The Trials: July 6

Immortal Release Highly Anticipated  ‘Northern Chaos Gods’ 

The gods of kvlt have risen from their slumber and have thawed out their first record in nine year. Nearly a decade later and Northern Chaos Gods jump out into our mortal world via Nuclear Blast Records. When word first came out regarding this release, the heat was on! And I’m not referring to this unbearable heat wave from the depths of hell! This is the first record without our fun loving black metal shredding panda known Abbath. Could Immortal possibly produce a great Abbath-less album? Would Immortal’s latest become an album we would all pray the sands of time would bury? Will this be an abomination that we would hope our minds would wipe it clean from existence?! Let’s find out shall we.    

Immortal blast open The Wall and presumably charge in with the white walkers in tow with their title track and the appropriately titled “Into Battle Ride” bringing their A-game. Guitarist/frontman Demonaz and drummer Horgh double team in this invasion by sparing no one in these cacophonies of destruction. The duo press forward with “Gates to Blashyrkh” and once you set your metaphorical foot in to this “Gates…” there is no turning back because if that intro didn’t entice you walk deeper in to this fresh album, then the rest of this track will.  

“But J-Ohster, I want something faster and cooler because it’s so damn hot outside! EEEEK! I know what you mean but don’t worry, I got what you need. Have you heard of “Called to Ice” yet? Well now you have! This track is not only brutal AF and as unforgivable as the tundras, but it’ll also cool you down because of the excess sweat on ya from all that moshing therefore cooling down your overheated body. SCIENCE. “Where Mountains Reign” recaptures the old school magick Immortal won us over with, hell you can even feel the arctic winds when you play this track. *Bundles up* Immortal are the kings of the North and certainly silence skeptics and shine brighter than the northern snow at sunrise. Abbath’s departure and their nine year break didn’t make these lads rusty, not one bit. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here.

6/6, Hails Immortal!

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Hanzel und Gretyl Chill Out With ‘Satanik Germanik’ 

Four years ago we got lost in the Black Forest Metal with the industrial duo and all we got was definitely not a review. Ask and you shall receive! As in a review for Hanzel Und Gretyl’s latest album Satanik Germanik which was released via Metropolis Records. After settling in to this imaginary woodland area, we have gotten in touch with the elements and we’re all sorts of fucked up and spiritual in this one. What do I mean? I’m not sure… but allow me to elaborate.

The collective begin this unholy affair with the atmospheric and instrumental “Golden Dammerung” which is chalk full of traditional monk chanting (sorry if my ignoramus is showing), tribal drums. Its like you know a sacred trial is about to begin, too bad PE was never your subject. Better luck next time! If you’re diggin’ this mix, you have not heard the last of these enchanted chanters. Frontwoman Vas Kallas’s signature stubbly vocals greet listeners in the sly “We Rise As Demons.” “I Am Bad Luck” will put a spell on you once you let that alluring slow tempo and Vas Kallas soft words wrap it’s hands around your neck and you will take it because you want this psycho little track to feel better. *Catches breath* “Hellfire Und Grimmstone” will be stuck in your head long after you play the track not just because of that contagious beat/riff from Kaizer Von Loopy.

Now that Hanzel Und Gretyl have helped you find your center, they will pick up the pace with “Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)” because even though we found our zen spot doesn’t mean we ain’t lookin’ for a good time! In “Weisseswald,” Vas Kallas’s bass creeps out into the introduction right before Von Loopy swoops in with his strings, let me have it! The album ends the same way it started, with a tinge of nirvana titled “Kinamreng Kinatas.” This finale has the perfect mixture of chanting, church bells and the steady paced metal elements from the duo.

Don’t be fooled by the Satanik Germanik title, sure the J-Ohster was expecting a brutal and face melting album such as their previous releases BUT that does not mean yours truly was disappointed. This record is an album has the perfect balance of zen and the heavy metal, it’s like the metalhead that found their happy place through metal yoga! Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here and see how you feel about it.  

4/6,  Ist gut!          

Vontrov Guide Us ‘Through A Once Closed Passage’ 

Local one man band and our First Impression alumni, Vontrov, will give us a new and full fix of black metal to calm our shakes. That’s right, no more teasing, no more (epic) EP’s but a whole and full length album titled Through A Once Closed Passage. Even though this independent album will not reign over this heat until July 27, talking about this debut was a must. Will front man/multi instrumentalist Arevera shimmer in this album? Will this Passage be the beginning of an unforgettable journey? Grab your witch, your lion and the Prince Caspian near you because we gon tear through this wardrobe!

Vontrov guides us deep into the darkness with “Wicked in the Eyes of God.” This track begins with a whispery growl that will slowly seep out like the Silent Hill mist and then BAM! Arevera unleashes his intro riffs and a steady but fast paced foundation courtesy of the drum tempo AND this is all before he unloads his signature thick vocals. Not bad, not bad at all. Another track with a great riff to hook you in is “Past The Jaws of Death” which is a predominantly instrumental piece, BUT you just wait till it approaches the end. “Legion” charges towards the horizon with a tactful pace and will surely crush anything or anyone that dares challenge them. “Omniscient Pt.1,” on the other hand, will gallop slowly before going straight to the jugular.  

“Primeval Desolation” may have a tamer tempo, but this beastly track encircles around its listeners. Do you see what’s lurking in the misty shadow? It’s the title track guiding you back to the frosty light at the end of the forest in this relatively tame track. The LP concludes with an amazing cover of “Open the Gates.” Through A Once Closed Passage not only satisfies your craving for adventure, you wonder what kind of hex Arevera will craft next at his behest because he is the best. Shitty rhymes aside, this debut is only the beginning and what an introduction! Black metal fans will eat this up and even have casuals join the dark side. Be sure to listen and buy the album on July 27 on Vontrov’s bandcamp!

5 out 6, OPEN WIDE!  

The Night the ‘Apocalypse’ came to Daygo

Fleshgod Apocalypse gave the Klown a Chinese New Years to remember a little over 2 months before Ugh Metal came to fruition.

Hey mothaluvas, it is The Klown inaugurating the newest segment which we called Postmortem. To kick this off, the Klown thought he would start with how the Klown helped ring in the New Year two years ago (2016). It was Chinese New Years to be exact but it’s a still new year celebration nonetheless. The Klown would also like to issue apologies in advance if he seems to cut it short when it comes to talking about the bands that performed that night. On the night of February 23, the lineup consisted of six bands in total. The Klown went solo to the Brick by Brick to see this line up of awesomeness which was also presented by the perennial metal e-zine site, Metal Injection.

