The Antichrist Imperium – Volume III: Satan In His Original Glory

Volume III Satan In His Original Glory Album Cover Art

The Antichrist Imperium – Volume III: Satan In His Original Glory
Apocalyptic Witchcraft
Release Date: 07/10/22
Running Time: 51:16
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Ah, my dear hearts. I once more find myself on solid Satanic ground with this album. Hail Satan and burn the houses of all the false Gods to the ground and dance upon the ashes! Be rampant among the chaos. Love each other freely and without inhibition in the debris! Love is the law. Love under will. Do what thou wilt. Mrs Dark Juan has been consigned to bed as she is not in a good way and I have been told in no uncertain terms to fuck off and leave her alone for a bit, hence I have been dispatched downstairs. Therefore, the Headphones Of Doom, Insanity and Incipient Deafness have been clamped to the eagerly receptive lugholes of Dark Juan and I am considering this latest offering to Satan while she rests and recuperates. In the meantime, I am amusing the Smellhounds and grooving most mightily.

EDIT: This review was interrupted by my having to take Mrs Dark Juan somewhat urgently to hospital due to serious difficulties she was experiencing. You will all be pleased to hear that she is now back home and is suffering from a bout of COVID-19 that is absolutely no picnic. As of now, I am also. Fuck.

Composed of members of Akercocke, Voices, Werewolves and The Berzerker (two of my favourite bands are represented right there – my opinion that The Berzerker’s debut album being the most brutal record release ever is well known and frequently trumpeted to any poor fucker who is unfortunate enough to be within earshot) combining their extreme talents with a good old bit of worshipping the One True Lord of the Earth makes for something that’s so far up Dark Juan’s street it is seated opposite me in the Second Receiving Room at Dark Juan Terrace enjoying a brew and some chocolate oat biscuits. Satanic Death Metal is cruelly under-represented currently and The Antichrist Imperium are here to remind you that there are gonna be pitchforks up your ass unless you start paying attention to The Horned One, and this Hellpriest is thankfully mightily relieved to be able to start spreading the true gospel again…

Coming from a musical circle of hell that easily encompasses the sounds of Anaal Nathrakh, The Berzerker and Technical Death Metal and a little bit of prog (we do enjoy a bit of the avant-garde at Dark Juan Terrace), the first thing I notice about The Antichrist Imperium is that they have not entrusted the production of their opus to the local YTS trainee. The album has a competent and accessible sound that has benefitted mightily from not being recorded by a submariner using only his sonar receiver and a hand-held, battery operated tape recorder from some several hundred miles distant from the actual band, which was a particular bugbear of this listener with early BM. The sound is pin sharp in general, with only a slight woolliness around the cymbals, as they are a little too far back in the mix for these ears. This is indeed a minor gripe and the sound is otherwise top-notch Satan-pleasing.

The Antichrist Imperium bill themselves as avant-garde Death Metal and this is almost accurate, as some of the songs (‘Tu Verus Mundi Lucifer’) border on out and out Black Metal and this is a gloriously censer-waving, obsidian thing. The atavistic savagery of Black Metal combined with the gut-wrenching power of Death Metal is an intoxicating brew indeed. The twin vocals of Sam Bean (also playing bass and keyboards) and Samuel Loynes (also keyboards as well) offer a punishing mix of low end, concrete crushing grunting, a grating, grinding mid-range, high pitched, visceral screaming and almost choral clean singing and the arrangements of the songs are simply magnificent. Deep, complex and inventive, each song has several movements within them and these ebb and flow in a fluid and coherent fashion and add depths of shadow that especially Black Metal bands sometimes seem to lack. 

‘Menage A Triumvirate’ is the most Death Metal song on the record, to my mind, as it starts off with a massively cosmic blast and just doesn’t slow down, even during the parts where the guitar work leaves behind hyperspeed chromatic riffing and instead leans towards the eerily progressive. Where the likes of ‘Third Degree Baptism’ are extremely avant-garde for Death Metal, ‘Menage’ reminds you that this band can destroy continents with ease. Things ease for all of forty seconds on the middle eight, where a Slayer-esque chord medley is noodled but then the power returns with all the force of being smacked across the Luciferian chops with the blastwave of a tactical nuclear weapon. 

A coruscating lead line opens album closer ‘Misotheist’ that sweeps up and down the fretboard with no small infernal majesty before the song evokes thoughts of Fractal Generator and Sijjeel with a combination of complex, finger-wrecking riffing and outlandish speed making sure the listener is paying attention to the very last Satan-bothering second. Until three minutes and twenty seconds in, where there is a surprising and slightly odd synthwavey section that is destroyed in short order by the band stepping on the Satanic go-pedal once more.

It has to be said, considering that Dark Juan leans more towards the blacker end of things, that The Antichrist Imperium are a fucking superb band that has opened the eyes of this Hellpriest towards a whole new way of worshipping The One Who Walks Backwards. I was of the opinion that Death Metal and the Horned One don’t mix. I was wrong, and I feel that The Antichrist Imperium can take their rightful place in the pantheon of Coven, The Electric Hellfire Club and Ghost and all the others that favour the Questioner over the false prophet and his ineffectual God. An almost perfect ritual to bring forth the armies of Hell and give the Sally Army and their like a bloody good kick in the pants, and therefore to be recommended to all the hordes at my command! Do your bit to bring the world back to the One True Master of Mankind!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards The Antichrist Imperium a supremely Satanic 9/10 for a record that hits all the right notes. One mark was deducted because the cymbals were too quiet and… well, that’s about it, really. This one’s an absolute banger from start to finish.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Sweetest Juice
02. Vilest Of Beasts
03. Third Degree Baptism
04. Exorcist Evisceration
05. Chapel Of The Crippled Seed
06. Tu Verus Mundi Lucifer
07. Menage A Triumvirate
08. Misotheist

