ONE TAIL, ONE HEAD. A fitting farewell of dynamics, anger, fear and melancholy


One Tail, One Head – Worlds Open, Worlds Collide (2018)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 4th of December 2018


  1. Certainly Not
  2. Arrival, Yet Again
  3. Worlds Open, Worlds Collide
  4. Stellar Storms
  5. An Utter Lack of Meaning, Hitherto Unbeknownst, Suddenly Revealed
  6. Firebirds
  7. Sordid Sanctitude
  8. Rise in Red
  9. Passage
  10. Summon Surreal Surrender


Genre: Black Metal
Label: Terratur Possessions
Country: Norway
Date: October 5th, 2018


ⷚ – Drums
Åsli – Guitars
Luctus – Vocals
Andras Marquis T. – Bass

“Worlds Open, Worlds Collide” is – as the title suggests – the first and final album of the Norwegian black metal maniacs. It’s a nasty mix of all the cruelty that can be called One Tail, One Head, including ten years old as well as newer pieces full of dynamics, anger, fear, depression, in-your-face attitude and melancholy.

Considering the ugly, raw production and some harsh riffs, it can be stated the Norwegians are clearly influenced by cult bands from the past such as Bathory, Sarcófago or Hellhammer. The bass particularly sticks out of the mix, sounding deep and ruthless – the bassist does a very good job on interpreting the riffs in an impressive way. The drums are clear and just as pleasant-sounding as it can get on a black metal album. The shimmering guitars and drawn riffs along with the emphasized bass sounds make up most of the mesmerizing atmosphere that is present throughout the whole record. At this point it is to mention that the vocals being in front of the mix take away from the potentially hypnotic musical parts at times. Nevertheless, the versatile vocalist masters the technique of adapting his voice to the different moods of the different songs.

Besides the versatility of the vocalist, a huge plus of the album are the shifts from bestial, crude black metal tones to deeper atmospheric ones, an example being the middle part of the title track featuring strange noises and musical sounds. The occult and experimental last song, the 10-minute-long ‘Summon Surreal Surrender’, which majestically rounds the album up, is to be pointed out as well.

“Worlds Open, Worlds Collide” is brutal, atmospheric and most certainly a fitting farewell for an underground band whose main objective was to keep the old way of playing black metal going.

Songwriting: 8.5
Originality: 7
Production: 8
Catchiness: 7
Artwork: 9
Lyrics: 8.5
Overall: 8/10

Order “Worlds Open, Worlds Collide” here.

ABYSSOUS. Poisonous sound and a menacing atmosphere


Abyssous – Mesa (2018)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 6th of December 2018


  1. Aisernal
  2. Mesa
  3. Perlurkural
  4. Impelled
  5. Fissurge
  6. Ocaeon
  7. Diphour
  8. Aerosoils
  9. Vesspense
  10. Congealed Lores


Genre: Death Metal
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Country: Germany
Date: November 1st, 2018


Deathtrader – Bass, Vocals
Assassor – Drums
Jonty Lava – Guitars

The German death metallers of Chemnitz are back with a mini-album six years after releasing their original debut “…Smouldering”. “Mesa” is a piece full of heaviness, obscureness, dark tension and gloom. Besides paying homage to bands like Morbid Angel and Asphyx, Abyssous’ twisted way of playing reminds one of artists of Finnish old school death/doom metal.

Poisonous, louring, swirling riffs; brutal, in-your-face drumming; solid, horroristic screams and growls and a menacing atmosphere: everything one would need when listening to old school death/doom. The raw production and rotten sound contribute to identifying Abyssous with former masters of the genre, not to speak of the eye-catching black and white artwork hinting at the depths the band is going to take one into.

Whilst the first half of the recording features faster, more cruel and aggressive pure death metal tracks, Abyssous take a slower, more menacing and atmospheric doom approach starting from the song ‘Aerosoils’. The track is one of the highlights of the record with its louring main riff and misty setting; giving the twisted melodies a chance to expand themselves gradually and so make this piece more catchy than the preceding faster tunes.

Even though the individual tracks are decently well-worked-out and harmonized, the amount of intros/interludes (five altogether) seems to ruin the cohesion. The atmosphere built up with a song gets lost in the following interlude which must have been meant to set the mood for the next one, but which instead feels unnatural – thus the listening experience gets interrupted permanently. If one is able to disregard 3-4 of the short interludes and concentrates on the musical experience carried by the actual songs instead, one finds him/herself in the depths of an ancient world full of cruelty, horror and doom. Just close those eyes and let the journey begin…

Songwriting: 8.5
Originality: 7
Production: 8.5
Catchiness: 7.5
Artwork: 8
Overall: 8/10

Order “Mesa” here.

RIOT V. Lust for freedom and inner strength


Riot V – Armor of Light (2018)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 27th of November 2018


  1. Victory
  2. End of the World
  3. Messiah
  4. Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign
  5. Burn the Daylight
  6. Heart of a Lion
  7. Armor of Light
  8. Set the World Alight
  9. San Antonio
  10. Caught in the Witches Eye
  11. Ready to Shine
  12. Raining Fire

Genre: Heavy/Power/Speed Metal

Label: Nuclear Blast
Country: USA
Date: April 27th, 2018

Todd Michael Hall – Vocals
Mike Flyntz – Guitars
Nick Lee – Guitars

Don Van Stavern – Bass
Frank Gilchriest – Drums

armoroflightMost of the older bands who continue releasing material nowadays fall into one of two pitfalls: trying to stick too much to their old school identities, mostly being unable to recapture the magic; or trying too much to embrace the modern way of producing music, and in that way, failing again to recapture the magic. Riot V balances surprisingly well between the two extremes. “Armor of Light” is a punchy, energetic and authentic power metal release with a fairly traditional production and an adequate amount of inspiration from the past decades of heavy metal.

