Black Vatican – Arcana Lament

Black Vatican – Arcana Lament
Release Date: 18/01/2020
Running Time: 47:01
Review by Dark Juan

…As I continue to whip the poor wretch in front of me, the bands of pain across my back increase, iron hot and tightening across my shoulders, although the pain I am suffering must be nothing compared to the glistening red stripes of agony across her slim, trembling back. Her blood runs in rivulets down her back and stains her skirts a deep scarlet. Yet, still she does not cry out. This wretch, this WITCH, this doer of evil! Thankfully, the Most Holy Inquisition came across her in the commission of her crimes and all that remains is confession before we pass sentence and she goes to meet her dread maker in the bowels of the most awful hell, far from the eyes of the Lord my God, her saviour and saviour of all mankind. How I love him as I do his august work on this evildoer, this hellion! With renewed vigour from my faith in the Lord I swing my bullwhip and open up another vicious wound upon her soft flesh. The red of open slashes now has flecks of white bone showing through. Rib cage and spine are becoming gradually exposed. My Cardinal motions for me to cease my Holy ministrations upon the person of this servant of the Devil. He places his hand under the chin of the witch and raises her face to gaze into his. He speaks kindly to her.

“My child, repent of your sins and confess them and I promise you a quick and clean death and you can go forth to the forgiveness of the Lord our God and live eternally in Heaven. I beg you to confess and end your pain. Only the cleansed can go to the Lord.”

The witch spits blood flecked defiance straight into his face. Her dark, liquid eyes narrow and flash hatred and she whispers, hoarsely because of injury and pain as she replies, voice choked thick with agony and disgust.

“Never. I never acknowledged your God. Your prayers were never for the likes of me and my kin. You seek only domination and dominion over all. You crave new demesnes. Look at your wealth in the silks you wear, how well fed you are, how your skin is unmarked by pox. Yet you want more. You will not hear me scream even as I burn and I WILL NEVER DO YOUR BIDDING! I follow the Left Hand Path and I am a member of the congregation of the Black Vatican!”

Four hundred and thirty six words just to make a tenuous link to Black Vatican, an American two-piece hailing from Kansas City, whose latest offering I am currently listening to, entitled “Arcana Lament”. And a strange, ill-proportioned beast it is too. An arabesque with unsuited limbs. Beauty and perfection subtly distorted in ways that render you uneasy and afraid. Like an elegant, beautiful hand whose fingers are just that tiniest bit too long and thin, and the nails look rather sharper than normal. Black Vatican have taken Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ, Cradle Of Filth and KMFDM and early Ministry and performed gross, disgusting medical experiments upon them and fused them together in some horrific kind of gothic black metal industrial chimaera. This, as you might imagine, makes for an interesting listening experience as these are all fairly disparate influences at work. The song structures and lyrical content lean very much into the dark gothic wonderland that Dani Filth appears to inhabit but then suddenly a song will go cold and industrial and bleak. It’s surprising how well that sort of segue works even if Black Vatican relies on it a little too heavily. Equally so with the short, sharp, choral single note chants that appear on at least three songs. Still, everyone knows that Dark Juan is a sad old goff and this sort of thing is enough to worry West Yorkshire County Council because of the possibility of sex wee flooding. Again. I have to say I am really enjoying the album despite the fact that Black Vatican appear to have used a fucking Bontempi drum machine with the most appalling cymbal sounds and shitty drum tones ever. It sounds like a fucking toy monkey bashing cymbals together over a fat man hitting an upturned bucket with a drumstick composed of rats with rigor mortis. Painfully obviously sequenced does not even begin to describe how shit the drum machine is. Get an Alesis SR-16, chaps, and do it properly, please.

Vocalist Erik Ramos boasts a broad range of tones, from guttural belly rumbling through to a very engaging Dani Filth-esque howl which is regretfully sparsely employed considering this is what Erik excels at. Production wise, it’s ok – everything is clearly heard although everything can be somewhat smothered by keyboards and drums at times. There is a distinct lack of production finesse, however, and there are some unusual breaks in the arrangement of the music and the record clearly sounds like it has been recorded on a budget of 37p and a packet of fags. The guitar sound used by Cole Roberts varies wildly from Akercocke like lo-fi razorwire single string work through to full bore metal riffing with a sound not unlike the guitars on “Cruelty And The Beast” which fits the kind of cold atmosphere the record projects rather well.

