Muddy Moonshine, Are We There Yet (Secret Entertainment 2022)

Swamp rockers from Finland, Muddy Moonshine, release their sophomore album, Are We There Yet.

You read that right: swamp rockers from Finland. Are there swamps in Finland? Absolutely, but of course that has nothing to do with the actual music. The style appealed to the originators of the band and they decided to go with it. The result is very impressive, bluesy, guitar-driven rock that is uncommonly listenable. The band is Tuomo Varjola (vocals), Jonne Rytkönen (guitar), Saku Manninen (drums), Jarmo Ikala (guitar), and Kim Sandström (bass).

There are thirteen tracks on the new album. “Under The Moon” is the first song, and it verily seeps swamp gas and drips Spanish moss. It has the pleasant, lay-about twang often associated with the declared musical type. The next song is “Crystal Riders” and it is very different, carrying more of a radio mentality, with pushing rhythm and a catchy chorus. It almost puts you in mind of D.A.D. here and there. “Sold Out” made me think of early 70s Nazareth with its brightness and voracity. It is one of my favorites on the album – it has a great hook and drive.

And there is more. “Corn Whiskey A Go” lays on the southern rock harmonies and “Distilled In Bayou” is essentially a power ballad. “Charm Of Drinking Hard” is a rambler with an undeniable bass and a tasty lead break. Songs like “One More Time” are just straight-up party tunes that put you in the mood and keep you going. There is a lot of good music here, put down in familiar rock styles and performed with the consent of genuine earnestness. Recommended.

Are We There Yet drops on Friday, March 18th through Secret Entertainment. Snap it up at Bandcamp.

Band photo by Emma Manninen.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://muddymoonshine.bandcamp.com/

Muddy Moonshine website, http://www.muddymoonshine.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/officialmoonshine

Inverse Records, https://www.inverse.fi/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Muddy Moonshine, Are We There Yet (Secret Entertainment 2022)

Inner Missing, Dead Language (Inverse Records 2022)

Inner Missing fashion gothic metal layers on their ninth album, Dead Language.

Inner Missing is a duo from Russia made up of Sigmund (vocals, guitar) and Melaer (keys, bass). In the early days of the band, their music leaned more toward doom identities. As time passed, a gothic sensibility took over. Since 2009, Inner Missing has released two EPs and eight full-length albums – an incredible accomplishment. Dead Language continues the saga.

What’s this album about? The band has an answer. “Aleister Crowley is one of the most iconic figures in Gothic culture and definitely the most misunderstood one ever. This is an attempt to rethink his poetry and reimagine his myth – no more, no less.” For a gothic metal album, that makes a lot of sense. Sigmund goes on to say a bit more about the theme of the music. “No one would argue that poetry is a dead language today and music is going to share its fate sooner or later. This album is an allegorical requiem to all forms of art that are already gone and to all forms of art that will be gone in the future.” That is a lot to work with, and they do.

Dead Language has six songs, beginning with the title track. The atmosphere created in the opening bars is frightening, edge-setting; gothic. The vocals in duet combine talking and singing in a way that deepens the delivery. The pace is slow, giving the concepts time to well up as momentum builds over the course of the song. “The Quest” is next and it takes a more active strategy in its formations. “Empty Rooms” lures you in with an increasingly ravening attitude tempered by melodic vocalizations.

Side Two opens with “Long Odds,” a song that has the feel of a quest into distant lands. “Mute” alternates disarmingly between softer incantations and grave, consequential intercessions. Final thoughts are offered with “At Sea.” You get the feeling hearing it that it is already too late to make any meaningful change and you must ride out whatever circumstance you are in. We all know what that is like, so the song invokes a shared understanding.

Dead Language is out now, available from Inverse Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the best buying bet. This is accessible gothic music and certainly worth a listen. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://innermissing.bandcamp.com

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/InnerMissing

Inverse Records, https://www.inverse.fi/shop/catalog/

Inner Missing, Dead Language (Inverse Records 2022)

Nefariym, Morbid Delusions (Inverse Records 2021)

The debut full-length album from Nefariym tears open the fabric of musical reality: Morbid Delusions.