The outstanding interplay of the fresh riffage and tingling guitar melodies, intense high-pitched vocals and tight double-kick drumming makes one’s pulse pound and leaves one craving for more once a track comes to its end. Todd Michael Hall nails to put all his passion into the band’s fist-pounding sing-along anthems, not failing to impress with his on-point tone and pitch. The guitars offer an exceptional mix of old school-styled yet refreshing riffs and sweeping solos, at times with obvious parallels to Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’, Rainbow’s ‘Kill the King’ or even one of Riot’s former title tracks, ‘Thundersteel’. The influences smoothly flow and blend into Riot V’s dynamic approach, adding to the band’s versatility. Speaking of which; the group mixes darker, more mid-paced or even melancholic themes like ‘Set the World Alight’ well together with uplifting power ballads such as the title track as well as speed metal-infused tunes like ‘San Antonio’.

The lyrics add to the moods of the certain songs, mostly evolving around a concept so typical of power metal’s optimism: lust for freedom and inner strength. The artwork features Riot’s peculiar seal-mascot which is worth 7 points in itself.

To sum up, with all its power, enthusiasm and versatility, “Armor of Light” proves to be an enjoyable listen both for lovers of 70s-era Riot and for newcomers who are just getting into the bigger bands of heavy/power metal. Nailed it? Nailed it!

Songwriting: 8.5
Originality: 7
Production: 9
Catchiness: 8.5
Artwork: 7
Lyrics: 7
Overall: 8/10

Order “Armor of Light” here.

VOIVOD. Keeping balance intelligently


Voivod – The Wake (2018)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 30th of November 2018


  1. Obsolete Beings
  2. The End of Dormancy
  3. Orb Confusion
  4. Iconspiracy
  5. Spherical Perspective
  6. Event Horizon
  7. Always Moving
  8. Sonic Mycelium

Genre: Thrash/Progressive Metal

Label: Century Media Records
Country: Canada
Date: September 21st, 2018

Away – Drums

Snake – Vocals
Chewy – Guitars
Rocky – Bass

The Canadian space-thrashers have shown for the 100th time how excitingly open-minded they are while creating something truly magical here. The Wake is a progressive, experimental and complex record while being extremely coherent. It’s more dimensions in one: a mixture of sci-fi thrash, jazz and punk; of emotionality and distance; of psychedelic elements and heaviness.

Partly thanks to the exceptional chemistry in the band which is even noticeable in their music, everything fits together and composes something bigger. From the guitar work of the musically educated and technical Chewy with all his twisted melodies and spacey riffs; through the solid, clockwork-like rhythms of experienced drummer Away and the strange, robotic, monotonous tones of vocalist Snake; to the thick and groovy bass lines of Rocky (taking over for Blacky and doing an outstanding job). The lyrics contribute to the coherence of the album as they complement one another throughout the songs, portraying a greater force making humanity realise there is more around them than what they knew of. The album’s 12-minute closer track, ‘Sonic Mycelium’ stands as a hypnotising recap of the entire record, revisiting riffs and lyrics from all of the preceding songs.

The disturbing cover artwork features drummer Away’s signature Voivod-style, again complementing every tune of the music and every line of the lyrics heard on the record. The vibrant production mostly underlines Chewy’s guitars and Snake’s vocals, making the less thrashy drums and the less highlighted bass synthesize more with this mix of adventurous elements from all different periods and new soundscapes of Voivod.

It’s respectable how the Quebec prog masters can push themselves to the fore constantly while blending former features of theirs into everything they do. Keeping balance intelligently, renewing themselves without completely alienating their sound – An example both for experienced and to-be musicians to follow.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 9
Catchiness: 8
Artwork: 9
Lyrics: 9
Overall: 9/10

Order “The Wake” here.

DESTRUCTION. Re-recorded 80’s thrash paired with a more sterile production


Destruction – Thrash Anthems II (2017)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 31st of May 2018


  1. Confused Mind
  2. Black Mass
  3. Frontbeast
  4. Dissatisfied Existence
  5. United by Hatred
  6. The Ritual
  7. Black Death
  8. The Antichrist
  9. Confound Games
  10. Ripping You Off Blind
  11. Satan’s Vengeance
  12. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys cover)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: PledgeMusic
Country: Germany
Date: July 18th, 2017

Schmier – Bass, Vocals
Mike – Guitars
Vaaver – Drums

1000x1000.jpgCollections of re-recorded 80’s thrash songs paired with a more modern and perhaps more sterile production are with no doubt an arguable phenomenon. Even Destruction’s original “Thrash Anthems” collection from 2007 doesn‘t belong to the most beloved pieces of theirs among fans of old school-sounding thrash metal. And so it is a relevant question how a „Thrash Anthems II” collection works with re-recorded old tunes that didn’t make the cut the first time.

The 2017 collection was supposed to be a self-release as the album was of no interest for Nuclear Blast, however, after it was done, it also got released in an alternative version via the record label. The Germans gave the second batch of their worthier older tunes a more modern yet tougher, punchier, more muscular mix of guitars and drums, blending them into a thrashing combination. The production is more polished, sure, yet Schmier sounds almost as violent and nasty as he did back then and one can’t complain neither about Mike’s and Vaaver’s level of excitement nor way of playing either.

Considering the song selection; even though there was still place for some relatively beloved songs on “Thrash Anthems II” such as ‘Black Mass’, ‘The Antichrist’ or ‘Confused Mind’, one can easily have the feeling that the album contains re-workings which even most fans weren’t curious about. The album artwork isn’t the most on-point work of the band either, especially if we keep in mind that a collection of re-recorded 80s’ thrash songs is supposed to represent an old school approach in its appearance.

On the whole, “Thrash Anthems II” is not as entertaining as the original 2007 collection and it is clear that the songs do not serve to replace the earlier ones in either case – Nevertheless, they might be a good alternative for younger fans or listeners preferring a more sterile sound instead of an old school one.

