Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars

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Never have open hostility and uncompromising brutality been as elegantly seductive and radiantly fascinating as within The Wreckage of Stars, the debut album from US progressive extreme metallers Black Crown Initiate. Actually that is not quite true as the band’s previous and extraordinary Song of the Crippled Bull EP offered such imaginative daring too but within the album it has bred a new bulk and exploration which is as fearsome as it is gloriously mesmeric. Their entrance was dramatic and startling and now with The Wreckage of Stars, the Pennsylvanian quintet’s emergence is complete, placing them right there side by side with the likes of Between The Buried And Me, The Ocean, and Opeth.

Formed in 2012, the Reading hailing Black Crown Initiate was soon drawing on experiences, individual inspirations, and a vast web of styles to create what is a maelstrom of gripping ingenuity and vicious enterprise. The evidence was immediately audible with the unleashing of Song of the Crippled Bull, an introduction which was as drenched in acclaim as it was in enthralling and unique inventive personality. Its attention grabbing success led to the band securing a coveted spot on the Metal Alliance Tour alongside Goatwhore and Behemoth, as well as the sharing of stages with bands such as Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Rivers of Nihil. Earlier this year Black Crown Initiate signed with eOne and now in tandem go for the psychological jugular and lustful passions with The Wreckage of Stars.

The release opens with Great Mistake and an instantly seducing enticing of melodies. It is an inviting coaxing by the guitars which only gains weight and potency as imposing rhythms and aggressive riffs join its bait. Continuing to warmly lure within the brewing tempest, the song leads the senses into the bestial tones of vocalist James Dorton, every syllable expelled loaded with malice and guttural intensity. Still the song is a seductive persuasion though and intriguingly, it is when the superb clean vocals of guitarist Andy Thomas grasps ears that the track finds itself at its most threatening as the music flares up around him. It is a delicious and surprising outcome, alone revealing so much about the skill and songwriting personality of the band. Across its extensive landscape, the track boils, squalls, and explores mellow intent, every second and twist of the song a new surprise and magnetic contagion, especially the Eastern veining which colours its engrossing finale.

The outstanding start places the album on an early plateau which subsequent tracks either stalk as boldly or certainly flirt with in presence and invention. The following The Fractured One is one hitting similar heights, its immediate BCI_coveragitated predation of tempestuous beats from drummer Jesse Beahler and throaty tempting from the bass of Nick Shaw, an enslaving death metal spiced frame within which the guitars of Thomas and Rik Stelzpflug cast tenaciously imaginative and hostile enterprise. One of the shorter songs on the album, it is an incessant and virulently contagious torrent of barbarous and sonically scorching savagery.

A breather of sorts after the inhospitable onslaught of the previous tack comes with Malignant, its opening of classically honed guitar a caress of calm within the established storm of the album. Guitars nestle creatively up to the imagination straight away though that suggested respite is eventually smothered by the serpentine venom of Dorton’s vocals and a pestilential tsunami of corrosive rhythms and caustic riffery. Of course nothing can be assumed with a Black Crown Initiate track, something learned early on the last EP, and soon the increasingly impressive warm voice of Thomas breaks the wall of maliciousness, aligning itself eventually with a similarly engrossing and graceful weave of melodic design and expression. Though it is restless to return to savaging the senses, the track courts this peace as long and creatively as possible, ensuring the song again leaves expectations a lost cause.

Both the carnivorous ferocity of The Human Lie Manifest and the exhausting technicality of Withering Waves leave senses cowering and imagination basking in majestic aural warfare; the pair, as all songs, parading more of the craft and inventive depths of the band. The second of the two is especially scintillating as extremes of light and dark, animosity and melodic beauty come together in one spellbinding emprise, a mouth-watering adventure matched by the primal and ruinous presence of To The Eye That Leads You. This erupts with a tornado of vocal enmity, the assault at times an inaudible suffocation of intent and lyrical intimidation which in allowing a coarsely veiled clarity to emerge intimidates further. Around it though there is a swing and swagger to the sounds which is no less vicious but does provides an inescapable infectiousness. It is a vat of bad blood and the thrilling dark-side to the climactic and forcibly elegant beauty of the album’s title track. Predominantly instrumental it closes with a vocal union of all sides shown so far on the album, to provoke a new hunger in appetite and thoughts.