I love anything gothic or industrial and to have something that is both is a real treat for me. Fans of gothic metal might find this a challenging listen because of the industrial sounds BV use – most goth metal is a warm and intimate experience closely in touch with the darker parts of your soul whereas BV operate out on the fringes. They are occupied with the darkness and the cold outside of you. The terror without rather than the horror within. Industrial fans will appreciate the cold and dispassionate feel of the record and might also enjoy the slower numbers. Stand out tracks on the record are ‘Morrigan’s Forest’ and ‘Vampiric Combat’. Special mention for unexpected comedy gold goes to ‘Witch Of Scarborough Fair’ which is a gothic rewrite of the notable Simon and Garfunkel classic. Listen, lads, if gothic doom metal gods My Dying Bride can fuck it up royally (their cover of Scarborough Fair is execrable) then you don’t stand a chance with it! Leave Simon and Garfunkel alone!

In conclusion – I totally get what Black Vatican are trying to achieve and applaud them mightily for it. I feel that they might have a problem by having a foot in the camp of both gothic metal and industrial. A judicious lean in one direction or the other may well pay dividends, because the middle ground they inhabit is a sparsely populated one indeed. Also, for the love of god buy a decent drum machine because the one you’ve got is shite! Niggles aside, I’m a fan and I’d love to see what Black Vatican could achieve with a decent recording budget.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has regrettably only ruined one pair of trousers with a modest amount of sex wee and awards Black Vatican 7/10 for a record that impresses with the scale of its thinking, but is let down by execution.

01. Loss, Greed and Necromancy
02. The Alchemist
03. The Vistas
04. Witch Of Scarborough Fair
05. Dreams Of Hecate
06. Morrigan’s Forest
07. Vampiric Combat
08. Again, The Vistas Again
09. Reincarnations Of Dreams

Erick Ramos – Vocals, Bass
Cole Roberts – Guitars


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Antipope – Apostle Of Infinite Joy

Antipope – Apostle Of Infinite Joy
Fertile Crescent Productions
Release Date: 21/02/2020
Running Time: 44:46
Review by Victor Augusto

Once again, I have decided to navigate through unknown seas, this time going deeper into the world of Gothic music. As I used to say before writing something about a genre that I don’t listen to often, my apologies to the band and fans if I’ve written something wrong, but I’ll do my best to express how amazing I have found the Finnish band, Antipope.

My first impression on hearing this album for the first time was that it was like travelling back in time to 1995 and listen to “The Gallery” by Dark Tranquillity. I could feel some influences from them, especially on a few of the guitar harmonies of Antti J. Karjalainen. However, Antipope’s music goes further than Melodic Death Metal sonority, making it just an (good) Influence, not a carbon copy. The atmosphere created by the band along the melodies is really paradoxical, because the music is a mix of dark and depressive sounds, but the melodies bring happiness to it. Maybe it’s got me confused, but it is what I felt.

The opening track, ‘Harbinger Of Dawn’, demonstrates what I am saying – with clean notes before all the heaviness appears. The great drum lines of Tuska E. help to give a good cadence. At this point, it was simply Melodic Death Metal that came to my mind. But then, ‘Natural Born Heretic’ appears, exploring speed and fast tempos, but you’d be mistaken for thinking that all the melodies and technique would be left behind because of this. They weren’t. And what a great solo from Antti J. Karjalainen in this song, too.

My second impression of Antipope appeared in ‘Intoxicating Darkness’. After a great bass intro from Joni Tauriainen, I felt some Doom influence in the way Mikko Myllykangas sings. This Doom Influence increases with the title track, throughout its seven-minute track time, displaying many variations. Maybe some Blackened Death influences are present in this song too. What I can assure is that even though it’s 7 minutes long, this song is so amazing that you won’t realize the time flying.

The violent side of Antipope returns in ‘Red Goddess’ and ‘Venereal Ritual For Dispersion And Reintegration Of The Soul’ even though the last one has a few slow parts. ‘Serpent Of Old’ is not as fast, but it’s definitely heavy with a good focus on riffing. The closing song ‘0=2’ is a kind of mix of everything you’ve heard so far from Antipope’s music.

As I said before, I am not the most knowledgeable person to talk about the genres I mentioned, but my impression was that Antipope don’t get stuck in only one style. “Apostle Of Infinite Joy” is a lesson in technique and has brilliant compositions. Antipope put in the best of all the styles that have influenced them, and offer a good balance between heaviness and dense atmosphere. The final result is nothing less than an amazing record. For sure, it is one of the best releases of 2020.