Song selection: 5.5
Production: 7
Catchiness: 6
Artwork: 5
Overall: 6/10

Order Thrash Anthems II here.

MEMORIAM. So old school death metal still can be played properly?


Memoriam – The Silent Vigil (2018)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 31st of May 2018


  1. Soulless Parasite
  2. Nothing Remains
  3. From the Flames
  4. The Silent Vigil
  5. Bleed the Same
  6. As Bridges Burn
  7. The New Dark Ages
  8. No Known Grave
  9. Weaponised Fear
  10. Dronestrike V3
  11. Prisoners of War


Genre: Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Country: United Kingdom
Date: March 23rd, 2018


Frank Healy – Bass
Andrew Whale – Drums
Scott Fairfax – Guitars
Karl Willetts – Vocals

Memoriam’s second full-length “The Silent Vigil” goes onto the next stage of the mourning process because of which the two ex-Bolt Thrower and two ex-Benediction members got together to form the band in the first place. The new album is noticeably a lot less affected by sadness compared to their first record “For the Fallen”, instead they’ve become a lot more more aggressive, bitter and raw – Memoriam seem to be moving from the past and trying to develop and form their new identity.

The songwriting on “The Silent Vigil” is true to the quality we are used to and can expect from ex-members Bolt Thrower and Benediction: The (mostly guitar-driven) songs contain nothing else but strong, catchy riffs in the style of good old 80s’-early 90s’ death metal, with some interesting twists here and there. Even though one can clearly identify hearing a different band than the well-known previous ones of the members, occasionally it indeed is hard to get away from the “I’ve heard this before”-thoughts. The production and the artwork (I’ll just say one name: Dan Seagrave) of the record are nothing but the implementation and representation of an old school approach on high standard. Just a note, I don’t blame anyone sitting, looking at the cover and searching for details for hours!

Lyrically, the texts are reflective of the world that we live in containing subjects of war, politics, loss and illnesses – themes that seem to be important for lyric-writer and vocalist Karl. In case a single weakness has to be mentioned, Karl’s voice naturally doesn’t “shine” in all of its glory anymore and his significant growls don’t come out the way they did maybe even just a few years ago.

However, this does not take much from the overall experience of a (lyrically and instrumentally) well-written and -composed old school death metal album; a refreshing and promising music experience suggesting that old school death metal still can be created and played properly. “The Silent Vigil” is composed by veterans of the genre who know what they are doing and why they are doing it, and who want to a) get the most out of making music for themselves and b) get the most to the people that is possible from it. I would say, respectable!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8
Catchiness: 7
Artwork: 9
Lyrics: 8
Overall: 8/10

Order The Silent Vigil here.

Introduction + Infernäl Mäjesty video album review

Dear people,

I finally have my first video out where you can get to know me [in case you didn’t] and what you can approximately expect from me to do – this time in the form of a review of Infernäl Mäjesty’s cult first album ‘None Shall Defy’.

My cutting skills still surely need some polishing but everything will hopefully just get better as I’m also getting new ideas every day. :) Please feel free to let me know what you find interesting to see and what could be changed on in your opinion; or if you have any subject in mind you’d like see a video of.

Subscribe to Darkness Unseen: YouTube channel
Visit the Facebook page
Follow us on Instagram
Or contact me at

Have the best Monday that’s possible to have!

BULLDOZING BASTARD. An enjoyable schema sticking to the old way of songwriting, involving a few banalities


Bulldozing Bastard – Under the Ram (2015)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 13th of Januar 2017


  1. Queen Of The Night
  2. Tornado
  3. Mayhem Without Mercy
  4. Full Speed Ahead
  5. Brassknuckle Deathstrike
  6. Under The Ram
  7. Alleys Of The Underground
  8. Let The Bastard Roar
  9. Black Metal Slut
  10. Once The Dust Has Settled

Genre: Black/Speed Metal
Label: High Roller Records
Country: Germany
Date: March 13th, 2015

Irön Kommander – Vocals, Bass
Genözider – Vocals, Guitars, Drums

under-the-ramIf I wanted to follow the same route Bulldozing Bastard decided to take (why not get right to the point and flood people with all my thoughts immediately at the beginning), I would say: As Under the Ram begins you know straight away what to await; however, as the album rolls along you notice that these assumptions also have not been changing nor evolving in any way.

On the one hand it does mean you get what you expect and that can always be considered a positive aspect, yet on the other hand you do not receive neither any variation nor anything new that has not been done numbers and numbers of times before in the last 49 years since the genre heavy metal with the founding of Black Sabbath came into existence.

As the two German black/speeders start with their newest 2015 record, the pounding aggressivity kicks immediately in the face of the listener and does not let us out from this grip of flowing, streaming violence until the last song of the record. They are masculine, speedy and energetic while delivering the filthy, straight songs where elements of rock ‘n’ roll mixed with a little punk, NWOBHM, speed and black metal also turn up.

I do have to state that the music itself is enjoyable, whilst they are so primly trying to be old school and evil while playing their absolutely primitive but catchy songs with dirty blackened vocals in the vein of old Venom, Bathory, the Italian black/speed/thrash masters Bulldozer (judging by the name ‘Bulldozing Bastard’ apparently the largest influence on them), Motörhead and some Tank that it nearly comes over comically and in a stereotypical manner.

Their song titles, labels of the band members and lyrics are similarly somewhat cliched aiming to (simplified) come near to the old way of representing obscurity; a good example would be the 3rd track ‘Mayhem Without Mercy’:  “And as I pass through the seven gates / The fullmoon’s shining bright // For tonight, I’ve witnessed glory / Sorcery and might”.
And to continue being picky by coming up with a final negative angle, the flooding rage also results hearing almost no transition and so not getting the chance to make a difference between the songs as one already got deeper into the album and got used to Bulldozing Bastard’s (fresh and intense) sound.

