PICK OF THE WEEK: Chaos Moon’s weird, cosmic black metal gets raw edge on ‘Eschaton Memoire’

It seems at least once a year, some batshit weird group comes out and declares that the end of the world is near due to some mathematical formula or bastardized Bible passages. The date is declared, it passes, nothing happens, and everyone goes back to their lives. Yet, one day, humanity will come to an end, whether it’s gradually or suddenly.

Philadelphia-based black metal band Chaos Moon seem to want to hit the acceleration pedal on the whole thing, as they weave and dream of the end of humankind in their music. On the band’s fourth record “Eschaton Memoire,” they pave a path of death, foreseeing the end times in as violent a manner as possible and seeing the scorched earth as a killing field that leaves no one unscathed. The five-track, 41-minute record is violent psychologically, but there are other elements mixed into their style that make them spookier and spacier. The music gets into your bloodstream and causes you to see visions and Apocalyptic horror that, while it’s tearing the earth apart, is so fascinating you must watch everything burn to the ground. The band—Eric Baker (vocals), Alex Poole (guitars and atmosphere), Steven Blackburn (guitars and atmosphere), and Jack Blackburn (drums)—elevates what they accomplished on the excellent 2014 record “Resurrection Extract” and everything that preceded it and rips out one of the most fascinating black metal records this year.

“The Pillar, The Fall, and The Key (I)” plunges the record into dark eeriness, as the music takes hold and makes it feel like you’re gazing into a freezing midnight sky. Blackness erupts, while wild shrieks send glass flying, and the shadows get darker and more dangerous. The guitars then soar into space and toward the stars, bleeding into “The Pillar, The Fall, and The Key (II)” that sinks into unexpectedly moody playing. Crazed growls and wild shrieks mix and lead the way, while the sound continues to dash past planets, the power bristles again, and the music crushes for a final stretch before trickling away. “Of Wrath and Forbidden Wisdom” is a beast at 10:22, slowly simmering in echoes and weirdness before the cloud coverage spreads, and the storm saturates the earth. Harsh growls and mesmerizing melodies do their part to confound, while the pain builds, and the music blisters away. Melody swims and goes serene before the flood gates reopen and begin filling everything with misery. “Stench of death fills the air!” Baker growls, while the guitars immerse your being, and the song gives way to mercy.

“Eschaton Mémoire (I)” starts in a synth fog before it begins punching its way out, and Baker’s vocals start tearing holes in the surroundings. The band brings thick darkness, as the song turns raw and vicious, nodding toward the roots of black metal and tending to the chaotic fires. The track then steers into a cold fog, as keys blend into the hellish visions, and then it sails into the 13:56 second half and closer “Eschaton Mémoire (II).” Massive shrieks penetrate as the music cascades, and the band then brings a sonic stampede, which begins to speed up dangerously. The pace pummels, while the vocals wrench, and then things cool off and allow you to gather a breath. But that’s not for long, as the onslaught renews, and the storm spreads its reach. The violence remains persistent but slowly dissolves into the mud, while noise hovers, a space haze darkens your vision, and the nightmare spirals away.

Chaos Moon’s vision of the end is a harrowing, imaginative one, even if that includes all human flesh being burned to a crisp. “Eschaton Memoire” is an excellent record that provides different pathways into your mind with every visit and is as mentally stimulating as it is violent. This is a powerful document, the last great black metal record of the year.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaos-Moon/111626415515769

To buy the album, go here (U.S./Canada): https://www.blood-music.com/store-us/

Or here (rest of the world): https://www.blood-music.com/store-eu/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.blood-music.com/

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Genevieve’s brain-mangling fire continues to morph, warp minds with devastating ‘Regressionism’

We don’t mind a challenge, and if we’re being really honest here, we don’t see a whole lot of them these days. When they arrive, the music that twists our brains into weird shapes and makes odd juices flow through our pores are very welcome as the end of the year has us in a seasonal malaise.

Maryland-based destroyers Genevieve are back with their genre-bastardizing new record “Regressionism,” which, if we’re being honest, is a silly name for this six-track beast. The band and the music are doing anything but regressing. They’re pushing their craft forward and mixing whatever elements of extreme metal they have hanging around their bloody tool bench. Black metal, doom, noise, drone all is packed into this thing, though that’s only touching the basics of what makes up this flattening album. The band—Eric Rhodes (bass VI, vocals, acoustic guitar, cello), Keith Mathias (acoustic and electric bass guitars, vocals), Mike Apicella (acoustic and electric guitars), Christian Wetmore (electric guitar), and Matt Powel (drums)—displays mind-blowing ability but doesn’t just show off their skills. The songs are dynamic and incredibly brutal, thought provoking and painfully savage, always keeping you wondering where the hell they’re going next. As strong as their 2015 debut “Escapism” is, this adds so many twists to their game, you’re better off giving in and getting swallowed alive.

