• Deadlock – The Re-Arrival (2014)


    Arriving today from LifeForce records, we have Germany’s Deadlock with an excellent compilation/rarities/best of + new songs double CD release. Featuring a wide variety of tracks, this release re-interprets/arranges some of their older classics and presents a few new songs that showcase the exciting evolution of the band’s rich sound. With the second CD being rarities and older tracks, we will focus or review on the first CD that has more interesting material.

    The album opens with the Groovy “An Ocean’s Monument”, a new track that shows the band’s further evolution into Groove Metal territories. Sabine’s soaring vocals are great, and John Gahlert’s screams fit nicely with the atmospheric elements of this track. The next set of tracks are re-arrangements or re-recording of older songs: “Code of Honor” with guest vocals from Marcus Bischoff that sounds almost the same as the original version but with harsher vocals, an “Earthlings” version that features new arrangements and we assume vocals, and an improved version of “The Brave / Agony Applause”.

  • Tombs – Savage Gold (2014)


    Unleashing their third full-length release, today we have Mike Hill’s Tombs and their crushing multi-faceted album “Savage Gold”. As one of the most unique and complex bands in the US Metal scene, Tombs crafts ten demoralizing songs that brilliantly combine Black Metal influences with Neurosis-like Post-Metal/Hardcore antics. Featuring a very interesting album concept, this release has everything going for it in terms of musical quality, production values, and high replay value; this is one of the best releases we have heard in a while from Relapse Records.

    Opening with a trippy atmospheric intro in “Thanatos”, this album suddenly morphs into a nightmarish Swedish Death Metal meets Hardcore/Post-Metal screaming match in a very odd but yet unique and devastating manner. The riffs are pummeling, particularly when they switch into full-on Black Metal mode. The band instantly delivers their unique brand of weirdness and we love it. “Portals” follows a similar path of attack than the opener, but the first truly outstanding song is the throbbing “Seance”. This song features some of the most vicious riffs written in the last few months and Tombs deserves recognition for it…. quickly.

  • Van Canto – Dawn of the Brave (2014)


    Marking Van Canto’s triumphant return, today we have “Dawn of the Brave”, the band’s fifth full-length release. For all the people that feel appalled by the band’s interpretation of Metal, should really get over it and start embracing the sheer talent showcases by the band’s unique approach and uber catchy songs. Featuring 13 tracks, 10 own songs and 4 covers, this release is packed with killer (vocal) solos and majestic melodic arrangements.

    After opening with the intense ‘orchestral’ intro “Dawn of the Brave”, the band immediately moves into their comfort zone with the epic “Fight for your Life”. With a style akin to Power Metal, the band immediately creates very epic vocal arrangements that after a few minutes you won’t even notice they are lacking all instruments, except the drums.

  • Dario Lorina – Dario Lorina (2013)


    American guitar virtuoso Dario Lorina delivers to us one of the best shred instrumental releases we have heard in quite a with his debut self-titled release. Feature 13 tracks of expertly crafted music, we are given a unique opportunity to hear Dario’s expert guitar skills surrounded by very well constructed and catchy melodies. Avoiding many pitfalls of guitarists, like trying to sing, this release has everything a fan of Hard Rock/Metal could wish for, plus extremely awesome guitar solos.

    Making an immediate impact with the playful “Demon Rum”, we instantly hear the quality behind Dario’s music. The drums and bass guitar are very well executed by Dan Conway and Marten Andersson, allowing this release to sound 100% professional by avoiding dull programmed drums and linear bass guitar lines. With shredding being the main attractive, we found that tracks like “Pipe Dreams”, “My Heroine”, “Villains”, and “Silhouettes” offer a lot more than insane guitar work. The melodic and catchy songwriting makes them more appealing than your average one-man shows we have these days.

  • Mr. Vu – Dark Tales (2013)


    The hardest job here at Infernal Masquerade is giving a bad review to very well intentioned releases. Mr. Vu sadly falls in this category, since while their enthusiasm is amazing, the lack is musical skills gets the better out of “Dark Tales”. We understand this is just a demo version of the tracks, but there are some glaring issues with them. Trying to be as minimally mean as we can, we will continue to go over this album.

    Opening with “Only the hard ones”, we can instantly hear the production deficiencies in this album, but since they are demo versions of songs we will let this go. The style is quite decent, reminding us of retro-80’s music at points; however, the vocals are just awful. We have heard tons of bad singing before, but sadly Mr. Vu is probably one of the worst. Components of the music are quite solid, like on “King of Vitiation”, where we have solid guitar/bass guitar lines, but the vocals and some of the arrangements are very odd.

