Charlotte Wessels – Tales from Six Feet Under

Tales From Six Feet Under Album Cover Art

Charlotte Wessels – Tales from Six Feet Under
Napalm Records
Release Date: 17/9/21
Running Time: 43:39
Review by Steven Hooke

On the 7th February 2020, Dutch symphonic metal powerhouse Delain released their sixth studio album, the foreshadowingly-named “Apocalypse & Chill”. It was a great album, full of pop hooks, character, and personality, giving hope that not all Symphonic Metal acts just want to rewrite The Phantom of the Opera. However, in a turn of events that caught nearly everyone off-guard, vocalist Charlotte Wessels, guitarist Timo Somers, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and drummer Joey de Boer were all announced to be departing the band.

Undeterred by the events around her, Wessels has opted to double-down on her solo work, capitalising on the success and intrigue of her lockdown collaboration with Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz. Exploring her creativity via her Patreon audience, “Tales from Six Feet Under” acts as a greatest hits of the songs made during the aforementioned lockdown, forged in the fires of Wessels’ own home studio, dubbed “Six Feet Under”.

What follows is a whimsically diverse collection of songs and styles, ranging from indie, to synthpop, to alt rock, to folk, and everything in between. ‘Superhuman’ sees Wessels working a more intimate style, with gloomy indie pop, and a more refrained vocal style leading the way, offset with folk vocal calls and spoken word passages, before ripples of delicate electronica add a shimmering vibrance to the song. And that’s just the album opener.

“Tales from Six Feet Under” feels like an almost total-disassociation from Wessels’ Delain days. The closest she gets to her previous sound is in the cover of classic gothic rock anthem ‘Cry Little Sister’, the solo to ‘Source of the Flame’, and in the penultimate track ‘F.S.U. (2020)’ which handily out-heavies most of ‘Apocalypse & Chill’. Our self-proclaimed 21st Century witch excels at a modern folk-based sound, with ritualistic drum patterns, and soaring vocal notes often the base of a song to be built around. ‘Victor’ has a wonderful dreampop miasma, whereas ‘New Mythology’ is a bit more sprightly, executing a more electropop beat, and ‘Soft Revolution’ sees off the album as an electro rock stomper.

The true highlight of the album though comes from the appropriately-named ‘Masterpiece’, a cauldron of folk, indie, pop, and EDM, that is stuffed to the brim with attention-stealing hooks and a scintillating vocal performance from our new Dutch Queen. The song, and indeed the album, are all capped off by a brilliant production job, highlighting all corners of the album to perfection.

It almost feels like Charlotte Wessels has been secretly waiting for her departure from Delain, honing her indie pop craft (and home studio) to unleash onto the world at the earliest opportunity. There are many marvelous ideas on show in her debut solo outing, and with her monthly song via Patreon continuing as of November 2021, there seems to be no stopping the creativity. While knowing a lot about Wessels’ own personal creative process, it would be interesting to see what she could come up with, and the styles she could dabble with, were she to have a more traditional writing cycle and time for ideas to breathe, compared to the brainstorming and evolution of a single song at a time per month. Regardless, a rich vein of ideas appears to have been tapped by the former-Delain frontwoman, and it doesn’t appear to be running dry any time soon.

01. Superhuman
02. Afkicken
03. Masterpiece
04. Victor
05. New Mythology
06. Source of the Flame
07. Cry Little Sister
08. Lizzie [w/ Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy)]
09. FSU (2020)
10. Soft Revolution

Charlotte Wessels – Vocals, All Instruments
Alissa White-Gluz – Vocals (Track 8)


Charlotte Wessels Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Various Artists – Eurodance: The Metal Way

Eurodance The Metal Way

Various Artists – Eurodance: The Metal Way
Antichrist Magazine TV
Release Date: 31/08/21
Running Time: 63:54
Review by Steven Hooke
6.4* / 10 (Average)

Ah, the 90s. The proud identity of millennials the world over, and the unwavering yardstick of culture of a generation. Advancements in CGI, technology, teen-orientated media, Pokémon, Robin Williams, the ‘Renaissance of Disney’, WWF’s Attitude Era, grunge, a golden era in sitcoms, the Power Rangers (especially the heart-stealing Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson), God it was good! Just try not to think of the Iraqi Gulf War, various genocides, school shootings, the overly-casual use of racist and sexist terms and language, and the steady rises of Islamist Extremism, financial inequality, and global warming, the latter two of which we’re still having to convince people is a serious threat.

Oh, and Sunny D. We also had Sunny D.

Somewhere in the middle of all this was Eurodance, a style of dance music incorporating techno, disco, hip hop, and copious amounts of synthesizers (and probably acid). Feeling like it was created to directly challenge Eurovision as the best/worst thing ever, Eurodance’s origins actually trace back to 1987, before gaining significant popularity in 1990, thanks to ‘The Power’ by Snap! – the same year Death released “Spiritual Healing”, by the way.

Eurodance dominated the 90s rave scene, and quickly infiltrated the charts, with a selection of the genre’s “greatest hits” breaking into commercial success, and turning names like Scooter, Aqua and the Vengaboys into household names.

