EP Review: Elephant Watchtower – The Church Is At Fault

Elephant Watchtower - The Church Is At Fault - Metal SoliloquyElephant Watchtower is a one-man progressive death metal project from Ontario, Canada. The Church Is At Fault is the band’s debut EP. Had I listened to this EP without any information on the band, I think I would not have suspected that this is a one man project. The music sounds grand and fleshed-out, the many layers of the compositions complement each other and end up painting an impressive musical picture of detailed and massive soundscapes that draw you into a dark and vivid world. Lyrically, The Church Is At Fault can be read as a pamphlet on the current state of “the church”, the hypocrisy and ideological issues within it, and the often negative influence the institution has on our society, seen from the inside.

Impoverished and pained, they live in our waste
Who carries the weight of every cent we take?
Starvation prevails, our calling we’ve failed
The church is to blame for this world that we’ve ailed
Famished by selfishness, Lives have been lost
And it is our fault
Lighting our stages with stolen donations
We taint the name of Christ

These are some of the lyrics taken from the title track. Elephant Watchtower clearly don’t beat around the bush when it comes to preaching truth, as painful as it may be, in their lyrics. And the music definitely fits the severity and determination of the lyrics: Blastbeats, fast and brutal death metal riffs and abyssal growls are consistent elements of the three tracks the 27 minutes long EP consists of. But those are only some of the elements Elephant Watchtower’s music is characterized by. Melodic guitar leads, multi-layered harmonious riffing and stunning synth arrangements are utilized to give the music an impressive wall-of-sound character. Repeatedly, these periods of compositional density are interrupted by proggy breaks, with tempo-shifts and diverse musical elements such as acoustic guitar sections coming into play. The beautiful melodies, in combination with the massive walls of heaviness, give the whole record a very epic atmosphere that is only enhanced by its calmer moments.

As a whole, The Church Is At Fault is a fantastic debut EP that sounds and feels as if it was made by a very experienced band. The compositions show stylistic confidence and creativity, perfectly balancing out brutality and beauty, the production is on point, letting the multiple musical elements of the songs shine, and the overall songwriting makes for a very cohesive, entertaining and engaging listening experience. This band deserves all the attention it can get, as it shows tremendous potential and could easily become the “next big thing” in the extreme metal underground.

The Church Is At Fault was self-released May 1st and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.

Follow Elephant Watchtower: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp


EP Review: Oh. – Metallia

cover.pngOh. is the musical alter ego of Greek composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound producer Olivia Hadjiioannou. She arrived to the international music world in 2013, releasing her debut EP Sleeping World, which received positive reactions worldwide. In 2015 she released her debut full-length album Synemotion. Now, three years later, Oh. returns to the scene with her second EP, Metallia.

When I received the review request for Metallia, I hadn’t heard anything about Oh. before. Let me put it like this – all the expectations I had about what this record might sound like were shattered when I listened to it for the first time. Oh.’s music truly is something special.

The terms “progressive”, “experimental” and “avantgarde” get thrown around a lot nowadays (not least by myself), but they are rarely really deserved. In this case however, there are hardly any other words one could use to describe the sonic mayhem presented on this EP. Metallia is one 26-minute long composition in six parts, rich in shredding guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, groovy bass lines, deranged, Middle-Eastern influenced rhythms, haunting expressive vocals and creative synth and percussion elements scattered all over the composition.


At first listen, the EP is one thing more than anything else – overwhelming. The sheer amount of musical elements build into the composition are almost too much to take in, especially since the composition itself is unconventional to such an extent that one almost cannot make out any traditional musical structures. The tempo changes repeatedly, the individual instruments are layered in a way that makes you feel like missing out when you try to focus your attention on only one of them.

The hidden leitmotives and recurring patterns in the compostion reveal themselves only after multiple listens and make this EP a real grower that you will return to over and over again and still be surprised and impressed every time you hear it. 
With Metallia, Olivia Hadjiioannou has proven to be an incredibly gifted and creative composer and technically talented musician. If you are tired of progressive bands repeating the same old stuff over and over again, look no further – Oh. has you covered.

Metallia was released July 27th and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.

Follow Oh.: Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

Album Review: Chaos Over Cosmos – The Unknown Voyage


The Unknown Voyage is the debut album of Polish-Spanish power metal band Chaos Over Cosmos. The band members define their music as a mix of heavy and progressive metal with ambient, cosmic elements and name bands such as Iron Maiden and Wintersun as their musical influences. Their lyrics are inspired by cosmic science-fiction and Friedrich Nietzsche (what a promising combination!).

While I don’t listen to a lot of power metal nowadays I still couldn’t resist checking this album out. One of the main reasons for that was the fact that Chaos Over Cosmos is what you could call an internet band. The two members Javier Calderón (vocals, lyrics) and Rafał Bowman (guitars, synth, programming) never met each other “in real life” and only interacted via the Internet to create this album together. What a great example of the opportunities the Internet gives artists to realize their vision.

The outcome of this international collaboration is definitely something the band can be proud of – The Unknown Voyage is a super fun album that contains a lot of great ideas and shows two artists living out their passion for music. The album has a playing time of almost 50 minutes, spanning over five tracks, three of which exceed the ten minute mark.

The album is introduced by “A Hidden Path”, a short ambient and synth driven prelude with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche’s classic Also sprach Zarathustra. I’m not a fan of the way the words are performed in this track, but that’s a minor complain because almost everything that follows after the intro track is pretty great. “Armour of the Stars (Xenogears)” is the first real song on the album and with a playing time of more than 14 minutes also the longest one. Fast-paced and melodious, it is a very solid song reminiscent of oldschool power and heavy metal, with some progressive and ambient elements. The riffs are fast and melodic, the vocals energetic and engaging. Lyrically, this track is inspired by the classic playstation RPG “Xenogears”.

The next track “They Will Fall” is a slower, doom metal influenced epic with a more serious message and a generally more solemn atmosphere than “Xenogears”. “The Compass” is the most “cosmic” sounding track, with a lot of ambience and synths added to the mix. Calderón’s vocal performance on this track is a little more restrained, which harmonizes perfectly with the soothing soundscape of the guitars and synths. Around the middle of the track we are presented an impressive instrumental section that showcases Bowman’s technical and compositional capabilities. The final track “They Sky Remembered My Name” is definitely my favorite one on the record, a very technical, heavy, yet peaceful sounding instrumental track that contains amazing melodies and grooves.

In conclusion, The Unknown Voyage is a very solid debut album that shows a band with a lot of potential and a musical vision. Combining old school heavy/power metal riffing and vocals with modern, progressive sections, ambient and synth elements, creative songwriting and catchy melodies, The Unknown Voyage is an album no fan of melodic heavy music should miss out on.

The Unknown Voyage was self-released September 7th and can be streamed and purchased at Bandcamp.

Follow Chaos Over Cosmos on Facebook.