However, at the very end with the last, slower and longer song ‘Once The Dust Has Settled’ with more melodic guitar lines and some Iron Maiden feel to it we do get a bit from the lacking variety, what’s more the song also seems to be more thought-out and better-worked-out as the other slashing tracks of the album – a bit of a deduction after the continuous ripping for the previous 25 minutes.

On the whole Bulldozing Bastard’s Under the Ram from 2015 is a rather enjoyable disc with some likable catchy riffs saturated with melodic fast guitar sounds built in here and there, with hearable decent bass lines as well as a dynamic, fresh sound and energy of two spirited German maniacs.
If one does not expect any groundbreaking idea but a schema that follows the old way of songwriting involving a few banalities yet enhanced with an actual youthful sound, I do recommend having a go at the record.


Here you can show your friends you listen to cool music
Here you can adapt your look to your habit of listening to cool music

IN SOLITUDE. Not a hint of desperation or artificialness


In Solitude – In Solitude (2008)

Review by Estelle on the 2nd of July 2015

First part of the In Solitude-review series as a tribute to the band after their break-up.


  1. In the Darkness
  2. Witches Sabbath
  3. Kathedral
  4. Beyond is Where I Learn
  5. 7th Ghost
  6. Faceless Mistress
  7. Temple of the Unknown
  8. The Monolith

Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: High Roller Records
Country: Sweden
Date: December 22nd, 2008

Pelle Åhman – Vocals

Uno Bruniusson – Drums
Gottfrid Åhman ­– Bass
Mattias Gustafsson – Guitars
Niklas Lindström – Guitars

insolThe five-piece Swedish heavy metal band In Solitude (formed in 2002, split up in April 2015) is one of the few bands I can think of who have three albums out, all of them showing a different side of theirs yet each being fully characteristic, representative and outstanding in their own way. On their debut In Solitude the band put the stress on instinctiveness, catchiness and simplicity – very much to fans’ delight.

As album-opener In the Darkness strikes, the first thing our ears spot is the odd, drawling, low-pitched voice of Pelle Åhman – then come the simple yet fresh, well-written and catchy riffs that keep flowing and flowing through each song until the very end, taking over the lead and turning out to be the most important component of the record.
The album consists of melodically complex songs with mesmerizing tunes in the veins of 80s heavy metal, surrounded by a great deal of mistery and obscureness. Even though In Solitude is a far cry from a ‘copy-band’, we cannot ignore the obvious Mercyful Fate/King Diamond influences both appearing in the vibe, melodies and lyrics of the album (e.g. Witches Sabbath). The lyrics include occult, otherwordly, mystical themes with no signs of irony or silliness, keeping the listener from not taking them seriously.

Everything fits together astonishingly: the ominous voice of Pelle, the harmonized instruments, the strange yet matching combination of the energy and freshness and the misty, gloomy atmosphere. To my great surprise (as I’m personally not the largest fan of modern sound), on the Swedish guys’ debut even the clear production is appropriate as it gives an edge to the dark, cold, haunting tone of classic heavy metal In Solitude managed to capture perfectly, making the Mercyful Fate-like gruesomeness come alive.
Everything is cohesive, natural and straight to the point – not a hint of desperation or artificialness, no ballads, no useless experimentation; instead vivid riffs, meaningful lyrics, innovative power, non-repetition and a massive amount of passion. It all sounds so effortless that we can question ourselves why no one came up with as brilliant ideas in our days as the ones In Solitude present on their debut.
By means of the lively riff-flow throughout the songs kept interesting by the tempo changes, In Solitude turns out to be an album which is catchy, easy to get into and to digest and is still absolutely enjoyable.
If you were asking yourself where the good albums are nowadays or if you simply need an authentic, exquisite cut of first class heavy metal: you have found what you were looking for.

Outstanding tracks: Witches Sabbath, Kathedral, Temple of the Unknown, The Monolith


My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

BÖLZER. Grandiose bolt from the blue


BÖLZER – Aura (2013)

Review by Estelle on the 8th of October 2014


  1. Coronal Mass Ejaculation
  2. Entranced by the Wolfshook
  3. The Great Unifier

Genre: Black/Death Metal

Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Country: Switzerland
Date: May 13th, 2013

KzR (Okoi Thierry Jones) – Vocals, Guitars

HzR (Fabian Wyrsch) – Drums

bölzzzYou won’t find yourself to be the only speechless person after spinning the devastating debut EP of the Swiss black/death metal duo Bölzer.
These two guys managed to obtain such a unique, deliberate, complex sound and create an outstanding cosmic style at the same time that no one has been able to accomplish before – their naturally rotten death metal-based sound is saturated with louring black metal elements; generating an eerie, tremendous atmosphere which is even strenghtened by the matching obscure cover art.

Aura starts with the heavy beast ‘Coronal Mass Ejaculation’ that immediately gives the speed and defines the atmosphere of the whole EP with its muddy, dark sound; leading the listener to the magical world of mesmerizing, drawling riffs expanded with haunting, twisted melodies.
The following ‘Entranced by the Wolfshook’ is probably the strongest track among the three with its massive main riff that keeps pouring the darkness on the listener. The guys couldn’t have found any better voice than KzR’s: his tone fits and at the same time defines the harmonized different parts in the songs that vary between speedy and drawling, gloomy way of playing.
The closing ‘The Great Unifier’ is the lenghtiest and most monumental piece with its 11 minutes, giving us an entire experience of professional music playing in the spirit of cruel yet extremely passionate old school sounding black/death metal, and giving us the chance to feel in complete trance for a few minutes after the last notes of the song.