After an unspoken accord in the early 2000s, everyone agreed that Eurodance should be banished, never to be spoken about again, except when trading stories about what colour Panda Pops you’d get at your school’s discos. That was until webzine Antichrist Magazine thought it would be absolute banter to have some of Eurodance’s biggest hits covered by a plethora of underground metal bands, which brings us to today.

Don the nostalgia goggles, and get fresh batteries in your Game Boy, we’re going for a trip down memory lane. Not good memories, just memories…

Terminal Carnage ft. Lara Vaupel – Omen III (Magic Affair)

Relative new-comers to Germany’s death metal scene, Bavarian duo Terminal Carnage open proceedings with one of the highlights of the compilation. A fantastic display by Markus Zillig on drums to blast the song into life, but to then act as the closest semblance to the original song, is a feat worthy of a knighthood (or whatever the German equivalent is). Guest vocals from another up-and-coming musician in Lara Vaupel is a great pallet-cleanser from the extremity of Zillig, and partner-in-crime Stefan Walter, and matches the ghostly execution of Franca Morgana perfectly. A genuinely good opening track, maybe we’re gonna be ok?


Stefan Walter – Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Markus Zilling – Drums
Lara Vaupel – Additional Vocals

DevilsBridge – The Sign (Ace of Base)

And then again, maybe not. Swiss melodic metal troupe DevilsBridge cover the first of two Ace of Base tracks, and honestly, there’s episodes of Noel’s House Party with more structure than this.

Starting with a relatively basic funk-heavy original, DevilsBridge seem to have a terminal case of the ‘too many cooks’, with dueling guitars trying to both replicate the original melodies, and formulate their own. It may have worked if their producer wasn’t tracking using MiniDisc, but computer mixing won’t be readily available for another couple of years yet. Vocalist Dani Nell saves the song a bit with her impressive set of pipes, but I nearly knocked another mark off for that VTech post-chorus synthline, until I remembered what I was reviewing so…


Dani Nell – Vocals
Tom White – Guitars
Simon Black – Guitars
Steve D.R.T. – Bass
JC Daisy – Drums

Everlust – Happy Nation (Ace of Base)

Our second foray into the Ace of Base back catalogue! And don’t think I don’t appreciate the irony of a song called ‘Happy Nation’ being covered by a gloomy goth rock band. To be fair, the original is a slow-going affair with a weird cult sacrifice-vibes music video…

Latvian goffs Everlust probably got one of the better deals, all things considered. Their brooding delivery blends very well with a Eurodance song going 6 bpm (seriously, what were AoB thinking?), ultimately making the best out of a bad situation.


Kate Brown – Vocals
Vlad Pucens – Guitars, Vocals
Max Reksna – Guitars
Pavel Savins – Bass
Alex Shangin – Drums
Andrew Jirgensons – Keyboard

Nidhoeggr – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (Vengaboys)

And now for a group of lads who thoroughly understood the assignment. Swiss Folk/Death metal sextet Nidhoeggr were lumped with covering one of the giants of Eurodance, a feat that would scare most away, for ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’ is truly the ‘Enter Sandman’ of the genre. Have faith though, and ye shall be rewarded, as these guys get everything absolutely spot-on. It’s heavy whilst still recognisable, they make great use of their folk side to manage synths and group vocals, vocalist Janos Thomann actually sounds like mortar fire in the choruses, and overall, everyone sounds like they’re having a whale of a time.


Janos Thomann – Harsh Vocals
Lorenz Joss – Clean Vocals, Keyboards
Nino Moser – Lead Guitars
Janick Rüttimann – Rhythm Guitars
Thibault Schmidt – Bass
Patrick Scheidegger – Drums

Ironthorn – Blue (Da Ba Dee) (Eiffel 65)

Tackling another giant of Eurodance are trad metallers Ironthorn, who look to do good by their fellow Italians Eiffel 65. For the most part, the band do rather well, it’s identifiable whilst still showcasing their sound, there’s some decent guitar work from Messrs Maurizio Liberto and Gabriele Misuraca, including the use of harmonics to mimic the verse synth hooks, which is a nice touch, but it does almost feel like they were trying TOO hard to cover a song featuring the lyrics “I’m blue da ba dee da ba di da ba dee da ba di da ba dee da ba di (and so on)”. There’s a distinct lack of daftness to it, probably not helped by the fact that Fleshgod Apocalypse also covered this song at the start of the year, and sound like they’re taking the absolute piss. Legit though, what’s with Italians and this song?


Luigi Pullara – Vocals
Maurizio Liberto – Guitars
Gabriele Misuraca – Guitars
Eliseo Bonacasa – Bass
Antony La Marca – Drums

Permon – The Real Thing (2 Unlimited)

I feel like we were robbed of something genuinely brilliant here. 2 Unlimited’s 1994 hit song has a synth line that would feel more than welcome on a Mega Man soundtrack, and the idea of it getting shredded on guitar sounds hella tasty. Instead, Czech trio Permon just sticks to the bassline. Absolute cowardice.

To be fair to the lads, the production on their track is top tier. Their melodeath riffs sound heavy, their tone is crisp, and the tempo really gets you bumping, but when you think about what could have been, it’s kinda a wash.