01. Harbinger of Dawn
02. Natural Born Heretic
03. Intoxicating Darkness
04. Apostle Of Infinite Joy
05. Red Goddess
06. Venereal Ritual for Dispersion and Reintegration of the Soul
07. Serpent of Old
08. 0=2

Mikko Myllykangas – Vocals
Joni Tauriainen – Bass
Antti J. Karjalainen – Guitars
Tuska E. – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Belgian Gothic/Fusion Metal band October Changes. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

October Changes hails from Heist o/d Berg, Belgium and was founded in October 2018 by Luk Michels (rhythm guitars) and a former band member. The initial plan was to start up a metalcore/rapcore project. But in October 2018, they changed their focus to something completely different. They decided to form a project with a female lead singer and to bring more melodic songs.

Today our music can best be described as “an eclectic blend of symphonic, industrial and gothic metal, fused together with some electronic influences.” The female vocalist delivers vocals that go from clean, more classic inspired to more powerful dark vocals.

How did you come up with your band name?

Luk is a huge fan of the bands August Burns Red and Texas In July (and loves talking about them – hahaha, they are just REALLY good bands!). Both band names have months in them. Since a lot of changes took place in October 2018, they initially introduced “October Changes” (basically) as a joke. But the name ended up catchy so… here we are today.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re a Belgium based metal band. In Belgium we have a great tradition with small metal bars that offer support to local bands. But these bars also provide a great place for international bands that are making their first introduction in our country. We also have plenty of small metal-festivals that support local and Belgian bands. But also the bigger festivals start to notice that Belgium has some great talent. Alcatraz metal festival, for example, has a dedicated stage for Belgian metal bands. And there’s also plenty of local and national radio stations that support the Belgian metal scene with airtime or by creating a playlist on streaming services like Spotify. For example, Studio Brussel has “De Zwaarste Lijst”, but recently a more local initiative started “De Zwaarste lijst – 100% Belgisch”.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

On April 24th we released our first studio single ‘Decay of Sleeping Beauty’.

Our previous releases were all home-recorded demos. So, this is a big step forward for us. It was in all aspects an enjoyable process. Domingo Smets (Elusion, Ancient Rites) from “The Rock Studio” is a pleasure to work with and knows what he’s doing.

Who have been your greatest influences?

There’s just too many to name! But we’ve already been compared to Evanescence, Within Temptation, Eluveitie, Draconian and they definitely have had some influence on our music, mostly vocally then. Other bands on our inspiration list are Amaranthe, Lacuna Coil and eighties music but there are also some bands that you maybe didn’t expect like In Flames, Jinjer and Infected Rain. We also get inspired with the crazy sounds in our sound library. It happens that we hear a small sound sample and we end up with a song.

What first got you into music?

Wendy: Music has always had an important part in my life, and I have loved singing ever since I was a child. When Belgium won the “Eurovision Song Festival” in 1986, I got really mesmerized with singing and music. From that day on I just knew that I wanted to be a singer.

Luk: I picked up the guitar after hearing Nirvana, Guns And Roses and Bon Jovi (yeah, sorry for the last one) Later on the heavier stuff caught my ears on Headbangers Ball (MTV in the good years) like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel… But my first real music addiction came when I heard stuff via my dad, being The Sweet, Black Sabbath, Guitar King, Queen and Michael Jackson!

Bert: I’ve been going to festivals and concerts for as long as I can remember. I picked up the guitar when I was around the age of 18 but never really got through the first year of playing. After a while it started collecting dust in some corner. A couple of years ago I picked it up again, took some lessons and started looking for a band to play some awesome music.

Wesley: My brother – also a drummer – bought a drum-kit when I was 12 years old. When he wasn’t around, I started playing the drums. I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t, but I learned to hide this very well in the meantime). But as time went by, I started to get better, and now, many years later, I am still playing drums on the same drum-kit he bought so many years ago.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

There are so many talented bands out there. We would be open to collaborate with any band or musician. But we’re sure that a collaboration with Amaranthe or Lacuna Coil would be fantastic.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Our current goal is Graspop Metal Meeting. It’s such a fantastic festival. There are so many bands performing in only 4 days! And we love our country, so what’s not to like about this festival. We would definitely stick around a bit longer to get acquainted with some other bands. And if that doesn’t work out, we’re still guaranteed to have some of the best beers available.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Haha! What defines weird? We haven’t had any gigs yet, but we’re all open for weird gifts. That one wins a picture on Instagram for sure.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

We are so grateful for our fans. Thanks to them we can do what we love the most, make music.

