Pilgrim – Misery Wizard

Dark, heavy and thoroughly imposing the debut album from US doom metal band Pilgrim is an immense beast with monstrous sonic claws that show no mercy once their undeniably epic and extremely satisfying grip has clasped around and into the senses. Riding the intense brutal form of “true doom metal” Pilgrim assault and bludgeon deep beyond the ear whilst pleasuring and igniting black deep emotions within. Their new album Misery Wizard is a colossus of black dirges, resonating ravenous riffs and blistering caustic melodies dragged from the pits of hell and sorcery.

Formed in 2010, the Rhode Island trio of Krolg, the Slayer of Man (drums), Count Elric the Soothsayer (bass) and The Wizard (guitars and vocals) openly take inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the weighty classic feel  soaking every pore of Pilgrim’s oppressive yet invigorating sound. As mentioned the album is brutal but without being openly destructive or violent, its slow drawn heavy mass enveloping every sense to wear away defences and consume whilst enflaming and instigating full unbridled pleasure. Pilgrim dominate through sonic persuasion and crushing drones, the lengthy passages and journeys of the tracks an experience that absorbs everything from ear and thought to the primal inside.

      Misery Wizard is unleashed via Metal Blade Records on February 14th and is in many ways a real example of a slow burner.  The initial listen finds the great positives that live and flourish within its dark long winding corridors but at first the slow grinding muscular ripples that drone across its bulk give up more the similarity between tracks that seem to pay homage to their open influences rather than use them as inspiration for something strikingly new.  That is at first for given numerous listens the album’s slow consuming intensity immerses one deeper and deeper into its depths to find oneself mesmerised and eagerly wanting more.

The tracks within Misery Wizard are boundlessly instinctive; their natural intense flows taking the listener down six epic travels that only once lie short of six minutes plus, the majority touching ten minutes or more. Often doom metal drags and lumbers at such lengths but with Pilgrim it feels the right evolution of a song, the music taking its time and only departing when it is finished not when told it should. The impressive eleven minute title track and the closing thirteen minute unsettling ventures of ‘Forsaken Man’ are the best and most fulfilling examples. On ‘Misery Wizard’ the band twists and turns eagerly and the track ebbs and flows all within the dense sound and it engages from first note to last despite its lengthy intent, whilst ‘Forsaken Man’ strikes with an initial sonic violation that brings heat and blood to the surface, the track being the one time that listening is somewhat uncomfortable but at the same time deeply hypnotic to ensure due attention and focus.

The equally hungry formidable songs of ‘Astaroth’, ‘Quest’, ‘Adventurer’, and the down-tuned majesty of the enthralling ‘Master of the Sky’ satisfyingly complete the album with equal power. Misery Wizard is an effortless listen, its uncompromising guitars, imposing riffs, slow mesmeric melodically strained vocals, and unrelenting smothering intensity combining to make a release that one cannot deny or want to refuse attention. It may not be the most original album in recent years but it is one of the most captivating and easily returnable to.

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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MaloKai – Heartbeats EP

 

Whether you class them as power pop or pop punk UK band MaloKai as they show with their new EP, know how to blend insatiable melodies with energised riffs and pulse racing urgency. Neither threateningly aggressive nor a band simply plumping for easy options their music is an uplifting rip-roaring thrust of fun and enjoyment.

Formed in 2007 the band is a multi nationality band with members coming from England, Ireland, Wales, Bolivia and the US. Through the years despite many line-up changes suggesting an unstable beginning, the band has steadily built up an eager underground fan base with live shows and recordings.  Their debut album Perception Of Reality drew in firm critical acclaim and even though the band members changed it set in motion an increased attention and rise for the band. Now with the solid line-up of Alex Greig (vocals/guitar), Andy Bell (guitar), Dack Powell (guitar), G Suaznabar (bass) and Dave Williams (drums), their new Heartbeats EP will add fuel to and ignite the band’s climb and recognition.

The EP released February 13th via Nameless/Faceless Records, explodes after an opening intro with the welcoming catchy melodies and hooks of ‘Rumours’. Chunky guitars and riffs flood the track alongside flowing and insightful melodies showing the band’s skill. Grieg’s vocals mellow yet forceful melt all over the music to great effect and though the track to be fair does not offer anything particularly new it is an infectious bundle.