“Smoke” starts off with clean playing and noises beginning to rattle, giving off a psychedelic vibe, and then clean warbling enters the fray, making things feel bizarre. Then the track is torn ass to mouth, as the words are scream-sung, crazed wails pelt behind that, and the tension mounts before whirring away. “The Judge” is a 9:27 pounder that trudges and punishes right away before shrieks and growls join the mix, and dizzying patterns start down a path from which your mental well-being cannot return. Deranged violence and delirious chaos make for a volatile team, but then things fade into calm, with elegant guitars trickling. The storm then returns, with maniacal yelps damaging, the band demolishing with desperation, and the track coming to a weird, blistering end. “Wind Chimes” then comes in, a quick instrumental built with acoustics, cellos quaking, and the track entering an echo chamber.

“No for an Answer” is dark and sinewy, with the song erupting out of the shadows. Things ignite as growls begin to chew at the nerves, the growls mix in their menace, and the pace crashes and confounds. Total insanity comes in from there, as melodic guitars spread, strangeness cracks through the surface, and odd howls of, “I have swallowed you whole,” rush to the utterly crushing end. “William Blake” is the longest track, stretching over 10:55 and making sure the sounds simmer. Grim growls head into obliteration, while a savage attack commences, and the pace leaves you breathless. Doomy melodies sink into waters before the tempo relents, and a breezy sensation is unleashed, unexpectedly cooling the skin. That leads to a nice, lengthy psychedelic passage that weaves its way back to the explosives, where the track enters an industrial haze. Voices cry behind the madness, while piercing screams and a killer charge bring the song to its end. Closer “Regression Schism” begins with cold guitars that explode with fire mere moments into the cut. The growls gurgle blood and mud as the track enters total chaos. A weird jazzy section interjects, making the surroundings feel surreal, but then a jerky section of playing punches away, and the growls explode. One final stretch of all-around trickery, massive thrashing, and horrifying screams draw this panic-inducing display to an end.

I’m several listens into “Regressionism,” and I still don’t know what to make of all of this. Genevieve keep morphing into a bigger, stranger monster, and their work here is enthralling and confounding. It’s nice to have a baffling puzzle to tackle when putting on a record, and this one will have you working overtime until your brain melts.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GenevieveIsAvantGarde/

To buy the album, go here: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/regressionism

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords

Cruciamentum, Thantifaxath mix for deadly tour, smashing new cuts on killer shorter releases

Cruciamentum

If you hail from the East Coast of Canada, or anywhere within that vicinity, the past couple weeks have brought one of the most brutal death/black metal tours of the entire year. It’s a shame that this pairing of Cruciamentum and Thantifaxath only lasted 10 dates during its shirt life span, but those who were there to witness it surely won’t forget it.

For those of us who missed out, the occasion at least has some positives in the form of new music from both destructive entities. Cruciamentum hit back with a two-track, 7” release that’ll only be pressed once and in limited numbers, though it will live in infamy in digital form forever. As for Cruciamentum, they have a four-cut EP for you that’s generously packed, has some bizarre new twists for the band, and should be more than enough to satiate appetites until they return with a full-length. It’s a nice year-end bounty from two of the darkest, most promising bands in the underground whose reach should extend far into the future. You know. If we have one.

Let’s start with UK death warriors Cruciamentum, who have these two cuts that’ll rip your head off. “Paradise Envenomed” contains the crushing title track that is the first fruit of the new lineup (guitarist/vocalist D.L., bassist D.R., drummer J.F, and new guitarist/vocalist R.B., who has done time in Axis of Perdition, Wodensthrone, and Winterfylleth) as well as a cover of an Absu track on which they apply their own bloody varnish. It’s the first new music we’ve gotten from the band since their excellent 2015 debut record “Charnel Passages” and proof positive that they remain as deadly and unforgiving as ever before. Another perk is both the physical and digital versions are reasonably priced, so putting out your hard-earned money won’t set you back.