If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Wendy: I think we all have our favourites, since we all come from a different (metal) background. For me it would be David Bowie. I just love his personas and the creativity he put in his character and performance. Being on stage as a singer/band is also like playing in the theatre. You have to decide who you want to be on that stage and act like it 100%. David Bowie had mastered that completely!

Sven: Cliff Burton… He was a beast and god at the same time… He was a real inspiration to me.

Luk : Kurt Cobain…I don’t need any motivation for this.😊

Wesley: Peter Steele (Type O Negative). Fantastic voice, great music, it was a shame he passed away so soon.

Bert: Definitely Dio. He is the godfather to all metal music. I remember being so shocked when he passed away. He was supposed to do a tour in Europe, so I made plans with my dad to go and see Dio. We were so bummed we never got to see him perform.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Wendy: I love to tell stories. Writing lyrics is a fun process. It starts with searching for the story in the music. I really have to feel it and once I got hold of that feeling…the story just flows out of my pen.

Luk: The possibility to express yourself in a musical way. You always hear in a track/song how the band or individual was feeling at that point. A good example is a rather depressive song I wrote, and Wesley turned it into something completely different.

Bert: What’s also great is that you get to meet a lot of amazing people who are all in love with the same thing; metal music. And there’s still so much to discover. Ironically, that is also the thing I hate… I wish I could spend all day long playing the guitar, but regular day-to-day life gets in the way.

Sven: I enjoy the friendship and respect musicians have for each other. But I don’t like to be put into a certain category. Talent can sometimes be hidden in the strangest places, so I like to keep an open mind at all times.

Wesley: I enjoy creating new music. Start to put little pieces together that doesn’t seem to fit at all, and suddenly, they connect.

And I think what we all dislike is the fact that there are a lot of great musicians out there, who are talented, write great music, but don’t always get the chance to play their music for the audience it deserves.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Sven: I would make it easier for young talented bands to get noticed. Because today it’s very difficult to get your music out there and to reach your fans if you don’t know the right people.

Wesley: October Changes t-shirts for everyone!

Wendy: I would change the way artists are being refunded for their art. Today it’s almost impossible to live from the fees you get out of being an artist, even if you’re song is doing quite well. One of the main reasons for this, is the way the industry is organised. I would search for a way to fix this. So, more musicians can make it their full-time job and more talented bands would be able to reach their goals and dreams.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Sven: Ayreon – “The Human Equation”.

Luk: GnR – Both The Use Your Illusions. (to name only one)!

Wesley: Nirvana – “In Utero”.

Bert: Death – “The Sound Of Perseverance”.

Wendy: Kylie Minogue – “Kylie”…Wait! I can explain! It was the first record ever that I bought, and I was so damn proud of it. Besides, I’m sure some of the songs on there would make really nice metal covers.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Wendy: Downloads for sure! You can take your favourite music everywhere. It makes music available to everybody from anywhere and on any time of the day. And that’s how music should be! Nobody should ever be deprived from music.

But I think this is also something very personal. Some people love to have something real in their hands, they love the booklet, the lyrics in it. They consider an album as an artwork and thus want to have it at hand.

Wesley: They all have their value. I grew up with vinyl and cassettes. Then the CD came, which was great. This was all we would ever need. And then we had the DVD, and finally the digital content. Luckily, we have downloads nowadays. My house wouldn’t be big enough to store all the music otherwise.

Bert: I’ll go with Spotify. I’ve never owned a lot of CD’s, cassettes or vinyl. Spotify just allows people to discover a whole new world of artists.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

We were planning a release weekend on 5th, 6th and 7th of June and had already booked 4 gigs! That weekend was also the start of a mini tour with a befriended Mexican band. We’re really sad that all our concerts got cancelled due to Corona. But the entire weekend would have been a real celebration for us. So, I’d say our first gig would be our best, because that’s the start of everything.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Wendy: We all still have a fulltime job. So probably we would spend more time developing our skills for that job and would probably also spend more time with our family.