LINE-UP:
David Gray – Drums
Matt Wilcock – Guitars
Sam Bean – Vocals, keyboards, bass
Samuel Loynes – Vocals, keyboards

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Goatwhore – Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven

Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven Album Cover Art

Goatwhore – Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/10/22
Running Time: 47:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings
9/10

I wonder if Sammy Pierre Duet thought that 25 years after their formation, that New Orleans Blackened Death Metallers Goatwhore would be releasing their eighth studio album and that it would challenge other releases as their best piece of work. Of course, purists will argue all day about the order in which to rank the Goatwhore catalogue, and I’m certainly not cult enough to engage in such debate. It’s undeniable though that “Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven” stands amongst the best releases of 2022, especially in extreme circles. 

Goatwhore have always blended Thrash, Black, Death and Sludge in a heady cocktail of extremity. They have also brought a relentless aural assault on each of their albums. It’s no different here. 47 minutes of intensity, ferocious riffage and the gargled roars of vocalist Louis Ben Falgoust II, who describes the record as “very raw, but clarity is shaped within the chaos”. 

The intro ‘Invocation 3’ leads to the blistering ‘Born of Satan’s Flesh’, which drips with demonic malevolence, but this is no devil worshipping session. The album’s lyrical themes touch on “the basis of human despondency, overwhelming emotion and thought”.  The songs stand on their own but hang together as an album well. The title track is huge, a brooding beast, sonically challenging and emotionally haunting. 

There is a pleasing variety of styles throughout the album. Whilst Goatwhore are not going to depart from their signature sound in any great way, there’s certainly wider influences at work here, with dips into more traditional Metal territory on occasion. ‘Death From Above’ is loosely based on the ‘Nachthexen’, or Night Witches, a group of female Soviet aviators in a bomber division deployed in 1942, a period during which women were in fact barred from combat. It’s worth dipping into the history books to read more about Major Marina Raskova and the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. The song certainly grasps the story and brings it home with a pulsing groove that drives the track forward. 

Alongside Falgoust II’s vocals, there’s also the recording debut of Robert Coleman on bass. He’s been with the band in various guises since 2014 but replaces James Harvey here and links in with drummer Zack Simmons to murderous effect, the engine room providing a concrete platform for founder member Sammy Pierre Duet to slice through with some visceral lead work. 

Two other songs are worthy of mention although there is nothing poor here. The sheer blast of ‘Nihil’, a short, blistering thrasher and the final song, ‘And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition’, which at six-minutes long is the lengthiest piece on the album. It builds slowly, with choral voices before a crushing riff eases into place and an agonising roar breaks through. The sludgy tempo slowing increases, blending with backing keys. It’s a smouldering brute that brings the album to a majestic and epic conclusion. 

With Jarrett Pritchard (Exhumed, 1349) once more doing excellent work on his return to the producer’s chair, Goatwhore have once more demonstrated their unrelenting approach works best. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better album all year. 

‘Death From Above’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Invocation 3
02. Born of Satan’s Flesh
03. The Bestowal of Abomination
04. Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven 
05. Death from Above
06. Ruinous Liturgy 
07. Victory Is the Lightning of Destruction 
08. Voracious Blood Fixation
09. The Devil’s Warlords 
10. Weight of A Soulless Heart 
11. Nihil 
12. And I Was Delivered from The Wound Of Perdition 

LINE-UP:
Louis B. Falgoust II – Vocals
Sammy Duet: Guitars – Vocals
Zack Simmons – Drums
Robert “TA” Coleman – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Kekal – Envisaged

Envisaged Album Cover Art

Kekal – Envisaged
Self-Released (Streaming, Digital), Elevation Records (Physical)
Release Date: 15.07.22
Running Time: 50:19
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, possums.

I hope that I find my ravening pack of trash pandas well and ready to read more spurious nonsense masquerading as a learned and erudite record review?

Splendid. I’m not ready to write it yet, though. I’m too damned drained. The life is being leached out of me by that horrible ball of fire in the sky and I don’t even have the energy to go and seduce a young Christian virgin and turn them to the Left Hand Path. All I in fact want to do is hide deep within the crypts of Dark Juan Terrace and hiss when I want feeding. Kind of like what a goth girlfriend is like ninety percent of the time. Except I will not be wearing Emily Strange pyjamas and clutching a teddy bear version of Cubone. I can guarantee you that much. You can drop off my meals at the wine cellar between the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and the rest of the clarets. Take the empties with you, aye?

You will be pleased to know that I have manfully powered through hiding in the cellar and have returned to the keyboard in order to share with you some thoughts about a most intriguing prospect, being Kekal, a “self-regulated entity with no official members” who all perform anonymously, hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia. Which is, to be fair, not really a hotbed of metal shenanigans. Which did, before I started playing “Envisaged”, make me wonder if it was going to be dreadful.

IT IS NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY DREADFUL.

Kekal melds the most extreme of metal with glorious, swooping synths, and cheerfully overlay very disparate influences with each other, and somehow come out with something coherent and full-sounding. Especially, since, according to the blurb I got with the record from Against PR, the songs were written during the recording process so that inspirations that came to the players while performing the songs could be incorporated and moulded into the whole of a song. This idiosyncratic method of recording and writing appears to have paid dividends as their spasmodic, jerky sound has hit me right in the backbrain and shows no sign of stopping punching.