The title track gets things going, as right away we’re in the midst of stirring death metal and barked howls that dissolve into manic growls. The pace grinds away, taking flesh and bone with it, while the tempo gets uglier and faster, as it becomes impossible to avoid the flying debris. The vocals become animalistic and dangerous, while the band pounds away relentlessly, and strong soloing sets fires. Doom bells strike, sending a wave of panic, while the guitars pick up and rampage toward the end. “Descent to Acheron (Evolving Into the Progression of Woe)” is a cover of the 1993 Absu classic from their “Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” record, and the band gives it proper dark. There is a strange treatment, as the vocals get some echo to compound the strangeness, the fury is properly evil, and the guitars wail away, dropping you right off at the funeral bells that draw this to a close. Nice job staying faithful to the song but putting their own deranged fingerprints on it.

For more on Cruciamentum, go here: https://www.facebook.com/cruciamentum/

To buy the album, go here (digital): https://cruciamentum.bandcamp.com/album/paradise-envenomed

Or here (U.S.): https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/

Thantifaxath (Photo by Nathan Mills)

Toronto-based black metal shrouds Thantifaxath are dramatically developing into one of the most unpredictable bands in all extreme metal, and “Void Masquerading as Matter” only cements that line of thinking. The band has been releasing music the past six years, with the high point being 2014 full-length debut “Sacred White Noise,” and experiencing the group live is like giving over your body and mind to be obliterated. On this record, the band—its three members choose not to reveal their identities, and they have practically no social presence on which to speak—add spooky orchestral waves and chilling choirs to their already dense black metal, and the result is something that feels like it reaches into the spiritual world to further haunt your existence. The CD and digital version of this record will be out Nov. 24, but a vinyl take is something that remains in the future.

“Ocean of Screaming Spheres” kicks off this nearly 36-minute effort with dissonant guitar sprawl that works its way toward stabbing riffs and grim shrieks that blast into the night. The track goes into a tunnel of noise, met with aching pianos on the other end, and then things light back up, hulk toward the surface, and enter a strange tempo. Crazed shouts meet with guitar swirls as the song fades away. “Self-Devouring Womb” is somber and moody for the first minute before tearing out its own guts and moving into a tornadic terror. The chaos melts into chilling noise, allowing a violin to enter and scratch out the horror afoot, and the music begins to feel like the plane of existence following death. There is a long stretch of classically minded playing that swims to the end of the song and into the hands of “Cursed Numbers,” where the strings cry before messy death meets up with it. The track chugs and confounds, leaving you gasping for answers, while the guitars mix into a heavy low-end drone that eats away at the heart. The guitars encircle like a swarm, while the playing further disorients, and the track rumbles away. The closing title track is the strangest song in the band’s catalog, a piece built almost entirely with an angelic chorus whose ambiance goes from sorrowful and serene to increasingly manic and bloodied. Screams are woven into the penetrating singing, making you see that terrifying visions behind the beauty, and that unsettling scene remains until it mercifully fades into the void.

If you’re one of the people still recovering from this awesome tour, I’m pretty jealous over here. But having new music from each band, even if in limited form, fills that gap any of us have from having to miss out on their brief sojourn. These are two bands whose journeys we will be following with great interest, and I’m pretty sure we are not the only ones.

To buy the album, go here (digital): https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/

Or here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Northless mix noise, melody into doom sound on ‘Last Bastion of Cowardice’

There are consequences to all evil actions, even if that comeuppance takes a little while to sink in its teeth. You can only get away with being terrible and dishonorable for so long before that disease works its way into your life and begins to eat away at who you are. You can try to avoid it or reverse your course of action, but you know your day is coming.

That’s a major theme of “Last Bastion of Cowardice,” the monster new record from Milwaukee-based sludge pounders Northless. To call this band heavy is almost an insult. No shit they’re heavy. They’ve been that way from the start, and over the course of their first two full-length records and several smaller releases, the band has made sonic punishment and destruction part of their DNA. On this new album, they unfurl a record-long story for the first time, a 10-track, hour-long opus that examines a protagonist who can’t overcome the darkness that has been life. There are elements of revenge and sorrow, and eventually the redemption the person was seeking disappears. That’s a sad story, but it’s one that ultimately is human and realistic, something that actually happens in real life, movies be damned. The band—vocalist/guitarist Erik Stenglein, guitarist Nicholas Elert, bassist Jerry Hauppa, and drummer John Gleisner—also adds new wrinkles to their style, with more melody, different shades of darkness, and an expanded style that makes them more well-rounded and heavier. This record is so massive it’s taking four labels to handle it, so please find your way to the hilarious amount of links at the end of the story.