The night kicked off with the sextet, at the time, from Menifee known as Helsott. It is worth noting that it was the first time The Klown saw them perform. This was also the show in which the Klown mentioned in his previous article, y’know… the one that was about Primal Fear and Luca Turulli’s Rhapsody *cough* check it out! *cough*. At the time of their performance, the band was without a female vocalist, despite that loss, the collective showed no signs of slowing down and started their night with “Vandals Divide” and finished the night with “Agamemnon.” It was a night where The Klown was immediately convinced of Helsott’s continuous rise. As we all know, a lot has happened for Helsott since then and the Klown is glad to have seen them rise. If you haven’t kept up, they’ve been signed with the rising M-Theory Audio Records.

The mighty Helsott before M-Theory Records snagged them!

After Helsott cleared the stage, the night continued with the local melodic death metal act, Theosis. This local quintet is a myriad of our beloved genre and was a treat to behold. Theosis had the ability to switch between thrash, speed and grind. That night, they treated us all to “Bury Your Dead” and “Despise The Obsession” just to name a few. This band also had the talent to create a very calming atmosphere. Aside from the crowd having fun and headbanging to  the band , frontman John Haskins and their then drummer Omar Gutierrez, displayed a lax and cheery attitude that was contagious.

Haskins along with Shane Sarpy’s bass created a powerful combination that kept the crowd pumped and clamoring for more. They were definitely a treat to bestow upon. Although the Klown hasn’t seen them since, he has definitely kept up with them as much as he could. Two of the most recent shows since their reemergence was being a part of the round one of the Wacken Open Air Battle of the Bands USA this year and joining Voices Of Ruin at The Merrow back in April just to say the least.

Theosis having a great time and giving spectators the best of all world!

Helping keep the ever-increasing enthusiastic masses, was a local whose death was greatly exaggerated: Mortuus Terror. For those not aware of Mortuus Terror’s return, they were back and with some new blood in their lineup. The current lead singer is a bro known as Mondo and his vocals are brutal AF. The band kicked off their performance with “God Riddance,” not only was it catchy as hell but in true death metal fashion was on par to that of Cannibal Corpse and Deicide.

The night got more outrageous when they dedicated a song to the ladies called “Devirginized.” It didn’t matter whether it was male or female, the Brick went stir crazy and managed to make a big pit. They were a gem worth keeping your eyes and ears open for but sadly, the collective has disbanded since then.

Mondo of Mortuus Terror gave the crowd an earful with their brand of death metal.

Mortuus Terror left us all hungry for more and filled the Brick with more adrenaline while they waited for Abigail Williams to take the stage. Despite the fact that we had just gone through three bands, the excitement still loomed. Although it was a rather slow start, Abigail Williams debuted some new material such as the song “Beyond The Veil”, which was first promoted as a new track at that time for a brand new album. The very last time Ugh Metal spoke about the black metal collective was twice since this particular date in the same year.

Abigail Williams spoiling fans with a new track.

The black metal segment of the night continued even after Abigail Williams cleared the stage. The Dutch horror black metal titans known as Carach Angren took the stage, and gave all in attendance a twist on what the Brothers Grimm could not do: make fairy tales more metal than they could have been. The quartet started with “Once Upon a Time” as their opener and later performed “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting.”

As the night continued,  frontman Sorceron donned a skull mask over his corpse painted face prior to the beginning of “Spectral Infantry Battalion” during which the Brick had a brief sing-along taking place. Die hard fans sang along and joined new fans in headbanging and moshing till their heart’s content, especially once “Sighting Is Portent of Doom” and “When Crows Tick on the Windows.” Unless you live under a rock the Dutch collective released an album last year and still tour.

Carach Angren sprinkled a little bit of Halloween in to this February night.

Once Carach Angren finished on a high note, the hungry crowd got what they asked for. With just a little over 2 weeks after their latest album King was released, Fleshgod Apocalypse took the stage and treated us all to a royal treat fit for a king. Much like the album, the band started with the intro “Marche Royale” and transitioned in to “In Aeternum.” In commemoration of their new record, the Italian collective performed their first hit from that album, “The Fool.” The band also showcased a bit of their culture by having their opera singer join in. Yes, they have an opera singer named Veronica Bordachinni touring with them and she let out her powerful soprano vocals for the “Epilogue” performance.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Fleshgod performance without “The Violation” and “In Honour of Reason” from The Agony and Oracles album, respectively. The night ended appropriately with “The Forsaken” for that’s how the Klown and the rest felt when Fleshgod had to conclude the night. As we all know, lead singer/guitarist Tommaso Ricardi and lead guitarist/vox Christiano Trionfera left the band in 2017. Since that moment, drummer Francesco Paoli went back to becoming the frontman and guitarist of Fleshgod Apocalypse like he once was for their debut albums. Additionally, they announced an album in the works and of course, the theft they’ve experienced in Sweden. And to this one, I say to you, ciao bellos!

Tommaso Ricardi getting close and personal with his faithful legion.

The Trials of June 8-29 (with Missed Trials)

June 8

Exmortus Have A Fierce Campaign

Exmortus are not laying down their swords in their latest The Sound Of Steel which was released via Prosthetic Records. In this album they are louder, faster and fiercer, and can you feel your blood flowing already? I can and I haven’t even begun! We charge with “Make Haste” which is an excellent way to start this record because who doesn’t like a good jolt of energy!

We then dive into the belly of the beast and at full force in to the unholy “Feast of Flesh,” just be sure not to touch Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez’s portion of the spoils lest he unleash his rabid growl. Chase Becker’s ungodly riffs are so damn mesmerizing in “Into The Maw Of Hell” it’s a damn sin! “Tempest” and “A Minor Instrumental” will cater to melody mongers! The flurry of calculated riffs and tempo will guide listeners into an uncharted magical territory. In “Victory or Death,” Gonzalez shows off his high pitched battle cry that is sure to give seasoned metalheads a case of nostalgia.

The Sound of Steel  is battle ready and thirsty for blood, honor and possibly tacos! The quartet are filled with wonder and have brewed a brazen record, they are not afraid to show us their axe.  Exmortus will defend your honor in this life and in the next! Listen to the album or you can just check out their bandcamp and buy it there!

6/6, we raise our swords to thee!

June 15

Madball Deliver An Unforgettable ‘Cause’ 

The hardcore veterans have risen with their ninth studio album titled For The Cause via Nuclear Blast Records. Madball keep the ball rolling in their latest and have no signs of slowing down even after 30+ years! “Smile Now Pay Later” and “Tempest” are both as badass as you think, they are the tough guys that can walk the walk! “Rev Up” and “Es Tu Vida” will indeed start a revolution that will go down in history. Kudos to Madball for keeping their tradition of featuring a Spanish track in their record!