There is no escaping the relentless battering and sonic violation uncaged by Shapes Collapse next, the track as so many, no matter how harmful and fierce it impacts on body and senses casting an addictive and seriously enticing infection. It is a constant lure throughout the tempest but especially pungent in the glade of melodic reflection ventured by song and guitars before climbing back into the outskirts of the initial storm.

The album closes with firstly the arresting terrain of Purge, a track which entwines imaginative charm and melodic beauty with voracious and vehement fuelled hostility for a mutually unsettling and seductive examination of ears and emotions. It is succeeded by Linear, a sensational final encounter where under persistent hellacious provocation, the lighter side of the band has full and irresistible rein.

     The Wreckage of Stars is a major triumph proving that the last EP was no flash in the pan but instead just the appetiser to greater sonic alchemy and brutal expression from Black Crown Initiate. Now is the time to explore their brilliant fury, though you can only feel as with their music, there will be no escaping their presence and touch from hereon in anyway.

The Wreckage of Stars is available now via eOne Heavy / Good Fight

http://www.facebook.com/BlackCrownInitiate

RingMaster 29/10/2014

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Burning Flesh – New Chaos Order

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Unleashing an irresistible nagging persistence through every track within its voracious body, New Chaos Order from extreme metallers Burning Flesh is a thoroughly captivating and exhaustingly invigorating beast. It is may be not the most original encounter but that is offset by the sheer weight and creative fire within the ravenous provocation, ensuring that its presence is a long-term and frequently explored incitement.

Consisting of members from both France and Switzerland, Burning Flesh took its first breath in 2005. The honing of their sound, with inspirations coming from the likes of Napalm Death, Behemoth, Severe Torture, and Blood Red Throne, and live performances followed before the band got down to making debut album Unconscious deformity in 2009. Recorded with Bruno Burel, the well-received album was uncaged in early 2010. Personnel changes ensued before by the latter part of 2011 the line-up of founders Lionel Fontana (vocals) and Anthony Martin (guitar) with Diego Graham (guitars), Guilluame Lagger (bass), and Paul Sordet (drums) was in place. New Chaos Order is the band’s full assault on world metal and it is very easy to expect Burning Flesh becoming under a rich spotlight if not quite with this certainly through future exploits.

The release rages against ears first with Rage, its opening sample soon quashed by the vehemence of riffs and brutality of rhythms which BF coverfollow. With raw uncompromising vocals unleashing the equally hostile narrative, the track is a destructive pleasure. A delicious spiteful grooving adds spice to the irrepressible temptation on offer whilst guitars and rhythms spare no degree of mercy in their malicious hostility. The tremendous ravaging is swiftly emulated by Corruption Of All Kings, another furnace of thrilling unrelenting provocation which violates and seduces simultaneously for welcomed wounds and raw senses. Switches of pace and intensity grinds intensively away just as devastatingly as the flailing riffs and rhythms across the demanding track continuing the impressive surge of the album.

Both Lies and Beginning’s End rip at the jugular with a torrential predation of carnivorous riffs and cruel rhythms next, the first arguably reining in its aggressive intensity for a more riveting web of melodic and sonic intrigue. To be fair as it is tearing the senses into strips it is a negligible difference but one which adds a new and needed flavour and design to the album. Across the album there is at times a close certainly surface familiarity to tracks and their attacking structures, and with a thick skin to the spite it very often needs a deep push into the heart of songs to split their animosity apart. The second of the two also brings an individual hook of rapacious intent to its corrosive quarrel but lacks the spark of its predecessors in many ways to stand as similarly virulent.