Coming together only two years ago, Melbourne, Australia’s Nefariym was created by veteran metallers Mark Kelson and Richie Poate. The music can generally be thought of as Death Metal with the duo’s own novel twists with plenty of Doom and Sludge in the mix as well. There have been a couple singles released by the band but this album is the first deep journey fans can listen to and assess.

The album contains an intro piece, nine new songs, and a cover of a metal classic. The first full track is “Succubus” and the band comes out blasting with a monstrous adrenaline-fueled assault from every instrument. Black/Death Metal hybrid vocals give the song the perfect tinge. “A Morbid Delusion” follows and it is another ripper – a high speed conundrum for your brain that’ll need a minute to process. The production lays together the rhythm with the vocals with a harmony guitar line that fills the entire available space, while an early lead break sounds like a madman railing against the injustices of existence.

Toward the end of “A Morbid Delusion” the tempo slows a bit and provides a perfect segue to “Tearing Flesh From The Bone” which has an excellent Sludge/Doom essence. This is my favorite track for its sheer heaviness and the unforgettable refrain. Throughout the album the alternating between high-tempo songs and slower doomers is enthralling. I found the entire set captivating, including the cover of Celtic Frost’s “Circle Of The Tyrants,” which both provides an anchor for the album and delivers an homage. Highly recommended.

Morbid Delusions hits the streets on Friday September 24th through Inverse Records.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://nefariym.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/nefariym

Nefariym website, https://nefariym.com/

Inverse Records, https://www.inverse.fi/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=939

Nefariym, Morbid Delusions (Inverse Records 2021)

Bloodbeat, Process of Extinction (Inverse Records 2021)

German Death Metal band Bloodbeat conjure pulverizing musical notions for their second album.

Relatively new to the game, Bloodbeat released their first full-length album in 2016, Murderous Art. The style of heavy music they play is rooted in an old school 1990s approach and they hang the lead and vocal work on a solid frame of bass, rhythm guitar, and drums. The music is up-tempo, straight-forward, and formidable.

On Process of Extinction, Bloodbeat has crafted eight tracks. Generally the music is turned up to brutal, with ravaging guitars and break-neck pace. The vocals are gruff and coarse while still be understandable. Lead breaks lean toward the furious and are bristling complements in the music.

The concepts behind the songs can be quite complex and carefully thought-out. Here is what the band has to say about the story for one of their tracks. “The song ‘Rigor Mortis’ is not only explicitly about the so-called ‘cadaveric rigidity.’ Among other things, the scene is set in the world between life and the afterlife. It is about a psychopath who has already done all the atrocities in his miserable life. However, he did not start the bad acts on his own. His body is controlled by a demon. He tries to chase the demon out of himself by massacring himself. In doing so, the evil within him continues to try to seduce him and take him over. His goal is to get rid of him in some way. Only his death can defeat him and at some point the huge suffering has a dark end.” That’s a lot packed into less than four minutes, but it does all come through.

For Death Metal fans, this album will hit all the right notes. Recommended.

Process of Extinction is out on Friday, June 18th through Inverse Records. The easy way to pick it up in the US is through Bandcamp.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://bloodbeat.bandcamp.com/album/process-of-extinction

Bloodbeat website, https://bloodbeat.de/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/BloodbeatBB

Inverse Records, https://bloodbeat.de/

Bloodbeat, Process of Extinction (Inverse Records 2021)

Dark The Suns, Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä (Inverse Records 2021)

Finnish melodic Death Metal band Dark The Suns release their fourth full-length album.

According to the Microsoft translator, the album title Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä is “grief raged in the darkness of my heart” in English. That is the perfect theme for the style of music Dark The Suns creates. The band started as a solo project by Mikko Ojala in 2003, evolving into a duo with Inka Tuomaala. After releasing three albums over the years, the band split up in 2013. The new album is their first music together as Dark The Suns since then.