“The Origin of Flames” starts the record with a doomy smudge before working into terrain that borders on hardcore. Black metal-style melodies then barrel in, while the track remains burly and muscular, bleeding off at the end. “Godsend” has devastating playing and massive torment that run headlong into thick melodies. Singing slips behind the crushing growls, while the guitars bleed emotion, and the song comes to a tumultuous end. “The Devil in Exile” is faster, with shrieky vocals and a dinosaur stomp. The pace chugs along as the song simmers in doom fires, and clean group vocals arrive, feeling Viking-like. The song trudges on in a fury, leading the way toward “Slave to a Scorched Earth,” the shortest cut on here, and more of an interlude. Drone chants and group singing swell, even letting in some harmony, and that pushes right into “Their Blood Was Always Mine” that kicks off with downright swaggering guitar work. The growls are grisly, as fresh colors blast into the scene, and the final moments are savage and sinewy, yet oddly vulnerable.

“Never Turn Your Back on the Dead” starts clean, though noise buzzes, and then we’re full bore into anguish and power. Strange chanting becomes a part of the picture, chilling the flesh, while the band delves into some unexpected weirdness coupled with machine-strength intensity. “Extinction Voices” changes up the scene, going more in the noise rock route and adding a new element to the band’s game. The guitars lay waste, while the drums topple buildings, while Stenglein howls, “All my best years, sold to the highest bidder,” while the song dissolves into disorientation. The title track follows, and it soars through spacious atmosphere before bursting open and starting its assault. Brawny doom and lumbering singing unite, while massive clouds move in, and the guitars burn off. The back end is somber at first, but then the hammers are dropped, leaving everything buried in a cloud of dust. “Our Place in Dirt” drubs and leaves you dizzy, while the singing is deeper in spots, desperate and in pain at others. There’s a nice psyche edge to the song that contains monstrous singing mixed with shrieks and guitar work that sounds like it worships at the altar of Kim Thayil. Closer “Rotten Days” is the longest cut, ripping over 9:01 and letting coldness encapsulate the room. The singing haunts and the pace stings before they tear through the heart and begin smashing barriers. Emotions caterwaul here in every element, while guitars mix with gothic pianos, and the track comes to a gut-wrenching finish.

Northless’ might never has been questioned, and they unload like never before on “Last Bastion of Cowardice.” The more I listened to this album, the more it worked its way into my blood, and that’s simply from a musical standpoint. When you consider the story and the immense tragedy contained within, it’s enough to give you both a swollen face and a serious reality check.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/northlessmke/

To buy the album, go here (vinyl): https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/last-bastion-of-cowardice

Or here (vinyl): http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/releases/

Or here (cassette):  http://errorrecords.storenvy.com/

Or here (CD): http://initrecords.corecommerce.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net

And here: http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/

And here: http://initrecords.corecommerce.com/

And here: http://www.initrecords.net/

CHRCH, Fister unleash explosive, varied approaches to doom with smothering, nasty split release

Like all of metal’s subgenres, doom has so many different colors and tastes that’s it’s sometimes tough to keep them all apart. But that’s part of what makes it such a rich form of extreme music. There is such a wide variety of manners to play the music and express this style of darkness that it’s likely to keep evolving forever.

A new split EP from Crown and Thorne Ltd. and Battleground Records brings together CHRCH and Fister, two bands that approach doom from very different avenues but do come together in styles now and again. This release brings songs from two groups whose profiles are swelling underground that only can be found on this limited-edition vinyl, and it’s probably a good idea to jump on this soon if you want a copy for yourself. And considering each track the bands bring to this effort is a mammoth, you’re practically getting a full-length-worth of material

CHRCH

We last heard from CHRCH with 2015 debut record “Unanswered Hymns,” a revelation of an album that inserted this promising band into the bubbling bustle that is doom metal. They presented three tracks that spread over nearly 45 minutes, and they powerfully mixed aggression and pained beauty on an album that opened a lot of eyes and ears. Here they are now, two years later, and they have this one monster track “Temples” that continues what the band—vocalist Eva, guitarists Shann and Chris, bassist Ben, and drummer Adam—planted in 2013 and lets the roots take hold until they’re practically cemented into the ground. It’s an awesome piece that should swell their pull and keep mouths frothed for whatever they have next.

