Shrike – Sieben

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The third album from German black metallers Shrike, Sieben marks a new chapter in the evolution of the band, a new turn in the seven year creative adventure to date as marked by the release’s title. A concept album providing arguably the rawest intent and musical breath from the Berlin quartet so far, Sieben is a savage and ruinous affair but equally one ripe with choice hooks and tempting grooves escorted by a mouthwatering imagination. The five track release does not expel a wholly unique proposition it is probably fair to say, but thrusts one over the senses which makes you stand up and take notice whilst marking out the potential and inventive depths which course through the band’s veins for possibly even greater future impacts.

Formed in 2006, debut album Meine Wucherung that same year ensured that the band was available to a certain attention, which last year’s successor Hinab in die vertraute Fremdheit reinforced and took to a stronger, wider spotlight. Sieben takes band and sound to new levels and you suspect similarly potent recognition. As mentioned it is not ground-breaking stuff unleashed within the powerful and aggressive confrontation but a constant and persistent persuasion which can enchant like a temptress and ravage like a wounded wild animal with intensive and skilfully crafted enterprise.

The self-released provocation preys on ears, thoughts, and emotions from its opening seconds, the first track Kreise casting an unsettling shrike_sieben_coveraural mayhem over the senses for a few seconds before exploding into an onslaught of horde like riffs and a barbarous concussive rhythmic intimidation. With the coarse vocal squalls and their scathing instigation only accentuating the raw feel of the incitement, the band vein the ruinous encounter with riveting grooves and acidic guitar swipes that increase the vitriolic colour and evocative intrigue of the black hearted storm. It is a masterful and wholly magnetic start which is backed up potently by Kadaver, its primal challenge rhythmically and vocally courted by a carnal violation of guitar and bass, the former also uncaging rabid sonic stabs and brief but irrepressibly manipulative lures within the ear smothering weave. As with the first and subsequent songs individual skills stand out from inside the destructive web, the guitars especially striking when stepping out from the oppressive tempest and in this track unveiling a mystique kissed melodic seduction which intrigues and ignites the imagination.

The title track makes its declaration upon an almost tribal bred rhythmic suasion, its initial enticement irresistible in capturing the emotions before the guitars and drums begin their maybe expected scourge of the senses but taking it to an inventive and masterfully alluring violation. Merging an antagonistic swagger and seductive melodic sways within its compellingly shifting sonic landscape, the song engages on every level; crooning the ears, coaxing the imagination, and ravishing the senses. It is a combination forging the best track on the release and making a strong statement for the increasing promise and strongly established reputation of the band.

From the blackened rage of annihilatory rock ‘n’ roll Shrike take the listener on a flight of heavily weighted slowly labouring doom spiced black metal. Von den Farben der Sehnsucht is a whispering and intrusive dirge but one from within its nightmarish realms which casts an enchanting incantation of mysterious vocals and simmering melodic rapture. It is an absorbing and imagination stretching fall into the darkest depths of the album, a suffocating plunge lit by warm and vibrant beacons to deceive and temper the demons clawing sonically the senses.

Sieben is completed by Grimassen, a track which wraps an abrasing smog of caustic riffing and concussive rhythms around the ears. It is an entrance which envelopes and oppresses but reins in its hostility a little to wait for the emerging intensive predation of the song. One of the strongest elements which makes sure Shrike is not lost within the sea of emerging bands is their ability and hunger to reinvent the direction and flavour of their tracks within their walls, the track a prime example as it easily slips into a venomous melodic embrace, broader ruinous vocal pressure, and lingering spiteful hooks. It does not quite stand up to previous songs but still brings the release to a dramatic and gripping finale.