When you’re picking yourself up after a rough day, be sure to prescribe yourself “Freight Train” for that extra motivation you need to kick some more ass! “Lone Wolf” paces back and forth in its cage before striking. “For You” is a touching and empowering homage that will help soothe the loss of a loved one and everything in between, leave it to Madball to comfort us. This album is teeming with prolific artists such as Rancid’s Tim Armstrong who also co-produced the album, and Body Count’s Ice T. Madball concludes their album with the smooth reggae sample “For the Cause,” though it would have been an interesting and new treat if Madball would have made a full reggae track. Come on, don’t tell me you are not intrigued by that?

Madball emerge with another real album that does not shy away from life and all the things that come along with it. For The Cause still is that in your face record Madball is so great at creating but beneath that rough exterior lies an experienced and jaded wise man that will help you and give you what you need to get up and get going in this crazy thing called life. Deep right? Well listen to the album on Spotify and see what I mean! And get your copy here.

6/6, The Only Cause

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June 22

Marduk Unleashes The Vicious ‘Viktoria’

The black metal legends return with their latest titled Viktoria which was released through Century Media Records. Marduk are not letting their fair share of controversies deter them from making more material that is sure to appease die hard fans and casual listeners alike. Don’t be fooled by Viktoria, she is a feisty one and has world domination on her mind through the power of black metal of course. You will feel goosebumps form when you hear the alarm sound bite go off right before Marduk unleash the rabid “Werwolf” on to listeners. This single will make your blood curl especially when you hear that barrage of strings unload on to your ear drums.

Can you still hear it howling? “June 44” and “The Last Fallen” are two tracks that you will not forget, not just because they both grab your attention with a great intro but also because their fierce attitude will strike a sense of admiration and uncontrollable headbanging. Ooops! Of course I meant to include you into this bunch too, “Equestrian Blood” now quit horsin’ around! Get it? Anyway, this brutal stallion will trample your enemies and crush your neck because, you guessed it, more headbanging!

The title track is a vicious mistress! Drummer Fredrik Widigs and guitarist Morgan Håkansson burst in at the same time creating a supernova of brutality. Since we’re in the subject of brutal, “Narva” and will gnaw at you and will be a pit pleaser. The album ends with the slow burning “Silent Night” which will give us an opportunity of admiring the collective’s growls and instrumentals prowess. Viktoria may not be as magnetic as their previous release, which is filled with memorable and brutal tracks, BUT it’s still a great album that will appease fans AND will give you a new bitchin’ album to mosh and workout to. Listen to the album on Spotify a d get your copy here. And see what we thought about them last year!

5 out 6, She is a cruel mistress

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June 29

The Night Flight Orchestra Give Us More Nostalgia

The Night Flight Orchestra are moving away from their 70’s-ish sound from their previous album and strutting in with their stunner shades and Jerry curls in their new album titled Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough via Nuclear Blast Records. This brooding heartthrob of an album is PACKING with nostalgia, so grab your leg warmers and hop in the Delorean, we’re taking a trip down nostalgia lane! …Again but this time we’re going on to the 80’s! Duh!

TNFO make a grand entrance with the rock opera-esque “This Time,” just listen to it, you’ll know what I mean and be sure to grab your space helmet before taking off with this track. If you are dying to have an 80’s training montage, look no further because “Turn To Miami” will be the perfect song, you can’t do it Rock! You can’t take away my training song! Are you still immersed in that 80’s craving? “Moments of Thunder” will be the perfect anthem for your victory lap, champ. We need our dosage our cheesy love song and “Lovers In the Rain” will fit that bill and give you hope.

TNFO revisit their 70’s sound in “Pretty Thing Closing In” and it will win you over with its suave melody. The title track is the perfect anthem that will motivate you and push you to the limit! “Paralyzed” will hit the spot and has the best of all worlds. Aside from it having the catchy beat and synthesizers, David Andersson’s riffs makes a nice cameo in this track. This album was a fun ride that will make you dream of the 80’s whether that was your era or not. Bjorn Strind and the rest of the crew capture the lighthearted spirit of this era, take us back! But before you go listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here! And see what the Klown thought about their album last year.

6/6, Play this in the Delorean!

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**Mini Missed Trials**

May 13

Orphic Eye  Gives Us ‘Enlightenment’ In Their Debut EP

Local grindcore act Orphic Eye have released their debut EP Devastation in the Wake of Enlightenment independently. This album will put the May day in May day! What? That doesn’t make any sense? That’s because you haven’t listened to this EP yet and because I might be excited, inebriated and sleep deprived. Oh come on, baby! I’m writing this on 4th of July, it’s ‘Mericuh’s birthday! But that aside, let’s dive in!

Orphic Eye bite the bullet with the vicious “Tsar Catalyst.” The “Tsar…” will demand your attention and you will gladly oblige once you let that the smooth intro slowly slither into your ears, you will be moshing with yourself. We will become Big Brother for this next track because we won’t be able to take our ears away from “Surveillance” and our eyes will be staring at the screen hitting that replay button. Guitarist Matt Ponder, drummer Jack Owens and bassist Elijah Wells team up to crack open this track with a steady and enticing intro that will lure you into the sharp jaws of “Grassfed.” GUILTY! This feisty green track was one of yours truly’s favorite tracks on this album.

For the grand finale we have “Deranged Martyrdom” which will fool the untrained ear in to believing this EP will end with a tamer track. Fritz trades his deep guttural vocals for a higher pitch and shows off his range by throwing in some of shouting that is typically found in punk. Needless to say that this final track was a great way to end this EP. Orphic Eye are still fresh in the scene and nothing will stop them from grinding our eardrums with their brutal brand of grindcore. Devastation in the Wake Of Enlightenment is a great start in their conquest and will give listeners an earful, if you feel you are tough enough, listen and buy your copy of this EP in their bandcamp! And see what we thought about them in our humble beginnings.

5/6, All eyes on them   

**Correction/Fun fact: When this EP was being recorded back in 2016, Orphic Eye had Dillion Defelice lay down all the drum work, and Mike Grimes took over bass duties while Elijah Wells dropped the bass and picked up the guitar for this one. The band then re-recorded and added the final touches for the guitar last year! Special thanks to Matt Ponder for this info 😉**

May 25

Graveyard Prosper With ‘Peace’

The psychedelic Swedes known as Graveyard have returned with their latest album titled Peace via Nuclear Blast Records. The groovy quartet are back from the mother ship to win us back with this record which feels a little different from the rest. “But how J-Oh’ster? You don’t even know who they are? And you can’t even tell the difference between tomato and tomatoe!” you may ask, but first of all that statement is half right all tomato(e)s are the same and let me tell you why this one’s different.