Jiří Tomíček – Vocals
Václav Permon – Guitars
Tomáš “Chreňo” Chrenko – Drums

Brunno Mariante – Heal or Kill – Baby Baby (Corona)

The solo project of Brazilian ‘I Can’t Believe it’s Not John Bush’ vocalist Mariante, Heal or Kill, also largely do away with the main synthline of Corona’s 1995 track, in favour of a pretty lively heavy rock track, featuring a brilliant drumline that worships at the altar of Motörhead. It gets repetitive quickly, but that’s more down to the subject matter, than the band themselves. Chimes of NWOBHM liven up an otherwise dreary song, making me realise why this is Corona’s second biggest song.


Brunno Mariante – Vocals
Andreas Dehn – Guitars
Rick Posi – Bass
Leonora Mölka – Drums

They Came From Visions – Obsession (Army of Lovers)

It’s staggering that Army of Lovers not only had a Mick Hucknall cosplayer as their frontman, but also tried to fart out an emotional Eurodance ballad in 1991. They Came from Visions start out their cover as a glum, goth rock brooder, that feels very apropos, before slowly morphing into their more typical black metal style. Weirdly, despite having one of the biggest gaps between style and tempo, you do hear more of the original track coming from the medley. The soaring tremolo riffage invokes the original’s downtempo haze with Voice of Misery’s gurgling screams bringing the kvlt. Sacrifice a goat at your next underground rave (actually no, don’t do that).


Voice of Misery – Vocals
Voice of Gloom – Guitars, Drums
Voice of the Deep – Bass

SFS-666 – How Much is the Fish? (Scooter)

God, Scooter was some daft brilliance, weren’t they? The Germans are still synonymous with the genre all these years later, and were often the band that was able to rope in the casuals, and act as the gateway band for eurodance’s lunacy. One of several hits for the band, ‘How Much is the Fish?’ features plenty of synthetic pan flute/bagpipe-adjacent instrumentation that extreme folk metal duo SFS-666 do largely NOTHING WITH. I’m all for bands making a song their own when covering another act, but this is a song SFS-666 have thrown together and just added Scooter’s lyrics on top. So much potential, squandered.


Ölf-Lex – Vocals
Dräka – Instruments

Verdoemd – Come Take My Hand (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)

One-man Belgian Blackened Death Metal project, Verdoemd, got a pretty raw deal compared to their album-mates. The man behind the outfit – Maes – got lumped with this painfully dreary 1995 song from Dutch group 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor, and did perhaps the only honourable thing, which was to completely ignore the source material. Vermoemd’s version is a full reimagining, with seemingly only the lyrics in common, and the result is just an average extreme metal stomper. Not bad, not too exciting, a fun little demo from Mr. Maes.


Maes – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming

A Second of Silence – Cotton Eye Joe (Rednex)

A main event anywhere else, Rednex’s 1994 classic ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ has remained one of the most endeared tracks from the Eurodance era. Beloved in uni club nights, and throwback parties, the song casts an imposing shadow over the artists on the compilation, and for whomever dares to cover it.

The task fell to Mexican metalcore troupe A Second of Silence, who were able to keep the structure and familiarity of the original, whilst still injecting their own sound and personality, showing many of their contemporaries how it’s bloody done. The final product is entertaining, if not a tad repetitive, missing out on the chance for some banjo-based shredding and beat drops to really add some oomph. But again, this is “Cotton Eye Joe” we’re reaching for here.


Sohee Noyola – Vocals
Lalo Núñez – Guitars
John Mera – Guitars
Omar Uribe – Bass
Arwin Mendoza – Drums

Aeons – Deeper Underground (Jamiroquai)

I don’t think I’ve ever considered Jamiroquai a Eurotrance act. For that matter, I don’t think anyone has ever considered Jamiroquai a Eurodance act, and yet, here we are.

Hailing from the birthplace of the Bee Gees, Aeons also understood their assignment, and absolutely nailed it. It remains fairly faithful to the original, blends in some of their own personality, has a monstrous production job that makes Scott Sayer and Si Harvey’s guitars sound massive, and brilliant drum work from Justin Wallace, overall invoking thoughts of the better portions of Incubus and Howard Jones-era Killswitch Engage, all with a djenty hue. Lovely stuff.


Skippy Hilton – Vocals
Scott Sayer – Guitars
Si Harvey – Guitars, Vocals
Joe Holland – Bass
Justin Wallace – Drums

Vadge Fang – Falling For a Witch (E-Rotic)

If nothing else, Oregon-based Experimental Doom duo, Vadge Fang, certainly do offer a sonic reminder of the rampant drug culture of the Eurodance and rave scenes. The illusive pairing come out swinging with a drunken karaoke take of the song’s intro, before bravely taking a crack at the original song’s rapped verses, though you’d be forgiven for not realising that’s what’s going on, as the production on ‘Falling For a Witch’ sounds like it was recorded inside a warehouse fire. It’s ironic that the clearest vocal line that can be heard on the verse is “I don’t know what I’m doing”. You ain’t kidding brother.


Folklore Negro – Fly on the Windscreen (Depeche Mode)

Why is this here? Who’s calling Depeche Mode a Eurodance act? Who’s calling this song a Eurodance song? I just don’t know anything anymore…

One-man Mexican Death/Doom project Folklore Negro has had a decent crack at harnessing Depeche Mode’s gothic spookiness, with jagged tremolo picking, some great reverberating guitar riffs peppered around the song, and just generally syncing DM’s gothic vibes with a subtly-extreme doom soundscape. Can’t imagine the funeral raves playing this back in the day.