“Temples” runs 16:46 and begins quietly and solemnly, letting the darkness take hold. Once the song opens, we’re into glorious melodies that glimmer, smothering heaviness, and downright savage growls from Eva. Vicious black vibes rumble the ground, as the elements rain down unmercifully, and the noise elements spread and sting. We’re then into a heavy mud pit, as the tires spin, sending filth flying, and desperate cries float above the muck. Ghostly apparitions rise and stretch over the atmosphere, as violent cries pierce the flesh, the music halts to a trickle, and the final remnants of blood splatter, with everything heading down the drain.

Fister

St. Louis doom trio Fister long have brought the darker, more sinister elements of metal to their sound. Ever since their formation in 2009, the band has brought evil and shadowy terror to the proceedings, as if Fister have opened up hell and let it pour forth into the Earth. The band pounds and grinds you with their sound, as they’ve torn up wounds on their three full-length records (their most recent is 2015’s “IV”) as well as their smaller releases and other splits with groups such as Primitive Man, Teeth, and Everything Went Black. Here, the band unleashes “The Ditch” a lurching, punishing, unforgiving track that these guys—vocalist/bassist Kenny Snarzyk, guitarist/backing vocalist Marcus Newstead, and drummer Kirk Gatterer—use to melt down your psyche and let it drain into the sewers.

“The Ditch” is a 20:29 skull-dragger, bludgeoning immediately, crushing you in ugliness and letting the dirt coat your skin. The growls are feral, as they are for the bulk of this animal, and a devastating pace leads into a strong solo that provides a glimpse of melody and sets fires that burn toward a psychedelic chill that fills out the middle section. That coldness lasts for a stretch before it’s interrupted by a long, hypnotic section of guitars that searches and slithers over several minutes. Out of that, the song tears through the crust again, as the tempo returns to reckless wildness, and the vocals are a threatening diatribe. That display lingers, shreds, and concusses, as the noise wrenches and grinds to a finish.

CHRCH and Fister are two of doom’s most varied and interesting bands, and their contributions to this devastating split release should be enough to keep their listeners going until each return with new records. This is a feast’s worth of music that is violent but also thought provoking, and each group has something different to offer on their gigantic contributions. This is well worth your hard-earned dollars, because few records you’ll pick up this year will both punish you and excite you about metal’s future.

For more on CHRCH, go here: https://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca/

For more on Fister, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fisterdoom/

To buy the album, go here: http://crownandthroneltd.bigcartel.com/product/fister-chrch-split-12

Or here: http://www.battlegroundrnr.com/product/chrch-fister-split-album

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/crownandthroneltd/

And here: http://www.battlegroundrnr.com/

Black thrashers Daeva unleash late-year killer, tear out guts on EP ‘Pulsing Dark Absorptions’

Just because it’s late in the year and most of all the vital music has been consumed doesn’t mean all the surprises have been packed away. Falling asleep on late November and December releases is not something any responsible writer can do, and our schedule is pretty jam packed for the rest of the year, which is a really nice problem to have.

So, we’re getting this new EP “Pulsing Dark Absorptions” dropped into our laps by new Philly-based powerhouse Daeva. I was first clued into the band’s existence during a recent visit to 20 Buck Spin’s new Pittsburgh compound, and sure enough, days later, the music was up on the label’s Bandcamp. As promised, this record is a sinewy, violent combination of all sort of dark arts, from death and black metals to thrash, and these five songs (four originals and a massive Mayhem cover) is yet more proof that metal keeps giving well into a year’s dying days. Formed from members of notable bands such as Crypt Sermon, Trenchrot, Infiltrator, and Unrest, this trio lights shit on fire and takes pleasure in watching it burn to the ground. Its members—vocalist EG, guitarist/bassist SJ, drummer JB—unleash torment and violence over this introductory offering, an indication that the metal world has a new underground force with which to contend.

“No Effective Banishing” pretty much meets you at the gates with a bloody knife, as the song gets off to a blistering start, the growls are raw, and even some trippy/echoey effects work their way in and trick your mind. The song drubs heavily, as the pace rips apart, the song hits a nasty arc, and everything fades into violence. “Clenched Fist of the Beast” tells you everything you need to know, steamrolling over you right as proceedings get under way. The growls crush, and the fast playing tramples you underneath their gears. The guitars explode with energetic tension, and the assault is downright animalistic. The title track follows, jamming the gas pedal and getting it stuck in the floor, while the pace bristles and the riffs roll. The growls are monstrous and virulent, and the attitude is violent. “Wipe that smirk off your fucking face,” EG howls snottily, bringing the song to an aggressive, grinding finish. “Descending the Miasmal Void” has a damaged, warped start, as the guitar work blinds, and the song heads into a thrashy, smashing fit. The vocals shred the skin, while the music takes on a tasty old school death metal vibe, mixed with bone-destroying punk flares. The closer is an awesome take on Mayhem’s “Deathcrush,” complete with their psyched-out treatment that makes your anxiety level shoot through your brain, leaving you a quivering mess.

