SINAYA – Maze Of Madness

Despite being primarily thought of as a very male dominated universe, death metal has spawned some fantastic female-fronted acts over the years. Landmine Massacre – particularly during the Grace Perry era – are one of the finest and better known, but there have been a lot of underground acts truly flying the flag. Here’s another: Brazilian all-female melodic death band Sinaya.

The band’s earlier recordings (2013’s ‘Obscure Raids’ EP and 2015’s ‘Blinded By Terror’ single) showed off more than a fair amount of talent but were marred by low budgets and muddy production. Since then, they’ve had a change in line up, supported thrash legends Exodus and have become a much stronger and better band. Their 2018 album ‘Maze of Madness’ is a release that finally does their studio recordings justice, having the kind of budget and production job that allows some great riffs to breathe and not be smothered by a demo quality sound.

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RAM-PAGE – The Grave Of Seven Billion

Formed in 2010, it was less than a year before Russian metallers Ram-Page found themselves in the studio with enough money and support to record their debut album. The resultant LP, ‘The Keeper of Time’ gained enough attention for the band to actually shoot a couple of promotional videos before heading back into the studio to record a second album, eventually released in April 2012. With a similar whirlwind approach, a third release appeared the following year. In metal terms, it seemed these guys were following a similar breakneck approach to working as their 80s thrash and NWOBHM heroes.

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NORDLAND – European Paganism

Two years on from ‘Songs of Regression’, UK pagan metallers Nordland really upped the stakes for their forth album ‘European Paganism’. Not only does the album boast a better production value than before, but the band have taken their love of extended tracks to their very logical extreme. Whereas their previous few records offered at least two ten minute workouts, ‘European Paganism’ outdoes them all by presenting just three tracks within a near forty five minute span, with the opening number taking up the best part of half an hour.

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DARK PHANTOM – Nation Of Dogs

dark phantom lpDark Phantom’s beginnings stretch back to 2007, though due to very unsettled political climate in Iraq, the band wouldn’t make any headway until two years later. Their early musical endeavours were met with some hostility in their home country – or they would have been, had they been heard. In the band’s own words, with regard to playing such music: “under an Al Queda controlled situation, death was a consequence.” Still, Dark Phantom toiled, playing cover tunes at first, but eventually crafting their own sounds. Their first gig in their home city of Kirkuk in 2011 attracted a crowd, but also resulted in terror groups attacking the band’s online community. In 2012, they underwent a major line up change as their vocalist and drummer left the band and sought work in other areas “for safety reasons”. To say the journey from band formation to album release was a hard and dangerous undertaking would be an understatement. Against the odds and after years of determination, Dark Phantom finally released ‘Nation of Dogs’ – an album of hard-hitting, self-penned material at the end of 2016.

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