Save Your Grace – The Arms Of Idiocy

There has been a great and deeply promising burst of new British metal/Hardcore/metalcore type bands forcing their way to bigger attention and focus this year with the likes of Adelphia Of Kings, Doomed From Day One, and Gacy’s Threads, all make their distinctive deeply scarring mark on UK metal with sounds to crush and inspire. Another band to be solidly added to this impressive bunch is Birmingham band Save Your Grace. Their new EP The Arms Of Idiocy the overwhelming and perfect evidence as to why they should and will be one of the future forces in UK metal.

The quintet from the Midlands first made their appearance in 2010 and continued through hard work and shows to increase a more than ardent following. A full UK tour and the sharing of stages with the likes of Devil Sold His Soul, While She Sleeps, Martyr Defiled, Heights, Silent Screams and many more has only gone to make the band one of the more exiting certainties to break big for a great growing many. It will be with this their second EP that most positive damage will be done as its intense muscular charms spread wide and far.

Consisting of Dazz Jones, Luke Sheppard, Joe Geach, Dan Morris, and Eddy Geach, Save Your Grace have unleashed an EP of five tracks fuelled by uncompromising might and deliberately malevolent intent that will inflame a great many metallic hearts. The EP is raw and in need of a fuller and more rounded production to fully meet its potential but despite this it is a mighty and impressive debut any band would be proud of.

The release starts laying waste to the senses with ‘Intensity’, its senses shattering riffs and consuming rhythms an instant satisfaction upon demanding ears. The guitars grind and groove deeply into flesh as destructively as the heavy riffs crumble defences. The grating growls are harsh and venomous and even the appearance of clean vocals midway carry a sinister tone to their harmonies.

Next track named ‘Interlude’ shows the melodic skill and creativity of the band, its incisive and emotive guitar sounds making the two minute instrumental a mesmeric piece and subtle lead into next song ‘Limitless’. Though not as instantly addictive as the other songs this third song is a menacingly lumbering track veined by scorching guitar play and caustic vocals showing just how well the band can vary their sound.

The title track is the real standout moment. Bursting in on a cutting groove and senses wilting riffs coupled with acidic threats and brutality posing as vocals, it is an impressively persuasive and compelling song that is as vibrant as it is intense. Though the band is still in its informative musical years this of all the songs shows why the promise and acclaim coming their way is so strong. Creative , diverse and unrelenting it with a warm welcome lingers in the ear and head long after it lays down its last thoughtful note.

As mentioned the production is lacking a little preventing the full effect of the band’s sound to truly numb its recipients. The hollow tones especially on the vocals is a shame as is the fact the drums sound held back far more than personally is preferred, but the music and quality still shines through with great effect. The Arms Of Idiocy  gives all the evidence and belief that Save Your Grace will turn into one of the bands whose strength and ability will guide British metal to greater heights in the near and future times ahead. With bands like this UK’s extreme metal future is in safe hands.

Download ‘The Arms Of Idiocy’ for free @  http://www.mediafire.com/?kt5uuo1o2p4m7s5

RingMaster 28/11/2011

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From The Depth – Back To Life

For someone who struggles to fully appreciate the attributes and assets of power metal it has to be said Back To Live form Italian band From The Depth is one fun and thoroughly engaging release. Only the recent album from Powerwolf has previously thrilled the senses and leapt with a firm welcome into the ears as does Back To Life, power metal as a whole as with classic rock pushed aside for much harder pummelling genres. It has to be admitted though that From The Depth are a band that even with its distinct genre flavoured and expected sounds has an extra flourish and almost majestic feel that lifts up even the naturally dark emotions.

From The Depth  formed in 2008 and with a few months and the release of their debut EP The Will To Be The Flame made a strong impression and mark in North Italy’s metal underground scene. This success led to  the band finding themselves in impressive and important venues around the country building up their fan base and strong positive impressions.  Rising Records signed the band in October 2010 soon followed by the worldwide distribution of their debut album. April this year saw the band start recording Back To Life with a brief interruption when chosen to take part in the “An Evening With Kamelot” event, sharing the stage with Kamelot, Sons Of Season and other special guests such as Simone Simmons and Fabio Lione. This month sees the release of  the album and the start of an emotional bond with undoubtedly a great many new power metal and melodic rock fans.

Immediately the album begins, the biggest positives on the album reveal themselves to ensure full attention and focus over the album’s full length. The first thing and the most impressive is the keyboards of  Davide “Fortress” Castro , the man is a maestro and without exception he enhances and lifts every track to heights they would not touch without his skilful and melodic imagination and ability. The opening instrumental  and title track even with a length briefly over a minute unveils his skill and mesmeric play. From the off and throughout the whole album he conjures up melodies and sweeping sounds that do nothing less than enrapture the senses.

The following eager rampant power metal anthemic ‘Live For Today’ brings forth the other great things that makes Back To Life an album that demands attention. Firstly there is the energetic and formidable drums of Cristiano Battini, instinctive and with an inner primitive hypnotic pull in the ear he leads songs supported by the deep resonating tones of bassist  Alessandro “Kara” Karabelas. Then there is the well written and presented melodic guitars of Alessandro Cattani, striking and never predictable they add extra biting texture against the keyboard sounds. Though Cattani does not often stray from classic and melodic rock familiarity he uses influences and flavours in an assured and varied way to give extra spice rather than repetition. Lastly there is the vocals of Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese, his clean and well balanced voice firmly in the hard/classic rock style but without indulging into the formula high pitched squeals and wails.