Feto Majadero – Vocals, All instruments

Scurìu – The Rhythm ov the Night (Corona)

And finally, another 1-man project, this time incorporating the styles of Black Metal and Doom for an end product that is probably the hardest song of all to rate. The project stretches out fellow-Italians Corona’s most famous track – and one of the biggest hits of the entire scene – to a near 7 minute trudging crawl of a song, with some distinctly kvlt licks to carry the song throughout its duration. What constitutes a “chorus” does pack a noticeable punch to grasp onto, and makes for an entertaining song in its own right. However, a combination of the slowed Doom delivery, and the lack of vocals, results in this song sounding nothing like the original piece. And again, we are talking about one of the biggest tracks of the entire scene.

It’s an ok song when isolated, and to cover a song and make it your own is one thing, but to completely abandon the source material and leave no recognisable traces just seems like kind of a weird move.


Omar Jarid – Vocals, All instruments

01. Terminal Carnage ft. Lara Vaupel – Omen III (Magic Affair)
02. DevilsBridge – The Sign (Ace of Base)
03. Everlust – Happy Nation (Ace of Base)
04. Nidhoeggr – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (Vengaboys)
05. Ironthorn – Blue (Da Ba Dee) (Eiffel 65)
06. Permon – The Real Thing (2 Unlimited)
07. Brunno Mariante – Baby Baby (Corona)
08. They Came From Visions – Obsession (Army of Lovers)
09. SFS-666 – How Much is the Fish (Scooter)
10. Verdoemd – Come Take My Hand (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)
11. A Second of Silence – Cotton Eye Joe (Rednex)
12. Aeons – Deeper Underground (Jamiroquai)
13. Vadge Fang – Falling For a Witch (E-Rotic)
14. Folklore Negro – Fly on the Windscreen (Depeche Mode)
15. Scurìu – The Rhythm ov the Night (Corona)

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Areis – Areis

Areis Album Cover Art

Areis – Areis
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Running Time: 39:12
Review by Steven Hooke

The region of Occitania in Southwestern Europe that acts almost as a centre point to the Venn diagram of France, Spain, Monaco, and Italy, drawing in cultures, dialects and history from a multitude of sources. Hailing from today’s geography lesson is Areis, a four-piece from the French Occitanie region who – much like their homeland – pull in inspirations from a variety of styles, creating a mood board of punk, post-hardcore, sludge and black metal.

On this, their debut self-titled album, Areis offer a fluid amalgamation of genres that share a kinship with the likes of Giver, Pariso and Morokh. A duality of low-end grooves and higher-end melodies dominate the album, traversing the realms of blackened hardcore (‘Born Again’, ‘Le Pain Maudit’, ‘Of Gold And Blood’), melodic hardcore (‘Eternal Curse’, ‘The Wanderer’, ‘Recall’) and post-rock (‘Under The Sun’, ‘Vacillate’). The album’s wonderful production job allows both layers to be heard crisply, revealing a strong library of riffs from axemen Paul Gonzalvez and Pablo Malbec, and bringing forth an extraordinary wall of sound on the final third of the release, with a rich, full climax in ‘Recall’ through to ‘Vacillate’.

Another dual-attack on “Areis” is the tandem vocals of Gonzalvez and bassist/vocalist Michaël Jarrié. A similar attack as their instrumentals, the pair trade low growls and a gritty, hardcore bark to add an extra layer of assault to their sound. Both vocal styles share the limelight in fair and naturally-feeling transitions that do not take away from the momentum a song has built, and even add to the energy of a song when layered, creating a vicious gang-vocal-esque effect, heard from the off on opener ‘A Wretched Vow’.

It’s a fair outing for the quartet on their debut. What could’ve been a muddied sound is in fact a new worthwhile entry into the modern hardcore spectrum, with dynamic vocal and tonal pairings, a cracking production job, and a bounty of jaw-clenching riffs. But while there are a lot of interesting ideas and arrangements, it’s hard to think that Areis have lent on this potential creativity enough. Looking at bands such as Respire, Svalbard and Birds in Row – 3 bands who also craft a sound made from hardcore, black metal, and aggression-tinged melodies, albeit in a much different way to Areis – they push the boundaries of their already-very loose parameters, and experiment from the first note to the last. In Areis, the furthest they leave the core sound of the debut is ‘You Are The Best At Your Worst’, which ironically feels like it takes more away from the broader sound, stepping closer to a more straight-forward groove metal sound when there are so many different avenues at their disposal.

The good news from this is the aforementioned bands are all at least two albums in with a plethora of EP’s and comps surrounding them. The fact that Areis can sniff at their heels, and draw comparisons to Giver, et al. paints the Occitans in a strong and hopeful light for the future, and a group to put stock into now.