Luk: Hah…I like to be creative, so whatever includes the term “designing” would be great… I am quite fond of painting… I do mean with real paint, on a canvas… Expression of soul and mind and it’s so relaxing.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Wendy: Johnny Depp. He’s a rock artist, loves and knows Tim Burton, doesn’t shy away from crazy ideas and opened a metal bar, The Viper Room and Floor Janssen, because I would love to have a geeky chat with her about singing techniques.

Luk: And I would pick for sure one funny guy (aka comedian)…

Wesley: 5 people from the company that installed my glass doors, that I have been trying to get over for almost a year now to do some repairs. So, they can finally fix my broken door before having dinner.

Bert: I’d like to invite some famous guitar players that inspire me. Ola Englund, Keith Merrow, Matt Heafy, Dave Mustaine, Dean Lamb. That would be one epic dinner party. Jam session afterwards!

Sven: I would invite my own band. Jam session afterwards! Haha!

What’s next for the band?

We have plenty of songs that are ready for recording. So that’s definitely on our to do list. What comes next is still to be decided. We might release some extra singles or maybe release our first full album.

And of course, we are planning to do lots of concerts! Next year we will also start to focus on festivals and concerts in other countries. We’ll start with the neighbouring countries, but who knows… the sky’s the limit.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Streaming Services: Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Google Play…

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Wendy: They’re something entirely different of their own. Definitely. Let’s call them biscakes!

Luk: They are yummy : P I don’t care what it really is supposed to be!

Bert: Biscuits, though I had to do a google search just to know what they are, so I’m by no means an expert on the subject. But definitely biscuits.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Our bass player is a God (his own words) and our drummer is the king (not his own words).

Thank you for the interview!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.



Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Aberdeenshire, Scotland based Gothic Metal band Echothefallen. Huge thanks to vocalist Simona Tremaroli, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Simona Tremaroli and I’m the singer of the gothic metal band Echothefallen.

Echothefallen was formed in 2015 in Fraserburgh by Adam Balina and Pedro Arsenio after their former death metal band Murderous Instinct split up.

With Echothefallen they wanted to create darker, melancholic but powerful music and after few months and several line-up changes Wojciech Zapotocki, Mark Cross and myself joined the band and started to work on new material.

How did you come up with your band name?

The name was created by the band previous singer Stuart Leel. The name relates to the echo of the ones dying in battle for freedom.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are based in the north east of Scotland, the Rock scene is quite active over this area but the Metal scene not so much. There are great metal bands in Scotland like Saor, Nassau, Rend Them Asunder to name a few, there are often great gigs to see in the greater cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh, however, Aberdeen or the Aberdeenshire tend to be forgotten unfortunately…

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We released an EP “Sangreloca” prior to releasing our debut album “From Lust To Love And Passion” in June 2019. We also had the opportunity to shoot a video of ‘Dysfunctional’ which was a load of fun to get it done.

We are currently working on new material and we should record a new release soon.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We don’t usually like to name bands to get compared with and it really depends on the band member, some of us are fans of the 90’s Doom Metal bands; others are great fans of the more extreme Death Metal / Grind Core scene.

What first got you into music?

When I was 9yo I fell in love with Madonna, my muse and my inspiration.

That’s why I decided to be a singer even if I play heavier music, haha.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Personally, I’d say Alcest, on behalf of the band I’d say, very likely, Insomnium.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken or Hellfest because they are the top metal festivals.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

At the moment nothing in particular to be honest, our fans mainly offer us drinks haha.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

What we always say: Stay metal, stay dark!!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Freddie Mercury! What a talented man he was.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

We love creating music and expressing ourselves through our tunes. On the other hand, we hate all that stupid competition among bands, there is no need for that stuff, it only creates bad vibes between the bands. Music is art, not a battle.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Definitely all the Internet bullshit and how many fake likes you have, we are all numbers, all barcodes and this is really sad and frustrating. What has the world become…?

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Tragic Idol” by Paradise Lost.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Personally, I prefer CD’s, good quality first.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

All our gigs are great fun, but we really enjoyed playing with Alia Tempora in Inverness.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

We’d all be pornstars for sure hahaha.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d personally invite Nick Holmes, Daniel and Vincent Cavanagh, Aaron Stainthorpe and Neige.

What’s next for the band?