  • Metal over Oostrozebeke Presents – Perseverance 2013 (2013)


    Arriving via Malevolence Records, today we have a very diverse sampler that contains everything from Thrash Metal to Melodic Death/Black Metal and related genres. Featuring eight different bands, this release makes for a very interesting time, with very contrasting changes between bands and some excellent tracks mixed in between some sub-par ones.

    Opening we have Mad At Sam, a Thrash/Crossover band that can easily go unnoticed with their track being less than two minutes long. The drastic contrast is immediately felt with Aegror and their very enjoyable Melodic Death/Black Metal that fusing influences from Carcass, Grave, and several other bands into a very cohesive and engaging sound. “Behind Walls” and “Prophecy” are taking from their 2013 EP, a release we will be trying to find as soon as we are done writing this review.

  • Russkaja – Energia! (2013)


    In the same vein of truly unique and completely bizarre bands like Diablo Swing Orchestra and the Leningrad Cowboys, today we have Austria’s Russkaja and their latest release “Energia!”. Featuring 12 tracks of ‘Russian Turbo Polka’ music as the band describes it, any fan of truly experimental and very unique music will be creaming their pants with this bizarre musical output. Combining Polka, Metal, Ska, Rock, Jazz, and Funk, this release is anything but standard and predictable.

    Open the release wide open we have the catchy “Energia!” a track so engaging that we are sure some people will immediately start dancing. The band’s sound resembles some of the Ska we have listened to in the past, but with a higher intensity and heavier guitars. “Barada” sounds like old Russian Rock songs that we had the misfortune of listening to on the net, but the band adds the wind instruments to keep it interesting and very catchy.

  • Jess and the Ancient Ones – Astral Sabbat (2013)


    After blowing us away with their self-titled debut album last year, today we have Jess and the Ancient Ones and their follow-up EP titled “Astral Sabbat”. In this release the band further refines their amazing Psychedelic Occult Rock/Metal music and presents three very engaging tracks that will satisfy any fan of the band and of the genre. With so many bands playing this genre nowadays, it is refreshing to hear this band excel at it.

    The band immediately jumps into things with the highly intoxicating and playful “Astral Sabbat” song. We got immediately transported into psychedelic times with the crazy keyboards and super catchy song structure. Jess’s vocals are as amazing as ever and carry this song with a dramatic performance. Immediately following we have the band’s cover of Shocking Blue’s “Long and Lonesome Road”. While imprinting the band’s unique sound to this song, they also managed to say very true to this highly addictive song. Look it up on YouTube so you can judge for yourself.

  • TalismanStone – Lovecraftpolis (2011)


    Delivering one of the most unique and sonically crushing releases of 2011 (and we missed it then!), today we have Italy’s TalismanStone and their monumental “Lovecraftpolis” release. Comprised by 3 musicians, this outfit delivers a Sitar induced double-bass guitar aural assault that combines Pyschedelic Rock elements with Doom and Sludge into four tracks of biblical proportions. If you think this combination is weird, TalismanStone manages to pull it off graciously and crank out over 45 minutes of hypnotic music.

    Opening with the Stoner/Southern Metal sounding “By The Sun of The Light Keeper”, the band establishes a very mellow and sludgy atmosphere. The bass guitars (yeah, that is right, TWO of them) replace all guitars in this track and they perfectly create that thick distortion that one would expect from a Sludge/Stoner Metal release. The female vocals courtesy of Erica Bassani are both haunting and intoxicating. However, the best part is when the trippy sitar makes its entrance to this already excellent song.

  • Abysse – EN(D)GRAVE (2012)


    With a very aggressive dosage of Instrumental Metal, today we have France’s Abysee and their debut full-length “EN(D)GRAVE”. Claiming to avoid the ‘romantic interludes’, this band does a fine job in crafting engaging instrumental music with very aggressive riffing and a high-level of intensity. The band can easily be compared with compatriots Aluk Todolo, but with their own signature style of crafting epic songs.

    Opening with “Eagle Haast”, the band immediately comes out punching with their intricate powerful riffs and heavy sense for melody. This is one of those songs that you keep waiting for the singer to come out and ruin it, but it is awesome that the band decided to just go instrumental with such an elaborate song (and release). “Ten Thousand Changes” and “Mastodon” keep the momentum going with more powerful guitars and very well-crafted drumming. “Mastodon” has a nice Southern Rock/Sludgy vibe to it that fans of these genres will surely appreciate.


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