‘Under The Sun (Official Video)

01. A Wretched Vow
02. Born Again
03. The Wanderer
04. Of Gold And Blood
05. Eternal Curse
06. You Are The Best At Your Worst
07. Escur
08. Le Pain Maudit
09. Recall
10. Under The Sun
11. Vacillate

Paul Gonzalvez – Vocals, Guitars
Michaël Jarrié – Vocals, Bass
Pablo Malbec – Guitar
Antoine Dineur – Drums


Areis Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Ylva de Lune – I

I Cover

Ylva de Lune – I
Release Date: 30/06/2021
Running Time: 41:47
Review by Steven Hooke

Not content with simply watching the world pass by in the midst of the pandemic, German vocalist Ylva de Lune embarked on a creative outlet in the form of this namesake post-black metal project and its debut album “I”. Partnering with a multi-instrumentalist known simply as Alpha, Ylva de Lune combines the unabashed heaviness of black metal with ethereal soundscapes and searing vocals, more befitting a Wiccan ceremony.

The combination between the two musical sounds can be considered to be somewhat estranged. Being almost split right down the middle, the rapid-fire drums and low-end guitars tend to take up the mantle of being the “heavy” of the album, whilst a second layer of guitar and Ylva’s serene vocals act as the world building and scene setting. While at times the separation can feel a little too vast, it often results in surges of euphoria, as “I” conspires with the imagery used for the album and Ylva herself to create its own vision of post-black metal, away from the traditional corpse paint and spikes of black metal, and away from the existential mire of modern blackgaze, to a forest of European tribalism and paganism.

Often these moments are accompanied by the project breaking away from the mould of standard blackgaze. On opener and closer ‘By The Sea’ and ‘Crown Of Shadows’ respectively, it’s the spoken word portions that feel like they echo through you, the inclusion of a more defined guitar lick throughout the second-half of ‘Les Ombres du Monde’, the added groove to ‘The Purpose Of Light’, these moments give the band and the album more character and contribute more to the act’s final identity.

Ylva de Lune weirdly occupies a similar space to that of post-something metal collective Sleep Token in that they produce a sound that is so easy to fall into and vibe to. Even with the bursts of a heavier sound spread throughout both band’s output, it’s a sound that you can be present for and enjoy, as much as you can sit back and relax to.

For an opening gambit in a scene that is heavily saturated with artists right now, “I” may have found a little niche for itself. Ylva’s vocals are a refreshing component of the genre and are already an integral part of the band’s sound. A few more risks and a more adept synergy between the musical low-ends and the high-ends, and the pair could really be onto something special.

01. By The Sea
02. Grå Ulv
03. Les Ombres du Monde
04. 11:55
05. The Purpose Of Light
06. Crown Of Shadows

Ylva de Lune – Vocals
Alpha – Guitars, Bass, Drum Programming


Ylva de Lune Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Sun Of The Suns – TIIT

TIIT Album Cover Art

Sun Of The Suns – TIIT
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 20/08/2021
Running Time: 46:31
Review by Steven Hooke

Something of a supergroup in their native scene, Sun of the Suns are an Italian deathcore troupe featuring former and current members of Nightland, The Modern Age Slavery and Carnality, among others. Armed with a session rhythm section featuring Simone Mularoni of DGM and Empyrios fame on bass (who has left the seat warm for incoming permanent bassist Filippo Scrima) and Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Francesco Paoli on drums, the group have appeared almost from out of nowhere, with relatively zero fanfare, to deliver an absolutely blistering debut.

Intro track ‘I, Demiurge pt.1’ brings with it a false sense of security and almost trepidation upon first listen. A short and delicate electro-symphonic piece which sounds like Jordan Fish has snuck in with his latest copy of FL Studios, its immediate sequel and proper album starter explodes into existence, bringing with it a huge-sounding barrage of drums backed with a serene backdrop which is levelled perfectly here, as well as throughout the course of the album, rarely – if ever – over-saturating the end product and taking away from the brutality of the record as a whole. Then, the aftershock kicks in, and along comes a furious deluge of death metal riffage, and the band getting their money’s worth out of Paoli, who leaves no drum head or crash cymbal un-twatted.

There is a wonderful juxtaposition between the duelling guitars of Righetti and Cioffi and the basslines of Mularoni. While all involved are heavier than a sumo performing a shiatsu, the riffs have a crispness about them, a clean delivery in their destructive presence, whilst the tone of the bass guitar is the album’s dark horse, the twisted sibling – the Hugo Simpson if you will. The clearest appearance of this is in ‘The Golden Cage’ where the putrid cadence of Mularoni’s bass almost serves as an homage to deathcore’s lineage of straightforward 90’s death metal, whilst the rest of the album remains firmly in the modern age, whilst its presence in ‘Hacking The Sterile System’ adds the ever-important gurn-face to the listening experience.

It’s not just in his basslines where Mularoni acts as a hidden gem to ‘TIIT’, the production on the album is astounding. The guitars, the bass tone, the duality of them together, the use of synths, all the levelling on the album is of the highest order. The technicality and soundscapes are working in tandem and not against each other, something that debut albums of similar ilk (and sometimes albums 2 and 3 and beyond) struggle to do (see Winds of Plague, Into Infernus and Walking Dead On Broadway).