Shrike still have some way to go to stand fully out within black metal and draw the majority of attention their way but Sieben shows they are definitely and potently on the right lines and are armed with all the attributes and imagination needed.

http://www.shrikeberlin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shrike/494739873889284?fref=ts

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/04/2014

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Diabulus In Musica – Argia

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Spanish symphonic metallers Diabulus In Musica are poised to unleash their third album Argia this week, a release which surprisingly, considering how easily it was for its predecessor The Wanderer to achieve the same aim, took its time to win over thoughts and passions. It is hard to pinpoint why the slow uptake on what is openly a grander evolution on the might of the previous album but the release certainly raised many questions before ultimately seducing doubts and winning the imagination. There are still elements which leave a few insecurities and as a lingering persuasiveness the band’s last full-length steals a march on its successor, but there is no undoubting the eager satisfaction and pleasure brewed by Argia.

Released via Napalm Records, Argia sees band founders, vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez (ex-Dragon Lord) and keyboardist Gorka Elso (ex-Dragon Lord, ex-Meridiam ) joined by the new addition of bassist Odei Ochoa, drummer David Carrica (Tierra Santa), and guitarist Alexey Kolygin (Allowance), all three joining the 2006 formed band last year. The quintet explores deeper and richer expansive symphonic landscapes and melodically coloured scenery than the previous album whilst not neglecting the voracious metallic savagery the band is equally as accomplished at uncaging upon the senses. The voice of Aznárez as expected seduces and enchants as she takes robust flight across the songs, the release confirming her place as one of metal’s finest female vocal provocateurs, whilst the keys of Elso equally enrich the canvas crafted by the band. With the guitar skills and bass predation as well as the rhythmic thrust of songs striking, Argia is a formidable encounter. True it took its time to convince with personal tastes still not totally enamoured at times but it is hard not to declare and recommend the album as another mighty slice of melodic exploration from Diabulus In Musica.

The album opens with the atmospheric beauty of Et Resurrexit (Libera Me), an initial dark ambience lit by the glorious celestial tones of 536_DIM_CMYKAznárez. Her vocal beacon tempers the emerging shadows and imposing haunted feel of the track, that darkness eventually held in check by the additional medieval bred strings, warm flutes caresses, and the melodically hued keys. The piece though is a conflict between light and dark, those grey clouds bearing ever nearer, eventually raising their dark battalions to march across the imagination to set up an appetite for the journey to come. Closed by the harmonies of a sky bred choir the track seamlessly evolves into the instantly rapacious From The Embers, riffs and rhythms a rampant charge from its first breath. It is charged and hungry metal which is given another surge of rabid energy and incendiary intensity by the soaring vocal harmonies and expressive keys. Once Aznárez begins the narrative, the track relaxes but still keeps its snarl through the rigid riffery and growling vocal squalls of Elso. The track challenges and thrills from start to finish, the band breeding all the potency which won full submission of the emotions in the last album into a stronger and decisively enterprising bait.

The following Inner Force steps in through an electronic metal like lure next, its welcome reminding of The Browning until the vocals seize the songs for their own, operatic essences and smouldering melodic croons from Aznárez merging for a vibrant and captivating soar through the enticing yet rugged heavens of the song. As so often with Diabulus In Musica, they immerse ears and thoughts in a radiantly inciting premise which cannot fail to spark visions and tales from within the listener’s imagination.

The vast climactic embrace of Furia de Libertad comes next, its sultry land and air a heated blaze of intrigue and adventure presented by Aznárez and guest vocalist Ailyn Giménez of Sirenia. The track sweeps up the senses in its robust canter and steamy ambience to again ignite a new adventure in the mind despite the lyrics being passed over in Spanish. Its pungent humidity is in many ways matched by Maitagarri though the song is washed by gentle melody crafted winds which refresh from within the thicker orchestral atmosphere erupting throughout. With a folk lilt to the gentle stroll within the more tempestuous intent, the song makes for the compelling fusion of power and tenderness which the band is persistently so good at conjuring and presenting.