Opening cut ‘Anthropos Rising’ starts with strings underpinned with a wibbly synth line and a strangely pitched vocal from a gentleman not unlike a lower-toned Claudio Sanchez, before the tune breaks into a Baron Crane-esque Jazz fuelled section, and then a dissonant Djent phase in the verse. There’s all kinds of mad shit going on here and already it is shaping up to be one of my favourite tunes of 2022. Accordion melody lines writhe under the heaviest guitar and syncopation – after this comes an ambient electronic section. Then it’s back to the madness again with some of the hardest drumming I think I have ever heard. The drummer isn’t playing their instrument – they are smashing the living shit out of their kit, and the whole song just twists and turns and snaps at you with venom-dripping, stainless steel fangs. 

Bear in mind that that was a description of one song. I’m knackered already.

The insane power of the drums on this album (Kekal’s THIRTEENTH offering, I believe) cannot be denied. Whoever is battering them has clear mental health issues and should be incarcerated for his or her own good. ‘Born Anew’ is another absolutely batshit song. Demented carny music slams into Black Metal and then into EBM and Synthwave with robotized background vocals, before segueing into gentle, swooping atmospherics on ‘The Alchemy Of Creation’. Which then kind of turns itself into the kind of soundtrack song that plays out over our heroes driving off into the sunset, leaving behind them a trail of corpses and a lot of robbed liquor stores. Fade to titles…

““Envisaged” is an album that was specifically created to celebrate The Great Awakening of humanity and Earth’s Ascension to the higher octave of vibrational frequency. All the songs were written during the recording process, to capture the spontaneous moments of insights within each and every passage of creation. The music and lyrics represent a creative spiritual journey following continuous revelations regarding the current events on Earth that have been unfolding especially in the past few years. If observed and put together in a continuum, they signify the process of global collective awakening and purification towards humanity’s grand destiny: to transcend the matrix and rise beyond the construct of duality.”

That was a quote from the collective that constitutes Kekal. I have no idea what they are saying. I’ve been at the beer again, you see, and it is also hotter than Hell’s own pizza oven at nearly half-eight at night. I can’t think straight and the sheer insanity of Kekal is not helping me cope. Such eclecticism is unusual in Heavy Metal, and their fearless desire to bring in new sounds and concepts can’t help but make this jaded old fucker writing these words jerk to surprised attention and salivate worse than Pavlov’s pooch.

‘The Ascending Collective’ melds dissonance and the kind of melody line that a hairspray bothering Glam band would have been delighted to maul, before again launching into syncopated manic insanity on the verse, and having little synthesiser breaks to allow you to catch your breath, before bludgeoning the poor listener once more over the head. My ears are bleeding and I’m scared of this bunch of clearly homicidal Indonesians. They even chuck in a bit of cello and a kind of Cure meets Nitzer Ebb kinda vibe.

Well, I’m blown away. You have no idea what this band are going to do next. The production of the record is very good indeed, although sometimes there’s a little too much going on for the sound engineer to cope with, and some quite complex passages sound a little muddy, although the electronic components are clear and legible. The band are also not afraid of using dissonance and disharmony to create an unusual mood and unsettle the listener, and this marks a notable break from the desire to play music that works in a kind of melodious fashion. This is an extreme album. Not in the case of extreme heaviness, but in a style similar to The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara (yes, those two AGAIN) where there is no influence that is not acceptable, and Kekal share that same innate gift with TCOMAS of being able to weld these tremendously disparate influences together into a coherent and tremendously powerful whole. Witness ‘Conduit Of Light’ for example. This song runs the gauntlet from wavy, dreamy synth and a languid, liquid vocal, to out and out gabba techno, to technical metal, yet retains a strong synthesized drum pattern overlaid with the human mad bastard who plays the actual drums, while the guitarist rips out a classic sounding metal solo and it all just fucking WORKS.

In conclusion then, because this review is getting very fucking long even by my standards of syllabification – Kekal started out as a kind of straight ahead Extreme Metal band but have fully embraced their experimental (emphasis on the mental) side and have created something really quite special, and frankly if this is what Indonesia has to offer musically I’m fucking off there right now. 

I invite you all to join me, and together we can experience a band that offers the technical prowess of Death and Necrophagist, the ear for melody of Gunship and Carpenter Brut and the sheer insanity of Mr. Bungle. It’s going to be a glorious thing.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Sistem peringkat cipratan darah Dark Juan yang dipatenkan) has been keeping a shortlist of his top recordings of the year and there’s already a) A shitload more than ten choices and b) Kekal have shot up there and so far are at least top five. 9/10 for a wildly eccentric piece of work. I have deducted a mark because there is a marked tendency to rely on an electronic middle eight or fade in the songs on offer and it sometimes makes what could be a coruscating skyrocket of a song fizzle a bit. Still an absolutely captivating album though!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Anthropos Rising
02. Born Anew
03. The Alchemy of Creation
04. The Ascending Collective
05. Conduit of Light
06. Anarchy in the New Earth
07. Summer Harvest
08. Zero Point
09. Destiny Recalibration

LINE-UP:
A self-regulated entity with no official members who all record their parts anonymously. Good luck finding anything else out. I have fucking tried and tried.