Sun Of The Suns are a very intriguing group. A sci-fi-intense, deathcore barrage of extremity and world-building that appeared out of nowhere, they clearly have lofty ambitions for themselves and are putting their best foot forward to reach them. Whilst what they’re doing isn’t exactly new, they’re executing it at such a high standard, which is particularly astonishing when you realise this is their debut release. Their potential could result in a new powerhouse of the genre when considering the sci-fi-inspired lyrics, production levels, instrumental abilities, and general songwriting abilities (not least their step into more grandiose terrains with 7 minute-closer ‘I, Emperor Of Nothingness’).

‘TIIT’ (Official Video)

01. I, Demiurge Pt.1
02. I, Demiurge Pt.2
03. The Golden Cage
04. TIIT
05. Obsolescence Corrupted
06. To Decay To Revive
07. Flesh State
08. Hacking The Sterile System
09. Of Hybridization And Decline
10. I, Emperor Of Nothingness

Luca Dave Scarlatti – Vocals
Marco Righetti – Guitars
Ludovico Cioffi – Guitars
Simone Mularoni – Bass (Session)
Francesco Paoli – Drums (Session)


Sun Of The Suns Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

EDEN – The First Circle

The First Circle Album Cover Art

EDEN – The First Circle
Brucia Records
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 29:37
Review by Steven Hooke

It’s hard to define EDEN as a ‘band’ in the traditional sense as what limited information there is available regarding the group, suggest that it is an ever-changing revolving door of artists coming in, trashing up a kitchen (no, really, have a look at the line-up and the “instruments” they use), and calling it a day. The end result is “The First Circle”, debut album from the noise peddlers, that boasts a more ethereal hue at its core.

The first half of the album is relatively subdued in the grand scheme of things, starting with ‘Gehenna’ and its three-way dance between a cleaner, almost shoegaze-y riff, its dark, black metal cousin, and the near white noise generated by the drum crashes. The true discomforting noise from this song, as well as the rest of the songs on the album ends up coming from the vocals, but more on them in a bit. ‘Gehenna’ feels more like a melodic black metal song to properly open the album, the brighter guitar riff hanging over the ensemble is in a style that seems inspired by Oranssi Pazuzu’s less-frantically, maddening moments.

As “The First Circle” continues, the scale of noise and resistance to the listener increases. The title track starts chiming in extra noises and layering in the background in an attempt to disjoint the sound established so far, before ‘Your Void Is Mine’ really pushes that ethos to arguably its fullest potential in the main body of the album, at times drawing comparisons to “Irony Is A Dead Scene” era The Dillinger Escape Plan, Type O Negative, and “Blackjazz” era Shining, all played whilst someone is blending up a slushie of ice and iron ingots right next to you.

Surprisingly, in an album striving to achieve “noise” music status, one of the most structured and thought-out parts of the album’s sound are those vocals. Whilst the mystery vocalist will gurgle and shriek with apparent wild abandon of musical structural norms, the timings of the vocals coming and particularly how they’re used at any given moment often feels like they add more noise aspects throughout the album (particularly the first half) in a conscious way, something that you don’t necessarily want to feel on an album that prides itself on being made from free improvisation and experimentation, bragging, “all songs are completely improvised and recorded in one take”. The snarl of the vocals does provoke a sinister feeling akin to that of the 90’s black metal scene, but their timing is just a little bit too precise for how EDEN are trying to sell the album.

But then there are the brief moments, the short passages in ‘Your Void Is Mine’ and the album bookends ‘The End Of The Beginning’ and ‘The Beginning Of The End’, where the majority of the music dies down and it sounds like we’re getting true, off-the-cuff free improvisational music of someone discovering a piano for the first time, someone else fiddling with snare wires, another trying to learn the riff of ‘Nasty’ by The Prodigy and their guitar isn’t plugged in properly, all serving as the backdrop for the vocalist’s audition for ASMR content creation. Mouth ticks, deep breathing, gurgling, what sounds like someone chewing a toffee penny with their mouth open, the last few years of Tik Tok, Twitch and YouTube have shown that there is a huge market for this kind of stuff, but if you’re like me (and God help you if you are) and you reside on the more misophonia end of the spectrum, this will grate on you tremendously. And I’ll concede, there’s an argument that noise music is explicitly meant to be challenging and connoisseurs of the style may gravitate towards that, but personally, it wasn’t an “unpleasant but in a good way experience” at all, just profoundly unpleasant.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to really put a true marker on a record like “The First Circle”. It’s apparently designed from the ground up to be confrontational, yet still possesses moments of melody and conscious songwriting to appeal to casuals – ‘Gehenna’ is genuinely a good song and a great way to ease yourself into the album if you are less-versed in the style, and ‘Your Void Is Mine’ would be a serious contender for song of the album, were it not for the section of foley from 1997 film Volcano.

Taking personal biases away from the genre for a second, and EDEN do seem to be awkwardly stuck between two points. Again, the way “The First Circle” has been advertised and spoken about is that it is highly-experimental, completely improvised, with a litany a musicians adding their own stamp to the overall sound, immediately drawing comparisons to the likes of MERZBOW, Zweizz and early Swans, which the band themselves consider an inspiration. However, with the drawing in of black metal, shoegaze, doom, slowly (and perhaps accidentally) building in more structure and flow to the album, it feels like it should be more towards noise rock contemporaries in the shape of Daughters, The Black Black or Unsane, yet this doesn’t feel quite right either. They’re too structured and dare I say “sensible” to be amongst the tr00 noise merchants, yet too abrasive and discordant to be lumped in with the more refined noise rock crop. They exist in a limbo alongside Oranssi Pazuzu, Lingua Ignota and Imperial Triumphant; great company to be around but hefty standards to meet.