The insidiously hornet like lure of the title track comes next, its niggling groove a sweet sore you just have to push further for its antagonistic nectar. Once more rhythms and the intensity of the track are barbarous and with everything combined the proposition is a murderously compelling storm of whiplashing inducing endeavour and emotion savaging enmity.

New Chaos Order continues to do nothing but impress as the contagious rancor of Death Place and the predatory stalking of Total Hate next torments psyche and imagination, the first especially riveting and both leaving passions and hunger further aflame. The same can be said of the totally hypnotic Here And Beyond, which from an ok start evolves into a ferocious creative and rabid enticement, and the similarly malicious feud that is Injection. Admittedly the last of those songs is another where it fails to ignite the same ardour as others but casts a net of imagination and technically skilled incitement that you cannot avoid being impressed by.

Scums and In Hell We Trust unleash their creative savagery as the album comes towards its end with fine and hateful effect whilst bonus track Retch provides one final malignant pestilence for ears and emotions to be bruised intensively by. It concludes an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable release. Yes it is not breaking new boundaries and suffers that occasional lack of surface definition but it more than makes up for it with contagious enterprise and irritable persistence.

New Chaos Order is available via Great Dane Records now!

http://www.burning-flesh.com/

9/10

RingMaster 06/06/2014

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Slain – Before The Inferno

 

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There is no re-writing the text book of death metal with Before The Inferno, the album certainly re-working but treading down existing violations, but it has to be admitted that the debut album from Polish band Slain is a thoroughly enjoyable and potently contagious provocation. Consisting of eight monstrously aggressive and openly accomplished violations, the release grips from its opening track through to its intrusive last. There is admittedly a certain mix of success within the release but never a moment where band and album leaves satisfaction wanting and pleasure lacking.

The creators of this impacting release were formed in 2005, though the band’s seeds in many ways harken back to the nineties when band founder and guitarist Paul was in Cryptic Stench. Some of Slain’s songs originated from that time with the band reworking and rearranging them to fill the full blooded onslaught of their ferocity. Initially Slain went through a few personnel changes whilst the band continued to earn a strong reputation and fan base with their live performances. A stable line-up emerged though before the album was recorded; Paul joined by second guitarist George, bassist Lucas, drummer Wojtass, and vocalist Marcin. Recorded in 2012, Before The Inferno found its release with The End Of Time Records at the tail of 2013. Since its release, Slain has seen the departure of George and Marcin, the pair being replaced by Hannibal and Balrog respectively. The turn of the year the band has begun working on new songs for their second full-length whilst this, their debut continues to make an impression and mark the radar of a persistently widening attention.

The Bełchatów quintet comes at the ears through a sinister ambience, demonic shadows, and intrusive breath conspiring to infest senses Slain-BeforeTheInfernoand imagination. The niggling start to Confession of the Blind Messiah erupts into a torrent of predatory riffs and punching rhythms whilst vocally vitriol and ravenous intent clad every word. It is a magnetic entrance, the track enslaving with its concentrated confrontation before unleashing a further increase of aggression and malevolence. Speared by skilled sonic flames and a persistently shifting antagonistic stance, the riveting track makes for a mighty start to the album, essences of Behemoth and Decapitated offering their presence.

The following Wings of War strides murderously into view next, clad in a tsunami of destructive rhythms, flailing riffs, and an underlying groove which is two-toned in voice and lethal in effect. Well into its purpose, the grooves mutate into an infectious lacing of the senses whilst the vocals similarly squirm maliciously between textures, the combination rigidly enslaving an already rampant appetite for the release. It is a ferocious onslaught but ripe with contagion and addictive toxins, especially the impressive sonic blaze of guitar which colours the track with its piercing solo. As suggested at the start there is not a great slap of true originality to the encounter but thrills and neck muscle manipulation show no restraint in their persuasions.