These are uncertain times; we have no idea when we will be able to practice again but we are currently working on new tunes and we’d like to record our second album sooner rather than later.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We mainly use our Facebook page, YouTube, our own website, Spotify and Instagram.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Call them what you want, they’re ace!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for giving us the chance to make this interview!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Semblant – Obscura

Semblant – Obscura
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 48:44
Review by Victor Augusto

Before I start my review, I must apologize to fans of Gothic Metal if I make any mistakes during this review. I must confess that I had no idea what kind of music Semblant played when I picked this album for listening. I didn’t even realize they were Brazilian. I don’t want you to think I had a bad impression of this album, it’s just a matter of talking about a genre that I am not so familiar with. However, let me cut my smooth talk and continue to what really matters, the band’s third full-length album “Obscura”.

Semblant are not a new band, they have been together for almost 15 years. When I heard this album for the first time, I got the impression that this was an experienced band that knows exactly what they are doing, and I was correct. Considering that I’m not a follower of Gothic/Dark Metal, I will try to express my feelings as an ordinary listener.

Here is something inspired by the great Swedish Melodic Death metal bands from the nineties, but not so melancholic in style. The guitar work is excellent, but it explores riffs and solos in a more simplistic way, as you can hear in the track ‘Barely Breathing’, always having the bass to support the heaviness. The impression I get is that the keyboards of J. Augusto are a bit hidden in the music and it surprises me because, when I hear the term Gothic Metal, intense and loud keyboards are the first thing that come to my mind. Drummer Welyntom Sikora follows the rhythmical guitars and strongly explores double kicks throughout the album, but without many cadence changes.

I won’t say that the vocals are the highlight, but it feels, to me, that the compositions are built using them and the final mix sees both singers ahead of the other instruments, except the drums. The vocals consist of the powerful female voice of Mizuho Lin and the guttural male voice of Sergio Mazul. Mizuho explores her high range with great melody while Sergio uses different kinds of screams, but they complement each other excellently. Both have the perfect amount of time to use their voices. As I said before, my impression is that the creation of the music was built entirely around their voices.

The album has basically the same structure throughout with the duets of vocals, double kicks, fast guitars and bass, but there are a few segments which differ, for instance, on the track ‘Wallachia’ that uses a more operatic approach vocally and slightly Black Metal arrangements within the riffs, the ballad ‘Daydream Tragedy’ which surprised me with clean male vocals and slow cadence followed by guitars without distortion, while the opera style vocals return on final track ‘Insomnia’ where a few solos are reminiscent of Tom Morello in style.

Dark and Gothic Metal are styles far beyond my knowledge, but thinking impartially, Semblant come across as a professional and very consistent band that know exactly what they want from their music. They are Heavy, direct and don’t tire you with complex arrangements. This probably explains why “Obscura is such a good album and Semblant have conquered legions of fans around the world during their career.

01. Murder Of Crows
02. Left Behind
03. Dethrone The Gods, Control The Masters (Legacy Of Blood Pt. IV)
04. Mere Shadow
05. Porcelain
06. The Hunter, The Hunger (Legacy Of Blood Pt. V)
07. Wasteland
08. Barely Breathing
09. Wallachia
10. Daydream Tragedy
11. Insomnia (Bonus Track)

J. Augusto – Keyboards
Sergio Mazul – Vocals (male)
Mizuho Lin – Vocals (female)
Juliano Ribeiro – Guitars
Welyntom “Thor” Sikora – Drums
Johann Piper – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nachtfalter – was bleibt

was bleibt Cover

Nachtfalter – was bleibt
Release Date: 24/05/2019
Running Time: 42:23
Review by ‘Dark Juan’

Good evening, droogies, boozers, strumpets and losers! For which greeting we thank the puissant and magnificent Krusher Joule of Raw Power TV fame back in the nineties. This Hellpriest considers Krusher, a splendid gentleman of metal, a formative influence and a man to look up to, even if I was more interested in Ann Kirk in a short, tight dress at the time… If you’re of a similar age, you’ll understand. If not, you’d best get Googling, sunshine!