Graveyard give us all a much needed and super groovy pep talk with their first track “It Ain’t Over Yet.” We will rush to Joakim Nilsson’s side when we hear his pained vocals in “Cold Love,” who hurt you Joakim?!  *Sigh* We warned ya, man. There ain’t nothing good from that “L” word, yeah I know my saltiness is showing.You know your worth! So you’re gonna get over your slump by grabbing your favorite shades, and chanclas and be as confident as “Walk On.” This track is a self-assured mofo will make any listener melt and so will you! ;)**

**Works 60% of the time everytime

Graveyard show their wild side in the ironically titled “A Sign of Peace.” Nilsson and guitarist Jonathan Ramm compliment each other with their respective riffs while drummer Oskar Bergenheim and bassist Truls Mörck create a swift and steady foundation. The quartet tone things down with the nostalgic “See The Day.” This track will be a song that will speak to you after a long day and after you tried to go against fate right before it slapped you silly.

That’s okay, you tried dammit! “Please Don’t” will equip you with the motivation you need to press forward, and hearing the keyboard make an appearance in this track was perfect for this rambunctious track. “Bird of Paradise” soars high because how can one ignore that magnetic riff that will slowly carry you off in to the sunset. What makes this album so different? Graveyard ooze a cool confidence that is very contagious and is sure to win you over and hype you up. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here! 

6 out of 6, ‘Peace’ Among Worlds

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Beginning of the End for Slayer

SLAYEEEEEEEERRR kick off their farewell tour in our sunny abode.

Editor’s Note: A very special thank you to our local photographic gem Alison Haertjens for letting us use her Testament pics! Thanks to her, this article will be a little less smutty! Be sure to check out her other pics on her Instagram page! 😉

In 1981, our genre was beginning to grow a bigger pair of balls. Not sorry at all, glam. Metallica still had Dave Mustaine and brought thrash into full force and Anthrax helped the East coast by giving it a booming thrash scene. Slayer, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries and had more speed, power and aggression. 37 years later, the legendary Slayer has grown a colossal legion, have had multiple Grammy nominations (2 of which were won), 12 studio albums, a comic book miniseries, a limited-edition bicycle collection, and their name carved on some die hard fan’s  forearms (and used them as one of their CD face covers). They have even inspired one of the J-OHkah’s favorite drinks at the Brick By Brick, “Raining Blood.”

The biggest news from Slayer this year was the announcement of their retirement. Of course, Ugh Metal and the rest of the metal world was shook but understanding. But in true Slayer fashion, their farewell wasn’t going to be a silent one nor an easy one. They upped the stakes and compiled a dream line up in which San Diego was honored and flattered to kick off their farewell tour on May 10 at the Valley View Casino Center.

The farewell tour was kicked off by legendary Bay Area thrashers  Testament. It seemed appropriate given how current Slayer skinsman, Paul Bostaph, was once a part of the band years ago. Most importantly, why not? The collective began by playing the title track from their latest, “Brotherhood of the Snake.” They also performed their current hit from the same album “The Pale King.” Before you begin grumbling that only new songs were performed, the Klown shall retort with “guess again, kiddo!”

Chuck Fn Billy couldn’t control himself either on this wake. *blows nose*
(Photo courtesy of Alison Haertjens)

They brought out some oldies but goldies before they called it a night. One of the those being “Practice What You Preach.” They also busted out some favorites from their 1988 breakthrough album The New Order such as “In To The Pit” and the title track. Steve Di Giorgio opened with a brief bass solo while prolific guitarist Alex Skolnick struck his opening guitar solo for the unmistakable start of “The New Order,” respectively. They closed their set with “Over the Wall” which would have set off the clown prez in an instant.

Look at Alex Skolnik kick some serious ass!
(Photo courtesy of Alison Haertjens)

As the fervor of the crowd remained, one of the most iconic Poles took the stage BUT before they did, their banner malfunctioned and soon everyone witnessed the unholy union of Behemoth and Anthrax or BeheThrax! The last time we spoke of Behemoth, it was in our humble beginnings, the second article to be exact. *sigh* Memories! Rather appropriate for Adam Nergal Darski and his band’s second Ugh Metal appearance being our sophomore year. Unlike last time, Behemoth returned to San Diego a little over a decade later. Unlike last time, Behemoth’s return was no longer that of an “up-and-comer” and Nergal and company proved why they are at the peak of their game.

As drummer Zbigniew “Inferno” Promiński climbed into his drumkit, bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski and guitarist Patryk “Seth” Sztyber followed after to take their respective spots. Nergal would then follow from behind of Orion and carried two flaming torches in each hand. Once Nergal tossed the torches aside Seth, Orion and Inferno thundered the beginning of “Ov Flame and the Void” from their 2009 Evangelion album. The real treat from Behemoth that night was when the inexhaustible Nergal announced a new album. Nergal, the benevolent leader of the vast Behemoth army, generously played “Wolves ov Siberia” to garner more anticipation and excitement for the new album that’s due in the near future.

Bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski and frontman/guitarist Adam Nergal Darski flexing their skills on their axes.

In the true art of reintroducing the classics to the new faithfuls,  Nergal busted out a timeless classic before he’d close his set. The Klown is talking about “Chant for Ezkaton 2000.” For those unaware this song  first made its debut in the 2000 Satanica album. Most artists would stash songs and leave them in the annals of time, not Behemoth. Much like the Klown heard it the first time, the song was great and the live performance always feels ceremonious and inclusive. The Polish quartet finished their time on stage with the current hit from The Satanist “O Father O Satan O Son” and donned the notorious blackened devil masks for theatrical emphasis. If you are a fan of Behemoth and hadn’t caught them before, this was just glimpse. The Klown just hopes it won’t be more than a decade before Behemoth performs in his humble abode.

As Behemoth cleared the stage, the second half of BeheThrax took the stage and the Klown was stoked. The New York thrash outbreak known as Anthrax have blessed the Klown’s hometown by playing twice in the last 7 months. Regrettably, Ugh Metal missed the first one when they came to the House of Blues with Killswitch Engage. Pennywise definitely took pity on the Klown and gave him the opportunity to see Anthrax. The quintet made sure we were alive and ready and charged us with extra adrenaline by playing the intro to Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” and The Blues Brothers’ version of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” as an intro.

Guitarist Johnathan Donais and guitarist Scott Ian getting the pumped up.