From the brief, again folk spawned Sed Diabolus, the album reaches its pinnacle through firstly Spoilt Vampire and after the less impressing Eternal Breeze, the outstanding Mechanical Ethos. The first of the three antagonistically stalks the senses from its first snarl, guitars and drums brewing up a hunger driven rabidity which the keys spear with acidic scythes of temptation. The song’s predatory intent is held in rein by the leadership of Aznárez’s voice though it finds an eager protagonist through Elso’s growls to duel with her. It is an exceptional proposition which never relents in its carnivorous intensity and warlike oppression but still lights the ears with a resourceful endeavour of melodic invention. Its triumph is matched by the third of the trio, its body again merciless in its aggression and spellbinding in its imagination, that reference to The Browning nagging away again within the torrential waspish electronic groove of the song. Truth to say that when the band stand tall with their sinews and nostrils flaring violently whilst their melodic and vocal imagination entwines around the predation, the band has us drooling most and wishing for so much more. Between the pair the classically honed and atmospherically sculpted keys and vocal led Eternal Breeze feels lost between the threatening storms but to be fair it does stand majestically away from the ravenous pack if without sparking a fire in the emotions.

The dark Encounter at Chronos’ Maze which features Therion frontman Thomas Vikström comes next and struggles to make an impact. Musically the track is as immense as any other, imposing and dramatically irresistible but the vocals fail to match the sounds. Vikström somehow and very surprisingly outshines Aznárez who seems to go missing in the match strength wise but both are left floundering by the coarse roars of Elso.

Both the elegant Indigo and the rigorous Healing regain the album’s grip on the emotions, the first a bewitching summer flight of flute and keys crafted melodies aligned to tempting vocal harmonies whilst the second stomps and surges masterfully from its opening swipe to send thoughts once more into climactic and extensively broad dramatic adventures. Completed by the short instrumental Horizons, the piece offering an evocative view of the lands ventured, Argia is a riveting journey to embrace. It does not rival The Wanderer in many ways, it and personal preferences at odds from time to time, but Argia despite needing more time is a mouthwatering encounter proving Diabulus In Musica as one of the essentials within symphonic metal.

http://diabulusinmusica.com/

8/10

RingMaster 11/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Warriors – Dead To Me

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Reading the bio of UK Oi! veterans The Warriors, it has seemingly been an interrupted and persistently changing  adventure for the band since forming in 1981, their story almost having more twists and delays than a search for a Malaysia airlines flight. What has not been left unsure and broken is the might and passion, not forgetting contagiousness of their undiluted sound as evidenced by their new release, the Dead To Me EP. Two riots of insatiable energy and virulent old school bred punk, the release is a belligerent stomp which masterfully challenges and voraciously incites with raw rock ‘n’ roll.

Hailing from Kent, The Warriors was formed by original Last Resort singer Saxby though initially proved to be a short lived presence. He reformed the band with former-Last Resort bass player Arthur Kitchener in the mid-nineties with a line-up which played numerous shows around the UK, Europe, and Japan. Personal changes were part of the time as were also several album releases including The Full Monty and Noizy Bollox in ’96 and ’97, both via the Step-1 Music, and contributions to compilations and split releases over the years. As mentioned changes within the band is a journey in itself to keep up with but well worth checking out on their bio for, but it has not stopped The Warriors reinforcing themselves as one of the most potent and essential presences within the punk scene which further releases like Unite The Scene and Never Forgive Never Forget, as well as this new EP easily confirm.

Available through Aggro Beat as a 250 Solid Red vinyl release in Europe and with Rebel Sound Music as a 250 Piss Yellow vinyl encounter in the US, Dead To Me storms the ears and passions with all the true punk intent and hunger as expected from the band. The title track, which will be featured in the upcoming British movie Gatwick Gangsters, is instantly upon the senses and imagination with jagged riffs and rolling rhythms skirted by a great almost nasally bass prowl. The song is not an all-out assault but one with a predatory side to its nature, skirting and courting the senses with an emerging brawl of sound and the ever distinct tones of Saxby.  The group calls in the chorus only reinforce the steady anthemic lure of the song whilst the crisp beats and choppy guitar narrative add their creative enslaving web. With craft and emotion as loud as the uncomplicated bait of the song, Dead To Me is an irresistible stomp seeing The Warriors in a richer vein of punk rock than their earlier Oi! exploits and easily seducing the passions.