There is a thrash sculpted fire to the sound and album, its rabid hunger again insatiably driving the force of Malleus Maleficarum and War Is Coming. The first is a feisty stalking of the senses with an angry spine of bad tempered rhythms within an acidic veining of skilfully crafted sonic incitement. Its successor takes the rapaciousness of the other track to greater immensity, its carnivorous rabidity spurring on prowling rhythms and a pestilence of riffery. The track is voracious savagery but again infuses a swagger and swing to its barbarity which infests the passions. When a song straddles the imagination and treats it to a rodeo of feverish energy and vivacity it is hard to resist even when the wounds left bleed profusely.

Fucking Gods continues the violent and irrepressible suasion of the release, its brutal rampage unrelenting yet pronounced in its precise baiting whilst the following Deadly Midget presents a more restrained attrition but one no less hungry in its predation and manipulative toxicity; grooves and riffs sharing the imposing canvas for their fevered taming and consumption of the senses. There is a touch of Sepultura to the poise and intensive intensity of the track whilst its ravenous incessancy and melodic adventure slips easily under the skin and into the memory.

The album is completed by the raging turmoil of Thorn and the imposing enterprise of Omen, both tracks a tasty horde of vindictive rhythms and scourging riffs spiced by sonic invention, though neither quite match the heights of the earlier songs. Nevertheless the pair brings a great album to a stirring close to leave satisfaction full and emotions eager for more. Before The Inferno may not carve out new inventive avenues for death metal but when it provides a hellacious ruin as exciting and stimulating as it does it is hard to raise a care. Slain has ensured that anticipation for their sophomore album is already gearing up.

Before The Inferno is available via The End of Time Records now!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slain/1395976333996090

8.5/10

RingMaster 22/04/2014

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Ade – Spartacus

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Epic sounding, tactically dangerous in its sonic invention, and technically destructive in melodic spite and venomous intensity, Spartacus the new album from Italian death metallers Ade is just magnificent. The album blends death metal with the traditional instruments of ancient Rome and Greece for a compelling and thrilling confrontation. It is a never ending twist of corrosive intensity and devious ingenuity coaxed into an encounter which disorientates and mesmerises with equal measure and success, vicious and enthralling the record is a masterful violation and education.

Formed in 2007, the Rome quintet follow up their well-received debut album Prooemivm Sangvine of 2009 with a release which is sure to feature in best of 2013 lists come December, it is a thunderous tsunami of crippling rhythms, senses chewing riffs, and an invention within exhausting intensity which is jaw dropping. Released via Canadian label Blast Head Records, Spartacus offers ten tracks of memorable and riveting power with arguably the fact there is so much going on to take it all in the minor niggle towards it, then again it only makes the excuse to confront its malevolent presence to explore more irresistible. With a sound openly influenced by the likes of Nile and Behemoth, and featuring extreme metal drummer supreme George Kollias (ex-Nile), the album grips from its first breath to its colossal last and has the passions drooling relentlessly.

Betrayer From Thrace approaches the ear with ethnic instrumentation, a hailing horn, and coaxing rhythms, the gentle Ade-Spartacus-Album-Cover_Lbeckoning lasting only a few seconds before a fury of precise yet bedlamic beats, senses gnawing riffs, and deep gravelly vocals assault the ear, their force veined by sonic invention. As it continues to caustically abrase with a secretive underlying persuasive lure, the song twists and turns allowing its ancient breath and seductive melodic enterprise to explore the ravaging shadows. It is a stunning start which only in hindsight shows that it is merely the lead in to even greater things; its grand chorus of vocals the heralding of an expanding glory.