There are ten songs in the set. The music is theatrical and emotive, cascading between quiet, lyrical moments and big metal explosions. You can get a sharp image in your head while listening, created by the fullness of the composition. For example, the opening track can be described as what we might expect if Danny Elfman wrote Death Metal music. Imagine Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King in a tight frontal shot marching up that crazy hill pumping his arms and moving with purpose in The Nightmare Before Christmas. “Spirit in the Dark” is the perfect music for it. Very theatrical, very full, and a complete vision.

There are symphonic elements throughout, and progressive ones as well. Even with this kind of complexity and attention to drama and presentation the metal music is always still there. The songs land at about radio length, tightly formed and design for impact. In this album you will find power and angst in the loud moments as well as the quiet ones. Recommended.

Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä is out now. You can buy it at Bandcamp and listen through the usual streaming outlets.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://darkthesuns.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/darkthesunsofficial

Label, https://www.inverse.fi/site/

Dark The Suns, Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä (Inverse Records 2021)

Obscure Fate, Raven’s Call (Inverse Records 2021)

Finland’s Obscure Fate raise the flag on their brand of heavy metal with Raven’s Call.

The band began as a solo project of guitarist Kaleva Kovalainen in 2008. Over time, the band as it is today began to take form. The other musicians are Tapio Härkönen (vocals), Jari Keränen, (drums), Joni Moisanen (guitar), and Antti Möttönen (bass).

The music is a broad-based heavy metal approach, setting up the song structure around catchy riffs, with punctuating elements stemming frequently from syncopation. There is often a guitar line in harmony with the lead vocal. Speaking of the vocals, Härkönen presents mostly clear singing with a gruff edge and an epic lilt. The compositions have a highly-produced fullness to them, and therefore have a radio feel, targeting wide appeal.

The EP has four songs, all in the digestible three-to-four minute range. They are all up-tempo with solid bases and dark fantasy / mythical themes. The straight-forward hard rock approach is enhanced by crisp lead breaks and singable lyrics – these elements are on brightest display with the title song. I imagine hearing this music on a summer night outside at a festival. That would be the way to go. Recommended.

Raven’s Call is out now. Bandcamp is an easy place to get it in the US, and it is available on a variety of other services as well.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://obscurefate.bandcamp.com/

Website, https://obscurefate.net/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ObscureFateBand

Obscure Fate, Raven’s Call (Inverse Records 2021)

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)

The first full-length album from Ulthima was ten years in the making and now everyone can hear it.

The band was started in Mexico in 2010 by founders Antonio Valdés (bass) and Ricardo Escobar (guitar). They moved to Finland, the story goes, to pursue music in the environment where so many bands and musicians they admired were from. That is quite a commitment strategy. The originators are joined by Ville Nummisalo (drums), Jon Welti (guitars), Niko Sutinen (keys), and Tuomas Antila (vocals) for the new album.

The music is symphonic metal, really. This arena can contain a large variety of styles ranging from the epic to the operatic. Ulthima makes use of Death Metal ideas and sensibilities and employs keys to create a symphonic surrounding. This has the effect of making the music turn toward the prog side and the technical precision is there as well. Melodic Death Metal is the closest label if we need one for this music, I would say.

The album has nine tracks that have their origins throughout the ten year time span of the band. Listening to them, it is not at all obvious which ones are older and which ones newer as they all have a polished and compositionally mature sound. All the songs are up-tempo and theatrical in a very high-energy sense. I particularly liked “Eternity” and the title track for their creativeness and ingenuity as well as the sharp execution of the score by the band. If you are in a symphonic metal mood, this one is a winner. Recommended.

Symphony of the Night makes its full appearance on Friday, March 19th from Inverse Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the easy way to get the CD or download.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ulthima.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ulthima

Label, https://www.facebook.com/inverserecords

Ulthima, Symphony of the Night (Inverse Records 2021)