If they continue down the blackened ASMR route though, I am intrigued at the prospect of potential collaborations with Amouranth, Gibi ASMR, matefedez, and ASMR Darling on album #2.

‘Gehenna’ (Official Video)

01. The End Of The Beginning
02. Gehenna
03. Swallow Your Tongue
04. The First Circle
05. Your Void is Mine
06. The Beginning Of The End

EDEN is a collective of multiple musicians creating music with vocals, bass, guitars, percussions (smashed plates, toy drums, jars, pieces of wood), prepared piano (altered with bolts and screws), distorted violin, noise sample, bowed guitar, ukulele.


Eden Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

healthyliving – until/below EP

until-below Single-EP Cover

healthyliving – until/below EP
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 07:34
Review by Steven Hooke

It’s staggering how many post-rock, shoegaze, gloom-adjacent bands have broken through over the past few years. Maybe it’s got something to do with economic and near-societal collapse, the waves of finding out our childhood heroes are nonces and wrong uns, a globally-mishandled pandemic, or a sharp decline in human compassion in lieu of greed and selfishness. But who knows? I just review music on the internet.

Today’s offering of void-core comes in the form of cross-Europe trio healthyliving with their debut release consisting of two songs ‘until’ and ‘below’. The band consists of Madrid-born singer Amaya López-C, who also operates an experimental folk/jazz project called Maud The Moth, plucker of strings Scott McLean from Scotland who also performs with post-rock-turned-drone metal act Falloch and German stoner rock outfit Lasse Reinstroem, and Stefan Pötzsch, a German session drummer who has also worked with Lasse Reinstroem, as well as Luc Stargazer and Boozoo Bajou. The band have offered a little taste of their musical output as they work towards their debut album, currently expected sometime in 2022.

‘until’ feels like the stronger of the two tracks, a deep, bass-heavy shoegaze stomper with tinges of psychedelia and stoner rock. López-C’s voice floats over its depressing surroundings in a similar vibe to Oathbreaker’s Caro Tanghe during the quiet moments of ‘Needles In Your Skin’ and ‘Stay Here/Accroche-Moi’, creating an ethereal hold on the listener, with subtle discordancy broken up by proper gurn-face choruses.

‘below’ is a more subdued track, a gentle, rolling guitar line once again swimming along the current of those hypnotising vocals. This almost, idyllic setting created in the first half of the song makes the droning guitars of the second half feel all the more terrifying. A sudden progression of musical anxiety as a muddy guitar sound evolves into softly-backed vocals in a style similar to Myrkur’s folk outings, estranged harmonics, and a cold, imposing drum beat.

healthyliving are certainly worth your attention. Shoegaze that knows how to be heavy without treading on drone and doom’s toes, and tell a bigger story with a minimalist output. Stefan and Scott deserve full credit for such, with McLean worthy of another mention owing to his production handling of Amaya’s vocals. A soft and delicate delivery is turned into anguish and uncertainty, which could prove to have some amazing potential. BBC Introducing and Roadburn certainly seem to think so.

‘until’ (Official Video)

01. until
02. below

Amaya López-C – Vocals
Scott McLean – Guitars, Bass
Stefan Pötzsch – Drums


healthyliving Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Eternal Struggle – Year Of The Gun

Year Of The Gun Album Cover Art

Eternal Struggle – Year Of The Gun
Upstate Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 37:32
Review by Steven Hooke

Punk rock and political discourse are without question, the high school sweethearts of musical genres. No matter what wistfully nostalgic memory you conjure in your saudade-tinged stupor, you always see THAT couple, arm-in-arm, skipping through the corridors, later to be seen necking off behind the I.T. block. The likes of the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Crass, Rise Against, Against Me! all dabbled or continue to do so with the relatively familiar US and UK politics of their time, but international politics continue to carry a level of shock factor for our unassuming ears.

Enter Eternal Struggle, the hardcore punk quartet who are taking aim at the political powers of their origin nation, Israel, choosing to refer to themselves as “a band from Israel” instead of “an Israeli band” to truly emphasize their disassociation with the decisions, views and general representation of their homeland government.

The politics of Israel have made major headlines over the past few months as (in the most watered down version of events) fighting intensified over land ownership between Israel and Palestine, but Eternal Struggle have arguably seen the bigger picture in that neither side is a winner, and that both sides are being played by the powers that be. There are several rallying cries on the band’s debut album “Year Of The Gun” for people to stand together and against the political leaders of the world, with the band themselves commenting on the track ‘On Broken Backs’ – “[e]nough of manipulation, ignorance. We’ve had enough pain and abuse. We won’t let them shape us or divide us. That’s what they want. We have a voice against them.”