Once the playback was done, both guitarist Johnathan Donais and bassist Frank Bello struck the opening chords alongside Charlie Benante’s drums to open up with the non-moshers life story, “Caught In A Mosh.” Before Anthrax continued, the charismatic duo, Joey Belladonna and Scott Ian, interacted with the crowd and pumped them up. The Klown didn’t expect to hear their most recognizable song in their music arsenal so early in the night. If you haven’t caught on then maybe you should be in a “Madhouse” for not knowing that. See what the Klown did there? That was then followed by their other hit “I Am the Law.”

Ian used his larger than life persona to be a hype man while he interacted with Benante and traded off riffs with Donais and Bello. The Klown would feel terrible if he didn’t mention the charismatic man with the powerful pipes. Belladonna’s mighty vocals knew no bounds that it even put the Valley View Casino Center’s acoustics to shame. When Belladonna wasn’t blasting his mighty vocals on stage, he ran around interacting with everyone on stage and fans. Even if you were in the boonies of the venue, Belladonna tried and work with ya just so you wouldn’t feel left out. They also played a favorite of the Klown and Jenny Oh’s anthem “Antisocial” and closed out with an homage to Belladonna’s partial bloodline, “Indians.”

Donais and Frank Bello also did their fair share of hype!

As Anthrax cleared out, the metal congregation was beginning to wind down but not for too long. The most teeming faces of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal took the stage and much like Behemoth, it has been many years since Lamb Of God was last in San Diego. This time, Ugh Metal gets the chance to see these Virginians as the co-headliner on the farewell tour. The roadies wasted no time and once everything was set, and Lamb of God immediately opened their set with “Omerta.” Once the narrative playback finished, Mark Morton, Willie Adler and John Campbell struck their chords and were joined by Chris Adler’s thunderous drumming. Once the aforementioned opened the song with their instruments, the dread locked glory known as Randy Blythe joined in.

For those who have never seen Lamb of God live, allow the Klown to just say they are a treat. The real show is Blythe. In the case of that night, if you haven’t caught on or figured out by then, the crowd had been moshing since Testament got out an hour prior to LoG. With that said, Blythe had enough energy for the rest of us. If he wasn’t stomping from either side of the stage, he was jumping off the steps that were set up on stage. Most frontmen would do those type of things a couple of times, not Blythe. He did it throughout the entire set! The band took it back about 12 years and played their first hit from the Sacrament album, “Redneck.” Most importantly, they hit the nostalgia button 3 years further and played the song that introduced and converted the Klown into the LoG flock, “Ruin.”

Randy Blythe and the rest of Lamb Of God didn’t beat around the bush.

Blythe, in one of his very few breathers, did the usual frontman task and tried to feel out the pulse from the crowd. Of course, after being grateful and reminding us why we primarily came to the show to begin with, Blythe began to highlight his many loves of the Klown’s city. Some of Blythe’s passions happened to be synonymous with Southern California: surfing, skating and punk. After he highlighted his list of interest, he began to introduce the song off of their current cover album under their Burn The Priest moniker and played a cover of  “Inherit The Earth” by The Accused. Not only was the song great live, it brought the crowd back to life. As their time was coming to a close, the collective sent us off with another favorite from their arsenal “Laid To Rest.”

As the metal congregation from Virginia vacated, the main attraction took mercy on us and began the show earlier than planned. This would mark the third time the Klown has seen Slayer and the fourth time for Jenny Oh. In fact, the Klown’s second time just happened to be during the domain’s existence. Why don’t you read their Ugh Metal debut when you get time? 😉 Before the show began, Liquid Metal’s DJ and vox-for-hire Jose Mangin got on stage too not just to hype fans but also do a bit of crowd control. Why? Mangin was trying to avoid the Slayer show being delayed and canceled because of safety concerns pressed by the city’s Fire Marshall. The Klown thought he’d give Mangin a much well-deserved thanks, applause, and credit even if it’s long overdue.

Luckily the show pressed on!

As far as setlists and discographies go, the illustrious Slayer began in reverse and opened their set with “Repentless” from their last album (as if the Klown really has to say what the album’s called) which saw the stage props strategically on fire. They then performed “Blood Red” and  “Hate Worldwide” right before the show was briefly halted. Tom Araya himself came out to quell the unrest over the show’s abrupt halt again for the same reason Mangin had made an appearance earlier. Leave it to Papa Tom to know how to talk to his legion and get the show back on track and battle ready. Speaking of battles, the night immediately picked up with Araya commanding his legions by yelling out “war” from the top of our lungs for the performance of “War Ensemble.”

Kerry King shredded so hard he presumably made the stage catch fire 😉

After “War Ensemble,” they took it back to the Christ Illusion album with “Jihad.” This time around, Slayer added a little twist to the classic, “Black Magic.” The twist, that not even M. Night Shamalyan saw coming, was the opening half of “Raining Blood” was used to open “Black Magic.” They played one of the Klown’s favorite songs, “Payback” from God Hates Us All. The classics were played and indicated that the end was nigh. The quartet first continued with “Dead Skin Mask,” then the iconic “Raining Blood” and bulldozed straight to “Chemical Warfare.” As you have already guessed, it wouldn’t exactly be a complete Slayer show without “Angel of Death.”

Gary Holt paid homage to Jeff Hanneman and also shredded so hard he set off the pyros. ;P

All the Klown can say is that that show was F’n awesome! The Klown isn’t just saying that because he’s a fan, or because they chose his hometown first, and definitely not because it was their final show. Not in the slightest. The quartet from Huntington Beach have always been a spectacle to behold and had managed to stand the test of time whether thrash was “dead,” members vacating their spot due to disputes, or in the unfortunate circumstance, death. Even though the mighty Slayer is saying goodbye, it didn’t feel permanent in the slightest but they went all out in a big way.

The scene may not necessarily feel the same without them but it will stay where it has been, and will continue to influence hungry and incoming  talent. The Klown and Ugh Metal send Slayer their best regards and gratitude for their years of service and the music that they have produced along the way. *cracks open a Heineken* This one’s for you, Jeff.

An emotional Tom Araya gave a heartfelt thank you to their faithful legion at the end of the show.

A ‘Sadistic’ Resolution At The Brick By Brick

These ‘Sadistic’ dudes swooped in to give us a memorable show.

On April 6, San Diego’s Brick By Brick was to host a legendary black metal band and an array of black metal acts as support. Without delving off too much, the black metal O.G.s known as Taake were set to play that night, however, for the second year in a row, they have had issues in our country. This time it was due to a different situation. This of course was rather disappointing and worrisome given how the current circumstances escalated quickly. As the bad news inevitably came, Brick By Brick was determined to not let the night die. Most of the original lineup remained with one difference… which the Klown will leave that as a surprise for now.