The welcoming string plucking to invite Sanguine Pluit in Arena into the ear is a delicious intrigue which holds its own as much as it can within the soon to bare furnace of ferocity, again speared by striking guitar invention and a staggering rhythmic attack. The musical call of the ancients wraps around the core of the song to emerge and disappear with persistent irresistibility so that within moments of the track you do not know whether to headbang until numbness is the reward or dance with a veil and salacious intent. It is a near perfect blend and performance soon eclipsed by The Endless Runaway. The following song sways around the ear with beautiful female vocals and accompanying vibrant beats before expanding into a sonic landscape of prowling riffs, commanding rhythms, and mesmerising sonic temptation with waspish attitude. As mentioned earlier, there is so much going on here and on the album to catch or take in at once but nevertheless the song tells a full and colourful narrative which shifts and grows with each charge of its dramatic soundscape.

Across the likes of the outstanding Crixius Flags Of Dishonor, a track as brutal and sadistic as it is hauntingly elegant, the blistering Mars Unpredictable Favour where the drums find their most virulently insidious potency, and Six Thousands Crosses, the album cements its already immense stature in thoughts and emotions with relish and ferocious invention, the technical storm as staggering and wonderfully corruptive as the hellacious tempest of primal intensity and unbridled severity. If there is any flaw, and we use the word loosely, it is that the surface of songs hold a strength of similarity which makes some with an unfocused listen blend within each other’s arms but again it is a mere texture only to look beyond for the greatest rewards.

With Divinitus Victor and For Everything To Be The Same… completing one of the most intensive and gripping albums of the year so far, it is fair to say Ade has presented what will be regarded as a classic not only in their own timeline but that one suspects within extreme metal. Spartacus is not only a must hear but a must have triumph.

http://www.facebook.com/adelegions

9/10

RingMaster 16/04/2013

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Hellspawn: The Great Red Dragon

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    Uncompromising and ravenously destructive, The Great Red Dragon from Polish death metallers Hellspawn takes no prisoners sonically or in intent. It is an album which ravages the senses with impressively accomplished craft and merciless corrosive energy to leave one exhausted and reeling under its weight of sound. It is also admittedly a release which seemingly refuses to take adventurous avenues within the genre or break down existing ideas into something truly distinct, yet from start to finish it leaves one wholly satisfied and unreserved in wanting to stand before its confrontation time and time again.

Hailing from Wieluń, Hellspawn formed in 2003 and by 2005 with a settled line-up had their first record, Demo 2005 released via Chilean label Infernal Overkil and Nihilistic Holocaust in France, the second as part of a split release. 2010 saw debut album Child of Hell released through Exploratory Drilling Productions to strong responses, reactions which have been surpassed by The Great Red Dragon upon its unleashing via Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho last year. An album apparently heavily influenced by the work of William Blake, it is a release which though having been released last year deserves to be in the awareness of all extreme metal fans. As mentioned it does not offer anything new but the release is undoubtedly a thunderous engagement with sounds derived from the likes of Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Behemoth, and Marduk and one which leaves no one bored.

The album demands attention immediately with the initial thumping rhythms of The First Banner In The Fields Of Devil and its9696_327937233949105_1666372934_n caustic guitar scraping of the ear. It soon collects all its elements for an explosive torrent of crippling rhythms from drummer Robert Kolman and tight cutting riffs from guitarists Marcin Garyga and Daniel Drosiński, whilst bassist and vocalist Mariusz Konieczny unveils the deepest shadows with his intimidating lines and heavy vocal squalls. The track evolves into a maelstrom of sonic guitar mastery and hungry intensity rhythmically and vocally, the heavy growls of Konieczny malice drenched.

The following Word Becomes Flesh continues the formidable start with its own primal violation and sonic torrent of aggression. Like the first, the song ripples with ideas which though not exactly new keep the song fresh and intriguing whilst in its overwhelming company. It has to be said even at this point that once a song departs it is not that easy to remember anything in particular about them when looking back, and that also applies to the album as a whole, but within their tumultuous battle they do not let anyone or any appetite down.

The likes of Hellspawn, Diabolic, and the title track blast the senses and thoughts with more unrelenting malevolence and undeniably skilled enterprise, the last of the three a particularly carnal ravishment which sears the flesh with its acidic grooves  and callous riffing not to mention barbaric rhythms.