The song’s companion No One Provokes Me is much the same, a virulently contagious riot of punk antagonism and infectiously toxic hooks driven by magnetically challenging vocals and rhythms. The track takes thoughts right back to the birth of UK punk in many ways whilst caging the ears and an already greedy appetite in the rapacious mischief and combativeness of today. Like the first, the track is impossibly anthemic as it bridges the eras and shows again that the punk appetite and ingenuity never dies no matter the years stretched over by bands such as The Warriors.

With an appearance at the Rebellion Festival, Blackpool in August confirmed and many other shows in the planning, The Warriors looks set to take the UK punk scene by the scruff of the neck, Dead To Me their first unmissable stranglehold of 2014.

http://www.warriorsuk.com/

9/10

Ringmaster 09/04/2014

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Invertia – Another Scheme of the Wicked

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US band Invertia and their imposing sound is tagged as industrial black metal by the accompanying press sheet to their new album Another Scheme of the Wicked. It is a label which fits suitably but only hints at the depth of the sinister textures, rapacious ingenuity, and insidious breath on offer. The band’s second release is a threatening invasive corrosion of senses and emotions, a consumption and incitement of the imagination which leaves you clutching at sanity. The album is virulently compelling, an entrapment rife with powerful hooks and intrusive manipulations which seduces and violates simultaneously whilst inviting thoughts to step through gateways of primal and man induced corruption.

Hailing from Massachusetts, Invertia is the creative union of guitarist/vocalist Dave Coppola and drummer/programmer Tim Winson. The pair first sent attention scurrying for cover with their self-titled debut album last year; the release marking out the band as a potentially incendiary proposition if without finding enough passions to awaken. Another Scheme of the Wicked not only realises that potential but takes it to darker dangerous potent levels and it is easy to assume it will be the spark to catch the radar of a much wider spotlight within extreme metal. Released via Ohm Resistance, the album consists of five new malignant journeys courted by another quintet of destructive remixes, doppelgangers of the originals if you like though which side is the most malevolent is debatable.

Invertia is said to be ‘A mirror displaying some of the darkest paradoxes and truly terrifying segments of American society’, and as soon as invertiacoverofficialopener The Sidewinding immerses the senses and thoughts in its thick body of intent with excellent samples littering the oppressive scenery, you understand its meaning. The track almost ambles in but with an intimidation and haunted feel wrapping the coaxing guitars. It borders on invitational until the first sampled vocal stab opens the lock for a charging enticement of twistingly nagging riffs entwined with a serpentine groove and understated yet punishing rhythms. The heavy rasping tones of Coppola alongside the interjections of hellish samples only accentuate the intensive danger and malice of the proposition, the emerging blackened rabidity abrasing with weight and acidic ferocity. The track is a magnetic suffocation of light and emotional escape, a drop through demonic realms with a diversely flavoured and feverishly impacting soundscape leaving thoughts resonating and senses exhausted.

Whereas the first track thrust the listener into the blackest grip within seconds, the following Cross-Eyed Christ engulfs ears in a Ministry like predation, short grooves and scourging riffs entrancing before the heavy shadows and vocal rancor takes hold. Samples again punctuate lyrical and sonic declarations whilst the guitars scythe the air with irresistible swipes, a combination with the leviathan groove which steals away the distraction of anything outside of the song. Brutal yet impossible infectious the track continues the immense start before making way for the toxic erosion Void of Community. Its climate and touch is poisonous though like its predecessor its initial incitement is pure contagion. This lure never relinquishes its hold across the encounter but is soon tempered by the caustic vocal squalls and barbarous drumming for another blistering tempest of harsh extremes and conflicting yet united textures. The album is one which needs time to blossom in the passions, each venture a greater persuasion and success as evidenced by this track, its first touch agreeable and its sixth and counting viciously bewitching.