One probably rarely hears any record which would be as coordinated as Bölzer’s EP ‘Aura’: the harmony of the tempo, riffs, melodies, the vocalist’s tone, the cover art and the whole feeling we get while listening or simply looking at the record is unexplainable. I would say ‘Aura’ truly is a release which proves the existence of something special and something of high-quality even in our days, and which requires the old-school feeling of listening on vinyl or cassette tape – so in case you like the EP, you won’t regret buying it in one of the classic formats!


GOREMENT. Dark – Cold – Silent – Gloom


GOREMENT – The Ending Quest (1994)

Review by Estelle on the 6th of June 2014


  1. My Ending Quest
  2. Vale of Tears
  3. Human Relic
  4. The Memorial
  5. The Lost Breed
  6. Silent Hymn (for the Dead)
  7. Sea of Silence
  8. Obsequies of Mankind
  9. Darkness of the Dead
  10. Into Shadows

Genre: Death Metal

Label: Crypta Records
Country: Sweden
Year: 1994

Jimmy Karlsson – Vocals

Patrik Fernlund – Guitars (lead & acoustic)
Daniel Eriksson – Guitars (rhythm)
Nicklas Lilja – Bass
Mattias Berglund – Drums

endThe Swedish Gorement’s only album named The Ending Quest is exceptional in many ways. Firstly, the record was released in 1994, and even though there were still many fine death metal albums released after 1993, it wasn’t common that a death metal band put its first full-lenght record out in the middle of the ’90s. And secondly, the musicians are extremely skilled when it comes to songwriting and creating a special atmosphere, giving us a smashing shot of haunting melodies compounded into varied slowly rolling, louring, twisted riffs.

The guitars on the album are incredibly downtuned and the bass is quite prominent at most parts; these two elements are the ones that mainly define the obscure, gloomy atmosphere which almost chokes the listener in its stranglehold.

However, there is something soothing and comforting in the music. The elaborate songwriting and composing, the feeling that the album was a round, complex and complete musical experience, the neat variation of slowing, ‘flying-away’ and ripping fast parts, the depressive issues, also the appearance of acoustic guitar and sometimes clean vocals cause the listener to feel some kind of a strange acquiescence.

Even though Gorement is usually noted as a simple death metal band, I think it can easily be called doom/death because of the obvious doom influences, the dark atmosphere and the typical subjects in the lyrics. The words that we can sometimes catch while listening the songs totally describe the music and the feeling it creates: “dark”, “cold”, “silent”, “alone”, “gloom”, “slowly”, “endless”, “dying”.

The quite abstract, minimal-style cover fits the obscure, misty music and is catching our attention with its striking, conspicuous deep purple colour at the same time. The guttural, low tuned vocals also fit the overall sound, Jimmy Karlsson is one particularly talented and technical vocalist of the genre whose name everyone should remember after hearing the record. Lilja is emphasizeable as well: the bass is not only following the music well but it also shines in itself at the right sections; I would especially mention the bass lines in ‘My Ending Quest’ and ‘The Lost Breed’.

Gorement+2The songs quite differ from each other: there are some with the already mentioned clear(er) vocals, some where we can hear acoustic guitars that make an eerie but matching combination with the downtuned, dark guitar sounds, ones without any solo and one which seems to be instrumental for a while because of the lack of vocals. The most outstanding tracks could be the slow, peaceful ‘Sea of Silence’, and ‘Silent Hymn (for the Dead)’ with one of the most beautiful and depressing solos of death metal and with just a few lines sang in a clearer way.
The only common point in the songs in this case is probably the amount of mesmerizing riffs.

As ‘Into Shadows’ ends with the echoing guitar sound and voice of Karlsson, we simply feel like we heard something complex, massive and round – it’s like it slowly rolled along us like a huge, stiff, heavy stone. The structure of the songs, the timing, the track-order and the diversity created by mixing different elements into the music all prove that these precise, deliberate Swedish guys knew what to do when it came to making some old school death/doom metal music.

Outstanding tracks: My Ending Quest, The Memorial, The Lost Breed, Silent Hymn (for the Dead)


RIGOR MORTIS. Flooded with fluent brutality


RIGOR MORTIS – Rigor Mortis (1988)

Review by Estelle in December 2013


  1. Welcome to Your Funeral
  2. Demons
  3. Bodily Dismemberment
  4. Condemned to Hell
  5. Wizard of Gore
  6. Shroud of Gloom
  7. Die in Pain
  8. Vampire
  9. Re-Animator
  10. Slow Death

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Capitol Records
Country: USA
Date: July 19th, 1988

Bruce Corbitt – Vocals
Mike Scaccia – Guitars
Harden Harrison – Drums
Casey Orr – Bass, Vocals (on ‘Die in Pain’)

The four-piece American thrash metal band, Rigor Mortis is hailing from Dallas, Texas. The group was originally formed in the beginning of the golden years of thrash, 1983, when the schoolmates Harden Harrison and Casey Orr met Mike Scaccia. In 1988, when thrash metal already reached the top of its popularity and was also slowly becoming more and more generic because of the plenty of newly formed bands that did the same in the same way, Rigor Mortis managed to create a unique form of thrash metal that had never been heard before – they released their first full-length album named Rigor Mortis with Bruce Corbitt on vocals.

The highlight of the album is probably the sound and the technique of the guitar. Mike Scaccia must have been one of the fastest and most insane guitarists of that time, his dynamic riffs rip your head off and his incredibly rapid yet smooth and fluent solos mesmerize you right at the moment when you first hear them – these two elements create some kind of outstanding mix of deadly brutality and not overused melody.