It has to be said the second half of the album is its best started by Intro To The Revelation, the gate way into the most creative heart of the release. The shimmering instrumental makes way for the highest point of the album, Revelation Of The Great Red Dragon. It is a colossal compassionless scourge with viral grooves, captivating sonic imagination, and pillaging violence, and the one song which does linger and prompt memories after its despoiling of the senses, though it is equally matched by The Dice Are Cast, another herculean ravage upon the person and psyche. Both tracks show how good the band are and could be with a richer uniqueness to their presence which conversely does leave the rest of the album looking less impressive in some ways.

The album makes sure every song is at least within its companionship something which leaves scars of spite and pleasure, the final tracks The Greatest King Among Demon and An Obelisk Of The World no weak exceptions. Both drive to infiltrate further within the listener if not with invention than with sonic violence as presented by some great guitar solos and piercing fire branded notes. The Great Red Dragon is without doubt a brief, at less than thirty minutes in length, but great album, and if you are looking for a release extremely well done but prowling familiar extreme metal territories then this is one not to be missed.

http://www.facebook.com/Hellspawn.Metal

7.5/10

RingMaster 15/02/2013

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Hell United: Aura Damage

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    Formed in 1997, Polish blackened death metallers Hell United has emerged as one of the best bands within their country and region. They have not matched the heights of Behemoth, Vader, or Decapitated yet, bands who they in sound have much in common with, but have certainly earned the reputation as one of the more impressive aural creators of blasphemy and violence. Their latest album Aura Damage will not change the position of the but with its demanding sounds and violating invention concretes their place as to the fore of Polish underground extreme metal.

Initially called Eclypse, the Tarnów quartet recorded an unreleased album The Human Abstract in 1999, though two tracks emerged re-recorded in their first demo Omen the following year. 2004 saw their debut album Applause: JHVH Elohim Met released leading to an intensive schedule of live shows and line-up problems. From this the re-named Hell United emerged with the line-up of vocalist/guitarist Void, bassist Bartollo, guitarist Rzulty, and drummer Dügy, and in 2007 the demo Extra-Strength Of The Obscure followed a year later by the album HornoKracy. The next two years saw the band  playing the United Death Armageddon tour, in 2008 and 2009, alongside the likes of MasseMord, Blaze Of Perdition, and Mord’A’Stigmata. A two version mini album came out in 2011, as The Third Sigil of Destruction in cassette form and as Abhorrence Majesty on vinyl whilst last year held the recording of Aura Damage after the band played shows with Ulcerate, Furia, and Intestinal. Now released via Hellthrasher Productions the album maintains the band as one which it is impossible not to spend time with.

It has to be said that the album does not ignite a furnace of passions for its undoubtedly accomplished and inventive sounds due to a398956_385472591504310_1090755155_n lack of anything startlingly new or different to other imaginative bands and releases, yet whilst in its venomous company Aura Damage leaves no room for distractions or a yearning to go elsewhere. Hell United is a skilled and provocative band in sound and invention, and one to which destructive violence and insidious violation is second nature. From the opener Red Limitations, a track which leaves the listener cowering under its towering riffs and rhythmic violence, the band piles on the oppressive intensity and corrosive malevolence. It is savage and unrelenting with a mission to snap wills and consume senses, something it does with little resistance.

The excellent Apostle Of Plague takes over the assault next, the torrential raining down of ravenous rhythms and twisted intrusive sonics alongside the grasping scowling vocals, riveting within its tempest. Throughout the bass prowls and snarls with a predatory hunger which is sensational and one of the most thrilling aspects of the whole release.