The night kicked off with one of Ugh Metal’s First Impression alumni Sicarius. It has been a while since Ugh Metal has gazed upon the black metal daggermen. In fact, it was nearly a year ago since Ugh Metal saw them last in the same scenario, and place, and under different circumstances. Despite the circumstances, Sicarius opened and they displayed a lax mood which was not a bad thing, it felt like they were performing a private show for a group of close friends. But once the house lights turned off, the dagger men were no longer messing around. Naturally, the collective treated us to some songs straight from their studio debut album, Serenade of the Slitting Throats.

They sound like Sicarius, they smell like Sicarius, they are Sicarius!

Although the Klown has seen Sicarius before, for those who haven’t done so, the Klown will let you know that if you’ve never been to a Sicarius performance you probably should because Kurt Karcass is a spectacle in and of itself. If Karcass doesn’t catch your attention with his antics such as bashing the microphone on his head, he will come down from the stage and roam around the pit like a predator seeking its prey. This is something that will not only keep you attentive but focused. Before the Klown begins to talk about Empyrean Throne, frontman Andrew Knudsen joined in on the fun. Knudsen was decked out in his stage apparel and joined Karcass and Sicarius’s guitarist/backup vocalist/mastermind Argyris Malliaros, respectively, on vocal duties.

Andrew Knudsen of Empyrean Throne joined Sicarius for the ultimate duet.

Sicarius revisited their very first EP Scorch The Earth and even busted out their tamest song in the album, “The Current.” As usual, the performance was great. Remember the lax mood the Klown mentioned? These First Impressions alumni displayed humorous moments to cap off their evening,  well… Karcass did. Little did we all know that that would be Malliaros last appearance with Sicarius. Whatever happens, Ugh Metal wish Malliaros the best and hope to see him in the near future. We have a feeling that that won’t be the last that we’ll see or hear of him.

As Sicarius departed from the stage comically, the Klown shall now talk about Sicarius’s label mates, Empyrean Throne. Unlike Sicarius, these gents display black metal but in a symphonic approach but you knew that already, right? After all, the last time we saw them perform was for the Helheim show last year. Hell, even Andrew Knudsen had a chat with us back in December. The night kicked off when Knudsen donned his plague mask early on and spread some pontifical incense by swinging an incense boat in the Brick.

Empyrean Throne shows us a ritual that we will not forget.

Unlike last time, Knudsen and the band no longer had prop issues and performed his theatrics with precision. Naturally, the collective performed from their current installment Chaosborne. In an effort to hype the crowd, Knudsen took his mic with authority and began to air the current black metal grievance, Antifa. Much like Knudsen did before with Sicarius, Malliaros joined in as a backup to Knudsen and did a stellar job riling up the crowd some more.

Although Knudsen’s frontman skills were on par, not all credit can be given to him solely. Guitarist Mike Brennan, also managed to take away a bit of the spotlight and even decided to join fans in the pit. Brennan hopped down with his guitar and shredded away in the pit and partook with the small mosh pit that formed around him.

As the black metal royalty cleared the stage, the trve Armenian mountain men took the stage. Unlike the last time we saw them, Highland was placed in the co-headlining spot, the Klown was low key excited to see them. the trio came back in style… sort of. Much like the Throne, the men from Highland spread some incense of their own to set the mood. This time around, frontman/guitarist Gevork Matevosyan went on without a hoodie and brought some memorable props which would please the self-proclaimed trve. No, not sacrificial goats, they messy! The Klown is talking about stand in the shape of upside-down crosses.

Guitarist Narek Avetisian of Highland towers next to the cool new props.

The Klown was glad to see that his excitement was justified because Highland delivered in a big way. Right from the start, the Armenian trio fired off strongly with “Abu Sindi” from their LP debut  Loyal to the Nightsky and kept the night going with “Cimmerian Wave in Abysmal Space” from their 2013 debut, self-titled EP. Most importantly, it was the return of Matevosyan’s crazy eyes! Although not all credit can go to the frontman, the other guitarist and vocalist of the trio, Narek Avetisian did his part as well.

Aside from Avetisian wowing fans on his side of the stage, he traded spots with Matevosyan and would sometimes pump others up. Meanwhile the drummer, Michael Samerdjian, effortlessly destroyed those drums like it threatened to convert him to Christianity. Even as their time on stage was nearing towards its impending end, Highland finished strongly with “Nocturnal Deathstrike” and kept the crowd asking for more.

Frontman/guitarist Gevork Matevosyan has a look that can kill!

As it’s been established, Taake was supposed to be the headliner of the night which simply didn’t happen. Thanks to the quick thinking of the Brick By Brick, a replacement with the same prestige was contacted. So, with that in mind, as the guys from Highland retreated back to their black metal mountains, the merciless death metal band known as Sadistic Intent took the reins and entertained our mopey asses that night. Much like some collective gigantic names that the Klown has seen before, these gents required no effort to get a crowd’s reaction.

Once Bay Cortez took center stage he was immediately joined by guitarists Rick Cortez and Ernesto Bueno and the drummer Arthur Mendiola. Without a second notice, the Cortezes and Bueno struck their chords for the beginning of some death metal bliss. In an instant, the Brick went from clamored to fevered. Much like the Grinch’s heart, the pit began to brew and grew three times that night. The crazy part was that that was only beginning of the performance.

Death metal legends Sadistic Intent swooped in to give us a night we will never forget!

As the night progressed, the collective powered through their headbanging, mosh pit inducing set. The soft-spoken Bay took a breather, inquired about our well-being, and announced that they would take it old school specifically back to 1994’s Resurrection EP. Once that was announced, life reinvigorated back into the Brick like a jolt of lightning striking a battery back to life. As the night was ending, the quartet showed an act of charity not once but twice. How? As you may not be wondering, they performed two encores. The second was a real treat as Rick popped out from behind the stage exit and was taken aback by the audience chanting their name and begged for more. The Cortezes relented the plea, promised and played one more before calling it quits for the night.

The Klown didn’t know what to expect from the quartet as he’s never seen them live before. Although the majority in attendance really wanted to see Taake, Sadistic Intent was indeed the perfect substitute for that night. Most importantly, the group revitalized the old school fans in attendance and may have introduced themselves to a new generation of fans. The Klown just hope for two things, for things to blow over with Taake enough for them to come back, and for Sadistic Intent to come back again. Who knows? We may even get them both on the same bill someday. Don’t be a buzzkill, the Klown can dream, can’t he?