Both Hourglass Without Sand and They’re Everywhere continue the slavery of thoughts and passions, the first as the previous song a rampaging incessantly catchy torrent of abrasing riffs, merciless and varied rhythmic confrontation, and devilish hooks. A shift in weight and gait into a lumbering tsunami of intensity and drama provides further proof of the inventive twists and imagination to the album which its successor takes further and into a truly destructive and malignant landscape. Vocal winds smother the senses like a sandstorm whilst the blackened niggle of the guitars simply grazes and scars with every vitriolic note unleashed, matched by the scourge of vocal animosity. It is an evil conclusion to the first part of the album, and an irresistibly enthralling if scary one.

The five tracks are next presented again with remixes from notable artists within the Ohm Resistance camp and more. Remixes never sit easily with us as regular readers will realise and the quintet here provides a confirmation of our doubts and equally at times a reasoning to embrace them. The Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) take on The Sidewinding, pushing it deeply into the suffocation lying within the original. It thickens and slows the flight of the track unveiling the intensive blackness within. It works well as a companion to and inverted insight of the song but fails to come near to the grip of its founder though it does spark the imagination just as powerfully.

The End.user (The Blood Of Heroes) version of Cross-Eyed Christ tantalises and teases with all of the lures of Invertia’s version, cleaning up the industrial and metallic parts of the song but entwining them with an electro bred matching virulence. It is an invigorating success matched fully by the Submerged (Method Of Definance, The Blood Of Heroes) remix of Hourglass Without Sand which comes after the smothering jaundiced take of Void of Community by TranZi3nt. Both tracks appeal in varying degrees but the unrelenting ebm spawned Hourglass Without Sand is just breath-taking.

The release is completed by the R3TRD look at They’re Everywhere, a track bringing in samples of ‘a Pentecostal preacher vampirishly admonishing children to visit with him as he speaks in tongues’ to create a version which strikes further chills into the already fearsome throat of the song. It is a powerful end to an impressive release which by just talking the first half of its spiteful endeavour is an exhilarating and almost demoralising treat. The remixes depending on your take add more weight to the proposition but it is Invertia’s own tracks which make this an unmissable injection into extreme music.

http://www.inv3rtia.com/

For the first five tracks 9/10

As a whole 8/10

RingMaster 04/2014

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BulBul – Hirn Fein Hacken

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Ok I will admit I had not come across Austrian band Bulbul before being handed their new album Hirn Fein Hacken, a release which sees them returning after six years from not sure where, but from here on in after the intensive psyche examination presented by their latest, a backward investigation is sitting high on the list of musts. An insatiable and mischievous, not forgetting criminally addictive, exploration of every delicious element you can imagine to rile, ignite, and seduce the very core of the mind and senses, Hirn Fein Hacken is quite simply sonic irreverence and quite brilliant.

The first sign of Bulbul we can find is the release of their self-titled debut album in 1997, Bulbul a one man project of guitarist/vocalist Raumschiff Engelmayr at the time. With Derhunt linking up on bass, the band released second and again self-titled album in 1999, via as the first via Trost Records. Drummer Ddkern joined not long after as the band continued to experiment with sound, imagination, and their fans minds through their third and fourth albums in 2003 and 2005 respectively, again under the same monikers as the others. 2006 saw fifth album BlllBlll unleashed whilst the Patrick Pulsinger produced 6 was uncaged via Exile On Mainstream two years later to strong acclaim and attention. Hirn Fein Hacken is as mentioned the band’s return, again via EOM, and takes little time in slipping under the skin of the senses and psyche as well as giving the passions an irresistible creative toxicity to feast upon.