The album starts with the 3 and a half minutes long instrumental song ‘Welcome to Your Funeral’, which is more than just a common intro – the song is full of outstanding guitar lines and a nice solo, and riffs which are solid, melodic, lively and threatening at the same time. After the menacing beginning here comes the fast and ripping ‘Demons’ which revamps its opening melody into violent riffs and doesn’t let us stop headbanging until the very end of the song; there’s a pause for about 2 seconds and then we get another stroke of brutality for 5 minutes straight into our face with ‘Bodily Dismemberment’, completed with gory and cruel yet in some ways brilliant lyrics and a magical guitar performance at the end. I was watching the film Scarface from 1983 two days after I wrote this review about Rigor Mortis, and suddenly I realized that the sentence “But you wouldn’t listen, would you? Well you stupid fuck, look at you now!” was originally from that film and is in the lyrics of ‘Bodily Dismemberment’. As I got to know from Bruce himself, he really did get that line from the film, along with other parts of the lyrics of different songs, for instance the line “Who’s laughing now?” again in ‘Bodily Dismemberment’ from Evil Dead 2, or referrings to other horror movies Re-Animator or Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The fourth track is the also powerful ‘Condemned to Hell’ saturated with a pile of nice riffs and a chorus that goes hand in hand with the lethal rhythm. ‘Wizard of Gore’ starts slowly and for a second suggests us some ‘breather’ in the forest of nonstop speed and violence, but picks up in seconds and keeps the killer pace up until the end. Then here comes the short but tight and fast ‘Shroud of Gloom’ with an excellent drum and guitar work and the intense ‘Die in Pain’ that has the usual furious riffs–extraordinary solo combination, which is so astonishingly ordinary on this album.
The album rolls onwards without mercy, here comes a(nother) highlight of the album: the fierce ‘Vampire’ is a pure 5 minutes long perfection. From the riffs through the vocals to the solos each detail, each note is well-composed, well-accomplished and definitely enjoyable, we can hear probably the most technical and most amazing guitar playing from Scaccia throughout the whole song and we can cry the “YOU WILL ROT” line with pleasure while showering instead of humming the habitual pop songs, much to the delight of people who live with us.

After 8 exquisite tracks the band still had inspiration and energy for another 2: the fast and tight ‘Re-Animator’ with the usual excellent guitar solo at the middle part, and the merciless ‘Slow Death’ with tense drumming that always keeps up the right tempo and frightening brilliant lyrics borrowed from the hitchhiker part of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre that sound even more freezing and amusing in Corbitt’s delightsome performance at the slower sinister part –

“I have this knife
It’s a good knife!

Well, what have we here?
You all look a little scared
Or should I say prepared
For you may be our next meal
Casey, rip off their flesh
Mike, drain me a glass of blood
Harden, prepare to make carcass stew”

– and the slowly rolling, smooth solo that starts at the last line of this part causes us to feel some kind of strange satisfaction filled with fear and joy.

Although the production of the album is light years ahead of their earlier demo released in 1986, it expectedly isn’t professional. The demo gives the listener a bit more ‘metal-feeling’ when he or she is listening to it because of the completely rude, unfinished sound and the more raw vocals, but fortunately this feeling can still be perfectly found here on the album. The advantage of the production is that it manages to capture the guitar tones, the strength of the vocals and the precision of the drums, which are the most important and impressive parts of the songs.

Corbitt’s vocals are raspy and sometimes are nearing the vocals of death metal, therefore they totally match the aggressive and heavy music. Rigor Mortis also made a lucky hit with the artwork: the easily recognizable cover with the bones and weapons sticking out of a long-haired, laughing skull before a red background are probably the simplest and best way to represent this evil, genuine, down-to-earth thrash metal music.

If you’re looking for something cruel as a wolf that tears up the flesh of its victim, if you’re looking for something unbelievebly fast, something original and something brilliant, here, my friends – you can get all the magic within 41 minutes.

Outstanding tracks: Welcome to Your Funeral, Bodily Dismemberment, Vampire, Slow Death


MORBUS CHRON. Crawling like a dreadful creature in the dark


MORBUS CHRON – Sleepers in the Rift (2011)

Review by Estelle on the 7th of May 2014


  1. Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin
  2. Creepy Creeping Creep
  3. Hymns to a Stiff
  4. Red Hook Horror
  5. The Hallucinating Dead
  6. Ways of Torture
  7. Dead Body Pile Necrophile
  8. Lidless Coffin
  9. Deformation of the Dark Matter

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Pulverised Records
Country: Sweden
Date: August 29, 2011

Robert Andersson – Vocals, Guitars, Lyrics

Edvin Aftonfalk – Guitars (lead), Vocals, Lyrics
Adam Lindmark – Drums
Dag Landin – Bass

morbus_chron-sleepers_in_the_rfitThe four-piece death metal band Morbus Chron was founded in 2007 and released their first album ‘Sleepers in the Rift’ in 2011. Three years later in February 2014 they came up with a completely different and apparently more evolved and more mature concept with their second record, Sweven – but that is a horse of another color (and possibly another review).
The Swedish death metallers’ debut is most likely my personal favorite death metal album of our recent years, along with Asphyx’s Deathhammer from 2012. Why?

Incredibly wicked overall sound, incredibly heavy classic riffs, incredibly well-worked-out sections – and all these in the spirit of pure old school death metal. They still don’t make a mistake with going to the extremes of this old school-mania or dealing too much with being flawless: even though each beat, each cut is reasoned, thought-out and well-worked-out, we can still clearly feel their ‘easy-goingness’ and passion towards the music they play. They don’t want or try to be perfect, they are simply excellent songwriters and musicians who do their thing naturally.

As the first song starts with the little piece of fitting scary music borrowed from the good old horror movies we immediately get the beloved frightening, dark atmoshpere which saturates the entire music, creeps into the darkest depths of our souls and awakes our love for the evil in us. ‘Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin’ is a nasty, raw and complex beast which simply stinks of dirt – similarly to all the other segments of the album.
Each song has a beginning, a main part and an end, filled up with varied, twisted, mesmerizing yet classic riffs, disgusting raspy, agonizing vocals and a filthy atmosphere. The riffs are quite thrashy at some parts (especially in the fast sections of the tracks ‘Creepy Creeping Creep’, ‘Red Hook Horror’ or ‘Dead Body Pile Necrophile’), however, Morbus Chron seem to reshape the thrashy riffs by playing them a little slower and uglier than a thrash band would have. Along with the thrashy speed and riffs we can also hear some stunning doomy parts similarly to Autopsy’s way of building them into their songs; and on top of everything there is a little rock n’ roll feel in the solo of ‘Red Hook Horror’, bringing in a slight element of fun in the band’s gore-based music.