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End

Pain Is Forever And This Is The End Album Cover Art

Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End
Metal Blade
Release Date: 15/07/2022
Running Time: 41:00
Review by Rory Bentley
9/10

Back in the early to mid 2000s Satyricon pissed off a huge chunk of Black Metal fans with their latest reinvention. Starting with their “Volcano” album, and more explicitly the follow up “Now Diabolical”, they crafted a Black Metal sound that you could shake your butt to. The melodies were still evil, Satyr’s vocals still snarled like a disgruntled wolverine, and there was still a healthy dose of extremity, but there were big fat hooks and grooves that stomped like AC/DC. It might have put off the die hards who just wanted blast beats and cold Northern bombast, but I loved it. The idea that you can be catchy as all hell while still sounding like pure evil is one that massively appeals to me.

On “Pain is Forever and This is the End”, German Sludgy Extreme duo Mantar remind me of all those good times throwing shapes to the likes of ‘King’ while all the ‘Trve Metal’ miserabalists sneered in their sad little corner. Having bothered to read the press notes for once in a rare moment of professionalism for me, it turns out the band made a concerted effort to focus on writing evil bangers, and evil bangers is what we get in spades here!

The roots of this approach can be found in the band’s excellent 2018 release “The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze” which was certainly not without its nods to good old Rock n’ Roll in between harrowing walls of Sludge and Black Metal. Prominent though these Rock excursions were, they seem like a barely perceptible nod compared to the headlong dive into hip-swinging bangers we get on here.

By the time ‘Grim Reaping’ swaggered through the speakers with a swinging beat and some raw-throated vocal hooks, I knew this was gonna be my shit. In all honestly the opening tracks had already worked their magic on me, with ‘Egoisto’ and ‘Hang  `Em Low (So the Rats Can Get `Em)’ bursting with fun like a hybrid of Motörhead and Darkthrone throwing a big satanic knees-up.

Time and time again I got hit with ear worms that I found myself growling along to. ‘Walking Corpse’ turns an eerie intro into a beer swigging riot, with pounding four on the floor drums, as it teases the eventual explosive mantra of “I got no attitude-I’m a walking corpse!”, while ‘Piss Ritual’ is the nihilistic Blackened Power Pop anthem we didn’t know we needed. But despite the intent to strip things down to the bones in the name of catchinesses, things never feel slight or repetitive.

There is a greater tonal variety to the guitars here both in terms of style and the textures employed, which makes this album feel simultaneously more diverse and cohesive. The twanging arpeggios in ‘New Age Pagan’ work beautifully when contrasted with the buzzsaw Extreme riffs that crash in afterwards to give one example. Vocally there is more colour to everything as well, with Hanno Klänhardt channeling that other Black Metal/Rock Star hybrid, Abbath, for the sleazy sung hooks of ‘Horder’. He still won’t be your nan’s favourite singer, but he’s definitely singing for a lot of this.

As things close out with the outstanding ‘Odysseus’ which has an occult, epic feel, like the heavier end of Ghost, I wonder where the time went. The 41 minutes spent in this album’s company absolutely flew by, and despite having a bulging list of albums to review, I found myself playing this one over and over. Although the band have already dipped their toes into this realm of demonic bangers, this album feels like the fully formed evolution of this formula.

In summary this is my feel-good summer album. It might be buried in distortion and delivered with vicious venom, but its core structure is conducive to double fisting beers and cutting a rug with your coven.

‘Odysseus’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Egoisto
02. Hang `Em Low (So the Rats Can Get `Em)
03. Grim Reaping
04. Orbital Pus
05. Piss Ritual
06. Of Frost and Decay
07. Walking Corpse
08. New Age Pagan
09. Horder
10. Odysseus

LINE-UP:
Hanno Klänhardt – Guitars & Vocals
Erinc Sakarya – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With MOONSHADE

Moonshade Logo

EMQ’s With MOONSHADE

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Portuguese Melodic Extreme Metal band, Moonshade. Huge thanks to their vocalist, Ricardo Pereira, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Ricardo Pereira, lead singer of Moonshade – no clever puns to offer like ‘lead screamer’ or ‘lead sinner’, I’m afraid. This project began back in 2011, and since then we have released a demo called “The Path Of Redemption”, the “Dream | Oblivion” EP, our debut album “Sun Dethroned”, and a live session EP with songs from “Sun Dethroned”, titled “The Eventide Sessions”, released during COVID-19 season. We are now about to release our second full-length album, “As We Set The Skies Ablaze”.

How did you come up with your band name?

The name already existed when I auditioned. It’s a double entendre, meaning either a spectre in the moonlight, or the ‘shade’ provide by the moon during an eclipse. I gather it was also an homage to Moonspell, but don’t quote me on that.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Moonshade hail from Portugal. We do have a very healthy amount of festivals and large touring bands often play here regularly, but in terms of Portuguese bands, the scene here, with less than a handful of exceptions, is essentially underground. It’s been better, COVID-19 hit us hard, but I prefer seeing that as an opportunity, and tons of bands did – small shows are popping up everywhere, and summer festivals are back. Feels almost normal again!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest releases were the singles ‘Epitaph’, ‘Blood Of The Titans’ and ‘Everlasting Horizons’, taken from our upcoming album “As We Set The Skies Ablaze”, to be released independently on July 22nd.

Who have been your greatest influences?

I’m getting old, so influences are starting to pile up like crazy. However, I hold a special place in my heart for Rammstein and Metallica, who got me into Heavy Metal. I also draw a bunch of inspiration from the punk and hip hop scenes.

What first got you into music?