Anyway, in an effort (probably misguided; Most of what I do is…) to maintain some level of brevity in this review after what could only be described as an epic, last time out, I am resisting the urge to describe to you what is (might be… you’ll never know what shit I make up and what is real! Suffice it to say the more outlandish things I write about are more likely to be the truth) going on in my life and am of the opinion we should plunge straight into dealing with Nachtfalter’s “was bleibt”. That’s German for “what remains”, fact fans. Nachtfalter are a duo of talented gentlemen who wish only to be known by their initials and they play gothic metal with an industrial undertone with vocals in the German language. You’d imagine this to be so far up my street I’d be hailing (Satan?) a taxi to get there quicker, wouldn’t you? Normally you’d be right, but…

Unfortunately, this record is ponderous. And it has the world’s most inappropriate guitar sound. The vocals are sub – Till Lindemann German guttural and the whole sound of the record is off, somehow. It’s as if Nachtfalter could afford Stock, Aitken and Waterman to produce the album. The production is FAR too poppy for my tastes. Especially when we are talking industrially tinged gothic metal with low register German vocals. It should be shaking internal organs loose and making me make a large and unpleasant mess in my underwear, but it doesn’t. In fact, it is basically leaving me with a feeling that could charitably be described as, “Meh.” This is a crying shame because there are some fucking good ideas on this record and they are simply not taken advantage of, at all. The vocals are uninspiring and it would be brilliant, just once, to have a German metal band sing in their native language without doing their best Till Lindemann impersonation. Even Laibach (yes, I know they are actually Slovenian but they sing in German so the point holds, ok?) are guilty of this. Nena didn’t grunt ‘99 Luftballons’, did she? A bit more range would have been a definite bonus. It’s telling when the best song on the record is an electronic body music version of ‘Maschinenklang’. Actually, the electronic version (of already the best song on the album by a country mile) kicks serious amounts of arse and if it doesn’t end up being a cybergoth hit on the dancefloor of Sheffield Corporation then I’ll eat my flat cap (cos I am from Lancashire innit? I’m sending this one out to my homeboys in Radcliffe and Bury…) and put a ferret down my trousers. Other tunes worthy of note are ‘Vollkommenheit’ and ‘Folge Mir’, both being good songs ruined by terrible production values. I have issues also with the homespun quality of the production throughout the entire record. It sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom in suburban Leipzig. There’s no punch to any of the instruments, the guitar sounds like it belongs in a Pretty Boy Floyd cover band and the synths have a disturbingly 1980’s Bontempi quality about them. It sounds cheap as fuck, basically. I’m actually genuinely upset because this band could have been gothically magnificent. They could have been dark wonders. They could have had this Goth loving hellpriest crawling at their feet begging for their attention. Instead, they are pedestrian, inadequate and hollow. There’s no soul to the music. It’s mechanical, not in the industrial sense of the word, but it is gothic metal by numbers and that is extremely intolerable in a genre that is based on emotion. It should be melodramatic and bombastic and rich and lush and powerful and “was bleibt” is none of those things. “was bleibt” is the aural equivalent of the horrible feeling of bleak, crushing sadness you get when you discover a cold cup of tea you forgot about.

Heart. Broken. Send beer and nubile young metal chicks to cheer me up.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Nachtfalter 4/10 for destroying his faith in a genre that has previously never failed to deliver some form of excitement. They have managed to corner the market in beige gothic metal. They are the metal equivalent of painting a wall magnolia.

(With helpful English translations for those of you too fucking lazy to use Google Translate)
01. Fur Mich (For Me)
02. Anderes Leben (Other Life)
03. Maschinenklang (Machine Sound)
04. Eine Stimme (One Vote)
05. Vollkommenheit (Perfection)
06. Im Schatten (In The Shade)
07. Folge Mir (Follow Me)
08. Nacht (Night)
09. Nur Noch Einmal (Just Once More)
10. Maschinenklang Elektro-Version (If you can’t work this one out for yourselves, go and see the doctor and get yourself seen to…)

Nachtfalter ist:
T.S. – Vocals, bass, synth, drums (Vocals, Synth, Bass, Schlagzeug)
T.G. – Rhythm and lead guitars (Rhythmus und Leadgitarren)



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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Evil Scarecrow – Chapter IV: Antartarctica


Chapter IV, Antartarctica Cover

Evil Scarecrow – Chapter IV: Antartarctica
Dead Box Records
Release Date: 28/09/2018
Running Time: 48:45
Review by Beth Jones

Earth. 2018. The planet is in the grip of a dense stupidity, where man-size tissues attack poor offended snowflakes daily, and boys are forced to carry their school books in microwaves. Little do the poor earthlings know that their planet faces a new threat, in the shape of hot red people from outer space! The only hope lies at the feet of a crack team of renegades, known only as Evil Scarecrow, who must carry out a mission to play kick ass music to save the world, their mission, code name: Antartarctica.