Vocalist/bassist Bay Cortez purging out pure brutality.

The Trials of June 1

Malison Turns Heads With Debut

The gentlemen in Malison did it! After inking a sexy little record deal with Combat Records, they have delivered a self titled debut album too! Look at how clever you are! You figured it out all on your own 😉 For those that are not familiar with this local heavy metal jewel, please allow yours truly to give you an idea what you’ve been missing out on.

“Beyond The Sun” has an upbeat and steady rhythm provided by drummer Nick Mafi and a sticky riff that will glue you in courtesy of guitarist Mario Lovio. This track rises to its full potential and is rightfully placed as their first track in this record. If you are still looking for another great hook up, listen to “The Protocol.” The trio weaved together a badass theme song titled, you guessed it, “Malison” who works its way to the summit. This theme song has a nice and smooth start and then BANG! Bassist/vocalist Steven Rondina and Lovio ease their way into our unsuspecting ears.

Malison take a break from telling us all these heroic stories and let loose in their smooth jam sesh titled “The Architect.” “Nightmare Pursuit” is anything but a nightmare, just listen to it carefully and allow the intro Lovio provides for this song to pull you back in. The album ends with the feel good and wide-eyed song titled “Seeker” and yes it will fill you with motivation and make you hungry for adventure…and hungry too. Malison are starving, fierce, and ready to conquer the metal scene. This album is just the beginning and frankly, we can’t wait! Listen to the album and buy it on all major outlets!… Or just click here 😉 And see how we felt about them when we saw them last year here and here!

6 out 6, They’ve only just begun

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Nervosa Preach Our Brutal ‘Downfall’ 

Brazilian thrashers Nervosa forewarn us about our impending doom in their latest installment  Downfall of Mankind released via Napalm Records. The trio are taking no prisoners in this record and aren’t afraid to give you a piece of their mind! Nervosa have produced merciless tracks in their previous albums but they are ready to thrown down in this one. How? Let me tell you how!    

Bassist/vocalist Fernanda Lira begins this brutal soundtrack about our demise with her distinguished battle cry in the adrenaline soaked “Horrordome.” This track is off the fritz with the help of  drummer Luana Dametto and guitarist Prika Amaral as well. Nervosa will give you the urge to rise with the brutal anthems “Kill The Silence” and the anti war anthem titled “Never Forget, Never Repeat.” Amaral plucks her mighty axe for a bitchin’ intro in “…And Justice For Whom?” And you just wait till you hear her solo! HOve you pieced back your face again? Ok, good. Let’s proceed.

“No Mercy” does just that, Lira will rip your face off again in this thrashtastic tornado.The vocalist’s bass slap and her fierce growls will echoe well in to next year! Can you hear it, Mr. Krabs? “Conflict” and “Cultura do Estupro” are heated and were great choices to wrap up this album because these tracks will not fade from your mind anytime soon. BUT if you have the chance to listen to the bonus track, “Selfish Battle” Lira showcases her epic power metal-like howls which are just as contagious as her growls. This album is a manifesto and its flashing its sharp teeth and is ready to start a thrash revolution. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here!   

5 out 6, To the end!

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Gruesome Offer ‘Twisted Prayers’ In Their Sophomore Release

Death incarnate has risen once again in the form of the super group Gruesome. If you love reading our shitty site, you are aware as to how we felt about them last year… you haven’t?! Well, click here to warm up for the rest of this article. JK! Finish this one first, I love you long time. Anyway, Gruesome have brought us a sacred offering titled Twisted Prayers through Relapse Records and it is quite the spiritual awakening.

Gruesome don’t beat around the bush and gets crackin’ with “Inhuman,” and vocalist/ guitarist Matt Harvey continues to bless us with plenty of Schuldiner worthy riffs and vocals. Harvey kicks off “A Waste Of Life” with a slower melody that will slowly slither and coil itself around its listeners. The overall tempo of this track may be slow by comparison but it doesn’t mean that its your neighborhood “radio friendly” track. This song is a low life mooch that will circle around your stuff just waiting to snatch it! But I guess you will turn a blind eye after you hear Harvey’s amazing solo mid way drip like molasses.     

There isn’t a fantasy more deadlier than “Fatal Illusions,” you just let Schuldiner…oops, I mean Harvey’s growls take you off to the death metal promised land. “At Death’s Door” has an attention grabbing riff to kick off this track that mimics the signature calculated riffs we adore so much and will slowly work their way beneath our feet and catapult us in to the heavens! Twisted Prayers is a great follow up to 2015’s Savage Land, and even though its packing less songs, this ones fierce! Listen to the album in major streaming services and get your copy here!  

6 out 6, Hallelujah!

Ghost Gives Us An Insightful ‘Prequelle’

Ghost continue their crusade in their ghoulish and unholy endeavors in their latest Prequelle released via Loma Vista Recordings. With a new album comes a new head of this cult, so with that being said we now have Cardinal Copia on vocal duties. Does the Cardinal have the same musical chops as the Papa’s before him?! Will you stop being so salty about Ghost and see what I gotta say? Ok, fair enough I respect ya but you have nothing better to do and you know you are a little curious about it.

The nameless ghoul summon its sharp axe by giving “Faith” a grand and killer intro. The track ends with a good ol’ fashioned church choir accompanied by the organ because you cant have one without the other! It’s like pancakes and maple syrup, beer and wings. You get what I mean. “See The Light” is an empowering break up anthem Cardinal Copia belts out which is sure to mend any broken heart. “Miasma” is a nice buffer in between because its an awesome little jam sesh from Ghost where all the ghouls can flex their music muscles and there is A SAXOPHONE GUYS!

“Pro Memoria” has a strong cinematic element that is sure to lure listeners in, Ghost succeeds in weaving another beautiful hymn for the dark prince. “Helevetesfönster” would be a good instrumental song for a Grimm fairytale and lastly, Ghost will makes us long for them forever with “Life Eternal.” *Mega swoons* Love them or hate ‘em the unholy empire of Ghost reigns supreme in Prequelle and provide more memorable tracks in this installment that are borderline sacrilegious. Listen to the whole album on major streaming services and get your copy here!

6 out 6, Trés magnifique!

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Trials of May 25, 2018

Lordi Stumbles in ‘Sexorcism’

Finland’s ruthless monsters known as Lordi have landed and want to perform a Sexorcism on us.Okay, Lordi may not be that ready to take us to that level yet but it is the title of their latest album which was released through AFM Records. The ghouls in Lordi first won us over in the early 2000’s with their contagious rock anthems and ghoulish delights but do they still have it in them?