Morbus+ChronThe unpolished production is a strong point of the album – it’s just as clear as it should be to make the music enjoyable and to keep the retro-feeling at the same time. The obscure, evil yet colorful and lively artwork is also highlightable: it catches our attention right at the moment we look at it, leading us to a mysterious and still cruelly realistic world.

With their dirty old school sound Morbus Chron present a tribute to legends like Autopsy, Nihilist, Entombed, Dismember, Grave or Carnage. Still, in spite of what you might expect, the album isn’t full of cliches. It is old school without ripping from its influences too directly – one thing is to take influences from classic bands and another is to use them properly and compose them into some ass kicking death metal tunes, completed with a labyrinthe of tempos and techniques plus a little hint of humour. They show they don’t take themselves as seriously as we might thought with song titles like ‘Creepy Creeping Creep’ or ‘Dead Body Pile Necrophile’, or by overdoing the hysterical coughing or gasping at times.

‘Sleepers in the Rift’ is one perfectly satisfying album for those who love the old school, and even though they know this is not something that will bring back the glory days, they crave for hearing those catchy, rotten and twisted riffs and classic gory, evil lyrics without photocopying the old legends’ way of playing.

Outstanding tracks: Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin, Creepy Creeping Creep, The Hallucinating Dead


ONSLAUGHT. In search of mediocrity


ONSLAUGHT – In Search of Sanity (1989)

Review by Estelle on the 15th of January 2014


  1. Asylum
  2. In Search of Sanity
  3. Shellshock
  4. Lightning War
  5. Let There Be Rock
  6. Blood Upon the Ice
  7. Welcome to Dying
  8. Power Play
  9. Confused

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: London Records
Country: United Kingdom
Date: August 22, 1989

Steve Grimmett – Vocals
Rob Trotman – Guitars
Nige Rockett – Guitars
James Hinder – Bass
Steve Grice – Drums

As one of the biggest representatives of British thrash metal, the five-piece band Onslaught has never given up if it came to trying to find themselves. Firstly they were searching for some hardcore punk tunes, later they shifted for their successful and more effective thrash metal approach, and here they are again, in one of the – in principle – still popular and productive years of thrash metal, searching for sanity.

I don’t think I should explain why thrash metal isn’t about sanity. Thrash metal is about speed, thrash metal is about rawness, thrash metal is about violence. The more insane, the better; and even though Onslaught knows this really well, in 1989 they came up with an outstanding album that was obviously against the idea of what they did before, of what all the other thrash metal bands did before, and that the fans of their first two albums didn’t welcome very well.

Onslaught In Search Of Sanity

In Search of Sanity is a longer, slower and more melodic approach of the genre, the music they play is more like a mix of power, thrash and speed metal. The crystalline production of the album creates the sound of polished thrash, and the vocals even deepen this effect: the amazing high voice of Grim Reaper’s Steve Grimmett matches the melodic sections, but unfortunately it misses the thrashy parts; at some places when the music becomes fast and the riffs get real intense, the vocals take from our energy and from the feeling the album gives us as a whole.

Rockett and Trotman play their guitars skillfully, although the songs could use more interesting and more diverse riffs, I could also say more riffs in general. Hinder’s bass line follows hard upon the guitars which gives a strong and heavy base sound to the album; Grice’s drumming is also solid and real tight sometimes, but his skills don’t really stand out from the other band members’.

The first mistake on the album that is completely inexplicable is the pointlessly five minutes long, boring intro full of random noises with the failing intention of terrifying, which has nothing to do with the music they play on the album at all. When we finally get to the first actual song, the title track, the pounding drumming, the powerful riff and the short energic guitar play work refreshingly and suggests us a massive album, and apart from the firstly quite weird vocals the song until the end of the strong solo is well-written and enjoyable. Then after bringing out the sound of the fairly technical guitars the track is getting dull – 7 and a half minutes are simply too long if we’re talking about thrash songs, and this is a typical returning problem on the album.

The third track is the rhythmical ‘Shellshock’ with basically almost the same riffing as the title track, which gives us the feeling of some kind of everlasting continuation of the sections which are too long anyway – even though the song contains clever and interesting parts such as the solo or the beautiful second riff after it, Onslaught can’t manage to hold our attention for as long as their songs would require.

The same problem again and again: ‘Lightning War’ starts off powerfully, some tight drumming and an energetic riff, after ‘Power Play’ this is probably the second fastest song on the album. Intense solo, the sudden drum beating right after and the fast continuation gives us some great energy… for a few moments – then we gradually get the usual “this is not enough” feeling.

The next one is a quite solid speed metal version of AC/DC’s ‘Let There Be Rock’, it isn’t a bad cover but it still doesn’t add anything to the album, if I wanted to be mean I’d say the album would be too long even if they simply cut this one out of it. ‘Blood Upon the Ice’ starts beautifully with the fierce drumming and the also dynamic riffs, the vocals take a bit from the feeling, though. Even longer than usual part before the solo, also too long after it, the riffs become generic and the vocals don’t help us to get a better impression either; here comes the slowly descending dullness.

If we still don’t feel bored enough, no need to worry, the band helps us out of this trouble as well – the next song, the longest ‘Welcome to Dying’ which is or which was supposed to be a slowly evolving ballad fails the point: after all the mediocrity they have been showing for the whole time, the leisurely slow and cheesy song instead of making us feel relaxed and comfortable makes us rather impatient and hungry for some heaviness. When it starts as if it was a soundtrack from a full-of-cliches romantic film we could ask ourselves: do we really need this on a thrash album?