The arrival of Daeva turns an already darkened metal terrain into a thing of horrors. “Pulsing Dark Absorptions” is one of those late-year entries that serve as a reminder that it is wise to consume all music planned for a certain year before handing out the accolades. This EP is a scorcher, one that hints that deadly days are coming on the capable backs of Daeva’s experienced members.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/daevablackthrash/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/products/daeva-pulsing-dark-absorptions-mlp

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

Pittsburgh’s Lady Beast serve NWOBHM-style power on fiery new devastator ‘Vicious Breed’

If you lived in Pittsburgh (like I do) and spent years reading local media (like I have), you’d barely know there was a metal scene here. I literally was told by a local music writer that he has conducted surveys, and there is no interest in metal coverage. See, you have to expand that survey beyond white guys in their 50s and 60s. Yet, metal thrives in the city streets, so fuck the local media.

Anyway, one band that has garnered some attention, and rightfully so, is throwback metal band Lady Beast. They were just featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” episode on Pittsburgh, and they recently signed with indie metal powerhouse Cruz del Sur. They now are coming back at us with their third record “Vicious Breed,” one that should expose them to a much wider audience and help Pittsburgh’s metallic reputation grow even further. If you’ve ever seen the band in a smaller room, you know they have an energy and presence that extends well beyond that. Vocalist Deborah Levine is a powerhouse who has that gift of projecting to the person standing in the very back of the room, making that individual feel just as big a part of the show as those up front. The rest of the band—guitarists Andy Ramage and Chris Tritschler, bassist Greg Colaizzi, and drummer Adam Ramage—are just as mighty, delivering massive, NWOBHM-influenced metal that is heavy, energized, and a load of fun to absorb. This new record is a wisely timed effort of eight tracks over 36 minutes, and it’s impossible not to get swept up in their assault.

“Seal the Hex” is an ideal opener, as after its somber first few minutes, it begins trucking and unloading. The pace speeds up, while Levine is in total command, and while the chorus is a simple callback of the title, it’s one that should have show-goers yelling it back to them in unison, “The Way” has guitars chugging, a huge, rousing chorus, and Levine defiant that she will not be taking orders from anyone but herself. That empowerment bleeds through every element of this song, causing your blood to surge through your veins. “Lone Hunter” is arguably the strongest song on the record, with blazing riffs and Levine calling over the infectious chorus, “My story’s frozen in time, my body’s no longer mine!” A classic-sounding gallop rips through the final minutes and gives this a hammering end. “Always With Me” pays honor to fallen souls, as the tempo is a little slower but still powerful, and Levine laments, “I wish this reality wasn’t true.” But there’s no time to wallow, as the song kicks into higher gear, and Levine vows, “You will always be remembered in my heart and in my soul.”

“Get Out” brings back the attitude, where, once again, Levine promises that anyone standing in her way will be flattened. The track sounds like one that would make a road warrior explode with strength as he or she rides into the sunset. “Every Giant Shall Fall” has razor-sharp dual guitar lines, setting the stage for a bloody battle. “They’ll turn to stone and we shall crush!” Levine promises, while the guitars glisten, the rhythm section throws punches, and the cut comes to a victorious end. “Sky Graves” is an instrumental piece, one that has no problem handling the storytelling without the benefit of words. After a clean start, the band hits a stretch of emotional metallic melodies. The guitars form a twin beast, while the song comes to an earth-shaking finish. The title track closes the record, getting a vicious start to things and dumping a ton of thrashy goodness. “Formed from seeds of a man and a beast!” Levine wails as the band hits the gas pedal, the melodies swelter, and the track comes to a punishing end.

Lady Beast have a huge opportunity to explode past the city limits and capture the rest of the world with “Vicious Breed.” This is metal that unites, reminding listeners that we can be one under this music’s banners, and that everything else doesn’t matter. They are helping carry the torches lit by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Warlock, and Dio before them, and in their capable hands, the fires can remain burning brightly for years to come.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ladybeastofficial/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/