A couple of friends decided to take guitar lessons, which was great to pick up chicks, and I did it mostly to try and fit in. I was already into Rock, Punk and Metal, but actually participating, making music? It suddenly made sense. Ditched the lessons because I’m really not a Goo Goo Dolls type of guy, joined a Rock band where a friend taught me how to play the electric guitar, we played a few covers – Metallica, Green Day, Sum 41, etc. – and there it was.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Hellfest or Wacken. Those are the big leagues, after all.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Their undivided attention. That’s worth more than gold nowadays.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Get drunk on art and happiness.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Freddie Mercury. The best part is he’d owe me one, that would be one hell of a feature.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Being able to create something that makes you proud and gives others joy. What I hate about it is absolutely nothing.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

How perishable everything is now. An album lasts for months before being mostly forgotten. It would be great if people took the time to actually listen.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Rammstein’s “Mutter”. It was my first album ever, my mother bought it for me.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

Mostly whatever suits your fancy. You should know vinyl pays best for the band, followed by CDs and cassettes, then streaming. Don’t download music.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Definitely Vagos Open Air Festival, opening for Amorphis and Within Temptation back in 2015.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’m already a biologist, so I guess I would focus on that. Writing novels would also be an option!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

That’s easy – my bandmates, and my wife Sofia, who happens to be our media manager. 

What’s next for the band?

Releasing our album and taking it to the grand stage!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Everything about us can be found at our website on https://www.moonshadeofficial.com

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

They’re a lie!!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you so much for having me and to everyone reading this, follow Moonshade on social media and on your streaming platform of choice, we have tons of news coming your way. Join us. You are expected!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

My Own Fear – Violence Made History

My Own Fear – Violence Made History
Music-Records.fr
Release Date: 15/04/22
Running Time: 39:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings 
5/10

Sometimes you just don’t gel with an album from the opening track. French extreme metallers My Own Fear’s release “Violence Made History” is one of those. An atmospheric intro promised much, with a haunting backdrop to single piano notes, but the hope dispersed like morning mist in bright sunlight as soon as the vocals kicked in on the first track, ‘6:1 – 8’ for they bring absolutely nothing to the party. 

For a band that formed over a decade ago and whose influences included Death, Slayer, The Haunted, Kreator and Morbid Angel, this is a rather routine album. There’s a decent chug to the music, with a mix of Thrash and Death Metal but overall, it’s rudimentary and uninspiring. ‘Dux Bellarum’ sees vocalist Nicolas Benloulou’s throaty roar dominate in Old School Death Metal style, but its so raw that I struggled with even the deep rumbles that emanate from deep within. 

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. For although the music is unrefined, and the vocals grate more than they should, there are flashes of potential. ‘Hell Fire Club (H.F.C.) has some promising breakdowns and the odd structure that works well, despite the slightly disjointed connection. The explosive crossover feel of ‘Ghosts on the Warpath’ is reasonable, but if I’m listening to a band who claim to bring Thrash and Death to my door, I want the music to hold my attention as a bare minimum. Unfortunately, I was wandering and drifting early in the album, and it was hard to log back in. 

It may be that the rather muffled production didn’t help, but in essence, the main reasons I found this a difficult album remained the same throughout. I struggled with the gruesomely challenging vocals, and the repetitive nature of the songs. There was definitely some decent work trying to escape from the mire of relentless similarity but trying to get it unlocked was a struggle. The schizophrenic nature of tracks like ‘Salem’ for example, merely served to frustrate. One minute pulsing Death Metal, the next raging Thrash, followed by doom-laden passages and even some Classic Heavy Metal. It was all a bit of a car crash. 

Finishing with a three-part track devoted to the ‘Era of the Rats’ there was at least a little more promise, with ‘Devoured by Pestilence – Era of the Rats Part 2’ a tasty thunderous beast, and even the vocals weren’t too demanding. Overall, this is an album I’d have enjoyed more with a bit more refinement. It’s savage, aggressive and many I am sure will really love it. For me, it’s one to leave in the memory banks and move on. 

‘Hell Fire Club (H.F.C)’ Official Music video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Once Upon a Fall
02. 6:1-8
03. Dux Bellarum
04. Hell Fire Club (H.F.C)
05. Torquemada
06. Ghosts on the Warpath
07. Salem
08. 1349 – Era of the Rats Part One
09. Devoured by Pestilence – Era of the Rats Part Two
10. Empire of the Rats – Era of the Rats Part Three

LINE-UP:
Nicolas Benloulou – Vocals
Fabrice Darmon – Guitar
Stephane Neraud – Guitars
Gilles Sala – Bass 
Sebastien Geley – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Crown Initiate – Live at The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver – 16/03/22

Black Crown Initiate
Live at The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver – 16/03/22
Photos by Arturs Feists

Extreme metal band from the USA, Black Crown Initiate is the sound of a sentient being at war with itself and everything else; an ent. Photos from the show in Vancouver BC, Canada. Venue – Rickshaw Theatre Date – March 16, 2022

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Artus Feists. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Abbath – Dread Reaver

Dear Reaver Album Cover Art

Abbath – Dread Reaver
Season Of Mist
Release Date: 25/03/2022
Running Time: 39:00
Review by Rory Bentley
8.5/10

Splish splash I was taking Abbath! Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, it’s time to review the third solo record from the former Immortal frontman, entitled “Dread Reaver”. 

There’s a lot to like about Abbath, he sings like a zombified Lemmy, he has the charisma of David Lee Roth and he looks like a disgruntled badger. I’ve never been a huge Black Metal guy but Immortal are definitely one of the bands that I can get down with. They have a cool atmospheric feel, the production is normally just the right side of dirty without becoming an unlistenable mulch and they have riffs and hooks for days. A big part of those hooks was their gurgling rockstar frontman, who brought a sense of fun and down to earth relatability to Black Metal – and that has definitely carried over into his solo career.

