and thundering drum lines in ‘Hate By All Means’, the soothing intro of ‘Infinity’ or the heavy metal hugging ‘Core Depths’, it all feels and sounds perfectly organic.

In my opinion Serenius is a well-oiled machine. Both guitarists are very much in sync, as are the drums and bass, regardless playing with or against each other, proving the roles the various instruments play in each of the songs are carefully composed. In fact, everything in the songs seems very well composed, it’s obvious Serenius has gone to great lengths to deliver a high quality album. Even though it never crosses the borders of melodic death metal very far it’s a varied album that keeps you focused and interested at all times. Highlights are ‘The Shell’, the inciting, intriguing ‘DMP’ (Daily Maddening Process) and the majestic ‘Infinity’.

So concluding it’s safe to say that in my opinion ‘Cocoon’ is a great release, well worth your undivided attention even if you’re not a fan of the genre. Not only are the songs very well composed, carefully thought out pieces of work, the excellent production, which can definitely be considered an asset here, is skillfully executed as well. Definitely recommended as far as I’m concerned.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Review: Primal Age - Silent Wound

These lads from Rouen, France have blistered my face with their cooly named EP ‘A Silent Wound’. Sporting a very distinguished professional and informative FB page, Benoit: Guitar, Florian: Guitar, Mehdi: Drums, Dimitri: Bass & Vocals and Didier: Vocals are clearly in control of their destiny. They have been around for some years, sporting some nicely pictured multi-coloured vinyl and 3 other CD’s to their name, and a very strong touring circuit.

‘Whistleblowers’ blows me away and gets right down to it. Again, not a fan of the raunch-throat hardcore vox, but the genre will love this tight playing. Great production and clear sound, it is a fabulous piece.

The frenetic title track resounds with Slayer-ish riffs and splits. Awesome! A resonating power metal vibe to it and love the scream at 1:17! I can actually hear some of the lyrics here! Love the slow down at 1:50! Once again, unhappy neighbors as this got turned up to 11.

‘Counterfeiters of the Science’! This is an excellent title and good enough song but not my favourite as I was hoping for a longer piece perhaps. Sounds like a same old, same old thrown in piece but what do I know; I can’t even play anything.

As for ‘To Jeff…’ well done and relevant tribute to Hanneman. It’s all about hate’…A sauntering, angry piece tearing with great riffs and beats, this is my favourite! 1:55 sports some gripping strums that I like to hear all day long coupled with excellent vocals. Hoping to hear Didier sing sometime! The breaks at 2:40 and total metal chords are beautifully done making this the next one on my mixtape.

This is a fantastic tribute album to some of the band’s influences and friends. I don’t know if any of these are actually Slayer songs (sorry I don’t have that much room up there) but mes amis, in the words of Saxon: “To Absent Friends”.


Written by Alessandro

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