Deathlike Cold with its creeping malignancy which wraps itself around the ear with a serpentine relish offers an immediate diversity though the track soon explodes into another carnally driven ravishment of ear and beyond, whilst tracks like Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and the title track engage no thought of no restraint and savage the listener from first note to last whilst offering an evolving expanse of sonic grooves and blood spilling aural hate. Arguably the album is most adventurous and intriguing within its later tracks such as the doom gaited Hinterland and more specifically the furnace of intensity that is In Odore Sanctitatis and the closer Totality Of I, the first of the pair a rabid leap into the abyss of energy and intent lit by masterful sonic flames and the second another heavy mass of slowly ravishing doom soaked consumption.

Aura Damage is technically outstanding but one which just lacks a spark to ignite strong passion for the admittedly impressively crafted sounds and songs. Hell United is a band nevertheless which ensures its company is well worth the violence on offer.

http://www.hellunited.com

http://www.facebook.com/hellunited

6.5/10

RingMaster 15/02/2013

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Stalwart – Manifest of Refusal

Sometimes music and metal in particular does not make sense. Take a band like Russian death metallers Stalwart. They have just released their stunning new album Manifest of Refusal, their fifth full length release and one of such creative might and devastating power it is easily one of the most impressive releases of the year. But have you heard of them? Certainly this is our first introduction to them. From those that do know of them, and it is a mere handful it seems, the band has been producing striking music throughout their formation in 1999 but still they are an unknown joy. Maybe it is a prejudice to and assumption of the music from their homeland but it is staggering that they still are invisible to most. Hopefully with the simply outstanding Manifest of Refusal that will shortly change.

Stalwart is labelled as predominently death metal but there is so much more to their sound. Death metal is just a bulky flavour matched in mass and strength by a mix of technical and groove metal with large veins of industrial and progressive metal. Imagine a mutated offspring of Behemoth, Morbid Angel, Meshuggah, Fear Factory, and Livarkahil and you get an idea of the diverse and mighty sounds the band lay waste to the ear with. They produce extreme metal with imagination and the darkest thought for a resulting glorious consumption of mind, body and soul.

Released through PRC Music, Manifest of Refusal searches out and fills every sense, thought and emotion. From the opening chimes of the opening leviathan The Karma Circle and its heralding of what is about to emerge the track seizes full attention with force and drama. Crushing riffs, skull wrecking rhythms, and an intensity to topple continents soon overrun the ear to devastating effect. The song proceeds to pick upon and blister the senses with raging torrents of aggressive energy whilst slipping into partial lulls to wipe the wound clean before ripping it open once more. The guitars of  Leonid and Antuan weave in and out with stirring riffs and cutting melodies like fighter pilots picking their spot to for fullest impact and intrusion whilst the drums of Alex are as hypnotic as they are vicious, his skill and intensity beyond impressive.

From the opener alone the vocals leave one surprised and eager, the delivery of Oleg Sobolevsky ably backed by bassist Demian, are as varied and imaginative as the music. He veers from growls to clean through a gamut of variations to ensure the unpredictability is in every aspect of the album. The following Downgrade Evolution easily confirms this fine display, the track another compulsive corruption of the ear.

As the songs rip chunks off the senses one by one there is nothing but the deepest pleasure and satisfaction. The songs surge up and leave their own deeply furrowed individual mark one by one to make the release an unrelenting assault and persistent muscular invention. Tracks like Rise Of The Ninth Wave with excellent bass play from Demian, the intimidating spectacular Corrosion with its slightly chaotic ingenuity and startling detours, and the brilliant disruptive mesmeric title track, leave one grasping onto anything for security and support against the stunning aural cataclysm.

Great as the whole album is Idol Of The Time easily grabs best track acclaim, the song a riot of punishing rhythms and vengeful riffs. With vocals as coarse and malicious as the sounds the track obliterates every synapse and emotion daring to step in its way. It is the growling bass of Demian which steals the fullest praise though as he stalks and underpins the song with the frightening might of a bear with its temperament and attitude in tow.

Manifest of Refusal is easily a contender for album of the year not only in Russia but worldwide, it and Stalwart just need people to finally take notice is all.

RingMaster 24/05/2012

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