“Dread Reaver” represents perhaps the most cohesive collection of songs Abbath has produced as a solo act, melding Hard Rock swagger and Extreme Metal menace perfectly to create an acerbic attack that makes you want to shake your hips. As ‘Acid Haze’ fades in with pounding drums and lead work straight out of the Stadium Rock playbook, it hits you with a nasty riff and things kick into warp speed as Ukri Suvilehto proceeds to smash the absolute shite out of his kit. By the time Abbath caps everything off with a blood curdling sustained scream you’re left in no doubt that he and his band of Nordic warriors can still throw down hard.

‘Scarred Core’ begins with gurgled shamanic vocalisations and some Eastern sounding melodies while continuing the relentless pace of the opener. Abbath has never sounded better on the mic here, bringing in a hint of melody to his guttural croak that somehow makes this cacophony into a cast iron sing-along rager. This canny ear for a good hook is all over the record with ‘Myrmidon’s’ perplexing meld of Classic Rock and nihilistic filth providing another showcase for a vocalist that oozes starpower without neutering the deathly croak that made us all love him in the first place.

Although most of the songs stay in the same lane and there’s less experimentation than previous releases, there’s still plenty of rhythmic shifts and tonal twists and turns to stop the record falling into monotony. ‘Dream Cull’ has a lilting flamenco intro and strong tremolo melodies to go with its tribal chanting verses and ‘The Deep Unbound’ turns on a dime from full pelt fury into a jaunty swing that makes you want to ride into battle and drink the blood of your enemies. Maybe that’s just me. I should probably get help. We also get a beefed up version of Metallica’s ‘Trapped Under Ice’ that sounds exactly as one might expect, but is a delight nonetheless.

The finale of this eminently danceable slice of evil comes with the title track which is the best song on here for my money. The main riff is a scalding exercise in pit-starting songcraft with squealing harmonics Kerry King would be proud of. With the anthemic chorus and seductively occult grooves, this may be the best ‘mainstream’ Black Metal bop since Satyricon’s ‘Fuel for Hatred’. Lovely stuff!

With a punchy runtime, laser-focused writing where no song breaks the five minute mark and just enough new tricks to keep long term listeners engaged, ‘Dread Reaver’ is the shape-throwing necro soundtrack we need in these fucked up times. Crack a beer, slap on your corpse paint and get your dancing shoes on- there’s a party in the frozen woods and everyone’s invited!

‘Dread Reaver’ – Official Streaming Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Acid Haze
02. Scarred Core
03. Dream Cull
04. Myrmidon
05. The Deep Unbound
06. Septentrion
07. Trapped Under Ice
08. The Book of Breath
09. Dread Reaver

LINE-UP:
Abbath – Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Ukri Suvilehto – Drums
Ole André Farstad – Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Mia Wallace – Bass on Acid Haze, Scarred Core, The Deep Unbound & Dread Reaver

LINKS:

Abbath Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails……

Eternal Hails...... Album Cover Art

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails……
Peaceville
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 41:23
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

I find myself seated alone at Dark Juan Terrace. Mrs. Dark Juan is away looking after her petits-enfants. The Smellhounds are quiescent and, rather more remarkably, not gassing the place out with their sulphurous and necrotic farts, and I was wondering what I should do with myself considering self-abuse ain’t my style (he sez ‘ere), I am awash with Yorkshire tea already and I can’t be arsed to build a model today. I am sat here basically not doing anything and frankly it’s annoying me, because I am in a right funny mood. I can’t even repair the Mighty Gothikpanzer’s wipers because the replacement part hasn’t arrived yet. None of which matters to you out there reading this and expecting a record review.

Speaking of record reviews, I had a fantastically interesting discussion with someone on that there internet about whether or not I should restrict myself to reviewing underground releases, or whether I should pick up on the occasional big band, and give them the dubious benefit of my wisdom as well – based on the premise that bigger bands don’t need the coverage from upstart internet based magazines like ever-metal.com, but the underground bands most certainly do. I’m personally of the opinion that I should review whatever the fuck I want (and do just that because I am the most contrary BASTARD) but allow myself the luxury, occasionally, of having a bash at the big boys too. Therefore, I am a champion of the underground but I also get the chance to tell you about some of the bands I have loved for decades – hence my total and utter adoration and hero worship of Graham Bonnet… This led into a larger discussion about whether festivals should be relying on super established acts to draw people in, and the seeming dichotomy between matters fiscal and matters of integrity to the scene but I’m not boring you with that.

Anyway – Bands I have loved for decades. Darkthrone are one of them. Ever since “A Blaze In The Northern Sky”, in fact. I love Darkthrone for their sheer disregard for the mainstream and their utter commitment to their own musical vision, and I will now tell you all about “Eternal Hails……”, their latest platter.

