Review: Lunar Shadow – The Smokeless Fires

Lunar Shadow – The Smokeless Fires (Cruz Del Sur Music)
Review by Milos Sebalj

German Heavy Metal? Yes, please, give it to me, and lots of it! And then I get “The Smokeless Fires”. I seriously expected something in the vein of Grave Digger, Running Wild or at least Helloween/Gamma Ray type of music. Well, I guess everyone expects something like this to come from Germany. However, Lunar Shadow doesn’t seem to care about what we expect.

Deutsch quintet started their journey five years ago, and “The Smokeless Fires” is their second full length album. What they did here is switch the attention across the ocean. This record sounds very American. Certain German touches, mostly in the more aggressive parts, do suggest their origin. Still, I have a feeling Iced Earth is more to their liking than their country mates. Most of the album does not “rush” anywhere. Rarely do you find fast tempos. Lunar Shadow’s music is rather intended to feelings. Mostly melancholic atmosphere rules on these 44 minutes. It is mentioned in the information sheet that this release is intended to questioning of the self, so I can only conclude that exactly that atmosphere was what the Germans intended to create. So, the songs are quite long and diverse in their arrangement, achieving the mentioned feel. The mentioned info sheet says that this is “Epic Classic Metal going head-to-head with blazing Scandinavian Black Metal“. Either I’m deaf, or somebody has no idea about Scandinavian Black Metal. I failed miserably in my intent on finding any shred of something similar to it. A couple of background screams in „Laurelindorenan“, tremolos and a short blast-beat on the closing track hardly make for a complete genre influence. Oh, and the logo I’ve found on Metal Archives looks very Black Metallish. On the other hand, the „epic Classic Metal“ label stands. Even going to the nowadays Iron Maiden heights as the album gets to its end. Borderline Progressive.

Lunar Shadow certainly displays a high technical level. The abundance of different partitudes in each song says a lot about their creative skills. Piano introduction to the opening track, female choir on „Red Nails For The Pillar Of Death“, bunch of solo parts in every song and a whole lot of other tricks that the Germans pull out of their sleeves makes this album very challenging for a listener. This is surely not a record that will get you on the first listening. Melodic guitars are the forerunners, as they should be on a Heavy Metal release. Rhythm section firmly holds the ground, allowing even the bass guitar enough „on air“ time. The weak point for me would be the vocal parts. Though they do the job just fine, I would prefer them to be more convincing. Seems like the vocalist was given a certain „range“ in which to operate, without room to express himself as he could.

“The Smokeless Fires” stands as a very ambitious attempt. It is nothing groundbreaking for sure, but bear in mind that it took just two years to complete a complex album like this. And Lunar Shadow is a very young band. I am more than curious to find out what they come up with next. You should be too. The third album might just be a rocket to propell them into stardom.



Review: Tryglav – Night of Whispering Souls

Tryglav – Night of Whispering Souls (Extreme Metal Music)
Review by Milos Sebalj

For something advertised as Black Metal, I have a feeling there is going to be a regular “spit fest” when the genre’s purists get their hands on this album. They are already ticked off by the most talked about Black Metal release of the year, the “Lords of chaos” movie. And I don’t want to be a part of it, since I kind of like this album. I liked the said movie as well, so let’s start another “spit fest” as soon as possible.

Tryglav is a young one-man band, hailing from Croatia, and “Night of Whispering Souls” is the debut album. Well, there is a session vocalist present on the recording, so it’s not quite a solo project, though Boris Behara is responsible for all the music and lyrics. I’m not so sure about the cover artwork, but it certainly is magnificent.

“Night of Whispering Souls” begins like something early Infernal War would be proud of. Brilliant piece of Black Metal brutality titled “Under My Skin” brings hope of another annihilating album like “Terrorfront” by the mentioned Poles. The second, title track, starts like a regular Dark Funeral worship. The best I can do to describe the rest (of the song and the album) would be to write that it sounds like something Children of Bodom would come up with if they had more of a Black Metal touch to their music.

There’s a lot of stuff going on this album. The main line that connects all of the tracks is the melodic approach to songwriting. While the melody remains in the frontline, it is closely followed by different Black and Death Metal influences. Scandinavian sound all along. Tryglav uses the melodic leads from contemporary Swedish Death Metal scene, following in the footsteps of 21st century works of In Flames and the like, while the riffing is clearly (again Swedish) Black Metal oriented. Almost too clean production work bring forth the rhythm section, making the album sound full, blasting the relentless punches straight to the face of the listener. I could do with a bit more firm vocals, but the announcement in the promotional sheet already states that Tryglav will use the voice of their only full-time member on the future releases.