Whether these intrepid minstrels are battling aliens, or fighting evil spirits they do it with style, and this new offering is no exception. In fact, for me it is the most rounded and musically mature album that they have released to date – even though their themes are still as bonkers and tongue in cheek as always, which makes them the band we have come to know and love.

The album kicks off with ‘Skulls Of Our Enemies’. A great tune to get things started, that could almost be a space age James Bond-esque theme for the impending Armageddon! It certainly has an element of impending large-scale disaster about it and is a great way to start!

One of their singles from this album, ‘Red Riding Hood’, is up next! This is such a great track – one of my favourites on the album, and it is absolutely terrifying! We saw them perform it live at Amplified this year and the 10-foot-tall grotesque Red Riding Hood stage character is the stuff of nightmares! But still tongue in cheek, with ingenious lyrical japes throughout, and musically great hooks, as well as the accustomed big chorus that is great to sing along to, that makes it very typically Evil Scarecrow.

Their songs really are huge musical numbers that accompany a theatrical extravaganza perfectly, and this theme continues throughout the whole album. It is proggy in places, it is symphonic and grand in others, with gothic and classic heavy metal thrown in alongside a healthy dose of electronica, as well as all the poise and excitement of a piece of spectacular theatre, which, combined with the lyrical craziness, could only be described as if the Goons or the Pythons had written Futurama through the medium of song then released it under the umbrella of Disney!

The album moves on, a pace and pretty soon ends up at ‘Hurricanado’, another rip-roaring tempestuous sing along, again with spectacularly catchy riffs, hooks and a big audience participation element. This track marks the half way point in the album, and is perfectly positioned at the peak, with its fast pace and the manic growls and howls of Dr Hell. By this point in an album I have usually heard one song that has made me pull a meh face, but not a chance here. Every element is perfectly placed, and not over egged. No song outstays its welcome, and each is different enough not to be boring, but has enough in common to make the story flow. It is witchcraft!

Track 7, ‘Polterghost’, is another favourite of mine, and not just for the madcap story, but for the brilliant chunkiness of the rhythm section, making it great for rocking out too, and the brilliant guitar work in the solo, which is not over stated or fussy, but fits the track perfectly.

What I think is really needed at this point in the album, is something to properly lose your shit too. Yet again the Scarecrows’ super sixth sense knew this and slotted in ‘Cosmos Goth Moth Gong’, because why not! It is by far the heaviest track on the album and brilliant to boot. I’m now wishing that one of the songs on this album was mediocre, as I am running out of ways to say, ‘this is damn brilliant’! This super track gives you the sense that the album is building to some totally explosive, all out galactic warfare, finale, that may result in certain death, or at the very least, a little bit of maiming. And then…
‘The Ballad Of Brother Pain’. Wow! This I did not expect! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a toned down, slow ballad, with clean vocals and stripped back effects, that is melancholy and has a beautiful, almost ethereal quality about it, then a huge and brilliant guitar solo in the middle, taking it to the big lift ending! Again, a sing along, of stadium proportions, which blew my mind! I frikkin love this song! And indeed this album!

The closing, and title track, ‘Antartarctica’, combines all of the above, in a nightmarish, apocalyptic vision, of epic proportions with this piece on its own being an impressive 10 minutes in length! They have taken every element used so far and created an eclectic masterpiece, full of great guitar work, changes in tempo and dynamics, growls, clean vocals, rough and heavy rhythms, classic gothic cadences, narration, tension and suspense, a cuddly toy and probably the kitchen sink too!

Something very special happens when you listen to Evil Scarecrow. It brings out your inner child. No matter how bad your day is, a quick listen to this, or any Evil Scarecrow album, will bring you round and transport you into their crazy, warped Sci Fi world! The difference being with this album, is they have now really bedded in and are thinking bigger, and better, and creating musical masterpieces song after song after song. Their writing is now so mature, that they are approaching the point of complete perfection, hence my perfect rating.

This is probably the best album I have heard all year. I can’t really say much more than that, other than, get out there people, buy it and listen to it and love it like a brother, whilst you still have the chance! The world will be brought to an end by stupidity and people taking offence at the colour of the sky, but at least Evil Scarecrow will have made the end infinitely more enjoyable!

1. Skulls Of Our Enemies
2. Red Riding Hood
3. Way To Die
4. The Magician
5. Hurricanado
6. Gus, Zag And The Turnip King
7. Polterghost
8. Cosmos Goth Moth Gong
9. The Ballad Of Brother Pain
10. Antartarctica



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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.