Although the track has great moments, in general I can’t say it is well-written. Even the beautiful and technical solo where we can finally remember some ‘Metal Forces’ and shout “now this is Onslaught!” can’t help the fact that when we are already at 5 minutes we still feel like nothing happened, and when it’s over it doesn’t give us the feeling of something complete or whole because of its ‘slipperiness’.

After we got through the drawn-out ballad here comes some refreshment and at the same time probably the highlight of the album, ironically with the title ‘Power Play’. The thrashiest song of the record starts intensely, the tight drumming which keeps the pace up until the end and the lively riff work as some kind of salvation. The song with the emphasizable guitar playing and the spiritful vocals that we already got used to make a really strong ending for the album, although on the CD version we can also hear the quite decent but a bit also needless 2 minutes long cover of the song ‘Confused’ by Angel Witch as a bonus.

Summarized, the main problem is with the construction of the songs and of the album as a whole. While listening to the record, we continuously get the feeling of the lack of something and in most cases we can even say what it is – they could have created such a beast with this album if they just cut those real strong worthy parts out of the songs that they do contain but that get lost in the dullness and put them together as nine 4-5 minutes long tracks with kickass riffs and solos, instead of making the same mistakes while playing the pointlessly way too long repetitive tracks with lots of unnessessary filler parts. The song order could have been changed as well: Shellshock’s similar riffs to ‘In Search of Sanity’ wouldn’t be that disturbing if they put it 2–3 songs away from the title track; and I’m sure some hardcore thrashers would have more likely forgiven Onslaught for ‘Welcome to Dying’ if it was a winding-down closing track after ‘Power Play’.

Outstanding tracks: In Search of Sanity, Shellshock, Power Play


EXCITER. Rawness, aggression and passion


EXCITER – Heavy Metal Maniac (1983)

Review by Estelle in December 2013


  1. The Holocaust
  2. Stand Up and Fight
  3. Heavy Metal Maniac
  4. Iron Dogs
  5. Mistress of Evil
  6. Under Attack
  7. Rising of the Dead
  8. Black Witch
  9. Cry of the Banshee

Genre: Speed Metal
Label: Shrapnel Records
Country: Canada
Date: January 11, 1983

Dan Beehler – Vocals, Drums
John Ricci – Guitars
Alan Johnson – Bass

After one demo, the brilliant Canadian speed metal band Exciter released their first full-length album in 1983 – the year of changes. From that time there were new bands forming every week, from that time bands started to play more aggressive music, from that time brutality, speed and rivalism was in the center of metal music. Thrash metal was born, and was on its way to the top.

However, Exciter didn’t consider themselves a band that plays thrash metal, moreover they also said that they aren’t particularly fans of that kind of music. Dan Beehler mentioned in some of his early interviews that Exciter considers their music more like power metal (don’t forget that the expression power metal had a different meaning back then than it does now in our days). The vocals aren’t as aggressive, the songs (after their debut, Heavy Metal Maniac) aren’t as fast, and the sound itself isn’t as raw as a thrash metal band’s.


After the short but sinister intro the album actually starts with the fast and violent ‘Stand Up and Fight’, its main riff alongside the title track is full of energy, these two songs here at the beginning are so intense that I would be satisfied even if these were the only good songs on the album. After the powerful beginning we got the bit longer and slower ‘Iron Dogs’ which is still an impressive song with probably the best solo from Ricci. Then here comes ‘Mistress of Evil’ with an alive and memorable riff, and the heavy and fast ‘Under Attack’. The album doesn’t leave us any time to breathe, it rolls onwards like a massive yet alive stone: the next track is the probably most ‘classic-like’ ‘Rising of the Dead’, the riffs, the cuts and the whole song are amazing and easily memorable. After the shiny daytime of the album here comes the night, or at least the evening part: the beginning of the song ‘Black Witch’ seems to be a bit out of control, with a less well-worked-out ballad composition, but then fortunately the rhythm turns into an absolutely thrashy excellent instrumental performance. The last song of the album is the also intense ‘Cry of the Banshee’ which is filled with good riffs and spiritful vocals, especially at the middle part of the song.

We can clearly see the main features and intentions of Heavy Metal Maniac: putting as much violence and speed into the music as possible, completed with solid but fairly worked-out guitar lines. The listener can also easily notice Exciter’s attitude and passion towards the music they are playing; and even though they are not exactly professionals of their instruments, it isn’t only the passion that takes forward the hands of the musicians throughout the songs: the members also managed to stay precise and strict, each beat, each part of each song is strong musically (except for maybe the first part of the song ‘Black Witch’).

The riffs are quite simple but perfectly enough to have and keep our attention, and we also have some sweet solos here, just like in ‘Iron Dogs’, in ‘Rising of the Dead’ or in the title track.

The production of the album is weak unfortunately, although maybe this is what gives the listener an even more ‘metal-feeling’ when he or she is listening to it, along with the pureness and dirtiness of the music itself. The album is so smooth and ‘whole’ that it always continues like the blood is flowing in our veins – fluently and lively.

Dan’s vocals totally match the music and the production, they are raw, although sometimes, at the right places we can also hear some melody in them. We shouldn’t expect much from the lyrics of metal music that was made in the early ’80s in my opinion, the album mostly consists of songs that only sputter us some evil words and suggests us an ominous, frightening feeling. But considering how good is the album as a whole and how good are the songs in themselves as well, maybe this one thing is forgivable.

What is for sure is that Exciter’s Heavy Metal Maniac certainly is an essential and epoch-making debut of ’80s speed and thrash metal music, and additionally, it’s just as enjoyable to listen to nowadays as it was in 1983.

Outstanding tracks: Stand Up and Fight, Heavy Metal Maniac, Rising of the Dead