Speaking of “weird” stuff happening on “Night of Whispering Souls”, take a listen to the 5th song, titled “Creature of the Night”. As it started, I was almost expecting Klaus Meine to jump out of the speakers. It is such a strange combination of Lordi (again with the Scandinavia) and mentioned Children of Bodom.

Tryglav’s songs are catchy, memorable, containing a decent amount of riffs and choruses you might whistle of sing along to. Furthermore, the Croatian act is fairly creative and easily manages to keep the focus of the listener. Some criticism must be addressed to a lack of a stronger ground that the music needs to stand on. I have a feeling that the author wanted to use a lot of different influences, but failed at making it coherent enough. Still, this is the debut work, so I will surely expect much more in the future, as there is a lot of space for progress in the positive direction. For now, I can just call it promising.

And another thing! Stop calling it Black Metal! Fans of the genre have had enough stress as it is. They don’t need more.



Behind The Scenes


Let me introduce myself… By Ivona Bogner

I was born ″In a land of farmers on Hilly Balkan, far, far away″ Bloody Fairy Tale, Desanka Maksimovic) and I still live here. I did not change my address but I have been living in four countries so far.

I come from a multinational family. What a curse! In Serbia, if you are not a Serb, if you are not religious, if you are not Orthodox, if your family name does not end with ić, your life can turn to hell. During the war(s), my family faced with extreme nationalism when followers of radical politic party tried to throw us away from our home. A home my great grandparents built. I still clearly can hear their savage screams: ″Go back to Croatia!″ I was trying to explain to my great grandmother we lived with, why the toothless people smelling like hell, are screaming in our yard. When she understood, she screamed back: ″I will go back to Hitler, stupid idiots!″ Yes, she was German…

And yes… If you are Catholic, if your name is bit a different, in Serbia, everyone thought you are Croat. Nothing against Croats, but as far as I know, I have no Croatian blood. Only German, Austrian, Polish, Slovenian, Macedonian and French. I was raised by one rule: never judge people by their name, nationality, religion, skin colour…Judge them by their deeds. And that′s why I still can’t and I never will understand why when I recall my childhood memories, I recall war, hate, pain…

I was always a social person, so madness was only excuse to isolate myself and hide behind writing and music.

In my early childhood I was exposed to punk music. My uncle (mother′s brother) was a punk rocker. That word did not exist in my vocabulary. I knew I loved his hair, his needles and pins, his clothes, his boots, his friends, his music, but I had no idea what that was. He passed away when I was six years old…

Grandmother locked away his belongings, but I was too curious to find out who my uncle was. So, years later, when grandma wasn′t at home, I have opened the world of the unknown. I still keep his The Ramones pins and audio cassettes. As a tribute to my uncle and punk roots, I have had short hair cut till the end of highschool.

And metal?


My parents decided to move from house to apartment in golden age for Serbia… 90′s. We had war, hyperinflation, embargo… And we were moving… Since there was nothing much to do during that crazy times (basically we were searching for a survival formula), my world was our basement. There, in my father′s old books, I have found newspaper article about Black Sabbath. And I was instantly hooked. One Ozzy Osbourne photo was enough. When I asked my father to tell me more about the band, he told me his father has an LP collection. And that is how I started.

At the end of 90′s, sweet, melodic and glam metal bands were mainstream. Even here, you could hear on the radio Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Cinderella, Europe, Gorky Park…

We were buying audio cassettes on the black market. I knew nothing about the bands, except how they sound. No booklets, not band photos… Nothing. Who they are, where do they come from, how do they look like… Music was all that matters. And even today, 30 years later, I am proud to say: ″I still love Skid Row! I still love Europe! I love metal!“

What about writing and music journalism?

I was in the first grade of highschool. My father had part time job, as an engineer on the radio, so once I went to see his working place. While we were talking, one of editors heard me and asked who I was. I jumped and said: ″Sorry, sir, I just came to see my dad, I am leaving now!″ Next I remember: I was in a studio, reading some news. Together with fifteen girls and boys of my age, I was working our own radio show every Saturday morning. And no one knew my name! I was only a kid with great voice. I sound myself like drunk Donald Duck, so how could anyone like my voice?! After a year in on the radio, and three months on TV, I decided to leave. I am not a voice! I have a lot to show!
The next step was school magazine on senior year of high school. I had a chance to learn from amazing people and I am grateful to opportunity they gave me.

After I signed up for university, I had no free time to write.