Do you feel “Your Tongue’s Got The Cat” slowly burrow itself in to your heart? It did for me, well in this hypothetical scenario of course since I don’t have one. If you have a thing for the arena rock synth, you can certainly hear it in this track. Because Lordi is hellbent on seducing you,they bust out another tale of romance called “Romeo Ate Juliet” *swoon* “Slashion Model Girls” and “Polterchrist” conjure up a classic Lordi vibe and has a semi-catchy chorus.“Hell Has No Room” will give you the adrenaline rush Lordi is good at.

The album concludes with “Haunting Season” which dusts off the xylophone which is always a great complimentary sound for these creepy crawly adventures. Lordi seem to be missing that je ne se quoi that we fell in love with a little over a decade ago, hell, even from their previous album. This album tried to seduce me with its infernal long tongue which is always nice but I guess I’m just looking for more. This was just another album in the collection *sigh* BUT just because I love playing hard to get doesn’t mean you have to, listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here or any major platform!

2 out 6, I still love my monsterman but I just don’t understand the beauty of this beast.    

Micawber Burn Brightly in ‘Beyond the Reach Of Flame’

Micawber wowed us last year at the Vader show and now they’re on a mission to wow us with their latest titled Beyond The Reach Of Flame released via Prosthetic Records. They begin their third LP with an amazing ode titled “Full Denim Jacket,” there has never been a brutal homage to our faithful denim jacket such as the one Micawber created. The quartet add some suspense in to the slow burning title track but beware, this titular beast does not stay dormant and will show you what its made of and so will guitarist Derek DeBruin! “Beyond The Reach Of Flame” sets up the stage for the face melting “The Starless Sky” in which Leighton Thompson unleashes his thick and ferocious vocals.

“In Shadow In Light” is a track that will spoil us rotten because in this track the collective have the opportunity to flex their music skills that will certainly kill you with thrills… In other words you will be replying that track and basking in their musical prowess. “Icon of Extinction” bassist Nick Gouin takes the lead before the rest of the ensemble rush in with their instrumentals and carefully craft an erratic but intricate display of instruments, listen to that epic breakdown.There are instances in “King Of Ash” where Thompson’s vocals sort of resembles that of Meshuggah’s Jens Kidman, imagine a duet with these two?

Though this third album is not a rabid record just like their previous releases, Micawber still deliver an album that will please fans and casuals alike. Beyond The Reach Of Flame is tame by comparison but rest assured, it will keep the torch you have for them burning ever so brightly besides, we get to savor the band’s instrumentals and Thompson will still growl so loud in to your ears you will feel it in your rears! Listen to the album on Spotify ad get your copy here.

6 Out 6, It’s lit     

Bleeding Through Will ‘Love’ Fans To Death

Bleeding Through have risen from their deep slumber after six years. The quintet from the OC had called it quits but then the artistic itch was so insatiable, it caused them to reassemble and release their eighth studio album titled Love Will Kill Us All through Sharptone Records. Bitter hearts will rejoice not just because the title is spot on but also because this album might just send them back to a time when they were young, and dumb and angsty.      

BT begin this funeral procession with the dramatic intro “Darkness, A Feeling I Know” before guitarist Brian Lepkke leads the way into the amazing transition into their single “Fade Into The Ash” which will surely twist the knife in your decrepit and shriveled heart. Marta Peterson’s organ keys fuel the atmosphere in this album, Dracula would swoon! If you are craving a song with a predominant presence of the organ, listen to “Dead Eyes.” But don’t worry, Peterson’s keys resonate on most of the album.  

The pain and heartache in “Cold World” will rock your body to the core, just wait till you hear Brandan Schiepatti’s gruff wail echo above and beyond. For rougher songs with no clean vocals their single “Set Me Free,” “Slave” and “Buried” will hit the spot and BT crank up the metal part in metalcore. Love Will Kill Us All is the perfect soundtrack for the funeral of broken hearts. BT convey their forlorn theme and experiment a bit with theatrical elements that suit them very well! Yes, teenage me is very pleased with this album. Listen to the album on any major streaming service and get your copy here.

6 out of 6, Pleasure is Pain!

Firehaven Are Ready To Set The World On Fire

Here to fuel our independent band fetish is Firehaven! The Bay Area based melodic death metallers ignite our interest with their debut self titled demo and man are they ready for blood and fire! Aching for the rough and guttural vocals? Vocalist Samantha Smith has just what you need baby and will swallow you whole and spit you put into the depths of hell…One ticket please!

Guitarist John Clock ushers in “Providence” before Smith swoops in for the kill! Clock continues to provide great hooks with the intro riff in “Interference,” which beautifully compliments Smith’s thick vocals. Another bonus I forgot to mention is that Clock also provides technical death metal- like riffs that will please any metalhead. The quartet also add more grit and attitude to their cover of Light This City’s “The Unwelcome Savior.”

Firehaven are firm believers of quality over quantity by producing four great original tracks in this demo. Though Light This City is their main inspiration, the trio shows a tremendous potential to light the metal scene with their own flame. You can listen to their album and buy it in their Bandcamp.

5 out 6, Burn this mother down!

We Worship the ‘Cult of A Dying Sun’ 

Oregon black metallers Uada return with their follow up to their critically acclaimed debut called Cult Of A Dying Sun via Eisenwald Records. In this cult, there are no deadly kool- aid cocktails or promises of demi gods living among us but there are a chalk full of songs that will elevate you to the great beyond…or deep below, whatever floats your boat.   

The album starts with the lit track “The Purging Fire” which has a little bit of everything that will indulge your black metal needs, I’m not gonna spend too much time on their single “Snakes & Vultures” because you already know how bitchin’ it is. The title track shines brightly in its swan song, Jake Superchi’s growls and howls embodies the agony a cult would feel for the dying red giant, especially after knowing their tanning sessions will end forever! Guitarist James Sloan and Superchi also work great together in creating a great melodic riffs to compliment this song, lest we forget bassist Edward Halpin and drummer Josiah Babcock providing a great and steady foundation.

Uada set the “cult” aspect of this album in their atmospheric instrumental “The Wanderer.” If you think this album is gonna simmer down, think again because Uada is not one to leave things serene. They reign with the ferocious “Sphere (Imprisonment)” which is a great and memorable track to end this album. This Cult was intriguing from beginning to end and will draw fans and casual listeners in like a moth to a flame. Listen to the album on Spotify and get your copy here. AND don’t forget to catch them at the Brick By Brick on July 5 and see what we thought of them last year!    

6 out of 6, Our new ‘Cult’   

Presented By Jenny Oh and Chuggo the Klown