From top to bottom, “Year Of The Gun” is a furious commentary on where the world is right now and how it got to this point. ‘Point One”#’ decries – “…my dreams, built on blood…” – while “Modern Slave” is an all-too-familiar (and very close to home) vitriol on the ‘working pay check to pay check’ lifestyle that so many people are forced into these days, as minimum wage increases at a crawl whilst taxes and housing skyrockets. ‘Indoctrination’ delves into an issue more localised to the band, in Israel’s selling and propaganda of its National Service, framing it as a matter of national pride and patriotism, inevitably ignoring all the challenging experiences young people may face during their time.

The fervor of frontman Ori Frank – with the exception of the remixed version of the title track by Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire which closes out the album – is backed by a stomping metal-twinned hardcore sound, oding back to the NYHC scene of the 90’s. That metal/hardcore radar ticks between the two sides in such a natural way, as tracks like ‘As Heroes Fade’, ‘To My Enemies’ and ‘Pride Kills’ really lean into a riff-driven sound, whilst ‘Point One’, ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Indoctrination’ push a more intense metallic hardcore rhythm, with both sides benefitting from some excellent drum work from Ori Koren. Sonic comparisons to the likes of Biohazard and Madball seem inevitable and perhaps not by accident, as Eternal Struggle worked with former long-time Madball guitarist Brian ‘Mitts’ Daniels as a producer, whose wealth of knowledge no doubt aided the band in their musical direction and creativity.

And they remain pretty dedicated to this direction. “Year Of The Gun” is 12 songs (+ 1 intro track and 1 digital hardcore remix) of solid hardcore intensity, rarely divulging from its familiar surroundings. There’s no tragic misfire just as much as there’s no truly standout moment from the core of the album, with the Alec Empire remix likely to split opinion amongst hardcore’s ultras. And if you do fall into said category, you’ll find Eternal Struggle a more than worthwhile experience, and worthy of a hearty spin-kick.

01. Manifesto
02. Point One
03. Year Of The Gun
04. As Heroes Fade
05. Indoctrination
06. On Broken Backs
07. Dependence
08. To My Enemies
09. Releechious
10. Modern Slave
11. Pride Kills
12. Propaganda
13. Last Path
14. Y.O.T.G. (Alex Empire Remix)

Ori Frank – Vocals
Omer Meir – Guitars
Guilad Piñevsky – Bass
Ori Koren – Drums


Eternal Struggle Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Fox Medicine – Blue Bubblegum

Blue Bubblegum Album Cover Art

Fox Medicine – Blue Bubblegum
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 36:17
Review by Steven Hooke

Curious duo Fox Medicine proudly plant their flag in the musical landscape with the label of “bubblegum doom”, an unlikely pairing of vocalist Neezy Dynamite Hubba-Bubba-sweet voice with psychedelic doom metal.

A cutesy voice backdropped by heavy riffs is not an uncommon phenomenon in rock and metal these days, with the likes of Issues, Rina Sawayama, Poppy and Babymetal irritating (mostly male) metal elitists the world over, but none have used an “outsider” voice quite in the same vein as Fox Medicine.

“Blue Bubblegum” is without question a doom metal record, one that invokes a brighter sound compared to previous outing “Procedures Mystiques”, and the tone, range, inflections, and effects of Neezy’s vocals add such a hypnotic psychosis to the album that betters what most of their contemporaries can do with a full line-up doused in reverb. The bouncing delivery on the chorus of opener ‘Billy The Beetle’ almost creates a dissociative effect due to the jaunty nature of her vocals battling the hazy riffs in the mix. The frenetic chorus of ‘Bunny Boy’ does more to affect one’s concept of up and down more than any spicy tongue sticker could manage, and ‘Bubblegum Witch’ almost cruelly calls to spirituality and paranoia for a “you done fucked with the wrong boho witch” experience.

Fox Medicine and indeed “Blue Bubblegum” are not one-person shows of course. Drummer and percussionist Vanny Keeps is just as adept at bringing that doom haze to proceedings in his own unique little way, whilst also keeping it proper-metal when required. His work on ‘Pain Dance’, ‘Kittens’ and the previously-mentioned ‘Bubblegum Witch’ does what all good doom drummers should do, bring an imposing stomp to the track that rumbles the core of the listener. But his work on ‘Kiss The Cactus’, ‘Billy The Beetle’ and ‘Mermaid Club’ where at times, it feels like the beat of the drums follow their own rhythm, adds to the disconnect and miasma of the record, pulling the listener in two directions. There’s even a tasteful bit of experimentation in the closing moments of the album with ‘Kiss The Cactus’ opening with a cheeky bit of cowbell and ‘Queen Moon’ adding a layer of glockenspiel-esque twinkle that could really sweeten the overall Fox Medicine sound further.

“Blue Bubblegum” has “Roadburn highlight” written all over it. Psychedelic warfare of hypnotic vocals, dynamic drums, a strong riff game that peaks into both punk and prog at times, all combined with the ear-catching siren of Neezy. A wonderfully warming album that explores an interesting niche but still doesn’t tread into caricature-territory.

‘Billy The Beetle’ (Official Video)

01. Billy The Beetle
02. Mermaid Club
03. Bubblegum Witch
04. Kittens
05. Pain Dance
06. Bunny Boy
07. Kiss The Cactus
08. Queen Moon

Neezy Dynamite – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards.
Vanny Keeps – Drums, Percussion


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.