The year of 2004 came. The hardest year of my life. My mother passed away, so sudden, so unexpected… I still remember the moment and horrible scream I heard under the shower. In a blink of an eye, I was in our living room by my mother who obviously had brain stroke. Sister was in panic, dad was on the phone, and me? From that moment, my life will never be the same. That day, part of me died. Next thing I remember: I was a choosing casket, I was choosing clothes, arranging funeral. Just because everyone thought I am the strong one. I quit my education, because in that chaos I just couldn′t organize my life. I didn′t know how. It was expected from me to cook, clean, pay bills, take care of my younger sister… Dad locked himself in the room for three months, what else could I do? How to save my mental health? Writing is the solution! Music and writing! Then you create the sum: music + writing ═ music journalism. Over the years I was writing for several European magazines, but there is only one I want to mention. Polish Sepulcros. My friendship with the magazine owner who moved to Sweden, led me to few more magazines, and today, you can read my reviews, reports, interviews and now this columns in three European magazines.

In the meantime,. I am proud owner of not one, but two university degrees, two specializations I have regular job, but most of all I am writing, traveling, I′m still in the front line or even step closer in photo pit searching for the best angle, best stories, best interviews… I have met amazing people all around the world and searching the way out of this doomed country. I am searching for freedom.

I progressed. From my neighbours typewriter to lap top, from rock and metal books to internet, from LP′s to digital albums… And if you would ask me, I would always get back to the typewriter, because, if you have never felt that pain after numerous attempts to type an article with no mistakes, you learnt nothing!

Writing and music remained my psychotherapy.

Now, when you know me, join me on my journey behind the scenes.

And if anyone still wonders who I am: I am a metalhead with a punk attitude!



Toxik Metal May 14th

Toxik Metal: May 14th: Death Metal / Black Metal / Thrash Metal / Folk Metal

Todays’ show includes new releases from Amon Amarth, Memoriam, Enthroned, Sabaton, Abbath and Eluveitie

Amon Amarth – Shield Wall
Turisas – Battle Metal
Mystik – Nightmares
Memoriam – Shell Shock
Enthroned – Hosanna Satana
Sabaton – Fields of Verdun
Abbath – Calm In Ire (Of Hurricane)
Embludgeonment – Witch Cunt
Maniac Abductor – First World Disease
Damage S.F.P – Ruthless Fate
Riot City – Steelrider
Aegonia – The Offer
Eluveitie – Worship
Onslaught – Metal Forces


Review: Turbocharged – Above Lords, Below Earth

Turbocharged – Above Lords, Below Earth (GFY Productions)
Review by Milos Sebalj

“BlaSwedes” are back! As far as I’m concerned, that should be news of the year! It’s been two long years since “Apocalyptic” and the wait is over! Twelve tracks of their trademark ugliness are coming soon and you cannot even begin to imagine my happiness when I got an advance promotional pack. Calling these Swedish bastards my friends has been an honor for a couple of years now. Having said that, this review has absolutely nothing to do with the friendship! This is simply fantastic musical output and probably the best Turbocharged has come up with yet.

“Above Lords, Below Earth” is the fifth full-length record by Turbocharged. To describe it briefly I will use the title of the closing track of the album, “Unholy deathpunk”. That’s exactly what this is. A deadly combination of D-beat Punk attitude, early Swedish Death Metal brutality, with just a pinch of Motorhead-like Rock ‘n’ Roll (particularly in the mentioned track). Keeping it plain and simple, Turbocharged manages to create memorable songs with simple, yet effective riffing, straightforward rhythm pounding to break your neck and in your face blasphemies. There is no place for inner reflection, deep thoughts, quasi intelligence, senseless technicalities, studio recording tricks or pristine production. Hell, this trio doesn’t even record an additional guitar track to back up the solo parts. What you see is what you get. This is aggressive music to punch you right across the mouth, and should be considered as such. There’s a statement in the informational sheet that claims “Turbocharged never came in peace” and I cannot add anything more to that. Even the label name, Go Fuck Yourself Productions, fits perfectly to the sounds emanating from these 35 minutes. As I’ve mentioned before, there are 12 tracks on this release, so the songs are less than 3 minutes in average. As Punk as it gets. Furthermore, these guys are deeply rooted in the DIY attitude, keeping almost every aspect of their creation under their own control. Well, as far as I know, the cover artwork wasn’t their creation, though it looks great, especially the choice of colors to perfectly represent the “rust” to be sanded of your speakers.

If you still haven’t, make sure to check this band out. If you consider yourself and old school Metalhead or Punk, this one must be on your top priority list. There is nothing smart I could add here. As mentioned, this is not music for your IQ to grow. If I ever need any kind of neck surgery I’m pretty sure these Swedes will have to cover at least half of the insurance fees.

Album pre-order: HERE