Haliphron, Prey (Listenable 2023)

Dutch symphonic metal project Haliphron is determined to make an impression with their debut album, Prey.

Haliphron is a new band from the Netherlands formed in 2021 by former and active members of Izegrim, God Dethroned, and Bleeding Gods. The musicians have known each other for a long time, touring and playing together for many years. They decided to create Haliphron in order to “create a bombastic and powerful extreme metal sound.” Mission accomplished. The bands is Marloes Voskuil (vocals), Ramon Ploeg (guitar), Jessica Otten (bass), Jeroen Wechgelaer (guitars), David Gutierrez Rojas (keys, choirs), and Frank Schilperoort (drums).

After the theatrical introductory piece, “Let the World Burn,” the first main track takes off: “The Killing Spree.” The cognitive dissonance that gruff croaking and hissing vocals creates against the steady rhythm and symphonic walls is astonishing. The music vividly depicts its images, and you can see them in your mind quite clearly. To me, because of the nature of the music, I see it on stage in a kind of musical theater. This feeling carries through on every track. Different nuances, emotions, and expressions are revealed, of course, as in sinister and wicked “Mother of All Evil.” The essence of this music, however, can translate visually – perhaps even translates best visually.

The band describes the album this way: “Prey is all about being a hunter – or from another perspective – the one that is being hunted. You can either be the prey, or be the one that is on the search for their next victim / prey.” The narrative is harsh, then, and the music fits the story. The title track is a good example, with its gentle piano lead-in that is quickly enhanced with strong, powerful riffs, then elaborate percussion, then a full-force assault. For fans of symphonic metal, this album quite a find. Recommended.

Prey is out on Listenable Records starting Friday, March 31st far and wide. You can pick it up at the links below.

Band photo by Stefan Schipper.


Bandcamp, https://listenable-records.bandcamp.com/album/prey

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

Listenable Records, https://shop-listenable.net/en/

© Wayne Edwards

Haliphron, Prey (Listenable 2023)

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

European death metallers Dead Will Walk brand the pages of history with their latest music, A New Day Of Dawning.

It has been six years since Dutch death metal band Dead Will Walk released new music. Their first published work was a split with Entrapment in 2017 followed in that same year by their debut EP Unleash The Dead. Fans have been on tenterhooks ever since. The good news is A New Day Of Dawning will certainly sate their musical thirst. The band is Patrick de Vaal (guitar), Sander Vos (vocals, drums), and Rick Schonewille (bass).

There are six tracks on the new EP. “Raise the Horde” leads the way. It has a military feel to it, and, while the music fits firmly in the ranks of death metal, I enjoyed a nice flush of black metal rippling beneath the skin. “Nightscreams” is a paint peeler, with surging punk energy and a raking vocal delivery that matches perfectly the lyrics. The horror vibe is real and pulsing, saturated in the dark music. I anticipated a heavy dooming vault for “Concrete Wombs,” but the song turns out to be very active and it has a smashing nature to go along with the doom vibery and massive heaviness. The shifts are regular and sometimes sharp. It is like walking through a dungeon and discovering new terrors around each corner.

“From Moving Grounds” continues the contemplative slugging from the end of side one and takes it even deeper. There is a long heavy chop at center stage, contained by the established undulating moat. “Day of Dawning” is positively aerobic for long patches, accepting tinge and tint from other regards to complete the picture. The set finishes with “Headstone Tales.” My favorite track on the album, this anchor piece is a massacre at midnight, incorporating all the best elements the band has showed off so far and seamlessly integrating them into a dark anthem. Once you reach the end, your first thought will be that you must hear it again. Recommended.

A New Day Of Dawning is out on Friday, January 27th through Dawnbreed Records. Check it out at the links below.

Band photo by Ronald van de Baan.


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

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

Dawnbreed Records, https://www.dawnbreed.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Will Walk, A New Day Of Dawning (Dawnbreed 2023)

Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant, Split (HPGD 2022)

Black metal madness times two is laid bare on the Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant split.

Pagan Rites is a black metal band from Sweden that has been punishing the world with their heresies since 1992. They specialized in EPs and demos in the early days, but more recently have published a massive barrage of full-length albums. The band contributes two songs on the split.

First up is “Pain of the Flesh.” The song has a theatrical opening that slowly gains a more sinister purchase, laying into hooks that hold on while the vocals claw at you. Ultimately a pummeling ensues, replaced at last with gentler tones that remain, nevertheless, threatening. The other track is “Sign of the Horn,” and it leans a bit in the punk direction, setting it in feisty juxtaposition to its partner. Nicely done.

Vulcan Tyrant, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, had a strong beginning in 2005, then took a break for more than a decade just two years later. Concentrating on splits with other bands, Vulcan Tyrant did release one long-player in 2021, Vulcanocide. Like Pagan Rites, they add two tracks to the album.

“Invocation Of The Lion-Headed Serpent” is set up with a more old school arrangement than the other band’s songs, and its recording is decidedly different – more distant and echoing. It is speedy, thrashing. “Vexed By A Wicked Nightmare,” then, has a grand sound as its herald. The pace turns blistering after only a few bars, and then it is mainly in line with its forerunner.

Originally released by Take This Torch Records in 2021, the split is now available from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions in digital and CD forms. Hit the links below. If you don’t have this already, the HPGD release is a ghastly find. Recommended.


Bandcamp, https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/split-12

Pagan Rites Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PaganRites

Vulcan Tyrant Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/VulcanTyrant/

Horror Pain Gore Death, https://www.horrorpaingoredeath.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Pagan Rites / Vulcan Tyrant, Split (HPGD 2022)

Onhou, Monument (Tartarus 2022)

Dutch doom lords Onhou further the devastation with their second long-player, Monument.