There is a slight inconsistency to the album but that is more down to personal taste with songs like the power ballads of ‘The Cruel Kindness’ and ‘Nenia’ plus the predictable and familiar rock sound of ‘You Just Have To Fly’ which plays quite flat in energy and vocally, not working as well as the other more impetuous and thrilling tracks. These moments are rare and soon forgotten by the catchy hooks and  melodic endeavours from the guitars and especially the keys plus the irrepressible rhythms as in the likes of ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, ‘The Will to Be the Flame’, and ‘Nothing to You’ though everything is wiped away by the stunning instrumental ‘Lack of Emotion’, easily the best track on the album and one of the most emotively effective pieces of music found on any rock album this year.

From The Depth may not be the most flavoursome sound in theory to these ears but with Back To Life they have produced an album that enthuses and thrills even the hardest of rock hearts with magnetic power rock sounds.

RingMaster 28/11/2011

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Rwake – Rest

Arkansas band Rwake is one of those bands that cannot be labelled or pinned down sound wise. Many label them progressive/sludge/doom but they gloriously defy any distinct tagging, their music a rewarding and unrelenting blend of a vast array of sub metal/rock genres. After four years the quartet return with new album Rest, a stunning and mesmeric follow up to their acclaimed Voices of Omens release of 2007. Consisting of six mountainous tracks the album reminds and reinforces the previous evidence that Rwake is one of the more unique, creative and essential metal bands of the past decade.

Since the band released their first official album Hell Is The Door To The Sun in 2002, though there was previously in 1999 a full length which was only distributed by the band whilst on tour and on hand written CD-R’s, Rwake has stirred up firm attention and stretched senses to great effect. A tour with Alabama Thunderpussy thrust them further upon the metal map as did the album If You Walk Before You Crawl You Crawl Before You Die released via At A Loss Record. The beginning of 2006 saw the band sign to Relapse Records and the following year marked the awe inspiring and senses slapping release of Voices of Omens, the point when the band really took hold and wonderfully scarred metal. With a mix of venomous harsh metal and striking melodically atmospheric sounds Rwake announced their importance then and for the future of rock music. Rest picks up the momentum and accelerates it with music and sound that the word impressive really does not do justice.

The album starts with the brief ‘Souls Of The Sky’, atmospheric and haunting with hypnotic female voices complimenting the soulful acoustic sounds it lifts the senses to the emotive heavens with no indication of the intrusions ahead. The piece is not there to trick but to gently and deeply open up the heart and senses for what is to come, waking up emotions to a level where the varied power and consumption of next song ‘It Was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour’ is welcome and eagerly accepted. This second piece of wonder explodes from the off, bristling with keen intensity as it aggressively snarls. The track is a monstrous beast playing with its prey. Across its twelve minute length the song’s creativity and diversity is as immense as the menacing power it delivers, overwhelming wonderfully as it evolves from a rampant beginning into a lumbering brute of a track,  with engaging progressive guitars scything their way into the ear. The vocal growls are as harsh and abusive as the intrusive sounds, earnest shouts and ‘groans’ that push the intensity higher.

An Invisible Thread’ tears at the ear next with a black metal flavoured tint added to the progressive guitars and ultimatum giving rhythms and riffs, their intent and force demanding submission. As sludge grown grooves permeate the track and the pace varies with little respite from the intense tones the sounds attach themselves deeper and firmer into the listener. This is audio breath, essential to survive the day once it’s mesmeric and hypnotic flavours roost on every synapse and thought.

As the track ends the thought is the band has found its pinnacle but not at all, for once the album’s best track ‘The Culling’ unveils its glory new heights are reached. The song is stunning, a glory from its melodic and peaceful yet haunting emotive opening which builds up into an expansive maelstrom of bitterness, venom and eventual brutality. The track is beautiful if the word can be used to describe the oppressive deathly corruption it eventually turns into. Sixteen minutes of diversely flowing flavours and uniquely impressive songwriting that has not been challenged let alone surpassed for quite a while.

Final song ‘Only A Dream’ brings forth the only criticism that can be laid at the Rest, in that its three distinct parts, a progressively scorched caustic opening half, an acoustic declaration with scowling vocals which opens into a rock filtered heavy flow, and a final closing narrative over a dying ambient sound, feel simply placed one after the other rather than brought forth with a smooth transition. The parts are perfectly delivered and the intention obvious but against the undeniable skill and union of such diversity in previous tracks it feels less polished.

Rest brings forth a bleak stark and darkly ominous feeling within its mighty sounds, a realistic and uncompromising impression of a world we all endure. Dark though it is the veins of imaginative and engaging razor sharp melodies give some light in the blackness. Rwake may have taken a while to return but they have once more taken metal down new and deeply pleasing adventures and soundscapes. The word classic was made for albums like this, and the sounds within Rest destined to inspire and enhance each and every lifetime.

RingMaster 28/11/2011

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