Opening with the utterly melancholy ‘His Masters Voice’ it’s obvious that Fenriz and Nocturno Culto have been listening to a LOT of Candlemass over the past few years. Employing a slow tempo not unlike Paradise Lost’s early work, the production initially sits at odds with the music, being as it is of the usual black metal lo-fi-recorded-in-a-hyperbaric-chamber-with-cans-attached-to-strings aesthetic, but with rather more doom than black metal in the music. The sheer quality of the musicianship and songwriting soon makes you forget about this, though. However, the classic BM production sound appears to be a studio contrivance this time, as apparently the usual studio method (Necrohell II – 8-track mobile recording equipment in an old bomb shelter) wasn’t available anymore because said recording equipment died a suitably Viking death, leading the boys to go to Chaka Khan Studios in Oslo instead. Just how do I quantify this music for you? Blackened doom metal? Doomy black metal? Who knows? All I know is that it is rather fucking good, actually. The pace picks up a bit on ‘Wake Of The Awakened’ and it is a pleasingly morose mid-paced stomper, but still rather doomier than you’d expect, being all slowed down black metal riffs and Nocturno Culto’s trademark serrated growl never sounding better. ‘Voyage To A Northpole Adrift’ is by far the song that has the most to thank black metal for, again being a fairly classic BM song slowed down to doom speeds with little flourishes of Celtic Frost and Trouble thrown in there just to confound and beguile the listener. ‘Lost Arcane City Of Uppakra’ throws a decidedly punk opening riff into the mix as well as a speedier middle section before breaking down into gently tapped cymbals and simple guitar and bass with an equally simple, yet ethereal keyboard. Then everything gels together and the guitars crash back in like a shield wedge of Viking reavers hitting your front line of swordsmen and this carries on to close off the album in perfect fashion. Darkthrone have not lost the skill of making less be considerably more in terms of atmosphere and feeling, even if that atmosphere and feeling is dying of exposure on a freezing cold hillside a mile from a dark and threatening forest, made indistinct through nebulous mist and snow that cuts your skin like tiny blades.

It’s not a cheerful record, this. It’s unremittingly grim. It’s endless grey steppes and howling winds and barely glimpsed horrors in the shadowy dark. I’ll be honest, I’ve enjoyed the fuck out of it but it hasn’t done anything for my already sour mood! Saying that though, it managed to conjure up visions in my head while I was listening to it with my eyes closed and cans on, and not a lot of music is able to do that with such ease. In fact, the more I listen to “Eternal Hails” the more I sink into it and the more it charms and seduces me. Especially because there isn’t a song under 7 minutes in length on the album, which gives Darkthrone more time to conjure up these musical wastelands. Possibly a classic in the making, I reckon, and absolutely uniquely Darkthrone.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterte Dark Juan blodsprutsystemet for våre norske venner) awards Darkthrone 10/10 for a sprawling exploration of just where black metal can go if you dial down the pseudo-Satanic lunacy and allow other influences to creep in and wrap themselves around you, whilst maintaining that martial edge that the likes of Dimmu Borgir have forgotten about in their quest to make their music as huge as possible. Simply a brilliant record from two masters of their twisted, arcane and unique craft.

‘His Masters Voice’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. His Masters Voice
02. Hate Cloak
03. Wake Of The Awakened
04. Voyage To A North Pole Adrift
05. Lost Arcane City of Uppakra

LINE-UP: (As if you need fucking telling unless you’re totally ignorant!)
Fenriz – Drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, lyrics
Nocturno Culto – Vocals, guitars, bass, producer, lyrics

LINKS:

Darkthrone Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues

Anaal Nathrakh Reissues

Anaal Nathrakh – Reissues
When Fire Rains Down From The Sky Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown/
Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 13/08/2021
Running Time: 26:03/33:52
Review by Dark Juan
10/10
10/10

Good afternoon, dear friends. You find me writing this review from the depths of my bed of pain and iniquity. Yes, I am slightly off colour, but my dramatic persona insists that these are my final fleeting moments upon this scabrous planet. However, I was well enough to go to the pictures last night so clearly whatever malaise I am currently suffering isn’t all that threatening to my existence, or indeed my output for Ever-Metal.com. Added to the already calamitous news that I am clearly at death’s door is that fact that I have run out of milk for brews. This is an absolute scandal in the North of England, and my shame is such that I have closeted myself away in my oak-panelled study with a bottle of brandy and a stiletto. My undoing is complete.

However, before I dispatch myself from this mortal coil bearing the stigma of not being able to make proper brews, I must share with you my ruminations upon the music I am listening to, which frankly is what you’re here for, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard “GET OUT OF BED, YOU BLOODY SOFTARSE, BEFORE I GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO REALLY WHINGE ABOUT. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? BRONTE COUNTRY? ONLY THE LASSES IN THOSE CRAPPY BOOKS ARE ALLOWED TO SWOON ALL OVER THE FURNITURE AND TAKE THEMSELVES TO BED TO MOPE, YOU FUCKING MALINGERER!” Tilley has just been escorted at the point of a rapier from my bedchamber by Mrs Dark Juan and Hodgson Biological-Warfare, who had embedded his teefs in Rick’s arse and was hanging on for dear life. Such is life in Dark Juan Terrace. For reasons of verisimilitude, I must point out that Rick hasn’t been round our gaff, Hodgson doesn’t make a point of attacking visitors and Mrs Dark Juan made me a rather lovely, cooked breakfast this morning and doesn’t really know the finer points of swordplay. Rick also isn’t THAT mean and basically allows me to get away with loads considering EM is his baby, so all in all I’m winning here… (I’m glad you cleared that up – Rick)

So, without even the slightest attempt at a segue into matters musical, let me talk about the latest reissues from Metal Blade, and more specifically Anaal Nathrakh. If you don’t know who these British extreme metal legends are by now, I suggest you rectify this immediately by buying their entire back catalogue and subjecting the inside of your head to possibly the most extreme band the UK has ever had to offer. If there were ever a band that were the epitome of recorded fury, it is Anaal Nathrakh. The song ‘Never Fucking Again’ is not music. It’s several minutes of sheer, untrammelled hatred towards everything and everyone. Kim Jong fucking Un would surrender North Korea in seconds. General Noriega would have given up in Panama after about a minute of Anaal Nathrakh being blasted at him from a US Army helicopter. I’m sure if V.I.T.R.I.O.L. saw a room full of the world’s cutest puppies and kittens and had had a blow job to completion moments before seeing the cute animals, he would still write a song that sounds like him machine gunning a host of devils in a locked room until they were basically liquid, ably backed by Irrumator basically killing every musical instrument that he has ever possessed.