The Vienna hailing band’s influences according to the press release include the likes of The Kinks, Cpt. Beefheart, Rhys Chatham, Django Reinhart, Abner Jay, Fats Domino, and Bob Dylan, but as the album seduces with its ingenious seductive dementia we would suggest artists such as Kontrust, De Staat, Yello, and Fantomas as a starting place. Opener Fire offers a wide groan before bringing all of its thought and energy into a concentrated rhythmically driven nagging of ears and senses. Riffs gently niggle as the bass provides a fuzz kissed tonic to greedily swallow whilst all the while strong vocals dance over the bait with devilry in their tone and relish on their lips. The song continues to swagger and weave across the imagination, enterprise of the guitar as boisterously naughty as it is creative and the bass an irresistible growling incitement impossible to tear emotions away from.

It is a magnetic start which has little difficulty in making slaves of thoughts and passions, leaving the following Uhu a willing canvas to play with. An electro simmering ebbs and flows initially, its voice slightly smothered but eager to break free to greater clarity. That aspect is taken by the funk bred grooves and suasion of the guitar matched by the vivacious vocal delivery. The song smoulders, never lifting its gaze or energy from a wanton sway of its body and sex infused melodies. Not as dramatic as its predecessor but equally as enthralling, the song makes way for I hea eh scho lång nix mea, a song which like the first secures its initial conquest through repetitive coaxing before exploring an industrially inspired realm with clanking tubes, concussive temptations, and unpredictable almost maniacal imagination. The track pushes the earlier thoughts of De Staat to the fore, the song a cousin of their Sweatshop track without the same feverish urgency. It is a glorious trap for the passions warming them up for the even greater infestation to follow.

That virulence comes in the shape of the ridiculously addictive and epidemically infectious instrumental Kanzla. From its first second, guitars respectfully grind against the ears whilst the bass again adds a barracuda like tone to the abrasing lure of the song. The rhythmic restraint with punctuating twists of the drums only reinforces the delicious irritancy as the track persists with its rub through sonic rises and falls. The dip into a brief sultry teasing only inflames the senses more before the track reverts to its feverish meshuga of a tango, intermittently interrupting its blaze with further inventive twists.

Both the psychotic Fisole, where instruments are abused and random items employed for a warped bedlamic cacophony, and the noise rock taunting of Quicksand keep the passions breathless, the second of the two finding an element of Melvins and even Pere Ubu to its spellbinding guitar sculpted temptation. As impressively thrilling as they are the pair are only the appetiser for the pinnacle of the album, Gurdy. The track takes a breath before cantering eagerly through the ears, spicy short guitar strokes and rumbling riffing spurred on by the darkly sinister vocals and unrelenting rhythms. The track is pure 100% unbudging contagion, every flavour, trait, and inventive bait pure addictiveness. Imagine Mike Patton, Pryapsime, and Queens Of The Stone Age engaged in an illicit enterprise and you have the quite magnificent Gurdy.

Genderman Can provides a raw punk fuelled rampage next, vocals and bass antagonistic whilst the guitar boils the air with a blues tasting sonic toxin which again is only good for health and passions, especially its closing warped and sizzling smothering of the senses. From here the album relaxes its energetic stance to unveil a pair of slowly burning treats. Bomb comes first, its opening air awash with the fiery country blues flames which were hinted at on its predecessor. With pulsating beats and a psychedelic ambience drifting over song and listener whilst the vocals like the music flickers within a seductive fire formed around the narrative, the track is a mesmeric enchantment littered and primed with broad intrigue and unruly invention, but within a relatively sobering confine.

The closing A To Beans is just aural sex, a slow hip swerving seductress with smooth rhythms, a throbbing intent, and a sinister vocal invitation which should be avoided but impossible not to embrace as deeply as the noir blessed sounds. It is a ridiculously captivating end to a quite sensational release. As these last words are written contemplation of how BulBul avoided our attention is loud and incriminations rife, but it is hard to imagine previous releases being better than Hirn Fein Hacken so maybe this was the right time to find the band. We are heading back into their history as you read and suggest you do the same once you have been infected by this mad beauty.

http://www.bulbul.at/

http://bulbul.bandcamp.com/album/hirn-fein-hacken

10/10

RingMaster 08/04/2014

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