The title track delivers a similar formula but with a more serious emotive tone that grabs attention easily. ‘Heartbeatsas does the whole EP dangles tantalising hooks, punchy riffs and contagious melodies that shout pop more than punk though there is nothing lightweight about the release or its components.

The release takes a step up with the following two tracks, a cover of Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Young And Dumb’. Though a simple interpretation of the original, ‘Price Tag’ leaps across the ear with energy and most of all shows the band’s ease at not always taking themselves too seriously. The second of the two is a stoked burst of intense and distinct creativity.  The track drips passion and emotion veined by stirring riffs and tempered guitar play.

Remaining tracks ‘You’ and the rampant ‘What’s Inside’ carry on the attack with blistering guitars and irresistible melodies, the closer probably the best track on the EP and certainly these two with ‘Young And Dumb’ give all the evidence that MaloKai are a band with immense promise, With a sound that is in the area of the likes of All Time Low and You And Me At Six the band still feel as if they are a few steps from their true sound but have all the tools and engaging elements in place to see healthy and productive musical years ahead.

With a tour of the UK in support of the Heartbeats EP planned for the year the time to taste their pop punk with the emphasis on pop is now and if their live shows are as powerful and enjoyable as the EP there is no reasonable case for not catching the band as their rise continues.

www.malokai.co.uk

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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Decode

UK rock band Decode begin 2012 in the same vein they graced the previous year, with a fine release in the shape of new single Before We Burn. To be released February with an  excellent accompanying video, the track shows a band on a strong rise and one that crafts music with minute attention and passion. Previous EP Shaping Shadows from 2011 announced the band as ones to watch with its fascinating blend of big rock sounds, engaging melodies, unpredictable twists, and metal edges. The new single cements all previous thoughts whilst placing Decode as a band on the verge of greater heights.

The Sheffield quartet (a five piece live) have recently linked with Ambicon Records and one can only feel things are falling into place for a band already acclaimed for their music and vibrant live shows. Their sound is a heady creative mix that recalls the likes of Fightstar and Taking Back Sunday as well as Manchester band Our Innocence Lost and label mates Down The Machine. The guitars of Adam Mintram and vocalist Daniel Jeffery rampage through tracks whilst bringing stylish and often intricate melodies and variation. The band are not afraid to add swooping keys and haunting strings either to make each track an experience that holds something new no matter the amount of times you listen to it.

The single opens on an emotive guitar before harsh growls lay on top leading to excellent smooth vocals from Jeffrey. The frontman’s delivery is expressive and controlled, the song’s passion dripping from every word, and assisted by the equally strong vocals of bassist Lewis Wild their vocals are as compulsive as the sounds surrounding them. Before We Burn is littered with rock hooks alongside its metallic aggression and though these never slip into the obvious they are easily digestible and mesmeric.

The single is a natural progression from the Shaping Shadows EP, the track feeling an easy fit with the songs making up the previous release. This does not mean a lack of progression just the high quality of the band’s songwriting from day one. Released April 2011 the EP is a bustling and exciting collection of songs. From the opening title track the release unleashes everything the band possesses from power and aggression to creativity and melodic intricacy. With sing-a-long parts and teasing hooks the song is an instant invitation to the band and their stirring rock sounds. The bass of Wild is deep and taunting, playing with the senses whilst drummer Daniel Greasley wonderfully softens up the ear with deliberate and skilled abuse and the guitars unveil their musical twists and turns.

Your Country Is Ours’, ‘If Only (We Live To Tell The Tale)’, and ‘The Days After You’ carry on the great and attentive quality whilst the striking and excellent ‘Enemies’ punishes and pleasures with equal measure and intent. So far every song unveiled by Decode has the ability and desire to rile up the senses whilst treating them to soulful melodies and infectious excitable energy. This energy that floods from the recorded tracks gives eager thought and anticipation to the impressive live force they must be and the carnage they unleash.

One still feels there is much more to come from within Decode to really define their sound but they are already leaving many other bands in their wake and 2012 feels like the year they will become the focus of a great many more enthused ears.

For a free download of the Shaping Shadows EP go to www.soundcloud.com/decodeuk

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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