“When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown” is first up, and it’s still as fucking amazing as it ever was. I know I have banged on about reissues being cynical cash grabs in the past, but that’s not necessarily true in these post-COVID times, where bands are having to clutch at every single straw of funding just to survive, so everyone re-releasing stuff is getting a big fat pass, plus the quality of the vinyl that is being produced is pretty stunning. Anyway, “Fire” (it’s far too long a title to keep typing in full) is quite simply brutality distilled into musical form. It just doesn’t let up, ever. Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L have never sounded so violent. It is unapologetic hate music and it is fucking brilliant. Every single song is faster than the USS Enterprise at Warp 9 and more violent than a pack of drunken Glaswegians fighting an equally drunken pack of Russians, being egged on by a bunch of Wrexham chavs. The fallout is spectacular, and this record never fucking FAILS in taking my breath away. Still as vibrant and exciting as it ever was (I got the original on release day, thought that a number of years of listening to black metal would make it palatable, and was slightly dismissive of the power of the band. How FUCKING WRONG I WAS!) and THE benchmark for British extreme music. Not even The Machinist come close to Anaal Nathrakh for sheer sonic Armageddon. It is the perfect extreme record. The standout song (now there’s a loose description of what Anaal Nathrakh do) will always be ‘Never Fucking Again’. It is the PERFECT distillation of the sheer hatred and misanthropy I feel towards some aspects of the human condition. I fucking ADORE “When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap As They Have Sown” and I am stoked that it has been released again, because it is absolutely one of my favourite records of all time. Buy it and have your brains cudgelled to soup.

I also have the reissue of “Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here”. Erm, chaps, they are only here because Satan let you play a gig in Hell and all the devils fucked off up here because you scared the living shit out of them and they fled. Ever seen a devil piss himself in fear? I have, and that was because of you two, Irrumator and V.I.T.R.I.O.L. You magnificent bastards. Anyhow, this record is where the blueprint of maximum attack, howling sheer bloody murder and music that is banned under the Geneva Convention as cruel and unusual punishment changes. Anaal Nathrakh discovered clean singing, industrial and tempos below 1000000bpm. Did this change the savagery level from nuclear holocaust down to fluffy bunny? Did it FUCK! The band are still just as focused and nihilistic, from the first second of ‘Solifugae’, being a minute of crushing guitar work that launches the first actual song ‘Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen’ (“Hell’s Vengeance Boils In My Heart” and the proper name of the Queen Of The Night aria in The Magic Flute opera. You’re welcome) which has a grandiose, operatic feel through V.I.T.R.I.O.L discovering that his vocal chords can be used for other things besides aural savagery and actually having a bloody good blast at actual singing. This gives the album more musical interest than previous recordings and allows the song to take you places Anaal Nathrakh have never been before. It’s fucking glorious. ‘Screaming Of The Unborn’ is also interesting, because it has mid-paced (for Anaal Nathrakh) sections and V.I.T.R.I.O.L’s usual murderous scream gives way to a sepulchral and extremely threatening roar with considerable numbers of people shitting themselves in abject, brown trousered fear. ‘Virus Bomb’ returns to the hyperspeed (and demented, homicidal howling) we all love Anaal Nathrakh for and mates this with a chorus and middle eight Emperor would have given Samoth’s testicles for with more of the same choral sounding clean singing as the first song. Purists won’t like the fact that they decided on a bit of, well, slightly less dark and obsidian, cloying black, rather than just the sound of Hell’s mechanised and armoured regiments screaming from the dark. But I do.

Both records have the kind of production that black metal does not normally employ. Anaal Nathrakh do not sound like they have been recorded in an interstellar fishbowl hurtling around Mars with equipment made from tin cans and string. Both albums have a rich, full sound that only enhances the bitter, vitriolic hatred that passes for their music and makes them a cut above 99% of most black metal releases. I never understood why black metal bands stuck to the wasp in a jam jar sound when they were much more powerful with a proper production job.

Anyway, it’s no secret I fucking love Anaal Nathrakh and I am fucking delighted to be writing about them, and I abjure thee to buy these reissues (both on vinyl of many colours as well as CD) because they are awesome.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has finally stopped the bleeding and the leakage of brain matter from the nose and awards Anaal Nathrakh 10/10 for both records. The very best that Britain has to offer. Absolutely uncompromising and irreplaceable.

TRACKLISTINGS:
When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown:
01. Cataclysmic Nihilism
02. How The Angels Fly In (We Can Never Be Forgiven)
03. Never Fucking Again
04. Genesis Of The Antichrist
05. Atavism
06. When Fire Falls From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Has Sown

Hell Is Empty, And All The Devils Are Here:
01. Solifugae (Intro)
02. Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
03. Screaming Of The Unborn
04. Virus Bomb
05. The Final Absolution
06. Shatter The Empyrean
07. Lama Sabatchthani
08. Until The World Stop Turning
09. Genetic Noose
10. Sanction Extremis (Kill Them All)
11. Castigation And Betrayal

LINE-UP:
V.I.T.R.I.O.L (Dave Hunt) – Vocals
Irrumator (Mick Kenney) – Everything Else

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.