Onhou came together in Groningen, Netherlands in 2016. They play sludge and doom metal accentuated with synth auras. They loosed a self-titled EP on the world in 2018, and then their debut full-length album, Endling, in 2019. Somber, cold, and devastating, Onhou’s music demands your attention. According to the Metal Archives, the band is Henk (bass), Arnold (drums), Alex (guitar), and Florian (keys).

There are four long tracks on the new album. First is “When On High.” It starts with heaving guitar indulgences, adding in growling vocals atop the monstrous rhythm. The keys show up later in prominence, slicing like heavy, sharp swords. Moments of reflection are howls in the void. “Null” is more veiled in its threat, more sinister in its tone. Like a lurking monster on the edge of the shadows, impossibly large and unstoppable. Death and black metal vocals are echoing insinuations that are realizable in any given present. In the release notes, this remark is made: “Whereas the band intended for their debut to be uncomfortable, Monument drags you ever deeper into dark, withering worlds where time is gruesome and unforgiving, and the echoes of what once was have long since been lost and forgotten.” You feel that deeply on “Null.”

Side two opens with “Below.” When the music begins, you strain to listen. As it grows and builds so does your apprehension. The music is claustrophobic, dungeon-like. The doom guitar riffs drop at about the two minute mark and all hope is lost. The vocals are torturous, sometimes disembodied. Disturbing is not a strong enough word to describe this music. The set ends on “Ruins.” The feeling of a lost ancient place is palpable as the music surrounds you. You are in a spot that was devastated in the past by you know not what. The worry is: has it gone? The composition is some of the most haunting music I have heard in a great long while. Indeed, the entire album is an unforgettable experience. Highly recommended.

Monument is out on Friday, December 9th through a joint venture between Lay Bare Records and Tartarus Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the place to get it.

Band photo by Richard Postma.


Bandcamp, https://onhou.bandcamp.com/album/monument

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

Tartarus Records, https://shop.tartarusrecords.com/

Lay Bare Recordings, https://laybarerecordings.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Onhou, Monument (Tartarus 2022)

Heads For The Dead, Slash ‘N’ Roll (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Heads For The Dead veer off their usual path into straight-up horror with their new EP Slash ‘N’ Roll.

Heads For The Dead is a band with an international cast, hailing from Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands. The musicians are veterans of the heavy music scene who have come together for this project and have released two previous records, Serpent’s Curse (2018) and Into The Red (2020). The music they create has always had a strong horror and cinematic angle so this new EP might be seen as inevitable. The players are Jonny Pettersson (guitars, bass, and keys), Ralf Hauber (vocals), and Ed Warby (drums).

Slash ‘N’ Roll has three original songs and two covers, all horror-themed. “Maniac” is a playful punk tune cast for a broad audience. “Halloween” begins with John Carpenter’s classic theme from the movie and takes off from there. There is more death metal content in this song than the first but there is still plenty of punk in the corners here, too, along with the recurrence of the cinematic theme. “The Thing” continues the movie title motif and is suitably otherworldly, not to mention ethereal. It also includes a short dialogue capture from the film.

The covers are “Skulls,” originally by the Misfits, and the Ramones’ horror movie theme song “Pet Sematary.” The main beats are there and the songs are recognizable, but there is a profound Heads For The Dead stamp on these renditions. While it might be tempting to think of this set as a disposable one-off, I believe instead that it will become a much sought-after collector’s item in the physical forms. These tunes are a lot of fun for metalheads and they are hitting the street at the exact right time of year. Recommended.

Slash ‘N’ Roll dropped early, on Halloween, so it is out now. Links are below.


Bandcamp, https://headsforthedead.bandcamp.com/album/slash-n-roll-horror-death-metal

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

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Heads For The Dead, Slash ‘N’ Roll (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)

Crypta, a metal band reaching across the globe from Brazil to the Netherlands, release their first full-length album, Echoes Of The Soul.

Composed of former members of Nervosa, Burning Witches, and Hagbard, Crypta brings forth the Death Metal like no other. The band is Fernanda Lira (bass and vocals), Sonia Anubis (guitar), Tainá Bergamaschi (guitar), and Luana Dametto (drums). Together they form a whomping juggernaut fit to crack your bones.

You don’t hear a lot of female vocalists in heavy music, especially ones rolling out coarse deliveries. An obvious example is Butcher Babies, of course, and Dopethrone, but thinking of others requires some reflection. Crypta leans more toward the Black Metal hiss side of Death Metal vocalizations, hailing the dark and menacing.

There are nine songs and an into bit on Echoes Of The Soul. “Starvation” starts off at a full sprint. The percussion is insidious, the riffs contentious, and the vocals are threatening. That is a good combination. The lead break runs the range of steady to hyper in a display of possibilities. “Possessed” follows and is more theatrical in a Phantom of the Opera kind of way. Wicked and eerie, it is, with a sorrowful lead.

“Under The Black Wings” stands out to me for the heaviness and darkness of its composition. You have a real sense of witnessing an inevitable calamity when you hear it. I really like “Dark Night Of The Soul” as well for its incredible lead guitar work and the closer, “From The Ashes” might be the song to either open or end the show on tour because it has a burning energy that can work at both perspectives. This is a different kind of Death Metal and well worth your attention. Recommended.

Echoes Of The Soul is out now and available all around.


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

Website, https://www.cryptaofficial.com/

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

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/crypta

Crypta, Echoes Of The Soul (Napalm Records 2021)